Miss Maggie

Feb 232017
 
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Food Bank Dinner

Planked Salmon, Kale Salad, Fresh Strawberries, Roasted Asparagus with Apple Crisp for dessert (not pictured). Food that would be thrown away if it wasn’t donated to the food bank. I also made a pot of long grain white rice that I received from a different food bank. It was a tasty and delicious dinner.

I haven’t talked a lot about food banks and food pantries in the past because I thought we made too much to qualify for them. On Fred’s railroad retirement we make just a tiny bit too much to qualify for food stamps and most other programs for low income people.

At the beginning of this month a dear friend who works with homeless vets explained to me that there were lots of food banks that we do qualify for, even if we make too much to qualify for food stamps and other programs.

Well, that was news to me, so I have been investigating my local food banks and seeing what they have to offer. Some of them allow you to go once a month, and some once a week. Some of them I qualify for, and some of them I don’t. For instance, I don’t live in the right zip code or the right county. Still, there are two I do qualify for, and I think there are a few others I still have to investigate.

Basket of Dry Goods

One of the food banks gives you food once a month. The food comes in a big box. I had to be at the distribution center at 8am on a Saturday and then wait in line for the volunteers to load it up into the back of my car. It took about 45 minutes from when I arrived to when I left with my food. I was really curious about what they would give out since I haven’t used a food bank since I was a teenager.

What surprised me was how much junk food there was. We received a large bakery loaf of white bread (which Fred was very pleased about). The kids and I looked at it like it was poison. Then there was a box of Au Gratin Potatoes (more wheat and dairy) and 6 cans of condensed soup. All of the soup had wheat and/or dairy and just half a can had so much sodium in it, it was more than some people can eat in an entire day. Why do they feed poor people so much salt? There was a tall foil bag of beef stew (thickened with wheat flour). Also some macaroni, spaghetti and egg noodles. In addition there was a bag of sour cream and onion potato chips and some raisin bread, plus a quart size tetra box of 1% milk. Finally there was a frozen 2-pound slab of pork ribs that had wheat starch in the sauce that it was marinated in. Wheat starch, really?

This was the stuff that the kids and I could not eat. Fred is happy about it though, so I am just leaving it all for him.

The rest of the box contained 3 huge bags of fresh organic celery. A 16-ounce box of raisins, a 32-ounce bag of dried blueberries (awesome!), a 2-pound bag of navy beans, an 18-ounce jar of peanut butter, a 12-ounce bag of macadamia nuts (woo hoo!), cans of low sodium vegetables like tomatoes, corn, green beans, peas, black eyed peas, kidney beans, and some okra with tomatoes. There was also a 2-pound bag of long grain rice that said “Gluten Free!” right on the label and a 16-ounce box of instant mashed potatoes. Awesome again!

There was also food for both my cats and my dog, and a bag with toothpaste, a couple of tooth brushes, a few feminine hygiene supplies and a box of aspirin. I thought the aspirin was a nice touch.

For the most part, I found the box to be worthwhile. While half of it wasn’t stuff we could eat, fully half of it was food we can eat and that we like. And that is what I choose to focus on. The glass is half full, not half empty. And as it turns out, the glass is refillable. After all the Lord has told me that my cup “runneth over.”

The second food bank has a lot more fresh food. Patrons are welcome to visit once a week. It’s open from Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 11:30am. People start waiting in line outside the door as early as 7am on Saturdays, wanting to be sure they are there early enough. But on Tuesdays the line doesn’t start until about 9am. I get there at 9:40am, after my morning walk with a girlfriend. I’m usually #15 in line, or something like that. There are often as many as 30 to 40 people in line on their slowest days. This tells me there are a lot more hungry people out there than we realize.

The food is mostly fresh or frozen. There are very few canned or packaged goods, except for the bread and bakery sections. All of the food that local supermarkets have that is approaching it’s sell-by date, or any fruit or vegetables that have small flaws or bruises are donated to this food bank. And the selection is amazing!

The first thing I learned is that patrons are not allowed to touch the food. Volunteers touch the food. Patrons point and show the volunteers what they want. Volunteers then hand it to the patron. Patrons must bring their own bags and boxes. I noticed a lot of people had those suitcases on wheels and used them like buggies to tote their food. That seems pretty clever to me. I brought reusable grocery bags, sturdy ones.

