Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cooking for Mom, 93 years young

My Mom loves T.V. dinners that I put in the blender and turn into tasty soups!

I look for T.V. dinners with the highest iron and protein content, add some broth to the blender, add the cooked TV dinner and blend on the ice crusher setting to a smooth consistency.

We call this "soup" at our house. My husband loves "Healthy Choice" soups. I take a bit of the broth as he cooks "his soup" and add it to the blender before adding the prepared, microwaved TV dinner for Mom. My husband adds pirogies to his soup and I have blended them into Mom's soup on occasion.

An easy meal for Mom is blending the TV dinner into a bit of broth.

If I gave Mom the TV dinner she would never eat the entire dinner, perhaps spit out the meat or anything not soft enough. At age 93 I think perhaps one might get tired of chewing on occassion. Via the blended TV dinner into a bit of broth to make the blender work, Mom gets a nutritious soup as every calorie is important.

Swedish meatballs and noodles, salisbury steak and mashed potatoes, all have worked fine to date blended into soup. Mom finishes the entire TV dinner as a big bowl of soup.

If you are preparing meals for an aged loved one that lives with you or anyone needing soft foods and you can not always prepare from scratch, remember the blender!

When I cook a green vegetable, I put it and some of the liquid into the blender and add butter, whole milk, protein powder or non-fat dry milk to make a palatable green vegetable soup for Mom. Green beans, asparagus, broccoli, all work great.

I add cheese to the broccoli for a cheddar cheese brocolli soup.

Mom is a blessing.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Foods for Those Who Can Not Chew

What to eat when you can not chew

Us older baby boomers did not have flouride in our water and tend to have much dental work unlike my sister, a younger boomer, who has never had a cavity!

My 93 year young Mom needs to have her food pureed because her lower denture nolonger has bone to secure it. Her new upper denture is snug as a rug.

I purchased a good quality food/meat grinder and ended up throwing it out.

I had no idea that my simple Cuisinart blender that crushes ice, can be used to prepare wonderful steak soups, pureed barbecue chicken, lovely brocolli dishes whose delicate green color remind us of spring and such delicate flavored soups as green bean. I combine the vegetables with the liquid they were cooked in and either whole milk for my Mom or Almond Milk for my husband who is allergic to all dairy products as he was as a child. I add butter to most foods for my Mom but no fat for my husband.

I have added food grade thickeners, potato, noodles or whatever we are having with our dinner to the blender for Mom's meal. When Mom asked for spaghetti soup, I pondered and thought it an interesting idea. I put about 1/2 cup of cooked spaghetti sauce in the blender, added a few noodles and snuck in a small piece of white meat of chicken (a bit smaller than a deck of cards) and thinned with chicken broth to the consistency per our hospital dietitian's instruction. My Mom enjoyed the soup very much.

Barbecued chicken is also easy to puree into a smooth food. Place about 1/4 - 1/2 cup barbecue sauce (cooked) into the blender with a small piece of cooked chicken.
I added 1/2 of a small cooked potato as a filler to smooth the puree as Mom wants everything to be as smooth as possible, otherwise food bits will get under her lower denture and hurt as she eats. I made my own barbecue sauce on this occasion but think almost any barbecue sauce would work as long as it is not too hot in flavor.

Thankgoodness for "Thick-it" to thicken drinks enabling swallowing for those with dysphasia and protein powder for added protein on days when we have not met our 50-60grams of protein per day as instructed. In our case, Mom is to have 50-60 grams of protein per day.

At 93 years, we are pleased she enjoys food and for the original suggestion of what
to add to Mom's foods, a huge thanks to Stacey == Stacey my Mom loves food again because of Y O U!
Thanks to Stacey's incredible team too!

Mom will certainly enjoy her grandson Andrew's 18th birthday this December 23,
thanks to wonderful, caring dietitians.
If you need additional details don't hesitate to email me at

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Problems with Waring Food Grinder

I am having nothing but problems with my new Waring MG100 Food Grinder. My first grind was fine. Two weeks have passed and the grinding blades are rusting and the machine does not work.

