Saturday, June 25, 2011

AT&AT: Astoundingly Tasty Albacore Tuna

Ok. Wow! Having just finished preparing this meal, I must delineate it’s creation.

Conjuring up pictures in my mind of an objective and taking a walk through the produce and freezer sections of the grocery store, I put together something out of this world.

If you’ve ever had doubt about the use of Tuna, please challenge those doubts now.

I had a package of Albacore Tuna in water, one of those flat packets, and I already had some garlic, butter and a wild rice mix. Walking through the produce section, I picked up a Vidalia onion, three roma tomatoes and two jalapeños. Then, not thrilled with the green items there, I slanted my way toward the freezer section for frozen vegetables. The green beans screamed out to me. Here we now would have off white, red and green coming together. Oh, I then picked up a lime, which seemed right for the Tuna.

Explorer Note- Cooking with Frozen Vegetables

Frozen vegetables can be easy to flavor. Warm dry herbs, throw in some butter, press some garlic into it, let it get bubbly, then throw the frozen vegetables into the bubbly, flavor zone, toss the vegetables all around the frying pan. The buttery mix will coat the frozen vegetables with flavor and butter, cooling the flavor and butter onto the vegetables. Then, you can add onions and peppers on top and allow it all to get back to bubbly buttery goodness level.

Then, I sautéed up some butter, garlic, onions and jalapeños, throw the Albacore Tuna into that and let it get all bubbly, throw the diced Roma Tomatoes on top, and stir it up. Let it sauté for a few minutes, then throw the green beans on top and stir in. Miraculously, I had picked up one lime, so I smashed that on the counter, then cut it in half and squeezed both halves into the bubbly, Tuna, Tomato and Green Bean mixture. Let it bubble away for a few minutes then turn off the heat.

When the wild rice mix was finished, stirred it up together, and I’ve got to say, the green beans exploded in my mouth, and everything else just dazzled the resulting explosion. So tasty. The lime juice actually tames the Tuna and wears well with the Tomatoes. It tastes fresh, light and amazing.

Explorer Exchange, Review-to-Present

In an earlier article, I discussed the creation and methods of development of another Tuna dish. This is a great enhancement on that project, bridged from the earlier exploration. The difference is extraordinary.

Without the cream cheese, the outcome is not weighed down whatsoever. The flavors and textures are extraordinary. The green beans are super charged, still hold a crunch and shockingly fresh. These green beans actually explode between the teeth, and you love every one of them. The flavor is so infused in and out of each green bean. The tomatoes compliment the Tuna, and the lime brings it all together. The texture of this particular rice blend is perfect alongside the juicy green beans. I am truly amazed at this one.

Explorer Moment

Exploring cooking is vital to a good life. Recipes are great, but creating your own can be exciting and tasty. Sometimes it doesn’t work out, but mostly it does. Either way, you learn and absorb knowledge and nutrients.
This is of course the goal with cooking, finding the best, most efficient ways to bring items together.

When I cook, the goal is simple, eating to live.

Turn around your daily activities. Explore them with an open mind.

Challenge your assumptions. Enjoy the experience. Enjoy Your Day.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Exploration of Heart Burn

I’m always exploring my daily life for the subtle and obvious dependencies that deny me freedom and relief.

I suffered from heart burn for years. I took many medications over those years to counteract it. Those medications did provide relief, but if I did not take the medications, the heart burn was nearly unbearable. At times, the choice to take those heart burn medications was denied to me by conditions. Repeated moments of excruciating heart burn led me to get rid of this targeted dependency.

I began to consider the mind-body connection thoroughly.

What, if anything, was my body trying to do?

Heart burn, chronic acid reflux, is basically a cycling of stomach acid up and down the upper digestive system. To me, it seemed like the body was trying to hold on to what it had, instead of letting it continue its journey through the body toward the exit.

Immediately, it seemed absolutely simple. The mind, which I know attempts to hold onto this idea of the body being the self, is telling the body what to do here. As the mind tries to hold on, the body mimics the lead.

So, as the inevitable heart burn begins, I decided we would close our eyes and attempt to let go of anything in my mind. Shockingly, the heart burn went away every single time.

Initially, the heart burn would come back quickly. So, I would repeat the closing of the eyes and the mental letting go exercise. Every time, the heart burn would dissipate. It was mind blowing. I couldn’t believe it.

Over the course of just a little over a week, the heart burn would not resurface to the same degree. In less than a month the heart burn would not return again.

On the spot transformation of a real life, all too common physical issue.

What was necessary? Simple exploration of an ongoing situation.

Have an issue? Apply your mind.

