Saturday, November 13, 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

Finding Balance: Week 5

Life is all about finding that perfect mix of fun and hard work.

This week I want to talk more about practice and repetition. Though I’m still in the beginning stages of what I hope is a thorough transformation, I recognize the importance of developing and implementing a quality routine.

I’ve started to do that by trying to stick to eating certain things for breakfast every day, normally low fat Pop Tarts or a bowl of oatmeal and a cup of coffee. I try to follow that with a snack around 10am, usually a Kashi granola bar, some natural almonds or a piece of fruit. Lunch used to be a sandwich, but I’m doing my best to stay away from excess bread if I can help it. I’ve been eating a lot of Vietnamese food lately, usually sticking with a bowl of Pho Ga, which is essentially just chicken soup. The cilantro and bean sprouts I add to it give it more substance and keep the meal healthy, except for the sodium in the broth.

After going back over my food journal for the past month, it looks like my biggest challenge is controlling what I eat for lunch. It’s no surprise either, since I go out for lunch about 90% of the time. The key is to make sure I go places where I can track my calories, like Chipotle, Chick-Fil-A and other places where nutritional information is readily available.

Now, this week I did allow myself to splurge one morning for breakfast. I’m from Texas, so I have to get my Whataburger fix every now and then. Two taquitos always hit the spot…

The only negative to my routine so far is that I really haven’t developed a consistent enough workout plan. I’ll be honest, it’s been way too sporadic for my liking. The only thing that’s been a constant is soccer practice on Monday, softball games on Wednesday (which are killing me; I’m getting too old to recover quick enough) and soccer games on Saturday. Now that my son’s soccer season is winding down (for those that don’t know, I’m the player wrangler, er, coach), I’m going to have to find something else to drive me crazy, I mean, some other worthy cause to devote my time and energy to.

Another thing I’ve decided to do is weigh myself monthly rather than weekly. I don’t want to get discouraged if I do happen to gain a pound a two during a given week. I’m trying to stay in this for the long haul, so I figure once a month should suffice.

What do you do to exercise, other than the standard walking/running/weight lifting combination?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Hour: Cranberry Mojito

Get ready for the weekend with a Thursday Happy Hour.
NOTE: CHECK OUT THE NEW SITE:
http://www.themightyrib.com
You can find this recipe and so many others!

What happens when you take a scoop of this and dump it in this? You get the picture above. You also get a great drink. I used a little creativity on this one. Plus, I had a ton of leftover cranberry granita and wanted to put it to good use. Boy, did I. The tartness of the cranberry was perfect with the lime and mint of the mojito. This is a great drink for the holidays that's different from the heavy, creamy cocktails associated with this time of year. I highly recommend this Cranberry Mojito (Kevin style). It also makes for a wonderful presentation, and your guests will think you're an expert mixologist. If you're throwing a holiday party, this is a great drink to make ahead of time, throw in a punch bowl and top with the cranberry granita.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Unique Randomness

My random thoughts...brought to you once a week!
  • The time change always f’s me up, but not in the way you might think. I can deal with the short days and temporary messed up sleeping. What I can’t stand is driving to work with that d@mn sun in my eyes. I’m practically blind. I know, poor me.
  • Don’t you just love the battle of the insurance commercials? I do. Progressive has Flo. Farmer’s has the dude from Juno. And State Farm has that guy I just want to punch through the screen. I know Flo is very annoying. Love the Juno guy in everything, and these commercials are no different. But for the life of me, I just can’t figure out what annoys me so much about the State Farm guy.
  • I watched some the of Breeders’ Cup while treadmilling the other day. Favorite horse name: Unzip Me. I wanted to pick him, but figured he was too much of a long shot. Hey oh!!!
  • Speaking of horse racing…name another sport that is so captivating when it comes on, but you could care less about when it’s not on?
  • Began the purge with a garage sale last weekend. I love to haggle. It’s really not about the money to me, it’s about the game.
  • My stages of every Pink song, ever: Stage 1: Denial-It’s just on the radio for the kids. Stage 2: Acceptance-I kind of like the beat and catchy lyrics. Stage 3: Glee-D@mn I like this song. Stage 4: Shame-What the f was I thinking? And they play it all the time. Stage 5: Intollerance-Turn the song off in the first three seconds. Stage 6: Further Denial-I never listen to that Pink crap.
  • We watched Date Night the other night. It had a few funny moments. Just a few. Overall, it was terrible. Mr. Carell, you are on thin ice.
  • Sports in Houston really suck right now.
  • I got another good report on Heights West. If you live in Houston, you should check this hidden gem out.
  • Another tough one...who is that in the picture?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Blog Update!

The Mighty Rib is growing up. Get ready for a whole new look. Coming soon! Very soon!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Vegetarian View: Black Walnut Cafe

Monthly Feature
Molly gives us a peek at a restaurant through the eyes of a vegetarian.

Overall Vegetarian Selection: (2) Stars
Black Walnut Cafe’s menu is very typical of my standard dining experience. It’s one of those places where the vegetarian selection is not great and I feel like they only threw in a sparse handful of meat free dishes to shut us herbivores up.

I didn’t order an appetizer, but their selection had four vegetarian options out of eight. Not too horrible, but the four items were nothing to turn my head at. They were spinach and artichoke dip, garlic cheese bread, toasted ravioli and chips and salsa with guacamole. Kinda boring.

BWC’s salad selection of 13 items only had two vegetarian options. I mean come on…this is a no brainer where a restaurant can easily win a vegetarian over. I really expected more here. And to add insult to injury their extra salad additions consisted of seven meat/seafood items and no tofu. At this point I am picturing the Twitter fail whale in my mind.

Now onto the “Signature Entrees” portion of BWC’s menu where not one meat free item is listed out of nine entrees. By now I am getting pretty upset at the menu creator but am not surprised in the least, because remember BWC is a standard sample of my dining experience unless I purposely visit a vegetarian friendly restaurant.

No time for ranting, it’s time to visit the pasta selection where again, it is easy for a restaurant to please a vegetarian. Pasta, like lettuce in a salad, is diverse and almost anything can be added to it. Out of 14 items to choose from BWC has a whopping two meat free pastas and one of them is blatantly named “Vegetarian Pasta,” which I will expand more on later.

The “Burgers and Sandwiches” section has 12 items and only one is meat free. That item is…drum roll please….a grilled cheese sandwich. Please keep in mind a grilled cheese sandwich is also on the kids menu here too.

There is a glass display case near the cashier with various gelatos, cannolis and other desserts. Maybe I should have gotten something here to brighten my dining experience at BWC.

BWC also serves breakfast with omelets, eggs benedicts etc. but this vegetarian doesn’t eat eggs by themselves so I won’t even go there.

Ordered Dish: (3) Stars
Since my choices were limited, I was able to quickly pick the Vegetarian Pasta for my lunch. (Thanks for spelling it out to me BWC.) My bowtie pasta dish was priced at $9.50 (a little expensive for lunch I think) and consisted of pesto, extra virgin olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, artichokes, garlic and shredded parmesan cheese. The meal was decent but nothing memorable. Since Mediterranean is my favorite cuisine I liked the theme of olives, artichokes etc. in the dish. I thought the ingredients and flavors went well together and the pasta was cooked just right for a cold pasta dish. My meal was a little salty because of all the marinated ingredients and pesto always leaves me running for the water fountain.

