Archive | November, 2012

New Food Friday – Kibe or Kibeh or Kibbeh

30 Nov Brazil

It’s New Food Friday and you will never guess how I came up with today’s food dish. I was watching the PBS show, Globe Trekker. The travel host was sitting on a beach in Brazil and a man carrying a cooler strapped to his shoulder was selling food. Renato Trizolio – Sao-Paulo-Brazil

The travel host flagged him down and was presented with an over-sized meatball-looking “street food.” These tasty morsels come in many shapes. Some people shape them in the form of a football as you can see in this photo. 

Basel15 at wikipedia – Kibbeh

Unfortunately, I didn’t catch the name that she called it. She said it was her favorite street food and that it was very popular among Brazilians. After some investigating, I learned that these neatly contained meat dishes were called, Kibe (pronounced Keebee).

Some people prepare them into a pie shape.

Ehedaya at wikipedia – Kibbeh_pie

Sometimes Kibe are eaten raw! Sometimes you can find a recipe where Kibe is stuffed! As it turns out, this popular dish didn’t originate in Brazil. It’s Middle Eastern. It’s usually made with either lamb or minced beef, onion, mint, and Bulgur wheat. There are many variations that you can find online. I used a recipe from where you can automatically adjust the ingredients for however many servings you want. 

I chose to make my  Kibe with lamb. If you know me, you know I love lamb. Of course I would never eat these cute little guys in the photo. Andrew Petrie – Lamb

Usually, Kibe are fried. However, they can also be baked to be more healthful. The Bulgar wheat is a high fiber whole grain and very good for you. You can buy it parboiled, just like rice, but I couldn’t find it that way at Meijer. So, instead they had Bob’s Red Mill Quick Cooking Bulgur Wheat. Funny, it’s the same thing as parboiled! This package was on sale for $2.99 ($1.00 off).

Bob’s Red Mill Quick Cooking Bulgur Wheat

I’ve bought Bob’s Red Mill products before and they are very high quality. Here are the nutritional facts.

Nutritional Facts for Bulgur Wheat

My Bulgar wheat is soaking as we “speak.”

Bulgur Wheat Soaking with Mint

I made the Kibe both ways to see which one I preferred, fried or baked. Here are my lamb Kibe.

My fried Kibe are on the left. My baked Kibe are on top of the fried Kibe, photo on the right.

Kibe baked

Kibe baked

Kibe fried

I thought all food tasted better fried but in this case, I preferred the baked Kibe. The flavors were more pronounced.  You can’t tell the difference by looking at them.  I thought they would need to drain so I put them on paper towels but they weren’t greasy at all.  I also made the last batch spicier. I added more allspice and some cayenne pepper. I liked them all.

I love the bulgur! It is chewy and nutty. I liked it much better than bread crumbs added to a meat mixture and it holds the meat together very well. In fact, I tasted it with all the spices minus the lamb ingredients and it was delicious! Most of the ingredients I used can make Tabbouleh (or Tabouleh) – the recipe is on the back of the Bulgur wheat bag which you can get right off the photo on this post.

 I will take some of these Kibe and put them in a tomato sauce and serve them with pasta. And I will definitely be making these again.



2012 Blog of the Year Award

27 Nov Blog of the Year Award

I have been honored with the Blog of the Year Award for 2012.

I’d like to thank you Vina of Vina’sdeliciousrecipes !

What a nice surprise you have given me!  Thank you so much. I am very glad you are still with us with all your photos and posts intact!

Here are the rules to accept this award:

1. Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award
2. Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award.
3. Please include a link back to this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award – and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)
4. Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them
5. You can now also join our Facebook page – click the link here ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience
6. As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…

These are my winners for the Blog of the year 2012 award:

Congratulations!Blog of the Year Award


New Food Friday – White Dragon Fruit

23 Nov Red-tongued Dragon

Last week, instead of me surprising you with a new food for New Food Friday, you surprised me when many of you let me know that you’ve been eating sardines all along. Some were lucky enough to have the fresh sardines! I am envious but I am happy to know that you are eating food that is good for you! My hat’s off to you fellow sardinians!

OK, so that upped the ante for me to find something more exotic to introduce you to on New Food Friday. I think I found it: White Dragon Fruit.

