Wednesday, August 31, 2016

End Of August In The Vegetable Garden

Eggplant.  I don't have as many as I would like to have.  But I am going to enjoy the first one, sliced, salted, roasted with EVOO until browned with a roasted tomato sauce.  I have some brown rice pasta which I may or may not eat with it.   The recipe is from Food52.  Today.  Roasted eggplant on fresh corn polenta.  

Sometimes it's better to not eat something than to eat something inferior.  That's the way I feel about eating "fake" food.  I'm on the fence regarding spiralized zucchini.

There is very little zucchini left in the garden so I will not be able to make ratatouille this summer. I made too much zucchini butter.  Never made any zucchini fritters.  The zucchini brownies made with gluten free-wheat free flour are dry as dust.  And I think made the eye rash return.   Was it the chocolate or the  King Arthur Flour?  Or was it mold spores because today was cool and damp?

I ordered books from the library and when I picked them up--realized I had already read them.  I now have two new books--I can't say I am excited about either of them, but will at least try to read them.

My 10x10 fabric pictures are on the 10x10 website.  The official opening date for the site is September 4th.  My daughter says I should be honored to have them up already.  I guess they liked them both and are using them as a "tease" to get viewers interested.  Who knows?

I forgot to take my JoAnn's coupon with me today.  I was going to see what they had in #8 perle cotton thread.  I need a few new colors and I'll need red if I tack my old quilt.  I am thinking of doing some mindless embroidery.  I am also thinking of tacking the 1930's Grandmother's Flower Garden (1.5 inch hexagons) I purchased years and years ago.  It was tacked in red thread.  With the lumpiest batting and so much dust!!!!.  So, I have the original backing fabric as well.  The top and the backing are washed and ironed.

I don't think professional free motion quilting would do the quilt justice.  And I don't think I have the patience or skill to hand quilt it myself.  I think it is very difficult to quilt a Flower Garden quilt-- I mean, where do you stitch?   I may have to visit some sites to see what works best.  Tacking maybe the best idea if I wanted to do it myself.

We are "pet sitting" a rescued Ecuadorian Street Puppy for the neighbor's daughter today and tomorrow.  Today G took Riley and Pina for the usual walk in the woods.  For half of it, Pina's leash was attached to Riley's collar.  Riley put up with the puppy but G released him when it looked like Riley had reached his limit.  Riley is 9.5 and Pina is 3 months old (and just a little larger than a toaster).  G said she did whatever Riley did.  If he sniffed something.  She sniffed it.  If he walked over something.  She walked over it.  If he stopped to look.  She stopped to look.  G said it was adorable. Then she found a tree branch to carry and the branch kept knocking into Riley's legs.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

More Zucchini Toast & Zucchini Brownies

I found a huge zucchini in the garden yesterday--forgot to mention it.  I really don't know how these things happen.  I spent quite a bit of time in the garden the day before (watering) and it wasn't there.
So, I grated it up (plus a buddy or two of smaller size) to fill the large frying pan to make more zucchini butter.  Shredded zucchini, shredded onion, oil or butter.  Fry till it's soft and "buttery" and beginning to brown on the bottom.  I let mine brown more.

And because (joy, joy) I am now testing chocolate--I shredded up another zucchini off the counter and made zucchini brownies.  I have made this recipe in years past.  Sometimes it works beautifully and turns out like a dense fudge brownie.  Other times--it's just a wet mess.  I am hoping it's fudgey.
I thought of the brownie recipe just moments before I was going to dump the shreds into the frying pan.  I haven't had a chocolate treat since Christmas. (it seems).

I used this recipe (from somewhere): ½ cup oil for fudgey OR ½ cup yogurt for cakelike brownies (not both) . 1.5 cups sugar.  I always use half what recipe calls for.  2 cups flour (I used King Arthur Gluten free), ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1.5 teas. Baking soda, .5 teas salt and 2 cups squeezed dry shredded zucchini.  I mix it all together with my hands.  Like kneading bread dough.  9 inch square pan  for 45 minutes at 350. (I now wish I had added some chopped walnuts).

So---I am testing chocolate.  This isn't as big a deal as it would be for most people.  I can go without chocolate.  But what I actually crave is a dessert.  Something sweet and chewy.  The Larabar is a good dessert.  Vanilla Dairy Queen cones are a lovely dessert (I have been having them all along without any problems).  But a brownie is a most excellent dessert.

I am cooking today (tomatoes roasting for sauce for freezer), the zucchini butter, the brownies.  And I am doing laundry.  Washing curtains, gardening clothing (G and I use up a lot of clothing), and slipcovers.  I vacuumed the entire house Sunday.

I found two more nice peaches at the store (only 2) and will be making more peach blueberry smoothies.  They were excellent.  I also bagged up some raw cashews in the bulk food aisle. I have quite a bit of fruit in the freezer right now and feel "pressured" to be making smoothies everyday--if only to free up space for the roasted tomatoes.  But I have to finish off that lame cantaloupe smoothie first.

This would be a good time to work on "use what's in the freezer or cupboards" before going shopping.  But....that's how the cantaloupe smoothie happened.  Duh!  I may add a splash of lime juice to the jar of smoothie I have left.  Perk it up.  Perhaps drink it alongside the organic corn chips with sea salt.  Very sturdy and hardly any salty taste.

Did any of you see and "hear" what our lovely Governor said on a phone message this week?  They think it's a substance abuse problem or "impairment"--my friends from Boston call it "being mental".

Monday, August 29, 2016

Elimination Diet-- Today's Smoothie-Cantaloupe (not good)

Not a success.  The cantaloupe was not ripe.  So I looked on line and found a few clues as to what to mix and match with it to make a smoothie.

