Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sunday dinner

There are no words to describe the happiness of having all the family home for dinner. After a hard weekend of saying goodbye to yet another loved one lost to cancer, it feels amazing to have the moment of one more dinner together before the unknown of tomorrow.

Tonight we had a small feast of chicken thighs and stuffing in the crock pot with scalloped potatoes. Followed by leftover sweet potatoes and freshly baked salted caramel brownies, all that he could enjoy.

It is these small things that when we look back later in life will have been the big and best things...

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving dinner

 
 WE are still on a soft food diet, but not for long!  To make Thanksgiving dinner easier for us all I will be making the recipe below, with mashed potatoes, corn pudding and a sweet potato kushaw mixture on the side plus a Key Lime Pie for dessert! 
Crock Pot Turkey Recipes - Stephanie Gallagher
Crock Pot Turkey Cutlets with Stuffing.  Stephanie Gallagher

Crock Pot Turkey Cutlets with Stuffing

This easy Crock Pot turkey recipe is sure to become one of your favorites. It's like a mini Thanksgiving meal in one, and it's so simple. The stuffing goes into the Crock Pot first, then the turkey cutlets, and finally apple pie filling for a layer of sweetness. To change things up, consider stirring some dried cranberries into the apple pie filling.
Ingredients
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 6 cups stuffing cubes
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tsp. poultry seasoning
  • 1-1/2 lbs. turkey cutlets
  • kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 can apple pie filling (optional)      
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 360 minutes
  • Total Time: 375 minutes
Preparation
  1. Spray the inside of the slow cooker stoneware with cooking spray.
  2. Place celery, onion, stuffing cubes, chicken broth and poultry seasoning in the Crock Pot. Stir.
  3. Lay turkey cutlets on top of the stuffing mixture in a single layer.
  4. Season with salt and pepper. Pour apple pie filling on top.
  5. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours or high 3-4 hours.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Diced Mango

A soft food diet can be tricky when trying to fit in fruits and vegetables.  I purchased a can of diced mangos that are so surprisingly soft and delicious.  It was a new item which is nice for variety. 
 Del Monte!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Baked Eggs Italian Style

http://www.weightwatchers.com/food/rcp/recipepage.aspx?recipeid=189401

Baked Eggs Italian-Style , recipe given to me by my dear friend Mary Mall   
Image of Baked Eggs Italian Style
Weight Watchers Recipe
4.5 Stars
Ratings (352)
5PointsPlus Value
Prep time: 8 min
Cook time: 18 min
Other time: 0 min
Serves: 8
 
 

Ingredients

  • 4 cup(s) store bought marinara sauce   
  • 1/2 cup(s) basil, fresh, chopped (do not use dried basil)   
  •   8 large egg(s)   
  • 1 cup(s) grated Parmesan cheese, such as Parmigiano-Reggiano   
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, being omitted for today                                                                                                                                                                  
Instructions
  • Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Pour the marinara sauce into a 9- X 13-inch baking pan. Sprinkle the chopped basil over the sauce.
  • Use the bottom of a small custard cup or a similarly sized glass to make 8 rounded indentations in the marinara sauce. Crack an egg into each of these indentations.
  • Sprinkle the Parmigiano-Reggiano and red pepper flakes over the tops of the eggs. Bake until the egg whites are set, the yolks are a bit runny and the cheese has melted, about 18 minutes. Serve by scooping eggs and sauce into individual bowls, using a large spoon. Yields about 1 egg and 1/3 cup sauce per serving.

Notes

  • Eggs baked in the oven offer a wonderful creaminess, almost better than those cooked on top of the stove. However, the oven's constant, ambient heat can toughen the eggs quite a bit — so a little fat (as here, in the shredded cheese) protects the delicate whites and keeps them tender.

UPDATE: Had to bake for about 10 minutes longer than above, had a hard time making the indents for each egg but it turned out great.  VERY interesting and he ate it!  There is plenty left for later which is always a good thing.

Soft everything

http://shopsageproducts.com/store/p/77-Toothette-reg-Ultra-soft-Toothbrush.aspx?feed=Bing

Have you tried to find a "soft" toothbrush at the store?  They are not so soft...

I am so excited to find the above linked item!  It is so great when you look and find EXACTLY what you were looking for...ordering today.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, and oven baked tomatoes, O My!

It is with a heart of gratitude that I write that the tube that once was is no more!  This afternoon my dad had his feeding tube removed, pulled out by blunt force, and is no longer reliant on it for his food!
 
He has shown great improvement this week of which I hope and pray is just the beginning.
 
We arrived home early this evening, hungry.  He is making a large plate of the above referenced items AND I will resume my enthusiasm for the soft food diet...next recipe: Baked Eggs.
 
Stay tuned...

