Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Pork Tenderloin

For my kids: This is the recipe for the pork we had on Sunday.  I don't know who/where I got it from -- probably a melding of several online recipes.  It takes about 40 minutes.

The pork tenderloins at the Pig come with two in a 2.5# package.  Each tenderloin is a little over 1#.  The whole package would be 4-6 servings.  The recipe below is for cooking both the pieces at the same time.

Use a paring knife to trim any silver skin from the tenderloin, as this silver skin will get tough.
Pat tenderloin dry with paper towel.
Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a cast iron skillet or dutch oven over medium heat, till oil shimmers.

Coat the meat pieces with
1 Tbsp olive oil
and season with 
1/2 Tbsp salt 

Sear meat in skillet.  Cook each side for about 3 minutes, until nicely browned, for a total of 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, slice or chop
2 onions
2 apples

Begin preheating oven to 450.
When meat is seared, remove to a platter.

Add another Tbsp of oil to the skillet (if necessary) and saute onions and apples for about 5 minutes.
While the apples are frying, rub into meat:
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
3/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp black pepper

Add 1/4 tsp thyme to onions.  Top onions/apples with meat.   Slide skillet into hot oven.
Roast 10-15 minutes, until meat thermometer reads 145-150.  Don't overcook.
Put meat on clean platter; cover with foil; let rest 10 minutes.
Put skillet back on a medium burner.  Add
1 cup chicken broth to skillet.
Stir and scrape browned bits from bottom of skillet.
Bring to boil.  Reduce to simmer.  Cook until sauce reduces by half.
Slice meat. 
Apples and onions go on the bottom of the platter, topped by meat slices, topped by the sauce.

I substituted the 10 minutes of roasting with the crockpot.  After frying the apples and onions, I added the chicken broth to the skillet, stirred to remove brown roasty bits, and then poured it in the bottom of the crockpot.  I put the meat on top.  Crockpot on low for 3 hours was a bit too long, and I did a double recipe.  So probably two hours on low [for a modern crockpot] would be good.  I don't know how much longer for a good, old-fashioned, lower-heat crockpot.  If you use the crockpot, pour the apples, onions, and sauce into a saucepan or skillet to reduce the sauce on the stovetop. 

Do you have a meat thermometer?  It's really handy for a recipe like this because you don't want to overcook it and have tough meat, and you don't want to undercook it and get trichinosis.  And on that cheery note, we should all go buy tenderloins while they're still on sale.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Brain Aneurysm Foundation

Gary tuned the radio to the ball game last night.  As I was falling asleep, a commercial grabbed my attention.  "Gary, did you hear that?  There's a Brain Aneurysm Foundation!  I never knew that."  Well, he did.  He said he used the website a lot in my ICU days.

I grabbed his iPad and started reading.  I was up far too late.  But reading the stories -- it was so compelling.  I told myself that I was just reading to see if any of the stories mentioned arachnoiditis.  But had I not given myself that excuse, I still probably would've kept reading far into the night.  Or morning....

The statistics page tells me that I'm in a small group of those who have only a small impairment.

Most people who seek help for aneurysms do so because of terrible headaches.  If people have "the most horrible headache of their life" that may be reason to seek help in ER.  On the other hand, many people have no warning signs of aneurysm.  While in the hospital, I thought (based on questions from doctors) that I had had no warning signs.  I hadn't suffered from freaky-bad headaches.  I didn't smoke.  My blood pressure was beautiful.  I didn't have the normal signs of stroke: weakness in a limb, uneven smile, blurred vision, slurred speech.  But it turns out that pain above or behind the eye is a sign of aneurysm.  That had been going on for more than half a year, and I hadn't recognized it as anything serious.  I was concerned about glaucoma and went for an eye exam.  Of course it turned out my eyeball was fine.  So I ignored the occasional pain.

Reading people's stories -- oh, how those resonated with me!

People talked about fear whenever a headache started.  "Is this going to be another humongous thing?  Will my brain explode again?"

People talked about how life is divided into the "before aneurysm" and "after aneurysm" times.

Robin wrote, "No matter how normal we may seem, believe us when we say we don't feel normal."

It's helped to read about how others mourned and grieved over the loss of "the old me." 

People mentioned how they run their finger over the scar.  It seems weird to me to touch the incision site, to feel the dent in my skull.  But I do it nearly every day.

Nobody mentioned arachnoiditis.  One man did mention a spinal tap to relieve the problem of blood pooling and contaminating the cerebral spinal fluid.  

One survivor wrote about "flat affect."  She said the doctor told her that she was likely to feel uncaring, to feel emotionally unresponsive.  I've experienced that.  Gary was so glad when my eyes teared for joy when Paul and Mandy announced they were expecting a baby.  Emotions are beginning to return.

People talked about having unrealistic expectations of themselves.  They would try to do what they used to be able to do, thinking they could (or should) be able to accomplish what used to be easy.  But they couldn't.

Survivors talked about memory lapses.  They said they'd stop in the middle of sentences to search for a lost word.  (And yes, I know that's part of aging and we all deal with it.  This is more, though.)  People talked about slower processing, and how reading or listening must be slower for me to be able to understand.  (I noticed that online training at work took me a lot longer this year than it did pre-stroke.)

Patients reflected on whether they wanted other people to know about the brain trauma.  On the one hand, sometimes people know about it and treat you differently.  Some patients don't want that stigma hanging over them: Brain-Injured Person.  On the other hand, when people around you don't know about the brain trauma, the patient so often feels compelled to explain ... to apologize for being "the post-stroke me" who is not as efficient or strong or smart or witty as I was previously.

Gabriele wrote about this apologizing, realizing that sometimes she was ashamed of the "after-me."  She wrote about needing to take more notes, make more lists, slow down, and ask for help.  It was interesting to read this after yesterday's Bible class, where Pastor talked about our tendency to long for olden days, "better days."  But the Christian life is in receiving and giving -- in that order.   We always want to be the ones giving/doing.  But sometimes we need to be in the position of having others help us, others give to us, as they serve Christ by caring for us.  Gabriele wrote about a Lent-2 sermon (Gen 12) which referred to Abram's being "banished to the promise."  We usually think that banishment is from.  But she talked about being banished to God's mercy.  That fits with what Pastor talked about, how we are not to repristinate bygone days, but live where we are, today, receiving God's mercy and His gifts, and living in love toward the neighbor that we have today. 

Summer Rice Salad

This was part of Christmas dinner.  Nobody in our family is allergic to anything in it, and that's no small feat.  The recipe makes 5-6 quarts of salad, but don't make a bunch and expect to eat it all week.  After a day and a half in the fridge, the dab of leftovers was a little soggy.  All you kids who said you wanted the recipe, here ya go ...

Toss together:
3 cups cooked & cooled brown basmati (that's 1 cup rice + 2 cups water)
2 large or 3 medium cucumbers, chopped
3 pints of grape tomatoes, halved
1 carrot, grated
4 green onions, sliced
16 oz pea pods, cut into pieces about 3/4 to 1" long
2 avocados, diced
1/2 bunch of cilantro, leaves chopped

Drizzle with olive oil and the juice of 1 lemon.
Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika.