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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Tangier Island Visit

One place I’ve wanted to see for a long time is Tangier Island, an isolated island in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay. In fact, it’s so isolated that the natives (particularly the older residents) have their own Elizabethan dialect, resulting from centuries of separation from the mainland. I’m all about experiencing different cultures, and this one is only a few hours away (2 hours by car, then 1.5 hours by boat).

This is the where we left from, in Onancock, VA (pic was taken the evening before).

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We took a lovely ride over in the Bay on the Joyce Marie.

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We rode around the island on a golf cart (people drive these carts, ride bikes or scooters, or just walk to get around the island).
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Time stands still here and reminds us of a bygone era, when things were safer and people more innocent.
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Crabbing is the traditional mainstay here on the island. It is certainly a struggling way of life, and the younger generations tend to leave the island to find other work. Here is a crab shanty.
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There is a lovely unspoiled beach on the island (but watch out for the sand flies!)
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Having some wholesome family-style food…
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Heading home on the ferry and relishing this unique American experience…
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This Little Piggy

Hello again! To make up for lost time, I’ll be sharing some items with you, so we can all catch up. On June 29, eight pig statues, including mine, were revealed in the town of Smithfield and one was even symbolically “christened” (Have you ever been to a pig christening before? This was a first for me.) Here is the town’s link to their Olden Days photo album, pig reveal included. You’ll see some photos of children with my pig, which makes me happy, as I wanted the design to appeal to kids. Below is a picture of me showing one side (pigs in the pillory) of Cultural Pig.

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Veggie Soup for the Soul

I’m recovering from a cold and even took a day off work yesterday (rare, unless it’s for cancer treatment!). Luckily, our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) shares started this week also, so I had a fridge full of fresh organic veggies and farm fresh eggs. I also had some spices on hand, which seems to make me feel better when I’m sick. So, I made some easy healthy veggie soup to ease my throat, my fever…and my tastebuds…

I am calling this “Kale Egg Drop Soup” or “A-Good-Soup-For-When-You-Have-A-Cold Soup”:

– Chicken or Vegetable Broth
– Kale or other greens
– Garlic
– Spring onions
– Ginger
– Eggs (especially if they’re farm fresh)
– a little Jasmine rice
– As many herbs as you’d like…I used Rosemary, a Chipotle spice blend, Old Bay seasoning, an Indian spice blend, Cardomom, and a little Cinnamon
– Curry powder
– Salt and Pepper

Wash the kale and remove stems. Chop the spring onions, garlic, and ginger. Throw everything (except the eggs) into a big pot and add the herbs and spices according to taste (hopefully your cold won’t prohibit you from tasting a little bit!). Once everything has been simmering for a while and the kale is cooked, crack open a couple of the eggs and drop them into the soup. Stir everything and eat once the eggs are cooked, or allow everything to simmer for awhile and make your kitchen smell (if you can smell!) aromatic. This is easy enough to make while you’re sick and it helped me feel better quickly!

Weekly Photo #18

This week has been hectic with medical appointments, work, and projects. But I managed to get in a little time with friends while strawberry picking. This week’s photo shows the results of my picking. Taken with iPhone and adjusted in PS Express.

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Wine/Beer Label DIY Project

DIY Beer and Wine Label Collage

DIY Beer and Wine Label Collage

Here’s an easy DIY project for your home bar, entertaining area, man cave, media room, or wherever this might fit in with your decor. If you have some favorite wines or craft beers, save the labels from the bottles and use them to make a collage. In our household, we entertain with Belgian beers and Chianti wines. To remove labels from bottle:

1) Soak empty bottle for several hours in warm water (we put them in our kitchen sink)
2) Attempt to peel the label off.
3) If steps 1-2 weren’t enough the dissolve the glue, apply Goo Gone to the label area liberally and let this soak in for a few hours.
4) The label should peel off.
5) Save the labels and let them dry out. If necessary, use small objects on the corners to keep the labels flat as they dry.

Find a picture frame with glass. I usually have several extras in storage, so I tend to use something I already have. Depending on the size of the frame you are using, collect enough labels to fill the picture area of your frame (obviously, a larger frame will require more labels).

Once you have your collection, lay out the labels in an eye-pleasing design. Remember the artistic guidelines of creating balance in your design, by balancing colors, values, etc. to make the design attractive. You don’t want all light-colored labels on one side, and all dark labels on the other side. I usually start out with the larger labels, and then add the smaller labels as I go along.

Once you have your layout, use a method to attach the labels, such as double-stick tape or glue stick.

Frame your collage, clean your frame, double-check how everything looks in the frame, and (if everything looks good), you’re all done! Hang in your entertaining area.

Note: This project can also be created with cool cardboard drink coasters!

