More and more, this seems to be the theme for this year. My husband, John, has been diagnosed with MG, myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune, muscular weakness disease. Because of this, Whitney and I have become very intense in researching ways to help him healthwise. Of course, this means, trying to do moderate exercise and eating healthy. Eating healthy has always been important to us, but never more important than now. My husband also has food allergies so he has been on prescribed diets before where his sugar and white processed flour intake, etc. were virtuallly eliminated, so we are familiar with taking these steps. Recently we have visited a health food store and Whole Foods. Whitney has been experimenting with new recipes that incorporate natural ingredients ...stone ground cornmeal, rice flour, organic milk, natural sweeteners, etc. All of these products bring us back to that thought of simple and "old-fashioned" foods.
My ninety-five year old grandmother, Whitney's great-grandmother, recently purchased chickens to obtain fresh eggs. Almost all of her life, she has raised chickens and gathered eggs. Even Grandma has gone back to "old" times. In a conversation at my grandma's dinner table last week, talk turned to the past. My dad and my aunt began discussing their memories of preserving food. My aunt, as a young girl, learning to cook remembered meat stored in a large crock being preserved by "lard" or fat being poured over it. My dad, being the boy and working outside on the farm, remembered meat being preserved by layering it with salt in a barrel and also being hung up in the smokehouse. They were asking my grandmother to confirm their disagreement over methods. She actually confirmed the use of all of the methods, the difference being that my aunt was thinking about cooked meat and my dad was thinking about raw meat that was being smoked in addition to salted. Then the talk continued about preserving other foods. Grandma said that she remembered her mother drying fruit in the sun. She would slice the fruit and place it, covered with cheesecloth to protect it from insects, on top of the smokehouse to dry in the sun. The fruit was eaten as it was. It was easy to carry when traveling. My great-aunt added that it could be rehydrated with liquid to be used in making pies. My grandmother said that for making pies, however, they mainly used canned fruits. I am very interested in these old ways of preserving fresh fruits, for sentimentalty sake as well as now for health's sake.
In my search to cook healthy for my dad, I have discovered agave and Stevia which are natural sweeteners. Agave comes in a liquid form. It looks like thin honey. It comes in two colors light (delicate flavor) and amber (rich flavor). I use the agave for multiple purposes. The light is good to sweeten homemade lemonade or iced tea. The amber is good to sweeten fruits for a fruit crisp dessert. I recently made a homemade candy bar. I called it a Southern Candy Bar. I cooked grits in fresh coconut water and milk. Then I sweetened it with Stevia. I poured the sweetened grit mixture in a small glass baking dish. I let it cool and set up. Once the grit mixture was set, I cut it into little rectangles. I pressed a whole almond in the grit bar and then covered it in dark chocolate. It is my take on a healthier, Southern version of an Almond Joy.
My blog will continue in this direction. I want my discovery for using natural and fresh ingredients, to help anyone who has health problems. I pray it will help my dad.
Please keep my dad and my family in your prayers