30 January 2010

Funny iPad cartoons and more 30 Jan 2010

From Denny: Great cartoons this week from the busy mind of editorial cartoonists! They sure had a wild time with all the ways the American people got screwed over this week like by the Supreme Court for starters. Check out all the goodies over at The Social Poets blog because the blog template here is not wide enough to include the entire cartoon - and the cartoon site doesn't have a smaller version available for embedded linking.



For this week's funny political cartoons about the State of the Union, iPad and more, go here: Editorial Cartoons This Week 30 Jan 2010

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29 January 2010

Chef Sandra Lees Easy Frozen Chocolate Cookie Cake



From Denny: Chef Sandra Lee specializes in great tasting recipes made simple and easy to do in a short amount of time. This chocolate cake with a frozen ice cream as a filling is a real show stopper for holidays, entertaining or your sweetheart on Valentine's Day. She uses cookies and cream ice cream flavor in this recipe but we could easily substitute any flavor we love.

What I like about this cake is its versatility. For Valentine's Day or Christmas you could add a little raspberry syrup drizzled on top or on the plate for color. In the summer you could use chocolate mint ice cream for the filling. To satisfy total chocoholics like myself you could make it with chocolate almond ice cream filling! :)

The greatest beauty of this cake is that you can freeze all the components until it's time to assemble and frost with the awesome ganache. That's a real time saver in my book with the way we are all busy these days!

And remember, this cake allows us yet another excuse to eat ice cream in the winter besides the fact we need the calcium... :)

Chef Sandra Lee gives great instructions! Food Network does not yet allow embedding of their videos so I can only provide the link, go here.


Frozen Chocolate Cookie Cake

From: Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Desserts, Miramax Books, 2003.

Prep Time: 20 min
Inactive Prep Time: 3 hr 0 min
Cook Time: 25 min
Level: Intermediate
Serves: 1 cake, about 12 servings

Ingredients:

Ganache and Filling:

1/2 gallon cookies and cream ice cream, softened
1 cup heavy cream
1 (12-ounce) bag semisweet chocolate morsels

Cake:

Butter, for pans
Flour, for pans
1 (18.25-ounce) box devil's food cake mix
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs

Directions:

Line 1 (9-inch) cake pan with plastic wrap, with 3 inches overhanging. Spread softened ice cream into lined pan in a smooth, even layer. Freeze for 3 hours, or until frozen solid.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter and flour 2 (10-inch) round cake pans and set aside. In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, beat cake mix, water, oil and eggs in a large mixing bowl on medium speed for 2 minutes, or until well blended. Using a spatula, divide batter between the 2 prepared cake pans. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cakes cool in pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of each pan to loosen cakes and remove from pans.

While cakes are cooling, heat heavy cream in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat until bubbling around the edges. Remove pan from heat, add chocolate morsels, and stir with a whisk until smooth. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes, until cool and slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Spread ganache on top of and around sides of both cake layers, keeping layers separate and not fitting together yet. Refrigerate entire cake for 1 hour, or until ganache is set.

Place 1 cake layer, ganache side up, on a serving platter. Remove ice cream from pan, peel off plastic wrap, and place on top of cake layer. Place second cake layer on top of ice cream, ganache side up. Freeze until ready to serve, but let stand at room temperature 5 minutes before serving.



*** ALSO: 5 Tasty and Weird Bacon Recipes

*** THANKS for visiting, come back often, feel free to leave a comment, a big thank you and shout out to current subscribers - and if you are new to this blog, please subscribe in a reader or by email!

28 January 2010

67 Charities to Donate: Helping Haiti Heal

From Denny: The outpouring of donations worldwide for the relief of suffering in Haiti following a 7.0 devastating earthquake is incredible. The following are a list of 67 well-known established charities to which you can donate safely.

The Mobile Giving Foundation has received over $30 million in text pledges from cell phone donors the past two weeks. Even the Pew Research Center was well impressed and threw out some statistics:

14% donated by text message
12% donated by phone
23% donated via the web
5% donated via email
39% donated in person via a church or other group

Here's something I doubt any of us thought about when we donated by text message or phone: how long will it take for the phone companies to send out that donation? Turns out it can take from 30, even up to 60 days to transfer customers' contributions, which is then added to the mobile phone bills.

The biggest carriers like Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile have all decided to expedite those donations.

Here's each company's status:

Verizon Wireless:
Last Friday, 22 January, they transferred $2.98 million. Today, 28 January, they transferred $4.84 million. Jeffrey Nelson declared the campaign "the largest outpouring of charitable support by texting in history — by far. In all of 2009, all mobile giving (via texting) to all charities totaled just under $4 million for the year."

AT&T: Donations are up to $10 million. The company says they will "advance payment of verified texted donations" to the Red Cross.

Sprint: Donations so far are $3.1 million. By Friday, 29 January, they will advance 80% of the donations with the remaining 20% placed into the usual 30 to 90 day settlement cycle.

T-Mobile: They are working hard to expedite on a weekly basis.


Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy



Relief Agencies where to donate:

Action Against Hunger 877-777-1420
Agape Flights 941-584-8078
American Red Cross 800-733-2767
American Refugee Committee 800-875-7060
American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee 212-687-6200
American Jewish World Service 212-792-2900
AmeriCares 800-486-4357
Beyond Borders 866-424-8403
B'nai B'rith International 202-857-6600
CARE 800-521-2273


CarmaFoundation
Catholic Relief Services 800-736-3467
Childcare Worldwide 800-553-2328
Church World Services 800-297-1516
Clinton Foundation 501-748-0471
Concern Worldwide 212-557-8000
Convoy of Hope 417-823-8998
Cross International 800-391-8545
CRUDEM Foundation 413-642-0450
CRWRC 800-55-CRWRC


Direct Relief International 805-964-4767
Doctors Without Borders 888-392-0392
Episcopal Relief and Development 800-334-7626
Feed My Starving Children 763-504-2919
Food for the Poor 800-427-9104
Friends of WFP (World Food Program) 866-929-1694
Friends of the Orphans 312-386-7499
Habitat for Humanity 800-422-4828
Haiti Children 877-424-8454
Haiti Foundation Against Poverty


Haiti Marycare 203-675-4770
Haitian Health Foundation 860-886-4357
Healing Hands for Haiti 651-769-5846
Hope for Haiti 239-434-7183
Hope for Haiti Now 877-99-HAITI
International Child Care 800-722-4453
International Medical Corps 800-481-4462
International Rescue Committee 877-733-8433
International Relief Teams 619-284-7979
Islamic Relief USA 888-479-4968


Lions Club International Foundation 630-203-3836
Lutheran World Relief 800-597-5972
Medical Benevolence Foundation 800-547-7627
Medical Teams International 800-959-4325
Meds and Food for Kids 314-420-1634
Mennonite Central Committee 888-563-4676
Mercy Corps 888-256-1900
Nazarene Compassionate Ministries 800-306-9950
New Life for Haiti 815-436-7633
Operation Blessing 800-730-2537


Operation USA 800-678-7255
Oxfam 800-776-9326
Partners in Health 617-432-5298
RHEMA International 248-652-9894
Rural Haiti Project 347-405-5552
Salesian Missions 888-608-2327
The Salvation Army 800-725-2769
Samaritan's Purse 828-262-1980
Save the Children 800-728-3843
ShelterBox



UN Central Emergency Response Fund
UNICEF 800-367-5437
United Methodist Committee on Relief 800-554-8583
World Concern 800-755-5022
World Hope International 888-466-4673
World Relief 800-535-5433
World Vision 888-511-6548


Text to donate:

Text/ Number/ Giving campaign/ Amount

"HAITI" 90999 American Red Cross $10
"QUAKE" 20222 Clinton Bush Haiti Fund $10
"GIVE" 25383 MTV telethon $10
"HAITI" 25383 International Rescue Committee $5
"HAITI" 85944 International Medical Corps $10


"YELE" 501501 Yele Haiti foundation $5
"HAITI" 52000 The Salvation Army $10
"HOPE10" or "UNICEF" 20222 UNICEF $10
"HABITAT" 25383 Habitat for Humanity $10
"OXFAM" 25383 Oxfam America, Inc $10


"HAITI" 40579 National Religious Broadcasters $10
"SAVE" or "SAFE" 20222 Save the Children Federation $10
"GIVE" or "WORLD" 20222 World Vision, Inc $10
"CARE" 24383 CARE (Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere, Inc) $10
"AJWS" 25383 American Jewish World Service $10


*** THANK YOU FOR YOUR DONATIONS - even the smallest amount delivers a huge impact!

*** THANKS for visiting, come back often, feel free to leave a comment, a big thank you and shout out to current subscribers - and if you are new to this blog, please subscribe in a reader or by email!

27 January 2010

5 Cutest Puppies, Most Popular Dog Breeds in America

From Denny: Check it out, see the most popular dog breeds right now in America. It's no surprise that family friendly dogs top the list. It's worth it to watch the video just to see the adorable huge puppies as models for their breeds. :)

5. Beagle - high energy dog good with children, a small compact hound dog that needs lots of exercise and companionship.

4. Golden Retriever - active and very trainable which makes them an excellent choice for guide dogs and and search and rescue work because they are also highly intelligent.

3. Yorkshire Terrier, the Yorkie - these are big personalities in small bodies with the typical terrier tenacity. Did I mention they are also quite portable? Just ask Hollywood celebs and their imitators.

2. German Shepherd - an intelligent breed that needs daily work, social and loves children, very protective of family, makes a great guide dog and works a lot with Homeland Security and the military.

1. Labrador Retriever - because of their extreme gentleness they are the most popular family dog. They are also great companions for family pets and highly intelligent to make great service dogs.

They ranked all 164 AKC registered breeds in America. These are the top five favorites.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy




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26 January 2010

Chocolate Cake Recipes at Romancing The Chocolate



From Denny: Thought I'd start cataloging these chocolate recipes so you can find them faster than a blog search! This is going to take a while so be sure to check back often for added links. Why waste time looking for a chocolate recipe when you can be digging into it with your fork and enjoying it? :)



CAKES



Holiday Cake:  Chocolate Chip Gingerbread

3 Tasty Persimmon Recipes: Bread, Cake, Pudding, Persimmon Facts

Prize Winner: Peppermint-Hot Chocolate Cake, Fudge Filling, Marshmallow Frosting


Flourless Chocolate Cake and Mocha Buttercream Icing

Most Popular Web Recipe: Double Chocolate Cake

Chef Sandra Lees Easy Frozen Chocolate Cookie Cake

Valentines Day: Impressive Four Chocolates Cake

Flourless chocolate espresso cake with berries

3 Quick Awesome Chocolate Recipes for the Holidays:

Almond Fudge Topped Shortbread
Easy MINI KISSES Cookie Torte
Really Chocolate Chocolate Cake
CHOCOLATE FUDGE FROSTING





Warm Chocolate Pudding Cake

Calorie Monster Chocolate Truffle Cake with Raspberry Sauce

Recipe: Easy Black Russian Cake


National Chocolate Cake Day Today! 2 Recipes 


Cake Tuesday: Coffee Toffee Fudge Cake, Tunnel of Fudge Cake 


Moistest Low Cal Chocolate Cake, Pesto Veggie Lasagna, Quick Salad 


Most Popular Web Recipe: Double Chocolate Cake 


Kid Pleasing Easy Brownie Peanut Butter Cupcakes 


Sweet! Make a Fun Gingerbread House  


3 Quick Awesome Chocolate Recipes for the Holidays:

Really Chocolate Chocolate Cake
Easy MINI KISSES Cookie Torte
Almond Fudge Topped Shortbread






5 Super Easy Chocolate Desserts: Only 5 Ingredients


Sweet Breadsticks with Chocolate
Flaky Chocolate Nut Turnovers
Creamy Chocolate-Praline Filled Vol-Au-Vents
Chocolate Almond Bark
Nutty Napoleons


Easy Cocoa Chocolate Sheet Cake

Swiss Chocolate Cake


Chocolate Alcoholic Drinks That Taste Like Favorite Foods!


