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Organic Vegetables & Fruits

If you were to get all of your vegetables from conventionally farmed sources, this would be better for your health than eating no fresh vegetables at all. However, conventionally farmed vegetables are not your best choice. Organic vegetables are a much better option.

 Of the 43 different fruit and vegetable categories tested by the Environmental Working Group and included in their Shoppers' Guide to Pesticides in Produce, these 12 fruits and vegetables had the highest pesticide load, making them the most important to buy or grow organic:
  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Lettuce
  • Grapes (imported)
  • Pears
  • Spinach
  • Potatoes
In contrast, these foods were found to have the lowest residual pesticide load, making them the safest bet among conventionally grown vegetables:
  • Broccoli
  • Eggplant
  • Cabbage
  • Banana
  • Kiwi
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet peas (frozen)
  • Mango
  • Pineapple
  • Sweet corn (frozen)
  • Avocado
  • Onion
So if you need to work within a certain budget, use this information to help guide you to the best choices when it comes to lowering your overall pesticide exposure.


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers 60 percent of herbicides, 90 percent of fungicides, and 30 percent of insecticides to be carcinogenic, and most are damaging to your nervous system as well. In fact, these powerful and dangerous chemicals have been linked to numerous health problems such as:
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Disruption of your endocrine system
  • Carcinogenicity
  • Immune system suppression
  • Male infertility and reduced reproductive function
  • Miscarriages
  • Parkinson's disease
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Well, I only had to send David to the store twice (I thought I had bought it all!), and everything came out as planned... the brined, injected, spice rubbed 12 pound turkey who roasted over the open pan of gravy - in the oven for 2 solid hours with NO opening the oven - turned out maybe even juicier than last year.  Definitely more tasty, since the recipe has been improved upon!  The oiling and searing at 500 for 30 minutes really locks in the moisture so basting is NOT needed. The gravy in the pan retains humidity in the oven so basting serves no purpose.  

So I went with everything linked in the previous blog entry, and I intend to repeat exactly the same again next time.
Om nom nom.

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Turkey Time!

I know, I know, I have to wait 1 more week.  But just remember to get all your ducks in a row THIS week, so that NEXT week you won't be stressing and fretting.  :-)  Get your recipes out, start your shopping list, and all that good stuff, NOW!

As for my holiday cooking plans, well, they're not much different from last year, though the turkey gets a few tweaks:

The Bird:
-Alton Brown's Good Eats: Roast Turkey is the base plan since it has been SO DELICIOUS the past few times now! But I am going to make use of the gravy and wet rub sections from The Ultimate Turkey. I wish I could incorporate the smoking wood but I'm doing it all in the oven. It will still get injected though, bwahaha. I believe I am going to try this Turkey Injection Recipe unless I can come up with anything better. This one sounds good.

-Butternut Squash Casserole - It's so good you won't ever make sweet potato casserole ever again after trying this. Seriously. I have to make a whole casserole separate for my dad every year!

-Cranberry Apple Pear Chutney - A step up from the canned gel glop garbage. So good you can eat it on the side with a spoon! ;D

-Chicken & Dressing - my family has always done the "stuffing" on the side like this. (Here's a decent recipe, minus the apples and raisins, eww.. Plus, you need to use cornbread, not loaf bread! Just a few slices for consistency.)

-Green Bean Casserole - a requested staple.

And for dessert:
-Fat Man's Pie - Another annual prerequisite.
Maybe some of you would prefer the Mystery Pecan Pie. I might save that one for Christmas.

-Maybe I will mull some apple cider, too.  Mmm...

Refrigerator thawing. This is the easiest method. Leave the meat in its packaging in a pan deep enough to catch drips. Allow one day for every four pounds, so if you have a 20 pound turkey to cook on Thursday, you need to start thawing it on Sunday.

8-12 lbs. 1-2 days
12-16 lbs. 2-3 days
16-20 lbs. 3-4 days
20-24 lbs 4-5 days

Cooking Time:

At 325°F, a 15-pound bird will be done in about 3 to 3.5 hours.  A 20-pound bird should take a total of about 4 to 4.5 hours.  The total time depends on how well you control the oven temp, and how often you open the lid.
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A Lemony Caper Alfredo Chicken Dinner

Mix together in bowl:
mushrooms, quartered
artichoke hearts (marinaded; including the sauce)
lemon juice
minced olives


Cook until done, in olive oil:
chicken breast chunks
chopped onions
minced garlic
fresh ground pepper
salt, to taste

Reduce sauce.
Reduce heat.

Drain pasta and put on plates.

add butter
alfredo sauce
sour cream

Cook over low heat, until heated. 
Serve over pasta.
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Mad scientist time

We decided this one was worth saving some notes on so we can make it again later :)
I don't know what to call it.  Chicken a'la Tina?

Boil noodles.

