Tuesday, October 14, 2014
When I was forced to actually cook, to give up prepared foods, to pay attention to numbers other than those for calories, I had a problem. I never had learned how to deal with foods in their natural forms! Who needs it, I thought – there are some wonderful prepared meals in the frozen foods aisle or in my favorite restaurants. In the way it always happens, life changes. In my new circumstances, going low sodium, I had to learn to prepare food for myself and discovered that - it was fun in the kitchen.
While this blog will be dealing with resources for low sodium, I am so pleased with this find, I just have to share it. While surfing through websites, I found the site STILLTASTY.com. This is valuable resource. With my scanty culinary education, I didn’t know how long food would stay safe to eat in my ‘fridge. I found the answers I needed at STILLTASTY and spent some time, led by my curiosity looking up various foods and the “keep or toss”, answers about them. If, you too, sometimes wonder, check it out.
Now in keeping with my original intent, I have a recipe to share – a recipe for one of my favorite foods. More about mushrooms another day – today just the recipe-( the amount of sodium depends on your use of the capers.)
Garlic Butter Roasted Mushrooms
1 pound mushrooms such as cremini or white, halved lengthwise if large
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and chopped (more or less as your taste or your sodium mgs allow)
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in middle. Toss mushrooms with capers, garlic, oil, 1/8 teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper in a 1 1/2- to 2-qt shallow baking dish. Top with butter and roast, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are tender and golden and bubbly garlic sauce forms below, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and parsley. Serve immediately, with crusty bread on the side for swiping up the juices.
The above works beautifully but I preferred less oil and wanted roasted mushrooms. I sprayed a sheet pan with olive oil, spread out the mushrooms, gave them a light spray of oil, topped them with a lot (I love garlic) of chopped garlic and the butter as noted in the original recipe. I roasted them at 450 for almost 30 minutes to get just a little different texture – drier and chewier.
If you like mushrooms, experiment – have fun!
Thursday, October 09, 2014
I was in the fifth grade, I think, in the years when kids my age went out with their parents for evening walks. We lived on NE 77th Street – just a short way from a small area in Miami known as Little River. I remember two things about a walk we took one evening. First, I will always remember that the night lights drew roach-like bugs to the sidewalks in front of the stores – and they crunched underfoot. Yuck!
The second memory is so much more outstanding, so wonderful. It is of a small open stand, a food truck perhaps, set up at the beginning of the shopping center of Little River. I remember it was colorful, red and white and emitted the most tantalizing, most mouth-watering fragrances – it would be an insult to refer to them as “smells”!
I remember trying to drag my dad over to get a closer look and maybe a taste? But he said, “ No, no. What in the world is a pizza pie?” That was the beginning of my life-long love of pizza. I didn’t get any that night, but as for the all the years of my life, I never missed a chance to have a pizza.
Tonight on the Food Network show, “Chopped”, pizza was the subject of the three challenges. When I heard Chef Amanda Feitag call pizza her “Desert Island Food”, food she could eat all her life, I knew exactly what she meant. If I were stranded on a desert island I know I would be happy with only pizza. As I watched those contestants make their pizzas tonight, I could actually smell the delicious fragrances of the pizzas.
That night, when I first met pizza, was just about 60 years ago. I still love pizza, loaded with gooey cheese and lots of pepperoni, please. But – I have a little problem that forbids me anything with that much sodium. Perhaps you can imagination what a sacrifice that it is for a pizza-lover. Try as I have, I haven’t yet been able to find a “low sodium” recipe that tastes anything like my beloved pizza. Yet!
That’s why watching “Chopped” tonight, watching the pizzas being made and, really, smelling them was for me, “sheer torture” ! (Sigh -)
Friday, July 18, 2014
I made a visit to A Senior Retirement community this week and felt quite comfortable there. I have been researching what is available and what I can afford for some time. Decided it was time to do some “tours”. My thought was I should have a place to go should my health fail and I be unable to make plans or to live on my own. I don’t expect to be getting better after all. I have memory, concentration problems now and it is hard to get around because of arthritis pain and a heart failure condition. I can use a walker here in my condo but it has to be a wheelchair and someone to push it if I want to leave the building.
