Sunday, February 28, 2010

Love is the BEST Medicine!

Hello Dahlin's! I am writing you this blog as the smell of freshly opened alcohol swabs, latex gloves, and hospital cafeteria Salisbury steak waft through my nose. To our dismay, dear ole' dad had to undergo emergency surgery this Wednesday and we have been busy setting up camp here at the hospital ever since. We thank our lucky stars that the surgery was a great success and his road to recovery at home is quickly approaching. As the days pass, and the sterile, green tiles of the hospital become an everyday sight for sore eyes, I cannot help but think that an extended stay in this massive mansion of medicine would drive even the sanest citizens nuttier than a fruit cake! Now, some people may think, my father included, that lounging around in bed all day, being waited on hand and foot by cute little nursies, and watching unlimited cable television would be the ideal vacay, but I am sure the majority of us wouldn't view this as a wondrous walk in the park! If you have a friend or family member who is sick at home or currently in the hospital, why not chalk up a little cheer and bring a bit o' sunshine to their weary world!

*A Tasty TREATment - Fill a beautiful basket with lots of gastronomic goodies like chocolates, cookies, flavored popcorn, gourmet teas and coffees, crackers, and soups to make their hospital stay (and their hospital food) a little more bearable. Before loading up on these fun foods, be sure to ask if your patient is on any kind of restricted diet and adjust the snacks accordingly. Nurses and immediately family would be your best consults for this!

*Color is the Cure - Never under estimate the power of color in an otherwise bland and boring room. Chromatherapy or more commonly called, Color Therapy, uses color and light to balance energy wherever a person's body may be lacking, be it physically, emotionally, or spiritually. You don't necessarily have to "paint their town red," but pops of pleasing colors through a festive flock of flowers, a buoyant bunch of balloons, or a posh pop-art poster will help add a little fun and whimsy to an otherwise dismal and drab space.

*Get Them the Gossip - Keep your patient up to date with latest news and celebrity gossip by purchasing a few magazines or newspapers from a local bookstore for them to flip through. STAR Magazine will always bring a giggle or a gasp out of celeb-obssessed reader. Or, if your bed-bound buddy loves to read novels, pick up a few of the bestsellers from Barnes & Noble Bookstore to help them pass the time.

*Arm Them With Amenities - A hospital doesn’t exactly fit the definition of "hospitable" so don't expect to see those perfectly placed petite bottles of invigorating rosemary-citrus shampoo or a travel-size sewing kits waiting on your armoire upon your check-in.  Pamper your patient and bring them a terry-cloth or waffle weave travel kit  filled to the brim with their favorite shampoo, shower gel, deodorant, body spray, toothbrush and toothpaste, an animal print shower cap, scented moisturizers, a bath pouf, and maybe a few grooming tools. If you have a hospital-bound Diva, a few primpin' and preenin' items such as colored lip gloss, blush, mascara, a sassy hair band, and brush would be more than appreciated, dahlin's! (True story, my DAD asked for tinted self-tanner to give him that "after St. Croix glow during his stay!" Ha-ha!)

*Hand-made with Heart - No matter what the occasion or circumstance, personalized gifts are always considered some of the best and most appreciated options. A picture drawn by your child (or you if you are a Monet in the making), a framed painting, a poem, a hand knit hat, or a jar of your annual strawberry jam are ways to show your affection and dedication to your patient. A visit accompanied by a simple cheer-up construction paper card or just an inspirational text message can bring instant smile to your patients’ face as well! This most certainly is a case of "it's the thought that counts."

*AromaTHERAPY - All hospitals and medical institutions have that same sickly and sterile "smell." You know exactly what I am talking about! Help make your patient's room a little more cozy and comfortable by bringing the aromas of the world right into their room. Gel candles are fabulous as they produce pleasing scents without having to be lit. A basket of potpourri, room spray, a lavender filled eye pillow, or a sachet for their closet would also be fabulous fragrant ways to freshen up their hospital suite.

*Musical Medicine - This gift will certainly be music to your patient's ears! Purchase an inexpensive MP3 player or I-pod Shuffle and load it up with songs from some of your hospital homie's favorite artists. You can also bring them a few of their favorite CD's and a small boom box so they can listen to their Top 20 Tunes. Just make sure the noise level is agreeable with your next gurney over neighbor!

*The WRITE Stuff - Supply your patients with writing materials and office supplies such as memo pads, paper clips, pencils and pens, a stapler, scissors, and tape. These can prove to be very useful for them, especially if they are accustomed to working with these items at their daily jobs. It will bring back that sense of work and routine to those idle hands. Also, why not purchase a pack of decorative note cards from your local Wal-mart or Dollar Tree? Your purpose driven patient can get started on those thank you notes for all the glorious get well gifts and guests they have received during their hospital stay. Don't forget the stamps!

*Runway Rx - They may be sick, but who says they cannot be stylish! Patients are generally asked to wear pale and unflattering hospital gowns, which may escalate their sickly feeling. They say "clothes make the man" so put a little pep back in their step with a little closet candy! A hip, patterned bed jacket, a pair of sassy bed slippers or socks, or a colorful shawl can bring a little fashion and fun to your bed-bound buddy. Making them feel more attractive and stylish is a nice way to boost their morale and their mood! In the words of the ever so famous Rupaul, "you better work!"

*Home Sweet Home - For anyone I have ever talked to on a business trip, on an airplane, in a hotel, or in a hospital, home is truly where the heart is. If your patient has a while to go in the hospital, bring the things they love about their home to them. A hand-made quilt from grandmother, their prized pillow, and maybe the secret teddy bear they may still have as a bed buddy would be thoughtful treasures to tote along. (I am 27 years-old and cherish my "Billy Bob" Bear.) Bring their family and friends to their bedside by filling frames with pictures of special occasions, trips, and other happy memories to place around your patient's room. Smaller items such as a prized figurine or a dish garden they used to tend daily are also homey additions to any hospital suite.

