Indian Dinner, My Favorite American Snacks

 

Chamuças de Goa. Chamuças (samosas) from Goa.Last night, hubby and I, after treating ourselves to see the adorable movie, Chef, went out to a lovely Indian restaurant a few towns away from where we live.  It was a treat and we ordered Samosas (I always get these mixed up with Samoas, Girl Scout Cookies that my kids love.)  We ordered the Samosas three

different ways. One was potato with peas and lentils, one was spinach and the other was filled with lamb and spices. They were delicious and filling and frankly my stomach could have stopped there but what’s the fun in that?

We then ordered Shrimp Saag, shrimp in a bed of spinach ( I thought there was a little cream in there, my husband said absolutely not) and an amazing sweet dish of chicken in a yellow cream sauce made of honey, cashews and apples. The consistency was smooth so all the ingredients except for the chicken were blended, creamy and rich. We also ordered one portion of Nan which resembles pita bread if you ironed it to barely nothing. After all, what good is all that creamy, sweet sauce without the proper bread to dunk it in?

I drank a sweet Lassi ( a yogurt drink made with ice, rosewater, sweet syrup and blended) see the easy recipe below, and my husband had some alcoholic drink with figs, rum, bourbon and too many other ingredients. I took a sip hoping I would like the taste. I made my usual disgusted face that my family is so fond of seeing, gasped and reached for my water-glass to clear my palate of that nasty alcohol taste. Next time:I’m ordering a double lassi, on the rocks.

English: Fat-free lassi from Mumbai

We ate like four-year old children, having dinner at 5 o’ clock, (okay it was really 4:50pm) but that has never bothered us before so by the time we came home it was only 6:15 a time when most families are preparing dinner. Nope, not us. When we came

 *Easy Sweet Lassi

Ingredients:Servings:2-3Units: US | Metric
1 cup yoghurt
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup ice-cube
3 -5 teaspoons sugar
1 pinch salt
Put all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
Read more: food.com/easy recipe

home we had dessert (I deeply regretted not ordering the yogurt balls in honey…) so I had the gigantic molasses cookie I had purchased at the small grocery story in town. It was enough for  three people but I finished it with ease. Had too much sugar and no spice ( I expected ginger) but I’m not that fussy so I ate the entire thing.

Around 9 pm my husband and I roamed around the kitchen because at that point we were ready for a snack, I just needed SOMETHING.  I headed to one of my all-time favorite snack combinations and one of my dog Lexi’s favorite snacks too. A small packet of square pretzels, two slices of Kraft Individually Wrapped American cheese and a box of chocolate Yoo-Hoo to drink.

Now that, was a perfect snack. It is always the perfect snack for me and for my dog. I only gave her one pretzel and bite of cheese but she knows the sound of the pretzel bag and comes running when she first hears the bag rustle.

Yoo-hoo Chocolate DrinkBasically, you can take me out to a fancy dinner anywhere but when I come home, I retreat to the food I really love. My snack: pretzels, Kraft American cheese slices and Yoo-Hoo, my childhood drink of choice.  I went to bed, happy.

 

Dedicated to PK Sr.

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Yes, Dear Ones, I DO Eat Healthy Food

I love all my readers, I really do, you’ve become more family to me than, well relatives. However, I have one reader who gets very upset when I write about eating pizza with grape jelly or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with mashed potatoes and Baked Lays.

Big Salad

Big Salad (Photo credit: kattebelletje)

It’s true, I do like weird combinations at times. But, my goodness, give me some credit. I don’t eat this ALL the time, just once in a great while as a treat. Now, I know that most people don’t think pizza with grape jelly is a treat BUT, I only do it if the pizza is dry and sub par. Try it sometime, give it a chance. Wink Wink. Let me know?

I gave eating fish a chance and now I like some of it, except for salmon which was ruined for me forever. (See the post I Hate Salmon…) I will eat mild fish and I only myself to try it when we were in Florida on vacation. I tried it several times and I can kinda sorta say “I like it.” If I had to choose fish or a petite filet mignon, would I pick fish? Not a chance but I am open to the idea of eating it and we don’t eat red meat very much at all.

Another thing to consider is that there is no income coming in to our house and there has not been any income coming in for almost a year. I’m not complaining, it’s the worst job market ever but we do eat scrambled eggs and toast once a week and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches once a week. You can’t blame me for that.

When we go shopping we buy chicken not steak, good food is for good news only and we haven’t had any of that lately. We keep saying that if any good news happens, we will go out to eat and celebrate. I’m not sure we believe in good news anymore.

