Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year Everyone!

Sesame-Topped Salmon With Asian Noodles

Had some extra Salmon and came across this recipe. Sounded too good not to pass along! Used Whole Wheat Soba Noodles to save on calories and carbs.

Sesame-Topped Salmon With Asian Noodles

    * 4 salmon fillets
    * 2 tbsp sesame oil
    *  Sesame seeds
    *  Juice of 1 lime
    * 2 tbsp light soy sauce
    *  Small pack of coriander (fresh)
    * 250 g fresh noodles
    * 100 g asparagus
    * 1 chilli
    * 1 tsp clear honey

   1. Brush 4 salmon fillets with sesame oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
   2. Cook under a preheated grill for 10 minutes.
   3. Meanwhile, make a dressing by mixing 2 tbsp sesame oil, juice of 1 lime, 2 tbsp light soy sauce, 1 tsp clear honey, 1 chilli, deseeded and chopped, and ½ small pack of coriander, chopped.
   4. Cook the noodles and asparagus tips for 3 minutes in boiling, salted water.
   5. Drain and toss with the dressing and serve with the salmon fillets.
   6. Garnish with the rest of the coriander and serve with extra light soy sauce.
Each serving contains

      370kcal, 19% of your GDA
      2g, 3% of your GDA 
      22g, 32% of your GDA  
      4g, 20% of your GDA
      1.5g, 25%

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Eggplant Polenta Stack

For the Veggie lovers!

Eggplant Polenta Stack

Yield: 4 servings


    * 8 slices (3/4 inch) eggplant (about 1 pound)
    * 2 egg whites, lightly beaten or 1/4 cup no-cholesterol real egg product
    * 1/2 cup Italian-seasoned dry bread crumbs
    * 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    * Olive oil cooking spray
    * 1 package (16 ounces) prepared Italian-herb polenta, cut into 8 slices
    * Salt and pepper, to taste
    * 2-4 ounces reduced-fat feta, or goat, cheese, crumbled


   1. Dip eggplant slices in egg whites and coat with combined bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Spray large skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat until hot. Cook eggplant until browned on the bottom, about 10 minutes; spray tops of slices with cooking spray and turn. Cook until eggplant is tender and browned on other side, about 10 minutes longer.
   2. Arrange eggplant in baking pan; top each slice with a slice of polenta and tomato. Sprinkle tomatoes with salt and pepper; sprinkle stack with feta cheese.
   3. Bake at 450 degrees F. until tomatoes are hot and cheese lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving)
Calories:    222
Protein:    10.9 g
Sodium:     624 mg
Cholesterol:    9 mg
Fat:     4.5 g
Carbohydrates:     35 g
Exchanges:     1 Vegetable, 2 Bread/Starch, 1 Fat

Salmon Fillet with....

For Dinner Tonight: Baked Salmon Fillet w/ Mac and Cheese and Aunt Millie’s Whole Grain Bread.

Had a Salmon fillet from my Meijer grocery run yesterday. Lightly rubbed with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and seasoned with Sea Salt, Pepper, and sprinkled with Parsley. Baked at 400 degrees for 14 minutes. Served with Kraft Velveeta 2% Shells and Cheese along with Aunt Millie’s Whole Grain sliced bread.

Food Feuds Cincy Style!

The taste-off competition including ice cream from the two Cincinnati companies airs at 10 p.m. Dec. 30.

In Cincinnati, the ice cream may be cold, but this rivalry is steaming hot! Graeter's and Aglamesis have been churning out chocolate chip ice cream the old-fashioned way for over 100 years, and the good people of Ohio are divided. Take a step back in time as Michael Symon learns the techniques that give each hand dipped scoop that unmistakable flavor and he crowns a champion of the chip!
Aglamesis vs. Graeter's.

It's one of the great divides in Cincinnati food culture.

Perhaps not as deep and profound as the Skyline-Gold Star schism, but it's a defining preference between two delicious choices.

So it made sense for a new Food Network show called "Food Feuds" to come here and attempt to choose between the two companies' chocolate chip ice creams.

The show's concept, like so many food shows, is a competition: It finds food rivalries in cities around the country and then comes in and creates a show to "settle" them.
Area ice cream makers Graeter’s and Aglamesis Brothers will be featured on “Food Feuds,” a new show on television’s Food Network.

“The showdown becomes a family affair when the fourth generation of the Graeter’s family takes on the third generation of the Aglamesis Brothers Ice Cream,” said a release from Graeter’s.

The television show is hosted by Cleveland-native Michael Symon of “Iron Chef America.” “Food Feuds” visits rival food institutions that each claim the best dish and sets up the competitions. The show’s crew visits two new cities each week.

The show stars Michael Symon, an Ohioan who owns several restaurants in Cleveland. He won the Food Network's "The Next Iron Chef" in 2007, which makes him a superstar of the network.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Rainbow Trout and…

Rainbow Trout and…

Tonight's Dinner: Rainbow Trout w/ Baked Potato and Harvest Grain Loaf Bread.
I hit the local Meijer Store today and found some more beautiful Rainbow Trout fillets. I rolled the fillet in a Whole Wheat Flour/Breadcrumb mixture and seasoned with Sea Salt and Pepper then fried with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. As sides had a baked Potato and from the Kroger Bakery Harvest Grain Loaf Bread.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Pan-Sauteed Chicken with Vegetables & Herbs Recipe

Pan-Sauteed Chicken with Vegetables & Herbs Recipe

Chicken breasts, sauteed until golden brown in the skillet, are finished in the oven with potatoes, onions, carrots and fresh herbs. There are various versions of this recipe all are basically the same and can be found on many cooking web sites. When I made this earlier for dinner I used boneless chicken breasts. Great tasting and very filling.
 * 4 Servings

    * 1/8 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
    * 1/8 teaspoon Paprika
    * 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    * 4 bone-in Chicken Breast halves (about 2 pounds)
    * 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    * 1 pound New Potatoes, cut into quarters
    * 1 small package Portabella Mushrooms cut in half
    * 8 ounces fresh whole Baby Carrots (about 16), green tops trimmed to 1-inch-long
    * 1 1/2 cup Swanson® Chicken Broth or Stock
    * 3 tablespoons Lemon Juice
    * 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Oregano Leaves
    * Chopped fresh Thyme Leaves (optional)


    * Heat the oven to 350°F. Stir the black pepper, paprika and flour on a plate. Coat the chicken with the flour mixture.
    * Heat the oil in a 12-inch oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until it's well browned on all sides. Remove the chicken from the skillet.
    * Add the carrots and potatoes to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, stock, lemon juice and oregano and heat to a boil. Return the chicken to the skillet. Cover the skillet.
    * Bake at 350°F. for 30 minutes. Uncover the skillet and bake for 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Sprinkle with the thyme, if desired. Yield: 4 servings.

            Tip: To use 4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves instead of the bone-in chicken:

      Heat the oven to 350°F. Stir the black pepper, paprika and flour on a plate. Coat the chicken with the flour mixture.

      Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until it's well browned on both sides. Remove the chicken from the skillet.

      Add the remaining oil, mushrooms,and potatoes to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes. Add the carrots, stock, lemon juice and oregano and heat to a boil. Return the chicken to the skillet.

      Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Sprinkle with the thyme, if desired.

Nutrition Information
Using bone-in chicken: Calories 406, Total Fat 15g, Saturated Fat 3g, Cholesterol 82mg, Sodium 311mg, Total Carbohydrate 34g, Dietary Fiber 5g, Protein 35g, Vitamin A 192%DV, Vitamin C 27%DV, Calcium 7%DV, Iron 16%DV

Monday, December 27, 2010

Food Preparations - Casserole


A casserole, from the French for "saucepan", is a large, deep dish used both in the oven and as a serving vessel. The word casserole is also used for the food cooked and served in such a vessel, with the cookware itself called a casserole dish or casserole pan. In British English, this type of dish is frequently also called a bake, coinciding with the cooking technique used to cook casseroles.
Casseroles usually consist of pieces of meat (such as chicken) or fish (such as tuna), various chopped vegetables, a starchy binder such as flour, potato or pasta, and, often, a crunchy topping. Liquids are released from the meat and vegetables during cooking, and further liquid in the form of stock, wine, beer, gin, cider, or vegetable juice may be added when the dish is assembled. Casseroles are cooked slowly in the oven, often uncovered. They may be served as a main course or a side dish, and may be served in the vessel in which they were cook.

