Monthly Archives: May 2009

Graham Cracker Cookies

1 Cup butter or margarine
1 Cup packed brown sugar
1 Cup of chopped pecans
Graham Crackers

Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and cover with graham crackers, make sure the lines are all going the same direction. It will make cutting them later easier.

Heat the butter and brown sugar in a pan until melted, stirring occasionally. Chop the pecans and sprinkle over the graham crackers. Once the butter mixture is melted pour over the graham crackers and pecans. Bake in the oven at 325 for 10 minutes.

Cool about 5 minutes, no more, and get the cookies cut and place in an air tight container. IF you leave the cookies until cool you will have a sticky mess and they will be difficult to remove from the pan.

I make these cookies all year long, they are different from traditional cookies. Enjoy!


Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day to everyone! When I think about Memorial Day, not only do I remember all those who have fought for our freedom, but I always think about the wonderful food usually prepared on the grill at some point over the weekend.

Sometimes we have hamburgers and hot dogs, or grilled chicken, or steaks, but most of the time Chad (hubby) smokes ribs. Today was no different. The ribs were fantastic with the perfect amount of seasoning and smoke. I can’t possibly share his secret, but I can tell you he’s worked long and hard to perfect his methods. We also enjoy time with our friends and family. What do you have for your Memorial Day celebration?

Blinded by the Food Manufacturers

Food manufacturers think you’re stupid. And their marketing strategies rely on it. Take candy products, such as Swedish Fish, Mike and Ike, and Good & Plenty, for example. Their packages boast the claim “Fat Free.” It’s completely true, however—these empty-calorie junk foods are made almost entirely of sugar and processed carbs.

See, the makers of the aforementioned candies may be hoping you’ll equate “fat-free” with “healthy” or “non-fattening,” so you’ll forget about all the sugar their products contain. It’s a distraction device; Food companies advertise what they want you to notice—and the candy aisle is just the start.

That’s why the authors of the new book Eat This, Not That! The Best and Worst Foods in America! scoured grocery-store shelves to expose the secrets that food-industry insiders don’t want you to know. The ones they use to prey on your expectations, your wallet, and, most important, your well-being. Use our crib sheet, though, and you can beat Big Food at its own game.

Secret No. 1: The fuzzy numbers

Keebler doesn’t want you to know that numbers can be deceiving. On the front of a box of reduced-fat Club Crackers—in large, yellow letters—you’ll find the claim, “33percent Less Fat Than Original Club Crackers.” The math is accurate: The original product contains 3 grams of fat per serving, while the reduced-fat version has 2 grams. So statistically, it’s a 33 percent difference. But is it meaningful? And why doesn’t Keebler tout that its reduced fat cracker has 33 percent more carbs than the original? Maybe the company simply doesn’t want you to know that when it removes 1 gram of fat, it replaces it with 3 grams of refined flour and sugar—hardly a healthy trade-off. Check out our list of the 18 worst packaged food lies to see what other claims the food companies are fudging.

Secret No. 2:The undeserved reputation

Beverage makers don’t want you to know that the bottled green tea you’re drinking may not be as healthy as you think it is. Last year, we commissioned ChromaDex Laboratories to analyze 14 different bottled green teas for their levels of catechins, the healthful antioxidants in tea that are thought to fight disease. The finding: Catechin content varied widely among brands. While Honest Tea Organic Honey Green Tea topped the charts with an impressive 215 milligrams of total catechins, some products hardly even registered on the antioxidant scale. For instance, Republic of Tea Pomegranate Green Tea had just 9 milligrams and Ito En Tea’s Tea Lemongrass Green had just 28 milligrams.

Secret No. 3:The maggot allowance

Food companies don’t want you to know that your food can legally contain maggots. Sure, the FDA limits the amount of these and other appetite killers in your food, that but limit isn’t zero. The following allowances aren’t harmful to your health—but we can’t promise that the thought of them won’t make you sick.