Our condolence prize is a pizza pie once every two weeks or so. It’s not the end of the world. My husband is a good cook and when I try I am adequate cook as well. Lately, there hasn’t been time to cook since I am literally spending each day going to a different doctor trying to find out why I pass out and end up face down on the floor.

The medical factory that I go to has lined up every single test in the world. I understand why they do it and that is why I have cooperated pleasantly but it’s not as if I am home, watching Orange is the New Black and eating ice cream bon-bons.

Strawberry rhubarb compote

Strawberry rhubarb compote (Photo credit: Kitchen Wench)

So, while I appreciate your concern, please do not worry, (biological sister and twin) because it’s not as bad as it seems. On the stove now I am cooking a fruit compote with rhubarb, strawberries, blueberries and a few prunes in a slow simmer with Sugar In The Raw. I’m not even using fake sugar (yet.) I love this stuff and I love cooking it.

We had a huge green salad for dinner, steamed asparagus and half of a leftover lobster roll with cold cucumber yogurt dill soup. See?  Do you feel better? I do have good food habits but writing about them is not nearly as entertaining as the other stuff. Is it?

PS THANK YOU FOR CARING!

Read Comfort Food, Larry and Lola

FWF: Kellie Elmore

Sad Little Girl

Sad Little Girl (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

everything i could never tell you

I’m sorry, baby girl, I was barely a teen then, I didn’t know there was a name for what your mama had. I just knew she closed herself in her bedroom, turned the lights off and had me babysit you every afternoon. She hid under the covers because she was really sad and all you could hear from her bedroom was her sobbing. I kept the television on to try to protect you from the sounds.

You know, back then, it didn’t even have a name, just crazy. Your mama was chronically depressed and it is like every other illness but years ago it was shameful. Thank God, now, people know more and there are medications and no shame involved.

When I would walk up one flight of dusty, gray stairs, your smile would brighten your entire face like sunshine and your cheeks would turn rosy pink as soon as you saw me. Your mama would scream sometimes, but she couldn’t control herself. Oh, I know you pity yourself but I’m sure it was not easy for her, she was very sad every minute of every day. Yes, it WAS hard for you but you are a grown-up now, can you now think about what it was like for her?

What I remember most, for some funny reason, is that she used to make two pale chicken legs in the toaster oven. Oil or butter turning into bubbles on those nasty looking legs. You must have eaten them after I left but I kept thinking “where was the rice and the salad?” Was there bread and butter to eat?  I could picture you and your mama eating one sickly yellow chicken leg each and you drinking your glass of milk.

Your mom never let you have candy so with my babysitting money I would hold your hand and take you into the candy store and let you pick out a chocolate bar and tell you it was our secret. I didn’t care about lying to your mom, she wouldn’t even have noticed. I just wanted you to have a little happiness in your life, I wanted you to be able to be a kid for a short time, anyway. Your eyes would glisten like stars on a dark night, with happiness and excitement, you were lit up like electricity in a lamp.

I met you for lunch once when we were both adults, I didn’t know you anymore. You hated your parents,  you hated everything, nothing but hate and coldness inside you. This was way before your older sister became sick too and I adored her as well. I know you were wonderful to her, you did everything for her and everyone knew that, there was the goodness in you.That sweet little girl came back to be her sister’s angel, but when she died, it died too.

We didn’t know about the funeral, no one told us. As soon as we found out we raced to your mom’s apartment where your cold, icy, blue eyes looked through us. I wanted to hug you, but you didn’t let anyone close enough to even say we were sorry. Why? You were blaming us for something we had no control over but you were the queen of control, right?

You built a wall around you of law books and court rooms and tennis-playing friends. I hope you are happy now. But, I wanted to say something that I never could say before: I missed my sweet baby for a long time. The little girl you were, the innocent, happy child that would race to sit on my lap.What happened to her? My one question is “do you even remember her, that sweet sunny child, you were?” Because if not, that would be a damn shame. A damn shame.

Plinky Prompt: Best Rooftop View

  • Best Rooftop View
  • Ba, LL And The Last BBQ
    Boston Sunset My friend Barbara and I were on the rooftop of an apartment she was renting in Boston. This was the last night I was going to see her before she moved to Florida. I was devastated that my best friend was leaving but I knew to appreciate the last night we would spend together.
    Barbara was an amazing chef, for our last meal, she decided we would have a barbecue up on the roof, she must have made enough food for fourteen people. There were pork ribs glazed in syrupy sweetness, bbq chicken in a maple glaze, vegetables on the grill, potatoes, several kinds of thick, crusty bread, chips and of course, a selection of dessert I had brought: a little chocolate tart, a small fruit tart, strawberries, blueberries and apricots glistening with sugar.
    We sat together on folding chairs, overlooking the Boston skyline, while the sky changed colors from yellow and red to pink, purple and blue to late in the evening when it turned almost black. I remember this evening vividly. If you have to say good-bye to your best friend, you want to remember it this way, with magic.

My Cooking

F: is for Family And Food

Meatballs Marinara

The question: Can I cook? Depends on who you ask. I have a limited amount of things that I can cook well but they are not difficult or gourmet by anyone’s standards. The things I do cook or bake are very GOOD. I can make a lovely roast chicken with herbs and lemon, or a brisket (as good as my mom’s,) home-made macaroni and cheese, an old fashioned meatloaf, a fabulous pea soup with tender morsels of carefully chopped up honey ham or Canadian bacon, chicken soup, baked ziti, Nonna’s meatballs, a home-made tomato sauce learned from Ba, and I bake an awesome banana bread with raisins and chocolate chips. Not a chef by any means but a simple, home cooking mom that likes to cook with music playing in the background. Nothing complicated, simple, fresh, and easy. Come on over, we share.

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To Comfort Me

Крем чорба од грашка

It is so harmfully cold outside, the temperatures are low and the winds are high so that it makes me not want to leave the coziness of my house. Recuperating from a nasty bout of bronchitis, yesterday I made my chicken soup, starting in the morning with chicken and onions, a carton of frozen peas, a bag of carrots, pepper flakes, a shake or two of salt and slowly simmering it all day long. Making soup is comforting both when I eat it but also when I prepare it. I’m not sure why; I can bake brownies but it doesn’t have that same calming effect.

Tomorrow, I will go to the grocery store to buy the ingredients to make pea soup: a bag of dried peas in their cozy mesh sack, with pieces of ham steak that I will slice on the diagonal, chopped carrots, celery and onions. There is nothing like comfort than a bowl of  soup on a cold winter night. It’s not as if my mother or grandmother ever made home-made soup when I was a child, actually my mother did make her own chicken soup, I remember that. Maybe my love for soup started there. We also had tomato soup (Campbells) from the can where we would add half a can of water and half a can of milk and we would float a slice or two of Kraft American cheese on top. When we got older we crumbled  those little packets of crackers, Saltines, and we would wind up with a lovely blend of gooey goodness. Mushroom soup too, from Campbells, was always a big hit, made with milk as well.

I will drape a navy blue shawl around my shoulders and sit at the black pearl counter top on a stool by myself. My bowl of soup steaming in front of me, my dog at my feet. The chilliness outside the door forgotten as soon as I settle myself and get the right spoon and the right bowl for my home-made dinner of thick pea soup, made with love. A gift to my family and to myself.

The Lingering Smell Of Basil

A cooked hot dog garnished with mustard.

Image via Wikipedia

As soon as I feel the first warm hint of spring on my shoulders and see the first crocus I immediately rejoice! It’s Spring, not officially, but in my snow-sickened world it is the start. As soon as Spring is even in the air I start thinking of having barbeques, especially the one BIG BBQ we try to have every few years.  I’m imagining all our friends and family out in the back yard eating cheeseburgers from the Weber grill, dripping with either cheddar or American cheese. I think about   grilled chicken with barbecue sauce and juicy hot dogs, and bright yellow mustard. I also think of potato chips, the real kind, the ones we had as kids and not the baked, healthy, kind either. There would be Heinz ketchup, (of course I’m brand loyal) potato salad made with a touch of mayonnaise, coleslaw and perhaps a large tomato and mozzarella salad with fresh basil and a touch of light green extra virgin olive oil drizzled over the vibrant red tomatoes and the creamy white mozzarella cheese. I love how the earthy smell of basil lingers between your fingertips all afternoon.

In addition, we may have small roasted potatoes on the grill along side smokey-sweet yellow and white kernels of corn on the cob.  Red and white plastic table cloths, bright red or blue plastic plates (preferably the ones that have three sections, love those!) and disposable cups. Napkins would be stacked high in your hands as if they were towels. Messy and barbeques to me are happy synonyms.

Once we went to a barbecue at Charlotte’s house, (“Charlotte of the charmed life” as I call her) the table was like a set directly from a page right out of Martha Stewart Living. Everything matched, the beige, ironed linen table-cloth ( l-i-n-e-n),  the highest quality count, and the china decorated with large blue and yellow flowers bursting on the plates.  Of course, all the bowls, the silver utensils, they all matched perfectly as I watched in unmitigated horror and delight. This is not what I thought I was coming to, I felt under-dressed and ill at ease. It was absolute perfection just not MY type of perfection. It was for high-class people with lots of money and so very different from our dinners and us.

