LIVING IN AN UPSIDE DOWN WORLD
Social Distancing, Shelter In Place, Self Isolation, Fast To Make It Last, The New Normal. All new phases that will always be impacted in our minds for a very long time.This has been a nightmare for the past several months for most of us. Unfortunately not for everyone, from what I have been hearing on the news. It behoves me to understand this, but I am not going to go there. I am going to stick with what I know and not torture my self anymore trying to figure out this unbelievable heartache.
If you had the time to read my last update, which by the way was several months ago, you would have viewed the photo shared by me with my current ten precious Great Grandchildren. I say this because about a while back and unfortunately I really am not sure when, because everyday seems the same, like in that movie GroundHog Day. Anyway, my grandson and his wife informed me that I am going to be a great grandma again in November, and low and behold our precious little bundle was born Monday November 23, actually perhaps I should have said big bundle, because he weighed in at 8 pounds, 13 ounces. They also have two beautiful girls and when the UltraSound indicated that it was a boy, you can imagine my grandson’s excitement.and I assume that it took awhile before they were able to peel my grandson off the ceiling. News Flash-Grandson from Virginia called a few months ago to share some exciting news. You guessed it, I am going to be a great grandma again in February.
Sooo, if you did view my photo I shared in my update, it was obvious that I was an older person, but I am also an older person with an underlying heart condition that was described years ago as a predisposed genetic heart problem. I have gone through various stages of treatment and I am so thankful that I adhered to what I call a healthy lifestyle of exercise and healthy eating and most of all following the guidelines of the Mediterrian Diet, which isn’t a diet at all, but a lifestyle. I eat very well and as I have said many times in my blog, every photo that you see in my blog are photos of my breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and desserts and even healthy drinks.
I only mentioned this because I wanted to share the heartache that I have had all these months with my fellow grandmas and grandpas and great grandmas and grandpas. It breaks my heart that I cannot hug all my kids and grandkids and my sweet precious great grandkids. Unfortunately I have missed all the wonderful family celebrations, including what was to be a big one celebrating my granddaughters graduation from college and her brothers from high school. Unfortunately like many parents and grandparents we watched the ceremonies virtually sitting on the couch.
Santino aka Sonny
After I rertired and was working from home free lance writing, I agreed to help my daughter out and daycare her baby and soon after her baby brother. I can honestly say that it was the most rewarding and fun time. It is so amazing how quickly the children, and you as well become so attached to each other and the days that we didn't have them we missed them so much. So you can imagine how every mom, dad, gramma and grandpa must have felt watching their graduations on their computers. I personaly went through a box of tissues and could not fanthom how fast time goes by. These perecious little darlings now ready to conquer the world and boom, the world is at a stand still. HOW SAD! However, my local great grandchildren and their parents come by and we visit using social distancing. Unfortunately, I do have 4 greats in Massachusetts and I miss seeing them and a few months ago the very excited expectant parents in Virginia had their revealing event and again I sadly viewed the event virtually, and although it wasn’t the same as being there, the suspense was killing me. Well, when they cut the cake, it was pink. So, that makes seven girls and 5 boys. Also, last week we did a Happy Birthday celebration via Zoom watching my great granddaughter blow out the candles on her birthday cake but unfortunately we were unable to taste the delicious looking birthday cake or to hug her and plant a big kiss on her forehead.
On Mothers Day my son’s grandchildren and his daughter and her husband stopped by with a huge bag of groceries, waved and threw kisses and from my front porch I threw them back. They are three very active adorable boys and to my surprise it seemed like someone stretched them and the baby was almost as tall as his middle brother.
This past summer, I did have the opportunity to entertain my other granddaughter and her children for lunch. I set up the deck for them and I sat on a chair by an opened window on my sun porch complying to the six feet apart rule. However when they came running in the backyard and I saw that they had these little masks on, I had to turn away. So unrealistic for a visit to Nana Nana’s that is the name that they all call me, which usually means hugs and and kisses.
It was a wonderful afternoon and I enjoyed it so much. I kept them busy drawing pictures that I am displaying in my basement playroom. After my great granddaughter finished coloring her picture, she walked over to the window and was staring at me. My thoughts were, oh, she seems upset that I am sitting inside and talking through a window. She seemed to be really concentrating. Finally she said NaNa NaNa what color eyes do you have? I said green, she smiled and quickly ran back to her little table and immediately began drawing. When she finished her picture, she came running to the window and said “I drew a picture of you NaNa NaNa.” That nearly wiped me out!
Oh, I certainly would be remiss if I didn’t share her 3 year old brother’s picture that he colored. He was so excited running to the window to show me his creation and with a smile on his face and a sparkle in his big beautiful blue eyes he said “I like the colors' ', and as you can see, he used many.
