Saturday, August 31, 2013


I have been thinking about reality TV show a lot lately. I know that they probably do not deserve to take up my brain space but they always seem to make their way into the forefront of my mind. Recently a friend of mine shared a video of reality show commercials that are fake. It's so sad that these could be reality shows today. I often fall into the reality show trap, and it is entertaining to he and haw about some of the crazy things people do, but some of it is unreal.

How about this Amish takeover? One day you are driving down the road and slow down to pass a candlelit, horse drawn carriage and the next thing you know, the "Amish Mafia" is on your tele. I just don't really understand it. I thought that the Amish were against use of electricity, but they allow a camera crew to follow them?! I mean is this real life? Well through some research, I am happy to report that these shows are most likely untrue. I think it's really demeaning to the Amish religion and way of life. Not only this "Amish Mafia" show, but "Breaking Amish" I think is very disrespectful. "Lord help me eat this sandwich" Really? This "reality" TV is encouraging these young adults to break out of their religion and go crazy in some big cities around the country. ALSO! I watched one episode, and this guy brought an Amish girl flowers TWICE in the episode. This really is unrealistic, I mean really, the first flowers did not even have time to die before he got her the second bunch. The best part of Breaking Amish is that the characters wear normal clothes until they are on the individual cameras- I guess so you don't forget that they are different than you and I.  I have heard rumors that the people in these shows are not representing themselves correctly. Who do we place the blame on? I think the channels should be left responsible. I mean I understand that MTV hooked millions with a show about a bunch of party people at the beach, and who knows what was scripted, but I really expected that from MTV. The above shows I mentioned are on TLC- isn't that The Learning Channel? And the Discovery Channel...what are we discovering by watching such things? I guess I just think that if these channels want to have a show about the Amish and they want to script it, why do they have to advertise it as a reality show? I really have just watched some clips of these shows, I am not an avid viewer, I am just ranting.

This brings me to shows that are on certain channels. The Discovery channel, which was founded in 1982 and concentrated on educational documentaries. Then they started Shark Week in the late eighties which appealed to a broader audience. I wish that they had youtube back then, but I am not sure how to get my hands on one of the first episodes ever. I am not a big shark girl, but I looked back as far as I could and found a very educational episode on the different species of sharks. Shark week 2013 looked a little more gruesome. But I would still say that Shark week is pretty educational. And Cash Cab is one of my family favorites and of course Mythbusters. But as I mentioned the Amish Mafia is a part of the Discovery channel. What do you think we will be discovering in ten years? Let's take a look at the History Channel- also known as a pretty boring channel that we would watch clips of in history class (or- one of Chris' favorite channels as a kid  ;) ) History included: The Civil War, The American Revolution, The Crusades, JFK: A Presidency Revealed. Now history includes: American Pickers, Pawn Stars, God, Guns, and Automobiles. While some of us may find these shows entertaining, what do they have to do with history besides that maybe someone in history once owned an artifact that shows up in a pawn shop. Bah humbug.

I think the best part of reality TV is "What not to Wear". The other day after I finished sweating in the kitchen for hours, I found myself stopping at the Library to pick up a couple of books. As I was opening the door, I caught my reflection in the glass. My Hanes t-shirt and gym shorts would not have made it past the first round in that show. I laughed to myself. I understand that there is always a story behind the people they pick for the show; that they are insecure with their looks, or don't want to stand out- but I just wear what I can afford and what is practical. When I find myself watching some of that show or even a commercial, I always point out to Christopher- "Oh my I have that!" or "I would wear that..." I just can't get a grip on how the hosts just throw away those victims' entire wardrobe! I mean they don't even accept jeans and a t-shirt. I remember speaking with Chris for hours before we started dating, and he mentioned how he was a fan of small town girls, and was attracted to girls in jeans and a t-shirt. Now I am not sure if this was because I had covered both of those areas, but he's really stuck with the t-shirt girl now huh?  Good thing the last season of that show has already been filmed, because I would be afraid that someone might send them my way.

I don't often have an opinionated rant about anything other than food, but I thought that someone needed to address this issue. Let me know your thoughts.

