Mr. Clean and I are on diets. He's probably a bit more serious than I am about this (let me just hide the wrapper from this ice cream bar I just ate, ahem), since he wants to join the Navy. He needs to lose some inches and a few pounds before he can enlist. So, Saige and I have been reading up on various diets. Mr. Clean's grandmother gave him a South Beach Diet book. Our friend, Mary, gave Clean the diet she's on, along with a grocery list.
The problem is that Mr. Clean does not like vegetables. He only likes a few fruits. He's never tried a lot of the foods that weight-loss diets, and our bodies, depend upon. He's been living the old quick fix, frozen pizza diet for many years, and that's just not healthy, nor is it conducive to losing weight.
I suggested that he doesn't diet drastically, but that he tries something new once or twice a week. So last night I made lentil soup and homemade wheat bread. I explained to Clean that lentil soup can look absolutely disgusting. The colors of lentils, when cooked, aren't all that attractive. But, Saige and I assured him, the taste is wonderful.
I made it with onions, carrots, and potatoes, and I threw in a very small amount of diced ham for flavoring. I suggested that Mr. Clean mash up the carrots and stir them into his bowl of soup, if he thought he might not like them. (He's just learned to eat onions, and he loves potatoes). I told him everything I used to make the lentil soup, so he'd have no surprises. When the soup was done, Mr. Clean put a very small amount on his plate, took a bite, and exclaimed, "Oh, my gosh, this is absolutely delicious!!"
I love it when people like my cooking.
He ate about half a loaf of the bread and several helpings of the lentil soup. The bread I make is made without oil, milk, or eggs, so it's relatively low fat, I imagine. With the addition of wheat flour, I imagined it was pretty healthy. Whatever the nutritional content, it was so good. I love homemade bread anyway, and though it's time consuming, the taste is worth the wait, I think.
So, for my lentil soup, I just took a box of chicken broth I had in the cupboard (from free range, organic chickens, on sale for 99 cents, whoo hoo!), and heated it. As it was coming to a boil, I was chopping some onions, peeling potatoes, and getting the already cleaned and peeled baby carrots from the refrigerator. I added all those things to the boiling broth, and then added a bag of lentils. To that I tossed in some oregano and basil, and then some of that Old Bay. I usually add curry powder to my lentils, but alas, I was out of that, so I had to make do with what I did have.
The bread was rising while I was cooking the lentil soup, and so once the soup was done and was simmering, it was time to bake the bread so that everything was done at the same time.
Saige wants me to make some vegetable soup today, with the addition of cabbage (which she absolutely loves), but she's still unable to swallow well, so I'm not sure she could enjoy a soup like that, poor kid. My mom made the best vegetable soup, and though I have her recipe, mine is never quite as good as Mom's was. I think, because she had a lot of homegrown tomatoes and home canned fresh tomatoes, that those items make a huge difference in taste and make the soup better than without those items. However, even when I've had her home canned tomatoes or fresh tomatoes, my soup isn't her soup. Mine is good, but, according to my children, Grandma's was legendary. It was the bomb. It was better than good.
Erma and Ambrose will be coming over shortly to give me my birthday present. Lampshade and his wife already gave me my gift from them, which was a pair of headphones. It was actually kind of funny when he gave me the headphones, because I'd just bought a pair just like the ones he gave me! Of course I thanked him nicely, and it worked out well, since Nocka attacked the first pair of headphones and broke them. (She attacks ribbons, headphone wires, string and yarn.)
Saige and Clean wanted so badly to get me an Ipod Touch, but they can't afford it for me. I keep telling Saige that is really is all right--just the fact that she wanted to get me one is amazing and good enough for me. I don't think she believes me, but that's the truth. She wants to get me one, and I find that so sweet.
Teo is still alive. He's beside me right now, eating a can of cat food. I have to keep stopping to knock the other cats away, as they think they deserve canned food, too. All of them but Nocka. Nocka hates canned food. She's so funny about that, and is the only cat I've ever known that doesn't like canned cat food. However, she does like french fries, popcorn, and bread. Weird cat. When we make popcorn in the microwave, she'll come racing into the kitchen and will sit and wait until the popcorn bag is out. Then she will sit smack down beside whoever has the popcorn bag, and will eat whatever we give her. If we are stupid enough to leave the bag without someone to watch over it, Nocka will stick her head into the bag in order to get out all the yummy popcorn goodness, or she'll take her paw to flick out pieces on her own. We've learned. When we have popcorn, take the bag with us everywhere, or have someone watch it closely whenever Nocka is around.
BDG is on the floor, right beside the couch, waiting for Teo to either drop some cat food or for me to turn my head. BDG, unlike Nocka, LOVES canned cat food. He thinks it's his, and can't understand why these bothersome cats keep getting this yummy food, and he's stuck eating out of the garbage can or munching on that nasty kibble I keep buying him. In fact, I just had to take the empty catfood can away from him. He'd licked it clean, and was guarding it. Any time a cat or Fuzz Dawg would walk past his can, BDG would growl menacingly, warning the others to stay away from HIS empty can, dang it.
Well, that's it for now. Go in peace, be warm and filled.