Teach a girl to cook…

And she just might not starve to death from a nameless inflammatory digestive disease!

Hi, kids! Nic here.

I’m not trying to be dramatic.

It just happens naturally.

I really have been unwell though.

I have a high tolerance for “unwellness,” but I figure that since I am solidly in Month 3 of The Great Digestive Disaster of 2015/2016 and have lost more than 10 pounds (I am sending out a search party, pronto. I want those buggers back! I know, I know, not a sentiment usually uttered by 20-something young women, but I had just gotten used to actually taking up space when I entered a room…), that I qualify for a little bit of complaining/fishing for sympathy.

*Go, Fish*

Ok, now that I have gotten that out of my system…

The problem is pretty clear:

My digestive system hates food.

I need to eat food to survive.


Unfortunately, sometime just before Christmas, I acquired the unhappy side effect of my very amenable brain deciding to follow suit with my intestines, meaning I just stopped being hungry altogether.

No good, my friends. No good.


Yes, let’s come up with those please.

Obviously, I have been spending an incredible amount of time with doctors.

Funny thing though, those trained in finding medical solutions to medical problems have a tendency to simply shake their heads and tell me what a “conundrum” I am and then laugh like I’ve said something funny.

Obviously, I have come to feel the same way about doctors as I do about food.

I cannot tell you how many Chronics I have encountered, myself included, who are left to come up with alternative ideas to help themselves because the Standard Solution does not work for them. I mean, really. Without Google, where would we be?

Ok, hang on, I’m getting a little bit worked up about Patient Rights and the State of Things in the Medical Community, and that is not what this post is about.


This post is about soup.

And cake.

Ohmygoodness SOUP AND CAKE.

Also known as the only reasons I am still able to make complete sentences.*

*Refer to opening statement about being dramatic.

Not going to lie, I thought it was really strange that for some reason (among many generous presents) I was gifted a KitchenAid mixer and a cookbook for Christmas. I mean, if I were to make dinner reservations right now, I’d do so under the name of “Skinny Starving Sick Girl, Party of 1.” Of course I smiled politely and said thank you, because no one wants to insult SANTA.

But really?

The next day though, I cracked the spine on Ree Drummond’s The Pioneer Woman Cooks Dinnertime. I flipped through a few pages.

“This might not be so bad,” I thought, and settled in.

Well, let me tell you, Christmas magic happened.

Lingering over the pictures of Southern-ish comfort foods, something happened.

Something stirred up on the inside of me.

I got just a tiny bit hungry.

It was all I needed.

A quick trip to the grocery store later and I was in my kitchen, roasting butternut squash in the oven and praying to Sweet Jesus that my stomach wouldn’t reject it.

Because that <stuff> is orange, y’all. And I only want to see orange once, if you know what I’m saying.

The soup wasn’t hard to make, which is why I chose it, and only has a few ingredients in it, which is also why I chose it.

*Brief interlude for background information* I do not cook. My mom is an amazing cook. She could make sawdust taste like nectar from the gods. My sister bakes when she is stressed, which means that we all get to benefit from her stress baking dozens (and I am taking PTA mom-of-the-year, night-before-the-elementary-school-bake-sale amounts) of cookies. Me? I curse like a sailor and burn the bottoms out of everyone’s favorite muffin tins. #TrueStory

Ok, so it was easy, it didn’t have a lot going on in terms of things to freak out my insides, and you put it all in the blender, an additional perk, as anyone battling stomach awfulness knows.

Predigested, am I right?

(I’m right.)

I tasted this soup and I just about lost my mind.

It’s the greatest thing I’ve ever tasted!

It didn’t make me sick!

Squash is a miracle food!

Adding maple syrup at the end? Ree Drummond, you GENIUS!


I was pretty excited, Chronic friends.

I made everyone try it.

For some reason, maybe because they eat normal food day-in-and-day-out and it actually stays in their systems long enough to be turned into nourishment, my family was slightly less impressed with my magic squash soup than I was.

That’s ok.

More soup for me.

Built up with brazen soup-making confidence, I decided to make cake. I needed a springform cake pan to make the Lemon Butter cake I was eyeing in my Betty Crocker. The exact pan I needed happened to be on sale at the grocery store, clearly a sign from heaven that I was meant to make this cake.

And boy was I ever meant to make that cake.


Sorry, I was just having a cake-eating-frenzy flashback.

I would share pictures, but I ate everything before I remembered I live in an Instagram-able world and might want to document my feats of culinary greatness.


I was not expecting this.

If I had blown up the stove, burned down the house, and/or created food that would be labeled Hazardous Material by the Food and Drug Administration, I would have been less surprised than I was by the fact that I cooked something, it was edible, and it did not make a unwelcome revisit later in the evening.

Sure, I’ve got more medical tests this week, and that sucks. When you are in the throws of a Chronic flare, it feels like it will never end and that normal will never be normal again. Breaking out of the cycle seems impossible.

But now I’ve got soup.

And cake.

And somehow, that makes everything feel much better. If only for a little bit.


As you can imagine, I am now The Pioneer Woman’s biggest fan. The magic soup I made came from Ree Drummond’s Dinnertime cookbook, page 88. And that Betty Crocker chick? She knew what she was talking about. I made the Lemon Curd-filled Butter Cake on page 93 of the New Edition Big Red Cookbook. Ah-mazing. If I can only eat these 2 things the rest of my life, I think I’d be ok with that…maybe. There are a lot more pages in these cookbooks…


6 thoughts on “Teach a girl to cook…

  1. Elizabeth B. says:

    Your writing style always puts a smile on my face! (Even when I am also super sick.) Can you post the name of the soup recipe? I don’t want to buy the book online, and I don’t feel up to going to the library… I’m hoping I can find the recipe online, and that maybe it’ll make me feel better. 🙂

    • iamchronicallywell says:

      I tried to find the soup recipe online and no such luck 😦 The pioneer woman website does have a recipe for butternut squash puree, which is essentially the same thing minus the chicken broth that makes it soupy. http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/butternut_squash_puree_try_it_or_ill_deck_ya_/ My grocery store sells pre-cut squash (yay for not having to do the prep!) so I buy 2 pounds of precut, roast it, then put it in batches into the blender while adding 3 cups of chicken broth to it (add 4 if you like thinner soup; I like mine to be quite thick). As you go, pour the mixture into a large pot on the stove and heat it to bubbling. Add 1/4 cup of maple syrup and about 1/2 teaspoon of salt, stir, stir, stir, and you’re set! The original recipe adds cream, but I try to avoid dairy, so I don’t add it. I hope this makes some sort of sense and that this magic orange soup works its wonders for you too! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s