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Simple Recipe: Baked Chicken and Rice

About 18 – 20 years ago, when I was a young, single mom without a clue as to how to actually do more in the kitchen than read directions on a box, I had the opportunity to have someone visit my home on a weekly basis to show me how to cook and help me learn to do it on a budget. I still have a binder with many of the recipe handout sheets, which I found again last week during an initial de-cluttering purge. Of course I kept the binder, however, until the purging and reorganizing is complete, it is buried with my few remaining books in a stack of crates.

Beginning the purge process was something I haven’t been able to face on my own, for a lot of reasons – many of them physical and logistical. However, when I thought we might be preparing to move, I decided I needed to do a serious purging and contacted a group of local and distant friends in my online community for prayer, encouragement and practical assistance. One lady specifically volunteered to come over and help me clear the clutter and get organized.

It took a couple of weeks for our lives and schedules to connect, but we finally got together for our first face-to-face meeting. The synergy between us was incredible and energizing to me. She’s got some very exciting opportunities coming up where I can use my passions strengths and skills to work with another singer who is going to be launching her music ministry career. I love this idea of exchange of services.

As we were working through the various crates and boxes, consisting mostly of books and papers, there were a large number of Christian living and education kinds of books. There were also a few non-Christian spiritual self-help and exploration books. Probably half to two-thirds of them were books I’d gotten with the intention of becoming a better Christian and more spiritually connected person. Many of those were process or practice oriented and included workbook or response sections. If I had ever begun them, I had seldom, if ever actually made it all the way through.

As I was deciding what to keep and what to let go of, one of the themes was me wondering if I should go back and make the effort to go through some of these books as part of my current healing and recovery journey. At one point she looked at the book in question, then looked back at me and said something along the lines of, “I don’t know how to say this, but it seems like this is about figuring out where to start and …”

“And I’m beyond that point now?”

“Exactly!”

I think I’ve spent a lot of the last 27 years believing I didn’t know where to start on improving, fixing, growing and healing in my life: as a mom, a friend, a contributing member of society, a Christian, a spouse, and any other role I’ve played. This is partly because I am one of those people who focus on how much further I need to go and how much more needs to get done instead of recognizing, acknowledging, accepting and celebrating how far I’ve come.

I have come a long way, baby.

I cooked this chicken and rice dish without a recipe or a plan. I looked in the freezer thinking I had a bag of skinless, boneless chicken breasts. It turns out they were skin-on thighs. The cupboard held a bag of long grain brown rice and a container of organic chicken broth, as well as various spices, Italian spice infused olive oil, and olive-oil based non-stick spray.

    Ingredients


1 C Brown Rice
2 C Chicken Broth
2 Frozen Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 – 2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Seasonings: Italian herb blend, garlic powder, onion powder.

1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F
2. Spray glass casserole baking dish with non-stick cooking spray
3. Spread rice evenly on the bottom of the dish
4. Season with Italian seasoning, seasoning salt, garlic powder, onion powder and pepper.
5. Add two cups organic chicken broth
6. Place frozen chicken on top if rice mixture
7. Drizzle with olive oil
8. Add herbs and seasonings to taste (rosemary, thyme, poultry seasonings, etc.)
9. Cover with foil
10. Place in oven
11. Bake for two hours
11b. If skin on, remove foil and bake uncovered for additional 15 min
12. Serve with steamed veggies

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Life is what happens when you’re making other plans

This is the second weekend in a row that my planned post of an Author Interview hasn’t gotten published. My plans for doing a post a day for this year have also been kiboshed. Those who have followed my blog and have gotten to know me some have probably seen the signs of a downward turning.

I’m doing okay, mostly. It’s just that things have done what they usually do whenever Keith has scheduled home time, plans go awry, emotions have gotten volatile, and once again significant changes have occurred regarding Keith’s job.

The recent changes in my understanding about my mental health issues have caused me to do a lot of reevaluating of significant events in my life and brought me into a funky period of subdued grieving and almost peaceful acceptance. However, processing all of this at the same time other things are happening in the lives and choices of key people around me, who are unable to tolerate and accept my issues in supportive and encouraging ways, while they themselves are immersed in their own symptomology and stressors, has been extremely taxing.

