Is it just me, or does it seem like the years fly by faster and faster? So how was your 2008? I would have to say mine was very strange to say the least, but never a dull moment. Let’s all get out our pen and paper and write our new years resolutions. I’m pretty good at guessing, so let’s see if I can at least get one on your list- Lose weight, find a better job, save more money, have a kid, fall in love, travel somewhere exotic, volunteer, learn something new, quit smoking. So, there you go, I know I have at least one on that list. I’m not taking any chances that 2009 is going to be a crappy year, so I will be cooking the traditional Southern good luck meal- black-eyed peas (symbolizes coins), collard greens (symbolizes dollars, I will cook extra), and cornbread (not a clue). I know there are customs all throughout the world to bring luck, I thinks Italians eat risotto, and in certain Asian countries egg rolls represent gold bars (maybe I’ll cook a couple of those).
Archive for December, 2008
If your still watching your tv with rabbit ears than you better upgrade soon as we’re going digital. I actually like the idea of going back to using an antenna, think how much money you could save. I remember growing up we had one of those big metal antenna’s on our roof (too funny). I was listening to a radio story that was telling how difficult it is for many prisons as they will not get assistance to upgrade. Turns out the tv in Prison really keeps the peace, and what’s the favorite show? According to the prisoner they interviewed it was The Young and the Restless. “That’s the one show that nobody has a beef with” he said, “That Victor Newman is one tough Tycoon”. Good to know the soap operas are keeping the peace.
Even though I sliced my finger pretty good the other day, I like to finish what I start, so here’s the basic recipe:
Mix a couple pounds of ground beef with a few eggs, a small shredded (yes I said shredded) onion, a few minced garlic cloves, a cup of fresh bread crumbs, a cup of parmesan cheese (oh yeah!), around a 1/4 cup milk and salt and pepper- mix real good.
A good way to test the flavor is to fry a mini piece and see how it tastes and adjust:
So, now your ready to form them in to meatballs, I like mine a bit smaller, but that’s the beauty of cooking, make yours just as big or small as you want.
Brown the Meatballs in a skillet:
And then add to your favorite tomato sauce. I just added half a can diced tomatoes, half a can of tomato puree, (I think I might have added some water too), chopped garlic, chopped onion, Italian spices, and a little sugar, simmer for 15 minutes or so and add the meatballs to it. Simmer that covered for 20 more minutes and you’ve got some bloody good meatballs.
This was the first Christmas I could remember where I wasn’t getting paid to cook for someone else. I didn’t know what to do with myself. The original idea was to let someone else cook for me like I did on Thanksgiving, but after a little research, seemed as though the only options in town were Jewish deli’s and hotel restaurants. That sounded depressing, so I rushed off to the grocery store on Christmas Eve right before they were closing. Chicken was being slashed right before my eyes to prices I couldn’t believe.
Click on those pictures (I bet you have never got such a deal). Sure it was the last day of sell by date, but they were completely fine. I soaked the pieces in buttermilk and fried them up in true southern style for lunch, and I made a dish with mushrooms, tomatoes, and spinach with the breasts for dinner. Not a traditional meal by any means, but we were all cool with it. Right after I picked up my chicken, a lady call over the speaker that all bakery items on the front table were now 50 cents. Before I knew it I was loading up on Christmas cupcakes (50 cents for a dozen). Good stuff, these days I’m all about the sale. Butternut wanted to help in the kitchen, which was fine with me, but we had to outfit her with a hair net for safety’s sake.
Kinda sounds like a scary movie doesn’t it? Well, my attic was pretty scary, so I got up there and cleaned it up. I found all kind of things that I didn’t know I had. I had a bunch of clothes up there (have parachute pants come back in fashion yet?), and stuff I forgot I even had. I found a bunch of change that I must have brought back from the yacht last year since it had a bunch of euro coins mixed in. I filled some old clogs that I also found up there (don’t ask me why I’m saving nasty old kitchen clogs) with the change (this saving the change thing is fun!). So, how much change do you think I had? I will post a comment with the total, if you’re within a buck, I will give you a free one year membership to mydietchef.com. Oh yeah, I wear a size 9 shoe.
