Archive | October, 2009

Happy Halloween!

31 Oct

spooky cookies


Pear Butter

28 Oct

pear butterI saw this recipe and knew I had to make it – I’ve had a bag of star anise in the cupboard for way too long, and you know how I feel about things sitting around without a recipe destiny. 

 It does take awhile, but it is very easy.  I bought a big bag of Bosc seconds at the farmer’s market and cooked it up on a rainy Sunday.   My pears were not quite ripe, but I was impatient.  They took longer to cook in the first step, but tasted just fine.

Make sure to taste the pear puree once its gone through the food mill!  I found I needed far less sugar than the original recipe.  I also skipped the lemon zest because I forgot to buy a lemon, but I’m sure it would be even better with it. 

Pear Butter

25 Oct

There was an article in the Washington Post this morning about pigs and the swine flu.  Scientists are studying pigs and pig farms to better understand flu strains, and how swine and human flu strains can combine in the animals and lead to “reassortment”  – creating new and possibly more dangerous viruses. 

So I’m relaxing, reading the paper, drinking coffee, just like I do every Sunday morning, when I stumble across this:

“CAFOs such as Schott’s are inherently safer than backyard pig farms, where the animals mingle with people and birds fly overhead.”

The CAFO in question is profiled in the article as “one of the most pathogen-free homes a pig could have.”  Now I’m annoyed, because CAFOs are a big part of what’s wrong with our food supply, and what’s so wrong with birds flying overhead?  Oh – they might have avian flu.  And what’s so wrong with people mingling with animals – that we might actually know where our dinner comes from? 

The article goes on: “But if multiple flu viruses were to get into a CAFO, the crowding of the animals would make widespread transmission, and the chance of reassortment, likely. Mathematical modeling suggests CAFOs can function as “amplifiers” of pandemic strains.”

Now I’m really irritated.  So CAFOs are the greatest place for pigs until they become a breeding ground for a virulent new strain of the flu?  That sounds responsible. 

Let’s get back to reality – animals are supposed to live outside, sometimes they get sick, and most of the time, if they’re healthy, they get better – just like humans!  Packing them into a “sterile” environment, and inocluating to prevent infection, does not create a healthier animal.  It creates animals that can’t survive outside of their carefully controlled “biosecure” building.  Animal science has “‘eliminated or minimized so many diseases that used to be standard and common in the swine industry,” said Mike Male, 57, a veterinarian who provides the medical care to Schott’s animals. Influenza, however, isn’t one of them.” …and now we have a pandemic.

I don’t blame the pigs, and I’m not afraid to eat pork, and most of my family had the swine flu this week and lived to tell the tale.  But I  know where my pork comes from – Rohrer’s Meats.  You can find Danny Rohrer at the West Frederick Farmer’s Market on Saturdays.  

If you don’t know where your dinner comes from, you should find out.  And if you don’t like the idea of eating the products of an “animal factory,” you should visit the farmer’s market, or your local butcher. 

So, sorry about the rant, but I’ve about had it with the swine flu media frenzy anyway, and this was the last straw.


Lunch Box

20 Oct

More Not-Deli-Meat Lunch Box Ideas:

Pasta salad – I always make extra when we have pasta for dinner, and toss it with some broccoli, shredded carrots, chicken, cheese – whatever’s in the fridge the kids will eat!

Cheese and crackers – my favorite are Triscuit w/ a Hint of Salt – only 3 ingredients, none of which you need to sound out!

Yogurt – my kids think this yogurt is a big treat, and I intend to keep it that way.

Chicken Salad – use half tomato chutney or cranberry sauce, half mayo for a lot of flavor and not a lot of fat.

Leftover Ham & Cheese Biscuits

I’d love to hear your favorite lunches for kids – post in the comments!

Last Trip to the Deli Counter

18 Oct

turkey tenderloinI decided to stop buying deli meat.  The nitrites, sodium, preservatives, etc. don’t exactly fit into my healthy eating plan.  However, the kids must have something for lunch, and PB&J – even if it is natural peanut butter and homemade jelly – doesn’t cut it five days a week.  It’s nice to bake a ham every once in awhile, but I really wanted to find an easy turkey recipe that didn’t involve roasting a whole bird.  The result: Spice Rubbed Turkey Tenderloin.  It tastes great, took about 30 minutes to make, and at $5.39/lb, costs about the same as deli meat – what’s not to love? 

I had a hard time finding turkey tenderloin that wasn’t already marinated, and almost gave up.  I finally found it underneath all the other packaged turkey parts (doesn’t that sound appetizing!).  My recipe is based on this one.  It has a great sweet-spicy flavor, and the rub keeps the meat from drying out.  I cracked whole coriander seeds, and used turbinado sugar, and mine came out of the oven with a beautiful, carmelized crust. 

Spice Rubbed Turkey Tenderloin

Pumpkin Cupcakes w Candied Pepitos

14 Oct

pumpkin cupcakeYou’d never guess unless you read the recipe – these cupcakes are gluten-free!  I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Baking mix, which combines garbanzo bean flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, white sorghum flour, and fava bean flour.   (If you’re not sensitive to gluten, just make them with wheat flour.)

This is a great recipe to make if you’ve got a whole pumpkin, since you use the seeds also.  This was the last one from the garden, and I’ve still got enough pureed pumpkin in the fridge to make something else too – stay tuned!

Pumpkin Cupcakes

North African Meatballs

12 Oct

north african meatballsI have to admit, this dish was not a hit with the kids, especially after they found out about the olives, though Aniston did (sort of) compliment the meatballs.  However, I thought it was a nice change of pace from “regular” tomato sauce, and if you like olives, you’ll love it.

The recipe is based on this one from Food Network

North African Meatballs

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