Three-Bean Casserole and…Day Two

I’m sure Mark Zuckerberg was a difficult child.  That’s how I console myself when my children are having their difficult moments.

Yesterday my day was mentally so well planned.  Then it all turned south when Arabella woke in the night with vomiting and then in the morning was beside herself from the pain in her tonsils and demanded an urgent tonsillectomy.  When I told her they don’t remove tonsils while they’re infected she looked at me like I was deliberately trying to be upset her.

I shone a torch down the back of her throat and was shocked to see so much pus dripping from her tonsils so realised that yes, she probably wasn’t exaggerating about the pain.  I dressed quickly and told her I’d take her up to the medical centre so suggested she change out of her pyjamas and off we’d go.  She looked beyond me as she passed me in the hallway and headed out to the car in a sweatshirt, no bra, pyjama pants and thongs.  It must be serious.

Three-Bean Casserole

At the medical centre the nurse at the desk looked alarmed at seeing her and immediately took her through to a room where she could lie down.  Arabella asked for pain killers and told the nurse the ones she was taking weren’t working.

‘What have you been taking?’

‘Panadeine Extra’.

‘And how many of those have you had?’

‘I took three at one and I took five a few minutes ago.’

‘You took five?’ I asked.  Must have been when I was in the shower.  Shouldn’t have left my watch.

The nurse was staring at her and started talking to her slowly and deliberately and loudly like Arabella was old, deaf and senile.  ‘It’s really important honey that you tell me how many you’ve taken.  Now try hard to remember and tell me when you started taking them and how many you took.’

Arabella went through her overdosing and the nurse scrawled it all down on her clipboard.  She said, ‘I think we might be dealing with something else here, I’d better get the doctor’, and she scuttled off looking all excited about having a patient arrive with a potential overdose.

The doctor arrived and after going through the queried paracetamol overdose said she’d need some blood taken to test her liver function.  He examined her and found that as her spleen is enlarged and as her glands are swollen and as her tonsils have not responded to antibiotics, it is most likely she has glandular fever.  A blood test would confirm the diagnosis.

Arabella said she wasn’t having any blood taken.  I said, ‘You don’t have a choice’.  Then she started sobbing and I don’t know if it was the glandular fever or the poisoned liver that was making her fragile but she kept saying blood tests hurt too much.  I said, ‘Arabella, you just went and voluntarily had your nose pierced; that would hurt a lot more than a blood test’.  While I held her down the blood was taken and later that day we found out her liver is fine but she has glandular fever.

It’s Day Two of ‘glange’ and I am wearing my nurse’s cap and being run off my feet.  She thinks she’s better.  She thought today she might go out with a friend and shop for shoes to wear with The Dress.  The Formal is in 10 days.  I’m not sure she’ll even be going.  I’m saving up strength for that conversation.  I think I went 40 rounds today on why she won’t be going shoe shopping with her friend.

‘What difference does it make, mum?  How much more tiring is it for me to be at the shops than be at home?’

‘But your contagious.  You can’t go anywhere.’

‘It’s not that easy to catch.’

‘It doesn’t matter.  The doctor said last night you have to have seven to 10 days of bed rest.’

‘What sort of a person stays in bed for 10 days, mum.  That doctor’s mad.  And if I can’t go out and get shoes, when will I get them.  You’ve left it too late.  I told you we should have got them weeks ago.’

‘I’ll take you.  We’ll go out one day when you’re feeling better, after I’ve dropped Alfie at school.’

‘I don’t want to go with you.’

‘Who’s paying for these shoes?’

‘You’, she screams.

‘Then don’t you think I should be allowed on this excursion?’

‘You don’t have the patience.  Have you seen the colour of my dress, mum?  Do you know how difficult it’s going to be to find shoes in that colour?’

‘We’ll get some silver shoes’.

‘Silver shoes are tacky.’

And on and on and on she went until she came out of her room wearing a brand new dress that was delivered yesterday and is incredibly short and about the size of two hankies.  ‘Do you think this would be good for the races?’

In a couple of weeks Arabella is going with friends to the races in a country town.  I’m not sure she’ll be going now.  I told her how lovely she looked in the dress but I’ll leave the conversation about the races for another day.

Then she went to bed and I was pleased about that but she soon yelled out, ‘Can I buy some snow shoes on-line?’  Arabella has a skiing holiday organised for the end of June.  She’s very excited about it.  I’m not sure she’ll be going.  I’ll save that conversation for another day.

It’s Day Two and it’s not easy being her nurse or her mother.

