~~~Anxiety~~~

I have finally found the best way to describe anxiety: It’s like walking a tightrope made eggshells, (up on your tiptoes, cringing all the while), over a dark, roiling sea of panic without a safety net. You feel like you’re skittering dangerously on ice, and no one sees or understands the heart pounding panic seething through you.  It’s all you can do to keep your mask in place and act normal when others are around.  All you can think is: “Please go away I need to be alone my mask is slipping stop talking go away oh god don’t ask me how am”. All the while, you’re feeling the panic ramp up another notch, and you’re doing your best to keep it contained. 

Anxiety is weird.  Often times, the more you try to calm down, the worse it gets.  You could be having a great day, then get totally broadsided by the freight train that it is without notice.  It just comes out of nowhere.  

Anxiety is cruel.  It makes you worry unnecessarily about even the most inconsequential things to the point that it triggers a panic attack at worst, or keeps you on the edge of tears, off balance, and skittering on that ice again, at the least.  

Anxiety doesn’t care about your plans, your work schedule, get togethers with family and friends, errands, appointments…not one damn bit.   

In fact, it revels in broadsiding you out of nowhere, thereby ruining your day.  It delights in every hour you spend in sick dread, on the verge of tears, feeling weak and vulnerable.  It is the most common form of mental illness, as, in its various forms, it affects around 40 million people age 18 and older. It develops due to complex risk factors, such as genetics, brain chemistry, personality and life events.  Women are twice as likely to suffer from it, and it’s common for anxiety sufferers to develop depression.  Additionally, PTSD and OCD are closely related to anxiety disorders, so can also suffer from those, as well as the depression. 

Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor.  Try the breathing/grounding techniques, get therapy, take the meds. Do what YOU need to get better.  Don’t just do nothing. There’s no one way to treat anxiety disorders, so be your own advocate, and get help-see your doctor.  I cannot stress that enough!

I had my first panic attack about seventeen years ago.  My husband had been in a horrendous wreck, and I’d been caring for him as well as working full time, and three or four days a week, I’d have to race home, get my husband, and go right back to town to get him to his physical therapy appointments.  Everything was on my shoulders.  When he was released to go back to work, it felt like the weight of the world was lifted from me.  So much so, that I fell apart.  

It happened one ordinary Spring evening.  We were done with supper, I was cleaning up the kitchen, my husband was on the phone with a buddy, and our daughter was watching tv. I remember telling my husband I was going to go lie down for a few minutes, as I was just exhausted.  

I lay down on the bed, and immediately  started feeling weird. I could feel my heart pounding, my chest felt tight, and my breathing became erratic.  I sat up, rubbing my chest, thinking, omg, is this a heart attack?  The more I tried to calm myself, the worse it got.  

I jumped out of bed, ran to the front room, told my husband, “I don’t feel right”, and promptly lost all strength and started shaking violently.  My husband and daughter got me into bed, sat with me, and I immediately started feeling better.  I put the incident out if my mind, and life went on. 

After a couple of weeks, I noticed I felt really fidgety, my right eyelid would twitch, and I just felt off.  When I went for my annual, I mentioned it to my doctor.  I went home with a low dose, mild antidepressant.   

I did feel better, no anxiety, no twitching, nothing.  And that was the problem.  I. Felt. Nothing. I didn’t care about anything.  You could have told me the world was going to blow up in ten minutes, and I would have just shrugged.   I took meds for a year, and spent that year learning the signals that my anxiety was ramping up and how to calm and distract myself when I felt them coming on.   I describe the way it made me feel then, and still does occasionally, as “the vomity blackness”.   I felt that if I were to fall to my knees and vomit, it would be all this blackness.  

I dealt with it pretty well over the next few years, using techniques I learned during the year I took the meds; deep, slow breathing, grounding, distraction with something requiring focus, writing…and, for the most part, I had few episodes.   

That all changed in 2008, when I came home to the front door kicked in.  Fortunately, they only took my husband’s pain meds and an old .22 revolver from the 50’s that was my dad’s.    

This set off a new round of anxiety, which, after about six months or so, developed into a fear of leaving the house.  It’s something I still deal with, not as much this past year, but I know that if I get over tired, I’ll have an episode.  

