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 clichĂ©, 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 soufflĂ©!
 
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!