Fortunately, it is not possible to gain weight simply from reading recipes. If it were, my girth would be expanding daily, hourly, by the minute, from the recipes folks are posting on Facebook.
One problem with having an online universe of friends who love food is that they post what they eat. Or what they might eat. Or what they read about eating.
I had to create a file on my computer desktop for all the recipes I've copied, with the thought that they'd be good to make some time. Most of them are the opposite of haute cuisine, which enthuses me greatly. I can go to the fancy magazines and the food writers in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times, to read about preparations involving multiple esoteric ingredients and cookware. But on my newsfeed I have found such wonders as Three Envelope Roast, a crockpost recipe that involves packets of dry salad dressing mix and brown gravy, that must be good since it's gone viral.
I am a huge fan of shared recipes, the ones that travel from pot-luck to church supper, from home cook to home cook. These are the ones that can't fail and always please. They may be humble, but the are the foundation of the American palate.
How about a one-pot tomato-basil pasta in which the dry noodles cook in the sauce and come out tender? I haven't tried it, but for those of you who want to:
12 ounces pasta
1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes with liquid
1 large sweet onion, cut in julienne strips
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
2 large sprigs basil, chopped
4 1/2 cups vegetable broth (regular broth, not low sodium)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Parmesan cheese for garnish
Place pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil, in a large stock pot. Pour in vegetable broth. Sprinkle on top the pepper flakes and oregano. Drizzle top with oil. Cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer and keep covered and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes or so. Cook until almost all liquid has evaporated Season to taste with salt and pepper , stirring pasta several times to distribute the liquid in the bottom of the pot. Serve garnished with Parmesan cheese.
And from the name alone, I know this has to be good: Texas Trash Warm Bean Dip. I'll know for sure as soon as I make it. Right after I mix up a coconut custard pie that makes its own crust.
My sister-in-law has gone on another of her crazy diets, and is now posting recipes using strange ingredients. The other day she made pancakes using flaxseed meal instead of flour. I'm not going to try that one. But I know she's fallen off the wagon, because two recent posts list the ingredients for a BLT dip involving mayonnaise, bacon and sour cream, and a salsa chicken crockpot dish that demands tortillas. That's not diet food; that's just plain delicious.
The first recipe I saved from my newsfeed was for peanut butter fudge that claims to be the easiest ever:
2 cups sugar,
1/2 cup milk,
1 tsp. vanilla,
3/4 cup peanut butter.
Bring sugar and milk to a boil. Boil two and a half minutes. Remove from heat and stir in PB and vanilla. That's it.
I've also copied recipes for things that are inedible.
It seems that I am a beacon for bugs. Mosquitoes, and even more aggravating NoSeeEms, find me in a crowd. My bathroom cabinet is full of store-bought sprays that promise to keep bugs away, even in the midst of an Amazonian jungle. Sometimes they even work in my backyard.
Online, I have found recipes for bug sprays involving household ingredients that are less likely to alter my DNA. One anti-mosquito preparation requires lavender oil, lemon juice, vanilla extract and water, shaken in a spray bottle. It sounds practically edible, and not nearly as noxious as the chemical stuff.
Maybe it will even work.