Category Archives: Food

Fun Lunch Ideas For School

When school starts back after a long summer, you want your children to have a nutritious lunch that they can enjoy in the time that they have allotted. There are a few fun recipes that are easy to make the night before that are packed full of the vitamins and nutrients that will help children focus during the day. Most recipes include something from each food group.

Create a taco bar for your children with a plastic container that has small dividers. If there aren’t dividers, then use small containers in a large plastic container so that all of the ingredients stay separate. Put a simple taco in the center of the container. It could be one with browned beef, or you could use a lunch meat, such as turkey or ham. Add items that the child can put on the taco that might include shredded lettuce, salsa and cheese. The taco can be made so that it’s something the child will enjoy. Add a few tortilla chips for a side dish.

A meal that includes a higher amount of protein is a chicken salad sandwich. Make it a little more elegant with a deli bun instead of just two pieces of white bread. Add a tomato and lettuce for a healthy meal that will help your child get through the rest of the day. Another option with chicken salad is to create a roll-up with a tortilla wrap.

The night before school, bread small pieces of chicken to make healthy chicken nuggets. Include a dipping sauce that the child will enjoy in the lunchbox along with slices of fruit or vegetables. Chicken strips are also a good idea as they are easy to hold and provide a little more chicken than a small nugget. This might be something that older children would enjoy with the nuggets being reserved for younger children who don’t eat as much during the school day. Panko bread crumbs sometimes work best as a coating as they give a crunch to the outside of the chicken.

Dinners That Can Be Made On A Sheet Pan

The sheet pan is often seen as a tool in the kitchen for baking cookies or biscuits. There are a few ideas for dinner that you can make on the thin pan. Many of the recipes are made with healthy ingredients and items that the entire family would enjoy. A benefit of these dinners is that they are very easy to make as many of them only require laying a few ingredients on the pan and putting the pan in the oven.

One of the dishes that children will likely enjoy includes fries and chicken. Place chicken covered in BBQ sauce on one side of the pan. You will need to bake the chicken first to get it done before adding the other items. In the middle of the pan, add any kind of fries that you enjoy. The other side of the pan can include a vegetable, such as asparagus or corn that you might place on the grill.

If you enjoy a delicious sausage and pepper sandwich, consider putting the ingredients on a sheet pan and assembling the sandwich after everything has been roasted. Add sliced onions, slices of green peppers and whole pieces of Italian sausage on the sheet pan before baking for about 30 minutes or until the sausage is done. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the peppers and sausage for flavor.

A delicious meal that can use some of the summer foods that you get from the garden includes pork chops and squash. Coat the pork chops with the kind of breading that you enjoy, and bake the meat in the oven until it’s almost done. Add slices of yellow squash and spinach that has a drizzle of honey. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the squash as well as a bit of butter for a crispy touch to the vegetable. Chili powder is an option for the squash or the spinach if you want something with a little more spice.

You Can Also Benefit from Food Advice that Professional Athletes Follow

What can I do differently with my food choices to support better health?


Professional athletes represent the highest degree of health excellence. Their livelihood depends on it. Very few of us have to match that level. Nevertheless, we can all agree that what they eat is a significant factor in maintaining and improving their health.


Professional sports team, like the Atlanta Hawks, hire dietitians to provide recommendations on food choices and recipes that their customers eagerly follow. They know it’s sound advice that supports their best interests.


Marie Spano is the team dietitian for the Atlanta Hawks. Her first advice; smart food choices are NOT a diet. Diets are created for an average person. What works for others may not work for you. It has to fit your lifestyle and cultural choices. Strict eating plans are a recipe for failure.


Take the best of Marie’s recommendations and make them work for you


High-protein breakfasts are good


Protein is necessary for muscle growth and body repairs. A quick research will get you a list of foods that will get you reach the minimum recommended 25 grams at every meal. Commonly available breakfast choices are three-egg veggie omelets and low-fat Greek yogurt. The extra protein will give you a feeling of fullness into the afternoon.


Limit your sugar intake


Starting with raw food and cooking it is always the best choice, but if you don’t have the time or inclination be smart about other options. Low-fat frozen-dinners, dressings, and cereals replace the missing taste of fat with sugar. Look for natural herbs and spices instead to get the flavors that you crave. If there’s no way around your sweet-tooth, make it a small dessert at the end.


