Boiled custard at Christmas was a tradition in my family. My grandmother and later my Mom cooked it slowly over low heat. If it was cooked too quickly, it would get lumpy. Oh it was delicious. At my grandmother’s house after a big turkey dinner, we would have a cup of custard with a slice of fruit cake.
My husband’s family had a different tradition. They made ambrosia using oranges, grapefruit and grated coconut. It was also delicious at the end of a turkey dinner.
To my disappointment, neither my husband nor my children shared my love for boiled custard. One year, instead of making custard, my Mom bought non-alcoholic eggnog at the grocery store. Everyone liked it. Eggnog tasted every bit as good with fruitcake as the custard. So we had a new family tradition.
Then I found the Blood Type Diet. I always go ahead and enjoy favorite foods on special occasions, but I couldn’t do eggnog and fruitcake every night of the season without my heartburn coming back. When DD got serious about the BTD, she decided to be much more rigid than I am. She refused to indulge in Christmas eggnog or ambrosia either one. Traditions on both sides of the family were endangered.
DD came home from college this year with a carton of Silk “Nog” made with soy milk. She could hardly wait for us to try it. It is thinner than regular eggnog, but it has a very similar flavor. All four of us liked it. DD went back to the store for more. We’ve been watching Christmas movies and drinking soy nog at night.
Today I stopped by the grocery store for a few last minute things before going to visit my Mom. They were almost out of soy nog, so I bought 3 cartons. On impulse, I took one of the cartons into the rehab facility.
I had arrived right at the end of lunch. Mom hadn’t eaten very much. I poured some soy nog into a cup and offered it to her. She liked it. I told her all the news of the day, giving her sips of soy nog every so often. At one point she reached up, took the cup from me and drank by herself. That is the first time she has held the cup on her own since her problems with pain started in early November.
I left the rehab facility rejoicing. The doctor’s pain management is working. Mom is more comfortable. The nursing staff was correct when they said that as Mom’s body got used to the pain medication, her alertness would return. Mom recognized the taste of a traditional Christmas treat, and enjoyed it so much that it revived some of her desire for independence.
Boiled custard is in the past. Eggnog is in the past as well. Soy nog is the new Graham family tradition. I’m looking forward to more of it tomorrow.
My husband and I went to an outdoor Christmas festival with some friends. There were lots of unique gift shops and musical groups. We have come to this event several times. The atmosphere is always festive and the music is always delightful. This year we heard bagpipes, a string quartet, a barbershop quartet, and a Sweet Adelines women’s group.
It seems like the weather is always frigid, and this year was no exception. My husband and our friends always stop for coffee or hot chocolate. I’ve never really liked coffee, and once I learned it was an avoid food for Type Os, I stopped drinking it altogether. I am allergic to chocolate, and milk is avoid, so I don’t drink hot chocolate either. While they enjoy a warm and cozy drink, I’m left out in the cold.
This year as we left the house, I impulsively put a tea bag in my coat pocket. It was a flavor that DD had given me to try – TAZO’s Green Ginger. The label says, “It is a dazzling blend with sweet spicy ginger and a touch of pear.”
We had a lot of fun wandering in and out of shops and listening to the music. Eventually we passed a concession stand and the others ordered hot chocolate. I asked if they had apple cider, but the answer was no. So I asked if I could get a cup of hot water. They looked at me like they thought I was nuts, but gave me a large cup of hot water. I dropped the tea bag in, and a few minutes later I was sipping green tea.
It warmed me up all inside, and the flavor of the tea was as good as the package claimed.
The final event of the night is a candlelight sing along around a large outdoor Christmas Tree. As I stood holding my candle and singing “O Holy Night” I was reminded of how blessed I am. There have been some rough moments this year – some sadness and some disappointments. Yet there is much to be thankful for. My husband is a man of character, my children are doing well in their studies, and the economy seems to be improving. I could sing with all my heart, “O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining, It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth. Long lay the world in sin and error pining. Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth…O night divine, O night when Christ was born.
I just realized that my mother cooked with ghee. This was long before I had any knowledge of nutrition or Butyrates (short chain fatty acids which are a source of energy for cells in the intestinal lining. Studies suggest that it is butyrate which gives fiber its anti-cancer effects. Cells incubated in high butyrate environments tend to not mutate as frequently.).
This revelation came last week when I was preparing food for a book club meeting at my house. I had just put up Thanksgiving decorations, and I wanted to do healthy snacks that went along with the decorations. I fixed Cranberry Crunch, which everyone loved, sweet potato fries, and shrimp. Ok, shrimp aren’t exactly Thanksgiving fare, but they were high protein and they were on sale.
