Rosemary + Garlic Roasted Potatoes

I think the humble potato may be one of my favorite foods. There are so many yummy things to do with them … potato chips (US), french fries (US) / chips (UK), mashed potatoes, and today’s topic, roasted potatoes. This recipe is quite easy to prep, is forgiving of small errors, and you can substitute many flavoring choices if you don’t have something available.

So let’s get to it. I originally found this on FoodTV.com, but have adapted it to my own preferences.

Materials:

  • potatoes (I like small red potatoes, but Yukon golds work well too, or whatever kind you can get; and I prefer organic potatoes because this vegetable is pretty heavily sprayed in the US)
  • garlic cloves (can substitute garlic salt or minced garlic)
  • fresh rosemary (can substitute dried, or parsley)
  • olive oil (I like organic EVOO, but you can substitute canola oil or a flavored oil if you like)

Procedure:

  1. Wash potatoes, remove unsightly spots. If you’ve bought organic potatoes, leave the skins on, but make sure you have scrubbed them well.
  2. Cut them to desired size. (Smaller will cook faster, but some people like larger pieces.)
  3. Rinse again in water to remove some of the starch.
  4. Blot the moisture with a clean dishtowel (they don’t have to be bone-dry, just get most of the water).
  5. Allow 2-3 of the small red potatoes (golfball size) per person … maybe 3-4 for guys, add a few for extras.
  6. Put them all in a big bowl.
  7. Pour in some oil. No need to measure, just make sure they’re all lightly coated with oil. Something with a high smoke point (canola, grapeseed) is good, or olive oil works too if you don’t crank the heat too high.
  8. Add rosemary. You can use dried or fresh. With fresh herb, you would want a little more herb; with dried, a little less, since the flavor tends to be more concentrated. (Personally, I hate dried rosemary, but if it’s all I have, that’s what I will use.)
  9. Add garlic. If you don’t have fresh cloves, you can use garlic salt. Don’t go overboard. If you use fresh, I’d dice them up. If you use garlic salt, go light because there tends to be more salt than garlic.
  10. Mix it all up for a bit.
  11. Put on a baking sheet in 1 layer.
  12. Bake at 350-375 for 20-30 minutes.
  13. Flip once with a spatula while roasting.
  14. If you cut the potato chunks large, they’ll need a little more time … check them at 30 and add some time if needed. If you cut small pieces, they can be done in about 20 minutes. Use the higher temp if you like yours a little browner, lower for less browned.
  15. Give them a stab with a fork at the low end of the time range to check … they’ll be ready just as they start to get soft-ish.

Enjoy!

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Fast, yummy egg sandwich

I literally did not eat eggs as a food until a couple of years ago, when some medication I was taking changed how foods tasted to me and I needed some alternative protein sources to get me through the experience. Once I started eating eggs, and well past the medication days, I’ve stuck with the little clucker gems, and today I wanted to share with you my favorite alternative weekend lunch, an easy, fast egg sandwich.

The trick to this sandwich is using a spice blend to add a tremendous amount of flavor easily. In the US, Mrs. Dash makes several varieties of spice blends, and all do a fantastic job of spicing things up. Trader Joes has a very similar 21-Season Salute that works great. And McCormick’s Spices has a number of spice blends in grinder bottles, for a more fresh-ground flavor. It’s good to have several different blends handy, so you can have a different taste profile from one time to the next.

Materials:

  • 1 large egg (I like farm fresh eggs, preferably organic, but I’ll go with local non-organic that I know are fresh over weeks-old organic ones in the store)
  • Your favorite spice blend
  • 1 slice of your favorite cheese
  • 1 slice of a hearty bread (I like Trader Joe’s pane, but any freshly baked bread, even from the grocery store bakery, will work)
  • Fork
  • Glass bowl
  • Paper plate
  • Toaster
  • Microwave

Procedure:

  1. Cut the bread slice in half, and put into the toaster. You’ll prep the rest as the bread is toasting.
  2. Crack the egg and place the contents in the glass bowl. Mix up thoroughly with fork.
  3. Remove your cheese from the refrigerator if that’s where it is, so it can warm up a bit while the bread is toasting.
  4. Sprinkle the spice blend over the surface of the mixed egg, so that the whole surface is lightly sprinkled with spice blend. Handle carefully after this, or the spice blend will tend to glom up into clumps.
  5. When there are about 2 minutes remaining on the toast operation, place the egg / bowl into the microwave. (Most toaster ovens take about 7 minutes to lightly toast a slice of bread … actual toasters are faster though.)
  6. Cover bowl with a paper plate.
  7. Cook on power level 9 for about 1 minute 20 seconds (this is right for ~1000-watt microwave).
  8. When the toast is done, remove from the toaster.
  9. Compose the sandwich by placing your cheese on the hot bread to make it melty, then place the hot egg onto the cheese, and the other half of the bread on top of that.

Enjoy. It’s quite yummy.

