Category Archives: soups

Is It Too Soon?

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Really, is it too soon?

 

Can we all laugh and joke about the subject a bit?

 

We are in the midst of it. . .

In the thick of it. . .

Knee deep, chin deep and over our head in it. . .

 

Yes, right.

Snow.

Chilly Weather.

Sub-zero temperatures.

Relief on the horizon.

 

I enjoy wordplays and this one just jumped right at me.

In the middle of the night, literally.

 

When the snow plow was noisily scraping the ice off the

Ohio Wesleyan Parking lot, when a big chunk somehow

bounced off my bedroom window pane.

 

Wish that chunk were like my good middle school friends,

ones who would break out of their houses, give a ‘chink’ or

‘clunk’ at my window on the second floor of my house.

 

Wish it were my Romeo, who would make me fly to the

window and ask,

“Why are you Romeo?”

(Aside: You do know that the words,

“Whereforth art you Romeo?

Means,  “Why are you a Capulet?”

or “Why are you my enemy?”

Right?)

 

Know this is not so esoteric or meaningful. It was written

as the hour passed three a.m. and I was to get up at 5 a.m.

 

It is all about “Chill.”

 

Hope you enjoy the way my mind played with the letters

and the meaning of this word.

 

Fog can give me a chill.

 

It produces an icy thought.

 

Chills going up and down my spine are both thrilling and

frightening. It can be eerie and baffling, too. Some things

create emotions which give one person chills, while another

one won’t react or show stimulation in their fear zones.

 

definition of “acrostic” is given to mean a poem or other form

of writing in which the first letter, syllable or word of each line

spells out a word or name.

 

Acrostics of alphabet using the theme of Winter, drew a wide

collection from my mind.

 

I numbered each one so I could ask you if you liked any of

these, you may refer to them by number.

Or feel free to use another word as a “springboard” and make

up one of your own.

I chose to use the singular letters adding up to the word:

 

C

H

I

L

L.

 

Let me know if any of these give you ‘chills.’

 

1.

Clouds

Hasten

Icy,

Lacy

Lakes.

 

2.

Clouds

Help

Icicles

Linger

Longer.

 

3. This one I doubled the letters, “CCHHIILLLL!”

(Br-r-r!!)

 

Creeping cold,

Heaping helpings,

Icy igloos,

Latticework licks,

Liquid lightning.

 

4. Again, double the letters, double the challenge:

 

Crisp crystals,

Intricate Icicles,

Lightly laced,

Lazy liquids,

Hilly heaps.

 

5. This one was one that uses a slang meaning of “ice”

or “to be iced.”

(Just in case this doesn’t translate to another language; it means

‘kill’ or ‘to murder.’)

I like to think of it as a dramatic, yet simple way of expressing

ending a love affair:

 

Cold

Heart

Iced

Love

Lost.

 

*The above five little playful uses of “chill” letters are my

own creations. Please give me credit for the silly word

sets of acrostic poems, if you should wish to use them.

~reocochran thanks you!

 

When my kids were going through middle school, they used

this often expressed combination of two words. It is a friendly

and caring expression, using the word, “chill,” in it:

 

“Did you forget to take your ‘chill pill?'”

“Boy, that man needs to take a ‘chill pill!'”

 

In the seventies, we probably didn’t create or originate the way

my friends and I would use this word:

“Hey, ‘chill’ out!”

“You need to ‘chill,’ man!”

This meant to let the other person know in a non-threatening

manner, to calm down or relax.

 

Isn’t it funny how we may ask someone to “refrigerate something”

for us, but if we have something special, we may ask them to “Put

it on ice” or “This needs to be chilled before serving.”

I sometimes forget that red wines are supposed to be served at

room temperature, while leftover wine usually is placed in the fridge.

 

When you think of an icy situation, you may wish to handle it in

a different manner than a chilly situation. I feel that “icy” people

are very much frozen and cannot change. Somehow, though, I

feel there is more ‘lee- way’  in ‘chilly’ people. Any thoughts on

why?

 

When it is really cold outside, we all wish to bundle up. We

may wish to serve warm soup or sip on a hot drink.

Why do we love to make big pots or Crock Pots of something

that is hot, sometimes meaty and nutritious? This is due to

wishing to create warmth throughout our body.

But, wait. . .

Tell me this. . .

Why is one of our favorite toasty warm meals called, “Chili?”

 

When my grandchildren, who I nickname and often call my

“Grandies” whisper in my ear, it tickles my fancy. It gives me

little goosebumps and it makes me warm all over. This gives

me sweet and innocent ‘chills,’ too.

 

When a man is wishing to be romantic, or is a special part of

my life, he may whisper in a theater, the ‘chills’ are more of

a sensual and arousing kind. Maybe it is due to Pavlov’s

theory of using an impetus and an outcome. It is like such a

wonderful prelude, beginning to what may come later on.

 

My favorite middle of the night thought about “chill” was this

funny one. It is a ‘great rhyming word for First Graders.’