Once again, LaLa landed on our doorstep the same day Keith came home. His home time started two days early and has been rife with stress.

LaLa feeling stressed over not having her own home and Luna making innocent comments about why LaLa isn’t at her home. She’s also been stressed over interactions and conflict with the person she’d been living with, who was being uncooperative in allowing her access to obtain the rest of her belongings. She’s working hard to make the most of opportunities being provided to her when there many obstacles and challenges, so she’s been verbally volatile, snappy, and irritable.

Since we took Jade back out to Keith’s mom’s house – her situation is still in limbo with her house – Luna has taken to focusing her attention on LaLa’s cat. This is problematic with LaLa being around more and the cat’s former hiding place having been removed during a recent de-cluttering purge, since the cat is out in the open more. LaLa gets protective over the well-being of her cat and snaps at Luna. Keith, being the over-protective papa and self-proclaimed king of his domain, is intolerant of anyone (other than himself) expressing short-temper, impatience, and irritability, especially toward his precious little girl.

His second day home he wound up in a conflict, via text, with the wife of his co-driver. The next day, Valentine’s Day, he got a call from someone looking for a co-driver. He contacted his Fleet Manager, who wasn’t aware of a problem. Yesterday, he got another call and eventually found out his co-driver had just notified their Fleet Manager yesterday that he didn’t want Keith as a co-driver anymore.

Tensions have been running high because we didn’t know what was happening with the truck, which still has Keith’s belongings on it, but had gone home with his co-driver. Keith was on the verge of just quitting, but has decided to stick it out for now.

After four days of no communication, his former co-driver finally notified the truck has been dropped off at a local drop yard. He explained that he didn’t appreciate how his wife had been treated, that he had left the truck, and has quit. Keith has a lot of feelings around this whole situation and is now stating the guy had been giving off signs that he’d been looking for an excuse to quit. He’s feeling betrayed, because one of the reasons he went back out on the road with the company was specifically to be co-driver with this guy.

In the meantime, we’re almost out of money, still waiting for his federal refund, which he’s also agitated about, and without a co-driver and not knowing what was going on with the truck before their fleet manager left for the weekend, he’s home until Monday, at least, then will be running at a lower pay rate with fewer available miles while he’s running solo until he gets another co-driver.

In addition to everything else, probably exacerbated by it as well, my pain levels have shot up. The sciatica got so excruciating that the lower left side of my body from the center of my lower back down to just above the knee, wrapping all the way around the front and inner thigh/pelvic area and put to my navel was so tender and painful that just brushing the skin with my fingertips felt like Freddy Krueger had heated his blades to red hot and was slicing me open. That sensation lasted a couple of days. Thankfully that has calmed down some and I’ve been left with a dull, throbbing headache and the pain in my lower back that is probably a herniated disc from when I tripped last March and caught myself wrong.

As a result of all of this, part of me is feeling like I’ve been set back with my goals and plans for writing and self-care and such. On the other hand, I’m actually feeling a bit more stable in coping with all of these things than I’ve been able to every other times these kinds of upheavals have taken place in the past.

So, I know I will get back to regular posting soon enough. The next post was previously written and scheduled, but after that I don’t have anything prepared.

I’ll keep you posted on what life is happening while I let go of planning for the moment.

Blessings to all of you.

Rose: Six Word Friday

Valentines Day Roses for Lovely LaLa

Valentines Day Roses for Lovely LaLa

Home time has not gone well

Stress, conflict, disappointment and anger swell

Financial matters have not turned out

In ways counted on, major pout

I want to go with flow

Others this line refuse to tow

Not my place to change minds

The special day of love, Valentines

In spite of disappointment, he chose

To bestow upon LaLa a rose

The best laid plans . . .

I got into an argument with Keith last night because he told me he’s coming home two days earlier than planned and instead of acting overjoyed and happy I went into problem solving mode, trying to figure out what plans can be shifted and adjusted.