Fish and Seafood

First you get 1 large or 2 smaller packages of frozen meat. I noticed that people mostly ask for sandwich meat or ground beef or even pork chops, but no one wanted the fish. And it was pretty fish too, like planked salmon, or smoked salmon or tilapia fillets with rosemary and thyme. So I asked for fish, and they were happy to give it to someone who wanted it. I got to thinking about it later, and probably the people who ask for sandwich meat and ground beef know how to prepare them, how to eat them. But they don’t know how to cook fish, and for them the fish would be like the canned soup is to me. Not food that they could eat. To me though, fish is the most amazing thing they could give me, and is something I can’t afford to buy as often as I’d like. So Win/Win. I’m not taking anything away from people who are super duper poor, and they aren’t being burdened with weird fish that they don’t like and don’t know how to cook anyway.

The few packaged foods are next, it’s mostly a choice between canned soup or canned vegetables, although sometimes they have cereal and boxed goods. I’ve been given gluten-free pancake mix, gluten-free pizza dough mix, gluten-free snack bars, jasmine rice, canned pumpkin and canned chicken over the last month. So even though it’s packaged stuff, there is gluten free stuff available, and no one else wants it. I watched the volunteer at that station try to give away the snack bars over and over again, and no one wanted them because they were “weird gluten free stuff.” Well to me that is the good stuff, so I was happy to take it off of her hands. It had an expiration day that was a week away. My kids ate them in two days, so no problem there.

Fruits & Vegetables

Next is the fresh fruits and vegetables section. I saw person after person say no to the fresh fruits and vegetables. They say yes to bags of carrot sticks and bags of salad, but apparently poor people don’t know how to prepare a lot of fresh vegetables because the volunteer in that section works hard to give it all away and people just don’t want much of it. That’s good for me though, because I do want it. I tell the volunteers in this section that my kids have allergies, and that the fresh fruits and vegetables are what we eat. Period. So any of it that they want to give away, we are happy to receive. For the most part, they load me up. Just this week I received:

  • 1 pear, 9 apples, 3 grapefruit, 7 oranges, 2 star-fruit, 12 guavas, 7 spotty bananas, 1 large cantaloupe, 1 large pineapple
  • 14-ounce family pack of apple slices
  • Deli Tray of cut up fruit including cantaloupe, watermelon, grapes, strawberries & pineapple
  • Deli Tray of vegetable sticks, carrots, celery, broccoli, celery, baby tomatoes and pea pods. (It came with a box of ranch dressing which I gave to Fred)
  • 9 avocados, 1 large eggplant
  • 8 ounce bag of fresh snow peas
  • 1 green pepper, 1 red pepper, 2 yellow peppers, 1 orange pepper, 4 habaneros, 2 jalapenos, 1 serrano, 1 Anaheim and 2 cherry peppers
  • 4 cucumbers, 4 small zucchini,
  • 20-ounces baby tomatoes, 2 tomatillos
  • 1 bag organic kale, 1 bag organic mustard greens, 1 bunch collard greens
  • 11 small to medium red potatoes, 3 sweet potatoes, 2 turnips, 18-ounces parsnips
  • 5 cloves garlic, 1 knob fresh ginger, 5-ounce pack of fresh basil,

Since this was the end of the month, I think there may have been more food than usual. But this is only a little bit more than I usually get. Most of the patrons do not get as much fresh fruit and vegetables as I do because they don’t want them. I do want them, so I ask for them.

Next in line is the deli sandwiches, deli fried chicken, fresh dairy such as milk, sour cream, goat milk sometimes, cream cheese etc. In other words, lots of stuff I can’t eat, my kids can’t eat. They do have hummus or guacamole or fresh salsa sometimes–all of which we do eat. Sometimes I have to skip this section, sometimes not.

I noticed that a lot of the other patrons really love the pre-made sandwiches, even more than the small packages of fried chicken. They act like they are getting something really good, and are not at all interested in the hummus or guacamole or salsa. I tend to think that my family eats pretty normally, at least in my mind, but now I’m not so sure.

BAkery Desserts

Next are the bakery desserts. There are mountains of them. Each patron is allowed two packages. There are sheet cakes and carrot cakes and pastries and donuts and pies and cookies I don’t even know what else. I do not look at them and I never take any of them. They are poison to me and to my family and I refuse to wander down that dark and dangerous street. Self-denial has a place in every Christian’s life, and for me it’s in the free-cake section of the food pantry. Praise God I am not a slave to my appetites. Amen.