3 Foods You Should Be Eating, But Probably Aren’t (Part I)

In a couple more weeks, we will be starting our 2012 New Year’s Resolutions. In my online research on becoming healthier and overcoming cancer, I’ve learned about many different foods to try to incorporate into one’s diet to improve health. This post (and the next one), I’m dedicating to some foods I’ve learned about that you may want to try incorporating into your diet. Although I should specify that I’m not a nutritionist, there is a lot of positive information out there regarding these foods, which you should explore further if interested.

1) Kefir – a cultured, yogurt-style drink

Kefir is a smooth, slightly sour drink that tastes like yogurt. The name originates from the Turkish word “keif” which means “good feeling”. Hopefully this drink will have you feeling good. This beverage is easily digestible and contains many vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins A, B2, B12, D and K, and calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. It also contains probiotics, and is responsible for improving immune function and digestion issues. It can possibly improve IBS, as well as other issues, such as high cholesterol, allergies, metabolic disease, and possibly even cancer. Kefir is now commonly sold in grocery stores and is often paired with other flavorings, such as blueberry or pomegranate. I have recently seen Kefir in both Bloom and Trader Joe’s, and both versions are delicious. Kefir can be sipped from the bottle, used with cereal, or as a substitute for yogurt or sour cream in recipes. I have read you can even freeze it and turn it into ice cream.

2) Raw Honey – the real stuff

No, we’re not talking about the stuff in the plastic honeybear containers at your local Food Lion. Make sure it says “Raw” and that it’s real honey. Much of what we see in our typical grocery store is NOT the good stuff. Fortunately, Trader Joe’s sells raw honey, that has been shown to be real in this study. Real raw honey has good bacteria and contains a wealth of nutrients, including B vitamins. Honey may promote better blood sugar control and improved insulin sensitivity, and is certainly a healthier sweet alternative to white sugar, especially for diabetics and those with metabolic syndrome. Honey also improves immune function, which results in better health overall. There seem to be certain unusual compounds in real raw honey that are not found anywhere else, but may be partly responsible for the medicinal purposes of honey. For children, try buckwheat honey instead of cough syrup to improve cough symptoms. In your daily diet, try a tablespoon with your tea or coffee, as a sugar substitute in baking, or on bread in place of jelly.

3) Beets

Now, everyone know what beets are, but do you know how good they are for you?
Beets contain a great deal of fiber, which is good for weight loss and digestion. These colorful root vegetables contain powerful nutrient compounds, such as carotenoids and phytonutrients called betalains that help protect against heart disease and maybe even cancer. Some of these contain strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification functions. Certain studies even indicate that beets may have anti-tumor properties. Try marinated beets or a warm soothing borscht during your next meal.

Turkey Leftovers Idea: Turkey Coconut Curry

Turkey Coconut Curry

Turkey Coconut Curry

It was our fifth day of turkey leftovers and I longed for something different. I didn’t have much time, between work, errands, and the gym, but craved something tasty. I decided to try the turkey in a coconut curry simmer sauce. This was also a way to use up a variety of vegetables that have been sitting in our fridge for a week. This recipe can be very flexible and is a good way to use what you have on hand, as long as you have coconut milk, curry spices, and some vegetables, along with your meat.

Since I had a very short time to make supper, I used a jarred Taste of Thai simmer sauce (red curry flavor), and added my own spices to make it taste more like the real thing. Of course, if you’d like to make the simmer sauce from scratch, use a can of coconut milk, curry powder or paste, and items such as ginger, galangal, lemongrass, and kaffir. These can be purchased at your local Asian market or other specialty store.

  • Coconut curry simmer sauce. To save time, I used Taste of Thai jar sauce, which contains coconut milk, curry spices, galangal, ginger, lemongrass, and kaffir
  • Turkey leftovers, separated into bite-sized pieces
  • Curry spice or paste, for added flavor
  • I also used my Penzeys Spices Turkish Seasoning, to add some kick
  • Pinch of Red pepper flakes (if you like a little heat)
  • 1 tablespoon butter (I use Kerrygold because it’s from grassfed cows, is more nutritious, and tastes SO good)
  • Vegetables. I used cherry tomatoes split in half, julienned radish, sliced leeks (delicious in this sauce), and sliced mushrooms. Many other veggies would work, such as eggplant, onions, garlic, peas, carrots, broccoli…
  • Herbs. Fresh basil is great for this, but I used fresh thyme because that’s what I had on hand.

I melted the butter in a skillet and sauteed the fresh vegetables for a few minutes. Then I added the turkey pieces and the simmer sauce. I then added the spices to taste. 15 minutes later we had a quick, tasty but unusual meal that used our leftovers!

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