Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Marinated Baked Turkey Tenderloin w/ Mashed Potatoes, Sweet Corn, and...

Dinner Tonight: Marinated Baked Turkey Tenderloin w/ Mashed Potatoes, Sweet Corn, and Whole Grain Bread

I had a Jennie – O Baked Turkey Tenderloin that I had marinated for three hours in JB’s Fat Boy Sticky Stuff BBQ. After seasoning it with Sea Salt, Ground Black Pepper, and Smoked Cumin. I then baked it for 30 minutes covered and thirty minutes uncovered at 350 degrees. The Turkey turned out moist and delicious. The JB’s Fat Boy Sticky Stuff BBQ. Sauce makes a perfect marinade for not only Turkey but also Chicken.

As sides I had Idahoan Mashed potatoes and Del Monte Summer Crisp Whole Kernel Golden Sweet Corn. Not a huge Corn eater but I love this Corn, great flavor and only 80 calories and 16 carbs. I also had Healthy Life Whole Grain Bread. For dessert later a Yoplait 100 Calorie Delight Chocolate Eclair Parfait.

(Sorry for the poor picture quality)

29th Annual PNC Festival of Lights Open November 25 – January 1

Tis the Season! Just a couple of Ohio and Tri - State Holiday reminders.

The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is making spirits bright this holiday season with the tri-state’s longest running holiday tradition – the 29th Annual PNC Festival of Lights! In addition to over two-million LED lights strung throughout the Zoo, guests can also enjoy Madcap puppets in black-light, a NEW Wild Lights Show, train rides, rappin’ elves and so much more.

The PNC Festival of Lights opens November 25 and glows through January 1, 2012 from 5:00 – 9:00 p.m., nightly.

This year, guests will enjoy more lights and more color than ever before as they journey through the Zoo’s themed areas. From Fairy Land where kids can search for the five hidden fairies to Candy Cane Forest, Twinkle Trail and Lemon-drop Lane! Through December 23, children can visit Santa in the North Pole and meet the Rappin’ Elves and other costumed characters as they stroll through the park for special appearances.

Cincinnati Zoo members are invited to kick off PNC Festival of Lights during a special members-only preview event on Wednesday, November 23 from 5 - 9 p.m. This year’s event will feature Ciara Bravo of Nickelodeon’s Big Time Rush and Cincinnati’s own Nick Lachey, helping Santa light the tree at 6 p.m. in the Zoo’s Historic Vine Street Village.

As guests enter the Zoo they are welcomed at the entrance by a breath-taking 35-foot-tall tree, blanketed with more than 20,000 LED lights in the Zoo’s Historic Vine Street Village. Just beyond the entrance is Swan Lake, where visitors experience the spectacular sights and sounds of the Wild Lights Show - a 21-foot-tall computer-controlled tree with thousands of LED lights dancing to the beat of NEW holiday songs.

In the Wings of Wonder Theater, watch life size puppets come to life right before your eyes during live performances of Winter Wonders by Madcap Puppet Theatre. Each amazing black-light theater-style show features an array of holiday themes including snowmen, ice skating, and of course dancing marshmallows! Enjoy three shows nightly at 6:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

Head on over to the Train Depot and see the sights aboard the North Polar Express or meet the Talking Tigers, “Blizzard” and “Snowflake.” Warm up inside the Special FX 4-D Theater for a showing of Happy Feet™ or Polar Express™ 4-D Experience. Be sure to purchase tickets in advance online. Shows will sell out early!

Visit the Zoo’s cold climate animal residents who are especially active and prefer cooler temperatures. Winter is the lions, polar bears, red pandas, Japanese macaques, sea lions and reindeer’s favorite time of the year! You can lose the scarves and mittens while visiting hundreds of other warm-weather animals inside more than a dozen heated indoor exhibits. Satisfy your sweet tooth with scrumptious seasonal fare such as fresh-baked cookies, caramel apples, funnel cakes, homemade fudge, hot pretzels and roasted nuts. Or warm up with Starbucks coffee, a glass of hot apple cider or hot chocolate. Cross items off of your holiday shopping list at one of the Zoo’s gift shops, including the Zoosters’ Treasure House and the Zoo Shop at the Historic Vine Street Village.

But it doesn’t end there! Guests are invited to ring in the Zoo Year with a bunch of “party animals”. Kids of all ages are invited to Happy Zoo Year as the Zoo holds its very own New Year’s Eve bash on Saturday, December 31 from 5 – 9 p.m. Meet Father Time and Baby Zoo Year during a one-of-a-kind meet and greet. Enjoy an EARLY Zoo Year Countdown at 8:55 p.m., complete with party favors and Rozzi’s fireworks.

Discounts are available! Visit any area United Dairy Farmers (UDF) and receive Half Priced Admission tickets good for Monday – Wednesday, through December 14. Discount tickets are also available at any area Kroger, good for $2 off adult and $1 off child admission any day of the event.

Celebrate 29 years of family and tradition at the Cincinnati Zoo PNC Festival of Lights. The Zoo opens daily at 9 a.m. The PNC Festival of Lights is open 5 – 9 p.m. nightly from November 25 - January 1, 2012, except on Christmas Eve and Day.

North Pole Express Presented by Lebanon Mason & Monroe Railroad

North Pole Express - 2011
Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad
Take a half hour train ride to the decorated LM&M Junction to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus! Take a moment to visit Santa and tell him your Christmas wishes. Each child will receive a small gift from Mr. Claus himself! Stop at the "Holiday Post Express" to color pictures or write letters to be delivered to Santa. Enjoy a holiday cookie and a cup of hot chocolate to keep you warm while you are entertained by Santa's talented Elves!

Event Dates:

November 26-27
December 3-4
December 10*-11
December 17*-18

*Additional 7pm departure time

Event Activities:

Visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus
Be entertained by Santa's Elves
Enjoy a cup of hot chocolate and a holiday cookie

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Rainbow Trout w/ Asparagus, Grilled Potatoes, and...

Today's Menu: Rainbow Trout w/ Asparagus, Grilled Potatoes, Glazed Apples, and Whole Grain Bread

Had a beautiful Rainbow Trout fillet that I seasoned with McCormick Grinder Sea Salt and Grinder Black Peppercorn and lightly fried in Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The fillet came out golden brown and delicious. As sides I had Healthy Life Whole Grain Bread, Grilled Asparagus Spears, Grilled Sliced Potatoes w/ Cheese &Herb Seasoning, The Asparagus and Potatoes are Meijer Brands. I also had a tablespoon of Country Crock Cinnamon Glazed Apples which turned out fantastic paired with the Trout and Potatoes! I'll have to have these Apples again with Trout it makes an amazing glaze for the Trout.  For dessert later a Yoplait 100 Calorie Delight Chocolate Eclair Parfait.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Not So Sloppy Turkey Joes w/ Kicked Up Chili Beans

Dinner Tonight: Not So Sloppy Turkey Joes w/ Kicked Up Chili Beans

Love those Turkey Joes! I tried a new Sloppy Joe Sauce. I used Hormel Not So Sloppy Joe Sauce. Very good Sauce! Thick and Hearty with great flavor. Easier to use than Sloppy Joe Mix also. No adding water and extra simmering time. I'll be stocking up on this my next visit to the grocery store. I used Jennie - O Extra Lean Ground Turkey which is only 120 calories and 0 carbs! I fried the Turkey in Extra Virgin Olive Oil and seasoned it with Ground Smoked Cumin, Ground Thyme, Parsley, Sea Salt, and Ground Pepper. When the Turkey was done I drained the skillet of fat and oil and added the jar of Sauce, stirring until mixed and warmed. Easy to fix and delicious. At the end of the post I left the Hormel description and nutrition of the Sauce. I served the Turkey Joe on a Healthy Life Whole Grain Bun and topped it with Maytag Crumbled Bleu Cheese.
As a side I had some Kicked Up Spicy Chili Beans. I used Joan of Arc Spicy Chili Beans and added Frank's Hot Sauce, Crumbled Turkey Bacon, Jack Daniel's Smoked Honey BBQ Sauce, and a teaspoon of Splenda Brown Sugar. For a dessert/snack later a 100 Calorie Mini Bag of Jolly Time Pop Corn.

Not So Sloppy Joe Sauce

Richer and Thicker and Far From Ordinary

Not-So-Sloppy-Joe® sloppy joe sauce is as distinctive as its name. Not-So-Sloppy-Joe® sloppy joe sauce has a hint of barbecue flavor and is richer and thicker than other sloppy joe sauces.

Since its beginning in 1985, there’s been one very graphic way to show the thick and rich texture of Not-So-Sloppy-Joe® sloppy joe sauce: the “drip test.” When you hold up a sloppy joe made with Not-So-Sloppy-Joe® sloppy joe sauce, there are no drips. It’s that rich and thick.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 1/4 Cup
Amount per Serving
Calories 70
Calories from Fat 4.5
% Daily Value *

Total Fat 0.5g
Saturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 810mg
Total Carbohydrate 15g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 10g
Protein 1g

Fruit of the Week - Bitter Gourd

Bitter melon fruit, cleaned and sliced for cooking.
Bitter Gourd

Momordica charantia, called bitter melon or bitter gourd in English, is a tropical and subtropical vine of the family Cucurbitaceae, widely grown in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean for its edible fruit, which is among the most bitter of all fruits. There are many varieties that differ substantially in the shape and bitterness of the fruit. This is a plant of the tropics, but its original native range is unknown.

