Monday, July 8, 2013

KISS, a recipe for love

Dear Friends,
I nearly had my post for today completed when I was notified of an incident in Nicholas Co. involving a man suspected to have Alzheimer's disease and a shooting. All involved are in our thoughts and prayers, and we hope for a speedy recovery for the deputies who were injured. While I don't want to speculate on the details of the case or the situation that led up to this incident, I would be remissed not to take this opportunity to talk about safety and Alzheimer's. As caregivers we walk a tightrope of vigilance, balancing safety risk and our loved one's independence. Those with Alzheimer's disease or dementia reading this would say they are trying to maintain their independence while learning how to navigate a new reality. What is real and shared in these two experiences is emotion. My original post was about keeping it simple when it comes to caregiving, and I believe that message translates well here. We first have to validate and understand the emotions we and our loved ones are feeling: happy, sad, anxiety, fear. These emotions are real, even if the situation triggering the emotion is not. I could spend about six months of this blog just talking about the various aspects of safety and Alzheimer's. And will come back to this subject frequently. But, if there is one thing you get out of my message today, it is we are here to help, 24/7. No matter where you are in the disease process, it is critical to be evaluating your caregiving situation for safety risks, and we can help you do just that. We also know that making certain safety transitions, like telling a loved one he/she can no longer drive or removing firearms from the house can be very difficult. We can help you navigate these difficult transitions. Helping you to find the solution that works best for you and your family. So please, reach out for help. You can reach us at 800.272.3900, or visit our safety center at Our loved ones need our vigilance and knowledge, and you don't have to navigate this road alone.

AlzNews This Week

  • Welcome new staff members! We would like to welcome Renee Morris our new administrative assistant in our Mid Ohio Valley office, you can reach her at And welcome to our new regional coordinator for our Northern Regional office, Stephanie Ballard Conrad, you can reach her at We are so thrilled to have you on our team!
  • Last week my friend Emily Bennington joined our all staff meeting for a fantastic workshop on mindfulness. If you have not read Emily's books, do it now! While the focus of her work is career success, her message of building your daily choices based on virtues that are most important to you, and how to navigate stressful situations while maintaining the core of who you are is applicable to all! We all learned how to overcome the bodies natural tendancy to freak out in times of stress, and instead practice the four steps of mindfulness to resolve the situation. The concept of mindful leadership, and practicing our virtues in order to make decisions as our best selves will be a theme you see here on the Dish frequently. Check Emily out at
  • The Alzheimer's Association International Conference (AAIC) is next week in Boston! I want to give you the heads up that you will be seeing a lot of research news coming out of AAIC. AAIC is the largest conference dedicated to Alzheimer's and dementia research. Stay tuned to our Facebook page to stay on top of the latest news and information from AAIC.
  • Walk to End Alzheimer's is kicking into high gear! If you haven't registered your team, click here! We can't wait to see this fall!
KISS a recipe for love
Last Monday was not only my first day as executive director, it was my fiance's birthday! No pressure, at all. I love a production. As a matter of fact, I am notoriously known for my productions. I am why they had to put a final "s" on the saying, "Keep it Simple, Stupid." 

So, you can imagine how my heart sank when I asked W what he wanted to do for his birthday, and his immediate reply was, "meatloaf." Maybe I was asking at a particularly stressful time, so a few days later I asked again, to only get the same reply. Well, don't you want to do a dinner out, I can make meatloaf anytime? No, really I just want to be at home. Oh, I bet it is because it is my first day on the job, and he doesn't want to stress me out. So I will plan a big night out for us and our friends. No, he said, I really just want to have meatloaf and hang out at home. No big production? No to-do? Well I guess if that is what you want... 

As we sat down to our plate of meatloaf, mashed potatoes and green beans, I looked over at W, we had been laughing throughout the night, completely relaxed. I could visibly see the stress from his day had melted away. And it dawned on me, maybe the greatest birthday gift I could give him was to curate this safe, relaxing space; a place to shut out the noise, and just be. His birthday was a great lesson, sometimes all we need is a little K.I.S.S. 

I am relatively certain, W asked me to marry him in order to lock down a lifetime of my meatloaf. I am particularly proud of this recipe. Despite my gluttonous beginning to this blog with my carb-laden pancakes, I am very health conscious. And so is my meatloaf, so I may be sacrificing my impending marriage by revealing the healthy tricks hidden in my loaf. So, here it goes : 

Pop two slices of bread into a toaster. 

Combine in a food processor: half onion (more if you like a lot of onion), 6-8 cloves of garlic, 1 cup or so of carrots, toasted bread, 1 cup or so of spinach (lucky for W, I ran out of spinach tonight!) and any other veggie you would like to add!

Blend it all together, so it somewhat looks like baby food. (appetizing I know!)

Dump into a big bowl along with 1 lb of your choice of ground meat and an egg. If you are using beef, use lean ground beef, but ground turkey or chicken is just as tasty! And, actually if you want to leave the meat out completely it is still delish! Now for the flavor (these are really approximate measurements, so please feel free to adjust to your own taste): 1 tbs. onion powder, 1 tbs. garlic powder, 1 1/2 tbs of black pepper, 1/4 c of ketchup, 1 tbs of Dale's, 8 or so drops of Worcestershire. If you add salt, only add a small amount. There is plenty of salt in the Dale's and Worcestershire.

WAIT! Oh, crap - I forgot the mushrooms!! 

AND for the secret ingredient...

The Kirksey family has been Humphrey's marketing & sales force since the beginning of time. To my knowledge, this sauce can only be purchased at the EW James, in Huntingdon, TN. However, I have a lifetime supply in my pantry - so if you would like to try, just let me know! It is amazing, W puts it on everything (even fish and vegetables!). It is pretty spicy, so add to taste. I prefer about 1 tbs. 
Take your rings off, and roll up those sleeves. The only way to really get in there and mix it all up is with your fingers! 

If you have a meatloaf pan, which I do not, you can use a meatloaf pan. I prefer just to form it into a loaf. Bake at 350 for about 1 hr. After an hour, pull it out and douse it with ketchup, then pop it back in the oven for another 15 minutes or until the loaf is firm. Chef note: this recipe makes a lot of meatloaf. When it isn't birthday dinner, instead of making a loaf, I take the mixture and make giant meatballs, or mini loafs. They freeze perfectly for those nights that you don't have time to cook.

Mmmmm, happy belly, happy birthday, happy heart...

Until next week! 

Laurel K.    

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