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Post-Operative Shenanigans I Didn’t Remember… Until I Got The Receipt

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 12/10/13 8:52 PM
CATEGORIES: 1015 The River, Blog, From The Files of You Can't Make This Sh*t Up, Recipes, Shenanigans

You know how when you have out patient surgery you leave the hospital half drugged up and half zoned out with a stack of discharge instructions that you rarely read?

Turns out someone who’s not drugged up and zoned out should read them…throroughly …because there’s a golden nugget of advice tucked in between the warnings about shortness of breath and tips on how to not rip open your stitches that go a little something like this…

“UNTIL THE EFFECTS OF SEDATION HAVE DISSIPATED DO NOT MAKE ANY IMPORTANT DECISIONS OR SIGN ANY IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS.”  

Well, duh.  Right?

Turns out, however, I have an additional piece of advice for the non-drugged up, zoned out person caring for the the one who has just been sedated.

TAKE YOUR RECENTLY ANESTHETIZED LOVED ONE’S SMART PHONE AWAY!  And…if you don’t she cannot be held responsible for anything she does with said technology for a period of up to 48 hours after surgery (which is apparently the length of time it takes for anesthesia to stop affecting my brain).

Of course, my post-op instructions didn’t advise Sean to confiscate my phone…so he didn’t…which didn’t seem like such a big deal until the UPS man delivered a Keurig coffee maker to my home this past Monday morning.

Sean-  Why did someone send us a coffee maker?

Me – What?  We don’t drink coffee?

Sean – Exactly.  

That’s when I ripped open the box expecting to see that it was a gift from Keurig who wanted me to write a review of the new Keurig Vue on my blog.  Instead I found evidence that I actually paid for the coffee maker–last Wednesday morning–after it was featured on a deal segment of the Today Show.

Me - Oooohhhhh….

You see, once I saw the receipt I remembered seeing the segment and ordering the coffee maker on my phone thinking , “I always wanted one of those.”  Even though I don’t drink coffee.

Shit.

Further muddying my post-operative waters I also received a thank you note from a charity I’ve never heard of for a donation I made the day after my surgery…from my cell phone.  As I read the email my immediate “what the hells?” dissipated after a sketchy memory came back of reading through my emails last week and seeing the request  from the charity.

Shit.

Making matters even more uncomfortable I have a vague memory of volunteering a food item for the twin’s holiday feast via email.  The party is scheduled for Tuesday, December 17th, and I don’t have the courage to explain to their teacher that I have no idea what I volunteered to bring (was it cheese?  was it a turkey?) because I was strung out on anesthesia with a chaser of vicodin.

Shit.

So, please consider this a public service announcement to anyone going “under” and their caregivers.

There should be no use of technology of any kind for 48 hours following anesthesia.

You’re welcome.

I suppose I should invest in some better coffee mugs now.

I suppose I should invest in some better coffee mugs now.

*****

Wednesday morning we talked about this post and two recipes during my weekly segment on 101.5 The River with Rick and Mary Beth.  The first recipe is for the Make-Ahead Cinnamon Rolls and can be found here.  The second recipe is for Make-Ahead Egg Nog French Toast Casserole and can be found here.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

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My One Legged Version of Holiday Crunch Time

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 12/9/13 1:38 PM
CATEGORIES: Blog

T-minus two weeks and counting and I’m happy to report that being laid up with only one useable leg has brought a new perspective to holiday crunch time for me.  Of course, I knew I was going to be out of commission for the first half of December which forced me to run around like an obsessed and somewhat unstable elf during the month of November.  (Let’s face it…If I had been unexpectedly bedridden during this time of year I would probably be in need of heavy sedation and/or some heavy mental-emotional interventions.)

But I knew this downtime was coming…and I prepared.

Shopping…done.

Decorating…done.

Christmas cards…done.

Wrapping…almost done.

