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Change sometimes needs to be slow...

My heart went nuts for peanuts

Over the past week I have been reviewing the fourth draft of the book I am writing on my recovery from ME including the tips and strategies I learned along the way. As I was amending the part about my early days with the condition, I read the piece I had written about my heart. I had woken up on a cold, February morning, days after visiting my doctor, to my heart sounding like a tiny peanut, beating in a very large drum. I can recall that sound as though it was yesterday; it was another very frightening symptom, as I thought my heart was about to stop, but it was actually a sign to tell me to stop.

I recall looking out of my bedroom window that morning and seeing the snow covered roofs around me. All was quiet outside, as is often the case when it has snowed and, even though I felt desperately ill, I felt at peace. I was calm for the first time in goodness knows how long; I wasn't trying to get somewhere or meet somebody I was simply living in the now, being me. It gave me a chance to just lie there and listen to the radio; nothing too loud though. I turned on Radio 4 and listened to a some radio dramas. They allowed my mind to drift off into another place whilst physically staying where I was in the peace of my own home. I feel very calm as I write this, because I now know that the time I have described above was to be the start of my transition from one person to another.

It has dawned on me that my heart felt as though it wasn't my own, like it belonged to someone else. Well it did - the new person I was destined to become. I was about to start a process of change, a process that would last a long time, 9 years to be precise. If I had realised it at the time, I would not have been so calm, because change can be frightening, but my process of transition was to be a very gradual one, like that of a dragonfly. Most of a dragonfly’s life is spent in the water in larva form, until the conditions are right (this can take up to 4 years) and it then crawls up the stem of a plant, sheds its skin and becomes a young, adult dragonfly with wings. My 9 years with ME were my time in the water, waiting until the conditions became right for me to become the person I was meant to be. A dragonfly will only lay its eggs in calm water, such as ponds or lakes, because rivers and streams are too fast moving. I needed to slow down and become calm so that I could begin my process of change. By beating like it was, my heart was giving me a clue that something was going to change. I was going to change and I am so pleased now that I chose to accept it because, even though I lost a huge amount with ME, I also gained a lot as well, such as the opportunity to be who I am today.

As I mentioned above, life does throw little clues at us from time to time, but we are often too busy to notice. The peanut was a clue for you of the recipe I am sharing with you this week. It is an American Recipe, which seemed poignant considering the Election last week and it is adapted from a wonderful book called America’s Home Town Recipe Book, which encapsulates over 700 recipes from “Main Street” USA from Church Suppers and Church Socials to County and State Fairs.

These cookies are delicious and can also be dry frozen and baked at a later date.

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Oat cookies

¾ cup unsalted butter (room temperature)

½ cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)

1¼ cup plain flour

1 cup sugar

½ cup soft brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 190℃ (fan 170℃)

Cream butter and peanut butter together on a medium speed for about 30 seconds, then add half of the flour, both sugars, the eggs, baking powder, vanilla and bicarbonate of soda and then mix until well combined.

Add the remaining flour then the oats and chocolate chips.  

Put teaspoons of the mixture onto an ungreased baking tray and bake for 10 minutes, until the outer edges of the cookies have browned a little.

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Remove from tray and cool on a wire rack.

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Makes 5 dozen.

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