Monday, March 31, 2008
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Many of you may be curious what is “Old Bay® seasoning”? This unique blend of herbs and spices started in the Chesapeake Bay area in 1939. Old Bay seasoning has become a traditional Mid-Atlantic blend of spices often used in the preparation of our native blue crabs. Those of us who have grown up with this tasty blend have found it creeping into other seafood and chicken dishes ever since.
Friday, March 28, 2008
Thursday, March 27, 2008
One of the nice things about doing my training walks alone is I get to see a bit more of nature then if I had others along chatting, playing music, talking on the phone, etc. On my last 5.26 mile training walk I came across this beautiful Canada goose snacking along the trail.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Oat matzo meal
Olive oil for frying
Mix together with clean hands and form into balls. Fry over med heat until brown on all sides. Drain and transfer to plate covered with paper towels to remove excessive oil.
A variation I often make has chopped vegetables (chopped onion and carrots) and cooked on the range top with a lid in a cast iron frying pan like one giant hamburger or stove top meatloaf.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Several companies (Streit's and Manischewitz) now make spelt matzo for Passover. I try to make sure I get enough spelt matzo to last a year. They are great with all of the traditional cheese and cracker events throughout the year. These are nice firm crisp crackers which can be dipped or topped with cheese, etc. Spelt is related to wheat and does contain gluten, but many allergic to wheat can tolerate spelt.
I have found one company who makes oat matzo and matzo meal (crumbs), Shemura (London, England). This completely gluten-free matzo is a softer mild tasting cracker and versatile "bread" crumbs. So far I have only found this product through kosher.com.
I stock up on what I can each year and as I do I am reminded of my friend Sandy's grandfather who decades ago would make a special trip each year to New York to stock up on kosher for Passover products to satisfy his need for corn free products. Corn is one of the forbidden grains during the 8 day holiday. Those who are allergic to corn you know that corn and corn byproducts (syrup, starch, oil, etc) are in many of the every day products we use. So if you cannot have corn and crave a soda try one that has been made especially for Passover.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Knitting for the first time is probably the best for that if you have little ones to knit for is great for moving past the scarf stage.
The last one is probably the best for instruction but does not provide simple projects as you go.
25 Gorgeous Sweaters for the Brand New Knitter by Catherine Ham
Friday, March 21, 2008
Thursday, March 20, 2008
I tried the Health Valley® Chunky Chili spicy vegetarian. When I found this can of soup I was very happy to find a canned soup without wheat. Many of the canned soups available for a fast and easy lunch take short cuts in the manufacturing. Normally canned soups are thickened with a wheat product or other thickener like corn starch. This practice is done with just about every canned soup even ones that you would never think would or should have a thickener. It saves on the prep time for making it. I normally like vegetarian dishes but this one leaves me wondering “where’s the beef”. It has the right amount of spice but it really needs something else.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
In February I received three new knitting books from my wonderful husband.
Hooray for the amazon.com wish list feature. Through the year if I come across
a book I would like I just add it to the list.
A Second Treasury of Magical Knitting by Cat Bordhi. This book shows several projects that use her moebius
Charmed Knits: Projects for Fans of Harry Potter by Alison Hansel.
This book features patterns for many of the sweaters, scarves, and other
knits from the movies.
Stitch ‘n Bitch: The Knitter’s Handbook by Debbie Stoller.You might think is an illusion but it is all in the shadows.
This author has a wonderful sense of humor while covering the basics and some
The first project from these books was out of the Stitch 'n Bitch. I decided to
use some of the yarn left over from the soap savers and washcloths to try the Alien Illusion Scarf pattern. The scrap yarn was just enough to do one alien face. This is definitely a project to do when you don't have any distractions or help. A counter is a must to keep track of which row you did last. I also found checking the wrong side helped me see progress and where I left off the night before. The technique itself is a basic set of four rows worked in pairs of contrasting colors in basic knit and purl stitches. The trick is to make sure all the stitches are where they need to be. It is sort of like doing a cross-stitch pattern in knitting. This experiment will most likely become a pillow cover.
Wikipedia: Shadow knitting
Knitty Gritty: Illusion Knitting
Heidi’s Knitting Room: Illusion Knitting
Snowflake Illusion Scarf
Fresh Isle Fibers: a site of pattern links
I am definitely going to be trying this technique again. I'm curious how
this technique used with glow-in-the-dark yarn would look.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
This year marks 21 years of fundraising for March of Dime® March for Babies™ (formally WalkAmerica®) and my second year for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. I am hoping for a day when every baby will be born healthy and no one has to fear the words breast cancer. If you have $5 or $10 to spare please consider making an online donation to either of these important causes.
Avon Walk for Breast Cancer
March of Dimes - March for Babies
Monday, March 17, 2008
The real test was going to be the taste and texture. The brownie had a wonderful brownie flavor and a nice texture. My son liked them but my daughter didn’t care for them. A visiting friend read the package before sampling a half of a piece, trying to be good on her diet. It was so good she went back for the second half. Considering how well she usually sticks to her diet and she can eat wheat and gluten this speaks very highly of these tasty chocolate treats.
The Namaste brownies were so good I’ll get them again and even be willing to try some of their other allergen-free products.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Trying to figure out what time it was somewhere else I found the WorldTimeServer.com website (http://www.worldtimeserver.com/). This has several tools to help conduct phone calls and meetings between people in multiple time zones. As we all go more global this website could be come essential.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Wolff’s Kasha is made in dedicated mills and packaging in Penn Yan in the beautiful Finger Lake region of New York State. Since it has dedicated machinery those of us with wheat or gluten intolerances can enjoy their kasha and buckwheat flour with out any concerns. My family’s favorite way of enjoying Kasha is the Kasha Pilaf recipe on the back of the Wolff’s box.