As my early Christmas to-do list started to become an “already-done-list” I actually found myself looking forward to surgery thinking I’d get to lay around for two weeks and rest.   Which, I’m happy to report, has kind of happened.  But, there’s also been an unexpected perk.  The gift of time spent with my kids.  We’ve been reading stories, working on Christmas crafts, playing manger and making plans (elaborate plans, folks) for the holiday baking that will be coming next week.  We’ve watched Christmas classics and snuggled under blankets on the couch in front of the fire.  I’ve also watched a lot of exciting football games with my men which never happened in the past.    Always one more gift to get…or one more present to wrap…or one more card to address…or one more something to do.  Not this year.

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I think I may be on to something.

I have a friend who has preached the advantages of pre-Thanksgiving Christmas shopping and wrapping for years.  Amy would tell me it allowed her to just, “enjoy all the holiday stuff” with her family.  It wasn’t that I disagreed with her.  I just couldn’t see it happening.  I guess it took a medical “sit your ass down for two weeks” order to make me see the sheer genius of her plan.

And God as my witness, I’ll never go back.

I’ve written before how after the birth of the twins the holidays have kicked my ass.  In fact, the past three Christmas’ have found me huddled on my bed come the 25th night overcome by sheer exhaustion.  I don’t think that’ll happen this year (I am knocking on wood).  The concept of having the errand running behind me has given way to a calmness that I haven’t felt years.

So as hard as it is to just be  laying here, I am grateful for the lessons this two week timeout has provided.  It turns out planning and earlybird shopping does have a huge payout.  Time spent with my family …which is the greatest gift of all.

*****

One of the things I’ve been passing time with is surfing my favorite cooking website, Allrecipes.com.  where I stumble over most of my holiday recipes.  One I’m going to try out as soon as I’m given the green flag is a recipe for Make-Ahead Cinnamon Bun recipe for Christmas morning.  Sean’s mom makes amazing cinnamon buns.  I’m hoping my efforts will rival sweet Kate’s.  We’ll see.

Recipe can be found here.

Video for cooking cinnamon rolls can be found here.

The Make -Ahead Part…

So, according to the comments on this recipe once you get to the part where you’ve cut the buns you need to place them on a cookie sheet and freeze them.  Once frozen solid, throw them in a ziploc bag.  When ready to use them, remove them from freezer, thaw in buttered dish covered with plastic wrap overnight, and bake according to recipe in the morning.

How easy is that?

Can’t wait to try them!

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Santa Spy Cam Equals Elf on A Shelf Fun!

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 12/4/13 8:55 AM
CATEGORIES: 1015 The River, Blog, Holidays

Okay readers…this is going to be short and to the point because I’m currently looped up on a vicodin-zofran cocktail.  (I had foot surgery on Monday!)

I was recently contacted by the creator of an outstanding app that will turn your Elf on A Shelf experience up a notch!  It’s called the Santa Spy Cam and can be used on iPhones.  It is simply awesome.

If you are interested, please  visit this site and watch the embedded video for more information….

Now if you’ll excuse me…I have to return to my state of semi-conciousness.  I expect to be back by the end of the week.

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My Make Ahead Thanksgiving

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 11/19/13 8:52 PM
CATEGORIES: 1015 The River, Glass City Parent, Holidays

The end of November is right around the corner and to most of us Americans that means two things…turkey and relatives.  For our family this  year’s Thanksgiving is going to require a monumental amount of work.  Oh wait…did I write “for our family”?  Oh…silly me.  I meant for ME.  Who am I kidding?

Why so much more work this year than last?

We are hosting.  Of course, anyone who’s ever hosted Thanksgiving dinner you know hosting is a lot of work.  The food, the turkey, the sides, the dishes, the cooking, the planning but our Thanksgiving tradition takes the whole thing up a notch.  You see, my family is spread out all across the country and Thanksgiving is our command performance.  Which means…houseguests…for five nights….which means I’m not just cooking and planning for one dinner.  I’m cooking and planning for ten meals…for fifteen people.

Please pass the wine.

