Sunday, September 14, 2014

Easy Spaghetti Pie-- and my brief food blog leave of absence


This recipe for Spaghetti Pie is something I would often make for my son, when he was a little boy. He loved it, and I appreciated that it was fast to make.  This photo, I admit, doesn't begin to do justice to the flavor of the meat filling-- which is not made from bottled spaghetti sauce.  The crust is made with cooked pasta, eggs and Parmesan cheese, with a layer of fresh ricotta cheese (or cottage cheese). The topping has plenty of melted, gooey mozzarella.  I'm going to share this recipe, for Spaghetti Pie in the next few paragraphs. Pinkie promise. After all, that's why you're here, isn't it? 

I wasn't going to post this recipe, because I was underwhelmed by the photographs that I took.   I did share it on the website where I store all of my recipe cards, so that I would have it as a quick reference. I was surprised at how popular the recipe card became! So, I decided to share it with all of you-- and as a segue for me to explain why my recipe posts have become so few and far between.
 

I'll try to keep food blog etiquette, by trying not to write super long paragraphs. Though, please indulge me, this one time. I have something really important I need to tell my readers and internet friends. I'll try and break up the paragraphs with photos of this recipe. Then, I'll tie the whole thing together. Okay?

Thank you. Truly.

So, here's what's been going on, with me. (Deep breath): Until recently, I've been blessed with pretty good health. Granted, I've struggled with a bum left knee, ever since I had my first major surgery at the age of 14. The short explanation is that I have "loose connective tissue". That is, when I least expected (or wanted) it, my knee would go the opposite direction where I was headed. Ouch. Over the last few decades, I had two more surgeries, to try and improve my knee  Still,  it never stopped me from my years as an equestrian and a few ski trips.

Finally, after decades of wear and tear, arthritis began to take it's toll on my knee and I opted for a total knee replacement in June 2013. The recovery was more painful that I expected it to be, as was the physical therapy that I faithfully endured for weeks.  The arthritis pain is completely gone, and I don't regret having the surgery. However, it seems I have so much scar tissue, that my new knee is like a rusty hinge. That is, I now walk with a very profound limp, no matter how hard I try to get my new knee to bend. I've become both frustrated and very self-conscious about it, and that's taken a toll on my emotions.

So, next month, I have gathered the courage to have my fifth knee ("manipulation) surgery, followed by at least one week of intensive physical therapy, in a rehabilitation center. To say I'm nervous, because I know it's not going to "tickle", is an understatement. But, this is my chance to, once again,  sit at a table without propping my leg up on a spare chair. I want to walk normally-- or at least, without such a profound limp.  I am encouraged to learn that this type of surgery isn't uncommon after a total knee replacement, and I've talked to people who've had success.  This makes me feel much better about my decision.


But, wait. There's more! I now have some major setbacks with my hyperthyroidism. Suddenly, and inexplicably, my endocrinologist is trying to get my thyroids balanced, and we're not quite there yet. That, my friends, is the main reason I haven't been blogging much. The side effects of this condition is extreme fatigue, loss of appetite, muscle aches and a few other things. Consequently, I'm not hungry and I have no desire to cook or bake-- still, I'm gaining (not losing) weight! Arrrrrrrrrrgh.

Oh... I'm not finished yet.  Yesterday, I had my third attack of gout. What?!  Yes. Gout.  This is another new diagnosis, and I guess I can thank my father for passing on that gene.  I wouldn't be surprised if the gout ties in with my arthritis. For anyone who suffers from gout, you have my deepest sympathy. Today, I'm stuck on the couch with a set of crutches next to me.  So, let's summarize where my health is today-- Bum knee, a gout inflamed right foot, hot flashes and fatigue. Yep, that about sums it up.  The recipes I had planned to make, this weekend, once again won't happen.


Would you believe that I seriously considered just ending my food blog altogether? I began to feel as though I was a failure-- and to know the real Debby, is to know that I'm basically a very positive thinking person. Depression and hopelessness are two characteristics that are foreign to me.  After doing a lot of research on hypothyroidism, I discovered that depression is also a side-effect of my condition.  What a relief!  I'm feeling like I finally understand why this dark cloud has been hanging over my head, and it's got to go!

I don't want to give up my food blog, after all!  But, for now, I have to accept that I am breaking the Golden Rules of food blogging:
  • Post often, at least 1-2 times per week
  • Use Social Media to keep in touch with your followers
  • Interact and engage with other food bloggers to develop and nurture friendships/relationships.

Failure to follow those rules, the experts say, will result in a loss of readers/followers.  Sigh.

I'm not going to let that get me down.  I am deeply touched by the support that I have received, over the years-- like the time I lost my beloved 27 year old horse. Or, when I had my knee surgery, I was flooded with good wishes on my Facebook page. So, I'm going to focus on the positives. For one, it's the community of wonderful people who have food blogs, or read food blogs. This has made the time I invest into photographing, editing and writing a recipe for each post worth it all.

