Free food is the best, isn’t it? It draws a crowd. Free coffee … even better for those of us who love our morning cup of Joe. But if it’s not good coffee, forget it. I’ll pay for good coffee any day over free, nasty coffee. It’s a bad start to a day to take your first sip of something you love, only to be met with mediocre to horrible-might-as-well-spit-it-out-tasting.
McDonald’s does coffee right. I prefer it over one of the major coffee brands that I don’t particularly care for. So I was excited to read that they are offering free coffee nationwide right now. Apparently, it’s a part of a “breakfast war” between them and Taco Bell. Capitalism at its best.
Read more from the article below, and be sure to stop by your local McDonald’s for your free cup while the offer is good! Before you go, you may want to double check to make sure your location is participating.
McCafe launches first-ever nationwide Free Coffee Event, March 31 – April 13; activities to take place in several U.S. cities McCafe logo. (PRNewsFoto/McDonald’s) OAK BROOK, Ill., March 28, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Wake up and taste the free coffee! McCafe…
Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor or health professional. This blog post is strictly my personal experience. Please seek medical advice from your doctor or other professional advice from a health professional if you have allergies that need to be treated.
I Finally Learned How to Manage Spring Allergy Season!
I grew up with horrible allergies during the beautiful Spring season. They would get so bad some years, I would feel pretty rotten for about a week or so towards the end. Sometimes I would take antihistamines, but I’m the type to avoid medication unless I really, really need it. Because of the allergies and suffering through symptoms, I’ve generally had a love-hate relationship with Spring. I always love the weather getting more comfortable and the blooming of flowers and trees. I love the Easter celebration because of what it means for those who believe in the Resurrection. But I sure hated the allergies! Several years ago I started taking an immune boosting supplement regularly. I have known for some time that allergies are an autoimmune issue, but it never dawned on me to try immune boosting supplements. I noticed a big change when Spring rolled around that year. Big. change. Like, my symptoms were gone. I was amazed. At some point I stopped taking that particular supplement, and for some time, I thought maybe I’d been healed from the allergies or outgrew them. At some point however, I began noticing some symptoms again, although, they did not seem as bad as before. I decided to try Vitamin C. It was almost as good! I cannot remember how much I took when I first tried this, but it was a lot. This year, I’ve been taking 3,000 milligrams in the morning at breakfast, and then more later in the day as needed. That seems like a lot to me, since according to my bottle of Vitamin C, the recommended daily value is less than 1/3 this amount. But our family Nutritionist told me that I would know if I had gotten too much Vitamin C if it upset my stomach. She said different people can tolerate different levels. So thanks to Vitamin C and discovering a dairy sensitivity, which was causing allergy symptoms, thus, I’m sure making my Spring allergies even worse, I can actually enjoy Spring most of the time now! No more love-hate relationship. So nice.
How often do you eat fish that is cooked just right, with great flavor and not dried out? I rarely come across fish like this when eating out! How about you?
3 Tricks for How to Cook Fish without Overcooking
There are three rules of thumb when cooking fish. They are not set in stone but give you a good indication of how long to cook fish because, honestly, the majority of people overcook it for fear of under cooking it.
The first rule for how to cook fish I call the 10-minute rule. Generally, you should cook fish ten minutes per inch of thickness, i.e., an inch-thick shark steak would take approximately ten minutes on the grill or in the oven to cook.
The second rule is called the “Make it Flake” Rule, which means near the end of the cooking time, if you press on the piece of fish with your finger or a fork and apply gentle pressure, the fish will flake. But it will only flake if it is pressed. On overcooked piece of fish, when picked up with a spatula or tongs, will fall apart and flake on its own.
The third key to properly cooking fish is a milky white substance, called albumin. If memory serves me, this is a protein that is released from fish during the cooking process, generally more prevalent in fattier fish such as salmon. It will leach out of the fish in a liquid that looks similar to glue. It can be a good indication of proper cooking time for a select piece of fish.
The best method is to utilize all three of the tricks. Set your cooking time based on the thickness of your piece of fish. Watch for the albumin to appear and once you see it, utilize the “Make It Flake” Rule. If the fish does not flake, continue to cook in small time increments and re-check often.
If you do not like the appearance of the albumin once fish is done, you can remove by blotting with a damp paper towel. If you have any questions about cooking fish, you can send them to me through our Ask The Chef forum, and I will be glad to try to answer them for you.
