»Daily Prompt: Red Pill, Blue PillIf you could get

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Daily Prompt: Red Pill, Blue Pill

If you could get all the nutrition you needed in a day with a pill — no worrying about what to eat, no food preparation — would you do it?

 

Hmmm, this requires a list of pros and cons…

 

The Pro List:

  • Ok, so I’d have loads of spare time freed up by the fact that I would no longer need to plan, shop for and cook my meals.
  • Those of us with food allergies could probably even get an allergy free version (and not even miss the difference between ours and the “regular” pill).
  • I wouldn’t have the stress  of trying to accommodate the different food likes and dislikes of family members.
  • I could get rid of all my dishes, pots, pans, cooking and eating utensils and my dining table, my chest freezer, my fridge, my dishwasher
  • H…and gain loads of extra space in my home.

 

The Con List:

  • There would be no reason to make this
Chili Lime Shrimp Tacos

Chili Lime Shrimp Tacos

or these

Wake Me Up! Gluten & Dairy Free Chocolate Espresso Muffins

Wake Me Up! Gluten & Dairy Free Chocolate Espresso Muffins

or these

Lemon Tart Cookies II

Lemon Tart Cookies II

 

I think I’d vote no. : )

How would you vote?

 

It’s a Big Ol’ Smelly World : )

One of my main motives for starting this blog was to share info about living a gluten and dairy lifestyle. My secondary hope was to connect with more people who, like me, suffer from chronic nasal polyps. I am still looking for that piece of my personal puzzle that will allow me to breathe and taste and smell without relying on meds to keep my polyps at bay. Removing gluten and dairy from my diet has been a huge step in the right direction for me. However, my doctor recently put me back on Prednisone to shrink the polyps…again. L

It’s been a while since my introduction to Prednisone. When it was first prescribed for me, it helped a lot and I got my sense of smell back almost immediately… but I think I’ve developed a tolerance for it. The last few times I’ve taken it, it didn’t work as well. The polyps shrank, but not as much and I didn’t get my sense of smell back. I have been worried that the surgeries may have left me with scar tissue or something that might prevent my sense of smell from ever coming back.

So, this time my doctor and I agreed to increase the dose. Now, I’m very careful to listen to my body when I take this drug. I find that there are a number of side effects that surface while I’m on it.

Have you ever looked through a telescope or a pair of binoculars before they were fully in focus? That’s kind of what life feels like to me most days.

When my sinuses are inflamed and full of polyps my sense of smell is gone and my sense of taste is diminished. My ability to hear is affected.  When I sing, I loose half my range because there’s nowhere for the sound to resonate. I put away those songs, just like I  put away a favourite sweater when the weather turns warm.  I compensate for these things by turning up the volume, only singing in my low register and eating intensely flavourful foods.

But when my sinuses clear, it’s like everything comes back into focus. I hear how loud the birds are out side my window at 4:30 in the morning. (Crazy birds!)

When I sing, I get to go back to songs that are like old friends I’ve been missing and I’m able to hit the high notes and hear the harmonies again. I can smell my morning coffee. Very strong =)

But most of all, it’s being able to smell and taste delicate flavours again that bring me tears of absolute joy.

The smell of bananas; the delicate flavour of artichokes that have been slow roasted, the sweetness in a fresh, perfectly hard boiled egg; how amazingly green a sugar snap pea tastes,  the intoxicating aroma of the whole vanilla beans I keep for special recipes and  chocolate, OMG, chocolate!

These are the things I crave and want to be able to enjoy all the time. These smells and flavours are like my drug. When I can smell, I’ll walk around just breathing deeply, trying to enjoy as many smells as I can because I’ve learned that this probably won’t last.

My dinner last night was a plate of simple, delicately flavoured bites;

Artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes and lemon slices, tossed with olive oil, kosher salt and pepper, roasted together until the tomatoes became soft and the lemons started to caramelize combined with  torn red leaf lettuce, wedges of hard boiled egg, some blanched sugar snap peas, some finely diced sundried tomato and a little dressing of mayonnaise seasoned with saffron and garlic.

Heaven

Happy Tuesday

In keeping with the tone of my last post about gluten free & dairy free staples I keep on hand, I thought I’d put my money where my mouth is , so to speak.  I’m going to make posting simple meals that include pantry staples a regular occurrence on the blog.  This is a typical, easy going kind of meal I’d make for my Sweetie and I . There was plenty for two with enough left over for lunch the next day.

From my kitchen to yours, complete with pictures. (I’ve been working on my photography skills)

Pork tenderloin roasted with Kozlick’s Balsamic Fig and Date Mustard served with vegetable risotto.
And, yep, that’s my kitchen, complete with fridge magnets. : )

BFD w Risotto mis en place

The ingredients for this meal were things I had on hand and include two of my pantry staple items.

pork tenderloin
red pepper
zucchini
asparagus
scallions
Aborio rice
lemon
Kozlick’s Balsamic Fig and Date Mustard
Kirkland Gluten Free Chicken Broth
olive oil
kosher salt

For the Risotto;
In a medium size sauté pan, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil.
Sauté red pepper until it begins to soften, add asparagus and zucchini. Continue to sauté 2-3 minutes. Add rice to pan, stirring to coat all grains in oil. Add broth to pan, a little at a time, allowing the liquid to become absorbed between additions, stirring often. Risotto should take about 20 minutes. Serve with lemon wedge.

Risotto in pan 2

For the pork tenderloin;

Preheat oven to 400°F oven
Remove the “silver skin”, the membrane running along one end of the meat, from the tenderloin. If this is left on it will become tough and unpleasant when cooked.

