LOVELEMON1's SparkPeople Blog LOVELEMON1's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Choosing a basketball This week felt like treading water but actually I'm getting somewhere! I am fighting hard and winning the fitness fight! There was one day I actually had mac 'n cheese with shredded lettuce on top. Very unglamourous. It tasted rather like nachos. Another day, I mixed a tiny bit of maple syrup into my low-sugar yogurt. On the fitness front, I've been running, walking, doing stability ball exercises, pilates while watching TV, and playing basketball. I have a new NIKE basketball. Nev... Fri, 2 Aug 2013 15:58:36 EST The path to peaceful bliss is basil! Over vacation, I stopped at a friend's house where there was a massive amount of basil in bloom. Not being shy, I wasted no time in asking how much I could take home. This was to my host's relief and my delight. I placed the basil on top of the dash while we drove home. Let me tell you that if you've ever got a stressful drive coming up, or a strange stench in the car, that basil works wonders! It kept me calm, fresh and alert during a night drive. The smell actually overpowered DH's c... Tue, 30 Jul 2013 17:51:48 EST Back from Vacation Hi Everyone! <BR> I'm back from coastal vacation this week. Cooked up a hearty Indian-themed dinner tonight. It's a cross between Rogan Josh and Beef Korma. The actual recipe is beyond American in its bastardry from the true Rogan Josh or Beef Korma. The ingredients are everyday items found in the pantry. For me, it's a close enough approximation to postpone my longing for the Kashmiri restaurant in the neighborhood that has closed. The family that owned the restaurant still has a mini ... Mon, 29 Jul 2013 19:41:41 EST Celtic Festival / Highland Games Hi everyone! Has anyone been to see Highland Games before? Last weekend was my first time to see them up close. Friends who came with me said they saw more Celtic activity in general at the local Celtic festival than any of their trips to Scotland or England. Go figure! There were bagpipes, Irish dancing, kilts, sheep-herding, and our two favorite things: <BR> <BR> 1. SHEAF TOSS. Men and women use a pitchfork to hurl a weighted sack (22 lbs - Men; 14 lbs - Women) over a bar set high ... Tue, 23 Jul 2013 10:11:19 EST Tennis terrific Good morning! <BR> I have so many things to share from last weekend that it's going to take me a few days to get to them. First up is a professional tennis match of the PHILADELPHIA FREEDOMS team! <BR> <BR> What fantastic spectator sport is tennis when one is up close! The hoopla of the U.S. Open is always out-of-control in the northeast United States in August. I have a better way of seeing the pros! Every July, the pros of men's and women's tennis battle it out in exhibition matches ... Mon, 22 Jul 2013 10:21:03 EST Buffalo linguini with tomato-eggplant sauce Hi Everyone, <BR> To recap from earlier this week, I have some interesting proteins in my fridge this week. The bison meat actually spurred my trip to the farmer's market. That place is a bison haven. There is ground bison, cubed bison, bison steak, bison sausage and more. Specifically I wanted to make a bison spaghetti. When I thought about what sauce to make, my sauce was going to combine tomato marinara with separately cooked fresh diced vegetables. I decided to use linguini instead ... Thu, 18 Jul 2013 22:11:27 EST Eggplant-Peach-Apple Muffins Really. It's an eggplant breakfast muffin! How? Well, it's disguised as a cinnamon apple muffin! My taste testers agree that the eggplant flavor in the breakfast muffins is pleasantly tart. The peaches bring a sweetness to counter the eggplant. Why not use strawberries? They would also work here, but they can bleed during cooking and would make the muffins no longer resemble cinnamon apple, so I prefer peaches. <BR> <BR> RECIPE FOR EGGPLANT-PEACH-APPLE MUFFINS <BR> <BR> You can mod... Thu, 18 Jul 2013 11:17:46 EST Wingin' it with TURKEY WINGS! Hi Friends, <BR> I am taking on some interesting cooking challenges for the next couple of weeks! I'm back from a special trip to a farmer's market that carries homemade Amish