Save money, buy whole fish; then use the discarded parts for fish stock

One way to save money as prices rise at the supermarket is to buy whole fish and fillet them at home rather than buying more expensive fillets.

Filleting a fish was once intimidating but there are scores of videos online these days that can lead you through the process.

Once you’ve created the fillets, you have the head, tail and spinal column left over. If you just throw these out, there goes your savings from buying a whole fish. So why not make fish stock from them instead?

I did that recently with a salmon I bought at a local supermarket. I found this relatively simple recipe for fish stock using salmon on

You can use what veggies you find on sale, feel free to vary the recipe a bit. Also leave out the butter, using olive oil to saute the veggies works fine. I liked this recipe because it doesn’t have a lot of fat or salt in the ingredients it recommends. Remember to get the lowest sodium vegetable stock you can find too.

Here’s a short video taking you through all the steps, enjoy.

Foods cardiologists won’t eat — most of which I love

Sometimes it’s really not difficult to understand why I’ve had two stents in the past 111 years. The foods I always loved the most are the worst for heart health. I started this blog to find other things to eat, but when I see pieces like this, Cardiologists Share The 1 Food They Never (Or Rarely) Eat, I tend to feel very, very hungry.

Fried chicken is on my no-eat list again, after splurging on it during Covid.

The list includes donuts, big, fatty steaks, bacon, bologna and fried chicken! Indeed the only two things on the list that do not make my mouth water are breakfast sausages and margarine.

I grew up taking bologna sandwiches to school almost every day. In college, we would fry it, thinking that meant we were becoming chefs!

During the pandemic, I tended to leave my heart-healthy diet behind, thinking Covid would kill me before heart disease would. I ate a lot more cake and donuts, not to mention fried chicken, which a local supermarket has on special every Monday.

Eating healthy is tough. But it’s time for me to get back to it. My blood pressure rose to unacceptable levels during Covid as I gained weight. I need to drop pounds and get it under control again. Bye, bye fried chicken!!!

A five-ingredient salad option you may want to modify to cut salt

Salads are my go-to lunch most days of the week, so I’m always looking for new ideas to brighten up my daily lettuce. So how could I not read a story headlined, I wasn’t a salad lover until I tried this recipe?

It turns out the actual salad is called Fall Chopped Salad with Spinach, Butternut Squash, Apples & Cheddar on

Spinach is the main ingredient along with an apple, butternut squash and even maple syrup.

One of my salads with salmon, fat-free feta, mushrooms, tomatoes and a variety of lettuce types.

The full ingredient list:

  • 1 small (1 1/2 pounds) butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 4 cups) 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided 
  • ½ teaspoon salt, divided 
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper, divided 
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup 
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 
  • 8 cups packed baby spinach, roughly chopped 
  • 1 medium Honeycrisp apple, diced 
  • ½ cup diced sharp Cheddar cheese 
  • ½ cup toasted chopped pecans

I’d leave out the pecans, the salt, maybe the squash and certainly the syrup to cut the sugar. I’d also add some spring mix lettuce to flesh it out a bit. The apple might be a nice touch.

If you try it, let me know what you think of it.

Eggplant and kale parm, sounds intriguing

I’m always looking for new takes on classics that are low in salt, fat and sugar. This Food Network recipe for eggplant parm with kale thrown in intrigued me as a possibility I would like as would my vegetarian daughter.

Sadly, there is no nutrition information for it, but I’m guessing the cheese is high in salt and fat. The recipe calls for part-skim mozzarella, I’d look for fat-free instead to help a bit. One of the ingredients specified is no-salt, kudos for that.And egg whites are used instead of whole eggs, another plus.

The ingredients listed are:

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

Kosher salt

One 28-ounce can no-salt whole tomatoes, crushed well by hand

1 small bunch curly kale, stripped from the stems and chopped (about 6 cups)

1 cup torn fresh basil leaves

1 cup almond flour

1/2 cup whole-wheat breadcrumbs

2 large egg whites

2 medium eggplants, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds, ends discarded (about 2 1/2 pounds)

Freshly ground black pepper

1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, chopped

Instructions for preparing:

