Thursday, December 10, 2009

Hunkering down for winter...

The lack of posts doesn't indicate that I have fallen off the wagon, though I will say I'm hanging over the tailgate a wee bit. I've had a death in my family and been diagnosed with a new disorder (well new to me) called Trigeminal Neuralgia. This has meant not having much strength or energy to care about, much less pursue good food. If I were more established in eating good food it wouldn't be less crucial that I be well, as what I eat and how to get it all together would be more ingrained.

Though Fall is my favorite season and Winter a close second, I am finding it doesn't scream "eat yummy real food" quite like the bounty of summer did. Thankfully there are the good soups and whole grain breads which do fit right into the landscape of wholesomeness as well as hot breakfast cereals and the like. Perhaps I can add a muffin or two to my repertoire? The proverbs 31 woman is supposed to have no fear of winter (I console myself that it was referring to clothes for her household and then I remember I am still wearing sandals to the store) This woman is needing to get back to her focus on good eats before she starts slipping back to old habits. I haven't lost my taste for the good stuff but I have once again eaten the odd commercial candy bar and in doing so know that it could spoil my taste for better things. Mama was right when she said some things "spoil your appetite" but I know she didn't mean it the way I do.

I'll try to start posting again more faithfully about foods for winter and foods made from winter's bounty. We did enjoy turkey this thanksgiving though it was our first year going back to commercial injected and frozen. The hormone free etc birds we've had these past two years have just been dry and less than yummy, that and 37 cents a pound called to us economically. One does what one has to. We've enjoyed yummy winter squash, pumpkin pie, and favorite soups thus far this winter and Glenn has made some stellar bread, both whole wheat and white.

Pray for me if you think of me, that I am able to continue to learn how to love eating food that is nutritious AND satisfying, especially amidst a fair amount of pain and meds that are almost as bad as what I'm taking them for.
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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

If you want to think about food...

This series, I believe has 7 parts, is thought provoking regardless of where you are coming from on the food topic. It has a most unfortunate painting behind the podium which one is forced to look at the whole time, and the youth in it take a good while to settle down, but once the video series gets going it's worth a look and discussion.

And then there was pie...

How yummy are field fresh Strawberries? I happened to be at the Co-op when these were brought from the back room and put out for sale. I could feel the warmth of the sun on them. Do you know who grows what you eat? It's a lovely feeling to know where, really WHERE your food comes from. (As opposed to sorta where, ie the name of the store.) Even if you get food at a stand, if there is a farm name, take a moment and notice this and rejoice that there are people who will bring this fresh local food to market.

I have eaten many a piece of strawberry pie in my day, most of them yummy. The Amish Market in Annapolis comes to mind for decent Strawberry pie. That said, some strawberry pies have seemed unnaturally brightly colored or overly filled with gel by comparison to the actual strawberry. I had to look around for a while to find a recipe that didn't call for gelatin or food coloring. I was very pleased with the taste but found the pie was not as pretty with the gel. I'd like to continue my search (and please recommend a recipe if you have one)and find a recipe that will gracefully and completely fill in the spaces between sanding strawberries without glopping over them, sort of like I picture the gel in a fruit tarte, something prettier. I did cheat (no wonder it was easy to make) and baked a frozen Marie Callendar brand pie crust. I think I have decided they are nicer than the off brand if you are using it for a desert pie. For quiche, I go with cheapest.

That said, I was amazed how EASY it was to make a fresh strawberry pie. I know the season is pretty much past so you'll have to come back to this next summer, but think about making one yourself. It takes very little time to make, though you need to allow the pie to cool in the fridge for a couple hours. Share with me any experiences you have had with this wonderful food of summer. And yes, we had real freshly whipped cream, which for some reason wouldn't stiffen up much.

Call me Popeye...

Ok, I know I'm going to lose some of you on this one, but I love Spinach. Always have done. In bad IBS years it was not so easy for me to tolerate but I'm doing better with all that these days.

Even as a child, when my Mom would take me to the Hot Shoppes Cafeteria at Tyson's or Landover (a long gone chain for you young folk) I always asked if I could just get mashed potatoes with gravy and steamed spinach. She'd raise her eyebrows at my choices but she let me and I was in hog heaven. I'd usually get one of their scrummy white cloverleaf dinner rolls as well. What REAL foods did you love years ago that you may have left in the dust of memory? Can you try to rekindle what it is you liked about it in order to make something like that as a gift to yourself and your family now?

As an adult I discovered how yummy creamed spinach is and there was a brand I can't recall, that used to make quite good frozen creamed spinach. Seabrook? something like that. I think Birdseye made a similar thing. A couple years ago when Glenn and I went out to dinner at the Cottonwood Grille, I had a lovely cream of spinach soup there. With this in mind I went off to foodgawker and hunted away. I settled on a
recipe by Mark Bittman from the New York times. Made as it was, I found it a bit thin, so I made a roux with butter and flour and added this, which made it more like I had in mind. To be fair, it's probably not an issue with the original recipe,I may have accidentally had thinner soup due to having to halve his recipe. Anyway it's good to know if you want it thicker you can make it so. I also might try it with some Parmesan cheese added.

This one is a keeper! And it made a great companion to the Bagel chips.
(Take two bagels, slice across so you are left with circles, sprinkle up to 1/4 cup of oil-I used olive and if you like sprinkle them with some garlic salt. Bake on a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan at 300 until lightly brown, check every 5 mins so they don't burn, this made enough for soup and a snack the next day.)

That Barefoot Contessa...

Never seen her, never watched her, but her name comes up in recipe recommendations from my daughter. Took out one of her cookbooks months ago and didn't find anything that sounded like I'd make it, so I must have gotten the wrong book because the few things I have her recipes for look and taste wonderful.I've not been able to find this recipe exactly under her name, so this may be an adaptation. I am quite pleased with my substitution of Bob's Red Mill Large Flake coconut. I love coconut but don't miss the sugaryness of the old fashioned kind. Also the large flake is pretty. Bob's also makes a small traditional grated unsweetened. Many grocery stores are carrying Bob's products and they are also easily available online.

My hubby loves this. I find it a bit too sweet, so I'm going to tweek it for my own taste and I'll get back to you. I think the sweetness I find too much isn't in the base, that's perfect, it's the cranraisens.

Homemade Granola

makes 12 cups

4 cups old fashioned rolled oats
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut(some folk omit, or use just a handful to omit calories...I substituted unsweetened large flake coconut by Bob's Red Mill)
2 cups sliced almonds
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup good honey
1 1/2 cup of cranraisins
1 cup of golden raisins
any other dried fruit that you would like (I like a cup of Pecans)

preheat oven to 350 degrees
Toss the oats, coconut, and almonds together in a large bowl. Whisk together the oil and honey in a small bowl. Pour the liquids over the oat mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until all the oat mixture and nuts are coated. Pour into a 13x18 inch baking sheet.(What is called a Jelly Roll pan, improvise as needed) Bake, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the mixture turns a nice even golden brown about 45 minutes. (you need to check this frequently as you don't want it to burn)

Remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool, stirring occasionally. Add the cranraisins, golden raisins and pecans. Store the cooled granola in an airtight container.

If you have never tried Greek Yoghurt please do so for me, just one little thing, pretty please? I don't like regular yogurt very well, but the greek, yes indeedy. AND it's better for you. It is a bit thicker than the American style, not as tart, and nicely creamy. I believe it is lower in fat and higher in protien as well.
Even though this was too sweet (just a bit) It was glorious soon after cooling with my greek yogurt. I find it in regular grocery stores now, but if not, try health food stores or ethnic markets if you have such.

