Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hanging Out the Wash

I love my washline!  Hanging out my sheets on a breezy sunny day is heaven!

You don't see many wash lines anymore and some have told me, they are not aloud to have them in their neighborhoods due to zoning laws!!!!  That is preposterous!   I mean, with everyone trying to help save the planet, zoning worrying so much about  your yard (that most of us own by the way..isn't this a free country?  don't we own our own property?)

Here is a cute poem about wash lines that I got from a group I am in the other day.


             A clothesline was a news forecast
              To neighbors passing by,
              There were no secrets you could keep
              When clothes were hung to dry.

             It also was a friendly link
              For neighbors always knew
              If company had stopped on by
              To spend a night or two.

             For then you'd see the "fancy sheets"
              And towels upon the line;
              You'd see the "company table cloths"
              With intricate designs.

             The line announced a baby's birth
              From folks who lived inside -
              As brand new infant clothes were hung,
              So carefully with pride!

             The ages of the children could
              So readily be known
              By watching how the sizes changed,
              You'd know how much they'd grown!

             It also told when illness struck,
              As extra sheets were hung;
              Then nightclothes, and a bathrobe, too,
              Haphazardly were strung.

             It also said, "Gone on vacation now"
              When lines hung limp and bare.
              It told, "We're back!" when full lines sagged
              With not an inch to spare!

             New folks in town were scorned upon
              If wash was dingy and gray,
              As neighbors carefully raised their brows,
              And looked the other way .. . .

             But clotheslines now are of the past,
              For dryers make work much less.
              Now what goes on inside a home
              Is anybody's guess!

             I really miss that way of life.
              It was a friendly sign
              When neighbors knew each other best
              By what hung on the line.

You have to be a certain age to appreciate this.  I can hear my mother now ...

THE BASIC RULES FOR CLOTHESLINES:  (if you don't know what clotheslines are, better skip this)

1.  You had to wash the clothes line before hanging any clothes - walk the entire lengths of each line with a damp cloth around the lines.

2.  You had to hang the clothes in a certain order, and always hang "whites" with "whites," and hang them first.

3.  You never hung a shirt by the shoulders  - always by the tail!. What would the neighbors think?

4..  Wash day on a Monday! . .. . Never hang clothes on the weekend, or Sunday, for Heaven's sake!

5.  Hang the sheets and towels on the outside lines so you could hide your "unmentionables" in the middle (perverts & busybodies, y'know!)

6.   It didn't matter if it was sub zero weather  ... clothes would "freeze-dry. "

7.  Always gather the clothes pins when taking down dry clothes!  Pins left on the lines were "tacky!"

8.  If you were efficient, you would line the clothes up so that each item did not need two clothes pins, but shared one of the clothes pins with the next washed item.

9.  Clothes off of the line before dinner time, neatly folded in the clothes basket, and ready to be ironed.

10. IRONED?!  Well, that's a whole other subject!


Thursday, March 25, 2010

My Attempt at Homemade Pasta ...it really is easy!

Well, I am don't have to work until tomorrow, so I am going to attempt to use my new handy dandy pasta machine I got last week. I love new kitchen toys!  I watched Giada make it using her food processor and she made it look so easy.  I have grown to love this chick, even thought her selective accent drives me nuts.  Just say Parmesan like you say everything else hunny..lol.   She also used a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer attachment to make it..looks great but pricey and I was told, it not only is hard to control when its moving on its own (you can't back up) but it puts a lot of wear and tear on the motor of your stand mixer and I baby my mixer...I got it for mixing. 
In any case, Giada made this pasta in her food processor and of course, now I cannot find the recipe and I deleted the show from the DVR...darn it.  Looking through the links on Food Network has become a time consumer for me, so I am going to just wing it using my From Biba's Italian Kitchen cookbook.  She used to be on PBS, her and Mary Ann  Esposito where the first two cooking shows I watched. Some of their cookbooks (linked) are so inexpensive on Amazon because they are older books, but surely treasures to have.  Biba  Caggiano grew up in Italy, so to me, that's Italian. There are a lot of Americanized Italian recipes, having come from Italy but slightly tweaked by each generation. 

