Sunday, March 28, 2010

10 Nutrition Myths Summarized (from Cooking Light Magazine)

     Here are some of the most important blips of information from the fabulous article in April 2010's edition of Cooking Light, the story is by an MS and RD (registered dietician) and for consulting the truth, they went to leading nutrition researchers, chefs and food scientists. Here is why I LOVE LOVE LOVE that article...


Myth 1     Added Sugar is ALWAYS Bad For You; 
Truth: You can use the sweet stuff to ensure that your sugar calories are far from "empty" calories..
Sugar is essential in the kitchen. Consider all that it does for baking...Keep in mind that other sweeteners like "natural" honey are basically refined sugar anyway-and they are all metabolized by your body the same way, as 4 calories per gram. "Add a little bit of sugar to help boost your intake of nutrient rich foods by making them tastier," says Jackie Newgent, RD. Don't go overboard, of course. Most health experts suggest that added sugar supply no more that 10 percent of your total calories-about 200 in a 2,000 calorie diet.


Myth 2     Eating Eggs Raises Your Cholesterol Levels;
Truth; Dietary cholesterol found in eggs has little to do with the amount of cholesterol in your body...
The same word, "cholesterol" is used to describe two different things. Dietary cholesterol-the fat like molecules in animal-based foods like eggs-doesn't greatly affect the amount of cholesterol circulating in your bloodstream. Instead, what fuels your body's cholesterol making machine is certain saturated and trans fats. Eggs contain relatively small amounts of saturated fat...(1 large egg =1.5 grams sat. fat which is a fraction of the portion some use to cook the egg!) "the research with eggs has never shown any link of egg consumption with blood lipids or with risk of heart disease," says Don Layman, PhD. Cutting eggs from your diet is a bad idea, they're a rich source of 13 vitamins and minerals.

Myth 3     All Saturated Fats Raise Blood Cholesterol;
Truth: New research shows that some saturated fats don't...
There are 4 main types of sat fat; lauric, myristic, palmitic, and stearic acid. Whats interesting is that they are handled differently by the body when consumed. Stearic acid, found naturally in cocoa, dairy products, meats, and poultry, as well as palm and coconut oils has attracted the most scientific interest because it appears to act similarly to monosaturated fat in that it does not raise harmful LDL cholesterol but boosts beneficial HDL cholesterol levels. Foods like coconut and chocolate that contain what may eventually be called the "good" saturated fat, in moderate consumption, is healthier than we once thought. We say moderate though because foods rich in any type of fat tend to be dense in calories as well.

Myth 4     The Only Heart-Friendly Alcohol is Red Wine;
Truth: Beer, wine, and liquors all confer the same health benefits...
More research has shown that antioxidants aren't the answer after all. Alcohol-the ethanol itself-raises levels of protective high density lipoproteins (HDL or good cholesterol) which help protect against plaque buildup in the arteries and reduce clotting factors that contribute to heart attack and stroke...and any kind of beverage that contains alcohol, when consumed in moderation (1-2 drinks per day) helps reduce the risk of heart disease.

Myth 5     Adding Salt to the Pot Adds Sodium to the Food
Truth: Salt added to boiling water may actually make vegetables more nutritious...
Sodium is a potential problem even for non-hypertensive people. But it's easy to overlook how sodium can actually help in recipes. "Salt in the cooking water reduces the leaching of nutrients from vegetables into the water," says Harold McGee, author of On Food & Cooking. "It also speeds up the cooking process so you don't lose as many nutrients from overcooking." Use about 1 tsp per cup of water, the amount of sodium absorbed by the food is minuscule. 

Myth 6     Fried Foods Are Always Fatty 
Truth: Healthy deep-fried food is not an oxymoron
When food is exposed to hot oil, the moisture inside boils and pushes from the interior to the surface and then out into the oil. As moisture leaves, it creates a barrier, minimizing oil absorption into the food when done right. To keep food from soaking up oil and calories, fry according to instructions (make sure oil is at desired temp before starting) Also, do not over cook as it will soak up too much oil. Keep it reasonable and only once in a while...but delicious!

