Tuesday, June 28, 2011

healing at home and comfort food

it's been an eventful week. besides an avalanche of "to-do" items at work and a never-ending laundry list of "get-done-now-or-never-get-done" items at home, panda underwent a major surgery last thursday to minimize the knee pain that she has been feeling for years. i have to back this story up a bit so that you can grasp the big-picture ... panda had 9 surgeries on her right knee up until this point. it started in her late teens with a soccer-induced knee injury (yep! healthy sports, huh??) and over the years, she's gone in fairly regularly to have work done on her knee so that she could keep ... well, walking, driving, moving ... you know, those daily functions that our knees help us accomplish. on her latest visit to her doc, there came a crystalline moment in which they agreed that these surgical "clean outs" just weren't cutting it (pun not intended) anymore and a more drastic measure needed to be taken. enter the idea of an osteotomy. to spare you the gross details, basically it is meant to help realign the knee allowing for less pressure in the most damaged knee area; it involves cutting a wedge of bone out of her femur and putting in some plates, screws ... you know, things that you find in a hardware store. so ~ after 3 hours of waiting, 4 hours of surgery, 18 staples in the incision, 2 nights in the hospital and a good number of doses of wonderful IV painkillers, panda finally made it home and is not installed on our comfy pull-out bed in the living room for a 1 -2 weeks of rest and recovery to be followed by 6 - 8 weeks of crutches and healing along with a unspecified amount of time of PT. ahhhh ... deep breath in and out ...

thankfully, my honey is home! safe, sound and sore ... but home. to say that we were both exhausted and emotionally wrung out upon our return to our cozy haven is an understatement. we both NEEDED to just curl up into balls on our respective couches (no more snuggling in for me --- after all, i AM a klutz!), zone out and take a few deep breaths knowing that we were home. it was time to find some comfort and get ready for the recovery and healing stages - neither of which are painless).

knowing that we would be home-bound for a while (no complaints on my part!), i had a fairly well-stocked fridge and pantry. it was time to dig in and make some yummy comfort food to nourish our bodies and our tired souls. now, if you know me, you probably know that recipes are suggestions to me (kind of like speed limits and traffic signs). i take the gist of the recipe and then do with it what i wish. we had a HUGE bag of broccoli sitting in our fridge, so i started on a search for a good & quick broccoli soup recipe ... and here's what i ended up creating:

Quick & YUMMY Soul-Soothing Broccoli Soup
~ one medium onion, chopped
~ one handful garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
~ generous touch of olive oil & one pat of butter
~ broccoli florets (as much as you like - i used approximately 3 heads of florets)
~ chicken or veggie stock
~ spices as you desire (i used tumeric, paprika, oregano, cumin, s&p, chopped ginger)
~ sour cream, yogurt or some other dairy product to make it creamy

1) saute onion and garlic in olive oil & butter til translucent or carmelized (as you like it)
2) add in desired spices and cook to toast spices and develop flavor
3) add in 1 box chicken or veggie stock (approximately 4 - 6 cups. depends on the soup consistency you like)
4) add in broccoli and let simmer for 6 - 8 minutes until cooked through
5) take pot off heat and blend (i used immersion blender, but you can use traditional blender but i suggest you blend in batches to minimize mess)
5) when you reach desired consistency, taste and adjust spices as needed. if too runny, put pot back on heat and simmer to thicken
6) take pot off heat when reached desired consistency and add in sour cream or yogurt. let soup rest a few minutes so that everything melds together

i've got to tell you ... that was some YUMMY soup! a couple of days later, I used it as the base for a pasta casserole that i made with leftover kalua beef, corn, beans and cheese.

as tired as i've been ~ partially because i don't sleep well when my family isn't at home, partially because there's a part of me that stays alert listening out for panda since she's still feeling some crazy pain and discomfort, partially because, well, i'm a bit stressed ~ it is comforting to retreat to my kitchen and make food with love. there's a soothing rhythm that i fall into as i chop, season, stir and ponder in front of my stove. and so as the healing continues so will the food creations.

we're wishing you all comfort and love in your homes ...

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