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Katie's Thoughts

Dear Depressed Person

After reading about the death of singer, Scott Hutchinson’s passing, I made a decision. I’m coming out.

I have been struggling with depression since I was a teenager and it’s an insidious disease. Years ago, before I went to therapy and was on any medication for my depression, I drank too much and on occasion would do drugs.  (I told you, I’m coming OUT!) Anything to keep me numb.  To be numb is not to think. Feeling numb is a break from the voices in my head that were always telling me I’m not any good. I’m ugly; unworthy and a thousand other negative things.

When the emotional pain is bad, I long for that dissociation. For numbness. That blissful time when I don’t feel anything. But that is where the real darkness of depression lurks. That desire to “let go” can lead to unhealthy and often impromptu decisions that may lead to suicide. Jim Morrison once said “No one here gets out alive,” and that’s true, so why rush it? Life sucks on occasion, but it’s also amazing. Those of us who struggle with depression, often forget to notice the beauty in the world. For me, taking a walk with my dog has been a keen reminder that life can be beautiful A happy dog and a sunny day? Hell yeah.

For us, the clinically depressed, the feeling of being the only one that feels this pain, the feeling of being alone and that people would be happier without you in their life. That softly whispered voice in your head? That is the darkness. But those voices lie. Because as we have seen from Scott’s apparent suicide, nothing is further from the truth. He was beloved, and so are you.

Why am I telling you all this? To feel sorry for me. Hell no. I work hard to deal with my depression. I go to therapy every week and face my darkness head-on. I’m also on antidepressants to stabilize my mood. Yep. On medication. And I’m thankful every day that my sister convinced me to ask for medication for my moods.

If you struggle with this disease, there are many of us out there that understand what you’re going through and will listen! I repeat:  You are not alone. Okay, so there isn’t a simple button to push to make your depression go away. You do have to work for your good days. But it’s worth it!  Get therapy, work with a doctor to get on the right anti-depressant. One day you will notice the soothing warmth of the sun or a flower bursting with color, or the giggle of a child and you will smile. That is the beginning of the path to healing. Step out of yourself and into the world.

Don’t allow those voices in your head to lead you on a path to destruction. You are worth it. You are loved, and we don’t want you to slip off your mortal coil – we want you to be here with us.  We need to come out and let people know we are here and we can be a support to one another. Let’s start now. Let’s do it for Scott Hutchinson and all the others who didn’t feel like they could survive in their own skin.

Let’s all take one simple step.  Let’s believe we are worthy.  Get the help we deserve and reach out to those who love us. Trust me; They have been waiting to be there for you and me.

 

Sincerely,

Katie Baldwin
Romance Writer and depressed person.
Reach out @katiebwrites or Katiebaldwin2015@gmail.com

RECIPES

Irish Boxty (potato pancakes)

There is an old Irish quote “Boxty on the griddle, boxty on the pan; if you can’t make boxty, you’ll never get a man’.” While the old quote makes me cringe, I do have to admit that the potato pancakes are amazingly yummy. I can’t confirm that this is some kind of magic charm for grabbing a man though. (Also maybe he can make them for you!)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups grated raw potatoes
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup leftover mashed potatoes
1 egg
1 tablespoon whole milk
1/4 cup olive oil
1 leek, diced
3/4 cup of Irish Cheddar cheese, grated
salt and pepper to taste

Boxty Ingrediants

1. Toss the grated potatoes with flour in a large bowl.

shredded potatoes
2. Stir in mashed potatoes until combined.
3.In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and milk; mix into the potatoes.
4. Add leeks and cheese.
5. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

all miexed up potatoes
6. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
7. Drop in the potato mixture, forming patties about 2 inches in diameter. Fry on both sides until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side.

fry those suckers - boxty
8. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
9. Serve warm. with sour cream and a sprinkle of chives on top

plated boty

 

RECIPES

Rice Pudding warms the soul

I will never understand why people think it’s gross. It’s pudding with rice. What could be more awesome? I fell in love with it as a child living in Ecuador. It was quite cold in Quito, and some warm Arroz con leche (aka rice pudding) hit the spot every time. What I love about this recipe I’m about to share is that it is so dang easy. You use cooked rice!

 

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked rice
  • 2 cups milk (I use whole milk for this treat.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup  raisins or currants
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/3 cup  sugar
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Combine cooked rice,  1 cup of milk, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat; cook and stir until thick and creamy, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir remaining 1/2 cup milk,  raisins,  and white sugar into the rice mixture; add beaten egg, and stir continuously or else the egg will cook and then you will have such grossness. Remove saucepan from heat; stir butter and vanilla extract into the pudding. EAT.

rice pudding

RECIPES

Potato and Leeks Soup

Finally, it is soup season. And for your enjoyment, one of my favorites.

