“What about protein? We need protein and you said we can’t eat meat or much of it anyway!” That’s right, we do need protein and for a heart healthy diet it is recommended to limit the amount of animal protein we intake. But there are other, healthier ways to get the protein we need.
It reminds me of a poem my daddy taught me as a kid: Beans, beans the wonderful fruit, the more you eat the more you … oh, never mind. But seriously, beans are a wonderful source of protein that we can eat every single day. And there are so many different ones to choose from: Pinto, Navy, Kidney, Black, Lima, Cranberry, Soldier, Fava, Northern, and the list goes on and on. And dried beans are very economical on your grocery budget.
One of my favorite meals now is one I got sick and tired of as a kid: Pinto beans, corn bread and fried potatoes. I could eat almost any kind of beans and be happy as long as I have some good corn bread and fried potatoes to go along with them. But, sigh, I’m not supposed to have any fried foods so that cuts out the fried potatoes. But these are almost as good.
Cut up potatoes just like you were going to fry them in a pan. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Spray a pan lightly with olive oil and dump the potatoes in. I like to cut up an onion and bell pepper as well and include. I spray it all lightly with the olive oil and sprinkle it with some Mrs. Dash Original or Onion and Spice blend. Cover it with foil and let it bake for about an hour. I usually stir it once or twice while it is cooking.
And I’ve created my own healthier type of cornbread. I love this stuff.
Brent’s Whole Wheat Salsa Cornbread
Mix together dry ingredients of
¾ cup Corn Meal
1 ¼ cup WHOLE wheat flour
¼ cup sugar
2 teaspoons Baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 egg whites
½ cup low fat sour cream
½ cup skim or 2% milk
½ cup salsa
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup frozen corn
1 cup shredded low fat, skim mozzarella cheese
Divide into 12 muffin cups spayed with olive oil
Cook 20 minutes in pre-heated 400 degree oven
Eat this healthy cornbread with some oven-baked-fried potatoes and a pot of good old beans and you’ll be getting your protein, your fiber and all sorts of good tasting flavors on your tongue and you won’t be clogging up those arteries.
That little poem my daddy taught me ends, “…the better you feel, so eat some beans at every meal!” That’s some good advice right there!
The following column was only my second for In the Kitchen. As you’ll see, the original recipe called for Tilapia. Since this column originally ran, I’ve read several articles about Tilapia and the way they are raised. A couple of those articles claimed that because of the way Tilapia is raised it is not a healthy fish to eat. One article even claimed that bacon was healthier than Tilapia. Wild caught fish are much healthier for one than farm raised Tilapia, according to much of what I’ve read. So you may wish to switch to something like wild-caught Alaskan cod, or some other wild-caught fish.
We Americans love our meat, and here in Oklahoma where so many of us raise or have raised cattle and hogs – we love our red meat. Every day I see at least one pickup with the “Eat Beef” sticker. But I’ve learned that it really can be hard on your heart, your arteries and your body to eat too much meat, especially red meat.
The heart healthy diet I was placed on calls for only one serving of animal protein a day and by one serving, they mean 3.5 to 4 ounces of meat. That is about the size of a deck of cards. I’m supposed to only eat one serving of red meat once per month, if at all. And red meat does not just mean beef. The National Pork Producers did a splendid job in marketing with their “Pork, the other white meat” campaign, but it is just marketing. Pork is considered red meat, as is duck, lamb, and veal.
I can have white meat poultry (chicken or turkey) once a week, and I can have shrimp, crab, lobster or crawfish once a week. They told me I could have fish every other day, to include oysters, mussels, scallops and clams. My problem is I don’t care for most fish or water based life as food. I loved fried catfish but that was about it. But I’m not supposed to have any fried food!
The good thing about fish is that they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help protect against heart attacks and reduce inflammation. So, I am learning to like fish in a few different forms. Here is a recipe that I do like and it is healthy.
Oven Baked Blackened Tilapia
1 pound tilapia fillets (I buy frozen)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tablespoons Paprika
1 teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
½ to 1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 teaspoon Thyme
1 teaspoon Oregano
½ teaspoon Garlic Powder
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Combine the ingredients to make the Blackening Rub. Line a sheet pan with foil and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Brush the oil over the foil where the fish will be laid. Rinse and pat dry the fish fillets. Brush with olive oil. Cover the fillets with the spices and rub it in on both sides.
