Coffee before Purpose

Welcome to the Antepenultimate Day of the Week , AKA Thursday!!

Thursday is the Third to last day of the week. Friday is the penultimate day, or the next to last day of the week. For some of my Kitchen friends, Friday is the Ultimate or Last day of your work week. Saturday, however, is the ultimate day of the week on the calendar.

Most people today plan their calendars around the work or school weeks, rather than around the calendar, which is set on the religious week. In the past, people only had Sundays for a rest day.

For those of us who keep busy but are happily retired, we find keeping our old daily schedules helps us stay regular in our sleep and exercise disciplines. We do our errands, volunteer activities, and other excitement in the same hours as our younger working friends, children, and family members.

If you’re working hard, or hardly ever working, you can easily lose track of the day’s of the week. A wild Monday can seem like three days long, so by 2 pm you’re screaming at your coworkers, “Is it Wednesday yet?” My daddy claimed he got both the morning and afternoon newspapers delivered to the home so he’d be sure to know what day it was. I’ve known folks to get their days and nights mixed up if they don’t have a reason to get up in the morning.

Always have a purpose in life worth getting out of bed in the morning, even if it’s just to make the best cup of coffee for the one person who needs it most–YOU! After that, you can deal with the other great purposes in life: cleaning up your little corner of the world, loving yourself and others more fully, and sharing your blessings with those who have less.

But first…COFFEE!

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SHARK WEEK SUPPER

Swordfish with peaches and tomatoes


In honor of shark week I’m eating fish. 

I made a grocery run today. The swordfish was in the sale area of the fish market. I’ve never eaten it before, so I figured why not? There’s a first time for everything! I baked it with plum tomatoes and peaches, olive oil, basil, smoked chipotle, and threw in some nutmeg and garlic for good measure. 

Why? As I was adding the spices, I was imagining how they would change the taste of the peaches and tomatoes. Since I’m not going to have the adventure of “Dangerous Catch”, maybe the most adrenaline rush I’ll get is “Dangerous Spice.”

Such is life in the kitchen. I did enjoy the sweet, hot, and spicy tomatoes and peaches as a counterpoint to the firm fleshed, slightly salty fish. 

I like to steam my corn in the husk. I rip off the first few leaves, toss them, run the cob under cool water, put a paper towel down on the microwave disk, and lay the cob down. Then I set the microwave on high for about 2 minutes for one cob. 

Maybe you could try a new food this week. This meal took all of 30 minutes from start to plate. Cutting up one tomato & peach, drizzle a bit of olive oil, toss on the spices, put into 400 F oven for 17-20 minutes (longer if you put into non preheated oven like I did), and cook corn at end. As you all know, I don’t do hour long meals unless Mr. Crockpot is guest chef. 

Enjoy your week, and have good health! Cornie

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HOW HOT IS IT? 

If the Lord had a choice, he’d pick another day to make his return. If there’s already weeping and gnashing of teeth due to the heat, who’d know if they were being consigned to the hot place? While it’s true we don’t know when the Lord will return, I’m thinking these dog days of summer are a “bye” for us. 

While we wait, we can always cool our fevered brows and slack our thirsty throats with homemade limeade. I enjoy making mine fresh with my grandmother’s depression era milk glass juicer. I realize juicers now are high tech and will pulverize any vegetable or fruit, but this treasured one reminds me of many a sleep over and breakfast at her home. 

My recipe is simple: juice of two lines, Splenda to taste, and two cups of water. Pour over two tall glasses of ice. Add a sprig of mint if you want a different taste. Take the glass somewhere cool and relax. Don’t think of anything difficult or distressing until the drink is finished. 

In fact, once you finish it, don’t think of those distressing  things at all! Let go of them. You’ve had enough trouble for today. Rest. Let God handle those troubles for a while. Tomorrow you can work refreshed and renewed. 

I’m on the couch now, with the cold air conditioning blowing over my bare feet. I almost feel human again. Every sip I take brings me a bit closer to being able to find the kitchen and supper! It will be cold and fruity, not hot and savory. Enjoy your day or evening. 
Joy and Peace, Cornie. 

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Kitchen Experiments 

When I was a child, I had a science kit. My parents trusted me not to blow up the backyard carport or lose a digit in the process, but I don’t remember them supervising my experiments. In fact, once we children went outside, we were on our own, but I did live back in the late Stone Age. Even I watched my daughter when she was out and about nearly three decades ago. 

I had a deep sense of curiosity, which my parents nourished. As a result, I’ve never been afraid to try something new, to learn things outside of my comfort zone, or to stretch my boundaries beyond the familiar. This includes meeting new people. I’ve always figured a stranger was just a new best friend you haven’t met yet. And yes, I’ve met a few weirdos doing this, but I’ve also met some really neat folks also. 

Encouraging a sense of adventure keeps us young. This may be the attraction of the many meal in a box delivery services offered today. They decide the menu, find the spices and ingredients, get it to your door, and all the cook at home has to do is follow the directions. I like to go to my local grocery, find the seasonal foods, or clean out the remaining foods in my fridge, and see what I can create with them. I consider this a challenge, as if I were on a desert island with limited resources. What could I do with what I have? 

In a sense, all Kitchen experiments are science projects at heart, for all foods have unique properties: heat, time, salt, fat, and moisture all affect the taste and texture of the ingredients and the concoction. Change one and the others change also. Sometimes we add salt at the end of cooking so the food doesn’t toughen up or dry out. Only experience teaches this, for our tendency would be to dump in all our spices at once. After all, we want to taste test along the way. 

