Monday, December 23, 2019

Whole grains vs. regular grains: What's the difference?

Whole grains vs. regular grains: What's the difference?

Whole grains provide a variety of healthy nutrients and are naturally low in fat. Here's how to get more into your diet.

Chances are you eat lots of grains already. But are they the healthiest kind? If you're like most people, you're not getting enough whole grains in your diet. Aim to choose whole grains for at least half of all the grains you eat. Read on to learn about the different types and why you should skip refined and enriched grains.

Types of grains

Also called cereals, grains and whole grains are the seeds of grasses cultivated for food. They come in many shapes and sizes, from large kernels of popcorn to small quinoa seeds.

Whole grains. These unrefined grains haven't had their bran and germ removed by milling; therefore, all of the nutrients remain intact. Whole grains are better sources of fiber and other important nutrients, such as selenium, potassium and magnesium. Whole grains are either single foods, such as brown rice and popcorn, or ingredients in products, such as buckwheat in pancakes or whole wheat in bread.
Refined grains. In contrast to whole grains, refined grains are milled, a process that strips out both the bran and germ to give them a finer texture and longer shelf life. The refining process also removes many nutrients, including fiber. Refined grains include white flour, white rice, white bread and degermed cornflower. Many breads, cereals, crackers, desserts and pastries are made with refined grains, too. These processed foods will not keep your blood sugar levels steady, which is why you will be hungry again soon after consumption.
Enriched grains. Enriched means that some or many of the nutrients that are lost during processing are added back in later.

Most refined grains are enriched, and many enriched grains are also fortified — meaning nutrients that don’t occur naturally in the food are added — with other vitamins and minerals, such as folic acid and iron. Enriched grains lack fiber and are not an optimal choice because while they have traces of nutrition, many important vitamins and nutrients are lost during processing.

Choosing whole grains

Eat whole grains rather than refined grains as often as possible. Examples of whole grains include:

Brown rice
Bulgur (cracked wheat)
Whole-wheat bread, pasta or crackers
Wild rice

It's not always easy to tell which grains are in a particular product, especially bread. For instance, a brown bread isn't necessarily whole wheat — the color may come from added coloring. If you're not sure something has whole grains, check the product label or the Nutrition Facts panel. Look for the word "whole" on the package, and make sure whole grains appear among the first items in the ingredient list.

How to enjoy more whole grains in your diet

Try these tips to add more whole grains to your meals and snacks:

Enjoy breakfasts that include whole-grain cereals, such as bran flakes, shredded wheat or oatmeal.
Substitute whole-wheat toast or whole-grain bagels for plain. Substitute low-fat bran muffins for pastries.
Make sandwiches using whole-grain breads or rolls. Swap out white-flour tortillas with whole-wheat versions.
Replace white rice with kasha, brown rice, wild rice or bulgur.
Feature wild rice or barley in soups, stews, casseroles and salads.
Add whole grains, such as cooked brown rice or whole-grain bread crumbs, to ground meat or poultry for extra body.
Use rolled oats or crushed bran cereal in recipes instead of dry bread crumbs.

Eating a variety of whole grains not only ensures that you get more health-promoting nutrients but also helps make your meals and snacks more interesting.
source: Mayo Clinic

Friday, November 29, 2019

Pumpkin Pancakes


1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 cup vegetable oil
1 egg ( slightly beaten )
1 1/2 cups buttermilk ( 1/8 - 1/4 cup more if needed to keep batter thinner )
1/3 cup pureed pumpkin (pumpkin from a can will work)
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla


Preparation time 10mins
Cooking time 20mins
Adapted from
Step 1

In a medium sized bowl add flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and baking soda, whisk together with a fork to blend all of the dry ingredients.

Add vegetable oil, slightly beaten egg, 1 and 1/2 cups of buttermilk and stir until mixture is just well blended.

Add pumpkin, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice and stir until you have a uniform mixture.

Heat a frying pan to a medium heat or use a griddle and heat to 350 degrees.

Oil the cooking area slightly with vegetable oil, and then pour batter onto surface.

