Monday, February 28, 2011

March is National Nutrition Month

National Nutrition Month 2011

The theme for March 2011 is "Eat Right with Color."

National Nutrition Month® is a nutrition education and information campaign created annually in March by the American Dietetic Association. The campaign focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. 

China - Peking Duck

Peking Duck, or Peking Roast Duck is a famous duck dish from Beijing that has been prepared since the imperial era, and is now considered one of China's national foods.

The dish is prized for the thin, crispy skin, with authentic versions of the dish serving mostly the skin and little meat, sliced in front of the diners by the cook. Ducks bred specially for the dish are slaughtered after 65 days and seasoned before being roasted in a closed or hung oven. The meat is eaten with pancakes, spring onions, and hoisin sauce or sweet bean sauce. The two most notable restaurants in Beijing which serve this delicacy are Quanjude and Bianyifang, two centuries-old establishments which have become household names. A variant of the dish known as crispy aromatic duck has been created by the Chinese community in the United Kingdom.


    * One 5 to 6 pound duck
    * 8 cups water
    * 1 slice ginger
    *  1 scallion, cut into halves
    *  3 tablespoons honey
    *  1 tablespoon white vinegar
    *  1 tablespoon sherry
    *  1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 3 tablespoons water
     * Scallions for garnish

* Clean duck. Wipe dry and tie string around neck.
* Hang duck in cool, windy place 4 hours.
* Fill large wok with water. Bring to boil. Add ginger, scallion, honey, vinegar, and sherry. Bring to boil. Pour in dissolved cornstarch. Stir constantly.
* Place duck in large strainer above larger bowl. Scoop boiling mixture all over duck for about 10 minutes.
* Hang duck again in cool, windy place for 6 hours until thoroughly dry.
* Place duck breast side up on a greased rack in oven preheated to 350 degrees. Set a pan filled with 2 inches of water in bottom of oven.
(This is for drippings). Roast 30 minutes.
* Turn duck and roast 30 minutes more. Turn breast side up again. Roast 10 minutes more.
* Use sharp knife to cut off crispy skin. Serve meat and skin immediately on a prewarmed dish.
* The duck is eaten hot with hoisin sauce rolled in Mandarin Crepes. Garnish with scallion flowerets. Serves 4 to 6.

National Dish of the Week: China

Chinese cuisine is any of several styles originating in the regions of China, some of which have become highly popular in other parts of the world — from Asia to the Americas, Australia, Western Europe and Southern Africa. Where there are historical immigrant Chinese populations, the style of food has evolved – for example, American Chinese cuisine and Indian Chinese cuisine are prominent examples of Chinese cuisine that has been adapted to suit local palates. In recent years, connoisseurs of Chinese food have also sprouted in Eastern Europe and South Asia. The culinary Michelin Guide has also taken an interest in Chinese cuisine, establishing Hong Kong and Macau versions of its publication.

A number of different styles contribute to Chinese cuisine, but perhaps the best known and most influential are Sichuan cuisine, Shandong cuisine, Jiangsu cuisine and Guangdong (Cantonese) cuisine. These styles are distinctive from one another due to factors such as available resources, climate, geography, history, cooking techniques and lifestyle. One style may favor the use of lots of garlic and shallots over lots of chilli and spices, while another may favor preparing seafood over other meats and fowl. Jiangsu cuisine favors cooking techniques such as braising and stewing, while Sichuan cuisine employs baking, scalding, and wrapping, just to name a few. Hairy crab is a highly sought after local delicacy in Shanghai, as it can be found in lakes within the region. Beijing Roast Duck is another popular dish which is well known outside China. Based on the raw materials and ingredients used, the method of preparation, and cultural differences, a variety of foods with different flavors and textures are prepared in different regions of the country. Many traditional regional cuisines rely on basic methods of preservation such as drying, salting, pickling and fermentation. In most dishes in Chinese cuisine, food is prepared in bite-sized pieces, ready for direct picking up and eating. In traditional Chinese cultures, chopsticks are used at the table.Traditional Chinese cuisine is also based on opposites, whereby hot balances cold, pickled balances fresh and spicy balances mild.

The Chinese eat many foods that are unfamiliar to North Americans. Shark fins, seaweed, frogs, snakes, and even dog and cat meat are eaten. However, the Chinese follow the spiritual teaching of balance signified by yin ("cool") and yang ("hot"). This philosophy encourages the Chinese to find a balance in their lives, including in the foods they eat. While preparing meals, the Chinese may strive to balance the color, texture, or types of food they choose to eat.

Rice is China's staple food. The Chinese word for rice is "fan" which also means "meal." Rice may be served with any meal, and is eaten several times a day. Scallions, bean sprouts, cabbage, and gingerroot are other traditional foods. Soybean curd, called tofu, is an important source of protein for the Chinese. Although the Chinese generally do not eat a lot of meat, pork and chicken are the most commonly eaten meats. Vegetables play a central role in Chinese cooking, too.

There are four main regional types of Chinese cooking. The cooking of Canton province in the south is called Cantonese cooking. It features rice and lightly seasoned stir-fried dishes. Because many Chinese immigrants to America came from this region, it is the type of Chinese cooking that is most widely known in the United States. Typical Cantonese dishes are wonton soup, egg rolls, and sweet and sour pork.

The Mandarin cuisine of Mandarin province in northern China features dishes made with wheat flour, such as noodles, dumplings, and thin pancakes. The best known dish from this region is Peking duck, a dish made up of roast duck and strips of crispy duck skin wrapped in thin pancakes. (Peking was the name of Beijing, the capital of China, until after the Cultural Revolution of the late 1960s. This traditional recipe is still known in the United States as "Peking duck.") Shanghai cooking, from China's east coast, emphasizes seafood and strong-flavored sauces. The cuisine of the Szechuan province in inland China is known for its hot and spicy dishes made with hot peppers, garlic, onions, and leeks. This type of cooking became popular in the United States in the 1990s.

Tea, the beverage offered at most meals, is China's national beverage. The most popular types of tea—green, black, and oolong—are commonly drunk plain, without milk or sugar added. Teacups have no handles or saucers.

Spice of the Week - Watercress


Watercress are fast-growing, aquatic or semi-aquatic, perennial plants native from Europe to central Asia, and one of the oldest known leaf vegetables consumed by human beings. These plants are members of the Family Brassicaceae or cabbage family, botanically related to garden cress and mustard — all noteworthy for a peppery, tangy flavor.
The hollow stems of watercress are floating and the leaves are pinnately compound. Watercress produce small white and green flowers in clusters. The watercress leaflets or clusters of leaves are enjoyed fresh. Dried leaves do not have the flavor as fresh leaves do. With garden cress, the flowers and unripe fruits, too, are eaten. Watercress has a crunchy texture which is appealing for salads. The fresh leaves have a refreshing, sharp, and savory aroma with a peppery, pungent taste.

Culinary Uses

Europeans and North Americans enjoy watercress in sandwiches, in potato salads, in omelets, as cottage cheese spreads, or as garnishes in soup and scrambled eggs. It is pureed and made into watercress soup, a favorite with the English who claimed it to cleanse the blood. The French add it to fines herbs, many white sauces, and flavored vinegars. It adds crunchiness to salads, soups, and sandwiches. Westerners enjoy it fresh while Asians cook it. It is a popular vegetable in Asia, where it is added to stir-fries and soups. As a simple stir-fry, rice wine, sugar, and salt are added. Or it is blanched, chopped, and flavored with sesame oil, garlic, and miso.

Attributed Medicinal Properties

It was believed to be an aphrodisiac and a stimulant by the Arabs, Greeks, English, and many other ancient cultures. Hippocrates used it as a blood purifier and for bronchial disorders, and to increase stamina.

The Persian soldiers ate it to prevent and treat scurvy. Made into tea, it was taken to ease aches, pains, and migraines. Today, in South America, it is believed to be an antitumor agent, and North Americans are researching its PEITC’s effect in preventing lung diseases such as cancer and emphysema through tobacco smoking.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet Potato Pie

(makes 10 servings)

3    Tablespoons reduced-fat margarine, softened
1/4  Cup  packed light brown sugar
1/2  Teaspoon  ground cinnamon
1/4  Teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4  Teaspoon  ground ginger
1/4  Teaspoon  salt
1/8  Teaspoon  ground allspice
1     Large egg yolk
2     Cups  mashed cooked sweet potatoes
1     Cup  evaporated skim milk
3     Large egg whites
1     9-inch unbaked pie shell

   1. Preheat oven to 350°F
   2. In a large bowl, beat together margarine, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt, allspice, and egg yolk. Whisk in sweet potatoes and evaporated milk.
   3. In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. Fold into sweet potato mixture. Pour into unbaked pie shell.
   4. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, until a tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on a rack until ready to cut into wedges to serve.

