Three bits of background before starting this blog.
1. When I first started the BTD, I learned that kale, a vegetable I had never heard of, was highly beneficial. I ate it often at first, but because my family wouldn’t eat it and it smelled terrible when it was cooking, I gradually stopped buying it.
2. I was in a health food store and they had free samples of a new product. Kale chips. They were delicious, outstanding, crunchy, yummy! I said, “I’ll buy a bag of those.” Ouch. I didn’t look at the price: they were really expensive. Double ouch. I didn’t look at the ingredients: they were coated with lots of salt and nuts.
3. DD has been dehydrating vegetables in her oven to take to work as a snack.
So, I decided to make my own kale chips. I bought kale, washed it, dried it, and broke off chip size pieces. I sprinkled on onion and garlic powder. I put it in the oven according to DD’s instructions. It did not stink up the kitchen while it was cooking.
When it was finished, I popped a chip into my mouth. First impression made me smile. It was light and crunchy. As I kept chewing, the tougher it got and the more it tasted like. . . kale. I think the thing that made the packaged chips so delicious was the nuts.
I decided to cook the rest of the kale with onions like I used to. Pew! The kitchen smelled terrible. But kale cooked with onions tastes good. I added ground turkey and had a nice lunch.
I hope I will continue to buy kale, even if I am the only one who eats it. I’d like to experiment further with kale chips. There is potential here, I just haven’t put it all together yet.
We didn’t have internet for Christmas. To tell the truth it was very strange. I had no idea how internet dependent I had become. No e-mail, no social networking, no communication with clients, no alternative news sources. I couldn’t even wish my sister a Merry Christmas. I felt rather isolated. However, I had time to read. I had forgotten just how much I enjoy becoming immersed in a good book.
DD and I got to cook together for Christmas Eve dinner. We were in charge of bringing vegetables. We fixed ginger carrots and basil green beans. Both are easy recipes that I’m pretty sure I have blogged about before.
We had also planned to do a raw veggie tray. DD saw a picture of a veggie tree on line, so we did that instead. This will become one of our family traditions. It was healthy and so cute. If you are need a unique idea for a New Year’s Eve party – consider this.
Here is the original link, so you can see a picture.
Click here for Veggie Christmas Tree Picture
The instructions are very wordy. I think I can condense her multiple pages into a couple of paragraphs.
You start with a 12 inch Styrofoam cone. Cover the sides (not the bottom) with aluminum foil. This is so the vegetables don’t touch the Styrofoam. Hot glue the bottom of the cone to a glass plate that is not an heirloom. Our cone popped right off without damaging the plate, but I wouldn’t take a chance.
Start at the bottom and using tooth picks, stick broccoli to the cone. It takes two big bunches of broccoli to cover the cone. For “decorations” use carrots, cherry tomatoes, radishes, cauliflower, or any other raw vegetable you like. Sometimes we used toothpicks Sometimes we just squeezed the decorations between the broccoli. We put a bowl of dip beside the tree for family members who don’t eat plain raw veggies.
It was a delight to look at, and delicious to eat.
How a near disastrous lunch turned into a new favorite recipe.
This adventure started at the grocery store last week when they had frozen packaged cod on sale. I’m talking really on sale - 60% off. The expiration date was fine, so I bought several packages.
This morning I took one of the packages out of the freezer, planning grilled cod and vegetables for lunch. The house is cool (we keep our thermostat on 68-70 in the winter) and the cod was thick, so it was still mostly frozen when I was ready to cook. That was ok. I put it in a skillet on low heat and started washing produce.
Maybe I was hungry, but it seemed to be taking a long time for the cod to thaw, even in the skillet. I was concerned about it sticking to the bottom of the pan, so I added a chopped onion and the juice of one lemon to increase the moisture.
The next time I peeked under the lid, there was too much moisture. The fish was thawed, but it was falling apart, more like ground meat than a fillet. I took a taste. The flavor was nice, but it did not look at all appetizing.
Soon the fish was cooked, but it looked like mush. How was I going to serve it? Gumbo came to my mind. I added a sprinkle of Creole seasoning. Then I opened a small can of tomato paste. I tossed in a little celery seed. Remembering rice left over from last night’s dinner, I divided it into two bowls, and called my Honorable Husband to the table. - - - He loved it.
He said, “I think I would rather have fish in a casserole like this, than have a chunk of fish on my plate.” I was stunned. Moments before I had been considering making him a peanut butter sandwich to hide my embarrassment, now we were brainstorming about how to make this accidental fish casserole better the next time. I suggested okra; he suggested broccoli; we both thought of carrots.
I have several packages of frozen cod to experiment with. Perhaps I will measure and come up with a real recipe. Or perhaps I will just wing it - that technique certainly worked well this time.
