Tag Archives: cooking

Gibbs Smack

After the best Thanksgiving Day (all things considered), this morning I found myself having a tizzy fit. I don’t shop on Black Friday, so…

Usually by Thanksgiving Day here we can expect a light snow, rain, and Foehn or Chinook winds that keep the cold in check. This year it’s unseasonably warm.

So on Wednesday, though it was in the mid 50’s outdoors, my oven heated the cottage to 80 degrees.

Much more comfortable with the door open and fans running, I blasted Pandora mixes and danced around my kitchen like a boss. All the food prepared, ready to eat and/or deliver around dusk, I was ready for a quiet, relaxing weekend, just the Holy Ghost and me.

But this morning some buzzing at nearly every window stole my attention from my steaming chai latte and my reading. And if that wasn’t enough, the tiniest flying insect ever violated the airspace between my face and my screen.

Lemme just say here, coming in I realized that flies would challenge me. Horses within 50 yards of the doors, cattle nearby, dogs, numerous amazing-mouser felines, the oh-so-entertaining chicken house and compost piles – there will be flies. In case I never mentioned this before, the absence of flying insects is one of my favorite aspects of colder weather. Again, this year’s weather is unusual.

So, this morning I began to wonder if flies had contaminated the food I labored over… but I resisted that brand of crazy and read on:

“One day some Pharisees and teachers of religious law arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus. They noticed that some of his disciples failed to follow the Jewish ritual of hand washing before eating…” Mark 7:1,2

“So the Pharisees and teachers of religious law asked him, “Why don’t your disciples follow our age-old tradition? They eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony.”” Mark 7:5 (NLT)

It’s a good story. But I admit:

in moments the buzzing captivated me again. Minutes later I was fully suited up, armed with flying insect spray, swatter, jump suit, goggles, mask, and hat…  With that I fully engaged.

A dozen or so casualties later, in the entire 800-plus square feet, two POWs were trapped between the screen and the sliding window and one eencie-teencie flying pest remained free. I showed him. I closed the laptop, got a hard copy Bible, another cup of chai and returned to what I’d been reading before the attack.

I’m not gonna lie here, though the near silence was nice (the POW’s were exercising their escape plan) – I was slightly annoyed by the smell of the insecticide. After a few minutes I put the mask back on (adding drops of eucalyptus and chrysanthemum oils).

I read on,

“Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “All of you listen,” he said, “and try to understand. It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart.” Mark 14, 15 (NLT)

 

 

These days more than ever before God’s generous, extravagant love amazes me. In the middle of studying the Master, the greatest Love of all teaching us, I had allowed my pet peeve to distract me and trip me up. And yet, He waits patiently until I returned to Him.

Unlike some bumbling, often well-meaning mortal/earthly fathers, instead of a rod or a Gibbs Smack, I now get a gentle hand. God grabs my attention and turns my head toward what really matters – no humiliating slap in the face. Flying insects aside – mostly – not even my wandering heart can separate me from God’s love.

So, now that I laid that burden down, what pet peeve can you whip into shape today?

“But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried over all these details! There is only one thing worth being worried about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41, 42 (NLT)

 

Roasted Butternut squash with pomegranate and citrus recipe courtesy Sangheeta Pradhan

NCIS Video clips courtesy YouTube

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Notes from the Apex

Saved Vegetable Beef Soup

vegetable-pixabay

One thing that my limited budget affected is meat in my diet. I’m a fan of non-GMO, organic soy products, free range poultry, fish and organic cheese, but now and then I crave beef. Toward the end of the month supplies dwindled, so I made a pot of vegetable beef soup.

Without beef bones I used boxes of bargain beef broth from the emergency stash. My fresh veggies tasted less than great and the Great Value  beef (alleged) broth tasted like anything but beef – it was just plain yuk. I’m glad to know not to buy the product again.

I got creative and was delighted to not have wasted the food or my efforts. The friends that dropped by admired the end result so, my secret is secure.

