Food & Drink

Aug
23

Foodie Friday: Food As Art

by Christine


{Huckleberry Pancakes}

Some friends see food as nutrition while others are looking for comfort. We all have that friend who is indifferent to food and sometimes actually forgets to eat? Or the other friend who sees every social get together as an opportunity to eat. In my family we blame any weight gain on our "food issues". Who knew food had issues?

But have you ever-viewed food as art? These days I bounce back and forth between thinking of cooking and baking as a chemistry project and wanting to lovingly prepare a masterpiece of sight, texture, smell and taste for my family and friends. I will digress here and explain the chemistry project reference. It seems that as I age I am finding it important to learn those things I should have learned in school. Back in the day, I didn't see the relevance of science, math or geography. As an example of my ever increasing enlightenment, when I went into sales, I was paid based on a complicated formula of percentages...boy, did I learn percentages fast! So in addition to marveling at the chemical reactions of food such as what happens to fish when making Ceviche, I am thinking of food as art. 

I work to prepare food that encompasses vision, talent, effort and love. What makes food pleasing to the sight? I ask you; what is more pleasing, a large mound of food or a colorfully arranged serving on a plate. In the case of food, more is not necessarily the most inviting. When I was working with hospice patients, I saw that the sight of large portions of food on their plate actually made them ill. I learned that serving smaller portions of more attractive food was welcomed. If you find your aging parent is indifferent to food, try smaller portions with a little garnish. A sprig of mint, a yellow nasturtium or a few leaves of basil looks inviting and smells terrific...and is all editable.

As you continue to prepare food that nourish the body, try preparing and presenting food that nourishes the soul. It is easier than you think.  

RECIPE:

While in Montana, I learned that a huckleberry is actually a fruit, not just the name of a cartoon character. These little berries are sought after by bears and human beings alike. The berries are purple with a sweet to tart taste. Huckleberries are my new favorite berries. You can do tons of things with them including making a huckleberry lemon drop martini but below is my recipe for huckleberry pancakes. Enjoy!

Huckleberry Pancakes

Ingredients:

1 1/2 Cup of all-purpose flour
3 1/2 Teaspoons of baking powder
1 Teaspoon of salt
1 Tablespoon of white sugar
1 1/4 Milk
1 Egg
3 Tablespoons of melted butter
1 Cup of Huckleberries

Instructions:

1. In a large bowl, shift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
2. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg and melted butter.
3. Mix until smooth.
4. Add Huckleberries.
5. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat.
6. Pour or scoop 1/4 cup of the batter per pancake onto the griddle.
7. Brown on both sides and serve hot with fresh huckleberries and syrup. 
 

 

 

Aug
16

Foodie Friday: Creating Light Summertime Meals As We Age

by Christine

Growing up, my family lived in Jacksonville in a classic 1950's mid-century Florida style home. I am sure you can visualize the look complete with jalousie windows and terrazzo floors. As with most homes in Florida during that period, it was not air-conditioned and during late afternoons it was as hot inside the house as it was outside only cooling down after the sunset. I remember my mother frying chicken early in the morning before temperatures became unbearable. Today with air-conditioning we can cook anything anytime during the day without worrying about cooking in a kitchen that feels like a blast furnace. 

Even though our home is air-conditioned, I change up our menu during the summer, preparing lighter dishes that include seasonal salads and fruit. I don't like feeling "full" when it is 90° outside. If you are finding it challenging to get your mom or dad to eat, you might take a look at what they are eating. You may have been a "meat and potato" family growing up but as we age the body doesn't process food as easily particularly at night. Now I am not suggesting that you try to convince your 80-year-old parents that sushi dishes like Tako Nigiri (octopus) or Ankimo (monkfish liver) are the perfect summer meal but a chicken salad or a steak salad could hit the mark. It just requires everyone thinking a little differently. 

As my mom aged, she started eating her big meal in the middle of the day and had what we traditionally think of as lunch foods for dinner. A half of sandwich, a salad or a bowl of soup was plenty for her given her activity level. Plus she was able to sleep better since her body wasn't trying to digest a big meal. Below is my recipe for chicken salad. My mom and grandkids love this recipe and I think part of the appeal is that it is the perfect summer food. What is your perfect summer meal? Do you eat lighter during the summer? I would love to know. 

