Friday, October 31, 2008

New Recipes

I got my bi-weekly e-newsletter on Low Sodium Cooking from Dick Logue today. Here are a couple of the recipes in this edition that looked particularly good to me since the weather has cooled off:

Black Bean Soup

A flavorful Latin style soup that's low in carbohydrates and fat. Use homemade salsa if you have it. If not, look for a brand like Enrico's no salt added, which is just as low, or Newman's Own that has around 120 mg of sodium per serving. This will add about 30 mg per serving.

1 1/2 c Dried Black Beans
4 c Water
2 T Olive Oil
1 Onion,Finely Chopped
1/2 Green Bell Peppers,Finely Chopped
2 ea Garlic,Minced
2 Carrot,Finely Chopped
2 Celery,Finely Chopped
1 t Cumin
1/4 t Cayenne
1 T Lime Juice
1/4 c Salsa

Soak beans in water overnight. In a large Dutch oven, sauté onion, pepper, garlic, carrots and celery until almost soft. Add spices and sauté a few minutes more. Add beans, water, lime juice and salsa and simmer until beans are beginning to fall apart, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Yield: 6 Servings

Per Serving:
130 Calories
5 g Protein
5 g Total Fat
1 g Saturated Fat
1 g Polyunsaturated Fat
3 g Monounsaturated Fat
18 g Carbohydrates
5.7 g Fiber
24 mg Sodium
360 mg Potassium
0 mg Cholesterol
Diabetic Exchanges
1 Starch
0.5 Vegetable
0 Lean Meat
0 Very Lean Meat
1 Fat


Easy No-Crust Apple Pie

Subscriber Kate originally sent us this recipe for an easy apple dessert It's as good as she said it was. And as she pointed out, for those of us who don't like to peel apples it doesn't take as many as a "real" apple pie.

4 Apples,Peeled And Sliced, 2 Golden Delicious And 2 Macintosh
1 T Sugar
1 t Cinnamon
3/4 c Unsalted Margarine,Melted
1/2 c Sugar
1 Egg
1/2 t Sodium Free Baking Powder
1 c Flour

Slice the apples put in a bowl. Add cinnamon and tablespoon of sugar and mix well. Dump into a greased (I use the Canola spray) 10" glass pie plate. In the same bowl beat the egg, add: melted margarine, 1/2 Cup sugar, baking powder and flour. Pour over apples (it'll be thick, so I actually put little spoonfuls all over to make sure it all gets covered). Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 mins until golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Yield: 8 Servings

Per Serving:
306 Calories
3 g Protein
18 g Total Fat
3 g Saturated Fat
6 g Polyunsaturated Fat
8 g Monounsaturated Fat
36 g Carbohydrates
1.8 g Fiber
15 mg Sodium
153 mg Potassium
0 mg Cholesterol
Diabetic Exchanges
Other Carbohydrates
Lean Meat
Very Lean Meat
Don't forget you can sign up for Dick's free e-newsletter yourself at by e-mailing him at These recipes and more are also available online in Microsoft Word format at
He also has a cookbook available at here:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Low Sodium Menus

I added a new feature to the Low Sodium Living link over at It's called On The Menu and I'll be periodically posting the menu from that night's dinner at the Feedin' Mama household. I'm always working on new ways to cook things by using fresh or frozen foods as close to their natural state as possible and by using other flavorings in place of salt. I'm going to work on figuring out how to archive them also. The site and this blog are works in progress and I'm learning a lot by trial and error so I just hope you're all bearing with me as I go along.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Reality Check For Caregivers

Carol O'Dell, author of Mothering Mother: A Daughters Humorous and Heartbreaking Memoir, has written an excellent article over at The Caregiver Blog that is a stark reality check for caregivers who are too invested in their caregiving experience for their own good. She has a list of questions that all caregivers need to ask themselves and answer honestly and follows with a wonderful list of "permissions" letting them know that it's okay to not be perfect or have it all together. Read the whole article and pass it on to anyone you know who could benefit from it - which is pretty much anyone who is charged with caring for another human being.

Thanks for the link from Carol Bradley Bursack over at the Minding Our Elders blog.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

We're growing!

