Tuesday, September 5, 2017

A Blissful Long Weekend

This 3-day weekend actually turned into a 5-day weekend for me as I was home on Thursday and Friday with yet another RA flare. That's the 4th one in a month and probably my most painful one so far as it involved both shoulder joints. I was in so much pain and had very limited arm mobility so I had to swallow my pride and sense of independence and ask for help to get to the doctor for my steroid injections. Luckily, my mother-in-law was more than happy to help (unfortunately Phil couldn't leave work as they had a big IT update and he had to stay after market close to help with testing). The steroid injection was effective but this last flare really took a tole on my mental health and overall feeling of well-being - I'm just sick to death of this string of painful flares. I'm hoping and praying that September is a much better month.

That said, I really needed a relaxing and restorative long weekend - and that is exactly what I got! We usually go to the lake for Labor Day weekend but even before these flares hit, we had decided to stay home so we could have a quiet weekend together. I love being up at the lake with family but a quiet weekend at home with very little planned was exactly what the doctor ordered!  Here's how we filled it!

On Friday night we each had leftovers for dinner and settled in to watch No Country for Old Men. Phil picked it out. He had seen it before and said he thought I would like it.  WRONG!! Oh my gosh, I did not like this movie at all. I know it's critically acclaimed but it was way too dark and violent for me. And then the ending was so vague. Phil knows my tastes so well so I am surprised he got this movie pick so wrong. Towards the end of the movie I remembered that it was based on a book by Cormac McCarthy, which is an author I do not like at all (again, I know he is critically acclaimed but his books are way too dark for me). Had I remembered that before we watched it, I would have vetoed this choice. Oh well, now Phil owes me a movie of my choice!  :)

On Saturday morning I started off the morning with some reading.

After relaxing for awhile, I was finally feeling well enough to be a bit more active (I'd spent the majority of the last 2 days on the couch). I walked to my garden and came home with lots of zucchini, green peppers and tomatillos and some green beans and cherry tomatoes. When I got back, Phil made brunch (hashbrowns and scrambled eggs topped with a leftover pork tamale from his lunch the previous day - I love this combination!).

On Saturday afternoon, I went to the grocery store and got to work in the kitchen. First I chopped up a watermelon - it's the best one I have bought all summer! Phil doesn't like watermelon (he thinks melons are "filler fruits") so I get this all to myself! And yes, I can eat an entire large watermelon in a week!

After that I got to work on using some of the zucchini I had picked. First I made a chocolate chip zucchini bread. I found the recipe in one of the many cookbooks I own (the recipe came from Peas and Thank You - it wasn't GF but it was easy to modify as I just swapped in GF flour for whole wheat flour and added 1/2 t. of xanthan gum). It turned out really good! I only ended up keeping 3 slices for us - the rest went to Phil's mom and several friends! I love to bake, but don't need to eat A LOAF of chocolatey zucchini bread!! And even though it's GF, I think it's good enough to share with people who can eat gluten.

I also did some prep work for the dinner we would be having later that day.  Then I settled on the couch with another cook book. This cookbook had been recommended by Jolene from Everyday Foodie (this girl and her husband have mad cooking skills - check it out but be prepared to drool over all the amazing meals they whip up each week!), which prompted me to add it to our wedding registry! My younger sister is coming to visit next weekend and we both LOVE Indian food so it seemed like the perfect time to break out this cookbook and find some yummy things to make. My sister and I both love to cook - can't wait to bond with her in the kitchen next weekend!

As you can see, I tagged "just a few" dishes for consideration!!
On Saturday evening, I walked over to church. It was a really good mass. All the songs were played on the piano (I'm much prefer the piano to the organ) and I loved all the songs they played so I came home with a full and happy heart.

When I got home, it was time to start dinner! I had done some of the prep work while the zucchini bread was baking so this dinner came together in about 40 minutes and it was SO DELICIOUS! It was quite the Minnesota Plate as the corn was locally grown, the cheeseburgers were made with locally-raised beef, and the cheesy zucchini rice (highly recommend this recipe!) was made with zucchini from my garden. It was a beautiful summer night so we enjoyed this meal on our deck.