Food Can contain up to…
Canned Pineapples 20 percent positive mold tests
Canned Tomatoes 5 fly eggs and 1 maggot per 500 grams
Frozen Broccoli 60 mites per 100 grams
Ground Cinnamon 400 insect fragments and 11 rodent hairs per 50 grams
Peanut Butter 30 insect fragments and 1 rodent hair per 100 grams
Popcorn 20 gnawed grains or 2 rodent hairs per pound
Potato Chips 6 percent rotten chips

Secret No. 4: The carbo-loaded Corn Flakes

Kellogg’s doesn’t want you to know that its Corn Flakes aren’t as diabetes-friendly as the “Diabetes Friendly” logo on the box’s side panel suggests. Australian researchers have shown that carb-loaded cornflakes raise blood glucose faster and to a greater extent than straight table sugar does. (High blood glucose is the primary indicator of diabetes—if you suffer from diabetes or pre-diabetes, be sure to avoid any of the items on our list of the 20 most sugar-packed foods in America.) Beneath the logo, the cereal maker does provide a link to its Web site where general nutrition recommendations are provided for people with diabetes. But those recommendations are simply “based on” the guidelines of the American Dietetic Association and the American Diabetes Association, not endorsed by those organizations.

Secret No. 5:The sugar-packed “healthy” cereal

Quaker doesn’t want you to know that some of its “heart healthy” hot cereals have more sugar than a bowl of Froot Loops. One example: Quaker Instant Oatmeal Maple & Brown Sugar. Sure, the company proudly displays the American Heart Association logo on the product’s box. However, the fine print below the logo reads that the product simply meets the AHA’s “food criteria for saturated fat and cholesterol.” So it could contain a pound of sugar and still qualify. But guess what? Froot Loops meets the AHA’s criteria, too, only no logo is displayed. That’s because …

Secret No. 6:The “pay to play” rules

The food industry doesn’t want you to know that companies must pay for a product to be an American Heart Association-certified food. That’s why the AHA check mark might appear on one product but not on another, even when both meet the guidelines.

Secret No. 7:The checkout line wallet trap

Supermarkets don’t want you to know that long checkout lines can make you buy more. If you’re stuck in a line, you’ll be up to 25 percent more likely to buy the candy and sodas around you, according to research from the University or Arizona. The authors found that the more exposure people have to temptation, the more likely they are to succumb to it. This may also help explain why supermarkets place common staples likes milk, bread, and eggs at the rear of the store, forcing you to run the gauntlet of culinary temptation.

Secret No. 8:The food additive–ADHD link

The food industry doesn’t want you to know that food additives may make your kids misbehave. U.K. researchers found that some artificial food colorings and preservatives are linked to hyperactivity in children. The additives included Yellow No. 5, Yellow No. 6, Red No. 40, and sodium benzoate, all of which are commonly found in packaged foods in the United States. While the researchers don’t know whether a combination of the chemicals is to blame or there’s a single primary culprit, you can find Red No. 40, yellow No. 5, and Yellow No. 6 in Skittles, and sodium benzoate in some soft drinks. Check out our list of the 11 most controversial food additives to learn what else is lurking in your meals.

Secret No. 9: The fat-free fakeout

Land O’Lakes doesn’t want you to know that there’s no such thing as fat-free half-and-half. That’s because, by definition, half-and-half contains between 10.5 percent and 18 percent butterfat. So what exactly is the product that Land O’Lakes calls “Fat Free Half & Half”? Skim milk—to which a thickening agent and an artificial cream flavor have been added. You may be disappointed in the payoff; One tablespoon of traditional half-and-half contains 20 calories; the fat-free version has 20. And after all, how much are you really going to consume?

Secret No. 10:The truth about lean meat

The meat industry doesn’t want you to know that the leanest cuts may have the highest sodium levels. The reason: When you remove fat, you lose juiciness. To counteract this dried-out effect, some manufacturers “enhance” poultry, pork, and beef products by pumping them full of a solution that contains water, salt, and other nutrients that help give them flavor. This practice can dramatically boost the meat’s sodium level. Consuming excess sodium is a real problem for people who have high blood pressure—if your sodium intake is substantially greater than your potassium intake, your blood pressure could skyrocket.

To put it in perspective: A 4-ounce serving of Shady Brook Farms Fresh Boneless Turkey Tenderloin that hasn’t been enhanced contains 55 milligrams of sodium. But the same size serving of Jennie-O Turkey Breast Tenderloin Roast Turkey, which is enhanced by up to 30 percent, packs 840 milligrams.

Secret No. 11:The not-so-“good source”

Food companies don’t want you to know what the phrase “good source” actually means. No doubt you’ve seen the claim on labels in every section of your supermarket that a product is a “good source” of one or more vitamins or minerals. But here’s what you need to know: To be considered a good source of a specific vitamin or mineral, a serving must contain only 10 percent of the recommended daily value for that nutrient. For perspective, take Nabisco Honey Teddy Grahams, which, the label says, are a “Good Source of Calcium.” But you’d have to eat 10 servings—the entire box and then some—to hit the amount of calcium you need for the day. Now think about it: Is that really a good source?

