Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dedicated to Molly 4

The Art of De-Boning.

See the wishbone on the edge of the platter? It takes a few days to really dry it out, if you want 2 kids to make a wish on it.

Since I was doing this turkey so I would have lots of sliced and chunked turkey in the freezer for future meals of urkey sandwiches,turkey burritoes, turkey curry, turkey tetrazini, etc. I had quite a bit of turkey to take off the bones. After your feast on Thanksgiving Day, you are sure to have some leftovers. Sit down, relax and get your crockpot out! Take the meat off the bones and place this meat in storage containers to put in the fridge..Put all the skin, and bones and weird looking pieces of stuff...put it all into the crockpot. Add chopped carrots, celery, onion and a few cloves a garlic and a half a bunch of parsley or more and put water in to almost cover everything. Plug in crockpot and put on a few hours, your mouth will be watering in anticipation of some wonderful broth. After 4 or 5 hours, I strained all the stuff in the crockpot by ppouring it through my colander into a big kettle. After it cooled a little, I put it in big contaer in fridge. Next day, I skim off the fat and make muyself a hot bowl of broth. Yummy. Black pepper and pinch of salt if you wish. You can use this broth for lots of things....

After I strained all the stuff in the crockpot, I put it back in, add more water and put it on low overnight and in the morning I get some more broth. Now that is using the bird down to the last drop!

Dedicated to Molly 3

Are you the kind of Thanksgiving cook who just bring some sliced white turkey breast to the table, or do you present the whole beautiful bird in all its golden splendor, adorned with parsley and maybe cranberries or grape clusters?

When I was doing this I went out and looked for grapes at the store. I thought small clusters of red, green, dark purple grapes would look good nestled in the, you and your guests can nibble on them while you are carving the turkey...I only bought dark purple, the other ones were too expensive...but it would have looked so much better with 3 kinds of grapes. On this picture, there are some loose cranberries in with the dark grapes.

At the end of the day, if you serve this, your kids will know they just had a real authentic Thanksgiving!

Dedicated to Molly 2

Taking a peak in the oven ...almost done. The little pop up thing is up...but I give it more time anyway, just to make sure. Besides, the alloted time is not up yet.
MMMmmmmm.....!!!!!!! Now isn't thismore fun than a boring turkey breast. How are your kids going to know if they prefer a wing, a drumstick, some breast meat, or some really nice tender dark thigh meat??? Kids gotta learn this!

Dedicated to Molly 1

When I heard that Molly is planning to serve just a turkey breast for Thanksgiving, I gave her a little pep talk on how kids need to really think it is Thanksgiving and you do that by bringing the big golden bird to the table for all to see. Afraid of carving it? It is easy...go look on the Internet for instructions. I think it is cool when the dad at the head of the table carves it.

Now here is my story. I bought a turkey that weighed 15 1/2 pounds last Friday and paid $4.03 for it...a Norbest turkey. (Go to I let it that in its wrapper in the fridge for 4 days. I took it out and put it in a clean sink, and unwrapped it, rinsed it, patted it dry with paper towels, preheated my oven to 325 degrees and lowered the rack.(all these instructions were written on the turkey bag itself). I then prepard some carrots, onions and celery to put inside the cavity. I took the giblets (I always throw out the neck) and put them in a pie tin to bake (for the dogs). This is all so easy to do.

Baking a turkey is easier than making scrabbled eggs!

I put it in the oven and didnt' look at it for 2 1nd 1/2 hours. I used a glass 10 x 14 oblong, and when i checked the turkey, the juices were bubbling away almost to the top! So I used a measuring cup and scooped out half of the juices into a bowl. This juice/broth can be used for gravy. By the way, I used no slat at all...did not salt the bird, not even in the cavity. I did not slather the bird with butter.

You can see from the picture that thebird turned nice and golden..I did not even tent it with foil at the beginning like the instructions on the wrapping said to do.

SO...To Review:
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Rinse and pat dry thawed bird
after removing neck and giblets from cavity.
3. Put some chopped carots, celery
and 2 onion halves in bird cavity
(we do this for a nicer smell when it is baking)
4. Put bird in pan (tie legs together with dental floss)and place in oven.
5. Check on it after a few hours and
scoop out any excees liquid so it doesn't overflow.

On the package it tells how many hours for how much bird.
My 15 pound turkey took 4 1/4 hours.

