I’m sitting in bed writing because I am still in quarantine. I finally tested positive for Covid 19 for the first time in almost three years. I have been feeling crummy. Scratchy throat, fever, night sweats, achy all over, deep horrible sounding cough are all the symptoms I’ve had since Monday last week. I was able to get a prescription of Paxlovid after thoroughly working rigorously through the Kaiser system for two days. In other words, I don’t give up. I don’t like the words, “you don’t meet the criteria.” It’s true. I don’t have any of the comorbidities that qualify a patient for Paxlovid. Yet, I am well read on Sars Covid-19 and listen to podcasts from virologists who “study the science” and know the treatments. I was more eager to take Paxlovid when I heard patients are more likely to NOT get Long Covid if they take Paxlovid. I really don’t want Long Covid.
So as of last night, I have been taking Paxlovid (which works by stopping the virus from replicating in the body and limiting its spread) and I seem to feel better already. My lungs feel less heavy, I am not feverish and definitely feel less achy. I really don’t want my husband to get sick, so he has been spending more time away from me and the house than usual. I’m sleeping like a champ and hope to be better soon so I can get out and about again.
There are side effects that come along with any drug, and Paxlovid is no different. I have had a metallic taste called “dysgeusia” in my mouth since starting the drug. I’ve been sucking on Mentos candies and candy canes to help. Another symptom I’m having occasionally is dysentery, which in itself is never fun. So I’m imagining the Covid leaving my body and that helps. It can increase blood pressure, but I don’t have any issues with that. Anyone who suffers from liver problems shouldn’t take Paxlovid either.
According to the CDC, roughly 6,500 people in United States hospitals have tested positive for Covid-19, more than double the number from one month ago. More than 10,000 people have died from Covid in the last month, which is the highest four week total since the summer. The world Health Organization claims the new Covid variant XBB.1.5 is the most transmissible subvariant yet. It may be more contagious and it is evading immunity more than other omicron variants. I’ve been vaccinated and twice boosted and still got sick. At least the vaccinations can reduce my risk of serious illness, hospitalization or even death.
In other news, California has been experiencing a #BombCyclone #AtmosphericRiver weather pattern the past week and it will continue until mid January. These storms have caused significant impact to travel and infrastructure due to the heavy rain, heavy mountain snow and damaging gusts of high winds. We need the rain, so we aren’t complaining. The rains are filling our reservoirs, thank goodness, yet they have been causing catastrophic flooding, power outages and mudslides. It’s a very good time to be inside reading a book or doing a puzzle.
My chickens seem to be managing the rain, mud and cold weather okay. I keep them busy with frozen corn, whole pumpkins, greens, rice straw and worms from the compost. When it’s a sunny day, I let them roam free in the entire garden to eat bugs and explore. They love it. Only Mary Kate has been laying eggs the past two months. The other three girls are freeloading and holding back this winter. It’s a full time job keeping them safe from predators and I spend plenty of time worrying about them. I haven’t been handling them since I’ve been sick. Goodness knows, I wouldn’t want them to get what I have. In February, it will have been a year since I lost four of them to a bobcat. I’d love to get more, but it’s a huge time commitment, so we will see. I have to resort to buying eggs for the first time in months and the prices have gotten outrageous.
I’m thankful to my older sister Sue who brought me her famous chicken soup yesterday. My friend Lise blessed us by bringing over two containers of soup and a fresh pizza to bake. A few other friends and neighbors have offered to drop off food and or pick up groceries for us. It’s been wonderful to have people being thoughtful and stepping up when I’m under the weather. I won’t bother to share where i may have contracted the virus. It doesn’t matter and I don’t like placing blame and shaming anyone either.
I’m not up to sharing any recent excursions, although there have been plenty. I hope to be inspired soon and will send you a recipe or two as well. Here is my recipe for Dutch Apple Crumb Pie. I fell in love with this crumbly topping while having dessert at Esin Restaurant in Danville California. The owner is a pastry chef and makes incredible desserts. This crumble topping is similar to Esin’s crumb topping. I add whole wheat flour and flax meal to add more fiber and make it healthier. The almonds make it crunchy and irresistible. It was my niece Marie who pointed out to me the name of this pie. I had always referred to it as an apple crumble pie. She learned how to make pies from her Italian grandmother Doris since she spent Thanksgiving with her every year in Boston. Here is my take for the best pie ever.
