Monday, December 30, 2013

Think With Your Taste Buds - Chicken - Free!

Think With Your Taste Buds - Chicken

Lillian and I have talked this over, given it much thought and decided that we will not publish our cookbook Think With Your Taste Buds - Chicken.  Instead, we are working up a new site where all of the recipes from our book will be posted.  This will allow you to take advantage of these wonderful dishes at no cost. 

The site is in the works but you won't have to wait until all recipes have been moved.  We will move the 1st 5 over and post.  More will be added daily as time permits. 

Hope you will all check out these delicious dishes and give them a try.  As with all of our books in the past, you'll find my comments, Lillian's comments and now and then comments from one of our food testers.

We'll let you know when the 1st posting takes place.

Martha and Lillian

Monday, December 23, 2013

I Didn't Know That - Artichokes

I've never been a big artichoke fan, probably because I never ate it as a child which also means that I was never taught how to cook these pretty green 'cones.'  Now that I'm older I've decided to give them a try so I did a bit of research to learn some of the dos and don'ts that I might need to know.  Here is what I found.

I know that the few times I've handled artichoke that they really can prick your fingers when you snip off the ends.  There is a logical solution to this... simply wear rubber gloves.

I learned that you don't cook artichokes in aluminum or iron pots.  They will actually turn the pot gray.

Apparently artichokes have a tendency to become discolored.  This can be prevented by standing the artichoke in cold water with a tablespoon of vinegar about an hour before cooking.  Or you can dip the trimmed base in lemon juice.

Now for storage.  You can prevent your artichokes from wilting for up to five days by wrapping them, unwashed, in a damp towel and store them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.

OK, I've learned this much.  So far I've made a dip using artichokes, in the jar, mayo and Parmesan cheese.  This was really good.  I've also made an artichoke with rice dish that is baked over chicken.  That one is really delicious!  I've heard artichoke and crab makes a good dip/spread so that will be next on my list to make.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

I Didn't Know That - Salads

I use a lettuce keeper but always find that most heads of lettuce won't fit unless I remove the core.  I used to cut out the core with a knife but cutting lettuce make it 'bleed' and turn brown.  Then someone told me the trick to removing the core without using the knife.  You simply hit the core end once against the counter top sharply.  The core will then twist right out.  No more brown spots.

A lot of times when I make a salad the greens at the bottom of the bowl seem to get soggy.  I know this is due to my not letting my washed greens dry but it seems like I'm always in a hurry and want to get the salad underway.  Here is a trick that takes care of this little problem.  I turn a saucer upside down in the bottom of my salad bowl.  The excess liquid drains off ad runs under the saucer leaving my salad fresh and crisp.

Did you know that wen you store your lettuce it won't 'rust' as quickly if you line the bottom of the vegetable compartment with paper towel?  The paper absorbs the excess moisture and helps keep all of your veggies and fruits fresher for a longer period of time.  You can also do this using sponges instead of paper towels.

Now for your dressings.  If you use the dry envelopes of your favorite salad-dressing mix instead of bottled, you know that you're supposed to wait a while after making for the flavors to come out.  I have  trick for you.  Add a tablespoon of boiling water to the packet, mix, cover and let cool.  The flavor is released immediately.  Then add the remaining ingredients and you have fresh salad dressing without the wait.

If you like oil and vinegar dressings try this.  Combine all ingredients in a screw top jar.  Add 1 ice cube and shake.  Discard the ice cube and your dressing will come out extra smooth and very well mixed.

Friday, December 20, 2013

I Didn't Know That - Soup Tips

There have been times that I've bought mushrooms just to find that I don't need as many as I bought.  This is what I found that can be done so I'm not throwing my money away.  Using my blender I puree them in a little liquid such as beef, chicken stock or just water.  I pour that into an inexpensive, plastic ice tray and freeze.  When they are frozen I store the cubes in a plastic bag.  These work great for soups, stews and sauces.

For left over veggies I keep a container in the freezer and just keep adding them until it's full.  When it's soup time I thaw the whole container and add the veggies to my soup pot.

And when you cook a beef roast, save the juices.  Pour them into your ice trays and freeze.  When frozen place them in a plastic bag and you have instant beef stock when needed. 