Friday, June 17, 2011

More on Sunscreen and Sun Exposure

In any explorative process, it is vital to have many input streams of fresh information and fresh perspective. It is especially helpful to listen to inputs that absolutely disagree strongly with any different idea I might have.

For this reason, I listened to sunscreen experts on NPR’s Diane Rehm Show.

Explorer Personal Note: I enjoy listening to talk radio as much as I enjoy channel flipping always.

Since I have very different ideas about sunscreen, I thought it very necessary to listen to proponents to sunscreen use. The lack of thorough challenging of their scientific assumptions was frankly terrifying.

Skin cancer use is up. Sunscreen use is at an all-time high. Yet, the amount of consideration of why this correlation exists was explained away with an anecdotal fairy tale story about an imaginary bottle of sunscreen that lasts over a year for a family of five. Truly scary to know the mental laxity our experts engage in to avoid leaving lingering questions in their own mind.

Certainly, sunlight and UV radiation are not singular entities. Is there any possibility that there is something in sunlight other than damage? It is absolutely true that we need sunlight and UV radiation to survive. Certainly, there are damaging potentials with overexposure to anything. Water is vital to life, yet people drown. Sunlight is vital to life, yet people develop skin cancer and die.

These are very serious issues. I do not tread lightly. You should not either. Just because I believe sunscreen to not be the best choice for myself, does not mean there are no benefits to sunscreen use. I think it’s important to really examine any of these assumptions, thoroughly.

My Explorer Notes

Humans had no sunscreen for many millennia. Yet, humanity survives today.

Our skin is an organ. It is designed to interact with sunlight to keep us alive.

Sunlight is not a single entity. It is a slew of energies, some harmful, some beneficial.

The skins reactions to some of these energies keep us alive.

Explorer Theory

Sunscreen blocks some of these sunlight energies. My theory is that it blocks the energies that yield potential beneficial protections against continued sun exposure. With the beneficial portions of sun exposure blocked, the less easy to protect and much more destructive aspects of sunlight are allowed to damage the skin.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Exploring Healing of Severe Sunburn

I was outside in the blazing sun for about 7 hours this last weekend.

I used no sunscreen. I had a plan.

I elected to not use sunscreen because I feel that sunscreen mostly blocks the good of sun exposure and doesn’t block the most damaging. There are different kinds of UV radiation. The skins reaction to good UV rays helps protect your body from the worst UV rays. That’s my theory.

PBS NewsHour did a story on sunscreen last night, believe it or not.

So, post sunburn, I set up a new strategy for relief.

Most importantly, we elected to not use soap whenever we shower. Soap draws out oil and the water than washes that oil away. With sunburns, the skins natural oil production becomes severely limited. Preserving the natural oils is critical post burn. If you wash away what natural oil remains, you set yourself up for excessive peeling.

Also, we attempted to keep the area moist with a prescription strength hydrocortisone lotion. Not excessive application, but as needed to relieve the most painful spots. It worked out well.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Concerns with Beans, Canned and Organic

I always hear how beans are often associated with gas. However, beans are a super source for protein at the same time being very malleable in the kitchen. Beans can play a role in our daily nourishment without the extensive gas concern. I’ve found taking a tasty whole grain rice can help absorb a good deal of the gas generated by bean consumption. There are a few concerns with both beans and rice.

Concerns with Beans
Dry vs. Canned - I have little experience with dry beans, but I’m gaining a working knowledge on the use of dry beans. Any ideas on how to make dry beans work in a small kitchen?

Canned beans have their own sort of concerns.

Checking the nutritional information is key. Check out the varying levels of sodium. I’ve found the beans with added flavors have more junk thrown in to preserve those flavors, increasing salt, before even opening the can. The higher levels of salt make the beans not as easy to work with in the kitchen.

The higher levels of sodium make the beans less conducive to new flavor, say of peppers, onions and garlic. The sodium so blankets the tongue, that subtlety of flavor isn’t possible.

Higher sodium also increases water retention, helping to increase swelling across the body. It’s my thought that perhaps this increase in water retention and swelling in the bowels that leads to increased bowel obstruction leading to gas production.

So, with canned beans, go for less sodium. I feel organic beans are a better choice. If you consider how beans are canned, they are in a liquid. The chemicals used in the cultivation of the beans prior to canning are still sitting in the can till you open the can. Therefore, organic beans are going to be preferable here, and usually are only .20 to .50 cents more a can. When you consider the cost per serving, this seems reasonable. Organic beans are naturally going to be less in sodium as well.

Go and play with your beans. Get to know this curious legume. Infuse your food with protein and fiber and flavor it as you choose. From sweet to spicy. Don't be afraid of the bean, eat it.