About 1/2 cup of batter creates a pancake that is easy to handle.

Flip your pancake over when you see the edges of the pancake become dry and small bubbles from on the uncooked side.

After pancakes are flipped cook for another minute or two.

Turning pancakes is made much easier if you spray your pancake turner with a non stick spray.

This recipe makes about nine 4" - 5" pancakes.

Serve warm with your favorite syrup

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Smoked Ham Hocks Greens and Beans Soup

After swimming I walked over to my local butcher shop and bought a smoked ham hock. He cut it into quarters. I am pressure cooking it with a pound of kidney beans, onions, lots of fresh garlic, red wine, Cholula hot sauce, frozen corn, spinach, oregano, bay leaf, Adobo. I took pointers from this recipe but mine is much more of a soup at this point.
Update: Today I bought three bunches of collard greens and chopped them steamed them in the pressure cooker and added them into the soup with more water and chianti Adobo and salt. It was fantastic!

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Roasting Cauliflower, Eggplant, Carrots

Home-roasting chopped cauliflower, carrots, eggplant, kale in a 450 degree oven drizzled with olive oil Adobo kosher salt...

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Blackeyed Peas

I just cooked a batch of blackeyed peas and they are so good. I love them because they taste like DIRT! Delicious dirt!


Two heads of kale steamed in chicken bullion. Then I added olive oil, 2 pieces of cooked chopped bacon, 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds, and slices of raw red onion. Delicious.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019


Snyder's Sourdough hard pretzels dipped in melted chocolate (Ritter Sport Extra Fine 73% Dark Chocolate). Available at Joblot.


I love broccoli! After swimming today I chopped a bunch of broccoli crowns into florets and put them in my skillet turned up the heat and then added some olive oil. I tossed the broccoli florets to distribute them in the oil. Then I added a chicken bullion cube dissolved in 6 oz of boiling water and added it to the broccoli and covered it to steam it a few minutes. I like the broccoli to stay bright green flavorful and slightly aldente (with bite).

Monday, July 22, 2019

Lentils and Carrots

I just made a pot of lentils and added them to the steamed vinaigrette carrots I made yesterday. Delicious.

Caesar Dressing

Friday, July 19, 2019

Summer Iced Tea

Tetley black tea (three teabags) brewed with (one teabag) Celestial Seasoning's Black Cherry Berry herb tea cooled and combined (halved) with apple cider makes a fabulous iced tea. Dilute with a bunch of ice cubes!

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Coleslaw and Brown Basmati Rice

I made coleslaw using Marion Cunningham's SUPPER BOOK recipe and I added buttermilk which is a super addition because it wilts the cabbage. I made basmati brown rice in my electric pressure-cooker and it is delicious. The two foods made a perfect supper.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Baker's Chocolate one Bowl Brownies


4 squares Bakers unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup margarine
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup coarsely chopped nuts (optional)


1 microwave chocolate and butter in large bowl at high for 2 minutes or until butter is melted, stir until chocolate is melted. Stir in sugar, mix in eggs and vanilla, stir in flour and nuts, spread in greased 13 by 9 inch pan. Bake at 350 degree oven for 35 minutes

Friday, April 19, 2019

Andrea Nguyen

Instant Pot Viet Beef Stew with Star Anise and Lemongrass
A bank examiner gone astray, Andrea Nguyen is living her dream of writing impactful cookbooks and teaching others how to cook well. She recently won a James Beard Award for The Pho Cookbook. Her new book, Vietnamese Food Any Day, empowers you to make Viet food whenever you want; no Asian markets required.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

40 pounds of Dark Rye Flour

We made our quarterly trek to JAR Baker's Supply in Lincoln RI for bread baking supplies. This time we purchased 40 pounds of dark rye flour.

Cuban Coffee!