Roasted Veggie Pasta

Even though I do not like Raw tomatoes, I do like this dish quite well using the tiny grape tomatoes. The one's I got at the co-op were a gorgeous assortment of 4 varieties including an almost purple heirloom tomato. I'd eaten this at my daughter's house and enjoyed it, even though I did let my 2 year old grandson eat many of the tomatoes off my plate. They get to a consistency I can appreciate and lose that raw taste. I leave out the basil of this recipe because for my taste, as Fabu as basil is, it can overpower. Here's the link to the recipe at Everyday Food, a favorite site and magazine... with pictures following.I have Rebecca to thank for my making this as I'd not likely have tried the recipe without her having fed it to me first.

Veggie Before and After. Do watch them closely after the first 10 mins or so. I cooked them until there were some veggies blackening as it tastes best that way and I like my veggies softish. I also used more yellow squash and less zuchinni as the recipe calls for. The later is prettier I think but I don't fancy zuchinni as much as summer squash. You can really splash out and do what you want with this. In face I only made a half recipe and it was enough for the three of us for one meal.

This is a very satisfying and yet healthful dish. I ate mine as was, hubby wanted a lot of black pepper and some parmesan on his. To each his own!

First a trip to my Beloved Boise Co-op

Lately, my cooking begins with thinking about what is in season and then web browsing for food that looks good, usually via FoodGawker Then comes the inevitable trip to the Boise-Co-op. On this day there were lovely figs and the marvelous strawberries grown by Farmer Richardson.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What you've missed...

If you had been visiting me (please do but call ahead!)or if you'd been a fly on our wall (oh no, not flies)here are some snaps of what you'd missed. Alas, the last two weeks have not had any photos, I'm "unwell" again, but have still been trying to eat as well as I can given my inability to shop or cook for myself.

This has meant sometimes I've just had to open a can of split pea soup and call it a meal, sometimes I've had Alexia brand Frozen organic waffle fries (great after a migraine or when one is coming on) and yes, one time I was so weary and hungry and hurting I had my dear man bring me a McDouble with fries. Oh well, I made a point to try and eat even those, with gratefulness and awareness and it does make a difference. It turns a desperation dinner into food to although inadequately, nourish the body for that moment in time, it does not a lifestyle make, and that is "ok."

That said as a person who has always loved a home cooked meal (even better when someone else has done the cooking)it makes me very sad to think many children in particular, have gone from McD's being a rare treat as it was in our childhoods, to being a way of life.

Photo's below.

"Really" enjoy your food!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Makes me really want one, sadly. We haven't any here in Boise, which is I'm thinking, a good thing. Though seriously, one or two halves a year, is enough for anyone.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Migraine days...

I was going to take a picture of a bottle of pain medicine, an ice bag, gingersnaps and coffee to sum up my migraine days, but I happen to have this accidental shot of my living room and it seemed to say "yeah, that's about how you've been feeling" The light too glaring, the images fuzzy, the overall feeling nauseating.

I've been hording up food experiences and pictures but now I've gotten so far away from their occurring that I have little to say about them.

I have gone from women's "issues" to migraine days without much in between. I have had maybe 3 whole good days in the last two or so weeks. They have been glorious giddy good days, the kind where the absence of pain feels so euphoric. I have not forgotten to eat well or real, but I have not done wonderfully either, I've just existed with my new consciousness intact. No pans of brownies have been scarfed down, though last night I will admit to eating a good 500 calories of "Dirty Chips" (a brand, not my judgement of them) in a middle of the night gotta have it, binge. The first thing remotely resembling a binge of any type since I've started this new way of looking at food and of choosing what is "good." That said, they were part of the former weeks "allotment of dirty chips" yet uneaten, so I won't feel too bad about it, and for extra good measure I'll skip buying any more for another week. Maybe I'll just buy two of the small bags instead of three as well. I don't want to buy just "one" cause that will feel punitive and make me think I'm suffering and then I'll do myself more harm than good with ensuing obsession about lack of chips.

I do best when I have plenty of what pleases me around and instead just show moderation. I have a person in my life, I'll call her my "friend" who is slim and has an opposite view. She has to keep the things far away or she'll eat them all, say, for example Entienmen's chocolate iced donuts (and to be critically fair, they don't keep well and they do seem to taste better eaten in multiples of two or three) Maybe my "friend" has a point, given that she is slim, she must know what she's talking about. Or maybe it's just a particular food that would affect one so. I'm not going to scarf down three bags of reflux inducing mouth burning salt and vinegar chips in the middle of the night, so I'm reasonably safe. Let's face it, if one is in a scarfing down mood, one will likely find "something"....I had a friend who used to re-constitute cocoa powder with butter if she was in a pinch. Never tried it myself but I've kept it in the back of my mind, just in case.

All that said, I am in a strange place with relation to food right now. When I am in a lot of head pain, I don't eat anything, or at least I used to not eat anything. Of late I've been more nauseous with migraine and so I've followed a friends suggestion and laid in some ginger snaps to help with that. (I suppose I could get some kind of ginger capsules to do the same thing but these are "health food" section, rock hard, reasonably low fat and calorie ginger snaps so I think, ok, they will do) I have wondered if I might make my own low fat/cal gingersnaps as part of my real food effort(Honestly I wonder if they are EVER high fat cal , I think the dry hard beast is itself, lean. You can tell I don't think of ginger snaps as a serious snack contender.) I doubt I could pull of baking with a migraine, not without serious collateral damage to Lord knows what, the kitchen, myself (I envision burns on arms, flour fluffed into my eyes, turning beaters on with my hands in the bowl?) so for now, the pre-made things seem a reasonable stand in.

Ok, where was, I don't eat when I'm in the worst of it. I don't move when I'm in the worst of it, and talking is nearly out of the question as well though I manage to moan fairly well. Something about the sound of certain notes hitting some spot inside my head as it vibrates....When my migraine is abating, as it is now having gone from a 9 to a 5, food can be glorious. It can't take much by way of effort and there is no telling what I might desire, though it is not a bad guess to say it will be starchy.

I careened toward the kitchen a while ago intent on cooking an evil box of mac and cheese deluxe (something I've not had or desired whilst on my real food path, if I wanted mac and cheese I'd be making it from scratch) and while it was boiling, my eye lighted upon a bagel I'd bought intending to make chips for soup (an entry I haven't made that I photog-ed last week) and remembering I had fresh cream cheese in the fridge, scarfed it down while waiting.

I must tell you, it was seriously the best bagel and cream cheese I've ever had in my life. If I bought a dozen of them and ate them every day for a week, I'd surely not have another that came close, it would at least pail by comparison, likely to the point of grave disappointment. It was a flavor I don't normally buy (Fred's had none of the bins labeled,oddly enough) I am not sure what flavor it was, I could detect poppy seed but when I bought it I was thinking it could be a so called "everything" bagel. It was not a proper chewy one like you'd get in a real deli back east, in fact it was wrongly soft, but my teeth were glad for that fact as I noshed through it, thinking as I did that the Yiddish word Shmear would NOT apply to the amount of cream cheese I put upon it. It was a simple pleasure, the kind that remind me how good it is to be hungry, to have an appetite, how the laborer sleeps best and what grace there is in being able to joy in real food.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A visual feast.

I adore the website Tastespotting. You can put any food item you are looking for into the search engine, and then peruse the yummy pictures that come up. Click on said pictures and you'll be taken to the recipe. Yum Yum Yum!!!

A similar site I quite like is called Foodgawker.


Thursday, September 3, 2009


Dear Gentle Readers,
I am writing to assure you that I have not gone "off the wagon" and am still in search of real food. However I am having a battle with a migraine, one that neither of us are winning, the kind where a level 4 headache just stays and stays not going, not coming. This does not endear me to writing or cooking, it endears me to my bedroom with the shades drawn.

We ate the "papertowel" soup, indeed Laura ate it. I don't think it was a hit, too spicy for me, but I shall try it again with a fractional amount of spice, or I shall try carrot in general because with an immersion blender it is easy enough to make, provided one can actually follow a recipe and doesn't add ingredients not called for. (towels to be exact)

I have eaten snack chips now, some number of days, over 13, I had Laura pick me up Dirty chips from the Co-op. 3 Bags of 5.5 oz to be exact. I am pleased to say that was last Friday and I have only eaten 1.5 of those bags over the last 7 days and in a controlled manner, ie, one measured bowl with a movie and so on. That said, I am truly becoming as happy to eat my celery with almond butter for a snack as the chips, and may even try Becca's childhood favorite, celery dipped in olive oil and vinegar. I like the crunch of celery.

