Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Walking with Cats

The Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico is my home now. My place is about a mile from the Rio Grande and just across the road is a tract of government-owned land.

Most evenings I take a walk out there and the cats follow me. Taking a walk in desert arroyos with three cats is a hoot.

They usually run full speed around me, for each yard I walk they run several. They will pounce each other, chase each other and occasionally scare each other.

Few holes, which might be home to a mouse or other small critter, go unsniffed.

Much of this land is covered by mesquite "trees" (for a desert area like this they're trees, in a well-watered suburb they'd be bushes) that are 3 - 8 feet high and too thick for me to walk through. Like most desert plants it is quite thorny.

The cats love the mesquite because it is home to many chase-able things. I've never seen a cat catch anything on a walk; they sure have fun hunting and chasing.

I'm not sure why the cats need to accompany me on my evening strolls. They can get tto the arroyos without me. They can travel faster and quieter than I can. But if they are outside when I cross the road they will gallop after me. Perhaps they do not want the Filler of the Food Bowl to get lost.

Saturday, July 09, 2005


We are getting further away from our food all the time. As life gets more crazy we have less time to start with real fresh ingredients and end up with a healthy meal.

It certainly is easier to buy a box of frozen something and heat it up but what are we sacrificing?

Real food should have color, texture and (most importantly) taste. Nutrients will most likely be there if your food is fresh and colorful. Tofu has none of those attributes but I have been told it is very nutritious.

Sweet is nice but it is not a true flavor. White corn is sweet but it does not have rich corn flavor. Corn should taste like corn. It should also be nicely colored, yellow at least although there are a lot of varieties of colored corn.

Peppers come in a riot of colors: red, yellow, purple, orange, red and green. They are loaded with flavor and vitamins.

The more I read about nutrition the more I am in favor of brightly colored food. Lycopenes in red tomatoes and watermelons have gotten some press recently. That red stuff is good for you.

Beta carotene is another good-for-you color. Interestingly, it must be ingested in food to have the most benefit. Taking a pill won't help you much. A study of smokers taking a beta carotene supplement showed them to have more lung cancers that smokers not taking a supplement.

So lycopenes and beta carotene are good for us but only if we get them from real foods. Yum, please pass the tomatoes!

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Kitchen Sink Meatloaf

There's not a formal recipe for this. Mix about 1 cup of tomato juice (drained from a 26 oz can) with 3 chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped garlic (lots) a chopped onion, a good dose of medium red chile powder and about 3/4 cup of oatmeal.

Add 2# of good ground beef and about 1/2 of a pound package of frozen corn kernels. Mix it all up and let it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours.

Prepare a large cast iron pan by drizzling a little olive oil into it and adding a thick layer of thinly sliced onion (2 large ones). Place the meatloaf mixture on the onion layer, cover with the tomatoes from the can you got the juice from (stewed, dcrushed of diced: it's all good) and bake for about 1 hour and 15 min at 375°.

Serve with a salad and corn biscuits.