I’m having trouble eating anything right now — stress, you know — and it is so unfair that stress makes you gain weight even if you aren’t eating much. Who made up that rule? (Yes, actually I know why it works that way, it’s just annoying in the modern world.)
I made this soup last night anyway, because a) it’s a soup, so I could tell myself it wasn’t really food; and b) my mother hasn’t been feeling well either (probably just a bug, though maybe she’s stressed on my behalf, I dunno) and this is the kind of thing she will want to try. That’s important because she REALLY stops eating when she feels ill, and, unlike me, she gets into trouble because she loses too much weight.
So: an interesting nonspicy real-food butternut squash soup, very easy and quick to make:
BUTTERNUT SOUP WITH SAUSAGE
1 lb pork sausage
1 onion, chopped
1 med red bell pepper, chopped (I left this out because ugh, bell pepper)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped
16 oz frozen corn
4 C chicken broth
1 can great northern beans or whatever small white beans you like, drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tsp salt
Brown the sausage in a Dutch oven or large pot, along with the onion and (ugh!) bell pepper if you are using it. Add the garlic and cook one minute. Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the squash, 1 1/2 C corn, and the broth to the pot. Simmer 20 minutes, until the squash is very tender. Puree the squash mixture with your handy immersion blender. Add the sausage mixture, beans, tomatoes, and salt to taste. Heat through.
There you go, very quick and easy, as I said, and quite good. Even people who are suspicious of squash soups might well like this one.
Puppy update: Five days till the due date! Giedre herself was born this early, by emergency C-section. None of her siblings were alive at the time of the section, and frankly I was dismayed she was alive, since I expected to work really hard to save her and then have her die, too, which was what happened with my last preemie, and yes that was just awful.
Five days early is worse than five weeks early for a human baby — Giedre’s bones were not fully ossified, for example, and her chest deformed during two days of lying on her chest. I noticed at that point and never let her lie on her chest again, propping her in different positions with little tiny stuffed animals. She was fully normal by eight weeks old, but my point is, five days early is really pushing it.
But I did save her, and with zero aftereffects of having been born so early. So last night I celebrated arriving at this point by fixing up the puppy room. Bleaching the floor, setting up and bleaching the whelping box, arranging the special Leerberg heating pad, which heats up just to the correct body temperature of the bitch and can’t possibly burn puppies. I put aside the whelping supplies (hemostats, floss for tying off umbilical cords, bulb syringes for suctioning goo out of little mouths, etc) and laid out the early-puppy equipment, which consists of feeding tubes and syringes, Esbilac milk replacer (a bitch is not likely to have enough milk after a section, it will take days to come in, so I will have to supplement with formula till then), pedialyte (for preemies or really compromised puppies that can’t digest formula), the puppy warming box, carefully tested to have a 100 degree side and a 90 degree side. A scale and my notebook where I record puppy weights — I weigh puppies two or three times a day for the first week so I calculate how much formula to tube-feed them. All my books on puppy intensive care (I have about six books that deal with this).
I don’t think she will have those puppies today. I think this trick of gradually increasing the terbutaline, using supplemental progesterone to slow down the rate at which you need to increase the terbutaline, will get her through today and tomorrow and by then we will be looking pretty good. A ton happens right here at the end. A day early counts as full term as far as I’m concerned. Two or even three days early is nearly full term, as long as the puppies had good placental attachments and weren’t compromised somehow in utero.
Hopefully we will stick with our scheduled section on Thursday. But my vet assures me she will quickly shuffle other appointments out of my way if necessary — and if she is stuck in surgery or it is the middle of the night, Chesterfield in St L has good vets on call for emergency C-sections 24/7. They send everyone else to the emergency clinic, but C-sections, they come in and do those themselves.