I had sliced the sweet potatoes into thin rounds in my food processor, when I realized I was out of light olive oil and out of ghee. Butter will just have to do, I told myself, and I put a Tablespoon on each of my cookie sheets and put them in the oven. A few minutes later I pulled out the pre-heated sheets and realized that I had quickly made just enough ghee for the fries. It had the same look and smell as ghee does when I make a whole pot of it.
Suddenly I remembered how my Mom scrambled eggs. She put a teaspoon or two of butter in a skillet, and heated it until it was bubbly and starting to turn brown. Then she poured in the beaten eggs and chunks of cheese. My Dad always said she made the best scrambled eggs in the world. It had to be the ghee.
I still need to go to the store for more olive oil. The best place to buy is in the opposite direction from my mother’s rehab facility, and I just haven’t had time to make the extra drive. I still need to make a batch of ghee for the refrigerator. But over the weekend, when I needed oil for cooking, I made Quick Ghee.
A Tablespoon in a sauce pan turns quickly into ghee. One warning. It is easy enough to burn ghee when I am making ¾ cup. It is really, really easy to burn Quick Ghee. If you try this, stay by your stove. Don’t turn your back. You can have a smoky mess faster than you think. Fortunately I did not smoke up the kitchen, but once I came close enough to remind myself and you to be cautions.
Last week I carried beef jerky with me wherever I went. Sometimes just knowing I had a beneficial in my purse was enough to get me over the momentary stress. Other times chewing on the tough jerky worked the stress out of me.
This week I bought some sliced roast beef at the deli. I was late getting home to cook lunch. I ate a slice of roast beef in the car. It was just what I asked for: beneficial, fast and filling.
Both of these foods are probably too salty to be 100% good for me. But I’m not stressed every day, and I’m confident the beef is better for me than some of my other choices.
Tonight I had a good visit with my Mom at the rehab facility. She can hold her glass now and take a drink. I feed her the meat and vegetable part of her meal. She has to help with the spoon to get her dessert. She is learning to make use of her left hand. We had such a good time looking at family pictures on my computer. As I left my Mom said, “I love you, Suzanne.” My name has never sounded so beautiful.
It was late when I got home, and I walked in the kitchen feeling frantically hungry. I ate two pieces of beef jerky and settled down inside. After that I could wait for dinner.
Right now I’m comfortably full and very happy.
I’ll admit it. Sometimes when I’m stressed, I feel like I’m starving. I not only want to eat, I want to feel full. I do not want salad, blueberries or broccoli. If anything those foods make me hungrier. What I really want is a half a pizza, a pint of ice cream, or a handful of cookies.
In my younger days, that is exactly what I ate. I remember with embarrassment what I consumed some nights when I was studying for exams. After I got into Health Food, I substituted whole grains for the junk food. Problems at work or home would send me scurrying for homemade rolls or whole wheat crackers. I’ve given up those comfort foods since I started the BTD.
I haven’t found a really satisfying substitute. Neutral grains give short term satisfaction. But while eating small servings of manna bread, oats, spelt or rice as a snack is not a problem, overeating them when I’m stressed, causes side effects. They are not a viable choice.
What comforts the best is trailmix. A bowl of walnuts, pecans, almonds, and dried fruit makes me feel good. So does a plate full of carrots and nutbutter. If the stress is quickly resolved, these are a good solution. But of all the beneficial foods, nuts and dried fruit put weight on me the fastest. So when the stress lasts several days or weeks, I need something that comforts without adding weight.
My Mom’s stroke and the economy are two long term stresses that I’m dealing with now. There are times at the end of the day when I feel desperately hungry. Sweet potatoes, brisket and turkey are good choices, but unless there are leftovers in the refrigerator, these take time to prepare. I catch myself eating a handful of nuts or dried mango while I’m cooking something better.
I’ve tried drinking green tea or fruit juice and club soda. Sometimes that works. Sometimes it just makes me hungrier. One of the best choices is a glass of juice with ¼ teaspoon l-glutamine powder.
A good comfort food would have to be beneficial, filling and fast. If you have something that works for you, I’d love to hear about it.
Everybody has heard prune jokes. People snicker at the mention of prune juice. Referring to a recipe like Prune Whip will draw gales of laughter. Even a nationally advertised soda once became suspect because of a rumor that prune juice was an ingredient. It astounds me that people who pride themselves on speaking of sexual activity in the most graphic terms without a blush, act like adolescent boys when it comes to elimination.
