Random Thoughts – May 2021

Sat 5/8

Writing has been difficult the past several weeks. Got no Mojo. Sometimes you just have to put your butt in the chair and start. And this morning I’m putting my butt in my chair and writing. My future best seller though is on the shelf for now. I’m writing but the book is just too much effort for what I hope will be a relaxing Saturday. So to write while keeping it light this month’s random thoughts are about my pantry.

Entering year two of the pandemic the pantry is pretty well stocked. A prepper wouldn’t agree with this statement but I’m not preparing for the end of the world. I just want to be prepared for the coming supply chain shortages. Remember last year when no one knew what the hell was happening and panic drove some to buy rooms full of toilet paper? Well the year ahead will be interesting and different from the beginning stages and perhaps more challenging.

I was at the grocery store and ground turkey is always on my list. A couple of trips ago the store had no ground turkey. Nada. Nothing. Zero. So I was quite pleased to see the store restocked with plenty of ground turkey. I was not pleased to discover a nearly 50% increase in the price. Your frugal writer didn’t buy any. Ground turkey is merely an example. Who knows what will or won’t be available? The reality is whatever you want to buy will cost you more. Hello inflation.

Labor shortages, supply constraints, high freight costs and increasing commodity prices all combine to create higher prices for you and me. I read somewhere that some of the biggest retailers and distributors are fining their suppliers for late or incomplete orders which will add more to the cost for us. Bizarre business strategy if you ask me but it’s happening. Prices inevitably will go up.

So under the assumption your pantry is decently stocked here’s what I would do moving forward.

Buy more of what you need when it’s on sale. Memorial Day is coming up which means a lot of picnic and cookout items will be on sale. Stock up.

Use food storage containers. We bought more yesterday. Keep any tiny creepy crawlers out of your stash.

Be willing to substitute when prices demand substitution. No ground turkey for me at $6.29 a pound. Instead I bought boneless chicken breast for $6.49 a pound on sale, regularly $8.49 a pound (yes it was a higher quality chicken and I wasn’t at Whole Paycheck Food Market).

Drink good Scotch.

Hope you like my list.

Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew

A few weeks ago I cooked too many chickpeas. Some got roasted with this Veggie Burrito Spice Blend. The rest got tossed into this concoction. The problem I have saving a recipe to revise at a later time is I tend to forget to revise and post. Then I can’t remember what stopped me from posting earlier. Like this recipe which I thought needed revisions but actually didn’t. I think.

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger (or 1 tsp ginger powder)
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • crushed red pepper to taste
  • 3 cups cooked chickpea
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 15oz. can no salt diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups MOL vegetable broth and bean cooking liquid (MOL= more or less)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

  • Add the onion, garlic, and ginger to a soup pot with the olive oil and sauté over medium heat
  • After a few minutes toss in the curry powder, smoked paprika, sweet paprika, cumin, and red pepper flakes. Keep sautéing for another few minutes.
  • Add the potatoes, tomatoes, carrots and chickpeas to the pot. Pour enough vegetable broth and/or bean cooking liquid to cover the ingredients by an inch.
  • Turn the heat up and bring to a boil. When boiling, turn the heat down to low and simmer for about an hour, lid on partially covered. Stir occasionally. Add more broth/cooking liquid as the stew thickens.
  • After an hour taste and adjust your seasonings. The amounts of seasonings I used results in a very mild stew that allows all of the flavors to shine.
  • Serve over rice (or not).

Still Here

If you think they’re gone, think again
Still here
You cannot see them but then again
They are in your thoughts and dreams
Still here
We have memories
Still here
Look into your heart
Love never dies
Still here

I Love Mushrooms

Mushrooms are rich in vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants. The team’s findings show that these super foods may also help guard against cancer. Even though shiitake, oyster, maitake and king oyster mushrooms have higher amounts of the amino acid ergothioneine than white button, cremini and portabello mushrooms, the researchers found that people who incorporated any variety of mushrooms into their daily diets had a lower risk of cancer. According to the findings, individuals who ate 18 grams of mushrooms daily had a 45% lower risk of cancer compared to those who did not eat mushrooms.

Penn State. “Higher mushroom consumption is associated with a lower risk of cancer.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 April 2021. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/04/210421200133.htm

Bluesman54 – Project #1

Nice body.
  1. Revive Frankenstrat II project from 2006. I bought a beat up used guitar way back and took it apart. I still have all of the parts except for the body which disappeared somewhere in Stillwater Oklahoma 15 years ago. So I needed a body.
  2. Rename project. This project is now known as Bluesman54 Project #1.
  3. Buy a body (see picture above).
  4. Determine if wood grain is attractive enough for a clear coat or stain required.
  5. Sand and finish.
  6. Neck decision is next.