The fun part of Thanksgiving is have kids wander into the kitchen and take a peek in the oven as it gets more and more golden!!!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Rachel's Recipe:Chipotle Smashed Yams

This is from my sister who really is a great "foodie". I tried the recipe and found that I have to modify it in the future to maybe 1/4 teaspoon sauce...and not any of the chopped chilis. This recipe was "out of orbit" hot for me and John. Wait. I just realized I did not put any butter in it..I wonder if that would have cut the heat a bit. Good things I have some more yams in the cupboard. I will do a re-make!

"Chipotle smashed yams"

Of course I can handle a lot more of the sauce and peppers..
but this is the basic.. it is so good.
2 large yams..peeled, cubed, cooked
2 tablespoons butter
cut up one chipotle pepper from can
use a tablespoon sauce from can
little salt
mash all together while yams are hot.. yummy..

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Cote d'Or Dark Chocolate

I was at BigLots the other day and saw these dark chocolate bars for sale for $1.00 each.
This is for 3.52 oz. of 86% cocoa solid chocolate ! Other bars of different brand names average $1.99 to $2.99 or more for this much dark chocolate.
The expiration date was 1/24/09 so I bought just one so I could open it and see it and find out if it was already starting to go bad. It was perfect. (By the way, if you have some chocolate slightly old -it'll have some white streaks and will be crumbly) you can melt it and make nut clusters or just plain chocolate drops...they turn out nice and dark and fresh looking after they cool.)

John and I prefer this dark chocolate, as well as the Lindt 85%. The Ghirardelli 60% cocoa chocolate is too sweet for us now.
During this time of Thanksgiving, I am very thankful for chocolate!
By the way, I went back and bought 7 more! Gotta have a chocolate stash, you know!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Secret of Life

At the end of the movie "Last Holiday", Gerard Depardieu asks Queeen Latifah, "Do you know what the secret of life is?" "What?" "Butter"

Friday, November 7, 2008

Individually Wrapped Prunes!

Now what will they think of next?! These will be easy to grab and throw in your purse on the way out the door so you can have a nutritious snack when you get the "munchies". I discovered these on the Internet...I have not yet seen them in stores. I wonder how much they cost. I wonder if the wrapping will give them more clout...and if kids will be more likely to eat them, since it is fun to unwrap your little treasure.

Why I Now Eat 9 Prunes a Day

Maybe I just am a "believing" soul, but this week I have added nine prunes to my daily food because lately I have read in several sources that they help build bones and are good for the digestive tract. They have lots of iron, too, and since I am usually anemic, this should help.

I have also just read(while I was searching for a good picture of prunes) that the boron in prunes inhibits growth in cancer cells in CLL (Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia) patients after treatment. Hey, that's my husband! He just finished treatment for CLL. Now I need to get him to eat 9 prunes a day! Maybe that will help put him into permanent remission! What good fortune is mine to have made this discovery!

Monday, November 3, 2008

How I Like to Eat My Salt

I am saving my iodized salt for...

1. Sprinkling on my own oil popped popcorn ( I never use microwave is always too salty and I don't think they use iodized salt). If you use an air popper, the salt does not cling to the popped kernels, so you may want to drizzle a little melted butter on it first, then sprinkle on your salt.

2. Mashed sweet potatoes! Just a touch of salt does the trick.

3. Boiled or soft boiled eggs...just a few grains of salt on it...Mmmm.

Iodine and Your Thyroid

I am doing research on iodine and iodized salt.

See the side of this page: I have a link to an article and its accompanying youtube video.

While at my physical therapist's place today, I picked up a "First" magazine dated 9/22/08 and, lo and behold, an article (on page 31) on this very topic was in it. I borrowed the magazine so I could type the concepts discussed into this blog. Here goes:

~One in three women is tired, heavy and blue as a result of a poorly funtioning thyroid. The cause: "Millions of women are unknowingly deficient in iodine", says Ann Haiden, D.O., an internist in Kentfield, California. "This mineral enables thyroid cells to synthesize the thyroid hormones that regulate cellular metabolism."

~So called "healthy choise" are contirbuting to the epidemic as wome cut their use of table salt (fortified with iodine) and consume more soy and cruciferous vegetables (which contain iodine flushing compounds) and eating more leafy salads (a source of the iodine-blocking toxin perchlorate).

~This means doctors are increasingly prescribing thyroid medication, but in many cases their patients could be cured simply by consuming more iodine.~Follow these iodine guidelines.
For most women, aiming for the recommended daily allowance of 150 mcg of iodine will restore energy, says Dr. Haiden. She advises taking a multivitamin (most contain this dose) and eating iodine rich foods like eggs, unpeeled baked potatoes, shrimp, tuna and cod. Women who don't feel better within a month can supplement with 150 mcg of iodine daily. (One product is Now Kelp, $3 for 200 tablets, at

~Boost absorption with Vitamin A. Vitamin A enhances the absorption of iodine and its ability to synthesize thyroid hormones, says Dr. Hayden. Sources include eggs, pork and turkey, as well as foods rich in carotenoids (which the body converts to Vitamin A) such as oranges, carrots, redpeppers, pumpkin, squash and yams.