Sour Cream-Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting and Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze


University Club's Skillet Chocolate Gooey Cake


How to Make German Chocolate Cake Without a Mix


German Chocolate Cake and Coconut Pecan Frosting


Triple Chocolate Mess in a Crock Pot







Paula Deens Chocolate Chip Cake


5 Slamming Valentine Godiva Chocolate Recipes:


Double Chocolate Muffin - oozing with a truffle filling and easy to make

Chocolate Beggars’ Purses - chocolate cake, ganache and caramelized banana sauce in one awesome fancy presentation to give you huge applause from friends and loved ones

Boston Cream Cupcakes with Godiva Ganache Frosting - easy to make and a creamy alternative for those who want sweet style comfort food

Pure Chocolate Cupcakes - Chocolate Ganache filling and drizzle

Sweet Chocolate Cupcakes with Coconut-Pecan Frosting - made with dark chocolate and the easiest recipe of all! I'm a huge fan of coconut, dark chocolate and pecans combined into one recipe.



Happy Afterglow: 11 More Valentine Recipes:


German Chocolate Cupcakes
Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
Red Velvet Cupcakes
Chocolate Madeleines
Mini Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake
Chocolate Cookies
Valentine Candy
Valentine Cookie Pops
Sweet Valentine Cupcakes
Won’t You Be Mine Cookies
Double Chocolate Pound Cake


Video and Recipe: Halloween Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Pound Cake, Decorating Ideas, Pumpkin Carving Tips, Amusing Costume Ideas for You and Your Pets


Velvet Chocolate Cheesecake


Video and 3 Cake Recipes: Tunnel of Fudge Cake, Wacky Cake, Cold Oven Pound Cake





* * *  Please support Warriors Pearl Foundation - contributing to fund efforts to help homeless female military veterans come home.  Visit Denny Lyon Gifts  @ CafePress.com  -  see what's new!  Thank you for supporting this cause.  You rock!


Subscribe in a reader to Romancing The Chocolate

* Check out Dennys News Politics Comedy Science Arts & Food - a place where all my other 20 blogs link so you can choose from among the latest posts all in one place.  A free to read online newspaper from independent journalist blogger Denny Lyon. * 

* * * Be sure to check out the Romancing The Chocolate Amazon book store for cookbooks on chocolate!

How to Cook Perfect Al Dente Pasta, Giadas Simple Recipe

From Denny: Beginner cooks are always asking how to cook pasta just up to the right texture without going past it to the gooey too soft uninspired noodles like you get at a cafeteria.

First of all, start with a huge pot of cold water. Once it comes up to the boil, throw in a fair amount of salt for the volume of water so you get a layered effect of taste. If you wait to salt the pasta after it's cooked it tends to sit on top, not soaked in like if you had cooked it into it.

Second, you don't really need to put any oil into the boiling water to prevent sticking. If you have a large enough volume of water the pasta will "dance" and not stick together at all. Though I like to stir it every now and then with a pasta fork to make sure, especially if it's long noodles.

Or you can break all the proper rules like I do when I'm hard-pressed for time: use a small volume of water to boil and stir constantly. It can get tricky unless you are used to how the pasta is supposed to look when just cooked properly. So, before you break all the rules, first learn them! :)

When you go to drain the pasta, make sure you save a little pasta water, about one cup or so, that has all that starch and vitamins from the processing. Use that to marry your sauce or sauteed veggies to the noodles, thickening the sauce without added butter or oil so you save on calories!

Take a look at the demo:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy




*** Chef Giada from Food Network is always showing how to make delicious simple Italian food quickly and this recipe is so easy!

PENNE WITH SUN-DRIED TOMATO PESTO

From:
Chef Giada De Laurentis

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ease of preparation: easy

INGREDIENTS

• 12 ounces penne pasta
• 1 (8 1/2 ounce) jar sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
• 1 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
• 2 garlic cloves
• 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, blend the sun-dried tomatoes and their oil, basil, and garlic in a food processor just until the tomatoes are finely chopped. Transfer the tomato mixture to a large bowl. Stir in the Parmesan cheese. Season the pesto with salt and pepper, to taste.

Add the pasta to the pesto and toss to coat, adding enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten. Season the pasta to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

*** THANKS for visiting, come back often, feel free to comment, a big hug to current subscribers - and if you are new to this blog, please subscribe in a reader or by email!

24 January 2010

Mission of Hope Run by American in Haiti

From Denny: A few years before the disaster struck in Haiti, American Brad Johnson decided to move there and help the people in his parents' ongoing Christian mission to Haiti. He was in a unique position to help after the earthquake as he already had an established school, an orphanage and a medical clinic operating, along with plenty of supplies. His mission is just outside of Port-au-Prince. He is busy distributing supplies to survivors and has been within hours of when the disaster hit.

Here is the website: Mission of Hope in Haiti

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy




*** THANKS for visiting, come back often, a big shout out to current subscribers - and if you are new to this blog, please subscribe in a reader or by email!

23 January 2010

Funny Quotes About Chocolate



From Denny: Here it is - All the funny quotes about chocolate I have found so far and given a home here at Romancing The Chocolate blog!



* Bumper sticker: If they don't have chocolate in Heaven, I'm not going!