I added the melon to the Vitamix.  Then some frozen mango cubes.  Some raw cashews for thickening.  A quarter of the pineapple lingering in the fridge (my usual addition for a green smoothie).  A big spoon of plain yogurt.

It's okay.  Not great.  The tartness of the pineapple saved it from being too sweet.  But it's very bland but I will drink it.

I tossed the remainder of the melon in the compost bucket.  The worms will enjoy it. From now on I will stick with fruit I grow or the frozen stuff that is usually picked ripe.

My eyes are watering and the skin around my eyes is dry, raw and burning.  I feel awful. I just WISH I knew what is causing this to happen from August to October.  For the third year in a row.

Going out to water the garden, then a shower to cool off, then more allergy meds and a nap.

Watched the movie Gravity last night.  Binge watched Marcella on Netflix the day before. Summer days and summer nights.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Elimination Diet- Peach Smoothie

I  purchased three large peaches.  And they are ripe and juicy.  Freestone like the image above.  I had planned to eat them--just like that.  But decided to try a smoothie.

I checked out the recipes on line and found one, with a comment from someone who registered on the site to just be able to comment on the peach smoothie---- he liked it that much.  That was impressive.I won't register on a site, no matter how much I like something.

I have a Vitamix so if you try this with any other blender--your results might be different.

One large peach.  Remove pit but leave on peel.  One frozen banana.  I wrap ripe bananas in foil and stick them in the freezer.  One half cup raw cashews.  (you may need to presoak them- I didn't have to)  One big handful of frozen blueberries for sweetening.  4 ounces of vanilla yogurt.  I think I also added some water.  More than ½ a cup.  Turned on the Vitamix and let her rip.

I usually open the lid up and stir with a spoon and taste.  See if it's too sour, too green--whatever and then try and add something to make it taste okay.  This tasted okay.

I divide the smoothie into Working Jars from Crate & Barrel.  They come with lids.  I wasn't going to actually drink the smoothie until this morning so I poured, capped and put them in the fridge.  Still thick and smooth this morning.  And delicious.  I will be blending up the last peach later today.

And then I might go looking for more peaches.

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Summer of Food Adventures--- On An Elimination Diet

First time to ever have a Larabar.  The Apple Pie one was delicious.  I also found the sites that show me how to "make my own" bars.  I will be looking for dry apple slices at the health food store. I purchased the Carrot Cake bar.  For tomorrow.

The other first was Smoothies.  I'm never sure about making them without a recipe.  And the recipes I've tried--no matter how stupid they look to me---have turned out to be very tasty.  I even said "yum" while tasting one of the recipe smoothies.  I think it was a pineapple, kale, red berry one.

Well, I'm off the look for a peach smoothie recipe.  And for turmeric sauerkraut--- it ferments in a jar and needs to be burped.  Probiotic.

I may even soak some raw cashews and make ........well, I'm not sure what I will make.  A creamy cashew smoothie?  Cashew cheese?  Or the Cashew Cookie Larabar?

Still August: New Chair Picture

I just love finding a new chair picture.  This one looks cozy--like a big yellow hug!  I wish it had a higher back so I could rest my head.  My head must be very heavy--my neck gets tired holding it up!

A sheet pan of tomatoes is roasting in the oven.  Cherry tomatoes.  I think, pretty soon, I will have all 102 tomatoes here in the house waiting for someone to eat them, roast them or ?????  I am trying not to have to compost them.  I am also bringing in the very last of the cucumbers and zucchini.  The plants got tired.  Which is okay with me. My favorite way of eating tomatoes--not possible now--was on white bread with heaps of mayo.  And with pasta.  Not possible unless I try brown rice pasta.

The zucchini butter recipe is the BEST!.  I am enjoying it on non-wheat toast or mixed into reheated white rice. Seems that the white rice is better for me than the brown.  How odd.

The grocery has chicken tenders (fried and breaded and sometimes with BBQ sauce) which I have been eating with no reaction (shocked!!).  I don't like meat as a rule --pot roast I love, sliced deli ham, and ground beef fried to cinders-- but anything "juicy" makes me gag.  Getting enough protein is a real problem.  No eggs or soy due to reactions. Anyway, I load up on the day old boxes of tenders and eat them cold with the rice and zucchini butter or with my "big salad" of romaine, carrots, red onion, red cabbage.  And of course, Smoothies.   I may need to make another 5 pounds of meatballs.  They were non-reactive.

And fruit.  Red plums and peaches right now.  My raspberry bushes are getting ready for the late September berries.  I see lots of little baby berries- still hard and very green.

I long for the old days of bran flakes and soy milk.  Of yogurt and fruit.  But I do not miss the pounds of inflammation.  I can almost always see the bones in my ankles now.

Well, I have things to do.  Wash in the washer.  Clothes in the dryer.  A wet, tired (from his walk in the woods) dog has pushed his way under the desk where I am sitting--so he will be "notified" of any movement on my part while he sleeps.  I will miss this when I return to work.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Visible Results Of Elimination Diet

The scale at home and certainly not the one in the doctor's office don't show the changes the detox and elimination of inflammatory foods have had on my body.

Well, I went into work today and a co-worker was all "OMG, look at you!!!" and I felt much better about the rash and the food diet.

I am now the same weight I was at the beginning of August.  No weight loss.  But I am certainly taking up less space, wearing smaller sized clothing and having less aches, pains and acid reflux. I also found some Lara bars that have all of the things I can eat and none of the things I can't.  I know there are "homemade "lara" bars recipes on the internet.  So, I am going to see what I can find.

Which one to eat first.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

More Zoodles & Smoothies

I love the chewy texture of these Zoodles if I allow them to dry for at least 24 hours after cutting and before eating.  The ones I spiral cut today will be eaten tomorrow.

