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Making do and Making things better

I have been seeing so many posts about folks not being able to get their staple foods. I understand it is frustrating. For me though, it gives me a challenge to branch out and try new foods. We tend to get stuck rotating the same meals and food items, day after day. Some families don’t have the experience or even the urge to try new foods. If a person tries a new food and doesn’t like it, keep trying it out in different ways. As a child, I couldn’t stand mushrooms or tomatoes. Now I now love them! I just made myself keep trying them in different ways. What got me with tomatoes were some fresh from a farm. Those were like candy in my mouth! I couldn’t believe I was thinking this about a “disgusting” tomato. This summer, go to your local Farmer’s Market and get yourself a farm-grown tomato!

For now though, if your grocery store doesn’t have eggs, try out flax eggs in baked goods. Grocery stores definitely have ground flax seeds or order them from an online source. Flax seeds are high in omegas, protein and other nutrient-rich sources. It’s very simple to make a “flax egg.” Mix one tablespoon ground flax seed with three tablespoons water and let sit for a few minutes. Use in place of an egg in pancakes, waffles, muffins, etc.

Try a dairy-free milk. There’s so many to choose from now. Find one you like. My fav is almond coconut blend. Macadamia nut milk is so rich and creamy. Oat milk is light and would work well as a dairy milk replacement in baked goods.

Switch out butter for shelf-stable ghee. Ghee is an old Indian staple. I’ve seen it at major market stores. It is just butter that has been boiled down and clarified. Use it like you would regular butter, but it works best in high-temperature foods(frying or baked goods).

Incorporate more legumes into your weekly menu. There are so many different type of beans available. If cooking beans from scratch intimidates you, go for canned. Chickpeas are extremely versatile. Roast them with some seasoning for snacking. Mash them with some avocado or mayonnaise. Lentils are so quick to cook up and mild tasting. I even blend some into smoothies for a protein punch. Try just replacing part of the meat in chili, spaghetti or tacos with cooked lentils.

Try eating non-breakfast foods for breakfast. Who said one has to eat cereal or oatmeal for breakfast!? This is rather a new thing. Not too long ago, the late 1800’s, most people ate leftover bread, popcorn soaked in milk or a meat in the United States. In other countries, rice, soup, or a type of bread from that culture. I eat a lot of leftovers for breakfast, it’s easy and filling. Or try making your own muffins, bagels, bread if that’s your thing. It might take a bit more effort, but will be so much healthier and cost-effective.

Instead of pasta, how about polenta? It’s great with lots of different, yummy sauces, not just marinara. Get some polenta or yellow grits( not quick-cooking), boil the up. Spread it into a baking dish and let firm up. Cut the polenta up of use cookie cutters. Fry the pieces crisp or eat straight from the pan. You say you can’t find prepared marinara sauce? It’s fairly simple to make it from scratch. Use fresh tomatoes, preferably Roma or use some canned tomatoes. I plop the Roma’s into a large saucepan without peeling them. First though, chop some onion, carrots and garlic up and sauté them. Then add those Roma’s. Cook until the tomatoes are falling apart, you may need to cover it with a lid while simmering and add water as needed. Then use an immersion blender or carefully blend in small batches in a blender. Add in seasonings(basil, rosemary, oregano) and salt and pepper to taste. Add a pinch of sugar, if needed to cut down on the acidity or bite. If using canned tomatoes, do the same, but you might not need to cook as long.

Another option is making gnocchi. Gnocchi is a potato noodle. The texture is so wonderful. They could even be made with instant potatoes, if needed. Growing up, I loved eating these with just some butter melted over them. Now as an adult, I make a grownup version with browned butter and sage.

You may find you and your family enjoys these new found culinary items. It might help make things better by changing it up or creating a memory of a failed new recipe or a funny story to tell later on in life.

Don’t gripe about what one cannot have. Make do, get creative, have some fun.

Let me know if you try one of these out or if you’ve already had eaten one in the past. Do you have something I didn’t mention for a good substitute on “regular” foods?

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Journal Entry No. 7

#grateful

My family

My friends

Being able to travel

Access to good food and clean water

A vehicle that runs

A nice RV to live in

Freedom in my religious preferences

Right to vote

Running water and electricity

A washer and dryer

Able to do the work I love

Able to homeschool my sweet girls

Heat and AC

Opportunities in my past, present and future

Ability to see and read

Music

Knowledge

The ability to be joyful

Creativity

Sunshine