While these might appear to be rather diverse topics, they have something in common - our Darling Daughter. Two weeks ago DD and our sweet grandbaby BC came to our house. Our Son in Love was going to youth camp with the kids in his church. He didn’t want DD to be at home alone with the baby, so we enjoyed four nights and five days with our grandson who was almost four months old.
DD said she had a request to make, if we had the emotional stamina to take it. That got our curiosity up. It turns out that BC, precious as he is, refused to sleep in his bed. When he was a newborn, they planned to have him sleep in a bassinet in their room. But he didn’t like sleeping on his back, the way they recommend newborns sleep these days. To keep him from crying they let him sleep in their arms or on their chests. While that might have been sweet and practical with a newborn, at four months it was getting tiring. DD would nurse him and he would fall asleep in her arms. She would transfer him to the bed and he would instantly wake, and if she didn’t pick him up he would cry inconsolably.
When my own children were little, it had become popular to “just let them cry it out.” “Put them in bed,” my friends said. “They will fuss for about 20 minutes and fall asleep. The next night they will fuss for 15, and in a couple of nights you will put them to bed and they will just fall asleep.” I tried this method with our Strong Son. He cried for five hours. My sleep deprived husband said, “I’m not going to be able to work tomorrow if I don’t get some sleep.” I nursed him, rocked him and said I would never do that again.
When DD was a baby again friends told me to “just let them cry it out.” Against my better judgment, I decided to try again. She cried hysterically for more than an hour, then suddenly the pitch of her cry changed. I was afraid she had hurt herself or caught her leg on her crib. I opened the door to a horrific smell. She had a dirty diaper and it had leaked all over the bed. It was on her pajamas, and in her hair. We bathed her, put on fresh clothes, changed the sheets and said never, never will we do this again.
I don’t know what has happened in the intervening years, but today parents are being given the same advice. One of DD’s friends has two boys, and the “cry it out” technique didn’t work with them either. But she did her own variation. She sat in a chair beside the bed the first night and sang to them until they fell asleep. She did the same in subsequent nights until her boys could put themselves to sleep. DD wanted to try this variation, but SIL couldn’t stand to hear his son cry. She hoped to try it at our house.
The first night she sat by his bed stroking his head and singing while he fussed, whimpered, and clutched a blanket. After 45 minutes he was asleep. He woke once to nurse in the night and went right back to sleep in his bed. The second night he fussed for 20 minutes with her sitting beside the bed assuring him he had not been abandoned. The fussy period was shorter the third night. The last night she put him in bed, he sighed, grabbed the blanket and went to sleep. When they got home, SIL was delighted at the change.
None of that has anything to do with the BTD, it’s just the best advice for getting a baby to put himself or herself to sleep that I know. I’ve wanted to share it in my blog, but wanted to make some kind of BTD connection. This week we are at DD’s house, babysitting while DD and SIL work on a service project with the youth in their church. BC still goes right to sleep in his bed, the way he did at our house.
One day for lunch, DD said, “Mom, would you like to try millet pancakes?” It turns out that a few weeks ago she had been craving millet cornbread, but didn’t have time to bake bread. She mixed up the batter, poured it out on a griddle like pancakes, and it cooked quickly. She told me it was delicious.
I made eggs, she made pancakes, I cut up fruit and we had a delicious brunch. You can get the millet corn bread recipe here. The only change DD makes is that instead of 1/3 cup honey she uses a little less than 1/3 cup agave.
It is a delicious breakfast or brunch for a mother who has enjoyed 8 hours of sleep because her 100% breastfed four month old can sleep through the night.
I recently went to a banquet. The food was unusually good for a large sit down dinner - there were at least 250 plates served. I was the event photographer, so I got to wander all over the ballroom taking pictures. I recognized a friend who had volunteered to serve tables at the event. I complimented her on the food, and said that the green beans in particular were some of the best I had ever eaten.
She went back to the kitchen, and brought out one of the cooks, another volunteer who was also a friend. I said, “I don’t want you to give away any family secrets, but would you share your green bean recipe.” She said, “They are so easy. It’s not really a recipe. I cook green beans with soy sauce, brown sugar, and garlic.”
Yesterday I decided to try to copy them for our lunch. I didn’t want to use soy sauce, because of the wheat. So I substituted Braggs Liquid Aminos. You could use Tamari. I didn’t want to use sugar, because if I’m going to break my no refined food policy, I want it to be for a memorable desert, not a vegetable. So I substituted agave.
Here’s how I made them.
Because roasted or stir fry vegetables retain more of their natural vitamins and phyto-nutrients, I started with a skillet and enough olive oil to generously coat the bottom. I added a substantial splash of Braggs, and a squirt of agave. I sprinkled garlic powder on top, stirred it all together, and turned on the stove. When the skillet was warm, but not piping hot, I added a pound of green beans. I sautéed them until they were tender.
