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cheap and good

New Year’s Resolution: Gonna Eat Better

Well, it’s January 2 and I’ll bet there are already a lot of people out there who are despairing of keeping any sort of New Year Resolutions. It’s ok – you are not a bad person and frankly, there is no reason to drag those resolutions around like some sort of anvil for the rest of the year if you know, deep in your heart of hearts that it’s sort of a waste.

But here’s one that we work pretty hard at here at Chez Siberia that might work for you: Gonna Eat Better. (more…)

Aunt Toby Takes A Cooking Class

Anyone who knows me knows that Aunt Toby reads and participates in probably more blogs than she probably has time for, but what the heck. One of them, Fab Over Fifty has a site associated with it (interestingly enough, also called faboverfifty.com), which always has lots of terrific contests and giveaways (plus great articles about what women over fifty years of age are doing, creating, running, operating, challenging, combating, changing, winning and so on). I usually don’t enter contests but I did enter the one to win a free cooking class with Jyl Ferris, she of http://www.cookingforbachelors.tv/ . (more…)

Light and Good: Eggs

eggsLet’s put something to rest immediately (if not sooner): Stop dismissing eggs as ‘breakfast food’. In many other places on Earth, eggs are seen for what they are (concentrated protein) and are served at many different times of the day, with dishes to match. It seems that only in the United States is a dish of cold greasy fried eggs, with the ubiquitous accompaniment (now there’s a word) of fried potatoes, and some form of meat is deemed to be the very embodiment of breakfast. It is no wonder to me that there are people who will not touch an egg at all (much less before 11 a.m.). (more…)

The Name’s Bean — Black Bean

black beansWe’re talkin’ beans here, dried beans – navy, pea, kidney, garbanzo, etcetera, etcetera. But the queen of them all, the ones that tastes best and actually is the healthiest for us, is the little shiny black bean (aka black turtle beans). Beans are high in fiber and protein, phytochemicals and if nothing else, are filling. For more on health benefits of black beans, go here. black bean nutrition (more…)

Winter Picnic

coleslawGroan. Right about now, the thought of turkey anything is enough to make the residents of Chez Siberia lock themselves in the bathroom (and considering that there are only 1.5 ‘necessaries’, this could result in a rather interesting game of musical toilets..), but even the Siberians must eat. And, as luck (bad) would have it, The Boy had a birthday celebration intermixed in all this and asked for (hurrah!) a meal that actually hearkened back to a period when our family was…mmm…shall we say….how should Aunt Toby put this? (more…)

Ya Gotta Ricotta

white pizza3First, let’s get the housekeeping out of the way.
1) Ricotta is not technically a cheese. It originated as a way (whey?) for Romano cheese makes in Italy to harvest more protein out of the whey.
2) Ricotta is made by making the whey more acidic (either by adding something such as vinegar to it or allowing it to naturally ferment for a day) and then heating it up. This causes more protein to precipitate out of the whey. The liquid is passed through some sort of filter such as a fine cloth and the resulting curds (ricotta) are left behind.
3) Ricotta is NOT cottage cheese which is made from milk itself and is not cooked. One of the advantages of ricotta vs. cottage cheese in terms of cooking is that if you try to make things with cottage cheese which are heated, the curds will start to separate, releasing whey. This is why baked products such as cheese cakes, etc. are best made with ricotta rather than cottage cheese. This is one place where Aunt Toby (who is big on substituting) will have to draw the line. Don’t try it. (more…)

Cheap and Good: Crepes Three Ways

crepes1For everyone who lined up to read some sort of Julia Child Meets Aunt Toby at The Jumping Frog, I’m afraid you are going to be disappointed — the three different ways do NOT include anything French.

Sort of the cooking version of “I didn’t have sex with that woman.” Sorry. My bad.

But, typical for me. I discovered using crepes when I wanted to make baked manicotti and didn’t have any manicotti. Remind me to tell you about the time I wanted to make Szechuan Duck and only had turkey legs. (more…)

Cheap and Good: Roasted Root Veggies

beet saladTrying to get more veggies into your family? Tired of potatoes? Every vegetable has a ‘best way’ of cooking and for root vegetables, it’s NOT boiling. Boiling leaches a lot of the nutritional value out of the vegetables in any case. Trust your Aunt Toby on this one: boiled beets, boiled potatoes, boiled turnips is just not the heating method to bring out their best.

Roasting is the deal. Whether wrapped in foil on the grill or in a pan (with or without a beast on top of it) in the oven, roasting is good for root veggies for primarily one reason: (more…)

Forget Wall Street: Invest in Potatoes

(Caution: Image Heavy) We all know what’s happened to the stock market over the past year. No news there. A whole lot of people lost a whole lot of their retirement and goodness knows what else over the past year. A whole lot of people are going to have to work long past their ‘sell by’ dates just to get through.

What Aunt Toby is here to tell you is that there are other ‘investments’ that sometimes do a whole lot better than fancy financial instruments, ‘regular’ and ‘preferred’ and Class A, B or C.

I’m talking about…potatoes (more…)

Cheap and Good: Oatmeal Three Ways

Oats have a lot going for them, in comparison to other grains.

From a growing standpoint, places which ordinarily have not been ‘friendly’ to grains such as wheat (find a latitude on any globe where in your own mind – versus anyone else’s – you say, “It’s cold there” and you will find oats growing well there: parts of the former Soviet Union, Norway, Scotland, Canada and the northern US and so on). Weather conditions that make for poor growing conditions for wheat and many other grains (wet conditions, cool conditions, humid conditions, etc.) don’t seem to bother oats.

From a nutritional position, oats can more than hold their own with other grains. (more…)

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