Category Archives: Anytime

Purple Potatoes – Another Peruvian Masterpiece!

These gemlike spuds are about as big as a Ping-Pong ball, but don’t let their size fool you. Purple potatoes have many times the antioxidant power of their cousins, white and yellow potatoes. Studies have found that the plant pigments that give them their lovely color, called anthocyanins, may improve memory and prevent age-related muddled thinking. Also, their high levels of folate help lower levels of the amino acid homocysteine, which can damage brain cells. Pretty good for such a tiny tater.

Did you know all potatoes originated in the Andes?  Yup – that’s where they come from!  Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering LUVS potatoes and uses them in many different dishes in EVERY color!

More Eggy Wisdom

 

Folks, I am once again borrowing from my friend Heidi Bright, author of  Thriver Soup: A Feast for Living Consciously During the Cancer Journey (click here to learn more about her book) – we share the same “happy/healthy” philosophy regarding our animal sources and Heidi is just chock FULL of information regarding food and your health!

How Nutritious are Your Eggs?

I used to buy my eggs from a discount store at a discount price. The poor hens, most likely trapped in battery cages, probably never saw sunlight or moved outside of their tiny cells. (In a 2014 report, 95% of U.S. eggs came from hens trapped in battery cages.) What a miserable existence. I found the shells overly easy to crack open. They reminded me of the egg breakage I’d read about among wild birds. These fowl are experiencing losses in breeding success due to contamination by post-1945 “residues of synthetic organic chemicals used as pesticides and in industry.”

As I learned, I moved to slightly costlier eggs.

One day my son cut his finger and bled profusely. I remembered reading that eggshell membranes can be used to temporarily stop excessive bleeding. I grabbed an egg and struggled to get a little bit of the membrane out of the bottom of the shell. I got only a small crumpled piece out, and put it on his little cut.

The cut immediately stopped bleeding. We were both stunned.  I then looked up more information on those membranes. They can be used to:

  • treat wounds to prevent scar tissue;
  • reduce the effects of osteoarthritis;
  • improve health of skin, hair, and nails.

That was the end of cheap eggs for me. I began buying my eggs from local farmers, and when they weren’t available, got organic eggs from the supermarket. I immediately noticed a difference when cracking the eggs – the shells were tougher to break open.

But how to separate the membrane from the shell? I tried a few methods, none of which worked very well. The membranes were slick, tore easily, and took forever to separate from the shells.

Okay, so maybe the problem, again, was with the eggs themselves. So I moved to the most expensive eggs – organic, free-range, certified humane (raised and handled), and no synthetic pesticides, hormones, or antibiotics.

Viola! The membrane, tough and gauzy, pulled right off in large pieces. So easy! And to me it meant the membrane must be full of nutrients, especially collagen. I wanted those nutrients. If you want to see what a healthy membrane looks like you can see it here on YouTube.

I clean the membranes and drop them into my Vitamix to blend with greens for my smoothies.

To me, it’s worth the extra expense to get high-quality eggs, not only because I am prone to osteoarthritis, but also because as a survivor of highly aggressive end-stage sarcoma, nutrition is extremely important to me. I want to maintain my cancer remission! Healthy eating can only help, in my opinion.

Plus I’d rather get the membrane from eggs I cracked, so I know the source, than something that has been put through a chemical or other process, and then who knows the quality of the membrane anyway. Probably not from the healthiest eggs.

And another benefit. I clean and dehydrate the shells, crush them with a mortar and pestle, then add lemon or lime juice and create my own calcium supplement.

Happy hens make nutritious eggs, which help me stay healthy.

Click here to see a video of healthy egg membranes.

 

 

Another “Brainy” Food – the PINEAPPLE!

Underneath its spiny exterior, pineapples pack a brain-boosting wallop. Bromelain, an enzyme found only in pineapples, keeps blood platelets from sticking together and forming clots. These clots can break off from artery walls and interrupt blood flow to the brain, setting you up for a memory-damaging stroke.  Pineapples are also rich in folate (aka vitamin B9), which can help make you more alert and better able to focus!

Milk – What’s the Difference?

 

We all have our favorite “blend” – skim, 2% etc., and we know what we like to taste when drinking a big glass of ice cold milk.  BUT…can we just use whatever milk we have in the fridge to go into a recipe when it calls for milk?   Well, you can try…but not really… As with all cooking, science plays a big part – and the chemical makeup of fat milk vs. no fat milk does make a difference. 

 

When a recipe calls for just “milk” and doesn’t give you any direction, what to do? Just make sure there’s some fat in your milk.  I always have on hand skim milk because that’s what I like to drink (hormone and pesticide free, of course!).  I always have on hand half ‘n half because that’s what my beloved husband says I like in my coffee (yes it’s true…I have no idea what goes in my coffee – only Gordon does).  Since half ‘n half is half whole milk and half cream, it’s got plenty of fat  to make things taste dreamy, but more fat than we like on our hips.  Cutting it with no fat skim milk by ½ seems to keep my recipes rich, but not too fatty.  If you have 2% milk on hand at all times, I’d use that in its entirety as it has enough fat not to mess with a final recipe’s consistency.  Just don’t use all skim milk in recipes unless it is specifically called for because recipe developers count on the fat in conjunction with their other ingredients to create the final product consistency they intended upon. 

