urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
I got the first recipe from our weekend sorta-reworked-Thanksgiving dinner up:

Gluten-free orange and cranberry no-bake cheesecake, which does in fact have a baked crust :)

Along with a couple from last week:

Quick GF vaguely Asian pasta with pork and cabbage

Vaguely Caribbean chicken in foil
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
Basics: Greens

Basics: Saucy gluten-free macaroni and cheese

Lecsó with cabanossi and mushrooms

“Indian” Rice Pudding with maple, ginger, and sour cream

I wasn't entirely surprised to see that, apparently, if I wanted more traffic there, what I needed to do was post a macaroni and cheese recipe. :)

Also, at my main blog: Water-Only Washing, Part 1: some background. I was hoping to get the second part finished today, but that's probably not going to happen. I'm trying to get back on a less nocturnal schedule, and don't have a lot of energy.
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
I'll stop posting these links if it bugs people. But, that's where most of my writing is getting done right now.

Stewed okra

Basics: Mush
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
Meet the Kitchen Supervisor

Technique: Steam-frying

Pasta with ricotta and tomato, baked haddock, and garlic spinach

20:50 ETA: I'll just add, since it doesn't merit its own post: I just took Max out for the first time in weeks. :) I needed to run to the off-license anyway, so I took Maxie Boy along. I held up well enough to the few blocks there, that I decided to take the longer route home (and wished I hadn't about halfway, but hey).

Particularly good, since Ingvar's off on a business trip, and Max is a ball of nervous energy. He was hiding in the bathroom from the few fireworks so far tonight, but perked right up and insisted on going once he saw I was putting my shoes on. (Thank goodness there were no bangs while we were out, even with the front-clip harness which makes it harder for him to pull!) He's still anxious about the loud noises when he's well-exercised, but it really hasn't helped that I haven't been able to take Mr. High Energy out lately. (At least half the time, Ingvar is too tired to go after he gets home.)
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
The Sainsbury's grocery delivery came, and I was glad to see it. They made an interesting substitution again.

What I ordered: Genius GF brown bread (amazingly good stuff, for commercial GF bread). What they claimed to have substituted: store brand GF part-baked baguettes (OK, not what I wanted, but edible). What they really sent: a big loaf of in-store bakery wholemeal bread (which also costs less than any of the GF stuff).

I forgot to add bread for Ingvar to the order, but it looks like he has some anyway. *shakes head* Ah well.

ETA : OK, now I'm less irked and more baffled. I also found the baguette in a bag. The rest of the stuff seems to be what I ordered, so they didn't just mix up bags or anything.

Further ETA: Tonight's fairly easy supper plans: an adobo-seasoned baked chicken with potatoes crammed in the pan around it. And probably more frozen veggies.

I am also hoping to do a coconut milk amla treatment on my head, in the meantime. (Mixing it with coconut milk keeps it from drying my hair out.) I absolutely love the results, but keep putting off sitting for half an hour with muddy stuff and a plastic bag on my head. *g* It might give my mood a boost.
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
I tried to post this before supper, but the ADSL was acting screwy again.

Earlier, I made it across the street to Iceland again, so we don't have to get takeout. (The fridge is down to condiments, pickles, and fresh veggies I don't feel like messing with right now, and the rest of the food stores are in about the same shape.) What we ended up with was frozen cottage pie with some frozen broccoli mix on the side, but I was really glad to find something easy-and-almost-nutritious that wasn't full of gluten. (Other than a little barley malt in the gravy, which has only been a problem once from a salad dressing made with malt vinegar.) Annoyingly, I had to get a few "meal for one" size, since the larger ones were apparently from a different manufacturer and full of wheat flour. If we don't eat the third "meal for one", Max will be more than happy to.

