Friday, March 18, 2016

Dietary Restrictions? Caregiving Cooking. Homemade Soup is Souper.

I'm posting on soup because it is one of my favorite things to eat; but also my sister had to go to ER for kidney/gall stones this week. As someone who likes a lot of flavor, I have not really known what to prepare for meals. Her diet is pretty restricted to fruits and veggies, perhaps a very small portion of boiled chicken. No fat or greasy foods, no dairy, etc. Still trying to figure it all out. I had prepared a nice meal, just taken it out to serve and that's when her attack came on. So off we went. Was glad I was here to get her there quickly, it is extremely painful and she was vomiting. I have no idea what would have happened if I was not here, not sure she could have even called 911 since she was completely doubled over in anguishing pain.

The first soup I made for her was pretty much water broth with veggies, although I did add some carrot juice to pop in a bit of color and flavor. She is not a big fan of thyme, or I might have tried adding in a few sprigs. I boiled the chicken in with the mix. you can see in the photo, there was fat in the broth. It did not dawn on me to cook them separately. I have never boiled chicken, or thought about the fat rendering out.

The next attempt, I boiled the chicken only in water with a little carrot juice and drained off all the liquid. This was a much better solution and the chicken came out clean. That way she can add it to anything she wants. Salad, soup, stuff it into a lettuce cup or a small bell pepper. The real key is very small portions.

Next was the sliced baked potato, spicy chicken and vegetable casserole I had made. I could have frozen it or offered it to neighbors, but I just ate it for every meal until it was gone. By the last few servings I was getting pretty tired of it. As I do with other food, I finally turned it into soup. Oftentimes I just add water and everything simmers nicely. I don't overcook vegetables, so heating this up was a quick process. Most of the veggies are still relatively firm even after reheats.

Having dietary restrictions requires some new thinking when you are used to cooking a certain way. It has me rethinking almost everything I eat too. I am already a big label reader, and have changed some of my own eating habits to have a healthier lifestyle. Homemade soup is a good start for anyone. Lentil soup is my favorite. I am not sure if she can eat lentils. As I said, I have a lot to learn about cooking for others who have special needs. In the process, I will learn to be a more mindful cook.

Chicken and vegetable soup with carrot broth

Boiled Chicken

Casserole Remix to Baked Potato Soup with Veggies and Cheese

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Spicy Curry Chicken with Veggies and Rice

From this to this.
Slow Cooked Spicy Curry Chicken

A dish of delish, Spicy Curry Chicken with Veggies and Rice

I like curry but sometimes it needs an extra punch of flavor. This spicy curry chicken has a lovely blend of spices that simmer down to an excellent sauce. I cook ingredients separately so I can use them for other dishes later. However you decide to accent your plate, making the spicy curry sauce is an ace every time. I use my special chiles from Larry the Peppahead to blend in a lot of native wonder. This has his special reserve smoked chile olive oil. Dixon and Caribe, a little turmeric and a dash of Sriracha. A beautiful combination of flavors that you can use on about anything, but for this recipe I used chicken.

Once I finished cooking all the ingredients, I plated up a small dish to enjoy. This is served with red bell peppers, snow peas, celery, carrots and brown rice. I think you will love it. If you are a vegetarian, skip the chicken and use tofu.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Games People Play-Coupons|Incentives|Promotions

Safeway Monopoly Game Image

Safeway Monopoly Game Tickets

It is not unusual for people to want to win something, but at what cost?

I’ve watched Extreme Couponing a few times and am amazed at how much time they spend to organize, file, shop, and store the massive amount of items. On the whole, it’s stuff that is not all that healthy for you. A huge amount of processed and frozen foods. Paper goods, deodorant, shampoo, cleaning supplies and laundry detergent.

The last time I watched the show; one woman had spent over 50 hours preparing for her shopping trip. Buying multiple newspapers to get an added advantage and getting her kids to help clip and sort.

I think it’s all crazy. But, I thought I ought to try and see what some of these shopper incentives were all about and how much time it takes.

Safeway has a Monopoly game. You get tickets to paste onto the board depending on how much you buy. At first I did not collect the tickets, thinking how silly it was. Then I decided to be a consumer on their terms. I started taking the game rewards.

First you open the tickets, then you sort them, then try and find where they go. You have to turn the board around and around to see if you have any matched numbers. Next, you have to turn it over and start this whole process again.

The images are so small I needed to use a magnifier to match them up. It’s a bit tricky with some of the impressions, so you end up looking to match numbers, not just images.

Why am I sharing this? Well, the biggest reason is how much time you spend looking at the images. Talk about brand influence! You have this game that actually hypnotizes you. Depending on how many tickets you have, you may look very closely at a brand logo many, many times.

Not too unlike couponing…brand impressions are registered hundreds and hundreds of times. You may be saving money, but you are being influenced to buy certain brands whether you want to or not. Your brain is being tattooed with brand names and it will affect you your whole life. You won’t even know why, but you will buy based on the subtle, or not so subtle effects of the circulars, games, incentives, discounts and in-store promotions.

Pretty soon you will not have a mind of your own. You will buy based on advertising and marketing. Again, you won’t know why you buy what you buy.

These sales tactics seem innocent enough, play a game, maybe win some money, a vacation home, luxury car, home makeover, college tuition, trip, gift card, spa treatment, Redbox movies for a year, weekend getaway, jet ski or a family picnic, but I want you to think seriously about how much time you will spend looking at these brand logos.

I want you to think about all the hours you will spend clipping coupons when you could be spending quality time with your family. Cooking nutritious meals, not microwaving some Hot Pockets because you got them for free.

It took me hours to play this little game with myself. To actually experience the whole gig one game ticket at a time. If you like puzzles, you will like this. If you are lucky, you will win something. More than likely you will get a 25 cents off coupon for a tub of Daisy Sour Cream, Dannon Activia Yogurt, Twizzlers Twists, Nabisco Wheat Thins Toasted Chips, Keebler Fudge Shoppe Cookies, Daisy Cottage Cheese, One 2 Liter bottle of your choice of name brand soda, Jolly Time Microwave Popcorn, Capri Sun Juice Drink Blend, Nabisco Oreo Sandwich Cookies, Edge Shave Gel, perhaps 50 cents off Finish Jet-Dry Liquid Rinse Agent, 75 cents off Sparkle Paper Towels Prints, or a real biggie, an instant winner of two (2) bonus Monopoly game tickets on your next visit while supplies last. Woohoo!

Even this is another example of how brands influence us. I looked at the coupons and typed them in for this article. Ridiculous! All this does not even include the hours it would take to add the codes in for the online game or fill out individual, hand-addressed, 3X5 index cards for each code in a separate envelope. Now add postage. Gee, what a deal.

It’s your call if you want to trade time for money in the form of coupons, or playing games like this. But in the end, it’s the brands who win, not you.