Actually I am so proud of my granddaughters and their husbands and my grandsons and their wives for utilizing their Shelter At Home time in creative ways to keep the kids busy and happy. Although there are so many unique ways that they entertained the kids and I hope to share a few of their photos that they shared with me. Soooo! I plan to post a supplement to this update featuring my grand kids and their kids coping with this unfortunate situation that we are all going through.
“It’s Today, It’s Yesterday, It’s tomorrow” they are all the same. Like all of you I miss our normal everyday lives, even the blaa days. I would give anything to have all those lost memories and of course all the very special family events, which we have many. Last count it was was 35 and with new baby #2 joining us in February along with 2 new brides next year we are going to have to rent a hall pretty soon.
I know I am not alone feeling as I do and I realize that many families are suffering so much grief with the unexpected loss of a loved one due to the virus and my concerns seem so selfish. I apologize for that and will add it to my prayers tonight.
Although I cannot go to mass, I do watch it on television. Sunday was always special, even the air smelled different and everything we did made Sunday such a special day. Our big Sunday breakfast after nine o’clock mass, our mid afternoon Sunday dinner of a roast of some type with wonderful vegetables prepared in various creative ways. After dinner was our Sunday mystery ride, with us disappointed kids in the back seat when we didn’t turn down the street to the amusement park. The day ended with a help yourself dinner with cold salads that mom premade, ham slices and cheese for sandwiches on those big hard rolls fresh from the bakery that dad bought after church and of course a fabulous dessert and a cup of what we called company coffee-a small amount of coffee with a few splashes of evaporated milk. To this day I treat myself to a cup of company coffee and I still get that wonderful warm feeling!
Gosh, I find myself reminiscing about all the begone family events and happenings, not all with a smile or laughter, but some with sadness and tears. I found that keeping myself busy is good medicine for keeping the blues and worries at bay and my “To Do List” is abundant with all kinds of projects. Of course, first on the list is cooking, including my food challenges. Last month it was to see how many different foods that I could make using oatmeal-still working on that, but this week, because I have the needed ingredients in the refrigerator, I am going to do a Greek yogurt, white whole wheat flour and bacon soda challenge. Wish me luck! You can be sure that I will be sharing them with you, when I am certain they are perfect!
When I was working for the local newspaper, I started writing a cookbook and because of the many titles that I had such as Editorial Assistant, Food Editor, Columnist. Photojournalist, I probably could have found a publisher. Unfortunately, more important happenings popped up and I had to shelf the book and last week while trying to organise my office and trash some of the unwanted boxes of papers, I found a file box with my abandoned cookbook. Well, I decided to work on it, probably just for my personal use, but honestly I am excited.
During this Shelter In Place my kids have been wonderful, beyond and above of what might be expected to make things comfortable and normal as can be. I make a list and my son and daughter in law do my main food shopping and because I am always experimenting my list is usually very long and one week my son was lugging bag after bag, and he said “you have more groceries than we have. Actually, most of my list includes items for my pantry and freezer as well as weekly needs.
My daughters are running here and there for me and filling in the gap when I forget something and sending food they made and during the summer supplying me with fresh vegetables from their husbands gardens. I have been having a great time in the kitchen concocting all kinds of various mixtures and have produced some very delectable dishes. Mind you, I was reluctant to try to produce a cooking blog at the onset of this nightmare, because my pantry was in dire need of being replenished, but to my amazement I was able to create some tasty dishes. So much so, that I added them to my app on my ipad that I use when I create a recipe. To be honest this is such an improvement because when I was using a notebook, to record the ingredients I was using, I couldn’t read my writing or my notes were undetectable under the pasta sauce or whatever else I was using!
In the Creative Corner today is Eleanor, a reader from the Cayman Islands who entered the Cayman Lockdown Cook Off which was sponsored by Icoa eat & drink-George Town, Cayman Islands. Participants purchased a box of the same ingredients and had to create a complete meal from the ingredients in the box.
Actually, that seems like a great idea for restaurants. They buy wholesale, so they could put a price on it including their labor and for the customer who would be able to create a great dinner without shopping or going online for delivery. Of course, I am not sure if there are any laws that would prohibit them from doing it. I do know however that there are 2 food-service chains, one that supplies food for eating establishments and institutions and one that supplies food to stock our super markets and grocery stores.
Eleanor’s entry sounds and looks delicious. Having lived down south in the states, Elleanor admits to still having a SOUTHERN KITCHEN, so she prepared ribs with a bourbon and beef broth glaze, accompanied with a medley of roasted vegetables and barley. For desert, hold on to your hat, because I think this is going to be new to many of us, Eleanor made one of her southern favorites which contained glazed bacon.
