Friday, 24 February 2023

Caregiver Recipe Exchange!

 I love food and I love to cook. But like any other caregiver, I often have no time to make something healthy and delicious, so that's when I turn to my "Under 30 second preparation time recipes." 

Now, some of these recipes require slightly more than 30 seconds to make, but they are all quick, easy and include only ingredients you might have in the cupboard or fridge. I would love to hear your recipes and so, let's share! Pop your favorites into the comments section and I'll post any that are shared on The Caregivers' Living Room facebook page. 😃

I'll start. Here's a great recipe for Greek Sheet Pan Chicken. Serve with a microwave-able packet of rice and voila - delicious AND healthy dinner! 

This Greek sheet pan chicken is an easy, all-in-one dinner recipe with juicy chicken thighs nestled around vibrant, caramelized vegetables. With 450 five-star reviews, you can't go wrong!


  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 lemonjuiced (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 4 garlic clovesminced
  • 2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 chicken thighsbone-in, skin-on
  • 1 medium zucchinihalved lengthwise and sliced (or, if you don't have a zucchini, use a tin of artichoke hearts, drained - my suggestion)
  • 1 yellow bell pepperchopped into 1-inch pieces
  • ½ large red onionthinly sliced into wedges
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
  • ½ cup kalamata olivespitted
  • ¼ cup feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley


  • Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, thyme, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper.
    Making Greek chicken marinade in a bowl.
  • Place the chicken thighs in a bowl and pour ⅔ of the marinade on top, then use your hands to toss the chicken in the marinade and make sure it's well coated. Marinate the chicken for 10 to 15 minutes.
    Marinating Greek chicken in a bowl for sheet pan dinner.
  • While the chicken is marinating, spread the zucchini, bell pepper, red onion, and tomatoes onto the baking sheet and drizzle the remaining marinade on top. Toss together to coat the vegetables.
    A sheet pan with roasted vegetables before adding Greek chicken.
  • Add the chicken thighs the baking sheet, nestling them around the veggies, and bake for 30 minutes.
    Greek chicken thighs with vegetables on a sheet pan.
  • Remove the baking sheet from the oven, add the olives and feta and then place it back in the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened and the chicken is cooked through to 165°F.
    A large sheet pan with Greek chicken and roasted vegetables
  • Sprinkle the chicken and vegetables with chopped fresh parsley before serving.
  • Here are two old faves of mine: instant brownies and apple torte - you can mix them up with a fork or spoon!

1/2 cup of margarine or butter melted in the microwave
2 heaping dessert spoons of cocoa powder
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup flour
chopped nuts if desired

Mix before and after adding flour. Pour into greased 8" pan and bake at 350 just until slightly firm and pulling away from edges of pan (don't overbake or they won't be chewy). 

2 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 good size apples peeled, cored and chopped (any kind of apples work)
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup flour 
large pinch salt
Raisins or nuts if you want

Mix the eggs and sugar with a fork and then add all the other ingredients, mixing again. Pour into a pie plate or 8-9" greased pan. Bake at 350 until just golden brown on top. Great served with vanilla ice cream. 

What are your go-to caregiver favourite recipes? Share away! 

Friday, 17 February 2023

For National Caregiver Day, A Reflection on Receiving Care

Yesterday I had a fascinating conversation with Laurel Wittman, President of the Well Spouse Association.  Laurel is a long-time carer for her husband who has MS. After chatting a while about spousal caregiving, I asked, "How does your husband care for you?" It was question that changed the direction of our conversation and helped us both reflect on the reciprocal nature of care. 

Today on National Caregiver Day (USA), I want to share how I feel about receiving care. 

My son Nicholas has multiple disabilities and throughout the course of his life, he has consoled me, lifted my spirits and certainly made me laugh. My Mom had dementia for the last ten years of her life but she would say, "Sit down little one. Let me give you a neck rub." When family members in my care offer me care, I am usually taken a bit by surprise. I pause and think, "Why yes, I need this, thank you!"

Care is a two way street and part of building a new paradigm for active citizenship will have to include some training in “receiving” care. Why do we so often believe that we have only one role as caregivers: to GIVE care?

Age does not preclude anyone from enjoying the benefit of understanding the rules of engagement when it comes to receiving care. Children are taught to respect their parents’ efforts to provide for and nurture everyone in the family. Why should this expectation diminish in the case of disability or ageing? 

Perhaps we need to start with ourselves. The next time I am having difficult day and a friend says “Is there anything I can do?” I plan to answer “Yes”, even if I can’t articulate what kind of help I need. The first step is accepting an offer of help. The second step is saying “Thank you!”

Nicholas knows how to be kind and when I am sad, he offers me hugs (his hugs are the BEST). He is such a good listener. I know that his nurses share stories of heartbreak and he nods empathetically. He is a compassionate and loving person. Why would anyone (especially me) believe that he can or should not give care because he is disabled?

Educators have managed to incorporate lessons in ethics and self-esteem in the curriculum. I propose we add some learning objectives to our teaching that relate to giving and receiving care. At lunch one day, children could experiment with feeding each other. In a care home, residents could set aside one hour per week to wash the face and hands of the care home staff, or simply listen to their problems. 

If we believe that relationships are the key to a good life throughout life, it ensues that everyone will at some point give and at other points need to receive care. But the language, good manners and ease of transition from one role to another is key to getting good care into the social water supply.