Saturday, October 11, 2014

Day 6 of Food for Thought – Alice’s Sundried Tomato Pesto

Each day from October 5-12, I will post one of my mother’s recipes (my favorites of course), how FTD has affected my family and a little bit about the AFTD.

What is Frontotemporal Degeneration?

At this time, there are no cures for this devastating disease.  However, the pace of research is increasing rapidly.  Scientists are energized by advances in understanding these disorders and the first drugs for FTD are entering clinical testing.  Funding for continued research is critical.  Participation of patients and families in studies is essential.  A cure will only be found through expanding partnerships between families and physicians, scientists and funders, and policy makers and the public.

How has FTD affected my family?

One blessing that has come out of this experience was seeing my dad becoming the nurturer.  It comes natural for women being moms and wives to take care of the personal needs of their families.  It didn’t come easy for my dad.  This evolution of caregiving has given me the opportunity to see my dad take care of my mom.  Like I said, this was an evolution.  When my mom was still capable of taking care of her basic needs, my dad would get upset when she would not finish a task, like unloading and reloading the dishwasher or folding and putting away the laundry.  We kept telling him to hire someone to help around the house, but I think he thought that he and my mom could take care of everything on their own.  The FTD support group we attended saw the fatigue in my dad’s face.  They kept insisting that he get help…and he finally did.  Through a group in their town he found a wonderful caregiver.  She fit right in and loved my parents as her own.  Now my dad has an opportunity to do the things around the house that he hadn’t been able to and learn how to be a better caregiver.

As challenging as it may be at times and as resistant as your loved one may be, it is so important to get help.  That can be a support group, someone to come help with housework, someone to take care of your loved one’s basic needs, skilled nursing or even nursing home care.  Asking for help doesn’t mean you are a failure, it means that you love the person you are caring for and you are taking care of you.

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

1 jar 7-8 oz. oil packed sun dried tomatoes
Olive Oil (enough to make ¼ to ½ cup when combined with the oil from the tomatoes)
4-8 cloves garlic
¼ cup pine nuts (toasted)
¼ cup fresh basil (packed)
½ t salt
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Drain tomatoes, reserving oil.  Add olive oil to reserved oil to equal ½ cup (I eyeball this and never use ½ cup of oil…more like ¼ to ½ cup of oil).

Combine drained tomatoes, garlic, pine nuts, basil, salt and Parmesan cheese in a food processor.
Cover and process until finely chopped.  With machine running, gradually add the oil.  Process until smooth, scraping down sides of processor as needed. 

Tip:  The mixture will initially clump in a ball and as you add the oil it will smooth out and spread around the base of the food processor.  That’s when I know it is done.  You can save any remaining oil for sautéing veggies or meat.

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