Saturday, November 6, 2010

Cream of Mushroom Soup and "Crackers"

Today's soup was AMAZING! I should really make soup more often, it is time-consuming but simple. Anyway, yesterday while we were shopping* we picked up a big package of sliced mushrooms - just your plain white, semi-flavorless mushrooms - on the sale rack. I had a couple of cans of shitake mushrooms here though, which have more flavor. All out of dried unfortunately...but gave it a shot anyway. Ahhh, the miracle of reduction to increase flavor...

Chopped half of a HUGE onion into small pieces, then sweated it in a couple of Tbsp of bacon fat in the bottom of a heavy dutch oven. When they were translucent I added all of the sliced mushrooms (they filled the pot), lowered the heat, and covered it. After about 20 minutes on medium low there was enough room in the pot to stir the mushrooms and onions together; then I added S&P, covered it and let it cook another half hour or so.

Once the mushrooms were cooked way down, I added a quart can of beef broth. After stirring, I increased the heat to medium-high and let it reduce bay about 1/3, seasoned it with more more sea salt and a couple of squirts of worchestershire sauce, added both small cans of shitake mushrooms (which I had drained), and stirred in a quart of heavy cream. I reduced the heat to medium and stirred until I saw the steam starting, turned off the burner, and it was ready.

This soup is WAY too good to put crackers into (even if they weren't too carby!) but I wanted something with a little crunch. So I split some low carb oat/flax pitas (4gN each) and put them on the oven rack, sprinkled them with about 2T of shredded cheese each (I had colby/jack so used that), and left them in a 400-degree oven until the cheese was melted, the edges were browning, and they were crisp. I only used 2 pitas (so 4 halves) but they were so filling we couldn't eat them both with the soup. We did each have 2 bowls of soup though...but the pitas with cheese will make great snacks in the future as well, dipped in salsa and/or sour cream...or just plain.

What a great meal, we'll have the same thing for supper later, although I'm about to fire up the bread machine, so we'll have a slice of bread with our soup instead of the cheesy pitas.

As for the cost: it may be a pricier meal than I typically make; including the cheesy pitas my best guestimate would be $13. But it is easily 8 generous bowls of soup (with half of a half-pita with each - 2 shown above) so really, I suppose it isn't really that pricey after all, not when you consider how filling it is!

*Speaking of shopping...if anyone is interested I will post my receipts. But since I've never gotten any feedback on my grocery receipts I stopped posting them...not that I've had a whole lot lately. We have spent most of the summer eating the stockpile of meats and frozen veggies that I had stockpiled in the chest freezer, having bought it on sale previously. So mostly I've just bought fresh produce, dairy, and a few things here and there that were needed for a dish or to satisfy a craving :). But as all good things come to an end, we got to the bottom of the freezer recently, so yesterday I started the process of restocking it...anyway if no requests, I will toss my receipts that are cluttering up my space :).

Monday, November 1, 2010

Things Are Changing...

...for the better I hope.

First, my gut surgery, which I have mentioned previously, is scheduled for December 1st. This is NOT weight-loss surgery. And I don't completely understand all of it but will probably mention it later either here or in my personal blog.

Meanwhile, I have a month and will work on losing some weight before that time. Actually I have already started. Don't plan to weigh myself, will just eat right and go from there.

As I've had so many health issues, and as my independence and entire life has become more and more limited, I believe depression had started to set in. I'm pretty familiar with the signs, having been hospitalized twice for it in the past (the WAY past, the last time was over 30 years ago), and have been fighting it with the help of God's grace. But when so many other things were taking priority in my life - like trying to manage just getting through each day - how and what I ate weren't at the top of the list anymore. I knew it but also knew that it was ok and had peace about it.

As I'd written before, I've been maintaining well for several years. During the periods when I've been unable to do the shopping and cooking and my wonderfully nurturing husband has stepped in, we've eaten carbier. And when we have had to resort to restaurants or carry-out, we've eaten carbier. It is only that I have shopped and cooked as much of the time as I have that I didn't regain all of my weight.

Anyway, I still don't want to lose so much weight that I have all of the hanging skin issues (yes, people keep telling me this will resolve in time - it's been well over 5 years and frankly folks, it ain't happening!) but I know that even if I lose another 10# this month it will help for the surgery and also afterward.

Speaking of afterward...I guess I'll be on liquids for some 2-3 (or more? don't remember) weeks, then on mushy (oatmeal consistency) foods, then gradually onto real foods. He mentioned something about not being able to eat raw vegetables (a staple to me!) but I don't know if that's temporary - I hope not. And I don't know if the dietary regimen after surgery is the same as after WLS (and it doesn't matter), but I do know that eating a liquid diet will probably cause me to lose even more weight.

I did tell Dr.F that my diet consists of 90% vegetables, meats, and dairy - in that order - and he said that will be fine, with the exception of raw veggies. So I guess that's something that I will need to clarify somehow...he also said something about not eating bread but that won't be an issue for me either, I do ok with my modified version of oopsies.

So. The whole point is that I'm back off maintaining my weight, and back to losing, at least for this month. Then after I get back to "normal" (either my old normal or a new normal) eating I will re-evaluate if I want to stay with my new weight, whatever that might be, or will continue losing until the loose skin issue approaches the intolerable level...but I am already doing self-talk with the latter option as the goal.

Things change, minds change, bodies change. Here we go!