Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Paraben in Tortillas

How do you feel about eating wax? Not the kind from a honey bee, but the petroleum-based substance. Wax does not rank high on my list of foods that I want to eat. Imagine my surprise when I found two wax preservatives in the list of my tortillas ingredients; methyl paraben and propyl paraben.

I began eating corn tortillas thinking they were healthier than the pasta I was eating. More fiber, more natural substances. I was wrong. So I changed my buying habits. I bought masa and started making my own tortillas. Masa is finely ground corn with a trace of lime. Don't confuse masa with cornmeal - they have completely different textures.

I found that since I began making tortillas from scratch, I eat fewer and enjoy them more. Now if I could only find a tortilla recipe that is baked instead of fried my life would be even healthier.

What's my cautionary tale? Always check the ingredients, even on foods you are comfortable and familiar with. I have sensitivity to malted barley and just found that product in a brand-name, all-purpose flour. What's next? Will I have to check the ingredient list in oatmeal?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Do It Yourself Bailout

I apologize for not posting for a a little over a week. More volunteer work. This time it was for the Accounting Aid Society as an income tax preparer.

After hearing stories of how people lost their jobs and are living with family members to get back on track, I thought that our economy hadn't taken a turn for the better.

Then I heard a broadcast on National Public Radio on "The Takeaway" program. It was about taking charge of your financial situation - the do it yourself bailout. Personal financial expert Beth Kopliner talks about determining what's important, setting priorities for saving and more in the weeks to come.

Today's program focused on little things you have done that have saved you money in this recession. For example, I have budgeted five dollars a week for food. That may not seem like a lot, but I actually have eaten very well on that budget. This week I spent 99 cents for a ten pound bag of Michigan potatoes, $1.58 for 16 ounces of mushrooms and 79 cents for a head of cauliflower. That comes to $3.36 out of pocket. The remainder of the money goes into next week's food fund so if there is a sale on cheese or whatever, I can afford to buy some.

What have you done to save money? Let me know, I'd love to hear from you.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Fascinate Test from Sally Hogshead

Like to take tests? Not many people do. Here's one from Sally Hogshead that let's you know what your fascination strengths are, rather what makes people listen to you. A very interesting premise. The test indicates your primary, secondary and dormant triggers. Try it!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Salmon Casserole Courtesy of Kiwi Magazine

This recipe is courtesy of the February/March 2010 issue of Kiwi Magazine, a publication dedicated to raising healthy children. As always, I modified the ingredients to what I had on hand and reduced the levels of sodium. And it's still a very tasty dish!

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cook 8-10 ounces of whole wheat rotini noodles with 1-1/2 to 2 cups fresh broccoli. Once cooked, drain the pasta and veggies and stir in 12 ounces of canned pink salmon. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Whisk in 1/4 cup whole wheat flour to the olive oil. Add 2 cups of skim milk to the rue along with a tablespoon of dried dill (the official herb of 2010), a finely sliced shallot, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and a tablespoon of hot sauce. Once the rue starts to thicken, remove the mixture from the heat and add 1/2 cup onion dip (sour cream combined with onion). Blend the creamy ingredients into the pasta, salmon and broccoli. Place mixture into an 8 x 8 inch glass pan and top with 1/2 cup bread crumbs. Bake for 20 minutes or until topping begins to turn golden.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Coconut Coffee

Coffee has never held any real appeal for me - unless it's filled with sugar and cream. Then it's dessert. And I love dessert.

Lately I've been experimenting with adding different flavors to coffee to make it more interesting. My new favorite is coconut. Add between a quarter to a half teaspoon of coconut extract to coffee. Mix in sugar and skim milk and you have a wonderful cold weather sensation that smells like the tropics with a promise of warmer days to come.