Pink Together Giveaway

Posted by JMom | Wednesday, October 26, 2011 | , , | 0 comments »

Prize Pack:

  • A 16 oz. box of Total cereal
  • VIP coupons valid for one box of Cheerios and Multigrain Cheerios cereal and one cup of Yoplait yogurt
  • Betty Crocker Living with Cancer Cookbook Pink Together Edition, which includes a collection of more than 150 delicious recipes with complete nutrition information and a 32-page Pink Together Survivor Ambassador bonus section that shares inspirational personal stories of survival as well as recipes
  • Water bottle and removable silicone awareness bracelet
  • Drawstring sport backpack
  • Rhinestone ear buds
Win this Pink Together Giftpack by entering the giveaway. Click here for details on how to enter the Pink Together Giveaway.

Fun Da-Middles Giveaway

Posted by JMom | Sunday, October 02, 2011 | , , | 1 comments »

Would you like to win the prize package above? The Betty Crocker Fun Da-middles Giveaway is now on Cooked From the Heart and you have many chances to win. The number of entries are low and the contest will end next Friday.

So get on over there to enter the giveaway! Click on the links or the photo to enter the giveaway.

The prize pack contains:
  • One sample of new Betty Crocker Fun da-middles cupcake mix
  • One cupcake pan
  • One oven mitt
  • One package of cupcake liners
  • One box of cupcake gift notes

Frugality is something that I try to adhere to in general. We do have three daughters to support, and two of them are now in college. My husband and I, of course, have been finding ways to earn money in addition to cutting back on unnecessary expenses.

At my house, the biggest chunk of our expenses go to food, largely consisting of the groceries we buy and the food that we eat out.

With us trying to save more money, when we buy convenience food, I have noticed that we tend to go for fast food rather than restaurant food. However, with the recent talks about fast food and prepared foods in general, we have been cutting down a lot on eating out. Especially junk food.

A few months ago, I read this article on the Simple Dollar referring to the revelation that Taco Bell (one of favorite go-to fast food chains) is not using 100% beef in their products as we would assume. But they are not alone in that. It is a common practice in most fast-food places and I'm sure even in some restaurants.

The following is an excerpt from the Simple Dollar (one of my favorite blogs for being frugal and healthy) about making your own convenience food at home.

Over the past week, the fast food restaurant chain Taco Bell was sued for claiming that the taco mixture used in their products was actually beef. According to USDA standards, a beef mixture served by businesses must contain at least 40% beef in ordered to be labeled as such, and the lawsuit alleges (with some evidence) that their taco mixture only contains 36% beef., not the 88% beef that they claim.

Taco Bell themselves list ingredients in their “meat filling products” that include “water, isolated oat product, wheat oats, maltodrextrin, soy lecithin, maltodrextrin, anti-dusting agent, autolyzed yeast extract, modified corn starch, sodium phosphate and silicon dioxide.”

Silicon dioxide?

Here’s the thing: the lawsuit itself isn’t really all that important. It’s the broader issue that scares me. Consider that the USDA only requires that something contain 40% meat to be called “meat,” whether at Taco Bell or anywhere else you might buy a “meat product.” ~ The Simple Dollar

As mentioned in the article, it's just as easy to make your own "fast food" at home rather than subjecting your family's health to subpar ingredients and toxic additives. The Simple Dollar, by the way is a personal finance blog that gives practical advice and solutions to financial problems that we all encounter. While he advises on ways to increase your income stream, he is not one of those sites that promote make money online schemes so THEY can make money online. The topics he discusses and the advice he doles out are all practical and sensible for everyday folks like us. I also like it that he talks about the meals that they prepare in their family, meals that are healthy but also frugal.

What is Miso?

Posted by JMom | Monday, July 11, 2011 | , , , , | 1 comments »

My daughter loves miso soup. You know, the kind they give you at the Japanese restaurant that usually has cubes of tofu and slivers of seaweed? Well my daughter who swears to hate anything seafood loves miso soup. She tolerates the seaweed or just picks them out when she sees them. But I haven't told her that the stock base for miso soup is made of fish stock. Or rather, flavored with dried bonito flakes. Did you know that?

Did you also know that the main ingredient of the soup, MISO, is made of fermented soy beans? My daughter does not mind this so much. She loves edamame! Salt and koji fungus are also added to fascilitate the fermentation process along.