They were at least as good, if not better, than the ones at the banquet. We are having the leftovers today for lunch with grilled chicken breasts.
When I go out for Asian food, my first choice is Beef and Broccoli. Both the beef and the broccoli are beneficial for me. I occasionally try Pepper Steak on a buffet line, but I have found that the peppers are usually almost raw. I just don’t care for raw peppers, so I eat the steak and leave most of the peppers behind.
I was reading something the other day about how packed with nutrients bell peppers, particularly red bell peppers are. It made me look at my food lists. Bell peppers are neutral and red bell peppers are beneficial.
That got me to thinking about pepper steak, so I bought one green and one red pepper at the grocery. My ideal pepper steak would have onions along with the peppers. The vegetables would be soft cooked, but not mushy.
Today I decided to see whether the pepper steak I had in my mind would taste as good in my kitchen. I had super lean ground beef left over from earlier in the week. I used that instead of steak. While the peppers and onions were cooking I remembered that I had Braggs Liquid Aminos in the pantry. I decided to use that as flavoring instead of soy sauce (avoid for me because of wheat) or tamari.
I mixed it all together in a bowl, and took a taste. Delicious. Even better than my imagination. It would be excellent served over brown rice or quinoa.
While this would probably not qualify as bonafide Asian fare, it is a tasty food combination and (with the exception of the neutral bell peppers) it is totally beneficial.
We had dinner at Bangkok 54, a Thai restaurant in San Antonio. It is near the home of some wonderful friends, and is one of their favorite places to eat. We’ve been there several times. The food is very good and everything is prepared fresh. It’s worth it just to read the seasoning guide in the menu which begins with, “0: No hot pepper added during preparation” and ends with “911 Hot: No explanation necessary.” I am cautious, and I always choose 1.
I have always eaten their beef and broccoli, but yesterday I had beef for lunch, so I decided to try something new. I chose Chicken with Ginger, and it was outstanding.
At the end of the meal one of our friends said, “Would anyone like to share a dessert?” Both of the men declined, so she looked at me. She knows I am gluten free and rarely eat desserts. “She said, “You should try this Suzanne. You will be surprised. It is made with brown rice and fresh fruit.” I was curious, so I said yes.
Our server brought an oblong plate. On one end was a scoop of rice. On the other end was a freshly sliced mango. My friend, who had obviously shared this dessert before, cut down the middle of both pushing both the rice and the mango towards the two sides of the plate. I watched as she speared a piece of mango with her fork, then scooped up a bit of brown rice. I followed her example it was an incredibly delicious combination.
I think the rice was prepared with coconut milk (which would be avoid for me), but it would be easy to substitute almond milk or some other neutral. I don’t know what kind of sweetener they used, but again, I could use agave or stevia.
It was such a treat to have a dessert. I’ll admit, I have almost completely stopped making desserts, even BTD compliant desserts. The children are grown. Plus I don’t want to sabotage HH’s success at lowering his blood sugar and keeping it low.
I’m thinking this kind of “good for you” dessert might be something to look forward to at the end of a meal once in a while.
The book club came to my house last week for our January meeting. I knew that after Christmas, none of the ladies were going to want to eat desserts or party food. Some people put on a few pounds at Christmas and are eager to take them off. Some people resolve to shed unwanted pounds in the New Year. No one wants to overindulge in January.
I went on Pinterest looking for cute, healthy, winter snack ideas. I made little snowmen out of mozzarella cheese. There was a cute picture of little winter characters made by cutting strawberries in half and filling them with white stuff. I used whipped cream, which tasted good, but collapsed too quickly. One of my friends suggested cream cheese - that would hold up better, but would still be avoid for me. Perhaps a stiff meringue would work. I know I will make both of these fun winter snacks when BC is a toddler.
I baked gluten free ginger bread with black strap molasses. It was very spicy, which some of the ladies liked, but others did not.
The biggest hit of all was roasted vegetables. I made three pans, and there was hardly enough left for my husband to have some for lunch. I roasted carrots, green beans, and zucchini. I also roasted acorn squash in ghee and maple syrup. I peeled the squash and cut it into strips. I put enough ghee and maple syrup in a baking dish to coat the bottom, added the squash strips, and rolled them so they were coated. I baked them at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.
Most of the ladies like coffee, so I made a pot of coffee. But what to fix on a cold day for ladies, like me, who don’t drink coffee?
Every year at Christmas the town of New Braunfels has Wassailfest. It is within driving distance from our Hill Country home, so we have gone several years. Local shops compete to see who has the best Wassail. I have found that I am very opinionated about the flavor of wassail. I do not like it when it is made with orange juice. Another popular ingredient is Tang. That tastes terrible to me, and if the first sip has a hint of Tang, into the trash it goes. I like my wassail spicy, but I don’t like finding ground cinnamon at the bottom of my cup.