Per serving:     203 calories (30% calories from fat), 5 g protein, 7 g total fat (2.3 g saturated fat), 32 g carbohydrates, 1 g dietary fiber, 26 mg cholesterol, 203 mg sodium

Turkey Meatball Sliders

Dinner Tonight: Turkey Meatball Sliders

Just saying Turkey Meatball Sliders sounds good, in reality they taste even better! I had some Turkey Meatballs along with the Pasta Sauce leftover from the other night so I used them for tonight’s Sliders. I used the Honeysuckle Turkey Meatballs with Bella Vita Low Carb Pasta Sauce. Had it on Pepperidge Farm Wheat Slider Buns and sprinkled with Kraft 2% Shredded Mozzarella Cheese.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Lake Perch Tonight!

Dinner Tonight: Lake Perch w/ Alfredo Parmesan Risotto,  Asparagus, Harvest Grain Bread.

I had a pan fried Lake Perch Fillet, rolled in Whole Wheat Flour and Bread Crumb mixture and seasoned with Sea Salt and Grinder Black Pepper. As sides had Lundberg Alfredo Parmesan Risotto and Green Giant Asparagus seasoned with Garlic Salt. The Lundberg Risotto is one of my favorites, always great tasting and tender. Plus it’s only 140 calories and 29 carbs per serving. A little high on carbs but I’ve really been doing great with the carb count. Also had a slice of Kroger Bakery Harvest Grain Organic Bread.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mushroom Bison and Bleu Burger

...with crumbled Blue Cheese
Dinner Tonight: Mushroom Bison and Bleu Burger w/ Waffle Fries
I made a Bison Burger for dinner tonight. Used Bison Ground Sirloin seasoned with McCormick Steakhouse Grinder Seasoning and topped with Sauteed Mushrooms and Crumbled Bleu Cheese! Three of my most favorite things! It was all on an Aunt Millie’s Thinwich Bun. Had a side of Ore Ida baked Waffle Fries.

Diabetes 2 Friendly Product Review - Dixie Carb Counters Skinni Spaghetti

Tried a new Spaghetti tonight  Dixie Carb Counters Skinni Spaghetti. It looks like Angel Hair Pasta and didn’t taste like normal Spaghetti but it wasn’t far off I just added a little more of the McCormick Italian Grinder Seasoning. I believe this will work as my Pasta overall it wasn’t bad at all especially at only 143 calories and a mere 14 carbs per serving, 3 net carbs

Product Description

The healthy benefits of soy with an the flavor and delicate texture of traditional Angel Hair pasta for a satisfying, delicious meal. Soy enhances the enjoyment of pasta by adding the nutritional benefit perfect for any occasion. Twice the protein and 25% fewer carbs than regular pasta. Nutrition Facts: Serving Size 2 oz. (57g), Servings Per Container 4, Total Calories 143, Calories From Fat 26, Total Fat 3g, Saturated Fat 1g, Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 86mg, Sodium 360mg, Total Carbohydrates 14g*, Dietary Fiber 11g*, Sugars 0g, Sugar Alcohols 0g*, Protein 26g. *Net carbs as listed by the manufacturer on the package = 3g per serving.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Lowering the Dinner Carbs

Dinner Tonight: Spaghetti w/ Pasta Sauce, Meatballs, and Harvest Grain Sliced Bread.

Made a Spaghetti Dinner the low carb way tonight. Tried a new Spaghetti tonight  Dixie Carb Counters Skinni Spaghetti. It looks like Angel Hair Pasta and didn’t taste like normal Spaghetti but it wasn’t far off I just added a little more of the McCormick Italian Grinder Seasoning. i believe this will work as my Pasta overall it wasn’t bad at all especially at only 143 calories and a mere 14 carbs per serving, 3 net carbs. For the sauce I’ve been using Bella Vita Low Carb Pasta Sauce and that’s at only 70 calories and 6 carbs! Needless to say I cut my carbs in half plus some. The Meatballs were Honeysuckle Turkey Meatballs and a slice of  Kroger Bakery Harvest Grain Sliced Bread.

No-Bake Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake

Another low carb and low cal dessert from one of my favorite web sites, Diabetic Living On Line.

No-Bake Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake

SERVINGS: 16 slices


1/2  Cup finely crushed Graham Crackers
2     Tablespoons Butter, melted
1     Envelope Unflavored Gelatin
3/4  Cup Fat-Free Milk
2     8-Ounce packages Reduced-Fat Cream Cheese (Neufch¿¿tel), softened
1     8-Ounce package Fat-Free cream Cheese, softened
1     8-Ounce carton Fat-Free Dairy Sour Cream
1/3  Cup Sugar or sugar substitute* equivalent to 1/3 cup Sugar (Splenda)
2     Teaspoons Vanilla
4     Ounces Semisweet Chocolate, melted and cooled
       Chocolate curls (optional)

1. In a medium bowl, stir together finely crushed graham crackers and melted butter until crumbs are moistened. Press mixture evenly onto bottom of an 8-inch springform pan (may not completely cover bottom). Cover and chill while preparing filling.

2. In a small saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over milk; let stand for 5 minutes. Heat and stir over low heat just until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat. Cool for 15 minutes.

3. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in sour cream, sugar, and vanilla until well mixed; gradually beat in gelatin mixture. Divide mixture in half. Gradually stir melted chocolate into half of the mixture.

4. Spoon half of the chocolate mixture over chilled crust in pan; spread evenly. Carefully spoon half of the white mixture over chocolate mixture in small mounds. Using a narrow, thin-bladed metal spatula or a table knife, swirl chocolate and white mixtures. Top with remaining chocolate mixture, spreading evenly; spoon remaining white mixture over chocolate mixture in small mounds and swirl again. Cover and chill about 6 hours or until set.

5. To serve, using a small sharp knife, loosen cheesecake from side of springform pan; remove side of pan. Cut cheesecake into wedges. If desired, garnish with chocolate curls. Makes 16 slices.

*Sugar Substitutes: Choose from Splenda® Granular, Equal® Spoonful or packets, or Sweet 'N Low® bulk or packets. Follow package directions to use product amount equivalent to 1/3 cup sugar.

PER SERVING WITH SUBSTITUTE: same as above, except cal., mg chol., mg sodium, g carbo. Exchanges:

Make-ahead Directions: Prepare as directed through step 4, except cover and chill for up to 24 hours. Serve as directed in step 5.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:

    * Servings: 16 slices
    * Calories184
    * Total Fat (g)11
    * Saturated Fat (g)7
    * Cholesterol (mg)29
    * Sodium (mg)232
    * Carbohydrate (g)15
    * Fiber (g)1
    * Protein (g)7
      Diabetic Exchanges
    * Starch (d.e.)1
    * Fat (d.e.)2

Monday, February 21, 2011

Rainbow Trout with…

Dinner Tonight: Rainbow Trout w/ Brown and Wild Rice, Glazed Carrots, and Whole Grain Bread.

Had a Baked Rainbow Trout  Fillet. Seasoned with Sea Salt and Grinder Black Pepper, baked at 400 degrees for 11 minutes. The sides were some leftover Green Giant Glazed Carrot Slices, Brown and Wild Rice, and Aunt Millie’s Whole Grain Sliced Bread.

Chile Empanada

A national dish is a dish, food or a drink that is considered to represent a particular country, nation or region.

An empanada is a stuffed bread or pastry baked or fried in many countries of Latin America and the south of Europe. The name comes from the verb empanar, meaning to wrap or coat in bread. Empanada is made by folding a dough or bread patty around the stuffing. The stuffing can consist of a variety of meats, vegetables, or even fruits.


    * 1 tablespoon butter
    * 1 large onion, chopped
    * 1 teaspoon minced garlic
    * 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    * 1 teaspoon cumin
    * 1/2 teaspoon salt
    * 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    * 1 pound ground pork
    * 3 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
    * 1 cup raisins
    * 1 cup chopped black olives
    * 1 cup water
    * 1 teaspoon cornstarch
    * 1 cup lukewarm milk
    * 1 cup shortening, melted
    * 5 cups all-purpose flour
    * 2 teaspoons salt
    * 2 eggs, beaten


   1. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat; cook the onion, garlic, oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper in the melted butter until the onion is golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the ground pork and cook until completely browned, 7 to 10 minutes more; drain the fat from the skillet. Stir the eggs, raisins, and olives into the mixture. Whisk the water and cornstarch together in a small bowl; pour into the skillet and stir until the liquid thickens. Remove from heat and set aside.
   2. Whisk the milk and melted shortening together in a bowl until evenly blended. Stir the flour and salt together in a separate large bowl. Pour the wet mixture into the dry and whisk until well mixed into a dough. Set aside to rest for 10 minutes.
   3. Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
   4. Place the dough onto a lightly-floured board and roll to about 1/8-inch thick; cut into circles with a round cookie cutter or glass. Drop equal portions of the pork mixture into the center of each circle. Fold each circle in half and press edges with a fork to seal. Brush the tops of the empanadas with beaten egg.
   5. Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 25 minutes.

