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Archive for the ‘Cooking Tips’ Category

I should have titled this, “What May Send the Dalai’s to Divorce Court.”



Dalai Dan is scared of expiration dates. Little girl in a Halloween haunted house scared. If our milk is even approaching the date, he goes and opens a new bottle.


This, my friends, does not please the Dalai. In fact, it has caused many a’morning argument when he goes to pull the newest bottle of milk out for himself because his precious olfactory senses can’t handle anything but milk straight from the utter.


I have tried and tried again to explain to him these dairy facts:


  • All dairy dates are “sell by” dates
  • “Sell By” dates are to help retailers rotate their stock, NOT to tell us when to throw it out
  • Generally speaking, milk and yogurt are good 5-7 (and up to 10!) days after the “sell by” date
  • Cream cheese is good for 2-4 weeks past the date if it is unopened
  • Hard cheeses, unopened, can last up to 6 months!
  • If a hard cheese has some mold, the only effected part is the molded area, so it is perfectly safe to cut it off. Really.


So, the next time you go to throw out a container of milk or yogurt, do the sniff test. If it smells fine, then it is fine. That is really the only way to identify sour milk. But, even if the milk started to turn and you drank it (let’s say, you put chocolate in it and didn’t notice?) you wouldn’t die. You’ll be just fine.


Trust me, Dalai Dan, you’ll be just fine…


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Remember the Chia Pet commercials in the early 70s? Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia! Joseph Pedott was the brains behind the quirky pet. He bought a failing chia seed company and paired it along with a terra-cotta dog and the result was one of the most successful original infomercials of all time.


What he didn’t tell you is that you could eat the chia seeds and forget trying to grow the disturbing figure (which never worked anyway – the seeds always fell off leaving my chia rabbit looking like a chemo patient)


No need to find them in an infomercial. You can get chia seeds anywhere, now that they are known as a super food.


Leave it to Native Americans to teach us how to eat – they have been consuming it for hundreds of years.


Once ounce of chia seeds contains:


  • 4 grams of protein
  • 11 grams of dietary fiber
  • Omega-3 fatty acid contents higher than any other seeds, even flax


This little guys have more iron than spinach, more antioxidants than blueberries and more calcium than milk!


And, unlike flax, the chia seed does not need to be ground to help the body assimilate the nutrients. You can literally throw it into just about anything and you can get all the benefits without much work or altering the taste of food.


Another cool benefit of the chia seed is that it can absorb 10x its weight in water. There are ingenious recipes out there (many for overnight oatmeal and pudding) that takes advantage of this property. You can add bulk without many calories. Its gelatinous texture is also good for the gut: its high fiber content and gel consistency helps it move through the digestive track and “clean up” along the way.  Cool.


 

How do I use it?  I throw it into every smoothie, use it in my Banana Chia Seed Pudding, add it to cooked oatmeal (don’t cook the seeds), and make overnight oats with it.  Check out Oh She Glows for some great overnight oat recipes.


If you haven’t used them before, start simple. Just add them to things your already make. When you feel inspired, get cooking!


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As I was making Mexican Quinoa Salad (which I plan on posting about soon) it occurred to me that many of you may not know the easiest way to pit and cut an avocado. I have seen fancy avocado slicers, but this is a sure way to get slices or dices out of your avocado…


1. Using a sharp knife, in a sift, direct motion, stab the avocado pit. I hold the avocado in my hand when doing this – it is much more stable that way (but be careful – don’t stab yourself!) Attempt to get it deep enough to hold the knife steady, and somewhat in the middle. If you don’t make it the first time, don’t worry, just try again! It took me three times to get a good grip in this avocado…



2. Slightly twist the knife when it is embedded in the pit – the pit will pop right out!



3. Using a dull knife (a real sharp one tends to cut through the avocado skin), make incisions in the avocado half. If you want slices, cut slices. If you want dices, cut dices!



4. Scoop out the slices or dices with a large spoon. Presto! You have perfectly cut avocado pieces



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