Archive for Food and Dining

Happy Thanksgiving 2021

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the LORD is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.” —Psalm 100:4-5

Thanksgiving 2021

Well, here we are once again entering the Holiday season with the first big eating day upon us. Verna and I will be celebrating with a fairly standard Thanksgiving Dinner consisting of (subject to last-minute changes): Smoked Turkey Breast with Cranberry Sauce, Collard Greens, Andouille and Cornbread Stuffing, and Mashed Fauxtatoes.

The Fauxtatoes are actually Mashed Cauliflower and the Cornbread, similarly, is a Keto Diet friendly mix of low carb items. The Cranberry Sauce is sugar free (mostly) and the gravy is made with almond flour and low carb ingredients. All of this while keeping an eye on the sodium content. Nonetheless, our experience is that Thanksgiving Dinner will be just as delicious as anybody could want.

We hope that you all will have a very Happy Thanksgiving Day! Now, excuse me – I have to get the turkey breast ready for the smoker.

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Beltane – A Celtic Cross-Quarter

beltane.pngThis 5th of May, 2021, Verna and I have decided to skip the traditional “Cinco de Mayo” and celebrate “Beltane” instead. The Cross-Quarter day (midway between the spring equinox and the summer solstice) of Beltane, an ancient Celtic day of importance, occurs on May 5th this year according to the “Grand Octal Clock” which can be seen at the Archaeoastronomy.com website.

So, to celebrate the Celtic First Day of the Summer Season, we will be preparing a traditional Irish dinner of Corned Beef and Cabbage along with some boiled vegetables. I know, we just had that on March 17th for St. Patrick’s Day, but we like to have this meal more than once a year.

I discussed our Irish Ancestry in a post on St. Patrick’s Day last year. I also have English, Welsh, Scottish and some other mixed Northern European heritage along with a couple of Italians and one Choctaw great6th grandmother. Doing the math, that Indian ancestor qualifies me for Native American heritage benefits four times greater than Senator Elizabeth “Fauxcahontas” Warren. Of course, I wouldn’t do that – I’m not a Democrat.

So, since neither Verna nor I have any Hispanic Genealogy, we will probably be more inclined to celebrate Beltane than Cinco de Mayo in the future on May the 5th. That being said, we will still, of course, indulge in Tex/Mex Cuisine from time to time.

Happy (Insert Your Preferred 3/5 Celebration Here) to you!

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Easter Sunday 2021

cross.jpgToday we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We will be conducting an in-home Easter service wherein Communion will be taken in remembrance of the Lord’s sacrifice on the cross.

Image at right borrowed from the Patriot Post‘s “Resurrection Day Meditations” webpage. Click on the image to visit.

Later, we will have a Sunday feast consisting of smoked turkey breast with trimmings similar to, but not exactly like, Thanksgiving Dinner. I will be multi-tasking in the morning between conducting services and attending to the smoker. Damsel will similarly be engaged in preparation of the sides for our glorious feast. We’ve done smoked turkey on several occasions and they always turn out very good.

We wish everyone a very Happy Easter Day and hope that you enjoy the celebration as we shall be doing.

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Weekend Cooking

Grilling with InsetsLike most weekends, this one featured some delicious food. Yesterday, we were treated to Chicken Jalapeño Popper Casserole and today we had Grilled Beef Tenderloin (Filet Mignon) Steaks with “Broc’n’Mock” (Mac’n’Cheese without the mac) and Bacon Collard Greens.

Image: I’m at the grill on a 70° Wickenburg day with insets showing steaks and one of the dinner plates. Click on the image to enlarge.

We generally have Keto-friendly fare with an eye on low sodium content. This weekend we might have had more cheese than necessary, but there was plenty of green and white veggies to compensate. You will seldom see us with no (or too few) vegetables or salad and that’s a good thing.

We have yet to finalize next weekend’s menu (Valentine’s weekend) but you can almost always see what we’re thinking on the Food Blog. I’m sure Verna and I will come up with something wonderful.

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Independence Day July 4, 2020

Flag Waving Wickenburg

Happy Independence Day from the little flag-waving town of Wickenburg, AZ!

Our local American Legion Post religiously plants flags all over town on every holiday as seen in the background image above. That image was taken (credit Verna) along the main part of Wickenburg Way (a.k.a. US 60) in the old historical part of town. I added the greeting with a graphics utility I use from time to time.

To celebrate the holiday, Verna prepared Star Spangled Chili for dinner yesterday. The dish included a medium-hot chili base with lean ground beef, sliced Hebrew National kosher franks and chopped beef tenderloin chunks garnished with avocado, sour cream and an olive. It was pretty awesome.

The beef tenderloin chunks were leftover meat from a whole tenderloin I butchered myself. Once you separate the “chain” and the “wing” from the main tenderloin, I set those aside to be chopped into the aforementioned chunks.

