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FL Heat

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Everything posted by FL Heat

  1. I did a good bit of my growing up in Houston, and there was never any sort of confusion when we'd have blackened shrimp, red beans, and cornbread. I know I asked about a fancy French restaurant we would drive by on the way to school, and my mom told me it was like Cajun food, only not as spicy and not nearly as good (I think part of that answer might have been so I'd be happy with Popeye's chicken and not ask to go to a fancy restaurant). An odd note. . .while printing up the unemployment form here in Tampa, the first page states that the Spanish version starts on page 16 and the CREOLE version starts on page 32. English, Spanish, and Creole. I'm really curious about that. Diana
  2. I don't have a lot to add, but don't forget to check outlet malls for the whimsical things, as well as completely functional stuff--perhaps not as inexpensive as things might be on EBay (or Overstock.com), but when you need it NOW. . . .I know we got a great deal on some metal "sticks" and hooks and baskets to set on the wall & hold things that just didn't fit anywhere else. Might not make you feel any better, but I think your kitchen is a great size! (We're in our first house, and it was built in 1940. . .out of 1000 square feet, not much of that is kitchen) Diana
  3. Ohoh! I made that! A nice gentleman was selling sweet potatoes from his truck at the gas station just before Hurricane Jeanne, and I bought some, realizing $1 too late that I didn't have any idea what to do with them. I found that before the power went out, and it was really, really good. Even the "ew, I don't like sweet potatoes" company thought it was pretty good. My Mamaw peels/cubes/boils, then smashes them with some cinnamon, then makes little "nests" on a cookie sheet (just glops for family, pipes it out for company), and fills the center with pecans, bakes them til they get a little crunchy, then pours on a honey/orange juice glaze. I've never gotten the recipe, but that's the general idea. And they're pretty. Diana
  4. I guess it's important to note, too, that what people HAVE and what they WANT are often different. We're fairly young, in our first house, and replacing the kitchen appliances & remodeling the kitchen HAD to be done quickly (the previous owner put in the cabinetry that had been in a mobile home), and we HAD to save money while doing it. If someone wants to think I'm no good in the kitchen because it's small, there's a glass cooktop, and we're slowly ripping linoleum up off hardwood floors, that's fine, they're entitled to their opinion. I sighed and lusted wistfully after larger, fancier cooktops, a gas range, an island with a built-in cooktop. . .but in the end, I don't think folks care so much what's IN the kitchen as WHO is in the kitchen. And I use cast iron on mine fairly frequently. . . Diana
  5. I have one as well, and really enjoy it. I don't worry when things spill (I'm a clean-up-right-away kind of person), there's no gas to the house at all, so gas isn't even an option, and it's a brand new one that we purchased specifically because it's easy to clean (it's easier to KEEP it clean than to clean it, if that makes sense). The kitchen is small, so when I'm prepping things, it's an extra "counter"; and it looks much nicer than any of the coil-thing stoves. The oven underneath works fantastically, too, and because the heat isn't a flame or coil that sits up, my short self is able to reach the controls without getting burned, which was a significant problem the one time I lived with gas burners. Nothing like the smell of burning arm hair to liven up a meal. It might not be the sign of a serious cook, but that's okay. I'm a fun cook :) Diana
  6. Being on South Beach rather than Atkins, I gravitate toward whole-wheat pastas, and was *shocked* when I read the fiber count on the last package I bought. 2 oz of noodles had 6 grams of fiber. Add to that the tomatoes & other vegetables in the sauce, and yowee! Quite a fiber hit for dinner, which was nice to see. I've tried buckwheat noodles, too, but they haven't been as well-received. I do really enjoy the way whole-wheat noodles taste in a cold pasta salad, though. . .they have such a nutty flavor that it really only takes a little shaved parmesan, some tomatoes, some fresh basil, and a drizzle of olive oil to make a delicious cold salad. Diana
  7. I'll use the "quaint tourist attraction" approach if it means I get to educate others about the history of my family, my traditions, my heritage. Plenty of friends have come over for "barbecue" to be astounded by the plentiful food and the history of each dish. . .expecting grilled chicken breasts and corn on the cob, and getting pulled pork, brisket, family salad & side dishes. For example, I went to Fort Sumter on a trip to Charleston, thinking it'd be a cool tourist thing. It really changed my thinking and altered my view of the Civil War, made me question a lot of things I'd been taught. I'd like to think that showcasing the bounty of the gardens, the "something from nothing" mentality, and the generousity of my upbringing will do the same to others. My boyfriend, from the Midwest, had never tasted brisket til I made it in the smoker. What had been, for him, a novel attachment to my daddy (the smoker was a gift from him) has become a devotion of sorts. He loves the smoker, learned all about brisket & pulled pork and now embraces the barbecue culture as lovingly as he does the meat & potatoes he grew up with. Sharing experiences is wonderful. If it takes my sweet smile and light drawl to convince someone of that, it's fine with me. If it takes putting them inside a fancy Charleston restaurant to see that grits ARE good, that's fine, too. I'll happily taste their lox & bagels or fancy eye-talian dishes, and I want them to have the same love & regard for my food heritage as they do for their own :) Diana
  8. The grilled salmon with asparagus & grits sounds goooood! I hope things go well for you tonight, Deb! I try to get around the not wanting to cook by having some easy to throw together things always available. . .salad, frozen soup or chili, enchiladas (I make them with whole wheat wraps instead of corn or flour tortillas & freeze two per container). Basically, I cook too much when I am cooking. It's also nice for the nights when the boyfriend is home alone or I'm home alone, since we can grab something that doesn't require getting a lot of dishes dirty and still eat SouthBeachy. Diana
  9. FL Heat