Veggies and fruits as appetizers


I’m sure you’ve read about flavonoids and anti-oxidants and all those other goodies that nature packs into vegetables and fruits. Taking them as an appetizer will slow your hunger before the main meal, preventing you from taking it all in when presented with an oversized entrée.


Your food choices can be varied and tasty while providing the minerals, vitamins, fiber, and other nutrients that promote health. Professional athletes know it.


Eating Spicy Foods May Add Years to Your Life

There’s nothing more satisfying than a hot bowl of chili when you come in out of the cold. Throw in some diced jalapenos or other chili peppers and make it even hotter and spicier. You’ll warm up in a hurry! According to one study, if you like your chili spicy, you may even live longer.



In a recent Chinese analysis of spicy food, over 16,000 people were followed in the course of 23 years. The study found people who ate hot peppers on a regular basis had a 13 percent reduced risk of dying early.



Why Does it Work?


Some people crave spiciness in their food and add chili peppers to everything from scrambled eggs to their hamburgers. The ingredient in hot peppers that gives it a kick is called capsaicin. Its anti-inflammatory properties aids in disease prevention. It helps coronary blood flow and prevents obesity. Science Daily  says, chili peppers can even affect your gut in a healthy way by altering microbiota. Adding chili peppers to your diet is a great way to start out a new year of eating healthy.

How to Eat Hot Peppers?



If you want to begin adding chili peppers to your diet, it is recommended to start slowly. Eat milder chili peppers first, such as the poblano chili pepper, the mildest of hot peppers. Remove the stem, seeds and veins where the most spiciness is stored. Try a few diced into your scrambled eggs. Experiment with soups, stews or stir-fries.



Too Hot?


If it proves to be too hot for your tongue, take caution not to drink water which spreads the oils in your mouth. Instead, drink milk with it, or add some sour cream to your chili or soup to tame the heat.



I Like It!


If you find you like the heat, jalapenos are the most popular with a medium heat. A great appetizer is a jalapeno coated with cream cheese, rolled with bacon and roasted in the oven. If you’re brave, try the habanero – the granddaddy of hot peppers.



A Benefit for You!


There are hundreds of types of hot peppers from very mild to diabolically hot. There is sure to be one that fits your taste buds. Even adding a few peppers to your dishes weekly will benefit your health in the long run and may even increase your life!



The Wood In The Cheese

The cheese industry is under the microscope now after a Bloomberg story discovered the use of wood pulp, known also as cellulose, in cheese products manufactured in the United States.

A Pennsylvania company, Castle Cheese, was the focus of a recent investigation by the FDA. The FDA found that Castle Cheese Parmesan was not truly parmesan, instead a mix of low grade cheddar and wood pulp. While the focus has been on the wood pulp being found in the cheese mix, it’s not the root of the problem. Wood pulp is actually a fairly common additive in foods. The true issue was the legality of how the products were improperly labeled. The FDA requires that Parmesan must have each ingredient listed on the label, aside from enzymes which can actually be made of a myriad of different types of enzymes.

Cellulose grew in popularity in the 1970s when it became a popular food additive due to an increase in consumers who wanted more fiber in their diet. It’s not necessarily harmful, it is more just a cheap filler that adds bulk to the product and profits for the company that makes it. It turns out that it doesn’t even offer much in the way of fiber, you should probably stick to whole wheat anyway. Cellulose is digested differently in the body, whole wheat offers vitamins and other things that can be healthy, cellulose is simply a filler that passes through the body.

So while it doesn’t offer any real health benefits, it is up to the consumer to know what is in their products and what they are consuming. It is unfair for companies to market a cheese when it is not made of that particular cheese and is full of what is essentially sawdust. It is adulterating the product, mis-branding, and taking away business from companies that do it right.

Just last month, Wal-Mart was the center of a lawsuit by a consumer who claims the Great Value brand “100% Grated Parmesan Cheese” was found to contain 10 percent cellulose, making it not 100% parmesan cheese. A similar lawsuit was filed against Kraft brand in California for similar reasons.

As of this week, a federal judge sentenced the company behind Castle Cheese brand with a hefty $500,000 fine for mislabeling. Back in October, Michelle Myrter, former executive for Castle Cheese, was sentenced to 3 years probation and a $5,000 fine after she pled guilty to food adulteration.



