Posts Tagged ‘health’

Spices and the Inflammation Factor

June 16, 2012

Spicy Fish and Baked Potato

I decided this week when I went on my occasional detox for 2 weeks and 2 days to not only drop all wine but to completely modify my diet to see if I could reduce my aches and pains. I know I like what I eat and I have settled on a fairly healthy diet of whole grains, potatoes with the skins on, vegetables, fruits and fish and chicken. I also like spicy food. There is a cute tool over at Nutrition Data, which allows you to track, carbs protein, calories and the total Inflammation Factor for the days consumption.

Pretty much like most people, I eat what’s available and what I crave. I found my consumption of fruits and vegetables is fairly constant so my carbohydrate loading is 150 to 230 grams and I am not likely to change until next winter when fruit is less abundant. I intentionally eat a high protein diet as it is necessary to feed by brain and body for my manic lifestyle so that is not gonna change. The range is 73 to 127 because I like vegan foods once in awhile and that might actually be a little low. Hence, the only number I can focus on is the Inflammation Factor and I am doing pretty good at maximizing but prior to my detox, I was not consistent as I varied from about -300 which is bad to plus 2000.

The concept is that by avoiding foods that rise your Inflammation Factor level, your joints and body will ache less. This diet has not been well received because meats, dairy, fruits vegetables, whole grains and beans vary all over the place, sometimes in a counter intuitive fashion. The huge variation in my diet came not from what I ate but from the spices I used and this I found comforting.

In my heart I know that poor people will eat whatever is available on the prior list without being cave men or vegans and the biggest difference is that people in the poorer nations will use more spices. I tend too look at the foods we chose to eat  as those that heal us, those that are habits and those that are available. I believe that the use of spices and cooking evolved at about the same time and that spices were included in meals to solve some problem know by the Village Shaman.

I do suffer back pains and have suffered chronic pain in the past and the naturally chosen spices on my list seem to top the scale for positive Inflammation Factor and are allegedly helping me. So I did a search of Top Ten Spices for many nutritionists  and compiled a list of the 30 because there was little consensus in the area. After researching those spices and searching for the highest anti-inflammatory properties The following ones were the only ones that could counteract a day of bad eating with enough positive value to turn the whole day positive while using reasonable quantities.

Spice                             Quantity                          Inflammation Factor.

Fresh Ground Ginger    1 Tablespoon                             903
Hot Pepper                       1/2 tsp                                 740
Turmeric                       1 Teaspoon                              508
Crushed Garlic             1 Tablespoon                             500
Onion                             1 medium                               257

It amazed me that their was only one person, Dr. Jeremy Webster, had the most agreement with all the other experts and also got all five spices and herbs with the greatest anti-inflammatory properties correct. He had the best records of anyone for compiling a Top Ten List as most agreed with him in general more than they agreed with each other. Unfortunately, I already had these five items on my list of good stuff so got nothing else for my efforts except that Cinnamon with is almost neutral on the negative side for IF factor made everybody’s top ten list except mine. I rarely use it but I guess I’ll start.

Duck Rack and Fish placed on Grill with Baked Potatoes

The picture above is the setup for me grilling spicy fish on my duck rack because I forgot to show it last time and it is a easy way to grill fish fillets. The anti-inflammatory properties of the two Grilled Spicy Tilapia fillets is an incredible 1944 because I eat all the spices and always have. The first time I tried it because my daughter told me about a similar meal with fewer spices and I just liked the idea after adding a few more of my favorite spices.

I never knew that tasting good could be good for me, but I’m learning.

What does it take to Lose 101 Pounds? My Story!

May 12, 2012

Eric over at Health Demystified is young and serious and trying to save the world from the ill effect of obesity with a free product. More importantly in my mind one of the obese people he is trying to save is his father and he deserves all the help he can get. At my advanced age, I am not sure that there is a single product that would help people lose weight, and even if it were free, I’m not sure how many people would use it because of all the negative uses of the word free on the Internet.

