How to Create a Paleo Food Storage

Although most diet trends come and go, it is clear that the paleo diet is here to stay. Focusing on foods that are not processed, this diet delivers a nutritious dose of everything that your body needs for optimal health. Because of its reliance on whole foods, it can be challenging to keep your paleo-approved foods fresh. Here are three ways that you can solve your paleo food storage needs:

Stock Up on Non-Perishables

Although people generally think of highly processed foods as being the only non-perishable foods available, there are actually a host of healthy foods that you can keep on hand for months. Examples of paleo-friendly foods that are good to have around for your last-minute meal and snacking needs include nuts, trail mix, seeds, and dried jerky meats. Freeze-dried fruit also makes a healthy snack while delivering a nutritional punch. Having a host of non-perishable foods available that are approved for the paleo diet will help you to avoid temptation as you stick to your meal plans.

Canning

Although it may seem daunting, canning food is actually easier than you think. Once you get the hang of this process, you will love the convenience that it provides when you need a vegetable or fruit and do not have anything fresh on hand. Learning how to can will also allow you to preserve your fresh fruit and vegetables at their maximum ripeness. According to Regenerative, this is a great way to preserve food in season for later use. Building up your canning stockpile will give you the peace of mind of knowing that you always have a paleo-friendly side dish ready to serve.

Sealing for Long-Term Storage

If you are serious about your paleo food storage, freezing sealed meals in bags is the ideal way to solve your needs. According to Vacuum Sealers Unlimited, chamber vacuum sealers allow you to seal anything, including soups and liquids. With this method of food storage, you can set aside a day to make a variety of homemade soups, stews, and other liquids to store in bags. With the right equipment and technique, you can safely store this food for months. There is nothing better than coming home from a long day at work knowing that you have a paleo-approved meal waiting for you in your freezer.

Adopting a healthy diet like the paleo diet is an important part of helping yourself to have a healthful lifestyle. With a little bit of effort, you’ll be able to store paleo foods that you can have on hand to eat anywhere you go. Once you get the hang of storing your paleo foods, the diet will become much easier to follow. You owe it to your health to make a commitment to this nutritious way of living.

Small-Town Food Festivals in October You Need to Visit

Autumn is almost here, and there’s nothing better than welcoming the new season by enjoying the cool, crisp fall air while sipping some warm apple cider with your loved ones. Getting to your favorite festival is as important as choosing which one to attend. Make travel reservations ahead of time so that you can soak up every minute of seasonal fun. With a variety of exciting contests, shows, and delicious food selections to choose from, each of the following October food festivals is guaranteed to be a hit.   

Milford Pumpkin Festival

Pumpkins are at the heart of autumn, and the Milford Pumpkin Festivalwhich takes place in Milford, New Hampshire, from October 11th to 13thpromises to illuminate the night with the Town Hall pumpkin-lighting ceremony and other festive events. If you’re flying, Manchester-Boston airport is the closest to the festival just 18 miles away. 

Apple Scrapple Festival

The Apple Scrapple Festival on October 11th and 12th in Bridgeville, Delaware, is a great event for the whole family, whether you’re local or planning to travel there. For those planning to fly, the closest airport to Bridgeville is the Salisbury-Ocean City Wicomico Regional Airport that is only 33 miles away, so get your car rental reservations ready to arrive at the festival in comfort and style. If you’re going to have more than one driver, remember that adding additional drivers to a rental car costs more, with some exceptions

Buffalo Wallow Chili Cook-Off

Get ready to sample a wide variety of some of the tastiest homemade chili in the country at the Buffalo Wallow Chili Cook-Off in Custer, South Dakota. A rip-roaring good time is what you’ll get as seasoned cooks compete for top chili-cook honors. The chili is worth traveling the distance, with the closest airport 49 miles away at the Rapid City Regional Airport. 

Taste of Brunswick Festival

If you’re in the neighborhood or just up for an adventure, the Taste of Brunswick Festival in Alberta, Virginia, on October 12th, is an autumn delight. You’ll thoroughly enjoy your time tasting delectable stews in the annual stew-master cook-off, going on a hayride, and enjoying a variety of fun activities and events. If you’re flying in for the festival, the closest airport to Alberta is the Richmond International Airport, which is 65 miles away.

Festivals are the perfect autumn events for getting you into the cozy vibe of the season, and no matter which festival strikes your fancy, you’ll have a great time.

