Saturday, June 29, 2013

Vanilla Salted Peanut Cookies (and my extended absence)

It has been almost three weeks since my last post. That's a record for me. According to all the blog experts, this is also a way to lose readership.  Knowing all of these things, I have been in a rather miserable state of mind, and just couldn't muster up the mojo to write about food. I'm sorry.

My husband has been telling me that he's tired of seeing that Olallieberry Dutch Baby on my blog, so today I will change the recipe! What? 

Yes, there is a recipe in this post-- and please feel free to scroll past my personal update on why I've been absent. Here goes:

Many of my followers/readers/friends know that I underwent major surgery on June 11th.  I had a total left knee replacement.  I checked into the hospital, like a brave little soldier-- iPad fully charged, with all my iMagazines downloaded.  I factored in that there would be pain involved. I wrapped my mind around there being a six-inch scar down the middle of my knee. I carefully interviewed three orthopedic surgeons, and chose the one who has the best reputation in town.

The surgery was a success.  Technically.  There were some definite hiccups.  Like, my epidural went a bit awry, so when a team of physical therapists insisted I stand up on my new knee within four hours of surgery-- they couldn't grasp my desperate pleas for mercy.  My right leg was so numb (from the epidural) that I could not will it to move.  The pain!  Oh, the pain!

I had no idea I was capable of the  guttural screams that came out of my throat-- and I was not giving birth!  Once the epidural was removed, and I was given mega doses of gnarly pain meds, I began the arduous work of trying to walk with my new knee.  I threw up a lot, and food lost any hint of interest to me. I was discharged on Day #4. The ride home, in the car, wasn't pleasant at all. Getting out of the car was difficult-- as any movement to my knee made those screams come back.  I'm not gonna lie-- this is a worse pain than anything I have ever experienced!

Before I checked into the hospital, I baked these cookies for my husband.  He loves salted peanuts, and I spotted this recipe in King Arthur Flour's magazine subscription, "The Baking Sheet".  There's a lot of vanilla in this recipe, and it's what makes the recipe work. The cookies have a combination of  shortening  and butter, oatmeal (for texture), brown sugar and white chocolate chips-- all pantry staples.

Of course, you need salted peanuts.

The cookies were baked at 350F for 11-13 minutes.  I tasted the first batch and thought the cookies were good-- but nothing earth shattering.

 For batch #2, I sprinkled some extra sea salt on top.

Now, that's a good cookie! Yes, the salt was just what this cookie needed.

I got a little over four dozen cookies--and shared them with my co-workers.  One of them remarked that they tasted like "Pay Day Bars" (minus the caramel).

These cookies will satisfy those of you who love that sweet & salt (and crunchy) combo. Plus, they're super easy to make.

Where am I today?  It was been 2-1/2 weeks since my surgery. Truth be told, the way I feel today, I am having seconds thoughts on my decision to have a knee replacement. Given the continuous pain, the horrible rash on my back (a reaction to the tape from the epidural), the nausea from the medication,  a total loss of appetite-- I've definitely had better days.  On the positive side, I have a fabulous physical therapist, who comes to my home three days a week. I, affectionately, call him my "Physical Terrorist".
That's another thing-- everyone told me to do my physical therapy, no matter what.  Let me tell you, that I admire anyone who can endure the pain of having your knee bent to break up scar tissue.  The screams that came from under the pillow that I placed over my face sounded like I was being skinned and flayed alive!  My knee is pretty much frozen stiff, and I'm trying my hardest to get it to bend.  Apparently, I am so paralyzed with anxiety and fear of pain that I'm causing my muscles to tighten.  No matter how many pep talks I've had, I haven't had a miracle breakthrough.  Is this a self-pity party? No! These are my honest feelings and angst.  Every day, I feel a little bit better and I know that this shall pass.