There was one older lady I saw who had rejected the fruits and sweet potatoes because she had diabetes. The volunteer tried over and over to interest the woman in a variety of items, but she was determined not to take them.  That same lady though, when she got to the cake section, she loaded up a ginormous sheet cake and a box of 18 chocolate pastries.

Human nature is a funny thing. I watched her and had so much compassion. She said no to the fruit and sweet potatoes so she could say yes to the hydrogenated shortening, sugar-filled, white flour junk.  To her it was a better choice than the fresh fruits and sweet potatoes. Not too many years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to resist the cake and pastry either. There but for the grace of God go I.

Next is bread. Sometimes there is gluten free bread, sometimes there is organic wheat bread. When none of these are available I look for rye bread, which Fred adores. Lastly is a section of free bread that is past it’s sell date and patrons can have as much of it as they like. Some people load up 2 dozen loaves. I look for rye bread for Fred, but most of it is gross white bread so I keep going.

Then, laden with my reusable grocery bags, I walk up the hill to my car and bring the food home. Usually at least one son is home to help me unload.

I get to work right away. Anything that needs to be prepared or cooked immediately gets my full attention. Most of the produce will last a few days in the fridge, but usually some of it is dead-ripe and ready to be eaten. For Tuesday dinner we have giant vegetable salads, vegetable soup or veggie sticks with hummus or homemade guacamole and then whatever was leftover and needs to be taken out of the fridge to make room for all the new produce.

This week I’m planning on making:

  • African chicken & greens one night
  • Ground beef or ground turkey dish with spaghetti sauce, eggplant and zucchini over gluten free spaghetti
  • A giant pot of beans to serve with avocados, chili peppers, onions and bell peppers, with corn tortillas
  • Roasted root vegetables with marinated chicken breast
  • Leftover beans with greens and cornbread
  • Tilapia (my frozen fish this time) with yellow rice and a collection of whatever vegetables need using up fried in vegetable oil.

The fruits get cup up and served for breakfast or lunch. Lunch is leftovers from the night before plus fresh fruit. Breakfast is smoothies or oatmeal or GF pancakes or eggs & hash browns.

I think if I find one more food bank that gives away more dried beans and rice (and maybe some more potatoes) that combined, they would all pay for about 60% of the food we eat a month. I find that amazing. I also like being able to afford my health insurance with the money we’re saving. That is like the most awesome thing ever.

At first I was a little bit worried about taking food away from people who “really need it.” After a few visits though, I see that this is all food that would be thrown away if it weren’t given to low income people. Throwing away perfectly good food when people go hungry in your own neighborhood is a terrible waste. In addition, the food I want, is not the same food that most of the patrons want. They don’t want fish. They don’t want weird gluten free items. They don’t want the mountain of fruits and vegetables I want. So for the most part, I do not feel like I am taking food that someone more deserving should have. I am taking food that works for my family, and oddly, this isn’t food that the other patrons are interested in eating.

Does anyone else visit food banks? How does your experience compare?

 

Jan 262017
 
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Skiing

Hey everyone. It was brought to my attention (Thanks Mel 🙂 ) that people worry about me when I am gone for months and months on end. I apologize. I forget that my internet family loves me and worries when I am gone for so very long.

This year, as part of my New Year’s Resolutions, I hope to update this blog once a month. Probably the last week of the month. That’s not a lot of updates, but it’s what I can manage time-wise. I don’t want to promise more than I can give and then feel wretched because I haven’t lived up to my promises. I think once a month for the blog is what I can promise and then keep :-).  Any more than that can be a pleasant surprise to all of us.

In real life the kids are both grown men now and still living at home. Tom (my Asperger’ son) may be with us for another decade or so, but I do believe he will be completely independent one day. Jamie, my younger son, now has his driver’s license and is looking for a part time job and to start the local community college in the fall.

New Telly Phone

One of the reasons I haven’t written much is because I don’t really have much to say. My life is simple, sometimes plain, but infinitely satisfying. I certainly feel like I live in abundance, even though we are quite careful with our cash. Living within one’s means is marvelously liberating. All of the fear and worry (not to mention shame and guilt) of racking up debt after debt and wondering how we will ever pay it off, is long gone away. We just accept our limitations and then explore the vastness of creative living within those boundaries. It is amazing how much of life opens up when we live within our means.

Fred and I are enjoying his retirement a lot more now than we did at first. It took some adjustments but things are more fun now than they have been in years. In some ways it’s much more fun than when we were young and just dating. Being retired, married and dating is just as exciting and fraught with far less anxiety.

