About Me

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My friends call me the "grammar goddess." Really. ;-) I own a freelance writing, editing and tutoring business. Previously, I served three years as food editor for The Morning Sun in Mt. Pleasant, which kindled my interest in food writing. My other areas of expertise in writing include features, community news, architecture/construction and engraving/personalization. I have a frightening number of cookbooks and watch too many DIY, HGTV, Food Network, Cooking Channel and Antiques Roadshow (BBC and PBS versions) shows. And I tweak nearly every recipe I make.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Product Review: Amy's Brown Rice and Veggie Bowl (regular and light in sodium)

I try not to eat a lot of frozen dinners because even the ones with "healthy" in their names tend to be rather high in sodium. I try to shoot for something that's between 250-500 mg of sodium; I think most of us get too much of it. 

I have always liked the Brown Rice and Vegetables Bowl from Amy's. It comes close to the desired sodium range (540 mg). It is one of the best healthy dinners I've tried, with ingredients that I can pronounce.

One day, I accidentally grabbed Amy's Light in Sodium Brown Rice and Vegetables Bowl from the frozen section, which has about 250 mg. sodium. See meal description for this meal and Amy's other light-sodium selections here.

Both are excellent, but I have to give a slight edge to the higher-sodium version; however, the low-sodium version is great with the addition of just a little FRENCH'S® Reduced Sodium Worcestershire Sauce.

Mom's Fruit Salad

Fruit salad dressed with a mixture of Cool Whip and Miracle Whip to bind it was the fruit salad of my childhood, sort of a Waldorf salad-type thing. That's really not necessary to taste good, as my mother proved with hers made for a recent family graduation party.

Mom's Fruit Salad

Serves between 30-35 people.

Mom prepares the salad the day of the party, as she doesn't like it to get a bit watery in the bottom. If you have to make it in advance, you always can drain it. (We were eating it for about four days after the party; I liked it better the second day.)

1 cantelope, cut into 1-inch squares
half a honeydew melon, diced into 1-inch squares
two center-cut pieces of a medium-sized seedless watermelon, cut into 1-inch squares
quart of strawberries, washed, hulled and each sliced in half
pint of blueberries, washed
2 C. red seedless grapes, washed and halved
1/2 of one cored, peeled pineapple, cut into 1/2-inch square pieces

Mix together into a very large mixing bowl. Additional fruit salad may be kept in the refrigerator in a large freezer bag to replenish the bowl as needed.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Cereal Competition: Go Lean Honey Almond Flax vs. Cinnamon Crunch

I bought four different "healthy" cereals in recent months: Cascadian Farms Organic Cinnamon Raisin Granola, which I haven't yet dug into, Kashi Go Lean Crunch! Honey Almond Flax, Cascadian Farms Organic Dark Chocolate Almond Granola (see prior post), and Cascadian Farm Organic Kids Cinnamon Crunch.

Although tasty, I had some concerns about the Dark Chocolate Almond Granola because of the higher fat content, which is one reason I tried Cascadian Farms Cinnamon Crunch, the overall winner compared with Kashi Go Lean Crunch! It's organic and beat Kashi's offering hands down for both taste and texture. (Go Lean Crunch! is very hard. I have to leave it soak in milk for 15 minutes before I can eat it.)

Cinnamon Crunch (the photo is of a four-pack, by the way) does have less fiber (3g compared with 8g) and doesn't have as many different whole grains. It also uses organic sugar rather than evaporated cane juice, rice syrup and honey (why three sweeteners are needed in the Kashi product is a mystery to me); however, Cinnamon Crunch also has two additional servings per box, each of which has about half the calories of Go Lean Crunch! per 1-cup serving (110 as opposed to 200, not counting milk!), and lower sugars, overall carbs and sodium. Given that Kashi's slogan is "seven whole grains on a mission," these facts (and its product's rock-hard texture) make that claim hard to swallow.