I buy most of my fruit frozen, except for apples and bananas which are still at an acceptable price for my budget. I have a friend who utilizes the SNAP program (food stamps). As a single older woman she doesn’t get much but she’s also eligible for food bank distributions which helps a good deal. To further complicate matters, she’s diabetic. She often winds up with canned fruit (usually in juice) as does anyone who has an extended pantry, aka prepper pantry. Draining and rinsing will remove most of the excess sugar and there’s so much you can do with them.
This is one of my favorite uses for canned peaches. I’ve always saved the juice for baking and such, heck I’ve even cooked oatmeal in it (yummmm). For the original recipe, I used reconstituted dry milk but these days I use unsweetened almond milk with a tiny dollop of yogurt for creaminess.
Peach Coolers – serves 2
Ingredients 2 cups milk 1 cup canned peaches drained (DO NOT THROW OUT THE JUICE) ½ tsp lemon juice 1 dash nutmeg (optional but tasty) Directions Put the ingredient in a blender, blend well sprinkle with nutmeg if you like serve cold – I like to freeze the drained peaches for an hour before making
Tips for the leftover juice – pour it into a pitcher of iced tea for sweetener – use as part of the liquid in any baking recipe adds nutrition and flavor – whirl in blender with any leftover peaches and freeze into peach pops
My SuperHubs is a Type 1.5 Diabetic of LADA (Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults). He’s a bit brittle and prone to hypoglycemia episodes. We found some bars that work pretty well to bring his blood glucose back to acceptable levels but man, oh man are they pricey. So I started playing around in the kitchen and tada Protein Cookies were created. They have about 50 calories and 7-8 carbs per cookie. They work well for us as a replacement for the diabetic bars.
Makes 15 cookies
Preheat oven to 350º f, line a baking sheet with parchment
Dry Ingredients: 1/8 Cup whole wheat flour 1/8 Cup almond flour 1/8 Cup whey protein powder ½ teaspoon baking soda pinch salt ¾ Cup quick oats
Wet Ingredients 1 Tablespoon butter softened ¼ Cup brown sugar packed 1 egg ½ teaspoon vanilla extract ¼ Cup almond butter 1-2 Tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
Combine the dry ingredients and whisk to fully disperse Whisk together the wet ingredients until smooth stir in dry ingredients (I use a wooden spoon) stir in the quick oats a little at a time if the dough seems too thick add the applesauce 1 Tablespoon at a time refrigerate dough for about 15 minutes scoop onto baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes
My grandmothers lived through the Great Depression. I’ve lived through the Double Dip Recession of the 1980’s and the Sub-prime Mortgage Crisis of 2007-2009. If, like me, you’re old enough to have worn a mood ring and elephant bell-bottoms, you may also recall the Great Recession of the late ’70s and early ’80s. In 1975 inflation topped 14%, unemployment breached 6% (higher in some places) and food prices where heading skyward. Funny thing is, I don’t remember it being scary. We drove used cars, rented a tiny cottage and in general lived within our means. We ate at home, grew vegetables and herbs in pots, bought baby clothes at yard sales. Very little ever went to waste. I breast fed and used cloth diapers, partly because it was eco-friendly but mostly because formula and disposable diapers were $&^%*! expensive.
This time around it’s a bit more complicated. There are cell phones, wifi connections, TV channels, car payments and the like. Let’s not even talk about the cost of child care. Complicated but not impossible. I’m dragging out some of my Grandma’s methods for “getting by” and things I learned during the past recessions and giving them a new spin. I am determined to really flourish in spite of a dicey economic picture.
Here’s a recipe from My Grandma Cope. I like to keep some in a baggie in the freezer to send home with the great grandkids when they visit.
World’s Easiest Candy
1 sleeve Saltine crackers 1 stick butter 1 cup brown sugar 2 cups chocolate chips
On a baking sheet, spread out Saltine crackers. Melt butter and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat until gooey. Pour over crackers and bake at 350 degrees for five minutes, or until bubbly.
Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Let sit for a few minutes until chocolate chips begin to melt. Then, spread over crackers evenly with a spatula.
Stick in the freezer for an hour, or until chocolate hardens. Break into small pieces and put into containers or baggies. Store in the freezer until ready to eat or give away.
This cooking adventure turned out so well! I used the wild mushroom assortment from Whole Foods Market, sautéd with some dinosaur kale, and a basic béchamel sauce, topped with some grated asiago and a bit of crumbled bacon. I tossed with some edamame fettuccine noodles (gotta watch those carbs) and OH MY WORD!
