Posts Tagged ‘Living Alone’

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 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.

Friendship, Flowers and Food.

February 25, 2012

Flowers and Food

Gloria Powell (www.antilleslilies.com) is a event florist on St, Croix heavily involved in working with tourists who want to get married in a St. Croix celebration. This means she has to make the wedding couple, the wedding planner, the hotel and all of the guests happy. Well Gloria loves people and she loves making them happy. She also loves flowers and loves to work with them. This makes her great at what she does.

She always brings extra of everything and that’s where this story of the flowers begins. Seems as she was taking the extras back to her car, I told her if she had any that would go to waste, she could dump them on me. She said OK and kept walking to her car and when she returned she had that spectacular bouquet pictured above. I asked her what I owed her and she said nothing. I told her she could pick all the flowers in my yard that she wanted because most of mine go to waste, I consider her random act of kindness fantastic.

Now the meal has one unique part but in essence we are talking beach food and you would most likely see the combination on a plastic plate as it includes, Grilled chicken, Coleslaw and Green Banana Salad which is usually served cold. I had planned this meal a few days earlier when I prepared the Goya Pollo de Escabeche. And after finishing all the chicken and vegetables decided the marinade was too good to throw out so I rebuilt the entirely different yet traditional Banana Salad with capers, Spanish olives, thin sliced Onions, minced garlic and the cooked green banana.

Wedding Flowers

I derided to serve it on our Lennox China because the Wedding Bouquet deserved to be in good company. I even got out a Table cloth but drew the line at real silverware. Well Gloria, your flowers turned my ordinary dinner into a memorable event.

Mea Culpa. I have failed the Coffeepot Cult.

September 10, 2011

Back to Coffeepot Cooking

Over the past eight months, I have not posted anything new and in fact my last eight posts had more to do with portion controlled meals than they did with coffeepot cooking. It’s not that I gave up on portion controlled meals or even coffeepot cooking; I just went through a phase where I stopped feeling creative about what I eat. I also stopped worrying too much about my weight which is still around 176 plus or minus four pounds.

I am also starting a new hiking/tour business which took an incredible amount of my time and creative energy so I stopped being creative with what I ate. Instead of searching the Net for new recipes which could be adapted to my coffeepot or creating a unique meal from my knowledge of food and flavors that work together, I reverted to those recipes already published by me. Even when I created a new meal, I still didn’t publish because most were simply not as good as the ones I originally published or I failed to write the recipe down and skipped taking pictures.

Well, my business, Hikestcroix.com is starting next month and I’m beginning to feel creative about food again. I don’t know if this will continue as I start walking 20 miles a week with temperatures around 88 and humidity above 85% but I know I am still committed to eating healthy portion controlled meals.

I have also started growing my own fresh vegetables including microgreens which I never heard of until a couple of months ago. I like the concept that I can grow my own greens from seeds and water that are fresh and delicious. However, after 66 years, I am more accustomed to the texture of traditional lettuce, spinach, cucumbers and seasonal tomatoes.

I am going to try to adapt some of these greens to the things I like such as soup and coffeepot meals in addition to salads. I will publish the salads and coffeepot meals here in the near future.

A Beautiful Flower for a Beautiful Meal!

December 21, 2010

Leftovers for an Early Lunch

I learned to love flowers as I helped my mother in her flower beds. I extended that love to wild flowers when I had to collect them for a high school science project. Unfortunately, because of the time constraints created by marriage, jobs, raising children and education, I ignored the wild flowers of St. Croix. It also didn’t help that I had my youthful image as a jock and a party animal to maintain and that was more than a little inconsistent with being a man who loves flowers.

Over the past year, I have adapted to living alone. I am preparing better meals and because of my interactions in the food blogging community, serving them more attractively. I am also walking for fitness around the community. In these walks, I get my daily exercise and talk to neighbors. I have also started to notice the wonderful variety or wild flowers, weeds and vines we have on our small island.
Antigonon Leptopus is show above with the pink flowers. More commonly it is called coral bells or coral vine. On the negative side, it is a smothering vine that invades disturbed areas and forest edges. It produces many seeds, which are spreads by water currents. It has become Invasive in some countries including the southern US.

The plant is native to Mexico and commonly found in tropical regions around the world, and is one of the medicinal plants used in Jamaica. The hot tea prepared from the above ground portion of this plant is used in that country for the prevention and treatment of cough and flu-related pain. Studies have also shown that plant extracts exhibited analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic and other beneficial activities. The plant contains phenolic compounds which can reduce the risk of chronic disorders such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.

It adorns the meal above which also started life as nothing special. I had the leftover sauce from the Puerto Rican Turkey Stew and I hate to see anything go to waste even though I had eaten all the meat and only had the sauce left. I also hate to have the same meal twice or keep leftovers in my freezer or refrigerator until they cant be recognized. This sauce was really not much different than a creole type sauce used with seafood and since seafood is the stronger flavor, I decided why not something different.

Searved with Parmesan

I added a half package of Goya Sazon Spice blend, 4 ounces of defrosted mixed seafood and served it over noodles. I also sprinkled Parmesan on it prior to eating. This is completely different in character and flavor from the stewed turkey over rice which I had the day before.

I ended up with a beautiful meal adorned by a beautiful flower and it became a special event rather than leftovers for my early lunch.

Chick Pea Curry – Indian Style

December 19, 2010

Chick Pea Curry – Indian Cholay

This recipe started life from one posted on Monica’s Spice Diary. I made it when my granddaughters were here and both loved it. I believe part of the reason is because it is not as Spicy and Boldly flavored as the Shrimp Curry or Pinto Bean Curry which only the older one really loved. This time. I made three changes from the original recipe and two are optional and the other recommended.

