Right Cuisine Food and Travel

February 3rd, 2010

Salad Bacteria Warning

Consumer Reports has issued a warning for salad lovers everywhere.
While there is no recall at the moment, the facts are disturbing.

If you’re among the many that made the resolution to eat healthier this year, and you rely on salad as one of the ways to obtain all those great nutrients your body needs, you probably want to know about the salad bacteria warning. Or not. As mentioned above, their findings are disturbing.
Salad Bacteria Warning Continue reading

December 22nd, 2009

Free Online Christmas Cards

Oh gosh…what to do when you realize it’s too late to mail your Christmas cards or you simply forgot to address them, or maybe you balked at the increasing prices and decided not to purchase any and are now guilt ridden?
There is real hope for you! Free online Christmas cards from just about everywhere!

It doesn’t matter if you’re just lazy, simply forgot, or what your reason might be for no longer sending Christmas cards via USPS. The weather where I live factored in to my decision to quit sending them. I live in a very rural area and my mailbox is a block away…the roads are seldom plowed and postal service is hit and miss. We don’t actually have a real employee of the USPS…the carrier is sub-contracted and shows up when he feels like it…not everyday. Also impacting my decision at the time was the rapid increase in the cost of stamps…I seldom get postal service but pay a zillion times more for stamps? No thank you, USPS.

My guilt was lessened a little bit when I discovered free online cards. At that time, years ago, they were all free. However, it costs to maintain most websites so now the variety of free e-cards is somewhat limited yet they are widely available if you do a bit of searching/ Googling. I have included the links to my favorite places below.

Take note that while there are many great free online cards, most websites offer a yearly subscription for a nominal fee. i.e. Hallmark allows you to send unlimited cards for about ten bucks a year.

The hardest part is deciding what card to send the recipient. If I know someone is very devout and easily offended at the commercialization of Christmas, I make a conscious effort to send a card regarding the reason for the season. However, I am one that believes laughter is great for any occasion ( except death of course ) and I try to believe that most people enjoy a good chuckle anytime.
For several years now I have been in love with the Hoops and YoYo characters. There has not been a single time, regardless of mood, that I haven’t left that site smiling and hope that the recipients of these cards open them and laugh.

With that said, you better get busy looking…only 72 hours left! Isn’t it great to know that you can wait until midnite on the 24th and your card will be there Christmas day?

If you have an opinion on free online cards, I’d love to hear it. While I enjoy them, that doesn’t mean everyone else does. It’s enough for me to know that someone thought of me when they sent it.
Merry Christmas, everyone!

Links to my favorites:
Hallmark
123 Greetings
Blue Mountain
American Greetings

December 21st, 2009

How To Cook A Ham

If you’re wondering how to cook a ham, I’ll tell you up front the easiest way is to buy the pre-cooked ham and follow directions. However, if you’ve already bought your ham and it’s not cooked, or only partially cooked, there are a few things you need to know.

If your ham is frozen, start by thawing it out at least two days before Christmas. Keep the ham in it’s original wrapper, but place on platter/plate or in a container in case contents leak. No one needs ham juice running down the refrigerator shelves!

You need a meat thermometer. They are inexpensive and indispensable!. Never let the thermometer touch the bone of any meat you’re cooking since it will give a false reading.
The USDA recommends a an internal temperature of 160*F before it’s done.

You need to bake your uncooked ham for for 20 to 30 minutes per pound at 375 degrees F.
The simplest way is to place your ham lean side down in a tin foil lined pan. This enables the juices to flow downward for a moister ham.

If you choose to glaze your ham, remove it from the oven a half hour before it’s done and turn it over….glaze and return to oven…lean side up this time.

If you are making a precooked whole ham, try scoring the top in a diamond shaped pattern and inserting cloves in the cuts. You need only cut 1/2″ deep if you do this. You can add whole pineapple slices and a maraschino cherry and pin with toothpicks for a festive look.

Glazing a ham is simple…there’s a ton of recipe’s for ham glaze but sometimes the easiest is the best. Remember to add glaze the last half hour of cooking.

Mix 3/4 cup of brown sugar and 3/4 cup of honey together for a sweet and mild glaze. Or use this one for a bit more flavor.