RECIPE:

I think part of the resistance to chicken salad as a dinner meal is that it is closely associated with the "Ladies Luncheon" set. Fortunately it is high in protein and can be tricked out to customize the taste. If you like a little crunch but aren't a big fan of celery, you could substitute water chestnuts or carrots. I am not a big on fruit in my chicken salad but grapes, cranberry or blueberries adds a little sweetness. My recipe calls for the contrast of crunch vs. sweet. What is your favorite chicken salad recipe?

Dinner Chicken Salad

Ingredients:

1 Whole chicken or 3 large chicken breast *
2 Stalks of celery, chopped ** 
1 Mild white onion, chopped
2 Cups of grapes, quartered
1/2 Cup of mayonnaise
1/2 Cup of Greek yogurt
2 Tablespoons of dill or If you have fresh dill uses 1/8 of a cup
1/2 Teaspoon for powered mustard
Salt and pepper for taste

Instructions:

1. Place chicken pieces in a pot and cover with water. Make sure that the water is about 1 inch above the chicken. 
2. Boil chicken for about 45 minutes
3. Remove chicken from the broth and cool on a plate; set aside.
4. Chop celery, onion and grapes and set aside
5. Pull chicken off the bone and cube.
6.. In a small bowl add mayonnaise and Greek yogurt; mix with whisk
7. Add powered mustard to mayonnaise and Greek yogurt mixture
8. Add dill and mix
9. Salt and pepper mixture to taste
10. In a large bowl combine chicken, celery, onion and grapes
11. Pour over mayonnaise mixture over the chicken and mix
12. Serve on a bed of lettuce with sweet pickles, green olives and whole grapes

*I prefer white meat so use only the chicken breast.
**You may substitute 1-8 ounce can of water chestnuts, diced if your prefer.
***If you want to make broth from the liquid from the chicken, first brown 3 cloves of garlic in two tablespoons of olive oil, carefully add about 2 quarts of water, add celery tops from two stalks of celery and 1/3 of an onion. Add 3 pepper corn and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Then add chicken to the liquid and boil for 45 minutes.

 

 

Aug
09

Foodie Friday: Cooking For One

by Christine


{Cheese Soufflé For One}

My mother was a great cook in "her day" but after my father died she lost interest in cooking and started substituting snacks for "real" food. I understand the impulse to just grab a pint of Ben and Jerry's ice cream and call it an evening but I also know that nutrition becomes even more important as we age and Cherry Garcia is not a nutritionally balanced meal. Running the human body on caffeine and processed foods can take a toll on anyone at any time in life but as we age it becomes critically important to maintain a balanced diet.

Meals have traditionally been communal affairs when families and friends gather to share food and time together. The big pay off for cooking a meal is having everyone gather together to enjoy it. Unfortunately there is no such payoff when living alone so cooking for one becomes difficult. Couple that with a decreased sense of taste and snacking on treats becomes the easy default. Judith Jones is a passionate foodie who wrote about The Pleasures of Cooking for One. The cheese soufflé I prepared for this post is one of her recipes. It was tasty and easy. Her book encourages you to think of cooking as a creative outlet with the added benefit of a good meal. 

If you have a mother or father who lives alone this book would be a good addition to their cookbook library. If you are cooking for your aging parent by stocking up on multiple meals, this cookbook also has some ideas on how to keep leftovers from becoming boring. But as I was writing about cooking for one, I did think about how important it is to build families and communities so that we don't have to eat alone daily as we age. But that discussion is for another post.

Recipe:

Cheese Soufflé For One

Ingredients:

2 1/2 Teaspoons of softened unsalted butter*
1 Tablespoon of grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon of all-purpose flour
1/3 Cup of milk
Large pinch of coarse salt
Small pinch of paprika
1 Large egg yolk
2 Large egg whites
1/3 cup of tightly packed grated cheese. Cheddar, Swiss or an aged mountain cheese work best.**

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees with a rack set in the center of the over.

