Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Rise and Swine


I was up early, taking a day of leave to spend time with a friend who could use some company. On our way out and about, we passed Goose the Market. Well, one just HAS to stop now don't they?

This IS the store where you can get a T-shirt that says "Vegetables are what food EATS" and "I love Pig Butts, and I can not lie."

This isn't just your average neighborhood deli with meat and cheeses.  It's goosethemarket.com.  This is a store for serious meat, food and wine lovers, a business that proudly proclaims "Pork is King".

I have to say, the meat selection will pull you in like an attenuated linear graviton beam.  These folks love their pork and the selections of other meats rivals anything I've seen in the Midwest, despite the store's modest size from out front.

click to enlarge photos, the lighting wasn't good for a pocket point and shoot

Yes, that's fresh duck breasts there in the middle and rabbit at the 1 o'clock position. To the right in the top photo, the bacon starts, with applewood smoked bacon, lamb bacon (not just yes?! but YES!) and jowl bacon . There is also this air-dried prosciutto that you can buy or have served up in one of their made to order sandwiches such as the the Batali, an amazing Italian sandwich with coppa, soppressata, capocollo, provolone cheese, and tomato preserves.  Bon Appetit magazine listed Goose the Market as #1 in their 2008 hot ten sandwich shops in America. Right here in Indy.  Need some dessert?  There's a dozen fresh gelatos.
Down in the cellar they have a pretty amazing collection of gourmet cooking goodies, sauces and grains, and an outstanding assortment of wine meant to be pared with meat (as well as a cool place to do a wine tasting). There's beers too, but I just had a soda, as I am charged with driving us where we need to visit today, with directions I scribbled on a napkin.


I'd have done better were it not for laughing from a six foot blond in vertical insoles doing her best GPS impression as I dash across three lanes of hippies in a truck the size of the Queen Mary.

"Recalculating!"

But with the fragrance of bacon in our hair we arrived in one piece at our destination.


Not a button?

Stay in and safe, enjoy some food, enjoy some friends, such are the small things we don't always stop and savor like we should.  Each day we can still laugh is a gift.

Happy Halloween


From our home to yours - Brigid and Barkley


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

It's Made of WHAT? Chicken McNuggets - Range Style


Ingredients in Chicken McNuggets

White boneless chicken, water, food starch-modified, salt, seasoning (autolyzed yeast extract, salt, wheat starch, natural flavoring (botanical source), safflower oil, dextrose, citric acid, rosemary), sodium phosphates, seasoning (canola oil, mono- and diglycerides, extractives of rosemary). Battered and breaded with: water, enriched flour (bleached wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), yellow corn flour, food starch-modified, salt, leavening (baking soda, sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate, calcium lactate), spices, wheat starch, whey, corn starch. Prepared in vegetable oil (Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness). Dimethylpolysiloxane added as an antifoaming agent.

MMMM - dimethylpolysiloxane, used in making Silly Putty, it's also a critical ingredient in Rain-X.  It's also found in Wendy's fries.  Or at least their  old "unimproved" fries, the new ones seemingly made out of shards of salt licks.

And what's TBHQ? That's tertiary butylhydroquinone, a butane based preservative, which among many other things, is used in the stabilization process of explosive compounds. One to four grams of TBHQ can cause some serious symptoms that will make the flu look like winning the lottery.  Five grams of TBHQ can kill you.

Many of the store bought nuggets don't have those two particular ingredients, but they are still full of things like sodium phosphates, caramel color, methylcellulose, and " spice extractive", even if they come in little dinosaur shapes.

No thanks, I'll eat at home.  Happy Meal toy notwithstanding, I want my chicken with a beak, not a beaker.


Ingredients in a Range McNugget.

Fresh grain-fed chicken breast, grated fresh ginger, a squeeze of lemon juice, butter, flour, cayenne pepper, extra virgin olive oil, a cast iron skillet. 

Chop one extra large chicken breast into large nugget sized pieces.  If you have the patience to cut them into little dinosaur shapes have at it.  Mine are shaped like pieces of chicken.  I'm creative that way..

Dip each piece in a mixture of a few tablespoons of melted salted butter to which you've added about half a thumb sized  piece of fresh ginger, grated and a splash of lemon juice.  Dredge in a small cereal bowl of flour to which you've added a few pinches of cayenne pepper.