Special dietary requirements (GF diabetic here!) can be a huge pain when you don't have much energy available. Usually, I do a lot of scratch cooking, which is tastier and better for us anyway. But, especially with the kitchen time anomalies (an hour can, and frequently does, pass in the blink of an eye), that takes a lot of time and energy. Sometimes it's really nice to be able to just grab something frozen that's not twice the price in the small Free From section. (Which I am glad exists, don't get me wrong.) Something that's available not 300 yards up the street? Even better!

Last night, I finally had the sense to place a rather large Sainsbury's order online, which I'd been putting off. I had to set up a new account, but I think most of it was the old "should be able to drag myself to the store". :( I also had the sense to be less, erm, frugal and get some things that require less prep time and effort. So we should have plenty of food tomorrow, without anyone having to lug it home. That's worth way more than the $3.50 delivery fee for the £100+ order!

Even better: today I've mostly been managing not to kick myself over Not Trying Hard Enough. Bah.

Oh yes, I've also been having surprisingly good luck with just using water and a lot of scalp massage to wash my hair. After about two weeks, it's not greasy and smelly, which shouldn't be a huge surprise since that didn't happen when I switched over to conditioner-only washing. *wry smile* (People managed to have clean hair before this stuff was invented, after all.) My scalp was acting up again in spite of not using shampoos I'm apparently allergic to, so I decided to experiment, hoping it was an allergy to something in the conditioners. Especially since it totally cleared up when I was trying the ultimately too drying baking soda with vinegar rinse approach. That's improved a little, but it's early days yet. It may just be eczema, since it's the time of year for that to really start kicking in--even so, putting fewer chemicals on an existing allergic reaction sounds like a good idea!

The big surprise there? My hair seems to be loving it so far. It's shinier, and even the crown is holding more curl once it's dry, without added gel or anything. (Thick, fine hair with Botticelli curls is kinda renowned for weighting itself down and going flatter on top.) I think even the conditioner was drying it out too much, which is darkly funny since I avoided using much conditioner for years because it make my hair look "stringy"--i.e., less dry and frizzed out, with some curl definition. Using the CO wash method, I could tell it was time for a wash because it started to get dry and frizzy on top. (I think my thyroid conversion is a bit wonky again, and drying my hair and skin out more.) And I was using a heavier conditioner after the cheapo light stuff for washing!

Now I'm tempted to try using a little coconut milk instead of conditioner to wash with, and see what happens. On the whole, I'd rather get away from commercial products again if it's feasible, anyway.

L*zy day

Oct. 1st, 2010 04:13 pm
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
Last night, I tried my hand at making makki ki roti (a lot like a corn tortilla, with plain, non-nixtamalized flour). The results were thoroughly edible, if a bit strange. :) Even after I started getting the hang of handling the dough--even being used to handling hot-water corn dough (yummy!)--I never really got the hang of getting the breads into the pan intact without making them about twice as thick as I wanted. That was better than I'd managed trying to make tortillas before, at least.

I'd originally planned to wrap stuff up in them, but they were thick and stiff enough that I wound up piling it on top. I threw together some spinach with onions and mushrooms fried with a little bacon, dill, mixed pepper, and lemon, and some vagely-fajita-seasoned chicken. (The big jar of "fajita seasoning" we've got is tasty, but more like fajitas via South India; this is the UK.) With some assorted cheese, it was pretty good anyway. :) In a little while, I'm going to chuck some of the mixed leftovers in with a little GF pasta, with maybe a dollop of Greek yogurt.

I was hoping that my infernal back would straighten out some overnight, but instead I woke up with a really obviously subluxated sacroiliac. (That's one dubious benefit of having basically no padding there; I can feel with my hands that the sides of the joint are uneven!) It has been that way for probably a week to a lesser extent. Waking up in a weird and uncomfortable position from Max crowding me didn't help at all. (But he's so cute...) Some stretching exercises have helped the unhappy muscles some, but the joint hasn't wanted to pop back where it's supposed to be so far--and I really don't want to overdo the stretching. This is getting really, really old.