* Nobody knows the truffles I've seen. - Anonymous

* Money talks; chocolate sings! - Anonymous

* Chocolate doesn't make the world go around ... but it certainly makes the ride worthwhile! - Anonymous

* Put "eat chocolate" at the top of your list of things to do today. That way, at least you'll get one thing done. - Anonymous

* In the beginning, the Lord created chocolate, and he saw that it was good. Then he separated the light from the dark, and it was better. - Anonymous

* Life without chocolate is weird like a beach without water. It's just plain unnatural! - Denny Lyon

* "Las cosas claras y el chocolate espeso." (Ideas should be clear and chocolate thick.) - Spanish proverb

* Exercise is a dirty word. Every time I hear it, I wash my mouth out with chocolate. - Anonymous

* Man cannot live by chocolate alone but it sure is fun trying! - Anonymous

* There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with chocolate. - Anonymous

* I would give up chocolate but I'm no quitter. - Anonymous

* In the cookies of Life, friends are the chocolate chips. - Anonymous

* There is no such group as Chocolates Anonymous; no one wants to quit! - Anonymous

* LADIES AND CHOCOLATE

"The Spanish ladies of the New World are madly addicted to chocolate, to such a point that, not content to drink it several times each day, they even have it served to them in church. This sensuality has often brought down upon them the wrath of their bishops; but the latter have ended by closing their eyes to sin, and the Reverend Father Escobar, whose spiritual reasoning was as subtle as his moral doctrine was accommodating, issued a formal declaration that chocolate made with water was not contrary to the rule of the fast days, even evoking (to the profit of his penitents), the time worn adage, Liquidum non frangit jejunium."

- Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826), The Physiology of Taste

From RTC reader Joann Vallo and fellow blogger friend of women's issues: "I meditate, I do yoga, and I have a lot of friends who are healers...and if none of that works, I go buy a chocolate bar and a bottle of cognac." - Susan Strasberg

"After about 20 years of marriage, I'm finally starting to scratch the surface of what women want. And I think the answer lies somewhere between conversation and chocolate." - Mel Gibson

"All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt." - Charles M. Schulz

"Anything is good IF it's made of chocolate." - Jo Brand

"I am not a strict vegan, because I'm a hedonist pig. If I see a big chocolate cake that is made with eggs, I'll have it." - Grace Slick

* Look, there's no metaphysics on earth like chocolates. - Fernando Pessoa

* Forget love - I'd rather fall in chocolate! - Sandra J. Dykes

* I never do any television without chocolate. That's my motto and I live by it. Quite often I write the scripts and I make sure there are chocolate scenes. Actually I'm a bit of a chocolate tart and will eat anything. It's amazing I'm so slim. - Dawn French

* I owe it all to little chocolate donuts. - John Belushi

* I reckon I tried everything on the old apple, but salt and pepper and chocolate sauce topping. - Gaylord Perry

I was handed a chocolate bar and an M-1 rifle and told to go kill Hitler. - Jack Kirby

* Ice cream was my undoing, and six chocolate milk shakes in a row were nothing to me at one time. - Kate Smith

* It's about avoiding reality through various escape routes that become addictions and lead to Hell. My character is addicted to television, chocolate, coffee, to her dream of her son, which has no basis in reality. - actress Ellen Burstyn



* Most men, no matter how well or badly dressed, carry overstuffed, beat up wallets that should have been replaced years ago. Why is that? Every time I see a guy take out a wallet anywhere, it looks like a piece of old melted chocolate cake-with strings. - Jonathan Carroll

* Number one, I absolutely love making chocolate chip cookies. I mean, it's fun. It's exciting. Beyond the fact that I love making them, I love eating them. successful cookie company owner Debbi Fields

* People get so in the habit of worry that if you save them from drowning and put them on a bank to dry in the sun with hot chocolate and muffins they wonder whether they are catching cold. - John Jay Chapman

* Researchers have discovered that chocolate produces some of the same reactions in the brain as marijuana. The researchers also discovered other similarities between the two but can't remember what they are. - Matt Lauer, NBC Today Show host

* Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go. - Truman Capote

* You know an odd feeling? Sitting on the toilet eating a chocolate candy bar. - George Carlin

* Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands - and then eat just one of the pieces. - Judith Viorst

* Your face makes my soul want to eat chocolate pudding! - Andy Milonakis

*** THANKS for visiting, come back often, huge hug to current subscribers - and if you are new to this blog, please subscribe in a reader or by email! And, if you are really lucky, I'll save you a piece of cake...

22 January 2010

Oozing with 3 Cheeses and Cheap: White Lasagna



From Denny: There is something about winter that just screams for pasta dishes and women, well, we love pasta as much as we love chocolate. Sigh, yet another unofficial "food group" added to the mounting categories. :)

What's so great about this decadent recipe is that it's so creamy with the many cheeses. Most people, adults and kids alike, are fans of Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses as opposed to ricotta so this casserole is a wonderful alternative to the traditional lasagna. It's the onions, beef and pork that give so much flavor and substance to this dish. Parmesan cheese sprinkled onto the crust gives us the irresistible crunch we expect on a lasagna.

Also, feel free to substitute a favorite pasta noodle in place of these lasagna noodles if you want to make it more like a macaroni and cheese dish: elbow macaroni or ziti.


Author and former short-order cook Dawn Welch shows TODAY’s Natalie Morales and Ann Curry how to prepare big batches of sauce that can be used on more than just one meal:





Three-cheese white lasagna

From: Dawn Welch 'Dollars to Donuts'

INGREDIENTS

• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed through a garlic press
• 1/2 pound lean ground beef
• 1/2 pound ground pork
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1/2 cup low-fat or whole milk
• 3 cups homemade Parmesan sauce or store-bought Alfredo sauce
• 9 no-boil egg lasagna noodles
• 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) grated Cheddar cheese
• 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) grated Monterey Jack cheese
• 1 large egg, lightly beaten
• 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS

Make meat mixture:

Heat the oven to 375°F. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic, salt, and pepper and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute longer Add the beef and pork and cook 2 to 4 minutes until the meat is browned. Pour off the extra fat from the pan.

