Sunday, December 21, 2008

Fruits and Vegetables: More Matters

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away!” Generations have grown up with this saying. The nutritional value of fruit is almost endless. Antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and natural sugars make fruit an important part of the food pyramid. They even have medicinal value; who has not heard of sailors using fruit on long voyages at sea to prevent scurvy, and of the beneficial uses of prunes as a natural laxative? The natural sugars also make fruit an excellent substitute as treats for kids and adults both.

Research continues to find strong links between increased fruit consumption and the decreased risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and stroke. Convincing evidence proves that fruit consumption plays a positive role in the reduced incidence of cataracts, diverticulosis, high blood pressure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, bronchitis, and osteoporosis.

Three Good Reasons To Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
1. Fruits and vegetables are rich in vital nutrients.
The following categories of fruits and vegetables are important to eat at least several times a week for their nutritional benefits
Dark green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and leaf lettuce
Orange vegetables such as sweet potatoes and carrots
Starchy vegetables such as potatoes and corn
Dry beans such as kidney beans, black-eyed peas and black beans.
2. Fruits and vegetables look as good as they are for you.
Try eating a diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables. The potential benefits associated with eating more fruits and vegetables stack up quickly – reducing your risk of chronic diseases in only the beginning.
3. Fruits and vegetables are nature’s perfect convenience food.
Fruits and vegetables provide the unrivaled combination of great taste, nutrition, abundant variety and multiple product forms.

Serving More Is Easy!
For Snacks:
Fresh fruits and vegetables beat candy by a mile.
Put whole fruit in a bowl on the counter – it’s easy to see and remember to eat.
Keep dried fruits, like raisins and trail mixes, on hand.
Make the TV snack fresh produce for everyone, with dips of low-fat sour cream or dressing for vegetables; low-fat yogurt and honey for fruit dips.
Use pre-cut melons and fruit cups for quick and easy snacks.
At Meals:
It’s easy to enlarge your portion of vegetables by adding them to the foods you already enjoy.
Use fresh-cut vegetables to decorate homemade or frozen pizza.
Add vegetables to soups, stews, pasta sauces, omelets and sandwiches.
Prepare entrée salads with lots of vegetables topped by a small serving of meat.
With Kids:
Let children help prepare dinner by “decorating” entrees and side dishes with fresh-cut vegetables. In this case, a little nibbling is okay.
Stash carrot and celery sticks on low shelves so young children can reach them more easily than the sugar snacks
Have kids design their plates: broccoli for the trees; carrots and celery for flowers; cauliflower for clouds and yellow squash for the sun
Freeze whole seedless grapes for a cool, sweet treat.


The following video, Popeye: Gopher Spinach, courtesy of You Tube.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Holiday Party Primer

Once again, tis the season for holiday entertaining and the sinking economy need not be a stumbling block for any celebration. The following party planner primer has been developed to help make your preparations simple and your party a success!

Getting Started
As you begin to plan your party, consider the following questions before deciding on location, guests, food and entertainment. If you’re hosting with others, be sure to get together well ahead of time and decide the responsibilities. Plan a final meeting closer to the party to make sure you’ve covered everything.

A Casual or Formal Occasion?
A holiday party with friends and family? A gathering of extgended family? A Superbowl game? A baby shower? A birthday celebration? The occasion is the starting point that will set the tone for your event.

When and Where?
Will the party be at your home, a rented room, a freiend’s house or a neighborhood park? What time of year is the event? What time of day? Indoors or outdoors? The location and setting will help you decide how many people to invite.

Guest List
Your closest friends? Your relatives? Your co-workers? Are your guests adventurous or conservative? Are they health conscious? Any vegetarians? What are the ages? Will there be children included? The number of guests and their preferences will lead you to the right menu selections.

What’s The Budget?
The amount of money you plan to spend will help determine the number of guests and an appropriate menu. Whether you’re serving coffee and dessert or an elaborate five-course dinner, there are many options available to fit any budget.

A small, informal get-together among friends may simply require a phone call or e-mail. A lager or more formal gathering usually calls for a printed or handwritten invitation. Be sure to include the essentials: occasion, date, time, location, attire and response required. “R.S.V.P” ensures a response, while “Regrets only” may result in a less accurate head count.

Menu Selection
The next step is selecting your menu. Watching a game with a few friends lends itself to drinks and snacks. A seated dinner should begin with a salad or appetizers, followed by a main course and dessert. A larger gathering may call for a buffet-style meal or heavy hors d’oeuvres.

Plan The Main Course First
A standing rib roast or smoked turkey is perfect for a seated dinner. If it’s a picnic, perhaps custom subs and buffalo-style chicken wings are the way to go. For heavy hors d’oeuvres, try a selection of platters, such as fruit and cheese or a round pumpernickel with spinach dip.

Make Sure Flavors Go Together
Be sure to balance the meal with strong and mild flavors. A strong main dish needs a mild side, while a boldly flavored side can complement a subtle main dish. A rich, heavy meal calls for a light dessert and visa versa.

Mix Up The Temperatures
Serving foods at a combination of temperatures will not only free up your oven but will also add variety to your menu. Mix cold platters with warm tasty foods. You might even add items served best at room temperatures like some delicious mini danishes and rugalach.

