Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘All About Food’ Category

Achin’ for Bacon?

Achin’ for bacon but don’t want to eat the entire slab in one sitting?  Then roll it and freeze it!

 Bacon has a bad reputation.  You can see the fat…about 40% of which is saturated.  And it is loaded with salt, usually due to the curing process.

 But bacon tastes sooooo good!  And one average-width slice contains only about 40-45 calories.  So if your preference is to use a small amount of bacon as an occasional addition to your spinach salad, country potatoes, black beans or scrambled eggs, then just fry up what you need and freeze the rest. 

 The most convenient way to freeze bacon is to roll each piece individually, freeze them on a cookie sheet, and then transfer the rolls to a zippered bag.  Then you can effortlessly grab 1 or 2 rolled slices as needed.

Ready for The Big Freeze

 

 So go ahead…take care of that occasional ache!

 

Read Full Post »

This is what showed up recently on my miniature lemon tree…the one I planted just 2 short years ago.  Wow, that was fast!

The tree is only about 3 feet high, but the lemons are regular sized.  And they have a zestier taste than the lemons on my other tree, which is much older, much larger and in desperate need of a good pruning.

Miniature fruit trees (sometimes called dwarf trees) are a great choice for small backyard gardens or balconies, as many varieties can be grown in large pots.  So, you get a lot of bang for your spatial buck!  You can find dwarf apple trees, peach trees, citrus trees and nectarine trees, to name a few. 

So, when life gives you lemons, just go ahead and pick them off the tree! 

Here are a couple of websites with some good information on miniature fruit trees:

http://miniatures.about.com/od/livingminiatures/a/dwarfruit.htm

http://www.sunset.com/garden/fruits-veggies/lattice-espaliered-dwarf-apples-00400000016114/

Read Full Post »

There is less than an hour left of Mardi Gras.  And then…40 days of abstaining from something or other…usually a food or (alcoholic) beverage item.  At least that’s the tradition that I practiced during my 12 years in Catholic school.

Even as a child, though, I had a problem with the idea of giving up something.  I guess I knew more than a few kids who gave up some sort of candy or dessert, but still acted evil toward others.  One of the things that makes me go “hmmm”.

And then, a few years ago, a priest said something during his Homily that made perfect sense to me…”How is my giving up a Snickers bar going to help me get into Heaven?”

I’m just sayin’.

Read Full Post »

My mom is from Madisonville, one of the many small towns that spans the Louisiana landscape.  And it’s just a little bit bigger than my backyard.

 Although I am a city girl (Los Angeles born and bred!), we made several trips to Madisonville when I was young.  On our first trip, I instantly bonded with my cousins, Paula and Lisa.  There is a special bond between cousins, and ours has remained steady for many years.

 One day, while we were playing with our dolls on Aunt Deenie’s screen porch, my mother decided that it would be cute to take a picture of “the girls” next to the corn plants that were taller than we were.  She promptly interrupted our debate about which outfit Barbie should wear on her next date and made us pose in the garden.  Despite the smile in the picture, I was not originally happy about this silly interruption.  Imagine Mom thinking that a picture of us among the scratchy, insect-ridden plants was more important than Barbie! 

 

 
 
 

Children of the corn?

 

Fast forward a few years.  I was about 10 or 12 and my mom came up with another brilliant idea involving corn.  “We should plant some corn in our garden.”  Our “garden” was a slight patch of mediocre dirt next to the clothesline outside of our apartment building.  “I want you to have the experience of seeing how tall cornstalks can grow.”  So, we planted some corn seeds and they blossomed!  Once again, the cornstalks grew to be taller than me.  I remember harvesting the corn plant and peeling back the silk to find a real ear of corn!

The moral of this story is that it’s always a memorable experience to step out of our everyday lifestyle and to try on someone else’s.  I doubt that I would be able to remember that day in the cornfield with Lisa and Paula so clearly if it were not for that picture.

 So, I urge you to plant some corn this spring and see for yourself how tall a cornstalk can grow.

 Go to www.almanac.com/plantingtable and enter your location for local seed-sowing dates for various plants.

Read Full Post »

I am in love with broccoli slaw.  The first time I had it was at a Team in Training potluck after a practice run.  Someone brought this marvelously crunchy and slightly sweet mixture of shredded broccoli stalks, mayo, nuts, raisins, onions and bacon. 

 

Hate is such a strong word.  So I’ll say that I “severely dislike” cooked broccoli.  As a matter of fact, I “severely dislike” most cooked veggies.  My mother, being from Louisiana, can cook a vegetable to death!  Even though it has already stopped growing and is technically “dead” once you cut it from its roots in the ground, I guess Mom figured that she needed to finish the job.  Or maybe she’s afraid of getting sick from undercooked veggies like she is afraid of eating undercooked meat.  Yes, I know I am in big trouble.  Or at least I would be if my mom was on the Internet!