The final product that I buy is a tub like the one pictured below at the Asian market. It's usually in the refrigerated section.

It is a thick paste, golden in color, has a slightly sour, fermented smell and very salty. I have been buying it mainly to make my daughter's miso soup. Then a few weeks ago, I ran across this recipe for Miso Dip, and I just fell in love with it!


It's so simple, I don't know why I never thought of doing it before. The dip, which is really more of a condiment that you can use to accompany a variety of dishes, is simply miso paste sauteed with garlic, onions and tomatoes. Nothing could be simpler! But oh the possibilities of using this condiment is endless!

So far, we've used it as a flavor enhancer for soups, a dip for fried fish and pork chops, added it to curried dishes, and my favorite, as a pasta sauce!

I'll post more photos and recipes of miso dip inspired dishes as I get to them.
Now if you would like to learn more specific and detailed information about Miso, check out this page about Hatcho Miso for some very interesting facts.

Food Quote: TORTILLA

Posted by JMom | Tuesday, June 28, 2011 | | 1 comments »

"Tita knew through her own flesh how fire transforms the elements, how a lump of corn flour is changed into a tortilla, how a soul that hasn't been warmed by the fire of love is lifeless, like a useless ball of corn flour."
— Laura Esquivel (Like Water for Chocolate)


Posted by JMom | Wednesday, June 01, 2011 | | 0 comments »

"Vegetarian: an old Indian word for bad hunter"

Food Quote: SOUP

Posted by JMom | Wednesday, May 25, 2011 | | 5 comments »


"There ain't a body, be it mouse or man, that ain't made better by a little soup."
— Kate DiCamillo (The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread)

Food Quote - CREAM

Posted by JMom | Tuesday, May 10, 2011 | | 4 comments »

"If you're afraid of butter, use cream" ~ Julia Child

Food Network Star Returns!

Posted by JMom | Thursday, April 21, 2011 | | 0 comments »

Loving food and anything related to food, it's inevitable that I am also loving all the cooking shows on tv especially the Food Network. For me, the Food Network and the Travel Channel make having cable so worth it. I love watching the celebrity chefs but I also love watching 'real life' cooks. That's why I'm excited to hear that Food Network Star Returns In June! It will premier again on June 5 at 9PM ET/PT.

15 finalists will be cooking their way towards their very own Food Network show and we'll be voting for our favorites. I love this show because they not only have to be able to cook well, they also have to be personable enough to present what they've cooked. For tv, personality is everything after all. I mean look at Rachel Ray. LOVE HER! A lot of 'serious' cooks and foodies deride her but the girl is just so darn cute and personable, you can't help but like her. The girl's got charisma! I'm sure the judges for Food Network Star will be on the lookout for the contestant with charisma.

A great example of this charisma thing is one previous winner, Aarti Sequeira who now is host of Aarti Paarti on the Food Network. She is is just adorable! You can't help but like her. She's got a beautiful smile and makes Indian food seem easy to cook!

Food Network Star


Posted by JMom | Tuesday, April 12, 2011 | , | 1 comments »

Seafood Curry

"Leftovers in their less visible form are called memories. Stored in the refrigerator of the mind and the cupboard of the heart" ~ Thomas Fuller

What wines to give for a birthday?

Posted by JMom | Monday, March 21, 2011 | , | 2 comments »

What wines to give for a birthday?
A good wine can make a great gift but people’s taste in wine can be difficult to work out if you are not in a position to discuss it with them. However, there are a few rough guidelines you can follow to increase the chances of your present being a big hit.

When buying wine for people whose taste you know very little about, go for a bottle that you are confident would please the majority of your friends if you served it at a dinner party. Perhaps your wine won’t be a life-changing experience for the receiver, but you want to make sure you at least do not offend their palette!

Merlot and Cabernet are considered to be universally loved wines, so if you’re seeking a bottle of red wine to buy your boss or a long lost family member, these two options represent reasonably safe bets.

If your friend’s birthday is in autumn or winter, a bottle of Pinot Noir is likely to go down a treat with most people. White wine is more commonly served in warm weather, so if the birthday party is a spring gathering or a summer barbecue, a bottle of Pinot Grigio will make you a popular guest.