Consider The Time of Day and Year
A late-night party calls for smaller portions than a 7 p.m. gathering. Season and location are also important factors. Chili wouldn’t be appropriate on a hot summer day, nor would ice cream on a cold, winter night.

Calculate Serving Sizes and Portions
Ordering and purchasing the right amount of food is one of the trickiest parts of entertaining. As a rule of thumb, always plan for a little more than you think will actually be consumed. A few leftovers will give you something to enjoy after the party. Taking your guests’ preferences into consideration, use the following guide to calculate how much food to serve:
Per Person:
Appetizers: 4 to 5 per/hour
Fruits/Vegetables: 1/2 - 2/3 cup
Meat/Poultry/Seafood: 4 to 8 ounces, uncooked
Side Dishes: ½ cup, per side dish
Salad: 1 to 1-1/2 cups
Sauces/Dips/Dressing: 2 to 3 tablespoons
Soups: ¾ to 1 cup


The following video, Lucy & Ricky have dinner with Tallulah Bankhead, courtesy of You Tube.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

An Affair Worth Talkin’ About

I can’t remember when I first met her, but I do know it was love at first “bite". There she was, seductively placed in front of me, eager to be devoured.

Experiencing her was the most heavenly experience any young person could expect. With one long, luscious bite, she swept me into a love affair that has lasted more than forty years.

Some of her charm, no doubt, is the enchantment enjoyed by everyone: young and old.

But, to this day, I so get excited simply hearing her name…

…Sara Lee. S-a-r-a—L-e-e.

That’s right, Sara Lee, the world’s best bakery found in every supermarket’s freezer section.

Just imagine…

…devouring Sara Lee’s French Style Croissants for breakfast. Her croissants are made using real butter to give them a light, melt in the mouth texture;
…or nibbling on her delicious cheesecakes that have her famous smooth creamy texture and flavor;

…then, in my opinion, the best: Sara Lee’s Deep Dish fruit pies. Her savory pies are all packed with generous fruit pieces surrounded by flaky, sweet pastry. Everything a pie should be!

Apparently, Sara has also enamored the famous song writing team, John Kander and Fred Ebb… so much so that they wrote a show tune just for her in 1976:
Sara Lee
There is a lady living somewhere,

where it is I do not know,

but I long to write and tell her,

that I love her so.

I believe I might do mayhem,

and I might destroy myself,

if I ever found her missing
from my grocer`s shelf.

Sara Lee,
Sara Lee.
Your Brioche just fractures me.

Give me a taste of your cherry danish,
my mother bakes well,

but you can't compare her,

not with Sara Lee,
Sara Lee.

There`s no `H’,
just Sara Lee,
but that`s okay by me.
`Cause I`m living in paradise,

when I`m nibbling the apple spice,

from the kitchens of that lovely Sara Lee.

And it thrills me right to my soul,

when I'm chewin` her finger roll.

And I'm sayin`,
`For Goodness Sake,
There Can Never Be A Better Banana Cake!
Cousin Milton works at the Hilton;
he caters banquets and at each affair,

he'll swear by Sara Lee, Sara Lee.

There`s no `H`,
just Sara Lee,
but that`s okay by me.
I love your cheesecake,

white as pearl,

not to mention,
the Choclate Swirl,
from the kitchens of the one I love: Wonderful Sara Lee!
— John Kander and Fred Ebb, 1976

You know what they say, “Everybody doesn’t like something; but nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee." Here's to you, Sara!

©Judi Lake. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.


The following video, Liza Minnelli singing "Sara Lee", courtesy of You Tube.


Monday, December 8, 2008

Don’t Forget Your Critters

Throughout your cooking adventures, do not forget your critters. Some spices, herbs and specialty recipes can be beneficially healthy for your pet as well as fun for you both. Homemade healthy treats and foods aid as rewards during training and good behavior.

The myths contrived by pet food producers has magically transformed our society into thinking that the foods we eat are nutritionally unacceptable to feed your pets. Imagine that! The foods you feed your children are not fit for your dog! Feeding your dog nothing but the nutritionally balanced formulas they produce is hogwash, plain and simple.

We do not feed our family daily with processed fast foods, but think nothing of maintaining it for our pets’ diet. The ingredients used in processed pet foods certainly do not undergo the rigorous scrutiny of inspections or quality controls placed on foods ingested by humans. Dog and cat diet is similar in nature to our own, and caring owners need to awaken to the fact that pet food is possibly more harmful than meals we cook for ourselves. Let’s face it…would you eat it?

The nutritional intake that a dog needs is basically the same as humans: protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Dogs are meat eaters but a variety of vegetables and starches add to a well-rounded diet. Similar to human beings, a dogs’ eating habits and nutritional needs change as they get older. A dog's age, health, physical activity, and surroundings all play a part in its nutritional needs.

