Gouda Cheese & Smoked Salmon Recalled for Listeria

FSNBSmith’s Country Cheese gouda cheese recalled. Sold under different names, check the details if you gotta gouda.

Sliced, smoked salmon from Illinois (how that makes sense I’ll never know) recalled. Sold in grocery stores far away from Illinois. Check the details if you have some, share it if you don’t – I mean the news, not the fish.

Eat well, be well friends!

Tomatoes Growing Up

 photo IMG_0407.jpgIn the past several years I’ve had a fair amount of garden success.  We’ve had tons of greens, homegrown broccoli and cauliflower, peas, green beans, bell peppers, leeks, chives, potatoes, onions, raspberries and asparagus. And ohhhhhh the strawberries. All of this glorious bounty has been overshadowed by a string of defeats in the tomato patch. And folks, where I live, if you don’t have tomatoes, you don’t have a garden.

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I’ve tried a lot of things. I’ve tried different varieties, growing from seed, growing from seedlings, growing from not so “seedlings,” watering with a timer, drip irrigating, growing upside down, and I won’t even go into the soil amendments and natural cure alls. I’ve rarely had lasting success, and when I have, either the deer, the squirrels, or some climate induced illness takes over.

So given that I am not ready to give up on tomato growing (which clearly indicates that I have serious issues), I decided to get a little radical. This year, we’re going vertical. Why? Because all my garden gurus say it’s a good idea, and it’s the only thing I haven’t tried. And, given that diseases associated with humidity have been one of my primary enemies, it seems like a good idea. Continue reading

Sweet Potato Chili w/ Greens

My garden is not very extensive this year due to other commitments, but ahhh the pleasures of hearty greens!  Swiss chard in particular is easy to start – easy to grow and it keeps on coming back!  Especially when the rain and sun alternate so regularly as they have been doing here in Middle Tennessee.  This was the only plant that I managed to start indoors and then transfer to the ground this year, so it makes me smile every time I look at it.  (I’m pretty easy to please, no?)

Ain't it purty?

Ain’t it purty?

 

One of my favorite things to do with hearty greens (chard, kale, collards, spinach, mustard greens, beet greens – I’m sure I forgot one!) is toss handfuls into soups, stews and chilis.  They are much less offensive to the non-greens appreciators in the crowd that way but still bring a bang of nutrition and some color to any dish.  They also make dinner feel fresh when what you’ve really done is open the pantry door and said, “Hmmmm – I’m not very prepared, what can I throw in a pot and call dinner tonight?”

 

You guessed it.  I was doing just that recently and am about to share the results.  As always, Little Sis and I encourage you to see our recipes as food for thought as well as body in that substitutions are encouraged, welcomed and will probably make it taste better as well ;-)  It takes a village to make a really good meal!

So I give you Sweet Potato Chili w/ Greens Continue reading

4,000 Pounds of Beef Recalled

FSNBIncomplete processing. That is gross to me in so many different ways I don’t really want to go on about this, but thought I’d share. Please check out and/or share with folks to whom it might be relevant. Details here. Eat well, be well friends.

Avocado Bisque with Garden Peas & Dill (DF)

 photo IMG_0421.jpgThe peas are ready! The peas are ready! Oh how I do love garden peas – the real deal, the kind you have to shell. I didn’t much care for them as a child (one for each year of life with a liberal swallow of milk so as not to choke), but have grown to like peas, but this is one area where frozen is really not the same as fresh. If you don’t care for peas, see if you can find the real McCoy at a farmer’s market and give them a go – raw, straight from the shell. Oh mercy. Spring is glorious.

I have found that my family enjoys garden peas most when they are left alone. Yesterday’s harvest may have yielded enough to cook and serve as a side, but I knew they wouldn’t like them as well, so I just rinsed those puppies and threw them in a bowl – shell and eat at will. But what else to serve? A ravenous 7 year old cannot live on garden peas alone, even if his mother would…

An old standby of mine that was ripe for an update: Avocado Bisque. I first encountered this recipe in the cookbook that came with my VitaMix, the cookbook that my sister previewed for me and annotated. Avocado Bisque earned a Bigg Sis rating of “Great,” and it is. I made a few adaptations to remove the moo and the chick and we enjoyed a lovely and light dinner of Avocado Bisque (with garden peas and dill), whole wheat bread (as evidenced by the crumb that snuck into my soup picture), and a fabulous green salad with garden lettuce. Continue reading

Chia Powder from Various Places, TJ’s Egg White Salad, and Costco Black Pepper Recalled

FSNBTrader Joe’s egg white salad with chives recalled for listeria. Details here.

Comprehensive list of chia powders recalled. Details on salmonella in chia powder here.

Costco Kirkland black pepper recalled for salmonella. Details here.

Eat well, be well.

Easy Refrigerator Dills

Alas the beach, and the FABULOUS cake Little Sis made for my birthday, are in the past… back to the grind of work and school (for me) and needing healthy snacks and sides.  I come from pickle people and pickles are a lovely and potentially healthy side or snack, but….. Yes, you know what’s coming next.  You just can’t find healthy pickles very easily.

Little Sis threw up her hands last year over the amount of sugar in processed sweet pickles and after asking you, our wonderful readers, for help and input, she offered up this very fine recipe that replaces those store bought pickles with something very tasty but much healthier.