My lack of favorable response triggered his feelings of being rejected. He needed to hear that I was happy to have him home. He needed to know that he’s wanted, welcomed, missed and desired. I get that. I understand my less than enthusiastic response may have made him feel unimportant, insignificant, unwelcome, and unappreciated – even if he didn’t likely have untreated BPD.

I know what he needed and what I should have done differently in order to not get into he argument. But it was like watching a car stall out on the tracks in front of an oncoming train with brakes that went out. There was nothing I could do in order to avoid the collision.

The fatigue, brain fog, and physical pain have me at my most vulnerable and least constructive the later it gets. The constant low-level depression and anxiety are at their lowest point before bedtime.

Anyway, he’ll be home later this morning and the laundry is in various piles and Luna’s toys aren’t where they need to be. Felix Unger is about to descend upon Oscar Madison’s pit of chaos.

I had planned to spend the next two days writing extra posts and scheduling them. I was also going to get all the laundry caught up and put away. I’m supposed to attend a parenting class and a socialization with other Head Start families. It may sound unreasonable that I will likely bail out on these things. But Keith has been gone for six weeks and only gets four days home. So, giving him undivided time and attention to focus on us and our family is what needs to happen.

Here’s something I created for him that will hopefully help him understand my love.

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I’ll try to post. I’m sure I will need to. However, if I don’t this is why. We’ll be fine and will work through this. Maybe I’ll even learn something from it, who knows.

In the meantime: P.E.A.C.E.

P.E.A.C.E.

This month’s Peace Challenge to make Peace go viral is called, “Mad Men.”

This month we are asking you to be Don Draper and construct an advertisement for peace . . . create a simple advertisement, . . . Let’s create a slogan that manifests peace . . . write a poem or a song that can become the “Imagine” for our generation . . . If you are a photographer or artist, how about a piece that we can post on billboards that will promote peace? . . . you could write a short story or screenplay for a short film that can be made and broadcast for peace. ~ Kozo, everyday gurus, Mad Men Peace Challenge

Practice
Empathy
Acceptance
Compassion
Esteem

1) Peace is not a passive, do-nothing, sensation which manifests simply because we wish it or will it into existence. It requires thought, determination, and action. Be what you want to experience in the world. Repeatedly. Intentionally. Practice peaceful action. Rehearse peaceful thoughts. Exercise peaceful choices. Make a proactive decision to choose peaceful responses in the midst of volatile and conflicted situations and relationships. If not you, then who?

2) Empathy is a critical component in the practice of peace. It is not to be confused with sympathy. Sympathy is two-dimensional, it offers soothing platitudes to the one who is suffering while allowing the one offering it to remain somewhat detached. Empathy means I let go of detachment and allow myself to feel what you feel. Your hurts become my hurts; your joys become my joys. Empathetic beings instinctively practice peace since peaceful action generates peaceful energy infusing those around them with peace, which, in turn, reenergizes them. Practicing empathy creates a peaceful and positive energy feedback cycle.

3) Acceptance is a key to practicing peace. Accepting does not mean agreeing or condoning dysfunction. It means releasing the expectation of how things should be and acknowledging them as they are. Accepting things as they are also means identifying root causes and conditions while letting go of associating blame or fault. Acceptance opens the way to practicing peace because it allows peaceful action and choice in the here and now.

4) Compassion goes hand in hand with empathy. Compassion establishes the framework for empathetic and peaceful action. Empathy enables us to feel what others feel; compassion compels us to take positive and constructive action. Empathy stopped the Good Samaritan when he encountered the bruised and bloody man on the road. Compassion is the thing that enabled him to set aside his agenda, get himself dirty, expend his own efforts, and use his resources to see to the care of a stranger. The practice of peace requires compassion for those we are familiar with and for those we are not.

5) Esteem is the essence of peaceful action. The people, principles, and things we hold in high regard are what we value. If we value peace, then we hold it in esteem. We show respect to peace by showing esteem and respect toward all people we encounter – especially the ones who may trigger our least peaceful thoughts and emotions. Esteeming all persons equally enables peaceful action.

