Monthly Archives: July 2014

Mini Berry Buckle Cakes

About a month ago, my husband and I went on a quick vacation with my parents. We traveled to Asheville, NC (where we toured the Biltmore House - SO cool!) and then on to Myrtle Beach, SC for a few days before we had to fly back. (My parents got to stay and enjoy the beach for the rest of the week but we had to get back to work!) We decided to fly back from Charleston, mostly because it's one of the best foodie cities in the world. I planned our entire day - donuts at Glazed Gourmet Donuts, a carriage ride, shopping, dinner at Magnolia's, and my favorite part - a cooking class at Charleston Cooks. We learned some great recipes, and today I'm going to share Mini Berry Buckle Cakes!  IMG_7402 I had never even heard of a buckle cake before, can you believe that? It's almost like a cobbler, but the fruit is mixed directly into the batter. This variation is a light fluffy cake with fresh seasonal berries mixed in, topped with a cinnamon-streusel crumb topping. Start by creaming the butter and sugar with a stand or hand mixer. (If you don't have one, do it by hand, you'll just get a great arm workout.) Add the egg and mix until smooth. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk until creamy and smooth. Fold in the berries with a spatula so you don't blend them to smithereens. PicMonkey Collage.jpg Scoop the batter evenly into 12 paper-lined muffin cups. Then it's time to make the streusel! Combine flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Blend in some cold butter using a pastry cutter or your own fingers. (I always just use my fingers... just rub the mixture until the butter is in small pieces about the size of a pea or smaller.) picmomnkey2 Sprinkle the streusel over the batter and you are ready to bake. After a quick trip in a 350*F, your Mini Berry Buckle Cakes are ready to enjoy! Especially delicious when served with additional mixed berries and maybe even some whipped cream. IMG_7400 I will even admit... I have been enjoying the leftovers for breakfast! At least it's got fruit?! IMG_7402

Mini Berry Buckle Cakes

Yield: 12 mini cakes

  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups fresh mixed berries, finely diced
  • Crumble Topping
    • ½ cup brown sugar
    • cup all-purpose flour
    • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
    • ¼ cup unsalted butter

Method

1. Preheat oven to 350*F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners; spray with cooking spray.

2. For cake batter, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg; beat until well-combined. In a small bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add flour mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat until smooth. Fold in berries. Scoop batter evenly into 12 paper-lined cups.

3. For the crumble topping, combine flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Blend in the butter using a pastry cutter, two knives, or your fingers. Sprinkle over each mini buckle cake.

4. Bake at 350*F for 20-24 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm with whipped cream and additional fresh berries.

Source: adapted from Charleston Cooks

Mary’s Memo – July 28th

HOW MUCH IS A SERVING?


Definitions of “servings” or “portions” vary, and the USDA’s MyPlate has switched from recommendations based on daily servings to cups or cup equivalents.

One portion includes:

2 or more small fruit (2 plums, 3 apricots, 7 strawberries, 14 cherries)
1 piece medium-sized fresh fruit, such as apple, banana, pear, orange or nectarine
1/2 grapefruit, 1 slice melon or pineapple
About 1 tablespoon dried fruit, 2 figs, and 3 prunes
2 broccoli spears, 5 asparagus spears, 4 heaped tablespoons of cooked kale, spinach or green beans
3 heaped tablespoons of cooked vegetables, such as carrots, peas or corn, or 8 cauliflower florets
3 sticks of celery, 1 medium tomato or 7 cherry tomatoes
1 cereal bowl of fresh lettuce, spinach, etc.
3 heaped tablespoons of beans or peas; count a maximum 1 portion per day
5-ounce glass of unsweetened 100% fruit or vegetable juice; count a maximum 1 per day
Canned or frozen produce is counted roughly the same as fresh.
Potatoes, yams and plantains don’t count, but are considered as starchy foods.
Source: Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, July 2014.

FORGET ENERGY BARS


They contain no more “energy” than a cup of coffee or tea. Here are tips to help maintain and pace your energy throughout the day: Get a good night’s sleep. Exercise; you will feel more energetic. Sustain nutrition throughout the day. Combine the right carbohydrates with protein. (Try a simple peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread). Get enough magnesium for good muscle and nerve functioning, steady heart rhythm and blood pressure control. Keep hydrated …. even mild dehydration has negative effects on energy levels, mood and clarity; just be aware of your thirst level so you can stay ahead.
Source: Duke Medicine Health News, July 2014.