However, his knowledge, sincerity and hard work make me want to help him so I took the time to assess what were the principle reasons I achieved a lifestyle change starting in 2010 which led to my 101 pound weight loss and as of today I am now stable around 173 pounds with a 37 inch waste when measured above the belly button. A waist above 40 inches is just as deadly as obesity and I have been as high as 57 inches at my peak weight of 265 pounds.

I apologize for the length of this post, but the following text described the knowledge gained from forty years of dieting and 3 years of lifestyle changes.

There are only a few elements to consider for a permanent weight loss and perhaps hundreds of ways to focus on them. Any holistic plan to achieve a permanent drop in weight from life threatening obesity must address all of the key issue and recognize where weight loss information is being compromised usually for commercial purposes. At the simplest level, your weight is governed by the calories you eat and drink and the amount of physical work you do. There are no magic drugs, exercises or food plans. When it comes to calories and the fat in your body, “in minus out equals accumulated weight.”

The biggest problem with this simple wisdom is that on the short term it doesn’t seem to work as our body fights our erratic behavior and tries to maintain stability. Up to a point, fat is good to provide energy when, and if, there are lean periods of reduced consumption or periods of increased activity. Yet if we eat or drink too much and exercise too little, there is no instantaneous weight gain because our body will get rid of those excess calories in our body waste. Eventually gluttony wins the battle and new fat is added to our body and a new higher weight plateau is reached.

Likewise, the reverse of the process is not instantaneous. Going to the gym without a lifestyle change probably won’t alter your weight very much. While exercise is an excellent lifestyle change to help you control the weight you are at and increase longevity, the results would be more realistically evaluated with a tape measure, a mirror and your wardrobe.

There is a very good reason to be concerned about your appearance beyond vanity. The chances of health problems double with people who have a big belly even if they have “normal weight”. Measured just above the belly button, a man should be below 40 inches and 36″ is the recommended size. For a woman to sustain good health, she should be below 35 inches and 31″ is recommended.

There is also no magic solution to shedding belly bulge. It simply involves eating and drinking less and exercising more but the gym alone won’t shed weight. An hour of moderate workout in the gym will burn about 300 calories and it would take about twelve days to lose a pound if eating and drinking habits remained the same. Even at this modest rate of loss, most grossly overweight or obese people are only capable of light exercise so they would have to workout for two hours every day to lose a pound in twelve days unless they reduce food consumption.

At 265 pounds with a 57 inch waist, I was too ashamed to go to a gym so I purchased a treadmill which I hated because I was bored to tears. I used it and controlled my drinking and eating and dropped to 225 pounds but was still bored to tears because the only way for me to cut back on food and alcohol was to cut back on socializing. My weight drifted all over the place because of my lack of commitment to a lifestyle change. When I started on my current path in December of 2009, I was 245 pounds and had a 47 inch waist, which was still in the deadly zone because of both waist size and obesity.

Now I am a cautious person and I never make a commitment without understanding everything about the nature of the endeavor. For me, a person should know enough about obesity to understand that obesity is not just about the length of time a person will live, it is also about the general quality of life and the ability to participate in family events. Also, the chance of a slow, lingering and painful death increases with weight. Morbid obesity is associated with a substantially increased risk of chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

The hardest first step for an obese person is to accept they have real issues. When I was morbidly obese, I didn’t know anything about obesity, Body Mass Index (BMI) or a slow and lingering death and in the case of obesity, ignorance is bliss. I didn’t even own a scale. I got weighed on the doctors scale and at work so was generally aware of my weight range. The two issues which had the highest impact on family life bothered my wife and I different ways. Above 235 pounds, breathing became an issue and it stopped me from having an active sex life which didn’t seem to bother my wife very much. The issue which bothered her was sleep apnea.