Fire-breathing DragonNo, no, no, there is no fire-breathing dragon involved and the taste is not fire-y hot either. Some say it is a mildly sweet taste; a cross between a kiwi and a watermelon.

No, White Dragon Fruit has nothing to do with a water-breathing dragon either.Water-breathing dragon

Or a lighted dragon either for that matter.Lighted Dragon

And no, I’m not talking about a Drag Queen. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.Drag Queen

I’m talking about a Dragon Fruit. The outside skin is a beautiful color. It is described as red but I wouldn’t call it red. It may be more of a cranberry color. The texture of the skin is waxy, like a candle.White Dragon Fruit      You can see how it gets it’s name because of the way the leaves simulate scales like a dragon’s scales. Yes, you’re correct, fish also have scales but we did fish last week. This week we’re doing dragons. What has gotten into you?  Was it too much turkey yesterday?

The inside of a Dragon Fruit can be either white (with little seeds that are crunchy like kiwi seeds)White Dragon Fruit Sliced or red like the outside skin, or even yellow. There are no quills, spines, or needles to worry about on this fruit even though the tree from which it grows is considered a cactus.

The Dragon Fruit flower is gorgeous. Dragon Fruit FlowerNote the fire-y red stamen coming out of the flower. Again, mimicking a dragon’s breath. According to Wikipedia, the flowers bloom overnight and are pollinated by bats. All we need now is a vampire to round out the image of this fruit! The image below  is what the Dragon Fruit tree looks like. Dragon Fruit TreeAccording to the photographer, this is the largest Dragon Fruit tree in the world and is located in Icod de Los Vinos, in northern Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain). Estimates of its age vary between 500 and 3,000 years old!

Nowadays these fruits are grown in Florida and California and it is said that they are catching on the way kiwi have caught on. Dragon Fruits are also known as Pitahaya.

Nutritional facts vary and may depend on which type of Dragon Fruit you purchase. The fruit I bought was manufactured by the Melissa brand which showed little beneficial vitamins or nutrients on her website for this fruit. Other websites said they are high in vitamin C, rich in phosphorus and calcium with free radical fighters known to contain phytoalbumin antioxidants. However, nobody would argue that they are low in calories and high in fiber. They are native to Mexico, Central and South America, East Asia, and Southeast Asian countries, among others.

How to Serve

Dragon Fruit tastes best eaten raw and chilled. You can sprinkle lemon or lime juice over a slice.  It is sometimes made into a sorbet or drink. I sprinkled lemon juice on my slices otherwise this fruit would hardly have any flavor at all in my opinion. I wouldn’t recommend serving the fruit at a dinner party because the black seeds stick in your teeth like crazy and everyone eating it would look like they had rotten teeth! It’s a fun fruit to try but unless I got a bad one, I would not be tempted to try it again. You might have a good laugh eating it with your kids due to all the seeds.

And Finally

When you’re draggin’ after eating all that turkey, eat a piece of Dragon Fruit to perk you up – it’s refreshing! That’s it folks. I’m all out of dragon jokes today. Have a good one.

UPDATE 12/8/12 :  Kenley, of Green Door Hospitality told me that she thought she saw Dragon Fruit being used as a beauty treatment in the movie, “Mirror, Mirror” with Julia Roberts. I watched the movie last night. Sure enough, they were slicing a Dragon Fruit and placing the slices over Julia’s  (who played the queen) eyes! Good catch Kenley! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


22 Nov Wild Turkey

Wild Turkey

I am thankful for my followers, for all your comments, and for your “likes.”

I hope all of you have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.


New Food Friday – Breisling Sardines

16 Nov Sardines

Fish is the order of the day for this New Food Friday.

Have you ever tried breisling sardines? Now before you wrinkle your nose up and go, “ewww” you need to give these fish a chance. They’re different from regular sardines because they are milder in flavor, tiny, and tender.

King Oscar sardines Sardinesare caught wild in Norwegian fjords, the North Sea as well as the Baltic Sea. As many as 11 different species of fish are used. Sardines aren’t actually a fish species; it’s the processing that makes them a sardine. 

Each sardine is packed by hand. Healthy for your heart and your whole body. 


