Ann Patchett’s most recent work of fiction, Commonwealth is the story of two families: the Keatings (Fix and Beverly and their two young daughters, Caroline and Franny) and the Cousins (Bert and Teresa and their four young children, Cal, Holly, Jeanette, and Albie) over a 50-year period that spans from the 1960’s to current times. Read more
Raisinets v. Woodstock Organic Dark Chocolate Raisins
Back in 1971, a commercial for Goobers (chocolate covered peanuts) and Raisinets (chocolate covered raisins) came out with the jingle
Goobers and Raisinets, Goobers and Raisinets, the chocolate covered candies that pour..
that still pops into my head whenever I see a box of Raisinets. As iconic as that jingle is, I can’t bring myself to ever buy or eat Raisinets because of the ingredients, which include dark chocolate (sugar, chocolate, cocoa butter, milk fat, soy lecithin, nonfat milk, lactose, artificial & natural flavors), raisins, sugar, tapioca dextrin, confectioner’s glaze (lac-resin), and alkalized cocoa. Read more
White Bean Chili
I am the kind of person who really will drive hours for a bowl of chili. I’m not a 3-star restaurant kind of person; I’m just a food person. ~Nora Ephron
Chili is about as American as it gets; right up there with apple pie. An American dish with Mexican roots (“Chili con Carne”), chili has been around for hundreds of years according to the International Chili Society (www.chilicookoff.com) and probably originated with the Aztecs and Mayans although chili as we know it today was popularized by cattle drivers and trail hands during the 1800’s. Flash forward a few hundred years and chili is still a very popular dish in America although there are literally thousands of variations, as evidenced the Chili Cook-offs across the country. Read more
Nuttyness Marzipan Bars
Marzipan is often known as almond paste in the United States and is generally reserved for holidays or specialty cakes but only because Americans haven’t really discovered the wonders of this nutty, chewy treat. Traditional marzipan is made with ground almonds blended with sugar or honey but modern marzipan can also be made with pistachios or hazelnuts.
Chewy and sweet, marzipan is the perfect ingredient for a candy bar because the combination of dark chocolate covered marzipan is a contrast in flavors (nuts and rich creamy chocolate) and textures (hard and chewy). Read more
The McDougall Quick and Easy Cookbook
The McDougall Quick and Easy Cookbook is not just a big book with delicious low-fat recipes that can be prepared in less than 15 minutes, but also an excellent and concise source of nutritional and medical information written by Dr. John A. McDougall, M.D. and his wife, Mary McDougall. Admittedly, I bought the book for the 300 recipes that seemed uncomplicated and flavorful but then became focused on reading the single page tips that address protein, carbohydrates, fats, genetic diseases, acute versus chronic illness, reading labels, and more. That this book was originally published in 1999 gave me pause because it made me realize I didn’t know what I didn’t know. Some books are timeless; this is one of them. Read more
Ten years ago (2006) Lars Akerlund opened a coffeehouse on 58th Street in Manhattan called FIKA – a Swedish word pronounced “FeeKah” that translates into taking a coffee break to indulge in the ritual of conversation, often accompanied by something sweet or savory. According to Akerlund, having a daily FIKA is a way of life in Sweden and an important part of the culture. It offers a way of both relaxing and staying connected. And, in New York City who doesn’t need to relax and stay connected? Read more
How Not To Die
How Not To Die may seem to you a strange title for a book. After all, everyone is going to die eventually. It’s about how not to die prematurely. If there is one takeaway message, it’s that you have tremendous power over your health destiny. The vast majority of premature deaths can be prevented with simple changes in what you eat and how you live. In other words, a long and healthy life is largely a matter of choice.
The market is flooded with books on health and the latest fad diet, most of which have their 15 minutes of fame and then get replaced by the discovery of a new miracle diet. But, here’s the truth. There are four things that greatly affect our health: genetics, the environment, lifestyle choices, and medical care. We have no control over genetics and very little control over the environment but we have a lot of control over lifestyle choices and medical care. Read more
Garlic, lemon, and capers along with fresh herbs add an abundance of flavor to pasta and vegetables in this recipe for Mediterranean Orzo. Adapted from a recipe of the same name by the Purple Carrot, Mediterranean Orzo is a colorful dish that you would expect to be served at a cafe in the Mediterranean…but, without all the oil. Dairy-free, low in fat, high in protein, and with no added sugar, this plant-based dish is easy to cook and ready in less than 20 minutes. Read more
10 Better Halloween Treats
Halloween is that one day of the year when it’s all about the candy from the moment the kids wake up to that serene moment when you tuck their sugar laden bodies into bed. Although most people have to go with the flow and tolerate their kids bringing bags of sugary candy (is there any other kind?) home, there are ways to work around the system and provide trick or treaters (and your kids) with a delicious treat that isn’t loaded with garbage. Read more