Beautiful Tulips (sadly not my own)
Hello April...and hello to all of you, my friends! I have to say that we had a few days of feeling like spring was just around the corner, but that was just Chicago and Mother Nature hooking up in their devious ways again. No worries here, it will come. In the meantime we have good excuses for staying in, lounging around, reading, binge watching TV, and eating carbs. We've had tons of rain all week, but that's what umbrellas are for. Enough said.
My tulips are coming up strong; bright green leaves poking about 5 inches out of the ground, and soon they will show their colors. Do you ever have that dilemma in wanting to cut them to bring indoors, or let them be as they are, free and beautiful in your yard or garden beds? I try to plant a few dozen every fall but sometimes it gets late and my poor fingers can't take the cold. If I could possibly amass a zillion colorful bulbs, I might not be so cheap about cutting them. ;-D
My first shamrock victim
I feel like I'm nearing the end of this insane mystery of what sort of virus I have, how to treat it and how to get well from all of the infections I've had in the past 6 months. No, the virus hasn't been determined and I was back at the hospital again yesterday, giving away my blood for free. If it can be pinpointed there may be meds that can help with the weakness and fatigue. I no longer take the medication that depleted my immune system, but I have no idea how long it takes for the body to recover. And finally, the drug my doctor has been waiting for has now been approved by the FDA. I will find out Friday if I'll be eligible for insurance coverage.
Geesh, I meant to keep that short. So many of you seem confused by what is wrong with me but I think I just made it more complicated. Hopefully I will be healthy again within the next few weeks and my posts will be shorter and more simple.
Appetizing or no?
I wrote in my last post that The Husband and I were eating a lot of frozen, store bought pizza's (among other frozen store bought items), given my lack of desire to do anything but sleep. I really do love cooking from scratch with fresh ingredients so this was sort of like waving my little white flag. And then so many of you said, "Hey, it's okay. We do it all the time!" I had to show you a pizza that we really love. Isn't the box insane? And there are so many more varieties to choose from. Brands and manufacturers have gotten wise about all the nasties we don't want in our store bought foods; preservatives, tons of sodium, artificial additives and coloring, etc. So I guess this isn't so bad if you want to have something on hand when you are tired (or have an incredibly hard to get rid of mysterious virus for which you are seeing 4 doctors, giving away 2 liters of blood a week, and have mastered the art of peeing in a plastic container the size of a shot glass.
Simple and Healthy Artichoke and Bean Salad
Days filled with energy are meant to be grabbed like the tail of a kite. Love them. And I have to not only catch up on the cobwebs and dustballs, but also laundry that has sat in the washing machine so long it has mold growing on it. Have you ever forgotten laundry in the machine so many times that you've had to wash it over and over again with copious amounts of bleach? And in spite of the grocery store being my own personal little Disney World, I was scraping the dredges from the fridge and pantry to make dinners for my poor husband. I was victorious when I finally made a few decent meals. One of them was an egg quiche made with crumbs from the vegetable bins in the fridge. I guess that's my measure for productivity these days.
To get on the right track when I have these enthusiastic bursts of energy, it's a no brainer to eat more veggies and greens. I love my beef, chicken and pork, but I'm no dummy that something like the above is much better for you. Experiment. I've been on a roll Pinning salads that are slightly off the board. Beans are so full of protein, as well as cheese (as long as you are not eating it in chunks) and I love the texture they add. This salad was simply a 5 oz. jar of marinated artichoke hearts, drained, and slightly rinsed. Brown them in a skillet with a little drip of veggie oil. Add a clove or two of minced garlic and stir for a minute. Toss with the Canellini beans and serve over fresh baby greens with a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil. Top with shaved Parmesan cheese. You can have this as a side salad or as a healthy dinner with a loaf of fresh bread.
Creamed Chipped Beef
Now I hate to go all unhealthy on you but I've been craving carbs. I usually avoid them like the plague as I know I have to work much more physically to burn them off. But since I've been ill, I feel I crave them all the time. Not the cookies and cakes and your decadent sweets...but rice, potatoes, bread and pasta. When you are sick you sort of relish the doctor's orders to rest and that leads to just eat what you want as well (for strength of course). I've not been much for making comfort foods as it has risen in popularity over the past few years (and not the 'healthy' versions either). It's a heart attack in the making. And recipes that cut the fat, carbs and calories leaves us with a shallow version of the meals we so enjoyed growing up. So...let me give you permission to make a wonderful dish when you are feeling like you just want mama.
Remember Creamed Chipped Beef? My mother wasn't the best of cooks but she knew how to spread a meal out over the 7 of us. I knew the basics of this dish but I wanted to get the measurements right for you so you can find the recipe here. And this is my own photo. I add peas (frozen) as my mom did...not sure why she did but I like it. I also add more salt and pepper as a white sauce really needs a lot of flavor or it tastes like glue. We like it served over toast. Enjoy!
In my last post I agonized over how to add something to my living room update which wasn't beige, beige, and more beige. Call it fear of color. I don't know how I had this revelation, but one night I envisioned something floral for my curtains. My living room has tons of large windows, and that's really nice, but we need privacy. And I simply can't have a bold or loud cold or pattern. Not me. I came across these panels at Overstock and I knew they were everything I wanted. Subtle colors, a subtle pattern, a subtle YAHOO from me when I found them. They arrived yesterday and I hope to get them pressed and up this weekend. All I have left to do is find an area rug. Oh man, my blood pressure just shot up.
I wanted to give a little Happy Birthday shout out to my sweet Abigail Jane, our caboose, who turns twenty-six tomorrow. Here she is with her boyfriend of 8 years, Tom. They are jetting off to sunny Florida tomorrow for spring break (they are both teachers). I bought her luggage of her own as a gift so she can stop borrowing mine. Aren't they the cutest?
Their sweet rescue pup, Squall, is doing well. He makes an appearance on my Instagram once in awhile. Aren't those eyes mesmerizing? What I find so dear about him is that after being confined in a room with several other dogs for the first 8 months of his life, and in a crate most of the time, he's just happy as a clam when Abby and Tom come home (they have a dog walker twice a day when they are at work). But he's conditioned to retreat to his cage on his own when he doesn't want to play or wants to sleep. It's a sort of haven for him. He's blessed to have them, and they are blessed to have him in their lives.
This is my latest read, which I actually haven't started, but it has great reviews. I'm really into suspenseful novels lately. I'll let you know how this goes and if you've read it, let's hear your thoughts. Find it here.
And speaking of suspenseful...I finished watching Big Little Lies, a series on HBO. I wrote in a post a short while ago that I didn't like it after watching 2 episodes and trying to get into the book. Well, I spoke too soon. My dear friend Ellen, at Scribbler Unfocused, mentioned in a comment that she was enjoying the weekly show. I think she has great taste in movies, books, decorating, cooking...you name it, so I caught up with the series. Well, knock me over with a feather. It ended Sunday night and I was floored. Incredible. I cried and then watched the episode again. I won't even try to give a review...that's not my forte. And with my tail between my legs, I hope I didn't dissuade anyone from watching it. Opinions are okay, recommendations are a bit different. ;-D
Finally, after all my moaning and groaning, I want to end with something nice. A new pair of shoes for a new season (it's like that here in the Midwest). I was with Abby at Marshall's and I asked her what sort of shoe I could transition into after all of the boot~wearing over the winter. She glanced around and pointed at these. Need I say more? A soft teal suede, perfect with leggings or skinny jeans, even capri's as it gets near summer. Abby never steers me wrong with shoes because we share the same size and can steal from each other. We also exchange purses. Now, if I were a size 2 dress...
Happy Weekend to everyone!