Today I am drinking Smoothies.  The one I just finished was pineapple, strawberry, frozen banana, kale and 4 ounces of Noosa vanilla yogurt (not Greek).  I roasted some beets from the garden and will be tossing a cooked beet into the next Smoothie.  Possibly pineapple, beet, frozen cherries and kale.

I also pulled some carrots.  They are growing long.  Impressive.  As I hadn't thought the soil was loose enough to grow long carrots.  But.....some of the nicest carrots have been nibbled (underground) by chipmunks.   I don't want to start trapping the rodents.  What to do with them after they are in the trap?  We trap them at work.  Then an employee takes them for a ride in the car and lets them out.  We have discussed marking them some way so we can see if they find their way back.  When we had a cat at work----well, the only chipmunks we ever saw were the dead ones.

So, the counters are filled with ripe tomatoes, a few zucchini, quite a few cucumbers (I found a cucumber/blueberry smoothie recipe) and the now ripe avocados are in the fridge where they stay perfect for 5 to 7 days.  I like an avocado in a green smoothie to give it a creamy texture.

Look at me--discussing the merits of Smoothies.  Who is this person????

The eye itch and rash (eczema ?) is still bothering me.  It really bothers me right after I wake up, but before my allergy pills take effect.  Then bothers me again after 9 pm.  I also have a bumpy rash around my neck.  All this reminds me of my youngest brother.  His eczema was so bad that the skin around his neck and in the crease of his arms and back of knees was raw.  Of course my mother let him eat anything he wanted.  How odd that I am just now developing it?

If there is any good news (other than the carrots), it's that overnight I lost 3.5 pounds.  Inflammation and reaction to allergens.  Peaches were new to the diet.  Supposedly safe.

I made another batch of rice flour banana muffins.   This recipe uses coconut oil, coconut sugar, no eggs.  I don't know what I would do without them.  If any readers out there need a recipe for a baked good for someone who can't have eggs, wheat, dairy or cane sugar--- let me know and I will send it to you.

I had started watching Thirteen (BBC) on Xfinity (comcast) and it seems like midway thru my watching Amazon bought the rights.  So......I watched three out of five episodes and now have no idea how the damned thing ends.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

August Zucchini Surplus

I cooked mine longer.  More browned bits.  This is very much the same process in cooking as the Southern Fried Squash I make--but this takes far less time as the zucchini is grated rather than sliced.  And could be on the plate in less than 45 minutes.  Fried Squash takes hours to reach the deep mahogany brown color--and I make it exactly the way the 19 year old newly married girl across the hall from me in Georgia made hers. And G and my two children will eat it no other way. I just wish I had some fried okra to go with it.

Food 52 suggests spreading it on toast (and topping with a fried egg), mixing into a bowl of pasta, or a'la Julia Child--after it's cooked to your degree of "done", start folding in fresh baby spinach leaves.
I like mine piled on top of some white rice with a side of tomatoes (and okra if I had some).

My day has centered around the kitchen.  The stove; making what I have stated to all concerned is the last batch of zucchini pickles.  The oven; making Martha Stewart's Southern Pulled Pork (takes hours even though the recipe says a shorter time).  The sink;  washing all the canning stuff, all the dishes, the tray used to oven roast more tomatoes.


Last year I didn't have enough.  This year--there are so many tomatoes.  And one whole group of plants is still all green tomatoes --not even producing for the house yet. And, harder to believe, they are delicious.  I eat three to five of them each day, out of hand, halved and salted.  And about the same number of pickling cucumbers.

I have decided to eat as many as I can.  Oven roast at least one large tray a day as they get really ripe and soft (for the freezer) and have the rest with fresh mozzarella, basil leaves, EVOO, and Balsamic vinegar.  Caprese.  The fresh mozzarella doesn't bother me.

My itchy eyes are back plus pain in my hip joint.  I ate something (peanut butter) that I reacted to pretty darn quick.  So now, no soy and no peanut butter.  My next test is yogurt.  Three days straight eating yogurt.  But first my eyes have to stop swelling up and itching.  I bought more bananas so I can make another dozen rice flour banana muffins (thank the Lord for that recipe).  I bought pineapple to make pineapple, kale (so much in the garden right now), berry smoothies.  Detox foods. I also got avocados which are now 89 cents each instead of the $1.49 last week.  Last week corn was 5 for dollar.  Today: 2 for a dollar.

The walnut and pecan test went very well.  Next up was peanuts.  I don't know how long it will take to get back to a safe place (no eye itching, no hip pain when I walk).  I can't test anything else until I am back to "normal".  So, smoothies, salads, vegetables, banana muffins (but this time with walnuts) and tomatoes.  And peaches and red plums.  I can eat all the fruit I could ever want to eat.  And white rice but not brown rice.  How's that for weird???

Oh, and the VERY BEST NEWS--I am gaining weight faster than I was losing weight.  Really packing the pounds back on.  I have a doctor's appointment in 4 weeks.  She is not going to be happy with me.  She is expecting a 10 pound weigh loss.  I am still wearing the size clothing I wore before gaining weight.  And the clothing fits the same.  But the scale (with new batteries) announces a half to 2 pound gain each morning.  In the past 30 days I have lost and regained the same 10 pounds.

Lets hope that the day of my appointment--I'm on the losing side??????

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Rose Covered Garden Arch

Like this one.  Someday?  I can only hope.  None of the roses I have planted near my garden gate have "lived".  It's like the place where roses commit suicide.  At least my roses.

Today was my last day of watering the Grow Boxes for someone I met while teaching a class at work.  She was in Virginia. And it was drop off day for the 10x10 Arts Are Elementary Fundraiser.  I had two pieces.  And I wasn't 100% happy with everything about them--but the Blackberry Hedgerow is pretty nice. And the other one --in fabric choice and design is "trademark" Me.  If they don't sell, I will have both matted and framed.  For me.

