Archive for August, 2009

Salmon: The New Chicken?

Naan Bread 002  If I had my way, cooking would become The New Scrapbooking. It is every bit the creative outlet that crafting is; you have to spend money on food, anyway, so it’s no additional drain to the budget; and can you just imagine how much healthier the general population could be if we all consistently controlled the quality of the ingredients we consume?

The next step on my wand-waving mission might be to designate salmon as The New Chicken. I remember the salmon of my youth as a rather odd-textured, canned substance that did not light up my face when my mother announced it as “what’s for dinner.” Only within then last few years have I come to appreciate the fresh salmon or fresh-frozen fillets available today as a mouth-watering taste sensation far removed from that dry, grayish-pink patty of decades past.

There also seem to be about as many ways to prepare this protein-dense, low-sodium fare as there are recipes for chicken, and the nutrition profile tips the scale toward salmon – even with its higher price tag.  A 6-ounce portion serves up 39 grams of protein, 40% of the RDA for thiamin, 72% for niacin, 58% for B6, 83% for B12, 45% for phosphorus, 20% for potassium, and the highest Omega-3 levels of any cold-water fish.  Ah, and let’s not forget the 105% of your RDA for selenium, too. (That scraping sound you just heard was me dragging my lectern back into the closet.)

So, once again this week I offered my dinner guests Marinated Baked Salmon served with Roasted Potato Wedges, Warm Corn and Tomato Salad, and Grilled Naan Bread with Cream Cheese and Red Seedless Grapes.  For a dessert-like, fruity finish, Mango-Banana-Kiwi Smoothies.  Twenty-first century eating at its best.  (more…)

August 28, 2009 at 5:40 pm 1 comment

Weaving Moral Fiber – Part II

JJ & Kuda 080521_002  You can sit back and watch as your society is sucked into the cultural sewer of foul language, immoral behavior, and self-indulgence, because it “seems to be the trend,” or you can stand up, be a rebel, and fight the good fight against the trend.  It is my prayer that members of the younger generations will choose the stance of principled protestor rather than lackadaisical lemming.  (67)

Never commit to something and then fail to do it.  If you say you’re going to do something,so it; don’t vacillate or procrastinate.  (3)

Have a firm grasp of your values and core beliefs, thus will you be well equipped to be true to yourself; stand firmly on your convictions; not allow “the crowd” to determine your path; and be who you were meant to be.  (7)

August 22, 2009 at 9:50 pm Leave a comment

Inside-Out Hash

 Cherries 001 Finally, a string of hot days here in the Twin Cities, as temperatures averaged in the upper 80’s and lower 90’s last week.  Could this be Mother Nature’s “Ha-ha” to those complaining about the lack of real summer weather?  Whatever the case, I’m simultaneously inspired to avoid using the oven and transported back to those sweltering if carefree days of Brownie Day-Camp.  Ah, the smell of oil cloth as we fashioned water-proof “sit-upons” out of fabric squares laced together over sections of newspaper; the vision of creatively-attired campers dressed in line with the “Backwards Day” theme – one little cutie sprouting pigtails from her forehead rather than the usual spot.  

In a characteristic display of digression, I’ll backtrack to say that I got in the mood for some beef hash the other day, just like Mom used to make.  But these thoughts of summers past must have been floating around in my cranium, too, because after I had whipped up the old ground meat, Worcestershire, cubed potato, white onion, and green pepper concoction, topped with the classic fried egg accompaniment, I got to musing about how I could liven things up by “reversing” this recipe.  Thus developed the quirky but tasty menu of Sweet Potato and Ground Turkey Hash served with individual wedges of Swiss Cheese Omelet, a very basic Tossed Salad, and that perennial summer favorite Corn on the Cob.  For the dessert-eaters at the table, an enormously well-received afterthought I’m calling Fifteen-Minute Bing Cherry Cobbler. (more…)

August 17, 2009 at 5:45 pm Leave a comment

Brian and Ellen’s Story

Walker 2009 024  In the early 1970s, two children were born into two different households, 915 miles apart.  These two births had more dissimilarities than they did parallels:  One was a girl child, the other a boy; one was well under the average birth weight at two pounds, seven ounces, the other, above average birth weight; one came following a 26-week pregnancy, the other, later than expected.                                                                                                                              

Baby girl Ellen was a bright child, but there were quirks about her movement patterns that led to a diagnosis of cerebral palsy at age two.  Four siblings followed her into the family, all escaping the complications of premature birth that doctors cited as the cause of her disorder.

For most of her first year Ellen wore casts on both legs, and by kindergarten she was reading at a second grade level but couldn’t advance to first grade because she had seven surgeries scheduled for the following year – most of them heel-chord lengthening operations. 

By first grade, her parents had returned from Colorado to their home state of Minnesota where Ellen was the only special needs child enrolled in their small church school.  Struggling with a leg brace and orthopedic shoe hampered her efforts to keep up with her classmates physically, and she was often carted off campus for speech and physical therapies.  Introduce into the equation occasional episodes of spasticity which others sometimes misinterpreted as seizures, and Ellen would gradually develop a sense of separateness that followed her into high school. (more…)

August 11, 2009 at 5:09 pm 2 comments

Weather Watching and Fanciful Feasts

fresh peaches 002  Last weekend we enjoyed an evening of classic Minnesota-style entertainment:  ninety minutes of sitting on the basement exercise equipment, tracking the progress of local tornado warnings on a 12″ television screen.  Cut loose on a Saturday night?  You betcha’, by golly.

Actually…while I’m sure that scanning weather maps can be intriguing, twenty minutes into this session I found my mind drifting.  Nothing new about that, but this particular episode of mental meandering actually had some logic to it:  What if the electricity goes out long enough for the freezer to fail, and I’m forced to cook everything at once or lose it?  Visions a neighborhood potluck followed by an ice cream binge danced in my head.  What was lurking behind the frost that could contribute to such a banquet?

By the time I refocused, the warnings were being lifted and my husband was herding pets back up the stairs for a return to our evening “as previously scheduled.”  But I had been irreversibly set on a course of menu-planning, my thoughts congealing around a meal based on the bargain of $2.00 organic chickens found at my local Cub Foods store a few weeks ago.  Thus, the next day found me busy in the kitchen preparing Oriental Grilled Chicken, Corn Fritter Patties, Mango-Avocado Salsa, Shake Potatoes, Sliced Beefsteak Tomatoes, Steamed fresh Green Beans with Raw Almonds, and Fresh Peach Ice Cream with Oatmeal Raisin Cookies – a meal as good on the table as it had been in my imagination. (more…)

August 11, 2009 at 1:48 am Leave a comment

Weaving Moral Fiber in a Frayed Society

JJ & Kuda 080527 003  The entertainment and advertising industries seem intent on reducing the entire realm of sexual experience down to one crass, sophomoric sit-com joke.  We are being robbed of the understanding that sexual pleasure is a gift from God, meant to be cherished as such within a loving relationship.  Don’t let Hollywood and Madison Avenue entice you to debase yourself, with their unrelenting suggestions that sex is simply an entitlement or an uncontrollable, animal urge.  Keep it a sacred thing, honored by the marriage commitment – having chosen your partner with great care.  To paraphrase Billy Graham, the sexually promiscuous just think they’re having fun because they haven’t got the real thing to compare their experience to.  (67) (more…)

August 7, 2009 at 5:05 pm Leave a comment

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