Canned Soup?

I bought a can of this soup last week because it was on sale for $1.50 and usually it is $2.29.

Here is the problem, though. One cup of this soup (which will not really fill you up) has 870 grams of sodium. The salt that is added to canned food products, I have read, is never iodized salt. For thyroid health, you need a bit of idoine in your diet. So if you are going to have salt, make your own soup and add iodized salt.

If I ate this whole can today, I would have consumed 1740 g of sodium. Someone my age should have 1500 g of sodium a day. When will manufacturers start really caring about our health????

A Teaspoon of Salt

If you ever wanted to know....


AHA Recommendation

Healthy American adults should eat less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day.
This is about 1 teaspoon of sodium chloride (salt). To illustrate, the following are sources of sodium in the diet.

1/4 teaspoon salt = 575 mg sodium
1/2 teaspoon salt = 1,150 mg sodium
3/4 teaspoon salt = 1,725 mg sodium
1 teaspoon salt = 2,300 mg sodium
1 teaspoon baking soda = 1000 mg sodium

Can't Get THIS At A Restaurant

This weekend, I made the most incredible beef needed only a pinch of salt. There are natural salts in the beef.
Here is how I did it...

I got a chuck roast, very lean, 1 3/4 pounds for $3.50. I put it in the bottom of the crockpot. On top of it, I had one sliced onion, 1 diced tomato (I did not want to use canned tomatoes because they all had so much sodium), and a sliced red pepper. The I sprinkled it with black pepper, freshly ground. I put no liquids in at this point.

I let it cook on high for 1 1/2 hours or 2 hours or until it started to get browning on the edges of the meat and the sides of the crockpot inside. Then I added about 3-4 cups water and the nicest, darkest brown liquid resulted. Then I finished cooking it on high. You should never go more than 5 hours on high for a hunk of meat.
Then I strained it, and refrigerated the broth after adding a tiny pinch of salt, sliced up the meat (after it cooled) to save for sandwiches later, and ate the veggies. Yum. The next day, the broth had a layer of fat on it that I removed. I put the broth in a pot on the stove, added cooked kluski noodles (they are a thin eggy noodle)and sliced green onions and warmed it up. Delicious, nutritious John really liked it, too. What a difference from beef bullion cubes or even canned beef broth. A bonus to doing this is that you will experience wonderful smells wafting out of your kitchen (If you are a vegetarian, you may think otherwise.)

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Here is an article from LA Times that I feel is very important!

Salt and high blood pressure: New concerns raised

For years, Americans have heard, and largely ignored, urgings to cut salt intake to lower blood pressure. Some experts say it's time to get tough.
By Emily Sohn

October 27, 2008

Ah, salt. It gives personality to chips, balance to bread and flavor to scrambled eggs, guacamole, tomato sauce and just about everything else that comes in a can, jar or squeeze bottle. Salt is such a mealtime staple it can be hard to imagine life without a shaker on the table.

But as far back as the 1960s, physicians linked salt to high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Today, more than 65 million Americans have hypertension -- repeatedly high blood pressure -- according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and 59 million more have pre-hypertension, a level higher than normal that can also lead to health problems.
For decades, the American Medical Assn., American Heart Assn., American Public Health Assn., the Institute of Medicine, the World Health Organization and others have been telling people to eat less salt. Cutting 50% of the salt in our diets could save 150,000 lives a year, the AMA estimates.

These entreaties -- which have taken on renewed vigor of late -- have so far fallen on deaf ears. The average American adult consumes twice the 2,300 milligrams (about a teaspoon's worth) recommended for most adults by the Institute of Medicine and the Department of Health and Human Services' Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

To help people do what they can't seem to do on their own, in the last few years a consumer advocacy group and several medical organizations and health experts have been pushing for legislation that would regulate sodium content in the foods we buy.

They say that more than 75% of the salt we get comes from processed foods and restaurant dishes, making it easy to blow a day's allotment in a single meal without even picking up the saltshaker.

A McDonald's bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit contains 1,250 milligrams of sodium. Frozen entrees in grocery stores can easily top 5,000 milligrams. A typical serving of jarred tomato sauce packs more than 700 milligrams -- even bread often has a couple of hundred milligrams per slice.

