3 things that have been keeping me preoccupied

First and foremost, is the birth of a granddaughter coming up in March of this year. I am thrilled, of course, and can't wait.

Secondly, a new chapter begun in my life. This has to do with the fact that in the last couple of weeks, I have discovered my true 'lost' sister. Or, I should say, her son found me by googling my mother's name which brought him to my photo album "Doris Jane: A tribute". He joined Opera and sent me a nice long message telling his story. I knew right away it was not a hoax, sent him my email address plus a couple of photos I had that were not in my Opera album. In my album, there is a high school photo of my mom. It is the same photo his mom was given of her birth mother. Plus, the two additional photos I sent him, he had seen in his mom's possession. My newly found sister and I have now exchanged some emails. Someday soon we shall meet.

I know I have spoken before of having found my sister a few years ago. The state in which she was born was the same as well as the year, plus a few other small similarities. We met and, initially, things went well. Not that the the next meeting didn't go well, but it was then she told me she didn't feel a connection and didn't think we were sisters. She felt she had just made a new friend. This saddened me, of course, because I was still trying to hang on to the fact that my two and half year search brought me a sister. That was not the case.

In any event, the search is now over for certain this time.

Thirdly, I've never been overly concerned with my health until now. Except for the smoking, I'd always thought I was doing quite well. With some recent blood work, I have discovered my cholesterol and triglycerides are too high. These were the only two things that ruined my results for good health. Well, not ruined, but I'd always had excellent results in everything. My weight, blood pressure, heart rate are excellent as well.

Even though I eat healthy and am much more active than my parents were, I inherited their genes. So, I need to do even more, or less with certain things to keep up my good health. I must take a pill for the next three months, then be tested again to see what the levels are.

I rarely eat sweets, except for an occasional piece of chocolate cake. For the past 25 years or more I only drink skim milk. Plus, I rarely eat ice cream, candy or drink alcohol. My transgressions are always in moderation, but they need to be even less.

My Occasional Trangressions

cheese – I love it. It’s great with fruit in the morning for breakfast. Part skim mozzarella may be the substitute.

potato chips – I love them with a sandwich for lunch. I will switch to Sun Chips which have no cholesterol. I must have something crunchy.

eggs – I love them. What more can I say. I have now bought Eggbeaters.

bacon – Real bacon. (Not turkey bacon which tastes and has the texture of shoe leather.) There’s nothing like a homemade BLT. Will do without those for now.

French fries – I don’t have these often enough to cut out completely. There’s only once place I get them and that’s at a Greek cafe called Crazy Jim’s I go to about once a month. I get fries with their steak gyro. Oh, that’s red meat. I’ll switch to a chicken or veggie one. It’s the cucumber sauce I love on the gyro anyway.

red meat – I love homemade hamburgers and steak. I have it twice a week. Will reduce it to once or even less and will replace it with more fish such as salmon or cod.

crackers – What goes better with cheese and fruit? Crackers. There is no substitute to Ritz. I will have to do some checking.

I have decided to add tofu to the other healthy things I eat. This is something I didn't like some 15 years ago when I first tasted it because it's very bland. However, I'm getting quite used to it and even like it. It is delicious in Asian soups I've had in restaurants. Haven't found a good soup recipe yet but here's one recipe I found on the net. I have every single ingredient and will be making it soon. It looks pretty darn good.

If any of you have a tofu recipe you'd like to share, I'd really appreciate it.

Broccoli And Tofu Bake

Recipe By : Vegetarian Cooking for Healthy Living, page 62
Serving Size : 4

1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic — minced
2 cups broccoli flowerets
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup nonfat cholesterol-free egg substitute
2 egg whites
10 ounces soft silken tofu — (such as Mori Nu)
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons nonfat Parmesan cheese
red pepper rings — for garnish
Nonfat cooking spray


Silken tofu has a smooth texture and a sweetness resembling fresh cream

Saute onion and garlic in a skilled sprayed with a nonfat cooking spray
Add broccoli, mushrooms, and 1 tablespoon water or nonfat broth. Cover,
reduce heat and steam until broccoli and mushrooms are just tender. Place
in an 8 x 8-inch baking dish sprayed with nonfat cooking spray.

In a blender, combine egg substitute, whites, tofu, seasonings and cheese.
Blend for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides, until mixture is smooth.
Pour over broccoli mixture. Garnish each corner with a red pepper ring and
bake at 350F for 35 minutes or until center is firm.