 

Have I got you thinking about “chill” or “chills?”

 

Did you think of a five or six word collection that creates

an acrostic for either of these words?

 

Last but not least, do you forgive me for bringing up this

‘touchy’ subject while Winter may circle back and freeze

us out?

 

I saved it until I saw Spring was just around the corner.

 

We are going to have a “Heat Wave” this week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plant A Seed in a Child’s Mind

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I have a simple philosophy on children of 5 and 6 year old age.  I

believe these sweet little ones go into kindergarten as ‘babies’ and

come out of this period of time as, ‘school kids.’ I have seen both

Marley who attends one elementary school in kindergarten and

my grandson, Micah, who attends another elementary school in

the same level of education grow ‘in leaps and bounds.’

 

Every book their parents or I read to them, suddenly have become

‘brand new’ and they see such interesting new things in them. It is

almost like being ‘re-born.’  When it comes to understanding the

way children are ‘different’ or ‘unique,’ it really helps to watch the

changes first hand. I admit with my ‘pack of three’ being raised

with others I babysat, they were not given as much individual

attention. This becomes apparent when I am typing away the

‘bright’ quotes I can honestly listen to and apply to the six of the

grandchildren.  But, to tell you the truth, the kindergartners have

my full attention.

 

Take a week ago, when my grandson, Micah, was asking me about

my apartment. When did I move there? Why do I have my kitchen

table in the living room? Do I like having to do my laundry in the

laundry room?

 

About a month ago, my granddaughter, Marley was not totally

satisfied with looking at her own photo albums. She had a big

stack of them, since I put the 36 photo albums together each

season, for each individual grandchild. Marley has over 7 albums

to study and check out. She asked me first to look at her Daddy’s

baby photo album and then, moved on to her Aunt Felicia and

her Aunt Carrie’s. I was not asked too many questions, but I saw

her study each photo and it took her over an hour to move on to

ask me her next ‘request.’

 

Finally, she wanted to see my three “wedding dresses’ albums.”

This is how she named them. I told her I have only one photo of

the first wedding dress, so I showed her it. I told her “Aunt Carrie”

has the rest of the first wedding party photos. She is the ‘oldest’

and the only girl from this first marriage, I explained to Marley.

I really felt most of the photographs of her relatives would ‘mean

more to her’ than her brother, Marley’s Daddy.

 

She studied the three wedding dresses intently. She finally asked me

why I married each of my three husbands. I tried to make a ‘joke,’

telling her my patent answer to adults who ask me this question,

“This was my way of being a ‘serial monogamist.'”

For some reason, Marley looked like she really understood this

to be a cynical or sarcastic comment and used her scolding voice

to say,

“Nana, I am asking you a serious question: Why did you get married

more than once?”

 

My answer was a combination of “love” and “hope.” I gave her a

big hug for asking and told her,

“Your Daddy and Mommy will  be like my own parents, they found

the right match and will put effort into keeping their family together

and happy.”

 

When it comes to teaching young children about the variations of

life,  sometimes their lessons may come from viewing children and

families at the beach, grocery store or church. Up until they go to

school, they may think their family unit is just fine. My youngest

daughter asked her Dad years ago to come to special events, but

she found that I was her ‘constant’ and her ‘home.’

 

A valuable book with lessons, which could be a ‘tool’ to open a

discussion about class levels and economic differences has been

recently published.  It is called, “Last Stop on Market Street.”

The author of this delightful book is Matt de la Pena. The

illustrations are created by Christian Robinson.

 

You may already know the lessons held within this book, but it

has a rich diversity of subjects with a little boy who questions

what is around him. There is an element of ‘Life doesn’t seem to

be fair’ to him, in his questions.

 

The subject of why children don’t have as many choices of clothing,

backpacks, coats, shoes and those things are often brought up after

some time spent in kindergarten has passed. This book would help

to give a picture to children of a whole different lifestyle, while it

also is done lovingly and beautifully.

 

There are places which address the subject of what children may

like to have new clothes and other things for their first day of school.

Some ‘Big Box Stores’ have bins where you may purchase glue sticks

for your own child or grandchild, along with tossing some into the

bin. There are places where you can go to get new coats, as well as

other nice new things, ‘vouchers’ for new shoes and backpacks. They

may be held at your county fairgrounds or they could be passed out

at a local charity location. It is nice to hope that each child can start

the school year, with a ‘level playing field,’ so those students who

have less in their household income can still feel ‘pride’ in their

back to school clothes and other accessories.

 

The new book, “Last Stop on Market Street” started a great

discussion with my grandies. They were interested in knowing if

I knew such and such, did this child have the same situation as

the little boy in the book? I think this book would be almost better

to present before they go off to school. It would help for those who

have more than others, to be careful not to judge nor ask too many

questions.

 

I would label this book a ‘break through’ book, one which is rare to

find with a powerful, but gently expressed, understated message.

