Fall catch up

Fall has hit me strong this year.

It’s been a pretty busy few weeks so I haven’t been able to keep up with posting. This week will be a brief recap of highlights as we round the corner into the middle of October. 

As September hit

We tried to get ourselves motivated to do a few of the local street fairs – but we ended up missing the Folsom Sreet Fair but did head out on that Friday before or some fun at the Prime dance.

But continue to manage to get a few urban hikes in and as a treat, we included an unplanned meal at Dottie’s True Blue Cafe at its newest location, one afternoon and managed to get seats with any wait! (note- Saturday afternoon around 1:30 – no line). We definitely enjoyed all the food from the grilled cornbread, sweet roll and crumb cake to the different eggs dishes. Even the coffee is good. This is not some flash in the pan cafe – they have held court in San Francisco as a local and tourist favorite for years. Word on up Dottie’s – the pastries as well as the entrees are large and go fast. If you do get in a line, let the folks know at the counter what pastry you want so they can set one aside as once they sell out – it’s out for the day. 

We did manage to check out some other local street fairs in September, including the Inner Sunset Street Fair which netted use some new food finds to try by local vendors including a new jam and a spicy garlic sesame spread.

Another fun find was these dolls

A pal of mine collects this genre of art representing the African in American arts and when I travel and find some interesting finds for him I call him up. This set of stuffed dolls match in style two smaller ones I got at an estate sale some months earlier. For now, they sit in the living room, although a few folks have referenced the movie Annabel saying the dolls seem to follow them.

I also continue to go through boxes from our move that never was opened as well as boxes sent back from CT. This little guy was an odd character that I remember seeing while growing up. My dad used to have him in different places so now he watches over us.

 

Bookclub, Sales & Food

Knocked out a bunch of new dishes this month including a baked ham with pan stewed apples,  For book club in October – I went with a new recipe for Scalloped Potatoes meet Potato Gratin.  I liked this modified version for its cheesy taste and less liquid than in regular scalloped version. 

Paul and I also managed to score big at the Timbuktu outlet sale with a few new bags. One we had been looking at online we got for less than 25% of the original price.! After the sale, we stopped by a corner Mexican place called San Jalesco we hadn’t tried before but had been around forever. We liked the food so much, we ended up back there a few weeks later to try it for dinner. Well worth the money and the folks working were a lot of fun.

I also found a new fun find at Costco. I rarely have purchased the prepared food at Costco, except for the roast chickens. But the stuffed peppers with ground meat and rice looked great and are a reasonable price. So I figured I would take a risk. My suggestion – do it. They are good, easy to heat up (just add some water to the bottom of the pan first) and are pretty well flavored so no need to “almost homemade” it.  Except maybe some more cheese on it, they require no work.

Had some fun with improvising a recipe for Monkey Bread. Which to be truthful, is really just an excuse to east chocolate, sugar, and cinnamon. But it works! Let’s face it – most foods that are this good – aren’t going to ever photograph that way.. so simply imagine how good it tastes. 🙂

Paul really likes Oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies – but they don’t really connect with me – so I decided to whip up a bar (pan) version. This adaption has all the same ingredients with the addition of chopped nuts. Making them thick, chewy and crispy – while rich, they tasted great. Perfect for a office party as they can be cut small but pack a punch of flavors. 

Palm Springs

We tool a quick trip to PS for a long weekend and managed to grab some perfect weather. Since it was last minute – we didn’t make many plans with anyone, but did grab dinner at Grand Central which recently opened ( and yes – go!) and got a peek at Arlan’s newest Daddy’s Barbershop.

Now, did you know – that in Palm Springs – they actually have a station on TV for dogs? Serious. DOGTV is a real thing an pretty much is hours of outdoor nature seems with natural sounds. 

More to come this week including our “On The Train to Reno” weekend

To be continued…

I realized I never posted about my Bear TEDxPtown talk here!

