CategoryFood and Cooking

Comfort Food and Lessons Learned

Comfort Food

When I hear the term “Comfort Food,” I’ve always thought of a hot bowl of chili on a cold winter day… or grits, eggs, and biscuits for breakfast when you have to get up extra-early… or a piece of my Mom’s chocolate pie made special when I come to visit.

This past weekend, changed my perspective of “comfort food.” My sister-in-law suffered a great tragedy when her husband was killed in his place of business during a robbery. He also left behind a daughter in her late teens and a son in his early twenties. Danny’s death was so sudden, that it left us all in shock. But, not surprisingly, the family quickly rallied behind Cindy, Jenny, and Jeremy to do everything we could to help.

It was the two days Roger and I spent at Cindy’s house (she lives about 100 miles away from us), that I learned what a comfort food can actually be to a family grieving. Early Saturday morning, the phone started ringing with friends and family offering their condolences and thoughts and prayers… and to say they were bringing food. Around noon, the food started coming in carried by friends and business acquaintances and even friends of friends that Cindy and her family had never met. There was roast and vegetables, butter beans from someone’s garden, a meat tray with bread for making sandwiches, sodas in a cooler on ice, a chocolate pie, sweet potato casserole, hamburgers hot off the grill, corn, coconut cake, the list goes on and on and on.

With each delivery, there would be hugs and words of comfort and the same information related again and again. What should have been monotonous and more than a little irritating eventually became comforting. At one point in the day, someone said, “What in the world will we do with all this food?!?” The idea of turning some of it away was even passed around. It was then that my wonderful Mother-in-law made me realize that the food not only brought comfort to people who were on the receiving end. She quietly said to us all, “Please don’t ask people not to bring the food. It makes them feel better to do something for you.” And she was right.

I got some great recipes from these caring men and women, but also some good hints for the next time I’m on the giving end: 1) bring the food in disposable dishes so there is no worry about returning dishes 2) several people brought sodas and tea which was great to go with the food 3) one person brought paper towels and even toilet paper 4) several people put a return address label on their food which was great because we were making an effort to capture that information each time for thank you notes.

Here are some recipes terrific for taking to a family in their time of need. Start the roast before you go to bed and let it cook all night then add the vegetables first thing in the morning; it will be ready to delivery just before lunch. The 4 Ingredient Butterscotch Cake is super easy. I keep the ingredients on hand for anytime I need a last-minute dessert. Cook it in one of those disposable aluminum pans so there will be no dishes to return.

Onion Soup Pot Roast and Vegetables

1 beef roast
1 tablespoon seasoning salt
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 envelope onion soup mix
2 tablespoons browning sauce or Worcestershire sauce
5 red potatoes, sliced
1 pound cleaned baby carrots
Cornstarch

In a crockpot on high (or in oven-safe pan on top of stove) brown top side of roast. Turn to brown bottom and sprinkle top with seasoning salt, garlic salt, and black pepper. While roast is browning, combine cream of chicken soup, onion soup mix, and browning sauce. Set crockpot to low and spread soup mixture over top of roast; cover and cook 2 to 3 hours (or longer). If not using crockpot, place roast in an oven-safe pan with a lid and cook 2 to 3 hours in a preheated 300° oven. Add potatoes and carrots and just enough water to barely cover; continue to cook until vegetables are tender. Thicken juice with cornstarch to make a gravy, if desired.

4 Ingredient Butterscotch Cake

Quite possibly the easiest cake ever… and it tastes GREAT!

1 (3-ounce) box cook-and-serve vanilla pudding
2 cups milk
1 yellow cake mix
1 (12-ounce) package butterscotch morsels

In a small boiler over medium-high heat, combine milk and pudding; bring to boil. Remove from heat. Add cake mix; mix well. Pour into a prepared 9×13-inch glass baking dish. Sprinkle butterscotch morsels over cake. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until done. Cool before serving.


Things to Know When Pairing Food and Spices

People who have always lived in western cultures have not had a broad knowledge and respect for the pairing food and spices. Living in London, which is so culturally diverse, there are restaurants of many different ethnicities. It’s probably not a secret not many people have marveled at the wonders of British food. However in London some of the most popular restaurants are Indian, and perhaps no culture is more in-tune to spices as the Indian culture. As the world grows smaller, more of us will get to know the advantages of using a variety of spices in our cooking.