 

As a boy is leaving church with his grandmother, he sighs in relief,

he feels like going outside is ‘freedom.’ He has probably wriggled

and twitched, feeling confined in the church.  The boy named C.J.

holds his grandmother’s hand while she holds an umbrella over

the top of their heads.

 

The two head off to a bus stop. There is mention of this being

their weekly procedure or routine. Not everyone has a car, a

house or food every day. There is a subtle way of letting the

reader and listener of the story find this out.

 

As he looks out a window of the bus, C.J. sees a friend in a car

with his father.  After the car zips on by the bus, C.J. wonders

aloud,

“Nana, how come we don’t get a car?”

 

Later, he notes a young man listening to a digital music player

and he displays the classical example of  kid’s  ‘I want. . .’ or

wishing for something obviously out of the grandmother’s

budget.

 

Each time his Nana responds with positive words. She makes the

bus ‘come alive’ for C.J. as if it were a ‘dragon.’ She reminds him

of the bus driver’s ‘magic’ trick he plays when they get on the bus.

She mentions that the young man playing a guitar on the bus,

is entertainment enough. A blind man teaches C.J. a lesson on

senses. There are wonderful elements in this book which you

will become enchanted with, too.

 

The colorful illustrations display a myriad of views of the

community on the outside of the bus, as they pass different

sights.

 

The lesson of life being full of excitement without any technical

devices or modern conveniences is not told directly but indirectly

shown through the unfolding tale.

 

As they get off the bus, C.J. wonders why they always have to go

on Sundays to the soup kitchen for their meal. This will help

open a discussion with children or grandchildren.  In this lovely

book, it reminds us that in the “Land of Plenty”  or America, we

may not always have neighbors, friends or people living one

short block over, with as much as we have. There is a sense of

global understanding, in the diversity of characters and culture

in this book.

 

A children’s book reviewer, Julie Danielson, expressed this:

“It’s not often that you see class addressed in picture books in

ways that are subtle and seamless, but in “Last Stop on Market

Street,” the affectionate story of a young boy and his grandmother

does just that.”

 

There is a new Valentine’s Day book to recommend. It is one of the

bunny books by author Jutta Langreuter and illustrated by Stephanie

Dahle.

“There’s No One I Love Like You.”

This German author has a series of “Little Bear” books and there

are a few in her native language, too.  One which looks interesting

and magical in its illustrations with German expressions  is called,

“Frida and die Kleine Waldhexe.”

 

If you have a favorite book for children and wish to include it,

please feel free to tell us about the book and its message, too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soul Food

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There are so many versions of “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” which

really is a great collection of books. I felt happy when my youngest

daughter  started  reading,    “Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul.”

She would have a big smile on her face, arriving at the dinner table,

taking each individual story and reading it as a daily devotional.

 

She would excitedly share about the impact in the story collections

of one life upon another. This, along with her two years of studying

as a confirmand, which is one getting ready in our Presbyterian

Church to be confirmed. . . all of the pieces were falling into place,

with her faith.

 

Here was a young girl, who at age 11, feeling pain in her joints;

already. My daughter was diagnosed at age 12 after being tested

and a surgeon wanting to cut into her knees. We chose to research

more and found out she had JRA. This is the acronym for Juvenile

Rheumatoid Arthritis. Felicia was diagnosed using blood samples,

at Children’s Hospital. She was ‘taken under the wing’ of a lovely

and giving physician named, Dr. Gloria Higgins.

 

If anything, Felicia could have quit playing soccer, would never

have pursued in high school, cross country and could have not

been so eager to learn in school. Her energy and her determination

earned her 10th place in the OCC for our high school in long

distance running. She enjoyed being a cadet journalist and “Girl

on the Street.” There were times I would accompany her to the

mall where she would take her microphone and ask questions

like,  “What are you buying for your significant other, Sir?” or

“What is the most popular toy in the store?” to a salesclerk or

busy manager. She would happily exclaim over the loud speaker,

the morning announcements ,

 

“Good morning, Hayes High School, this is Fox Oldrieve giving you

the news today.”

 

Let’s go back to elementary school, before she knew pain or had a

‘care in the world.’ She wrote an essay that won her third grade

class’ assignment on the subject of Martin Luther King, Jr. She did

this once more and wrote an essay that won her fourth grade class’

assignment. The amazing thing to me was she also won the whole

school’s award two years in a row. She was asked to speak in front

of Ohio Wesleyan University’s annual MLK, Jr. breakfast. My secret

wish was for her to pursue this and become a newscaster. . . She did

study dual majors at University of Dayton in Communications and

Marketing. No, she is not in journalism.

 

Her goal is to help others in their pain management, encouraging

them to be careful of what they eat. Healthy choices for her and

she has documented what causes negative joint reactions in her

hands (knuckles), knees and her jaw bone. The way she helps

herself to feel less pain is gluten-free, no milk products, no

sandwich meats or other salty and less natural foods. We shall

see if she finds her dream of this come to fruition. This is not

what my focus is today.