As you can see the box contained a variaty of items which had to be used to prepare your meal and by viewing Eleanor's photo it looks like she did a very good job complying to the rules. There is only one problem that I can see and that is we do not have a recipe to try. OOPS! Maybe I can do something about that! What do you say Eleanor, can we have the pleasure of hearing from you again? Oh, by the way congratulations are in order for Eleanor because a few months back Eleanor became a grandmother for the first and second time as both of her daughers became mom's and folks Eleanor hit the jackpot as one had a boy and the other a girl!
My Creative Corner was always a very popular segment of my column in the past and has slacked off somewhat in the last few years. Now with folks spending more time in the kitchen, hopefully it may pick up again.Your contribution to the segment does not have to be about food, it can be a craft, just an idea or hint of some kind or a spin on one of my recipes or if you have a recipe of your own that you would like to share. I especially would like to see some ethnic recipes. I will be sharing some of my recipes from my Slovac Heritage as well. Send photos and information to May@healthycookingfortoday.com Also if you have a comment you can use the same website, but please be nice. Actually my feelings are that there is enough nastiness in the world today!
This unfinished post was on my desk in my office for a couple of months. I just wasn’t in
the mood to work on it. Then, I saw on my iPad that so many people were cooking at home that never had time to cook and were enjoying it. King Arthur posted that it was out of All Purpose Flour and many other companies echoed the same news. I thought, although I am short on supplies, I am going to create some recipes from what I have in the refrigerator and freezer and in my panty.
My freezer was like a gold mine with all the items that I had to work with, which really surprised me. Because in August there was a bad storm and my electricity was out for 3 days. I was forced to stay with my son and his wife and packed what I could to put in his freezer and we had to dispose of the rest.
I always stock up when my market has a 2 for 1 sale on pork tenderloin. So I had a few pork tenderloins. Actually I use pork tenderloins often in many different ways. I also found chicken tenders, frozen fish filets, frozen brown rice and frozen peas and carrots and the jackpot. half of a large bag of shrimp. The refrigerator did not give me much to work with, although I did have a carton of egg whites and a carton of Egg Beaters, I like to have them on hand if I am short of eggs. I also had some feta cheese,cheddar cheese and cottage cheese and fat free cream cheese and a half bottle of orange marmalade, which came in handy for the shrimp dish that I made. I also had a head of broccoli, some mushrooms in the vegetable compartment and some navel oranges, some cantaloupe and some grapes in the fruit compartment. In the refrigerators freezer I had a bag of walnuts and a bag of pecans, also my homemade pesto along with some frozen muffins I had made and a package of frozen peas and a few packages of leftover squash and apple casserole.
The pantry had the usual items, spices, oils, cereals,dried fruit, Panko, and baking needs, a box of gelatin with1 package left in it and to my delight a small bag of coconut that worked well in my shrimp dish as well and in my root vegetable storage, there were a few potatoes and the bread storage had a half bag of whole wheat bread.
I also use the perimeter of my garage as storage. I have shelves with canned fruit and vegetables in water or juice and canned tuna and clams and pastas and other cooking essentials and shelves with paper goods and cleaning products and other shelves with miscellaneous STUFF. Actually I think that is more information that you want.
I am not going to list the amounts of ingredients because it is obvious what they are. I will tell you what I used, and how I prepared the dish, however you do your own thing and use what you have. In the later months, my son and daughter in law were doing my weekly shopping and I had more to work with.
About a year ago or perhaps the year before-actually I have no sense of time, as I mentioned earlier, every day is the same-Bowl Food restaurants popped up in New York that featured a variety of foods that you could select to fill special bowls to make a complete healthy breakfast, lunch or dinner. For a healthy bowl it was suggested that it should include FIBER, OR FIBER ON THE SIDE, DAIRY, PROTEIN, FRUIT AND OR A VEGETABLE. THE BOWLS COULD BE HOT OR COLD!
Personally, I love them and they really saved the day for me using what I had on hand to create some wonderful tasty bowls for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Honestly, I make 2 or 3 breakfast bowls a week because there are always ingredients for them in your fridge or pantry or even your freezer to create one. To make the bowl above I layered cottage cheese, mixture of fruit and topped with cheerios and a small scoop of blueberry yogurt and garnished with sliced oranges. Another breakfast bowl started with mixed fruit, topped with cottage cheese and strawberry yogurt sprinked with a palm full of half walnuts-by the way many reserchers have suggested that if you eat a palm full of walnuts or mixed nuts a day, you will live longer than many of your friends.