Biba has five pages on pasta making in her From Biba's Italian Kitchen book. She has directions for making it by hand, in food processor, in mixer, etc and even making spinach and tomato pasta....I am thinking of making it this way?  Hmmm.   Maybe my first batch will be regular and then spinach (I should have done this last week for St. Patty's day!).

Now, to make cut pasta (fettuccine or something) or  stuffed pasta...ravioli?  I could even make lasagna and make it easy, just sheets of pasta.  hmmm?

Fettuccine Alfredo it is lol

I put 3 Cups of unbleached all purpose flour in my food processor...in a bowl, combined 4 eggs and 1 T course salt and 1 T olive oil in a bowl, whisked together and then I dumped it in the food processor.  Pulsed a few times, then whirled it on full speed for a minute.  Looked like a course cornmeal.  I dumped it onto a floured board and kneaded it for about 3 minutes into a smooth ball.  Wrapped in plastic and let set for 30 mins (good time to get the water pot ready and start on the sauce.

I cut the dough into sections and flatten out slightly.  roll it on setting one through the pasta machine...fold in half, roll again, three or four times. Then, onto setting two, two times...then three, and four all the way to six.
Switch my handle to the cutting machine...and cut the fettuccine...hubby said, next time, cut it smaller first...they were 2-5 feet long lol.

This recipe made about  the equivalence of a one pound box of pasta.

 That is the background there is my key lime tree I am growing...While making a margarita one day, I was cutting a key lime and decided to put that seed in the post my grandmother had given me before they moved to Texas (the plant that was in it had just died, didn't like that window I guess).  Anyway, the key lime tree thrives there. I am always pruning it back. Don't ya love the retro red board wall?  My whole kitchen, wainscot and radiators and all were painted fire engine red when I bought my house. I vowed to keep some red for the woman we purchased the house from who was 91 and going into an old age home (and she was born in this house, tell me my well water is bad? LOL)

I was so excited and proud of myself that I made pasta.  I attempted it years ago, when my husband and I lived in a tiny apartment and had a kitchen the size of a box lol.  I had no pasta machine, nor did I have a food processor...talk about rustic pasta lol.

For my next trick, homemade lasagna...maybe after work tomorrow!  I had so much fun, I surely won't let the cobwebs develop on this kitchen toy!  I am very glad I was warned to be wary of the kitchen aid attachment because I don't think I cold have kept up with it.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Parmesan Cheese Crisps

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I had a friend come over a few years ago and bring parmesan crisps. Everyone thought they were odd. Some people loved them and some people hated them. I loved them!

No need for a silpat or even parchment paper...if you have a baking stone, and a cheese grater, you have all you need (well, ingredients are always key lol).

You can add a spice to them or leave them plain. Snack on them alone, or garnish dishes with them (salads, steaks, soups etc). Bake them flat and lay them out flat to cool or if you want, lay them over a small glass bowl or something and let them cool into a cup like shape..or roll into a cone to cool and they will harden in that shape.

I simple grate my parmesan cheese into a 2 cup bowl and then sprinkle into small circles...should be a thin layer...little holes in them are so cute. (see pics) I also used my cheese knife to cut my blog of Parmesan Cheese down a bit.

Yes, this dark thing is my baking stone...and they won't stick to it, not even a newer one! You can add some herbs to it, fresh herbs look great, I saw it on Martha Stewart once...but I am out of basil, so I used dried. I mounded the cheese on them and then spread it around a bit with my fingers so it was nearly see through to the stone.
Here are some pics of crisps I found online. My kids and I wolfed ours down before I remembered to take any pics ...that's the story of my life lol.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Keeping a Food Diary Doubles Weight Loss

Are you struggling to lose weight...or wondering why you can't close your pants anymore....(pregnant women need not apply lol). I have said this time and time again...you MUST keep a food diary. It does not take long to write down what you eat, and if you can't take the time to write it, then you aren't interested in losing weight. And guys, positioning the waist of your pants below your gut is noticeable! You aren't fooling anyone!

Do not make excuses....write it down and make sure you are honest...if you eat two servings...by golly...you have to track that! If you don't, you are only fooling yourself. No one believes that a heavy person works out hard and eats right.