Dutch Apple Pie
Single pie Crust Recipe From my Strawberry Pie Recipe
Apple Pie filling
6-8 Large Granny Smith Apples (Gravenstein are good also. A combination of 3 different apples works well)
1 large bowl of acidulated water (2 Juiced Lemons in large bowl of water) For keeping apples from turning brown
3/4 C Granulated Sugar Plus 3 T extra for bottom of pie crust
1 t cinnamon
½ t nutmeg
¼ C tapioca flour (Can substitute AP flour)
4 T cold Unsalted Butter cut into chunks
3/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
¼ C Flax Meal
¼ C Whole Wheat Flour
½ C Oats
1 ½ C Raw Sliced Almonds
½ C Cold Unsalted Butter cut into chunks
1 C Light Brown Sugar
1 t Cinnamon
1 t ground Ginger
1 t Maldon Salt
Preheat the oven 350 degrees.
Prepare pie crust dough, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge while preparing crumb topping.
Using a Cuisinart Robot Coupe Food Processor, place all topping ingredients (except the almonds )inside the bowl and blend until combined. Remove mixture from food processor and place on a parchment covered sheet pan and toss with sliced almonds. You can use a pastry cutter to blend the dry ingredients into the butter if you don’t have a food processor.
Bake in a preheated oven for 15 minutes. Take out and stir and place back into the oven for another 10-15 minutes until brown and crumbly. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Change the oven to 400 degrees F.
Take out pie crust dough from the fridge. Roll out pie crust into a circle. Place crust into a 9 inch Emile Henry deep pie dish. I prefer my quiche pie dish that is larger than the glass Pyrex dishes because we like pie leftovers in our house. Crimp the edges and set aside or place back in the fridge to keep cold.
Mix dry ingredients: tapioca flour, ¾ C granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside
Peel and slice apples and place into the acidulated lemon water until ready to slice. Cut apples into equal size pieces about ¼ inch thick and make sure to remove seeds and stems.
Toss sliced apples into dry ingredients. Take the pastry out of the fridge and sprinkle the remaining 3 T of sugar on the bottom of the crust. This helps the pastry stay sealed and keeps the crust from being soggy. Add spiced and sugared apples to the sugar coated pie crust. Dot with 4 T of butter pieces.
Sprinkle baked crumble topping onto apples covering the entire surface. Place pie onto a sheet pan and bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for one hour and 15 minutes taking care to cover the pie with foil if the topping is getting too brown. Apple pie mixture should be bubbly before removing from the oven.
In case you are interested in learning more about viruses check out Vincent Rancaniello on You Tube. I especially like TWIV because the hosts Vincent Rancaniello, Dickson Despommier, Alan Dove, Rich Condit, and Brianne Barker are fun to listen to.
Might be time to get out the Scrabble game again. It’s not as much fun to play by myself, but fun nevertheless.
Ohh! And see what I found at Smyth Family Farm today in the compost pile? It’s a salamander. He was busy keeping all the slugs, mosquito larvae, spiders and worms out of my compost bin. I didn’t put him back there because one of my chickens might eat him. He was safely relocated on his cardboard box home to a damp area next to the peach tree where my old compost pile was.
Happy New Year. Stay warm, dry and enjoy what we have left of winter weather. See you again soon.
Here’s an update on my health after taking Paxlovid. I’m better, but not completely. I still sound like I have a cold and it’s been two weeks since I came down with Covid symptoms. I have a tiny cough, but it’s barely noticeable. I have plenty of energy, but I am sleeping more every night. I’m not sure I can recommend Paxlovid, unless you really think you are sick. The side effects are horrible. I didn’t like feeling nauseous, nor did I like the metallic taste in my mouth. It was gross and I would continue to eat to try to make it taste better. I’m hoping I don’t end up with long covid and that by taking the Paxlovid, it might help my case. I will let you know if I get any worse or if the heaviness in my chest doesn’t go away.
Thanks for reading and go make a pie!