Go Big or Go Home

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I meet the best people. 

I always meet the most interesting people in my local Kroger, especially on senior discount day. My younger friends say, “Never go on senior day–there’s too many old people! You’ll never get out of there and they drive down the center of the aisles.”

I just laugh. I live in a tourist and retirement community, so I’m used to folks with strange driving habits. No one here knows where they’re going, or they might be under the influence, since they’re away to play. Driving defensively is always a good choice in our neck of the woods. Besides, some of these older people are lonely, have difficulty making decisions, or just need human interaction. I consider my grocery day an opportunity to raise the general good mood of my community. After all, we have enough people across the globe who rattle sabers and stir up the dystopian pots boiling on the back of our communal cook stoves to make us want to shoo those cooks out of our collective kitchens as soon as possible, but I digress.

I was out getting some new grub, since I’d been laid up with bronchitis. I was feeling better due to antibiotics and rest. I kept bumping to this wonderfully dressed older gentleman as we passed each other up and down the canned food, coffee, and snack aisles. Finally I had to get his photo and find out more about him. Of course, in the great southern tit for tat, I shared my story too. He’s a grandfather from New York down to visit the children and grands. I like his style, for sure, and he’s used to posing for artists in his colorful fashion. I noticed him right away, since he didn’t dress like anyone from around here.

When we try to eat better as a way to improve our health, to lose weight, to lower our blood sugar or blood pressure, or just to put some discipline into our otherwise chaotic lives, we have to ask, “What does eating better look like?” We know it doesn’t like what has been “usual and customary for our neighborhood,” so we have to look for something “out of the ordinary.”

Food companies make health claims all day long some of which sound good, but are just blather. A bread marked 100% WHEAT isn’t the same as 100% WHOLE WHEAT. Also a 100% GRAIN BREAD may not have many WHOLE GRAINS in it! It just has many different ground up or milled grains in the recipe. To be a whole grain, the entire kernel has to be included. For instance, white rice is what results when the brown outer covering of the grain gets removed. This is why brown rice has more fiber and fills you up longer. You also get a larger portion size to eat. I personally go for larger portion sizes! Always go big or go home! It’s a RULE!

Another health claim is fiber. Yes we all want more fiber, because regular people are happy people. This is why I can shop on senior day and laugh. One way to get your fiber is with whole grains. The other way is with cellulose or sawdust. Yes, the FDA does let a certain amount of finely pulverized and sterilized sawdust into certain foods to keep them from caking and clumping (Parmesan cheese) and to add fiber. If you shop on a slow poke day, you have time to go with the flow and you can read the ingredients. If you’re in a hurry, use the “square inches of coverage” test: fewer words means fewer ingredients and less processing usually. Many words covering a vast space means you should leave this item on the shelf. If you can’t read the print within a magnifying glass, step away from the box! Run!

I found two 100% whole wheat tortilla brands, but one had cellulose in it. The one I took home was Mission 100% Whole Wheat Tortillas because I always ate that brand when I lived in Texas. It began in Mexico and has been around since 1949. It’s authentic. We don’t mess with a good thing in Texas, and we like our Pace piquante sauce too, because it’s still Texas made, according to a 1947 recipe.

Of course, at Cornie’s Kitchen, I go for the HOT sauce. If you’re going to have a taco or a tortilla, you should always “GO BIG OR GO HOME!” Plus, a little goes a long way and really clears out your sinuses. This is also a really good wake up greeting on scrambled eggs in the morning or on chicken/beef tacos at night

Even this heritage brand had “cellulose gum” in it, since it prevents caking and clumping, binds water, improves texture, thickens, emulsifies, and is used as a filler. Grated cheese, breads, diet foods, frozen dinners, sauces, salad dressings often include cellulose.

Cellulose is a safe and inexpensive carbohydrate that comprises the woody parts and cell walls of plants. It is a type of dietary fiber found naturally in fruits, vegetables, and cereals. The cellulose added to processed foods usu­ally comes from wood pulp (saw dust) or cotton lint. It’s also a cheap way to boost the fiber content on food labels, but it isn’t as healthful as fiber that comes from natural foods, such as chicory.