*Puzzle Your Patients - Sudoku, crossword puzzle, word search- what puzzle pleases your patient? Simple puzzle books and other energizing enigmas may help fight the loneliness and the boredom of a bed-bound buddy. Be sure to flip through the puzzles first however as they should not require a rocket scientist to solve them. These games should promote relaxation and thought rather than putting the hospital patients under any more stress than they already are.

*Kudos for the Caregivers - The patient of course is number one priority, but it's always exceptional when you can honor the doctor, nurses, or the family and friends who have kept up a bedside vigil for your patient with a small gift or word of praise. Encourage the caregivers to do something good for themselves! If you feel compelled, present them with a gift certificate for a local restaurant, movie passes, tickets to the opera or charity event, or a voucher to put towards a small shopping excursion or day at the spa. Individuals in the health care profession and the dedicated friends and family spend the entirety of their day caring for someone else; it's comforting to know that someone else cares about them!

(Note- Before stocking up on these glorious gifts and goodies, check with your patient's care providers to see if there are any dietary, heatlh, or hospital restrictions that may interfere with your present PRESENT plans. If so, do not get discouraged, just adjust your gracious gift giving accordingly!)

Thanks for all the well wishes and prayers, dahlin's! Dad is a trooper and what we call at our house a "good solider"; we know he will make it through this set-back with flying colors! I hope you do not find yourselves or someone near and dear to you bed-ridden or sick anytime soon, but if by chance you do, may these get well gifts bring a bit of happiness to the hospital room or home of your precious patient!

Wishing you all good health and happiness, always!

Be sure to stay tuned, dahlin's!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Feeling Blue...For Dinner???

Dahlin's, you have spoken and your wish is my command! The following fresh post features one of my absolute favorite recipes from that daring, dark-haired, lovely, loud-mouth, celebrity chef, Rachael Ray! It was definitely love (or maybe lust) at first sight when I initially laid eyes on this recipe. The hands of time stopped and my fabulous foodie fairy-tale had come true! They say "it's all in a name"...Could you possibly go wrong serving up a recipe entitled "Bacon Wrapped Chicken with Bleu Cheese?!?" I admit, Bleu Cheese is an acquired taste for many and much like liver, brussels sprouts, or Aunt Mary's Mystery Meat Loaf, you either learn to love it or hate it! I am sure you can tell by this post that I am definitely pitching for the Bleu Team in this culinary feat. If you feel it would be terribly tragic for you to ingest any of this buttery, blue stuff, feel free to substitute out a milder yet equally delicious cheese like Brie, Provolone, Swiss, or even a Sharp Cheddar. Once you decide on the cheese of your choice; prep your ingredients, pre-heat your oven and put this perfect poultry project to the test!

Bacon Wrapped Chicken with Bleu Cheese


2 large, boneless chicken breasts, skinned
3/4 cup bleu cheese crumbles
1/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped
2 scallions, chopped
4 slices good-quality center cut bacon
1 tablespoon E.V.O.O. (extra virgin olive oil, that's for you Rachael!)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup half-and-half
2 tablespoons grainy mustard


Pre-heat the oven to 375*.

Butterfly the chicken breast pieces by cutting across the breast but not all the way through. Open the breasts up and pound lightly between parchment paper. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Cover the chicken cutlets with bleu cheese crumbles, pecans and scallions in equal amounts. Roll the chicken, wrap each roll with two slices bacon and secure with toothpicks. Season the outside of the rolls with salt and pepper.

Heat the oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken evenly all over, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a small baking sheet, place in the oven and cook 10 minutes more.

Melt the butter in the same skillet pan the chicken was seared in. Whisk in flour, cook 1 minute then whisk in stock. Let thicken a minute then whisk in the half-and-half and grain mustard, season with salt and pepper, reduce heat to warm.

Halve the chicken and stack to show off the center. Set chicken in gravy or pour over top.

Turn this chic chicken concoction into a masterpiece meal for two by baking up a batch of Pilsbury Grands, serving it up with a side of sauteed spinach and a dollop of cranberries spiked with a bit of ginger or citrus zest to finish the plate.

Home-tested, tried and true, this wowie for a weekday meal can go from pantry to plate in 35 minutes or less. Next time you come home, weary from work and fretful about food, don't be blue; eat bleu for TWO!

Good eatings and be sure to stay tuned, dahlin's!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

"Necessity is the Mother of Invention" - Behold the Official Grand Opening of My Blog!

First things first; Welcome, Y'all! I am so glad you found me here at "From Blushing Bride to Domestic Diva!" To give you a sneeky-peeky into what this blog will be able to offer you, let me first provide you with one of my favorite quotes, "Necessity is the Mother of Invention." I am inspired by my dearest friends and family who have all either taken the marital plunge or are walking down the aisle as we speak. These gals including my newlywed self need a place where we can learn and share lifestyle tips, including delish yet effortless recipes, inspiration for decoration, posh weekend (or weekday if you prefer) projects and find a hub for household knowledge. My solom wish is for this little blog is to become a place for all women to master our precious art of being a WOMAN!!! We are enchanting creatures, able to plan a fairy-tale wedding for 250 on a slender little budget, cook a rocking meal using only a can of garbanzo beans and left over hamburger meat, have the house looking like a southern living magazine for the bi-annual in-law visit and still manage to throw one hell of a dinner party all while maintaining our grace and charm in a killer pair of stilettos. Once again welcome to the world of blushing brides and domestic divas: where the women rule and all the men drool!