We dined on steak and salmon, ( I hid my salmon) a glossy arrangement of bright green, yellow and red fresh vegetables and imported cheeses. There were no sticky fingers and plastic glasses of lemonade, just a beautiful crystal pitcher filled with ice water, ice cubes that were in the shape of tropical fruit. I was afraid to eat, afraid to get the napkins dirty so I ate slowly and carefully and with my luck, ended up leaving a stain on the tablecloth which I fervently tried to hide underneath the matching napkin. There were no s’mores at this dinner, it was too elegant. We had assorted cookies from the expensive bakery in town shaped and iced beautifully like flowers and cars and ice cream cones but utterly tasteless.

At our barbeques we have cherry, blueberry and apple crumb pies glistening on the table inside with vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream readily waiting in our freezer. I make my home-baked banana raisin-chocolate chip loaf and there would always, I mean always, be a chocolate cake and brownies.

I put my nephew, Jon, in charge of music so the sounds of Neil Young,  Bruce Springsteen, The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac and various other oldies will be playing out the window like the days when music screamed from dorm rooms. It isn’t fancy or elegant and it may just be ordinary but I guarantee you, there will be, a lot of food, including s’mores and an equal amount of laughter. Hope you can come.

True Friendship and Chocolate Cake

Two Rainbows at Dusk in Denmark.

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve gotten notes from friends far away saying “I don’t want to read  that you are in pain” when they read SOME of my blog posts. When words strike an already high-wired nerve, I have to respond. I am a woman with Fibromyalglia; Fibromyalgia does not define me. It is part of my life and it has taken a long time for me to accept it but I do. You should too. It is only a part of my life just like food and television and good friendships and my amazing family. I write about all these things.

When I am in pain, I write out my feelings which, I think, everyone in the chronic pain community understands. To the people who read my blog and don’t share a chronic illness, let me explain: when I write these things down, I am trying to heal a little piece of myself. I do not write them for sympathy or for you to feel bad. I write about all my feelings, all the different parts of my life: like having teenagers or hiding orange cupcakes in my room or my sweet, aging dog. I’m sorry if you are feeling uncomfortable about my pain and I’m sure you wish I had less of it but that is not something I can control.

When something funny happens or I fall in love with a cooking show about “Desserts” or “Chocolate” or a delicious/horrendous meal that I have had, I write about that too. A new, dear friend I met on Facebook wrote: “you sure do like to talk about food” as we discussed dinner and I made her describe the chicken and dumplings she made in great detail (hint: buy Bisquik.) I complain about the boring lentil soup I have made and she tells me which spices to add. We both have chronic, autoimmune illnesses but we don’t focus on that. Our chronic diseases are a given. Life goes on and we with it.

I see photos of her beautiful garden with red, ripe delicious tomatoes stretching towards the sun and  bright yellow ears of corn I want to bite into. I see her huge, beaming sunflowers on the side of her house and I am in awe of nature and it’s beauty and my friend’s talent. I taunt her with my (as she calls it “disgusting”) food combinations; pizza with jelly, tuna salad sandwich combined with peanut butter and jelly ( I only did that once) and all things edible. I tease her about her “texture” issues with food, anything “squishy” is unacceptable! Once in a while I will interject a questionable squishy food into a totally unrelated conversation: “raisinettes?” “shrimp?” and she understands what I mean and we laugh.

My evenings are brighter after we talk. This is a friend that has been more protective of me and more supportive than the “best friend” I had for thirty-five years. This is a friend I have made without meeting and if I never meet her, we will still be friends. It begs to ask the question: how do you define friendship? It’s given me a lot to think about. Friendships on Facebook with a common interest are special, we bond about something we have in common and in most cases (except one horrible group I was in) without judgment. Period. We don’t care about how much money people have or what religion they are or if they have a job.  Be wary of a group that say they support everybody with pain and yet they discriminate and cause extreme pain to others who might not “fit in” to their exclusive or religious group. In the other wonderful chronic pain groups, we don’t emphasize anything except friendship and empathy, nothing else matters (if you need suggestions, write me.)

See me, please, as a whole person and if you feel uncomfortable about the days I blog about pain, please don’t tell me not to write about them; you could just say you are sorry that I am in pain and that you are thinking good thoughts for me. Our illnesses are part of our lives, but most of us try not to let them define us. It’s what we have to do.

Dedicated to Katie