Today the FDA announced proposed changes to the Nutrition Facts Labels we’ve seen on food products since 1993.
Often, I don’t agree with new government “guidelines,” but this is one change I’m glad to see. The proposed labels are more in line with the servings we actually eat, instead of what we should be eating. Vitamin D and potassium content would be mandatory on the new label, along with the current Iron and Calcium. Vitamin A and vitamin C would be dropped from the labels.
One change that I especially like is that the Serving Size, Number of Servings in Package, and Calories will all be very bold and/or prominent at the top of the label. One thing I will miss is the “percent of calories in fat,” which I’ve always used as a “put it back on the shelf” kind of warning. Now that fact has been removed, and the saturated and trans fats are considered more important.
If you’re like me, you read those labels religiously before you buy a product, and I’ve always hated the unrealistic portion size (serving size) printed on those labels, forcing me to calculate in my mind how many calories I’m actually get in twice the serving size of that ice cream, for example.
There were three short 2-page documents published by the FDA today, and I’ve combined them in a single downloadable PDF file here: Proposed FDA Changes to Nutrition Facts Labels.
Let me know what you think of these changes. I like them!
On a cold day, when you don’t feel like standing outdoors tending to your grill, this Indoor-Grilled Pork Chops recipe makes use of that George Foreman or other indoor grill. It also gave me another excuse to use one of my favorite grill accessories: Weber Roasted Garlic & Herb Seasoning (http://weberseasonings.com). Don’t skip the optional orange marmalade sauce; prepare it while you are cooking the pork chops. It makes the meal.
Probably my most favorite side dish with pork chops (or ham) is Glory Sensibly Seasoned Mixed Greens (http://gloryfoods.com), so don’t forget that, either.
If you’re on a low-fat diet, this is a butter-free holiday recipe that doesn’t scrimp on flavor. Like it did for me, this may become your favorite way to make sweet potatoes during the holidays, or any time of year.
I learned this technique from an ex-wife, whose mother was a school nutritionist for over 30 years. You won’t find a simpler method, either.
Everyone knows the best sweet potatoes are grown in Mississippi, and every year some friends of mine bring sacks or boxes of this wonderful root vegetables from their neighbor’s farm there.
Although my Candied Sweet Potatoes recipe serves about four people, you can easily double all the ingredients and use a larger baking dish to feed a larger family. By the way, most people will want seconds of this dish!
I first made these Blue Ribbon Maple Baked Beans for one of my neighborhood Memorial Day cookouts, and they all but disappeared. Several friends wanted to know what the unusual taste was about. It’s about the maple syrup, but if you don’t have maple syrup, I’ve used Log Cabin pancake syrup with equally tasty results!
It’s a little trouble, but well worth the wait, and you can even freeze any leftovers for another occasion.
You can find the two mystery ingredients in this delicious Mystery BBQ Sauce when you view the PDF file. Just go to the Tips section to identify the mystery ingredients.
I’ve tried this sauce on chopped brisket sandwiches, sliced brisket, smoked sausages, hickory burgers, and baked beans. It is not too sweet and not too spicy. It’s just right, with great flavor and consistency!
Have you ever felt trapped in an endless loop of conversation with a friend, or even someone you just met? Of course you have. Being human, we love to talk.
There are several techniques of ending a long conversation, and depending on who started the conversation, there are several methods to do this without offending the other party. There are also ways of ending conversation and, in one fell swoop, ending a friendship unintentionally, too. So, you may need to tread lightly, but be firm in your resolve.
I have been thinking about this topic a lot recently, because I had a married couple that I’ve known for over six years, whom I liked very much, to move away from the senior citizen apartment community where I live. I miss them. My friend’s wife told me in front of her husband that they couldn’t seem to get a neighbor out of their lives who had become a too-frequent visitor. Although they valued the friendship of this neighbor, he would show up just when they began lunch, or during their afternoon nap, or when they were trying to leave to go someplace else. Once inside, they could not seem to end the conversation and get him to leave their apartment.
Her favorite TV show happens to be ”Dancing with the Stars,” and more than once, he has asked her to turn down the volume on her own TV so they could talk. This was the final straw for her. When I asked the husband of my friend if he felt the same way, he said, “We just need a change.” As my friends were packing to move, the lonely conversation-obsessed neighbor appeared and asked, “Is the rent cheaper where you’re moving?” My friends feared the worst…that he was considering moving to the same place just to be near them, so they told him, “No, the rent is higher, and we have to pay the water bill there, too.”
Now, I will tell you a secret. The wife of my friend has a conversation problem herself, and probably doesn’t recognize it. Once started, she doesn’t know how to end a conversation, and it can become quite long at times. Apparently, she can’t tolerate the same behavior in another person, although she doesn’t appear suddenly at my residence at inopportune times like their neighbor does. She’s just one of those people that you run into while out on your daily walk through the neighborhood, and a conversation begins that lasts 45 minutes without a lull. I have nicknamed her “The Gazette,” because she tells everything she has heard about every one of our neighbors. I admit, I don’t mind hearing this for five minutes or so, but it just keeps going, and often strays to unrelated tales of woe.