 

Anyway, the books got her through difficult times, challenging

circumstances. When some people, coworkers and friends, start

to complain about aging and their aches and pains, I try not to

say this thought out loud:

 

“My daughter was told by not only Children’s Hospital but also,

due to her being a participant in an OSU study on rheumatoid

arthritis, she had the joints of a 65 year old at age 12.”

 

Here are two motivating quotations, written by John Caulfield,

taken from “Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul II:”

 

~ One ~

“Her essay about the wedding ring was short. Kerr wrote,

‘Things are just things- they have no power to hurt or to heal.

Only people can do that. And we can all choose whether to be

hurt or healed by the people who love us.

That was all.

And that was everything.”

 

~ Two ~

“And so I wait.

I wait for time to heal the pain and raise me to my feet once

again. So that I can start a new path, my own path, the one

that will make me whole again.”

 

Besides chicken soup what can we do to help strengthen our immune

systems?

There is always such diversity in lists given by different resources.

There are so many various food sources, also being cleverly labeled

as, “super foods.” A tag that this past ten years has labeled those

foods that give us healthy bodies and provide us rich sources of

“anti-oxidants.”

 

Using some of these ingredients will help you stay healthy on

the outside, your body will hopefully battle the daily coughs

and sneezes we are all assaulted with, in elevators, in cubicles

and in the library sitting next to someone you wish you could

say, “Next time, when you feel miserable and sniffly, would

you please stay home?”

1. Ginger-

a. Soothes upset tummies.

b. Relieves muscle pains.

c. Helps your vocal chords (voice to speak)and prevents coughs.

 

1. Chili powder of chilis-

a. Warm your mouth and ‘innards.’

b. Clear congestion.

 

3. Garlic-

a. Antioxidants boost your immune system.

b. Helps heart and lowers cholesterol.

 

4. Mint

a. Helps with colds and fevers.

b. Mixed with smashed peas, minted peas are getting popular.

c. Sipping on mint green tea, adding another antioxidant, lemon is

a great way of combining forces.

 

Tasty Alternatives in Soups:

~ Homestyle chili with Mexican spice, cumin, garlic, other seasonings

and flavorings both vegetarian or meat/beef style are very good for

us. Also, nice to have a big crock pot of this, so you can pack a few

meals up and be ready for work. (White bean chili is a new favorite.)

~ Garlic soup using sweet potatoes and cauliflower, with curry and

ginger spices.

~Also, some recipes for soups are adding cinnamon, paprika and

bay leaves.

~Roasted pepper and cheddar cheese soup includes cilantro, basil,

garlic and cumin.

 

One last ‘brag’ about my youngest daughter who handles her pain

and sometimes ‘suffering’ in silence and shows grace. I entered her

in her junior year of high school in a contest by the Columbus Dispatch,

“Who Is Your Hero?” She ‘won’ along with two others, in a three way

tie, the newspaper took a picture of the two of us, we won two tickets

to see Dustin Hoffman in “Hero,” first run movie and it was nice to

receive copies of the first page of the Arts and Entertainment

section from so many people in Ohio.

I mentioned something like this:

“At the end of the day, there are teenagers who would use any excuse

to get out of sports or work, but my daughter has a part-time job, is

involved with extracurricular activities and doesn’t complain. There

are many people around her daily who have ‘no clue’ of what she goes

through. It is nice when we are relaxing to sit downstairs while we

have a fire in the fireplace. But as she gets up, she winces. That pained

face moves me. When her stepdad offers to help her up the stairs, she

takes him up on the kind offer. You know that is when it really hurts

to know what she hides most of the time.”

 

What challenges do you overcome daily?

(Spiritual, emotional, seasonal, physical, mental or other?)

 

 

 

Amazing Wonders and Creature Marvels

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“Across the sea of space,

the stars are other suns.”

(Carl Sagan)

In August, a 440 pound Galapagos Island, wild-born tortoise joined the Toledo Zoo.

This tortoise, Emerson, is estimated to be 0ver 100 years old. His acquisition caught

my Mom’s eyes, in the friendly photograph she found buried in the mound of papers

she calls, “blog-worthy.” While reading about the history of tortoises, you find out

the horrible reason why sailors kept them in their ships while on long sea journeys.

These amazing creatures can live for almost a year without food or water, delicious

in soups, when there is no ‘meat’ available.

This made me sad, since the carefully cut out article that my Mom included in her

letter this week, had written in the side column by Mom, “Why didn’t the sailors

just eat fish?” Really good point! I learned that Emerson had a first negative

impression of his new environment, so his head was in the corner, not at all

interested in ‘making friends.’ But within hours, he had turned around and was

slowly, methodically moving towards people. He wanted to know about this new

location and nibbled on fresh vegetables. The photograph has him eating a carrot.

Somehow, the fact that he had his head in the corner, showing his reaction to a

new place to live, made me visualize human reactions to our own having to make

moves or transitions in our lives. This human feeling can be turned around with a

new food offered, a person warmly greeting him and calling him by name. I like

the way the journalist, Alexandra Mester, mentions that when he gets up in the

morning, he seems “to pause and soak up the sun”. They further made me ‘like’

Emerson by explaining how he likes his neck rubbed, shown by the way he stretches

his neck out for this daily affection given him.