Did you know that when you can prevent milk from curdling when making cream soups like tomato by adding the soup to the milk and not the milk to the soup.  I tried this the last time I made tomato soup from a can and it worked!

And one more - if you add minced clams to chowder at the very last moment it will keep hem from getting mushy and tasteless.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

I Didn't Know - Greasy or Fried Foods


     How they affect you: Food high in saturated fat, like steak (certain cuts, like rib-eye, are fattier than others), French fries, and ice cream, is difficult for the body to digest and can make you feel uncomfortably full and increase the chances of acid reflux, according to Palinski-Wade.

     If you already suffer from heartburn, fatty food can make it even worse by relaxing the valve that seals off the stomach from the sphincter. The loose valve can cause stomach acid to rise into the esophagus and result in a really unpleasant case of heartburn, says Karen Ansel, nutritionist and dietitian.

     What you can do: If you’re jonesing for a steak, burger, or other high-fat meal tonight, remember not to combine it with alcohol, which can further irritate your GI tract, says Palinski-Wade. Whenever possible, cook meals in plant-based fats, such as olive oil, which is easier to break down than saturated fat, like butter.

     What happens when you eat fatty and greasy foods:

     The digestion of fat begins in the mouth where the food you chew is mixed with a small amount of lingual lipase that is found in your saliva. Lingual lipase is a digestive enzymes that breaks fatty acids apart from triglycerides.

     Once you swallow your food, digestion continues in the stomach. A small amount of lipase is also secreted in the stomach to continue the digestion of fat, but most fat digestion takes place in the small intestine.

     Your liver produces bile, which is stored in the gall bladder until it's triggered by eating foods that contain fat. Bile is released into the small intestine where it works like a detergent to emulsify the fats into smaller droplets. This makes it easier for pancreatic lipase to get to the triglycerides.

     The bile and lipase break fats down into smaller pieces that are absorbed into the blood stream. The bile, which contains cholesterol, is either re-absorbed into the blood or bound by soluble fiber in the intestine and eliminated in the stool. Eating foods with lots of soluble fiber helps keep your cholesterol levels healthy by grabbing more of the cholesterol from the bile and eliminating it from your body.

     A healthy digestive system will absorb about 95 percent of the dietary fat that you eat. People with malabsorption disorders like celic sprue, pancreatic lipase deficiency and bile salt deficiency usually can't absorb fats properly. 

     Fats and Oils contain nine calories per gram. Your body takes the extra fatty acids and stores them as adipose tissue, which is better known as body fat. Adipose tissue can be broken down and turned into glucose when you need more calories -- that's why counting calories is important if you want to lose weight.

     Both high-fat and fried food can overwhelm the stomach, resulting in acid reflux and heartburn. "The body can only handle so much at one time," says Jessica Anderson, RD, a diabetes educator with the Texas A&M Health Science Center Coastal Bend Health Education Center, in Corpus Christi.

High-fat food also can result in pale-colored stool, a phenomenon called steatorrhea, which is essentially excess fat in the feces. A lot of people with irritable bowel syndrome need to stay away from foods high in fat, she says, including butter and cream because they can cause digestive problems.

Monday, December 2, 2013

I Didn't Know - Fresh Fruit and Veggies


How they affect you: Conventional wisdom says that reaching for nature’s bounty in the produce aisle is the best way to stay healthy. And while fresh produce should always be included in a healthy diet, digesting raw fruit and vegetables can be difficult for people with sensitive GI systems. Raw produce has high amounts of insoluble fiber, which move quickly through the intestinal tract and can result in loose stool, diarrhea, gas and bloating.

What you can do: Cook your veggies and, whenever possible, your fruit. “Cooking helps to break down some fiber in produce, allowing it to be digested more easily, limiting gas and bloating that can occur when eating raw produce,” says Palinski-Wade.

Below are the suggestions I found on a site called Summer Tomato.  Go to that site and you'll be able to learn the benefits of these suggestions.  I found the author's comments not only helpful but also quite interesting.

1. Chew thoroughly

2. Take smaller bites

3. Don’t get too full

4. Eat balanced meals

5. Increase vegetable and fiber intake gradually

6. Experiment with probiotics

7. Soak your beans

8. Eliminate wheat

9. Eliminate dairy

10. Avoid fake sugars

11. Reduce fresh and dried fruit intake

12. Use medication