What a shame that such a nutrient-packed food is so maligned.
Plums (ie fresh prunes) are beneficial for every blood type. Prunes are beneficial (even super beneficial in some cases) for Type As and Type Os.
I like prunes. They naturally taste as sweet as a dessert without any of the disadvantages of refined sugar. They are delicious chopped up in my morning breakfast mix. They quickly restore my blood sugar if I’m late eating a meal. They are essential when traveling throws my normal body rhythm off.
I was happy to see that Reader’s Digest did an article in their health section on prunes, and I learned something new. Recent studies have shown that prunes are one of the best fruits for strengthening bones! They not only prevent bone loss, but animal studies indicate they may reverse it. Preliminary studies indicate that benefits come from as few as three prunes a day.
Not only do they contain bone building nutrients like boron, potassium, and vitamin K, but they are also high in disease-fighting antioxidants – a good thing to know when Swine Flu is daily in the news.
I had three prunes for breakfast this morning, and that’s not a joke.
Pears confuse me because they are superbeneficial for Hunters, a black dot avoid for Gatherers, and neutral for Type Os. Because I’m fairly confident that I’m a Hunter, I tell myself I should eat more of them, but because they have never been one of my favorite fruits, I usually choose something else. However, in the past three weeks, I’ve eaten three varieties of pears.
My Mom always liked trying new things. Some of her finds are healthy, like cherry essence prunes - which are beneficial as well as heavenly tasting. Other finds are not so healthy, like marshmallow cream – which has no redeeming value as a food product, but it sure tastes good.
When I went to visit her three weeks ago, she had a box of apple pears. According to the box, they have been grown in California for 20 years, but they have just now made it to Texas grocery stores. Mom had been saving them until I arrived so that we could try them together. They were very crisp like a fresh apple. The flavor was more like a pear, but without any of the grittiness that pears usually have. They were very good. I wouldn’t be surprised if they grew in popularity
I went back to her house this week to clean out the refrigerator and set up an alarm system. I went to her grocery store to buy food for my two-day stay. I wanted bananas, a peach and a pear. Most of the pears were hard and green, but at last I found a bin of ripe yellow pears.
At check out, I noticed the one pear cost $1.35. I questioned the checker and was told that it was a French Butter Pear. Whatever - that was pretty expensive for a pear ($2.99 per pound)! But on impulse, and perhaps in honor of Mom, I kept it. This pear was outstandingly good. It was very juicy and very sweet. If the price on French Butter Pears went down, I’d buy them regularly.
Today I am back home. After I fed Mom her lunch – pureed beef, green beans and potatoes – I went to the grocery store. I came home with two Bartlett pears. Perhaps pears are becoming a habit with me.
Since Friday my Mom has had an infection, a fall and a stroke. Her life has turned upside down and mine along with it. Last week she was cooking her own meals, doing her own grocery shopping and talking about finances and the grandchildren. Now she cannot move her right arm or leg. She cannot speak. But she can think. She is very much aware of what is happening to her and there is a frantic look in her eyes.
I have been with her since Friday. I spend the days in her hospital room. The timing on starting my own business was providential. I can sit here with my laptop on the hospital’s wireless network working just as hard as if I were at home. Later this week we will be moving her to a nursing home/rehabilitation center near where I live. She is not going to like this one bit.
I wrote a blog about hospital food nine months ago when my Dad was in this same hospital. This time around is even harder because I am alone. Last time Mom and I went to the hospital cafeteria together. Last time we went home together after a day watching him.
The first night I went to the cafeteria confident that I could get a good meal because there were so many vegetables when Dad was here. What a disappointment. They had baked chicken. But the vegetable choices were fried jalapeños, rice, mashed potatoes, fried corn and broccoli. I took the chicken and broccoli. How can that many starchy, fried items pass for vegetables?
Since then the vegetables have been much better. I have been able to get plenty of beneficial food. My stress level is high. This is more responsibility than I want, but it is a labor of love I am willing to bear. I get up in the morning and exercise first thing. Then I have breakfast, do my Bible study, and get a shower. I’m as ready for the day as I can be.
Lunch and dinner are meats and vegetables - as many beneficial as possible. I have a bottle of green tea that I sip throughout the day. Sleep is the hardest. When I get back to the house there are chores to do. The chores are therapeutic, to tell the truth. I need the comfort of routine things that have a predictable outcome. But that sometimes means I’m late going to sleep. I told DD to hold me accountable and call me to make sure I’m getting ready for bed at a reasonable hour.
