Thursday, April 24, 2014

Fruit & Your Health - Part 4 - Apples




Eating fresh apples is always good for you, but to get the full nutritional benefits associated with eating apples you should eat at least one fresh apple every day.  The average U.S. consumer eats about 19 pounds of fresh apples a year - about 1 apple per week.  Ongoing consumer attitude tracking in nine major markets across the US has shown that Washington apples remain number one as far as consumers are concerned.  According to one report, 56% of those surveyed named Washington as the brand they look for when buying apples.

Cholesterol - The Chicago Herald posted that apples raise good cholesterol, lower bad and contributes to weight loss. 

Heart Disease & Stroke Prevention - U.S. Apple Association stated that heart disease, including stroke, is the nation's number one killer.  Studies have shown that apples and apple products (like sauce and juice) can help lower your risk of developing heart disease and may also help decrease your waist size and possible even your blood pressure.

Colon Cancer Prevention - New research suggests that both apple pectin and apple juice extracts may enhance the body's ability to protect from colon cancer.  German researchers found that components of apples and apple juice react in the colon and help to slow the growth of precancerous and tumor cells. 

Also, over the past several years, apple consumption has been linked with reduced cancer risk in many studies.  A 2001 Mayo Clinic study indicated that guercetin, a flavonide abundant in apples, helps prevent the growth of prostate cancer cells.  A Cornell University study indicated phytochemicals in the skin of an apple inhibited the reproduction of colon cancer cells by 43%.  The National Cancer Institute has reported that foods containing flavonoids like those found in apples may reduce the risk of lung cancer by as much as 50%.

Healthy Lungs - Two recent British studies indicated that eating apples can improve lung health.  A study of Welsh men indicated that people who ate at least five apples per week experienced better lung function.  Research at the University of Nottingham reported that those who ate five apples a week also lowered risk of respiratory disease.  In the Netherlands at the University of Groningen, apples were singled out as a fruit that could cut smokers' risk of COPD in half.  Scientists believe antioxidants found in apples may ward off disease by countering oxygen's damaging effects on the body.

Weight Loss - Apples are a delicious source of dietary fiber and dietary fiber helps aid digestion and promotes weight loss.  A medium apple contains about five grams of fiber, more than most cereals.  Also, apples contain almost zero fat and cholesterol, so they are a delicious snack and dessert food that's good for you.

Apples are heart Healthy - Researchers at the University of California-Davis recently reported that apples and apple juice may help protect arteries form harmful plaque build-up.  In the first study conducted in humans, adults who added 2 apples, or 12 ounces of 100% apple juice, to their daily diet demonstrated a significant slowing of the cholesterol oxidation process that leads to plaque build-up - thereby giving the body more time to rid itself of cholesterol before it can cause harm.

Improved Brain Health - According to the U.S. Apple Association a growing body of evidence suggests that eating apples and apple products can be beneficial when it comes to improving brain health and diminishing the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.

Apple Nutrition Facts - info provided by Virginia Apples

Calories 81 - Carbohydrates 21 grams - Dietary Fiber 4 grams - Soluble Fiber - Insoluble Fiber - Calcium 10 mg - Phosphorus 10 mg - Iron .25 mg - Sodium 0 mg - Potassium 159 mg - Vitamin C 8 mg - Vitamin A 73 IU - Folate 4 mcg

This information is based on one medium 2 1/2" apple, fresh, raw, with skin. The nutritional value will vary slightly depending on the variety and size.

Nutritional Facts About Virginia Apples -

The homespun wisdom about apples is proving itself true in the lab. Not only are apples low in calories and high in fiber, but nutritionists and scientists are finding that apples can prevent health problems or at least reduce health risks our bodies face everyday. It's their preventative and curative properties that are capturing the spotlight in numerous studies around the world. Some of the studies have found:
*Antioxidant phytonutrients in and apple juice help reduce cholesterol, especially LDL cholesterol (low-density lipoproteins or bad cholesterol), helping prevent cardiovascular disease.
*Antioxidant phytonutrients also help reduce the risk of heart disease รก Phytonutrients in apples slow the growth of colon cancer and liver cancer in cells
*Phytonutrients in apples lower the risk of thrombotic stroke.
*Flavonoids, especially the flavonoid, quercetin, found in apples, appear to reduce the risk of lung cancer. Some studies suggest they cut the risk of lung cancer in half.
*Apples appear to improve lung function , in general, because they contain antioxidants.
*Apples help strengthen bones.
*People with diets high in flavonoids, such as those found in apples, are 20% less likely to develop cancer.
*Apples are high in fiber. About 80% of the fiber in apples is soluble fiber which reduces cholesterol. The remaining 20% is insoluble fiber which may help prevent cancers.
*Potassium, which is found in apples, is important in regulating blood pressure.

