CUBAN COOKING

Reading Cookbooks is one of my favorite things to do!  Mark Bittman and Ina Garten are favorites.  Great resources to cherry-pick recipes that fit my life. 

Eliminating sugar from my diet earlier this year changed much of my pantry. Finding SABORES DE CUBA with recipes developed by Chef Ronaldo was a perfect find. Love Chef’s Cuban Flavors. Flavors that are bright and beautiful and bold.  And now, Sugar Free.

Chef Ronaldo Sabores de Cuba

Take a peek at one of my favorite recipes for BREAKFAST!  

Try this Green Vegetable Egg Tortilla and you’ll want to have the entire book on hand.  Trust me on this! 

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(From “Chef Ronaldo’s Sabores de Cuba”, p. 182)

Adding lots of greens to your morning meal charges your body with some incredible nutrition. This recipe is a great way to get you through the first part of the day. Breakfast doesn’t have to mean hitting the drive-through window at a doughnut or coffee shop.
The time we spend waiting to place our order at the drive-through could be spent making an awesome, healthy breakfast like this one. Have a great day!

PREP TIME: 10 minutes
COOKING TIME: 15 minutes
SERVES: 4

SERVING SIZE: 1/4 of the tortilla

2 stalks green onion, finely sliced
2 crowns broccoli, finely sliced (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup washed and cubed Roma tomatoes
1 cup spinach, washed and thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
4 eggs, whisked

1/2 cup fat-free milk (I use Almond Milk.)

Preheat oven to 350°F. 

To a bowl, add green onion, broccoli, tomato, spinach, salt, garlic powder, oregano, pepper, and smoked paprika. Toss ingredients well to make sure greens are covered with the spices. 

Preheat an ovenproof nonstick pan over medium heat. Add vegetables from the bowl and sauté until ingredients are cooked through, about 2 minutes. 

Add milk to the bowl with whisked eggs and whisk briefly to combine. Add egg mixture to pan and stir with a wooden or plastic spoon. Make sure all ingredients are evenly spread out. 

Place pan in the middle rack of your oven and cook for 10 minutes. To check if the tortilla (egg and vegetable mixture) is done, insert a toothpick in the middle; if it comes out clean, the tortilla is cooked through. 

Remove from oven and let it rest on the stovetop for 1–2 minutes so eggs settle and don’t fall apart when serving. Enjoy! 


Exchanges/Food Choices:
1 vegetable, 1 medium-fat protein

THIS IS IMPRESSIVE:

Calories 100 | Calories from Fat 45 | Total Fat 5g | Saturated Fat 2g | Trans Fat 0g | Cholesterol 185mg | Sodium 340mg | Potassium 350mg | Total Carbohydrate 7g | Dietary Fiber 1g | Sugars 3g | Protein 9g | Phosphorus 165mg

There is another recipe I’ll be trying this week, will post upon trying.  Subscribe for more recipes like this. YUM-O.

Also, If you’d like this book for your own library:

Copyright © 2016 by Ronaldo Linares. From Chef Ronaldo’s Sabores de Cuba Photography: Kelly Campbell Photography. Reprinted with permission from The American Diabetes Association. Chef Ronaldo’s Sabores de Cuba is available at ShopDiabetes.org, in bookstores nationwide, or by calling 1-800-232-6733.


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Chicken and Dumplings

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Last night I made traditional Chicken n Dumplings  ‘thinking’ I was getting back to basics using a frozen package of  prepared dumplings.  This is as close as I am ever going to get to authentic dumplings — unless you come over and make them for me!

These dumplings, while authentic were still not as good as my aunt’s.

I asked myself “why was I feeling the need for this dish anyway? I prefer grilled foods and , have never made chicken and dumplings in my life.”

Then I remembered my aunt – Odean – making dumplings.  She had just discovered the newest, most clever fast food version of homemade dumplings!

Odean Floyd Reynolds was standing at her stove, pot of chicken broth boiling as she looked over to me, eyes twinkling, telling me how happy, proud to make dumplings not from her tried and true recipe, but from cutting up tortillas and adding them to the broth.

I’m smiling and a little teary-eyed,  remembering that precise moment in time.  It’s as real to me, being there, in her kitchen on Ridgecrest in Little Rock as if she was actually standing in that kitchen as I write this.  You’ve had this feeling before, haven’t you? At least I hope you have.  Such warm memories.

10863789_10153484565231487_8376278462805336207_o-2George Marvin Reynolds Jr.  and his wife, Odean Floyd Reynolds.

Am I wishing to go back in time for her Chicken and Dumplins?  No.  I’m wishing to go back in time with her and for the warmth of the moment.  It’s a joy, tho’ bittersweet as I recall Aunt Odean  in her element – cooking for others.  I’m loving this sweet moment with her even tho’ she has no idea now.  Can’t really call her, it just causes her confusion and that’s not fair.   So I capture moments as best I can, significant memories in my life.

I know since my Father, then my Mother’s death,  life has never nor will it ever be the same.

When Parilee Croft, Art on the Green’s Artist-in-Residence showed me her commissioned watercolors of her family recipes, I was immediately in love with this work. These  commissioned watercolors, albeit the size of a postcard, are a really sweet way to remember another, and a specific moment in one’s life.

