Monday, March 21, 2011


Blog Post # 10
BIG BREAKTHROUGH TO SHARE!!!! My friend of whom I spoke in an earlier post (who also spent some lonely time in rehab) is now eating vegetables of his own accord.  I can’t begin to tell you of the heated discussions we would have on the subject,. But I WON.  And not just your regular veggies that any youngster would eat, but, Brussels sprouts AND turnip!  Big congrats, Bob!  I’m really proud of you!
I’ve been keeping a food diary for years now, and have been adding notes to each entry since I started this blog, so that I can share the total experience with you, without leaving significant details out of the picture.
“Any ideas for super tonight?  I’m drawing a blank,” This is a familiar refrain in our home.  Kent is once again stumped for supper menu choices.  How about cheeseburgers, I reply.  So much for the slight vegetarian in me cheeseburgers it will be.  I love it when Kent makes burgers. He mixes in finely chopped green peppers, mushrooms, onion, pickle and chili sauce. They are really juicy and flavourful.  The only thing missing is whole wheat buns, very hard to get this time of year in our town.  But, as usual, the meal, complete with oven-cooked fries (we can get McCain’s low-fat fries here and they’re great, because they crisp up in the oven so nicely)! All this accompanied by a fresh garden salad (have you ever noticed how you can only get Thousand Island Dressing in the small bottle?  No family sizing there!!  No matter the brand, that particular kind only comes in small).
Stay healthy and safe!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A big pizza pie – that’s amore!

Blog post # 9
You’d think we’d use up what ever leftovers not earmarked for my mom and dad. No, not us! Kent is not particularly fond of leftovers of any kind, but nothing will go to waste, be sure of that, Fridays have traditionally been pizza night for us. So, since we didn’t have pizza last Friday, Kentsuggested it for tonight – order in or homemade?  For me, there’s no decision. I’m addicted to pizza of any kind, but Kent’s home made is the winner, hands down. Kent, a self- professed carnivore and me leaning  precariously close to vegetarianism, both satisfied by this house specialty – lots of veggies, adequate but minimal meat and plenty of cheese!

Stay healthy and safe!

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Blog post # 8
            Today is taken care of, a meal which should yield tons of leftovers (but we will share with my parents who both love this meal, especially when it comes in the leftover version.)

Stay healthy and safe!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The adventure begins

Blog post # 7
           Sorry it took me so long to get started.  Are you ready?  Here we go… I’ll try to figure out the supper menu when Kent has no meal ideas left.  Kent will likely be preparing most supper, as some tasks take me so long we’d never eat!!,  And please, be ready to offer your own suggestions and favourites or comments I’d love to have them, not just for help in the decision-making department, but to get a sense of what you all are eating and what new  trends are developing, which will be important when I win the competition to have my own cooking show on the Food Network’s “Next Food Network Star” some time in the not-too-distant future.  Also, I’ve made initial steps to have British super-chef, Jamie Oliver, to bring his “Food Revolution” to Canada.  His “revolution” has been wildly popular and well accepted in both Britain and the USA.  I’m sure you will all agree there is need for it in this country as obesity and cases of diabetes continue to rise. I’ll get it started and all who are with me, connect with Jamie’s Food Revolution website to express your support.
Kent came in from the freezer (not the Nova Scotian outdoor freezer, but the conventional domestic kind) with a ham (my favourite kind of meat) and suggested ham and scalloped potatoes , one of my absolute fave meals. So, tomorrow’s supper is a complete no-brainer. Ham, scalloped potatoes and baked beans, some leftovers and a new entry.
I do baked beans in my slow -cooker, cleanup is much simpler, as is preparation. For those who don’t use a slow-cooker, my method should work for your recipe too - just as long as you put all your ingredients in and cover with water, It is also important to cook them on low overnight (it will have you wondering why you haven’t been doing it this way all along!! Who knew??
This version I overheard from my floor-mate from the Digby Restorative Unit, Aubrey Joudrey, who is diabetic. This version, has much less sugar in it, compared to our regular version (thought I’d give credit where credit is due).
Combine four(4) slices of chopped bacon in slow cooker pot with two (2)cans of condensed tomato soup , undiluted, ½ pound of dried beans (your choice, but we use pea or navy beans), two small onions coarsely chopped or sliced ,about two tablespoons each of prepared mustard and molasses - eyeball it, I do that with most recipes (you get better at it with practice…the eyeballing measurements I mean - two big squirts of ketchup, or about 1/8 cup stir it all well and add two cans of water (just to clean out the cans).  Be sure everything is completely covered and mixed up well.  I just turn it on  low.  I start this process at about 5:30 the evening  before and leave it on be till the next night’s supper, check it once and add more water to cover the lot, replace lid and leave  until time to serve… ENJOY!                                                                               
Stay healthy and safe!                                                                                                               

