How To Cook Everything iPhone App – Free Version

Just saw that there is a FREE version for the Mark Bittman “How To Cook Everything” iPhone App.

It’s called “How To Cook Everything Essentials“. The app includes 103 basic recipes that Mark Bittman considers “Essential,” plus reference information and features from the complete app. Timer, shopping list, etc

I was lucky enough to purchase the paid version at a low discounted price of $1.99 back in June. They offer it on sale every few months on holiday weekends, so if you want a bargain, keep checking the price. It’s a fantastic app – read my full review. I think it’s worth the $5 full price!

I’m downloading the freebie app now and I’ll update after I compare both apps side by side.

Eat Onions For Good Health

Onions are such an overlooked vegetable. They’re not as glamorous as veggie as say, asparagus, broccoli, or red leaf lettuce, and I think some people take them for granted. But they are surprisingly nutritious and a very delicious addition to your daily diet.


Onion Nutritional Facts & Info

Higher bioaccessibility of iron and zinc from food grains in the presence of garlic and onion – iron and zinc can be difficult to absorb from whole grains. But it looks like when you add some onion or garlic to the grain, it improves the chances of absorbing the minerals by at least 10%, and up to 150%. More info.

According to the web site, “The flavonoids in onion tend to be more concentrated in the outer layers of the flesh” so over-peeling an onion can take away a lot of important nutrition. also goes on to state that “The total polyphenol content of onion is not only higher than its fellow allium vegetables, garlic and leeks, but also higher than tomatoes, carrots, and red bell pepper. In the French diet, only six vegetables (artichoke heart, parsley, Brussels sprouts, shallot, broccoli, and celery) have a higher polyphenol content than onion.” That’s incredible!

Check out all the info on the page for onions. It’s fascinating.

Onions are a terrific source of Chromium, Vitamin C, Fiber and other nutrients. Onions are good for your heart, and cholesterol levels. Did you realize that onions also benefit bone density plus they have anti-inflammatory power.

Onions have been shown to lower risk of colorectal, laryngeal, and ovarian cancers. But I’m willing to bet that they are also beneficial for other cancers as well.

They also offer bacterial infection prevention. Chicken soup with onions. Yum. Beneficial for flu and cold season, along with a list of other bacterial issues, such as gum disease and tooth decay.

Soaking onions in ice water or milk will reduce the “sharpness” – but then would they be as beneficial? Is it the strong bite of the onion that makes it so powerful? It can’t be good to wash away precious fluids down the drain. Something to think about!

Back to Drinking Tea Again

Now that the weather is starting to get colder, I’m trying to get back into the tea drinking habit. I stopped during the warmer months, and was just drinking tons of water, but it’s just so important to drink green (and black) tea!

I guess what made me think of it again was that my allergies have been the worst they’ve ever been in years! They were driving me crazy. Sneezing, sniffling, runny nose. The symptoms would be torture and then all of a sudden disappear, only to reappear again later.

I know green tea has been very helpful in the past when I have visited houses with cats. I’m highly allergic to cats, and bringing a big thermos of hot green tea has always helped alleviate the symptoms.

So, I figured it was worth a shot to try to clear up my allergies, and guess what! It’s working! I’ve only been drinking a cup or so for 3 days, and already I can see a major difference. My allergies are not bad at all. I’m still a big clogged up, but at least I am not dripping and sneezing every 10 minutes. And it’s so much better than taking a prescription pill!

And green (and black) tea is great for all sorts of other ailments, including cancer prevention and treatment, with its anti-oxidants. I usually drink decaf, but I’m going to try to get into the normal caffeinated green tea. I’ll just make sure I drink it early enough in the day so it won’t affect my sleep.

I need to purchase some more herbal teas too for night time use. Chamomile is lovely, as is lemon herbal tea.