Myth 7     The More Fiber You Eat the Better
Truth: Not all fibers are equally beneficial. Consider the source...
Fiber is a fad-food component right now, and food manufacturers are isolating specific types of fiber and adding them to packaged foods to take advantage. Gone are the days of 2 types of fiber: water soluble (oats, fruit, legumes) and insoluble (whole grains, nuts, seeds) We know now that different fibers have diff. functions (for ex. wheat bran helps move food along; oat bran lowers cholesterol; inulin supports healthy gut bacteria) Joanne Slavin, PhD, RD says "Foods fortified with fiber will not provide all the inherent goodness of whole foods like whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits." So while its true most of us do not get enough fiber, added fiber doesn't get us off the hook.

Myth 8     You Should Always Remove Chicken Skin Before Eating
Truth: You can enjoy a skin-on chicken breast without blowing your sat-fat budget...
A 12 oz bone-in skin-on chicken breast half contains just 2.5 grams saturated fat and 50 calories more than its similarly portioned skinless counterpart. Whats more, 55 percent of the fat in the chicken skin is monounsaturated-the heart healthy kinds you want more of. 

Myth 9     Organic Foods Are More Nutritious Than Conventional
Truth: There are many food reasons to choose organic, but nutrition isn't one of them...
If you buy organic because you believe that sustainable farming supports the health of the soil, the work of small farmers, or the well-being of livestock, that's all good. However, it's not accurate to also promote organic as inherently more nutritious. Researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine provided 50 yrs. of organic research concluding no significant nutritional difference exists between conventional and organic crops and livestock. There is of course, still the issue of trace amounts of pesticides so wash produce carefully.

Myth 10    Cooking Olive Oil Destroys its Health Benefits
Truth: Even delicate extra-virgin olive oils can take the heat without sacrificing nutrition...
Since olive oil became a "good" fat the thought that if you cook with premium versions you heat away the healthful properties. First of all, heart-healthy monounsaturated fats aren't unfavorably altered by heat. Research from Italy and Spain shows they can surprisingly stable as long as oil isn't heated past the smoking point (extra virgin olive oil is about 405^). Storing is more important, unopened opaque bottles can keep for 2 yrs in room temp and away from light. Once opened, use within 6 mos.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Most Amazing Coconut Cake EVER

       Yup my poor 5 yr old had 2 cakes for his birthday this year. I couldn't help myself, the pictures looked too good! And I made it all from scratch, including the fresh coconut... (I even got to pound it with a nail and get all that good coconut water AND roast it and the flesh for the topping!) All and all, it was a very exciting venture. I have included the recipe link to cookinglight.com (the magazine) for this fantastico but very time consuming cake and it was quite worth it, although do NOT refrigerate with the coconut on all ready, that seemed to make it (the coconut) a little tough. Enjoy when you get the time and chance... The bigger beauty here is that this newer health conscience recipe cuts calories from 622 to 332, fat from 38.5 to 10.8 and sat fat from 19.5 to 7.5 per serving compared to the old ways, so you don't even have to take a dive nutritionally! And it was tasty too...
                                                        Cooking Light's Coconut Cake

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Chocolate; My Drug of Choice

     So late last night as I am laying in bed trying to wind down after the 1/4 bag of lovely dark chocolate York Peppermint flavored hard shelled candy goodness, with a side of Dove Dark Chocolate Promises (maybe 2, or 3, or 4, I seem to have lost count!) I realized that chocolate, no, dark chocolate truly is my personal drug of choice. Others may have alcohol, prescription medication, hot bubble baths or even a few crazy hobbies (I don't know, is stamp collecting even in still?!) but I have chosen my special dark cocoa to get me over a few rough spots here and there. Last night, after a particularly nerve racking and emotionally challenging day (yeah it felt a little pathetic considering I had only spent the day with my kids, but whatever) I needed something to settle my nerves a little. Since I don't drink, getting sloshed was a little out of the question. Prescription meds are also not in the books because I try to avoid any long term mood altering chemically ridden entirely addictive colorful little pills, and lets just say that a hot bath or some side hobby was not going to cut it. Then I remembered my parents sweet little chocoholic stash in the top drawer of their dresser, and life was about to get good again.
     
