GABBY COOKS – 3 can quickie

Clean & serene living means learning healthy habits and good eating.  And I love recipes that are quick and simple.  Here’s one of my new favorites.  It serves 2.

Dangit!!  I need a meeting tonight and I’ve got just 1/2 hour to fix supper and eat.  I have only $2 in my wallet so I can’t do Mickey D’s.  Let me see what’s in the pantry.

These are the ingredients

  1. (1) 15 oz can seasoned mixed greens
  2. (1) 15 oz can seasoned black-eyed peas
  3. (1) 8 3/4 oz can yellow sweet corn
  4. (4)  5″ corn tortillas

DIRECTIONS

  1. Empty the cans into a sauce pot and heat
  2. While that’s heating, quarter the tortillas and fry in a fry pan in about 1/4 of oil
  3. Serve the corn chips atop or with the soup
  4. Eat and get to that meeting!

GABBY COOKS-stewed chicken breast

Clean & serene living means learning healthy habits and good eating.  And I love recipes that are quick and simple.  Here’s one of my new favorites.  It serves 2.

I have always preferred dark chicken meat, legs & thighs, thinking it to be more flavorful.  But, chicken breast with skin and bone intact is a healthy alternative  and equally delicious.  I believe it cooks up moister and more tender than skinless & boneless breast.

When my recipe uses crushed garlic and herbs, I sprinkle the crushed garlic on my cutting board with the herbs and a pinch of salt and then chop vigorously.  The resulting blend works nicely in any recipe, especially when one of the herbs is dried rosemary.  

These are the ingredients

 

  1. (1) plump chicken breast with skin and bone
  2. (1) 14oz can of diced tomatoes
  3. (4) medium-sized red potatoes, unpeeled and diced
  4. (1/2) cup diced onions
  5. (2) strips bacon sliced into bite sized pieces
  6. (1/2) cup diced pepper, green or any color
  7. (2) TBSP butter
  8. (2) TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  9. (1/2) tsp dried rosemary
  10. (2) cloves garlic smashed
  11. salt & pepper to taste
  12. optional 1/2 TBSP dried parsley
  13. optional 1/2 tsp dried thyme 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. in a heavy stew pot render the bacon and drain excess fat 
  2. add the butter and olive oil and heat till butter is melted
  3. place the chicken breast skin side down in the oil and butter and brown lightly
  4. remove the chicken breast
  5. add the garlic and onions and saute till golden, do not scorch the garlic
  6. add the potatoes and green pepper, stirring to coat and allow to cook about 4 minutes
  7. add the seasonings and the can of tomatoes, stir to mix all the ingredients
  8. place the chicken breast, skin side up, atop all and cover with tight lid
  9. reduce heat to barely bubbling, you want this to cook slowly
  10. check often and stir to prevent scorching
  11. tomatoes and potatoes should add enough moisture, you want this a thick stew-like consistency, but add water or broth if necessary
  12. cook for about 45 minutes

TO SERVE

Remove the chicken breast to a cutting board and allow to set about 5 minutes.  Remove the skin and meat from the bone.  Slice the meat.  This can be eaten as a plate entrée or a bowl-style stew.  If plating it, spoon a generous helping of potato mixture on the plate and top with the chicken slices.  If serving as a stew, spoon a hearty helping of potato mixture into the bowl, add the chicken slices and blend.

 

Wimps

Picture1.pngstep9 (2)               SOBRIETY IS NOT FOR WIMPS

The initial act of embracing a lifestyle which denies the greatest crutch available to mankind – substance abuse – is in itself heroic and worthy of Congressional medals.  OK, so the fact that the majority of people don’t use alcohol and drugs as crutches is irrelevant.  We’re talking about you and me – addicts who have been hooked on alcohol or heroin – not normal social users.  We’re talking about men and women who could not survive a day without a fix.  Denying our bodies and minds that which enabled survival in another day of addictive behavior was not a wimpy thing to do.  It took courage.

But, day one of recovery was just the tip of an iceberg.  Days two, three and four brought to our broken minds and bodies a realization of  the gravity of our disease.  Many of us could not conceive of a lifetime void of our crutches.  We slipped, relapsed, gave up – WIMPED OUT.

That is said with the greatest love and compassion for those who still suffer.  Recovery, in my mind, is not based on merit or worthiness.  It is indeed a gift of grace, but it is also a journey into the most difficult undertaking any of us will ever attempt.  Throwing away that crutch can be the most terrorizing endeavor any of us will face.  When one of us has a relapse, all of us shake in our boots because we know that “there but for the grace of God go I.”

But a life facing enemy number one everyday does not need to be a life of daily terror.  We have garnered the necessary tools to fight addiction.  We have the armor available to end each 24 hour period successfully and joyfully sober.  We have a Higher Power who wants us to be warriors.

During those initial days of sober living a friend of Bill’s told me, “Y’all just stay sober today even if your arse falls off.  And if it does, drag it to a meeting.”

It’s a simple concept, this sobriety thing, but it can be terrifying.  Don’t wimp out.  A sober life can be one helluva ride.

UNSHACKLED 2

 

GABBY COOKS – rotini & sirloin

Clean & serene living means learning healthy habits and good eating.  And I love recipes that are quick and simple.  Here’s one of my new favorites.  It serves 2.

I’m not trying to convince anybody that I’m a gourmet cook or even a good cook.  But, I love made-from-scratch meals with minimal ingredients that take less than 1/2 an hour cooking time and, most importantly, don’t break the bank.  That’s not too much to ask for, is it?

ROTINI & SIRLOIN  is a man-sized meal on a shoe-string budget.  Serve it with a nice green salad and a side of cooked fresh carrots.  Carrots are one of the least expensive vegetables in my grocery store and soooo healthy.