When purchasing and before using spices, keep these things in mind:

• By from an ethnic supplier rather than the supermarket
• Buy in small quantities, as they are best used within three months of purchase.
• Try grinding your spices. As with coffee, shelf life decreases when in ground form.
• Toasting spices before grinding gives them optimum flavor.
• Store in airtight containers out of direct sunlight.

Spices and herbs make up important ingredients of the foods in Mediterranean diet recipes. Some of the most important are:

• Garlic. Used sliced, crushed or sometimes whole, it is often used in long slow-cooked meals, or raw in salads and sauces.
• Capers. These are the pickled buds of a shrub native to this region. They are used on salads and sauces, and sometimes with lamb.
• Basil. Another of those crucial spices in Mediterranean cooking, it goes great with tomatoes, peppers and cheeses.
• Parsley. Mixed with garlic, or as a garnish for tomato and rice dishes.
• Rosemary. Used mainly in meat dishes, especially roast chicken or lamb, it too pairs up nicely with garlic.
• Sage. It has a strong, distinctive flavor and is used predominantly with meat, but use this sparingly.
• Pepper. There are several types, but black peppercorns have the strongest flavor.
• Saffron. Used throughout the Mediterranean but grown predominantly in Northern Spain, in France it is used in fish stews, in Spain with chicken and rice, and in Italy in risottos.

When pairing spices and herbs with food, some of the things to remember to really enhance the flavors of foods are to not use too many seasonings in one dish, as it will overwhelm the food itself. Rather than using two very strong spices or herbs together, pair one strong flavor and one mild one to best compliment the food. Add spices and herbs to cold dishes early in the preparation so they can better blend with the food, and slow cook hot food to let them meld. That’s why chili that’s been cooking for a while always tastes better.

Dry herbs and spices carry more flavor than fresh, so in recipes the ratios should be one part powder would equal three parts dried and eight parts fresh. If you are doubling a recipe, do not double the amount of spice or herb, but use only 50% more. As you have probably noticed, we always try to answer the question: what is Mediterranean food? But with its health benefits and being a delight to eat, we think it is worth promoting.


The Importance of Real Food and Permaculture Gardens

Mom was a terrible cook. Her passion was her work and she had little energy at the end of the day to focus on preparing good food. She did great community service work but she never quite figured out how important it was to eat real food. My brother, sister, and I grew up on boxed sugary cereals each morning for breakfast. We drank Tang instead of orange juice, because the astronauts drank it. We ate school lunches and macaroni and cheese with hot dogs for supper alternating between frozen pot pies or TV dinners. Mom could even burn green beans and once managed to burn up the range hood cooking them. She also invited the entire family for Thanksgiving one year ordering the dinner from the local grocery store, not realizing that the food would was not cooked. Thanksgiving dinner was delayed.

I remember being frequently sick and tired as a child and I suppose you don’t find it surprising that Mom first developed thyroid problems, then shortly after, diabetes in her thirties. I knew there had to be a better way and got really interested in nutrition and holistic healing as a young woman. My path took me to Chiropractic College and then on to study Clinical Nutrition. My practice has always had an emphasis on nutrition and the role real food has on the health of my patients. My husband introduced me to the books of Helen and Scott Nearing. This couple moved to an old farm in Vermont during the Depression and proceeded to grow organic produce and to live the “simple life.” We have been inspired by the Nearings and other early pioneers of sustainable living and organic gardening since we married. We have had an organic garden everywhere we have lived since we married in 1979. Now, the garden and the soil call to me in the spring and I long to get my hands into the dirt. I enjoy cooking and look forward to that fresh real food. Our years of gardening experiences are a pleasure to pass on and we are avid supporters of the permaculture movement and permaculture designs. Permaculture promotes care of the earth, care of the people, and sharing the excess with others.

Our son is growing food for the local farmer’s market and our daughter, though she hates to work in the yard, cooks daily and gets produce from her local CSA. Our granddaughters help in the garden and in the kitchen. We want our grandchildren to have similar desires to grow food and then prepare it with love. Gardening and preparing good food is an important part of my life, and my family’s life and supports my values. My values include: Vitality-I won’t feel vitality unless I eat real food and move my body. Compassion-I offer the greatest compassion to my family when I care for myself. Love-I care for my family and for the earth with love and by connection with others. Abundance-the earth produces so much, and I enjoy the bounty of the earth and sharing the excess with others. Integrity-caring for this beautiful planet and following through with my goals and intentions to build healthy permaculture communities and a sustainable world are some of the ways I live a life of integrity. Build your garden, grow your compassion, and share your bounty with all of the people that you love.