A characteristic method of preparing casserole in the United States, particularly in the midwest and the south, and in parts of Canada, is to use condensed soup, especially cream of mushroom soup. Examples of casseroles prepared in this manner are tuna casserole (with canned tuna, cooked pasta, sometimes peas, and cream-of-mushroom soup) and green bean casserole (green beans with cream of mushroom soup, topped with french fried onions). A similar staple food, macaroni and cheese, can also be prepared as a casserole.

Casseroles are a staple at potlucks and family gatherings.

In Minnesota and the Dakotas, where they are one of the quintessential foods of the region, casseroles are called hotdish. The potato casserole Janssons frestelse is a legacy of the Scandinavian immigrants of the area.

Spice of the Week - Horseradish


The origins of horseradish are obscure. Native to Mediterranean lands, by the sixteenth century it was reported growing wild in Britain where it was referred to a "red cole". Horseradish is one of the bitter herbs, eaten during the Jewish Passover as a reminder of the bitterness of their enslavement by the Egyptians. It has long been valued for its medicinal properties and is still popular with natural therapists to help relieve respiratory congestion.

Spice Description
Horseradish is a long, rough, tapering root, not unlike a parsnip, with rings, and tiny roots sprouting from the main root. Horseradish is sold fresh, but is more often available grated. Dried, flaked and powdered horseradish is also sold and this retains its pungency more fully than the grated form which is stored in vinegar. The best fresh roots are thick and well grown; thin and insubstantial roots, apart from being hard to use, are inferior in pungency. Japanese horseradish, or wasabi, is a pale green powder, similar in flavor to horseradish but made from the tuber of a herb, Wasabia japonica..
Preparation and Storage
Fresh horseradish can be grated at home quite easily but the root should first be trimmed and scraped under running water to remove soil. Not much flavor lies in the central core, which is difficult to grate, and should be discarded. The whole root can be kept in the vegetable drawer of a refrigerator for a few weeks. Grated horseradish may be kept in white vinegar or successfully frozen in a sealed container and used as required. Powdered horseradish is reconstituted by mixing with water but, like powdered mustard, remember to allow time for the full flavor to develop.

Culinary Uses
There are no half measures associated with horseradish: it is a potent gastric stimulant and is the perfect accompaniment for rich or rather fatty foods. The main use is in horseradish sauce. This is made most simply by mixing the grated root with sugar and vinegar to the desired consistency. However, cream, sour cream or wine is also a common base for this traditional English sauce to accompany roast beef, sometimes spices such as garlic, mustard and pepper are added.
Albert sauce is a classic accompaniment to boiled or braised beef and is served hot. As a sauce, horseradish also complements tongue, sausages, cold egg dishes, cheese, chicken and hot ham. It is good with fish and is often served with smoked trout. Mixed with yogurt it is a piquant topping to baked potatoes. Horseradish butter is excellent with grilled fish and meat. In America, horseradish is a favorite flavoring in party dips. With grated apple it makes a sharp dressing for fish, and in tomato-based sauces, like "seafood sauce" for shrimp cocktails. When served hot, horseradish loses its pungency and is quite mild. Wasabi is used in Japanese cookery in the fillings for sushi and as a dipping sauce to accompany raw fish. It is mixed to a paste in the same way as mustard and used similarly as a condiment.

Attributed Medicinal Properties
Richer in vitamin C than orange or lemon, horseradish is also a stimulant, diuretic, diaphoretic, rubefacient and antiseptic. Being a gastric stimulant, it is good with rich or fatty indigestible foods. In dropsy, it benefits the system by correcting imbalances in the digestive organs. Bruised horseradish was once used to soothe rheumatism, gout, swellings and chilblains. Infused in wine it becomes a general stimulant and causes perspiration. The volatiles in horseradish have been shown to be antimicrobial against some organisms.Horseradish is a good expectorant, soothing for respiratory problems, and may help relieve rheumatism by stimulating blood flow to inflamed joints.

Plant Description and Cultivation
Horseradish is a perennial, a member of the mustard and, curiously, the wallflower family. The plant has large, long leaves with pronounced pale veins. It grows best in cool to moderate climates, flourishing in Northern and South-eastern Europe and in Scandinavia. Horseradish is an invasive plant and, if you do not take care to limit its growth, it will take over like a weed. Because of its hardy and prolific nature, it thrives beyond cultivation, growing if the minutest root particle is left in the soil, and has become a horticultural pest. Root sections are planted in the spring and harvested in autumn. The tubers can be stored for the winter, in the same way as potatoes, in a covering of sand.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Shrimp and Scallop Gumbo

Today’s Menu: Shrimp and Scallop Gumbo
It’s a cold and snowy day here in Ohio so what could be better than Gumbo! What a great comfort food and easy to make and fits well into diets for those watching their weight and low carb for those with diabetes like myself. I again used the Luzianne Gumbo Dinner Kit. I served it with Cornbread Ears.

1 Pound of Shrimp and Sea Scallops
4 Slices of Turkey Bacon
2 Russet Potatoes (Diced)
6 Cups of Water
2 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Pepper, Sea Salt for seasoning
1 Box of Luzianne Gumbo Dinner Kit

*Dice the Russet Potatoes and microwave for 4 minutes to soften
*Fry Bacon and set aside when done.
*In a 4-5 Quart pot,bring water and Olive Oil to a boil
*Add Luzianne Gumbo while stirring
*Empty half of the Red Pepper Packet into the Gumbo. Put remainder aside.
*Reduce Heat , Cover and simmer for 18 minutes. Meanwhile quarter the Sea Scallops, peel the raw Shrimp, and crumble the Turkey Bacon.
*Taste, and if desired, add remaining Red Pepper from packet and Sea Salt. Add the Shrimp, Scallops, Crumbled Turkey Bacon, and Potatoes. Cover and continue to simmer for 7 more minutes.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Diabetes 2 Friendly Product Review - Jimmy Dean Products

I absolutely love the taste of Jimmy Dean Turkey Sausage Links and the other  various varieties. The Links have a great, smoky turkey flavor. Three Links per serving is very filling and makes a great addition to scrambled eggs or pancakes. Add two slices of wheat toast and a glass of orange juice and you have a well balanced breakfast that keeps you full well into lunchtime. I also love serving these Links for a quick dinner with a cheesy omelet. There's a whole line of Turkey different varieties:

Turkey Sausage Patties
D-Lights Turkey Sausage Croissant
D-Lights Turkey Sausage Whole Grain Bagel
D-lights Turkey Sausage Breakfast Bowl
D-lights Turkey Bacon Breakfast Bowl
Turkey Hearty Sausage Crumbles

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 3 Links (68g)
Amount per Serving

    * Calories 120 Calories from Fat 70

% Daily Value *

    * Total Fat 7g 11%
    * Saturated Fat 2g 10%
    * Trans Fat 0g 
    * Cholesterol 55mg 18%
    * Sodium 490mg 20%
    * Total Carbohydrate 1g 0%
    * Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
    * Sugars 1g 
    * Protein 13g 26%

    * Vitamin A0%
    * Vitamin C2%
    * Calcium4%
    * Iron4%

Est. Percent of Calories from:
Fat 52.5% Carbs 3.3%
Protein 43.3%

Friday, December 24, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Tenders

Tonight’s Dinner: Buffalo Chicken Tenders w/ Whole Grain Mac & Cheese.

Had Buffalo Chicken w/ Bleu Cheese and Kraft Velveeta Whole Grain Rotini and Cheese and Biscuits. I had two Biscuits leftover from yesterday and used Organic Chicken Tenders. Recipe follows.