My future recipes:  I have three more weeks to work on my rehab, and plenty of time on my hands to write.  Sadly, I can't cook or bake, because I'm still relying on my walker for stability and support.  Plus, there's the lack of appetite thing that's going on. Hopefully, that will change-- and I can embrace the weight loss I'm having.

Thank you for listening to my surgery update.  I do miss the world of Food Blogging, as this is my creative outlet.  My husband and son have stepped up to the plate, to take care of my needs.  I feel blessed and very thankful for that. Thank you to those of you who have sent me private emails, wishing me well.  They truly do lift my spirits.

I miss not visiting my favorite blogs-- but in truth, food (at this time) has lost interest to me.  I know this is a very temporary thing. Most importantly, so are the bouts of boredom, despair and hopelessness.  I've been told this is perfectly normal.   I am not giving up food blogging!  I will be back!

Here's the printable cookie recipe card.

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Heather Hunt said...

Ii am so sorry to hear of your misery! I have missed your blogs and wondered. Take care of yourself! Heather from Ohio

Mom24 said...

I miss you. I'll be here always, whenever you're up to being back. I love your blog, you always make me smile and I wish I could return the favor. Love your outlook and your honesty and I hope things get better soon. I'll be thinking of you.

ScrabbleQueen said...

Sorry you are having such a tough time! I had to relearn walking, though without the awful pain you are having, and know it can be a very demoralizing experience. I also couldn't eat much but when your appetite returns I'd recommend getting an adjustable height bar stool like this - I found it invaluable until I got the strength back in my leg. Not much comfort as it is a long slow process but you will get there! Take care of yourself.

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your misery Debby. I was following your surgery updates on Facebook and then we moved and were without internet for a week, so I'm glad to hear you are home. I hate that you are in such pain. It sounds awful. I live with chronic pain, but nothing like you have. I pray for a speedy recovery.

Don't worry about us. The faithful ones, such as myself and zillions of others, will be here for you, so don't push yourself for us. Take time to heal and I hope your appetite will return soon too.

Big hugs over the airwaves.

Lisa said...

I found your blog on I had to comment because I have known a couple of people who've had knee replacements. Of all the surgery's that friends of mine have had, knee replacement surgery has been the toughest recovery. But they did recover! It just took a ton of hard work. I can also relate to how hard it is to be away from your blog for an extended period of time. Life does sometimes interfere with our plans - I've gone uncomfortably long stretches without posting. Anyhow, I hope you have a quick recovery. The cookies look amazing! I'm not a huge fan of sweets but I'm going to make these - the peanuts and the salt and the vanilla sound like a winning combination. Best, Lisa

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

I'm very sorry that your recovery is so difficult, Debby. Hopefully in a couple of weeks when you are doing better all the pain will be forgotten (or at least not so vivid in your mind) I have said many times in my life that if I knew beforehand what I was getting into I would never have done something. Don't worry about your fans abandoning you...not a chance.

Joan Nova said...

It's good to vent -- and inform. I've heard that knee replace is more difficult than hip. I hope I never have to face either.

All best wishes for your speedy recovery!

Cedarglen said...

You were missed and now I know. So sorry to hear about the pain, bit I know it can happen (retired RN). Please - take it easy for a while and yes, post only when YOU feel like it.
Those cookies sound like fun and are the general type that we enjoy. Maybe next week. To a speedy recovery, I'll toast you with a peanut cookie! Best wishes, -C.

Laurel said...

My heart goes out to you. Hate to hear of anyone suffering, but yes it will pass. My mom had a knee replaced when she was 83. She's 88 now and going strong on that knee. It will all be worth it!

Hang in there sweetie.

Anonymous said...

Hi Debby,

I love your recipes and just wanted to wish you a speedy recovery. As a physical therapist I know what you are going through but it will get better. ^ months for it to feel like your own, 1 year and you'll have your own knee. Make little goals to keep from getting depressed. I love reading your blog and I wish you all the best.

Kim said...

