A Quick Catch Up - Life ... It's Why We Cook. Blog at Allrecipes.com - 313077

Life ... It's Why We Cook.

A Quick Catch Up 
Oct. 16, 2013 5:05 pm 
Updated: Dec. 10, 2013 12:04 pm
Let’s see if I can remember how to make this work. It’s been a long time without posting. I was able to nip in and comment on a couple posts but that is it.

My absence has been punctuated by medical issues for my wife. She had a serious surgery in April which successfully eliminated a nerve pain in her face. That was followed by another type of pain afflicting her mouth which discourages her from eating. The medicals are stymied but still working on this one. She also missed the last step on the basement stairway and as she fell, she broke a bone in her right foot.

The April surgery required her to stay quiet and not bend her torso below her waist. Being the headstrong, self-reliant, "no man is going to tell me" type A woman she is, was the formula for a very, very long six weeks. My daily job was largely being a headstrong, self-reliant, "no woman is going to tell me" type A husband that she isn’t used to and had a difficult time dealing with until she discovered how to make it work to her advantage. I won’t go into details because some of you might take that information to your husbands who would, in turn, put a bounty on my hide, and I’m rather attached to it.

Today, my wife and I decided to retire my old truck. Just too much went wrong with it in the past week and, rather than sink good money into what would be a lost cause, we opted to search for another. That truck served me exceedingly well for seventeen years and now … (gulp) … it’s … (gulp) … farewell! Maybe, one day, she’ll be a shiny sports car, or a chainsaw, or a rifle, or a cool knife!

Finding something my wife can eat comfortably is a huge challenge. Soups are the most agreeable, salads are out. She takes cottage cheese or yogurt for her lunches. I do like soups so; making them daily has not been a problem to me. As for recipes? I make the best soup without recipes or I use powdered soups that we buy near Shipshewana, IN because they do not have large quantities of sodium and have no animal products or preservatives. The big plus is they taste great! Her current diet has caused considerable weight loss for her, though. We’ll be seeing her primary doctor on Friday. He might have some advice or help.