Following is the recipe and the save I concocted. I’ve made it a few more times since with homemade stock, good boxed broths, Knorr Homestyle Stock or Knorr bouillon cubes (which contains less sodium than many other brands). Better Than Bouillon is also good.

knorr-soup-base

Since then I also discovered a culinary jewel at my local restaurant supply: Knorr Professional liquid Concentrated Flavor Base. Available in my area in Beef, Chicken and Vegetable, a 32 oz (946 ml) bottle makes 6.25 gallons. They’re gluten free, no MSG, store on the shelf even after opening, and easily dissolve. With 760 mg sodium per cup it’s less salty than bouillon cubes and quite tasty.

Saved Vegetable Beef Soup

Fresh vegetables chopped into bite-sized pieces:
6 celery ribs
6 medium carrots
1 large onion
Bell peppers (I prefer red, orange or yellow)
1 large potato (or 1 1/2 cups cooked rice)
1/3 large head finely chopped cabbage
3 large garlic cloves finely minced
Bunch fresh minced parsley leaves (to taste)
Cover with beef broth (or stock). When homemade stock is not available, use 2 – 3 boxes or hydrated bouillon cubes (omit additional salt)
Salt and pepper to taste

Simmer till vegetables are almost tender (about 20 minutes).

Once veggies are tender add:
2 cups cooked (or canned) beans; black beans (rinsed). Navy, cannellini, great northern or ceci (chickpea or garbanzo) beans are good and the liquid is great in soup.
16 oz frozen corn
½ small can (6 oz/170 g) tomato paste (avoid lumps and thin with some warm broth before adding), or a large can chopped tomatoes.

Stir and cook on medium heat till blended and heated through.

The save:

1 envelope onion soup mix
1 jalapeno or poblano, pasilla, or Anaheim (California or Magdalena) Chile, halved (remove before serving or chop, according to your preference)
Bunch cilantro leaves finely chopped (to taste)
Juice ½ lime (or more to taste). For extra flavor drop rinds in, but remove before serving).

Stir and cook on medium heat till blended and heated through. Remove lime rinds and peppers if desired and serve with crusty bread.

 

“Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous…” 2 Corinthians 9:11 (NLT)

Vegetable image courtesy Pixabay

 

13 Comments

Filed under Kitchen Sync

Eggsact Timing

chicken-coop-pixabay

I get eggs from an obliging neighbor’s chicken coop whenever I can. We’re huge fans of hard-boiled eggs (yolks are rarely on for me), so eggs are a mainstay for fast, easy protein.

Knowing which are fresh can sometimes be tricky, especially with free eggs. We faithfully place eggs in water before cooking. Fresh eggs roll right to their sides. Good, but older eggs stand up or roll around. These are best for hard-boiling. If an egg rises to the top of the water or floats it goes away, preferably unbroken.

 

Yesterday I realized a carton had been in the ‘fridge for longer than I could remember. None lifted, so all were edible, but some moved faster than I like. Remembering Cole loves deviled eggs (okay, and inspired by the marvelous Victo’s post), as I went about other tasks, I boiled them and then deviled them.

Sprinkling them with paprika and finely minced parsley for a festive touch, they were so pretty at my kitchen coffee station, I thought to take a picture and went into the bedroom for my phone. Tickled because I rarely think to shoot a photo, I wanted to share the joy. First I texted Cole that they were there, to please eat them. I didn’t realize the time and the shop has been unusually busy so I didn’t think anyone would respond right away.

I’d already seen Cole earlier, and still hadn’t changed from my lounging flannels, when I heard the door open I delayed long enough to make the bed – I even set the pillows that usually stay on the arm chair in the corner unless I expect visitors. When I heard the door again…

img_1755

I returned to the kitchen. Instead of a plateful of eggs all dressed up for the photo, four halves remained. The guys were hungry and the eggs didn’t suck.

20161207_163558

 

Sometimes my plans go better than I expect. But hey, there’s still lunch, a snack and maybe even breakfast tomorrow.

Oh, and I still haven’t changed from my lounging flannels. Jus’ Sayin’.