HEART DISEASE RISK LINKED TO IRON FROM ANIMAL FOODS


Researchers who conducted a review of 21 studies discovered a strong association between “heme” iron (found only in meat) and coronary heart disease (CHD). The researchers found that heme iron consumption increased the risk for CHD by 57 percent, while no association was found between non-heme iron (found in plant and other non-meat sources) and CHD. The researchers speculate that heme iron, which is absorbed much more efficiently than non-heme iron, bypasses the body’s finely tuned iron-regulation system, and ultimately caused inflammation and other damage in the arteries. The study was published March 1, 2014 in the Journal of Nutrition.
Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Women’s Nutrition Connection, July 2014.

FRUSTRATION WITH MSG!


Regular readers are aware of my avoidance of mono sodium glutamate (MSG). My most recent problem was finding a spinach dip without it. I mention this because I have a Three Ingredient Pizza from Sargento that calls for spinach dip. Knowing that the fewer ingredients in a recipe the better you like it, the recipe is being reserved for my annual Christmas sheet. Many companies have removed MSG from their products including McCormick and Lays. I look forward to the day when all food products will be MSG-free!

WILTED KALE WITH BACON AND VINEGAR


Mary Ann made this dish for me when I spent 4th of July weekend with her. Source was www.myrecipes.com. My Recipes is working with Let’s Move, the Partnership for a Healthier America, and USDA’s MyPlate to give anyone looking for healthier options access to a trove of recipes that will help them create healthy, tasty plates. For more information about creating a healthy plate, visit www.choosemyplate.gov.

• 3 center-cut bacon slices
• 3/4 cup vertically sliced red onion
• 8 cups fresh kale, stemmed and chopped
• 2/3 cup unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
• 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
• 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup

Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat until crisp. Remove from pan; crumble. Increase heat to medium. Add onion to drippings in pan; sauté 3 minutes. Add kale; cook for 2 minutes or until kale begins to wilt, stirring occasionally. Add stock; cover and cook 4 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in vinegar and syrup. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon. Recipe makes 4 two-thirds cup servings.
Source: Cooking Light, September 2013.

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Caramelized Peach Caprese Salad

Peaches are perfectly in season right now... I am craving a good slice of peach pie! My mother-in-law makes one with sour cream that is to die for. My other favorite way to enjoy peaches is diced up over the top of a bowl of vanilla Greek yogurt sprinkled with some granola. I thought I'd step out of the typical 'sweet' flavor profile box associated with peaches and take a walk on the savory side. I've combined peaches with gorgonzola before with great success, so I figured mozzarella would have to be good as well! Caramelized Peach Caprese Salad takes sweet, juicy peaches, and layers them with fresh sliced mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil leaves. It's all drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil and just a touch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Such a great combination of textures and flavors - sweet and salty, soft and a little bit of crispy from the snap of the peach skin. This dish makes a great little appetizer or side salad, or a nice light lunch. IMG_7342 Start by caramelizing the peaches. This brings out the sweet flavor, especially if they aren't quite perfectly ripe. (Does anybody else think it's nearly impossible to find a perfectly ripe peach?) Just melt a little butter in a saucepan, sprinkle the peach slices with brown sugar, and cook over medium heat about 3 minutes per side, until juicy and bubbly. IMG_7337 IMG_7338 Then, just layer the peach slices with slices of fresh mozzarella cheese and basil leaves. You can get as creative as you want with the presentation... I went with a classic circle. IMG_7339 Give it a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. It's quite impressive for a dish that comes together so quickly - I think I spent maybe 10 minutes start to finish. Enjoy! IMG_7342 If you're a big caprese fan, be sure to check out this Grilled Steak Caprese Salad... one of my summer favorites!  

Caramelized Peach Caprese Salad

Yield: 1-2 servings (for more servings, simply increase quantities)

  • 2-3 fresh peaches, sliced 1/4-1/2-inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1-2 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 6-oz fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
  • 10-12 fresh basil leaves
  • olive oil, to taste
  • balsamic vinegar, to taste
  • sea salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Method

1. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle peach slices with brown sugar. Caramelize peach slices in butter until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side.

