Posts Tagged With: sugar

When Life Gives You Oranges

Oranges!!!

Oranges!!!

Who hasn’t heard the “When Life gives you Lemons make Lemonade” speech? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

Okay, yes we’ve all heard it.

You make lemonade.

How about oranges? What if life hands you oranges? Then what do  you do?

Let’s line up the two side by side and see what we get, shall we?

We should.

Have you ever actually made lemonade? From a bowl of lemons sitting sweetly on your counter? Or from the tree in your backyard? That’s an important distinction.

Those pretty orange globes hanging on the tree make for a cheerful sight.

Those pretty orange globes hanging on the tree make for a cheerful sight.

Citrus trees have fierce hidden thorns and grow thick and tangly. So picking the dang things is like having life hand you lemons. Scratches on your arms, neck and face can definitely happen. I suggest you wear long, heavy-duty sleeves to pick lemons or oranges.

That bucket, box or bin you pick from that “small” tree fills up fast and gets heavy even faster. Hope you brought your muscles along, or at least some helpers. Our “little” orange tree we picked from yesterday filled up a large laundry hamper, a small laundry hamper and two five gallon buckets. It sure didn’t look like that much hanging on the tree.

Between rain and dust and birds the rinds of those fruits need some washing up. We had a two-year old on that job. She found it funner than bathtime. “I get to play in the sink with these hundreds of orange balls and this cool scrubby brush thing?” Oh yeah, she had a great time.

MSH invested in a juicing attachment that fits on my big mixer. That sure speeds up the process of getting the juice from the little round orange balls. Cut in half, press and the squeezing practically does itself. Sort of.  MSH has slightly sore muscles on his arms today.  A strategically placed bowl fills almost magically with copious amounts of juice. Personally I like to strain off most of the pulp and all the seeds. That’s a bit of a process too. MSH loves chunks in his juice. Me, not so much.

Here’s where things kind of split out between oranges and lemons.

Mmmmm. Makes you want to pour yourself a glass. Try squeezing a glass, it's better.

Mmmmm. Makes you want to pour yourself a glass. Try squeezing a glass, it’s better.

To get a useful amount of juice from either lemons or oranges requires more fruit than you’d expect. An eight ounce glass of orange juice takes roughly five or six medium oranges. Granted, ours aren’t specifically juicing oranges, but still, that’s a bunch of oranges for one glass to drink.

After yesterday’s long process, I can tell you I’m not going to chug a freshly squeezed glass of juice like I do a store-bought carton of the stuff. Personal time and effort give that juice a rarified, vintage wine expensive kind of flavor.

Juicer than oranges, lemons might yield eight ounces from four lemons. But you certainly aren’t going to drink that much lemon juice.  Oh no. That’d pucker you up for a week or more, right there. For lemon juice drinkability you’re going to want to add about an equal amount of sugar, maybe a little less, to two quarts of water and ice then stir well. Eight people can enjoy that sweetened lemon juice.

That’s a bunch of sugar right there. About a tablespoon and a half of sugar per eight ounce glass of water and lemon. That whole adage about life/lemons means you gotta add a ton of sweet to the sour stuff life hands you. Is it even possible to balance life that way? Some sour events life dishes out would require a sugaring of, oh I don’t know, a super sweet six month cruise to the Bahamas every half a year to achieve any kind of juice, water, sweetener balance.

Oranges, however, juice out ready to drink. No sugar required. A bit of ice is nice, but not necessary. It does take a hefty bunch of oranges and work to get that glass full enough to drink. Is the work worth it? When’s the last time you had a glass of orange juice, freshly squeezed? It’s a different experience than a processed glass.

Given the choice, we’d all pick oranges over lemons in the grocery store of life, wouldn’t we. Or would we? Some of us like a bit of tang and pucker. Some of us just need the easier route.

Either way, we make the best of what we’re given. And that, my friend, is the sweet and low of it.

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Categories: Food, Gardening, Happiness | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Comfort Food Nirvana

Macaroni cheese with leek & bacon

Macaroni and cheese (Photo credit: Great British Chefs)

When life throws a boatload of happy your way, you can be sure that somewhere in the distant background there’s some sad music playing. Not sure why that is. Perhaps the yin and yang have to happen. Maybe balance is a necessary element for the world not to implode. Could be that that’s just the way it is.

Whatever the weirdness of it is, I find a need for comfort food, at fairly regular intervals.

I could probably compile a list of fifty or more foods that are bad for you but that make you feel good mentally. I’m gonna stick with ten to keep it short. Ranking is completely random.

10. Homemade Macaroni and Cheese OR Fettucine Alfredo which is really just a fancier mac and cheese. We call either of these “heart attack on a plate” at our house. Mmmmmm. At least we’d die happy.

French Fries

French Fries (Photo credit: camknows)

9. French fries with fry sauce. If you have to ask what fry sauce is you haven’t experienced the full glory of french fries yet. A little mayonnaise, a little ketchup, a pinch of sugar. Mix. Dip your fries in this concoction for the perfect potato, salt, oil combo. You’re taste buds will thank you.

8. Bacon! You have to say it with excitement in your voice like you’d say your best friends name after having not seen them for the entire summer. BACON!!!!! Yes! It’s a luxury item, not meant for just any old day.

7. Donuts. I used to ride my bike ten miles to get to a Winchell’s donut shop. Then I’d eat one, ride home ten miles, then eat the other one. It was worth it! Jelly filled used to be my fav. Now I crave coconut covered.

6. Cherry Coke with real maraschino cherries. 44 oz is a bit much. I can settle for 32 oz of this fizzy, cold drink. Bad for you in every possible way except mentally, well probably bad for you that way, too.

Cherry Coke Holland 1999

Cherry Coke  (Photo credit: roitberg)

5. Toasted Cheese Sandwich. That’s a slice of bread piled with cheese, melted under the broiler. Add a tiny pat of butter for good measure. Warm and salty and gooey, great combo.

4. Frozen custard with hot fudge, caramel, pecans and optional whipped cream. A rare but delightsome concoction designed for maximum palatable pleasure.

3. Brownie. Warm or cold. Frosting is preferrable but not necessary. Glass of milk required.

2. Toasted tuna fish sandwich. Pickle on the side. Sweet pickle relish is also a delectable option. Cold chocolate milk made by mixing that powdery chocolate stuff with milk. Says, “Mom loves me,” like nothing else.

1. Fresh out of the oven cookies. Any kind. Chocolate Chip, Snickerdoodle, Peanut Butter, Macadamia Nut with White Chocolate Chunks.

Other foods that could/should be on the list: Pot Roast, Meatloaf, Shepherd Pie, Spaghetti, Garlic Bread, Cinnamon Toast, Milk Shakes, Hummus (yes, hummus with Pita) Chicken Fried Steak, Homemade Noodles with Chicken, Corn on the Cob,bisquits and gravy, a fresh cucumber with salt. Oh, and pancakes, and of course, Hot Chocolate. (I guess I’ve hit twenty-five items now.)

I’ve always been curious about other cultures’ comfort foods. Even other regions of the U.S. What are YOUR comfort foods? Probably even more interesting is the question: Why are they your comfort foods?

Categories: Food | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

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