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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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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Did you know Paul McCartney is a vegetarian? I didn’t, but then again, I never looked into it until now.

On his latest and upcoming tour, the former Beatle is banning all meat related foods. In other words, he is forcing his crew to be vegetarians, too.

According to Sify News, 480 vegetarian meals will be served each day on the tour.

McCartney has always been an important figure in animal activism, but is this latest move taking things too far? Some fans think his decision to ban meat tastes a little bit like tyranny. So be it — his new title should be Sir Paul McCartney, vegetarian tyrant!

In a bold act of defiance, groups are being formed over the internet to bring beef into the lives of the common people who serve under the tyrant. A blogger from BeatCrave  has already had the idea of smuggling  in foods, like burgers, steaks and ribs to the meat-deprived crew.

While I understand McCartney’s need to revert to vegetarianism, I can’t possibly fathom why he would force those ideas on anyone else. PETA would be thrilled.

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

We all know that America is facing many health problems. One that remains high up on the list is obesity — in particular, child obesity. Parents are letting their children eat anything and everything that they choose, especially McDonalds Happy Meals.

A group of protesters have asked that Ronald McDonald retire from his position as the spokesperson for the fattening fast food chain. They claim that although he is a role model to children, he is teaching them to eat the things that will only increase American’s obesity instead of helping kids make healthy food choices.

According to WFMZ-TV, many protesters have issues with the fact that McDonald’s chooses to target 3 year olds in their ad campaigns. “Ronald is an insidious clown that preys on small children’s innate trust and wonder, all in the name of moving more Happy Meals,” one woman said. “No fast food character is better at making parents feel guilty for trying to say no to their kids’ incessant nagging. It’s time Ronald stopped exploiting our children and undermining parents’ best efforts to feed their kids right. He’s had a good run, but it’s time for him to go.”

As a response, McDonald’s released the following statement: “Ronald McDonald is a beloved brand ambassador for McDonald’s…Ronald also helps deliver messages to families on many important subjects such as safety, literacy, and the importance of physical activity and making balanced food choices.”

Here is what a group of students from the University of Vermont have to say:

What do you think about the current obesity issues in our country? Should Ronald McDonald be forced to retire?

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

I can’t say that I’m a tremendously huge fan of Harry Potter. I’ve read two and a half books and haven’t seen any of the movies. But when I heard there was going to be a Harry Potter theme park opening in Universal Studios, I decided I would be more than excited to go.

The park, which will feature a virtual robotic ride over Hogwarts Castle, will open on June 18 in Orlando, Florida. It will be dubbed ‘The Wizarding World of Harry Potter’ and will leave plenty of room for every Harry Potter fan. It will take up 20 acres, after all. Besides the main ride, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, other rides will also be featured, like the Dragon Challenge, and the Flight of the Hippogriff.

Some of the more interesting aspects of the new theme park lie within its eating establishments. As all fans of the book know, there are some very unique foods that present themselves to characters in the stories. The main restaurant, called Three Broomsticks, will feature butterbeer, a drink that tastes like shortbread cookies and butterscotch.

MTV News reports that they will also serve Rotisserie-smoked chicken, chargrilled ribs and turkey legs, as well as British pub staples like fish and chips, shepherd’s pie and Cornish pasties. Of course, some other tasty treats include pumpkin juice, chocolate-y cauldron cakes, treacle fudge and a Scottish ale called Hog’s Head Brew.

For those of you who couldn’t get enough of the cool stores in the Harry Potter books, you will actually be able to visit them. Visitors will have shopping opportunities in stores like Dervish and Banges, Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods, Honeyduke’s Homemade Sweets, Ollivanders, Owl Post, and Zonkos.

Click here to see a slide show of pictures from the new theme park. Looks pretty nifty to me!

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