Best Summer Meal Pairings

The best thing about summer is eating easy meals. Nothing’s easier than MagicKitchen.com meals. Here’s our take on the best summer meal pairings for 2016!

    • Sliced Beef Brisket, for easy summer meals
      Sliced Beef Brisket- yummy!

      Try our sliced beef brisket, warm, on big rolls with hot mustard and coleslaw with potato salad on the side.

    • Here’s something summery: Warm our crab stuffed sole and serve with fresh-tasting barley vegetable pilaf.
    • In the mood for hearty? Try our corned beef inside toasted rye bread with sauerkraut and German mustard.
    • Grill our Bone-in Ham steaks and pair them with Scalloped Potatoes you can heat in the microwave.
    • A vegetarian option is to warm our stuffed baked potatoes as your main course, with a couple of your favorite salads.
    • Grill Bone-in Ham steaks, slice thin, and serve on corn tortillas with a pineapple salsa.
    • sliced-beef-tacoSpeaking of tacos, our Tritip or beef brisket would both be incredible inside a tortilla with some homemade pico de gallo.
    • Sliced Beef Tri-Tip Au Jus, served on a French roll, with the jus on the side. We’d serve this with oven fries and a side of coleslaw.
    • A website called It’s Yummy! has a recipe for a Reuben Salad that sounds like a perfect way to repurpose some delicious corned beef.
    • Love a lettuce wrap? So do we! Try putting out a variety of meats and veggies, with a couple of sauces, and let people help themselves. Suggestions: Beef Brisket, caramelized onions, sliced tomatoes with a smoky BBQ sauce. Or grilled prawns, rice noodles mixed with sesame oil, sliced jalapeños, and a smear of Hoisin Sauce.
Ham Steak for tacos, sandwiches and other easy meals
Bone-in Ham Steak
Ham Steak for tacos, sandwiches and other easy meals
Slow Smoked Corned Beef
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20 Easy and Healthy Summer Breakfast Ideas

Summer, of course, means more than just heat.  It also, for most of us, means a more, shall we say, relaxed pace to life.  And in this more relaxed lifestyle, we tend to sleep in a bit more whenever possible and then scramble (egg pun intended) around in the AM for breakfast…or brunch in some instances.

Well, here are 20 easy, light and healthy breakfast ideas and most do not require the use of a heat generating device, such as the stove top or oven.  We used the term “ideas” rather than “recipes” because we’d like you to experiment with the ingredients and prep methods in order to perfect them in your own, personal way.

