What Are You Having For Breakfast?

October 6, 2017

food & drink

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Breakfast

I was munching down my breakfast this morning and thought about the process of getting it from the kitchen to the tummy. So much of what we do in there is now by rote. In putting it all together in my mind, I realized what a production had occurred to make a simple eastern omelette and a toasted English muffin.

Now, I’m not going to go into how the English muffin is made. That is just overkill. Besides, it came from the market in a buy one, get one free purchase. But still, it requires some work just not much thought. Look at the knife that was used to cut it. Maybe the muffin was advertised to be fork-split. I don’t trust that. I want two pieces of equal size and width, and that requires a reasonably sharp, serrated knife. Then to toast it to perfection, a toaster or toaster oven is needed. I don’t own a toaster. The toaster oven has so many other uses that I chose to have one in my kitchen. I’m considering a change, though. Maybe it is the age of this small appliance of mine, but it doesn’t toast like I want it to. Anyway, all that to make a simple toasted English muffin. I bet you never gave it that much thought.

I like omeletes. And although an omelette is different from an Eastern, they have similar characteristics. Eggs and meat, and that is all that is required, but not all that is desired. The omelette has some veggies and some cheese in most cases. The variety is endless. The Eastern is more simple. Ground ham and an egg. If you want it to be a Western, then grate in some onion. It sounds so simple, but when deconstructed, it is not. The ham was something that was taking up room in the fridge. Hauling it out, some I chunked up for a casserole, I some left on the bone for pea soup, and some got ground up for ham salad, and Easterns and Westerns.

The grinding of the ham needs the help of a chopper of some kind. I used my food processor. Smaller batches do up well with the mini chopper, but this time it was a larger portion. Purists might put it on the chopping block and hand chop. I’m not so inclined. Rather, I’m lazy. I don’t mind when I can put the bowl and blade in the dishwasher. I hate to hand wash that appliance.

So once we have the ground ham and the soup is on to simmer, it’s time to make the Eastern. How much ham depends on the number of eggs. I simply mix the two in a coffee cup. It’s closest at hand. One egg is enough, and about an ounce of ham, but I was hungry today. I used two eggs and a heaping spoonful of ground meat. Melt a little butter in a fry pan or skillet and drop it in over medium heat. Give it a flip when you see the egg is starting to come together, but do not stir. If you stir, you have scrambled egg with an addition of ham. Our family puts this egg disc on toast with a healthy smear of ketchup. I opted to eat it on a plate with my English muffins. And yes, a little ketchup. I do not make my own ketchup but have thought about it.

Tortillas, Tacos and Taco Cart Catering

October 5, 2017

food & drink

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Yes, there are several choices for which shell to wrap around your taco. What’s important is it’s more than a taste decision: nutrients differ significantly.

It’s easy to make fun of all the consumer choices in food that are available in modern society. And while it’s true our grocery aisles, restaurant options and even what you can find on taco catering menus are full of an almost infinite number of selections, this is nothing new.

How? Note that all the heirloom varieties of produce were the choices our great grandparents had in their own gardens and at farm stands. Much of the trade that involving ships and desert caravans for millennia were about expanding food (and spice) choices.

An example is how when Jewish people were expelled from Spain many came to the New World to settle into Mexico (“New Spain” as it was then called). Already the indigenous people had corn tortillas, however the new arrivals considered corn to be non-kosher. They improvised with unleavened, water-based dough that could be pressed to look a lot like the corn cakes they rejected. The flour tortilla was born.

Today we have both corn and flour/wheat tortillas available, but there is variety within those as well with gluten-free and whole-wheat flour versions. While satisfying everyone’s taste at a fiesta might be the stuff of nightmares for mobile taco cart catering companies, we can leave that to them as we make our own choices as diners. Here are some things to think about when making a selection:

Corn tortilla – This is the original. According to Prevention magazine, a corn tortilla is preferable to the flour variety on several points: lower in calories, lower in fat (overall and saturated), more than twice the fiber, one-quarter the sugar, and three times the magnesium. If you are on a sodium-restricted diet, corn tortillas are very low in salt

Flour tortilla – Flour tortillas are the taste preference for many, which taco caterers know well. While their corn counterparts might win on some nutrition points, it’s not a slam-dunk. Flour tortillas have about 50% more protein, about twice the calcium (due to enriched flour) and about three times the iron.

Whole-wheat tortilla – The whole grain tortilla looks and tastes different from its refined flour cousin. In terms of nutrients, it has about one-third the calories, one-fifth the fat, and it features a lower glycemic index (i.e., it digests more slowly).

Gluten free tortilla – Yes, it’s possible to get these. They are a little more challenging to make at home but many of the tortilla manufacturers carry a gluten-free line. Note that corn tortillas are naturally gluten free.

Keep in mind the nutritional makeup of each type of tortilla is less than half the story. Whether you choose creams and cheeses, tomato salsas and avocadoes, or tofu versus beef, each has nutritional impact. Oh – and how much you hang out at the margarita bar can be meaningful as well.

Nutritious Vegan Diet

October 5, 2017

food & drink

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The vegan diet consists of plants only. There are fruits, nuts, grains, and vegetables. All foods that come from plants qualify. Vegans do not eat animals or animal products such as eggs and dairy products. As a vegan, there is a need to maintain a healthy diet so as to ensure that your body gets everything that it needs. When you eat a varied diet, then you are bound to get all the things that are needed.

A healthy diet

So as to ensure that you are on a healthy diet, make sure that you eat about five portions every day. Include a wide variety of vegetables and fruits on a daily basis. Your meals should also be based on pasta, rice, bread, potatoes and all sorts of starchy carbohydrates. Wholegrain is also a great choice.

Since vegans do not take dairy products, you should make sure that you have some dairy alternatives like yogurts and soya drinks. Make sure you go for the lower fat and sugar options that are available. You should also try to pulses and beans as well as other types of proteins.

Cheese also oils that are unsaturated as well as spreads. These need to be consumed in small portions. Drinking a lot of fluids is also very important. Make sure you have 6-8 glasses of water on a daily basis. Avoid the drinks and foods that have a high sugar, salt, and fat content. If you have to take these, do so in moderation.

There are various things that apply to the vegetarians and it is suitable for all ethnic origins and of health height and weight. There are diets that are also ideal for people who are overweight. Children who are below two years of age shouldn’t take the vegan diet since they have a wide range of needs.

The right nutrients

When you do proper planning and if you truly understand what constitutes a healthy diet and then balance it out, you will be able to give the body all the nutrients that it needs. If your diet isn’t planned out well, you won’t get all the essential nutrients like vitamin B12, iron and calcium.

Pregnant and breastfeeding vegans

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, there is a need to stick to a vegan diet so as to ensure that you get all minerals and vitamins that the child needs to develop in the most healthy way. If you also decide that you want your child to be brought up a vegan, ensure that they have access to a wide range of foods so as to get the vitamins and energy needed for their growth.

Calcium and vitamin D

We need calcium for the development of teeth and bones. Nonvegans source calcium from dairy products such as yogurt, cheese, and milk. Vegans have to access it from other sources. A vegan can get calcium from dried fruits such as dried apricots, figs, plums, and raisins. They can also get it in bread, pulses, sesame seeds, tahini, and calcium-set tofu, unsweetened oat drinks, and so on.