In case you haven't noticed, there is an additional child in our family photo. I would like you all to meet the newest member of our family. She is the pretty little 7 year old in the purple dress. "Eloise" now has a little sister. We have decided to call her, "Amelia Bedelia".

Monday, September 29, 2008

Pass the staples please.....

...and I'm not talkin about the silver kind you use to hold papers together! I have been mostly shopping the perimeter of the grocery for about 6 years now. We all know that is where the fresh veggies, fruits, meats, dairy, and breads are. I made this lifestyle change when I opened a women's fitness facility. Even though "Katrina" destroyed the gym I still shop this way. I have to admit that it was very difficult for me at first because I had this notion that cooking from scratch was too hard. After working at it for a while it simply became a habit I am now thankful I have. With prices sky-rocketing at the grocery it pays to eliminate purchasing expensive kits & ready made meals, plus it really is liberating to start with a few basic staples and make whatever you want. With things like flour, sugar, eggs, oil, extracts, and spices, you can make a huge assortment of baked goods. Everything from simple breads and biscuits to delicious cakes and cookies. The best part about it is the fact that you know exactly what you are feeding your family. Contrary to popular belief it's not all that difficult either. The picture above is a simple dish I make when I'm pinched for time. I simply place a whole chicken in the crock pot with carrots, potatoes, onions, celery, spices, water, and a little bit of butter. My crock cooks according to time so I set it for 8 hours and let it work it's magic. Delicious, inexpensive, and healthy to boot! So with that I say....Pass the staples please. ;-)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Some Days........

You wish you could just crawl back in bed, pull the covers over your head, and start all over again....LATER. Today wasn't one of those mornings. Today was a much needed breath of fresh air. With hubby working two jobs, myself a full time student with a part time job, and Eloise in violin lessons, drama club, and the honor roll, There isn't a whole lot of spare time.It's a rare occasion that we get to enjoy a lazy Saturday morning.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Days Gone By.....

As I was sitting and reading the paper this morning I was reminded of a recipe I tried to save from a previous paper. I'm not sure what happened to it. My daughter may have turned it into a beautiful work of art or the rabbit might have done her business on it...God only knows in this house. At any rate, the inter net is a wonderful resource. I was able to retrieve it.

My life is very full and hectic so I won't be pretentious..... I often rely on shortcuts like ready-made bread, chopped frozen vegetables, and canned items. Occasionally I manage to squeeze a project in just for the fun of it. I love to attempt making things from "scratch," so I decided that every now and then when I try something that is not so modern, I will post about it. These little bits will be posted under the title, "Days Gone By."

So without further ado......My first "scratch" project will be home-made mayonnaise....here goes...

Mama's Mayonnaise
(The Times Picayune Aug. 7, 2008)
makes a little over a cup
1 Large Egg (from my organic friend Plain Old Kristi)
1 TBS Vinegar or Fresh Lemon Juice
Pinch of Sugar
1C. Vegetable Oil
Salt & Ground pepper to taste
In an electric blender or food processor ( I used my mini-chopper for this small batch,) blend the egg and the vinegar or lemon juice for about 30 seconds.

Add the sugar and then pulse once or twice

With the processor running, slowly pour the oil through the feed tube. The mixture will thicken. Season with salt and pepper and pulse once or twice to blend.

Empty contents into an air tight container and refrigerate for at least 30 min. before using.
**NOTE: Since this is made with raw eggs, it is best to use the mayo within 24 hours (hence the small batch.) Also, be aware that very young children, the elderly, or people with certain medical problems should avoid consuming raw eggs. Be sure to store in AIR TIGHT container.
****My personal note: don't bother tasting it until it has chilled for at least 30 min and all the ingredients have settled. If you do, all you will taste is oil. Later this evening after sampling, I will edit this post and let you know how it tastes on a sandwich. See Ya Later Alligator!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Just when you thought it was safe to be trendy....

As a resident of the south I am often torn between what is healthy and what is not. I have literally grown to love sweet tea, anything battered and deep fried, Lord knows anything smothered in decadent sauces or gravies, and a plethora of other diabetes inducing delicacies. On the other hand having spent almost a decade living on the West Coast I have come to think that any food with more flavor than tofu has to be evil. As a mother I feel that it is my responsibility to ensure that my family is offered well balanced healthy meals that also happen to taste good. While I admit that I hate bean sprouts and the whole thought of a "vegan" diet repulses me, I know that a diet consisting solely of "McAnything" isn't the right path either. In my ever so humble opinion it all boils down to understanding food and how your body processes it. Once you understand you can then make informed choices. It's not enough to think of some foods as bad and others as good. It's not that cut and dry.

