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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 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!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ROBEC4175 10/14/2014 3:29PM

    I'm going to try this too.

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    Throughout our lives, we have all taken shortcuts and not realized what naturfal goodness awaits if we but seek it out!

Make Today the Greatest Day of Your Life

emoticon Until Tomorrow!

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DEBIGENE 10/14/2014 9:00AM

    I too love mushrooms Meri and I think I will def give this a try. I must admit tho' that I will not use butter, I will use I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Light Spread and hope it works just as well. I gave up butter 4 years ago. I usually use Spray butter also from ICBINB and it is a great substitute for me.

I love your mushroom recipes, keep them coming.

Hope you are doing well my friend.


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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Hi and welcome, I was restricted to 1400mg of sodium more than a year ago and know how hard it is to get started eating the way your doctor prescribes. Lists of low sodium foods were hard to find and consisted mostly of generalities –but - they are a good start. Just enter “ low sodium food list” into your search engine and you will find lots of information
I like to cook so went almost exclusively for low sodium recipes and there are some really good web sites. I finally wanted to know the sodium mgs in foods in the grocery store and didn't feel like wandering around reading labels to discover salt content. So - turned to the internet and I found a little book on line - Amazon perhaps - LOW SODIUM FOODS by Bobbie Mostyn. . . . name the food and nutrients are listed.
The most helpful thing I have discovered so far is the DASH diet cookbook. I haven't seen the most recent one but in the first of the two editions, if I am correct here, the recipes keep 149mg or less of salt per portion.
I'll be back - my kitchen is calling - I'm preserving fresh herbs today - glad you came – and hope I can share a bit of what I have learned. Feel free to ask questions – if I don’t know the answer, I’ll know where to look.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DEBIGENE 10/12/2014 3:06PM

    Meri you are just a wealth of information. Thank you so much for sharing your insight with us.

YOU'R the BEST !!!!

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Sheer Torture

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 -)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WESTERNSAGE 10/14/2014 6:35PM

    What a powerful story! I'm with you on the love of pizza, but that wasn't what really caught my attention about the blog. You clearly demonstrated a couple other things. One was that some childhood memories stay with us and impact us for the rest of our lives. We talk about traumas doing this but there are so many other subjects that can affect us; your example of food and aromas is one, also how much those walks with your parents meant to you. Other people involved or watching might have forgotten that long ago but it affected you deeply. The second thing you showed is how closely our cravings for particular foods are tied to memories and emotions, which is why there are some things we just cannot give up no matter how hard we try, because that would produce the same effect as having to give up those wonderful memories, which we are not about to do. A lot of us could take lessons from you on making those connections in our lives. Thank you.

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    Great blog, thanks for sharing childhood memories. I like pizza but very seldom eat it. I could eat 3-4 pieces. You are right way too much sodium. Wonder if we can find a low sodium pizza? Hugs Pat

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ROBEC4175 10/11/2014 10:01AM

    My partner makes a wonderful bbq pizza using tortillas for the crust and they come out really yummy. Hope you get a slice soon.

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FORZACHANDMATT 10/10/2014 11:25AM

    Going to get pizza tonight :) and just have it in moderation

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DEBIGENE 10/10/2014 8:46AM

    Hi Meri, good to see you hon. I must admit I am not a big pizza eater. I like it but I don't love it. So those few times that I do eat it, it is always so very delicious but I am not a fan of the pepperoni at all. I do like other yummy toppings like sausage and mushroom being my favs.

I so enjoyed reading your blog and sharing your memory, I think I smelled it too !!!

Hope all is well in your world friend. Big HUGS !!!