Healthy Rating: (3) Stars
My pasta meal was pretty healthy but certainly did not help me in my protein grams consumed for the day. I try to keep my protein at 50 grams a day and this dish probably brought me to probably ten. (The cheese was not abundant in the dish.) I will say the meal was low fat, but high in carbohydrates which bothers some people but I happily accept because of my running.

Overall Opinion: (2.5) Stars
Black Walnut Cafe’s décor is really quaint. There are a lot of different sized couches paired with tables to choose from. For the non-couch eaters BWC does have some regular tables. The interior is kind of dark but that adds to the cozy, sofa atmosphere. Plus they have a spacious patio in the front of the restaurant when the Houston weathers plays nice. Too bad BWC’s menu isn’t vegetarian friendly because I really liked their comforting and relaxed décor. The BWC I visited is located in the Village Arcade so parking can be a problem during peak hours. The service was quick and the restaurant seemed pretty clean. I gave BWC an overall score of 2.5 because even though they have a heavenly dessert case and unique dining room set up, I just cannot forgive the lack of vegetarian dishes. (And what they did offer was very boring.)

www.BlackWalnutCafe.com
5510 Morningside Drive
Houston, Texas 77005

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Kevin's Food Find: Mountain Thunder Coffee (Kona)

We're always on the hunt for some good products.

What is it?

I'm back with another coffee find. Sorry, I just can't help myself when it comes to coffee. Found this one while strolling in a little place I like to call Costco. Two things struck me--price and name. It was under $20 for a pound of Kona coffee. I know my Kona prices, and that's rare. I checked the label to make sure it was 100% Kona, not some f'd up blend. It claims to be 100%, but I didn't see the official seal (look for it). Now to the name. This might be my favorite name of any product I have ever seen--Mountain Thunder! I know you're not suppose to give yourself nicknames, but d@mn if I don't like Mountain Thunder.
Can't you just feel the power through your monitor?

Why it’s so great?
To be honest, this product wasn't great, but it was good. And given that it's from Kona and reasonably priced, I consider it a Food Find. Most Kona coffees run in the late $20's a pound and can run up to $50 for reserves. I knew this would be on the lower end of the Kona coffee chain when I broke the seal. It just didn't have that strong, unique Kona scent. But still pretty good. Smooth and low acidity.

What’s the price?
Like I said, under $20 at Costco....think it's $28 on the web site.

Where can I buy some?
Well, again...at Costco (Whole Bean French Roast). But they also have a pretty good web site to order from (http://www.mountainthunder.com/).

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Test Kitchen:King Ranch Chicken Casserole III

It's time for a Saturday Test Kitchen. You'll see the good and/or bad of every recipe.

The Dish
King Ranch Chicken is one of those dishes that seems to work its way into the mix every now and then. The last time I had some great KRC was at a bed and breakfast place outside San Antonio. Think of KRC as very chicken pot pie-ish, but with the spices and corn tortillas, it certainly can have more of a Mexican food flavor.

The Ease
For full disclosure, I didn't cook this. Sara did. That still counts because we are two hearts beating as one. Sorry, just messing with you. Actually, I had to go out, and wanted to make sure something was posted. So she was kind enough to make the King Ranch. I don't think it was difficult. When you see the word "casserole" in the dish's name, that's code for "we know you have kids, have no life, and have no time--so this dish will be easy".

The Taste
I only had a bite but it was good. The corn tortillas and the spices really made the dish stand out. Another example of a great dish to make on the weekend--for a the week. It yields plenty of leftovers and contains enough veggies to make it fairly healthy. And remember, this is the type of recipe you can add just about any veggie you want. Oh, one more thing. Sara used leftover turkey, so technically this was King Ranch Turkey. Didn't matter, still turned out great.

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/King-Ranch-Chicken-Casserole-III/Detail.aspx

Friday, November 5, 2010

Higher Learning: Roasted Filet Mignon with Ancho-Red Pepper Sauce

Monthly Feature
Get ready advanced cooks. Vivek brings the knowledge up a notch with Higher Learning!


Filet Mignon is luxury when it comes to steak. Its melt in your mouth tenderness is unmatched in the world of meat. It’s likely the first steak you get when you go to a steakhouse, and it’s also the likely steak you order when someone else is getting the tab! What I love about filet, as opposed to some other cuts like NY Strip and Ribeye, is that you can really use a lot of flavors to act as a supporting cast. Because filet does not have a lot of fat, it can use some help in the flavor department. So when I cook filet, I make this great sauce with spicy and fruity ancho chiles and sweet roasted red bell peppers – a perfect complement to the beef.

Like with all steak, I prefer mine medium rare – an internal temperature of about 125 degrees. I achieve that here by doing something counter intuitive – cook it low and slow. You almost want to cook the tenderloin roast as a prime rib, slowly, in order to achieve an even doneness throughout the meat. If the oven is cranked up to 400 degrees, it won’t be a good medium rare. Served with some roasted potatoes, this dish will take any ordinary steak menu and elevate it up to the level of Higher Learning!

Roasted Filet Mignon with Ancho-Red Pepper Sauce (serves 4)
(Recipe adapted from Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill Cookbook)

For the filet:
1 2 lb tenderloin roast, left whole
2 T fresh chopped rosemary
2 T fresh chopped thyme
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 T prepared horseradish
2 T dijon mustard

For the sauce:
5 tablespoons canola oil
1 large red onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 (14.5 oz) cans plum tomatoes and juices
3 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped
3 ancho chiles, soaked, seeded, and chopped
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
¼ cup fresh cilantro
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.

Get started on the filet first. Combine the rosemary, thyme, garlic, horseradish, mustard, and a few cranks of black pepper. Rub all over the filet and then season the filet with salt. Insert a probe thermometer into the thickest part of the roast and cook in the oven until the roast hits an internal temperature of 120 degrees. Take the roast out of the oven and let rest, covered in foil, for about 15 minutes. This ensures the juices redistribute in the meat and keep it moist. At this time, the roast will continue to cook and get to that perfect 125 temperature we are looking for.

In the meantime, make the sauce. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, red peppers, and anchos and cook until the tomatoes soften and break down and the liquid thickens, 20 to 30 minutes. Carefully transfer the mixture to a blender and process until smooth. Add the vinegar, honey, and chopped cilantro, season with salt and pepper and pulse a few times just to combine. Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning as necessary.

If your roast still needs to get that great crust (and it might because we cooked it at such a low temperature), get a really heavy cast iron pan over high heat. Add some butter and when it is almost smoking, sear the filet. Since you are just searing, you aren’t going to cook it past it’s perfect temperature. Cook it for about 30 seconds on each side until it gets that great crust and carve away.

When ready to serve, put some sauce on the plate. Carve the roast into slices and give everyone as much as they want! Garnish with chives and some extra virgin olive oil.
*Note: If you want those fancy cubes I have, I just the roast into 4 steaks. Then I made the “circle” into a “square” by cutting off a little bit of each side. Those scraps are great for a sandwich the next day!

Hope you all enjoy this installment of Higher Learning! I look forward to bringing you some great recipes that will both challenge your culinary curiosity and take you on some amazing epicurean adventures!