For lasagna:

Stir together the milk and Parmesan sauce and evenly spread 1/2 cup over the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch pan. Lay 3 lasagna noodles in the pan lengthwise.

Stir together the Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses in a medium bowl with the egg.

Pour 3/4 cup of the sauce over the noodles and top with 2 cups of the cheese-and-egg mixture. Pour 3/4 cup of the sauce evenly over the cheese, and follow with 3 more noodles, the meat mixture, 3/4 cup of the sauce, 3 more noodles, the remaining 1 cup of the cheese mixture, and the remaining 3/4 cup of sauce. Sprinkle evenly with the Parmesan.

Cover the pan with foil and bake until the cheese is bubbly and brown, about 30 minutes. Cool 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.



Want to learn how to make your very own Alfredo sauce and cut some calories as an option? Read on!

Creamy Parmesan sauce

From:
Dawn Welch 'Dollars to Donuts'

Three 2-cup portions, each serving 6

I'm glad to see Dawn had the same impression of boring bottled Alfredo sauces and overwhelming-pricey-and-swimming-in-fat restaurant dishes that I did. While this sauce can be made with full fat it is also possible to achieve the same great bursting with garlic and cheese flavor at a reduced fat level. Dawn says it tastes best made with heavy cream or half-and-half yet she often makes it with whole or 2% milk for a lighter sauce. That lighter sauce would probably be wonderful in the spring and summer seasons for lighter fare.

Serve up this creamy Parmesan sauce simply tossed with your favorite pasta, pan-seared shrimp and steamed veggies like broccoli. Then you can use this sauce for stuffing large pasta shells like a spinach and portobello mushroom version.

INGREDIENTS

• 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter
• 6 garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed through a garlic press
• 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
• 1 quart (4 cups) cream, half-and-halt whole milk, or low-fat milk
• 1 cup (4 ounces) grated Parmesan-Romano cheese blend or 1/2 cup each of Parmesan and Romano
• 2 cups (8 ounces) grated whole-milk or part-skim mozzarella cheese
• 1 teaspoon salt


DIRECTIONS

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat.

Add the garlic, pepper, and cream or milk, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring it to a simmer (watch the pot — it can boil over in a split second) while stirring often.

Stir in the Parmesan-Romano mixture, reduce the heat to medium-low, and let the sauce simmer, stirring often, until the garlic has mellowed, about 12 minutes.

Stir in the mozzarella and continue to cook until the cheese is melted.

Turn off the heat and whisk the sauce until it is smooth (a blender or immersion blender works great). Stir in the salt.

TIPS

Divide and store


Cool the sauce to room temperature and then divide it between 2 quart-size resealable freezer bags. Refrigerate it for up to 3 days or freeze it for up to 3 months. (After defrosting it overnight in the refrigerator, rewarm the sauce gently over medium-low heat, being careful not to let the sauce boil — boiling it will cause it to separate. If it separates, use a whisk, blender, or immersion blender to smooth it out.)



Creamy broccoli gratin

From:
Dawn Welch 'Dollars to Donuts'

Most kids and adult picky eaters will take to frozen veggies or fresh broccoli, cauliflower, corn or green beans when combined with a wonderful creamy cheesy sauce! Dawn reminds us "Frozen vegetables are a great bargain, especially when time is of the essence and you need to throw something together quickly. You'll save 30 cents a pound when you choose already-cut frozen broccoli instead of precut fresh broccoli crowns at the market."

INGREDIENTS

• 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Cheddar cheese
• 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese
• 2 pounds frozen broccoli (or fresh broccoli cut into bite-size pieces)
• 3 cups homemade Parmesan sauce or store-bought Alfredo sauce
• 2 scallions, thinly sliced
• 1/3 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs (or 1/2 cup panko or fresh bread crumbs seasoned with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of Italian Rub, page 118)

DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 375°F. Mix the cheeses together in a small bowl.

Mix together the broccoli, Parmesan sauce, scallions, and salt in a large bowl.

Transfer the broccoli mixture to a 13 x 9-inch baking dish and top with an even layer of the cheese, followed by the bread crumbs.

Bake until the center of the casserole is bubbling and the top is golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before serving.
TIPS

Buying fresh vegetables trimmed and prepped saves you time, but always costs you money (and cuts down significantly on their shelf life as well). To save both time and money, trim and cut up a whole head of broccoli or cauliflower, or a pound of mushrooms, beans, etc. Use half right away, and the rest later in the week.

(Recipes from “Dollars to Donuts” book by Dawn Welch, copyright 2009)

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20 January 2010

2 Inspiring Haiti Stories: Woman Pulled From Wreckage, New Baby Born on USS Carl Vinson

From Denny: Finally, a happier story of triumph as a woman named Jeanette was pulled from the damaged building in strong health with minor injuries and dehydration after six days pinned down. This is an awesome story of her faith in God and her determination to survive to be reunited with her husband.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy



Of course, with any horrific disaster it helps to focus upon the positive. Nothing is more positive and heart-warming than the birthing of a new life. How fortunate this young mother was to have an entire USS Navy ship at her beck and call. The crew is all smiles to be a part of something so life affirming. Can you guess the new baby boy's name? Yes, it's Vinson, in honor of the ship and crew.

The ship is about 17 miles out from the shore of Haiti. They have been taking in any and all injured discovered on the streets of Haiti by U.S. troops. They were the closest American ship in the area and the first to arrive after the disaster.