    Hurricane Cooking

    Stations in Tampa/St Pete say that it looks like it will miss a direct hit on the area, but to be wary, since it might make a hard right like Charley did, depending on what a front does that's over Texas (?) now. Coastal counties should expect some surge, though they aren't sure how much, and wind. No one's taking down the plywood yet. . . . Diana
  10. FL Heat

    Hurricane Cooking

    We're in St Pete, and in a non-evacuation zone. The generator we've got stashed now kept a house running over in Melbourne--the fridge, the freezer, and several fans. The fridge & the freezer are our main concerns, as we've got friends up a ways inland that we can go to for sleeping if we really needed to. . .and luckily, we have one of those older houses that manages to stay fairly cool. Uncomfortably sticky and much warmer than we'd like, but a lot cooler than some others. Doesn't look like Ivan will be too much trouble for us personally, but after Charley's big turn, I'm not letting the plywood come down just yet. . . Diana
  11. For cheap foods. . .hmm. . . . Beans, definitely. Beans with garlic, beans with meat, beans with tomatoes, beans with. . .well, just about anything. I tend to stock up when prices are good (canned beans at the store this week at 10 cans for $4.00!), and we utilize the deep freeze pretty extensively. Chicken wings were on sale last week, so we bought several pounds of those, as well as country ribs. I'm guessing the specials aren't the same in Japan as they are in Florida, though. We've enjoyed the country ribs cut into cubes & skewered, then grilled. Plus it's quick. . .I'll put the cubes in marinade in the AM, then skewer and grill in the evening, and fix a fluffy salad to go alongside. Diana
  12. FL Heat