One Great Little Food

Mother Nature was at her creative best when she came up with apples. They've got it all: taste, looks, and nutritional aspects that just won't quit.
*Apples have no fat, cholesterol or sodium. Compare those stats to a bag of potato chips!
*An average apple contains only 80 calories. Compare that bottom line count to a piece of cake!
*Apples have five grams of fiber, 20% of the daily recommended fiber needs. That's more than most cereals!
*Apples contain vitamins A, B1, B2, C, and Niacin; plus nutrients, Phosphorous Magnesium, Iron and Potassium. Apples are their own health food store!
*Applesauce is a fat free substitute when cooking and can be used in place of oil or shortening. In addition to being health, applesauce makes baked goods taste moist.

*When eaten as a snack, apples suppress hunger longer than junk foods and empty calories they contain. Apples are a great choice when dieting and trying to stave off hunger.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Fruit and Your Health - Part 3 - Peaches



Information from Care2

*Peaches are the perfect snack food for losing weight.  They make you feel full and keep you from overeating.  The bonus is that one peach only contain about 35-50 calories and no fat.
*They fight obesity-related diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  They are rich in phytochemicals called phenols that act as antioxidants.
*Keep the skin healthy.  Vitamin A and C make peaches a great natural moisturizer and are often used in cosmetics.  These vitamins can help regenerate skin tissue.
*Reduce hair loss with its positive effect on the scalp.
*Are a healthy stress-reliever that helps reduce anxiety.  Peaches are often referred to as the 'fruit of calmness' in Hungary.
*They help prevent cancer with selenium - a mineral with antioxidant properties that may help protect cells from damage.
*Peaches can help remove worms from the intestines.
*They have a diuretic effect which help scleanse your kidneys and bladder.
*They calm an upset stomach.
*Are believed to help reduce the oxidation of bad LDL cholesterol which is associated with cardiovascular disease.
*Those suffering with gout and rheumatism are recommended by dieticians to eat peaches because they tend to have a diuretic and a light laxative effect.
*They are thought to be an aphrodisiac.
*They inhibit tumor growth activity.  Peaches have excellent antimicrobial and antioxidant activity according to research.
*Chronic bronchitis, coughs and gastritis are relieved with the medicinal tea of the leaves and bark of peach trees.
*Peach tea is used as a kidney cleanser in China


What Medical Daily has to say about Peaches:

Vitamins - The main punch a peach packs is vitamins.  Specifically, a peach boasts 10 different kinds: A, C, E, K and six of the B complex vitamins, Vitamin A and beta carotene helps to achieve optimal vision, while Vitamin C is an antioxidant that is helpful to your immune system.  Although peaches provide lower levels of vitamins E and K, they reside in significant quantities within the peach.  Vitamin E is another antioxidant, while vitamin K is essential to your blood clotting capabilities.  Peaches are also a source of thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, niacin, folate, and pantothenic acid, all valuable nutrients when it comes to your cells and nerves.

