Southern Tomato Gravy ~ a classic

A Tomato gravy

Savory and not widely known today ~

 

I’ve been on the Mediterranean Diet-ish plan for quite a while. I say “ish” because I use their food pyramid as a tool. I’m not fanatical about it. And I don’t restrict myself to Mediterranean recipes. Last week I made a huge pot of rustic American vegetable soup. This week I made rice and beans with veggies (onion, fresh tomato, and green pepper). I’m big on fresh veggies and usually add more than the recipe calls for.

I’ve been serious about restricting beef, butter, and sweets which are at the top of the Mediterranean Diet Food Pyramid (squeezed into that tiny peak). That means what’s allowed is one serving of beef (6 oz), one serving of butter (1 Tbs), one small serving of sweets (candy, ice cream, baked/unbaked deserts) every two weeks. And margarine isn’t even on the pyramid, probably because it’s very questionable health-wise.

However, autumn is here and it’s time to start making hot cereal. I usually have a bowl of organic oatmeal for breakfast with organic raisins (if the supermarket has organic raisins in stock. Other wise I use regular raisins…I’m not an organic fanatic), or I’ll have a bowl of grits.  I eat a good deal more oatmeal than grits because grits is a ‘white’ grain and white foods aren’t favored. Most nutritionists agree, the more color the better. Another strike against grits is that traditionally a huge chunk of butter is stirred in at the table along with salt and pepper. Off and on, I’ve had cholesterol issues and that’s why I’m serious about restricting red meat and saturated fats. Ah, but I love grits.

How to eat grits without butter. The answer is Southern Tomato Gravy. Southern grandmothers made this savory gravy with tomatoes from their gardens they’d canned. My recipe uses store bought canned tomatoes, and I use organic ones. Even though I’ve been talking about grits, Winn Dixie’s bakery had gorgeous biscuits. So, I bought some and slathered tomato gravy on them. Delish. Trust me I made enough tomato gravy to have some on grits later in the week.

A Biscuits

SOUTHERN TOMATO GRAVY

Ingredients: 3 Tbs grapeseed oil (or another vegetable oil, not olive oil), 3 Tbs all purpose flour, 1 1/2 C chicken broth, 1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper. Optional: real bacon bits.

Directions: In a fairly large skillet warm the oil and whisk the flour into it, stirring constantly until the flour becomes ‘mooshy’ and golden brown. Then pour the chicken broth in, stirring constantly until the mixture becomes smooth (no lumps), add the salt and pepper and the undrained diced tomatoes. If you have no dietary restrictions, add the real bacon bits here, if you like. Simmer 5-7 minutes, stirring constantly. Serve over grits, biscuits, even over scrambled eggs (or on the side). If, like me, you have heath issues and are cutting way-way down on butter and sugar, you can even slather tomato gravy on a couple of pieces of multi-grain toast and eat it with a knife and fork for breakfast.A Soup

 

The American-style rustic vegetable soup I made last week.

 

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In HARMFUL INTENT, gal private eye Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels goes undercover taking a gourmet healthy cooking class and that changes her out look on food. Sheriff’s deputy Dawson Hughes enjoys her cooking and everything about her, but remains a meat and potatoes man. All the while they are hunting a viscous killer and things are not what they seems in west Texas.

Harmful Intent 400 P

 

Does It Matter What You Eat ~ during chemo?

A roast chickenIt matters what you eat during chemo.

I was told, “It doesn’t matter what you eat during chemo. Eat whatever you want, whatever you can get down.” But I found that only lead to constipation which lead to exhaustion which lead to depression. Oh how I fought that depression and won. So, yes, it does matter what you eat during chemo. Very much so.

Isaiah 55:2b ~ Listen carefully to me:
    Eat what is good, and enjoy the best foods. ~ God’s Word Translation [GW]

I was pretty healthy going into chemo, so I wasn’t having a lot of the side-effects many cancer patients face. And, here’s the real biggie, I’d given my side-effect to God, and I feel he took them. Now chemo has not, repeat, has not been a walk in the park for me. They were, pouring big-time toxins into my veins…very serious, big-time toxins that kill the cancer. But the rest of my body was screaming, “HELP!!!”

