Post-pumpkin, a few tasty ideas

pumpkin oatmeal

Pumpkin is a warm, welcome addition to your morning bowl of oatmeal. Photo by Laura Groch

Halloween is over, but pumpkin is still with us. And will be with us through year end. And really beyond, because pumpkin is just too good not to eat more often than just in chilly weather.

It’s nutritious, full of beta-carotene, vitamin C and fiber, and you can use it in myriad cakes, pies, muffins and cookies — none of which I’m going to discuss here.

Instead, I’m going to suggest a few simple ways to use the rest of that can of pumpkin you Continue reading

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Don’t fear the artichoke. Here’s how to steam and conquer it

artichokes

Don’t fear the fierce-looking artichoke. Instead, learn to conquer and eat it. Here’s how. (Photo by Laura Groch)

It pains me to see food misused. I once nearly keeled over while watching a cooking-show host take some very fine lobsters, remove all the meat from the shells, then puree it, mix it with other stuff and pour it into a baking dish. Oh! what a terrible way to treat beautiful, succulent lobster meat!

Similarly, I was shocked to see on another show a vendor at an open-air market slicing all the leaves off an artichoke to reach the tender (and yes, delicious) heart. Oh! what a waste of tasty leaves!

But I can understand it — somewhat. You may be familiar with jarred artichoke hearts, Continue reading

Safe at home: Those pesky ‘best by’ dates

"Best by" dates aren't absolutes. Most canned foods are perfectly fine for up to five years. (Photo by Laura Groch)

“Best by” dates aren’t absolutes. Most canned foods are perfectly fine for up to five years. (Photo by Laura Groch)

 

For the past three months, I’ve been feeding myself poison.

That is, if you count “Use by,” “Best by” and “Sell by” dates as absolutes when it comes to wholesome food.

Obviously, I don’t.

We’ve recently seen stories about how wasteful Americans are with their food, and how Continue reading

Valentine’s Day cookies spread the love, too

Toffee Bars, Almond Roca Bars

Almond Roca Bars or Toffee Bars are a sweet way to show the love. Photo by Laura Groch

December was a bit of an unsettled month for us. A death in the family meant our Christmas celebrations were low-key.

Homebaked cookies are my usual contribution to holiday cheer. But I didn’t bake for myself, or friends, or family. Missed the annual cookie exchange, too.

But we did have some very nice homemade cookies at the funeral reception, Continue reading

It’s bean time again, plus green

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Lima bean poppers from the San Dieguito Heritage Museum’s Lima Bean Festival 2015. Photo by Laura Groch

The San Dieguito Heritage Museum in Encinitas is holding its free annual festival  from noon-4 p.m. Oct. 8. That’s this Saturday.

I’ll be helping judge the entries (and entrees), which will have a broader reach now, since the festival has morphed from being all about the limas to a Beans and Greens theme this year. Even when it was limited to limas, that didn’t stop people from coming up with lima Continue reading

Happy birthday freebies to you!

birthdaycookie copy

Free cowboy cookie from Black Angus. (Sorry, we had blown out the candle by the time we rememberd to take a photo.) This was in addition to a free birthday dinner, available by signing up on the restaurant website. (Sorry, the dinner was already eaten, too.) Photo by Laura Groch

Who doesn’t like free stuff on your birthday? This family sure does. Let’s see — on or around my birthday recently, I got a free steak dinner from Black Angus, a free seafood meal from Rubio’s, a free chicken dinner from El Pollo Loco — are you starting to see a pattern here?

 

If you sign up for the birthday gig — sometimes it’s called “the birthday club” — at your Continue reading

App for dinner: Put antipasto into play

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Create an appetizing antipasto-for-dinner plate using goodies from the fridge, and “special” snacks from the pantry.

Sometimes you get tired of figuring out what’s for dinner. Sometimes  it’s just too dang hot to cook (or even think about cooking). Sometimes you aren’t up to preparing a meal, but don’t want to drag yourself out to a restaurant (or even to the phone to order in).

So — what’s for dinner? Time to put out an appetizing dinner of appetizers. More Continue reading