On the Menu…9/16/14 edition

Really, I am making an effort. Life, as life will, keeps throwing curve balls at my efforts to return to blogging. Some, like my amazing trip with the BFF last week, are totally welcome pitches. Others, like a nasty health thingy, less so. Either way, I’m back. At least for this week. So, what’s on?


Tuesday: Chicken tacos with roasted squash. Simple dinner for a busy day. We took a long walk, we cleaned the house, we did the laundry, I swapped out my summer clothes for fall ones (it’s gloriously fall-like here, and the nights are chilly, it was time), and just hung out together. We don’t get to do that enough, so we wanted to keep it easy for tonight.

Wednesday: Swai al forno, with olive oil and garlic roasted Brussel sprouts, and a Mediterranean ravioli. I love swai. It’s affordable, it’s sustainable, and it’s delicious. Heartier and more flavorful than tilapia, less aggressive than your average catfish. Since I got a 2 lb bag at Aldi for $8, it’s also a great way to include fish in the diet without cleaning out the bank account. I’m doing it with a fresh heirloom tomato and panko topping. The Brussel sprouts, one of my favorite veggies, are a great side to this. The pasta is actually a dish for later in the week’s lunches, but we’ll have a bit to fill out this meal. It’s cheese ravioli with diced avocado, tomato, and sausage tossed in a light lemon and white wine sauce.

Thursday: Chicken tikka masala. Yes, I do Indian food a lot. It’s delicious. It’s also frugal and makes incredible leftovers. And, in this case, it’s also incredibly easy. Slowcooker Indian Chicken, and the rice cooker for basamati. Noms.

Friday. The Mediterranean pasta above. 

Saturday: Spicy Thai coconut curry soup. I love Thai soups. This one has a seafood and red curry base, with mushrooms, greens, red bell pepper, rice noodles, and fish.

Sunday & Monday: cleaning out the leftovers!

What are you eating this week?


On the Menu–June 17th to 24th

I am considering trying for an obstacle race again this summer, I am just trying to find a weekend I think I could fit one in! In the meantime, I need to get back to training. It’s gone by the wayside these past few weeks with the crazy amount of work, and the unexpected family stuff.

On the Menu

Tuesday: Herb and garlic salmon with steamed broccoli and miso couscous.

Weds: Bunless burgers with avacocado, served with whipped red potatoes and roasted Brussel sprouts

Thurs: Smoky pulled BBQ pork sandwhiches, with watermelon, feta, and mint salad.

Friday: Chana masala with spinach.

Saturday: Black bean tamale pie.

Sunday: Clean out the refrigerator! Leftovers night.

Next week (grocery shopping is happening on Tuesdays right now)

Monday: Cajun jambalaya.

Tuesday: Vegetarian moussaka.


We’ll See How “Back” I Am..

It’s too long to go into. I’m busy (as are we all, I know), and my job isn’t this anymore, so it’s kind of gone by the wayside. But, I miss the crap out of blogging, and I do better with food when it’s recorded somewhere. So, I’m going to give at least On the Menu a try and see if I can keep up with it. We’ll go from there!



Tonight: Wild caught salmon and farm-fresh duck egg over polenta, with raw veggies.

Thursday: Grilled Mojo pork loin with grilled corn and caprese salad.

Friday: Indian Chickpea stew, with yogurt and cilantro.

Saturday: leftovers

Sunday: BBQ grilled chicken, with mint, red onion, and watermelon salad.

Lunches will be spinach salads, fruit, cheese, and leftovers.

Breakfasts are overnight oatmeal in a variety of flavors, fruit, and homemade breakfast sandwiches.

What are you eating?

On the Menu, Feb 4th thru…

I’ve really needed to start this again for awhile, but things just seem to get in the way. Let’s see if it sticks this time!



Tuesday: Thai Coconut Curry tempeh and vegetables over brown basmati rice.  This is one of my favorite crock-pot meals. A bit of heat, a lot of flavors, and super easy.

Wednesday: Orange teriyaki salmon, with butternut-squash oil roasted Brussel sprouts and garlic potatoes. I like to think of this as a fusion meal. The butternut squash seed oil is from a little store in St. Joe, MI. It’s made with Michigan-grown squash, and it’s absolutely delicious. I’ll be roasting the sprouts with olive oil and balsamic vinegar first, then tossing them with a bit of the squash oil as finish.