    Hurricane Cooking

    Heh. We had a friend come over when Frances took his power out and use the side burner on our grill to heat up water for his coffee jones. He used instant coffee. . .I don't drink coffee, so I have no idea how that tastes (but it sure doesn't LOOK good. . .), and then used sweetened condensed milk to sweeten & cream-ify the strange-looking liquid. Thankfully, it looks like we'll have a generator for Ivan. Diana
  13. Football food, huh? Lemme see what I can remember us having for Super Bowl last year at a low-carber's house. . .there was a cheese fondue with vegetables for dipping. . .wings in barbecue or hot & spicy (they were rubbed with spice mixes instead of baked in sauce), along with sauce for each of them for the non-Atkins folk; some sort of custardy dessert thing with raspberries; burgers, both chicken w/ feta mixed into the patties or sirloin w/ cheddar, and whole-wheat buns were available. . .hmm. . .a big plate of fruit, I remember blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, melon slices. . .roasted peanuts in the shell to snack on outside around the grill. . .I know there was more, but that's all I can remember I just started a new job yesterday, and already people are coming by to see what's in my lunch. . .today was really simple (I thought). . .a salad of lettuce, tomatoes, and blue cheese, with a raspberry vinaigrette ("You make your own SALAD DRESSING????", they exclaimed), some tuna/white bean/tomato salad, and tabouleh. And mid-morning snack of Wasa Rye crackers & a low-fat cream cheese. They keep asking when I'm going to bring in sweets, though Diana
  14. In an effort to make crowd-pleasing-yet-still-South-Beach-Phase-2 food during the hurricane, we had what have now been crowned "South Beach Pizzas". Whole-wheat pitas (the mini size), brushed with olive oil & sprinkled with herbs, set on a pizza stone in a 400 oven for about 10 minutes (or until they were nice & crispy. Then topped with tomato sauce (no sugar added) and some low-fat, some full-fat cheese, and turkey pepperoni, as well as a hodgepodge of vegetables, then cooked on a cookie sheet until the cheese was nice & gooey. Very easy, inexpensive, and tasty. Diana
  15. South Beach doesn't emphasize vegetables at every meal, but it's pretty firm on getting vegetables into your diet. Lunches work like this: As soon as the dinner dishes are done, I start packing lunch. First, a big salad (greens of whatever I have). Add tomatoes, some kind of protein (cheese, leftovers meat from dinner, or both). Sometimes cucumbers, onions, bell peppers (again, depends on what we had for dinner and how much stuff I feel like chopping). Then I make a vinaigrette for the salad, olive oil, vinegar, and whatever else might taste good on the salad. Then a vegetable salad of some sort. . .lately, because he really likes it, it's cucumbers, tomatoes, feta cheese, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and oregano. Black bean salad is my favorite (black beans, feta, green onions, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil). Then a meat dish--on Sundays, the boyfriend grills up a mess of small steaks (petite sirloins for the most part) and white-meat chicken-based sausages that we get at the meat market. If I know he'll be at work for a long time, I'll add some deli meat and cheese to a whole wheat pita and include that in his lunch (he is gone for up to and over 12 hours some days). Key for his weight loss is not needing to go to the vending machines, so I'll overpack his lunch before I'll underpack it. A small container of chili or a vegetable soup goes in, too. Then a snack of some sort--almonds, walnuts, pecans, cheese. And yogurt. That's his lunch. Mine is more like. . .salad, Wasa rye crackers with cheese, and yogurt. Part of my issue with weight loss, admittedly, is getting in enough calories in the day, which was easier for a while, but has been a problem again lately. Diana
  16. South Beach does not keep you in ketosis, you're correct, Nullo. The control of cravings and putting thought behind what you put in your mouth have been the two best aspects of this plan for me. For my boyfriend, it's definitely been cutting back on processed (vending machine) foods that's spurred his weight loss. Well, and it helps that I pack his lunch for him and cook dinner every day, as well as answer the phone when he calls in a panic, "We're at Hooters! What can I eat?" Soba/buckwheat noodles have become a once-a-week treat for us--I love them under a stir fry or really any otherwise plain dish. What about breakfast? I'm not a fan of the way eggs smell in the morning (I know it's weird, I can't help it), and find myself at a bit of a loss to find much else to eat other than hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh-fiber cereals (Kashi Good Friends, I'm looking at you). And my smoothie--frozen cherries, vanilla soy milk, and sugar-free cherry vanilla yogurt. I've tried tomatoes with cheese, warmed under the broiler. Any other thoughts for warm breakfasts that don't include eggs? Diana
  17. No breading, I've asked. Actually, the place (scroll down to "Grade A Poultry") has about 20 different stuffed chicken breast thingies, these are just the ones I like the best. There's a light breading on the outside, but it's easy to dust off once they're thawed. I'll see if I can figure out what all's in it tonight and report back, Captain CarbNot! *sharp salute* (they also sell the chicken breast already pounded out thin, which is what they use for the "stuffed" chicken things, so I cheat a lot when people come over, because if you buy it already all thin, it's really easy to set up a stuff & roll assembly line) I like the Russell Stover sugar-free peanut butter cups, but gosh darn it, so do all the diabetics around here, I swear! I saw an elderly woman shopping the other day who took all 6 packages off the hanger-thing. The Reese's sugar-free peanut butter cups are okay, but something about the Russell Stover ones taste better. And there's so few in a bag that the malitosis doesn't show up. Diana EDIT for the stuffing contents: Copious amounts of green bell peppers, red bell peppers, onions. Fair amount of crab meat. Dill, oregano. Nutty cheese, parmesan or romano.
  18. Malitol. Yes indeedy. It's not fun to find out the first time just what it does to your innards. Diana
  19. Well, I didn't make it (because the meat market's is SO good), but our dinner tonight is chicken stuffed with crab meat. I dunno what they do to the crab, but good golly, it's DELICIOUS. The chicken is wrapped around it and seasoned on the outside, and then it bakes in the oven. Their directions recommend using a thin sheet of wine or butter on the bottom of the pan, but I've found using vegetable broth gives a flavor I like better. It'll be with a salad with little tiny shrimp and a lemony vinaigrette. I'd love some other ideas, too. (I have made the poulet au vinegar from the EGullet recipes, and it's awfully, awfully good) Diana
  20. South Beach has a two-week "induction" period, but it's called Phase 1. Basically, the theory is that a lot of weight gain & cravings are caused by the spikes in blood sugar brought on by certain foods. . .so for two weeks, NONE of these foods (which, in my one raging problem with the diet, means no fruit). The first two weeks are primarily vegetables of the higher-fiber and lower-calorie sort, low-fat dairy, lean meats. No sugar, no corn syrup, no flour. After those two weeks, things open up a bit. There are still a few fruits he says to stay away from (pineapple, watermelon), and the recommendations stay in place for low-fat dairy and protein sources. Brown rice & whole-wheat pasta are okay once in a while, and whole grain bread-type stuff appears as an option (pitas, wraps, crispy crackers). Overall, it's been relatively easy, as I'm not a big fan of processed foods and like to cook based on what's at the market. It's been fun making the main dish all kinds of different ways, as well as having friends be pleasantly surprised when they visit and eat per our diet without really noticing. Splenda's not my friend, though. So much belly disturbance. Some friends of ours have tried it, and I always give this caveat: if you won't cook, you won't be able to stick to the diet. Sure 'nuff, the ones who don't/won't cook find it incredibly boring and difficult. Are there any staples that have helped you stay with the Atkins plan? Diana
  21. The boyfriend & I have been using the South Beach plan for several months (he's lost 27 pounds, I've lost 12). I feel a little out of place, as I don't really find it "low-carb"; but rather low-processed-foods. . . .but the advantage of having fairly free reign with olive oil keeps my recipes pretty firmly out of the Weight Watchers camp. I'm glad to hear black soybeans taste okay in chili--a low-fat version of chili is a once-a-week-for-dinner-and-leftovers-with-lunches staple in our house. I vary between ground white meat chicken, ground veal, ground sirloin, and ground turkey (depends on what's on sale at the meat market), and pick whatever beans happen to be in the cabinet. Side dishes have so far been the downfall. Lots of green beans (thank goodness for the ways to cook green beans thread), lots of snow peas, lots of salads. Diana
  22. FL Heat

