Frozen Sweet Potato Fries:
Are They Worth the Price? the Calories?

Today's product review: A look at what I thought was a promising development in the frozen food aisle at the grocery store, sweet potato fries. How do they taste? Are they worth the money? I suppose I shouldn't be shocked -- shocked! -- but I am. It turns out that frozen sweet potatoes: - do taste okay, not great, but okay . - are three to four times more expensive than fresh sweet potatoes! - have 50% to 68% more calories than fresh sweet potatoes roasted at home! - are made with a whole long list of "other" ingredients. THE BACKGROUND Last summer, my favorite busy mom brought sweet potato fries to a pool party. I was a late arrival so only a few scraps were left but even cold, the sticks of baked sweet potato were pretty tasty! Fast Forward Three Months, as I set out to try frozen sweet potato fries for myself. I gotta tell you, I was fully prepared to "love" these products. I expected to extol the virtues of "convenient whole food"

Stuffed Pumpkin with Apple & Cranberry ♥

Today's fun fall recipe: Stuff a pumpkin with apples and cranberries and nuts and spices and what do you get? Great flavor, whether for a side dish or a dessert. Gorgeous presentation, even though easy-easy to make. Not just vegan, " Vegan Done Real ". Two years ago, four of us celebrated one of those 'significant' birthdays ending in zero within a couple of months. One of the husbands cooked dinner for us, a present in itself. Last year, we decided to make a joint birthday celebration an annual event and all of a sudden, we were assigning courses for a potluck supper. Georg? Appetizer. Kathy? Dessert. (I'm still drooling over that dessert, homemade vanilla ice cream with homemade dulce le leche and hot fudge and three, count 'em, three beautiful little butter cookies.) Ann was less settled but soon knew she wanted to do something, not sure what exactly, with a pumpkin from her CSA. And this is what she brought -- a pumpkin stuffed with apples and cranber

Roasted Garlic Soup ♥

Today's soup recipe: A garlic soup, deepened with roasted garlic and made creamy with potato plus a splash of cream. Low carb and for Weight Watchers, 2 or 3 points. Plus, my annual reminder that we plant garlic in the fall some time in the middle of October. Did my home-ec teacher mother even know about garlic? Surely, she must have. But if she did, garlic awareness didn't translate into garlic cooking, perhaps, I suspect in her defense, because fresh garlic wasn't available in our small-town grocery? So I was 13 or 14 when garlic entered my life, not with a bang but a full-nasal blast. My Auntie Karen's house reeked of garlic when she made Chicken Cacciatore for my annual birthday supper. What WAS that smell? She laughed and held out a head of garlic for inspection. How could something so small pack such a punch? How far our food world has come! Few kitchens are now without garlic, it's a staple. And for awhile now, in my kitchen, not only is garlic a stapl

Calabacitas ♥

What an easy-easy zucchini recipe! It's just summer squash, onions and chilis quick-cooked in the skillet, with as much (or as little!) heat as you can stand! Seasonal. Low Carb. Weight Watchers Friendly & Freestyle Friendly. Naturally Gluten Free. 2:00 pm E-MAIL from ME: "I have a fridgeful of Hatch chilis that appeared at the grocery over the weekend, am hunting around for something interesting/easy to do with them. Suggestions?" 2:05 pm E-MAIL RESPONSE from my friend SALLY DENTON : "Yes!! Calabacitas. Sauté garlic in a skillet in olive oil. Add chopped onion, sliced yellow and zuccini squash; half a bag frozen corn; and as much green chiles as you can handle. Salt & pepper and serve topped with grated parmesan or cheddar cheese. Yum. Sure sign of fall." 2:10 pm E-MAIL RESPONSE to Sally: "Sold." How in the world have I missed calabacitas? [How to pronounce calabacitas? kal-uh-BAH-see-tas , correction, it is pronounced kal-uh-bah-SEE

Savory Stir-Fried Sweet Potatoes ♥

Today's sweet potato recipe: An easy weeknight supper vegetable, grated sweet potatoes cooked with a touch of heat and a splash of soy sauce. Low carb and full of flavor. For Weight Watchers, the sweet potatoes add up to just one point! Not just vegan, " Vegan Done Real ". Well hello, fall, so glad you're back. The acorns may not yet thwack onto the roof but food-wise, I'm ready to put aside the spare bites of summer tomato and sweet corn and even this year's much-beloved okra. I'm ready to gird my table for the hibernation that is winter. And isn't this the wonder of seasonal eating, loving each and every bite of the season's best, then moving onto the next season, ready to love each and every morsel in its own time? When I was a girl, I listened to Judy Collins sing "Turn, Turn, Turn: To Everything There Is a Season" until the 45rpm wore thin. As I listen now on YouTube , I realize how much the words guide my soul, food and otherw

Twelve Favorite Tomato Recipes ♥ Never Take a Good Tomato for Granted!

My twelve favorite tomato recipes, a perfect dozen selected especially for the last few weeks of the very best summer tomatoes. Never take a good tomato for granted. That's the lesson folks Out East learned in 2009 when the late tomato blight struck tomatoes across the eastern half of the U.S., dooming the entire crop. I felt their pain, remembering the year when four days of a late-spring hard freeze nipped the blossoms on peach and apple trees. That year? No peaches, no apples, for Missouri and Illinois. But no tomatoes? Un.Thinkable. I vowed to never take good tomatoes for granted. So for a couple of months, it’s red heaven on a plate, tomatoes morning, noon and night. Sliced and salted. Sliced and sugared. Sliced and slivered with basil and slippery with mozzarella. Then grilled, broiled, roasted, sandwiched and then finally, souped. One night I even drizzled a little tomato syrup over ice cream! Don't let the tomato season pass without reveling in the glory that is t

Israeli Couscous Salad with Yellow Squash & Sun-Dried Tomatoes ♥

Today's latest summer salad recipe: Take sexy Israeli couscous and match it up with pretty yellow squash. What do you get? Summer in a bowl. Not just vegan, " Vegan Done Real ". Aiii, culinary nomenclature can be so confusing. First there's couscous , which we tend to think of as a natural whole grain and cook and serve like a grain, but is really just another form of dried pasta. But did anyone else love the word 'couscous' as a kid? I did. "Koos-koos, koos-koos, koos-koos" I'd try to say three times, failing except for the real point, which was to laugh out loud, that was a success. And then there's Israeli couscous . It's still another form of pasta, toasted instead of dried, and shaped in perfect tiny pearls somehow way sexier than other itty-bitty pastas and their cousin, regular couscous. But Israeli couscous is as much a 'food product' as couscous, it's not a natural whole grain either, albeit one born of necessit