I cut the rest of the main tenderloin into steaks, a couple of small roasts (Chateaubriand) and tenderloin medallions or small steaks. There is a bit of fat and silver skin that goes to waste, but most of the meat gets used in some form or another. Considering that butcher shop tenderloin steaks (Filet Mignon) are upwards of $20 per pound, butchering our own saves us a considerable amount of cash.

There are a couple of pretty good videos on You Tube (here and here) that guide you through the process of butchering a whole beef tenderloin.

In the meantime, despite all the COVID-19 and BLM/ANTIFA chaos, we’re having a nice holiday weekend here in our little piece of the good old USA and hope that everyone else will be able to enjoy it like we are doing. Happy Birthday America – may she keep on going strong!

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Grillin’ in the Rain

Rain or Shine the Grill Must Be Tended

When we arrived at camp today, we hooked up our utilities and immediately started getting the grill ready to fix our dinner. When I went out to grill the ribs, a thunderstorm started dumping some rain. Well, what had to be done was to get dinner on the table, so Verna got out my rain jacket and I finished the job.

The meal was delicious. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Lifestyle Change – Revised Eating Habits

keto.pngLast year, we both had our annual check-up with the family physician. After our exams, he ordered some lab work, mainly phlebotomy (blood work). Within a few days, Verna got a call from their office advising that her tests had come back showing her to be in pre-diabetes (type 2) with high triglycerides. My results weren’t all that too hot either, with the usual (for me) high cholesterol and other chronic problems showing up (kidney, hypertension, etc.). The doctor recommended a low-sugar (i.e. low carbohydrate) diet for her.

The pre-diabetes condition was something that immediately needed attention. We searched for and found a volume on KETO pre-diabetic recipes that went a step further than food prep and described how a body typically could reverse the diabetic trend by eliminating most high-in-carbohydrates foods. After reading up on some of the science behind the recovery process, we both decided to adapt our food preparation and consumption habits. Verna to try and slow down the diabetes potential and me to try and lose some of the fifteen or so extra pounds.

The first step was to purge from the pantry any and all items that were on an IMMENSE list of high carb no-nos. After filling up four good sized cardboard boxes of goodies headed out to the local food bank, we dutifully delivered them never to see the likes of those items in our pantry again. The list included rice, pasta, legumes, peas, corn, carrots, wheat flour, cornbread mix, pancake mix and so forth, most of which would regularly be included in our home-prepared meals.

We quickly adapted to the change and found many delicious recipes for low carb meals. There is plenty of on-line help on the food topic out there including Diet Doctor, plus there are cookbooks galore including many by TV Chef George Stella whose variety and clever substitutions for hi-carb goodies is a very good thing.

Early this year, after being on the new feeding arrangement for a few months, we saw the family doctor again. He prescribed follow-up testing to see how we were doing. When the test results came back, Verna showed a definite drop in the triglycerides and other lipids that were now essentially normal. I did not see her A1C number, but the verbal report indicated it was now normal.

Verna has lost a few pounds since the onset of the low-carb regimen, but more importantly, she is now in the green arc.

Me, on the other hand, I am now back to my high-school weight, having lost about 25 pounds. My weight is now stable and is normal for my height and build. I have now backed off of my blood pressure meds to about ⅓ of the previous dosage. I visited the kidney specialist and was advised that my marginal function had improved from 60 percent efficient to 80, which is fairly normal for my age (just turned 76 this week). My lipid numbers are all normal except for a high HDL cholesterol reading (a GOOD thing) and a low risk for cardio-vascular problems (a VERY GOOD thing).

The following excerpt* from one of our several books on the topic describes how we are neither starving nor craving these days:

MAINTAINING A LOW-CARB, HIGH-FAT DIET is beneficial for weight loss. Most importantly, according to an increasing number of studies, it helps reduce risk factors for diabetes, heart diseases, stroke, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, and more. The keto diet promotes fresh whole foods like meat, fish, veggies, and healthy fats and oils, and greatly reduces processed, chemically treated foods. It’s a diet that you can sustain long-term and enjoy. What’s not to enjoy about a diet that encourages eating bacon and eggs for breakfast!

Studies consistently show that a keto diet helps people lose more weight, improve energy levels throughout the day, and stay satiated longer. The increased satiety and improved energy levels are attributed to most of the calories coming from fat, which is very slow to digest and calorically dense. As a result, keto dieters commonly consume fewer calories because they’re satiated longer and don’t feel the need to eat as much or as often.

* Ramos, Amy. The Complete Ketogenic Diet for Beginners: Your Essential Guide to Living the Keto Lifestyle (p. 13). Rockridge Press. Kindle Edition.

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