Most of our obstacles would melt away if, instead of cowering before them, we should make up our minds to walk boldly through them.~ Orison Swett Marden
It has been a long five weeks of recovering from pretty major hip surgery, and being pretty much totally dependent the first two weeks. For anyone who has had to be on crutches for any period of time, you know it is a physically exhausting experience. It takes a toll on your entire body. For someone like me, who does not like to sit still very long, it is especially draining. After two pretty good falls, countless sore muscles, aches and cramps, the fourth week came when I was supposed to magically walk-so I thought! Well, there was nothing magic about it, but it has eventually happened. Not on day 28, but shortly after, my body was so exhausted and taxed from these crutches that I was determined to walk. I woke up one morning and thought to heck with it. Today, I have to walk. I did just that and have been ever since. Now let me be clear, I am moving at a snails pace, but I am ok with that for now.
I have learned a new appreciation for people who have to get up everyday and walk with some sort of assistive device. It is taxing and draining. I also got to see the world from the view of a handicap person. It is interesting how people treat you. I think the most important thing I learned was that I did not want pity, as I am sure no one else does. It was funny because some people stare, some totally ignore you, and some are so over the top nice that is borders on sounding fake. Many times I thought to myself, I wonder if those people are as nice to a seemingly "normal" person? Wouldn't the world be a much happier place if that were the case!
Anyway, I realize this is a food blog so I will try and get on task. First off regarding food, I have not cooked in over five weeks. We have been so well fed by our church family and friends. It has been such a blessing to not worry about what was for dinner. We were so well fed that I now need to return to my reality. Unfortunately my reality does not include macaroni and cheese, lasagna, pie, cake, chicken alfredo, etc...every night!:((((( While we are forever grateful for all the amazing, (and fattening food), I now have a little work to do to shed the seven pounds of kindness that I gained!:)))) It was fun, but in all honesty, I am ready to return to healthier eating. My husband, on the other hand, not so much! He has been in sinful bliss with all these creamy, rich and sweet treats.
We had the opportunity to spend the first part of spring break at the beach with some wonderful friends. It was a fun trip and everyone enjoyed it. I was not able to do much, as I was just starting to walk and I still cannot bend or stoop--hopefully soon! I did not feel like I was much company, but I did get a lot of needed rest and relaxation. My husband attempted to rent me a beach wheelchair so I could enjoy the beautiful weather, but it was not real comfortable. Needless, to say, I did not last long! Below is a picture of my fancy beach wheels. Try not to be too jealous, I know it is a fashion statement!
We are back in Birmingham now, and I am trying to slowly ease back into my life as much as I can. There is still a lot I cannot do, and I get tired really quickly. Physical therapy is progressing well, and I notice a difference everyday in a positive way! Hopefully I will be released to bend over soon so I can quit having to call for help every time I drop something. I wonder if I drop things this often normally? I bet not!
When I woke up this morning I decided tonight was the night to try and cook a light, easy dinner that would get me in and out of the kitchen as quickly as possible. I did just that. It was a healthy and easy meal, but boy was I worn out! I made baked chicken, roasted vegetables, and a side of whole wheat rustic bread for some much needed bread carbs!! It tasted great to have a home cooked meal loaded with healthy vegetables.
First I gathered my veggies and red potatoes to prep them for chopping, seasoning and roasting. Here were the ones I chose:
I love the colors, nutrients and taste of bell peppers. Roasted onion is one of my favorites! The onions become so juicy and sweet--perfecto! I also love roasted celery. It also takes on a very sweet flavor and just tasted so healthy and refreshing. The carrots and red potatoes also add a healthy element and great flavor as well. Below they are all chopped up and seasoned in the pan. I used a simple season of sea salt, extra virgin olive oil and ground pepper.
I baked this dish at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until tender. It was delicious and such a great compliment to the baked chicken!
For the chicken, I just used the parts I wanted, and only enough for those of us eating. I seasoned them again with a simple season of sea salt, fresh ground pepper and olive oil. I used bone in and skin on for more flavor. I did, however, remove the skin before eating since that is where a lot of the fat is.
Here are the seasoned chicken parts ready to go in the oven. I baked them at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until the juices ran clear. I did not season them until right before cooking, and I let them sit out thirty minutes before cooking so they would be closer to room temperature. This allows for more even cooking of the meat. They were moist, tender and full of flavor! Below is a picture of my plate with all the finished products.
Oh yea, on the edge of the plate next to the chicken, that is my one serving of whole wheat bread. Well, if you are wondering if it has a bite out of it, you are right. I could not wait to taste it!:))))) For the bread, I purchased a whole wheat rustic bread loaf from Whole Foods. I only cut three slices, one for each person so we were not able to OD on it. I know us too well, and we would not stop with one if there was more available! I put a little pre-chopped canned garlic bits on top with a small drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a little bit of sea salt. I heated it until it was warm about 5 minutes. It was delicious!
Well, I know this meal was not rocket science, but it was very satisfying, healthy and very good. As I ate, I thought back over the past five weeks, all the struggles, hurdles and joys. The things that I have been struck by the most through this are: 1. You find out who your friends are in a hurry. I now know for sure who I can count on in times of real need, and who is just plain to busy! 2. The number of people who showered me with pity was shocking. I cannot tell you how many times I heard, "poor you!" Those words or any kind of pity almost made me cringe. This may be confounding to you, but not to me. Not to someone who knows to never ask, "How much worse can it be?" Or, "What else can happen"? I have be friendly with enough heartbreak, tragedy and the harsh realities life can deal out. I know not to ask those questions or think those thoughts, because I know the answers. Believe me, I fear them! I know sometimes people just don't know what to say. It is in that case that less is more. If you feel you must say something, stick with what works. "Is there anything I can do for you?" "Please don't hesitate to call if you need anything." Lastly, please, please be ready to back that up if you are going to say it! Ok, I am coming down from the pulpit for now. I promise less talk and more food next time! Please be patient as I am easing back into my kitchen.
Until we talk again, happy eating and happy travels along this sometimes bumpy and sometimes smooth road of life. In closing, I want to leave you with some words form a song I heard on the radio today. I had totally forgotten this song because I have not heard it in years. The song is called The Chain of Love, and the chorus goes like this:
You don't owe me a thing, I've been there too...Someone once helped me out, Just the way I'm helping you. If you really want to pay me back, here's what you do... Don't let the chain of love end with you!
What a great message, and how great our world would be if we all adopted this motto. So, until we meet again friends, don't let the chain of love end with you!