I tried to do better with contrast and focal points.  The work always looks good to me on the work table but the focus isn't clear when it's far away.  And upright on a wall.  I need to start working on a design wall.  I also need to actually have an art space.  When I moved out of the old work room--I boxed everything up.  It's still boxed up.  So finding the "right" piece of anything--thread fabric etc. not good.  I also had ongoing issues with the spindle holding the invisible thread.  The spindle would come out, the thread spool with fly under the bed---- I just about gave up.  And I had to thread the bobbin.  Geez!

I haven't been in the garden for two full days.  I'm going to finish this and then change into garden clothes and go out.  It's off and on sunshine/clouds.  Some breeze.  First I'll pick ripe items and then water and then pick blackberries and get all scratched up, bleed and then the scratches with redden and swell.  I look like twelve cats attacked me.  But the best berries are always 3 feet into the thicket.
I haven't done anything with the stuff I picked two days ago.  This is when the garden is tedious and not a joy filled experience.

This is also when I make ratatouille-  a word that means "stew" in French.  There is an eggplant out in the garden that is probably ready to be picked.  My first.  And it maybe the only one.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Making Chicken Potstickers Today

G loves them.  And I can make quite a few at once.  Freeze whatever he doesn't eat in that first "yippee, she made potstickers" meal.  Usually two bags.  Two future meals.

When our son visited, in 2014, we worked together to make them.  That was lovely.  He is a careful and precise cook, often chiding his mother for her messy ways.  We also baked a cherry pie.

Today, after an evening of rain (damp humid morning), of a dog passing gas all night under our bed, and eventually a panicked bark to signal needing to go out--fast-- (what did he eat?)-- I didn't get much sleep-- I have garden produce picking, the watering job in Town and then I will settle into a gentle rhythm of making the dough and filling and pleat my way into dumplings.

Riley is still not 100%.  He threw up on this morning's walk.  So, he will appreciate a day of monitoring my whereabouts from the kitchen dog bed.  G is off to work, weeding someone else's garden beds.

Later today, after G returns from work, I intend to have ice cream.  It has no relevance to my diet. Which is odd.  Cheese? Problems at times.  Yogurt?  Not always a good idea.  Ice Cream.  Great.
Perhaps it's the souring or processing of the milk into cheese and yogurt?  Fresh mozzarella is no problem.  I am trying a vanilla yogurt (only 4 ounces) which is NOT Greek.  I have read that the Greek process can cause problems in digestion and also the Greek style has a greater percentage of sugar.  I don't care for soupy, runny yogurt.

The sun is shining. It's humid.  It's hot.  It's August.  Years ago, I had a day old baby girl to care for on August 17.  In Georgia.  All alone.  (G worked long hours).  Just me and a very small baby and a paperback copy of Dr Spock.  The book stated that the baby was to be bathed each morning at 10 am.
And so it was.  I bathed that baby each and every morning, at 10 am.  Followed by clean clothes, a bottle and a nap. She was a delightful baby.  Quiet.  Happy.  Easily entertained by the mobile over the crib.  I tied a soft piece of yarn to her wrist and she tugged and held still, in order to move her favorite animal--the red elephant-- directly overhead.  G and I would watch her movements (she wasn't even a month old) as she repeatedly moved the elephant to the desired position.  I can safely say that she is still determined to have things her own way.  

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Up One Pound After Eating Corn

Overnight weight gain is the usual  "reaction" but it can also be gut pain, itchy eyes, runny nose and other not so nice symptoms.  I gained a pound overnight.  Corn or those date/sunflower truffles.  I haven't eaten any of those little balls of processed dates and sunflower seeds in quite awhile.  Two weeks?  And I vaguely remember gaining weight last time (I have to go back and read my diet journal).  So--I will test corn again. The dates and sunflower seed things was from the Detox section of the Elimination Diet.  They were supposed to be safe food.  Stepping on the scale each morning--at times it's okay but when it goes up--I am sad the rest of the day.  I feel like a failure.

This is the madness in my non-scientific elimination/testing.  It's not as if I intentionally messed it up. I ate the little date/sunflower balls because I was hungry after watering the garden and they were supposedly "safe" food.  When I get hungry, I get dizzy.  And I was going to take a shower and didn't want to faint in the tub.  Purely preventative first aid.  Prior to the Elimination Diet--I would have had one or two large spoonfuls of peanut butter.  Jif extra crunchy.  Protein.  But now--I have no protein that is easily available to me.

I have a tray of cherry tomatoes roasting in the oven..  I have a counter full of zucchini ready to be sliced up for pickles.  And I need to collect and stir fry a big bunch of kale.  I also have the shredded zucchini ready to squeeze and fry into "fritters".  Vegetarian food is not high in protein.

I worked on my little 10x10- Crow Three Point Zero.  Couched some very thin slivers of black felt. with perle cotton threads in magenta, orange and lime. Today--after watering my garden and the Garden Box Tomatoes---I will rethread the sewing machine and stitch an design onto the pieced surface (mostly my painted fabric scraps) and then add the little black felt crow.

Simply Recipes (sidebar) has a very interesting lasagna today.  Lots of greens.  Basil pesto.  G wouldn't eat it but it may be a good choice for me to have on hand when I get "dizzy".  I think I have some basil pesto in the fridge.  All I need is the cheese and the fresh lasagna sheets from the grocery.
I can fry a big bunch of kale from the garden with garlic and red pepper flakes.  Could sub sliced zucchini for the noodles???  We'll see what I decide to do.

Now--onward to the watering.  The tomatoes smell like they are done roasting.

Monday, August 15, 2016

August Vegetables--Baby Sized & Testing Sweet Corn

Cherry tomatoes are getting ripe.  I collect as many as I can and eat most of them before getting into the house.  Thankfully, my carrots are much lagger than these.  And I got a few pounds of the really big orange carrots from Whole Foods.  I had two of them grilled to charred perfection last night for dinner.  The dressing is Green Goddess.  I think I have everything but the "fishy" stuff to make this.  Well, except for an avocado.  Suddenly, avocados are $1.49 each.  Those tiny squash are very cute.