Can you imagine being pregnant and deep in labor right after an earthquake? The things that had to be going through her mind as she was getting ready to birth her baby. Luck had it she was found by American troops who quickly transported her to the ship to deliver her baby safely.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy



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19 January 2010

Winter Brain Food: Parmigiano Pasta with Mushrooms

From Denny: Winter just goes together with pasta and fresh pasta is one of those dishes you enjoy making on a chilly day. Making bread or pasta by hand and from scratch is very relaxing and a great way to stress down from a work week when the slower weekend time comes. Even if you don't have the time or the desire for making the pasta yourself, you can still make this dish with fresh pasta from the store which is easy to find.

Mushrooms are the ultimate "brain food" and we love mushrooms at our house. A mushroom cheese pasta, well, there is nothing more comforting on a cold day! This is such an easy sauce to make with aromatic rosemary and tasty white wine to sweeten it.

Sometimes, when I run out of olive oil - or just want a different taste - I use well browned clarified butter run through a fine mesh sieve to collect the browned bits to deliver a clear dark golden oil. Butter this way acquires a wonderful deep buttery flavor with nutty overtones that goes well with herbs and pasta.

Take a look at this soul-satisfying and easy to make rich-tasting Italian comfort food: Pasta with mushrooms and rosemary




Stracchi con funghi
(Pasta “rags” with mushrooms, rosemary and Parmigiano-Reggiano)

From: Chef Missy Robbins, executive chef at A Voce restaurant

Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS

For the fresh pasta

• 4 cups “00” flour (a type of flour available in Italian markets)
• 16 egg yolks, lightly beaten
• 1/3 of cup water

For the completed dish

• 32 pc. stracchi
• 3 TBS. extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 lb. oyster mushrooms
• 2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
• 1 cup veal stock (can substitute chicken broth if veal stock is difficult to find)
• 1/2 cup white wine
• 3 TBS butter
• 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano
• 2 sprigs rosemary, chopped fine
• Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

For the fresh pasta: Make a well with the flour and place the egg and water in the center of the well. With a fork gradually begin to incorporate the flour into the egg and mix until a ball of dough forms.

Knead the dough for a few minutes by hand until it is smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for at least 20 minutes.

Using a pasta machine or KitchenAid pasta attachment, roll out the pasta into thin sheet and cut into squares approximately 4 inches by 4 inches.

For the completed dish: Heat a large pot of water until it boils. Add salt to taste. Heat a large saute pan to high and add the olive oil. Add the mushrooms and saute on high heat until the mushrooms are golden in color. Add the white wine to deglaze pan, and then add the veal stock.

Cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the butter and mix until emulsified into the sauce. Set aside. Place the pasta in the boiling water and cook until tender (it will only take about a minute).

Add the pasta to the saute pan with the mushrooms and add a touch of the pasta cooking liquid. Finish cooking the pasta in the mushroom sauce for another minute or so until the sauce and pasta are married together.

Add the rosemary and finish with 1/2 the Parmigiano-Reggiano and divide amongst 4 plates. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano.

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16 January 2010

This Weeks Editorial Cartoons 16 Jan 2010



From Denny: Since I changed this blog to a smaller template to accommodate the cool visually interesting background - and most blog backgrounds are configured to only fit this smaller template - now these wonderful editorial cartoons are too large to fit for proper viewing.

Every Saturday you can find editorial cartoons over at The Social Poets and I'll keep a link on the sidebar for your convenience if you forget.

So, I'm referring you to the original flagship blog that spun off this blog and a gazillion others, The Social Poets:

Haiti Earthquake - Editorial Cartoons 16 Jan 2010

This cartoon is about the late night show dilemma of two competing shows getting their time slots switched when Leno's show did not do well in an earlier time slot competing against prime time shows. To the right is the rest of the cartoon that actually makes it so funny because "the wheels are coming off" of Jay Leno's vehicle. Much funnier on a wider format template over at The Social Poets...




The Social Poets: Haiti Earthquake - Editorial Cartoons 16 Jan 2010

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15 January 2010

Most Popular Web Recipe: Double Chocolate Cake

From Denny: This is one popular chocolate cake recipe! Over 1,000 reviews on Epicurious.com. It's rare to get up to 100 reviews for any recipe let alone this many. Tanya Steele of Epicurious shows us how easy it is to make this old-fashioned confection. This gorgeous decadent cake would be perfect for Valentine's Day too. Your friends and guests would be so impressed, begging you for the recipe! :)

Another odd thing about this recipe is that the cake layers take far longer to bake in the oven than the usual 25 to 35 minutes. These layers bake at a much lower temperature and for far longer, up to an hour or so. Putting the cake together for the oven and to spread the ganache icing takes only a few minutes.

This recipe was first published in Gourmet magazine and is now the most popular recipe over at Epicurious.com.



Double Chocolate Layer Cake

From:
Epicurious.com

Serves: 12 to 14

Chef Ed Kasky used Callebaut semisweet chocolate for the cake and Guittard French-vanilla chocolate for the frosting, but any fine-quality semisweet chocolate will produce a wonderful result in either.

INGREDIENTS

For cake layers

• 3 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
• 1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
• 3 cups sugar
• 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
• 2 teaspoons baking soda
• 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
• 3 large eggs
• 3/4 cup vegetable oil
• 1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
• 3/4 teaspoon vanilla

For ganache frosting
• 1 pound fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
• 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter

Special equipment

• Two 10- by 2-inch round cake pans

DIRECTIONS

Make cake layers:


Preheat oven to 300° F and grease pans. Line bottoms with rounds of wax paper and grease paper.

Finely chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

Into a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer). Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined well. Divide batter between pans and bake in middle of oven until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Cool layers completely in pans on racks. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks. Carefully remove wax paper and cool layers completely. Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.

Make frosting:

Finely chop chocolate. In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan bring cream, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil over moderately low heat, whisking until sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and add chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted. Cut butter into pieces and add to frosting, whisking until smooth.