Start keeping a food diary today and don't forget to move!

And by all means...DO NOT DEPRIVE YOURSELF OF ANYTHING....everything in moderation, its a lifestyle change, not a diet.

Here is a great article I found online.....

Keeping a Food Diary Doubles Weight Loss

Dieters Who Keep Track of What They Eat Lose Weight Twice as Fast


Dieters may be able to take solace in the fact that one of the most powerful weight-loss tools available may be as close as a pen and paper.

In a recent study by the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, participants who kept food journals lost almost double the weight of their non-journaling counterparts.

And at a time when Americans spend $35 billion a year on weight-loss products -- a figure larger than the gross domestic product of most developing countries -- the finding could be good news for those searching for an inexpensive route to a healthier weight.

The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, focused on the efficacy of various behavioral weight-loss interventions in more than 1,500 overweight and obese adults. Participants were schooled on lifestyle interventions, which included weekly group sessions, regular exercise, a heart-healthy diet, reduced alcohol consumption and the use of food diaries.

After five months, participants lost an average of almost 13 pounds -- a significant amount, according to physicians. However, those who used a food diary more than five days a week lost almost twice as much weight as those who didn't. And perhaps more impressively, they kept the weight off.

When keeping food diaries, dieters write down, for better or worse, every calorie that passes through their lips each day.

Frank Bitzer, a 64-year-old retired project manager and study subject, lost 26 pounds during the study, and his cholesterol dropped to healthy levels. Today, four years after the end of the study, he has kept off 20 pounds and continues to feel the positive health effects. Asked about his experiences with keeping a food diary, he described it as "enlightening." He attributed much of his success to the ability to gain immediate information and "see the error of your ways.

"It enabled me to see how much of an impact it made with even just a slight change in your diet, such as having a bowl of ice cream or a fast-food cheeseburger," he says. "That can really skew your calorie intake."

Another successful dieter, Carol Nelson of Hewlett, N.Y., credits food journals with helping her lose almost 20 pounds in six months. Now, thanks to her weight loss, she expects her doctor to cut the dose of Metformin, her diabetes medication, in half.

"It really started with the food journals," she says. "Now it's in my head. By keeping food journals for so many months, the pattern for eating is with me."

Why the Pen Is Mightier Than the Pounds

But why do the diaries work? Experts agree that the ultimate value lies in the formation of a "foundation of personal accountability." Almost everyone agrees that accountability is the most important ingredient behind any successful lifestyle change, including weight loss.

Dr. Patrick O'Neil, director of the Weight Management Center at the Medical University of South Carolina, agrees. "Most of us don't really know how much we eat and drink; we have very charitable memories," he says.

In short, he explains, food diaries force an increased awareness of habits and eating patterns. By allowing patients to follow their eating patterns throughout the day, the visual diary can highlight pitfalls that may have previously gone unnoticed by a dieter.

Additionally, when clinicians such as physicians or dietitians review a diary, they can often point out problematic cues, triggers and habits that may be contributing to weight gain. The increased awareness and knowledge allows for targeted problem-solving to improve these troublesome situations. As O'Neil says, "Sometimes a little Monday-morning quarterbacking makes for a better score the next weekend."

Madelyn Fernstrom of the University of Pittsburgh Weight Management Center agrees, adding that food diaries help in "transferring that written record into a permanent mental database."

When Diaries Alone Are Not Enough

Study author Dr. Victor Stevens says that the power of food diaries lies in their flexibility, allowing them to be tailored for accountability for different goals -- from calorie counting to diet quality to overall assessment of eating habits.

But when it comes to a comprehensive weight management strategy, they may not be enough. Stevens suggests that in addition to using a food diary, some dieters may benefit further from joining an organized weight-loss program that provides social commitment and accountability.

If no formal programs are available, he says, "get organized with some friends and make a commitment to help each other."

