Category Archives: Anytime

Formal Seaweed?!?

How cute is this?  You can find this dried Bowtie SEAWEED in the Asian section of a good supermarket.  Seaweed is LOADED with nutrients, extremely low in calories, and can be enjoyed in virtually any soup or casserole without a hint of the “sea”.   Seaweed is now being cultivated, it’s become so popular.  If you LIKE seaweed, order it raw in a seaweed salad at many Asian restaurants.  I love it both ways.    If you haven’t tried it,  be BRAVE, do so, and be GOOD to yourself!!  With love, Lula

Ever Heard of Kernza? Deep Roots help Save the Planet!

Below is an excerpt to a great article helping explain one aspect of sustainability.  Click on the link at the bottom for more…

“Human life on this earth does not exist without healthy soil,” Tessa Peters, commercialization manager at The Land Institute, says. “We need grain crops [for foods] like bread, rice, pasta, and all of those are based on an annual agriculture, which is extractive. The development of a perennial agriculture that’s regenerative is essential to human life, because it means that we are not washing soil away, so we are able to survive the current existing climate crisis.”   MORE HERE

Eco Info Part 6 of 6! – Carbon Footprint

OK, so these aren’t “carbon” footprints, but they might as well be, because they’re human, and we produce carbon.  In the foodservice industry, an establishment’s carbon footprint is impacted by its use of greenhouse gases, which are emitted by generated waste, water consumption, and transportation.  Restaurants (and caterers!) can minimize their carbon footprints by reevaluating their energy consumption, using sustainable packaging, and reducing waste.

Gordon (the the fabulous hubby) makes fun of me because I reduce, reuse, and recycle as much as I can.  I guess it did start out as a memory imprint from my mother, who, being raised in the great depression, learned from HER mother to waste nothing.  Little did I know it would become so necessary for the survival of the human race!  If you’d like more “eco info” – common terms explained, peruse the back issues of Lula’s blog from the last couple of months.  And I’m here for questions too!  So go ahead and leave your footprints in the sand…they wash away and you’re having no harmful impact!!  With love, ALWAYS, with love, Lula!

Eco Info Part 4 of 6! – Compostable

Compostable materials disintegrate into natural elements in a compost environment, and make OUTSTANDING soil mixer for your garden.   Commercial composting facilities use ideal amounts of sunlight, temperature, and moisture to create an environment that rapidly breaks down materials.   My dad and mom were the original composters.  We had a huge area behind our “cottage” in the back yard, with  3 walls, and daddy would stir it around every few days (I’m talking a mound so big kids couldn’t climb it).  On our kitchen counter, on a paper towel, were ALWAYS eggshells, banana peels etc to get dumped every day in that compost heap.  Then daddy would take the finished compost and use it in our huge garden, where we had fresh vegetables growing 9 months out of the year.

When I was about 30 or so, I found a cute ceramic countertop compost “bin” for their kitchen and it was a Christmas present.  Probably the best thing I ever got them – they loved it.  No more uglies on the counter!  When they came down in price I bought stainless ones for practically the whole family.  Above is a picture of Lula’s Catering ‘s Compost Bin.

Always check the materials your composting facility accepts before sending your waste.  Go green by requesting a composting bin from your local facility – some places provide them for free!

Eco Info Part 3 – Biodegradable

Clean and Green…biodegradable refers to the ability of a material to be naturally broken down by living organisms.  Biodegradable products release significantly less amounts of greenhouse gases because the materials break down into non-toxic elements without causing a negative impact on the environment.  The process of manufacturing biodegradable packaging helps increase energy conservation and reduce waste.

DID YOU KNOW… that there are biodegradable plastics made from all-natural plant materials?  These can include corn oil, orange peels, starch, and plants.  Traditional plastic is made with chemical fillers that can be harmful to the environment when released, when the plastic is melted down.  The orange peels in the picture above can be used to create biodegradable plastics, AND are both biodegradable themselves as well as compostable.  We will discuss the difference in the next post.  Lula’s Catering CARES!

Coronavirus and Covid-19 – Wash Your Hands!

In light of what’s “going around” and some silliness I’m seeing on social media, I thought I’d skip this week’s “sustainability” blog and re-print from the CDC, WHO, and FDA experts.  Yes, Corona has been around forever, but Covid is the strain that we have no vaccine for.  Below is some gross info and a “wash your hands” primer that we all can benefit from reading:

Foodborne illness is a serious threat to the nation’s public health and many people put themselves at risk for illness by not adequately washing their hands, or by washing their poultry. Many people continue to wash their poultry because that’s what they grew up doing or seeing in their homes. But this is dangerous and can spread bacteria around the kitchen. Juices from raw poultry can transfer bacteria onto kitchen surfaces, utensils, and other food. Once bacteria lands on a surface it can remain active for up to 36 hours, unless the surface is sanitized.

Recent USDA research conducted in a test kitchen revealed some startling results: 60 percent of the test kitchen participants contaminated the inner sink after washing or rinsing raw chicken. Participants also frequently placed raw vegetables and lettuce in the same sink, which ultimately led to cross-contamination.