I’m also her chef.  I made something I thought would be easy to digest, soft on the palate and full of nutrition.  It’s vegetarian with a little bacon and that’s exactly the sort of vegetarian Arabella likes.  She didn’t eat it but the rest of us did and we enjoyed it.

Three-Bean Casserole

Serves:  8  (I make this amount so the leftovers can be divided into individual portions and stored in containers in the freezer)

Degree of Difficulty:  2/5

Cost:  This is dinner on the table for eight people for around $20.00.

  • 2 tbspns olive oil
  • 2 brown onions, finely chopped
  • 4 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 rashers of bacon, rind removed and cut into matchsticks  (can be omitted to make this vegetarian)
  • 2 tbspns tomato paste
  • 800g tinned crushed tomatoes
  • 1 ltr vegetable stock
  • 1 heaped tspn sugar
  • 4 desiree potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 400gm can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 400gm can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 400gm can borlotti beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped

In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat olive oil.  Add onions, celery, garlic and bacon and cook until onions have softened and fat has rendered from the bacon, about 5 mins.

Add tomato paste and stir to combine.

Add crushed tomatoes, stock, sugar and potatoes and cook until potatoes are soft.  About 10 mins.

Add beans and cook until heated through.  About 3 mins.


Stir through parsley.

Serve in warmed bowls.

Do you have a special recipe you cook for the infirm?

This recipe has been adapted from a recipe I found on Taste.

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  1. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says:

    Oh dear, it sounds like you might need a rest after your stint as a nurse Charlie!

  2. Oh, I’m so sorry it’s glandular fever! Several of my friends got knocked out by that in college, and one ended up with chronic fatigue, so resting is superduper important. For you too – oh, being a mother! I can’t even imagine, you fabulous woman!

  3. Hi,
    I am sorry to hear your daughter is so sick, it certainly isn’t easy juggling everything at times like this.
    It is a shame your daughter couldn’t eat that lovely meal you prepared it sounds delicious.

  4. Oh no! For you and for Arabella – sounds like a nightmarish kind of day all around :/ Let’s hope you have lots of dinners like this in the freezer for the next few days?!

  5. Oh Charlie. xxx

  6. Poor Arabella!  Poor you, all those potential ‘difficult’ conversations.  The bean casserole look great and really tasty. GG

  7. Niasunset says:

    I am sorry to hear this too dear Charlie, I hope and wish she to get well soon. Your recipe seems so delicious… Thank you, my best wishes for you both, love, nia 

  8. Oh no. Hope she’s ok, and she gets better before you have to have “those” conversations. xx

  9. Poor Arabella; I feel so bad for her.  What a terrible time of year to be sick (not that it’s ever fun).  You’re such a good Mom to her.  
    I also love the kind of vegetarian meal with a little meat thrown in.  Protein is important!

  10. Mary @ beyondjelly says:

    Ergh! Not ‘glange’. 🙁
    I’m praying that Arabella gets better promptly.

  11. Magnolia Verandah says:

    Oh dear! Its a wonder you had any energy left after the stressful day you had. You will need a dish like this to store up your strength for that queue of conversations!

  12. You have to go through lots of things with her later!!! Hope she gets better soon 🙂 make sure that you rest a little as well

  13. Poor Arabella and poor you.  Hope she feels better soon, and you hold up until she recovers.

  14. I can appreciate how mothers have to save certain conversations until another day as they pick their battles.  I did love the nose-piercing/blood taking analogy, though.  Poor Arabella, though–it can’t be much fun with so much excitement coming up.  Poor you as well–being the caretaker can be wearing!  What an easy recipe that looks like perfect comfort food.

  15. Karen (Back Road Journal) says:

    Oh, I don’t think I would like to be the one to be dealing with all the conversations yet to come. Good luck with that and your nursing. Poor Arabella will be sooo disappointed. I’m wishing you both better times.

  16. I LOVE reading your stories! I think had I found your blog three years ago…your humor alone would have made three horrible teenage years in a row with my child so. much. better. 😉

  17. Choc Chip Uru says:

    God for Arabella it is so much disappointment – I feel very bad for her! I hope she gets better soon!!!
    As for you my friend – being a nurse, counsellor, chef and overall mum must be hard but you do a fabulous job at it 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

  18. I had to look up glandular fever to learn that it’s the equivalent of mono! My son had it a few years ago but it sounds like he got off easy compared to your daughter. Patience, dear Hotly Spiced. It is a virtue!

  19. This casserole sounds delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  20. InTolerant Chef says:

    Maybe she’ll have a re lapse? Just a small one? Just enough to feel like languidly laying in bed recuperating her strength and unable to yell.
    If that doesn’t happen, I’d Spike her drinks. It’s for her own good 🙂
    Poor darling though really, it’s a nasty bug indeed, and I’m glad her liver its ok. I had to have liver tests this week too because of all the accumulated meds I’ve been on the last few months.