Survival Food and Water: Five Tips

“I never drink water because of the disgusting things that fish do in it.” – W. C. Fields He didn’t have a LifeStraw. No, but water is an essential part of survival in so many ways. Survival isn’t just about avoiding getting your arms cut off, or drowning from a storm or radiated from a nuke. Survival is really a balance between avoiding the catastrophe and maintaining your own health. You’ll need strength and endurance. And food and water are what will give you the energy you need. So in this piece, we’re going to talk about five things. We’ll cover

  1. natural purification methods
  2. salt water purification and heating water to purify it.
  3. foraging for food and avoiding poisonous plants.
  4. freeze dried foods and proteins, cooking gear and ovens and bug out meals.
  5. water tablets/UV purification and water where there is no water.

Once you’ve read this, you’ll have a good handle on the things to deal with in any disaster when it comes to food and water.

PURIFYING WATER NATURALLY

Next to life threatening wound care, drinkable water is the first priority. The reason why is that you cannot predict how long the disaster or its effects will unfold. The store shelves might be wiped clean of bottled water. And if for some reason the water supply is contaminated, how do you get the water you need?

What if you don’t have water purification tablets on hand? How do you naturally purify water? One way is to find a tree with large leaves. Find a branch that’s in the sun. Next, tie a plastic bag around the end of a branch. Over time, the humidity from the leaves will attach to the inside of the bag and form water droplets. It’s not a drinking fountain, but its drinkable water.

Another method is the Sodis method. You just take a soda bottle, and fill it with filtered water. Filtered meaning water that has no rocks, debris or leaves, branches, etc. Put the top on the bottle, and lay it on a black metal surface in the sun. This will generate enough heat to kill all of the bacteria in the bottle over 6-8 hours. But what do you do with salt water? We live near the ocean and there’s plenty of water here. Just not drinkable water.

So an interesting option is a salt water distiller. These are not as complicated as you would think. There’s no electronics either. Its a twist on the first method I shared with you. Check it out. water tablets and UV purification water where there is no water The next thing to think about is food. Foraging for food.

WATER AND FORAGING FOR FOOD

One of the survival rule of 3’s is that you can’t go without food for more than 3 weeks. For me that will be a problem because I’m running to Wendy’s every 3 hours. But here’s the thing. If there is no way to get food from stores then you may have to find it in the woods. I’m talking foraging for food. So to get the process rolling, I recently added to my BugOutBag a deck of cards called 52 Wild Edibles. Each card is dedicated to one wild food item. And each card has some specifics about preparation, warnings, and identification tips.

Also check out Steve Brills work on wild plant foraging. He has a list of 14 plants that are a combination of edible and poisonous plants. In this list of plants, he covers cattail, dandelion, elderberries, mulberries, juneberries, nettles, poison ivy and others.

And while you are foraging, consider firemaking. Part of the strategy in foraging is boiling leaves of some of the plants. So your ability to build a fire is critical with food foraging. You can still forage without water though. But that’s just one part, the next thing is..

FREEZE DRIED FOODS AND PROTEINS

For mobile/light travel survival, you want the most impact from your food at the lightest weight. That’s where freeze dried foods and proteins come in. This combination gives you the biggest bang for the weight and space taken up. The nice thing is that freeze dried foods only need some water and they are ready to go. They are very light and contain the same nutrients that non freeze dried foods have. You can get vegetables, fruit, meat, dairy products (freeze dried cottage cheese!) and even ice cream! Having ice cream that isn’t cold is a little odd though. I’ve had it and it tastes very good. For energy, you want to avoid sugary and energy type drinks or foods. They may bring you up, but there will be a price to pay hours later.

Best bet is to get your energy in a way that is as sugar controlled as possible. That’s because you’ll want consistent and reliable energy for your body. The answer? Protein. And the best place to get this is through protein bars. They are packed with energy and are lightweight. And if you combine protein with freeze dried foods, then you are in that much better shape. That’s because you have more room to pack more food which will help you last longer. But that’s just one part, the next thing is..

BUG OUT COOKING GEAR

Part of your food and water plan is to have something to cook or boil water in. So what you’ll need is some kind of fire making capability or stove if possible. To make fires, I use the UST BlastMatch. And for a stove, I’ve got the MSR WhisperLite International. It’s for backpackers where where MSR-brand fuel isn’t available.

