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 decided yesterday to start hoarding food. I hope I'm being neurotic, but too many signs point to the potential for an economic disaster. I decided I had better be prepared.
I grew up on the Gulf Coast. People there are aware that a hurricane or an ice storm can knock out the infrastructure for a week or more. I have followed my Mom's example and always kept two weeks' worth of food on hand. I was thankful that my Mom had a well stocked pantry when Hurricane Ike knocked out their power for more than a week a few years ago.
Yesterday I decided that two weeks might not be enough. I'm going to add another month's worth of food to what I already have in the house. I look at the growing debt, the irrational exuberance of the stock market, and the unwillingness to cut either government or personal spending. I hope I'm being neurotic, but it spells disaster to me.
Two factors influenced my action yesterday: observation at a charity event and a radio commercial.
In our town there is a government apartment house for elderly poor. They are served two meals a day six days a week, but no meals are served on Sunday. Local churches take turns serving Sunday lunch to the residents. Our Bible Study class has had the first Sunday in March for several years. HH and I have contributed money to the project, but this year we went to help serve. For lunch they had pizza and cupcakes. That was the menu because it was popular and inexpensive. Our small group was able to feed almost 40 people a meal that made them smile. But as I served, couldn't help putting myself in their shoes. As a Type O, if I were on a diet of pizza and cupcakes, my stomach pain would come roaring back, my cholesterol would skyrocket, and I would gain weight fast.
That led to the realization that if there is an economic collapse, the food that will be easily available, will not be food that builds my health. I hope, I'm being neurotic, but I need to have nonperishable meat and vegetables in reserve.
I listen to the radio as I drive from one appointment to another. Among the oft repeated commercials right now are those for food insurance. As I was driving around yesterday, I must have heard three food insurance commercials. The one that grabbed my attention talked about how their food was freeze dried and could be safely stored for decades. Names mentioned were lasagna, chicken Alfredo, and beef stroganoff. All of that is wheat based - not health building for Type Os.
Again it hit me that if there is a disaster I need to be self sufficient. I do not want to depend on starch based meals handed out at a government facility. My last stop of the day was at the grocery store to buy bananas, lettuce, and broccoli. I filled my cart with non perishable meat, legumes, vegetables and fruit. I will have to remember to watch expiration dates and rotate cans, but I can do that.
As I unloaded the food and stored it away, something else hit me. If there is a disaster and my neighbors come to the door begging food for their children, my Christian world view will not allow me to turn them away. Perhaps a month's food is not enough. But I really hope I'm being neurotic.
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.
It has been a long time since I have had really sore muscles.
I think I'm in pretty good shape. In fact, I think I'm in above average shape for a woman my age. After spending the first 23 years of my life sitting on sofas reading books, I discovered that I liked to run and swim. When I found the Blood Type Diet in 2003 and read that Type Os need "intense physical exercise" I could identify.
I exercise between 45 minutes and an hour 5-6 days a week. I let my body rest one day a week. For me it is a good Biblical principal, but I find it interesting that every physical trainers agree. Women my age are prone to lose muscle mass and replace it with fat. I fight that tendency continuously.
For all of these reasons, it has been a long time since I have had really sore muscles.
Saturday I photographed 17 basketball teams. I had been hired by a children's basketball league. The players were aged 5-12. I shot pictures from 7:30 in the morning until 4:30 that afternoon.
If you want good pictures, you do not stand when you photograph children. You get down on their level. So I was up and down; up and down; up and down all day long. While I was working, I felt great. But, oh my! Sunday morning when I got out of bed, my quads were screaming. I hobbled into the bathroom. I had trouble getting dressed. I walked around all day like an old lady.
Monday was a little better. If I had been sitting for a while - at the computer or in a meeting - when I first stood up my quads were stiff and painful. However, once I started moving around, they loosened up. Today is a little better, but still noticeably painful.
I'm disappointed and dismayed. How could someone who exercises as much as I do have muscles this sore? I know the answer, while I exercise up to an hour a day, I don't work my leg muscles all day the way I did on Saturday.
What I have learned from this experience is that the exercise I'm doing is not pushing my muscles anywhere close to their limits. I may be in better shape than most women my age, but there is a lot of room for improvement.