It was really bad for a while. I would  generally use up all my PTO within the first few months of the year.  I would be ready to leave, had my coat on, purse, lunch, totebag, truck running…and there I’d be, standing in the kitchen, tears streaming, feeling shaky and sick…as soon as I made the decision to stay home, it would be like a huge stone being lifted off my shoulders, and I would feel better immediately.  Other times I’ve left for work, late, my pace getting slower and slower, until, about a mile from work, I’d turn around and go back home.  

For me, meds are off the table.  I don’t like the mindlessness of them.  I deal pretty well with my anxiety these days, though I still don’t like leaving home, and sometimes social situations, even with people I know and love, flip me out, and I stay home.  In the crazy world we live in, home often feels like the only safe place.  

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A Quick Note About My Blog & Recipes…

I started this blog with the intent to express how I, personally, saw life.  I started noticing though, that more and more of my creative writing was ending up getting posted and then a lot of cooking posts.  In an attempt to bring some order back, I’ve started a second blog, and I’ll be moving the recipes posted here, along with all future cooking posts, to their new home over there, but for now, they’re still here. 

As for the new cooking blog, it’s not going to be fancy.  I’m not a chef, I’m just a woman who loves to cook, here in my simple kitchen, preparing food with love and efficiency, getting the most out of my food dollars, and I’m willing to bet, many of you are, too.  Check it out here: https://thesavorytoothedcooker.wordpress.com/ 

Till next time, friends!!!  

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Hard Water?  Vinegar!

Just a quick post today.  

Anyone that knows me knows that I don’t have any problem recommending products that I find very useful and that work good, are relatively inexpensive and also aren’t harsh on people, the environment or animals. 

Many people live in areas where they have hard water, and it builds up that nasty, icky limescale around your faucets and other fixtures. The best way to combat this, I’ve found, is to use a product from Heinz called vinegar.  Now the last few years I’ve been using one of their products called “all natural cleaning vinegar-special cleaning strength “.  It’s some pretty awesome stuff. I use it often in the laundry with the soap, (in addition to washing soda), because, as you know, when you have hard water,  as you know the clothes don’t get as clean, because your laundry soap doesn’t work as well. 


It has an acidity of 6%, so, anything you use already use regular vinegar to clean with, this is like super duty, so adjust accordingly.  

I’ve also discovered that it works absolute wonders in your dishwasher. Whenever I hear the dishwasher tab drop in, I add about a half a cup of this cleaning strength vinegar. I also use it in the rinse dispenser instead of buying those expensive rinses. What I pay for a gallon of the vinegar, is about the same amount as a small bottle of the rinse agent.

You can also put it in a spray bottle and, holding paper towels flat against the glass, spray the paper towels well, adhering them onto the shower doors. Let sit a few minutes, and then use the paper towels to just wipe away any hard water residue. The paper towels hold the vinegar in place long enough to dissolve the lime scale so all you do is wipe the residue away,  rinse and wipe dry, and your shower doors look brand-new.  

That’s all for today!

Till next time, friends!

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Sunday Beef Stroganoff

I found a super easy Beef Stroganoff recipe at the Betty Crocker website. Minimal prep and soooo delicious.  Of course, my usual tinkerings with a recipe are in abound here.

I start by chopping about 1/2 sweet onion together with several cloves of garlic and a small can of mushrooms, and then sautéing them in about 1C of water and 1T butter, until the onions are translucent.

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I then remove them from the pot and set aside.  In the same pot, I brown 1lb. lean ground beef, draining off any grease.  The recipe calls for thinly sliced sirloin steak, but it can often be tough. Using ground beef cuts prep time and cook time.

KitchenTip: Using two or three wadded up paper towels and rolling them around in the drained and slightly cooled ground beef will remove even more grease/fat.

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Next, I whisk 1/4C flour into a 1/2C beef broth, then mix it, plus another 1C beef broth, 3t Worcestershire sauce and the onion/mushroom mixture, and add all to the browned ground beef.

Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and boil about a minute. Stir in about 1 1/2C. sour cream.