I also had Laura pick me up three Dagoba bars. I have just now after 7 days finished one bar, (250 calorie bar) and I enjoyed it over about 4 different times of breaking off just a tiny bit and found it perfectly fine for taking away any sweet interest. I have not had any other "junk" except my homemade blondies, which take us a good while to eat the 9 bars it makes. If I have one, it is usually with coffee, eaten slowly and chewing lots. I'm thinking next time I make them I'll add more nuts, that's my favorite bit. I might also add some raisins. I've just learned dried fruit is higher in iron than some other things and anemia girl loves her iron.

I am finding it difficult this very moment when I cannot get to the store and when Glenn has been too busy to go for me, and when I have reached a brick wall of fatigue all the sudden (yes, I know I'm always fatigued, so you can imagine how much more this is!) and I need more to live on than almond butter on celery or rice cakes. I need protein as well as fresh foods. I have fallen back on something I hated my whole life but have learned to make peace with as an adult, EGGS. Oddly one egg I did like as a child is verboten now by health police, the soft boiled or poached egg.

The simple humble egg, does have going for it that it is fast to make, has protein in it, iron as well (yolk) and is somewhat able to be made with variety. This week breakfast has consisted of eggs with whole wheat toast one two occasions, farina on two occasions and cold cereal with milk on others. I've discovered that I get bored pretty quickly. I need to make Becca's granola recipe as well as one I want to make with pumpkin seeds and molasses (for iron) but again, no way to get the ingredients. I don't think Fred Meyers has delivery and even if they did, I'm guessing bulk bin purchases wouldn't be included.

It's 6 pm and I've only eaten farina and coffee, and 2 blondies cause I've not left my room. Glenn is bringing us home real burgers from kahootz, which are not light in calories but which I will enjoy given my painful state and lethargy. I'm hoping afterwards I can find it in me to do a little survey of what I have here I can eat and make quick and easy. Which reminds me, it's going to be hard for me when my friend Laura moves the 18th of September, as she was such a help to me in so many ways, but we are rejoicing with her in her new adventure amongst the Norwegians in Minnesota.

Please keep my efforts and better eating in prayer. So far I have been mercifully untempted even in my low moments, to just give in and eat junk, because junk just isn't appealing.

Well the food is here, I am hoping it revives me. Keep eating real my friends!

Monday, August 31, 2009

No. 1 Carrot Soup attempt.

Well, it started out looking ok. Here I am playing Jenga with carrots. Who needs real toys?

The recipe calls for baby carrots from the store. I recently found out that baby carrots are just adult carrots cut by a machine into uniform shapes and I am not going to pay extra to have them lie to me (-: I cut my own carrots thank you very much, and I didn't ask them how old they were. They are organic at least.

The recipe also calls for two to three cans of chicken broth (easily subbed with veggie broth for the vegetarians amongst us) Well silly me, who is still unwell and has no business operating sharp, hot, heavy or electronic machinery much less my brain, grabbed two Swanson cans off the shelf, noting to self I need to stock up on the pacific organic at Costco, and proceeded to pour right on in. To my horror one of them wasn't chicken but beef. Call me OCD but I don't like to mix my food/meat families. The Chinese make Happy family and the Cajuns make Jambalaya but seriously, I think it's something that might have been addressed in Leviticus, I've just not found it yet!!!

Oh and it DOES get worse my friends... at some point during the process of boiling said carrots in aforementioned perverse liquid, I went to lift the lid to check for doneness again and somehow, low and behold there was a paper towel boiling happily in the surface. Alls (sic) I can figure is that the hot steamy lid I set to the left of the stove somehow was set on a paper towel which clung surreptitiously to the inside of the lid and then fell in the pot. There was nothing in the recipe about adding a paper towel! And I don't think my mind is that lost yet. Now what to do. What was on said paper towel before it's immersion? It was likely the paper towel that Glenn uses over by the coffee grinder to wipe up grinds, but that he fails to throw away cause it still has some good wipes in it. (and it might make a tasty fiber addition to dinner?) Do I toss the whole effort, now done and ready to puree? I get on the phone to ask hubby what exactly the history of said towel is, he's in a pastoral meeting but I just can't go on without some type of towel provenance. He affirms that yes that's his coffee grinds towel, like that makes everything all better. I've had friends who have confessed to washing steaks that fell on the floor, so how bad could this be? It was boiled? Grant it the towel wasn't very attractive as it came out the saffrony color of curry, but I shall try to wipe this image from my mind if I decide to eat it. (The soup, not the towel.)

On a side note, I have spices in my Indian spice tin that I have failed to label. I am not sure if I have 1/4 tsp of cayenne or of chili powder in this soup. It also has 1.5 tablespoons of curry in it. See the big bottle of milk there? Well that is out because after tasting said powders with my finger on my tongue, I couldn't tell you what was what (I thought maybe I'd some how instinctually know which was which) what I can say it my tongue is still recovering.

Well, the soup is finished and I will tell you that if you are going to make a soup, regardless of the notoriety of the chef online, don't do as I do and just follow it without reading the comments. 9 out of 10 posters liked or loves this soup, but most all of them said too SPICY!!!! duh, there was part of me that did question 1.5 tablespoons of curry powder. So I have now added a scoop of brown sugar and I think as per the comments now read, I will add about a cup of half and half or cream to "cool it down" a bit. My missionary friend Laura (who I don't know in real life but like lots online!) told me she got a carrot soup in South Africa that was served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream in the center. I think that sounds just like what this soup needs!

So for now, as I hold a tissue to my dripping nose (from the SPICE) I can recommend this soup for it's ease IF you have an immersion blender, and with some changes. Do not spice it as it calls for, start with half and work up, you can always add more spice to taste after pureeing. I also recommend you check your can labels before you add anything, and check under your pot lid each time you pick it up, you never know what might be hiding there.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Small Changes...

I don't know if I've said this already, but one reason I think I decided to eat better is because due to my health issues right now and the ensuing inability to "do" much of anything for myself or others, choosing better foods is one thing I can (or thought I could) aim at.

I'm thinking aloud here...what changes can I make/have I made?

1. Enjoy what is left of the summer's gorgeous harvest. Here in Idaho that is Corn, Beans, Organic Strawberries, peaches etc.

2. When possible, buy organic butter, Milk and dairy without hormones and anti-biotics, and eggs from happy chickens.

3. I've long since sworn off anything that says partially hydrogenated anything. I've also long since avoided bleached white flour, unbleached only. I don't know who out there is still buying bleached.

4. Now swearing off as many things as possible that have high fructose corn syrup in them.

5. Though it is no healthier per say, I'm trying to prefer the taste of natural sugars, honey, molasses, maple syrup, and raw sugar, though I still use white in baking, and to use a little less of them.

6. It's a little thing but I don't prefer to use bleached filters for coffee.

7. Another small thing, is learning to prefer high percent cacao dark chocolate. I'm trying to stay about 70%. My thinking on this is, in part that I'm finding dark high cacao chocolate (esp if mixed with some type of dried fruits) does a fine job to take away sweet cravings and does it in smaller doses. It could be just me. Also high percentage dark is known for some added health benefits, such as being possibly a good cough suppressant, having some anti-oxidants etc. As well as organic I'm glad some of the brands I like claim to be from places that are not involved in human abuses in getting said chocolate. The leading manufacturing countries for chocolate are places of great human suffering. Now that said, I'm willing to consider some good eating "meat offered to idols" i.e it is not always possible to know the source nor the conditions one's food is grown in unless one grows it oneself (an excellent plan where doable) and I think it would be too easy to forgo good eats in search of "perfect" eats. As it is said, the perfect is often the enemy of the good.

