Sunday, September 27, 2009

Rachel Ray

Last week I made a Mexican Lasagna from a Rachel Ray recipe that woke me repeatedly during the night. Undeterred, I brought it for lunch for four days (it made a huge pan of ground turkey, cheese, beans, corn, spice and layers of tortillas.)

I also made Pad Thai using instructions from Kevin on the blog "Closet Cooking." (He's amazing.) It came out pretty good. I used tamarind paste, a fruity addition, for the first time ever, and the Pad Thai tasted less like sweaty gym socks, than usual.

Saturday I went to a health fair and got to indulge my hypochondria and snag some free bottled water and a banana. I got myself tested for osteoporosis (I don't have it), arterial blockage in the limbs (all clear), hearing (normal) and total cholesterol 213 (borderline high.) I spoke to a middle aged woman at the Alzheimer's booth whose father came down with the disease in his 50's, who told me not to worry about getting it, since my mother and grandfather weren't stricken till late in life. She told me only the early onset version is hereditary. I told her its more inheritable from the mother's side (she didn't know that.) So, we comforted each other.

One thing I noticed was how unhealthy all these health experts looked. Lots of fat nurses testing the masses, and the lady at the osteoporosis booth looked frail, almost skeletal. What is good health? In some ways, its just the absence of pain and disability. It's being able to walk as far and as fast as you want to. It's living up to your life expectancy. I was blessed with good genes, for the most part, and I have walked a lot my whole life, never smoked, and eaten reasonably well, if too much. Mostly, I would like to not feel fat every day of my life. Weighing less would be being healthier, to me. And that is a pretty serious intervention.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Ministry of Food

The famous Naked Chef, Jaime Oliver, has a cookbook called Ministry of Food, and a website where he posts how-to cooking videos. One of his goals is to teach people what we have forgotten: how to cook at home. He is really sweet and I enjoy watching him explain the simplest things.

This week I made his Fish Pie, which is just a casserole of salmon, celery, carrot, herbs, cheese, and tomato, topped by mashed potatoes. I also made his Salmon Tikka with nan bread, very easy and exotic.

I ate way too much dairy this week: chicken and ricotta burgers, a mushroom and cream with ground turkey over pasta dish, and eggs for several breakfasts. My arteries are probably clogging as we speak, except for the bits of oatmeal still scrubbing them. Next week I will focus on vegetables.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Last week casseroles

Last week I lived off three casseroles for lunches and dinners: Arroz Con Pollo (excellent recipe from Stacy's Snacks), Mushroom and Brown Rice Casserole (from 101 Cookbooks), and Chicken and Shrimp Coconut Curry from "The FoodDoctor" cookbook.) I'd spent $34.00 at the grocery store last week.

I also bought pizza for lunch one day as a friend asked me to walk with her to Amatos (it's all her fault!) $5.00. I satisfied a craving for take out Pad Thai at Pom's Restaurant on my way home from work one night $12.00. I bought a bottle of Merlot ($10.00) on Wednesday. Saturday, I had two rum and pineapple drinks and a Portobello Sandwich at Dogfish Cafe for $30.00. (Really delicious sandwich, and it was nice to socialize.)

So, basically, $80.00 for food and alcohol. For one person. Me.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

In the Garden

The morning in 2007 I learned my father had died, I turned on the radio and heard the song “In The Garden” being song in a deep baritone on a religious station I hadn’t even realized the radio was set on. The song was very moving, and perfectly matched my feelings at that moment, as it is about walking with Jesus in a garden, and it reminded me of my Dad, for many reasons.

Two years later, my sister and I visited the cemetery, where my parents gravestones had been newly installed, a very emotional visit. Then, we went to see my mother in the nursing home, where she suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. I tried to make conversation about flowers and the rainy summer and how the garden outside the home seemed to be doing well. She responded to my emotions, if not my conversation, holding my hand and stroking it with her thumb, comforting me as tears escaped my eyes. When my sister and I left my mother, we passed a room where they were holding a church service. I heard a beautiful hymn being sung, and, as I paid attention, I realized they were singing “In The Garden.” The song I had asked to be sung at my Dad's funeral, after hearing it the morning I was told he had died.

This may not seem like much to you, but, for me, I was absolutely floored. It makes me wonder if, as my father told me, which at the time I ascribed to his brain injury, it isn’t true, “Amy, its all One. It’s all One thing.”

Sunday, September 6, 2009

I just like recording my grocery bills, I know its weird


can coconut milk $1.29
can diced tomatoes $1.38
chicken stock $2.49
Greek yogurt $1.79
can Tonino tuna $2.08
coffee $3.99
tomato paste .75
Lactaid milk quart $2.19
chicken $6.00
celery $1.59
basil $2.29
lemon .59
cilantro $2.29
wild Maine blueberries $4.99
onion .68

I made a fabulous coconut chicken stir fry for dinner, and froze the leftovers. Tomorrow I will make a chicken stew. I still have cereal, eggs, rice, some veggies and condiments left over from last week, so this is not quite an accurate picture of what I can do, but its a good start.