Of course, I’m not complaining.  I absolutely love Thanksgiving with my family.  We don’t get to all be under one roof that often so when the rare occasion happens upon us we members of the Higgins/Shafer/Savage brood suck every last morsel of fun out of every single second.  Which requires food and drink…and lots of both.

In order not to spend every waking moment in my kitchen cooking, serving and cleaning up from one meal to only rinse and repeat for the next I’ve been meal planning, cooking and freezing ahead of time.  Several of the “make-aheads” are sides for the big dinner and really take the stress out of Thanksgiving day.

So, realizing I’m not the only overwhelmed Thanksgiving cruise director out there I’d thought I’d share my recipes.

Now if you’ll excuse me I’ve got stuffing to make eight days ahead of time.  And yes…it’s amazing.

*****

One Week Ahead of Time (or more)

Make Ahead Sausage and Sage Stuffing  (see recipe here)

Make Ahead Turkey Gravy  (see recipe here)

Make Ahead Cranberry Orange Sauce (see recipe here)

Make Ahead Sweet Potatoe Casserole (recipe below)

Make Ahead Green Bean Bundles (recipe below)

 

One Day Ahead of Time

Creamy Mashed Potatoes (recipe here)

Turkey Brining (recipe here)

 

Thanksgiving Day

Pumpkin Pie  (recipe below)

Toll House pie (recipe here)

*****

Make Ahead Sweet Potatoe Casserole  

Ingredients

Make Ahead Portion of Recipe…

  • 3 sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tbs. butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Day of Thanksgiving

  • 1 cup brown sugar (I ALWAYS use dark brown sugar)
  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 6 tbs. butter sofened
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Directions

Make Ahead…

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Place potatoes on baking sheet and bake for 1 1/4 hours.
  2. Cut potatoes in half and scoop out insides into food processor.   Add sugar, eggs, salt, butter, condensed milk and vanilla to processor and blend.  Pour into 9X13 baking dish, cover with foil and freeze.

Thanksgiving Day

  1. Four hours before dinner remove potatoes from freezer and thaw.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  In medium bowl, mix the brown sugar and flour. Cut in the butter until the mixture is coarse. Stir in the pecans. Sprinkle the mixture over the sweet potato mixture.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven 30 minutes, or until the topping is lightly brown.

Make Ahead Green Bean Bundles

Ingredients

The Make Ahead Part

  • 2.5 pounds of fresh green beans – trimmed
  • 1 pound of bacon

Thanksgiving Day

  • 1/2 cup butter – melted
  • 1 cup brown suger (I use dark but it doesn’t really matter)
  • 1 tsp garlic salt

Directions

The Make Ahead Part…

  1. Cut bacon strips in half and fry until just starting to crisp up but still very flexible.  Drain and cool on paper towels.
  2. Bring 2-3 quarts of water to a boil.  Once boiling blanche green beans by immersing them in boiling water for four minutes.  After four minutes drain beans into a collander or strainer and then lay them out on a towel to air dry (or pat dry).
  3. Use 1/2 bacon strip to bundle five-seven green beans.  Secure with toothpick.
  4. Place bundles on cookie sheet/plate/platter and place in freezer.  Once they are frozen solid you can transfer them to a storage container or freezer safe Ziploc.

Thanksgiving Day…

  1. Remove frozen bundles from freezer 3-4 hours before baking time and place them in a buttered baking dish.  Allow them to thaw at room temperature.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Mix brown sugar with melted butter and pour over green bean bundles.
  4. Sprinkle garlic salt over top of bundles and cover with foil.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes.

Pumpkin Pie 

Ingredients

  • 1     15 oz can of pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 nine inch prepared pie crust  (unbaked)  (Remember…I use a pillsbury already made pie crust.  If you want to make your own, go for it!)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and prepare your unbaked pie crust.
  2. Mix pumpkin puree, cinnamon, ginger, salt and nutmeg together in a sauce pan.  Heat until steaming over medium heat stirring constantly.  (Heating the puree and spices takes the “canned” taste out of the pumpkin.  It makes a difference and only takes a few minutes.)
  3. Allow pumpkin puree mixture to cool completely.  (If you don’t wait, you’ll scramble your eggs.)
  4. Mix eggs and milk in with puree and pour into nine inch unbaked pie crust.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.
  6. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for 35 to 40 minutes until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Turn off oven and place pie on top to cool slowly.  (Cooling a pumpkin pie slowly helps prevent the filling from cracking on top.)

