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Food for thought…

6 Sep


For some September marks the beginning of a new year. And with a new year, a new diet is usually in the works. With schools reopening, and new ventures being sought, it’s important to make sure that your brain is happy and functioning the way that you need it to. Diet plays a huge role in the way your brain Processes all of your thoughts, keeps them in order, and effectively accomplishes them.

“The brain is an extremely metabolically active organ, making it a very hungry one, and a picky eater at that. It’s becoming pretty clear in research labs around the country that the right food, or the natural neurochemicals that they contain, can enhance mental capabilities—help you concentrate, tune sensorimotor skills, keep you motivated, magnify memory, speed reaction times, defuse stress, perhaps even prevent brain aging.” (

Here is a list of brain foods that will keep that “picky eater” happy and healthy…








Dark Chocolate




Egg Yolks


Flax Seeds


Mixed Nuts




Whole Grains

Now that doesn’t sound so bad does it?

If you have any questions about the above listed brain healthy foods, please feel free to leave a comment or email me at

Mmm take a bite out of that!

Fruit, the process from garden to yummy leathers.

30 Aug

Summer camp has been over and there are just a few more days until the first bell rings for school. The kids are bored at home and are in need of productive things to keep them busy. A fun day of cooking can be the answer. But it doesn’t have to start in the kitchen. You can make a day of it and let your child be involved in the whole process to keep them intrigued and see a project from start to completion. (BTW this will be a lunchbox snack favorite ;-))

As far as I know all children like “Fruit Roll Ups”, but have they ever thought of how they are made? This is not rocket science. You can start the journey by taking them to a farmers market and allow them to pick their own fruit. Farmers markets tend to be nicer and more exciting than most supermarkets. It would probably be even more fun if there is a fruit tree in the garden to pick from. Next teach them how to clean and peel the fruit before starting the following cooking process. Fruit leathers can be made with any kind of fruit that your heart desires, you can even add spices to give the flavor more depth. Here is one recipe that will give you the simplest form of fruit leathers.

Black Velvet Apricot Fruit Leathers

Black Velvet Apricot Fruit Leathers

10 Cups of Black Velvet Apricots
½ Cup of Sugar

Wash, pit, peel, and cut up apricots. Place the apricots in a blender and blend until smooth. In a saucepan heat the pureed fruit with sugar until syrupy, keeping the heat just below boiling. Remove from the heat and let the fruit cool. Cover 2 baking sheets (with rimmed edges) with plastic wrap. Pour the cooled fruit onto the baking sheets to within ½ inch of the edges. Cover the baking sheets with cheesecloth, not allowing the cheesecloth to touch the fruit. Set the baking sheets in a 140° F oven for 8-12 hours, until the fruit leather peels away easily from the plastic wrap. (Yu can also dry the fruit by using the “dehydrate” setting in a convection oven. Let the fruit leather cool and dry. Roll up the fruit leathers with plastic wrap still attached and cut to desired widths. This recipe makes about 20 servings.

I hope you and your children enjoy this simple yet fun recipe.

Here are more Fruit Leather ideas…

Raspberry-Banana Fruit Leather

Tangerine-Mango Fruit Leathers

Plum-Berry Balsamic Fruit Leathers

Mango-Lime Fruit Leathers

Raspberry Fruit Leathers

Mmm take a bite out of that!

It’s all in the sauce!

23 Aug

So I’m counting down the last days of summer and thinking of all of the last minute recipes that I can try before it is time to put the grill away. A couple of weeks ago I tried a recipe that I found for Carolina Barbecued Ribs. I have to tell you that the sauce was so simple, but yet so amazing, so much so that I had to pass it along to my Simply Studded family. This recipe will employ almost all of your taste buds. From the initial marinade you will taste hints of tanginess from the white vinegar and crushed red pepper flakes. And the sauce will give you notes of sweet with a subtle pop of spicy that will lead you to believe that a Carolina festival is happening in your mouth.


