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NEW FOOD FRIDAY FLASH – RUTABAGA

19 Feb

You’ve probably heard of rutabaga and you may have even tried it a time or two. Well, it’s time to revisit rutabaga because I found a recipe combining rutabaga and sweet potato and it’s delicious!  So, guess where it’s going? That’s right, in my February New Food Friday Flash post!

 

I came across the creator of this recipe while watching a cooking show on PBS. The chef’s name is Annabel Langbein. She combines foods in a way that you wouldn’t think of and the final product turn out great! I found several books in my local library containing her recipes. Her rutabaga sweet potato combination is uncomplicated, delicious, and good for your health too.

 

Rutabaga can sometimes be confused with turnips but rutabaga is typically larger. If turnips grow as large as a rutabaga, you should not buy them because they will be a bit woody. Not so with the rutabaga. It is a relative to the mustard family. It is sometimes called Swedish or Russian turnip, or swede and is widely cultivated in cool, moist regions of the northern hemisphere for its large, elongated roots, with solid yellow or white flesh, eaten not only by us folks but also enjoyed by livestock. Like the turnip, the rutabaga contains about 90 percent water so if you are on a diet, you can eat as much rutabaga as you like!

 

The rutabaga has a somewhat mildly bitter taste, but when combined with sweet potato, the bitter and the sweet contrast well together. If you want to make this recipe really low calorie, omit the butter and cream. I omitted the cream but not the butter.

 

Ingredients

½ lb rutabaga, cut into 1” slices

1 lb orange-fleshed sweet potato, cut into 1” slices

¼ cup Chicken stock (or more)

1 teaspoon fresh minced thyme

2 Tablespoons butter (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Cream (optional)

 

Preheat oven to 350°. In a baking dish, combine the sweet potatoes, rutabaga, and chicken broth. Slice the rutabaga and sweet potato into 1” slices or smaller if you have the time and the patience. The smaller the pieces, the quicker it will cook. The first time I made this, I used less sweet potato and tasted more of the rutabaga. The second time I made it, I used the recipe amount of sweet potato and didn’t taste the rutabaga at all. So, if you like it sweeter, go with the recipe version. If not, reduce the amount of sweet potato.

 

Sprinkle with the thyme, salt and pepper and turn to mix well. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake until vegetables are tender, about 1 ½ hours. (I raised the heat so it didn’t take as long.)

 

Add the butter, and cream if you are using it and mash with a potato masher. I used my immersion blender and added a bit more chicken stock. Beat until fluffy. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. After you taste it, try not to eat the whole thing! It will be a challenge!

 

I can’t wait to make this again. Try it. I think you will like it too!

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NEW FOOD FRIDAY FLASH – MANGO CHUTNEY

21 Dec

 

We all know that salmon is good for us. We want to get that Omega-3! But sometimes the flavor of salmon is too strong. It may turn you off or prevent you from enjoying your meal as much as you could. Bears don’t seem to have this problem but last time I checked, I wasn’t a bear. I have, however, come up with a solution for us homo sapiens. Mango chutney. It’s a topping you dollop on your cooked salmon. It’s delicious and nutritious. It’s pretty, especially in combination with the salmon-colored salmon. That is why it is my choice for this month’s New Food Friday Flash.

 

Yes, I know I’m a few days late publishing this but once in over three years is not a bad record! I knew I had written it. I just forgot to post it! I’ve been dealing with a house emergency. My smoke alarm kept going off every time I did my forth load of laundry. So, I replaced the plastic duct hose with flexible metal ductwork and vacuumed out the lint. How did I do that? Long story made short: I opened up the wall. Well, somebody had to do it. It might as well have been me! According to a Sears repairman, I saved myself between $700-$800! Then I did four loads of laundry to see if my smoke alarm would go off. It didn’t. Problem solved! You can find flexible, metal dryer ductwork at the Home Depot. It’s metal. Not plastic, not aluminum. Peace of mind is good for your health!