Sadly, statistics given from the 1800’s when an estimated 100,000 to 200,ooo

tortoises lived in the Galapagos Islands have shrunk in species to 10,000 to

20,000 left. There are 4 of 14 sub-species now considered extinct.

 

Speaking of extinct subjects, Rachel Feltman, for the Washington Post, wrote

about the Spinosaurus. This is possibly the only know ‘swimming dinosaur.’

This is also the dangerous dinosaur that may have ‘chomped down on sharks!’

My grandsons were fascinated by this story, passed on by my mother in the

mail. They still like the variations of the animated children’s movies called,

“The Land Before Time.” New fossil evidence may be found in the September’s

copy of, “Science” magazine.

The speculation of the dinosaur out-ranking the T-Rex in size is also amazing.

It may be a record-breaker, largest predatory dinosaur to have existed on Earth.

Scientists believe that it was mainly a water creature, due to these facts or clues:

1. Tiny nostrils placed far back on the middle of the Spinosaurus’ skull. This

makes it appear like the water-crawling and swimming alligators and crocodiles.

2. The skull’s head has teeth that have interlocking connections that can be good

for catching fish, while trolling in the deep oceans.

3. The hook-like claws would be ideal for catching slippery prey, in the water.

4. Big flat feet- bones that could have connecting skin, making them ‘webbed feet.’

5. Legs and pelvis were unlikely ‘built’ or connected to land animals, more likely

resembling water creatures.

6. It would be easier to carry their own weight in water, paddling around, than

on land.

Over one hundred years ago, a German paleontologist, Ernst Freiherr Stromer

von Reichenbach, found giant “Spinosaurus” fossils. He found them in the Sahara

Desert, where from current satellite’s far out in Space, can determine rivers existed.

Unfortunately, records on paper exist but the “Spino” bones were destroyed during

WWII. I would like to look at the river channels from Space. Wouldn’t you?

I think the greatest part of this story is, you may go to the National Geographic

Museum in Washington, D.C. There you can view the fossil bones structured into

what the researchers and scientists believe to be the ‘spino-saurus aegyptiacus’

in all of its marvelous glory. This is available for the public to see until 4/14/15.

 

Speaking of satellites and Space. . .

NASA’s Mars land rover discovered in 2012, rock-eating microbes. This Mars

rover named, “Curiosity,” had  new details released to the public recently.

It has reached the layered rock area known by scientists as Mt. Sharp on Mars.

The exploring vehicle is getting a little rickety but had been able to begin

drilling into the rocky location. Samples may be soon analyzed by the unique

ability to transfer information back to Earth.  I am very interested in this

further details, since we still have hopes of finding a compatible environment

for human life to exist in the future.

On December 4, 2014- a new gumdrop shaped capsule known as, “Orion,”

will be launched 3600 miles  from Earth. This is four times farther than our

International Space Station and will ‘careen back’ into our atmosphere at the

incredible speed of 20,000 m.p.h. Why? Because this is testing the thermal

dynamics. This would be considered a possible future human (astronauts-

bearing) space ship. It looks like a huge coffee thermos to me, in its drawings.

If it ‘bears up’ in entering our atmosphere without burning up, this would be

a future manned flight that managed to have a strong protective shield. I am

always pleased when NASA is making progress in going farther into the unknown

in Space.

 

“A blade of grass is a commonplace on Earth,

it would be a miracle on Mars.

Our descendants on Mars will know the value

of a patch of green.

And if a blade of grass is priceless,

What is the value of a human being?”

Taken from, “Pale Blue Dot:  A Vision of the Human Future in Space,”

written by Carl Sagan.

Healthy and Simple “Switches” to Lower Carbs

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The Institute of Medicine recommends 130 grams of carbohydrates a day!

One big sundae, with my girlfriend, used up my daily ‘allowance’ and then

some of the next day’s, too! Smiles for this, but seriously, I have several

close friends who have to consider their carbohydrates, due to diabetes

and/or high cholesterol.

The sugary, starchy ‘yummy’ stuff, can be replaced or “switched” into

equally delicious, but more healthier foods. I love it when I find a few in

a row, so hope you will enjoy this compilation list:

1. This is the place I have trouble in:  restaurants!

Give yourself one carb allowance for that meal. Choose to splurge on a

glass of wine or a beer. Or would you rather have a piece of bread or a

dinner roll?

Do you have someone who really wants to try a dessert after the meal,

who would be willing to ‘split it’ with you?

Make your plate fill up with vegetables, fish, meat, or a protein of some

kind.

2. Instead of having regular order of pizza, ask if they have a carb-free

choice, whole grain crust or possibly gluten free. Any of these beats the

‘white dough crust’ that usually you enjoy. Now, vegans and vegetarians

use a lot of vegetables to fill their plate and suit their palate, too. Can

you skip the pepperoni? If at the store, you could buy turkey pepperoni…

Otherwise, go for all the vegetables, add a little extra red pepper flakes

and you will find yourself satisfied and feeling kind of ‘righteous!’