When you’re a spoonie with a family of 2 with chronic and autoimmune diseases, kitchen work can be a considerable challenge. We follow two similar yet different diets at our house. I follow WFPB (Whole Food Plant Based) diet, Superhubs is primarily pescetarian. He eats fish, generally once a day, egg whites as an ingredient and occasionally chicken if we eat out. He’s extremely particular about the type and preparation of fish, hence the occasional chicken and eschews all forms of dairy. We eat LOTS of beans, tofu a couple times per week. Since we are in “travel mode” right now, we eat simple and rather more “packaged” food than we normally would. Today we’re not moving but still follow the same principles. A quick look at our menu for today.
Breakfast: Museli for SH, quick oats for me.
AM snack: SH – 1/2 banana, 1/2 sheet graham cracker, 1/4 cup nuts
Me – 1/2 banana, 1 rice cake
Lunch: Soup with toasted cheese sandwiches, veggie sticks, chips
PM snack: Both – homemade oil-free hummus, crackers, cuties
Dinner: Saag Aloo with chickpea curry
Dessert: Fruit plate, 1/2 spelt muffin w/almond butter (homemade pumpkin butter for me)
As you can see, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. It equates in spoon usage to a part time job. I’ll also do some writing (fiction project) in addition to this and some housework. Trying to figure out how to fit in some exercise since it’s snowing and blowing and too cold outside for my lungs. If the roads clear enough, we may try some “walmart walking” after lunch.
It’s always a challenge, to balance everything, enough rest, enough exercise, nutrition and convenience. The scale moves both ways and every day is different. I tell my yoga learners that balance is not a static thing. Stand in any one leg pose and feel the tiny adjustments your muscles make, especially your feet. Life is like that, balance isn’t something you just find, it’s a thousand tiny adjustments every day that give us the feeling of solidity. Life is always in motion and you have to roll with it. Nowhere is this more true than in the life of a spoonie. A healthy recipe for Saag Aloo (spinach and potatoes) in the slow cooker and a pretty picture for you my friends. Namaste ~oep
Saag Aloo — Serves 2
Ingredients 2 medium to large potatoes, well scrubbed (or peeled if you prefer), any “eyes” or brown spots removed. 1 cup reconstituted broth (I used Better than Bouillon vegetable) 1 to 1 1/2 Tablespoons dehydrated onion flakes (or 1/4 Cup chopped onion or 1/2 cup sliced onion if you have it). 1/2 teaspoon each of: cumin, ground corriander, hot chili powder (I use ancho), and graham masala ground black pepper – a few good shakes
As much spinach slightly torn as you can fit into your slow cooker. Feel free to use a mix of greens, I threw in some collard greens that I needed to use up and a few handfuls of baby spinach. You can add more spinach as it cooks down.
Cut the potatoes into 1 inch or smaller pieces. I, personally do not peel my potatoes, I use organic and the peel is full of nutrients. The smaller the pieces, the quicker it will cook. Add the broth Add the spices and onion and stir in. top with greens, firmer greens on the bottom, spinach on top Cook on high for 3-5 hours depending on your slow cooker and the size of your potato dice Add spinach as desired.
There you have it, quick, easy, yummy and slow cooker friendly, especially important on a low spoons day.
I love moon milk, you know those fancy-schmancy hot milk before bedtime drinks. Infused with floral essences and calming properties. Sigh …. yeah you know the ones that require three pans and thirty minutes of prep time. Gorgeous though they be, I’m a SPOONIE. By night time I’m lucky if I have enough energy left to watch a half hour of television much less do some picture perfect hoytietoytie drink. So, what’s a spoonie/foodie to do? Improvise! Here for your culinary enjoyment is my adaptation for Lazy Spoonie Moon Milk. As always, see the disclaimer page. I’m not a nutritionist, this is just what works for me.
8 oz. unsweetened almond milk 1 celestial seasonings sleepytime lavender tea bag (or other tea of your choice) 1/2 teaspoon ashwaghanda powder (totally optional) 1 five mg fast melt melatonin tablet sweetener of choice (I use honey) cinnamon or other spice of choice
Pour almond milk into a microwave safe cup, add tea bag. Microwave until hot but not boiling (mine is usually about 2 minutes). Let teabag steep about 5 minutes. Remove teabag, add melatonin tablet and ashwaghanda powder if using, stir, microwave to reheat. Remove from microwave, add sweetener and top with a pretty little sprinkle of spice.
Sip slowly, with perhaps a biscuit.
So what’s your bedtime beverage of choice? How do you convince your aching muscles to relax at the end of the day?
Oooooohhhh a recipe swap! DI over at pensivity is hosting Saturday Swapit, a recipe and healthy eating idea swap. I am so totally in. Here at Castle Serenity, we eat duo. Two different diets. Mostly we eat the same thing, just different quantities and add ons. Superhubs is a LADA diabetic so carb control is essential. At a whopping 60 grams of carbohydrate (that’s gross count including fiber) per meal, I get a little inventive sometimes. I, on the other hand am most definitely NOT diabetic, I’m just poofy.