I didn’t set out to make Wassail for the book club. I bought frozen 100% cranberry apple juice and was going to serve it warm. When I mixed up the juice and looked at how much was in the pan, I worried that I didn’t have enough. On impulse, I put in a can of frozen pineapple juice plus the recommended amount of water. Also on impulse I tossed in 6 cloves.
As the ladies served themselves, I heard comments like “Oh, wassail!” “This is really good.” “Best wassail I’ve ever tasted." I tasted some for myself. It really was good. I wish I could enter my accidental recipe in next year’s Wassailfest.
My nephew, his wife, and their three daughters came to visit for New Years. They live a very busy, high stress, fast paced, urban life. They didn’t want to go anywhere or do any excursions. They just wanted to hang out in our living room. Walking to the mailbox a half mile away was a treat to the littlest great niece. Deer running cross the yard was the only thing that motivated everyone to jump out of their chairs. The baby bunnies, who have stayed completely hidden since I nearly ran over them with the lawn mower in November, made a cameo appearance. It was a wonderfully relaxing three days for us as well as them.
Our niece (Type A) talked about how her favorite fast dinner was roasted vegetables. I’ve eaten roasted vegetables in restaurants and they are delicious. I’ve looked into roasting vegetables at home, but it seemed complicated and time consuming.
Yesterday for lunch I put two big turkey tenders, one cup of millet, a can of MSG free chicken broth (plus enough water to make 1 ¾ cups) and 1 tsp of poultry seasoning in a covered casserole dish and put it in the oven. It was done in about an hour.
Then I asked her to fix roasted veggies her way while I watched. Oh my! It was fast. It was easy. It was delicious.
She sprayed two big cookie sheets with cooking spray. She sliced baby carrots in half, cut an acorn squash into cubes, and chopped up some broccoli. I got whole frozen green beans out of the freezer. She put the carrots and squash on the cookie sheet, sprayed the top of them with more cooking spray, and sprinkled them very lightly with salt. Into the oven they went at 400 degrees.
After 15 minutes we added the green beans and broccoli to the cookie sheet. Again she sprayed the top of the vegetables with cooking spray and sprinkled a little salt. In 15 minutes they were all done.
HH loved them. This will definitely become part of our regular menu.
I have only used cooking spray for baking, so I buy the neutral, less expensive canola. She uses EVOO cooking spray for roasted vegetables. It’s now on my grocery list.
We were going to have Cod and Quinoa for lunch. I opened the Tupperware container where I keep my rice and the measuring cup that goes with the rice cooker. There was a weevil in the cup. Oh no!
I look around in the rice and see two more of the little critters. I put the top back on the Tupperware and put it in the freezer. I washed out the cup, checked the quinoa for weevils (weevil-free thankfully) and started it cooking.
There were two more sealed bags of rice that had been bought about the same time. I pulled them off the shelf. Both were filled with healthy, active, hungry weevils. This was getting gross. Put both of those bags in the freezer - it’s the quickest way that I know of to kill the little pests. I began taking things off the shelf where the rice was stored. I saw several loose weevils, so I wiped down the shelf with an antibiotic wipe. I did not find weevils in any of the grain except the rice. Just to be safe, I put all grain and legumes in the freezer.
This all made me remember a story a missionary told me several years ago. She was working in Western Europe. They had a wonderful modern lifestyle, but their church planting work was hard. Most people were not interested in God or spiritual things. It was an affluent time, and the people were happy to enjoy life. One day some colleagues who served in Africa came to spend a few days on their vacation. My friend and her colleague went to the grocery store together. The colleague began to cry.
She said, “You have no idea how fortunate you are to have a grocery store. I go to an open air market every morning and buy food for the day. Then I spend the next few hours picking the rocks and bugs out of the rice and the beans.”
Later, they were talking about their ministries. My friend and her husband told about how easy it was to become discouraged in Europe. But the colleague and her husband’s eyes lit up when they talked about their church. The people in their African city were eager to know about God. Because of their poverty, they longed for the hope of a better world, and they responded to the message that God cared about them.
Later today I will pick through the rice in the Tupperware and pick out the weevils. I’ll rinse the rice before I cook it. The two unopened packages will be returned to the grocery store for a refund.
I find myself wondering how weevils get into and out of sealed packages? And how in the world do they get inside Tupperware containers?
Our lunch was delicious. The quinoa cooked perfectly in the rice cooker. I seasoned the Cod with one of Mrs. Dash’s salt free blends. I also ate left over black beans with collard greens. HH had Cole Slaw and grapes.
If you think barbacoa is a Spanish word for barbeque you are wrong.