Cheers,

Vivek
http://viveksurti.wordpress.com/

Finding Balance: Week 4

Life's all about finding that perfect mix of fun and hard work.

As someone who has always been fairly athletic, I’m used to the idea of practice and training. You practice to get better, you repeat the processes so that they become second nature. And the old adage really is true – practice makes perfect (or at least better). The same holds true in my quest to lose weight and get in shape.

“Practicing” smart eating habits will help me make decisions without having to think about whether they are the right decisions. To me, practice is the physical aspect of growth or transformation, while training is the mental part. We have to train our brains to make the decision to practice healthy habits by doing them repetitively. Have I lost you yet? ‘Cause I’ve almost lost myself…but bear with me.

The thing I really need to focus on is the training. Staying strong mentally, forcing myself to be accountable (through this blog) and persevering when I want to give up are the challenges I’ve been facing.

Those of you who have kept up with this column know what my philosophy is – balance and moderation. Sometimes it’s easier said than done. This week has been a definite challenge. I had wings and fries on Monday night – smaller portions, yes, but still not the smartest choice. I also had lunch at a Chinese buffet this week. However, I tried to stay away from the fried things and focused on eating some soup before hand and tried to work in more vegetables. All in all, it’s only 2 meals out of 12 so far this week, but I have to train myself to be better at blocking those urges.

Basically, I have to remember to put my philosophy into action. I can continue to eat many of the things I enjoy most, but in moderation. Make smart choices and balance the bad with the good (exercise) – that’s my mantra. Now I have to live it.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Happy Hour: Chelsea Sidecar

Get ready for the weekend with a Thursday Happy Hour!

This one is for all my gin lovers out there. Can't stand the stuff myself. Had a bad experience(s) with it many moons ago. I made the Chelsea Sidecar in shot form. This recipe is enough for two shots. Think of this drink as a way to take the edge off straight-shooting gin. Not sure there's people out there who imbibe on just gin, but if there are, this one's for you. The lime takes the edge off just a bit. But make no mistake, a couple of these will knock you down a few pegs. Also, be sure to use good gin with this one. This is not best suited for the cheap stuff.

http://www.drinkoftheweek.com/drink-recipes/chelsea-sidecar/

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Unique Randomness

My random thoughts…brought to you once a week!
  • I was at a Halloween party for six-year-olds on Saturday night. Great party, great hosts, great kids…head-scratching costumes. And I’m not talking about the kids.
  • I was waaaaay off with my Texans’ predictions. How’s life without steroids treating you Mr. Cushing?
  • The answer to last week’s question: President Andrew Jackson
  • Pet Peeves: Have you had this verbal exchange before?: “Hey, how’s your day going?” Response: “I can’t complain.” Response back: “Not that it would do you any good.” D@mn, that annoys me.
  • It pained me to write this about Octane, but the truth is the truth.
  • It’s absolutely official after last week: my new favorite show is Bored to Death. Zach Galifianakis has that ability to make me laugh without saying anything. The last person to do that was Chris Farley.
  • I have 223 friends on facebook. I think 100 of them told me to vote yesterday.
  • I have 223 friends on facebook. I think 100 of them posted pictures of their kids in Halloween costumes.
  • I’m good with both those things.
  • If you’re wondering where all the birds in Houston went, they’re on the corner of Ella and 43rd…or as I like to call it…Bird Sh*t Alley. Eat your heart out Alfred Hitchcock.
  • I’m getting very close to organizing a rib crawl…very close. Let me know if you want in.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Mighty Good Recipe: Slow-Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

It's Tuesday...time for a Mighty Good Recipe!

Temperatures have finally fallen here in Houston. That always gets me to thinking about crock pot recipes. I'm a firm believer that you should have a good tortilla soup recipe in the arsenal. This one won't beat out your favorite Mexican restaurant's version, but for a easy alternative at home--it's tough to top. This is a perfect recipe to make the night before and just put on low the next day. Your home will smell great. Make things easy on yourself and buy a $5 rotisserie chicken at the grocery store. Take off all the meat and throw in the pot. Also, feel free to add healthy veggies like zuchini or cabbage.

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Slow-Cooker-Chicken-Tortilla-Soup/Detail.aspx

Monday, November 1, 2010

Restaurant Review: Caffe Bello

Mondays are dedicated to bringing you a restaurant review from around the country or right here in Houston. Let’s keep it local!

Caffe Bello

The Background
Caffe Bello, the Vallone’s latest culinary venture, has been written about a lot of late. I had read theses reviews and was very excited to check it out—plus, it was a chance to meet some fellow food bloggers at a media dinner organized by Htownchowdown. CB (located on Westheimer near Montrose) has a very modern and classy feel. The semi-circular bar, brick walls, exposed (yet painted) duct work, and modern art all help contribute to a cozy dining experience.

The Scene
I walked in, gave a quick scan of the establishment, and was told to head to the back. Times have definitely changed in the world when you meet someone and the conversation goes like this:

“Hi, I’m Kevin.”
Other person: “Hi Kevin, I’m John.”
We both look at each other cluelessly.
“I’m sorry…I’m The Mighty Rib.”
Other person: “Oh yeah, I’m John123Cooks-A-Lot.”

Get the drift? Thank you, Twitter. Anyway, I got a glass of wine and sat my butt down. The food had arrived.

The Food
I won’t go into every course, because writing long, comprehensive reviews just isn’t my style. I’ll give you the gist of how things went—the highs and lows. We started out with some pizzetas. They were made well, with a flat and crispy crust, and unique toppings, but when I’m at a place like Caffe Bello, I could care less about eating little pizzas. If this type of thing floats your boat, they have several to choose from, although I would stay away from the pumpkin one—all others are good. The rigatoni bolognese and pappardello al telefono came out next (on the same plate). The bolognese was average (just had better at Giacomo’s), but I loved the telefono. The flat noodles and sweet sauce made me want another portion.

Next came the burrata with shiitake, butternut, and balsamic caviar. This too was excellent. The texture of the mushrooms, along with the sharp bite of the balsamic, provided for a flavorful dish. Out came the red snapper on top of a tomato-shrimp ragu. The snapper was mild, under-seasoned, but perfectly cooked—crispy skin. I thought the somewhat bland fish worked well in this case, because the ragu was the best thing I had that night. The hint of sweetness worked so well with the fish. My lone shrimp was overcooked, tasteless, and not needed. This dish was fine without it. By the time the veal shank with creamy, cheesy polenta came out—I was just about done. Just about—I took a few bites and was quite pleased. Very tender, well-seasoned, and I thought a great value (even at its $27 menu price). They handed out straws to suck out the bone marrow. I gave it a shot (so I wouldn’t look like a douche). I acted like I got some, but didn’t. Oh well.

The desserts were forgettable. Although, it certainly didn’t help that I was stuffed. I took a bite of the cheesecake. I didn’t take a second. I’ll leave it at that. The mixed berry tart was not good. I enjoyed the mixed berries, but the cream was too runny, and the little crust barrel was too thick.

The Verdict
Caffe Bello had some misses, but all and all, served some excellent dishes in a beautiful and relaxed atmosphere. Hopefully, they can get their desserts straightened out to match the high quality of entrees.

