Category Archives: Diet

Holiday Dinner Party Humor

Now that all of the holiday events are behind us, including that long stretch of food-eating extravaganzas from Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas parties through New Year’s Day buffets, we can now reflect on 2013 and resolve for 2014. Here’s a funny video about guests and their many eating quirks. Lucky me, I can eat almost anything!

I’m tacking on this 2013 annual report from WordPress.  The kindly people at WordPress noted that many of my top posts were not written this past year.  Rather than saying that I was lazy in 2013, they said this:  “Some of your most popular posts were written before 2013. Your writing has staying power! Consider writing about those topics again.”    Hope to see you all in 2014.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 36,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 13 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


Filed under Diet, Food, Humor, Life

Strawberry Rhubarb Yogurt

Strawberry Rhubarb Yogurt Postcard postcard

Late May and early June bring strawberries in the Kansas City area. After the long, cold, dreary miserable winter we had, I was thrilled when the first ripe strawberries appeared in my little patch every day. This year I’ve made some changes in my diet, avoiding refined sugar in everything, so I’m satisfying my sweet tooth with more fruit.  I’m very grateful for my abundant strawberry crop, even if I have to squat and stretch  every day for half an hour picking through the leaves to find these tiny red jewels. It’s kind of like yoga, except my back aches when I stand up.  (Ok, maybe it’s only 15 minutes a day, it just seems longer.)

Every spring, my maternal grandmother made strawberry rhubarb pies and sauces. She grew the plants in her huge garden, and my cousins and I would also find it among the grass and weeds in the old abandoned garden plot, where rhubarb and asparagus plants were all that remained. The rhubarb plants seemed eternal to me then, although I’ve never had any luck keeping any alive in my own gardens. When I saw some rhubarb for sale at a country market, I bought about ten stalks. Rhubarb isn’t palatable without sugar, though, so I’ve added some no-calorie sugar substitute, which is also a no-no, but I’m not giving that up fake sugar entirely. What is life without rhubarb?

I chopped the rhubarb, cooked it in about two cups water, cooled it and then added a cup of fresh strawberries. Then I added some fake sugar to taste. I added some of the sauce to nonfat Greek yogurt. Yummy!
Here’s what I’ve written in the past about my strawberry passion.  Third Annual Strawberry Photograph

Of course, I have to link to a downer article from the New York Times about how sugar is very, very, very bad for you.  Is Sugar Toxic?  Below is a related video that will cause you to weep.   I’ve been hearing this for years, but chose to ignore it, but now I’m trying to avoid sugar completely except in fruits and vegetables.   After watching this video, it sounds as if I need to cut back on fruit, too…


Filed under Diet, Food, Health

Fancy Foods Word Quiz — How much do you know?

Crab Cakes in Tasmania.25 FANCY FOOD WORDS USED ON ‘TOP CHEF’ (Do You Know What They Mean?)
See how many of these food words you can correctly match with their definitions. 

