I was reading a health newsletter this morning that I get from Dr. Mercola and he had included a recipe for his “Super Energy Kale Soup”: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/02/01/superenergykalesoup.aspxe_cid=20150201Z1_SNL_RTL_NB_art_2&utm_source=snl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art2&utm_campaign=20150201Z1_RTL_NB&et_cid=DM68189&et_rid=826594599. I happened to have all the organic ingredients, except that I used fresh sage and thyme from the garden instead of the dried that the recipe called for and I added some pre-cooked garbanzo beans for protein. This is a delicious and VERY nutritious recipe and it went beautifully with a smoked cabrilla (sea bass) fish sandwich (chopped leftover grilled fish with chopped celery, minced serrano, black pepper to season and mayonnaise) on toasted sourdough bread with butter lettuce. Muy sabroso y muy rico! A great and very healthy lunch!
The Twelve Grapes of Luck (“las doce uvas de la suerte”) is a Mexican tradition that originated in Spain in the late 1800’s. The tradition involves eating a grape with each bell strike at midnight on New Years Eve. According to legend, this tradition leads to a year of prosperity.
Another tradition in Mexico is wearing different colored underwear on New Years Eve for different wishes. People who want love and passion in the next year wear red underwear; for happiness and prosperity they wear yellow underwear; for health and well-being the choice is green underwear; for friendship and harmony they wear pink underwear; and they wear white underwear for hope and peace in the coming year.
I’m going to rush out today to buy panties that have red, yellow, green, pink and white AND I think I’ll wear a red bra with them tonight! Why not?
Here’s to a new year filled with love and passion, happiness and prosperity, health and well-being, friendship and harmony, as well as hope and peace!
Our next stop was to stop to visit Ron’s amazing mother who lives in northern California. At ninety-three years of age (and very soon to be ninety-four at the time of this writing), she is an absolute inspiration! She still lives in the family home of over sixty years, drives extremely well (by anyone’s standards!) and takes great care of herself, her younger siblings and her friend and neighbor, also a Mary, who lives across the street.
Although her back is giving Mary some pain and trouble now and she uses a cane for stability if walking far, she is in amazingly good health. She attributes it to fueling her body all these years with great food, of which I’ll talk more about shortly. Her mind is razor sharp and she has a better memory than both Ron and I combined. Her skin is beautiful and she looks twenty years younger than her actual age.
Mary drives a great distance to do her shopping at many different stores as she knows which markets carry the best lamb stew meat (which is a different butcher than the one who carries the best leg of lamb, by the way!) and which carry the best organic product (this is all that she buys and uses and is, assuredly, what has kept her and the people she loves in such good health). Her preparation of the food she buys and cooks is representative of the care she takes in all things – “anything worth doing is worth doing right”.
Mary is Portuguesa with both her parents emigrating to the Silicon Valley area (when it was all still farming, orchards and dairy operations) before their children were born from the Azores, a group of nine volcanic islands situated in the North Atlantic Ocean and is located about 1,360 km west of Portugal, 1,510 km northwest of Morocco, and about 1,925 km southeast of Newfoundland. Ron and I visited the Azores and the west coast of Portugal two years ago and were very taken with the beauty, tradition and majesty of this part of the world.
Mary is a FABULOUS cook: the food she selects and prepares is her way of expressing love and you can taste the care she takes in every bite. Her food is simple, with very little spice, but her use of the very best ingredients and her preparation makes each meal memorable. Some of the dishes that we have savored and enjoyed in her home are French toast (made with Trader Joe’s cracked wheat sour dough bread and cooked in olive oil – delicious!), rack of lamb, lamb stew, what Mary calls “boiled dinner” (corned beef with boiled onions, potatoes, carrots and cabbage), kale soup, chicken soup, vegetable soup, Portuguese omelet (made with onions, potatoes and parsley) and so many more! I’m starting to take notes and write down her recipes because one day she won’t be here any longer and it would be a tragedy to lose her recipes and reminders of such a great lady. Here’s Mary’s recipe for her famous and delicious roast beef:
Start with a center chuck roast and ensure that there is lots of fat on it for tenderness. Cut slits into the meat and insert chunks of halved garlic cloves. Heat olive oil in an electric fry pan and sear all surfaces of the meat.