Place the fillets on the foil and spray them lightly with PAM (or something similar). Place in the oven and cook for 10 to 11 minutes.
I prefer to eat mine with Tartar Sauce. This is a simple homemade recipe. Combine 1/3 cup of mayonnaise, 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of sweet pickle relish and ¼ teaspoon of onion powder. Mix it up well and you are ready to eat some healthy, baked blackened tilapia! Add a fresh salad and a baked potato and you have yourself a heart healthy meal! Well, if you leave off the butter and salt on the potato. I eat mine with salsa!
On my birthday in 2015 (my 50th), Kelly and I got to attend an awesome reunion. This is the story I wrote for the newspaper about that reunion.
By Brent Wilcox for the Minco Millennium
Do you remember the scene from the Academy Award winning 1988 movie Rain Man where actors Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman get out of their car on a country road and walk up to a white house with a big front porch? Cruise’s character Charlie Babbitt says, “I want you to look normal, or normal as possible. Put your hands down.” Raymond (Hoffman’s character) says, “Four minutes to Wapner.”
Charlie knocks on the door several times and then a lady in a red house dress opens the door. Charlie tells an elaborate lie about how he is with the Nielson Company and the lady’s family could be chosen as a Nielson family. The whole time Charlie is going on with this lie, Raymond is muttering and wobbling back and forth. The lady, played by actress Beth Grant, asks who Raymond is and as Charlie begins to tell her he is his partner, she slams the door shut.
Raymond begins to lose it and goes from window to door, wobbling back and forth. “One minute to Wapner!” The lady is watching out the small window in the door and we see this herd of little boys get up and go to the window.
Finally the lady opens the door again and says loudly, “What is going on out here!” Charlie comes clean and says he lied to her. He explains that Raymond is his brother and says, “If he doesn’t get to watch People’s Court in about 30 seconds he’s going to throw a fit right here on your porch. Now you can help me or you can stand there and watch it happen.”
She says, “Well we like to watch cartoons, do you think he would settle for that?” The scene then cuts to the television tuned to the People’s Court. We see Raymond sitting in the floor looking up at the TV. As we hear Judge Wapner talking in the background, the camera scrolls around the room and we see the face of each of the lady’s six sons. We then hear the youngest of the boys crying while his mom says, “Daddy’s not here right now sweetheart.”
That three minute scene was filmed 27 years ago just east of Hinton, Oklahoma on Highway 37 over a two-day period. This movie and that scene were the first real big break for actress Beth Grant. She has appeared in dozens of movies and television shows over the last quarter of a century. The six boys are actually real brothers from Hinton, the Dougherty boys.
Grant was in Oklahoma again filming another movie in our state, this one entitled “Great Plains.” She and the Doughertys have wanted to have a reunion over the years and it finally happened on Saturday, October 10, 2015.
Grant had been filming scenes in El Reno and after wrapping up there, she and her producer drove to Hinton to the Dougherty’s Royal Oaks Farms. It was just like a long-gone family member coming home with Beth Grant hugging each boy as well as their parents Michael and Catherine. As Grant hugged the boys’ sister Elizabeth, she said, “I tried to get you in the scene too.”
The script actually called for the mom character to have two kids. Grant said that Marie Rowe, the casting director came to her and said she was actually going to have six kids.
“I said ‘Boy, I’ve been busy!’ and she asked if I would like to go meet the actual kids,” said Grant. She then recollected going out to the Dougherty’s farm and meeting the kids prior to filming. “I got there and just fell in love.”
Real-life-mom Catherine brought out an old photo album of photos she had taken during the filming of Rain Man. As Grant looks through the 27-year-old photos she points to one photo of her and the boys in the living room of the old farm house.
“I’ve had that photo on my wall all these years!” she said.
Come to find out that same photo hangs on a wall in each of the boy’s homes too.
When she came to a photo of her in the red house coat she said, “They made me try on 18 different dresses before picking this one.”
After sharing hugs and memories at Royal Oaks Farms, everyone loaded up into their vehicles and made the short drive to the farm house where the scene was filmed.