Thursday: Shrimp Diavolo over New’dles. S This is a spicy dish, and I’m making it a good bit healthier by serving it over ribbons of yellow squash, zucchini, and parsnips. 

Friday: Black bean salsa chicken lettuce wraps. This is another slow cooker recipe. Generally, you make the filling and then eat it in tortillas, but I’m doing it in Boston lettuce instead.

Saturday: leftovers.

Sunday: East Indian Chickpea Stew. Yep, I cook this a lot. I can’t help it, it’s frickin’ delicious.

Monday:  Mediterranean salmon and zucchini cakes, with whipped cauliflower and orange maple tahini kale salad. A light meal, but incredibly satisfying and filling. I love the array of veggies in this meal, and the depth of the various flavors.

Tuesday: Doro Wat Stew. I love Ethiopian food ,and this is a great way to make a little at home without having to go all-out.

Lunches: leftovers (of course), Zero-noodles with pesto, various Vietnamese-style rice wraps full of veggies and fruits, cheese, boiled eggs.

The other thing I’m finally getting back to is putting things in the freezer to eat later, when I don’t have time to cook. Currently waiting for me are: venison 3-bean chili, Italian white bean & kale soup, venison steak & mushrooms over spaghetti squash, and chicken makhani. Freezing meals really helps me save money by cutting  down on food waste, as well as quelling the temptation to eat out on days when cooking isn’t going to happen.

It feels great to be cooking this way again!

On the Menu

The first phase of the move is over. Friday, I’ll finish up putting things in storage. In the meantime, I am trying to get back to cooking rather than just picking at food. So, I made a meal plan for this week and bought some groceries!

Monday: Asian salmon over greens. 

Tuesday: East Indian Chickpea Stew (this will double as a lunch for the next day, as well).

Wednesday: Shrimp over spaghetti squash, with a light tomato sauce.

Thursday:  Thai Yellow Curry with tofu.

I’ll be gone Friday and Saturday, so this is as far as I went. It’s a start to getting back on the right food track!

Changing the Definition of Milk to “Help” Consumers

So, this came across my screen today:

Flavored Milk; Petition to Amend the Standard of Identity for Milk and 17 Additional Dairy Products

A Proposed Rule by the Food and Drug Administration on 02/20/2013


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is announcing that the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) have filed a petition requesting that the Agency amend the standard of identity for milk and 17 other dairy products to provide for the use of any safe and suitable sweetener as an optional ingredient. FDA is issuing this notice to request comments, data, and information about the issues presented in the petition.”

You can, and should, read the whole thing here: https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/02/20/2013-03835/flavored-milk-petition-to-amend-the-standard-of-identity-for-milk-and-17-additional-dairy-products

The dairy industry just wants to help you! You, as a consumer, are just too stupid to know  that there’s sugar in milk (and this is what the petition says, not me), and so they just want to make it easier for you to make completely uninformed choices.  Because, educating consumers…well, that’s just silly.

There are so many things wrong with the propose amendment that I am only going to have time to cover a few:

1. Children don’t like the label “Reduced Calorie.”  It is not the FDA’s job to market to children, so it isn’t their job to come up with a definition of food that makes kids want to eat more of it. It’s their job to monitor food safety and quality. If children have a problem with “reduced calorie,” education of both children and parents, not re-labeling for better marketing, is a far more ethical way to deal with that issue.  And, it’s been proven to work.

2. “Safe” sweeteners. No one thing is “safe” for everyone. People have allergies, medication interactions, and other issues that can make what is “safe” for one person a life-threatening issue for another.  Having unlisted ingredients on any product is a safety hazard; but, especially in a product like milk, where the only ingredient ought to be “Milk,” it’s a large and irresponsible safety risk. Those with allergies, or their parents, would have no reason to suspect added hidden or new ingredients in what is supposed to be a whole food (would you look for aspartame in an apple? a green pepper?), and because these ingredients  can be listed as many different things (or, not listed at all, depending what they are and how much of them is present), they would have a difficult time finding out that they were present.

This would, of course, disproportionately impact the poor, especially children who receive free or reduced lunches and breakfasts through school, which almost always include milk. These parents and children often do not have the resources to research hidden ingredients, or access to news that they are now being added to a food that is generally considered a “whole” food.

