Admittedly, Day 5 has been the hardest because we were used to the challenge but the refrigerator was looking more and more depressing. My eldest daughter also came down with a runny nose. Usually I would work to cure that with a tall smoothie and a bowl of berries or other antioxidants. My choices were slim since we have no more fruit and no freezer stash either. I poured a cup of raw milk, found an Airborne tablet in the cabinet and added that to a glass of water and hoped for the best. In many ways, we could probably go a few more weeks on this challenge but in the fresh fruit department we would be compromising our health if I don't head to the farmer's market this weekend! Lesson learned. I was still determined to be creative and have a good attitude today about eating what we have. After all, people in the Developing World have maybe one or two - if any - choices a day. My whining would be embarassing.
My creativity today included my own "Pumpkin Oatmeal" by adding 1 tablespoon pumpkin puree along with 1 tablespoon organic raisins to a bowl of oatmeal. I sprinkled the top with cinnamon and the result was a yummy different flavor. (If you want to sweeten it, try a drizzle of a natural sweetener like honey or maple syrup and throw in some nuts for good omega-3s.) My hubby is the type who could eat the same granola for breakfast and the identical sandwich for lunch day after day. Not me. I need variety and so does my daughter.
This afternoon I realized that are usual stash of fruit, veggies and whole grain bars that we use for snacks was seriously depleted so Meilani and I used the last zucchini to make Zookies. This is a recipe we got from a friend and it incorporates healthy plus yummy (chocolate!) all into one great little cookie. Our friend's daughter calls them "Vegetable Cookies" because you can see the shredded zucchini inside but that didn't deter us. They taste like a chocolate-chip macaroon with the extra zest of zucchini flavor.
For lunch, I decided to be creative with Egg Salad. Now I know most people hear "egg salad" and think boring, blah and maybe even barf. But when I'm looking at a nearly-empy refrigerator with more than a dozen eggs left I'm thinking Egg Salad = Extra Special. My first version of Egg Salad earlier this week was a twist on my Curried Chicken Salad, a regular on our lunch menu. My classic version of Egg Salad is an Italian Egg Salad. Must be my roots but I tend to gravitate toward oregano, basil and bay leaves when it comes to the spice department. Our Classic Egg Salad includes those things. The new "snazzy" egg salad we made today used the rest of yesterday's "spiced aioli sauce" from our Baked Sweet Potato Fries. The result was a new salad with incredible nuances of flavor. Meilani and I gobbled ours down. (Recipes below.)
Our dinner tonight was a mainstay for Friday nights - pizza! There's something about Friday that just makes me crave pizza. It's also a great chance to use some of the extras from the week for creative ingredients. Since we've been doing The Great Pantry Challenge this week there wasn't much left in our produce drawers in the fridge. We did find green peppers and basil. We also opened our last can of sliced black olives to top off our Veggie Pizza. And, thank you, God, we had just enough cheese. Tomorrow is our grand finale day - we will see what it holds.
A Note from our Nutrition Guy (aka my Hubby)
A lot of people have misconceptions about the healthiness of eggs. Several years back Americans got all up in arms about eggs causing high cholesterol. The truth of it is that God created eggs as a perfect protein. Usually people who have cholesterol issues do not have it because of their consumption of eggs. Not only have studies shown that eggs do not significantly affect cholesterol levels, but the latest research suggests that eating whole eggs (both whites and yolks) may actually result in improvement in a person's blood lipids (cholesterol) profile. When we buy eggs, we want the freshest eggs possible. The A Choice would be to buy from a local farm. In Fresno, we get our eggs from Simonian Farms in the Valley. There's also a new egg vendor at the Vineyard Farmer's Market on Shaw & Blackstone. These are fresh eggs laid by cage-free chickens who have been fed organic food. The B Choice would be to buy cage-free organic eggs from a grocery store like Trader Joe's or Costco. The difference is these eggs are from a bigger operation where the stress on the chickens could be more. Stressed out chickens do not lay healthy eggs.
Curried Egg Salad
6 hard-boiled eggs, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper 1 teaspoon curry powder (I use the Frontier Indian Curry powder from Whole Foods, which is a salt-free, all-natural blend) 1 small zucchini, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup) 1 tablespoon parsley, minced 3 tablespoons dried cranberries or raisins 1/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped 1 cup mayonnaise
1. Boil eggs. Meanwhile, chop zucchini and combine with salt, pepper, curry, parsley, cranberries and pecans. 2. Chop eggs. 3. Blend eggs with mayonnaise and add spice-vegetable mixture. Serve on your favorite bread.
Italian Egg Salad
6 hard-boiled eggs, finely chopped 1 cup celery, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper 1 teaspoon oregano 1 teaspoon basil (dried or fresh) 1 teaspoon chopped bay leaf 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
1. Boil eggs. Meanwhile, chop celery and combine with salt, pepper, oregano, basil, bay leaf and parsley.
2. Chop eggs. 3. Blend eggs with mayonnaise and add spice-celery mixture. Serve on your favorite bread.
Spiced Egg Salad
6 hard-boiled eggs, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper 1 teaspoon cumin 1 teaspoon coriander 1 tablespoon cilantro or fresh basil, finely chopped 1 cup mayonnaise
1. Boil eggs. Meanwhile, chop celery and combine with salt, pepper, cumin, coriander and cilantro.
2. Chop eggs. 3. Blend eggs with mayonnaise and add spice mixture. Serve on your favorite bread.