Category Archives: food

Weekly Photo Challenge: Between

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Choose between the middle and the outer biscuits.

“Time is the longest distance between two places.” Tennessee Williams

Biscuits, though close together on the pan, are very different depending on the proximity.  My mother makes the best homemade biscuits, and in return requests the middle biscuit.  She likes its texture, I guess.

I have wonderful memories associated with biscuits.  Christmas with the family will mean biscuits and gravy during some part of the day.

Like biscuits on a pan, families, though very similar in look, surely have differences.   Some are the middle biscuits–soft and mushy.  Others have a kind of outer shell.  They’re harder to break into.

This Christmas, I’m on one continent and my son, my parents, and my sisters are on another.  I’m used to this distance, but It’s not always easy.  Though we are all connected in many ways, there is a great distance between us today.

Merry Christmas to you all.  I miss our time together.

Coffee: Foe or Friend?

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A coffee and computer picture from a happier post...

“I judge a restaurant by the bread and by the coffee.” Burt Lancaster

Don’t you love it when you wake up extra early, start getting ahead, and then, it hits?  This morning it hit big time. I was blogging away on a post about the funny things we often do to keep peace.  All of a sudden, I knocked my whole cup of coffee onto my adorable Apple computer.  Can I tell you how much peace I was feeling at that moment?

That’s how my day started.  I drove extra careful to work, miraculously managed to get the contacts in my eyes, and tried to find all of my best words to say to the students on our last day of school before Christmas break.  I returned to find out the state of Apple, i.e., my Apple.

It could be worse.  My computer seems to be working, though it doesn’t know I have an airport.  Thankfully, I’m posting from a nearby house which still has the old-timey land line.

So I ask you, is coffee all it’s cracked up to be?  It wakes me up well in the mornings, soothes my mood, and gives me warm fuzzies.  On the other hand, it provides slightly tarnished teeth, bad breath, and occasional spills that can sabotage.  (Let’s not forget the hot coffee case at McDonald’s.)

Do you have acquaintances like that?  You’d like to trust them, and they do seem really sound on the outside.  When you get closer, however, you may find yourself getting burned?  I am blessed with some wonderful close friends.  I always love the Bible verse which sums up what true friendship should be like, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear…” 1 John 4:18a

Coffee–my friend and foe, I shall continue to drink you.  Though tomorrow, I’ll change the location of my mug!

My Top 5 Ways To Avoid Good Health During The Holiday Season

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My attempt at a healthy breakfast...

“Health is not valued till sickness comes.” Thomas Fuller

In my case, pride surely comes before a fall.  While teaching, I’ve always prided myself in the fact that I have never called in sick, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been sick.  In fact, on several occasions, the students have asked, “Shouldn’t you be at home, Mrs. Claudia?”

I will openly confess that I’ve been quite sick for about two months now.  There it is.  It’s out there.  Sickness does come to all of us, and it brings many lessons to be learned if we are willing.

Here are 5 mistakes I’ve made that have extended my time of sickness:

1. Don’t stay in bed just because you have a fever.  There’s work to be done and things to be accomplished.  Keep on moving.  Don’t let your body stop you from accomplishing “important” goals.

2. Don’t go to the doctor for meds.  Doctors appointments take time and money.  Just treat your symptoms, and you’ll eventually get better.  This was my bad choice.  In the end, I ended up going to the doctor 3 times because the infection moved to several other organs in the body, which would have been avoided if I had gone to the doctor initially.

3. Don’t keep a regular exercise schedule.  After all, it’s the holiday season.  Who has time to exercise?  This healthy habit may have kept me from getting sick, but as my health deteriorated, I could barely make it walking to the top of the street.  I am envious every time my husband goes out the door to exercise.  I’d love to do it, but because it’s not my regular habit, I’m too sick to join him.

4. Don’t take vitamins.  My husband swears by zinc and takes a handful of vitamins daily.  It seems funny to me, but it’s interesting that he’s the only one who avoided the flu this year.  Maybe there is something to it.