Oh Debby, I am so sorry your recovery is so difficult! I am hoping that things improve for you every day and that in time you will be happy with the results from the surgery. I'm keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. Please take your time recovering and do not worry about posting recipes to your blog. You have many loyal followers that will be here for you no matter what.

P.S. I hope you were able to get your hands on some minestrone soup. I know you were craving that! I actually love the minestrone from Carraba's (not sure if you have them there of if they do take out).

Oh, and I do love those cookies. Will have to pin them and make them sometime when my son is at school (he's allergic to nuts).

Joanne said...

Ahhh I'm so sorry this has all been so hard! But I'm absolutely certain that it will be worth it in the end!

These cookies sound amazing! My boyfriend would definitely love them.

Renee said...

I'm so sorry you are in pain. When I had my knee repaired, which is nothing compared to a knee replacement, the physical therapy was the worst part but I'm so glad I stuck with it! Hang in there, I'm praying for your speedy recovery. Love your blog, you are missed.

Rashmi K said...

I am so sorry to hear about ur pain. I have been a fan of your recipes and your writing and wish you the very best and a good recovery. Hope to see you back in action soon. And I doubt your followers will stop reading your lovely blog if u re absent a while :) Take Care.

Christine said...

Oh my dear, so sorry to hear what you're going through. Don't even want to imagine it since it's on my dance card in the reasonable future. Lucky you have such a supportive family! Don't worry about losing your readers, we enjoy your blog immensely and aren't going anywhere. Just post when you're really feeling up to it. I'll keep you in my thoughts.

Julie C said...

I just started reading your blog and wondered why there were no new posts! So sorry to hear of your pain. My husband had both of his knees replaced in the last 18 months, about six months apart.

His advice: take your pain meds regularly, do your exercises and go to all your PT appointments. Exercise really will make things better. Don't try to be brave about the pain. He took them for at least 6 weeks.

Ann said...

Get well soon Debby. I am sorry that you are having such a bad time. The pain will reduce with each passing day. Iam a regular at your blog. Ann

Anonymous said...

Your blogging and recipes always brighten my day and I really appreciate that. I hope I can return the favor and brighten your day by wishing you a full recovery and letting you know that you are missed. Best wishes...

Noelle Marie said...

I'll never stop reading! :) if these cookies look half as good as your knee, I'd say things are looking up! Can't wait to try them! Praying hard for continued healing and a joyful spirit.

Tiphanie said...

Just made these!! They may be my favorite non chocolate cookie ever!! The salt was the perfect addition! Crunchy, sweet, and salty, the only snack I will be eating for the next several days :)

peggio said...

I hope your recovery is progressing and you start feeling like your "old" self again soon. Injury or illness can really get you down sometimes so be gentle with yourself and remember that you WILL thrive again! Each day is closer to a new normal and know that you have lots of fans pulling for renewed strength and full healing. Take care of YOU!

Debby Foodiewife said...

Thank you so much, Tiphanie!

Bill said...

Hey Debby, hang in there. I've got two friends that had knee replacement surgery and it does get better. Ultimately it changed their lives for the better! Glad for you that the worst is over. I'm loving the vanilla salted peanut cookies. Anything with sweet and salty is good with me. Great recipe!

Ally said...

I think I may have to make these for Scott. He LOVES peanut anything and I love Maldon salt on cookies. It gives them a hint of savoriness.

Hope you're doing better, hon! Glad your hubby is taking good care of you. xoxo

Novak Jim said...

Are these gorgeous, awesome things and dishes can really prevent us from pains? I like such dishes so I must try them for the goodness of my health as well as for the taste.
physical therapy center

Sienna Christie @ FtLauderdaleOrtho said...

Undergoing physical therapy is an important part of the recovery stage after surgery. You shouldn't ignore this if you want to restore a 100% good condition. No matter how painful it is, you need to bear it. After all, it's for your own good. But of course, only licensed physical therapists know what best to do and how to help relieve your pain. Ask your doctor as well if you are allowed some form of pain reliever.