Do you find it difficult to ask for help when you need it? Do you say, “Oh, it doesn’t matter that I have a 101° fever and have to drive to the doctor’s office. If I have to pull over and throw up along the way, well, I’ll deal with it.” I was such a person for most of my life, and I think I can speak for many of us when I say we really do need and want help — sometimes rather desperately. It just takes practice to ask for it and then accept what is offered.
One of the best things about facing a big health and diet change has been learning that I don’t have to do it alone, that I can ask for even very specific kinds of assistance. For example, over the past few weeks, I’ve asked my parents to be soup makers. They have jarred at least seven gallons of soup — beet soup, pea soup, carrot soup — that I’ve been able to tuck into the freezer. (Do you freeze things in mason jars? Here are some important tips for that.) I thaw it as needed, so there’s always something to eat while I’m working out my new cooking routines. And Stewart has shifted into spring traveling mode for his work, but when he is here, he’s been stepping up in every way to keep our home healthy and happy. He’s undertaken some projects that we’ve been wanting to complete for a long time, like getting decent lighting in the kitchen and building in some more shelf and counter space. I need the extra room for big jars of ingredients that were previously strange to me — mostly an array of nut flours and a big vat of coconut oil. Handy stuff, that.
The support and encouragement I’ve received from friends, including those of you who read this blog, has really lifted me up, as well. I want to thank you for the kind comments and emails and tips you’ve shared — recipes, too! The other day, my buddy at What Julia Ate used her powerful skills of invention to create some beautiful squash nut muffins made with nut meal and a little honey and all other good things that I can eat. I prepared a batch yesterday and they were so good that I ate two right out of the oven. (From here out, I will try to be more prudent. I am still supposed to be eating only small snacks and meals.) Dear Kaela at Local Kitchen, who is not known for her love of food restrictions — and we do love her for that — made sure I did not miss this recipe for cinnamon roll almond flour donuts from Roost, something to keep on hand for a time when a real treat is in order.
Now, one of the hardest things about facing a big health and diet change is giving up some of the things that I used to do, or that I really wanted to do. For instance, I had been keeping a list of winter preserves — mostly citrusy, sugary ones — that I wanted to make this year, and of course I stumble over more beauties every day. It will make me feel better to share my list with you, in case you are still good to go with the sugar and want to make some of these preserves yourself. If you do, maybe you will come back here and tell me about it so I can live out a little fantasy.
This year, I was particularly looking forward to getting some grapefruit. Fellow pamplemousse enthusiasts, please take note:
Pink Grapefruit, Rhubarb & Cardamom Marmalade, from Gloria at Laundry Etc.
Salted Cranberry Grapefruit Jam, from Kaela at Local Kitchen
Texas Ruby Red Grapefruit Marmalade, from The Cosmic Cowgirl (I particularly love Stephanie’s bright, simple recipe and I’ve made at least two batches of this every year; it kinda busts me up not have it this winter.)
Ginger Grapefruit Curd, from 101 Cookbooks
Grapefruit-Scented Lemon Curd, from Caroline at Grow It, Cook It, Can It
Preserved Grapefruit in Mint Sugar Syrup, from Handjobs for the Home
And a couple preserves for the orange-loving peoples . . .
Orange Cardamom Curd, again from Marisa at Food in Jars, this time via Simple Bites (The girl gets around, and we’re all lucky she does!)
Citrus, Apple, and Tea Jam, from Susan Can Cook
Plus I have to throw in one of my own preserves from last year, because if you have Rangpur limes, this is the thing to do:
Rangpur Lime Jam, from me
And finally, there’s this one, which I want with a longing that only a seven-year-old girl could explain:
I plan to keep pinning eye-catching preserves of all kinds to my Sweet board on Pinterest, so you can follow along over there if you’re interested. (I actually bailed on Pinterest a few months ago — because who needs one more thing to fragment the already diminishing brain cells — but I recently renewed my account so I could start a couple of boards to track grain-free and sugar-free recipes, both sweet and savory. Pinterest has some truly practical uses, besides just sucking innocents down the rabbit hole of powdered sugar and pallet furniture at 2 a.m.)
So what’s at the top of your end-of-winter wish list?