3. Promoting good eating habits and reducing childhood obesity.  Yes, I can definitely see how including more processed additives to a whole food is going to promote good eating. Wait..what? No, no I can’t.  Added processed ingredients and sweeteners are part of what has gotten us in this mess in the first place.  That children are more likely to drink sweeter milk is no shock. The shock is that we keep giving it to them. Kids are also more likely to not do their homework, not take their bath, not do their chores, and not clean their room if left to their own devices. That is why we have parents and other adults who supervise them.

Also, the whole “kids won’t drink it” line regarding white milk is just wrong. When flavored milk is taken out of schools, milk consumption initially drops, but rebounds quickly.  And, of course, this isn’t just about flavored milk. This is about 17 different dairy products, including yogurt and white milk, having added sugars and artificial sweeteners (you can use the term “non-nutritive” all you want).

4. Consumers don’t know there’s sugar in milk*. This is a straw-man argument. Whether it is true or not has absolutely nothing to do with adding hidden sweeteners to milk and changing the definition of milk to accommodate that. If consumers don’t know there’s lactose in milk, or that lactose is a sugar, then the problem is (again) education. Lack of education isn’t solved by taking choices away from consumers, it’s solved by…well, education.

5.  The proposed amendments to the milk standard of identity would promote honesty and fair dealing in the marketplace and are therefore appropriate under section 401 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.  I have no idea how changing an established definition of a whole food to include ingredients that are not naturally found in that food, with the express purpose that the consumer have no indication those ingredients are present, can be seen as “honest and fair dealing.”  Lack of disclosure, bait-and-switch definitions, and pretending it’s all for the “good of the consumer” is pretty much the antithesis of “honest and fair dealing.”

6. Accordingly, the petitioners state that milk flavored with non-nutritive sweeteners should be labeled as milk without further claims so that consumers can “more easily identify its overall nutritional value.”  To be read: consumers are so stupid that they just can’t handle more words on a package, and so it’s just better not to clutter their pretty little heads with all that crazy nutrition talk. The dairy lobby and the FDA should just take that horrible burden off their shoulders by lying and hiding the truth, because blissful ignorance is much better for everyone.

It is not the FDA’s job to treat consumers like 2-year-old children who can’t be trusted to make reasonable decisions without being baby-talked into it. I don’t need to be goo-goo and ga-ga’d at, thanks.

So, why is the dairy industry even doing this?  Are they just concerned for all of us uneducated consumers making poor eating choices for ourselves and our families? No. There are several reasons the industry is lobbying for this amendment: decreasing costs by lowering quality and camouflaging it with cheap additives, and increasing consumption by providing unnaturally sweet dairy products to the public. But, of course, they want to do it under the flag of public health and concern. Don’t let them.

If you are as outraged at this idea as I am, please take a moment and leave a comment on the FDA’s page. Consumers do not have the same money and political leverage as the dairy lobby. All we have are our voices, and they need to be loud and numerous if we want to keep special interests out of our food.

*Citation needed. 

On the Menu, Feb 10-13

An abbreviated menu plan this week, due to some Life Stuff that means we won’t be cooking at home.

Sunday: Tortilla soup with heirloom corn meal muffins. We made a roasted chicken on Friday, and the carcass has been in the slow cooker overnight for stock to use in making the soup (we’ll also use the remaining meat from the bird). It’s a great way to stretch the meat budget. I picked up some local, non-GMO, heirloom corn meal the other day, and will be using it to make honey cornbread! I’ll be using this recipe, with some modifications: raw milk instead of soy milk, sucanat instead of sugar, and no dried coconut.

Monday: Venison Mushroom Stroganoff over spaghetti squash. My nephew brought us a bunch of venison from his successful hunting this year, and I have local, dried shitake mushrooms from earlier in the year, too. I’ll combine these with a few meaty portobello caps, for a really hearty dish. Instead of noodles, I serve it over spaghetti squash. Not only is it tasty, but it’s far healthier than pasta.

Tuesday: Japanese Vegetarian Curry. This is a new recipe, so I’ll let you know how it goes!

Wednesday: Salmon patties with sauteed zucchini & squash, with roasted Brussel Sprouts and salad. We love salmon patties, and I wanted to try out this new recipe (sans the cilantro, since Thadd has a sensitivity to it). I always try recipes on us before adding them to my database for clients.  Salmon patties are a great way to include wild-caught salmon, which has he right balance of great Omega Fatty Acids, into a diet on a budget. It’s also loaded with calcium, as most salmon is canned with the bones, which I leave in when making patties (no, you won’t notice the bones, because they break down in cooking).

What are you eating this week?