    • hotlyspiced says:

      I hope your results are good. That’s terrible you’ve had to be on such strong medication for so long. I hope you get better soon. And yes, spiking her drinks is a top idea xx

  21. Barbara at winos and foodies says:

    Well good luck with those conversations Charlie. Been there. Thank god those days are behind me. I hope Arabella is better soon.

  22. Best of luck with that – I think I had glandular fever when I was younger. I say I think because I can’t really remember… I think I blocked the memory out because it was just horrible! Ouch..

  23. Ah, thanks to Jennifer, I see that Arabella has mono. This is serious stuff and she does need to stay home and not expose others. Tough being the mom. I know. Hang in there. If Arabella is to have any possibility of attending that formal, she truly does need to take care of herself. Hugs to you, dear nurse.

  24. Poor Charlie, poorer Arabella…she probably just can’t stand the sight of the blood, esp. her own blood.
    At least, casserole looks delicious and comforting.

  25. oh it’s tough to be a mum but it’s also tougher to be a kid these days with mums like us haha.  i hope she gets well fast and im sure she will as you are doing a great job as a mum, chef and a nurse. hang in there charlie,

  26. oh gosh, thats so terrible… for both ur daughter and u! i hope she gets better real soon… the caserole looks delish, i love beans! im sure this must have taken her mind off the infection

  27. Oh that is terrible. I really hope she gets better soon…

  28. That sounds serious.. I hope Arabella gets well soon. mmm.. it’s interesting putting myself in my parents’ shoes.. I wonder how they must have felt when I was a teen.. Hopefully all will be well!! Take care!

  29. Oh no poor Arabelle. Well done on the self diagnosis though! I hope she’s feeling better soon. Lucky she has such a wonderful mum to look after her. 

  30. Sorry Arabella! Wish you could edit comments after posting. 

  31. Mandy - The Complete Cook Book says:

    Poor Arabella!  I will gladly enjoy her portion of bean casserole, scrumity!
    🙂 Mandy

  32. Wow, I feel for Arabella, I wish her a speedy recovery. The disappointment of being sick and not able to go to something so anticipated is gut wrenching at her age.
    The dress link is to a WordPress signin page, at least on my phone it is.
    Meant to mention that we’re in New York City so I may not be as quick to comment.

  33. Darcie Cash says:

    Oh dear!  Poor Arabella, AND, poor you!  My darling daughter, is 22, and still can be “very difficult”.  Good luck with those conversations you are saving for later 😉  Your recipe looks wonderful…perfect for a healing comfort food!

  34. Oh yeah. That all sounds so familiar. I had glandular fever in college. That was not fun! I hope that she feels better soon. I think for me the hardest part was resting after I felt better. Totally aggravating! Great three bean recipe. I like that you freeze some for later use too. 

  35. ~~Sending you all  some love from Minnesota.  Xx

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Thanks Kim. I didn’t realise you’re from Minnesota. I’ve been getting to know quite a few bloggers from your city xx

  36. Oh do keep us up to speed on how this goes! I’m so sorry she has glandular fever, and totally sympathetic to the idea that this is cutting so deeply into her well-crafted social life! Those conversations you may have to put off until later are not going to be pretty! So I hope you’ll take notes and include all the details. Poor girl…if she only knew how much I laughed while reading this post she’d probably not be that happy with me either! Debra

  37. Oh man, I know the feeling. I got ‘glange’ halfway through my Honours year at uni so you can imagine how difficult thesis-writing was! I hope Arabella gets better very soon!

  38. Poor baby girl!

  39. Oh the poor girl – man you have your hands full. I hope she is feeling better soon and that the formal goes ahead – isnt the the one where you found the PERFECT dress for her? xx

  40. I sure hope, Arabella is feeling better and you too … Mother, Nurse, Chef ,,, Whoa 🙂

  41. Oh my gosh…poor Arabella…she has glange and also school that’s really not a good mix 🙁 i feel so sorry for you too Charlie having to take care of her ~ I only now realise how hard it is to be a mother lol even though I’m not one yet but I think as I’m getting a bit older and tutoring some teenage girls lol it is quite tough to talk to them and get them to understand your point of view sometimes ~

  42. ChgoJohn says:

    I do hope she’ll have recuperated enough to not just go the The Formal but to also have a wonderful time when she does. 

    Your bean casserole sounds delicious, Charlie, and has plenty of protein that your daughter will need to speed her recovery. Fingers crossed.

  43. I know where you’re comin’ from girlfriend!


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