Cook in a medium/hot cast iron pan with just a little EVOO until lightly brown on both sides (turning with tongs), reduce heat, cover and cook until done.  Just a few minutes is all it takes and it turns out buttery, savory and oh so juicy.  Serves two for a light meal or snack.

Make it a HOTR Hoppy Meal with fresh sliced sourdough, some smoked Gouda and salad and a small glass of IPA.  You can add some fresh garlic mayo for little sandwiches or some dressing for the salad on the side, if you like. 

How you serve it is up to you, but remember,  if you get a Hoppy Meal at the Range, the toys are SO much better.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Come Hell or High Water - Bulk Food Storage


Like most all Americans, I'm trimming my budget as gas and food prices skyrocket. I am very blessed with a good job and health, something no one should ever take for granted if they have it, but I'm also aware, how quickly it can all be taken away.  So I am learning to prepare.  I am buying cheaper cuts of meat or using more game, marinated and cooked with care, cooking in bulk and freezing portions rather than eating out, and used bookstore, not new bookstore. I spend "vacation" time off, not at a resort or on a beach, but at my Dad's doing chores and repairs around his place with a sibling, cooking in quantity and making sure he's healthy and comfortable in his home.

I found I could make really tasty meals in bulk for him and put them in small containers for him for an extra freezer in the garage, to simply reheat at a fraction of the cost of the premade stuff he was buying.  I include lots of veggies from his small garden which friends help him maintain, using little salt, as his doctor advised, just  lots of herbs and natural ingredients to lend flavor.

The rest of  family is  also getting into the shopping in larger quantities. (Hey where's my big yogurt bucket?)  It's not just for cost savings but if you are staring into the jaws of a storm such as Hurricane Sandy, do you really want to be standing in line in the cold for hours hoping you get the last can of Pringles, as that's all that is left?

I'm also spending more effort on storing up food supplies for the long term, buying at good prices, and storing in bulk. I'm by far not the only one. I've been seeing, at numerous places, people selling food-grade buckets (no off-gassing from the plastic), along with desiccant packets, heat-sealable mylar bags and gamma lids. For longer term storage of dry goods, such as rice and beans and such, it's a very good start. Plus they are stackable and the gamma lids have a nice watertight seal if you should ever have to crack into your stores. Just a note though, don't put a desiccant packet into sugar storage unless you want a giant sugar lick. 

If you have a lot of freezer space, storing fresh and properly sealed food is easy. But what about if you don't have a huge or extra freezer? Sure there's peanut butter. I love peanut butter, but there's a lot of other more dubious cheap food products with a long shelf life.

There's canned food such as Spam or "Armour Potted Meat Food Product." What exactly is potted meat? According to the label it's: Beef Tripe, Beef Hearts, Cooked Fat Tissue Solids, and Partially Defatted Cooked Pork Fatty Tissue. . . mmmm, it's "America's favorite" the old label used to say - favorite what?.
I remember the first time I saw THAT on the shelf in the pantry and read the ingredients. "What's beef tripe" I asked my Mom. She said "it's in the middle of the cow". I got that same of vague answer when I asked how babies were made

The potted meat looked like something from Gross Anatomy 101 after running it through a wood chipper and closely resembled a can of "Mighty Dog". No thanks. In those days that pretty much just left the Spam and Beenie Weenies. But if you were snowbound with no food to eat for a month because you didn't think to store food properly, would you want your family only eating Beenie Weenies? In perhaps a small enclosed space? I think not. So you need to have some other food sources on hand. Fortunately there are a lot more choices

Freeze Dried Foods:  Not just for backpacking in to the campsite any more. A favorite brand among friends is Mountain House. They are airtight NITROGEN PACKED #10 cans or pouches. Up to 98% of the residual oxygen has been removed, according to their website. They advertise a 30 year shelf life. I can't say any have been purchased with that intent, but for camping they were found to be very good and worth the little bit of extra $$, less per serving that any fast food you'd eat in town. There are other great brands as well, and I'm sure some on my sidebar will have their own recommendations. 

Remember, though,  with commercially prepared "survival meals". The "serving size" are sustenance only. You may need significantly more calories per day if you are working hard outdoors, wood chopping or making repairs for example and should double up your pre made meal storage amounts if you plan on doing anything beyond "Hunkering 101".  You'd be amazed how much food one adult needing an average of 2200 calories a day can eat in a month or a year.