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EMMACORY 10/9/2014 10:59PM

    Love emoticon too! Maybe you ought to post a question on the message boards to see if anyone has created a pizza that is low sodium and still has flavor. emoticon

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DAIZYSTARLITE 10/9/2014 10:54PM


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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.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ALIHIKES 7/19/2014 1:10PM

    Hi I just thought I would share my mom's experience. She moved to a retirement center at age 80. The first year was hard, but she just blossomed and enjoyed it after that. She made many friends, which was HUGE when she was confined to her bed for the last 3 years of her life. (She just passed away at age 95). We celebrated her memorial at her retirement center last week, and it was so nice that over 150 of her friends attended. She didn't think she was lonely or needed people but she really started to enjoy life, eating meals, and interacting with people a lot more.

As to her prior friends and her church -- many kept in touch, but not all of them.

Best wishes in making the right decision for yourself,

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MERILYNN1 7/19/2014 12:11PM

    Thank you both so much. It's good to hear from others who have known folks in my position that I am on the right track - for me. I certainly feel so much better having decided - while the struggle was ongoing, I wanted only to go to bed and sleep. Escape? I think so - it's good to feel alive again and get back to the life I enjoy. I'm grateful for your support.
Blessings, Meri

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DEBIGENE 7/19/2014 11:58AM

    Dearest Meri ... I love your thought process, it sounds like you have done all the right things with the pros and the cons of making such a move and I have to agree with your friend - live in the now !!! What will be will be, regardless.

One of the volunteers that works we me at the hospital is in her 80's and she lived in her own condo on a ground floor with you beloved little yorkie. She was very happy with one exception - she didn't have a lot of friends within her age range that she could socialize with, yes she had children and grandchildren that she enjoyed time with but now quite the same. And she just didn't like the idea of giving up her little condo where she was comfortable but def would not consider it while her little yorkie was alive. She was such a joy to have working with me and we even went our for dinner on occasions with my other friend Linda.
Well ...... her little yorkie died ans she decide to sell everything she could and pack the rest and make the move to an retirement community. I have been there and it is a lovely huge place (very well known) and expensive) with so much to do, several restaurants to decide to eat at, etc and just sounded perfect to her. Well the only thing she could really afford was a very small 1 bedroom apartment and it was not on the ground floor and the parking to her place would not be convenient at all, but there is a shuttle to take you just about anywhere. She ended up getting rid of way more than she wanted too and replacing furniture with smaller items. But she has lots of social time now with lots of people there to do it with. I thought she would be so happy.
Well ..... let me tell you this, I and my friend Linda have noticed such a big difference in her. She has changed so much, she has become so negative and grumpy and such a complainer now that I do not enjoy having her work at the desk with me. We both think it is a lot to do with the group of people she now socializes with and the fact that she does not have the true freedom that she wants to do things at her own pace, like eating and depending on the shuttle that gets her where she needs to go but it is also taking others to their destinations as well at the same time. I asked her if she would make the same decision if she had to do it over again and her reply was "not as soon as I did, for sure"

I think you made a good decision also Meri, I think you will know for sure when it is the right time. My best advice for you is .... have faith in the Lord's plan for you !!!

Love, hugs and blessings my friend.

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ROBEC4175 7/19/2014 11:17AM

    Hi glad you have given much thought to this aspect of aging and made the rounds doing tours. Tomorrow I go visit my friend Flo who is 98 and a half and is in an assisted living facility. I used to visit her and her husband (he passed at 101) when they were at home. I'm not extremely happy with the things I see with Flo at this facility, but her granddaughter visits everyday and she also has someone come to see her on Sats/Suns so I don't worry about her too much. But it's just the listening to her which I find they don't really do. And they rush with her (getting dressed, etc.)

Your friend's advice sounds spot-on.

Take care.

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A Book Review

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.”

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MERILYNN1 6/30/2014 3:05PM

    Thank you - I knew it was from you before I even clicked on it - you really pay attention to us and I am grateful and happy to have found a friend who is so responsive! My books never made it past the last cut - I keep at it though because it is fun to make up stories! And maybe someday ????
Thanks for being you - Meri

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DEBIGENE 6/30/2014 8:32AM

    Meri you yourself write so well. Where is your book ??? emoticon

Have an enjoyable healthy week. Stop in to see us soon.

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