Monday, April 19, 2021

Three Beautiful Things 04/18/2021: Back to the Wellness Trail, Steamed Spaghetti Squash, Superb Family Dinner

 1. A brief reminder: in Pendleton last week, while on an easy walk with Colette, I grew concerned that I was experiencing an unusual shortness of breath. Every kidney doctor I've seen since Jan. of 2005 asks me, as part of my regular check ups, whether I am experiencing shortness of breath. It can be a symptom of kidney failure. 

Today, I hiked the wellness trail above the hospital as a way to test my lung capacity and, I hoped, to assure myself that what I experienced in Pendleton was temporary and a result of not being properly hydrated.

Before hiking, I drank water at home and I took water on the trail.

Yes, I needed to rest on the two benches strategically placed on the trail, but I expected that.

When I reached the picnic table at the end of the wellness trail, I was upright and breathing about as hard as I usually do on this hike.  I talked for a minute or two with the sweethearts who were lying on the table, soaking up the sunlight and blissing out on the beauty of the day.

I felt more than fine. I felt really good. I enjoyed my walk back down the trail and my confidence grew that I'm doing all right and am committed to keeping the sodium down and water consumption up. 

2. Christy planned tonight's family dinner. She copied a recipe for steamed spaghetti squash for me to follow and it was simple to make. Once I cut the two squash in half, lengthwise, I salted and peppered them and drizzled them with a blend of olive oil and honey. I roasted them, two halves at a time, for about 35-40 minutes, let them cool, scraped the flesh out with a fork, and added a mixture of vinegar, honey, and olive oil to the spaghetti looking squash. I topped the dish with toasted almonds. 

3.  Christy assigned us each a recipe from Alex Guarnaschelli's book, Cook with Me. For a cocktail, I followed Alex Guarnaschelli's recipe for making Manhattans.  Christy prepared baked chicken thighs with a slow-cooked barbecue sauce that was packed with flavors and Carol made a Waldorf salad with a vinaigrette, not a mayonnaise-based dressing. I contributed the steamed spaghetti squash. We also drank from a bottle of Rose wine.  Our family dinners are always really good, but I thought this one was one of those especially delicious meals where every dish was brilliant on its own and they each complimented one another perfectly.

Christy also baked cherry almond cookies out of Cook With Me and served them with a cherry almond after dinner drink mixed with half and half.

We spent the evening in continual conversation, too. Among other things, Carol reported on her outing the past couple of days and nights with April and Kellee. This led us to a discussion of other people's families, who's related to whom, some of their family stories, and some surprises about what has happened in the past. It was a great time all the way around and left me eager to find out what Carol will plan for dinner next Sunday. 

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