About pam

I am retired from real 9 to 5 jobs. I do my artwork and occasionally write poetry. In September 2010, I moved to Fargo, ND after spending 60 years in Phoenix, Arizona. Now, five years later, July 2015, I'm back in Arizona. And yes, I love the heat!
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102 Responses to 3 things that have been keeping me preoccupied

  1. Suntana says:

    I was trying to make sure I got things straight, so I read that certain section several times. Pam, so you're saying that you first, sometime back, found a sister you KNEW you had. And now contact has been established with a sister you did NOT KNOW you had. Is that correct?

  2. PainterWoman says:

    Originally posted by NLDH:

    I use chicken broth. I sometimes cook Japanese Tofu soup:

    Oh thank you for that recipe LD> That sounds delicious and I love cabbage in soups. Are the Asian noodles you use rice noodles? I love those.

  3. NLDH says:

    Originally posted by PainterWoman:

    What do you use as a base?

    I use chicken broth. I sometimes cook Japanese Tofu soup:JAPANESE TOFU SOUP 1 pkg. (8 oz.) oriental egg noodles2 tbsp. olive oil5 scallions, including tops, sliced diagonally1 tsp. minced fresh ginger5 c. chicken bouillon1 sm. head cabbage, thinly sliced12 oz. firm tofu, diced into 1/2 inch cubes1/2 tsp. salt1/4 tsp. black pepperCook the noodles according to package directions. Drain and toss with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Set aside.In 12 inch wok or large skillet heat the second 1 tablespoon of olive oil over moderate heat for 30 seconds, then add scallions and ginger and stir fry for 2 minutes, or until crisp tender.Add bouillon and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the cabbage and reduce heat to moderate and cook until crisp tender (about three minutes). Stir in the cooked noodles and tofu, salt and pepper. Serves 6.

  4. PainterWoman says:

    Carlos, not exactly. I didn't know I had another sister till after my mom had passed away. When I found out, I spent over two years searching with no luck. Then suddenly someone contacted me that I'd emailed two years before and they said someone had contacted them with many similarities in their story. They gave me her email address. That was 2005 or 6, I can't remember exactly. Anyway, she traveled to Phoenix then the next year, I traveled to see her. It was then that she told me she didn't feel a connection and didn't think we were sisters. I still emailed her once in a while, but she didn't respond often. It's so very complicated, I even have a hard time explaining it. Now, this new development started a few weeks ago. She is the real deal. Everything her son, my nephew said, was chillingly exact to my mother's story. Somewhere around the beginning of January, I checked Hitslink to see what people google to wind up on my site. I noticed several times my mother's full name. I thought it was unusual and wondered about it. Then I got a PM from her son. Some day, we will meet, I'm sure. Right now I can't travel again, that is until I go see my new granddaughter when she is born. I'm saving my money for that.

  5. NLDH says:

    Yes, Pam. Enjoy :happy:

  6. PainterWoman says:

    Originally posted by debplatt:

    control trigliceride levels: http://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/tc/high-triglycerides-treatment-overview

    Deb, this is an excellent website. Thanks for the link and I've saved it to look at further. I've been reading over comments to make sure I haven't missed anything and I missed looking at this site.

  7. PainterWoman says:

    Billy, thanks for the link. There are some good sounding recipes there. I love eggplant, cabbage, black beans and many of the other vegetables mentioned.

  8. Henar says:

    Wow, Pam. I haven´t visited your blog for a while, and now I do I find there´s lots of new things going on in your life!!!! March is near, soon your granddaugter will be born!!!! Is it your first grandchild? That must be an exciting experience!!!!!A new found sister… it looks like one of those movies… I´ve never heard of anyone experiencing something like it. You must be thrilled!!!!! I understand completely the cholesterol problem!!! My mother´s is very high too, and she´s been taking pills for a couple of years. High cholesterol runs in my family, and mine is a little bit high too, but not excesively. I try to be careful, drink skimmed milk, not too much red meat (I don´t like it, so that´s easy), but I can´t stop eating cheese… I´m completely addicted!!!!!! :left: I try not to eat very strong cheese anyway.So, good luck with that!!!!:up:

  9. PainterWoman says:

    Originally posted by debplatt:

    My husband loves cheese and eats it regularly. Yet I'm the one with the high cholesterol. I guess a lot of this is genetic.

    I think you're right Deb because the doctor read off a list of things asking me if I did anything in excess. He kept shaking his head when I kept saying no, no. My 40 yr. old son has just been put on medication for it. He showed me his results from a few years ago and his were sky high. He is eating more healthy foods now because he and his wife make lots of Vietnamese soups. He will not give up pizza though because he has perfected a homemade dough that is really delicious. I've tasted it and he's right.