Coconut Milk

I had recently picked up some Coconut Oil to cook with, perhaps mix essential oils with, etc.  However yesterday I purchased a small can of coconut milk with the thought of adding it to dads nutritional drinks for added fat and calories in addition to the Flax Seed oil. 

I was unprepared for the opening this morning as it was a solid!  I was unaware of the separation that takes place.  I learned that it will return to a fluid when heated much like the oil in solid form (similar to lard).

Well, unless I put the milk in coffee, yummy to me although I do NOT require any added fat and calories these days, I will have to reserve some for cooking with.

I did venture to put a small amount, almost a serving size, in the Magic Bullet (which truly is magic because it has yet to die), and mix it into one of his drinks.  Then I slyly poured the drink back into it's original bottle for consumption.  I'm sure he has no idea all the little tricks in adding things that I do...

To health!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Pancakes!

Nevermind that I had been trying to make him pancakes since we started this whole soft food diet, but today he actually requested them!

There was some long ago stigma that kept him from having them before, something about growing up poor and always having them as a kid.

I would like to say that I made them from scratch with all kinds of extra nutritional boosts, but alas, I made up those heart healthy Bisquick pancakes as fast as I could before he changed his mind.  In fact the entire family had them this morning.

He drowned his in syrup and I am so happy.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Big News

The old man has continued to eat oatmeal for three mornings in a row.  He has not lost weight in two weeks and therefore we have scheduled the feeding tube removal next week!  This is a major leap of faith and milestone for us.

I am so proud of his fighting spirit as he tries to eat, garden, and fight his way back to health.

Next stop: trying the cancer fighting diet below:

http://www.cancertutor.com/budwig/

I have been advised not to pour my own concoctions into the tube, but...

In the case of a person with a feeding tube one could mix flax oil into the organic kefir by hand as mentioned above. Then pour into the feeding tube. Again, this can be done using ¼ cup kefir to 1 tablespoon of the flax oil and given through out the day at different times. You may be able to use even a little more oil with the ¼ cup kefir. One may have to play with the mixture to get the desired results. Make sure there is no oil floating on top of the kefir before pouring into the feeding tube.

Read More http://www.cancertutor.com/budwig/

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Today, There is Hope

This morning I asked dad if he was ready for a can in the belly, our terms for tube feeding, and he said, "Sure, might as well." Then I said, "Or, would you rather have oatmeal?"  He said, "Yeah, oatmeal, oatmeal." 

After the last round of radiation his mouth and throat have been in such a rough state that we went exclusively back to the tube.  I will take today as a good sign of progress.  He even said the oatmeal was good (of course it was with a handful of Ghirardelli chocolate chips, a splash of Soy milk and a squeeze of Flax Seed oil, my latest health craze).

He and I are drinking Immune Plus Emergen C this morning as well.

When times are dark it is always encouraging to have a glimmer of hope.

Romans 5:5
And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.



Wednesday, September 30, 2015

It has come to this...

 
Today marks 5.5 weeks of radiation with 1.5 weeks to go!  We have moved from a soft food diet to a liquid diet...decision self-made out of necessity.  Therefore,  I will not be posting as much these next few days/weeks because really it is no longer "Soft Food For Daddy" that I will be representing.  I will continue to make every color of Jello under the sun however even eating that is proving to be a challenge.
 
I did purchase a box of Carnation Instant Breakfast to have something to offer other than Ensure, and giving me the freedom to use whole milk (gotta love the added fat and protein) as well as olive oil, etc.
 
I hope to resume blogging when a soft food diet is reinstituted and until then will try to be a positive support to the daddy I love.  Every thing, including our current hardship, is temporary.
 
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

 


Monday, September 28, 2015

Angel Hair Pasta with Alfredo sauce

Girls watching their weight typically skip the alfredo sauce...

Not this taste tester!  I am currently cooking up some soft angel hair pasta with alfredo sauce.  It should have taste, but if not, by golly, it should go down! 

Today marks the start of week 5 out of 6 weeks total for radiation treatment.  The end is almost in sight.  Every day has its challenges, some days more than others, but we will not give up!  We will see this thing through with as much joy as we can muster because we are more than our current circumstance!
Happy Monday.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Miso


This is todays lunch special.  I love utilizing ancient medicinal properties when cooking for my dad.   He said, "It's not bad, I think.  I'm still analyzing."  I'll take that! He is having with a side of apple sauce.
 
This is a lovely Sunday.  The weather is perfect and so is the company. 

Probiotics

 
A good friend suggested the use of probiotics as a way to continue to enhance Dads health at this time, especially with the start of
the new bacteria killing medication.  The medication should target the thrush in his mouth and will last for 10 days - hopefully one round will do it!  Well, with all of the "required" Ensure drinkings per day, I hate to add another yogurt based drink that toots the probiotic label and plan to get some into him the old fashioned way...with a spoon.  We are already on the right track with cottage cheese which has lactic acid built it...today we will try the miso which I had picked up last week at good old Roots Market.  From the above link I will be checking to see what, if anything else, I can add.  Jamie Lee Curtis may get me to buy some Activia afterall...

