Get ready for summer with a cucumber salad

Cucumber salad is one of my favorite summer side dishes but it’s a great side dish year-round too. I make it when I see cucumbers on sale.

For recipes featuring different variations of it read my past posts such as, A funky summer take on a cucumber salad; Tomatoes and cucumbers — two fun summer salads; Cucumbers everywhere — here’s 34 recipes to use them.

And watch this video for another cucumber salad recipe:

Expect food prices to rise an average 4% this year, USDA forecasts

Expect rising prices at the supermarket this year.

Food prices rose throughout the pandemic and this year will be no different, with average food prices up 4%, predicts the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Looking at specific food categories, the USDA sees dairy products rising 5%, poultry items 7%, cereals and baked goods 4% and restaurant prices 6.5%.

Keep in mind that assumes we don’t change our shopping habits because of rising prices, something we all should be doing.

Check my posts on trying dollar stores and planning every shopping trip to get the lowest prices, among my other suggestions.

Diet trends to watch for in 2022 — know what ashwagandha is?

Cooking Light has out its look at which diets people are quitting in 2022 and what new food trends to expect. Keto is out. Intermittent fasting is in as is something called ashwagandha.

This is what ashwgandha looks like.

Why is keto out? “The diet’s restrictive nature is one reason we think interest is fading. Another reason is that consumers are realizing they can achieve desirable outcomes without eliminating carbs,” the article states.

And for that ashwagandha — “Ashwagandha grew slowly in popularity in 2020 and 2021, but it’s going to be bigger than ever in 2022 so get ready to see this adaptogen everywhere. Used in ayurvedic medicine for over 3,000 years, adaptogens improve the body’s physiological ability to cope with stress and include ashwagandha, turmeric, holy basil, goji berries, and others—but ashwagandha is one of the most studied.”

That explanation left me scratching my head, so I went to WebMD to find out what this stuff actually is. “Ashwagandha is an evergreen shrub that grows in Asia and Africa. It is commonly used for stress. There is little evidence for its use as an “adaptogen.” Ashwagandha contains chemicals that might help calm the brain, reduce swelling, lower blood pressure, and alter the immune system. Since ashwagandha is traditionally used as an adaptogen, it is used for many conditions related to stress.” WebMD states.

So it could be another miracle ingredient that really isn;t much of miracle at all. Always beware of any claims that foods can do other than feed you.

Are bagged salads healthy? Here’s a yes, with lots of conditions attached

This year started with recalls of some bagged salads, so it would only be natural for people to wonder just how healthy such products are. A nutritionist tells Cooking Light magazine in this piece that they’re healthy but adds a lot of conditions to that recommendation.

The longer it takes lettuce to get from field to table, the more nutrients will decrease in it. So the processing time of bagged salads should mean they are less nutritious than buying a head of lettuce and doing all your own prep right? Not exactly.

“While bagged salads do experience more initial loss due to washing and chopping, research suggests they may make up for it when packaged thanks to an oxygen-reducing process called modified atmosphere packaging. Most manufacturers use to this type of packaging to maintain the color of leaves and to extend shelf life, but an added perk for consumers is that lower oxygen levels may also slow the rate at which nutrients like vitamin C and folate are lost.

“The thinking seems to be that nutrient loss in bagged salads is comparable, or possibly even less, than a whole head of lettuce stored for the same amount of time,” author  Carolyn Williams, PhD, RD states.

Should you buy bagged salads?

“With nutrient loss and bacteria risk comparable to what is seen in whole heads of lettuce and greens, most consider the benefits of increased vegetable consumption—thanks to the help of bagged salads—greater than potential risks,” she writes.

A tip to make roasted veggies crispier

Regular readers know I love roasted veggies. You’ll find recipes on my recipe page for roasted tomatoes, roasted garlic lemon broccoli, and roasted vegetables with pumpkin seed gremolata that’s great for special occasion dinners. So when I saw this piece from Eatingwell.com, The #1 Tip for Extra-Crispy Roasted Vegetables, it grabbed my attention.

This simple potato recipe provides a fun summer side dish.
Cornstarch on roasted potatoes? Maybe.

The secret is — cornstarch! Yes, I was surprised too. I use cornstarch primarily to coat my pizza stone so low-salt pizzas we make don’t stick to it while baking.

Keep in mind cornstarch is a refined carb, so don’t use a great deal of it if you’re concerned about heart health or sugar levels in your blood.

The story instructs:

Continue reading “A tip to make roasted veggies crispier”

Trying to kick sugar — here’s one no-sugar diet plan

I’ve written many times that of salt, fat and sugar, sugar is by far the hardest for me to give up. I tried a no-sugar challenge in 2020 but the pandemic and its concurrent stress wiped out that plan. So I’m always interested when I see pieces like EatingWell.com’s No-Sugar Diet Plan.

