Finally, a Diet That MIGHT Work!

Now, I’ve found the perfect dietary recipe and am so happy to share it with you! Simple ingredients and little to no calories. 🙂

Over the years my husband and I have been married, our eating habits have almost drastically changed on a number of occasions to work with his current likes/dislikes, various allergies, and food sensitivities!

Our latest change is only a week old but not as drastic as some of our other ones, mainly because we were already gluten- and sugar-free. Now, we just have to cut our carbs down to a small percentage a meal. The good thing is that protein and fat are finally on the ‘good’ list. The downside? Potato chips and fries don’t seem to fit into any of the possible categories.

We started arranging our meals in line the the Keto plan and have to say that it has been one of the easier transitions.  One week later and no one has made a secret trip to the store for pretzels or started a chocolate stash. Our newly-opened coffee shop down the street has already lost our patronage but no one has (yet!) been harmed in the change of diet.

When I saw this video, I immediately decided that we are NEVER going to cook with air, catsup, and the stray tomato.

Things You Don’t Want to Hear When Cleaning the House

We hardly got finished with Spring Cleaning (and don’t look at me like that! I did some dusting this year!),  and it is time to start some preliminary sorting and discarding as Fall gradually comes around the corner.

Things You Don’t Want to
Hear When Cleaning
1. I moved the sofa. Just asking, did we find all the eggs last Easter?
2. Why are there 25 children’s vitamins under the refrigerator?
3. Do we have any really big ant traps?
4. How can you tell how long a mouse has been dead?
5. There is green stuff oozing out of the refrigerator door.
6. The local museum wants to do an archeological report on the dust findings under our bed.
7. Do we have more than one cat?
8. Is he supposed to be spray painting the dead grass out front green?
9. I cleaned out the fish tank. Have you seen the fish?
10. Will blue food coloring come off dog fur? And did you see the dog go by?

The Many Layers of Truth . . .

Having an older son and a much younger son, we had a lot of turmoil and horseplay going on in our house. My teenage son always had the advantage as he could just pick up his little brother and put him out of his way. One day, my older son came to me with what seemed a legitimate complaint:

My teenage son complained to me about scratches he claimed were caused by his much younger brother.  For once, there actually were scratches providing proof. I called in the alleged culprit who readily admitted to the deed. The whole ‘case’ kind of fell apart when I asked the teenager where his hands had been when he received the scratches. He said, “Around his neck!”

Meaty Chef’s Salad

Summertime salads are great but, sometimes, you want a little more protein in a salad that your spouse declares to be dinner because it is too hot outside for meat and potatoes! This one seems to fit the bill and has enough protein and greens to satisfy. AND, if that isn’t sufficient, consider it a prelude to a really big ice cream sundae because it is too hot outside for any more vegetables right now!

Meaty Chef’s Salad
6 c. torn lettuce
1 c. shredded carrot
1 c. diced celery
1 c. cooked ham OR 4 oz.deli ham, cut thick, in strips
1 c. cooked chicken cut thick, in strips
2 tomatoes, diced
3 T. sliced green onions, greens also
2 c. shredded sharp American cheese
2/3 c. milk
1 small can chopped green chilies, drained
3 T. sliced, pitted ripe olives
2 c. corn chips
Cut ham and chicken into julienne strips, then measure. In a large salad bowl, combine lettuce, carrot and celery. Arrange ham, chicken, tomatoes and green onion on top. Just before serving, combine cheese and milk in saucepan. Cook and stir over low heat until cheese melts and is smooth.
Stir chilies and olives into cheese; pour over salad, toss lightly. Serve at once. Pass corn chips to sprinkle on top. Serves 6. Cheese sauce can be made ahead of time and served cold. Increase milk to 1 c. chill till serving time.

Living the Life . . .

Marriage is a sneaky institution. It starts out with romance and roses and you end up cooking and fixing meals for many members of the food chain. Until I got married, food was something you ate when your body started wearing down. An apple, a taco, a quick plate of spaghetti, whatever it took to keep you going. I never felt that a growling stomach was a reason to begin planning meals. Food on my list of priorities was not at the top. I was busy!

I came home from the office, my first day back at work after I got married. I was home early and got this sudden feeling that I should really prepare something to eat and share with my new husband. I had a thirty-minute head start and by the time Carl arrived home, he was met at the door with the aroma of cooking food. I was happy and he was thrilled. This schedule persisted for more than a year.

Then God sent us a blessing along with nine months of all-day morning sickness. The first four months we coped as best we could. I soon realized that unless I wanted the new baby to resemble a French Fry (one of my more notable cravings), I would have to drag myself from the bed and bathroom and cook once more.

Baby born, morning sickness gone, things still did not go back to newly-wed normal as far as meals went. Besides our own meals, this new person demanded certain nutrition that required my presence (if he were nursing) and special little meals he could gum down or spit up, his choice. We had, I assumed, seen it all. However, we just incorporated these little inconveniences into our lives and forged ahead.

We got two dogs. Now they needed feeding and I had to add their needs into the shopping list. I now prepared meals for two grownups, an ungrateful infant and dogs who thought they were human. It couldn’t get any more complicated.

It did. A new baby came along who continued with the nursing and special little gummable meals. The toddler required a more varied menu aimed at his growing needs. And there were still the dogs and my husband.

Between baby number two and three we acquired a cat. The cat only ate the points off the star-shaped cat food. The cat did not like the middle part of the dried food after she had shorn it of it’s points. I put the cat and her demands on my shopping list.

I now had a husband to feed, three children of varying ages, a cat and two dogs. What more could I deal with. The cupboards were stocked with people food, baby food, children’s food, dog food and cat food. Had we reached the peak?

