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Buying It

Thanksgiving in a small way

ricotta cookies I have to tell you that Thanksgiving is NOT my favorite ‘family get-together’. My memories of Thanksgivings past are colored (stained?) by visits to a relative whose culinary skills focused on putting butter into everything and sending my gall bladder to an early grave. Other people watched tv on Thanksgiving – a much younger Aunt Toby was in the bathroom. I have never attended a Thanksgiving where a fairly large proportion of people were not suffering within 30 minutes of the meal’s end.

The first Thanksgiving was NOT like that. (more…)

Step Away From The Sugar Bowl and No One Gets Hurt

Last month, in what was viewed as a pretty shocking move, the American Heart Association not only connected heart disease with the intake of sugar but also made specific recommendations in terms of how much. AHA Announcement

“Most American women should consume no more than 100 calories of added sugars per day; most men, no more than 150 calories. That’s about 6 teaspoons of added sugars a day for women and 9 for men. The 2001-2004 NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) database showed the average intake of added sugars for all Americans was 22.2 teaspoons per day or about 355 calories….Soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages are the No. 1 source of added sugars in the American diet. A 12-ounce can of regular soda contains about 130 calories and 8 teaspoons of sugar.” (more…)

Cabbage Family Nutritional Smack-down!

All veggies are good. The more colorful the better. The less cooked, the better (steamed rather than boiled to death). The only problem with veggies, and this happens no matter where you live, is that everything is not available all the time. Nature of the beast.

What is coming into season now and will be available from now and through to early spring (thanks to refrigerated storage and the process of freezing) is everything from the cabbage family: cabbage(in all its permutations, combinations and theoretical geographic origins: Dutch, German, Chinese, Napa), broccoli, kale, cauliflower, various mustards, and Brussels sprouts. (more…)

Awwwwww — Nuts!

As long-time visitors to the Kitchen know, Aunt Toby takes a very focused view of food. Since protein is by far the most expensive nutrient out there, I’m always looking to get the most ‘bang for the buck’ when it comes to buying protein. I’m also looking for more goodies and fewer baddies coming along for the ride. That’s just the position I take – other people take other positions depending on their philosophy, religion, medical Rx and so on. (and by the way, this photograph is of cashews in their natural state before they have been hulled and roasted – interesting aren’t they?) (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…)

Oh, Snap!! (Peas, that is)

Although I’m really someone who likes to have food put by, I’m not into just freezing or canning just to freeze or can. The point really is to produce something that you and your family are going to want to eat later on. For the longest time, I made the big mistake with freezing veggies of blanching them far too long and then when we reheated them from the frozen state, they turned to mush. Made it hard to get the Little Siberians to eat their home grown veggies in January. (more…)

Loose Ends and Housekeeping

If you are (ahem) old enough to recall the Ed Sullivan Show, then if I mention the words “Italian acrobats with spinning plates”, you will know exactly what I’m talking about. For the less ‘elderly’ among Aunt Toby’s readers, suffice it to say that this family group had a hilarious act whereby they set up poles with plates spinning at the tops and they ran about the stage, back and forth, making sure the plates were spinning and not falling to smash on the floor. The big finale was their all picking up the poles and catching the plates. Voila!!

Well, sometimes, Aunt Toby feels that way about KCE. I have to make sure to keep some of the ongoing things up in the air and revisiting them from time to time before they..well, they won’t go smash on the floor, but the story may not be fresh or interesting any longer and all of my little buggers might lose interest.

So, this post is a bit of a catch up. (more…)

Cheap and Good: Pick Your Own Strawberries

As promised, the DH and I (along with The Boy) went to a local berry farm to augment the strawberry ‘stash’ at Chez Siberia. The DH picked 17 pounds of berries on Friday, most of which ended up being frozen and used as the starter for his strawberry wine (more on that another time). So, with the freezer inventory reading at the ‘danger, danger, Will Robinson’ line for strawberries, we knew we needed to get back to the farm for more.

Lucky for us, they open early, even on Sundays, so we were there in the cool of the morning this morning, along with a bunch of other families, out there in the field picking. (more…)

Strawberry Hot Flash: The End IS the Beginning

As promised, this is total immersion in Strawberry goodness and THE number one question (and actually, this is the gateway to all others) is:

What do you want to end up with?

This determines everything else. Opens the road or closes it. The first fork in the ‘decision tree’ (for the geeks out there).

Because strawberries are like – well, in their own fruity way, they are like potatoes: They can be baked, boiled, frozen, eaten fresh. All can be done to the same bucket of strawberries you pick, if you pick the right ones.

But if you ‘choose poorly’ (as the monk from that Indiana Jones movie put it), then your opportunities with the fruit become increasingly limited. (more…)

Radio STRW: It’s an All-Strawberries Weekend!!

So much to tell you, my greedy little buggers and so little time.

Local strawberry season is upon us (well, local to Chez Siberia – depending on where y’all are located, it may already be past – or in the future) and we must attack it like Lance Armstrong on a hill at the Tour de France. Time IS of the essence.

I received a communique (it must be an all-French weekend too) after yesterday’s strawberry post asking, “Aunt Toby – I only know how to go to the grocery store, pick up a box of strawberries and pay for them. No one ever took me strawberry picking; I was deprived as a child.”

So, I apologize; (more…)

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