I Think Spring is Here

Yes, I am talking about the arrival of Spring.  I always know when it is really here, because the ground cover in my perennial garden surfaces.  When I checked the garden this morning, there it was.



I planned to update with a late April supplement update, but to really enjoy my meals and because I also like some variety in them, I had to space them just a little bit, and yes the photos that appear on my site, are also my dinners and because I wanted this update to once again touch briefly on ideas how to stretch your food budget by reusing leftovers to create totally different kinds of delicious meals.


I was working with the ham from my Easter Dinner at my daughters that she not only cooked, but graciously gave me the leftovers, which was well over half of the ham.  I prepared the ham for the freezer, packaging in various ways, keeping in mind how I was going to use it. So today I will be sharing some of my recipes with you. Of course it will not include the simple breakfast entrees dishes, such as Ham and Eggs, Ham, Cheese Veggie Omelet and my Hash Brown Potato Ham and Egg Omelet. I could go on and on, but you get the picture.


Now that Spring is finally here and it will be just a blink of the eye before Summer arrives, so it didn’t  surprised me to hear a beautiful woman on a television show reveal that her main concern at the moment was how she was going to fit into her bikini after this long drawn out winter and her mindless snacking.


With all the major concerns in the world, wearing a bikini would be the furthest thing on my mind-actually at my age, I do not think that would be allowed anyway. But I am sure that it could be a major concern among the masses and the first thought would be to go on a crash diet for quick results. Not only would that be a bad idea, but a crash diet could be detrimental to your health.  First, crash diets have been proven scientifically that they do not work and after the water loss, you reach a plateau and unless you sustain the diet for a very lengthy time, your weight will return and for many with an increase of your original weight. No, I do not pretend to be a medical person, a nutritionist or a diet geru. But I have seen this happen time and time again.


Just put your thinking cap on and determine just how and why you added those extra pounds and then determine how you can rectify the problem, by honestly answering the following  questions.


  1. I have been including an over abundance of fat found in red meat, high fat dairy products and baked items.  

    Salt-found in processed foods and having a heavy hand when cooking. Sugar-found in most fat free products,

    sugar dense drinks and eating to many refined carbs.

  2. Lack of exercise or movement-it takes a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise every day and some continual

    movement throughout the day.

  3. Less than 7 hours of sleep a night.

  4. Not Drinking water throughout the day.


Now that was easy!  So what are you going to do about it?  Well maybe I can help you with the following suggestions:


Try eliminating some saturated fat in your diet by substituting chicken, turkey and fish occasionally instead of red meat. You notice the word occasionally, as anything in moderation is fine, unless by doctors orders or because of allergies.


Leave the salt shaker in the kitchen and when cooking use in moderation and if an ingredient is known to be salty, eliminate the salt when cooking.  Example-when using cheese or olives.


Now sugar, this is a tough one!  Most everyone has a little bit of a sweet tooth and unfortunately sugar is everywhere.  You will find sugar in most processed foods, in sodas and other drinks, including juices and believe it or not even in supposing healthy fat free and low fat foods. The less fat, the more sugar and even in milk with the exception of Almond Milk and other non-dairy milks.  Let’s see, what did I leave out?  Oh yes, the food everyone craves, those delicious desserts, pastries, cookies, ice cream and that once a year beautiful birthday cake-well that is an exception, anyway remember what I said about in moderation. My other hint on this subject is to learn to substitute healthier ingredients in your baked goods and desserts.  I love to bake and I love desserts, but I admit I do use healthier ingredients, but I also eat them in moderation. When it comes to ice cream, honestly I do not even miss it since I have made so many delicious Yonana desserts that taste exactly like my favorite ice cream desserts. I served a scrumptious Peanut Butter Yonana with a sauce made of dark chocolate chips, sprinkled with a few walnuts and my guest asked me what brand the ice cream was, because they loved it!


Your best bet in selecting food is to read the Nutrition Labels on the packaging.  Yes, I know what you are going to say-”They are unrealistic” and yes I certainly agree. Example-You are excited to read on the label that there on only 150 calories in a serving, then you see that the serving size is ¼ cup.  REALLY? Well folks that is in the past, because now new Nutritional Labels will be on all products between now and the deadline of July 2018. The new labels are more realistic and will reflect what people actually eat and also will list how much of the sugar in the product is added sugar.  The only thing that will be the same is that the amounts are still based on a 2000 calorie diet. So if the calorie consumption for your diet is more or less you will have to adjust those amounts.


