The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

October 25, 2011

What is right for you

By Peggy Goodrich, columnist
Enid News and Eagle

— Remember the quote, “Do as I say ... not as I do?” Think about it.

Which do you do? I would hope you do not cook everything I recommend without making adjustments for your family. I am amazed at the people who follow a recipe to the letter and to the grain of salt. I seldom make a recipe exactly as it is printed. If I did, I would be as big as a barn.

I received a nice letter from a reader this week. I love to hear from my readers with constructive suggestions. In her letter she says, “Your letters of encouragement help me often! To be honest, though, I am concerned about all your sticky, gooey, yummy, taste-tantalizing recipes.” She went on to say she is addicted to sugar, as is her family, so she is trying to curb that craving by cooking more healthful recipes. I hear you. I, too, am trying with all my heart to cook non-fat, sugar-free recipes for me and Jim. Since he had his heart event, I try to cook low-fat foods that are much better for both of us.

Some things I just do automatically now to help us live longer. When I make roast gravy, I strain the juice and chill it and remove all the grease on top before thickening the gravy. I no longer make mashed potatoes with cream but use chicken broth or skim milk and lots of seasoning.

I use many spices I grew up using in everything instead of salt. We never season food at the table. I seldom fry anything. I make “mock fried potatoes” using an iron skillet sprayed and very hot. When I put the sliced, seasoned potatoes in the skillet they just sear. When they have browned on one side, I turn them, put the skillet lid on tight, turn the heat down and cook until done. Sometimes I put the skillet in the oven and let them finish cooking along with whatever else I am baking. There is no grease involved. We cannot tell the difference in the taste, and they are much better for both of us.

Most of the time when I make cakes, brownies or other bar cookies, I use applesauce in place of half the oil stated in the recipe. I might add, we always use healthy oil. It doesn’t cook like the lard Grandma used, but we have almost left those tastes behind as we strive to be healthy. I even make pie crust with oil now instead of lard. I decrease the sugar in most recipes. Nobody knows.

I want to make it clear I am not a dietitian. I just know what to cook for us. When Jim had his heart problem, a dietitian came to his hospital room and brought wonderful information about what to and what not to eat and how to prepare food. Jim was overwhelmed and wondered how he could remember all those rules and regulations and substitutions. I assured him if it was on our table, it was alright for him to eat. That is my department and my responsibility and my pleasure to cook correctly for him. It has paid off.

Other things we do now we once were pretty lax about include eating more fruits and vegetables and whole-grain breads and cereals, drinking 2-percent milk, drinking lots of water and eating more fish and beans.

Reading labels on cans and prepared meals is an education in itself. I never knew there were so many ingredients I could not pronounce, so of course had no idea what they were or what they would do to or for a body. Fat-free does not mean low-calorie. There might be lots of sugar in it. Low-fat might not really be very low.

In addition to all my usual “house rules,” I cook with additional restrictions because Jim has asthma. I do not use pineapple or grapefruit or anything that might interfere with his medications. With blood thinners we have to be careful about vegetables with vitamin K, too. But it is all well worth the effort. You would willingly do the same for those you love.

“Do as I say and not as I do” applies to other areas of living, too. We have to use our own good judgment with everything anyone says. As Dr. Phil says, “Never let what I say interfere with your own good judgment. Do what is right for you.”

I was so fortunate to have parents, grandparents, siblings, teachers and other reliable people who told me things to do and also did them. I could look to them for an example and never go wrong if I did what they did. However, I have learned over the years I am my own person and may do things “my” way, too. What is right for me may not be best for you and yours.

It is soup time. Fall is in the air and soup just sounds good and is so easy to make. When I recently taught a class at Autry Technology Center we made several kinds of soup. One was this Potato/Broccoli Soup.

Everyone seemed to enjoy it. But I must tell you I made a big mistake when I took the ingredients out of our freezer to go to class. Instead of frozen broccoli, I picked up chopped frozen spinach. I had the soup all ready to add the broccoli when a member of the class asked if I squeezed the water out of the spinach before adding it to the soup. I wondered whatever made her ask a question like that. It was only then I realized I had picked up the wrong ingredient. We proceeded as usual, and added the spinach to the soup instead of broccoli. It was surprisingly good.

One lovely member of the class said she didn’t really like spinach but she loved the soup. Either way you make it is good ... a new recipe by mistake.

Potato/Broccoli Soup

1⁄4 cup chopped celery

1⁄2 cup chopped onion

2 cups peeled, cubed potatoes

15 ounces frozen chopped broccoli

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 half pound Velveeta

Cook celery and onion in small amount of water until onions are clear. Add potatoes and cook until potatoes are soft, adding just enough water to cover. When potatoes are cooked, add broccoli and cook until done. Stir in cream of chicken soup and cubed cheese. When cheese is melted it is ready to serve.

Send your comments to: Peggy Goodrich, Food For Thought, P.O. Box 1192, Enid, OK 73702.