Foods you can eat without chewing

Since September last year, I have been learning to eat with a fixed brace. There have been many weeks where the ulcers and/or jaw problems have meant that I cannot chew or move my jaw adequately. As I am a woman who loves her food, it is of greatest importance to me that I can substitute usual food with ‘no chew’ alternatives.

So, here is a summary of items that I have learned to love due to their ‘no chew’ qualities! (This will be very funny to look back on after the orthodontic treatment is over!)

As previously mentioned in this blog, those fruit pouches made for toddlers are a lifesaver – no need to struggle with apple or pear skin. Related to the pouches, and also slightly more ‘adult’ are the ubiquitous smoothies. Current favourites are the red or green ‘Spar’ Enjoy smoothies.

If I need protein, I go for tinned mussels in garlic butter: super for squidging between tongue and roof of mouth. Soft sausages (frankfurters, Berner Würstel – frankfurters stuffed with cheese and wrapped round with rashers of bacon) and pate are extremely useful.

The amount of guacamole I am currently getting through is obscene. I try to alternate it with hummus, but the guacamole usually wins. As bread is a big problem because of the crust, I am eating savoury shortbread (yum!), oat cakes or rice crackers. (Marmite flavour rice crackers are divine – and disintegrate beautifully when you suck.)

Crisps were a problem – I mean the traditional ones made out of potato, but I have of course identified the best ones for sucking now. Highly recommended by me are Kelly’s Erdnuss Snips. (Not to be consumed by those with a peanut allergy…)

I think I should stop writing about food now (although I could continue) as a) it is 9pm and I want to see my husband today and b) most people are probably not as interested in my ramblings today as they might be, if I were writing more inclusively ;-).

I took two more photos today for you. One is of food (*gg*) – squeaky leeks and Mairübchen (early/spring turnips?) which the kids don’t know yet  is in their pasta bake for tomorrow. (Don’t worry – I have made it child-friendly by chucking loads of bread croutons and cheese on top which went crispy in the oven.)

The second photo is of Little Miss BD’s lovely trainers that are now at the end of their useful life. I don’t really want to say goodbye to them, so this photo helped me to chuck them in the dustbin successfully earlier.

I know today’s entry has been peculiar: please forgive me, dear reader. My mood is unusual.

It seems to me rather a paradox that complete strangers are participating more in my life than flesh and blood is. However, this does not need to be a bad thing. I think I just need to accept that even if my life is not celebrated as I expect, it is a life and I want to celebrate it.

The banal, the usual, the unusual.

Pine needle syrup

Wow – someone else who uses pines! Super 🙂 We love pine cone liqueur and now I have a new recipe (and stunning photos) to pore over. Thank you!

Cooking Without Limits

GAB_6702_res_mix

In the spring we make pine syrup after we harvest the new pine spruce. We use the syrup for Christmas cocktails because of the rich flavor or when we are sick.
My husband made a vodka pine flavor last year and he loved the idea. This year he is gone try again.
Go and have fun foraging the pine trees with your family. We did this year a photo shoot also. Imagine my little one asking for photos near the small trees. It was a great day to spend with my family.

Ingredients:

– 4 cups fresh pine spruce needles
– 8 Cups water
– 2 cup sugar

Directions:

In a saucepan combine the needles with water. Cook until liquid is reduced about 40 minutes. Stir the sugar until completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool.

I replaced the sugar with honey. I liked it too.
Most of…

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Saturday in nature

As you can see below, we spent some of yesterday outdoors. I am a great fan of Friedensreich Hundertwasser. His ideas regarding straight lines and flat surfaces touched a chord in me when I first came across him, after a visit to the council flats he designed in Vienna. Ever since then, I have noticed more and understood why I feel so good after time spent in a wood or forest.

Yesterday we all felt that we would profit from some fresh air and exercise, so we went to our local hill/mountain (delete as appropriate, depending on your nationality), the Harzberg.

It does not matter how often we go walking in the woods, the effect is always the same: predictable and miraculous. The smell of the foliage and detritus produces a relaxation reflex in all of us. As soon as we breathe in deeply, it is as if we have swallowed some happy pill: the cares of the week slide off your shoulders and you feel better, stronger, happier.

The colours yesterday were particularly impressive. We were lucky and the rain which had been forecast did not materialise, leaving the sky to blaze blue and the trees to radiate bright green.

