Choices

February is fleeing. The landscape speaks the language of change; the snow is drifting down, the pines are swaying. Winter is beautiful.

This is very first February, since we moved to the country, that I have not been visited upon by cabin fever. How wonderful it is!

The second night of drying did not completely dry the lime slices. Squeezing them between my fingers produces a thick, sticky, tasty juice. I will run them through the dehydrator again today, as the weekend rates for hydro are off-peak. I am not keen to try citrus fruits again in the dehydrator. I think it does a very poor job of it. Unless I find that I cannot do without the final product, I will not be dehydrating citrus again.

Domestic food preparation is something that I have been interested since my days at Ryerson University. The quality of education in the field of human nutrition was excellent at that time.

I have always believed that the only honourable way to make one’s way through the world is to attend to one’s own needs, including food preparation. I am not really comfortable having people serve me, it just feels wrong. Unless, of course, it is my birthday, and the serving is being done by loving friends and/or relatives; then it just feels wonderful, exactly like something I’d like to reciprocate. And when I am very ill, it is nice to have someone to watch over me, as I have done without hesitation for others.

On the subject of food and nutrition, here are a few of my temporary posts to Facebook. (In a recent post I explained how I am deleting everything shortly after liking, sharing or commenting. So far so good.)

the-extraordinary-science-of-junk-food

Part of my education was in Nutrition at Ryerson University. What people eat has always shocked me, but I do understand the appeal of JUNK. My particular weakness is sugary chocolate and potato chips. I resist, eating chocolate only on special occasions. But it is “in my face” a lot of the time, and it takes a conscious effort to avoid it.

I’ve been following a fellows blog since 1996, and he has been eating in restaurants almost daily for the last few decades. His health is so poor at this point that he is constantly receiving medical care. And yet, he is still eating at restaurants on an almost daily basis. He is an intelligent fellow, but seemingly not about everything. The information on eating for health is easily accessible, it isn’t a “lunatic fringe” plot.

Eating a healthy diet MATTERS! We can choose what we eat.

What the World Eats…

I like the examples where most of the food is fresh, and consists of ingredients. That is how we ate in Ontario when I was a child. The plastic explosion surrounding high value-added foods is a big step backward for the species, in my opinion.

This morning I finally had a chance to complete the organization of my genealogical source materials. What a job! Next comes the organization of the references within the database, getting it ready for eventual printing. That is an even bigger job, as I anticipate thousands and thousands of references are needed. These are primary sources researched over a period of close to 17 years. Focus is one of my strong points.

Attila has arrived home from work, and so we begin our one day “weekend”. He will get to sleep in tomorrow morning, and catch up with all those little things that needed more time than the week allowed.

First, lunch! Cauliflower with cheese sauce is one of our favourite lunches; mostly vegetable, low in fat, and very tasty.

Second on the agenda is to shovel off the deck for the second time in two weeks. It is above freezing today and so the snow on the metal roof has come down in a great bank, which will be very difficult to shift when it freezes solid again. No time like the present to take care of it.

I am chef tonight. The menu includes coconut-lime baked fish (I haven’t made up the recipe yet!), lime flavoured basmati rice and a side of mixed peppers and asparagus.

Added Note:
We just finished eating the coconut lime baked fish, mouthwatering! I made up my own recipe.
– preheated the oven to 375F
– greased a glass baking dish
– dredged the fillets (we used haddock today) in a mixture of 1/3 cup whole wheat flour, a dash of salt, and and a dash of pepper, then placed the fillets in a single layer in the baking dish
– to a glass jar added 2 tbsp of olive oil, 2 tbsp of fresh lime juice, 1 tbsp of shredded desiccated coconut and a dash of salt, then I screwed on the lid on and gave it a good shake
– poured the oil and lime mixture on top of the fish
– baked for 20 minutes, uncovered
Served with rice and vegetable side of peppers and asparagus. Heaven!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

1 °C
Condition: Precipitation
Pressure: 101.0 kPa
Visibility: 13 km
Temperature: 0.8°C
Dewpoint: -1.0°C
Humidity: 88 %
Wind: S 15 km/h

Quote

“Enjoy present pleasures in such a way as not to injure future ones.”
Seneca
5 BC – 65 AD

[Something the meek can accomplish.]