And I'm irritated at hesitating to ask Ingvar to pick up more Nurofen Plus on his way home, since I've gone through the last batch pretty quickly with that joint staying subluxated. (It's pretty weak compared to, erm, most of the pain I get, but I'm so glad there is something available without a prescription when I'm having doctor avoidance! No, total lack of pain relief is not enough to force me past the PTSD, as I found when I was back in the US.) Funny--if that's the word--how the "raving dope fiends making shit up to get that great 8mg of codeine" thing gets internalized so it can pop back up occasionally. (Who am I kidding? More than occasionally.) Grrr.

So, today I'm taking things a little easy. I need to clean the goldfish tank anyway, since I've been putting it off for days with my back acting up. :/ But, I'll be extra careful about the way I'm moving doing it. That and some reading comprise my plans. :)

Between the rainy weather and everything else, it looks like a good night for some quick and easy potato soup! Maybe cheesy potato soup. I can find some kind of easy protein to gnaw on to balance things out, maybe some tuna. I was wanting to experiment with ground almonds in the oaty topping for an apple-and-pear crumble--sounded great!--but I think that will wait for another day.

ETA: Oh my. Poking around a bit in the nixtamalization search results, I ran across one, erm, interesting recipe: Soft Polenta: Soaked, Nixtamalized and Delicious. This blogger (who seems to be in the US) went through multiple steps involving cornmeal and lime water--not rinsed out!--to make grits. Without, AFAICT, knowing that's what she did. (But it's not déclassé if you call it polenta!) I guess if you wanted it Nourishing Traditions-styley, you could buy a bag of grits and soak them overnight. And have odd-textured, mushy grits. OK...

What with the trouble getting non-instant (urgh) grits here, I have considered picking up a bag of African samp (kept an Algonquian name, lost the lye treatment) and messing with lye or lime water, and then grinding it up. (Then I saw some Mexican hominy.) But that's kinda different.
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
I just roasted some hulled sunflower seeds with a little soy sauce and garlic powder, and they smelled so wonderful when I took them out that I had to resist grabbing some while they were hot. :) Really easy, just drizzle the seasonings on them in a bowl, stir to coat, and stick them on a baking sheet in a moderate oven for about 5 minutes. Glad I set the timer for 5 instead of 10, because they were really toasty as it was!

Even though I've been trying to eat more sunflower and pumpkin seeds for both the yumminess and the magnesium content, I almost forgot we had a 500g bag of the sunflower seeds! They're still good, though.

ATM I'm eating some leftover enchiladas I put in the oven with them (microwave is kaput). Not forgetting to eat lunch is a good plan anyway, but I need to head out in a while to pick up a package at the postal depot, and would prefer that my blood sugar not dip too low. *shakes head* Max can go along, since it's a nice walk for him. We've been trying a front-clip harness to deal with his pulling--actually, [personal profile] vatine made one!--and it should be a lot easier on me to take him out. Bit of a vicious circle, that: he gets excited and super-pully, so Mommy can't take him out without pain, so he develops a lot more pent-up energy and turns into Pully Bully no matter what we do. That opposition reflex? He's got it in spades. If he weren't almost 12 now, he'd sooo love to do some weight pulling. (Well, I'm sure he'd still like it, but I'd feel kinda cruel to the old man dog, healthy as he is.) His walk is totally different with the harness, with none of that head-down, hunched-shoulders pulling posture. :) Hopefully this will improve the situation! This will be my first solo run with the new harness.

I'm looking forward to getting the benfotiamine in particular (not "just" preventative; I had a deficiency). I'd put off ordering more, out of false economy, since it's £20+ for a month's bottle here that goes for about US$12. But the muscle spasms have been getting worse again, and I really should know better by now, with the continuing polydipsia/polyuria. :-|

ETA: I was just about to flip because I couldn't find the "sorry you were out" slip for that parcel. That would be because I handily pinned it to the kitchen bulletin board. *facepalm*
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
It's been a pretty lazy day here. [personal profile] vatine had to head to Bracknell this morning for work, and is still not back. Extra fun, trains weren't running between here and Liverpool Street, so he got to leave earlier to deal with rail replacement buses. So, I've had the day with the cats and Max.

