Monday, September 24, 2007

Weird Foods Of The World - Chinese

I'm not really that adventours when it comes to food. So when I came across this article about some really outlandish stuff thats made up in chines cooking, I feel its an article to share!

Weird Foods Of The World - Chinese by Colette York

I have eaten some weird and wonderful dishes around the world but some of the more interesting concoctions have been served up to me in China.

A particularly interesting delicacy I ate some years ago consisted of Cow's bronchial tubes - the airways between the cow's lungs and windpipe (gruesome!) in a light white wine sauce.

The appearance of a plate full of macaroni, the taste of nothing but the white wine sauce and the consistency of over-cooked calamari, you could describe this dish as the original Chinese chew recipe!

Another time I was served with a plate of vermicelli with 20 or so delicately arranged deep-fried crispy scorpion complete with sting!
The trick to eating this particular delicacy was to convince myself it was nothing more than a prawn and all I had to do was to pick it up with my chopsticks and slip it into my mouth.

Actually once I had said to myself "it's a prawn, it's a prawn" 20 times this was not such an ordeal and basically the texture was, well, just crisp! and the only taste was of the oil it had been fried in, not so much of a Chinese chew, more of a Chinese crisp!
But Cow's bronchial tubes and deep fried crispy scorpion are not the most gruesome dish I am aware of.

I say aware of rather than ate because even me with my cast iron constitution couldn't stomach what I am about to describe to you. Anyway I am not sure if it's just a popular folklore or if people really did this. I am sure it must be illegal now, if its not it should be!

Legend has it that, particularly in the southern parts of China, people had a specially designed ritualistic table with a hole in the centre, just big enough to take the upper part of a Monkey's head.

Apparently the ritual consisted of capturing a live Monkey and securing it with it's head wedged up in to hole in the centre of the table. The next step in the ritual was to trepanne the top of the live monkeys' skull off and pour boiling water into the Monkey's brain.

People sitting around the table would then proceed to eat the braised Monkey brain with chopsticks directly out of the Monkey's skull.

I did warn you it was gruesome ? it can't possibly be true, can it?
Fortunately the dishes that we are more familiar with are not quite so outlandish and use much more traditional ingredients. There are many easy Chinese recipes on the Chinese food menu, just as well really because I don't know about you but I think I must be part Chinese as I love the food and all about the place.

Colette York loves all things Chinese but especially Chinese food and loves nothing more than cooking a delicious Chinese recipe. Her favourites are Chinese beef and easy recipes like muxi soup.






Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Tips and recipes for microwave cooking

Microwave cooking can save you time and energy all year long. But it is especially nice in summer because it enables you to cook hot meals without heating up your home.

Microwave heat is produced only within the food, so the microwave oven stays cool and your house does, too, saving you money on your air conditioning bill!

In general, the microwave oven uses only one- fourth of the energy used by a conventional oven.

Important Notes
1. When you cook food using a microwave, the most important thing is to make sure the food is cooked thoroughly to destroy any food poisoning bacteria that may be present.

2.Foods that you can cook in the microwave include rice, pasta, meats, fish, poultry, vegetables, potatoes and any pre-cooked microwave meals. Fruits and vegetables in fact, retain more nutritional value because less water and a shorter cooking time is needed.

3.To cook food in the microwave arrange items evenly in a covered dish and add some liquid if needed. Cover the dish with a lid or plastic wrap; loosen or vent the lid or wrap to let steam escape. The moisture created from the heat will help destroy harmful bacteria and ensure even cooking.

4.Try not to cook large cuts of meat on high power (100%). Large cuts of meat should be cooked on medium power (50%) for longer periods. This allows heat to reach the centre without overcooking the outside.

5.To avoid cooking large food items, cut food so that pieces are about the same size. This helps to cook your meal more evenly.

6.Stir or rotate food midway through microwaving to eliminate cold spots where harmful bacteria can survive, and for more even cooking.

7.Meats, fish and poultry can be cooked in the microwave, but it is important to check that it has been cooked until the inside is no longer pink or bleeding. Foods keep cooking after the microwave is off, so allow standing time.