I used a teacup instead of a bowl this time around for my scrambled egg and cheese and low sodium bacon bowl.. This bowl is cooked in the microwave. You begin by cooking the bacon first, enclosed in a double fold piece of paper towel and placed in the microwave-I like to use the 30 second timer and check at intervals, do not overcook, as it is going to be added to the egg mixture- remove, cool and dice. Use a whisk or fork to blend eggs, I use 2 and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add shredded American or Cheddar cheese to taste and blend well, add bacon and again blend well. Place in the microwave until fluffy and no liquid is visible. Check often. I did not add time, because all microwaves are not the same. I usually use the 30 second time in increments until the eggs are cooked. I served mine with a homemade scone and peaches.
Be creative and create some of your own breakfast bowls. Better yet, if you have children, let them create their own. Simply fill a few bowls with different cereals and fruit and cottage cheese and yogurt. Even a small bowl of dark chocolate chips or nuts. Have Fun!
Dinner bowls are great for that second day leftover meal. A little bit of this and a little bit of that and topped with a light sauce or gravy. For the above bowl, I started with a scope of mashed potatoes topped with slices of leftover chicken, some gravy and topped with peas and cranberry sauce.
Sunday after Thanksgiving, I made a bowl similar to the bowl above, but used stuffing, turkey, a scoop of potatoes, sweet potatoes and peas and a small amount of gravy and topped it with a scoop of cranberry sauce. So Good!
COCONUT SHRIMP OVER RICE WITH PEAS AND TOPPED WITH ORANGE SAUCE
I set up my breading station-white whole wheat flour, egg whites, panko mixed with coconut.
Dipped shrimp one at a time in the flour, egg whites, panko and coconut mix
I used my Air Fryer, which I love, and cooked the shrimp 5 min on each side.
I served the shrimp over rice mixed with peas and topped it with the heated orange marmalade mixed with a small amount of orange juice-from the naval orange and sliced orange for garnish.
STUFFED PORK TENDERLOIN WITH SQUASH APPLE CASSEROLE AND CRANBERRY JELLO LAYERED WITH FAT FREE CREAM CHEESE
I butterflied the pork tenderloin and made a stuffing with the bread, adding apples, raisins, apple juice and seasonings. I cooked the tenderloin in the oven for 25 minutes and I served the tenderloin with the squash casserole and gelatin. I also made a light gravy using apple juice thickened with water and cornstarch. You will find the recipe for making your own gelatin in the archives.
To check out the archives, click All Posts and select This and That. Although you will find the basic recipe for making the jello, the ingredients are different as follows: cranberry juice mixed with the gelatin and low fat cream cheese for the center. You can have a lot of fun with this one. Hey, while you are there you will notice that the photo does not go with the post, and to make it more of a mystery, it isn’t even my photo-not being computer savvy, I don’t know how to get rid of it-help!
TUNA SALAD STUFFED FRESH GARDEN TOMATO WITH LIGHT PICKINGS
Using one of tne last tomatoes from the the garden I served a light meal and saved the calories for a delicious desert-which I will share in my next update! I made a simple tuna salad using a hard boiled egg, yogurt and mayonnaise, pinch of salt and a shake of ground pepper and onion powder and a quarter cup of sweet pickle relish. Stuffed the tomato and served it with cheese crackers and sliced apple with peanut butter.
I have more, but this is getting too lengthy and I will never get to bed tonight, although I really enjoyed talking to you. Let’s keep in touch.
Although, I often receive comments on my kitchen about how homey it is, and how organized it is with the large working counter and the ceiling pot rack. But actually my kitchen is rather small with very little storage for all my cooking needs, so when we redid it over 20 years ago we had to utilize every little space to accommodate all my cooking needs with the pot rack and the narrow shelves in the pantry that turned out perfect for all my spices, vinegars, and many other needed staples. I love it, because it is small enough, everything is in reach. I especially like when I am working at the work counter, I stand on my cushioned mat and when I pivot to the right, I am at my stove and when I pivot to the left I am at my refrigerator and if I sashay to the right, I am at the sink, Love It! I only mention this because in this scary, sad and unpredictable time, I find that I am relaxed and happy when I am creating something in my kitchen. So find something you enjoy, honestly it helps.
DISCLAIMER-HealthyCookingForToday.com is intending to supply my readers with timely researched medical information and suggestions for healthier food choices and recipes and is not intended to give personal medical advice, which should be obtained by your physician.
ATTENTION-PLEASE IGNORE THE INFORMATION PERTAINING TO MY NEWSLETTER. UNFORTUNATELY I DISCONTINUED SENDING A NEWSLETTER SEVERAL MONTHS AGO AND I HAVE BEEN WORKING ON HAVING THE INFORMATION DELETED.