I have a "vacation/coverage" job for 8 days.  I am watering someone's Earth boxes.  They have two tomatoes in each box and the plants are at least two feet taller than me.  5'6".  Each morning I drive over and fill the water reservoir in each of the 10 boxes.  It's always empty when I arrive. Thirsty tomatoes.  I also water all the new plantings.  We are very short of water this summer and we are much warmer than ever.  We are not used to being "hot".

But hot is much better than being on fire.  Or being flooded.

Today we are repeating the sliced tomatoes with fresh mozzarella and basil for dinner.  And we are also having sweet corn.  I'll call it a test.  Summer is way too short to not being eating fresh from the Farm sweet corn.  This stuff is local.  The EVOO and Balsamic vinegar to dress the tomatoes and cheese isn't local but it's very good.

Nothing happened (well, I did lose a half pound) when I ate the tomatoes and cheese (dairy) on Saturday.  So, today it's just to see what happens with the corn.  If nothing happens--then I am going back to the store for more after I water the Earth boxes tomorrow.  Five for $2.

I am reading a book.  Watching PBS.  Finished tacking the quilt.  No more dust to breath.  I am craving chocolate candy.  The dark chocolate caramels in particular from Trader Joe's.  I have a box left over from Valentine's Day. But I am being very stern with myself and just saying NO!

I have my 10x10 fabric art to finish and my forms (in triplicate) to fill out before drop off Saturday morning. Which reminds me to ask G to print them off.  While I cut up and dress tomatoes.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Found the Food 52 Zucchini Fritter Recipe

And instead of the white potato, I can add a shredded sweet potato or shredded carrots to the very simple recipe.  No flour.  Does have egg but I will give it a try.  The Elimination Diet is off the rails anyway.  I was spending way too much time "over thinking" my meals and while I did that--food was spoiling in the fridge.  Recipe at end of post.

The day I lost 2 pounds was the day after eating a Caesar salad with dressing and cheese, a steak and a pile of French fries with lots of ketchup at Longhorn (and tons of salt).  The days I gain weight is all about brown rice, zucchini and a few raw cucumbers.  Starvation is not the answer.

 Last night we managed to eat all the ripe tomatoes with fresh mozzarella, EVOO, and Balsamic vinegar.  We shared a fresh French baguette.  Down half a pound this morning.

Today I am cooking a huge pot of sliced yellow squash with onion and butter.  Southern comfort food.  I had made this once before and gave the leftovers to our daughter.  She swooned.  And ate it all.  Now I am making more.  Lots more so we can share with her again.

I also have enough green and yellow zucchini to make another 6 jars of pickle.  I need to buy more onions.  We took inventory and G managed to eat his way thru all but 3 of the jars I made last year.  I think he has some pickle with his lunch everyday.

Now the recipe:
 2 grated green zucchini (medium sized or larger) to make 4 cups
1 cup grated white potato, sweet potato or carrots
1 or 2 eggs.  Start with one, beaten
1 T of chopped parsley (or mint or dill or all three)
1 t lemon zest
(optional: add crumbled Feta to the mixture along with mint and dill)

Grate all the veg and salt it and leave to exude water for 30 minutes or refrigerated, for longer.
Then drain off water and squeeze out any extra water.  I use a dish cloth, wrap, squeeze (hard).

Then add the egg, parsley (or others), lemon and some breadcrumbs if still too wet to hold together.  Here's a hint I use.  Potato pancake mix (the kind sold in the Jewish foods section)--a couple tablespoonful.

Heat up a cast iron frying pan, add EVOO or butter.  Scoop some of the vegetable mix into the pan and flatten slightly with spatula--repeat.  Let fry.  I mean find something to do--clean the countertops--and let the fritters fry till the edges are golden brown and crispy.  Don't fiddle with them. Turn.

Serve with lemon spiked Green yogurt.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Tomatoes In The August Garden

I wait for them all year.  The sunshine warmed tomatoes straight from the garden.  I've mentioned before that one of my fondest memories of "eating tomatoes" is in my early teens, on the porch swing, barefoot and eating tomatoes.  I wanted the moment to last forever.  It was so perfect.

But "perfect" rarely lasts long.  And, each time we recall a memory from our past, we rewrite it.  Did you know that?  So, each time I remember that porch swing moment--it gets re-written. How different it is now from the actual moment?

I got to see the actual condition of my home this morning.  Our Town is re-evaluating the tax rate for all homes (they want more money) and this entails an actual visit to the house.  A walk through all the rooms.  OMG.  What a packrat/terrible housekeeper I am.  The guy asked if the house was originally a one or two story house.  Such an odd question.  I asked him if he considered an attic a second story. Most homes have an attic.

Anyway, there is an attic.  Part of it was made into a bedroom with a bath.  We don't use it.  But must still pay taxes on it.  The remainder of the attic plus a "sewing room" that I use to store things--is just that--an unfinished attic.  As is the workshop over the garage.  I was quite upset at all this "unfinished" and cluttered space.  I rarely go up there.  I guess we just take things up, set them down, and walk away.  At least this is what it suddenly looked like this morning.

So, I am feeling quite messy today.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Drawing On The Walls

I know these animals weren't free style drawings but rather are wallpaper.  But the idea of drawing on a plain white wall is really interesting to me right now. Today.

I have two 10X10 inch pieces of artwork to get ready by the 20th.  For the Arts Are Elementary fundraiser.  The two I have on my work table are okay.  But I am not sure of the "sale-ability" of either.  Why donate art if it won't sell?  And art should be made without these thoughts.