I purchased this grinder as it was recommended by the salesperson who said it was an incredible grinder that her mother used.
I would love to talk to anyone that has this grinder. I put in small chunks of chicken today but no luck and a big mess.

A waste of good food, my time, energy, money, and most of all, the potential for my Mom to get the nutrition one of 93 yrs so desparately needs.

I am very disappointed, felt I was mislead by the sales person who I will call in the A.M. as well as Waring. Waring made the first blender that I ever owned. I was devoted and loyal to the company until my experience with this product. I do not wish to bother with the postage to send it back but maybe they might figure out the problem and prevent this from happening to another person caring for an elderly parent!

Maybe mine just happened to be a "lemon"?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Homemade Blueberry Pancakes

My 93 year young Mom is a bit particular about what she eats but homemade blueberry pancakes are a hit! I use whole grain flour with some unbleached flour to make the pancakes a bit lighter and easier to eat. I mixed a handful of fresh blueberries into the batter at the last moment while cooking the pancakes. At age 93 years, one rarely gobbles anything but the blueberry pancakes disappeared as I had hoped.

Cooked berries appear to be easier for the elderly to consume. I put them in at the last minute and watch them swell while cooking, some burst to release the wonderful color and aroma into the cooking pancake.

I grow blueberries in my garden. One needs to plant different varieties to get berries. I have three blueberry varieties growing in my yard that produce a couple handfuls of berries each year. Once ripe, I pick them quickly.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Fast Summer Enriched Cheesecake

I hate to turn the oven on in the summer when it is very warm outside but wanted to make a rich cheesecake for my Mom.

I decided to make the "No Bake" Jello brand cheesecake, follow the directions exactly and add one 8 ounce package of softened cream cheese to the mixture while blending with the hand mixer. Thus, the cheese mixture included the packet provided, one and one half cups whole milk, as directed, and in addition a softened 8ounce package of creamcheese. If I were making this for me I would use the reduced fat Neuchatel.

The cheesecake came our great, like a European one -- not as sweet as a U.S. cheesecake. It is the closest thing I have eaten to a New York type cheesecake without doing any baking.

I also decided to leave the sugar out of the crust as my Mom has been complaining that foods are "too sweet".

The problem is that the cheesecake is too good and I can not keep myself out of it and I am not the one supposed to be gaining weight!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Making Beignet (French Doughnuts)

I am looking forward to making beignet (French doughnuts) for my Mom. She has never been to New Orleans and Cafe Du Monde but truly loves doughnuts.

I purchased a box of the Cafe Du Monde, original French Market coffee stand, beignet mix during a recent visit to Jungle Jim's in Cincinnati, Ohio. I have seen the mixd in stores at home in the Greater Cleveland area but had more time to look for it on a recent vacation trip to Cincinnati. I used to have to order the mix but it is carried in many grocery stores.

I have never seen a food store like Jungle Jim's. Jungle Jim's started as a small fruit market when we lived in Cincinnati long ago. It has grown to not only have every item from every country one can desire or imagine, but Jungle Jim's has a cooking school.

I would love to take classes in a cooking school but for now am content to make the beignet's for my Mom.

If you find yourself in Cincinnati, in addition to eating Cincinnati chili, buying bagels, and getting ice cream and wonderful baked goods at Graeter's, give yourself plenty of time to see Jungle Jim's, a few hours at least!

Don't forget to get a map of the grocery store, remember where you parked, and visit the country of your choice within the store.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Nachos for Mom

On a recent trip to Charlotte, we learned that my 93 year young Mom loves black beans, chips, cheese sauce, and salsa. When I gave it to her once at home, no interest. However, on our trip she not only loved it but asked me to get the recipe!

I took my husband and Mom to Charlotte where I attended the American Coatings Show as I was in the category of exhibitor for one of my clients, and have published and am continuing to publish articles in APCJ: Asia Pacific Coatings Journal and PPCJ: Polymer Paint Colour Journal.

