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December 6, 2018

Slow Down to Speed Up

This mantra seems counterintuitive, especially since there are only 19 days until Christmas. Yet, it hit me during a recent time of stillness. It also

November 29, 2018

Always Do Something

It’s time to embrace imperfection. Yes, you read that correctly. Today, we are going to consider doing some things imperfectly, rather than not

November 14, 2018

We Fry a Turkey

Yes, you read that correctly. The Slager family fries a turkey (or two) each year to celebrate Thanksgiving. I know. Fried food is not a healthy optio

November 1, 2018

A Fun Day of Celebrations

I find it quite curious that the day after many folks around the world celebrate Halloween, we find ourselves with more than we bargained for on Novem

October 25, 2018

Healthy Diet = Brighter Brain

The age-old question I hear is this, “What is the best diet for me?” Although some people have food sensitivities or allergies, there is a way of

October 18, 2018

Warm Up with a Frittata

It’s that time of year when it actually feels good to turn on the oven. The warmth in the kitchen helps take the bite out of the chilly morning air.

October 18, 2018

Fall Frittata

8 ounces organic uncured turkey bacon, diced (I like Applegate brand)      2 green onions, including much of the green, diced 1 bunch asparagus, ch

October 11, 2018

Embracing the Uncomfortable

Today’s topic hit me like a brick when I was doing just that–embracing the uncomfortable. Why would anyone do such a crazy thing? It hardly ma

October 4, 2018

Farewell, Flag Pants

“You’re getting a little wide in the beam, aren’t you kid?” Those words literally kicked me into the basement of reality and sadness, all

September 27, 2018

Share the Love

Today, give some positive encouragement to another human being. This person may be a workout buddy, neighbor, co-worker, friend, family member, strang

Just Do a Little Bit Better

In our journey to a healthier, happier life, we often get a bit overzealous.

We think we can conquer it all, all at the same time.

We work out everyday for an hour, give up the sugar and bread, eat massive amounts of fruits and vegetables, and drink only water.

We do really well and start feeling like a million bucks—for a week or two. Then it gets too hard and we quit.

It’s impossible to stay motivated for the long haul.

Here’s an idea. How about trying to do just a little bit better? Practice one habit at a time. ONE.

Maybe you let go of the before-bedtime snack a couple bedtimes a week.

Or you skip devouring the bread basket when you go out for dinner.

Or in my case, eat the ice cream only a couple times a week instead of five.

Whatever it is for you, remember that little things, over time, add up to big results and a happier life.

Patience, persistence, and understanding why any of this is important to you is key.

Life is delicious. Eat it up.


“To live well is to eat well.”—
Author Unknown

Keeping it Real, Recipe Included

I’m writing this after returning home from Julia Child’s birthday celebration. This evening, at Mrs. Dornberg’s Culinary Experience, we toasted to a wonderful cook, who would have been 106 today. 

There is much that we could celebrate about Julia and what she brought to American cooking. After viewing some television clips, what is quite obvious is that she was real.

She burned food, ruined recipes, dropped chickens, and kept right on going. Nothing stopped her from teaching us with great zeal and humor, as imperfect as she was.

I find that quite comforting.

Our birthday meal consisted of:

  • Gruyere Stuffed Mushrooms (Champignons Farci)
  • Eggplant Pizza
  • Salad greens with Basic French Vinaigrette
  • Poached Salmon with Cucumber Sauce
  • Buttered String Beans (Haricots Verts a la Maitre d’Hotel)
  • Chocolate Mousse topped with whipped cream

We toasted with a bit of champagne, and appropriate wine pairings were also available. Julia did lots of wine pouring and toasting, celebrating food and life.

As we continue to celebrate summer, kids going back to school, and beautiful sunsets, I offer you a recipe we enjoyed. It is from Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom, by Julia Child.

Basic French Vinaigrette
Makes about 2/3 Cup

  • ½ Tablespoon finely minced shallot or scallion
  • ½ Tablespoon Dijon-type mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ Tablespoon wine vinegar
  • 1/3 to ½ Cup excellent olive oil or other fine, fresh oil
  • Freshly ground pepper

Either shake all the ingredients together in a screw-topped jar or mix them individually as follows. Stir the shallots or scallions together with the mustard and salt. Whisk in the lemon juice and vinegar, and when well blended start whisking in the oil by droplets to form a smooth emulsion. Beat in freshly ground pepper. Taste by dipping a piece of the salad greens into the sauce and correct seasoning with salt, pepper and/or drops of lemon juice.