Just after baby number four made his appearance, the first child asked for a pet of his own—fish. How much trouble can it be to feed fish. You dump in a certain amount of stuff from a special can labeled for fish and they eat. No fall out, no crumbs, no problem. The fish required three different types of food. It seemed that ground feeders didn’t feed if the stuff didn’t sink down in the water. We needed sinking pellets among other things. I added my new house mates to the budget.

We now had a household of six people of various likes and dislikes, two dogs, a cat and fish. Was there life after fish?

We acquired two birds. They like certain bird seed and a particular fruit combination. They have a permanent place on my feeding schedule. They are supposed to live for thirty years but I try not to think about it. My cupboards are full. One holds my husband’s necessities for survival, the children have their cereal, etc. shelf, the lower regions of the kitchen house bags of dog food sitting next to boxes and cans of cat food. Fish food shares quarters with boxes of bird seed. And I am the manager, meal planner and server of it all.

I must confess to having daydreams that seem unworthy of my calling. . . I see myself feeding the fish to the birds, in turn dishing up the birds to the cat who is turned over to the dogs that hate her anyway. I get stumped at what to do about the dogs and usually come to my senses at this point. I did almost lose it totally when my husband came home from the store with a bottle of distilled water. It seems we need to keep it on hand for my son’s carnivorous plants. . .

I’m now housing only one child these days . . . who still has particular wants and snacks. I’m coping and she has her own salary to compensate for my lack of variety in shopping. The birds died way short of their 30-year estimate and we finally got the last of the feathers out of our house. Long story but we now share the house with TWO cats and one slightly feral outside cat who only comes into shred important document left unattended for three seconds or less. Don’t have the dogs of bygone years but still have two dogs. We decided, initially, that one dog was enough until a second dog walked into our backyard and stayed. No more fish, hamsters or birds. We did end up with 15 cats at one point but that is a story for another day. We don’t like to dwell on that era too much. Oh, yeah, my husband still wants dinner every night but that’s okay, I like him more than the dogs anyway!

My Ongoing Peeve of the Day!

Many churches now distribute both the Body of Christ and the Precious Blood of Christ at Communion time. Many prefer both thinking that one without the other ‘won’t work’ and will, somehow, be lacking in full graces. I’ve been reprimanded on this topic after Mass.

Being of the more conservative mindset, we find our grace, solace, and mercy in receiving the Host and then going quietly back to our pew to offer our prayers and thanksgiving . . .

It doesn’t quite work that way these days. We receive Communion and five feet away a line forms for those who wish to receive under both Species. Okay, fine, right? Uh, not quite. Since we don’t get in line for the reception of the Precious Blood of Christ, we can’t kneel down in our pew because other people sharing our pew are still in line waiting for the Blood of Christ so we stand up against the wall and wait and wait for them to return. By the time we kneel down in our pew, it is almost time to sing the processional and out we go.

Today, there were more than usual waiting against the wall for the other pew dwellers to come back from the second line. Now a another procedure seems in place. Our pew is now completed and we try to get in to kneel BUT the second-line receivers take away our right of way and won’t pause long enough to let us return to our pew and prayers. After several pushed past, I finally stepped in front of the next one and with much surprise, she stopped and said, “Oh, you go on ahead!” like she had bestowed a favor on us.

Another interesting aspect is that while we are waiting against the wall (I was standing over the air vent and don’t want to talk about it!), people we know stop to say ‘good morning’, grin at us, or even try to chat a bit. I guess they are still in a good mood from their excessive peace signing earlier.

Not sure what can be done about this except pray for a Latin Mass to open up closer to home but I bet we aren’t the only one with most of our after-Communion thanksgiving being, “Whew, finally back in our pew!”

Gluten-Free/Lactose-Free Crackers

Besides being gluten-intolerant, my husband is sensitive to lactose, too. He can have cheese and butter but needs to take pills to totally enjoy them. He also likes to have some snacks on hand when he braves the Los Angeles traffic coming home as his hunger pangs tell him that traffic is putting his evening meal way off schedule AGAIN!

Most cracker recipes have butter or wheat in them. It took me awhile to come up with something that would stay the onset of starvation on the long drive home but wouldn’t incite digestive problems. I finally came up with the following recipe which has protein, fiber, vitamins, no baking powder, and the right kinds of fat.

Homemade Crackers

3 1/2 cups of gluten-free flour blend (I like Pamela’s Gluten-Free Artisan Blend)
5 tablespoons nutritional yeast (My favorite is Bragg – in imparts a mild cheesy flavor)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup Hemp Hearts*
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
2 eggs
3 tablespoons coconut oil or ghee*
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (or 2 water/2 lemon juice)

Combine all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.

Combine the coconut oil (or ghee) with the juice and the eggs and mix well.

Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and gently mix until a workable dough forms. The weather seems to play a huge part so, if necessary, add bits of water or juice along with teaspoons of ghee or coconut oil until the right consistency is reached.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To save time and mess, divide the dough into fourths. Roll out one fourth between two sheets of parchment paper until about an 1/8th inch thick. Using a small round cookie cutter, cut out the crackers and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet about a quarter of an inch apart. Bake for approximately 10-15 minutes or until golden. Remove to a cooling rack, wait a few minutes, and try one!

Store in a tightly lidded container. I usually divide the cooled crackers into three or four containers: One for easy snacking and the other ones in the freezer to keep fresh.

*Ghee is merely the solids removed from butter. I make mine my putting two sticks of butter in a large, glass measuring cup and gently melting them in the microwave. Once the butter is completely melted, let set until it separates and then carefully pour off the clear part into a small container being careful to avoid getting any of the cloudy residue into it.

*Hemp Hearts are at Costco and they have the best price I have found. They have a mild, nutty flavor.