Pistachio Pancakes

We seem to be on a pancake kick these days.  I make a big batch on Sunday, and then the leftovers are available for weekday pre-breakfast snacks.  This time the “secret ingredient” was pistachios.  They are just lightly salted, so there is no interference with the salt content of the pancakes.

The above-shown Craisins infused with blueberry juice are really, really good in these pancakes.  DH just loves blueberry pancakes, but both fresh and frozen have their drawbacks.  Mostly I use fresh, but this doesn’t seem to be the season for them, and the supply of the ones I had frozen during the season had been exhausted, so the above was a really good substitute.  There are several different infusion flavors.

I’ve been using barley malt in our pancakes lately in place of about half of the sugar, and I think it helps to make a smoother surface – see above.  This amounts to only a tablespoon of each sweetener spread among 16 pancakes, so they are not very sweet.  DH puts butter, cinnamon, and a few drops of maple syrup on them, but I find that I like them better just plain – sort of like a piece of toast.

Turns out that this is a really good recipe as it calls for only two tablespoons of oil or melted butter (I used avocado oil).  I use a Presto non-stick electric frying pan, and don’t have any difficulty with sticking, and without the use of any “grease” in the pan.  They come out nice and dry, as you see.

Not sure why the sausage looks so dark; it isn’t burnt by any means.  It was juicy and delicious.

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Pre-Breakfast Bar

This is our Coffee Corner in the kitchen. My morning medication to replace my obliterated thyroid requires that I wait for two hours (!!!) before eating solid food in the morning. If DH gets up before that time is up, he makes himself a little snack to hold him over.

To that end, on Sunday mornings, when I make our traditional Brunch Feast, I make extra bacon or sausage, and waffles, pancakes or French Toast to last through the subsequent six days of Breakfast Famine!

The photo above depicts the dedicated Coffee Corner for the preparation of this mini-feast.

Why am I telling you this? Because this is a very easy and economical way to have a nutritious snack on hand to pop into your mouth whenever the mood strikes. Hopefully, this precludes the purchase of a high-fat, oversized, and overpriced muffin that lies temptingly in wait as you check out a purchase. Great for travel, too.

I totally admit that I am not current on the prices of the offerings that are available at filling stations, but having glanced at the array when I go in to settle the gas purchase bill, I am appalled by what I have seen.

When we traveled more, I would always pop up a bunch of popcorn to take for the first two days on the road. This was a great treat. As time went on, I stopped putting even salt on it, and the snack was perfectly satisfactory in its bare-nekkid form!

Later on, our neighbor would always make us a lovely pumpkin bread to take along. This was great for coffee break time. When we moved away from living next door to them, I started making granola bar cookies. Those were great, too.

So just about any healthy snack that you can make up in advance will allow you to “have your cake and eat it too” – so to speak.

Moral of this? Make your own snacks and avoid the unhealthy ingredients that you find in already prepared foods that are waiting to sabotage your health. If it isn’t possible to make your own for one reason or another, please try to avoid the ones that are put out to tempt you. They are manufactured with ingredients that are meant to preserve the “freshness” of the item for a long time. This is probably not a really good thing.

Whenever possible, try to eat as many things as possible that do not require an ingredients label, i.e. a piece of fresh fruit or vegetable, nuts, seeds, etc..

The next step up is to pair cheese or peanut butter with a whole wheat cracker of some kind – we favor Triscuits (original), as their ingredient label consists of “whole wheat grain, canola oil, sea salt”. The flavored Triscuits have an ingredients list which is downright scary!

If all else fails, and a bag of treats must be purchased, try for pretzels. They are not easily over eaten, thus provide a fair amount of “crunch” satisfaction per smaller quantity.


Soapbox = toggle off  ;->

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Javelina Upheaval

WORDPRESS refuses to let me put spaces between paragraphs today.  Grrr!
         According to the time stamp on the photos that the critter cam provided, it took these javelinas about a New York minute to get the pond out of the ground and tossed aside.  It landed just out of sight where the left-hand pigs are standing. There were at least four that I could count, but I guess this guy is the winner of the lottery that they held to see who got to lay in the hole. Do I see a smile there, or is it more of a smirk?
          Looks like the others are trying to nudge him out so that they can take a turn. Not clear what their motive was for this, but like dutiful servants, we put it back into the ground this morning with, hopefully, heavier anchoring.
          We have had the pond torn out previously, but this is the first time we captured it on CCTV!
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Baby Pizzas

We’ve taken to making these little pizzas instead of one big one. They are quick to make on the sourdough bread rounds, and come out so very tasty. No heating up of the big oven, or having a lot of leftovers. I just make these up like this once or twice a week for our lunch. Just enough to provide a nice meal, without the temptation to overeat.

I just cut up a little tray of whatever toppings are around and sprinkle them on top of a layer of pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese. It’s a good way to use up the last of little bits of veggies. I used raw mushrooms on this one, slicing them really thin, and they cooked up just enough.

A bit of a salad to accompany, and it is a very nice and quick lunch.

