Recipes to start the new year

The New Year is here already. How has it gone so far? Did you celebrate quietly and peacefully, or did you start this New Year with wild partying? Maybe, it comes with age, but I learned a long time ago that at home, by the fire, with family and our pets was the best way to celebrate. It is a lot safer and calmer! The memory of wilder times is still there, but I try to push those memories into the back of my memory album!

Anyway, this is a new year and a new start for the rest of our lives. Maybe, that is why folks make those resolutions (that are broken before the month is out). No matter what the reasoning about them happens to be, it is a good time to take stock of who we are and who we should be and make adjustments. The past is past, so don’t dwell on it or any mistakes you might think you have made – just start fresh with plans to do better this year. Maybe we should write down the things we want to change about ourselves. But don’t just write them down – take action on them. One thing to remember is that we can’t change anyone but ourselves and the way we react to each situation. All of us could use some readjusting in at least one or two areas of our lives.

The past year has brought sorrow to many families – ours is not the only one to lose a child. And, no matter what age that person is, it is still a child to a mother. As one wise mother said, the pain never goes away. A person just learns to live with it. That is true for any member of a family or a close friend as well as one’s child. Remember the happy times and be thankful for them. Children are not our possessions; they are only loaned to us for awhile. We are not promised tomorrow, so speak often of your love for family and friends. I have heard it said that everyone needs at least three hugs a day to keep sane!

Do you still have leftover sauerkraut and ribs or black-eyed peas and ham hocks? Although those are traditional and good, they aren’t exactly the foods you like to have as leftovers several days in a row! There are never ribs on the leftover plate here on the hilltop. The other dishes aren’t as appealing the second or third day, so if any are left, they are out the door! Personally, I do like sauerkraut made the Bavarian way with brown sugar and caraway seeds and served over mashed potatoes, but two meals of it are enough to satisfy me for a few months so I purchase it in small quantities.

The wild wind here on the hilltop had caught our storm door and proved that wind is more powerful than a storm door. So, the G and G Construction Company (Grump and Gripe) spent quite a number of hours installing a new one. So far, the door is holding its own against the gales. That same construction company spent several hours changing the new kitchen range from natural gas to LP. The stove was delivered the morning of Christmas Eve, so it saved me from having to do much cooking and less baking. Always be thankful for everything as there is always some good in any disaster.

It was heartwarming to hear about the organization that gave a car to a veteran who needed one. Everyone should honor those who stand in harm’s way to protect the rest of us. That was the OGVC (Operation to Give a Veteran a Car). This organization has been formed to help veterans. The car was given totally free and the only thing the veteran has to pay is the car insurance. This organization is hoping to expand into nearby states and future events will be on Memorial Day and Veterans Day. For more information on this organization, visit the website: www.ohiovalleyogvc.wix.com/ogvcor call (740) 374-9038. This is something in which we all can participate to thank our veterans. Earlier this past year, I heard of a family in the Little Hocking area who, when they got a new car, gave their old one to a veteran who had no transportation. You could do something like this – just call the number above.

About half of us will be listing losing weight as something we resolve to do. Forget the word diet as diets usually don’t work and just think about trying some new veggie dishes that aren’t creamed. Hard for me! We can treat it as a new adventure. Sugar has more calories than it has vitamins, so there is a good start. We need to start liking ourselves and quit wanting to be like someone else (or the size of their body!) No matter what size one is, it is the size of one’s heart that matters. We are in better health when we are the proper weight for our height, but everyone is different. I feel better when I am slightly smaller, so that is my personal goal (and I intend to live a long life)! Of course, none of us have much choice in that. Anyway, now and then I will include recipes for some dishes I will be living with in the coming weeks.

Think about what you would like to do or places you would like to visit in this coming year. Don’t put off your dreams! Revise your Bucket List to fit your life now and be sure to include some fun things that will bring you joy. Keep a smile on your face (no one knows what you are thinking when you smile!) and do keep your friends close – and your enemies closer! Expect to have a good year in 2014 and you probably will. God Bless you all.

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“DIET” VEGETABLE SOUP

One and one-half cups tomato juice

Two cups water

Three cups shredded cabbage

One medium to large onion, chopped

Two tablespoons parsley flakes

Two beef bouillon cubes

One packet dry onion soup

One-half teaspoon garlic salt

Dash Tabasco

One small (4-oz.) can sliced mushrooms and liquid

One (16 oz.) can green beans and liquid

Salt to taste

Combine tomato juice, water and cabbage in a heavy Dutch oven. Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered until cabbage is tender. Add remaining ingredients and heat to blend flavors. Can keep leftovers in refrigerator for up to a week.

Eat this every day for your meals and you will shed pounds – and probably never eat vegetable soup again! One trick to losing weight is to eat a bowl of soup before each meal, but not the soups I like such as Cream of Mushroom, or cream of anything. That is supposed to tell your stomach that you are full and don’t want any more food such as a nice broiled steak with a baked potato covered with butter and sour cream, or a plate of pasta.

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BASIL BROILED GROUPER

Two pounds skinless grouper fillets or other skinless fish fillets, fresh or frozen

One-fourth teaspoon salt

One eighth teaspoon pepper

Four tablespoons melted butter

One tablespoon soy sauce

One tablespoon lemon juice

Basil butter

Thaw fish if frozen. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place fish in a single layer on a well greased broiler pan. Combine butter, soy sauce, and lemon juice. Brush half of this mixture on topside of fish. Broil about 4 inches from source of heat for four to five minutes. Turn carefully and brush with remaining sauce. Broil four or five minutes longer or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Broiling time depends on the thickness of the fillets. Top servings with equal amounts of basil butter. This should serve four to six people.

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BASIL BUTTER

One-half cup butter, softened

One tablespoon dried basil or three tablespoons fresh basil (best)

Mix well.

This recipe can be reduced in calories by using a lower calorie substitute for the butter, both in the sauce and the Basil Butter, or just lower the amount of butter or margarine. I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Spray is a good substitute, too, but does affect the taste – never as good as good, old country butter!

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DIET DESSERT

One-half cup part-skim ricotta cheese

One-fourth teaspoon vanilla flavoring

One package sugar substitute such as Splenda

Mix together and serve chilled. Put in a pretty dessert dish – makes it taste better! Lemon zest or other flavoring can be added if you don’t like plain vanilla.

This dessert is for the “lose five pounds before the class reunion” type of diet! It isn’t bad if you like ricotta cheese and are serious about eating fewer calories.

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DIET MASHED

“POTATOES”

Cauliflower

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter

Fat-Free Half and Half

Pinch Salt and pepper

Cook cauliflower in microwave or steamer until soft. Puree in blender or food processor, adding the butter spray and half-and-half to taste. Season with salt and pepper.

To make when not counting calories, use real butter or margarine and regular Half-and-Half.

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MUSHROOMS

One pound large fresh mushrooms

Two tablespoons butter

One-fourth cup onion, finely chopped

One-fourth pound ground raw veal

One clove garlic, chopped fine

One-half teaspoon celery salt

One-fourth teaspoon black pepper

One tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Clean mushrooms and remove and chop stems. Melt butter in a heavy skillet. Add mushroom stems, onion, veal and garlic. Brown lightly. Stir in seasonings, mixing well. Fill mushroom caps and place in greased shallow baking dish. Bake in 375-degree preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Serve sauce over mushrooms.