I think I posted an article several months ago telling you how bad hfcs was for you. They just came out with this study basically saying it has the same effect as sugar (which isn’t saying much). It’s in everything, and if it’s one of the first ingredients then you should steer clear anyway. Bottom line is too much of any kind of sugar isn’t good for you (damn I love sweets!)
So, do you have your shopping all done? I’m not adding much to the economy this year, as I am simply giving my love instead of presents (what? I’m not a cheapskate!) This has been the weirdest week as I have spent several days at the hospital trying to figure out my headaches, and tonight while trying to relax and cook some meatballs, I cut my pinkie finger. Goes to show I am out of practice as I never cut myself. Thought I was going to have to go back to the hospital since I almost sliced the tip off, but trying ice instead, we’ll see. I have decided to look for a job in the new year, so it will be interesting to see how that goes in this shitty economy, I will let you know of course. I am going to focus on yacht or estate work. I will post the recipe of my bloody good meatballs in the next day or two.
We have a personal trainer for the website. His name is Marci Lall, and is based out of Toronto. That is the cool thing about the internet, that you can learn from someone in a different country. He is there to answer member questions, writes a weekly fitness article, and has developed several workout plans for members looking to get on track. He came out with this new holiday routine that I am sharing here with you. I will also try and post a few articles to help you stay on track as I am sure a few of you have weight loss as a new years resolution. I know there is doom and gloom about 2009, but I feel like it’s going to be a great year (maybe I’m crazy, or just optimistic?). Click the link below for the pdf. workout routine.
I have been craving this soup lately, so I decided to make at home. You cook some chicken in a little oil with some vegetables (snow peas, carrots, mushrooms, onions, etc) add some red curry paste, chicken broth, fresh basil leaves, tomato, sweet chili sauce, and coconut milk, and bring to a simmer. You can also add rice noodles. Yum!
Remember when that reporter threw his shoes at President Bush the other Day? I must admit Bush had some pretty slick moves dodging the shoes.
Kinda looks like fun doesn’t it? Well now there is a game that lets you give it a shot, just like a carnival game, except you don’t win a big stuffed animal if you actually hit him. I was starting to get good at it, you just have to predict where that slick guy is going to pop up next. Click here for the game.
I had to write a post just to knock down that picture of the kid eating breakfast, he was starting to creep me out. Only problem is I think I replaced it with another picture that’s already getting on my nerves. I have had a non-stop headache for the last 5 days. Do you think I am going to be ok? Celeste has given me a few killer (in a good way) massages to help- thanks Celeste! That reminded me there was one more person I forgot to thank. My doctor- Dr. Will Tickle (he’s so crazy!)
Are you eating breakfast? I ran across this article from Tamra, our dietitian for the weight loss and healthy family plans for the website. I was adding a bunch of articles to the website earlier, and couldn’t decide which one to post (so much good info!). thanks Tamra!
Breaking for Breakfast
For many families, the pace of modern life means breakfast becomes a short span of time between shouts of “You’re going to be late!” or the time in the car on the freeway. Unfortunately, gobbling down an inadequate breakfast or skipping it altogether has become a standard routine.
Although we’ve all heard that breakfast is important, many of us haven’t taken that information and turned it into action. So here it is again — a good, nutritious breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It gives us the nutrition and energy we need for a good, healthy and productive day. Here are some explanations to help you understand why and some simple tips to help you get off to a healthy start.
When we rise in the morning, our bodies have fasted since the previous evening’s meal — up to ten or twelve hours. Breaking that fast with a cup of coffee and a doughnut, or even a glass of juice and an energy bar, does not give us the nutrition and energy we need to make it all the way to lunch. Even though we may also be sleep deprived, trading breakfast for a few extra minutes of sleep is a poor bargain.
There is increasing evidence that skipping breakfast or eating an inadequate one contributes to weight gain because it promotes snacking and the consumption of larger meals later in the day. Plus, skipping breakfast may lower your metabolic rate — your body has to compensate somehow for the lack of fuel — which means you will burn fewer calories throughout the day.