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Trader Joe's

Today provided me with the opportunity to go to another one of my favorite specialty food stores, Trader Joe's. For dinner we are having the delicious soup; it is vegan, gluten free AND has turmeric in it.  What is not to like??? 

It has been a nice fall day.  We still have lots of produce on the vine and are taking it easy this evening.  Not to be cliché, but, life is good.  Because really, what is the alternative?  No life is no good.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Leftovers

What do you do with leftover mashed potatoes?? Make potato cakes, of course!  This was Dad's concoction.  The bottom one is mine and delish!  Flavorful.  He is having his, the top right one, with a side of refried beans and cottage cheese.  I am proud of him and the way he is striving for his health!  He even planted me some mums out front this afternoon.  TGIF.

Bring On The Fat!

Have you ever played that game Have You Ever?  Well, up until today I had never scoured the grocery store ice cream aisle in search of the most fattening option.  Never say never is such a good and true catch phrase.  My only wish is that Haagen-Dazs made a Neapolitan flavor...o well.  He had a portion of this as his middle of the day dessert.  I said "that little container" is all his. 

My next plan is to whisk up some of his new Ensures with some added fats this weekend...olive oil, etc.

OMG New Flavor!

So, apparently I am becoming all too excited about things like: new Ensure flavors.  I found myself in the aisle where they keep such things, an aisle I frequent and which I am the only 30 year old in sight.  I verbally got excited about the new flavor selection causing quite a stir with the elders:)  Butter Pecan and Coffee Latte sound better to me than the usual Vanilla, Chocolate, or Strawberry.  I must confess that the Strawberry flavor when trapped in the car with it makes me nauseous!

Today we completed week 4 - 2 more to go.  The sores in the mouth and throat are present, but Dad is a trooper.  He is currently fighting off a second infection in the mouth and we start new medication for that tomorrow.  He had a nice talking to today by someone other than myself to persuade him to listen to me and get more nutrition in his body.  Hoping these new flavors will help...at least purchasing them helped me.

Happy Trails!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Vanilla Pudding

Finding anything new and exciting is just not working these days...but, Dad did say the pudding was good, then ok. It was made fresh today for him and I did sneak in protein shake powder.  As I mentioned before taste is being effected and eating anything at all proving more difficult. Weight loss is still an issue and continuous week by week.  Thank God that tomorrow concludes week 4 of radiation!!! Then 2 more weeks to go.  I am ready.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Sweet Tooth

I know that I have mentioned that Dad is a meat and potatoes man, but he also has a serious sweet tooth!  I was picking up some supplies today when at the end of the aisle these babies caught my eye...see the key word?  Soft!  I opened them up right when I got home for the first taste.  They are great and hold true to their word.  They remind me of the harder lemon cookies we used to have in the house when I was small.  We ALWAYS had something sweet in the house.  Anyway, even though we are doing the tube feeding, I want there to be a few tasty treats for nibbling on just for nibbling sake.  His throat will hopefully continue to permit eating some though finding anything that tastes good is becoming difficult!  He is bored with the pantry today...hoping tomorrow will provide inspiration!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Osmolite 1.5

 

 
 
                                    https://www.healthykin.com/p-4560-osmolite-15-cal.aspx

Nothing says complete nutrition like a can in the belly!  The progression of treatment has forced our hand and as hard as I have tried to provide complete nutrition without the feeding tube, it is there that we must return.  Dad can eat food orally to a certain extent, but the soreness in the mouth and the weight loss is trumping that as the only way. 

Thankfully we were outfitted with  everything that we need right here at home to supplement the old fashioned way of eating or lack there of.  So tonight, as in many recent nights, we will add a can to the evening regime in hopes of a benefit.  It is actually really great stuff and we are happy to have only the best, with a side of Jello. 

There will be spaghetti, too!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Warm Blueberry Muffin straight from the Oven

Sunday morning and I am up before anyone in the house.  I am typically a first riser all week so even on the weekend it is peaceful.  I decided to make blueberry muffins as a treat for my darling Molli Jo and thinking perhaps they can bring enjoyment to my favorite old man.  He has his now, fresh from the oven with his coffee. We are the only ones up now. He still has no taste although I assure you that it tastes bread-like with a hint of sweetness as a muffin should.  He plans to follow this up with some Rice Crispies soaked in milk. 
 
 
It is hard to believe that tomorrow begins week 4 of radiation.  I will think of it as all downhill from here in a good way.  

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Egg Drop Soup

It is take out time again.  I chose Egg Drop Soup because I thought it definitely meets the soft requirement and with his love of eggs - it will surely be a hit!  He ate it.  It took some getting used to and with a dash of Onion Powder he deemed it edible.  As I had mentioned his taste is going, I always taste his food first in hopes that a dish will be more than edible.  O well - I guess we have to take what we can get. 
 