3. If you are interested in totally carb-free pizzas, try a Portobello

mushroom or eggplant slices for the base, add sauce, (try to check for

less sugar in your pasta sauces…) and go to ‘town’ on the veggies!

4. While ordering burgers or veggie burgers, try asking for a lettuce

‘wrap’ instead of a bun! You can also do what my friend does, she

puts her meat on her salad! Steak, chicken strips and even- burgers!

5. When you go out with family or on a Sunday brunch ‘date,’ you

may want to think about scrambled eggs with onions, peppers, cheese

and mushrooms, or an omelet! Try to get only one whole grain pancake,

ask for real butter and a small amount of real maple syrup. (I order, for

example, at Cracker Barrel, the breakfast for ‘Any Ages’ which has one

egg, one bread and one piece of meat. I love their thick bacon. Sorry, I

know I have Vegans who are my blogging friends!

Then, I put my cornbread muffin in a box (saving it for another day)

and ask for one Pecan Pancake with real butter and real maple syrup!

It adds up to (I think) about $5.99, with my beverage of choice, coffee

included.

As a matter of fact, any of their daily specials, you can get “Kids of Any

Ages” with a bread and beverage included. It is a smaller portion, of

the Friday Fish Fry, for example, but it satisfies! Most places have Senior

Menu, but are only eligible for over a certain age. I recommend ‘ala carte’

when you cannot find what you want on a menu. There used to be a

“Hoggy’s Restaurant” in Delaware, Ohio, where you could order two

vegetable meals or three vegetable meals. Also, you could do salad and

soup. Sometimes, you have to let the calories go in soups, but asking

about carbs, while diabetic, is important!

6. Thai and Indian curries, don’t necessarily have to go over rice! This

was a new concept to me, thanks to the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s holiday

suggestions for making a bland serving of cauliflower or broccoli, taste

so much more interesting. I also find cheese sauces and ask for it on the

side, then can decide how much to put on my vegetables.

The article gave this summary: “The rage in the Paleo community is

“Cauliflower rice” as a nutrient- and fiber-rich way to stick to your diet

and still enjoy Thai panang or chicken tikka masala.” (December, 2013).

7. I am sure you have already tried Spaghetti squash, but just in case

you have been holding back on this, it is easy to prepare, shreds and

looks like spaghetti. I like having it with marinara sauce, lots of fresh

Parmesan or Romano cheese sprinkled over it. You can also make your

meatballs, (my son does this) without any bread crumbs but using some

mushrooms and eggs to hold it together. Do you have any favorite ways

to make meatballs without bread or cracker crumbs?

Just FYI: According to the United States government’s food guidelines,

a serving portion of spaghetti is one half a cup. (That is 1/2 cup, folks!)

At least, practice with whole wheat pasta and find it delicious by not

overcooking it! It makes it a little healthier and yet, not as much as

you could eat of spaghetti squash! Or eggplant parmesan…

8. A way to get the flavor of Italian restaurants is to always ask for

the red, marinara sauce, pour it over a piece of grilled chicken or a

pork chop, or a veggie burger, then add an unlimited number of

salads, if you are at Olive Garden! (Yes, their Italian has carbs!)

9. Another favorite food of many is mashed potatoes or macaroni and

cheese. Both of these can have substitutions of cauliflower, one with it

being mashed, with a little milk and butter and the other with cheese

over cauliflower florets.

10. When you are making salads at home, you can certainly prevent

the croutons, fried tortilla strips, sugary salad dressings, and the

bread bowls or tortilla shell bowls. I found out, surprisingly, that

Ranch and Blue Cheese Dressings are the main ones with low levels

of sugar. If you make your own dressing, you may use vinegar, oil,

a small amount of Blue Agave Nectar or honey, but you are in

control of adding delicious spices! It will be easier and less calories,

than the store bought dressings. If you love blue cheese, look up on

the internet, some healthy recipes or buy yogurt based or ones in the

low calorie or even the sugar free aisle! In the summer time, if you

are not diabetic, adding raspberries, blueberries, pineapple, orange

slices, and even watermelon, can really brighten up your salad.

If you are diabetic, you know how many berries or other fruits you

may have in your daily diet. I enjoy adding pecans, walnuts or

almonds to my salads, for protein instead of meat. Spare use of

cheese, will limit your calories, of course!

Enjoy your food preparation and your meals out, too. You deserve to

be pampered and have someone else prepare it, wash the dishes and

help you to slow down while you eat. Isn’t it true? Don’t you eat much

slower at a restaurant? Allowing yourself to savor your foods, will always

help make you mindful. This is good on so many levels, to add “Being

Mindful,” into our lives!

My last suggestion on this trip down “Carbohydrates Free Street” is:

I hope you find these helpful and easy ways to make your diet a lot

more healthier and nutritious. Any changes will help you feel much

better!