2. On serving plate, layer peach slice, mozzarella, and basil; repeat. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Source: How Sweet It Is

Mary’s Memo – July 21st

NOT ALL WATER COMES FROM THE FAUCET


If these thirsty, sweaty summer days have you worrying whether you’re getting eight glasses of water, as conventional wisdom says you should have, you need to take a closer look at the facts versus the fiction about hydration. “There is little scientific basis for stating a daily requirement for eight glasses of water,” says Irwin H. Rosenberg, MD, University School and editor of the Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, “Actual fluid needs vary widely among individuals, and depend upon body size and energy expenditure through exercise, among other factors.” For most people, according to the Institute of Medicine, “fluid intake, driven by thirst, allows maintenance of hydration status and total body water at normal levels.”Moreover, despite what you may have heard, the water in caffeinated beverages such as coffee and tea does “count” toward keeping you hydrated. So does fluid content of foods which adds up to 22 percent of the average American’s water intake. While you don’t have to worry about “eight glasses a day” rule, as you age you might need to pay extra attention to your body’s hydration needs. Older people often have a reduced sensation of thirst, so it’s easier to miss the warning signs that you’re dehydrating. Older individuals also tend to have lower reserves of fluid in the body and drink insufficient water following fluid deprivation. “Because of their low water reserves,” says Dr. Rosenberg says, “it may be prudent for the elderly to learn to drink regularly when not thirsty and to moderately increase their salt intake and eat foods high in potassium when they sweat.” Recommendations to drink eight glasses of water a day typically overlook the water content of foods, which can be almost as high a percentage as plain water (100%): 90 to 99% …. Fat free milk, cantaloupe, strawberries, watermelon, lettuce, cabbage, celery, pickles and cooked squash 80 to 89% …. Fruit juice, yogurt, apples, grapes, oranges, cooked carrots, cooked broccoli, pears, pineapple 70 to 79% …. Bananas, avocados, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, baked potatoes, cooked corn, shrimp 60 to 69% …. Pasta, legumes, salmon, ice cream, chicken breast 50 to 59% …. Ground beef, hot dogs, feta cheese, cooked tenderloin steak (USDA National Nutrient Database)
Source: Tufts Diet & Nutrition Letter, July, 2014.

RAMBLINGS


Some of you think I am “Mrs. Chief Supermarket” and bring your complaints to me about an array of subjects when Chief actually has a card called “Tell Chief” to fill out and return to the customer service office about what you like or dislike about a product or the store. It’s available on the ad stand (as well as online). I guarantee your complaints are read and appropriate action taken including contacting you personally if necessary. I know this because I had a complaint that was resolved.

It is no secret that my favorite “junk food” is potato chips and I bought Lay’s until daughter Mary Beth gave me an Easter basket this year filled with Dayton area products including Mikesell’s potato chips. With a “buy Ohio” mentality I’ve switched to Mikesell’s and eating their reduced fat ones with 30 percent less fat and lightly salted makes me feel less guilty about indulging.

Don’t stock up on cake mixes just because they’re on sale. They do have an expiration date so buy when you know you’ll be using it soon. This is true of a lot of products. Unless plastics are BPA free, don’t buy them! Also, check to see that they are USA or Canadian-made where plastic standards are higher. That said, never microwave anything in a plastic container. Instead, cook in glass or Corning Ware.

NEVER HAD AN IMPOSSIBLE PIE I DIDN’T LIKE!


Ever since my niece Christine shared Buffalo Chicken Dip with us several years ago I’ve made a salad, soup and now an impossible pie. Feel free to replace regular Bisquick with Heart Smart version.

BUFFALO CHICKEN PIE


• 2 cups cubed rotisserie chicken
• 1/2 cup Frank’s wing sauce
• 1 cup shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese
• 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
• 1 cup chopped celery
• 1 cup Original Bisquick mix (or Heart Smart version)
• 1/2 cup cornmeal mix
• 1/2 cup milk
• 1 egg
• 2/3 cup blue cheese dressing

Heat oven to 400ºF. In large bowl, toss chicken and buffalo wing sauce together. Stir in cheeses and celery. Pour into ungreased 9-inch glass pie plate. In medium bowl mix Bisquick mix, cornmeal, milk and egg. Pour over chicken mixture; spread to cover. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until top is golden brown. Cut into wedges; drizzle with blue cheese dressing. Recipe makes 6 servings.
Source: Adapted from Betty Crocker recipe.