Remember, a calorie is a calorie is a calorie....be honest about your serving sizes...if you ate two, count two!
  • 1 gram of carbohydrates=4 calories
  • 1 gram of protein = 4 calories
  • 1 gram of fat = 9 calories
You can keep track in free printable pages or even keep track in this cute food diary that fits in your purse for taking everywhere.
Little Black Book ~ Daily Food Diary®.

some free printable food diaries online..

http://www.thecolumn.org/food-diary.pdf (this one asks your mood!)





There are many more...I could go on for days posting them. Pick one you like and start keeping track.....do not lie to yourself. This is for you, not for anyone to judge you..but you have to know how many calories you are eating in a day tolose weight.

Calculate your BMI
BMI (Body Mass Index) is a measurement of body fat based on height and weight that applies to both men and women between the ages of 18 and 65 years.
BMI can be used to indicate if you are overweight, obese, underweight or normal. A healthy BMI score is between 20 and 25. A score below 20 indicates that you may be underweight; a value above 25 indicates that you may be overweight.
You can calculate your BMI by using our BMI Calculator below, or by using the BMI Formula.
Please remember, however, that this is only one of many possible ways to assess your weight. If you have any concerns about your weight, please discuss them with your physician, who is in a position, unlike this BMI calculator, to address your specific individual situation.

Calculate your BMR
You use energy no matter what you're doing, even when sleeping. The BMR Calculator will calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR); the number of calories you'd burn if you stayed in bed all day.
If you've noticed that every year, it becomes harder to eat whatever you want and stay slim, you've also learnt that your BMR decreases as you age. Likewise, depriving yourself of food in hopes of losing weight also decreases your BMR, a foil to your intentions. However, a regular routine of cardiovascular exercise can increase your BMR, improving your health and fitness when your body's ability to burn energy gradually slows down.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Genius Lid Storage Idea

Lid Racks

Another Genius Idea from Martha in my inbox this am.

Pots take up the least space when you nest them, but that leaves the lids with no place to go. Give them a home of their own by installing metal towel bars inside your pantry door. Don't use fancy or bulky bars -- look for simple ones that stand out about 2 inches; mount them only to the rails of solid-core wooden doors. To hang a lid, slide it behind the bar so the knob or handle catches and holds the lid in place.

Idea snagged from Martha's site.

Who'd've Thunk It Pie Carrier

Easter is just around the bend and if you are taking any pies to Easter Dinner, here is a cool way to transport them. I got this from MarthaStewart.com She has a great site that you can save projects you like, recipes in a recipe box etc. http://www.marthastewart.com/photogallery/hostess-gift-ideas#slide_14

Hostess Gift Ideas

Pie Carrier

A freshly baked pie is always a welcome gift -- even more so when it comes wrapped inside this unusual but sensible container. A bamboo steamer is the ideal size to transport a pie to your hostess's door and can hold two pies at once. After placing a lid on the steamer, secure with a piece of twill tape tied in a bow.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Balance an Egg on the Equinox

Balance an Egg on the Equinox

Link to site I found this on above

Balancing an egg on its end is a matter of skill, not astronomy. (Steve Lewis, Getty Images)Saturday, March 20, 2010 is the vernal equinox, which marks the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere. Are you familiar with the urban legend that it's easier to balance an egg on end on the equinox than on other days of the year?

Test it and see!

This vernal equinox one of the two times during the year when the sun crosses the celestial equator and the spin axis of the Earth points 90 degrees away from the sun. Why should this affect your ability to balance an egg on end? The premise is that aligning the gravitational pull of the Sun with that from the center of the Earth should somehow make it easier to balance any object.

Test the Hypothesis Yourself

Take a carton of eggs and try balancing the eggs on end today. Can you stand any of them up (without resorting to tricks like putting salt under the eggs)? Can you stand eggs on their small ends as well as their large ends? Keep track of your results and repeat the process on the equinox. Do you note any differences? A simple hypothesis to test is: Eggs can only be balanced on-end on the equinox. If you can balance an egg today, you've disproven the hypothesis. It's that easy!

One thing I find neat about egg-balancing is that a balanced egg will hold its position until a vibration knocks it down. How long can you keep an egg standing?

Beginning Vegetarian Info

I was sent a great website from a gal in the UK.
I copied a bunch of great links for beginning vegetarians, as well as kids and teenage vegetarians to the bottom of my blog.