It was such a good recipe, Anne decided it was her second favorite salmon recipe, even though she had doubts as I was making it that it could compete with her top choice! So definitely, if you like salmon, give it a try and let us know what you think.
Just a Couple Days Left of National Fiber Focus Month
With February coming to a close, so does National Fiber Focus Month, which is well worth consideration since, according to WebMD, most adults are getting much less fiber than what they need each day.
Fiber has been linked scientifically to such health benefits as decreasing blood cholesterol levels, which protects against certain forms of cancer; helping control weight be increasing satiety; not to mention day-to-day prevention of constipation. [Source: Today's Dietician]
Clearly, it would be to our long-term health advantage to work on getting more fiber in our diets! This is why I chose to create a Squidoo lens featuring some good recipes from our food blog that are high in fiber and have delicious flavor combinations for the month’s Food Club Challenge. I know when I get past the initial thought of adding more fiber to my diet meaning boring foods with little to no flavor, it is much easier to make sure my intake of this important nutrient is where it should be.
Check out my Squidoo lens and the recipes with fiber rich foods, and vote in the poll for which recipe you’d be most likely to try as you think about ways to add more fiber into your diet. We will all be healthier and raise healthier children if we do!
Today we have a guest post for you by a Mom, Barbara Filgate-Cobham, who was a picky herself as a child. Read on for some tips from her experiences and for her “secret” spaghetti sauce recipe.
How I Survived My Picky Eaters
Many moms know just what I mean. You get to hear about it from that nosy aunt or that well-meaning friend all. the. time. It makes ordering in restaurants a challenge and making school lunches an ordeal. I’m talking about feeding picky children.
I have two girls who are now 18 and 14. They started out as great eaters! In fact, the older one would eat things I didn’t even like and I tried desperately not to pass on any pre-conceived ideas about food. Even when at two, she stole my boyfriend’s shrimp! I have never cared for seafood and interestingly enough, am now extremely allergic.
However, as she got older and was later joined by a younger sister, she became fussy about what she liked. She would eat only chicken noodle soup for lunch for so long that my dad made up a song about it! Later, even the younger one became pickier about her food choices and they didn’t even have the SAME picky habits, but totally different ones!
Obviously, they have survived this long, so I thought I might be able to share some tips to help some other moms out.
Remember Your Own Childhood
I was a picky eater as a child myself. Yup. I admit it. There are so many things I eat now that I would not have touched as a child. I truly think this helped me to have some perspective. I was an extremely sensitive child and many textures were uncomfortable for me. As I grew older, I found that things like macaroni were pleasant, which was not my experience at all as a child.
They Won’t Die and They Probably Won’t Become Gravely Ill
The other thing that helped me was that my mom was good about the fact that I didn’t like my food touching on the plate and that certain things just didn’t feel or taste right to me. Given that she grew up during World War II with very little, I feel extremely blessed that this was the case! She even took me to a doctor who suggested that peanut butter and apples were not a bad start and to offer me foods occasionally, but not to sweat it too much.
Focus on What They DO Eat Rather Than What They Don’t
It is super important to find a handful of healthy things they will eat, even if you feel like you are offering the same foods over and over.
There is Hope!
In my own case, I was very fortunate because my picky eaters actually LIKED several of the foods other fussies don’t, such as broccoli, asparagus and caesar salad! I made it a point to offer them veggies and fruits they liked and not to push too much other stuff, but merely to continue to offer new things now and then. In some cases, it actually worked. My older daughter now eats many things she wouldn’t ever have tried in the past and she loves cooking and experimenting now.
The younger one decided she is vegetarian just over a year ago, so it can be more challenging to make sure she is well fed sometimes. I try to have beans or hummus or something like that around for her to keep her iron levels up.
Most of all, remember that it is not likely to last forever. By all means, if your doctor thinks it is wise, supplement your child’s diet with vitamins, but know that most picky kids don’t necessarily grow up to be overly fussy adults. Also, I’m sure there is at least one thing that most adults don’t like to eat, so try to exercise some patience with them.
Chef John and Anne made some of the same points in their book and some others which I found myself agreeing with big time as a more “experienced” (yup, older) mom. I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to read it before it was published and highly recommend it.