I like these delightful days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Fall decorations are still up. I won’t get out the Christmas tree until the first of December, and I haven’t started listening to Christmas music, but I did do quite a bit of internet shopping over the weekend.
We missed our Darling Daughter at Thanksgiving – she had to work on Friday, so she couldn’t come home. Our Strong Son, however, had a long holiday weekend to spend with us. Three of his friends came home with him for Thanksgiving dinner. They were like DD – living too far to be with family and still get back for work on Friday. What a delightful group they were! The conversation around the table was interesting and thought provoking.
I worried a little about how our guests would respond to my slightly nontraditional Thanksgiving dinner. SS assured me that they all embraced an active and healthy lifestyle and that they would be more receptive than average young adults.
I spent a little more to buy a hormone free turkey. I put onions and celery in the cavity before I roasted it, and it was delicious. I cooked cranberries with honey and pineapple juice, and they were just the right mix of tartness and sweetness. The green beans were seasoned with garlic and basil. I made the same pumpkin pie that I made last Thanksgiving, using ground walnuts as a crust. The twice baked sweet potatoes were exceptionally good.
As in years past my biggest BTD compromise on Thanksgiving food was going to be dressing. When DD is home, we have tried several avoid free dressings, that were tasty. But my favorite will always be the cornbread dressing that I ate first at my grandmother’s house and later at my mother’s.
Because my Honorable Husband has dealt with pre-diabetic issues in the past, the BTD Diabetic book says corn (neutral for Type As) is an infrequent neutral for him. I double checked the food lists and was surprised and delighted to notice for the first time that corn, which was always Type O avoid on the BTD, is only a limited toxin on the Hunter diet (though it is still toxic on the Gatherer diet.) That means that the Hunter half of me can feel good about eating something that I was going to eat anyway.
What a Thanksgiving bonus this is! While we will still not eat corn often in our family, we can truly enjoy dressing at holidays. And we will probably have an occasional ear of corn on the cob or a bowl of air-popped pop corn while we watch a movie.
My family always made rather dry buttermilk cornbread. I love sweet, moist cake-like cornbread. I went on the internet to see if I could find a wheat free, cake-like cornbread recipe. I could not. However, I found several recipes that were close, and I combined them – making the best cornbread I have ever eaten.
Here is my Hunter cornbread recipe.
2 cups cornmeal
4 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 cup almond milk
1/3 cup light olive oli
1/3 cup honey.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 9x9 pan with cooking spray. Mix dry ingredients in one bowl. Mix wet ingredients in another bowl. Combine them and stir fast – just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Pour into the prepared pan and bake until the sides of the bread begin to pull away from the pan.
This is delicious by itself. When you use it with homemade rye spelt bread to make dressing, you have the finale to a healthy holiday feast.
Being the newest employee at her company, DD has learned that while she gets Thanksgiving Day off, she will be working on Wednesday and Friday. After a brief moment of despair at being apart for the first time at a major holiday, we all agreed that she is incredibly blessed to have a good job in this economy. She is also blessed because ESS’s hometown is a couple of hours from where she works, so they can have Thanksgiving dinner with his family.
For that reason DD and ESS came to spend this weekend with us. SS came home too. I got all of the Thanksgiving decorations out, so the house looked festive. We agreed we would not have traditional Thanksgiving dinner. However we did have a big celebration meal, and I have two recipes to share.
First Joan was absolutely right. The spinach dish labeled Swag Mushroom at the India Buffet was really Saag Mushroom. Because SS loves India food, I made it. You can Google the traditional Saag Mushroom. This is my BTD version. Everyone liked it except DD - who in spite of being Type A, doesn’t care for the taste or texture of mushrooms.
10 oz frozen spinach
8 oz Portobello mushroom
2 tsp ginger juice
4 garlic cloves, minced
1tsp chili powder
Dash of cayenne pepper
½ cup almond milk
2 Tbsp ghee
Heat ghee in large skillet over medium heat; add mushrooms and garlic. Sauté until tender. Add ginger juice and chili powder. Stir for 1 minute. Add spinach. Add a pinch of salt if you like. Reduce heat low, and cover skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until spinach is soft (10-15 minutes).Stir in cayenne and almond milk. Add a little more almond milk if it is too dry. Cover and simmer 5-10 minutes.
Recipe #2 is for Millet - Thanksgiving style
I was going to roast a turkey breast. As you know I am adding more grain back into my diet, and I had recently bought millet. I put one cup of millet in the baking dish with the turkey breast. I took one can of MSG free chicken broth and added enough water to make 2 cups. I chopped up an onion and sprinkled it all with poultry seasoning and sage. Then I put it in the oven and followed the instructions for cooking the turkey.