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Culinary WUF

Blog post # 6

Now that I’ve given you a peek into my heart, here’s a wuf which with I will challenge myself. As I mentioned in a previous post, my husband, Kent, and I try very diligently to eat healthy. And, I let you in on the fact that we have plenty of meal choices on hand. Mother Hubbard’s cupboard certainly isn’t bare!!  It’s just the decision-making process that stops us up on many occasions.  You are also aware I’m a foodie, but not, as Jamie Oliver would put it, a “posh” foodie. I love more down-to-earth meals.
So what I’m proposing is, what if I come up with dinner ideas every night and do my best to expedite them (on occasion Kent will have to make dinner depending on our schedules and how I feel on the particular day). I will share my  recipes and experiences with you.  My inspiration and some recipes will come from Nigella Lawson’s “How to be a domestic Goddess” (which I don’t claim to be) and ‘Nigella Bites”,and Gina and Pat Neeley’s “The Neeleys”.  Nigella Lawson happens to be my favourite celeb chef for her homey, no-nonsense style, and Pat Neeley’s personality is nothing short of magnetic. Some of this adventure will undoubtedly include some original recipes, which, I’m more than happy to share with you..
Hold up now!! You don’t get off that easily. You have a job in this whole scenario. Your challenge is to come along with me for the ride, making comments and suggestions where you’d like.  It’s okay, I’ve got broad shoulders. Oh, I forgot to tell you, I used to be the editor of a newspaper, got lots of “opinion” sitting in that seat!!  If you like, leave a way that I can contact you online to allow me to share further insight and information.
Stay healthy and safe!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Blog Post # 5
            A previous post was entitled “The demon does not get to win”, and, while that is still true, he may have won A single battle: I slip often into short periods of time when I dwell on the past (this, only in part, has anything to do with the stroke) The what ifs in my life oftentimes loom large and can threaten to take over the stroke survivor’s life.
A physiotherapist I had in Halifax said she and her kids call the ’what ifs’, wufs, (The wufs became a great source of laughter to the breakfast table as they all discussed various possible wufs in the physiotherapist’s job forum).
One therapy suggestion my psychotherapist gave was that when dwelling on past events too much, I should mentally go back to that girl in my memory who was hurt and abandoned and speak in my mind to her, giving her support and letting her know that the future worked out ok, not unlike Brad Paisley’s hit song “letter to me”.
It may sound a bit quirky, but it does, in fact, work for easing anxiety.     

