A setting for friends.
I am continuing with this idea of the importance of things in addition to our health. I really do love to entertain. I think part of why I like to do that is because I am not a perfectionist, so I am fairly comfortable having people over when the house, etc. are not exactly perfect. The whole point is the camaraderie: the delight that being with friends provides. The cookbook author, Ina Garten, has lots of great, useful ideas: don’t serve spinach because it sticks to teeth, purchase some items to make preparation easier, serve dishes that can be prepared ahead of time. Remember that the goal is to enjoy the company of your friends. We have 2 groups that we get together with quite often & we often share the menus: everyone bringing some part of the meal. It usually works great & no one is overwhelmed. I encourage everyone to take pleasure in eating with friends. That is a wonderful way to enjoy others. This is one of my favorite menues for a party:
beef fajitas with extras: guacamole, queso, sour cream, tomatoes, onions
guacamole & queso with chips for appetizers
chocolate cake, for dessert
beer, marguerites & tea
Well, I think the most recent post had much merit. Maybe we were emphasizing the wrong things: our appearance. I think that is because it seems it is something we might have a bit of control over. We really can’t control our health but we certainly can do those things that improve our sense of well being. So I am suggesting a wonderful hobby. Is that a bad word? Anyway, bird watching is a passion of mine. It was a real interest for our parents and after they moved to the Golden Triangle in 1960 it was a wonderful activity. The Texas coast is a flyway for lots of migratory birds. If you are interested in birds at all, you will see lots of variety. My friend who lives in the country has invited me out to lunch or dinner several times and one of the charms of their home is the birds. She has several feeders & gets lots of different birds. She has finches, chickadees, titmice, cardinals, jays, doves of course, and sometimes she has painted buntings!!! Wow! Have you ever seen one? That inspired me to pay more attention to the birds in my own yard. I have put up a couple of new feeders with different seed. I may even put out dried mealy worms to attract bluebirds. I encourage you all to watch the birds in your yards. There is something about birds: their colors, their movement, their bright eyes, their presence in our lives that makes them worthy of our interest. I hope someday to go to south Texas to see some of the birds migrating south to Mexico & beyond: hawks, hummingbirds, cranes… What a glorious sight.
One of the rules which we listed in the very first post was the importance of good posture. For some reason, that is not easy for me, and if you look around at John Q. Public, it is very quickly apparent that poor posture makes for a generally poor presentation. I have been doing a little research about how to develop and maintain good posture. First of all, what is it? The consensus seems to be a straight back, squared shoulders, chin up, chest out and stomach in. From the side, the ear, shoulder, hip, knee and ankle should align. Oh my gosh!! I just looked at my posture from the side: my head thrusts forward like a turtle. I even sorta have that turtle neck. OK, what can be done? I found several websites which had some very good excercises and suggestions for sitting or standing straight and tall. The best one seemed to be www.wikihow.com/Improve-your-posture. There are also several braces which can be worn, the goal of which is to train your body to maintain correct posture. They are not meant to be worn all the time. Actually, the author of the wikihow article suggests using tape on your back for a few weeks so that you would feel yourself slumping over. Both of my sisters have good posture as did our mother. I don’t know how I slipped up. Certainly our mother often chided us to sit or stand up straight. Remember that? I shall try the excercises and suggestions first before purchasing the brace and will report back on the results. The June, 2014, issue of Oprah Winfrey’s magazine “O” featured 9 women, ages 16 to 100. They all look great and have very good posture.
When the sisters came to visit recently, I knew I’d better serve an anti-inflammatory dinner. So I did. I used some redfish my husband had just caught. It was pretty tasty for being so healthy.
1 red onion, thinly sliced
3 c red wine vinegar
1/2 c olive oil
3 t ancho chile powder
3 t dried oregano
1 t cumin
1/2 c tightly packed, chopped cilantro
2 jalapenos, chopped fine
2 # flakey white fish, cut into 8 pieces
fresh tomato salsa
Put sliced onion in bowl and pour in enough red wine vinegar to cover. Set aside for at least 30 minutes. Will keep for several weeks in refrigerator
Pour olive oil into a bowl and add the spices, cilantro and jalopena. Mix well. Place fish in a dish and pour the marinade over it, making sure to coat well on both sides. Marinate for 20 minutes.
Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat. Remove the fish from the marinade and place in the hot pan. (No additional oil is needed.) Season with salt and cook for 4 minutes, undisturbed. Turn over and cook an additioanl 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and flake the fish in the pan with a fork, making sure to mix in all the marinade that has stuck to the bottom of the pan. Check for seasoning and add salt if necessary.
Heat the tortillas. To assemble, place a heaping spoonful of the fish in the tortilla, top with onions and dollop of the Mexican crema. Serve with the salsa on the side. Garnish with lime wedges and cilantro.
I accompanied the dish with pinto beans. Was delicious!!
Unlike my sister, I never forget my sunglasses. I had some “work” done recently and have been unable to exercise for about a week. I was able to return to walking last week and have not missed a day since. I worked out with a personal trainer for about 4 years, I was trying to get in shape for our daughter’s wedding, and then kept at it because our two sons got married the following summer. (Was trying to have decent arms for the sleeveless dresses.) I quit last October because I seemed to have other things that needed me more, grandbabies, and it was rather time consuming. Like the bikram yoga, you had to shower afterwards. I do miss it. The trainer was excellent, and I believe his training has enabled me to do things with the babies that I might have struggled with otherwise: like getting up off the floor holding an infant, carrying a 2 year old everywhere because she wants me to, carrying both toddlers because they want their SuSu. Impossible to resist that request! Anyway, I do realize that walking is great, but something else is required to keep the other muscles going. I’m not sure what I am going to do, maybe yoga. I considered joining a gym but I visited one that opened near my house and could tell pretty quickly that I would not utilize it. If anyone has ideas about this, please share. And at some other time I will share about the “work” that I had done.
The sisters and I have been going on trips together for a rather lengthy time. Our mother used to go with us and the trips were often very local and short but we did travel to New Mexico with her several times. After her death in 2011, we pledged to each other that we would see each other every month and take an annual trip. Because two of us live across the golf course from each other, they see each other almost daily. I am in Austin so seem to get left out of that but I would never miss our trips. And we always seem to discuss the “changes” in our health, appearance, etc. which we are experiencing. This last trip, which was to Brenham, TX, was even richer in that respect because we were in a beautiful setting and found ourselves without a lot of activities. Consequently, we spent much of our time visiting on a wonderful back porch overlooking a field of wildflowers, mostly horsemint and black-eyed Susans. We even thought we spotted an ermine, which turned out to be a white, plastic bag. Anyway, we do think we have some insights to share but also think that others might have wisdom to provide that everyone of us could benefit from. I am hoping that my 29 year old daughter will listen to the advice about the sunscreen and sunglasses and exercise and all of it. Certainly the benefits will be greater the younger you begin.
We are three sisters who have lived in Texas all of our lives. We now find that we’re rapidly approaching the age of 70. Yikes! We were never very careful (actually quite casual) about sun exposure, but we all eat fairly healthy diets and are in good health. While spending three days together at a bed & breakfast in Brenham, we decided to set some rules to follow for the rest of our lives:
- Exercise faithfully.
- Get a good hair cut.
- Be as healthily thin as possible.
- Maintain good posture.
- Keep teeth white & healthy.
- Buy fewer clothes but better clothes.
- Wear only becoming colors.
- Keep feet looking good.
- Use sun screen!
- Wear sunglasses.
- Wear lipstick.
- Get adequate sleep.
- Avoid inflammatory foods.
Sarah (age 69)
Our mother lived to the age of 100 and our dad to the age of 85. It’s not that I want to live a really long time, but I’d like to be able to participate in life as long as I live—and to look reasonably good while doing it.
When I returned from Brenham, I drank green tea rather than coffee the following morning. I soon developed a dull head ache. But good news! It was quickly relieved by a couple of cups of coffee. (Martha suggested coffee in the morning and tea in the afternoon.) Since I’d been out of town, I needed to make a trip to the grocery store where I shopped for anti-inflammatory foods like sweet potatoes, blueberries, garlic and broccoli. I also bought a new lipstick called Volcanic!
We are also walkers and gardeners. Not much gardening today.—Too rainy. But I managed to get my 30-minute walk done this morning. We are hoping to hike the Cotswolds next May with a cousin and a couple of husbands.
The three of us plan to stick to these rules as closely as possible for about six months. Will we look and feel better at the end of that time? We thought you might enjoy following our progress. Maybe we’ll include a few recipes that feature anti-inflammatory ingredients.