I have begun to feel some frustration in not having the ability to organize information and topics in this space so I decided that the natural progression of things should be an official web site for Feedin' Mama. So I am happy to announce the birth of my new website Feedin'Mama. I thought about coming up with a brand new name but the goals and mission of the web site are the same as the ones for the blog so it seemed right to keep the name going. I hope you'll drop by and watch the construction as the site evolves. And, as always, feel free to share your knowledge and insight with us either here on the blog or via e-mail. I look forward to seeing you there soon and often!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dementia and The Right to Vote

I just read a very interesting article over at on the dilemma over whether older adults with varying degrees of dementia should be allowed to vote. With all the stories in the news today about voter fraud and about certain areas of the country that apparently don't deny access to voters just because they are dead or because they're only 7 years old, there is this issue that is quite a bit more difficult to address. Would you help your elderly parent or friend fill out an absentee ballot even if you weren't totally convinced that they understood the issues? What if they couldn't clearly express their choice but you, having known them and knowing what they would have chosen in the past, went ahead and filled it out with regard to their historical record. Conversely, if you believe that they are unable to make an informed decision, would you help them fill out the ballot and then not mail it? Where is the line that tells us that our elder's dementia has progressed too far for them to cast their vote? Who decides that? Can you take away a person's right to vote, a right that so many have given their lives for, without deliberate and thoughtful consideration and setting some sort of standard to be met, some specific criteria? People are living longer, the boomers are aging and finding answers to these questions is going to become increasingly urgent. The author, Carol Bradley Bursack, raises the million dollar question: Add the right to vote to the list of issues the tsunami of aging boomers will be shining a light on. Where do dignity and rights stop and the ability to make an informed decision end? It's a lot to think about.

Friday, October 10, 2008

A great find for caregivers

I heard about a new source of caregiver information today. Our local Aging Resource Center, ElderSource is developing a series of podcasts designed to provide timely and helpful information to those of us who care for older adults. You can find them at Informed Eldercare. I just listened to the podcast on disaster preparedness for seniors which was excellent. There is also a 2-part podcast on end of life issues. Stop by and take a listen and don't forget to leave your comments and suggestions, they want your input to help guide them to the topics you want and need to know more about.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Seniors on the Superhighway

What a strange and interesting world we have become. I'm sitting here on my front porch, posting on my blog about caring for older folks on my laptop, listening on my iPod to a ska band (Cake) that my grownup son turned me on to from his younger days. People say that our world is becoming smaller and less delineated by technology and I think that we as individuals are becoming broader (in a good way) and less delineated by technology as well.

So here's what I'm thinking about... how can we put all this technology to use to help keep our elder folk connected on this big superhighway of information and a dizzying array of gizmos and gadgets. I checked for geezer blogs online and found the Geezer Brigade, a humor blog for geezers "and their attorneys!" and also found a great blog by a guy going by the nom de plume Geezer about Northern Michigan on Geezer's Blog. A search for "older adult online" finds "Older, Wiser, Wired" on the AARP website, an article from way back in 2005 that estimated at least 50% of adults over 50 go online regularly and I'm sure that has increased exponentially since then.

I know that Mama has benefitted from being "connected" online - to my sibs through regular e-mail, getting pictures of her great-grands and keeping up with their growing years. She also laments regularly finding herself falling into the time-sucking abyss of online solitare and maj jhong games (although she gets mighty cranky when the cable internet goes out... might be time to look for a 12 step program?) She keeps up with her banking and bill-paying online, manages her mail-order prescriptions and can google search with the best of them. I know that the ability to do these things has helped prevent her from becoming alone and isolated even if she "doesn't get around much anymore" as the old song says. Her life is enriched by having the world and its information at her fingertips.

Perhaps nursing homes and in-home caregivers can begin finding ways to connect the elders in their care. It doesn't cost anything to set up a blog and if the links are bookmarked most seniors could probably manage their own blogs without a whole lot of assistance. Shared insights and experiences are vital to staying connected as well as to finding solutions to obstacles and difficulties. - it could begin a whole new community for our older loved ones!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Whose business is it anyhow?

Someone asked me today about what to do about an elderly friend who lives alone but clearly should not. And that is a tough question. If it were a family member who asked I would determine what the financial situation is and then make appropriate referrals; if the friend has no assets and a low enough income there are a number of long-term care diversion programs that are government funded that will assess the situation and bring a reasonable amount of resources into the home if that would enable the person to remain independent. Those programs operate on the principle that it is more cost effective to bring the resources to the person rather than to place them in a long-term care facility. Or the assessment may show that the person is not capable of living alone even with some assistance and then a referral to a facility would be the better option. If the elder has adequate assets, income and/or good supplemental or long-term care insurance then I would suggest that the family and their elder investigate the many home care agencies available and get all the help that their plans will cover and their assets will allow. Many elders have been diligent about saving for a rainy day and now is the time to start spending that down.

That is all well and good for families but in this case someone who is truly concerned about a friend's well being and obvious needs is hesitant to get into that person's business even though it appears that the person obviously needs help in a big way and there are family members who would be involved in those decisions. I think that the only thing one can do in this situation is to voice your concerns to the elder and to someone in the family and offer to assist them in navigating the maze of agencies and programs that are out there. If that doesn't work contact your local Area Agency on Aging for advice. Here in NE Florida that would be ElderSource or call toll free 1-888-242-4464.