Secret No. 12:The 100-calorie pack cost

Chex doesn’t want you to know that its 100-calorie pack may be a rip-off. In a 2007 study, Brown University researchers found that people at the same amount of cookies and chips regardless of whether they ate from a large, multi-serving bag or single-serving packs. The key factor: The actual amount of cookies or chips people kept in their homes. Sure, self-control is still your responsibility, but here’s the bigger secret: Companies often charge you double for snack-size portions. Take Chex Mix Cheddar, for example, which costs 2.13 times more per gram when packages in 100-calorie packs than when sold in a normal 8.75-ounce bag.

Secret No. 13: The calorie under-count

Food companies don’t want you to know that their calorie counts may be wrong. That’s because in order to make sure you’re getting at least as much as you pay for, the FDA is more likely to penalize a food manufacturer for overstating the net weight of a product than for understating it. As a result, it seems that manufacturers often either “generously” package more food than the stated net weight or make servings heavier than the stated serving-size weight. That means you may be eating more calories than you think. Case in point: Using an ordinary food scale, we found that based on the actual weight of a serving, Back to Nature classic granola contained 244 calories—64 more calories than the number listed. Yet another reason to eat with caution.

Provided to MSN by Men’s Health

If the claims here are true it’s a little alarming I think…I checked the FDA website, and couldn’t find anything showing what’s “acceptable” when it comes to the things described in the articles. I will continue to research the claims in the article and will update with anything I find. If you would like to share information on this topic please leave a comment.

Salt, So Much More

Everyone has salt in their kitchen, but are you using it to the best of it’s ability? Of course we use salt to season our food, but here are some other ways of using salt in your everyday life.


Extinguishing grease fires – Keep a box of salt handy at your stove and oven and if a grease fire flares up, cover the flames with salt. Do not use water on grease fires; it will splatter the burning grease. Also a handful of salt thrown on flames from meat dripping in barbecue grills will reduce the flames and deaden the smoke without cooling the coals as water does.

Drip-proofing candles – Soak new candles in a strong salt solution for a few hours, then dry them well. When burned they will not drip.

Removing soot – Occasionally throw a handful of salt on the flames in your fireplace; it will help loosen soot from the chimney and salt makes a bright yellow flame.

Cleaning fish tanks – Rub the inside of fish tanks with salt to remove hard water deposits, then rinse well before returning the fish to the tank. Use only plain, not iodized, salt.

Invigorating goldfish – Occasionally add one teaspoon of salt to a quart of fresh water at room temperature and put your goldfish in for about 15 minutes. Then return them to their tank. The salt swim makes them healthier.

Cleaning flower vases – To remove deposits caused by flowers and water, rub with salt; if you cannot reach the deposits to rub them, put a strong salt solution in the vase and shake, then wash the vase with soap and water.

Keeping cut flowers fresh – A dash of salt added to the water in a flower vase will keep cut flowers fresh longer.

Holding artificial flowers – Artificial flowers can be held in an artistic arrangement by pouring salt into the container, adding a little cold water and then arranging the flowers. The salt will solidify as it dries and hold the flowers in place.

Keeping patios weed-free – If weeds or unwanted grass come up between patio bricks or blocks, carefully spread salt between the bricks and blocks, then sprinkle with water or wait for rain to wet it down.

Killing poison ivy – Mix three pounds of salt with a gallon of soapy water and apply to leaves and stems with a sprayer.

Keeping windows frost-free – Rub the inside of windows with a sponge dipped in a saltwater solution and rub dry; the windows will not frost up in sub-freezing weather. Rubbing a small cloth bag containing salt that has been moistened on your car’s windshield will keep snow and ice from collecting.

Anti-icing sidewalks and driveways – Lightly sprinkling rock salt on walks and driveways will keep snow and ice from bonding to the pavement and allow for easy removal. Don’t overdo it; use the salt sensibly to avoid damage to grass and ornamentals.

Deodorizing shoes – Sprinkling a little salt in canvas shoes occasionally will take up the moisture and help remove odors.

Boiling Water – Salt added to water makes the water boil at a higher temperature, thus reducing cooking time. (It does not make the water boil faster.)

