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Would like some suggestions of recipes , recipe books that have easy and fast meals . Am always looking for short cuts to making caregiving a little lighter. Yeah, healthy is good as I need to start watching the waist line shrink. My waistline, that is! lol. If you have come across some tasty tried and true recipes feel free to share them.

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I bought a cookbook, several years ago, (one of only three that I own!) that is just wonderful. I decided that I wanted to eat healthier foods and add more vegetables to my diet. But, in my family, vegetables were always a "side dish." This cookbook is for vegetarian main meals and they are soooo good. The directions are simple and you can search recipes by the ingredients you have on hand. Also, the recipes make large enough quantities that I can freeze leftovers. I use this book a lot in the summer and fall when fresh veggies are plentiful and inexpensive. My Mom was able to eat most of the dishes because cooked vegetables are softer. And I liked that she was getting more nutritious meals.
Cookbook: "Vegetarian Pleasures: Main Course" by Jeanne Lemlin.
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InService, if Mom can eat what you cook for you and hubby that is wonderful, try the cook ahead routine, if you can get someone to help watch Mom, cook different things that can be turned into other meals.. Rachel Ray has a show I believe something like 1 day cooking 5 days eating..lol.. Towards winter a lot I like to cook up stews, soups, and other dinners that can just be reheated on the wood stove if we lose power.

If she is having trouble swallowing or chewing, there isn't anything that can't be put in a blender, unless of course it has bones..lol.. I just typed soft food/meals into my browser and you would be surprised the number of sites that came up.. spaghetti in a blender might look gross, but it can be done and is eatable.

Trying to keep weight on mom, I used ensure they have one for gaining/maintaining weight, the carnation breakfast.. kept little puddings, jello's, ice cream, fruit cups, etc.. for her.. some days, the little puddings were all that I could give her she'd keep down. She loved her ensure mixed half and half, half chocolate, and have vanilla..

At 81, and we knew she was dying of cancer, who cared what she ate? as long as she ate something.. We try our best to provide healthy meals for our charges, but sometimes at their ages, why not just let them have what they want to have.

If I make it to 81, I want a 10 pound box of chocolates next to my bed, and if it gets down to 1 pound, want another 10 waiting in the wings..rofl..
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Yeah Jeanne, I do keep an eye on the nuts,and snacks. Good point about coughing/chocking risk. I'll keep a check on that.
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Yeah, Mom loves her sweets as well...cinnamon toast...or a breakfast roll..."mainlines cinnamon rolls" lol. Yeah... I could do that too ...lol..but I don't , thank God. Thanks so much for all the detailed info, and ideas! But please your making my mouth water...so quit with the Italian Cream Cake already!! lol.
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InService, first let me make it clear I am all in favor of letting 'em eat what they can eat. Many people who need their food cut into small pieces and to have gravy and sauces on foods do not do well with nuts. Alas, that is one thing hubby can't eat any more. If your loved one doesn't cough or have apparent problems with nuts, more power to you both! But I'd keep an eye on it and determine it is safe. Nuts are a really healthy snack and hubby and I are disappointed to give them up, but the increased coughing/choking risk just wasn't worth it.

Here's a "recipe" we like, especially when nothing seems to appeal: ice cream, milk, Carnation Instant Breakfast zizzed in a blender to make a milkshake. Sometimes I add a banana and peanut butter and chocolate sauce (for Presley special), sometimes canned peaches, fresh strawberries, or other soft fruits I have on hand. Even without the add-ins this provides nutrition and calories when hubby just doesn't feel like eating.
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Amen Jeannegibbs! How about some italian cream cake!
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Thank so for much for the ideas! Sorry I didn't respond earlier but had a very busy week. I'm tired but I feel better coming here , learning and sharing. Hope to hear more ideas for meals. I have been using the fruit, tapioca,etc. But the Gerber toddler meals is a new idea! I'll check it out soon. Mom can eat most meals that my hub & I eat, but I just modify them for her. She likes some spicey foods because she's losing the sense of taste. I just make sure she doesn't over do it. I also cut up her food add a little bit of gravey or juices to it. Small portions of everything. I try to have snacks available for her so she can just come into the kitchen and get some fruit or nuts to munch on. Chat later.
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Tigerlily -- Ma mainlines frosted cinnamon rolls. Thanks for the laugh.

