My adventure today…

Living On Oxygen for Life

This was my adventure today. I made cinnamon swirl bread because K asked me to try to make it. It came out a little muffin-topped but when it cooled down a bit I cut a slice off and ate it warm with butter. It’s delicious even though I forgot to add salt. Oops! I read that it makes great French toast. Uh, who doesn’t like French toast???

From start to finish, this bread took me 3 hours to make. While I waited for the rise time to finish, I rinsed the dishes I used and ran a load of laundry through the washing machine. I’m still getting use to our new high-efficiency washing machine that looks like it barely uses enough water to dampen the clothes and has no real clothes agitator. Is it just me or do you wonder how or if the clothing even gets clean? It boggles my mind.

It’s definitely quiet time now at 5:30 pm and I’m ready for a power nap. So, I’m going to strap on my bipap machine with my oxygen and lie down to recharge enough to make dinner in about an hour or so. It feels like it’s been a long day.

I hope everyone has had a good day so far!

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My Rookie Experience in Trying a New Thing and How to keep life interesting.

Living On Oxygen for Life

The past few months, I have lost a lot of interest in doing a lot of things that I normally would enjoy. Part of it is from depression and the other part is a decline in health. I’ve slowed down quite a bit. I still “garden” but K waters the garden for me. I still crochet but it takes me longer to complete an afghan. I don’t leave the house on my own as much because it drains me a lot. But I still do it because I need to feel like my old self as much as possible. I get out of the house more WITH K than alone.

I try to find different things to experiment with to keep my interest and find the happiness I need to keep me getting out of bed while K is working. So, I look to Pinterest a lot. Recently, I’ve challenged myself into conquering Yeast Rolls. Since I don’t have a KitchenAid stand mixer or a bread machine, I thought mixing and kneading the dough by hand would wear me out. When I finally found a recipe the creates only 4 rolls, I thought… “What the heck! Even I can do THAT!” Right? So, my foray into baking with yeast begins. My first time I produce the 4 rolls but the crust was too hard and they were dense. The third time I tried, I found the perfect recipe! This recipe calls for more milk than water and 2 eggs. Wow! Who knew that these changes would produce awesome dinner rolls?

There are some people on my FaceBook Page (Living On O2 for Life) have seen my posts about my experience with baking yeast rolls and want the recipe of the rolls I made this week. So, here it is… I hope you understand my method of explanation:

Buttery Soft Top Yeast Rolls

3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs (room temperature)
4 cups flour + a couple of tablespoons if needed (I used all-purpose flour)
2 1/4 tsp of instant yeast (1 package or 1 pkg of active yeast)

I used instant yeast this time but you can use active yeast because I do the same process of proofing the yeast for either kind.

TIP #1: I use glass and tupperware bowls to make the dough.
TIP #2: When measuring flour, ALWAYS spoon it into your measuring cup without packing it in or shaking the flour down. Level off with a straight edge.

Combine milk, 2 tsp of the sugar (the rest goes in the big bowl) & water. Warm in the microwave about 30 seconds on high, stir and then microwave another 30 seconds and stir again. Test with a thermometer and make sure the liquid reaches approximately 110 degrees. NO HOTTER or you could kill off your yeast. (make sure you have the sugar in there for the yeast to eat!) Once your Milk/Water/Sugar is warm, add yeast and stir softly and set aside to froth & foam for 10 minutes. (it smells so good!)

Melt butter in the microwave in a small bowl and let it cool.

While using a blender (I used my hand mixer) to combine 1 cup of flour & 2 (room temperature) eggs and then add in the butter once it’s cooled but still liquid.

Add the frothy yeast/milk/water/sugar to the Flour/eggs/butter that you just combine with the mixer and use the blender while adding another cup of flour. By this time, unless you have a stand mixer, you’ll need to change over to using a rubber spatula to add the rest of your flour. I had to do this last part with a rubber spatula because I don’t have a kitchenaid stand mixer. Don’t worry, it’s not that hard or tiresome.

The dough will seem a little sticky after you incorporate the four cups of flour but it shouldn’t stick to the bowl. If you need a little flour, add it by the tablespoon. I only needed about 2 tablespoons of extra flour. It will be sticky but it shouldn’t stick to your fingers.