National Dish of the Week: Chile


Chilean cuisine stems mainly from the combination of Spanish cuisine with traditional Chilean ingredients, with later influences from other European cuisines, particularly from Germany, Italy, Croatia, France and the Middle East. The food tradition and recipes in Chile stand out due to the varieties in flavors and colors. The country's long coastline and the Chilean peoples' relationship with the sea adds an immense array of ocean products to the variety of the food in Chile. The country's waters are home to unique species of fish and shellfish such as the Chilean sea bass, loco and picoroco. In addition, many Chilean recipes are enhanced and accompanied by wine because Chile is one of the world's largest producers of wine. The country's immense geographical diversity allows for a wide range of crops and fruits to be present in Chilean food.

Due to the immense variety of products available in Chile's geographical makeup, recipes vary in different regions of the country. There are three distinct zones dealing with Chilean gastronomy.

    * Cuisine of the North
    * Cuisine of the Central Coast
    * Cuisine of the South

All of the varying cuisines have received some contribution from the European and Chilean people living throughout the country. Each one implementing their own customs and host of condiments such as fish, seafood, meats and poultry. Foreign influence has played a prominent role in main dishes while also providing an ample range of desserts and drinks.

The Pacific territory of Easter Island is considered part of Chile, and its own typical cuisine, a mix of Polynesian and southern Chilean flavors, consists mainly of fish and seafood, particularly lobster.

Throughout Chile and South America you may find fruits and vegetables that have been cultivated for ages. These agricultural products are appreciated and heavily implemented onto several cooking recipes. They have also been exported around the world as important agricultural commodities. Among the most known are the following:

    * Olives: Although originating in Europe Azapa olives from Arica, former Peruvian territory, are considered a variety originating in the northern region and are widely recognized in Chile.

    * Chirimoya: a fruit native to the subtropical regions of the Andes mountains, it is widely consumed and produced.

    * Maize: Recognized in Chile and Peru as choclo, and in English speaking countries as corn. Maize was a staple diet that prospered in three empires Mayas, Aztecs, and the Incas. It was also cultivated in varying systematic methods by the Atacameño. Through trade and travel, Maize brought and eventually embraced by the Mapuche and using it towards their culinary arts. It should be noted that Chilean choclo is a different variety of Maize than is known elsewhere. It originated in Peru and is distinguishable by its very large kernels, which are tougher than American corn and its non-sweet somewhat nutty flavor.

    * Lúcuma: A subtropical fruit of Andean origin, native to Peru it has grown well for centuries in southern Ecuador and Chile's northern coast. The fruit is very nutritious, having high levels of carotene and vitamin B3. The lúcuma is exported all around the world. It is an important flavor for gelatin desserts such as ice cream.

    * Ugni molinae: is an endemic shrub native to southern Chile. The Mapuche Native American name is Uñi, and Spanish names include Murta and Murtilla ("little myrtle"); it is also sometimes known as "Chilean guava". It was used among the Mapuche before the arrival of the Spaniards. It is an ingredient used for marmalades and liquor.

    * Potato: Featured heavily in dishes such as cazuela, the potato native to the Americas, was widely grown in Chiloe Archipelago. The potato is a fundamental product in a wide array of dishes.

    * Quinoa: grown as a crop primarily for its edible seeds and originated in the Peruvian Andean region of South America, where it has been an important food for 6,000 years. Certain varieties of Quinoa are harvested in Concepcion, Chile, known as the Catentoa, and the Regalona is abundant in Temuco, Chile.

An characteristic of Chilean cuisine is the variety and quality of fish and seafood, due to the geographic location and extensive coastline. The Humboldt current causes a supply of seafood that gathers along the Pacific coast perpendicular to Chilean waters. These include squid, soleidae (sole), albacore, codfish, hake, corvina (salmon), batoidea and tuna. Seafood such as abalone, prawns, clams, crabs, shrimp, oysters, lobsters, percebes, picorocos, and eels are also fished in large amounts.

Congridae or in Chile known as congrio can be deep fried in batter, or seasoned and baked. It may also be made into a stew: this popular dish, called Caldillo de congrio, was praised in an ode by Chilean poet Pablo Neruda.

Spice of the Week - Parsley


In recent years parsley has gotten a bad rap. It's considered the underwhelming herb — even being shunned as too pedestrian or old-fashioned for modern palates. There is little doubt the herb's reputation has suffered after the many years when sprig of parsley was the only herb used as a garnish, a single sprig at the side of the plate or chopped and sprinkled over smashed potatoes. Parsley has been cultivated and developed over so many centuries that its precise origins are difficult to pinpoint, compounded by the probability that all the parsley's we know nowadays, bear little resemblance to their ancestors.

Spice Description

There are three common varieties of this popular, bright green biennial: flat leaf (Italian), curly leaf, and parsnip rooted (Hamburg).

The curly type, Petroselinum crispum, is aptly named for the clean, fresh, crispy taste of the tightly bunched, bright green leaves. This crispiness is one of parsley's best attributes, adding texture and color when added just before serving. This is the parsley that is the essential ingredient in the classic flavoring: bouquet garni, along with thyme and bay leaves. Together with tarragon, chives and chervil, parsley helps make up the traditional French flavoring blend of fine herbs. Chopped and added at the last moment, it perks up sauces and salads.

The second common variety of parsley, flat leafed or Italian parsley (Petroselinum neapolitanum) has a more delicate sawtoothed leaf pattern which does not hold up as well for garnishing.

There is a third and much less familiar form of parsley called Hamburg parsley or Soup parsley (var. sativum). In this variety the root that is the star of the show. The leaves can be used but they are a bit too strong for most people's taste. Its flavor is a pungent cross between celery and parsley -- definitely tasty. It can be sliced raw and added to salads, or cooked and added to soups, stews, gratins, or vegetable purees.

Plant Description and Cultivation

Both Italian and curly varieties are biennials, but are usually treated as annuals, planted anew each spring. The process to start a parsley plant from seed is a very slow one: the seeds must first be soaked overnight then given warm conditions. Even then they may not sprout for several weeks. This long gestation has given rise to a saying that "parsley seeds must go to the devil and back nine times before sprouting." Once they do sprout they prefer part to full sun, and regular water. Six plants, set 8 inches apart, will supply the average family and allow enough for freezing or drying. If you let a few plants go to seed late in the season, they may produce seedlings for the next year's crop. You can lift the plants in late September, cut them back, and grow parsley on a window ledge through the winter. Protected window boxes seeded in early autumn will produce a late-autumn crop. They will grow 6-12" and do well in pots. The tufted leaves are ready to harvest the first year, and most gardening books recommend planting anew from starts each year. When they flower in the second year, they produce tiny, cream colored blossoms.

Preparation and Storage

Fresh parsley, often the curly variety, is the most readily available of all fresh herbs. Buy bunches that are not wilted, with springy, erect, almost bristly leaves. Rinse thoroughly in cold water to remove any grit that may have become trapped in the curly leaves and squeeze dry. To store, either put the bunch of parsley in a glass of water then keep it in the refrigerator, or wrap the fresh sprays in foil and freeze them.

Dried parsley is best purchased in small amounts and regularly, as it loses its color and flavor rapidly when sitting on a supermarket shelf. Look for deep-green 'flakes' that are free from pieces of stalk and yellow leaves. Always store away from any source of direct light and keep in airtight packaging away from extreme heat and humidity.

There is very little that does not benefit from the addition of parsley -- it's good in stews, sauces, cheese spreads, rice dishes, vegetables, omelettespestos. Deep-fried, it makes an intriguing garnish. The ancient Romans combined parsley with cheese and bread for meals.

Culinary Uses

The fresh flavor and crisp mouth-teel ot parsley makes it an ideal accompaniment to most foods. It is traditionally featured in well-known herb blends like fines herbes (with chervil, chives and tarragon) and in bouquet garni with thyme, marjoram and bay leaves.

Fresh or dried parsley may be used in omelets, scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, soups, pasta and vegetable dishes and in sauces to go with fish, poultry, veal and pork. It is included with garlic and butter for making garlic bread or simply garnishing a juicy, sizzling barbecued steak. Parsley is a key ingredient, along with mint in the healthy and nutritious Middle Eastern salad, tabouleh.