12 Chicken Tenders
1/2 Cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
1 Tablespoon Cajun Seasoning
1 Tablespoons I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Bleu Cheese Dipping Sauce (Recipe Follows)
Celery Ribs (Optional)
*Soak the Chicken in the hot sauce while refrigerating for at least 30 minutes.
* Put the Flour in a pie pan or bowl and season with Sea Salt and Cajun Seasoning.
* Remove Chicken from the hot sauce, shake off excess, and derdge through Flour. Set pieces on a baking rack or plate.
* Heat the oil and Butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When the Butter has stopped bubbling add the Chicken and cook until golden and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.
* Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels. Serve warm with Bleu Cheese Dipping Sauce and any sides.

Bleu Cheese Dipping Sauce

1/4 Cup Crumbled Bleu Cheese
2 Tablespoons Buttermilk
1/2 Cup Light Sour Cream
1/4 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper

* Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, mixing well. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Fried Chicken with…..

Tonight’s Menu: Fried Chicken Breast w/ Asparagus, Biscuits and Gravy.

I used a thin cut Chicken Breast, rolled in Whole Wheat Flour and seasoned with Sea Salt and Pepper and fried in Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Tried Green Giant Asparagus for the first time.  Comes frozen in a steamer bag, microwave for 6 minutes and your done! Was very tasty and fresh, will use again. As the other sides I had Pillsbury Country Style  Biscuits and Pioneer White Peppered Gravy. The biscuits I use are 150 calories and 29 carbs per serving, 3 biscuits per serving.

The Old Family Buckeye Recipe

Back when I was working I wasn't one to switch jobs too often. A total of three full time jobs during that time. It's been 9 years since I lost my leg to melanoma cancer and unable to work but to this day I still get request's from fellow past workers for my Mom's Buckeyes. It seems that everyone that has had them all say the same thing "The best Buckeyes I've ever had!" I'm sure you'll agree, let me know!


Recipe will make about 60 balls

1 Stick Butter
1 Box (1 LB) Confectioner Sugar
2 Cups Jiff Smooth Peanut Butter
3 Cups Rice Krispies
1 12 oz. Package Chocolate Chips
1 Small Bar Hershey's Milk Chocolate
1/2 Bar Paraffin Wax

* In a large bowl mix Butter, Sugar, Peanut Butter, and Rice Krispies  (With Hands)
* Chill the mixture for at least 2 hours.
* Then take the mixture and roll into individual balls. The size can vary no set size.
* Melt all the Chocolate and Paraffin Wax in a double broiler or in a sauce pan on low heat stirring until smooth.
* With one or two forks dip each of the balls into the Chocolate/Wax. Drain excess off the balls and place on a sheet pan covered with wax paper and refrigerate for several hours until Chocolate has hardened into a shell covering the balls.
* Now enjoy them! 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bison Sirloin Steak

For Dinner tonight: Bison Sirloin Steak w/ Sauteed Mushrooms, Baked Potato, and Harvest Grain Loaf Bread.

Had a Bison Sirloin Steak rubbed with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and seasoned with McCormick Steakhouse Seasoning. Sides of Sauteed Mushrooms, Baked Potato and Kroger Bakery Harvest Grain Bread.

Food Preparations - Stew's

A stew is a combination of solid food ingredients that have been cooked in liquid and served in the resultant gravy. Ingredients in a stew can include any combination of vegetables (such as carrots, potatoes, beans, peppers and tomatoes etc.), meat, especially tougher meats suitable for slow-cooking, such as beef. Poultry, sausages, and seafood are also used. While water can be used as the stew-cooking liquid, wine, stock, and beer are also common. Seasoning and flavorings may also be added. Stews are typically cooked at a relatively low temperature (simmered, not boiled), allowing flavors to mingle.

Stewing is suitable for the least tender cuts of meat that become tender and juicy with the slow moist heat method. This makes it popular in low-cost cooking. Cuts having a certain amount of marbling and gelatinous connective tissue give moist, juicy stews, while lean meat may easily become dry.

Stews have been made since prehistoric times. Herodotus says that the Scythians (8th to 4th centuries BC) "put the flesh into an animal's paunch, mix water with it, and boil it like that over the bone fire. The bones burn very well, and the paunch easily contains all the meat once it has been stripped off. In this way an ox, or any other sacrificial beast, is ingeniously made to boil itself." Some sources consider that this was how boiling was first done by primitive man, perhaps as long ago as ½ to 1 million years ago

Stews may be thickened by reduction or with flour, either by coating pieces of meat with flour before searing, or by using a roux or beurre manié, a dough consisting of equal parts of butter and flour. Thickeners like cornstarch or arrowroot may also be used.

Stews are similar to soups, and in some cases there may not be a clear distinction between the two. Generally, stews have less liquid than soups, are much thicker and require longer cooking over low heat. While soups are almost always served in a bowl, stews may be thick enough to be served on a plate with the gravy as a sauce over the solid ingredients.
There is evidence that primitive tribes boiled foods together as a prelude to mating rituals.[citation needed] Amazonian tribes used the shells of turtles as vessels, boiling the entrails of the turtle and various other ingredients in them. Other cultures used the shells of large mollusks (clams etc.) to boil foods in.[citation needed] There is archaeological evidence of these practices going back 8,000 years or more.

There are recipes for lamb stews and fish stews in the Roman cookery book Apicius, believed to date from the 4th century. Le Viandier, one of the oldest cookbooks in French, written by the French chef known as Taillevent, has ragouts or stews of various types in it.

Hungarian Goulash dates back to the 9th century Magyar shepherds of the area, before the existence of Hungary. Paprika was added in the 18th century.
There are recipes for lamb stews and fish stews in the Roman cookery book Apicius, believed to date from the 4th century. Le Viandier, one of the oldest cookbooks in French, written by the French chef known as Taillevent, has ragouts or stews of various types in it.

Hungarian Goulash dates back to the 9th century Magyar shepherds of the area, before the existence of Hungary. Paprika was added in the 18th century.

Pumpkin-Maple Pie

A dessert for those with diabetes or your just watching those carbs.
Found several recipes all basically the same, this one is from
Diabetic Living Online. Enjoy the Holidays and Merry Christmas!

Pumpkin-Maple Pie

It tastes like Grandmother's, but it's better for you. Our special lower-fat pastry is filled with a maple-flavored pumpkin mixture that is lower in calories and fat than old-fashioned recipes—but it is every bit as good.

SERVINGS: 8 servings

1     Recipe Lower-Fat Oil Pastry
1     15-ounce can pumpkin
1/3    Cup maple-flavored syrup
1     Tablespoon all-purpose flour
2     Packets heat-stable sugar substitute
1-1/2    Teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
3/4    Cup refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed
1     Cup evaporated fat-free milk
1-1/2     Teaspoons vanilla
    Frozen light whipped dessert topping, thawed (optional)
    Ground cinnamon (optional)

    Ground nutmeg (optional)

1. Prepare Lower-Fat Oil Pastry. On a lightly floured surface flatten pastry. Roll into a 12-inch circle. Wrap pastry circle around the rolling pin; unroll into a 9-inch pie plate. Ease pastry into pan, being careful not to stretch pastry. Trim to 1/2 inch beyond edge of pie plate. Fold under extra pastry. Crimp the edge as desired. Do not prick pastry.

2. For the filling, in a medium bowl combine the pumpkin, maple-flavored syrup, flour, sugar substitute, and pumpkin pie spice; add egg product. Beat lightly with a rotary beater or fork until just combined. Gradually stir in evaporated milk and vanilla; mix well.

3. Place pastry-lined pie plate on oven rack. Carefully pour filling into pastry shell. To prevent overbrowning, cover edge of pie with foil. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes. Remove the foil. Bake 20 to 25 minutes more or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Cover and refrigerate within 2 hours. If desired, top with dessert topping and sprinkle with ground cinnamon and nutmeg. Makes 8 servings.