There's been some improvement there! Mirrors and Max have spent several days with free run of the house at the same time, with only one faceoff so far. Mirrors just stared at Max, who finally went away whining--it's no fun when the cats don't try to run off so you can chase them! (He doesn't seem very clear on what to do if/when he catches up with them, so it's a lot less worrying than it could be.) With any luck, this will soon work with Punkin and Feist too. Mirrors has been the least impressed by Horrible Dog all along.

Some cleaning and reading got done, and antihistamines made me zonk out for a couple of hours. I tried to get some writing done, but got distracted listening to music. (Not my day for multitasking, oh my no.) At least Max got to go for a walk a little while ago, which he greatly enjoyed. The exercise probably did me some good, too.

Since I was alone for supper, I felt compelled to pull out items [personal profile] vatine doesn't like: today, some really nice zucchini/courgettes and sweet yellow pepper. :) The way I love summer squash and peppers, he is liable to be horrified at what happens when we get enough room to grow them. >:) (In a better climate; I've tried growing squash here, and was underwhelmed. I haven't dared to try any kind of pepper, even fairly cold-night-adapted varieties. Cloches? Bah. Snug little tents for slugs.) I was originally thinking of a quick pasta dish with veggies and some feta, but stared into the fridge and wound up throwing together the tastiest leftover casserole I've had in a while.

We had some leftover tomato pasta sauce, and some buckwheat with onions and mushroom (basically gluten free, no pasta kasha varnishkes). So I sliced the squash lengthwise, fairly thick, and seared it in a pan with a little olive oil and salt and pepper until it softened a bit. Ditto with the sliced pepper. Plonked a layer of squash in the bottom of a pie pan, and proceeded to layer it with the kasha, tomato sauce, and cheese (we had mild Cheddar and Emmentaler, so that's what I used). Ended with a layer of squash and peppers, covered it with foil, and baked for about half an hour. Pulled it out to add more cheese, put it back in uncovered to brown a bit. Yum, light fresh-tasting supper with a salad.

I think I'll try something similar again with rice, possibly brown for the extra texture and flavor, but the buckwheat worked better than I thought it would. And as these things usually go, it won't turn out nearly as good again. ;)

Not surprisingly, cooking is a lot more pleasant now that I've got the clutter cleared off most of the counter space in there! Especially since it's not the biggest kitchen ever. I'm hoping to get the rest of the junk cleared off the counters tomorrow, and start decongesting the cupboards more seriously.
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
Getting ready to put something in there, I discovered that I forgot to wash out the slow cooker crock after the last use, so it got a hot Oxi stuff soak a little while ago. Ick.

Yesterday I picked up a nice-looking pork shoulder roast from the reduced section, since Ingvar isn't here. (He really dislikes cuts with lots of muscle bundle divisions like the shoulder.) It's now in the crock, so I don't have to turn the oven on with the muggy, hot-for-this-climate weather. Later, I'll chuck some celery, carrots, onion, garlic, and fresh rosemary in there, and maybe a potato or two.

That was 1.5 kg of meat for £3. Rather a lot for one person, but I'm planning to mix up some Carolina barbecue sauce (a lot like peri-peri with slightly different ingredient availability that side of the Atlantic) and turn the leftovers into pulled pork. Actually, I've been craving the barbecue flavor, but we do have an open bottle of really yummy peri-peri sauce in the fridge. Max might get some of the leftovers, as well. :)

The potato is in question, since I'm strongly considering going lower carb--especially starch, since I'm particularly sensitive to it--again. Even before meds set off the insulin resistance, I don't think my body was set up to handle much starch happily. That dietary change helped with managing my blood sugar before, but I got kinda turned off it through its being absolutely necessary for the almost-year I was taking metformin, which causes malabsorption. (Scarily, this has been suggested as a very bulimia-like weight loss treatment.) I still stayed sick and semi-dehydrated, but less so. My glucose control was worse on it, probably from staying sick and dehydrated. *headdesk* When I finally stopped taking that, it was such a relief to be able to eat a lot of foods without being really sorry afterward. Our old friend demand resistance probably had something to do with it, as well.