If you are looking for some seasonal fall food that you can enjoy at home, try this recipe for Sweet & Smoky Butternut Squash, Apple, and Carrot Soup.

Fish: The Benefits and Possible Risks

Increasing your fish intake is good for your heart and can reduce your risk of cancer. However, some fish can contain high levels of toxins. If the fish that you like to eat enjoys dining on other fish, their flesh will have a higher toxin load by the time it gets to your plate. Fatty fish and predators are the fish that have the highest risk of transferring toxins to you. These are a few tips to make sure that you’re getting the healthiest portion of fish.

Health Benefits

The primary health benefit of eating fish a few times a week, especially in place of red meat or fowl, is that it increases your intake of omega-3 fatty acids. This can reduce your risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. A diet that contains regular intake of fish can also lower your risk of cancer and of developing Alzheimer’s. Fish is also an excellent source of low-fat protein and can even help you recover after a hard workout. Many women who suffer from severe cramps or PMS find that increasing their intake of healthy fish lessens their symptoms.

The Risks

While fish are known for mercury contamination, it’s important to consider the food chain when deciding what fish to eat. While fish is the most significant food source of mercury, a diet high in shark meat contains a lot more toxins than a diet high in salmon. Toxins build up in the tissues of predatory fish, which are fish who feast on other fish. Stay low on the food chain, and focus on shrimp, scallops and other mollusks, haddock, and trout.

Good Fish vs. Bad Fish

To limit your exposure to these toxins, carefully monitor what fish you consume. If you keep canned tuna in your cupboard, make sure you eat more canned light than canned albacore tuna. In fact, testing indicates that albacore tuna contains more than twice the amount of this toxin found in light canned tuna. You can safely eat two to three servings a week of salmon. While wild salmon has a slightly lower mercury count than farmed salmon, both types of harvesting show low levels of this toxin. Many diners find that wild-caught salmon simply tastes better. If you don’t like the smell of fish in your house after cooking, try using farm-raised salmon.

A diet high in fish is generally a healthy choice, but your geographic location may make it difficult for you to purchase healthy fresh fish. Flash-frozen fish is often a more cost-effective option if you live in a land-locked region. While nothing that you do to a piece of fish in the preparation stage can reduce the amount of mercury in it, you can improve the flavor and texture of frozen fish by thawing it gently in a bowl of cold water over the course of the day. This will keep the flesh tender as it thaws. Then you can prepare it as you would any fresh piece of fish.

Here’s another article we think you’ll enjoy: Top 3 Seafood Restaurants in Alabama

Supper Time in Dixie: Southern Food You Have to Try in Alabama

The South is known for comfort food, and Alabama is no exception. The state has many restaurants that focus on cooking classic Southern dishes, like fried chicken, cheese grits, cornbread, and cobblers. There are also plenty of places to visit if you want an innovative take on Southern cuisine. The following information can help you enjoy the culinary offerings while visiting the state of Alabama.

Alabama Culture

Culture and food are closely linked in Alabama. Many recipes for regional classics have been passed down through the generations. Most popular Alabama dishes are made up of simple ingredients, like fresh vegetables, locally caught seafood, and homemade bread. This stems from times in Alabama’s history when funds for buying lots of ingredients were scarce. People had to become creative about making simpler food with fewer ingredients. The unique part about food in this state is the cooking process, which was brought in from the first immigrants to the area. Over the years, techniques and ingredients have changed very little, which leaves Alabama with a strong food-related heritage.

Southern Style Food

You’ll never look far for a delicious meal because Alabama is particularly  known for its Southern cuisine. Some of the revered local dishes include fried chicken, okra, and mashed potatoes with gravy. Many restaurants in Alabama serve classic Southern dishes with their own twist to give diners a unique culinary experience. Comfort foods like macaroni and cheese, collard greens, fried seafood, and cornbread are also common in many of the state’s restaurants. You can often find different versions from each chef who prepares these well-known foods.

Restaurants to Check Out

The state of Alabama has many wonderful restaurants where you can try traditional Southern food or modern takes on these well-known dishes. If you find yourself in the Birmingham area, you may want to visit Highlands Bar and Grill or Hot and Hot Fish Club, both of which create modern dishes with a Southern flair. The Gulf Coast is full of amazing seafood restaurants, like Fisher’s in Orange Beach. No trip to Northern Alabama would be complete without a visit to Simp McGhee’s in Decatur and Cotton Row in Hunstville.