This herbaceous, tendril-bearing vine grows to 5 meters. It bears simple, alternate leaves 4–12 cm across, with 3–7 deeply separated lobes. Each plant bears separate yellow male and female flowers. In the Northern Hemisphere, flowering occurs during June to July and fruiting during September to November.

The fruit has a distinct warty exterior and an oblong shape. It is hollow in cross-section, with a relatively thin layer of flesh surrounding a central seed cavity filled with large flat seeds and pith. The fruit is most often eaten green, or as it is beginning to turn yellow. At this stage, the fruit's flesh is crunchy and watery in texture, similar to cucumber, chayote or green bell pepper, but bitter. The skin is tender and edible. Seeds and pith appear white in unripe fruits; they are not intensely bitter and can be removed before cooking.

As the fruit ripens, the flesh becomes tougher, more bitter, and too distasteful to eat. On the other hand, the pith becomes sweet and intensely red; it can be eaten uncooked in this state, and is a popular ingredient in some southeast Asian salads.

When the fruit is fully ripe it turns orange and mushy, and splits into segments which curl back dramatically to expose seeds covered in bright red pulp.

Bitter melon comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. The China phenotype is 20–30 cm long, oblong with bluntly tapering ends and pale green in color, with a gently undulating, warty surface. The bitter melon more typical of India has a narrower shape with pointed ends, and a surface covered with jagged, triangular "teeth" and ridges. It is green to white in color. Between these two extremes are any number of intermediate forms. Some bear miniature fruit of only 6–10 cm in length, which may be served individually as stuffed vegetables. These miniature fruit are popular in India and elsewhere in Southeast Asia.

Bitter melon is generally consumed cooked in the green or early yellowing stage. The young shoots and leaves of the bitter melon may also be eaten as greens.

Bitter melon is often used in Chinese cooking for its bitter flavor, typically in stir-fries (often with pork and douchi), soups, and also as tea. It has also been used in place of hops as the bittering ingredient in some Chinese beers.

It is very popular throughout South Asia. In Northern India, it is often prepared with potatoes and served with yogurt on the side to offset the bitterness, or used in sabji. In North Indian cuisine it is stuffed with spices and then cooked in oil. In Southern India it is used in the dishes thoran/thuvaran (mixed with grated coconut), theeyal (cooked with roasted coconut) and pachadi (which is considered a medicinal food for diabetics). Other popular recipes include preparations with curry, deep fried with peanuts or other ground nuts, and pachi pulusu, a soup with fried onions and other spices.In Tamil Nadu a special preparation in Brahmins' cuisine called 'pagarkai pitla'.

In Pakistan and Bangladesh, bitter melon is often cooked with onions, red chili powder, turmeric powder, salt, coriander powder, and a pinch of cumin seeds. Another dish in Pakistan calls for whole, unpeeled bitter melon to be boiled and then stuffed with cooked ground beef, served with either hot tandoori bread, naan, chappati, or with khichri (a mixture of lentils and rice).

Bitter melon is a significant ingredient in Okinawan cuisine, and is increasingly used in mainland Japan. It is popularly credited with Okinawan life expectancies being higher than the already long Japanese ones.

In Indonesia, bitter melon is prepared in various dishes, such as gado-gado, and also stir fried, cooked in coconut milk, or steamed.

In Vietnam, raw bitter melon slices consumed with dried meat floss and bitter melon soup with shrimp are popular dishes. Bitter melons stuffed with ground pork are served as a popular summer soup in the South. It is also used as the main ingredient of "stewed bitter melon". This dish is usually cooked for the Tết holiday, where its "bitter" name is taken as a reminder of the poor living conditions experienced in the past.

In the Philippines, bitter melon may be stir-fried with ground beef and oyster sauce, or with eggs and diced tomato. The dish pinakbet, popular in the Ilocos region of Luzon, consists mainly of bitter melons, eggplant, okra, string beans, tomatoes, lima beans, and other various regional vegetables altogether stewed with a little bagoong-based stock.

In Nepal, bitter melon is prepared as a fresh pickle called achar. For this the bitter gourd is cut into cubes or slices and sautéed covered in oil and a sprinkle of water. When it is softened and reduced, it is minced in a mortar with a few cloves of garlic, salt and a red or green pepper. It is also sauteed to golden-brown, stuffed, or as a curry on its own or with potatoes.

In Trinidad and Tobago, bitter melons are usually sauteed with onion, garlic and scotch bonnet pepper until almost crisp.

Bitter melon has been used in various Asian and African traditional medicine systems for a long Turkey it has been used as a folk remedy for a variety of ailments, particularly stomach complaints. The fruit is broken up and soaked in either olive oil or honey.

In 1962, Lolitkar and Rao extracted from the plant a substance, which they called charantin, which had hypoglycaemic effect on normal and diabetic rabbits. Another principle, active only on diabetic rabbits, was isolated by Visarata and Ungsurungsie in 1981. Bitter melon has been found to increase insulin sensitivity. In 2007, a study by the Philippine Department of Health determined that a daily dose of 100 mg per kilogram of body weight is comparable to 2.5 mg/kg of the anti-diabetes drug glibenclamide taken twice per day. Tablets of bitter melon extract are sold in the Philippines as a food supplement and exported to many countries.

Other compounds in bitter melon have been found to activate the AMPK, the protein that regulates glucose uptake (a process which is impaired in diabetics

Bitter melon also contains a lectin that has insulin-like activity due to its non-protein-specific linking together to insulin receptors. This lectin lowers blood glucose concentrations by acting on peripheral tissues and, similar to insulin's effects in the brain, suppressing appetite. This lectin is likely a major contributor to the hypoglycemic effect that develops after eating bitter melon.

Two compounds extracted from bitter melon, α-eleostearic acid (from seeds) and 15,16-dihydroxy-α-eleostearic acid (from the fruit) have been found to induce apoptosis of leukemia cells in vitro. Diets containing 0.01% bitter melon oil (0.006% as α-eleostearic acid) were found to prevent azoxymethane-induced colon carcinogenesis in rats.

Researchers at Saint Louis University claims that an extract from bitter melon, commonly eaten and known as karela in India, causes a chain of events which helps to kill breast cancer cells and prevents them from multiplying.

Bitter melon has been used in traditional medicine for several other ailments, including dysentery, colic, fevers, burns, painful menstruation, scabies and other skin problems. It has also been used as abortifacient, for birth control, and to help childbirth.

Bitter Melon Stir-fry

Serves 4. This recipe calls for red wine vinegar or even balsamic vinegar for a bit more "bite." but if you have a good Chinese rice wine feel free to substitute it.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

    1 pound bitter melon (about 1 1/4 melons)
    1 tablespoon minced garlic
    1/2 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
    2 tablespoons oil for stir-frying
    2 tablespoons soy sauce
    1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
    1/2 teaspoon sugar
    a few drops sesame oil (optional)

To prepare the bitter melon, cut in half lengthwise, remove the seeds and cut on the diagonal into thin slices. Degorge the bitter melon by sprinkling salt over the slices and placing them in a colander to drain for 15 minutes. In a small bowl, mash the chili pepper flakes with the minced garlic.

Heat wok over medium high heat and add 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is hot, add the minced garlic and chili mixture. Stir-fry briefly until aromatic (about 30 seconds).

Add the bitter melon. Stir-fry for about 2 minutes, then splash with the balsamic vinegar and soy sauce. Stir in the sugar. Cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, until the bitter melon is browning and beginning to soften. Stir in a few drops sesame oil if desired. Serve hot.

Serves 4. This recipe calls for red wine vinegar or even balsamic vinegar for a bit more "bite." but if you have a good Chinese rice wine feel free to substitute it.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

    1 pound bitter melon (about 1 1/4 melons)
    1 tablespoon minced garlic
    1/2 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
    2 tablespoons oil for stir-frying
    2 tablespoons soy sauce
    1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
    1/2 teaspoon sugar
    a few drops sesame oil (optional)

To prepare the bitter melon, cut in half lengthwise, remove the seeds and cut on the diagonal into thin slices. Degorge the bitter melon by sprinkling salt over the slices and placing them in a colander to drain for 15 minutes. In a small bowl, mash the chili pepper flakes with the minced garlic.

Heat wok over medium high heat and add 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is hot, add the minced garlic and chili mixture. Stir-fry briefly until aromatic (about 30 seconds).

Add the bitter melon. Stir-fry for about 2 minutes, then splash with the balsamic vinegar and soy sauce. Stir in the sugar. Cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, until the bitter melon is browning and beginning to soften. Stir in a few drops sesame oil if desired. Serve hot.

Serves 4. This recipe calls for red wine vinegar or even balsamic vinegar for a bit more "bite." but if you have a good Chinese rice wine feel free to substitute it.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

    1 pound bitter melon (about 1 1/4 melons)
    1 tablespoon minced garlic
    1/2 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
    2 tablespoons oil for stir-frying
    2 tablespoons soy sauce
    1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
    1/2 teaspoon sugar
    a few drops sesame oil (optional)

To prepare the bitter melon, cut in half lengthwise, remove the seeds and cut on the diagonal into thin slices. Degorge the bitter melon by sprinkling salt over the slices and placing them in a colander to drain for 15 minutes. In a small bowl, mash the chili pepper flakes with the minced garlic.