I’d not only given my side-effects to God, I’d given my entire treatment to God. Let my doctor and medical staff handle that. They went to school for it. I zoomed in on the spiritual (healing study, prayer, etc.) with the Holy Spirit right next to me. And I zoomed in on the nutrition of healing with the Holy Spirit right next to me. As many can tell, this blog is aimed at Christians, mostly aimed at blood bought, full-gospel Christians. Worldwide, there are more than 30,000 Christian denominations. So, some Christians will identify with what I write more than others, some pretty much not at all. I also have a nonChristian following. Maybe because I’m not condemning. I present my spiritual and nutritional cases in a Biblical context and let them speak for themselves. I don’t condemn Christian who believe differently than I do, and I don’t condemn nonChristians. Jesus called believers to love. In fact, I have quite a large following in India…Christian, non-Christian, I don’t know. Hi, India.

So, after I tried the ‘I could eat anything I wanted during chemo’ theory with sad results, I went on a pretty strict Mediterranean-ish Diet. I say “ish” not because I wasn’t on the diet, I didn’t restrict it to foods found only in the Mediterranean. If the recipe from a country not bordering on the Mediterranean Sea had no food elements that were off the diet I’d include it. Ukrainian Summer Borscht is an example. I’m not a Food-Nazi. I will not look at what you’ve got on your plate…even if it’s all made from chemicals. However, for me, they are pouring enough toxic chemicals into my body to kill the cancer. I won’t add toxic chemicals the food companies put in so they can sell year-round and transport the items all year long in airplanes, ships, and trucks. I personally won’t do that.

I cook most of my food from scratch, but not all. Increasingly, super markets and even some smaller markets sell healthy organic foods, some already prepared (salsa, salad dressings, etc.) There are also some pretty healthy frozen foods out there from all types of food companies. You have to read the label. If it has a string of unreadable, unpronounceable chemical ingredients, I won’t buy it.

Because of copyright laws I can’t post a Mediterranean Diet Food Map, but I can give a link to Wikipedia’s food map and their article on the Mediterranean Diet.

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In HARMFUL INTENT, Brooklyn (NYC) gal private-eye finds herself in Texas where she is the prime suspect of the stalwart sheriff’s deputy in the murder of her cheating husband. She knows the real murderer has something to do with the local high-end health spa. So, she takes a health food/organic cooking class with the spa’s nutritionist and it tonally changes how she looks at food. But will it help her catch the killer?

Harmful Intent 400 P

Calm Down And Shut Up ~ Joyce Meyer didn’t put it that way

A Shut UpShutting Up and Calming Down wasn’t the easiest thing to do at that point.

At 8:30 this morning, I had to calm down before phoning my doctor. I also had to put a watch on my mouth…as in pretty much shut it…or communicate only essentials.

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth;
Keep watch over the door of my lips. ~ Psalm 141:3 [New American Standard Bible, NASB]

After my chemo treatment yesterday which not only kills cancer, it kills white blood cells, they gave me an ‘onbody’ cartridge that will later give me an injection to rebuild those white blood cells. The nurse didn’t put the adhesive cover on it. After sitting in a chemo chair for nearly two hours, I had to badly use the restroom and wasn’t paying attention. When she said, “You’re all set. You can do home,” I made a beeline for the women’s room.

When I got home I was caught in a typical Florida northeastern coastal downpour and when I got into my condo unit dripping wet, the cartridge (without the cover) fell off my arm and onto the floor. It was unusable at that point, and I had white blood cells rapidly dying and was super susceptible to infection. Not good in the era of Covid 19. So, what did my lightning fast mind do? It started obsessing.

