Archive for Food and Drink

Something More than Pumpkin Pie

This is the time of year for Winter Squash and that old seasonal favorite, Pumpkins. We all have leftover Pumpkin, mostly from the Halloween carvings but also from tabletop decorations of fresh Squash and Gourds that are not eaten. My next post will be on crafts you can make with fresh Gourds. Today we are going to tackle the leftover Pumpkin. Although everyone is familiar with the use of leftover Pumpkin in pies and for the roasted seeds, there just aren’t a lot of tasty recipes for that leftover Pumpkin that everyone in the family will eat. So I thought I’d tackle some great ideas for recipes using that leftover Pumpkin and make sure to toss in something for everyone. I promise you these recipes will give you something more than the same old Pumpkin Pie..

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Making Cool Summer Drinks

Everyone always drinks a lot more in the summer. The heat, the humidity, the activity, all conspire to make us thirsty. Even swimming in the ocean, with all that salt, brings people out to grab a soda pop. So when everyone is around the pool, enjoying the sun and the beautiful blue sky, why not make some cool drinks they will enjoy? How about making some of them from herbs and natural ingredients? How about making some of them alcoholic so people can relax and get into a groove? And how about making some blender drinks or a punch that even the kids can slurp down? I have recipes for all of these so there is no excuse for sitting around the pool or on the beach with a cooler full of boring canned drinks. You can make these up and serve them out of the blender, pitchersor a thermos . If you put your drinks in Stainless steel reusable cooler cans then you are also helping the environment, protecting your children from dangerous plastics and keeping your drinks cool for the long haul! But if you do not have these stainless steel containers then there is nothing wrong with sterilizing some old drink bottles in boiling water and filling them up with one of these potions for the trip to the beach or the park.

For making the blender drinks you will need a blender. Any blender will do; although bartenders use special ones, you can use just about any blender you can find. The thift stores have used ones for really cheap. But if you do not have a blender and do not want to keep one, then you can use a cake mixer

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Snacking in the Flower Garden

I have been to many an office party in a fancy hotel conference room, haven’t you? Even if not, I am sure you have had those fancy salads they serve, filled with flowers, fancy lettuces and vegetable leaves. There, among the Romaine, Arugula and Spinach, you have seen yellow, red or orange blooms. What on earth are they? You don’t see them in the grocery store and you don’t see them in most restaurants, but they are obviously ok to eat, and even downright delicious! Even though it’s not common on our menu, the truth is, many cultures use flowers in their traditional cooking. The Italians use squash blossoms and the Indians use roses. Flowers can be spicy, herbacious, floral and/or fragrant. And what they can add to your food is amazing.

As I noted, many of us have eaten flowers in salad. Some of us have had teas made of blooms, like Roses and Dandelions. But they can actually be obtained easily and sometimes for free and used in a many inspired ways that can improve your food. You can use the blooms from chives, garlic or basil in pasta, vegetable sauces and in soups. You can make milk based desserts like custards or ice creams out of Roses or Carnations. You can pickle the buds of flowers like Nasturtiums or Cloves. The ideas are endless as are the recipes. Here are the different flowers that are good to eat with a few interesting recipes thrown in:

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New Charitable Website and Monthly Contest

I just launched my new site, “Cheap and Charitable”. This is a charity blog/website and shopping portal. I want to kick it off by giving away a prize every month of the first year. A different prize will be given each month, starting in July. Julys’ prize is a cellphone. This is a Motorola L2 TriBand Unlocked GSM Cellphone. You can enter to win this until July 31st, at which time the prize changes. At any time, if you go to the same link you can enter the current month’s contest.

The purpose of cheap and charitable is three fold. One: to make people aware of the various issues that face our world today, issues like human trafficking and homeless vets, and give them ideas, motivation and links to help. Two: to offer lots of products at discount prices and at great value and include coupons. Three: to sell enough product through my partners to garner money for charity. That’s it.

If you wish to enter the contest you will have to answer three questions correctly.  The answers are on the front page of the site, in the text.  If you wish to visit the site to find and answer the questions, then follow the link below. Look for the widget in the sidebar that has the three questions for this month and once you have the answers, click on the link to enter. It’s that simple. Once you enter the contest you will be sent a link to your email each month for a chance to enter the next month’s contest. It doesn’t cost you a thing. Unless, of course, you take a look around Cheap and Charitable and decide to do some of your shopping there. Lots of needy people and animals would thank you!

So go here to find the questions:


… and GOOD LUCK!


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Get Out And Find Your Own Food!

I know a lot of you are starting to grow your own food. Some of you have been doing it for a while. And a lot of you, like me, have been trying it off and on with limited success. My tomato seedlings look pretty poor right now but I think a few peppers are going to be viable. It’s a hit and miss affair with a lot depending on how healthy the seeds are to begin with. Anyways, some of you are doing this because of concerns over the quality of the food we are being sold and others are doing it simply because money is tight. From my vantage point, money is very tight and growing food can help lift some of that stress. It can also give our bodies a reprieve from all the additives and chemicals in our commercial foods.

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Delicious and Healthy Summer Fare

Summer is almost here and we are all firing up the barbecues and stocking the fridge with fast, easy foods. I am sure that much of this will be attempts at healthy eating; fresh fruits and special cuts of meat (for the grill). But I want to make some suggestions as to how to power up your summer fare and make it healthier without taking away from the taste or the ease of access. In fact, some of these tips will make you jump for joy. While preserving taste and type of great summer fare, I want you to consider mixing certain foods together in order to get the best out of what you eat. Wait until you see what I’m talking about.

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The Dangers of Pet Food

Those of us who are pet owners love our pets a lot. In fact, most are like me and treat their pets like their kids, with great love, attention and care. And most of us are deeply involved in the feeding and care of our pets, from the flea meds we use on them to the food we feed them and the last thing we want is to poison or sicken our beloved critters. So this post is about just that, the foods you may be buying without thought or with just blind faith that may also be dangerous.

I am sure none of you have forgotten the pet food scare of two years ago where a lot of animals died from eating pet food made with a wheat gluten that had been treated with melamine. Melamine, a chemical used in fertilizers, is commonly added to food in China because it boosts the protein levels of the food and allows the manufacturer to charge more for it. They have no animal welfare laws in China and they still feed this stuff to their own pets, who have no protections and mostly live short lives, unfixed, hardly cared for, sick with any one of many common diseases. They have also had several recent scares with children being sick or dieing from melamine exposure in baby formulas. Here in America we may not be the most alert guard at the gate and our own regulatory laws are way too lax but we, at least, stop serving up poison once we recognize it as such.

My guess is you think the problem has stopped and there is nothing to fear in the foods you feed your pets. Well, I can admit that you probably won’t see any melamine any time soon, but there are plenty of other evil agents you must keep a wary eye open for. These are not all poisonous ingredients, some of them are just downright gross and unhealthy. Like dog or cat hair? Or bone from decomposing carcasses? How about human pain killers? Oh, yes. Be prepared to be surprised.

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