We had a nice day.  His energy remains which is a great source of comfort to him despite the other side effects that are a bother.  We are very fortunate in comparison to so many others, and that thought will take us into tomorrow.

Friday, September 18, 2015

If...

If I had a dollar for every time Dad has said "hot dog with onions and mustard" I would have a wad of cash!  I have refused to eat this "food" for him while he watches me and if I could make it possible for him to not see a 7-11 when we pass one I would.  I feel for the guy, I really do.  Tonight I am going to break down and buy hot dogs from the store, boil and peel one for him to mash.  We have some baked beans to serve with it - so pork (sort of) and beans is the main dish here.  

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Onion Powder

I think it is safe to say that taste has been effected by the radiation.  Often when he is eating something as of late it is either spicy (when it isn't) or has no flavor (when it does).  Today he made a can of soup, one that he keeps in his pantry for the kids, Chicken and Stars.  Being the chef that he is he added his own spice, onion powder, and he used a fair amount.  Hey, if that is what it takes to enjoy something - thank God for spices!
 
Tomorrow will be the best TGIF I have had in a looooooong time.  Week 3 will be completed and we will be halfway through this time in our lives.  Typically I don't want weeks to fly by, but it is tempting to feel that way right now.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

1 more egg...

Dad is on an egg kick.  He makes dipping eggs and has them with a piece of soft italian bread.  Eggs are soft and nutritious...and this afternoon he  made two.  Then, he says "one more egg."  He is frying the third one up as I type.  Three eggs ought to do him some good!  He has already had two protein drinks today and will have at least one more before the day is through.
 
Today is a good day. As Dad used to say, "Everyday is a good day." Meaning if you are alive, then that is something.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Lunch date

 
After radiation today we went back to Pikesville in hopes of getting some more goods from the Knish Shop.  Finding them closed, we went to a diner that I had hoped to show Dad one day.  It has Elvis statues and various other performers that make it a cool place.  The food is pretty good too.  The staff was super friendly and we were the only customers at 11am.  Dad had their freshly made split pea soup and I had their cream of crab.  We ordered chicken noodle to go and they even picked out all the large pieces  for us.  Needless to say we got to know the people there and they us.  There were encouraging stories told about brain surgery, throat cancer, temporary feeding tubes and the like.  ALL had happy endings as they assured us that ours would be.  Nice place.  It was even nicer to be on a date with my dad like old times.  He picked up the tab as usual:)
 
We are in the midst of week 3 and there are some things happening that could be called side effects.  Mostly taste and inside of the mouth and throat related.  Hoping for minimal discomfort for him, I wish that I could do more.  I will just keep on doing what I can.
 
 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Lavender

I am dabbling in essential oils as of late.  I am starting with Lemon for Renewal (for me), Eucalyptus for Exhilarating and Lavender for Calming and the following...


Lavender is an herb. The flower and the oil of lavender are used to make medicine.

Lavender is used for restlessness, insomnia, nervousness, and depression. It is also used for a variety of digestive complaints including meteorism (abdominal swelling from gas in the intestinal or peritoneal cavity), loss of appetite, vomiting, nausea, intestinal gas (flatulence), and upset stomach.

Some people use lavender for painful conditions including migraineheadaches, toothaches, sprains, nerve pain, sores, and joint pain. It is also used for acne and cancer, and to promote menstruation.

Lavender is applied to the skin for hair loss (alopecia areata) and pain, and to repel mosquitoes and other insects.

Some people add lavender to bathwater to treat circulation disorders and improve mental well being.

By inhalation, lavender is used as aromatherapy for insomnia, pain, and agitation related to dementia.

I put a drop and a half on Dads palm this evening after the normal nightly regimens of medicines and tube feeding/flushing and had him rub his hands together.  The smell in wonderful and I am hoping that it will produce some of the healing that is promotes.

Chia Pod

I missed yesterday so two posts for today...the Punjab Eggplant was a bit too spicy for the old man.  I am enjoying it with white rice - yum!  However, he finished off his lunch with the above item.  This he found much more to his liking and being that it is made with coconut milk it has 10g of fat and the chia adds 5g of dietary fiber.  Not bad for a secondary offering.  It is always good to have back up. This he said he would eat again and I can purchase a few different varieties of the product from Roots Market, one of my favorite places.

http://thechiaco.com/product/podvbac06ozcp

Punjab Eggplant with Quinoa Polenta

We are branching out yet again to another cultures cuisine.  In my spare time I think of soft foods I have had through the years and my mind rested upon an Indian carrot dish.  A friend of a friend ran an Indian restaurant in Frederick, MD and when I told her how I love the carrot dish and that normally I don't even like carrots she shared how it is made.  It takes HOURS and needs constant supervision, thus I choose another dish to make.  One day I may get the dish take-out for Dad to try, but that day will have to be put off for now.