I wrote a minute that I was alone. That is not really true. God’s presence is very real in hard times, perhaps even more than in good times. Jesus said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” The Psalmist wrote that the Lord, who is our shepherd, would walk with us through the valleys of shadow. Don’t let the sun go down today without calling someone close to you – father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister. Tell them you love them, especially if there is anger or estrangement between you. I will hug my Mom and tell her I love her before I leave her room tonight.
Partly because of the more relaxed vacation schedule and partly because my Honorable Husband turns on the news as soon as we walk into our hotel room, I have been saturated this week with Obama’s health care and tax plans. My forefathers fled to the United States to find freedom. One of my great grandfathers came here from Ireland during the potato famine looking for economic freedom. Another set of great great grandparents were Huguenots, and they fled France looking for religious freedom. Other ancestors were willing to face many kinds of hardships in order to have the opportunity to be the best that they could be. Now we have a president who is trying to pass legislation that will redistribute wealth, destroy incentive to achieve, and deny health care to the elderly and the chronically ill. It frustrates me, and I feel powerless in the face of the onslaught.
Sometimes I think that I could be like my ancestors and boldly go to a new place that offers freedom and opportunity. I was especially thinking about that today when we toured the US Space and Rocket Center in Alabama. I had expected to find lots of information about past space flights. What I hadn’t expected was to learn about the plans underway to return to the moon and send a manned mission to Mars in the next decade. We saw models of the newly designed space craft and learned about the obstacles that must be over come to stay on the time schedule.
Will there ever be settlements on the moon or on Mars? If they were looking for volunteers to go, would I take the risk? I had fun fantasizing about such things until we went through the exhibit on what it’s like to live in a space station. Since you are weightless in space, and there is no up or down, when it’s time to go to sleep, you are zipped into a sleeping bag like thing and hung on the wall. The only live plants are those being grown in plastic containers for experiments. The astronauts have plenty to eat, but it doesn’t look to me like real food. It is certainly not BTD complaint. Establishing a basic camp on the moon or Mars is within the scope of my imagination, but a settlement large enough to begin farming is not even on the horizon. Conditions on the moon and nearby planets are way too hostile for those of us who want healthy, natural food.
I guess I will be staying here in the US. That means I have to redouble my phone calls and letters to Congress and the President, opposing nationalized health care and confiscatory taxes.
Space may be hostile, and Washington DC may be hostile, but we found a warm welcome and a delicious meal at the home of some friends in Birmingham. The wife is Type O and her husband is AB. They have five children, so they have all of the blood types. The wife has a friend at church who follows the BTD. She had lots of questions for me about why I was so enthusiastic. The meal was meat and lots of vegetables. All of us found an abundance of beneficial food.
Yesterday DD made the best tasting power bars ever. She used one of our favorite recipes that used to be on this website in Recipe Central. I was going to link it, but it’s gone. Here is the basic recipe.
2 cups of nuts – your choice. Whatever is beneficial for your family.
4 cups of dried fruit – I always include 1 cup of prunes, because they help the bars hold together.
Spin the nuts in a food processor until they are powdery. Slowly add the dried fruit. Add large fruits first (like prunes and dates) Add smaller fruits last (like craisins, pineapple and cherries)
Spray a 9x9 baking dish with cooking spray. If you have a small rolling pin, use it to evenly spread the mixture in the pan. If you don’t have one, contact a Pampered Chef representative or pat the mixture in with your hands. Cut into bars. If you are eating them at home, you’re finished. That’s all there is to it. If you are taking them on an outing, put each bar in a plastic sandwich bag. You can eat it out of the bag without having to wash your hands.
DD and I have tried a lot of combinations, but yesterday’s was outstanding. She used one cop of pecans and 1/2 cup each of walnuts and pumpkin seeds for the nuts. For the fruit she used one cup each of dried prunes, dates, and pineapple. The last cup of fruit was mixed dried blueberries and cherries.
When she was making them, she called, “Mom come look at these power bars. They look like Play Dough.” Usually when we take the mixture out of the food processor it sticks together in a ball, but is easily pliable. This mixture was stiff. It felt like Play Dough. She had to work a little harder to get it to spread out in the pan.
DD had a day off work, so we went to a water park. We played hard all day, and about 4:00 sat down by the pool and opened our power bars. Oh they were good! There were no avoids, and there were beneficials for both As and Os.
DD has been experimenting with nut butters this summer. Nut butter sandwiches on Ezekiel bread are easy to take to work and beneficial for Type As.