Whole Wheat Tortilla Recipe:

This is delicious, healthy and an easy alternative to store bought tortillas. While they keep well in a zipper bag, in the refrigerator, making them in small batches fresh for a quick breakfast or lunch wrap is very easy.

Number of Servings: 6 large or 12 small

Ingredients:

1.5 Cups whole wheat flour

2 Tbsp. shortening

1/2 Cup warm water

1/4 Tsp. salt

1 Tsp. Baking powder

Directions:

Combine dry ingredients. Cut in shortening either with a pastry blender, a fork, or knife, or crumble by hand. Add water slowly, to form a non-sticky dough. Amount of water needed may vary due to humidity, etc so start slowly. Dough should be able to be handled without sticking to the hands. Knead just enough to combine and form a smooth dough. Break off 12 equal size portions and roll into balls. Cover and let rest at least 10 minutes.

After dough has rested, roll out into circles, approximately 8 inches. Dough should be fairly thin. You can make less tortillas and make them larger if you like. Heat griddle or cast iron pan to medium high heat. Put tortilla into pan and allow to cook until light brown specks appear. Flip tortilla and cook the other side the same way. It’s ok if bubbles appear, as these will go down when the tortilla cools. Repeat with remaining tortillas.

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Chicken Mushroom Tortillas

Carbohydrates             Protein                    Fat

Mission tortillas 2–         28 g                           6 g                  4 g

Chicken–4 oz                                                  26 g                 3 g

Mushrooms–1 cup            3 g                         2 g

Spinach 1 1/2 oz–              1.5g                        1 g

Cheddar cheese 1 oz–                                      7 g                 9.4 g

Sour cream 1 Tbs–                                         .5 g                  2.5 g

This was a very satisfying lunch because of the whole grains, protein, fiber, and the addition of some fat. I try to keep my carbohydrates at around 30 to 40 grams per meal. I just feel better, even if I don’t lose much weight quickly. I eat the whole food, not the low fat versions, since these usually are more salty and over processed than the originals. I figure it’s better to have less of something great, than more of something terrible (this opposite is the corollary of go big or go home!).

Next time you go shopping for the family groceries, check out the interesting characters in your local store. They might be the stocker, the greeter, or someone just visiting in town. You never know what bridge you might build, or whose day you might make.

For a discussion on the difference between whole wheat and whole grain, this is a good link:

http://time.com/4639314/the-case-against-whole-wheat-and-whole-grain-bread/

The Chemical dictionary: cellulose

https://cspinet.org/eating-healthy/chemical-cuisine#hsh

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Posted in coffee, family, Food, Generations, high blood pressure, Hot Springs, Arkansas, Nutrition guide, Relationships, retirement, sharing, Southern Culture, Travel, vacation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gourmet Trail Mix

Happy first day of Fall! I’m spending my day doing light duty around the condo, which means I’m not out enjoying the tempering breezes and the first colors changing in our surrounding forests here in the Lower Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. Some say the early colors are the result of heat stress or wet summers. The lack of sunlight is the reason for leaves not making the chlorophyll or green color, so the other colors in the leaves begin to show through. Actually, any stress will make the trees change early! Stress certainly makes me change, but not usually for the best. Color seems to be running about a week early across the country in most places I checked.

I found a handy interactive USA map for 2017 Leaf Color. You can move the date line and watch the colors change across the country. Very fancy these internet gurus!

https://smokymountains.com/fall-foliage-map/

While you entertain your family and plan your road trip, you might want to whip up a gourmet mix of pistachios, macadamia nuts, and deluxe unsalted mixed nuts for a healthy snack. This takes at most 5 minutes to prepare and a couple more minutes to store in airtight canisters or mason jars.

Ingredients

1 cup Wonderful pistachios (preshelled)

4 oz Planters Unsalted Premium Blend

160 grams Raisins

1 cup sahale tangerine macadamia nuts

4 tbsp Chocolate, Nestle Real Semi-Sweet chocolate chips

Mix by hand in oversized bowl. Put into large mouthed mason glass canning jars or air tight BPA free storage containers for your cabinets. Store away from heat, moisture, and sunlight.