  1. Smoothies – of any variety.  Simply combine your favorites (berries, bananas, flavored yogurt, milk, protein powder, jam, honey, etc.) and blend.
  2. Fruit pizza on a bagel – Simply spread a bit of cream cheese (but not too much…these are “healthy” ideas after all) on a whole wheat bagel and add your favorite sliced fruit.
  3. Granola, yogurt and fruit – Mix…you guessed it…granola, your favorite yogurt and fruit together in a bowl or cup and enjoy.
  4. yogurtbananaYogurt granola banana popsTake half a banana, insert a popsicle stick in the end, role it in yogurt, then granola and freeze.
  5. Muesli – aka cold oatmeal (certain types of oats need to be soaked overnight in milk) mixed with yogurt, fruit, nuts, cinnamon, orange zest, some maple syrup…simply add whatever flicks your switch.
  6. Breakfast wrap – slice some banana and pineapple, add some granola, and cottage or feta cheese and then just wrap in a tortilla…breakfast on the go.
  7. Avocado toast – thinly slice some avocado and place on lightly toasted whole wheat indexbread and add a pinch of sea salt and pepper along with some lemon juice, olive oil, strawberries, goat cheese and/or honey.
  8. Breakfast salad – cube some watermelon and mix with chopped and peeled cucumber, add some lime juice, feta cheese and a bit of chopped mint.
  9. Raspberry cheesecake bagel – Simply spread some mascarpone or cream cheese on a bagel and top with fresh raspberries.
  10. English muffin egg pizza – Hard boil some eggs ahead of time, slice or crush and place on a toasted English muffin with a tomato slice and your favorite type of shredded cheese.
  11. The “works” bagel – Toast a bagel and spread on some cream cheese.  Then add diced tomatoes, capers, red onions, and sprouts…or whatever your heart desires.
  12. Farina with apricots and almonds – Bring some farina (think Cream ‘o Wheat) to a boil with milk, let cool and top with brown sugar, diced apricots and almonds.
  13. Cottage cheese crunch – Real easy one here…just mix some granola with cottage cheese and add some of your favorite fruit…peach slices work well here.
  14. Fruit kabobs with vanilla yogurt – Cube your favorite fruit (pineapples, melons, pears, etc.) and place on kabob skewers.  Place some vanilla yogurt on the side for a dipping sauce.
  15. English muffin with burled banana and peanut butter – OK, this one requires you to fire up your broiler, but only for a few minutes.  Slice up a banana or two and sprinkle with some brown sugar.  Broil for 3-5 minutes, or until the sugar is caramelized.  Spread some peanut butter on a toasted English muffin and top with the bruleed bananas.
  16. breakfasttacoBreakfast tacos – place some sliced avocados, tomatoes, and blueberries in a soft taco shell and enjoy.
  17. Fried honey bananas – Slice up some bananas and fry in some olive oil (1-2 minutes per side), drizzle with honey and sprinkle with some cinnamon.
  18. Savory oatmeal with an egg – Take some oatmeal (duh!) and add an egg that’s been prepared over easy.  Add a pinch of salt and pepper and some shredded cheese and you’ve got your new breakfast favorite.
  19. PB+J waffle sandwich – toast some whole wheat waffles and then make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with them.
  20. Avocado toast with egg – On whole wheat toast, spread some smashed avocado, top with a fried egg (over hard works best…less mess) and finish with a pinch of sea salt and pepper.
  21.  Bonus idea – Order in any of MagicKitchen.com’s Complete Breakfast Meals,  or some of our a la carte breakfast items, like Carrot-Zucchini-Walnut Muffins, or Corn Bread Blueberry Toaster Cakes.

Hopefully you find a few of these ideas appealing to your palate, and as stated previously, don’t be afraid to substitute ingredients as you see fit…live dangerously and bon appetit!

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Amazing, Inspiring Seniors

Aging isn’t for wimps. There’s some pretty tough stuff in the pasts of most senior citizens. When those of us who aren’t already in those Golden Years get there, we too will have gone through tough times. Given those tough times, today’s seniors aren’t taking aging laying down. They are embracing the age and are becoming involved in things the elderly of the past would never have dreamed of doing! They are accomplishing goals and achieving dreams imagined decades ago.

seniors-dancingSenior Citizen “Proms”

You may not be able to turn back the clock, but you can wind it up again!
~Unknown

The month of May has been humming with excitement of the impending prom. No, I’m not necessarily talking about the junior/senior high school prom, but the senior citizen prom! These festive, romantic dances are no longer just for the senior getting ready to graduate and move on to college. Retirement communities in many areas are hosting proms for the local senior citizens. Why shouldn’t they?

Activities such as this are good for both the physical and mental health of the elderly. Even during the Golden Years it is important to maintain a fulfilling social life. Proms are perfect for encouraging new friendships as well as bringing different generations together. Many times the volunteers serving drinks and helping the physically limited seniors are actually high school students! Proms are no longer just a rite of passage for the young…the young at heart have the opportunity to experience this magical time once again.

Back to School

Asenior-schoolnyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.
~Henry Ford

A lot of senior citizens never had the opportunity to go to college for one reason or another. Right out of high school they entered the workforce or got married without continuing their education. Many are picking up the school books and going to class in person and online. They have discovered since they are now retired that they have time to get their degree.

Not only are they showing amazing strength, but they are also encouraging younger generations at the same time. Going back to school can also revitalize the memory, rouse the cognitive ability, and allow for some great socializing. All of these are vital for improving your quality of life.

Healthy Living

seniors-exercise2You must keep active, or you will just wither away. Always be involved in some activity.
~Miriam Henson

Many people in their 70’s and 80’s are adopting a healthy lifestyle. They are eating clean and exercising regularly. Some are eating vegan and look incredibly young. Fitness has become important and for many, the 70’s and 80’s can possibly be considered the new 50’s!

