Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died. - Erma Bombeck
Since my new diet I have been spending hours in the kitchen testing different recipes, trying to establish what I like and don't like with my new diet. I love food with a good crunch and since tortilla chips are off of my list, I decided to try making my own baked sweet potato chips. Baking them rather than frying them preserves their nutritional value and allows me to use healthy fats such as olive oil or coconut oil. So i gave it a try in the oven first. I followed this recipe. Tried it first in the oven set at 200 for two hours and burned a couple of batches. Argh. Try again.
Old age ain't for sissies. - A frequent refrain of my Gam
My grandmother also loved to say " Youth is wasted on the young." I always thought the sayings were cute until I started to get older and see the inherent wisdom of them. Old age sure isn't for sissies. The other week I learned I was pre diabetic. Like having endured three rounds of cancer, a heart attack and a stroke weren't enough. I was then later diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and now I am freaking, (slew of expletives) pre diabetic?! Oh hell no! I am not taking that one on the chin. Nope! Not me! Grandma and Great Grandma had full blown Type 2 diabetes, so lucky me seems to have won the genetic jackpot. I am not overweight, in fact I lean toward skinny despite my recent glamour curves and I exercise daily. I've also been an organic eating vegetarian for 30 years. So what the heck? Again, genetic jackpot.
My papillons aren't at all spoiled. Not one wit. Toony the black and white papillon we adopted from the Humane Society has a sensitive tummy and various allergies, so all of her dog food and treats come from a small petfood shop. The treats get expensive, so I was looking at an alternative that I could make at home using basic ingredients and fairly low in cost. The ingredients are a tad expensive initially, but may be used to make many batches. The following is for 28 dog cookies.
All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt. - Charles M. Schulz
My diet has become quite restricted since being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and cardiovascular disease. I'm okay with it, but some things I truly love and one of those items is CHOCOLATE! According to the Mayo Clinic website, the following guidelines are given on the healthy benefits of chocolate:
In addition, some research has linked chocolate consumption to reduced risks of diabetes, stroke and heart attack. One caveat: More research is needed to confirm these results.
In the meantime, if you want to add chocolate to your diet, do so in moderation. Why? Most commercial chocolate has ingredients that add fat, sugar and calories. And too much can contribute to weight gain, a risk factor for high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.
We'll, I've always preferred good quality very dark chocolate. Now that I'm on a low sugar diet, I get the stuff that is 75% or more dark. That may be considered too bitter for many of you, but I love it!
The following recipe comes from Mary K. Lawrie, a friend and long time vegan. She calls it the Fudge Single Lady Brownie. It looks unbelievably delicious. There is one "weird" ingredient in it. It calls for mashed avocado. This is second or third recipe that calls for avocado mixed with chocolate that I've seen. I've yet to try it, but given Mary's recipes are always good, I've got to give it a try. If you decide to do so also, let me know how it goes for you. I'll report back in a few days after I've tried it.
With my rheumatoid arthritis, I've also jumped on the gluten-ffree band wagon. It helps to keep my inflammation to a minimum in my joints. Anyway, sometimes I don't always have time to cook from scratch, so I've looked at a few gluten-free brownie mixes, and I like the Namaste Foods Brownie Mix. For the oil, I use organic coconut oil. Though I prefer sugars that are lower on the glycemic scale which cane sugar is not, but these don't have much sugar in them. The mix is a tad expensive at $7.00 or so a box, but well worth it. The price helps set the brownies at the level of a treat, so you don't over indulge! Even my daughter likes them, and she's picky having attended a French Pastry School.
And of course, there is always my favorite -Bissengers. I've been frequenting this business since childhood. I figure if it was good enough for Napoleon (he bought their chocolates when the business was still in France), then good enough for me. Every penny I saved went toward molasses chocolate lollipops. I can't have those now, but when I stopped by there the other day and told them about my low sugar restriction, they were happy to steer me toward their dark chocolates with nuts and coconut. YUM! They even have a dark chocolate with Quinoa crunch. Super delish!
When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"
"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"
"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully. "It's the same thing," he said -- A.A. Milne
So I've been experimenting in the kitchen. The stroke has changed my taste buds. What I used to love now tastes funky. So back to the oven I go. I am trying to lower my cholesterol, so that means oatmeal for breakfast. My porridge experiment was awful. The flavor was fine, but I prefer crunchy foods. So I went back to granola.
Set oven to 300 degrees.