Flat-Ieaved parsley is found in Moroccan dishes, from spiced tagines with preserved lemons, to dishes flavored by a chermoula blend that includes coriander leaves, onions, cumin and cayenne pepper. With its stronger flavor, it is more frequently used in cooking, particularly since it stands up well to heat. For instance, try using the stems rather than the leaves when you want the freshness of parsley in a white sauce but don't want the color to bleed. Persillade and gremolada are two well known sauces which have parsley as one of the main ingredients. Persillade, a French sauce, is a sauteed mixture of finely chopped parsley and garlic. It is added just before serving to broiled meats, particularly lamb and beef, as well as chicken or vegetables. Gremolada is a Milanese condiment made of sauteed parsley, garlic, lemon and orange zest. This mixture is traditionally spread over osso bucco just before serving, although it enhances any braised meats.

Attributed Medicinal Properties

Parsley Root has been used medicinally since ancient times for digestive disorders, bronchitis, and urinary tract problems. As far back as Hippocrates parsley was used in medicinal recipes for cure-alls, general tonics, poison antidotes, anti-rheumetics and formulas to relieve kidney and bladder stones. One herbalist used the small brown seeds of the plant to help "those who are light-headed to resist drink better."

The volatile oil increases circulation to the digestive tract. In Russia, a preparation containing mostly Parsley juice is given during labor to stimulate uterine contractions. The juice has been used to treat toothache, and as a hair rinse or as a facial steam for dry skin. Other uses for Parsley Root have been to tone the urinary tract reducing the possibility of infections, alleviate painful menstruation, lowering blood pressure and improving asthma, allergies and bronchitis by drying excessive mucous.

Modern science has confirmed many of these claims. Parsley is rich in vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamins A and C, and compounds that clear toxins from the body. It also reduces inflammations, contains histamine inhibitors and is a free radical scavenger. Commercially, oil from the seeds is used to scent Oriental style perfumes and colognes. Because of the high chlorophyll content, it acts as a great breath freshener. Scientists have even isolated a compound, apiol, which is now used in medications to treat kidney ailments and kidney stones.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Kitchen Ramblings

Just rambling about Lettuce. While at the grocery store a while back I seen something that really caught my eye, Living Lettuce. Either I don't notice things or this is something new. What a great idea though! Lettuce with the roots still attached in a plastic box! The box has a small well where the roots set down in and you can add water to it to keep the lettuce fresh. I love salads but don't eat them near enough. So I would buy a head of Lettuce or a bag of pre-made Salad and not eating that often I would throw most of it away. Now with this Living Lettuce I can have still have the fresh Lettuce anytime. It stays fresh twice as long and is saving me money! 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Bison Sirloin Steak and Sauteed Mushrooms w/ Baked Potato and…

Dinner Tonight: Bison Sirloin Steak and Sauteed Mushrooms w/ Baked Potato, Glazed Carrots, and Harvest Grain Bread.

I think I could eat Bison Sirloin every day of the week! Had a Bison Sirloin Steak seasoned with McCormick Steakhouse Grinder Seasoning, pan fried medium rare in a 1/2 tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Topped with Sauteed Mushrooms which were sauteed in Extra Virgin Olive Oil and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and seasoned with McCormick Italian Grinder Seasoning and Minced Garlic. As sides had a Baked Potato, Green Giant Glazed Carrots, and a slice of Kroger Bakery Harvest Grain Bread.


Oh yeah, Peanut Butter Cookie treats for those watching those carbs or for those of us with a type of diabetes.

* 1 Cup Jiff  Peanut Butter
* 1 Cup Splenda or other sweetener equivalent
* 1 Egg
* 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
* A Dash of Salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix together and roll into balls.
3. On lightly greased cookie sheets, place balls about two inches apart.
4. Flatten the balls with a fork dipped in sweetener.
5. Bake until set.
* Optional – drizzle some melted low-carb chocolate on top of cookies.
* Optional – Add your favorite Nuts to the mix or place a whole Almond
on top of each cookie before baking.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Turkey Breast Tenderloin w/ Cut green Beans & Shelley Beans...

Dinner Tonight: Turkey Breast Tenderloin w/ Cut green Beans & Shelley Beans, Mash Potatoes, and Crescent Rolls.

Had a Honeysuckle White Turkey Breast Tenderloin, a breeze to fix and delicious! Already seasoned just bake at 325 degrees for 60 minutes and it’s ready. As sides had Cut Green Beans & Shelley Beans, Mashed Potatoes, and Pillsbury Reduced Fat Crescent Rolls. Everything turned out great and it was low calorie, low carb, and delicious. Later for dessert Sugar Free Angel Food Cake!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Shrimp w/ Whole Grain Rotini and…

Dinner Tonight: Baked Shrimp on a bed of Whole Grain Rotini and Cheese & Bacon

Had Baked Shrimp on a bed of Whole Grain Rotini and Cheese & Bacon.
I used Pop Corn size Rock Shrimp rolled in a Whole Grain Flour and Bread Crumb mixture and
seasoned with Sea Salt and Grinder Black Peppercorn. Baked at 450 degrees for
10 minutes. As the sides I had Velveeta/Kraft Whole Grain Rotini and Cheese w/ Turkey
Bacon Pieces, fried up 2 pieces of Turkey Bacon and crumbled them and added to Rotini,

and a slice of Kroger Bakery Harvest Grain Bread. I also had been wanting to try
this Shrimp Dipping Sauce I had found a while back so I made a side of it to test just how
good it was. Turned out great! I’ll use it again sometime, the recipe for it follows:

1/3 Cup of Non – Fat Greek Yogurt
2 Tablespoons Of Reduced Fat Mayo
1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
1 Lime Zested
1/2 Teaspoon Ancho Chili Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Cilantro Flakes

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Steamed Dumplings filled with Shiitake Mushrooms

Steamed Dumplings filled with Shiitake Mushrooms

A hearty and healthy recipe from diabetic - recipes web site!
At only 45 calories and 9 carbs it will fit well in any diet or diabetic
meal plans.

(makes 45 dumplings)

3     Cups (135 g) minced fresh Shiitake Mushrooms
3     Scallions, white part and 1 inch (2.5 cm) green, minced
1 1/2     Cup (105 g) minced Chinese Cabbage
2     Tablespoons (12 g) minced fresh Ginger
1/8     Teaspoon (0.6 ml) Dark Sesame Oil
1/4     Teaspoon (1.25 ml) Five-Spice Powder
1/4 to 1/2     Teaspoon (1.25 to 2.5 ml) crushed Hot Pepper flakes, or to taste
1 1/2     Tablespoons (6 g) minced Cilantro
1 1/2     Tablespoons (22.5 ml) Reduced-Sodium Soy Sauce
45     Wonton Wrappers
    small leaves of Flowering Kale
    Hot Mustard Dipping Sauce

   1. Combine all ingredients except wonton wrappers, kale and sauce. Stir-fry in a well-seasoned wok or nonstick skillet over high heat until all liquid is absorbed.
   2. Using kitchen shears or a sharp knife, trim off corners of each wonton skin to form a circle. Moisten the edges of 1 wrapper with water. Place 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of the mushroom mixture on half of the circle, leaving a 1/4-inch (.75 cm) border. Fold the other half of the wrapper over the filling and seal the edges. Make pleats around the edge by folding over tiny sections of the sealed edge to form a border. Repeat, filling remaining wonton wrappers.
   3. Place the dumplings on a damp cloth or piece of parchment paper in the bottom of a Chinese bamboo steamer placed over a wok, or lay on a piece of parchment paper over a wire rack set into a large skillet. Steam over boiling water for 10 to 12 minutes.
   4. Arrange on a heated serving platter. Garnish platter with small leaves of flowering kale. Set a bowl of the Hot Mustard Dipping Sauce nearby.

Per 2-dumpling serving:     45 calories (<1% calories from fat), 2 g protein, trace total fat (0 saturated fat), 9 g carbohydrates, trace dietary fiber, 0 cholesterol, 110 mg sodium
Diabetic exchanges:     1/2 carbohydrate (bread/starch)

Canada - Poutine

A national dish is a dish, food or a drink that is considered to represent a particular country, nation or region.
The national dish of Canada is Poutine. Poutine is a mysterious recipe of French Canadian origin, specifically, Montreal, Quebec. Invariably when I mention eating Fries with Cheese curds and Gravy, people who have not eaten it get a funny look on their faces and make small noises of displeasure in their throats. Those that have had the pleasure of Poutine generally make small noises of desire and get a misty far off look in their eyes. It is not really surprising if you are among the latter group.

Poutine is quite possibly the perfect pub food. It ranks up there with Fried Pickles and Hard Boiled Pickled Eggs for complimenting a cold lager or ale.
In the basic recipe for poutine, French fries are topped with fresh cheese curds, and covered with brown gravy or sauce. The French fries are of medium thickness, and fried so that the inside stays soft, while the outside is crunchy. The gravy used is generally a light chicken, veal or turkey gravy, mildly spiced with a hint of pepper, or a sauce brune which is a combination of beef and chicken stock, originating in Quebec. Heavy beef or pork-based brown gravies are rarely used. Fresh cheese curds (not more than a day old) are used. To maintain the texture of the fries, the cheese curd and gravy is added immediately prior to serving the dish.

