My Left Hand

By Debbie Koenig

See that picture up there? That’s me, bending my left thumb. I know, it doesn’t look bent. That’s the problem. I’m having surgery next week to relieve what’s called a locked trigger thumb, as well as carpal tunnel syndrome. The surgeon tells me it will be at least 10 days before I can use my hand fully, and possibly more. Considering that I write for a living—that is, I type all day long—this poses some real challenges. Outside of work, I won’t be able to cook much, either. It’s hard to chop vegetables when you can’t really hold them. The one thing I have going for me is advance notice. I’ve got one whole week to strategize in order to keep from messing things up—including how to maintain my weight loss.

As far as work goes, I’m playing with dictation software. In fact, this post was written orally, my first time speaking my thoughts instead of typing them. It feels a little stilted, but so far so good. I’m scrambling to complete as many of my assignments as possible before my surgery, even ones that are due a week or two later. The doctor couldn’t give me any kind of guarantee about my healing time frame, so I have to assume I might be working one-handed for several weeks.

At the same time as I’m working like a maniac, I’m also choosing recipes, writing shopping lists, and figuring out a schedule for a massive cook-and-freeze weekend. I plan to use my Instant Pot for 48 hours, making batches of soups, stews, and braises that I can freeze into family-meal packages. If I pull it off, I’ll cram my freezer with enough dinners to get us through a month, with my husband and son pitching in. On my list:

My cozy Escarole and White Bean Soup, which starts with dried beans and is ready in about an hour. And thanks to WW Freestyle™, it’s now only 1 SmartPoints® value per serving.

Moroccan Chickpea Stew, which according to the Recipe Builder has just 2 SmartPoints value per serving.

This Slow Cooker Winter Vegetable and Farro Stew (5 SmartPoints value) looks super-adaptable for the Instant Pot.

Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken Sliders (4 SmartPoints value), a recipe I developed for Weight Watchers Magazine, will be ready in about 20 minutes using the Instant Pot.

The same timing should work for a double-batch of Super-Easy Slow Cooker Three-Bean Chili, which has 0 SmartPoints value! I plan to eat that one for lunch at least twice a week.

Provencal Beef Stew is thickened with pureed beans—a super-smart way to take advantage of a zero Points® food. You wind up with luscious beef stew for just 2 SmartPoints value per serving. In the Instant Pot, I figure this’ll take about an hour total.

Since we’re a family of three, those six recipes ought to give us 12 dinners. With my son and husband manning the stove roughly every other night, that should get us through a month. Now, let’s just hope I’m healed by the time we empty the freezer.

Follow Debbie on Connect @debbieskoenig

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