Home Dried Foods: 

Jerky:  Jerky is tasty, stores well, and can be flavored with other items for a little variety Just some basic rules here. Do not package until completely cool to the touch. Like all dried foods, store in small batches to minimize the change of contamination. Like dried vegetables, dried meat will keep up to six months; well dried and stored in a freezer, it can keep well for years. There's some jerky around here from an elk hunt LONG ago that's still good, kept in the freezer.

For vegetables dried in a dehydrator - see your unit's instructions for conditioning instructions prior to storage or refer to How to Dry Fruits and Vegetables with a Dehydrator. Use only air tight containers or freezer bags from which ALL air has been removed before closing it up.

Sulfured fruit -  store in non-metal containers. Dried fruits will keep up to a year and longer in the freezer. Again - cool dry and dark, but they will keep well at temperatures up to 60 degrees, though slightly cooler than that is optimum. If you see condensation on the inside of any of the containers, you MUST re-dry it again.

Hickory Smoking:   It does not matter if it is rain or shin,e Barkley will sit on the porch n a puddle of drool while this smokes away, refusing to come inside. Smoked products will keep a fair amount of time and unlike "mystery sausage" you know what went in this.


With the multiple racks within the smoker, 15 pounds were made in one batch. It still needs to be frozen if not eaten pretty soon, but sealed well, it will keep a LONG time.

Canned Foods:  A basic rule - If it is high acid, can it. If it is low acid, freeze it.  My friend Dann and his wife at God Gals Guns and Grub recommended to me The Ball Blue Book of Home Canning. It is the bible of canning, and really goes into safety considerations, especially important for low-acid or steam-canned things.

Root Cellar storage  - Potatoes - Inspect all potatoes for soft spots, sprouts and mold. Only perfect potatoes are suitable for long-term storage, if you find soft spots. use them now. If yours are home grown, allow to dry thoroughly before storing. Do not wash potatoes first. Store in a cardboard box, or mesh bag to ensure enough ventilation. Store where it's cool, dry and dark (50-60 degrees is ideal) with some ventilation. Check on them regularly and remove any that go soft, sprout or shrivel. Place the potatoes in a cardboard box, paper bag or mesh bag to ensure good ventilation. 

Apples  - Dried apples are a favorite of the dried fruits, but whole apples will keep a long while if stored properly. You want to store in a cool basement, garage, fruit cellar or refrigerator. The ideal storage temperature is 30-32°F with 90% humidity. If temp falls below 30 apples will be damaged and if it gets over 40 they will ripen too quickly.

Onions - Inspect like you do for potatoes. For this use a couple of clean and dried ladies stockings (yes, on the exceedingly rare occasions wherein I don a dress, I wear real stockings as I HATE, hate, hate, pantyhose). Or if you use pantyhose, cut off the legs. Drop an onion into the leg and tie a knot, continue adding and knotting until the leg is full. Store where cool, dry and between 40-45 degrees. When you need an onion, simply get out your handy little knife and carefully cut a slit in the side of one of the knotted off sections. This will allow you to reinsert an onion and reuse the stocking.

Corn -  I'll be honest. I've never stored corn other than in the freezer so I'm not sure about other ways to store it. Any suggestions readers? Here is some of Frank James corn, which he so graciously shares, prepared as he recommends in his blog and prepped for the winter freezer with the "food saver". Yum!  The food saver is invaluable to extending the freezer life of things.  You can also use it to store medicines and diapers for your bug out kit if you have elders or juniors with you.  After the air is sucked out the diapers use 1/2 the space as before. 

But Brigid, I don't live out in the "burbs" or the country. I don't HAVE a root cellar, garage space or a basement?

Even in the burbs, a shelf an inch or two out from the wall (avoid condensation) right down near (but not on) the floor, will guarantee a pretty consistent and cool temperature in the mid to upper 50's as long as the adjacent wall is below ground level.

But if you have a bit of yard, and you have no other options, you can make your own in a pinch in many climates (though around some of these parts you'll just dig down and find rock). Still something useful to know.  If you rent, it takes up little space and can easily be returned to it's previous state before you move out so not to annoy your landlord. Simply dig a hole in the soil to accommodate a large sized plastic container. Think kitchen storage bin with lid, new garbage can or an old cooler. Put your container in the hole, making sure you leave an inch or two sticking out of the ground to prevent rainwater from entering the "cellar". Even better, dig a little drainage ditch around it. Remember to cover with insulating straw and plastic as well (which will also further protect it from run off.