It's going to be 90 today.  Hot and steamy.

I already began the day depressed.  Gained 2 pounds overnight.  I am back to the weight I was the first week of July.  I have gotten nowhere with these "diets".  I couldn't even find anything to eat for breakfast this morning (that seemed like a normal breakfast).   Yesterday breakfast was zucchini noodles with a cherry tomato and onion sauce.

My allergies are in high gear.  Itchy, watery eyes, nose running, hip aches, foggy thinking.

The high point of the day will be a vanilla DQ cone.   And a nap?

August Garden: Filling Jars

Today it was "sort" of raining.  Not sunny.  Not dry. Muggy.  Damp.  A good day to stay in the kitchen and "Preserve" things.  My grandmother called it "canning".

I literally spent the day in the classic triangle of my kitchen.  The sink, the island, the stove. No fridge needed.  I washed jars, filled the canning kettle, measured sugar out of the brand new 10 pound bag, vinegar from the gallon jug.  Sliced vegetables for the pickles with the mandolin type slicer. I didn't try using the Japanese slicer.  The blade looked wicked sharp.

I made bread and butter pickles first with the veg I had sliced and salted on Sunday.  Heated the canning kettle, boiled the jars and then filled them and processed them for 10 minutes.  I love hearing the lids "click" as they cool on the island top.  Then I sliced up another batch of zucchini (yellow and green), red and orange peppers, onions, garlic and salt and set it in the fridge for three hours.

Next up: blueberries.  I crushed 6 cups worth (and then added some more), added pectin, and brought the juicy mess up to the boil and then added 6 cups of sugar.  Hard for me to do.  I am frugal.  Six cups seems like way too much.  When it had "boiled hard" for one minute, I took the pan off the heat and scooped blueberries into hot jars (they went in after the pickles came out) and then processed the jam jars.

I stopped in-between the pickles and blueberry jam to wash everything and look for more jars.  Then wash the jars etc.

After the blueberry jam-- OMG was that stuff amazingly good!!!  I licked the plate I had sitting under the jars while I filled them---  I started on the strawberry rhubarb jam.  Strawberries (Maine local berries) were frozen but I own a Vitamix.  So, they went in in small batches and the resulting strawberry slushy went into the pan with a quart freezer bag of sliced rhubarb from my garden.  More sugar.  Five and a half cups.  I wondered why I hadn't used the Vitamix to crush the blueberries.  Head slap.

By now it was a bit after 5.  I started at 12:43.  So, onward to the second batch of zucchini pickles.

I, literally, never sat down.  I also took a few moments to vacuum the kitchen as I was barefoot and I wanted the floor to be a bit cleaner than it was.

Was it worth it?  Yes!  I only had to haul that huge kettle onto and off the stove once each way and I ended up with a dozen jars of pickle, 5 pints of blueberry jam, and five pints of strawberry rhubarb.
And there is so much more room in the porch freezer now.  There is half a bag of blueberries which will be made into some sort of muffins or cake tomorrow. Lots more zucchini that I should be slicing and frying up into one of the Plan recipes I actually enjoyed eating.  And the garden is really full of kale right now.  I need to start eating it.  Or drinking it.  Blueberry, kale smoothie?  I think the one in the Elimination Diet has pineapple, blueberry, kale in one of their green smoothies.  So, I need pineapple.  I do have frozen mango---- wonder if that would work?

Next up will be those blackberries.  When they are all ripe, picked and frozen.  The fig jam will be the last thing I can.  I make boozy cranberries in November but the cognac keeps them safe in the fridge all Winter long. Well, as long as they last.

I do not can tomatoes.  Ever.  I roast them and freeze the resulting "sauce" in quart bags.  Use as needed until next summer.

I am really "into" retirement suddenly.  Up really late (into the early hours of the am) and sleeping until 11:30.  Bad habits I have missed.  Yes, I woke up at 11:30 and started canning stuff at 12:43.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

August Sun & Heat &Cucumber, Mint Water

My newest favorite thing to drink this summer is cucumber water with mint leaves.  Isn't it pretty?  Makes you feel 10 degrees cooler just looking at it.  And, now, the cucumbers for the water are coming out of my own garden--all warm from the sunshine.  And I have tons of spearmint in the herb bed.

Well, the zucchini is producing again. (and I am wishing I could be making fritters)  And the tomatoes are getting bigger (but still green) and the carrots and beets are bulking up.  I picked blueberries again but they are coming to an end.  The blackberries are just starting.  I've picked and eaten about a full pint so far.

I am so happy I chose to plant blueberry bushes when the garden was created.  And the blackberries. They went in over time but this is the first year they have actually made blackberries.  I cut the raspberry canes down to the ground in the Spring.  The variety I have is Heritage and it makes a small crop in July (if not cut back hard) and a larger crop in late September.  I'm going for the September crop. Fewer Japanese beetles. The prune plum didn't make any plums this year.  I am thinking I might want to buy an apple tree for the yard.  I'll place it near one of the crab apple trees for pollination. I think having fruit in the garden is almost better than having vegetables.

I went to a lecture on "Diet & Dementia" yesterday.  The room was packed.  The speaker is a local Adventist doctor and he is a very good speaker and just a real nice guy (and an avid gardener).  Turns out eating fruit and leafy greens (and green vegetables) is good for your brain. One half to a full cup of berries each day and leafy greens like kale or collards along with broccoli, zucchini etc..  I love kale cooked down with onions.  I used to love it in a frittata but I haven't re-tested eggs yet.  ( I had some granola yesterday and got acid reflux--a reaction--so no more oats--I'll have to find a new home for the new package of Bob's-- so many of my typical daily foods are turning out to be re-active- like the soy milk, cheese, yogurt and now the oats.)

