Wednesday, October 26, 2016

CEREBRAL PALSY STORIES: The Handy Lap Tray


Over the years while I was growing up, my family and I have done everything possible to make it easier for me to things for myself because of my disability.  One of the prime examples of equipment that my Mom made years ago is a lap tray she got while shopping at Ikea.  When she originally bought the tray, that's all it was-just a tray.




Now you might imagine that for someone like me, it would be somewhat difficult to use a tray while worrying about whether or not it slip off my lap and fall to the floor, but my thanks to my Mom's good skills at adapting special equipment for me over the years, she thought of this beforehand while designing it for my use.  

To make thing easier for me she did two things.  First, she put a pillowcase cover on it so that whatever we would put on it, I would be able to move it around easier with my hands since the surface of the tray was originally much more grippier that before the pillowcase was added. Secondly, she added a pair of hook straps to the tray so that it could be tied around the armrests on my wheelchair.  



The train sits on my lap and I loop the straps around the supports for my wheelchair's armrest.



Then, I hook the straps together to keep the tray from sliding off.

As for how the tray itself comes in handy for me, its main purpose is for the TV and sound remote controls while watching television.  I also use the tray to put my snack plate on during the day when I'm feeling hungry for a snack as well as my cell phone when my Mom goes for her morning run. Without it my hands and arms would definitely get stiff and tired from holding these various objects myself.  



The Handy Lap Tray has definitely proven its worth and value to me ever since I started using it many years ago.  I would say my favorite thing about it is that I don't have to roll up to the TV and change the channel like people had to in the old days.  So if you are in a family of someone who is disabled, a lap tray like mine could be useful in allowing those members of the disabled community some freedom and independence while either watching the local news or a Sunday football game in peace.

Tim Musick
Copyright 2016
All Rights Reserved.


Sunday, October 16, 2016

TODAY'S MENU: Ispanaki Patates and Bacon/Spinach Omelet


It's a Popeye themed day today. Spinach and potato casserole for dinner...Turkish style...plus bacon/spinach omelets for breakfast. Recipes at the links below.

You'll be good to the finish if you eat your spinach...


BREAKFAST: Bacon/spinach omelet using our basic omelet recipe and stuffing with bacon, spinach, and cheese.


DINNER: Ispanaki Patates Casserole

Darryl

The Cocktail Hour - Copper Canyon

A cool, copper colored drink with tequila as its base.  This is another of my custom creations and since it uses a Mexican spirit I named it after the big canyon in Mexico that civilization has hardly touched.




INGREDIENTS (two drinks)
2 oz - tequila
1 oz - blackberry brandy
1/2 oz - lime juice
1 cup - raw cranberry juice
splash of pomegranate syrup

Pour all ingredients into a shaker 1/2 filled with ice.  Shake and strain into two chilled cocktail glasses.

Cheers!

-Darryl

Thursday, October 13, 2016

DINNER: Ispanakli Patates Casserole


Ispanakli Patates is Turkish and it basically translates to spinach potato. Recently in Berlin, we were treated to the most fantastic food in the Turkish neighborhood where we were staying. The Turks are one of the biggest non-German ethnic groups in the city, over 300,000 live there.

Our favorite restaurant...though, it's hard to pick one out of all the good restaurants there...is Cafe Neffes.  I had this wonderful spinach and potato casserole there one night and vowed to try to make it for myself when we returned.

A couple of weeks later, after browsing dozens of Turkish recipe websites, I've came up with my own variation.


INGREDIENTS

1 cup cooked spinach (1 cup after cooking)
1 cup Greek or Mediterranean yogurt
2 oz. feta cheese crumbles
1 small pasilla chile, chopped

2 large tomatoes or 4 medium tomatoes, diced
1 cube chicken bouillon
3 Mexican green onions or 1 medium white onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
dash of nutmeg
1/2 pound golden fingerling potatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil

1 link soujuk sausage, thinly sliced (easiest to do when frozen)
2 eggs

In a pot of boiling water, boil the potatoes for 30 minutes over medium heat.

If your  spinach isn't already cooked, put a tablespoon of olive oil in a 12" pan. When hot, fill as completely as you can with spinach and cover. It should render down to about a cup of cooked spinach in around 5 minutes. When cool enough, chop it up.


In a medium sauce pan, heat up 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onions and cook...stirring...until translucent. About 2 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and pasilla chiles. Add the chicken bouillon. Add the garlic, oregano, marjoram, and nutmeg. 

Stir in and bring to a boil. Add spinach and stir in. Turn the heat to medium and boil for 5 minutes then turn heat off.


When the potatoes are done boiling, strain and set aside.

Coat a casserole dish (about 3 quarts) with another tablespoon of olive oil. Put a layer of the tomato/spinach sauce on the bottom in a fine layer. Put some sausage over that and sprinkle with feta cheese. Spread a layer of yogurt over that. Ladle some potatoes over that.


Repeat this layering until you run out of sauce.


Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, put two raw whole eggs on top, put back in over for 10 minutes to cook eggs. 

Let cool for 10 minutes after that before serving.

Darryl Musick
Copyright 2016 - All Rights Reserved



Friday, October 7, 2016

DINNER: Grilled Chicken in a Shitake Cream Sauce


You've got your basic four barnyard meats...beef, pork, and chicken. Oh sure, you might mix it up with a duck or some lamb.  Maybe some sausages or even fish but for the most part, you're going with the big three.

It's imperative to mix it up as much as you can, try something different, to build your recipe database and to not get bored.

This is what I did with this week's meal..we'd had steak last week and only had a pack of chicken thighs along with the beef in the freezer so I needed a new way to prepare the chicken.

Of course, the easiest way to change it up is with a new sauce...

INGREDIENTS


3 or 4 chicken thighs (we leave the skin on)
1 small, white onion
8 whole shitake mushrooms
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon tarragon
1 tablespoon strained bacon grease or lard
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup half and half
salt and pepper to taste


The chicken is grilled on the barbecue according to our barbecued chicken recipe. When done, we just pour the sauce on top.


Finely dice the onion and two of the mushrooms. I use a small food processor for this.


Heat up the bacon grease (or lard) in a small sauce pan.  When hot, add the diced onion and mushroom mixture.  Cook on high until the onions are translucent.







Slice the remaining mushrooms. Add them and the chicken broth to the sauce pan and bring to a boil.


Add garlic and tarragon. Reduce heat to low and simmer 15- 20 minutes to reduce.





Turn heat off. Two minutes after turning off heat, add half and half, stir in, and ladle over chicken to serve. Add salt and pepper to taste.



Darryl Musick
Copyright 2016 - All Rights Reserved