 

One of the best things about visiting Alabama is sampling some of the dishes the area is known for. Southern cuisine is often known for foods that are cooked low and slow to increase the flavor. But there are also many restaurants in Alabama that take the state’s culture into consideration while putting a modern spin on those classic dishes.

Macrobiotics: A Holistic Diet Approach to Better Nutrition

When Diets Ruled The World

One of the challenges of being bigger than the nationally accepted BMI scale is that everyone is quick to offer you advice on ways to diet and  “loose” weight. Now the best advice always starts with you talking to your primary, skilled clinician or practitioner. That advice from “Great Aunt Sally” may sound good, may just not hold much “weight”. Get it <grin>.

Unfortunately, because of that, there are many diets that promise easy weight loss and a healthier lifestyle. Those on the menu have includes the Paleo craze, the “group loose” collection from Weight Watchers and Nutrisystem to the more vintage Grapefruit diet, fasting and more. 

Note: I don’t advocate or know enough about all of these to promote. Links are simply shared for your personal reading.

Diet Focus

One that I often heard about but always seemed like way too much work was the Macrobiotic diet. But since I have a pal recently starting it, it was a good reason to look into it more.

What separates the macrobiotic diet from all of these is that the macrobiotic diet promotes whole health improvement, including mental and spiritual improvement as well. This is a very general description of the diet. The macrobiotic diet is a very restrictive diet and takes effort and self-discipline to follow. It is more of a way of life rather than just a change in eating, often promoting a positive energy and a more informed state of mind. To follow a macrobiotic diet is to enlighten one’s life.

So Why Consider a Macrobiotic Diet?

There are several reasons why you might want to consider adopting a macrobiotic diet. Many people choose to start eating healthier after learning that they are at risk of developing a disease. While a macrobiotic diet won’t cure you of disease, it can improve your health and complement a treatment plan a medical professional has prescribed.

So if you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, heart disease, premenstrual syndrome, or are at risk for breast cancer, then you may want to try the macrobiotic diet. Beyond these benefits, a macrobiotic diet promotes whole-body health. Whether you want to lose weight, eat clean, or have more energy, adopting a macrobiotic diet may be able to help you achieve these goals.

How to Follow the Macrobiotic Diet

Macrobiotic foods include indigenous, local, seasonal foods that have been organically or naturally grown, processed, and stored. Some research indicates that the macrobiotic diet is good for the local economy because one of the biggest rules of the diet is to try to buy locally grown products. Besides buying locally grown products, there are a few other principles that dieters are encouraged to follow:

  • Avoid cooking with electric appliances.
  • Only use natural products such as wood or glass to hold and store foods.
  • Chew each mouthful of food at least 50 times until the food is close to liquified in your mouth.
  • Purify water before drinking it or cooking with it.
  • Only eat and drink when hungry and/or thirsty.

Some people follow the rules strictly, while others choose to be a little more relaxed. The rules are more about adopting a holistic and balanced lifestyle rather than losing weight.

What to Eat on a Macrobiotic Diet

The macrobiotic diet is a very restrictive diet. When describing the definition of macrobiotic foods, natural, wholesome, and nutritious are good words to use. The macrobiotic diet is composed of:

  • 40%-60% whole grains
  • 20%-30% fruits and vegetables
  • 10%-25% bean products

Just as some people are relaxed on the rules, some people are also relaxed on the included food groups. They may include seafood and/or lean meats as well. The foods should be primarily baked, boiled, or steamed when cooking.

The Overall Effect of the Macrobiotic Diet

Although the macrobiotic diet will help with weight loss, that isn’t the main focus of the diet. The diet is designed to help people adopt a more balanced, holistic, natural way of living. Adopting the macrobiotic diet means adopting a new lifestyle and in the process creating a new you.

Feeling inspired? Try these healthy recipes:

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Know Your Extracts: Sniffing out the Best Vanilla for Your Baking

Vanilla extract; the first thing I check on my baking supply list.

So we have another great guest post this week on the power of vanilla from my pal Anna who also wrote the “5 Ways to Taste the Mediterranean Without Actually Going” post. I love sharing BiteTheRoad with folks who want to write and talk about the various passions they have so was grateful she was willing to do this one. Ok, and truth be told it’s one of my favorite flavoring tools! Thanks again Anna!

 

Know Your Extracts: Sniffing out the Best Vanilla for Your Baking

It’s a question that seems as old as baking itself — chocolate or vanilla?