To perfectly cook hard-boiled eggs that peel easily every time:

 

 

Cover room temp eggs under  2″ of water and bring to a full, rolling boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes then remove from heat. Let the pot stand (don’t lift the lid) for 10 – 20 minutes. Altitudes (or whatever) vary so you’ll have to figure out the best timing for perfect, yellow yolks. After ten minutes rinse one till it’s cool enough to peel and split. If the yolk’s done to your liking pour out most of the water, fill the pot with ice or ice water and let the eggs cool enough to handle – about 7 minutes.

Once cooled, crack the eggs and then roll them between flattened hands enough for air to get between the membrane and loosen the shell all around, then peel the shells off. Voila!

Quinn’s Deviled Eggs:

For 6 hard boiled eggs, 12 deviled eggs

Slice eggs in half placing yolks in bowl and arrange whites on a serving plate. Into yolks mix 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, with a splash of mustard. We like dijon, but brown or plain yellow prepared mustard is good. You may also like a little more mayonnaise. Be brave and experiment. Add salt and white pepper and mix thoroughly.

We like to grate a tablespoon of onion into the yolks, 1/2 teaspoon of sifted Coleman’s mustard, and a tiny splash of white balsamic vinegar or drops of lime juice. Be bold – find what you like best! Quinn also likes to add a hint of ground, prepared horseradish. Personally I think the horseradish is too many flavors for the pallet, but to each his own.

Pipe mixture into the whites (a zipper sandwich baggie with one corner cut off works) and sprinkle with paprika. I also add a tiny pinch of finely minced parsley during the holidays or chopped, fresh dill is delightful any time.

Advisory: Our family throws caution to the wind and typically prepares at least 3 dozen eggs for family gatherings – and they’re gone before we sit down to the table together.

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31 (NIV)

Eggs Freshness Test, Water video courtesy YouTube and HappyEggDelivery.com
Chicken image courtesy Pixabay

15 Comments

Filed under Kitchen Sync

Black Eye Peas, Black Beans and Mixed Greens

2015-12-28 07.38.31

Snow in Dallas-Fort Worth! Two days ago we basked on the balcony in 70 degree sunshine! One thing I appreciate in North Texas is the unpredictable winter weather.

Maybe the open cabinet doors in the mornings (to prevent frozen pipes), had me wanting warm, rib-sticking and nutritious food.

With a little forethought (and a pantry stocked with dry goods), this recipe is easy to throw together and rounds off nicely with warm sourdough bread, cornbread or biscuits and some steamed spinach or mixed greens on the side (yum).

Black Beans and Black Eye Peas with Smoked Turkey

Cooking time 3 – 4 hours

Gather ingredients:

gather bk beans soup

1 ½ cups dry, black (turtle) beans

1 ½ cups dry, black eye peas

**1 smoked turkey wing, cut into sections or a smoked turkey leg**

1 large onion, chopped

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)

 

sm turk onionPlace onion and turkey in stock pot (and red pepper if desired). Cover with 6 cups water.  Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover simmer till meat falls from bones (approximately 2 – 3 hours).

 

As turkey stock comes to a simmer, rinse beans well.  **In separate pots, cover under water 2″, salt to taste, bring to boil and then remove from heat.  Cover, allow to stand till water absorbs, about 1 – 1 ½ hours.  Drain.  Add black beans to stock continue to simmer 1 hour.  Add black eye peas to stock and simmer till all beans are tender, about another hour.

Remove turkey from stock.  Separate meat from bones, gristle, skin, etc.  Return meat to pot.

(**Note:  Though stock will be gray colored from the black beans (so think twice about serving to new guests ; ), this recipe is best with two wings or legs, and 12 cups water and adding washed beans to cook in the stock.  Add black beans an hour before black eye peas.  Again, stock will be gray colored from the black beans, but tastes great!)

For a well-balanced meal serve with steamed greens and garlic toast, corn bread or biscuits.

 

Mixed Greens

I like a mix of collard, mustard and turnip greens, at least one bunch of each (though some prefer one kind only – suit yourself).  It’s important to wash each leaf completely (even washed and prepared bags sometimes have a little sand).