Domesticated dogs are classed as carnivorous, and need to get a well balanced diet introduced into their meals. Dogs that eat only meat can develop an imbalance of calcium and phosphorous in their diets. The results of this can be fragile bones, weight loss, joint diseases, intestinal problems, a lack-luster coat, and loss of energy. Packaged and processed food is not always what you expect it to be and homemade foods can be much more beneficial for your pet. Remember that your home cooked pet food does not contain any preservatives, so limit the amounts you cook, or consider freezing till needed.

A Nice Reward For Rover
Homemade basic biscuits
2 eggs
¼ cup milk
2 cups whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons wheat germ
Preheat oven to 350º.
Blend eggs in mixing bowl. Add wheat germ and milk. Stir until smooth. Add whole wheat flour and mix into egg mixture using your hands. Pat dough into a long rectangle, about 3" wide (or as wide as your bone-shaped cookie cutter is long), and ½" thick. Cut it into bone shapes. Place dough 1 inch apart on an increased cookie sheet.
Bake for 25 minutes on one side, then turn over and bake another 25 minutes.
Remove from oven and let biscuits cool on racks.
You can add additional flavors of any kind!
Recipe will make about 15 average sized biscuits

The following video, Lassie and Timmy, courtesy of You Tube.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Entertaining Tips Reflective of a Bygone Era

The 20th century, more than any other, has been one of staggering transformation.

Our population has mushroomed by almost 200 million since 1900.

Passenger travel zoomed from the horse to the supersonic. Computers accomplish in hours what took turn-of-the-century factory crew days. And the foods we've eaten and how we entertain have taken an equally remarkable journey.

This post is a journey through yesterday in entertaining. Although customs and conventions have changed in response to a changing world you may note that as Cole Porter said: “Everything Old is New Again.”

(Following Tips Are Circa 1922)

For the formal dinner or luncheon, damask in white or pastel shades, or an Italian or Spanish filet cloth is suitable. This cloth should cover the table.

For less formal occasions, whether breakfast, luncheon or dinner, runners or doilies and a matching centerpiece are charming.

The newest silver is in harmony with the other house decorations; period patterns for Georgian interiors, Early American patterns for the cottage. Good taste rules out elaborately shaped pieces, except when these are heirlooms of real worth.

For china also it is advisable to choose from an open stock pattern the number and kinds of pieces suited to your needs. You may prefer different patterns for various courses, or wish to supplement china with colored glassware. In any event, the colors should harmonize with the dining room decorations.

Suit the decorations to the type of entertainment and the character of the house. While choosing your decorations, always remember that simplicity is the keynote of good taste.

The general rules for table setting are the same for formal and informal occasions. The china and silver depend on the menu.

The maid usually wears a simple black frock with dainty collar, cuffs and a small apron of linen, lawn, or organdie. Many hostesses, however, prefer costumes, which harmonize with the color scheme of the dining room.

If the first course is cold, as hors d'oeuvres the maid should place it on the table before announcing the meal; canapés may be served in the living room. Much of the food may be apportioned and placed in serving dishes before the meal is announced, and kept hot in a large steamer with shelves, or in pans of hot water set in the oven.

When the guests are assembled the maid steps to the door of the living room, and catching the attention of the hostess, say, “Madame, dinner is served.” The host, with the lady guest of honor, precedes the other guests to the dining room the hostess and the most important gentleman come last.

Some hostesses prefer the Russian style of service in which all foods are served from the pantry; the roast is carved there, and no foods are placed on the table until guests are seated, with the exception of nuts and candy.

A less formal style of service, however, is correct. Soup, for instance, may be served from the pantry, but if the hostess has a rare old tureen, she may prefer to serve it herself at the table, ladling it into flat soup plates and used at dinner.

At the end of the course, the maid removes the soup plates, places the roast in front of the host, the hot plates at his right, and takes her place at his left so she will be in position to pass the plates when he has served the meat. Traditionally, the hostess is served first, but a newer form is to accord this favor to the lady guest of honor. The service thereafter continues around the table. After the meat course the maid passes vegetables, taking care that the handles of the serving spoon and fork pint toward the guest. She has a folded napkin between her hand and the hot dish, and holds the dish at a height convenient for guests to help themselves.

Everything is passed and served from the left, except beverages and extra silver, which are placed at the right. Dishes are removed from either left or right.

When the main course is finished, the maid removes all serving dishes and utensils, then the plates, which must not be piled; and last, the unused china and silver. Beverage glasses are left in place and refilled, if necessary.

Before dessert is served, crumbs should be brushed from the table into a place by means of a clean soft napkin. The dessert silver is then placed, and the dessert and finger bowl service follow. Dessert may be served from the kitchen or at tableside by the hostess. Coffee may be poured at the table, but a pleasant custom is to serve it in the living room.


The following video, Animal Crackers, courtesy of You Tube.


Friday, December 5, 2008

Kids and Food Battles

Parents battle daily over two things with their children. Number one is cleaning up their messes, and number two is eating their meals. We cannot compel them to clean their room, but we can entice them to eat their meals. This section is a parent’s dream; this is where we parents can “even the score” with our kids— at least a little!

How wonderful not only get them to eat healthy, but to have them help in making meal time something special by preparing fun, healthy food. (This also makes mom a superstar!) The secret to making food fun is to let kids decorate. Find out what they like to eat and slide in some healthy décor, making sure that it was their idea, of course!