delicacies, bulk pantry staples and spices, and every type of fresh meat and fish you would want to eat. (You won't find frog legs here.... I said "WOULD" want to eat, not "COULD"!) <BR> <BR> My first cooking experiment was making BBQ Turkey Wings as a change-up from everynight chicken. The wings were the freshest ... Wed, 17 Jul 2013 09:01:47 EST Trip to Hudson River Valley Hi Everyone! I am back from a trip to the Hudson River Valley. Fog hugged the mountains. The crevices of the rock escarpments were streaked in blue and violet. Newer streaks of yellow and rust trickled over the older rock patterns. Deciduous trees popped out from the face of the cliffs. Along the side of the road, honey locust trees were in full bloom. Other trees found there were eastern pine, pitch pine, elm (rare to find healthy elms these days), tulip poplar, and pignut hickory. ... Mon, 15 Jul 2013 10:08:22 EST DD's Salad DD (Daughter) has been begging me to let her make a salad for dinner for the family. As in, every night she asks when will I let her do it. She does imaginary play during the day of making salad with leaves, sticks and flower petals. So, who's to turn down a kid that wants to make a salad, and declares that salad is her favorite food?! The truly remarkable thing is that DD's salad is identical to the dinner salad made by her grandma, whom she has only met a handful of times. I swear I ha... Thu, 11 Jul 2013 22:27:30 EST My friend who "eats weird" My good friend "Amanda", who will remain anonymous for her own privacy, finally spilled the beans yesterday on what it means to "Eat Weird"! I have known "Amanda" for 2 years now. Our families go to church together, our kids go to school together, and we live only a mile apart. She is a fun friend who is always flexible to try anything, and she is clear and tactful about what her boundaries and schedule are, which makes it very easy to setup dinner dates and playdates for the families and... Thu, 11 Jul 2013 09:17:13 EST Keeping it in the family I've been asked by houseguests to share a dear family recipe that has a very sentimental meaning to me. My mantra with cooking is to share what I have with others in a nourishing and relaxed way. I cannot bring myself to share the recipe, and have made peace with it. It seems silly not to share. Wouldn't it be great for more people to make my family's great recipe? On the other hand, I see nothing wrong with reserving a few special things for my family's privilege. When I do cook, I s... Tue, 9 Jul 2013 06:50:15 EST Lemon Balm for Calm after the holiday It's a Monday after a holiday weekend. I'm betting that I'm not the only one here who is ready to calm down and get a lot done today! When I need to focus and get back to basics, a good cup of tea sets me in the right zone. My body is craving a re-set from the occasional foods I ate over the weekend - Nothing too luscious, but definitely a couple of things out of the normal routine. To boost the G.I. system, I steeped LEMON BALM in hot water. I did not have to go far to get the lemon bal... Mon, 8 Jul 2013 11:12:22 EST Open face broiled sandwiches Friday night I played a fun pickup game of softball. It's amazing how quickly game skills come back when you concentrate on them for a few minutes. Soon the time got away from me and it was nearly 8pm! By that point, it was time to make dinner and everyone was clamoring for it! I turned my leftovers into chic open face sandwiches that no one would guess were leftovers! Problem solved! Plus, with my leftover dip from the 4th of July, I had unique toppings ready to serve with them. Ev... Mon, 8 Jul 2013 10:41:49 EST Dips for the 4th! HAPPY 4TH! HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!!!! <BR> <BR> I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday with family and friends! We are fortunate to have sunshine today, for the first time all week. Because 4th of July is synonymous with movies and cookouts, we DVR'd a movie in advance to avoid commercials - And stocked up on chicken burgers and fresh corn for the grill! <BR> <BR> We watched MOONRISE KINGDOM, a social commentary on the 1960's. It is a dark-humored