If you told me a year ago, that I would not only eat, but cook for myself the cheek of a cow, I would have thought you crazy.
I confess, it's true. I truly enjoy this tender Mexican dish.
I have been working on a genealogy project for a client. Two books in the three volume set have already been printed, and we finished work on the third yesterday. Now we proof...and proof...and proof again.
My client and I work together 2-3 days a week. We usually start about 10:30, and she serves us lunch. Often it is fresh fruit or vegetables from her garden. Sometimes it is fresh eggs from the chickens who run wild in her yard. One day, she asked if I liked barbacoa and picadillo. I told her that I had eaten picadillo, but I wasn't familiar with barbacoa. She sent out for one taco of each, from a little taco stand near her home.
Picadillo is ground beef and potatoes, cooked with onion and spices. It is good.
I tasted the barbacoa and immediately loved it. It was a very flavorful, tender shredded beef served with raw onions and cilantro. My client waited until I had finished, then she told me that barbacoa is the meat from the cheek of the cow.
If I had known what I was going to eat that first time, I think I would have gagged. Cheek meat? Really? Yuk!
However I had already tried it and was hooked. From that point on, if she didn't have any specific lunch plans, she sent out for barbacoa.
She cooks her own barbacoa, and one day pulled a package of raw meat out of her freezer and told me it was a cow's cheek. She told me to cook it in my crockpot all day with onion and garlic. After it cooled she said to separate the meat from the fat with my hands. There is a lot of fat around the meat, but if you separate carefully, the meat itself is very lean.
It was so good, and since I was the only Type O in the house at the time, it lasted several days.
I've seen barbacoa recipes on the internet that call for tomatoes, chili powder, peppers and other spices. No, No, No. That's not how barbacoa is made in South Texas.
My client and I have talked a lot about food, including the Blood Type Diet. She is also Type O. I would say she is politely skeptical about this diet. Once in a while she tempts me with something that is avoid. Sometimes by accident, and sometimes she is testing me.
It amuses her to watch me eat the barbacoa and onions out of the tortilla with a fork. That's ok, because I'm smiling as I enjoy this unique cut of beef.
I'm working with a client who wants to publish a three volume book on her family genealogy. She comes from a very interesting and historic family, which has made the project a lot of fun. I'm doing the layout and design, plus helping with the research.
She and her husband have a big garden, and one day while I was working he came in with several gigantic heads of cauliflower. Her eyes got big and she said, "What am I going to do with that much cauliflower?"
One of my facebook friends had posted a recipe for roasted cauliflower. It looked really good so I printed it out and took it to my client, who made it for dinner that very night. The next day she was raving about how good it was. Cauliflower is avoid for me, but I saved the recipe thinking that it would probably be good with other roasted vegetables.
Yesterday I decided to fix okra for lunch. My Honorable Husband said he would eat a little, but he wasn't a big fan of okra. It is beneficial for us both, so I wanted to prepare it in a way that might make him change his mind about okra. I was thumbing through cookbooks, when I remembered the roasted cauliflower recipe. I decided to make roasted okra.
Here is the original recipe.
1 head cauliflower, cut into 1/2 -1 inch florets
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs,
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 cup olive oil - make sure the florets are well coated
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400º.
Toss florets with olive oil, bread crumbs and cheese. Spread in a single layer on jelly roll sheet lined with nonstick foil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast 30-40 minutes, until nicely browned
I looked for gluten free bread crumbs at the grocery store. The first package I picked up was obscenely expensive. Irks me how food companies will take advantage of people with dietary concerns. Then lower on the shelf, I found gluten free bread crumbs by a company called Four Sisters and a Brother. There are NO avoids, and the price was reasonable - Hallelujah! If your grocer doesn't carry them, you can buy them on line.
Because Parmesan Cheese is already salty, I did not add any additional salt.
As okra cooks, it produces a slimy juice. While it roasted, I stirred it three times. The first two times made the bread crumbs absorb the juice so that the coating stuck to the okra almost like fried okra. The third time I stirred was too much. Some of the coating fell off. I can see there is an element of finesse to perfect this recipe with okra. I'm sure it's easier with other veggies.
The outcome - in a word was delicious. I liked it. HH liked it. The leftovers are not going to last for long.
My Darling Daughter now has her own blog. As a pastor's wife, she usually blogs about spiritual issues in the culture. However this week she posted a pumpkin recipe that is incredibly delicious. Those of you who have read my blog for a long time have watched DD grow up from her middle school years. I'm going to post her whole blog so you can catch a glimpse of the young woman she has become. The Pumpkin Pudding recipe is at the bottom.
I love the reactions people give when they ask what the "orange stuff" that I'm eating is. I reply "pumpkin" - and then wait. The response is always - "Like, pumpkin pie?" "No... just pumpkin." "Oh..." [followed by a really grossed out look].