It’s Out;

Just when my life could not get any more interesting; I get asked to do an actual licensed TEDx Talk.

Yes Really! 

Sharing who I was has never been an issue. I learned early on, to be the best I can be today, meant often owning who I was in the past. So, in this case, it played out on the TEDx platform. I was one of the lucky 10 people invited to participate in TedxProvincetown as it held it’s first TEDx Talk series this summer and the links have finally gone live.
26 years ago, I left the East Coast for an opportunity to work in San Francisco in progressive sexual adult content mediums addressing often ignored, overlooked, marginalized and underserved communities. Men like me didn’t fit the then “gay male archetype”; who often struggled to find to a sense of identity and inclusion with so few role-models to draw from.  We often hear and read much on body-shaming and the harmful effect that it has left on women. My talk shares my experiences as a gay man, with features and a body type that refused to fit the “Ken doll” model and how men (aka “Bears” ) like myself created a place for ourselves to thrive as sexual, loving and inclusive beings.

So what happens?

26 years later I find myself talking about those very same issues to a wider audience! It is an honor to share my experience as a gay man on body shaming, invisibility, resilience, and lessons learned from a “bigger” perspective.
But it was an honor to share my experience as a gay man on body shaming, invisibility, resilience, and lessons learned from a “bigger” perspective with an incredible group of people.

Now What?

Visit my talk on the TEDxProvincetown Youtube channel: https://youtu.be/8J-gaUgztjs  , share it with friends, your schools or workplace. Also check out the full speaker’s playlist for all 10 talks. For more details about the talk and how to share it with your friends; visit my Engage Blog post on MentorSF.com

Curious about TEDxProvincetown?

You can find out more on its website www.tedxprovincetown.com or read more about the other speakers https://tedxprovincetown.com/tedx-provincetown-talks-performances/.
The hashtags & social media accounts for TEDxProvincetown include:
#TEDxPtown, #TEDxProvincetown
Facebook: [@TEDxProvincetown
Twitter:  [@TEDxPtown Profile, hashtag: #TEDxProvincetown]
Instagram: [TEDxProvincetown– profile, hashtag #TEDxPtown]

Big, Hairy & Gay; My take on life as a Gay Bear

It’s Out!! Kinda like me!

Just when my life could not get any more interesting with today being my birthday; I figured it was time to share this on BiteTheRoad. So what’s a day in my world like? Well you get asked to do an actual licensed TEDx Talk on being me; big, hairy & gay. 

Yes Really! 

As most of you who read this know, I was one of the lucky 10 people invited to participate in TEDxProvincetown as it held it’s first TEDx Talk series this summer and the full set of speaker links have finally gone live.

And Here It is!

So Why Did I Do It?

26 years ago, I left my life, commuting between Boston and Provincetown for an opportunity to work in San Francisco. I was asked to take part working in progressive sexual adult content mediums addressing often ignored, overlooked, marginalized and underserved communities.
Men like me didn’t fit the gay male archetype; who often struggled to find to a sense of identity with so few role-models to draw from.  So what happens? 26 years later I find myself talking about those very same issues to a wider audience! This partners perfectly with the push in my efforts with MentorSFCA.com to support people in makeing the “best fit” choices for themselves and creating what they need when they don’t see it offered.
It is an honor to share my experience as a gay man on body shaming, invisibility, resilience, and lessons learned from a “bigger” perspective with an incredible group of people.

But I Need Your Help

I am proud to have been able to address body shaming, invisibility and love beyond limits as part of the TEDxProvincetown program to audiences that extended beyond just gay men, including people of all types, ages, genders and orientations.

I want to spread the word spread. I am asking for your help in getting this talk out. Helping me share the message to all audiences. This talk is one of the first licensed TEDx talks that actually addresses body shaming, sex, inclusion, and visibility from a bigger-bodied gay man’s experience. Because of this, it has the potential opportunity to reinforce that desire and love can blossom no matter the body type.  The more views the talk gets, the higher it ranks and the better the chances that it gets picked up for wider distribution. I’m asking that you include the link below in any announcement lists, email, newsletters or websites in an attempt to get the widest scope.