An interesting book, SUGAR SALT FAT, by Michael Moss, outlines the science behind the processed food industry. By concentrating fat, salt and sugar in products formulated for maximum “bliss,” Big Food has spent almost a century distorting the American diet in favor of calorie-dense products whose consumption pattern has been mirrored by the calamitous rise in obesity rates. Entire food categories were invented to support this strategy. This is why Resturant meals often have an entire day’s worth of calories and sodium packed into one serving and Lunchable meals (aimed at children) have over 800 mg of sodium each, an amount far too high for little bodies to consume. 

To eat healthy, many of us choose to eat at home instead, for we can experiment with different food combinations and make choices based on our own health needs. I always limit the salt and carbohydrates, due to blood pressure and glucose resistance. This same dish in a restaurant would be drowning in olive oil and much heavier with cheese. Most likely it would also have a grain pasta with it, so the serving size would be both smaller and more calorie dense. It would be off the menu for most people like me. 

The truth is, we can experiment with our recipes, but experiments with our health isn’t a good idea. Folks who overindulge with carbs or salt can damage their bodies. Retaining fluid is a sign of too much salt, such as around the ankles. Yeast infections can be a sign of too many carbs. Eating healthy is a better choice than eating poorly, even if someone else is cooking or cleaning up for you. If this is a novel adventure, step out and try it! 

You might want to try a Vegetable Lasagna, from Cornie’s Kitchen: Squash Lasagna. 

The registration is free, and the site is free. I hope you enjoy it!

https://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=3272393

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Dining Out, Readin Mail

When I’m out at the doctor’s office, I usually eat out. I have a few favorite haunts, like most folks. That Cesar Salad is a killer if you let the staff dress it for you. That little tub in the photo is 240 calories but 660 mg of sodium (almost 45% of my 1500 mg of daily recommendation due to my high blood pressure). I use half of it. It’s enough. 

I had the lunch steak and baked sweet potato. It’s a double portion, but I’m going swimming and not eating again for hours. It’s a treat to eat big sometimes. We just can’t do this all the time. I do it about once a month now. I used to do it two or three times a week. I’m going onto perfection, as we say!

As I was reading a response to a paper written against the American Heart Association’s recommendation to replace saturated animal fats with heart healthy unsaturated plant oils and fats, I came across this wonderful response. While some people carped about “who can you trust?” And “my facts are as good as your facts,” this person had good wisdom to impart. I want to share it!

WISDOM: IMPROVE YOUR DIET

One should focus on improving dietary patterns in a positive way, and, contrary to what is believed, this can be done avoiding controversial and emotional arguments entirely.

EAT MORE FIBER 

De-emphasize individual ingredients. For instance, on a population basis, Increasing fiber intake a few grams daily (currently we eat 15g, and the optimum is about double that) would produce significant benefits. 

EAT SALAD DAILY 

Similarly, eating one medium-large fresh salad (without destroying it with add-ons) daily would do the same. Add one medium fresh fruit salad daily (without added sugar), and three or more portions of beans or lentils per week, and fresh cherry tomatoes as snacks. This is positive dietary advice, not negative. 

EAT WHOLE FOODS MADE AT HOME

Another principle that has universal acceptance–eat fresh, home-made, real food, which also has social benefits. 

PROCESSED FOODS ARE UNHEALTHY 

Processed food is unhealthy for many reasons, and 60% of what Americans eat is ultra-processed. 

DRINK MORE WATER

The preferred beverages might be water (unflavored) or home-made green tea. 

EAT POSITIVELY FOR HEALTH 

There is sufficient flexibility in such a “eat positively for health” philosophy to meet most needs. The major barrier, as in the past, is that people do not accept good advice, blaming others for their own unhealthy choices. Yes, this is hard in our current environment–but possible.

ROME WASN’T BUILT IN A DAY–THE JOURNEY OF A 1,000 STEPS BEGINS WITH ONE.

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COFFEE IN A CRACKED CUP

Goodbye to one of my favorite coffee cups, the mermaid Starbucks cup. I’ve knocked it about often enough in my early morning stupor to cause the glaze at the handle to get a small crack at the seam. My coffee leaketh out, so to speak. Can’t have that! 

As for our faith in Christ, if we keep it all contained so it never escapes into the world, but only feeds us alone, what good is it? Maybe we need to be more of a leaky vessel, or a cracked cup, to share the goodness of God with those who need a pick me up. Coffee for Christ! Christ for the World!

2 Corinthians 4:7–“But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us.”

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CARING FOR OURSELVES 

“Home again, home again, jiggety jog.” My daddy always said this phrase from the old Mother Goose rhyme when we pulled into the driveway after a road trip. Even though I wasn’t gone long, I’m always glad to return, just as I’m always glad to leave! Food away from home seems to taste better when someone else cooks it for you, just as coming back home gives you a new appreciation for the efforts others put into your meals. 

Having a great chef like Susan Jett cook for our Spiritual Formation Academy Retreat at Mount Eagle reminds me of the gift of hospitality and service. This is a gift we can give to our own selves and to our families also, and not just to those who visit us. 

When I take the time to be mindful of my ingredient selection, my food choices, my food preparation, and my food portions, I find I eat more healthy and have less hunger. When I race about, throw the first thing into my mouth or grab an instant gratification, I over consume both calories and carbohydrates (I’m supposed to limit these for my pre-diabetes). 

Most of us would treat our guests as if they were Christ, but we often forget to do the same for our own selves. Yet we too carry the image of Christ, who “is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation” (Colossians 1:15). If we cooked for the Christ who lived in us, or cleaned house for the Christ who visited daily, we might offer more hospitality and grace to ourselves.

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