So, I purchased the ingredients to make Punjab Eggplant, Jodhpur Lentils, and Aloo Palak instead.  I am making the first for lunch today.  It is roasted eggplant simmered in a tomato based sauce.  Dad has grown eggplant for me in the past and the only way he liked it is if I simmered it in a tomato curry base.  He and I are the only curry lovers in the house and eventhough this dish isn't exactly curry, it has cumin, ginger and turmeric which are sure to provide immense flavor.  We are all about big flavor these days as his taste buds may be effected by the radiation.  In fact this week and the next will be very telling as far as side effects go...we are hoping for the best as usual though are prepared for the worst.

He continues to be an excellent patient and trusts me with his care...perhaps that is why he is willing to eat all of these strange dishes!

Today is about as beautiful a fall day as Maryland has to offer. 

FYI:Turmeric is a plant. You probably know turmeric as the main spice in curry. It has a warm, bitter taste and is frequently used to flavor or color curry powders, mustards, butters, and cheeses. But the root of turmeric is also used widely to make medicine.

Turmeric is used for arthritis, heartburn (dyspepsia), stomach pain, diarrhea, intestinal gas, stomachbloating, loss of appetite, jaundice, liver problems and gallbladder disorders.

It is also used for headaches, bronchitis, colds, lung infections, fibromyalgia, leprosy, fever, menstrual problems, and cancer. Other uses include depression, Alzheimer’s disease, water retention, worms, and kidney problems.

Some people apply turmeric to the skin for pain, ringworm, bruising, leech bites, eye infections, and sores inside the mouth!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Fair Food?! 2

 
 
Anyone who really knows me, knows I LOVE the fair.  I don't know if it is a mix of all the people, competition or just the way the community comes together.  The Damascus Community Fair opened today on Patriot Day and Dad and I entered a few things last night.  Yes, we won - but this is about food!  A great perk of this fair is the bake sale.  When we went to check out winnings we had to be first to purchase from the bake sale where items go quickly.  Dad took an interest in the Peanut Butter Pie that someone had made and with its whipped contents it certainly trumped the other cakes, pies, cookies and candy on the table as far as soft goes.  So, I purchased it along with some chocolate fudge and a gooey, nutty, dried fruit treat for myself.  Needless to say ALL of it was delicious!!! 
 
 
It is sweet to have made it through 2 weeks of radiation and what better way to celebrate than with sweets from the fair?  Hoping for sustained stamina moving forward for both of us and I suppose the key word is perseverance.
 
Romans 5:2-4
...we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Knish day!



Today was the day to stop in Historic Pikesville, MD for a knish on the way home.  We ordered 2 potato knishes and ate them in the car.  I packed yellow mustard and sodas in a cooler before we left home just in case he was game.  They were great and something different for dad to try.  He could eat the middle out as I suspected and decided that he likes his knish with mustard too.  We of course made friends with everyone in the store and got some challah bread and a few other goodies to go.  I am glad that he got to see another side of Baltimore County.


 Dad is still hanging in there and tomorrow we will be one week closer to moving on with our lives, at least from daily radiation treatments.  This week I was able to witness the famous ringing of the bell by someone who had completed their treatment.  I look forward to the day that dad can ring it and when no one was looking I inspected the bell more closely.  I wanted to make sure that it could handle a VERY, VERY good shake. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Corn Pudding

IF anyone HAS to get cancer, I would wish that they would receive the kind of love and care that we have.  Before undergoing surgery we were given a cookbook by our nutritionist which I began to cook through while we awaited our approaching surgery date.   One of the recipes that was a hit then was corn pudding.  It is super easy with only a few ingredients.  Best of all it is pretty soft and fluffy...think soufflé!
 
Dad is doing as well as can be expected, better even in some peoples opinion.  We are halfway through week 2 out of 6 weeks of radiation.  He seems to be tolerating his situation and still enjoying life everyday.  I wish that we were all as fortunate! 
 
UPDATED: Upon removal of the dish from the oven and a tasting by yours truly, I try to taste everything as though I too were on the soft food diet, I found the whole kernel still retained its shape and crunch.  Don't get me wrong, it is yummy, but I am hoping when he is ready to eat it the kernels will have softened a bit.  Otherwise I suppose swallowing a few corn kernels won't be the end of the world...

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Yams!




