Apple or Fruit Crisp

This apple crisp was made in honor of the patients in one of my groups, in particular Walter.

For weeks we processed in the group their disappointment over not having a holiday party funded by the hospital for them.

Something that seems so trivial, kicked up all their stuff about not feeling worthy, validated and cared about.

We spent weeks talking about “what makes you feel cared about?” Who do you give gifts to, and who gives gifts to you?”

Finally, after much effort and discussion, the patients agreed to hold a pot-luck party.

I tried to help behind the scenes by calling all the patients and reminding them about the party and keeping track of who was bringing what.

I must say that the patients completely redeemed themselves. I am so proud of them!

Everyone brought something and a few people who haven’t been to the group in such a long time actually heard from word of mouth from others in the group and showed up too.

I often find my patients very inspiring. I marvel at their strength of character despite their adversities and their comfort expressing simple acts of faith, gratitude and prayer.

Before eating, all the patients took off their hats while another patient, Davis, led the group with a prayer. The blessing that Davis shared was so beautiful, I wish I could have recorded it! In all my years, I have never witnessed such respect and cohesiveness.

During the party, patients enjoyed a casual conversation, which focused around:

  1. What are you grateful for?
  2. What are your best wishes for the group?
  3. What are your goals for the New Year?

 

Patients enjoyed the party and they were very grateful that everyone was so generous with each other and for the opportunity to give and receive from each other. It was truly a heartwarming!

APPLE or FRUIT CRISP

Ingredients

Filling

5-6 cups fruit, cubed (I used 3 cups apples and 2 cups cranberries)

1/2 cup sugar

Optional: 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Optional: 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Optional: 1- 11/2 tablespoons cornstarch or 2 teaspoons of tapioca

Optional: 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Optional: 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg or allspice

Topping

1 1/2 cups oatmeal

Optional: substitute 1/2 cup flour instead of oatmeal

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup oil

Optional: 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Optional: 1/8 teaspoon salt

Optional: 2 tablespoons sliced or slivered almonds

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350*.

Combine fruit and filling ingredients in a greased or parchment paper lined baking dish

Combine the ingredients for the topping and mix until blended.

Sprinkle over fruit

Bake until fruit is soft and topping is slightly browned.

If topping becomes over cooked, cover loosely with aluminum foil.

Cool before serving.

Placed fruit in pan.

Ingredients for the filling.

Mix until well blended.

Ready to go in the oven.

Voila! Fresh out of the oven!

 

Here is a picture from the party:

I am happy to say that the fruit crisp was almost completely eaten! Even Walter said that he liked it.

Enjoy!

 

 

Our Chanukah Miracle and How To Make Oatmeal

Our Chanukah Miracle And How To Make Oatmeal 

During the week of Chanukah, we had our own personal miracle story.

Our morning routine is that I get Yaffa dressed, make her breakfast and lunch and give her her medicine, etc. before going to work. Then, before Raizel goes to school, she puts Yaffa on the bus.

Last week, Yaffa needed oral surgery to remove 4 baby teeth which were impacted and preventing her adult teeth from growing in.

On the day of the surgery, I called the bus company and told them not to pick Yaffa up. However, the bus came anyway. 

Yaffa, who knows how to follow a routine better than anyone, put herself on the bus. 

Thank God, Raizel saw what happened and pulled Yaffa off the bus and brought her back into the house! 

Incredibly, all of this transpired without my husband even being aware of it. Not only that, but, Raizel was still able to get to her bus stop on time and make it to school. 

Raizel really saved the day! 

Miracles are what happen in our ordinary lives when we are willing to see how extraordinary the mundane really is.

After having her teeth pulled Yaffa was in so much pain that she was unable to chew and went back to eating only very soft and pureed foods.

As I have shared, Yaffa used to be on a feeding tube. The road to teaching her how to eat food by mouth and to bite, chew and swallow food has been a long and tortuous journey. 

Every food milestone that might be taken for granted with other children, was only attained after great effort — baby step by baby step. Given her history, we are very regimented in forcing Yaffa to eat foods that require chewing.

So, for a week now, Yaffa has not eaten her usual breakfast of prune juice, a banana and cereal with milk. For the first few days she would only eat apple sauce and oatmeal. She has now gone back to eating a banana. Getting her to eat dried cereal with milk again appears to be a bit of a challenge.