Working out and lifting weights tones elderly bodies just as it does for the younger generations. Physical activities such as skateboarding and sky-diving aren’t off limits to this age group. One of the most amazing and inspiring senior has to be 104 year old Robert Marchand. He continually gets on his bike and races! He holds the speed record for people his age, riding 100km in 4 hours 17 minutes 27 seconds. Pretty impressive.

gardeningMy Inspiration

Age is whatever you think it is. You are as old as you think you are.
~Muhammad Ali

Another inspiring person that has reached the Golden Years happens to be someone I know personally, my Mom. She has had a pretty tough go at things, suffering burns from a house fire in her late 30’s, moving around the country multiple times, and raising two daughters on her own.

In spite of many surgeries and medical issues, she still has the gumption to keep living life to the fullest. She will be 70 this year, and nothing seems to keep her down. She travels to multiple states to visit friends, family, and places she used to dream about. She loves to tend to her garden, growing beautiful fruits and veggies that we all reap the benefits of. None of this sounds extraordinary to begin with, but when you take into consideration her history it’s pretty astounding. I hope to be as active and full of life when I reach her age.

Do you know seniors who amaze you? Let us know!

Valerie, MagicKitchen.com blogger

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Here Comes Shark Week: Your Fears can be Delicious

shark-surfThere’s a commonly held belief…rule, really… held by surfers that one should never eat shark.  It’s a karma kinda thing…why tempt fate by eating what might someday eat you out there on the waves.

However, the vast majority of us do not surf, therefore, we are in no way bound by the surfing rule regarding sharks.  And since the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week is upon us once again, we thought this week would be the perfect time to confront your fear of the ocean’s greatest predator head on…with your teeth, in fact.

So, as you violate Bruce’s (the great white from Finding Nemo) rule of “Fish are friends, not food,” there is one important rule that we would like you to follow.  And that rule is when you’re in search of the shark for your Shark Week viewing party, ensure that it’s a sustainable species as the horrible practices of shark finning and factory fishing have decimated many species of sharks.

makoThe Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program recommends the spiny dogfish shark from California, Oregon or Washington or the common thresher or smallfin mako sharks from California or Hawaii.

If you’ve never eaten shark, most find it lean, mild and meaty.  It tends to be denser than tuna or swordfish and doesn’t flake as easily.  Most recipes call for the meat to be marinated prior to cooking to add some flavor, tenderness and to prevent dryness.  As one might expect, steak is the most common and easiest way to prepare shark.  So we thought we’d give you two variations on this method: shark tacos and shark kabobs.

Shark Tacos

 Marinade

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. ground turmeric
  • ½ tbsp. crushed mustard seed
  • ½ tbsp. minced ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 1-2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
  • Cracked black pepper and sea salt
  • 1 lb. shark steaks, 1 inch thick
  • 8 flour tortillas
  • 1 cup finely shredded cabbage tossed with 1 tbsp. chopped cilantro and a pinch of sea salt
  • Tomatillo salsa (either prepared or purchased)
  • sriracha

Mix the marinade ingredients together in a shallow bowl, sprinkle steaks with sea salt and marinade for 20 minutes.
Grill, broil, or pan fry the shark steaks until they flake easily with a fork, usually 5-6 minutes for each side.  Roughly flake steaks with a fork.

To serve: placed flaked shark meat in warm tortillas and top with cabbage, chilled salsa and sriracha.

Shark Kebabs

Marinade

  • ½ cup rice wine
  • Lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • 3 tbsp. peanut oil
  • ½ cup dry sherry
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 ½ lbs. shark steaks cut into 1 x 1 inch squares.
  • Large mushrooms
  • Onion wedges
  • Red and yellow pepper wedges
  • Bamboo skewers

shark-kebabsMix marinade ingredients in a bowl large enough to hold shark meat and allow to marinade for two hours in refrigerator.

Alternate meat, onions, mushrooms and peppers on kabob skewers and grill or broil 10-15 minutes while marinating liberally and often with remaining marinade sauce while rotating a quarter turn every 3 minutes or so.  Shark meat should fake easily with fork when fully cooked.

Kabobs can be served on a bed of rice of your choosing.

Tbruce-sharkhus you can see, there’s no need to get a bigger boat, fish CAN be food rather than friends, and unless you plan on carving up a wave any time soon you can certainly enjoy some shark without the fear of the roles being reversed.  So fire up the grill and enjoy!

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Why Isn’t Dad Eating? Senior’s Changing Nutritional Needs

elderly-handsIt is estimated that there are over 3.7 million malnourished seniors living in the United States at the current time and even more with various vitamin deficiencies. The reasons for this are varied and range from loss of appetite due to medications to depression to dental issues.

Whatever the cause, not eating properly as we age can become more serious due to the changing nutritional needs of seniors. Thus, determining exactly why the seniors in your life aren’t eating properly as well as knowing what they SHOULD be eating can go a long way to getting them back on the road to proper nutrition.

lemon-herbsAs we age, we suffer from (among other things) appetite loss due to diminished taste buds and sense of smell. Add to those two causes the side effect of loss of appetite from medication and it’s easy to understand why some seniors have lost the interest they once possessed in food.  One way to combat this is cooking with lemon juice, vinegar and different herbs rather than butter and/or salt. These tastes will often be discerned where more subtle ones won’t.

depressed-senior-manSome seniors tire of cooking for one and eating alone and, therefore, do less of it. Depression, especially after the loss of a loved one, can also cause many seniors to eat less. Finally, dental issues, such as tooth loss and the pain associated with it or ill-fitting dentures can be the reason some seniors avoid eating certain foods.

Now, once you’ve figured out why the senior(s) in your life aren’t eating the way they should, the next task is to determine what they need to be consuming to meet their unique nutritional needs. Generally speaking, a proper diet can aid in preventing or treating heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, osteoporosis, constipation and certain forms of cancer.

Essentially, just about everything seniors eat should provide some nutritional value…no empty calories! Of course we all immediately think of fruits and veggies, but there’s one simple rule to remember: when it comes to fruits and veggies think “color.” Yes, color. There’s a reason they come in a variety of hues. Their color is derived from the fact that they’re packed with a variety of vitamins and antioxidants. So don’t just think leafy greens, think yellow peppers, orange carrots, red raspberries, blueberries, red apples, white asparagus, and blackberries. It’s a simple way to ensure seniors get a variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

hippocrates

Lean Roast Turkey from MagicKitchen.com
Lean Roast Turkey from MagicKitchen.com

Also, seniors need plenty of lean protein, vitamin D and calcium from varied sources such as seafood, poultry, legumes, nuts and fat-free or reduced fat dairy, while avoiding red meats and fried foods. They also require plenty of whole grains (think quinoa, brown rice, popcorn) and fiber (which can be derived from fruits and veggies) and they should stay away from trans and saturated fats as well as sodium. Just remember, when it comes to eating, food consumed by seniors should provide nutritional value. If it doesn’t, they shouldn’t eat it. (Although an occasional piece of dark chocolate wouldn’t go amiss.)

MagicKitchen.com provides Senior Meal Plans and individual senior meals, so if you’re worried about your older parents eating right, visit us.  Order a la carte or see our complete meals. Either one provides good nutrition and great taste, wrapped up in a convenient package.

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Eating Well on a Special Diet

MagicKitchen.com: An Alternative to Meals on Wheels

Portion Control meals
Honey Mustard Chicken, one of our meals

Let’s begin this post by stating, unequivocally, that Meals on Wheels is a terrific program that has looked out for the nutritional, safety and companionship needs of seniors for decades. Their tireless volunteers ensure that eligible seniors receive at least one hot, nutritious meal a day delivered to their home or senior center. They also spend time with the seniors they deliver to and provide much needed safety checks. For millions of seniors, Meals on Wheels has been more than just a meal delivery service. However, despite their best efforts, Meals on Wheels does have some limitations and might not be the ideal meal delivery program for everyone.

Healthy Frozen Meals
Spinach Mushroom Lasagna with Green Beans

Several of those limitations include eligibility, lack of availability in certain areas, and limited meal choices. Generally speaking, Meals on Wheels is designed for those seniors who, for various reasons, cannot prepare their own meals and do not have a caretaker to assist them with that task. Due to limited resources, such as money and volunteers, Meals on Wheels must make the above a requirement for eligibility. But at MagicKitchen.com we have no such requirement. You can simply avail yourself of our services because you would like a break from preparing meals, or are tired of the post-meal clean up, or like the convenience of having delicious and nutritious meals delivered to your door. The reasons you choose MagicKitchen.com are your own.