So the WhisperLite can burn kerosene and unleaded petrol (gasoline). Also, it burns “white gas” that MSR and Coleman sell. Its an old design, but continues to prove its self to many around the world as a reliable stove. The downside is that you have to carry the fuel bottle with you. But in a rainstorm where you might not have dry fuel and tinder, that might not be a bad thing.

Now let’s talk about your cooking set. Check out the GSI Outdoors Dualist Cook set or the HaluLite. This set is non stick. That means it’s healthier and comes with pots, cups and bowls. Also it comes with a water sealed drawstring bag that you can use as a wash basin. Now if you want to take things a step further, try this. Combine the stove and cookset. The product you’ll want to check out is the Optimus Crux Lite for your bug out meals. But that’s just one part, the next thing is..

WATER WHERE THERE IS NO WATER

Our fifth tip for survival/bug out food and water has to do with finding water when you don’t see water. If you didn’t already know it, check this out. The US Geological Survey estimates that there is more freshwater located underground than in all of the earth’s freshwater lakes and rivers. But you can find water above the surface of the earth too. Here are a couple of places you can find it. First, from the plants and the dew they produce. Here’s how you get it. Tie an absorbent cloth around your ankles and go walking through high grass. Squeeze the water out of the cloth and you’ll have a small amount of liquid to drink.

Another idea is the transportation well. Its simply a bag you tie onto the branch of a tree with broad leaves. After being in the sun for a bit, you’ll see dew begin to form on the inside of the bag. Second source of water is from the ground. What you’ll be looking for are depressed areas.

Also, look for dried up riverbeds, bottom of hills, areas with lush vegetation. Dig some test holes about 4 feet apart. Make them 5-7 feet deep. As you keep digging, you’ll see water seeping into some of the holes as you are getting closer to a water source.

Now you’ve got the framework of a water plan for your bug out kit. You now know a little bit about foraging, freeze dried foods, bug out cooking gear and finding water where there is no water.

So this week, as a test, what you’re going to do is try fasting for the weekend. That’s right. Here we talked about all this water and food, and I’m asking you to fast? Yep. That’s because you might be going without food if you eat your stores in the first 72 hours. Try fasting for 1-2 days just as a test. This will begin to train you in the reality of what might be coming down the road when or if disaster hits.


Taking a Culinary Vacation

When you think about gourmet food and travel you probably aren’t thinking of the reheated frozen food you were served on the plane. There are many choices available to those whose love of travel is equaled by their love of gourmet food. You can travel to an exotic (or romantic) location and take gourmet food cooking courses taught by well-trained chefs in top culinary programs (some are even offered on cruise ships.) You can also take a tour that allows you to visit a region and sample some of the area’s best cuisine-without doing any of the gourmet food cooking or preparation yourself. Before you buy that ticket, here is some basic information to get you started on your search:

If you love to cook gourmet food at home, you should definitely think about taking a trip to visit a culinary program abroad. There are all-inclusive travel packages which include your airfare, your accommodations and your courses all in one price. These tour groups are usually fairly small, so you get more personalized instruction. The courses can last anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks. You may be able to set up courses through contacting a gourmet food cooking school directly, but you may not be able to get the deals on the airfare and accommodations. Some of the packages also include tours of the local area as well.

On the other hand, if you want to leave the gourmet food cooking to the experts, you can find tours which simply visit different areas, focusing on the local cuisine-with local sites of interest thrown in as well for good measure. Some of the more popular tours are the wine tours, the cheese tours and the chocolate tours. You can see how the food is made and you can sample it as well.

Those who want a more flexible and independent experience can simply look up traveler reviews of restaurants in the areas they plan to visit and chart their course based on the food they want to eat.


Tips on the Safer Storage, Handling, and Cooking of Meat at Home

Medical records have firmly established that saturated fat and cholesterol are bad for the heart. Unfortunately for meat lovers, most red meat (like a big, juicy hamburger) can be high in both. It is believed that the risk of advanced prostate cancer is increased with a high intake of red meat. Some types of poultry contain the most saturated fat and cholesterol. Some of the fattiest meats include brisket, ribs, ground beef, bacon, duck, and goose. Studies have shown that diets high in meat, especially red meat, increase the risk of heart disease and heart attack and are associated with a higher risk of colon, rectal, and prostate cancers.

