Grow Something New, Try Something New

August 1, 2008 | by Diana

 Vegetable Garden - stock.xchnge

I try to grow fresh vegetables and fruit on my little two acre plot.  My husband would love to be self sufficient enough to live off the land.  I’m not so ambitious.  I just want to grow some stuff and I’ll supplement what we can’t.  Here’s the deal though.  Don’t limit yourself to doing only what you have tried before.  Try something new.

We had a party recently and some people wanted to see what we are growing.  I showed them and I apologized because my garden has some weeds and is a little messy.  I was kind of embarrassed, but they were impressed.  We have tried growing things that they had not seen in a regular garden.  Some of it was not too far fetched.  One guy thought the dill was asparagus.  I did have asparagus, but not right there.  We also had Kale and Chard, those were new for us this year.

We grow tomatillos, and have grown them for many years, but we haven’t met another person who grows them.  A couple of years after we started growing tomatillos they showed up in the stores – at a hefty price.  You wouldn’t believe how easy they are to grow and how vigorous and prolific those plants are.  If you like green salsa – grow tomatillos. They even do really well in pots.

When we were walking around, they saw the composter and the one friend was interested, and then he turned to me and asked, if I  still had rain barrels.  I said yes.  He said his wife was blown away the first time she came to the house and saw we had rain barrels.  Hey, I had them before Ed Begley Jr. We got them about 14 years ago.  I told him that my family grew up in the city, composting and recycling way back in the 70s, but I had the only rain barrels of the family.  I told him that we water our plants with buckets of rainwater when they’re full.

We try new things with our garden and our kitchen.  We discard the ones that don’t work out (Kale so taken over by cabbage worms got tossed this year and the Cauliflower just didn’t look nice), but when it works out, we’ll do it again and again.  Two years ago I grew yellow squash.  It worked out so well, I’ve done it every year since. My garden is an extension of my kitchen.  When I grow something new, then I have a new ingredient to work with, being a better gardener, makes me a better cook.

Hola Fruta: Decadance Without the Guilt

August 1, 2008 | by Deb Ng

 Hola Fruita

Hola Fruta sherberts aren’t your usual icy, fruity fare. It’s a creamy decadant treat – the kind you want to hide in the back of the freezer so the rest of your family can’t find it. I was all set to cut and paste from the press release – about how the product is all natural and contains nothing but good -for -you stuff without chemicals and ingrediants you can’t pronounce. Instead I just want to tell you Hola Fruta is good. No it’s wonderful, even for people like me who never really cared for sherberts. Man oh man, am I digging this.

One thing that bugs me about product reviews is that often times I’m sent a wonderful product but I can’t buy it again because it’s not available in my area. Hola Fruta is available in many nationwide chains including Shop Rite, Walgreens, Krogers and more. You can buy it by the bar, quart or by the pint- and you will most certainly be happy you did. My family tried both the mango and pina colada flavors and though the pina colada was very good, we loved the mango.

Do yourself a favor and try Hola Fruta’s sherberts. It’s low calorie, low fat and big on the good stuff.

Maine Food and Lifestyle

July 31, 2008 | by Diana

If you love Maine or if you’ve never been there, Maine Food and Lifestyle is worth a look.  This magazine is all about Maine, it’s food, it’s culture and it’s people.  There are plenty of recipes from Lobster, to deviled eggs to peach crisp.  There is an article about Barbara Ernst Prey a Maine artist, who also creates artistic dishes, with of course some recipes.  They highlight Freeport and it’s restaurants and cafes, describing their fare and even giving addresses, phone numbers and web sites. There are pieces on some very special food venues such as Massimo’s Cucina Italiana Restaurant in Bangor that serves Roman fare, and Schooner feasts which talks about Galley Cooking on a Windjammer.


Delaware North’s Tantalizing Cookbooks

July 30, 2008 | by Diana

   I received some cookbooks from Delaware North.  Delaware North is "one of the nation’s leading food, beverage and retail management companies, providing concessions, gourmet catering and fine dining operations at more than 50 professional sporting venues, entertainment complexes and convention centers across the United States and Canada.  "

When I read that, I wasn’t sure about this cookbook.  I wasn’t sure how it would fit Cookerati.  I thought it would be more coffee table book than interesting dining and cooking.  Well, they are coffee table like, but really they were impressive cook books.  They would make a great gift because the presentation in the book is beautiful, but also the recipes range from simple to  more intricate and anyone would be able to enjoy it.