322 Westheimer
http://www.caffebello.com/index.cfm

Check out these other reviews:
http://blogs.houstonpress.com/eating/2010/10/social_media_folks_caffe_bello.php
http://www.29-95.com/restaurants/story/cafe-bello-opens-its-doors-montrose
http://blogs.houstonpress.com/eating/2010/08/first_look_at_caffe_bello.php

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Natalie the Nomad: The Dublin Pub

Monthly Feature
Natalie will hit the Ohio-area restaurant scene and fill us in with top-notch reviews.

The Scene
The Dublin Pub is in the historic Oregon District in Dayton, Ohio. While this pub is a block down from the local legend, Thai 9, it could not be any more different. The Pub exudes the atmosphere of a 'typical European pub' - dimly lit, crowded booths, the bar, tchotchkes pinned to the walls and ceiling. There are plenty of tvs around the restaurant, all showing one kind of sport. Also, there is a stage at the front of the restaurant, for showcasing local bands during late nights.

The Bar
I initially started coming to Dublin Pub in college, totally uninterested in what the food had to offer. I was missing out big time, but with the bar with numerous Irish beers on tap and over 10 whiskey choices alone, that was the least of my 21 year old worries. But thank goodness for growing up and glancing at the menu...

The Food
The appetizer that you CANNOT miss is definitely the 'Blarney Stone'. You get four, initially, but can keep adding 'stones' for $1.50. They are huge, so 4 amongst the table is plenty. I'm just going to get to the point - deep friend mashed potato, with the perfect blend of cheeses, AND sausage. To say it was amazing would be an understatement. This was served with a spicy chipotle mayo, and it definitely paired with the stones perfectly. I personally think the Dublin Pub should have this mayo as an option to put on sandwiches...

For my main course I decided on the Huntsman, with a side of garlic green beans. Don't get me wrong, their fries have been voted 'Best in Dayton' but following up Blarney Stones with french fries seemed a little heavy. Plus, the garlic green beans are delicious. Fresh beans, swimming in a vinaigrette sauce and showered with chunks of garlic. The club sandwich was made to perfection. You might think 'well, its a sandwich how hard can it be?' - well Debbie Downer, I have news for you! The bread was toasted, making it vulnerable to 'sogginess' from the sauce spread but this was not. The perfect crunch, the blend of meat and spices; needless to say you overlook the juices running from the corners of your mouth.

While I was full from dinner, I was adamant about getting dessert. My fail safe, go-to option here is the Chocolate Volcano. Yes my friends, it is as scrumptious as it sounds. I usually get this with a side of cinnamon ice cream, but in my blarney stone garlic bean huntsman sandwich induced haze, I sadly forgot... Served with dollops of home made whipped cream, the chocolate molten cake is served in the center of your plate, swimming amongst chocolate and raspberry sauces. Digging your fork into the center of the cake you will be delighted to see even MORE chocolate sauce oozing out onto your plate. Coupled with the dollop of whipped cream, you've got a pretty hard core slice of chocolate heaven.

300 Wayne Ave
Dayton, OH 45410
937-224-7822
http://www.dubpub.com/index2.htm

Friday, October 29, 2010

Finding Balance: Week 3

Life's all about finding that perfect mix of fun and hard work.

Trying To Find a Routine


Keeping a food journal has definitely helped me see where I am making mistakes. It’s helping me realize that a routine is extremely important to getting where I want to go.

Setting the tone for the day with a good breakfast in the morning has been a big key for me. When I take a banana and some pop tarts for breakfast, I tend to eat a healthy lunch and dinner. When I forget to take breakfast, I tend to slip up a bit more and not stay as strict with what I’m eating.

I am an organized person by nature, so keeping lists and maintaining a routine should be easy for me. But for some reason, I get easily distracted and bored with the status quo. There’s my challenge – stay the course. Easier said than done, I know…

I also need to drink more water. I used to have no problem drinking a half gallon a day, but lately I’ve only been drinking 32 oz. a day or so. This needs to be remedied.

As far as exercise goes, I’ve mainly been walking for a half hour or so. But that is starting to wear on me, as far as getting bored. Any suggestions for something new (and take into account, I am a large man – that means no running for now)?

Until next time…

Thursday, October 28, 2010

What Ales You?: Warsteiner Verum

Monthly Feature
Wayne and Leah give us the skinny on beer.

Gutentag Mighty Rib Readers, we're back again with another installment of What Ales You. In honor of Oktoberfest in Germany, we decided to review a German beer, in this case, Warsteiner Verum.

Granted, the German Oktoberfest is over by the start of the actual month of October, but damn it the name is Oktoberfest and we are in October. Anyways, Warsteiner Verum is the beer of the month.

Apologies in the case that we prove our ignorance on the topic of beer, for some of our commentary might seem elementary, but we're going to take this monthly entry more as a learning experience. Feel free to correct any uneducated statement on the background and research that we might provide on the beer of the month, some is going to come from the likes of Wikipedia, which can be an amazing resource, but at times, can be an inaccurate citation. One thing we've already learned is that there are many varieties and types of beer out there. Our beer of the month, Warsteiner Verum, is a premium German Pilsner beer. Pilsner can be considered a type of beer, however, to some beer organizations, it is more of a marketing description for many modern brewers. The term Pilsner and Pilsner beers originated in the Czech republic and it is generally acceptable to say that a Pilsner is a pale lager.

Overall Taste
Germany is oft considered one of the best beer producing countries in the world, and is known for their lagers. Apparently the proud German brewers stick to the Reinheitsgebot (purity order) for their beers, which is a good thing. With many contemporary brewers moving towards more complex ingredient sets and taste combinations, it is often difficult to find a simple, crisp, quality lager.

Wayne's Take
I really like Warsteiner Verum, it had a certain crispness, no skunky smell was present and there was no poor aftertaste. There was an adequate amount of hoppy flavor. It's my belief that sometimes brewers believe that because one of the ingredients of beer is hops, that the more the better. I don't agree with that, as too many hops overburdens the taste. Warsteiner had just the right hint of hoppiness.

Meal Pairing
I wish I could say that the first meal pairing that came to mind would be bratwurst and red cabbage, but that would be too easy and frankly it wasn't the first thing that came to mind. I would also loved to have described drinking a Warsteiner whilst sitting in a lovely autumnal biergarten and enjoying the briny salty taste of a traditional German meal, but again, it wasn't the thought that came to mind. I thought that Warsteiner Vellum definitely had a distinctive pleasant taste, but not an overly overpowering one, therefore, it would go very well with a meal that had a distinctiveness about it, but also wasn't overpowering. I think a Persian kabob, with traditional Persian rice would be the perfect complement for this German lager. I know its sounds a little off, but Persian cuisine does have a distinctive taste, but is also not intrusive.

Leah's Take
This is an enjoyable beer. The lighter color belies a good depth of flavor, and it somehow seems "old world-ey", but that may just be the power of suggestion given the traditional label. Its certainly one of those beers that needs to be served very cold in my mind... while you're hiking in Bavaria...in Lederhosen...singing "Climb Every Mountain"....

Meal Pairing
I would drink Warsteiner with something nice and salty like a soft pretzel or some nachos. Its got a strong enough taste that even if there was a bit of spice in the food you could still tell it was beer and not carbonated water, but is crisp and would cut through earthy/salty pairings.

