Posted on 10 Comments

At My Grandmother’s Table

An assortment of baking ingredients
The hands of a female rolling dough with a rolling pin
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

When I think of the word food, it evokes liquid memories of love.

Memories of wonderful days with my sister and my cousins at grandma’s house.

Food represented love.

Each Saturday my grandmother would prepare to bake fresh bread, pastries, and other treats.

I, along with my sister and cousins would gather at our grandmother’s table. We knew there would be laughter, food, and fun.

Golden rays of sunlight streaming in through the muslin fabric added magic to the dance of grandmother’s hands as she wrestled with the dough. Next, she patted and covered it on a large wooden tray to rest and rise.

The heady fragrance set our taste buds alight with the promise of joy.

Our shiny sun-kissed faces marveled with the wonder of youth as the doughy mixture seemed to come alive before our very eyes.

Photo by Theme Photos on Unsplash

Later, grandma would set the dough into rolls and loaves. We would get small pieces of the raw dough to play with as an artful form of learning.

We would try to make each tiny bread look like my grandmother’s, but ours never seemed to come out quite right.

Next came preparing the oven for baking.

The oven is located in the yard and is a structure made of mud, cow patties (dried cow poop), and water mixed together in a manner reminiscent of an adobe-like structure.

The oven is located in the yard and is a structure made of mud, cow patties (dried cow poop), and water mixed together in a manner reminiscent of an adobe-like square structure.
Image credit: Stabroek News Guyana Newspaper

My grandma would artfully light the oven using the bits and pieces we had collected until they formed red hot bits of coal.

The dough is then placed in the oven and the real magic begins. The intoxicating scent of fermented yeast explodes as heat invigorates the fungi causing its energy to dissipate overpowering the palate of the waiting children.

We eagerly await the opening of the oven door, a signal for the salivary glands to let it all hang out — literally.

The golden goodness is freed from the ovens bowels and presented to the salivating kids.

A female’s hand holding a pan of fresh golden bread rolls. #Food, #Memories
Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

The heat emanating from the too-hot rolls causes us to change hands constantly, like a clown juggling way too many balls in the air.

We love it warm from the oven as the heat causes the fresh cheese or salty butter to dribble down our fingers as we enjoy this yeasty goodness with some freshly made lime drinks.

Afterward, we would rest in the shade of the veranda, now replete.

The older kids would tell us scary stories until one by one we doze off dreaming of playing hide and seek in the coming moonlight.

Posted on 9 Comments

The Importance of Trying New Things

Photo by FOTEROS on Pexels.com

I was told not to eat mushrooms

I remember gazing upon these soft umbrella like plants nestled upon a rotting log in the front corner of our yard. They boasted differing colors, shapes and sizes.

They seemed to appear on damp days, after a night of heavy rains this strange plant would appear.

To a child they were enchanting. Though they evoked the tiniest of fear. They were reminiscent of images we had seen in our story books. usually of a leprechaun or a toad in close proximity to one.

The old folks said the spirits used it to shelter from the rain.

The folk lore told that the jumbies’, ghosts or spirits (words used interchangeably), use the ‘umbrellas’ to hide under during the rain. The reasoning behind why they came out after a night of heavy rains.

Kids will believe anything. The absurdity in retrospect is laughable.

I do not know the names of the mushroom species that grew so abundantly everywhere back then. They were pretty much taboo in our part of the world.

No one I knew ate mushrooms, they were undesirable and the word on the street was that “they ate these things in other parts of the world”. They went on to tell us they were poisonous.

So we would play with them. They were so delicate that it was easy to crush them under our feet.

Years later, I began travelling and was introduced to edible mushrooms. I immediately fell in love with their musty taste and meat-like texture.

Photo by Liza Nychyporuk on Unsplash

Mushrooms according to Wikipedia are the fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting body of a fungus, typically produced above ground, on soil, or on its food source.

Mushrooms are a low-calorie food rich in nutritional value. Loaded with many health-boosting vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, they can be an important addition to your diet.

Note, their particular circumstance of growth impacts their nutritional components, for eg., mushrooms grown with exposure to ultraviolet light are a good source of Vitamin DVitamin D is an important component for optimum health.

Mushrooms, according to the FDA, contain, sodium, potassium, fiber, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamin C, iron and various trace elements.

  1. Aids weight loss
  2. Lowers blood pressure
  3. Nutritional value and trace elements
Mushrooms, spinach and other foods used for cooking
Photo by ready made on Pexels.com

 

The takeaway

Though my first encounter with mushrooms were negative ones. I am glad I kept an open mind when it came to trying new things.