After washing well (till no grit or sand gathers in the sink after draining), cut thick stems away (I munch on them while I cook ;), and coarsely chop all leaves.  Important: rinse leaves in colander and immediately put into a large, covered pot.

Add one whole jalapeno pepper if desired (we like piquant, so I sprinkle with a little pepper brine as well).

For really good, but not necessarily as healthy as plain greens, stir in some pieces of thick sliced, smoked bacon.  Old school cooks used to toss in chunks of fat back, but I like the taste of smoked bacon.

Chunks of daikon radish are also wonderful.

Minimal or no salt required if adding bacon.  Bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat to a slow simmer and cover till greens are entirely cooked down and tender.  Stir and watch carefully to prevent scorching, if pot cooks dry, add water down the side by ¼ cups.  Cook about an hour.  Serve and enjoy!

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under Kitchen Sync

Delicious No-Sugar Cranberry-Berry Sauce and Oats

It’s the season we crave stick-to-your-ribs, soul satisfying food. Because of the inclement weather it’s also harder to force ourselves outdoors so we naturally tend to put on Winter weight.

Don’t take it laying down (or curled up in the easy chair all winter). Start by reducing the processed sugars from your diet. Below are two recipes to help make that simple and I included groats (whole oat grain) to cook ahead and reheat.

No Sugar Cranberry-Berry Sauce

12 oz bag cranberries, rinsed
12 oz frozen apple juice concentrate thawed
6 – 8 oz flat blackberries or blueberries
dash salt
Grated peel of 1 small or med orange (tangerine, tangelo, 1/2 grapefruit peel are also good) or (1/4 t. lemon or lime juice)
1 1/2 -2″ piece finely minced crystallized ginger

Assemble in a saucepan, stir gently, bring to boil and then reduce heat immediately. Stir and continue to simmer until cranberries stop popping, about 10 – 15 minutes depending upon your altitude and range top.

Stir and let cool. Taste. Before adding any other sweetener, consider whether you are simply used to a sweeter (sugary) sauce. If desired you can add a tablespoon of agave syrup or honey. This will thin your sauce slightly and add more calories.

Use your imagination using this sauce. Aside from making fowl, ham and most any smoked meat even tastier, another delightful way to use it is in oats.

 

Cranberry-berry Oats

Serves 2

For Microwave combine in deep bowl:

1/2 cup cranberry-berry sauce
1/2 cup 4 oz. (snack cup) unsweetened applesauce
1 1/4 cup apple juice or water
1/2 cup old fashioned (rolled) oats
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Microwave: stir gently, microwave at high heat 3 1/2 mins, stir microwave another 2 1/2 mins
Range top: Combine ingredients in a deep, medium sauce pan, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes depending upon altitude.

Top with 1/4 cup diced walnuts,
1 teaspoon golden flax seed,
1 teaspoon chia seeds

Be creative with your favorite toppings, but watch out for saturated fats (butter, cream) and refined sugars. For example: vanilla powder, cocoa powder, coconut oil, grated unsweetened coconut, a splash of almond milk, cashew milk (and soy creamer is delightful). No added sugar is actually needed!

Frozen, chopped strawberries or blueberries are great during the winter months. I get a bag of frozen mango, pineapple strawberry mix from Aldi, soften in the microwave, chop and add to oatmeal and yogurt for a great energy boost that sticks with you all morning.

 

Groats (whole grain oats, hulls removed)

The healthiest form of oats is simple to cook, but it takes more time. The best advantage to groats is they reheat beautifully in the microwave or on the stove top. I make them ahead and freeze half the batch.

Simply put:

Use 1 part groat grains,
3 parts water,
1 small, grated apple (peels and all, omit seeds), and a
dash of salt.

That’s it!

In a large pan (grain will expand to 3 times it’s bulk), bring grain, water, salt and grated apple to a boil. Cover, remove from heat and let soak overnight (all day, whatever works for you). After 8 hours cook on low heat another 20 mins, add a dash of cinnamon if desired. Serve or store in serving sized bowls for convenience. Top as you like (cranberry-berry sauce and walnuts is especially good). Excellent re-heated for a delicious, satisfying breakfast in minutes.