1. Ganache (GAHN-ahsh)

2. Ceviche (seh-VEE-chay)

3. Risotto (rih-SO-toh)

4. Carpaccio (kahr-PAH-chee-oh)

5. Hamachi (hah-MAH-chee)

6. Rémoulade (ray-muh-LAHD)

7. Chiffonade (shihf-uh-NAHD)

8. Panna cotta (PAHN-nah KOH-tah)

9. Hearts of palm

10. Geoduck (GOO-ee duhk)

11. Aioli (ay-OH-lee)

12. Pain perdu (pahn pehr-DOO)

13. Frisee (free-ZAY)

14. Tostones (tohs-TOH-nays)

15. Roulade (roo-LAHD)

16. Pancetta (pan-CHEH-tuh)

17. Paella (pi-AY-yuh)

18. Pommes dauphin (pom doh-FEEN)

19. Halloumi (hah-LOO-me)

20. Fleur de sel (flur-duh-SELL)

21. Cavolo nero (KAH-voh-loh NEH-roh)

22. Amuse-bouche (ah-mewz-BOOSH)

23. Radicchio (rah-DEE-kee-oh)Octopus Salad in Sydney.

24. Sweetbreads

25. Sashimi (sah-SHEE-mee)

B. A mayonnaise flavored with garlic or other ingredients

C. Short-grained arborio rice cooked in meat or seafood stock, then seasoned (with Parmesan, saffron, etc.)

D. Tender inner portion of a palm tree; eaten as a vegetable or used as a garnish for salads

E. A large edible clam typically weighing 2 to 3 pounds

F. French toast

G. Fried plantains, smashed and served with garlic sauce

H. Deep-fried crispy potato puffs

I. Unsmoked Italian bacon

J. Thinly sliced raw meat or fish served with a sauce

K. Traditional Greek cheese from Cyprus made with sheep’s milk, or goat’s milk

L. Delicate and fluffy hand-harvested French sea salt

M. A sweet, creamy chocolate mixture, typically used as a filling or a frosting

N. A saffron-flavored dish containing rice, meat, seafood and vegetables

O. A thin slice of meat rolled around a filling

P. Yellowtail fish, often used for sushi

Q. A strong flavored cabbage with dark green leaves

R. Pungent sauce or dressing resembling mayonnaise

U. Shredded or finely cut vegetables or herbs, sometimes used as a garnish

V. The edible glands of an animal, often thymus glands of veal, young beef, lamb and pork

W. Very thinly sliced raw fish

X. Raw fish marinated (or “cooked”) in lime or lemon juice, often with oil, onion, peppers and seasonings and served as an appetizer


QUIZ ANSWERS —  1 M , 2 X, 3 C, 4 J, 5 P, 6 R, 7 U, 8 A, 9 D, 10 E, 11 B, 12 F, 13 Y, 14 G, 15 O, 16 I, 17 N, 18 H, 19 K, 20 L, 21 Q, 22 S, 23 T, 24V, 25 W.Shrimp Salad in Roeland Park.


Filed under Diet, Entertainment, Food, Language, Life, Personal

Vitamin D — the Sunshine Vitamin

The Sun.  It fuels our world.  It's essential to life. The challenge is find the right balance of sun exposure and sun protection.

The Sun. It fuels our world. It's essential to life. We need sunlight to make Vitamin D in our bodies, but the sun's radiation can also cause skin cancer. The challenge is find the right balance of sun exposure and sun protection.

Avoid the sun.  Wear sunblock.  That’s my summer mantra.  Now that I’ve had some skin cancer removed, I’m even more paranoid about sun exposure. 

The darkest time of the year is here, so you’d think I could relax about sun exposure as I enter my annual winter hermit state, covered up and shivering by the hearth.  But no, I have a new worry:  I actually have to get outside to get some sunshine to make Vitamin D.  

Ten to 15 minutes of sunshine (ultraviolet B radiation) three times a week is supposed to be enough for most people, but this is tough in the winter when we’re swathed in fleece. I don’t even like to walk to the mailbox at the end of my driveway when it’s cold.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps the body absorb calcium to form strong bones and teeth and has many other important functions in keeping us healthy.   My dermatologist says that Vitamin D is the hot topic at dermatology conferences these days. Yes, I know, we’ve all heard and read about the wonders and miracles of this vitamin and that vitamin, only to find out later that taking extra this or that doesn’t help and can even hurt. I still have a huge jar of Vitamin E capsules that I thought was supposed to be good for me. Then studies reported Vitamin E as a supplement could be harmful.   Now I’m just hanging onto the almost-full bottle in case it comes back into favor. (By then, of course, if will be expired.)

 Researchers are continually finding out more about the importance of Vitamin D, including that we probably need more than previously thought and that it’s even more essential to maintaining good health than we’ve realized.

Vitamin D could play a role in the prevention of colon, prostate and breast cancers, for example.  The amounts in our bodies might affect our mood and our weight.  Vitamin D really could be essential to a sunny disposition and important in keeping us from piling on the pounds. 

Bottom line: Find out how much Vitamin D you need and get a little sunshine at least every other day.

The following information can get a little tedious, but it’s important, so pay attention.

You need sunshine, but not as much as the people in the posters are getting.  This woman is probably getting enough as she walks past posters on a tanning salon while walking from her home in the Seattle area to the grocery store on Dec. 22, 2008.  (AP Photo/Seattle Post-Intelligencer,  Andy Rogers)

You need sunshine, but not as much as the people in the posters are getting. This woman is probably getting enough as she walks past posters on a tanning salon while walking from her home in the Seattle area to the grocery store on Dec. 22, 2008. (AP Photo/Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Andy Rogers)

A multi-vitamin with Vitamin D is probably enough for most people, but one size doesn’t fit all.  As you get older, your body isn’t as efficient at making Vitamin D, so you’ll need more Vitamin D in your diet, usually as an additive or a supplement.  My dermatologist told me to get 1,000 units of Vitamin D and a little sunlight (UV-B) every day, but you need to check with your own physician for the right amount for you. (See link below to article about children’s need for Vitamin D.)