How Can You Help?
Simple. Share the video link to your friends. Share it on Facebook, Twitter,e tc. Anywhere you think people will see it. Don’t hold back to only LGBTQ audiences. This is a message for everyone.

Sharing is as easy as 1-2-3:

1. Copy and paste the link below
2. Add some your own thought or comment that you think your followers and friends would get intrigued by and want to watch it.
3. Add a few of the “hashtags” (Those words followeed by a #) to help it show up in searches.
** Don’t forget youtube also allows you to use embedded code as I did above if you prefer to have the video sit and play on your websites too.
The link to my talk on the TEDxProvincetown Youtube channel is as follows: https://youtu.be/8J-gaUgztjs
Feel free to tag me in any social media you choose to share using any of these hashtags:
#TEDxPtown
#BearTalk
#WhoDoYouSeeNow
#MentorSFCA

My social media accounts include:

Twitter: @FVStrona,
Instagram: @FVStrona

Then What?

Whatch the rest. All 10 of the talks were outstanding and different so you may enjoy checking out one of the other co-presenters by checking out the full speakers playlist for all 10 talks here

Curious about TEDxProvincetown?

You can find out more on its website www.tedxprovincetown.com or read more about the other speakers https://tedxprovincetown.com/tedx-provincetown-talks-performances/.
The hashtags & social media accounts for TEDxProvincetown include:
#TEDxPtown, #TEDxProvincetown
Facebook: [@TEDxProvincetown
Twitter:  [@TEDxPtown Profile, hashtag: #TEDxProvincetown]
Instagram: [TEDxProvincetown– profile, hashtag #TEDxPtown]

How To Eat Healthy Anywhere

You have worked so hard on sticking to a strict eating plan such as the paleo diet. However, it can prove challenging when you need to leave your house, especially when it is time to go to work. At the office, it can be even more tempting when your co-workers bring in special food to share that may not be on your meal plan. Here are some helpful tips for managing these temptations while staying on track with your progress.

Pack Your Meals The Night Before

It is more than likely that you will not have enough time to pack your approved meal when getting ready for work. Therefore, make sure you have all of your meals, snacks, and drinks packed the night before so that you can grab it as you run out the door. You are more likely to stick with your eating plan if you have your food on hand to eat at lunchtime.

 

Have The Right Essentials

Back in April, we posted about some ways to eat better specifically when on the road and I mentioned that the right food containers make all the difference. My love of the Lock and Lock line always makes for some great handy food options. But other essentials make sense. A new favorite is the Yeti brand Rambler. This 18-ounce container is a perfect fit for most briefcases and bags, keep temperatures perfect and with the extra accessories, like the Rambler Chug Cap you can both the option of an open mouth container and the removable smaller cover. Great for beverages, soups, stews etc.

 

Politely Refuse

If someone passes you a slice of cake at an office birthday celebration, you can help pass it along onto another willing candidate. Make sure to practice an answer such as, “Thank you, but I’m all set,” ahead of time so that you are not caught off guard. There is no need to mention your eating plan at this time. You can also give an extra congratulations to the special person that is being celebrated. Sometimes it also means the “fake out”, grab a small plate fork, a napkin and put some food on it.. then as you work your way around the party, you can dispose of it. But in peoples eyes, you will have “had something” and allows you to maneuver out of those more pushy folks.

Stack Emergency Snacks

Portion out some small amounts of your favorite meal plan food that are shelf stable that you can keep at your desk or car. These can be eaten when you are stuck late at the office and get hungry. The last thing that you do not want to do is raid the vending machine out of convenience. Wherever you store these treats, whether in a drawer or in your car, make sure that they are in a sealed container. The last thing that you want to do is to attract ants, bugs, or mice to your workspace. I do this a lot, it may mean spending a few dollars more on some prepackaged snacks – but they keep longer that way.