Male or female, all children have an interest in the great kitchen gadgets that they never get to play with. Mom, make your work their play; create an event in your kitchen and let the kids be the stars. For those boring rainy days, your kitchen abounds with fun projects to keep little hands and minds busy.

Now A Lil Treat!
How about some fun stuff for kids today? Let’s make some toys out of common household products. These projects are taken from the book, “7001 Forgotten Secret’s of the Ages”– Have fun and have a great weekend!

Juggling Balls
Stuff You Need To Get:
3 small sandwich bags, non-zip type
Small dried beans or dried peas
6 medium-sized balloons
What To Do With The Stuff:
1. Fill one sandwich bag with dried beans until it is the size of a small ball.
2. Close the bag by overlapping the ends, like you do around a sandwich.
3. Cut off the stem of the balloons at the round part.
4. Stretch one balloon around the ball of beans.
5. Stretch another balloon around the ball in the opposite direction of the first balloon.
6. Repeat each step for the other bags and balloons.
Creative Possibilities:
Use some markers to decorate your juggling balls. Use permanent ink markers if possible.
If you do not have dried beans or peas, try using rice, sand or even salt. (But not rock salt.)
Borrow a book from the library to learn how to juggle.


Sparkling Rocks
Stuff You Need To Get:
½ cup white glue
Food coloring
2 cups rock salt
A large piece of cardboard
What To Do With The Stuff:
1. Mix together the rock salt and about 7 drops of food coloring in a small mixing bowl.
2. Remember, food coloring is very concentrated.

3. Stir in the glue for another 2 or 3 minutes.
4. Use your hands to mold and sculpt the mixture to the shapes and sizes you want.
5. Then place them on the cardboard to dry. How long they have to dry will depend on the size and thickness of your sparkling rocks.
Creative Possibilities:
Use cookie cutters to make different shapes for the season or holiday. For Halloween make glimmering ghosts, sparkling bats and shiny witches.
For Christmas, you can make tree ornaments. Shape the mixture into whatever you want. Get some strong thread or string, cut about 3 or 4 inches long. Tie the 2 ends of the string together to make a loop. Place the knot into your design, making sure to leave a loop for hanging. When you are ready to hang it, make sure the string is secure enough.

Make some pretty jewelry for your mom for her birthday or Mother’s Day, or just to tell her that you love her. Add some glitter to make it more gleaming.


The following video, CHEERIOS V-8 1960 SPACE-THEMED COMMERCIAL, courtesy of You Tube.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Quick History of Food

MANY OF THE MODERN AND DIVERSE foods we are familiar with and enjoy today were actually developed during a brief period of time from 1850 to 1900, much of which was promoted for its healthful properties and beneficial effects then, as it is today. Thus were the beginnings of what is referred to today as “nutritional science.”

Scientists (in concert to some extent with medical practitioners) began to realize the relationship between our health and the foods we eat. Further, exciting advances in analytical chemistry provided hard scientific data to prove it.

Recognizing the power behind the old adage, “you are what you eat,” food advertisers were quick to herald such news to a public that was open to learn about this “new” nutritional science. By 1901, food ads were calling attention to the “wholesomeness" and "healthfulness" of their food products. “Eat less meat and more Quaker Oats," and “Cereal leads to good health,” the American Cereal Company's ads proclaimed.

On the other hand, Dold's Packing Company, was adamant that their "corn-fed porkers made sweet healthful food." Vendors distributed literature and trading cards at markets and any venue where food was sold. They hired "barkers" at local fairs and events to sell their “healthy foods” in every way possible. The public was being effectively educated on the idea that healthy food products would make them feel better and live longer.

The result over time was that the general public became better educated in nutrition and, better yet, more discerning today of what constitutes genuinely healthful food.

Ironically, as the emphasis on eating healthier food grew, so did the public's desire for quick and easy to serve processed food products. The late 19th Century saw the development of the canned meat and fruit industries— Libby's, Armour's, Van Camp, Borden and Heinz were the giants of the day. During this period saccharin, synthetic vanilla, and flaked cereal also entered the market, as well as the numerous soda pop brands, most of which are still sold today. The decade of the 1890s was an especially lucrative one for "quick food" producers with products like minute tapioca, "instant" cereal, condensed soup, and pre-ground coffee guaranteed to ease the labor of meal preparation.

The first metal cans/containers were patented by Englishman Thomas Kensett in 1825. While canned meats, fruits and vegetables were produced in America on a limited basis prior to the 1850s, the Civil War "created a significant need for portable foods to feed the troops and as a result, the canning industry rapidly expanded."

Opening canned foods was somewhat problematic until the invention of the can opener in the 1860s. Development of an opener was possible once cans were made of steel rather than iron.

The initial response to canned foods was one of skepticism and the age-old practice of "putting-up" preserves, fruits and vegetables at home continued in many middle-class kitchens. By the time the new century had arrived, hundreds of food products were being commercially prepared, and sales began to indicate that the American homemaker was accepting these new, convenient products. Not only did packaged goods bring economy to the kitchen in terms of time and convenience but the increased availability of fruits and vegetables all year round meant the family no longer had to dine according to what was in season.