I spotted a rather serious-looking mushroom (see below) and Little Miss BD stopped me just in time from walking into the little fella bungee-jumping from nowhere to nowhere (well, as far as we could see).

The walk took us up to the top and as is now becoming habit, after originally stopping ‘for a coffee’, we ended up eating due to the well-known and oft-tested tastiness of their soups and filled pancakes. (We had the coffees too!)

I swear that when this brace finally comes off (autumn 2019?), I shall avoid soup for a good while and train my jaw to chew again. I am eternally grateful that there are so many good potages to choose from, but I do feel like an OAP 25 years too early sometimes. I should Twitter Nigel Slater (@NigelSlater) and get him to sympathise with me: cf. Eating for England ‘Feeding the Elderly’.

 

Dear Daddy

If you take the huge step of creating a child to come into this world, then you DO have some responsibility to that child – whether you find that easy or not. Sometimes life challenges us – and is uncomfortable or difficult. Does your child find it easy coping without your support? Ask yourself that. Maybe (s)he would have preferred an easier life too…

Fractured Faith Blog

As I write this you are living the last days of your life and I am grieving for a father and a life that I never had and this makes me sad.

Growing up was hard. When I look back on my childhood I do not have any happy memories that involve you and this makes me sad.

You put everybody else before us, you loved the Smirnoff bottle more than you loved your wife and children and this makes me sad.

On Fakebook you are the nicest man that God put breath in. Your sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews declare their love to you and you return it to them. I can’t ever remember you telling me you loved me and this makes me sad.

Money was your god and the grass looked greener on the other side. Your money didn’t stop you from getting cancer. Your money didn’t…

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Something good, something bad

Shrine

Many thoughts meandering through my head today: is it good that I am now free from family? Does it mean that I can stop worrying about the minutiae? Did I ever have any right to expect anything? Why do I feel like I have two bereavements to deal with? Will my children be alright? Can they understand the convoluted family situation I have been in? Will I ever be able to have a normal conversation with my Oma again? Why does having a sibling not always help you when you lose your parents? Why too many times.

I am actually fed up with considering family issues and happy that next week will be full of orthodontic issues instead.

On Monday I am being tweaked and rubbed at the physio. On Tuesday I am seeing my orthodontist with the soft hands, who will check my gap to see if it can be integrated into a new motorway flyover. Then, on Wednesday I get to go into town (actually a real city, but the proximity to here makes it hard to say I’m going into the city) and visit my surgeon who will tell me all he feels I need to know before the big op. I will then ask him all the stuff he omits to tell me, as I am now extremely curious about what is coming.

I wonder if I shall want to photograph myself and send photos to my dentist and orthodontist, as apparently some people do? I wonder how groggy I shall feel after such a long op? I wonder what colour my skin will be and if the colour will really migrate downwards onto my chest? (Does bruising like that hurt? None of my bruises have ever been more than a mild annoyance up to now.) I wonder how long I shall be in the hospital and how many books I shall be able to verschlingen that time? I wonder if I shall be shocked when I see my face again? I mean, even if my brain wonders at the difference in the mirror, won’t my heart cancel that thought out? I wonder if I shall experience a Wunder.

Work was busy, busy, busy today and as I wasn’t home, the clan got to guzzle ice-cream in the pouring rain without me. Herr Pfarrer was being generous again, inviting all the altar girls and boys to the local ice-cream parlour. Little Miss BD was creative as always with her choice of flavours: mango, Heiße Liebe and smurf(!); groovy son was more conservative – I wasn’t really surprised with his vanilla/chocolate/hazelnut combo; the exciting report for me was from Dedi who went completely off-piste with – wait for it!!! – rum & raisin combined with Kuschelrock (what a fantastic name!), which is egg-nog and caramel. Now that is something I must try 🙂

 

 

Barefoot physio guru, TCM & TEM

Tuesday and Wednesday were quite busy, so now is the first Verschnaufpause I’ve had. It is a Bank Holiday today – Fronleichnam (Corpus Christi) – which means a welcome break from the 6am alarm clock.

Tuesday involved a visit to my physio guy – barefoot guru. He seems to know his stuff: physiotherapists are not generally trained in jaw treatment and that obviously means that they need to know their stuff.