What can I say... I love pumpkin!
Not only is it a delicious vegetable, but it is also a very nutritious vegetable. Pumpkin is rich in beta-carotene, a pro-vitamin that is converted to vitamin A in the body - which is essential for eye health and may be linked to preventing coronary heart disease. It is also a great immune booster. One cup of pumpkin has ten grams of fiber, four grams of protein, and only eighty calories. The pumpkin seeds are also good for you. They have protein, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. They have high levels of phytosterols which can reduce cholesterol and help prevent against some types of cancer.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
To me, one of the best ways to glorify God with your body is by putting good things into it. If I nourish my body - the body that God designed uniquely for me - I am honoring Him. What I put into my body is important. Just as what I watch and hear affect my mind and heart, the food and drink I put into my body also affect me.
When my Heroic Husband prays for our food, he almost always says, "...and let us eat this food in a way that honors You." I love that! I want to live in a way that honors God - so why would I not want to eat in a way that honors God?
I was very blessed and fortunate to grow up in a home where health was important. When I was little, my Marvelous Mother fixed good food for me. As I grew older, she taught me to cook healthy food for myself. Today, we still love getting together and cooking delicious, healthy meals.
The other day, while I was looking at the benefits of chia seeds (and they are really good for you too), I came across a new pumpkin recipe. I decided to modify the ingredients a little and try it out.
As I was quickly mixing it together that night, my Heroic Husband asked, "What is that?" I said, "I don't exactly know, but it will either be really good or really bad." Let me tell you - it is really good!
1/4 Cup Chia Seeds
1/4 Cup Pure Canned Pumpkin
1 Cup Almond Milk
1 Tablespoon Agave Nectar
1/2 Tablespoon Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Dash of Nutmeg
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Make sure to mix them well - the chia seeds and cinnamon like to clump together - as does the pumpkin.
[NOTE: Your mixture will look NOTHING like pudding. It will be a watery substance. Do not worry! As the chia seeds sit, they will absorb the access liquid.]
Cover bowl and refrigerate overnight.
3 John 1:2
Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.
Last weekend we had an early Easter with our family. DD and SIL came on Friday. They spent Saturday morning and afternoon doing income taxes with HH's help. Certainly a stressful start to the weekend! But after that it was all relaxed and fun. SS drove down in time for dinner.
I cooked a roast for the three Type Os, and had salmon patties for the two Type As. We also had rice, green beans, spinach, and butternut squash.
I wanted to tell you about the butternut squash. When I cook it for myself, I scoop it out of the peel one serving at a time. I sprinkle a little cinnamon on top and eat it. But I thought it should look nicer for a family dinner. I cooked the whole squash in the oven that morning. Just before dinner I separated the good part from the seeds and peeling. I mashed it with cinnamon, ginger, and olive oil. I put it in a casserole dish and sprinkled it with chopped almonds. Just before dinner, I warmed it in the oven. It was delicious.
Last Sunday morning we all got to go to church together. When the children were growing up, going to church together was such a normal, every week event. Now with SIL pastoring a church far away and SS active in a church less than an hour away, we rarely get to worship together. So this was a special time for us as a family.
Today is Palm Sunday. This morning we sang joyful praise songs. The service was exciting. Tonight we had a candlelight Lord's Supper. The service was serious and thoughtful. HH and I got home in time to watch "The Bible" on the History Channel.
A friend asked me what I thought about "The Bible." At first I laughed and said, "Oh you know me; I always think the book is always better than the movie." But seeing she was serious, I gave a serious answer. You can't possibly cover the entire Bible in five two-hour shows. Some things have to be combined or left out. There is some interpretation of detail where the Bible is silent.
However, I think they have done a remarkable job of accurately portraying the major themes of the Bible. It's certainly worth watching. Next week, on Easter Sunday, they will show the Resurrection, the growth of the church, and the Book of Revelation. I think we will have eggs for dinner while we watch!
This blog is not about what a great cook I am! I'm writing it to encourage you to be bold and innovative in your own kitchen as you live life on the BTD.
I am embarrassed to admit that I didn't buy just one package of the inexpensive cod that turned out to be half gristle and bone. There were two packages still in my freezer and I decided to get rid of one of them. HH loves New England Clam Chowder. Clams are avoid for him as a Type A and potatoes are avoid for him because of his history of high blood sugar.
I wondered if I could make a healthy chowder with cod. I found a couple of recipes in the BTD recipe database. Some of them substituted sweet potatoes for white, but that wouldn't help things for him as a Type A. However it made me think that if I found an otherwise good recipe I could leave out potatoes altogether and serve it over rice.
I liked the sound of one recipe on the BTD site and I found two other recipes on the Internet. Unfortunately I was out of a couple of key ingredients and I had already thawed the cod.
