Healthy Cooking For Today

A blog about healthy living and lifestyle, by Marianne Yeomans


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This and that

A very strange title for my new update, but it really is an appropriate title, because that is what 

this update is all about.  Although when planning it, my thoughts were to share some cookout recipes, however when I gathered all my gear together to go outside to clean the grill to ready it for the season, it started to rain. Also when I assembled all the ingredients for the recipe I planned to share, out of nowhere a cloud burst. Time was slipping away for me to get this out on time as things got just a little bit hectic. I was anxiously awaiting  a visit from my grandson and his new bride who live in Virginia and I was busy attending to things that would make their visit pleasurable and I have to say we had a great time.

Unfortunately, the day after the kids left, my kitchen sink overflowed because the water would not drain. After being checked by 3 great guys, it was discovered that the problem was more complex and the big guns had to be brought in. Well for several hours with very loud machinery they broke through. Although the outcome was much better than I had feared, I decided to spring for a new sink and my youngest son offered to install it for me. I love it and I am a Happy Camper, as the saying goes.


My oldest son arrived on the following Sunday and was anxious to start working on my deck to prepare it  for staining so he could begin staining it on Tuesday, unfortunately the monsoons started in the morning and didn’t cease until late in the evening. But luck was with us and he finished the deck with 2 coats on Wednesday  and spent the rest of the week painting my porch chairs and preparing the yard for summer and other odds and ends. The week also included an impromptu dinner at my youngest daughters and Sunday with my oldest daughter and I perusing the garden shops for the special flowers and garden supplies for my yard.


Yesterday my youngest son was back trimming the shrubs and cutting the grass and trying to get my perennial garden presentable as it is several years old and the plants are huge.



Am I bragging, you bet I am!  I SAID IT BEFORE AND I WILL SAY IT AGAIN INVEST IN YOUR KIDS WITH UNDERSTANDING AND LOVE AND YOU WILL COLLECT DIVIDENDS THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!


CREATIVE CORNER-In the Creative Corner today is Karen from Ct.  Karen is sharing 2 photos, the first in her kitchen making the batter for her Apple Cinnamon Whole Wheat Bread from HealthyCookingForToday.com looking like a Betty Crocker ad in her lovely apron. Second is the finished product.  Yes the bread was a huge hit and as promised, I will continue to share new variations as I create them. 






Note: Did someone say that women do not wear aprons any more?  Well, if you are like me in the kitchen, believe me you need one. Unlike the Food Network Ladies dressed to the nines with their plunging necklines and their long billowy sleeves. I am on Karen’s team, so I decided to  share my current apron collection.  


Once again I would like to invite you to join my readers in sharing photos of your crafts, one of my recipes that you put your own spin on or one of your own creations. I receive so many comments related to them. Many times they are picked up by Google or Bing. Send your photos and any information pertaining to them to May@HealthyCookingForToday.com. Usually I only use the first name and state of the participant, however if you prefer your full name, please indicate that on your entry.  Also if you send a comment or just want to say hi, you may use the same email. If it is possible, please make it pleasant, as I am too busy to read nasty!  Unfortunately, there is enough of that in the world today.  

I think it is time to get on with the show, so I will present you with what I am calling THIS & THAT! The list will include LOVING MY AIR FRYER,  EASY BREAKFAST USING MY DASH MINI WAFFLE IRON, HAVING FUN WITH MY EGGETTES,  A BLAST FROM THE PAST SHARING MOM’S DELICIOUS STRAWBERRY DESSERT, PREVIEWING THE SOUS VIDE 

METHOD OF  COOKING AND FINALLY RUNNING THROUGH THE RAINDROPS TO DO SOME QUICK GRILLING! 


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Honestly I debated about purchasing another small appliance after going through so many of my older stash using the mantra “Do I need it, or do I want it” and I confess, I did give away and donate several older items and a few duplicate items that I discovered, but unfortunately it shored up some space to add some new stuff. But please don’t judge me because I am not a hoarder, I just have a passion for anything that relates to cooking, and that is a good thing  according to health professionals, because it puts you in a happy place.

But the Air Fryer intrigued me because I usually do not fry food, although I may lightly brown it in a small amount of olive oil before baking, but like most, I do like that crispy taste once in awhile. The Air Fryer does that and so much more very quickly-like minutes each side for a Whole. Wheat Panko breaded lean pork chop or chicken breast.  Actually, it is amazing and the meat is so tender. I have tried so many foods and everything was absolutely delicious. I am now ready to try baking and other methods and I am anxiously waiting for the Air Fryer casserole and baking pan that I ordered, then there will be no stopping me. It would have been a big mistake not to purchase it because it was on sale, plus I received Kohls cash, as well as Yes points, now how could I pass that up?