  1. Position 2 oven racks in the middle and upper third of the oven, and preheat to 425 degrees F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment.
  2. Cook the oil, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring, until the garlic just starts to turn golden, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the tomatoes; rinse the can with about 1 1/2 cups water, and add the tomato water to the skillet. Add the kale and basil, bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce thickens, about 25 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the almond flour and breadcrumbs in a medium bowl until evenly mixed. Whisk the egg whites and 3 tablespoons water in another medium bowl until frothy.
  4. Lay out the eggplant slices on a clean surface, and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Dip the eggplant slices in the egg whites, then press into the almond-breadcrumb mixture to coat. Place the eggplant pieces on the baking sheets. Bake until the eggplant is tender and the crust is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets if the top one is browning too quickly.
  5. Turn the oven to broil. Spread a little of the sauce on the bottom of a broiler-safe 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Arrange half the eggplant in the dish in as close to an even layer as you can without overlapping too much. Spread half the remaining sauce on top, then 1/4 of the mozzarella. Top with the remaining eggplant, sauce and mozzarella and the Parmesan. Place the baking dish under the broiler until the cheese is melted and browned, about 1 minute. Serve immediately, while the cheese is still warm. Sprinkle the top with the parsley.

Always hungry? Me too, here are reasons why

An old McDonald’s salad. This never filled me up.

Friends tend not to believe me when I say I’m always hungry, but it’s true. I can pretty much eat any time of day and not feel full unless I really stuff myself, hence my current weight issues. So this piece got my attention: 8 Eating Habits That Can Leave You Feeling Hungrier.

I do several of those, like eating fast and mindless munching, not to mention filling up on unsatisfying foods.

Thankfully, this piece claims to have solutions for these habits, so give it a read and see if it helps you.

Healthy eating 2023 — keep it simply

We’re approaching mid-February, usually the time of year all those positive New Year’s resolutions start to fade away. How many of you promised to eat healthier this year, making all sorts of elaborate plans on how you’d do that? And now?

Put the trimmed broccoli in the steamer basket, cover and set the timer to the recommended cooking time.
Want to eat healthier? Start with small steps, like steaming more veggies for nightly meals.

Maybe you went about it all wrong, reports the Washington Post. “The science of building healthy habits consistently shows that the easier we make something, the more likely we are to succeed,” notes this Post piece. Why do we overthink our plans?

“There’s a value we place in our society in exerting self-control and being in charge,” Wendy Wood, a research psychologist at the University of Southern California and author of “Good Habits, Bad Habits,” told the Post.  “Sometimes the easier something feels, it feels like you’re less in control, and it’s less appealing somehow.’’

Some advice for taking the simple approach:

: Healthy eating 2023 — keep it simply Continue reading “Healthy eating 2023 — keep it simply”

Sugar, salt limits coming for school lunches

Somehow making school lunches healthier became a political issue in recent years. The Obama administration pushed for less salt, fat and sugar in school lunches. Then the Trump administration did the opposite. Now, with Biden in the White House, federal regulators are ready to bring out restrictions on salt and added sugar in school lunches.

Associated Press reported that the USDA “proposed new nutrition standards for school meals, including the first limits on added sugars, with a focus on sweetened foods such as cereals, yogurt, flavored milk and breakfast pastries.

“The plan announced by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack also seeks to significantly decrease sodium in the meals served to the nation’s schoolkids by 2029, while making the rules for foods made with whole grains more flexible.

The goal is to improve nutrition and align with U.S. dietary guidelines in the program that serves breakfast to more than 15 million children and lunch to nearly 30 million children every day, Vilsack said.”

Unfortunately, the first limits of added sugars wouldn’t;t go into effect until the 2025-2026 school year, after another national election that could upend these plans all over again.

Children’s health should not be a political issue, just as the country’s obesity epidemic should not be a political issue. Both need to be addressed, and soon.

2023 search for a fast-food salad — Wendy’s offers one option

With salads off the menu at Chicago-area McDonald’s in 2023, I’ve started looking elsewhere for a fast-food salad that’s not high in fat, salt and sugar. My first stop is Wendy’s, which offers four different salads.

Two of them include main ingredients I don’t eat — the southwest avocado salad (avocado does terrible things to my stomach) and the apple pecan salad (no nuts for me either.) There’s a taco salad too, but beans also don’t do it for me and that one just seems like too much fat and salt from cheese to even consider.

So I tried the fourth, the parmesan Caesar salad which comes with a grilled chicken breast much like McDonald’s once served on its pre-Pandemic salads.

If you order it as described, it has 790 mgs of sodium in the salad itself and another 320 mgs in the dressing. That’s half a day’s sodium consumption for the average person and about all I try to eat because of my heart issues.

So I skipped the dressing, bringing my own oil and vinegar, and I omit the parmesan chips. That gets the sodium down to 650 mgs.

The Wendy’s app does show you real-time nutrition information as you change what you want on your salad, a handy feature.

Continue reading “2023 search for a fast-food salad — Wendy’s offers one option”

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