23 September, 2023

Biscuit recipe, redux

Category: Baking,Food — Moose @ 8:08 am

Back in January I started tweaking a biscuit recipe for my particular dietary needs (gluten and dairy free), and as of last night’s batch I think I have dialed it in. Cast iron skillet, 8″, and cut the recipe in half with some tweaks, including letting the dough rest for 30 minutes which allows the gluten free dough to rise in a manner more like regular flour and letting it rest for five minutes after baking (thank you for the tips, ATK).

Half-batch gluten and dairy free “Butter” Swim Biscuits

1 cup dairy-free milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1-1/4 cups gluten free flour (King Arthur, preferably)
3 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 stick of margarine (4 Tbsp)

Mix the milk and vinegar and let sit while you assemble the other ingredients (this creates fresh “buttermilk” and gives the acid needed for the baking powder to react).

Combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Add the milk mixture and gently mix all the ingredients together until a moist dough is formed (lumpy is good). Let sit for thirty minutes to allow the dough to incorporate the moist ingredients and get a good rise going.

At the twenty minute mark, preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

At the twenty-five minute mark put the margarine in the 8 Inch cast iron skillet and place in the oven until the margarine is melted, about 2-6 minutes depending on your oven and how cold the margarine was. Remove from the oven.

Pour the dough right on top of the melted margarine and use a spatula to gently spread it evenly across the skillet until it touches the sides. Brush some of the margarine across the entire top of the dough – any bits in the middle without margarine on it will look and taste dry.

Use a knife to cut the unbaked dough (it should be swimming in margarine at this point) into mostly even squares. (It’s fine if they are not perfect squares.)

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

15 September, 2023

Recovery plan

Category: Aging,Body,Health — Moose @ 9:11 pm

The TL:DR version: 1. No surgery. 2. I dislocated the patella and it snapped back into place pretty much immediately. 3. Lots of PT. 4. Might take up to 3 months to get back to normal. 4. Follow up with Orthopedist in 3 week. 5. No driving.

So after waiting around in the large brace for a week, commuting from the 3rd floor (bedroom) to the 2nd floor (living room/kitchen) and back again, I got an MRI on Wednesday. I’ve had a couple MRIs over the years and this was the first time I didn’t have to get undressed and into a gown – everything but belt and jewelry stayed on. Wild. Saw the orthopedist this afternoon, and the message was better than expected. I don’t need surgery. I dislocated the patella when I slipped, and it smacked the femur, but it snapped right back. The MRI showed where the bones collided. I can’t quite get the knee into full flexion (fully bent), so for now I need to do a lot of PT to get the joint back to full mobility.

The tendon that runs on the inside of the knee is going to be angry with me as we bent the joint. The kneecap normally pulls to the outside some when the knee bends, and that’s going to irritate it. They gave me some prescription naproxen to help with it. I’ve put in a request with a PT shop that’s close (quick bus or Uber ride) so hopefully they’ll get back to me soon and we can start working on rehabilitation. In the meantime I’ll have to figure out how we work this with work, because I think I’m technically out of full-time work from home options, but I can’t imagine they won’t accommodate this since I can’t drive, thus can’t reasonably get to work via car or Metro.

I will say I’m grateful that I don’t need surgery. I’ll happily do PT until the cows come home to get back to normal.

9 September, 2023

Wrenched it

Category: Aging,Body,Health,Home,Mood,Stress — Moose @ 9:21 am

On Monday I was on a grocery run when I slipped on some oil in the parking lot and very badly wrenched my right knee. I didn’t feel anything pop, but I definitely went down and there was a lot of loud vocalizing about pain. On the upside, it’s a shopping center with an urgent care center, so after a bit of denial I leaned on a shopping cart and wheeled myself over to get checked out. I got a brace, crutches, instructions to go see an orthopedist.

Saw my old orthopedist’s office the next day (different doctor; the last guy specialized in shoulders, this one in knees). X-rays did not show anything broken, but did reveal that I have a bipartite patella on both knees, which is probably unrelated, but was an interesting conversation piece with the doc. Got a knee wrap and a stiffer, larger brace to hold things in place better (and boy have they improved since I last wore one back in 1986*). Instructions were to get an MRI and make a follow up appointment with the doc. First radiology place was going to take two weeks (!!!!) to get me in. I booked it, but then checked in with insurance to see where else was available and managed to get one a mere week later (this upcoming Wednesday the 13th, as opposed to the following Tuesday the 19th) a little further out. Definitely a sign that there’s too much demand and not enough supply in the DC radiology market.

In the meantime I’ve been sitting around playing lots of PS5, doing some reading, and a little bit of work. The collection of chargers next to the couch has slowly grown as I’ve needed to charge more devices like the kindle. The husband has been fantastic, fussing at me about letting him do more for me (I’m a terrible patient; I value my independence and hate asking for help). Thank heavens for the internet and videos for “best ways to get up and down stairs with crutches”, which we definitely did not have in 1986. Since this townhouse is a staircase with a couple rooms attached I’ve tried to minimize the amount of up and down each day to once each wherever possible. My neighbors have been good, too, with one graciously getting our car back from the parking lot to our garage, and another bringing a package in for me when the husband wasn’t going to be home until late. We have a slight problem with porch pirates, and I wanted to keep the cat food from disappearing, so I asked her to come drag it inside. The smart lock I installed a couple weeks back came in handy there, as I was able to unlock and lock the door from the couch so she could open the door.

And now I wait for appointments to see how badly I’ve messed this thing up. The swelling is down from the peak, but it’s still grapefruit sized and somewhat warm to the touch. Grateful we installed washlets on all the toilets, because when you only have one good leg to stand on wiping is not the easiest.

* Back in 1986 I was playing volleyball in gym class, went to hit the ball at the edge of the court, everyone yelled to let it go out as it was game point and we’d win, so I backed up quickly and in doing so chipped my thigh bone. I vaguely recalling yelling “shit” at the top of my lungs, and the whole gym was looking at me when I looked up. Teacher felt the knee, nothing broken, so ‘walk it off’ (Poor teacher; this was at the school where my mother was the librarian and I know she felt bad when it turned out to be worse than expected). Urgent care, orthopedist, arthroscopic surgery to remove the bone chips, and a massive leg brace to keep it all straight before and after surgery, which I recall being a pain in the ass to get on/off, with giant velcro tabs. This new one has velcro, but also has quick-release tabs that the velcro connects to, so is much, much easier to remove and put back on. Yay progress.