Make it easy

Make extra dinner and eat for lunch the next day. This is also a great way to save money.

Have a protein-rich dip or spread in the fridge ready to combine with rye crackers, oatcakes or vegetable sticks.

Plan ahead. Make up 3-day menus with shopping lists so you can just pick one up and stock up at speed.

Make a big pot of lentil and vegetable soup and freeze so a fast and nutritious meal is never far away.

Stir-fry vegetables can be bought already chopped. Just gently fry and add some nuts, tofu or beans, soya sauce, garlic and ginger for a meal in minutes.

Keep a well-stocked store cupboard/fridge including olives, sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes and fresh herbs to make quick meals more interesting.

Frozen vegetables keep most of their nutrients; some are even higher than when fresh. Even if you have no fresh vegetables left you can knock up a healthy stew with tinned tomatoes and beans, frozen veg and dried herbs.

Tips for healthy eating on a budget

Find a local fruit and vegetable market. Prices are often better towards the end of the day.
Roast bulk–bought vegetables like peppers, courgettes and red onions. They will keep in the fridge for a couple of days and can be added to salads.

Make your own dried tomatoes. Quarter bulk-bought tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar and cook on a low heat (around 150˚C) for about two hours until semi-dried (store in the fridge).

Make tomato sauce from bulk-bought tomatoes and freeze for when needed.
Grow your own fresh herbs in pots on your kitchen windowsill to add flavour to dishes.
Make up a dried bean and seed mix and grow your own sprouts. Sprouts are a great source of nutrients, protein and fibre but check that the beans and seeds you buy are suitable for sprouting.

Include frozen fruit and vegetables. It is easy to use just the right portion so waste is avoided and most retain good nutrient levels. Frozen peas, spinach and some others are even higher in nutrients than if fresh. This is also a great way of eating foods out of season to increase variety.

Pick your own soft fruit and freeze

Make more than you need for dinner and freeze the rest for another day

Chinese supermarkets sell great value large packs of tofu. Try marinating chunks in soya sauce, garlic and ginger and then baking them in the oven until firm. Roasted tofu will keep in the fridge for a few days and can be added to stir-fries or salads or it makes a great protein-rich snack.

Start up a buying group with friends. Together you can build up a big enough order to buy from a wholesaler.

Plan your meals in advance so you can make sure everything gets used up and waste is avoided.

Coping with a sweet tooth

If chocolate, puddings and sweet treats are your downfall, you won’t kick the sugar habit overnight.

Luckily there are lots of sweet-tasting delights that won’t upset your energy balance, rot your teeth or ratchet up your calorie intake as much as a jam doughnut.

Try plain yogurt (soya or dairy) with some dried fruit; poached pears; stewed apple with cinnamon (sweetened with molasses if necessary) or swap the snacks in each day’s meal plan around a bit to make sure there’s something sweet but nutritious on offer just when you know you’ll most be in the mood.

Including healthy snacks and having protein each time you eat will also help you to crave sugar less.

Things to watch out for

Vegetarian and vegan diets can provide you with all the nutrients you need. There are, however, a few nutrients to keep a check on as some studies have shown people on plant-based diets have been lower in these than is ideal. This is not because they can’t be provided, just that we need to know what to include. See the table below for details:

Nutrient Needed for Good food sources

B2 Riboflavin
Energy, skin, nails and hair

Mushrooms, green leafy vegetables, watercress, cabbage, broccoli, pumpkin, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, tomatoes, soya products, wheat germ, yeast extract, almonds and eggs.

B12 Cyanocobalamin
Energy production, blood cells, nervous system and heart health

A sub-lingual vitamin tablet (placed under the tongue) is the most reliable vegan source.
Also in fortified soya milks, soya burgers, soya mince, breakfast cereals, yeast extract and non-hydrogenated margarines (check the label).

Vitamin D
Healthy bones, immunity and protecting against osteoporosis

Eggs and dairy products. Fortified foods such as margarines, soya milk and breakfast cereals.
Also made in the body via sunlight on the skin. Spend at least 20 minutes a day outside.

