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Archive for the ‘Food-joy vs evil’ Category

During my adult lifetime, I have been everything from a size 6 to a size 22.  After years of up and down and not liking crowded closets, I have settled on having rubbermaids labeled 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16 and I used to have 18, but I got rid of it last year.  For ever!!!

While I have not gotten back to my weight lifting and aerobic exercise routine I had before my heart problems came up, I am serious about how I eat.  After open heart surgery, I found out I was one of the 26.9 % of people who develop Type II diabetes.  During 2009, I laid off of sweets, to a large degree, and went even lower on salt than I already was.  I cut out red meat, for the most part.  My doctor told me that it will not kill me to eat a piece of cake for my birthday and I have occasionally done so.  Did I mention that I have three official birthdays a year?

Salad for breakfast

In the beginning vegan diet, there was salad to eat. I was hungry 24/7 and now salad is but one part of my diet

Then, I found out that my heart surgery had failed and I had 70% blockage in a vein at the entry point to my heart. I am no longer a candidate for further open heart surgery, so I decided to go vegan.

First, let me say, in no way has this been an easy battle.  The first two months of a plant based diet seemed to be the magical formula.  I lost two pounds a week, but was continually hungry and never satisfied.  It’s the same plant based, no oil diet that President Clinton went on after his heart problem.  Only thing is, I do not have a chef to make the food taste good and the creator of the diet has the wierdest taste buds on earth.  He puts sweet potatoes or sweet squash in everything, along with about 26 more ingrediants) and frankly only sweet and sour chicken is a sweet/sour mix I like.

I am now eating Vegetarian and hoping to work my way back to Vegan.  With the help of three cholesterol busters (medications) and my no meat diet (and there is the very, very occasional hamburger out) I have reduced my clogging from 70% to 50%. You can do that.

Now, if I can just get my body back on the treadmill and weight bench, I can maybe get some of those rubbermaids emptied out to Good Will.

Bon Appetite!

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Here’s the deal.  Things are tough for a lot of people and we happen to fall in that category.

Disabled husband hasn’t had a raise in social security for the twenty-two years he has been considered permanently disabled.  Raises in Medicare or our personal insurance have always eaten them up.

He smoked for one month, as a teen, but his lungs (and apparently several people in his family have problems) are shot.  He has COPD; with emphysema and chronic bronchitis.  His body also produces way too many histamines, so he has reactions to many things everything.

We had put off going to the food bank as long as we could, but with Thanksgiving this month, it was time.

What I didn’t expect was my reaction to going to the food bank.

I read the article in the paper wrong, first.  So, we went during the two hours they were closed.  The doors were open so I thought I could get the paperwork to fill out at home and come back.

So, instead of thirty-five people going through a line of “take one from shelf A, two from shelf B, etc. the woman had me sign a paper that our
income fit the Federal criteria, which it definitely does, and then she handed us a bag for food.  Then, a box and some more bags as we threaded through the food shelf maze.

I was fine until she handed me a frozen turkey, I just broke out in tears.  A grown woman, crying over a frozen turkey.

I don’t know why?  I guess relief that we would be able to have a normal Thanksgiving for our boys, but, then I also cry at all of CNN’s reports of people who make a difference.

Things I have learned about food banks:

1.    The people who work at them really care.  Sometimes, it is hard to believe that anyone  cares, but they do.

2.    They are making the best of the world that they can.  They run around and gather canned goods and  whatever else local businesses will spare.   They are so grateful for the donation of a freezer, they want our 19 year old to be sure and have a Christmas gift.   They care that we have warm coats and chairs to sit on.

3.    But, if I ever get wealthy, I’m making some specific donations that are along the line of if you teach a man to fish, only this is  if you give him food to cook, he can serve more meals at home.

4.    Things you don’t see at the food bank are staples of cooking:

a.    Flour
b.    Sugar
c.    Butter/margarine
d.   Spices
e.    Cheese: although we did get an industrial sized jalapeno cheese that has our nineteen year old eating nothing but tortilla chips and cheese this week. And, I do know that cheese is not generally considered a staple.
f.    Ground Turkey would be a good alternative for meat.
g.    Eggs
h.   Oats

But, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for these wonderful people who go out of their way for others.

P.S. I am still working on my vegan diet. I have some wheat flour left and picked up some black beans for black bean burgers, and I’m searching for new recipes for all the other beans I have collected.

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I usually have pretty good instincts. It’s when I ignore that little voice that I get into trouble.

Andy Rooney said something like,

I wish there was something you could take to stop you from doing stupid things.

Well, I wish I could have taken it on Friday because I did that “stupid thing.” As with a lot of you out there, our money is really tight. We’ve even taken to getting meals and some groceries from a local food bank.