 

But back to the Mango Chutney. One of the things I like about this recipe is that you can vary the ingredients without much difference in the taste. The main flavor is the citrus taste of the mango. The more ripe the mango, the sweeter the chutney will be and it keeps well, covered in the fridge.

 

This chutney recipe is so delicious that you will want to add another dollop as soon as you finish the first dollop! I’ve also eaten this chutney with chicken. It would work well with pork too.

 

Ingredients

4 ripe mangoes

1 medium red onion minced

1 teaspoon cumin

juice of 2 limes

¼ cup cilantro

 

Wash then peel the mangoes. Dice each mango being careful not to waste the juices. A ripe mango will have a lot of juice and make it slippery so be careful! Mince the onion and add to the mangoes. Add the cumin and the juice of two limes. Chop the cilantro and add to the dish.

 

I usually buy one very large mango for this recipe. I don’t always have a red onion so I substitute a white or yellow onion. You don’t taste the onion in this dish but it has a very pleasant crunch so don’t leave it out! A red onion adds to the pretty colors of the dish. I use cumin seed instead of powder. Either will work but the powder might darken the bright color of the mango. I add as much or as little as I like. Then I use the juice of ½ lime. Taste as you go along because too much lime will make you pucker! Chop the cilantro and add to the dish. I like cilantro as it has a mild lemony flavor and the green herb adds another dimension of color. You eat with your eyes! It’s a festive dish and a healthful choice for the holidays: slimming rather than fattening!

 

Prepare your salmon the way you like it. I baste mine with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake until it flakes with a fork, about 20 minutes depending on how thick the piece of salmon. When cooked, either place a dollop of the mango chutney on top of the fish and serve it or bring the chutney to the table and let guests serve themselves. I know I always want more. This is my favorite way to eat salmon. Now there is no excuse not to eat salmon! Buon appetito!

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5 Mile Walk at Home ADVANCED with Leslie Sansone – Exercise DVD Review

29 Jul

When I last posted a review, it was of an audio book. This time I’m doing a review of an exercise DVD. This is an excellent exercise DVD that is low impact and great if you can’t go outside to exercise because it is too hot, too humid, too blustery, too cold, too icy, too snowy, or too whatever! Working out at home is convenient, saves you money, and gives you the most control over your workout. I have nine of my own exercise DVDs and shuffle them with DVDs I get from the library. It’s the 5 Mile Walk at Home ADVANCED DVD with Leslie Sansone that I’m reviewing here.

 

Leslie Sansone has built an empire on her Walk at Home exercise DVD program. I purchased her 5 Mile Fat Burning Walk DVD and when I needed more, I checked my library and they had this advanced program which I tried and liked a lot.

 

Leslie’s as chipper and perky as ever and her motivating style keeps you focused. In this DVD, she uses hand weights in the first mile, a stretch belt in the third mile, and a stretch band in the fifth mile. I use my stretch tube in the third and fifth mile and it works just as well.

 

Each mile runs from 10 to 14 minutes. The back of the DVD says the entire running time is 65 minutes. I usually do the entire 5 miles. Today I only did three miles. I might do the other two miles later.

 

There are several highlights in this DVD. She included a bonus segment of a 7-day weight loss meal plan and suggests you follow it and do the ADVANCED walk DVD every day to see your body change. You have the choice of Leslie’s instruction with music or the music only option.

 

She’s got a nice group of people walking with her in each mile. One of them is her daughter who is a bit quiet and apparently more introverted than her mother! Then she also included a husband and wife couple. There’s a grandmother who doesn’t look anything like grandma, and a working mother with three kids. There’s a guy in the back row who looks like a body builder. Leslie gets around to talking to all of them.

 

There is no separate warm-up section but she slowly warms you up at the beginning of each walk segment. I do my own warm up before all my exercise DVDs regardless of whether or not they include a warm up. Although it isn’t stated anywhere on this DVD or on the case, she included a cool-down stretch segment that comes at the end of mile five and she included two of the women who were in the other segments.

 

Leslie used two-pound hand weights in mile one. I only used one-pound hand weights but I also used two-pound ankle weights in the three miles I covered. I like to push myself to do more being careful not to injure myself by doing too much.

