Beware of Thanksgiving Feast Fakes!

feast fakesI love everything about Thanksgiving- from the decorating, to the cooking, to the eating (ok, maybe not the clean-up)- but one thing I don’t love is the idea of chemicals and “manufactured food products” masquerading as my favorite foods.

When you’re planning your meal, I’m sure you’re not planning on cooking with and serving  “Sodium Bisulfite”, “Partially Hydrogenated Oil”, “Pyrophosphate”, “Disodium Guanylate”, “Disodium Inosinate”, “Propyl Gallate”, and a slew of other unknown items.  However, if you’re using one of these boxed options you’re serving all of this and more.

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New England Fish Chowder

One of the best things about a nor’easter is that it’s a perfect time to make fish chowder (assuming the storm doesn’t shut down your electricity!).  This weekend we had our second – or maybe it’s the third – storm so far this season and it’s looking like we’re in for a bad winter, so we officially welcomed the cold weather by chowing down on chowder.  This dish is a blend of two authentic New England recipes – my husband’s grandmother’s recipe and John F. Kennedy’s recipe that was published in a newspaper years ago.  It’s definitely a hearty, stick-to-your-ribs meal that will warm and fill you up with delicious, real, ingredients.  Enjoy!

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New England Fish Chowder
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs firm white fish (Pollock, haddock, etc.)
  • 2 cups fish stock
  • 4 large potatoes - peeled and cubed (Yukon Gold are good)
  • 1 vidalia onion - chopped
  • 1 celery stalk - finely diced
  • 4 slices bacon cut into ¼" pieces
  • 2½ T flour (I use white whole wheat)
  • ¼ c white wine
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • black pepper to taste
  • 3 cups half and half
  • 2 T butter
Instructions
  1. In a large pot simmer the fish in the fish stock for about 15 minutes, or until just under done.
  2. Remove fish to a plate and cut into bite sized pieces, removing any bones at the same time.
  3. Transfer stock to a separate bowl.
  4. In the same pot add the bacon and cook until crisp. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve.
  5. Add diced onion to the bacon grease in the pot and sauté until translucent - about 5 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle the flour over the onion mixture and stir to make a roux. Stir constantly to slightly cook, but not burn, the flour.
  7. Stir the stock back into the pot, stirring constantly until the flour mixture and stock are well combined.
  8. Add the celery, salt, pepper and bay leaf.
  9. Bring to a boil and add the wine.
  10. Reduce heat to medium and add the potatoes.
  11. Cook at a low boil for about 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft.
  12. Add half and half and stir to combine.
  13. Add butter and stir while melting.
  14. Add fish and slowly heat until all is warm.
  15. Crumble reserved bacon on top and serve with crusty bread and salad.

 

 

Meal Makeover! Chicken a la King

Every week my inbox fills up with delicious looking recipes from companies like Betty Crocker.  The not so delicious part of the recipes are all of the artificial ingredients!  However, being a busy mom, I can see the appeal of trading real food for the real convenience that pre-packaged products provide.  So, every week I challenge myself to do a real meal makeover with one of the recipes by swapping out the fake food but keeping it a quick and easy meal.  This week was Chicken a la King and it turned out so well I actually made it on Thursday and Sunday! Continue reading

Kids, cottage and cobbler

One of the things I love most about my husband, in addition to his great sense of humor, big heart and blue eyes, is his 127-year-old family cottage on an island in Maine.  This magical place is the most amazing playground for our boys, with no cars, just boardwalks and paths through green forests with tall pines, spongy moss floors, fresh natural springs that you can drink right out of, tons of wild blueberry, raspberry and blackberry bushes and even a very cool (slightly dangerous) tree fort in the middle of it all.

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Farm Raised vs. Wild Caught Seafood – Fishing for Facts

Now that we’re eating real food, I’ve also been trying to swap out meat for fish more often.  But, to tell you the truth, this has been a slow change for us mostly because of two reasons:  1) the kids aren’t always big fans of fish, and 2) I was never really sure what to buy — farm raised (less expensive) or wild caught (more expensive, but possible environmental concerns).  After spending a little time researching (and a little time in the kitchen), I think I’ve found the answer to both issues – how to choose our fish and how to make it taste great!PicMonkey Collage2

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