Cover and refrigerate until Thanksgiving dinner.  About 3 hours before dinner place pie on counter so it will warm to room temperature.

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Hey Santa…Back Off Old Man….It’s Not Your Turn

AUTHOR: | POSTED: 11/18/13 10:56 AM
CATEGORIES: Blog, Holidays

I know, I  know…I’ve been MIA.

There’s a reason though.  Not a “that will absolutely get you out of your final exam” kind of excuse but nevertheless…an excuse.  You see, I’ve been having fun with my kids.  We’ve been wrestling in leaves, prepping for the holidays and stomping around in the snow.  In between I’ve been doing my normal cooking, cleaning,  and schlepping routine which is unfortunate for this little corner of the blogosphere but necessary for my family.

As my crazy busy friends and I often remind one another…we’re together now.  Let’s make the best of it.

So…

About that big guy in the red suit…

Nobody loves Christmas as much as I do.  Well…actually…I don’t think I corner the market on Christmas cheer.  I know right about now there are many of us making our lists and checking them twice.  Hell, I’ll even cop to already using the Santa card during a few moments of parental desperation. I think November anticipation of December holidays is a natural and necessary step… much in the same way simmering gravy is important to thickening it.  November is both a warm up and a reality check.  It gives us time to take inventory of what’s most important and give thanks for all of our blessings.  And all of this is important BEFORE we indulge in the gluttony of Christmas.

Right?

Well, maybe not for most of us.  You see, about a week ago I noticed a lot of Christmas stuff popping up in my periphery.  Pictures of decorated Christmas trees;  talk of holiday baking…and not the normal November pumpkin pie kind… started littering Facebook and Instagram.  At first I thought it was an anomaly and brushed it off as a few over eager elves who couldn’t help themselves.  Then Monday morning rolled around and I  flipped on my car radio to hear Christmas music.  And not just one carol.  It was a full on Holly Jolly/ Little Drummer Boy/Jingle Bell Rock  marathon on VETERAN”S DAY.

As I drove home from the preschool drop off wondering if I was experiencing some sort of Halloween candy hangover or weird time-change jetlag (it was only day #2 after the “fall back”) I shot off a text (at a stoplight, foks) to my DJ friend who confirmed it.  It was officially Christmas music 24/7 mandated by Clear Channel to begin at 5 pm on November 8th.

Grrrr…

Look, I’m not a Scrooge and I actually love Christmas music.  But I’m also a traditionalist who believes everything has its time.  Thanksgiving should be celebrated with autumn hues of gold and orange and notions of pilgrims, Native Americans and gratitude.  The North Pole shouldn’t have a place at the Thanksgiving table.

In other words,  Santa needs to back off.

In our world it seems we are so busy rushing through our days to get to the next thing that we forget to stop and say thank you for the blessings in front of us.   That’s why Thanksgiving is so special.  It’s a holiday about gratitude.  I know it’s not as blinged out as Christmas, but that’s an important part of the lesson.   I’m trying to teach my kids to appreciate the small things in life because the bigger more glittery moments  have limited runs.  That’s what makes them special.

Of course,  November holds a place for practical Christmas preparations.  I’m a mother of five who get’s her December to-do list underway early in order to save my sanity come crunch time.  But the Christmas music, the lights springing up in our neighborhood, and the pictures of stockings hung by the chimney while the kids are trick-or-treating make me sad.  Can anyone wait for anything anymore?

I know…I know…I’m part of a dying breed.

Please excuse me while I go drown my frustrations in a pumpkin pie.

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