On the positive side, meat can be part of a healthful, low-fat diet if you choose lean cuts, cook them properly, and make sure to balance your diet with 5 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day and plenty of whole grains. Small servings of lean meat deliver a solid amount of nutrients without too much fat. Red meat, such as steaks, burgers, and pork, is loaded with protein, B vitamins, iron, and zinc. Although chicken and turkey don’t contain as much iron and zinc, they have considerably less saturated fat. Wild game, such as ostrich, emu, pheasant, venison, and buffalo, is also a lean meat choice.

If meat is undercooked, it can cause mild to severe food poisoning. Bacterial contamination is another problem. Most raw meat carries some form of bacteria, and when it is not handled or cooked properly it can make you sick. For example, hamburger may carry a dangerous strain of E. coli bacteria, which can cause bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and, in rare cases, kidney failure. Chicken is likewise prone to contamination from salmonella bacteria. Severe diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and nausea – which can last a week or longer – are some of the symptoms that are caused by eating tainted chicken.

To make sure that you properly and safely store, handle, and cook meat at home, follow these few safeguards:

– Store uncooked meat in a freezer at -18 degrees Celsius (0 degree Fahrenheit) or below, or in a refrigerator below 4 degrees Celsius (40 degrees Fahrenheit), and separate it from other foods. Don’t refrigerate fresh poultry or ground beef for more than two days – use it or freeze it.

– Thaw meat in the refrigerator or microwave and cook it as soon as it is thawed. Thawing meat at room temperature (for example, in the sink or on the kitchen counter) promotes bacterial growth.

– Don’t allow raw meat or any trimmings to touch any other food that you plan to serve raw or lightly cooked. The bacteria on uncooked meat can spread to other foods.

– Don’t let raw chicken sit out since it can spoil in a few hours. If you want to marinate it, do so in the refrigerator.

– Before cooking, trim all visible fat from steak, veal, lamb, or pork.

– After handling meat, clean utensils, countertops, cutting boards, and your hands with hot soapy water.

– Cook ground beef above 71 degrees Celsius (160 degrees Fahrenheit), steaks and roasts above 63 degrees Celsius (145 degrees Fahrenheit), poultry breast meat above 77 degrees Celsius (170 degrees Fahrenheit), and whole birds above 82 degrees Celsius (180 degrees Fahrenheit) to kill any bacteria in the meat. For the internal temperature, insert an instant-read meat thermometer for at least 15 seconds near the end of cooking.

– Juices should run clear or yellow, not pink. But don’t rely on looks to tell whether meat is done. One study found that even brown meat can be insufficiently cooked.

– Don’t char meat; high heat causes potentially carcinogenic compounds to form. To avoid this, partially cook meats in the microwave or a slow oven first, and finish them up on a cooler part of the grill.

A nutritious, balanced diet includes two to three daily servings from the meat food group, which is made up not only of red meat and poultry but also fish, eggs, legumes, tofu, and peanut butter. Staying away from meat, therefore, is not really necessary to stay healthy. What’s more important is that you know how to store, handle, and cook them properly – and safely.


Find and Cook the Right Foods Now!

Low Sodium Diet is one diet plan that gets the attention of those who are health conscious. It is not only for getting the good shape you wanted for your body but also low sodium diet lower the risk of high-blood pressure and other related illnesses. This had been recommended by The National Academy of Science’s Institute of Medicine (IOM). There had been a released guideline that defines daily sodium intakes. As suggested, people between the ages of 19-50 may only take 1,500 mg sodium/salt, for ages 51-70 1,300 mg and for ages 71+ 1,200 mg. This strictly includes ALL salt or sodium intakes.

That also counts sodium used in cooking and at the table.

Following this diet plan and recommendations made a lot of people who are very cognizant to their health have to look for the right foods and have themselves prepare and cook it in their own kitchen. The big question now is how to find and cook the right foods that are certified in low sodium. This article can provide some of the information that you need to know on sodium or salt content in food in order to be cautious in preparing and serving them to their family. Low sodium foods with 1-150 mg per servings are doughnuts, white and whole bread, cookies, crepes, graham crackers, Melba toast, shredded wheat cereals, cakes, together with granola, puffed rice, puffed wheat, spaghetti, noodles, rice and macaroni pasta.

