Weeknight Dinners

12 Minute Mashed Potatoes

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I’m BAAAAACK and it feels so good to write and be part of the blogging community again.

Last night, we were all craving a meat and potatoes, essentially a comfort food meal. So first I’m going to tell you about the food we made, and then I’ll address the elephant in the room….where we were last week! And why I haven’t blogged.

First, chicken cordon bleu + mashed potatoes + steamed broccoli = winning!

The chicken cordon bleus are frozen from Brenans (yes, I stocked up from Jacobson’s Meats before Brenans closes) and steamed some broccoli, super simple.

Mashed Potatoes

  • 3 russet potatoes, rinsed peeled and cubed into 1/4″ pieces
  • large kettle
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • potato masher

Directions

  1. In a large kettle, boil your water until you have a rolling boil (salt it, too, 1/2 tsp salt)
  2. Peel and cube your potatoes
  3. Once you have a rolling boil, add the potatoes
  4. Boil for 12 minutes, or until fork tender. You should be able to slice with a butter knife, that tender.
  5. Drain the pototoes and place back into kettle
  6. Add the remaining salt, butter, milk and black pepper
  7. Use all of your built up stress and mash the heck out of your potatotes.
  8. Keep a close eye on your potatoes though, you can actually over-mash and create “gummy” potatoes.
  9. Stop mashing once you have a pretty un-lumpy consistency. A few lumps are OK!
  10. Use a canned gravy, no gravy or homemade gravy.

I recruited my husband to whip up a gravy last night because, well, he LOVES cooking in the kitchen and can basically make ANYTHING I ask him to, on a whim. He’s got that skill, ya know, so I’m jell. He should be on a cooking show. Seriously. I’m grateful because when I was pregnant, I’d be like, “I’m craving Blah, blah, blah gyros, pickles mashed potatoes and side of pot roast with vegetables and gravy” and he’d make “blah, blah, blah” lickety split.

Who doesn’t LOVE MASHED POTATOES?!

My elephant.

This blog is for my nut-allergic daughter; however, my son was hospitalized last week, and that’s where we were – hanging at Children’s Hospital. He came in contact with e.coli shiga toxin and developed HUS, a very dangerous infection that destroys red blood cells and put my son in renal failure. We watched my sons health steadily decline over several days.

There is no cure for this infection – you basically wait and watch to see how fast the body will rebound. My son’s labs got better quickly, however, his body was still destroying red blood cells faster than his 4 year old body could keep up. He lost 5 pounds, turned into a vegetable, couldn’t walk, toilet, or stand independently. His lips were a faint white color as he had little blood left circulating. The scariest par was the week before, at home where he was severely ill for almost 5 days prior to this. In total, he was sick for almost 14 total days, with 7 of those days in the hospital. By far, the scariest two weeks of my entire life.

The good news is that Carter avoided dialysis and a second blood transfusion. His one and only blood transfusion perked him up and had him on a road to health in no time. We are considered to be one of the lucky ones. Many kids have several transfusions, dialysis, feeding tubes, surgery, and transplants. Some even have life-long issues stemming from this. I can’t help but feel grateful for where we are today.

  • I’m grateful for the physicians, staff and students at the hospital for taking care of our whole family.
  • I’m grateful for the many, many caregivers that took extra special care of my nut-allergic daughter.
  • I’m grateful for the blood donor, who made an AB+ match possible.
  • I’m grateful for my daughters amazing school and support she had on a regular basis.
  • I’m grateful for my online community and outpouring of emails, comments, texts and social media support.
  • I’m grateful for all of the visitors to the hospital who made our stay that much more comfortable.
  • I’m very grateful for my husband. We remained a united front. A true test of our marriage and commitment to our family. We only left the hospital to shower at home. Β Our son had our 100% attention and dedication at the hospital. My husband had a fine line to walk. As a doctor, he knew a lot going into this, and as a Dad, he had another responsibility. He spoke up as needed, gave advise and hypothesis when appropriate. Β He helped with blood draws at 4am when the night nurses difficulties. He gave wagon rides to pass the time, played DVDs and gave hugs when they were needed the most. I don’t know if my husband knows how much I value his giant brain and big heart, but one thing is for sure, I love him and our kids are lucky to have such a smart, loving and dedicated Dad.

This situation was a wake-up call for me. Don’t take the little things for granted. I’ve said this phrase a million times, but now I am actually living it. Β I learned so much:

  • Yoga is a useful tool in any situation and can easily be done in a small hospital room.
  • Mindful breathing through rounds is a good way NOT to cry in front of 8 residents and the attending.
  • Hospital food isn’t so bad.
  • God made flasks for a reason.
  • Hospital visitors are VITAL, and I will make an effort to do this more.
  • Wash hands before meals EVERY SINGLE TIME no matter what.
  • Monitor diarrhea, more than 2 days, a doctor should know about it.
  • Vinegar and hot water is a disinfectant.
  • Bleach is your bathrooms best friend.
  • Stats from labs are fun to analyze.

I’m glad to be home. I’m glad to have kids bickering. I’m glad to make food in my kitchen again and I’m happy to have kids running and playing as I’m trying to clean and cook. I’m happy to have the “normal” every day stress. I’m excited to take my daughter to school and pick her up. Because in an instant, everything can change. Nothing is permanent. Enjoy the right now, because tomorrow is not guaranteed to be the same as today.

Thanks for letting me spew my thoughts – this post has nothing to do with allergies. But I needed to clear my mind in order to move forward with my regular blog posts. I hope you hug your loved ones a little longer and a little tighter tonight. Life is a gift.

 

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