family, life

McDonald’s has its pink slime, I have purple.

I was just awakening from sleep when I heard a whisper.

“Follow the diet and exercise and you will beat cancer.”

I didn’t have cancer, my sister did.

Aware that I had no control over my sister’s diet and exercise, and aware that God often whispers things well in advance, I made a pot of my nutritious, delicious chicken, kale, carrot, onion and white bean soup – garnished with really good parmigiano reggianno – and took it over to her.

I suggested we walk the two or three blocks from her beautiful house into her darling down town.

Just in case.

If you’ve been following this blog for awhile you know that my sister did not beat cancer.

Actually, she did, because she didn’t let it wreck her life.

Then Bebe was diagnosed with cancer in October and I thought maybe the whisper was for her.  I could control her diet and exercise so I took her for long walks, cooked balanced meals and carefully administered Chinese herb blends and supplements.

She died, as you know, in January.

So we adopted Dixie.

And almost immediately upon her adoption she was diagnosed with colon cancer. Unusual in dogs.

So now I’m cooking like her little life depends on it.

Because it just might.

She had her first chemo treatment yesterday – an injection of Carboplatin.

She seemed to handle it just fine until nausea kept interrupting her sleep and mine.

When she turned her nose up at her usual breakfast this morning, I made her some healthy snacks.

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I love the color combo.

1 cup organic wild blueberries
2 tsp. turmeric
2 Tbsp. dried basil – 4 Tbs. fresh basil is better but I’m out
2 Tbsp. coconut flour

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all whirled together

Add a pound of organic ground turkey.

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McDonald’s has its pink slime, I have purple.

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Plop the purple slime on a cookie sheet.

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Flatten it with a fork.

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Bake for 25 minutes at 350.

Normally she’ll gobble down as many of these as I’m willing to give her. Today she stopped at 2.

So I gave the food processor a quick wipe and made a batch of her other favorite.

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Whirl together a can of sardines,  1/2 tsp. turmeric, 1 egg, 3 Tbsp. almond flour and 3 Tbsp. hemp protein powder and plop it on the same cookie sheet. Why dirty another one?

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Flatten them with a fork and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Oh, yes, she was interested in these – ate 3 of them, I think.

Next up I made meatloaf: 2 pounds ground turkey, 6 Tbsp. ground hemp seeds, 4 oz. can of sardines, 1 tsp. ground ginger, 2 eggs, 2 ounces beef liver, 2 ounces fresh broccoli, 2 ounces fresh baby spinach, 2 ounces fresh red bell pepper.

Whirl it all together, spread it in a 13×9 pan and bake at 325 for an hour.

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The juices soak back in as it cools.

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Portioned out for dinner – Dixie gets 6 ounces, Maxy gets 12.

She gobbled a good bit of the meatloaf down.

I hope Dixie is the one who beats cancer.

But of course the whisper could have been for me.

This week I had two more pre-cancerous lesions removed from my legs – from my shins, which were flung over the edge of an inner tube exposed to the hot sun all day as I floated down the Verde River in Arizona while visiting my cousins in my youth. Sans sunscreen.

I don’t think they even had sunscreen way back then. Just tanning oils – shudder to think.

I remember putting cool washcloths on my badly burnt flesh that night. And I remember the steam rising from my legs as I did.

So if the whisper was for my future, what diet?

I trust I’ll know when the time comes.

Corrie ten Boom’s father didn’t give her the ticket until the train pulled into the station.

That’s probably when my Father will give me mine.

#symptom

P.S. No one wants to see a photo of a pile of dishes, but after all that cooking this morning, I’ve got a big one. Plus a million other things to do.

Serving God one beagle at a time.

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Food, life

I Love a Good Cookbook

I would choose Nora Ephron to write my biography.  I’ve said it before on this blog, but when she weaved recipes into Heartburn it gave me a literary thrill.

I made a killer chili when I was a kid.  So if Nora were to tell you about the year my parents divorced and how I used to run home after school, make dinner for my younger sisters, and then run back to school in time for track practice, I am positive she would include my chili recipe.

And because it was such a big, special event, I am sure she would tell you about the retreat I planned for a group of college kids.  I wore a lot of hats at that retreat: planner, organizer, speaker, and head chef.  For Saturday’s lunch I served my version of a fatoush.  As we ate one of my guests – a young woman from Tennessee – excitedly exclaimed, “I have never had food like this before!”  She grew up on biscuits and gravy and other Southern specialties.  After she returned home she e-mailed me for the recipe.

I’m thinking Nora would include that one, too.

And so will I:

Grilled Chicken Fatoush

dressing/marinade:
⅓ cup olive oil
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. dried greek oregano (or 2 Tbsp. minced fresh)
salt and pepper to taste

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I buy cutlets because they grill faster).

salad:
English cucumber, sliced into thin half moons
Campari tomatoes – cut however you like them
big bunch of fresh parsley, rough chopped
pitted kalamata olives, quartered lengthwise
red onion sliced super thin
romaine lettuce, chopped
fresh dill, chopped (optional – if it’s summer and your garden is producing)
fresh mint, chopped (optional – if it’s summer and your garden is producing)
LOTS of feta cheese, crumbled
a pinch of ground sumac berries (optional – the kind you buy at the spice store, not the poisonous sumac berries that grow in your yard)

garnish:
pita chips (recipe follows)

Whisk together the dressing ingredients until they are emulsified. It should make about ⅔ cup. Reserve ⅓ cup of it to dress the salad, and pour the rest into a ziplock bag with the chicken. Put the chicken in the fridge and let it marinate for 30 minutes (longer is better but not too long or the texture of the chicken will get a bit mealy).

Combine the salad ingredients – use whatever quantities you like.

Preheat your grill to high. Grill the chicken until thoroughly cooked – about 3-4 minutes per side if you use cutlets. Let rest 5 minutes before slicing.

To serve:

Toss the salad with the dressing. Toss in the pita chips (right before serving so they don’t get soggy.) Pile salad on each plate, lay slices of grilled chicken on top.

pita chips:
2 or 3 of the large, thin pitas
olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400.

Cut or tear the pita bread into small pieces.

Throw it in a large salad bowl. Toss in the minced garlic. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss thoroughly with clean hands.

Spread in single layer on a large cookie sheet.

Bake on second rung of oven until toasted, 7 -10 minutes in my oven.

Use the same large bowl to make the salad so the little bits of garlic that cling to the bowl don’t go to waste.

Note: If it’s too stinkin’ cold to grill, sear the chicken on the stove in a cast iron pan (grill pan if possible) and then finish it in the oven as soon as you pull the pita chips out.

Bon Apetit!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Ghostwriter.”

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