Friday, March 14, 2008
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Split Pea Soup
- Olive oil
- Onion, chopped in big chunks
- 1 bag dried split peas, rinsed (usually green but other color peas work too)
- Carrots, pealed and sliced into 1-1.5" pieces
- 1 lb Smoked turkey, ask deli for one slab- not sandwich slices, cut into cubes
- 2 pk Trader Joe's Savory broth vegetable - reduced sodium liquid concentrate (or other broth or bouillon)
- Black pepper and garlic to taste
- Bay leaf
Sauté onion in olive oil in 2 qt or larger pot
Add peas, carrots, broth packets, turkey, spices, and about 6 cups of water.
Simmer over med to med low heat, occasionally stirring and checking if more water is needed.
When the carrots are soft and the peas have absorbed enough water to form a pot of molten green lava its ready.
Split peas soup can be made without any meat and is just as tasty.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
First came two little snack containers to replace the plastic sandwich baggies the kids use for their breakfast. The typical weekday morning is all of us rushing out of the door without breakfast. The kids were getting baggies files with the cereal of the day. To be a little more environmentally friendly I picked up his and hers snack dished to replace the baggies. Selena seems to like hers and can open and close it with a little effort. William is resisting the change but he to can work the snap lip. We made it through the first week without a spill.
The next experiment was testing a "thermal" snack jar. I ran the experiment with hot cream of rye cereal. The jar had plenty of room for the ingredient (1/3 c rye 2/3 c boiling water, and optional raisins or dried cranberries). I immediately closed up the jar. Three hours latter I opened it up and gave it a try. It was very tasty but not even warm. Unfortunately this little container is NOT microwavable so even with an office microwave I'm still stuck with cold cereal. The redeeming feature of this snack jar is the folding fork and spoon which continentally fits into the lid. I think this jar is going back to the store with the suggestion they sell just the folding self contained fork and spoon at their check out display, if they come separately.
The last experiment this week was for the long awaited Beatle spoon and spork. These cute little bugs come in their own travel case. Their folding wings make for a surprisingly nice handle. The fork is a bit challenging for salad but I doubt the kids will willingly eat salad for a few more years. I like these critters so much I'm going to try to get a set of each of the other colors for the kids - they come in 3 color combinations.
Monday, March 10, 2008
I made a point of checking with my parents to get the ins and outs of range shopping and to see if they remember seeing any recent Consumer Report articles on kitchen ranges. I took notes about what they liked and didn't like about their range, the Consumer Report finding, what the typical extra charges were (delivery, install, moving the gas line, and taking away the old range) and places to check out. I went to several stores to see what they had and for price comparison. But I have to admit that after all of that logical thinking and research I ended up with an emotional response. McGuire’s Appliances was the last store I walked into. It was highly recommended by a coworker for their service and prices. I compared their low end range to the ones I saw at places like Kmart and Home Depot and then I spotted it, my new range. It was a discounted discontinued floor model. For just $300 more then the nicest stainless steel range at Kmart I could have a professional grade gas range with two ovens. The main oven has a convection oven option. The little oven/warming drawer is on the bottom and completely out of the way. And even better five easy to access burners.
So far the kids are suffering though batches of cupcakes as I test the main oven and the little bottom one. I made a batch of split pea soup with carrots from the garden on the middle burner and had no problems stirring or cleaning up. I'm hoping the creations in the kitchen get more numerous and tasty as I learn how to use my new "toy".
Sunday, March 9, 2008
It was going to be a short walk around the neighborhood. I was hoping for a walk around 3 miles long but with the encouragement of the children and the chilling wind the walk was shortened a bit.
According to MapMyRun.com our Sunday afternoon stroll came to about 2.33 miles of rolling sidewalks. It was windy and only 46 degrees. Making the walk a bit more challenging I pushed tandem stroller, not one of those fancy jogging strollers, over hilly sidewalks with lots of dips for driveways. The image above shows the elevation changes of the walk. The stroller was loaded with waters, snacks, and 2 kids (75 pounds together) . I calculate I was pushing nearly 100 pounds. If I keep training while pushing the kids the walk itself will be a piece of cake.
The kids were kept busy snacking on Gold Fish and on the look out for spring flowers. They found crocuses and daffodils. Kids would prefer shorter warmer walks but seemed to enjoy checking out everyone’s gardens.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
A friend I hadn't seen in a long time met me for lunch. We decided on Legal Seafood since they have a gluten-free menu, delicious food and good service. Legal Seafood has fried fish and French fries on the gluten-free menu, but not together. With the simple requests for fish and chips the waiter was off to check with the chief. My request was rewarded with a very tasty plate full of flakey fish lightly dusted and fried to perfection accompanied by delicious fries. Neither the tarter nor cocktail sauces are gluten-free but the catsup and horseradish are fine for a do-it-yourself cocktail sauce with the "bite" customized to taste. It all went perfectly with his stories about being on a Hollywood set and everything else he was up to. The food and company were wonderful.
I had found a way of quenching a craving for fish and chips while out but not at home. At least until I found Ian's Fish Sticks at Healthway Foods. These taste little fish sticks are wonderful. I can cook them at the same time as the Trader Joe's cod fish sticks which the rest of the family loves. One plain for them, one for me since theirs contain wheat. Both fish sticks were such a success the kids and husband have asked to have them again.