5. Don’t partake of health foods; they are for the birds.  Who needs to eat all of those nuts, oats, and seeds?  Birds will be hungry this winter if I eat all of their food.  Donuts, cheese grits, buttered toast, and coffee probably aren’t the best breakfast foods to help me avoid sickness.  Yet, they all sound better than the oats I had this morning.

I hope your holiday season is full of good health.  As for me, I’m eating humble pie.  I can see that I’m approaching good health again just in time to finish off the holidays. Should I get prideful about my health again, I’m recording my 5 mistakes for posterity.

Do you ever feel smug when you see a sick person, taking pride in your own good health?  Please feel free to amuse me with your stories.

“Faith and prayer are the vitamins of the soul; man cannot live in health without them.” Mahalia Jackson

Day 328: Giving A Tropical Thanks!

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Imported pecans for our pie using a special special substitute for Karo syrup.

“When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.” Tecumseh

Keeping traditions while living in the tropics gives us fun experiences to share.  I love living here because I never have to change wardrobes with the seasons.  We also enjoy fresh fruits and warm weather all year long in a land of smiles.

I’ll have to admit that we are often very creative when it comes to keeping the traditions of both Thanksgiving and Christmas.

One year, one of our friends tried to raise turkeys so that we could all have our own to cook on Thanksgiving.  We pre-ordered them months in advance, but the turkeys must have been too hot in the tropics.  I’ll say they looked rather lean, and in fact, in only about an hour the whole thing was ready to eat.    We have laughed about it for years.  We so appreciate our dear friends for their creative way to bring us a Thanksgiving turkey.  These events draw us together while we are away from our families. After all, weren’t the pilgrims celebrating away from their home countries too?

Of the many differences, one is that both of these days are normal working days.  People carry on not knowing that these are special days for us.

This year, I found it strange and wonderful to be at home with my family to celebrate Thanksgiving.  Our school gave us the day off.  It seemed only fitting that I try to produce something similar to a Thanksgiving meal.

I didn’t go for the Turkey as it is imported, expensive, and impossible for only three of us to eat it.  However, we did enjoy many of the traditional foods including baked chicken and dressing, mashed potatoes, green beans, gravy and pecan pie.

I hope you are enjoying your celebrations with your families.  We will call the rest of our family on Skype and have a virtual Thanksgiving with them.  Still, we are quite thankful for our tropical celebration!  God has been so good to us!

For what are you thankful?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Breakfast

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The lettuce and carrots at Bake and Bite defer your thoughts about heart failure.

“When you have something for breakfast, you’re not going to be starving by lunch.” Bruce Barton

Today’s breakfast was a warmed over hotdog with sauerkraut on top.  I guess that wouldn’t be the best photo for the breakfast challenge, so I’ve submitted this picture taken last March.

When we visit the North, we love to stop for breakfast at Bake and Bite in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  We often eat outdoors in the afternoon– not at breakfast time.  Regardless of the time of day, it’s worth a try.  The cost is reasonable and one can choose a most healthy or unhealthy combination.

(It’s not brain caviar, but it fits the challenge.)

What’s your favorite breakfast?

6 Reasons Why Starting A Diet Today Doesn’t Make Sense

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Not the best condiments for starting a diet...

“Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.” Jim Davis

I’m much more tempted by fatty foods than by sweets– unless that sweet  is pecan pie, lemon icebox pie, or coconut cream pie.  The reason of course is that I love coffee and all of those go perfectly with it.

What am I talking about?  Today, I picked tiny black seeds out of my teeth because I snacked on a Thai version of peanut brittle made with black sesame seeds instead of peanuts. All of this to say, I need to lose five pounds, and my pathetic methods aren’t working.

Since we’re all heading into the holiday season, I thought it would be nice to share my list of six reasons why we don’t need to be starting a diet right now.

1. We bought too much food expecting the flood to hit Bangkok, and now we need to eat it all.  If you’re not in my situation.  Go out and buy a bunch of food for an unexpected disaster, and then you won’t need to start dieting today either.

2. Next week is Thanksgiving.  To be safe, you might want to run a trial version of your favorite holiday pie or try one of those new desserts that just came out in this month’s magazine.

3. The weather’s getting cooler–the perfect time to make cinnamon rolls.  It improves the smell of the place, the heat of the oven also keeps you warm, and it puts everyone in a good mood.

