marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
Anyone using a bread machine out there?  We used one years ago, but it made these weird giant square loaves that would dry out in 4 hours (but were yummy up until then).  Since I have to get my bread right now from a bakery that's 20 minutes from home, I'm thinking it might be a good idea to get a new one that makes normal-looking loaves, or use the old one for all the pre-bake stuff and then bake the loaf in a traditional pan in the oven, or...something.  Ideas?
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
I went out to the grocery on my lunch break and found some happy-making soy-free stuff. Packaged food FTW!

Plum sauce [YAY STIR FRY]
Oyster sauce [YAY MORE STIR FRY]
Duck sauce (aka apricot-type sweet & sour) [YAY get the idea]
Rice vinegar [YAY SUSHI]
Almond biscotti [YAY COOKIES]
Organic blue corn chips [corn chips do not rate a yay, but these are good]
Weetabix cereal [YAY NOSTALGIA as this was what I ate in England when I was a wee expat for a couple of years]

I also found that Hellman's makes a canola-oil mayo, but it has lemon juice in it, so that's out because of the citrus allergy. Dang. Fortunately guacamole makes a lovely substitute for mayo on sandwiches.
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
Like many people, I love garlic, but it doesn't love me, so I can only have it once in a while.  Onion also doesn't love me, but since I only kinda like onion, this doesn't bother me as much.  Anyway, I'm hoping to find some kind of savory seasoning that I can dump on chicken (or steak, but mostly chicken) while cooking it that will have a similar effect to that of garlic salt.  Strong flavor, no marinating needed, and capsaicin-free because I can't handle spicy/hot anything. I was making chicken for Mike and myself (pan-frying skinless breasts in olive oil) and I put garlic salt on his and paprika, salt, and pepper on mine, and his was SO much more tasty.  Mine tasted fine on the outside but bland on the inside.  I know that cooking it differently would get a more flavorful result, but I like being able to cook dinner in 7 minutes without any prep, so I'm looking for something you put on as you put the meat in the pan/broiler/grill.

Suggestions?  (and is lemon pepper as terrible as I remember it being in my childhood?)
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (Default)
Charlie's doc says we need to feed him more green veggies, because most of what he eats is yellow/orange, which apparently causes something or other to build up in his skin and make him extra-prone to bruising and suchlike. The things you learn when you have to keep your kid on an extremely limited diet....

Anyway, I'd love some suggestions of what to give him.  He eats Avacados now (which are fruits, and partly yellow, come to think of it) but I think that's it for green foods.  I'll test Asparagus on him next (all foods go through a testing phase to determine if he's allergic before they become a regular part of his diet).  So, we're looking for green veggies that are:

1. not beans or other legumes
2. not stringy or having an extreme texture (eg celery)

If they can be cut into cubes and boiled half to death so they're soft, that's a plus but not essential.   Any ideas? 
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (collage1)
First, thanks to everyone who replied to my earlier post asking about blood pressure meds.  The advice and info was all very helpful, and it really put my mind at ease to learn that so many of my friends and e-neighbors are on successful BP treatment.

So, I got a home monitor for $30 (on sale) at Walgreens (drugstore & home care store) and started checking my BP in the morning and evening.  First discovery: OMG, my BP is high ALL the time.  The "high normal" readings I've been getting (130/80ish) are, in fact, the anomaly, and it's more usual for me to get readings in the mild-to-moderate hypertension range.  Maybe sitting in the doctor's waiting room reading for half an hour before getting my BP checked is throwing it off?  Anyway, one night after some moderate activity--bathing an energetic toddler and wrestling him into his jammies--I was kinda wiped out, and red in the face, which is a not uncommon feeling for me.  I decided to check it right then and it was 165/100.  At which point I decided that any lifestyle change wouldn't happen fast enough to make a difference before my already-scheduled doc appt, and so I stopped hoping to magically get out of going on something.   I saw the doctor today and she agreed ("Wow, well, you're definitely my only patient today who *wants* to go on BP medicine. But you're right.")  She's starting me on just a diuretic (HCTZ), with a re-eval scheduled for 3 months. 

Of course, the one lifestyle change that could make a rapid difference is to reduce the sodium in my diet.  I have discovered that this is pretty much impossible for a person who doesn't really cook.  I do "cook" sometimes, in the sense of applying heat to food, but most of what I cook is either packaged or uses packaged sauce.  Stir-frying chicken or steaming some rice and salmon in my rice cooker is about as adept as I get, but the stir-fry sauce I put on everything comes out of a bottle and is basically distilled salt with a little pineapple juice and ginger.   And stuff like Lean Cuisine frozen dinners may be low in calories, but apparently they achieve that by replacing all the calories with sodium.  Sigh. I won't have free time for learning any big new skills until Spring or Summer, so I'm kind of screwed on that front at the moment.  Also I am genetically predisposed to utterly suck at cooking. (Also: sodium, om nom nom. Yummy).

Anyway. Thanks again for the advice, and tips about HCTZ are welcome. I'm starting it tomorrow.
marydell: My hand holding a medusa head sculpture (by me) that's missing its snakes (spock-beer)
After experimenting with a few things, I have come up with a way to make sweet potatoes in a form that Charlie likes and can feed to himself.  (We are working on getting him to eat finger foods, but his allergies make most of the common ones verboten)  These are pretty tasty so I'm sharing the recipe (don't laugh! This is serious cookery, for me, despite it being totally simple for people who actually cook).

Preheat oven to 425 f. 

Peel two sweet potatoes and chop into little cubes.  (The chopping is the most time-consuming part of all this) How little depends on how good your toddler is at chewing & not choking.  I make them about...maybe 1/4 inch across?  Maybe a little bigger.

Mix together:

1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp salt

I am lazy and kind of stir these together in the olive oil's measuring cup, which means I don't really put a full 1/4 cup in because of the room taken up by the other stuff, but it seems to work fine.

Dump the sweet potato cubes into a big ziploc bag and then dump in the olive oil & spices.  Seal up the bag and smoosh everything around until the cubes are evenly coated.

Dump the cubes out onto a nonstick cookie sheet.

Cook in oven for 20-30 minutes, depending on how browned/mushy you want them.  20 minutes in my oven (which is the tiny, cupboard-mount variety so may not work like your oven) makes cubes that are solid enough to pick up and hold but mushy enough to eat without proper chewing.  If you care about even cooking you might want to try flipping them with a spatula halfway through--I don't bother with that since I'm not browning them, but I do sometimes stir them up a bit while they cook.

I let them sit on the hot cookie sheet for another 10 minutes or so after I take them out, which probably doesn't really make any difference.  

These keep perfectly well for several days in a ziploc in the fridge.  I zap them in the microwave for about 10 seconds before I give them to him, but I think at daycare he eats them cold and he seems to like them fine either way.

April 2013

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