In order to get the most from using your microwave oven, remember these tips:


1. Covering most foods will speed up cooking.

2. Use round or oval dishes, instead of square or rectangle, for more even cooking.

3. If you are cooking two foods at the same time, choose foods that take about the same amount of time to cook.

4. Heating continues after food is removed from the microwave oven, so allow time for this additional cooking.

5. Arrange chicken pieces so that the thicker, meatier portions are toward the outside of the dish and the thin, bony parts are toward the center.

6. Foods containing sugar and fats cook faster.

Many of your family's favorite recipes can be converted to a microwave recipe.

To figure microwave cooking time, start with one- fourth of the conventional time.

Always undercook--if more time is needed, you can always add another minute or two.

Use less liquid because there is not as much evaporation.

It may help to find a recipe that is similar to yours that is written especially for microwave ovens and use it as a guide.

Microwave Raspberry Cake
1/2 cup butter 2/3 cup granulated sugar 1/2 cup seedless raspberry preserves 1/4 cup sour cream 2 eggs 1 1/2 cups flour 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon salt

Cream butter and sugar in large bowl. Mix in preserves. Blend well. Add sour cream and eggs. Beat well. Blend together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add gradually to first mixture, beating well.

Pour batter into greased 8-inch round microwave-safe dish. Microwave on full power for 4 to 5 minutes or until top springs back when pressed with finger.

Cool. Frost with Raspberry Frosting.

Raspberry Frosting

2 tablespoons butter 2 cups powdered sugar, divided 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/4 cup seedless raspberry preserves
Combine butter, 1 cup powdered sugar, vanilla extract and preserves. Blend well. Add remaining 1 cup powdered sugar and stir until smooth. Spread on cake.

Microwave Sponge Pudding

INGREDIENTS
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup self-rising flour
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons milk

DIRECTIONS
In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Mix in the egg and milk gradually, so as not to curdle the butter. Sift in the flour, and fold in gently. Transfer to a 1 pint microwave-safe bowl.

Cover, and cook for 3 1/2 minutes on full powder, or until the pudding appears set when gently jiggled, and the top is sticky. Serve hot.

Microwave Baked Potato

INGREDIENTS
1 large russet potato
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
3 tablespoons shredded Cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
3 teaspoons sour cream

DIRECTIONS
1.Scrub the potato, and prick several time with the tines of a fork. lace on a plate.

2.Cook on full power in the microwave for 5 minutes. Turn over, and continue to cook for 5 more minutes. When the potato is soft, remove from the microwave, and cut in half lengthwise. Season with salt and pepper, and mash up the inside a little using a fork. Top the open sides with butter and 2 tablespoons of cheese. Return to the microwave, and cook for about 1 minute to melt the cheese.

3.Top with remaining cheese and sour cream, and serve.







Friday, September 14, 2007

Noodles Extravaganva - Delicious and Healthy noodle recipes from Around the World


OODLES OF NOODLES


Different cultures have their own way of taking some water and mixing it with an all-purpose flour, a rice flour, a wheat flour and adding either barley, buckwheat,soybeans,seaweed or tapioca. After combining whatever ingredients are used with the type of a chosen flour, they work the dough on a floured surface, roll the dough out and let it dry. Until, it is ready to be hand cut or hand pulled into whatever shape of a noodle that is desired. The finished noodle product is dropped into a hot chicken,a hot beef or a hot vegetable broth from three to five minutes depending upon the noodle's thickness. After the noodles are finished cooking, they are left in the broth for a few more minutes. The results are something of a phenomenon.


In five thousand B.C., the first forms of noodles were discovered in the Middle East. In three hundred A.D., the Chinese were using buckwheat as the main ingredient for their noodles and sharing the art of making them with the Japanese. In the seventeen hundreds, noodles were introduced in Naples, Italy. As a rival to rice, noodles have been a staple food in millions of households with the exception of the cuisines of England and France. Noodles are inexpensive to make and enjoyed as a complete meal with vegetables, meat seafood or poultry added and as an ingredient in soup to begin a simple meal or a feast.