4. You can’t let the trick-or-treat candy go to waste. It’s awful to find a bucket of Halloween candy in January.  It’s better to eat it now so that there is no temptation to snack on it later.  Besides, you’ll be on your diet in January.

5. Christmas is just around the corner.  If you start dieting today, what will you do when everyone at the office starts bringing in treats?  If you don’t join them, you’ll seem unsociable.

6. Tradition is important, and you should teach your children to make your traditional holiday foods.  So get in that kitchen and start cooking.  Are you waiting for an invitation?  Aren’t people depending on you?

Simply put, today is just not a good day to start a diet.  I’m thinking of starting in January when I’m finished with my Postaday 2011 Challenge!  When is the best time to start a diet?  Drop a line and share your best dieting experience.

Day 317: An Awesome Treat With Your Coffee Or Tea

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Try this treat to eat with your coffee and tea.

“Work is the meat of life, pleasure the dessert.” B.C. Forbes

It’s nearing holiday season and I’d like to start us off with a most delicious, heavenly treat called Chocolate Almond Brickle.   I usually prefer food to dessert, but I can say that this is a treat I can’t resist.

I first tried this recipe when I met a lovely lady who came to work in my husband’s office.  Since then, she’s become my good friend.  She owns a dairy farm in Colorado.  It intrigues me to imagine her on this farm with watch dogs, a beautiful cabin, and friendly neighbors not so near.

You need this information because she is the one who introduced me to this amazing treat.  It seems the milk from her dairy is used to make small boxes of this treat that sells for near $20.00 a box.  You might think that a steep price until you bite into this luscious snack.

Though you can make this recipe, you’ll probably have a hard time matching the recipe that’s sold online.

However, you should give it a try by clicking on the recipe link above:

You’ll first need on hand several cups of almonds, butter, brown sugar, and chocolate chips.  With these ingredients, it’s not hard to make something that tastes great.  Do remember that the thinner you make this (about a fourth an inch thick) the better it tastes.  Also, you’ll need to be patient, have a candy thermometer, and not be multitasking while making this treat.

Do you have a favorite snack for your coffee or tea time?

Day 307: Three Ways Fish Improve Your Health

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Fishing can keep you healthy!

“Let your hook be always cast. In the pool where you least expect it, will be fish.” Ovid

I spent a summer in the country working with a wonderful youth program.  As variety of activities began to diminish, we decided to get up early and fish in a neighbor’s pond.

The experience proved successful, and we came away with a number of beautiful fish.  I was most impressed with the guys who not only caught the fish, but also managed to clean them.  All of this excited me until they presented me with the clean fish to cook.

Suddenly, I felt intimidated.  Yes, I had cooked fish before, but was I sure I could produce an unplanned and delicious meal for these guys?  In that part of the world, it was a given that women could cook anything and that it would taste good.  Now, I had to prove my skills, though I was a college student, and I didn’t have much time to do it.

I quickly called the woman I most respected in the area making sure I was on the right track.  Knowing that this group of guys wouldn’t be satisfied with baked fish, I breaded the fish with salt, pepper and cornmeal and began a fish fry.

Today, I still love fish.  I eat fried fish on occasion if there is tartar sauce available, but I can eat baked fish several times a week and not tire of it.

Here are some healthy habits I’ve picked up related to fish:

Eat more fish. Not only is fish good for us, but these days it’s extremely easy to make.  First, we pick up fish along with some green onions, coriander, limes, broccoli, carrots, and rice.  To make the fish, we simply give it a bit of salt, lots of pepper, some lime juice, and a bit of butter.  We top it with chopped green onions and coriander.  This fish will cook in minutes in the microwave and still maintain its fresh look.  On the side, we’ll prepare the rice, carrots, and broccoli.  A meal made with fish will take only 20 minutes, which is the length of time needed to cook the rice.

Go fishing when you can.  Fishing is considered a sport in some places, but the kind of fishing I like uses a simple pole, hook, and worm.  Putting the worm on the hook empowers me, and I like the excitement of pulling the fish off the hook without getting finned.  Fishing requires me to sit quietly, look at the water, listen to nature, and relax.  With any of these missing, catching a fish is unlikely.  The activity of rest occurs while waiting to accomplish a goal.  That’s a healthy use of my time, and spiritual changes might even happen as a result.