For lots more information about the benefits of groats, click the links to these fine sites:

From the Culinate Kitchen collection by Carrie Floyd

Slow Cooker Groats by Martha Matheny

Spend less time cooking so you’ll have a little more time to exercise – “I like to move it!”

2 Comments

Filed under Kitchen Sync

Perfect Pasta

The wonderful people at Brand of Man posted the perfect article about cooking pasta at Simply Al Dente.

pasta Jonathan Pielmayer

Rather than re-key, I’m sharing it here. I only add oil to salted water when my pasta is going in a salad or casserole that contains oil or when I’ll eat it plain – okay, plainly drizzled with grated cheese like Parmesan or Romano and a little extra virgin olive oil. At any rate, “mangia!”

Leave a comment

Filed under Kitchen Sync

Beefy Pepper and Cabbage Soup

I took my morning walks to new locations the past two weeks, one being the local upscale grocery store. An old hand at couponing, I watch the sale ads and check the clearance items carefully, which stretches my fuel budget even at upscale stores.

This week, to my delight I found one large portion of boneless beef ribs in the Manager’s Special (the day-old) section of the meat case. Soup makes coming home through the thunderstorms wonderful this week. With the package of rib meat I wandered on down the isle where I found some marrow bones.

At the checkout, I was pleased to have spent less than $5.00 on enough protein and nutrients for the family and company. As I walked my prize home between cloudbursts I thought through the contents of the refrigerator and pantry. While the deluge continued to flood parts of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, I cooked. In the end, the soup warmed us all.

beef cabbage pepper soup

beefy pepper and cabbage soup

Beefy Pepper Cabbage Soup
Makes 4 – 6 servings

3 – 6 large marrow bones (knuckle bones or neck bones are also fine)
1 large onion
2 large whole cracked (slightly crushed) cloves fresh garlic***

1 Tablespoons olive or canola oil
1 – 2 pounds. beef; rib meat (boneless ribs) or stew meat cut into bite sized pieces
1 teaspoon McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning blend
*** when fresh garlic isn’t available, add granulated garlic to meat.

3 peeled (or carefully scrubbed) sliced carrots
3 sliced celery ribs
1 red bell pepper – chopped
1 orange or yellow bell pepper – chopped
1 large bay leaf
2 Tablespoon chopped cilantro
2 Tablespoon chopped parsley
3 cups chopped cabbage

Place marrow bones, onion and ***fresh garlic in a large, deep saucepan or a small stock pot and cover with water. Bring to boil, then reduce to a slow simmer for approximately 2 – 3 hours (depending upon sizes of bones).

While bones simmer, cut meat and vegetables into bite-sized pieces and chop herbs finely. Refrigerate an hour or so, but take out early enough to allow everything to warm to room temperature.

Once marrow cooks from the bones and they are hollow, remove bones and garlic (garlic if preferred) and discard.

In skillet, season and sear meat pieces, stirring to brown outsides, being careful to not burn or scorch the drippings. Add meat to stock pot and let skillet cool till warm to touch. Once skillet is cooled sufficiently, pour 2 cups hot water into skillet, stir to loosen browned bits from bottom and sides. Pour liquid into stock.

Stir bay leaf, cilantro, parsley, carrots, celery (and potatoes if desired) into stock and bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat and simmer 8 – 10 minutes. Stir in peppers and cabbage.

If stock is not level with meat and vegetables add enough ** Beef flavor Better Than Bullion (or beef bullion) stock (I needed 2 more cups) to not quite cover. Bring to a strong simmer for another ten – fifteen minutes until all vegetables are just tender (you can cook longer if you like your vegetables cooked into mush ; ).

Bullion tends to be salty, so I don’t add additional salt and there’s sufficient pepper in the Montreal blend. Add additional salt to taste if you prefer.

Wonderful served with crusty rolls or toasted garlic bread.

*** OR add 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated garlic or garlic powder to meat as it browns
** 2 teaspoons beef soup base (or bullion cubes) to 2 cups water.
* 1 large white rose, yellow gold, or red potato cubed if desired. Note: russett potatoes tend to break down in stock.