Three Cheese Ravioli & Spinach Alfredo, Cauliflower and Mixed Vegetables - Individual Meal Three Cheese Ravioli & Spinach Alfredo, Cauliflower and Mixed Vegetables
Three Cheese Ravioli & Spinach Alfredo, Cauliflower and Mixed Vegetables

Meals on Wheels is actually comprised of over 5,000 independently run, local programs and in some urban areas, availability can be quite limited due to the limited resources of the program. In some instances, otherwise eligible seniors are placed on a waiting list.

At MagicKitchen.com there are no waiting lists and availability is not limited in any way, shape or form. Your meals will be delivered to your door at your convenience. Meals are delivered frozen. You heat them at your convenience in your microwave, enabling you to eat on your own schedule.

You can also order a la Carte, with fantastic main courses, soups, sides and desserts!
You can also order a la carte, with fantastic main courses, soups, sides and desserts!

In most cases, the meals that are prepared and cooked by Meals on Wheels are done so at a local hospital and for that reason menu choices are limited and the food can be, how shall we say…quite bland. One look at our menu and one quickly realizes that this is no hospital menu.

We offer a myriad of choices based on our customer’s nutritional and/or medical needs. So whether you simply enjoy good food, are on a low-sodium diet or require diabetic-friendly meals, we’ve got you covered with various meals to choose from.

And if you decide to go with our auto-ship meal program, your meals will be delivered automatically when you desire, and selected according to your likes and needs. Don’t like a meal? Let us know and you won’t receive that meal again. Really like chicken? Every meal can feature chicken, if you prefer.

As previously stated, Meals on Wheels provides a very valuable service to seniors across this country and does so in an exemplary manner. But due to limitations beyond their control, the services they offer are limited and may not meet the needs of those who, for whatever reason, enjoy the convenience of home delivered meals, and that’s where MagicKitchen.com comes in. So please visit our home page at MagicKitchen.com or call us at 877-51-MAGIC (877-516-2442) for more information.

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Today is National Kitchen Klutzes of America Day

There are  lot of strange holidays, and this is one of our favorites. Celebrate your klutziness!

disaster1A klutz is someone who is clumsy, which can be truly dangerous in the kitchen.  Here are a few true kitchen disaster stories to celebrate the day. If you’re a kitchen klutz, save time and energy and buy some MagicKitchen.com meals instead!

It even happens to real chefs:

Clark Frasier And The Great Cheese Explosion
As anyone who’s attended a state fair can tell you, few things can’t be deep-fried. There are caveats, though — just ask Clark Frasier, the co-chef and co-owner of Maine restaurants Arrows and MC Perkins Cove. He once attempted to make a Latin-inspired cheese fritter, whipping up a farmer’s-cheese filling, encasing portions of it in dough and placing the little packets of deliciousness in the deep fryer. When they’d turned a beautiful deep gold color, he removed them — and then the explosions started. One fritter blew up and hit the ceiling, another went off in Frasier’s face and burned his lips. When the gooey blobs had disaster2settled, Frasier figured out that the dough he’d used was too tough, so the moisture in the cheese couldn’t release into the oil (and, therefore, shot out with a vengeance all over the kitchen). With a little research, Frasier might have known that it would’ve been better either to use a softer dough or just to fry the cheese on its own. Lesson: If you’re trying something brand new (and it involves hot oil or another potentially dangerous cooking element), do a quick Google search to make sure you aren’t setting yourself up for disaster.
-Huffington post

Here are a few stories from the Internet:

-my aunt put a few cans of baked beans in the oven to heat. She didn’t open them first, and they made a huge mess when the cans exploded.