In making a decision to try something new, I found a new low calorie food that I now love.

It is important to take some time and see another perspective, to give new experiences, new places a change, new things a try.

You may find a new joy, a new love, a new friend.

Posted on 24 Comments

Beer Battered Chicken Strips

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Back in early April before our lives got turned upside down. My Gee was always the chef du jour, and not for just that day either.

We were home deciding what to cook for dinner and finally settled on was Gee’s Beer Battered Chicken. In our current climate we are trying to raid the refrigerator and the freezer and come up with innovative ways to eat what was already in the home. So here is Gee’s twist on things.

Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 egg
  • 1 beer or seltzer water
  • 1 Tsp baking powder
  • Sazon seasoning (gives color & flavor)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Oregano

Prepare batter:

  • Mix all dry ingredients together, you may use a whisk.
  • Add the beer or seltzer water (your preference) to the dry mixture
  • Gently fold beer / seltzer into the dry mixture (do not beat the mixture, you want to keep the bubbles)
  • Mix gently for smooth consistency

Directions:

Clean, wash and prep chicken breasts, pat dry with paper towel and place in a bowl. Slice the thickness of chicken breast in half. Add seasonings to your taste. You may allow to marinate for about 30 minutes.

  1. Dredge seasoned chicken into dry mixture containing salt, pepper, 3 tbsps flour, 3 tbsps corn starch.
  2. Gently shake off excess dry ingredients and immerse in batter, gently shake off excess.

Cooking:

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  • Use medium sized frying pan and 1/2 of oil to heat.
  • Slowly lower chicken 2/3rd moving chicken gently back and forth in hot oil but not allowing it to stick to bottom until it is cooked enough to float.
  • Cook until golden brown on both sides
  • Place on a cooling rack
  • Enjoy!

You may enjoy with fries, a salad, as a sandwich, with rice and vegetables or any other way you choose.

Bon appetit!  &  God bless!

 

Posted on 34 Comments

Home Grown — A Wall of Soil

Yesterday my mom and I went to Lowe’s Hardware Store to stock up on our plant food and I was amazed and pleased to see this wall of soil. It seems a lot of folks are planting and the demand for plants and planting items have drastically increased.

I have been seeking some onion plants so I keep checking, none so far.

As avid planters, we have never seen this much soil being stocked or sold. The gardening section is currently one of the busiest at the stores.

Apparently many of us are returning our roots and in the process finding joy in the work of our hands, watching them grow and eating healthier in the process.

Plus our kids get to help while learning how to doing new things, which will serve them well in the future.

A 7 year old boy watering plants with an adult female looking on.
My 7 year old watering plants with his grandmother.

Planting is also great for our mental health.

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Yellow Squash flowering.

Isn’t this just lovely to watching things grow?

A peach - tree-ripened
This one is actually a Bounty Peach – first bearing from young tree planted about 2 months ago in our backyard — but the color is purple like a plum, it ripened on the tree
A tree-ripened plum
This one is the plum, first bearing planted from young trees planted 2 months ago.

So WP folks, please show us some pictures of your gardens…

 

 

 

Posted on 61 Comments

Okra — Benefits

Photo by Elianna Friedman on Unsplash

Okra – originated in Ethiopia and scientifically known as Abelmoschus esculentus.  From Ethiopia, okra had journeyed to North Africa, the Mediterranean, Arabia and India all by the 12th century.

A hardy plant, okra can be cultivated almost anywhere. This vegetable is known as gumbo in America, lady’s finger in England, guino-gombo in Spanish, guibeiro in Portuguese and bhindi in India, to name a few.

In its original home of Ethiopia it is also called Kenkase, Andeha, and Bamia.

According to MedicalNewsToday, one cup of okra weighing approximately 100 grams contains a whopping 20 vitamins and minerals. Sounds like a superfood to me. I have been eating this vegetable all my life. I did not always appreciate its gifts.

Now at this time in my life I truly appreciate its versatile culinary preparations, this was not always the case.

What I did not know back then was that okra was chock full of most of what our bodies requires in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and cancer fighting compounds.

We are all well aware that our bodies work at its optimum when we consume a diet rich in the recommended amounts of the various food groups.