     INTERMISSION:     For each of your individual nutritional and educational benefits, I am including another new and favorite website AllChocolate.Com in which you have the joy of not only discovering the many health benefits of chocolate (namely dark chocolate) but plenty of fabulous recipes, information, tips, tools, history, and pretty much anything else your little chocolate heart could possible imagine (I know I could scarcely believe it myself!) The most important health facts of which I will summarize in part below;
Chocolate (namely dark) is full of anti-oxidants (the same kind of natural compounds found in fruit, vegg, grain etc). It has also been studied to show positive effects on the cardiovascular system (including reduced blood pressure, increased blood flow etc) which would explain the amazing and quick effects of such a divine food on my system last night, increased blood flow and decreased blood pressure are all positive results when it comes to regulating your emotions and getting enough of that all important life-sustaining  element...oxygen...to your brain! Also, according to this fantastic website, chocolate has a low glycemic index (how your body reacts to the sugars you eat), plenty of minerals, and that ever important effect on your endorphins (my personal favorite).
  
     I believe it would be safe to say that dark chocolate, in moderation, is not only healthy but a nutritional and positive alternative to the other drugs out there for sustaining one's mental and emotional health and well-being. In fact, I fully support it and would go so far to say that dark chocolate is an absolute necessity when it comes to one's health (both mentally and physically!) as I can attest to it's personal benefits in my own life, *sigh*. I would also like to propose that dark chocolate can actually help with my headaches. I was so excited last night to discover, yet again, another piece of evidence to support my migraine/headache theory. I gave in to some cheapy milk chocolate less than worthy cup of hot cocoa (due to a rather crazy romp in the snow at 22 degrees, with some cabin fevered kids) and sustained a miserable headache that was not to be calmed with any assortment of OTC medicinal complexes. By the time I ate my fill of dark chocolate before bed, I had my headache completely under wraps and and my mood quite calmed down. Coincidence? I think not! For I have done, at my own personal sacrifice and the benefit of my blog and my dear readers, many personal studies of such nature for the last several weeks. The result? Dark Chocolate always wins! And for me the most important affect was I've had no sugar hangover the next morning! Glorious, Glorious food! If this is but one weakness for me in this life, then so be it! And for your personal enjoyment, thanks to a friend who shared her secret a couple years back, a delicious double chocolate cake recipe fit for a king!

     Double Yummy Chocolate Cake Goodness


1 boxed chocolate cake (I prefer Pillsbury)
1 c sour cream
required ingredients in the box less about 1/4 c water
1 small box chocolate pudding mix
1 1/2 12oz bag mini chocolate chips


Follow directions on box for regular cake mix, add the other ingredients, heat oven, lightly spray two cake pans and fill as even as possible then bake for about 45-60 min (depends on oven, just make sure you check frequently toward the end and remove when cake tester is clean and cake pulls from side of pan) Cool and top with fabulous frosting following this recipe (including a delicious frosting layer in the middle!)


     Better Homes and Gardens Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting


1 6 oz package semisweet chocolate
1/4 c butter
1/2 c sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 to 2 3/4 c confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar)


Melt the chocolate and butter either in a double boiler or in the microwave (stirring every 20sec); cool slightly. Blend in cream, vanilla, and 1/4 tsp salt. Slowly beat in sugar till spreading consistency and frost those beautiful double chocolate cakes!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Cooking Light Magazine: April 2010 Issue - CookingLight.com

Cooking Light Magazine: April 2010 Issue - CookingLight.com

Kids, this is my new favorite Magazine! I just checked out this particular issue as soon as I got in the mail (actually, since my mom did) and I am already very impressed with the variety of recipes and suggestions. I read up on the article about food myths and was so overjoyed that I now have a more official resource for all the things I already believe about healthy and nutritional eating. Unfortunately it was not available for the online articles, so I will have to try and type it up for you, it was quite worth the read! The everyday selections for family meals and cooking was pretty much awesome as well, and I totally approve of their baking info and recipes, so definitely check out their website when you get a chance, and maybe even read a couple of these articles in the meantime!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Comfort Food, Done Right