Dolores had been trained as a nurse and my father had died from sleep apnea where he simply stopped breathing in his sleep at age 71. Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder with abnormal long pauses in breathing during sleep. Individuals with low muscle tone and soft tissue around the airway (jowls because of obesity) are at high risk for obstructive sleep apnea. Old male couch potatoes, with jowls and weak muscles, are more likely to have sleep apnea than women and Dolores was worried about me.

So at that point in time, I got a scale and an education on obesity. Health problems relative to normal people start occurring almost instantly as people move outside the normal weight range. At the extreme of morbid obesity (BMI over 40; or for me 262 pounds at 68 inches tall), the odds of incurring any health care problem is twice as often and the cost goes up with the amount of excess weight. The penalty for morbid obesity is about $3000 per year more in medical bills than for a normal person. Only 2% to 3% of the nation is in this special group but I qualified.

It didn’t take me long to learn enough to abuse science. From the studies and BMI charts, I found that I only had to drop to Class 1, Obesity at a BMI of 30 to shed about 3/4 of my health problems and costs. Also the drop in weight led to an improved sex life. The problem of sleep apnea occasionally remained as I bounced around in a range between 220 and 240 but moistly above 230. This meant every time I did binge level eating or drinking and gained a couple of pounds, the sleep apnea returned. As long as Dolores was alive and sharing my bed, I was constantly appraised when I was on the wrong side of the line because my irregular breathing was ruining her ability to sleep. I stopped using the exercise equipment, and the scale wore out and was never replaced because of my lack of commitment. Thirty-six percent (36%) of the Nation is obese in all three classes

In my adult lifetime, I had a tendency to binge eat or drink when I was under severe stress. My first diet, the Stillman all protein diet, was in 1970 when I was starting a winery and trying to balance a full time job. The first gas crises in 1974 crushed my tourist winery that I had successfully started and which depended on people driving to reach it. In 1982, I lost a job and sought solace in food until I opened an outdoor beach club which did exceptionally well and I dropped to 182 for the last time until my current lifestyle changes . In 1988, it rained on 39 consecutive outdoor events at the Beach Club and I was broke and lost the business. By 2004, things were going reasonably well and I just got fat and lazy due to becoming a “desk jokey” and not engaging in any physical activity because I could hire people to do everything that needed to be done and take time off to go fishing and drinking beer with my friends.

Still after that zenith of 265 in 2004, I managed to hold between 220 and 240 using the Type O diet until Dolores died. Then I started seeking solace in food and cooking and eating too much. Drinking was no longer that big of a problem as I was not happy enough to enjoy socializing and drinking. Unfortunately, Dolores was no longer sharing my bed to tell me when I was too fat to breath at night. This is where My Daughter Dagny and My Niece Cait joined forces and convinced me it was time for a lifestyle change.

So what are the essential elements of my 101 Pound weight loss.

1. General knowledge about obesity and acceptance of the scientific data. You must understand the problem before attempting to solve it.

2. Strong Emotional support from family (Dagny, Cait and Carson). Non judgmental loving support and encouragement is needed. Very few can solve the obesity problem entirely on their own.

3. A strong and vocal Personal Commitment and let the world know. Commitment is a struggle especially at the start because your weight loss is so fragile and unstable. When I started my diet at 265 without a commitment to a lifestyle change I had dropped about 45 pounds in a few months just by starving and working at the gym. I went on vacation where there was no scale and gained 27 pounds in a long weekend eating 3 meals a day, drinking beer mid day and having wine and a big dinner in the evening. I brought a scale because I felt I was gaining weight and when I got the result, I knew it was flawed and returned the scale to the store. Eventually, I quit the diet because the diet failed me and the weight loss wasn’t permanent. The first three to five months of a lifestyle change are most critical and a lifestyle change of only three months will also fail.

4. A commitment to reduce the calories consumed with beverages and food.  My personal commitment is covered in my book “An introduction to coffeepot cooking: How I lost 101 pounds cooking Portion Controlled Meals” which is available in Kindle format from Amazon. You can get a free Kindle app for almost every computer and operating system.

