Category Archives: Health

Too Tired

It’s my birthday and I’m so tired I just can’t seem to get moving.  I need to do laundry and clean my kitchen.  I’ll have to look through the freezer and see what I have that doesn’t need a lot of work.  I haven’t even had the energy to put on my compression stockings so I need to lay back down with my feet up for a little while so I can.

That was a couple of days ago and…

Now that was 2 months ago. I have since fractured the right side of my pelvis. Christmas eve 2012 it was the left side in two places. I am up to 37 fractures now in the last 28 months. I am still tired but feeling way better.  I have done my laundry and cleaned my kitchen many times since I started this post.  I want to make something but I don’t know what yet. That always cheers me up and improves my mood.  I already made the cannoli completely from scratch and got macarons to come out pretty well.  I haven’t tried madelines but they just seem too easy.  I will however gladly accept any recipes for them.  I want something more exotic.   It has to be something new that I have never tried.  Maybe by the time I mix up some hummus to dip my celery sticks in I will have an idea.  The celery will allow me the extra calories in whatever I make.

Since I have a few new followers from other countries and/or who are a little (or a lot) more worldly than I maybe I can get a few suggestions.

Homemade Cheese, Sourdough and Fermenting Food

 

Since I made my first ricotta and went on to make cannoli with it I have been fascinated with the whole process.  I found that when you drain the cheese you end up with not just cheese, but also whey.  I have been using it as a substitute for other liquids in recipes.  It is great in grits, bread and anywhere you need moisture.   I also discovered while researching uses for whey, that you can make your own fermented foods that are good for you, like homemade probiotic.  So far the sauerkraut is the best but I haven’t really eaten the gingered carrots as they are still pretty fresh.  The recipes I  have found on the web refer to whey that has been drained from things like yogurt so I started draining it off of greek  yogurt and Kefir.  Now I have found that you can get kefir grains and make your own.  This led to reading about cultivating mother cultures for different cheese starters so you don’t have to keep spending money on them and the latest was making blue cheese from homegrown blue mold  made on a piece of sourdough bread.  So first thing I did was pull out the sourdough starter, thaw it out and feed it.  It didn’t seem to be active enough last time so I  added 1/2 cup of rye flour mixed with 1/4 cup distilled water before bed and then did it again with bread flour in the morning.  I’ll do it again before bed and then bake some sourdough tomorrow.  It smells good and the rye flour really seemed to kick it back into gear.  From what I have read both rye and bread flour are good for that.   Next I will smear a dab of blue cheese on a slice of the sourdough bread and start growing some mold.  They say that the sourdough inhibits growth of the wrong  types of mold.

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Right now  I have a lactic cheese draining on the counter, the sourdough next to it and am about to shred some cabbage for more sauerkraut and start picking herbs to make a garlic and herb cheese spread.  I can’t afford to buy those expensive cheese spreads so I am going to give it a try.  There are a bunch of very similar recipes out there so I just picked one that sounds good and am going from there.  Since I grow my own I am not using dried herbs.  I also make jelly once or twice a year and then have a jelly strainer sitting there for the rest of the year.  I have started using the frame for hanging cheese to drain, the bag for straining yogurt and small amounts of cheese and also as a cover for my sourdough starter when it is out on the counter.

So here’s the sauerkraut recipe:

In my food processor, I shred a small head of green cabbage and a large carrot.  I discovered today that it is better to use the largest opening of my feed shoot as it leaves the shreds of cabbage longer.  Put it in a large bowl and sprinkle with 1 TBSP of pickling or kosher salt.  Mix well and beat down with a potato masher until  the cabbage has really started to soften and release it’s juices.  Also learned this time since  my back hurts so bad today that you don’t have to mash down the veggies for 15 min. like most recipes say to.  Sprinkle in the salt and let it sit for 1/2 hour and do something else.  Mash it down for a min. and then do something else for another 1/2 hour.  I did this 3 times and made 3 dozen lemon cookies in between mashing and the liquid is doing pretty good.

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As you can see the cabbage is too small here because I used the smaller feed tube instead of taking my time and cutting the chunks of cabbage to fit.  I will eat it anyway and do it right next time.

Toss in a tsp of caraway seeds and 4 TBSP of whey.  This time I am using Kefir whey.  Put it in a 2 qt. jar with a lid.  If there is not enough not liquid to cover then mix 1 tsp salt (kosher or pickling) with 1 cup of distilled or filtered water and add enough to cover cabbage.  Close and sit on the counter for 3 days.  By then it should be ready to go in the fridge where is can keep for at least 2 months.  Use your nose for all this stuff, the sauerkraut, the sourdough.  If something doesn’t smell good get rid of it.  Since I am learning all this stuff from the internet (other blogs), cheese making websites and trial and error I try to post the things I have questioned or discovered.  Like it really helps to have a canning funnel when putting things in the jar to ferment.

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The only way I am able to do all this today is…..I started the cheese last night, the sourdough months ago, started straining the kefir two days ago and  took out a package of frozen, pre-seasoned and formed hamburgers that my very good friend and taste tester will cook on the grill for dinner tonight.  I made cabbage rolls and homemade pierogi a couple of days ago so am taking a mini break from big dinners.  Will try to work on the cabbage rolls and pierogi post tomorrow but as many back breaks as I had to take today there are no guarantees.

I forgot to finish the cheese so here it is after draining for 8 hours.