The noodle feast begins with a Chicken Noodle Soup With Dried Bamboo Shoots

Ingredients:
1-cup dried bamboo shoots(found in Asian markets)
1/2-lb rice stick noodles
2-1/2-quarts chicken stock or two cans chicken broth
1/1/2-quarts water or 1-1/2-cans water
2-chicken legs with thighs, or boneless chicken breasts
1/2-cup sliced canned bamboo shoots
1-Tlb plus one teaspoon fish sauce
1-Tlb mixed fresh coriander and scallion greens

Directions:
1.Cover the dried bamboo shoots with water in a saucepan and bring it to a boil for thirty minutes.
2.Drain the bamboo shoots and boil them again in one quart of water for two hours.
3.Drain and shred the bamboo shoots coarsely. Set aside.Note: For cooking the rice noodles, drop one half of the package in boiling water and cook for five minutes.
4.Drain and rinse them in cold water to keep them from sticking.
5.In a large pot:add the chicken stock, the water and the chicken legs,or chicken breasts.
6.Bring to a boil and cook for thirty minutes.
7.After the chicken is finished cooking remove it from the broth and set aside.
8.Add the precooked bamboo shoots, the canned bamboo shoots,the fish sauce and the salt.
9.Simmer for thirty minutes.

To serve: shred the chicken and arrange some of it with the cooked noodles and the bamboo shoots into a soup bowl.
Pour the hot chicken broth over the ingredients and top with the minced parsley and scallions.

SINGAPOREAN MEE GORENG (Fried Noodles)

This is a classic dish of Malaysia and Singapore and although its origins are distinctly Indian, it has evolved with the influences of other cultures as well. Many variations exist however, this recipe is quite faithful to the typical dish you would taste prepared by an Indian Mamak in the Hawker Stalls of Singapore.

Ingredients:

1 lb fresh yellow 'mee' noodles
2 cups bean sprouts
4 puffed tofu, cut into strips
2 to 4 pips garlic pips, finely chopped
1 medium red or brown onion, chopped and diced
1 medium sized tomato, quartered
½ lb ground beef or mutton (lamb) marinated in 1 Tbsp of Curry Powder
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
½ tbsp or more, chilli flakes
2 tbsp Ketchup (or 1 tbsp Tomato Paste)
1 egg, beaten
1 medium potato, boiled and diced
2 stalks green onions, or ½ cup chopped Chinese chives
- a dash of fresh lime juice (optional)
- vegetable oil for cooking
- salt & fresh ground black pepper to taste

Method:

1. Heat wok and add approx. 2 tbsp oil and add onion, followed by garlic.
2. Stir fry until onion is golden and then add ground meat.
3. Stir fry until beef is browned, then add ketchup, soy sauces and chilli.
4. Add puffed tofu, stir fry for a moment, clear space in the middle of the wok and add beaten egg, slowly fold into mixture.
5. Add noodles, tomato, potato, green onions or chives and mix well. Add salt & pepper to taste.
6. Optional: add a squeeze of fresh lime or lemon juice.

FRIED MEE SIAM (Fried Siamese Noodles)

This dish originated in the north of Malaysia where the culinary influences of Thailand (formerly Siam) sometimes fuse with Malaysian food. This dish is popular in Penang, culinary capital of Northern Malaysia. It is simple to prepare and can be served hot or at room temperature.

Ingredients:

125 ml Vegetable Oil
10-12 Dried Chillies
18 Shallots (Finely ground)
8 Garlic Cloves (Finely ground)
100-200 g Dried Prawns (Finely ground)
3-4 Tbs Salted Soy Bean Paste (Tau Cheo)
300-400 g Tiger Prawns (Shelled and De-veined)
1 Packet Dried Rice Sticks [Bee Hoon] (Soaked in warm water and drained when soft)
300-600 g Fresh Bean Sprouts
1 Cup Water

Seasoning:

3-4 Tbs Tomato Ketchup (Enhances colour)
3-4 Tbsp Sugar
2-3 Tsp Salt
1 Tbsp Tamarind Juice
2 Tbsp Lime Juice

Garnishing:

3-4 Hard Boiled Eggs (Quartered)
2-3 Soy Beancurd (Cubed and fried)
40-50 g Flowering Chives (Cut into 2-3 cm lengths)
3-5 Limes (Washed and quartered)