3/4 cup leeks (white and light green portions only), sliced (*Trader Joe’s has leeks in the freezer section, cleaned and sliced. So nice*)
2 tablespoons butter (optional)
4 medium potatoes, peeled and the cubbed
salt
pepper
finely sliced scallions for garnish (optional)

 

Instructions
Heat the butter in a pan and add the leeks. Cook over medium heat, stirring until softened. Pour in about two cups of water or two cups of Chicken Broth. Add the potatoes and season with salt and a little pepper. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 45 minutes.
After 45 minutes, the potatoes and leeks should be mushy.
With immersion blender blend leaks and potatoes into a creamy soup. Add 1/4 of milk or heavy cream. Sprinkle with sliced scallions, if you like. I always add a bit of Irish cheddar to my soup.

 

Enjoy!

RECIPES

Pasta with Garlic and Oil

By now I assume you know I love to cook as well as write romances.  This pasta is light and full of flavor. It is also a great side dish to a shrimp or scallop dish. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • Salt
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup minced garlic or 10 large garlic cloves. 
  • ¾ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice from 1 lemon

INSTRUCTIONS

SERVES 4 TO 6

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position, set large heatproof serving bowl on rack and heat oven to 200 degrees. Bring 4 quarts water to rolling boil, covered, in large pot. Add pasta and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt to boiling water, cook until al dente; reserve 1/3 cup pasta cooking water and drain pasta.

2. Combine 3 tablespoons oil, 3 tablespoons garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet; cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until garlic foams and is sticky and straw-colored, 10 to 12 minutes. Off heat, add remaining tablespoon raw garlic, red pepper flakes, parsley, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons pasta cooking water to skillet and stir well to keep garlic from clumping.

3. Transfer drained pasta to warm serving bowl; add remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and remaining reserved pasta cooking water and toss to coat. Add garlic mixture and 3/4 teaspoon table salt or 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes to pasta; toss well to combine. Serve immediately. 

RECIPES

Zucchini, Garlic and Pasta AKA Spring Joy

zuckes

Spring, for some reason, makes us desperate for green food. Maybe because back in THE DAY green food was only plentiful in the spring. Actually, I’m pretty sure that’s the reason, but – no matter, this pasta will make you dance with joy! And you will sing, “spring is here!” or not. But really try this pasta. Loosely based on Marcella Hazan’s recipe.

INGREDIENTS

1½ pounds zucchini ends trimmed, cut into sticks 2½” long by ¼” thick

Salt

8 or so fresh basil leaves, washed, paper towel dried, rolled and chopped

½-cup all-purpose flour

Vegetable oil for frying

3 – 5 garlic cloves, peeled (or garlic infused oil)

4-tablespoon butter

1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus cheese for serving at table

1-pound of fresh pasta like fettuccine

 

Soak zucchini in cold water for a half an hour after scrubbing off the dirt residue. Trim ends cut into sticks (matchstick sized). Toss with salt a few times. Put in the colander, salt, and place in sink and let the liquid drain for a minimum of two hours. Mostly I let it drain for two hours and then I take four or five paper towels, drop all of the zucchini sticks on the towel, wrap it up and let the towels soak the rest of the juice out of the zucchini. This is essential for the zucchini to fry correctly. Then pat dry with more paper towels. Drop zucchini back in the colander and sprinkle with flour. Shake off excess. Pour vegetable oil in frying pan up to at least ¼” and fry the garlic. Once it browns, remove, add in zucchini and fry until golden brown. Try really hard not to eat all of the crispy zucchini as it comes out of the pan. Save some for the pasta. Trust me, you won’t be sorry.

Cook and drain pasta. Toss with butter. Add zucchini, basil, cheese, toss thoroughly.

This is the perfect spring food. You will eat ALL OF IT and then groan. But it will be worth it. Have I ever steered you wrong? I mean except that one time in college?

RECIPES

Beer Beef Stew

irish-stew-tf2
Photo credit: tastefoodblog.com

Sundays are meant for writing, not sweating over a pot. Enter…beef stew, the yummiest, easiest dinner for happy bellies.

Beer Beef Stew

SERVINGS: 6 Servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 2 pounds Stew Meat
  • 1 whole large sweet Onion, Diced
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 can (12 Oz. Size) of dark Beer
  • 4 cups Beef Stock
  • 2 cups Water
  • 2 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Sugar
  • 4 whole Carrots, Washed, Unpeeled, And Roughly Sliced

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat oil and butter over medium-high heat. Brown meat in two batches, setting aside on a plate when brown. (Keep that yummy juice for later!) Cut pieces in half. Set aside.
Add diced onions to the pot. Add a pinch of salt, stir and cook for two or three minutes until softened. Add garlic for another minute. Pour in beer and beef stock, then add Worcestershire, tomato paste, paprika, salt, pepper, and sugar. Add beef back into the pot. Stir to combine. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Add carrots, then cover and cook for an additional 30 minutes. Serve with mashed potatoes. Or if serving with noodles, add 4 whole new baby potatoes with the carrots!