Champagne is the classic celebration wine and you will rarely get anything less than a positive reaction when buying it as a gift. Even wine drinkers who don’t have a particular affection for champagne will enjoy having a bottle around for that special occasion or celebration.

If you can ascertain the kind of food being served at a birthday party you’re attending, you can always bring the gift of a great wine to accompany the meal.

If the birthday dinner is likely to be a hearty dish of red meat, casserole or pie, then a good, full-bodied red wine like a Cabernet Sauvignon will compliment it well. If fish, pasta or salads are on the menu, go for a white wine such as Rombauer Chardonnay. Alternatively, if spicy Mexican or Indian food is on the agenda, a wine with more of a zesty kick to it might work well, such as a Shiraz.

The price and size of your birthday gift are, unfortunately, things to keep in mind. A standard bottle of wine brought as a gift to be served at a table of 20 people might be a gesture that creates a bit of a problem for the host when everyone wants to try your perfectly matched wine with their meal. Ask your local wine merchant for a magnum if you know the wine will be passed around a lot.

Equally, don’t scrimp on birthday wines. Imagine your friend or relative’s face when they sit down to enjoy their present, only to find upon tasting that you picked up a cheap, bottom-of-the-barrel bargain from your local corner shop! When it comes to wine, price generally reflects quality, so while there is no need to break the bank, let the price of your wine guide you to a good gift.


Food Quote: Apple

Posted by JMom | Wednesday, February 23, 2011 | | 7 comments »

"Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the number of apples in a seed."
~ Robert H. Schuller

GIVEAWAY - Olivari Kitchen Essentials

Posted by JMom | Friday, February 18, 2011 | , | 0 comments »

I had the opportunity to try out Olivari Extra Virgin Olive oil recently and liked it so much that I asked them if they would like to sponsor a giveaway on my blog. I was a bit surprised when they agreed! So here's your chance to try out this great product too. All you have to do is visit the giveaway post on Cooked from the Heart by clicking on the image above. Follow the instructions on that post on how to enter the giveaway - you just have to leave me a comment - and that's it! Hurry on over there, the giveaway ends at the end of the month on the 28th.

New Beginnings for the New Year

Posted by JMom | Thursday, February 17, 2011 | | 0 comments »

So the new year is well underway, another holiday under our belt with the passing of Valentine's Day. The year is flying by and everyone in the blogging world seem to have gone on a major overhaul mode. Several of the blogs I visit, I notice, have given themselves new looks, with new blog designs.

Another trend I've been noticing is that everyone is getting a lot of marketing materials made. Business cards are being ordered, giveaway items with a blog's logo is also becoming popular lately. T-shirts, of course, are always popular giveaway items. I would love to have one made for my food blog.

There is one place I found where, if you're interested in making any of these customized marketing materials, you run a test run and just order a few for yourself, or put your design out there for your fans to order. It's called Cafe Press. You've probably heard of it. Some of the new bands that my daughter follows have their t-shirts for sale from the site, that's how I found out about them.

They actually have a great selection of designs on their site, not just the custom designed ones although, personally, I think those are the best ones.

With St. Patrick's Day coming round the corner fast, I'm sure Irish T Shirts will featured on the site soon. Som of the other themed designs available are Racing T Shirts, T shirts with slogans, or T shirts with funny themes, with pets, or holiday themed. You can find just about anything there.

So I'm getting away from myself again. What I'm actually considering is having my daughter design a logo for the food blog and submit it to Cafe Press for printing. Our fans can order whether they want the logo on t-shirts, or other items like mugs, magnets and such that are also offered from the site. What do you think? Have you used them before? What are your thoughts? Please let me know.

So Very Nice Chicken Soup with Rice

Posted by JMom | Monday, January 03, 2011 | , | 5 comments »

The weather has turned cold in the Carolinas alright! We even got snow on Christmas day! Amazing. That was the first snow on Christmas we've had since moving here 16 years ago. Actually, the whole area hadn't seen snow since 1947!

So what's good when there's snow and it's cold outside? Why soup of course! And what better soup to stave off the cold than something that sticks to the bones like this chicken soup with rice!

Click here for the recipe for Arroz Caldo or Chicken Soup with Rice

Visit our other blogs:
Cooked from the Heart - our new food blog
Our New Backyard - garden & photo blog
Found Not Lost - about all the things we 'find' worth talking about