Thursday, January 28, 2010

Davis Family Update

According to recent figuring, the Davis family, as a clan, has been sick for a total of a month.  This means that for a solid month either someone was sick, someone was recovering from being sick, or someone was on the verge of getting sick (even if we didn't realize it).  Here's some highlights from the last month: 
  • Micah (after a false attempt a week earlier involving him throwing up right in front of the restaurant we were leaving) got a wicked stomach flu and threw up eight times over night. 
  • Owen joined him partway through the night. 
  • Jesse joined several days later.  That night Owen ended up at the ER with dehydration. 
  • The next day Val caught a bad cold from sleep deprivation which lasted almost a week. 
  • A few days later Micah got a horrible cold, which involved mild fever, the nebulizer, and a pink eye (it was viral pink eye and involved stress and a missed school day but never turned into anything serious enough for medication). 
  • A few days later, Jesse started and got the same symptoms plus an ear infection.  [Right after that, the boy we babysit for caught it and developed bronchitis, an ear infection, and mild pink eye, poor child caught in the house of contagion.] 
  • Before Jesse fully recovered from the ear infection, I, Val, was up with a terribly sore throat and unable to sleep.  This developed into a kind of laryngitis. 
  • Owen joined a day later. 
  • Val and Owen had three awful days and are finally recovering. 
  • Micah has caught it. 
I am happy to report that the family was vaccinated against all flus this year.  Don't know how we'd survive a round of that next.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Last Night For Dinner

Last night for dinner we had a garlic and onion-free version of an old favorite.  Vegetarian Paella (well, except I threw in a few pieces of leftover frozen turkey meat):

I adapted the recipe (and it's slightly different each time) from one I found on the Whole Foods web site.  The fun part of real seafood paella is the shellfish you get to open while eating.  So I leave chunky vegetable "surprises" in the rice for this one, too.  In the summer you can put half ears of corn in the cob in there.  My winter version was as follows:

If I could stand how they taste and smell right now (I've had to avoid them all of my pregnancies) I'd have first sauted these first two ingredients in olive oil.  And if I wasn't later adding chunks of roasted red pepper I'd have added that, too.  Since I wasn't doing any of these, I started by sauteing uncooked rice with some strands of saffron.  If you don't have saffron, you can substitute by using a little turmeric.  Saute rice for a few minutes on low heat.  Add a can of tomatoes (diced or whole) with juice (or frozen diced tomatoes if you stocked your freezer with seasonal veggies in the fall) and some broth (chicken or vegetarian).  Broth should just cover the rice.  I didn't measure either, just be sure to add more water or broth later if rice seems to be drying out while cooking.  At this point you have a lot of freedom in what to add.  Last night I added soy beans (the last time I used lima beans), green olives, roasted red peppers, shredded zucchini/summer squash (I had that frozen from fall in one cup measurements--I stuck in one cup), and some frozen hunks of leftover Christmas turkey meat (you could easily leave that out, unless you're married to a "every dish must have some meat" guy like I am).  Then I left it on the stove on low heat until the rice was softened but not soggy.  I stirred in frozen peas and orange slices as my last step and let it sit until they warmed.  When I put the paella on our plates (or you can serve all of it on a large shallow bowl and be more authentic) I added some slices of sweet potato (I had baked those in my crockpot during the day) and some slices of avocado.  It serves beautifully.  We had sauted broccoli rabe on the side, which was a great compliment.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Cool Twist on "O Taste and See that the Lord is good"

O Taste and See

Denise Levertov, 1964

The world is
not with us enough
O taste and see
the subway Bible poster said,
meaning The Lord, meaning
if anything all that lives
to the imagination’s tongue,
grief, mercy, language,
tangerine, weather, to
breathe them, bite,
savor, chew, swallow, transform
into our flesh our
deaths, crossing the street, plum, quince,
living in the orchard and being
hungry, and plucking
the fruit.

January Harvest!

Believe it or not, we just pulled these out of the ground today.  Our fall carrots that I was too sick to care about a few months ago when I should have picked them.  They were still pretty good, though I doubt the recent hard frost of several days did them any good.  Anyway, I'm so proud to be harvesting anything this time of year.  :)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Ham and Green Beans: The Easiest Meal Ever

So today I tried my nausea-friendly, lazy dinner idea.  Nausea-friendly and lazy for several reasons:
  1. I didn't need to fry or cook anything in a smelly sort of way
  2. Once I put the ingredients in the crockpot I was mostly done
  3. I could plug the crockpot in in the basement
  4. For whatever reason, ham (normally a meat I never cook) goes down easy this pregnancy (which is really ironic because ham is pink, what a gross color for a meat)
  5. The meal is an all-in-one meal (no sides needed)
Anyway, I felt that I had to post about my success because it tastes amazing with the nice hammy salty broth and crisp green beans (I add them at the end) and soft potatoes that absorbed the broth.  It's a recipe from my Pennsylvania Dutch roots.

Ham and Green Beans

Put a rinsed off ham hock (which is actually hard to find outside of Lancaster County but can be substituted with a pork/ham cut that basically looks like a little meat and skin wrapped around a hunk of ham bone) and about 6 medium/large potatoes into the crockpot.  Fill with water to an inch or two above the meat and potatoes.  Add some salt (you can add more later to taste but it doesn't hurt to put a little in while its steeping all day).  Set crock pot on low and let sit for about 8 hours or so (more wouldn't hurt it)--or you could cook it on high for about 4-6 hours.  About 20 to 30 minutes before you're ready to serve add fresh or frozen cut-up green beans (depending on how crisp you like them).  Meanwhile you can pick the ham meat off the bone to add back to the pot and discard the fat, skin, and bone.  Check if you need to add more salt.

Serve in a bowl with some of the broth.  Yum, I couldn't believe how good it was (not much tastes that good with nausea).  More easy low-nausea dishes to come!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Post Holiday: Surviving Stomach Flu


So my long blogging silence began in part because we were gone for most of the holiday visiting family and having a great time down South.  It continued because our first week back to normal has been defined by all manner of foulness in the form of the stomach flu.  I did 8 loads of laundry this week just because of vomit (we changed sheets so many times the night Micah came down with it that I lost count).  Owen got it (mid-Micah-spewing) and they basically took turns.  They were so violently ill (Micah for number of times throwing up in a row and Owen for duration) that I became convinced that it must be food poisoning (a comforting theory only in that that would mean Jesse and I wouldn't get it). 

But last night IN THE EMERGENCY ROOM, the doctor there said that the stomach flu can't last this long.  Yes, we had to take Owen to the emergency room last night after he passed out due to dehydration, hitting the floor so hard our neighbors heard it.  OK, we do live in a double, so they were right on the other side of the wall, but still, it was loud.  (And he broke his glasses, for which I am saddened, I love them.)  Thankfully, our neighbors were then willing to babysit and help Owen down the stairs to the car.  After two bags of saline (and three long hours) in the emergency room, he was looking better. 

By tonight, the three sickies are all reasonably hydrated, with Jesse and Micah acting like themselves and Owen acting like someone who hasn't really eaten in four days.  I sincerely hope that the flu is done with our family and will not spread to our loved ones and all of the families of Micah's classmates.  I'd give our house a wide berth for at least another few days, if you live near us!