8. I want to explore ethnic cooking that depends on my variety in each dish, is veggies and meats and grains and is high taste via spices. I'm thinking boredom is also the enemy of good real eating.

9. Even my "evil" snacks, I want to be the best they can be, ie, meeting above criteria. If it means paying more for good snacks and eating less snacks, then that sounds like a good idea to me. I know everyone says it is expensive to eat well but it is also expensive to eat badly. Have you priced Potato chips lately? Or store bought cookies? I'm sure my blondies cost less than any store bought cookie.

10. A little more whole grain, a little more fiber. I've got IBS and as such have a hard time with a lot of fibers, but I can at least be doing more of the soluble fibers such as steel cut oatmeal. If you only eat rolled oats, or quick oats, you don't know what you are missing. Steel cut is fabu and good for you. I'm also going to try adding just a tiny bit of whole grain flours to my cooking, be they wheat or not. Wheat isn't the only game in town.

11. Avoid feedlot beef as much as possible. Buy Grain fed beef w/o hormones and anti-biotics.

12. Prefer Local and Seasonal eating. Choosing minimal packaging.

13. It's going to take a heap of experimenting to get where I'm going...Does this sound like a lot at once for you? If so, just pick one that this month. Maybe next month, you'll try another substitute, change, replacement.

Passionate about Life 'n Spice...: Aloo Lobia & A Quick Note on RCI

Ok, I may have to find a good online Indian Ingredient market and I might just have to buy a pressure cooker!

Passionate about Life 'n Spice...: Aloo Lobia & A Quick Note on RCI

Carroty sunshine

Carroty sunshine


In my current state of unwellness (bleeding) I can't shop for ingredients, nor cook, but I can dream. Is the fact that I am dreaming of cooking a good sign for my journey? I hope so. I've been down a blog hole the last hour, which started with vegan/vegetarian sites, which led to vegetarian Indian food sites, and that is where I am happily hanging for now. I found two recipe's at this one ladies site that I want to try, this one and another I'll link in a minute for carrots.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Still out of sorts but...

Well, somehow I have managed to not do too much damage to my healthy eating efforts in my poor mood. Some of that success may come from the fact that I don't have much by way of damaging food choices around. I think I could happily have crunched my way through a bag of my favorite new chips had I had a whole bag around, but alas and alack, I only had about 150 calories worth in the house, and I did nosh on those (trying to focus on enjoying each bite as I went.) In the time it took to devour those, I thought through what I was really "feeling like" food wise and decided 1) hungry 2) wanting physical comfort. I decided that perhaps I might have Glenn make his wonderful baked potatoes today. They are nothing magical, just some olive oil rubbed on their skins and course kosher salted, but there's something about them coming out so pretty. I don't even eat the skins but it brings them to a whole new level of classiness. Hopefully, there's some comfort in that. Dear man brought me home some chocolate as that and periods go together like love and marriage, but oddly, I just don't desire it, it's not what I'm looking for. I think I'm looking for real food or maybe just health, but I figure the real food can't hurt.

On another totally crazy note, something I may be the only one to think, but having had rice cakes years ago, of the run of the mill variety from say, Quaker or some such, and having today broken out my "Lundberg Brown Rice cakes" which are not particularly "real" or healthy in that I think it's just empty calories (70 per) but which I bought as a crunchy vehicle for other good eats, like my almond butter or anything else I can use it to carry (idea's anyone?) I must say WOW, those are a far far cry from the nasty one's that taste like packing peanuts. These Lundberg thingy's, (and I don't know if it's just their brown rice one's or not) are terrific. Each bit of a kernel kind of falls into your mouth, not needing to be wrestled off like the one's of my memory, and has lots of personality and pop to it. I'm serious, if you've not tried the Lundberg, get them! Not much in flavor mind you but the texture is FABU! Let me know what you think if you compare them to your experiences. I wouldn't have thought any difference in rice cakes was to be had. That said, I love the Lundberg company, their brown and wild rices are wonderful.

Not giving up, but a bit dull...

Well, I'm not giving up by any stretch, but I feel rather limbo-ish. I'm having "female woes" again and I'm getting tired of this whole unpredictability business. I feel like I need to have a good sulk, or a party, or something!!!

I made a good stab at dejunking yesterday (before waking up with the "woes") and true to Suze Orman's belief that one finds money when one organises, I did manage to collect some change (a few dollars worth) and also found a utilities refund check we never cashed that has expired. Glenn had said long ago if I found it and got the money I could keep it. I've got it packed up and ready to mail so we'll see if that happens.

So in my limbo state, I told Glenn I wouldn't be upset if he went to the chocolate bar in downtown boise and got me some chocolate and caramel covered pretzel rods. I guess that isn't so bad if I manage to have some real food otherwise. I'm getting a bit out of sorts because it turns out I planned a couple meals and Glenn had already without telling me laid in some ground beef to make meatloaf with so we are over meated and neither of us wants to freeze what we bought. (I bought steak to make marianted kebabs) Meanwhile with my women's woes I'm not feeling able to run around and buy fresh veg.

What will become of the cold turkey? Hopefully still in search of real food, just a tad apathetically today. Pray I am able to rebound and if you think of me, pray for my weariness with the whole peri-menopausal thing. TTFN, sorry for the whinging post, and yes I'd like crackers with that.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

An Ingredient based Recipe Search Engine - Recipe Puppy

An Ingredient based Recipe Search Engine - Recipe Puppy

Shared via AddThis

This could be a very handy tool. Also might be helpful when you have ingredients on hand but aren't sure what to do with them.

Doing well-ish

Just a quick hello to say I've not fallen off the wagon. I did however go to sleep around 2am Friday night and slept through till 10pm Saturday night. I know those of you with young children are probably thinking "must be nice" and it was, but it's hard on my family and it does somewhat make me feel like something isn't right that I can do that, or do do that. When I did wake I had quite the headache and didn't want to move much, so that could have been what was in part gluing me to my spot all those hours. I will say that I feel refreshed finally after a week of poor sleep, and when one hasn't been feeling like oneself for a long time, it's hard to knock sleep.

The organic strawberries are still in the fridge untouched, looking only slightly worse for wear, a few will need tossing. They are good enough to eat just as they are, without even any sugar, but I would like to get those scones made just for the glory of the combination. I don't think I'll do them like shortcake but rather like Scottish tea scones done with some butter and or whipped cream and berries in between. I wonder if you can make yourself sick on strawberries, cause I think I might need to eat like a pint of them today.

I opened my bag of "dirty chips" (brand name, not moral judgement) without having a bad day but to enjoy rather with a favorite show "Lark Rise to Candleford." I am pleased to report that while they were nice and tasted good, they didn't grab me like they have in the past. I felt even somewhat pressed to eat the whole small bowl I had poured. This is good news to me, they were nice, but not glorious. What has happened to me I know not and I am starting to think it must have been the prayer after all, that the desire for these things has just abated, either that or I am seriously unwell (-:

When I was talking to my friend Erin, it occurred to me that I probably need some kind of plan as to what I am going to do about this anemia or feeling poorly. I'm thinking after a good month or 6 weeks of taking my liquid iron faithfully, I should have my blood tested again, and see where my numbers are, and I may also insist he check my vitamin b12 to see if I have a deficiency that can exacerbate iron deficiency anemia as well as be it's own form of anemia. If I am still poorly numerically, I think it is time to press onward, either to see an internist who might try harder to get at the bottom of this, or a hematoligist. I'm rather hoping of course that the iron taking and the good eating will be enough.

For my young friends, know that I got discouraged in all my years of being "in the way of women" from taking vitamin supplements WITH iron by all these news stories and reports of how you "could" have trouble processing iron and as such you should NEVER take it without a physicians recommendation. Well, while there are a rare few who do have hemochromatosis (more men than women) there are far more women who are anemic, especially those who bleed heavily AND in fact, bleeding heavily can be an egg and a chicken, both a cause and a symptom of iron deficiency.

