Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Rough Waters

You may have missed this on NBC's nightly news. I am focused like a chicken on a June bug about this now and yesterday after I shared what I've learned about the Aid and Attendance pension, I heard from so many of you that are facing the same things we are with aging parents. This benefit is virtually unknown and has been around for a long time. My father-in-law served his country for 25 years, starting in the Army in WWII and retiring from the Air Force in the 1960's. After retiring he started another career and worked until his late 60's. Even then he had the desire to volunteer and after moving to Fayetteville, Arkansas his love for his country led him back to the military, to the local VA Hospital where he volunteered 17 more years. At 90, he now resides in the Fayetteville  VA nursing home.

It seems like my life these days revolve around parents, the same way I felt when the kids were little and needed us. Sometimes I am very tired when I lay my head down at night. But I have to tell you, I'm learning some valuable information that might just help others who are going though this with parents. 25 years ago when Daddy was in failing health, my Mom struggled to care for him on her own. She found the strength somehow and they had the savings to meet his rising medical bills. That was then, when costs were merely high, not astronomical. Mom's dementia/Alzheimer care has depleted their savings and she is now a Medicaid patient. 6 years of nursing care, all the planning done years ago with a trust and 2 Elder care lawyers guided us through very rough waters.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Ozark Trail Bars

I'm on a mission to find a recipe after having Stone Mill's Ozark Blueberry Trail Bars yesterday. My Mother-in-law and I had a 10 o'clock appointment with AARP's free tax preparers at the Boys and Girl's Club in South Fayetteville. She was anxious to have her taxes done, we always worry we're going to have to pay... don't we? She got good news/bad news, the good news is she didn't have to pay and the bad... she didn't get any money back! Oh well, we felt rich somehow when we left there so we headed for a quick lunch at Stone Mill's Bakery and Cafe down on Gregg Street.

They are famous for their whole grain breads and have a delicious menu of homemade soups and sandwiches. It was a cold, blustery day so we both chose a bowl of Chicken and Dumpling soup. It came with two chunks of their crusty French Bread and butter, YUM! The soup was so good, little pinches of dumplings in a thick golden broth. I just know there's a Grandma back there in the kitchen making this one!
Since we were good and just had soup, well kinda good since we both scrarfed down the buttered bread... we decided we'd try the delicious looking Ozark Trail Bars that we saw in the bakery case as we ordered our soup. It was a little hard to look away from the giant iced cinnamon rolls, but they were the size of my hand and I can only eat so much! I went back up to the counter and ordered a mixed berry bar for me and a blueberry bar for Mom. They menu says they are made with whole wheat, rye, barley, oats, and spelt flours. In fact most of their breads are made without any fat, eggs or dairy. Now I'm on an Internet search for a recipe and it's not easy. Anyone have an idea how they did this magic trick... they were out of the this world delicious!

I didn't take my camera, but a quick Google search and I'm finding pictures that "look like" the bars, just not the healthy ingredients. Then I had the bright idea to see if anyone had posted a recipe to Pinterest. Lots of great recipes to try, even its not THE one!

La Madeleine Bakery's Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

Such a nice cool weekend, we had our first fire last night! The leaves are turning colors now, I love mornings when the fog lays heavy on the lake. If I have to run into town you see a brave boat of late season fishermen on the cove. My Dad fished year round, it never got too cold for him to be on the lake ♥

I'm a happy camper, holing up in my "hollow tree" makes me feel like making a pot of soup! I've seen several versions of this one on Pinterest, it's a copycat of La Madeleine Bakery's Tomato Basil Soup. I actually combined two recipes, this one is delicious with a grilled cheese on sourdough!

Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

makes 6 servings
2 (14 oz) cans fire roasted diced tomatoes, with juice
1 cup finely diced celery
1 cup finely diced carrots
1 cup finely diced onions
1 tsp dried oregano
1 T dried basil
4 cups chicken broth
½ bay leaf
½ cup flour
1 cup Parmesan cheese
½ cup butter
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper

Add tomatoes, celery, carrots, chicken broth, onions, oregano, basil, and bay leaf to your soup pot. Simmer until veges are tender, about an hour. 

Make a roux by melting butter in skillet and adding flour. Stir constantly with a whisk for 3-4 minutes, then stir in several ladles of hot soup. Add back to soup pot and bring to boil to thicken soup. Add Parmesan cheese, evaporated milk, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Serve with slices of your favorite hot bread!
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