I had always made almond butter and pumpkin seed butter. Almond butter is very expensive, and I’ve never seen pumpkin seed butter in the store. However, I always bought peanut butter for DD and my husband. Natural peanut butter is cheap and easy to find.
However DD decided to try making her own. She used unsalted, dry roasted peanuts. It worked beautifully, and smelled heavenly. It made me wish that Type Os could have peanuts. One day I watched her make it. She put one jar of dry roasted nuts in the food processor, and started it spinning. “Now, Mom,” she said, “just when you think that it’s going to be too dry and you will need to add olive oil, suddenly, like magic, it becomes beautifully creamy.” She was right. Just as the food processor seemed ready to give up, the peanut butter turned creamy before our eyes. It’s fresh and it’s half the cost of peanut butter in a jar.
Next she decided to try pecan butter. She used raw pecans. They quickly became smooth and creamy. Pecan butter on carrots is a delicious snack. If you like nut butters, you must try this one. It’s heavenly.
I have been distracted this week because my husband was sick. He ran fever for a full week. He went to the doctor twice. His symptoms were very mixed up, and the doctor finally decided he had two simultaneous infections. He stayed free of fever all day today, and his other symptoms are improving.
Stress is the single biggest risk factor for many diseases. HH has been under a lot of stress lately. Some of it is just part of life, but some has been self imposed. He paid a big price for his worrying.
I read a photography newsletter published in Chicago. The editor complains that the weather has been cool and rainy. He laments that they are not having a summer. Those of us in South Texas would love to trade places with him. Our drought and over 100 degree temperatures continue.
Our electricity bill goes up every time the temperature goes up. HH raised the thermostat in the house to 80 degrees. We have fans running in every room. It’s hard to get excited about cooking when it’s so hot. However, it is delightful to have something cool to drink.
Last winter I saw guava juice in the store. I can see the cardboard carton that it was in, but when I looked last week, I couldn’t find it. However, I did find a bottle of concentrated goji juice. Since goji is beneficial, I bought some. I’ve been mixing it with club soda. Today I mixed it with club soda and grapefruit juice. The combination was good.
I’m drinking more grapefruit juice because it helps reduce cholesterol, and my next cholesterol test is coming up later in July. Goji is best known for its anti-oxidant and anti-ageing properties, but it also helps cholesterol.
The benefits make the combination sound healthful for me. Even better is how it feels when I drink it in a glass full of ice sitting at the computer with the lights off and the fan on.
Our family loves to watch movies. My first date with HH was to a movie. We purchased our first VCR because SS was such a fussy baby that we dared not take him to a theater. When the kids were growing up, we looked forward to Friday “dinner and a movie” on the living room floor. Because I was a health nut, I bought an air popcorn popper – no palm oil or microwave popcorn for my family.
After the BTD, I gave up popcorn, but still made it for HH and DD since corn was a neutral food for them. Then HH’s blood sugar went over the line into pre-diabetes territory, and popcorn was banned from the living room. We all missed it. DD loves to look in the Blood Type Diet Recipe Center for new foods to try. She found a recipe for a popcorn substitute. We have made it twice now with our Friday night movies.
The first time we made it, we had serious doubts about whether it would work. We were “popping” walnuts and pumpkin seeds in a covered sauce pan as if they were popcorn. But it works just like the recipe says. You hear the pumpkin seeds start to pop, and you shake the sauce pan to keep them from burning. When the popping stops, they are ready.
We have not added the nutritional yeast. I know I would like it – I eat nutritional yeast in my breakfast every morning. However, we wanted the flavor to be as much like popcorn as possible for HH, and nutritional yeast can be a little strong for the uninitiated. DD, SS and I love faux popcorn. DD thinks it is better than the real thing. HH would still prefer popcorn, but since that is not an option, he is willing to accept this as an alternative.
The popped seeds have a roasted flavor similar to popcorn, but they are delicious in their own right. The biggest difference between popcorn and faux popcorn is that the popcorn is mostly air, so you can eat a lot of it. Since these are nuts, you wouldn’t want to eat a whole bowlful. Type “faux” in the search box in the Recipe Center and you’ll find detailed instructions.
In honor of the 4th of July, I served red, white, and blue food last night for a church party at our house. The food at church parties is like the food at parties everywhere – mostly chips and desserts with an occasional veggie or fruit tray. I didn’t want to do chips or desserts, because I didn’t want leftovers. As long as there is no junk food in the house, my Honorable Husband sticks to the BTD and keeps his blood sugar in the normal range, but if corn or sugar based snacks are available he eats them.