1. Brush the inside of a 4-by-2 3/4-inch round baking dish with 1/2 teaspoon of butter.
2. Coat bottom and sides with Parmesan cheese and set aside. 
3. Melt remaining 2 teaspoons of better in a small saucepan over a low heat.
4. Add milk and whisk vigorously to combine.
5. Return to low heat and cook, stirring constantly until thickened.
6. Season with salt and paprika.
7. Remove from heat and whisk in egg yolk. 
8. Place egg whites in a medium bowl and whisk until they form soft peaks.***
9. Add a dollop of egg whites to saucepan along with half of the cheese; stir to combine.
10. Fold in Remaining egg whites and cheese. 
11. Pour into prepare baking dish.
12 Transfer baking dish to oven and reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. 
13. Bake until top is lightly browned and soufflé has risen, about 18 minutes.
14. Serve immediately

Just a few additional notes:

*I don't keep unsalted butter in the house so I just use the salted butter. I don't add the additional salt called for in the recipe. 
** I used Jarisberg cheese and it worked well.
***I followed the recipe exactly, which meant using a hand whisk. I felt like I was at the gym working on my upper body strength. I believe you could use a mixer if you were so inclined. 

 

Aug
02

Foodie Friday: Cooking Together

by Christine


{Homemade Stir-Fry}

When Marty and I first moved in together, we spent one or two evenings a week cooking dinner as a couple. We enjoyed creating meals as a team and learned quite a bit about one another through the process of meal planning and cooking. Marty is the more adventurous cook while I rely on trusted recipes to guide me. Turning meal preparation into a couple's event kept the process fun and engaging particularly after a busy day at work. Cooking was not a solitary task for one but a time for us to talk and share our day with one another while preparing a healthy meal. 

If you find that you are avoiding meal preparation because there are "only" two of you at home, try engaging your spouse, roommate or kid(s) in preparing a meal together. After my father retired, he and my mother spent a good bit of time together planning meals, shopping for food and cooking. Of course my father's personality came through and he treated it like he did his job. I was amazed and truthfully amused to discover that my father was incensed over what he thought to be the high cost of bananas. He was a trucking executive during his carrier and he seemed to find the cost of bananas out of balance. 

Also, if you have a parent living alone and are concerned about their diet, plan one night a week where the two of you can prepare a meal together. It will give you an insight as to how they are doing on multiple levels. You will see first hand how their home is functioning and whether they can follow the steps necessary to create a dish. I found that cooking together makes conversation easier and more fun.

I am including a basic recipe for stir-fry that I developed. Stir-fry is a simple meal because it is easy to "assign" tasks. I encourage you to experiment with ingredients to personalize this dish to your tastes. Let me know how it goes.

RECIPE:

This recipe is very easy to prepare. I choose vegetables based on what is in season, whether or not it is reasonably priced and color. You can also switch out the beef for chicken, pork or seafood. You can also use a variety of oils. I am a big olive oil fan but if you are a traditionalist when it comes to stir-fry, you can use peanut or sesame oil.

Stir-Fry

Ingredients:

1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds of top sirloin steak
2 Cloves of sliced garlic
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
1 Red, yellow or green sweet pepper 
1 Red onion
1 Large head of chopped Bok Choy

Instructions:

1. Pour 1 tablespoon of oil into a wok and heat over medium high heat.
2. Add garlic and brown.
3. Remove garlic.
4. Add beef and cook until done. Usually three or four minutes.
5. Remove beef and place in dish for later use.
6. Pour 1 tablespoon of oil into a wok and heat over medium high heat.
7. Add onions and heat for about 1 minute or until they start to become translucent.
8. Add pepper and heat for about 2 minutes or until they glisten. 
9. Return beef to the wok. 
10. Add Bok Choy and heat until leaves are wilted. 