Healthy bones, heart and muscle function

Dairy products, Brazil nuts, chickpeas, dried seaweeds, figs, green leafy vegetables, parsley, watercress, broccoli, tofu, soya beans, okra, blackstrap molasses, fortified soya milks (check the label), swede, almonds, quinoa and apples.

Normal functioning of the thyroid gland which controls metabolism

Seaweed, some organic green leafy vegetables, watercress, pears, wild rice, iodised salt.

Red blood cells and preventing anaemia

Seaweeds, dried apricots, wholemeal bread, raisins, prunes, dates, sesame and pumpkin seeds, legumes, nuts, dark-green leafy vegetables, spinach, cabbage, tofu, beans and pulses, wheat germ, parsley, millet, blackstrap molasses and quinoa. Although the iron in plant sources tends to be more easily absorbed than from animal sources, plants also provide vitamin C which enhance absorption.

Antioxidant protecting against free-radical damage

Brazil nuts, mushrooms, dried mushrooms, lentils, sesame and sunflower seeds, walnuts, whole-grains, potatoes, acorn squash and avocado.

Hormones, fertility and immunity

Dried seaweed, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds, pine nuts, wholegrains, wholemeal bread, brown rice, lentils, almonds, wheat germ and oats.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Cabbage Rolls Stuffed with Corned Beef

Today we are having the traditional Corned Beef and Cabbage for dinner, the brisket is already in the pressure cooker....yes, sadly, I must go off my Weekday Vegetarian Diet today. I found this recipe that I would love to make on a weekend. My husband absolutely loves corned beef hash. (found it on Kitchen Monki)


Cabbage Rolls Stuffed with Corned Beef

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Wrap up the flavors of the Emerald Isle in these delicious corned beef and cabbage rolls. For convenience, stuff the cabbage leaves the night before, then just cook them in the oven for an easy St. Patrick’s Day dinner. Cooked in nutrient-rich spaghetti sauce, this main dish is an easy way to fit in more veggies!


Makes 6 servings
1 head Cabbage, large
Step 1: Separate 12 large outer leaves from the cabbage head; set aside the remaining cabbage head. Remove the center vein from each leaf so it becomes more pliable. Soften the cabbage leaves in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from water with a slotted spoon; set aside until cool enough to handle.
1 small Onion, chopped
2 medium Celery, chopped
1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
1 can Canned Corned Beef Hash, (15 ounces)
14 cup Dry Breadcrumbs
Step 2: Chop 1 cup of cabbage from the remaining cabbage head. Save any leftover cabbage to use in a salad, soup or stir-fry dish. Cook and stir the chopped cabbage, onion and celery in oil over medium heat in a medium, non-stick skillet until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add corned beef hash, breaking it up with a spoon; mix gently. Heat over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup spaghetti sauce and breadcrumbs, mix well. Cool slightly.
1 cup Spaghetti Sauce, divided
13 cup Fresh Parsley, chopped
Step 3: Spoon about 1/4 cup of the corned-beef mixture onto each cabbage leaf. Roll, tucking the ends in. Arrange cabbage rolls, seam side down, in a shallow baking dish. Pour remaining spaghetti sauce over cabbage rolls. Bake at 350ºF covered for about 25 minutes, until heated through. To serve, spoon spaghetti sauce over cabbage rolls; sprinkle with parsley.

Step 4: Cholesterol 25mg; Sodium 560mg; Total carbohydrate 20g; Fiber 3g; Protein 9g; Vitamin A 15%DV**; Vitamin C 50%DV; Calcium 8%DV; Iron 10%DV **Daily Value

Happy St. Patricks Day!

May your blessings out number the shamrocks that grow, And may trouble avoid you Wherever you go...Éirinn go Brách !!!

May those who love us, love us.
And for those who don't love us,
May God turn their hearts.
And if he can not turn their hearts,
May he turn their ankles,
So we may know them by their limping.
May you live as long as you want, and never want as long as you live.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Under Cover School Lunch

I can't wait for Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. A sneak showing of "Food Revolution" will air Sunday, March 21 at 10 p.m., right after a new "Desperate Housewives."

