Healed Leg Bones, Jane Fonda, and Thanksgiving Leftovers

Healed Leg Bones, Jane Fonda, and Thanksgiving Leftovers

Yay! The bone doc showed me the white line across my fibula – the bone is healed! So after a five month relationship, I’ve said my goodbyes to the ortho office, and hello to my new best friend, Jane Fonda.

Some of us remember the 1980s, when she spearheaded the in-home aerobics fitness craze with VHS tapes of exercise classes. I confess, I didn’t buy any then because I had a gym through my place of work that I didn’t have to pay for, which included aerobics classes. (I took my first real aerobics class after a couple cocktails…but that’s another post.)

So the hubby and I were in some fitness store or other  – he was looking for tennis tape to wrap his juggling pins with – and I stumbled upon this DVD by Jane called  “Fit and Strong”. It  came out in 2010; Jane was in her early 70s when she made it.  I LOVE this video. It uses a chair, and easy weights, and a towel; it takes 20 minutes to do. It will make me strong enough (and already has in some ways) so that I can get back to more vigorous exercises, once I can do these without being sore the next day. So I guess it’s an old-person’s exercise program. No, wait – it’s an out-of-shape, creaky-person’s exercise program! Because there’s no way that I’m old. (LOOK at that photo! Doesn’t she look fabulous?!!)

Jane is extremely appealing in the video. She’s someone I would love to sit and have a cup of coffee with – or three or four. Someone I’d love to chat with. As it is, I pant and balance and grin along with her as she talks about getting strong in your seventies, and how she has a titanium and plastic knee and a titanium and ceramic hip. Jane is my new best friend. She’s going to help me get back to ME again.

Which will be good, as I deal with the Thanksgiving Leftovers.  (This year, since we went down to my nephew’s home for the Holiday, I only made a turkey for the leftovers!!!) I usually make turkey stock with the carcass and skin, an onion cut in half, two carrots and two celery sticks and a whole bunch o’ water in a big soup pot, oh and a couple tablespoons of white vinegar to help leach out the marrow from the bones. Boil the hell out of the whole mess over two or three days, skimming as you go,  until the liquid is reduced by about half. Then strain the whole thing, toss out the skin/bones/vegetables, strain again – and you’ve got healthy, fresh stock, which can be used in a million different ways.

The meat gets one of two different treatments (not, obviously, counting turkey sandwiches – that’s a whole ‘nother post!). When I gave the boys in my family a choice between yummy turkey enchiladas and turkey pot pie, my two sons both chose pot pie while my husband just grinned and nodded for both choices. This time around, though, I believe I have enough turkey meat to handle the pot pie AND the enchiladas, so that’s kind of exciting.

TURKEY ENCHILADAS based on a recipe by Ron Stell (I don’t have the recipe in front of me, so…) These are NOT your red-sauce enchiladas!

Ingredients:  1 can cream of chicken soup; 1 small can chopped mild green chilies; 8 ounces sour cream;  12 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded/divided; 3/4 cup chicken or turkey stock; six scallions (green onions), chopped; 8 – 12 medium sized flour tortillas and 2 – 3 cups shredded turkey (or chicken).

Directions: Preheat oven to 325 f.  In a 9×12 pan, spray with cooking spray; set aside. In a large bowl, add cream of chicken soup, green chilis, sour cream, 8 ounces of the pepper jack, the stock, and the green onions; mix well to combine. SET ASIDE 1/3 OF THIS MIXTURE FOR THE TOP. (Can you tell I always forget this part?)  Add the chopped chicken/turkey to the mixture.

Take a tortilla, put a couple tablespoons of filling in, and roll up. Place in prepared pan. This will make about 10 enchiladas, unless you’re generous, in which you’ll make 8. Once all the tortillas are nestled in the pan, spread the reserved sauce over the top and sprinkle with the reserved cheese. Bake at 325 for 20 – 30 minutes, or until bubbly and just turning light brown.

This recipe doubles or even triples easily, so you can feed a crowd. It also freezes beautifully (especially if you have a freezer big enough to accommodate the pan). If you want to spice it up, feel free; but my Ohio boy likes the spice kick in this just fine.

Turkey Pot Pie

Use whatever crust recipe that you have that you love. Or buy those lovely pre-made pie crusts in a box.  For a real easy pot pie topper, use a sheet of puff pastry – and forego the bottom crust (which I do all the time). For this recipe, we’re using the puff pastry.

Ingredients: 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed; 2 cups chopped or shredded turkey; 1 Tlb olive oil; 1 small chopped onion; 2 sliced carrots; 1 sliced parsnip; 2 sliced celery sticks; 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed; 3 Tablespoons butter; 3 Tablespoons flour; 1 cup chicken or turkey stock; 1 cup 2% milk (or lower); 1-2 Tablespoons dry Sherry thyme, salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Preheat oven to 325 f.  Heat a saute pan over medium heat; add olive oil. When oil is hot, add in onions, carrots, parsnip, and celery; saute until softened. Sprinkle with a bit of dried thyme about half way through. Once the vegetables are done, add in the green peas and one tablespoon of the sherry. Saute until the liquid is gone, remove from heat and add the turkey to the vegetables; mix well.