Vinaigrette is always at its freshest and best when served promptly, but you can store it in an airtight container and refrigerate for several days. The shallots and fresh lemon juice will eventually go off, spoiling the taste of the dressing.

*Add minced fresh herbs to dressing as desired after all the oil has been added.

A true French salad is simply mixed greens with vinaigrette such as this. It helps to cleanse the palate between courses.

Cheers to Julia, eating amazing food, and keeping it real.

“Remember, ‘No one’s more important than people’!” In other words, friendship is the most important thing—not career or housework, or one’s fatigue—and it needs to be tended and nurtured.” –Julia Child, “My Life in France”

 

Basic French Vinaigrette

Basic French Vinaigrette
Makes about 2/3 Cup

  • ½ Tablespoon finely minced shallot or scallion
  • ½ Tablespoon Dijon-type mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ Tablespoon wine vinegar
  • 1/3 to ½ Cup excellent olive oil or other fine, fresh oil
  • Freshly ground pepper

Either shake all the ingredients together in a screw-topped jar or mix them individually as follows. Stir the shallots or scallions together with the mustard and salt. Whisk in the lemon juice and vinegar, and when well blended start whisking in the oil by droplets to form a smooth emulsion. Beat in freshly ground pepper. Taste by dipping a piece of the salad greens into the sauce and correct seasoning with salt, pepper and/or drops of lemon juice.

Vinaigrette is always at its freshest and best when served promptly, but you can store it in an airtight container and refrigerate for several days. The shallots and fresh lemon juice will eventually go off, spoiling the taste of the dressing.

*Add minced fresh herbs to dressing as desired after all the oil has been added.

A true French salad is simply mixed greens with vinaigrette such as this. It helps to cleanse the palate between courses.

Recipe from Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom, by Julia Child

Go Ahead, Be Fearless

We hear it often enough, those four little words that pack a huge punch: “Do not be afraid.”

Easier said than done.

Thankfully, I’m doing a little better with this concept, which gives me courage–and faith–to be fearless as I face new challenges.

I’m not going to suggest something crazy, like jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. (One of my sons did this, and fortunately survived the stunt.)

Today, I’m giving you a few tips I’ve gleaned (and paraphrased) from Julia Child, to practice in your kitchen. Cooking your meals is healthier than eating out, and it can even be FUN! 

Whether you like to cook or you have some fear around it, you may find solace in taking her advice, especially if those recipes don’t always turn out quite the way you intend. They didn’t always work out for her either.

Julia’s Tips

  1. Simple dishes, well prepared, are important to know how to cook. Save the challenging recipes for those days when you need an adrenalin rush.
  2. Understanding basic techniques will help you with efficiency so you will not be so focused on speed. “Hurry-up” cooking will ruin the dish.
  3. Work ahead of time so that when your guests (or family) arrive, you may calmly complete the meal. You can always store and reheat a dish.
  4. “There is no reason to serve those bloody casseroles all the time. I even hate the name!”
  5. French cooking is simply a matter of theme variations. Once you understand how to brown the beef and slice the onions for Beef Bourguignon, you’ll know how to do so for other recipes as well.
  6. It’s important to watch, smell and taste the food as you prepare it. The senses belong in every well-run kitchen, like good knives.
  7. Use the best, freshest ingredients. When Julia was writing, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” she experimented with canned and frozen products and found them “okay” if that’s what was available.
  8. You may want to learn how to cut professionally with a knife, in case you end up on television.
  9. Since Americans have the annoying habit of not drinking white wine, what are they to cook and make sauces with? Dry vermouth is acceptable, according to Julia.
  10. Supermarket ingredients can be transformed into authentic French dishes, except you must include two essentials: time and love. 

“I think one should get one’s vitamins in salads and raw fruits, and what is cooked should be absolutely delicious and to hell with the vitamins!”—Julia Child