My disaster moment came the day I disaster3thought it would be a good idea to save some dishes and just brown the veggies for my crock pot meal in the crock on the stove. When it cracked it sounded like someone had shot off a gun next to me. We ate out that night.

oh my. my husband (before we were married) and I were making some food for a group of friends we were having over. he was in charge of the rice. easy, right? … he had gone out and bought a 1kg bag (2lbs) of rice. he thought this would be a good amount to cook, suitable for the 10 people that were coming. he later called me telling me the rice would not stop “growing” out of the pot! they filled up 2 or 3 more pots with the rice that was overflowing and were scooping it with a dustpan since it was all he could find that was big enough to curb the disaster! i laughed for months. now, he laughs too

-It was my first year being married and my husband and I were spending it alone in Minnesota without any relatives or the normal family traditions to comfort us. I had planned dinner to be a combination of the best of both of our family favorites until the dog jumped up, knocking my elbow, sending the casserole across the room and eventually taking out a house plant and a freshly baked pie. I thought the world had ended.

We hope you enjoyed these stories, let us know if you have any of your own to share!

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Our Dialysis Friendly Meals and the Ease of Ordering

Chicken & Apple Curry With Jasmine Rice & Broccoli
Chicken & Apple Curry With Jasmine Rice & Broccoli- a Dialysis Friendly Meal

Generally speaking, we all should monitor what we put into our bodies, but for dialysis patients, diet is of critical importance as they must limit their intake of sodium, potassium and phosphorus and ensure they consume enough protein.  If you are a dialysis patient, you probably have other things on your mind than tracking how many milligrams of phosphorus you consumed over the past day.

Not to worry, we here at MagicKitchen.com can perform that chore for you while providing you with appetizing dialysis friendly meals at the same time.  And ordering them is as easy as “point and click.”

Our dialysis friendly meals all have reduced amounts of sodium, phosphorus and potassium, and the exact milligram information is provided with each meal.  We provide 40 different entrees to choose from, as well as breakfast and six vegetarian options.  We also offer six different meal packs to choose from.

Shrimp & Vegetable Linguine
Shrimp & Vegetable Linguine

Each meal pack consists of seven different meals to cover your entire week and if you order two or more you can receive a $10 discount.  And, as always, all your meal selections will be delivered, frozen, to your door.  You simply place them in your freezer and then re-heat them in your microwave to enjoy at the time of your choosing.

We have also streamlined our ordering process to make it as quick and easy as possible.  The process goes something like this:

  1. From our homepage at MagicKitchen.com, click on “dialysis friendly meals” to bringup our menu page.
  2. Click on the meals or meal packages you desire to add them to your cart.
  3. Once you’ve selected your meals, click “checkout.”
  4. Then, add any gift certificate or promo codes you might have.
  5. Next, input your 5-digit zip code to calculate your shipping costs.
  6. On the next screen, simply choose from your delivery date options.  Of course, the sooner you’d like your meals, the more FedEx will charge.
  7. Chicken Marsala With Rice & Peas & Carrots
    Chicken Marsala With Rice & Peas & Carrots – another dialysis meal from MagicKitchen.com

    Almost done…now, add your shipping address and payment info, click “submit order,” and expect your delicious, dialysis friendly meals to be delivered on the day you selected.

And if you ever get “lost” just click our “how to start” button from our home page and we’ll walk you through the ordering process from the beginning.  Finally, if you’re internet averse, simply call us at 877-51-MAGIC (877-516-2442) and we’ll discuss your meal options with you and answer any questions you might have.
Bon appetit!

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A Tribute to Dads (mine in particular)

welder1Yes, folks, Father’s Day is just around the corner and I thought I’d share a few humorous anecdotes about my 80-year-old dad that are still fresh in my mind despite the attempts of time to erase them from my memory.

My dad was forced to quit school at the age of 13 and is still the smartest man I’ve ever met (although age has slightly dulled the sharpness of his intellect).  His dad sent him off to work in a local automobile factory where he welded car frames just outside Huddersfield, England in 1949 as the country was still recovering from World War II.  He told this story, and continues to do so, in a vain attempt to toughen me up as I whined about trivial things in my life, such as when the arm came off my G.I. Joe or when I was denied use of the family car.

As I approached adulthood and went through the “difficult” years, I remember telling him that I didn’t care about his “stupid” life story and his version of the “having to walk 6 miles, uphill, to school in all types of weather” tale.  In fact, I told him that I never wanted to hear it again on several occasions.