Researchers also observed that 99 percent of participants either didn’t wash their hands or didn’t accomplish all steps of correct handwashing. Inadequate handwashing has been identified as a contributing factor to foodborne illness, especially when preparing raw meat and poultry. Hands can become vectors that move potential pathogens found in raw meat and poultry around the kitchen, which can contribute to foodborne illnesses.

I understand that old habits may die hard, but I encourage you to wash your hands, not your poultry. If you are brining or marinating your poultry and must rinse or wash it, be sure to thoroughly clean and then sanitize all kitchen surfaces to eliminate the risk of cross- contamination. Also remember that proper hand washing after handling raw meat, poultry and eggs can greatly reduce the risk of bacterial cross-contamination.

I realize it might seem ridiculous for me to explain how to properly wash your hands, but research shows that we all need reminders to achieve basic public health prevention. Here are the five handwashing steps that everyone needs to remember:

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel.

Eco Info – Part 2 of 6! Sustainability

Sustainability is the method of using a resource for environmental benefits without depleting or permanently damaging it.  This practice extends the natural life of the resource you’re using without negatively affecting the atmosphere or the environment.  This practice allows us to maintain the balance of meeting the needs of today’s population without endangering future generations.

Think bamboo – click on the word and find out about the myriad of possibilities of this miracle plant.  Then click here to find out its caveats.  A lot of the fabric you love is not so “friendly”.  But bamboo produced into hard goods( Lula loves her utensils, cutting boards and the like) is fantastic, as long as the farming to produce it doesn’t destroy other forests…in our consumptive society it’s always best to spend 5 minutes researching the hype.

So bear with me when I return to pickup my non-disposables …baskets and serveware should always have more than one use if possible, particularly if they’re a type of plastic, and you can trust we’re not putting any unnecessary chemicals in your body!  There are many more sustainable food related products out there and we’ll explore a few more of them in this series.

Eco Info! – Part 1 of 6

OK, so, not a beautiful picture of my food.  BUT…I ran across great, concise information from a vendor of mine and I thought I would share!  Over the next 6 weeks I’m going to share some terms with you and explain them – regarding our “trash”.  And sometimes I’ll add my two cents worth.   We’re going to start with the term RECYCLABLE. 

Recycling is based on the premise of “reduce and re-use” – breaking down and reusing materials that would otherwise be thrown away.  Recycling utilizes existing materials to reduce energy usage, decrease pollution, and conserve natural resources such as wood and water.  Repurposing waste products in an effective way helps slowly decrease the landfill sizes and increases air quality.

MY TWO CENTS WORTH:

In  the picture above, which items are recyclable?  THE MILK CARTON.  That’s it in our area.  Since China stopped accepting our waste in 2018 , we no longer have effective recycling (we really didn’t then either since what they do affects the planet too!)  Check with your recycler to see what items are currently USABLE for recycling.  Yup, they’ll still take everything you’re dumping in your green bin, but they’re sorting it and throwing it in a landfill.  Oh, my heavy head.

Nuts about Almonds

Shelling out for a bag of almonds might not be a bad idea if you need to lower your cholesterol.  Almonds are recognized as a cholesterol-lowering food; studies also show that they can reduce the risk of heart disease.

One ounce of almonds, about 25 nuts, contains 164 calories and 1.10 grams of saturated fat.  That same ounce is also a good source of protein, potassium, vitamin E, and magnesium, and has no cholesterol.

The “ancients” seemed to already know these facts.  Ancient desert nomads combined almonds with chopped dates, bits of pistachios, sesame oil, and breadcrums and rolled them into balls.  The world’s first trail mix!!

King Tut apparently knew the nutritional value of almonds.  Several handfuls of them accompanied him into the tomb, perhaps to nourish him on his post-life journey.

Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering www.lulasforlunch.com uses all KINDS of nuts in every way possible.  We LOVE them for their deliciousness and their nutritional value.  We always label our foods that contain nuts, however, for our clients that may have nut sensitivities .

Bourbon Pecan Bark
Bourbon Pecan Bark

Tomato Paste RULES!

Fresh fresh fresh…my )(*$)#&(.  Chefs have been using tomato paste (and making it – but YOU don’t do THAT please!) to enhance everything from seafood to beef dishes to sauces for millenia.  Tomato reduction contains umami!  We all have recipes in our collection that call for a teaspoon or a tablespoon of tomato paste.

What to DO with the other 4 ounces (or 10 depending on the can you get?  It comes in tubes now that will store in the fridge for forever, but you pay a premium.  Lula’s Catering ‘s method is – buy a can.  Put a piece of waxed paper or a pastry sheet on a cookie tray, dollop the whole can out in tablespoons on the paper, throw the sheet in the freezer for a few hours, pop it out, bag it up, and throw it in the freezer to have at the ready for the next YEAR.    You’re welcome! For weekly tips and tidbits to help you in the kitchen you can go HERE.