To make the sauce: in a medium saucepan, heat the butter until melted but not burning. Add in the flour to make a roux; stir until the mixture has a golden color, then add the one cup chicken stock, stirring rapidly until combined. Add in the milk and stir until thickened. Taste the sauce; add up to one teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Add in one to two tablespoons sherry to the sauce; feel free to sprinkle some more thyme. Once you are satisfied at the taste, mix the sauce in with the turkey and vegetables. Pour into a deep dish pie plate. If you only have a shallow pie plate, keep the rest for a yummy open turkey melt sandwich.

Now to the puff pastry. Working quickly, roll out the puff pastry until just big enough to cover the top of the pie pan. Drape the pastry over the top; use a knife and cut around the edges. Tuck any excess inside the pie pan. One more thing to do: cut a small round hole in the middle of the pie, to allow steam to escape.

Put in oven.  Bake 20-30 minutes, or until the pastry becomes puffed and golden. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes to cool before serving.

Well, there you go – my tried-and-true answer to turkey leftovers. (It works GREAT with a pre-cooked chicken, too!) I don’t do the candied yams; this year, I didn’t make cranberry sauce, as I’m usually the only one who eats it. I’ll probably do a quick casserole with leftover stuffing, chopped turkey, and leftover gravy all mixed together and topped with biscuits (an easier pot pie, I guess…). If I have any turkey left over, that is!

As always, sending lots of love from my kitchen to yours. Now…who wants to go for a nice slow jog around the block?

Thanks for joining me – and remember, drink responsibly!






The Universe Has Spoken?

The Universe Has Spoken?

<Begin Rant>

This has not been the easiest year for me. Back in December, a major life-changer happened to me, which slowed me waaaay down in many, many ways.

But it’s seven months on now. I should be back up to speed. I should be dancing in the streets, getting fitter than ever, and having parties. Right? Well…

The dizziness is still there, but the latest MRI shows no reason for it, and I’m in limbo until the docs at Neurology decide where I really belong. In the meantime, I’m not sure if my surgeon’s office managed to get the paperwork back to disability on time – if it’s not there by tomorrow, I’m off disability which really sucks. Why? A job I went for, that I really wanted, was given to another person – and truly, it should have been given to that person, so there you go, but the steady income would have been nice. And then, on Friday, I broke my fibula, way down by my ankle.

This is about where I broke mine, on my left leg.

Say what? How? Um…would you believe, walking? I didn’t trip over anything. I didn’t stumble. My ankle just refused, went POP!  – and down I went, in absolutely the most pain I can ever remember being in. Of course, I was alone in the house. Isn’t that always the way? Hopping everywhere HURT like hell. Crawling was good, but slow – and hard to carry anything when you crawl. Seriously. So I suffered, with an icepack on my ankle, propped up, and watching the news until one of my sons came home.

An early trip to the doc on Saturday proved it to be broken, when I had been sure it was just a terrible sprain. No such luck (but then, terrible sprains are known to be harder to heal than broken bones…so…?).  They gave me an airsoft cast, crutches, and a referral to an orthopedic surgeon. Everything I’m seeing on the internet tells me it’s a 6 to 8 week recovery time, with NO WEIGHT on the foot. That’s totally rubbish and I refuse to follow this advice what I expected; but now that I have crutches, I hate them. HATE them.

Seriously? You give a girl, who’s already dizzy 85% of the time, a pair of crutches? Someone who’s not totally sure where the ground is at any given time, and you want me to take BOTH FEET off the ground and rely on TWO STICKS shoved into my now-aching armpits? SERIOUSLY?!!! Are you DELUSIONAL, or is it just me?

Yeah, there’ve been some falling issues. As in, using the damned crutches, I’ve totally lost my balance and fallen flat on my face. More than once. Luckily inside and on carpet, but still. Oh, and I’ve fallen into the bathroom sink, and sideways into a doorway…you know, now that I think about it, that’s a lot of falling for less than 24 hours. So I use the damned things but it’s crutch, step-step. Crutch, step-step. Not ideal and I recognize that.

I’m hoping against hell that the docs next week give me a walking cast of some sort. I am DESPERATE to keep both feet on the ground, and a wheelchair WILL NOT WORK in my house. It was built in the 1960’s – narrow hallways, 30″ doorways, and all. Not to mention the 16 years’ worth of clutter we’ve piled around the house. It’s all a trap for the unwary. (Why, suddenly, do I feel a need to get rid of 50% of our furniture?)

So while I’m in full pout mode, I’m trying to be a good girl. Getting up infrequently. Using my crutches properly most of the time. Keeping the leg elevated, and blah blah blah.

And I’m writing. It’s the only reason I can think of that I broke my ankle –  the Universe wants me to sit on my ass and write instead of, oh, get a steady-paying job. And if disability is out the window? I keep telling the Universe that threats don’t make a writer more productive. At least, they don’t make THIS writer more productive.

I’m trying hard not to snarl and bite at my family, especially my poor hubby who did NOT need me crippled at this point in time. He’s feeling quite put-upon, even while he realizes I feel the same thing a thousand times more than he does.

So I’m saving snarling and biting for my work. Since I don’t get fancy cable (at almost $70/month, oh come on – it’s a time-wasting luxury), I only watch a couple soap operas during the day. The rest of my time (since I won’t be cleaning house any time soon) will be spent writing. I’m a captive to my work.

All in all, I’m okay with that. I just wish I didn’t have to go through the pain process. I’ve had more than enough of that this year.

I guess there’s only one thing left to do today…oh, hubby….could you please pour me a glass of wine?       </end rant>

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Have you read DEMON SOUL yet? You can find it at Crescent Moon Press or Amazon.com. Happy Reading!