Traditional Poutine sauces (mélange à sauce poutine) are sold in Quebec and Maritime grocery stores in jars or cans and in powdered mix packet forms by St. Hubert Restaurant Co.

    * 4 large potatoes, peeled
    * 1 teaspoon salt
    * Oil for frying
    * 1 cup cheese curds
    * 1 1/3 cups beef gravy, heated


Cut the potatoes lengthwise into thin strips, about 1/3-inch in width. Soak the potatoes in ice-cold water for 1 hour, drain, and pat completely dry. Heat the oil in a deep fryer or deep skillet to 325F and fry the potatoes, in batches, for 3 minutes, until they turn dark white-yellow, but not brown. Drain the fries on fresh paper towels and allow them to rest for a few minutes.

Bring the oil back to 325F and fry the potatoes again, in batches, for 4 to 5 minutes, until they turn crisp and medium golden brown. Drain the fries on fresh paper towels, salt them, and divide them onto 4 serving plates or bowls.

Add 1/4 cup of the cheese curds and 1/3 cup of the hot beef gravy on each serving of fries. Serve hot.

This poutine recipe makes 4 servings.

National Dish of the Week: Canada

Food and other customs in Canada still carry hints of the colonial influences of England and France. Canadians speak English except in Quebec, where the language is French, reflecting the influence of French settlers. But there are other regional differences in food and customs, too.
Food in the provinces of Eastern Canada shows signs of English heritage, except in Quebec where the influence is French. In the provinces of Western Canada, the cuisine reflects the explorers and settlers, who, like their southern neighbors in the United States, made simple, hearty meals from available ingredients. In northern Canada—Northwest, Yukon, and Nunavut territories—the diet is limited by the short growing season, dominated by preserved food ingredients, and influenced by the native Inuit diet. And along the west coast in British Columbia, immigrants from Asian nations influence food and cultural practices. In Vancouver in the west and Toronto in the east (and in many places elsewhere in Canada), Lunar New Year celebrations were inspired by the citizens of Asian heritage living there, but are enjoyed by many other Canadians as well.

The favorite foods of Canadians vary slightly from region to region, and are strongly influenced by their family heritage, especially in relation to holiday celebrations. Along the Atlantic coast, seafood and dishes derived from English traditions (except in Quebec) are common. In Quebec, favorite foods come from the area's French heritage. Throughout Canada, maple syrup and maple products are popular, reflecting the significance of the maple tree, whose leaf adorns the flag of Canada. Many families enjoy a visit in early spring to a maple sugar "shack," the special rustic building where sap from maple trees is boiled in a large open pan to make maple syrup.

Later in the spring, many people in Eastern Canada visit a wooded area to harvest fiddleheads. Fiddleheads, named because they look like the coiled end of a violin ("fiddle"), are the tasty new sprouts of woodland ferns, picked before they develop into large lacy fronds. They are a fragile spring specialty, usually available for just a few weeks in the spring. Grocery stores in Canada may stock frozen fiddleheads alongside other frozen vegetables.

Western Canadians enjoy the products of the large ranches and farms in that part of the country. Barbecued food, beef, and corn dishes, such as Sweet Corn Pancakes, are popular. Berries such as blueberries and saskatoon berries, are popular accompaniments to pancakes, waffles, and are often made into syrups, jams and preserves.

Canadian Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday in October. A typical menu for Thanksgiving is similar to that served in the country's neighbor to the south, the United States. Burns Day is celebrated January 25 to commemorate the birthday of poet Robert Burns (1759–96). It is especially significant for people of Scottish descent worldwide, and Scots Canadians are no exception. On Burns Day, the menu includes such Scottish favorites as haggis, cockaleekie soup (chicken-based leek soup), and Dundee cake (a rich fruitcake).

On Canada Day (July 1), Canadians celebrate with picnics and fireworks (similar to the Fourth of July in the United States). Dishes served are typical casual dining fare, such as hamburgers, hot dogs, and table settings feature the patriotic color scheme of Canada's red and white maple leaf flag.

A common treat served across Canada is the nanaimo bar. It is believed that nanaimo bars, a sweet bar cookie made in layers, originated in the 1950s in the Vancouver area, when a recipe was published in the EPD Photos
Vancouver Sun newspaper. Since then, many variations on the original recipe have been developed. The recipe appears more complicated than it is because of the three separate layers.

Most Canadians eat three meals each day, with breakfast featuring cold cereal, pastries, fruit juices, and hot beverages such as coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. At around noon, Canadians may enjoy a sandwich or soup; students may carry a ham and cheese sandwich, chips or pretzels, and fruit to eat a noon during the school lunch break.

For dinner, depending on where they live, Canadians may have seafood (west coast or Maritime east coast provinces), beef (western Canada, especially Alberta), or chicken or pork. Many Canadians enjoy gravy, serving it frequently with potatoes prepared in many different ways. A traditional Newfoundland dish, Fish and Brewis, features ingredients that may be stored through the long winter months. Desserts featuring maple syrup, such as Maple Syrup Upside-Down Cake or a simple Maple Sundae, are popular treats.

Only about 5 percent of Canada's land is considered arable (able to grow crops), and agriculture contributes about 2 percent to the country's gross domestic product. The trend is toward larger farms. Canadian farms produce grains such as wheat, barley, corn, and oats. Canada ranks third in the world in grain exports. Canadian farmers and ranchers also raise livestock for export, especially in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Spice of the Week - Elder (Berries)

The elder tree is native to Europe, North Africa and Western Asia and has been known since Egyptian times. There is hardly any other member of the plant kingdom which can rival the elder tree for superstition and diversity of uses for all its parts. The young shoots have a soft pith, which is easily pushed out to form a hollow tube, hence the name pipe tree or bore tree. These were used for making pipes and the old English herbalist Culpepper, referred to their appeal to small boys who would make them into pop-guns. The wood was made into musical instruments.

One theory which supports the plethora of superstition surrounding the elder tree is because it is the wood from which the crucifixion cross was made and the type of tree from which Judas hanged himself. Perhaps it was this belief that made the elder tree a symbol of death, sorrow and misfortune. Shakespeare refers to elder as a symbol of grief in Cymbeline. Elder shoots were buried with the dead to protect them from witches and also used in making hearse driver's whips. In medieval times, hedgecutters would avoid attacking its rampant growth, gypsies would not burn it on camp fires and in many parts of Europe it was associated with magic, especially black magic! Therefore it is somewhat puzzling that a tree with such a dark reputation should also have been used so much, for practical, medicinal and culinary purposes. A blue coloring substance from the berries has been utilized as a kind of litmus paper, as it turns green with alkalis and red when detecting acid.

Habitat and Description
Elder trees are not to be confused with the dwarf elder (Sambucus ebulus) which has fruit that is poisonous and violently purgative. The tree usually grows 4 to 5 meters tall (13' to 16") though it can reach 10 meters (33') under favorable conditions. Its stem and branches are covered in a greenish-ashen bark, having a white herbage in its interior. The leaves have cogged margins and the flowers are white with a pleasant smell. The fruits are small, black and shiny, with 3 longish seeds inside. The plant can be found in mountainous areas, and in river valleys where the sun rays don't shine directly. The flowers are harvested when more than two thirds of them have blossomed, the fruits are only harvested on autumn when they are black. The parts used from this plant are its flowers, fruit and bark. Because many cane-like shoots come up and spread out around the base, the appearance is often more hedge-like than treelike. Elder trees have dark green, spearmint shaped leaves 1h,_34 in. (4-8 cm) long with finely jagged edges. When bruised, the leaves of elder have a nondescript, faintly grassy aroma. Elder flowers form in large, creamy-white, flattopped clusters, over 3 in. (7 cm) in diameter, that look as though they have been painstakingly crafted in lace and designed to support the hoards of bees working busily over them. These fresh flowers have a somewhat bitter taste and sweet, less than appetizing aroma to some, however it is after processing into products such as elder flower cordial, that the more pleasant attributes of elder flowers become apparent. After flowering, the very darkpurple, almost black berries develop and when fully ripe are 1/3 in. (8 mm) in diameter. Fresh elder berries should not be eaten raw as they are somewhat bitter, and the overall taste effect is not appealing, however upon drying the flavor becomes more agreeable.