SO, if you are a woman and bleed, please be sure your vitamin has iron in it...just be exceedingly careful to keep these away from children as Iron is very very dangerous for the little ones and is a leading cause of child poisoning. Because of this fact, in part, I half wonder if we are serving our children poorly by giving them vitamins that are "fun shaped" and tasty, I think perhaps vitamins should be more of a neutral chore, not something to tempt them like candy. They must have kids chewable vitamins that aren't so great or awful out there, or liquid you could dose their drinks with. I'm thinking medicine should be medicine, not candy. Just one concerned gramma's opinion.

Sarah, thanks for reading and commenting. I am encouraged by your desires to take baby steps too, and that I'm not the only one who needs to make small changes at a time. In my youth I was more all or nothing, and I don't know that that has been the best path for me, because then when one has seeming setbacks it is too easy to get discouraged and just give up a better way of living and eating all together. At least it has been for me.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Good days...Day 8

Ok, If'n I'm going to blog about food, I'm going to have to get my camera to load on this computer or I may have to pick up a new camera. Mine is a bit old, bought in the UK. I'll give searching for the driver/disk one big push and then I'm moving on. I hope I find the driver I need because I don't like moving on from something that works very well in itself. These pics of late, taken with camera phone are dreadful, color wise esp. Trust me these Organic Strawberries are the best in Idaho. Grown by Prolife Richardson (yes that is his legal name) at his organic farm.

I'm still embracing real and doing pretty well with it. I do confess to havging bought one small bag of dirty potatoes (chips) at the co-op. They are under lock and key for a "bad" day emergency. Till then, I don't think I desire them. I purchased some baked salt and vinegar chips to try, for the occasionally salty craving. I didn't expect much from them and they live up to that, but they might do ok in a pinch, if I feel like eating 23 pieces of what tastes like paper sprayed with chemicals (not really, they aren't chemical) to resemble salt and vinegar, for 130 cals and 3 g fat. The good news is they are awful enough that one wouldn't want to over eat them. Anyway, I've gone about 13 days now without any "real" snack chips. Yay.

I'm hoping to make some of my favorite simple sweet scones tomorrow to go with these strawberries, They are picked ripe and won't make it more than 24 hours.

So that's me, I got outside tonight with a friend for drivethrough coffee and a visit to the co-op. It was really a good break for me. I'm so please to say that I'm still not at all interested in junk, or overeating, and still am having a good appetite for real food and the patience to cook new things that are healthy, from scratch.

Happy weekend all.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Day 7

I love this gnome, I wish he were mine. I have a gnome weakness.

I'm still keeping on keeping on. I was supposed to meet a friend for coffee last night, and as I was dragging I wondered how I'd enjoy it or have it be enjoyable for her, but then she had to cancel, so it worked out well. Since I was already dressed and showered, (as I told her when she cancelled, "but I even have a necklace on! and I shaved and everything)
In lieu of nice evening out with friend I went to the library to pick up some cookbooks, some vegetarian or veggie focused and other's on baking. Everyone on the food blogs seems to be doing or referring to this TWD thingy. (Tuesday with Dorie.) It's a bake-along as best I can tell, Apparently owners of her cookbook, bake the appointed recipe on Tuesday and then blog about it. They do such a fine job of raving about their end products that I had to take a gander at this book, so I got it from the library. It's called "Baking from my home to yours" By Dorie Greenspan. Not that my big interest in this real food quest is baking, but as I'm wanting to figure out some breakfast things, that could come in handy.

I can't remember where I left you...I've taken my iron and eaten well enough this past day. I also went to the grocery store after the library. With my low energy and stamina I have discovered one thing of late. Modern American grocery stores are taxing and overwhelming. I would much prefer to go to the small cozy, somewhat chaotic, Boise C0-Op (like a local answer to Whole foods, but in some way better, more personal) which is about 12 miles away in town. Not having either, I determined to limit myself to one end of the grocery store, the organic and healthfoody and produce end. I was pleased to find some peaches and other things that were organic on sale for less than the non-organic. I love it when that happens.

I have recently discovered I can get that similar "sane shopping" feeling by doing my basic purchases at what I call the "four stores." About four miles from here, we have an all year indoor veggie place, a place called "choice meats" which while it doesn't feature organic meat, it does have hormone and antibiotic free grain fed beef . There is also a great harvest bread company and a gluten free store. Though I am not on Gluten free, they carry milk in there (as well as chips I am avoiding of course, but nice to know) So in a nice little walk from store to store, I can manage to get most things I'd need for a healthy dinner. I guess I should acquaint myself with the Asian market a couple miles up the road from there, and then that might take care of any spice/sauce/oil emergencies as well. What I won't do not to go in a full size grocery store. Yes the little places are somewhat pricier, but they too have sales, and the way I see it, if I'm not in a "big" grocery store, I probably save money by not buying all the processed crud they carry. (Now I'm not sure I could get cheese on this run if I needed it. Note to self, see if Gluten free place carries any.) For Susie the night owl, the only less good point is they all close by 6pm.

Yesterday I was going to bed (in the am of course) and I was so hungry I couldn't sleep. I'd not yet made anything I could eat quick and easy and didn't want to have more of my tomato veggies right then or more bread, so I did something a bit less than cutting edge healthful, but oddly quickly satisfying. I whipped up some Idahoan brand instant mashed pots (mostly just dried dehydrated potatoes) opened a can of peas and had some more of my organic applesauce. I put all three next to each other in a pasta bowl and chowed down, pretending in the back of my mind that it was a "mock thanksgiving dinner." it hit the spot, wasn't loaded with fat or preservatives and I was able to sleep.

Last night before going to bed, I enjoyed a snack of one 1/4 of a celery stem spread with almond butter. Yum.

I'm going to pass on my absolute favorite Blondie Recipe, not healthy food, but not "unhealthy" in moderation either and it's quick and easy. Instead of using all butterscotch chips in the 3/4 cup it calls for, I use about half of the volume in butterscotch and then add some other chips, usually white and then a 70 percent cacao dark chocolate bar cut into pieces for a total of 3/4 chips as called for. I've thought of leaving off the butterscotch all together but that is I think what flavors the blondies. I also throw in two small handfuls of chopped walnuts. It's rich enough for one piece being more than filling and not leaving me wanting to eat the whole pan. I find that mine need to be in the oven for the exact time called for, no more or less. They will look still a bit soft but that is what makes them chewy. I'm looking forward to trying all sorts of adulterations on this, maybe doing it with different nuts, maybe some heath par pieces, maybe some dried fruit even.
I bought all sorts of things at the store last night, so we'll see what the next two days brings buy way of discovering the universe of real food.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

It's not all bad news...

Well, the day ended on a better note. Glenn was out running a mission of mercy and called me on his way back home offering to pick up some type of carryout. I was only briefly tempted and then said no. Instead, I cooked the fresh green beans into a favorite dish of green beans with tomatoes, accompanied by two slices of fresh bread with butter. It was a much more satisfying dinner than anything he could have brought home. I'm glad I made the effort. (It's not pink looking like in the picture) It's a recipe I got off some Italians I used to know. It is a simple dish that lets the flavor of the veggies shine through, containing only Olive Oil, Garlic, Green Beans, Canned Tomatoes and salt. It should be even tastier tomorrow.

I think in light of the past day's set backs, I need to work at cooking a couple days ahead in the evening, so I am not caught short, with nothing simple when I feel the worst. I also want to figure out some kind of cold beverage other than water, which I drink lots of already. I'd like something without caffeine. If sugar is added I'd like it still to be healthier than soda. I'm thinking maybe some kind of iced green or white tea with a little sugar or honey? If anyone has something to suggest let me know.

Becca (my daughter) asked me why I felt I could give up chips, knowing how I enjoy them. I said, I didn't know, maybe I just got bored? Maybe I ate my life's maximum allowable total? I seriously feel like some bizarre switch has been thrown that took away my interest in them. Yes, I have prayed for some aid in this matter of eating well, and that could be it, but I expect I've prayed before and not come to this result.