Condiments like butter, herbs, margarine, oil, Horseradish, sugar, mustard, syrup, Tabasco, vinegar and spices are still in the same bracket of specified low sodium contents. Dairy Products like cheeses amongst are cream, Monterey, Mozzarella, Ricotta are little salt nature. All untreated animal protein have natural sodium content. Many individuals also do not have the luxury of time to cook. They preferred packed foods that are cooked already and ready to go. These Prepared foods that have Low sodium food labels has the following sodium information: Salt free means less than 5 milligrams sodium per serving. Sodium free has Less than 5 milligrams sodium per serving. No Salt added may mean No salt added during processing but does not guarantee as sodium free. Very Low Sodium has 35 milligrams or less sodium per serving. Low Sodium labels may have 140 milligrams or less per serving. The list could go on and on but the bottom line here is to examine the Nutrition Facts Label to evaluate the quantity of sodium in every package and be very conscious of the sodium or salt intake.

Always choose foods that have lower values. It is also important that before you take the packed food or processed food, you need to compare the amounts you will eat to the serving size given. The figure may look low but the amount you eat will double or triple the sodium consumed as per guidelines. Becoming conscious of what you eat keeps you fit.


Start Out Healthy and Stay Healthy

So often, children will model most aspects of their parent’s actions. Whether it be the smallest quirks or the worst habits, children do learn from by watching what their parents do and that has consequences both good and bad. This is why it is essential for parents to start their children off on the right food concerning their diet and eating habits.

Several decades ago, it wasn’t unusual for all families to eat every meal together, every day, all at the same table. In today’s times, that scenario is more likely the exception than the norm. Parents are busy with child-rearing, work, and household responsibilities. There is often a lot of eating on the run and not as much concern for eating healthy, balanced meals. But in order for your kids to learn how to eat healthy and always be conscious of what is going into their bodies as they grown into adults, it is important for parents to learn that lesson for themselves.

Imitation is Flattering

Because kids are prone to mimic what their parents do, cooking can be a great lesson for the entire family. First, it teaches everyone to slow down and enjoy the quality time with each other that is often taken for granted. Second, cooking with children teaches the younger generation the importance of responsibility by preparing meals for the family. They get to understand the importance of hard work and the value of their parent’s time that is put into the family. While younger kids may not immediately understand that message, it is one that should stick with them as they get older. The third most important thing cooking with kids can do is teach them how to express a side of themselves through the recipes they prepare or invent on their own. Plus, there are tons of lessons in math and science kids will not learn hands-on in the classroom.

The Hands-On Approach

Through cooking, kids get a better understanding of what their dinner is made from and how different combinations can be put together to make a meal. This is a prime opportunity for parents to educate their young about the importance of adding healthy and fresh foods into each meal. Kids can learn more by doing than by just simply listening. By having them actually adding the carrots to the casserole or learning how to measure a cup of peas, they may be more likely not only to eat what they have created but also to keep wanting to help in the kitchen.

Encourage Their Talents

While not every child will revel in their kitchen learning experiences, those who do can be encouraged to stick with it. There are professional course available that are geared towards teaching budding chefs about the basics of cooking for those children who develop a strong interest in the craft. It can be a wonderful outlet for children to use for creativity and build self-esteem. In addition to better physical health for the whole family, mental health is also affected positively.

It may seem at first glance that kids and cooking do not mix. Like with everything involving kids, parental supervision is required. There should always be a parent assisting with the cooking process to prevent injuries and burns but kids should also be allowed to practice mixing and pouring and the other safer areas of cooking without parental interference so they have an opportunity to learn.

The next time dinner needs to be prepared, call the whole family into the kitchen and get to work. You may be surprised at what your family can do together and you will be pleased with the new bonding time you will be instituting into your family tradition.

Georgina White has developed ways to make great tasting food using healthier methods. She feels that it’s important to be kind to your body and provide it with plenty of nourishing, fresh food while letting the taste buds enjoy it too!


Buy Fresh Seafood Online and Cook Healthy Seafood Meals

Did you know you can buy fresh seafood online? Are you someone who loves to cook and loves all kinds of seafood? Do you find that the grocery store prices on less than quality seafood are turning you off to this highly nutritious food all together? It’s not surprising. Seafood is wonderful and can be used in many different recipes, from boiled lobster, to adding shrimp to a pot of jambalaya, to a fresh salmon fillet.

