Sunday, July 29, 2012

Back From the Hospital...Taking It Easy

My youngest daughter Claire who is nearly 7 has been battling an illness with her gall bladder for the last year. We had seen a Gastro specialist but they weren't treating her for her gall bladder and only giving her medicine to mask her symptoms. We finally found a surgeon who ran a Hida scan and found out my daughter's gall bladder wasn't functioning. We were told she would need surgery. It felt great that someone finally listened to us and was able to help us.

We stayed at the hospital for two nights. Recovery has been slow. She's hardly eating and is still having trouble with eating and stomach acid. We were hoping this would be the end to our problem. However, when they took out the gall bladder it was really unusual. In-fact, the doctor had never seen one like it. It looks like an alien with different lesions and pockets.  There was also damage to her liver. They did a liver biopsy also. This is where the internet can drive you crazy. I have been researching to find out what her disease or cause of this is. The doctor doesn't think it's malignant. I am not sure if her liver will recover or part of it will need to be resected? What was supposed to be a routine surgery has now got me in Mommy mode.  I hope to have pathology results by the end of this coming week. In the mean time I am going crazy!

I have been cooking comfort food for her and for me in a way. I made a huge pot of chicken dumpling soup. Sunday is our special breakfast day. Sleeping Beauty slept through breakfast and only took a few bites when she woke up. The poor girl was only 40lbs. I am sure she has lost some weight. Deep Breaths....

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Shrimp Salad: Easy Summertime Pasta Salad

I have been making shrimp salad for as long as I can remember. I had it by my neighbors' house for a celebration and as soon as I was old enough to make it myself I have! I use a mixture of pre cooked shrimp and canned. To cut back on calories you can replace the mayo with fat free mayo or fat free sour cream. I love peas with this recipe. I used canned in this particular one but you can very easily unthaw frozen peas by placing them in a cup of cold water and draining.

Here is the very easy pleasy shrimp salad. For us this is a meal but it will be a big hit at any pot luck or picnic.
Shrimp Salad:

  • 1 lb Shell Noodles, boiled, drained and cooled
  • 1 can of small to medium shrimp drained
  • half a lb of pre-cooked shrimp(tails cut off) also diced but bigger chunks
  • 1/2 mayo of your choice (or use fat free sour cream as a sub) you may need to ad more
  • 1 can of drained peas or 1 cup frozen peas unthawed and drained
  • 1/2 onion diced
  •  2 stalks of celery diced
  • 1 tsp salt
I use a huge That's a Bowl and dump everything in except for the peas. I don't want to crush them so I wait until I am sure I won't be mixing it a lot. This can be made the night before. The noodles tend to suck up the mayo so I start off with a half cup and then season with salt and pepper. Before you are going to serve check for mayo and seasoning. Sometimes I like to add dill to this recipe. It gives it an entirely different flavor.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Surgery Day is Coming

After a year long battle with my daughter's illness we finally have an answer! She has been complaining of abdominal pain for the last year and has hardly been eating. She has been nauseous every time she eats. She only weighs 41 lbs at nearly 7 years old. She used to be a really good eater.

Our family doctor is awesome! He sent her off for an ultrasound which showed her gall bladder was abnormal. The walls were thickened, a sign of repeated infection, and there were many separations in it which isn't normal. We were sent to a specialist that performed and endoscopy and found she has been having reflux when she eats. That doctor was just treating the acid and not doing anything for the gall bladder.

We had had enough and sought out a pediatric surgeon. We know from previous experience, the only place to go here in WI is Childrens' Hospital where we found Dr. Densmore. Last week she had a Hida scan and another ultrasound. They both confirmed that her gall bladder is not working. The surgery is scheduled for next week Wednesday. I feel relieved. Someone is listening to us! It is so frustrating when you know something is wrong with your child and no one will do anything to help. She cried a bit when I told her but I told her how much better she will feel. Please keep my daughter in your prayers.

The moral of this story is don't be afraid to ask questions and when you don't get answers, seek a second opinion!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Chili Rubbed Pork Chops With Pineapple Salsa

It is still hotter than Hades here in WI and it's an opportunity to make my hubby grill outdoors. I don't have to work nights anymore. Yeah! to more family time. Boo to having no income from my job. It mostly went to groceries but it this economy, every little bit helps! One thing that still is a constant is my grocery bill. Luckily, I am pretty good at menu planning.  I still have 1 more week of Math after this one and then I can enjoy a month of Summer vacation before another semester of school.

Anywhoo, here's back to dinner. I have fallen in love with brining. I brine chicken, and now pork chops. It makes the pork chops or meat you are using very moist. The ratio I use is 2 TBSP salt to 2 cups water. Make sure to cover the chops with plastic wrap. Let sit in the fridge for 2-3 hours. Remove from brine and give a rinse. Then rub them in the chili-lime rub below.

Here is what we made today:

Chili Rubbed Boneless Pork Chops w/ Pineapple Salsa

2 TBSP Salt to 2 cups water

Chili Rub

2 TBSP Chili Powder
1/2 TBSP garlic powder
2 TBSP lime juice

Pineapple Salsa

1 can of drained Pineapple tidbits
1/2 jalapeno seeded and finely minced
1/2 onion of your choice
1/2 green or red pepper
a dash of salt

The salsa comes together very easily. Add all the ingredients and refrigerate.

Brine the pork chops for up to 4 hours in the salt solution. Remove from brine and rinse off excess salt. Pat dry with a paper towel. Mix together the rub ingredients with the lime juice and with your fingers rub into each side of the chops. I used boneless chops. You will not need to add any salt to the rub. Grill on the grill of your choice. We use a gas grill. Set pork chops on the grill and close the lid. To get the grill marks move the chops 1/4 turn. Grill on  each side for about 3-5 minutes. Remove from grill and let pork chops rest covered with tin foil. Serve with the salsa on top. And enjoy!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Where Have I Been? And Tequila Lime Chicken

I have been so busy with summer school and writing English literature papers, (3 more weeks to go of summer school) I haven't had time to blog. It also has been extremely hot here in Wisconsin. I have had my husband grilling out a lot! Who wants to cook indoors when it's roasting inside? Not me! This week we made Tequila lime chicken on the grill. I didn't happen to snap a pic but I am attaching the recipe. I also scored big at the grocery store in the clearance section. It looks like stuffed mushrooms, a pear crumble, and stuffed peppers are in our future.

I also took my little one Claire to her first concert yesterday, Big Time Rush. We love to watch the show on Nick together so I was pretty familiar with their songs. I know it's wrong for an almost 40 year old to find these guys cute, but I do in a Jacob/Twilight sort of way. Not a Mary Kay Letourneau  way. Anywhoo, the concert was great and Claire could hear it even though she had ear plugs in. 
It also happened to be my oldest Cassie's' Birthday. She is no longer a tween! Thank goodness! I have a few more years of this tween thing and then I am home free! Or that's what I tell myself! 
Well here is that Tequila Chicken Recipe I was telling you about. I love how easy it is and what a good flavor it gives the chicken. 

Tequila Chicken 

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts or one per person
1 airline size bottle of Tequila or about 2-3 oz. 
2 TBSP lime juice 

Combine the Tequila and lime juice in a baking pan. Add the chicken and marinate for 4 hours or over night. Remove from marinade and grill the chicken for about 7-10 minutes on each side or until the juices run clear. Serve with cous cous or Spanish rice.