 

is

 

Saturday Slap Happies

Standard

Due to Cabin Fever, children who have been only in

school short periods of time since Christmas have been

going a little ‘slap happy’ around here! I have three

elementary school and two preschool grandchildren that

alternate from school, baby sitter’s homes and their own.

When “Nana,” as I am called, walks in the door, they think

there is a new person to ‘play with’ and it is true!

As I have been leaving my son and daughter in law’s home

and my oldest daughter and male partner’s home I think:

“I need to write those precious words down!”

Maybe these won’t ‘tickle your fancy,’ but they sure had me

chuckling and scratching my head in sure pleasure and amazement!

The kids and grandkids of the world are kind of smart!

In fact, I fluctuated from the title attached to this

piece of writing to this one:

“Precious and Precocious”

Which one do you like better, once you read the material

I am serving up on this fine Saturday morning?

1. “When are we coming over to feed the ducks, Nana? I think

I figured out where they are hiding from us!”

2. “Nana, however did you know that?”

I replied, “Why, I pay attention to details.”

“What are dentals?”

3. When I was telling my son, James and his wife, Trista

something, I used a gesture with my coffee cup and it

splashed some coffee across the table.

My (step)grandson, Landen, said, “See, even Nana spills

her drinks!” (He was the “B & E” 8 year old and frequent

‘getting on red space’ student in school. Must have been

relieved to have someone else goofing up a bit!)

4. “You cannot GO crazy, Nana! You either ARE or you’re

NOT!”

5. To wear the kids out I tend to play active games in

either their bedrooms or the play room, (some are simple

like “Ring Around the Rosie” or “Motor boat, Motor boat”

and others are those silly songs with actions, like “Do

Your Arms Hang Low” or “The Hokey Pokey.” So, thinking,

with a little ‘pat on my back,’ that I may have worn off

a few calories of the delicious meal they had fed me,

along with wearing the children physically out a little

bit, I got my coat on. As I was leaving, it made me laugh,

the littlest one shouted from her bedroom where she was

getting her p.j’s on, “Hey Nana! Next time, can you bring

some cookies or donuts with you?” (Sure… get some sugar

in you… that would really make your parents happy!)

6. This mature question came out of one of the older ones’

mouths: “Do you think that everyone should know their birth

mother?”

7. When I picked up one of the little boys, I said,

“Oopsy Daisy!” and he replied, “Don’t you mean, “Oopsa-

daisies?” Hmmm… Not sure about that one!

Then, “out of the mouths of (confident) ‘babe'” he

said, “You got that a little backwards, Nana!”

I just smiled. Didn’t really know the ‘correct way’ to say

that either. I looked it up, as the computer is our god of

all words and verbal ‘faux pas’!’ It is supposed to be:

“Oopsie daisy!”

8. Once I had come straight for work, in the midst of

several sub-zero days, found the library closed, heard

a voicemail that said, There is a hot meal waiting to be

eaten and please join us.” When I arrived, I grabbed a

bright red “Put In Bay” (island on Lake Erie) sweatshirt

to put over my short sleeved purple t-shirt. Once inside,

my little ‘fashion goddess,’ Marley (age 5, preschooler)

put her hands on her hips and quipped,

“Do you really think that goes together, Nana?” (!)

9. When I was at my oldest daughter’s home to pick up a

“To Go” plate with four slices of juicy ham (she uses a

nice pineapple and brown sugar glaze with a dash of cloves)

and my grandson, Micah, hugged me! He asked what I was doing

(yesterday or Friday) and I said, “Well, I hang out with my

girlfriend, Jenny, who is a retired teacher. She makes soup,

told me already it will be red chili lentil soup, and I bring

my own sandwich.”

Micah looked puzzled, (I tried to figure out where I had maybe

confused him?) He retorted, “So now you have given up men?”

He is only going to be 5, end of this month! He had

misunderstood my usage of ‘girlfriend!’ Wow! Different thinking

for someone so young!

I did tell him that it would be okay if I had, but that I

still had hopes of finding a new grandpa, or partner, but in

the old days, you called your friends who were girls- ‘girlfriends.’

One Saturday, two weeks ago, I had the M & M girls, had made my

100% whole wheat pancakes from ‘scratch’ letting them take turns

on the step stool to watch. I liked to have their Daddy (Jamie)

drop the water on the hot skillet and told them, “This lets you

know if it is ready, without touching a hot pan.” It will jump

around and their Daddy had coined the phrase, and I started to

tell them and in unison, (apparently already had heard this

little story, while he was making pancakes or waffles.)

“It makes the water ‘dance!”

10. After cooking their pancakes and making them little, the

size of half dollars, I put warmed syrup in empty applesauce

cups for them to dip in! As I poured their juice and milk,

Marley informed me, “You know you have to drink the juice

first or the pancakes will make it taste ‘sour-y.'”

There are lessons you learn from kids every day, which

sometimes silly parents and grandparents say, “I know that!”