Lower-Fat Oil Pastry: In a medium bowl stir together 11/4 cups all-purpose flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Combine 1/4 cup fat-free milk and 3 tablespoons cooking oil; add all at once to flour mixture. Stir with a fork until dough forms. If necessary, add 1 to 2 teaspoons additional milk. Shape the dough into a ball.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:

    * Servings: 8 servings
    * Calories216
    * Total Fat (g)6
    * Saturated Fat (g)1
    * Cholesterol (mg)1
    * Sodium (mg)153
    * Carbohydrate (g)32
    * Fiber (g)2
    * Protein (g)8
    * Vitamin C (DV%)4
    * Calcium (DV%)11
    * Iron (DV%)15
      Diabetic Exchanges
    * Starch (d.e.)1.5
    * Milk (d.e.).5
    * Fat (d.e.)1

Coconut Cream Pie

A dessert for those with diabetes or your just watching those carbs.
Found several recipes all basically the same, this one is from
Diabetic Living Online. Enjoy the Holidays and Merry Christmas!

Coconut Cream Pie

Carb Choices: 2This luscious pie is the perfect way to end a meal or celebrate a special occasion. Enjoy it with your favorite flavored coffee or tea.

SERVINGS: 10 slices

3     eggs
    Baked Pastry Shell (below)
1/4     cup sugar
1/4     cup cornstarch
1-1/2     cups fat-free milk
1     12-ounce can evaporated fat-free milk
3     tablespoons flaked coconut
1     teaspoon coconut extract
1/2     teaspoon vanilla
1/4     teaspoon cream of tartar
1/3     cup sugar
2     tablespoons flaked coconut

1. Separate egg yolks from whites; place egg yolks in a medium bowl and egg whites in another medium bowl. Let egg whites stand at room temperature for 30 minutes for meringue. Meanwhile, prepare Baked Pastry Shell; set aside. Reduce oven to 350 degrees F.

2. For filling, in a heavy, medium saucepan, stir together the 1/4 cup sugar and the cornstarch. Gradually stir in milk and evaporated milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. Beat egg yolks with a fork. Gradually stir about 1 cup of the hot mixture into the egg yolks. Return all of the egg yolk mixture to saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil; reduce heat to medium-low. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. Stir in the 3 tablespoons coconut and the coconut extract. Keep warm while preparing the meringue.

3. For meringue, add vanilla and cream of tartar to egg whites in bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed about 30 seconds or until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high speed about 2 minutes more or until mixture forms stiff glossy peaks (tips stand straight).

4. Pour hot filling into Baked Pastry Shell. Immediately spread meringue over filling, carefully sealing to edge of pastry to prevent shrinkage. Sprinkle with the 2 tablespoons coconut. Bake in the 350 degrees F oven for 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 1 hour. Chill for at least 3 hours or up to 6 hours before serving. Makes 10 slices.

Baked Pastry Shell: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Combine 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in 1/3 cup shortening until pieces are pea-size. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon cold water over part of the flour mixture; gently toss with a fork. Push moistened dough to one side of the bowl. Repeat, using 1 tablespoon cold water at a time, until all of the flour mixture is moistened (4 to 5 tablespoons cold water total). Form dough into a ball. On a lightly floured surface, slightly flatten dough. Roll dough from center to edge into a 12-inch circle. Transfer pastry to a 9-inch pie plate. Ease into pie plate, being careful not to stretch pastry. Trim pastry to 1/2 inch beyond edge of pie plate. Fold under extra pastry. Crimp edge as desired. Prick pastry all over with a fork. Line with a double thickness of foil. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove foil. Bake for 5 to 6 minutes more or until golden.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:

    * Servings: 10 slices
    * Calories249
    * Total Fat (g)10
    * Saturated Fat (g)4
    * Cholesterol (mg)66
    * Sodium (mg)147
    * Carbohydrate (g)32
    * Fiber (g)1
    * Protein (g)7
    * Vitamin A (DV%)0
    * Vitamin C (DV%)0
    * Calcium (DV%)0
    * Iron (DV%)0
      Diabetic Exchanges
    * Other Carbohydrates (d.e.)2
    * Fat (d.e.)1.5

Monday, December 20, 2010

Spice of the Week - Fennel


Fennel yields both a herb and a spice. All plant parts are edible: roots, stalks and leaves, with the spice coming from the dried seeds. A native to the Mediterranean, Fennel is an ancient and common plant known to the ancient Greeks and spread throughout Europe by Imperial Rome. It is also grown in India, the Orient, Australia, South America and has become naturalized in the US. It has been called the “meeting’ seed” by the Puritans who would chew it during their long church services. The name derives from the Latin foeniculum, meaning “little hay”.

Spice Description
Fennel seeds split into two, one sometimes remaining on the stalk. They are 4 -8 mm (1/8 - 5/16 in) long, thin and curved, with colour varying from brown to light green (the green being superior).

Plant Description and Cultivation
Fennel is a hardy perennial related to parsley, often cultivated as an annual, reaching heights of 1.5 - 2.5 m (5 - 8 ft). It resembles dill, which it can cross-pollinate with. It should be kept at a distance from dill because the resulting seed will have a dulled flavour. The flower heads are collected before the seeds ripen and threshed out when completely dried.

Preparation and Storage
Seeds can be used whole or ground in a spice mill or mortar and pestle. Store away from light in airtight containers.

Culinary Uses
As a herb, fennel leaves are used in French and Italian cuisine’s in sauces for fish and in mayonnaise. In Italy fennel is also used to season pork roasts and spicy sausages, especially the Florentine salami finocchiona. It is traditionally considered one of the best herbs for fish dishes. The English use fennel seeds in almost all fish dishes, especially as a court bouillon for poaching fish and seafood. It is used to flavour breads, cakes and confectionery. It is an ingredient of Chinese Five Spices and of some curry powders. Several liquors are flavoured with fennel, including fennouillette, akvavit, gin and was used in distilling absinthe.


Attributed Medicinal Properties
In the first century, Pliny noted that after snakes had shed their skins, they ate fennel to restore their sight. It has since been used as a wash for eyestrain and irritations. Chinese and Hindus used it as a snake bite remedy. It is carminative, a weak diuretic and mild stimulant. The oil is added to purgative medication to prevent intestinal colic. Fennel was once used to stimulate lactation. It allays hunger and was thought to be a cure for obesity in Renaissance Europe. It should not be used in high dosages as it causes muscular spasms and hallucinations.

The major constituents of Fennel, which include the terpenoid anethole, are found in the volatile oil. Anethole and other terpenoids inhibit spasms in smooth muscles, such as those in the intestinal tract, and this is thought to contribute to fennel’s use as a carminative (gas-relieving and gastrointestinal tract cramp-relieving agent). Related compounds to anethole may have mild estrogenic actions, although this has not been proven in humans. Fennel is also thought to possess diuretic (increase in urine production), choleretic (increase in production of bile), pain-reducing, fever-reducing, and anti-microbial actions. The seeds are used as a flavoring agent in many herbal medicines, and to help disperse flatulence. The seeds, and roots, also help to open obstructions of the liver, spleen & gall bladder, and to ease painful swellings, in addition to helping with yellow jaundice, the gout and occasional cramps.

Seafood Dip

Seafood Dip

I got this recipe from my cousin’s wife many years ago. It’s been a tradition now in the family for Christmas ever since. Serve chilled and with your favorite crackers.


2 – 4.25 oz. Cans Crab Meat

2 – 4 oz. Cans Tiny Shrimp

1 1/2 – Bottles Chili Sauce

1 1/2 – Bottles Seafood Cocktail Sauce

3 – 8 oz. Tubs of Philadelphia Fat Free Cream Cheese/Softened

1 – Teaspoon Dried Parsley

*Open and drain all 4 cans of Crab Meat and Tiny Shrimp in coriander. After fully drained pour mixture into a large bowl and with a fork gently toss Crab and Shrimp until fully mixed. Set aside.

* Spread softened Philly Cream Cheese on to the bottom of  dish.

*  Take the Crab and Shrimp mixture and layer on top of Philly Cream Cheese.

* Layer the Chili Sauce on top of the Crab/Shrimp mixture.

* Layer the Seafood Cocktail Sauce as the last layer topping.

* Sprinkle Parsley on top.

* Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

** You can use a Pyrex 8×8 Baking dish or 2 6×6 Hefty or Ziploc square plastic bowls for the recipe.**

I made this recipe with the 2 Ziploc plastic bowl. When making the recipe in the 2 plastic bowls use only one bottle of Chili Sauce and Seafood Cocktail Sauce instead of the 1 1/2 bottles for the 8×8 baking dish. The reason I use the smaller plastic bowls is they are easier to store in the frige than the bigger baking dish.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Herb-Roasted Beef Tenderloin

Looking for for a great comfort food for that cold winter's day, I have one here! Serve with sides of Carrots and Mashed Potatoes with a brown Mushroom gravy. Too good!