It was delicious. The house smelled like the holidays. DD said it was better than dressing. Everyone liked it and it was so easy to make.
DD has something else to be thankful for. If you have been a long time reader of this blog, you know that her last year of high school she dabbled in an exercise/eating disorder. She lost too much weight and got her hormones out of balance. Her recovery has been a very long spiritual and physical journey. The BTD gave me the courage to not force her into a rapid weight gain based on junk food. For some time she has the healthiest spiritually and emotionally that she has ever been. Now her physical health is returning as well. We may not be at the same table on Thanksgiving Day, but we will all be thankful.
On Wednesday while salmon was cooking, I got a package of green beans out of the freezer. I put enough water and olive oil in a skillet to cover the bottom. I was going to let the beans simmer until the salmon was ready.
Sometimes we have plain green beans. I think they are good with just a little olive oil or ghee.
My favorite herbs to put with green beans are garlic and basil. Ooooh that is good.
But this particular night I was in the mood for something different. I do not advocate yielding to that kind of mood in most circumstances. Being in the mood for a different house, car, or wardrobe can be expensive, not to mention self indulgent. However being in the mood for something different to eat can get my creative juices flowing – as long as I stay focused on beneficials.
What could I put on green beans that would be beneficial and tasty and different? Curry powder!!! So I made curried green beans. No recipe. I just added curry until it tasted right. My Honorable Husband liked them. They went great with salmon. And…they were certainly different.
At least I thought they were different until Friday, when we had to go to the city. HH had an appointment with his cornea specialist. I had two appointments with clients and I needed to get the arches in my athletic shoes adjusted.
We decided to eat lunch at a diner that specializes in meat and vegetables. On the list of vegetable specials for the day I saw curried okra. What! Someone hijacked my idea so quickly. I hadn’t even blogged about it yet.
Of course I ordered the curried okra. It was really good – not any better than my curried green beans – but really good.
So, the next time you are cooking green beans or okra, and you are in the mood for something different, grab the curry powder. Or, browse through your spice rack. You might come up with an idea that no one has thought of yet.
Amaranth is one of the confusing foods for me. The Type O Diet says it is neutral. The Hunter Diet says it is black dot toxic. The Gatherer Diet says it is superbeneficial. I have considered it a frequent neutral for me.
However “frequent” refers more to what is allowed than to what actually happens at my house. The Type A Diet says amaranth is beneficial. That is an even better reason for my serving amaranth frequently. But to be honest, none of us liked it very much. It smelled funny when it was cooking in a pot on the stove. At the end of the suggested cooking time it was a gooey ball. It stuck to the fork. It tasted ok, but it was not particularly appetizing. It did not get a good response when I served it.
I have really enjoyed enjoy the rice cooker I got for Christmas. Brown rice is perfect every time. I had a friend who complained that her rice sometimes formed a crust in the bottom of the cooker. I was putting 1-2 teaspoons of light olive oil in the water before I added the rice. Every time I don’t add the oil, I get the same crust, but with the oil it is no problem.
One time instead of rice, I cooked quinoa in the rice cooker. It came out perfect.
I was preparing to cook dinner one night and saw an unopened bag of amaranth in the pantry. I decided to try it in the rice cooker. I set a timer to check on it when it had cooked the amount of time recommended on the package. I could still see water boiling, so I decided to trust the rice cooker.
When the cooker turned off, the amaranth was in a solid piece. It was not as dry as cornbread or flax bread, but I could slice it and lift it out with a spatula. There was none of the sticky texture that always happened when I cooked it on the stove. And there was no bad smell in the kitchen.
I didn’t tell my husband what it was. I just put the slices alongside the cod and vegetables. He took a slice and liked it. We both did. We ate it with a fork, sort of like you would eat quiche.
If you have tried amaranth in the past and didn’t think you cared for it, give it another chance. Cook it in a rice cooker. If you don’t have a rice cooker . . . well, it sure makes a great Christmas gift.
I love birthdays, and I stretch my celebration out for as long as I can get away with it.
This year’s celebration started at the end of July when my sister and niece arrived in the United States. They both have summer birthdays, so we three celebrated our birthdays together. We had lunch at a local grill that has great salads. I had a three salad plate that was delicious and healthy.
The week before my birthday, DD and ESS came for the weekend. We went swimming at the lake and had lots of beneficial food. ESS also has an August birthday. My niece said, “Aunt Suzanne, you two need a cake.” It’s hard to explain why you don’t want birthday cake.