Fiber - Another important benefit associated with peaches is dietary fiber.  According to U.s. Department of Agriculture's recommendations, an adult woman should try to consume 25 grams and an adult man 38 grams of fiber each day; a peach offers three grams.  Essential to easy digestion, fiber prevents constipation and bloating while contributing to colon health.  Fiber may also pay a role in regulating cholesterol levels and so helps to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Potassium - Unfortunately, we consume many toxins every day with each bite of our daily meals, harming our kidneys.  Peaches contain high amounts of potassium, which can reduce kidney-related diseases while lessening the risk of ulcers.  Peaches also provide some magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese, iron and calcium.  These additional minerals protect and support your red blood cells, nervous system, and bones

Monday, April 21, 2014

Colorful Potato Salad


I love potato salad - my own, not the restaurant or store bought type.  When I make my potato salad I cut the potatoes up into pieces that are from 1/4" x 3/4" to 1" x 3/4" in size.  When I cook my potatoes I always check the largest pieces for doneness.  Why do I do this?  I like a combination of potato salad and mashed potatoes and the smaller pieces will cream up giving me the perfect consistency.  I also mix all of my ingredients while the potatoes are still warm to assure that creamy texture with my potato chunks.

Now and then I like to experiment with my potato salad by adding other ingredients.  I've added chicken, which is delicious.  I plan to try tuna, which I think will also be delicious.  I've added olives now and then (black and green).  I've added radish and carrot chunks for added texture.  Today I added shredded carrots and then decided to cut off the very tops of some of my fresh broccoli.  This did 3 things to my potato salad.  #1 it added another texture.  #2 it added flavor.  #3 it added color.  And it too is delicious!  Try it some time and see what you think.  I believe you'll enjoy it too.

As I always say Think With Your Taste Buds!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Fruit and Your Health - Part 2 - Grapes


This is one of my favorite from the fruit group.  I love all of them, especially if they are seedless.  They make great salads, mixed with or without other fruits.  Stir them into your favorite chicken salad and you have a wonderful surprise for your mouth.  But not only are they tasty but they are good for us!  Here is what I found in my research.

Info from Healthy Eating

When you include plenty of fruit in your daily diet, you reap many health benefits.  The vitamins, minerals and fiber in fruit helps reduce your risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, stroke and heart disease.  You should aim to include as many colors of fresh fruit as possible each day, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends.  Green grapes are a healthy choice that will help you meet the daily recommended intake of 2 - 3 cups of fruit as well as help you eat a rainbow of colors.

Vitamins - Green grapes contain vitamins C & K.  Vitamin C plays an important role in preventing infection and also promotes the health of your bones, teeth, gums and blood vessels.  It also acts as an antioxidant to protect your body form the damage caused by free radicals, compounds that might increase your risk of cancer and other chronic diseases.  One cup of green grapes contains 4.8 milligrams of the 75 to 90 milligrams of vitamin C you should consume each day.  Vitamin K supports healthy bones and enables your blood to clot.  You need 120 micrograms of this vitamin each day.  One cup of green seedless grapes contains 22 micrograms toward your daily requirement.

Minerals - A serving of green seedless grapes is a healthy source of potassium and iron.  Potassium aids in organ, tissue, muscle, cell and heart functions, and you need 4,700 milligrams each day to support these bodily systems.  One cup of green grapes supplies 288 milligrams toward that goal.  Iron is important for the proper formation of red blood cells and also aids in the movement of oxygen in your body.  The daily requirement of iron is 8 milligrams for men and 18 milligrams for women.  One cup of green seedless grapes contains 0.54 milligrams of this essential mineral.

Tips - Eat a handful of green seedless grapes as a healthy and simple way to add this fruit to your diet.  Halve green seedless grapes and add them to a fruit salad or a tossed green salad.  Freeze whole green grapes for a refreshing treat on a hot day.  Puree green grapes into a fruit smoothie or scatter them over a bowl of hot or cold cereal.  Top grilled pork chops or chicken breasts with a fruit salsa made form chopped green grapes, diced red onion and a squirt of lime juice.



One of my favorite in the fruit group.  I love all of them, especially if they are seedless.  They make great salads on their own as well as combined with chicken.  And they are good for us!  Here is what I found.

With the exception of Antarctica, grapes are cultivated on all of the earth's continents, and researchers from many different countries have been especially interested in this food mainly due to their amazing nutrient composition.  Every year the list of health-supportive grape nutrients grows longer.  Grapes have been shown to contain the hormone and antioxidant melatonin as well as unique oligopeptides (small protein-line molecules) that have anti-bacterial and other properties.  Areas of benefit in grape research include the cardiovascular system, respiratory system, immune system, inflammatory system, blood sugar regulating system and nervous system.  Another area of special benefit is cancer prevention, with risk of breast, prostate, and colon cancer emerging as the most likely areas of grape anti-cancer benefits.