AIR FRYER

I am shared a few photos of some of my dinners!  No need for recipes, simple prepare as usual, but cook in the air fryer. An instruction book walks you through the steps and also includes temperature suggestions. 



 Air fried chicken parm and served it  over garlic seasoned spinach and air fried tomato seasoned with olive oil, Italian seasoning and mozzarella cheese. 


Whole Wheat Panko Crust Pork Chop with sweet potato topped with dried cranberries and pecans and homemade applesauce and honey mustard.



Skinless chicken thighs sprayed with olive oil spray and placed in a plastic bag with ground pumpernickel bread crumbs that have been ground very fine.  By shaking the bag vigorously the chicken thighs are breaded instantly and the crumbs produce a healthy crunchy coating.

A great recipe to use when you are pressed for time. Of course you can use any kind of bread crumbs.

Note: Although the thighs look burnt in the photo-it is almost impossible to burn food in the Air Fryer-it is the pumpernickel ground bread crumbs that produce the dark color. Honestly it was delicious!



Pork Schnitzel with fresh zucchini and summer yellow squash stir fried with mushrooms and garlic accompanied by a Dark Cherry Pineapple Gelatin Salad layered with yogurt and fat free sour cream and made the old fashion way. 

Note: To make the Pork Schnitzel, pound a center cut boneless pork chop very thin and bread with your chose of bread crumbs,. Add a small amount of olive oil to the crumbs or spray lightly with cooking spray. Follow Air Fryer Directions for cooking pork chops.  

I usually eat meat once or twice a month, and my choice is always pork, because I do not cook beef, not only because of the high amounts of saturated fat  that it contains, but because I do not digest it well.  Of course it is fine to indulge in beef occasionally because of the high protein count.


Dark Cherry Pineapple Gelatin Salad

4  cups Concord Dark Cherry Juice

1  envelope Knox Gelatin

1  small can crushed pineapple, drained

¼ cup fat free Greek Yogurt

¼ cup fat free sour cream

Pour 3 cups of Concord Dark Cherry Juice in a saucepan and bring to a boil. In a bowl add 1 envelope of Knox Gelatin to the remaining juice and stir to dissolve.  When gelatine is dissolved, add the boiled juice carefully to stir to combine. Stir in the crushed pineapple and pour half of the mixture in an 8 or 9 inch pan or casserole and refrigerate.  Leave remaining mixture at room temperature until the refrigerated gelatin sets. Mix yogurt and sour cream and spread on set gelatine. Top with remaining gelatin and refrigerate until the remaining mixture becomes solidified. You may use any flavored juice, sugar free if available, no artificial sweeteners, with the exception of a natural sweeteners such as Agave Nectar. Also feel free to use any diced or sliced fruit.Also you can use the drained pineapple juice in place of the same amount of the Dark Cherry Juice.

Dark Cherry Juice has always been recommended for those who suffer from arthritis and research has shown that it may control the severe pain associated with arthritis. I find it in the juice aisle in my market, however, I have seen it in the vegetable section in many stores.

Here I go again, but back in the day gelatin was a favorite and tasty dessert, especially in the summer and every party, holiday dinner and shower always had a gelatin entree. I remember that the ads for Knox Gelatin always acknowledged the fact that eating gelatin would make your nails beautiful and strong. I devoured it when my mom served it, unfortunately, to this day I can say that I never had beautiful nails. 


Actually I purchased my wonderful Dash Mini Waffle Iron on a whim. I was dashiing into Bed Bath and Beyond to purchase  some Bona Floor Cleaner an I walked by a display of the mini waffle. I stopped dead and I think I said out loud “That’s Interesting”, anyway I purchased it with my  20 percent off each item coupon and so thrilled that I did. I have several containers of a variety of mini waffles such as blueberry, apple cinnamon and a wonderful Antioxidant nuts, seeds and dried fruit blends that I purchase at HomeGoods when I have a cashback coupon-you see, when I was Program Director of our community center, I taught a couponing class, that was standing room only many weeks and I am still at it.  I use Ebates, Credit Card Cash Back, Points, Thread up and Kohl's Yes and Kohls dollars Cash Back and a few more.



 My healthy and nutritious and delicious breakfast with white whole wheat blueberry mini waffles that was as easy as opening my freezer and popping 2 mini waffles in my toaster.


Whole Wheat Mini Waffles 

1   cup whole wheat flour or white whole wheat flour of ½ cup of each

½  tablespoon sugar

½  tablespoon  cinnamon

2   teaspoons baking powder

¼  teaspoon salt

1   egg

1   cup milk-any kind of milk, such as fat free, low fat, Almond milk. Soy milk, Coconut milk

2   tablespoons oil, butter or Smart Balance

Add ins such as fruit, nuts, dried fruit and chocolate chips.

