I'll never capitalize cancer

I have alot going on in my life, more than just cancer and chemo. Sure it's a big part of my life right now, but it's not the most important part of my life. You will never see me spell it with a capital "c".

I'm a Wife and Mom. I love my Family. I have good Friends. We do fun stuff and dumb stuff and sometimes we argue and then we laugh again. We go to work and to the grocery store and we go swimming and have birthday parties and get ready for the first day of school.

I keep saying that I don't want ovarian cancer to define me, but sometimes I just can't help it.

A good friend put it this way for me "cancer may be defining your life for the moment, but it is not your entire life. You seem to just make time for it." That made me feel better.

If you want to see it from the beginning, my cancer story begins in March.

The rest of my story is happening now.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I cook like Granma Hanson

You know, a little of this a pinch of that. Granma never used a recipe. Or at least that's what we all thought.

When we went through her things after she passed, we found all the papers and clippngs with lists of ingredients and directions. I think those recipes were just guidelines, then she'd ad lib a bit to make it her own.

I usually start with a recipe, then I get an idea to change it up a bit. It turns out OK, tasty and all, but then I can never get it to taste the same way twice.

This morning I decided to have my Spark and fix pancakes for breakfast. I also needed to make a dish for my favorite Newsman to take to his potluck at work. This all could have been very simple - but nothing is simple in my world.

I wanted to be festive and healthy. I fixed up hot apple cider orange Spark, protein pancakes with Berry Meal Replacement Shake, and low carb smashed sweet potatoes with butternut squash. Still pretty easy. Until I started to change stuff.

I'll share the recipes that I started with, but then I added a little more of this and a pinch of that, plus some of those over there.

Hot Apple Orange Spark
Heat 1/2 cup apple cider and 3/4 cup water, mix in 1 scoop mandarin orange Spark

Berry Pancakes - a tasty low fat way to sneak in extra protein, calcium and fiber as well as vitamins and minerals. I make a bunch of these to reheat later.
mix 1 1/2 - 2 cups water with Berry Meal Replacement Shake, use this to replace the milk to add to any quick pancake mix. I used a gluten free mix. You may want to adjust more or less liquid depending on how thick you want your pancakes. Try with spray butter and sugar free fruit spread instead of syrup. But really they're tasty as is. They make great travel snacks for the car.

Smashed Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash
This is a low carb low calorie version of candied yams with marshmallows. A variation on this mashed potato recipe.
1 medium butternut s
quash (2 pounds), halved lengthwise and seeded
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup hot milk
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of cayenne

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a jelly-roll pan with foil. Place the squash halves cut sides down on the foil. Bake 1 hour, or until tender. Turn the squash over and let cool.
2. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and add enough cold water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and cook 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain the potatoes.
3. In a small skillet, melt the butter over low heat. Cook until browned, about 2 minutes, and set aside.
4. Return the hot potatoes to the pan. Mash with a potato masher until smooth. Add the milk and mash until blended. With a spoon, scoop the squash into the potatoes. Add half of the browned butter, the orange zest, salt, and cayenne. Mash until blended. Reheat over low heat, stirring constantly, until hot. Turn into a serving dish and make indentations with the back of a spoon. Drizzle the remaining butter over the top.

I couldn't help myself, I added a bit more cayenne, and some brown sugar (not so low carb anymore!)

And be sure to mix it all with your hands, makes it taste better - just like Granma's!