Cooking Tip Thursdays: Homemade Popsicles Made Easy

Cooking Tip Thursdays is dedicated to making time in the kitchen quicker, easier, and just plain better…

There’s nothing worse than spending money on an overpriced box of popsicles only to find them jam-packed with high-fructose corn syrup, preservatives, artificial flavors, red dye #5 or blue dye #8.  If you’re looking for a healthier and cheaper alternative, then a homemade popsicle is your answer.  This fun and easy activity is great for kids of all ages.  And by kids, I mean grown adults that enjoy popsicles just as much as any 5 year old.  Here are a few simple tips to create the perfect homemade popsicle in no time at all.  Because really, is there anything better than an ice-cold healthy treat on a hot, sweltering day?  Continue reading

Re-post: The Essentials Of Grilled Fruit

Grilling fruit is one of the easiest ways to summer-ize a dish.  Whether savory or sweet, it instantly adds a succulent twist.  This weekend while friends were over for dinner I turned some plums I had into a wonderful appetizer.  I simply grilled slices of rustic whole grain bread with olive oil, salt and pepper and topped it with ricotta cheese, grilled plums and a drizzle of honey.  It was absolutely delicious.   Peaches, figs, and dates would have worked beautifully as well.

In honor of that dish, I am Continue reading

Cooking Tip Thursdays: The Just Right Smoothie

Cooking Tip Thursdays is dedicated to making time in the kitchen quicker, easier, and just plain better…

Nothing beats the summer heat like a cold refreshing smoothie.  Ok, so maybe there are a few other things that are fantastic on a hot summer day, but smoothies definitely rank in the top 5.  Whether for breakfast, lunch or an in-between meal boost, you can fill up on all your daily vitamin, mineral, and nutrient essentials with one click of the blender.  And who doesn’t love a perfectly healthy and balanced meal that’s ready in less than 5 minutes?  So in honor of the warm weather, here’s our NON-cooking, cooking tip of the week: Preparing the perfect smoothie. Continue reading

Cooking Tip Thursdays: The Grass-Fed Steak

Cooking Tip Thursdays is dedicated to making time in the kitchen quicker, easier, and just plain better…

If you choose to eat meat, eat it wisely.  I stayed away from it for many years as the quality and health of it started to frighten me.  That being said, 6 ½ months pregnant and I crave red meat as if I were a caveman living in the prehistoric ages.  So I’m listening to my body and making educated and healthy decisions as to what red meat I will consume.  As luck would have it there is a small farm in upstate New York that raises high quality, humanely treated animals, delivering their product right to the city.  My current obsession: the grass-fed steaks and ground beef (I mean, who doesn’t love a good cheeseburger every now and then?).

Grass-fed beef comes from cows that have pastured on grass only.  Pure 100 percent grass-fed beef is better for animals, more sustainable, and often more humane.  Grass-fed beef is extremely lean, high in minerals, and considerably lower in saturated fat than industrialized, conventional, corn and grain-fed beef.  And given it’s Continue reading

Cooking Tip Thursdays: The All-Natural Nut Butter

Cooking Tip Thursdays is dedicated to making time in the kitchen quicker, easier, and just plain better…

Today’s cooking tip is less for cooking and more for efficiency and ease in the kitchen.

Ever buy a jar of all-natural nut butter (insert your favorite here: peanut, almond, cashew, etc.) just to find a puddle of oil sitting on the top?  All-natural nut butters will separate if made with only the nut, creating the oil to rise to the top and require continual stirring with each use – all too often creating sore biceps and a mess of oil spilling over the sides.  While indeed a nuisance, this is actually a good thing, because unlike those no-stir varieties, all-natural nut butters do not have added sugars, preservatives, hydrogenated oils, and goodness knows what else mixed in there to stabilize them.  More good news, for you and your arm, you don’t have to sacrifice that creamy spreadable no-stir texture by Continue reading

Cooking Tip Thursdays: The Flavor Profile

Cooking Tip Thursdays is dedicated to making time in the kitchen quicker, easier, and just plain better…

Understanding how the flavors of a dish work together is a key component to cooking intuitively and without recipes.  This understanding wouldn’t be possible without first identifying how flavor profiles work.  A flavor profile is a sensory evaluation performed to determine the overall taste and odor characteristics of a food.  The primary flavors are: Sweet, Sour, Bitter, Salty, and the recently added, Savory or “Umami”.  These five flavors are the only ones we can taste with our mouth.  All other flavors are actually scents. The balance of these five basic flavors and how they relate to each other is the “flavor profile” of the item.  As you cook and taste, think about each of these components and how they work with each other.  Continue reading

Cooking Tip Thursdays: The Blanched Almond

Cooking Tip Thursdays is dedicated to making time in the kitchen quicker, easier, and just plain better…

Blanched almonds are almonds without the skins.  Simple as that.  So it amazes me how much more a store will charge you for already blanched almonds versus “regular” almonds.  Removing the skins is so quick, easy, and fun, that it really is worthwhile to save yourself a couple bucks and buy un-blanched almonds, and then blanch them yourself. Continue reading

Cooking Tip Thursdays: The Cast Iron Pan

Cooking Tip Thursdays is dedicated to making time in the kitchen quicker, easier, and just plain better…

Durable, won’t break the bank, versatile, and essentially nonstick; a cast iron pan is the ultimate kitchen workhorse.  Whether for searing, sautéing, frying, grilling, baking, or even scrambling, this kitchen essential conducts, holds, and distributes heat remarkably well.  What’s more, cooking in cast iron increases the iron content of food.  The longer the food is in contact with the pan, the more it absorbs.  I have a skillet and a grill pan, and both are on the list of kitchen staples I’m emotionally attached to.  And like wine, cast iron gets Continue reading

Cooking Tip Thursdays: The Toasted Grain

Cooking Tip Thursdays is dedicated to making time in the kitchen quicker, easier, and just plain better…

With winter officially around the corner, there’s a chilliness in the air that calls for a little warming up in the kitchen.  One way to add an easy, comforting touch to your basic routine: toast your whole grains.

Like toasting nuts and spices, toasting grains before cooking enhances the Continue reading

Cooking Tip Thursdays: The Heat of Meat

Cooking Tip Thursdays is dedicated to making time in the kitchen quicker, easier, and just plain better…

I can’t believe it’s officially November.  Even more so, I can’t believe that my local drugstore is already selling Christmas candy.  Looks like it’s time to start plotting and planning this years holiday menu.

Roasted herb chicken, smoked turkey, beef brisket, glazed ham, broiled salmon, whatever your family tradition, don’t go through this holiday season without a meat thermometer.  This little lifesaver takes all the Continue reading