I have long noted that my "taste" changed when I lived in Scotland. I went off sweets almost completely. No chocolate, no desserts. I thought at the time that it was because the "sweets" in the UK seemed so excessively sweet, over the top sugary, toffee-ish sweetness. A physical therapist friend suggested it could be my physical change because of exercise and weight lifting. Has anyone else noted that at various seasons of their life, particularly related to menopausal changes, that they have gone from prefering sweet to salty or starchy?

I've often thought it was the excerise and local oversweetness in the Uk combined but perhaps also a change in hormones? Given that chocolate affects neurotransmitters and brain chemistry, perhaps it was a change of " mind" literally. They say some people "self medicate" with chocolate because it boosts seritonin. Who knows, maybe in Scotland my seritonin was boosted by the walking and fresh air?

Now it's a few hours since Becca asked and I think I've figured out in part why I wanted to do something different with my eating and cooking, I think it's because I'm so unable to "fix" what ails me with the fatigue and long periods etc, that this is one small thing I CAN do, it's about the only thing I can do, that and pray and use my down (as in laying down/sitting down) time as best I can. Being like this causes one to see energy like tokens one gets to spend, and when they are gone, they are gone, and they don't get replenished quickly. Spending decisions have to be made. At least with eating well, and effort for cooking, it's not energy out only, but also, hopefully, energy and future health IN.

I don't know how long the decreased desire for salty treats will last, though I suspect that chip loving is something that "feeds" the more you eat the more you want. So perhaps just not having them here for weak moments (like I had during the night and early am) will do the trick. I know that when I feel really cruddy, and when I wake up feeling that way, especially from a nap or a restless night, I want crunchy salty goodness. Oh, just saying that makes me go weak in the knees. I may need a healthy substitute. (Maybe some of those frozen coconut pops at the co-op?) though that doesn't sub for salty, but it might work if I wake with annoying allergies or itchiness or sinus. Idea's always welcome. Still trying to figure out the perfect breakfast treat for with coffee. Meanwhile I should make some of Becca's fabu granola. She uses Ina Garten's recipe. It's not quite the texture or experience I'm looking for, I'm wanting something like a breakfast cookie (-: but not as hard as a biscotti, or a small danishy thing. Haven't ruled out the rugelach, just haven't gotten out to buy ingredients. I like the fact Rugelach is highly versatile ie I can do apricot or nut or chocolate chip etc.

On another front...Is it just me or when you buy potatoes in the bags vs loose, do they seem to go bad much quicker than the one's you pick individually? The price is like half or better of the loose but if they are wasted or rot it's not a value for us. (In our case we don't eat them that fast anyway so the singles are probably best but I'd like to know if anyone else has noticed this)

I know the picture will put normal folk off wanting to make the green beans above, but I'll put the recipe here just in case.

Susan and Rebecca's Italian Green Beans

1lb or 2 of fresh green beans boiled or steamed
28 oz can of whole tomatoes, crushed or pureed in food processor
1/4 tsp salt.
olive oil
1 clove of garlic, sliced

As many fresh green beans as you want to eat. I'd say I bought about a pound but have bought as few as three or four handfuls. It's up to you.

Pour a little olive oil in the bottom of a pan, not enough to cover, just a hand size circle.
slice a garlic clove and saute it in the oil being careful not to burn or brown, it goes quickly. If it burns start over, it will flavor your oil badly.

Add to that one 28 oz can of whole tomatoes which you have run through a food processor or broken tiny by hand or cut with a pastry blender or what have you. You don't want big chunks.
Add in 1/4 tsp salt.

Saute these together on simmer for about 20-30 mins, until the liquid starts to condense out.

Meanwhile boil water or get your veggie steamer out, and cook the green beans until they are tender (I like mine pretty soft but not squishy, about the texture of pasta) After your sauce has cooked down some, and your green beans are cooked to your desire, drain green beans and toss them into the tomato sauce. Heat together to coat. Serve with nice crunchy bread for dipping.
More flavorful the second day. If you find the tomatoes bitter or green beans to be less than great tasting (cause they turned out to be not such great fresh beans) you can add just a tsp or so of sugar to balance the flavor, but don't overdo.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Is My Turkey Cooked?

Is my "turkey" cooked?
(Ok I know it's usually goose but for consistency purposes I'll take liberties)

No I've not consumed the evil potato chip, though I did fantasize about running to the co-op (our stand in for a whole foods, but better) and buying a bag of my favs. (Ironic that my "dealer" is the health food store)

I was barely hanging on yesterday, having a can of "reduced fat" corned beef hash (thanks Laura for the idea) for dinner. Not exactly "real" though surprising the label had only recognisable ingredients on it and a reasonably short list. Anyway, at that point, I'd not been up to getting out yet for shopping and we are low of anything natural in the house. (I did eat a peach mid afternoon. I didn't know peaches could be so tart!!!) so the whole planning and executing thing is in disarray. Poor Glenn, who can usually be talked into going to the grocery store has been extra busy and I think was hoping if we run out of food I'll find the energy to go. Not happening yet.

So I took a Lunesta at bedtime, WARNING:those things can give you the munchies something fierce. When I woke up middle of the night I was starving (or so I thought) and I managed to tear open the package of "emergency candy stand in" (that being some kind of chocolate covered peanut butter granola bar) and I polished off three. (they were really small, could barely see them with a magnifier, had I been trying) They weren't terribly satisfying and they may account for my having a migraine now at 9pm. Oh and I forgot to take my iron yesterday. The black hole deepens and the vortex therein would swirl if it had any energy.

Slept Lord knows how long starting last night at 9pm-ish...had headache late this afternoon, laid down because of that, woke up with full blown migraine and now, have had nothing but half a cup of coffee and those granola thingies...oh, and I remember now, I ate a few handfuls of tortilla chips. Drat.

All I can do is pray that God will give me the strength and lack of headache tomorrow to go get healthful foods laid in for times such as last night. Meanwhile I'm left with pretty much some uncooked green beans (too much work) and some applesauce (at least it's organic) I can polish off in my woe. I guess I could hit up the canned veggies as's something, and it ain't potato chips or candy bars or pretend candy bars.

Pray for your pal, I want to keep pressing on, and the only cooked turkey I want is in the pan!

Monday, August 17, 2009

I'm a dingdong...

To put the below brick wall post in perspective (for myself) I note that I haven't been taking my iron supplements. It took a month of faithful taking to get me to Maryland and while there I didn't take it because it's so hard to take (tears up your stomach and causes all sorts of digestive nastiness) and then when I got back I had a flu of some type and and step one, take IRON!!!

Wall...and it's not even 1 p.m

So I blog and have coffee and listen to a sermon and check email/facebook, and have a chat with Glenn, and look for recipe's for tonight or soon, and then viola, I've been awake 6 hours and I'm exhausted. This is my life of late, my life for so long now I can't remember when it was different. I think it must have been a prominent feature when I last marched into my doctor's office and insisted on blood work, when was that...February.

Everyone who is on facebook knows that the outcome of said visit was that I am pretty seriously anemic as well as vitamin D deficient. (From what I hear a huge no. of us are the latter) But should this equal crushing fatigue? I'm not depressed. I've been depressed before, and I know what that looks and feels like and I hate that when one is this in need of rest that others (including doctors) are likely to look at you and assume you must be depressed and that that is why you feel tired. I wouldn't mind being depressed but saying that or thinking that isn't going to get me solutions to why I really have zero energy or stamina, energy or stamina I used to have.

So...long story short, I have this morning, I make these plans and then I think about the next step, getting a shower and going to the store (the co-op 12 miles away) and getting said ingredients and then cooking a nice dinner for us. And it hits me that I don't even have it in me to take the shower much less go to the co-op. So I think, take a shower and then rest up, but no, that is too much. So I decide to rest up first. And I am not really thinking I'm sleepy, just exhausted, do you get the difference between those? Is there one? Am I nuts?