I was asked if there is a go-to recipe which worked with my whole family when the kids were small, and my daughter reminded me how much they loved spaghetti. This sauce presents the opportunity to blend in “hidden” veggies to make it healthier for picky little ones. A little trickery is a moms prerogative, right?
The Best Pork Tenderloin Recipe You Will Ever Put in Your Mouth!
One of the first recipes we published on our food blog was a recipe for a pork tenderloin glaze with peaches and sweet tea vodka. It was a pork tenderloin recipe born out of a discussion we had about how wildly popular the Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka became quickly after it was introduced.
A Very Southern Main Dish Recipe
We are proud Southerners and we love Southern food and flavor elements. This dish obviously incorporates two of the biggest Southern flavors, peach and sweet tea. The combination of these flavors with the flavor of the pork is delicious, or as our son recently said, “Amazing delicious!”
I have always sort of felt like a tortoise in the kitchen, taking my sweet time with things like chopping vegetables to avoid any unfortunate and unnecessary trips to the emergency room. I appreciate them when they are needed but, otherwise, I’m not a fan!
On our food blog, we started a vlog series, The Chef’s Table. So far we have done two videos, and the first one has been so popular, I wanted to share it again here.
I avoid cooking when possible and whenever Chef John offers to do my prep work for me, I happily oblige! You will see why:
An Easier Way to Chop an Onion
He’s good, isn’t he? We are thinking about doing another one where he does the demo only to show how quickly he can chop an onion this way. When he’s not teaching the method, he can go much faster! I’m sure with practice, I could improve my speed.
Which way do you chop an onion, like either of the ways shown in the video or a different way? Any other cooking tips you have or that you are interested in? Leave a comment below or Ask The Chef here.
You’ve placed the plate in front of your child with a reasonable serving of a food you know she enjoys. She takes one look at it and lets you know right away she’s just not interested this time.
You’ve been working all day caring for your children, possibly after coming home from a work day to pay the bills that help support them, doing the tasks around the house that need to be done today, paying those bills, running here and there taking care of this and that, and racking your brain for what to cook for dinner. It takes every ounce of self-control you have in your being to find a suitable response.
[Comic Relief -- n. 1. An amusing scene, incident, or speech introduced into serious or tragic elements, as in a play, in order to provide temporary relief from tension, or to intensify the dramatic action; 2. Relief from tension caused by the introduction or occurrence of a comic element, as by an amusing human foible.] ~Source~
Okay. Maybe that’s a tad bit melodramatic, but it sure can feel tragic if it’s been one of those days. But it is definitely serious or it would not be causing such stress!
Parents of picky eaters, as a rule, I believe, want their children to eat good, healthy foods. Otherwise, the picky eater adjective probably would not be a part of their parenting vocabulary.
And trust me, I can relate to the feeling of giving up on that goal. I’ve thought to myself sometimes how much easier this would be if I just gave in and let the child eat whatever she wanted. Here’s where my stubbornness being a stronger trait in me than in her is a positive!I am determined about certain things in life, and finding ways to help foster the development of healthy eating habits is one of those things.
If you have reached a point of feeling ready to pull your hair out while trying to find a solution for how to handle your picky eater, look no further! We may have some recommendations that could give you just the comic relief you need.
For those moments when you feel like giving up, take a deep breath and watch this video. Not only is it funny. It will remind you of all the reasons why your end goal is worth the struggle! Remember Hotpockets? Chef John introduced me to this clip. You may not find it as funny as we do, but if you have ever eaten a Hotpocket, I’m thinking you’ll get a kick out of this.
Okay, then! If you didn’t care for that option, we have another one for you that may suit your style better. Chef John introduced me to this, too. I know. I’ve lived a sheltered life.
Are you a comic strip fan? If so, you may know where I’m heading. You see, after my husband told me about some of these comic strips with picky eater scenarios, I thought…. wow, now that is the picky eaters’ MASCOT! That’s right. I’m convinced that they have a mascot. He must appear to them in dreams and give them lots of ideas.
This is a 6-year-old famous comic strip character who is the ultimate picky eater! Any guesses?
Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes!
If you’ve never read these comic strips before, they’re good. Calvin’s creator, we learn on page 131 in The Calvin and Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book, was a picky eater, and you can tell. He knows the drill all too well; although, he does say these strips are an exaggeration of his own fussiness about eating.