Herb-Roasted Beef Tenderloin
(makes 16 servings)

1     4-pound beef tenderloin, trimmed and tied
6 to 8     sprigs fresh rosemary
6 to 8     sprigs fresh thyme
    salt (optional) and freshly ground pepper
1     tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil

   1. Let tenderloin come to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Heat oven to 425°F (220°C, Gas Mark 7) with oven rack in center.
   2. Tuck the rosemary and thyme sprigs under the string tying the fillet. Place on a rack in a large roasting pan. Season with salt (if using) and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes.
   3. Baste beef with olive oil and continue to roast for another 10 to 15 minutes, until an instant-reading meat thermometer placed in the thickest part of the meat registers 120°F (49°C) for medium-rare or 140°F (60°C) for medium (roast will continue to cook some out of the oven). Transfer roast to a heated serving platter and let sit 15 minutes at room temperature before carving.
   4. Carve the roast into thin slices and serve.

Per serving:     179 calories (45% calories from fat), 24 g protein, 9 g total fat (3.6 g saturated fat), 0 carbohydrate, 0 dietary fiber, 71 mg cholesterol, 53 mg sodium
Diabetic exchanges:     3 lean meat

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cornmeal-Fried Oysters With Chipotle Mayonnaise

If this tastes as good as it looks and sounds dinner will be great tonight!

Cornmeal-Fried Oysters With Chipotle Mayonnaise


      Fried Oysters
          o 1/2 cup cornmeal
          o 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
          o 1 teaspoon paprika
          o 1 teaspoon dried thyme
          o salt & freshly ground black pepper
          o 12 shucked oysters
          o vegetable oil ( for frying)
      Chipotle Mayonnaise
          o 1/2 cup mayonnaise
          o 1 teaspoon chopped chipotle chiles
          o 1 teaspoon adobo sauce
          o salt
          o 2 tablespoons chopped coriander


   1. Fried Oysters:.
   2. Combine cornmeal, flour, paprika, thyme, salt and pepper in a dish. Toss oysters in cornmeal mixture.
   3. Heat enough oil to film base of skillet on high heat. When oil is very hot, add oysters, but do not crowd pan. Sauté for about 1 to 2 minutes or until coating is browned. Remove immediately to serving dish. Add more oil as needed to fry remainder. Serve with Chipotle Mayonnaise (recipe follows).

   4. Chipotle Mayonnaise:.
   5. Combine mayonnaise, chipotle peppers and adobe sauce. Season with salt and stir in coriander.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 (848 g)

Servings Per Recipe: 1

Amount Per Serving
    % Daily Value
Calories 116.9
Calories from Fat 42

Amount Per Serving
    % Daily Value
Total Fat 4.6g
Saturated Fat 0.7g
Cholesterol 27.5mg
Sugars 0.7 g
Sodium 124.7mg
Total Carbohydrate 12.8g
Dietary Fiber 0.6g
Sugars 0.7 g
Protein 5.8g

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Diabetes 2 Friendly Product Review - Diabetic Friendly Foods

I usually review a certain product but found this informative article on Diabetes and the Diabetes Friendly Foods.

Diabetic Friendly Foods

Nothing is more confusing to new diabetics or those with insulin resistance than the question of what to eat. This is because the food you eat is at the heart of any treatment plan. Here are characteristics of diabetic friendly foods:

How to Spot Good Diabetic Foods

Look for ...     Why?

Low Glycemic    Low glycemic foods do not spike your blood sugar. They also make you feel full so you'll eat less. Low glycemic foods tend to be those that either contain few carbs or the carbs in them are complex vs. simple. Examples: whole grains over processed, whole fruits vs. fruit juices, raw vs cooked vegetables

Low Sugar

and Net Carbs    Since most food labels in the US don't list the Glycemic Index, a great first step is looking for foods that are low in sugar and net carbs. Net carbs are the simple carbs that digest rapidly (normally within one to two hours). Both spike blood sugar which raises insulin levels. Insulin causes your body to store fat which causes weight gain and insulin resistance. In addition, simple carbs are quickly burned leaving you hungry and more likely to overeat.

High Soluble Fiber

Fiber rich foods generally contain a mixture of soluble and insoluble fiber. While both types help you feel full and won't spike your blood sugar, soluble fiber is best because it has been shown to improve blood sugar control. Examples: legumes, oat bran, whole grain foods, fruits and vegetables.

Check the Label:

High fiber foods will contain at least 5g of fiber/serving.
Low Saturated Fat, Trans Fat    Diabetes and heart problems go hand in hand. Saturated fats and trans fats raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol. The challenge is that many of the processed foods that are sugar-free or low carb are also high in fat.
Good Fats    Mono-unsaturated fats, poly-unsaturated fats, and Omega 3 fats can lower your LDL, total cholesterol and triglycerides (blood fats).
Examples: avocados, olive oil, soy, salmon, canola oil
Lean Protein (especially from plant sources)    Protein doesn't spike your blood sugar and helps you feel full. It's also important to help you maintain or build muscle mass to perform even common daily tasks more easily. Plant sources of protein are preferable over animal sources, since they are not a significant source of saturated fats.
Examples: black beans, fish, egg whites, soy.
Check the Label: High protein foods have 10g protein per serving.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Another tasty recipe from Diabetic Living On Line, Southwest Salmon and Sweet Potatoes

Using foil packets to steam foods--rather than cooking them in butter or oil--helps trim calories and fat. This salmon and sweet potato combo is a delightful example.

SERVINGS: 4 servings

4     5-ounce fresh or frozen skinless salmon fillets
12     ounces sweet potatoes, scrubbed and cut crosswise into 1/8- to 1/4-inch-thick slices
2     teaspoons canola oil
1/2     teaspoondried oregano, crushed
1/2     teaspoon ground ancho chile pepper or chili powder
1/2     teaspoon ground cumin
1/4     teaspoon salt
1/4     teaspoon ground black pepper
    Nonstick cooking spray
1     medium orange, peeled and coarsely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Thaw fish, if frozen. Rinse fish and pat dry with paper towels; set aside. In a medium bowl, toss sweet potato slices with oil. In a small bowl, combine oregano, chile pepper, cumin, salt, and black pepper. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the oregano mixture evenly on the salmon. Add remaining oregano mixture to sweet potatoes and toss to coat.

2. Tear off four 18-inch squares of heavy foil. Lightly coat one side of each foil square with nonstick cooking spray. In the center of each foil square, arrange one-fourth of the sweet potato slices, overlapping slightly. Top each sweet potato mound with a salmon fillet and arrange orange pieces atop salmon.

3. For each packet, bring up two opposite edges of a foil square and seal with a double fold. Fold ends to completely enclose fish and vegetables, leaving space for steam to build. Place the packets, seam sides up, on a very large baking sheet.

4. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork and sweet potatoes are tender. Open the packets carefully when checking doneness. Transfer contents of each packet to a dinner plate.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:

    * Servings: 4 servings
    * Calories369
    * Total Fat (g)18
    * Saturated Fat (g)3
    * Monounsaturated Fat (g)7
    * Polyunsaturated Fat (g)6
    * Cholesterol (mg)83
    * Sodium (mg)280
    * Carbohydrate (g)21
    * Total Sugar (g)7
    * Fiber (g)4
    * Protein (g)30
    * Vitamin C (DV%)41
    * Calcium (DV%)6
    * Iron (DV%)6
      Diabetic Exchanges
    * Starch (d.e.)1.5
    * Lean Meat (d.e.)4
    * Fat (d.e.).5

Monday, December 13, 2010

Fried Onion Rings

Found these recipes in a newsletter and thought I would pass them along.

Fried Onion Rings
These crispy baked onion rings are low in carbs and fat free--perfect for a diabetic meal plan!