Because of my genetic history there are many factors to consider when preparing to feed my clan. My hostess instincts lean toward comfort foods, but my gut reminds me there must be a balance. I have a passion for cooking. Though I have not received any formal training, I love reading cook books and experimenting with new recipes. While I know a lot about food I realize I do not have nearly enough knowledge about nutrition.

So here I am in the middle of a Human Nutrition course at the local college. I am learning so many fascinating things. The one thing that my teacher keeps reiterating is the fact that most claims on packages are misleading(to put it nicely.) The Food Industry finds out when you're on to them so then they change their strategy to keep you buying. We all know that saturated fats( i.e. lard, butter, fat on meat etc...) are bad. The reason they are bad is because your body has a very hard time breaking them up. Because they don't break down easily the food industry loves saturated fats. They have a longer shelf life. Thus allowing them to have less loss which equates to more income.

We weren't fooled. We cried out against the evils of saturated fats. We demanded more plant based oils. The industry responded with buttery spreads that were engineered twins of the evil saturated fats(literally they infused vegetable oils with more hydrogen creating bad oils out of good oils.) Once again we were on to them. We cried out, "No Trans, hydrogenated, or otherwise mutated foods." The industry responded by switching back to regular saturated fats and labeling them with slogans like, "No Trans Fats." They just put a new paint job on our old car and sold it back to us!

I already knew a little bit about all of this , but my most recent discovery brought sadness to my heart. It turns out that one of my favorite natural foods is living a double life." Who is this seemingly innocent culprit?" you might ask. It's the coconut my friends. WAAHHHHH! I love coconut candy, coconut milk, coconut cream pie, coconut curry dishes and on and on. You might be yawning at this point if coconut isn't your thing, but I challenge you to look on labels when you're at the grocery store and see how many items have coconut oil or palm oil as an ingredient.

It seems that for some unknown reason these two plant based oils have the same type of molecular structure that animal fats do. That's right! Not only do they have fats, they have saturated artery clogging fats. In fact coconut oils have more saturated fats/ gram than lard does. Think about that the next time you are piously sipping a coconut smoothie! With that in mind I think I'll grab a spicy McChicken sandwich, small fries, & a cup of water. :-) LOL


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Meet the Amazing Waste Elimination Machine...

Look at that! She's a beauty. With this amazing machine I can turn stale garlic bread into Italian bread crumbs right before your very eyes..........
WOW!!! WOULD YA LOOK AT THAT!!!! Can You Say Stuffed Artichokes? Yes my friends the Amazing Waste Elimination Machine has done it again! For our next demonstration:
Never mind the fact that the picture is sideways just focus on those poor bananas that are in danger of going to waste! Just a few seconds in the Amazing Waste Elimination Machine and PRESTO!

Look folks I didn't believe it either until I bought one and tried it for myself. Feel free to rewind and watch the demo again and remember what your Momma always says, "waste not want not!" Be sure to join me next time for another edition of products you have, but seldom ever use.

buh-bye now ;-p

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Birthday Blessings

Even though the sky is dark & gloomy today my heart is beaming. It's always nice to awaken to roses, breakfast in bed, & the sound of my two favorite people in the world singing Happy Birthday. My hubby also picked out the sweetest card. I love that guy! Well any way as I Was sitting & mulling over all of the latest news I was reminded once again how very blessed I am. P.S. if anyone from another country stumbles across this blog...don't believe all of the rhetoric. America is a great place to live and raise a family and jobs are available if you're willing to work. I am proud & thankful to live in this great country. I have a sneaky suspicion that I'm not the only one who feels this way....just ask the millions of immigrants that have flocked to our shores. SORRY. I got on a rant because I am so sick of the media and all of it's gloom despair & agony! Well I think I have to take a break, smell my birthday roses and think happy thoughts.
;-) God ;-) Family ;-) Friends ;-) My Home ;-)ahh.....I'm getting warm fuzzies again!