I got out my tin of pennies and decided to turn them in. We have a car to pay Indiana’s ridiculous license plate fees on this month. The bank with the coin counter is about twenty miles up a road we rarely go up. There is the price of gas to consider there. I was not going to buy coin sleeves. I don’t think the bank gives them away but I did not ask. I decided to use the Coinstar machine at Walmart.

When you pour your pennies in, and it goes up to $22.16, the machine says, “My, you have a lot of coins.” It did not add, “And, I’ve got a way to scam you so I get all of them, instead of the $2. 16 fee. We rarely eat out anymore. When we do it is the $4.00 meal at Steak N Shake or the $1.00 menu at McDonald’s. If Jacob is playing at Muddy Boots, sometimes we sit with water and once in a while we split a meal.

So, when the evil change machine offered me double my money by giving me restaurant coupons.  I did debate it. Outside of Walmarts was a Steak N Shake, White Castle, something else and a steak house. Surely with over 600,000 restaurants, there was something I could afford.

With a great deal of trepidation, that I ignored like an idiot, I pushed the Restaurant Certificate button.

DO NOT PUSH THE RESTAURANT CERTIFICATE BUTTON.

Just go ahead and pay the $2.16 fee. When you push the Restaurant certificate button, you go home with a slip that says NOT VALID FOR CASH, and that’s all you go home with.

In my search on their http://coinstar.Restaurant.com site, you can search alphabetically or by mileage. Within 15 miles of my home, was 1 restaurant. Opps! Have to buy a $45 dinner to use the certificate. Now, I think that would mean only paying $20, with a $25 certificate. It was for an East Indian restaurant. Could be doable.

Let’s try 30 miles, since they gave me Indianapolis restaurants, closer to 45 miles away. I guess that’s it. Under A’s one restaurant was listed 4 times and there was a second restaurant. So, two A’s. It went like that through the alphabet, other than letters like Q, X, Y, Z which had none. Many meals are pay $75 before using your coupon. Definitely NOT doable.

I had not heard of one of these but I did see a spot that said,

“What do you do if you have your certificate and the restaurant is closed?”

Enough said.

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When I was in High School, we had a drive-in on the corner, where we could go and eat nutritious lunches of french fries and candy bars.  At least, they were an identifiable food, unlike the cafeteria.  I basically grew up on potatoes.

My mother once took me to the doctor and said, “All I can get her to eat are potatoes.”  He pointed out that I was extremely active, basically healthy and in good shape so stop worrying mom.  I should have kept eating potatoes.

There was one thing I was addicted to, besides potatoes and it was a version of a peanut butter cup.  I think made by the same company.  The difference was that the covering was a harder form of peanut butter over the softer peanut butter inside.

Smoothie Peanut Butter cup

Memory alert:  I was remembering this allllll wrong.  The Smoothie peanut butter cup is what I must have eaten and it is butterscotch, with junks of peanuts, covering the peanut butter center.  It was soooooo good.

Read more about it here:  http://candyaddict.com/blog/2007/07/19/retro-candy-review-boyer-smoothie-peanut-butter-cups/

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I have always had a problem with following the crowd.  Where other teens would wear the “in” styles, I fought to do my own thing.  My love for the Beatles did not develop until well past the time all the other girls were screaming at them.  I liked Elvis until he got popular.  So, while I have had a blank mind lately for posts, and I find myself checking out the Daily Post at WordPress, I am loath to use their ideas.

It seems to be less loathsome to scroll back a few days and use those ideas.  Like eating.  Which is always on my mind, lately.  So, here I go again. 

What food would I eat if I could have anything I wanted?

lobster tail dripping with butter

Photo from konocook.blogspot.com

I am not sure how much of this craving is the melted butter but I have not had lobster tail in over twenty years.  I do not like shrimp at all, but I have loved lobster tail.

My second choice would be prime rib but I have to tell you that the longer I am on the Vegan diet the less appealing a slice of medium rare prime rib is to me. 

Who would I eat it with?  That’s is just too easy.  I would like to say the Dahlai Lama.

A happy fellow

He looks like a jolly fellow,  but I think that I would be tongue tied around him.  It would be a quiet meal.  So, my choice:

Viggo Mortensen from the Observer

Now, that was just too easy to pass up.

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I’ve been plant based,  no-oil, eating since November 14th.  The first two weeks were hell, but it gets easier.  One thing is to find things that are familiar to you, yet within the constraints of the diet.  Take potato chips.  But, do so carefully as I may bite your hand.

I have not added salt to food, minimally in cooking, for years now, yet I reached a point in this diet where I would have killed for a potato chip.  I would stick to plant based eating all day, then the lights would go down and I would eat two bowls of oatmeal, just to fill up.  We have a box of small bags of chips, for the boys.  They love taking some downstairs when they watch movies and destroy things on the computer.  But, those little bags of potato chips were like a siren song to me, as I lay down.  And, before I knew it, I was in rapturous joy over a 100 calorie bag of chips. 

