There are two things you need to know before you read this recipe.
First, while pumpkin is a beneficial food for my Type A Honorable Husband, he does not like it. He has never liked pumpkin pie, and he certainly does not like pumpkin as a vegetable.
Second, back in the 1960s, someone had the bright idea to treat acne with x-rays. HH was one of the teenagers given this treatment. The good news was it cleared up the acne. The bad news was that too much x-ray was found to cause cancer. For years HH has felt like his face was a ticking time bomb.
He had his first basal cell cancer removed about six years ago. This year’s visit to the dermatologist, discovered a second basal cell cancer. This time it was on his lip, so he was sent to a Mohs specialist in the city. If you are not familiar with the Mohs technique, I’ll explain in in non-scientific terms.
Instead of gouging out a cancer and hoping they get it all, the doctor has a pathology lab in his office. He removes a layer of cells and sends them immediately to the lab, while you read a book in the waiting room. If there are no cancer cells in the boundaries, they stitch you up and send you home. If they find cancer cells near the edges of the removed tissue, they take off another layer of cells and send it to the lab. In this way they take out the least amount of tissue necessary, yet are confident that they got all of the cancer cells associated with that spot.
HH was fortunate. The lab results after the first cut showed no cancer cells near the edges. However, since they had cut into his lip and stitched it up, he had to eat soft food for several days. I put his food through the blender, just like DD does when she makes baby food.
He really liked drinking his breakfast (granola, almond milk, and fruit) through a straw. Lunch and supper weren’t quite as appetizing, but certainly better than pain.
So, when I started looking for a recipe for the Picky Eater Challenge, it had to be something that I could put through the blender, but also be something with a texture that SIL, DD, and I would enjoy. I had some chicken already cooked, so I began reading through recipes in the BTD Recipe Database.
I stopped when I got to a recipe called Curried Chicken, when I saw pumpkin as an ingredient. The recipe says that the pumpkin is used to thicken the sauce. I hadn’t intended to be sneaky, but I knew that HH would never know he was eating beneficial pumpkin.
I made the recipe almost like it was written, except that I cut it in half. I used real garlic. I didn’t use salt, but I doubled the curry powder.
The pumpkin did indeed give a nice thick sauce without wheat or cornstarch! The orange color wasn’t particularly noticeable, because the curry powder would have made it orange anyway.
He ate Curried Chicken for one meal liquefied in the blender. He ate it for another meal over quinoa the day he got to take the bulky part of the bandage off. On a scale of 1-10, the highest score HH has ever given an entrée is an 8. He gave Curried Chicken a 7. I can’t wait to hear how SIL likes this recipe!
It was DD’s turn in the Picky Eater Challenge, and she chose a recipe on an interesting website called GNOWFGLINS — “God’s natural, organic, whole foods, grown locally, in season”
I’m going to post the two original links, then I’ll tell you how this recipe worked at my house.
My husband loves soup, but generally I do not. Because of that, I often choose the line of least resistance, and buy the healthiest canned soup I can find. Even the healthiest is high sodium, especially for someone on blood pressure medication.
I had read on the BTD website about bone broth, but had never tried it. I thought it might be a way to make low sodium soup, but I wasn’t sure how to start. I was intrigued that this recipe relied on bone broth to supplement the broth from the chicken.
My crockpot is an old 4 quart, and I bought one large 8 pound chicken. It was a tight fit. When I lifted the chicken out, the whole thing fell apart. The meat fell off the bones, the bones separated from each other. It was the tenderest chicken imaginable. The only problem was that when I debone a chicken, I anticipate where the small bones (like from the drumsticks) will be. I had to be extra careful since everything came apart so quickly.
I put the meat of the chicken in a bowl in the refrigerator. I threw away the skin - perhaps it would have helped the broth, but I didn’t want extra fat. I put the bones back in the crockpot and followed the directions for bone broth.
The recipe called for traditional vegetables. Onion, garlic, celery and carrots were good. But HH does not like English peas, and corn is an avoid food. I left those two out, and added fresh green beans instead. I decided to use brown rice instead of noodles.
We had the soup for dinner on Friday night. HH’s first impression was that it was too bland. He said he would eat it, but not to make it again. I suspected that he didn’t like this soup because it was not as salty as he was used to. On Saturday I bought Mrs. Dash No Salt Chicken Seasoning, and added more than two teaspoons to the remaining soup.
We had it again for lunch after church on Sunday. HH knew I had changed it, but he was surprised at his first taste. “On a scale of 1-10, it’s up to a 4,” he said. “I can make it a 5.” He got the tamari and added some to his soup. He smiled and said, “You can make this again.”