Still, I felt much better when I was eating a lot less starch than I have been lately, even with a lot of care devoted to balancing. I shouldn't have to think about what I'm eating and when as much, going back to a lower carb diet. Not to mention making avoiding gluten much simpler. ;)

After we move and get settled into a house, I am sooo going to plant some Jerusalem artichokes. (I can't even find the Tsalagi name for them, which is particularly annoying in context.) We just haven't had room for a good stand of them here, and they're not wild for the digging.

The past few months, I've had to go back on meat, with my ridiculously high energy and protein needs right now. I was eating enough beans, nuts, cheese (already a compromise), etc.--and eventually sustainable wild fish, as a compromise I was vaguely ethically happy with--that I didn't have room left for a variety of fruit and veg, and it still wasn't enough. Now I'm not ravenously hungry all the time, and don't think I've lost further muscle mass. Which was getting to be a bit of a problem.

The thing is, medically necessary as this shift back to eating rather a lot of meat seems to be for now, I'm not ethically happy with the idea. At all. Even the RSPCA monitored "Freedom Food"-labelled stuff available here does not meet my standards; the animals are still too tightly confined and commodified. Most lamb and properly grazed beef are just about OK, if still raised specifically for sale as food.

If I were back home, I'd probably be doing an awful lot of shopping at Brush Creek Buffalo Store, and finding meat and eggs from other farmers I know to raise their animals decently. (That was admittedly easier with my non-autistic, extroverted mother around. Not only did she tend to work with/otherwise know people who would sell surplus animal products, she had the gift of gab and could easily find other sources.) Living in an urban area now, I can't investigate this in person. Much less have access to wild animals, which would be closest to ideal.

Then there's the cost. We are thankfully not poor, even with my being unable to work now. The cost of more meat is more of an annoyance. But, I have held onto enough poverty mentality in some ways that I'm already uncomfortable with spending about £2 more a day on food, now that I'm back on some meat. I learned well, and have to fight urges to be just plain cheap with food (and just about everything else). Going lower carb, that £2 will at least double, even if I compromise even more on the ethical considerations. Meat is really, really expensive in the UK. (Yes, I am used to--if not fond of the idea of--US meat subsidies. The difference is amazing.) The stuff from the Buffalo Store--direct from the owners' herd--is barely more expensive than lowest common denominator beef here. OK, maybe that's an exaggeration, but not by as much as I'd like.

And yeah, I also continue with the disability shame, feeling bad about needing to spend that much extra just for me even if it's directly health-related. Especially since I'm not doing paid work.

But, that's looking like my best option at the moment. While I could eat what I wanted to, within reason, during my brief Januvia jaunt, the medical PTSD is continuing to get in the way. And I need to do something to get my blood sugar under control. The situation is untenable. Needs must, and all that. :-|
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
It's a good thing I did remember to take cash with me, and try to get money out of an ATM with the new debit card before using it at the checkout. Surprise, surprise: I couldn't remember the PIN!

You remember that kid who never seemed to be able to get into her locker in school? That was me. At least nobody's making fun of me to my face when I have this kind of lapse now. ;)

I blame the dyscalculia.

I tried entering every PIN I could remember, and didn't hit the right one. Not so usefully, I did recall the one for the other debit card I did not have along. So I just requested that HSBC send me a new one, while I was thinking about it.

