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Posts Tagged ‘Food’

Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Just about every year, I head into New Jersey for Michael Arnone’s Crawfish Festival. It’s a festival that boasts delicious southern home cooking and music – mostly blues, zydeco, and funk. This year, the acts were good, but I’d have to say that one stood out more than the rest. It is here that I introduce you to Joanne Shaw Taylor, a blues guitarist from the UK.

Listening to her music, you’d think that she grew up down south or at least had a direct blood line to Stevie Ray Vaughan AND Jimi Hendrix. This girl can play. Flipping her hair around the stage, she drew me in with a cover of Manic Depression by Hendrix. Her solo was just about as good as Jimi’s easily.

She went into some of her own music and the audience she had gathered under the tent grew exceedingly by the time she was done with her set. But enough of me yabbering on about how good she was. See for yourself:

Taylor is currently undergoing an extensive international tour with performances in New York, Pennsylvania, Finland, and Sweden. It’s a lot of traveling, but the exposure will certainly help her sell her talent. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this girl go mainstream within a year.

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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

Those of you who know me know that I strive to do things that will help out the environment. That being said, it makes me glad that there are other like-minded people out there, too. I just finished Vanessa Farquharson’s book, called Sleeping Naked is Green, and I must say that it has put some things into perspective for me, as well as added some more ideas for green changes I can make.

The book is about Farquharson’s own green challenge — making one change every day and sticking with it for one year (in this case, it’s 366 days because it just so happened to be a leap year). Aside from the usual green changes that are easy to drum up, like taking reusable bags to the grocery store or using less plastic bottles, it isn’t easy to think of a green change for every day. Some of her more hardcore environmentalist changes happened to be selling her car, unplugging her fridge, not using toilet paper (for number one only), and drastically altering the way she ate.

Nonetheless, this book is an excellent way for us to evaluate what we can do to help the environment and then see which ideas are doable on a daily basis and which ones are not so great for us. Farquharson, of course, is our guinea pig, testing out all the ways to green your life.

Each chapter is a month in her life, and the beginning of each of those chapters describes the changes she makes daily. There is also a story here, which gives the book more of a human quality to it. The good thing about this book is that it never comes off preachy, just honest and to the point.

Farquharson is an arts reporter for the National Post and during her green challenge, kept a blog for each day’s change. Check out her blog, Green as a Thistle, and read all the posts about her green changes. The book serves more as an overview of the challenge, but the blog goes more in depth, as there is a post for each day.

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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

No, not food a robot might eat. I mean food that’s been cooked by an actual robot. Would you eat it?

Technology has taken us to far and wide places. We have come up with some amazing machines that have done wonders for our society. But when robots become involved, it’s hard not to think about futuristic movies you may have seen where robots take over the human species.

Chinese engineer Liu Changfa has just created a robot that will cook you dinner. When you get home from work and you’re too tired to start stir-frying or baking in the oven, this machine will do the work for you. According to Oddity Central, the robot takes orders via a laptop and cellphone, which let diners choose preset menus or program it to cook certain dishes.

All the seasonings you would ever need are kept in the robot’s chest, and it can access those herbs and spices anytime you decide you need them added to a certain dish. The majority of the cooking is done in its belly, where there is a pressure cooker installed. The diner needs only to add raw ingredients and program the robot to cook what he wants to eat.

Changfa says a few chinese restaurants will be trying out the robot in their kitchens and even serving some of the dishes. He hopes that the idea will catch on and more places will soon be using the machine.

Good idea, but I think I’ll keep making my own food for now.

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Now that warmer weather is finally starting to show itself, you may be thinking that you might want to spend more time outside. Perhaps the spring season invites you to go for a jog or a walk, all around good exercise techniques.

With your mind on exercising, you should also be thinking about healthier foods to start eating, if you haven’t been doing so already. Chicken can provide an excellent source of healthy vitamins and minerals for your body, as well as vegetables that you may way to cook with it. For my next recipe, I give you spicy mexican skillet chicken.

This recipe is simple and it fills you up without letting your exercise and healthy eating go by the wayside.

Ingredients:

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 pound)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons chili powder (depending on your spicy preference)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup frozen whole kernel corn (if you don’t have corn, don’t sweat it. I used bell peppers in mine.)
  • 1/3 cup thick and chunky salsa
  • chopped fresh cilantro, if desired (HIGHLY recommended)
  • red chile slices, if desired (once again, depending on your spicy preference)

Step 1: Remove fat from chicken. Mix chili powder, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle evenly over both sides of chicken breast halves.

Step 2: Heat oil in 10 inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken in oil 8 to 10 minutes, turning once, until juice is no longer pink when centers of thickest pieces are cut.

Step 3: Stir in beans, corn and salsa. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 3 to 5 minutes or until veggies are hot. Sprinkle with cilantro and chile slices.

It’s worth it to go the extra step and add the cilantro to the top. This herb really makes the dish. Also, consider using a fruit based salsa for this dish. I used chunky mango peach salsa and the flavors really added a little something extra to the overall taste. This makes 4 servings.

Nutrition info (per serving): 290 calories, 8g fat, 70mg cholesterol, 550mg sodium, 28g carbohydrate, 32g protein.

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