A few researchers studying the link between salt and health say salt has been unfairly villainized. They argue that only a fraction of the population is sensitive to salt's blood-pressure-raising effects, that our fixation on salt distracts us from focusing on what's really responsible for our nation's epidemic of heart disease, namely, obesity. They say for some people, lowering sodium intake might be harmful.

But the vast majority of such researchers believes the science indicting salt overconsumption is clear. "There's very broad consensus on this," says Dr. Darwin Labarthe, director of the Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. "Excess salt is clearly bad for us."

Effects of diet

Strong evidence of this comes from a series of studies called DASH, for "Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension." Funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health, the studies set out in the 1990s to discover how diets affect blood pressure.

Blood pressure measurements use two numbers to indicate how hard it is for the blood to get through the arteries, veins and smaller blood vessels. A reading of 120/80 or less is ideal. Hypertension is defined as blood pressure that is consistently higher than 140/90. Pre-hypertension lies between.

In the first DASH study, for two months, researchers carefully controlled what went into the mouths of more than 450 people. One group ate a normal American diet, that is, one with typical amounts of fat and cholesterol. Some ate the same diet with extra fruits and vegetables. And a third group ate what became the recommended DASH diet: full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy foods, and low on red meat, sweets and saturated fats. All diets contained about 3,000 milligrams of sodium.

Within two weeks, researchers measured a reduction in blood pressure among the second group, but the third group experienced a drop that was twice as big -- a decrease of 5/3 mm Hg -- suggesting that a healthful diet can have a large effect on heart health.

Statistics zero in

Armed with that information, the researchers embarked on a second version of the study that aimed to quantify what salt contributes to the blood pressure equation. More than 400 participants ate either a regular American or a DASH diet for three months. For a month each, every participant's food contained either 3,300, 2,300 or 1,500 milligrams of sodium.

(A limit of 1,500 milligrams is recommended for African Americans, anyone middle-aged or older and those with high blood pressure and other health problems -- groups particularly sensitive to salt's influence on blood pressure.)
Results of the study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2001, were dramatic, says Eva Obarzanek, a registered dietitian and research nutritionist with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and a coauthor of the study.

"It showed in a stepwise fashion that if you reduce sodium, you reduce blood pressure," she says.

Specifically, switching from a regular, high-sodium diet to a low-sodium (1,500-milligram) DASH diet resulted in a blood pressure dip of 8.9/4.5 points. That's about the same reduction achieved by blood pressure medication, Obarzanek says, and it often takes two or three drugs to get similar results.How salt raises BP

Chemically known as NaCl, salt crystals have two parts: sodium and chlorine, which break apart when put into liquid. The chlorine component doesn't do much, but sodium is an essential nutrient that helps keep our hearts beating, nerves firing and body fluids at healthy levels.
When it comes to blood pressure, consuming extra sodium causes the body to retain fluids and boost blood volume to maintain an optimal concentration of sodium in the bloodstream. The heart then has to work extra hard to squeeze all that extra blood through veins and arteries, and blood pressure rises as a result.

The Salt Institute, a trade group in Alexandria, Va., does not think that salt is guilty of everything it's blamed for. "People don't know the whole story," says Morton Satin, a molecular biologist and director of technical and regulatory affairs for the institute. "There are so many questions left to answer."

Dr. Michael Alderman, professor of medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, is also unconvinced of the danger of salt for most people. "The body has a mechanism of maintaining normal blood pressure over a wide range of sodium intakes," he says. "It's a wonderful system."

Only in people whose kidneys aren't working properly, Alderman says, does excess sodium lead to a rise in blood pressure. Sensitivity to salt, he says, affects just 25% to 30% of people.

But for the majority of health experts, the data linking salt to hypertension are strong enough to recommend that everyone start cutting salt intake -- now. Even if salt raises blood pressure in only some of us -- and the concept of salt sensitivity remains controversial -- there is no reliable way to determine who those people are, Obarzanek says. (For a more detailed discussion of the science of salt, go to

The question, most health experts say, is not if we should lower our salt intake, but how. It's a tough question to answer because salt is a tough habit to break. Because the human body needs salt to survive, we appear to be born with a powerful desire for it. Studies show that infants as young as 4 months old prefer sodium-enriched formula. (Recent studies also show that even kids experience a blood pressure rise when they eat more salt.)

Hooked on salt?

And when people are given increasing amounts of salt, they rapidly develop a preference for it -- the saltier the better, says Gary Beauchamp, director of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia. It only takes a couple of weeks to ramp up the salty tooth, he says, even for people from cultures that have traditionally eaten a low-sodium diet.

