Monday, April 25, 2011

#1 Book in America?

Today Snack Girl provided a review of 'The Dukan Diet'. It's the #1 book in America. With the Royal Wedding a few days away, this diet has been in the news a lot in recent weeks. When I first heard about this diet I had flashbacks to the 1990s where co-workers would cook raw chicken in the microwave and just eat meat all day long.

Here's part of the review on Snack Girl:

"So, the Dukan Diet is "Atkins without the fat", and I am sure you will lose weight on it. You will also be constipated, feel lethargic, and have bad breath. You could potentially harm your kidneys with all that protein in your diet.

Look, I know we are all desperate to lose weight, but this is not the way to go about it. Not only do you want to shed pounds, but you should want to get HEALTHIER not UNHEALTHIER.

The Dukan Diet relies on you eating a lot of protein and very little of anything else. It is inflexible, unrealistic, and drastic."

I also just watched the 2nd episode in 'Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution' last night (the LA season). Those burger specials for under $5 (with healthy veggies and humanely raised local meat) looked fantastic. I did not think that anything would be more shocking than the Huntington WV season.

Do you know anyone on the Dukan Diet right now? If so, are they doing it because they heard about it in the news? Have you been watching 'Food Revolution' this season? The behind the scenes red tape in that district (that all of the viewers now know about) is pretty upsetting.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

It's a wee chicken

Last night while grocery shopping I picked up a humanely raised meat I don't normally buy. Cornish Game Hens. The price was right (around $5 per wee little bird). On the way home from the store I realized that I had no idea how to cook them (we have cooked them before in our 'set it and forget it' rotisserie, but that device has been retired to the pantry for now as it's a mess to clean).

I looked up a recipe and modified it to suit our needs. It came out very good!

1. Cut two Cornish game hens in half.
2. Rub a mix of spices plus salt and pepper both inside and outside of the bird
(I used garlic powder, paprika, sage, rosemary, salt, pepper)
3. Brown the birds in a little bit of butter in a large Dutch oven (Tyler did this step and used our Le Cruset pan)
4. Pour in 1 cup of white wine and cook with lid on for 45 minutes on low or until the birds reach the appropriate temperature.
5. Serve with buttered egg noodles and some veggies (we used carrots and broccoli cooked on the stove top in olive oil).
6. You can also thicken up the cooking broth a bit with corn starch and pour a bit over noodles and hens. We ate 1/2 hen each and saved the rest for tonight.

The meat just falls off the bone. Highly recommend!
(photo source: Edible Portland)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Battle with the Sun

Many of you know about my off-the-grid home in Maine. It's 100% powered by solar and wind. A few year's back our solar panels were stolen off the roof and it took me 3 weeks to find a new insurance policy. Some of the biggest insurance companies in America told me they would NOT insure a home that was not connected to the grid. They preferred a home that was connected to the grid where solar was a secondary energy source not primary. Even with battery backup (which is what we have). It was not a fun process, and I was horrified to learn how the insurance industry is so against green living in the US.

As it turns out, so are electric companies. I wanted to make you aware of a horrible situation going on right now for Black Dinah Chocolatiers. BDC recently installed solar panels to off-set their electricity costs for the business. They even had professionals install the system. They have received word from their electric company (Isle au Haut Electric) that they need to disconnect their system WITHIN 24 hours or else the company is cutting power to the house/business. This is absurd! Yes, it's a very small self-sufficient island off of Maine. However, that's all the more reason to allow a business to convert to solar for their secondary energy source. 

Have any of you ever heard of such a thing? Everything was done by the books here and this little power company has basically said "not on our island." I thought that power companies were required by law to work with these type of systems. Very upsetting!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Rainy Day Fun Book

When I was little I remember having an activity book called the 'Rainy Day Fun Book'. It had various at-home activities. I wish today at work that I had a book like this.

Mostly we're just trying to have fun and combat the Mondays by eating lots of tasty food (including homemade carrot cake that someone brought in). This...was not the best approach. I actually just downed a 1,000 calorie lunch (whoops) that I hope will be offset by me taking Zumba (!) for the first time at my gym tonight. I'm a little bit scared but my skills are not that shabby considering the last time I played the dance game on Wii I did quite well. As long as I don't fall down and burn over 500 calories I'll consider it a successful class.

While we're on a healthy topic I have a gardening question I was hoping any of the readers who garden can help out with. Each year we grow some veggies we have not tried before. This year (well technically we will not be eating them until 2012) we are planting asparagus. Also leeks. If any of you have tips and suggestions for growing asparagus or leeks please do share!
(Photo credit: Eco Logic)