Feed fish with the family.  Using leftover bread pieces to feed fish was an activity we loved doing when our children were small.  Just having the bread guaranteed that we’d spend some time at a peaceful park.  Our children loved to feed the fish and watch the water come alive.  A happy family improves our mental health.

Fish provide a pastime, a healthy food, and a way to spend quality time with the family.  So drop your line and relax.  You’ll find that fish can improve your health in several ways.

Day 301: Travel The World Cities In a Single Stop

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Visit Golden Gate Bridge in the heart of Bangkok.

“I have never felt salvation in nature. I love cities above all.” Michelangelo

Bangkok is hot in the news right now for more than one reason.  A new stop, Terminal 21, brings the excitement of world cities under one roof.  Besides the fact that Bangkok is under flood alert, travel to these world cities might be in order.

I know that the last thing Bangkok needs is another shopping mall, but these developers managed to give us another photo-op that provides fun for all.  If you love Paris, San Francisco, London, or Tokyo, take a nostalgic stroll down these city streets by simply moving from floor to floor.  There, you will find each level uniquely decorated to bring the city’s charm alive through foods, fashion, and design.

You might also be surprised that the “powder room” claims a hot spot on each floor.   I prefer to make pit stops in Tokyo, since I can warm my buns on the lavish Japanese toilets there.  Be sure to plan in advance though, since the fresh excitement has created long lines in these charming personal parlors.

If you love cities like I do, Terminal 21 is a must-see.  With a camera and the price of a few stops on Bangkok’s BTS, you’ll find this form of world travel quite reasonable.

Getting The Most Out Of Fake Food

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Do you prefer a sweet or a savory pastry?

Here in Asia, we appreciate the finer things of life.  Since people tend to watch their weight, well-made fake foods help everyone make the best or at least the most luscious looking selections.

Fake foods are quite an art form.  Some come so close to the real thing, you need to touch it to see that it’s not real.  Other foods look hideous, especially those with thick gravies on top.

An interesting thing about these foods is that some of them I’d never consider eating except that I saw the fake food.  I guess that’s the whole point.  For example, would you eat that pastry with eggs?  Neither would I, but the banana cream doesn’t look so bad at all.  The strategy works.  Pitting something fairly good-looking against something that looks pretty disgusting might make me reconsider the better looking option.

Am I in the mood for the Ramen Set?

Another interesting thing is how these fake foods make me stop and pay attention.  Though it may be a food I’d never pick out on a menu, stopping and examining it, does make the brain think it over.

That Ramen Set looks pretty good.  I wonder if it’s cheap?  Would I eat a Ramen Set if I had to pay much money for it?  Not likely, since Ramen noodles are about the cheapest thing in the market anyway. However, looking at it in fake form from time to time does and will start to grow on my brain.  If I look at this fake food enough, I might actually buy it at this restaurant instead of paying about a quarter and making it myself.  I do love rice and Asian soups.  I’d ask them to leave off the  boiled egg on top and the fried egg side dish.  Will I buy it? Only my brain and my willpower know the answer.

I'll take one of each, please.

Now here’s an amazing set.  The picture doesn’t do it justice.  This set looked so real, I had to touch it to be sure it wasn’t.  It was fake, but looked good enough to eat.  If we’d not already eaten, we may have ordered one of each dish.

When we first came to Thailand, these fake foods would have been helpful.  We were learning Thai, so we had to order one dish of food that we had spent thirty minutes learning to say.  It motivated us to learn more since we’d need to order it over and over again until we learned to order something new.  The fake food would have helped.  After all, we all know how to point disrespectfully.

I guess that’s the bottom line.  Food does motivate us in one way or another.  With that in mind, it might be fun to work at a fake food factory.  Does a restaurant send over a whole bunch of food so that the fake food artists can sit around and reproduce it?  I wonder how well those guys control their weight?

Would you like to own a fake food factory?  It’s something to think about.  Though you may make fake foods all day, it’s possible that you may never have to buy your own.