5. A commitment to a minimum of a half hour of exercise everyday or worst case every other day. It is better and you lose more weight, if you do a minimum of a half hour everyday and an hour a day three times a week. It is also better if you do it first thing in the morning to jump start your metabolism and stay physically active all day.

I firmly believe That there is no substitute for the advice in the first three steps. And a great amount of flexibility in the last two. When it comes to exercise, it is the time you commit to exercising regardless of which form of exercise you choose. I like walking because almost everybody can do it. When you work with your heart monitor and push yourself to safely do only a half hour a day, you get stronger everyday and are able to do more. Everybody in my family has a favorite physical activity and mine just happens to be walking and not a chore at all because it fits my personality. When I miss two days because of rain, I’ll look for a break in the weather and go for it. If it rains, I don’t care because I am still walking and enjoying the sights and proud of my accomplishments.

When it comes to eating, you can eat and drink what you like as long as your total calorie count is around 2000 which if you pace it during the day with moderate amounts of fruit, vegetables and protein; and then eat a light dinner, there is still a 1000 calories left over for a few glasses of wine. If on the other hand you don’t drink, then stick with the light fruit and vegetables all day and have a slightly heartier dinner and you will lose the weight a little faster by skipping beverages with calories and carbonation.

I don’t believe in special diets or severely restricted diets because for me they simply create a repressed demand for the foods I want and the quantities I am used to. When I started holding about 2000 calories, walking in the morning, getting into yard work as much as possible, walking in the afternoon when possible, and going to bed relaxed on a full stomach, I didn’t feel deprived of anything and drifted into a steady routine right away.

The process isn’t fast. In the first month, I lost 20 pounds and in the second 15. In the third month I lost 5 pounds. Remember, from previous diets, I found those first three months are the most unstable and the easiest time to have a relapse and regain the lost weight. After that, I shed weight at the rate of about 3 pounds per month. If this was a diet, I probably would have quit after the second month because I would be bored with a steady special diet of meat, carbohydrates, vegetables, vegan, caveman food, or any other cult diet.

However, this was a lifestyle change which allowed for lapses while on vacation with planed sacrifices of more work and less food after vacation. I also started in January when I wouldn’t see my family and party with them for the next six months or so I planned. I have now stuck with the plan for about 3 years and see little reason to change.

A natural evolution is that I now eat vegan about once a week, vegetarian twice a week and chicken, turkey and fish the rest of the time. However, and this is important to my mental well being, if I get a craving for liver, kidneys, sausage or any of the other weird things like my mother ate which let her live to be 93, I eat them and don’t consider it a failure in my lifestyle, just part of it. The same is true if I have a few midday beers while hanging with my family or friends. The only results my family really cares about is what the scale says and how big my belly is and that’s fine with me.

My total diet was discussed in the book mentioned above but;

Remember continue to enjoy fine food, just less of it.

Best Ever Bok Choy

May 2, 2012

Best Ever Bok Choy and Smoked Turkey Wings

The more I learn about Bok Choy, the more amazed I am that I have never eaten this in my life until I grew it in my garden. The Chinese have been growing this amazing cabbage for 6000 years even though I find it somewhat bland and tasteless. So what’s amazing about a tasteless vegetable? A 6 ounce portion of boiled greens only has 20 calories and still supplies 144% of your daily need for vitamin A, 74% for Vitamin C, 16% of your calcium requirement and 10% of your iron needs.

I am also beginning to accept that Bok Choy is one of those tasteless food items which will take the flavor of whatever you cook with it and the recipe with balsamic vinegar and lemon was quite good. It finally dawned on me that very small changes in the ingredients make a huge difference in flavor and you can still avoid excess salt. With this in mind, it was time for me to revisit the Smoked Turkey and Bok Choy that was just OK.

The starting point for this recipe was a very simple stir fried Bok Choy recipe from food.com for Bok Choy and Garlic with butter and low sodium chicken broth. The two items that caught my attention were the use of butter for more flavor and once again longer cooking times which also worked well for the Balsamic Vinegar recipe.