Let the dough rest a few minutes in the bowl (I needed a little few minutes of a break) and then knead the dough. I kneaded my dough in the bowl instead of on a countertop for about 5 to 10 minutes (closer to about 10). It saved me from getting my countertop dirty. I eyeballed how much kneading was needed by testing its stretchiness (something about a window of dough)!

After kneading, I just left the dough in the bowl and covered it with a Turkey Roasting oven bag since I had a box of them from when I thought I would try roasting a turkey one year. That didn’t happen. *rolling my eyes* The roasting bag fits nicely over the big, gigantic bowl I use to make the dough. I set the covered bowl in my warm garage (it’s in the 90s here now) and then the waiting started for the dough to rise to twice its original size. About an hour, maybe more, maybe less.

Meanwhile, I cleaned up my mess and read a book on my Kindle app while occasionally glancing at the TV. Yeah, I’m that good! haha! When the dough is twice its original size, I brought it back into the kitchen and pressed/punched it down. I used my cutting board and a 8-inch sharp knife to cut the dough in equal portions. You should be able to get 15 pieces that you can form into approximately 2 – 2.5 inch balls. Don’t over manipulate the dough. Just gently fold the edges under and pinch the bottom seam together.

Rolls after rising to twice their size.


Place dough balls, seam side down, into a Pam sprayed 9 X 13 inch pan. I put my pan with the rolls back into the Roasting Bag and moved them back out into the garage to rise again to twice the size. By the time they have risen, they’ll spread to fill the pan. Take them out of the bag, preheat oven to 375 degrees and used melted butter to brush on top of each roll. Add a pan or baking dish of water on the bottom rake in the over under the place the rolls will go. It helps to bake them with this water to make the tops softer. Bake for 13 – 16 minutes depending on your altitude where you live. They should be nicely golden brown on the top. When they are done, butter the tops again and sprinkle with sea salt (I used Mediterranean Pink Sea Salt). Then eat one! Or two or three! YUM.

Let me know if I made any mistakes or if you have any helpful tips in the comment section.

The Weekend with Company

Living On Oxygen for Life

I had my older sister and her family in town for a visit this last weekend and had a great time. However, I could tell almost right away that my health has drastically changed since the last time they visited. It was a real eye-opener for me and quite discouraging too.

Thankfully, I was already in the habit of preparing in advance a meal or two to be able to pull out of the fridge or freezer and heat up. Mostly, these were for dinner. I have found this to be extremely time and energy efficient for me. Well, really, for everyone. My sister now knows that I can’t help her much in the kitchen and still have energy to talk with her. I get pretty short of breath. So, after dinner, she would have me go sit down and she would take over to clean the whole kitchen.

One thing I’ve learned about both of my sisters is that when they do something at my house for me, it’s because they want to. Mainly because they don’t want me to wear myself out just because they are there to visit and because they actually WANT to do it.

It’s just like my older sister to bring me her special Christmas cookies as part of my Christmas gift from her. Before I was even able to get one, everyone started eating them. I was like… Heeeyyyy… *pout* They are that good. I was willing to share but gee wiz. So, she went to the store to buy all the ingredients that I didn’t already have to make another batch for me. Yay!!! As she’s whipping up another batch of sugar cookie dough, I was amazed at how easy it was for her and she wasn’t even tired! I had to go sit down after a little bit of watching, help with cleaning, and holding the cookie pans so that my niece and sister could place the cookies on each pan. I helped Frost some too but my niece did all of the Sprinkles artwork!

Christmas cookies

After they left for home, I was so tired but I had stuff to do Monday and we ended up having to take Rocco to the vet on Tuesday because he tweaked his back and we wanted to make sure he hadn’t damaged anything. He’s going to be ok. No jumping for a while.

So, today is recovery day. I’m resting all of today. I already told K not to even ask me to do anything or go anywhere because I just needed one whole day of quiet rest. I’m going to post the recipe of one of the dinners I premade for my sister’s visit in case you want to try it. It will be under the In the Kitchen link of my blog’s menu. Beef Tips is what I made and my sister asked for the recipe. I’ll try to get my enchiladas recipe on here too but I’ll do that in a few days. Take care everyone.