Well, I think that is time to concentrate on the few extra hours I spent in the kitchen creating the second hand dinners from the Easter ham leftovers.




Healthier Ham Salad

2 cups of leftover cooked ham
1 tablespoon finely chopped celery
2 teaspoons sweet or dill pickle relish or chopped pickles
1 teaspoon finely chopped onion
1 hard boiled egg, chopped
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup greek yogurt
1 scant teaspoon Dijon mustard


As always, you can adjust the amounts of all of the ingredients to suit your particular taste. Add the first five ingredients to a food processor or to a bowl. Pulse to blend lightly or blend by hand in a bowl.  Combine the mayonnaise, yogurt and mustard and add to the processor and pulse until blended or completely blend manually until the consistency desired. If using as a salad entree the mixture should be firm, but if using as a spread, as I did, it should be spreadable. There is only one problem with this recipe, as a spread on crackers it is so delicious that you may over indulge.


I wanted to spotlight the crackers that I served with the ham salad because they are a added healthy bonus.  The crackers are Quinoa Chips made from Quinoa, Non-GMO Corn, Lentils, Chickpeas and Green Peas with added Gouda and Romano Cheese and a smidgon of Cracked Pepper.  They are Gluten-Free, Kosher, Non-GMO, No Artificial Flavors, No Hydrogenated Fats, 0 grams of Trans Fats and have 3 grams of Protein.  Ther are produced by a company called the Daily Crave. www.thedailycrave.com


Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is a wonderful source of fiber and a complete protein cintaining all nine essential amino acids, the building blocks of life, and was considered sacred by the Incas and was know as the mother of all grains.





Broccoli-Mushroom Quiche

One crust pie shell-homemade or purchased.
¼ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
¼ cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 10 ounce package frozen broccoli, thawed
½ pound fresh mushrooms-or to taste-sliced
1 cup skim milk
1 teaspoon  herb blend-if not  homemade try salt free Mrs. Dash
⅛ teaspoon pepper if not included in your spice blend


Layer cheese broccoli and mushrooms in pie shell.  Place remaining ingredients in blender or food processor until mixture is thoroughly combined. Pour over cheese and vegetable mixture in pie shell and bake in hot 400 degrees oven for 35 to 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


For a Spinach Mushroom Quiche simply substitute frozen spinach, drained, for the broccoli.





Crockpot Ham and Split Pea Soup

3 medium carrots. Diced
1 package dried split peas, rinsed and sorted
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
¾ teaspoon of your homemade salt free herb blend or Mrs. Dash salt free Table Blend or Original Blend
1 bay leaf
Approximately 6 cups of chicken broth/stock-I prefer Kitchen Basic- unsalted.
Trimmed ham bone
Ham pieces

Combine carrots, onion, peas which have been rinsed and sorted-follow directions on bag,

Celery and bay leaf in crock pot slow cooker. Pour broth over mixture. Add trimmed bone by submerging in center of mixture in crockpot slow cooker. Add trimmed  ham from bone.


Cover and cook on low 4 to 5 hours or until peas are tender. Remove and discard bay leaf.  Cover and let stand 15 minutes to thicken. I use my immersion blender to blend the soup thoroughly-you may blend the soup manually until of desired consistency.  If too thick for your taste add more broth or water.




CREATIVE CORNER


I chose to use another beautiful photo by Nature Photographer Lisa Cox of Wyoming, so that we could feast our eyes on what is to come within the next few weeks. Hopefully! I swear if you gaze at the photo for awhile, you can actually smell the flowers.




To receive my mini newsletter email blast, which announces a new update and includes other interesting topics sign up at the bottom of the page.  It is free and I never share your email. It is for my use only. Also if you would like to send a photo for my Creative Corner send photo with any information pertaining to it and contact information if the item is for sale to May@HealthyCookingForToday.com.


HealthyCookingForToday is to supply my readers with timely medical information and suggestions for healthier food choices and recipes and is not intended to give medical advice, which should be obtained from your personal physician.