Vitamin D isn’t naturally present in most foods, although it’s added to milk and cereal.  It’s in fish, such as salmon and tuna, in egg yolks and in cheese.  It’s also in cod liver oil, which is why we heard stories of a spoonful of it being forced on children in the past.

There’s also a danger of getting too much, which can cause increased kidney stones, nausea and mental confusion.  Vitamin D is stored in the fat, so if you take excessive amounts it’s difficult to get rid of.

We have to find a balance in protecting our skin from sun damage with the need for sunlight to synthesize Vitamin D.  The darker your skin, the more sunlight you need to make Vitamin D.  One of my biology professors suggested that Vitamin D is so important that it’s probably the main reason for differences in skin color.  The closer you to to the poles, the more difficult it is to get enough sunlight to make Vitamin D.  Conversely, darker skin protects against sun damage.

People with higher skin melanin (pigment) content require more time in sunlight to produce the same amount of vitamin D as do people with lower melanin content. As noted below, the amount of time a person requires to produce a given amount of Vitamin D may also depend upon the person’s distance from the equator and on the season of the year.

These people have the right idea.  Get outside in the winter, even if it's cloudy and snowy.  Just don't get frostbite or sunburned.

These people have the right idea. Get outside in the winter, even if it's cloudy and snowy. Just don't get frostbitten or sunburned. I need to take my own advice, because I don't even like to go to the mailbox when it's cold.

Latitude and altitude determine the intensity of UV light. UV-B is stronger at higher altitudes. Latitudes higher than 30° (both north and south) have insufficient UV-B sunlight two to six months of the year, even at midday, according to researchers.  Latitudes higher than 40° have insufficient sunlight to achieve optimum levels of D during six to eight months of the year. In much of the United States, which is between 30° and 45° latitude, six months or more during each year have insufficient UV-B sunlight to produce optimal D levels. In far northern or southern locations, latitudes 45° and higher, even summer sun is too weak to provide optimum levels of vitamin D.  A simple meter is available to determine UV-B levels where you live.

It’s a complicated, but important, subject.  To read more, here are some websites and articles:

NEW: What do you lack? Probably Vitamin D. (New York Times article)

Vitamin D Deficiency May Lurk in Babies

The Vitamin D Miracle.

What is Vitamin D?


Filed under Biology, Diet, Family, Health, Life, Medicine, Nature, Personal

Make This No-Calorie Chex Mix


Here’s how to make no-calorie Chex Mix.  You won’t even get your hands dirty. 

Chex Mix Jigsaw Puzzle.


Filed under Diet, Entertainment, Food, Homemaking, Howto, Humor, Life, Personal, Random, Recipes

The Most Dangerous Recipe in the World

It may not be the prettiest cake, but it's delicious!  And it can be ready in five minutes.  That's what makes it so dangerous.

It may not be the prettiest cake, but it can be ready in five minutes. That's what makes it so dangerous.

Chris B. emailed this recipe to all of her friends, and we’re so grateful.  She tells us we’re now only five minutes away from chocolate cake at any time of the day or night.  This makes it one of the most dangerous cake recipes in the world.


  • 1 coffee mug
  • 4 tablespoons flour (plain, not self-rising)
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons baking cocoa
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
  • some chopped nuts (optional)
  • small dash of vanilla

Add dry ingredients to mug and mix well.  Add the egg and mix thoroughly.  Pour in the milk and oil and mix well.  Add the chocolate chips and nuts (if using) and vanilla. Mix again.  Cook in the microwave for three minutes on high.  The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don’t be alarmed!

Allow to cool a little.  Tip out onto a plate, if desired, or spoon it right out of the mug.  This can serve two people, if you’re willing to share. It’s very rich and dense.  It reminds me of a fallen chocolate souffle — nothing wrong with that! Let it cool a little, but it’s best warm.

I used a soup mug for the cake in the photo. The cake didn’t rise above the rim, but it still baked well.  I’ve made a vegan version using egg substitute and replaced the milk with water, and it was still tasty.  Just don’t skimp on the cocoa!


Filed under Diet, Food, Humor, Life, Personal, Random, Recipes