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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

We all love to eat delicious summer foods when the weather takes a turn for the warmer. Picnics become more frequent, drinking cold fruity drinks on a daily basis becomes normal, and we’re always looking for some new food to spice up our lives. Well folks, I think I’ve found it.

Forget your store-bought salsas. Although Santa Barbara brand salsa is quite good (and my favorite store-bought brand), it can’t live up to the recipe I’ve just stumbled upon. Here’s the best home-made recipe for mango salsa I’ve ever tasted…

Ingredients:

  • 2 mangoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 (8 ounce) can of pineapple tidbits, drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or however more you want to add to make it more spicy)

Add it all together, and you’ve got mango salsa! It is very important that you use fresh ingredients in this. It makes for a much better taste. While I admit that I did use a can of pineapple tidbits, everything else was fresh and the cilantro was from my garden. This salsa is great because it offers so many flavors…you bite into it and at first get the mango, then pineapple, then a burst of ginger, onion, and cilantro, and it leaves you with a spicy taste in your mouth.

Here’s a bit of what I was just munching on. It tastes great on a blue tortilla chip!

Oh, but one more thing…if you think you need to double the recipe to get enough to last you, you don’t! That’s what I did and now I have enough to feed a small army. Who wants some??

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Recently, I have started a quest to find a healthier diet. I’ve decided to take the popular phrase ‘you are what you eat’ to heart and give my body a dose of food that is truly good for it. If you haven’t noticed, eating sweets and sugary things will make you feel more lethargic. Who wants that? Why not kickstart your health by making a healthy change?

So far, my quest has led me to the organic produce section of the grocery store. I stocked up on fresh fruits and veggies. Now, I want to give you one of my favorite soup recipes, but I’ve changed it a bit to give it more of an all natural quality. Meet chicken soup with lentils and barley. This recipe comes from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sliced leeks or chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped organic red or green sweet pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons light butter
  • 2 14.5 ounce cans of chicken broth (I recommend using organic low sodium free range broth, like the brand Imagine makes.)
  • 1.5 cups filtered water
  • 1/2 cup dry organic lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed (all the herbs can be store bought or picked and dried from your herb garden)
  • 1.5 cups chopped cooked free range organic chicken or turkey
  • 1.5 cups sliced organic carrots
  • .5 cup quick cooking barley
  • 1 14.5 ounce can organic tomatoes, cut up

Step one: In a large saucepan, melt butter. Then cook leeks or onions, pepper, and garlic until tender.

Step two: Add broth, water, lentils, basil, oregano, rosemary, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Step three: Stir in the chicken pieces, carrots and uncooked barley. Cover and simmer another 20 minutes. Add the undrained tomatoes and heat.

This recipe makes about 8 cups of soup. I know you may be thinking that you can’t afford to buy all those organic ingredients, but you can surely substitute whatever you need to fit your lifestyle. This soup is still very healthy even if it isn’t completely organic. However, it’s nice to try to throw at least some organic ingredients into your soup pot. The environment and your body will thank you later. Here’s to healthy eating!

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Kids love Happy Meals. Not only are they getting the delicious, fatty, indulgent food they’ve been begging Mom for over the past two hours, but they also get a cool toy! The best part is that there’s usually a toy for girls and a toy for boys so no one gets left out.

All of that is about to change in Santa Clara, California.

For years the debate has been brewing about fast food and today’s children. It has been noted that childhood obesity is on the rise, and it may just have something to do with all those Happy Meals they’ve been eating. In order to fight this childhood obesity, a group of elected officials in the California county have passed an ordinance that will remove all toys from Happy Meals, discouraging kids to eat the unhealthy food.

In an article from Yahoo! News, county supervisor Ken Yeager said, “This ordinance prevents restaurants from preying on children’s love of toys to peddle high-calorie, high-fat, high-sodium kids meals.” The county’s public health officials agree.

Of course, the ordinance is spreading hatred from fast food chains like McDonald’s and Burger King. It be put into motion in 90 days, unless the restaurant owners can think up a better solution to lure kids into their eating establishments.

Check out this video, which was made just before the ordinance was passed:

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

How about some good old-fashioned chocolate chips? And bananas, of course.

Today is a celebration of two of the best paired foods. To give you a taste, I will give you the sweet, scrumptious recipe for Chocolate Chip Banana Squares.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (2-3 bananas)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 6 ounce package semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2/3 chopped walnuts (optional, but recommended)

Step one: Grease a square or rectangular baking pan and set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, beat the butter or margarine, along with the sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat until combined.

Step two: Add egg, bananas, and vanilla until combined. Then add the flour. Lastly, stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. You can do all this with an electric mixer or by hand. Either one will work.

Step three: Spread in baking pan. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes (or until golden brown) at 350 degrees. Cool on a wire rack, then cut into squares. Makes 36 squares.

The last time I made these little bite sized wonders, everyone had them eaten in about 10 minutes! They’re a huge hit for small get-togethers and family gatherings. And it’s a sweet treat to cure any chocolate craving.

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