Click me to enlarge

Nutrition Facts:

One can is one serving size. Sardines are a top source of Omega-3’s, protein, calcium, and vitamins B12 and D. One serving provides 20% of your daily requirement of calcium. Since I am always looking for ways to increase my calcium intake, I opted to try these sardines.

Another benefit of sardines is that they are low on the food chain and therefore low in contaminants such as mercury (lower than tuna).

Sardines come in many canned varieties:

with mustard

with tomato sauce

with olive oil

with soybean oil, and others.  So chose carefully.

You will notice that when you open the pop-top can, there is no fishy smell.Sardines

I’ve had other canned sardines and they tasted just like tuna to me. These olive oil packed breisling sardines tasted more like a mild flavored fish. They are difficult to remove from the can because they are so tender. However, I only had one “casualty” and promptly ate it.

Because these fish are so tiny, and so tender, you don’t have to de-bone them or gut them. Sardines - PackedThey do have a tail which you can probably eat, but I chose to remove it. They are already de-headed.

Sardines can also be eaten fresh. The flavor and the texture is completely different from the canned version. I understand they are very delicious! I never had the good fortune to try them but I would not turn down the opportunity! Grilled fresh sardine is a popular Mediterranean dish.

I sprinkled half a lemon on them and gave them some pepper flakes along with the tiniest drizzle of olive oil since they come packed in olive oil already. Breisling SardinesThey were very good! I was in the mood for a very light meal and they did the trick nicely! I added a sprig of sage from my garden for color only.

If you like fish, I think you will like these sardines. I bought these King Oscar sardines at Meijer for $2.50. They are so good for you, you should really give them a try! Besides, November 24th is National Sardine Day. Celebrate with a sardine!


Learn to be Optimistic

12 Nov

Are you a person who sees rainbows or clouds? It’s another way of asking, “Is the glass half empty or half full?”

If you passed a water fountain, would you throw a coin into it and make a wish or would you walk on by thinking that your dreams could never come true no matter how many coins you tossed?

It may not be easy, but you can walk to the other side of the bridge to more optimistic thinking.

Once your brain gets into the habit of thinking positive, you can spread your wings and fly!

An optimist never loses hope.

Cape of Good Hope, South Africa

Don’t let the sun set another day without reading these tips I wrote about how you can learn to be an optimist.


New Food Friday – Baba Ghanouj (Baba Ghanoush)

9 Nov Baba Ghanoush

Baba Ghanouj (prounounced Baba Ghanoosh) is the food I’m discussing today for New Food Friday. Does it sound familiar to you? I think I may have heard it first on the Jerry Seinfeld sitcom.

I picked up a can when I bought the can of ZiYad Hummus and Tahini dip. They were both the same price, on sale for $2.29 each.

Ziyad makes this Baba Ghanouj which is an eggplant and Tahini dip. They fire roast the eggplant and add the following ingredients: tahini, salt, citric acid.

Preparation suggestion on the can: add lemon juice, garlic, and salt to taste. Drizzle olive oil on top.

Click me to enlarge

Nutritional Facts:

The sodium level is high: 478mg so if you are watching your salt intake, you may only be able to have a small amount. I think we should all watch our salt intake so I may make my own version fresh in the future.

The Taste

The taste of this Baba Ghanouj is very smokey. It’s like eating charred wood but a creamy version of charred wood. So, they’re not kidding when they say they fire roast the eggplant! I liked it. There are chunks of eggplant in the dip which I enjoyed too.  I did not add any lemon juice or garlic or salt because I didn’t think it needed anything.You can see from the front cover of the can that the product is tan in color. The yellow part is olive oil. The red sprinkles in the center and around the dish are pomegranate seeds.

The Accompaniments

Baba Ghanouj is most often eaten with pita bread. It can also be eaten as a dip with raw vegetables. This could pair well with certain flavors of Triscuits which come in many varieties now, Rosemary and olive oil being my favorite. I like Baba Ghanouj with pretzels, the larger pretzels with less salt. This would also be a good spread on a wrap. I tried it on a bun with a turkey burger but instead of a barbeque taste, it brought out a more lemony flavor which I did not care for. That surprised me. In fact, the way I liked it best was without any accompaniment.