DD and I are looking for quick recipes. This is certainly not an impulse meal - - the crockpot ran for more than a day and a half and the pot on the stove for another hour. But my time preparing was minimal - putting the chicken in the crockpot, deboning the chicken, chopping vegetables.
I am happy to have tried bone broth and found it so easy to do in the crockpot. Straining the broth was much easier than I had imagined. I want to experiment more this winter with low sodium soups. I might even learn to enjoy them myself.
My strong son has a friend in the Marines. His mother once told me that though he had struggled in elementary and high school with ADHD, in Marine Corps Basic Training he had overcome his tendency to be distracted. She used as an example that in Basic he was not allowed to touch his face, and that it had become so ingrained that he no longer touched his face in public.
I kept wondering about why touching your face would be part of Basic Training. What I eventually decided was that it must have to do with the potential of being in a chemical or biological warfare attack. If you make it a habit never to touch your face, you eliminate getting dangerous substances into your eyes, nose or mouth where they gain entrance to the rest of your body.
In this age of Ebola and Enterovirus, I need to stop rubbing my eyes. It is a gateway. If the Marines can teach hyperactive young men to keep their hands off their faces, surely I can stop rubbing my eyes. If you pick your nose - stop. If you chew your fingernails - stop.
I am a tactile learner. (I you are not familiar with learning styles, it is well worth the time to research them, especially if you have children in school.) A tactile learner learns through their fingers. That means taking notes, doodling, tapping. My husband and I have some of our best conversations when I am washing dishes. The computer keyboard becomes an extension of my brain.
The downside of being tactile is that it is nearly impossible for me to learn if I am completely still. Long ago - when I was a teenager - I developed a habit of picking at my cuticles. It helped me pay attention when I didn't have a pencil and a piece of paper. I once joked that I knew the pastor had preached a really good sermon, if I came out of church with a mutilated cuticles.
I must break this habit. Cuts on my hands are another gateway. Other people who cough or sneeze or bite their nails are touching things all around me - door knobs, handrails, toilet flushers, menus, credit card machines... God provides enormous protection through our somewhat impermeable skin. But a paper cut or a torn cuticle is another gateway.
I was in a meeting yesterday and the topic was fascinating. I caught myself tugging at a cuticle. In this age of Ebola, I must stop this habit!
I said two things in the title of this blog, but here is a bonus. I went to fill my water bottles at the water machine yesterday. Our Hill Country water tastes delicious, but they add fluoride, so I buy water at a reverse osmosis machine. It was the end of a busy day, when I pulled up next to the machine. As I was getting my bottles out of the car, a man with a five gallon bottle jumped ahead and started filling his bottle. He didn't exactly cut in line, but I was tired and it made me irritable. I continued unloading bottles.
The man laughed - "Ha Ha Ha, did I get in front of you? Ha Ha Ha I thought you gave me a dirty look. Ha Ha Ha!" There was a shopping cart nearby, so I put my four 2-gallon bottles in the cart and waited for his bottle to fill. He walked over to my cart and said, "Ha Ha Ha, you have a lot of bottles there." Then he touched each of my bottles and counted them.
I had had enough. I said, "Don't touch my stuff! In this age of Ebola, keep your hands to yourself." He apologized, put the lid on his bottle, and left.
In a public place, keep your hands to yourself. Mind your own business. This winter you won't know who has Ebola, Enterovirus, or just an annoying cold. And they won't know whether you are infected and passing an unwelcome germ to them.
Pesto and Venetian Seafood are this week's recipes in the Picky eater challenge.
Our Strong Son came home for a day of football with his Dad. As I was fixing lunch, I asked if he had ever had pesto. He said, "I love pesto." How is it that my son already loves something I had never tasted until Wednesday?
I went to my book club on Wednesday. Among the snacks that our hostess served were deviled eggs. I bit into one expecting the traditional hot mustard flavor, but this was entirely different. I could taste garlic and lemon. I asked, and she said she had made the deviled eggs with pesto. All of the other women were enjoying the eggs as much as I was, so we convinced her to share the recipe - and I'll now share it with you.
Pesto for deviled eggs
1 large clove garlic minced
1 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves
1 1/2 cups fresh basil
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
How to make Pesto:
In a food processor pulse the garlic, spinach, basil, nuts, and 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Add Parmesan, lemon juice and pulse until well combined.
With the motor running, pour the remaining olive oil and process until you get a smooth pesto.