 

On days when I’m tired or sore, I do Leslie’s 5 Mile Fat Burning Walk which is my easiest exercise DVD.

 

Whether you are just starting to exercise or if you are a dedicated exerciser, Leslie has a DVD to suit you! Whichever one you chose, you will find it lowers your stress level besides all the other benefits of walking. Give her 5-Mile Walk At Home ADVANCED DVD a try. I think it’s her best one yet!

 

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New Food Friday – Kasha, Groats, Buckwheat

18 Apr Kasha (sxc.hu - yirsh)

I had never tried Kasha until an Internet friend said that she loved it and would eat it for breakfast everyday. So, I bought a box of Wolff’s Kasha at my local Meijer.

Box of Kasha

Box of Kasha

Kasha is buckwheat and it comes in several granulations. I chose medium. This particular box had a small cellophane window so you could see the product inside (which I ignored), and put the box in my cart. When I got home, I placed the box in my pantry. When it was time for me to try the Kasha, I opened the box and began pouring the Kasha into a bowl. Out poured contents that contained Kasha, caraway seeds, and some other type of seeds. I recognized caraway seeds when I saw them and I didn’t think they were supposed to be in this box!

After doing some research, I realized that seeds were not supposed to be part of Kasha! I contacted the company and told them about it. I received a nice letter of thanks for letting them know from the vice president of Birkett Mills. He said they use the most efficient and sophisticated cleaning machinery known in the dry grain processing industry and that rarely even the most advanced technology can be fooled. (Well, we all know how I feel about technology as per my last post, now don’t we!)

In a show of their appreciation, they sent me two more boxes of Kasha (without seeds) and a whole bunch of information about Kasha. I kept one box and gave the other to my son, the other health enthusiast in the family.

Rather than let the box with the seeds go to waste, I used the caraway seeds from the “bad” box of Kasha for my Russian Rye Bread recipe! As you know, the loaves turned out great! To be honest though, I’m not crazy about Kasha for breakfast even though I know how good it is for you and how popular it is in Russia and throughout the Balkan region of Europe.

Map of Europe (sxc.hu - vygnyo)

Map of Europe (sxc.hu – vygnyo)

However, a recipe I found among all the recipes they sent, sounded good and good for your health too, so that I had to chose it for this New Food Friday.

The following information was provided to me from Birkett Mills, established in 1797. (Yes, that date is correct, 1797.) Read the eye-opening information that I have written by clicking this link.

If, after you have clicked the link and read the material you are now convinced that you need buckwheat in your diet, Birkett Mills offers a cookbook with over 50 recipes, many with full color illustrations, for $2.50. Write to: Pocono Buckwheat Cookbook, P.O. Box 440 PC, Penn Yan, NY 14527

Here is one of their recipes that caught my eye.

Grilled Portobello Caps with Kasha Pilaf
1/3 cup diced celery
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion (such as Vidalia)
2 cups water
2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup Kasha
salt to taste
6 large Portobello mushroom caps
Olive oil
1 1/4 cup grated hearty cheese (such as aged Gruyere or aged Gouda)

Aged Gouda

Aged Gouda

Prepare the Kasha Mixture First
In a 2-qt saucepan on medium-high heat, combine celery, onion, water and 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning. Cook until liquid is very hot, but not quite boiling. (Or, you can microwave it.)

Old Bay and Kasha Granules

Old Bay and Kasha Granules

While the liquid mixture is heating, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the extra virgin olive oil add remaining 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning and the Kasha. Stir Kasha until it is hot and slightly toasted.

Browning Kasha in a Pan

Browning Kasha in a Pan

Reduce heat to low. Carefully add hot liquid mixture and cover pan tightly. Simmer about 10 minutes until kernels are tender and liquid is absorbed.

Remove from heat and “fluff” with a fork. Season to taste with salt. This may be used immediately to stuff mushrooms or refrigerated for up to two days (or frozen for up to 1 month.) Makes nearly 4 cups.

Prepare medium-hot grill fire. Discard mushroom stems, clean gills with soft brush, and wipe caps with damp paper towel. Brush top of caps with olive oil.