Transfer frosting to a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally, until spreadable (depending on chocolate used, it may be necessary to chill frosting to spreadable consistency). Spread frosting between cake layers and over top and sides. Cake keeps, covered and chilled, 3 days. Bring cake to room temperature before serving.

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14 January 2010

Funny Music Video of How Americans Sound to Foreigners

From Denny: This is so funny, mainly because the lampooning Italians have us accurately nailed to the wall. If you have ever wondered what Americans sound like to others who speak different languages you will laugh at this. An Italian singer decided to write a song with nothing but gibberish to sound like it was intelligible English.

Of course, the funniest thing of all is that often today's music sounds unintelligible to us as well! :) But hey, pop music is really all about the beat that makes you want to dance and have fun! ("That's my story and I'm sticking to it!" as the saying goes in America...) I guess Americans can remind ourselves of the other saying: "Imitation is the greatest form of flattery." Anyway, you look at it, this little musical spoof is great fun!




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13 January 2010

5 Funny Quotes About Time



Time? Where are you, you little rascal? I'll go shoot me some Time to keep!

From Denny: Enjoy these funny quotes as a sampling of today's Mind Candy! For more grins at funny photos and quotes, go here: Funny Quotes About Time - Cheeky Quote Day! 13 Jan 2010


Quotes

* When I give a lecture, I accept that people look at their watches, but what I do not tolerate is when they look at it and raise it to their ear to find out if it stopped. - Marcel Achard

* Time will explain it all. He is a talker, and needs no questioning before he speaks. - Euripides

* I would I could stand on a busy corner, hat in hand, and beg people to throw me all their wasted hours. - Bernard Berenson

* I've been on a calendar, but never on time. - Marilyn Monroe

* Time and Tide wait for no man, but time always stands still for a woman of thirty. -Robert Frost

: "Play it again, Sam!"

*** To enjoy the full post, full of funny photos too:
Funny Quotes About Time - Cheeky Quote Day! 13 Jan 2010


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12 January 2010

Swapping Food Choices for Less Fat and Calories to Trim off holiday pounds



From Denny: Do you ever feel like you are chasing calories and fat away like a game of cops and robbers? Some days you win; some days the "bad guy" wins. Men's Health Magazine, David Zinczenko, shows us some simple food swaps to help cut down on calories and excess fat in our meals and go easy on our wallets. It's definitely a case of "cook this, not that!" If you are stumped for good ideas to change your food routine to something healthier, take a look:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy



Transform your meals into more nutritious choices by cooking at home. That's the real fast track to slimming down in 2010. Besides, home cooking will shave more than pounds; it will shave dollars off your food bill at the grocery store - a real winner!

This book, “Cook This, Not That!”, will teach you how to win at food choices. Read on from the book about how to cook your own version of loved fast foods in a healthier lower calorie less fatty version!



1. Chicken Fingers
Average calories in restaurant chicken fingers: 1,100
Caloric equivalent: 22 Dunkin’ Donuts Glazed Munchkins

Cook This! Instead:

Chicken Fingers with Chipotle-Honey

From:
"Cook This, Not That!"

Makes: 4 servings, Cost per serving: $2

Eat restaurant chicken fingers with one of their special sauces and you could be downing nearly a full day's worth of calories. Make the switch to this homemade, oven-fried version once a week instead, and you could shed 25 pounds (and cut out 210,080 mg of sodium) in a year.

250 calories/1.5 g fat (0 g saturated)/ 350 mg sodium

INGREDIENTS

• 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken tenders
• Salt and black pepper to taste
• 3 egg whites, lightly beaten
• 2 cups panko bread crumbs
• 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
• 1 tsp chipotle pepper puree
• 1 Tbsp honey

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Place the egg whites in a shallow bowl. Place the crumbs on a plate and season those, too. Dip the chicken tenders into the egg, then toss them in the crumbs, being sure to coat fully.

Place the breaded chicken pieces on a baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the crumbs have browned and the chicken is firm.

Combine the mustard, chipotle, and honey in a large bowl. Toss the cooked chicken tenders in the mixture so they are all evenly coated with the spicy-sweet sauce.



2. Turkey Sandwich

Average calories in a restaurant turkey sandwich: 850
Caloric equivalent: 13 “fun-size” 3 Musketeers candy bars

Cook This! Instead:

Turkey Sandwich with Guacamole and Bacon

From:
"Cook This, Not That!"

Makes: 4 servings, Cost per serving: $3.54

Swapping in the guacamole for mayonnaise not only shaves 70 to 100 calories from your sandwich, but also replaces low-quality fats with healthy mono-unsaturated ones.

430 calories/ 13 g fat (4 g saturated)/ 1,070 mg sodium

INGREDIENTS

• 1 baguette
• 12 oz sliced turkey
• 4 slices Swiss cheese
• 1 large tomato, sliced
• 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
• Pickled jalapeños
• 4 strips bacon, cooked until crisp and patted dry
• 1/4 cup guacamole

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the broiler. Carefully slice the baguette in half horizontally and place on a large baking sheet. Layer the turkey and cheese on the bottom half of the bread.

Place the sheet in the oven 6" below the broiler. Broil for 2 to 3 minutes, until the cheese has just melted and both halves of the bread are hot, but not too brown and crunchy.

Remove from the oven, and then layer the tomato, onion, jalapeños, and bacon on top of the turkey. Spread the top half of the baguette with the guacamole. Slice the baguette into 4 individual sandwiches and serve.



3. Lasagna

Average calories in restaurant lasagna: 750
Caloric equivalent: More than 8 fried eggs

Cook This! Instead:

Hearty Lasagna

From:
"Cook This, Not That!"

Makes: 4 servings / Cost per serving: $3.50

Using low-fat ricotta sauce and lean chicken sausage makes this "hearty" — not heart-attack inducing. In the wrong hands, lasagna turns into a soupy, oily, hyper-caloric mess. But not our version.

