May 2012

Belvita Breakfast Biscuits

Reasonably tasty, not too bad nutritionally and not too sweet

I'll be honest with you, I'm not really sure what these things are. I didn't know what they were when I bought them, and I don't know what they are after having eaten a bunch over the last week. This is like some kind of next-wave breakfast treat stuff happening right here. 
What are they? Well, you eat them for breakfast. According to the Nabisco website, Belvita Breakfast Biscuits "are specially baked to release energy regularly and continuously in your body." Which is either some creepy food science, or a bunch of marketing BS. Which one, I leave it to the reader to decide.

Church picnic ideas

Each year our church has an annual picnic at the park. I hear the same thing from my Grandmother as soon as the date is announced, “What can I to bring to the picnic?” Our church handles the hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken and drinks, but it is up to the rest of the congregation to bring the side dishes and desserts. Here are a few ideas in case you aren't sure what to bring to your next church picnic.

Watermelon Splits

A new way to enjoy summer melon

My local grocery store had seedless watermelons on sale for $3.77 this week. These babies were huge and I found myself looking for new ways to eat the watermelon. Of course, there is nothing wrong with simply cutting the watermelon into slices, but I thought it might peak my kids interest if the delicious fruit was served in a unique manner. That is when I decided to make watermelon splits.

The first thing I did was decorate the plates with a drizzle of hot fudge intertwined with a drizzle of butterscotch topping. On top of the hot fudge and butterscotch topping went a banana cut into two halves.

The things they do to an egg these days!

Real eggs are good for you, but the "improved egg product" they try to feed us sure isn't!


I happened across an interesting article on the Forbes website (of all places) about all the ways that the fast food giants manipulate and adulterate the humble egg. It brought the ridiculousness of mass market overprocessed food home to me in a way that a simple list of ingredients never has before. 
This might be because I have pet chickens. 
Every day I collect between 1 and 3 eggs from my feathery gal pals. About 75 percent of their diet consists of the (organic, vegetable protein-only, chock full of vitamins and minerals) chicken feed that I set out for them. During the day, they scratch around in their coop for the grain I toss them, eat my leftovers, or (when I have time to supervise) poke around the yard for whatever delicious morsels they can scare up. Their eggs reflect this ideal chicken lifestyle (technically called "Pasture Raised"). 


Their shells are substantially thicker than those of grocery store eggs - if I drop one, as I often do, it's only about 50/50 odds that the egg will crack. The shells of battery hen eggs are thinner because the hens are forced into laying more eggs faster than is natural, and their bodies don't have time to lay down as thick a layer of calcium. 
The yolks and whites are firm, not runny. Egg contents lose their structural integrity with time. I usually eat my eggs within 5-7 days from the time they were laid. Grocery store eggs may be as much as 90 days old, or even older.

The many uses of a ham steak

Almost each week I get a ham steak with my grocery order. This is because I know that if I haven't planned dinner one night during the week that I'll be able to quickly create something with the ham steak. Best of all, the ham steak thaws in the microwave in 60 seconds. Here are some of the many ways I use a ham steak:

1. Fried. My kids love it when I toss the ham steak in a frying pan and brown it on both sides. They think it tastes just like bacon. A side of green beans and parslied potatoes and we are good to go.

2. Omelet. I love to dice the ham steak and toss it in an omelet with onions, green peppers and some cheddar cheese. A cup of fruit cocktail and a slice of toast top off this meal.

Choose My Plate

Nutritional diet resource

Over the years, the food pyramid has changed. The most recent recommendations for foods to eat, as well as portion sizes, was created by the United States Department of Agriculture on the picture of a plate. Their website is called and it has the food groups broken down into fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins, dairy and oils. Oils, however, are not pictured on the plate.

The website encourages consumers to fill at least half of their plates with fruits and vegetables. One fourth should consist of grains, with at least half the grains being whole grains. The other one fourth is meant for proteins. Where does the dairy come in you ask? It is found on the side as a small circle, perhaps representing a glass of milk or a cup of yogurt. The USDA recommends using fat-free or low-fat dairy products.

Challenge Yourself: Live Below the Line

Live Below the Line is a charity with an objective to raise awareness on poverty. Participants of this challenge are to live on $1.50 for food per day for a total of five days. That's only $7.50 per person total for the five days.

I agreed to be a part of this challenge when asked by BzzAgent. I have two daughters, which means that the three of us must live on $ 22.50 for the duration of the five days. My hypothesis is that we will be able to eat three meals a day, but they won't be foods that are considered healthy. I'm making this hypothesis based on my observations within the grocery store. Healthy foods tend to cost much more than quick foods, which have little to no health benefits.

The Lie Of Caramelized Onions


Rarely have I been as happy, as personally validated, to read a Slate story as this one: "Layers of Deceit: Why do recipe writers lie and lie and lie about how long it takes to caramelize onions?"
I only recently came to this whole "cooking food" thing. For the first, oh, 30 years of my life, I was strictly a processed and pre-packaged food gal. Lean Cuisine for lunch, frozen pizza for dinner, bag of pre-packaged salad (with all the fixins) as a healthy side dish. (What can I say? I was raised as a latchkey kid by a single mother who worked all day, then went to class at night to earn her MBA. My mom didn't have the time or energy to cook, and I certainly wasn't going to bother.)