These two are the most popular cake flavors out there, and making a good chocolate or vanilla cake is critical to any baker’s repertoire. But we’re not here to argue. Whether as a flavor enhancer or the star of the show, vanilla tastes good, smells good, and has been used in all kinds of sweets for hundreds of years.

But did you know that not all vanilla is created equal? While it’s likely not shocking to learn that there are different forms of vanilla you can buy, it might be more surprising to know that some are better than others for certain contexts. This, as well as the overall quality of what you use, can have dramatic effects on what comes out of your oven.

High Quality Vanilla vs Low Quality

Know Your Extracts: Sniffing out the Best Vanilla for Your Baking

In general, “high quality” and “low quality” designations for vanilla are related to the origin and purity of the flavor, as well as alcohol content.

Imitation vanilla, on the other hand, is often made using lab-created vanillin (the flavoring compound found in vanilla). Generally, this vanillin is made as a byproduct of other forms of manufacturing, such as while processing wood pulp. While that might sound concerning, it is still perfectly safe to consume, though typically has a slightly less pronounced vanilla flavor and less alcohol content.

Pure vanilla extract is exactly what it says on the label; pure vanilla extracted from vanilla pods and processed into a liquid by boiling it with ethanol and water. Additionally, it is required by law to contain at least 35% alcohol content and 100 grams of vanilla beans per liter.

Natural vanilla is taken directly from vanilla beans and has the least amount of alcohol at roughly 3% per bottle. It generally has the most pronounced and “pure” vanilla flavor of the three liquids.

Vanilla paste is a compromise between liquid vanilla and straight vanilla beans. It is made from vanilla extract, adding sugar and thickening agents for texture. Most brands also add small quantities of ground vanilla beans to achieve the desired speckling.

Vanilla beans are considered the ultimate for vanilla in flavoring and baked goods. These are the real deal, no alcohol or additives in sight. Just a long dark pod filled with tiny caviar-like “beans” ready to add to any recipe.

When to Use Each Kind of Vanilla

Know Your Extracts: Sniffing out the Best Vanilla for Your Baking

While instinct may say to use vanilla beans for everything, this would not actually be the best use of resources. Imitation is, of course, the cheapest and most affordable, but the more pure and better quality the vanilla, the more it costs:

(Prices based on Cook’s Bulk and Wholesale Vanilla)

  • Non-alcoholic vanilla — $12
  • Pure vanilla extract — $13
  • Vanilla bean paste — $25
  • Vanilla bean pods (3) — $15

Aside from price restrictions and personal preference (for example, imitation vanilla may have a less robust flavor/aroma than vanilla bean pods), any form of vanilla can be used for any type of baking.

That being said, most bakers (and especially social media food personalities) prefer vanilla bean paste and pods for the telltale speckling that they leave in the finished product. This only works for light-colored, vanilla-centric baked goods, however. If you wish to use a high-quality vanilla in a darker product, save some money and use a good vanilla extract.

For bakers who object to using alcoholic vanilla in recipes that don’t involve heat (frostings, creams, sodas, etc.), non-alcoholic vanilla or vanilla bean pods are optimal.

Love vanilla? Try these vanil-licious recipes from Bite The Road:

 

Be sure to read the next BiteTheRoad.com post on other creative Vanilla ideas later this week

 

 

 

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Bite-Cap — get it, a Recap my BiteTheRoad week.

What a week!

From the launch of the #FoodMemories17 Guest series early in the week,  some follow up at my TechInclusion “TED” Style talk on Mentorship and LGBT at SF Armory building, getting a chance to listen to blogger and cookbook writer Cenk from www.CafeFernando.com talk about his newest cookbook “The Artful Baker”, dinner at some fun spots around town, a 5.4 mile local urban hike, an educational trip to the Academy of Sciences for a “Nightlife” event , a look back with a chocolate chip pie and wrapped it all up today with some killer themed food for the monthly book club (but that gets it own entry later this week). It’s no wonder I will be ready for bed early.  So here is a quick visual Bite-Cap…

Bite-Cap: 1 Food Memories; Telling Our Story

I had wanted to add a new feature to BiteTheRoad decided to use a more “crowdsourced” approach with a new guest feature called ‘Food Memories Stories Told. The overall idea was to offer a larger scope of unique stories through the common experience of food and eating and invite others to help grow it. (You can also read my initial post about Food Memories here.)