Thankfully I was able to sleep last night, but in the morning I was obsessing again. I knew I couldn’t call my doctor in that state. My solution to my mind problem was to begin hunting on YouTube for a Joyce Meyer video with a title something like “Calm Down and Shut Up.” I didn’t find one by that title. But I did find “The Disappointment of Unrealistic Expectations, Part I” which dealt mostly with our unrealistic expectations of others…such as that they should never make a mistake, or their should never be a miscommunication. After I listened to the sermon I was able to rationally phone my doctor’s office and get an appointment for that day to go to the treatment center and get an injection of the same medicine. I was right to be very concerned. I absolutely had to go get the injection, but obsessing wasn’t the right way to approach it. Now I have to point out the hospital that treats the rare cancer I have is an 80 mile drive from my house. So, it’s a big deal for me to drive, especially when I drove there yesterday for treatment and had planned to rest today.

But God had a divine appointment for me. I was bringing trash to the dumpster early this morning when a woman who lives on the other side of my condo complex stopped and asked how I was doing. She knew I was in treatment. I told her the story and immediately she said, “I’ll drive you.” And she did. We had a wonderful drive talking about church and the Bible…telling funny stories and laughing. All’s well that ends well, as the old saying goes.

Deep Healing Prayer ~ during a pandemic

 

AA Bible

Rests upon peace with yourself and forgiveness.

Love and forgiveness, first of ourselves, is the foundation of soul healing and also physical healing. So many of us are fearful of contracting Corona Virus. Some have chronic diseases that make them vulnerable to C19. Others have already contracted the virus and are fighting it.

As believers, we fight more effectively when we are free of self-condemnation. Don’t let self-anger, self-loathing, self-pity, or any of the other selfies get in the way of healing.

Make a list. Make it as an act of prayer, submitting to Him. If there is anything we hold against ourselves, let’s write it down on paper, in detail, all of it. Be honest, what is that ‘thing/s’ we seldom talk about?  If writing this thing/s is extremely hard, make a cup of tea, put on some soft worship music, and then write…but write! As believers, we know God has not only forgiven us, He doesn’t hold that/those sin/s against us, and in fact He remembers it/them no more.

I, even am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins. ~ Isaiah 43: 25 9 [New American Standard Bible, NASB] 

If God doesn’t want to be weighted down with our sins, it might be a good and healthy idea if we let go of them too. There is a spiritual principal here for health and healing. How can we fully come before the throne and worship God when we secretly harbor these self-condemning feelings? Let them go, For His own sake.

Make a prayerful, quality decision to let the self-condemnation go. A firm decision. Take communion over it. If we’re used to carrying this self-condemning burden, we might have to let it go more than once…in fact, numerous times if we’ve carried it for years. That’s okay. God’s not counting. He doesn’t even remember the sin/s.

Since God doesn’t even remember the sin/s, destroy the list. Rip it up with bare handed, or shred it. Remember, if feelings of self-condemnation for sin God has already forgiven come back…banish them, again and again until they cease and desist.

When we have let go of this burden, we can come before the throne of God refreshed, more joyous as we ask for continued renewing of our mind, healing of our soul (mind, will, and emotions), and physical healing.

10 ‘Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ ~ Isaiah 41:10 [New American Standard Bible, NASB]

 

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If you enjoy realistic contemporary detective and murder mystery stories, you might want to check out COURTING DANGER. Newly installed Pelican Beach, Florida Det. Katerina “Kat” Andruko can’t forgive her former faithless fiance and is having trouble giving the city’s handsome profiler a chance. In fact, she’s got him as her prime murder suspect. ~ inspirational, clean reads.

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Sweet Potato Soup ~ with apple

sweet pot soup

 

Simple and Healthy

 

I made Sweet Potato Soup Thursday. I’m having the second helping today and am enjoying it

1] peel, chop, boil 1 good sized sweet potato. When nearly soft, chop into chunks a good sized Gala apple with the skin on and add to the pot. When both potato and apple are very soft but not falling apart, drain.

2] Pour half of the mixture into a blender. I used a Ninja mixer. Add half of 2 cups of chicken broth (if it doesn’t have salt, add to taste). Add half a cup of plain yogurt, preferably Greek. Mix well.

3]Pour into a large bowl or pot and set aside. Then repeat the process. Place remaining potato/apple mixture in the blender,  the remaining 1 C of broth, another 1/2 C plain yogurt, and wiz.

