Tuesday, November 30, 2010

As previously mentioned

I mentioned in my last post that I might be out of town for a while. Well, I was. On the Tuesday of the week before Thanksgiving my dad found out that my grandma, his mom, had a stroke in the night. Her left side was completely paralyzed. On Wednesday it was determined that it was massive and she would not recover. She was moved into hospice. Dad left on Wednesday to go see her in Colorado. On Thursday dad called to say that the doctor told him she would be gone in one, two days at the most. So Friday morning mom and I headed out to Colorado. She was more or less unresponsive by the time I got there and was completely blind so she just kept her eyes closed. She was unable to talk (a combination of the stroke and lack of energy). She just kind of...laid there.

Let me just say, I never want to go through that again. You never want to see someone in that condition.

Particularly hard on my dad was having to make the decision to not feed her or give her IV fluids. He felt like by doing that, she would die of thirst and that can't be comfortable. What the people in hospice told us is that when people start the dying process they no longer require food and water the way others do because their body cannot process it. So by denying her these things, her body will feed on her fat in amounts that her body can handle, and will put her into a state of mild euphoria. It sounds nice, but I just wonder how they know these things. Because I'm not so sure that's true. And it bothers me.

To add to the stress, she did not last only one or two days, but five. So she went a week without any food or water. Ugh.

I won't go into the other details but suffice it to say it was quite hard to watch.

The night she died she were finishing eating dinner when we got a call from the hospital. They said she's really not doing well and we should come sooner rather than later. So we dropped everything and left. She passed before we made it there some 10 minutes later.

The hospice there was really wonderful, though. When we walked in to see her that night they had a bunch of flameless candles going and some nice music with the lights dimmed. The counselor that was there was with her when she passed. The counselor said she was peaceful, warm, and not alone. I suppose you can't ask for much more than that. Everyone in the hospice was so great. They put her in real night gowns, not hospital gowns. They made sure her oxygen levels were good and that she was comfortable, and when she would moan or grimace they would up the morphine, then started giving her regular doses of something to calm her down when she seemed unable to remain comfortable. When we came in the nurses would always ask if we needed anything and were very responsive when we asked if they could do something to help her (suction her airway, swab her mouth, etc.). And there were some great volunteers - one came in to give massages to anyone who wanted one to help us de-stress. Another group came and sang some of grandma's favorite hymns to her. It was so nice. Anyway, they were a great help during the whole process.

She passed away Tuesday night, November 23 around 6:45 p.m. She was 89. Her memorial was at 10 am Friday, November 26.

I was surprised at how many people came to the service - I thought it was nice. Her neighbors from Boulder even came up. One of them said she talked about me all the time. That was nice.

So anyway, that's what I've been dealing with the last couple of weeks. Given everything I haven't exactly cooked or worked on anything, and since I'm now playing catch-up I can't guarantee that I will soon, either. So I don't know when I'll be posting. Sorry.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

It's not what you think

I know it looks like I abandonded this little blog again. But that's not true.

The truth is that I haven't done much worth blogging about. The only things I've cooked recently are recipes I've already put on here (with the exception of one which I will post when I have some real spare time), and I haven't sewn anything or done any crafting. I've been sick lately, which is partially why. The other part is I've been busy or tired from being busy.

That said, Garrick pointed out that in my Halloween post I failed to mention that I made the dress I'm wearing:

It's from a vintage pattern (1960s??). It didn't turn out exactly like I wanted because the neck band ended up being some 2 inches too big so I ended up having to make a dart in it which, in my opinion, looks rather tacky. But I wasn't about to give up on it because I sewed that neckband some 7 times before I got it "right" only to find out it just...wasn't right. That and the holes aren't exactly the same. I think it would turn out better if I tried making it again, but I don't know that I will.

Anyway, that's my report for now. And due to, well, family things I may be traveling soon and don't know if I'll get a chance to make something worthwhile for a couple more weeks. But I will do my best.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Pancake Muffins with Bacon Buttercream

Intriguing, no? That's what I thought.

When I first saw this recipe I thought "Garrick would love this! Pancakes and bacon?? IN A PORTABLE CONTAINER?!" It's like a McGriddle without the egg and slightly fewer calories. Maybe.

Pancake Muffins with Maple Bacon Buttercream
Yield: 12 cupcakes

Prep Time: 20 minutes | Bake Time: 10 minutes

For the Cupcakes:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1½ cups whole milk
2 eggs
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For the Frosting:
8 ounces (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2½ cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 slices of bacon, cooked, cooled and crumbled

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a standard muffin pan with liners and then spray the liners with non-stick spray (important step!).

2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl; set aside. In a separate medium bowl whisk together the milk and eggs, then stir in the melted and cooled butter. Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk together until just moistened and combined. Like pancakes, lumps are okay! Divide the batter between the muffin cups and bake until puffed and firm to the touch, about 10 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes and then remove cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

3. To make the frosting, use the whisk attachment of a stand mixer to whip the butter on  medium-high speed for about 5 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the powdered sugar a little at a time, waiting until it’s mostly incorporated before adding more. Once all of the powdered sugar has been added, scrape the sides of the bowl and increase the speed to medium-high and whip until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the maple syrup and the vanilla and whip for another minute or so to incorporate. Add the bacon and mix to combine. Using an offset spatula, spread the frosting on the cupcakes. Top with additional crumbled bacon if desired.

I thought they were pretty good, though there was a bit more frosting than I care for but that's ok. Garrick, surprisingly, wasn't all that impressed. I think he thought the frosting was too sweet, which might have been my error because I was only making 1/2 a batch but accidentally put in the full amount of syrup. Oops.

I made Garrick take the last 4 to work to give away. The overall response was "Hmmmm....interesting." I don't know if that's good or bad.

If you're in the mood for something a little different, definitely give this a try.