Antioxidant Benefits - Grapes and grape components can - help prevent certain oxygen-related enzymes form becoming overactive. - increase our blood levels of glutathione (a critical antioxidant nutrient) and also increases the ratio of reduced-to-oxidized glutathione (one important measure of antioxidant capacity).  - helps protect cell membranes form free radical damage. - lowers levels of oxygen reactive molecules in our blood. - reduces oxidation of fat. - lowers biomarkers of oxidative stress.

Anti-Inflammatory Benefits - Grapes also provide us with strong anti-inflammatory benefits.  They have been determined to lower our risk of excessive and unwanted inflammation in a variety of ways.  Many pro-inflammatory messaging molecules can have their activity level reduced by grape intake.

Cardiovascular Benefits - These cardio benefits have been demonstrated in research studies on grapes and grape components - they help regulate blood pressure, including blood pressure reduction if high. - help regulate total cholesterol, including total cholesterol reduction if high. - they reduce LDL cholesterol levels. - reduce LDL oxidation. - reduce levels of reactive oxygen molecules in the blood. - reduce likelihood of cell adhesion to the blood vessel walls. - provide less clumping together of platelet cells, when inappropriate. - enhance release of nitric oxide form endothelial cells lining the blood vessel walls in situations where vasodilation is needed. - help regulate inflammatory in the blood. - increases the levels of glutathione in the blood.

Blood Sugar Benefits - In terms of blood sugar regulation, not all fruits are created equal.  Watermelon for example has a relatively high glycemic index value in the range of 70-75 and is not considered to be a food that can be freely eaten by persons having difficulty with blood sugar balance.  Grapes, on the other hand, have long been classified as a low glycemic index food with GI values ranging between 43-53.  In the case of grapes, recent studies have shown that the low GI value of grapes is a good indicator of this fruit's blood sugar benefits.  Studies have now connected grape intake to better blood sugar balance, better insulin regulation, and increased insulin sensitivity.  It is suspected that the strong phytonutrient content of grapes plays a key role in providing these sugar-related benefits.



Saturday, April 19, 2014

Fruit and Your Health - Part 1 - Cherries


I saw a pin on Pinterest that referred to fruit and how it could benefit us.  That gave me an idea to do a little more research of my own to see just how beneficial fruit can actually be.  I'll be listing different fruits with each post in this series and giving you the link so you'll know exactly where my info came from.  Hope you enjoy learning as much as I have.

According to LifeScript

These little fruits have been appreciated for their delicious pies, but new research suggests that cherries may have the power to combat a stunning array of diseases.  The compound thag gives them their color may also be responsible for neutralizing free radicals and preventing the inflammation that contributes to so many serious health conditions.  Plus, they are packed with fiber. 

Even though they are referred to as berries, cherries are actually a member of the stone fruit family and are related to apricots, peaches, plums and almonds.  They are classified as either sweet or tart and each variety has its own uses and benefits.  Sweet cherries are sold fresh in the produce section and are a favori8te for snacking on raw.  Tart cherries are usually dried, frozen, made into juice or canned for pies and cooking.  Both types get their deep red color form potent antioxidants called anthocyanins which have been shown to hold anti-inflammatory properties that protect the body from an array of serious health conditions including heart disease, diabetes and arthritis. 

According to FoxNews -

Cherries help ease arthritis pain - for those who suffer from arthritis and gout, you will be relieved to find out that adding cherries to your diet can greatly decrease the intense pain associated with those ailments.  Excess uric acid in the blood is the culprit behind the excruciating pain and causes swelling, tenderness and inflammation.  A study done by the USDA found that uric acid can be reduced by as much as 15% by eating 2 cups of Bing cherries.  Cherries can also help reduce painful inflammation by decreasing the amount of C-reactive protein produced.

Cherries help fight cancer - The deep red pigment comes from flavonoids which is a powerful antioxidant that helps fight free radicals in the body.  Cyhanidin is a flavonide from the anthocyanin group found in cherries that helps keep cancerous cells from growing out of control.  For cherries with the most anthocyanins go for the sweet cherries with the deepest pigment - crimson-purple rather than bright red.