On the day of my birthday, HH, my niece and I met SS for barbeque. Again my niece said, “Aunt Suzanne, it’s not really a birthday without cake.” There was a pie shop across the street from the barbeque restaurant. I said, “How about birthday pie?” She agreed, so the four of us shared a pie. The choices were a pie with beneficial fruit, and a thick double crust or coconut cream pie with very little crust. I went with coconut cream. If I’m going to eat an avoid, it should be memorable, and this was one of the best coconut cream pies I have ever tasted.
A few days later my niece and I had lunch with one of my friends. The server tried to talk us into cheesecake. I told my niece that I never ordered cheesecake in a restaurant, because nobody’s cheesecake could compare to my mother’s recipe. She just barely remembered eating her grandmother’s cheesecake when she was a little girl. I said, “You’ve been telling me I should have a birthday cake, how about if we make Granny’s cheesecake?” She loved that idea.
I’ve posted the recipe in other blogs, so I won’t post it again today. However we made one change that made it extra good. My mother used a baby toast called Zwieback for the crust. I’ve substituted wheat free cookies and I’ve substituted walnuts. This time I didn’t have any cookies, and I was out of walnuts…what to do? I ground up pecans and patted them into the pan.
Oh my, it was delicious. Better than walnuts, better than the wheat free cookies, better than Zwieback.
A pecan crust would be fabulous with a fruit torte. It would complement a quiche. I think you could use pecans in almost any recipe that calls for a pat in crust.
We had a wonderful, long weekend with family. My sister and niece were here from Europe. DD and ESS drove down from North Texas. SS came from Central Texas where his physical therapy practice is located. Saturday night I fixed a big dinner – roast beef, black eyed peas, artichokes, sweet potatoes, bread, and watermelon for dessert.
I tried a new sweet potato recipe, and all of the Type Os liked it. But the real key was how it would measure up to other sweet potato recipes. So we took a vote. The new recipe did pretty well. The winner was sweet potato fries. I think everyone agreed that was their favorite way to eat sweet potatoes. Second place votes went to baked sweet potatoes, sweet potatoes with cinnamon, and the new recipe.
“What I really need to know,” I said, “is whether to keep the recipe. Be honest, do you want me to fix sweet potatoes this way again?” The vote was unanimous – keep the recipe. On that recommendation, I will share it with you.
Sweet Potatoes with Agave Nectar and Fresh Rosemary
3 sweet potatoes, washed and cubed
3 Tbsp light Olive Oil
2 Tbsp fresh Rosemary
½ - 1 Tbsp Agave Nectar
Salt and pepper if desired (I didn’t use either)
Whisk together the olive oil, agave nectar and rosemary. Toss with the sweet potato cubes until the potatoes are well coated. There are two cooking options. I used the stove top option.
Cooking Option 1 – Put the coated potatoes in a large pot on the stovetop. Cook on medium high heat until they begin to turn soft – about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep them coated and to prevent sticking.
Cooking Option 2 – Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Spread the coated potatoes on the cooking sheet. Bake for 45 – 50 minutes at 400 degrees. Stir the potatoes every 15 minutes.
Okra is beneficial for both Type Os and Type As – but my Honorable Husband doesn’t usually like it. I think okra is wonderful cooked in a small skillet with just a little ghee or olive oil. But HH will have nothing to do with it. “Too much slime,” he says.
One time when DD and ESS were here for the weekend, we had been off on an afternoon adventure. We arrived home right at dinner time, and we were all hungry. I sent DD and ESS to the freezer with instructions to find a vegetable that everyone would like. They came back with a bag of okra. This did not look promising for HH.
There is a brand of pasta sauce that I really like. It uses olive oil instead of the cheaper oils, has no added sugar, and no preservatives. It is Classico Tomato & Basil. I poured a jar of Classico over the okra and started cooking.
For the Type Os, it was all beneficial or neutral. For the Type As, there were tomatoes to contend with. HH loves tomatoes. He eats them freely when we are away from home. If he turns out to be a non secretor (which could easily happen based on his sinus problems and his tendency to like larger portions of flesh foods) tomatoes would be neutral for him. I don’t buy fresh tomatoes, but I don’t deprive him of pasta sauce either. DD, who does not like tomatoes and who is strict on herself about avoids, was having a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, so she wasn’t going to eat the okra anyway.
Okra cooked on pasta sauce was delicious. It reminded me of the okra & tomato dish my mother used to cook when I was young, but the Italian seasoning gave it more zip.
This has become a favorite for both HH and me. In fact, I cooked it earlier this week. Yesterday’s lunch was the last of the Classico okra and the last of a leg of lamb mixed together in a bowl.