These are the ingredients

 

  1. 1/2 pound ground SIRLOIN
  2. (2) cups ROTINI (uncooked)
  3. (6) cups WATER salted like the sea
  4. (4) tbsp BUTTER
  5. (2) tbsp FLOUR
  6. up to 2 cups MILK
  7. (2) cloves crushed GARLIC
  8. (1) cup shredded cheese – a mix of PARMESAN & SHARP CHEDDAR
  9. (1) small can MUSHROOMS
  10. (1) tsp dried OREGANO
  11. (1) tbsp dried PARSLEY
  12. SALT & PEPPER to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large pot bring the salted water to a boil and add the pasta.  Cook according to package directions.
  2. In a large skillet brown the ground sirloin trying not to break it up too much.  Keep it chunky.  Cook until no longer pink.
  3. Drain the meat, add the butter and over a low heat melt the butter.
  4. Add the garlic.
  5. Add the mushrooms and cook in the butter for a few minutes.
  6. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture in the pan and stir to cover all the ingredients.
  7. Cook the flour till it is golden, stirring continually.
  8. Turn up the heat to a medium low and add a cup of the milk stirring continually.
  9. When the sauce begins to thicken add more milk to bring it to a creamy, smooth consistency.
  10. Add the parsley and oregano.
  11. Finally, add the cheese and stir until blended and smooth.
  12. Ladle with a slotted spoon the pasta into the pan with the sirloin sauce and stir to cover the rotini completely.
  13. Add some of the reserved pasta water, a spoonful at a time, if the pasta is too thick.

 

 

Step 3 revisited

Clean and serene in a crazy world

UNSHACKLED 2

“Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”  ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS step 3, pg 59 in How it Works.

When was the last time you read those words or listened to them recited at a meeting of other recovering alcoholics?  Do we understand fully the significance of this life-saving concept which gave us the credentials to be a part of God’s family even after years of separation and denial ?

At my 1st AA meeting I was scared, I was sick, I was morally and spiritually bankrupt.  I knew I was going to die either by a black-out car wreck or by suicide.  My personal life was a disaster and my job was in jeopardy.  Most of my friends abandoned me, a few stood by me, but all knew that Larry was a sick puppy.  All except Larry.

You see, Larry had learned to play the game.  I’m talking about that mind game we alcoholics master at some point in our drinking careers.  I had my list of scapegoats lined up to cover every conceivable mishap in my life.  I conned, connived, and lied my way through the car wrecks, the lost jobs, the broken relationships, the days of alcohol-induced sickness.  In the end days of my drinking I truly believed my own cons.  Finally, reaching out to mental health services at the hospital in desperation, the psychologist assigned to me listened to my con for one minute before asking, “How much do you drink?”

My surrender was immediate because I was sick of being sick.  I replied, “A few beers once in a while,” but I knew then in the psychologist’s office that the only person I had been conning all this time was me.

“My name is Larry, and I’m an alcoholic,” I announced at my 1st AA meeting.

There, I had done it.  For the first time in many years I got honest with myself.  And then I listened.  I tried to convince myself that I was not as bad as they were.  But, I found myself relating to what they were saying and agreeing, “Yeah, I did that, too.  That’s me.”

Someone talked about God and I freaked.  “You don’t really believe that stuff, do you? There is no God.  Intelligent people don’t need God.  I sure as hell don’t need God.”

A fellow at the end of the table quietly responded, “And look where that got you.  You’re sitting in a room at a table with a bunch of drunks.”

Again, that moment of surrender.  “OK, OK, you’re right.  Maybe I’m not as smart as I thought I was.  I’ll listen to your stories about God.”

And so it began, my journey in sobriety.  The God of my understanding was nothing like the God of my childhood which had burdened me with guilt and shame for 34 years of my life.  It was a unique feeling, a devotion which I had never before experienced, this God of my understanding.  What an amazing concept!

Today I celebrate that I am no longer excluded from a worshipful relationship with a higher power just because I don’t profess the ‘right’ God according to other people.  I no longer feel unworthy just because I’m a broken man trying to be a better man.  I no longer feel condemned to hell just because I’m not convinced by their idea of heaven.

Are you in love with sobriety?  I am.  Do you remember your first meeting?  I do. Amazing, isn’t it, that we should be loved so much by a God of our understanding?

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.  Thy will, not mine, be done.”

 

 

GABBY COOKS – mac & cheese

Clean & serene living means learning healthy habits and good eating.  And I love recipes that are quick and simple.  Here’s one of my new favorites.

What’s more comforting than home-made macaroni and cheese?  And even better is this stove-top recipe which eliminates a baking dish and a 45 minute wait while it bakes in the oven.  This dish is table ready in 12 minutes.

These are the ingredients

 

baking-butter-flour-94443

Image result for mueller's pasta

  1. (2) cups dry elbow macaroni
  2. (4) quarts water salted like the sea and brought to a rapid boil
  3. (4) tbsp. unsalted butter
  4. (2) tbsp. flour
  5. up to 3 cups milk
  6. (2) cups sharp cheddar cheese shreds
  7. salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large pot bring the 4 quarts salted water to a boil
  2. Cook the macaroni as directed on the package
  3. In a saucepan melt the butter over a low heat
  4. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and stir for several minutes
  5. When it turns golden, add about 1 cup milk and stir again
  6. Stir until the sauce turns creamy and increase the heat to a medium low
  7. Add more milk until it is creamy and smooth
  8. Add the cheese and stir again until it is thoroughly blended
  9. Salt and pepper as desired
  10. When macaroni is done ladle it out into the cheese sauce with a slotted spoon
  11. Blend until the pasta is evenly coated.
  12. If the macaroni and cheese is too thick and gooey add a spoonful at a time of the pasta water until it is deliciously creamy and smooth