I hope if I make it to 90 some do-gooder won't try to stuff me with whole wheat and tofu. :) Pass the chocolate pie, please.
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Jeannie I agree with the doctor. If she is doing fine at her age you can't ask much more. I figure I wasn't my mother's keeper until 3 years ago and she survived. She is still capable of making her own decisions and since I don't live with her I have only so much control. She often agrees with me when I am there and then I find she does the opposite the minute I am out of sight. I figure she has already outlived 3 husbands and 3 children. Mom is fine even if she main lines fritters.
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@jeanne I figured the not. lol -sounds like your mum is getting a decent diet with meals on wheels - nothing wrong with some sweets for many people as long as they are getting the good stuff - in my view. Mother at 99 actually eats less sweets than she did. My sig other is 6'2", 185 lbs and very active and eats well but loves his sweets and he burns them off. Personally, I don't have a lot of faith in doctor's knowledge of nutrition in general or in the well publicized food pyramids

Hippocrates said “Let food be your medicine, and medicine be your food.” - Much food nowadays is not nutrient dense - poor soils and processing and also are high in additives, preservatives and so on. This does no benefit us.

However a number of us survive quite well despite this. Nonetheless that there is an epidemic of obesity, diabetes and heart disease on this continent cannot be denied and the latest research attributes that to carbohydrates (sugar etc) not fats as has been thought. . There are people in their 90s who smoke and do not have lung disease. That does not say smoking is not harmful in general. I am not saying low carb is for everyone - not at all.

Moderation is all things, especially moderation..

Anyway, I digress and Inservice asked for recipes. Gosh for main dishes I don't use them any more for most things. If I need some info I look on the internet for ideas.
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Correction: sweets are NOT the only things my mother eats.
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I took my 91 yo mom to her geriatrician this week. The doctor was very upbeat. "You must be eating OK. Your weight is stable. That is very good!" I said, laughingly, "She eats just fine as long as we keep bringing her donuts and cake and pie." The doctor said, "That is perfectly OK. She didn't get to be 91 with us telling her how to eat. There is no reason to start now." And she explained to me that the only taste buds left at this age are for sweet and so most older folks develop a sweet tooth.

Ma gets meals on wheels and we also bring the devilled eggs and shrimp and frozen individual servings of vegetales, etc. so I know sweets are the only thing she eats, but without them I doubt she keep her weight stable.
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BTW - cooking from scratch is less expensive - and healthier - prep time for soup stew or pot roast is prob less than 10 minutes and then simmer for a few hours.. And they can be blended or food processed to liquify for those who have trouble with solids. Can you tell I made my own baby food and my daughter does too? Really it is not hard and in my mind as much as you will give your elder their medications, giving them a proper diet is just as important. :)
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HI Inservice - I am all for nonprocessed as natural as possible food - meat, veggies. fruit, nuts, seeds, whole grains etc, I think it contributes to anyone's wellbeing. My mother at 99 has a touchy stomach and uses fish, shrimp and scallops a lot or a little chicken - all of which can be cooked quickly and easily - oven, stir fry or microwave. She eats a little fresh fruit, some veggies, rice and rice bread and lots of diluted juices like cranberry - the real juice, I am 73 and pretty healthy and I eat very carefully avoiding the white stuff - flour, sugar, rice and am allergic to dairy and gluten which rules out a ;lot. I lost about 18 lbs since Christmas by reducng carbs. I feel better on a low carb diet. I do stirfries and am sure to add lots of greens which are nutrient dense, peppers etc. They say eat 5 colours a day to get your nutrients. I love soups and get soup bones, or chlcken pieces and make my own soups with the meat, or chicken and veggies. The prep doesn't take long and then it simmers on the stove and you can freeze some. Stews and pot roasts are also good and can be cooked till everything falls apart and also can be frozen. I am thinking of getting a pressure cooker. You are what you eat in my view and i taught this for years before I retired. I do pasta dishes with corn or rice pasta and use tomato sauce there with meat of some kind in it and throw in some greens. Bok Choy is great or spinach and very healthy. I munch on radishes, raw cauliflower, celery and love raw or cooked cabbage adding it to soups. Lots of other things too. I have made fruit cobblers with fresh fruit, almond meal, some gluten free flours and also just stew up fresh fruit. I made up a great cherry compote with cinnamon, a little lemon juice, stevia to sweeten, added blueberries, vanilla and a little knob of butter and thickened with cornstarch. You could put a biscuit topping or - or have ice cream with it. I love it as is. I make sugarless chocolates - remember choc is good for you but sugar isn't, and spices and herbs are good for you. Aspartame as in diet soda puts on weight. - that has been established now. Anyway better get off my soapbox. Good eating and good living everyone.
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Tigerlily I totally agree. If whatever she's eating makes her happy and agrees with her she should have it.
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My mom has a very child like palate. She likes apple fritters from the donut shop and nutty buddie ice cream cones. As for food she likes anything that has alfedo sauce and a lot of cheese. She also likes spicy food. I use to tell her what she should eat but I have quit worrying about it for the time being. I figure she has made it to 81 years old and can eat what she wants right now. If it ever comes to the point that I have to feed her I might take more control and will certainly take the easiet route for the better food. RIght now it isn't worth what little hair I have left to fight with her.
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Mariesmom, great idea's now I hope I can remember those tricks and tips.
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jeanne - I make deviled eggs all the time! Won a 4-H contest with my recipe in jr high! As for the shrimp cocktail . . . mom went into anaphylactic shock at the Officers Club while eating it amidst much drama, and I must have heard the story at least once a week every week of my life (until Mom forgot it. along with my name and everything else). It was in her opinion the most interesting thing that ever happened to her.
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mariesmom, what good ideas! Many older persons, especially with dementia or Parkinson's, have trouble chewing and/or swallowing and the toddler meals sound very interesting.