Summary
Wir haben Wersteiner gern. Du sollst dieser Bier kaufen. Gemutlichkeit!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Unique Randomness

My random thoughts...brought to you once a week.
  • I had a great time this past weekend in Nashville. We went for my wife's Vanderbilt Homecoming Weekend. Got to catch up and visit with her awesome friends AND ate some outstanding food (for the most part).
  • Nashville struck me as being very underrated in the culinary scene. There's also a high level of food blogging going on.
  • Things I liked about Nashville: cool neighborhoods inside town, very clean, mild climate, friendly folk.
  • Things I did not like about Nashville: actually, just one...terrible drivers. No incidents or accidents on my part, but must every driver in that city get in my blind spot?
On to other things...
  • Why can't they turn the A/C on in airplanes before take off? Is this another cost-cutting technique, because it sucks ass.
  • Pet Peeve: Slow turners: I hate drivers that slow up to almost a complete stop to make a right or left turn.
  • You know what would be nice? Getting out of my car in Houston in late October, and not having my glasses fog up. High of 91 today!
  • I physically can't make it through an entire Black Eyed Peas song. There music gives me the bubble guts.
  • In a battle of who's aging faster, my wife has finally caught up to me in having to take lactaid pills before dairy consumption.
  • Why do I have a house phone line? Oh, I know. It's so politicians can call me 20 times a day. I remember about three months ago an actual human being that I know called me at home. It felt awkward.
  • Congrats to my sister-in-law Rachel, who was just hired to perform for the San Diego Opera in Carmen.
  • Quick...who's head is that up there in the pic? You get this one, and I'll be impressed.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mighty Good Recipe: Chipotle Sweet Potatoes

It's Tuesday, time for a Mighty Good Recipe!

I don't usually do this, but it's late and I'm tired. And it's not technically lazy because I did write this. Check out a great recipe for Thanksgiving that was posted today on the Houston Press blog Eating Our Words. This recipe turned out even better than I expected. The chipotle was a great match with the sweet potatoes. Give it a try!

http://blogs.houstonpress.com/eating/2010/10/cooking_through_alton_chipotle.php

Monday, October 25, 2010

Restaurant Review: Nashville (Several)

Tour de Nashville
This week's Restaurant Review will be a little different. Check out some short takes on all the places I hit up in Nashville over the past weekend.

Calypso Cafe
My wife has raved about this place forever. She went to Vanderbilt and visits to Calypso were routine. This Caribbean-style restaurant was a mild hit for me. I wouldn't say it was rave-worthy, but I was pleased with all my items, the service was quick and friendly, and the price was right. Calypso specializes in healthy fare—I had the bbq rotisserie chicken with corn muffins and coconut sweet potatoes. The sweetness of the potatoes worked well with the jerky chicken. I also had some sort of a fruit tea. Interestingly refreshing. I almost forgot...we shared a black bean dip and chips for an appetizers. Very cheesy and very awesome—best thing we ordered.

Loveless Cafe
I was ordered to check this place out by my in-laws. Just kidding. They met in Nashville, lived there for awhile, and rarely tell me to check a restaurant out—so I listened. Located a short 20-minute drive outside of Nashville, Loveless Cafe is world-renowned (Bobby Flay, Conan, etc.) for their chicken AND especially their biscuits. Translation: tourist trap. The cafe is just one piece in the compound-esque puzzle that is Loveless. Small storefronts, a barn, and country store allow visitors to kill some time. Expect an hour wait. We dined at an offbeat hour and still waited 45 minutes. It's fun walking around the area and checking out the shops. But I've got plenty of experience with places like Loveless. All of this glitter usually means average food, small portions, and high prices. Fortunately, Loveless didn't hit the extremes on any of these. Yes, the prices were a bit high... and yes, the portions could have been bigger. But the quality of food was excellent. Sara had the fried chicken. It was lightly battered, deep-fried, and very moist. Not greasy at all. I wanted more seasoning in the crust, but the flavorful sides (mashed potatoes, biscuits, and green beans) brought the chicken up to code. My chicken fried steak was solid, not memorable, but solid. Nat's cheeseburger was very underrated, and and may have been the best thing on the table. That charbroiled flavor really stood out. The biscuits were the star of the show and they did not disappoint. Airy, light, and buttery—I've never had better.

German Town Cafe
We did brunch with Sara's Vandy crew on Sunday morning at the Germantown Cafe. This sleek bar and restaurant was a hit. I ordered a Bloody Mary (it was ok but mine are better), cheese grits and French onion soup. My friendly cohorts allowed me to try the smoked salmon with eggs, the frittata, the banana bread French toast, and the crab cake eggs benny. I had absolutely no complaints about anything, but the crab cake dish stood out. Just a fun experience getting to see all of my wife's old friends and eating some awesome food. I highly recommend this spot.

Noshville Deli
I blame Chompie's in Phoenix for this debacle. Did I ever think I could dine at an authentic NY deli in the middle of the desert? No. I was proven wrong. Did I think I could dine at an authentic NY deli in the middle of Nashville? No. I was proven right. My half-Jewishness can sniff out the real deal in seconds, and Noshville was not it. It was a standard breakfast joint. The service was excellent and the food was average.

Chicago Style Gyros
Bitter sweet dining experience on this one. Met my favorite fellow food blogger Vivek for a late lunch at Prince's Hot Chicken Shack. Closed. D@mn! The trusted internet said they'd be open. As Michael Scott would say, “I don't trust technology.” I was really looking forward to trying hot chicken—a Nashville classic. We were shaken a bit, but Vivek suggested this Gyro place—it was close and OPEN. It turned out being a good suggestion. My cheesesteak with pita bread was solid.

Pancake Pantry
The Pancake Pantry, alongside Vanderbilt's campus, puts it all together—a tourist spot with outstanding food! We drove past the place our first morning, but didn't stop. Why? The line to get in wrapped around the restaurant. Sara told me this place was the real deal. No pancake is worth an hour and half wait. Wrong. These were. We went the next day, waited zero seconds, and I ordered the Georgia peach pancakes. My goodness...three, good-sized rolled cakes, topped with peach compote and sweet cream. I've had slightly better pancakes (Lou's in Chicago) but never has the entire combo of cake and topping been better. This was my best meal in Nashville.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Molly's Food Find: Ginger Soother

We're always on the hunt for cool products.

What the product is?
Ginger Soother
A ginger drink with lemon and honey. Can be served chilled or hot.

Why it's so great?
For those of us poor souls constantly plagued with upset stomach and nausea, the Ginger Soother is a life saver and a pleasant alternative to Pepto Bismol. Ginger is a natural remedy for nausea that chemotherapy patents and pregnant women with morning sickness commonly use.

Where do I buy it?

Whole Foods, http://www.gingerpeople.com/, http://www.amazon.com/

How much?
Around $1.55 for a 12 fl oz container

Saturday, October 23, 2010

He Said, She Said: Giacomo's

Monthly Feature
It's near the end of the month...and guess what's due...another He Said, She Said for Carrie and me.


