Through the Kitchen Window

So, here we are, another month upon us, a little bit older, hopefully a little bit wiser too. I sometimes find myself reflecting on the passage of time. I remember being a young adolescent and wishing time to go quickly, impatient for the days when I was an "adult" and could do as I wanted. Strange thing about wishes, they come true and then you wonder why you were in such an all fired hurry for them. Thing is, now that I'm an adult, I wish for my younger days when I "could do anything I wanted". Someone once said "Plus ça change, plus ça reste . . ." and it's quite true. The more things change the more they stay the same.

It's been a strange and hectic time in our household of late. My daughter is home visiting for a while, giving her mom moral and tangible support as we try to weather the storms of a separation fraught with stress and bewilderment. They say you never really know someone until you live with them. I'd change that to read "until you try to leave them". It has truly been an eye opening experience. My children and I will get through it, but the things we've learned along the way will stay with us for a long time to come. It's unfortunate too that the relationship that their father so wanted to grow and maintain is the very thing that's been affected by his actions.

I won't go into details here -- that's something for another place and time, but I did want to address something. The decision to separate is NOT something that anyone enters into lightly. It's usually a decision made after much self examination and thought, and most often it is the only way to resolve a bad situation. Rather than trying to brow beat someone into changing his or her mind, the best thing that friends and family can do is to remember that the outward appearance of any marriage is not the reality of it in most cases. What you see, when it comes to a marital relationship, is not always "what you get". The things that lead to most marriage failures are usually unseen by all but a very few people outside of the relationship. The best action anyone can take in these cases is to "be there". Whether you agree or disagree, whether you think the "soon to be ex" is a wonderful person or not, your friend, sister, brother, daughter or son needs you to be there to listen, support, hug, hold and just plain love. It makes no difference who instigates it, a separation is never easy for either party. There's enough stress and strife in a breakup without adding the extra upheaval of having no one to turn to. They've already made their decision and have likely already come up with more arguments pro and con than you ever could. Be a friend, be supportive, but don't set yourself up as the "marriage savior".

For those of you who tune in from time to time for more in the diabetes saga, let me say it's been interesting. The numbers are pretty much in control, though there is still some fluctuating. I'm happy with how things are going. More importantly, so is my doctor. Strangely enough, the change to my eating habits is almost unconscious now, and for the times when I simply want to drown myself in a plate of pasta, I thank medical science for gluconorm. I've learned more about my body and the way it reacts to the various things I feed it, in the few months I've been living with this disease, than I ever had before. But most important is the fact that I've learned that I CAN live with it. A reader summed it up nicely in a message she sent me, by saying that my article had inspired her to get back on track with her diet plan and she hoped that her few words had done the same for me. And that's the upshot isn't it?? We learn from each other. We encourage each other. We share with each other our successes and failures and some of the interesting stops along the way.

I want to stress here that one of the most important changes I made to my lifestyle and the one that has had the most beneficial effect, has been exercise. I joined a health club called "Curves", I think they're all over North America. It's low impact, circuit training done on nautilus type equipment, and it's been great. I sometimes don't go for a week or two if my arthritis gets real bad, but mostly my joints have been handling it well. It really isn't important to "go to a club" though. For me it worked because I needed the structure. Any kind of change to your exercise routine will be beneficial. Try a short walk each evening. Park further away in the mall or office parking lot than is your norm. Do something, anything, to get out there moving and you'll reap the benefits in far more obvious ways and more quickly than any but the most drastic diet changes. After the first few weeks I noticed a marked change in my energy levels. Found I wasn't getting as tired as quickly and was feeling much more positive too.

As far as my diet goes, I find that if I watch my carb intake, I'm okay. I usually try for low carb meals and snacks, but when I know I can't or don't want to, the gluconorm tablets make that decision easier too. It's not something I do often, but on an occasional basis I find it keeps me "on track" without feeling deprived food wise, and it helps keep my numbers in control health wise as well.

When I first found out about my diabetes, our editor, Ronda, sent me two great cookbooks that have been my guideposts for finding new, interesting things to do with my meals. I think next month I'll include a couple of recipes that are sure to become favourites. Remember to look for them right here.

Make sure to check out the recipe exchange this month. We have a couple of replies to some requests from last month and a new request as well. As always, there's a submission form in the column below, so it couldn't be easier to send us your request or recipe.

Amazing Grace I'm still waiting to hear from you about your family favourites, so here's another from my collection in the mean time.
    Thank you Lord for this food in front of us, and Thank you Lord for always standing behind us.
Recipe Exchange

Make sure to check out last month's column as we still have some unanswered requests there.

