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Friday, April 3, 2020

Food Friday: Quick and Easy Chocolate Nice Cream

Some people in our house are missing some to the treats we used to have on a more regular basis.  I have been freezing very ripe bananas over the last few months but have not been using them up.  Today I decided to do use two of them.

Quick and Easy Chocolate Nice Cream

2 bananas, frozen then sliced
1 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
3+ Tablespoons Nutella
1/4-1/2 cup almond milk

Put all the ingredients in a high speed blender and blend for about 45 seconds using the tamper to push the ingredients into the blades.  This makes just enough for two medium bowls.

This slid down our gullets very fast!  Next time I think I will double the recipe to make it easier on the blender. 

It is my feeling that if you don't have a high speed blender you could use a food processor for this.  You might need to double the recipe in the food processor.

Very tasty.  I mean, how can you miss with Nutella?!

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Elizabeth Zimmermann Adult Surprise Jacket, Steeked and Ready to Wear!

Years ago I took a class at Country Woolens in Lebanon, New Hampshire.  Debbie, the store owner, taught us how to knit Elizabeth Zimmermann's Adult Surprise Jacket. (You can find the pattern at Schoolhouse Press.) I knitted up a Baby Surprise Jacket on size 8 needles and worsted weight yarn to make a giant "swatch" which I was able to give to a granddaughter as a gift.  That worked up in two evenings and was very successful, so...on with the Adult Surprise Jacket.

There is math involved as you are beginning the jacket.  Once that has been worked out you just knit knit knit!  It is a garter stitch with a few strategic increases then later some decreases.  You end up with a humpy rectangle that you fold up then stitch the shoulders/arms together and that is it depending on what you want for the front closure.

For mine, I decided to put pockets in the fronts and a sturdy zipper closure.  I was very happy with this sweater except for one thing...I had not trusted my math and continued knitting on for a while.  The jacket ended up with 4-5 extra inches on the sleeves.  That meant I had to fold over those inches thereby making a double thickness cuff.  You might have thought that was a good thing, but it was not. At least, not for me.
Extra bulky fold-over cuffs

For quite some time I have been thinking about how I could rectify the problem.  A few months ago I decided the smartest thing was to steek off the cuff and replace it with a ribbed cuff.  This week I did it!

Here is the completed Adult Surprise Jacket post steeking!  I am ever so happy with it.  Of course, I will need to winter somewhere else if I want to wear it...!

Maybe next week I will share the process.  Today I am not up to a longer post. (I have been brushing dead dry skin off my face.  I am grateful it is dead and am hopeful that there will be good new soft healthy skin underneath.  Dear One keeps reminding to stop touching the face.... All this face stuff is taking it out of me.  I look forward to the end of the line on this minor situation.  I am grateful that it has been such a small trial but now I am ready to move on...!)

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Skin Issues and a Word of Warning

There is a saying that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction...but that is not really the proverb I want.  I guess what I want to say is the every action brings forth consequences.  Sometimes those consequences are good and sometimes not.  We can choose our actions but we cannot choose the consequences of those actions.

Sometimes consequences are deferred for a very long time, so long, in fact, that you can have forgotten the actions.  There are times when we act with no idea of what the consequences might be.  That is really too bad.  I think that comes from not listening to those around us or not thinking things through.

To get on with the story:  my mother died 33 years ago from malignant melanoma.  Her sisters and grandmother also had various skin cancers.  I, myself, have many moles on my skin and for years have gone to a dermatologist to have a "skin check", a most embarrassing experience, every few years.

When my nurse practitioner learned of the cause of my mother's death she referred me to a dermatologist.  I went over to the office to make the appointment in person, thinking an in-person visit might be more urgent to the office staff.  It turned out that this was not the case.  There appears to be only one dermatology clinic in our town so my appointment was not able to be scheduled until March, six months later.

A little more than three weeks ago I had that appointment.  The physician's assistant who did my "skin check" pointed out that I am "very mole-y".  Duh.  I knew that.  He paid particular attention to my left cheek and said he was unsure if what he was seeing was sun damage, rosacea, or contact dermatitis from my CPAP strap.  SO...his idea was to hit the most scary thing first: and thus chemo cream became part of my life.

