Posts Tagged ‘life’

Summer Squash Pasta Substitute

November 10, 2015
Squash slices in Tomato Sauce

Squash slices in Tomato Sauce

I woke up Sunday at 203 pounds, only 23 pounds more to lose in 52 days. Should be OK, if I don’t have too many failures. Todays meal takes the carbohydrates out of Italian food by substituting thin sliced zucchini or summer squash for pasta in tomato sauce.

This recipe is more visual than wordy. I always have tomato sauce in my refrigerator so it is easy to put the sauce on early in the day and let it heat up in my coffeepot.

Prepping the Squash

Prepping the Squash

The squash is pealed and both ends cut off. Then thin slices are cut from the squash.Notice the seed core is not used in this recipe. There is nothing wrong with the core. The resulting meal is just prettier if you ship it.

Summer Squash Slices

Summer Squash Slices

I use a cheese slicer but there are other tools that can do the same.  I love both Summer Squash and Zucchini and previously made this meal out of the latter. The meal is Vegan before the cheese is added and vegetarian after.

Served with Parmesan Cheese

Served with Parmesan Cheese

BTW, the two soursop’s I bought are not ripe but a friend of mine gave me a fully ripe one today and if your not familiar with the fruit, you might think it looks rotten. That is when they are at their sweetest best.

Soursop, Ripe and Green

Soursop, Ripe and Green

Notice the ripe one is bigger than both of the one pound fruits. Therefore, I am looking at a 1000 calories. When I start to eat it, I will have to program myself to make a very light dinner or soup to offset it. Of course it is a sedative so maybe I will offset some of the calories by cutting back on wine. What ever happens, will happen and I will track it.


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.

How do you gain 5 pounds in one day?

May 10, 2012

Well my five pound weight gain started by going to lunch with a friend who loves to eat and drink even more than I do. For lunch I had a BLT with greasy fries and washed it down with 3 beers. On the way through town, we passed a little Mexican place where they serve $2.00 Taco’s and he just had to have one and he was driving. One more Taco and one more beer.

Then we actually did something productive and went to Home Depot. Naturally we stopped for a glass of wine before taking the cement to my house. Before picking up my car he wanted one more drink as he was departing to meet his wife. What he didn’t know was I was the distraction to keep him away from his surprise birthday party and we were starting to run late. He was driving and it was his birthday so the best I could do was to make sure we had a quick one.

We got to his surprise party and it was fantastic; people, food, band, moonlight and more. Of course this blog is food focused and the food was fantastic, just appetizers, which was more than I needed. Of course I had a dozen Swedish meatballs and about 10 deviled eggs. I really had had enough food for the day when they brought out a tray of moist rich chocolate cupcakes with a maraschino cherry on top and of course I ate three or four and thought I was done eating until they brought out the angel food cake drenched in amaretto. I couldn’t discriminate so I had three slices of cake that of course I cut myself on the large side. Now at the hotel, I washed all that food down with four glasses of wine.

Feeling completely contented, I went home and went to sleep. When I woke up this morning at my usual time, I was a little afraid to assess the damage with my scale and took note that I was up 5 pounds. What the heck, that’s a lot better than the 10 to 12 pounds I would expect to gain on a family vacation. Unfortunately, it rained this morning, and before 6 am, all the party goers who committed to walking last night called to say they were not going

So what was the special occasion that we celebrated so much. It was my friend Ted’s Surprise Seventieth Birthday Party. This is the same man that I did the 26 mile walk with on January 14, 2012 and the man I am planning to walk a tough 20 miles with on May 27th. Well as Ted always says, “The Liver is Evil, it Must be Punished!” or in my case, I think I punished my whole body.

If yesterday was part of a diet, it would have to be assessed as a failure. As part of my lifestyle, I openly acknowledge that there will be days where I socialize and eat and drink far too much and that is not likely to change. The real challenge is to get on with my life and work hard and eat properly today. It’s clearing up outside, so i guess I will repair a one mile trail that has become overgrown because of the excessive rainfall in the last couple of weeks. Not sure what I will have for dinner tonight but I am pretty sure it won’t include beef, bacon, eggs, sweets or any of the other “greasy kid’s stuff” I ate yesterday.

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

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 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.