Heat wok over medium high heat and add 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is hot, add the minced garlic and chili mixture. Stir-fry briefly until aromatic (about 30 seconds).

Add the bitter melon. Stir-fry for about 2 minutes, then splash with the balsamic vinegar and soy sauce. Stir in the sugar. Cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, until the bitter melon is browning and beginning to soften. Stir in a few drops sesame oil if desired. Serve hot.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ground Pork Burger w/ Crinkle Fries

Dinner Tonight: Ground Pork Burger w/ Crinkle Fries

I had made up a few of the Ground Pork Burgers last time I had them and froze them. So after laying one out and thawing I was ready to go. Love these Ground Pork Burgers the taste is fantastic, the pesto with the Pork is a perfect match! I fried the Burger in Extra Virgin Olive Oil about 4 minutes per side. Comes out moist and juicy bursting with flavor. I left the recipe at the end of the post. I served it on an Healthy Life Whole Grain Bun. As a side I had Ore Ida Crinkle Fries with Heinz 57 Sauce on the side for dipping. For dessert later a bowl of Breyer's Carb Smart Vanilla Ice Cream topped with Smucker's Sugar Free Hot Fudge Topping.

Ground Pork Burgers
(Makes 4 Burgers)


1 LB. Ground Pork (I used a 93/7 Blend)
1/4 Cup Basil Pesto (You can add more to taste)
1/2 cup Italian Style Bread Crumbs
Sea Salt and Ground Black Pepper, to taste
4 Slices of Smoked Gouda Cheese, Optional
Lettuce, sliced Tomato optional


* In a mixing bowl add your pesto and ground pork. Mix together and form into 4 Burgers
* Spray a large skillet and heat on medium heat and add 1/2 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
* Fry the Burgers to your liking, I fried these for about 4 minutes per side.
* Serve on a Bun of your choice (I used Heathy Life Whole Grain Buns). Add Reduced or Lite Mayo and Slice of Smoked Gouda Cheese.

Diabetic Crock Pot Pork Roast

From the Just A Pinch web site and Chef Paul.

Bunyan's Diabetic Crock Pot Pork Roast
Added by Paul Bushay [chefbunyan]

- 2 Tbsp olive oil, extra virgin
- 2 lb pork loin roast
- 1 lg onion, small diced
- 1 md carrot, small diced
- 2 md celery ribs, small diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tsp pork base
- 1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
- 2 c water, divided
- 1/4 c whole wheat flour

1.   Add the the EVOO to a large skillet and get it screaming hot

2.   Sear all sides of the roast, and put it in your crock pot

3.   Use the same skillet to saute the veggies & garlic for just a couple of minutes & into the crock pot with the roast

4.   Dissolve the pork base in 1 cup of the water & into the crock pot with the other ingredients

5.   Cover the crock pot, turn it on to low and let it go 8 hours

6.   Carefully take the roast out after 8 hours and set aside for just a bit

7.   Add the flour to the other cup of water in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake like crazy

8.   Add the slurry to the juices and veggies in the crock pot, and stir really well

9.   Put roast back into the crock pot

10.   Let it go for another 2 hours

11.   NOTE: The pork base has 900mg of sodium per tsp so you will NOT need to add salt

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Roasted Shrimp w/ Crinkle Fries

Dinner Tonight: Roasted Shrimp w/ Crinkle Fries

A simple and quick dinner tonight.I tried a new recipe for Shrimp along with a homemade Shrimp Cocktail Sauce. I used the rest of the Shrimp leftover from yesterday. i seasoned with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Sea Salt, and Ground Black Pepper and then baked them at 400 degrees for 9 minutes. I also made the Cocktail Sauce. I'll post the recipes for the Shrimp and Cocktail Sauce at the end of the post. Along with the Shrimp I had a serving of Ore Ida Crinkle Fries. For a dessert/snack later tonight I'll be having Jennie - O Extreme Turkey Nachos.

Roasted Shrimp

For the Shrimp:

    2 pounds (12 to 15-count) Shrimp
    1 tablespoon good Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    1/2 teaspoon Smoked Cumin
    1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
    1/2 teaspoon freshly Ground Black Pepper

For the Sauce:

    1/2 cup Chili Sauce (recommended: Heinz)
    1/2 cup Ketchup
    3 tablespoons prepared Horseradish
    2 teaspoons freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
    1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (recommended: Frank's Red Hot Sauce)


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Peel and devein the shrimp, leaving the tails on. Place them on a sheet pan with the olive oil, salt, and pepper and spread them in 1 layer. Roast for 8 to10 minutes, just until pink and firm and cooked through. Set aside to cool.

For the sauce, combine the chili sauce, ketchup, horseradish, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce. Serve as a dip with the shrimp.Refrigerate at least 3 hours.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Lobster Newberg and Grilled Cheese

Dinner Tonight: Lobster Newberg and Grilled Cheese

Lobster Newberg? Yes it's premade in a can but very tasty and only 120 calories and 9 carbs. I ran across this years ago and order it from time to time from the Vermont Country Store, . I add my own Shrimp to it to make it a little meatier and hearty. Not true Newberg but it's thick and delicious. While warming the Newberg I sauteed the Shrimp in Extra Virgin Olive Oil anmd seasoned them with McCormick Grinder Sea Salt and Black Peppercorn. After they were done I sliced them in half and added them to the Newberg. As a side I made a Grilled Cheese Sandwich, a comfort food that goes well with everything. I used Sargento Reduced Fat Colby/Jack Sliced Cheese (2 Slices), Healthy Life Whole Grain Bread, and grilled in I Can't Believe It's Not Butter. Will top everything off with a slice of an Apple Pie that was made with Splenda later tonight, Thank You MOM!

National Dish of the Week - United States Great Lakes Region

A pasty
United States Great Lakes Region

The Great Lakes region of the United States includes the states of Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New York. The region enjoys four distinct seasons. Although the climate is considered temperate, temperatures in the summer can exceed 100°F and can drop to –10°F in the winter. There is rich farm land, and farmers' markets offer abundant produce and fruit in the late summer and early fall across the region.

The region is also home to much manufacturing activity. Industrial pollution threatened the health of the Great Lakes, especially Lake Erie (the smallest Great Lake), until the 1960s, when a growing awareness of environmental concerns led to increased government regulation. Acid-rain, believed to be caused by air pollution generated by the coal-fired utility plants in the region, is also a concern. Increased acidity in the lakes creates unhealthy conditions for fish and other living things in the ecosystem of the region.

The Great Lakes region was originally populated by American Indians who taught later European settlers how to hunt the local game, fish, and gather wild rice and maple syrup, as well as how to grow and eat corn and native squashes and beans. The European immigrants, mostly from Germany, Scandinavia, Holland, Poland, and Cornwall, England, each shared their traditional dishes with the rest of America. The Germans contributed frankfurters (hot dogs), hamburgers, sauerkraut, potato salad, noodles, bratwurst, liverwurst, and pretzels to the American diet. Scandinavian foods include lefse (potato flatbread), limpa (rye bread), lutefisk (dried cod soaked in lye), and Swedish meatballs, as well as the smorgasbord (a table laid out with several courses of small foods). The Polish introduced kielbasa (a type of sausage) , pierogies (a type of stuffed pasta), Polish dill pickles, and babka (an egg cake). Pancakes are a Dutch contribution, along with waffles, doughnuts, cookies, and coleslaw. Miners from Cornwall brought their Cornish pasties, and small meat pies that were easily carried for lunch. Later immigrants from Arab countries settled in Detroit, Michigan, and introduced America to foods like hummus (puréed chickpeas), felafel (deep-fried bean cakes), and tabbouleh (bulgur wheat salad).

Dairy is a major industry in the Great Lakes region, particularly Wisconsin, known as "America's Dairyland." Dairy farmers in Wisconsin milk about 2 million cows every day, and there is one cow for every two people in the state. Not surprisingly, milk, butter, and cheese are staples in the Great Lakes diet. Pigs are also common on farms in the Great Lakes region because they take up less space and are easier to raise than beef cattle. Pork, therefore, is another common ingredient in Great Lakes cooking, especially in the form of sausage.

The majority of those who live around the Great Lakes are descended from German, Scandinavian, and Dutch farmers who settled there in the 1800s. Farming life shaped the diet and mealtime schedule of the region. Hearty breakfasts and generous lunches gave the farmers the energy to finish their work. German immigrants taught America to serve meals "family-style," with all the food on the table at once, rather than bringing it out to the table in individual servings.

The Scandinavians brought their tradition of the smorgasbord to America. The smorgasbord is a large feast made up of a variety of small dishes laid out together on one table, beginning with bread and fish and moving through hot dishes, such as Swedish meatballs, all the way to dessert. Each person or family brings a dish to contribute to the smorgasbord. (The word "smorgasbord" has even been adopted into the English language to refer generally to anything offering a wide variety of items.)

Miners from Cornwall, England, had long eaten pasties (PAST-eez), small meat pies that were easy to carry for lunch. Immigrants to the Great Lakes area brought their tradition of Cornish pasties with them, and they are still a popular snack in the area.