Here’s how it works:
  • We went to the same Houston-area restaurant at different times.
  • It's our first time eating at the restaurant.
  • We read no previous reviews.
  • We write our reviews separately.
  • Once written, the reviews are not changed.
Giacomo's
3215 Westheimer
Houston, TX 77098
http://www.giacomosciboevino.com/

He Said Atmosphere: (5) Star
Beautiful, bright colors abound. Giacomo's had a hip, modern feel—while maintaining some old-school charm. I did take-out and was enamoured with the products available for purchase at the front of the restaurant. I loved the open kitchen, side bar, gelato counter, and chalkboard menu.

She Said Atmosphere: (4) Stars
Comfortable is the best way to describe the atmosphere at Giacomo’s. Bright, casual and simply decorated interior. Chalkboards with the menu and extensive wine offerings line several walls, but these items are also listed on a printed menu (take note, Café Rabelais). Nice outdoor patio, but since it faces Westheimer, it could be noisy.

He Said Menu Selection: (5) Stars
Giacomo's switches things up with a counter, food fast, and slow menu. I liked the concept, if for nothing else, it was different. I was a little short on time so I went with the food fast menu. Excellent selection of pastas, salads, sandwiches, and wines.

She Said Menu Selection: (4) Stars
Lots of options organized by the amount of time you have to wait…I like the concept! Counter items include antipasto dishes, soups, sandwiches and crostinis, “food fast” includes meat and cheese plates, salads, and a variety of pastas, while the “slow food” adds main course proteins, such as chicken, pork, rainbow trout and steak. Extensive wine list.

He Said Taste:
(5) Stars
I got an order of the Tagliatelle alla Bolognese, Tagliatelle Giovanni, and a lemon tart—and drove home fast. The smells in the car drove me crazy. Getting take-out was a true test. Could the food withstand the lag time and still hold its quality? The answer was yes. Sara ate the Tagliatelle alla Bolognese, but I had a bite...awesome. It was well seasoned and I loved the flat noodles. My dish (Giovanni) was one of the best pasta dishes I've had in Houston. Creamy, but not too heavy—the chicken was moist and flavorful, and the veggies were nothing short of perfection. The brussel sprouts, sweet red peppers, and cauliflower stood out. Again, Giacomo's use of flat noodles was a great choice. The lemon tart was, for lack of a better adjective, lemony. That's a compliment.

She Said Taste:
(3) Stars
I ordered the Gamberi Piccanti, described as “spicy shrimp salad in toasted baguette” and a house salad to go. Concerned that my sandwich may loose some of its appeal by the time I got home, I opened the container for a bite in the parking lot. Bad move. While the flavor of the shrimp was deliciously spicy, my sandwich was swimming in an unappealing pool of oil which proceeded to run down my arms, sending me digging for a napkin, tissue, baby’s burp cloth…anything to sop up the thick oily mess. The benefit? My steering wheel won’t need Armor All for the next six months. Once home, I could really delve into my dish. The baguette on which my oily shrimp were served was chewy and delicious. As you can imagine the bottom slice was soggy, but still…delish. The potato salad, which was in the same take out container as the sandwich, was also tainted by the dreaded oil. Regardless, the flavor of the potato salad was not really my thing. I’m more an American potato salad traditionalist and this caper-olive-vinegar version was just a bit too worldly for my liking. However, if you like a Mediterranean flavored potato salad this would be right up your alley. My side salad was nothing to write home about, but the shaved fennel on top was nice. I would have liked to try the green goddess dressing, but the vinaigrette was packaged up for me.

He Said Service: (5) Stars
I chatted with the owner Lynette while I waited for my food. She was very friendly, and even offered to get me something to drink while I waited. Nice touch. My food was out in fifteen minutes, packaged well, and ready to be consumed.

She Said Service: (4.5) Stars
Given the fact that I was just taking my food to go, the service was exceptional. The gentleman working the counter offered me a printed menu so that I didn’t have to squint to read the wall version. I was also offered a drink while I waited. I was told the wait would be about seven minutes and I don’t even think it was that long.

He Said Pricing: (3.5) Stars
The prices were a little high for pasta dishes, between $12-13. But location matter, and you gotta pay the rent...so the relatively high prices came as no shock. I will say that my dish was well worth $13.

She Said Pricing: (3) Stars
Maybe this is typical River Oaks pricing, but $17+ for a 4” sandwich, a little potato salad and a side salad seems a bit steep to me.

He Said Overall Opinion: (5) Stars
I loved Giacomo's. I am definitely going back and probably ordering the same thing...which I almost never do. It's hard to imagine that I am looking forward to eating brussel sprouts...but I am.

She Said Overall Opinion: (3.5) Stars
Maybe I just ordered wrong…From the moment I walked in I wanted to love this place. It has a good vibe and the service was above average. But my $10 little shrimp sandwich missed the mark and my expectations led me astray on the potato salad. If I were in the area I may give this place another shot, but I probably wouldn’t make the drive over to the Oaks for another go round.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Finding Balance: Week 2

If you were hoping to see Back to Basics in this spot, I’m sorry to disappoint. But maybe we can work something out so you can get 2 for the price of 1 on Friday’s. What say you, Kevin?

Anyway, week 2 is in the books and it’s been a bit of a struggle already. For the most part, I’m sticking with my plan. If you aren’t familiar with my philosophy, check it out here.

The difference this week is that I’ve started to keep a food journal, where I write down everything I eat and drink. I figure if I can pinpoint where I’m slipping up it will definitely help in the long run.

I’m also trying to count calories more regularly. Based on my age, height, weight and physical activity, I need to consume roughly 3,700 calories per day to maintain the weight I’m at. For every 500 calories under that number, I lose a pound. So say I eat 2,700 calories a day during the course of a week, theoretically I will lose 2 pounds.

My physical activity this week consisted of walking for 30 minutes, three times a week. I also played 2 games of softball and coached soccer (not a lot of activity, but moderate running while chasing 6 year olds all over the field). I plan on stepping this up to 4-5 times a week while continuing to play softball to break up the monotony.

Food this week has been pretty standard. For lunch I typically have a sandwich and either potato salad or chips from Brown Bag Deli. Before you get on your soapbox, remember I normally consume more calories than the average person, so in the grand scheme of things I am still staying well below my daily allotment.

This week I did have a splurge day where I had some nachos from Taco Cabana. But I think it’s important not to deprive yourself all the time. The thing to remember is to not give in and constantly eat this way.

I didn’t eat out anywhere this week (other than the places mentioned above), so I don’t really have anything new to report in the way of restaurants or reviews. Maybe next time…

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Happy Hour: Beach Bourbon Slush

Time for a drink recipe with a Thursday Happy Hour!

Take notice, the first thing you see in my picture is the lack of slush. I didn't have the time nor freezer space to pull off the granita consistency. I imagine that would have made this drink magical. As it stands, no complaints. The bourbon wasn't overpowering and the lemonade and orange concentrate played well against one another. This drink recipe belonged on the blog months ago, but better late than never. Make a big batch, throw it in the freezer, and you've got a nice bedtime drink for awhile.

http://projects.eveningedge.com/recipes/fred-thompsons-beach-bourbon-slush/

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Unique Randomness

My random thoughts...brought to you once a week!