Hello World 2.0

December 3, 2010

Lemon Grass Three Months Old

Time flies when your having fun but nothing shows how long it’s been since I have written about food like the growth in my Lemon Grass bed which was photographed as newly replanted in my last post. I had visits to my home by my granddaughters alone for two weeks where we hiked, swam and cooked every day and they played with all the challenges at my house. Then my daughter Dagny, her husband Carson and another friend came to the house along with my niece Cait and we cooked, hiked and swam. One of my favorite hikes was to Annely Bay which is from the top of the mountain and drops 1100 feet to the Bay over a 2 ½ mile trail and then back up. Going down is always easy.

I also went to Marbel Head and visited my other granddaughter Pippa and her parents, Andrew and Lauren. We had a great time and I was fascinated that a 3 year old could completely use and control her parents iPad actually mostly her Mothers

I also published two Children’s books for Kindle. Pippa and her iPad is about my 3 year old Granddaughter and her computer literacy the other is Mother Goose, A picture Book for Kindle. The purpose of these books is to develop picture books for young readers so they can accept that the kindle is actually a book and get used to the device. It’s amazing but most Kindle Books that claim to be illustrated are not.

I love my Kindle and it’s easy for my old eyes to read without strain even by candlelight. Writing the books taught me how to control graphics in a Kindle format so I can proceed with a cookbook. The Kindle is perfect size to uses as a cookbook on a counter while cooking and it never runs out of power and is very light. It also stays open to the proper page without breaking the binding as happens with a physical cookbook.

I had another family visit from my sister, her daughter, son-in-law and grandson. It was fantastic and of course I cooked with Zack, and went hiking and sailing and swimming. It was a great visit.

Coffee Pot Cooking

It’s only about 11 months since I started cooking in my coffeepot and reading and writing about food and I have to admit I have become a little compulsive about what I eat and how I am cooking it. The good news is that I am now 60 pounds lighter than I was last Thanksgiving.

Also, I have also been researching two food related projects which I will discuss in the future, but for now, I am going to be catching up on surfing for recipes and publishing on meals for one, coffeepot cooking and everything that’s been going on for the past three months.

Indian Curried Shrimp

August 23, 2010

Lemon Grass

Yeah, I know all curry is Indian except when it’s American or Caribbean and the difference is the richness of the spice blends. The Europeans knew what they were doing when the set out to discover a shorter route to India to get spices. I am just surprised that as bad as English and German food is they didn’t get there first.

The biggest difference is that so called Curry powder from the Western Hemisphere has coriander and cumin as the principle ingredients with lesser amounts of garlic and turmeric in the blend whereas the Indian blend of garam masala is built around cumin, black pepper, and coriander and you are expected to add your own garlic and turmeric. In the Caribbean or American version you are expected to add either hot pepper or black pepper respectively.

Now many people would think I am nuts to make a spicy Indian Curry for my Granddaughters, but I was just dying to try Indian Recipes with all the spices I found in the DC area so I could see the real difference between eastern and western curry. I chose three curry recipes from Monica at, curried pinto beans, curried garbanzos and curried king prawn. Then I let my older granddaughter choose the one she wanted to eat. And she chose curried shrimp which is more readily available and cheaper than King Prawns. I also made a back-up dinner in my coffeepot of Chicken and red beans to be served over white rice which is the way I also chose to serve the curried shrimp.

Staging The Spices

I read the recipe carefully and recognized that this was a fast moving recipe using spices I simply wasn’t familiar with so I staged the spices in bowls and scaled it down at the same time. This way I would be sure I wouldn’t make any mistakes while exploring food in unfamiliar territory. I was so excited after making and sampling my first masala (spice blend) that I had a mental meltdown and stopped taking pictures.

The meal came out fantastic. My oldest granddaughter loved it and ate up plenty of shrimp while saving room for some chicken. The youngest ate a couple but as expected preferred the chicken and I ate only the curried shrimp.

Unless you make it yourself from fresh spices, it’s difficult to describe how delicious this meal is and how different it is from what the Western world refers to as curry. It doesn’t matter that I didn’t take pictures of this meal you can go to Monica’s site and check out her original recipe as I altered a couple of ingredient and also scaled it down to being a little more than enough for one big eater.

