Frances H. Kakugawa
Hawai‘i Herald Columnist
Omoiyari . . . Think of others first and good karma will return to you. — Frances H. Kakugawa
This column is especially for family members who describe themselves as “long-distance caregivers,” although I’m not sure a role like that even exists. A primary caregiver takes care of a loved one on a daily basis . . . period. Maybe family members who give support from afar can be described as “long-distance supporters.” Although caregivers appreciate supportive phone calls and financial help from afar, there is more to caregiving than long-distance contacts. We all know, of course, that unsolicited advice or negative messages can hurt. Caregivers need all the support they can get.
As you probably know, preparing meals and then cleaning up the kitchen takes up a lot of a caregiver’s time, in addition to all of the demands of caregiving. I asked my good friend, Lori Ikeda, a Hawai‘i expat, to share some of her homemade recipes so that family members who are unable to provide daily help can contribute in other more practical ways. Here are four recipes from Lori. These can be prepared in advance and mailed through the U.S. Postal Service. (College students away from home would appreciate these, as well, as Lori’s daughter has these past two years.)
INSTANT POTATO VEGGIE SOUP PACKETS
Ingredients (For each serving packet)
1 cup (heaping) potato flakes
1 T. (heaping) freeze-dried vegetables (like corn, peas, carrots, bell peppers)
1 tsp. powdered vegetable or chicken bouillon
1 tsp. nutritional yeast
1/8 tsp. sea salt (or to taste)
1. Place ingredients in a small zipper-lock plastic bag or small plastic bag sealed tightly with a twist tie.
2. To prepare soup, pour contents of the bag into a 9 oz. or larger cup. Add 6-8 oz. boiling water. Stir and let sit for at least 5 minutes before eating.
CHICKPEA KALE SOUP PACKET (For each single-serving packet)
3 T. small, thin pasta
1 bouillon cube or 1 T. powdered bouillon
2 T. crunchy chickpeas (found in bags in the snack section)
4 T. crushed kale chips
1. Layer ingredients in small Ziploc bags.
2. To prepare soup, pour contents into a 2-cup mug with 8 oz. of water. Microwave at high for 3 minutes. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes. Stir and enjoy.
HONEY CARAMEL NUTS
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 cup of honey
4 cups of nuts
1/8 tsp. sea salt
1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and place nuts on the parchment in a single layer.
2. Heat coconut oil and honey in a small pot and bring to a low boil. Pour over the nuts. Sprinkle with salt. Mix everything together and arrange nuts back into a single layer.
3. Bake for 60-90 minutes, mixing every 20 minutes. Bake until the nuts have absorbed most of the caramel.
4. Remove pan from the oven. Stir the nuts occasionally while letting them cool for 15-20 minutes. Then place them on a clean sheet of parchment paper. Break the sticky nuts off into small clusters and let cool and dry completely. Makes a sticky, gooey treat perfect with hot tea!
SESAME GINGER PUFFED RICE CRUNCH
2 cups whole grain puffed rice cereal or crispy brown rice cereal
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
2 tsp. minced candied ginger
1 T. butter
1/3 cup brown rice syrup
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a large cookie sheet with foil and spray it with nonstick spray.
2. Place cereal and sesame seeds in a mixing bowl and set aside.
3. In a small pot, add butter, brown rice syrup and ginger. Bring to a boil. Let bubble for 30 to 45 seconds.
4. Pour over cereal and sesame seeds. Mix well. Scoop mixture out onto the prepared cookie sheet. Wet hands with cool water and pat the mixture down flat.
5. Bake for 13-15 minutes until the top is lightly browned. It will still be soft. Remove from oven, let cool and harden into pieces. Store in an airtight container.
Now, if you’re not into cooking, there are businesses that can deliver meals to your door. A friend here in Sacramento hires Aloha to Go (www.alohatogo.com) to deliver meals to her father and brother on O‘ahu. She said it’s great because she does everything online and orders can be made weeks ahead of time.
I went online to search for meal delivery services in Hilo and came across Express Waiters for online delivery of meals. Their number is 808-930-5556. Email: email@example.com. There are even photos of their friendly drivers — Kaho, Ka and John. There are other services on other islands.
Holidays can be a lonely time, so meals delivered during this time of the year are greatly appreciated. The thought of someone doing this brings tears to my eyes. Some supermarkets offer great holiday deliveries, too. Now, this is a gift of kindness with that message that says, “Yes, I understand, and I’m grateful for all that you do. This is the best I can do right now.”
Other healthy and creative recipes by Lori are available on her site: http://www.guavarose.com. She also has photos and an easy “how to,” step-by step layout. If you’re not into computers, let me know and I will share more of Lori’s recipes in this column. Lori has also created recipes for my Wordsworth the Poet poetry!
On my birthday, she “brought” the most elegant English high tea to my support group. We enjoyed out-of-this-world scones and treats and tea served on English China. Lori can also give you a recipe with photos!
Frances Kakugawa was her mother’s primary caregiver during her five-year journey with Alzheimer’s disease. A native of Kapoho on Hawai‘i island, she now lives in Sacramento. Frances has melded her professional training as a writer and educator and her personal caregiving experiences to write several books on caring for people with memory-related illnesses. She is a sought-after speaker, both in Hawai‘i and on the Mainland, sharing strategies for caregiving, as well as coping with the stresses of caregiving.