Apple Kiss

Just recently we’ve been looking for free community activities to enjoy. One locally owned theater has free classic movies 2 to 3 times a month as part of it’s community outreach. Fred and I are really enjoying those. The movies are older so they’re from a time when nudity and coarse language weren’t as ubiquitous as they have become in our modern age. Also the theater only shows the really good ones that have clever plot twists and especially capable actors. It means that every one we’ve seen has been thought provoking and deeply entertaining. As Fred says “Those movies are so good, they’re worth twice what we pay for them.” Fred’s sense of humor has always been one of my favorite things about him.

Wheeling

Walking (or biking) on the local greenways is free and the trails follow a river for the most part, so the scenery is absolutely beautiful! We walk together and get to see the seasons change from day to day. Being outside is something I took for granted as a child. It was simply something I did every day whether I wanted to or not. As a middle aged woman I find that I must consciously make the effort to spend time outside. Making it a part of our weekly exercise plan is one of the most beneficial things we’ve done. Walking is free. It feels good physically and spiritually. We get vitamin D and beneficial rays from the sun. It’s fun to chat with my husband without the TV or the kids or even the dirty dishes calling to me from a cluttered sink. We just talk to each other, look at the scenery and walk together. It’s like a mini-vacation. Plus we get to feel all virtuous afterwards because we did the right thing.

Spring Outing

Something I’ve just discovered is that one of the largest nearby colleges has free plays, ballets and symphonies. We haven’t been to these yet, but there are several happening this coming spring that we hope to attend. It makes us feel all artsy and enlightened. Plus it’s just plain fun to go to these things with my husband. We never could do these things when we were younger and he was working so hard. Now it’s amazing to be able to take advantage of our time together.

Retirement

This is not exactly the retirement we thought we would have. I’m 47 and Fred is 56. We are a lot younger than we thought we would be when we retired. We have to be careful about physical things because of Fred’s back. I’d like to be able to go hiking on our local mountains but that’s out of the question for Fred so we stick to the level paths in town. We thought we would be able to buy an RV and do some traveling in our retirement. We may still be able to do that, but it will be at least a decade before that will happen. We hoped we would have a higher income when we retired, but because of Fred’s back he had to retire at a younger age, for a smaller income. Our expectations haven’t all be met, but expectations tend to be premeditated resentments. So I avoid them when I can. It leads to a more satisfying life.

As for my health, I am still heavier than I’d like to be. My weight varies between 180 and 185-pounds. I walk about 12-miles a week and Fred and I swim 3-hours a week. Staying active really improves my quality of life. I’ve always heard that if you don’t use it, you’re bound to lose it and that is so true. I stay active because it’s cheaper to walk for free than it is to go to the doctor for more meds. I am a poor woman. I can’t afford not to take care of my health. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I can’t afford a pound of cure, so I’m careful to exercise an ounce of prevention instead.

My oldest son is still gluten-free. I eat some gluten in barley, spelt and rye. I’ve read that organic wheat does not cause  symptoms in people who are wheat-intolerant because it is free of glyphosates (round-up). In my case this has proven to be somewhat true. I do eat some organic wheat and it doesn’t make me sick the way regular wheat does. Still, I’m careful not to overdo it. Most of my cooking, at least 85% of it, is gluten free. The gluten stuff is mostly things that Fred dearly loves like beef and barley soup and homemade rye bread. It’s nice to be able to eat some wheat though. Organic wheat flour is cheaper than gluten free flour, even my homemade version.

Dolly's Bath

Lastly, for those who follow my doll projects, I still play dolls frequently. I go a couple of months focused on one hobby, and then I switch to another hobby for a couple of months, and then I switch again. This month I’m playing with food, but next month I may switch back to dolls, or maybe sewing, or maybe writing, or maybe gardening. It’s hard to say. Whatever it is, I will do my best to document it here. I like to share what I’m up to, and so far others seem to enjoy it as well 🙂

Jan 262017
 
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Fudge Brownies

If you’re looking for sensible gluten free brownies that taste good while being low in calories, fat and carbohydrates, then be aware!

These are not the brownies for you.

If you want brownies that you can eat and still respect yourself in the morning, then you would be better pleased to look elsewhere for your treat.

If you want brownies that don’t fiendishly wake you in the middle of night, forcing you to stumble into the kitchen like a crackhead looking for one more hit before morning, then you would be better off with a different recipe, at a different website.

