Tomatoes and cucumbers — two fun summer salads

Farmers markets are a great place to find the freshest vegetables and fruits to eat on your restricted diet. I recently got some amazing bargains at the local Evanston Farmers Market, quite by accident, as I was there at the end of the day and found farmers discounting produce rather than packing it up to take home. I bought three immense cucumbers for $1. And I bought some amazing tomatoes for $1.50 a pound.

I had so many of each, I needed to do something so they wouldn’t go bad before I could eat them. The answer was to make a cucumber salad and a tomato salad.

My dinner one night, two great summer salads.
My dinner one night, two great summer salads.

The tomato salad is the simplest, just cut them up in wedges, add olive oil and oregano and basil. Mix it well to get oil and spices on all the tomatoes and enjoy. I used five tomatoes and had it for a week. Continue reading “Tomatoes and cucumbers — two fun summer salads”

Breakfast Fruit: a great road alternative

My recent trip to Italy included some amazing meals, made all the better because they were shared with family. And both hotels we stayed in offered breakfast buffets. Buffets hold a certain magic for me, having grown up with very little. An all-you-eat buffet seems the opposite of a childhood spent on the edge of poverty. But these days I cannot partake of all the wonders a buffet offers and breakfast buffets are no different.

Our hotel buffets had the usual bacon, omelets and other items I can no longer eat. But thankfully, they also featured a variety of fruits which is where I spent my time at them.

Fruit and tomatoes for breakfast, bellisima
Fruit and tomatoes for breakfast, bellisima

Another fun option at one was steamed tomatoes. I love tomatoes and the ones we had in Italy seemed all the better for being from my ancestral home. So I regularly had three or four for breakfast while we were staying in southern Italy. Continue reading “Breakfast Fruit: a great road alternative”

Can You Find Pre-made Low-Salt Tomato Sauce?

Tomato sauce (or gravy as my Italian-American family called it) is one of the few sauces I can still eat since my angioplasty and being put on a no-salt, no-sugar, no-fat diet.

But making sauce from canned tomatoes can create a product with way too much salt, depending on the tomato brand and variety you buy.

Always check for salt in any canned tomato product you buy.
Always check for salt in any canned tomato product you buy.

But who has hours to spend making tomato sauce more than on a rare occasion? So I’ve also been searching for prepared tomato sauce with little or no salt. Standard brands in mainstream supermarkets have tons of salt in them. But I found this Muir Glen product that fits my needs in a pinch.

You can see on its nutrition label that it has only 10 mgs per serving or 70 mgs for the entire can. The can is enough for a meal for two, or two servings, in my estimation, not the seven servings the can indicates. But even then, half a can and 35 mgs or salt is several hundred mgs less than any mainstream brand. The sauce itself was a bit watery for my taste, but it worked well to use it for baking chicken in tomato sauce and giving some flavor to otherwise dry chicken breasts.

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