Happy 2011!! I am happy to report that I was able to ring in the New Year in the comfort of my own home, having been discharged from the hospital on Tuesday. Now that I am no longer being served low-salt, low-taste food on a regular schedule, I am forced to cook my own. I can't go out to eat--there's too much salt in everything. I can't buy prepared foods--there's too much salt in everything. That leaves me to fend for myself.
Having watched (and smelled) LA eat some sad-looking burgers from the hospital cafeteria, I was craving a burger. I'm sure I could make a healthy version. And I did. 96% lean ground beef seasoned with black pepper and garlic powder, low-sodium sliced Colby-Jack cheese (thank you, Sargento), lettuce, tomato, and a whole-wheat roll. The burger was a bit overcooked and dry, and the roll was overtoasted. Even so, we both agreed it was the best burger ever. I guess context is everything. Had we not been burned out on hospital food, we may not have been so enamored of the burger. As it was our first post-hospital meal, we were thrilled by it. The meal was rounded out with a baked potato. I thought about making potato wedges, but just didn't have the energy. Baked potatoes would have to do. Fat-free sour cream, low-sodium shredded Cheddar (thank you again, Sargento!), and imitation bacon bits topped the spuds. Who knew low-sodium could taste so good?? On a side note, imitation bacon bits have lower sodium than real bacon bits, so I am allowed to have them. On another side note, Morningstar bacon (which we call "facon") tastes just like imitation bacon bits. Don't waste your money.
The next evening, we were having company and I was feeling a bit lazy. I cooked up some frozen "Southern-style" hashbrowns, chopped broccoli, and green peas. This I dumped into a small casserole dish and seasoned with black pepper, my stand-by garlic powder, and some chipotle powder. I mixed Eggbeaters with milk to create the custard, then poured it over the veggies, then topped it all with more of my low-sodium shredded cheddar. I baked it for 50 minutes at 375 degrees, and it came out puffed up and golden. I'll admit it was a tad spicy, but LA and I were thrilled with the outcome. He even went back for seconds! The leftovers were combined with more Eggbeaters and hashbrowns, then wrapped in a tortilla, and we had breakfast burritos the following morning.
I won't lie and say that this whole low-sodium thing is easy, but it's turning out not to be as difficult as I thought. I can't buy a lot of my old standards at the supermarket, and I'm having to cook a lot more than I was before, since we can't just pop out and grab something. But it's totally worth it, to keep me alive and keep LA healthy. More to come on the low-sodium lifestyle!