Although the flowering season is a relatively few short weeks in its native Europe, elder trees growing in the warmer parts of Australia may be in flower for a couple of months. The vanilla-scented panicles of creamy blossom are picked when fully open on a fine, dry, sunny day and left for a month, spread thinly in an airy room to become dry and crumbly. They are then rubbed and shaken to separate the flowers from the stalks which are discarded. In Europe the elder flowers are thrown into heaps where they are left to warm for a few hours. This loosens the petals, which are then separated from the stalks and stems by sifting. To dry your own elder flowers, pick them early in the morning before the heat of the day has diminished their potency. Place the flower heads on clean paper in a warm, dark, dry place for a few days.The flowers are then used like tea leaves to make a delicate tisane which can be flavored with lemon and honey, or added to lemon marmalade for extra piquancy.

The blue-black berries can be boiled with equal amounts of vinegar and sugar, strained, bottled and left to mature for several years into a rich relish which goes well with beef, pork or poultry. The minute flower petals are used for making infusions like elder flower cordials and herbal teas, in Europe the elder flowers are picked in full bloom and thrown into heaps where they are left to warm for a few hours. This loosens the petals, which are then separated from the stalks and stems by sifting. To dry your own elder flowers, pick them early in the morning before the heat of the day has diminished their potency. Place the flower heads on clean paper in a warm, dark, dry place for a few days.

Culinary Uses of Elder
The most popular parts of elder for culinary uses are the flowers and berries. Both are used for making wines and is used to color conventional wines (particularly port produced in Portugal). Elder flowers make a refreshing drink when soaked in lemon juice overnight, and the flower heads, dipped in a light batter and fried, make an unusual accompanying vegetable. The blossoms give a muscatel grape flavor to gooseberry, apple or quince jelly when tied in a muslin bag and boiled in the fruit syrup for three to four minutes at the end of cooking time.

Elizabethans made delicious pancakes from fresh-picked plate-like heads of blossom, dipped in batter, fried and sprinkled with Sweet Cicily (Myrrhis odorata) or even the rare treat of sugar.

Elder berries, which taste a little like blackcurrants, are made into conserves and jams, they go well with apples and can be dried and put into pies in the same way as currants.

Attributed Medicinal Properties
Traditionally, elderberry leaves are considered purgative, expectorant, diuretic, and diaphoretic. Boiled with linseed oil, elder leaves have been used as a treatment for hemorrhoids in England. And elder leaf ointment is another traditional English remedy for wounds and bruises, and good rubbed on the back to promote easier breathing from colds and flu. To make this elder ointment, heat 4 ounces of green elder leaves in 1 pint olive oil for about an hour (low heat). The strain and discard the herb. Mix the oil with 1 1/2 ounces of beeswax. Stir until it cools and thickens. Store in the refrigerator in a wide-mouth jar.

Elderberries have been a traditional remedy for constipation, colic, diarrhea, colds, and rheumatism. The berries contain viburnic acid, which promotes perspiration. Elderberry tea is an old effective remedy for coughs, sinus congestion, and reducing swelling of sore throat. Elderberry also promotes the removal of waste products from the body, and is considered a powerful immune stimulant. And elder flower water, used as a skin lotion for its mild astringent properties, is still sold in old-fashioned pharmacies to this day.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Bison Sirloin Steak w/…

Dinner Tonight: Bison Sirloin Steak w/ Baked Potato, Asparagus Pieces, and Aunt Millie’s Whole Grain Bread.

The local Kroger was well stocked with Bison Sirloin Steak so that’s what I went with for dinner tonight. Seasoned with McCormick Steakhouse Grinder Seasoning ans pan fried in a 1/2 a tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, had it at medium rare. As sides had a Baked Potato, Green Giant Asparagus Pieces, and Aunt Millie’s Sliced Whole Grain Bread.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Peanut Butter Swirl Chocolate Brownies

Peanut Butter Swirl Chocolate Brownies

Found this one on one of my favorite recipe websites and found it again on another where they lightened it up even more and a bit more carb friendly.
These two-tone brownies are so rich and luscious, no one will believe how low in fat and calories they are.

SERVINGS: 20 brownies


Nonstick cooking spray
1/4     Cup I Can't Believe It's Not Butter (Stick)
3/4     Cup Granulated Sugar or sugar substitute blend* equivalent to 3/4 cup sugar (Splenda)
1/3    Cup cold water
3/4     Cup refrigerated or frozen egg product (Egg Beaters), thawed, or 3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4     Cup Canola Oil
1     Teaspoon Vanilla
1 1/4    Cups All-Purpose Flour**
1     Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4     Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1/2     Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/4     Cup Miniature Semisweet Chocolate pieces

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9x9x2-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil up over the edges of the pan. Lightly coat foil with nonstick spray. Set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over low heat; remove from heat. Whisk in sugar and the water. Whisk in egg, oil, and vanilla until combined. Stir in 1 cup of the flour and the baking powder until combined. (Batter will be thin at this point.) Place peanut butter in a small bowl; gradually whisk in 1/2 cup of the batter until smooth. Set aside. In another small bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 cup flour and the cocoa powder. Stir into the plain batter; stir in chocolate pieces. Pour chocolate batter into prepared pan.

3. Drop peanut butter batter in small mounds over chocolate batter in pan. Using a thin metal spatula, swirl batters together. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes* or until top springs back when lightly touched and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars.

*Sugar Substitutes: Choose from Splenda® Sugar Blend for Baking or Sun Crystals® Granulated Blend. Follow package directions to use product amount equivalent to 3/4 cup sugar. Decrease baking time to 15 to 18 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
PER BROWNIE WITH SUBSTITUTE: same as basic recipe, except 140 cal., 13 g carb.

**Flour Substitutes: Substitute 3/4 cup whole wheat flour, white whole wheat flour, whole wheat pastry flour, whole grain oat flour, whole grain corn flour, white bean flour, or soy flour for 3/4 cup of the all-purpose flour. Or, substitute 1/2 cup full-fat almond flour for 1/2 cup of the all-purpose flour. Or, substitute 1 1/4 cups gluten-free baking mix*** or 1 1/4 cups hi-maize high-fiber flour (King Arthur product) for all of the all-purpose flour. If using two flours, stir them together before using in the recipe.
PER BROWNIE WITH WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR OR WHITE WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR: same as basic recipe, except 149 cal., 1 g fiber.
PER BROWNIE WITH GLUTEN-FREE BAKING MIX: same as basic recipe, except 148 cal., 8 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 60 mg sodium, 1 g fiber.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:

    * Servings: 20 brownies
    * Calories151
    * Total Fat (g)8
    * Saturated Fat (g)3
    * Monounsaturated Fat (g)4
    * Polyunsaturated Fat (g)1
    * Cholesterol (mg)6
    * Sodium (mg)61
    * Carbohydrate (g)17
    * Total Sugar (g)10
    * Protein (g)3
    * Calcium (DV%)3
    * Iron (DV%)5
      Diabetic Exchanges
    * Other Carbohydrates (d.e.)1
    * Fat (d.e.)1.5

Diabetes 2 Friendly Product Review - Pillsbury Sugar Free Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix

Pillsbury Sugar Free Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix 

For people watching their sugar intake, Pillsbury has come out with Splenda-sweetened brownie mixes. Each box, mixed with water, oil and an egg, makes 12 servings, each with 150 calories and no sugar. Flavors are chocolate fudge and milk chocolate.

They mix up well and take your standard brownie mix ingredients – 1 egg, 3 tbsp of water and a third of a cup of oil.  Mixed up smooth and spread easy in an 9X9 baking pan.
They tasted great. They make 12 servings – and they are small brownies. 150 calories per, so easy to work into my daily calories.  Again, these contain sugar alcohols so if you are sensitive to sugar alcohols, they will cause a laxative effect if you eat too many and if you eat the regular serving but are sensitive to sugar alcohols, well, look out.

When I made these I used a 9x9 baking pan. I would suggest using an 8x8 pan, the 9x9 makes a little thin but still good. Also if using the 9x9 pan the instructions say to bake for 26 - 30 minutes, I would go 25 - 26 minutes. Anything over exactly 26 minutes they come out over baked. I also used Egg Beaters instead of an Egg and added some chopped Walnuts.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Good Earth Glazed Shrimp Dinner

Dinner Tonight: Good Earth Spicy Citrus Glazed Shrimp w/ Angel Hair Pasta.

Love these Good Earth Dinners! Had the Spicy Citrus Glazed Shrimp tonight. Also had Kroger Bakery Harvest Grain Bread. I had included the instructions on this dinner from a previous posting and thought I would include it again. These dinners are great, just added the Shrimp, 2 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and 1 Tablespoon of I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter.