Smoked Turkey and Bok Choy

Ingredients:

1/4 stick butter
2 T crushed garlic
1 onion
1 thin slice scotch bonnet
1 T fresh grated Ginger
5 oz smoked turkey wings
package bullion
1 oz rum
6 leaves large
12 oz water
sprinkle with salt

Method:

  1. Add the butter, garlic, onion and hot pepper to the coffee pot and let cook for about 1 hour until the onion glazes over.
  2. Add the grated ginger root, bullion, turkey wings and rum to the pot.
  3. Cook covered for four or more hours.
  4. Strip the leaves from the stems of the bok choy. Cut the stems into bite size pieces and shred the leaves.
  5. Put the bok choy in the pot on top of everything else and pass the water through the coffee maker be sure to use enough to cover the leaves.
  6. When the water is done dripping, stir the pot and let cook for two more hours.

I was very pleased with the result and look forward to eating this again. In my mind, it is equally as good as the smoked Turkey and Collard greens I had previously made. A bonus for those who don’ like the smell of cooking collard greens, bok choy has none of that strong cabbage smell which is perhaps why it has very little cabbage flavor.

I Finished My Book!!!

April 30, 2012

I finally finished my most recent project and it is available for distribution. My Book, “An Introduction to Coffeepot Cooking: How I Lost 101 pounds with Portioned Controlled Meals”, is now available from Amazon as a Kindle e-book.

The focus is not on the food I ate, but the commitment that I made to my family to lose weight so I would avoid another premature death in the family. I would like to say that the entire process was driven by their love alone, but secondary influences included a stroke and a disc replacement surgery both caused by my being too fat for too many years. At $2.99 this little book will hopefully be a guide to others who are obese and need to shed a few pounds. It took me 65 years to recognize that there are no secrete diets, magic pills or special foods that will make you lose weight and become healthy.

My Ebook for Kindle

In writing this book, I came to understand that there were only three changes in my life that led to the loss of 101 pounds in a fairly painless manner spread over 2 years. Here’s the secrets if you want to call it that:

  1. Eat less all day and for dinner.
  2. Drink fewer calories whether it’s beer, wine, liquor, juice, soda or smoothies.
  3. Exercise more, at least 20 minutes every day and an hour or more a few times a week. (the hour can include heavy yard work or work on your home.

Now that you know the secrets, I hope you still buy the book whether for yourself or a friend. I started this process while morbidly obese and out of shape and have encouraged others who were even fatter than me and in worse shape. Fortunately, I had daily encouragement from my family and weekly assessments with positive and sometimes critical reminders of the need. I also looked positively on the help I received from my Creator who reminded me with my minor stroke and the need for a disc replacement that I had to take care of my body and the gift of life if I wanted to keep enjoying myself for as long as possible.

For those who don’t have a Kindle reader, you can get a free one for your PC, laptop, tablet or iPad. computers and still buy the book. I will post follow-ups as the book becomes available for other electronic media and in print

Giambotta, Italian Stewed Chicken

April 28, 2012

Giambotta, Italian Stew?

I am indebted to Maria Pitella for reminding me of this meal and I never knew that Giambotta meant Italian Stew. My Mother-in-Law and her Brother were both born in Italy and my wife was a great Italian cook as were her Mother and Aunt. Now the family all favored every type of pasta with red sauce or very good meat as her Grandfather and Uncle had run a Butcher Shop. The red sauce would have seafood or three types of meat, veal, pork (or sausage) and beef (usually meatballs or Braciole).

My wife never made this stew and for good reason. She liked her chicken barbequed and beef, in any recipe including stew. On rainy days, you could almost count on beef stew and on the very rare occasions that she made this, I am not sure if she made it in an Italian style or an Irish style and she simply called it chicken stew. But this is the way Dolores made it with the principle difference being the inclusion of carrots and thickening the gravy with a rue.

