Shhhh . . . Secret Sauce!

Okay, so it really isn’t a secret . . . if you’ve heard of it so I will share my knowledge of it with you.

The greatest addition to my culinary endeavors has now become a staple in my cupboard. It is called fish sauce. I don’t, however, use just any fish sauce as through use and research have discovered the best one around is called Red Boat Fish Sauce.

It is an interesting addition to just about any savory dish as you don’t so much taste a difference but ‘sense’ an added level to the meal. The best price I’ve found is on Amazon where it still seems a bit pricy BUT you only use a few drops to taste and a bottle lasts a long time. The best one, to my taste, comes from Viet Nam and the ingredients are only anchovy and sea salt. Take a word of advice, if you decide to try it, don’t smell it until you have used it the first time because . . . Well, consider, it is pretty fermented fish and . . .

A quarter of a teaspoon added to spaghetti sauce actually makes you wonder how you managed with spaghetti sauce up to that moment. I’ve used a few drops in regular vegetable noodle soup and always add a bit to any rubs I put on meats to be roasted.

Anyway, I thought I would share what secret sauce I depend on to make my own secret sauces!

Finally, a Diet That MIGHT Work!

Now, I’ve found the perfect dietary recipe and am so happy to share it with you! Simple ingredients and little to no calories. 🙂

Over the years my husband and I have been married, our eating habits have almost drastically changed on a number of occasions to work with his current likes/dislikes, various allergies, and food sensitivities!

Our latest change is only a week old but not as drastic as some of our other ones, mainly because we were already gluten- and sugar-free. Now, we just have to cut our carbs down to a small percentage a meal. The good thing is that protein and fat are finally on the ‘good’ list. The downside? Potato chips and fries don’t seem to fit into any of the possible categories.

We started arranging our meals in line the the Keto plan and have to say that it has been one of the easier transitions.  One week later and no one has made a secret trip to the store for pretzels or started a chocolate stash. Our newly-opened coffee shop down the street has already lost our patronage but no one has (yet!) been harmed in the change of diet.

When I saw this video, I immediately decided that we are NEVER going to cook with air, catsup, and the stray tomato.

Potential Reprisals at the Dinner Table

Since they could first express themselves, my children seem to think that I am trying to poison them! Lest you think the worst of my motives, my children equate excess servings of vegetables and salads with child abuse.

Like most children, mine consider the basic food groups to be fat, sugar, salt, candy, fried, caramelized and fast food. You put anything braised or poached within a few feet of them at the dinner table and children tend to self destruct rather than ingest vitamins. Mom does the best she can, they are willing to acknowledge, but with the advent of the Internet, there must be some recipes even Mom could make edible. Isn’t it wonderful how discerning our children are about culinary delights at an early age?

My search on the Internet provided me with the following potential taste treats:
Deep-fried, pancake batter covered Oreo cookies. See? I was keeping in mind the fried aspect of the basic food list!

A combination of sour cream, avocado and creamed Spam comprises this recipe. According to this recipe, you layer the ingredients, freeze them and then scoop them into a cone and sprinkle with bacon bits. Would I lie to you?
Then there is a bean fudge. The binding ingredient is refried beans combined with chocolate to form ‘fudge’!

Keeping in the snack category, I discovered a wonderful liver cookie recipe. The only thing the recipe didn’t cover was why anyone would make them.
If you want to inspire a gourmet reaction, the deep-fried Span with the raspberry sauce, is sure to be a winner. Can I ever go back to the mundane baked chicken?

And don’t forget the secret ingredient in the ‘sure to please’ chocolate cake recipe. Now I have a use for leftover sauerkraut!

Can you believe it, however? After doing all this research, my children were still not happy. Not one of my new recipes struck a happy note with them. It is curious that now when I serve the usual pot roast or salad, they seem to eat more readily than when I offer scooping them up a big cone of frozen Spam and avocado instead. Go figure!

Cold Summer Treats and You Control the Sugar!

When my children were small, they used to love those plastic tubes of frozen juice treats. These days, they all more health-conscious so wouldn’t touch them anymore although they recall them fondly. Not only was the frozen treat fun to save on a hot afternoon, the fact that there was no stick made it easy to tackle and kept their hands cooled down, too. If only there was a way to make these the way we want them without the sugar, chemicals, and food coloring. You’ve guess it! If you check on, you can now find the plastic tubes being sold and most brands usually include a small funnel to get your fruit creation into the tube for freezing.

Imagine the scope for coming up with tasty but better for you treats. My daughter is talking about blending together fresh strawberries and some yogurt for her creation. Also, for a grown up barbecue, you could make up a favorite mixed drink and pass of some interesting flavors where the ice will last as long as the frozen treat. On a diet? Frozen iced tea or coffee? A lot of room for imagination here.


Calories Are Always Loath to Leave!

It’s Lent so I can provide this information without too many repercussions from people who did NOT want to know this. Hey, aren’t we all supposed to be cutting back on the ‘fun’ food for Lent?

How many times have we heard someone say, “I’ll have that slice of pizza for lunch and then walk back to the office to burn off the extra calories. Uh, going to take more than a saunter back to sitting in a chair for the rest of the work day.

One slice of pizza is generally around 300 calories give or take a few depending on how many toppings you order. So, how hard can it be to burn off a good portion of that meal? You will be glad to know you have options here. You can do somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,400 sit-ups. A quick run around the block when you get home will do it . . . if the distance around your block is three miles. Prefer to do some in-home exercises? Get off easy with 285 push-ups.

How about a nice big iced cinnamon roll with coffee for a quick start to your day. ONE of those delicious, short-term energy providers checks in at over 890 calories. Will you have time to do 4,300 sit-ups before work? At what point would one need to notify the paramedics if you attempt to do this? Your morning run, should you chose that avenue, would have to be eight miles plus. No mercy if you chose push-ups as you would have to log in over 870 of those.

Don’t even consider drinking a quick breakfast with a stop by the local coffee shop as one of those milky, whipped cream topped treats can add up to and probably go 500 calories so you can guess by now where the numbers stand for running, sit-ups, or push-up.

Cheer up, however, as I’m pretty sure raw vegetables (without dip!) would be considered freebies. And, I’m going to assume that whining will burn some of the calories off, too.

Mystery Meals?

Working on dinner this evening and decided to have a cheese pizza to go with the Mexican Vegetable Soup. I’m of German descent and my husband is of French/Canadian background. Guess there is no telling what we will combine at the dinner table!

Anyway, mystery to solve for today? What are the origins of this pizza crust?