I’m hoarding again, but it’s beef this time. In 2010 there was there was a rumor of a pumpkin shortage. I ignored it, because there was plenty of pumpkin on the shelves at my grocery store…until June, when Libby’s pure pumpkin was suddenly unavailable. There were still limited cans of organic pumpkin. Organic pumpkin is less flavorful, watery and more expensive, but I bought it anyway because it is a beneficial food that DD and I eat at least twice a week. I wrote a blog about traveling to three grocery stores and buying all the organic pumpkin they had. I felt a little guilty about hoarding.
Now I am hearing another rumor. The local radio stations say that cattle are suffering because of the severe drought in Texas. Ranchers are beginning to sell off their stock. Better to get what they can now, than wait until the cattle start to lose weight or the ranchers have to buy feed in the summer time. The expectation is that beef prices may drop in the short term, but will skyrocket later this year.
I have no idea whether the rumor is true, but I have started picking up a couple of pounds of extra lean ground beef every time I go to the store and stashing them away in the freezer. If the rumor is true I will still be able to eat beef every week. If the cattle situation is exaggerated, I’ll have fun cleaning out the freezer and enjoying lots of beef.
I had beef for lunch today in a variation of one of my favorite bowls. In the refrigerator, I found leftover mustard greens and leftover artichokes. I mixed them with ground beef and ¼ carton of hummus. For “dessert” I chopped up half an apple and heated it in the microwave with pumpkin and ½ teaspoon of cinnamon. A Type O meal doesn’t get much better than that.
Having Earth Day and Good Friday fall on the same day was interesting. Good Friday normally has me focused on the suffering and crucifixion of Christ on the cross. However I started today by reading Psalm 8, one of the creation Psalms, and I found myself focused on God as creator of the earth.
In honor of the day, I have an egg story and recipe for you.
While my sister and I were cleaning out my parent’s house, one of my mother’s best friends took us out to lunch. We went to one of her favorite restaurants called The Egg and I. The menu was wonderful because it listed the ingredients for all of the egg oriented dishes. I found just the combination I wanted under Mediterranean Frittata, but I had never heard of a frittata. Our server explained that it was a egg dish cooked in a skillet. It was sort of like an open faced omelet or a quiche without a crust. I tried it, and it was delicious.
Since then it has become my favorite way to cook eggs. My husband still prefers an omelet, so this works perfectly. I start my frittata cooking on one burner in a skillet, while I devote more time to watching out for his omelet in the omelet pan.
Here is my favorite frittata. I serve it with a sweet potato sprinkled with cinnamon.
Spray a small skillet with cooking spray. Lightly beat three eggs and pour them in the skillet. On top of the eggs, put grilled onions and 2-3 handfuls of fresh spinach. On top of the spinach put 2-3 thin slices of mozzarella cheese. The skillet will be full because of the spinach. Put the lid on the skillet. Cook on medium high heat until you can hear the eggs cooking. Then reduce the heat to low and cook until the spinach is completely wilted and the mozzarella is melted. Slide the frittata out of the pan onto a plate.
Here is part of Psalm 8. See if you don’t agree it is perfect for both Earth Day and Good Friday mediation.
“O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens…When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor."
This one Psalm praises God who created the earth as well as the “Son of Man.” one of the titles Jesus used for himself.
One moment my Honorable Husband and I were at home alone, the next moment the house was full. DD and her boyfriend arrived from one direction, SS arrived from the other. DD & I were in the kitchen cooking. Laughter bubbled up from the living room.
I had asked both kids to request favorite foods. SS wanted butternut squash soup. DD wanted quiche and salmon croquettes.
I wish I could tell you that I make the butternut squash soup that SS likes from scratch, but I don’t. I can get low sodium butternut squash soup from Pacific Natural Foods at my grocery store. I think the first time I bought it I found one avoid down at the bottom of the ingredient list. It was not significant enough to deter me from buying the soup again. My husband, son and I love it.
DD’s boyfriend is Type O, so one night before SS had to go back to work, I made lamb with stir fried asparagus and sweet potato fries. I seasoned the asparagus with Mrs. Dash’s no salt seasoning and it was delicious.
Quiche is a joke in my family. Back in the 70s there was a book called “Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche." HH took that literally and refuses to eat quiche. DD and I get around the difficulty in semantics by baking egg pie. You may remember that for Easter in 2008, she and I created an egg pie recipe for a brunch at church. I haven’t made it in quite a while, and I was so glad DD thought of it. I had some Buddy’s sausage (made with chicken and no nitrites). It was perfect in the pie.
The simplest and most surprising thing I cooked at Spring Break was okra. We got home one late one afternoon from an excursion and I was scrambling to cook a quick and healthy dinner. I sent DD and her boy friend to the freezer to find a vegetable. They came back with okra. HH likes okra and tomatoes, but he doesn’t really care for plain okra. There was no time to cook the okra properly. For some reason I thought of a jar of marinara sauce that I had in the pantry. Classico Tomato & Basil sauce has no preservatives, no sugar, and no corn syrup. It is made with olive oil. I poured half a jar over the okra and started it cooking. Oh my, it was delicious. I will make okra this way again.