I used olive oil instead of butter to make it vegan (Optional). Also, I included Lemon Grass (Optional) in the recipe for a few reasons; I have it in abundance, I like the flavor and one other reason. The other change was to include a thickener to make it less watery on the plate as I like the thicker gravy because it clings to the food instead of running over the plate. The first time I made this I did it on the stove so I altered nothing and still found the sauce watery. This time I did it in the coffeepot so any reduction in liquid level would have been impossible with reasonable cooking times.

If you are making enough (at least double this recipe) this recipe will work fine in a crockpot once you have completed steps 1 and 2 and transfer the mixture to the crockpot. It will also work fine on the stove top in a small pot and I still recommend the thickener.

Ingredients:

1 T. Olive oil

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 whole diced onion

4 cloves fresh grated minced

1 T. fresh grated ginger

1/2 can diced tomatoes no liquid

2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp coriander powder

1 can cooked chick peas (also called garbanzo beans) with liquid

1 T. yogurt

1 T. corn starch

1 Handful of freshly chopped coriander

1 piece Lemon Grass for garnish

Directions:

  1. Put the oil and the seeds in the pot and let cook until they sizzle or about ½ hour.

    Sizzlig seeds

  2. Add the onion and Garlic until the onion glazes over.

    Grated fresh ginger

  3. Add the grated ginger, salt, garam marasla, coriander powder, turmeric and paprika.
  4. Place back on hot plate for 15 minutes.
  5. Add the tomatoes and optional lemon grass.

    All spices and aromatics in the pot

  6. Cook for ½ hour
  7. Add the chick peas and cook for 2 hours.

    Add the chick peas

  8. Mix the sour cream and corn starch together and stir into the pot when uniform
  9. When thickened, remove from heat and serve with fresh coriander (cilantro) sprinkled over the rice and curry.

The other reason I added the Lemon Grass in the recipe was so I could use it as a thematic garnish for those who do not recognize what fresh Lemon Grass looks like.

Mom’s Simple Cottage Cheese and Noodles

December 17, 2010

Mom's Simple Cottage Cheese and Noodles

My mom was a secret snacker but with 3 teenage boys around the house she didn’t have much chance of setting aside anything for her personal indulgence except perhaps beets and cottage cheese which none of her young sons would eat no matter how healthy they are for you. This side dish was one of her afternoon snacks which she prepared in a total cooking time of less than 15 minutes.

My wife also made a variant of this where she added Worcestershire Sauce and served it as a side dish when she got tired of Pasta, Rice and Potatoes which was almost never because she could eat Italian food every night. The only reason I left the Worcestershire Sauce out was because I don’t like the brown color which it creates but it does add a nice flavor for those who are not really fond of cottage cheese.

Ingredients:

½ cup cottage cheese

1-2 Tablespoons Sour Cream

2 green onions (scallions) sliced in short pieces

1 cup noodles

Salt to Taste

Directions:

  1. Put water to boil and prepare the noodles as directed on the package
  2. Mix the Cottage Cheese, sour cream, and green onions in a bowl.

    Mix the Cottage Cheese, sour cream, and green onions

  3. Add the noodles to the bowl and gently fold it all together.

    Add the noodles

  4. Serve room temperature or chilled.

I like cottage cheese alone but somehow this little extra effort seems to make my meal special, especially when I am  eating alone. The meal is no longer a necessity, it’s a special event.

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

Ingredients:

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.

Vegetarian Carrot Soup or Potage Crecey

August 19, 2010

Potage Crecey - Purred Carrot Soup

Potage Crecey is one of those old fashioned soups that I first started cooking when 30 years ago or the first time I was chronically unemployed in the Virgin Islands. The recipe is from the Larousse Gastronomique and I would not recommend the new edition because it is a $75 dumbed down version of the hurricane damaged copy I still use.

This is one of those messy old fashioned soups that was pureed using a sieve, then I used my food processor and now that I discovered my blender does an easier to cleanup version with a slightly different texture, I may make it more often.

I made this soup twice this year, once with my mini food processor which made a mess of my kitchen and once using my blender. The big difference, in addition to texture, is the quantity you can make. A professional chef could use a food processor to make soup for hundreds whereas the blender is superior in ease of use when making meals for one. I actually prefer the texture of a totally pureed soup so I am lucky to be able to make my soup for one or two.

Vegetarian Carrot Soup or Potage Crecey

Ingredients

Ingredients:

3 Tablespoons Butter

1 Onion diced

1 clove garlic minced

2 stalks celery

1 thin slice scotch bonnet hot pepper or equivalent (optional)

4 carrots either food processed or coined.

1 Tablespoon Fresh Parsley (½ dried)

½ teaspoon thyme

½ teaspoon rosemary

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon brown sugar

2 oz sherry

1 can vegetable broth 14.5 oz

Prepare everything on the list up to the carrots and put into the coffeepot and start to saute.(remove the slice of hot pepper before the carrots are added.)

Shredding the Carrots

If using the food processor, shred the carrots and add to the pot or else coin the carrots and add to the pot. Add all the rest of the spices and sherry and continue to simmer for ½ hour stirring occasionally.

Simmering the Carrots and Onions

Add the broth and let cook all day.

All in the Pot and Cooking

If you used the food processor to shred the carrots you are done. This is show below served with grilled tomato and cheese sandwiches.

Carrot Soup with Grilled Cheese and Tomato

If you coined the carrots, pore the pot into the blender, liquify and serve. Either way I love my carrot soup, the blender is just easier to clean and not as messy.

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.

Recipe:

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.