Curried Shrimp Ingredients

First spice blend

1 small Onion

5 small garlic cloves

2 inches of ginger root peeled

bunch fresh chopped coriander (cilantro) (2 Tablespoons)

Blend all together in food processor or blender, you may have to add a little olive oil.

In my fondue pot at medium heat, add;

3 Tablespoons olive oil

1 dried black cardamom crushed

½ teaspoon ground cumin

1 stalk lemon grass cut in 2 inch pieces.

Once the pot starts to sizzle, add the First spice blend which is a paste. After everything was uniform, I added the bowl that had

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon Tumeric powder

¼ teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon garam masala

I stirred on high for 10 minutes and added a can of diced tomatoes (14.5 ounces)

After 5 minute,I added

½ pound shrimp

After cooking for 10 minutes

2 ounces of water was added and the heat tuned to low and

I tablespoon of sour cream added.

The heat was turned of and the food let sit in a covered pot, while I put out the white rice and chicken on the table and everything was served together.

This sounds like a lot of work but everything moves extremely quickly which is why I pre-measured the spices and put the spice portions in their separate bowls.

I think this was definitely worth the effort and will probably cook this with my daughter when she comes down next week.

A note on the spices:

There is absolutely no substitute for black cardamon, fresh ginger or fresh coriander (cilantro). You could make a simple garam masala or simply use West Indian Curry with a substantial portion of black pepper. You could probably get away with lemon zest instead of lemon grass. However, if the goal is to taste the difference between east and west , than take the time to find the real ingredients. For me Lemon Grass was the easiest as I had just replanted my lemon grass bed in order to rejuvenate it so I had some fresh young sprouts.

Lamb Curry or Curried Lamb?

August 20, 2010

Curried Lamb or Lamb Currry?

When it comes to curry, the choices and combinations are infinite. Do we serve it with rice or in a shell like roti? Should you use chicken, lamb, shrimp, beef or pork or vegetarian with pinto beans or garbanzos? Should potatoes be included or not? Then there is question of bones in or boneless meat. Do we use difficult to find Indian spices or just use the West Indian spice blends called curry powder.

Now I pretty much make curry from either chicken or lamb and include garbanzos and potatoes. My normal spice blend is West Indian Chief’s brand which I find superior to big name American Spice blends and with chicken I will do ether bones or boneless but with lamb I leave the bones out. The only problem I have left is to decide whether to call it Lamb Curry or Curried Lamb.

Clean the Lamb

The only major precautions I make are to keep my curry in the refrigerator so it stays as fresh as possible and to try to cut the fat from the meat. I saved all the bones with meat on it separately so I can make Lamb Buco.

Lamb Curry or Curried Lamb


1 potato cubed and blanched

½ stick butter

1 clove garlic minced

½ onion chunked

1 thin slice scotch bonnet pepper

6 oz lamb cooked or leftover

1 Tablespoon Curry Powder

½ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon thyme

2 oz rum.

1 can garbanzo beans with liquid.

Gather the Ingredients

The potatoes were blanched and all the ingredients gathered together. Everything was added to the pot except the can of beans and was sauteed covered with occasional stirring until the onion was glazed and the lamb was browned. The can of garbanzo beans and the liquid was then added to the pot. The aluminum foil was removed and cooked uncovered.

I am sensitive to the flavors in curry and a bad blend makes for a bad meal. I intent to try some real Indian Style Curry with Indian spices so I an pick out the flavor which offends me – if any and eliminate it. Meanwhile I’ll stick with the brand that I know I enjoy.

BTW Google says it’s Curried Lamb about 4 to 3 over Lamb Curry.

Italian Flag Salad

August 18, 2010

Italian Flag Salad

I like playing with my food so made this salad with ingredients traditionally used in Italy and made it in the style of the Italian Flag. I made a Polish flag salad which had balanced flavors of a cottage cheese salad with pickled beets which was pleasant. While this might be another clever idea for a salad, it is defiantly not for wimps.


Green Section:

sliced Romaine and Iceberg lettuce.

