Sunday, August 27, 2006

$300 a book

I've been finalizing my Vol. I 'Joys of Organic Cooking' second edition. Anyone who has never written a cookbook cannot understand the time involved. The page numbering is not transferring over properly. The table of contents needed to be done separately. Plus, I had to manually compose the index. I had to coordinate the pages with recipes. On and on....
The software I use is good for recipe input, but doesn't transfer over into a cookbook well. I need to switch to PDF. My files won't transfer for some reason. Why? Why can't I just push a button and have everything done? It's supposed to be easier than this, according to the directions.
My cookbook series has been selling via hard copy. It's so time consuming to switch everything over for online selling. Murphy's Law follows me everywhere.
Life in a cookbook author's life. For all the time involved, I should charge $300 a book. Wonder if they'd sell. :)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Making a Whole Foods Gift Basket

What better way to share a gift of healthy eating then to give a personalized whole foods gift basket? Everyone loves a gift basket. Gift baskets can be convenient, thoughtful, and resourceful. So, you need ideas about what to put in your whole foods gift basket? It's easier than you think.

First, buy a sturdy wicker basket. The sturdier the better since some whole foods are not too lightweight. I have found great deals on used wicker baskets at garage sales, flea markets, and second hand stores. That's what is nice about baskets; they can be used over and over.

Secondly, what types of whole foods does your recipient like? I knew someone who ate nothing but fresh fruit. My gift basket preparation was easy with him in mind. Some people like only veggies. Some prefer a mixture. Whatever they prefer will be he main ingredient in your whole foods gift basket. They all make for a healthy basket.

Have some organic fresh whole foods as the base of your basket. I highly recommend organic since they really do taste immensely better than non-organic. Then add in some organic fresh herbs. Place a health-related magazine or newsletter in for extra enjoyment. You can even add a peeler, and colorful napkins to complete your whole foods gift basket. Also, have some colored heavy-duty clear wrap available. A reel of matching colored ribbon will also come in handy. This makes for an attractive display!

Let’s have some examples of what you can do with your scrumptious and healthy gift baskets:

Whole foods fruit basket:
A couple Bananas
2 tree fruit (nectarines, peaches, apricots, i.e.)
2 citrus (oranges, grapefruit, lemon, lime)
2-3 bunches sweet fresh herbs (mint, lemongrass, i.e.)
2 kiwis
1 health-related magazine (maybe a subscription)
1 peeler or appropriate kitchen utensil
Recipe for whole foods fruit chutney
Colored, quality napkins

Whole foods veggie basket:
A couple carrots with greenery on them
3 peppers (red, yellow, green)
2 garlic cloves
1 stalk of celery heart
1 eggplant or squash
1 medium onion
2-3 bunches fresh hearty herbs (rosemary, thyme, oregano, i.e.)
1 health-related magazine
Peeler and/or other kitchen utensil
Colored napkins
Recipe for veggie soup

For a Mixed whole foods gift basket:
2 carrots
2 bananas
1 stalk of celery heart
1 kiwi
1 garlic clove (keep separate from fruit)
1 eggplant
1 mango
2 bunches fresh herbs (1 hearty and 1 sweet)
1 health-related magazine
Peeler and/or other kitchen utensil
Colored napkins

Now, place the whole foods and other items into your basket. Arrange the items in an attractive manner. Wrap the basket with the colored clear paper. Secure the wrapping with the colored ribbon.

There you have it! A personalized and healthy whole foods gift basket that will be enjoyed wholeheartedly. And, it will have you being remembered for a long time!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Cinnamon Sugar

I was surprised when I saw 'Cinnamon Sugar' at the market the other day. Located in the spice section, this appeared to be a new addition. I am amazed that people pay for this. I've been making it since I was a kid. And, my grandma was making it when she was a kid.
The recipe for cinnamon sugar is very, very complicated. I will try to explain it so everyone can understand.
Cinnamon, powdered or freshly grated
Sugar, white and refined
Combine the two ingredients. Adjust amount of cinnamon or sugar to your liking.
Store in covered container til eternity ends. You can keep it in your kitchen cupboard.
Uses: sprinkle on toast, ice cream, mix into drinks, etc.
There you have it...plain and simple. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Then There's Grits....

