I am still trying to figure out if we have a new, creative manager at the local grocery store, or if yesterday I suddenly opened my eyes to products that have been on the shelves all along. Whichever it was my trip to the grocery store was an adventure.
The search for new products started because I bought a cell phone before I went grocery shopping. Such a simple purchase requires many forms and too much time. When I reached the store I needed something to eat or drink. I found Teas Tea brand green tea with lemongrass, unsweetened. I opened a bottle and sipped it as I shopped. What a delightful flavor...good green tea and very lemony.
I needed jelly. There on the grocery store shelf were imported Black Current preserves. Real Currents are hard to find in the US, at least in the South. I had found Current Preserves at a discount store several years ago, and loved them, but once the store was out, they didn't reorder. I put a dollop of Black Current preserves on my turnip greens for dinner, and they were delicious. Perhaps turnip greens and preserves sounds weird to you - I can't explain it, but turnip greens need something to make them palatable, and preserves do the trick.
I was on the baking isle to get cilantro, when I saw a coupon for $1.00 off any two flours by Bobs Red Mill. I didn't really need anything...but I couldn't pass up the coupon. I bought one bag of brown rice flour (practical) and one bag of garbanzo fava flour (impulsive). I'm loving what I imagine garbanzo fava flour will taste like. I'm thinking biscuits. I'm also thinking breaded okra or onions or chicken livers.
I went to pick up the Blue Diamond nut crackers that HH likes. Right above them on the shelf was a new brand of rice crackers. There were so many intriguing flavors - all of them gluten free. I bought three flavors: Bean and Fiesta Lime, Sweet Onion and Multigrain. HH immediately opened the Multigrain and loved them. The best part - they are less expensive than the nut crackers.
In produce I found fresh guava back in stock. In addition the price on mangos has dropped, so I bought two.
The only bad thing about grocery store adventures is that it takes time to read all of the labels. It was getting late and I needed something fast for dinner. The meat department had 1/3 pound flavored fish burgers. I bought spicy salmon burgers for last night and Mahi Mahi burgers with feta cheese for lunch today.
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 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.