Getting used to less salt, on the other hand, often takes up to three months, Beauchamp's research shows, and the process can be unpleasant. When you're used to eating regular potato chips, sauces and fast foods, low-sodium or sodium-free foods can taste like cardboard at first.

"In almost all the studies I know that reduce salt abruptly, people were very miserable," Beauchamp says. "In our studies, it is easier to go up than to go down."

But, he adds, "People can change," and studies suggest that maintaining that change is possible -- albeit not easy, because salt is so abundant and passes unnoticed in so many of our processed foods. "I would say in our society, it requires constant vigilance."

Changing our eating habits also requires willpower and motivation, which most of us don't necessarily have in abundance when it comes to salt. Surveys show that Americans just aren't that concerned about sodium, says Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer advocacy group.

And even when we do try to cut down, our best efforts often fail to make much of a difference. How many people know that there are more than 4,500 milligrams of sodium in a Dunkin' Donuts salt bagel or that two slices of Pizza Hut's Thin 'n Crispy Supreme Pizza have 1,460 milligrams? "Awareness stops at the saltshaker," Jacobson says. "People might say they try not to add too much salt to their food without realizing that the vast majority of sodium we swallow comes from packaged foods or restaurant foods that are pre-salted."

In fact, the saltshaker accounts for just 6% of the sodium we consume and the salt we add to recipes makes up just 5%, according to Jacobson's group. Twelve percent occurs naturally in our foods, and a whopping 77% is hidden in processed foods.

Regulations urged

In 2005, the Center for Science in the Public Interest issued its most recent petition demanding that the Food and Drug Administration act to regulate sodium content in processed foods. The group also wants warning labels on high-sodium products, sodium levels listed on restaurant menus and brochures, and target levels set for a variety of manufactured foods.

Some countries have already taken similar steps, including New Zealand, France and Ireland.

In the UK, which has launched one of the most massive sodium-reduction campaigns anywhere, the British Food Standards Agency puts strong pressure on manufacturers to meet sodium limits on 85 categories of processed foods, such as bread, cereal and pizza. The industry has responded with significant reductions in their products.
In Finland, which started its own campaign in the 1970s, labels must announce that a product is high in sodium if the content is higher than a set level.

Since the campaign began, Finns have lowered sodium consumption by an average of 30%. In that time, there has been a 10-point nationwide drop in blood pressure, more than a 75% reduction in cardiovascular disease in people younger than 65 and a more than six-year increase in life expectancy. (Several health measures were taken during that time, so salt reduction is a suspected, though not proven, contributor to those trends).

The Center for Science in the Public Interest is pushing the FDA to consider salt a food additive -- and regulate it as such -- instead of maintaining its current classification, "generally recognized as safe." The group is also urging the food industry to voluntarily reduce sodium in packaged products and restaurants by 50% over the next 10 years.

Such demands are not too much to ask, Jacobson says. Many manufacturers and restaurants already make two versions of their products -- a saltier one sold in the United States, and a lower-sodium one sold overseas. Kellogg's Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies and Special K cereals, for instance, have about 36% more sodium in the U.S. than in the UK, according to analyses by Jacobson's group.

Chicken McNuggets, French fries and Big Macs have 46% more sodium in American McDonald's restaurants than in British ones. People there seem to have adjusted to the reduction without difficulty.

For now, the only regulations that exist here allow "low-sodium" labels on products with less than 480 milligrams per serving. "It's moving in the right direction, but it's hardly enough," says Labarthe of the CDC. "The fact is, there is too much salt in our food and too much salt on the market shelf."

The FDA agreed to hold a public hearing in November 2007, at which the Center for Science in the Public Interest and a variety of health organizations and public health officials argued their case for more salt regulation. At the hearing, among other testimony, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health commissioner Dr. Jonathan Fielding reported that the county's rate of high blood pressure increased from 18% to 25% between 1997 and 2005, and said that salt regulation is a necessity.

As research continues and legislation lags behind doctors' urgings, consumers wanting to avoid salt are on their own.

It may be worth the effort, Labarthe says -- for your taste buds as well as for your heart. On a trip to Italy a few years ago, he and his wife stayed with a friend who was eating as little salt as possible for health reasons. She cooked for them during their stay.

"On the first night," Labarthe says, "my wife and I looked at each other with the same thought: 'What is the matter with this food?' " By the third day, they could begin to taste the tomatoes in the tomato sauce. By the end of the week, they didn't miss the salt at all, and were appreciating their food more than ever.

"Ever since," he says, "We eat less salt than we ever did."

Sohn is a freelance writer.