  10. debplatt says:

    Originally posted by Henar:

    I can´t stop eating cheese…

    My husband loves cheese and eats it regularly. Yet I'm the one with the high cholesterol. 🙄 I guess a lot of this is genetic.

  11. gdare says:

    Being physically active is a main way to get rid of cholesterol. Avoiding junk food, too :left:You know, Serbian cuisine is rich in meat and fat but 6 or more trainings per week give me opportunity to eat whatever I want. And according to our standards, I am skinny 😛

  12. PainterWoman says:

    Henar, so glad you visited. Yes, this will be my first grandchild. Only six more weeks now. My daughter remembers the little sundresses I made her when she was small so she wants me to sew something for the baby rather than buy something. I haven't used my sewing machine in 20 yrs so I told her I will give her some small paintings for the nursery.Cheese is hard give up. I won't do it completely because one of my favorite breakfasts would be a piece of cheese (usually sharp cheddar or Havarti), apple slices and one piece of toast and coffee. Mozzarella is the only cheese I can think of that is made with part skim milk so I may get some of that today because there has been no cheese in my fridge for two weeks. I am craving it this morning for breakfast.

  13. debplatt says:

    Originally posted by gdare:

    6 or more trainings per week

    What sort of things are you doing in your workout?

  14. gdare says:

    It is very pleasant -7C (19F) evening here with a snow and ice and now I will go to other part of a city to have a training :knight:

  15. debplatt says:

    It's a pleasant 21F (-6C) here; time to get bundled up and go for a stroll.:whistle:

  16. PainterWoman says:

    Originally posted by gdare:

    Being physically active is a main way to get rid of cholesterol. Avoiding junk food, too

    I am giving up my potato chips and I'm going for my walk right now. It is a pleasant 60 something degrees and a sunny day.

  17. L2D2 says:

    Originally posted by Henar:

    I can´t stop eating cheese… I´m completely addicted!!!!!!

    If all the food disappeared off the earth but cheese and peanut butter, I could be pretty satisfied. I am also addicted to cheese. Three things in life I can't do without—-reading, cheese and peanut butter

  18. Suntana says:

    I THINK I got the story straight now … or at least straighter than before. 😀 So, what do you think about the Eggbeaters? REALLY.I tried to like them. I gave them several periodic shots to like them. They're NOT bad. They just end up lacking that extra Mmmmfff of taste. Even the texture is different.

  19. Suntana says:

    I remember one failed Eggbeaters experiment of mine. I used to love the Veggie & Smoked Cheese Quesadillas that Chili's used to have some years back. They had Artichokes in them. So, one day I bought a little jar of Artichokes. NOW … what would I use 'em in? I made an Artichoke Omelette. Nnnnggg, it wasn't a raging success. :doh: I think I even tried the Artichokes on Spaghetti and on other things. I believe the Artichokes failed to work with ANYTHING I tried them on. They worked so well on the Chili's Quesadillas, but were total failures on anything I tried them.

  20. debplatt says:

    Originally posted by Suntana:

    So, what do you think about the Eggbeaters? REALLY.

    They definitely aren't as good as whole eggs. However if you doctor them up, they're not bad. For instance, they taste pretty good in breakfast burritos; it's nice to add some hot sauce to them, or make an omelette's with low-fat cheese.Don't overlook using them in baking instead of a whole egg. In baking, I can't tell the difference.

  21. PainterWoman says:

    You're right about Eggbeaters lacking something but I'm getting used to them. Just made scrambled eggs a couple days ago and put chopped green chilies and tomatoes in it. It was pretty darn good.Just tried making lettuce wraps for the first time. Butter lettuce has the best and most flexible leaves. First I made some cole slaw, then baked two small breaded cod fillets from Trader Joes. Put cole slaw on the lettuce leaf, then the cod, and wrapped it. I was very surprised at how good it was. I love fish tacos but had no corn tortillas so the wraps were an alternative.

  22. PainterWoman says:

    Carlos, I remember that quesadilla at Chili's! Have never tried anything at home with artichokes except for a salad. Didn't like it. I think it must be the oil they're packed in has too strong of a flavor that overpowers the flavor of the artichoke.

  23. PainterWoman says:

    Carlos, yes, Cod is what generally is used at LJS and other restaurants, also Whitefish is similar tasting. Talapia seems to be a popular one now but only had it once and it was so overdone I've never tried it since. Do you have Del Taco in Texas? They have fish tacos w/ cabbage on very thin corn tortillas. Even though I gave up fast food a long time ago, I will occasionally get their tacos, but not the combo with fries. Deb, since I've cut back on my consumption of bread, I plan on using the Eggbeaters to make pancakes this weekend. And I'll also use it to bake cornbread next week.

