If you read my blog on thecabin.net Web site, you know that I have had a toothache this week. Along with a toothache comes the fact that you have difficulty eating anything that isn’t very soft, mushy or liquid. The hard part for me was not being able to enjoy the foods family and friends were eating this week. I had to stick to the soups and applesauce, puddings and soft dessert breads or cakes. 

This was a little disheartening when we were rewarded for our hard work this past week with sandwiches from a local restaurant. I didn’t get to take part because of my toothache. I purchased soft serve ice cream from a fast food restaurant and had that to hold me over until I was able to get home. When I got home I made a serving of mashed potatoes with a side of -- a bit mushier than I normally make -- broccoli with cheddar cheese for dinner that night. 

The next day another department shared their leftovers from lunch with the newsroom. It turned out to be soup and salad from a local restaurant.

I would have loved to try the salad. It looked yummy, but I was very happy to indulge in the lovely ham and mixed bean soup. I had applesauce I had brought from home for dessert. Not a horrible meal even for one without a toothache. 

I won’t be seeing the dentist until tomorrow, so I’ve had to come up with foods I can manage all week without forcing my family to go on a semi-liquid diet with me. 

It hasn’t been all-bad though, I wish the pain weren’t there but with the weather the way it has been lately, soups and casseroles have fit quite well and they truly are comfort foods when you don’t feel well. 

Homemade macaroni and cheese is a filling meal, soft and is such a great comfort food that the whole family could enjoy not just me. 

Desserts were easy, neither cold nor sweet were bothering my tooth just the act of chewing. So I could eat all the ice cream or pudding or yogurt that I wanted without any ache at all. That was a fun indulgence for me because I normally do not eat that much ice cream at this time of year. 

Oatmeal was another thing I ate quite a bit of and normally I doctor my oatmeal with toasted nuts and honey but I had to forego the nuts this time. I found that it was just as good without the nuts even though I missed the flavor of them. 

While discussing soups and having to stay away from foods that were too solid our community news editor mentioned having a really terrific butternut squash soup this week. I’ve never tried a butternut squash soup so I thought I would seek out a recipe for it. The ones I found suggested boiling the squash in chicken stock but I thought of how I make my sweet potato casserole each year. Sweet potatoes and butternut squash are not easily peeled so boiling to me seems a bit difficult. Roasting is far easier to me and you really don’t need to use a blender to puree the squash as you would when it is boiled. So I searched around until I found another recipe where the squash was roasted. 

There are a number of them on the Internet you just have to find a recipe that appeals to your tastes. 

So I think I’ll try a butternut squash soup in the near future, perhaps even to serve with Christmas dinner this year. It is something to think about. 

Since I’m talking about soups and soft foods, I’ll share a homemade applesauce recipe. My mother makes her own applesauce and apple butter which my son absolutely loves. 

Here is an easy recipe that requires only one baking dish and a small bowl to prepare. I find it easier than the classic boiled applesauce to prepare. 

One Dish Cinnamon

Applesauce

4 medium to large apples, 2 Granny Smith and 2 Red Delicious or Honeysweet apples 

3 tablespoons packed brown sugar

3 tablespoons granulated white sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 2-quart baking dish with non-sticking cooking spray. You may want to use butter flavored spray for a bit more of an apple pie like taste.

Peel, core and slice apples; uniform in thickness, about 1/4-inch thick. In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, white sugar and ground cinnamon, combining well. Add vanilla extract to sugars and cinnamon, mixing with a fork until well blended. Layer apple slices in prepared baking dish; top evenly with sugars, cinnamon and vanilla mixture.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for approximately 1 hour or until apples are soft. Remove baking dish from oven and cool about 15 minutes to make it just a little easier to work with. Sometimes the juices from the apples can be bubbly when removed from the oven and waiting 15 minutes can help avoid a nasty burn. Then simply mash apples with a potato masher, pastry cutter or the tines of a fork to the desired texture (you can make it chunky or smooth) directly in the baking dish. Serve warm, at room temperature or seal in airtight containers and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.