I usually double or triple the recipe and make a variety of flavors.  Place them in a freezer container seperated with a circle of parchment or foil. When ready to serve, I place them in the toaster to heat and serve with pure maple syrup or my homemade Sorrell All Fruit Spread syrups.

This recipe-with the exception of the minor changes I made-is in  the booklet included with the Mini Waffle Maker.

In a medium bowl, sift the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Whisk the egg, milk, oil or butter or Smart Balance in a separate bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until incorporated.

Grease the Waffle Maker with the oil, butter or Smart Balance or spray with a light coat of cooking spray. Pour ¾ cup of batter into the Mini Waffle Maker and cook until golden brown.  Repeat with remaining batter.

Their booklet also gives you directions for using. However in my opinion, ha ha, I think they are misleading. The directions tell you that when you plug the waffle maker in a blue illuminating light will go on to indicate that the maker is ready. Yes, I do agree with that, however, they suggest that you wait each time to see the light go on before you pour on more batter.  Not necessary, I cooked ten waffles without waiting and every one came out perfect. The secret, like in a regular waffle iron when you pour  the batter in and close the top, steam will rise and when the steam ceases the waffle is cooked. I made 10 from the batter, but there are only 8 in the photo. I ate 2 for breakfast with pure maple syrup, fresh strawberries and blueberries and squirt of Reddi Whip.

Stopping for a gift at Kohls once again, I was mysteriously drawn to the escalator leading to lower level where the homegoods department is and there I saw a display of various kitchen tools and gadgets and a sign with that magical word SALE!  Now the calculator is going off in my head, sale, another Kohl's Cash from the last trip to the store and Yes Points, so I checked out the display. Unfortunately, I had many of the items, with the exception of an interesting one named Egglettes and I was meant to have one because I dislike peeling the shell on hard boiled eggs, but I make egg salad and deviled eggs often and the description on the box read “Hard Boiled Eggs Without the Shell” so I immediately placed it in my basket!  I love it and am having a lot of fun making some delicious egg dishes. There are several recipes with the kit, but once you learn the procedure you can put your own spin on them.



My favorite Deviled Eggs using my Egglettes.


By the way the Egglettes are made of BPA free Silicone that are food safe for cooking, however are not for the microwave.

Note: I researched Silicon cookware several years ago and it received A+ for safety.


Strawberry desserts are usually the popular treats for June, but due to all the rain, many of the Pick-Your-Own farms extended their days for picking and I am sure many were serving those delicious strawberry desserts at their 4th of July cookouts.  I walked down memory lane to retrieve this next recipe, as my mom would make this patriotic dessert. 



Mom was a great creative cook and she always was surprising us with her delicious creations,many of which I have shared over the years. I always remember the following strawberry dessert and I have made it often, including a few weeks ago for the holiday. We called it Angel Custard.  


Angel Custard

1    angel cake-I usually purchase mine

4    eggs*-If the cake slices are  large, you may need additional eggs

½   cup milk, if using additional eggs, you may need more milk

½   teaspoon cinnamon

1    teaspoon brown sugar

1    teaspoon vanilla

2    teaspoons butter or Smart Balance

      Strawberries and blueberries

      Your choice of topping

*may use 1 container of EggBeaters instead of 4 eggs and 1 addition egg if slices are large.

Slice cake into serving pieces.  Crack the eggs into a large baking dish or pan that will accommodate the cake slices and add the milk, blend well with a whisk add remaining ingredients and mix to combine. Place the cake slices in the pan turning until they have absorbed the egg mixture. In a large skillet melt the butter or Smart Balance Place the cake slices in skillet and lightly brown both sides. Place on serving dishes and add your berries and some whipped cream or ice cream or frozen yogurt or my favorite, Yonanas.  Feel free to use any combination of fruit. 

By the way, I love desserts, but a dessert  must contain fruit or a vegetable-think carrot cake-and if the healthy ingredients outway some of the not so healthy ingredients, it is OK in my book!

You do know that strawberries are very  beneficial for you in the summer months. Strawberries contain many of the essential nutrients, such as vitamin A, C and B. Research suggests that strawberries also may provide protection from dangerous UV rays. Makes sense to me, grows in the summer,and  contains important skin protective vitamins, so enjoy a big bowl of fresh delicious strawberries.

Although I am new to sous vide home cooking and still in the experimental stage and perhaps I should hold off writing about it. But after seeing comments pertaining to a posting of someone slicing a roast beef cooked using the sous vide method and slicing it using a serrated knife and unfortunately some of the  derogatory comments that were posted were not only about the knife used, but also included  some ridiculous comments pertaining to sous vide cooking, so I wanted to set a few things straight.

First sous vide cooking techniques were developed in France in the 70’s and today it is used in high end gourmet restaurants by well known chefs all over the world.  It has been only a few years that sous vide cooking was developed for home cooks and is catching on fast. Personally I feel that it is not for everyone, but for someone with a passion for cooking, it is exciting and certainly not a passing fad, as a comment stated.