1 Corinthians 13 New Century Version (NCV)
13 I may speak in different languages[a] of people or even angels. But if I do not have

    peace

 

, I am only a noisy bell or a crashing cymbal. 2 I may have the gift of prophecy. I may understand all the secret things of God and have all knowledge, and I may have faith so great I can move mountains. But even with all these things, if I do not have

    peace

 

, then I am nothing. 3 I may give away everything I have, and I may even give my body as an offering to be burned.[b] But I gain nothing if I do not have

    peace

 

.

4

    peace

 

is patient and kind.

    Peace

 

is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. 5

    Peace

 

is not rude, is not selfish, and does not get upset with others.

    Peace

 

does not count up wrongs that have been done. 6

    Peace

 

takes no pleasure in evil but rejoices over the truth. 7

    Peace

 

patiently accepts all things. It always trusts, always hopes, and always endures.

What are you doing to practice peace?

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DIY Health Remedy: Olive Oil

My elbow hurts. It has been like this for a while now. Sometimes the other one does too. I thought it was dry skin. But then someone suggested it might be psoriasis. However, without being able to consult a doctor and not actually being able to see my own elbow, I was still uncertain. I just knew that I was tired of the niggling pain and raw feeling of the skin every time I put weight on it or cloth brushed up against it.

It finally occurred to me to use the reverse camera on my phone and take a couple of pictures. After looking at those, a Google Images search confirmed it. Not pretty.

I had resorted to using antibiotic ointment with pain reliever and large adhesive bandages. Then I ran out of bandages, which weren’t working all that great anyway. The adhesive was either not strong enough and the ointment would seep and weaken it or the stronger bandages would leave strands of fiber and sticky residue that served to further irritate my skin. So, I would go a week or so without using anything on it. Shortly after showering, the painful sensation would begin and I would feel a dry, rough, scratchy patch that felt like the scrubber side of a kitchen sponge for cleaning pots and pans.

This particular morning I was in the middle of a fibroflare, which made the pain and irritation of it all much worse. Suddenly I thought, “Olive Oil!” I went into the kitchen and grabbed the bottle of EVOO out of the cupboard and poured some right into my left hand and began rubbing it into my right elbow. Of course I got too much and my phone started ringing, so I spread it around and smoothed it into the skin on both arms and hands.

The images below are all pictures of my elbow taken while it was straight and then bent. The top images are what it looked like after about 30 minutes after taking my shower. The middle set of images were taken approximately an hour after applying the olive oil. The bottom images were about two hours after applying the olive oil.

No alterations, edits, or enhancements have been made other than to combine the images into a picture collage using Mixel.

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While the skin remained a bit rough and sensitive, I definitely felt a difference. Each morning for the next three days I took pics and saw how there was an overall reduction in the irritation, then I continued to apply some of the olive oil throughout the day.

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It seemed that there was a definite progression in the healing and appearance of the skin. The difference from the first day in the very first picture of the initial set compared to the last picture in the most recent set looks significant to me.  When I was about halfway through the process, I realized that the bottle of oil I had been using wasn’t EVOO, it was Extra Light Olive Oil. So, perhaps the results would have been more lasting and significant had I used the EVOO. I also discovered that one of the recommended ways of using Olive Oil to treat psoriasis includes warming the oil and using plastic wrap to cover the affected area and keep the oil in place for longer, allowing maximum moisture to be retained. I’ll try that next time.

I knew that olive oil was healthier for cooking and that it has been helpful in using it to condition scalp and hair, but this was the first time I thought to use it on my elbow. I think I’ll be investing in a Costco sized vat of it when the tax refunds arrive.

Chill: Six Word Friday

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Luna caught a chill this week
Then her sniffles spread to me
New revelations made me feel weak
Jade demolished a couch with pee
Rent’s going up, reason to leave
LaLa needs mom, desire to stay
Too much stuff release the cleave
Ran out of ink application delay
This and more hurt my brain
Escaped 100 years to Downton Abbey
Avoided, delayed then succumbed to migraine
Need to chill, cease the crabby
Deep breath, relax, back to bed
I know I can’t, powerless admitted
Let go, let God easily said
Trust that God can, stay committed

Visit Adrienne at My Memory Art to join in on Six Word Friday

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