MAPLE CANDIED YAMS
 
1 stick butter
4 or 5 large fresh yams or sweet potatoes
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon OR 1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp. freshly grated ginger root
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 to 2 1/2 cups mini marshmallows (optional)...a definite for Nurse Tiffany, maybe on only 1/2 of the dish
Preheat oven to 400°F. Peel yams or sweet potatoes (either may be used). Cut into 1 inch cubes or wedges.Butter a 9x13-inch baking dish generously.Arrange yams in baking dish.In a saucepan, melt butter, and stir sugar until dissolved over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup water and spices.Bring to a boil, add maple syrup; reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes. Pour butter mixture over the yams, turning them over to coat well. Cover the yams tightly with aluminum foil and bake on center rack in oven, basting the potatoes with the butter syrup once or twice during the baking for about 45 minutes or until fork tender.When the potatoes are done, remove foil. Bake on the upper third of the oven at 475°F until the syrup has thickened and the potatoes are just beginning to caramelize (about 20 minutes - but watch carefully and do not allow them to burn; if they are browning too quickly reduce oven temperature).
Cooks Note: If adding mini-marshmallows, spread them evenly over the top of the potatoes at this time, and broil for 5-10 minutes or until lightly browned.
Baste with additional butter before serving.Variation: Use honey or Karo syrup instead of the maple syrup; add 1/4 cup frozen orange concentrate. Omit cinnamon; use vanilla. 
Submitted by: CM
 
Bloggers note:
 
I always enjoy the marshmallow sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving...in fact I eat them last because they are like a dessert.  I wanted to make a slightly different version for dad - thank you cooks.com, again - that uses the whole yam vs. a can.  One of the side effects of radiation is the altering of the taste buds, potentially causing a metallic type of taste, therefore my desire to avoid canned products.  I am hoping these turn out to be a soft, tasty and nutritious meal and maybe even help us to look forward to November when radiation and cancer will be behind us... I just mixed up some Lemon Jello to have today as well!  I think that I am going to start mixing up flavors of Jello for variety.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Oatmeal with a touch of class...

We have tried oatmeal before.  I thought that it would be an easy winner.  Unfortunately I have figured out that I was making oatmeal as I enjoy it and that was not well received.  It was deemed "too sweet" and "too thick".  MMMMM...sounds perfect to me.
 
Today I made oatmeal again, but much more soupy like.  I added some freshly peeled nectarine cut into tiny pieces and milk.  This time it was well received!  When asked if he would eat it again this way, he said, "O yea."
 
Good enough for me.  Happy Labor Day! 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Matzo Ball Soup

 
 
Throughout my adulthood I have had a growing taste for Jewish cuisine.  I love it when Passover brings more things to my attention at the grocery store.  I am still determined to stop in Pikeville on the way home from treatment one day soon with dad to get a knish from one of the many delicatessens available. With the soft insides I think he could enjoy one.  I must have mine with a bit of yellow mustard.
 
Thus the Matzo ball soup...I am planning to make it for dinner tonight.  Dad has been doing a great job of snacking/fixing food for himself throughout the weekend, but I would like to cook for everyone tonight as we are all here on this Sunday evening.  I have wanting to make this dish and have had the ingredients for sometime.  There is no time like the present...

Friday, September 4, 2015

Peanut Butter straight from the jar...

No, I am not that desperate for peanut butter straight from the jar to be dads next meal though I found that was just what he was having as a side during his lunch this afternoon.  I was pleased to see it because 1. it is an excellent choice and 2. I know he is trying to take some responsibility for his care.  He sees me trying so hard daily to entice his palate and get as much nutrition in him as possible, so much so, that today he said he would support me if I went on strike!  I thought that was a cute sentiment, but I am far from being ready to "throw in the towel."  Today we finished week 1 of treatment and are looking forward to a nice weekend.  Dad's big plan is to fry up 2 lbs of bacon and suck on it!  Everybody has dreams.

I won't be planning any major cooking this weekend as his fridge is currently full of the leftovers from this weeks attempts.  His favorite so far was last nights tuna casserole.  He said it was a "keeper." 

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday as we gear up for week 2...if I don't post in the next couple of days, just know he always has bacon grease and an Ensure to wash it down with!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Creamy Tuna Casserole

Tonight we will be dining on a creamy tuna noodle casserole.  I am going to make it extra creamy by adding additional cream cheese.  If cut up very fine this should provide nutritional sustenance for all!  Dad is having a good day, Day 4 of treatment is over and we are going to get him a haircut!  Tomorrow we can celebrate 1 week down for Radiation!     

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Oven "Fried" Green Tomatoes

deliciousliving.com/naturalkitchen

Last night we attempted a new way to make fried green tomatoes.  They were not fried at all...we saw the recipe above in a magazine as we were awaiting treatment and decided it was worth a try.  Last night we picked 2 nice sized green tomatoes from the vine of the Big Zac variety.  There was enough to try the oven baked in butter and fry some in the skillet for comparison...I prefer fried with a bit of flour until crispy.  As you know by now crispy for a certain someone is not feasible right now thus the new method.  He liked them!  Let's face it, butter makes all things taste good, but the tomatoes came out soft which is just what is needed at this time.  We will be trying this again, perhaps everyday until the green tomatoes are no more for the season.

 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

What kind of meat is this?