These brownies are not noble. They are not virtuous.

These are the brownies that church ladies deal like meth in the back hallways of damp church basements. You have to be willing to walk a dark and dangerous path to just to get a bite of these things.

Imagine what I had to go through, the depths of depravity I had to navigate, to come back with the entire recipe. The world of gluttony is a frightening path for the uninitiated.

I can only  warn you with earnest compassion, do not make the brownies.

Do not eat them.

Do not feed them to your family.

These are the brownies the Dark Side uses to seduce earnest young Padawans from the glorious light, to sinister darkness.

Beware.

These brownies lead only to destruction. They rob you of your dignity. They smash your good intentions like a mudslide. They make health food seem like a far and distant dream.

Turn away, if not for yourself, then for your poor defenseless children.

Turn away and follow a different, more righteous path.

Brownies for Sinners & Gluttons

Ingredients

  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1-1/3 cups rice flour (if you eat gluten, you could also use all-purpose white flour)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 eggs

Directions

You do need electric beaters for this recipe. The mixing is possible without them, but it’s a lot of work for your arm. Perhaps it would work off some of the calories and corruption.

Into a large mixing bowl measure the shortening, sugar, cocoa, rice flour (or wheat flour) and salt. Beat with electric beaters until well mixed. Start at a slow speed because the flour and cocoa will poof up into your face like dry dust if you start out mixing too fast. Eventually all of the dry ingredients will be evenly coated with the shortening so it won’t be quite so dusty. When it’s all evenly textured add the vanilla and eggs. Beat for about a minute or until you have a thick batter. It will be very thick. Like paste. You may despair that it is too thick to make brownies. You may worry that I am leading you down a dark evil path to biscuit brownies that are dry and disgusting. I beg you to bear with me only a few more moments. Cast aside your concerns and persevere despite your doubts.  Before you’re done re-reading the recipe to make sure you haven’t made a mistake, the dry ingredients will miraculously emulsify with the eggs and you will have chocolate paste worthy of any 3-year old worth her mud pie.

Scrape your chocolate paste into a well greased 9 by 13-inch pan. Spread it out as best you can, but don’t fret unduly. Bake at 350° for 25-minutes. The brownies will be set, but still appear a little underdone. Allow them to cool for at least an hour. Frost the tops with the following recipe. Cut into pieces and serve to anyone you need to enslave. After one bite, they will be yours for evermore.

As an afterthought, a better name for these brownies might be minion-bait. When one is in need of minions, or must pay tribute to minions who have done exceptionally well in their laborious duties–these brownies are more than adequate for the task. Be very careful not to divulge the shamefully high sugar, hydrogenated fat and salt content to your minions. Simply allow your minions to believe that the brownies taste good, and therefore must be good. This is appropriate behavior for both super villains and evil geniuses. Decent and honorable women should never stoop to these levels.


Peanut Butter Frosting for Minion-Bait Brownies

In a mixing bowl measure:

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • Pinch Salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup soymilk (or dairy milk)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Use electric beaters to mix everything until it is smooth and fluffy. Use to frost brownies. If desired you may sprinkle peanuts on top of the frosting. This makes them very pretty and people think they have something extra special.


Note From Maggie:

In case you couldn’t tell, this recipe is written as a farce.

The brownies are quite tasty. My family found them addictively good. Unfortunately the brownies are made from all sorts of bad things–most notably evil hydrogenated vegetable shortening. As a matter of fact, the original recipe that this gluten free version is based upon can be found at Crisco.com. It’s not a healthy recipe, but it is glorious junk food, which is something you don’t get a lot of when you’re eating gluten-free on a budget. I share the recipe because sometimes you want junk food. And if you’re like me, then every time you eat junk food, you feel like a gluttonous sinner, ripe for the picking when the Dark Side comes calling. Thus my idea to write this recipe up the way I did. If you do not have a sense of humor, you may not “get” this recipe. That’s okay. This recipe can just sit here by itself and it promises not to bother anyone else. For such an evil recipe, this seems like a pretty good compromise to me. 🙂

Apr 142016
 
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Chaos in the Kitchen

Just  quick update to let everyone know that I’m doing fine. I don’t have a lot to say, so rather than bore you with all of my nothing, I haven’t been updating much.

