Mid Summer Activities - Life ... It's Why We Cook. Blog at Allrecipes.com - 245694

Life ... It's Why We Cook.

Mid Summer Activities 
Aug. 2, 2011 5:10 am 
Updated: Aug. 7, 2011 9:46 am
I had my quarterly checkup last week, and I am ashamed to report that I must have slacked off a bit much from the great report I had at my last checkup. My labs were not good. LDL and triglycerides were high, blood pressure was high, and I am seven pounds heavier. Bad boy me!
I have had a choking problem for years. In 2004, it was diagnosed as a symptom of smoking too much and, in true smokers form, I ignored it. In 2008, it was attributed to allergies of some kind. Last week, my primary care doctor told me to try sleeping with my torso and head on an upward incline. His theory is that my reflux is irritating my throat as I sleep and when I get active, that irritation manifests itself by making me choke when food brushes the wrong way, when I breathe hard, when I breathe through my mouth or when I ingest a sudden change of temperature. I already owned a wedge from post op recovery so getting started was no problem.
It has been seven days since I started sleeping on a wedge and, it seems, the doctor may be right on the money. I have experienced only one choking session during that time and it was an actual lodging of food that caused it. Sure hope it continues. It seems I am sleeping better, as well. My wife says I’m tossing far less. I’ll have to monitor this further.
I have returned to daily walks of at least four miles per day instead of 1 ½ miles per day in spite of the atrocious heat and humidity. I have increased the intensity of the calisthenics and discontinued weight lifting as a weight control activity. Tai Chi will replace the weights.
 Also, I have enrolled in two health oriented programs. Tai Chi Chuan (Tai Jijuan) for relaxation, awareness of body and toning of body. The other is The Presidents Active Lifestyle Achievement Program (PALA) that helps me keep track of my physical activity. I will be able to migrate to more advanced levels when I succeed with this level. I report activities as soon as I complete them. This first level requires six weeks to complete.
Last week, we were in Holland, MI visiting our daughter and her family. On a whim we went to the farmers market and are we glad we did? Yup! I found a couple of excellent buys on early onions (perfect for mustard pickles) and a very good buy on cucumbers that were not sellable because of their appearance. (Thank you, Fussy Folks!) We were planning on doing some canning this week so the offerings were quite timely.
My wife found a vendor selling bagels and bought a few dozen because they were so good. We froze them for future use but the future is well on its way to becoming the past. They are just too good! My favorite one is sesame/toasted sesame/poppy seed/roasted garlic. I hover over the toaster to let the aroma carry me off into ecstasy. Durn! They’re even good when I only think of them. I guess, I’ll think up some bar cheese.
Pickles were my focus this week. I had been wanting a good Mustard Pickle recipe that would come close to the one my mother used. I think this one is close- if not identical. They taste strongly of mustard and vinegar which is exactly why I like them.  Grandma's Mustard Pickles . My friend tried these last year. He said he hadn’t had mustard pickles since he was a teenager. He ate nearly half a pint “just tasting” them. This year, I made a small batch just for him. I made a smaller batch with less mustard just to see what they would taste like.
These pickles I made just because I am interested in the recipe.  Grandma Arndt’s Pickles are very colorful but rather labor intensive. I’ll need to report back to you on the taste. Probably after a couple of weeks of curing time.
My BAWN recipe got a five star review from Mother Ann. Thank you, Mother Ann! She also gave it high compliments in the blog where I introduced it. A couple other commenters expressed uncertainty with the ingredients but when their curiosity overrides their caution, they’ll be happy, too. I don’t cook by rules (which has caused some ugly results) so I come up with the unexpected fairly often. The BAWN is a home run for me. If I sound like I’m bragging, don’t get misled … I am!