MY half slice of Junior's chocolate mousse cheesecake, Mmmmmmm.
My love of such things as cheesecake make it difficult for me to kick sugar.

The plan includes a week of do-it-yourself meals and is based on consuming 1,200 calories a day, so obviously for women rather than men who should consume around 2,000 calories daily.

Some of the items mentioned, like peanut butter energy balls, I would never eat because of my aversion to nuts. But some of the dinner main dishes, like Mediterranean ravioli with artichokes & olives, sound worth trying.

I’d suggest giving the menu plan a look and picking and choosing what you like.

Healthy fast food alternatives — not exactly but better than some choices

Lists of healthy, or at least the least unhealthy, offerings at fast-food restaurants seem to pop up every year. That’s because those places are ubiquitous. If you’re out and about, it’s hard to avoid them. Plus, if you’re on a restricted diet like I am, every once and a whole you want to feel normal again by eating where the masses eat.

My new tiny oil and vinegar bottles for eating out.
My tiny oil and vinegar bottles for eating out.

This year’s list comes from Good Housekeeping, The 35 Healthiest Fast Food Orders You Can Get at Every Chain. A lot of salads make the list, beware of salt in those and in dressings though. I usually carry my own oil and vinegar in small plastic bottles to avoid salt-laden dressings.

It’s fun to see the classic White Castle slider on this list. “You don’t have to feel bad about enjoying a couple Original Sliders from White Castle — it scores better on the “healthy” scale than even the chicken or fish sliders. But here’s a surprise: if you’re looking for a vegetarian option, go with the Veggie Slider over the Impossible Slider to consume less overall calories and fat,” the article states. It doesn’t;t say anything about having six sliders at a meal as I sometimes do.

Oh well, happy eating.

A culinary gem in Milwaukee — yes, Milwaukee

When I attended college in Milwaukee during the early 1970s, upscale eating out primarily meant German food in one of the legendary big-three German restaurants there at the time (Mader’s, Rausch’s and Ernst’s — only Mader’s remains open today).

Other than that, there were chain restaurants downtown like Ponderosa and Perkins.

But boy, have times changed. Milwaukee this year has nine James Beard Award semifinalists.

We were back in Milwaukee recently and some dear friends took us to Story Hill BKC, whose owners are Beard semi-finalists for Outstanding Restaurateur. The food was excellent. I highly recommend it. You may find yourself going off your heart-healthy diet while there, but it’s worth a splurge.

BKC’s amazing steelhead trout.

We began with buttery biscuits that were so flaky and buttery that adding the generous dollop of butter that came with them seemed superfluous.

Dishes here are meant to be shared, although you might want to go back to have a meal all to yourself sometime.

A pasta special with hollow noodles and a light mushroom sauce was so good, we were at a local Italian grocery store the next day looking for the hollow noodles (bucatini) so my wife could try to duplicate the recipe at home.

For me, the star of the meal was a steelhead trout served on a cedar plank with a waffle. Here’s how the menu describes it: “smoked maple mustard glaze, everything potato waffle, dill creme fraiche, trout roe.”

The depth of flavor of that dish was truly special. While we shared it, I could have eaten several portions of it all by myself.

Milwaukee’s restaurant renaissance is much in evidence in trendy neighborhoods near downtown like the Third Ward or Walker Point. BKC is in a neighborhood called Story Hill, not far from the stadium where the Milwaukee Brewers play, so you may need to search for it. The trip will be well worth it.

People still don’t get the connection between salt consumption and poor health

I’ve written about how food processors are not increasing the number of products they sell that have low-sodium claims on them. Maybe its because people still don;t seem to get how harmful all the salt they consume is.

A new survey found that while 64% of Americans know eating too much salt is unhealthy only 37% say they track their salt consumption.

You can read more about the survey — the site won’t let me take excerpts for my blog — by clicking here.

And if you’d like to know the difference between all the salt claims you see on food packages, check this Cooking Light guide to salt claims.

A WordPress.com Website.

Up ↑

2ND ACT Players

Intimate theater showcasing emerging talent

a2eternity

An honest look at living with bulimia.

Loving Leisure Time

This is how I spend my quality free time...

Cooking Up The Pantry

Feeding a hungry family!

The Little Home Kitchen

Big living from a small space

The Basic Life

Balance your body and your life with the alkaline lifestyle.

Italian Home Kitchen Blog

Italian Home Kitchen Blog

Fat2Fab

By: Raquel Moreira

Hipsters And Hobos

Food, foraging, recipes... simple, cheap & stylish... ideal for hipsters or hobos

Dietwise

Expert dietary advice from a registered dietitian and nutritionist

Emerging Adult Eats

Food for folks who have yet to figure it all out

arlynnpresser

Just another WordPress.com site

Compartiendo Mi Cocina

Sharing My Kitchen

Aromas and Flavors from my Kitchen

"Home is where the Hearth is"

sahamed27

The greatest WordPress.com site in all the land!