Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wednesday Links

Mark Bittman on proposed Congressional budget cuts to programs for the poor and hungry.
Anemia risks and issues for older women.
Some hope in the battle against Philadelphia students' bad eating habits.
Lower levels of Salmonella found in organic chicken.
Another case against giving antibiotics to livestock.

And finally, some fun!
Mmm...homemade bagels. I've been meaning to try this recipe.
Some great ideas in cooking for one.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Starting Over

Somewhere, somehow in the past few months, I lost my focus. Or maybe lost is a bit extreme. Misplaced might be a better word. I started this blog in the hopes that it might help inspire people to cook more, to take better care of themselves. I wanted to find a solution to our country's obesity epidemic. To help people realize and understand the value of cooking for themselves and their families on a daily basis.

But motivating people I've never met is a lot harder than I thought it would be. So I tried to tell you how I do it. Why I do it. How easy it is to do it. And I started to include easy recipes that I made regularly in the hopes that you would follow along. And pictures that I hoped would motivate you, too.

I don't know if any of it is working or helping, but I want to get back to the 'why' because I think that is the most important part. And I'm going to take a step back from the recipe bit. My concern is that because the internet and blogs in particular are still so very new, the etiquette and how-to's are still being worked out. And even though I've been crediting the authors whose recipes I use, I'm not sure if it's been enough.

There are recipe blogs all over the internet - really great ones, in fact. And there are cookbooks coming out every week with all sorts of new and amazing recipes. If you're coming here in need of ideas, I'll be happy to point you in the right direction. I'll tell you which ones I trust and why. And instead of just recipes, I'll work on showing you techniques and tips instead.

Today's tip: if you don't make lasagna very often because your recipe serves 12 and there are only 4 of you, split the lasagna into two pans and freeze one for later. Of course if there are only 2 of you, that's still a lot of lasagna.

Let me know what you think. We're in this together, after all.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Red Lentil Soup with Lemon

Do you like to make soup? I usually make it at least once a week, especially in the colder months (come on, Spring!). And I like making it for a lot of reasons. It's usually pretty simple; chop some ingredients, throw them in a pot, add stock and let it cook. It's usually fairly healthy, at least the ones I choose to make. And often, it's mostly vegetarian; meaning the only meat is the chicken stock.

As I've said before, I'm always on the hunt for more meatless meals that Bob and I can agree on. I can't say I'm ever going to become a full fledged vegetarian, but I do realize there are many benefits to skipping meat every now and then. It's better for the environment and it's usually much cheaper to cook without it. Not to mention that more and more medical evidence indicates that it's healthier for us.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wednesday Links

Need help beating the winter blues? Check out these inspired ideas.
The always informative Mark Bittman on fixing agricultural subsidies.
Anyone interested in a road trip to NYC? One word: doughnuts.
Not just for kids - adding color (and nutrition) to your meals.
Yikes! More good reasons to watch the salt.
I'm always on the lookout for new vegetarian recipes.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Roasted Chicken + Chicken Stock

Raw chicken plus vegetables, ready to go in the oven.
Roasted chicken, where have you been all my life? OK, seriously, I've been cooking it for a couple years now, but I can't believe it took me this long to get on the bandwagon. There is so much to love! Juicy, tender chicken, slow roasted, caramelized vegetables...all cooked together in one pan.  Leaving me time to actually wash some dishes read a magazine.

I think the problem was that I never knew what to do with the leftover chicken. Bob is not a dark meat fan and I hated the idea of throwing away half of a bird every single time. And then I stumbled upon this article for making chicken stock and I learned something new; it's possible to make chicken stock with cooked meat. I hope I'm not the only person that didn't know that, but all the cookbooks I've ever read on the subject instruct you to start with raw chicken. And we didn't even make chicken stock at my culinary school (too basic, I'm guessing); we spent our days making veal stock instead. Always, always using raw bones and vegetables.

Needless to say, I'm a convert. Instead of only roasting a whole chicken once in a great while, I now roast a whole bird once a month, if not more. And instead of dreading making chicken stock the traditional way (ie., with grease flying all over the kitchen as I browned the parts on the stove), I do my own variation and I'm just as happy with the results. Maybe even happier because my kitchen isn't covered in grease.