Posted in Favorite Recipes

Bacon Cheddar Corn Muffins

This is one of the first quick breads we learned at The Culinary Institute of Charleston. If you like cornbread, you will like these muffins. You might not even be able to wait for the rest of dinner to be done.

Ingredients:

Note: all measurements are by weight. You need a food scale.

6 oz cornmeal
6 oz ap flour
1.5 oz granulated sugar
0.2 oz baking powder
2 grams baking soda
3 grams salt

3 eggs (approx 5 oz)
12 oz buttermilk
4 oz canola oil

3 oz corn kernels
3 oz cheddar cheese
3 oz cooked bacon, chopped
1/2 oz fresh chives

Directions:

1. Accurately measure all ingredients (mis en place)
2. Sift the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs until completely smooth. Add the buttermilk, canola oil until combined.
4. Add the liquid ingredient to the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined.
5. Gently fold in the corn kernels, cheddar, bacon and (optional) chives. Do not over mix.
6. Portion into lined muffin pans with a scoop. filling them 3/4 of the way full.
7. Bake at 375º until the center of the muffins bounce back when lightly pressed, approximately 20-25 minutes.

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Posted in Diet

Discouraged

When I woke up today my right arm was almost completely asleep, and it hurt. No, I didn’t sleep on it. I sleep on my back. My neck and back are in such a condition that if I remain in one position for too long nerves are pinched and maybe even blood circulation diminished.

For the past several weeks I have been receiving injections in my lower back to help with pain. I don’t think I am going to continue. They have not helped. In some ways it seems to have made things worse. I think stretching, exercise (whatever I can do) are the best courses to take.

I have posted any new pictures of my progress for a while. That is because I am not progressing, but regressing. My diet is suffering. I don’t know why I am having so much trouble staying on. Last year when I began it seemed so easy. Now I can’t seem to last more than a couple of weeks.

I still have a mind to keep fighting but is seems so hard now. I am somewhat discouraged by my pain. Sometimes I can’t rid my mind of thoughts that I may be in a wheelchair at some point before I’m old enough to be thinking about it. Quite frankly, it scares me. I don’t know how to go forward.

I would appreciate any ideas, prayers, or whatever.

Posted in Diet

Strategy

Version 2When my son comes home from school for a visit, staying on my diet becomes a challenge. He is not on any special diet. He is in his 20’s so, he eats whatever he wants. All it takes for him (as a young man) is a trip to the gym or a few miles on the road, jogging.

Those measures are not an option for me anymore. He buys stuff for himself to eat while he is here, stuff I refuse to buy. I always nag him to take “his food” with him when he leaves because I don’t want it in the house.

He complains that I don’t have any will power. He does not get any argument from me. I already know I have no will power. However, I do have enough will power not to bring things home from the market that are not good for me or my diet. That’s my strategy.

If its not in the house or the refrigerater I am in no danger of eating the wrong things. That doesn’t matter though when my addiction overcomes my desire to eat right. Then its just a matter of getting in the car and taking a trip to the store. And yes, that does happen.

I have no will power. My son is right. I have acheived some measure of success by only bringing into the house what I actually plan to eat for meals. I can’t even keep products like flour in the house. I know how to make breads or cakes or other things I’m not supposed to eating. Its all about stetegy.

Posted in Favorite Recipes

Buffalo Wing Sauce

Did you ever wonder what was in that sauce they put on buffalo wings? Me too. I learned a pretty good recipe at school. I was told that it is as close to the real recipe as you can get. It certainly tasted like the real thing to me.

You can prepare your wings the way you want. I like to deep fry them and then toss them in the sauce. And this sauce is super easy.

Ingredients:

4 fl oz hot sauce
4 fl oz butter
1/2 Tbsp white vinegar
1/2 Worcestershire
1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp Garlic, granulated

Preparation:

Mix all ingredients in a sauce pan.
Heat and simmer until well blended.

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Posted in Journal Entry

One Year

It has now been a year since I began my weight-loss quest. My starting weight 1 year ago was 267 pounds (121.1 kg). Today I weigh 247.9, a 19.1 pound loss.