    An all apple menu

    I made this stuffing for pork chops, but it would work for stuffing chicken breasts or a roulade as well, I suppose. . .onions sauteed til soft in olive oil, then a garlic clove, then finely diced & peeled tart apples, then walnuts, fennel seed, and fresh sage. The recipe I worked from called for bread crumbs, but I chose not to use them. Made a glaze from reduced apple juice & honey. We had a salad similar to Abra's, but I added fresh raspberries and blue cheese as well, since the request had been made for a raspberry vinaigrette dressing. Diana
  23. Don't forget the wonderful Cuban & Caribbean-influenced food scene in much of Florida, as well as the laid-back lifestyle that's epitomized in the Keys and on some of the islands off the coasts of Georgia, SC, and NC. I know, it's weird to think of Miami and Memphis as being in the same part of the country. I'd also have to say that a great many of the family traditions & recipes in the Southeast revolve around making the best of a bad situation. Vinegar pie, anyone? (We call it "chess pie") I'm trying to put into words the importance so many of the recipes in my family place on using what's available. "Greens", for example. . .beet tops, collard greens, spinach. "Beans"--shelly beans, pinto beans, red beans. As well as the familiarity with growing things that was prevalent until rabid urbanization (arguably, until my generation--I'm 30). Didn't get much sleep last night (yay hot wings!), so I'm not sure if I'm making sense. And I certainly don't mean to imply that these traditions aren't visible in other parts of the country. Diana
  24. (I love Girls At the Grill! The newsletter is wonderful!) The following is based solely on my observations. Barbecues, in our family, were big events. While the men were outside tending to the fire, the women were often inside, doing the prep work on the slaw, the cornbread, the guacamole, the desserts. And for my grandparents, a big gathering that included barbecue was usually a celebration for a completed barn, a finished harvest--something that often included a lot of hard work for the menfolk (the women worked just as hard, I know, this isn't a commentary on the social structure, just how things are/were). Standing around, putting back some whiskey or beer was a reward of sorts, while the women worked hard at making the rest of the celebration full of food. My dad never had a problem showing me how to grill, and my boyfriend is pretty proud of the fact that I can run the smoker better than anyone else he knows, but he still likes to have "guy time" out by the grill when friends come over & I'm finishing the rest of the food in the kitchen. Diana
  25. Brooksie's in Jackson, Tennessee. The best barbecue ever? No. . .but if you go for the dinner buffet, one of the best values ever. And all you can eat pulled pork. It's like love on a buffet table. And their pineapple fritters are yummy. And the tamale guy at the Jackson/Madison County farmer's market. And Dixie Castle in Jackson. Steak and baked potatoes. That's it. And sour cream, if you get there before they run out. It's not that great, but very strange, at least for me. Plastic chairs, lineoleum floor (though they might have remodeled since the tornado). Lordy, but my family lives in some backwards places. Diana
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