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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New packaging, old lesson: Save bucks with some DIY in the kitchen

Quaker Overnight Oats and muesli

Quaker’s new Overnight Oats are the same thing as muesli. I’m sure Quaker’s tastes good, but I’d rather pocket the $1.99 and mix up the oatmeal myself. Photo by Laura Groch

My grocery store gives customers free samples of new products weekly. Two of them prompted me to write today.

They come from two companies whose other products I have used for years and know and love. One is Quaker Oats — which produces a most wholesome and economical breakfast food and baking ingredient. The other is Kraft, well known for its tasty cheeses and other foods.
Yet I can’t vote for either of their two new products.

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

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

Struffoli: Not all it’s cracked up to be

Struffoli

Mom and me and the struffoli: Sometimes traditions are better remembered than observed. (Photo by Laura Groch)

With most of the holiday fun and fuss behind us, it’s a good time to look back on tradition: what family rituals still work, which ones should be adjusted, which ones need replacing.

I offer you the story of the struffoli.

One December afternoon after school, my little brother and I returned to my paternal grandmother’s house, where we would do homework and watch TV until our parents came home from work to pick us up.

Throwing my book bag on the floor and shedding my winter gear, I was suddenly aware of something out of the ordinary. It sat proudly on Continue reading

Happy Pre-Thankgiving!

impossible pies

Besides bagels, cream cheese and salmon, we served Impossible Ham ‘N’ Swiss Pie (left) and Impossible Green Chile-Cheese pie at our Pre-Thanksgiving. Photo by Laura Groch

We just finished a casual but fun family gathering. What? When Thanksgiving is just around the corner?

Well, yes, because family and friends are often heading to other in-laws’ or other friends’ homes to share this holiday and/or Christmas. So our branch comes together sometimes before Christmas, or in this case, before Thanksgiving, for a get-together.

I’ve heard other folks have christened this idea as “Faux-” or “Fake- Continue reading

Top this: Slaw Dogs for the Fourth, and all summer long

slaw dog

Coleslaw might not be your first thought when it comes to hot dog toppings, but I find it very refreshing. Photo by Laura Groch

July 4 is a holiday full of patriotic observance, parades and flags, and rightly so. We also celebrate in that all-American of ways, by cooking and/or eating outdoors in a burger-hot-dog-ribs-chicken-picnic-barbecue fest. Also rightly so.

We’ll probably grill a few sausages and maybe a turkey hot dog or two. DH is strictly a mustard-and-onion topping guy, but I like to change things up. My latest favorite for hot dogs (and I might try this on a bratwurst, too) is a simple slaw. It’s Continue reading