  24. Suntana says:

    Cod is the type of fish that say, Long John Silver's has, right? I haven't been to Long John Silver's in ages. LJS's sometimes absolutely hits the spot, like when the fish, Hush Puppies and Fries are just freshly-made. And then there are other occasions when it just misses the target.Now Fish Tacos is something I cannot recall ever having. But, throw some Guacamole on 'em and I think We Are ON!

  25. debplatt says:

    Originally posted by Suntana:

    I believe the Artichokes failed to work with ANYTHING I tried them on.

    I've used quartered artichoke hearts in pasta salad. You can get canned artichoke hearts that are basically in water, or you can buy jars of artichoke hearts that have been marinated in essentially an oil and vinegar salad dressing. These are wonderful and what they're what I use in pasta salad.

  26. PainterWoman says:

    Interesting about the tilapia. I think I'll stick to my usual cod, whitefish or salmon, but not the farmed stuff.

  27. debplatt says:

    Originally posted by PainterWoman:

    I plan on using the Eggbeaters to make pancakes this weekend. And I'll also use it to bake cornbread next week.

    These should be great! BTW Wayne Forest University has analyzed the fats in farm-raised tilapia, and according to this news account:

    All other nutritional content aside, the inflammatory potential of hamburger and pork bacon is lower than the average serving of farmed tilapia.

    I read elsewhere regarding the same research:

    The researchers found that farmed tilapia contained only modest amounts of omega-3 fatty acids – less than half a gram per 100 grams of fish, similar to flounder and swordfish. Farmed salmon and trout, by contrast, had nearly 3 and 4 grams, respectively.

    At the same time, the tilapia had much higher amounts of omega-6 acids generally and AA specifically than both salmon and trout. Ratios of long-chain omega-6 to long-chain omega-3, AA to EPA respectively, in tilapia averaged about 11:1, compared to much less than 1:1 (indicating more EPA than AA) in both salmon and trout.

    Apparently the problem is that farm-raised tilapia is fed largely on corn, which ups the amount of omega-6 acids in the tilapia. omega-3 fatty acids are good for the heart; omega-6 fatty acids increase the risk of inflammation in the circulatory system and thus are bad.

  28. debplatt says:

    Originally posted by PainterWoman:

    salmon, but not the farmed stuff.

    Apparently farmed salmon and trout are okay. They still have high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. I think it's just the combination of corn feed and tilapia that does bad things.

  29. Suntana says:

    Del Taco … Wooooooo! Now there's a blast from the past. I last saw a Del Taco back in 83. There may or may not be Del Tacos in other parts of Texas.I've tried Tilapia and it … and it :left: :right: Sucks! :yikes: It lacks taste. No matter that someone had grilled it with onions, lemon pepper, lemon and who knows what else. It was still bland. Kind of Bounty Paper Towel-tasting. Then I tasted some Whiting Fillets, which were excellent. Then twice in recent times I've had … I think it was Whiting, but they were NOT fillets, but rather fish halves. They weren't very good-tasting and I just HATE eating fish that still has the freakin' spine. I don't enjoy it because I'm all engaged in some Fish Spine Thorn Hunt. :insane:

  30. Suntana says:

    Deb, I can't remember whether I got plain artichokes in water or the marinated ones.

  31. debplatt says:

    Originally posted by Suntana:

    Kind of Bounty Paper Towel-tasting.

    😆 Of course now I'm wondering how you know what Bounty Paper Towel tastes like. :)Originally posted by Suntana:

    I just HATE eating fish that still has the freakin' spine.

    Forget the spine. I don't want to be served fish that still has eyeballs. When I look at my food, I don't want it looking back at me. :insane:

  32. PainterWoman says:

    Originally posted by debplatt:

    Of course now I'm wondering how you know what Bounty Paper Towel tastes like.

    😆 Now I'm wondering that too. Ok, Carlos, did you try some Bounty Paper Towel tacos?{{shudders}} no spine or eyeballs for me either.

  33. kentsopera says:

    He is a riot, that Keyboard Kid – Carlos "Chuck" Suntana!Following his food crumbs all over Opera Community and now to find out that he also eats Bounty Kitchen Towels is..stumped? :chef: :troll: 😆

  34. Suntana says:

    C'mon, y'all! Are y'all gonna sit there and tell me you've NEVER eaten Bounty Paper Towels? Not in your youth and not now? Seriously? So then y'all have only eaten the regular ole, run of the mill generic store brand paper towels, huh? :yuck:

  35. kentsopera says:

    Nope and Nope, but you enjoy yourself, have a great weekend and watch out for getting your plumbing clogged.

