Let’s start with a mystery photo, shall we?
Make your guess now . . . and all will be revealed later.
Early April through early May is a big birthday month in my family. This week we celebrated Matthew’s birthday with not one, but two, homemade pizza dinners (now Sir thinks we should have pizza for dinner every night), and two rounds of birthday cake.
I made a chocolate chip banana cake with peanut butter frosting. I used this recipe for the cake, omitting the orange zest and adding about 2/3 c. chocolate chips. The cake was not bad, but it seemed more banana bread than banana cake. I’m not exactly sure of the difference between the two, but it wasn’t quite what I was going for.
The frosting, however, definitely said “cake!” If you’re into peanut butter, you should definitely make this frosting (or perhaps not, as it may be hard to avoid eating the whole batch!). I started with this recipe, and made a couple of tweaks: 1) reduced peanut butter by 1/8 – 1/4 cup, 2) replaced the missing peanut butter with 1/8 – 1/4 cup plain, whole fat yogurt, 3) omitted the milk, 4) added 1 t. vanilla, 5) sifted the powdered sugar. It was tasting good and starting to come together, but an extra couple of minutes with the highest speed on the mixer really elevated this frosting to the light and airy level.
Then I got all fancy and melted chocolate to decorate the cake (I almost never bother with the “decoration” step, but I had fun here). Also, there is extra peanut butter frosting, to be eaten on chocolate graham crackers.
Nothing like a birthday to make us reflect on health, right?
After I wrote this post, Matthew saw an orthopedic specialist who ordered an MRI. The doctor expected to find some cartilage that needed to be removed, but the MRI came back clear, so instead of surgery, Matthew got physical therapy, aimed at correcting muscle imbalances in his leg that are making his knee cap rub when he bikes.
He has returned to biking, but the pain is not gone. Both the physical therapy (an hour of exercises ev.er.y day) and the warmer weather seem to help, but in all honesty, surgery to remove some deteriorated cartilage would likely have been a quicker fix.
He’s also experimenting with clipless pedals again, so he can balance his muscles while biking, by getting the “pull up” motion, as well as the “push down.” He used birthday money to purchase a pair of Keen cycling sandals, which, while not nearly as roomy as biking in Birks, have much more toe space than a standard bike shoe.
My back is my back. After two visits to a chiropractor (the first followed by intense neck pain, that I tried to attribute mainly to sleeping wrong), I’ve decided that is not the route for me. On the second visit, I gently mentioned the neck pain, not blaming her, but suggesting we stay away from that area.
This seemed like a perfectly reasonable request to me, given that the issue that brought me to her office was pain in the MIDDLE of my back. I mean, I know it’s all connected, but still. Unfortunately, this chiropractor (and I suspect most others would be similar) could NOT stay away from my neck, and my neck doesn’t seem to like chiropractic care.
I discovered that some sun salutations seem to help (if not cure) the pain, so I’m trying to do those daily, along with a few of my previous PT exercises. That’s the current plan, given that the pain, if annoying in duration, is usually quite minimal and doesn’t really limit my activities — I can live with it.
If it gets out of hand, I can always go see our new doctor . . . .
. . . . Dr. Gabe! He’s definitely into alternative healing; little pink super balls can work wonders, apparently. Or maybe he just has a healing smile!
And now, to return to our mystery photo . . . perhaps not all that mysterious — if you guessed winter squash, you get the honor of being correct! I love working with this variety of winter squash — a long, solid neck and very sweet flesh with a nice texture — and I loved how it looked on the tray after slicing.