1872: Blackjack Chewing Gum
1874: Ice Cream Soda
1876: Premium Soda Crackers (later Saltines)
1876: Hires Root Beer
1881: Pillsbury Flour
1886: Coca-Cola
1887: Ball-Mason Jars
1888: Log Cabin Syrup
1889: Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix
1889: Calumet Baking Powder
1889: McCormick Spices
1889: Pabst Brewing Company
1890: Knox Gelatin
1890: Libby Introduces Keys to Canned Meat
1890: Lipton Tea
1891: Del Monte
1891: Fig Newton
1891: Quaker Oats Company
1893: Cream of Wheat
1893: Good & Plenty
1893: Juicy Fruit Gum
1894: Chili Powder
1895: Shredded Coconut
1895: Triscuits
1896: Cracker Jack
1896: Michelob Beer
1896: S&W Canned Foods
1896: Tootsie Roll
1897: Campbell's Condensed Soup
1897: Campbell's Tomato Soup
1897: Grape Nuts
1897: Jell-O
1898: Nabisco Graham Crackers
1898: Shredded Wheat Cereal
1900: Coney Island Hot Dog
1899: Wesson Oil
1900: Chiclets Gum
1900: Cotton Candy
1900: Hershey's Chocolate


The following video, Coca-Cola Natal Christmas 1944-1973 - 2007, courtesy of You Tube.


Monday, December 1, 2008

Chef’s Secret's

As in every trade
, the master tradesman has his or her secrets that set them apart from everyone else. Learning the basics will get the job done, but learning the secrets of the trade gets the job done effortlessly and often times better. Seldom can we pry these secrets from the masters. They are usually passed down to a favorite apprentice upon retirement, or subliminally slipped to them, kind of like the coming-of-age thing.

But as with all good secrets, some just leak out and the wary ear takes note.
This knowledge is a wonderful tool. It allows us to expand our horizons, broaden our own expectations, and many times dazzles our counterparts and peers. It is the feeling of pride you get lifting the holiday meal from the oven, the aroma drifting from room to room, and the contented faces of your guests at meal’s end.

Knowledge is the weapon that turns so many ingredients into that succulent meal or dessert. Adding a dash of this and a dash of that at just the right time, at just the right temperature, can make the difference and turn that same old turkey dinner into a holiday feast. It is that one secret ingredient you added to your dessert that made it not just good, but outstanding.

Wandering down this path of taste-tempting delights, keep a wary ear to the ground. There is no telling what secrets will slip. It is no matter what culinary path you choose to follow—baking or BBQing, burgers or soufflés—there are always secrets ‘round the corner. You may even develop a few of your own to pass along. Grandmothers are a tremendous source of culinary secrets that have teased the palates of families for generations.

Some Chef’s Quick Tips:

Easily peel tomatoes by first putting them in boiling water then removing them again immediately. Let stand for 1 minute, then quickly put them in cold water.

"The Royal French Fry"
Want great gourmet French fries? Here is the secret. Allow crinkle-cut potatoes to stand in ice cold water, in the refrigerator for 1 hour before frying. This hardens the fries so they do not absorb as much fat during frying. Dry thoroughly before frying. Then fry them two times. Fry them for only a few minutes the first time. Then dry them well, dust them with a small amount of flour and fry them until they are a luscious golden brown.

Tired of waiting for that baked potato? Potatoes bake faster and the skins do not crack if you oil or rub the skin with butter rather than wrapping in tin foil. You can also insert an aluminum nail in them, which will also speed the cooking time by 15 minutes. For one of the fastest ways, just boil them for 10 minutes and then place them into the oven.

Both onions and potatoes have a tendency to give off natural gases. That is why you should never store them together. The potatoes become soft and rot.

Want some sexy potatoes? Potatoes loved to be stored in pantyhose. All you do is cut a leg off a pair of pantyhose, drop the spud in, then hang it up in a cool, dry place.

Here is a way to add a little zest to your stir-fried vegetables or salads. Just add some radish leaves; they are not as spicy as the radish itself.

Beat egg whites in a way to always trap the most amount of air. Do not over-beat or they become dry and can cause a collapse.

Want easy to peel hard-boiled eggs? Just add salt to water when boiling.

Create great deviled eggs. Keep the yolks centered by stirring the water while cooking the eggs.

Did you know that you can use cottage cheese in place of sour cream for making dips? Just blend it in the blender until it is creamed.

Cottage cheese lasts longer when stored upside down. When you open cottage cheese, spores enter from the air and live on the oxygen layer in the container. Turning it upside down allows it to fall to the top, eliminating a percentage of the oxygen layer. Spores do not grow as fast, and the cottage cheese can last 7-10 days longer.

Add sour cream to hot recipes just before serving. If you need to reheat a dish containing sour cream, reheat it slowly so the sour cream does not separate.

The best way to cut cheese is with a dull knife, especially if you warm the blade first.

After flouring a chicken, chill it for 1 hour so the coating will adhere better during frying.

All poultry should be cooked to a center temperature of 185 degrees F.