Carolina Barbecued Ribs

Carolina Barbecued Ribs…
Salt and Pepper     To Taste
Crushed Red Pepper Flakes     1 Tbsp
Pork Back Ribs (3-4 lb.)     2
White Vinegar     1 pt


Onion, chopped     5 oz
Garlic Cloves     3
Green Bell Pepper, chopped     4 oz
Plum Tomatoes, canned     1 pt
Red Devil Hot Sauce     8 oz
Brown Sugar     10 oz
Lemon Juice     2 oz

Combine the salt and pepper and red pepper flakes. Rub this mixture over both sides of the ribs, coating them well. Place the ribs in a nonreactive pan and add the vinegar. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Uncover the ribs and turn presentation side down and bake in a 375 oven for 1 ½ hours.

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce by pureeing the onions, garlic, green pepper and tomatoes in a food processor or blender. Pour this mixture into a nonreactive saucepan and add the remaining sauce ingredients. Simmer the sauce over low heat until it thickens, approx. 15-20 minutes.

Remove the ribs from the liquid and place on the grill presentation side up. Brush the ribs with sauce and grill to desired doneness. Additional sauce can be served on the side.

Serve with…

Mmm Creamy Coleslaw!

What about Couscous?

Dressing Up Your Greens

The Versatile Portabella Mushroom

Papaya’s Independence

Guys Grilling it Up!

Some Mouthwatering BBQ Pics…




Mmm take a bite out of that!

Your very own Gyoza…

16 Aug

Have you ever ordered in and wondered how your meal was made? I sometimes do that when I order Chinese food. I actually really enjoy cooking Chinese food. One of the things that I have not made yet is Gyoza also known as Chinese Dumplings. A while ago I was at an Asian market and I bought the Gyoza skins, but I have yet to actually make them. I borrowed a video from Runny who is going to show us how simple it is to make our own Gyoza. I have to warn you that Runny is pretty funny and he even gives us a bonus dessert at the end of the video.


Let me know how your Gyoza comes out. You can even send me a video of you making your own Gyoza.

Mmm take a bite out of that!

BEERy Tender…

9 Aug

These summer days can be really brutal in the kitchen even if your home is air conditioned. There is nothing like battling in an even hotter kitchen in the summer time in the name of good grub. This week’s recipe calls for very little prep work, and can even be finished outdoors. So lets head to the grill to make this tasty beer marinated masterpiece…

Beer Marinated Pork Tenderloin

Pork Tenderloins 3: 14oz pieces

Light Soy Sauce 4oz
Beer (Room Temp) 12oz
Light Brown Sugar 2oz
Fresh Ginger (Grated) 1 ½ Tbsp

Clean the tenderloins removing all visible fat and silverskin. Combine the marinade ingredients, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Place the tenderloins in a large bowl and cover with the marinade. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 2-6 hours. Remove the tenderloin from the marinade and grill over medium-hot coals, turning as needed. Allow the cooked tenderloins to rest for 5 minutes, then slice thinly on the bias.

Here are some suggested sides for your tenderloin…

Mmm Creamy Coleslaw!

What about Couscous?

Dressing Up Your Greens

The Versatile Portabella Mushroom

Papaya’s Independence

Guys Grilling it Up!

Mmm take a bit out of that!

Lemon De-Light Cookies

2 Aug

Have I told you that lately I have a “thing” for lemon flavored things? I love lemon flavored cakes, cookies, Italian ice, and even lemonade :-D. In my search for a snack to appease my appetite, I came a across the most delicious sounding recipe. Let’s get straight to the point.

Lemon De-Light Cookies (Glazed)

2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
2 Cups Mashed Potato Flakes
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
½ – ¾ Cup Finely Chopped Nuts (your choice)
1 Tsp Baking Soda
¾ Cup Margarine or Butter, Melted
1 Tsp Grated Lemon Peel
2 Eggs
¼ Cup Sugar

Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl combine all ingredients except for ¼ cup of sugar; blend well. (Mixture will be crumbly.) Firmly press into 1-inch balls; roll in ¼ cup of sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake for 9-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets, and serve.

Makes 6 dozen Cookies

* If you would like, for added lemon flavor and a little bit of glaze, combine 1 ½ cups of confectioners’ sugar (sifted) and 4 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice, and drizzle over cookies when cookies are still warm.*

Mmm take a bite out of that!

It’s Lobster Season!