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I put the herbs in my salad spinner, sprayed with the sink sprayer, spun them and dried on a kitchen towel.  I chopped by hand but then put the herbs in my mini processor (dry) and chopped them a little more.  I didn’t go out to pick peppers, but they were ripe  and pretty so I left them in the picture.  I used:

16 oz. of the lactic cheese

1 overflowing TBSP dill

2 TBSP parsley

1 1/2 tsp thyme

2 TBSP chives

2 tsp basil

1/2 tsp dried marjoram

3 cloves grated garlic

3 TBSP fresh grated parmesan

cracked pepper and salt to taste  (very important)

It’s in the fridge getting to know each other (the flavors).  This is not quite the same as the recipes I found out there, but then most of the things I make have my own twists and changes.  That’s one of the things that make cooking or anything else fun.  Make it your own!

Chicken Enchiladas with Green Enchilada Sauce

I started with a recipe for green enchilada sauce that I found at The Shrinking Kitchen, which appears to be a cool site that has a cool sister site.  Check it out.  Link at the bottom to the original recipe.  I decided when I made the stoneware roasted chicken to make enchiladas with the leftovers.
Leftovers is a great way to make it through the week when you are in pain or out of energy or your legs are soooo full of fluid that they are actually weeping enough to need towels on the floor.  They are even better when all three of these things are happening at once as it was this week.  After being on steroids for years my skin has gotten really thin so things like this happen too often.  I was moving a chair and the leg scratched my leg.  Not hard enough to tear my lovely compression stockings that I wear whenever I’m not in bed, but just enough to scratch the skin underneath.  It’s like my leg is crying.  That’s also why I am up to 36 fractures in 24 months.  My little sister who also has as an invisible illness told me about the spoon theory.  It is a wonderful way to help people actually understand what it is like to be sick, especially with illnesses that others can’t see.  I highly recommend that you read the entire article.  It has helped me a lot to be able to explain in a way that people understand.  When I say I am low on or out of spoons those close to me know that I am almost to the point that I can’t go on.   The link to the spoon theory is below.

http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/wpress/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/
Part of what makes this so easy is that the enchilada sauce and salsa can both be made and sitting in the fridge for a week or so. Last night I used Ree’s salsa to make Spanish rice. I just added a cup to the liquid. It was so quick. I try to do that type of thing whenever I can for when I have no energy.

On to the enchiladas.

I love Mexican food so have been trying new recipes.  I have found that ever since my cholesterol got high I crave salsas and other things with chiles, onions, tomatoes and whatever else naturally lowers your cholesterol.  My favorite is Ree Drumund’s Restaurant Style Salsa.   I just wish I had a psychedelic bird dish like she does (link at bottom).  Next I found a recipe for green enchilada sauce. When I saw the recipe and the comments I had to try it but as usual I also had to change it.  And it is so good I could eat it with a spoon, but chips would be great too.
Green Enchilada Sauce
Ingredients
1 T olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, grated
1 pound green tomatillos, husked, washed and sliced into quarters
2 to 3 jalapeno peppers, seeds and ribs removed (depending on how hot you like it!)
1 can chopped green chilies
1 large fairly mild pepper (poblano, banana, yellow bell), seeds removed and coarse chopped
juice of 1 lime (and I used the zest two)
handful of fresh cilantro
4 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
Directions
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium high heat. Add the onion and saute until soft, about 5 min. Add garlic for last min.
2. While the onions and garlic are working, throw the tomatillos, cilantro, jalapeno, poblano, green chilies and lime juice and zest into the blender.
3. Blend on high speed until smooth. If needed add T olive oil to get things moving.
4. Pour the tomatillo mixture in with the onions and garlic.
5. Add the chicken broth, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper and whisk to combine.
6. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer on low heat for about an hour to thicken the sauce.
7. Blend with an immersion blender or throw the mixture back into the regular blender for a smoother sauce.
So the day after I made the stoneware roasted chicken I used the left overs for the enchiladas. I can’t find my pictures and it has been so long since I made them that I am just posting it anyway.

Chicken Enchiladas
4 large green onions, chopped
3 cups diced cooked chicken (1 breast, leg quarter, wings and whatever is left on bones – dinner leftovers from roast chicken)
2 cups packed grated cheeses (about 8 ounces) Mexican blend, sharp cheddar, Colby jack
1/2 8-ounce package light cream cheese, softened
½ to 1 can diced green chilies
15 8-inch-diameter corn tortillas
2 cups grated cheeses or whatever amount you prefer for topping
1 recipe of green enchilada sauce

Directions
1. In a non stick skillet on medium high heat, cook tortillas for 10 seconds on each side (to soften).
2. Spread enough of the enchilada sauce to cover the bottom of a 9X13 baking dish.  Mix green onions, chicken, grated and cream cheese and chilies in large bowl.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Spoon 1/4 cup filling down center of each tortilla.  Roll and arrange seam side down in prepared dish.
4. Spoon remaining enchilada sauce over enchiladas.  Sprinkle remaining cheese over top.
5. Bake at 350⁰ for 30 min or until cheese is bubbling and starting to brown.
6. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.
7. Serve with sour cream, green onions, black olives tomatoes and lettuce and whatever else strikes your fancy.
Enjoy! I sure did!

http://shrinkingkitchen.com/homemade-green-enchilada-sauce/

http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2010/01/restaurant-style-salsa/