Some days I’m too tired to play in the kitchen and if I don’t have something ready, well, my “diet” suffers. I don’t see or visit with many people. . .and that’s all right. Although I like people, I’m not exactly a social type. Actually, I enjoy my own company (and those of my cats!), reading, writing, Facebook and some TV. My wonderful Aide is here three times a week and we enjoy each other. There are days though when I’d just as soon she didn’t come. It is always good that she does – she can shake me out of a bad mood or depressed feelings just by coming through the door with that smile. She brings the sunshine and I always feel much better after she’s been here. She is a blessing.
So – the meals, the housekeeping, the laundry and a social life could be taken care of at an Independent Living facility. BUT there would be losses – losses I would bring on myself if I moved just to be sure I would be taken care of in Assisted or even in the Nursing part of the facility if I ever needed. I could get around with help more often than three times a week, visit with folks, attend musical events, movies, and meals. But the losses which would occur, important parts of my life right now, would be huge for me.
A very dear wise woman who knows me well summoned up her viewpoint with the words “Enjoy! Let the ‘what ifs’ go.” Just thinking about the ‘enjoy’ aspect I asked myself some important questions.
Would I be able to go to bed and/or get up when I pleased? Could I cook for myself which makes me happy? Or spend hours on the internet playing cards or reading recipes? Could I take a nap whenever I wanted? Could I have breakfast at noon and skip lunch with Ritz crackers or raw veges and hummus for “dinner”? Could I be in charge of my own meds, BP and weight? Could I keep to the 1400 mg of salt a day? ( That very nice cook assured me she never uses salt in her cooking but she has hot dogs on her menu. )
And more important than all, would I get to visit my friend in Westfield, keep track of the kind people here at where I live now, and those at CVS who have taken such good care of my Rx or see my friend and Aide who shares stories of her family with me, my new PCP at Valley Medical or Pam the cumadin nurse? These would be major losses.
When I met staff in the halls would they be as caring as Jackie or as pleasant and helpful as most of the other workers here? Would I feel safe and secure? (We met a woman in the hall of the nursing home cleaning the floor. She stood at the end of the hall watching us approach. She was a big woman - and I’m not prejudiced – because I’m big and she could have been sky-blue-pink if she had just smiled or spoken or made any acknowledgement that we were visitors. But she just stood there until we passed with an expression on her face and in her eyes that I didn’t see as friendly but a little unsettling.)
Some days I don’t bother to get dressed but run around (no, not “run around” exactly) in my night shirt and a pair of shorts. And I am always barefoot (I wear shoes only when I have to go out). I wonder how that would go over at this very nice Home? OK, perhaps if I stayed in my rooms, but It makes me grin to imagine it!
So – as I have thought about it, it is obvious to me where I can “enjoy” – And the ‘what ifs’? I’m happiest remembering the gifts of the past but living in the now. Never mind “ what if.” No worries about who I was or who or how I might be. It is the NOW that I can enjoy and will be forever (however long that might be) grateful for the friend who asked the right questions and cut through the growing confusion that was keeping me awake at night and ruining my appetite by day! As she encouraged, I’m going to enjoy my life right now, right here, today.
Sunday, June 29, 2014
I just submitted my review of "Accidents of Marriage" by Randy Susan Meyers. It will be released in early September and I thought I would share it with you. It is a novel I liked for its real characters but was disturbed by the out of control anger and tension that was tearing the family apart. That said, I wrote : “ Ben, Maddy and their children, their own parents, in-laws and siblings are like the family next door, folks I have known for years. Although I knew the love they shared, I was apprehensive of their underlying weaknesses and then was a witness to the shattering of that family and feared for its recovery. The characters are so well written, so well developed, I nearly forgot it was fiction and grieved for all, especially for Emma, the teen who was forced to bear heavy burdens trying to hold the family together. Some novels I read, enjoy and forget. " Accidents of Marriage" will be in my thoughts for a long time.”
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