Fry in skillet 2 slices of bacon. [drain when bacon approaches mostly done; return bacon to skillet]  Add about a quarter of an onion sliced to skillet and fry, along with about 1 tsp garlic, 1 pat butter.  When this has had time to soften, add 4-5 sliced mushrooms, 1 tbsp diced black olives, and about 2 tbsp pesto sauce.  If bacon begins to overcook, push to outsides of skillet.  Remove it when it's done and cool, and crumble and set aside.
--Do NOT do a taste test at this point.  You'll think that I'm crazy and that I have ruined your dinner. LOL  Trust me, it will come together in the end.  The flavor combination is NOT there yet by this point!--
Add 1 more butter pat. Cut up one large chicken breast into chunks and add to skillet along with fresh ground black pepper; cook until done.  Stir in bacon, alfredo sauce, parmesan cheese, and sour cream. 

Serve over noodles.
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Best. Ramen. Ever.

At about a buck a pack, they're the best ramen noodles I can find yet.
Get them at the Super Oriental Market!
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Lebanese Food Festival

Twelfth Annual
Lebanese Food & Cultural Festival
(No Admission Charge)  
FRIDAY, APRIL 9th and SATURDAY, APRIL 10th, 2010
10:00 A.M. - 9:00 P.M.

Saint Elias
Maronite Catholic Church
836 8th Street South
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Mmm, corned beef & taters!

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How To Keep Bananas Fresh

Want to keep your bananas from getting brown and mushy?  Here is how Chiquita does it:

Typically, green bunches of bananas are packaged in temperature-controlled boxes of 58 degrees, which delays ripening.

But once they are in the perfectly ripe yellow state, the single bananas are laid on top of one another in boxes that are covered with a semipermeable membrane that allows oxygen to pass through but controls the flow of carbon dioxide to delay ripening until the box is opened.

Once your bananas are nice and ripe, 
Don't store them in a bag that will impede the airflow and trap other gas inside.
Don't store them in the sun.
Don't store them in the refrigerator.

Storing bananas on a banana hanger or hook is the best way to preserve the overall quality of a ripe banana as it avoids "resting bruises."
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The Classic Waffle

The Recipe for a Classic Waffle.

Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl; set aside.

Preheat waffle iron to desired temperature.

Beat egg in a separate bowl. Stir in milk, butter and vanilla. Pour mixture into first bowl and beat until blended.

Pour or ladle batter into preheated waffle iron. Cook waffles until golden and crisp.

Serve immediately (serving suggestion: with butter and syrup.  Or ice cream.  Or whipped cream!)

Classic Waffle

Only want 2 waffles?  Hey, use that extra batter for some cookies!
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Mmm, Fried Chicken

Better than KFC, it's DaveFC!


The recipe, so I won't lose it....

Egg wash:
2 eggs
1/4 cup water

1 tsp each of

1 egg
1 cup flour
1/2 cup milk
1 *fat* tbsp. garlic

To roll in:
Dry flour

Egg wash the chicken.
Then sauce it.
Then flour it.
Now, deep-fry it.
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Finally, I found some aloe juice at the Asian Market

which has collagen written on the label too.

(see previous post regarding the health benefits of Aloe Vera)

"Through observation and further tests, scientists have proven that the healing effects of Aloe extend beyond merely soothing sunburn."

Japanese women drink collagen, or Toki, for its youthful rejuvenating properties.  They believe that collagen is an anti-aging product.

But will ingesting it really help?  The secret lies in your body producing it.  Though it is proposed to aid in the repair of collagen and elasin, I don't know the answer to this question, but I know those Japanese women sure do look great on into their old age.  They can't be doing everything wrong.  The Asians eat a much better diet than we Westerners but well, we have to start somewhere, don't we?

Top 10 Benefits of drinking aloe vera juice

10. Great for mouth & gums
9. Sooths
8. Benefits digestion
7. Provides immune support & function
6. Aids in weight loss: cleanses digestive system.  You'll feel better overall and have higher energy.
5. Benefits collagen and elastin repair.
4. Daily dose of minerals
3. Daily dose of vitamins
2. Anti-inflammatory
1. Body-building amino acid blocks are within it

Get it unflavored and mix it with another juice of your liking.
Or just buy it at the Wal Mart pharmacy; it comes in a very palatable berry flavor.  Drink a couple of ounces a day.
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Singapore Mai-Fun

It has been nearly a decade ago, but once upon a time a local Chinese restaurant existed which served Singapore Mai-Fun.  I have never seen it in a restaurant since then.  Sadly, they closed years ago.  I forgot all about this great dish but remembered it and thought I'd try to find a recipe for it.  

I'm glad I looked twice because I FINALLY found an authentic recipe!  

Singapore Mai-Fun

This is a 2-part dish because you also must make the Chinese BBQ pork that goes in it.  And you really cannot forgo this; mixing in the BBQ sauce along with the Sing Chow sauce is really what perfected it, at least for my palate.  So I also found a recipe for the BBQ:


Chinese BBQ Pork

Here they are, together:

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