What did I eat today? What is my perfect meal? What are my favorite seasonal foods? This morning I had a protein shake for breakfast consisting of orange cream flavored protein powder mixed with nonfat milk, nonfat plain yogurt, flaxseed, PB2, sugar free chocolate syrup and cinnamon. I also ate a banana, drank 10 oz. of green tea and 20 oz. of water with it. All this usually gets me energized enough to start my day.
My guilty pleasure is cottage cheese, mixed with tomato sauce, parmesan, and green peas. They are my idea of a perfect food and perfect meal. Peas are my most favorite vegetable of all time, although I hated them when I was a little kid. I remember one time when I was seven years old my mother tried to get me to eat peas and failed. I scooped the peas up into my spoon, and flung them to the floor. I got the spanking of my life for doing so, because my parents always instilled in my brothers and me not to waste food.
It wasn’t until the past ten years I’d fallen in love with peas. Tomatoes used to be my all time favorite vegetable, but have been replaced by peas. Now, tomatoes are my second favorite vegetable, although I don’t eat them as often as I eat peas.
I don’t know if I have a favorite seasonal food, although in my family we buy strawberries every now and then. We haven’t had any in a long while. Just recently, my uncle bought some raspberries. However, when they are in season my family and I eat them.
For dinner, I cook lean ground turkey. I brown the meat, then rinse it under super hot water, put the meat back into the pot, put the seasons and spices in again, add some mustard, ketchup, tomato sauce, about 4 oz. super hot water, margarine, parmesan, and mix it all together. I pour it over freshly diced tomatoes, and peas. I top it off with parmesan. For dessert I usually have canned fruit in water. My family doesn’t buy the canned fruit in the syrup. Those which are in water are best. Fresh fruit from the produce section is even better. However, we only consume canned fruit at dinner time.
I also love lentils from the can. They’re especially good if they are left in the refrigerator over night and served cold the next day. I like to mix either yogurt or cottage cheese in there, along with some ketchup and some parmesan. I love a combination of savory flavors mixed in with the sweet.
Up until two years ago, my aunt, grandmother and I used to eat submarine sandwiches every day from our local submarine sandwich restaurants. However, we cut bread from our diet, because a nurse friend of ours told us about the gluten in bread being yeast, and how it expands in the belly. It’s what causes bloating. I also cut pasta and honey from the diet. If I were to eat any of those foods now, they’d make me sick, because my system would reject them. So, I just stay away from them. I used to love consuming all kinds of pasta. My favorite pasta dish of all time had been lasagna. However, since I haven’t eaten any in a long, long, time, it no longer appeals to me.
For special occasions, my aunt, grandmother, uncle, brother and I go to one of the many Chinese buffet restaurants in our local area. I love the crab cakes, wontons, string beans, glazed pork and glazed chicken. It’s always such a beautiful treat when we’d go there. I also love the flat chicken on a stick, along with the savory flavors of the beef and vegetables. Their fish is tender enough where it melts in one’s mouth allowing folks to savor the light buttery flavors.
At my home, we often buy sugar free Cool Whip, and freeze. Once it’s frozen, I scoop it out with an ice cream scoop, and mix it with Triscuits, sugar free maple syrup, sugar free chocolate syrup. PB2, and cinnamon. Sometimes I’d add sugar free wafer cookies to the mix. It makes for such a tasty dessert and a special treat.
Cooking is a family experience. My grandmother and aunt usually do prep for the vegetables with the chopping device. I’m in charge of preparing the meat, and boiling the water for the pasta. My aunt usually takes care of putting the pasta in the pot of boiling water and does the rest of the prep work needed for the pasta.
When preparing the meat, I sample often to make sure I have the right balance of flavors in my meat sauce. We used to watch cooking shows on PBS for a number of years, but over the course of these past two years we haven’t watched them. We’ve mostly been applying what we’ve learned. One thing I learned was how it’s important to taste the food as it is being cooked. It’s the only way to tell if the flavors are well balanced out.
I often give my grandmother a sample of my meat sauce to get her opinion on my cooking. To her my cooking is always delicious. If anything was missing, she’d be honest enough to tell me.
From time to time, my aunt purchases a package of crab meat from the grocery story of which she chops up and adds to the vegetables. Then, she pours my sauce over it which brings out the savory flavors so nicely.
Amongst my favorite foods, I love plumbs when they are ripe and soft. I don’t like them when they are hard. At such time, they have a sour taste to them. The same can be said about peaches. I like for all my fruits to be ripe when I consume them. When shopping for such fruits at the grocery store, I usually handle them by gently squeezing them to make sure they are ripe. If they are hard, I put them back and look for those which are soft.
© Copyright, Kiki Stamatiou, 2016