SERVINGS: 6 appetizer servings

Nonstick cooking spray
1/4    Cup refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed
2       Tablespoons Buttermilk
3/4    Cup Panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
1/4     Teaspoon Cajun seasoning, blackened seasoning, or barbecue seasoning
1     Large Sweet Onion (such as Vidalia or Walla Walla), cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices and separated into rings

1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Lightly coat an extra-large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray;* set aside. In a shallow dish, combine egg and buttermilk. In a small bowl, combine panko and Cajun seasoning. Transfer about one-third of the panko mixture to a shallow dish.

2. Dip the onion rings, one at a time, in buttermilk mixture, turning to coat and allowing excess to drip off. Dip onion rings in panko mixture, turning to coat. Place onion rings in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet (you can place smaller onion rings inside larger ones as long as they don't touch). Add more of the panko mixture to the shallow dish as needed.**

3. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the onions are tender and the coating is crisp and golden.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:

    * Servings: 6 appetizer servings
    * Calories53
    * Total Fat (g)0
    * Saturated Fat (g)0
    * Monounsaturated Fat (g)0
    * Polyunsaturated Fat (g)0
    * Cholesterol (mg)0
    * Sodium (mg)58
    * Carbohydrate (g)10
    * Total Sugar (g)3
    * Fiber (g)1
    * Protein (g)3
    * Vitamin A (DV%)0
    * Vitamin C (DV%)5
    * Calcium (DV%)2
    * Iron (DV%)2
      Diabetic Exchanges
    * Starch (d.e.).5

**The Fried Onion Rings make a great topping for this Green Bean Casserole**

Classy Green Bean Casserole: Preheat oven to 400°F. Trim 2 pounds haricot verts or tender young green beans. If desired, halve haricot verts or green beans. In a covered large saucepan, cook beans in a small amount boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain and set aside. (Or, use two 16-ounce packages frozen French-style green beans, cooked according to package directions.)
In another large saucepan, combine 4 ounces cut-up reduced-fat cream cheese; 1/2 cup fat-free milk; 2 cloves garlic, minced; and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper. Cook over low heat until melted and smooth, whisking constantly; remove from heat. Whisk in 1/2 cup light dairy sour cream. Add green beans; toss to coat.

Spread green bean mixture in a 2-quart au gratin dish or rectangular baking dish. Bake, uncovered, about 15 minutes or until heated through, stirring once halfway through baking. Top with half of the "Fried" Onion Rings before serving. Makes 10 (about 2/3 cup) side-dish servings.

Per serving: 88 cal., 4 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 13 mg chol., 79 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 4 g pro.
Daily Values: 14% vit. A, 18% vit. C, 7% calcium, 5% iron.
Exchanges: 1.5 vegetable, 1 fat.
Carb Choice: 0.5.

Food Preparations - Curing

Curing (food preservation)

In food preparation, curing refers to various preservation and flavoring processes, especially of meat or fish, by the addition of a combination of salt, sugar and either nitrate or nitrite. Many curing processes also involve smoking. The etymology of the term is unclear, but it is thought to derive from the same Latin cura, -ae, from which the other English meanings are also derived.


Curing with salt and sugar may be called salting, salt-curing, sugar-curing or honey-curing. The application of pellets of salt, called corns, is often called corning. Curing in a water solution or brine is called wet-curing or pickling or brining. It's also noted that a pickle contains nitrite in addition to salt.  The curing of fish is sometimes called kippering.

Chemical action of curing

Salt inhibits the growth of spoilage-causing microorganisms by drawing water out of microbial cells through osmosis. As the unwanted bacterial population decreases, other beneficial bacteria, primarily of the Lactobacillus genus, come to the fore and generate an acidic environment (around 4.5 pH). The sugar included in the cure is used as food by the lactobacilli; generally dextrose is preferred over sucrose, or table sugar, because it seems to be more thoroughly consumed by the bacteria. This process is in fact a form of fermentation, and, in addition to reducing further the ability of the spoilage bacteria to grow, accounts for the tangy flavor of some cured products. Concentrations of salt up to 20% are required to kill most species of unwanted bacteria.Smoking adds chemicals to the surface of an item which affect the ability of bacteria to grow, inhibit oxidation (and thus rancidity), and improve flavor.             

Nitrate and Nitrite Compounds

Nitrates and nitrites not only help kill bacteria, but also produce a characteristic flavor, and give meat a pink or red color. Nitrate (NO3), in the form of either sodium nitrate or potassium nitrate, is used as a source for nitrite (NO2) -- for 3d models click here. The nitrite further breaks down in the meat into nitric oxide (NO), which then binds to the iron atom in the center of myoglobin's heme group, preventing oxidation.

The presence of nitrates and nitrites in food is controversial due to the development of nitrosamines when the food, primarily bacon, is cooked at high temperatures. The nitrate and nitrite compounds themselves are not harmful, however, and are among the antioxidants found in fresh vegetables. (National Academy 1981) The usage of either compound is carefully regulated in the production of cured products; in the United States, their concentration in finished products is limited to 200 ppm, and is usually lower. Finally, they are irreplaceable in the prevention of botulinum poisoning from consumption of dry-cured sausages.


Historically, peoples around the world have cured meat, in order not to waste valuable food, and to insure against poor harvests or hunting seasons. Although a salt-rich diet is currently implicated in risk for heart disease , in the past protein deficiency was a greater problem.

Salt cod, which was air-dried in cool northern Europe, was a civilization-changing food product, in that a bountiful but perishable food supply could be converted to a form that allowed for wide travel and thus exploration.

Salted meat and fish are commonly eaten as a staple of the diet in North Africa, Southern China and in the Arctic where they are associated with nasopharyngeal cancer caused by infection by the Epstein-Barr Virus. One study hypothesizes that the actual vector is anaerobic bacteria found in salted fish. (The Scientist 1999)

Spice of the Week - Pepper

The history of the spice trade is, above all, the history of pepper, the ‘King of Spices’. Pepper has been moving westward from India for 4,000 years. It has been used in trading as an exchange medium like money and, at times, has been valued so highly that a single peppercorn dropped on the floor would be hunted like a lost pearl. In classical times ‘tributes’ were paid in pepper, and both Attila the Hun and Alaric I the Visigoth demanded pepper as a substantial part of Rome’s ransom. Since the Middle Ages, pepper was the core of the European spice trade, with Genoa and Venice dominating the market. The Italian ‘pepperers’ monopoly of overland trade routes was the major determining factor in driving the search for an eastern sea route.

Spice Description

Pepper comes from several species of a vinous plant, the spice being the fruit, called peppercorns. Black pepper is the dried, unripe berry. The corns are wrinkled and spherical, about 5 mm (1/8 in) in diameter. Malabar and Tellicherry pepper are both considered top quality due to size and maturity, with only 10% of the largest corns being graded as Tellicherry. White pepper starts out the same as the black, but are allowed to ripen more fully on the vine. The outer shell is then removed by soaking the berries in water until the shell falls off, or are held under flowing spring water, yielding a whiter, cleaner pepper. Green pepper is from the same fruit but is harvested before they mature. Pink pepper, which is not a vinous pepper, comes from the French island of Reunion. Pink peppercorns have a brittle, papery pink skin enclosing a hard, irregular seed, much smaller than the whole fruit.

Preparation and Storage

Pepper is best purchased whole, as freshly ground pepper is vastly superior to the ready ground powder. Whole peppercorns keep their flavour indefinitely but quickly loses its aroma and heat after it has been ground. Peppercorns are very hard but easily ground in a peppermill. Cracked pepper is the partially broken corns, crushed using a mortar and pestle or with a rolling pin. Dried green peppercorns can be reconstituted for mashing into a paste by soaking in water. Peppercorns should be stored in airtight containers, away from sunlight.

Culinary Uses

Pepper is best ground directly on to food. With hot food it is best to add pepper well towards the end of the cooking process, to preserve its aroma. White pepper is used in white sauces rather than black pepper, which would give the sauce a speckled appearance. Green peppercorns can be mashed with garlic, cinnamon or to make a spiced butter or with cream to make a fresh and attractive sauce for fish. Pink peppercorns are called for in a variety of dishes, from poultry to vegetables and fish.