The pesto recipe makes a lot and you only need a little for
Pesto deviled eggs
6 hard boiled eggs
2-3 tsp Pesto
3 Tbsp Mayonnaise
½ tsp fresh lemon juice
¼ tsp lemon zest
How to make Pesto Deviled Eggs:
Cut the eggs in half and remove the yolks. In a small bowl combine the yolks with all of the other ingredients. Mash until smooth. Put the yolk mixture back into the egg whites.
As much as I loved these eggs, I did not think this could count as my recipe for the Picky Eater Recipe Challenge. My Honorable Husband does not eat deviled eggs, and the challenge is to find new foods for HH and SIL. I was curious to know more about pesto, so when I got home I looked it up on the computer, where I learned that it's not just for eggs, it's for pasta and toast and chicken and fish. I decided to make Pesto Cod.
However, in the process of looking up Pesto, another Mediterranean recipe caught my eye. It was called Venetian Scallops. I decided to do a few Venetian Shrimp to go along with the Pesto Cod.
10 - 20 Scallops and/or shrimp,
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. garlic minced
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. fresh chopped parsley
How to make Venetian Seafood
Heat oil in a pan. Add seafood and cook 1 1/2 minutes per side. (Do not move them in the pan until it's time to flip them)
Once scallops or shrimp are cooked, remove from pan and turn off heat.
In the same pan with the heat turned off, add garlic, parsley, and lemon juice. Scrape up any left over bits from cooking the fish. Turn the heat back on and bring to a simmer for a few seconds.
Arrange scallops or shrimp on a plate and spoon a little pan sauce over each one.
Our lunch menu was Pesto Cod, Venetian Shrimp, Saag Mushroom, rice, and roasted vegetables (carrots, zucchini and onion)
I got rave reviews from both SS and HH. SS said that normally he preferred red fish to white fish, buying salmon, trout, or tuna over cod or tilapia. He said the pesto made a huge difference in the cod, and moved it officially into his like list. The shrimp were second place.
The shrimp really were very good. It's just that the Pesto Cod was incredibly outstanding.
My husband’s mother is in her 90s. I have blogged before about her osteoporosis and blood pressure issues. When she goes to the hospital, they always take her to Baylor in Dallas. However, three weeks ago, when she had symptoms that appeared to be a stroke, they took her to Presbyterian Hospital. So she was there when Thomas Duncan came to the emergency room and was turned away. She was still there when he came again and was admitted.
When we read about the five children who might have been exposed and the five schools they attended; we were concerned about a teacher friend who works in an inner city Dallas school. When the names of the schools were released, the friend’s school was not named. However a school my husband attended, which is two blocks from his mother’s house was on the list.
I read another article about Thomas Duncan’s fiance, and learned that she attends the church where my husband was baptized. That church is helping the quarantined family members.
OK - Ebola may be distant from you, but it is feeling pretty close to me. I told this story to a group of friends at lunch, and saw them began to move away from me, until I said that we had not been to Dallas to see HH’s mom and no one from Dallas had come to visit us. The ladies relaxed and began to breathe again.
With all the conflicting news about how easily the virus spreads, I have been thinking about how I need to be proactive for my family. I don’t give much credence to government sources that say everything is under control. But I also don’t believe the conspiracy theorists who predict eminent disaster. I’m mostly interested in reports from people who have been in Liberia, or who have experience fighting epidemics.
One expert recommended getting a flu shot. He said that if you show up at an emergency room with fever and achiness, you don’t want triage routing you to an Ebola observation room if all you have is the flu. He made a good point, and I got a flu shot - the first I’ve had since I stopped teaching school.
A Washington Post reporter who spent several weeks in Liberia said that hospitals, hotels, and public buildings have containers of Clorox water at the doors. Before entering, you rinse your hands and arms in Clorox water. You also step into a trough to rinse your shoes in Clorox water. I bought some extra Clorox and stored it in the garage.
The same reporter said that people who have first aid gloves wear them. People who don’t have gloves tie plastic bags over their hands. Some experts say the Ebola virus can live for two hours on a hard surface, other experts say it can live for two weeks. I had a half box of first aid gloves already, but I bought more.
Homeland Security recommends keeping food and water for at least 72 hours. I always intend to keep more than that, but frankly some of our food and water had been used. The Ebola quarantine period is 21 days. If there was an outbreak in our community, and shop employees stayed home to protect themselves, it might be hard to find food for sale. I restocked my nonperishable food.
I read through the Blood Type Diet anti virus protocols. Unfortunately there is not much overlap between what is beneficial for Type Os and what is beneficial for Type As. I need to add a few of those supplements to my list.
I’m not a fearful person, and I have no intention of becoming one now. However, Ebola has already hit pretty close to my family. I want to be proactive and prepared.