Evanston’s Celtic Knot surprised me with a nice salmon salad

The lunch turned out much healthier than I had feared it might be, so kudos for the choice Celtic Knot.

The Celtic Knot is along-time fixture in my Chicago suburb of Evanston but I have not gone there in the three years since my angioplasty because the place advertises that it specializes in pub grub — exactly the kinds of foods I can no longer eat because they tend to be high in salt and fat.

My Celtic Knot salmon salad.
My Celtic Knot salmon salad.

So I wasn’t sure what I would eat there when I went to a recent event held in a private room at the downtown Evanston restaurant. I brought along my own oil and vinegar packets just in case those simple salad condiments weren’t available.

Continue reading “Evanston’s Celtic Knot surprised me with a nice salmon salad”

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Another knock on processed meats, this one from WHO

Processed meats, such as hot dogs and cold cuts, are full of sodium and other things that have led me and many others to avoid them in recent years. I’m always amused by Subway calling its sandwiches healthy when they’re filled with high-sodium processed meats, for example.

Nathan's hot dogs and waffle fries, wondrous stuff.
Nathan’s hot dogs and waffle fries, wondrous stuff.

Another knock on processed meats came from the World Health Organization (WHO) recently. It pointed to a link between an increased likelihood of cancer and the consumption of processed meats. The report also threw in red meat as a possible cancer causer. Continue reading “Another knock on processed meats, this one from WHO”

Primo in Gurnee (IL.) — a primo lunch spot

The combination of fingerling potatoes pieces and pieces of octopus, taken in the same bite, was just wonderful

Italian restaurants always worry me these days, not because I don;t love Italian food, but because my post-angioplasty diet means I shouldn’t eat regular pasta, or any sauces that are high in sodium. So when a friend suggested meeting for lunch at Primo in Gurnee, Il., not far from the Great America amusement park, I was apprehensive.

Octopus and potatos at Primo's. Bravo!
Octopus and potatos at Primo’s. Bravo!

My fears were misplaced, however. First we were told the minestrone soup for the day was low-sodium, I cannot remember when I’ve been told that in a restaurant before. I did not try it, but did yet the octopus appetizer, along with a half-dozen oysters, for a seafood lunch. Continue reading “Primo in Gurnee (IL.) — a primo lunch spot”

Rice bread — a nice low-salt alternative if you’re craving toast

This bread is a good example of how completely my life has changed since my angioplasty in 2012. I used to go on trips and bring home chocolates and snack cakes in my suitcase. This time, I had a loaf of rice bread.

I posted recently about trying rice toast on a recent visit with my son and daughter-in-law in Minnesota’s Twin Cities. I had the toast at  a farm-to-table place called the Co-Op Creamery.

My rice bread find from Minneapolis. A nice low-salt alternative to high-sodium white breads.
My rice bread find from Minneapolis. A nice low-salt alternative to high-sodium white breads.

Not sure what the nutritional profile was for rice bread, I sought it out later in my visit while we were shopping at the Seward Co-op my son belongs to and shops at.

Sure enough, I found some in the bread section and was pleasantly surprised to see it is a low-salt alternative to traditional wheat breads. Continue reading “Rice bread — a nice low-salt alternative if you’re craving toast”

Urban Agriculture examples from the Twin Cities

I mentioned  my son’s commitment to the farm-to-table, local food movement in another post. He and I toured several urban agriculture sites during my recent trip to the Twin Cities.

I found them fascinating and am waiting to see just how widespread this movement becomes in cities like Chicago and Detroit, which have wide swathes of unused and abandoned land in their poorest enclaves where fresh food is most needed.

The House of Hope Community Garden
The House of Hope Community Garden

The House of Hope Community Garden, which is run by a local Presbyterian Church in St. Paul,  was a personal favorite for me to see because my son has been involved in design and work there. The garden grows food to feed the needy. To know that he’s committed his time and efforts to such a worthy undertaking really made me feel proud and humbled by his great work. Continue reading “Urban Agriculture examples from the Twin Cities”

Minneapolis’ Co-op Creamery Neighborhood Cafe

I also ordered wild rice toast, hoping it would be healthier than regular toast. I liked the taste so much, I later bought a loaf of rice bread at the co-op.

A recent visit with my son and daughter-in-law in St. Paul, Mn., gave me a chance to try a host of places there that fit into the farm-to-table movement my son has become so passionate about. The movement is all about local food, local production and organic farming methods.

dairycoop3

I love the concept, saving on fuel and other transportation costs while putting people back in touch with their food supply. I worry about the cost for the average and below-average income earner, but presumably as more of this happens, costs will come down.

The Co-op Creamery Neighborhood Cafe is owned by the Seward Co-Op, which also runs the supermarket in Minneapolis my son regularly shops at. And while the lunch menu was full of local foods, I remained a bit worried that most dishes might have too much salt for me, so I opted for an omelet, which has become a go-to dish for me when in new restaurants for lunch.  Continue reading “Minneapolis’ Co-op Creamery Neighborhood Cafe”

Shrimp for everyone — if you like spicy, saucy dishes

The first few have either too much spice or too much sauce or other item, like butter on a roll, that I can no longer eat.

Shrimp is something I can eat on my post-angioplasty diet, according to the nutritionists I’ve consulted. The days when shrimp were thought to somehow be bad for cholesterol apparently have past.

So I was excited to see this Cooking Light compilation of more than 100 shrimp recipes, until I started scrolling through them.

The first few have either too much spice or too much sauce or other item, like butter on a roll, that I can no longer eat.

The grilled lemon bay shrimp could be one I’d enjoy, minus the salt in the recipe. Here’s the ingredient list:

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil $
1/2 teaspoon salt [omit this see if you notice the difference]
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
32 large shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 1 1/2 pounds) $
32 fresh bay leaves
4 large lemons, each cut into 8 wedges
Cooking spray

John