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Now, the recipe and tradition calls for the beef mixture to be served over hot egg noodles.  We find it just as delicious all mixed together as a one pot meal.

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Serve with a salad and buttered bread or rolls.  Enjoy!!!

Till next time, friends!!!

Original recipe can be found at: http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/classic-beef-stroganoff/c17a904f-a8f6-48ae-bedb-5b301a8ea317%23!

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Sunday (BBQ) Chicken…Wings

Oh the Stupor Bowl.  Yes, it’s fixing to come on, and I, for one, couldn’t care less.  I’m not a sports fan. So, tonight, while the hubs is watching “the big game”, I’ll be watching the season finale of Vikings on my phone.  Yes, phone.  I’m too damn tired to power up the laptop, and do all the antivirus and software updates.

We’re just finishing dinner, Sunday Chicken in BBQ wing form.  Accompanied by a lovely chopped salad, Sunflower Crunch, from Dole and a nice 2016 Celebration Fresh Hop IPA, ’twas perfect game night fare.

I started by breading, in flour seasoned with salt and pepper, the wings, then fry them up.

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Then I layer them in a bowl with the BBQ sauce, (Sweet Baby Ray’s), and gently toss to coat.

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Then, I turn them out into a foiled lined, oiled baking sheet, and bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit, about 10-15 minutes.

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The bones can be tossed onto the foil, wrapped up and tossed when you’re finished eating.  I’ll reserve the cracklings in the frying pan, along with a tablespoon or two of the oil for future use in making chicken pan gravy.

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Enjoy!!!

Till next time, folks…have a lovely evening, and a wonderful week!!!

 

 

 

 

 

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Sunday Chicken Dinner

I’ve been working a lot over overtime over the last couple months, so both the blog and my menus have suffered.  We’ve struggled through many “I don’t feel like cooking a damn thing” nights, and a couple weekends when I worked, this one included, have necessitated cooking meals in advance, in bulk, and freezing leftovers for another meal, plus an individual lunch or two, and what I’m cooking today is perfect for three meals, one tonight, two to freeze, and three individual servings for lunch.

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Today, I’m making a recipe from “Homestead Kitchen” by Eve and Eivan Kilcher, called Chicken Barley Soup. It’s a recipe I’ve made before, however, their recipe doesn’t call for chicken meat, only broth, so I added meat to it and extra barley.  It is a delicious, nutritious, hearty and comforting meal on a cold late January evening

I’m using meat from half a chicken plus the stock and the carrots, garlic, onion and celery from making the stock.  Since the vegetables are from making the stock itself, I slice them up before I freeze them in a bit of broth.  Instead of having to sauté them, I can add the remaining ingrdients, allowing me to have the soup done in record time.

So, after defrosting the stock, meat and veggies, I put them all into a 5.5 quart French Oven along with the required grated apple, and heat over medium-low flame.IMG_6006.JPG

The recipe also calls for a bit of vinegar, but I use this, as it has a more delicate flavor.  image

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once it boils, I add pearled barley, about a cup or so.  I also add poultry seasoning, sweet paprika and a dash of turmeric, to taste, not called for in the original recipe, plus salt, pepper and parsley, then cover and simmer about 20-30 minutes.

Once the barley is tender, add your chopped kale, and simmer about 5 minutes or so.  The recipe calls for 2 cups, but I use the entire bunch in the soup, with the stalks going to the compost bin

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A nice grating of Parmesan cheese is delicious, but I forgot to get any at the store.  Leftover sour milk biscuits from this morning’s breakfast will compliment this soup nicely.

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It’s actually more of a stew, the way I make it.

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Enjoy!!!

Till next time, friends!!!

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Butter!

This is a must try!!!

Boy~Oh~Boy… I’m getting old. I will now give you a recipe for butter the way your great-grandma made it… Clabbered butter is cream which has gone sour with healthy, natural cultures which are in yogurt, buttermilk or raw milk. Clabbered Butter 4 cups of Heavy Cream (not ultra-pasturized, raw milk cream is preferred) 1/3 cup […]

via Clabbered Butter : Make Butter How Your Great-Grandma Made It — How to

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