love story about a summer romance between two... Thu, 4 Jul 2013 20:35:46 EST Carrots with Orange-Tarragon Tarragon is a spice that I tend to completely forget about in the spice drawer. It melds deliciously with the flavor of oranges, though. Tonight I used regular orange peel for seasoning, rather than peel an orange.... We were having a VERY late dinner and time was of the essence... But ordinarily I'd go fresh for this one. (Wish I had fresh tarragon too. Anyone grow it?) <BR> <BR> Orange and tarragon are usually in a butter or olive oil sauce at my house, but tonight we skipped the f... Sat, 29 Jun 2013 19:54:24 EST New food review: Thomas Bagel Thins Wow, these are fantastic! Cinnamon-Raisin was tested. 110 calories! 89 cents! (At the outlet!). 20% daily fiber. "Not too sweet," says my taste tester. It's made with Stevia. At around 8%, (if memory serves me),the amount of folate and riboflavin and such packed inside was impressive. BONUS: You don't look like an ogre trying to grapple a drumstick while eating the bagel thins! It fits inside a human mouth delicately like a tea sandwich! Sat, 29 Jun 2013 19:48:36 EST Cherry tart and a new cherry tree at home Last week, I went to the opening day of cherry picking season. Red cherries put a delightful smile on my face! It was raining sour cherries. Mixed in a few sweets for the pie. Came home without stains!!! Wore my apron! And sunscreen! And a hat! <BR> <BR> (Besides the pie/tart detailed here, I also took a stab at making DIY maraschino cherries.... Alas, that attempt did not quite pan out. Try again next year! They looked pretty in the jar, though, even if they didn't taste up to par!)... Thu, 27 Jun 2013 21:34:52 EST Yellow squash, raisin and spinach sauté I've always enjoyed eating nuts and seeds in raw form but haven't used them to their potential in cooked dishes. This afternoon was long and hot with a program on that I wanted to listen to. I kept busy in the kitchen by converting the contents of my fridge into some dishes. Cooking with "squash" reminds me of last night's TENNIS game. Our family played a few rounds after the heat died down. We found two freebie tennis balls at the court. I was the first to drop and call it quits. The ... Tue, 25 Jun 2013 16:18:02 EST Adventures in buying bulk spice Yesterday I needed some dried lavender for an upcoming recipe. I went to the natural foods store where it is sold in bulk. My eyes nearly popped out of my head at the price: $48.00 per pound. I was not prepared to spend $50 on a pouch of lavender! Carefully I scooped out the smallest smidgen of dried herbs from the container. It did not weigh enough to register on the scale at the checkout counter. The cashier placed one, two, three pennies; and then a nickel onto the scale, before it re... Tue, 25 Jun 2013 14:40:58 EST Better than Dunkin sandwich at home This morning for breakfast I took everything I planned to eat and made a sandwich with it! My recipe is a healthy variation of fast food sandwiches with a pancake, egg and cheese. <BR> <BR> DESCRIPTION: Cornbread, scrambled egg & cheese sandwich w/ honey dip <BR> <BR> INGREDIENTS: <BR> <BR> Homemade Cornbread, sliced in half + <BR> Scrambled egg whites or whole eggs + <BR> Sprinkle cheddar cheese (1/2 tsp - just a sprinkle!) to melt onto eggs + <BR> Farmstand clover honey dollop (mix wi... Sun, 23 Jun 2013 08:25:01 EST Fra Diavolo sauce for garlic bread or calamari / clams Hi everyone! I have a HOT tomato recipe for you today! It is Diabolo sauce, sometimes called Diablo or Diabolo sauce. Today I made calamari with a medley of seafood (frutti di mare) containing squid, octopus, mussels, crab and shrimp. Scallops would be nice to include if you have them available in your town. On a warm summer day, this is one of my favorite meals - An appetizer as a whole meal. I enjoy languoring over dipping the calamari into the sauce. It is very relaxing and cozy way... Fri, 21 Jun 2013 12:15:41 EST Zucchini hash browns Zucchini hashbrowns were an accidental creation last night! I set out to make a version of Julia Child's grated zucchini.... And it turned into zucchini hashbrowns. Well.... Why