**Serve over white or brown rice. You can season with salt and pepper or soy sauce. Serves 4 to 6.

 

 

Jul
19

Foodie Friday: Popsicles Bring Out The Kid In Everyone!

by Christine

Temperatures at 100° along with high humidity is a dangerous combination for anyone but especially the elderly. So what can help relieve the heat? Popsicles. I remember the excitement generated by the sound of the music coming from the ice cream truck as it rounded the corner. I would run home to plead and beg with mom for money to buy a popsicle; all the kids in the neighborhood were pleading and begging at the same time. My favorite was the banana popsicles and it was a delight to stop everything to enjoy these light summer time treats. The last couple of years of mom's life she became very child like and frozen treats were special to her. It was a way to get her to eat when she was avoiding food. 

A variety of frozen treats are in the stores but I believe there are several reason to go with the homemade variety. First, it is easy and fun; it feels special. Next, you can custom create a popsicle that targets the pallet of a persnickety eater. Third, if you are concerned about your parents nutrient intake, you can prepare a healthy and tasty frozen treat that camouflages how good it is for them. And finally, sometimes when you can't do anything else for an aging parent, preparing a homemade popsicle becomes a simple gift of affection. I know that it maybe difficult to transport popsicles to a nursing home or to hospice  but dry ice can help keep them cold while traveling. And the nursing home and hospice will be willing to put them in the freezer for you if they get soft. 

I have chosen to share with you some of my favorites. They are simple and suit my taste buds. I would encourage you to experiment. If your mom or dad can still enjoy a cocktail once in a while check out the 33 Super-Cool Popsicles To Make This Summer by BuzzFeed Food. The Strawberry Champagne and Cucumber Honeydew Margarita Popsicles look good to me and perfect for eating while floating on a noodle in the lake even if you can't share with your parents. If you get a chance let me know what your think and if you have a perfect summer time popsicle.

RECIPES:

There are really easy popsicles to make like the ones in my photos. Pour juice right from the bottle or from your home juicer into a popsicle mold to create a cool summer treat but if are feeling a little more energetic give these a whirl. 

Strawberry Popsicles

Ingredients:
2 Pints of fresh, sliced strawberries
3 Tablespoons of sugar
2 Tablespoons of lemon juice
Zest from half a lemon (Optional)

Instructions:
1. In a medium bowl, sprinkle sugar over strawberries and set aside for 10 to 15 minutes.
2. In a food processor or blender add the strawberry mixture, lemon juice and lemon zest. Process until smooth.
3. Pour strawberry puree into popsicle molds and place in freezer. 
4. Freeze overnight for best results. 

**You may also add pieces of strawberry or kiwi if you would like. Put the fruit pieces in the bottom of the mold and then pour in the strawberry puree. Makes 12 using standard molds. 

Watermelon Popsicles

Ingredients:
One watermelon
2 Tablespoons of agave sweetener
2 Tablespoons of lemon juice.
Mint leaves

Instructions:
1. In a food processor or blender add the watermelon, agave, lime juice and add mint to taste. Process until smooth.
2. Pour watermelon mixture into popsicle molds and place in freezer. 
3. Freeze overnight for best results. 

**You may substitute honeydew or cantaloupe or musk melon when in season. Makes 12+ standard popsicles.

Peaches n' Cream

Ingredients:
2 Ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
1 Cup plain or vanilla yogurt
1/4 Cup of milk

Instructions:
1. Put all the ingredients in a blender or food process. Mix until smooth. 
2. Pour peach mixture into popsicle molds and place in the freezer.
3. Freeze overnight for the best results.

**You may substitute nectarines when in season. If you would like a sweeter frozen treat, add a couple of tablespoons of agave sweetener. Makes 6 to 8 standard popsicles. 


 

 

 

 

 

 

Jul
12

Foodie Friday: Popcorn, The Perfect Snack

by Christine

When I was a little girl, my dad would make popcorn as a special treat. He would cover the bottom of Mom's large Revere copper bottom saucepan with oil and yellow kernel popping corn. Dad would then vigorously push the saucepan back and forth over a red-hot electric burner until the popped corn was lifting the lid. Next he poured the popcorn into a large paper grocery bag salting liberally and then handed over the bag for my brother or me to dance around the kitchen shaking the bag to distribute the salt evenly. I love this memory because whenever dad made popcorn, it was a celebration. 