Chili-Mac Winner Of The Super Bowl Meal

It is time for the Super Bowl and the many Super Bowl parties that require tasty, easy to eat anyplace but the dining table meals. And the Food Network with the inspiration of Trisha’s Southern Kitchen are happy to offer one of their signature and most indulgent recipes. The one that seemed perfect for Super Bowl and a favorite of kids no matter what their ages is Chili-Mac and this recipe promises to score with the guests and the family. For more about Trisha’s Southern Kitchen just go to the website to find these and other appealing recipes: Your text to link…

This delicious but simple recipe brings together macaroni, cheese, diced tomatoes, kidney beans, and ground beef. The dish can be prepared in under one hour and will provide a filling meal for those football fans with an appetite for something other than football. This meal can also be served in mugs, making it easy to eat anywhere and avoid food spills on the sofa or carpet by the party guests. This meal goes great by itself and is enhanced by the addition of tortilla chips in many flavors from mild to wild.

Trisha Yearwood’s recipe promises a hearty, filling, and satisfying meal that will leave guests ready for football and beer. By having a hearty meal like this chili-mac, there should be less drunkenness going on around the TV screen.

This recipe is also great during weekends when outdoor plans and outside activities limit the amount of time a family can spend together around the dining table. Prepare this Food Network recipe and freeze away half for another weekend meal.

There has been an epic shift away from complete family meals taking place at the dining table as often both parents are working or volunteering their time for other activities other than cooking the family meal. Simple meals that can be prepared in under an hour and made in volume for a later date will help to keep the family satisfied and appreciating the good efforts of mom or dad regarding food preparation.

For that very special Sunday Super Bowl Party or family lunch or dinner rely on Trisha Yearwood’s Chili-Mac to satisfy everybody.


Slow Roasting Is The Newest Cooking Trend

It’s winter, a time when most people want a hearty, home cooked meal, and there is nothing better than slow roasted meat. This technique isn’t new by any means, but it’s gaining in popularity and it’s something everyone should try at least once.

Slow roasting is pretty simple. The meat is coked slowly at a low temperature for a long period of time. It’s catch phrase is “set it and forget it”, making it similar to crock pot cooking. It’s a very forgiving process that anyone can do, but there are a few rules to keep in mind when using this process.

It may go against you’re way of choosing meat, but when it comes to slow roasting, the fattier the cut of meat, the better it will be when slow roasted. The slow roasting process breaks down the collagen, the steam in the oven as the meat cooks literally makes it dissolve and keeps the meat juicy, tender, and tasty. Meats that are most popular for slow roasting are often things like short ribs and pork shoulders.

The meat should take on a nice brown color as it cooks. Think rotisserie chicken with brown and crispy chicken. If you notice your meat is cooking but it isn’t browning as well as you would like, hit it with the broiler for a few minutes at the end of the cooking cycle.

Finally, keep in mind that there will be no automatic rich sauce from slow roasted meat. Braised dishes on the stove top often provide their own rich and tasty sauces to add some tang to the dish, but braising doesn’t work the same way. When you serve your meat, try to offer sides like crunchy vegetables with punchy dressings or sauces, even fresh herbs, to bring some liquid pop to the plate.

Don’t let this process scare you, it’s a great way to cook large hunks of meat that turn out tender and juicy. Check out this Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder recipe from Food Network to get you started. It is basic, simple, and most importantly, incredibly tasty.



Armenian Food In L.A. Is A Treasure You Might Have Missed

Having spent thousands of years fleeing from persecution, war and genocide, it may come as no surprise that there are more Armenians living in cities around the world than in Armenia itself. Bringing their culture of food with them and integrating it with the cuisine of other nations to create many wonderful variations is of course, no surprise either. As Los Angeles can boast of having the second largest Armenian population in the world, tradition and integration has brought about a culture of old time cuisine merged with a unification of a newer, more disparate style.


Though the Armenian population didn’t begin to number a significant amount in America until the turn of the 19th century, Armenians have actually been migrating to America since the early 1600’s. While many settled in cities like Boston and Detroit, still more migrated west into the California Central Valley due to the land and climate more closely resembling their own homeland. As Los Angeles began to experience booming growth in the 1900’s, more Armenians began to populate a city already known for it’s many other immigrant communities, especially in the 1970’s. The 1990’s also saw massive importations of Armenians coming to the Southern California region when the Soviet Union fell and war again plagued the ancient christian land.