Yes, everyone is welcome to participate. From the novice to more experienced blogger, the home cook to the professional.  Each guest storyteller will share personal themes of food-related memories, recipes, moments of healing, love, transitions, and reflection and post them during the next few months. We will use the hashtag #FoodMemories2017 and all guest posts will be featured on the BiteTheRoad website and on its companion Facebook page Facebook.com/Bitetheroad. I will also share it out via my twitter account @FVStrona,  the BitetheRoad Tumblr and  Instagram pages and of course, I encourage you to share your post to your networks. Our first guest feature went live with Travis’s 81-layer Biscuits.

Bite-Cap: 2 Talking about Mentoring LGBTs in Tech at TechInclusion

I did a 10 min “TED” Style talk and used storytelling as a way to share about the importance of mentorships and mentors for the LGBT person in Tech. It was a great afternoon with so many very cool people present, that it would have been as nice to attend and not speak. I had forgotten how I enjoy the process of planning using the storytelling technique and coaching through humor. It was fun to be back in the San Francisco Armory in this other role, even it I always enjoyed it from my regular one. As a venue – they do a great job with hosting programs. One of the folks snapped a picture of me in motion and I dressed it up a bit and shared about my social media hubs as well. You can check out my post on Monday afternoon of the MentorSF.com/Engage blog to read more and see some of the slides.

Bite-Cap 3: Omnivore Books and The Artful Baker: Extraordinary Desserts From an Obsessive Home Baker

Omnivore Books, (Omnivore Books has a Facebook page as well) here the Bay Area, often hosts book and author events. My pal Brad suggested we check it out last week, and I am so glad we did. This months offer was the newest cookbook from Cenk Sonmezoy, the mastermind and home-schooled blogger behind the food blog Cafe Fernando. With cookbook author and blogger for www.EatTheLove.com, Irvin Lin serving as local Interviewer  – Cenk did some great storytelling behind his masterful cookbook and the powerful images he took himself in addition to the recipes he wrote. If I hadn’t already purchased my copy, I would have put this on my Christmas list. Its a classic trilogy of storytelling, recipe sharing and visual enticements.  The Artful Baker: Extraordinary Desserts From an Obsessive Home Baker is available at Omnivore or on Amazon.

Of course , hile I have finished reading the Artful Baker (Yes, I read them cover to cover like a novel), I did get inspired to pop out an old school Chocolate Chip Cookie “practice” pie. “Practice” as in it’s a recipe I hadn’t tried and it’s that time of the year when I start working on the menu for the Holiday Orphans party in December..

Bite-Cap 4: The weekend wasn’t all about food….

I did manage to get a 5.4 mile urban hike in on Saturday. This trail was a new one for me, but it has been part of Pauls exercise path previously, so it gave me a chance to explore parts of Glen Park that I hadn’t seen before. But I think poor Dino’s little legs might not have been as happy with the walk! I think other than the obvious – it’s what you don’t expect to see that always catches my eye.

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Get Your Food Storytelling & Memories Ready To Share!

Sharing Our Food Storytelling 

That’s right – starting this month I am adding a new feature to BiteTheRoad.com; a communal shared collection called Food Memories Stories Told 2017 that promotes other peoples stories of food, recipes, success and fails. Several folks who already read the blog, had commented about wanting to share ideas and food they themselves had but weren’t up to the managing of a full blog. So I thought it would be fun to allow   BiteTheRoad to offer the “food storytelling” equivilent of my work on Mentorsf.com for the months of October – December. Then revisit it for the New Year.

The Food Memories; Telling Our Story  and Food Memories Stories Told 2017 is part of the BiteTheRoad Guest Series and will be a open format that invites everyone to have a place to share that special recipe, moment, rememerance and even that food mishap still told when people gather. I plan to make super easy –

1) You contact me by filling out a short web-based form,

2) Answer a few strategic questions that will help me figure out what you want ot post, how will be the best way to collect and share it

3) I respond by email or phone with next steps.

Once your content is ready, I work with it to create a post like this and share it out on the BiteTheRoad website and on its companion Facebook page Facebook.com/Bitetheroad. I will also share it out via my twitter account @FVStrona,  the BitetheRoad Tumblr and  Instagram pages and of course I encourage you to share your post to your networks.

So.. Are you ready to share? Come on.. you know you want too….

Get started by visiting the new Food Memories; Telling Our Story How To Page for more instructions. As the posts come in they will be gathered and posted and can also be found Food Memories Stories Told 2017

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