“I’m not fat, it’s all this fur, it makes me look big. I’m poofy.” ~Manny the Mammoth in Ice Age.
Another big factor around here is spoon levels. We’re both spoonies and often it just depends on what I can throw together by the end of the day. This little bit of awesomeness fits both bills.
Basics (for 2)
1 Tablespoon good quality whole grain mustard
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar (I use raw) or other vinegar of your liking
2 Cups lightly steamed broccoli florets (I use frozen and a microwave)
1 Cup cooked brown rice
1 can of tuna well drained (we use 7 oz split into thirds)
1 Tablespoon well drained low fat small curd cottage cheese
Mix mustard and vinegar together, pour over steamed broccoli and toss to coat.
In a bowl, layer 1/2 brown rice and 1/3 – 2/3 of the broccoli
Top with 1/3 – 2/3 of the tuna
Top with either the avocado mash and almonds or cheese mix*
Obviously, Superhubs gets the larger of the bowls as at over 6 feet tall his caloric requirements are quite a bit more than mine. If I have a bit more spoons (energy) I’ll also throw on some red bell pepper, cucumber, or other diced, sliced vegetables and maybe substitute some poached chicken breast for the tuna.
*I like to drain some low fat small curd cottage cheese (because I don’t like ricotta) and mix it with various cheeses. Keeps the calories and costs down.
Greetings fellow Spoonies, retirees, and various other persons of interesting titles. It’s been a wacky couple of weeks here at Chez Spoons. The weather finally turned cold, with a vengence. Thursday, it was 62f when we went into town. Today’s high was 6f. No that’s not a typo, it’s a 52 degree shift in daily high temps. The north wind blew through here Thursday night, bringing biting cold. Please don’t even ask me about tonight’s projected lows (brrrrr). Alright enough whining about the weather JP, get on with it.
I was preparing to write a post for Paula’s February Love Me challenge about how much I love having a meal plan and how it helps keep me sane, er ah … save me spoons, and figured I’d combine posts (no I am not lazy, the politically correct term is ‘spoon deficient’). Like a lot of Spoonies I have days, a LOT of days (OK most days) when I’m lucky to get in a shower and thinking about what to make for dinner just can’t penetrate the dull grey haze that is brain fog. “JP, what the heck is the big deal about meal plans?”
Well, mostly, they help me save my spoons (energy) for more important things, like figuring out how to adjust the water flow on my shower so the spray doesn’t sting my hyper-sensitive skin, or whether or not I actually swallowed that pain pill, little things like that. Here’s what menu planning does for me:
Helps me save my “brain spoons” you know those spoons related to brain fog and general forgetfulness (I am NOT old enough for senior moments, I swear).
Saves my normal “energy” spoons, every meal in my arsenal is less than 30 minutes hands on and most are “on the table” 30 minutes or less.
Saves me spoons when shopping. I know what I’m having so I know what I need to pick up. I also keep a “master” grocery list that I just check off when I’ve used the last of a staple (all of you stop wadding up those papers to throw at me, put down that rotten tomato). I grant you that’s a little hyper-organized but I really can’t help it (yes I also sort my pills for the week into multiple marked containers) it’s an OCD thing.
It saves me the weird looks when I innocently ask “what’s for dinner honey?” Instead I can ask “What day is it?” and get an actual answer.
OK, now you know why, next up is how? Personally, we follow a basic “theme” dinner menu. Monday – Burgers, Tuesday – Tofu, Wednesday – Fish/chicken, Thursday – Bangers (sausages), Friday — Fish, Saturday — Casserole, Sunday — Chili. The side dishes may change depending on produce availability and our ability to grocery shop but I know what I’m working with and that’s just fine. Doesn’t that get boring? No, but we’re that kind of people who can happily eat the same foods every week and I’m a pretty darned good “pantry cook.”
So there you have it. The web is loaded with great “low spoons” meals and meal plans for just about any diet you could follow. Save your spoons for the important stuff. I’m off to do … something … wait a second, what the heck is the car key doing in the refrigerator?