not! <BR> <BR> The secret to making zucchini hash browns is definitely to eliminate as much water from the zucchini as possible prior to cooking. I grated onion and garlic into the zucchini, too. Of course, salt and black pepper. Then there are my two favorite ingredients here. <BR> <BR> (1.) FRESH LEMON ZES... Sat, 15 Jun 2013 05:40:25 EST Hungarian poppyseed rolls (Beigli) The end of school year brought a lot of excitement to our home this week as new summer schedules took over.... and I needed to provide more, More, MORE snacks! I pulled a loaf of sweet bread out of the freezer and was ready to go. Hungarian poppyseed rolls have a sweet yeast covering and a sweet -- but not too sweet -- filling of poppyseeds and often walnuts. Chocolate chips make a great addition, too, while upping the sugar factor. They can be served warm or cold and hold up well in the f... Fri, 14 Jun 2013 11:32:29 EST I started a new SparkTeam! For anyone who enjoys interior design, I have started a home decorating team called "Sparked by Design" in the hobbies section. I think it's so much fun to see what people come up with for creative ideas and as solutions to unique design challenges. <em>225</em> My blog here will continue, do not fear. I enjoy writing about food very much, and eating it just about as much (sigh!) <em>4</em> Thu, 6 Jun 2013 14:15:00 EST Vegetable ribbons with za'atar/ zatar/ zaatar spice I love this side dish so much that I sneak back into the fridge for seconds and thirds! The flavors are better next day or even the day after that, once the vegetables have marinated with the spices. It can be eaten hot or cold. Making the veggie ribbons really does not taken any longer than chopping up vegetables another way. In some ways, it's easier because the pieces are larger in size (there's less total chopping), and pieces do not have to be uniform in appearance. That's the beauty... Wed, 5 Jun 2013 08:30:14 EST When DIY is better than storebought: Frozen fruits I was shocked and saddened today to read in the news today about the Hep A outbreak in Costco frozen fruits intended for smoothie mix-ins. It is a reminder that bacteria can live in the freezer, both within unopened store-bought foods and inside the freezer itself. I clean the interior of my freezer out thoroughly 2 to 3 times per year, on top of a monthly "cleanup" of spills. When it comes to using frozen fruits, I enjoy them, but for some reason have always preferred to use fruits I froz... Sat, 1 Jun 2013 21:47:57 EST Dipping sauce for pork chops, ham, turkey Pork chops can be really bland, if unseasoned. Lately I've been gravitating to a combination of the same two spices as a dipping sauce for my pig and turkey entrees. The idea is not too "out there" so please pardon the mundane combination: I like to blend Dijon Mustard with Horseradish! I'm really loving the zing of the flavors. It slows down my chewing to savor the spices. I'd really like to experiment with putting a dash of wasabi or curry in there, too! I add the mustard and horser... Thu, 30 May 2013 13:40:53 EST Soft shell crab: What it is and how it is (or isn't) good for you Yesterday I indulged in an offbeat, seasonal treat: Fresh soft shell crab. It is very likely that I would never have tried this delicacy ever, had I not eaten it by accident at a wedding reception once! Since surviving that encounter, I have ordered it on my own at seafood restaurants, although rather infrequently. One has to be in the mood for chewing through the shell and relishing the mineral-rich whole crab. It's so densely packed with nutrients that I'd describe it as a food to eat ... Tue, 28 May 2013 13:38:14 EST Medium Cal Creamed Spinach For Sunday dinner, a nice creamed spinach works nicely with ribs or a roast. I think it's a good compromise to sneak veggies into my family members' diets. I make my creamed spinach without heavy cream or butter, substituting light cream cheese or "neufchâtel" cheese for the cream. When it comes to the flavor of the dish, I prefer for my creamed spinach to be an accompaniment to the main flavor of the menu. For that reason, the amount of spice in my dish is muted