Baby Step 10: What’ll You Have?

My Southern grandmother’s way of asking if we wanted more was not, “Would you like some more?”  It was “What’ll you have?”

BabyStep10In other words, “Which of these delicious things will you have more of now?”  And it was hard, both physically and socially, to not promptly pick your personal favorite of her offerings.  For me it was her hot milk cake, her watermelon rind pickles, her homemade biscuits with homemade plum jelly or her sugar cookies.  Notice the sweet theme…. oh yes, I was a sugar hound!!  It was not only delicious but complimentary to have more.

Our culture has become very much about more.  If you have’t seen Super Size Me, I highly recommend it for an eye opener on serving sizes (and other outrageously egregious practices) in fast food restaurants.  The film has some rough language and frank talk about sex, so may not be appropriate for younger kids.

In the less is more and more is really more dichotomy of our culture that loves:
both skinny bodies and large breasts;
both many choices and extra large servings;
both designer names and cheap food;
both the most expensive health care system in the world and the 37th most effective health care system…
we are in a watermelon rind pickle indeed. Continue reading

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The Sweet Beast and Morning Decadence

It’s been a while since we specifically talked about sugar. But really it’s a discussion you just kind of keep having.  I have it with myself all the time.  I’m having it right now, in fact, because I’m sitting here wondering why I don’t keep more dessert in the house.  The fact that I’ve been thinking about this for an hour explains why I don’t keep more dessert in the house…  So, maybe it’s time to talk about sugar again.  For those of you who were lured in by the Morning Decadence part of the title – it’s there, recipe included, waiting for you below. Continue reading

Walnut Crust Apple Pie – GF, DF

Although my whole wheat crusts were never beautiful to look at, they were tasty and I always loved the heartier texture of a whole wheat crust.  My husband requests an apple pie in lieu of cake for his birthday every year, and I was always happy to oblige.

Now that he has been told by his doctor to do away with gluten for awhile to address some health problems (although he is not celiac), what I am supposed to make for the poor man on his birthday?  I know – it’s all about me isn’t it?  😉

I have tried a number of gluten free crusts, but as with most gluten free baking, (IMHO), the inclusion of white flours and starches such as potato starch and tapioca flour run afoul of my desire to use whole grains whenever possible, and since they don’t taste very good anyway, I’ve not stuck been very persistent in my search for a solution.

Enter the walnut crust.  Yes, the humble, nutritious, crumbly, bumbly walnut.  I had a friend who used to call me walnut – so I’m allowed to humbly call them crumbly and bumbly. Continue reading

Googling Up Easy Delish Dinner

I’ve been a little busier than usual lately – I got some real live PAID work, for which I am extremely grateful, but which throws a pretty big wrench in my normal task accomplishment rhythm.  My fabulous bathroom renovation has been, shall we say, stalled (har, har), the garden’s behind, I’ve stopped planning about 15 home improvements and I’ve had a harder time than usual planning food.  Still spinning a bit I guess.  I’ll get the hang of it again, but in the meantime, we still have to eat.

So the other night, when I didn’t get to the market as planned, I made a quick survey of the ingredients I had available, and decided to just google them.  I typed in potatoes, green beans, and coconut milk… and up came dinner.  Isn’t technology wonderful?  And I really mean it this time (unlike so many of the times I say that).

There were several posts that featured the same basic idea (a gentle curry), so I settled on the one that looked like it would make the amount of food I wanted, put some rice in the rice cooker, and got to work changing the recipe to suit myself, as I do.  So I give you:

Coconut Curry with Green Beans, Potatoes and Kale – inspired by this version Continue reading

Waldorf Saute – Walnuts are Wonderful!

