Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Hated Crutches

I'm now six weeks into living with a single foot and life has changed in a very interesting way as a result. I have actually learned quite a bit during my time as a gimp, including how to change my fitness routine to maintain some of my muscle tone, how to properly fuel myself for the long days spent lying around on my back, and that you can somehow irritate your miniscus from inactivity. That's right, I somehow managed to tear my miniscus just from keeping my knee propped up to elevate my foot. I'm pretty sure my body hates me so much right now.

But what I have learned most of all is how to get around while hopping on one foot or with the use of crutches. After using them for the past three weeks, I am utterly convinced that crutches were invented by the devil. I loathe my crutches so much that I cannot think of a way to adequately put my sentiments into words. So, instead, I will sum up in list format what has been my experience living as a gimp with a heavy reliance on those hated crutches for the past three weeks.

1) Dropping the crutches is a constant thing. No matter how carefully or precisely I lean them up against the table, the wall, the vanity, or what have you, the stupid things always slip down and clatter to the ground. It drives us all nuts!

2) They chafe the sides of my ribcage and make the palms of my hands feel as if they are being ripped in two - and this is even with the hot pink support pads that I bought to make moving around on them more comfortable.

3) My arms hurt like I have been deadlifting a rhinoceros after a day of hobbling around on them - making me feel a bit uncomfortable about my own body weight since that's all I've been lifting!

4) I never know what to do with them when in church - do I lay them in the pew? Under the pew? Lean them up against the side (don't do this...they will fall and clatter during the homily causing the entire congregation to turn around and stare at you!).

5) The staccato clicking sounds of the crutches at work loudly proclaim the approach of my pathetic, crippled form and garner more looks of sympathy and compassion from onlookers than I can handle. It's also much worse when I almost trip over one of my own children (or myself) in the process. I thought the constant comments of "You've got your hands full" that I received nonstop before the injury were annoying. Hearing "Good timing on the injury, Mom" more than once during an outing is way worse.

6) Because it takes so much time, effort, and general humiliation to move from place to place, I find myself constantly debating whether the benefits of a given task truly outweighs the effort. Most of the time, it doesn't. Have to go to the bathroom? I can probably hold it for another three hours. Really need a drink of water? I'd rather die of thirst than fetch myself a glass. Really quite bored and want to finish reading the book I started last week but it's lying on the coffee table in the next room? No thanks, I'll just continue staring at the wall instead.

7) This leads me to explaining that carrying items is virtually impossible with crutches. For example, if I want to carry my mug of coffee into the next room, I essentially have to place it on the floor and kick it gently as I go along. Very efficient.

8) Using the bathroom takes 10x more time and I live in fear that the sound of my crutches clattering to the ground (because they almost always fall) will cause Paul and company to come rushing to my aid for fear that I've fallen off the toilet or something. I've already pulled the towel rack out of the wall once during a moment of imbalance.

9) And while we're talking about bathrooms, showering is also interesting. I'm scared to death that I'm going to slip in the soap suds mid hop and break my hip.

10) I should point out that there are some benefit to the crutches. I have successfully stamped out fleeing centipedes and spiders with the rubber bottom of my crutch. Foolproof method to kill household pests - it completely obliterates them.

11) The crutches also serve as a great intimidation factor for both the children and the dog. If they thought an angry Mom was scary before, an angry Mom brandishing a crutch is way more terrifying. The dog is just scared of them period, so anytime I come near on the crutches, he normally keeps his business. Good thing too. I don't need him tripping me and breaking my other foot.