Foods are cooked in food safe plastic bags in a water bath at an even temperature for longer periods of time and not boiled as another comment emplied. Also, because of environmental concerns regarding using plastic bags, there are now food safe silicone reusable bags available. Personally it is difficult to fathom how plastic could be eliminated from use with almost every item on the shelves in every market is packaged in plastic.

 Recently, I sous vide 4 boneless chicken breast and prepared them for the freezer for use in my experiments. I made 4 different dishes that are pictured below. 



Chicken Ala Orange-Cooked the chicken sous vide-sealed it in the bag, brought my water bath to the proper temperature using the sous vide oven, actually it is a large container with water that is heated to a steady termperature.  I guess you can borrow the catch sayng that the Slow Cooker crowd use-oh yes I am one of therm too- You Just Set it and Forget it!  To use your food at a later date you have to prepare it by putting it in an ice bath, which is a bowl with ice cubes and a little water for a few minutes until they are cool.  Drying the packages and placing the bags in the freezer. where the can be stored for a year for later use 



Chinese Peanut Sauce Over Chicken served with fried rice with peas and peanuts and Chinese dumplings.

Chicken Breast #2



Chicken Salad with Cranberries, Nuts, Celery and Yogurt and Light Mayonaise served with a cranberry pineapple gelatin salad with a cream cheese and yogurt layer-same recipe as above using cranberry juice. and cream cheese in place of sour cream.  Chicken Breast #3



Chicken Vegetable Kabobs Over Brown Rice-Chicken was marinated in the sealed bag. so this was ready in less than 10 minutes on the grill. The chicken is already cooked and the vegetables can be placed in the marinade overnight if having a cookout.  Chicken Breast #4.


Food For Thought

When we think about eating healthy to fuel our bodies with vitamins and minerals to make it strong, we sometimes forget about the needs of a very important organ in our body, OUR BRAIN. Yes our brain needs additional nourishment in the form of knowledge, memories, inspirational thoughts to soothe you and calm you, and another very important nourishment humor. Someone once said, “When you laugh, the world laughs with you.”

This segment was a favorite part of my newsletter and my members enjoyed it and I confess, I enjoyed writing it!  HERE GOES!


KNOWLEDGE


Kitchen Hacks


Bananas

Food is so expensive today and it is sad when you purchase foods like bananas and strawberries and they start going bad in a few days. I have been using these hacks that I read about and they seem to be working quite well!

When I bring the bananas home from the market I immediately wrap a piece of foil around the stem at the top of the banana bunch. By doing this you shut out the light that continues to ripen them.  I am not saying that the bananas will last for a few weeks, but long enough to enjoy a non mushy spotted banana. However when they start to soften and discolor, peel them, wrap with foil and freeze them and use them thawed for baking or for Yonanas ice cream. Nothing like my Yonanas, peanut butter ice cream topped with melted dark chocolate and walnuts and a squirt of Reddi Whip!


My favorite Yonanas Banana Peanut Butter Sundae with Dark Chocolate Sauce with walnuts and a splash of Reddi Whip-just what I am having for my special dessert tonight, and can you believe the fact that it is a healthy choice. When ever I can I purchase the 10 cents a pound over ripe bananas and freeze them.

Note: I purposly left stickers on the fruit to alert you to the fact that the stickers will tell you where the fruit originated.


Strawberries



As soon as possible when you bring the strawberries home, remove them from the carton and place them on a paper towel.  Wash the inside and outside of the carton and dry or air dry. Replace the strawberries back into the carton. Fill a large bowl that will accomodate the carton and fill with water and  ½ to 1 cup of white vinegar and swirl gently to mix. Move carton with berries up and down in the water several times-the carton has holes on the bottom and the water drains out as you lift the carton from the water.  Place the berries on a clean kitchen towel and air dry.

Rinse the carton in hot water an air dry. Line the carton with paper towel and add the strawberries with a small piece of paper towel and store in the refrigerator. My last carton lasted over 2 weeks.


INSPIRATIONAL THOUGHT FOR TODAY

A change of the better always starts with a change of thinking.

HUMOR

Reading Tee Shirts

1] SO WHEN IS THIS “OLD ENOUGH TO KNOW BETTER SUPPOSED TO KICK IN?”

2] YOU CALL THEM SWEAR WORDS, I CALL THEM SENTENCE ENHANCERS


MEMORIES

YOU HAVE YOUR OWN, USE THEM!


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DISCLAIMER-HealthyCookingForToday.com is intended to supply my readers with timely researched medical information and suggestions for healthier food choices and recipes and is not intended to give personal medical advice, which should be obtained by your personal physician.