Since it was such a beautiful night, we decided to walk to a local malt shop that is just under a mile away for an indulgent dessert! I kind of paid for this dessert as my stomach does not handle dairy very well, but it was worth it!
Reese's pb cup for her, hot fudge for him - we shared so we could eat get a taste of both malts

On Sunday morning, I started my morning off with some pumpkin spice herbal tea.

When Phil got up, he helped me set up the hammock that we received as wedding present. It was going to be a beautiful day so I am glad he suggested setting it up!

On Sunday afternoon, I headed to the west metro to visit one of best college friends to see the house they moved into back in June (can't believe it took me 2.5 months to get out there!). They made a delicious GF lunch for me and we spent 2 hours catching up on life.

The rest of the afternoon was a lazy one, especially for Oscar. Phil had made a "kitty cup" for her before he left for his mom's (he always makes one before he leaves the house - he's such a good cat dad) and she slept in it for most of the afternoon!

I did some relaxing of my own and spent 3 hours in the hammock, reading and dozing. I finished The God of Small Things. This book was the Man Booker Prize and is critically acclaimed. I thought I would love it but I really struggled through it due to the writing style. I have to say, the books that are award-winning are often total misses for me. Maybe I am not 'literary' enough to enjoy them? Who knows.

On Sunday evening, I watched a couple of episodes of Suits and picked up a crochet project that I hadn't touched since last winter. It's a mustard and gray afghan. My goal is to finish it by Thanksgiving!  When Phil got home we watched Gone Baby Gone together (such a good movie!) and then headed to bed.

On Monday morning, I got up and enjoyed a GF banana chocolate chip muffin that my friend had bought for me at the Farmer's Market on Sunday (not pictured is the cinnamon roll she also bought me which I had as part of my dinner the night before!). 

When Phil got up, I got going on breakfast. He had a mid-day tee time so wanted something filling and delicious to get him through his 18 holes (he always walks instead of renting a cart so does a lot of walking/burns a lot of calories). It's pretty simple - sweet potatoes, green pepper (from my garden!), onion, garlic, and chicken sausage, seasoned with salt, pepper, cumin and cayenne.

Phil and Oscar bonded a bit before he headed out to the links (you know Oscar is super relaxed when she presents her belly and lets him rub it!).

Monday afternoon was low key. I did some closet purging, napped, cuddled with Oscar and read a good chunk of Marlena, which is a debut novel that I got from my Book of the Month membership this spring! It's a bit on the dark side but really, really good so far.

On Monday evening, we had Crockpot White Chicken Chili for dinner. It was really good but next time I will double the recipe as it only yielded about 3 servings.

It was a wonderful, restorative weekend. I hope and pray that all this rest and relaxation will ward off any future RA flares!!

How did you spend your long weekend?


Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

Honestly I'm at a point with books that I almost always avoid prize winning books because I don't think I've ever liked one, lol. This has always been true for me and it's only in my adult life (mostly since meeting our group of blogging friends) that I have admitted this and still considered myself a "reader" even though I don't like classics/prize winning books that much.

This whole post has motivated me to cook more. I need to get into the fall veggies!

Here's to a week of no flares!

Lori Honeycutt said...

I'm so sorry about the flares! I can understand how discouraging that must be as well as frustrating!!! I'm glad that you were able to have a low key weekend to relax! So much yummy food!!! I've never been able to read the literary prize winning books, they're just not my thing. I read for enjoyment and if I can't get into a book then I'm not going to waste my time. I've been able to read more this summer thanks to my Kindle and I've been going through books! I read the books Nora had suggested and then found another author whose stories are set in the low country and I've been reading those. I've also found a few other authors this summer who I've enjoyed. I used to read romance and while there are still a few authors that I enjoy my taste has changed.

Gracie said...

I am so sad to hear you had another flare! How disappointing! But you are handling them well. Nice to at least have a chance for a quiet weekend while your joints calm down.

missris said...

I am the same way--if a book is a Man Booker Prize winner I'm almost guaranteed not to like it! And I was an English major, so I think we're plenty literary ;)

Marlys Dotzenrod said...