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Can Can

I decided to start canning!! It sounds really exciting right? But really it is. I came up with this great idea (actually it was not my idea) to fill mason jars with goodies for people for Christmas. (Sorry friends and family I spoiled the surprise.) My older sister Michelle has been cleaning out a bunch of J U N K from the storage space at my parents restaurant. She found a ton of really cool mason jars (I know they are in now, so aren't they all cool?) Anyway, she offered them to me and I graciously accepted. (It was her idea). So there are so many cool ways to fill these jars and give them away as gifts, not only for Christmas but something nice to give to someone hosting a party etcetera. So the jars that I was gifted are very stylish with glass lids and are perfect for a muffin mix, or granola, or other surprises I can come up with to give to my family and friends. This got me thinking about how there are so many different things you can put in cans. My favorite so far is I Spy. (Spoiler alert to those who will receive Christmas gifts). I think this idea is genius. Put rice in a mason jar and add little objects. Attach to the jar a list of objects to find inside the jar!

So I really like this idea, but I was also pondering how I could make it my own, instead of just layering beans, lentils, and spices in a jar. My mom is very into the soup mix idea but my culinary mind cannot stop thinking about how impractical it is. All of the ingredients in a soup cook at different speeds and are added to the pot at a different time. Now although I could write instructions explaining this- I think that if I received a gift of soup mix in a jar, I would just want to pour it all into the pot at once, and not have to weed out the different colored legumes. Practicality. So this brought me to canning. I am no pro, in fact the only time I have canned something was at school in my garde manger class, and I am pretty sure I was not a pro at it. Brenton can confirm this. Also, how do you judge if you are a good canner or not. I mean, you make the pickling liquid, add the cucumbers, seal it in the jar, and pray they come out good. (Kinda reminds me of baking). But I am up for the adventure.

I set out for Walmart in search of the canning section, and they have a pretty good selection. They are equipped with all of the tools, jars, seals, lids, and spice packs that you could possible need, and for a good price I might add. I skipped the spice packs because I thought I would give myself a challenge and experiment. Chris wanted a pressure cooker for his birthday and I am kicking myself for not getting it for him, but I am starting out the old boiling water route. I have (with the help of Christopher) successfully sterilized all of the jars that I will not be sealing, just because they have been sitting in a garage for at least twenty years. I have checked out two books from the library on preservation. And my kitchen is completely taken over by this whole adventure. Send some canning thoughts my way, and if you are interested or have any questions in regards to my excursion, let me know. I think this is a really thrifty, fun way to let someone know that you care about them.

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Health Nut (?)

So I have never really addressed the dieting trend, and I thought that I would share my take on it.

 Being a chef makes it really hard to say no to food, but sometimes you have to dive away from those fattening foods and stay on the healthy track.  I am against diets in general. We were always exposed to healthy food when I was young. Chris always reminds me that I was very fortunate to be exposed to so many good foods as a youngster. Once I decided I was really interested in food, and interested also in going to culinary school, I became more healthy than I already was. But I never gave anything up. (Unless you count giving up dessert- which lasted 18 hours.) If I wanted ice cream, I ate it. Simple as that. I would say that I still have the same dietary habits and it has really worked for me.

I think that if you want to go for that late night taco bell run once in a while, you should be able to. But a balanced diet is most important. So, balance out that taco bell and eat healthy whenever you get the chance. I am obsessed with vegetables so I just constantly consume vitamins through leafy veggies. New favorite vegetable: radishes (I bought two bunches for $1.75 at the market this morning). I like to enjoy them raw with a touch of salt. Chris and I recently went to a bar that had radish snacks with home made butter and fresh bread- it was delish. I do not always eat healthy in fact I do enjoy taco bell, and tonight I made the best burger ever. Nomnom. But I eat a lot of vegetable centric meals and healthy snacks. Instead of potato chips, try veggie sticks. I know you may say ick when you read this, but they are addictive, once you start you won't stop. Instead of pudding what about yogurt? I haven't quite been able to switch Chris over yet, but when I buy greek yogurt he will indulge with me. One thing that has also helped me is nixing the starches. When you order a meal it normally contains at least one vegetable, a starch, and then a protein. But especially in this hotter season, it is very easy to skip the starch and just add a vegetable or fruit.  Apple sauce counts as a fruit serving, and it's cheap!