(Background to set the story: I was brought up in the midwest where cream of wheat or rice, and/or oatmeal were common breakfast cereals.)
I was in Atlanta, GA for breakfast one day. I wanted a bowl of oatmeal, plain and simple oatmeal. So, I went into the local Waffle House. I looked at the menu and noted they didn't offer any oatmeal. I did notice something called grits. I had seen grits in boxes in the grocery store. They were always located near the oatmeal and hot cereals.
The waitress came over and asked for my order. "I'll take some grits with milk and sugar, please." She gave me a very strange look and repeated, "A bowl of grits with milk and sugar?" "Yes," I said. She shook her head and went into the kitchen.
Suddenly, I hear bursts of laughter from the kitchen. I notice the door is swinging open and faces are peering out at me. It was like I was the star attraction in the local freak show or something.
When the waitress brought me my order, I asked her if I said something funny cuz I noticed the kitchen staff seemed to be laughing at me. I think she liked that question more than my order. She stifled her laughter and very politely she said, "Usually people order grits as a side dish like hash browns. We've never had anyone order it with milk and sugar. You're not from around here, are you?" I then told her I thought grits were similar to Cream of Wheat. We both chuckled.
I still can't figure out why they're sold in the hot cereal section.

What is that Green Stuff?

I was eating in a Japanese restaurant a while back. My baked salmon came with a side of what I thought was guacamole. I filled my fork up with it, put it in my mouth, swallowed it, and DAMN!! I grabbed my glass of water, drank it faster than I ever thought possible, and flagged down the waitress. I couldn't talk, so I pointed from the glass to my mouth while grabbing my throat. My sinuses had cleared faster than any medication could provide. My nose was running, eyes were watering, and throat burning. Damn.....what was that green stuff? It's the spiciest guacamole I've ever had!
She went back to the kitchen to get the water when suddenly I heard a shriek of laughter. I noticed the kitchen workers were peaking out the door looking at me. For some reason, I was their entertainment.
When the waitress came back and brought me a pitcher of water, she told me that green stuff was wasabi (a Japanese horseradish). She then demonstrated to me that I was to mix it with soy sauce (in the small bowl) and dip my salmon into it.
Thanks for telling me.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Save the Greenbacks & Make Your Own Tahini

How to Make Homemade Tahini

Tahini, also known as sesame paste, is most popular for its use in hummus. As it becomes more mainstream, it is being introduced into a variety of dishes. For instance, it can be used as a sauce on many steamed veggies. It adds a delicate, but nutty taste to everything it is added to. However, why buy it in the deli section when you can make your own for much cheaper? Let’s explore how to make your own homemade tahini.

First of all, let us talk about equipment:

Skillet (lightly greased cast iron) or nonstick.

You will need a food processor or blender to pulverize the seeds. Or, if you are a proponent of manual labor, use a mortar and pestle. It will take longer, but it can be done. I have even known someone to place the seeds into a bag and crush the bag with weights. Either way, you need something to turn the seeds into a flour-like consistency.

You will need spatula or fork and a bowl. A wooden or rubber spatula is preferred.

That’s it for equipment and/or utensils. Nothing fancy here.

Now, let us go forward to the ingredients:
Tahini is made from sesame seeds. Since I am a proponent of organic foods, I try to purchase organic whenever possible. So, purchase some organic sesame seeds. More and more mainstream supermarkets (or grocery stores) are selling sesame seeds in bulk. The sesame seeds are usually located near the bulk foods nuts section. Many times they are sold in the ‘natural foods’ or ‘health foods’ section of stores. The price is cheaper than the prepackaged variety. By buying in bulk, you can control the amount you want. Plus, you do not have to pay for packaging, labeling, or a brand name. However, if you do not want to buy in bulk, simply buy some prepackaged sesame seeds.

Here are the ingredients you will need to make your own homemade tahini:
Recipe for Tahini Serves 4
1 T soybean oil 1 clove garlic, minced
2 T water 1 T oregano, chopped
1 T lime or lemon juice 1 T sesame seeds

1. Place sesame seeds into preheated nonstick skillet and cook over medium heat until lightly brown (roasted). This usually takes about 5 minutes. Stir constantly to prevent burning.
2. When done, place seeds into blender/food processor and process for about 30 seconds until floury texture results.
Of course, if using a mortar and pestle it will take longer than 30 seconds. It’ll be a few minutes.
3. Add liquid, garlic, and oregano. Puree and/or blend until smooth.

Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

Nutrition Facts:
Nutrition (per serving): 61.1 calories; 81% calories from fat; 5.7g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 1.0mg sodium; 47.3mg potassium; 2.4g carbohydrates; 1.0g fiber; 0.1g sugar; 1.3g net carbohydrates; 1.0g protein.

Profound Blogging Insight

This blogging looks like it's going to be fun. :)

A month already?

It's already been a month since I've posted? Geez... I have been updating a volume of my Organic cookbook into ebook form. I plan on selling it online and knocking the socks off the online world...
I just wrote and submitted an article on making your own homemade tahini. Tahini is also known as sesame seed paste. It's the binder in hummus of all varieties. I remember how great it tasted on freshly steamed green beans. It's so easy to make, too. I only hope others will learn and try it themselves.
Til we meet again....