4]Pour this into the bowl with the other half of the soup. Add boiling hot water to obtain the consistency you desire. Mix well with a large spoon, careful not to splatter it out of the bowl. Eat what you want and refrigerate the rest for later in the week. I have not tried to freeze this because I eat it right up.

Go then, eat your bread in happiness and drink your wine with a cheerful heart; for God has already approved your works. ~ Ecclesiastes 9:7, New American Standard Bible [NASB]

What’s A Virus Busting Diet? ~ healthy eating in a dangerous world

My people are destroyed for lac of knowledge;… Hosea 4:6 [English Standard Version, ESV]

I’ve researched a great number of websites on antivirual eating/foods. Most of them quote studies and research. I didn’t include those notations. I did select the foods that were common to and showed up on most of those sites.

These are the viruses we mainly deal with in 2020: covid19, the flu, HIV, cancer, hepatitis, the measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, and shingles, polio, common cold, rabies, ebolavirus disease and hantavirus fever,  herpes and cold sores. These viruses are much more difficult to heal than bad bacteria which we treat with antibiotics. However, we are not helpless. We can eat a diet that is hostile to viruses. And we can follow the advise of our doctors. And we can pray for healing. You can believe what you want. I, personally, believe food is not the healer. The Healer is God. God can work through prayer, doctors, a healthy diet. I believe healthy food provides a supportive environment for health and healing.

Antivirus Foods to add to your diet:

a garlic

Garlic and Onions: Garlic gives a threefold punch. It has antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. . Raw garlic when it’s crushed or sliced gives the most benefit, but most people can’t eat it that way. When you cook it, peel and crush/slice it right before it goes into the pan. Jarred garlic bits in water is second choice, garlic powder third. Don’t use garlic salt. Studies have associated over salting with stomach cancer and high blood pressure. Garlic is part of the Onion Family (onions, garlic, leeks, shallots) Everything in the Onion Family has anti-viral benefits.

            Steamed Broccoli w/Garlic and Red Onion: Combine ¾ C water, 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1Tbsp fresh sliced garlic in a skillet and bring to a boil over a high hear. Add ½ C very thinly sliced red onion, 2 C broccoli florets and boil at high heat for 5-7 minutes (or to the tenderness you like). Individuals with a thyroid condition will have to boil the broccoli until it is very tender. If there’s too much liquid, drain some of it. At the end, add 1/4  tsp- salt, 1/8 tsp black pepper, toss, and serve. You can sprinkle grated cheese on at the table, if desired. Serves 2.

Note: cancer patients who are cautious about frying foods can steam/saute foods. Spray the pan with pan spray, add the onions, garlic, veggies, meat/fish/poultry and begin to cook over a low flame. Slowly add 1/4 C – 1 C water, broth, cooking wine, wine, or even fruit juice. Slowly raise the heat to the desired temperature. Don’t drown what you’re cooking. This steaming/sauteing will remove the fear of carcinogens that comes with pan frying and grilling.

a tea

Black Tea/Green Tea: Tea plants have properties that protect the plant from viruses and fungi. This does translate to human consumption. Tea has been shown to fight a number of viruses.

a salmon

Fish/Seafood with Omega 3 Fatty Acids:  Salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, oysters. Foods with Omega 3 Fatty Acids reduce inflammation and acts as antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral agents. Chronic inflammation has been shown to lead to heart disease and cancer.

A orange-4663073_1920

Citrus and Leafy Greens:  provide Vitamin C which boots the immune system. Flavonoid rich foods. Many of the articles I’ve looked at report that when an imbalance of healthy antioxidants and harmful substances called free radicals occur in the body there is increased risk of stroke, cancer, and diabetes. Foods rich in Vitamin C help to restore the balance.

A nut-1569252_1920

Nuts and Seeds: provide supportive Vitamin E, Selenium, and Magnesium. All it takes is a small handful of walnuts, almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds. Caution: portion control is important. Nuts are a healthy virus fighting food but are calorie dense. Keep the portions small because overweight has no health benefits. 