430 calories/ 13 g fat (4.5 g saturated)/ 810 mg sodium

INGREDIENTS

• 1 container (15 oz) part-skim ricotta
• 1/2 bunch fresh basil, chopped
• 2 links precooked chicken sausage, diced (we love Al Fresco Sundried Tomato and Basil)
• 1/3 cup 2% milk
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
• 1/8 tsp salt
• 2 1/4 cups Muir Glen Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce
• 8 no-boil lasagna noodles
• 1/4 cup grated Parmesan

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Mix the ricotta, basil, sausage, milk, garlic, pepper flakes, and salt.

Spread 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce on the bottom of an 8" × 8" baking dish. Lay 2 noodles over the sauce; cover with one-fourth of the ricotta mixture and another 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce. Repeat with noodles, cheese mixture, and sauce twice more. Top with a last layer of pasta, the remaining ricotta mixture and sauce, and Parmesan.

Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes, until the top is golden. (Note: This recipe is good for a big crowd and very easy to double up on.)



4. Fish Tacos

Average calories in restaurant fish tacos: 1,250
Caloric equivalent: 2.5 McRib Sandwiches from McDonald's

Cook This! Instead:

Grilled Fish Tacos

From:
"Cook This, Not That!"

Makes: 4 servings / Cost per serving: $2.97

For our version of fish tacos, we wanted to ditch the frying oil and mayonnaise but maintain the flavor, so we substituted a spicy Cajun blackening seasoning and a nutrient-rich mango-avocado salsa, which cuts the heat and pairs perfectly with the fish. This salsa would make gardening gloves taste good.

380 calories/ 11 g fat (2 g saturated)/ 240 mg sodium

INGREDIENTS

• 1 mango, peeled, pitted, and cubed
• 1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and cubed
• 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
• Juice of 1 lime, plus wedges for garnish
• Chopped fresh cilantro
• Salt and black pepper
• Canola oil
• 2 large mahimahi fillets (1 1/2 lb total)
• 1 Tbsp blackening spice
• 8 corn tortillas
• 2 cups red cabbage, finely shredded

DIRECTIONS

Mix the mango, avocado, onion, and the juice of 1 lime in a bowl. Season with cilantro, salt, and pepper.

Heat a grill or stove top grill pan until hot. Drizzle a light coating of oil over the fish and rub on the blackening spice. Cook the fish, undisturbed, for 4 minutes. Carefully flip with a spatula and cook for another 4 minutes. Remove.

Warm the tortillas on the grill for 1 to 2 minutes, or wrap in damp paper towels and microwave for 1 minute until warm and pliable.

Break the fish into chunks and divide among the warm tortillas. Top with the cabbage and mango salsa. Serve with the lime wedges.



In addition they give advice on How to Stock Your Pantry for healthy choices:

The perfect kitchen


Make sure your kitchen is stocked with these five simple staples. They’ll help you instantly improve your diet — and your health.

Low sodium soy sauce

Calories aren't the issue with soy sauce; it's sodium. Choosing a lighter version can save you up to 500 milligrams (mg) sodium per serving.

We like: Kikkoman Less Sodium Soy Sauce (1 Tbsp)(Denny's fav too!)
10 calories
0 g fat
575 mg sodium

Dark chocolate

Eating chocolate in moderation isn’t a dietary death sentence, it’s actually surprisingly good for your health — as long as the chocolate contains at least 60 percent cocoa. That’s because chocolate is packed with antioxidants.

We like: Hershey’s Special Dark (1 bar)
180 calories
12 g fat (8 g saturated)
21 g sugars

Extra-virgin olive oil

When choosing vegetable oil, you want to select the one with the highest ratio of monounsaturated to polyunsaturated fats. Here’s a shortcut: In this category, olive oil outperforms the other bottles on the shelf. That’s because nearly 75 percent of its fat content is mono-unsaturated. (Soybean oil has less than 25 percent mono-unsaturated fat.)

We like: Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil (1 Tbsp)(another fav!)
120 calories
14 g fat (2 g saturated)

Canola oil

When choosing vegetable oil, you want to select the one with a high ratio of mono--unsaturated to polyunsaturated fats. Here’s a shortcut: In this category, olive oil outperforms the other bottles on the shelf (with about 75 percent mono-unsaturated fat content) — but canola oil is nearly as good, with mono-unsaturated fats accounting for 2/3 of the total fat. And an extra benefit of canola oil? It’s about a quarter the price of EVOO. (extra virgin olive oil)

We like: Wesson 100% Natural Canola Oil (1 Tbsp)
120 calories
14 g fat (1 g saturated)
0 g sodium

Low-fat/organic dressing

Certain dressings are only a small step above mayonnaise (think: ranch). You wouldn't dress your salad with mayo, right? A great dressing will pack spice and tang without hitting a calorie danger zone.

We like: Annie's Naturals Organic Buttermilk (2 Tbsp)
60 calories
6 g fat (1 g saturated)
230 mg sodium

Organic quinoa

Swap quinoa for brown rice, and you're earning yourself almost double the protein and about eight times as much fiber. Quinoa also delivers more flavor and cooks almost twice as fast.

We like: Bob's Red Mill Organic Quinoa (1/2 cup)
170 calories
2.5 g fat
2 mg sodium

Natural peanut butter

It may seem backward, but when it comes to peanut butter, choose the kind with the most fat. Natural varieties are made from nothing but peanuts and salt, but many commercial brands contain hydrogenated oils and corn syrup. Choose an all-natural product, and you’ll trade the bad stuff for more healthy fat.

We like: Smucker's Natural Peanut Butter, Creamy (2 Tbsp)
200 calories
16 g fat (2.5 g saturated)
90 mg sodium

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