Tips: You can vary the mix by adding different dried fruits to this trail mix.

Directions: Merely measure on a scale, mix in a bowl, and store in an airtight jar. Enjoy.

Serving Size: Makes 20 one ounce or 1/4 cup servings

Nutritional Info per serving:

• Calories: 133.9

• Total Fat: 8.4 g

• Cholesterol: 0.0 mg

• Sodium: 52.9 mg

• Total Carbs: 14.1 g

• Dietary Fiber: 1.5 g

• Protein: 2.8 g

VITAMIN AND MINERALS

• Vitamin A 0.4 %

• Vitamin B-12 0.0 %

• Vitamin B-6 5.0 %

• Vitamin C 0.4 %

• Vitamin D 0.0 %

• Vitamin E 2.3 %

• Calcium 2.0 %

• Copper 10.3 %

• Folate 0.1 %

• Iron 3.7 %

• Magnesium 6.7 %

• Manganese 11.3 %

• Niacin 0.3 %

• Pantothenic Acid 0.0 %

• Phosphorus 5.8 %

• Riboflavin 0.4 %

• Selenium 0.1 %

• Thiamin 3.8 %

• Zinc 0.1 %

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SEASONAL FOODS TASTE BEST

Buy what’s ripe for the best value

“This is why tomatoes don’t taste all that great in January.”

AND they cost a small fortune! Have you ever noticed this?

Seasonal crops will taste better when they come from nearby and they’ll usually cost less due to lower transportation costs.

Right now, corn is still in season and very good. So are our local Arkansas tomatoes. I imagine many of my Kitchen peeps from other southern areas still have local produce in their farmers markets and grocery stores. Further north, September will mark the end of local produce, most likely, except for winter veggies.

Brussels sprouts are an autumn vegetable. While we can get them year round in our big box stores, they are best in season. They always show up around Thanksgiving in the upscale neighborhood grocery store in my town in their native form: on the stalk! Just like a tree! Exactly! I’d never in my whole life seen anything like it. Perhaps I was deprived as a child, an adult, and now into my deep geezerness, I’ve finally arrived.

This sprout tree makes a beautiful presentation for a family dinner, either for Thanksgiving or any other special occasion. You roast it in the oven, having brushed it with a bit of olive oil and dusted it with appropriate spices. Any internet recipe would give you an idea, but I like rosemary garlic spice mix.

To cook ordinary Brussels sprouts, most people make the mistake of boiling them, but boiling in water raises their temperature too high and tosses off the obnoxious odors. Ugh! Can’t have that!

I have always microwaved the Brussels sprouts so they would be sweet. This solves the overcooking problem. Then I was cooking a single slice of bacon in a heavy skillet as I finished off the baked chicken in the oven. I put thin sliced summer squash with parsley, rosemary and garlic into that pan to heat and tenderize al dente. When the sprouts were done, I tossed them in just to get the spices on them too.

The corn gets butter, salt and pepper. Fresh corn doesn’t need anything else. It too doesn’t need to be boiled to death. Microwave it inside its own husk. This is “steaming” and doesn’t heat up your house or use up costly energy.

I’m looking forward to acorn squash and pumpkin soup. New recipes when the weather cools off!

Posted in christmas, family, Food, garden, Holidays, Hot Springs, Arkansas, menu, Recipe, Southern Culture, thanksgiving | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Monday Coffee: Florida

Most folks in the workplace function better with their caffeine of choice. In Cornie’s Kitchen, the caffeinated beverage of the morning is a blend of caffeine and decaf coffee. I prefer to ease into awareness, rather than take a rocket ship ride to full alertness. Then again, I like to wake up early enough to give myself this extra time.

When I was young with a child at home, mornings were much more hectic. My caffeine was full strength and I had a big to go cup also ready for our dash out the door. We usually ate a toast or bagel in the car.