The following video, Chef To Chef, courtesy of You Tube.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Slow Food Is Good Food

It seems all we do today is run, and nothing will trim your kitchen hours like a few exciting recipes you can put together in just minutes with a crock-pot. Whether it is for last minute guests, to culminate a hectic day, or something quick before the PTA meeting, you will find a crock-pot to be your new best friend.

Other great healthy meals prepared with a crock-pot can save hours slaving over a hot stove. A quick blend of assorted ingredients, a flick of the switch as you leave for work, and— “voila”—a meal fit for a king is waiting as you enter the door. It is almost as good as having your own personal chef. The crock-pot is great for stews with all the week’s leftovers, too!

Two Quick Crock-Pot Recipes:

Sweet and sour Chicken
8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1-8 oz. bottle Catalina salad dressing
1 envelope dry mix onion soup
10 oz jar apricot preserves

Place chicken breasts in your slow cooker. Pour remaining ingredients on top of chicken. No need to mix. Cover and cook for 6 to 8 hours on low.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.


Beef and Gravy
2 pounds stew beef
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
4 tablespoons oil
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 cups water
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce

Cut stew beef into cubes. Combine flour, salt, pepper, paprika, & onion powder. Coat beef cubes with flour mixture. Brown beef in 4 tablespoons oil & place in crock-pot. Pour the remaining ingredients over beef in crock-pot. Stir. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.


The following video, Crock Pot slow Cooker TV ad, courtesy of You Tube.


Order 7001 Fogotten Secrets of the Ages Today in Time For The Holidays! 7001 Forgotten Secret's of the Ages is a marvelous potpourri of history, facts, secrets and trivia all about food. Beginning with the history of food, this is one book that will keep all trivia buffs and information seekers busy for years to come!

Loaded with information 'from soup to nuts', secrets known throughout the ages are rediscovered to preserve for generations to come. Here you will discover all cooking and baking secrets; unusual food facts you will use everyday to save yourself time, money and aggravation; current nutrition facts and health tips; how to make children interested in eating healthy Plus important food safety information that restaurants and grocery stores are not telling you.

Also included are recipes for the most casual barbeque to the most formal dinner parties; theme party ideas, and even what was served in the Victorian days! Easy and fun to read format with an index, 7001 Forgotten Secret's of the Ages is a true treasure! It also makes a great gift for anyone on any occasion.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Unusual Food Facts: Part I

There is no set rhyme or reason for this post; its only purpose is meant to inform, amuse, offer alternatives, test your trivia and just have fun with.

Did You Know?
Americas favorite snack food is potato chips. We eat 1.2 billion pounds a year.

Wonder Bread introduced sliced bread in 1930.

The difference between apple juice and apple cider is that the juice is pasteurized and the cider is not.

Van Camp's Pork and Beans were a main food for Union soldiers in the Civil War.

The steam rising from a cup of coffee contains the same amounts of antioxidants as three oranges.

Bananas have no fat, cholesterol or sodium.

The longest carrot recorded was 16 feet 10 ½ inches.

The United States manufactures approximately seven billion pounds of chocolate and candy each year.

As Swiss cheese ferments, a bacterial action produces gas and as the gas is expelled, it bubbles through the cheese leaving holes.

The first hamburgers in U.S. history were served in New Haven in 1895.

Salmon and shrimp are the most popular seafoods in American restaurants.

There are more than 7,000 varieties of apples.

Americans eat 800 million pounds of bologna annually.

The first soda made in the U.S. was Vernor's Ginger Ale, created in Detroit 1866 by James Vernor.

Did you hear about the M&M inspector who got fired for tossing out all the W's?
Well Now You Know!


The following video, Vintage TV Commercial: Quaker Oats, courtesy of You Tube.


Order, 7001 Forgotten Secrets of the Ages today on

Order in Time For The Holidays! 7001 Forgotten Secret's of the Ages is a marvelous potpourri of history, facts, secrets and trivia all about food. Beginning with the history of food, this is one book that will keep all trivia buffs and information seekers busy for years to come!

Loaded with information 'from soup to nuts', secrets known throughout the ages are rediscovered to preserve for generations to come. Here you will discover all cooking and baking secrets; unusual food facts you will use everyday to save yourself time, money and aggravation; current nutrition facts and health tips; how to make children interested in eating healthy Plus important food safety information that restaurants and grocery stores are not telling you.

Also included are recipes for the most casual barbeque to the most formal dinner parties; theme party ideas, and even what was served in the Victorian days! Easy and fun to read format with an index, 7001 Forgotten Secret's of the Ages is a true treasure! It also makes a great gift for anyone on any occasion.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

How To Avoid Food-Borne Illness: Poultry Safety Tips

Food-borne illness is caused by eating food that contains harmful bacteria, toxins, parasites, viruses, or chemical contaminants.

Bacteria and viruses, especially Campylobacter, Salmonella, and Norwalk-like viruses, are among the most common causes of food-borne illness we know about today. Eating even a small portion of an unsafe food may make you sick. Signs and symptoms may appear within half an hour of eating a contaminated food or may not develop for up to 3 weeks.