I’ve learned an awful lot whilst being there and it is not something I would ever have been interested in, off my own bat, so to say. This week was extremely relaxing, which I needed, as all else around me is very hectic.

Guru keeps telling me to avoid stress; however, I am not actively choosing to create stress in my life. It just follows me around at the moment. There are no elements I could switch off to make life quieter. Everything happening is happening whether I like it or not, so I need to do my best to deal with it. (Therefore, a session on the physio’s table is not unwelcome, simply for the opportunity to keep still and quiet for a short time.)

Wednesday was a rare chance to meet up with an old friend (my bridesmaid) and to chew the fat. She knew Mum, she knows about all the family stuff and she is a keen New Ager, so we had plenty to discuss. Her opinions involve lots of TCM/esoteric input, and while I am more of a fan of local TEM, it means we have a lot to chat about.

We spent the time in a local Heuriger – these taverns are very traditional, serving only local food and wine – and I was able to give my full attention to some great Zweigelt and soft food: Leberknödelsuppe, Erdäpfelschmarrn and Schwarzwurzelsalat. (In case you are interested: liver dumplings in beef consommé, refried potatoes and salsify salad.) It was all extremely yummy and did not involve active chewing, just squashing with help from the tongue.

Talking for so long with my friend was a strain on my jaw, but worth every minute. Unfortunately it reminded me that the op is not so long away and yes, I am nervous. I trust my surgeon, but I am nervous of having my face altered so drastically. I have no idea what talking, eating and breathing will be like afterwards and wish I had someone in my circle of acquaintances I could interview. Someone else who is not doing an operation like this for cosmetic reasons, but for medical ones. I keep meeting criticism for my choice in going ahead with this treatment and I want to yell from the rooftops (instead I am pleading via a keyboard) that I am only doing this so that I can carry on being fit and healthy for my kids.

I hope I will be able to be a great-grandmother for them one day – one who takes her grandchildren out, with their grandfather and is able to be part of an extended family.

Speaking of grandmothers: my children wanted me to wear my shower cap out in public as a swimming cap (see below) which I thought twice about. Then I bought a grey swimming cap.

(FYI: the candle pictured is burning now as I write. It is called Bergwelt and reminds me of the depth of the clear air far away from here, in the mountains, where you and I are just specks in the whole scheme of things.)

Someone like me…?

After yesterday (which was tough), I find myself starting today with a little optimism. Although I sent messages to the other 3 people left, missing Mum as much as I, I only received 1 message back.

At first, it hurt. I feel so alone sometimes, with my decimated family and no-one to share my feelings with. My children are too young to replace an adult and my husband is not the right person to share these memories with. Firstly, they are not his memories and secondly, every time I utter the words ‘I miss Mum,’ I know that he misses his mum too. And he had her for less time than I had mine.

No, he is not the right one.

So, maybe you are…? ‘You’ are many faceless, nameless people all over this world, but there must be some of you like me…? People who have only ever wanted to fit in, to be normal, to have a family that they can describe with pride to their friends.

Back in my childhood, although divorced families were still unusual, there were some others. Other kids being brought up by a single parent. I made friends with some of them – not surprisingly. I wanted allies.

But even with them, there was always the difference that they knew their missing parent. They might not live in the same house, but there was a relationship there. They even got to see their missing parent sometimes. Weekends away, staying somewhere else, being included in a new family set-up with step-parents and maybe even half-brothers or -sisters. On their birthdays, there was an acknowledgement (even if it wasn’t perfect: wrong present, too little money given) that this child was also something to do with them.

Oh, how I wanted that: an acknowledgement that I mattered and that my birth had meant something. The issues with my mum meant that we were not close for a long time and she often told me how I made her life harder. Now I am older, of course I understand that many words were uttered in haste and regretted afterwards. Yet, the feeling remained branded into my soul that I was unwelcome in life and all I wanted was to be normal, wanted, welcomed, celebrated.

So, turn off the tap and tell us all something else.

Head food

Nellie on the hunt for lettuce 😉

Today, the birds twittered (like yesterday) by my bedroom window as I rose and they are twittering outside this living-room right now. I wanted to add a sound file here,but my technological capabilities have gone off somewhere and so I shall finish off simply by saying that it really did sound beautiful.

Wherever you are and however your life is treating you, the world and God’s creatures are always a reminder that there is good to be found everywhere.

Night night, sleep tight.