Place your food items in the container. Don't store apples with potatoes by the way. Pack it with straw or other insulation quality material and pop the top on securely. (This should keep out the local bugs and smaller critters). Remember though - if it's above the frost line IT WILL FREEZE, unless adequately insulated. Check the food periodically and remove any immediately that is looking soft or discolored. Apples will keep (approximately as found in my climate) up to six months, carrots 5 months, potatoes 5 months,squash 5 months, beets 4 months (like that's going to happen, I HATE beets). If you see condensation there may well be mold which is a real hazard for consumption.

Note: This is NOT an ideal solution, but there may be a time in your life when it's necessary.

When you buy in bulk, get the food prepped and stored right away. Bags are fine but the long term life is limited.  I've got food like that pictured below packed in nitrogen now that will last 20+ years.

So go on and buy some bulk food and get started storing it properly. You won't ever regret doing it.

Though you might regret asking about the tripe.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

It's Halloween Party Time!


Yes, the civil war re-enactment was a blast. 

 So going as Doughboys to the Halloween party? 

World War I Bacon Ration Tin

 Awesome.

What?  I'm a Doughboy.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Truth About Guys

I tend to be in an environment on and off work where it's pretty much all male.  I'm used to that.  In my last professional position, the guy I replaced was a General (gee, no expectations there).  It's taught me a lot about honor, sweat, blood and hard work and pulling together as a team.

But it does give me a different perspective on how very different, and how very alike, we all can be.

Names have been changed to protect the guilty.

A: (pulling out a newspaper at lunch and pointing to an article)  I sent messages last night to the guys on Facebook warning them about the upcoming bacon shortage!

B.  How did they react?

A. (with a look of concern) "Dude, they unfriended me!"

There's a reason I love you guys.  And don't forget, if someone sends a picture of me and I'm drinking a "Bud Light Lime" it's a sign.  I've been kidnapped, send back up and decent beer.

Cheers-
Brigid

Friday, October 26, 2012

Posts from the Road - The Scents of Memory


I choose many things by the scent of them. Scent is the key part of taste. People that lose their sense of smell often lose their enjoyment of food. Smell is transport or torment, as simple as hunger, as complex as love. Scent is memory, simply the whiff of something takes us back.

The smell of  Revlon Charlie perfume, worn the six months I spent in London on an assignment years ago where I bought some in an apothecary, the fresh clean air smell of raw corn silk, brushing my nose as I waited in an Indiana blind. Rosemary baking on bread and the floral steam scent that was my Mom hand ironing everything in our house, including the sheets, while I played with my little Tonka trucks underfoot. Waking up now, the faint scent of shampoo, sandlewood and vanilla on my pillow.

The smells of childhood are all their own, be it your own childhood or that of your children. Clean milky skin, the scent of fresh grass, bicycle oil and band aids, the bite of apple in a school lunchbox, soap bubbles and Hershey's chocolate. The teen years are simply a smell of angst, gangly legs and sweat, locker rooms, Right Guard deodorant, burnt rubber, that lay as real today as that of a dead red rose that lay in a drawer, the scent of which, to this day, rends your heart like a veil.


Then the smell of a hospital, a smell I hate to this day, watching someone become more and more body and less and less self, until the self was so wrapped up in pain all that was left was the body, wasting away, releasing its scent to the room. Yet I could still hug them and could still smell, if only in my mind, the warmth of cookies, the smell of Wind Song perfume and baby shampoo. Not for me, an end like that, lay me out where I smell only fresh rain or motor oil, release me to the wild, to become part of it, then never look back.

Scents are like colors, bringing back memories some would wish swept away. Crayons, Flesh and Indian Red, colors not politically incorrect, and soon bleached to remove possible offense. Just as some mask the breathy clean musk of natural beauty with too much powder and perfume, covering up that which is innately desirable. But scent, like colorful crayons, remains vivid in memory, drawing horizons on pieces of paper that went back home to that kitchen that smelled of perfume and cinnamon. I can still walk through my childhood home and take in those scents, of yeast and meat, spice and coffee, tracing them with my noise through alleyways of retrospection, cataloging them with the smells of other things, marionberry pie, fresh bread and fresh cotton, the exhaust of a muscle car.