I have made salmon croquettes several times, and have never been completely satisfied with them. This time I read half a dozen recipes. I borrowed a little from one and a little from another. The result was the best salmon croquettes I have ever tasted. Of course I will share the recipe with you.
1 can salmon
1 tsp Braggs Amino Acids (you can substitute Tamari sauce and or lemon juice)
½ tsp garlic powder
2-4 Tablespoons rice flour
Sauté onion in ghee or oil. Mix salmon, eggs and Braggs. Add onion. Add seasonings. Add flour 1 Tbsp at a time until salmon mixture is mushy but not watery. Form into patties and fry in light olive oil in a skillet on the stove.
The secret it that the patties be mushy when you start cooking them. If they are firm at the beginning, they will be too dry when they are done.
I have had children in school for 21 years. About half way through Spring Break it dawned on me that this is my last school holiday as a parent. DD is finishing her senior year in May. I am rapidly approaching the end of an era.
After three requests for custard recipes, I decided I’d better post them
This is my grandmother’s recipe. I wonder what she would have thought about almond milk!
7 cups almond milk
1 cup sweetener
1 Tbsp vanilla
Heat the milk until hot. Do not boil! Stir often. Mix the eggs and sweetener. Pour two cups of hot milk over eggs and sweetener. Mix well. Pour this into the rest of the milk. Stir constantly! Cook until it begins to thicken. Add vanilla and chill.
Notes: The original recipe called for sugar. I changed it to honey during my Health Nut days. DD cannot drink unsweetened almond milk because the carrageen upsets her stomach. But I can buy regular flavor almond milk without carrageen. One cup of honey and regular flavor almond milk was too sweet for me. Next time I’ll use ½ - ¾ cup sweetener.
Though this is called boiled custard, if you really let it boil it is not as smooth. Cook until it is thick, but try not to let it boil.
Boiled custard is great frozen in an ice cream freezer.
2 cups scalded almond milk.
¼ - ½ cup sugar
½ tsp vanilla
Mix other ingredients into the scalded milk. Pour into a baked pie crust. Cook in 325 degree oven for 40 minutes or until firm.
Notes: Instead of a pie crust, I poured mine into a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.
Because I also added 2 cups of coconut, and because I was cooking it for my husband who has to watch his blood sugar, I used ¼ cup of sugar. It was plenty sweet.
Because of the coconut, my custard was thicker, so it longer than 40 minutes to cook.
They say that “necessity is the mother of invention.” I would add that it is also the mother of recipes.
When my Darling Daughter left to go back for her last semester in college (yes, DD is graduating in May) she left a half carton of almond milk behind. Because she was stopping to visit friends and relatives on the way back to school, she didn’t know if she could keep it cold. Besides, she was coming back home at the end of January – long before the expiration date.
I used a little of the almond milk making my Honorable Husband some soup, so I didn’t know if there was enough left for DD’s trip home. When I was shopping for her January visit, I bought another carton. I told her to take all of the almond milk with her, but in the flurry of activity to pack her car, we both forgot.
I managed to use what was left in the open carton before it expired. But last week I realized I had a half gallon of almond milk that was about to go to waste. The first thing I thought of was custard. My mother’s family loved boiled custard. It was a tradition at family gatherings. But HH does not like it. However he does like coconut custard pie.
Coconut is one of the few foods that is avoid for all Blood types and toxic for all GenoTypes. That puts it in the same category with pork. This is unfortunate because HH dearly loves coconut. Though it is avoid, I bake a coconut cake for him every year on his birthday. I had coconut left over from his birthday.
I decided to make each of us a treat with the almond milk.
All of the custard pie recipes in my cookbooks were basically the same. I prepared the custard, stirred in the leftover coconut, and poured it into a glass baking dish instead of a pie crust.. I used half the sugar that the recipe called for because of the blood sugar issues HH dealt with before he got serious about the BTD. I baked it according to the pie instructions. He loves it!
I made boiled custard with the rest of the almond milk. The first sip took my taste buds back to my grandmother’s kitchen. The eggs are good for me and the almond milk is neutral. Next time I will reduce the sugar a little. I don’t know if I am used to less sugar, or if the almond milk is sweeter than regular milk, but the only thing that keeps this custard from being perfect is that it is a tad too sweet.
This summer when blueberries, strawberries and nectarines are in season, I’m going to make a custard pie without coconut and top it with fresh fruit. My mouth is watering already.