White section:

1 cup cottage cheese with 1 small diced onion and celery stalk

Three marinated artichoke hearts on top of the salad

crumbled Gorgonzola sprinkled on top

Red Section

Tuna Salad

3 oz tuna fish

½ teaspoon horseradish

½ teaspoon crushed garlic

½ Tablespoon soy sauce

Mix all ingredients until well blended

Overlay with red pimento

I loved the flavor of this bold tuna salad so I expect you will see more of that as a protein source with vegetarian soups for dinner. I served the red and green parts of the salad with marinated artichoke hearts and black olives to some of our family friends at my daughter’s house and was worried about overdoing it with bold flavors. Everybody loved it and several asked for recipes.

My daughter and I cook bold for ourselves, our families and our friends and they keep coming back for more so I guess we are doing OK.

Tes’ Beef Noodle Soup

August 15, 2010

Enjoying Tes' Beef Noodle Soup

One of the joys of having a cooking a blog is interacting with cooks from all over the world and one of my favorites is Tes from Thailand because I have been able to get all the ingredients and try try her recipes. And I can’t wait to find my Indian spices so I can try some of Monica’s recipes.

My first shot at Thai was with Dagny in a hotel room where we did a stir dry chicken in my coffeepot which was quite good. My next shot was a chicken and ginger stir fry which was fantastic so when Dagny asked if I had any recipes that highlighted Chines five spice blend, I immediately thought of Tes’ Beef Noodle Soup. Seems Dagny had purchased some five spice blend and tasted it raw and wasn’t positive she would like an entire meal flavored with anise. Since anise is the strongest flavor in the five spice blend, the soup would be a good test of her family acceptance.

Now the funny thing was, we had all the ingredients for the soup except for rice sticks which I can only describe in the hands of a man who never tasted Thai food before a few years ago as good to eat but very weird to cook. Seems these noodles are to be deep fat fried for about 3 minutes at very high temperature. I couldn’t believe I would have to waste three cups of cooking oil to make noodles so I just put a couple of noodles in the bottom of an oiled pan and threw them in. In about seconds the ones that touched the oil uniformly expanded like popcorn and were light and delicious. The portion that didn’t touch the oil had the taste and texture of cat gut from an old tennis racket and was pretty much inedible. Since my daughter is not set up to deep fat fry, Dagny suggested we use angle hair pasta which she knew I had cooked and could be added to the coffeepot and cooked thoroughly in about 6 minutes.

We ended up using the coffeepot because, believe it or not, there was no other reasonable way to make a moderate quantity of this soup. Seems, Dagny had Kenpo martial arts training at 10am at one dojo and her kids and husband had to be at another dojo at 11 am. I was not staying home to watch a hot pot when I could go to Starbucks at 10 am and get a good cup of regular old fashioned coffee.Dagny had to leave for a baby shower at 12 and the kids would be home and ready to eat at 1 pm. I make many soups so adapting this to my coffeepot and using angle hair pasta was not tough for me.

Tes’ Beef Noodle Soup


1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1/2 onion chopped to medium pieces

2 cloves garlic minced

1 ½ stalks celery rough sliced

6-8 oz of leftover porterhouse steak (200 grams)

2 Tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1 ½ heaping teaspoon Chinese five spice powder

4 cups water 8 oz.

Chopping the Onion

Mis Ana loves to use a sharp knife and will help cook all day long if you let her use a sharp knife. Chopping the onion and celery is now routine and she has not cut herself, yet.

Chopping the Celery

The oil was added to the coffeepot along with the chopped onion, celery and garlic and sautéed while I chunked the meat into half inch pieces and added it to the pot. All the rest of the ingredients were added with about half the water. The pot was covered with foil and we left for coffee and the dojo.

Cooking the Soup

Dagny was in a hurry to leave for her baby shower so I rushed to finish the soup so she could try it. I added the other two cups of water to the coffeemaker and let it perk into the concentrated soup. A ½ inch circle of Angle hair past was broken in half and added to the pot. After six minutes, Dagny got her bowl and loved it and she decided she would never run from 5 spice again.

Fortunately, her husband Carson also loved it as did Cayla my oldest granddaughter. Only Miss Ana, my apprentice cook found the taste of the szechuan pepper too spicy. Of course Cayla uses hot sauce on everything and Ana runs from spicy foods. Well Tes Beef Noodle Soup was a hit even if we did use angle hair pasta instead of rice sticks.