Archive for the ‘ Food ’ Category

Spice It Up!

As I’m trying to get more comfortable in the kitchen, I found this great list of spices, with suggested vegetable pairings, that is creating the illusion that I know Smith and Truslowwhat I’m doing with all these great summer veggies.

  • Basil – beans, peas, squash, potatoes, tomatoes
  • Bay leaf – beets, carrots, potatoes, stewed tomatoes
  • Dill Weed – beets, cabbage, carrots, parsnips, potatoes
  • Marjoram – Brussels sprouts, carrots, green beans, peas, spinach
  • Oregano – broccoli, cabbage, mushrooms, tomatoes
  • Rosemary – cauliflower, peas, potatoes, spinach
  • Tarragon – cauliflower, green beans, potatoes, spinach, tomatoes
  • Thyme – asparagus, beans, carrots, zucchini

Not only do spices add flavour to your food, they are also good for your health. Smith and Truslow  provide a comprehensive list of spices and their health benefits such as using Chinese 5 Spice to improve digestion and Spice Rackpromote intestinal health; antioxidant and antibacterial; stimulates the breakdown of fat cells; relieves congestion, headaches; balances blood sugar. WOW!

Locally, check out Penzeys Spices for their incredible selection of spices and Tubular Spice Company, Zevro, and Fox Run for fabulous spice racks.

Want some PFOA with your dinner?

Even after looking, reading and researching over this past year, I’m still not sure what’s the safest way to cook. In our kitchen, we’ve got some well imagesworn non-stick pans, aluminum and even a piece of copper but I’m not a huge fan of any of them. And if you’ve read previous posts, you’ll remember I’m culinarily challenged so I’m always looking for simple and easy as well.

Most recently, simple and easy has been my non-stick pans but with conflicting reports about the safety & environmental concerns about perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)—also known as C-8—a chemical used to bond the nonstick coating to the pan, I’m looking to other alternatives. Eartheasy is a fabulous site and it has a spectacular blog about Healthy Cookware as well as my favorite site About.com. Both sites weigh out the pros and cons of every imaginable way to cook. colour_new_full_promo

In my latest dream kitchen scenario, I would inherit a few pieces of well cared for cast iron pans, be gifted a few pieces of enameled cast iron, such as Le Creuset, and become a master steamer with a sustainable and healthy bamboo steamer. However, I’m still tempted to try out these “new” (and easy) non-stick options called Orgreenic Kitchenware and GreenPan … I just can’t help it.

Fresh or Foul?

imagesMy friends and family are going to be hearing a lot less from me now that I have found this practical and fabulous website called Still Tasty that lets you know the “shelf life” of your favorite food or beverage. You can browse shelf life information by categories such as vegetables, dairy & eggs, meat & poultry, etc. and they also answer questions such as “Is It Okay to Put Hot Food Directly Into the Fridge” and “How Long Can You Keep Thawed Ground Beef”? Essential information for this culinary challenged chicka.

To help you retain a longer shelf life from the beginning, Greenfeet has plenty of safe storage options such as this small glass container with glass lid or this set of 3 glass containers of varying sizes (easy nesting storage) with #4 plastic lids. However, my most recent favorite is this set of 4 Coverflex 51iZfpQ360L__SL250_Reusable Food Covers from Simple Ecology.  This amazing food cover is a great alternative to traditional throwaway products like plastic wrap, plastic bags and/or aluminum foil, which all present inconveniences beyond just being wasteful. These covers easily adapt to all types of dishes, bowls, pans and are safe for use in the freezer, refrigerator, microwave or oven.

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The Tortoise & The Hare

So apparently June 21 was the International Day of Slow but I missed it because I was too busy running around.  Obviously the irony is not lost on me. I’ve been trying to make a concerted effort to slow down ever since I read In Praise Of Slowness by Carl Honore a couple of months ago.  The coverauthor explains that he decided to write the book when he found himself considering the purchase of a book called One-Minute Bedtime Stories and decided that his priorities may be a bit out of whack. Um, I own that book so needless to say I felt guilty and compelled to read his book.

In Praise of Slowness questions why we are all in such a rush and then breaks down all the different areas of our life where we can slow down. He covers everything from Food, Cities, Mind/Body, Medicine, Sex, etc. and explains how it can all be so much more enjoyable if we simply stop rushing from one thing to another. He argues that the Slow movement is not about doing everything at a snail’s pace, on the contrary, it’s for people who want to live better in a face-paced modern world. In one word-balance.

While all the chapters have something worthy, I spent a considerable amount of time in the food chapter. I’m “culinary challenged” so reading about the Slow Food networks throughout the world really struck a chord with me. ” Slow Food Read the rest of this entry

Categorizing Your Cuisine

Okay, I admit it. I have an insecurity about cooking that I’m slowly working through but it’s so much easier to grab one of those Groupons and head out to dinner. However,  I’ve taken a few steps recently that have helped me work through all my “saved recipes” and has actually led to a few successful meals. I wouldn’t say that I love cooking yet but I don’t hate it either. Enough to possibly publish my own cookbook? Keep reading.

For ripped out recipes, I had a friend come over and she discarded any that looked too complicated for me (no offense taken), were too similar to another recipe and kept no more than 5 in each category. She directed me to try these recipes (that seemed so great that I had to rip out of a magazine or print offline) over the next few months and either toss or save. To save these, I’ve found that the best way is to use photo album pages in a binder. It protects them and is relatively easy to organize.

To save online, I really like recipezaar and allrecipes. Both allow you to join for free, search recipes and save your favorites in an online cookbook or recipe box. Members can rate and comment on recipes and for me, learning about the level of difficulty and time needed is key. However, my most recent favorite site is Tastebook. Read the rest of this entry

When to Buy Organic

I know that it’s not quite Sophie’s Choice but if you are like me and struggle making the most basic food & health decisions sometimes, the following information will hopefully help.  The very nice people at www.foodnews.org  provides this great overall list to help you make the tough decision of what to buy organic or not. However,  if you click on the link above, they actually have a handy card (that is easy to download) called the “Dirty Dozen” & “Clean 15”. Keep this with your grocery list to make the best choice when purchasing your potatoes or tomatoes. Speaking of which, did you know that the U.S. Supreme Court settled the tomato fruit/vegetable controversy on May 10, 1893 by declaring a tomato a vegetable… but I find that the debate rages on. Read the rest of this entry