Most food-borne illness lasts a few hours or days. Some food-borne illnesses have effects that go on for weeks, months, or even years. If you think you have become ill from eating a food, consult your health care provider.

Follow the steps below to keep your food safe. Be very careful with perishable foods such as eggs, meats, poultry, fish, shellfish, milk products, and fresh fruits and vegetables .

Who Is At High Risk Of Food-Borne Illness?
• Pregnant women

• Young children

• Older persons

• People with weakened immune systems or certain chronic illnesses
New information on food safety is constantly emerging. Recommendations and precautions for people at high risk are updated as scientists learn more about preventing food-borne illness. If you are among those at high risk, you need to be aware of and follow the most current information on food safety.

Safe Basics For Handling Poultry
Safe steps in handling, cooking, and storing poultry are essential to avoiding food-borne illness. Follow these guidelines to keep pathogens away.

Safe Shopping
• Never choose packages that are torn or leaking.

• Do not buy foods past "sell-by" or expiration dates.

• Place raw poultry in plastic bags so meat juices cannot cross-contaminate other foods.

• Place refrigerated or frozen items in your cart just prior to checking out.

• Keep perishable items inside the air-conditioned car - not in the trunk.

• Drive directly home with your groceries. If you live farther than 30 minutes away, place perishables in a cooler with ice.

Safe Storage of Foods
•Unload perishable foods from the car first and immediately refrigerate them. Place securely wrapped packages of poultry in the coldest section of your refrigerator.

• Check the temperature of your refrigerator with an appliance thermometer. It should be at 40°F; the freezer at 0°F.

• Cook or freeze fresh poultry within 2 days; other beef, veal, lamb, or pork within 3 to 5 days.

• Keep meat poultry in its package until just before using.

• If freezing meat poultry in its original package longer than 2 months, over-wrap these packages with airtight heavy-duty foil, plastic wrap, freezer paper or plastic freezer bags.

• Poultry defrosted in the refrigerator may be refrozen before or after cooking. If thawed by other methods, cook before refreezing.

Thaw Food Safely
• A refrigerator allows slow, safe thawing. Make sure thawing juices do not drip on other foods.

• For faster thawing, place food in a leak-proof plastic bag and submerge in cold tap water.

• If using a microwave to defrost, cook poultry immediately after thawing.



Never stuff the chicken in advance. Stuffing in advance will increase the risk of bacteria growth. Stuffing can be made in advance and refrigerated separately from the chicken and then inserted in the chicken just before cooking.


Safe Food Preparation

• Wash hands before and after handling raw poultry.

• Sanitize cutting boards often in a solution of 1 teaspoon chlorine bleach in 1 quart of water. Wash kitchen towels and cloths often in hot water in washing machine.

• Don't cross-contaminate. Keep raw meat, poultry, fish, and their juices away from other food. After cutting raw meats, wash hands, cutting board, knife, and counter tops with hot soapy water.

• Marinate poultry in a covered dish in the refrigerator.

For the latest information and precautions, call USDA's Meat and Poultry Hotline, 1-800-535-4555, or FDA's Food Information Line, 1-888-SAFE FOOD, or consult your health care provider. You can also get up-to-date information by checking the government's food safety website at .


The following video, New Report From FDA On Food Borne Illness available on You Tube.


Order, 7001 Forgotten Secrets of the Ages today on

Order in Time For The Holidays! 7001 Forgotten Secret's of the Ages is a marvelous potpourri of history, facts, secrets and trivia all about food. Beginning with the history of food, this is one book that will keep all trivia buffs and information seekers busy for years to come!

Loaded with information 'from soup to nuts', secrets known throughout the ages are rediscovered to preserve for generations to come. Here you will discover all cooking and baking secrets; unusual food facts you will use everyday to save yourself time, money and aggravation; current nutrition facts and health tips; how to make children interested in eating healthy Plus important food safety information that restaurants and grocery stores are not telling you.

Also included are recipes for the most casual barbeque to the most formal dinner parties; theme party ideas, and even what was served in the Victorian days! Easy and fun to read format with an index, 7001 Forgotten Secret's of the Ages is a true treasure! It also makes a great gift for anyone on any occasion.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

How To Shop For A Turkey

When purchasing a whole turkey, turkey parts, or any type of turkey product, it is important to read the label to ensure that you are selecting a product that fits your requirements. Whole turkeys sold in food stores are inspected by the USDA, so you can be sure that the turkeys are safe and of good quality. Look for the USDA stamp on the label.

The youngest turkeys have the most tender meat. Most commercially produced turkeys are young turkeys, so the meat is usually always tender if the turkey is rated Grade A and if it is cooked properly. The youngest turkeys that are available, usually less than 4 months old and under 8 pounds in weight, are labeled fryer/roasters and have the most tender meat of all.

The designation of the turkey being male (tom) or female (hen) may or may not be found on the label because it has nothing to do with the tenderness or overall quality of the bird. The main difference is that a tom turkey ready for market is larger than a hen.

Turkey processors and food stores use several different dating methods to ensure that the consumer receives a product that is fresh and safe to eat. The dating methods are described below.