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Mango Fish Tacos

I've been making these fish tacos for years... it's about time to share the recipe! These are certainly a family favorite, and taste especially good during the summer months. On the patio, with an ice-cold drink and a big bowl of guacamole. Mango Fish Tacos are a light and healthy change-up from regular ole' beef tacos. Seasoned white fish is topped with mango salsa, feta, fresh mango, cabbage, and the most addicting cilantro-lime crema. All wrapped up in a tortilla, it's a great combination of textures and flavors that go so well together. IMG_7280 The prep is relatively simple - dicing a mango, mixing up the cilantro-lime crema, and cooking the fish. For the fish, season your favorite mild white fish with chili powder, salt, and pepper. I have used tilapia, mahi mahi, and cod, and all produce delicious results. (Though mahi mahi might be my favorite.) Then, either grill or bake the fish until it flakes easily with a fork, about 8-10 minutes. IMG_7275 IMG_7277 For the cilantro-lime crema, combine a cup of sour cream with some chopped green onion, chopped cilantro, lime juice, chili powder, and salt. You will likely have more than you need for the tacos, but this stuff is absolutely delicious! I love to dip my tortilla chips in it. IMG_7274 For the other toppings, you just need mango salsa (or any fruity salsa), diced mango, feta cheese, cabbage, and cilantro. Then just layer it all up on your favorite tortillas! IMG_7279 It doesn't get any fresher than this!

Mango Fish Tacos

Yield: 4 servings

  • For the tacos
    • 1-lb flaky white fish (mahi mahi, tilapia, or cod)
    • 1-2 teaspoons chili powder
    • to taste salt & pepper
    • 1 mango , diced into small chunks
    • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
    • 1-2 cups cabbage, chopped
    • ½-1 cup mango (or fruity) salsa
    • 1 cup feta cheese
    • cilantro-lime crema
    • 8-12 small tortillas
  • Cilantro-Lime Crema
    • 1 cup sour cream
    • tablespoons lime juice
    • 2-3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
    • 1 green onion , diced
    • ½ teaspoon chili powder
    • salt, to taste

Method

1. To prepare fish, season with chili powder, salt, and pepper. Grill on medium heat or bake at 400*F for 8-10 minutes until fish flakes easily with a fork. Tear the fish into small pieces with a fork and set aside.

2. For the cilantro-lime crema, combine sour cream, lime juice, cilantro, green onion, chili powder, and salt. Set aside.

3. To assemble tacos, layer fish, mango salsa, feta, mango, cabbage, cilantro, and cilantro-lime creme on a tortilla.

Source: family favorite

Mary’s Memo – July 14th

FROM THE COOKBOOK SHELF


Intensely flavorful and loaded with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, juices are a satisfying way to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet. A juicer is as easy to use as the resulting juices are nourishing to drink. And the best part? No fruit or vegetables are off limits! That said you’ll want to add Juice It by Robin Asbell to your cookbook library. Published by Chronicle Books this year, Juice It not only includes recipes for a juicer but some that can also be done in a blender.

Robin Asbell is a chef, food writer and cooking teacher specializing in natural foods. She is also the author of Sweet and Easy Began, Big Vegan, The New Whole Grains Cookbook and New Vegetarian, all published by Chronicle Books. Sleepy Salad is made with romaine, fresh dill and a large cucumber. I was not aware that lettuce has been known for its sleep-inducing properties since ancient Roman days.

SLEEPY SALAD


• 1 head romaine lettuce
• 2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill
• 1 large cucumber

Juice the romaine, dill and cucumber in that order. Run the pulp through again to extract as much liquid as possible (you should have about 2 cups). Serve immediately.
Source: Juice It by Robin Asbell (Chronicle Books, 2014, $18.95/softback).

BEWARE


Garcinia cambogia has been widely marketed as a dietary supplement for weight loss, in part because of evidence from petri-dish studies showing a substance in the herb called hydroxycitric acid (HCA) may speed the burning of fats. But most studies of HCA in humans failed to show that it helps people lose significantly more weight than a placebo does. Worse, there have been numerous reports of liver damage, in one case, fatal, in people taking diet supplements containing HCA. So save your money and focus instead on a healthy diet, portion control and regular workouts.
Source: Consumer Reports on Health, July 2014.