   Sandee, taming the Demon 

In my particular situation, certain ‘wufs’ called into question my conscious control over events in my life, whether or not I could have controlled them. I have found it very easy, and still would, to sink into that place and be enveloped as if in an old feather mattress.  Limited mobility often gives one too much time to think.
Following my stroke and the loss of all mobility on my left side, I wanted very much, as you can imagine, to get better and get back that part of me that had been taken so abruptly by the stroke (If I hadn’t mentioned it in a previous post, I had my stroke in the very early morning hours of June5,2009 while I was asleep ( so, I guess, abruptly is the correct term no symptoms, no warnings). I had heard so much about the Nova Scotia Rehabilitation Centre, that, of course, I wanted to go there to recover as quickly as possible.
            While in Kentville hospital, where, I was deposited as an “acute” patient immediately after the stroke. I worked hard to recover some of what had been taken so abruptly and I finally achieved a “score” that would allow me entrance into rehab, I even started writing again (now, surprisingly effortlessly with my right hand, when previously I had been left handed).
The ambulance ride to Halifax had me filled with a fear I had not known before, even though I should have been in la la land as I had my fair share of Morphine in me, prescribed for the complex regional pain syndrome the stroke had left me with (and some unpleasant side effects).  But on the up side, I came out on top, without a doubt, with just a little bit of re-learning to do, and no, the stroke didn’t take everything. I was left with all the people who love me.  My husband, Kent, and my youngest step-daughter, Stephanie, followed close behind and were both with me when I was express-admitted into rehab. They both helped me get settled into my new temporary “home” still so scared I almost didn’t know what was happening. Mercifully, I was finally in a hospital bed, Kent on my left, holding my hand. Steph, on my right doing the same. 
Then I watched them both as they moved toward the door .I thought again, with tears running down my face as Kent’s white-shirted back moved into, then through, the doorway, “They really are going to leave me here”.  As hard as I tried not to, I started to cry and told Steph, “I just want to go home, too”. She nodded, giving me that beautiful, infectious smile. (She is proof-positive that there are angels on this earth, she was obviously sent down by God, himself, to be there for me through this interruption in life). 
I spent the most lonely, unhappy eight weeks of my life in Room 729 on the 7th floor of the NS rehab centre. Kent visited as often as he could and called twice a day, my parents called every evening. My sister and nephew, Callam were faithful visitors. Callam really “got into” my recovery and noticed even the smallest  improvement, cheering me on and giving me all the helpful tips his 11-year-old mind could conjure up I even gained enough mobility  to go to one of his soccer games. Yet, I was still so very lonely.  I knew I needed to be here to get better, but, I knew that Kent was lonely too, holding the fort down at home, alone. Both the afflicted person and the partner are both feeling a tremendous sense of purposelessness. The only difference being that the former has the benefit of myriad of doctors and therapists to use as sounding boards. The latter must use whatever resources he can muster from within to stave off utter insanity!
My mind pauses and goes back several years to a tine that has become a wuf got me. Just about ‘what if’ everything, if we’d only known that Kent  would develop lung cancer, if I had nagged him harder about  smoking. etc. (he actually does listen to me once in a while. He’ll deny it, if you say anything!).
Another wuf…through no fault of our own, to my knowledge, we became estranged from a dear friend who we love very much and who had been very close to Kent for about 30 years .In the interim, he had a serious illness that forced the amputation of his left leg a few inches below the knee and went to rehab in Fredericton. His “wife” at the time chose the very selfish path. He tells now of how lonely he was in rehab and afterward when he could not leave the house, his wife wouldn’t even take him for a drive!  I feel bad, knowing now full well what he was going through, and, although I had the loving support of my husband, step-daughters and parents, how lonely I was even with their support! Thinking of this is one of those times when I think of the wuf. What if I’d been in our friend’s position, without the massive support of my partner and love? (I guess I’d now be seeing more than a psychotherapist!!! 
I, now, want to be a support for someone else who, for whatever reason, needs another human being to be there for them, by their side, to explain what’s going on… to just listen and who knows what it means to truly, be down-heart lonely. I intend to volunteer on the 7th floor of rehab when my mobility increases more. So, even though, the demon may have made inroads, he will never overtake me. He will never get to win!! I have so very much going for me: I’m independent, determined (my dad calls it stubborn), I have a man who loves me and has through all of our good times and, even more importantly, through our bad times, of which we’ve had more than our fair share.   I have my wonderful friend, Anna,* who continues to support me and cheer me with her visits and her great sense of humour. And I have something the demon didn’t count on when he engaged me in this war: I have my two beautiful intelligent step-daughters and three terrific grandsons.  And, I will cook again! The demon suddenly lost all his odds.
Stay healthy and safe!

 *name changed for privacy reasons