Now I know, that I have at least three things that could be causing exhaustion/fatigue. 1. Medication I take that is notorious for such. 2. Anemia 3. Chiari 1 Malformation I was diagnosed with in my early 20's but told doesn't cause any problems. I know that the supposidly simple answer is to get thee to a nunnery, um doctor. But my confidence in such is only so good, and one I have even "only so good" confidence in hasn't appeared in Boise yet. I'm thinking Internist or even Hematologist to figure out how to get the anemia truly fixed. We'll see...for now, that isn't getting dinner made.

So my bubble is a bit burst...all these good intentions, and thoughts about eating right and well, without the wherewithall (sp?) to manage them. Do I have a plan B? I have some green beans in he fridge waiting to be cooked, how much work does that take? I was going to cook them my italian way...but in a pinch I could probably talk Glenn into cooking them his way if I cut the ends off and get them ready. That however won't be dinner for the guys.

Right now, I'm living my life from nap to nap to small pocket of energy, I keep thinking get past this nap and then I'll have energy to do the next thing, but sometimes I do and sometimes I don't. If I get the energy to go to the store, I don't have it to bring in the shopping, if I have the energy to bring in the shopping I don't have it to do the cooking. I don't want to be a burden to Glenn, even though he wouldn't act like I was. Please pray I can at least continue to spy any area's where I do have strength and vigor to be a tiny domestic help, I am trying to do all I can, when I can, but it's not much. I have friends going through Chemo who can do more than I can...what if I'm just lazy? No, I know I'm not, well I am in some respects, but not like this...I don't have the energy to do even what I desire to do, to enjoy things, to enjoy people. Sometimes I want to read and I have to lay my book aside because I'm done in and need to rest. This isn't me, at least I don't think it is. Prayers appreciated, will blog on food later, if there is any.

Day 4, yes it's still Monday

Don't listen to the date/days on this. I started my efforts on's a long story but trust me, it's day 4 today, Monday.

I feel like I could be carrying a sign that says "Will work for food." Well that's only right as the Bible says if a man will not work he shall not eat. So now, on this new adventure to find my way out of old patterns of eating into new one's, I feel like I wake up each day and start working on the meal planning. Now yes, I have been able to do that way ahead in my 26 plus years of domesticity, but I'm trying to cook new things now, things that will interest and not bore my palate. I've been wanting something like orange chicken and I don't mean that coated to death deep fried stuff they sell at Panda. There has got to be a way I figure, to make some healthed up version of that, without the heavy coating and yet with heaps of flavor, sauted in a pan. That's my mission this morning, find a good orange chicken recipe and get crackin. (and to the store to buy the ingredients. ) I'll let you know how it goes.

Day three...ehh pffffttttt....

Yes Susan is waning in enthusiasm though I think Sunday was still a decent effort. Nothing to write home or my two dear readers (Hello Ladies) about, but aren't you ever so glad I'm going to anyway???

It started out well enough. I was up at half three Sunday am, and having gone to bed hungry and early Saturday night, I ate a reheated burger (natural beef) that Glenn had grilled the day before. (yes grilling has carcinogens, I just don't care, I am a 200 lb plus woman, carinogens aren't making my knees tired ok? though maybe they are making me snarky.) I learned one thing, it takes a heap of effort to finish a dry boring burger first thing in the morning even if you went to bed hungry.

On the topic of weight, (and if you recall that isn't the specific focus of this effort and in fact isn't a focus at all, though any byproducts in the downward direction will be accepted without complaint) last time I was under 200lbs (196) I lived in Glasgow, walked 2- 10 miles a day (for three years) and lifted weights at the "Leisure center" (oxymoron that) 2-3 times a week. You can see why when one has to work that hard and long to be a weight no female one in north america would be advertising, (unless said female had just been on a reality tv series weighing 400 plus pounds and was proud of her new low) it just can't be a priority. I have no reason to walk 2-10 miles a day anymore and honestly, my knees probably aren't thanking me for the three years.

So where were we? Yes, yesterday...woke up early, in effort to bump said poptarts from their status of only breakfasty pastryish thing in the house, I perused for something that spoke to me and I had ingredients for. Found blueberry crumb coffee cake
and thought the way she cut them into flowers was mondo cute.

I was forced to make it with frozen blueberries, which may have contributed to my texture failure, or the fact that I cut my piece out while it was still hot, but the bottom part was crumbly and wanted to fall off and the top which I expect to be crumbly came out more like armor. Tasted ok though, and it wasn't a poptart. Was it better for me? Who knows, I think it was more pleasing and less soul killing than poptarts. (Uh oh, Oprah got sued over saying she wasn't going to eat beef, you think Kellogs is gonna come after me?) And one wonders, does the energy it takes to make said breakfast, help in any small way burn off the calories, say as opposed to lying in bed and having Glenn toast and bring said poptart with the coffee? I only had one piece and I was content. The others in the house had two each. (tattletale) Noah said "Lucy cooks good."

Onward and upward, I had planned to make Julia Child's Potage Parmentier (leek and potato soup) for lunch but I couldn't figure out how to time the whole business. If I made it before church it would still be so hot as to heat up the whole fridge and might not cool in a proper food handling safety way. If I waited to get home and make it, the fam (and I the fam-ished) would be left waiting for nearly 1.5 hours for lunch. In the spirit of, hungry family needs food, I just gave in and made this above pictured dried soup mix from Bear Creek. Now don't get me wrong, that soup is tastier than say canned soup, and probably more "real" apart from being dried, but it was pretty dumb to make something so close to what I intended to make because now I have leeks taking up most of my produce drawer and I feel potato souped out. (hope locals don't read this as I live in the famous potato state.) What to do now. I guess I can go on foodgawker or google and start googling "gigantic bunch of leeks seek home" and see what I find.

By the time I went to sleep at the end of the day, I was feeling peckish and really missed my potato chips "friends" and I didn't have anything left in me for food prep, heating or what have you. I had laid in a couple of boxes of granola ish bars in hopes that if desperation came they'd be an "ok" alternative. I ate one of the nature valley dark chocolate and peanut and raisin one's. It was hard enough to threaten my teeth with damage, and not very satisfying but also, not evil enough to give me heartburn or to have me feeling "off the wagon." (had I eaten half a bag of "Dirty Chips" salt and vinegar flavour (my new fav, at the co-op) I'd be crying in my unmade potage.

It was a day. Not great, not horrible, but with some hope, more now that it's morning, of a continued journey Monday.

And ladies, thank you for your comments, I was starting to second guess doing this as it felt so pathetic,open and dumb. Who in their right mind would want to read the ravings of a woman on potato chip withdrawal?

Oh and Laura, I love love love a "good can" (if that isn't another oxymoron) of cat food, I mean, Corned Beef hash, which someone else in my life used to refer to as "corned beef trash" I only like Libby's brand though which is hard to find. It's one of those things that I could eat maybe, 5 times a year, when the mood strikes, it's "just the thing" I'll have to come up with a ratings system for real-ness...not sure where that one would fall. Yes Diane, poptarts, I guess I was thinking cinnamony goodness? (-: warm, hot, toasty? available?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Day 2 COLD Turkey

I can't say as it's been "that bad" really, because I've slept most of the time and when I woke up hungry, there was real food in the house (thanks to that mini-shop at the farm stand.)

Does that mean I had no "fake" food, I had REAL coffee that Glenn makes which might as well be called Ferrell Ambrosia and it was just calling for "a little something" a snackeral if you will. One tiny cinnamon pop tart. (note to self, need to make something "real" to have with coffee. Any suggestions? and I don't mean granola and grapefruit, although those have their place, I'm just not a morning person and I prefer something tiny and baked goodish with the coffee, I'm thinking maybe rugelach?)