For our JusJoJan and SoCS prompt: Your prompt for #JusJoJan and Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “close eyes and point.” When you’re ready to write your post, open a book, a newspaper, or whatever is handy and close your eyes and point. Whatever word or picture your finger lands on, make that the basis of your SoCS/JusJoJan post. Enjoy! “Advantages”
One of the advantages of retirement is the extra time you have to invest in those projects you’ve been putting off. Of course, that’s also the greatest disadvantage of spoonie retirement, all that time stretching out before you, time to study subjects long ago forsaken in the name of “making a living.” Time to tackle the lifestyle changes and projects you have planned to do for years but hadn’t the time. And, naturally it also gives you lots of time to lament that spoonie reality of now having time but lacking energy, strength and resources to perform those studies, projects, and lifestyle changes. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining (well maybe a little *sniffle, sniffle*) I’m happy with my lot in life, although not particularly energetic.
I took some time measurements this week and found out that it takes me every bit of 1.25 hours every morning just to deal with basic medical treatments of a variety of the manifestations of my disease(s), all of which are repeated again at the end of the day. So that’s 2.5 hours out of my day right there. Needless to say anything that can save me a few steps (or a few bucks) or increase my energy level even a bit, I’m game for a try.
Last week I mixed up a batch of immunity tea blend and this week I brewed up a pot, added a touch of manuka honey and used it for an immunity boosting tonic. I cannot really say as to the effectiveness of it but I haven’t gotten sick but I do seem to be recovering from multiple minor injuries better than I expected and hey it tastes good, has no known side effects what’s not to like right? I say bring back the hippy dippy teas of my childhood! Now for those of you who lack the energy or resources to make your own tea blend, there are lots of immunity boosting teas on the market. I don’t generally use them because many include echinacea which I don’t use (autoimmune diseases …. duh). Whether using this blend or a store purchased one, always make sure there are no contraindicated ingredients based on your particular spoonieness. With that said, here is Farren’s “Immunity Tisane” recipe. Yes … Farren is a dear and yes it’s a tisane since it doesn’t actuallycontain leaves of the Camellia Sinensis(tea plant).
Farren’s Magic Immunity Tisane
1/4 Cup dried hibiscus flower 1/4 Cup dried elderberries 1/4 Cup rose hips (I buy whole and crush them with the flat of a knife) 1/4 Cup dried apple bits (very small) 2 Tablespoons finely chopped crystalized ginger (is what I had on hand but unsweetened dried will work fine) 2 Tablespoons dried orange peel 2 Tablespoons dried cornflowers
Place all ingredients in a 2 Cup glass jar (I use a wide mouth canning jar), replace the lid and shake until ingredients are well disbursed.
To brew: use 1 Tablespoon of tea per 12-16 oz boiling water, steep for about 5 minutes. Use more or less tea, and/or add sweetener to taste.
Well it’s been a week here at Chez Spoons. I’ve just finished off two weeks of steroid therapy to treat my dyshidrotic eczema. Pllffttt ;-p have I ever mentioned how much I dislike steroids? Make me slightly psychotic they do. But I’m done for now and I have to say that my feet do feel much better. Then, in what shall henceforth be known as the “great chinese cabbage incident” I managed to slice off a significant portion of the finger pad on my middle finger, requiring several stitches and bandages, making me look like I’m giving the whole world the bird. I wonder what kind of fingerprint I’ll be left with. On second thought, maybe that’s not such a bad thing buahaha. Perhaps I should now reveal my evil plans for world domination, the sky’s the limit! Oh wait, wait, that’s just the steroids talking, haha (don’t worry that’s not what they really said.)
OK, ok back to Retired Spoonie life. The weather here north of the 45th parallel has finally turned more wintery. Little spits an spurts of snow and cold weather mingled 30-40 degree temperature shifts have my poor spoonie metabolism all out of whack. We moved here because we LIKE the cold. It’s the back and forth that fluster me so. I’m hyper-sensitive to temperature changes right now so we’re implementing cold weather spoon conservation techniques. Why? Well, it’s 69f in my snuggly little home right now, and I’m shivering. Shivering depletes my spoons (energy reserves) very quickly. So, long story short, we implement several strategies to keep warm when we feel the cold.
Hot water bottles – Superhubs currently has his wool sock bedecked feet resting on a hot water bottle to keep his feet warm
I am currently wearing an extra sweater and an over wrap to keep my core warm and prevent shivers
We keep a heated mattress pad and flannel sheets on our bed. The mattress pad is a new addition to our winter regimen and I must say … total score!
I am drinking hot water. I drink a lot of water and right now I’m heating it to warm me from the inside out
I’m experimenting with more kitchen based home remedies. This week’s experiment has been an alternative to antacids. I did some research and found a lot of information on fennel. Thus far it’s working really well. When I feel excess acid, instead of reaching for the bottle of antacid, I chew 1/2 teaspoon of fennel seeds. It works just as well or better than the antacids. I’m going to try a fennel tea and see how that works. I’ll be making a “winter blend” tea this week as well, with dried rose hips from my local coop, for added vitamin C.