Thoughts from Crow Cottage

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Sugar-less and Fancy-free

Just an update on the cutting down on sugar in my life.

It's been a very l-o-n-g time since I have been this faithful to any kind of diet change. I can't remember (well, yes I can actually) the last time I went on a successful diet and lost weight. But I'm not exactly doing this to "lose weight," per se, but to feel healthier.

Do you believe that?

It's true. Sugar brings you/me down. I have always known this but I am stubborn and have been addicted to certain things for my entire life, sugar being one of them. Pizza is another of them, and salty foods. All not such great choices, thus my unhealthiness. At 67 1/2 years of age, it's almost too late to change now, but on the other hand, why the hell not? Right?

The hardest and most distasteful part of this new less-sugar regime has been having my cuppa coffee in the mornings with just a splash of 1% milk and NO sugar. Ugh. Why does anyone actually "like" coffee with no sugar, I want to know? And why would anyone actually prefer "black coffee"? My mother always drank coffee black. Ugh. That is disgusting! A little 1% milk helps, but it's still not nice and satisfying after a long fast overnight...

Anyway, I only eat twice a day. I cannot do breakfast. However, I have now begun to eat a kind of breakfast, albeit around noon, consisting of a bowl of "steel cut" (because that's the kind Paul got at the store!) quick cooking oats with one or two kinds of fruit added... it's quick and easy and good. I add a sliced banana and some raisins which naturally sweeten the oats that just get a cup of boiling water added to 1/2 cup of oats. Winter is coming and this breakfast/lunch makes sense to me.

The next meal I deal with is supper. And that is now some kind of protein (meat/fish) and veggies. Nothing processed. Well, almost nothing processed. I make our own bread here in a bread machine - one kind for Paul (10 grain) and one kind for me (Italian cheese, or 9-grain), so when I have some bread, it's only one slice, and since I make the bread, I can slice it as thinly as I want.

For a sandwich I will slice it thinly and cut the one piece in half and have a half-sandwich. I got some extra-thinly sliced Swiss cheese and boiled ham at the food store and the other night, I dreamed up the most incredible dinner ever!

Turns out that my dreamed-up dinner had (sort of) already been dreamed up by others... I found it online yesterday! But I thought it up on my own before I saw it online.

Just for you, I will give you the recipe here: I haven't a name for it yet, but it's similar to the Croque Madam, if you've ever heard of that.

Ham/Cheese/Egg Sarnie (just to give it a Yorkshire feel!)

Serves 2

8 pieces thinly sliced Swiss Cheese
4 pieces thinly sliced boiled ham
2 slices of good multi-grain bread of your choice
2 large eggs
10-20 cherry tomatoes
kale - about a cup, chopped up into pieces

There are 3 pans needed (including for the side of tomatoes).

1) In a small toaster oven pan, line it with parchment paper or foil. Cut up about 10-20 cherry tomatoes in half and sprinkle them with olive oil, salt, pepper as you like. Mix them into that and lay them in a single layer. Bake them in the toaster oven til just sizzling...about 15 minutes on about 375... keep checking on them, they are roasting but don't burn them.

2) In a large flat frying pan, put two pieces of really good whole grain bread down - buttered - with the buttered side down. Spread some nice grainy mustard on each bread top in the pan, (I used Nathan's Deli Mustard). Then lay some washed/dried pieces of nice dark green KALE on the mustard to cover the whole bread.

Top the kale with 2 thin slices of Swiss Cheese and then 2 thin slices of boiled ham, and then 2 more thin slices of Swiss Cheese. Turn the heat on medium under the pan and put a LID ON IT! Be careful not to burn the bread. Let it all warm up so the cheese melts and the kale gets a bit wilted.

3) In a small fry pan, put a bit of oil and get it hot, break 2 eggs (for 2 people) into the pan, trying not to break the yolks. Cook until the bottoms are done and spoon the hot oil from the pan up over the tops a few times to cook the tops. Put a cover over this for a bit to steam it and get the tops cooked.

Serve the "sarnies" (a Yorkshire word for sandwiches) on a plate, with the roasted cherry tomatoes on the side and the sunny-side-up egg on top of the open-faced sarnie.




Paul was skeptical. I wasn't because I dreamed it up!

The kale was genius, I have to admit. It made the whole thing great. The egg also made it great.

A Croque Madam (or Croque Monsieur) has bechamel sauce on them, but mine didn't. It was so good - you must try it.

Paul was going nuts! And he never goes nuts over my cooking! Almost never, anyway. He gobbled his up so fast... I should have made an extra one for him... but he said one would be enough!

I can't wait to try these again, since I still have the ham and Swiss cheese in the fridge.

This is not mine, but this is what the Croque Madam looks like:

I like it with just the one piece of bread on the bottom, no top slice, or "open faced." You eat it with a fork and knife, of course, but wow, is it EVER good. And the roasted cherry tomatoes with it are perfect.

That's all I have.

Oh, and I did buy that book recommended to me by Nancy called "The Belly Fat Cure" and wow, recipes galore in there. The only problem is that almost every recipe has an item or two that I never buy so I don't actually have all the ingredients here for most of them. But as I go along, I plan to make more of them.



I think I could turn and live awhile with the animals...
They are so placid and self-contained,
I stand and look at them sometimes half the day long.

They do not sweat and whine about their condition,
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,
Not one is dissatisfied... not one is demented with the mania of owning things,
Not one kneels to another nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago,
Not one is respectable or industrious over the whole earth.

~ [Walt Whitman, from "Leaves of Grass, No. 32"] ~


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