Keep Motivating Pictures At Your Workspace

Have a tangible reward in mind when you reach your goal weight. If you plan on going somewhere special, you can print out a picture and stick it in a spot on your desk where you can see it frequently. You have worked this hard to stay committed, and this is one assignment that you can see through to the end.

Sources:

  • Bon Appetit | 100 Lunch Ideas on What to Pack for Work
  • Kyani | Eating Healthy While Working
  • Zen Habits | 17 Strategies to Stick to Your Diet and Get Fit

Office Picnic Saturday

Office Picnic Challange – because I love coming home to an “oh by the way”

Dino has it rough

Picnic panic defense! With us, both being on vacation for two weeks and then Paul had to work in Baltimore right after it’s been a busy catch up with on my end. Paul then reminded me that it as his annual office picnic on Saturday too. So I managed to get into the kitchen and make some of my favorites to being with.  Of course, Dino was hoping I would spend more time with him after his two weeks at Hightail Hotel, than my being in the kitchen while Paul was away – but he got plenty of snuggle time later.

First – the cookie!

Perfect for a picnic as it is for dinner is one of the favorites of his office is the variation to the Black Pepper Biscotti Ifrom Valerie Bertinelli. I have made this a bunch of times and its become a perfect goto not to mention is a great based to change it up from. In today’s version, I made one with chopped walnuts and almonds (because that’s what I have handy). I also used a bit of lemon extract in place of the peel that is mentioned in the previous post since I didn’t have any handy. But go easy on lemon extract, a little goes a long way. The second version is essentially the same but without nuts or almond extract. For this one, I amped up the vanilla, added some powdered ginger and a bit of homemade ginger syrup (see the recipe below). The third version was a Spicey Chocolate Biscotti with dried cherries. This was a made up recipe, so is in draft form but I liked the version enough to bring. I think next time it needs more cayenne (most likely 3/4 tablespoon in total).  Once it gets done I will repost the final version recipe.

Second – the fruit salad

This was an easy one Summer + Picnic+ Fruit Salad. I have been making this cool watermelon chili, but on a recent episode of Sara Moulton I saw this new version that uses Watermelon, Cantaloupe, Feta Cheese, and Procuitto. I have made it now for several potlucks and news this one would be perfect. She adds paprika which gives it this sweet smokey flavor for a different twist. Sara’s version of Two-Melon, Proscuitto and Feta Salad is really good as is. Try it first then change it up for your needs. At times I have swapped in smoked ham slices and or pepperoni in place of the prosciutto. I change up the nuts from time to time.

For this weekend version, I kept it pretty much the same but swapped out 2 tablespoons of olive oil with 2 tablespoons of a local Habanero infused olive oil. You will notice that this shot has a lot of extra marinades. That is on purpose. I like to much that I save it and use it as a salad dressing base or as we did on vacation when I made it. Just add more melons.

As an extra – cold marinated cucumbers and carrots

This is one from my childhood I revamped. its quick and easy to make – tastes better the longer you let it chill. But equally as good with a 30-minute marinade. Unlike the Pickled Carrots and Jalapeños I did before, these require no heating. Just chop, pour, season and chill. This one I eyeball for measurements – eventually, I will try to measure it out. Slice up some 2-3 English cucumbers on an angle, toss in come carrot slices (or buy them already fancy sliced), add 1/2 cup of white vinegar, juice of 1/2 lemon, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, add chopped parsley or cilantro, 1/2 cup of sugar and 7 or 8 ice cubes (1/2 of chilled iced water works too if you are short on time). Mix well and leave in the refrigerator 30 min to overnight. Taste to flavors. You want a tart, sweet, herbed crunch. Most fresh herbs work. As does add sliced raw peppers (hot or sweet), radishes, even celery.