     I had the most amazing comfort food experience the other day. Luckily in some ways, since we are have been cooped up in an apartment in the winter here in Denver for the last week+, I have been able to experiment with some new recipes (making them my own) and the cold to inspire me for yummy comfort dishes. The only problem here is that I started a book that I couldn't put down for the weekend, and therefore could not do much else! I love that feeling of accomplishment after a great home cooked meal, 6 loads of laundry down, or even just temporarily neglecting my kids for the weekend to actually finish a book in under a month....*sigh* brings warmth to the soul.
     SO, this amazing dish. Once again inspired by a Dr. G recipe, but I personally changed it up enough so that I am pretty sure I can practically claim it myself! The beans in the dish are called Aduki Beans and here is a quick tidbit about them;
The name azuki is a transliteration of the native Japanese name. Japanese also has a Chinese loanwordShōzu (小豆), which means "small bean" (its counterpart "large bean" (大豆; Daizu) being the soybean). It is common to write 小豆 in kanji but pronounce it as azuki (ah-zoo-kee). Dry adzuki beans are small dark red, oval beans approximately 5 mm in diameter. They have a distinctive white ridge along one side. Adzuki beans are popular across Asia, particularly in Japan, and are used to make red sweet bean paste. They are also easy to digest which makes them a great ingredient in cooking for those who have sensitivities to beans and legumes. (Ask my dad personally, not only did he do fine the night we ate the dish but he had the nerve to steal my leftovers the next day for work!) They have a low fat, high protein, high fiber (almost 9-13g per cup of cooked beans) and natural sugar content. Lets check out the recipe now...




       Aduki Bean Stew with Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes


Stew
2 15oz can Aduki Beans (you can find them at places like Vitamin Cottage or Wholefoods)           drained and rinsed
1 cube chicken bouillon or heaping tsp. chicken bouillon
1 yellow onion finely diced
2 carrots thinly sliced
1 small to medium leek thinly sliced
half butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cubed
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 bunch of curly kale thinly chopped
cornstarch and water for base


Put about 6 c. water in a large stock pot to boil with chicken stock and all the vegetables and spices EXCEPT beans, cornstarch, and kale. Boil lightly for about 10 min or so to start softening, then add the beans and cook for a further 10 min or so til all the veggies are soft. Add the chopped kale finally and about 2 TBSP cornstarch to about 1/2 c. cold water to mix it thoroughly, then slowly add to stew for more of a thick base. Taste and add more bouillon if needed or pepper for flavor.


Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes


Boil about 6-8 medium yukon gold (they are the most buttery delicious) potatoes, cleaned and some peeled, for about 15min or so. Then add almost a full head of cauliflower cleaned and chopped. It will naturally rise to the top. When all the vegg is soft, strain the cauliflower off the top and puree it. Mix your potatoes with a hand mixer, then add the cauli puree, about 2 TBSP butter and milk, then salt and pepper to taste. 


Serve this entire yummy meal with the potatoes acting as the base, and the stew as sort of a gravy or topping. Be sure to serve together as it is absolutely delish and even my picky 2 yr old ate it! 

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Forget the Quinoa, Here is a Collection of Some Friendly Tips & Tricks Instead

     Well don't really forget it, I will be writing all about it...again but since I am still mad at the computer (actually my blog) for doing that, I am taking out some kind of twisted vengeance by NOT writing about it right now. Ha, so there foul demon piece of hardware!
     I decided to focus my energy a little on some fabulous tips I have conjured up over the last week or so. Not that most of you haven't figured these sorts of things out already probably, since you are much more accomplished cooks and housekeepers than I, but I am going to pretend that I have some good inklings of wisdom to provide having 3 busy little ones at home while I am trying to juggle food, house, husband etc. (Plus I really just like to hear myself talk!) I know that some of these will change as my life changes, so you'll probably hear about them more later. Still, it's fun to share.

     Home Tips (Let's dispense with the boring first shall we?)