Warning...look away if reading about the happenings of another person's children induces vomiting. I've been there and take no offense. Just come back tomorrow or next week or whenever you check the blog.
  • My daughter (1st grade) had a substitute teacher. Her quote...“Dad, I had a substitute today. She wasn't the best teacher. Actually, she was the worst teacher.”
  • Same daughter...”Hey dad..I like Luke. I sure do like blirting with him.” How long do you think I've got until she realizes blirting is flirting? I just shook my head and agreed with the blirting.
  • That same daughter dropped one of her micro-sized hair “clippies” on the living room floor. Guess who's foot found the clippy?
  • I've got enough Silly Bandz in my house to Silly Bandz a small village of underprivileged children.
  • My 18-month-old daughter sounds like an Ewok. Her pastimes include eating large quantities of mac and cheese and pointing to her nose, and then saying “nooossse”.
  • Is it bad to teach a 6-year-old to say Cool HWhip instead of Cool Whip? I hope not.
Okay...enough about the kids.
  • I suffered my first major kitchen injury about two weeks ago. I was cleaning the seeds out of a butternut squash, and one jammed between my index fingernail and cuticle. That was two weeks ago! It's just now back to normal. Watch out this holiday season for those darn butternut squash innards.
  • Teaser Alert: Next week's restaurant review is gonna be an awesome one. Hint...it won't be from Houston and I haven't eaten there yet. And still know it gonna be awesome.
Quick...what movie is the picture above from? This one should be a lay-up.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mighty Good Recipe: Laurin Stamm's Raisin Bran Muffins

It's Tuesday, time for a Mighty Good Recipe!

The following recipe is from someone named Laurin Stamm, via my mother, cooked by my wife. I was only involved in the eating process. Awesome recipe. Make on a Sunday and you've got breakfast for the rest of the week (freeze the rest).

Ingredients
1 15oz box of Raisin Bran cereal
3 cups sugar
5 cups flour
5 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
1 quart buttermilk

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.Combine the first five ingredients. Add eggs, vegetable oil, and buttermilk--blend well. Bake for 20 minutes.
Note: This full recipe makes about 48 regular size muffins- huge! My wife halved the recipe and still froze the majority.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Dinner Club: The Opposite of Bacon

Each month...six friends get together for great food and good times! Check out the recipes and rundown.

The Jaegers hosted and made the appetizers and entree. The Shalins brought over tasty beverages, and the Shooks were in charge of dessert. The theme was Vegetarian. After last month's Bacon Bonanza, our hearts needed a break. Here's how it broke down:

Appetizers
Squash Soup in Pumpkin Bowls
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/squash-soup-in-pumpkin-bowls-recipe/index.html

Cranberry-Brie Bites
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/saras-secrets/cranberry-brie-bites-recipe/index.html

Grilled Honey-Orange Figs with Mascarpone and Pistachios
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/grilled-honey-orange-figs-with-mascarpone-and-pistachios-recipe/index.html

Spicy Sweet Potato Fries
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/spicy-sweet-potato-fries-recipe/index.html

Main Course
Potato Gnocchi with Wild Mushroom Sugo
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/michael-chiarello/potato-gnocchi-with-wild-mushroom-sugo-recipe/index.html

Dessert
Pumpkin Brownies (served with vanilla ice cream)
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Pumpkin-Brownies/Detail.aspx

Sensational Chocolate Sauce
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Sensational-Chocolate-Sauce/Detail.aspx

Drink
Cucumber Martini
http://www.drinknation.com/drink/cucumber-martini

The Rundown: Anytime you eat soup served from a hollowed-out pumpkin bowl, you know life is good. A hollowed-out, soup-filled pumpkin bowl to 30-somethings is like a three-kegger to college students. Staying with that theme, I treated those figs like they were jello shots...I popped about eight of them. So d@mn good. You haven't eaten a fig? Try it. The gnocchi was cooked to perfection and the pumpkin brownies really tasted like pumpkin. Judging by the plates, everyone enjoyed them. Conversation ranged from the Jaeger's dog Nona getting hit by a car (and surviving and back to normal) to head lice (non of us have it, at least at the time of this posting).

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Kevin's Food Find: Camano Island Coffee

We're on the prowl for great products. We'll give you the skinny on one every Sunday!

What is it?
Great coffee...that's what it is. I'm just a teeny bit addicted to coffee. My opinions on java even approach snob territory, When I want a good K-Cup I order here. When I feel like getting good coffee in Houston, I visit here. But when I desire fresh, whole-bean coffee from a distant roaster, I usually go to Camano Island Coffee Roasters. My brother-in-law Scott recommended Camano a few years back, and I've been ordering ever since.

Why it’s so great?
Listen, I wish I was smart enough to tell you why it's so great. I'm not. But if I must placate you...it's full-bodied with deep aromatic hints of cherried chocolate notes. Actually, it's just great coffee. They get their beans from all the standard growing countries and do a top-notch job with the roasting process. Camano's coffee is shade grown, organic, and fairly traded.

Where can I buy some?
Go to the web site. I became part of The Coffee Lovers Club. It's very flexible and affordable.

What’s the price?
Camano's coffee is very reasonable, especially for high quality roasted coffee. Most of the coffees run in the $11-$13 a pound range. I'm part of The Coffee Lovers Club. It's very flexible and affordable...three pounds of coffee for around $33 (free shipping).

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Calorie Worthy: Superfoods

Monthly Feature
Andrea is at it again with another Top 10 List.

Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap small buildings in a single bound (and available at your local grocery store), they’re…wait for it….SUPERFOODS! (cue Superman Music)

Unless you’ve been stuck under something heavy for the past few years, you’ve likely come across an article, doctor or Jewish mother who has told you about Superfoods.

Superfoods are foods with a high phytonutrient content which offer multiple health benefits. While “Superfood” is not a legal term and some dispute claims that these foods have “healing qualities” or will make an earth shattering difference in one’s health, I say these are foods that are super healthy and delicious to eat, and I recommend incorporating them into folks’ menus. Whether I’ll live to be 147 because I ingest these Superfoods by the vat remains to be seen. Check in with me in another 42 years.

And now, without further ado:

Top 10 Superfoods and Creative Ways to Cook with Them
(The Superfoods mentioned below happen to be my favorites. I did not include all Superfoods in this list. For example: Yogurt happens to be a Superfood, but in my opinion yogurt sucks.)

10)
Broccoli- This yummy green tree is loaded with vitamins and fiber. Welcome to the
list, broccoli. My favorite way to cook broccoli is to roast it.

Toss together 1 head of broccoli with 2 Tb Extra Virgin Olive Oil, some red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and roast in the oven for 25 min at 375 degrees. When it comes out you can add some Parmesan cheese to it if you’d like.

For kids who “don’t like broccoli” or other “green things,” try a healthy version of Broccoli Cheese Soup.

Start a stock pot off on medium high heat, sweat down an onion, then add 1 cup of chicken stock and 1 cup of skim milk, bring to a boil and add 1tsp of chopped garlic and 1 tsp of dijon mustard. Turn down heat and add 2 cups of grated sharp cheddar cheese. (I find that low fat cheddar does not melt as well as the regular cheddar.) After cheese is incorporated into the soup, add 1 large head or 2 smaller heads of broccoli (chopped). Cover and cook on low for 20min. Then transfer soup to a blender and blend until smooth.

A blended cheesy soup should please the pickiest of eaters. When I was growing up my family taught me this philosophy: “If you can melt cheese on it, you can eat it.”

