Friday, April 29, 2011

Cooking for Your Health

Another reason to cook for yourself and your family? It's good for your - and their - health. I know I've said this before (if not to you, then to everyone else I know); everything you cook at home is so much healthier than what you get in a restaurant. Although maybe I shouldn't generalize. If you're deep frying Twinkies for breakfast, lunch and dinner, then yes, a meal at the local Old Country Buffet might actually be an improvement. But for the rest of us, I think it's safe to say that when we're cooking from scratch, our meals are less likely to be drowning in fat, sodium and all that other bad stuff.

When you cook your own meals, you get to decide everything. The type of ingredients (whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats), the preparation method (grilled, baked, roasted) and the portion size. When's the last time you got to make all those choices at a restaurant?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wednesday Links

Shrinking height of poor women reflects lack of food. And it's not just true in places like Africa.

My number one reason for wanting to go back to Barcelona? La Boqueria, one of the largest food markets in Europe. Ok, and maybe some more of that amazing jamon iberico.

How to chop an onion without crying. I might have to give this a try the next time I'm making French Onion soup.

Many Americans ill-informed about red wine and sea salt; how do you compare?

Want to improve your food photography - or find out how to start? This guide has some great, basic information.

Taste buds aren't the only reason we love some foods and hate others.

Local News:

It's time for the Metro Times Best of 2011! Stuck in a restaurant rut? Check out the list of best new restaurants, special dishes and new concepts in food, according to the MT staff. And if that's not enough ideas, check out the readers' choice picks.

Wondering how to eat local in metro Detroit? Hint: Eastern Market.

Forget sharing a cow - who wants to raise their own pigs? Well, on someone else's farm, of course. Contact J & M Farm for more details, or find them at the Eastern Market, shed 2.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wednesday Links

Inspiring results of one writer's attempts to improve her eating. The most important lesson learned? You're worth it. I definitely agree.

More information about the two new food shows recently announced by ABC. Will you watch The Chew after The View?

Speaking of food TV, does the fact that Rachel Ray makes $18 million make you less likely to buy her brand of EVOO?

Did you know Odwalla was a little eco-business with heart? Turns out they're also owned by Coke. Check out this organic industry infographic for more information.

A new vegetarian cookbook from London's Yotam Ottolenghi that I'm adding to my wish list. Plus a recipe from the book.

Whole Foods is launching a Cooking Department - sounds like a great idea!

Is there an afterburn effect from a workout? According to some new research, intensity may be the key.

New research on food cravings. Not eating the foods you crave might help.

Just because the FDA isn't requiring calorie information for drinks on restaurant menus does not mean they're good for you.

Looking for some eco-friendly ways to celebrate Earth Day on April 22? Here are some good to know top green myths, including some about organic food.

Local News:
A list of Detroit bloggers who write about restaurants and life in the city.
Has anyone tried these chocolates? I think this calls for an Ann Arbor field trip.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Broccoli and Garlic Penne

Do you still cook the same way you did when you first started making your own meals? Or have your skills and tastes changed and evolved over the years?

My skills as a cook have definitely improved (those two years spent in culinary school helped) and my taste buds have changed, too. I cook from scratch most of the time and if I end up grabbing a pre-packaged something due to a time pinch, I'm generally disappointed. Believe me, I wish I could find frozen meals that I thought were worth the time savings - and calories. If you've found something you love and would recommend, please let me know!

But aside from the frozen ravioli that I keep for emergencies (and the ice cream kept for um, other emergencies), there isn't much in the frozen food aisle that I can honestly say I like. Most things, no matter what your skill level might be, always taste better when made with your own hands.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Favorite Cookbooks

Do you have favorite cookbooks you turn to again and again? Here are some of the ones that help get me back in the kitchen.

Barefoot Contessa - Ina Garten's show on the Food Network never fails to inspire me. Everything looks amazing and the most important part? Ina makes it look so easy and do-able. The cookbooks are all that and more. The recipes always work and the food tastes fantastic. But use your common sense; that Potato Fennel Gratin may be delicious, but all the heavy cream and cheese says 'special occasion' side dish to me. And I can't choose a favorite book - I love all 7 of them!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wednesday Links

Did you watch Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution last night? What did you think?
Here's some backstory of Jamie's food fight with the LA schools.
The fiscal toll of treating 'lifestyle diseases' - more from Mark Bittman.
5 great pantry staples at Trader Joe's. Definitely check out the canned smoked trout, too. It's a great, sustainable alternative to canned tuna, especially if you're concerned about mercury levels.
How to share a cow. I've been meaning to look into this - anyone interested?

Local news:
Going out to eat this Easter? Here's a list of Metro Detroit holiday brunch spots.
Or maybe a home delivery service of locally produced food? Door to Door Organics promises that during the Michigan growing season, as much as 75% of their produce will be sourced from local farmers.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wednesday Links

Avoiding BPA - some easy steps, some a little more difficult. But all definitely worth the effort.
New proposed federal regulations on menu labeling and calorie information. I'm looking forward to seeing the changes, but I really wish they hadn't exempted movie theaters.
A great read: one woman's journey into the world of slow food.
An interview with Ruth Riechl, former editor of Gourmet magazine.

Local news:
It's Detroit Restaurant Week! You still have time to make a reservation - the final day is Sunday, April 10th.
Food carts are expanding in Ann Arbor. I can't wait to check everything out.
It must be spring - Bell's Brewery's summer brews are out. Go to to find out where to buy them.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Cooking for myself

Last month Bob went to Germany for a two week business trip. As I've said before, when he goes out of town or has other plans for dinner, I do my best to use it as an opportunity to make the meals that only I like. That way I'm less inclined to go out to eat, or (usually) worse, grab some take-out.

But two weeks worth of meals for only me? Even for someone who loves to cook as much as I do, that felt pretty overwhelming. It wasn't the actual cooking I was worried about; it was, like always, the motivation. Luckily, I had a couple days worth of pasta sauce in my freezer to keep me going until I found it.