Friday, February 27, 2009

Low Salt Living - In the Good Old Summertime Fish

This recipe cam about because Husband and I were trying to fix the shower while I was trying to make dinner. I asked him how he wanted the fish and he said "surprise me". I started to think about what flavors go well with fish and what I had on hand. Lemons go good but I didn't have any lemons. I did have lemonade. Well, pink lemonade. We also call this "pink fish".

It tastes better than it sounds. Really.

Tilapia or other white fish
Powdered Lemonade Mix
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Ground Pepper
Olive Oil

Spread some olive oil on the fish. Enough to make it moist so the other stuff sticks.

Sprinkle the fish with the dry ingredients. (no, I don't have any real measurements) Somewhere around 1-2 teaspoons depending on the size of the fish.

Cook it in the oven until it is done.

For a moister fish, make a thicker than normal mix of the lemonade and pour it around the fish. Wrap in tinfoil.

I've also used chili powder for a bit of heat.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Web Fun - Big Fish Games

I like to play computer games. I like the distraction and, sometimes, the challenge. My faves are the resource gathering/building games. Husband has found me some great games like King's Bounty, Heroes of Might and Magic and Dungeon Keeper. These games are kinda big and take many game hours to complete.

Husband game me a new-to-me game, Garden Defense, a time management game. I kinda liked it. I went searching for hints and found Big Fish Games. They have all different types of games. Most of the games are small and only take a few hours to complete.

Back in the 80s, I played Lemonade Stand on the dumb-terminal-monochrome-(orange)-screen-text-only Pet Computer. I didn't need no stinkin' graphics! For those who aren't ancient, it was a game where you ran a lemonade stand and tried to make back more than your $10 investment. Your mom gave you the money and you had to buy supplies and price your lemonade depending on a vague weather report. The line "you would have made ___ if you charged ___" is forever burned into my brain. I loved it! I babysat for someone who had the program on their Commodore 64. I got so bored one night, I made a chart for the prices and the weather. Early geekdom.

Back to Big Fish. BF lets me try games for an hour to help me decide if they are worth buying. Great idea! I like the time management games but not all of the time management games so this lets me give them a test run. The games are small so an hour is usually enough to get a good feel for the game.

BF does download their portal program to your computer. This allows you to easily download new games, play games and delete old games. The price per game depends on the number of games purchased. I suggest finding at least 6 games to make it worth your money. We did a 6-pack before going on vacation and still had some game play left over when we returned.

Some of my faves:

Fairy Godmother Tycoon
Farm Frenzy
Farm Mania
Garden Defense

Who Knew? Tomato Sauce Revisited

We had spaghetti the other night and I used the jarred sauce. In the middle of the meal Husband said "Ya know, I like your sauce better".

It looks like I'll be making my own sauce for a while. :-)

Friday, February 06, 2009

Real Moms vs. Good Moms – Jarred Spaghetti Sauce

Certain shows on TV will have us think that to be a Good Mom, one MUST do things in a certain way. A few of you have already thought of a few shows and instances that fit that description. For non-moms or if you aren’t sure what I mean, read on.

I love cooking shows. The birth of the TV Food (they took off the TV part and added Network) was like a dream for me. More on that in another post. As a mom, I now watch the shows with a new perspective. The chefs on these shows will have the viewer think that the ONLY way to cook is from scratch with all fresh, natural, the best quality and the most expensive ingredients they can find. Rather than adding dried basil, they grab a handful from a beautiful plant growing in their windowsill or from their lush garden. Chicken should always be butchered from whole. Never use anything pre-prepared.

Who has the time or the money? Yes, butchering my meat from larger cuts is less expensive but, have you ever cut up a whole chicken? Yarg! My house doesn’t face the right direction for growing gorgeous herbs, indoors. The jar of dried usually costs the same as a plant and won’t wilt or die. The deer and squirrels eat all of my other plants. I have Mums and the shrubs that came with the house.

One of my favorite cooking shows, America’s Test Kitchen, was testing jarred spaghetti sauces. The host of the show, Christopher Kimball, said he NEVER uses jarred sauces. He acted as if, well, it was a crime against nature. He also acted the same way when the tested jarred salsas. He ALWAYS makes his own sauce explaining that it takes the same amount of time and tastes better. He didn’t give his recipe.

I’ve used jarred sauces all my life. Any time my mother made sauce from the garden tomatoes, it was bitter and kinda nasty (sorry, mom). I made it once and it was bitter and nasty. I have since found some easy recipes and have made decent sauces. They still need work because, I have to do the recipe with very low salt. The secret ingredient is usually salt. I welcome recipes but remember, when I used canned tomato stuff, it is usually ‘no salt added’.

Why does using a jarred sauce make me a bad cook? My kid is sick and he wants yoodles. He wants me to sit with him, not cook. If I can dump 1 thing in a pot, I’m happy. My choices are limited because of our salt restriction so the one I use is slightly healthier than the others.

What is the difference between making my own sauce from canned tomatoes and getting it from a jar? I can make it lower in salt. It costs a bit less. It doesn’t really take less time or effort. One jar vs. 3 cans. Aren’t they all pre-processed?

Oh, one last weird thing. I don’t like to microwave my tomato sauce. To me, it tastes better if I do it on the stove in a pot. I am sure it has something to do with the reactivity of the tomatoes and the pan. Does anyone know this for sure or is it just a weirdism of me?