 

So this thing called broccoli slaw was a true find.  I could eat this crunchy mix of savory and sweet every day!  After scouring the Internet for recipes, I found that a lot of recipes call for mayo and bacon, two foods that I love, but that don’t love my scale. So, I fooled around in my 1940’s kitchen until I came up with a recipe that cut out my two high calorie friends. 

 

 “I Hate Cooked Broccoli” Slaw

10 or 12 oz bag of broccoli slaw (available in the refrigerated section of the grocery store)

½ cup broccoli florets, roughly chopped

Dried cranberries

Slivered almonds

¼ red onion, finely chopped

Dressing:

3 TBS salad oil

3 TBS white vinegar

1 TBS sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

 In a large bowl, combine broccoli slaw, cranberries, almonds and onion.  In a separate bowl, combine the ingredients for the dressing: oil, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper.  Whisk together.  Taste the dressing before pouring it on the slaw.  That way, you can adjust the oil and vinegar accordingly.  Toss well.  Best if refrigerated for 1-2 hours before eating; this allows the flavors to blend and the cranberries to plump up a bit.

Optional additions:

If you are serving this at a party, top it with extra chopped broccoli florets and slivered almonds to make a nice presentation.

You can substitute any type of dried fruit and nuts…I also like to use currants and walnuts.

 Tip #1:

Use a large bowl so that you have enough room to easily toss the broccoli slaw without it flipping out of the bowl.  It’s a pain to have to pick up all those little slivers of broccoli off the floor!

 Tip #2:

To save on dishwashing time, blend the items for the dressing in a large bowl and whisk thoroughly.  Then add about 1/3 of the broccoli slaw and other items and toss.  Repeat until you have added all the contents of the bagged slaw. 

 Tip #3:

If you are making a large amount for a potluck or party, you can double or triple the recipe.  However, I have found it easiest to make a single recipe, toss well, pour into a large serving bowl, and then repeat the process.  I already made the mistake of trying to quadruple the recipe in one bowl.  That’s how I ended up picking up broccoli slivers off the floor (see Tip #1).

Read Full Post »

I don’t know about you, but I am always at odds with myself when I try to eat healthy.  In my opinion, too many foods that are good for our waistlines have very little flavor.  I am just not a plain-broiled-chicken-breast-and-plain-steamed-broccoli kind of girl.  Eating is not just for sustenance; it is a pleasurable experience, almost a hobby for me (go ahead, all you armchair therapists…have a field day with that remark!).  But I do continually strive to eat healthier as I grow older (and better!), in order to ward off diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

So here is a list of some of my favorite healthy foods, snacks, condiments and sauces.  What are yours?  I would love to hear from you!

  1. Broccoli slaw
  2. Hummus and veggies
    • Be adventurous with your veggies..try grape tomatoes, jicama, baby green beans and cauliflower
  3. Fresh blueberries
  4. Apricots
  5. Figs
  6. Scallops
    • Sauté them in a little olive oil or grill them.  Then squeeze a little fresh lemon or lime juice on top.
    • Note: Be sure to remove the little muscle on the side of the scallop before cooking. 
  7. Yams
    • These tubers are a great source of beta-carotene, vitamin A (a powerful anti-oxidant) and manganese (needed for bone health).  Just scrub the dirt off and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour.  Don’t know if it’s done?  Just press gently on the yam.  If it is still hard, let it bake for about 10 more minutes and check again.  I buy the organic yams from Trader Joes; they are so naturally sweet and creamy, no butter or brown sugar is needed.  And that says a lot, coming from a sugar lover!
  8. V8 juice with a squeeze of lime
  9. Grilled or roasted asparagus with lemon juice and a hint of butter
  10. Smoked salmon on whole wheat toast
  11. Vinaigrette – olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey and Dijon mustard
  12. Trader Joe’s Mango Salsa – heavenly over chicken or salmon
  13. Black beans topped with salsa
  14. Trader Joe’s Organic Baked Beans
    • This is a delicious way to get your fiber!  Each ½ cup serving has only 140 calories and 7 grams of fiber
  15. Parmesan cheese
    • A little goes a long way.  Try it on vegetables or in scrambled egg whites.  1 tablespoon is just about 23 calories – yay!
  16. Whole wheat pasta
    • Whole wheat pastas are not created equal.  Ask your friends. Check www.chowhound.com  Try out different brands.  My favorite is Ronzoni Healthy Harvest.
  17. Spinach
    • Spinach is a good source of vitamins A and C, iron and manganese, which is essential for bone health.  Add a little raw spinach to your Caesar salad or use in a sandwich in place of lettuce.  Or sauté 1 pound of ground turkey with some diced onions and bell peppers.  When the meat is fully cooked, add in a package of baby spinach and cook down.  Top with worcestershire sauce.  A quick, easy and delicious one-skillet meal!

Read Full Post »