Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sunday Stroke Survival~Baking and Doing Dishes

Now normally for Christmas, I'm feeding fifty to seventy-five people that's just the closest family members. My family didn't start out this was just my mom, dad, little sister, and me. We were just an ideal semi-American text book family.

My Girls and me
Then some friend of ours died in an automobile accident, and my family adopted their children...all seven of them. That was the population explosion in sheer madness in numbers. Later we grew up and had children of our own, and their children started having children. Up until the death this year of my step grandmother, it was four generations at any family gathering.

Every year I gave each family an assortment of cookies. Some were my own recipe and some were my grandmother's treasured recipes. That won't happen this year. Imagine... 144 dozen cookies! That's a lot of cookies just short of a professional bakery. Also this year marks, the first time I am not prepping or cooking for this small army of relatives. My stroke changed all of that.

I've done very little cooking since my stroke except for popping things in the microwave. It has been a major battle inside my brain with the former chef in me. I love to cook and bake. It has been a passion of mine since I chased all the servants out of the kitchen, and made my first vegetable soup and cake for my parents' anniversary way back in 1969. Bet that's longer than some of you readers have been on Earth. I've run a catering business, been the line cook, been the executive chef, been the general manager of restaurants, and a culinary instructor. So having to turn over the reins to someone else really gets my goat big time.

I asked my husband for one of those cake pop ovens for Christmas. I thought they wouldn't be to difficult to make one-handed. Since it just the two of us in the house, it didn't make sense to buy a pan which makes a dozen or more. Also it didn't make sense electricity-wise. Anyhow, it arrived last week just in time for my kitchen-aid mixer to die a horrible death. I can't really complain. It's lasted me ten years and I definitely put it through more than enough to make twenty standard hand-held mixers scream in protest with all the wedding cakes, cheesecakes, gallons of frosting, and meals I used it for.
Anderson cake 580 servings

So here I am with a new toy and unable to play with it. I have a hand held mixer. It was my backup for small amounts of colored frosting, but I have trouble using it now. Too many switches, bowls to hold, and hold the mixer too with one-handed. I bought a new stand mixer. It's a cheap one, but it works. I won't be making six to eight tiered wedding cakes again anytime soon.

Red Velvet with Cream Cheese Frosting
I figured right. the cake pops were easy. The regular cake mixes made too much batter so I poured the leftover into Rubbermaid water bottles. One cake mix, I'm still not ready to make it from scratch, will make enough batter for a week of fresh cake, baking every other day  for us. The Rubbermaid water bottles are easy enough to handle one-handed. It's just squeeze enough into the cups and close the lid of the oven to bake. Four minutes and I have fresh cake. Decorating them is just melting some store bought frosting and dipping. I haven't tried fancy decorating yet just some swirls back and forth across them, and some sprinkles. But wait, as my confidence builds, I'll be experimenting more.

Another milestone I've made is figuring out how to wash dishes one-handed. Now I have an automatic dishwasher, but as little as we eat, it would take a week to make a full load. I mean really, two small pots, two plates, two glasses, and eating utensils for a dishwasher load? Who would do that? I don't put out serving utensils since I make up the plates from the pots and serve one hot meal a day.

I'll carry them to my bathroom sink. It's small. It has sides. I can fill the sink halfway with water and wash dishes to my hearts content. I will wash my sink before and after I do this. The last line is for all you people that went "Ewww!"when you read that. I tried to wash dishes in my kitchen. It was just to big to hold my dishes and try to wash them too. I just didn't have enough hands. Dish washing is usually a two-handed activity.

Unfortunately while taking the added time to figure out all this new stuff, my writing time has been impacted. While I'm still writing this week, I'm in Christmas mode, aren't we all? I think I accomplished 600 words in the manuscript. Maybe I'm trying to do too much once again. Possibly, but that's who I am Mrs. Overachieving-Everything. While it's been said that you should or try to learn something new everyday. I'm slower now. Instead of learning or trying five somethings everyday, it's more like one every other day. I'll be putting up a new snippet soon, so be watching.

So what have you learned this week?

Keep writing and loving the Lord.

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