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Mary’s Memo – January 27th

YEAR OF THE HORSE


The 2014 Chinese New Year begins on January 31. It is the day Chinese throughout the world look forward to good luck, health and prosperity and meals shared with family and friends are an important part of the celebration. We’re celebrating the Chinese New Year of the Horse with a recipe from my food friend on Hilton Head Island, SC, Sally Kerr-Dineen, for Sesame Snap Peas with Carrots and Peppers. What’s not to like about such a healthy combination with maximum eye appeal! We see it becoming a year-round side dish.

SESAME SNAP PEAS WITH CARROTS AND PEPPERS


• 8 ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed (about 2 cups)
• 1 small red bell pepper, cut into strips (about 1 cup)
• 1 large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
• 1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
• 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
• 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
• Freshly ground pepper to taste

Place peas, bell pepper and carrot in a steamer basket over 2 inches of boiling water. Cover and steam, stirring once, until crisp-tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Toss with soy sauce, oil, Sesame seeds and pepper.
Source: Sally Kerr-Dineen, Hilton Head Island, SC.

HAVING TROUBLE OPENING JARS?


If you do, look for OXO’s Goodgrips Jar Opener. Features include a base pad that keeps jar in place, reducing force required to open the jar and sharp stainless steel teeth that grip jar and accommodate all size jar lids. Jar opener is dishwasher safe. Hand wash base pad. Retailing at $11.00, it’s a must-have for those with arthritis.

THE PALEO DIET


For someone in good health and not overweight, Susan B. Roberts, PhD, director of Tufts’ HNRCA Energy Metabolism Laboratory, replies, “We do not recommend the Paleo diet. It has a very strange (non-scientific) view of what Paleolithic man ate, and does not provide a balanced, healthy diet. For somebody who is not overweight, the USDA’s My Plate is good general dietary advice.”
Source: Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, January 2014.

TRADITIONS CONTINUE


One thing that I can count on at daughter Mary Ann’s house is Cheese Bread from my “Bread if Beautiful” recipe sheet eons ago. My holiday breakfast there is orange juice and a ham on cheese bread sandwich. When we’re “snowed in” try your hand at bread making and start with Cheese Bread. The aroma of it baking is guaranteed to lift your spirits.

CHEESE BREAD


• 2 cups milk (whatever kind you use)
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 3 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
• 1 package dry yeast (2-1/4 teaspoons)
• 4-3/4 cups +3 tablespoons unsifted, all-purpose flour

Scald milk; remove from heat and add sugar, salt, butter and cheese. Stir consistently until cheese melts. Cool to 115ºF. Add yeast and half the flour. Knead on floured pastry cloth until smooth and elastic. Cover and let rise until double in bulk; punch down and divide in half. Shape into 2 loaves and place in (2) 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 x 2-1/2-inch loaf pans. Let rise again until double in size. Bake in preheated 350ºF oven for about 45 minutes. If bread starts to brown too much on top, cover loosely with foil the last 20 minutes of baking. Cool on wire rack. Store each loaf in a gallon size freezer bag.

SEASONED OYSTER CRACKERS


Guilty as charged to buttering the crackers that I have with soup but not when they’re seasoned oyster crackers. Nabisco makes the best looking oyster cracker but they usually cost more than other brands. When I was away during the holidays I happened upon the Nabisco brand on sale for $1.69 per bag and naturally I latched on to them and have since made a batch using a recipe Joyce Covert of Bryan gave me years ago.

JOYCE COVERT’S OYSTER CRACKERS


• 2 bags of oyster crackers
• 1 tablespoon dill weed
• 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1 package Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix (I use Penzeys because it doesn’t contain MSG)
• 1/2 cup canola oil

Mix all ingredients together until well mixed. Store in covered container (I keep mine in a plastic freezer bag).
Source: Joyce Covert, Bryan OH.

YOU CAN’T BEAT CHIEF’S SALES!


I only buy Campbell’s Healthy Choice soups for recipes, even though they usually cost quite a bit more than the regular ones do. But during a 10 for 10 sale this month I bought Healthy Choice Cream of Mushroom, Cream of Chicken and Tomato for $1.00 each. With Lent coming, I am not above opening a can of Healthy Choice Tomato and adding one of my frozen pesto cubes to it.

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