Thanks to our very own Patty Waage for two of this month's submissions. Hopefully they fill the bill, but if you have a recipe you think might do it better, please send it to .

Patty sent the following in hopes it was the frosting that Mary was looking for.

Fluffy White Frosting

  • 1/4 cup white corn syrup
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Heat the corn syrup to boiling in a small saucepan. Combine the unbeaten egg whites, salt and vanilla in a bowl. Beat at high speed with an electric mixer until the egg whites are stiff but not dry. Slowly pour in the boiling syrup, beating continuously until the frosting is fluffy and hangs in peaks from the beaters.

  • Yields: Enough for frosting one cake
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes

And maybe this one that Patty sent in will be close to the one my chat room friend was looking for:

Orange Juice Chicken

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 2 T. prepared Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, divided
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 2 T. butter
  • 2 T. flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees,

Place the chicken in a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Spread the mustard evenly over the chicken and sprinkle with the chopped onion. Coat lightly with 1/4 cup of the brown sugar and pour enough orange juice over all to cover the chicken. Dot the chicken with the butter.

Bake for 45 minutes, then remove the extra sauce from the baking dish and pour it into a saucepan. Sprinkle the chicken with the remaining sugar and return to the oven.

Whisk the flour into the saucepan, add any leftover orange juice and heat on high until the sauce thickens. Remove the chicken from the oven and place it on a serving dish, pour the sauce over everything and serve.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour

And we have a new request this month from MaryAnn who writes in:

  • Please send me a recipe for homemade fruit jam. Thank you and more power.

So, let's get out there and find those recipes!!!

Etcetera Springtime is upon us. When my kids were younger, I would put them out at the picnic table with all the messy arts and crafts things they loved to do, keeping them happy in their creativity and minimizing the wear and tear on my furniture. So, in honor of the onset of spring and the mighty messes my tribe could make, I include here for you some finger paint and other crafty recipes . . . for the budding Rembrandts in your home.

Finger Paint -- Cornstarch

    Mix together 1/2 cup cornstarch with four cups of very cold water. Put it into a pot and turn the heat on high, letting the mixture come to a boil and continue to boil until it's thickened. Allow it to cool and pour into smaller containers such as baby food jars or plastic yogurt tubs, etc. Add several drops of food coloring to each jar and mix well. You should get about six jars of paint.

Finger Paint -- Liquid Starch

    Instead of pre-making the paint, just pour a small amount of liquid starch onto a sheet of paper, sprinkle some powdered tempera paint on it and mix well with your fingers. Or let your kids do the mixing.

Finger Paint -- Powdered Detergent

    Mix together 5 tablespoons of liquid tempera paint with one cup of powdered detergent (non-scented), and 1/4 cup water. Combine first two ingredients and slowly add water as needed. Keep on stirring until the consistency is smooth and creamy.

Flour Paint

    Mix together till the mixture is thick, 3 cups flour, 2 tablespoons liquid soap and 3/4 cup water. Tint it with food coloring or powdered tempera paint.

    Some finger painting hints:

    • When finger painting, try to use a glossy paper or butcher paper.
    • Adding liquid soap to the paints will help to prevent staining.
    • Paints can also be poured into plastic meat trays (saved from grocery days) for easy access to little hands.

Bubble Solution

    Combine 1/3 cup dish soap or baby shampoo, 1 1/4 cups water, 2 tsp sugar and food coloring and pour into a plastic container with a tight fitting lid. To blow bubbles, use straws, pipe cleaners formed into shapes, strawberry baskets, spoons with holes, etc.

Sand Sculpture

    Put into a large pot, 2 cups sand, 1 cup water and 1 cup cornstarch. Mix together and turn heat on low until the mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat. Allow it to cool and you can begin molding it with your hands. It will take two or three days to set.

Cooked Play Dough

    Combine in a saucepan 1 cup flour. 1 tsp cream of tartar and 1/2 cup salt. In a separate bowl combine 1 cup water, 1 tsp food coloring and 2 tbsp oil. Mix water mixture into the flour mixture and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until a ball forms. Remove from heat and knead until smooth. Store in a container with a tight fitting lid.

So there you have it. Indulge, enjoy, and make sure to check in again next month. I hope your April showers bring you lots of May flowers.

TTFN . . . I think it was Sophia Loren who once said "Everything you see, I owe to pasta." That would be my motto . . .