1 Box of Good Earth Spicy Citrus Glazed Shrimp
1 Lb. uncooked Shrimp (26 – 32 Medium), thawed
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 TablespoonI Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter

*Fill 2 quart sauce pan 2/3 full of water. Heat to boiling and stir in Pasta.
*Gently boil uncovered for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
*While Pasta is cooking empty Whole Wheat Flour into medium bowl or food storage bag.Coat well drained thawed Shrimp with Flour.
*Heat oil in non-stick 10″ skillet over medium – high heat. Carefully add Shrimp to hot oil and cook 1 – 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
*Reduce heat to medium. Cut off 3/4 inch corner of Spicy Citrus Glaze pouch. Carefully pour glaze into skillet with Shrimp. Cook uncovered 1 to 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until Shrimp are cooked through and coated with glaze.
*Drain Pasta. Add Butter and Pasta Seasoning to Pasta and toss with fork to coat.
Serve Shrimp with Pasta.

1 Cup prepared has 290 Calories and 38 Carbs.

Pork Chop Suey

I found several versions of this appetizing recipe but went with this one which was lower in calories and carbs than the others.
Chop suey is often made with bamboo shoots and water chestnuts — add them to this recipe if you wish. Serve with Annie Chun's   Soba Buckwheat Noodles.

Yields: 4 servings, about 1 cup each


    * 1 cup(s) reduced-sodium chicken broth
    * 3 tablespoon(s) reduced-sodium soy sauce
    * 2 tablespoon(s) molasses, preferably blackstrap
    * 1/4 teaspoon(s) freshly ground pepper
    * 5 teaspoon(s) cornstarch
    * 2 tablespoon(s) canola oil, divided
    * 1 pound(s) pork tenderloin, trimmed, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick pieces
    * 1  medium onion, slivered
    * 1  medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced
    * 3 cup(s) mung bean sprouts (see Tips & Techniques)
    * 1 tablespoon(s) minced fresh ginger


   1. Combine broth, soy sauce, molasses, and pepper in a medium bowl. Transfer 2 tablespoons of the mixture to a small bowl; stir in cornstarch until combined. Set aside.
   2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add pork and cook, stirring frequently, until most of the pink is gone, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
   3. Increase heat to medium-high. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, onion, bell pepper, sprouts, and ginger and cook for 3 minutes. Pour in the broth mixture and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium; add the reserved cornstarch mixture and pork (and any accumulated juice), and cook, stirring, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute.
  4. Serve with Soba Noodles or your favorite Noodle.

      Exchanges: 1 vegetable, 1/2 other carbohydrate, 3 lean meat, 1 fat. Carbohydrate Servings: 1 1/2. Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (87% daily value), Potassium (27% dv), Iron (20% dv), Vitamin A (19% dv), Zinc (17% dv), Folate (16% dv).

Tips & Techniques

Mung bean sprouts (germinated mung beans), often simply labeled "bean sprouts," are white with a light yellow tip and are thicker than more common alfalfa sprouts.

Nutritional Information
(per serving)

Calories    280
Total Fat    10g
Saturated Fat    1g
Cholesterol    74mg
Sodium    504mg
Total Carbohydrate    21g
Dietary Fiber    3g
Sugars    --
Protein    28g

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Lake Perch w/ Parmesan Risotto and…

Dinner Tonight: Lake Perch w/ Alfredo Parmesan Risotto and Asparagus.

I had a pan fried Lake Perch Fillet, rolled in Whole Wheat Flour and Bread Crumb mixture and seasoned with Sea Salt and Grinder Black Pepper. As sides had Lundberg Alfredo Parmesan Risotto and Green Giant Asparagus seasoned with Garlic Salt. The Lundberg Risotto is one of my favorites, always great tasting and tender. Plus it’s only 140 calories and 29 carbs per serving. A little high on carbs but I’ve really been doing great with the carb count.

Monday, February 7, 2011

National Dish of the Week: Cameroon

Many staples of the Cameroonian diet came from the explorers of the New World (the Americas). The Portuguese arrived in Cameroon in 1472 and brought with them such foods as hot peppers, maize (corn), cassava (a root vegetable), and tomatoes.

Other Europeans settled on the Came-roon coast in the mid 1800s, with the British arriving first, followed by the French and Germans. The French influence is reflected in the presence of some foods, such as omelets and French bread, as well as in the preparation of some dishes; however, for the most part, Cameroonians continue to prepare their own traditional foods.

Foreign restaurants can be found in the larger towns and cities of Cameroon. In 2001, the city of Doula boasted a number of Parisian-style cafes, Greek, Lebanese, and Chinese restaurants, as well as places offering pizza and hamburgers. Restaurants in the capital city, Yaounde, also offered a variety of cuisines, including Chinese, French, Italian, Russian, and traditional Cameroonian food. In the smaller cities, street vendors and restaurants serve more traditional favorites than foreign dishes.
The staple foods eaten by the people of Cameroon vary from region to region, depending on climate, and what is grown locally. In general, the Cameroonian diet is characterized by bland, starchy foods that are eaten with spicy (often very hot) sauces. Meat on skewers, fried and roasted fish, curries and peppery soups are common dishes.

Staple foods eaten in the north are corn, millet, and peanuts. In the south, people eat more root vegetables, such as yams and cassava, as well as plantains (similar to bananas). In both north and south regions, the starchy foods are cooked, then pounded with a pestle (a hand-held tool, usually wooden) until they form a sticky mass called fufu (or foofoo), which is then formed into balls and dipped into tasty sauces. The sauces are made of ingredients such as cassava leaves, okra, and tomatoes. The food most typical in the southern region of Cameroon is ndole , which is made of boiled, shredded bitterleaf (a type of green), peanuts, and melon seeds. It is seasoned with spices and hot oil, and can be cooked with fish or meat. Bobolo , made of fermented cassava shaped in a loaf, is popular in both the south and central regions.

Fresh fruit is plentiful in Cameroon. The native mangoes are especially enjoyed. Other fruits grown locally and sold in village marketplaces include oranges, papayas, bananas, pineapples, coconuts, grapefruit, and limes.

During the month long observance of the holiday of Ramadan, Cameroon's Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. This means they are forbidden to eat or drink during this time. The evening meal during Ramadan may include a rich soup. In most areas, a fete des mouton festival is celebrated two months after Ramadan to remember the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice a sheep from his flock. This celebration lasts for several days, during which it is customary for people to slaughter a sheep and then visit their friends and neighbors, giving them gifts of meat.

Most Cameroonians celebrate Christmas, even those who are not Christian. It is a time for visiting friends and family, and exchanging gifts. Holidays and events, such as coronations; saying goodbye to someone going abroad; weddings, and even funerals, are marked by feasts and meals at which friends and neighbors gather to eat local favorite dishes. It is traditional to slaughter and cook a sheep or goat at important occasions. Chicken dishes are also popular holiday fare.

At mealtime, damp towels may be passed out to diners (before and after the meal), to wash their hands; Cameroonians eat out of communal bowls. Using their right hands, they dip three fingers into the starchy food—often fufu or a millet dish—and then into the stews or sauces of the meal. It is customary for the men to serve themselves first, while the women wait patiently and the children eat what is left after the adults have finished.

People of Cameroon eat three meals a day. A variety of foods, including fruit, porridge, and boiled plantains, may be eaten for breakfast. Eggs and boiled cassava are also popular choices. Lunch and dinner are likely to feature a starchy dish such as fufu , boiled cassava, rice or millet, generally served with a vegetable soup or a hearty stew.

Meal preparation is very time consuming. Preparation of fufu , for example, can take days. The cassava or yams must be boiled and pounded into a pulpy mass. The preparation of fufu from powdered starch or rice is less complicated, but still requires much stirring. Cooking in the villages generally takes place over wood or charcoal fires, with iron pots and wooden spoons. In towns, canisters of propane may be used to power gas stoves. Even at the beginning of the twenty-first century electricity is seldom available for cooking use except in the largest cities.

The government has tried for years to improve nutrition and health care, but there is a shortage of doctors and medical supplies, so the life expectancy is just about fifty years. Less than half the children receive immunization against common diseases such as tuberculosis, polio, and measles.

Families spend about one-third of their income on food—mostly on plantains, cassava, corn, millet, and small amounts of meat. Peanuts, called groundnuts, are an important source of protein.

Ndolé (Bitterleaf) Soup

Ndolé (or N'Dolé, or Ndole) is a hearty soup from Cameroon. It is made from a variety of ingredients that, for the non-African, might seem to be an odd combination. Look for bitterleaf and dried shrimp in international grocery stores. As the name implies, the bitterleaf (also called bitter leaf) adds a distinctive flavor to the soup, but if none is available substitute spinach or other greens. Skip the optional ingredients to make the most basic Ndolé soup.