Some of the benefits of okra:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes by lowering blood sugar, it regulates the rate at which sugar is absorbed in the intestinal tract.
  • Reduces kidney damage.
  • Toxin removal – utilizing the mucilage found in okra
  • Cancer – contains a compound lectin that can kill cancer cells.
  • Cardiovascular – its high fiber content aids cholesterol expulsion from the body.
  • Osteoporosis – its vitamin K content helps keep bones healthy and strong.
  • Gastrointestinal – prevents constipation and more.
  • Seeds contain oil and proteins.

Be aware:

  • Kidney stones – okra is high in oxalates
  • Gastrointestinal upset – contains fructans a type of carbohydrate that can cause gas, bloating etc.
  • Joint pain – contains solanine a compound that may trigger joint pain.
  • Blood-thinning properties – due to the presence of vitamin K.

Okra seemingly has numerous health benefits. It is great for helping to keep your liver and kidneys healthy. It reduces oxidative stress, promotes healthy skin and blood and from personal is great for hair as well.

Check with your healthcare provider if you are taking blood thinners due to the presence of vitamin K a known blood thinner. 

References:

Below are some pictures of okra in cultivation from my mother’s kitchen garden.

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Dated 04/11/2020

My mother is the primary gardener, these are the fruits of her hands.

The rest of us are “the helpers”. My mother is blessed to grow things, anything grows that she plants. She planted these okra from seeds and they have been doing what they do. For myself I derive so much pleasure from helping and just observing things growing under the heavens.

I talk to the plants and I am always the first one to see their fruits … a gift of mine my mother says, lol.

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Dated 05/02/2020

The babies are thriving and flourishing. It is a thing of beauty.

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Dated 05/27/2020

Growing and looking so nice and healthy.

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Dated 05/31/2020

Flower bud in progress above.

Same day these images taken from different angle (below).

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The view from another angle. They are so healthy. I love it!

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Dated 06/04/2020

This morning this flower decided to open up to see the sun. The first fruits of the labor of love. My favorite time of the growing cycle. Soon we will be consuming these babies.

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Dated 06/04/2020 – for some reason, I could not get this image any clearer, the day is over and the flower has done its work, by tomorrow it will wither and reveal the new okra. 

In picture above, the okra tree is doing what nature has designed it to do, grow and produce.

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This is my mother proudly displaying the fruits from the works of her hands (July 2020). The long one is a variety from South America.

The smaller ones below are the regular variety found here.

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Stay safe, stay well, lets learn to live in peace and respect …….. IF we cannot live in love. 

Posted on 14 Comments

Gardening: Swiss Chard

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The leaves are so green.

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Look at these growing beauties, makes you feel healthier already. Lol

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The leaves took a beating during the storms.

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These are all edible plants, tomato on the left, the swiss chard, ochro in the black pot, the one with the red pigmentation is also an edible spinach.

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The plants look so healthy. (That is eggplant with the white flowers nearby)

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Ready for eating. And these are so so good to eat. 
Posted on 18 Comments

Fish Cakes – Easy Home Style

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PS: My mother decided to decorate it with all this celery, she really loves celery.

How to make fish cakes:

You will need:

  • 1 pound boneless fish.
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 sweet pepper
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 2 slices bread soaked in milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (to your taste)
  • 2 eggs

Directions:

  • Blend onion, garlic and sweet pepper in food processor.
  • Steam fish and allow to cool.
  • Separate fish with a fork and add seasonings.
  • Add 2 whisked eggs.
  • Add the mashed potatoes.
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Next add bread crumbs.
  • Mix and check for consistency (so that you are able to shape it).
  • Use a table spoon as a measuring guide and mold into your desired shape.
  • Heat oil, flour lightly and cook until golden brown.

Enjoy as an appetizer, as a sandwich, with rice or vegetables.

God bless!!

 

 

Posted on 19 Comments

Aunty’s Chick Pea & Sweet Potato Dinner

Day of Worship Church Flyer (2)

Everyone wants to be healthy. Especially now that we are social distancing and may be visiting the refrigerator and the couch way too many times.

My Aunt sent this picture of her dinner a few nights ago. In an effort to maintain middle-aged weight and be healthy, this is “food for our soul”. This prompted this post about sweet potatoes.

Sweet Potato:

Sweet potatoes scientifically known as Ipomoea batatas are healthier forms of carbohydrates that most others. It has a medium glycemic index of 63, according to HSPH.

The glycemic index (GI) refers to how quickly a certain food raises a person’s blood sugar after consumption.

White potatoes are a high-GI food, with a GI of 78. Previous research has implicated the consumption between a high-GI diet and type 2 diabetes.