While the onions and garlic were cooking, I started separating the edible fish from the garbage. I'm not sure whether I am an incurable optimist or really naive, but I was confident that somehow the meal would come together. I used almond milk instead of cream. I added parsley, a traditional chowder ingredient but it was still too bland. There was none of the heartiness I associate with chowder.
I have a friend who served me split pea soup the other day. It was exceptionally good. When I asked her about the recipe, she said she had added cumin.
I added cumin and fresh cilantro to the pot. Suddenly we had very tasty fish chowder with a Southwestern flavor. Sometime I will have to plan ahead and make a BTD version of New England Chowder, but in the meantime this version turned out to be a very good meal.
What I want you to take away from this blog, is this: if your pantry is filled with beneficial and neutral ingredients, be bold in substituting ingredients in a recipe. Unless you are trying to copy a gourmet sauce or pastry with a very distinct texture, you will find that most recipes are very flexible. If a recipe calls for an avoid ingredient think of a beneficial or neutral substitute. If a recipe calls for a spice that you are out of, substitute something else. You have the potential to be an award winning chef when it comes to the happiness and health of your own family.
I am slightly out of breath as I type this blog, but I am smiling, because I rode my bike for almost an hour this afternoon and I didn't have to walk up any hills. I blogged a few weeks ago about my disappointment that I had run out of energy and had to walk my bicycle up the last big hill before I got home.
I had lots of excuses. We were out of town a lot last fall and I hadn't had time to ride. Early winter was unusually cold, and I wimped out about riding in the chilly wind. Of course, it's always easy to blame my age. Women nearing 60 lose muscle every year because of hormones, and it's a struggle to exercise enough to maintain the muscle I have, much less to build more. Whatever the reason, I had obviously neglected certain muscles in my legs.
I've ridden several times since that blog. Every time I have ridden farther and faster and up more hills. But today was the first time since last summer that I have ridden straight up the last hill.
I am smiling because I achieved a goal. I am smiling because I feel physically good after that kind of strenuous exercise. Most of all I am smiling because I have proved to myself that I can still build muscle. Now - I need to concentrate on building more of it!
On an entirely different subject, I made Kasha last night. I asked myself as I ate it with chicken and steamed vegetables, why I don't make it more often. Buckwheat is a good neutral grain for Type Os. Despite its name, it isn't wheat at all, and it is gluten free.
If you just cook buckwheat, it turns out with a texture sort of like oatmeal. But if you follow the Kasha recipe on the package and brown it first with an egg, then add boiling water, it turns out fluffy like rice. It takes less time to buckwheat on the stove than to cook rice in the rice cooker.
This afternoon I had Kasha with black currant preserves. It was as good as dessert.
It was late in the week, I was at the grocery store, and I hadn't tried a new recipe for the week. I was in the mood for salmon.
Though salmon is a good choice because it is beneficial for us both, salmon is not my Honorable Husband's favorite fish. Truth be told, his favorite fish is catfish, which is an avoid for him. I don't hassle him about catfish in restaurants, because I feel like any kind of fish is better for him than most meats. However, I don't buy catfish to cook at home.
I decided to buy salmon and see if I could find a different recipe when I got home. There was a long line at the fish counter. While I was waiting my turn I started looking through the complimentary recipe cards on display at the counter. The name Lemon Herb Salmon caught my eye. I especially liked the total preparation and cook time of 25 minutes.
The recipe called for olive oil and lemon pepper. I didn't think I would like that. This is how I made it:
Large salmon fillet with skin
2 Tbsp rosemary
juice from one lemon
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put the salmon in a baking dish. Crush the rosemary in your fingers to bring out the flavor. Sprinkle over the salmon. Pour the lemon juice over the salmon. Cover the baking dish with foil. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until fish flakes.
HH said it was the best salmon I had ever fixed. I'm definitely keeping this recipe.
This week was our Strong Son's birthday. As I planned his birthday dinner I wanted to cook some old favorite foods, and I wanted to try a new recipe. The old favorites were chicken breasts with broccoli, butternut squash soup, and egg custard made with almond milk. I served the egg custard over blueberries to make it festive, but truthfully, I like it better plain.
SS is a Type O who loves pasta, so I wanted to try a new recipe with Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta. I have bought many neutral grain pastas over the year, and Tinkyada is the only brand that is as good as traditional pasta. If you can't get Tinkyada in your local health food store, you can order it from VitaCost.
SS also likes Mexican food, and I wondered if anyone had tried Fajita Pasta. There was nothing close on the Blood Type Diet Recipe Center . Though I did see some other intriguing pasta recipes that I want to try. When I Googled Fajita Pasta, I found several recipes, but none of them were BTD friendly, and almost all of them relied on packaged seasoning mixes. I chose one recipe that came close to what I had in my head, and made a lot of adjustments.