2 Comments

2015-10-26 · 11:58

Rotisserie Chicken Soup

In our family circles my late aunt Patty was the reigning queen of up-cycling, recycling, repurposing and reusing most everything. One of my favorite stories (that I can share) was her making watermelon balls for a luncheon. Once done felling the melon, she held up the hollow half shell, examining it closely, wondering aloud what else she could make of it – aside from a bowl for the salad. That’s when another aunt swooped by, grabbed the melon shell and ran, rather than find it repurposed later.

Queen Patty (who literally was Lombard, Illinois’s 1949 Lilac Queen, the youngest queen in Village history) loved to entertain and tastefully made old things look new, long before shabby chic was popular. She was one of those lovely people one would assume comes from old money, and though she made the most of her life, our family history disproves family affluency. I think fondly of her every time I make this amazing rotisserie chicken soup recipe.

One of my tastiest finds ever, it came to me by accident. I’d been brainstorming an idea for an article that had me so fired up I had to walk away. So, I took inventory of the refrigerator, noting all the extra space days before payday. I would likely not have otherwise imagined how one of the most flavorful meals ever came about. In fact, it was so tasty I afterwards wrote every motion as best I remembered it to create it again, and again. And that it developed during a particularly difficult time when every penny and scrap mattered. It doesn’t make a lot, but it’s a good second meal from one often dry, leftover chicken.

Note: Try it. You’ll either love it or be relatively indifferent. Either way, take a photo and share it with me as I rarely remember to snap one myself 🙂 Until then, you can enjoy seeing me, Suze and the Beej back in the day.

Me, Suze and the Beej

Me, Suze and the Beej

Rotisserie Chicken Soup

One must think ahead and not serve the whole pieces of chicken. Instead, cut the meat from the bones and save the bones in the plastic container – everything un-mouthed, that is. Also keep the market packing (refrigerated, of course) without scraping or washing it.

Makes enough soup for 2 – 4 servings. Or by adding white cooking wine (and maybe a bit more stock) for a delightful reduction, tossed with rice, noodles or quinoa it will go even further with amazing flavor and considerable nutrients.

Instructions:

Put bones, skin, meat, drippings, everything left over from grocery store rotisserie chicken into a small soup pot. Pour 2 cups hot, not boiling, water to rinse and scrape drippings from container, pour into pot. Repeat with 2 more cups hot water. This gives the stock an extra pop of flavor.

Add more water if needed to just cover the chicken and bones.

Bring pot to boil, reduce heat and simmer till all meat falls from bones (nothing about this recipe is exact science – approximately 40 – 60 minutes, more or less).

Allow to cool and then pour through colander into a bowl or another pan, reserving the stock. Wearing gloves, take your time removing bones, (gently pinch between fingers to be sure no sharp pieces get through), skin and any undesirable pieces. Return meat to stock, refrigerate till separated and then skim fat from the top.

Once stock is near room temp, return it and the meat to the pot and add:

1 stalk celery, chopped (great way to use celery and onion trimmings from freezer)
1/2 small chopped onion
1 smashed clove garlic
1 chopped carrot
3 Tablespoons chopped parsley
1 rosemary branch (optional – remove before serving)

Add vegetables to stock and simmer till tender.

At this point you can either

1. Add cooked noodles, pasta, rice, couscous, quinoa or more cooked vegetables if desired. Serve with rolls or crusty bread.
or
2. To make reduction, remove meat and vegetables from stock to a bowl or platter, set aside. Add 2 cups wine to stock. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, lower heat to a fast simmer and continue stirring till just slightly thick (it will continue to thicken as it cools). You will have a flavorful sauce that’s healthier without thickening agents like flour or cornstarch. Then return meat and vegetables to pan with noodles, rice or whatever you like, gently fold in sauce, plate and serve with crusty bread or rolls.

2 Comments

Filed under Kitchen Sync

Wonderful Legumes – Lentil, Kale and Sausage Stew

LENTIL, SAUSAGE AND KALE STEW

Food is not my first passion. That would be relationships. I spent many of the happiest hours of my lifespan in kitchens, around campfires, grocery stores and farmer’s markets, mostly exploring great new foods. All typicaly within a very restrictive budget.