It sounds like you had a good relaxing weekend which is what the doctor ordered! It was fun at the lake and we missed you, but not real relaxing! The weather was perfect so we were out on the lake "tooning" as much as possible and just catching up with the family. It is always a sad weekend at the lake as people start pulling boats & lifts out of the lake and prepare for the long winter months!
I am so happy you are pain free right now and pray it lasts for a long time!

Carolina John said...

So glad you got to relax your way out of that flare! The steroid shots help? Having a mother-in-law close by is a wonderful resource when you need help. We call on my MIL almost every day. Kelley's dad gets pretty involved too, and this weekend our niece moved to Raleigh as well. She's very happy with her new city, new job, and new apartment.

I have a new patient appt with a rhuematologist tomorrow morning at 9:30, and my mother & youngest brother are in MN at the Mayo clinic today!

Amber said...

You always share such delicious recipes! I need to make the zucchini rice and the crockpot chicken chili - both look amazing.

I am so glad you had such a wonderful and restorative weekend. My fingers are really crossed for you that this is the end of your flares. Reading in the hammock sounds seriously amazing!!! I will have to see if we can find a spot to hang a hammock in our backyard next year. Though we did splurge on really comfy patio furniture this year which is why I spend sooo much time out there. I also forgot to mention on my blog that I had a little nap on our outdoor sectional this weekend. It was so nice to nap outside :)

Cannot wait to hear which dishes you decide to make from that Indian cookbook!! I LOVE Indian food but have never had much luck with making it at home. I can never spice it properly and it's never as flavorful as it is at a restaurant.

Jeanie said...

Your weekend sounds fabulous, Lisa, and sorely needed after the RA. The rest can only help, always a good thing, but it looks like you got plenty done! Your harvest is bountiful and you know how to use it! (We ate pretty "close to home" with home grown or locally-grown food this weekend, too.)

All in all, four star. (I'm with you on the award winning books, for the most part, too.)

Our weekend was nice -- I was at the lake, picked Rick up from his long ride on Sunday and dinner with friends, work around the house. All good. Happy new week!

Lauren @ Sassy Molassy said...

Phil is missing out on that filler fruit! ;) We just bought probably our last watermelon of the summer, but it was a good one. Henry is obsessed. I have to stop him from just eating it all.

Stephany said...

Oh man, I'm sorry you dealt with ANOTHER flare. Is there any reason why you've been flaring so much lately? That really sucks, but I'm glad you were able to relax and have family nearby to help you when the pain gets really bad.

I'm not one for the award-winning books, either. In fact, if it's won an award, I am MUCH less likely to read it. Haha. It's just not the books that hold my attention and that's okay! :)

Abby said...

YOu had a great weekend! I am proud of you for taking some down time to relax -- which you rarely do, as your schedule fills out super fast! Just what you needed especially with the RA flare. I am praying so hard that was the last of it, and you are on to better feeling days!!

I am so looking forward to our weekend together and getting to cook together, explore your city, and just bond a bit! These opportunities are rare!

Your banana bread looks amazing. Yum! I am impressed that you can just improvise and swap out to bake GF like that. I have always been so intimidated by it.

katielookingforward said...

Good work! I hope september is better for flares, what a bummer! I was up north at my parents house and seeing different groups of family friends. I am very ready to make buffalo chicken noodle soup and chili!

Sandra Bond said...

I am so sorry about your flare... but maybe it was good that you got a nice, long weekend to relax and recuperate!
That zucchini-chocolate-chip bread looks amazing!
I've seen No Country for Old Men and I agree, it's way too dark and violent for me.

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

Thank you for the sweet shout out :-) I am glad you enjoyed the recipes you made from the book; we have had nothing but success with everything we've made from there.

I've never seen No Country for Old Men, but it doesn't look or sound like something I would like.

Sorry to hear about the RA flares lately ... now I know why they've been so bad lately ;-) I hope that clears up for you in the next trimester. Such exciting news you shared!!! Congratulations again!!

The white chicken chili and the loaf both look delicious!!