On the food front, I have realized that I can write down everything I eat in my notebook, or I can do it on my website, but, sadly, I cannot do both. I may try a weekly food plan at some point, so that people who are interested can see it, but daily, I can only do it in my notebook because it’s a huge job and I can only do what I can do.

Meanwhile, I’ve been working on my cookbooks. One day I will complete one and publish it on amazon. But that day is not today.

I have stalled my weight loss at 183 to 185-pounds. I’m pleased that it’s not heavier, but frustrated that it’s not lower. I am kind of thinking about a new, lower calorie plan, but am not ready to go public with it, cause I don’t know if I will be successful or not. It’s just lower calorie, nothing fancy or revolutionary.

Mostly I just wanted to let everyone know that I’m doing well, so no one worries about me. 🙂

Mar 102016
 
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cornedbeef-cabbage-beets

I thought beets counted as a vegetable, but my nutritional software is counting it as a starch. So even though the data says I ate 2-1/2 vegetables  today, I personally counted it as 6-vegetables because the pickled beets were delicious, and to me at least, a vegetable.

Breakfast 

  • 1 crunchy granola bar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup egg beaters® 99% egg substitute
  • 1 packet corn grits, instant
  • 2 tangerines

 Dinner

  • 4 ounces cooked corned beef brisket
  • 1 cup mashed potatoes
  • 1 cup pickled beets
  • 1 cup cooked cabbage

Supper

  • 3 ounces cooked corned beef brisket
  • 1/2 cup mashed potatoes
  • 1/2 cup pickled beets
  • 1/2 cup raw carrots

Miscellaneous

  • 1/2 cup lemon juice, bottled
  • Herbal Tea; Iced Tea; Lemon Water

Nutritional Data

Per Serving: 1516 Calories; 58g Fat (33.7% calories from fat); 66g Protein; 191g Carbohydrate; 24g Dietary Fiber; 411mg Cholesterol; 4423mg Sodium.

Calories By Percentage: 34% Fat; 49% Carbohydrate; 17% Protein.

Exchanges: 9-1/2 Grain(Starch); 6-1/2 Lean Meat; 2-1/2 Vegetable; 1-1/2 Fruit; 7-1/2 Fat.

Mar 092016
 
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Girl & Cat

The chocolate chips were a middle of the night thing. I went looking for a banana and the chocolate chips ambushed me. Still, I felt good about this day. I managed to plan my meals more carefully and was able to take more time to do my prep work. Also measuring and weighing is becoming less strange and more normal. Sometimes I even do it automatically, without thinking. I just do it. That’s pretty cool. I’m down 4-lbs since Feb. 16. The process works. I know it works. It’s just so hard to get into the headspace of doing it. When I can though, wowee, wow, wow! I really do see the results.

Breakfast

  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1-1/2 granola bars
  • 1 each navel oranges
  • 1/2 cup soymilk
  • 1-1/3 cups coffee

Lunch

  • 4 ounces boiled potato, leftover
  • 1/2 each carrot, leftover
  • 1/2 cup onions, leftover
  • 3 ounces meatloaf, leftover
  • 1/2 cup grape juice

Dinner

  • 1/2 cup cooked chicken
  • 1/2 cup cooked rice
  • 1/4 cup chopped peppers
  • 2 tablespoons green salsa (salsa verde)
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 cup frozen stir-fry vegetables
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Miscellaneous

  •  Iced tea; herbal tea; lemon water
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice

Nutritional Data

Per Serving: 1494 Calories; 50g Fat (28.6% calories from fat); 59g Protein; 221g Carbohydrate; 23g Dietary Fiber; 90mg Cholesterol; 1265mg Sodium.

Calories By Percentage: 29% Fat; 56% Carbohydrate; 15% Protein.

Exchanges: 8 Grain(Starch); 5 Lean Meat; 4 Vegetable; 3 Fruit; 8 Fat; 2 Other Carbohydrates.

Mar 082016
 
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meatloaf-dinner

This is yesterday’s list. It isn’t what I planned to eat. Well some of it is. But it is what I actually ate. Warts and all. There is way more fat in this day’s menu than I usually aim for, but sometimes that’s what happens. The day gets away from me, and I don’t do as well as I’d like. Still, I did stick pretty close to my calorie level (1500) so I’m not having a cow over it. I’m just starting fresh with the next day, and the next meal.