Sweet potatoes are part of the family of root vegetables and are “delicious and nutritious.”

They are so tasty, contain zero fats and cholesterol, packed with vitamins and nutrients, and are delicious!

Did you know that despite being a “potato”, sweet potatoes are not closely related to white potatoes?

They are edible roots, while white potatoes are eligible tubers.

The difference between Tubers & Roots:

Root vegetables are underground parts of plants that act as storage organs and are enlarged to store carbohydrates that will be accessed for energy.

Tubers are the enlarged structures in some plants and are used as storage of nutrients. They contain no nodes, internodes or reduced leaves.

For e.g. carrot is a root and sweet potato is a root tuber.

White potatoes are part of the nightshade family, which includes tomatoes, eggplant, and hot peppers, according to the University of Wisconsin.

Sweet potatoes, are part of the morning glory family of flowering plants and are not closely related to white potatoes.

Sweet potatoes are considered root vegetables, this means that we eat the root of the plant, while white potatoes are considered tubers, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

They are also one of the top sources of beta-carotene, which is a precursor to vitamin A. Great for preserving our excellent eyesight.

Different types of sweet potatoes

Day of Worship Church Flyer (2)

Everyone wants to be healthy. Especially now that we are social distancing and maybe visiting the refrigerator and the couch way too many times.

My Aunt sent this picture of her dinner a few nights ago. In an effort to maintain middle-aged weight and be healthy, this is “food for our soul”. This prompted this post about sweet potatoes.

Sweet Potato:

Sweet potatoes  scientifically known as Ipomoea batatas are healthier forms of carbohydrates that most others. It has a medium glycemic index, according to HSPH, of 63.

The glycemic index (GI) refers to how quickly a certain food raises a person’s blood sugar after consumption.

White potatoes are a high-GI food, with a GI of 78. Previous research has implicated the consumption between a high-GI diet and type 2 diabetes.

Sweet potatoes are part of the family of root vegetables and are “delicious and nutritious.”

They are so tasty, contain zero fats and cholesterol, packed with vitamins and nutrients, and are delicious!

Did you know that despite being a “potato”, sweet potatoes are not closely related to white potatoes?

They are edible roots, while white potatoes are eligible tubers.

The difference between Tubers & Roots:

Root vegetables are underground parts of plants that act as storage organs and are enlarged to store carbohydrates that will be accessed for energy.

Tubers are the enlarged structures in some plants and are used as storage of nutrients. They contain no nodes, internodes, or reduced leaves.

For e.g. carrot is a root and sweet potato is a root tuber.

White potatoes are part of the nightshade family, which includes tomatoes, eggplant, and hot peppers, according to the University of Wisconsin.

Sweet potatoes, are part of the morning glory family of flowering plants and are not closely related to white potatoes.

Sweet potatoes are considered root vegetables, this means that we eat the root of the plant, while white potatoes are considered tubers, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

They are also one of the top sources of beta-carotene, which is a precursor to vitamin A. Great for preserving our excellent eyesight.

Happy DIY Home offers a great post on how to grow sweet potatoes if you wish to try tour hang at gardening. 

Different types of sweet potatoes

Nutritional values of sweet potatoes:

Saturated fat 0 g 0%
Polyunsaturated fat 0 g
Monounsaturated fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Sodium 73 mg 3%
Potassium 448 mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 27 g 9%
Dietary fiber 4 g 16%
Sugar 6 g
Protein 2.1 g 4%
Vitamin A 377% Vitamin C 5%
Calcium 4% Iron 4%
Vitamin D 0% Vitamin B-6 15%
Cobalamin 0% Magnesium
The table above copied from livescience.com

Interesting facts:

  • In addition to the root, sweet potato leaves and shoots are also edible and commonly eaten in some countries.
  • Boiling sweet potatoes retains more of their beta-carotene making the nutrients more available for our use.
  • As much as 92% of the nutrients are retained by limiting the cooking time, such as boiling in a pot with a tightly covered lid for 20 minutes.
  • Cooking potatoes with the skin on further helps to minimize the loss of nutrients including beta-carotene and vitamin C.
  • Their interesting bright colors are from “Phyto” chemicals. These phytochemicals are currently being studied for their potential role in human health.

Aunty’s menu:

  • Sweet potato boiled with a dash of salt.
  • Chickpeas, drained and tossed with 1 tbsp oil, curry, cumin, salt, and pepper to taste.
  • Grape tomatoes, cucumber, and turkey bacon lettuce wrapped.
  • Drink of your choice.