The hustle and bustle of December…

Living On Oxygen for Life

Oh the hustle and bustle of December. Are you feeling it too? Feeling a little overwhelmed… stressed out.. so darn busy? My December started, of course, with my heart cath. Though, I’m relieved with the results from the cath, the after effects of the catheter that was inserted into my heart and partially into a lung, gave me two days of mild arrhythmias and made me feel a little tired. However, I bounced back to tackle Christmas. Hooray!

Fireplace

I really enjoy Christmas but I don’t have a whole lot of energy for decorating. K really stepped up this year. He wanted to make this Christmas really nice because last Christmas was such a sad one. His dad was very sick and then he ended up passing away. This year was totally different. Oh my gosh! He went all out! He wanted this Christmas to feel festive and happy. I have to tell you. He did a wonderful job. In fact, I was asked to hire him out to decorate other people’s houses. That’s so crazy! Above is a picture of our Mantle he decorated.

We didn’t have a White Christmas this year. In fact, it was 70 degrees the day after. So weird… I know!!! I got busy creating a stocking for Mary (my cat) and Rocco (my pup) this month. I think they turned out pretty well. I got no complaints from them. In fact, Santa had NO problem filling them with goodies this year. Here’s the picture of them:

Pet Stockings

December is the hardest month of the year for me.. well, for K and my relationship. It’s all a lot of STRESS and a little bit of loneliness because K has to work longer days. He needs me to take care of him instead of the other way around. Then there is the Christmas shopping, wrapping, decorating, baking… etc.. Not to mention the weather turns cold and dreary which makes us feel a little blah, blah, blah. So, what do I do? First and foremost, I take a chill pill (no pill actually taken!) and tell myself, “It will be ok.” Then I turn to K and say, “K, (yes, I actually call him K) let’s do this Christmas thing!” Naturally, we remember baby Jesus was born on Christmas. Mustn’t forget that!

Part of breaking through the stress building up is realizing that my freezer and crockpot is my best friend in the kitchen. If I’m making lasagna, I make enough to make an extra 8″x8″ pan of it to freeze for a time where I just don’t have energy to cook. You can do the same with Chili, Meatloaf, Enchiladas, etc.. I’m in love with my Crockpot and have my mother-in-law as my go-to person for recipe questions. She has the best Spare ribs crockpot recipe in the world. Yes, I will share it with you. Be patient, I’m still typing this blog post. I’ll get to it next. hehe! Where was I? To be able to throw food in a crockpot and forget about it for about 5 to 8 hours, is truly a luxury and an energy saver. So, when you’ve mastered freezing meals and crockpot cooking, you are going in the right direction.

Another thing is, if you are cooking a Christmas meal, order a cooked turkey or ham from your grocery store or from a store that does that kind of business. That way, it’s done, you don’t have to worry about cooking it. All you have to do is send someone out to pick it up. The very most you would have to do is warm it up in your oven. Have others bring dishes of food to go with the meat. Why do YOU have to do it all? You shouldn’t have to. You can even make cookie dough, freeze it, and then pull it out of the freezer when you have the energy to finish the job. I know for a fact that my older sister freezes her sugar cookie dough after she makes it because she just does NOT have the time to make & bake all those cookies in one day. And she’s a healthy person! By the way… I’m getting a whole batch of frosted sugar cookies from her for my Christmas gift this year! Oh yeah, they are SOOO worth it! Yippee!! Ok technically, I’m not getting them until next month when she comes to visit but it’s something I look forward to very much.

Since it’s the end of the year, you know what next month will bring. Yep, new health insurance deductibles to meet for 2015. Well, I do and it stinks. I’m not real excited about that but hey, it is what it is. However, I’m not going to worry about it because I’m thinking about eating the Sugar Cookies that my sister will bring. Oh and seeing my sister and her family too. That’s what I really mean! *wink*

I hope you have a great New Year’s Eve! I have a great project for next year. I’ll blog about it in a day or two. Love to you all!

What a busy week!

Living On O2 for Life

Just before New Year’s Day, I get a text from my younger sister. What a great surprise that she’s close by and had asked to meet us for lunch! AWESOME! Before we left, I baked her favorite cookies to take with us. Here’s my special recipe for the cookies! And you’re welcome! haha!

