Thursday, March 31, 2011

Bowling is Fun

Stroke Recovery Association of Manitoba goes Bowling

Our little planning group at SAM realized that some of our members were interested in having a bowling event.  I don't think we had a very clear idea of what all a bowling afternoon for stroke survivors would entail but we jumped on in and started planning. I called the alleys and found and booked an accessible bowling alley and I made name tags. April and her husband arranged for prizes and a few giveaways,  and Dave and Murray worked out the teams and advertising. Sherry called the bowling alley and got them to donate soft-drinks for our event. Dave also did a bit of video recording of the event.  The price for our event was very reasonable too because we were bowling in the off time between 4 and 6 pm.

We had a total of 19 people attend this past Monday, and everyone seemed to have a good time. We arranged for the bowling alley gutters to be filled with a rubber bumper so there were no gutter balls for us. The alley has a wheelchair ramp and they have a metal gadgets that lets you release and roll the ball down the bowling lane from a chair. We grouped into teams and then we played bingo bowling teams. The objective is to fill a bingo card.. throw 2's 3's 5's and spare and strike. Because we were playing as a team and not looking for a high score there was very little stress and lots of fun and "team spirit". 

There were a few problems for sure and we will be talking about it in the next few weeks.  One thing we found out was that as a group of stroke people we don't have a lot of endurance and we should plan for shorter events when they are active like this. Part way through the event a kids party started on the other side of the room, and the lights were dimmed and we found that we were now playing "glow bowling". In a way it was fun to see us and our shoe laces glowing.. but it made it a bit more difficult for a few people with vision problems. The disco ball and some moving lights also pretty much did in me and one other lady. I had an almost instant headache and started having trouble staying upright.  So now I know that .. bingo bowling is a ton of fun and absolutely no glow bowling for me!

There was a trophy at SAM from a decade ago that was just collecting dust. We are going to have the "team name" of the winning team engraved on a little plaque and we will award it officially to the team members at the upcoming Annual General Meeting.

I think one of the nicest things to come of this event was that several people said they didn't know that bowling was an option for them anymore.  They are now confident that this was a form of recreation they can enjoy with friends and family in the near future.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Healthy Cooking: Panini Sandwich Day

"Healthy Cooking Day" at SAM (Stroke Recovery Association of Manitoba) is really being a success.

We are becoming such a great group and our friendships are really growing as well as a sense of teamwork. We all bring a variety of skills to these lunches. Candace, for example brings a dedication to making healthy food choices, Dave in organizing and cheering us on, Jim has experience in the food industry and is full of practical ideas for making these things actually work. Then there are a few like me that are all for social events and especially food related ones!

Today's plan was "Panini Sandwiches".

Jim offered to bring his Panini maker and told us about enjoying Havarti cheese and luncheon meat.
Panini sandwiches at his house. We wound up deciding to bring a variety of ingredients and to experiment a bit.

We served this with a purchased veggie platter. I actually picked up a premade tray at Safeway. I had originally planned on preparing the platter myself, but I got too busy and too tired. If our plan is healthy eating made easy for stroke survivors; prepared fruits and veggies from the supermarket can save a lot of energy, time and stress. I was thinking it was going to be kind of an expensive decision, but I found the package was actually on sale today. I also think that by time I bought all the different veggies and dip separately there would be so much wastage and trimming that it really would not have been that much of a saving after all.

            Panini Variations

7 grain bread
low fat margarine (butter would have been a good idea too)
4 or 5 kinds of deli sliced luncheon meats such as shaved ham and smoked turkey
2 tomatoes
bag of washed fresh baby spinach
Havarti cheese slices 
light Italian 3 cheese blend

Heat the close topped grill or panini maker and it will tell you when it is ready. Butter two slices of bread. Put in what ever you want -- but keep the buttered side out to help it toast and keep it from sticking to the grill!  One hint is that cheese is good to include because it helps stick it all together.  One of us liked having a mix of different meats and cheeses, and another liked making a veggie and cheese only option.

It was so good that most of us had seconds and tried out a different combination of ingredients.

Next month will be "wraps".  We talked about what kind of wraps are out there and we will be doing a grilled chicken based wrap. We also agreed that we want to taste a Heart Smart Granola Cookie. We are also looking forward to Carol's Famous Chocolate Brownies.  We think Healthy Cooking and eating can include reasonable portions of yummy treats.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Turkey Chili

Our monthly "Healthy Cooking Day" at SAM (Stroke Recovery Association of Manitoba) was once again a lot of fun.

It is amazing how much fun it is to share in making healthy lunches for ourselves and it is exciting to see some growth in the number of people attending. We are at about 6 to 8 people attending now.

We try to find healthy food options that we can enjoy together and trying to figure out easy ways to prepare it. This is especially tricky without a stove so we are really working on using what is available to us.

We decided at the previous lunch that this month would be Turkey Chili. We thought we would do it as low fat as possible and we also tried to make it fast and easy. One of our members, Murray, brought a hands free can opener for us to use. You just set it on top of the can and push a button and the can gets opened. It is such a great option for people with limited use of one of their hands. It worked just great and we really would recommend it. I was going to take pictures but I forgot my camera this time so you will just have to use your imagination.

I brought my larger non-stick electric frying pan and we got to work chopping.

The menu this time was Turkey Chili on Whole Wheat rolls. Jim was kind enough to bring homemade muffins. "Mrs Jim" is a wonderful baker!

Turkey Chili

0.75 k of lean ground turkey
1/2 large green pepper chopped fine
1/2 large red pepper chopped fine
2 ribs of celery chopped fine
1/2 large white onion chopped fine

1 28 oz can of tomatoes
1 12 oz can of kidney beans drained
1 12 oz can of black beans drained

Add chili powder, salt & pepper to taste. (Easy on the salt, after all we are trying to be healthy here)

We chopped the vegetables and fried them up. We fried up the ground turkey meat. The non-stick surface made oil or fat unnecessary and it was fine, but a bit might have been a good idea. Next we added the tomato, beans and spices and we stirred it up carefully. We brought the mixture to a boil while stirring frequently, then we lowered it to a simmer, put the lid on and let it cook for about 30 minutes stirring occasionally. We sampled it part way through and decided to add some more chili powder to "heat" it up a little more.

It was delicious. Honest!

We discussed options for next time and the final choice is Pannini Variations. The plan started with Havarti cheese and turkey on rye but we are now planning on using different cheeses, different deli meats and a few different add ins for us to choose from. We will also have a raw veggie platter with dip. YUMMM