Veggie Burrito Spice Blend

Spice Blend for Veggie Burritos

2 tsp chili powder – 1 tsp cumin – 1 tsp smoked paprika – 1/2 tsp coriander 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper 1 tsp garlic powder

Chickpea and Broccoli Burrito — https://www.badmanners.com/recipes/roasted-chickpea-and-broccoli-burrito

This blend of spices is literally stolen from the chefs at https://www.badmanners.com/. The last time I took a theme on a spice blend the author tracked me down and threatened something close to legal action if I didn’t give her credit and a link to her website. So this time around I’m giving credit AND three links. I’m also not going to write down any instructions for making a roasted vegetable and chickpea filling for burritos. I suggest you go to the original recipe at https://www.badmanners.com/recipes/roasted-chickpea-and-broccoli-burrito if you need detailed instructions.

My Tips, Hints, and not too Secret Secrets

A really good tortilla makes all the difference. But today I’m going to wrap this filling in a Greek style whole wheat pita for lunch. I tend to roast vegetables for at least 40 minutes with a good stir midway through to prevent sticking. You can also add more olive oil at this point too. I hope I have a lime in the fridge. The last time I made this filling The Boss used it as a topping for a Taco Salad. She liked it. I hope she was telling the truth because when you cook up a pound of dried chickpeas it is a LOT of chickpeas. One cup dried will produce between 6 and 7 cups of beans. I used about 4 cups for today’s mix. The other 3 cups went into a Sweet Potato and Chickpea Stew (no link yet, recipe is still in draft form).

I used some metal pie pans as roasting pans because I didn’t want to use the big pan which is a pain in the ass to clean because of its size. Preheat your pan(s) before roasting. I leave the mixing bowl uncleaned and use it again once the veggies are roasted and done. Let the mixture cool for a bit, toss everything back into this bowl, mix well again to capture the spices that have stuck to the bowl and then adjust your seasonings.

Postscript

No lime. I used lemon instead.

I wasn’t kidding about using pie pans.

I’m a Big Dipper

Previous studies looking at blood sugar after eating have focused on the way that levels rise and fall in the first two hours after a meal, known as a blood sugar peak. However, after analyzing the data, the PREDICT team noticed that some people experienced significant ‘sugar dips’ 2-4 hours after this initial peak, where their blood sugar levels fell rapidly below baseline before coming back up.

Big dippers had a 9% increase in hunger, and waited around half an hour less, on average, before their next meal than little dippers, even though they ate exactly the same meals.

Big dippers also ate 75 more calories in the 3-4 hours after breakfast and around 312 calories more over the whole day than little dippers. This kind of pattern could potentially turn into 20 pounds of weight gain over a year.

King’s College London. “Why some of us are hungry all the time.” ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/04/210412114802.htm (accessed April 24, 2021).

Now I know there is a scientific biological basis for why I feel hungry more often than others. Over time I’ve figured out solutions for my unique metabolism and biology.

Whole grain bars. A small handful of nuts. A cup of yogurt. If you’re constantly hungry you might be a “big dipper” like me. Carry on.

Baked Tomatoes with Egg

From the language comments the country of origin appears to be Greece. This dish is absolutely brilliant (but try to find tomatoes like this in the US). I love the chef using the tops for bottoms. AND…wait for the cat.

My Writing Time is Sacred, but Please Don’t Ask Me What I Did All Day

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

By Sally Schwartz

It’s easy to be a writer. All you have to do is tell people, “Hi. I’m a writer.”

Gosh. All this time I thought I wrote memoir, and then this nugget of fiction pops out of my fingertips.

The nonfiction version goes more like this: It’s not so easy to be a writer.

Already I need to make an edit. One thing about being a writer is crazy easy: dressing the part. Really, I can’t say enough about the wardrobe. Everyone is going around, giving credit to COVID-19, as if only a pandemic could inspire an appreciation for elastic. Meanwhile, every writer worth her weight in sweatpants can attest to the fact that we’ve understood the joys of pajamas-as-daywear long before the world went into lockdown.

Earning no steady income, and forgoing benefits might be seen by some as professional drawbacks. Those people, who clamor for the…

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