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Not My Mama’s Cornbread

October 9, 2010


Homemade cornbread in a cast iron skillet

Image via Wikipedia


Dinner last night turned into quite an event, the preparation of, that is. For the soup I first began cooking half a bag of lentils and the brown rice. Then I sautéed onions, carrots, celery and garlic in vegetable stock to which I also added a splash of Dales Steak Seasoning and just a pinch of Chipotle Chili Powder. I also prepared a half bunch of asparagus to go in the oven, sprinkling it with Cavender’s Greek Seasoning.

While I waited for the vegetables to cook tender, I decided to clean and cut up a head of broccoli for easy snacking. Once I had all the florets cut off, I chopped some of the stalks and added then to the veggies cooking on the stove. Then, I sliced up the remaining stalk and placed it on the roasting sheet with the asparagus. I sprinkled this too with the Cavender’s. I cleaned and cut a head of cauliflower too and added a little of it to the vegetables for the soup as well.

When the vegetables were almost tender, I added them to the Lentils and let the pot simmer. Then, I searched for a cornbread recipe. I found a web site, It is loaded with recipes! I felt like I’d won the lottery! I found a cornbread recipe, using plain cornmeal, a little flour, applesauce, non fat milk and egg whites. I got it ready to go in the oven.

When Lee came home, we had a quick errand to run, one that would take about fifteen minutes, so I decided to put the cornbread in the oven and let it bake while we were gone. I also added the rice to the soup along with a half bag of frozen corn.

When we got back, the cornbread was more than done, brown and pulling far away from the sides of the pan, but not yet burned. I took it out and put the asparagus and broccoli stalks in. They were done in ten minutes and we sat down to a huge meal. The soup was delicious, though a tad bland for our taste. It also needed a little salt. I tend to get soups too salty, so I held back a little too much it seems. The asparagus was perfect and the broccoli was tasty too, though next time I will cut away the peeling before slicing it for roasting. Some of the outside pieces were tough.

The cornbread was just plain strange. It was too done first of all and very spongy. It had a strange flavor, like it wanted to be gingerbread but hadn’t achieved its goal. My typical cornbread calls for cornmeal mix with the bleached cornmeal that has bleached flour, salt and baking powder already added to it. This recipe called for plain corn meal and I used unbleached, hot off the mill type corn meal, plain flour (all I had was bleached), salt and baking soda. I suspect the baking soda contributed to the sponginess.

I am ignorant mostly to the chemistry behind cooking. My degree is in Science, but I managed to get it without ever taking a chemistry course. Even now, realizing I don’t understand it at all, I really have no desire to learn the how of it, just the mechanics will do.

It was nice to have something that resembled bread though, but frankly, I prefer the plain corn tortilla. After dinner, I had to go lie down. I was so tired I could barely hold me head up. It was not unlike the insane fatigue I felt when this heart journey began. When I got to bed, my heart flipped and flopped around a bit, and the rest of me felt uncomfortable and out of sorts.

Lee cleaned the kitchen and even made the apple crisp I’d found the recipe for. It was basically apples, oats, a little flour, cinnamon and a bit of brown sugar, all baked. It was good, but not something either of us were crazy about. It was sweet enough to feel as if it should be sweet, but not sweet enough to satisfy. It just left us wanting more dessert.

We watched a little bit of that show on PBS, “Preventing and Reversing Heart Disease.” With that title, I thought it would be Ornish or one of those and I was excited to watch. Instead, it was Gary Null. We watched a few minutes, then turned the station. It took me hours to go to sleep and then I woke up sweating and feeling startled over and over, only sleeping a few minutes at a time. I started to say panicked, but startled is more accurate. Finally, around 4:00, I fell asleep and stayed asleep. I slept until Lee left for work this morning and dosed another two hours after that before getting up.

Today, I feel fine, though still a little tired.I did notice this morning after taking the dogs out that my thighs burned with very little activity. That’s a feeling usually reserved for my calves and hips. I am starting this regime none too early.

Tomorrow, we are going to a festival with friends and family. We are having a picnic together before a parade. At first, the suggestion was made to “Pick up a bucket of KFC!” Of course that won’t work, so we are all bringing our own lunches. I have no idea what I’ll fix for our lunch! Or even dinner tonight. We have plenty of soup left though so that might be dinner.

I’ve been reading in the books, and had a moment when I remember asking my cardiologist right after the bypass about the Ornish program. He said he didn’t recommend it, that a well-balanced diet was what we wanted me on. Before the anger could really form though, I realized I couldn’t have followed it then. I was in entirely too much overwhelm to add this to the mix. Today is the right time, even if I could have benefited from it long ago. I think the emotional healing had to come first. Surviving had to come first. Grieving had to come first.

I did sneak a peek on the scales this morning. It has been a full week of successfully following this new eating plan. I began at 138.5#. Today, I weighed 133.5#. That is amazing.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Mary permalink
    October 9, 2010 6:44 pm

    Five pounds!! Wow!%$#@!
    Sounds like you’re working your behind off in the kitchen, Allie 🙂 There are a couple of little secret food things I’ve been meaning to share, but not sure if Dr. Ornish would allow…they are very very very low fat. Look them up on the web. I can vouch for their yumminess.

    1) Salad Dressings:

    Galeos Original (the variations don’t taste that different). Miso is the original. Sweet-ish, really good – can put it on anything. If your Whole Foods or health food store doesn’t have it, you can mail order it, but I think the minimum is 6 bottles.

    Slightly more fat…Amy’s naturals, Roast Red Pepper. All Amy’s products are great – and check out their All-American Veggie Burger. It’s great and filling.

    There are MANY non-fat salad dressings on the aisles, so look around there, too.

    2) A Dessert Item: VitaTops (brownie flavor). These muffin tops are vitamin fortified, fiber fortified and low fat and salt. Excellent toasted. The fiber makes them a bit “binding’ if you get my drift, so don’t go crazy. Found in the freezer section. They carry them at my Safeway, but you should call around first.

    I think that’s it for now. One other recommendation: have a fallback item. If you like tortillas, premake some bean and veg burritos, wrap in parchment paper and foil and freeze. Then when you’re starving, just remove foil, quickly micro and you have something in a minute or two. Serve with the best salsa you can find or make.

    Keep going, Allie ~ I so enjoy reading about this new journey. Love, Mary

  2. Mary permalink
    October 10, 2010 6:43 am

    One thing I forgot to add: oven baked tomatoes – I had these on a sandwich, but they’d be great on anything. We’re at the tail end of tomato season…slice them and put them on baking sheet with or without a drizzle of spray or oil…use thyme or rosemary or oregano, S&P, and bake low at 200 or 250 for a few hours till they dry up a bit and get sort of plump. They can go all the way down to leathery if that’s how you like it. They’ll be so sweet, they add so much to anything you create.

    A salt tip…the large crystal sea salt you get at whole foods or other places has larger grains. If you add a tiny bit at the serving point, you actually taste the salt as an accent instead of just the food being salty. I think it’s because the salt has actual facets to the granule. Anyway, it makes the salt you use go much further, and I think one ends up using less.

    xo Mary

    • October 10, 2010 1:21 pm

      Great idea with the tomatoes! I’ll try it. I roasted all the veggies last night before putting them with the pasta. It’s the first truly satisfying onion yet. I may go to roasting all veggies, really brings out the flavor, adds a texture I love and they just don’t seem raw or watered down. I appreciate all your tips! Love, Allie

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