What happens to people’s need for their daily dose of caffeine and community when a hurricane hits town? If people have been hunkered down at home or in shelters, they’ll be itching to get out to see what’s left of their town, to support one another, and start the cleanup process.

That is a job for coffee, my friends!

To gauge Hurricane Irma’s impact on Miami, some won’t be watching just the weather; they’ll be tracking Cuban coffee consumption.

Cuban-style espresso, or cafecito, is a staple of daily life in Miami. Former Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Craig Fugate says how fast Cuban coffee stands reopen may indicate how the city is faring.

Fugate led Florida’s emergency management division during the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons. At that time, he used the Waffle House restaurant chain as a gauge of the storm’s impact.

Waffle House is known for being open all the time. Thus, a closed restaurant was a very bad sign. There are no Waffle Houses in Miami, so Fugate suggested Cuban coffee as an alternative.

He says if Cuban coffee stands are closed, “it is bad.”

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/09/10/how-to-gauge-irmas-effect-on-miami-check-cuban-coffee-stands.html

Posted in coffee, Cuba, Florida, Food, Friendship, Hurricanes, sharing, Uncategorized, Waffle House, Work | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

WEAR A HAT. 

FORGET ABOUT THE HAIR. 

If you aren’t sweating, you aren’t getting your money’s worth. My trainer at the YMCA used to tell me, “Miss Cornelia, you need to sweat to get your heart rate up! If you’re just gonna pose and look pretty, you aren’t getting any benefit from your session!”

I would shoot daggers at him with my eyes. Sweating in public goes against everything I’ve ever been taught as a polite southern lady who was born in the last century. (That’s the Stone Age, for those who are pulling out your calculations.) We are supposed to “glow” at most, but never sweat…horses sweat! Men perspire, but we ladies are supposed to be more fragile and delicate. 

My trainer would roll his eyeballs heavenward when I mentioned how I was raised. “I need you to get over this idea to get healthy. This attitude stands in between you and your cardiac efficiency.” 

All right. I can see I’m not going to get to wimp out on this watch. Limp hair we can cover up with a hat. Showers are available in the dressing room. I can bring a change of clothes, or I can swagger outside with my gym body and flaunt it. 

Be proud of your gym hair. You did something good for your health today. 

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WEIRD WEDNESDAY: Virtual Gastric Band Surgery

First, it's not surgery, but hypnosis! This is why it's "Virtual" and not actual or invasive, cutting into the body. How do I find out about these things, you ask? My Twitter account gets spammed with folks who follow me because I write about health. They think I might write glowing words about their product. They might think wrong.

First of all, actual surgery makes real changes in the body's hormone and metabolic activity. Virtual or hypnotic suggestion can't do this. It can only help you choose smaller portions or choose to exercise more. This is real science and you'd need to get your health care professional to explain it to you. The words leptin and grehlin are involved, plus your insulin. Hypnosis doesn't work on our chemicals, just on our desires and inclinations.

Second, hypnosis is the go to panacea or cure all for what ails you. It is the original snake oil, as it were! It is the potion with a notion and the vessel with the pestle that has the brew that is true. Whatever name we know it by, hypnosis is the amazing remedy for any complaint. Just imagine, with a few noninvasive sessions, our breasts could be larger! Hypnosis is a miracle working therapy! What shrinks our stomachs can also grow our breasts!

We can even get free lessons delivered to us through the mail, or maybe get them free on the internet today. Unlimited power for good (or ill) could be ours for nothing! If we look into the mirror, for what will we use this awesome power? I would hypnotize everyone i met into loving their neighbor, no matter their race, color, creed, nation of origin, religion, or sexual preference. We don't have to be hating each other on this small blue ball out in the vastness of the cosmos.

The person offering "Virtual Gastric Bypass Surgery" didn't put a price on any of her sessions, but other web sites did: $800. Actual surgery, which is proven and covered by insurance for medically necessary conditions, runs $5,000 and up. Personally, I'd rather spend $800 on a psychologist to get down to my emotional causes for overeating, but that's just me. A lot of us have fears, anxieties, depression, and other unmet needs we attempt to satisfy with food and drink. The rest of us want to be accepted and loved, and when we aren't, we eat and drink. This leads to less acceptance and more eating and drinking. It's a downward spiral.

