Food Tips, Ramblings

Sourcing Healthy Foods

These last few months have been stressful for everyone.  In so many parts of the world, it has been difficult to obtain healthy foods as grocery store shelves have been stripped bare as a result of panic buying.  With the country under lockdown in most places, our shopping trips are limited which makes it harder to keep a stock of fresh fruits and vegetables on hand.

What we eat plays a huge part in the strength of our immune systems.  In Europe, Scandinavia and the UK small dedicated food shops are still the norm.  They are starting to make a comeback in the US.  It is my hope that when we climb out of the current economic disaster caused by the pandemic, the local neighborhood markets of my childhood with re-appear across the country.

In the meantime, there are many places where you can find either a CSA to join or a weekly delivery of food boxes from a local farm.

Community Supported Agriculture survives on the shares purchased by their customers every year.  The money the farmer takes in from the sale of shares determines how much they are able to grow in any given year.  Our local CSA is a five minute drive away, and we pick up our vegetables once a week.

CSAs usually produce organically grown food. In season, ours also offers fresh cut flower arrangements for an additional price.  Individual vegetables are also available to add to your share or for people who just pick up a few things each week.  This is going to be a real blessing for us this year, as the county has cancelled the farmer’s market which usually runs from May to October.

In some communities, you can subscribe to deliveries from an area farm.  Usually you get to choose your delivery schedule from once a week to once a month.  On your delivery day, you will receive a box of vegetables and possibly seasonal fruits. Sometimes there will be a local spot where you will pick up your order.

In these trying times, these services are a godsend.

Stay well!

Food Tips, Meals

A Little About Substitutions

This is going to be a shorter post than I originally planned, because I’ve literally spent the whole last week recovering from my trip to Arizona.  I usually only visit Phoenix in the winter and 100+F temperatures and I don’t agree with each other any more.

So, a short bit about substitutions.

Over the years, I tried to find things with which to replace wheat, because, while I am not gluten intolerant, I am sensitive to the wheat used predominately here in the US. (More on that in a future post.)

I used to make lovely pancakes from almond meal or hazelnut meal, until I started developing sensitivities to those nuts.  Walnuts have always bothered me. So there went that.

Because I had to have my gall bladder out a few years ago due to an inherited condition, I’ve now become sensitive to oils.  By taking digestive enzymes, I can get by with a tiny bit in a salad dressing. Just enough to get the vinegar to cling to the leaves, which is all right by me, because I love vinegar.

However, I’ve also discovered that I have no such problem with butter.  So, if baked goods call for oils, I just use melted organic butter.  I never touch margarine of any type.  Not only is margarine usually made of inferior oils, the process used to make it is unhealthy.

Two things my cousin and my daughter have experimented with recently are variations on pesto and BBQ sauce.

My cousin can’t eat basil, so she makes pesto from arugula, or rocket as they call it in the UK.   My daughter took a traditional Texas Style BBQ Sauce recipe and turned it into a tomato-free delight.  Both those recipes will be appearing here in the coming weeks.

On a final note, if like me, you have problems with foods high in sulfur, I’ve found that I have much less trouble if I use garlic and onion granules in recipes in moderation, rather than using the fresh items.  It’s sad, because I adore both fresh garlic and onions.

I’ve also found that I tolerate shallots and leeks better than onions and white onions better than red, which are, of course, my favorite. And it’s often completely possible to greatly reduce the amount of fresh onions or garlic and still come out with a delicious dish

Never be afraid to experiment.