Primarily I used the Ketogenic diet, a low-carb, high fat diet. It was easy enough to follow. Fatty cuts of meat, lots of olive oil and fatty fish, and a lot of green leafy vegetables made up my daily meals. It worked like a charm, but it turns out that carbohydrate addiction is a real thing.

I was doing fine right up until the Christmas holidays. Well, actually the trouble began at thanksgiving. Then after Christmas it seemed I could not stop eating carbs. I had lost nearly 40 pounds up until that point in time. I have not given up though. I wont give up.

I have been able to stave off more weight gain just knowing the effects that carbohydrates have on my body. Avoiding carbs was not the real problem though. Reaching the levels of fat required for the diet was the real challenge. It is not a high protein diet, so you can’t get the fat you need from meats because protein can be converted to sugar and counteract one of the great benefits of the diet, low blood sugar.

My mother had diabetes. My sister has diabetes. I don’t want diabetes, though it may be too late for me. I still fight though. I have heard of people being able to reverse this condition just by changing their diet. Changing one’s diet is a difficult challenge though.

As I begin this new year in pursuit of my health I am still working to break the addictions of the high carbohydrate diet that has been recommended over the years. I still cannot get over the fact that the high carb diet is still widely recommended and followed.

That is my update.

Posted in Favorite Recipes

English Toffee Cheesecake

I have not tried this one yet. I probably will soon. I have a friend who loves cheesecake. It is one of my favorites too. The only flavors I can do without is any kind of chocolate cheesecake. They all taste the same. I like chocolate a lot; just not in cheesecakes.

I love english toffee and I’m guessing it taste good in cheesecake. If you try this one before me come back and let me know how it was. I found it at the Eagle Brand website. You know, the people who make sweetened condensed milk.

BTW, thats not an actual picture above. I couldn’t find one big enough. I’ll replace it when I make mine.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, melted
3 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 (8 oz.) package English toffee bits, divided
2 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 large eggs
1/3 cup milk chocolate toffee bits
2 teaspoon Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose Flour
1 (12.25 oz.) jar Smucker’s® Caramel Flavored Topping
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Direction:

HEAT oven to 325°F. Stir graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter in medium bowl until evenly moistened. Press into bottom and halfway up sides of 9-inch springform pan.

BEAT cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla until blended.

STIR English toffee bits and flour in medium bowl to coat toffee bits. Stir 1 cup into cheesecake mixture. Pour into prepared crust. Sprinkle remaining English toffee bits evenly over cheesecake.

BAKE 60 minutes or until almost set in center. Cool on wire rack 1 hour. Chill several hours or overnight. Drizzle individual servings with caramel topping. Sprinkle lightly with milk chocolate toffee bits, if desired.

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Posted in Birthday

My Birthday

Yesterday was my birthday. I turned 54. I got lots of happy birthday wishes on Facebook and a few on Instagram. I also got a few text messages wishing me a  happy birthday. Then last night my daughter took me out for dinner at Olive Garden.

I don’t know how I feel about being 54 years old. I can say that I feel more tired these days than I have in the past. I have more aches and pains as I get older also. In fact, today I will be be at a pain management center. I think they are considering some sort of injection of medication in the area where I have the most pain. Not sure I’m looking forward to that. Then again, it may not even happen.

I have been having pain in my lower back and down the backs of both legs. There is some pressure on the sciatic nerves. Sometimes I can’t sit or stand, or even lie down for very long. And then there are times where I am perfectly fine, like this morning.

This morning, the day I’m supposed to tell a doctor all about my pain, there isn’t much going on. That’s the way it always happens though, except that the days that I am in pain out number the days I am not in pain.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I did have a happy birthday (no pain). Thanks to all for the happy birthday wishes.

Posted in Favorite Recipes

Almost Tuscan Sausage & Kale Soup

One of my favorite things to eat is soup, especially if there is sausage in  it.I think thats my favorite part of a good gumbo too. This is kind of an Italian, but not quite. Nor do I know how to take it to that level. I lived in Italy for about 3.5 years, and nobody makes soup like they do. This one is pretty good though. You should give it try. I found this one on AllRecipes.com

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil, or as needed
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 pinch red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 pinch ground black pepper, or to taste
1 pound bulk hot Italian sausage, removed from casings and crumbled
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4 cups chopped kale
1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (OMIT for Keto)
1 cup peeled and chopped yellow potatoes, or more to taste (OMIT for Keto)

Directions:

Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium heat until the oil shimmers; cook and stir onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, and black pepper until onion is translucent, 10 to 15 minutes.