Portrait of a smiling man with arms folded against white backgroundHowever, in 1991 as I traveled across the Kuwaiti desert during Operation Desert Storm, I desperately wanted my father to be there to relate that story to me once again and I thought about it often as the heat, sand, and events of war threatened to destroy my resolve.  When I returned home and revealed this fact to him, he simply said, “I didn’t know when, but I knew that story would help you at some point,” and as he said those words I’m sure I saw him do something I had never seen him do before…wipe a tear away from his eye (which he still adamantly denies to this day).

As a child, I remember my dad working long hours at the sheet metal shop and coming sheet-metal-shophome exhausted every evening.  During the summer months, my mom had her hands full with three young children to care for.  As a, shall we say, “mischievous” child, I got into more than my share of trouble and my mom would use the often heard refrain, “You just wait until your father gets home,” which usually meant a spanking of some type.

However, when I was ten I remember giving my younger brother what I deemed, an attractive haircut.  My mom deemed it otherwise.  I knew I had stepped in it yet again and waited with fear in my room for the inevitable squeaking of my door which would spell my doom.  My dad simply came in and said, “Son, I’m never going to hit you again.  It’s not the right thing to do (he would often ask me when I had a dilemma, “what’s the right thing to do?”).  But your mother expects me to give you a spanking, but I don’t want to fight that battle with her right now.”  We then proceeded to act out the spanking behind the closed door, complete with my dad hitting my bed with his belt and me crying out in feigned pain.  And he has never raised his hand in anger to me again.

hugLook, my dad  is and was not perfect, but he did the best he could for me and my siblings with the resources available to him, and I’m sure yours did the same.  I sometimes resented him, as all children do, but I have come to understand, as a father now myself, the immense difficulty of this…”job” isn’t the right word.  So, this Father’s Day do something simple and heartfelt for your dad…a thank you and a hug would probably suffice.  I know it’s all my dad requires.

Steve, MagicKitchen.com blogger

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Diabetic Diet Ideal for All

For the 21 million Americans with diabetes, losing and/or maintaining weight is of critical importance in order to avoid complications caused by the disease.  Most of them manage their weight through exercise and diet…and by diet I don’t necessarily mean being “on” a diet, because that implies their diet is temporary.  It is not.  It is the permanent state of making healthy food choices out of necessity.  It is a lifestyle, not a diet in the traditional sense, and we could all benefit from rethinking what the term “diet” entails as most diabetics already have.

carImagine, if you will, that you’re a car and you’re required to drive up a long, steady incline, which you complete without too much trouble.  Now imagine having to complete the same task with some “junk in your trunk,” say the concrete remains of a sidewalk that was just torn up.  You manage to make it up the hill, but your engine had to work a whole lot harder and as you climb that hill, day after day, parts begin to fail.  The same can happen to humans with excess weight (or too much junk in the trunk).  Complications ensue…heart disease, high blood pressure, increased risk of stroke, cancer, and type II diabetes.

scaleSo, as you can see, being overweight should be a concern to us all, not just diabetics. And one way to lose or maintain your weight is to follow the lifestyle choices most diabetics follow in terms of what and how they eat.  As always, most of us already know what’s healthy (fresh fruits and veggies, lean protein) and what is not (a venti cinnamon dolce latte, muffins the size of your head).  After all, this isn’t rocket science here.

One thing many diabetics do is strictly monitor and track what they consume.  In other words, they COUNT CALORIES…gasp!  And it’s a good idea for all of us.  Just count your caloric intake for a few days.  My guess is that the difference between what you believe that number to be and what it actually is will surprise you…in a bad, OMG way.  Another thing most diabetics do is plan their meals ahead of time and then stick to that plan…no spur of the moment stops at DQ for a $5 nail to place in your coffin. A diabetic diet just makes sense.

supermarketMany diabetics also limit the intake of their carbohydrates and consume non-starchy vegetables (avoid potatoes, corn and peas).  They also eat whole grains and avoid refined or processed flour and sugar (avoid Twinkies and Chips Ahoy cookies).  They eat only lean protein (fish, skinless chicken, pork, beans and soy products).  They eat fresh fruit and avoid the frozen or canned variety as they often have added sugar.  And lastly, they eat “healthy” fats such as those derived from avocados, olives, nuts and seeds.  Just remember, the best diet is one you can stay “on” forever.

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