I have my fruitcake made. Have yet to brush it down with some peach schnapps and get it wrapped but the flavors haven’t completely matured. I put some ginger in it this time and I’m not so sure I made a good decision. The flavor works but that touch of heat is unexpected.
Oct. 16, 2013 5:19 pm
Welcome back Mike. Thank you for the update. Wishing you and your wife well.
Oct. 16, 2013 5:19 pm
HELLO MIKE!! I have wondered where you were, had no idea of course about your Lady. Very sorry to hear and best of luck for her recovery:) Glad to hear about your fruitcake, Ginger? Sounds interesting!! God bless!
Oct. 16, 2013 5:38 pm
Hi, Mike. I am sorry to hear of the difficulties your wife is has been having. I wish you both well. Good to "see" you 'round here again! peace and blessings. Jan
Oct. 16, 2013 5:46 pm
My best to you & Mrs Mike - stay strong! It sounds like you'll be baking for the Holidays, which will raise your spirits, I'm sure.
They are the apples of my pie 
Oct. 16, 2013 5:55 pm
Take care of yourselves! You are a wonderful hubby! Your wife is lucky to have you!
Oct. 16, 2013 6:12 pm
I missed being here, bd! Thanks for the welcome and well wishes!
Oct. 16, 2013 6:15 pm
Thank you, Patty Cakes! ... "Ginger?? Sounds interesting!!" It is strange but not bad, at all. Just that heat will scare some people. I may just bag this for the freezer and make another batch for the holidays. Or, maybe, send it to Cat!
Oct. 16, 2013 6:16 pm
Thank you, Mrs. J.
Oct. 16, 2013 6:23 pm
And it is good to see you again, Jan! I was sure wondering what happened with you before I took my absence.
Oct. 16, 2013 6:27 pm
scootersandi, the only thing I can make in the deserts book, is fruitcake. Anything else turns out as artificial rocks or swamp muck. Thanks for the comment!
Oct. 16, 2013 6:27 pm
They are the apples of my pie, thank you!
Oct. 16, 2013 7:16 pm
Mike!!!! I'm sorry for you and your wifes troubles! Jim and my thoughts are with the two of you , after all I can remember more than few times that you were there for us!!! You can't go wrong with soup my friend... for soup is good for the soul... there is a few books on that premise! Welcome back dear friend your words of wisdom and your presence has surely been missed! Oh by the way .... my '91 Ford Mustang is always void in my life , hated to put the old girl out to pasture , but......
Oct. 16, 2013 8:42 pm
Good to see you back, Mike! I had no idea Mrs. Mike had such problems after the original surgery. Let her know I send her best wishes! Can she manage things like Mac and cheese if there is no crisp crust? Your fruitcake sounds wonderful to me ..... I'm pretty sure Cat would hate it, LOL! My condolences on the demise of your truck.
Oct. 16, 2013 11:31 pm
Nice to see you again at AR but sorry to read of your wife's health issues. Hope your TLC speeds her healing. Don't forget to take care of yourself too. Can you give me some more specifics about the soup you buy in Shipshewana? Where? At the flea market?
Oct. 17, 2013 12:05 am
Hello Mike and Linda. So sorry to hear about Linda's health concerns. Hope that will be resolved. Keep us posted, please.
Oct. 17, 2013 12:45 am
Aloha Mike! I saved a grass skirt for you. Mi Being Mi will give you hula lessons (= Hugs to you and Mrs Mike!
Oct. 17, 2013 4:39 am
Good morning, Terry! Hopefully I am back. ... I asked in one of your previous posts, if Jim's knees are healed and working well. ... Thank you for the kind words.
Oct. 17, 2013 4:43 am
Good morning, BigShotsMom! Mac and cheese works but it has to cool down a lot before she can eat it. ... Let there be no doubt what-so-ever that Cat would hate that fruitcake.
Oct. 17, 2013 4:49 am
Good morning, Indiana Peggy! The soups are sold at E&S Sales, 1265 N. State Road 5, Shipshewana, IN 260-768-4736. Their foods are bulk foods that they have repackaged and their selection of foods is very large. State Road 5 is just south of Shipshewana.
Oct. 17, 2013 4:52 am
Good morning, Maggi! Linda is up and around but the pain makes her extra tired so when she gets home she is exhausted. Maybe tomorrow the doctor will be able to relieve the pain.
Oct. 17, 2013 4:55 am
Good morning, Gammaray! I look good in a grass skirt and I can hula but I would be arrested if I did it in public. Mi Being Mi might not want to hula with that.
Oct. 17, 2013 5:48 am
Indiana Peggy, E&S is just south of Shipshewana on State Road 5.
Oct. 17, 2013 5:54 am
Jim's knee is pain free but still lacks some range of motion! Now the right one is hurting.... ugh... really don't want to go through that again!!! I'll tell him you asked!
Oct. 17, 2013 6:01 am
Hello Mike! I am glad to see you back and blogging. I hope your wife gets better. Can your wife eat something like thin spaghetti cut up small with a white sauce or risotto?
Oct. 17, 2013 6:08 am
Is it trigeminal nerve pain? Try bone broth, the gelatinized kind. Takes longer but is SUPER filling and nutritious. poaching eggs in it helps too. dont skim the fat, she'll need it for healing.
Oct. 17, 2013 6:44 am
Well, there you are - been missing you! So sorry you and your wife have been going through some rough patches - so glad she has you to encourage her. If there is anyone up to the challenge, it is you. Man, oh man, I know making the decision to retire your truck was hard. Glad you realize there is life hereafter even for a cherished truck :) Praying for you guys!
Oct. 17, 2013 6:54 am
Keep us posted, Terry!
Oct. 17, 2013 6:56 am
Lela, soft foods work best for her but, it seems, acidic foods cause her pain, too.
Oct. 17, 2013 7:02 am
Biscuits, she had a craniotomy to correct trigeminal neuralgia and that is successful. This new pain has her surgeon baffled. He is consulting other doctors in Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Cinic (MN & FL). I'll use the bone broth, thank you!
Oct. 17, 2013 7:05 am
Thank you, Shearone! I think I'm back as a regular, again.
Oct. 17, 2013 7:53 am
Say what? Send what? Glad to see you blogging!! Been thinking of you and Linda. I hope the DR figures out something soon for her! Just this morning I remembered that I forgot to tell you about your spice mix. Just loved that stuff, it inspired me to figure how to make my own tomato powder. Hope Linda feels much better soon!
Oct. 17, 2013 7:56 am
Sorry to hear about Mrs. Mike. Would Ensure help her keep some weight up and get her vitamins and things? I know they make the same type of stuff for diabetics too. Can't think of the name other than Boost but I don't think that's a sugar free type. Anyway, sorry to hear about the truck, it's hard to put them down isn't it? :)
Oct. 17, 2013 8:47 am
Good morning, Cat! I just refilled my container for that blend. First thing I tried after making it, was your idea for putting it on popcorn ... OMG! To judge the taste of it I did not use butter or salt. I decided to leave it that way! It was awesome! I feel that I shouldn't be calling it my blend because I was trying to copy that lost Australian mix. I decided that, because I worked so hard at it and portaged the expense of it, that I could claim it as mine but inspired by the Australian blend. ... I couldn't justify making my own tomato powder in the small quantity I needed so I ordered it from Barry Farm. To make it, prep the tomatoes just as you would for canning but after peeling them, slice them on a parchment covered baking sheet that will fit your dehydrator. Dry to crisp then into your food processor. That's it! I prefer the Barry Farm route.