 


Ginger Syrup 

Ingredients
  • Several large pieces of ginger, peeled and rinsed and sliced, approximately 4-6 inched or about a cup sliced.
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
Directions

In a saucepan – cook the ginger, water, and sugar first to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the heat to cool 5-10 min. Once cool, strain out the cooked ginger into a clear glass jar. add a few uncooked peeled pieces of ginger and refrigerate.

Note: If you want some extra zing, add cinnamon sticks or rosemary to the simmer and strain out.

Read, read, read. Time to prepare for my summer read list

Read, read, read. Seems like I always have something to read or listen to with me.

Reading tools readFrom the classic paper-based books I still buy, collect and read, to the digital versions on various e-readers that travel so well.

But even with an Amazon Amazon Unlimited  (What is Kindle Unlimited?  Kindle Unlimited is a service that allows you to read up to 10 books at once for one low fee of  $9.99 a month and you can cancel anytime. They offer a “Try it free for 30 days.”) and an account with Scribd which offers a similar plan (but with an $8.99 per month for unlimited reads of from what they have in inventory), and has a great blog at https://literally.scribd.com/ buying books add up.

So I started to give a few of the newsletter membership based book lists a try. The two that I seem to find the most offered from; one is BookBub. with a simple sign up, you get emails every day with reduced and free reads for most of the available e-readers. Members also have access to the BookBub blog which I check out on a regular basis.

The other list I get daily is from The Fussy Librarian which is also based on interest, and provides me with several suggestions that link right into the e-reader of my choice. You can also find out more details on its website thefussylibrarian.com .

Prepping for my vacation read

As I get ready for the annual vacation I always go back and review lasts years post to make sure I am packing the right tools for the trip and multiple e-readers make sense. When out on the bike, I tend to want my smaller Kindle Oasis with its small format and expanded battery. Poolside or on the bear I tend to use it as well. The rest of the time, I use my trusty Ipad Pro 9.7″ which does the job perfectly. Truth be told I also keep an older Ipad mini at my bedside too!

My 2018 Delemia; Read or listen

I have never been a big fan of audiobooks. I find that they end up putting me to sleep (even when driving – so not a good combination for me) but earlier this year I fell back into podcasts with a few new genres that really caught my fancy. Since I tend to be Apple product based. I use its native app for podcast listening but also recently downloaded Stitcher as an app alternative.

Note: Make sure you check your device features and settings – and know when you are streaming and downloading versus already have downloaded it via wifi or you will hit some pretty big data jumps as you get engrossed.

Prepping for vacation meant a search for more creative, provocative, compelling and thought-provoking listens. My tastes range widely which is definitely is reflected in my playlist and why am always on the listen for new ones.

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My Guilty Summer Listening Pleasure ; Podcasts from Hillbilly Horror Stories and Bawdy Storytelling

As many of you know, I have a wide range of interests in life and the latest is Podcasts

From my exploits in the kitchen, travel, teaching, and the infamous bookclub adventures. For several months, I have been spending more time walking Dino while Paul was laid up and decided to get on the Podcasts bandwagon. I had done some podcast work during my time in DC in 2016 while on detail to one of the federal agencies who needed some communications support. So was more accustomed to listening to work or political themes shows. But they don’t keep my after-hours attention for long. I needed something that hit close to my own style of storytelling.

So what podcasts am I listening too?

Several podcasts have captured my attention of late. My first opportunity came up because I wanted to catch up with the lovely Dixie and her Bawdy Storytelling series that also has its podcasts and Youtube page. (I recently had the honor to tell one of the stories hosted in San Francisco and truly enjoyed all the work that goes into her shows.)

From time to time we all find innovative and interesting work being done in the arts that need some support. We don’t live in a world where all art forms and content gets access to funds to keep them vibrant. Especially those that are related to the promotion and activism of healthy sexual expression. If you want to help invest some of your monies into keeping sex and art vibrant. Here is another way! Dixie De La Tour‘s Bawdy Storytelling has it’s own Patreon account. For the cost of a few cups of coffee each month – you can help keep storytelling accessible for those who can’t get to a live show!
Patreon is a great way to support the podcasts that you love!

