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August 21, 2019

Back to School, Back to Basics

When we break it down, practicing healthy habits is rather elementary. It can also seem rather complicated. Since school is back in session, I figured

August 15, 2019

The All or None Syndrome

Ever experience Pause Button Mentality? Perhaps during the holidays, your birthday, after vacation, when work gets crazy, or kids go back to school? H

August 8, 2019

Lessons from Nature, and Grounding

We must be moving into fall, as school supplies are in the sale ads. Didn’t summer vacation just get rolling? As I look around, I see many of my lil

August 1, 2019

Creative, Easy, Grilling Ideas

Summer is for taking it easy, and that includes mealtime. Lately, Mr. Non-Compliant and I have been playing with food. Our latest game: How much can w

July 18, 2019

Happy National Ice Cream Month

The year was 1984. President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of July as National Ice Cream Day. This ye

July 11, 2019

How to Bok Choy

Summer is adventure time. With the abundance of various fruits and vegetables available at grocery stores and farmers markets, there is no reason to b

July 4, 2019

Relax and Enjoy

Welcome to the dog days of summer and simple eating. Unlike winter, when those crock pot soups and stews hit the spot, we are now in the season of lig

June 27, 2019

Atomic Habits

My current summer (now that it’s official!) read is “Atomic Habits” by James Clear. I’m working on improving a few of mine—slowly—one at a

June 13, 2019

Ten of My Best Tips

Q. What to blog about when I have too many ideas flying around my brain and I simply am not able to choose? A. Tips that cover a variety of topics, wi

June 6, 2019

The Joys of June…and Strawberries

Along with June come some fun celebrations. Besides the new season of life celebrated by many graduates (and parents, now free of tuition payments), a

Mr. Non-Compliant Goes to Costco and a Summer Recipe

My husband (aka Mr. Non-Compliant) and I typically do not grocery shop together. I know that many couples do and I can only imagine what that must be like. For us, it is a near nightmare experience.

Recently, we were in Costco and needed less than ten items. We had fifteen minutes for shopping in order to make it to an event without being tardy.

We agreed; only pick up the items on the list and no reading labels. Deal.

We were off, him driving the buggy and me guiding the way and grabbing the items. I resisted temptation and read not even one label. Ten minutes into it, things were going great, in spite of the sample snack booths, crowds and detours.

Suddenly, as I turned to toss the last item into the cart, he had vanished. UH OH! The “look,” folded arms, and toe tapping got me nowhere. I began the search.

You guessed it. He had found the sample booth with beef jerky (we had missed lunch—bad idea) that was located across the aisle from the pantry size jar of plain M&M’s. As he tossed the nearly four-pound container of candy-coated chocolates into the buggy, I simply found the shortest checkout line.

This is what happens when I turn my back for 15 seconds. At this stage in the game, I choose my battles. The one-pound container of mixed spring greens will hopefully offset all that sugar.

Had it been me a few years ago, I would have chosen the peanut variety. I’ve managed to break that habit and when I need chocolate, it’s a square or two of the 85% cocoa variety. He asks why I do that to myself. We blissfully agree to disagree.

In celebration of today’s Summer Solstice, here is my favorite summer potato recipe in case you missed my Facebook Live on Tuesday. Enjoy today to it’s fullest and have some of your favorite summer foods!

Summertime Grilled Potatoes

 Scrub your favorite variety of potatoes, or combine Sweet, Idaho, Yukon Gold, whatever you have on hand. Cut in thin slices and place about two layers on a piece of foil you have coated with olive oil. This will make it easier to spoon them out once they’re cooked. (If you have a crowd, it’s better to make a couple smaller packets so they cook evenly.)  

Drizzle the potatoes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. For variety, try Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, garlic powder, paprika (adds a nice color), and/or rosemary. You can’t mess this up, so have fun experimenting. You could also add sliced onions, zucchini, or peppers. Secure the foil and wrap again for good measure. Grill for about 45 minutes, depending on how hot your grill is, turning halfway through cooking time.

These potatoes are my summer go-to side dish with any grilled meats, poultry or fish.

Summertime Grilled Potatoes

Scrub your favorite variety of potatoes, or combine Sweet, Idaho, Yukon Gold, whatever you have on hand. Cut in thin slices and place about two layers on a piece of foil you have coated with olive oil. This will make it easier to spoon them out once they’re cooked. (If you have a crowd, it’s better to make a couple smaller packets so they cook evenly.)  