POWER-PACKED NUGGETS OF NUTRITION


We all know fruit is good for us, and according to research, berries pack an especially powerful nutritional punch. “One study found a link between eating more blueberries and strawberries and having a lower risk of a heart attack, says Georgia Gianopoulos, a registered dietitian at Weill Cornell Medical Center. The skins and seeds of berries help contribute to their fiber content. While all berries provide a variety of benefits at less than 100 calories per cup, some berries have more of certain nutrients than others. Raspberries and blackberries are highest in fiber. Strawberries are highest in vitamin C and blueberries are highest in antioxidants. Is fresh best? According to Giannopoulos, “Frozen berries are generally picked at their peak ripeness, so they can be as nutritious, if not more so than fresh berries, depending on how the berries are grown.” When buying frozen berries, always check the ingredients and choose those with no added sugars or other ingredients. Frozen berries are a great option, since they are convenient and often less expensive than fresh berries. Canned berries are generally a less healthy choice, as they often contain added sugars, but if you can find them packed in water or juice, rather than syrup, go ahead and give them a try.
Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Women’s Nutrition Connection, July 2014.

PLAN MENUS AROUND SALE ITEMS


I haven’t met a mushroom I didn’t like and choose to keep an 8-ounce container in the refrigerator even though I usually end up throwing the last of them away unless they’re for a specific recipe. Even when stored in a Williams Sonoma crock with holes in the lid, I still lose some. Fresh fruits and vegetables are more perishable so it’s wise to use them quickly. Although Chief produce departments have Portabella and Baby Bella mushrooms already stuffed, I do my own. When Baby Bellas were three 8-ounce containers for $5.00 one week in June, I took a recipe from Allrecipes.com, replacing button-type with Baby Bellas. Chief tasters loved them!

SAUTEED BABY BELLA MUSHROOMS


• 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• 3 tablespoons butter
• 1 lb. Baby Bella mushrooms, sliced (I used an egg slicer)
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1 tablespoon red wine
• 2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
• Freshly ground pepper

Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir mushrooms, garlic, wine, teriyaki sauce and pepper in hot oil and butter until mushrooms are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer until mushrooms are tender. Serve on top of grilled steak and burgers or on a baked potato. Makes 4 servings.
Source: Adapted from Allrecipes.com recipe.

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Mojito Fruit Salad (Non-alcoholic)

Hope you all had a great 4th of July weekend! It was gorgeous here in Lima... we took advantage of the beautiful weather and had several friends and family over for a big cook-out. We had some family come in from out of town, and on Saturday  morning, I whipped up a big bowl of Mojito Fruit Salad. The inspiration for this recipe came from a little date night last week with my husband. We celebrated our 4th anniversary with dinner at the Met (a local restaurant/wine bar in Lima). We are expecting our first child in November, so this was our last anniversary just the two of us! I toasted with a specialty drink - a non-alcoholic blueberry mojito. Man, it was so good! Blueberries, lime, mint... very refreshing for the summer season. I thought the flavors would work well in a summer fruit salad, so I did some searching online and got to work. This fruit salad combines your favorite summer fruits with chopped fresh mint, and a sweet lime glaze. So juicy and fresh! PicMonkey CollageI used watermelon, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries, but you could sub in whatever's in season. (Peaches would be really good!) Add in some diced fresh mint, and a simple glaze made of lime juice and powdered. That's it! It's got that extra zing that a typical summer fruit bowl doesn't have. Enjoy! IMG_7194 ---

Mojito Fruit Salad (Non-alcoholic)

Yield: 8-10 servings

  • 4 cups cubed watermelon
  • 1-lb package strawberries, quartered
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 6-oz package raspberries
  • 3-4 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar

Method

Combine all fruit in a bowl with chopped fresh mint. Whisk together lime juice and powdered sugar; pour over fruit and mix to combine. Serve cold.