When I started to search for foods that would entice my mom to eat as her appetite-decreased popcorn came to mind. Popcorn as a snack has a lot going for it...smell, texture and crunch ability. If you air pop the kernels it is low in calories and can be eaten liberally. While I am a traditionalist when it comes to popcorn, it is the perfect "designer" food. You can create a sweet popcorn, a salty popcorn or even a spicy popcorn just by changing the toppings. Additionally, it is easy to transport in a sandwich baggy to a loved one in a nursing home and will keep fresh for two to three weeks. 

There are hundreds, maybe thousands of possible topping combinations for the adventurous. I have listed only a few below. If you are trying to entice an aging parent to eat or are just looking for a new twist on a traditional snack favorite, popcorn is the perfect choice. What is your favorite popcorn topping?  

Salty Toppings:

Cheese: Sprinkle on olive oil and Parmesan cheese to taste. If you are industrious, you can grate your own cheese but I prefer Kraft's Parmesan cheese out of the can. 

Ranch: Down South Ranch Dressing is a favorite so it should come as no surprise that it is now a favorite on top of popcorn. Sprinkle a little olive oil or butter on first and then add the Ranch Dressing Mix. 

Kraft Macaroni & Cheese: My granddaughter loves Kraft's Macaroni & Cheese even more than my homemade Macaroni & Cheese. Again, start with a little butter and then shake on the Macaroni & Cheese powder. 

Spicy Toppings:

Chili: Depending on just how much "spice" you like you can choose from a whole world of chili powder...Chili de Arbol, Chipotle, Jalapeno, Ancho, New Mexican, Hungarian Paprika or Smoked Paprika. Just sprinkle on the popcorn and enjoy. 

Wasabi: Someday I will tell you my wasabi story but for those of you who enjoy a little spice with your popcorn, wasabi is perfect for you. Start by sprinkling a little sesame oil on the popcorn and then cautiously sprinkle on the wasabi powder to taste. 

Sweet Topping:

Chocolate: Chocolate and popcorn were made for each other. Sprinkle a little salt on the popcorn and then mix in your favorite mini chocolate chips. You can change up the flavor by adding peanut butter, butterscotch or mint chocolate chips instead. 

Dried Fruit: Lightly top the popcorn with salt and then add dried blueberries, cherries or cranberries for a sweet taste. 

* If sprinkling or drizzling oil on your popcorn sounds messy, then try your kitchen oil sprayer/mister. You can add spices or powders to the oil and mist your popcorn with the mixture. 

 

Jun
14

Foodie Friday: Snacks You Will Love

by Christine

 

Did you know as we age we lose our sense of taste? I discovered this quite by accident when I was working as a hospice volunteer. The person I was visiting weekly was "Mary", a lovely woman who was residing in a local nursing home. Mary dressed immaculately each day and had her hair professionally done. She would be sitting in the common room in a wheel chair when I arrived.  I was always looking for something of interest to her that we could talk about when we were together.

On one of my visits I took a few slices of my Flower Child banana bread to Mary. Once seated together, I handed her the zip lock bag with the banana bread; I was surprised and alarmed to see how quickly she consumed it. I was surprised because she reminded me of a little kid who quickly stuffs a whole cupcake in her mouth so her mom can't tell her she to share it with her siblings. I was alarmed because I was afraid she might choke. Fortunately, she did not choke but her reaction to the banana bread got me to thinking about food as we age and about how our diets change over time.

In my reading I discovered that there are physical and emotional reasons our diet shifts and we start seeking high salt, high fat foods. You can read a comprehensive explanation of the physical reasons for the age-related changes to taste at the Mayo Clinic web page. I personally believe that texture also plays a big part in how much some people enjoy food as they age. When my own mother hit her 80's, I watched as she started to eat potato chips and ice cream regularly. These were foods that were never a staple in her diet when she was younger but at 80 she found enjoyment in the salty crunch of the potato chips and the cold, smooth sweetness of ice cream. 