I decided that since the weather has been so hot and dry, that I would just serve fruit. It sounded cool and refreshing to me. At the store DD and I joked that the fresh fruit colors went along with the 4th of July. The idea stuck with me, and I decided to go with the theme.
At one end of my dining room table I had a big white bowl filled with watermelon. (By the way, the yellow spot technique that I blogged about earlier has worked. I have a 100% record for sweet watermelons this year.) At the other end of the table I had a tray arranged with cherries, white grapes and blueberries in stripes. I made a centerpiece of paper firecrackers and American flags. I used white plates and red napkins. It was very cute.
I served peppermint green tea and pineapple juice. Two people told me how glad they were that I served fruit. The youth really enjoyed the green tea. Best of all, we can freely enjoy the leftovers.
I can’t resist saying a word about the title of this blog. When I was in high school I worked at Baskin Robbins Ice Cream Parlor. That is where I first heard the phrase “Red White and Blueberry.” It was their featured July flavor of the month. Thinking of myself working at an ice cream parlor makes me shake my head and smile. I’ve certainly come a long way since then!
I have always tried to find good watermelons by patting them and listening for an echo. Sometimes I would pick a good one, but sometimes I got a dud. Usually I wait until June to buy them, because early watermelons can be flavorless.
Watermelon is super beneficial for Hunters and Gatherers, and I’ve been longing for one. Somewhere I read that the best watermelons have a large yellow spot where they rested on the ground. So I decided to buy a May watermelon. I didn’t thump or pat. I picked the one with the biggest and brightest yellow spot.
It was fabulous: sweet, crisp, and full of flavor. I will have to see if the yellow spot hint works every time.
I read an interesting statement today by CS Lewis, “Niceness is an excellent thing. We must try by every medical, educational, economic, and political means in our power to produce a world where as many people as possible grow up nice; just as we must try to produce a world where all have plenty to eat. But we must not suppose that even if we succeeded in making everyone nice we should have saved their souls. A world of nice people, content in their own niceness, turned away from God, would be just as desperately in need of salvation as a miserable world. For mere improvement is not redemption.”
If everyone recognized the wisdom of the BTD, and began to eat right, it would make them feel better. But eating right will not change a person’s heart. While pointing people I meet to a better way to eat in a good thing, it is far better when I can point people to the loving God who created them and who longs for them to repent and turn to Him.
A quick glance at the Type O/Hunter food lists could be overwhelming because of the abundance of choices. A closer look can be disappointing, because many of the foods are not locally available, and many others are too expensive. Lamb and bison used to be in that category.
Lamb was available at my grocery store – if I wanted to pay $10 per pound for a bone-in chop. (which I will emphatically say I did not!) I well remember the day I found boneless leg of lamb at Sams Club for about the same price as a roast. Suddenly it was possible to enjoy this Type O beneficial on a regular basis. Not only that, the package says that the lamb is 100% grass fed. I know that grass fed meat or yard raised poultry is better for my body, but it’s not usually good for my budget.
Interesting, while lamb is not a popular American food, once I found a good source for it, the quality was superior to the easily available beef.
I’ve eaten bison when we’ve vacationed in Colorado and Wyoming. However for years I could not find it in Texas where I live. Once I got really excited when I saw buffalo sausage in a store, but my enthusiasm vanished when I read that the top two ingredients were buffalo and pork. No way! Last year I found buffalo hot dogs in the freezer section at the Health Food store. But they were expensive and very salty.
This week I answered an ad for a used bicycle in town 30 miles from where I live. It sounded perfect, and I drove over with every intention of buying it and going for a ride that afternoon. What a disappointment, the “like new” bike was rusty, and the seat was frozen. I couldn’t even have taken it for a test ride.
On the way home I passed an HEB grocery store in another town. I went in to pick up food for the weekend. In their meat department they had ground bison and bison steaks. Ground bison was $5 per pound; bison steak was $5 per 8 ounce package. I got two packages of ground bison and one bison steak. The package says that the bison is guaranteed natural grass fed and no hormones. I have never found grass fed beef for that price!! There is an HEB in my town, and I’m hoping they will also start carrying bison. If not, I think it would be worth a drive once every couple of months to stock my freezer with bison.
The price of the steak was more than I usually spend on meat, but I really wanted to try it. In it’s defense, it was very lean and well trimmed - no visible fat. So there was no waste. I sprinkled it with Braggs liquid aminos, and cooked it at 400 degrees in the oven. It was delicious.