so that the meat can take... Sun, 26 May 2013 14:03:54 EST Burger topping: Chimichurri Sauce and Fresh Tomato This is how I topped my burger last night. I wanted to eliminate the preservatives of packaged store ketchup so I used a hothouse tomato instead. Then, I replaced iceberg lettuce and onion with fragrant, spicy chimichurri salsa. <BR> <BR> Chimichurri sauce is a green salsa used in Argentine cooking, especially as a topping on flank steak. It is usually blended smooth but can be served chunky too. Like peanut butter, smooth or chunky. It's made with the following ingredients: <BR> <BR>... Thu, 23 May 2013 11:33:26 EST Snack time: Plain fat free yogurt with marmalade Yogurt is a food I enjoy all ways: Greek, Aussie, Whipped, Frozen... You name it, I eat it, if it's yogurt! This week I'm enjoying plain fat free yogurt with a dollop of regular old orange marmalade for a snack when I need a tiny sugar pick-me-up during the day. The total grams of sugar comes in a shade under a serving of flavored strawberry yogurt, if I have got my rough calculations correct. As a bonus, I have adopted the philosophy that the orange peel in the marmalade has some type of... Wed, 22 May 2013 17:02:29 EST Remove black spots from wooden cutting board; and my cutting board collection There were black spots on my cutting board from cutting potatoes! I forgot about how that happens. Used sandpaper to brush it off. Cleaned with bleach solution. Will resurface (oil) the board today with natural wax. I use TREE SPIRIT BEE'S OIL, a blend of natural beeswax and mineral oil. Looks like it's been renamed to BEEKEEPER'S GOLD. It is a "runny" beeswax due to the mineral oil. I reapply every 4 months approximately. For some reason, giving my cutting boards their beeswax "mass... Sat, 18 May 2013 07:42:38 EST Mushroom Asparagus Pasta with Caper Garlic Sauce STOVE TO TABLE: 15 MINUTES <BR> <BR> This recipe combines two flavors that I don't like on their own, mushroom and asparagus, into a pasta dish reminiscent of The Olive Garden restaurant but not as unhealthy. Grilled chicken would be a nice topper for this dish. Although "alfredo" is in the name of the spice packet used for seasoning, the way I cook this dish, the sauce comes out thin, akin to a white wine sauce. My recipe contains capers for a "zing". Be light-handed with the capers! ... Fri, 17 May 2013 08:01:57 EST Why I almost never drink 8 glasses of water per day Have you ever tried to drink 8 glasses of water per day and felt.... bloated? I think our bodies are onto something. For me, the right number of glasses to drink per day ranges between 3 and 6, depending on the foods I am eating and drinking that day. I enjoy many foods with high water content. As a result, I need less than 8 glasses of water on most days. However, after a heavy workout, sweating in the sun, or eating salty food, my body needs more water. I am not alone in my theory tha... Thu, 16 May 2013 13:23:32 EST How to convert to eating corn tortillas instead of flour I am cooking with corn tortillas instead of flour a lot lately. At first, the taste of corn tortillas was offputting. Now that I am used to it, I splurge on flour every once in a while as a treat but do not miss the flour tortillas for the most part. For me the trick to converting to corn tortillas was to eliminate most whole wheat and flour from my diet on the days I was eating them and the day after, except for a small snack to console my flour habit. I usually ate my floury snack withi... Thu, 16 May 2013 13:08:48 EST To dine for: Turkey sloppy joe on corn tortilla I recommend turkey sloppy joe on a corn tortilla for breakfast. It has good flavor without being too spicy for an empty morning tummy. I had mine with a side of cottage cheese. Thu, 16 May 2013 13:07:58 EST Welcome to Good Cooking Blog My blog showcases fun and fresh ways to eat healthy and happy. I do not cut calories to the bare minimum. I cook with lots of flavor and with fats in moderation. I believe that the best way to a happy, healthy life is through moderation and good common sense! You can follow my adventures in the kitchen here! Thu, 16 May 2013 12:57:56 EST