That chemo cream was to be used twice a day for two weeks until I saw him again.  He saw me last week and laughed, and told me that chemo cream really did its job.  That kind of got my goat. I am a real baby about discomfort and this stuff had caused  swollen, inflamed, itchy, burning, stabbing, throbbing (every time my heart would beat), oozing, and bleeding. Headaches and nausea accompanied all the skin issues.  It was really no fun.  He told me that because of the dreadful situation with my skin he could say categorically that I really had had sun damage and that he believed the 80% of it had been eradicated. Well, yay.  Isn't that nice.

You can see how swollen the cheek is.
He then gave me a prescription for some antibiotic goo to put on my face twice a day plus some antibiotic pills to take three times a day.  The goo being what it was, I had issues with skin sticking to the CPAP strap and to my pillowcase so I would wake up with blood and other nastiness oozing off my poor broken skin.  Eventually I got some non-stick gauze pads to put on between my skin and the CPAP strap.  That was really fun.  Non stick does not really mean it does not stick!  In the morning I would pull the pad off my face and instantly have blood dripping off onto my chest.  So nasty.  Even more, it was VERY unpleasant.  That skin was raw.  Raw skin is the worst.  I can now empathize even more with people who are tortured in various ways for various reasons.
Skin raw after being washed gently on arising. Sorry...I cannot seem to right the photo.

Last night I thought I would sit up on the couch to sleep instead of lying down in bed and pass on the CPAP.  At 2:00 AM I was still awake so I went back to bed.  I put an feminine pad between my face and the strap.  It was only marginally better.

Today I have been holding ice to my face.  That helped a little.  Another 5 days of the antibiotic goo and I am hopeful that all will begin to be back to normal.  At least I am hoping that the top awful layer of skin with finally dry out and slough off.  Without me yanking it off.

Anyway, with all good fortune, before all the quarantine business is over I will have returned to a normal face so I don't scare people on the street.  It really is a tiny bit amusing to see people's faces when they look at me on those rare occasions when I go to the doctor or pharmacy..  Most of them are too polite to fall over in a dead faint...

Now back to the word of warning I mentioned:  It turns out all this was brought on by decades of running the roads in the car without sun block.  I had no idea this would be a problem.  Well, it was.  SO...once the skin is finally healed and whole and unbroken again, whenever that is,  I will begin using sun screen.  If you are not using it, maybe you should, too.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Electronics Ah-Ha Moment!

One thing I do every single day is listen to audio files, whether it is scriptures, religious books, YouTube videos, podcasts of many ilks, or intrigue, medical drama, police drama, some non-fiction or other books.  I always listen.  Mostly I listen on my phone but often on iPad as well.  I used to listen on my computer as well but that stopped when Dear One bought a new Bluetooth headset for me rather than a wired one as I had used for many years until that fabulous headset bit the dust...the ear piece broke and could not be repaired.

Anyway, Dear One gave me a new headset.  I was able to immediately use it on my phone. This was so great. I loved that.  I could not really listen on the iPad very often...only after Dear One connected it.  I could not seem to make the connection.  Somewhat irritating, but since I could not listen with the headset I would go to a different room so as not to disturb him.

Yesterday Dear One wanted to listen to a Sidney Sheldon book that I had found on BARD.  I could not figure out how to connect that so he could listen. I handed the iPad to him and in a few minutes he was happily listening.  Can you believe it?!!  I couldn't.  When he was done I asked him how he did it.  He showed me and I watched carefully.  I was then able to listen to the Faye Kellerman book I had started listening to on the iPad.  This was so wonderful.  With my headset so we could be in the same room listening to our various audio files.

So, now we come to the Ah-Ha moment.  I realized FINALLY that the E7 headset could only be connected to one device at one time.  Duh!!!  I had no idea.  BUT...I found that it worked out when I disconnected from my phone then I could connect to my iPad.

Moving forward to today.  I wanted to use my laptop to listen to Truman Madsen's lectures about the Prophet Joseph Smith.  I had listened on my phone while I was walking my second walk today.  Now I wanted to listen on my computer.  I have NEVER been able to listen with my new headset on my laptop.  The E7 headset never even showed up in the list of bluetooth devices. I read article after article online about how to connect. None of those instructions worked so eventually I gave up listening on the headset and just shut my door when I was on the computer listening so as not to make listening hard for Dear One. 