Remove roast from pan and deglaze with burgundy wine. Add 6 whole allspice cloves, two smashed cloves of garlic and two bay leaves, add roast and cover with sliced onion (use two onions and let some of the onion cook in the gravy). Cook at a low, steady simmer (~275 to 300F) for 1 ½ hours. Turn the roast, add more burgundy as required and continue cooking. Keep covered to keep all of the moisture in the pan and to add additional moisture to the gravy.
Remove roast, bay leaves, smashed garlic and allspice cloves. Add a tsp. or two of ketchup (only add more to taste) to cut the acid and thicken with arrowroot (buy at a health food store).
Serve with mashed potatoes, green peas or French style green beans and boiled carrots. Simple, but absolutely delicious!
Mary is very particular about how things are done and there is an absolute right way (hers!) and many wrong ways to do things. I had to laugh when I went to cut potatoes when Mary was once on the phone, only to realize that I had done it incorrectly (by Mary’s standard!). It’s that strength that has kept her so healthy and strong all these years – I can only hope to be enjoying life as she is in forty more years myself!
We stop to see Mary to and from New York and try to spend as much precious time with her as possible. Ron is her first-born child of six and she so loves to spoil him and he so loves to be spoiled by her. I’m just grateful to spend as much time with her as possible. We love her very much.
- Hot sauces are excellent in sauces and stir-fry’s, make quick and handy marinades before grilling food, and are always welcome condiments on the table.
- Research has proven that adding hot sauces to your foods can help your body burn calories faster (up to 45 calories more per meal than if you eat bland dishes).
- When people eat hotter sauces, they experience pain in their mouths and throats. The nervous system reacts to the pain by releasing morphine-like endorphins. Endorphins create a sense of euphoria similar to the “runner’s high” that some people get from exercise. People who regularly eat hot sauces and chiles will find that they develop a tolerance to the heat and will have to eat increasingly hotter sauces to get the high.
- Hot sauces are North American’s favorite way to turn up the heat and add some extra flavor and spice to their food. Most hot sauces are a blend of chiles, vinegar and salt, but many are variations that may also contain ingredients such as carrots, onion and papaya.
- By adding lots of flavor to food with hot sauces, chiles and spices, you can reduce the amount of fat, oil and salt in your diet.
- The stinking “rose”, otherwise known as garlic and a common ingredient in hot sauces, is an excellent antioxidant that can help reduce free radicals that exist in the human body. Garlic reduces cholesterol, clears arteries and helps maintain healthy blood circulation.The true hot sauce collector and aficionado looks for several qualities when evaluating a new sauce: appearance, originality, aroma, heat and flavor. Why not invite friends over for a hot sauce tasting party with evaluation forms for the sauces you’ll be trying? Try each sauce on unsalted crackers or tortilla chips and have some fun.
- Half the fun of collecting hot sauces is laughing at the names that their creators give them. The names are as original as the sauces themselves and range from reference to fire and explosion, animals, religious, crime and punishment, controversial, erotic, naughty, mental health, and western themes. The names and labels make us laugh and represent much of the fun that enjoying hot sauces bring us.
Garlic is an excellent antioxidant that can reduce harmful free radicals that exist in the human body. Garlic reduces cholesterol, clears arteries and helps maintain healthy blood circulation.
Roasted garlic adds a wonderful rich, sweet flavor to dishes without adding any fat. Try it in mashed potatoes, sauces, dips, soups, appetizers and vegetable dishes. To roast garlic, preheat oven to 350F. Remove any of the skin that comes away easily and cut about 1/4″ off the top of the garlic head. Place cut side up on a piece of foil, wrap and bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven and cool. To remove the garlic, turn the head upside down and gently squeeze the garlic out of the skins.