My garlic and onions have been pulled and they are drying in the garage.  More than usual on the garlic and less than I wanted on the onions.  I planted green bean seeds.

I am going to pull the amaryllis bulbs out of the garden bed and let the leaves dry and die ( I wrote a reminder to myself on my calendar).  Then repot them in late October for Christmas flowers.  All of the bulbs were happy in the garden and got nice and fat.  Several that hadn't bloomed in the winter, bloomed in the garden.  One red and two whites.

Well, time to get ready to go to the movies.  We're seeing the new Bourne movie.

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Porch Swings & Grandmother's Flower Garden Quilt

I have two more Lucie Whitehouse thrillers to read.  And the swing reminds me of my teenage years. I spent the summer days (when not in the basement ironing) on the porch "glider" reading Gone With The Wind.  It was a summer tradition from 14 to 17.  Cleveland sprayed the city each year to kill mosquitos.  Sometimes they even sprayed the citizens if we were outside when the giant truck went past.

But this larger swing could even be used for nice summertime naps.  With mosquito netting.  I would have to have it higher off the porch floor--Riley likes to nap UNDER beds and hammocks, so it follows he would also like to nap under a porch swing.

This hasn't been the usual mosquito bite summer here in Maine.  Lots of heat and humidity but we have enough "sea breeze" to keep the little blood suckers moving.  Or maybe my blood has been changed by the asthma meds into something less delicious.  I AM getting a rash from the leaves of the tomato and squash plants.  Mostly on my arms as I "hunt" for cucumbers, ripe tomatoes and squash.  Witch hazel splashed on helps. So, even minus mosquitos, I am itchy.

I sliced up the yellow zucchini for pickles yesterday.  The red (bell peppers), white (onion) and green (jalapeño) and golden yellow makes for a very colorful and pretty combination.  I quite like it.

My weight has held stable at the same number for three days now.  So, nothing reactive in the foods I am eating.  Also, this stable weight is the lowest I have reached in the entire diet adventure.  Meaning I have been here before but not for three days straight.  I must, finally, have started doing something right.  I am looking forward to seeing a new number on the scale.  A four or a three.  A two would be cause for a parade downtown.

We are supposed to have some rain today.  It would be nice.

I am nearly finished tacking the pieced center of this big dusty poofy quilt.  I will need to drag it back across the street for the owner to look at so we can discuss the borders.  Three wide borders.  In order to make them flat I will need to unsew the edges.  Flatten it all out.  Then decide how to tack.  My daughter looked at the work I have been doing and said "you're a better person than I am".  It's that thankless. I have had to appliqué stitch torn border seams in one area and in places in the center section as needed.  Hours are spent on this project each day.  Hours that will not be compensated as I passed the suggested renumeration long ago.  Right now I am working at one to two dollars an hour.  For hand work.

The quilt's pieced construction is poor.  Seams do not match up.  Blocks aren't square.  In another time and place, I would have taken the entire thing apart and remade it.  But that time is past and I have no interest in going back to it.  My days of piecing are over.  My days of shoving a a puffy quilt under the machine needle is over as well.

I do own an antique hand pieced quilt that was once tacked.  I took all the knots out and threw away the lumpy batting.  This might make a good Winter project in 2017.  New batting.  Fresh knots.  Grandmother's Flower Garden and all those small hexagons.  Perhaps I had to do this project in order to see my way to re-newing that one?

Friday, August 05, 2016

The August Garden: Too Hot & Too Much

I have beets ready to be pulled out of the ground.  But it's too hot to turn on the oven to roast those beets.  I have carrots.  The chipmunks are eating some of them from the under ground up to but not including the leafy green tops.  Which they leave for me to find.

Trader Joe's not only had lovely brown rice tortillas but they had a nice loaf of brown rice bread.  Still gritty.  But I can toast it and have a slice when eating a slice of bread seems like something I just HAVE to do.  We are eating our way thru the meatballs (with no reaction).  And today I am making some taco beef for those tortillas.  G will have something on the grill or some take out from the Chinese place.   I have heads of Romaine ready in the garden and about 8 small ripe tomatoes to go with my tortilla wraps.

I am steadily working on watering the garden (pulling weeds- tying up heavy tomato branches- tying peppers to the support sticks) but first, before watering, I search for ripe and ready produce.  The hunt for cucumbers is pretty tricky.  The hunt for any squash in the garden--well, not abundant.  The tomato plants have lots of dry spotted leaves from mildew--- the damp overnight and sunshine in the morning.  I have been cutting off leaves.  Everything below the first fruit.  So the plants have bare legs up above the knees.  While I let the hose run in the tomato bed, I counted 127 tomatoes.  Some are good sized. Mostly Early Girl.  The Sweet 100 cherries are very late.  Still mostly green.

I also picked blueberries and I now have a gigantic bag of them in the porch freezer.  Enough for two batches of blueberry jam.  One of these days (a rainy one) I am going to set up the jam making sweat shop and just keep at it until I have boxes full of blueberry and strawberry rhubarb jams.  Later, if there are concord grapes--we'll make grape jelly.  And (with back up figs now in the freezer thanks to Whole Foods) there might actually be some more fig preserves in those boxes as well.  No peach preserves this year as my friend's tree has not a single peach on the tree due to the Spring frost and snowfall at flowering time. I have to admit to not eating much of these jams and jellies.  Hardly any actually.  I think I ate one jar of strawberry rhubarb this past year--period.  When I could eat toast. This morning I had rhubarb sauce (just rhubarb and a small amount of sugar cooked for 10 or 15 minutes) on my rice flour toast.

I am thinking of making the zucchini pickles with the golden yellow zucchini that is producing fruit. Who says the pickles have to be green? If the garden only produces yellow zucchini then I have to make yellow pickles. My visit to the grocery will include the purchase of onions and another hot little pepper for the pickle recipe.