9) Olive Oil- Extra Virgin Olive Oil is so freakin’ good for you. You have no idea! It’s seriously some good stuff. Don’t buy the cheapy cheap brand, spring for one that has been cold pressed, if possible. If you’re fancy, you can keep two oils on hand; a less expensive one that you cook with and a nice one that you use for dipping and for salad dressing. Now, unless you’re totally clueless, you don’t need me to give you recipes on how to use olive oil. And if you are that clueless, why are you reading a food blog?? Here’s a tip that you might not know about olive oil: it’s a wonderful deep conditioner for dry hair. Yup, no lies. Use your less expensive oil and rub it into the ends of dry hair. Your hair has to be dry; oil won’t penetrate wet hair. After the oil is added, run a hairdryer over it. The heat will open hair cuticles and allow the oil to do it’s job. Leave the oil in your hair for as long as you can stand it, then shampoo it out.

8) Whole Grains- Yawn. Yeah, whole grains can be a little boring. Whole grains give your body much more fiber and protein than their plain white counterparts. It’s worth it to switch from white rice to brown rice, regular pasta to whole wheat pasta, and your bread should be the good whole wheat kind that’s made in the bakery at your store. Make sure that what you are purchasing is not loaded with sugar. Some products say “whole wheat” on the front, but if it’s got high fructose corn syrup in it, it’s probably not the product you want. When doing grains, stick to bread, pasta, couscous, rice and quinoa, skip the donuts that have the “now made with multi grain” label. I know many are reluctant to switch to these “brown” versions of our favorite starches, but give it a try. Here’s a recipe that can help:

Boil some whole wheat spaghetti, and make sure you salt the water! Once the pasta is cooked, drain and throw back into the pot in which it was cooked. In another bowl, whisk together ¼ cup peanut butter, 1/3 cup chicken stock, 1 tsp Sriracha chili sauce, and 1 tsp low-sodium soy sauce. Add this mixture to the pasta and toss in some chopped cilantro and green onions, if you wish. These spicy peanut noodles are tasty and full of whole grains!

7) and 6) Oats and Berries - I am combining numbers 7 and 6, because the recipe I am going to give you uses both! Everyone knows that oatmeal, (real oatmeal, not the kind that comes in a package and is ready in 4 seconds), is good for you. Most are also aware that fruits, especially berries, are good to eat as well. Here’s a really yummy recipe for homemade granola bars that uses both oats and berries!

Take a pint of your favorite berry and cook down with a little sugar (1 tb) and some water (1/3 cup) After berries have cooked down, blend in a food processor until you have a thick jam and set aside.

Combine : 1 ¼ cups Oats, 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour, 1 tsp salt, ½ baking powder, 1/3 cup white sugar, 1/3 cup brown sugar, ½ cup walnuts. Then melt 1 stick of butter and add to the mixture. In a greased baking pan, pour half of this thick and dry batter into the pan, then add the jam mixture and layer with the remaining batter. Bake for 30-35 min at 350 degrees. Let cool for about 1 hour before cutting. These granola bars make excellent morning snacks!

5) Salmon- This fatty fish has so many nutrients and omega 3s that it will forever have a place on the “Eat these foods, they’re good for you” list. Wild salmon is always going to be more expensive but also better. The farm-raised salmon doesn’t typically get as much exercise and is more often treated with hormones. Some markets sell farm raised yet hormone-free salmon, and this is generally less expensive than the wild variety.

One of my favorite salmon recipes is also super easy! Preheat your broiler. Be prepared for your kitchen to get really hot. Squeeze a lime over your piece of salmon and broil for 3 min. During these three minutes, mix together : 2 Tb honey, 1 tsp Sriracha chili sauce, 1 Tb Hoisin Sauce. Take the salmon out of the broiler and spoon over the honey mixture, broil for another 4-5 min and you’re done! This salmon dish with the spicy peanut noodles makes an excellent dinner!

4) Nuts- Nuts are an excellent source of natural fat and oils. I love to throw a bunch of nuts into the food processor and use them to coat a piece of chicken or fish.

A favorite crust of mine involves combining ¼ cup nuts (either walnuts or almonds), some garlic, 1 tsp fresh fennel, ½ tsp cayenne pepper, ½ tsp coriander and salt and pepper into the food processor and coating a piece of salmon with the mixture. Drizzle some olive oil over the fish and bake at 375 degrees for about 15 mins. Serve with the Roasted Broccoli…Oooh, that is good!

3)
Hot Peppers- Peppers contain compounds called capsaicinoids. Capsaicinoids are compounds which have anti-inflammatory benefits. Eating peppers can also help with headaches. Hot peppers or chilis will provide you with the excellent \ benefits. The easiest way to eat a lot of chilis is to make a fresh salsa! You can also add chili into your favorite soup or chili recipe.

You could also try this spicy goat cheese dip: 1 container of fresh goat cheese (with herbs or not), 1 can of white beans, 1 hot pepper, sprig of rosemary, and ¼ cup of chicken stock. Drain and rinse the can of white beans and bring to a boil with the chicken stock. Add the sprig of rosemary (chopped). After the white beans boil, reduce the heat, add the chopped chili or hot pepper and let cook for 3 min. Then remove the pan from heat and add the goat cheese. Stir to combine goat cheese with the white beans and chili, then transfer to a food processor and blend until smooth.

2) Red Grapes- Red grapes contain phytochemicals that can improve cardiovascular health. They also contain vitamins C, B1 and B6. A lot of people enjoy eating grapes by the handful or drinking them by the glassful (wink wink). Here’s a creative way to devour this fruity Superfood.

Take 1 cup of red grapes, cut grapes in half, and toss into a bowl. Add ¼ cup chopped red onion, 2 Tb chopped green onion, 1 chopped jalapeno (with or without seeds), ¼ cup lime juice, and a chopped avocado. Toss together and then drizzle a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil over the top. This red grape salsa is super with some toasted whole wheat tortillas.

The moment you’ve all been waiting for….
The number one Superfood is….

1) Green Tea- Um, Duh. Everyone knows that green teas have tons of antioxidants. Green Teas also contains polyphenols,( which may help decrease cancer, heart disease and stroke risk). Some say that drinking lots of Green Tea can help support brain health and memory. A very wise container of green tea can also do your taxes for you. It’s great stuff, but how the *$^# are we suppose to cook with it? I don’t think Green Tea Ice Cream counts as a Superfood! Well, my friends, I have found one recipe that I can share with you all which incorporates some brewed green tea. It’s a spicy lemon basil dipping sauce.

Take ½ cup brewed Green Tea, mix with: 1 Tb. honey, 2 Tb. lemon juice, 2 Tb, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, a handful of chopped basil leaves, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 chopped chili, and some salt and pepper. This sauce would be nice to dip Chicken Satay in, or to pour over any grilled chicken or fish. Now, this sauce will not give you enough green tea to receive all its health benefits. It’s recommended one have 2+ cups per day.

Well, there you have it kids. Top Ten Superfoods and creative ways to use them. Enjoy the recipes, enjoy the benefits of Superfoods. Hey, maybe you could even wear a Superman cape while you prepare these foods, that would be suuuuuuupppeeerr …Creepy, actually. Please don’t wear the cape. Just eat the foods and steer clear of kryptonite.