 

At Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering we have many different recipes for the same thing – for instance, our fat FREE Smashed Potatoes (we throw a couple of secret ingredients in there to fool your tastebuds into thinking how rich they are) or our Cream Cheese Horseradish Smashed Potatoes which uses skim milk to keep the fat content down, but the cream cheese keeps the luscious mouth feel and taste UP.  So…if you want a lower fat version of something – just ask!!

 

 

BITTER Sweet … Don’t Let Them Fool You!

Apparently I’m kind of obsessed with sugar, which is odd since I’m not a real sweets fan.  I looked over past blogs to see if I’d  given this information before and I haven’t, so I think you’ll appreciate all of the names on labels that really mean sugar.  Here’s why it’s important:  SUGAR IS PHYSICALLY ADDICTIVE.  Just like a narcotic.  It affects dopamine receptors and causes the brain to behave as if it’s reacting to a narcotic pleasure loop.  And sadly, almost anything “white” has hidden sugar in it.  Here are most of the names you will find on the back (or FRONT!) of a food label that mean SUGAR:

*Fructose
*Sucrose
*Agave
*Dextrose
*Lactose
*Galactose
*High-fructose corn syrup(we all knew that didn't we?)*Xylitol
*Sorghum
*Stevia
*Treacle
*Sucanat
*Panela
*Evaporated Cane Juice
*Dextran
*Anhydrous Dextrose

 

Have YOUR Tastebuds Changed?

Seriously – I’d like some information here.  I didn’t even like to EAT (except bread and butter and canned peaches if my granddaddy hand fed me) until I was 9 years old.    I used to hide what I didn’t like in my toybox or under the living room sofa until the smell elicited the hairbrush on my fanny.  Once that growth spurt hit though, I could barely be satisfied though there were a handful of things I did not like, and continue to not care for to this day…okra, oatmeal, cream of wheat, oysters, and something else I can’t think of at the moment.  I also have never cared for mayonnaise or avocado, UNTIL a few years ago when my tastebuds changed and now I adore both.  Weird how that happens, huh? Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering even has a homemade Avocado Mayonnaise that I make for sandwiches and garnish!!  What did YOU not like that you like now?   Can you explain why?   Let me know RIGHT HERE!

The Almond as Dessert

 

Recently, a friend called me in despair because she couldn’t get her cookie recipe right.  I asked about her ingredient list and she told me she had used Marzipan as the recipe had called for Almond Paste.  Mystery solved!  Though they are both made from almonds, they are DEFINITELY not interchangeable. 

 

Almond Paste is made (check the label) from almonds (first on the label if it’s a decent almond paste) and some sugar or sugar product  and cooked till creamy then canned.  Marzipan is value added almond paste – the added value being more sugar.  It’s stiffer, and much sweeter, and used more to decorate and make candy rather than in baked goods.  So there you have it – if you love almonds (and dessert), try some recipes with either of these two ingredients!  Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering wishes for you a VERY satisfied sweet tooth!

 

 

Labeling your Leftovers!

I don’t know HOW MANY times I’ve put leftovers in containers (you know the cottage cheese container that you feel really bad about just throwing away – SAVE OUR PLANET! – so you wash it and re-use it as many times as possible before it goes into recycling)…and said to myself “Self, you’re incredibly smart and quick and have the best memory; of COURSE you’re going to remember what’s in this container next month when you’re scrounging for a quick lunch”!

NOT.  So I started using folder labels to identify and date the food.  Didn’t work – labels fell off.  So I bought freezer labels but really resented how expensive they were.  So I bought myself a permanent black Sharpie and started writing stuff on the lids.  The lids got “full” (I’m really concerned about the environment).  THEN I saw a tip SOMEwhere I can’t remember – and I’m going to share it with you.  Buy a roll of blue painter’s tape at the hardware store.  Five bucks, you can tear pieces off with your hands – no need for scissors, it won’t fall off in the freezer, that five dollar investment will pay off for 5 YEARS,  and it’s easily removable when you need to switch labels.  There.  For more tips and tidbits subscribe here.

Keep your Guacamole GREEN!

I hate it when my beautiful avocado stuff starts to “turn” and gets dull and brown.   Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering  has to make a pretty large volume upon occasion and sometimes it has to sit in the fridge for a couple of days – and there’s just not enough acid in the recipe to keep it in the “Kermit” family, SO…..I cover the surface with a thin film of WATER.  The guac is dense enough (and fatty enough!)  that it won’t absorb the water – so when I’m  ready to use it I just tilt the container and pour the water off and voila!  it’s just as vibrant as when I made it!