The chicken liver pate, while delicious and nutritious (and a good way to use up the chicken livers that I thawed and didn’t have time to shake and bake, so they had to be boiled before they went bad so pretty much all they were good for was chopped liver spread or pate) is pretty high in fat. As was the meatloaf, which I usually take pains to remove the fat from, but this time I was hungry and had to eat right now, so I didn’t drain off the fat like normal, plus I had an extra helping because it was so good and I was starving. When I’m rushed I don’t do all the things I can do to make healthy choices. I suspect I’m not alone in my failing.

Breakfast

  • 1 granola bar
  • 2/3 cup soymilk
  • 1-1/2 cups coffee (café au lait with the soymilk)
  • 1 navel orange

Lunch

  • 1/3 cup chicken liver pate
  • 1 apple
  • 2 brown rice cakes

Dinner

  • 6 ounces homemade meatloaf
  • 1 cup cooked spinach
  • 4 ounces potato
  • 1 cup onions
  • 1 carrot

Miscellaneous

  • 1/2 cup lemon juice, bottled
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sugar strawberry preserves

Nutritional Data

Per Serving: 1634 Calories; 88g Fat (46.3% calories from fat); 61g Protein; 167g Carbohydrate; 28g Dietary Fiber; 237mg Cholesterol; 2123mg Sodium.

Calories By Percentage: 46% Fat; 39% Carbohydrate; 14% Protein.

Exchanges: 5 Grain(Starch); 5-1/2 Lean Meat; 5-1/2 Vegetable; 3 Fruit; 13-1/2 Fat; 1 Other Carbohydrates.

Mar 062016
 
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Ranch Pony

I think of dieting as being like a horse. I ride the horse, and sometimes the horse bucks me off. It hurts my pride, bruises my ego, but it doesn’t stop me from getting where I’m going. When I ride a horse, I always risk the possibility of getting tossed off. That doesn’t mean I should I should stop riding. It doesn’t mean I should avoid horses for the rest of my life. It just means that riding horses has it’s risks. It just means that I have to keep getting back on that horse if I want to get to where I’m going.

My PMS week plays havoc with my emotions and with my eating plan. I do the best I can to manage my emotions and my eating plan during this week. The same way a rider does her best to manage a balky horse. There are lots of little things that have to be accommodated and lots of micro decisions that have to be made. It’s complicated.

Sometimes, in spite of my efforts, I get thrown. I can’t always control that. I can manage it, but I can’t control it.

So when I find myself on my butt, on the ground, looking up at a smug horse, I have two choices. I can stop trying, admit defeat, accept my body where it’s at and give up any hope of ever reaching my weight goal. Or, I can look that smug horse in it’s smug little snout, put my foot back in the stirrup and climb back in the saddle. My plan is to keep climbing back on that horse.

It may throw me off, but only I can keep myself on the ground. I choose to keep trying. Every day is a new day. Every meal is a fresh start.

Today is my new day. Today is my fresh start. Today I get the luxury of continuing my journey. Whatever happened yesterday doesn’t matter. This day, this meal, this morsel, is all I have to worry about. One day at a time.

Breakfast

  • 1/4 cup soymilk
  • 3/4 cup coffee
  • 1/2 cup grape juice
  • 1 packet corn grits, instant
  • 2/3 cup egg beaters® 99% egg substitute
  • 1 teaspoon margarine
  • 1/2 a small cantaloupe

Lunch

  • 1/2 cup chicken liver pate, homemade
  • 1 each apple
  • 2 each rice cakes
  • 2 each celery stalks

Dinner

  • 3 cups mixed greens
  • 2 ounces sliced chicken
  • 2 ounces deli-style ham slices
  • 1/2 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1 each roma tomato, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons light thousand island salad dressing

Miscellaneous

  • 1/2 cup lemon juice, bottled
  • Herbal Tea, Iced Tea, Lemon Water

Nutritional Data

Per Serving: 1213 Calories; 49g Fat (35.5% calories from fat); 64g Protein; 137g Carbohydrate; 18g Dietary Fiber; 343mg Cholesterol; 2664mg Sodium.

Calories By Percentage: 36% Fat; 44% Carbohydrate; 21% Protein.

Exchanges: 2-1/2 Grain(Starch); 7 Lean Meat; 3-1/2 Vegetable; 4 -1/2 Fruit; 7 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.

 

Feb 252016
 
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CCOOKIES

When you publish recipes on the internet sometimes they grow wings and fly around to places you (I) never expected.

