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mermaidcamp

Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water

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Fall Superfood, The Sweet Potato

September 27, 2015 3 Comments

sweet potato vine

sweet potato vine

My food prep  practice has helped me introduce more variety into our diet and reduce waste. I don’t aspire to fit all my preparation for the week into one day, like many of the serious preppers. My goal is to consolidate my cooking in order to have a few days each week free from major kitchen cleaning. The reward is so valuable to me that it inspires me to improve my strategy. I believe 3 days at leisure with a selection of prepared meals available is ideal for me because I do enjoy cooking. My perfect style is like having a delicatessen at home that never runs out of treats. Sometimes specialty items can be purchased to fill in for home-made, but cooking from scratch is what I like to do and the way I like to eat.  Trader Joe’s helps me a lot when I don’t want to fuss, but I have a goal of eating more whole foods.

This autumn season I want to develop some new variations on some old themes.  Chowder, chili, and cornbread are on the menu for savory foods.  Tapioca pudding and bubble teas are on the new frontier of desserts.  I like deconstructing desserts, then building small portions when I want a bite.  Deconstructing lends itself to food prep, since you can create the elements to be combined later as desired.

There is one healthy food I want to include more often in new ways.  That food is the mighty sweet potato. Most of the dishes I prepared in the past were sweet, like soufflé or sweet potato pie.  I recently tried a savory sweet potato salad with cilantro, bell peppers, cumin and chiles.  That savory recipe has inspired me to experiment with the spicy/savory realm.  There are good reasons to include sweet potatoes in your diet:

  • Potassium rich
  • Fiber source
  • High in antioxidants
  • Low glycemic index

This healthy root vegetable will be featured on our fall table in as many new ways as possible.  What is your favorite sweet potato recipe, gentle reader?

sweet potatoes

sweet potatoes

 

 

 

Summer Spa Evaluation, Good, Bad, and Surprising

July 22, 2015 4 Comments

mangos for chutney #foodprep

mangos for chutney

This summer I designed a home spa program for myself with an emphasis on positive change. My staycation planning evolved from the original agenda in ways I had not expected. I thought I was in a very artful groove, and needed self expression as a top priority.  I listed poetry writing and art as a daily therapy for wholeness because I know these practices do make me healthier.  For reasons not yet fully examined my poet and artist have been dormant with no interaction.  I have taken a few photos, but what I saw as my big chance to work on my creativity with words and visuals has been channeled in other directions.

I have become a food prepper in my own way.  I don’t attempt to pack or create meals for a whole week in one day as the real serious preppers on Pinterest do.  I have learned from them to make my own diet healthier by planning and using contrast.  My style of food prep involves a constant experimentation and learning new recipes.  I have been trying many salad dressings and cold soups that are new to me.  I am making a conscious effort to include anti inflammatory foods such as ginger and turmeric in my diet.  I am on a huge tea safari of new flavors and types of tea, a journey that will take a lifetime.  This summer I have given up coffee and never miss it because I drink tea, often spiked with ginger tea to keep the anti inflammation theme.  I have tried more new dishes and teas in the last two months than I did in the previous year.  I am hopping enthusiastically out of my culinary rut.  I feel good, and find great satisfaction in mastering new cuisines.  This afternoon I am making mango chutney for the first time.  I might even make an attempt at curry.  Who knows where the food muse will lead?

The most successful element of summer spa is the trend toward minimalism.   If you knew me in the past you knew one of the biggest maximalists that ever lived on earth.  I did everything with way too much over production.  I accumulated mass quantities of stuff I never used, and crammed my space with items.  I made decisions earlier that have cleaned up much of my act, and I continue to go in this direction.  Each time I have the opportunity to donate to the Big Brothers Big Sisters, who provide pick up service, I gather a big bag and leave it outside.  Each time I find things that have not been used in years and have little chance of being used.  The upgrade is fabulous.  I now own…and can find easily in my clean clear space…only things I love.  I am in no hurry to fill the space with more items, since I still have more than I really need.

My exercise routine has been enhanced by the free Apple music subscription I am enjoying. I dance around my house for 5 miles in the morning listening to Apple music.  By tracking I see that I dance at almost the same pace as I walk outside. My air conditioned house is much more comfortable now than it is outside.  The Apple library is vast, so I switch albums and playlists all the time, never listening to the same thing twice.  I don’t believe I will cover everything I want to hear in three months, but for now I am having a very good time with it. The good news is that the minimalist in me does not need that giant library and will not mind at all returning to the very big library at Amazon music.  I highly recommend that everyone take them up on the free offer just to see how much is available.  Even minimalists like free stuff.

grilling vegetables #foodprep

grilling vegetables

Prepping Lifestyle is Fun and Easy

January 20, 2015 3 Comments

You probably know about the doomsday preppers, who build bunkers and buy machine guns and prepare to survive Armageddon. This has no interest to me. However, the other popular group of preppers, the ones who prepare food ahead of time to make sure they have healthy meals ready when they want them, are very attractive. I started following this idea in 2015 as a way to branch out of my food habits and try new dishes. I had a bad habit of making too much of one dish and tiring of it before we finished it. This was such a waste of time, energy and money. The remedy is simple. Make exactly the amount you need for each meal, or deal with any excess on the spot.  I have not started a good freezer regimen, but I have managed to come out even with prepared food.  This was one of the benefits, but not the only one.  I decided to make at least two different dishes from each basic staple I cook.

I created a calendar in order to finish all my meal preparation in 4 days in order to leave the kitchen clean and undisturbed for 3 days a week.  This is such a great change because it means a lot less clean up for the same amount of food.  I make a big specific mess, clear it out, and enjoy the meals in the fridge ready to heat or add dressing.  I think I can move toward 4 days out of the kitchen if I concentrate.  Most of my fellow preppers do a whole week in one day, so surely I can pick up my pace on this.  It does not take that much time, but it does require planning and strategy.  The time off feels like I have hired a chef to make all my favorites.  The fact that I am the chef does not intrude on this fabulous feeling when I waltz into the clean kitchen to find dinner.  There is no drudgery involved because the prep days are very creative with research and invention.  The magic chef days are wonderful because I reap the harvest of time as well as the pristine kitchen.

I have been a vegetarian for 65 years, so I am not planning to implement any new phase.  I am fine as a lacto-ovo vegetarian eater.  I have no desire to be gluten free or vegan, but I do really appreciate all the available recipes in those categories.  I go very light on wheat, eggs and dairy, so many treats I enjoy are raw, vegan, and gluten free.  I also happen to have a kosher home, but I go to no extra effort.  This week we came into a giant harvest of cherry tomatoes.  I am drying them, roasting them, marinating them, and next I plan to make a salad dressing from some of the roasted ones.  I also saw a good looking focaccia recipe with cherry tomatoes and olives on top..That will be a new way to use them.  If you have interest in trying these methods or learning about the food prep movement, find everything you might want to know on Pinterest. Happy prepping, gentle readers.

dried cherry tomatoes

dried cherry tomatoes

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