If you have an aging parent at home or in a nursing home that you are concerned about their diet, you might try introducing a few easy snacks to their regimen. This way you can find out whether it is a reduction in taste that is driving their dietary change or maybe it is something else. Keep in mind that nursing home's prepare hundreds of meals a day for people with various health issues. Additionally we all struggle to remain creative in the kitchen and nursing homes have the same challenge. 

Below is my Flower Child banana bread recipe. You can prepare this as a loaf or as muffins. I like the muffins because I can easily freeze them and pull them out as needed. Having a whole loaf of banana bread is a disaster waiting to happen for Marty and me. The muffins are a workable solution to helping us avoid late night runs on the kitchen and manage portion control. I have a great snack idea that I am working on for next Friday. See you then.

Hugs,
C

 Flower Child Banana Bread 

Ingredients:
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 cup of honey
1 grated lemon rind
2 beaten eggs
2 cups of banana pulp 
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of chopped nuts
1/2 cup of raisins (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease and flour a loaf pan

1. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
2. Mash bananas in small bowl. Set aside.
3. Blend oil, honey and lemon rind until nearly smooth.
4. Add beaten eggs to the oil mixture and beat.
5. Add sifted ingredients in three parts alternating with the banana pulp.
6. Fold in chopped nuts and raisins if desired. 
7. Pour in loaf pan.
8. Bake for 50 minutes or until toothpick in the center comes out clean.
9. Cool 5 minutes before removing from the pan. 

**I use 1 cup of white flour and 1 cup of wheat flour for a lighter loaf that still has texture. If you prefer a heartier and heavier loaf, use two cups of wheat flour. 
***I like the honey but you may also use white sugar for a lighter taste. 
****Serve with cream cheese, fresh fruit, a dab of whipped cream or plain. 
*****I found that this loaf took 65 minutes to bake.
******If you decide to go the muffin route, bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

 

Jun
07

Join Me For Foodie Fridays

by Christine


{Spring Cherries}

I have been in the kitchen cooking since I was a little kid on a step stool. I learned most of what I know from my grandmother, my mom and high school Home Ec. Honest, I learned several tricks in Home Ec that I still use today. My greatest skill is that I can follow a recipe and my best dishes are classic Southern recipes. Today, I rarely prepare them because while tasty, true Southern food is a killer. Fried everything, homemade buttermilk biscuits, salt, fat back and other equally tasty ingredients result in the heart problems that plagued the men in my family. 

Most of my life I cooked for a family of 5 plus any friends or relatives that were around at mealtime. After my divorce and Kathryn headed off to college I slowly stopped making menus and put away the pots and pans. Meals became a hodgepodge of grocery store salad bars, granola bars or a pint of my favorite ice cream. When Marty and I got together I started to cook more but found it difficult to develop menus and portion sizes for two. Marty is very good about eating leftovers but he doesn't really want to eat the same meal for a week. Plus many evenings eating out was an easier choice than meal planning, grocery shopping and cooking. 

Steadily I have learned to cook healthy, nutritious meals for one or two...though our local sushi restaurant still calls out to Marty and me on busy days. I am back to drafting menus and pulling out the pots and pans. Recently I have been reminded how important food is to healthy mental and physical development in children and as an immune booster for those over 55. Thoughtfully prepared food is nutritious; it is also an opportunity to be social and offer a loving gift to those we care about in our world. Foodie Fridays will be more than just recipes for the latest food fad but about the philosophy of eating particularly as we age. I am also hoping you will join me and share your favorite food and ideas on eating as a mean to stay healthy. Until next Friday....

Hugs,
C

May
25

Is Sorbet The Solution? It Was For Me.

by Christine

After almost 6 month on divergent paths, Marty and I were going to be home at the same time. Two whole weeks before the traveling started again and we weren't going to waste a minute.  We now had time to get caught up with each other, work on our to-do list and prepare those healthy meals we missed on the road. Off to the grocery store we went to restock the refrigerator and our pantry. Yup, you may have already guessed, the next day the call came for Marty; can you come to China...immediately? The whirlwind ensued and in a blink of an eye he was on Air China and gone. 