Bell peppers are avoid for Type As, but they are neutral for non-secretors. There are several things that make me suspect my Honorable Husband is a non-secretor. Someday I need to get him tested, but I did not worry about his eating the peppers in this recipe.
Here is the recipe I came up with. I served it as a side dish without chicken for the birthday dinner. I'm going to make it again next week with chicken for a ladies' luncheon. My family gave it rave reviews.
8 oz Tinkyada Pasta spirals or elbows
2 Tbsp light olive oil
1 white onion, sliced into strips
1 Green bell pepper, sliced into strips
1 Red bell pepper, sliced into strips
2 garlic cloves, minced
1.5 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup black beans
Optional additions: chicken breast cubes, chopped tomato, guacamole,
How to make it:
Cook pasta according to directions
Stir fry onion, bell pepper and garlic. When vegetables are soft, add seasonings. Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes to blend flavors. Mix pasta, vegetables and beans together. Add chicken if desired. Top with tomato and guacamole if desired.
Something happened his week that took me back to my college days. My roommate Alice and I had moved out of the dorm and into an apartment. Both of us copied favorite recipes from our Moms and we were excited about cooking in our own kitchen.
We were also both on a tight budget. One day Alice told me to come home prepared for a delicious dinner. She had found a great deal on chicken and was going to make one of her Mom's best recipes - Chicken Diablo. When I got in from class the apartment smelled wonderful. But when we sat down to dinner we realized the great deal on chicken had been on a package of wings and backs. We had a fabulous sauce but almost no chicken. Wings are mostly bone and skin. Backs are just bone. It was a poignant lesson for two young women.
At least I thought I had learned the lesson. I guess I needed a refresher course, because last week I found a great deal on frozen cod, and I bought it.
I decided to make my Mother's seafood Creole recipe. She made it with shrimp, but I was going to use the cod. I started the sauce first. It wasn't long before the kitchen smelled wonderful. I opened the cod. Oh my! I did not know fish could have gristle. I had a package that was mostly bone and tough connecting tissue. By digging and scraping I eventually found a respectable amount of cod, which I mixed in with the sauce.
I served the Creole over steamed brown rice. HH thought it was delicious. It was delicious...but it would have been so much better if I hadn't skimped and tried to save money on the fish.
Fried chicken is a Southern classic. Chicken Fried Steak is a Southwestern version of that Southern classic. Pre BTD I loved Chicken Fried Steak. I was never particularly good at making it, but I ordered it every time I could in a restaurant. After the BTD it became one of those foods like pizza - it wasn't really good for any blood type. The beef was bad for my husband, and the flour was bad for me.
I didn't miss it a whole lot, except when we would eat out with our Strong Son. He would smile as he enjoyed his Chicken Fried Steak and say, "Now Mom, you know I don't eat as much wheat as I used to, but I'm not taking this diet as seriously as you do." My mouth would water.
Last week I bought a package of turkey cutlets. Usually I cook the cutlets with barbeque sauce in the oven. I live in Texas so naturally there are 25 - 30 choices of barbeque sauce in my grocery store. Of those, 2-3 are free of high fructose corn syrup and other avoid ingredients.
Since my New Year's resolution is to try a new recipe every week that both my Type A husband and my Type O self can eat, I began to think what else I could do with the turkey cutlets. If Chicken Fried Steak was good, I wondered what Chicken Fried Turkey would be like. Back in the days when vegetables were popular and people ate at the cafeteria every Sunday after church, Luby's Cafeteria made some of the best Chicken Fried Steak. They had published a 50th anniversary cookbook, and I had bought one. Sure enough their Chicken Fried Steak recipe was in the cookbook. Here is the recipe - with my BTD changes.
3 large eggs
1 cup milk (substitute almond milk)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 cups flour (substitute rice flour)
2 1/2 pounds of round steak cut in pieces (substitute turkey cutlets)
Oil (I used light olive oil, but it smoked too much, next time will try grapeseed oil)
Whisk together eggs, milk, salt, seasoned salt, and pepper.
Place flour in a shallow bowl.
Pound the meat with a meat mallet to 1/4 inch thickness. Coat with flour. Dip into egg mixture, then again into flour.
Heat 1/8 inch oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook meat 3 - 4 minutes on each side or until browned and cooked through.
Except for the smoke from the light olive oil, this recipe was a big success. It tasted delicious. My Honorable Husband said, "Great dinner."
I will probably use less milk next time. There was too much of the egg milk mixture left over. When I warmed up the leftovers, the coating was not as crisp as it was the night I made them. Next time I will refry them just a little in oil so that the leftovers will be as good as the original.
I always read labels...at least I thought I did...but I missed one.
After I posted the Teriyaki Turkey recipe, Jane commented that Soy Sauce contained wheat.