Germans love beer and started a number of breweries around the Great Lakes. The Pabst and Schlitz breweries were both founded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in the 1800s by German Americans. (Milwaukee still ranks as the number-one beer-drinking city in America: While Americans on average drink 6 gallons of beer per year, Milwaukee residents average 42 gallons.) The Great Lakes region is also home to many well-known food companies, including Kellogg's, Kraft, Pillsbury, Green Giant, and Land O' Lakes.

Cheese Curds - Great Lakes Region

Deep Fried Cheese Curds
The people of the state of Wisconsin love their cheese so much that they even wear funky Styrofoam cheese hats at Green Bay Packers football games. They call themselves "cheese heads" and like to nibble on deep-fried cheese curds. Every restaurant, bar, and bowling alley in Wisconsin seems to serve them. They are usually a monster=sized appetizer, and they compete with French fries as a side order with sandwiches. They are also a favorite at local fairs, festivals, and fishing lodges. It is said that the folks in Wisconsin crave their curds.

Cheese curds, a uniquely Wisconsin delicacy, are formed as a by-product of the cheese-making process. Most cheese curd (at least the ones made in Wisconsin) are a cheddar cheese product. Some can be made from mozzarella, Colby, or Monterrey jack cheeses.

Cheese curds are little-known in locations without cheese factories, because they should ideally be eaten absolutely fresh, within hours of manufacture. They have about the same firmness as cheese, but have a springy or rubbery texture. They are usually orange in color.  They are little nubs of cheese, roughly the size of peanuts, which, if very fresh, squeak when you bite down on them. The "squeak" is a very high-pitched sound. Unlike aged cheese, curds lose their desirable qualities if refrigerated or if not eaten with a few days. The squeak disappears, and they turn dry and salty. If you find them in supermarkets, they are probably a few weeks old and inedible. Cheese curds have become so popular that many Wisconsin cheese factories make the curds daily to meet the demand of cheese curd lovers.

Wisconsin is the leading producer of cheese in the United States, with much of Wisconsin's cheese made at small, family-owned and operated cheese factories. Cheese making began in Wisconsin around 1840, when word of Wisconsin's rich farmland spread throughout Europe and the United States. Settlers from the eastern dairy states of New York and Ohio, as well as immigrants from Switzerland, Germany, and other countries in Europe, brought their traditions of cheese making and secret recipes to Wisconsin. By 1922, there were more than 2,800 cheese factories in the state. Wisconsin produces over 2 billion pounds of cheese per year, and its cheese is considered among the best in the world.

Quebec, Canada, has their own popular way of eating cheese curds called Poutine. Poutine is a French-Canadian recipe in which French fries are topped with cheese curds and gravy. Other ways of eating cheese curds is by sprinkling them with different seasonings such as  garlic, jalapeno, Cajun, chipotle, pesto, paprika, pepper and then serving and eating them like potato chips. Some people even eat them with ketchup, just like you would French fries.

Deep Fried Cheese Curds

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten  
1/2 cup milk
1 pound cheese curds
1 quart oil for frying

1.     In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the eggs and milk. Mix until smooth. Add more milk for a thinner batter. Coat the cheese curds with the batter.
2.     Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Fry the coated cheese curds approximately 1 minute each, until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

Nutrition Amount Per Serving

Servings Per Recipe: 24
Calories: 136
    Total Fat: 10.5g
    Cholesterol: 38mg
    Sodium: 196mg
    Total Carbs: 4.5g
        Dietary Fiber: 0.1g
    Protein: 5.9g

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

2 Hot Dogs, 2 Buns, Mustard, and Chili Beans My Way!

Dinner Tonight: Hot Dogs w/ Kicked Up Chili Beans

With the big feast day coming up tomorrow I wanted something easy to fix and not to heavy. I went with Ball Park Smoked White Turkey Franks, love these dogs! Great tasting and only 45 calories and 5 carbs per Frank. Served them on Healthy Life Whole Grain Buns and topped with French's Mustard. For the Beans I used Joan of Arc Spicy Chili Beans and added Jack Daniel’s BBQ Sauce, Crumbled Turkey Bacon Bits, Splenda Brown Sugar, and a few dashes of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce. I left the recipe at the end of the post. For dessert/snack later? What ever sounds good later!


1 Can Spicy Chili Beans, Brand your choice. I use Joan of Arc
3 Pieces Crumbled Turkey Bacon. You can use Turkey or Pork Bacon Crumbles
4 Shakes Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
1/2 Cup Jack Daniel’s Honey Smokehouse BBQ Sauce
1/2 Tablespoon Splenda Brown Sugar


Empty can of Beans into a medium sauce pan
Add Turkey Crumbles, Brown Sugar, Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, Honey BBQ Sauce, stir and mix.
Heat until desired temperature, and serve

ThoseTurkey Lefovers

Most all of us will end up with leftover Turkey so here are 3 quick tasty leftover ideas. Listed on several sites I went with

#1) Turkey Taco Salad

Make this favorite more healthful by topping whole grain chips with lettuce, corn, lean turkey, salsa, and reduced-fat cheese.

Servings: 1 (about 3 cups)
Carb per serving: 32 grams
Start to finish: 10 minutes

    1 ounce small round tortilla chips (about 24 chips) (such as Tostitos Bite Size Naturally Made with Whole Grains)
    2 cups torn romaine lettuce
    1/4 cup frozen corn, thawed
    3 ounces shredded cooked turkey or chicken breast meat
    2 tablespoons low-sodium salsa (such as Newman's Own)
    3 tablespoons shredded reduced-fat Mexican-style cheese blend (such as Sargento)

1. Place chips on a plate. Top with lettuce, corn, turkey, salsa, and cheese.

TIP: Use frozen corn so you can thaw only what you need and save on sodium, too.

PER SERVING: 379 cal., 12 g total fat (3 g sat. fat), 86 mg chol., 379 mg sodium, 32 g carb. (5 g fiber, 3 g sugars), 35 g pro.
Exchanges: 2 starch, 4 lean meat, 1 fat.

#2) Turkey Bagel Melt

For a quick lunch, try this open-face sandwich. Add a little mustard for a flavor boost that has only about 1 gram of carb per teaspoon.

Servings: 1
Carb per serving: 33 grams
Start to finish: 10 minutes

    1/2 Thomas 100% Whole Wheat Bagel Thin
    1/2 cup baby spinach leaves
    3 ounces sliced cooked turkey or chicken breast meat
    1 piece Weight Watchers reduced-fat Colby jack presliced cheese
    2 thinly sliced apple rounds

1. Preheat broiler. On bagel thin half layer spinach leaves, turkey, cheese, and apple rounds.
2. Broil for 2 minutes.

PER SERVING: 242 cal., 5 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 67 mg chol., 484 mg sodium, 18 g carb. (5 g fiber, 5 g sugars), 32 g pro.
Exchanges: 1 starch, 1 veg, 3.5 lean meat.

#3) Quick Chili Bowl

Stir up a delicious chili in no time by combining leftover turkey, cans of low-sodium kidney beans and diced tomatoes, chopped onion and sweet pepper, and spicy seasonings.

Servings: 4 (about 1-1/3 cups each)
Carb per serving: 34 grams
Start to finish: 40 minutes

    2 14.5-ounce cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
    1 can reduced-sodium dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed (such as Bush's)
    8 ounces chopped cooked turkey or chicken breast meat
    1/2 cup chopped green sweet pepper
    1/2 cup chopped red onion
    1 tablespoon chili powder
    1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1. In a large pot combine tomatoes, beans, turkey, green pepper, onion, chili powder, cumin, salt, and black pepper.
2. Bring chili to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to a simmer; cook 20 to 30 minutes.

PER SERVING: 240 cal., 0.5 g total fat (0 g sat. fat), 47 mg chol., 335 mg sodium, 34 g carb. (11 g fiber, 9 g sugars), 25 g pro.
Exchanges: 2 vegetable, 1.5 starch, 2 lean meat.

Yumm Mushrooms!

A little background on one of my favorite foods, Mushrooms! 

A mushroom is the fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting body of a fungus, typically produced above ground on soil or on its food source. The standard for the name "mushroom" is the cultivated white button mushroom, Agaricus bisporus; hence the word "mushroom" is most often applied to those fungi (Basidiomycota, Agaricomycetes) that have a stem (stipe), a cap (pileus), and gills (lamellae, sing. lamella) or pores on the underside of the cap.

"Mushroom" describes a variety of gilled fungi, with or without stems, and the term is used even more generally, to describe both the fleshy fruiting bodies of some Ascomycota and the woody or leathery fruiting bodies of some Basidiomycota, depending upon the context of the word.

Forms deviating from the standard morphology usually have more specific names, such as "puffball", "stinkhorn", and "morel", and gilled mushrooms themselves are often called "agarics" in reference to their similarity to Agaricus or their place Agaricales. By extension, the term "mushroom" can also designate the entire fungus when in culture; the thallus (called a mycelium) of species forming the fruiting bodies called mushrooms; or the species itself.