Attributed Medicinal Properties

Stomachic; carminative; aromatic stimulant; antibacterial; diaphoretic. Stimulates the taste-buds causing reflex stimulation of gastric secretions, improving digestion and treating gastro-intestinal upsets and flatulence. Pepper calms nausea and raises body temperature, making it valuable for treating fevers and chills.

Plant Description and Cultivation

A tropical, perennial climbing vine with aerial roots. The vine can grow to over 30 feet (10m) but is commercially maintained at about 12 feet (4m). It has wide, glossy, green leaves and bears dense spikes of whte flowers containing 50 blossoms each. The berries are green when unripe and turn red as they mature.
Pepper needs well-drained humus-rich soil and a hot wet tropical climate. Plants can yield for up to forty years. Pepper is grown from cuttings in partial shade and run up trees or poles to support the vines.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Up a Notch Chops!

Today’s Menu: Wow a good meal tonight! I’ve been wanting some Pork Chops for a while now and tonight was the night. Too Good!


1/4 Cup BBQ Sauce (Your Preference)
1/4 Cup Kraft Free Zesty Italian Dressing
1 Tablespoon French’s Honey Mustard
4 Bone – In Pork Chops
1 to 1/2 Bag of Mini Carrots (Amount Your Choice)
1  Package Bob Evans Mash Potatoes
1 Loaf Kroger Bakery Harvest Grain Loaf Bread

*MIX barbecue sauce, dressing and mustard in glass dish until well blended. Remove 6 Tbsp. of the barbecue sauce mixture for later use.

*ADD chops to remaining barbecue sauce mixture in dish; turn over to evenly coat both sides of each chop. Refrigerate 15 min.

* Fill a small sauce pan half way with water and bring to a boil. Add Mini Carrots and boil for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and set aside.

*COOK chops in large skillet on medium heat 5 min.; turn over. Add reserved barbecue sauce mixture and the carrots; cover. Cook 7 to 10 min. or until sauce is thickened and chops are cooked through (160ºF) , stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, Microwave Mashed Potatoes as directed by instructions. Bake Bread at 400 degrees for 8 minutes.  Serve both with the chops.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Health Notes

Two very good articles out of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Short but informative.

 Health Tip: Omega 3s Are Essential Fatty Acids

Though the body needs omega 3 fatty acids, it doesn't make them. So you must get them from foods including fish, some plants or nut oils, the University of Maryland Medical Center says.

The center says there's evidence that omega 3s may help people with these health conditions, or people at greater risk of acquiring them:

    * High cholesterol.
    * High blood pressure.
    * Heart disease and stroke.
    * Cancer of the colon, breast or prostate.
    * Diabetes.
    * Rheumatoid arthritis.
    * Lupus.
    * Osteoporosis.
    * Mental health conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.
    * Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
    * Macular degeneration of the eye.

Healthy holiday treats

The dessert table can be a diet danger zone. But check out these lesser-known health benefits of certain holiday delights, courtesy of Fitness.

- Cookies. Candy. Cake. The holidays can be one big fat trap. But before you steer clear of the dessert table, take a look at the who-knew health benefits of these seasonal treats. We're not saying to eat them with abandon (we wish!), but you can enjoy a slice of your favorite goodie guilt-free.

- Pecan pie. Research shows that pecans have the most antioxidants of any nuts, including almonds. As a bonus, they're loaded with cholesterol-lowering plant sterols and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.

- Pumpkin cheesecake. A half cup of the canned variety contains more than 350 percent of your recommended daily value of vitamin A, an immune-boosting nutrient. Plus, pumpkin has high levels of carotenoids, the pigments responsible for its bright orange color, which studies suggest may neutralize free radicals in your body, helping prevent disease.

- Gingerbread. A natural anti-inflammatory, ginger can reduce exercise-related muscle pain. The potent spice also aids digestion, which makes gingerbread a perfect finish to a big holiday meal

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Zucchini-Banana Squares

There are many different recipes for Zucchini Bread. My Mom has made this one several time, turns out very moist. 

Zucchini-Banana Squares


    *     Nonstick cooking spray
    * 1  cup  all-purpose flour
    * 1  cup  whole wheat flour
    * 1/4  cup  ground flaxseeds or wheat germ
    * 1/4  cup  unsweetened cocoa powder
    * 2  teaspoons  baking powder
    * 1/2  teaspoon  salt
    * 1/2  cup  refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed, or 2 eggs, slightly beaten
    * 3/4  cup  sugar
    * 1/2  cup  canola oil
    * 1/3  cup  low-fat milk
    * 1  cup  peeled (if desired) and shredded zucchini
    * 1  medium-size  ripe banana, mashed (1/2 cup)
    * 1/2  cup  miniature semisweet chocolate pieces (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. In a large bowl, combine all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, flaxseeds or wheat germ, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg, sugar, canola oil, and milk until well mixed. Stir in zucchini and banana. Add zucchini mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened. Fold in chocolate pieces. Pour batter into prepared pan, spreading evenly.

3. Bake about 25 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. Cool completely on a wire rack. Cut into squares.
Nutrition Facts
    * Servings Per Recipe 24 squares
    * Calories120,
    * Total Fat (g)5.5,
    * Saturated Fat (g).4,
    * Cholesterol (mg).2,
    * Sodium (mg)81,
    * Carbohydrate (g)16,
    * Fiber (g)1.5,
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden Festival of Lights

Not food related but with Christmas getting closer this will always put you in the Christmas cheer! 

Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden Festival of Lights Celebrates 25th Anniversary

The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens will flip the switch on over 2.5 million dazzling lights and more than 100 lighted displays in the city's longest-standing holiday tradition.
This year's Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden Festival of Lights is sure to be even bigger and better than years past thanks to the celebration of their 25th anniversary. The
 incredible light display which lines the paths of the zoo with more than 2.5 million lights and over 100 light displays has wowed Cincinnati audiences for 25 years.

The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden Festival of Lights is one of the best deals when it comes to holiday entertainment in the city. Not only does admission to the Festival of Lights get you in to see the lovely Christmas displays and incredible lights, but you also get to see the majority of the animal exhibits still on display at the zoo as well. Some animals are not visible because of the cold winter weather, but most areas are still hopping with plenty of creatures for your viewing pleasure. Online admission to the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden Festival of Lights is just $11.00 for adults and $7.00 for children ages 2-12. Seniors get in for $10.

New this year to the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden Festival of Lights is the Polar Express 4-D Experience. This indoor theater adventure features the Caldecott Medal winning book The Polar Express and promises you'll get to see it snow indoors! This attraction does not cost extra, but you do need to reserve your viewing time in advance so be sure to purchase those specific tickets when you go online to

Dancing light displays and ice sculptures are also a beautiful part of the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden Festival of Lights. Visitors can even see the ice sculptures being carved from 7-8 PM each evening during the festival. The kids can visit with Santa and Mrs. Clause and even pet a reindeer. Your sweet tooth will easily be satisfied as well by partaking in traditional holiday treats including hot chocolate, caramel apples, hot apple cider, and fresh baked, warm cookies.
The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden Festival of Lights is open for the holidays Thursday through Sunday until December 9th from 5:00-9:00 PM. From December 13th through January 1st, the festival is open nightly
 during the same hours. Keep in mind that the Festival of Lights is closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. Be sure to really bundle up, though you can get some relief from the cold by visiting the many indoor animal displays at the zoo.

There is no better holiday attraction in the Cincinnati area than the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden Festival of Lights. The whole family will love starting the holiday tradition of visiting this attraction. Visit for more information or to order tickets.

Chipotle Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Saw this recipe in our local paper and it sounded too good to pass up. Soon to be on my table!

Chipotle Mashed Sweet Potatoes


2 Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 Tablespoons of Butter or I Can't Believe It's Not Butter
1 Chipotle Pepper from  (1 Can Chipotle Pepper in Adobo Sauce)
1 Tablespoon Adobo Sauce from can
1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt

* Steam Sweet Potatoes in a steam basket over a large pot of simmering water for 20 minutes or microwave until softened
* Drain and mash until smooth, adding Butter, Chipotle Pepper, Adobo Sauce, and salt.   