I made the gritty Elimination Plan banana muffins again.  This time with the full two cups of mashed ripe banana.  Took way more bananas that I used last time (and didn't measure).  Filled all 12 cups to the top.  The flour is rice flour, the oil is coconut, the sugar is coconut brown sugar, the leavening is apple cider vinegar and baking soda.  In a week or so, when I test walnuts and pecans, I can add some to the recipe. One muffin is a very good choice when I am feeling hungry but it's not time for a meal.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

The Botanical Question: Why Produce Only Male Flowers?

I have no other answer than the one posed by the resident botanist.  Too much nitrogen.  Could be as I have been home this summer and have added fertilizer to the basic watering routine. I did find a recipe for squash blossom pizza.  If only I could eat wheat, yeast, cheese right now.

My work on tacking the puffy quilt belonging to my neighbor continues.  I have used up one ball of thread already and started in on a second ball.  I have broken one needle.  I can begin, finally, to see the end of this road.  The tacked portion looks quite nice.  But.........and there is always a but.  The wide borders are now showing a tendency to billow.  I don't want my perfectionistic ways to force me to undo the border seams.  I don't want that.  The borders are wide and will probably need at least another ball of perle cotton number 8.  I guess I will need to visit JoAnn's for re-supplying.

The beef test is not going well.  Hard to tell if the rash on my eyes is from the beef or from the dusty quilt or from pollen in the garden that got into my eyes.  It could also be from the oats in the Life Changing Bread which I have stopped eating--I had a grand total of 3 quarter inch thick (very seedy) slices.  Which leaves even the most disinterested observer aware of my less than scientific methods.
I wonder if the birds and chipmunks will eat LCB?  It really isn't very good. And I am sorry I wasted a second attempt on this "bread".  Even toasted (twice) it is still medicinal in flavoring.

I can't say much for my methods.  I become distracted easily. And I am cooking for another person as well as myself.  So things get mixed up during a day when I am tired, cranky and hungry.

But I do step away from things and then observe a "safe" zone of eating in response.  Oh, I should also mention taking Advil PM which is KNOWN for causing red, itching eyes in sensitive persons.  But I need to actually SLEEP.  Not spend the night fussing about stuff that happened 30 or 40 years ago.  I start the day exhausted and go from there.  It's not a good recipe for success.

Which is why this elimination process is going so slowly and producing such odd results.

I am being taken to Trader Joe's today. (Field Trip) To replenish the marinara and olive oil stocks.  Also I have heard TJ's has nice brown rice tortillas.  And orange muscat vinegar.  G is looking forward to filling the freezer with bags of potstickers.  And possibly coconut aminos to replace soy sauce (for me).

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Recipe But No Zucchini

How strange is that???? My walking buddy asked me to bring along a zucchini for her this morning on our walk.  So, out to the garden I went and, what to my wondering eyes did appear?..... not even one tiny zucchini.

Lots of boy flowers on all the chest high plants.  But no females.  No fruit.  Puzzlement on my part. No fritters in my future either.  Last summer I ate cold fritters everyday for lunch at work.

Same on the pattypan plants (which are even taller than the zucchini plants) as I did an experiment
using a new to me compost product from work.  The pattypans got the super new compost and they have gone crazy.  Lots of flower buds but not one fruit as yet.

Plenty of bees.

The blueberries are doing well.  An over filled cookie sheet of them in the freezer right now.  I am waiting until tomorrow (or later today) to pick more as I am running out of room for fruit in the freezer. I could get rid of some by making a smoothie.

I made these strange pickles for my daughter:  They taste wonderful but the process is odd.  The jar isn't filled to the top with the vinegar salt sugar pickling liquid and the jar of vegetables needs to be shaken and turned upside down over the course of a week or more.  The daughter likes colorful peppers, cucumber, and carrots in hers.  Onions, garlic and pickling spices.  I think it's ready when the jar is nearly full of liquid but I could be mistaken.  I made the pickle with cauliflower last year and the cauliflower wasn't as fresh as it needed to be.  So, this time I used peppers.  Red and orange.

I need to bushwhack my way over to the blackberry thicket and see how things are going.  There are tons of "potential" berries on the plants.  I have always wanted to make a blackberry pie.

So the future here:  blueberry jam.  blackberry pie.  strawberry/rhubarb jam.  more bread and butter zucchini pickles (hopefully).  I don't know whether I really would make zucchini fritters this summer as they contain eggs and cheese.  But those fritters at the top of this post....they look delicious.

Monday, August 01, 2016

August And The Garden Wakes Up

I watered the garden yesterday and fed the plants with "blue stuff" as things were looking a bit tired. I have tomatoes ripening.  Leaves are turning yellow with brown spots.  I remove them. Any leaves below the first fruiting branch aren't needed.  The fresh leaves up top can supply all the necessary sugars.

I got a handful of cucumbers.  Making a jar of pickles for my daughter.  She wants me to add peppers.  I have plenty of peppers growing--but I like them red and not green so we must wait for them to "turn".

I have spiraled two more zucchini and the curls are drying on a cookie rack.

I have been watching PBS and working on my neighbor's quilt.  The dusty one.  I keep thinking I am getting somewhere (6 plus hours already in it) but it seems more is untacked than is tacked. I mentioned to G that machine quilting it (when he asked) --so puffy-- would have reduced me to swearing like a sailor.

It seems a bit overcast today and I can't go to the grocery until after 12 (prescription ordered) so I might as well do another hour or two of tacking.

Today I am going to be eating (testing) beef.  Which translates to meatballs. G loves meatballs. And I love them also. I can also make some taco meat.  I like that with rice, lettuce and tomatoes.  I will miss having cheese and sour cream.  But I can have taco sauce.  And I have those weird rice tortillas. Better than nothing.  I wonder if they make rice milk cheese?