Typical mushrooms are the fruit bodies of members of the order Agaricales, whose type genus is Agaricus and type species is the field mushroom, Agaricus campestris. However, in modern molecularly-defined classifications, not all members of the order Agaricales produce mushroom fruit bodies, and many other gilled fungi, collectively called mushrooms, occur in other orders of the class Agaricomycetes. For example, chanterelles are in the Cantharellales, false chanterelles like Gomphus are in the Gomphales, milk mushrooms (Lactarius) and russulas (Russula) as well as Lentinellus are in the Russulales, while the tough leathery genera Lentinus and Panus are among the Polyporales, but Neolentinus is in the Gloeophyllales, and the little pin-mushroom genus, Rickenella, along with similar genera, are in the Hymenochaetales.

Within the main body of mushrooms, in the Agaricales, are common fungi like the common fairy-ring mushroom (Marasmius oreades), shiitake, enoki, oyster mushrooms, fly agarics, and other amanitas, magic mushrooms like species of Psilocybe, paddy straw mushrooms, shaggy manes, etc.

An atypical mushroom is the lobster mushroom, which is a deformed, cooked-lobster-colored parasitized fruitbody of a Russula or Lactarius, colored and deformed by the mycoparasitic Ascomycete Hypomyces lactifluorum.

Other mushrooms are not gilled and then the term "mushroom" is loosely used, so it is difficult to give a full account of their classifications. Some have pores underneath (and are usually called boletes), others have spines, such as the hedgehog mushroom and other tooth fungi, and so on. "Mushroom" has been used for polypores, puffballs, jelly fungi, coral fungi, bracket fungi, stinkhorns, and cup fungi. Thus, the term is more one of common application to macroscopic fungal fruiting bodies than one having precise taxonomic meaning. There are approximately 14,000 described species of mushrooms.

Many species of mushrooms seemingly appear overnight, growing or expanding rapidly. This phenomenon is the source of several common expressions in the English language including "to mushroom" or "mushrooming" (expanding rapidly in size or scope) and "to pop up like a mushroom" (to appear unexpectedly and quickly). In reality all species of mushrooms take several days to form primordial mushroom fruit bodies, though they do expand rapidly by the absorption of fluids.

The cultivated mushroom as well as the common field mushroom initially form a minute fruiting body, referred to as the pin stage because of their small size. Slightly expanded they are called buttons, once again because of the relative size and shape. Once such stages are formed, the mushroom can rapidly pull in water from its mycelium and expand, mainly by inflating preformed cells that took several days to form in the primordia.

Similarly, there are even more ephemeral mushrooms, like Parasola plicatilis (formerly Coprinus plicatlis), that literally appear overnight and may disappear by late afternoon on a hot day after rainfall. The primordia form at ground level in lawns in humid spaces under the thatch and after heavy rainfall or in dewy conditions balloon to full size in a few hours, release spores, and then collapse. They "mushroom" to full size.

Not all mushrooms expand overnight; some grow very slowly and add tissue to their fruitbodies by growing from the edges of the colony or by inserting hyphae. For example Pleurotus nebrodensis grows slowly, and because of this combined with human collection, it is now critically endangered.
Yellow, flower pot mushrooms (Leucocoprinus birnbaumii) at various states of development

Though mushroom fruiting bodies are short-lived, the underlying mycelium can itself be long-lived and massive. A colony of Armillaria solidipes (formerly known as Armillaria ostoyae) in Malheur National Forest in the United States is estimated to be 2,400 years old, possibly older, and spans an estimated 2,200 acres. Most of the fungus is underground and in decaying wood or dying tree roots in the form of white mycelia combined with black shoelace-like rhizomorphs that bridge colonized separated woody substrates.

Mushrooms are a low-calorie food usually eaten raw or cooked to provide garnish to a meal. Raw dietary mushrooms are a good source of B vitamins, such as riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic acid, and the essential minerals selenium, copper and potassium. Fat, carbohydrate and calorie content are low, with absence of vitamin C and sodium.

When exposed to ultraviolet light, natural ergosterols in mushrooms produce vitamin D2, a process now exploited for the functional food retail market.

Known as the meat of the vegetable world, edible mushrooms are used extensively in cooking, in many cuisines (notably Chinese, Korean, European, and Japanese).

Most mushrooms that are sold in supermarkets have been commercially grown on mushroom farms. The most popular of these, Agaricus bisporus, is considered safe for most people to eat because it is grown in controlled, sterilized environments. Several varieties of A. bisporus are grown commercially, including whites, crimini, and portobello. Other cultivated species now available at many grocers include shiitake, maitake or hen-of-the-woods, oyster, and enoki. In recent years increasing affluence in developing countries has led to a considerable growth in interest in mushroom cultivation, which is now seen as a potentially important economic activity for small farmers.
Mushroom and Truffle output in 2005

There are a number of species of mushroom that are poisonous and, although some resemble certain edible species, consuming them could be fatal. Eating mushrooms gathered in the wild is risky and should not be undertaken by individuals not knowledgeable in mushroom identification, unless the individuals limit themselves to a relatively small number of good edible species that are visually distinctive. A. bisporus contains carcinogens called hydrazines, the most abundant of which is agaritine. However, the carcinogens are destroyed by moderate heat when cooking.

More generally, and particularly with gilled mushrooms, separating edible from poisonous species requires meticulous attention to detail; there is no single trait by which all toxic mushrooms can be identified, nor one by which all edible mushrooms can be identified. Additionally, even edible mushrooms may produce an allergic reaction in susceptible individuals, from a mild asthmatic response to severe anaphylactic shock.

People who collect mushrooms for consumption are known as mycophagists, and the act of collecting them for such is known as mushroom hunting, or simply "mushrooming".

China is the world's largest edible mushroom producer. The country produces about half of all cultivated mushrooms, and around 6.0 lb of mushrooms are consumed per person per year by over a billion people.

Medicinal mushrooms are mushrooms or extracts from mushrooms that are used or studied as possible treatments for diseases. Some mushroom materials, including polysaccharides, glycoproteins and proteoglycans, modulate immune system responses and inhibit tumor growth. Some medicinal mushroom isolates that have been identified also show cardiovascular, antiviral, antibacterial, antiparasitic, anti-inflammatory, and antidiabetic properties. Currently, several extracts have widespread use in Japan, Korea and China, as adjuncts to radiation treatments and chemotherapy.

Historically, mushrooms have long had medicinal uses, especially in traditional Chinese medicine. Mushrooms have been a subject of modern medical research since the 1960s, where most modern medical studies concern the use of mushroom extracts, rather than whole mushrooms. Only a few specific mushroom extracts have been extensively tested for efficacy. Polysaccharide-K and lentinan are among the mushroom extracts with the firmest evidence. The available results for most other extracts are based on in vitro data, effects on isolated cells in a lab dish, animal models like mice, or underpowered clinical human trials. Studies show that glucan-containing mushroom extracts primarily change the function of the innate and adaptive immune systems, functioning as bioresponse modulators, rather than by directly killing bacteria, viruses, or cancer cells as cytocidal agents. In some countries, extracts like polysaccharide-K, schizophyllan, polysaccharide peptide, and lentinan are government-registered adjuvant cancer therapies.

The Amanita Mushroom

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

An optimist is a person who starts a new diet on Thanksgiving Day!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Baked Pork Chop w/ Green Beans, Au Gratin Potatoes, and...

Dinner Tonight: Baked Pork Chop w/ Green Beans, Au Gratin Potatoes, and French Bread

For dinner tonight I had a large Center Cut Pork Loin Chop that I marinated it in J B’s Fat Boy’s Haugwash Barbcue Sauce and refrigerated it for 2 hours. I removed the chop from the fridge and shook off any excess of the sauce and then seasoned it with McCormick Grinder Sea Salt and Grinder Black Peppercorn and then applied a light rub of McCormick Grillmate’s Applewood Rub. I then pan fried the Chops browning both sides then baked the Chops at 350 degrees for 30 minutes and then flipping the Chops over and baking another 30 minutes or until temperature reads 165 degrees. I love these Big Chops moist and tender with some great leftovers!

The sides were the Au Gratin Potatoes I had leftover from last night, Green Beans, and Pillsbury Rustic French Bread. For dessert later tonight a slice of Nut Quick Bread topped with Cool Whip Free.

Bigelow Tea Cooks Up a Storm With Recipes Inspired by a "Secret" Ingredient -- Tea

FAIRFIELD, CT--(Marketwire -11/22/11)- Delicious, easy to make recipes are alive and well on the Bigelow Tea website. Our recipe vault is overflowing with mouthwatering concoctions, all of which contain a special ingredient -- Bigelow tea! From roasted chicken with constant comment® glaze to miniature vegetable quiches to orange spice carrot cake cupcakes and individual fudgy brownies, adding tea to your recipes increases flavor without calories and offers a new twist to your holiday cooking.

Ask our fifteen finalists including the grand prize winner of the Bigelow Tea recipe contest and they will say the same thing: cooking with tea is both fun and exciting. The winner, Diane Halferty, used Bigelow's mint flavor tea to make this White Chocolate Mint Mousse Tea Cups recipe into an absolutely delightful treat that can be used for the holidays and beyond. "We received so many wonderfully creative recipe submissions for amazing Bigelow tea-inspired treats -- from a Crème Brülée featuring our signature tea, 'Constant Comment'® to Lemon Lift® Infused Chicken, Pumpkin Chai Panna Cotta and more," said Cindi Bigelow, President of Bigelow Tea.

