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Turkey Tracks: I Am Not Starving

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Turkey Tracks:  September 18, 2017

I Am Not Starving

Here’s a typical lunch for me these days:  a big salad with lots of fresh veggies and some meat protein.  This one has boneless chicken breasts marinated and flash roasted and an array of local fresh produce:  roasted beets and raw cukes, red peppers, carrots, lettuce, fresh dill, olive oil, and salt.

I clearly have something called MCAS or MCAD, Mast Cell Activation Disorder/Syndrome.  I realized this past winter when it got much worse, that I’ve had it my whole life.  It is behind all the trouble with allergies and unpleasant food intolerances.  It is most likely genetic, or the propensity toward it is.  And hello folks, these mast cell disorders are NOT rare, as previously thought.  Some estimates are one in six have some form of it.  I got it from my dad, who thought he had asthma, when really he was likely reacting to histamine triggers he did not recognize, which was true for me for the past 72 years.  Indeed, drugs, from over the counter to serious drugs like my dad took for what he called asthma, can make the condition much worse.  They do for me.  I can’t even look at a Zyrtek or Claritin.

Mainstream medicine recognized this problem around 2008 and 2009 and gradually the knowledge is widening.  The Mayo Clinic is “on it,” for instance.  Common triggers are fermented foods, alcohol, aged foods like aged cheeses, possibly gluten, yeast, chemical smells and chemicals put on the body, hot, cold, exercise, travel, etc.  Some foods trigger the body so that it releases histamine–like citrus, for instance.  The nightshades (like tomato, peppers, eggplant, potatoes) are a problem. There are a number of food lists of high and low histamine foods, but each person has to kind of figure out what works and what does not–and those foods/triggers can change from day to day depending on how full each person’s “histamine glass” is at the moment.  Some people experience terrible migraines and anaphylactic shock, and I feel so lucky that I have not had either of those.  But I have plenty of nasty symptoms otherwise.  And I had plenty of warning signals last summer and fall, but didn’t recognize them for what they were.  There may also be a connection between aging, loss of estrogen, and the main symptom, histamine intolerances.

So…I can’t add vinegar of citrus to a salad and have learned to eat them with a drizzle of good olive oil and sprinkles of salt.  The vegetables themselves are providing plenty of flavor, so I don’t feel deprived.  I have to eat very fresh foods–leftovers acquire histamines as they sit around–so I am cooking a lot.   That’s fine.  I like to cook, and I like to be clear-headed.  One immediate reaction is a king of brain fog so that I feel like I’m walking in slow motion all day, and it is harder to focus.  Restaurants are very hard for me these days.

But, I feel so lucky that I finally stumbled on the information I needed to help myself–and as long as I stay in my own little bubble, I am doing fine.  Along the way last winter I lost almost 40 pounds, which has also been a good thing, however hard it was at the time.  I’d like to lose 20 more and am working at that project now.  I feel lighter, healthier, and have a ton of energy–as long as I stay in the bubble.  Penny girl dog and I are walking every day, and we are both enjoying that a lot.  And I’m suddenly interested in making some fun clothes for my lighter body.

Here’s one of my go-to recipes:

Marinated Boneless Chicken Breasts

Boneless chicken breasts taste like dry newspaper to me, so I needed a way to pep them up.  I went out into the garden and harvested handfuls of herbs–rosemary, parsley, tarragon, thyme, sage, basil, mint–whatever moved me at the moment.  I stuffed them into the Vitamix, added some of the fresh garlic I grew this year, olive oil, and salt.  I added oil until I got a good slurry.  You could use a food processor or a blender as well.

I bought two packages of boneless chicken breasts and took a sharp knife and cut them in half lengthwise–to make a thinner piece of meat.  I put them into a bowl and poured the slurry over them and coated them well with my hands.  I let them sit in the refrigerator about an hour.  I froze all but two–and those two I put on parchment paper in a very hot oven–400 degrees with the convection fan on.  They cooked in 15 or so minutes.  No more than 20 as they are thin.  I put one in the refrigerator to eat as soon as possible and cut the other one up for my salad.  I also have discovered these are great to cook on a hot grill.

Many of you could, of course, add citrus or vinegar to the marinade.  Or, soy.

The frozen breasts thaw pretty quickly if you put the package on something cast iron–a few hours.  And it’s great to have some “go to” quick food assets in your pantry.


Written by louisaenright

September 18, 2017 at 2:52 pm

Turkey Tracks: Cabbage “Steaks”

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Turkey Tracks:  January 30, 2017

Cabbage “Steaks”

I saw a recipe for cabbage “steaks” on Facebook not along ago.