My neighborhood is composed of senior citizens, many of whom don’t have frequent visitors, and don’t mind telling you that. Then they will flat tell you that they’re lonely, and miss the friends they used to have, which makes me feel guilty if I don’t stay and talk a little.
Some of this is my fault, though. I have a habit of using my friends and neighbors as guinea pigs when I want an opinion on a new muffin or cake recipe, so I will bring the muffins or cake to our regular exercise class or other occasion and share with them. Sometimes, I will even carry some muffins to my favorite neighbors. This can sometimes start long conversations that I wish I hadn’t started.
Recently, this happened with a new widow friend, who invited me in to “chat.” Our friendship started when I passed out some muffins at exercise class, then offered to install a filter on her icemaker, like I had done for a couple of other neighbors. One thing led to another, and she mentioned that she needed to pick up a prescription across town, but didn’t like to drive in heavy traffic, especially in heavy rain, so I volunteered to take her there.
This chat lasted almost two hours, in which I might have spoken a couple of sentences myself. When I really wanted to go, I simply said, “Well, I need to go to the bathroom, so I’m going to leave now,” to which she replied, “Feel free to use my bathroom.” My lightning-fast mind told me that this was a sign she wasn’t through talking to me, so I simply said, “I wouldn’t do that to you.” After she laughed, I said, “Until next time, then,” and hurriedly left, my new friendship still intact.
For some really good ideas on how to end a conversation, you must read the article that inspired this post of mine. One of my favorite blog subscriptions published this article some time ago, and I read it again this morning: http://www.artofmanliness.com/2013/03/06/how-to-end-a-conversation. You don’t have to be the male of the species to appreciate this article, because it applies to female conversations as well. Oh, by the way, be sure to read the comments left by other readers. There are some really good ideas to end conversations there, and you will find some humor, too.
Today I wanted to try a little experiment. I wanted chicken breast, but I was craving something really bursting with flavor and a little spicy. Also, I wanted it to be lower in fat and sodium.
I certainly accomplished that with this Spicy Rosemary Chicken Breasts creation! This recipe exceeds my desires in the flavor department, and is not too spicy for most palates. It certainly is delicious if you’re looking to embolden those chicken breasts just a little more than usual.
If you’re thinking that is too much rosemary on that chicken in the photo, you might be right. Although I thoroughly enjoyed it, I cut it back from two teaspoons to one teaspoon in the recipe afterwards. If you’re like me, though, go ahead…live dangerously! It won’t hurt you; in fact, it was downright deliciously different. How could I have known unless I tried it?
Served with green beans and/or scalloped potatoes, this makes a perfect lunch or supper for two! Maybe some of that leftover dressing from Thanksgiving dinner would be good, too. What do you think?
For Thanksgiving, or even at Christmas, the recipes below will require that you use two different Crock-Pots if you plan on serving them together. I use a 5-quart size for the turkey, and a 4-quart size for the dressing.
Two or three years ago, I discovered and slightly modified a Turkey Breast with Mushroom Sauce recipe from Quick Cooking, March/April 2000, p. 45 (http://tasteofhome.com). This has become my favorite way to prepare turkey breast, because it’s so easy and amazingly delicious. Mushroom sauces do have their place, and add to the overall flavor of recipes like this. Without reservation, I can guarantee that you will truly enjoy this dish and may decide, like I did, that this is the preferred way to cook turkey breast. It is “falling apart” tender, and the sauce is a perfect match. The first time I cooked turkey breast this way, I thought that there was no way it could beat the flavor of an oven-roasted turkey, but I was wrong. Plus, you can save the oven for baking those candied yams or other dish.
Along with the turkey, I will be preparing my Crock-Pot Chicken Dressing for the main side dish. I have shared this recipe with many friends, and in every case, they say it is the most flavorful, moist dressing they always hope for during the holidays. The sauce has a good sage flavor, and doesn’t even need extra gravy, because it’s so moist all by itself. This recipe is tried and true, and is modified from my niece’s original recipe, Shannon’s Crock-Pot Chicken Dressing, which feeds about 24 people. My recipe serves 8-10.
For other side dishes, I prefer green beans or candied sweet potatoes or yams, and jellied cranberry sauce, but some might like some mashed potatoes with brown gravy. I’ll be enjoying these things this week, including both pumpkin bread recipes I posted earlier this week. How about you?
These delicious Brown Sugar Cinnamon Muffins are perfect to accompany breakfast or actually anytime you want a special treat. You will notice they are not overly sweet, but tasty just the same. They are best served warm or warmed over. This recipe was inspired by Raggedy Ann Cinnamon Chip Muffins Recipe at http://www.preparedpantry.com/Cinnamon-Chip-Muffins-Recipe.htm, but was made for my own taste. I think you will enjoy these muffins as much as I do. Just a hint: my recipe also calls for buttermilk, but that’s not something I commonly keep in the refrigerator, but I do keep a tub of SaCo cultured powdered buttermilk (http://sacofoods.com/products/view/cultured-buttermilk), which lasts very long in the refrigerator once opened, and it mixes easily with water to re-create real buttermilk.