Peeling eggs – Boiling eggs in salted water will make eggs peel easily.

Poaching eggs – Poaching eggs over salted water helps set the egg whites.

Testing egg freshness – Place the egg in a cup of water to which two teaspoonfuls of salt has been added. A fresh egg sinks; a doubter will float.

Preventing browning – Apples, pears and potatoes dropped in cold, lightly salted water as they are peeled will retain their color.

Shelling pecans – Soaking pecans in salt water for several hours before shelling will make nut meats easier to remove.

Washing spinach – If spinach is washed in salted water, repeated cleanings will not be necessary.

Preventing sugaring – A little salt added to cake icings prevents them from sugaring.

Crisping salads – Salting salads immediately before serving will keep them crisp.

Improving boiled potatoes – Boiled potatoes will be given a fine, mealy texture by sprinkling with salt after draining, then returning them to the pan and shaking them back and forth quickly to get rid of the excess moisture.

Cleaning greasy pans – The greasiest iron pan will wash easily if you put a little salt in it and wipe with paper.

Cleaning stained cups – Rubbing with salt will remove stubborn tea or coffee stains from cups.

Cleaning ovens – Salt and cinnamon take the “burned food” odor away from ovens and stove burners. Sprinkle spills while oven and burners are still hot; when dry, remove the salted spots with a stiff brush or cloth.

Cleaning refrigerators – Salt and soda water will clean and sweeten the inside of your refrigerator. It won’t scratch enamel either.

Extinguishing grease fires – Salt tossed on a grease fire on the stove or in the oven will smother flames. Never use water; it will only spatter the burning grease.

Improving coffee – A pinch of salt in coffee will enhance the flavor and remove the bitterness of over-cooked coffee.

Improving poultry – To improve the flavor of poultry, rub the fowl inside and out with salt before roasting.

Removing pinfeathers – To remove pinfeathers easily from a chicken, rub the chicken skin with salt first.

Cleaning tarnished silverware – Rub tarnish with salt before washing.

Cleaning copper pans – Remove stains on copper pans by salting area and scouring with a cloth soaked in vinegar.

Cleaning coffee pots – Remove bitterness from percolators and other coffee pots by filling with water, adding four tablespoons of salt and percolating or boiling as usual.

Removing onion odors from hands – Rub fingers with salt moistened with vinegar.

“Sweetening” containers – Salt can “sweeten” and deodorize thermos bottles and jugs, decanters and other closed containers.

Cleaning sink drains – Pour a strong salt brine down the kitchen sink drain regularly to eliminate odors and keep grease from building up.

Brightening cutting boards – After washing them with soap and water, rub bread and cutting boards with a damp cloth dipped in salt; the boards will be lighter and brighter.

Fixing oversalted soups – If soup has been oversalted, cut up a raw potato or two and drop into the soup. The potato will absorb the salt.

Cleaning dried-on egg – Salt not only makes eggs taste better, but it makes “eggy” dishes clean easier. Sprinkle salt on dishes right after breakfast; it makes them a whiz to clean when you have time.

Preventing food from sticking – Rub a pancake griddle with a small bag of salt to prevent sticking and smoking. Sprinkle a little salt in the skillet before frying fish to prevent the fish from sticking. Sprinkle salt on washed skillets, waffle iron plates or griddles, heat in a warm oven, dust off salt; when they are next used, foods will not stick.

Preventing mold – To prevent mold on cheese, wrap it in a cloth dampened with saltwater before refrigerating.

Whipping cream and beating egg whites – By adding a pinch of salt, cream will whip better and egg whites will beat faster and higher.

Keeping milk fresh – Adding a pinch of salt to milk will keep it fresh longer.

Setting gelatin – To set gelatin salads and desserts quickly, place over ice that has been sprinkled with salt.

Information found on

Good Manners = FREE

Good manners really do pay off.

Just ask Tom Landis, the franchisee of two Dallas-area Texadelphia restaurants. He’s giving polite children a free meal, provided they ask for it and use the all-important “please” or “por favor.”

Kids meals are already half-price after 4 p.m. at Landis’ two Texadelphia franchises in Dallas and Irving, Texas. But with the difficult economic climate, he thought he could do something more.

“If the kids will order themselves and say ‘please,’ then the kid’s meal is free,” Landis told AOL Food.
Landis began the promotion about a month ago after seeing his own 2-year-old learn to talk. He hopes it will coax kids out of their shell.

