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In the Kitchen

  • Sawflies strip dogwood foliage

    One of the very first insects that I identified as a young gardener was the pine sawfly.

    We had planted over a hundred white pine seedlings over 30 years ago and after a decade or so we started to lose a couple each year to one problem or another.

    Daddy charged me with inspection duty. Looking for and plucking bagworms; collecting beetles in jars for identification at the County Extension Service; or closely noting the color, legs and chewing habits of the various caterpillars I encountered.

  • Five easy dinners for when it’s too hot to cook

    Sometime’s it’s just too darn hot to be in front of the stove. Am I wrong?

    On those hot summer nights when you can’t stand the thought of turning on the oven or standing in front of a hot grill, it’s important to have an arsenal of recipes so that you don’t resort to starving or ordering takeout.

    Today, I’m going to share five of my favorite, easy, go-to ideas for summer suppers.

  • Lunchbox Tips: Make it quick, easy and nutritious

    Kids today have a lot on their plates — getting good grades, playing in sports and music, making new friends. A nutritious breakfast gets them started for the day, and the right midday meal and snack keeps them going strong. You also want to keep them from becoming “day traders” or tossing out what you’ve carefully packed in their lunches.

    Here are some winning strategies for making the best lunchbox grades:

  • Gluten-free finger foods

    In one of my last posts I shared some strategies for you to use when you’re trying hard to stay on track with a healthy eating plan when the family BBQ invite comes along. Today, we’re going to look at the flip side of that by talking about what sorts of finger foods you might consider serving at your next party to please everyone in the crowd from the Celiacs and Paleoistas to good old Uncle Jim, who thinks that everyone who eats organic is a hippy!

    The following finger foods are all paleo, gluten free and absolutely scrumptious!

  • It’s a crab boil! Dinner has never been easier

    It’s soft shell crab season in many parts of the U.S. right now and if you haven’t taken advantage of that yet, I strongly recommend doing so!

    Sweet, delicate crab meat is so delicious. It’s also an excellent source of nutrients, protein and those important Omega 3s. Crab is also a low risk seafood for mercury — great news!

    Now back to the crab boil.

  • When school’s out, teaching about food

    Pop quiz: How do you get kids to eat just about anything?

    Answer: You get them involved in the kitchen.

    There’s no surefire guarantee that your kids will eat something they have had a hand in preparing, but it absolutely increases the odds of them trying and liking a dish.

  • Top tips for grilled fruits and vegetables

    I shared some tips with you a couple weeks ago about grilling meats but there’s more to summer barbecue season than burgers and steaks!

    Why turn on the stove to cook your veggies when you have a perfectly good hot grill already prepped? Never mind the fact that grilled veggies and fruits taste like something out of Heaven — if you know how to cook them properly!

    Some of my best produce grilling tips include:

  • Get grilling with these healthy tips

    It’s barbecue season! And while all of us love the thrill of the grill, it’s a known fact that cooking meat over charcoal can be harmful for our health because of the carcinogens that come from cooking over chemically charged lava rocks and from eating charred meat.

    Rather than giving up the grill on those hot summer nights, here are a few ways to make your next barbecue a little healthier.

  • Stock up on vegetable stock

    LEANNE ELY CNC

    THE DINNER DIVA

     

    When you start making your own stock, you’re going to have a hard time buying it from the store ever again.

    Making stock from scratch is about as satisfying as it gets. Being the one who purchased (or even better, grew!) the vegetables that you’re using to nourish your family means that you know exactly what’s in that pot. Like with anything that comes out of a package, with store-bought stock you can’t really be sure of the quality of the ingredients that were used.

  • Something to stew over

    LEANNE ELY CNC

    THE DINNER DIVA

    I recently wrote blog posts teaching how to braise and how to sear. So it just occurred to me that I should go ahead and combine the two and tell y’all about how to stew.

    What hits the spot on a cold day better than a nice steamy hot bowl of thick beef stew?

    By definition, stew is not a dish — it’s a cooking method that involves simmering meat and vegetables in a rich flavorful liquid.

    Now, Leanne, you’re thinking, that sounds an awful lot like braising.