The Limes of Winter

Lime juice squeezed from the leftover scraps after slicing the limes for the dehydrator.
Limes

This morning it was -19C outside the kitchen window, and it the wind is gusting to 40 kmh, bringing the wind chill factor in at -26C. Attila works outside all day, so these cold days are not very pleasant for him. The good news is that the temperate is supposed to rise dramatically today and hover around zero for the next few days.

Mist was in a cranky mood this morning. She is stone deaf, so she probably doesn’t realize we can still hear her, even though she is yowling at the top of her lungs. She had everything she needs, attention, fresh milk, fresh food and water, a warm fire burning in the hearth. What! Of course, eventually I discovered the problem. As I sat working not he laptop she came over to me and sat very still, staring at me. When I looked up she began to yowl. So I set aside my work, and followed her. She stopped several times, looked back to make sure I was behind her, and then continued across the living room and down the hall. Part way down the hall she sat down and quietly stared at a door. It was shut. Mist objects strongly, very, very strongly, to shut doors. I opened the door and she silently passed through, ignoring me completely. She communicates a lot better than some humans; I wonder if sometimes verbal language complicates our lives.

The dehydrator did a very nice job on three red peppers. They are be stored in a mason jar, which will be kept in the cupboard, out of the light. We checked on the jars containing the previous project, green peppers and mushrooms, and happily they remain crisp and dry.

The dehydrator is run overnight to take advantage of off-peak hydro billing, which is almost half the cost of using electricity during the daylight hours.

The next experiment will be a lime slices. We found a bag of acceptable looking limes on a discount rack, dozens for under a dollar. Most of the limes have now been sliced, spread on the dehydrator racks and set near the masonry heater for an initial period of drying, which will take place while the hydro rates are high during the day. This evening, when the price of hydro drops, the drying racks will be moved to the dehydrator and left to dry overnight. The same process will be repeated if the initial overnight drying period doesn’t do the job thoroughly.

The ends of the limes, leftover from preparing the slices for drying, were squeezed to yield about 1/4 cup of lime juice. The ends are now placed to soak in filtered water, which will be drained and saved for cooking and topping up tall cold glasses of fruit juice.

I have decided to focus entirely on what is attainable, and immediate, and to ignore the rest. Food preparation is a necessary pleasure, the journey and the destination are desirable. Working on my book and my web sites is attainable, and pleasant. I have lots to keep me interested and active.

Those issues I have been dealing with have been intensely unpleasant. One issue has been addressed as best it can, although the results were not satisfactory for anyone involved; I was proven correct, but it is a hollow victory. The other is likely to continue into 2014, and I cannot see how it will be resolved. This too shall pass. Sometimes we just have to deal with what, and who, the universe puts before us.

This journal entry, to this point, was written yesterday, Thursday. Today is Friday. I am looking forward to completing the compilation of my reference materials, which has turned out to be a very big job. When that is finished the actual database references can be updated and edited to achieve a consistent format. The project began in 1996, so there have been a lot of changes and developments in source types, and the way in which to deal with new kinds of sources.

The limes did not completely dry overnight, so they will go into the dehydrator for a second night, then we will see about them. The lime discards were soaked in water overnight, and the water was used to cook rice, and it smells delicious!

Mist is sleeping quietly in a nearby chair. I remarked to her, and to Attila who was home for lunch, that every day is a quiet day for a deaf cat! Mist slept on, blissfully ignoring my comment.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-19 °C
Condition: Mostly Cloud
Pressure: 102.4 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -19.0°C
Dewpoint: -21.6°C
Humidity: 80 %
Wind: WNW 11 km/h
Wind Chill: -26

Quote

“I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts.”
John Locke
1632 – 1704

or more simply put by Forest Gump,

“Stupid is as stupid does.”