Here is a nice sized eggplant growing on a vine. Isn’t it a beauty?

 This is what sesame seeds look like (below) in case you’ve never seen them. The photo shows them enlarged. They are much smaller in reality. There are also black sesame seeds. Tahini can be made from either the white sesame or the black sesame seed. This Baba Ghanouj uses the white sesame seeds. The seeds are crushed to make a paste.  You can find the seeds on the spice aisle of your grocery store. If you want the paste (the tahini), look in the ethnic aisle. It usually comes in a jar and is not cheap!

On the other hand, this canned version of Baba Ghanouj is very convenient to carry with you say, to a picnic because it has a pop-top and can be eaten cold or at room temperature. Once opened though any leftovers should be refrigerated. Another benefit of the canned version is that it can be easily stored on your pantry shelf to be used at a moment’s notice. So, it’s good in a pinch!


Happy Election Day/Happy Birthday/Happy 100 Followers

6 Nov Happy Birthday!

Today is election day. It is also my birthday. It is also the day I now have 100 followers on my blog.


Hope you had a great day. I celebrated by o.d.’ ing on chocolate:

Lindt milk chocolate with hazelnuts

S’mores (my first s’more ever)

Keebler Deluxe Fudge Covered Graham Crackers

Chocolate Eclairs with Custard filling

This is what a dedicated health nut eats on her birthday. How old am I? I’m 30 again! I proclaim that it’s OK to go a little crazy on your birthday! (I did work out today.)


I also ordered a new part for my broken lawnmower. If it is the correct part and my lawnmower starts working again, I will write a post about it.

This is my idea of a happy birthday. To each his own. The icing on the cake would be if Obama won the election! I predict that he will!


To all my followers, have a great day and a great evening!


New Food Friday – Jicama

2 Nov

I hope you are having as much fun with New Food Friday as I am.

This Friday I’m discussing Jicama.  It’s pronounced, Hic-ama.  Jicama is a tuber and it is also known as the Mexican potato. The skin is like a potato and it is white inside like a potato.

This Jicama reminds me of a spinning top

It is easier to slice and peel than a potato.

It tastes nothing like a potato though. When you bite into a piece the first taste is mildly sweet. The next thing you will notice is that it is crunchy and very juicy, like an apple. But it doesn’t taste like an apple either.

I haven’t decided what it tastes like. Some say it tastes like a water chestnut.  You’ll have to let me know what you think it tastes like!

I picked the smallest Jicama I could find at the store. They can grow to be big! It was $1.24 per pound and mine was a smidgen over one pound or $1.29.

I found that you need two different knives to cut Jicama. A large chef’s knife for slicing and a small paring knife for peeling the skin.

I also thought it was very easy to peel and slice. It wasn’t slippery or sticky.

Hummus and Jicama

As I said in last Friday’s post, I would talk more about the Ziyad plain hummus and tahini dip (the non-spicy one).  It goes perfectly with Jicama! A marriage made in heaven! Great for those of us watching our weight.You can see from the photo that when it’s sliced into strips, it looks like uncooked french fries! These strips hold their shape.  They don’t break under the weight of the dip. You might become “addicted” to the crunch.

Storing Jicama

Jicama stores well in the fridge after you peel and slice it. It doesn’t turn brown and it stays juicy and crunchy in a covered container.  If you like to have celery and carrot sticks with your dips, Jicama is a great addition! I am really impressed with this tuber.

Some people like to add Jicama to salads.  You can also sprinkle lime juice on Jicama slices and then top with salt or chili powder.

I think these juicy sticks would be great for hikers or beach goers because of their high water content.

Nutrition Facts:
Serving size: ½ cup raw

Calories: 48
Carbohydrate: 11 grams
Protein: 1 gram
Fat: 0 grams
Cholesterol: 0 grams
Potassium: 162 milligrams

Jicama is 85% water by weight.

Kids will also like Jicama because of its mild sweetness and the crunch factor. Just don’t tell them it’s a vegetable!

So far, I have talked about Jicama in its raw state only. However, you can also cook Jicama. You can add it to a stir fry or add it to stews.

I’m sold on this vegetable. What do you think of it?


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