If you’re a guy, you’ll probably want to double all portions  🙂

Shake shake shake (repeat), Shake your sports drink (repeat)

Homemade Sports Drink

A couple of years ago, I got one of those GI bugs and was pretty miserable for a few days. I decided to be kind to my digestive system by giving up cola (I’d typically drink 2 per day, non diet) because of all the sugar in it, as a way of helping my digestive system get back to a “happy” place.

Funny thing is, I found when I was feeling better and went to drink a cola, it seemed so egregiously sweet to me, I couldn’t stand to drink it. Instead, I switched to a somewhat less sweet alternative, Gatorade.

Fast forward another couple of years, and sadly I developed some much more serious medical problems. Thankfully I made it through those too. However, as a way to deal with the shock of that serious illness, I re-evaluated my approach to food and drink.

One choice I made was to eat as much organic food as possible. Another was to avoid processed foods as much as possible. Nothing off the deep end here. Just goals … and determination … to eat and drink better quality food. I’m not here to sell this approach to you. If you look at Gatorade and you think that looks like a good idea to put into your body, that’s okee dokee smokee with me.

If, on the other hand, you like more natural alternatives to that oddly colored beverage, but enjoy the flavor of it, then I think maybe you’ll like my more natural sports drink.

Materials:

  • 20 oz. bottle
  • tap water (I like to filter mine, just to remove some of the chlorine smell/taste)
  • 1/2 lemon (can substitute a True Lemon packet)
  • 1/2 lime (can substitute a True Lime packet)
  • table salt
  • sugar (I personally like turbinado sugar because it is less refined than the white stuff, and retains some trace minerals)

Procedure:

  1. Fill the 20 oz bottle with water — just a bit short of full.
  2. Wash the lemon. Squeeze in juice of 1/2 of a lemon. If organic and you like a bit more zing, you can micro-grate some zest into the bottle too.
  3. Wash the lime. Squeeze in juice of 1/2 of a lime. Like the lemon, if it’s organic and you want to, go ahead and add some lime zest into the bottle. (If you cannot get fresh lemons/limes, I find True Lemon / Lime to be an excellent substitute. It’s available online or at many major US grocery stores, usually near baking supplies.)
  4. Add a rounded 1/8 tsp of salt. If you want to increase the potassium content of your homemade sports drink, substitute a scant 1/4 tsp of Morton Lite Salt. (This boosts the electrolyte content a little.)
  5. Add 1 tbs and 1/4 tsp of the sugar. If this is not sweet enough, I originally started with 1 tbs + 1 tsp of sugar, but have gradually lowered the amount to the current 1 tbs + 1/4 tsp of sugar.
  6. Shake until all solids have dissolved.

One advantage of real lemons and limes is you can leave the pulp from squeezing in for a bit of added fiber.

The taste isn’t exactly Gatorade, but it’s good, and to me, going back to Gatorade makes my face pucker. Even though it has about 3-4 times as much sugar as this homemade alternative.

THE Best Microwave Popcorn

No product endorsement here. The best microwave popcorn is the kind you make yourself, and it takes only 5 minutes total, including the popping. The recipe below will make 2 servings for people with self-control, or 1 for people like me who really like popcorn.

They just published data showing that popcorn is incredibly healthy for you, but any food is more healthy the closer you keep it to its natural state. Please don’t eat commercial microwave popcorn. It’s just ugly bad for you, in so many ways. This recipe gives you flavor and preserves the healthy qualities of popcorn. Try it, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

What you need:

  • 1/4 cup of popcorn (any fresh bought bag will do, no need for premium types)
  • 1 tsp canola or olive oil (I prefer organic varieties)
  • brown paper lunch bag
  • paper or microwave safe plate
  • stapler (one staple is used, it will be fine, trust me on this)
  • any desired flavorings (Old Bay seasoning, popcorn salt, powdered cheese, chili oil, etc.)

Procedure:

  1. Measure 1/4 cup of popcorn into a coffee mug.
  2. Add the oil to the mug. Swish it all around until all the kernels are coated. If you want to use a flavored oil like chili oil, reduce the amount of canola/olive oil by the amount of chili oil you want to add. I don’t recommend 100% chili oil unless you are VERY used to hot hot stuff.
  3. Dump the coated kernels into the paper bag.
  4. Put the bag, which is now getting saturated with oil, onto the microwave-safe plate.
  5. Fold the top twice, and staple once in the middle.
  6. Put in the microwave on the “popcorn” setting or start with about 2:45 if you don’t have a microwave setting.
  7. When the popping reaches one pop every 3 seconds or so, stop the microwave. There is nothing worse than burned popcorn.
  8. Pour into a bowl and add flavoring to taste. I recommend a light hand on adding flavoring. This is a very healthy but FLAVORFUL way to make popcorn, unlike air popping which is like eating styrofoam. The oil gives it a nice flavor, and there’s no need to dump a ton of salt in … use a light touch.