We enjoy her pickles very much.  In fact I keep a large jar in the frig in which I started the pickles by following her recipe and to which I add another cucumber, another Tbsp of sugar and apple cider vinegar and a pinch of salt 3 or 4 times before following the recipe again.

But what about dill pickles?  They cost a bloody fortune!  So I’ve adapted Little Sis’ approach to dill pickles and although my son thought the results a little too garlicky – the beauty part is that I can change it next time!  In fact I’ve added another cucumber to the jar method without adding any more flavor and this has toned it down more to his liking.

Heck this is so easy, one could have several varieties going at the same time!

This is very much like the original recipe but with less sugar as well as the addition of garlic, dill and pepper flakes.

Easy Refrigerator Dills

1 large English cucumber or 2 medium cucumbers
2 c water
1 small clove garlic, minced or mashed (I used a fairly large clove and it was a bit strong – so use less for less garlic flavor)
1/2 c apple cider
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp mustard
1/2 – 1 tsp dill
pinch pepper flakes

Heat water, garlic, sugar, salt, and apple cider vinegar to almost boiling, or until sugar and salt are dissolved
Let cool to room temperature
Slice cucumber(s) and place in glass bowl or jar with a cover
When liquid is cooler, add the spices, stir and pour over cucumbers.

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Store in the refrigerator and give a couple of hours for flavor to develop.
Keep a sweet and a dill jar going in the frig – makes a great side dish, snack for school or work or on a hot day.  Nothing like a cool pickle on a hot day!

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Make note if you think one taste is too strong and reduce or increase for the next batch!

Although cucumbers are not summer-time cheap yet, I still find this less expensive than pickles….. and with less processing, less sugar and less other ingredients.  A whole lot easier to swallow!!

 

Another Birthday Cake For Bigg Sis (GF,V and lots o’ chocolate)

The week before our annual trip to the beach with Bigg Sis and Carni-Mom, I was ambling through Costco (no, not really ambling, more like scrambling) to pick up a few items for the trip. I cut
through the book lane, with my hands half covering my eyes, but I still managed to see Angela Liddon‘s beautiful cookbook sitting there on the table. What’s a girl to do? I bought two, because I always feel better about indulging myself if I also indulge someone else. What better gift for a fabulous sister than a beautiful whole food plant based cookbook?

 photo IMG_0384.jpgNeedless to say Bigg Sis was delighted with her present, as I suspect any plant strong eater would be – this is a lovely and well put together cookbook. This wonderful book also solved my annual quandary of what to make for dessert for my wonderful sister’s birthday.

Bigg Sis, being kind and generous, insisted that we not make a fuss and that I not sacrifice any playtime for birthday desserts – bah. As luck would have it the whole troop wanted to take an excursion that involved over 500 stairs. While ye olde foot is well along in recovery, 500 stairs sounded a bit much, so I begged  photo IMG_0400.jpgoff and spent a delightful morning listening to the ocean (rather than the happy din of children at play), reading, and in a short time creating Ms. Liddon’s most amazing chocolate torte for Bigg Sis’ birthday.

I only made one modification to Ms. Liddon’s stellar recipe – and that was to leave out the espresso. While I’m quite sure it would only have deepened the fabulous flavor, little people with espresso in the evening does not for a pleasant vacation make, in my humble and occasionally extremely tired opinion.

This recipe calls for hazelnuts, oats, coconut oil, salt, maple syrup  and oat flour for the crust. I just brought oats and made my own oat flour in a food processor (Bigg Sis and I both have this one). And then added the other ingredients to make a heavenly dough for the crust in the same machine.

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Baked that puppy until it was browning at the edges and then put it on a rack to cool… okay, so beach house living forced an improvisation here…

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While the crust was cooling, I blended up the soaked cashews, melted dark chocolate, coconut oil, cocoa powder, maple syrup and salt to make some delightful chocolateness.

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Scooped the chocolate in, spread it around, chilled and voila, a little gluten free dairy free birthday magic at the beach. Thank you Angela Liddon for an easy and elegant dessert. Thank you Bigg Sis for being so incredibly awesome.

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Varia-Pasta-Deliciousness

I really don’t mean to rub it in, but the truth is that I am at the beach.

Not only am I at the beach, but I am at the beach with Little Sis and her family and Carni-Mom.  What could be better than that?  Not much my friends.  And I certainly hope you have some time this season with loved ones in a special place.

As presented in posts around this time for the last several years, during our sojourn on the lovely shore of North Carolina, we take turns cooking large healthy meals for each other and skip the fast food / restaurant scene.  Lots of fun, lots of time together and everybody feels great and ready to hit the beach the next morning.  But of course, it isn’t always easy cooking for a discerning crowd that includes some vegans, some who do not do dairy, some who do not do gluten, several picky children and at least one who would really rather be eating meat (you may have guessed that this last individual is ‘Carni-Mom’).

So in Little Sis fashion, I decided to deconstruct a meal and present theparts so that everyone could find something that pleased their palate and their dietary approach to life.

Pasta offers many such opportunities!  And who doesn’t like pasta?
Oh – that’s right.  Mr. Bigg Sis, my dear husband, does not eat gluten.  Well there is always rice or quinoa pasta but honestly I am not a big fan of gluten free pasta…. but spaghetti squash makes an awesome (and vegetable based) alternative! Continue reading