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Wall Art at Tucson Cancer Clinic

What sort of art appeals to you?  I’m never sure how to answer a question like that.  There are so many possibilities; they’re everywhere.

What makes a piece like this attractive over, say, a stunning portrait or a brilliant landscape?  And who finds modern art inspiring?  Or is it a visual cacophony?

Are movies considered art?

We rewatched an older movie a couple of nights ago that shows cameos of some of the 1920’s artists and authors in their own settings of the time.  The movie is “Midnight in Paris” and is pretty much just fluff as far as story line goes, but the petite glimpses into the 1920’s and 1890’s brought gladness to our hearts.

It is on Netflix for another few days – scheduled to disappear on July 1st, 2018.  We couldn’t let the opportunity to enjoy this go by without a semi-sad good-bye viewing.  It was an hour and a half well spent; the visuals were overwhelmingly enjoyable.  We’re still talking about it daily.

It was fun to briefly see Porter, Stein, Toklas, Hemingway, Dali, Picasso, Eliot, etc..  Their interactions within the movie is probably total fiction, but it was fun to see them as they might have been in their beginning years.

I’ve never been to Paris, and really don’t aspire to do so, but I did thoroughly enjoy the scenery, as well as the nostalgia, in this film.  I found a site that shows some of the filming locations.  If you have a moment to spare, take a look!  ;->

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BBQ Pork Chops, Beans and Rice

One of our favorite meals is also one of the easiest. Any kind of beans makes DH’s little heart go pitty-pat, so I always cook a whole pound at a time. This makes about six cups of beans – and even more if I use some of the cooking juice to mash them up New Orleans style.

Planned over pork chops are simmered really slowly in a mild BBQ mixture, and make the perfect meat to accompany those beans.

This time when I cooked the rice, I put in a couple of glugs of really thick tomato paste in with the water, so the effect is that the rice is kind of pinkish. I’m not sure there is a lot of taste imparted, but it makes it a bit different. I use it as a base for Spanish Rice sometimes, too. It is one of our favorites, and the contrast to the stark white of regular rice is a nice change.

Steamed cabbage is always a favorite with this meat, beans, and rice combination. That’s tomatillo salsa on the pork chops, regular red fresh tomato salsa on the beans, with shredded Cheddar, and chopped scallions to add even more interest. My plate looked like this, too, except I opted for sour cream instead of the scallions.

This plate is usually a sufficient amount for a regular dinner, but if more substance is required, then some of the beans/rice mixture can be spooned onto a tostada for consumption. This provides a bit of crunch, too.

The red salsa is good with regulation tortilla chips, so that’s another way to make more volume for those who wish a bit more volume in a meal. Add a sliced avocado . . . How can you go wrong?

If a smaller meal is needed, then it is easy to switch gears and just put some shredded cheese with the beans and rice in a tortilla, roll it up and give it a zap in the microwave, or slow heat it in a covered non-stick frying pan. If you have some enchilada sauce (it comes in a can in red or green, if you don’t make it yourself), you can heat ’em up with that sauce on top. Add some more cheese to the top, some olives, a side salad, and whatever else floats your boat, and you’ve got yourself a really filling meal with almost no prep or cleanup work, and at an exceedingly low cost.

Adding meat to this is really easy, too. A bit of ground meat (a bit of leftover burger?) with some pasta sauce added and whatever Mexican spices you like will bring this completely into the yum-yum range.

I keep a jar of Penzey’s Fajita Seasoning around and just put that into whatever I am making that I want to have an authentic Mexican flair. I use a lot of Santa Cruz mild chili powder, too. The combination is just right for our mild tastes. A sharper chili pepper may be more to your taste. That’s the beauty of cooking your own food. It’s always just how you want it to be!

If you like the tortilla to stay soft, spray it with a bit of water as it heats, or – if you like to get that tortilla good and crispy, put a bit of oil/butter in the frying pan, but keep a close eye on it. It doesn’t take much to get it too brown.

It’s pretty hard not to love this stuff!

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Bicycle Rack

One of the restaurants in Tucson that was recommended by the hospital as safe for transplant patients to choose is Beyond Bread.

We went there in 2007/08 during that time in Tucson, but hadn’t been back in the interim, since we seldom eat out at all. But on our routine doc visit trek up there last month, we passed by and decided to stop in – remembering fondly that the food was really good.

I’m here to tell you that ten years down the line, this restaurant is still attractively maintained (not all are), and that the food is as delicious as ever.

We enjoyed our repast there so much so that when we were up there again last Thursday, we made it a point to be good and hungry as we were yet again in the neighborhood.

There were a lot of things to take pictures of inside, but lazy ol’ me just kept munching on my delicious sandwich.  But on the way out . . . I spied the bicycle rack that is provided for non-auto driving patrons. The location is close to the University of Arizona, so, during school times, this rack is probably oversubscribed. But right now, it had just one lonely patron of its own. I love things that are clever, and using the old time bicycle wheels as the lock point really tickled my fancy.

I used Mobile Monet to manipulate the image this time, but hopefully on our next visit I will be able to get a more thoughtful image that will provide the basis for a better presentation.

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