Ok.  So, I said it was meat.  It is a form of "meat"for many vegetarians.  My dad was referring to the savory tofu that I purchased this morning from Roots.  It was especially good with the Tahini sauce that came on the side of my falafel.  It is nice to find something different and flavorful.  He also enjoyed the vegetarian split pea soup and though he said he will finish it, it apparently was not as big a hit as I had hoped.  I thought it was perfect!  All in all a nice lunch was had after day two of radiation.  As my dad says, and I quote, "It's all good.  Very good."

Roots

http://rootsmkt.com
Back to school for us means driving past Roots Market everyday.  I love a specialty food store and it is safe to say that I LOVE this place.  I picked up a number of items after the morning commute today including, but not limited to, savory tofu, lentil soup, falafel (for me), and calendula spray for my dads skin during radiation treatment.  I am hoping that he will enjoy some of the items purchased with him in mind and if so there will be pics to follow!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Sweet Corn

To celebrate the first day of radiation success (in under 15 minutes), we are having Sweet Corn Soup topped with lump crab meat!  The soup is silky and smooth and the crab on top adds some texture.  If you were to ask the soft food diet expert, aka my dad, he would say the crab is too much.  The soup alone is perfect however and will be served again...

Today at weigh in we learned that a 4 ounce gain was made.  I will take this as success because it was not a loss...though we will aim for more gain at next weeks weigh in!

Wishing you all a Happy Monday as we mark the 1 month to the day anniversary of surgery.  Boy am I looking forward to more and more milestones.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Pumpkin Pie

Another blog had mentioned pumpkin pie as a good soft food diet item.  It is rich in vitamins and soft!  He says it was "delicious."  Tomorrow is a big day (Day 1 of radiation out of 30) and hope we fair well all week...

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Manwich

 
 
My dad has always been, and probably always will be, a meat and potatoes man.  I grew up this way as well with lots of fresh fruits and homegrown veggies on the side.  These days I barely touch meat and truly see no need for it - but why deprive the old fella in his later years?  Today I am thawing some venison burger to be made into Sloppy Joe's.  If I keep the meat fine enough I am hoping he can enjoy the taste over white bread.  I want his healing process to be a joy even if it only comes at mealtime.  It is a joy for me to have him home and be able to serve him.  I know he would do the same for me...

Friday, August 28, 2015

Tilapia, It's What's For Dinner

Tonight I picked up a fresh fillet from the Safeway seafood dept.  (I have mentioned this grocery chain so often I feel like they should be paying me!)  Dad had said that he was in the mood for fish.  I researched and fish is a perfect soft food diet option.  It is low in fat and rich in so many other ways.  I pan sautéed the fish in EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) and per his request lightly floured with Wondra.  I also added to one side a seafood spice mix that we keep on hand when having crabs.  It turned out perfect!  It was fluffy and tender and the man cleared his plate!  I also added a side of sautéed spinach, pulsed for a moment in the Bullet, of course.  His dessert was vanilla pudding made from whole milk with vanilla wafers in it. 
 
 
It has been a great day overall and lovely to end with a satisfying meal.  

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Potatoes for Paw (named by Molli jo)

Dad has been hungry for scalloped potatoes.  Thankfully I have a budding chef to help me out.  Molli Jo prepared the dish and it sits ready to go in the oven!  This afternoon was nice. Grandpa treated the girls and I to a trip to Jimmie Cone!  I was so happy to sit across from him as he ate that vanilla cone.  It really is the simple things in life...I have never appreciated all the cooking, cleaning and laundry that I have been doing as much as this week.  I know that life will get faster as school and radiation starts on Monday, but I hope to continue to enjoy the small things.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Mass Gainer (GNC)

I like the sound of the product: Mass Gainer.  Because, after all, isn't that what I am trying to do?  I want my dad to gain weight, aka. mass and I found two products at GNC today to help with just that.  I never expected to become a member of that organization, but things change.  I compared Muscle Milk, Monster Milk and every other product in the store to the Ensure Plus that we already have.  Not much has higher calories, carbs and protein - with the exception of the
products that I did purchase.  The Mass Gainer Complex will be had in the morning....I opted for the double chocolate flavor and the Bulk 1340 (vanilla) will be in the evening.  We will start tonight and see at our next weigh in on Monday.  If we maintain, I will be happy with that!

UPDATE: after day 1 of this product I have learned that it is not realistic to even eat the serving size of these products...I am halving the recipe and even that is packing on the calories.  He is full.  He is complying.  He is a rock star.  The vanilla Bulk 1340 was made with whole milk and was very creamy after a round in the Bullet.  The scoop size is absurd!  Just heavy.  The double chocolate Mass Gainer is sweet, sweet, sweet and was mixed with water to make it more thin and therefore drinkable in the a.m.  Weigh in info to follow after just 5 days of product use!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Dinner

Tonights meal consists of Cream of Mushroom soup, zapped for a bit in the Bullet with a hunk of soft bread that I found in Safeways bakery.  The bread is called Bolillo rolls and cost 1.99 for 6.  It doubled as the family dinner upstairs (Meatball subs...SHHHH, Dad doesn't know that) and then we had extras for him to dip in his soup.  A nice find.  The old fella is happy.  Prior to the soup and bread he had 2 Vienna sausages.  Talk about soft meat!  He says he is "eating like a hog and can't gain weight."  It is true that he is down 9 lbs from his pre-surgery weight.  We will be taking a special outing to GNC tomorrow in search of Muscle Milk (sure to be in the next post). Bon Apetit!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Cream of...