No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

2 cups of sugar
1/2 stick of butter
3/4 cup of peanut butter (i use smooth.. the original recipe has less PB)
1/2 cup of milk (I’ve used 4 oz. of evaporated milk before when I was out of milk)
1/3 cup cocoa
3 cups of quick oatmeal
1 tsp of vanilla

In a medium sauce pan, stirring constantly, combine sugar, butter, cocoa and milk on MEDIUM heat. Bring to just before it bubbles and then add peanut butter. Heat to a slow boil, stirring constantly, and then boil for about 1 minute or 1 1/2 minutes. Take off heat and quickly add vanilla and then oatmeal.

Stir oatmeal in until all is well coated and then spoon out cookie sized shapes onto waxed paper lined newspaper. Let them cool and when they are hard, store in ziplock or tupperware.

After meeting and having lunch with my younger sister, we drove home and I had a smile on my face the whole way. I had a great time. Though, where we met them for lunch was in a casino. Do you realize that nearly everything except a casino will close on New Year’s Day??? I had a little trouble finding a restaurant to meet them at for lunch. Crazy, I KNOW!!

The weekend was coming up quickly, after New Year’s Day, and my older sister and her family were due to arrive at our house for a stay. How lucky can a girl get to be able to see both sisters in such a short period of time? I know… really lucky! K helped a lot with the cleaning of the tub, the vacuuming and a few various other chores that wear me out. We also had to go grocery shopping before they came. So, rushing through Walmart the Friday night they were to arrive was an adventure. Somehow we found a place for everything we bought. We have very little kitchen cabinet space and K is BIG on rotating the food as we store it. It’s a good practice to have and it keeps everything organized.

It was a weekend filled with Bubble Guppies, Yo Gabba Gabba, and a multitude of tea parties. How do parents handle kid TV programming? I have to say that I now have a greater appreciation for CNN. When my family left to go home, K and I crashed for a 4 hour nap and still didn’t want to get up Sunday night. Though, I had to get up to take my diuretic but lounged around in bed thirty minutes longer than K did. When I finally got my butt out of bed and after taking that dreaded diuretic, I walked down the hall and abruptly stopped as I heard K say to me, “I just want to warn you… I think I’m coming down with something like a cold. So don’t keep asking me if I’m sick.” I’m like, “Oooh crap!” I felt really deflated and worried because he sounded like he was getting sick. Now that it’s Monday and that he’s not feeling better, I’m on high alert. We take him getting sick very seriously. Germs spread. I’ll be pulling out the lysol wipes to clean all the door knobs and whatever else K has touched. I would have done that today but I had a migraine all day. I think I over did it this weekend.. but I sure had fun!

I know I’ve been slow this last week on keeping in contact with those of you who have emailed me. I do apologize for that and I aim to do better. This last month has been extraordinarily busy. I did finally get my bipap replacement parts but they didn’t send me the tube that I use to connect my oxygen to the bipap hose and mask. That’s a very vital part! So, now I’ll have to call them. How can they screw that up? Sometimes, I feel like I have to hold their hand through the whole process of reordering my replacement equipment. My bipap is supplied through a different DME than my oxygen which makes everything such a hairy ordeal to keep organized. I just wish I was a bit better at being organized. It definitely does NOT come natural for me. haha!

Hope everyone is having a great week. Stay warm and well. Don’t forget to FOLLOW my blog!

In the Kitchen – Chimichangas

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Living On Oxygen for Life

Are you hungry? I’m sharing with you my recipe of Chimichangas. They are so good. They use that whole bird of chicken that I wrote about last time in “In the Kitchen.” But don’t fret if you didn’t try cooking a whole chicken! I’ve added a substitute tip on using chicken breast as the chicken ingredient for this Chimichanga dish! More recipes are coming for chicken AND beef that you can do ahead and/or freeze for later when you not feeling up to cooking.

Having breathing problems causes all kinds of difficulties. Running out of energy happens a lot for me. So, naturally, I don’t always feel like cooking dinner. It’s really nice having something I can easily pull out from the freezer or leftovers to heat up when I am tired. Click on the link below for the recipe:

Chimichanga Recipe