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Diabetes 2 Friendly Product Review - Egg Beaters

If you're health-conscious and curious about the value of liquid egg products in a healthy diet, are looking for low-fat meals because you're watching your weight, or simply are looking for a healthier alternative to shell eggs, turn to Egg Beaters®. While the traditional whole egg delivers a variety of important nutrients, it also contains 5 g of fat, 75 calories, and a hefty dose of cholesterol—all of which is found in the egg yolk. Egg Beaters have no yolks, so when you choose to substitute Egg Beaters for shell eggs, you're making a smart choice for better health.

Benifits of Egg Beaters for Diabetes

When you're living with diabetes, there are many ways to manage it. Two of the most prominent ways are to watch what you eat and to live a healthier lifestyle. As a diabetic, it's important to keep your blood sugar levels under control. Egg Beaters® have the same amount of carbohydrates, fewer calories, and less fat than shell eggs, so they can help you maintain a healthier diet without needing to dramatically change your eating habits.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1/4 cup (61.0 g)
Amount Per Serving

Calories from Fat
% Daily Value*
Total Fat
Saturated Fat
Total Carbohydrates
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet

Food Preparations - Canning

Canning is a method of preserving food in which the food is processed and sealed in an airtight container.
Here's an easy to follow guide with all the basics you need to know for successful home canning. If you've never done any canning because you think it's just too complicated, I hope this will encourage you to give it a try.

Beginners should start with high acid foods that can be safely canned by using the easy boiling water bath method of canning. This is a basic way to preserve food at the temperature of boiling water, 212 degrees, using inexpensive equipment. Tomatoes and most fruits are high acid foods.

Vegetables are low acid foods, but when vegetables such as cucumbers, various beans, beets and some others are pickled, they can also be canned using the boiling water bath canning method. Because of the acid in vinegar used for pickling, jars of pickled vegetables can be canned in a boiling water bath.

Pressure Canner
   Low acid vegetables like carrots, peas, corn, unpickled beets or beans need to reach a temperature of 240 degrees to kill all bacteria and safely preserve them. Cooking under pressure traps the steam from boiling water, allowing it to reach the higher temperature low acid foods need for safe preservation. This is done by using a pressure canner, making this method a bit more complicated and expensive.

Boiling water bath canning can be easy, if you have the right home canning equipment.
Here's the basic supplies you'll need .....

Canning Jars

There are specially made jars and lids designed for canning. The jars can be reused for many years. Canning jars come in various sizes. Pint and quart sizes are usually used for fruit, applesauce, tomatoes, pickles, etc. Smaller 8 oz. jars are perfect for jams, jellies and relishes. Both pint size and quart size jars are available in regular or wide mouth styles. The wide mouth style is best for pickles and larger pieces of fruit such as peach or pear halves. Canning jars are usually sold in a boxes of 12... Each jar includes a two-piece lid.

Do not use just any jars. Though canning lids may fit some commercial brand mayonnaise or similar type jars, the glass is not tempered as it is in Mason jars and the surface of the jar rim is narrower. These jars may crack in the canning process and the lids might not seal tightly.

Case of jarsTwo-piece lids

Today's jar lids consist of a small cap that seals to the jar rim and a band or screw cap that holds the cap in place. Replacement lids are sold in most grocery stores, department or hardware stores, kitchen shops, farm centers, etc. Lids can be purchased in packages that include both rims and sealing caps, or you can buy boxes of just caps. Sealing caps should never be re-used...You'll need fresh new ones each time you do canning. Make sure you get the right size caps for your used canning jars, either regular or wide-mouth.

Canner    A large covered water bath canner -

A canner must be deep enough to completely immerse the jars with 1 to 2 inches of water covering the top of the lids. Canners have a rack to keep the jars off the bottom of the pot. You can improvise by using any large stockpot with a wire cooling rack placed in the bottom.

Canning suppliesJar Lifter

A very handy tool for removing freshly processed jars from the boiling water. It looks like a wide tongs.

Wide mouth canning funnel -
Used to fill the jars...especially useful for jars with regular size tops.

A non-metallic spatula -
Or, a long plastic knife to run through the filled jars to release trapped air bubbles.

You'll also need a clean dish cloth to wipe the rims before placing the caps on the jars and a heavy dish towel or absorbent mat to sit the hot jars on after they're removed from the canner.

Then just take it step by step....

1 - Have all your equipment ready to use - Wash jars and lids with hot, soapy water. Thoroughly rinse and air dry. Check glass jar rims for even minute chips or cracks as these will not seal. Rinse new caps with hot water before using them.

2 - Prepare the food.
Always start with fruit at the peak of freshness. Fruit and vegetables should be washed, peeled and prepared according to your recipes for preserves, pickles, salsa, spaghetti sauce, etc.. For fruit, I recommend using a product such as "Fruit Fresh" to prevent discoloration. Follow the package directions for the desired amounts of sugar and water for a light, medium or heavy syrup. Prepare jams and jellies according to the directions for the brand of pectin you're using or follow a trusted recipe.

3 - Pack prepared food into hot jars, leaving a head space....usually 1/2" to 1" below the top of the jar rim or the amount stated in the recipe you followed.

Hot Pack or Cold Pack ???? (sometimes called raw pack) - The term "hot pack" in canning directions, means the food is first cooked in a syrup or other liquid. Foods that have been pre-cooked are already hot when they go into the canner, "Cold packed" means the food is raw when it's packed in the jars. Pickles and other foods that easily become soft or soggy go into the canner uncooked.

4 - Carefully run a wooden or other non-metallic spatula or knife down through the ingredients to release any trapped air bubbles.

5 - Wipe the jar rims with a clean, damp cloth to remove all traces of food on the rims.

6 - Place a cap on each jar, making sure it's centered and seated with the rubber edge directly over the rim.

7 - Screw the lid band onto the jar, but do not over tighten.

8 - Fill the canner with hot water - the amount depends on the size of the jars you are using. Most canners have pre-marked guides to give you a general idea.

9 - Place the jars on the rack in the canner or stock pot, adding more water if necessary to cover the jars by 1 to 2 inches.

10 - Cover with lid and bring the water to a full rolling boil. Continue to boil for the time stated in your recipe. A rough guide is about 5 to 10 minutes for pickles, 10 minutes for jam, about 20 to 30 minutes for fruit, fruit pie fillings, and applesauce, and 30 to 45 minutes or more for tomatoes. (Begin timing after the water begins to boil.)

11 - Turn off heat; carefully lift the lid away from you to prevent burning by steam. Using a jar tongs, remove jars from water. Place jars on a dish towel or absorbent mat. Allow to cool several hours or overnight.

12 - Check seals. Lids should be lowered in the middle and not move up or down when you lightly press or tap them. Remove bands wash them and dry them thoroughly. Some sources suggest taking them off for storage. This is important if they will be in a damp area such as a basement where the rims could become rusty. For storage in a dry pantry, I prefer to store them with the bands in place. If you do store them without the bands, leave a few bands in a convenient spot, to use on jars to hold caps in place after they have been opened for use.

13 - Label and date the jars, then store them in a dark, cool, dry area. where there's no danger of freezing.

How Canning Preserves Foods

The high percentage of water in most fresh foods makes them very perishable. They spoil or lose their quality for several reasons:

    * growth of undesirable microorganisms-bacteria, molds, and yeasts,
    * activity of food enzymes,
    * reactions with oxygen,
    * moisture loss.

Microorganisms live and multiply quickly on the surfaces of fresh food and on the inside of bruised, insect-damaged, and diseased food. Oxygen and enzymes are present throughout fresh food tissues.

Proper canning practices include:

    * carefully selecting and washing fresh food,
    * peeling some fresh foods,
    * hot packing many foods,
    * adding acids (lemon juice or vinegar) to some foods,
    * using acceptable jars and self-sealing lids,
    * processing jars in a boiling-water or pressure canner for the correct period of time.

Collectively, these practices remove oxygen; destroy enzymes; prevent the growth of undesirable bacteria, yeasts, and molds; and help form a high vacuum in jars. Good vacuums form tight seals which keep liquid in and air and microorganisms out.