Cherries help you sleep -  If sipping a cup of chamomile isn't enough to induce restful sleep try having tart cherry juice before bed.  Tart cherries contain melatonin, a hormone that helps make you feel sleepy.  Two tablespoons of tart cherry juice has been shown to be just as effective as a melatonin supplement.

Cherries and blood pressure - Cherries are an excellent source of potassium, which helps to lower blood pressure by getting rid of the excess sodium in our body.  Eating cherries helps keep potassium and sodium in balance and can prevent hypertension from occurring.  One cup of cherries has the same amount of potassium as a banana making it a great substitute. 

Cherries help keep you trim - Eating cherries can help you lose weight and stay trim.  A cup of cherries is less than 100 calories and packs in 3 grams of fiber, which will keep you feeling full longer.  Also, they contain many B-vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin and vitamin B6.  These vitamins are crucial for metabolism and convert nutrients into energy.


Friday, April 18, 2014

Grilling - Part 2 - Marinades



Now for those tasty, tenderizing marinades. 

There are usually 2 reasons you use a marinade.  One is to add flavor and the other is to tenderize.  When marinating, it's important to know your beef cut and to plan ahead.  While the two different types of marinades may contain similar ingredients, the key is the length of marinating time.

If you're just looking to add flavor to a tender steak like T-Bone or Ribeye, you only need to marinate for 15 minutes to 2 hours.  Whereas cuts like Top Round or Skirt steaks really benefit from a tenderizing marinade.  The key to tenderizing these cuts of beef is time and ingredients.  You'll want to marinate your steak for 6 - 24 hours.  A tenderizing marinade must contain an acidic ingredient such as lemon juice, vinegar, wine or natural tenderizing enzymes that can be found in papaya, ginger, kiwi, pineapple and figs.  Now for the marinades.

When making, allow 1/3 to 1/2 cup of marinade for every pound of beef.  

If you want to use some of your marinade as a baste or sauce, reserve a portion of it before adding it to your beef.  Marinade that has come into contact with uncooked meat must be brought to a full rolling boil for at least one minute if you plan to use it as a baste.

Again, these recipes are for beef but there are several that I think would be great on chicken or pork.

Balsamic-Mustard Marinade
2/3 cup prepared balsamic vinaigrette
2 Tbsp. Dijon style mustard

Argentinean Steak Marinade
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/3 cup spicy steak sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 tsp. dried oregano leaves

Line-Jalapeno Marinade
1/2 cup red currant jelly, warmed
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup chopped, seeded jalapeno peppers
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp. salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. ground allspice

Ginger-Soy Marinade
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1 tsp. freshly grated lemon peel

Red Wine-Herb Marinade
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried thyme leaves, crushed
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper

Simple Southwest Marinade
1/2 cup Italian dressing
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp. honey
 1/2 tsp. ground cumin

Chili-Cilantro Marinade
2/3 cup prepared Italian dressing
2 Tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tbsp. chili powder

Orange-Cumin Marinade
1/2 cup lime juice
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. chili powder


Place all of the ingredients for your choice of marinade in a food-safe plastic bag along with your steaks and refrigerate.  

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Grilling - Part 1 - Rubs


It's that time of the year again... Grilling Season!  I love to grill and love to try different rubs and marinades so I'm doing a two part post giving you suggestions for both.  I'll also give you a couple tips that hopefully you'll find helpful.

Rubs are seasoning blends applied to the surface of roasts, steaks and burgers.  They add flavor but don't tenderize.

Dry rubs consist of herbs, spices and other dry seasonings.

Paste-type rubs, which are perfect for roasts, contain small amounts of wet ingredients, such as oil, crushed garlic or mustard.

They can be applied just before cooking or up to two hours in advance, just remember to refrigerate until cooking time.  The rubs below are specifically for beef but I'm game to try them on chicken and pork.  Each should make enough rub for 2 - 4 steaks, depending on how heavy you want to flavor your steak.