12) The ultimate lesson learned from all this? Get thee a knee scooter. I am now the coolest geriatric on the block with my fully equipped knee scooter with full suspension and off-roading capability.. As an additional plus, I can take Lucy for some pretty speedy rides around the block on it. My favorite feature is the cute little basket in the front which means I can actually carry things from room to room! I helped clear off the table after dinner the other night and felt SO EMPOWERED. If you are laid up like me, screw the crutches and get thee a knee scooter.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Apple Dumplings with Cider Sauce

Life does not stop moving and that is the reason I cling to for being the worst blogger on the face of the planet. First, I broke my foot. Then we discovered that I have a serious pregnancy complication. Next, my husband received a job offer in a city far, far away and after much prayer and discernment we decided to jump at the opportunity. Over the course of a week, we accepted that job offer and listed our home for sale. I've been going crazy packing up boxes, clearing out our home, all while still on crutches and with a growing bump that makes it quite difficult to perform simple tasks like bending over. Oh, and with my pregnancy complication, I'm not allowed to lift over 5 pounds and technically should be resting nonstop. But how can I do that with three little ones while preparing for a move?

Due to all this, my time in the kitchen as been nonexistent. Friends have been gracious and generous enough to bring us home-cooked meals that have greatly alleviated the burden of meal preparation for us, especially since the crutches have made this and other daily tasks ridiculously cumbersome.

However, I do have an amazing dessert alternative to pumpkin pie to share with you today. I actually made this shortly after my injury. In fact, this recipe made me decide that I wanted to spend as little time cooking in the kitchen as possible until my foot completely heals. While this recipe would certainly be fun to prepare with two healthy feet, I was incredibly frustrated with my awkwardness moving about the entire time and declared "Never again shall I cook with crutches!!" to Paul as I angrily moved about. However, again I stress, this recipe is certainly simple and fun to prepare in ideal circumstances. The dough comes together quickly in the food processor and is pretty much fool-proof in my opinion. It folds beautifully over the apple halves and bakes up to a flakey, tasty biscuit-like consistency. Each dumpling perfectly conceals an apple half filled with a delightful mixture of raisins, butter, and brown sugar. The final cooked biscuit is drizzled with tantalizing cider sauce that, while optional, adds quite a bit of flair and additional apple flavor to the humble dumplings so I certainly would not skip it!

I would certainly eat one of these over pumpkin pie!

Apple Dumplings
Recipe from Cook's Country

2½  cups all-purpose flour
3     tablespoons sugar
2     teaspoons baking powder
¾    teaspoon salt
10   tablespoons (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces and chilled
5     tablespoons vegetable shortening, cut into ½-inch pieces and chilled
¾    cup cold buttermilk

Apple Dumplings
6     tablespoons sugar
1     teaspoon ground cinnamon
3     tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3     tablespoons golden raisins, chopped
4     Golden Delicious apples (see note)
2     egg whites, lightly beaten

Process flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in food processor until combined. Scatter butter and shortening over flour mixture and pulse until mixture resembles wet sand. Transfer to bowl. Stir in buttermilk until dough forms. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead briefly until dough is cohesive. Press dough into 8- by 4-inch rectangle. Cut in half, wrap each half tightly in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Combine sugar and cinnamon in small bowl. In second bowl, combine butter, raisins, and 3 tablespoons cinnamon sugar mixture. Peel apples and halve through equator. Remove core using a melon baller and pack butter mixture into each apple half.

On a lightly floured surface, roll each dough half into 12-inch square. Cut each 12-inch square into four 6-inch squares. Working one at a time, lightly brush edges of dough square with egg white and place apple, cut-side up, in center of each square. Gather dough one corner at a time on top of apple, crimping edges to seal. Using paring knife, cut vent hole in top of each dumpling.

Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange dumplings on prepared baking sheet, brush tops with egg white, and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon sugar. Bake until dough is golden brown and juices are bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on baking sheet 10 minutes.

Serve with Cider Sauce (recipe below).


Makes about 1½ cups

To make this sauce up to 2 days in advance, reduce the cider mixture until it measures 1½ cups, then refrigerate. When ready to serve, return mixture to simmer and whisk in butter and lemon juice off heat.

1     cup apple cider
1     cup water
1     cup sugar
½    teaspoon ground cinnamon
2     tablespoons unsalted butter
1     tablespoon lemon juice

Bring cider, water, sugar, and cinnamon to simmer in saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until thickened and reduced to 1½ cups, about 15 minutes. Off heat, whisk in butter and lemon juice. Drizzle over dumplings to serve.