6 cups old fashioned oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup of unsweetened coconut flakes
1 cup of nuts ( almond, walnut or pecan)
1 teaspoon of hemp seed
1 crack of salt from salt grinder ( 1/4 teaspoon approx)
1 cup dark agave syrup
1" of grated fresh ginger
Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. measure the agave syrup. Grate the ginger into it. Mix into syrup. Pour syrup over the dry. Mix thoroughly.
Spread the mixture onto a large cake roll sheet ( or cookie sheet with sides). Bake for 10 min. Pull out of oven and mix iit. ( I use a spatula, to flip over the mixture for even toasting). Bake another 10 minutes. Repeat. Do for a final 30 minutes. Mixture should be a golden color.
Agave syrup is very sweet, more so than sugar. So if you don't have a sweet tooth, lower the amount.
Store granola in an air tight container for up to 10 days.
I love it with lowfat yogurt or almond milk. I toss on a few berries too.
The ceramic bowls I purchased at Lillstreet during an Empty Bowls event.
I'm just someone who likes cooking and for whom sharing food is a form of expression. -- Maya Angelou
Cranberries need to be pulled from ranks of sauce and given their full due as a fruit. These muffins are the perfect blend of sweet and tart. The bright dots of red color add a festive note to what is essentially a basic muffin.
I adapted this recipe from The Joy of Cooking by Mrs. Irma S. Rombauer. This is my basic go to cookbook for anything and everything even as a vegetarian. Gam was friends with Mrs. Rombauer and did much of her initial recipe testing. Gam was the kind of baker who kept a notebook of the weather as she baked. An overcast sky always meant baking times would be slightly longer. She instinctively understood the chemical reactions of baking soda, baking powder and the various liquids such as milk, sour cream or yogurt.
...No one is born a great cook, one learns by doing. -- Julia Child
Fried green tomatoes are entrenched in my memory. Every fall Gam would head over to the farmer she befriended and pick up a bushel or two. Most of them went into making her famous green tomato pickle, but I always begged that a few be reserved and fried up. For me, they equal home, the hearth, memories of carefree moments.
When we first moved into my home, I planted a sour cherry tree. I nurtured it and soon enough it was fully mature and producing thousands of cherries. The annual harvest begins around the 4th of July and lasts a few weeks.
This year we had a bumper crop, so neighbors came to
help. We’ve been making jams, ice
creams and pies, sharing recipes back and forth. This is my recipe for cherry rhubarb jam. It’s low in sugar
and full of flavor. I love it
with corn bread, but I bet it would go well with vanilla ice cream or even a
slice of cheddar.
“If you're afraid of butter, use cream.” ” - Julia Child
This kitchen canister was given by a colleague during a holiday gift exchange. I have since made many of my own, some which I've kept and others which I've given filled with homemade goodies. They make a great host(ess) gift!
I 've been busy in the studio. And when I get this busy, the necessity for good food is even more important. Eating a homecooked meal allows me to slow down a moment, destress and catch up on the news with my daughter. I love certain dishes, but they can take an age to prepare, such as risotto. Several weeks ago I purchased a pressure cooker / slow cooker. I swear, this gadget ranks up there with my favorite iron skillet. Risotto in just 15 minutes from prep to eating. Unbelievable!
8oz of sliced portabello mushrooms 3 leeks, thinly slicked 1 t of minced garlic 2.5 cups of mushroom stock (a low salt variety is best) 1 cups of boiling water 1 T of extra virgin olive oil 1/2 cup of dry white wine (or better yet - dry cooking sherry) 1.5 cups of arborio rice 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese (not that nasty cardboard stuff from a green canister!)
Add the olive oil to the pan. (I have an electric pressure cooker with a browning setting.) Add leeks and sautee until wilted. Add mushrooms and garlic and sautee until the mushrooms have wilted and are slightly smaller.
Add the arborio rice and sautee, stirring to coat the rice with the oil. The rice will turn slightly transparent along the edges.
Add the stock, water and wine. Stir.
Put the lid on and lock into place
Set to high pressure. Once it has reached high pressure, cook for 5 minutes.
Open the quick release valve. Careful! Don't scald yourself!
Open the lid, check the rice. If not to right consistency, add a little more stock and cook on browning until you achieve what you desire. I like mine creamy and with my cooker, I get it perfect without trouble. In case you don't achieve the same results on the first go, add the stock for more creaminess.