But I believe we all should say, “Thank you for reminding me

of that! You are SO SMART!”

Soup-er Sunday

Standard

A great idea a friend of mine suggested for a new family

or friends’ gathering tradition would be to have a cook-off!

This could be, she suggested, with soups in crock pots or

chili! What a fun way to celebrate a football or other chilly

sporting event!

I was reading one of my Mom’s little craft ideas for using

herbs, at the end of your gardening season, to make a spice or

herb wreath. I thought what better idea than to add such a wreath

to a bubbling pot of broth to fill the soup with flavor and your

home with a savory aroma!

Here are the directions to these circlets that were being sold

at Autumn craft sales, but perhaps, you have indoor pots of herbs

to make these desirable gifts and additions to soups or stews.

1. You begin with stems of long, pliable herbs. You may start with

rosemary, which is structurally substantial. Form into a circle or

wreath, some of the ends tucking inside each other.

2. After a circle is shaped, you can weave fresh thyme, lovage,

chives, oregano and savory. I am only aware of the three that are

recognizable. Perhaps, someone has grown lovage or savory, and will

let me know what these plants are like? Or I will pursue this on a

separate trip to library for ‘research.’

3. You should only add a little bit of the herb, sage. This herb can

overpower or dominate the soup, stew or a roast with vegetables.

4. Cooks may toss the dried wreaths into a Crock Pot, that is boiling

hot, filled with a broth and the vegetables that have been softening.

It is good to let it sink, mixing or transplanting some of the heavy

food items in your pot to weigh it down. This will allow the spices

to permeate the soup.

Long simmering dishes can also utilize these homemade wreaths in a

pot on the stove.

In January, 2014’s edition of the Prevention Magazine, they have an

article titled, “Simple Soups.” There are five of them, I will post

one that sounds delicious and vegetarian. I also have one from my

personal collection to give you two choices of soups to prepare in

your friendly rivalry and competition. You could have medals bought

at the dollar stores, small and fun little gifts for each of the

entrants, like a gift of a new ladle! (After all, this contest will

help whoever are the hosts and hostesses, not having to come up

with so many dishes to prepare!)

ROOT VEGETABLE SOUP

(Preparation time: 20 minutes and Cooking may last betw. 45- 60 mins.)

Ingredients:

4 cups of reduced sodium chicken or beef broth or stock.

3 cups of low sodium tomato juice

4 carrots sliced

3 thin skinned boiling potatoes, scrubbed and chopped

2 medium parsnips, peeled and sliced

1 onion, cut in 1/8ths (I would chop it up!)

1 rib celery, thinly sliced

(If you have not any seasoning wreaths to add to this

soup, here are the spices in the magazine’s recipe.)

1 clove garlic, smashed

1/4 cup chopped, fresh parsley

1/4 teaspoon of cumin

Preparation:

1. Combine broth and tomato juice in large sauce pan and

bring to a boil over medium high heat. Add carrots, potatoes,

and parsnips, onion, celery and garlic. Reduce the heat to

medium low and simmer until vegetables are tender.

2. Stir in parsley, cumin and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and

pepper, to taste. Heat through.

This makes 11 cups of soup.

ROBIN’S 3 TOMATO SOUP

(This serves six small bowls of soup.)

Ingredients:

2 T. of olive oil

1 c. chopped onion

1/4 c. chopped celery

1 leek, white and light green parts only,
chopped

3 cups of reduced sodium chicken broth (I like
Swanson’s brand.)

1/2 c. sundried tomatoes, chopped

3 (14 oz.) cans diced tomatoes, undrained

1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce

2 sprigs fresh thyme, I use about 3-4 tsp. of
dried thyme (or I ‘switch it up’ by using fresh
or dried basil).

1 c. 2 % reduced fat milk

2 T. balsamic vinegar

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

Procedures:

1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium low heat.

Add onion, celery, leek and sauté until soft, about 8 minutes.

Add chicken broth, and all forms of tomatoes along with thyme.

Bring to a simmer and cook 20 minutes.

2. Remove thyme stems, if you used fresh, and discard. Puree soup in

a blender until smooth, (these are the directions that I ignore! I

like this recipe made in a crock pot, you will start 6-8 hours on “low,”

before serving. The tomatoes ‘melt’ and don’t need pureed. You can start

this by grilling the raw veggies and then throwing them into the Crock Pot,

then dumping all the tomatoes into it, letting the thyme be added in the

last hour, too. You may revise this, upon eating, because you may wish to

add a different spice or maybe chili pepper, too.)

When you have finished the soup, by pureeing it (or cooking it until

it is mushy in the crock pot), return soup to pan or leave in crock,

and stir in milk, vinegar and pepper. Cook until thoroughly heated.

You do not need to change the temperature on the crock pot, but if it

doesn’t mix well, then raise your crock pot to “high.”

Some family members like this with a teaspoon or two of honey, I sometimes

will add a teaspoon or two of brown sugar. I have a ‘sweet tooth!’