My first reaction was that wheat was probably a minor ingredient near the bottom of the ingredient list. I walked to the refrigerator to check the bottle. No. Wheat was the number 1 ingredient. I couldn't believe it.
Why do they call it Soy Sauce if the main ingredient is wheat? It should be called Wheat Sauce...but that sounds terrible.
Jane recommended Tamari. At the grocery store I found 5 different kinds of Tamari. All of them were wheat free. Only one was low sodium. I bought that one.
While I was at the store I was also checking labels on soups. When my son was young he was extremely sensitive to MSG. Back then it seemed that all canned soups had MSG. Then Campbells came out with Healthy Request which was MSG free. Other soup makers followed their example and began eliminating MSG from their products. Finally Amys, Pacific, and other companies began marketing organic soups.
I began to buy more canned soup. My husband loves soup and salad for supper. Personally, while I like the taste of many soups, I don't find them filling enough to call a meal. I could warm a can of soup for him and have leftover meat and veggies for myself.
I do read soup labels carefully, even for favorite soups that I buy often. For a few years the trend seemed to be away from MSG. Now it seems to me that it is coming back to more soups. I've stopped buying several products that I bought a year or two ago.
I embarrassed that I missed the wheat in Soy Sauce, but I needed the reminder to stay vigilant. Even when I think I have read the label before, or when I think I know what is in a product, I need to take the time to check.
Last night's dinner was an adventure. I had a meeting with a client in the morning, and she served me some of the best beef tacos I have ever had for lunch. That put me in a fish frame of mind for dinner. Since I have resolved to try at least one new recipe a week this year, I began looking for something new I could do with cod. I found a lovely recipe, but when I went to get the cod out of the freezer, I was out. How did I let myself run out of something so basic? I was also out of salmon. The only fish in the house was canned tuna, and I was not in the mood to try a new tuna recipe.
I took out a pound of frozen ground turkey and a package of frozen vegetables. I could whip up a couple of quick vegetable bowls. It was far short of my expectations, but it would be healthy for HH and me. As I cut open the vegetable package, I noticed a box that said "serving suggestions". It said to top the vegetables with Teriyaki sauce. I realized that I had eaten Teriyaki flavored beef jerky, but I didn't have a clue what was in Teriyaki sauce.
On my computer, I called up the BTD recipe center, and there were two compliant Teriyaki sauce recipes. I combined them, because I didn't have the precise ingredients for either one. Here is what I did.
1/4 cup agave
5 Tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons of ginger juice (I ran fresh ginger through my juicer)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder.
First I started brown rice in the rice cooker. I warmed the Teriyaki ingredients in a saucepan while I browned the turkey. I added 2 Tablespoons of oil to the skillet where the turkey was cooking and turned up the heat to stir fry the frozen vegetables. I was watching the Teriyaki sauce to make sure it didn't boil. As soon as the vegetables were barely soft, I poured the sauce over them and the turkey. I called HH to dinner.
He took one bite and said, "This is really good."
Teriyaki turkey, where have you been all my life?
I have been in a rut. When I was a bride I was a, resourceful cook. When I was a mother, I was a creative cook. When I started the BTD, I was an experimental cook. But since DD left home, I've cooked the same things over and over. It's healthy. It's BTD compliant. But it's getting boring.
So my one New Year's Resolution is to try at least two new recipes a week. I'm off to a good start, because I tried two recipes today.
The morning of New Year's Eve, I started soaking a pound of black eyed peas. The evening of New Year's Eve, I was getting them ready for the slow cooker when I realized I was out of onion. I always cook black eyed peas with onion.
Don't panic, I told myself. How do most people cook black eyed peas? The answer is with bacon or salt pork. Obviously I was not going to do that...but I had a package of Buddy's chicken sausage in the freezer. If you are not familiar with Buddy's, it is a company that sells hormone free chicken. Their sausage is free of nitrites and other preservatives. I put the frozen sausage in the slow cooker with the beans and 2 cloves of garlic. Served with a spinach salad, it was a perfect New Year's Day lunch.
For dinner, I was going to cook beets. Normally I season beats with ghee, ginger, agave. It is delicious. But remembering my resolution to get out of my rut - even if it is a delicious rut - I got out a German cookbook that I've had for years, but never used. There was a recipe for beets with orange sauce. Orange is avoid for both Type As and Type Os. I decided to substitute pineapple juice for the orange juice. The recipe called for cornstarch, but that is also avoid. I kept it simple tossing the cooked beets with a Tablespoon of ghee and a heaping Tablespoon of pineapple juice concentrate.
HH was watching football and I was reading during dinner. As he took his plate to the kitchen, he said, "That was a really good dinner." I'm not sure that it was all that good, but it was different. The fact that he noticed, reinforces my resolution.