Friday, January 03, 2014

Emboldened by the stew...

I am stewmaker hear me roar
In recipes too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back to processed
'Cause I've burned it all before
And I've been down there on the floor
No recipe's gonna keep me down again

I am stewmaker!
I am courageous!
I am victorious!
I am stewmaker!

Quick!  Name that musical decade!

Now that I am a stewmaker,  I have the courage to go where no Myrtle has ever gone before ... into the new frontier that is mac and cheese.  Only, well, I adapted the recipe.

First, I will note that my stewmaker courage emboldened me to attempt my best friend's Peanut Peanut Butter Cookies again last night.  The third time is obviously the charm, for it was the first time that I did not make any mistakes in measuring.  When made correctly, these are most marvelous cookies!

Because it was necessary, I tasted one cookie from each batch in the oven.  That meant there were 34 cookies left to go into the freezer.  Somehow, the pumpkin cookies in there all disappeared.  Of course, that means there was enough room for the Peanut Peanut Butter Cookies.  Thankfully, each batch were cooked perfectly!

Marie had brought me a butternut squash before she left for vacation and I have been looking for days for a recipe in which to try it.  I kept coming back to the idea of butternut squash and pasta.  Somewhere in my collection is one that is more of a pasta dish, rather than a mac and cheese.  However, I haven't been able to find it again.  So, I set out to attempt Roasted Butternut Squash and Cheese Pasta.

I have seen many a set of directions on roasting butternut squash.  In fact, the recipe from which I adapted the end result directs the cook to do so in foil.  Usually, I peel it, remove the seeds, and cube it.  But that is an awful lot of work.  This time, I chose to roast them without all of that labor.

Because I was worried about burning since I left them face up instead of face down, as I have found recommended, I smeared olive oil over the entire exposed surface.  Then I salted and peppered them. This was the end result.

There are several changes on my recipe, besides the fact that I only made half (and still ended up with four servings).  Two of the changes were because I did not have the right ingredients, but the others were preference.  For example, I am a new fan of sage, especially with butternut squash.  Another change is that I did not want to start with straight milk, so I started with a b├ęchamel sauce that I created using roasted garlic butter (I typed up the instructions) and flour.  I also was very, very in adding in the cheeses and the butternut squash so as to end up with a smooth cheese sauce.  For the first time, really, my result looked strikingly similar to the source recipe.

Yes, the dish was extremely tasty!

Something that I have learned across a few recipes is that if you sliver the bacon whilst it is raw and then cook it, you will have bacon "bits" that are far more evenly cooked than bacon that is cooked and then crumbled.  In order to get my slivers, I use my beloved Henckels kitchen shears.

Sadly, I will note that this recipe resulted in this:

How is it possible to use so many things to create a single dish???  I need Marie and Paul here!

After the eleventh day (counting the ones in October and November) of multiple phone calls, and two trips to the doctor's office, I finally was able to have the completed prescription pre-authorization form faxed to and confirmed received at the prescription management company.  Now, in the 11th hour, I am awaiting review.  The woman who has been helping me the last three days of calls marked the review urgent.  By rule, that means the review must be completed in 24 hours.  Now, that would have been okay for my regular Sunday fetching of the Erythromycin, but we are about to be walloped with snow.  So, sadly, I am giving up a day's worth of medication to do my fetching on the morrow, before the snow falls.  That means I need the review completed in less than 24 hours.  Lord willing.

I understand, now, why my doctor's office staff were so unpleasant about the previous authorizations. There just has to be a better way to do this.  In my opinion, the forms should be available on a website for downloading.  The completed form could be either digitally signed with the doctor's code or at least faxed.  Plus, it would be most helpful if the process could be tracked online by the member so as to ensure which authorizations need "help" in moving along.  My doctor's nurse said she spent the equivalent of two entire days on the phone trying to get the first authorizations.  And that was before the policy change in which the fax number must be personally confirmed each and every time a fax request is made.  That policy includes fax requests made on the same day since the first/earlier requests were not completed. SIGH.

Tomorrow, my reward for traversing the still snow laden roads to fetch the medication will be the consuming of serving number two of my first ever "mac and cheese" dish.  [For the record, servings three and four are in the freezer ... the very full freezer.

No, I have not yet picked up the paint brush....

I am Yours, Lord.  Save me!

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