Method of Cooking:

1. Finely grind dried chillies and add to hot oil in wok. To obtain a deep red chilli colour, fry thoroughly for several minutes or longer adding extra oil if they start to burn or dry out.
2. Add shallots, garlic, salted soy bean paste, dried prawns and fry till fragrant.
3. Add seasoning. Bring to boil with 1 cup of water.
4. Add prawns, softened rice sticks, and bean sprouts. Toss till all ingredients are evenly distributed.
5. Place cooked Mee Siam onto a platter and garnish w/ eggs, fried beancurd, chives, and lime.
6. Enjoy.

Mee Krob (Thai Crisp Fried Noodles)

Crispy deep-fried rice noodles coated with a sweet-and-sour sauce. An easy, tasty Thai dish with interesting textures and flavors. Add pork, chicken, shrimp, or fried tofu, or a combination — your choice.

6 ounces dried rice vermicelli
1 1/2 inches tamarind pulp
3 cups peanut oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten with a
1 pinch salt
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 green onions, finely chopped
1 fresh red chili, sliced
4 ounces boneless pork or chicken, finely chopped (optional)
4 ounces shrimp, peeled,deveined and finely chopped (optional)

Sauce
4 tablespoons tamarind juice (see steps 2 and 3)
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
4 tablespoons palm sugar or brown sugar
3 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
2 teaspoons lime zest (preferably kaffir)
2 teaspoons tomato paste

Garnish
1 cup bean sprouts, rinsed
1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1 fresh red chili, sliced
1/2-1 cup firm tofu, diced (optional)

1.Gather all ingredients together before commencing to cook.
2.Cover tamarind pulp with 2/3 cup hot water, and crush and break up pulp with a fork.
3.Let stand for 20 minutes, then pour mixture through a strainer and press to extract the liquid.
4.Reserve 4 tablespoons of tamarind liquid for the sauce.
5.Place rice vermicelli inside a large paper or plastic bag, and break into pieces.
6.Heat peanut oil until very hot (between 375 deg F and 400 deg F).
7.Fry noodles in small batches until they puff up and turn light to golden brown – each batch will only take a few seconds (allow oil to get hot again between batches).
8.Remove at once with a slotted spoon, or wire strainer, and drain immediately on paper towels.
9.Next, deep fry the diced tofu until golden brown, drain and keep warm in a low oven.
10.Lastly, drizzle the egg into the oil in a circular fashion, and cook for around 30 seconds until golden brown and crisp on both sides.
11.Remove egg from oil, break or slice into pieces, and keep warm in a low oven with the tofu.
12.Combine the sauce ingredients, including the reserved tamarind liquid, in a saucepan, and bring to boil, stirring constantly.
13.Allow to simmer a few minutes until the liquid reduces in volume by about one third and starts to turn syrupy, then remove from heat and set aside.
14.Pour oil from wok, reserving one tablespoon, and stir-fry the garlic, green onion, and one of the chilies until they start to color, about one minute.
15.add the meat and/or shrimp and stir-fry until just cooked, about one minute.
16.Add the prepared sauce to the wok and toss all ingredients together until steaming hot.
17.Mound the crisp fried noodles on a serving platter and spoon the sauce over.
18.Scatter with bean sprouts, cilantro, the remaining sliced chilli, the deep-fried tofu, and the chopped egg.

Serve immediately, as the noodles will soften after about 10 minutes.

Noodle-and-Spinach Casserole Makes 8 to 10 servings


Ingredients
1 (8-oz.) package wide egg noodles
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 (26-oz.) jar spaghetti sauce
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 (10-oz.) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) shredded Parmesan cheese


Preparation
1. Cook noodles according to package directions; drain and set aside.
2. Cook beef and next 3 ingredients in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, stirring until beef crumbles and is no longer pink. Drain and return to skillet. Stir in spaghetti sauce and Italian seasoning.

3. Combine spinach and next 4 ingredients. Fold in noodles; spoon mixture into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with half of Parmesan cheese. Top evenly with beef mixture and remaining Parmesan cheese.

4. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden.


Easy Asian Beef and Noodles (for the diet conscious)

Ingredients
1 (8-ounce) rib-eye steak
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil, divided
1 cup (1-inch) sliced green onions
2 cups prepackaged coleslaw
2 (2.8-ounce) packages beef-flavor ramen noodle soup (such as Campbell's)
1 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce


Preparation
1.Trim fat from steak; cut diagonally across grain into thin slices.
2. Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
3.Add steak and onions; stir-fry 1 minute. Remove steak mixture from pan; keep warm.
4.Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil until hot. Add slaw; stir-fry 30 seconds. 5.Remove slaw from pan; keep warm.
6.Remove noodles from packages; reserve 1 seasoning packet for another use.
7.Add the water and remaining seasoning packet to pan; bring to a boil.
8.Break noodles in half; add noodles to water mixture.
9.Cook noodles 2 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently.
10.Stir in steak mixture, slaw, and soy sauce; cook until thoroughly heated.

Turkey Noodle Soup

With Thanksgiving close at hand (early October in Canada and late November in the United States) this simple recipe helps utilize the inevitable turkey leftovers. Enjoy!

5 quarts water
1 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup celery leaves, chopped
1 cup onions, chopped
7 chicken bouillon cubes
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, ground
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped (see notes)
1 cup fresh peas or frozen peas
1 cup carrots, sliced
1 cup cut green beans, fresh or frozen
4 cups fine egg noodles (8 Oz)
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup flour
turkey carcass, from a 15-20 pound turkey


1.In an eight quart kettle or Dutch oven place turkey bones, water -- down through to and including the bay leaf.
2.Heat to boiling; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour.
3.Remove the bones to a platter and let cool.
4.Add the parsley through to green beans.
5.Heat to boiling; reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
6.Meanwhile, scrape meat from carcass and return meat to soup pot. 7.Add liquid if required.
8.Heat to boiling; add noodles and cook uncovered for 10 minutes.
9.Melt butter in a small frying pan; stir in flour.
10.Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the flour browns.
11.Stir into boiling soup.
12.When the soup returns to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Serve hot in large bowls - as if there were any other kind! - Enjoy.


Persian Noodle Soup Recipe

Ingredients:

3 lg Onions, peeled and thinly
-sliced
3 T Oil
2 t Salt
1/2 t Freshly ground black pepper
1 t Turmeric
10 c Water
1/4 c Dried red kidney beans,
-washed and soaked in cold water for 2 hours and-drained
1/4 c Dried navy beans
1/4 c Dried chickpeas
1/2 c Lentils
1/2 c Beef broth, preferably homemade
1/2 c Coarsely chopped fresh
-chives or scallions
1/2 c Chopped fresh dill
1/2 c Coarsely chopped fresh
-parsley
6 c Spinach, washed and chopped
-OR
3 c Frozen spinach, chopped
1 Fresh beet, peeled and diced
-in 1/2" pieces
1/2 lb Persian noodles (reshteh)
-OR
1/2 lb Linguine noodles
1 T All-purpose flour
1 c Liquid whey (kashk)
-OR
1/4 c Wine vinegar



Directions:
1. Brown the onions in 3 tablespoons oil in a large pot. Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon turmeric. Pour in 10 cups water and add kidney beans, navy beans and chickpeas; bring to boil, skim the froth as it forms, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes over medium heat.

2. Add lentils and beef broth. Cook 55 minutes longer.

3. Add chopped chives or scallions, dill, parsley, spinach and beet. Continue cooking, stirring from time to time, for 1-1/2 hours or until the beans are tender. Correct seasoning and add water if the soup is too thick.

4. Add noodles and flour and cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the liquid whey (or vinegar) and mix well.

5.Pour the soup into a tureen and serve.