Calvin has above average intelligence with an advanced vocabulary and has quite an imagination. He much prefers to play with his food rather than eat it. In one of my favorite strips, though, Calvin’s imagination actually works to his mom’s favor with his picky eating. You can find that one on page 58, also in The Calvin and Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book.
We have four books of Calvin and Hobbes comic strips, and here is a rundown of those books and where you can find some comic relief:
Page 43 – The Living X-Ray
Page 49 – Calvin’s Mom Discovers His Latest Mischief (while eating)
Page 82 – Calvin’s Guilt about Something He Just Did Gets to Him (while eating)
Page 83 – Calvin Lets His Schoolmate Know What Part of His Lunch Reminds Him of, a strip that got Calvi and Hobbes banned from a newspaper once!
Page 131 – Calvin Gets into a “Food Fight” with His Meal
Page 134 – A School Lunch “Episode”
Page 32 – Calvin Is Overwhelmed by the Adult Conversation at the Table
Page 88 – The “His Food is Allergic to Him” Excuse
Page 108 – Experimenting with Food
Page 139 – Like Most Young Picky Eaters, He Has No Problem with the Sweets! AND Another School “Episode”
Page 34 – Calvin Is Certain His Mom Is Feeding Him… Maggots
Page 49 – His Dad Comes Home to Snowmen Gagging in the Yard and Correctly Guesses What They are Having for Dinner
Page 53 – His Mom’s Caution Dashes His Chance for a “Treat”
Page 59 – His Attempt to Trade Sandwiches at Lunch at School Fail after He Rants about His Looks and Smells Like
Page 89 – His Mom Completely Ignores His Demands for How He Wants the Sandwich She’s Making Him
Page 102 – Another School “Episode”
Page 104 – Accuses His Mom of Trying to “Kill” Him with What She Feeds Him
Page 112 – Making a List of a Million Things that Bug Him; Out of 7, 5 are Food-Related
Page 113 – Playing with Eggs
Page 115 – Playing with Toast
Page 143 – Imagined His Mom Used All Kinds of Disgusting Things in His Meal
Page 19 – More Sandwich Demands
Page 38 – Even picky about Where He Eats!
Page 49 – Eats 4 Boxes of His Favorite Cereal to Get Enough Proof of Purchase Seals to Get a Beanie Hat
Page 68 – His Mom Says No Wonder She Stays So Thin after Calvin Describes What He the Jelly Doughnuts Remind Him of
Page 76 – Is Distracted by an Adverse Situation and Actually Eats His Meal that He “Didn’t Like Very Much,” Including Asparagus
Page 133 – Makes Hilarious Faces as He Gags His Meal Down, Only to Vomit Afterwards
Page 169 – “Spider Pie”
Page 214 – His Favorite Cereal Must be How His Mom Tries to Compromise with the Picky Eating
Page 215 – A Nightmare about Food
Page 231 – His Meal Reminds Him of What He Just Watched on a Nature Show
Page 236 – A “Food Fight” in Which the Food Fights Back (Maybe in a previous book)
Page 237 – Says His Meal Looks Like Compost
Page 249 – Calvin Outsmarts His Mom
[Descriptions are mine.]
Whatever you do, don’t let your picky eater anywhere near these until you are certain he/she has outgrown these phases!
We are celebrating this new year with a Williams Sonoma giveaway on our food blog! The winner will receive a $50 gift card for Williams-Sonoma and a coupon for a free Mrs. Smith’s Signature Deep Dish Pie. The giveaway is sponsored by Mrs. Smith’s Pies as a part of a sponsored post for which we had the opportunity to try and review some of the new Signature Deep Dish Pies from Mrs. Smith’s!
Head over to check out the customized toppings Chef John created for two of the pies…. good recipes that were perfect paired with the flavors in the pies!
We hope everyone is getting the new year off to a great start.
Merry Christmas, Everyone! Had to share this beautiful image of some Christmas lights from our area! Our family has been battling flu and infections since a couple weeks before Christmas, so it was fun for us to get out of the house and go see some lights on Christmas Eve.
We hope that you all are enjoying Christmas with your families and some time off from work. 2013 is just around the corner… make your final days for this year count and finish any goals you had for the year. If nothing else, spend a little extra time with your children as you begin making plans for a new year.