Drizzle the potatoes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. For variety, try Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, garlic powder, paprika (adds a nice color), and/or rosemary. You can’t mess this up, so have fun experimenting. You could also add sliced onions, zucchini, or peppers. Secure the foil and wrap again for good measure. Grill for about 45 minutes, depending on how hot your grill is, turning halfway through cooking time.

These potatoes are my summer go-to side dish with any grilled meats, poultry or fish.

Celebrating the Summer Solstice

It’s right about now that I always wish I could slow the hands of time. We are one week out from the Summer Solstice, the day of the year that gifts us with the most daylight—about 17 hours. Well, here in the northern hemisphere anyway.

June 21, 2018 at 5:07am central time, it happens. Many consider it to be the first day of summer. Families with young children usually consider the last day of school as such, however I’m going with next Thursday. (Isn’t it okay to wear white as well? Crazy fashion rules.)

I decided to let you know about this now so you can plan a celebration that includes some fun summery foods! YUM!     

As I think about summer and June and long lit evenings, I also think about the various types of fresh produce that show up in delicious abundance. Now is the time when it is easiest to enjoy fresh food at its best and know that you are caring for your body in a very good way.

Summer Solstice Celebration Ideas

  • Go strawberry picking, or at least find some local berries at a farm stand. No offense to California and Florida–nothing beats an Indiana berry in June. Make some strawberry shortcake (yes, from scratch) and top with some CoCoWhip, a frozen coconut milk topping that is dairy-free and delicious.
  • Have dinner outside on the patio or go on a picnic. Instead of fried chicken, pick up a rotisserie chicken from your favorite grocery store. If you like to grill, the options are numerous depending on how adventurous you feel: burgers made from ground beef, turkey or pork; fresh fish (Ask the fish expert at the store for grilling tips. I saw that Whole Foods even has whole fish available, bones removed, ready to cook.); pork tenderloin with a bit of orange marmalade slathered on toward the end of cooking time.
  • Get a whole watermelon, chill it for a day so it’s icy cold, and have fun eating it—outdoors of course. Share it with your neighbors.
  • Enjoy a fruit, cheese and nut tray, adapted to your way of eating. Since my sons are allergic to dairy, my tray would have a variety of goat or sheep cheese, which is much easier to find these days. Grapes, dates, berries, and pear slices with some raw or lightly salted almonds are a nice accompaniment.
  • If an entire meal is too much, a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon with a bit of dark chocolate while enjoying your backyard space may be just right. For those of you who live alone, make a plan to have a friend or two over to celebrate with you.

However you choose to celebrate the beginning of summer, do so with gusto. I still need to make my plans. I may include a dollop or two of ice cream, along with those fresh strawberries.

 “The sun does not shine for a few trees and flowers, but for the wide world’s joy.”—Henry Ward Beecher

What I Learned In Knife Class 101

Since I have finally become a responsible adult, I decided I ought to know how to properly use kitchen knives. This being the case, I took a Basic Knife Skills class this week.

I visited Mrs. Dornberg’s Culinary Experience in Highland for this specialty class. After two hours of slicing, dicing, and chopping, I realized I have been doing some things the hard way for my entire cooking life.

THE LESSON: we aren’t born knowing how to do most things, so at some point we need to learn. My knife skills were the ones I learned from my mom, who probably learned from her mom.

The same principles go for cooking, baking, homemaking, parenting, and so on. YouTube, and television don’t allow for hands-on experience and correction.

A few knife tips, just in case you’re curious:

  • The chef’s knife, typically with an 8-inch blade, is used for 90% of our cutting needs. (I rarely used this knife. Oops.)
  • A paring knife is used 10% of the time.
  • The serrated knife is used to slice bread.

These are really the only three knives you need. (Better not tell the Cutco people.)

Sharp knives are a must. Oh, and if you cut yourself, the wound heals quicker than if you had used a dull knife.

As we practiced the proper way to use sharp knives, bad habits emerged. Do you typically scrape your chopped food off the cutting board with the knife? Time to retrain and use a plastic scraper instead.

I have several habits that I need to break in order to be more efficient and make prep time easier. Practice, practice, practice.

Oh, and did you know there are goggles you can get so the onions won’t make you cry? True! 

If you find cooking a challenge, I suggest you check out Mrs. Dornberg’s Culinary Experience. The skills you learn from her make the process much easier—and fun.

If you have some food and fitness habits that could use some work, I’m your girl. Together, we’ll practice better habits so this will be much easier—and fun.

“A sharp knife cuts the quickest and hurts the least.”—Katharine Hepburn