This blog is my happy place.
I am able to meet other like-minded people, share recipes and photos, and learn new things about food and life. It's a place where I escape the monotony of life and its negatives, which is why I rarely mention piddly little things I do not care to remember or bother other people with. I like to keep things positive and focus on my blessings.
(wait for it...) BUT
If you've seen my comments on Twitter, you'll know life threw me a curve ball the other day and I felt like you all deserved the whole story rather than my limited comments.
Last Wednesday evening, I was coming home from the dog park with Aurora. It was a busy night with people out Christmas shopping and the roads were full of cars, but was an otherwise cool, calm evening. I had just stopped at a red light and my cellphone's calendar alarm went off. Thinking it odd, since I knew I didn't have any plans, I held down Aurora with my right arm, reached down onto the passenger floorboard with my left arm, and picked up my cellphone.
Rear-ended by a Cadillac.
My car was shoved several feet into the car in front of me. Also a Cadillac.
My now oversized-accordion-formerly-known-as-a-car didn't make it.
My little Toyota Echo. My first car. My only car. I've had it since it had 6 miles on the odometer in August 2001 - 10 years. It's been with me through everything in my adult life.
I didn't think it'd go out like that.
My right arm is what prevented Aurora from being injured, so she thankfully escaped unharmed. I was in shock since I didn't see the other car coming. I grabbed my dog, attached her leash, and made our way to the sidewalk. I had to sit down as I was out of it and also shocked that I was in immediate pain. Being sore the next day was to be expected, but as I sat there in the cold darkness feeling pain slowly spread throughout my back and up my spine, I knew something was wrong. I was thankfully not bleeding, but I couldn't keep a clear head and was trying to sit still so I could decide how bad of shape I was really in.
The gentleman that caused the accident was kind and kept checking on me (the same with the other person in the front car), but Aurora was not having it. For the entire time we waited on law enforcement to arrive, she kept vigilant to keep everyone away from me.
Guy arrived soon after the accident since I called him right away, and then Aurora thought it was a party. I felt relief emotionally to have him with me so soon, but the physical pain wasn't going away.
When law enforcement and the wrecker arrived, I declined taking an ambulance ride since I knew the wait would be long and the only thing they could probably do for me was prescribe medication; plus, if anything didn't feel right, I could always change my mind. Guy and I emptied a few necessities from my car, loaded everything into his car, and headed home. I had a panic moment soon enough when my neck and left jaw started going numb. I changed the position I was resting in to keep my spine and neck straight to prevent it from getting worse due to the swelling. Guy and Aurora kept watch over me that night and we made it through.
I waddled around the next day making necessary phone calls and setting up appointments. I was able to see a specialist right away who confirmed I had some injuries, and was scheduled for an MRI later that night for my neck and lower back. I had to rest over the weekend since it was too soon to start moving anything around. It was a long weekend, with more things becoming sore and being unable to find any position to offer relief from whatever was going on with my spine. I've never had to deal with an injury before and this foreign experience has not been pleasant.
Today I made my way back to the doctor who read me the results of the MRI. I was nervous. I was biting my lips. I was trying not to cry. I wasn't myself.
He spoke of technical terms and my spine, which basically translates to this: two bulging discs in my mid-neck, loss of curvature in my lumbar discs, two bulging discs in my lumbar spine, and one herniated disc in my lower lumbar with a torn annulus that is touching some outer nerves, which has me very, very close to needing surgery. Due to my young age and previous great health, we're going to try everything to avoid surgery. It's still too early to begin intensive treatment, which will involve extending my spine to relieve pressure and hopefully move the spinal cord back into place. I am scared of what this means, as I've been warned I will feel worse before I feel better. I will remain optimistic and do whatever I can to heal, dealing with anything that occurs as best I can. I keep telling myself it could be worse and reminding myself of the blessings I have.
Many of you have already expressed your concern and sent me well wishes, which has really touched me. Thank you for your kindness that extends beyond these pages. I will keep you all up to date with my progress, but I also do not want to hijack my blog with this event. I do not want to come across as a complainer, plus food is far more interesting.
The only recipe I have ready to share are these crunchy chicken fingers. As Andy on The Office would say, "They're finger lickin' delicious!"
The crushed wontons provide a thicker, heartier crunch than breadcrumbs and they do not require you to pull out a fryer. The baking keeps the wontons crunchy without chancing them getting soggy from any oil. You can add any spices you like to the coating to meld them to your liking. I actually didn't use any spices in my first batch since I ate them with my mustard, which provides plenty of flavor on its own. The chicken finger recipe I'm sharing has spices added until you can whip up a batch of mustard yourself. It's worth it!
Wonton Crusted Chicken Tenders
1 lb chicken breast
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp curry
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup wontons, crushed
Trim off any excess fat from the chicken breast and slice into equal strips so they will cook evenly.
In a medium bowl, add the chicken and pour in the buttermilk, tossing to ensure the chicken is well coated. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Drain the buttermilk and add the flour through curry, mixing well. Place the egg and wontons into their own individual bowls.
Preheat the oven to 475*F and butter a baking sheet. Dip the chicken pieces one at a time into the egg and then into the crushed wontons before placing them on the baking sheet.
Bake for 4 min. Use an oven mitt to remove the pan and flip each piece with tongs. Place back in the oven and bake for 4 min more.
~Yields 8 pieces.
~Original by Brie.