Hypnosis claims to break this cycle. Getting a community of support will break the cycle too. Intervention with a counselor, accepting medical help with your depression, and getting started on a healthier food and exercise plan will also break the cycle. Accept you are loved.

Listen to my voice, you are worth loving–you are worth loving–you are worth loving–when I count to three, you'll wake up and all you'll feel is LOVE FOR YOUR SPECIAL SELF! 1–2–3! Wake Up!

Joy and Peace, Cornie

Posted in Comfort food, Depression, disease, emotional eating, Exercise, Fad diets, Food, Health, insulin resistance, love, Relationships, Self improvement, Virtual gastric bypass surgery | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SUNDAY SUPPER: Quiche to Die For

Sometimes to calm my spirit, I like to spend time making food from scratch. One, I'm taking care of my body by using calories to make dinner, and second, I know exactly what goes into my food, namely just fresh ingredients.

This doesn't take much time either. I had the pie crust made by the time the oven warmed up and the other ingredients weren't far behind. After all, how long does it take to beat 4 eggs, measure out 4 ounces of pre-shredded cheese, cut a big handful of skinny asparagus into inch long sections and add 3 ounces of spinach to the pan? Sprinkling basil, parsley and a rosemary garlic mixture on top was a breeze.

Then I set the timer for 30 minutes and sat down to listen to Clapton and Cale jam on TV. I gave the pie another 5 minutes because the toothpick didn't come out quite clean enough to suit me, even though I could smell the quiche flavors wafting out from the kitchen.

Let a quiche set just a moment before you cut it, which will give you just enough time to Instagram your famous creation! The pie makes 8 servings, and it's a bit high on the fat side (15 g) because of the cheese and shortening in the pie crust. It is low carb (10 g) however and has over 9 g of protein.

For those of us who who are watching our salt, we have to plan our other menus around this, since one serving has 310 mg of salt. Cheese is notoriously high in salt, and the original whole wheat crust recipe I used called for 1/2 teaspoon of salt. I cut this to 1/4 teaspoon and didn't notice any appreciable loss in taste, but I've trained my tastebuds to enjoy the flavor of lower salt. (This recipe has less than 310 mg salt per serving, but I didn't calculate it.)

This is a filling meal, because it has enough fat for satiety, the whole wheat is lower glycemic than refined white flour, plus it has the fiber and bran the refined flour lacks. I'm not hungry after this meal, whereas if I eat too little fat, I get ravenous quickly! Of course, I don't have a medical need to keep my fat consumption extremely low.

When I get distressed, I tend to eat. One of the ways I can slow my emotional self-soothing is to make the food, rather than to buy it. The time it takes to make it diffuses some of my nervous energy and allows me to get a handle on my nerves. I have time to process my thoughts and feelings rather than just stuff Food into my mouth.

In grad school, I once ate a box of chocolate hostess cupcakes in a week. I've never eaten another since. I was far from home and on my own for the first time in my life. It was scary! I wanted to make sure my money stretched far enough, so I bought the whole box. Then I felt compelled to eat it all, not knowing the shelf life of these cakes was infinity. Now I know this is why God made freezers for the fridge.

We all have our little mistakes and errors of judgement as we learn to eat healthy. We can't let one momentary slip or choice be a reason to give up on a lifetime journey or goal. Tomorrow will be another day, a clean slate, and we can begin again with good intentions and our best hopes.

Plan out a menu that's easy to fix and doesn't require a lot of prep work. Do it the day before, so you know the ingredients are on hand. Then when you get home, take a deep breath, relax, and stay in the present moment. Do only one task at a time. Enjoy the opportunity to care for yourself and your loved ones.

Have a good week! Love, Cornie.

Posted in Comfort food, emotional eating, family, Food, Health, high cholesterol, hunger, menu, Nutrition guide, processed foods, Recipe, Spirituality, Student life, Time management | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment