Dementia Happened When I Had Other Plans. . .

I’m guilty of neglecting my brand spankin’ new blog! I feel horrible about it but so very many things have been going on that have kept me from posting I would take up three reading hours to feed every reason to you, so lets just sum it all up to: Life Happened When I Had Other Plans.

Since my last post (which really feels like it was 600 years ago btw) we have moved, dealt with some pretty crazy situations and have been helping my almost 80 year old grandmother through her early stages of dementia as well as her first full week long visit to the hospital, which was a real eye opener to say the least. I have also come across, cooked and baked some spectacular recipes. . .along with some really cool knitting projects to keep my hands busy.

It’s also been a time to sit back and listen. Mostly to my grandmother repeat the same stories from her heyday countless times, but it’s cool, because they are funny to her every single time, therefore funny to us every time. The Mister has been by my side through the long hospital visits & has listened to those same stories time after time, but the one thing he has shown me through all of this is that all my grandmother wants to do is laugh, pass on the stories from her generation to mine & just enjoy the time she has left. I’ll admit, things get pretty sticky with her when she digs her heels in. . .She’s just as defiant as a 3 year old in the middle of a tantrum, and everything has to be her way or incur the wrath of words that come out of her mouth and slice your heart open like a warm knife slicing butter. Her favorite line to use to really rip you apart is “I have no help here.” I’ll admit that there are people in the family that SHOULD be helping her out, but that is just not something I want to hear when I have been cleaning her apartment for the past 6 hours, setting up her medications for her, or after I have spent the whole day running around getting just her stuff done when I have things that need doing too. I especially don’t want to hear that line on the days that she has had a personal care aide come in to give her a shower, a homemaker to come clean her house, a nurse to come check in, a physical therapist so she doesn’t have to leave the house to go to PT and then myself there to fill in the blanks. It’s more exhausting than having a preschooler and infant on any given bad day. But I will continue going to help her because I’m the last one left. Everybody else just gave up on her, but that’s just something I’m not willing to do, no matter how bad those days are.

Something that’s gotten me through those bad days are my 2 AM Half Batch Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies.This is my go-to late night “I-Need-Cookies-In-My-Life-Right-Now” recipe.They are like a breath of fresh air when I need a treat. It takes about 5 minutes to mix everything and since it’s a half batch recipe it doesn’t take 2 hours to get all of the dough baked. The following recipe will make anywhere from 25 to 30 decent size cookies.

I like to use milk chocolate chips but if you prefer semi-sweet chips or even chocolate chunks, please feel free to substitute and let me know how they came out. I’m always looking for variations on recipes to add to my collection! I love this recipe because it doesn’t make a ton of cookies that I feel obligated to eat. I also don’t feel guilty having them around for the kids to snack on, or use them as bargaining tools to get homework done, rooms cleaned, etc. because there aren’t enough of them to overindulge on.

The first time I made these cookies, it really was 2 AM, D had just woken up as I took the last tray out and he had an awesome late night surprise snack. I swore he thought I lost my mind for baking at 2 AM but he likes cookies just as much as I do!

Something I should notate here is that I ALWAYS sift in my dry ingredients unless the recipe specifically calls for unsifted. Its just a habit I’ve gotten into that really does show a big difference, especially in cookies, breads and cakes. Make sure you take these cookies out just as they are turning golden otherwise you’ll have hockey pucks! Last but not least, you don’t have to add the walnuts, I’ve made these plenty of times for The Mister and Minions sans nuts. Now on with the cookie goodness!

2 AM Half Batch Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 Stick of Softened Butter – Salted or unsalted
1/2 Cup White/Granulated Sugar
1/2 Cup Packed Light Brown Sugar
1 Egg (Break into a bowl and beat with a fork before adding to recipe)
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Hot Water (Tap hot, not boiled or microwaved)
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Chocolate Chips
2/3 Cup Chopped Walnuts

  • Preheat oven to 350°F (Make sure oven rack is in center of oven)
  • Cream together the butter, white/granulated sugar and brown sugar until smooth
  • Stir in the egg and vanilla
  • Dissolve baking soda with teaspoon of hot water then add to batter with the salt
  • Stir in the flour, sifting in 1/2 Cup at a time to ensure even mixing
  • Add chocolate chips and walnuts, make sure to mix them in by hand until chips and nuts are evenly distributed throughout the dough
  • Drop rounded/heaping teaspoonfuls of dough onto parchment paper lined baking sheets (Measuring teaspoonfuls, not silverware teaspoonfuls!)
  • Bake for 10 minutes or until edges are golden
  • Be sure to let cookies cool for a minute or so on the cookie sheet then transfer them to a wire cooling rack so they don’t smoosh when you move them.

Enjoy the cookies & remember to laugh often with your loved ones!
-Betty’s Homegirl

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Chicken Tortellini Soup Bandaid

The past two days have been nothing more than craptastic to say the very least. I seriously feel like I just can’t catch a break no matter what I do.

I don’t speak to a major portion of my family, for good reasons, but I do speak to my super-hilarious 79 year old bargainista grandmother. She’s awesome. I don’t know another way to put it…except she can’t remember anything right, and it’s not dementia or Alzheimer’s, she is just naturally flighty. I actually think that’s what makes her so badass lol. Anywho, yesterday she said “Your mother called me, she wants me to tell you that one of your friends died. Let me call you back, I have to call her to find out who it was.” So I tell D that one of my friends died but Gram doesn’t know who. He said “Don’t freak out until you know what’s going on.” I started to gather my things to head to the kitchen when she calls me back. “J- She told me to tell you that it was JW.” I don’t know if she said anything else. I dropped the phone and started uncontrollably sobbing. At this point D was outside working on his car and he came running because apparently I was just THAT loud. I don’t know how long it was but I sat with my head against his chest and just sobbed. Continue reading

Welcome!

After much debate, I’ve decided it’s definitely time to dust off the cobwebs on my keyboard and start blogging about my adventures in my kitchen…I have recently started cooking and baking everything from scratch, using as few pre-made or store bought shortcuts as I possibly could. Some people have called me crazy, others have said I have far too much time on my hands (they clearly have no idea how little I actually have!), but most of the people I have informed of my decision to do this totally back me up and think it’s the best idea I’ve ever had.

A little background is probably necessary to give you a better picture of who I am and just who makes up my family. For simplicity and privacy’s sake, I’m only going to use the first letter of our first names for myself & my fiance, and I’m going to use the kids nicknames to protect their identities…more so because they would be mortified that I publicly claimed to be their mother.

So, Hi! I’m J. I’m an extremely devoted mother of two kids & one four-legger, an avid reader of anything I can get my eyes to grace, I’m engaged to my best friend D, and as previously stated, I have decided to cut out the preservatives & dyes as well as cut back my grocery bill by baking my own breads, cookies & cakes to go along with meals made from scratch. This all started at the beginning of summer. The kids wanted brownies as an after dinner treat. After I was done baking them (a box mix) & they were devoured I had a sudden urge to see just how hard it would be to make them from scratch. I googled Brownie Recipes and started baking another batch. I haven’t looked back since. I’ve made so many wonderful things that I thought were far too hard for a mom to make. I mean, why else does the grocery store have all of those breads, cookies, cakes and such? My fiance D has literally been my number one taste tester from the beginning. Our kids Boo (9) & Scooby (6) were a bit apprehensive at first, wondering who this crazy cooking lady was and where their shortcut loving mom went, but now they love it. Sometimes they even hang around to help me in the kitchen!

I’d done a ton of research on preservatives and the effects they have on children. With Boo having emotional issues on top of ADHD, ODD, & OCD and Scooby showing signs of ADHD, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try changing how I cook as well as what I feed them. Wouldn’t you know that they showed changes within the first week!!! We were amazed that such a simple change in diet brought out such different sides of the kids. The biggest change I’ve noticed is that they are making much better food choices, and that they are satiated longer. They don’t ask for snacks ten minutes after a meal anymore, and when we go to the grocery store, they don’t even look at cookies anymore.

I’m going to use this blog as a way of journaling my adventures, as well as sharing the recipes I’ve found to be the best & easiest for busy mom’s like me to get great meals on the table! I hope you keep checking in to see what new recipes I’ve tried and follow the fun I have in the kitchen being Betty’s Homegirl!!