Mushrooms (sxc.hu - mzacha)

Mushrooms (sxc.hu – mzacha)

Grill mushrooms gill-side down for a couple minutes. (I didn’t grill mine, I used my skillet.) Use tongs to flip caps top-side up and move them away from the heat while you fill the caps with the Kasha mixture.

Stuffed Portobello Muchroom Caps with Kasha Mixture

Stuffed Portobello Mushroom Caps with Kasha Mixture

Return caps to the heat and continue grilling, with grill lid down for 3-4 minutes. Top each cap with a scant 1/4 cup grated cheese. Lower grill lid and heat until cheese melts.

My mushrooms were not very large so I had left-over Kasha. I used it in another meal and added diced chicken and peas.

This mushroom recipe is good for when you crank up the barbecue. It would go well with my recipe for hot dogs with Chipotle in Adobo Sauce. Add a salad,  corn on the cob, 

Sangria (sxc.hu - matthijs_v)

Sangria (sxc.hu – matthijs_v)

a pitcher of Sangria, and you could invite the neighbors!

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Exercise: I Talk the Talk and I Walk the Walk

8 Oct sxc.hu createsima - Rainbow Image

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written a post about exercising. I’m sure you won’t be surprised at what I’m about to tell you. (Although it surprised me!)

I was acknowledged for doing the most workouts at my health club for the month of August.

Marcy at top of the list

Marcy at the Top of the List

See my name at the top of the list?

I wasn’t aiming to claim the most visits and I wasn’t keeping track even though some members at the club don’t believe me. A new doctor I had been seeing recommended I workout AT LEAST 5 times a week! To me, this translated into doing more than 5 times a week so I was at the club everyday it was open: 6 days a week. I did that for 2 1/2 weeks straight and I didn’t take the 7th day off when I was home!

How was it? It was exhausting! Are they serious? What senior citizen can continually exercise at that pace? Maybe if they didn’t put much effort into their workouts but my workouts aren’t like that. I put my all into it. I’m known at my club as the person who works out the hardest. Really, it’s more of a social club for a lot of the members. I hope their social friends visit them when they’re in the hospital recovering from illnesses due to their lack of exercise!

So, there has to be a balance here. It should be taken into account how seriously you exercise! Plus, I don’t exercise for 30 minutes. I figure since I’m there, I’m going to exercise until I’m tired and that is usually 50 minutes and, depending on which gym I’ve been going to and the equipment they have, as long as 1 hr and 15 minutes. I think doctors need to ask their patients about this. Or, maybe I need to volunteer this information the next time at my appointment since I seem to be stereotyped: Senior = Sedentary.

MY GOALS

I’ve been working on increasing my upper body strength in the past few months and the effort shows. My biceps have increased .25% while I’ve slowly continued to lose weight. I’m still using the caloriecount website and I don’t know if I can ever do without it! I am seriously hooked on it because it has been so beneficial to me!

The reason I’ve been working on my upper body strength is that women in general, are known to have poor upper body strength and I’ve always wanted to do a chin up. So far, I can master a chin up half way. This is a new goal for me. I like to challenge myself and I am always seeking new exercise goals to keep things interesting and to have something to achieve.

Since April of this year, I put together a warm-up routine for myself that I do now every time I exercise. It is about 6 minutes long and involves a variety of arm movements but also leg and ab movements too. I am crediting this routine for healing my shoulder issues that had dragged on for over 2 years! I will write up and post the routine in a future post. You may want to try it. If it worked for me, it may work for you.

Recently, I saw a 75-year-old female body builder on TV. She was lean and didn’t look anywhere near 75! She was inspirational! I was telling one of the gals at my club about her and I said that the body builder was my idol to which she replied, “You’re MY idol!” I got a kick out of that. Hey, that’s OK with me. That’s what this blog is all about:  talking the talk AND walking the walk; reaching that goal at the end of the rainbow!

sxc.hu/cempey - Colorful Rainbow Shot

sxc.hu/cempey – Rainbow Gold Goal!

 

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