A health and fitness blog: With an occasional food item

Friday, January 30, 2009

Why Pat can't come to dinner

That's a backdoor way of complimenting our friend Pat of Atlanta and Pine Mountain Valley. We are fortunate to be friends with her, outright, but also because she's a gourmet cook.
Pat can't come to dinner at our house because, well, I am still weighing the benefits of olive oil or salt while cooking spaghetti.
Here is what our women's group had for dinner last Saturday at the Farm (The Pine Mountain Valley property).

Anti pasta = Selected olives, pickled garlic, Genoa salami, prosciutto, liver pate, dolce gorgonzola, parmesan cubes, mozzarella balls, roasted artichoke hearts,
focaccia bread

Dinner = mushroom ragu over toasted polenta rounds
Toast with roasted garlic spread
Tossed salad with pear and dikon

Dessert = fresh fruit with limoncello sauce
Red wine

Thursday, January 29, 2009

aka Heart Explosion

This is really making the rounds.
The Bacon Explosion, perhaps the Atkins Diet on steroids, contains 2 pounds of sausage and 2 pounds of bacon. Also some spices and, as one editor here defended it, caraway seeds--"a vegetable," he said.
Next Friday I'm going out of town. I halfway expect to come home two days later and see this editor dead on my kitchen floor, having been invited over to eat the Bacon Explosion with my husband. I imagine each of them with a fistful of the meal, half-eaten, in their hands, with their eyes rolled back in their heads but smiles on their faces.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Viva Italia!

Seems I have a one-track mind lately.
Click here to read a Times piece from today about pasta.
Pasta has been on the Owen table oh, three of four recent nights. (Plus I went out for a friend's birthday on Monday to an Italian place.) Just this morning on the radio, the helpful hints guy (what is his name?) said pasta sales are up lately because it's cheap and it's a great comfort food. Good reasons, both, in this bad economy.
Then last night, Mr. Owen said he'd heard you shouldn't put olive oil in the water as it's boiling. (This is something I do religiously, after time spent separating sticky noodles.) "They" (the experts) say the oil separates the sauce from the pasta. My thoughts? It's going to get separated in your stomach anyway.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

John Updike

Rest in peace, John Updike.
Here is an essay the novelist read on NPR a few years ago. (You can either read the text or click on the "thingy" to listen.)
What a talent. What a gift to the world.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Sweaty gym clothes or apple bread?

Thank God the smell of the apple bread in my car won out against that of the nasty clothes in the gym bag this evening as I dined out with friends.
It's not always the case. Then again it's not every day I buy apple bread.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Lasagna recipe

Internet, I am so leaned back on the couch right now because I'm stuffed from a great lasagna meal. If I do say so myself.

Here's the recipe:


1 lb. Italian sausage
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp. crushed dried basil
1 tsp. salt
1 16-oz. can tomatoes
2 6-oz. cans tomato paste
8 oz. lasagna noodle
3 c. ricotta cheese
One-half cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. salt
One-half tsp. pepper
16 oz. mozzarella cheese, grated or thinly sliced

Directions: Brown meat slowly, then spoon off excess fat.
Add next 5 ingredients and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Cook noodles, drain, rinse and set aside.
Combine remaining ingredients except the mozzarella cheese in a small bowl and set aside.
Grease a 13x9x2-inch baking dish.
Layer the ingredients 3 times in the following order: noodles, ricotta filling, mozzarella, then meat sauce. Save enough of the mozzarella to put on the top as the final layer. If you prefer thicker lasagna, you can layer only twice.
Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Back again

Blogspot, I have missed you. (Have you missed me? Check yes or no.) Every now and then, even though we're on Pluck at work, I think I'll cut and paste here. I've missed the colors. Crazy what you get used to.
Meanwhile, here's what just went up at Pluck: What do you eat when you have a cold?
Click here to see a few good ideas.
This is a topic in our house because Mr. Owen has a cold. Today he stayed home sick. Yesterday he worked but wasn't feeling well. He wanted clam chowder (the creamy kind with milk) for dinner. Some scoffed--"Milk?!" Because, you know, that can bring on more mucus. My theory? You're going to have a cold pretty much as long as the virus sticks around. Short of running around Siberia naked, or something else stupid like that, I say eat what you want.
Other ideas?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bye, bye colors

Parting is such sweet sorrow.
We're still blogging through the paper's site but it's DULL compared to this one. Maybe we can juice it up some.
Click here for the new Spin Cycle.
Thanks for reading!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Paintings and Polkadots

Thanks to my new addiction to Facebook, I just found out about a friend's company, Paintings and Polkadots. She started it as a result of painting "therapy" with her young son after a double mastectomy in '07. A part of her sales goes to breast cancer causes.
Help out Kristen--and the fight against cancer--if you can.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

New find

Here's a new read I picked up today at the local B&N.
So far, really interesting.
If it weren't for the whole blood and guts thing, and if the science side of my brain weren't on permanent sleep mode, I think I'd have been a good doctor. Ha.
Among other achievements, Dr. Firlik was the first woman to be admitted to the residency program at the University of Pittsburg. Whoa.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

New blog

Over at Runner's World, by one Leslie Bonci.
She's a nutritionist who works with athletes of all abilities.
Bonci will take questions via e-mail. My question would be what she thinks of these cleanses. (Fasting with the nutrient-packed juices for one to three days.) And you?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Today's topic: Grits

The Husband contends that grits are a mere vehicle for butter and salt.
Now, if you like butter and salt but you don't like grits, then, well, you won't like grits. (How clever is that?)
Regular readers of this blog will know that our household loves baked cheese grits. They go especially well with pork tenderloin. A secret ingredient? Garlic. It's not overpowering but it adds a "punch."
What are some of your fave grits recipes?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Gupta for Surgeon General?

This post on the Daily Kos says that background checks are underway for Dr. Sanjay Gupta to become the next U.S. Surgeon General.
Wonder if that means he'll still be all over CNN?
And I've never been able to figure out how he has more hours in the day than the rest of us. In addition to the CNN gig, he's an assistant professor of neurosurgery at Emory.
What's really depressing? He's a year younger than I am.

The latest obsession

Don't know about you, but sometimes I get fixated on things--like a dog with a chew toy--and it's hard to let go. Here's the latest: How do you answer the question "How are you?" when you're having a bad day?
This comes up a lot in the South. It's a greeting that's better than a "hello." But most of us, when we ask it, don't really want to know if the person is anything other than fine. Yet, yesterday I was having a really crappy day and on an interview for a story, these two guys asked me that question at the outset and I said, "Not good." I felt like it was right to say it, not to mention honest.
Now, it all depends on the setting. If someone operating a large crane yells the question down at you, how can you do anything but wave or give a one-word answer? Or if you're not comfortable with the person asking it, you don't have to elaborate; but what if you are in fact having a horrible day and someone you trust asks you, and you say FINE, isn't that a lie?
Internet, Help!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Produce at Brother's

Starting Jan. 24, produce will once again reappear at Brother's General Store, 1014Broadway.
Our friends Brother and Colleen Rosenberg run this fine local shop, and beginning each winter they start bringing in seasonal things from area farms.
Non-produce items include ice cream, homemade fudge, cookies, greeting cards, aprons and T-shirts, postcards, soup and bread mixes and other gourmet items. As you can tell, the name General Store fits.
See you there.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's Day

Our friends Vicky and John have a super New Year's Day party every year. It's a potluck. They supply the meat. Here are various and sundry photos of us'n.
Happy '09, y'all!