  36. PainterWoman says:

    We know you're kidding. We're just getting a kick out of your descriptive phrases that's all. Like whenever I have a rice cracker I think it tastes like styrofoam and my kids would say 'we didn't know you ate styrofoam mom'.

  37. Suntana says:

    If you're hesitant, Kent, try 'em with Cheese and a little bit of Garlic Powder. 😉 Nah! Just Kidding! REALLY, people, I AM only kidding! :nervous: This reminded me of many years ago. My older brother was drinking a Tom Collins Mixed Drink. I asked him to let me have a sip to see what it tasted like. I tried it out and went, "Whoa! This tastes like Christmas Tree!" :eyes: No, I don't sit around watching TV while snacking on Lay's Christmas Tree-flavored Potato Chips. :insane: But, one can associate the SMELL with the TASTE.

  38. PainterWoman says:

    😆 Nope, no paper towels of any kind, but I'll bet it makes for good roughage.I do remember consuming paper way back when. Suckers and Tootsie Pops used to come on those tightly rolled paper sticks…remember? Once the candy part was gone, I'd keep nibbling on the paper stick till it was gone too.

  39. PainterWoman says:

    Thank you EasyD. So far I've only tried soft Vietnamese tofu. My daughter-in-law is Vietnamese and she and my son often go to a special market for their food and they brought me some but I also had some soft in my fridge. It really doesn't have much of a taste but will absorb the taste of whatever you mix with it. It seems to spoil very fast so I wish it were sold in smaller containers. Next time, I plan on buying the more firm kind to hold it's shape as I want to make some Asian soup using cubes of it.The dish you linked me too looks very refreshing. I'd probably have to get the ingredients at the market my son goes to. Or just experiment with what I have. I love experimenting.

  40. EasyD44 says:

    Wow…lots of news!!How amazing is that, that you are contacted by him and that you have a long lost sister! I hope that goes well :)Congratulations on your new grandchild! My Mom always peppers in tiny comments about wanting grandchildren to my siblings and I…hahaha…so, I am sure you are quite ecstatic!!And, just a note, I really like Japanese Tofu the best. If made right is much firmer and more satisfying then other types/brands. Just a thought from my experiences with it. :)This is a good Japanese dish: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiyayakko

  41. EasyD44 says:

    Go for it!

  42. studio41 says:

    I've heard a greek food diet is good and here is a link: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cholesterol/CL00002

  43. debplatt says:

    Jill, I really liked the Mayo Clinic site that lists foods that are useful in lowering cholesterol. Thanks for the link!

  44. PainterWoman says:

    Thanks for that link Jill. I've saved it in my Health folder. I eat four of those five things. Will have to start reading labels to find stuff with the plant sterols/stanols in it. I think I spelled those right. Sometimes I don't have my reading glasses with me at the store and the tiny print on the ingredient label is impossible to read. I like the Mayo clinic site too Deb and have looked up other things.

  45. studio41 says:

    glad that this one is helpful. Joe sent me a link yesterday because he realized that I eat these foods regularly- here it is, different reason than cholesterol, but helpful, nonetheless: http://health.yahoo.com/featured/87/8-foods-that-fight-stress/since we're sharing healthy links…

  46. PainterWoman says:

    Thanks for that Jill. I eat all the foods mentioned except for the dark chocolate. Well, every once in a while I have some but not often. Also, the blueberries. I only like them in salads or with other cut up fruit.

  47. debplatt says:

    Originally posted by PainterWoman:

    Also, the blueberries.

    I get frozen blueberries to make a blueberry slump.I need to learn more recipes for blueberries…

  48. studio41 says:

    you're welcome, Pam- I love chocolate, so I don't find that much of a challenge- it's cutting me off that is my problem. I put cocoa powder in a lot of things, too.Originally posted by debplatt:

    blueberry slump.

    blueberry slump is lookin' good!Originally posted by debplatt:

    I need to learn more recipes for blueberries…

    I use them regularly in iced water- I keep them frozen and dump a few into my ice water- crushing them from time to time… it eventually tastes like kool-aid.I use them often in smoothies, just frozen blues, a banana, ice, almond milk or hemp milk, agave nectar, cranberry juice (unsweetened) acai powder, and a 'female' powder for energy/nutrition needs… sometimes I add oats.I mix them into rhubarb crisp for more colour dimension & to contrast the tartness of the rhubarb & use them alongside mulberries in cobbler…

  49. debplatt says:

    I haven't made a smoothy around here for a while, and when I do make one, I seem to be fixated on banana/strawberry smoothies. I think I need to expand my horizons a little, so the blueberry smoothie sounds good. :up:

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