Mix sausage, basil, and paprika together in a bowl.
Stir sausage mixture into onion mixture; cook and stir until sausage is browned and fully cooked, 5 to 10 minutes. Add chicken broth, kale, cannellini beans, and potatoes to sausage-onion mixture; lower heat to medium low. Cover stockpot and simmer until potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

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Posted in Health, surgery

Report on my Dad

daddyI am back home in South Carolina now. For the past two weeks I had been in Texas visiting my Father, whom has been ill. I went there because when I heard about his condition it scared me. I lost my mom in 2013 and I never had the chance to tell her how much she meant to me. I wasn’t about to miss that chance with my dad.

I was there to assess what his health actually was. It was not as dire as it could have been, or as bad as my imagined scenario. And now that he is getting the proper help he will be even better. I left him in good hands with my brother and two sisters and his nieces and nephews; all of whom care about and love him very much.

achalasiaHis issue was related to not being able to eat. His diagnosis is a condition called, Achalasia.

Achalasia is a rare disorder of the esophagus, the tube that carries food from the throat to the stomach. It is characterized by enlargement of the esophagus, impaired ability to push food down toward the stomach (peristalsis), and failure of the ring-shaped muscle at the bottom of the esophagus, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), to relax. It is the contraction and relaxation of the sphincter that moves food through the tube (http://www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/achalasia).

For the past two weeks my dad has been on a clear liquids diet; chicken and beef broth, protein shakes, juice, and water. He is very tired of it. He has lost a lot of weight. He is being scheduled for surgery to improve the condition. The goal is to dilate the ring shaped muscle at the bottom of the esophagus, or lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which will hopefully enable him to eat more solid food again.

Coughing Man - ArrowsNow I was adopted, and I don’t think this condition is one that is hereditary. I think anyone can get it. I have already had problems with a hiatal hernia and gerd. I have taken medications for years to reduce acid reflux. I now control it by not over eating, and not eating certain types of foods. You’re probably thinking I avoid spicy foods, but you’d be wrong. It is high carb foods that are the real problem. My digestive systems hates high carb foods. I get gassy, painful digestive movements, and the worst smelling waste possible in a human. Whereas, when I eat a low carb and high fat diet digestion is very easy, less gassy, and therefore painless, and waste is not so smelly.

When I first encountered the problem of gerd/hiatal hernia I was in my 30’s. I ate a lot (I mean a lot) of high carb foods. I was literally stuffing myself beyond my stomach’s capacity. I also ate very fast. Maybe its a military thing. My father was in the military and also eats a lot (more than he should), and he eats very fast. I think the way we eat has a lot to do with digestive conditions we may develop later in life.

I am glad my father is getting the help he needs. I hope he will slow down and eat better foods. I have, and I feel 100% better when I really stick to low carb and high fat, or Keto. This is not where I was intending to go with this post. I guess it was on my mind more so since my dad’s recent stomach issues. Well I guess I will end this here.

Take care yourself and your digestive system. It is very important in the long run.

Posted in Health

In Texas for mY Dad

My dad has been sick lately with some digestive issues. So on Saturday I drove to Texas to assist him with doctors visits. The issue he is having will require surgery, which we are hoping will take place on tomorrow with Dr. Zamil, a gastroenterologist at Hermann Memorial hospital.

His condition caused him not to be able to eat. He hasn’t been able to swallow or digest any food. A surgery on his esophagus will get things back to near normal. He has gotten weak from a lack of nutrition. He was also dehydrated, so we took him to the hospital on Monday. He is feeling better after receiving fluids and meds for pain caused by constant vomiting.

I am looking forward to a full recovery. My dad was always a strong willed man. He was also strong physically. It is very disconcerting to see him in this weakened condition. Hopefully this will all be over soon.