In a medium size bowl, mix 2 tablespoons Kozlick’s with equal parts olive oil. Rub all over tenderloin, place meat on a parchment lined baking tray. Season with  a little salt. Place tray in oven and roast, turning once, until instant read thermometer shows internal temperature is 71°C/160°F. Approx 45 minutes for a 1.5 lb tenderloin. Remove from oven and let rest before slicing.

BFD pork 3

Risotto

Enjoy!

I Am Not Superwoman! (Don’t Hear Me Grrrrr!)

Ok, so in my last post I mentioned how much I love family dinners.

That’s mostly true.

However, thinking about it now, after having spent most of the four day long Easter Weekend bound to my kitchen in preparation of one Birthday Dinner on Saturday, followed by an Easter Dinner on Sunday, I should have been more specific. What I should have written was ‘I love the kind of unhurried, relaxed meals that allow me the time to sit and enjoy a good conversation with the company of my family’.  Sometimes, the dinner part doesn’t always include the relaxed part. This past weekend I got one good dinner and two of the other kind.

I should probably fill in a few details.

Recently, my Sweetie and I made the decision to curb household spending a bit. That’s not to imply that we’re frivolous with our cash. I tend to pinch my pennies so hard Her Majesty yelps. We’ve set a short term financial goal that requires a bit of belt tightening. For us that means no eating out or going to the movies for a little while. Not a huge sacrifice, right? Except that because we have birthdays that fall so close to holidays we make it a point to mark them as special, by going out for dinner to celebrate as a family. Which leaves me, the meal planner and grocery shopper, with a conundrum. How does one pull off a special birthday meal AND a holiday meal, on the same weekend without going crazy?

I can think of a few options:

  1. Teach my kids that goal setting, saving money or keeping your word are ideas that aren’t really all that important by taking everyone out for Sushi.
  2. Show my Step Daughter that birthdays are special and worthy of a night out…except when it’s hers and we want to save some cash by staying in and combining her celebration with one that’s been on the calendar FOREVER.
  3. Don’t celebrate Easter (aka as “The Spring Festival of Chocolate” to my gang)
  4. Make a Special Birthday Dinner one night and an Easter Celebration Dinner the next night.

I’m sure there are other options I could list, but they’re just not comin’ to me. I chose option 4.

One of these days I’m gonna have to admit to myself that I’m not Superwoman. I will come to grips with the fact that I am a mortal. I don’t have super strength or super stamina or even magic powers. I can’t bend time. I only stand 5’4” and need a ladder to reach the top shelf. One of these days, I will learn to ask for help. I will learn that it’s ok to say I can’t do everything, and that my personal best usually far exceeds what others expect. One day, I’ll ask them to help with the dishes.

Until then, I’m glad that I have a home library of cookbooks and ten years of saved magazines to turn to for inspiration.

Our Birthday Girl’s celebration was a full-on “Gluten and Dairy Extravaganza” (If she wants pasta and garlic bread and chocolate raspberry cake, she will have it! I won’t allow my food issues to keep my kid’s from their favourite foods. I just made myself a simple risotto. J) So I won’t bore you with those details.

Easter was a spiral ham I cooked with ginger ale and candied ginger (inspired by the cola cooked ham recipes from The South); garlic and thyme roasted mini potatoes; asparagus sautéed with lemon and for dessert: Baked Lemon Meringue with Lemon Curd and Raspberries.

I have a habit of cooking by feel and not always by recipe. The ham, potatoes and the asparagus dishes just kind of “came together”. If anyone wants the recipe just ask I will try to work it out for you. The exception is when I bake. I try not to mess with chemistry. That said, I am always looking for ways to mix and match elements to satisfy a craving. Initially I was going to make little meringue cookies sandwiched with lemon curd. By making one big open faced “cookie” slathered with the most amazing dairy free lemon curd, and topped with fresh raspberries, I was able to enlist the help of my lemon loving son to put the three elements together….for the price of licking the spoon afterwards. J (Every bit helps!)

Here’s the recipe:

Baked Lemon Meringue with Lemon Curd and Raspberries

For the Meringue:

3 large egg whites, room temperature
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest, finely grated

For the Lemon Curd:

3 egg yolks
1 egg
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons lemon zest, finely grated
½ cup lemon juice
pinch of salt

For the Garnish:

1 pint fresh raspberries
1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar,( to dust)

For the Meringue:

Preheat oven to 200°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt on medium-high speed until white and foamy, about 1 minute; With mixer running, gradually add sugar in 3 additions, beating for 2 minutes between each addition. Beat until firm peaks form, about 2 minutes longer. Add powdered sugar; beat to blend, about 1 minute.

Spoon mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Using a spatula, spoon or pallet knife, spread meringue out into a 1” thick circle. Bake meringue until dry, about 3 1/2 hours. Let cool completely, about 1 hour (meringue will crisp as it cools). DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead: Store in an airtight container at room temperature, between sheets of parchment or waxed paper.

For the Lemon Curd:

In a heatproof bowl, stir together the egg yolks, egg, sugar, lemon juice and zest. Place bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Cook, stirring often, for about 8-10 minutes, until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and an instant read thermometer reads 71°C/ 160°F.
Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on surface and refrigerate until set. ). DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead.
Loosen curd with a spoon and spread over prepared meringue. Garnish with raspberries and dust with confectioner’s sugar.

Next time, I’ll take my own advice and use the “do ahead” options!

Lemon Meringue with Lemon Curd and Raspberries

Lemon Meringue with Lemon Curd and Raspberries

Hope Everyone had a Happy Easter.