Chicken Stew:

Ingredients:

1 potatoes peeled and diced
2 carrots coined
1 1 piece mild Italian sausage sliced into chunks
1 boneless chicken breasts sliced into strips
2 T cup of extra virgin olive oil
1 oz rum
1 small red bell peppers sliced
1 medium onions sliced
1 stalk celery cut into small pieces
1/4 tsp of oregano
1 Bay leaf

1 bullion and 12 oz. Water
cold rue (1 T butter 1 T flour )
salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Mix a tablespoon of room temperature butter with a tablespoon of white flower until smooth set aside.
  2. Precook the carrots for an hour in a foil covered coffeepot using about 1 tsp of salt with the cut up carrots and potatoes to the coffeepot and passing 8 cups water through the coffeemaker portion prior to covering with foil. Save and set aside.
  3. Put everything else into the empty coffeepot and cook covered for about 2 hours.
  4. Add the potatoes and carrots and run 12 oz of water through the coffeemaker.
  5. Give the pot about 1 hour for the carrots and potatoes to get hot.
  6. Decant the broth a little at a time into the rue until all the liquid is mixed with the rue. Return it to the pot. Serve when ready.

This was very good but more than a meal for one person but not quite enough for two unless I used more potatoes. That means I had leftovers because I didn’t plan ahead which I definitely try to avoid having around. The only way I am winning “The Battle of the Bulge” is by waging my constant “War Against Leftovers.” In this case I got rid of them by eating them as a snack the next day. They were quite good.

Happy Easter – A week of Reflection!

April 9, 2012

This is my third detox from alcohol in the past two years. I normally only drink red wine and the amount is steady at just shy of one bottle a day. Occasionally on vacations, I start with a few mid day beers, which become institutionalized after vacation and lead to a weight gain. Allegedly, two glasses of wine is healthy and a bottle is not evil. However, mixing beer, wine and rum and drinking above the limits of two glasses a day will have definite long term effects other than just weight gain. Whenever I reach the point of accepting my bad Holiday Habits as the norm, it is time to break the habit with a detox. 

Daily reports are published at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Coffeepot-Cooking/

The first week report is acceptable, down 4 pounds and I intend to do better this week now that I am not tied to my desk and I intend to get caught up on my yard work. It will be hard to lose more than 4 pounds because that will drop me to 172 which is a very acceptable weight. Amazingly, I don’t find it hard to give up drinking and the change does not effect my sleep patterns as I have slept like a bear in hibernation all week.

The biggest issue is the lack of socialization for the week. Living alone, is not healthy and my normal workaround has been to enjoy a couple of glasses of red wine with a compatible group at the Palms Resort every evening. I have coffee there in the morning but then after that the next period of socialization is cocktail hour which I look forward to. When I detoxed in the winter my biggest issue was a feeling of deep loneliness. Well it is spring in St. Croix, so it is warm enough to go swimming and every afternoon, I have gone to the Palms for a swim and human interaction. The only thing I have missed is certain people.

Because it was Easter, there was an obvious workaround. John and Sally are religious in a very none judgmental sort of way. There religion is personal and so they don’t preach or promote. Still, Sally occasionally teases me about joining them. I called her and invited myself to an Easter Sunrise service and we had a pleasant morning before, during and after the service. There were many people I knew and it was a nondenominational sunrise service so other than John and Sally and a couple of other close friends, no one else knew that this was my first totally voluntary non-obligatory church attendance in my adult life.

Not sure if this will ever become a habit but am not entirely opposed to a sequel.

Temporary Suspension of New Recipes

April 5, 2012

I am about ¼ of the way through a 16 day detox where I skip all alcohol and eat healthier foods including lots of nuts, no sugar and more green vegetables. I wont be posting new recipes for the next two weeks but if anybody wants to see what it takes me to quit alcohol, eat healthier, lose 6-10 pounds, drop inches from my waist and relapse with occasional bad choices, you can follow my actions, ask questions and even criticism my bad choices as I track my daily activities at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Coffeepot-Cooking/388614061149768. I am already down an inch on my belly, and 3 pounds in the first three days and no, I don’t suffer. Tonight is fried chicken thighs and fried seasoned yams. Will be happy to hold even in weight tomorrow but plan on a 6-7 mile walk so I can afford the relapse. Also I have no set goals but somewhere around 172 or a permanent 8 pound loss would be nice.