There are scents that in just one moment, take us back to a place, a single, distinct point of time.

The stale air in a bedroom, the smell of sleep laying deep in your throat as your brain refuses to rest. You watch someone sleeping, looking at that exposed place on their neck where the sheet and their hair almost meet, the skin laying pale in the moonlight. Flesh, bridging a contrast between soft silky hair that smells faintly of sandlewood and the sheets pure smell of crisp softness. You place your lips on that space of skin, inhaling softly and deep, breathing in the balm of future tears.

The oily jet smell of a turbine engine blowing up and out from the hot eternal darkness of a engine, the odor rising like flame and blowing cleanly back, across tarmac. You never forget that odor, the vivid, dead perfume that is a dinosaur cooked on a kerosene stove, coating everything it touches
.

That particular smell followed me throughout the years. The air smells like brimstone, upon the disembodied plane of it, our shadows move, walking in grids, slowing, not stopping, as if our shadows only congealed for a moment, in proximate musings.

That coppery smell of blood for me, is not just a smell of maturation, it's a visceral journey to those places I've stood, the blaze of remaining fire swimming in my eyes like two tiny torches, daring me to tear up. I don't, I can't. Not here, not now. The tears will travel back, harsh, sparse swift drops, brought back with the scent of soundless explosions and cold fire, to be gathered up into a sealed red container, where they remain as I drive home.
 

But, there are other smells, so many smells now, that bring only smiles. The smell of wet dog, soaked and tireless, rushing from the water that beads on his dense fur, as slow as chilled glycerin. The smell of green, as the wheels of an airplane pull away from it, the length and breadth of life measured in the takeoff run on a freshly mowed runway. Garlic baking, a peppery meat infused scent of Merlot poured into glasses at lunchtime, stealing away from work and duty for a few days of leave in a city foreign of sight and scent, dim sum and sourdough, the salty scent of an oceans' release.

There is the smell of fresh bluing, the smell of the first handgun I ever bought. I held it, taking in the deep blued finish that seemed to hold all reluctant light and breath, feeling the weight in my hand, the scent of cold steel bracing me. Then I simply stepped up and fired it. A single shot, in which a lifetime lay behind me. A single shot, upon the bare and pock marked wall, the shadow of its form shuddered in what was not the wind, but my own trepidations, until holding it steady, I squeezed the trigger with one intake of virgin breath.


In that moment, in the rich, trembling roar of its power, the trepidation fell behind and I knew that this would be one desire that would stay with me always. In that moment, the sounds and smell of every old hunting rifle I had ever shot came in that single converging brace of gunpowder smell and noise that was that moment, spoiling me for anything else.

So many smells, so many memories. Food and wine, and guns and love, all intertwined, the power and the need of it all. I wonder what scents tomorrow will bring to store up for later? The rain has passed, a deep cleansing rain that's washed from the sky all burden and need. I open the window just an inch, curtains inhaling in and out with the scent of fresh air that is as new as the day waiting to be breathed in deep.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Were We All So Easily Made Happy.

Barkley, you've been a good dog while I've worked some long hours and you stayed awake by my bed all night when I was so sick last weekend.  You endured doggie dental cleaning and the vet said those growths we took off of you were all benign.  Let's celebrate!  I bought you a new toy.

Now, let me go find some scissors to get it out of the packaging.  You'll like it, it's chewy and the rope things will clean tarter off your teeth.

Be right back!

"Mom, Mom, you left it all alone! Liberals might redistribute it. Scotty could beam it up! Steven Seagal might eat it!

Quick! Mom, give it to me!"


"Sit! Stay! Dang, the whole election process has been quicker than this!"


"New Toy!!!! Thanks Mom." (tastes like chicken)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Avoiding that Thick Winter Coat - Some HOTR Nutrition Tips


"Seriously, you're not going to eat that are you".
 
I get comments on the blog and emails from folks I know off blog about how I stay healthy with all the bacon, cheese and dessert recipes.  It's simple.  I don't eat like that on a daily basis.  Like 1792 whiskey and a chance to wrap one's self around the sky in a T-6, such things, as fun as they are, aren't indulged in every day, or even every other day.

