Hello and welcome to my blog! This is my first blog, and I’m rather excited about it.
As you may have surmised from the title I’ve chosen, one of my passions — and, therefore, the focus of this blog — is food. I like tasty food prepared in a healthy manner. Yes, of course, I indulge sometimes in things that aren’t as healthy for me as they could be, but the majority of the time, I tend to focus on affordable, easily obtainable foods prepared in a tasty, healthy way.
So who am I and what do tasty and healthy mean to me? Here’s a brief run-down for you:
- I live in the Piney Woods of East Texas in a 100+ year old small (2 bedroom, 1 bath) home on 25 acres. This can be as charming as it sounds when you’re not thinking on or performing the repairs and such necessary for an older home. 😉
- My beloved and I are self-employed and we more or less work from home. This means we’re together pretty much 24/7, but we each have our own space and give each other room, so it works for us. My beloved step-son (my dear boy — we have an awesome relationship) is now married and expecting his first child in the next month or so.
- I’m not as isolated as some but am more isolated than those of you who live in larger cities. I’m about 7 miles/11.26 km (one way) from the nearest convenience store. I’m 11 miles/17.7 km (one way) from the nearest grocery store, and about 14 miles/22/5 l, (one way) from the nearest WalMart Supercenter (which has a grocery).
- The distance and limited selection of grocery stores mean I generally prepare foods with easily obtainable and fairly common ingredients.
- The distance to the stores also means that I have a tendency to plan ahead — we want to cut down on those last minute trips to the store for a needed ingredient.
- I tend to cook with budget and economy in mind. I try to take advantage of weekly specials and sales and like to stock my freezer and pantry when there’s a good special.
- I enjoy cooking, baking, and experimenting with new recipes. I approach it almost as a hobby. Sometimes I enjoy puttering around in the kitchen on more elaborate recipes; other times, I want something quick and easy.
- While I enjoy making many things from scratch — I love baking bread and making my own pie crust, for example — I also sometimes use convenience products because they are, well, convenient!
- Tasty to me and my family runs the gamut from a combination of a few fresh, simple flavors to a more complex combining of several like or contrasting flavors — it all depends upon what we’re craving at the time. I have and use a lot of herbs, and my family and I love spicy flavors. I say bring on the heat! 😉
Healthy means different things to different people. We all have our own likes and dislikes, our own personal health concerns and family histories, our own way our body processes and reacts to food. When I prepare food for myself, my family, and my friends, I try to make it healthy by applying the following elements, as applicable:
- Using lean cuts of meats, such as boneless, skinless chicken breast; 93/7 ground beef; 93/7 ground turkey (which is more affordable than ground white turkey); turkey sausage instead of pork sausage (or at the very least, using reduced-fat pork sausage), turkey bacon, rump roast, sirloin steak, pork tenderloin, lean luncheon meats, etc.
- Including reduced-fat — not fat-free! — foods when possible, such as 2% sharp cheddar, Neufchâtel cheese instead of full-fat cream cheese, light Miracle Whip, light Mayonnaise, reduced-fat sour cream, and so on. With the exception of fat-free Greek yogurt and sometimes skim milk, you’ll seldom find me using a fat-free product, as 1) I usually don’t care for the flavor or the texture and 2) fat-free products are often higher in carbs and sugars than their full-fat counterparts. All in all, I find reduced-fat to be a good balance between flavor, texture, calories, and carbs.
- Employing lean cooking methods, such as baking (often on a rack), broiling, and non-stick skillets — ‘though my beloved and I sometimes deep-fry foods, too. (And by the way, deep-frying isn’t as evil as one might think — the trick is heating and maintaining the oil to the appropriate temperature so that your food cooks quickly, thereby generally absorbing rather little oil.)
- Using “healthy” oils — I primarily use olive and Canola oils.
- Incorporating more whole grains, wheat grains, and fiber when we can do so without compromising on taste. Our usual sandwich bread of choice is wheat bread or bread with whole grains. When we have hamburgers or hot dogs, I like to get the WhiteWheat buns, which are high in fiber (and, therefore, lower in carbs, as you can deduct the fiber from the carb count because your body processes the fiber differently). When we have TexMex at home — and we LOVE our spicy TexMex! — I often use carb-balance tortillas, which, once again, are higher in fiber and lower in carbs. I’ve not yet get gotten my beloved to consider whole wheat pasta, but who knows — we may give that a try some time soon!
- Avoiding concentrated sugars — with a history of diabetes in both of our families, when I was diagnosed several years ago as being hypoglycemic (low blood sugar), it made sense to cut out concentrated sugars, which offer almost nothing in the way of nutrition and, having a high-glycemic index, spike your blood sugar. Our dentist thanks us for keeping all that sugar out of our mouths and away from our teeth, too!
- Balancing carbs and proteins — to keep blood sugar levels on an even keel, it’s best to balance one’s carb intake throughout the day and avoid an overload of high-glycemic carbs at any one meal or snack. I also put a bit more emphasis on protein than carbs. For example, if you looked at your diet in terms of the old USDA Food Pyramid, it suggested 60 – 70% carbs, no more than 20% fat, and about 10% protein. I generally try to adhere to no more than 50% carbs, keep my fat at 20 to 25%, and the rest protein.
So welcome to my blog — and welcome to my kitchen, where my beloved nearly always says “Oh, that smells yummy!” 🙂