In the mid 1940s, my dad’s first car was a brand-new Studebaker with a standard shift transmission. He learned a valuable lesson after pulling our mobile home up a steep hill somewhere near Bossier City, Louisiana: a Studebaker was not designed to pull a mobile home up a hill. That day, the clutch on that brand-new Studebaker was burned out on that hill. Here’s the only known photo I have of that mobile home, but by this time, our car was a 1947 Frazer. This 1949 photo shows my younger brother and I standing by the side of our “trailer home.” I asked my brother the other day why he has his hand in my pocket, and he said that he probably was checking to see if I had his marbles in my pocket.
I don’t remember the Studebaker or the mobile home, but I do remember the 1947 Frazer, seen in the photo with my mother in 1949 at my grandfather’s farm. The Frazer was plain, but roomy.
Later in 1949, my dad traded the Frazer in on a new turquoise 1949 Packard Deluxe Touring Sedan with an automatic transmission exactly like this one, but turquoise in color:
He kept it about 2 years, then traded it in on a brand-new turquoise 1951 Packard 200, a real highway car. It had a straight 8-cylinder engine and smooth automatic transmission. My dad obviously had a thing for turquoise cars, probably because his favorite color was sky-blue. What is interesting is that I recently found the original sales contracts on both of these Packards in a box of my dad’s old papers, which is what prompted me to write this article.
In 1955, while the last Packard was in the paint shop getting a new coat of turquoise paint, the shop loaned us a 1953 Cadillac sedan with air conditioning, power windows, and power steering. We had that car less than a week, but we fell in love with that air conditioning, since we lived in Tucson, Arizona, at the time. One day after he got the Packard back, my dad took my brother and me with him to look at the new Packards. I think he was interested in buying a new Packard with air conditioning. I remember playing on the bumper of one in the Packard dealer’s showroom that had self-leveling shock absorbers in the rear. However, my dad saw a 1955 Buick Super on the dealer’s used car lot, a very low-mileage repo. That’s the car we drove home that day, much to our delight.
The 1955 Buick Super was like a dream car to us. It had a V-8, Dyna-Flow automatic transmission, factory air conditioning, power brakes and steering, and electric windows. Of all the cars my family owned when I was a kid, this was my favorite. It was the car in which I learned to drive when I was 14. During one unusual drive, I was behind the wheel on the road leading to my grandfather’s farm in Texas. The road was unpaved, it had been raining, and the muddy road ahead had deep, slippery ruts in it. My dad stopped the car right after we turned onto fairly dry section off the Joaquin highway, and said, “James, get behind the wheel. Just stay in the ruts, and keep steady pressure on the accelerator.” I was so afraid that I was going to get us stuck! I was 14, and so afraid I was going to end up in the ditch. Gladly, we arrived safely at the farm a couple of miles later, but I will never forget that ride.
We had the Buick until about 1963. I drove the family to church many times in that car for years, and I also had my first “car” date on my 16th birthday in that car. I remember taking Betty, a girl from church, to see the World Premier of Ben Hur at the Capitol Theater in Little Rock. I remember being pretty nervous about that, since it was the first time I had a real date using the car. For me, there was not a finer, smoother riding automobile in the world. It would not “burn rubber,” though, but it was a demon at speed. I would love to have that car right now, but the last 1955 Buick I saw completely restored was over $37,000, and it was a 2-door coupe. In 1980, a service station owner near my work had a black 4-door Buick Special similar to this for sale, but it had a standard shift V-8 and no air conditioning or power windows. He wanted about $4600. I did get to drive it for a few minutes, though.
In 1961, my high school had a program in the auditorium for 11th and 12th graders. The program was sponsored by the General Motors Design Division. The goal was to encourage high school students to develop their talent for design. Brochures were passed out which specified exactly how GM designed their cars on paper. The drawing here was my practice design. I never pursued a car designing career with GM, but I did have two years of mechanical drawing. In my first year of mechanical drawing, I created this scale drawing of our 1955 Buick Super:
The Buick’s engine eventually got a warped valve, and was getting to be pretty high mileage. It was replaced by a used 1961 Chevrolet sedan, and in 1964, I had my last date with my future wife, Donna, in that car. Then I was off to the Air Force for four years. When I returned, dad had traded the 1961 Chevy for a 1968 Chevy sedan. After driving that Buick, I was not impressed with the Chevrolets, except for the fact that the 1961 Chevy would burn rubber.
No memories about automobiles would be complete without mentioning my own first car. I believe I was a sophomore in high school, and my dad found and bought a light blue British 1951 Hillman Minx for $200. It had to be towed home, because it wouldn’t run. It had a crazy gear shift pattern on the steering column, unlike the familiar American “H” pattern. My dad repaired the engine, replaced the clutch, and installed new brakes and turn signals to make it legal. I wasn’t allowed to drive the car to school, but was allowed to drive it on my early morning paper route and other errands. It was really a cute car; my friends said it looked like a “pregnant roller skate.” What do you think it looked like? I wish sometimes I still had that car (not really). It got really good gas mileage!