Seafood is really great for you, too. Salmon is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential to our bodies, and lobster contains high amounts of vitamins A and B, as well as calcium. If you’re not incorporating seafood into your diet, you really should be. The problem with any kind of food that comes from water is that it has to be very, very fresh to offer an optimal flavor. Your grocery store may not offer such fresh varieties at a good price, but you can get fresh seafood online and know that you’re getting the freshest fish you can get at a good price.

If you’ve never really been one to cook seafood, but are considering it, you might want to start with a fish that’s a little more meaty and oily, such as salmon or trout. When prepared properly, these are two fish that will melt in your mouth and don’t taste like fish at all. Another type of fish that you can try is Mahi Mahi, which is great marinated in teriyaki sauce and cooked on the grill.

Choose a fish that’s versatile and easy to prepare. Some fish are easier to do this with than others, so you should make your selections carefully. For instance, salmon can be seasoned several ways, but can also be drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with as little as just a little lemon pepper to cook it up. You can wrap it in aluminum foil and bake it or put it on the grill until it flakes easily and is light pink. As with any kind of seafood, though, you will want to make sure that all of your seafood is fresh so that you avoid any kind of “fishy” taste. Consider buying your fresh seafood online for some of the freshest just caught selection available.

What if you don’t like fish, but want to incorporate other seafood into your diet? If you like Cajun food, then you will love cooking up a pot of shrimp gumbo or jambalaya with some crusty bread. Gumbo is fun because you can also add crab meat and scallops to it if you’re feeling creative. Dishes such as these will warm your body and soul while providing you with a healthy dose of seafood. They are easy to make and the whole family will love them. If you don’t like spicy food so much, consider making lobster bisque, which is rich and creamy and goes great on cool winter and fall nights. Pair it with some salad and rolls to make a full meal that everyone will be raving about.

Once you see how many really wonderful recipes there are for seafood, you’ll be buying all kinds, so it’s going to be really important that you find a place where you can get the freshest seafood available at the best price. This is why you need to begin shopping for all your fresh seafood online. You’ll keep yourself and your family in optimal health and save yourself tons of money in the process.


Preparing and Cooking Smoked Foods on Your Barbecue Grill

One of the reasons why people love grilling is because of the unique smoked flavor that it brings. If you are craving for that delicious flavor but aren’t quite proficient yet with the art of smoking foods with your Weber grill, then read on.

Wood characteristics

Different types of wood produce their own characteristics. Because of this, one type of may be great when used to cook a type of meat, but that doesn’t mean it mixes up well with other meat types. Here are some examples. Alder is known to produce a unique flavor that is perfect for lighter meats such as salmons, sturgeons, and chicken.

Hickory on the other hand, produces a smoky and pungent flavor similar to that of bacon. Hickory matches well with wild game, pork, chicken, and cheeses. Apple makes a delicate, sweet and fruity smoke flavor, perfectly suited with game birds, pork, and beef.

You should also note that some wood types can cause the smoked food to appear pink or reddish. For example, chicken when completely cooked using apple wood will have a reddish color.

Beginners’ tips

Pouring starter fluid on the charcoal is a no-no since it tends to infuse your food with an unpalatable taste. Always remember to protect your self when handling the hot surfaces of your Weber grill. You can do this by wearing barbecue mitts or using tongs while flipping meats, adjusting the vents, adding charcoal, or refilling the water pans.

Keeping a meat thermometer handy while cooking in your Weber grill is a good idea, since this is a good way of assessing if the food is done while also avoiding overcooking. A meat thermometer is useful when smoking foods because the appearance of smoked foods is unlike that of other grilled but non smoked dishes.

Experimenting

Your Weber grill is suited to accommodate different types of wood when used to smoke food. Since people have different food preferences, one way of finding out which wood type is perfectly suited to your favorite meats is by experimenting. Try mixing and matching different combinations until you come up with the best one for your tastes.

When you are experimenting, it’s advisable for you to begin using only a small amount of your chosen wood. Check if it suits your taste. If it doesn’t, then try using up a small amount of a different type of wood. If it does, add more to achieve a smokier flavor – just remember not to use too much since if you overdo it, it might leave the food with a bitter taste.

Also, while experimenting, it is advisable to keep a notebook where you can write down food and wood combinations, the quantity used, and also the ingredients. You should also write down the outcome of each of your “tests” so you can note which works and which doesn’t.

As you gain more experience in smoking foods, you will also develop a better sense of which wood to use on which meat type. Just keep in mind that experimenting with your own combinations is simply a process of trial and error – you either get it right or not.


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