Then a pal from Atlanta turned me on to true crime podcasts and one in particular,  Up and Vanished; a true crime “pod-u-mentary” series set around the cold case of Tara Grinstead from Atlanta. Here is a peek at episode one: Listen

The gravestone which still stands spitting distance where I grew up.

Well, that set the hook in deeper. After finishing it, I was hungry for more podcasts that inspired me to imagine, think, and do more than be just “lectured” at which some of the more news-based shows tended to be. So was searching around for suggestions on some of my other favorite themes such as Horror stories, paranormal, sex, the unexplained and of course one of my old time favorites; The Winchester Mystery House.

One of the suggestions was Hillbilly Horror Stories.

OMG! – after two episodes I was hooked on a new genre of podcasts.

Hillbilly Horror Stories is hosted by comedian Jerry Pauley and his own bright star of a wife, Tracy. Together they bring the perfect balance of sarcasm, intrigue, storytelling and no-nonsense “you are shitting me” humor that I so appreciate myself. Because I can be a bit “linear” I had to start with episode 1, and they have been keeping me company now several times a day since.

I have finally hit the newer 2018 episodes and can see how they really take pride in making content and technical changes based on feedback from viewers and reviews but still stay true to what the vision of the show is. On more than one occasion I have been caught laughing or getting that “chill” at the back of my neck, as I listen with wireless earbuds on- looking like quite the fool myself.

Now don’t get me wrong – the Hillbilly Horror Stories show doesn’t use humor to poke fun at the paranormal. Instead, they use it to give new life to often told stories that many of us had heard before and entice you to look up more on those you never heard before. Do they get it right all the time? Nope. But seems to me, they will be the first one to tell you that and then get an expert on the show to be guest!

Hillbilly Horror Stories can be found on most of the common venues for podcasts, has a great website (and store for those of you fans that like your swag) with older episodes listed as well as a Facebook Group page and Youtube page and can even be found on twitter under Jerry’s @TheRentDaddy profile. Like many other podcasts – they also use a Patreon account as a way to keep fans supporting it and offer lots of great extras to those folks.

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Smart Shopper: Healthiest Foods for Your Family and Your Budget

Eating healthy on a budget is not as difficult as you may think. There are many health-conscious options that provide all the fiber and nutrients your family needs while sticking to a budget. The dietary items that are a part of the five main food groups are all budget friendly, including dairy, grains, protein, fruits, and vegetables. Here are a few ideas on how to shop smart and healthy.

Vegetables

Canned vegetables are manufactured in healthy, safe conditions. Buying canned vegetables in bulk is a budgeted solution that is a great item for the family. Additionally, leafy vegetables often go on sale. You can blanch leafy veggies like kale, spinach, greens, etc., then package them in a freezer bag and store them until you cook them. Frozen vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, etc. are a great source for healthy eating as well. Also, fresh veggies are seasonal, and certain varieties, like corn, can be purchased at bargain prices during the summer. Want to make it even more of a social event for yourself? Check out the local farmer’s markets and when they happen and make an afternoon of it.

Meat Protein

Yes, you can eat meat and be healthy. It’s about how much meat you eat. When cooking lean beef, pork, and poultry, a single serving of these proteins should typically come in at 3 ounces per person. It’s common for American restaurants to serve up extremely large portions of meat. When in reality, we only need to consume a fraction of that amount protein to eat a balanced meal. As a general rule, 3-ounces of meat should take up the same amount of space on your plate as a deck of playing cards.

By portioning out your meals and planning accordingly, adding meat to your diet can be both healthy and affordable. A tip to keep in mind is to shop for sale items and to buy inexpensive cuts of meat and work them into different meals throughout the week. Burritos, casseroles, soups, and stews are all great options for using inexpensive cuts of meat like skirt steak, chuck roast, and chicken thighs. Beyond portioning out your meals, shop smarter by eating local, free-range, and certified organic meat when possible. Like produce, you can also shop for meat when it’s in season and pay attention to sales.