It's not easy as I LOVE to cook and create new recipes (all the photos here have recipes on my right sidebar).  For my new readers, my ethnic background is mostly Celt (check!), Scandinavian (check!) and Cree Indian (noticeable only in an almond eye shape, though they are green, and my blood type).  Add into that extended family through marriage in Canada and there is a wide range of cuisine and ingredients I like to play with (though much of Celt and Scandinavian cooking has been classified by the FDA as a sedative).

Pate Chinois

None of it makes for a "low cal" diet plan, even including all the healthy produce available here in the Midwest.

So here are a few HOTR hints for eating healthy with the occassional whole pig worked into your diet plan. If you eat healthy most of the time a big, blow out, take no prisoners, lock up your women, HOTR bacon infused dinner is fine once in a while for most people (if you are under doctor's dietary restrictions, you know the deal, ask him or her before any dietary changes).


Maple Bacon Whiskey Cream Scones
 
95% of the time to eat only real food, prepared by people, not machines.   Yes, I have my vices , some of it comfort food from childhood- Bologna or peanut butter sandwiches on white bread, Beavertail pastry, Caesar salads with garlicky croutons, Tourtière, Buttermilk biscuits and gravy, Midwest Chick's Brownie Cookies,  homemade mac and cheese,"Mr. Squishy" Slushee Drinks from the Quicky Mart and my best friends creme brulee browned with acetylene torch. But they are comfort food treats, once a week or so, NOT a daily indulgence and for the most part, made from scratch when able.

I believe that only seagulls should eat food tossed at them out a McWindow.


Eat lots of garden fresh and lacto-fermented vegetables, grown naturally, with a regular but small portion of meat and some animal fat for seasoning and baking (avoid tub margarines and Crisco, which is laden with trans fats).  Learn to freeze and can if you have the time and space to do so, but keep tin canned food consumption to a minimum (tin can food is for the zombie Apocalypse). If you want some recipe ideas on fermented food, some of which you've never tried and are really missing out, visit my Canadian gal friend Kymber
 at Framboise Manor . She and her man know how to eat well, and you will leave their blog from home, content, smiling, and just a wee bit hungry.

 
Disappearing Appetizer - a HOTR favorite (meat and dairy free)
 
Use game, pasture raised meats and fresh caught fish when you can. Avoid shellfish that come from polluted waters (sorry, but they are just the little oil filters of the sea). Avoid "Blinky the Tuna" canned or frozen fish from China (seriously, I'd avoid any consumable product for man or dog from China)

Some of us get a 4 H cow every year which is raised with only the best feed and care and have it butchered.  It's great quality, minimally "doctored" beef, four times the quality for the price you'd pay for "Two Buck CHUCK" at Cosco. 

Smothered steak (mushroom gravy with horseradish cream and red wine)

If you can safely include alcohol and dairy in your lifestyle, drink raw, fermented or lacto-fermented beverages such as a little ale or mead with a meal (make your own) and some kefir every day.   This helps with digestion when eating grains and other carbs as well.  I'd never had Mead until Partner in Grime made some and Miss D. and Bayou Renaissance Man, as well, showed up with some as a housewarming. Wow. Good stuff, though it's been rumored that Miss D and I get silly and start telling Lucas Wiring jokes after a couple of glasses.

Eat more whole, unprocessed grains, keeping your servings of white grain products to small portions of simple breads prepared at home. Discover homemade Sourdough bread. Sprouted grains are good if you have a sensitive stomach and some food allergies. Ezekial brand sprouted grain tortillas are usually found in my freezer, to be used for wraps for sandwich and salad fixings for a quick lunch I can pack.

Irish Brown Bread
 
Organic is often over hyped and priced. Buy from sources that use minimal "gunk" on their food, but buying produce, locally and fresh, and washing it thoroughly, can provide excellent produce at half the price of "shipped in from who knows where and you WILL pay for it" organic. Even better, grow your own.

Other than on splurge day, breakfast here is barley cereal or steel cut oats with berries and kefir, or eggs cooked with a piece or two of bacon and yogurt, with sourdough or whole wheat toast added when it's going to be many hours til lunch.  Lunch and dinner is a small portion of meat (about 15 % of daily diet,  more in winter) salad, grains or pasta,  steamed or roasted veggies, or soups and stews with salad and homemade bread.

Guinness Stew

I often, like my Mom, make up a condiment tray of cold regular and pickled vegetables and a few olives to munch on before dinner.  Dessert after dinners is usually just a slice of cheese and apple or pear.