I finally found out that I can minimize that craving by slicing potatoes very thin and frying them in a skillet.  I love pepper and I have done it since I started this diet, but when I added pepper, I was able to reject the chips.

Then there is the matter of pizza.  I now realize the men in this house eat pizza about 60% of their meals.  Do you have any idea how good melted cheese smells?  So, I got out my trusty cookbook and decided to make a plant based pizza.

Polenta Pizza

This  is Polenta pizza.  Looks good right?  How can anything look that good and taste that bad?  Now, to be fair, maybe I did it with the oregano I added to the tomato sauce.   I don’t always have the right ingrediants.  I would also like to mention that there must be some trick to making polenta firm up.  It did finally.  The crust wasn’t that bad but put it all together and blech!

breakfast

On the other hand, this was great.  I was tired of eating oatmeal for breakfast and just wanted something hot and delicious.  I have gotten in the habit of spraying pam in my cast iron skillet and then seeing what I have to throw in.  For breakfast, it was potatoes, a bit of no-meat sausage (yes, I read, it has oil.  You can’t trust husband to read labels.  The other day he mailed the electric bill without a stamp on it.  I had told him two days in a row that he had to buy stamps first, but—-), onions, garlic, tomatoes, mushrooms, and my spicy hummus.  It was soooooo good! 

So, there are ups and downs.  I may have to buy a slicer to make my potatoes thinner, but this is working.  It is hard to measure the affect on my heart but I have lost seven pounds and I do feel better.  My body just seems to work better on plants.  Gee, bumper sticker anyone?

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Hope you all had a tremendous food fest, that is called Thanksgiving, here in the U.S. 

TV is on and I just HAVE to say this.  Just how sick is Bridalplasty.  The whole idea makes me sick.  What a sad state this country is getting itself in.  Enough digression.

My fond memories of Thanksgiving are from my childhood, when we traveled to my grandmother/aunt’s house and I spent the day being hugged and kissed by comfy aunts and spent time with my sister (she lived with my grandmother). 

My grandmother was a quiet woman.  I really wish I could remember her voice, but I don’t.  I do remember her whispery reading (something my dad did also) and her piano playing.  I also remember that, if she knew you had a favorite dish that was just a bit different from norm, say the lemon filling in lemon cream pie but without crust (Now who in the world would want to do without homemade pie crust?).  I’m just saying, that if that was what you liked, Grandma had it there waiting for you.

Grandma’s house was full of people and conversation and laughter; especially when the ladies went out to do the dishes while the men slept on the couch.  They were mostly laughing about the men, I think, but they were sure having a good time.

Then, came the time when dinner was at mom’s house and I was one of them helping  with cleanup (when mom would allow anyone to help) and laughing.  It was always extra good when unexpected relatives arrived to crowd the table.

This year, Thanksgiving was particularly quiet.  It was just five of us and we catered it from Cracker Barrel.  After two weeks on my Vegan heart diet, I decided to join in and eat just regular food.  The best was the pizza and chips we had for lunch.  But, they weren’t quite as good as I remembered.  Everyone enjoys Cracker Barrel’s cooking, but I was actually wishing I was still eating Vegan.

Surprised me!  Something about this diet makes me feel lighter inside and like all my insides are working properly.  I know that isn’t a very scientific way to put it, but I’m glad to be back on my diet. 

STATS:  By Wednesday (that’s actually a week and a half) I have now lost five pounds.  Thursday’s meal put it to four.  Since I cannot see inside my arteries, I cannot tell you but I imagine little blocks of them floating downstream.    I made a great three bean soup and adjusted the War Cake recipe (follows).  It is one of the most moist cakes you can make.  It is from World War I and has no eggs, milk, nor butter in it.

This recipe is from a Dear Heloise column, when someone asked for the “eggless, milkless, butterless cake her mother made around 1918.  It is dark and heavy but ohhhh so good.

Mix 2 cups brown sugar
2 cups hot water
 and 2 teaspoons shortening (I used 2 teaspoons of apple sauce) in medium saucepan.

Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup raisins (I used chopped up dates). 

Add 1 teaspoon each of salt, cinnamon and cloves.  I RARELY add salt and did not for this cake.

Boil the above for five minutes after it first bubbles.  Remove from the stove and let it cool.  Let it cool completely.

After it is cool, add 3 cups of flour (I used 1 cup whole wheat but was then out of whole wheat so had to use 2 cups of white.  I would normally at least do 50/50 on that but am now going heavier on the whole wheat.

And, add 1 teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in 2 teaspoons of hot water.

Mix well

Pour into greased bundt pan

Bake 1 hour at 350 to 375

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