Dramatic Tale of My Scraped Finger

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I had a cut on my finger. Well, more of a deep scrape, really, a circle of bright red where the skin rasped off, and for days it hurt when anything touched it, even with a bandage.

When I washed my hands, the water seeped in, and it stung like I had scraped it anew. I washed my hair left-handed, kept my right hand at bay, all because of a small scrape on my finger.

Still, I cleaned it–hydrogen peroxide hurts far less than rubbing alcohol–put on antibiotic ointment, and kept it covered, right up until the evening I made myself a crazy-easy apple strudel-y thing (apple, butter, package of maple flavored instant oatmeal, a bit of water, oven, done), and curled up to eat it.

There was a particularly tough piece of skin that wasn’t skin at all. The bandage had fallen in without my noticing.

Goodbye dessert.

Now it’s healing, circle in circle, only a spot of dull red in the center. No more bandages necessary, thank goodness.

Another Easy Yummy Recipe

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So I have a very, very persuasive sweet tooth. I could probably live on candy if it wasn’t likely to give me scurvy. Or rickets. Can a grown person get rickets? I have no idea.

Anyway, sometimes I try to go with slightly better sweet things, because I don’t think there’s any point in trying to cut them out completely. It seems wrong somehow.

Here’s one of my go-to favorites: I cut up a ripe banana, spray a baking sheet (I actually spray foil on a baking sheet because I like to have as little clean up as possible), and put the slices in a hot oven (450). I let them cook until I can smell them and the start to brown on the bottom. Once they hit that point, I change the oven to broil, so the heat comes from the top. This way you can brown both sides without turning them. Yes, you might have noticed, I’m a lazy cook.

Meanwhile, I melt a few squares of chocolate in the microwave. Go slowly, and try stirring it before giving it more time, because it burns. In my microwave, 30 seconds did it, but it doesn’t look melted until you stir it.

Then comes the vanilla Greek yogurt. I love that stuff. You can use plain, too. Or the kind with fruit. Lots of fruit is always good.

Stir the yogurt and chocolate, letting some chunks form, because they are awesome. Add the banana and voila!

Not an Actual a Vegetarian

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You might get the idea from my food posts that I’m a vegetarian. I’m not. I’ve tried it in the past, and it simply doesn’t work for me.

I like the term “flexitarian.” From the first moment I heard it, it seemed to fit. I don’t tend to cook meat at home, but I’ll eat it when I’m out, most kinds of meat, except for pork.

Never pork.

When I found out that pigs were smarter than dogs, it was over for me. It’s always been a tight balance, being carnivorous and accounting for how that’s accomplished, and that bit of knowledge took me over the line as far as they were concerned.

A recent study suggests that chickens are much smarter than we think, as well. I may be doomed.

Fish, though, have never been an issue. It might be that I prefer fish to meat, and thus my convictions mold to fit my tastes. Or maybe it’s that they don’t seem to have much in the way of brain power, just vacuousness, almost like swimming vegetables.

Who knows.

Veggie Patties So Easy It Was Like I Was Cheating

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So I have to share yet another insanely easy recipe with you. This one also works for vegans.

Take about a cup and half of stew-style frozen veggies. The stew-style has carrots, onions, celery and potatoes—usually heavy on the onions and carrots, but that works for us here. Microwave them with enough water to steam them (a tablespoon or so if you’re into measuring). It took about four minutes in my microwave, but yours could be more enthusiastic.

Then you need about ¾ of a cup of grain. I had leftover brown rice, so that’s what I used. You could also use quinoa, or anything else you have. My rice was hard, so I reheated it with some water. I’m not sure if you’re supposed to do that. I think you can get a deadly disease, but so far, so good.

After the vegetables are soft, mush them. I used my Magic Bullet (I love you, Magic Bullet) with the flat blade and tried to leave some chunk here and there as opposed to a paste. Salt and pepper, and then I mashed it all together.

I made patties, sprayed a baking sheet, sprayed the patties, and into the oven they went, at about 350 degrees. I say “about” because my oven is older than I am, so the number on the dial is an estimation.

After about ten minutes, when I could smell them, I resprayed them and set them to broil to do the tops.

It’s almost as though they made themselves.

In Honor of the Humble Frozen Vegetable

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You walk past them in the freezer case of the grocery store, bag after bag lumpily stacked. They sit there, quietly, waiting for someone, anyone, to notice them. They don’t even know that they are superstars.

I am, of course, talking about frozen veggies.

They are, frankly, brilliant. With one little bag, you can get a single vegetable, or a range of three, five, even more. They are washed. They are cut. And they’re ready for business.

You can use them in literally anything, and you don’t even have to make an effort to prep them. You just dump them into whatever you’re making, and most of the time, you can do that even when they’re frozen.

You may be familiar with my love of frozen veggies from my earlier post, Easiest Sauce Ever. But the love doesn’t stop there. With a quick pour and a touch of a microwave, you have steamed veggies of any denomination. Throw them on baking sheet with salt, pepper and some oil or cooking spray, still frozen, put them in a hot oven, and you have roasted vegetables. Thunk them into a pan and saute them.

They’re not fussy. They’re only there to help.

Easiest Sauce Ever

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If there’s a step below low-effort cooking, short of the food cooking itself, that’s what I tend to do. But I also don’t like food that tastes like cardboard, or the additives in a lot of processed foods, which are sure tickets to migraines.

Last night, I had butternut squash ravioli, and I didn’t know what to put on it. So I made the most ridiculously easy sauce ever. Ready?

I microwaved about a cup of Western-Style frozen vegetables (corn, onion, green and red peppers all conveniently diced. Well, except the corn, of course). Frozen vegetables are one of the best things ever for a lazy cook who likes healthy food.

I dumped the veggies into my Magic Bullet, added a very light drizzle of olive oil (you can add more if you like it) salt, pepper, a splash of vinegar (lemon juice would work, but I didn’t have any) and some water. You could also add broth if you are so inclined.

I blended it. It was too chunky, so I added more water.

Voila!

(Side note: Want another bit to read? Check out my piece on tearjerker sitcoms).

A Delicious Experiment

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I didn’t feel like dinner last night, so I decided to try something new. I sauteed an apple with a little bit of butter, adding a dash of water just to get the pieces good and soft.

Then I added a packet of Maple & Brown Sugar Instant Oatmeal (mine came from Trader Joe’s, my favorite food oasis on the planet). Again, I splashed a little water into the pan, the sweet smell of the maple filling the kitchen.

When the oats had plumped just a bit, I spooned the mixture over vanilla Greek yogurt.

Heaven.