I have never been into the gym. I think it's pretty boring, and I really don't enjoy working out with a bunch of people I don't know. I am sure that I probably look ridiculous when I work out, so I steer clear of the gym. I have always been in touch with nature, and try to spend the majority of my time outside. This translates to my "work outs" I have always enjoyed a good jog, and at one point I would start my day off with a brisk walk. I used to ride horses, and sports whether it was kickball in the backyard with my siblings or competitive softball always got me moving. But I have never had a schedule. In my mind, as long as I maintain a healthy weight, there is no need for me to "buff up". When I am inspired to run, then I run, and it feels good, but everyone knows that there are some days when you don't feel like doing anything. But recently I started yoga. And let me tell you, yoga whipped my butt. I took a yoga video out of the library and invested in a yoga mat. Yesterday I started the video, and it was not for beginners at all. It was not the meditative yoga I thought I was getting into but a cardio form of yoga. But I stuck with it. I completed two out of the three exercises which was forty minutes long. I then collapsed. It felt really good, to stretch and breath and push myself.

After the yoga I will say that I immediately felt healthy. I started to think about what I would eat for dinner and healthy snacks etcetera. It's interesting how the mind works that way.

Today I woke up feeling like I was hit by a bus. Typical. My back and shoulders hurt in places I didn't even know existed. But I decided to stick with it and after a quick shoulder massage from Chris, I looked up stress relief yoga. I found a great stretching video online and completed thirty minutes of stress relief yoga. I felt better but I was glad when the half hour was up. I then relaxed a bit before soaking my new found muscles in a bath. Now my body feels great and I am rejuvenated.

Here are a few tips on staying healthy that I like to follow:

  • Drink lots of water. Water flushes out your system and helps in a number of other ways. You should drink a glass of water when you wake up in the morning- this will get your metabolism moving. You should drink a glass of water before meals- this aids in digestion. And if you ever find yourself thirsty you are already dehydrated, so just keep drinking water- hey no calories! Chris and I bought a brand new water filter at a church sale for three dollars and we had been using it, but I noticed that I was not drinking as much water. He says I am a spoiled princess, but honestly spring water tastes so much better to me. So I caved and bought a case of bottled water. I am drinking more water again which is good for me and I think it's worth buying the bottles. Plus I can bring the bottles back and put the coins in my piggy bank. 
  • Healthy foods. My mom picked up a book for me called 100 Health Foods which lists raw foods and their benefits for you. Some of my favorites include: Spinach (lots of iron), Quinoa (a very light starch option plus high in protein), Blueberries (antioxidants), EGGS (don't be scared of the yolks they are rich in vitamin A and B12), Avacado (fiber! Plus, healthy oils- rub the pit on your hands before ditching it, you won't regret it).
  • Even if you aren't into yoga, stretching is important and keeps you younger!
  • Cucumber water. I found this recipe on pinterest last year, and it has proven to help my digestion.   I don't have mint all of the time so I skip the mint, but dice some cucumber and squeeze a lemon into a glass of ice water (add the mint leaves if you have them). It is a nice twist to water and helps your digestion. Lemons are very good for cleansing your system. 
  • Drink tea. My good friend from school drinks at least three cups of tea a day and is one of the happiest people I know. But tea is also good for your digestion, and another way to get water in your system. Green tea is best for your system but any tea is good. Ginger settles your stomach, and one of my new favorites is a ginger lemon grass tisane. 
  • Spicy is good. It helps boost your metabolism, helps beat inflammation, and increases blood flow. 
  • Honey- boosts your immune system and is healthier than processed sugar!
  • Sleep eight hours. For some of you this may seem crazy, but sleeping  through your full sleep cycle is very important to keep your mood positive and your metabolism on track. 
  • Get that fresh air. It will inspire you and open up your lungs. Think of that feeling after a nice run in the middle of the winter- your lungs feel as though they have been used to their full capacity- that's good. 
  • If you are going to eat something unhealthy be okay with your decision. You will not feel guilty afterwards if you are happy with your decision. "I can eat this now, because I had a grilled chicken salad for dinner". Etcetera. Do not punish yourself by fasting from certain foods, just make up for the splurges with healthy. 
That's all she wrote!
My burger: Lettuce, Heirloom tomato, Avocado, Bacon, Egg, and Sharp Cheddar cheese on a Garlic Peppered burger