A teacher in Illinois is eating school lunches for a year....here is her blog.


She's fed up. An Illinois teacher is eating school lunches for a year in solidarity with students she believes aren't offered healthy options in the cafeteria.

Blogging anonymously at fedupwithschoollunch.blogspot.com, the instructor has already suffered a few bellyaches in the name of her endeavor. She began eating -- and documenting with her cell phone camera -- the less-than-appetizing school lunches this January and quickly started gaining thousands of readers per day.

The teacher, who refers to herself as Mrs. Q, told AOL Health that even airplane meals taste better than the ones in the school cafeteria and that she is eating them to prove a point. The children at her school come from low socioeconomic brackets, and she estimates that 98 percent of them eat hot lunches, mostly for free or at low cost. The meals, she said in an e-mail, "are overly processed and contain very little 'real' food," such as fresh fruit.

"I am not a nutritionist. That being said, I became concerned about what the kids were eating because on the surface, the food doesn't appear to be very healthy.

"These are the kids who need the good nutrition," she added. "My students don't have good food models at home. These kids depend on the school for so much, including good nutrition. And if they don't get it, they will develop bad habits and increase our health-care costs in the future."

Nearly one fifth of U.S. children are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control, and research has cautioned that those kids could have shorter life spans because they are too heavy. Moreover, the obesity epidemic is blamed for the increasing numbers of children diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, a disease historically seen mostly in adults.

rib-b-queFirst Lady Michelle Obama recently took on the issue of school meals as part of her new Let's Move campaign to curb childhood obesity. Some 31 million kids get federally funded lunches at school, and 11 million eat breakfast there, according to the Obama administration. With many kids getting about half their daily calories at school, a goal of the campaign is to reduce the amount of sugar, salt and fat in school meals, and to increase whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Under the proposed Child Nutrition Act, the federal government would allot an additional $1 billion a year for 10 years to help schools improve the nutrition of meals. The program currently costs about $15 billion annually, according to the PTA.

Mrs. Q said she is not affiliated with the Let's Move campaign and was keeping her identity a secret out of concern for her job.

"I'm worried about any possible backlash exposing the school lunches might have for me personally and professionally," she told AOL Health, after agreeing to answer questions anonymously. "I want to continue working and I also don't want to get anyone in trouble."

Mrs. Q has laments the short window kids at her school have to eat. She estimates they have 13 minutes at best, five at worst (after taking into account waiting in line, finding a seat and using the bathroom).

She also worried about the safety of the food -- especially after one inedible peanut butter and jelly graham cracker sandwich kept her in the bathroom all night.

"I'm having more stomachaches these days," she said. "It's not every day, but at least once a week I just don't feel very good."

She added that she has a history of irritable bowel syndrome and couldn't be sure the bellyaches were from the school meals.

"I can't place it," she said. "Keep in mind that I eat organic and healthy outside of work so it's not like I'm suffering. What is hard for me to think about are the kids who rely on the school for the best (or only) meal of the day and they get hot dogs, processed meat products, fruit cups with high-fructose corn syrup, etc."

chicken nuggetsOn her wish list: A salad bar, soups, casseroles, and stir fries, which she told AOL Health could be cost efficient if they're made in bulk. She said yogurt and cottage cheese could make for healthy side dishes, and she would nix tater tots in favor of roasted potatoes. She would also eliminate hot dogs, packaged foods and Styrofoam. On the plus side, she said most bread products at the school already appear to be whole wheat.

Mrs. Q appears to teach at an elementary school. While she described the students there as "pretty young" to AOL Health, she told the blog Small Bites that students eating the meals range from 4 to 11 years old. And though she is eating -- and blogging -- in their interest, the project is causing her some anxiety.

"I feel a lot of guilt and turmoil about what I'm doing here," she wrote on February 18. "I'm waiting for the moment I'm called to the principal's office and let go. I do believe it's a matter of 'when' not 'if' they find out and it's curtains for me and then of course the project.

"I want them to know that the project is not about individuals in one school but about a country full of children who need better food models."