Unexpected garlic

July 27, 2008 | by Robin


Like many people, I’m always on the lookout for food with health benefits.  And, like many more people, I absolutely love love love garlic and put it in practically everything I make.  So I was delighted to find out that not only does it ward off vampires, but it is good for you too.


Food News: Gluten-Free Educational NFCA Webinar – Tuesday, August 5th

July 25, 2008 | by Diana

Aug. 5 educational webinar to detail how upcoming federal rulings will impact gluten-free consumers and manufacturers around the world.  The NFCA has lined up a panel of experts to comment on the effects the rulings will have upon gluten-free product manufacturers, restaurateurs and consumers. The FDA us expected to hand down its rulings on Aug. 2nd, and the webinar will include content that details and explains the rulings and the effects they will have on this growing population.  Gluten-Free Webinar


Lloyd’s Barbecue has a Picnic Anytime Toolkit for download.Picnic Anytime


Boston Market lowers food prices and introduces a barbecue line. 

While food and gas prices continue to increase, Boston Market today is lowering the price of its five value meal-size deals from $5.99 to $4.99.


Quick Snacks to Stave Off Hunger

July 25, 2008 | by Diana

My kids are very active sports, band, friends, chores, life, school, etc.  Sometimes in between activities, they are hungry, but it’s not mealtime yet, so they make do.

Here are some things they make or have to tide them over:

I rarely keep  cookies, or chips, (although my husband does want chips for salsa when he can get it) or soda in the house, so those aren’t readily available.  If you only keep the healthier snacks around, that’s what they will grab. 

Popcorn, the whole grain snack food

July 24, 2008 | by Diana

My teens eat popcorn quite a bit especially my son.  He pops it right in the microwave in a bag.  I also have a popper I can stick into the microwave, plus you can make it the old fashioned way with a pot coated with oil on the bottom and in college, I used a hot air popper.  Sometimes the fun is in the popping process but the healthiest way to prepare popcorn is the hot air method because it has the least amount of calories and fat. Don’t tell the kids though, that popcorn qualifies as a whole grain product that is good for you (without a lot of butter or salt). Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel — the bran, germ, and endosperm.   To read more about how Popcorn satisfies the criterium for a whole grain in your diet, please visit



Lifeway’s Probugs & Kefir Products

July 23, 2008 | by Diana

ProBug_Lime For Healthy Snacks week, I’d like to introduce you to Probugs kids drinks and Kefir products.  Probugs is a drink for kids, that has the consistency of yogurt drinks, with natural fruit flavoring.  Even though my kids are older, they tried the Probugs drinks, enjoyed them, and went back for more.  They said the blueberry, had a slightly sour blueberry taste like you had real blueberries in it, not the fake blueberry taste.  The drinks came in individual pouches with a no spill spout kids could drink in the car or for a snack.  My kids had to try squeezing to see if they could get it to spurt (they’re teenagers, what do you want?) and while they could, it was much easier to control and didn’t cause a big mess like holding a juice box often does.  The pro bugs name stands for the probiotics contained in the kefir based drink.


Deb’s Fruity Yogurt Smoothie

July 23, 2008 | by Deb Ng

 Fruit Yogurt Smoothie

Many mornings, I make a fruit yogurt smoothie and sip that while I have breakfast. My son also enjoys it for a snack. What I like about this smoothie is that it has plenty of calcium and a couple of servings of fruit. Plus you can use any fruit you want – to make it your own. Here’s how I make it:

Combine all the ingredients in the blender and let it whirl. In the summer, I like to use fat free frozen yogurt or ice cream as it makes a great, healthy cold treat. I’ll also use a more kid friendly brand of yogurt for my son’s smoothie – though he likes mine too. In mine, I might also add some oat bran for a little fiber – and to keep me full throughout the morning.

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