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Life ... It's Why We Cook.

I Continue. It Continues. 
Dec. 2, 2010 5:18 pm 
Updated: Dec. 8, 2010 5:33 am
You’d think that a person with seven doctors appointments in the course of the next two weeks would be a fall-down physical wreck kissing the toenails of the grim reaper. According to all the medical folks, I’m in very good health. It has been a year since my attempts to live healthier began so, it is time for re- evaluation. Lab results have come back and no indications of any problem. A CAT scan was negative. There may be a circulation problem in my left leg but it seems to be minor- if there is a problem. A precautionary biopsy will be taken next week for a spot on my face. In January, I am scheduled for a full body (PET) scan at the University of Michigan Medical Center.
At this point, I have been given the all clear to begin a regimen of diet and exercise. The medicals are leaving it to me to develop my own program. There is not any recommended program because everybody has unique requirements. So, I’ll find a dietician or nutritionist for my starting point and begin a new way of eating. After that, I’ll begin an exercise regimen as outlined by Richard Sears, MD in his book,"Prime-Time Health".

I’m very impressed with the vegetable broth that I’ve been making from what used to be garbage. I don’t understand why I never thought of using the cast off. It (now) seems so obvious! Tonight, I’m fixing beef stew for supper. The beef is a left over from the freezer and the cooking liquid is the vegetable broth. I just tasted it and it is OMG Good! The broth is very rich in flavor and complements the beef perfectly.
I have enough scraps for another eight pints. I’ll can it tomorrow.

On Monday, I infringed on my wife’s territory and baked my "Fruit and Nut Wreath Cake" (fruitcake). It will be left wrapped to age until Christmas Eve. This year, I decided to do something different with it. Instead of candied fruit, I used a dried fruit mix that had a light confectioners sugar coating. This reduced the amount of sugar considerably and provided a greater variety of fruit. I did have to chop it into smaller pieces but the extra work may be worth the effort. I was tempted to replace the sugar entirely by using honey but, because the cake is so heavy, I was afraid it wouldn’t cook down enough. Also, I slow roasted half of the pecans to intensify their flavor. If it works out deliciously, I’ll have to rewrite the recipe. (Or write it as another recipe.)