To join Cindi herself in her own kitchen, check out our latest video where she showcases three recipes made from "Constant Comment"® (tea created by her Grandmother, Bigelow Tea founder Ruth Campbell Bigelow). "Constant Comment® Carrot Cake Cupcakes are my special indulgence," enthused Cindi. "They're especially great when accompanied by a cup of your favorite Bigelow Tea!"

About Bigelow Tea Company
100% family owned Fairfield, Connecticut-based Bigelow Tea pioneered the specialty tea category over 65 years ago. Bigelow takes pride in its heritage and successful growth from a one-product, entrepreneurial venture into America's leading specialty tea company. The BigelowTea line includes more than 120 varieties of flavored, traditional, green tea, organic, herbal, decaffeinated tea and iced teas -- including America's number one specialty tea, "Constant Comment"®. Also, enjoy Bigelow's Charleston Tea Plantation located on Wadmalaw Island, just south of Charleston, South Carolina produces a full line of American-grown teas known as American Classic Tea.

Bigelow Tea products are available nationwide and every variety can be found on the company website ( Tea lovers will also enjoy the company's Tea Talk blog, Facebook page and YouTube profile.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fried Walleye Fillet w/ Au Gratin Potatoes, Grilled Asparagus, and..

Dinner Tonight: Fried Walleye Fillet w/ Au Gratin Potatoes, Grilled Asparagus, and Whole Grain Bread

I had one the best tasting Walleye fillets I've had in a long time. I purchased it from Meijer the other day along with a couple of Rainbow Trout fillets. I rolled the fillet in a Whole Wheat Flour and Italian Bread Crumb mix. I seasoned it with McCormick Grinder Sea Salt and Grinder Black Peppercorn. I fried it on Medium Low heat in a 1/2 tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil about 4 minutes per side and it turned out golden brown and delicious!

As sides I had Grilled Asparagus Spears and Idahoan Potatoes Au Gratin.I love Idahoan Potatoes Au Gratin! They are a breeze to fix and turn out perfect! The box contains your Potatoes and Sauce. You just add Water, 3/4 Cup 2% Milk and 1 1/2 Tablespoon of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. You can either bake it or cook it on stove top. I baked mine to give it a Golden Browning. Baked it for 25 minutes at 450 degrees. They are 160 Calories and 20 carbs as fixed by the directions but I substituted the Milk for 2% Milk and Butter with the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter to cut back on both the calories and carbs. Along with the Asparagus and Potatoes I had Healthy Life Whole Grain Bread. For dessert later a Yoplait Delight 100 Calorie Parfait.

Fruit of the Week - Banana

Peeled, whole, and longitudinal section

Banana is the common name for herbaceous plants of the genus Musa and for the fruit they produce. Bananas come in a variety of sizes and colors when ripe, including yellow, purple, and red.

Almost all modern edible parthenocarpic bananas come from the two wild species – Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana. The scientific names of bananas are Musa acuminata, Musa balbisiana or hybrids Musa acuminata × balbisiana, depending on their genomic constitution. The old scientific names Musa sapientum and Musa paradisiaca are no longer used.

Banana is also used to describe Enset and Fe'i bananas, neither of which belong to the aforementioned species. Enset bananas belong to the genus Ensete while the taxonomy of Fe'i-type cultivars is uncertain.

In popular culture and commerce, "banana" usually refers to soft, sweet "dessert" bananas. By contrast, Musa cultivars with firmer, starchier fruit are called plantains or "cooking bananas". The distinction is purely arbitrary and the terms 'plantain' and 'banana' are sometimes interchangeable depending on their usage.

They are native to tropical South and Southeast Asia, and are likely to have been first domesticated in Papua New Guinea. Today, they are cultivated throughout the tropics. They are grown in at least 107 countries, primarily for their fruit, and to a lesser extent to make fiber, banana wine and as ornamental plants.

The banana plant is the largest herbaceous flowering plant. The plants are normally tall and fairly sturdy and are often mistaken for trees, but their main or upright stem is actually a pseudostem that grows 20 to 24.9 ft tall, growing from a corm. Each pseudostem can produce a single bunch of bananas. After fruiting, the pseudostem dies, but offshoots may develop from the base of the plant. Many varieties of bananas are perennial.

Leaves are spirally arranged and may grow 8.9 ft long and 2.0 ft wide. They are easily torn by the wind, resulting in the familiar frond look.

Each pseudostem normally produces a single inflorescence, also known as the banana heart. (More are sometimes produced; an exceptional plant in the Philippines produced five.) The inflorescence contains many bracts (sometimes incorrectly called petals) between rows of flowers. The female flowers (which can develop into fruit) appear in rows further up the stem from the rows of male flowers. The ovary is inferior, meaning that the tiny petals and other flower parts appear at the tip of the ovary.

The banana fruits develop from the banana heart, in a large hanging cluster, made up of tiers (called hands), with up to 20 fruit to a tier. The hanging cluster is known as a bunch, comprising 3–20 tiers, or commercially as a "banana stem", and can weigh from 66–110 lb. In common usage, bunch applies to part of a tier containing 3–10 adjacent fruits.

Individual banana fruits (commonly known as a banana or 'finger') average 0.28 lb, of which approximately 75% is water and 25% dry matter. There is a protective outer layer (a peel or skin) with numerous long, thin strings (the phloem bundles), which run lengthwise between the skin and the edible inner portion. The inner part of the common yellow dessert variety splits easily lengthwise into three sections that correspond to the inner portions of the three carpels.

The fruit has been described as a "leathery berry". In cultivated varieties, the seeds are diminished nearly to non-existence; their remnants are tiny black specks in the interior of the fruit. Bananas grow pointing up, not hanging down.

Bananas are naturally slightly radioactive, more so than most other fruits, because of their high potassium content, and the small amounts of the isotope potassium-40 found in naturally occurring potassium. Proponents of nuclear power sometimes refer to the banana equivalent dose of radiation to support their arguments.

In the 15th and 16th century, Portuguese colonists started banana plantations in the Atlantic Islands, Brazil, and western Africa. North Americans began consuming bananas on a small scale at very high prices shortly after the Civil War, though it was only in the 1880s that it became more widespread. As late as the Victorian Era, bananas were not widely known in Europe, although they were available.[30] Jules Verne introduces bananas to his readers with detailed descriptions in Around the World in Eighty Days (1872).

The earliest modern plantations originated in Jamaica and the related Western Caribbean Zone, including most of Central America. It involved the combination of modern transportation networks of steamships and railroads with the development of refrigeration that allowed bananas to have more time between harvesting and ripening. North America shippers like Lorenzo Dow Baker and Andrew Preston, the founders of the Boston Fruit Company started this process in the 1870s, but railroad builders like Minor C Keith also participated, eventually culminating in the multi-national giant corporations like today's Chiquita Brands International and Dole. These companies were monopolistic, vertically integrated (meaning they controlled growing, processing, shipping and marketing) and usually used political manipulation to build enclave economies (economies that were internally self sufficient, virtually tax exempt, and export oriented that contribute very little to the host economy). Their political maneuvers, which gave rise to the term Banana republic for states like Honduras and Guatemala, included working with local elites and their rivalries to influence politics or playing the international interests of the United States, especially during the Cold War, to keep the political climate favorable to their interests.

The vast majority of the world's bananas today are cultivated for family consumption or for sale on local markets. India is the world leader in this sort of production, but many other Asian and African countries where climate and soil conditions allow cultivation also host large populations of banana growers who sell at least some of their crop.

There are peasant sector banana growers who produce for the world market in the Caribbean, however. The Windward Islands are notable for the growing, largely of Cavendish bananas, for an international market, generally in Europe but also in North America. In the Caribbean, and especially in Dominica where this sort of cultivation is widespread, holdings are in the 1–2 acre range. In many cases the farmer earns additional money from other crops, from engaging in labor outside the farm, and from a share of the earnings of relatives living overseas. This style of cultivation often was popular in the islands as bananas required little labor input and brought welcome extra income. Vulnerability to hurricanes in the northern hemisphere and cyclones in the south destroy crops. After the signing of the NAFTA agreements in the 1990s, however, the tide turned against peasant producers. Their costs of production were relatively high and the ending of favorable tariff and other supports, especially in the European Economic Community, made it difficult for peasant producers to compete with the bananas grown on large plantations by the well capitalized firms like Chiquita and Dole. Not only did the large companies have access to cheap labor in the areas they worked, but they were better able to afford modern agronomic advances such as fertilization. The "dollar banana" produced by these concerns made the profit margins for peasant bananas unsustainable.

Caribbean countries have sought to redress this problem by providing government supported agronomic services and helping to organize producers' cooperatives. They have also been supporters of the Fair Trade movement which seeks to balance the inequities in the world trade in commodities.

Export bananas are picked green, and ripen in special rooms upon arrival in the destination country. These rooms are air-tight and filled with ethylene gas to induce ripening. The vivid yellow color normally associated with supermarket bananas is in fact a side effect of the artificial ripening process. Flavor and texture are also affected by ripening temperature. Bananas are refrigerated to between 56 and 59 °F during transport. At lower temperatures, ripening permanently stalls, and turns the bananas gray as cell walls break down. The skin of ripe bananas quickly blackens in the 39 °F environment of a domestic refrigerator, although the fruit inside remains unaffected.