This is my phone Settings for Bluetooth:

Well, don't you know that perhaps a little light came into my mind?!  I went to the Bluetooth settings on the computer and this time I disconnected from the phone and lo, and behold!!!  There came the E7 device showing up, as unconnected.  In the more than a year (just to show how much a dullard I am...!) I have had the Cowin headset, E7 NEVER ever showed up as a device.  Today, there it was. I had disconnected it from my phone.  I clicked on it, and THERE IT WAS!!!  CONNECTED.  And now I can listen on all my devices.  Isn't that the best!!!  I am so thrilled.  Well, you can tell.

This is my laptop Settings for Bluetooth:

So to reiterate, in case someone else is having the same issue: bluetooth devices (at least my Cowin E7 headset) can ONLY be connected to one bluetooth device at a time, so...disconnect from the current device then connect to the new device.  It works like a charm.  I am in awe of my lack of brilliance when it comes to things like this.

Well, line upon line, I guess.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Munchie Monday: Vegan Double Chocolate Cookies

Dear One has been agitating for sweets. I have been resisting.  Then I saw this recipe and thought I might give it a try.  After all, we are here at home with no big things tearing us away.  The problem with making cookies is that then you want to eat those cookies.  Not good.

Vegan Double Chocolate Cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a cookie sheet with Silpat or parchment paper or else grease it if you want. (There is no fat in these cookies so you really do want to do something to keep them from sticking...)

In a medium-sized bowl place:
 3/4 cup almond flour (I used the flour leftover from making almond milk which I had dehydrated then ground in the blender.  Worked great.)
1/3 cup Hershey's cocoa powder (NOT hot chocolate mix.  Use unsweetened cocoa powder.)
3 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4-1/2 cup water
Several tablespoons dark chocolate chips

Stir everything well then add the chocolate chips.

Use a cookie scoop, unless it breaks on you, to spoon out the batter.  This is a pretty heavy dough.  I pressed lightly on the tops then baked them for about 15 minutes.  I started checking at 10 minutes but finally decided to pull them out at 15 minutes.

Next time, if there is a next time, I will add a little more sugar.  (The reason I say this is that Dear One did eat the cookies, just not all in one sitting.  I think it is that they are not very sweet.) The original recipe called for coconut sugar or some such thing.  We did not have any, though I thought we did. I must have left it in Vermont.  I hope so because otherwise I don't know where it is.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Food Friday:Lentil Bread

Still working on not eating anything made from flour for the whole month of March, I found that I really miss eating stuff slapped on slices of bread. After a little bit of research I found a recipe for lentil bread.

This recipe has only a few ingredients which we had so I went ahead and made it.

Lentil Bread 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Get out a silicon loaf pan or a regular pan that you line with parchment paper with flaps hanging over the edges to make it easier to lift out the loaf of bread when it is cooked.

1 1/2 cups lentils which need to be soaked in water overnight.

Drain and rinse the lentils then put them in a blender along with:

1/2 cup water
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt

When the above slurry is very smooth, pour mixture into a bowl then add:

1/2 cup tapioca starch/flour
1 Tablespoon psyllium husks
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Mix well then pour into your bread pan and bake for 50-60 minutes.  

Let cool for about 10 minutes then remove from pan and cool on rack until cool.

You can now slice it and put on it whatever you want to. 

For this loaf we made some garbanzo bean/sweet relish/chopped onion/chopped celery/mayonnaise filling.  It is sort of like vegan tuna salad.  It worked very well.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Birthday Card

My first plan for this card was to paint a picture of our home in Vermont.  I made a start and failed miserably.  Dear One suggested that I paint the mailbox.  So I did.  Sort of.

Just to explain this painting...there is the green mailbox at the end of our driveway.  There are a few bushes at the foot of the mailbox then some grass beside the dirt driveway with more bushes on the other side of the driveway.  The brownish part behind the mailbox is the rocky under-the-pines area that never looked like much. 

For some reason I got souped up about the Cricut Expression we have.  I remembered the Walk in My Garden cartridge we have so I made the wheelbarrow full of flowers.  It was marginally successful.  Even though nowhere near perfect, I loved making the card.  And sent it off in time to be received by the birthday it was intended to acknowledge.