Winter Noodle Soup (Aash Rechte) (Iran)

Ingredients

1 Pound Dried White Beans -- soaked overnight
8 Cups Water
3 Medium Onions -- finely chopped
2 Medium Turnips -- finely chopped
1/2 Pound Spinach -- chopped
1 Bunch Parsley -- finely chopped
1 Bunch Cilantro -- finely chopped
2 Teaspoons Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Pepper
1/4 Teaspoon Turmeric
3 Tablespoons Corn Oil
1 Pound Egg Noodles


Directions

1.Put beans and water in a large pan, cover and cook over low heat for about 1 hour.
2.Add other ingredients except noodles and bring to a boil. Cook over low heat for 1/2 hour.
3.Add noodles and cook in uncovered pan for 15 minutes

Monday, September 10, 2007

Fun and Yummy Snacks for outdoor tracks



Easy Trail Mixes

Before you set off on your next family walk or outing, try making one of these super easy trail mixes to keep your energy up.

* Quick Fix Mix

2 cups mini pretzels

1 cup cheese snack crackers

1 cup honey roasted peanuts

1 cup raisins

Place all ingredients into a plastic baggie, seal, and then shake. Enjoy!


* Chocolate Popcorn Mix

2 cups spoon size shredded wheat cereal

2 cups popped popcorn

1 cup dried cranberries

3 Tbsp. milk chocolate chunks

Toss cereal and popcorn into a large bowl. Place the cranberries into a small bowl. Melt the chocolate as directed on the package, and stir. Pour the chocolate over the cranberries and mix lightly. Add the chocolate cranberries to the cereal mixture, and toss lightly. Spread the mix into a single layer on a large piece of wax paper. Let it cool completely before serving.


* Fruity Nut Mix

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup raisins

1 cup dried banana chips

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1 cup unsalted peanuts

1 cup dried fruit bits

Place all of the ingredients into a plastic baggie, seal, and then shake. Fast, easy and yummy!




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Fruity Recipes that are fun and yummy


Fun & Fruity Recipes


Sometimes the easiest way to get children to eat healthy is to let them have a hand in making their own snacks and add whipped cream on top. Here are some fruity recipes that are fun and easy to make, and even more fun to eat.

Miniature Fruit Pizzas

1 package refrigerated sugar cookie dough

8 ounces softened cream cheese

1 cup confectioners' sugar

Assorted fresh fruit, cut into bite size pieces, such as bananas, kiwis, oranges, blueberries, grapes, strawberries, pineapple, etc.

Directions:
Cut sugar cookie dough into 1-inch slices and place on ungreased cookie sheet or pizza pan.
Bake as directed, or until lightly browned around the edges. Allow the cookies to cool.
Combine cream cheese and confectioners' sugar; mix well. Spread over cooled cookies.
Decorate with assorted fruit. Yummy!

Strawberry Angels

1 angel food cake

6 large strawberries

1 carton whipped topping

Directions:
First, cut the cake into serving-size pieces.
Slice the strawberries and layer on top of the cake.
Then spoon whipped topping on top of the strawberries.
Serve and enjoy!

Frozen Monkey Treats

Here is a healthy snack that your kids will go bananas for!
Peel a banana and cut it in half.
Insert popsicle sticks into the cut ends. Dip the bananas into yogurt or melted chocolate, and then roll the bananas in chopped nuts, crushed cereal, or coconut shavings.
Place the bananas on a small waxed paper-lined baking sheet and set the sheet into the freezer for an hour or so.
Fun to make and even more fun to eat!

Fruit Fizzy

Don't plan your summer party without this refreshing drink.
Pour one can of Sprite (it doesn't have caffeine) into a blender, along with small ice cubes.
Add several large strawberries, a handful of blueberries, or other favorite fruit to the mix.
Blend the mixture until it has the texture of a slush.
Pour into a glass and garnish with a cherry on top.

Hope you have a splashing fruity time with this quick snacks!

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Thursday, September 6, 2007

Yummy Breakfasts Ideas


We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. With breakfast, we are replenishing our bodies from the night before and charging them for the day ahead. How we will perform during the day is affected by what we eat in the morning. Yet, breakfast tends to be rushed and routine--more so than any other meal. Here are dozens of ideas to help you build better breakfasts.
Here's to healthy and yummy breakfast ideas!

No more boring eggs
Here are some of the egg dishes that we enjoy. (They're more techniques than recipes but you'll get the idea.)