Two things my mother likes and that seem like treats when I bring them to her are devilled eggs (very inexpensive and nutritous, but who ever makes them except for parties?) and shrimp cocktail (more expensive but super easy and so festive).
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Hey Inservice I'm new here too. Ah recipes . . .when i brought Mom to my house 2 yrs ago i was set and determined my severly demented old mom would get fat as a pig on my cooking. No. She got sick. repeatedly. She had eaten bland food her whole life - and hadn't cooked since daddy died, eating mostly canned soup and white rice - so her stomach couldn't handle anything i cooked - and I am a very good cook! So afte a lot of trial and error this is what she eats now.
Gerber Toddler Meals - about $2.00 (Walmart, Target) It is like a TV Dinner for folks without a lot of teeth. Delicious too. And a wide variety of choices, each meal with a protein (chicken, beef or turkey), a starch (potatoes or rice), and a green or orange vegetable (carrots, peas or green beans). Stores on the shelf. 30 seconds in the microwave. Gerber also makes 'Pasta pickUps" little spinach or cheese or beef raviolis that Mom loves to eat. I trusted gerber with my babies so its OK for Mom.

To this I add:
--A 2nd veggie. I buy the corn, carrots, green beans and peas in their own little container and nuke for 20 seconds. Rup, drain and serve.

--Two fruits. Same thing. Serving size rip, drain and serve pineapple, peaches, pears, mixed fruit, applesauce. I also serve a fresh banana when I can get good ones.

--Dairy. Rice pudding or tapioca or any of the wonderful vanilla puddings and fruit puddings inthe dairy case. No chocolate or jello - both are too messy and jello gets everywhere! Also cottage cheese (all these are single servings) and Mom loves the simple "Dora the Explorer" flavored yogurt.

--She also loves cheese sandwiches and jelly sandwiches on plain whilte bread.

--I also give her a slice of sweet potato pie now and then, or a baked sweet potato, or scrambled eggs.

Beverage? After lots of hit and miss on this its just water, or watered down apple juice.

These "convenience" foods do add extra to my budget, but they are so simple, and healthy and she has never complained or had stomach issues. And its ojne less thing I have to worry about so its worth it. And its a piece of cake when i have the occassional paid helper come in. Mom usually eats a large tray filled with an assortment of these foods around 11 and 6 everyday. (She was not eating well on a 3X a day schedule). And she has not only gained a few pounds, her blood pressure is MUCH better than mine.
Hugs!
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