"Tree-ripened" Cavendish bananas have a greenish-yellow appearance which changes to a brownish-yellow as they ripen further. Although both flavor and texture of tree-ripened bananas is generally regarded as superior to any type of green-picked fruit, this reduces shelf life to only 7–10 days.

Bananas can be ordered by the retailer "ungassed", and may show up at the supermarket fully green. "Guineo Verde", or green bananas that have not been gassed will never fully ripen before becoming rotten. Instead of fresh eating, these bananas are best suited to cooking, as seen in Mexican culinary dishes.

A 2008 study reported that ripe bananas fluoresce when exposed to ultraviolet light. This property is attributed to the degradation of chlorophyll leading to the accumulation of a fluorescent product in the skin of the fruit. The chlorophyll breakdown product is stabilized by a propionate ester group. Banana-plant leaves also fluoresce in the same way. Green bananas do not fluoresce. The study suggested that this allows animals which can see light in the ultraviolet spectrum (tetrachromats and pentachromats) to more easily detect ripened bananas.

Bananas are a staple starch for many tropical populations. Depending upon cultivar and ripeness, the flesh can vary in taste from starchy to sweet, and texture from firm to mushy. Both skin and inner part can be eaten raw or cooked. Bananas' flavor is due, amongst other chemicals, to isoamyl acetate which is one of the main constituents of banana oil.

During the ripening process, bananas produce a plant hormone called ethylene, which indirectly affects the flavor. Among other things, ethylene stimulates the formation of amylase, an enzyme that breaks down starch into sugar, influencing the taste of bananas. The greener, less ripe bananas contain higher levels of starch and, consequently, have a "starchier" taste. On the other hand, yellow bananas taste sweeter due to higher sugar concentrations. Furthermore, ethylene signals the production of pectinase, an enzyme which breaks down the pectin between the cells of the banana, causing the banana to soften as it ripens.

Bananas are eaten deep fried, baked in their skin in a split bamboo, or steamed in glutinous rice wrapped in a banana leaf. Bananas can be made into jam. Banana pancakes are popular amongst backpackers and other travelers in South Asia and Southeast Asia. This has elicited the expression Banana Pancake Trail for those places in Asia that cater to this group of travelers. Banana chips are a snack produced from sliced dehydrated or fried banana or plantain, which have a dark brown color and an intense banana taste. Dried bananas are also ground to make banana flour. Extracting juice is difficult, because when a banana is compressed, it simply turns to pulp. Bananas feature prominently in Philippine cuisine, being part of traditional dishes and desserts like maruya, turrón, and halo-halo. Most of these dishes use the Saba or Cardaba banana cultivar. Pisang goreng, bananas fried with batter similar to the Filipino maruya, is a popular dessert in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. A similar dish is known in the United States as banana fritters.

Plantains are used in various stews and curries or cooked, baked or mashed in much the same way as potatoes.

Seeded bananas (Musa balbisiana), one of the forerunners of the common domesticated banana, are sold in markets in Indonesia.

Bananas are an excellent source of vitamin B6 and contain moderate amounts of vitamin C, manganese and potassium.

Along with other fruits and vegetables, consumption of bananas may be associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer and in women, breast cancer and renal cell carcinoma.

Banana ingestion may affect dopamine production in people deficient in the amino acid tyrosine, a dopamine precursor present in bananas.

In India, juice is extracted from the corm and used as a home remedy for jaundice, sometimes with the addition of honey, and for kidney stones.

Individuals with a latex allergy may experience a reaction to bananas.

A banana tree on Banana Island in Luxor, Egypt.

Banana Bread

Banana Bread

Prep Time: 15 Minutes


    2-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    2/3 cup honey-crunch wheat germ
    1/4 teaspoon baking Soda
    1/2 cup rolled oats, uncooked
    1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup egg substitute, thawed
    1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1-1/2 sticks margarine
    1-1/2 cup mashed bananas
    6 ounce can frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed


    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    Grease 9"x5" loaf pan.
    In large bowl, mix first 7 ingredients.
    With pastry blender, cut in magarine until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
    Stir in bananas, undiluted apple-juice concentrate, egg substitute, walnuts, and vanilla just until flour is moistened.
    Spoon batter into pan.
    Bake 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of bread comes out clean.
    Cool bread in pan on wire rack 10 minutes; remove from pan and cool slightly.
    Serve warm, or cool completely to serve later.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving)
Calories:    180
Sodium:     135 mg
Fat:     5 g
Carbohydrates:     15 g
Exchanges:     1 Bread; 1 Fruit; 1 Fat

Source: The Diabetic Newsletter

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Bison, Bacon, 'Shroom Burger w/ Mushrooms and Brown Rice

Dinner Tonight: Bison Bacon 'Shroom Burger w/ Mushrooms and Brown Rice

I had a Bison Ground Sirloin Burger along with Mushrooms and Brown Rice. I seasoned the Bison with McCormick Grinder Steakhouse Seasoning. I then fried it in Extra Virgin Olive Oil about 4 minutes per side. I topped it with a slice of Turkey Bacon, that I had leftover from Breakfast, and Sauteed Mushrooms. Served it on an Healthy Life Whole Grain Bun.

As a side I had Mushrooms and Brown Rice. I used a package of pre - sliced Mushrooms Trio. Got it from Meijer and it contained slices of Shiitake, Oyster, and Mini Bella Mushrooms. I seasoned them with Ground Smoked Cumin, Ground Thyme, Parsley, Sea Salt, and Ground Black Pepper and sauteed then in Extra Virgin Olive Oil. As I started to saute the Mushrooms I microwaved a cup of Uncle Ben's Whole Grain Brown Rice. I sauteed the Mushrooms for 4 minutes and midway through I added my Brown Rice. Mixed well and served. I love Mushrooms as you can see! For dessert/snack later a 100 Calorie Mini Bag of Jolly Time Pop Corn.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Roast Beef Sandwich w/ Tomato Soup and Oyster Crackers

Dinner Tonight: Roast Beef Sandwich w/ Tomato Soup and Oyster Crackers

Sandwich and Soup! Light, Simple, and Delicious. I used Boars Head Rare Roast Beef that was sliced thin topped with Kraft Reduced Fat Mayo w/ Olive Oil and Sargento Reduced Fat Colby/Jack Cheese. I served it on Healthy Life Whole Grain Bread. Along with the Sandwich I had Campbell's Creamy Tomato Soup with Skyline Oyster Crackers. Sandwich, Soup, and Crackers just under 400 calories, which you could even lower by not adding the Oyster Crackers. For dessert later a slice of Pillsbury Nut Quick Bread, that I made yesterday, topped with a scoop of Breyer's Carb Smart Vanilla Ice Cream.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Bison Sirloin Steak w/ Sliced Portabella Mushrooms, Grilled Potato Slices, and...

Today's Menu:  Bison Sirloin Steak w/ Sliced Portabella Mushrooms, Grilled Potato Slices, and Whole Grain Bread

Had a beautiful Bison Sirloin Steak for dinner. Cooked about 4 1/2 minutes per side and seasoned with McCormick Grinder Steakhouse Seasoning. Came out juicy and delicious! For sides I had Meijer Grilled Potato Slices w/ Cheese and Herb Seasoning and Portabella Mushroom Slices. The slices were of an extra large Portabella Mushroom that I seasoned with Ground Smoked Cumin, Parsley, Sea Salt, and Ground Pepper. I lightly sauteed them in Extra Virgin Olive Oil. If you like Potatoes the Meijer Grilled Potatoes are a great alternative to fresh Potatoes. They come frozen and are already Seasoned. You can Stir Fry them for 5 minutes, which is how I always prepare them, or you can warm them up by microwave. Plus the thing I like, along with the taste, is they are only 80 calories and 11 carbs! For dessert something new, Pillsbury Nut Quick Bread. I had a slice of that topped with a scoop of Breyer's Carb Smart Vanilla Ice Cream, too good!   

It's About the Beans!

A couple of Bean recipes to pass along, thanks for sharing them Katie! I passed along the web site where she found them also,

 Black Bean Burgers

Wholesome, tasty black bean burgers served with a cilantro 'mayonnaise'.

3 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained
2 1/2 cups uncooked quick-cooking oats
1 medium-size sweet onion, diced
1 (4.5-ounce) can diced green chiles, drained
1/2 cup egg substitute
1 cup ketchup
3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white cornmeal
2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
12 hamburger buns
Cilantro Mayonnaise (recipe follows)
Toppings: lettuce leaves, tomato slices

    Mash beans coarsely with a potato masher in a large bowl. Stir in oats and next 6 ingredients.
    Cover and chill 1 hour. Shape mixture into 12 patties.
    Stir together flour and cornmeal; dredge patties in mixture.
    Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook patties in batches 6 minutes on each side, adding additional oil as needed. Serve on hamburger buns with Cilantro Mayonnaise and desired toppings.

Makes 12 servings.

Note: Uncooked patties may be frozen. Thaw in refrigerator, and cook as directed. Freeze cooked patties up to 1 month. To reheat, bake in a shallow pan at 350°F (175°C) for 25 to 30 minutes.

Cilantro Mayonnaise:
1/3 cup egg substitute
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

    Process egg substitute, dry mustard, vinegar, and 1/2 cup oil in a blender just until combined. With blender on high, add remaining 1/2 cup oil in a slow, steady stream.
    Stir in chopped fresh cilantro.