Yes, I do note here that the word "real" is going to get "real" old. I shall have to come up with an answer for that problem, real soon. Meanwhile, after sleeping some more (anemia, being in the way of women, my chiari 1 malformation? medications?) I awoke and dear Glenn microwaved me two ears of corn. Real as it gets. Satisfying goodness. Sorry the picture is sub par, the corn wasn't.

The rest of the day, I've stayed the course and I've not craved much by way of fake (a little chocolate craving perhaps.) I'll have to figure out where I "stand" on chocolate. It is certainly real, and I'm not going to rule it out by any stretch, but I don't want to be scarfing down chocolate bars every time I'm hungry. I need things that are easy but not that easy, not to mention needing healthful food. I think I want to keep my chocolate primarily to baked things, ice cream or chocolate milk, not candy. Keep posted and keep praying that I can make progress on this journey, which to many of you might seem not at all difficult, but which to me is an adventure.

Day One, Sort of...

(I actually started this blog Aug.15th.09 but wanted the first day to appear for a bit so I had to fiddle with the dates)

Something is sort of working its way round in my thinking. Some way in which, while I may or may not lose any weight, I will be eating foods that fuel my body and hopefully tax them minimally. I suppose you might think (if you ever seen me in person) it goes without saying that I am not a fan of dieting. But even were I a slender person, I would not be a fan. I believe that trying to embrace something that is artificial to oneself and one's environment tends not to result in long term success. I also have had my own best experiences with moderate weight loss, kept off for years at a time, by exercise and eating more real food. I am not an overeater, I am a bad selector with a finely honed taste for things that have a huge amount of fat and calories in even small portions (read truffles and salt and vinegar chips)

Yup, I said eat more real food. (Real food which we shall work on defining as this blog goes along, and hopefully in dialogue with others of you finding your eating "home"place) What I am thinking of as REAL food is aided by Michael Pollan's suggestion that we should buy things our grandmothers would recognise. (ok, since I am a grandmother and I recognize pop rocks and pez, this term might need broad application depending on your age, how about your great great granny?)

My thought about real food is that it doesn't have to be fancy, or expensive, it doesn't have to be labor intensive, though it will take more time than scarfing potato chips or chocolate. I rarely eat what is called fast food unless you count the these.

I'm thinking along these lines, feedback please. Let's refine this together and please, some of you, who might benefit from a food tune up, please come along with me, I'd love company.

I'm thinking...
1. This is not a place for diet talk, self loathing, whinging or wining. The spirit I want to have here is that of "whoa girlie's and dudes, what amazing and yet simple food has sprung from the earth for us to enjoy and give thanks to God for."

2. This is not about calories/fat, though if you share a recipe that you love that has ways you have reduced the calories/fat naturally (ie not artificial sweetener) say that you cut the butter in half and it was plenty rich, then by all means do share.

3. For me, my healthiest weight and health and mindset has come from just eating real food, getting some exercises and following the principle, eat when you are hungry, eat consciously, mindfully, worshipfully if need be, and stop when you are full.(Full being "Not Hungry") It is always good to remind ourselves" hey, I'm comfortable now. I may just pop this second ear of corn in the fridge for a snack later." And yes, hay is for horses, it's their real food.

4. I struggle with snacking, with wanting to have something to sit down with the hubby with while watching a tv program. Even when I read a book I like a cuppa coffee or something treat like.(read "I can eat an entire Lindt chocolate bar in a chapter") I don't eat mass quantities(ok an entire Lindt bar is colorically speaking mass quantities but seriously, it's not that big), being practiced at always putting my food in bowls so I don't lose track of what I am eating, but any excess unburned unheathful food does add up for me, especially when my health troubles have rendered me bedridden at times.I am noting if you live like a snail you'll have to eat like one too. In response to this, I want to come up with ways to be satisfied with yummy AND good for you or at least home made or at least deliberately eaten, snacking, all three being the trifecta.

As a result, rather than try and just be more "moderate" for now with food that I know are hard to be moderate at, in the spirit of trying to eat REAL food for REAL hunger (which I have plenty of but won't be satisfied with junk) I want to try and just not buy the chips (fill in the blank with your own indulngence issues) right now, hence the "Cold Turkey" part of the title. I want to somewhat force myself to say "Boy I am starving, what can I eat to end the hunger that is good for my body?" I want to have planned ahead for said things. I intend to give myself liberty at how much I desire of healthful things knowing I won't tend to overindulge as long as I'm not feeling like I'm "dieting" or "restricted" Being restricted is a good thing, but some of us do better with looking at the cup as half full rather than half empty.

So...I intend to encourage comments and posting back, share your ideas and issues, please pass along any real food or whole food type sites you like. Disclaimer at the get go: If I put up a link for a food blog that happens to have a great recipe for something, please do not assume that I have actually seen anything on said site other than the recipe, I am not about to actually read and critique every food blog I snatch good eats from. If the author of said blog turns out to be a witch or serving life in prison, I'm not going to notice unless it's in the blog title. It's all blogs "offered to idols" to me. (1. Corinthians 8:1-13)

I intend to make lots of real food, sharing recipes and pictures as I go. I intend to cook more. (This can be a challenge with my health issues so I may have to go really simple or things you can eat again for days once made, like soup) I want to be real with you, about my real struggles, to find real food consistently.

A word about organic etc.
It is my personal belief that we are not helping ourselves or the world or animal husbandry by overuse of chemicals, anti-biotics or hormones. I don't believe you have to be a "lefty" to care about what you put into your body. What I do at this point..

1. Try to by local and in season.
2 Try to make more from scratch.
3. Read labels. The things I do work scrupulously to avoid are partially hydrogenated oils. I also try to compare ingredient lists on products and see which one's are the most recognizable vs chemical or complex.
4. I try to avoid excesses of chlorine and bleaching in flour, sugar, coffee filters and so on.
5. I will try to post a list here soon that highlights if you are going to spring for the extra cost of organic things, which is the biggest health bang for your buck.
6. My big thing this year has been to try and eat meats that are hormone and antibiotic free, this is getting easier and easier. I'd like my milk to be so too and am thinking about moving that way in butter. (Costco has organic butter now)

I still do plan to have sweets, (they don't tempt me to overdue the way salty things do) but I'm going to try and make it a priority that if they are here, they have been home-made and in small quantities. (ie my new blondie recipe is only for a 9x9 pan which is good, we don't need 9x13 of them) I will still keep some ice cream in the fridge for times when Glenn and I purposely sit down together to enjoy it as a treat. But I want to try and find more treats that aren't food either, like walks, or singing together, or dancing in the living room.

Ok, I don't plan to be this long on future days. Lest you think, Susan, isn't all this just a bit personal or self focused? A resounding yes, yes it is. I'm thinking of this as a diary with a little more pressure to keep it up. Hey, if you are a fellow saint, aren't you supposed to care about my health? (-: And maybe someone else who struggles with needing to eat more of what God put here for us to enjoy liberally vs what Lay's or Walkers made for us to enjoy moderately, might be encouraged.

Today's eatins...
Coffee 1/2 cup delicious home roasted Jamaican Blue and Colombian blend
Hormone and Antib-free beef patty on bun (I've not crossed over to whole wheat yet which might be an improvement but I thought, who knows what "whole wheat" means in a grocery store. I have had those Sara Lee one's that are like half and half white/wheat, and they were kinda nice, but I've not checked to see if they are any better for building health)
12 Almonds (on my way home from grocery store, needed to not be starving when I got home)
Cheddar cheese slice on burger.
Woke up hungry in middle of night, fixed to pieces of bread (Great Harvest) with real butter and on one of them I got the crazy idea to drizzle a little maple syrup. It wasn't much taste wise but it was good.
1 1.5 inch by 1.5 inch Blondie, home-made with walnuts

I'm not posting everything I eat, just what is an improved change for me. If you see nothing posted at all for eating, be afraid for me, it might mean I'm living on chips.

May you have a wonderful Lord's day filled with mindful eating and gladness!