Dry BBQ Rub
2 Tbsp. chili powder
2 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. cider vinegar
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper

Smoky Paprika Rub
2 Tbsp. smoked or Spanish paprika
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. ground red pepper

Espresso Rub
2 Tbsp. finely ground espresso coffee beans
1 Tbsp. garlic pepper
2 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. ancho chili powder

Ancho-Chocolate Citrus Rub
1 Tbsp. ground ancho chili powder
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano leaves, crushed
1 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. freshly grated orange peel
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Mustard-Peppercorn Rub
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbsp. Dijon-style mustard
1 Tbsp. mixed black, white, green and pink peppercorns or black peppercorns, cracked
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt

Lemon-Pepper Rub
2 1/2 tsp. lemon pepper
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
3 large cloves garlic, crushed

Simply combine the ingredients and apply evenly to all sides.  Cook beef to desired doneness.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Setting Up a Kitchen Inventory



I like to keep a list of pantry and kitchen food items that I use frequently or at least want to have on hand just in case a recipe calls for it.  The way I keep my inventory up is by printing out my list, taking an inventory of what I have and pin it near the section that these items are stored.  I also keep a pen near the list so when I use the item I can mark its count down on my list. 

Example:  If I have 3 jars of Mayo and take out one I mark it down to 2 on my inventory list.  When I get ready to go shopping I look over my lists to see what I have in stock.  This also helps with sales and using coupons.  If I'm down to 2 jars of mayo and my brand isn't on sale I can wait and watch for it to go on sale and hopefully have a coupon that can be used along with the sale. 

I do try to stock up on my products when I find them on sale and mark my inventory list when I make additions. 

Example:  When my favorite mayo goes on sale for buy one, get one, I'll buy at least 2 and 4 if allowed by the store.  These I'll add to my inventory list.

The lists I'm giving you include some of those items that you may not normally keep on hand.  I cook a lot so I try to keep them just in case.  This is just an example list of what I have on my list.  You can easily make adjustments and make my list fit your own needs.  

I think you'll find that by keeping up with your inventory you'll find shopping a lot easier.  And due to you knowing exactly what you need, you will find it a lot cheaper because you're not looking at items that you don't normally buy but only at those you do.



Meat & Seafood
o Bacon/Sausage 
o Beef - roast, cubed, chunk, ground
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o Chicken - whole, boneless/skinless, bone in, strips
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o Fish/Shellfish - Shrimp, cod, flounder, crab
___________________________ 
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Cereal
o Cereal
___________________________ 
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o Oatmeal
o Granola Bars

Pasta & Grains
o Mac & Cheese
o Pasta 
o Pasta Sauce
o Rice
___________________________ 
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Sweets & Snacks
o Candy, Gum, Chocolate
o Cookies
o Crackers
o Chips: Potato, Corn, Other
o Nuts
o Popcorn, Pretzels
o Salsa & Dips
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Condiments
o Ketchup, Mustard
o Mayo, Spreads
o Peanut Butter
o Jams & Jelly
o Salad dressing
o Cooking Oil
o Vinegar
__________________________ 
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Spices & Herbs
o Salt
o Pepper
o Spices:
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o Herbs:
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Frozen
o Waffles & Other Breakfast
o Vegetables
o Juice Concentrate
o Ice Cream
__________________________ 
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International
o Soy Sauce
o Salsa & Hot Sauces
o Tortillas & Tacos
__________________________ 
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Cans & Soups
o Tomatoes Sauce, Paste
o Soup
__________________________ 
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Beverages
o Coffee
o Tea bags
o Sugar, Splenda
o Juice
__________________________ 
__________________________ 

o Soda
__________________________
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Cleaners

__________________________ 
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Paper Goods
o Paper Towels
o Napkins
o Tissues
o Toilet Paper
o Zip Lock Bags
o Garbage Bags
__________________________ 
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Personal Care
o Deodorant, Soap
o Toothbrush & Toothpaste
o Razors & Shaving cream
o Eye Care
o Feminine Care
o Shampoo & Conditioner
o Sunscreen
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Petcare

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

4 Wonderful Tastes of Italy


There's nothing like a bowl of pasta with tomato sauce flavored with garlic, topped with cheese and pesto.  These 4 ingredients are what you always want to have on hand when making your tasty Italian dishes.