Even more frustrating, and darkly funny? When I picked up the phone to call Ingvar after I got home, I started off by punching in what I'm pretty sure was the right PIN instead of his mobile number! *facepalm*

But, I had £40 cash, so we do have some groceries. With some leftover spaghetti sauce in the fridge, tonight we're getting (corn noodle) lasagne with lots of spinach and ricotta, and some salad on the side.

Soup's on!

Apr. 3rd, 2010 05:08 pm
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
Crossposted here and here.

Yesterday, I ran across a photo that made me start drooling:

pot of yummy-looking vegetable soup

That came from Snowy Days & Great Food, at an excellent photo blog with some great nature shots by Bryant Altizer, a professional photographer back home. I only just discovered it.*

Great food is right! That got me craving a big pot of soup. Then sanity struck, and I scaled it down to a 3.5L crock pot load, with only two people here to eat it. ;)

I have been holding off on the soups and stews--since [personal profile] vatine obviously doesn't think most of them qualify as "great food"!--but couldn't resist the craving. I grew up eating a lot of soup and stew, chock full of veggies; either he didn't, or he got really tired of them.

Yeah, looking at the ingredients and who was making it, I figured it was probably Indian soup, but as Cliff Lowe (coming from a similar background) put it in an article on the prevalence of Native-derived food in the South:
She used to make a rich vegetable soup that she called (can you believe it?) Vegetable Soup. Imagine my surprise when, years later, I came across her same recipe in a cookbook about Native American cooking and found that all those years I had been eating 'Cherokee Pepper Pot Soup.'

Here's some more interesting food writing from Cliff Lowe, BTW. I can totally see Texas chili as the kind of stew a Mexican cook might make if given a bunch of pemmican to work with.

My mom mostly just called it Soup. Yeah, we ate lots of other kinds of soups, but something like that was the Generic "I'm going to make a big pot of" Soup, and we had it at least a couple of times a month. (Usually for a couple of days, until I was thoroughly sick of it!) If we had a lot of leftover and stray odds and ends of vegetables to use up, I started calling it Garbage Soup--which didn't greatly thrill my mother. ;) We ate it even more often when we were particularly low on money.

It's cheap to make (especially if you have a garden and/or the time and inclination to hunt or snare rabbits), tasty, and nutritious. Did I mention tasty?

If you eat this kind of thing on a regular basis, it would be very hard indeed to avoid your 5-9 daily servings of veggies and fruits! I feel Deprived at Five. And, BTW, under normal circumstances, it really does not matter how much salt you eat; you're getting more than enough potassium from all those veggies to balance it out, unless you regularly go around munching on rock salt for a snack. And I think again of Rita Laws' Native Americans and Vegetarianism, which overstates things AFAICT (bottom of the page), but makes some good points about just how much fruit and veggies people were/are eating a lot of places.

How to make Soup and Stew )

My pot of soup

Today's pot of still-simmering soup, before the chicken's gone in. I am not a photographer. ;)

What's in today's batch? )

Making the soup today, I couldn't help but be glad again for the year-round availability of canned and frozen veggies! (Cheaper, frequently better quality, and not as generally problematic as a lot of out-of-season fresh stuff.) Especially since I don't have room for a garden right now. It saves a lot of hassle, and makes it possible for me to have closer to a summer version of this kind of soup in April.

Before that, I guess people had to use leather britches or (brine) pickled green beans, dry hominy or pickled corn, dried tomatoes, dried beans instead of fresh shelled beans, and so on. Food you've grown and preserved yourself certainly has its appeal, but being able to buy a can or frozen bag of green beans sure is easier!

I may have to start working on my food and recipe pages again. (That's not even up now, at all, along with the rest of my old website.) Not only is that kind of thing fun, I feel an urge to demonstrate that we Hillbillies do, indeed, have a food culture--which does not involve much in the way of roadkill. When even the origins of many dishes have been obfuscated, there's a lot of ignorance going on, and some people might be interested in finding out more. The acceptable level of ignorance and bigotry*** (not to mention exoticizing and condescension) still amazes me.


The obligatory endnotes ; )

September 2011

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