Scrambled eggs in all their variations.
Try Spanish scrambled eggs with leftover rice, salsa, and sautéed onions, peppers, and chilies. Or the old standby--cheddar scrambled eggs. Try adding a can of Mexi-corn to scrambled eggs. We like Chinese vegetables added to our scrambled eggs.

Omelets in their variations. Think about the omelets on the menu at your favorite restaurant. Whatever you can do with scrambled eggs, you can do with an omelet. An omelet is a great way to showcase your favorite vegetables. My daughters favourite is mixed vegetables and tuna mix.

Quiches. Think of quiches as savory pies instead of sweet pies. Check out a few recipes for ideas and then experiment with the ingredients that you like. Many quiches are loaded with cheese but they don't have to be. Load them with your favorite veggies instead.

Here's how to make a quiche practical for a busy morning: Make the crust and line the pie pan the night before or purchase a pie shell from the grocer. Mix the filling the night before and stick it in the refrigerator. When you get up, load the pie shell with the filling and set your quiche to bake. By the time the kids are ready for school, the quiche will be ready to come from the oven.

French toast. French toast can be quick and easy. For variety, try different breads. We love hearty breads like multi-grain bread for French toast and fruit-filled bread like raisin bread. French toast is a great way to use up day old bread. Or try stuffed French toast. Consider this a technique and not a recipe. Load your French toast with different fruits or your favorite preserves. Try mixing nuts, raisins, or preserves into the cream cheese filling.

Breakfast burritos. Anything that you can do with scrambled eggs, you can wrap in a tortilla. We like veggies and cheddar loaded with salsa. Try nuts, cream cheese and pineapple. The Iowa Egg Council has a recipe for Hawaiian Enchiladas you might want to try.

Consider breads for breakfast
Biscuits, scones, muffins, English muffins, bagels, pancakes, toast, and quick breads all make great breakfast fodder.

The argument is that breads take too long and are too much trouble for breakfast. They don't have to be. Consider these alternatives:

Toast. Try cheese or thinly sliced deli meat on toast as a quick and easy breakfast. Spread a little cream cheese on your toast and top it with a slice of fruit or jam. We like peanut butter or peanut butter and cream cheese on toast. Or try peanut butter and raisins or peanut butter and sliced bananas on toast.

Pancakes. Pancakes are quick and easy especially if you are using a mix. The grocery store mixes tend to be made almost entirely of flour but you can bolster the mix by adding dry milk or buttermilk powder. Or you can make your own mix.

Muffins. You don't have to invest a lot of morning time in muffins. Consider refrigerator muffins. Mix up a batch of refrigerator muffins on Sunday evening, keep the batter in the refrigerator, and you'll have fresh muffins for most of the week. Simply load up the muffin tins when you get up and let them bake while you herd your family through their morning routines.

Don't forget the bread machine
What could be better than fresh bread for breakfast? Most bread machines have timers. You can program these machines to turn out perfect bread just in time for breakfast. Consider some of the fruit and nut breads for breakfast. Fresh Cranberry Nut Bread with whipped cream cheese butter or California Raisin Bread with strawberry butter sounds pretty scrumptious.

Eat what you like

Remember our college days when we thought pizza was a staple and cold pizza was the breakfast of champions? I'm not ready to go back to those days but a salad or a sandwich sounds passable in the morning. The point is, if you like it, try it for breakfast. Who said we have to classify foods into breakfast, lunch, and dinner?

Take a second look at hot cereal
Hot cereal is quick and easy and doesn't have to be boring. Try spiking your hot cereal with dried fruit, nuts, or coconut. (Dried pineapple, coconut, and raisins is a combination we love.) You can even make it in the microwave. Mix the goodies, the cereal, and a touch of salt in a bowl. Add water and nuke it for about three minutes. Presto--instant hot cereal. (With microwaving cereal so easy, we don't understand how the cereal conglomerates manage to sell any of those little packets.)

Get the kids involved
Democracy doesn't always work but letting the kids vote on breakfast foods is a good way to get support. If they have a say in those breakfast burritos, they are less likely to revolt the next morning. Try having a breakfast council on Sunday evening and planning your meals for the week.
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Varb For Me