Aug. 2, 2011 5:41 am
Mike, you better get back on track with your health care regimen!! Funny how those pounds can sneak back up on us, huh?! After spending last week hiking very strenuous hikes in the mountains, I was sure I would have dropped a few pounds. Did I? Nope! But maybe because I was drinking lots of wine and enjoying all sorts of delicious cheeses and other snacks! And, you have every right to brag about your BAWN! My son normally doesn't really care for gravies and noodles. But, because of the name and what the acronym stood for, he was willing to try it. Believe me everyone - these ingredients go great together! My dogs enjoyed the last couple tablespoons of gravy over their food, too! I actually caught my husband using his finger to get the last drops out of the gravy bowl!!
Aug. 2, 2011 7:43 am
Good morning Mike. I have been on a pickle quest as well. A friend of mine planted way too many cucumbers - however they are not pickling type - so I am on the hunt for the perfect dill relish. I have never had Mustard Pickles. They sound like something my hubby would like. :) As for the BAWN I have yet to try it - but I will. Good luck with your excerise routine. It sounds like you are back on track.
Aug. 2, 2011 8:09 am
Hiya Mike, hey pal, take care of yourself. There's only one of you.
Aug. 2, 2011 10:57 am
hey Mike, it seemed you were on a great life style change, is it possible to please doctors? We love mustard pickles on ham sandwiches, with pork, deer or moose roasts. Just some advice, the recipe calls for 1 cup of salt to soak the cucs in, the salt takes out any bitter flavour and helps with texture. I have a 42 cup bowl for relish, I use 3/4 cup of salt when the bowl is full of slices or shredded cucs and onioins. Rinse well the next day. If the bowl is roughly half full (20-25 cups)-then 1/4 to 1/3 cup of pickling salt is plenty. We don't need all the sodium in our diets (did that sound like a health police? not meaning it that way) Good luck with the pickles
Aug. 2, 2011 11:16 am
Yup! It was my fault, Mother Ann. I became over confident. I was caught in good time, though. I said my LDL was high but it is not dangerous or even very concerning but it is a harsh wake up call, none the less. ... You sure do like that recipe. Maybe I shoud have charged a couple hundred thousand dollars for it?
Aug. 2, 2011 11:19 am
We have successfully used the slicers for pickling, Baking Nana. If the seed cavity is too soft we will scoop out the seeds but most of the time it is not necessary. You are doing relish so that is not necessary at all. Don't use any that are turning to yellow, though.
Aug. 2, 2011 11:21 am
I had a major butt pucker from that news, Randy. I learned my lesson. I'm behaving better, now. Thanks!
Aug. 2, 2011 11:34 am
Gramma, I saved the juice when the pickles were gone and used it in things like maccaroni salad, cole slaw, sandwich condiment and even marinade for chicken and pork. No shame in this old body. I did reduce the ammount of salt from last years batch and dumped the pickles back and forth into fresh water to rinse them thoroughly. My wife thinks I overdid it but there is plenty of acid for the process. As for pleasing doctors, I have been very successful doing just that. I have embraced all the directions and advice to the letter with each of them. I have even been invited to speak of my experiences at a few events. That will be another post when fall draws to a close.
Aug. 2, 2011 2:01 pm
Mike - the only reason I want to do relish is that I am not sure about pickling regular cucumbers. My friend tends to let all veggies get bigger than I like. I will have to go swipe some little ones.
Aug. 2, 2011 2:59 pm
In the heat we are having here it would be hard to think of exercise. It's hard to think about walking the dog! Till midnight that is. Take care of yourself!
Aug. 2, 2011 3:37 pm
We have used slicers for dill slices and chunk pickles. We have even used them in recipes the ferment and have had no problems. Again, watch that seed cavity. If the seeds are mature they'll be tough and add an unpleasant texture to your recipe. Maybe Cat Hill will come back and offer her point of view, also.
Aug. 2, 2011 3:49 pm
Oh, Cat! I had taken a very long energetic walk this morning, This evening, I walked to the store and back and my wife was worried that I had fallen down somewhere and in serious trouble. ... Tomorrow, we'll get a cooling off for a day or two. Next week it'll be a few degrees cooler and the humidity will be way down so the heat will be more bearable.
Aug. 2, 2011 4:05 pm
I'm not making light of your concern, but if you have been working with weights you may have increased your muscle mass (Yay!)and muscle weighs more than fat. It is good that you aren't letting things slide. Just be sure to take the heat into consideration when you plan your walks.