So, in light of our current situation, I thought I would take a moment to write about how to make oatmeal.

How To Make Oatmeal 

Believe it or not, there is an art to making the perfect bowl of oatmeal, and everyone has their preferences.

One way is to boil the water first, and then add the oatmeal, using a 2:1 ratio of water to oatmeal. Simmer over a low or medium-low heat until desired thickness. When the oats are added after the water boils, the oatmeal has a thicker texture.

The other way is to boil the oatmeal together with the water and then simmer it over a low or medium-low heat until desired thickness. This way the oatmeal is more creamy and smooth.

So, when the oats are added to the water determines the consistency of the oatmeal. The longer the oatmeal cooks, the thicker and softer it is. Naturally, each person in our house has their preferences.

Growing up, we would sometimes cook the oatmeal with milk or water and serve it with butter and brown sugar.

Now we cook it in water, and serve it with a splash of milk and maple syrup.

Sometimes, we add a pinch of salt. Cinnamon gives a touch of natural sweetness too.

Other ways of serving oatmeal include adding dried fruit, fresh fruit, sunflower seeds, nuts, or any combination of the above. My particular favorite is adding frozen cranberries and nuts.

There are also various types of oatmeal: instant, rolled and steel cut.

Interestingly, the rolled oatmeal in Canada is thicker and has more texture than the rolled oats available in the US. When we go back to Canada, we always like to stock up. 

Steel-cut oats have the most distinctive and almost nutty taste compared to other types of oatmeal. Unfortunately, they also take the longest to cook. 

When Yaffa was in the early stages of being weaned off of the feeding tube, we tried using instant oatmeal, without much success. When we were at that stage, I would make the oatmeal and then puree it with an immersion blender to make it extra smooth, which worked better.

Oatmeal can be made on top of the stove, in a crockpot, overnight in the fridge inside a jar, in the microwave and even eaten raw, with yogurt. We tend to make it on top of the stove, or in the microwave.

I also make “oatmeal rolls” and bake the oatmeal in a muffin pan.

Oatmeal “rolls”

oatmeal

cinnamon and salt

water to cover

Instructions

Spray oil muffin pan. Add oatmeal, salt and cinnamon into each muffin cups. Pour water to top and let sit until water is absorbed.  This can also be done the night before, covered and refrigerated.

Bake at 350-375 degree oven until done.

These travel well, and can be frozen and defrosted as needed.

Here are pictures of our recent oatmeal adventures:

Stirring it in a pot on top of the stove:

The final product, with rice milk:

Here is oatmeal that I microwaved:

Here is an oatmeal roll:

  

Baked oatmeal can also be flat like a pancake, but I find that it falls apart too easily.

The humble oatmeal can be dressed up or dressed down in so many ways.

Enjoy!

DIY Oatmeal Bath

This post is connected to food but not cooking.

Necessity is the mother of invention.

Raizel has been complaining lately about mosquito bites. It seems as though they find her very tasty. Poor thing, she is itchy all over, and scratching all the time.

When they were babies, we used to buy oatmeal bath packets. They are not that easy to find and quite expensive considering the ingredients. Plus, we have to get everything fragrance-free, due to allergies. It is not always easy to find things without fragrance.

So, today after a frustrating trip to the local pharmacy, I decided to make something up at home.

Ingredients

Oatmeal

Baking soda

Oil, optional

Instructions 

I took some oatmeal, the regular rolled oats that we eat for breakfast, and put it in the food processor. I processed it until it became a fine powder. Here is the picture:


When it was done, I think it came out to about 2 1/2 cups.

I read somewhere that the way to tell if it is ground fine enough is to drop some into water to see if it desolves.

I think that ideally it is good to mix the ground oatmeal with an equal amount of baking soda. I think that  1 cup is all you need per bath. I only had 12 oz available, so that is what I used.

I mixed the oatmeal and baking soda together.

Here is the oatmeal and baking soda mixed together:


Now, if extra moisturizing is needed, I thought I would add oil directly into the tub. I was always told that almond oil is best but I think any natural oil, including olive oil is good.

For a nice smell, lavender oil is my favorite. I am not sure if Raizel is going to go for it.

According to aromatherapy, that is supposed to promote calmness and tranquility. We can never have too much of that!

So, now we have all natural, homemade oatmeal bath treatment. I am going to give some to Raizel and see if it helps.

Hope springs eternal.