1 Corinthians 10:31

Enjoy!

Blessings.

References:

Interesting facts:

  • In addition to the root, sweet potato leaves and shoots are also edible and commonly eaten in some countries.
  • Boiling sweet potatoes retains more of their beta-carotene making the nutrients more available for our use.
  • As much as 92% of the nutrients are retained by limiting the cooking time, such as boiling in a pot with a tightly covered lid for 20 minutes.
  • Cooking potatoes with the skin on further helps to minimize the loss of nutrients including beta-carotene and vitamin C.
  • Their interesting bright colors are from “Phyto” chemicals. These phytochemicals are currently being studied for their potential role in human health.

Aunty’s menu:

  • Sweet potato boiled with a dash of salt.
  • Chickpeas, drained and tossed with 1 tbsp oil, curry, cumin, salt, and pepper to taste.
  • Grape tomatoes, cucumber, and turkey bacon lettuce wrapped.
  • Drink of your choice.

1 Corinthians 10:31

Enjoy!

Blessings.

References:

Posted on 27 Comments

Turmeric Rice Recipe

A container with yellow turmeric powder and dried chickpeas
Turmeric Rice with Chickpeas Recipe

 

Hello my friends, some interest was shown in the recipe for turmeric rice I cooked a few days ago. I added turmeric and cumin seeds as I love the flavor of cumin seeds.

So here goes,

Ingredients:

1 cup rice (I like Jasmine)

1 1/2 cups water or stock of your choice

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 can drained chickpeas

1/2 cup mixed vegetables, if you like

2 large cloves of garlic chopped

1 onion chopped

1 stalk celery chopped

salt, and pepper to taste

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                                        Turmeric and cumin seasoned rice.

Directions:

  • Add oil to skillet and heat.
  • Place onions and garlic to cook, once softened add cumin seeds to bloom (1 minute).
  • Add 1 teaspoon turmeric to cook, stirring constantly (do not allow to burn).
  • Add celery, salt, pepper, etc and any meat of your choice to sear at this time.
  • Finally add rice, stirring to allow to coat with seasonings and to fry for another minute.
  • Next add any other desired seasonings and your water or stock to pot.
  • Check flavor and allow rice to cook 2/3 way through.
  • Add chickpeas.
  • Lower flame and cover to allow rice to be complete cooking.
  • Serve according to your liking.

Update: September 2020 — I made turmeric rice and decided to post an update picture.

Turmeric rice with shrimp, steamed okra and mushrooms simmering in a pot.
Image credit: Justpene

 

Yellow rice cooked with turmeric in a white plate decorated with grape tomatoes and steamed okra.
Turmeric Rice with cumin seeds,  shrimp, mushrooms and Lima beans. Image credit: Justpene

 

Once rice has completely cooked and is still warm I added the bits of bacon and my spring onions.

The cumin seeds provide another dimension of flavor, when you bite the seeds they add  beautiful texture as well as taste.

I hope you like it.

Bon appetit!

I hope you enjoy!

 

 

Posted on 72 Comments

What I Cooked Today

Well my dears,  today I am off work. I have been researching the benefits of turmeric for a post.

My mom and I had been using turmeric for over several years now for its anti-inflammatory properties.

She makes a drink of turmeric, ginger, lemon and honey. We have been consistently drinking this concoction, especially since the coronavirus, I try to have some every day, just to keep the immune system running at its optimum.

So I cooked some turmeric rice with chickpea or garbanzo beans. See picture below.

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Turmeric rice with garbanzo beans, grilled chicken and a sprinkle of bacon.

Now I am no Julia Childs, Gee is the official cook, but he is currently doing a travel nurse stint in NY.

In an effort to keep my mind off life I am finding “filler” things to do.

A little update, mr. celery is happily growing along with some basil and parsley for company. I love basil as well, love all herbs really. We had a few cold days last week so they took a little beating. One day it seemed like spring then we reverted to winter.

To see how to grow celery easily at home click here.

I love love cucumbers and I eat them almost every day. We’ve tried to grow them in the past with not too much success, they would be the picture of health one day then just drop dead the next.

My mom currently has a few cucumber plants in some pots and we will see how they grow.

But just a little on what I have been doing on my off days and of course being on WordPress, I could not get through the difficult times without you all. There is such a community of support here, it’s simply beautiful.

Take your vitamin supplements including zinc, selenium, vitamins C and D.

As always my friends pray, stay healthy, stay safe, keep your immune systems at peak performance.

God bless us all! Amen!