I have learned that soups such as, Cream of Celery, etc. NEED a go in the Magic Bullet before consumption in its original form.  They have pretty hard, inedible chunks within.  Some made with milk can be a nice meal with a piece of butter bread to dip in.  But I will need to look for smoother versions than what Campbell's has to offer or else to the Bullet it must go!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Cushaw

Having won the first place blue ribbon this year in the Montgomery County, MD Fair was such a blessing!  Now it is time to cook it up!  Grandma Hettie used to slice the neck into a disk like shape and bake it in the oven...I feel that I have tried that in the past, but this year am going with a recipe I found on cooks.com.
CUSHAW 

1 med. cushaw
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 c. butter
Peel cushaw. Using only the tenderest pieces, dice and cook covered in boiling water until tender. Drain well. Return to pot and add remaining ingredients in order listed. Cover and keep warm until serving time. This can also be baked in a casserole in which case the cushaw should be boiled until just barely tender. Serves 6 to 8.
Wish me luck...hoping the old man can enjoy it!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Weekend Crock Pot

Saturday begins the prep for a Sunday crock pot!  Dad is the master of venison stews and he is hoping to make one that he can enjoy...and I'm sure he will try!  Under the guise of him teaching me how, we will make it together.  The crock pot is out and so are our ingredients.  We will use 2 different cuts of venison donated by a friend, one is a roast and the other is a steak.  We will use 2 small zucchini, the last from our summer garden, peeled and chopped.  I am thinking that these will be a wise addition because they should get very soft.  Soft is of the utmost importance here...
Also, adding baby carrots and some cut up baking potatoes.  I peeled and dad cut...he says that I don't waste much and that Wendell would love me. All food is on hand so a trip to the store was not necessary.  Beef broth will be used to create the juice that is essential.  Happy weekend cooking to all...you know what we will be having here in Damascus, MD!


Friday, August 21, 2015

FINDS


  • actual finds from the grocery store that warrant credit...they have been restocked and asked for on a repetitive basis, refried beans is a front runner...who knew??


     = required

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Low key day

Today is a foggy Maryland morning...
 
I picked up some Rice Crispies and have them soaking/drowning in milk. They will no longer be "talking" in their snap, crackle, pop language. I cut a ripe banana into tiny pieces and mixed it in. He wants to eat like everyone else...

the bananas were still too much, so after picking them out the cereal was a nice treat!

Midday meal: Ensure

Special outing to the Damascus Farmers Market...Dad found some soft cookies from his favorite baker, CC.  We picked up some nectarines and squash...what is touching is that the squash he will make for me.


Dinner was spaghetti and meatballs. I used extra wide egg noodles hoping that they would be tender enough...I simmered the meatballs (special ordered from Omaha Steak) in sauce until soft.  I was able to cut them up small so that he could enjoy the entire meal.  We shall see what tomorrow brings...

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Fair food?!




On the search for soft food diet options that do not melt at the fair is quite a task...what can be done for the junk food craving??  Well...purchased items include a deep-fried Twinkie and empanadas...Thinking I may be making empanada soup tonight...

UPDATE: not so successful. Fair food does not make the soft food diet list of options.
 

Humpday Lunch

Lunch on a Wednesday:
 
As we await visits from various healthcare professionals...I have steamed some fresh broccoli. In my opinion it is still too chewy for a soft food diet.  The fella was hankering for some good ole mac-n-cheese so while that is making on the stove I have come up with a plan...why not puree the broccoli with some cheesy mac-n-cheese and milk for a new soup??  Well, I did not end up going with the soup option because the mac-n-cheese turned out soft enough on its own, I did however mix in a bowl with pureed broccoli.
+ = an edible creation
 
He preferred the plain mac-n-cheese since it was soft enough...but I got him to eat some with the broccoli.  I will be happy, however,  to eat the new creation for my lunch! All served with a side of apple sauce...fruits and veggies are the way...



Breakfast fit for The King

Todays culinary delight started with a green smoothie...made with frozen banana and spinach.  He is not crazy about this sort of food, but it gets the greens in!  It was followed by a scrambled egg, baked potatoe (practically minced, of course) with butter and cottage cheese, all eaten outside on this lovely summer day. 
 
Thank you all for your comments and additional ideas for a meal...keep them coming!