In 2001, back when we still ate wheat, but after I was diagnosed with PCOS, and trying to increase my use of whole wheat flour, I wanted a chocolate chip cookie that my kids would love but that would be cheap enough and healthy enough that I could eat them too. I worked for a couple of months on this recipe, making it 7 times before I got it right.

I had read about replacing the fat in baking recipes with yogurt, which I used to make every week because it was nutritious and the kids ate it without complaint. So I tried using yogurt for half of the fat in my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and was really surprised when it worked. Later I reduced the sugar by about 1/3 and was amazed that the cookies still tasted so good. For many years, this was the chocolate chip cookie I used as our mainstay.

While surfing the web recently, I found my recipe in a lot of government publications and was quite flattered that this particular recipe had grown wings to fly so far. And also that nutritionists specializing in economical, healthy food found my recipe acceptable to their standards.

In my original recipe, I included an egg. But the way I wrote the method didn’t include adding the egg to the batter. I accidentally left that part out, which is why I believe some of the versions of this recipe include an egg, and others do not. That was a mistake on my part. These cookies really do turn out best if you add an egg to the batter to keep everything behaving properly in the oven.

You can find copies of this recipe all over the web now days, most notably HERE (page 10). Their recipe doesn’t turn out because they left out the egg which was included in my original recipe.

I have yet to make this recipe with GLAD flour and Tofu-yogurt, but I suspect it will turn out fine.

Wholesome Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup margarine or butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cup whole wheat flour, or half white and half wheat
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 to 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (mini chips are good too)

Directions

First melt the margarine or butter.  Some folks do this in the microwave, but I prefer do it in a small pan over low heat on the stove.  In a large bowl combine the margarine or butter, brown sugar and yogurt (and egg).  Add the vanilla and mix everything very well with a wire whisk.  Stir in the flour, baking soda and salt.  Add the chocolate chips and stir to distribute them evenly.

Drop the dough by rounded tablespoons onto a cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick spray.  Dip the bottom of a flat cup into water and then use it to press the cookies flat.  You have to do this because the cookies don’t have enough fat to spread the way cookies normally do. Bake at 350°: 10 minutes for soft cookies or 15 minutes for crisp cookies.  Cool slightly before removing from the cookie sheets.  Makes about 3 dozen.

Use 1-tablespoon of dough for each cookie.  They are very good; my boys adore them, even though they’re healthy.

Makes 36 cookies.

Per Serving: 87 Calories; 4g Fat (41.1% calories from fat); 1g Protein; 12g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 6mg Cholesterol; 69mg Sodium.

Exchanges: 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.

Feb 252016
 
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Canned Peaches

I have a small collection of economical, nutritious, low sugar, low sodium, low fat, whole grain rich desserts that are really, really good. Good enough that you don’t mind eating them if you’re not on a diet. Big enough that you never feel deprived or frustrated by portion size.

When I say that my peach crisp is good, I’m not joking or anything. This stuff is delicious and nutritious enough that I confidently allow my kids to eat it for breakfast. And they feel like they’re getting away with something. I won’t tell them if you won’t. This stuff is amazing.

Peach Crisp

Ingredients

  • 2 (29-ounce) cans sliced peaches in fruit juice (no added sugar)
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Topping

  • 1/4 cup dairy-free margarine
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup brown rice flour OR GLAD flour (or whole wheat flour)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

Open up both cans of peaches. Drain the juice out of the can and into a large (3-quart) saucepan. Set the peaches aside. You’ll need them in a bit.

Add the lemon juice, cornstarch and sugar to the pan of peach juice. Stir it up with a whisk until the cornstarch is dissolved and the peach juice is milky looking (from the cornstarch; don’t worry it will clear up when it boils). Cook and stir the mixture over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Allow it to boil for a minute or so, stirring all the while. It will be unusually thick.

Stir in the peaches and turn off the burner.

Meanwhile coat a 9-inch square pan with solid shortening or no-stick spray.

In a small bowl combine the margarine, oats, flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Mix with a fork until crumbly.

Turn the peaches into the prepared 9-inch pan. Top evenly with the oat mixture. Bake at 400° for 30 minutes, or until the top is crispy brown and the peaches are bubbly. Serve while still warm for best flavor. Although cold leftovers turn out to make a pretty tasty breakfast.

Cut the pan 3 by 3 to make 9-servings.

Per Serving: 276 Calories; 6g Fat (18.7% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 53g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 94mg Sodium.

Calories By Percentage: 19% Fat; 76% Carbohydrate; 5% Protein.

Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 2 Fruit; 1 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.

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