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My own Mother, beloved as she was did not really love cooking until later in life.   She didn’t have time to learn but she had  pockets of great moments with recipes we still cherish.  Cookbooks by groups and churches help preserve, but it’s the original watercolors, framed and in a place of honor in one’s kitchen that really singles out those special moments.   My Mother made the best chili on the planet and I’m still trying to track down that recipe.  This is why I think every family needs one original watercolor for each family cook.  Preserve the moment — it’s not the recipe that’s so important it’s the moment.  Who has given you a moment?

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Parilee Croft with her beloved Kep

I do not have the recipe for her my Aunt’s dumplins, and wish I could look at a small watercolor, framed in my kitchen to preserve that moment. But I don’t.  I would even be happy :) with her chocolate cake recipe or the chicken and rice casserole she served at a dinner party when she forgot to debone the chicken! Yes, we laughed and laughed!

Odean and my uncle George had no children, and were always entertaining in their home.

She’ll be making Chicken and Dumplings when He comes . . . .

But this is what I AM doing – Having recipes by close family members preserved with an original watercolor.

Recently another aunt – by my request – sent me several recipes on index cards. For a long time I’ve had the privilege of making her homemade sweet pickles, enjoying the rave reviews as if they were my own!  (Who said ”steal from me, steal twice?”)

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For Christmas I commissioned a watercolor of the Sweet Pickles to give my aunt.  I wanted her to have as part of her original art collection.  Now, she can pass along to her son or anyone else in the family.  Probably her daughter-in-law,  Hannah Robinson who puts Martha Stewart to shame with her Mom and work skills.

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Hannah Robinson

As I contemplate which recipe to preserve next, I wonder should it be the disaster German Chocolate Cake I made for my nephew’s birthday that was finally served in parfait glasses?  He might remember anyway, but I don’t want to take the chance.

What kitchen memory do you hold dear?

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My Heart

Josie Dee Reynolds McClain and Brenda at wedding in Iowa.

I’m sharing something really personal today, part of my AUTHENTIC GRACE  quest.  I wrote this in my Mother’s last days.

As I move forward I do not want to forget this experience.  It has been life-changing.

My days are good, I’m doing work I love and planning a trip to Italy.  Yet I don’t want to ever forget this time I had, so intimate with my beloved Mother.  I know others are going through much of the same thing and I want them to know I UNDERSTAND.  Only those caregivers/family who have actually been through this can know these feelings so well.

My posts WILL for the most part be positive — but I want you to know My heart.  It is my AUTHENTIC GRACE.  It is the Heart of the MATTER.

Close to the End:

“My arms are not cold,” she says as I rub her ice cold arms, she says my hands are cold and do I need a blanket?

Still worried about me, even tho she is bed ridden, sleeps most of the day and stays disoriented much of the time.  Today she had me get her wallet because she thought my Dad might need some money.  He died in 1994.

She still wonders if she is home.  I tell her, as do my sisters and our loving caregivers that she is home, home, home.  We say it endlessly, we want her to know that yes, she is home and we are all doing well and we just want her to be okay.  When we say our prayers at night she asks me if I’ve included our caregivers, I tell her of course I have.

I hold back tears, because she will worry if she sees me crying.  She knows I love her and she’s told me over and over I’ve done a wonderful job taking care of her.  That’s been my goal.  No, it’s not been easy.

I am scared the journey is ending and I’m scared it’s not.  The Mother I’ve known is only here in moments now, she still has her sense of humor, and she still has that sincerity when she tells our neighbor, Paris to be safe and take care of her children on their upcoming trip to California.  Her manners are intact, and she worries if I don’t offer guests a beverage.  But mostly she is already someplace else.

So now, for the last weeks I sleep beside her.  She asked last week if I could just get in bed with her – so I now have two twin beds side-by-side so that when she needs to or I need to we hold hands.   My sisters come and take my place from time-to-time and I am grateful.

I NEVER expected to be in this situation.  I’ve never married, single and living with my Mother. Really?  REALLY.  In fact, I was the one who pshawed (sp) those who DID live with their Mothers.  Why?  Why? Yet, here I am and so, so grateful that I have been privileged to care for her.

I used to stay I would be ‘fine’ when she passed, but I didn’t expect to be so in love with this person, who has also become my best friend.

Now, I wonder how my heart will ever recover, sleeping beside someone, waking up to see if they’ve quit breathing.  Night after night after night for the last year and 1/2 now, it’s my hourly ritual. I can’t sleep even tho’ she does, because I worry if she’s okay.

Yesterday I took a quick trip to Kroger and I was crying by the time I left, thinking of what I would not be buying (for her) anymore.  Of course it didn’t’ help that the Prince Street Kroger bag-boy left in the middle of sacking my groceries and didn’t come back.  So, as I continued to complete bagging my groceries, I cried. “Doesn’t he know my Mother is dying?” I wanted to scream. LOUD.

I feel like everyone needs to know this really terrific woman is almost gone from my site, never my heart and mind.  I also wonder how those who have lost their spouse do it?    I don’t know if my heart could take that kind of death.

I will soon find out.  And I will go on.  I know it, I feel it, but I am at my core devastated.
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