Let me first begin by restating I am NOT a fantastic house cleaner. Once I finally have to stay in one place for longer than 1-3 years at a time, I will really be in for a surprise as one day I will have to really clean my house, and not just when I move out or move in. I have learned a couple of things though.....

#1.      At this point in my life, I try to do AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE during the week and my daily routine. This pretty much has to do with anything related to house cleaning, laundry etc. I like my home to at least appear moderately taken care of, and I cherish my weekends with the kids and hubs so I do whatever I can when I have a few minutes. Say I finally call my mom back, or have 10 min before picking kids up...it's the perfect time to quick Lysol Wipe down the bathroom. I have made a list ahead of time for what I want to accomplish each week (ex. clean bathrooms, do laundry 3x, mop2x etc) That way I have control over what I do, and when I do it. And if I need to leave things for the weekend when I get extra help OR do a few extra things that week because we all had the flu and need to disinfect, I can!

#2.      Try to include your kids any chance you get. In our house my kids are old enough to help, but not old enough to really have many specific chores (dishes and taking care of their laundry are some...) And I like fostering the idea that we are all family and we all help each other...so anytime I am doing something they can help with, I bring 'em in. For example, we just cleaned over at my parents the other day and since they have been in the house more often than normal they were great at doing things like scrubbing toilets, transferring laundry, vacuuming, etc. Later I will give them quarters for all the help during the week, or allow them to pick out a toy at the store or something to show I recognize their willingness to help. There are also times when they decide not to do dishes that morning (or something) and I just remember that later when they want something special from me. Not to be vindictive, but to show that I do what I do to serve them, and that those are some of the little "core values" of our family. P.S. I always notice how much better their "behavior" is when we are on track with sharing responsibility in our house, kids thrive on that!

#3.      There is a difference in "cleaning" and "straightening" and I will often just straighten so things look nicer and more organized, and leave the cleaning for other times. It helps me again to feel more in control, to get help from my kids, and to have more time for more important things. Almost every night I go through at bedtime and do the "laundry basket straighten" with the kids, which is where we gather everything up and put it all where it belongs. Again, this makes it so they help and it is not solely my responsibility, AND so things look nice without too much effort. I am all about as little effort as possible!

     Food Tips

#1.     If you are cutting more meat and adding more whole grains/veggies to your diet, be sure to still have the important fats, like olive oil, coconut oil, pure organic if possible butter etc. Your bowls will thank you later.

#2.     Speaking of coconut oil, try using it the next time you make homemade popcorn; use a sturdy pot for popping, about 1 tbsp coconut oil to 1/2 c or so un-popped kernels. Heat the oil thoroughly, add the corn and cover. You'll know when it is done! The tiniest bit of sea salt is fantastic to top it. Believe me, you don't even need butter!

#3.      One of my lovely Vegan friends (thanks Lisa!) told me that whenever she cooks with Tofu, she bakes it for 15-20 min or so first, just to help firm it before cooking or sauteing it. I read that in a couple of recipe books too, and am going to try my hand more at Tofu, once I get a little more settled of course...

#4.     Again, olive oil makes everything better! Try brushing your thin vertically sliced eggplant with a little o.oil before a quick broil for 10-15 and then using it for your veggie bakes, or just right out of the oven! A little drizzle of olive oil goes a long way when roasting or sauteing any vegetables because it helps to bring out the flavor and aide in the cooking process.

#5.     Try a large portobello mushroom cap grilled (with a little olive oil!) instead of actual meat for a nice change to a burger. This is my new favorite tip from The Healthy Kitchen cookbook I started reading. Yum!

#6.     My dad is a member of the periodic paralysis (PPD) group via the web and they pass out tips every once in a while. This one was great. I guess those who have PPD often have a hard time digesting carbs. They found that eating vinegar with a meal helps the carbs go down better. For ex. if it is spaghetti night (with actual noodles!) than they start their meal with a salad and light vinegar/oil/lemon dressing. Something about the chemical side of digestion that makes this a great idea. Brings me to the next one...