Using our vintage espresso machine

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Brown Butter Toffee Choc Chip

Sriracha-Braised Brisket Sandwich

I must try this with my pressure cooker.
The key to success in this recipe is time. Don’t try and rush the brisket by turning up the heat—that will only dry it out and make it tougher. Let it go low and slow until the meat is shreddable. Bon Appetit

Double Chocolate Biscotti

Chocolate Chunk

My husban brings home cookies made at his school. They shouldn't be legal.

RI Pizza at Home

I made sourdough and ripped off a softball sized piece each day to make a RI style pizza. My sauce was a simple red sauce homemade. I pressure cooked 2 cans of crushed tomato olive oil garlic fennel bay leaf oregano chili pepper flakes, 6 local italian sausages and a cup of cheap chianti.


The pizza strip, which is apparently available in New England but thrives in Rhode Island. Native Ocean Stater Christopher Borrelli writes about it in the Chicago Tribune:

The pizza strip is the pizza I grew up on, and unique beyond its shape. I doubt I ever attended a party or cookout in Providence where a pile of strips was not served. A box of them was always in our kitchen, the cardboard studded with grease spots. Some call it bakery pizza. Or tomato pie. But "pizza strip" captures its spartan delight. It is basically bread (often a focaccia, with hints of rosemary or basil), a mess of tomato sauce (thick, and bright red)—and that's it. No cheese. Served at room temperature.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Go lean with protein

Protein is an important part of a balanced diet. Choose breast meat or low-fat ground chicken or turkey, and ground beef that is 90 percent lean or more. Limit meat and poultry servings to 3 ounces — about the size of a deck of cards. Don't eat meat? Lentils, plain Greek yogurt, eggs and nuts are great sources of protein, too.
Mayo Clinic

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Must Try

Zoodles – Zucchini noodles.
Poodles – Parsnip noodles.
Swoodles – Sweet Potato Noodles.
Toodles – Turnip noodles.
Coodles – Carrot Noodles.
Sqoodles – Squash noodles.
Boodles – Broccoli Stem noodles (peel stem first)

Kangaroo Pouch

I never leaves home without a snack. “I’m obsessed with having food in my bag. I hate the idea that I’ll get hungry and there will only be bad options around. I carry fruit, homemade granola, and water.


I don't have a sweet tooth but I do have a savory tooth. I made a 1.5 batch of hummus and it was so good I made it again after the holiday...and a third time. I've discovered dried Kalamata figs are good with it as are the usual suspects: celery, carrots, semolina bread.

Pantry Stock

Stock your pantry with these healthy items

Making smart food choices is easy when you're prepared.

Having healthy options at home is essential for weight-loss success. Keep these smart choices on hand for fast and flavorful meals and snacks.

Fruits and vegetables

Fresh fruits
Fresh vegetables
Frozen vegetables (no sauce)
Frozen chopped onion and green peppers
Canned fruits (packed in their own juice or water)
Dried fruit
Low-sodium, low-fat pasta; pizza and tomato sauces
Canned diced tomatoes
100 percent fruit juice, including calcium-fortified (but limit juice intake to 4 ounces a day)


Fat-free or 1 percent milk
Low-fat or fat-free yogurt
Low-fat or fat-free cheese
Frozen yogurt or fruit sorbet

Whole grains

Whole-grain breakfast cereal
Rice: brown (regular and instant), wild, blends
Whole-grain bread
Whole-grain pita bread
Whole-grain pasta
Whole-grain crackers
old fashioned popcorn


Black, kidney or navy beans
water-packed tuna
Other fish with omega-3 fatty acids
Skinless white-meat poultry
Dry-roasted nuts
Individually frozen skinless chicken breasts
Individually frozen salmon, cod or other fish
Frozen shrimp or scallops

Cooking staples

Fresh garlic and onions
Olive oil
Corn oil
Red wine and/or balsamic vinegar
Fat-free cooking spray

As you can see, eating well at home doesn't require expensive or unusual ingredients, and you certainly don't have to be a master chef. Whole-wheat pasta tossed with loads of veggies, salads, and whole-grain wraps or quesadillas are all easy meal options. You can even put together a snack plate and include your favorite raw veggies, nuts and healthy dips, like hummus.