Monday, September 17, 2012

~One year ago~ and Monday's recipe~! :)

   I'm sure everyone can think of a life-changing moment; something that caused them to make changes in their diet and exercise (or to begin exercise).
One year ago this week, I awoke at 5 am with an aching, stabbing pain deep in the right side of my neck. I attempted to sit up in bed, called for my husband, Richard- then passed out. As I came to, my world was "surreal". My ears roared, I struggled to breathe, I fought against a blanket of black coming over me in waves. I fought against it. I thought I needed to grab/push Richard to persuade him that he needed to help me out of the darkness. I screamed repeatedly, "Help me!" "I can't hold on! Help me!".
According to my husband, Richard, I was like a delirious, dying woman. He had to use all his strength to try and keep me still so I wouldn't hurt myself. lol!! :)
 In my own head I wasn't delirious at all. Fighting against the blackness somehow made sense. :)
My screaming woke the kids up, and we had much explaining to do afterwards.

  The crazy pre-dawn experience scared all of us, and my neck was very, very sore. I couldn't move my head or neck without pain. The doctor told me I had experienced a scalene muscle spasm, something that doesn't usually happen without some type of injury (like a car wreck or trying a new exercise program).  They said I must have passed out from the excruciating pain.
I hadn't experienced any injury or out-of-the-ordinary activity prior to the spasm, so I was puzzled.
After an x-ray, several Dr appointments, and physical therapy, I was told that I probably had repeatedly pulled or irritated a muscle in my neck, making it grow worse and worse.
It took 4 or 5 months to feel back to normal, and it was frustrating not being able to pin-point a particular reason for what had happened. I wondered if there could be any connection with the Hashimoto thyroditis I struggle with.

   After a time of extreme frustration with having no answers, I made a decision to change to a healthier lifestyle. Along with neck exercises (Dr's orders), I took up jogging around our block. I was surprised to find that I liked it! :)  I can now jog about 1 mile, then speed walk another 1/2 mile.
Surely if I keep my muscles strong, they'll be less likely to give way to a spasm (?).  :)  :)

  I soon began searching more seriously for healthy [easy] recipes. Richard & I also discussed juicing fruits & veggies.... and have recently purchased a juicer! :) 
I plan to share one new recipe every Monday!! :)

I was thrilled to find a [crock pot] chicken & rice casserole recipe that I can use brown rice with!!
I've adapted my recipe from cdkitchen's recipe ; I hope you enjoy! :)   I normally make a green salad to serve along with this casserole.~

Chicken & Rice Casserole (crock pot)
1 can (10 3/4 ounce size) cream of chicken, celery or mushroom soup (Campbell's Healthy Request)
4 or 5  boneless, skinless chicken breast (however many will fit in crock pot)
1 can (4 ounce size) sliced mushrooms, undrained (or use fresh mushrooms)
11/2 tablespoon dry onion soup mix (use Watkins)

1 onion, chopped
1/2-3/4 cup brown rice
approx 1/2 cup of water (I usually "eye" it; rice absorbs water as it cooks )
Combine the soup, mushrooms and rice in a slow cooker. Stir well. Lay the chicken breasts on top of the mixture (yes, you may use frozen chicken! yay!). Sprinkle the onion soup mix over. Add onion, salt & pepper if desired. Cover. Cook on LOW for 7 to 9 hours. Serve hot.
Note: for some reason my crock pot cooks fast, so I must halve the time of all crock pot recipes. For us, this recipe cooks in 4-5 hours;  one can also add other veggies to this recipe besides -or in addition to- mushrooms.  :)

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