All of these healthy desserts because of the necessity of using almond milk before it expired.
The garbanzo beans I cooked in the crock pot were wonderful. However I cooked more than I thought I was cooking, and since they are avoid for Type As, I was eating them all by myself. At the same time I ran out of hummus.
Traditionally hummus is eaten with bread or pita chips – both of which are avoid for Type O. I found that I really like hummus mixed with cooked greens. I’m sure that horrifies Middle Eastern gourmets, but, really, it tastes good. Hummus and mustard greens with ground beef is one of my favorite lunches.
So, there I was, out of hummus, but with more garbanzo beans than I knew what to do with. I decided to make homemade hummus. I didn’t have sesame seeds or tahini, but I had lots of other nuts. My first experiment was with pecans. I put garbanzos, pecans, garlic in the food processor and whirled them until they were creamy. It didn’t taste like hummus, but it tasted good, and it was delicious with cooked greens.
After I finished the pecan hummus, I still had garbanzos left – I told you I cooked a lot of beans! So I tried homemade hummus again with walnuts. This time I added a little olive oil. Again, it didn’t taste like hummus, but it was very good. I wish I had thought to add some lemon juice. That might have made it taste more like real hummus.
I’m not committing to make my own hummus all the time. But it’s nice to know that I have such a good way to use up leftover garbanzo beans.
I got a crock pot as a wedding gift. It is sort of a mustard color – one of the earth tones that was popular in the 1970s. I used it a lot when my Honorable Husband and I were first married. He loved casseroles and stews. I loved coming home from work to find dinner warm and ready to eat. Then we had children – who like most children didn’t want their food all mixed together. Then the family got on the Blood Type Diet and none of the old favorite recipes were suitable for both Type As and Type Os. So the crock pot has been gathering dust in the back of the pantry beside the deep fryer.
One of our Christmas gatherings was a Sunday School covered dish party with a Mexican food theme. I knew there would be lots of corn, wheat, and cheese. By the time the sign up list got to me two other people had already said they would bring salads. I was quickly thinking of something that would be healthy and in line with the Mexican theme. I wrote down black beans.
I have always taken the easy way out and bought canned beans. My grocery store carries brands with reduced sodium and minimum added ingredients. When the kids are home, a can serves the family. When it is just HH and myself, we have a few beans left over for veggie bowls the next day. But since I was making black beans for a crowd, I thought I would dust off the crock pot and cook them myself.
I found a really easy recipe in the internet.
Soak one pound of black beans overnight. I soaked them in the crock pot.
Drain the beans and pick out the broken pieces. Add one can broth (I used chicken) one onion (chopped) and one jar of salsa. Add enough water to cover the beans. Cook on high for 5-6 hours or low for 8 – 9 hours. I started on high and switched to low after about 4 hours.
The beans were really good. They were also really easy. Most of all, I was shocked at how inexpensive they were compared to canned beans.
So, when I was getting ready for our Christmas Day tamale dinner, I decided to cook pinto beans in the crock pot. HH tries to eat relatively low sodium because of his blood pressure. My Darling Daughter gets a burning sensation on her tongue when she eats too much salt. So I kept the pinto beans really simple.
One pound of pinto beans soaked overnight.
Drain the beans and pick out the broken pieces. Add one chopped onion. Add 2 teaspoons of cumin. Add water to cover the beans. Cook in the crock pot the same way I cooked the black beans.
Once again I was struck by how inexpensive and delicious crock pot beans can be. So for New Year’s Day, I cooked black eyed peas. Another success! Now I’m hooked. I’ve already bought garbanzo’s to cook this weekend. It has become increasingly hard to find canned fava beans and adzukis, but my health food store carries dried packages of both.
I will probably always keep a few cans of beans on the pantry shelf for times when I need them quickly. But I plan to use the crock pot for beneficial beans at least once a week.
For Christmas I got a rice cooker. If you are a long time reader, that statement will make you smile. Several years ago I was with a group of women and one of them said that if she had to give up every appliance in her kitchen except one, she would keep her rice cooker. I was astounded - first because I had never heard of a rice cooker, and second because I rely daily on my food processor and blender.
Because of my Honorable Husband’s experience with pre-diabetic blood sugar levels two years ago, I only serve him one starch per meal, and I aim for beneficial starches. He loves rice, and it is a beneficial food for Type As in the BTD Diabetes book. My schedule works against me, however. To cook brown rice properly on the stove, I have to remember to start cooking it early, and I have to serve it quickly after it is done. One day I saw pre-cooked rice packets in the grocery store. You pop them in the microwave for a minute (the packet says 90 seconds, but I thought 60 seconds was better) and they are ready to eat. I could get both brown rice and wild rice. Initially I intended to have a couple of packets as a back up, but it was too easy. I began to buy them often.