Makes 1 1/4 cups.

Note: Mayonnaise may be covered and stored in refrigerator up to 1 week.

 Herbed Bean and Sweet Potato Hash

This colorful vegetarian hash, bursting with loads of flavor, can be served anytime of the day, with or without the egg topper!

Herbed Bean and Sweet Potato Hash

1 tablespoon butter or margarine
4 cups peeled cubed sweet potato (1/2-inch cubes)
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh or 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 (15-ounce) can dark red kidney beans, rinsed, drained (1 1/2 cups cooked)
1 (15-ounce) can small red beans, rinsed, drained (1 1/2 cups cooked)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

    Melt butter in a large skillet; add sweet potatoes, bell pepper, onion, garlic, and herbs. Cook, covered, over medium heat until vegetables are tender, 5 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    Mash beans coarsely; stir into vegetable mixture and cook until hot through, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in salt and pepper.

Makes 6 servings (about 1 cup each).

Tip: Top with one poached or sunny-side-up egg.

Nutrient Information Per serving: Calories 250; Fat 3g; % Calories from Fat 10; Potassium; 641mg; Calcium 67mg; Carbohydrate 48g; Folate 96mcg; Sodium 711mg; Protein 10g; Dietary Fiber 13g; Cholesterol 5mg

Recipe provided courtesy of The Bean Education & Awareness Network.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Whole Wheat Ham, Turkey, and Cheese Panini Wraps w/ Crinkle Fries

Dinner Tonight: Whole Wheat Ham, Turkey, and Cheese Panini Wraps w/ Crinkle Fries

Light, simple, and delicious, that was dinner!  I had Whole Wheat Ham, Turkey, and Cheese Panini Wraps. I used Hungry Girl Flatout Flatbread made with 100% Whole Wheat w/ Flax. If you haven't tried these your missing out. Always fresh and only 90 calories and 15 carbs. Using the Flatbread I topped it with Oscar Mayer Carver Board Turkey, Kroger brand Hickory Sliced Ham, and Sargento's Reduced Fat Colby/Jack Cheese. I started using Sargento's recently. It's great tasting Cheese and only 50 calories and 1 carb per slice! After assembling I folded the Wrap making it into a Sandwich and put it in the Panini Press for 4 minutes. It came out toasted and the Cheese just melting, love that Press. For a side I had Ore Ida Crinkle Fries, 1/2 Serving. The picture I'm showing is a full serving of Fries, the meal was for 2. For dessert later a Jello Sugar Free Chocolate Pudding topped with Cool Whip Free Topping, about 80 calories total.   


With Thanksgiving just a week away I thought I would post a little Thanksgiving facts.

Traditional Thanksgiving dinner
Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving Day, celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, has officially been an annual tradition in the United States since 1863, when during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving to be celebrated on Thursday, November 26. As a federal and popular holiday in the U.S., Thanksgiving is one of the "big six" major holidays of the year (along with Christmas, New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day). Together with Christmas and the New Year, Thanksgiving is a part of the broader holiday season.

The event that Americans commonly call the "First Thanksgiving" was celebrated to give thanks to God for guiding them safely to the New World. The first Thanksgiving feast lasted three days, providing enough food for 13 Pilgrims and 90 Native Americans. The feast consisted of fish (cod, eels, and bass) and shellfish (clams, lobster, and mussels), wild fowl (ducks, geese, swans, and turkey), venison, berries and fruit, vegetables (peas, pumpkin, beetroot and possibly, wild or cultivated onion), harvest grains (barley and wheat), and the Three Sisters: beans, dried Indian maize or corn, and squash. The New England colonists were accustomed to regularly celebrating "thanksgivings"—days of prayer thanking God for blessings such as military victory or the end of a drought.

The first documented thanksgiving feasts in territory currently belonging to the United States were conducted by Spaniards in the 16th century. Thanksgiving services were routine in what was to become the Commonwealth of Virginia as early as 1607, with the first permanent settlement of Jamestown, Virginia holding a thanksgiving in 1610.

On December 4, 1619, 38 English settlers arrived at Berkeley Hundred, which comprised about 8,000 acres on the north bank of the James River, near Herring Creek, in an area then known as Charles Cittie, about 20 miles upstream from Jamestown, where the first permanent settlement of the Colony of Virginia had been established on May 14, 1607.

The group's charter required that the day of arrival be observed yearly as a "day of thanksgiving" to God. On that first day, Captain John Woodlief held the service of thanksgiving. As quoted from the section of the Charter of Berkeley Hundred specifying the thanksgiving service: "We ordaine that the day of our ships arrival at the place assigned for plantacon in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually kept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God."

During the Indian massacre of 1622, nine of the settlers at Berkeley Hundreds were killed, as well as about a third of the entire population of the Virginia Colony. The Berkeley Hundred site and other outlying locations were abandoned as the colonists withdrew to Jamestown and other more secure points.

After several years, the site became Berkeley Plantation, and was long the traditional home of the Harrison family, one of the First Families of Virginia. In 1634, it became part of the first eight shires of Virginia, as Charles City County, one of the oldest in the United States, and is located along Virginia State Route 5, which runs parallel to the river's northern borders past sites of many of the James River plantations between the colonial capital city of Williamsburg (now the site of Colonial Williamsburg) and the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia at Richmond.

The modern Thanksgiving holiday traces its origins from a 1621 celebration at the Plymouth Plantation, where the Plymouth settlers held a harvest feast after a successful growing season. This was continued in later years, first as an impromptu religious observance, and later as a civil tradition.

Squanto, a Patuxet Native American who resided with the Wampanoag tribe, taught the Pilgrims how to catch eel and grow corn and served as an interpreter for them (Squanto had learned English while enslaved in Europe and during travels in England). Additionally the Wampanoag leader Massasoit had donated food stores to the fledgling colony during the first winter when supplies brought from England were insufficient. The Pilgrims set apart a day to celebrate at Plymouth immediately after their first harvest, in 1621. At the time, this was not regarded as a Thanksgiving observance; harvest festivals existed in English and Wampanoag tradition alike. Several colonists gave personal accounts of the 1621 feast in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The Pilgrims, most of whom were Separatists, are not to be confused with Puritans who established their own Massachusetts Bay Colony nearby (current day Boston) in 1628 and had very different religious beliefs.

U.S. tradition compares the holiday with a meal held in 1621 by the Wampanoag and the Pilgrims who settled in Plymouth, Massachusetts. It is continued in modern times with the Thanksgiving dinner, traditionally featuring turkey, playing a central role in the celebration of Thanksgiving.

In the United States, certain kinds of food are traditionally served at Thanksgiving meals. Firstly, baked or roasted turkey is usually the featured item on any Thanksgiving feast table (so much so that Thanksgiving is sometimes referred to as "Turkey Day"). Stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, sweet corn, various fall vegetables (mainly various kinds of squashes), and pumpkin pie are commonly associated with Thanksgiving dinner. All of these are actually native to the Americas or were introduced as a new food source to the Europeans when they arrived. Turkey may be an exception. In his book Mayflower, Nathaniel Philbrick suggests that the Pilgrims might already have been familiar with turkey in England, even though the bird is native to the Americas. The Spaniards had brought domesticated turkeys back from Central America in the early 1600s, and the birds soon became popular fare all over Europe, including England, where turkey (as an alternative to the traditional goose) became a "fixture at English Christmases".

The less fortunate are often provided with food at Thanksgiving time. Most communities have annual food drives that collect non-perishable packaged and canned foods, and corporations sponsor charitable distributions of staple foods and Thanksgiving dinners.

On October 6, 1941, both houses of the U.S. Congress passed a joint resolution fixing the traditional last-Thursday date for the holiday beginning in 1942. However, in December of that year the Senate passed an amendment to the resolution that split the difference by requiring that Thanksgiving be observed annually on the fourth Thursday of November, which was sometimes the last Thursday and sometimes (less frequently) the next to last. On December 26, 1941 President Roosevelt signed this bill, for the first time making the date of Thanksgiving a matter of federal law. However, for several years some states continued to observe the last-Thursday date in years with five November Thursdays, with Texas doing so as late as 1956.

Since 1947, the National Turkey Federation has presented the President of the United States with one live turkey and two dressed turkeys, in a ceremony known as the National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation. In a tradition that began as a one-off joke by Ronald Reagan in 1987 and made permanent by George H. W. Bush in 1989, the live turkey is "pardoned" and lives out the rest of its days on a nearby peaceful farm. There are legends that state that the "pardoning" tradition dates to the Harry Truman administration or even to an anecdote of Abraham Lincoln pardoning his son's pet turkey; both stories have been quoted in more recent presidential speeches, but neither has any evidence in the Presidential record.[30] In more recent years, two turkeys have been pardoned, in case the original turkey becomes unavailable for presidential pardoning.

The foods included in the first Thanksgiving meal were very different than what is typically served today at a traditional Thanksgiving feast. The First Thanksgiving meal included:

    Duck, Geese and Swan
    Fish, Lobster, Mussels, Eel and Clams
    Squash and Corn
    Red and white grapes
    Red and black plums
    Dried fruit

The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth By Jennie A. Brownscombe (1914)