I am one of those people who LOVE all roasted vegetables, so I thought I’d try this one.  I’ve roasted cabbage sliced thin into shreds before and like it a lot, especially if there is garlic in the mixture.  In this recipe, one slices cabbage into rounds, drizzles olive oil over the “steak,” adds salt and pepper and whatever else one wants, and roasts in a 350º oven for something like 40 to 45 minutes.  The edges of the “steak” will get brown, as will the bottom.  (I cover the pan with parchment paper as I long ago stopped using toxic aluminum foil around food.)  Thicker steaks might take longer.  One that is about 1/2 inches or a bit bigger is about right.  The thicker the “steak,” the longer it takes to get that caramelized sweetness roasting can bring.

Here’s what the “steak” looks like on a plate alongside fresh peppers and carrots and some roasted haddock:



Written by louisaenright

January 30, 2017 at 11:28 am

Turkey Tracks: Improv Sauteed Cabbage

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Turkey Tracks:  December 31, 2016

Improv Sautéed Cabbage

I hardly ever use recipes any more.

I collect the good clean food found in one of our co-ops or that comes from my summer CSA or garden and just…cook it.

The other day I had one small cabbage, the size of a large softball,  left from the summer CSA, Hope’s Edge.  Cabbage keeps really well in a produce drawer.  I don’t wrap it.

I had some leftover meatloaf, and it was lunchtime, and I was hungry.

So I put the meatloaf into the oven to warm–takes only about 15 minutes–and started sautéing the cabbage in some of my Wilderness Family Naturals centrifuge extracted, unheated coconut oil.  (I order this coconut oil by the case and am always willing to see a jar to someone at cost as it is much cheaper to bulk order.)



I added a hunk of raw butter for added flavor and browning and good fat, some chopped shallots, some Penzey’s spices, local sea salt, and pepper.  Penzey’s spices are highly rated by the Weston A. Price Foundation.


It’s looking good!


And it was…

The meatloaf got a little brown on top as someone stopped by to give me something.  This one had added grated carrots and a handful of the greens I dried and whirred into tiny green flakes in the food processor last summer.  (A recipe for meatloaf is elsewhere on this blog.)


But this lunch was delicious, nourishing, and filling.

Turkey Tracks: Winter Comfort Food: Leek and Potato Soup

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Turkey Tracks:  December 18, 2016

Winter Comfort Food:  Leek and Potato Soup

The classic combo of leeks and potatoes is…classic.

I alter Julia Child’s recipe a bit by using a chicken bone broth as a base instead of plain water.  AND, I do wilt the leeks with about 1/4 cup of raw butter before throwing in the potatoes and the broth.


While the above very simple mixture cooks–about 40 minutes or until the potatoes are really soft, I go hunting for what Emeril Lagasse used to call “the boat motor.”  It’s so much easier than trying to hand smash the soup, or putting a really hot liquid into a blender or through a food mill.


The result is a velvety smooth soup.

You can make this kind of soup with any kind of veggie combo actually.  Squashes work like the potatoes to give the velvet texture.


Add a drizzle of raw cream or more butter and a sprinkle of something green, like dried herbs, chopped fresh parsley, etc.


And, enjoy!


Written by louisaenright

December 18, 2016 at 3:12 pm

Turkey Tracks: November 6, 2016

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Ground Lamb Stew

I think I left garlic out of the list of ingredients in the video.

I like to cook this way.

I look at what I have in my kitchen, and then devise a recipe.

With this one, you sauté the meat until it starts to brown, remove it from the pan while LEAVING THE FAT INTACT AS IT IS GOOD FOR YOU, and then start sautéing your veggies, starting with the onions and garlic.  Cook the onions and garlic somewhat slowly as what you want is some nice color to happen–then start throwing in the chunkier veggies–in this case the carrots, celery zukes, and eggplant.  I added a drained large can of black beans and the defrosted jar of roasted tomatoes (with basil and garlic) from my freezer stores, a little water if needed and let everything simmer until the carrots are done.  Corn kernals (perhaps frozen from the summer) would have been a good addition as well.

I put the stew over a bed of the last of the lettuce greens from Hope’s Edge–and they include some baby hearty greens–topped the hot stew with some slices of cheddar cheese, and added a dollop of my newly made sauerkraut.  Drizzling yogurt or cream over the stew instead of the cheese would also have been nice.  A goat cheese or feta cheese crumble would also have been nice.  I had a bowl of organic tortilla chips on the side–so I was only missing, perhaps, some avocado slices.


In days to come I may cook up some rice as a base and for a change.  I like this brand a lot:  it’s SPROUTED (which removes phytates and makes nutrients more available) and organic and a nice mixture of rice types:


This rice cooks normally.  I use a rice cooker, which I love.

Written by louisaenright

November 6, 2016 at 12:37 pm

Turkey Tracks: The Last Tomato of 2016

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Turkey Tracks:  November 3, 2016

The Last Tomato of 2016

And, it was delicious!

Of course it had to go into a BLT sandwich–made with real mayo.

(I used avocado oil this time and I’m not a fan.  Back to a mild olive oil I think.)


