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Good morning GUScheerios!  This morning I had my blood taken to see if I am actually human and relatively normal.  I hadn't really looked at the paperwork from the earlier meet and greet where they make you stand on a scale with your clothes on, take your blood pressure after you've humilitated yourself on the scale, ask questions about not only your entire life (over 6 decades) but also your family's health problems (I come from a huge extended family).  Soooo, it seems I was supposed to bring in one of the papers from the meet and greet to get the blood work done.

Ok, everyone is nice at this health center so they tracked down the physician's asst. who did the original stuff and re-wrote up the order.  You'd think it would be in a computer somewhere just for dummies like me.  Best phlebotomist in the universe!  She said it was her first day and was filling in.  I never felt the needle at all!!!!  Seconds later, she's got 3 tubes of that super genius blood ready for testing.

It always help when the surgical gloves are cheerful as well.

happy surgical glove

Thursday afternoon is when I have my first physical in about 14 years.  I know exactly how Crashing Vor felt when he received his medical insurance cards -- I felt the same and now actual medical exam stuff is like a miracle.  

Let's see if the stop smoking is a positive.  Well, of course it is even if I've already done some damage to this old body.  I already know I have to get serious about diet and exercise.  Both are like trying to quit smoking -- start, stop, start, stop.  One bad habit at a time.

GUS (Gave Up Smoking) is a community support diary for Kossacks in the midst of quitting smoking. Any supportive comments, suggestions or positive distractions are appreciated. If you are quitting or thinking of quitting, please -- join us!  We kindly ask that politics be left out.  

  You can also click the GUS tag to view all diary posts, or access the GUS Library at dKosopedia for a great list of stop-smoking links. Check it out! GUS library.

    A message to ALL quitters. You don't have to avoid GUS if you have a failed quit.  We won't give you a bad time and we consider the failed quits as "practice" for the real quit.

    Quit Keeper widget which is an outstanding aid for those beginning the difficult path to quitting.  It lets you know how long you haven't smoked, how many cigs you haven't smoked, how much money you've saved.

   Quit Smoking Counter    h/tGDbot.  For those of you who have had a problem with Quit Keeper or want a different counter!

Vietnamese Grapefruit and Jicama Salad in a Ponzu Dressing with Candied Pecans

A variation of this recipe is one of my favorites from a Vietnamese Restaurant in West Stockbridge, MA -- Orient Express.    They add chicken and don't have the candied pecans.  I save time by using the already shredded cabbage and carrots for cole slaw in a bag then add shredded red cabbage and the rest of the stuff I like.  I rarely use sweeteners but a bit of honey does make this work.

From Emeril Lagasse


Ponzu Dressing:

4 tablespoons soy sauce
8 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 -inch square piece Konbu (dried kelp) (I think this is optional)
1 cup grape seed oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1 (1-pound) jicama, peeled and julienned
1/2 pound red cabbage, finely sliced
1 large carrot, peeled and julienned
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1 fresh Thai chile, thinly sliced, or Serrano chile
2 ruby red grapefruits, peeled and segmented

Candied Pecans:

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1/2 cup pecan pieces
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 teaspoon salt


Ponzu Dressing:
In a bowl, combine the soy sauce, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, and kelp. Cover and let sit for 12 to 24 hours. Strain the soy mixture. Add the oil, honey garlic, black pepper and cayenne to the strained mixture, and whisk to combine.

In a large bowl, toss the jicama, cabbage, carrots, mint, and chili with dressing to taste. Fold in the grapefruit segments, being careful not to break, adding more dressing as needed. Top with the candied pecans, and serve.

Yield: 6 servings

Candied Pecans:

In a medium skillet, combine the oil, sugar, and vinegar, and cook, stirring over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add the pecans, cayenne, and salt, and cook, stirring, until the nuts are toasted and evenly coated, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and spread on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper.

Yield: about 1/2 cup

Morris Martick's World Famous Sweet Potato Soup

Martick's was a must go to restaurant in Baltimore for decades.  Happily it was in walking distance of my apartment when I was in law school.  I loved taking people there because of the shock value -- grungy neighborhood, couldn't see any lights on, sign was faded, shutters hanging off kilter, blessed mother blue painted trim and when they ran out of paint they just stopped painting.

Martick's Restaurant Francais


You had to ring the door bell because it was just like a speakeasy.  You got checked out then let in to the world of the 1920s.  Morris was born in that house -- the restaurant kitchen was on the second floor as before.  His immigrant parents ran a grocery store / speakeasy back in the day.  Maurice was a brilliant chef, self taught and everyone who has ordered this soup adored it.  I hate sweet potatoes so can't personally vouch for it.]

Morris died a few years ago.  A huge loss to the city.  Looks like someone intends/intended to reopen the place.  Hope they don't wreck it.  I'll check it out when in Baltimore next.  

From the Baltimore Sun

Serves 4

This sweet potato soup is one that local chef Morris Martick has been making at his restaurant for many years. We printed the recipe in his words in a 2006 food section story. The soup is comfort food at its best.

Boil 4 sweet potatoes until tender. Remove skin. Cut into large cubes. Put into saucepan, then add:
Diced carrots (matchstick size), broccoli, string beans, mushrooms
"A little bit of water." (We added about 1 1/2 cups.)
Brown sugar (tablespoon per serving)
"An appropriate amount" of butter (tablespoon per serving)
Heavy whipping cream (But how much? "Use your instincts as a cook.")
Bring to boil until vegetables are cooked through (potatoes should be smooth) and soup is slightly thickened.
Don't overcook. "Or the cream will curdle."

(Note: We tested Martick's recipe using 4 sweet potatoes, 2 cups shredded carrots, 2 1/2 cups broccoli florets, 2 1/2 cups string beans, 2 cups sliced mushrooms, 4 tablespoons brown sugar, 4 tablespoons butter and 3/4 cup heavy cream.)

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