As everyone walked to the front of the house where the scene begins in the movie, more memories began to be shared by Grant and the Dougherty brothers.
“Look at this! This is an iconic porch for all time,” exclaimed Grant. “And it’s going to live into perpetuity, and having gotten Best Picture it will be preserved forever!”
We learn that Andrew was the baby boy crying in the movie. John remembers being confused and asking if Grant was his “real mom.” He also remembered being promised cartoons and candy, neither of which were provided.
Grant said, “I’ve just got to put in a plug for making movies in Oklahoma! This is my third movie in Oklahoma. Just working on Great Plains and I did Heartland this summer. It’s a beautiful place to work; the people are friendly and wonderful. The crews are fantastic, the best crews in the world.”
Pointing to the Doughertys she said, “These people, it affected their lives to have this movie made here. They’ve grown into such incredible young men, I’m so proud of you guys! I’ve already cried three times and not going to do it again!”
After the reunion, Catherine Dougherty described the reunion as magical. As observers we would agree.
This was my first column (it’s called In the Kitchen with Brent in the newspaper) about eating a heart-healthy diet. This column ran in October 2014. As of last count, I’ve written 123 columns that had to do with heart health, food and exercise.
On March 20 of this year (2014) I had a heart attack. One of the first things my cardiologist told me while I was still laying in the hospital bed was that I would need to quit smoking and I would have to change my diet. He said, “If they didn’t have it in 1890, don’t eat it.”He was talking about all the processed food we eat today, which is loaded with sugars and salts and many other chemicals that I can’t spell or pronounce. I, like most Oklahomans, ate way too much processed food, too much fried food and too much sugar and salt.
The Heart Hospital put me on a list for cardio rehab and after about a two month wait, I was finally able to begin. I thought cardio rehab would just be some nurses hooking me up to monitors while I exercised. It was that, but it also included teaching me about my food intake, what I should eat and what I shouldn’t eat, how to read labels on food and healthier ways to prepare food.
Americans eat way too much salt. Excessive salt intake is the chief cause of high-blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease, strokes and other life-threatening diseases. We all need salt (sodium) in our diet, it is an essential nutrient and natural mineral, but Americans eat way too much of it. According to the American Heart Association, most people consume about 3,400 milligrams of salt a day – more than twice the recommended amount of 1,200 to 1,500 milligrams per day. One teaspoon of salt equals 2,300 milligrams. Salt, or sodium, has many different names and can be confusing. When reading food labels all of the following equals salt: sodium bicarbonate, baking soda, sodium nitrate, sodium citrate, monosodium glutamate [MSG], and sodium benzoate.
There are literally hundreds of different spices to choose from and I’ve learned by playing around with them, I don’t need salt to make my food taste good. I still use some salt in some recipes, but I don’t pour it from the shaker on my food anymore and I use less than most recipes call for when I’m cooking.
Now that Peggy Pattillo has ended her column “Peg’s Pantry,” I plan to occasionally bring you some tips I learned about cooking and eating healthy. And I’ll include some recipes.
One of the best things to remember is that Fresh is always better. It is recommended that we eat at least 5 servings of vegetables a day and at least 4 servings of fruit a day. Fresh veggies and fruit are always better than canned or frozen. When I was still going to cardio rehab, they recommended that I eat a fresh salad at lunch and at dinner. But, they also recommended that I not use most bottled salad dressings, which are loaded with sugars and salts and calories. I usually use low-fat, low-sodium cottage cheese rather than a salad dressing. But if you feel that you must use salad dressing, they recommended using a balsamic vinegar/olive oil type.
Make your salads colorful!The more different colors the better it is for you. And the choices are many: Lettuce (we prefer Romaine), broccoli, red, yellow and green bell peppers, celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, radishes,carrots, banana peppers, onions, cabbage, cauliflower, snow peas, green beans, jalapeno peppers and the list goes on.
Until next time, when I will include a recipe or two, remember to cut down on the sodium and to eat as much fresh as possible.
I had a blog from May 2010 until I got rid of it in August 2014. It was almost all about politics and I burned out. But now I’m back and plan to discuss some politics, but also music and healthy eating just as much as politics. And I’m sure there will be other topics arise that I feel the need to include as well.