Other Protein

Lentils, beans, peas, and soybeans, are quality protein products, and they carry a long shelf life. Bags of protein are an inexpensive meal that can be turned into soups, stews, and casseroles, which can also be made and frozen for future meals. 

These types of proteins are perfect for balancing a busy schedule and meal times when you partner them with slow cookers and insta-pots!

Hint: before you hit those bulk bins, find out how old the beans are. Sometimes the ones that are bagged may yield a better bean. Don’t put your nose up at canned beans either. More often than not you can open a can or two and add them to a dish last minute without the long slow simmer that dried ones need.

Grains

While you are out shopping, pick up grains like cereal, rice, oatmeal, pasta, and brown rice. Whole grain and refined grain products also carry a long shelf life. When possible, buy these grain products in bulk to save money. Then, keep bags of trail mix, nuts, dried fruit, and whole grain snacks to munch on. Buy large inexpensive bags and break them down into individual bags for everyone to take to school or work. Combining grains and fruit is another great way to layer flavor too! You know one of my favorites remains those protein-rich “eat on the go” blueberry oatcakes that I have shared before.

Fruit

Watermelon Chili with all the fixings

Watermelon and melons are least expensive during summertime and fruits like apples or pears are priced low in the fall. You can also get good deals for fresh fruits at local neighborhood farm stands and outdoor market areas. Don’t be afraid to experiment with them. Taking watermelons and paring it with savory and spices changes enhances its sweetness. One of my favorite ways to use it is as a Watermelon Chili; served cool, with ginger and garlic, the thickened and savory chili is meat-free and allows each eater to custom top it themselves. Canned fruits and frozen fruits contain healthy nutrients that you and the household need. Canned and frozen fruits are available in price specials that are budget conscious, so keep your eye out for promotional deals. Many of them are great to add to doughs for a quick fruit enriched bread.

Dairy


Dairy items can be a health food challenge to keep fresh, but it can be accomplished. Butter, powdered milk, and cans of condensed or evaporated milk have a closet and refrigerated shelf life that is good for a couple of weeks, so those are good options to stock up on.

Yogurt and cheese products provide the body with calcium, potassium, protein, vitamins (A, D, B12), niacin, riboflavin and phosphorous. With growing children, dentists recommend dairy for growing bones and teeth— especially for fighting tooth decay.

Unhealthy meal items fail to provide the nutrients that the human body needs and they tend to be expensive. Nutritious meal options can be prepared quickly, easily, and with the healthiest foods for your family and your budget.

Now that you know how to shop smarter, explore our recipe index so you can start cooking.

 

 

Resources:

 

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From Writing to Reading to Cooking to Hiking…

And the weekend begins…

While it wasn’t intended to be this weekend ended up a full one. With several creative writing activities in the process, including new edits to the TedXProvincetown script due next week, a big meeting on Tuesday to prep for. I also have our monthly book club and trying to get some time to get Paul out and about while the weather was nice.

What to do on a day off?

Part of the reason I like book club is the research behind the books. So for me, a “Food Lab” is an essential part of the reading.  This month’s read was the prompt for a few vintage themed recipes to go with the book “As Meat Loves Salt”.

As a “just in case,” I also figured I would do my take on a parfait with Honey Citrus Ricotta & Marscapone cheeses layered with simmered honey citrus blueberry and strawberries. These would be perfect or as toppings for either of the other two dishes in case the dishes failed or were too dry (and I happened to have the fruit handy), so they were the first to get made so they could set up overnight.

 

In keeping with the Great Britian/16th-century theme,  I found a great cookbook well while at the bookstore over at Fort Mason that had 16th and 17th-century English recipes reinterpreted.