Balance those Nutrients
The ideal breakfast should have lots of fiber and whole grains, some protein and good fat, and as little added sugar as possible. Such a breakfast promotes good brain function at a critical time of the day and helps prevent snacking later on, which can lead to weight gain.
Refined carbohydrates, such as doughnuts, white bread, and sugary cereals, are quickly digested and the energy they contain is rapidly dispersed, ultimately leaving you with less energy than you had before you ate them. By themselves, these foods are poor fuel for anyone who wants to be mentally alert and physically active for several hours.
Unrefined carbohydrates digest slowly, thereby releasing a steady supply of energy over a longer period of time. They promote stable blood sugar levels. Take full advantage of unrefined carbohydrates by choosing whole grain cereals and bread instead of highly refined products laced with sugar. Read the nutrition facts panel on the cereal box for those products that contain the lowest amount of sugars and the highest amount of fiber. Top whole grain cereals, toast or pancakes with berries, fruit or nuts. Offer a variety of non-sweetened fruit juices, naturally flavored, unsweetened milks and yogurts.
With the exception of egg dishes, American breakfasts are usually low in protein. Adding protein to your breakfast (and other meals) is another way to lower your meal’s glycemic index and prevent spikes in blood sugar.
Suggestions for adding protein-rich foods:
- Eggs, cooked any way you like them (hard-boiled eggs are easy to have around for a quick protein boost)
- Unsweetened yogurt or cottage cheese with berries
- Refried beans spread on whole grain toast or tortillas
- Nut butters
- Burritos with eggs or beans and cheese on whole grain tortillas
- All types of natural meat, such as breakfast steaks, lean pork chops or turkey bacon
- Bean soup
- Hummus on whole grain or corn tortillas
- Add nuts to oatmeal, yogurt and hot or cold cereal
- Scrambled tofu
- Unsweetened Kefir
- Cheese sticks with fruit
- Cream cheese on whole grain crackers
Lowdown on Sugars
While some foods, particularly fruit and fruit juices, contain natural sugars, there are many other packaged products that have added refined sugar. Eating refined carbohydrates, such as highly refined sugars, causes spikes or peaks in blood sugar levels. Because the body absorbs simple sugars very rapidly, these peaks quickly turn into valleys, which makes you crave even more sugar. This roller coaster phenomenon can lead to imbalanced blood sugar levels and other health problems.
After ten or twelve hours of fasting, the body is particularly sensitive to sugars, which is precisely why refined sugars should be avoided at breakfast.
What’s the matter with these kids today?
A nutritious breakfast is important for everyone no matter their age, but is especially critical for children and teenagers. The first two decades of life are ones of remarkable growth and change, and proper nutrition is essential to fuel this transformation. A good breakfast each morning not only contributes to growing children’s physical health, it also makes them more emotionally stable and mentally alert.
Recent studies show that, by late morning, the brain function of children who do not eat breakfast is drastically reduced. Eating a sugary breakfast, such as soda and a sweet roll, may be just as bad. A nutritious breakfast, including a balance of healthy carbohydrates as well as some protein and healthy fats, may help children learn better due to a slower and more sustained release of energy that helps maintain concentration until lunch.
Getting Them to Eat
So, how do you get your kids — or your spouse — to actually eat a good breakfast? Most people will eat well if offered nutritious food and the time to eat it. But what about those who don’t like traditional breakfast foods or have become addicted to highly sweetened empty calories? To lure them over from the “dark side,” offer them foods they like that normally aren’t eaten for breakfast, such as pizza, smoothies, milkshakes and even leftovers. Homemade pizzas work well because they can be modified by substituting eggs or other breakfast fare and adding vegetables. Make the pizza the evening before and, come morning, reheat slices — they’ll think they’re getting away with something. To wean your family off sugary cereals, try mixing in ever greater amounts of unsweetened cereals until their taste buds have adjusted. A gradual change in breakfast fare from sweet to savory will do wonders for your family’s health and well-being.
