Sunday, June 20, 2010

New Recipe

I've been trying out at least one new recipe every week. This week it's Jillian's Fudge Brownie recipe from her Master Your Metabolism Cookbook.

Before I get started, I have to confess, I don't have a lot of organic ingredients on hand. I am trying to transition to organic but I don't the money to throw everything out and start fresh. I do buy bulk items (whole wheat flour, steel cut oats, quinoa, etc) and a lot of fresh fruit and veggies at Sprouts so that I can just buy what I need for a lot cheaper price.

While I was making the brownies, I stumbled upon another treat. One of the steps in the recipe calls for cocoa powder added to heated honey. Of course I had to taste it. This was the mistake or the discovery. (They are often the same,right?). Why couldn't I add a drizzle of this to a peanut butter and banana sandwich or wrap? (Great with Ezekiel bread or Ezekiel tortillas) Or even use it in lieu of chocolate syrup to make a banana split? Oh yeah!

The mixture in the brownie recipe is 2/3 cup honey heated in the microwave until it's runny and bubbling, 45-60 seconds. Then 1/3 cup cocoa powder is mixed in with a fork. This is very sweet so you might want to vary the amounts to taste.

For a banana split I will also use Plain Greek yogurt instead if ice cream and fresh or frozen strawberries and pineapple topped with chopped walnuts or almonds. Yes, I did try this with Greek yogurt. It takes it to a Whole Nutha Level!

By the way, the brownies were good. They were very sweet. Be careful not to overcook them. I'll definitely make them again, especially since they are only 86 calories each. I didn't take a picture because there is a great blog with reviews of Jillian's recipes from MYM and pictures of them since they are none in the cookbook. The address is

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Summer Part 1

Listening to a friend talk about green beans fresh from her garden took me back. Back to summers long since forgotten.

Summers in my parents garden. There were fresh green beans, tomatoes , potatoes, peas, corn, and of course GREENS! They owned it but they had this sharing spirit. Anyone could come pick vegetables. All you had to do was ask. Then there were apple trees, pear trees, a plum tree, and a grape vine. Homegrown. That's why none of us can duplicate Mother's cooking. It was fresh and homegrown. Even a lot of the meat came from homegrown cattle and hogs. Now I'm trying to get back to local and organic. I guess I'm going back to my roots.

Every summer my parents would go to the peach orchards of Pope and Johnson counties in Arkansas. I can still smell and taste the freshly picked peaches, peeled with a pocket knife and slipped to me through a lowered car window or baked in huge cobbler. Mother had a huge pan with a lid that probably came from a steam table. It would still be warm when she served it. If you were lucky, she had made a freezer of homemade ice cream! Yes, the three of us fought over the dash. (The dash is the thing in the freezer that mixes the ice cream. It's removed at then end and of course it's covered with ice cream!)

Those were summers of cousins visiting, homecoming celebrations with barbecue and fried fish, and family reunions with family we hadn't seen since the last reunion or funeral. Those were summers full of family, friends, laughter, and food.

Oh and I can't forget the Congress (of Christian Education). The yearly church meeting for Christian instruction. It was so good to see all of your friends. We always got in trouble for something, usually minor. If a certain adult saw you with gum, she would pass one of those funeral home fans around the choir and everyone had to deposit their gum on it. Now that is an appetizing site!

There was church camp and band camp. Church camp at Camp Heart of the Hills. There we were in the middle of the Ouachita National Forest aka the middle of nowhere having a blast, singing, praying, swimming, hiking, eating Now-Laters, and providing laughter and a few headaches for my pastor and my mom's friends who were counselors.

Band camp was close to home but still fun. Once again there were more friends from all over the state. Learning was truly fun. Did you know I was never a majorette but I could still twirl a baton? I don't think I ever broke anything....

There were those dusty roads in "The Bend". The Bend is Happy Bend. My house wasn't there but when you dad pastors a church for longer that you have been on this earth it is home. First, The Bend was a place where you were taught to love the Lord. You weren't taught that from lip service either. We had living examples. It was a place were kids were raised to respect their elders. It was a place where everyone was your parent. It was a place where kids were taught hard work. It was a place were you could sleep at the foot of the bed and enjoy laughing about it as an adult. There people had large families and weren't on TV. It was just life. It was a place where you could chase fireflies, ride horses or just walk "the lane" and fight the wasps for the berries growing along the side of the road. Playing, giggling, dreaming girls enjoying their summer without a care in the world. It was a place where you didn't know you were poor because you weren't!

Part 2 coming soon.......

Friday, June 11, 2010

Never again

I am done with Albertsons. It is a joke. Now I understand why there are only a few Albertsons stores left in DFW.

I decided to “run to Albertsons” on my lunch break. Yes, I know that was my first mistake. They had one the Michelina’s Lean Gourmet frozen dinners on sale. The pepperoni pizza rolls are a great substitution for a couple of slices of pizza. There was an in-store coupon in their sale paper that brought the price to 69 cents each. That’s worth the short trip (maybe a mile).

Problem #1. Of course when I arrived they did not all most of the Lean Gourmet varieties. I should have known better. Albertson stores are smaller and just don’t have the same selection. (Isn’t the definition of insanity to keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result?) Of course there was only one of the prized pizza rolls left. Not to be deterred, I grabbed that one and a couple of others that would make a decent lunch.

Problem #2. Why oh why did I decide to not stand in the one open line behind three other people? Oh no, I can check my self out. Don’t do it!!!! In most other stores this works but in Albertsons it just doesn’t cut it. First of all, once they installed the self-check-out stations they would only staff one manned checkout lane.

Problem #3. The coupon. First of all, the coupon has to be scanned multiple times if more than one of the item is purchased. Do you think the computer will appreciate that?

Second the coupon has to be handed to the attendant. Under normal circumstances that works. Today it was a recipe for disaster, which brings us to problem #4.

Problem #4. Since the coupon use was a disaster, the attendant was literally scanning another customer’s groceries and struggling with the whole coupon disaster. I tried to be patient even with the scanner continuously stating that I needed to give my coupon to the attendant. Finally the NCR person that was trying to fix another scanner asked the other loitering employees to help me. Of course, no one could do that. Finally someone re-set it but he could not help me with the coupon issue. That’s when I threatened to just go back to work and leave the groceries there. Yes, right there thawing… Finally someone who could assist me with the coupons arrived but wait…there is yet another problem to deal with.

Problem #5. The coupon only works for “selected varieties”. I accept that except please let someone know which varieties are acceptable! The employee finally said that it worked for two items just pick two and we’ll call it done.

So I left Albertson’s for the last time today. Minus a lunch break and minus $2.72. Yes folks, that’s it. After all of that I only spent $2.72. I have two Michelina Lean Gourmet entrees and a few Pink Lady apples (They were $1.00 per pound). Now I need medication and I didn’t even buy chocolate!