Any Thoughts on Bok Choy or Pok Choi

April 3, 2012

Bok Choy and Smoked Turkey

My friend Chino from St. Croix had a standard answer when asked about anything substandard. If you asked about a questionable person, his answer would always be He or She “is alright.” If you asked about a poorly cooked or tasteless meal, his answer would be, “It’s alright”. He was a positive person who had programmed all negative responses out of his system. If he couldn’t say anything good, he would always say, “It’s alright”.

Now what brought this story to mind is my love-hate relationship with Bok Choy or Pok Choi. I love having this vegetable growing in the garden because it loves my soil and grows healthy and disease free without any special attention. A very special addition is that when I put a plant among my tomato plants and arugula plants, I can tell by looking from my gallery which is 100 feet away if my garden needs water. If the bok choy is wilted, everything needs water but is not quite as visible.

My only wish is that I could cook it so I could safely eat it. Most web recipes call for fish sauce, oyster sauce or soy sauce and when you stir fry it with any of them, the stuff tastes great and one little helping gives you all the salt you need for the whole day even if you don’t add salt to anything else.

I tried my collard green recipe using  Bok Choy (pictured above) instead of collard greens and ate it. All I can really say is, “It’s alright!”

If anybody has any suggestions for a tasty meal that is low in sodium, feel free to share them. And I don’t consider low salt soy sauce a substitute, because it still has a lot of salt and most cooks just add more.

The one thing I keep in mind is that about 80% of the world population considers this a staple so I am sure someone knows how to cook it without too much salt.

Crucian Fusion Pasta Sauce – An Original Recipe

January 8, 2011

Crusion Frusion Sauce Served with Gimelli and Parmesan

As regular visitors are aware, our local cuisine in St. Croix is a fusion of American, Caribbean and Hispanic and yes, I am aware of Vodka Sauce which has good and bad taste elements in my mind so I have never tried it. I almost never use milk in cooking with the exception of thickened white sauces. However, my Uncle Allie by marriage always had a side dish of Ricotta Cheese at his red sauce meals and taught me to use it and blend it with the tomato sauce on your own plate. I don’t dislike red peppers but I like our local scotch bonnet peppers even more. Finally, I generally neither buy Vodka or have it in the house but there is always a bottle of Rum available even though I only drink red wine.

I made this for myself and some friends and then on another occasion served it to my daughter’s family and some of their friends. Everybody loved it and nobody cared it was made in my coffeepot as we all went to the beach and let the meal cook itself. Of course this recipe is perfect for a bottom heated newer crockpot.

Ingredients:

½ cup Cruzan Rum

1 thin slice Scotch Bonnet Pepper or ½ tsp crushed red pepper

1 T. Olive Oil

¼ pound prosciutto chopped up

2 Cloves of Garlic minced

1 T. chopped Parsley

1 T chopped Basil

1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with juice

1 8 oz can of Tomato Sauce

½ cup of Ricotta

Directions:

  1. In a closed container put the half cup of rum and the hot pepper and let sit overnight
  2. Put oil, garlic, prosciutto, and parsley in pot and put on hot plate for one hour.

    Prosciuto and Parsley Ready to be Cooked.

  3. Add tomatoes, basil and tomato sauce and let cook covered for 2-4 hours or what ever is convenient.

    Ready for the Ricotta

  4. ½ hour before serving add the ricotta
  5. Serve with your choice of pasta (Gimelli) and Parmesan.

A very special meal from the Island of St. Croix. Take note, people from the island of St. Croix are Crucians, where as our best rum from the island is Cruzan.

