Sunday, September 30, 2012

Fall Harvest of Garden Herbs using a Microwave Oven

(Cathy) I love to cook. As a result I have amassed a large collection of spices and herbs. Many of the fresh herbs that I use come straight from my garden. Nothing beats their flavour in cooking! The main issue for me at the end of the growing season is what to do with all of the fresh herbs still thriving. Over the years my mom and I have tried both drying and freezing our bounty of herbs. We have not liked the result. The frozen herbs do retain their colour and flavour somewhat but they are soggy and are only good for soups or stews. As for drying we have tried both hanging the herbs in bunches and placing them in a single layer on old window screens. The window screen method did work out the best for us but takes up a lot of space and time.

In my garden I grow: parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme; (anyone singing yet?), added to that is dill, mint, chives, cilantro and tarragon, oregano, bay laurel, basil and lemon thyme. Most of them are grown direct in the garden. The bay laurel, some basil and some rosemary are grown in pots which I can bring indoors for the winter. Over the years I have read many books and articles on the subject of drying and preserving herbs and one method has always piqued my interest: the use of the microwave oven for drying herbs. This year I turned to the trusty Internet to see what methods people prefer. There was an abundance of enthusiasm for the use of the microwave oven! I found one blog post that I really liked:

In her blog, Simple Daily Recipes, by Jill McKeever, she outlines step by step with photos the entire process start to finish. So, after reading Jill's post I went outside and started with my chives. Great success! I moved on to sage and I was off on a roll! The entire process takes little time and the result is so bright and fresh! 

I am so pleased with the result and look forward to enjoying my herb bounty all year long!


Thursday, September 27, 2012

It's Official, I Have Been Diagnosed.

(Cathy) After many months of frustration my doctor's have finally confirmed my diagnosis as "Complex Regional Pain Syndrome" (CRPS), formally known as "Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy" (RSD). I had understood that my doctors were leaning toward CPRS and I tended to agree after reading up on it on the Internet. I will provide a link to a very good clinical explanation of CRPS  below. 

Definition: CRPS, or complex regional pain syndrome is a condition that occurs when there is prolonged pain in the area of a previously injured arm or leg. The condition was previously known as RSD, or reflex sympathetic dystrophy.
The pain is often associated with tissue swelling, increased sensitivity to touch, and hair/nail growth changes.
Also Known As: RDS
At the moment the hardest part for me is the realization that there is no known cure. Also, before I can ever drive again I have to take a capability test so as not to void out our car insurance. I am off work indefinitely. THIS WHOLE THING SUCKS! There, I said what I am feeling. I know and totally appreciate that my situation could be a lot worse. I just have to get used to a new way of living. Adaptation is a human speciality. I am just not ready to adapt yet. I am tired and upset and angry and in pain. My specialist took me off my pain medication "cold turkey" because of the drastic side effects on my personality. 
Thanks for listening.