Once again, when I finally find an unpopular beneficial, the price is more reasonable than many readily accepted cuts of beef. Some day perhaps I will find canistel for the same price as pears or Jew’s ear in the produce section next to mushrooms.
This started out to be a blog about flavored green tea, but as I wrote, it took on a life of its own. Last year when I read an article about BPA plastics and possible links to cancer, I checked out the water bottles I buy and the Rubbermaid bottle that I carry in my car. Both of them were Category 1 plastics. But a nagging doubt had been placed in my mind. One day I was in Target looking for something, and I saw stainless steel water bottles on sale. I picked up one for me and one for DD.
I used mine some of the time, but mostly I defaulted back to old habits and refilled plastic water bottles. DD on the other hand learned to love her stainless steel bottle. She is home this week on Spring Break. She brought with her three flavored green teas. She makes tea for herself every night in the dorm, and she began making it for me this week. I’m hooked.
She’s a college girl – so she doesn’t have a fully equipped kitchen. She fills her stainless steel bottle with the hottest tap water she can find, and pops in a tea bag. It sits around until she is ready to drink it, usually when it’s about room temperature. I’ve read that connoisseurs watch a timer and brew green tea for a certain number of seconds. That’s great if you have the time to watch tea brew, but DD’s method sure is convenient.
She likes peppermint green tea, which had been my favorite. She also brought blueberry green tea, and chamomile/honey green tea. Both are delicious, but the blueberry is outstanding. She tells me she finds them in the regular grocery store. I really enjoy sipping tea out of the stainless steel cup when we’re watching a movie. Who needs raisinettes?
In the course of looking up background links about BPA, I saw that 5 gallon water bottles are often 7s. I don’t have 5 gallon bottles, but I do have 2 and 3 gallon bottles. I went to the garage and the three older bottles all have 7s on the bottom. The newest bottle is a 3. This frustrates me so much. The community where I live adds fluoride to the water so that kiddies who eat a high sugar diet won’t get cavities. They never consider that fluoride contributes to osteoporosis. At my age that is a big concern to me. So I have gone to the extra expense of buying bottled water, only to find that the bottles contain a cancer causing chemical. It’s enough to make you crazy.
If you are not up to date on BPA, here is a link that quickly gives the basics.
Both Tupperware and Pampered Chef have some products with BPA. Here are their websites.
DD decided that she and I should cook Thanksgiving dinner for my parents this year. A big production holiday dinner has become more than my Mom wants to do, since so much of her energy is spent taking good care of my Dad. Last year they bought a catered meal. It was good, but it wasn’t the same foods that we traditionally have. As DD makes progress toward health, she wanted to see if we could fix the traditional foods with mostly beneficial ingredients.
She got home Tuesday night, and we cooked all day Wednesday while my husband was at work. We were in new territory, adjusting family recipes to be in line with the BTD. My husband’s mom had taught me that rather than buying a self basting turkey with hydrogenated fat injected under the skin, I could make my a turkey juicy by filling the cavity with apples and onions. This year, at the suggestion of a friend, I added slices of lime to the apples and onions. The flavor was delicious – just a tiny hint of citrus. I did stuff the cavity pretty tight, so the turkey took longer than expected to cook. DD and I laughed and said that if we had been expecting company at 6:00 we would have been in trouble! But since we were cooking a day in advance, it didn’t matter.
Dressing was the biggest hurdle. We all love traditional dressing. I’ve blogged in past years about making it with corn bread and rye bread or cornbread and spelt biscuits. DD was adamant that we not use cornbread this year. After much discussion we decided to use flax seed bread and spelt biscuits. Except for that, we followed our traditional recipe. We didn’t tell anyone what it was. HH asked why it was darker than usual. We said it was made with whole grains. He said it was the best dressing he had ever eaten. Truly it was delicious. The spelt biscuits gave it the right texture. The flax seed bread gave it the right flavor.
We made cranberries using the cranberry part of Jayne's cranberry crunch recipe. The flavor is the best!
DD was for leaving out the sweet potatoes, but I knew my Mom & Dad would miss them. My Mom’s recipe calls for canned sweet potatoes mashed with milk, spices and orange juice. She tops it with marshmallows. This year I made it with the same spices, but with freshly baked sweet potatoes. I substituted pineapple juice for the milk and orange juice. It was not only good; I think it was better.