One of several that caught my eye included a Sour Cream Spice cake.  Originally intended for raisins,  I did switch them out for dried cherries but it was the only “change” I made. I found a typo in the recipe that confused cardamon and cinnamon, so I opted with cinnamon.

The Review:

Folks liked it. Super dense and moist, with a subtle spice taste. The batter is thick and must be over the size bundt pan I have so as with some older recipes I already do with. Next time I would only use 2/3 of the batter. It was too full and would have meant a much longer bake and be super dry. As it was this still was a little moister towards the inner ring. On Sunday, I toasted it for breakfast and really liked how that tasted with some salted butter on it.

 

The other dish was an Apple Noodle Pudding aa s backup if the cake was dry or didn’t come out. This version of a “pudding” uses egg noodles, apples, and dried cherries as its base with butter and sugar and flour. Once cooled, all it needed was a sprinkle of powdered sugar.

The Review:

Well, let’s just say – the bowl came back not only empty but CLEAN! I definitely will make this again and experiment with different flavors combinations. I am thinking rosemary and pear next time.

As luck would have it all of them came out quite good but ya gotta love those “Plan B’s” .

Sunday was a casual day with me in my head drafting, so Paul and I took Dino up to walk around Buena Vista Park.

Once we hadn’t done in way too many years before heading home for some downtime and before I grilled up some dinner and was back at it.

 

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Lemon Bars with an extra crunch

As promised;

For the Crust, you will need                 

8-9 graham crackers (each 2 1/2 by 5 inches)                  

1 cup of nuts. I used raw pistachios, which I toasted off first. But Almonds and Pecans also work.

Sugar  

    2 tablespoons regular fine white sugar

    5 tablespoon Turbinado              

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Pinch of salt                  

For the Filling                 

1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, room temperature                  

1  8-ounce container of marscapone cheese (or substitute another 8-ounce package of cream cheese)

3/4 cup sugar fine white sugar                  

2 large eggs                  

Pinch of salt

Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon (2 to 3 teaspoons zest and about 3 tablespoons juice). If using Meyer you may need to check for tartness.  This also works for Orange and limes

DIRECTIONS  

Make the crust: Preheat oven to 325  degrees. 

This is the Lemon version with the extra sugar layer crust

This is an orange version with the single step method crust

Note – this crust is made in two parts!

  • Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. You can fold the extra foil over the edges.
    • I don’t recommend using a foil pan for this. They are too thin and bend when moving. You want the solid stability of the hard pan. 
  • In a food processor, blend 5 graham crackers, 1/2 cup of nuts with 2 tablespoons of fine sugar until finely ground; add 2 tablespoons of the butter and pulse until it looks like damp sand.
  • Transfer the first level of crumb mixture to prepared pan, and pat in gently. Bake 6-7 min

Second layer

  • In the same food processor, blend remaining 3 graham crackers with the remaining 1/2 cup of nuts and 4 tablespoons of turbinado sugar until finely ground; add the remaining 1 tablespoon of the butter and pulse until moistened.
  • Add the layer to the prebaked layer.  Pat firm, sprinkle on the remaining 1 tablespoon of turbinado sugar.  Bake until beginning to brown, another 7- 10 minutes. 

While crust is baking, Make the filling:

  • Place the 16 ounces cream cheese in the (wipe processor bowl clean first) food processor; blend until smooth. Add sugar, eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice; blend 
  • When ready, remove the crust from the oven and pour the mixture on the top layer over the hot crust in pan; smooth top.
  • Return to oven, and bake until set (filling should jiggle only slightly when the pan is gently shaken), 35-45 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and cool completely in pan.
  • When cool, cover very loosely with plastic wrap; chill until firm, at least 2 hours (and up to 2 days).
  • Use foil overhang to lift cheesecake out of the pan. With metal spatula, lift cheesecake from foil; cut into squares.
  • You can sprinkle confectionary sugar or top with candied lemon peels etc.

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