Though they saved a lot of time, I always felt guilty. For one thing they are expensive relative to the cost of rice. There were also added ingredients, that I didn’t read too closely, because I knew I’d find things that weren’t good for him. And I don’t trust microwaving food in plastic bags. I do it from time to time, but I am suspicious.
As it got close to Christmas, I remembered the conversation about rice cookers and began to do a little research. I wanted a small cooker, because I mainly cooking rice for HH alone. I didn’t want to spend a fortune, and some of the highly rated oriental cookers are really expensive. One day DD and I wandered into a gourmet store at the mall and I got into a conversation with one of the sales people who recommended a one to six cup Black & Decker rice cooker that was moderately priced. He said if I didn’t like it, I could bring it back to the store for up to three months. I asked how many other people had returned them, and he said, “No one has ever brought one back.” I put it on my wish list, and Christmas morning it was under the tree.
Since then I have entered a love affair with my rice cooker. I can cook absolutely perfect brown rice in about 45 minutes or less. It is full of flavor – it even makes the kitchen smell good. It has an automatic warming function that keeps the rice ready to serve until the rest of the meal is ready. I can also use the warming setting to reheat leftover rice.
If I had to choose between the rice cooker and the food processor I would still choose the food processor…but I hope I never have to make the choice.
This blog is getting long. I’ll save the “old gadget” part for another day.
When I first read that quince was beneficial for both Hunters and Teachers, I said, “What is a quince?” I learned that they are shaped sort of like an apple, but they are smaller and harder. They smell sort of like a pear, but they aren’t as sweet.
I asked the produce manager at the grocery store. He said that they did carry quince, but only for a limited time in the fall. I watched for them, but never saw one until this year. I was excited to try a new beneficial, and I bought two.
I found a website that showed a couple of ways to cook and eat them. I tried one method on the first quince. It was ok, but certainly not as immediately enticing as most other beneficial foods are.
This might have ended my interest in quince, but DD had also bought some. She cooked hers a different way in her college apartment, and said she liked it. So, when she got home for Christmas break, I watched her cook my second quince.
She pealed the quince and cut out the core. She put it in a covered sauce pan with one can of undrained pineapple chunks and simmered them together at a low temperature for a long time - probably an hour. The quince was done when it turned pink. The first day I added pineapple/quince to my regular breakfast mix along with a banana. Today I ate the last of the quince with cherries. I liked it.
I read that at one time every farm had a quince tree. They were used for making jelly because they had a high pectin contest. They were also mixed with other fruits in pies. I was left with the impression that since they could easily be grown on a local farm, they were used to stretch other fruits that were store bought. That is certainly how they worked best in my breakfast. Alone they were just ok. Mixed with other fruit they taste good.
I classify quince as a "high maintenance" food. It is moderately expensive. It is time consuming to prepare. It does not taste good alone, though it is good when mixed with other fruits. Because it is a health building beneficial, I'll buy a couple each fall. But I don't like them enough to consider planting a quince tree in my yard.
I have always cooked fish in the oven. I don’t know why. That’s the way my mother cooked fish. That’s what most of my recipes have called for.
After a recent blog about cod, Basma sent this comment, “Never ever cook fish in the oven. It turns out dry and tastes awful. I always cook fish (any kind) in a non-stick saucepan. I add some olive oil, brown the fish on one side, flip it over and then add the juice of one lemon and let it simmer on a low heat in the juice until all the juice is absorbed and the fish is browned and moist. Add spices like Cajun and it becomes a very yummy fish indeed.”
Her enthusiasm alone made me want to try this as soon as possible. A few days later I was at the store looking for something to fix for dinner that night. Mahi Mahi was on special. This – I knew instantly – would be the ultimate test for pan vs oven cooking.
You see, eight or ten years ago I had read about what a great tasting fish Mahi Mahi was. One night, when we were having company for dinner, I bought a Mahi Mahi fillet. I cooked it and served it with a flourish. It was terrible. Dry, tough, tasteless. I was embarrassed. I was also irritated - Mahi Mahi was expensive.
Last summer in South Carolina, our son recommended Mahi Mahi fish tacos. I said, “no way.” But he insisted and I tried them. I had to admit, they were delicious.
I decided to try Basma’s cooking method on Mahi Mahi. I had two things going for me this time. (1) the fish was on sale and (2) my husband and I would be alone for dinner. The experiment would not be expensive or embarrassing.
I followed her instructions, except I was out of lemons. Oh Mahi, it was good - tender, flavorful, very enjoyable. Even the leftovers two days later were acceptable. I can imagine that lemons would make it even better. I have become a fan of pan cooked fish.