Sit Down, Relax and Read a Cookbook

I’ve found that the act of merely reading a cookbook will make you a better cook. It’s a lot like looking at a fashion magazine. You get ideas. Trust your mind to store enough elements of that spicy Spanish rice recipe and trust it to remember the way the Italians threw an egg in the middle of some dough to make egg noodles. I have a whole shelf full of cookbooks and you may too. There is no way that I have the time to make all the tantalizing recipes in those books but I do have the time to now and again put my feet up and read about how others spend their time in the kitchen. What spices do they use? How high do they turn up the oven up for desserts? What fruits do they throw into salads and what type of greens do they use? When you’re cruising through the produce isles, a red light will go off and you’ll grab that green pepper for stew, the mango for salad and the sweet potatoes for a different piecrust.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the vegetarian cookbook, Poor Jonny’s Cookbook. Available here:

http://www.amazon.com/Poor-Jonnys-Cookbook-Suellen-Ocean/dp/0965114031

eBook or computer download through Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/260122

eBook through Barnes & Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/poor-jonnys-cookbook-suellen-ocean/1102338251?ean=2940016618609

Poor Jonny’s Infatuation Tacos

1 dozen corn tortillas

2 cups corn sprouts (dried corn kernels that have been soaked and sprouted)

1 small can tomato paste (6 oz)

½ cup peanut butter

½ cup diced yellow onion

½ tsp sweet basil

lettuce

Steam corn sprouts, set aside. Add 1 cup water, diced onion and sweet basil to tomato paste and heat. Add peanut butter to this and stir. Warm tortillas, (lightly steaming them works great, don’t steam but for a minute or the tortillas will stick together). Stuff tortillas with steamed corn sprouts and top with peanut onion mixture and lettuce.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the vegetarian cookbook, Poor Jonny’s Cookbook. Available here:

http://www.amazon.com/Poor-Jonnys-Cookbook-Suellen-Ocean/dp/0965114031

eBook or computer download through Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/260122

eBook through Barnes & Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/poor-jonnys-cookbook-suellen-ocean/1102338251?ean=2940016618609

Recession Grocery Shopping – You Can’t Win!

You absolutely can not win if you go grocery shopping, especially if you have a partner. If you spend too much, which you will, especially with prices so high (bread is four dollars in California) or if you don’t come home with anything interesting to eat. My husband went last night and of course spent more than we had agreed on. But he said, “I figure I’ll be in less trouble if I bring you something good to eat”. Smart man. I can remember years ago a very stressful shopping experience. We had this little tiny Subaru hatchback and I had the delightful experience of having only seventeen dollars. My list included a bale of hay, groceries and gas. Whew. But I did it. I shoved that hay into the hatchback, bought the least amount of gas I could and found groceries really cheap at the gas station mini-mart. I always thought those days were behind us but this recession has brought them back again. I am grateful I have all the frugal skills I acquired during lean times. These days… I need them.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Gold River one of her books for a buck available at Amazon.

Dangerous Garden Warnings

The garden can be a dangerous place. No kidding! On Sunday I encountered a HUGE snake, slithering amongst the end of summer overgrowth but that said, the mice were beginning to ruin all my tomatoes and cantaloupe. Now I walk gingerly and keep my hands out of those overgrown corners. Earlier in the year the hornets were everywhere but I let them swarm around me while I worked, they never once bothered me and if it hadn’t been for them pollinating, I wouldn’t have had fruit. Now they are gone and the bees have moved in for the second round of flowers but I did get stung and it gives me the chills thinking of it now. Those hornets built a nest under my front porch. In the garden we got along fine but when my hat brushed against their nest, several of them came after me, ouch! As I walk out into the garden now, after having seen that snake, which I’m not sure if it is a rattler or not, I will remember the warning the hornets gave me.  I won’t wait for a warning from the snake as it just might be the “Don’t tread on me” variety.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Gold River one of her books for a buck available at Amazon.

From Mice To Moose-Sized Deer / Predators In My Garden

I think the mice are eating as much as the deer, although it is a huge thrill to come face to face with a buck staring you down on the other side of the garden fence. But the deer stay out while the mice party down night and day on organic heirloom tomatoes and cantaloupe. My husband told me the neighbor’s cat was in there yesterday. Much as I love those cute little mice, I hope our feline friend enjoys his daily patrol and the rodents go back to their native fare … acorns!

 

Suellen Ocean is the author of Gold River one of her books for a buck available at Amazon.

End of Summer – Not the Time to be Apathetic

If you’re a gardener like I am, you may be a tad exhausted after months of soil preparation, weeding, watering and harvesting but the end of summer is not the time to shrug and let the garden go. Keep watering, weeding and if necessary fertilizing. You’ll get a lot more produce that way, which is what you planted it for. Right?

Suellen Ocean is the author of Gold River one of her books for a buck available at Amazon.

What’s This High School Skinny?

I’m not so sure we’re supposed to be high school skinny. After all, take a look at the life of a tree. Don’t they get bigger as the years go by? If they are given room to grow, they spread out and become beautiful. Yes, studies say that thinner people live longer and there is no question that too much body fat causes problems, many of them fatal. So I strongly encourage myself to do my best to keep the fat down but I don’t expect to be high school skinny nor do I expect that of anyone else except those in high school and only if skinny is their body type. I will say that I wish I knew then what I do now in regards to calories and the way our bodies burn them. The metaphor of a wood stove helps me to understand the calorie burn. The bigger the logs the bigger the fire to burn them. No fire no burn. High school skinny? Not me. Comfortable with the body I have? Absolutely.

 

Suellen Ocean is the author of Gold River one of her books for a buck available at Amazon.

Just Think of the Calories You’ll Save by Omitting Butter

My father used to say, “You want bread on that butter?” because my sister and I gobbled so much of the creamy, yellow fat onto our crusty French bread. I have been omitting it for years and now find the taste of butter foreign. Substitute olive oil, it makes nice garlic bread, people have been doing this for years. It takes time and patience to change a diet but you can do it. You’ll get used to no butter and you’ll omit many calories of which all are fat.

 

Suellen Ocean is the author of Gold River one of her books for a buck available at Amazon.

It’s Hard To Stay On A Diet But That 15-Minute Rule

Really works. If you wait 15 minutes and you are still hungry then maybe you need more to eat but I’ve found that second helping I was dying for 15 minutes ago is unappealing because I’ve allowed that time to let my digestive system work on the food I already ate and give me the full feeling so desperately needed while dieting. It doesn’t always work, sometimes you are just famished and nothing will stop you but if you can, have one helping then wait fifteen minutes or more before you have another helping.

 

Suellen Ocean is the author of Gold River one of her books for a buck available at Amazon.

Save Calories By Letting The Veggies Cook Themselves

It’s not as much fun to cook without oil but it protects those who have high cholesterol. Using cooking spray correctly (heat it in the pan first) then adding vegetables like mushrooms, onions, zucchini, celery, garlic, etc. then putting a lid on it and turning the burner down to low, will saute’ them. Be careful that you don’t overcook them, unless you enjoy them well cooked. Add them to brown rice or some great fresh bread, throw in a salad with only a dash of vinegar and there you have a low-fat (non fat?) meal that will be satiating and keep you and/or your loved ones around for a while.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Gold River, one of her books for a buck available at Amazon.