So what if my traffic numbers decrease? So what if my humble pay check for the ad clicks on my food blog (which helps to offset the cost of running a food blog) decreases?  My health, family and happiness is what matters the most.  I hope that my readers/followers don't abandon me, because I don't intend to permanently abandon you!

I just might be scarce for a couple of months.  I have a backlog of recipe photos that I've taken over the last  few months -- before the hypothyroidism began to wear me down, physically and mentally.  I'll do my best to share them with you as soon as I can.

I can promise you, that as soon as my knee is fixed (and my husband reminds me to keep that positive mantra from my lips to God's ears), I will be back in the kitchen sharing with you the multitude of recipes that I am anxious to make.

No matter what, I'm not going to have a pity party. I'm counting my blessings that I have a wonderful and supportive husband.  He never complains on the nights I just can't muster the energy to cook dinner.  He is appreciative on the nights that I do cook dinner, like last week, when I made this recipe.

That is how this recipe was resurrected from my old recipe binder (before I got my digital recipe card hardware).  I found this recipe in an old  McCall's Cooking School Magazine (how I miss that magazine).  I had some leftover pasta, and marinara sauce, from the night before. The only ingredient I left out, this time,  was the green bell peppers. I absolutely love them, and I encourage you to include them. For me,  green bell peppers have recently started to rebel with my digestive system.  Burp. Oh, excuse me!   I especially like Spaghetti Pie, reheated. I think it tastes even better, the next day.  Unfortunately, when I returned home from work on the next day, my son had polished off the second half of the spaghetti pie.  I'm okay with that. I guess that proves that this recipe is still one of his favorites. I hope it becomes one of yours.

Thanks for listening reading about my health issues. These are the reasons I've been quite absent from my blog, and I miss interacting with all of you. I remain highly optimistic that everything will be okay. I've been told that my thyroids will stabilize, and they are getting there. It's just going to take a while longer.  Once my energy comes back to normal, I can hardly wait to start baking. Fall and Winter are my favorite seasons to be in the kitchen.

Blessings,






Here's the recipe card:





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31 comments:

Jen said...

Keep going! Your doing a great job. Just give yourself a break. We'll be reading your post when it comes. Besdy wishes to you and your family.O:-)

Bonnie B said...

I printed out the recipe and I will be trying it out. Looks delicious! I've missed your posts but knew you were having issues, for which I am so sorry. You are headed for better days ahead. Keep us posted so we can cheer you on!

Gina F. said...

I wish you the best of luck with your recovery. You are a part of my Feedly reader, so we'll be waiting for your next post, whether it's next week or two months down the road.

karyn said...

You have my thoughts and prayers for a quick and complete recovery! I can't imagine all that you've been through and will continue to follow you as long as you continue to post. Please post whenever it feels like the right thing for you to do. You and your family should always be your primary focus. Keep us posted when you can!

Mom24 said...

I will miss you and I will be here eagerly waiting for you to come back.

Wave Watcher said...

I was just thinking earlier today, how thankful I am for your blog. (So is my husband, although he doesn't know it's because of you.) You have revived my interest in cooking and trying new recipes again. Once upon a time, it used to be magazines, but now it's the Internet. I still get magazines, but the recipes don't seem as interesting. And sometimes, it's a matter of finding the recipe again. Whereas, on the internet or selected blogs I follow, I know exactly where to go, and the desired recipe is right there. So thank you, Debby!

I've been following your blog long enough that there are LOTS of your recipes that I make. In fact I was on it tonight because I'm going to make semmelknoedel to go with the Austrian Goulash I made earlier today.

Wishing you a speedy recovery! Take all the time you need to feel better. I will be waiting for your return.

Wave Watcher said...

I used to make a spaghetti pie, but I've lost the recipe. It was a favorite of my daughter, too. Now I can make it again. Thanks for sharing it.

bellini said...

Working for an orthopaedic surgeon I know that the surgery process is long and painful. It takes a lot of hard work through the pain for months to keep that knee mobile. You can do it Debby.

Barbara Bakes said...

My boys would love this cheesy deliciousness too. Sorry you've been struggling.

Arlene Delloro said...

Best wishes and prayers for a complete, speedy recovery. I'm sure your faithful readers will still be here and you'll be pain free

Anonymous said...

Hang in there! Your blog is so enjoyable I wouldn't think of jumping ship. I send you all good wishes for a speedy recovery and a return to good health. Debbie the NY Baker

Mae Brown said...

Please know that you have an awesome blog and that I "pin" many of your recipes. Wishing you a speedy back to normal and hope the new knee proves even better than the old one.

Lorrie Bridges said...

Awww Debby thanks for your transparency! Nobody is judging you and so many GET you! :) I understand the thyroid issues... seeeeee I get you! I'm going to Trader Joes right now to get food and will make this dish tonight to celebrate your great attitude and future blogging and health! Love you!!!! I always got your back with prayers too.

Debby Foodiewife said...

Good morning! Wow, thank you for all the wonderful comments. This is EXACTLY why I love the Food Blogger Community. There are so many invisible faces behind the heartfelt comments that you leave. Thank you one and all! Hugs, Debby

The Quiltwhinny said...

