Mary’s Memo #2232

     Next Monday, September 26, is National Family Meal
Night. I’m telling you a week ahead so you can make plans now to observe this annual event. I have always emphasized the importance of eating meals together as a family. You may think it’s impossible to do but the rewards are worth the effort for more reasons than one! First, you’ll eat healthier if meals are planned and not eaten on the run. Second, it’s the one time of the day when families can communicate together. Third, it sets a good example for your children to follow when they’re adults. As parents, it is the right thing to do!

Q: What’s the difference between a yam and a sweet potato?

A: Let’s set the record straight. In the US we’re likely to be buying sweet potatoes, not yams, no matter what the sign or can says. Although sweet potatoes and yams are similar, they represent different plant species. Over 150 species of yams are grown in South and Central America, the West Indies and part of Asia and Africa. The sweet potato belongs to the morning
glory family and is native to tropical areas of the Americas including the US. Yams contain more natural sugar and higher moisture content but they’re not as rich in vitamin A and C. That said sweet potatoes can be substituted for yams and vice versa.

     There is an advantage to a refrigerator portfolio because in good times and bad people have to eat and they seem to buy certain foods over and over again. Mitch Schlesinger, CFA, managing director of FBB Capital Partners in Bethesda, MD, says it makes sense, especially in volatile markets, to invest in food company stocks because those companies tend to have stable recurring cash flows, which give them business
stability. Even though store brands are getting more attention, shoppers tend to come back to brand names as soon as they can.
     Thomas Cameron, chairman of Ridgeland, SC based Dividend Growth Advisors, says to choose stocks that have increased their dividend every year for the past 10 years by a minimum average of 10% a year. For example, McCormick, which makes household seasonings and spices that are sold at Chief and Rays, has increased its dividend an average of
more than 13.4% a year for 24 years. If anybody cuts the dividend, it is an immediate sell.
     I love to use my slow cooker. Even when it makes a lot of servings, I freeze leftovers in portions to eat later. Such was the case with Slow Cooker Pepper Steak. The original recipe was made with a piece of sirloin steak cut 2-inches thick. Mother made something similar with round steak but not in a slow cooker. It’s my opinion browning meat before it’s slow cooked seals in the juices. Recipe said to cut meat in serving portions. I prefer it in one piece and cut before serving. Cornstarch was added as a thickening agent but hardly thickened at all so I added Minute Tapioca to one of the containers that I reheated from the freezer and the sauce consistency
was much improved. Since 3 tablespoons soy sauce is used, I omitted 1 teaspoon of salt called for in the recipe. Here’s my revamped version.

2 lbs. beef sirloin cut 2-inches thick (watch for a sales)Garlic powder to taste3 tablespoons canola oil1 teaspoon Better than Bouillon1/4 cup hot water2 tablespoons Minute Tapioca1/2 cup chopped onion2 large green bell peppers, roughly chopped(1) 14.5-ounce can stewed tomatoes with liquid (cut tomatoes up a bit)3 tablespoons soy sauce1 teaspoon granulated sugarRub garlic powder generously on both sides of meat. In a large skillet over medium heat add oil. Brown meat on both sides and add to cooker. In a medium bowl mix bouillon with hot water until dissolved. Stir in onion, bell peppers, stewed tomatoes, soy sauce and sugar. Pour over meat. Cover and cook on high setting for 1 hour; reduce to low setting and cook an additional 7 hours. Cut into 6 pieces and serve sauce
on the side with mashed potatoes. Recipe makes 6 servings
Source: Adapted from recipe on

     Although we have apples throughout the year they do taste best shortly after harvesting. Our family loved chunky applesauce made with apples from a miniature Golden Delicious tree we had for many years. Peel and core apples and cook in just enough water to keep them from sticking. When tender break up apples with a spoon until chunky. Add sugar to taste (but not a lot) and apple pie spice or flavor with cinnamon candies. Download PDF of Memo #2232

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