Walnuts are indeed wonderful.  As are apples.  And celery.  Well, of course lots of other foods as well, but this combo has been on my mind and was evidently on the mind of the clever person who put them all together in Waldorf salad.  Why stop there?  Why stop with Waldorf salad?  Why stop at all except for sheer exhaustion?  That’s my usual M.O. anyhow until Little Sis says, “But what are you going to do to relax?”  She gets a certain tone when she says this – sheesh!  As if she’s one to talk 😉  Sometimes I call her to let her know I am just sitting or reading or doing something calm and still.  Hmmm. Haven’t done that in awhile….

At any rate – I got a bee in my bonnet about that Waldorf combo and thought it should be explored in other avenues.  I was thinking about Waldorf chili, but I wasn’t in the mood and was unsure about walnuts and tomato (please correct me if I’m wrong!), so I just decided to saute the Waldorf combo with some other lovely vegetables and my favorite spice cumin and it was a hit.

So I give you, Continue reading

Asparagus, Bacon, & Avocado Lettuce Wrap

Bacon?  Did you say bacon Bigg Sis?  I know.  I don’t believe the word bacon has ever appeared in one of our posts before, but here it is, in all it’s dishonor or glory…. it all depends.

Now you probably know that we at Sis Sisters Central do not eat a lot of animal products.  In fact Little Sis eats much less of it than we do at my house.  I eat eggs and eat meat about once a week or every other week.  The boys often sneak in an extra meat night when I am working late.  One of the reasons I only eat meat once a week or so is because when I do eat meat I try to make it what I call ‘clean meat.’  Clean meat (and eggs) is from animals who are treated well; allowed to move around naturally; not confined so that they are wading around in manure and contracting diseases which must be prevented with drugs that end up in their muscle tissue (which is what we eat!); and who eat a natural diet.  There is lots of good information about these distinctions in Michael Pollan’s book The Omnivore’s Dilemma.  You may be able to find local ‘clean’ meat at a farmers market or even by visiting a local farm where you can actually see clean, healthy animals in action! Continue reading

Veggie Basics: What to Put In There

It is oh so easy, when talking about how to improve our diets, to get stuck in the language of deprivation.  Don’t Eat This, Don’t Eat That, Cut That, Avoid This, This Will Make You Sick, This Will Make You Bloated, Stop Eating What You’re Eating, Don’t Eat What You’re Thinking, You Shouldn’t, You Mustn’t, Don’t, Don’t Don’t EAT!!!!  I realize I may be the only one who occasionally still veers adolescent n my behavior and reactions but there’s only so much mustn’t I can take.

It is critically important when attempting to improve your eating habits to put more than a little of that mental energy into thinking about what you SHOULD eat rather than what you SHOULDN’T eat.  Focusing on the should and the can and the new and different and the experiments and the flavors is a framework of abundance and permission and excitement.  You are not a child; don’t spend all day scolding yourself.  Spend some time telling yourself what you can or even should do and then play with that suggestion.

So here we are, we’ve talked a lot about what you probably shouldn’t eat, and we’ve made lots of suggestions about what to eat, but I’m going to get real specific and direct just for a few hundred words here, and I’m going to annoy my father, because I’m going to tell you to eat kale.  Why? Continue reading

Great Grains: Amaranth

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Amaranth Breakfast Bowl

In my continuing quest to shake things up around here, I’ve decided to try a variety of grains to see what people used to eat before they decided everything should be on rice or noodles (which are both lovely options in my book). Who says the foods that we’ve settled into as a culture are the ones that will do us the most good? In many cases I think it’s clear that the opposite may be true – but that’s a rant for another day.  Why not increase the number of options and opportunities for the bod to get what it needs by adding a new whole grain to the pantry?  Today’s mission: amaranth.

Amaranth in the field

Amaranth has been grown for centuries in South America and, in more recent years, in many parts of the world as folks have noticed that it is particularly tolerant to drought.  From a nutritional standpoint, amaranth has a lot to offer.  Amaranth is high in quality proteins, shows promise in research in actually lowering cholesterol, AND it is gluten free.  How do you like them Amaranthapples? Continue reading