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Oven baked S'mores

I got this recipe from a friend. Serve with ice cream on a hot summer night on the patio! Oh wait, we are still in March....serve it with ice cream in front of Desperate Housewives ! lol

I dont' like ice cream because I hate anything frozen, but melted on this would be fine!

S’mores Galore
-The yummy taste of camping—without the tent, dirt, fire…..!!!

20 whole honey graham crackers, divided
6 1.5oz chocolate bars, coarsely chopped
1 package mini marshmallows, divided
6 tbsp butter or margarine, divided
3 tbsp milk
Pre-heat oven to 350F. Arrange a single layer of graham crackers to cover bottom of stoneware bar pan, breaking crackers to fit. Toast in oven 2 minutes, remove pan to nonstick cooling rack.
Coarsely break remaining graham crackers into large bowl: set aside. Coarsely chop chocolate bars using food chopper: set aside.
Combine 3 cups of the marshmallows, 3 tbsp of the butter and milk in the small micro cooker. Microwave on high 1 minute. Stir until smooth. Add half the chopped chocolate: stir until chocolate is completely melted. Using larger spreader, spread marshmallow mixture evenly over graham crackers in pan.
Melt remaining 3 tbsp butter: toss with broken graham crackers. Add remaining marshmallows and chopped chocolate: toss lightly. Using mix-n-scraper, spoon evenly over mixture in pan. Bake 8-10 minutes or until marshmallows are lightly browned. Cool 15 minutes. Cut into bars, serve warm.

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Stress Free Picnic Recipe * So Easy Sliders

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When you have friends over for a picnic, its no fun for the person to have to stand at the grill. Making a bunch of make ahead munchies can offer you more time with your guests.

This recipe could replace grilling burgers. It's made on the bar pan stone and you can get this in my kitchen store anytime. Don't forget to make some herbed buttter (soften it, add your fav herbs and spices, mix and put it in the corn butterer, available in my store also)

Visit my kitchen store

One last tip, this can be made with any ground meat, and also, your fav vegan "burger' recipe. You an cut these before or after you cook them. Wendy's burgers are always square, why not?

Burger Sliders

  • 1 medium onion (about 1 cup/250 mL
    finely chopped)
  • ¼ cup (50 mL) finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1½ lb (750 g) 90% lean ground beef
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) salt
  • 6 slices American or mild cheddar cheese
  • 8 hot dog buns
  • 24 hamburger dill pickle slices
1. Preheat oven to 450°F (220°C). Finely chop onion and parsley using Utility Knife or the Food Chopper Combine beef, onion, parsley,
garlic pressed with Garlic Press and salt in Classic Batter Bowl; mix well using Small Mix ‘N Scraper®. Press beef
mixture evenly over bottom of Large Bar Pan. Bake 10-12 minutes or until beef is no longer pink.

2. Meanwhile, cut cheese into quarters; set aside. Slice buns apart neatly at seams (do not separate tops from bottoms).
Trim about ¼ in. (6 mm) from each bun end to square off ends (discard trimmings). Cut buns into thirds for a total
of 24 square mini buns; set aside.

3. Remove bar pan from oven. Pour off juices, if necessary, and cut beef mixture into 24 squares using Pizza Cutter.
Top each burger with one pickle and one piece of cheese. Place one bun top onto each burger; top with one bun
bottom. Cover bar pan with aluminum foil and bake 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted and buns are warm.

4 . To serve, place one burger with bun top onto one bun bottom. Repeat with remaining burgers and bun bottoms.
Serve immediately.

Yield: 24 mini burgers

Using this recipe above...
U.S. Nutrients per serving (2 burgers): Calories 220, Total Fat 10 g, Saturated Fat 6 g, Cholesterol 45 mg,
Carbohydrate 15 g, Protein 17 g, Sodium 540 mg, Fiber 1 g

I sent out some more tips to those on my newsletter list. If you wish to be added, please email me at D5enzo@aol.com and type in the subject ADD ME

This is not my pic, I snagged it offline. I don't have the coil stove anymore...boo, hate my new glass top stove)

I should note, this will shrink in the pan, just as a burger would. I also used two pounds of meat. The fattier the meat, the more shrinkage.