DD wanted pumpkin pie with no avoids. She decided we could make a pat in crust with ground walnuts. The first day, the walnuts were crunchy and had the appearance of a crust. By Saturday, the juices from the pie had mingled with the walnuts, so it was more like a pudding than a pie. It still tasted great, but the texture was best the first day. We used 100% pure canned pumpkin, and started with the recipe on the can. We substituted honey for the sugar, added ginger juice, and left out the milk. DD and I loved it. We are glad that there is one more piece for each of us tomorrow. The rest of the family liked it, but preferred my Mom’s pecan pie.
We rounded out the meal with broccoli and spiced peaches. My mom provided rolls and a relish tray. It was a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner. At church the Sunday before Thanksgiving we sang a chorus that sums up the season for me.
For all that you’ve done, I will thank you.
For all that you’re going to do.
For all that you’ve promised, and all that you are
Is all that has carried me through.
Jesus I thank you.
Thank you for loving and setting me free
Thank you for giving your life just for me.
How I thank you. Gratefully thank you.
Thank you, thank you, Lord.
We have had a lot of good food today. After church we had brunch at a restaurant called Mimis. I had a Tuscan Omelet – stuffed with spinach, artichokes, tomatoes and feta cheese. It was delicious. The waitress did give me a funny look when I asked to substitute broccoli for the potato chunks that are usually served with the omelet.
Tonight the group wanted to order pizza. Since I had eaten eggs for lunch, I knew I needed some meat for dinner, not pizza. I fixed myself a bowl of asparagus left over from an earlier meal and canned salmon. I did eat half a piece of pizza to be sociable. I used to really miss pizza, but I can honestly say that tonight the asparagus and salmon tasted better to me than the pizza.
Even with a piece of pumpkin pie, I was easily within the 70% rule. Overall on this trip I've probably eaten 85-90% beneficials and neutrals. I have not had any trouble with stomach inflammation. I am confident that my weight is unchanged. Perhaps most important the 70% rule gives freedom from anxiety. Traveling and visiting with friends could become incredibly stressful if I were preoccupied with finding 100% beneficials. But finding 70% beneficials and neutrals is easy. And the joy of fellowship and relaxation of being away from the daily grind more than makes up for the few avoids I have consumed.
One interesting and moving experience from the reunion was a trip to the memorial at the site of the Murrah Federal building bombing in Oklahoma City. There was a hearing going on that morning, and a tape recording of the hearing survived the blast. In the museum we sat in a quiet room with simple government style office furniture listening to the tape. Suddenly the hearing is interrupted by the sound of explosion, followed by the sound of screams. There were exhibits about the destruction, tributes to the 168 victims, and the meticulous investigation that resulted in the conviction of the bomber. We left the museum with a mixture of horror and sadness, mixed with admiration for the way the community pulled together to minister to the families of the victims and survivors.
The area where the building was has been turned into a grassy park with a glass and brass chair symbolizing the office of each of the victims. The place where the street was is now a quiet fountain. If you are ever close to Oklahoma City, make sure you visit the memorial.
We have three or four pairs of cardinals that live in the trees behind our house. I’m sure they have suffered along with the other wildlife during this incredibly dry summer and fall. The last time I remember it raining was sometime in June. However, today while I was fixing lunch, we had a brief shower. As I watched out the back windows, the cardinals came out and perched in the top branches shaking their feathers and enjoying the rain. That has nothing at all to do with today’s blog, but it was such a beautiful sight.
The first time I tasted flax oil I was sorely disappointed. It tastes like fish. In fact I remember looking at the label on the bottle, thinking that perhaps I had picked up cod liver oil by mistake. I use flax oil once in a while because I know it is highly beneficial, but I have to coax myself to do it.
A while back someone gave me a recipe that called for toasted sesame oil. It was ok, but I wasn’t wild about the taste. So that bottle of oil has been neglected in the back of my refrigerator. I knew that if I didn’t use it soon, I’d have to throw it out, and I hated to do that since sesame oil is beneficial for Hunters.
One night last week I mixed half and half of these two oils that I don’t like on my salad. Don’t ask me why – it must have been a masochistic moment. Incredible! The combination was good – not fabulous like the flavor of a newly opened bottle of extra virgin olive oil – not heavenly like a spoon of freshly made ghee – but good.
I thought it might have been a fluke, and I tried it again yesterday. Somehow the flax oil is less fishy, and the toasted sesame oil is less overpowering when the two are mixed together. As I’m typing this blog, I’m eating turnip greens with grilled onions and canned salmon, topped with a half teaspoon each of flax and toasted sesame oil. It’s a surprisingly tasty combination. In addition, it is very beneficial for Type Os who are Hunters. If you are not a Hunter, experiment! Perhaps you will find another tasty combination using an oil that is beneficial for you.