I snack on fruit, Greek yogurt (non flavored with just a dab of homemade jam or honey added), venison jerky, roasted plain, cinnamon or cayenne almonds and an occasional piece of cheese with whole grain crackers.  I can't remember the last time I ate a candy bar, but I do keep some Tootsie Pops and Smartees in big beakers in my office (like the Mr. Squishy slushy drink, an on the job vice).  Fried foods, as well are a rare treat, be it pan fried walleye or beer battered onion rings.  Fortunately, I don't like french fries so that's easy  to cut back on (mashed potatoes and gravy though, that's its own food group). Popcorn popped in a brown paper bag with vanilla, some raw sugar and a tiny bit of olive oil and sea salt or salt and ancho chili seasoning  is excellent and will help you break the "chips" habit.


Eat Seasonally - eat more meat, especially game meats and animal fats in the winter when your body needs the extra fat and calores along with the produce you've frozen or canned from fresh picked. If you don't time have to prepare a meal every night, make an assortment of thick soups and stews using meat and vegetables with homemade stocks (boiling bones and the remants of a dismantled chicken with some herbs and some chopped onion makes a great stock).   That can provide several meals by themselves  or served up as leftovers, ladeled over a small portion of biscuits,  cornbread or homemade noodles. In the Spring  enjoy lots more leafy greens and dairy as you reduce your meat consumption a bit.

With Summer, enjoy a wide variety of fruits along with your veggies and meats. With fall and cooling temperatures, take advantage of the abundance of root vegetables with game and grains. Fruits and vegetables should take up to half of your plate.

turkey and stuffing  with pear/cinnamon balsamic glazed sweet potatoes.
 
Don't eat when you're driving, texting, on the computer or racing any vehicle on a closed track on Top Gear. Eat when you're hungry, savor the food and stop before you are stuffed. It won't make you wafer thin after you hit middle age and your metabolism moves to an offshore island, but it will help you stay healthy and full of energy.

That being said, here's my biggest bit of guidance:

Enjoy a "splurge meal" a couple of times a week (or just pick one day a week where you eat what you want). For those few meals, for that single day, unless you are on strict doctors orders with dietary restrictions,  there is/are no rules, bacon wrapped bacon with a side of bacon and a piece of pie, carbs, dessert after your meal, whatever will fit your need and your plate (but no seconds). Throw in an extra half hour or so of walking with your best friends of both the two and four legged variety and just enjoy your day. Whatever rocks your boat. Then go back to healthy eating.

Most of my recipes on my sidebar are "splurge" meals.  Go on, enjoy one this week, we always do, either a favorite, or a "new" experiment in the Range kitchen.
Irish Boxty with Pork Tenderloin Whiskey Cream Sauce
 
If travel and life stresses are such you can't always eat a "healthy" meal, consider some quality meal replace protein shakes and bars (I love the "wow, this actually tastes like creamy chocolate milk, not goat sweat mixed with a hint of cocoa" Advocare protein shakes, which I ordered from Tin Can Assassin on my sidebar).  They are SO much better  than the "Slimfast"  store or "Ensure"  type drinks,  which will just make your blood sugar crash later (or the store meal bars and shakes that taste like plastic infused drywall material).   I also take a daily multi vitamin, a B and C energy drink, fish oil and Glucosomine since I blew my knee out (also Advocare).
 
salt roasted potatoes
 
Am I a size 2?  No, not even close.  But my total cholesteral is 154, my bad cholesteral is about 29 and my blood pressure, passing my 50th birthday was clocked at 105 over 58. Blood sugar as well, is very low. My doctor says I have the cardiovascular health of someone in their 20's (just not their right knee.).  Look, I am not a stick, never will be.  I have no desire to be one of those women whose biggest meal of the day is  a rice cake and a breath mint so I can  wear a gun sock as a frock to a cocktail party.  Nor do I want to spend hours a day working out with a personal trainer who yells at me like a drill sargaent and shoots me with a tranquilizer dart if I make a run on the last piece of bacon.

I want to be healthy.  I want to stay active.  The rest is window dressing. I'm round and curvy but I always get carded in the "we card under 40" grocery.  Even more importantly, I can keep up with team members in the field and many close friends, twenty or  thirty years younger than I.  Attention to nutrition, no smoking and healthy habits plays a good part in that.

But having folks over for the occassional Guinness Brownie and wheelguns never hurts either.