OK, here’s the real truth:


I love potato chips, and Lays has come out recently with this colorful mixture.

And the grapes this year…well these are organic at least!  And they are delicious!

Written by louisaenright

November 3, 2016 at 2:29 pm

Turkey Tracks: Jane’s Gazpacho

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Turkey Tracks:  August 25, 2016

Jane’s Gazpacho

Yesterday Jane Liebler made a beautiful day for those Coastal Quilters who could break away for the day to visit her out in Liberty, Maine–which is about 25 minutes from Camden and a beautiful ride that traces the headwaters of the St. George river.

Jane’s farmhouse sits in the midst of blueberry barron-covered hills that rise above the gorgeous, blue St. George’s Lake.  And, John’s Ice Cream (all homemade) is just two miles away.

Jane greeted us with warm doughnuts, hot coffee with REAL cream and good honey, and anything else we wanted to drink.  The farm kitchen was warmed with wonderful wood walls.  A collection of baskets hung from the rafters.  This house is loved!  Jane also had a cantaloupe all cut up for us, which we devoured on the spot.  She made a scrumptious summer lunch for us, which included deviled eggs (yeah!!) and GAZPACHO I COULD EAT.  Most people add some form of red pepper to gazpacho, which would send me straight to the kitchen floor and on to the hospital.  We sat and did handwork, ate, laughed, visited, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  Thanks Jane!!  Don’t ask us back unless you really want us because WE WILL COME.

I broke away after lunch to drive about 20 minutes further west to Freedom, Maine, and Villageside Farm, where I picked up six frozen, hefty, free-range, non-Cornish chickens.  And after I returned and gathered up my passengers, we went to John’s Ice Cream for…John’s homemade ice cream.  It’s famous!  I had vanilla custard and rocky road, and it was so, so good.

I asked Jane how she made her delicious gazpacho, and she said scald the fresh tomatoes and skin them, then work the flesh with your hands to break it up, rather than putting everything into a blender.  Use lots of spring onions and some balsamic vinegar.  She added cucumber and green pepper.  Simple and as delicious as the summer-ripe ingredients.

So…I have a lot of tomatoes from the Hope’s Edge CSA pick-up this week.  I prepped the tomatoes as Jane directed, reserving some of the flesh to give the soup a chunky texture.  I also reserved some of the diced cukes and green pepper–as Jane did.  The rest I put into the Vitamix with spring onions (4 large spring onions to 1 large tomato, 1 medium tomato, 1 large cuke and 1 smaller one, and 1 green pepper).  I added about 1/4 cup of good olive oil and 2 or 3 dollaps of white balsamic vinegar, rather a lot of salt (2 teaspoons plus–tomatoes love salt), and some fresh ground black pepper.  I didn’t puree the mixture, just got it cut up into small pieces and poured it back into the bowl with the reserved tomato flesh.

When I tasted it, the white balsamic and the sweet ripe tomatoes made the mixture really sweet.  I added more black pepper and some red wine vinegar.  Yummy.


Gazpacho needs to age a bit I think.  It’s upstairs cooling its heels in the refrigerator.  I’m planning on having some of it–a lot of it–for supper since I fixed a big BLT sandwich about 2 p.m. and am not hungry.  I’ll have some goat cheese and avocado on corn chips (sprouted organic, GMO-free corn) to go with and call it a night.

Maybe I am getting hungry a bit…

It has been a lovely day–even though No No Penny threw up on the bedspread and afghan this morning.  She was left alone for some hours yesterday, and I do not think she is used to being alone for multiple hours yet.  I gave myself some time to sit on my porch and read this morning–accompanied by a bowl of fresh strawberries and blueberries with some yogurt and a piece of gluten-free toast with peanut butter.  It was so peaceful and lovely out there.

A storm is moving in, but humidity is really good.  All day the wind has been up, so when I went by the coast on an errand, I could see that sailing on the bay today would have been amazing. I can’t wait to go back on the Riggin again Sept. 20th.  AND, two passenger additions include Rose Lowell and Megan Bruns.  Mary Bishop will room with me.  We are going to have such a good, good time.  Rhea Butler of Alewives Quilt Shop will be on board to teach English Paper Piecing to whomever wants to learn.

When I walked by my garden at some point, I could see bits of orange in the Sun Gold cherry tomatoes.  Time to pick again.  For some reason I checked the beans, and my goodness, I have to pick those too.  I had a terrible time getting the beans to germinate and outgrow the slugs–who seem to be gone now???–so I have one Romano bean plant, one bush provider, and about a half-dozen haricot verte bush “filet” beans.

Here’s what came in the house today:


I am drying a flat of cherry tomatoes in the kitchen, so I’ll let these guys ripen in the kitchen and eat the ripe ones.  Rain causes these cherry tomatoes to split open–from the extra water the plant takes up I guess.

Now I’m going to sew for a bit.