Tomatoes:
Fresh - Tomatoes are at their peak during late summer but they can be found year-round.  When buying look for vine-ripened for best flavor.  When out of season, you can choose canned which can be just as flavorful.
Sun-dried - For a richer taste, sun-dried tomatoes are a great choice.  They're vine-ripened and have been naturally dried to remove all of their water, leaving them chewy and full of concentrated flavor.

Garlic:
This is actually a cousin of the onion.  When cooking, break apart the head of garlic and remove the skin form individual cloves before shopping.
The smaller you chop garlic, the stronger the flavor.  Chopping or pressing releases more of its essential oils, giving the strong garlic aroma.

Cheese:
Mozzarella - This popular, mild-tasting cheese is great for cooking and foods like pizza because of its great melting qualities.
Parmesan - Is known for its sharp flavor.  This firm cheese is excellent for grating and enhances the flavor of your favorite Italian dishes.
Romano - Is another firm cheese with a tangy, robust flavor.  It makes a great topping for vegetables too and can be substituted for Parmesan when you want a bolder taste.

Pesto:
This delightful sauce is usually made with a mix of basil, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, garlic and olive oil.  You can also find other types made form sun-dried tomatoes or red bell peppers.
If you grown your own basil or purchase it fresh, you can make your own pesto.  This sauce adds rich flavor to soups, chicken, fish dishes and pasta.

I've found that these 4 ingredients are a must for my kitchen and I try to never be without them.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Retirement


I sometimes feel that I'm in the process of developing that horrible disease called Alzheimer, but I'm blaming my problem on too much going on in my head.  Daily, I'll go from one room to the next and have no idea what I went in there for.  Usually if I go back into the room I came out of I'll remember.  Crazy!  But I'm hearing more and more people say they have the same problem. In my case I feel it is due to working so many organized years.

I've been retired 7 months and have accomplished not one thing.  I've thought about that a lot and have finally come to a conclusion.  I've lived a structured life for years and now my life has no structure.  I have less to do and more time to do it in, but...

When we work:  We know what time to get up in the morning.  We know what time we must be at work.  Our work is defined for us by our job description.  We know when we will leave for the day.  When we get home there is usually some sort of routine that we all go through - cooking, cleaning, watching a favorite show on TV, etc.  Then bedtime comes before all of this starts over again.  We even have our lives structured over the weekends...  laundry, cleaning, shopping, yard work, visiting friends and family, church, all of this pressed into 2 short days and then, the week starts over again. 

So many of us say that "when I retire I'm going to ....." but when the time comes it just isn't that easy to do.  Some of us retire due to health, which will put a strain on all of those things we were 'gonna' do.  Some retire because of age.  But no matter when or why you retire, if you're like me, you leave behind the structure and find yourself at a loss. 

I decided to change that and put some structure back into my life.  I've made a list of things that I want to do.  Due to my back I'm limited as to how much I can do at one time but at least I can do a little every day.  I started in my kitchen where I spend so much time.  I looked at my cabinets and came up with an idea to change them.  I like their color - yellow - but wanted to change the handles.  I looked online, in Lowes, Home Depot, etc. and found some handles I like but they are almost $4.00 each plus shipping and since I need 24 handles that will climb up there a bit in dollars.  Then it hit me.  You have time, make your own.  I wanted flowers for my handles so I went to Wally World, found some wooden round handles, printed out a simple flower pattern that fits the handle perfectly, traced it onto the wooden handle and am in the process of painting my own. 


Now for the structure part.  I'm doing 1 door a day.  Taking down the door, sanding it lightly, giving it another coat of the yellow as well as a coat of clear so it can be easily washed.  Then I add my new handles.  Since I can only do the sanding when the weather outside is clear I've only been able to finish 2 doors in the week that I started restructuring my time.  But every time I walk into the kitchen and see those 2 doors I'm inspired to continue.  When the kitchen is finished I'm moving on to the next room.  Look out cabinets and closets because I'm back in the working world - at home and feel so much better.  Hopefully, the next time I get up from my computer and walk into the kitchen I'll be able to remember it was for a glass of tea.