Just Show Up

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I ran across an ad on the Next Door website. A single mom asking for house or yardwork to make some extra money. Affordable.

My flower gardens have been misused and abused all summer. I haven’t been well enough to keep up with the usual weeding schedule. As for watering, I’ve managed to water weeds. I look out from my office window to the front flower bed and see–gasp–grass seed heads waving in the wind.

I could use some affordable help in the garden. After a brief discussion with Jim, in which we verbalize the usual pros and cons about ‘hiring it done’, I give single mom my telephone number via the website, let her know its all about the weeds, and wait for her call.

She doesn’t call me right away. Too bad, too, because the weather turned nice last week. Cooler. Wetter. Better.

On Saturday, she calls me. We dicker for a while about how much she expects to make per hour. She tells me her rate for ‘landscaping’ and I tell her what I’ll pay for weeding. We finally agree on a per hour price and then I say, “You know, it’s gonna be really hot next week. I’d prefer to start after Labor Day.”

But no. She’s  hot to get started. For all sorts of reasons. We agree on Tuesday–that’s today–and set 9 am as the start time. I give her directions to the house.

So here it is, Tuesday, 11 am and where is she? No sign of a car. No calls or texts. Nothing.

And I’m left wondering. Did she drive by and, after seeing the yard, decide it was too much? Or maybe the dogs scared her? Did she get a better gig? Or maybe she overslept? Or her kid(s) held her up?

If only she’d call.

Well. Here’s what I’d say to her after I told her that I can’t use her. If I can’t trust you to show up when you say you will, how can I trust you to do a job?

Was it really Woody Allen who said 80 percent of success in life is showing up?

 

A Recipe of My Own: Shrimp Fried Rice

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Ever wake up with a yen for a particular food? That’s what happened to me about ten days into the plant-based Paleo plan. I wanted shrimp fried rice and nothing less would do.

I searched the recipes in the doctor-recommended book, and found a list of ingredients for fried rice that included bacon, sausage, and a box grater for cauliflower. Since I’m clumsy-fingered, the box grater was out. And the bacon and sausage offended my ‘low-fat is healthy’ sensibilities.

A trip to the grocery store for shrimp and veggies solved my box grater problems. There’s such a thing as frozen riced cauliflower. Armed with my fresh and frozen foods, I pulled out the copper wok and assembled my ingredients.

  • TBSP olive oil
  • Tsp sesame oil
  • 1 slice bacon, chopped
  • Half a red onion, chopped
  • TBSP minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
  • 1 baby bok choy
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into disks
  • 1 bag frozen riced cauliflower
  • 8 large easy-peel frozen shrimp
  • Quarter cup soy sauce
  • Quarter cup brown rice vinegar
  • TBSP raw honey
  • Green onions (scallions) for garnish

Right. I should’ve used coconut amines instead of soy sauce, but when I looked at my dusty bottle of amines and saw the expiration date five years in the past, I decided I was on safer ground to use the soy sauce. And I wasn’t sure whether the vinegar was Paleo approved. I could’ve looked that up but didn’t.

Also, you can add just about any vegetable you think would work: mushrooms, bell pepper, cabbages, broccoli … the sky’s the limit.

Cook the oils and the chopped bacon in the wok until the bacon starts to crisp. Add the onion and cook until transparent. Add the shrimp and cook on both sides. This takes only a couple of minutes, till the shrimp turn light pink. Add the other vegetables, including the garlic, and cook until the carrots are done, about five minutes. If you want, take the shrimp out so they don’t overcook.

While the vegetables cook, mix the soy sauce or amines, vinegar, and honey. If you don’t use vinegar, you’ll need to use lemon or lime juice; something to give the recipe some acidity.

Next, add the bag of riced cauliflower. I didn’t bother thawing it before adding, and had to break up clumps of frozen cauliflower. Once the ingredients are completely thawed, pour in the soy mixture.

I let this sit for a while to meld the flavors. It tasted like fried rice without being greasy. Jim actually thought the cauliflower rice was real rice, so yay frozen foods.

 

 

 

Alternative Medicine

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I’ve had such amazing results with alternative medicine.

In less than two weeks: Blood pressure, lower. Blood sugar readings, almost normal. Headaches, gone. Discontinued the proton pump inhibitor medication. Granted, that one was painful but the pain diminished gradually in a relatively short period of time.

Getting to the root cause of a health issue makes more sense than masking symptoms. Now if only we can convince mainstream medicine to expand its thinking.

 

 

 

Cloudy Sunday

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Here’s a tree that’s doing well despite the lack of rain. It was here when we arrived–almost two decades ago. It looks like and grows like a maple, the leaves turning bright yellow in fall, with roots above the ground and lots of suckers needing to be cut.

We’re promised rain later today, and the radar shows us covered in green. Fingers crossed.

Other People’s Recipes: Zucchini Pancakes

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I recently sought an alternative healthcare solution for intractable high blood pressure that wasn’t responding to mainstream medical intervention. At least, it hadn’t yet. Since March.

And as I’d rather do just about anything than lie in an emergency room bed with an IV in my arm, why not give alternative a try?

I came away from my first visit to the ‘integrative medicine’ professional with an armload of supplements and a specific recommendation to follow a ‘plant-based Paleo’ eating plan.

Now I haven’t been asleep for the past 50 years, so yes, I’ve heard of Paleo and even plant-based Paleo. In fact, about four years ago, I gave a popular doctor’s version a go and ended up sicker than I’d ever felt before. I have some concerns about the Paleo eating plan logic, mostly having to do with what cave-people might really have been eating. Maybe not coconut oil. Or coconut flour. Or coconut sugar. All of which seem to be okay Paleo foods.

Anyway. I was given a specific book recommendation and obediently downloaded it to my Kindle.

Paleo breakfasts frustrate me. Bacon or sausage and eggs? Really? I mean, I know the ban on fat has been lifted. But that particular breakfast just seems a bit–well–fat saturated. As I flipped through the pages of the recommended book (no, I’m not saying which book) the first recipe that caught my eye was one for breakfast. Zucchini pancakes. Huh. I like pancakes.

It called for:

  • 2 cups zucchini, grated and water squeezed out in cheesecloth
  • 3 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 TBSP coconut flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Basically, a latke (potato pancake) made with zucchini. The kicker was to fry it (yes, FRY) in an inch of coconut oil. But okay, I’m game.

OMG. So nasty. Greasy, oily, uncooked eggs, crunchy zucchini. Yes, of course, I didn’t cook them long enough, but any longer in the pan and the outside would’ve burned to a crisp. So hmm… What would I do differently?

Based on my latke cooking experience, which granted is minimal, I’d substitute 1 cup of zucchini for 1 cup of sweet potato–still Paleo approved–use only 1 egg and increase to 3 TBSP coconut flour. Although I wonder if einkorn flour is okay Paleo–I’ll have to do some research–and fry it in a small amount of olive oil and butter mixed together.

Or better yet, I’ll find some Paleo friendly toast.

Oh and yes, I’m just as sick on this plant-based Paleo as I was last time.

But not to worry–look in next Saturday for more adventures with other people’s recipes.