Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Seasons Must Change

This year was not a big one for the garden.  The heat came early and I'm not cut out for it so I didn't plant very much.  I did have two tomato plants, one of them in a pot in the sunshine, and the other in my cultivated garden patch.  My potted cherry tomato did not disappoint, but my garden plot is now in the shade.  Our growing season spans most of the year and so our trees span most of the yard.  All my garden tomatoes are gorgeous and large, but green.  For weeks now I've been waiting for a hint of blush, but there's still no sign of it.

The same thing happened last year and I continued to wait for a ripe tomato until a few were spoiled by freezing.  Surprisingly, the ones which weren't cracked and soggy on the vine actually turned red in a bowl on my counter!  I thought that was interesting.  They were certainly getting less sunshine inside my kitchen than they were on their shady vine.  Maybe the difference is that our indoor climate is steady, albeit cool.  Taking no chances this year, I've brought most of what's out there inside.  I'll share if something fun happens.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Rum Raisin Smoothie!

Yes, another smoothie!  I'm aware my photos of late are monotonous with one glass after another, but you'll thank me for this one, I think.
My doctor tracks my nutrient levels very carefully every few months and a recent blood test revealed low iron for the first time in recent memory. I'm not crazy about the nausea that ensues from iron supplements, but half a tablet doesn't bother me, so I've added that to my arsenal of meds.  My doctor also provided a list of foods that may improve the iron situation with bioavailability that surpasses what I can get from a pill.  It turns out that raisins are an excellent source!  So I began to experiment . . .

I really think of this smoothie as a special treat since it is pretty sweet.  It tastes like rum raisin ice cream to me, but there is no rum.  There's a scant bit of alcohol from the vanilla extract but you could leave that out of the mix if you prefer and I bet it'd still be luscious.  Here you go:

Rum Raisin Smoothie!

1 1/2 cups almond milk
1/2 a frozen banana
1 Tbsp. almond butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
a generous shake of nutmeg, with more on top, if you like
a shake of cinnamon
a small handful of organic raisins
a couple of ice cubes

If you don't have a high-powered blender, soak the raisins in the milk for 15 minutes or so first.  Otherwise, no pre-soak needed. Blend all ingredients until most of the raisins are minced finely.  Enjoy -- this makes about 2 cups.

It's definitely worth it to splurge on the organic raisins, which are superior in nutritional value, and they are juicier and more flavorful too. I'm a huge fan of nutmeg, so I use a lot of it.  You can obviously tweak this recipe to suit your preference.  If you'd like it a little sweeter, you could use a whole banana and/or more raisins.  I've just learned there's a whole subset of folks who don't enjoy autumnal spices, so if you are one of those, this smoothie probably won't appeal at all.  For all the rest of you -- you're gonna love it!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Now This

It was good to find these big 48 oz jugs of kombucha at Whole Foods the other day.  I love the way this fermented tea picks up my energy level late in the afternoon, but because of the slight sugar content, I limit the frequency of this otherwise healthy treat.  Another good reason to limit the frequency is the price tag for the smaller bottles -- around $4-$5 each.  48 oz for around $9 is better.  This'll last me a while.  I'm not drinking out of the bottle, so bacteria won't be competing with the good probiotic bugs in this brew.  The first glass did taste a little different than I'm used to, but I think it's because the "mother" had settled to the bottom.  I'll try gently turning or swirling this bottle before my next serving.

I'll never forget the first time I ever tried one of these bottled kombuchas -- it was the green variety.  Seeing the sediment on the bottom, I shook it vigorously before opening it.  Fellow kombucha drinkers will know the result already -- dark green probiotic potion all over myself and the room.  When it comes to this fermented concoction, "swirled, not shaken" is the way to go.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Giving In to a Craving

Yes, I backslid yesterday.  I wanted veggies and BEANS so I ate them.  As a former vegan, I think it's really still in my wiring.  I still want food like this, and there's no problem with eating veggies, in addition to other high quality proteins I now must include for the health of my neurology, but beans are a no-no.  Why?  apparently legumes are considered "anti-nutrients".  They are powerhouses of protein and fiber, but they bond with vital minerals and leach them from our bodies.  For most folks a little less copper, iron, manganese or zinc is fine, but not for me.  I'm now eating to feed mitochondria in an effort to strengthen the healthy function of the immune system and to calm the malfunction that occurs during an MS exacerbation.  over 20 years from diagnosis now, I need to take this seriously.

Dairy has been off my diet since 2010, and gluten has been greatly reduced.  Both of these are detrimental to the health of mitochondria too.

I did give in to the craving this time, but if I supply enough healthy minerals I'll hopefully offset this lapse.  As with anything else, it comes down to what we do on a regular basis when trying to effect a change.