#7.     Start each dinner with salad to fill you mostly up, then add the main dish. Or try the old drink a full glass of water within 30 min of eating any meal to help with not only flushing your system but filling you a little more before eating. There have been actual studies that show sometimes when we are super dehydrated we feel hunger rather than thirst. Why, I don't know, but make sure you ALWAYS get your 8 glasses a day!

#8.     My mother-in-law gave me this tip when I was visiting this last week or so on the way out to Denver. She got it from somewhere, sorry I can't remember where, but we tried it and it was not that bad! Add some canned peas when you mash up your avocado for guacamole. It adds more nutrients and makes the avocado go farther. Other than being a little more sweet, we could hardly tell, especially since it was going in our tacos.

#9.     I've said it before and I'll say it again (or maybe I haven't, whatever though!) Eliminate meat just 2-3 times per week saves a ton on your food bill allowing for more veggies, and new exciting dishes with beans, legumes, or complete protein grains like quinoa!

#10.     Read your labels! Eliminate as much as you can from your cupboards that is not mostly whole foods. Your kids will survive just fine on an apple or veggie sticks with ranch or whatever for snack. Just be consistent!


And above all, Have Fun! Life is too short to not enjoy your food!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

All About Quinoa (AND Sweet Bell Peppers)

I just wrote the most AMAZING article full of all kinds of AMAZING research on this subject, in fact, it was sure to AMAZE you all. However, because this is the story of my life, and I just spent an hour writing the post, its 9pm AND I just accidentally deleted one line that turned into a WHOLE article (and then it inconveniently saved) AND the fact that I was already tired and am even more so now, I can do nothing else but laugh, cry, and try again tomorrow. If I am brave enough.


Welcome to my life. 


Maybe technology isn't the greatest for people like me after-all. *sigh*

Monday, March 8, 2010

Canned Dinners Makes Me Smile

     And for two main reasons...#1 being obviously the convenience. #2 however that I can stock and re-stock my cupboards, hit case lot sales, save money, save food storage, and make in turn easy meals later after loading my pantry with cheap and quick deliciousness. My recipes of choice? A super easy delish bean and leek soup that I stole from a friend's mom (thanks to your mom Kati!), and toasty french bread with bruschetta on half of the loaf and another quick bean spread for the other. I confess that although these meals are not entirely made from cans, last night was a perfect night for warm yummy food. Although I had little preparation to do, I was able to involve the kids and even (yes I am very proud of this one) get out of the negative funk I was in ALL day. It must be the weather out here in Denver. That or I am just not used to being indoors most days. Whatever the reason, nothing warms the soul like hot soup and an olive oiled toasty baguette. Plus I got a good read out of the whole days work. Yes, I do read cook books in my "spare" time like some people pour over a good novel, and while I like to read a great classic too, absolutely nothing beats a well written and inspiring piece of cookbook literature. My newest feast of choice (and only within a week of my last selection too!) is "The Healthy Kitchen, Recipes for a Better Body, Life, and Spirit" by Andrew Weil, M.D. and Rosie Daley which I have included another amazon.com link, AND which is where I got the bean spread idea (with a little doctoring of my own as usual) Enjoy!

The Healthy Kitchen on Amazon.com






     Quick and Easy Leek Soup


2 cans low sodium chicken broth
1/3 of one large leek thinly sliced from the white/light green side
1 can great northern beans (white cannellini beans) or 1 can chickpeas drained and rinsed
olive oil (optional) and pepper to taste, extra chicken bouillon to taste


Bring the chicken broth and beans/peas to boil. Add the leeks and boil for another 3-5 minutes til leeks are soft. Taste and add any pepper, olive oil and/or bouillon to your liking. I have had the soup with either the peas or the beans, loved both, but the beans provided a more mild flavor. Also used a half tsp or so of olive oil and good helping of pepper and even a half tsp or so of the bouillon (I liked the soup a little more rich) Either way it is yummy! Serve with more fresh ground pepper and even some parmesan cheese as a delicious topping. Thanks again to Kati's mom! Serves 4-6 Adults




     Toasty French Baguette w/Bruschetta and White Bean Spread


1 whole loaf french bread
olive oil


Cut the french bread into medium rounds vertically off of the loaf (I have to say this because I turned it into garlic bread slices first w/o thinking...oops!) brush or place one side of each piece in olive oil. Load up a large cookie sheet/pizza pan and broil for 2-3 minutes til lightly browned. Then follow other steps for either toppings below. Use half of the baguette for each topping or the whole loaf for which ever one you prefer. Can serve many for an appetizer, or 4-6 adults for a meal with the above soup.


     Bruschetta


2-3 tomatoes diced small, or 1 can petite diced tomatoes
2 cloves garlic minced
2 basil leaves finely chopped and more for topping
pepper and olive oil to taste
Thinly sliced mozzarella or Goat Jack cheese
For extra zip add some crushed red pepper, 1/4-1/2 c chopped bacon (like the pre-packaged already chopped refrigerator kind) 1/4 c finely diced red onion and/or 2 tsp finely chopped green onion.


Mix thoroughly and top each piece of bread with a heaping tsp or so of bruschetta. Add the thinly cheese and another thin slice of fresh basil to the top of each piece. Broil again for another 2-3 min or so til cheese is mostly melted and bread is browned nicely. Serve and enjoy!


     White Bean Spread


2 c great northern beans (cannellini beans, about 1 can)
1 tsp dried basil
2 tsp fresh lime juice
1 clove garlic
1 tsp cumin
dash salt
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp olive oil


Add all ingredients to food processor and puree. Then either leave the spread as a dip for the toasted bread like my book suggested, or spread a tsp or so on each little round and add a little of the thinly sliced cheese from above and broil for an additional 2-3 min. Turns out quite nice warmed like the bruschetta!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Back to the Land of Technology

     Well, sorta. I actually have been typing on my parents Dell, and I am now officially used to a Mac, and let's just say this sentence took double the time to type. I will blame it on that so I don't have to admitt how much mommy/pregnancy/travel brain kicks in after a week of the most mental stimulation being "where do I buy my next meal" to "ok I will NOT let highway hypnosis (whatever that is) get the best of me on this leg of my like 24 hr total drive. I am determined to get this blog super organized and exciting while I am here on "vacation" in Denver for the next month, and you are SURE to get all kinds of exciting recipes out of it too...if only I can keep up the premise that cooking is still fun even on vacation and that I can and will find the time to write about it despite screaming kids, diaper blowouts and other regular daily mishaps. I have a fun new book for you all to take a look at...I think it was one of my mom's publisher clearing house freebies or something like that. "Favorite Brand Name Best Loved Whole Grain Recipes" (mouthful) We tried the whole wheat chunky double chocolate cookies....can I just say super yum? And what a glorious debut to jump-start my way back into cooking! I really like it for the great meal and snack ideas using all kinds of whole grains, I surely run out of ideas for barley and even rice on my own, and this book was chock full of 'em! Here is a link to this sweet little find on Amazon.com

Best Loved Whole Grain Recipe Book; Amazon


     Chunky Double Chocolate Cookies


4 squares (1 oz ea) unsweetened chocolate
1 c all purpose flour
1 c whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 c packed brown sugar
3/4 c butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
12 oz white chocolate chopped or 1 12 oz pack white chocolate chips
1 c chopped nuts (optional)


Preheat oven to 350^. Melt chocolate according to package directions. Combine flours, powder and salt in a medium bowl. Beat brown sugar, butter, and vanilla in a large bowl with a mixer til light and fluffy. Add eggs, beat til blended. Beat in melted chocolate. Gradually add flour mixture, mixing well after each addition. Stir in white chocolate chips and nuts. Drop by teaspoon full 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 11-12 min, cool for atleas 1 min before removing to a cookie rack. Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies



Enjoy and remember what the Monty Python boys always say,"No one expects the Spanish Inquisition"
Or something like that. Atleast thats how I have to see things after a crazy week of driving, moving, disneyland, crowds and otherwise. I hope I didn't leave anyone stranded, I promise to be more proactive... in the near future anyway!

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