Turkey Dating Methods

Sell By
A whole turkey or turkey product that has the words, "sell by", followed by a date stamped on the package, indicates that the food store may display the product for sale until that date and the consumer should purchase the turkey or turkey product before the date expires. The turkey is still safe to use for another one or two days beyond the sell by date.

Best if Used By or Best if Used Before
A product with the words, "best if used by" or "best if used before", followed by a date, indicates that the optimum flavor and quality can be enjoyed if the turkey is prepared before the date expires. The date does not indicate that product is unsafe to eat after the expiration date.

Use By
A whole turkey or turkey product with a "use by" date stamped on the package indicates the final date that the product should be used.

Note: If you decide to freeze a fresh turkey after purchasing it, the expiration dates are meaningless because the product is no longer perishable while it is frozen. The date stamped on the package can serve as an indication of the time period that the turkey was purchased so that it can be used within the recommended limits for freezing.

The label on fresh and frozen turkey will also show the nutritional information. The nutritional information will include the recommended serving size, calories, fat and cholesterol content, and a list of the nutrients including vitamins and minerals. As required by the USDA, the label will contain helpful information pertaining to food safety and proper handling. Cooking instructions are also included.


This recipe is perfect for those people who just are not sure how to tell when poultry is cooked thoroughly but not dried out. Give this a try.

BAKED STUFFED Turkey 6-7 lb. 1 cup melted butter 1 cup stuffing 1 cup uncooked popcorn salt/pepper to taste Preheat oven to 350O. Brush turkey well with melted butter, salt and pepper. Fill cavity with stuffing and popcorn. Place in baking pan in the oven. Listen for popping sounds. When the turkey's backside blows out the oven door and flies across the room, the turkey is done.


Inspection And Grading
The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) inspects turkeys for quality. The USDA seal can be found on the package, ensuring that the turkey has passed inspection and is suitable for human consumption. Most turkeys sold in food stores are des ignated "Grade A", meaning that they are of the highest quality. Grade A turkeys have no surface damage such as broken skin, tears, bruises, or cuts and all pinfeathers have been removed. There are no broken bones and the bird is plump and has a pleasing shape. Turkeys that do not receive a Grade A seal are still safe to eat, but their appearance and overall quality may be less than ideal. The other grades given to turkey, as well as other kinds of poultry are Grade B and Grade C.

Poultry is graded according to the following criteria:

• Conformation (proportion of meat to bone)

• Fat coverage

• Fleshing

• Absence of pinfeathers

• Absence of damage, including cuts, bruises, and broken bones

Look And Feel
Inspecting and feeling fresh turkey can provide information not found on the label. Look for indications that the whole turkey or turkey pieces have been stored at improper temperatures. Fresh turkey pieces can be squeezed or pressure can be applied to the package to feel for signs of freezing. Look for ice crystals forming on the bottom tray of the packaging or along the wings and edges of the pieces, which indicates that the turkey has been stored in temperatures that are too cold. Partial freezing is not harmful in terms of wholesomeness, but it will not extend the "sell by" date.

It is also important to be aware of whole turkeys or turkey pieces that are stacked too high in open refrigerator cases in a food store. The turkeys at the top of the pile will not be chilled to the proper temperature because they are above the proper storage level of the refrigerator case. This can result in the growth of bacteria especially if the temperature rises above 40°F, which will greatly decrease the time period that the turkey is safe to eat.

A similar problem occurs with frozen turkey that is stacked too high in an open freezer case in a food store. The turkeys on the top may be above the freezing line of the freezer case, which results in the turkeys being stored in temperatures that are inadequate for proper freezing. A frozen turkey should be rock hard and show no sign of freezer damage.

Quantity To Buy
If you are unsure of the quantity of turkey to purchase according to the number of guests you will be serving, it is always a good idea to allow for 1 pound of uncooked turkey per person when purchasing a whole turkey. This is a fairly accurate quantity per person, allowing for smaller appetites as well as extra helpings for larger appetites.

It is also important to keep in mind that a larger bird is a better value. Larger turkeys have more meat in relation to the amount of bone and cartilage. With that in mind, allow for up to 1 pound per serving when purchasing a turkey of less than 12 pounds and allow up to 3/4 pound per serving when purchasing a turkey weighing over 12 pounds.

© 2007 Judi Lynn Lake. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.


Order, 7001 Forgotten Secrets of the Ages Today on

Order in Time For The Holidays! 7001 Forgotten Secret's of the Ages is a marvelous potpourri of history, facts, secrets and trivia all about food. Beginning with the history of food, this is one book that will keep all trivia buffs and information seekers busy for years to come!

Loaded with information 'from soup to nuts', secrets known throughout the ages are rediscovered to preserve for generations to come. Here you will discover all cooking and baking secrets; unusual food facts you will use everyday to save yourself time, money and aggravation; current nutrition facts and health tips; how to make children interested in eating healthy Plus important food safety information that restaurants and grocery stores are not telling you.

Also included are recipes for the most casual barbeque to the most formal dinner parties; theme party ideas, and even what was served in the Victorian days! Easy and fun to read format with an index, 7001 Forgotten Secret's of the Ages is a true treasure! It also makes a great gift for anyone on any occasion.