Aug. 2, 2011 6:23 pm
Ok Mike... You have been one of my biggest fans of my non smoking.. 3 weeks and 3 days!... glad to see you making adjustments! Please be wary of the heat. And you can send me some of those pickles... PLEASE!
Aug. 2, 2011 7:04 pm
Hi, BigShotsMom! I had a fair muscle mass that had become flabby. The weights were to retone them and keep them from becoming a problem. According to the PET scan I had, most of my excess fat is in my abdominal cavity and that is the worst place for it to be because it it pushing the organs around. Outwardly, I look like the typical old man with a dunlap!
Aug. 2, 2011 7:16 pm
In four more days I'll call you a former smoker, Terry! Tough job. Well done! Give your hubby my well done for his quit, OK?
Aug. 2, 2011 7:39 pm
Mike! It was 107 here today. Did the Mrs. yell at you!? Just saying, this heat here is dangerous to exercise in. I skimmed the cuke talk but this is what I know-sometimes due to weather they will develope tough seeds and outer skin. So you peel and seed them and then do whatever you planned to do with them. I came from depression era folks. I had some huge cukes and thought they'd be awful but they got enough water before the heat hit and were sweet. Didn't need to seed them but the skin needed to be peeled. Now everything is sizzling in the garden. Bugger! There goes my perfect garden year again :(
Aug. 2, 2011 8:28 pm
Hi Mike, love your blogs and your approach to life. My son ( 16yrs) had this same choking problem and had to be admitted once in an emergency. One thing that did help him is to have small frequent meals instead of 3-4 large ones. Also , not bending down or lying down for atleast an hour after meals. Take care.
Aug. 2, 2011 8:39 pm
Will do Mike! I'm so proud of the hubby also! We'll be talking to ya in four more days! Thanks again! Be well!
Aug. 3, 2011 7:14 am
When I got home she was on the telephone saying,"Mike?... Mike?...?". I think what happened was one of those invasive robo dialers had contacted our number but answered another and left ours to be dealt with by us. She thought I was calling her to help me. When she saw me, she just hung up and said,"I thought you had fallen down". ... Our temperature was only 89 but humidity was very high and made breathing laborious. ... Thanks for the cukes info!
Aug. 3, 2011 7:22 am
Thank you, khushi! There was a few times that I should have gone to emergency for treatment but I believed that I would just be told it was because of my smoking so I would turn it down and deal with it. Smaller meals at intervals is part of our nutrition plan to lose weight. It is diffult to do because my wife is still working so scheduling is problem. I may have to prepare meals for two schedules until she joins me in retirement.
Aug. 3, 2011 7:24 am
It's only three days now, Terry!
Aug. 4, 2011 12:51 pm
I'm with Cat, be very careful in the heat. We've had several heat stroke deaths in the KC area in the last few days which is quite scary. Younger folks than both of us and (at least in my case, in much better shape). The mustard pickles sound really good! Right now, I'm up to my ears in tomatoes and already have several kinds of pickles about ready for taste testing. Enjoy the produce and take care!
Aug. 4, 2011 6:30 pm
Hi, Mangel! We are in a respite from the heat and humidity. Feels real comfortable. ... Our tomatoes are just starting to come in. We have had a few for table and we are relishing the taste of real tomatoes, finally- the deep red, very sweet, very meaty tomatoes not found at the supermarket and seldom at the farmers market. ... How are you preserving your tomatoes?
Aug. 7, 2011 9:46 am
Well, romas are going right into pasta sauce and being frozen flat in zipper bags (makes for great boil-in-bag sauce later:) What slicers don't get eaten right out of the garden are blanched, peeled, and hot-packed with a quarter teaspoon lemon juice for soups, stews, etc. this winter. I'm already craving veggie soup even in the 105-108 degree heat here. I'm pretty much house bound with the copd, but the veggies are keeping me busy. School starts in two weeks so I'm making the most of the "prairie housewife" phase right now:)
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Mike Harvey, daPITA

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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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