26 Jul

Today and tomorrow are considered to be the “Mini Lobster Season” before the official lobster season kicks off from August to March along the coast of Florida. Now I know that there are not too many of us who plan to go catch our own lobsters (I prefer to leave that up to the professionals, I hear it’s pretty dangerous.), but it’s always nice to know when our food is the freshest.

Cooking lobster can seem to be one of the hardest tasks. With all of the mockery made of it in the movies, most would just prefer to stick to the local seafood joint, or one of the bigger chain restaurants like “Red Lobster” or “Joe’s Crab Shack”. But just in case you want to be a little adventurous, here is a video that will give you a pretty good idea of what to expect after your big catch.

Mmm take a bite out of that!

Energy is an Eternal Delight!

19 Jul

Energy is a very special commodity. Without it we can do nothing. Sometimes we need a little boost to keep us going. Vitamin B12 can be our answer.

B12 in a nutshell, creates red blood cells and keeps our nervous system healthy. It is needed to absorb folic acid and helps us to release energy. B12 can be taken in a pill form, liquid form, or you can get it from your choice of foods. B12 is naturally found in animal products, including fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and milk products. Some breakfast cereals are fortified with B12.

This is great to know because too often I find myself running low on energy especially when it comes to having a busy schedule.

Here are some foods that are rich in B12…

Fish and Shellfish with (cooked) Clams being at the top of the list


Beef Liver




Cheese overall, But Swiss Cheese in particular



Mmm take a bite out of that!


For more Clam recipes take a look at I’ve Got Clams on My Mind.




A Lesson on Oils…

12 Jul

Oils are something that we use every day, whether it be for cooking, skincare, hair care, or even motor vehicles. Of course we will focus on cooking, but the way that we use oil in cooking is just as diverse as its other uses. Here is a lesson on oils…

Oils are a type of fat that remains liquid at room temperature. Cooking oils are refined from various seeds, plants and vegetables.

Fats break down at different temperatures. The temperature at which a given fat begins to break down and smoke is known as its smoke point. Choose fats with higher smoke points for high temperature cooking such as deep-frying and sautéing. If a fat with low smoke point is used for high temperature cooking, it may break down, burn and impart undesirable flavors.

Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oils are extracted from a variety of plants, including corn, cottonseed, peanuts and soybeans, by pressure or chemical solvents. The oil is then refined and cleaned to remove unwanted colors odors or flavors. Vegetable oils are virtually odorless and have a neutral flavor. Because they contain no animal products, they are cholesterol- free. If a commercial product contains only one type of oil, it is labeled “pure”. Products labeled “vegetable oil” are blended from several sources. Products labeled “salad oil” are highly refined blends of vegetable oil.

Canola Oil

Canola Oil is processed from rapeseeds. Its popularity is growing rapidly because it contains no cholesterol and has high percentage of monounsaturated fat. Canola oil is useful for frying and general cooking because it has no flavor and a higher smoke point.

Walnut Oil

Nut oils are extracted from a variety of nuts and are almost always packaged as a “pure” product, never blended. A nut oil should have the strong flavor and aroma from the nut from which it was processed. Popular examples are walnut and hazelnuts oils. These oils are used to give flavor to salad dressing, marinades and other dishes. But heat diminishes their flavor, so nut oils are not recommended for frying or baking. Nut oils tend to go rancid quickly and therefore are usually packaged in small containers.

Olive Oil

Olive Oil is the only oil extracted from a fruit rather than a seed, nut or grain. For further reading on olive oil, go to EVOO Tid Bits….

I hope you learned something new today.

Mmm take a bite out of that!

Writers Block Yields the Perfect Cup of Joe

5 Jul

Let’s call this the food bloggers blah! So today I am having a hard time writing. Yes it is a national holiday, and no I actually did not have ANY alcoholic beverages.  So what is my problem? Honestly I cannot tell you.  I thought of several different things that I could write about, but I kept coming to road blocks.  Where does this leave me you ask?… In the middle of food bloggers “no man’s land”.

Coffee is the answer for some when a situation like this arises. I don’t drink that either. LOL But I figured that while we wait for my personal writers strike to end, we could watch Sir Alton Brown rant about how to make the perfect “Cup of Joe”. I hope that you are okay with giving me a pass on this one. I admit that I am completely messing this one up. I hope there is no love lost…

Your Culinary Cousin,

Hershey 🙂