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, August 14, 2010

Product: Review: Kellogg's Fiber Plus - Chocolate Chip Flavor

Kellogg FiberPlus Antioxidant Bars, Chocolate Chip flavor lives up to its claim of being more tasty than Fiber One bars; indeed I consider it a great improvement over nearly any bar aside from Nature Valley Granola Bars (see prior entry for comments on this great product). Two other flavors are available to try ... one includes almonds, which I'm not at all fond of in large chunks or whole. I haven't tried that one yet, so I can't say if it uses small or large almond bits.

This is a filling snack and incorporates antioxidants, according to the package. It's a better choice than many because it doesn't include high-fructose corn syrup in its ingredient list.

The packaging claims that a serving incorporates 35 percent of recommended daily fiber, which is quite an achievement for a snack. Due to the high fiber content of the snack, I highly recommend a large glass of water or milk to accompany it. A major concern when you up the fiber in the diet is that most people don't drink enough water. (For example, for those on Weight Watchers, it's recommended that you intake 35 grams of fiber daily and drink at least eight 8-oz. glasses of liquid a day. It used to be water, but it was determined all liquid counts.)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Gram's Banana Bread

Some people come from a long line of good cooks. Although there was more than one in my mother's family, most of them got their start by working with a great cook: my maternal grandmother, Ruth Magdalen (Bolen) LaBerge. Although she's been gone more than 18 years, I still can't figure out why neither my mother nor I (both of whom are considered intelligent women) can make her banana bread in quite the way she did.

When we made it at home as I was growing up, it was good but I just knew there was something missing. Gram's bread seemed even more moist and the nutty flavor was stronger. Maybe it's just a grandma thing.

Perhaps one of my readers can solve the mystery of the ingredient or ingredients that Gram, who rarely worked from a recipe, may have omitted when my mother asked her for a written recipe almost three decades ago. (Mom subsequently rewrote the recipe so we could read it in the years to come. It's amazing it was recorded with a pen, since my grandmother wrote most recipes in pencil.)

Gram's Banana Bread

1 3/4 C. flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 t. salt
1/3 C. vegetable shortening (to make it healthier, use the non-hydrogenated kind; Gram used Crisco)
2/3 C. sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 C. fairly ripe bananas, mashed
chopped walnuts (optional)

(The amount of walnuts put in this recipe depends on how well you like them. Gram just put in the amount she had handy — that is, when she felt like it.)

Sift flour; measure and add baking powder, baking soda and salt. Sift again. Cream shortening, adding sugar gradually. Add eggs, mixing until smooth. Add dry ingredients alternately with mashed bananas, stirring just enough to combine thoroughly. Do not beat.  Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees F.*

(*Use a standard loaf pan.)

Note: I had a heck of a time finding a good photo of Gram, as she hated having her picture taken; in the above photo, shot when she turned 80 (in April 1982), it's hard to say whether she was crying because she was happy or because we insisted on recording the occasion for future generations.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Product Review: Purely Decadent Dairy Free® Cherry Nirvana flavor

Want ice cream but can't eat it because milk doesn't agree with your system? Never fear, there is a solution. More than one, but I'll share my favorite.

I probably have mentioned this in passing, but Purely Decadent Dairy Free® Cherry Nirvana flavor ice cream is my favorite non-dairy frozen dessert. It even tastes like ice cream.

I discovered it in the frozen health food section at Kroger about a year ago. I've tried other products by Turtle Mountain, but so far, this is the best non-dairy frozen dessert I've had.

If you don't like cherries or chocolate, there's no accounting for it; however, I'm sure one of Turtle Mountain's numerous ice cream subsitutes (some made from coconut milk and some made with soy milk) will appeal to your taste.