H is for Healthy Eating

Last week, I had a last minute assignment to interview the owner of a Cyclo Vietnamese Restaurant for Valley Lifestyles Magazine. It was a pleasant surprise when the owner insisted I have dinner. What came out of the kitchen was a small sampling of the available cuisine. This included one Vietnamese Egg Roll, one Spring Roll, and Black Pepper Shrimp on grilled bread. Plus, two sauces. One for the egg roll. One for the Spring Roll.

Cyclo Vietnamese Cuisine
Since I had never eaten Vietnamese food before, I didn’t want to look too foolish trying to figure things out. “It’s okay. This is our first date,” Justina Duong said, as she told me how to wrap the mint and lettuce around the egg roll, then eat it like a burrito. Yes, it was all delicious. My favorite was the black pepper shrimp, with its garlic and tang of cilantro.

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As I mentioned, the portion was so tiny, yet I was full when I finished. I was happy that dessert was nothing more heavy than a creme brulee. This has re-instigated my interest in cooking. I hear so many times how large American portions are. Yet, so many of us overfill ourselves. There may be something when it comes to ingredients. The number of taste sensations and flavors in that small meal were enough to convince my tummy it was definitely full. I don’t believe it had much to do with the champagne I had, either. Although, that did make the meal feel even more elegant.

By the way, the German champagne Phillipe Prie’ is now my favorite champagne. I have never tasted another alcohol beverage that was so smooth and didn’t ‘bite’ me when it got to the back of my throat.

What are your favorite healthy meals? How do you cook to get the most flavor, yet maintain portion control?

A to Z Challenge: B is For Baking (Tasty Tuesday)

What are your favorite baked goods? Are you thinking of cookies, brownies, breads? The scent of baking always means home. As I study the culinary arts, my children love to find new things to bake. It started with my teenage daughter. First, her father introduced her to the creation of No-Bake Cookies. A recipe he had spent most of his youth making for his family. The cookies never really cooled off before the cookies disappeared of the wax paper. This is the same phenomena that happens when my daughter makes them. The cookie torch has been passed and all my husband has to do is buy the ingredients and say, “I want some cookies.”
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I know that has nothing to actually do with baking, but that was the start. Since then, our house has had cookies, breads, cupcakes, and cinnamon rolls created by my daughter.

It’s my 10 year old son aka The Performer (you may hear of him a lot) who is currently in love with baking. He made pretzels one day, because he found a recipe on the Internet and thought they would be good. He regularly asks to make cinnamon rolls, and more recently he has started making baguettes, by following The Food Nanny’srecipe. They are all really good, too. No help from me. Just him reading, measuring, and adding a lot of love. That is the most important thing about baking. That, and eggs, butter, flour…and heat.

The day he saw a talk presented by The Food Nanny she said, “The difference between a house and a home is how often the oven is used.”

My son turned to me and excitedly said, “We have a home!”

Spring Fever

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The other day, I was emailing one of my dearest friends when I made a confession. I told him while I am knitting, lately, I have taken to watching old episodes of Lou Grant on YouTube? “Does this means I am old?” I asked. He answered by asking if I wanted to go out for a QT coffee. I suppose knitting and watching a newspaper drama that premiered when I was four years old means I need to get out of the house more.

I enjoyed the coffee, but I went back to watching more episodes. I love how timeless the show is. It could have just as easily been made in 2013, instead of 1978. It’s also a good way to work on inventory and not bore myself to tears.

The weekend has been more of this. Knitting, watching Lou Grant, having dinner with friends, more knitting, and more watching Lou Grant. I may even go to church at 5 PM. Just because I want to.

It’s about using the weekend to relax. Something I rarely do. “Relax,” I hear so often. It’s a frustrating word which automatically makes me unrelaxed.

Today would normally be the start of my Sunday Spotlights. Instead, that is postponed for another week, so I can focus a little more on relaxation and simplifying.

In fact, Simplifying will be the topic of choice tomorrow. It is Monday. We can all use a good laugh.

Here is a basic plan of what to expect in future editions. Things may vary if something really presses on my mind, but people like a bit of a routine, especially when it comes to blogs. These a probable topics you can look forward to depending on the week. I can break things down more, if needed. Here you are.

Monday — Inspirational/Self/Relationships

Tuesday — Anything about Food. Because, Food is yummy. Or Thrifty tidbits, because that leaves more money for food.

Wednesday — Quotable Wednesday, inspired by one of the products available at Victory Rose Vintage.

Thursday — Every Monday, my Google Plus page starts a fun theme of the week. On Thursday, the theme and a fun addition will be added here.

Friday — It’s all about the fashion. Because, clothes are fun to look at.

Saturday — Silly or Star. Which one do you like better?

APSPA Bowling Tournament 027.1Sunday — Sunday Spotlights. Focus on a Vintage Pinup Model, Artist, Writer, or anyone who has an interesting hobby or interest.
Next week, you will be introduced to Vintage Pinup Model and Artist, Maiden America.

Do you have any ideas or know someone you would like to see featured in Sunday Spotlights? Drop me a line! I’d love to hear from you.

Stinky Cheese and Other Niblets

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Good luck foods. For generations people have had the tradition of eating specialized foods for good luck in the New Year. This includes lentils, black eyed peas, and pork.

Although Hungarian by origin, my family that came into the U.S. was from Poland/Germany (that border moved all over the place in the 19th century) so it only makes sense the every New Year my father’s tradition was herring. Where the limburger cheese and Ritz crackers came from, I don’t know. Maybe that was just the tradition of being from Wisconsin and trying every kind of cheese imaginable.

Limburger cheese, one of the nastiest, yet tastiest of cheeses. It works out well as long as you have no intention of kissing anyone within the next 24 hours and have bought stock in mouth wash. One slice of limburger=one bottle of mouthwash.

Daddy also loved sugar on his tomatoes. Since that time, I have talked to many people who have said their parents or grandparents also liked sugar on their tomatoes. For years, I rebelled against it. Mostly because I wasn’t a fan of tomatoes. When I finally tried it I found out the sugar brings out the juices of the tomato in the most tantalizing manner. It is sweet and like nectar. I never believed I would wish to write a sonnet to a tomato until that moment.
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Just as my father taught about the beauty of music, he also taught me about the deliciousness of foods. There was nothing he would not try, at least once. He spoke of a wonderful dinner he was at in which the guests greatly enjoyed their dinner. That was, until the host told them they had been eating opposum.

The only thing my father tried to disguise on my dinner plate was rabbit. Rabbit wasn’t my favorite of meats. Any time the little pieces of meat would show up on my plate, it would be wearing barbecue sauce and a Groucho Marx mustache. Least, it may as well have. It wasn’t rabbit I disliked. It was the barbecue sauce.

My biggest adventure in taste are the basics. Things like raw dough or pickles and ice cream. The latter I tried in the cafeteria in school. If you enjoy the dill flavor, the vanilla ice cream only enhances it and makes it even more crisp.

What foods do you love to prepare that others consider unusual? If you have any recipes for them, I would be happy to give them a try and post about them here.