3/4 cup maple syrup ( not imitation syrup )
1 -1/2 Tbs cider vinegar
2 tsp. Dijon mustard…or similar mustard. Mix together and baste.
Be sure to baste your ham 2-3 times during that last half hour!
You can do an internet search for ham glaze and probably find a 1000 more recipes!

Remember if using a raw ham, you need to take the same precautions and clean up the way you do after handling raw chicken!

Ham is actually rather simple to cook and beautiful to serve so try not to stress too much! It takes a lot of effort to mess one up!

December 9th, 2009

Holiday Sales: Snowstorm, Travel

Here we are, with about two weeks left of Holiday sales and much of this country is *under the weather* so to speak. Holiday deals this time of the year are enough to excite the biggest penny-pincher’s among us; we brave the snowstorms and blizzards and ice and travel wherever we have to, just to save that extra buck.

Every mall, main street and outlet has a Holiday special of some sort and rumor has it that Holiday sales are up this year..in spite of our sick economy. Then along comes the weather from hell…wait that’s not right, hell implies warmth and there’s none of that in the Midwest!

“Tis definitely the time to be grateful for the internet! Thankfully, any Holiday sales we might miss at our local stores can be found on E-bay, Craigslist, Amazon and so forth.

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October 20th, 2009

Plum Organics Baby Food Recall

Carrot and apple flavored pouches of baby food sold at Toys R Us and Babies R Us have been recalled due to concerns over botulism contamination.
While no illnesses have been reported,

“The product did not meet the FDA guidelines for proper acidity level,”

as mentioned here.

The recall is voluntary and precautionary and affects the 4.22-ounce pouches, with a “best by” date of May 21, 2010, and UPC 890180001221.

Botulism is very serious and can be life threatening. If you have these products, please do not take a chance and use them. Return to the store, or you may contact info @ plumorganics. com or call 888-974-3555 for more info.
Again, no illnesses have been reported with the Plum Organics, Toys R Us baby food recall. However you need to put a YET behind that sentence and not take a chance with your little one. This product has been sold nationwide, so check your cupboards, wherever you are.

See a photo of the pouch here.

August 19th, 2009

Basic Pantry Stocking and Staples

Let’s talk about the pantry, or cupboards where you store the essentials for cooking. Whether you’re a new cook or just returning to the kitchen due to the economy, a well stocked pantry is a must. This can be overwhelming if you’re on a tight budget, so try to include one or two items a week when you grocery shop, and you’ll be all set by the time winter arrives.

Take a look in your pantry now, and look at the dates on any flour, sugar and perishables ( yes..they do perish, flour gets buggy, sugar gets hard, etc ). Check your cooking oil, too…is it rancid? While looking in there, take a soapy rag and clean it out! Toss what needs to be tossed, but notice the size of the container it’s in…did you need that much? I’m a big fan of buying in bulk, but only for items I use a lot of.

Grab a piece of paper and pen and start making a list. I divide my list is 3 columns; must have, need soon and not sure. This method doesn’t work for everyone, so make sure your list is comfortable and familiar to you or it might end up in the trash can along with items you’re throwing away.

In the must have column, write the items you need to replace first, in the 2nd one the items you will be buying soon, and the 3rd, items you might want to get but aren’t real sure you’re going to make that particular dish you need the caviar or whatever for. Keep your cooking habits in mind. For instance, if you’ve never turned your oven on, you probably don’t want to buy flour.

Start watching your weekly food ads, or look online to see when your grocery store is having a sale. When canned goods are on sale, stock up on your favorites; if possible buy enough for a month or longer. The same is true for rice, pasta, stuffing, jars of spaghetti and other sauces. The less often you have to run to the store, the more you save. I have yet, in all my years, managed to go to a store and purchase just the one item I needed at the moment.
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August 17th, 2009

Basic Spices

One of my daughter’s recently pointed out that she has to go “spice” shopping, since she, as so many others are, is cooking from scratch versus buying pre-packaged dinners or stopping for take-out. She pointed out hers are old and she wasn’t even sure where to start, with the exception being salt and pepper.
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