I was left standing in front of a refrigerator full of fresh fruit, vegetable and meat. I am a product of the Puritan work ethic and the thought of throwing away food was painful but I most certainly couldn't eat it all. So what to do? I froze the meat, made vegetable soup and froze that but the fruit was a more difficult challenge particularly the watermelon. That's when it struck me...sorbet. I will make watermelon sorbet and freeze it.  

Sorbet is not complicated to make but capturing the fresh taste of watermelon takes restraint. I really like Giada De Laurentiis's approach to food so tried her recipe Tropical Watermelon Sorbet. I found the other ingredients such as the pineapple juice overwhelmed the taste of the watermelon. So next I tried the Watermelon Sorbet Recipe at About.com French Food. The recipe calls for lime zest in addition to 2 tablespoons of lime juice. The lime zest caused a slight bitterness that I did not think worked with the watermelon. 

So after two batches of watermelon sorbet hardening in my freezer and my taste buds finely tuned, I "made up" my own recipe. I will share it with you with the encouragement that you make it your own by increasing and decreasing ingredients to suit your own pallet. 

The Mayor's Watermelon Sorbet

Ingredients:
4 1/2 cups of seeded and pureed watermelon
1/2 cup of sugar
Juice from one line

Directions:

1. In blender, puree 4 1/2 cups of watermelon.
2. In a small saucepan, simmer 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup watermelon puree.
3. Remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes.
4. Add lime juice.
5. Add remaining watermelon puree. 
6. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instruction. 

**You can increase or decrease the amount of sugar based on the sweetness of your watermelon
***While you can eat this immediately upon removing from the ice cream freezer, it looks prettier and last a little long in the bowl if you put it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. 

 

May
13

Mothers, Memories and Food: Savoring The Past

by Christine


{Mom's Coconut Pound Cake}

A coveted belonging of my mother's was her recipe box. During the last years of her life, my mom misplaced it and we thought it was gone forever. My sister and I were delighted to find it when we were cleaning out the garage...why it was there, neither one of us could figure out but we were pleased to have the treasure trove that held all the favorite family recipes. The "box" is not made of some oil rubbed wood but of plastic and it is Smurf blue. The recipe box was jammed packed with recipe cards, newspaper clippings and random bits of paper. 

I volunteered to organize the contents of the box and give copies of the recipes to anyone in the family who wanted them. Surprisingly, the task was more complicated than I thought. Apparently, mom was the kind of cook that only needed a mental trigger, not a full-blown recipe. Yes, there were some fully flushed out recipe cards but mainly it was bits of paper with a list of ingredients and a notes on lessons learned about preparing the dish.

Mom was a true Southern cook who early in life used Crisco to fry chicken or okra and real butter to make mashed potatoes. Mom and Dad's diet changed over the decades as they moved away from fried foods and rich desserts to healthier choices. The blue recipe box followed the timeline of their culinary journey. Fat laden dips gave way to Weight Watcher's inspired substitutes while the sugar infused Strawberry Cake was replaced with sugar free Jell-O parfaits made with fat free Cool Whip. 

I am now on the hunt for the perfect pound cake and I started by looking in my mom's recipe box. Her Coconut Pound Cake jumped out at me...it is not a healthy choice by definition. Butter, sugar and white flour are its main ingredients and it is delicious. The smell of the baking pound cake brought back many memories of meals and good times with my family particularly at holidays. I have included it in this post so you can decide for yourself. 

Hugs,
C

Mom's Coconut Pound Cake

Ingredients:
3 sticks of butter or margarine
3 cups of sugar
6 eggs
3 cups of plain flour
8 oz of sour cream 
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of soda
1 package of coconut
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees
Grease and flour tube or Bundt pan

1. Sift flour, salt and soda together and set aside.
2. Using a mixer, cream butter and sugar well.
3. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg.
4. Beat in sour cream completely.
5. Mix dry and wet ingredients together.
6. Add vanilla and mix well.
7. Fold in coconut.
8. Pour into tube pan and bake 1 hour or until done. 
9. Take out of the oven and cool for 15 minutes. 
10. Remove from pan and finish cooling. 

**To avoid cake failures, bring eggs and butter to room temperature.
***I found that this cake took 90 minutes to bake. 

 

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