Top Ten Vegan and Vegetarian Posts

January 7, 2011

I know what I like to eat and I don’t look for exact recipes, I look for ideas. Naturally, I surf Foodpress daily in almost every category except baking and desserts.  It is probably a sin to destroy your temple by eating sweets when you have a tendency towards obesity and equally sinful to turn on an oven when cooking meals for one.

I am more of an accidental Vegetarian than a committed one and it probably started with my friend Tracey who talks the talk of vegetarianism but will start her day with a bag of Doritos and not even the original ones which were not too artificial. As the year progressed, I have cut my meat portions from 8 ounces to 4 ounces and reduced the number of times I eat meat in a week from twice a day to 3-4 times a week.  This means I have cut back from 7 pounds per week to about 1 pound per week due to the intentionally portion controlled meals and the unintentional shrift to a vegetarian diet.

Of course the shift involves my cooking for female friends all who happen to favor vegetarian diets.  Frankly  by focusing on the rich foods of India which have developed from centuries of a vegetarian diet and the foods of Italy which have had centuries of meatless Friday’s, I have not suffered from a lack of flavor or foods that I really like. Yet I still will honestly post on what I eat.

This post evolved from two Foodpress listings, one from the Teacher Cooks on her top ten posts for the year and the other from Lisa’s call for vegan and vegetarian recipes with the intent of moving “to live a more sustainable and fulfilling life through getting back to basics, especially through food.” While it may seem weird that I do a lot of cooking in my coffeepot, it is consistent with my goal of minimal energy consumption for a small amount of food.

I also purchase as much as I can from the local Vegetable Market which has great vegetables in the American winter and fantastic fruit in summer.  It is unfortunate that when cooking meals for one, you sort of rely on canned beans because the alternative is to cook large quantities  and have infinite leftovers or waste a lot of energy cooking a cup of beans because you still have to  keep the almost empty pot on the stove for the same length of time you would cook a full pot.

Well, Lisa here is the Ten Vegan and Vegetable meals from my site and I once again learned something as I did with my post The Peoples Choice – A Bakers Dozen of Top Recipes

In the case of the following list all of the top 6 are boldly flavored vegan recipes if you leave out the dollop of sour cream on two of the soups.  The last 4 are Italian vegetarian creations based on dairy products.  Super healthy meals that taste great like Diabetic Friendly and Vegan Tomatoes and Cannelloni Beans Over Barley which was one of my favorites did not make the list. Oh well healthy is good  – just not too healthy.

  1. Pinto Bean Curry (Rajma Chawal) – A Tribute to Monica
  2. Super Vegan Acorn Squash Soup
  3. Caribbean Black Bean Soup (vegetarian)
  4. Vegan Red Beans and Brown Rice
  5. Crucian Butternut Squash Fritters
  6. Picture Perfect Borscht Tastes Good Too!
  7. Penne with Cauliflower in White Sauce or “Penne con Cavolfiore”
  8. Melt in Your Mouth Eggplant Parmesan
  9. Vegetarian Broccoli Soup
  10. Rotini Dolores

In the past year, I have lost 65 pounds without a diet.  I eat everything  I want for dinner in small portions and during the day I graze on all the items a rabbit would eat i.e raw carrots, celery,  lettuce and cucumbers.  When available I eat locally grown fresh fruits. I am not suffering from a lack of energy as I walk 2-5 miles a day in addition to some yard work and daily cooking.  I don’t really even count how many carrots or pieces of celery I eat or how much fluids I drink because I now eat as much rabbit food as I want and  drink all the fluids I want.

I am not perfect or even close to it. I party with my family and gain a quick 5 pounds because of the lifestyle change and when they are gone, I revert back.  The 5 pounds is gone in about 2 weeks without any draconian efforts.  I intend to drop another 15 pounds to 165 so I can claim to have lost 100 pounds from my peak weight but will settle for a permanent weight of 170-172 which last occurred in 1967. Oh well, it’s a plan, not a resolution or a dream.