Today, the Los Angeles area is gifted with an Armenian population that shares it’s diverse culture and helps to contribute in many different sections of society like politics, business, education and naturally, food. Regardless of where they arrived from, integrating into Los Angeles has seen them all come together to share a bit of their culture and history with everyone (though it’s not unusual for historically tense regional disputes to occur when discussing different classifications of food authenticity).


With so many more Armenians now rooting themselves in Southern California has also created a void needing to be filled. Many grocery stores now fill the Los Angeles area with foodstuffs from their homeland and many restaurants are also bringing an Armenian taste into their business. As Los Angeles is infused with so many diverse people from all over the world, it’s wonderful to know that the resplendent Armenian culture and traditions have found a home to grow and thrive in.


Coffee Lovers, Prepare For Price Increase

Do you love coffee? Of course you do, it’s one of the most popular drinks in the country. Well, I’ve got some bad news for you. Bloomberg reports that coffee prices are about to go on the rise due to a drought in Brazil, too much rain in Vietnam, and a smaller than usual harvest in Indonesia. All these weather factors have combined into one sad and scary force, a force that threatens our daily cup of joe.

The areas affected mostly produce robusta bean, the bean used in instant coffee, espressos, and as a filler bean in mixed blends. This means prices across the board are set to rise, and it doesn’t look like there is much hope in a 2017 recovery for Brazil.

Big names like Folgers, Café Bustelo, and Dunkin’ Donuts have already begun to raise their prices to offset the lack of product. The same company owns all three brands, J.M. Smucker Company, and they have stated that packaged coffee will go up about 6 percent while K-cup prices will remain the same. For now, Dunkin’ Donuts prices will only increase on their packaged coffee, not the product sold in their various locations nationwide.

Over the summer, Starbucks rose their prices for the third year in a row, this time the increase was $.10 to $.20 per cup on select beverages, all to account for the slim supply that is expected to last through all of 2017. The chain bumped their prices once again right before Christmas on cold beverages and baked goods.

For those of us that love to start our day with a warm brew, this might be the year to splurge on an at-home espresso maker and avoid the inevitable price changes at our local coffee houses. 2017 looks like a rough year for coffee drinkers, let’s hope that 2018 brings a better outlook. Along with a rough year for coffee, it looks as though citrus will also be affected. Orange juice features traded at a four year high this past fall in New York. Maybe we should all sleep through breakfast this year and hope that lunch is shaping up to be a lot better.


Modern and Pioneering Cooking Still the Trend

Ever since Texas women, modern, contemporary women, began bringing down-home cooking to modern kitchens, there has been a very elegant blending of pioneering cooking and modern technology and techniques which is both warm and low maintenance. This trend spread throughout New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, London, and even Chicago.


“Modern Pioneering Cooking” was not only a fast spreading trend, but it became an ocean wave of a deciding factor on how women viewed the modern kitchen and how chefs in cooking shows went about “rustic yet high-end” techniques. And, it is still the trend today.


Food Network’s Ree Drummond, author of The Pioneer Woman, is starting a new show “Star Kitchen,” which is aptly named for both her high quality professional cooking and is a nice reference to Texas, the Lone Star State.


Ree Drummond, who is a very modern-day city girl, married a real live cowboy who is very comfortable with pioneering lifestyle and pioneering cooking. Ree combined her love of cooking with her love of her cowboy and created her website, The Pioneer Woman.


Ree Drummond’s new show, Star Kitchen, is coming out soon, and this shows the growing and pervasive trend in mixing modern techniques and modern style of cooking with pioneering style of food. It is a brilliant combination, especially since everyone loves to see professional chefs working on rustic dishes. In fact, this is one of the trends in the United States which is showing a comfortable melding between city life and country life, and is showing a comfortable mixture of cosmopolitan people, all of whom love and accept each other because of their differences, not in spite of them.


Warm, down-home cooking has always been a part of America’s roots. Though we may grow in technology and modernization, our roots lie deep and fertile in the pioneering cooking of yesterday. It is fitting that all of our trends seek to balance the two worlds and bring them together again, mix them together, and then grow and then bring them together again. It is fitting that this is the cycle of our cultural development in the United States. What are some of your favorite recipes or old fashioned techniques taught to you as a child? We would love to hear about them!