Oct. 17, 2013 8:54 am
Good Morning, Sassy! Linda has a drink she prepares every morning. It is intended for athletes but it is working well for dietary needs. Thank you for the suggestions. ... That old truck has been great from the day I took it off the dealers lot 17 years ago. I bought it in October of '96 and I am retiring it in October '13.
Oct. 17, 2013 11:01 am
Yay! Mike is back! I hope Cat responds. I love a good tradition, and Fruitcake Wars could definitely qualify as both good and a tradition! Sorry to hear of the troubles, but you seem to be getting along. I hope things get better for you and the missus.
Oct. 17, 2013 12:35 pm
BRING IT!!! I am absolutely sure gderr and I can get down and skirmish in the great Fruitcake Battle!
Oct. 17, 2013 12:37 pm
Oh, got side tracked there. Mike, you know me, I have to try and make my own. I have a dehydrator so hence the tomato powder which is sooo good at boosting flavor. Now, if I could just find some confounded time to sit down and blog, I would share my great popcorn flavoring find! AND NO, it's not fruitcake flavored!
Oct. 17, 2013 1:53 pm
It's good to see you back here, Mike! I hope all is getting better for your wife. You and your fruitcake - you know how I feel about that stuff - umm... no thank you! Sorry about your truck, but it sounds like it served you well. I just recently traded my Explorer in for a brand new Escape. We really didn't need the gas guzzling Explorer anymore.
Oct. 17, 2013 3:32 pm
So, so glad to have you back blogging Mike. I have missed you. I had no idea Linda had such a hard time of it with the nerve surgery. However, I'm thrilled that she's doing better. I hate it when a trusted friend (your ole' pickup in this case) becomes too expensive to continue to pouring $$$ into. Cest le' vie old girl! Now, you may not believe me, but here I am in Washington DC on vacation with DD Christine and today I was thinking "when I get home, I've got to get started on Mike's Fruit Cake." I promise, I was really thinking that today. I'm just a wacky gal! Now, tell me about that Spice Mix!
Oct. 17, 2013 3:37 pm
Glad to see you Mike !!! I don't usually comment on blogs , but always read yours . Have been wondering where you have been . Very sorry to hear about Mrs. Mike , but knowing she is in capable hands things will be o.k. I am familiar with E&S store , since I don't live too far from there , or from you for that matter . Have never checked out the soup mixes . Will do so now . Thanks for the heads up . Best of luck to you and the missus ! lump :)
Oct. 17, 2013 5:06 pm
Just had to kick the Cat, didn't you, Doc! She's probably waking the rest of the Cat Camp and drilling them for the war. ... Once my wife's current issue is cleared up, we should be in good shape again.
Oct. 17, 2013 5:14 pm
M'lady Cat, If Doc would apologize for stirring you up, would you reconsider? ... I'm all for making my (your) own. The fewer people in the food supply the better off we'll be! I have come to trust Barry Farm so I buy their products. ... Well, if you don't have time to write a blog, you probably don't have time to keep up with a fruitcake war. Hmmmm.
Oct. 17, 2013 5:17 pm
Thank you, Mother Ann! Hopefully, we'll be given some help tomorrow when we see her primary care physician. He's someplace between very, very good and excellent. ... Parking the old coworker is difficult but when safety and the budget are at risk, it is time.
Oct. 17, 2013 5:28 pm
The spice blend is recipe is in your email, Candice. Here's the link to an explanation on the spice blend. http://allrecipes.com/cook/13101603/blogentry.aspx?postid=242823
Oct. 17, 2013 5:32 pm
Hi, lumpygravy! Maybe we could give you a lift the next time we go to E&S. Could even see if Indiana Peggy would join up, too!
Oct. 17, 2013 6:57 pm
I am sorry to hear of all the difficulties your better half has been having! You are a pretty good half yourself, for taking such good care of her. The world needs more like you :)
Oct. 18, 2013 5:55 am
So sorry to hear about your challenges, Mike. It seems many of us have had our share. Sounds like you've got a good handle on it and are still enjoying the kitchen. Your fruitcake sounds heavenly! Take care.
Oct. 18, 2013 7:24 am
Hi,petey! The challenges seem to be lessening. When we get past this one, we should be in good shape. For old folks, that is! ;) I don't know if the world really needs more like me, I have a fairly dark past. Thank you, though!
Oct. 18, 2013 7:31 am
Cookin'Cyn, We are overcoming the challenges, it just seems that they ganged up on my wife. As for the kitchen, well ... it's not happening yet. Here's the link to my post with the recipe for the fruitcake. http://allrecipes.com/cook/13101603/blogentry.aspx?postid=292136 ... The comments became quite involved when CatHill began her tirade about how much she hated fruitcake. Be sure to read the comments.
Oct. 18, 2013 12:31 pm
I'll make time! Only because I feel so strongly about this and SOOO many people missed last year's blog due to your incendiary nature. And I NEVER said I hated fruitcake. I do confess a very strong dislike to it though! I do believe gderr and I talked about fruitcakes taking the place of the poor defenseless pumpkins in punkin chunkin contests though. Oh was that a thought I was going to share this year when you post your recipe, which Candice loved and hid from her family when she received some, as a blog again. It was a great blog!! Ginger could only improve it I think ;)
Oct. 19, 2013 7:56 am
Boy, this is one active post! Just wanted to say I came back and got the soup info you posted and will check it out. We go "up north" several times a month and can go over that way. Thanks!
Oct. 19, 2013 4:33 pm
Cat, maybe you could write a bog about how terrible fruitcake is and I will jump in about how good is is? Just a thought.
Oct. 19, 2013 4:36 pm
Indiana Peggy, if you want my wife and I to join up with you and your guest (you did say "we".), shoot an email toward me. ... pita2wife@gmail.com. Maybe, we could get lumpygravy top go along. Hmmm ... a mini roundup?
Oct. 21, 2013 9:42 am
Oh Mercy! That seems so mean for all the fruitcake lovers for me to blast such a familiar fixture of the holiday season. At this moment I am recalling a vivid memory from Christmas. We are all around my grandmother's table, the one in my dining room now, and that is dessert. A hideous dark brown lump studded with bright candied fruit and nuts. Oh how my young child's heart wanted that to be good. Surely the fruit would be tasty and it was called cake. There was promise there. NOT!! Once the fork delivered that first nasty piece what could I do? Wouldn't be the first time as a child I dumped a nasty "treat" in a plant. Alas there were none at my grandma's.
Oct. 26, 2013 10:22 pm
Mike, glad to see you back in the blogosphere. Sorry Mrs. Mike is having difficulties. Hope the docs can figure out the next course of action. Can you make fruitcake without, well..., the fruit? My main objection is the candied fruit. Just leave me the cake and nuts.
Dec. 10, 2013 12:04 pm
we are looking for you on the buzz:-)
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Mike Harvey, daPITA