“I’ve kind of seen a lot of parents where they come in and they’re trying to get their kid to order and the kid’s just kind of hiding behind mom’s dress,” he said.


Texadelphia operates 19 restaurants in Texas and Oklahoma serving “The Original Texas Cheesesteak.”

“He’s doing the right thing at the right time,” says Rich Waring, the president of the Quintessence Corporation, which franchises the Texadelphia restaurants.

Chicken fingers are the most popular kids meal item, Landis says. And the polite kids deal is winning raves from parents.

“I’m getting a ton of e-mails and just people stopping me in the parking lot and saying ‘Hey man, that was really cool. My son, boy you just should have seen him beam that he said “please” and he got the meal free. Gosh he pointed out that when I ordered I said it nice but I didn’t say “please.”‘”

Nation’s Restaurant News reported that the promotion is good for one free kids meal per adult, but Landis says he’s flexible.

“I don’t want to have a hard-and-fast rule,” he says. “Whatever we need to do to make them happy when they leave, then that’s what we’re going to do.”

Landis — who operates four pizza restaurants in addition to his Texadelphia restaurants on Greenville Avenue in Dallas and MacArthur Boulevard in Irving — says he wants to make the Texadelphia polite-kids-eat-free deal a “cornerstone of my restaurants.” And it might pop up soon at other Texadelphias as well.

“I think it’s a great idea and it’s got our full support,” Waring says.


I think this is a wonderful idea! The children that do have good manners should be recognized for it, there are so many that bark orders at servers in restaurants. Keep up the great work Mr. Landis!

Classic Deli Wraps

The hardest thing for me to do is come up with something different to take to work for lunch. A few years ago I attended a Pampered Chef party and this recipe was prepared. It’s fantastic and gives a different flavor to your lunch.

Classic Deli Wraps


1   container (8 ounces) light cream cheese spread
2   tablespoons Dijon mustard
1   tablespoon honey
11/2   cups thinly sliced iceberg lettuce
1   large tomato, seeded and diced

1   medium green bell pepper, diced
6   (8-inch) whole wheat flour tortillas
8   ounces thinly sliced deli ham
3/4   cup (3 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese
6   slices bacon, crisply cooked, drained and crumbled
1. Combine cream cheese, mustard and honey in Small Batter Bowl; mix well using Small Mix ‘N Scraper®. Slice lettuce and dice tomato and bell pepper using Chef’s Knife.
2. Using Medium Scoop, top each tortilla with a level scoop of cream cheese mixture; spread to within 1/4 inch of edge using Small Spreader. Cover with 1/4 cup lettuce, pressing lightly. Place two ham slices over lettuce. Grate 2 tablespoons cheese over ham using Deluxe Cheese Grater. Top evenly with tomato, bell pepper and bacon.
3. Roll up each tortilla tightly. To serve, cut each wrap diagonally in half with Serrated Bread Knife.
Yield: 6 servings or 24 sample servings

Nutrients per serving: Calories 370, Total Fat 18 g, Saturated Fat 8 g, Cholesterol 55 mg, Carbohydrate 31 g, Protein 21 g, Sodium 1150 mg, Fiber 3 g

Cook’s Tips: Mix and match ingredients to design your own wrap creation! Experiment with different flavors of flour tortillas such as spinach or sun-dried tomato. Spread tortillas with flavored soft cream cheese or hummus and top with your favorite greens. Layer your favorite deli meats and cheeses over the top. Sprinkle with vegetables such as thinly sliced red or green onions, chopped cucumber, alfalfa sprouts or shredded carrot. Roll up tightly and enjoy your tailored specialty!

©The Pampered Chef, Ltd. 2009

This is a Pampered Chef recipe and can be found on thier website

Cheesy Dip

I wanted to share the Cheesy Dip recipe with you that I enjoy making for entertaining. It’s simple, and easy to keep warm in the crockpot. I always make a bunch because it gets eaten so fast.


1 large block of Velveeta cheese

1 jar of your favorite salsa

1 pound of ground meat

Brown the ground meat in a skillet, drain and rinse with hot water to get all the grease out. Cut the Velveeta into cubes. Spray your crockpot with cooking spray. Put the meat, cheese, and salsa in the crockpot and melt together on low heat. Make sure to stir occasionally. Once the cheese is mostly melted turn the heat to warm. Put a large sppon next to the crockpot for your guests to put some dip on their plate. Serve with tortilla chips.