Thanks for keeping us posted. You re in my thoughts and prayers.

Anonymous said...

Hi!
My dad suffers from gout and he swears by pure cherry juice for it.

I've been reading for a few months and tried a handful of your recipes, the Hawaiian macaroni salad is my favorite. Feel better soon! :)

Waiting patiently for your recovery (and more recipes),
S

TKW said...

I'll be thinking of you the next few weeks and crossing my fingers! We will be here when you return. Much love coming your way.

Nena said...

Never Give Up Never Surrender! The knee will get better, the thyroid can knock your block off but will vastly improve (both of these I absolutely promise bc I've been there) and gout? After the first two gout will be a piece of cake. Your recipes will keep me going and I will watch for your return. Look! at all your responses. I will be here. Auf wiedersehn.

Kristen said...

Hi! I don't know how your blog started showing up in my Facebook feed, but I always enjoy reading about your cooking adventures!

I often find myself adapting the recipes to be gluten free since I have celiac and a slew of undiagnosed auto-immune-like symptoms..... oh the joys of being a medical mystery!

I'm sure you are getting a lot of unsolicited advice, and I just wanted to write you a note of encouragement and say that I am truly sorry for what you are going through. The "invisible" pains are the worst- because you don't get the much-needed grace and empathy that are so desperately desired to help make it through the day.

One of the (maybe unforeseen) blessings through all of this is that you are a food blogger and a good cook! The food we eat truly impacts our health- especially when there are underlying issues. I recommend checking out/removing night shades and looking at Gluten as that sneaky culprit of so many issues!

Debby Foodiewife said...

Thanks, Kristen. I am investigating more into foods that can make my gout act up. Gluten-free has it's merits, of that I don't doubt. But, to give it up... I'd really have to think long and hard and see if that's the direction I want to go. I sure love my gluten products!

Gloria said...

Debby: Man, I've read your blog since we were new 'bloggers' a few years ago/from like 2010! And you should never give it up, you have great food recipes here and, everyone enjoys your writings! I do understand your blogging angst, since I haven't even done a new post on my blog for over a year! You probably won't even remember me, but I've always enjoyed your blog and try to keep up with visiting. I am sad to hear of your health woes of late. BUT you do NOT have to worry about people forgetting about you if you don't blog regularly for awhile! Take your time, do what you need to do health-wise; take your rehab time, and rest for two or three months, and then come back to cook. Trust me, everyone will be here to see your newest post. :)
Until then, God bless and I wish you well. Godspeed for your recovery!
Best,
Gloria (from the blog: thelittleredhousewiththewhiteporch.blogspot.com)

Big Dude said...

Debbie - So sorry to hear that you are having to endure multiple issues at the same time and I hope they are all short lived and you are soon back to normal.

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

Wow Debbie, you've really been through the ringer haven't you. I knew about the problems with your knee, but I didn't know about the thyroid nor the gout. Yikes, the knee is bad enough without pilling on the other two. My FIL and my husband both have suffered with gout so I know how painful it is. I hope your doctors can find a way to whip those problems for you. In the meantime, rest, relax and don't worry about us. We're all here for you.
Sam

Mimi G said...

Praying for a successful procedure and complete recovery. Eagerly awaiting your return.

Joanne said...

Oh no!! I'm so sorry to hear you've been dealing all this. I can't even imagine. Know that we're all thinking about and rooting for you!!

Bill said...

I'm so sorry to hear you're having some health issues, Debby! I'll be sending lots of good thoughts your way. Don't spend another minute worrying about your blog. Your followers, including me, understand. I love this spaghetti pie recipe. I've got to try this one.

Anonymous said...

Wow whee you gots to take care of yourself, I get the Gout too and I have had tummy problems anemia and will be getting a endoscopy and colonscopy on the same day for my troubles! I will be praying that you sail thru with little pain and a knee that bends the way you want it to and your thyroid issues are taken care of..I love your blog and make your recipes all the time! I just know you will be feeling great very very very soon, ciao mary jane from out here in the pacific northwest, peace and good wishes and prayers for a most quick recovery! ciao!~

Jessica B. said...

Best of luck to you during this difficult time.

Tanya Walker said...

I know I am late but I appreciate your candor! We are human beings with REAL lives not staged like on those reality shows! HA! We are not machines as I was telling a friend the other day. We get tired and must take care of ourselves. If some folk leave that is okay because you have new folks like me who will stay and support you! I commend you for just saying you will go to therapy. Do you know how many folks don't then complain they don't feel well? (I am a health professional so my rant on that).

Christine said...

Funny, I was just organizing my recipes and was shocked to find 8 versions. Well, now 9. If the current cooling trend (oh please, please, please) continues, I'll be making this soon! Sound delicious.

Debby Foodiewife said...

Tanya, thank you for the pep talk. The good news is that my surgery happened, it worked and I'm doing much better. My thyroids are back to normal, so all is better. Oh, and no more gout outbreaks. Wheeeeeeeeeeee!