The trip was a wonderful adventure for Mom as she liked seeing an early spring. We drove no more than 200 miles per day. Most important, the trip gave us ideas as to how to prepare some new meals and snacks that Mom will enjoy.

We took Mom to a famous steakhouse and talked to the chef about preparing a filet mignon for her that she could chew. My husband said it melted in his mouth but Mom could not chew it.

What Mom loved was the nachos every evening at Embassy Suites in Charlotte. Mom had me call to find out their recipe. I also talked to the physician assistant at Mom's doctor's office who told me to take a piece of velveta cheese and about half that amount of sour cream, place in the microwave, stir, and the result is a wonderful cheese sauce that is just soft enough, yet not too soft.

The velveta sour cream mixture does not stick on Mom's teeth, a complaint she has about the melted cheese on pizza, grilled cheese sandwiches, etc. I have a dentist appointment scheduled for her to find out why food feels like it is sticking.

McDonalds is never a problem. She eats her entire fish sandwich, fries, apple pie, etc., yet when I make the same fish at home "it does not go down".

Thanks to McDonalds, Mom is a member of the clean plate club.

We have a wonderful waitress at a local Chinese restaurant that has the big bowl of shrimp chips waiting for Mom.

Mom's doctor says have her eat anything she wishes. Too bad for us that Mom does not like milkshakes but loves potato salad with lots of real mayonnaise.

I make the potato salad so that my husand may eat it with non fat Miracle Whip and for Mom's portions, add lots of real mayonnaise.

Have I gained weight in the 1 1/2 years Mom has been with us, you bet and I only lick the spoon on occasion!

Monday, February 15, 2010


I have used many sourdough starters in the past. I had one terrific starter that remains in my freezer but I am hesitant to defrost it. I have decided to start a few others to decide what works best in my area, the Midwest.

I made rye bread yesterday but it does not have enough of a sourdough taste. The bread is otherwise good and the slices came out heart-shaped, appropriate for Valentine's day.

Today I started making a new starter using only unbleached flour and water to try to "catch" potentially useful and tasteful organisms for my starter. I have read that it might be better to start with whole wheat flour as it contains potentially more organisms. but I started with unbleached flour.

In the past I have made starters using potato flakes, yeast, and various types
of flours.

Today's attempt is my first starting with only unbleached flour and water. I placed the ingredients in a wide-mouth glass jar and hope to see some interesting bubbles in my mixture soon. I have wanted to try this simple method for sometime.

The air in our area of the country does not have the same mixture of micro-organisms one finds in San Francisco, however, it will be interesting for me to find out our potential using the simplest method I know of to create a starter.

I will watch my sourdough starter most carefully for any unwanted colors or growths.

My goal is a perfect culture of micro-organisms in a symbiotic relationship.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Muffin Mixes and Others

My nephew has 30 food allergies. My sister discovered that she can use certain muffin mixes by adding water and oil to the mix, instead of the required egg and/or milk, and the muffins come out wonderful.

My nephew is allergic to soy, rice, almond milk, cow's milk, eggs, nuts, etc.

My husband is allergic to dairy products. He is not allergic to nuts or soy. Almond or rice milk works fine added to store bought baking mix products. To date I have tried brownies, blueberry muffins, and layer cakes. I also substitute almond milk for some of the oil required in the recipe per his diet. If the brownie recipe is too sweet, such as some of the fat-free mixes, I add 1/2 cup flour and a bit more liquid for a less sweet baked brownie.

I wonder how pumpkin pie will turn out using almond milk instead of the milk suggested on the canned pumpkin? Check back to find out!

Spicing Up Hot Drinks

The snow makes me want a hot drink.

A dash of cayenne pepper sprinkled into my hot cocoa gives it a wonderful punch. If you try it be very, very careful not to overdue and make sure you are not allergic to the pepper.

I do not put cayenne pepper in my Mom's cocoa bur top it with whipped cream and sometimes a bit of cinnamon.

For coffee, I add cinnamon to the grounds before brewing. It seems to give the coffee a smooth flavor.

Does anyone have any suggestions for variation on winter comfort drinks?