Variety is always good but it may have a special appeal at breakfast. One interesting study showed that people of normal weight tended to eat more varied breakfasts than people who were obese. No one likes to eat the same thing day in and day out, so create a little excitement and a sense of adventure to breakfast by thinking outside the cereal box.
Breakfast, like all meals, should be about wholesome food, not empty calories. Give yourself and your family a daily gift that keeps on giving all morning long — a good, nutritious breakfast. It will definitely make them healthier and probably smart
Now I feel guilty for roasting those pears in to a dessert. This video clearly states that you should “eat an organic pear”, though mine wasn’t organic because I didn’t have enough money leftover. This video is from Susan Powter, who was semi-famous for the stop the insanity workout infomercials. Man, she really seems to be off her rocker.
The idea was to see if I could feed a family of 4 for under $10.00. I don’t have a family of 4 to feed, but certain the food would disappear as though I did. I am focusing on this quite a bit on my website where I am creating a grocery savings area. The rules: A complete healthy dinner with a dessert that was also “pretty” healthy, and staples are free such as cooking oil or sugar, flour, vinegar, dried herbs, etc. I didn’t have a clue what I was going to cook when I went in to the store, basically letting the sales dictate what I bought. And the result? Not too bad. I made a Chicken Cacciatore with Spaghetti.
And for dessert I made Balsamic Roasted Pears with Lemon Yogurt.
And the total of the dinner (drum roll please). $9.53!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Bone-in Chicken breast were on sale, so I bought a pack of three and cut each one in thirds. Dredged them in flour and browned them in olive oil, set them aside on a plate, and cooked a sliced onion, a chopped green pepper, some mushrooms, and garlic in the remaining oil. Add the chicken back in with a 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes, half a can of water, a teaspoon of dried orregeno, or basil, or thyme etc. and a teaspoon of sugar. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Serve over spaghetti.
For the pears, peel, and core two of them. In an 8 inch baking pan add 1/2 cup sugar, a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, and a couple tablesoons of water to the pears. I cheated and dotted each pear with a little butter, but…. So, then just cover it with foil for 30 minutes at 400 degrees, uncover, and baste the pears with the juice for 10-15 more minutes until soft. Serve warm with the juice spooned on top and a dollop of lemon yogurt (or vanilla). Voilla!
I have a video camera and will eventually make butternut a youtube star, but in the meanwhile, here’s the latest installment in the cat video series.
Go check out the moon tonight, it’s a BIG deal. Click here for the scoop. It’s true, pretty cool, I was just running an errand, and staring up at it, and almost got in accident (whoops), so please don’t gawk and drive, let’s all be responsible moon watchers. I almost didn’t want to post this because it bumps that funny video of that poor kid on the ride off the first page. It’s now the first post on the second page, check it out if you haven’t yet (guaranteed smile).
We’re on flood watch here, and understandably a bit nervous considering what happened last time. Looks like we are going to be just fine, but something caught my eye in the backyard (my office looks out to the backyard). It was a big hawk that has been hanging out the last few days, then another with it’s wings spread wide chasing it, then a couple squirrels came out of nowhere to have some fun, then I saw something bigger in the back, and a deer came prancing through. That was the weirdest 30 seconds of action I have seen back there, I was scrambling for my video camera, but before I knew it, all was calm again. I know your thinking big deal, but I live in the middle of the city, so it is to me. I have my video camera ready.
I was reading another blog today, and it had a link for her favorite things at amazon.com. I had never seen that before, and thought it was cool. I did a little research, and before I knew it, I was adding my own little amazon shop here. It’s like my version of Oprah’s favorite things. I was going to do a post of my favorite cooking gadgets to help you with gift ideas, but now I can just send you to my store. I think I only get a couple percent of purchase price, so I won’t really make any money off of it. It’s really just a fun project for me to create a store of things I like. I started with cookbooks (my personal collection is over 700), and kitchen equipment, and will add other books, my favorite electronics and whatever else I like. It’s actually fun to click and add stuff to your shop. I will also add little blurbs why I added that item. This blog is going to have a makeover in the next few weeks to have a fresh look for the new year, with different categories etc. (I have to have some place to put my new chef character) I will keep you posted. The link to the amazon store is on the right side.