Recently a friend from Chicago-land shared a recipe from Eating Well *1 for a Lentil, Sausage and Kale Stew.

She had me at Lentils. Dietary restrictions during the course of overcoming diverticulitis (without medication), sent my cholesterol counts crazy. After recovery, still unwilling to pollute my body with cholesterol medication, I researched and targeted my diet and exercise habits toward changing those numbers – and that right soon. #

Legumes, especially lentils, and oats are nature’s blood scrubbers, so every day I eat at least one portion of one, the other or both and power walk (breathing too hard to sing) for a minimum half hour to an hour every day, rain or shine. Also, since I also recetly discovered I was not lactose intollerant, a portion of yogurt and cheese also became a mainstay to keeping diverticulosis under control.

This wasn’t easy at first. My body and subconscious screamed in rebellion while I refused to return to my nice, comfy bed and pull the covers over my head. But within 2 weeks the routine became second nature.

I search constantly for variety, keeping a portion of oats or legumes part of my daily diet. Within four months both cholesterol counts returned to very healthy, normal levels. Two years later, keeping this as a base line, I can also eat pretty much whatever else I want in moderation without pain or upset.

Photo courtesy Eating Well.com

Photo courtesy Eating Well.com

Lentil, Sausage and Kale Stew – my variation, of course, of the Eating Well Recipe *1

Ingredients:

3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
At least a pound of chicken or turkey sausage, casings pierced several times with a toothpick (the more the better when official taste samplers lurk nearby)
1 large onion, thickly sliced
2 Tablespoons minced garlic (or more per your taste)
pinch of crushed red pepper, (or more to taste) *
2 ½ cups water (have more on hand in case needed)
1 ½ cups red wine (or 1/2 cup wine and 1 cup chicken or turkey stock. have extra on hand in case needed)
1 cup green lentils, washed
8 cups finely chopped kale leaves, tough stems removed **
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
¼ teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:
Prepare by thoroughly washing kale, cutting away tough stems, and chopping (set aside separately), onion, mince garlic, and sage (also keep sage separate). Wash lentils. Measure wine (and broth if desired) & water.

1. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add sausages and cook until browned on all sides. Remove, set aside.

2. Add the remaining oil and onion to the pan and cook until clear, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and crushed red pepper *and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about a minute.

3. Add water and wine, bring to a boil, stirring constantly with wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits from the sides and bottom of skillet. Add lentils, stir in and reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Cook, partially covered, for approximately 60 minutes until lentils are cooked through (some altitudes may require more time). Check occasionally for sufficient liquid for stew to be saturated, but not covered over. Add more warm wine, water, broth as needed.

4. Add kale, sage and salt, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils and kale are tender, about 20 minutes more.

5. Cut the cooked sausage into 1/2 inch slices and stir into the pan along with ground pepper. Cover and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.

Spoon into bowls or crocks, serve topped with a dollop of Greek yogurt and crusty, toasted slices of sourdough bread.

Also delightful with your favorite salsa (I especially like salsa verde), pico de gallo or pesto and sprinkles of fresh herbs (like cilantro). Be creative!

NUTRITION FACTS
Provided by: Eating Well
Per Single Serving / Serves 4 Total
Calories 500 17%
Calories from fat 99 20%
Total Fat 11gm 28%
Sodium 665mg 64%
Cholesterol 60mg 19%

Total Carbohydrates 58gm
Fiber 16gm
Protein 32gm
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

# This may not be sufficient for some with different, more severe cholesterol counts, or other health complications. Consult with your experienced primary care physician and a licensed professional dietitian.

* Our family likes a hot/piquant palette, so I add a jalapeno and a Serrano peppers with the crushed, red pepper flakes.

** Though popular, some tastes (like my sister, Roan’s) don’t take to kale, even when well cooked. Substituting 10 cups chopped spinach provides additional folic acid with a milder flavor.

*1 http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/kale_sausage_lentil_skillet_supper.html

Leave a comment

2015-10-02 · 11:21