IMG_7142Source: Iowa Girl Eats

Mary’s Memo – July 7th

FROM THE COOKBOOK SHELF


Wish you could cook fish, roasts or even risotto perfectly every single time? "The trick," says foremost cooking authority James Peterson "is to know when to stop cooking." If you hate worrying about whether your cooking will turn out half-raw or overdone, Peterson's latest book, Done (Chronicle Books, May, 2014; $27.50/hardback), tells you exactly how to know by sound, smell, look and feel when more than 85 of the most vexing-to-cook foods are perfectly done. So if you suffer from too-firm artichokes, rubbery shellfish, raw-in-the-middle salmon and fried chicken, rubbery shellfish, hard cooked eggs with gray yolks, fallen soufflés, runny berry pie, limp bacon, dry-as-dirt turkey, too gooey brownies or greasy buttercream frosting, suffer no more! This book is your salvation in the kitchen.

James Peterson is an award-winning food writer, cookbook author, photographer, cooking instructor and former restaurant chef. He is the author of fifteen books and has won seven James Beard Foundation Awards. He cooks, writes and photographs in Brooklyn, New York.
Order Done by James Peterson via Amazon.com.

HOW ACID LOAD IN YOUR DIET CAN AFFECT YOUR HEALTH


Unless you have sensitive teeth or acid reflux disease, the amount of acid in your system probably isn't something you think about too often, But according to an article published in the December 2012 issue of Osteoporosis International, limiting acid load in your diet may help prevent sarcopenia, a loss of muscle mass and function that raises the risk of fracture, injury and disability in older adults. "On its own, the body is an excellent at stabilizing blood pH," says Alissa Lupu, RD, a clinical dietitian at Weill Cornel Medical Center. "It does so by removing excess acid via urine." However, it appears that an imbalance of proportions of acidic and alkaline foods may contribute to health problems. A balanced diet that consists of a ratio of two parts alkaline to 1 part acid seems to be the healthiest. Alkaline foods include most fresh fruits and vegetables, tofu, almonds, herbs and spices and mineral water. "Foods highest in acid include dairy, meat and poultry, fish, most grains, processed foods, alcohol and caffeine," says Lupu. You may be surprised to learn that some foods generally considered acidic, such as lemons and other citrus fruits, become alkaline once they are metabolized by the body. In fact, adding a splash of lemon juice to your water will make it an alkaline drink. Emphasizing alkaline foods means a diet that is plant-food focused, high in fiber and rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. But don't rule out acidic foods, either…. your body needs both.

"A meal of vegetables and tofu with a small serving of poultry, meat or dairy would be ideal, Lupu says.
Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Women's Nutrition Connection, July 2014.

HEALTHY SNACKS


There are plenty of snacks available but not all of them healthy. Planters introduced 4 new peanut varieties including Salted Caramel and Cocoa. Do they taste good? Of course they do but reading the label they also contain ingredients I avoid like fructose. As for fat, label says they're processed in peanut or cottonseed oil (Which is it, Kraft?). A single serving of each has 160 calories including 110 fat calories or 1.5 percent saturated fat. Manufacturers think that because a lot of foods are seasoned with sea salt today consumers are more likely to buy it but sorry, folks, it's still sodium chloride and should be limited. When we're blessed with so much fresh produce in the summertime and most of it grown in the USA, doesn't it make sense to replace unhealthy snacks with a wedge of watermelon, a piece of cantaloupe, a plum or apricot? If you still crave something salty, have a bowl of popped corn with not too many calories and loaded with fiber. Another suggestion is to fill Popsicle molds with fresh fruit juice such as lemonade or limeade, orange, cranberry, pineapple, etc. If you don't have regular molds, freeze in Dixie-type cups and insert a wooden stick when juice begins to freeze.

BRINING BEFORE GRILLING


I resisted brining meat for a long time thinking it would increase my consumption of salt but I have to admit that it does make grilled meat more tender and juicy. That said here are the proportions for brining 2 boneless pork loin chops or 2 boneless, skinless breast halves (you can also use bone-in breast halves).

• 2 cups water
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1-1/2 tablespoons kosher salt

Dissolve sugar in water; add salt and stir to dissolve. In a 1.5-quart oblong glass dish add meat to brining solution making sure meat is covered. Brine for 2 hours in the refrigerator. Drain and discard brine, then wipe meat dry with paper towels. I have told you before that I grill over indirect heat, not over the flame. So meat has grill marks, lay meat briefly over flame.
Source: Mary Ann Thaman.

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