    * 2 to four cups fresh or dried bitterleaf, or several cups of spinach, or similar greens
    * 2 cups fresh shrimp or prawns, or one cup dried shrimp or prawns
    * 2 pounds dried, salted, or smoked * 2 cups raw shelled peanuts
    * 1 chopped onion
    * 2 teaspoon of fresh ginger root, finely minced
    * 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
    * 6 ripe tomatoes, chopped and mashed may be peeled if desired
    * ½ teaspoon thyme (optional)
    * ½ teaspoon rosemary (optional)
    * 1 green bell pepper, chopped (optional)
    * 1 chile pepper, chopped (optional)
    * 4 cups of chicken broth or chicken stock
    * palm oil or vegetable oil for frying
    * salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper or red pepper


   1. If you are using dried or fresh bitterleaf, wash it in cold water, rinsing several times, and allow it to soak for at least a few hours, then chop it into pieces.
          * If you are using spinach leaves, clean and chop them immediately before cooking the soup.
          * If you are using any other greens (such as kale or collard greens), clean, chop, and parboil them briefly before cooking the soup.
   2. Marinate the shrimp (or prawns) for a few hours in a paste made from half the minced ginger, half the chopped onion, and a little oil.
          * If using dried shrimp, add a little water. Soak the dried/salted in water for a few hours.
   3. After you have started cooking the soup cut the into pieces and remove any skin or bones.
   4. If using fresh peanuts: remove the skins from the peanuts (it might help to boil them for a few minutes first)
   5. Crush or chop the peanuts and then simmer them in two cups of water for about an hour.
   6. Add water if necessary.
   7. After they have cooked, crush them into a smooth paste.
   8. If using beef or chicken: fry the meat in a skillet and then add a cup of appropriate stock, broth, and water.
   9. Set aside.
  10. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large pot and fry the remaining onions, garlic, ginger, rosemary and thyme for a few minutes.
  11. Then add the tomatoes and reduce heat to a simmer for several minutes.
  12. Add the bitterleaf (or greens) to the pot.
  13. Stir and simmer for several minutes more.
  14. Add the cooked peanut paste (or peanut butter and hot water).
  15. Stir and continue to cook the soup at a simmer.
  16. Add the (and any other meat) to the pot, along with the green pepper, and any hot chile pepper, salt, and red or black pepper you think it needs.
  17. Cover the pot and continue to cook over low heat.
  18. When the greens seem tender (after thirty minutes to an hour), heat oil in a skillet and stir fry the shrimp (or prawns) along with their marinade.
  19. Add them to the soup.
  20. Cook soup (adding water or stock if desired) until it is the consistency you like.

Spice of the Week - Wasabi


As one of the most prized crops from Japan, this pale green root is grown in cold mountain streams under some of the most closely guarded growing practices in agriculture. Many outside Japan have gone to great lengths to duplicate its wonderfully hot flavor. In fact, most of the commercial wasabi products in the west are fake. Many of us believe wasabi is the eye-watering and sinus-scouring vivid green side dish paste served with sushi, however, most of the time it is a concoction of horseradish, mustard, and artificial coloring.

Spice Description

Wasabi a member of the cruciferae family originating in Japan and is related to cabbages. It is a perennial which grows about knee high, is semi aquatic and produces a thickened stem in a similar fashion to a small Brussel sprout. As the stem grows the lower leaves fall off. This stem has a very pungent smell and flavour when made into a paste.

The fresh is certainly preferable, but in the West, it's more commonly found as a dry powder. Premixed pastes are available but none capture the intensity well. Make your own paste from the powder or fresh root.

Plant Description and Cultivation

Wasabia japonica is a slow growing perennial with a rooted, thickened rhizome, long petioles and large leaves. The wasabi rhizome looks much like a Brussel sprout stalk after the sprouts are removed. The long stems (petioles) of the Wasabia Japonica plant emerge from the rhizome to grow to a length of 12 to 18 inches and can reach a diameter of  up to 1 ½ inches.  They merge into single heart shaped leaves that can reach the size of a small dinner plate.

Wasabia Japonoica plants can take as much as three years to reach maturity.  Initially, given the right conditions, the wasabi plant produces robust top and root growth, growing to about 2 feet with an overall width about the same. After this initial establishment phase the rhizome begins to build and store reproductive nutrients, reaching a size of 6 to 8 inches in approximately two years.

Under optimum conditions, Wasabia Japonica will reproduce itself by seed, though on commercial wasabi farms, plant stock is typically extended by replanting small offshoots which characteristically occur as the plant matures.

Wasabi prefers the cool, damp conditions found in misty mountain stream beds. It generally requires a climate with an air temperature between 8°C (46°F) and 20 °C (70°F), and prefers high humidity in summer. It is quite intolerant of direct sunlight so it is grown beneath a natural forest canopy or man-made shade.

Wasabia Japonica grows in northern Japan, parts of China, Taiwan, Korea and New Zealand.  In North America, the rain forests found in British Columbia, the Oregon Coast and in parts of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina and Tennessee provide the right balance of climate, sunlight and water quality to grow natural wasabi.  Limited success has been achieved by firms using greenhouse and/or hydroponic techniques, but the resulting costs are typically quite high. There are two main strategies that are used in growing Wasabi. The higher quality Wasabi, both in appearance and taste, grows in cool mountain streams and is known as semi-aquatic or "sawa" Wasabi. Wasabi known as field or "oka" Wasabi is grown in fields under varying conditions and generally results in a lower quality plant, both in appearance and taste.

Preparation and Storage

Treat the fresh root like horseradish, shredding only as much as needed. Traditionally, a sharkskin grater or "oroshi" is used. Using sharkskin as a tool for grating wasabi has been a practice in Japan since the earliest times, and is still regarded as the preferred method of obtaining the best flavor, texture and consistency in freshly ground wasabi. If a sharkskin grater is not available, ceramic or stainless steel surfaces can be used. Ceramic graters with fine nubs are preferable to stainless steel, but in either case, the smaller and finer the 'teeth', the better.

Pulsing in a food mill pure will yield a fiery paste, or it can be tempered with other ingredients to make vinaigrettes, mayonnaise or other hot condiments.

Grating wasabi releases volatile compounds, which gradually dissipate with exposure to the air. Using a traditional sharkskin grater and keeping the rhizome at a 90-degree angle to the grating surface generally minimizes exposure to the air. In this way, the volatile compounds are allowed to develop with minimal dissipation. Once you have grated enough for the first 'session', pile the grated wasabi into a ball and let stand at room temperature for a few minutes to allow the flavor and heat to develop. The flavor will dissipate within a short period, so grate only what will be used within 15 or 20 minutes.

How To Grate Wasabi.

• Rinse the rhizome under cold running water.
• Scrape off any bumps or rough areas along the sides.
• Scrub the rhizome with a stiff brush.
• Cut the rhizome just below the leaf base and inspect the exposed flesh to ensure that it is a uniform green color.
• Grate the cut end against the grater surface, using a circular motion.
• After use, rinse the rhizome under cold running water. If you are using a sharkskin grater, rinse it under cold running water as well and let it air dry

If you have powdered wasabi, make sure to allow some time once it is rehydrated so that the flavor compounds come back to the surface.
Wasabi powder is very convenient for use and storage, when sealed in an air-tight container or bag, and stored in low temperature, the self-life is almost 2 years.

Culinary Uses

The pungent flavor of Wasabi lends itself to a great range of culinary uses. For most people the first introduction to its splendid taste is as a condiment for use with Japanese dishes such as Sushi, Sushimi and Soba dishes, and also with raw fish. For these uses it is ground up into a paste for seasoning.

Increasingly, we are finding that the use of wasabi extends beyond the scope of these traditional dishes. It is a flavour in its own right and can be used to enhance dips, meats and other foods.

Attributed Medicinal Properties

Besides its unique role as a food condiment, Wasabi also possesses many potential health benefits. A number of studies have shown that the active ingredients in Wasabia japonica are able to kill a number of different types of cancer cells, reduce the possibility of getting blood clots, encourages the bodies own defences to discard cells that have started to mutate, and acts as an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent against food poisons.

Wasabia Japonica owes its flavor and health benefits in part to a suite of isothicyanates (ITC's) with unique characteristics including powerful anti-bacterial properties, which help mitigate microbial elements or pathogens potentially present. This helps reduce the effects food poisoning, supports detoxification and helps prevent conditions that lead to tooth decay. Rich in beta-carotenes and glucosinolates, Wasabi also kills some forms of E-Coli and Staphylococcus. Studies also indicate it helps reduce mucous, which has made it the focus of experiments relating to its use in combating asthma and congestive disorders.

The unique ITC group found in Wasabi includes long-chain methyl isothicyanates which are uncommon in most American's diets.  Long-chain methyl ITC's have proven efficacy and potency in supporting natural liver and digestive detoxification functions than other more common types of isothicyanates.

The powerful antioxidant characterisics of Wasabi are also attracting additional scientific study.  Evidence suggests that glucosinolates and their hydrolysis products are efficacious in reducing cancer risk by encouraging the immune system to discard mutagenic cells.