I am back! After taking some time to reflect on such things as what I want to do with my life, I am feeling more grounded and feel like getting back into the swing of things.
I had a couple month vacation from riding since July 6th, when my filly, Lil Red, took a spill with me and I ended up with a fractured foot and ankle. Long story short, over 2 months later and I am just now getting healed up and ready to ride again. As much as I love to ride, I missed just being around my horses and being able to cook and bake even more! Life on crutches is quite limiting and sitting all day long can be a very, very difficult thing for an active, outdoor cowgirl!
At first it felt like the whole world was passing me by and didn't care if I had fallen off the grid (well except for my friend Tammy!). That was the first sign of a little post accident depression. The world was passing me by, but I was still on it. I was just moving along with it a heck of a lot slower than I had been before! I found out that you aren't much fun when you are laid up and so you end up with a lot of alone time to contemplate the life lesson that you are supposed to learn from the situation. I am still contemplating.
The next stage of depression started in on me after about 2 weeks post surgery. My doctor insisted I had another 4 weeks on crutches and I nearly broke down crying right then and there! My activities were severely limited to reading, doing crossword puzzles, playing around on the computer and watching TV - all while sitting with an elevated leg. With all that sitting, that's when I noticed my house was quietly getting messier and dirtier and the kitchen started looking like it belonged to someone else! AHH!! That was the lowest moment for me. I was unable to even do the basics that keep my world tidy and running smooth. Having to rely on others for everything is tough enough, but to have to watch the everyday entropy of an untended household was almost too much to bear!
So after 2 excrutiating weeks of watching the slow decline of my home, I finally broke. It all started because I wanted to make some pound cake to give to a friend that had helped me with a computer issue. When I hobbled into the kitchen to start, I realized I didn't have the 8 eggs it takes to make the pound cake! I texted my husband and asked if it was possible that he stop by and bring me some eggs at lunch time or something, but he was tied up on a job and wasn't able to do it. I weighed the options...I could drive with my left foot into town and get the eggs, but I still wouldn't be able to push a cart or carry eggs with my crutches. I had it in my mind I was making pound cake and I didn't want this little obstacle to stop me. This was really irritating! Since I had been off my leg for 4 weeks straight and it felt fine, I made an executive decision for the sake of pound cake. Crutches be damned. I had had enough. I drove into town, taking my crutches with me (not sure why since I had no intention of using them), limped my way on the cast into the grocery store and did my first grocery shopping by myself in 2 months. It felt liberating and empowering. I am sure most people would think that the first time I swung a leg over a horse again would be my happiest moment after my accident and I am sure it will be a great feeling. BUT, being able to do for myself and grocery shop at my leisure was really a joyful event for me. It lifted my spirits and put the last 2 months into perspective.
I haven't used the crutches since that day a week ago and my ankle is doing great! My house and kitchen are restored back to clean order and there is peace in my world. I do see the doctor next week and hopefully I will get official permission to walk on my leg and move forward with physical therapy! My goal, which I probably won't share with my doctor, is to be horseback by month's end. But until then, I am really glad to be back in the kitchen, back on my feet and feeling in high spirits for the days to come!
So, I want to share with you the pivotal pound cake recipe that not only got me back on track mentally and physically, but is a really delicious treat!
I apologize for not having pictures to go along with this, but I will post pics from here forward.
4 cups of cake flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp mace (this really makes the recipe, so I suggest you don't skip this!)
1 lb butter, softened
3 cups of sugar
8 eggs, room temperature
1 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla
Remove butter from the refrigerator in advance, so it is slightly softened, but not greasy.
Grease and lightly flour (or line with parchment paper) 2 loaf pans. I like to grease, line with parchment paper and flour the areas the parchment paper doesn't cover.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Sift the cake flour, salt, baking powder and mace. set aside. In a separate bowl or measuring cup, mix the milk with the vanilla, set aside.
In an electric mixer, cream the butter, gradually adding in sugar until light and fluffy and no granules of sugar remain.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, just enough to not see any color difference from adding the egg.
Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk mixture. Start with the dry mix, approx. 1/3 of the flour and follow with wet mixture, approx. 1/2 the milk. End with the dry mixture and mix until all the ingredients are incorporated. It is important to mix the batter for as little time as possible to avoid toughening the cake.
Put batter into prepared loaf pans and bake for about 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the center nearly clean. I suggest you check the loaves at 50-55 minutes to avoid overbaking. All the loaves to cool slowly if possible to avoid them caving in in the middle. The cake should be golden brown on top, you should reduce the heat or cover with foil if the cake is browning too quickly.
Once the loaves are fairly cool in the pan, tip them out onto a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before cutting or wrapping.
This is a rich, moist cake that can be enjoyed with fresh whipped cream and berries or all by itself.