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About Me
At age 16, I began cooking when my mother was injured in an accident that kept her off her feet for five weeks. At first, my repertoire was fried hot dogs with pork and beans, boiled hot dogs with macaroni and cheese or pizza from a box. After a couple weeks of this, my younger brother was the first to protest and demand variety and my dad was quick to support him. That was my first cooking challenge, learning to plan a meal. About that time, mom returned from the hospital and from her bed, began teaching me things like roast beef, fried chicken, stews and all the sides and trimmings. In 1967, I married and my wife designated herself as the cook and this continued until 1999. It was then that I (voluntarily) began cooking again. At some point, I realized that I was having fun and began searching for recipes that were more challenging and interesting. I found AR and used it's recipes for a long time before registering and later becoming an active member.
My favorite things to cook
Soups. How can I go wrong? They are a great way to use up leftovers and those veggies that are approaching the end of their usefulness. They are always an original recipe. Roasts and steaks are favored, also. Getting the right "doneness" and choosing appropriate sides for a tastey and attractive meal is a continuing and always evolving menu.
My favorite family cooking traditions
If creating impulsive menus and recipes is a tradition then, (I guess) we have a tradition. A new tradition is developing. I have a fruitcake recipe that, I believe, is near perfection. I make it just before Thanksgiving so it is aged enough for the Christmas/ New Year holidays.
My cooking triumphs
Without a doubt, my own recipe for a Reuben Sandwich. It has been a demanded item for many years and I shared it in my AR blog. http://allrecipes.com/Cook/13101603/BlogEntry.aspx?postid=204609
My cooking tragedies
Too many. I have been able to throw them out and have something new before my wife gets home. Most of the time, anyway.
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