Volume 5 Issue 1
*** Random Thoughts
Fresh and new and shiny and clean – isn’t the new year grand? Everything seems possible now, like it does each January.
I won’t bore you with what I’m working on; it’s the same thing everyone is – eating healthy, exercising, getting organized, and more challenging, STAYING organized.
While there are some people who count the days until spring and beach vacations, I enjoy winter. I like cold mornings and wearing sweaters, wrapping my hands around a mug of coffee to keep warm. The highs for the next week are forecasted not to reach above the 50s. Perfect.
*** Great Quotes
“There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you… only in the winter, in
the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself.”
- Ruth Stout
*** Fun Food Idea
In the spirit of the healthy eating bandwagon that everybody and their brother is on, I’ve been focused on side dishes lately to make healthy-for-you yet average-tasting entrees more palatable.
It’s not all that easy. People who are health foodies say fresh food is best, that high quality, healthy ingredients really are good. While all that is true there is no way I will be convinced that steamed broccoli tastes better than baked potatoes stuffed with cheddar cheese, crisp bacon, and chopped green onions. I don’t care how organic or whatever the broccoli is. Just. No. Way. The reason fattening foods generally taste so good is because they’re flavored with FAT, which tastes good.
Although I have found two side dishes that are quite tasty and if not out-and-out healthy, at least they aren’t FRIED.
Again with the Sautéed Spinach:
Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter in a large skillet. When it’s melted and warm, add some chopped onion and two cloves of garlic, minced. Cook on low heat until the onions are caramelized, about 30 minutes. Add a bag of fresh spinach, cover, and cook until wilted, which will take no time at all – just a few minutes. Serve immediately.
If there are any leftovers, which I doubt, but if there are, you could use it as a filling for stuffed chicken breasts or mushrooms.
Shredded Brussel Sprouts with Bacon
I’m operating on the theory that if it’s green it must be healthy, so healthy that the greenness cancels about the fatty bacon. Makes perfect sense to me.
Start with a pound of brussel sprouts, which need to be rinsed, the tough bottoms cut off, and cored. Then chop them roughly. I first tried grating them but it didn’t work too well.
Saute 4 or 5 pieces of bacon. (You can use turkey bacon) Remove from skillet and set aside. Pour off all but one tablespoon of bacon grease, unless you used turkey bacon in which case there will be no grease to pour off and you’ll need to add about 1 tablespoon of olive or vegetable oil. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of butter to skillet and heat over medium heat.
Add about one-third cup of nuts – I’ve used walnuts, I’ve used almonds, the recipe called for pine nuts – and sauté a few minutes. Then add the shredded brussel sprouts and about 2 green onions, chopped. Cook on medium for 10 to 15 minutes.
Top with crumbled bacon and serve.
The older I get, the more I appreciate things that taste good and are good for me, although the term “tastes good” has gotten much broader. Much.
A few recipes from last month and in complete disregard for the eating healthy business:
Grits: They’re not just for breakfast, especially if they have a ton o’ cheese and garlic.
Brown Sugar Pound Cake – perfect for enjoying with friends over a cup of coffee.
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*** Hit the Highlights
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I don’t make resolutions.
Everyone should have a Mrs. Ellard.
Shopping Malls R Us
*** Shameless Bid for Commerce
“Keetha DePriest Reed's "More Culinary Kudzu: Recollections and Recipes from Growing Up Southern" is part cookbook, part collection of wonderful essays on food, family and growing up Southern and altogether great fun… I would very highly recommend "More Culinary Kudzu" to anybody who enjoys good food and good writing as well as to anybody who wants to find out more about the South. As for me, I only have one question left - how do I get invited to one of their family reunions?” – review by ReaderViews.com
*** Recommended Reading
I gravitate toward books set in small towns, especially southern ones. I like the main characters to be women. And if food is involved in some form or fashion, all the better.
I have a found a new favorite author and she is Sarah Addison Allen. I read “Garden Spells” first, which was the 2008 Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance book of the year. I finished it in less than two days and was sorry when I was done.
I promptly ordered Allen’s next book, “The Sugar Queen” as my book club pick for January. I heartily recommend both books.
The books I read last month, along with witty and insightful comments.
*** Adorable Thing My Child Said
Last Monday was the first day of a regular plain old workweek, the first one in two weeks. It was cold and rained all day. After we got home, my hands were full and I was unlocking the door. He stood next to me on the steps and said, “Mommy, how was your day at work?”
I don’t think he’d ever asked me that before. Bless his heart, he seemed genuinely interested.
*** Mississippi Writers Guild
The Mississippi Writers Guild sponsors writer workshops, conferences, writer retreats and reputable writing contests. Membership dues are only $40.00 per year. Learn more.
The Mississippi Writers Guild is a non-profit association of writers from all over the state and is a growing part of Mississippi’s literary art landscape.
*** Calendar of Events
Wait – what’s this – it appears that SOMEBODY has a birthday this month! Oh, wait – that’s me! January 21st.
February Delta Dish will be delivered around February 4th. Or possibly February 11th. On a Wednesday, though. If it’s not a Friday.
*** Reminders and Unsubscribe Info.
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