A yogurt

Yogurt/Kefir: Yogurt is rich in probiotics, the good bacteria that support intestinal health. A large proportion of the immune system is located in the gastrointestinal tract. Eating yogurt regularly (daily or at least 4 times a week) can improve immune function because it increases the body’s production of antibodies that fight off viruses. Best is unsweetened plain yogurt, but any yogurt is better than none. At least one brand of Greek yogurt has no added sugar and no artificial sweeteners. It is slightly sweet. Drinking Kefir is also very good.

A asparagus

Foods rich in zinc: Zinc helps to keep viruses from attaching to cells and helps prevent them from replicating. Among the foods with the highest zinc content: garbanzo beans and other beans, asparagus and spinach, mushrooms, dark chocolate, nuts (pecans, almonds, walnuts, peanuts, hazelnuts), oysters, shrimp and scallops, beef, lamb, and poultry.

My personal advice: take a multi vitamin every day and add a zinc and a vitamin C supplement to that.

Portions: Imagine your plate is divided into three sections like summer picnic plates. Your veggies go in the large space. Protein (meat, poultry, fish, seafood, cheese, etc) go in one of the small spaces. Carbohydrates (brown rice, sweet potatoes or red skinned potatoes with the skins on, whole wheat pasta, 1 slice of whole grain or multi-grain bread) goes in the other small space. If you are having fruit for dessert put it in one of those little bowls that look like finger bowls. Those are dessert bowls. The ones we tend to use are actually a cereal bowls.

A fruit

 

 

 

 

I Had A Minor Female Procedure Done ~ for women only

Magnolia Trees

Half of an abortion cocktail was proscribed.

 

I had to take the medication, as prescribed, every six hour on the day before the scheduled procedure. This medication causes the uterus to dilate.

Why I initially sought treatment was for Post Menopausal Bleeding. I’m 71-years-old and started spotting/light bleeding for five days then the bleeding would stop. It would start again a week later light bleed/spotting for six days. So I was bleeding lightly twice a month.

I sought treatment immediately after the first bleeding. A sonogram was ordered and on a later date, this procedure, a biopsy to see if the cause was cancer. Then it became scary, but I am a calm person by nature. I know my body and felt the bleeding was related to physical exertion. Still the word “cancer” is daunting and plaguing. The doctor told me the medication would cause some cramping. I knew all bases had to covered. I will find out the results of the sonogram and the biopsy in a few days. That is NOT what this article is about.

The day after the biopsy, I was ill. bleeding had increased. I figured the meds and dilation had caused that. However, I was nauseous to the point I could not get food down, had body aches, and was exhausted to the point that I thought not only could I not stand, I could not sit. That first day after the biopsy, I slept for 9 hours during the day and then my usual  8 at night, a deep sleep both times. This feeling of sickness lasted four days. Finally, today I got up with my usual energy and have started my morning — and I thought, Oh, Good Lord, that medication was very, very toxic.

Yesterday, I had an email exchange with a senior woman who had a hysterectomy for bleeding fibroids a few years ago. She’s the type who always puts family before herself and put off taking care of the bleeding. She wound up hemorrhaging. At that point, the doctors told her that her hemoglobin count was so low it was scary. Since the hysterectomy, she’s been fine. After all, by the time you get to Medicare, what does a woman need a uterus for?

My friend thought although I went through difficult side effects from the medication, and that the doctor should have alerted me to them, it’s something I had to go through because Post Menopausal Bleeding is no joke.

I should’ve read the paper that came from the pharmacy with the side effects, or looked them up online. I was fixated on the word “cancer” and I didn’t. So, I was completely taken by surprise.

I wonder what the experiences of other senior women with Post Menopausal Bleeding have been, and also women who have taken similar drugs for dilation purposes for other reasons. If you are a woman who took the meds for an abortion there will be absolutely no judgement here!!! I’m only interested in the actual physical/emotional experiences of women (and their caretakers) with Post Menopausal Bleeding and dilating drugs.