Where'd this come from?
Me: I’m going to do my fruitcake today.
DW: In my kitchen?
Me: In our kitchen! I contributed to the mortgage, also.
DW: Well, if spilled blood and scorched pots are contributions to the mortgage then, I guess, you would be the sole owner!
Me: Cute! Very cute!
DW: Are you going to use anything sharp or breakable?
Me: Knock it off!
DW: Aww! Poor, poor hubby! Did I hurt the feeling of my pweshus tendew hubby? Poor, poor hubby!
Me: Nice sarcasm! What’s next? Skin me and throw me into a salt pile?
DW: You’ll find some way of doing that yourself. I’m just a witness. Oh! We’re off the topic. You said I should call the paramedics?
Me: All I said was I’m going to cook my fruitcake today.
DW: Same thing.
Dec. 2, 2010 5:42 pm
Continued good thoughts to you, Mike. And send me a slice of your fruitcake, Preferably a piece without bloodstains on it. lol. Your wife sounds like a riot!
Dec. 2, 2010 5:52 pm
mike...good luck! i'm concerned the doctors did not give you more guidance in terms of finding someone to help you more...they seem to be the folks in the best poistion to suggest someone...just saying. anyways ....move away from the fruit cake slowly, try snd kick that sucker out the door ( they are serious door-stops, btw) be careful they are heavy, wear some steel-toed boots and give that sucker a whack! hey...i'm glad your doing better! happy holidays!
Dec. 2, 2010 6:51 pm
Cheers to your health! Here's hoping you get yourself into a good diet/exercise regime and stick with it. Hope your fruitcakes were made without bloodshed or fire. :-)
Dec. 2, 2010 7:44 pm
Hmmm... I agree with Gary, great door stops. My boss & his wife made a fruitcake last night and way overcooked it, so my boss poured a bunch of Mogen David wine over it, covered it with a clean cloth, and they're hoping for an improvement. Could be good or could be a boat anchor. Glad to hear things are going well for you!
Dec. 2, 2010 9:54 pm
Oh Mike, Gotta loves Wifies with a Wicked sense of humor! And darn how come Calif isn't closer to Michigan! I need a piece of your FC! I love it and it seems like such a waste to make it just for me, plus I do not need to eat the whole cake, you know, the caboose trailing me? LOL. I do have a place to get a small FC, it's about 10 bucks, I will have to suck it up and buy it, last year I was too cheap. I am soo Very happy to hear about your continued health improvement. Congrats to you!!
Dec. 3, 2010 5:36 am
LOL! Thanks for the laugh this morning! So glad you got a good report!
Dec. 3, 2010 5:37 am
Oh, I meant to ask about the vegetable broth.
Dec. 3, 2010 8:13 am
So glad your tests have come back negative! I haven't had fruitcake in 20 years. Yours sounds delicious!
Dec. 3, 2010 1:32 pm
Thanks, Linnie! I didn't get too many bloodstains on the fruitcake this year. I must be getting better in the kitchen. A riot? My wife? Yeah, right. Say that when you are on the receiving end! :)
Dec. 3, 2010 1:34 pm
I'm going to invite myself to GA and take Gary a Holiday Wreath Cake because he hates fruitcake. I bet he'll change his mind.
Dec. 3, 2010 1:36 pm
Thanks, Mother Ann! Any bloodstains on the fruitcake are what I'll call cherry juice. Easy, eh?
Dec. 3, 2010 1:38 pm
Manolia Blossom has been brainwashed by Gary. When I go to GA I'll go thru IL and drop off a slice or two for her.
Dec. 3, 2010 1:55 pm
mike you're welcome anytime. forget the fruit cake, we got door-stops. be careful my friend and have a glorious holiday!
Dec. 3, 2010 2:25 pm
Hi Mike: I so look forward to your blogs, I finally looked up FTFF to find the broth that you are talking about, we compost here but I certainly can take it another step before it really has to be composted. I look forward to trying this....I LOVE FRUITCAKE, but I haven't made it in quite a few years, my mother-in-law makes a wonderful FC, but I would feel guilty taking even a tiny piece away from my husband enjoying it, so I leave it for him....praying that all goes well with your appointments, and also I loved your blog about your Thanksgiving, it sounded like a wonderful time.
Dec. 3, 2010 3:40 pm
Wicked wife humor is a biting thing, Patty Cakes! If fruitcake is made correctly, it will only get better in time provided it is stored in an airtight container. So, if you don't need to worry that you cannot eat it. You have plenty of time.
Dec. 3, 2010 3:46 pm
SD, the vegetable broth is made from the parings and peelings from dinner preparation. I put them in a one gallon size zip bag until the bag is full. I then put them in the strainer of the pasta pot, barely cover with water and bring to a boil then simmer for a few hours. I get six to eight pints each time. The idea is from the blog of Fight the Fat Foodie who is dedicated to great food being made right. Check out his blog.
Dec. 3, 2010 3:48 pm
Thank you,again, Nurse Ellen! I keep tinkering with the fruitcake with the intention that it will no longer be a health nemisis. I've succeeded moderately so I keep tinkering.
Dec. 3, 2010 3:50 pm
Leave the Holiday Wreath Cake? Gary, you ask too much. I will be glad to make sure you enjoy it!
Dec. 3, 2010 3:53 pm
Thank you, Janet! Every time I make it I tweak it to be a little bit healthier. Every time is marked by apprehension about the results. I won't find out until it has aged at least two weeks.
Dec. 4, 2010 5:03 pm
Hiya Mike! So very happy to hear about your good report from your doctors. (clapping hands) About that Fruit Cake. As long as it's soaked in a good burbon, then ......
Dec. 4, 2010 5:20 pm
hey mike, i started saving my scraps from my veggies to make stock, but do you save the skins for the onions too? for color? otherwise, i composte, but i'll save for stock if its good.
Dec. 4, 2010 5:25 pm
...then we'll call it a party cake, Candice! Actually, I had planned to do just that and then touch a match to it. The carmelized edges add even another dimension.
Dec. 4, 2010 5:34 pm
Yes, njmom. The dried onion skins add a very nice color to the broth and keep the appearance uniform. I canned the last batch of broth because we are running out of freezer space.
Dec. 5, 2010 12:18 pm
I love the "torch" it with a match part. (your a show-off, aren't you? It's o.k., I am too)
Dec. 7, 2010 5:58 pm
I got a good laugh over the fruitcake! I have been spending hours making spiced nuts and have had similar discussions with DH!! Have a great holiday and I am glad you got good news from the DR!
Dec. 8, 2010 5:32 am
I'm not a show off, really. More of a pyromaniac- with an artistic approach. Thanks for coming back, Candice!
Dec. 8, 2010 5:33 am
well, Cammy, I guess that maybe I'm pleased to know that I am not the only DH with a sarcastic DW! :)
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Mike Harvey, daPITA

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Battle Creek, Michigan, USA

Member Since
Dec. 2008

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Grilling & BBQ, Frying, Stir Frying, Mexican, Italian, Southern, Gourmet

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About Me
At age 16, I began cooking when my mother was injured in an accident that kept her off her feet for five weeks. At first, my repertoire was fried hot dogs with pork and beans, boiled hot dogs with macaroni and cheese or pizza from a box. After a couple weeks of this, my younger brother was the first to protest and demand variety and my dad was quick to support him. That was my first cooking challenge, learning to plan a meal. About that time, mom returned from the hospital and from her bed, began teaching me things like roast beef, fried chicken, stews and all the sides and trimmings. In 1967, I married and my wife designated herself as the cook and this continued until 1999. It was then that I (voluntarily) began cooking again. At some point, I realized that I was having fun and began searching for recipes that were more challenging and interesting. I found AR and used it's recipes for a long time before registering and later becoming an active member.
My favorite things to cook
Soups. How can I go wrong? They are a great way to use up leftovers and those veggies that are approaching the end of their usefulness. They are always an original recipe. Roasts and steaks are favored, also. Getting the right "doneness" and choosing appropriate sides for a tastey and attractive meal is a continuing and always evolving menu.
My favorite family cooking traditions
If creating impulsive menus and recipes is a tradition then, (I guess) we have a tradition. A new tradition is developing. I have a fruitcake recipe that, I believe, is near perfection. I make it just before Thanksgiving so it is aged enough for the Christmas/ New Year holidays.
My cooking triumphs
Without a doubt, my own recipe for a Reuben Sandwich. It has been a demanded item for many years and I shared it in my AR blog. http://allrecipes.com/Cook/13101603/BlogEntry.aspx?postid=204609
My cooking tragedies
Too many. I have been able to throw them out and have something new before my wife gets home. Most of the time, anyway.
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