I used to purchase my loose herbal fruit teas from Adagio Teas but I just looked back at my order history, and it’s been years since I last purchased. Yikes. The tea in my tins is years old. Not good. I also am a bit nervous using hot water in the plastic IngenuiTEA teapot I have. It’s a great tea brewer, but I just don’t think boiling water belongs in plastic.

I emailed them to inquire about BPA in the tea pot that was purchased a few years ago and they replied (very promptly) that "Our ingenuiTEA teapot was tested by SGS and found to be BPA-free."

That’s good news for current users, but they didn’t really give me a direct answer about my older model. I don’t know if they are using the same manufacturing process as years ago.

I have a little metal tea ball thingie that I will use to brew my loose tea from now on just to be on the safe side. I did find an older glass Bodum tea pot (see photo below), but the middle brewing part is also made of plastic. As I said, even if it were BPA free, I just don’t think plastic should be heated in any situation.

Adagio teas brewing

They also aren’t offering 5oz tea “refill” bags for customers that already have tins. When I inquired, they answered: "Since your last order, our metal tins had given way to flexible packaging, making the “refill” option no longer necessary, as all teas now come in bags."

So I asked if the tins were still okay to use, but they didn’t answer. To be fair, it could be that question got lost within my BPA question. I assume they are fine to still use, since Adagio is still selling the tins as an extra purchase. They might even be better quality than the newer ones!

I still don’t know that I’ll be ordering again from Adagio. They offer wonderful, high quality teas, but it’s so darned costly.

My last order (Nov 2007) of Fruit Medley herbal tea cost $6.50 for 5 oz refill bag. Now it’s $6 for only 3 oz. Add on shipping $3.75, and that’s almost $10 for 3 oz of tea!

I’m going to explore some of the teas at Whole Foods and compare. I admit it’s going to be hard to find such good quality, but we’ll see.

Ordered West Bend 41300 Bread Machine

Well I did it, I ordered a new bread machine!

My older Breadman bread maker seemed to be on its last legs. I know I’ve been saying that for months, but it just keeps on going! My husband has tinkered with it several times bringing it back to life when I thought it was a goner. Unfortunately, I’m afraid the poor thing won’t last much longer!

It’s served me very well throughout these months on my bread journey. I’ve learned so much and I’m still growing and learning. Bread is amazing! But I think it’s time to move on.

After a lot of thought, I decided to go with the West Bend 41300 Hi-Rise Electronic Dual-Blade Breadmaker. I just placed the order through and it’s estimated to arrive at a local Walmart store in a couple of weeks. Then I’ll have 90 days to test it out, put it through its paces and decide if it’s the right model for me.

Continue reading “Ordered West Bend 41300 Bread Machine”

Williams Sonoma Muffins & Quickbreads Book Review

I found the cook book Muffins & Quick Breads (Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Library) at the library a few weeks ago; After browsing through the pages, I found so many awesome recipes I wanted to try. A lot of the recipes were lower in sugar, and I really loved that!

I searched for it on Amazon and was thrilled to find a used copy for less than $4. Yay! It was from a 3rd party seller, but “fulfilled by Amazon” which means it qualified for free shipping if your total order was $25 or more. There are lots of other 3rd party sellers also selling used copies for under $5 (including shipping).

I ordered it immediately! It arrived fairly quickly, and it was in very good shape. I couldn’t even tell that it was a “used” copy, it only had a few blemishes on some of the pages. Nothing big.

The big thing I did notice was that it was an older version than the copy from the library. I compared each page, and I did find some discrepancies in the flour weights (2 cups should be 10 oz or 315 grams) along with a few other ingredients like raisins. It wasn’t very difficult to hand corrected a lot of the recipes. So, all in all, I am very happy with the book.

I highly recommend this book if you are into muffins and quickbreads. Because I was so impressed, I found other older Williams Sonoma books from the library. I didn’t find any that made me want to order as quickly as this book though.

I did enjoy the Soups book as well as the newer Muffins book from 2003, but the recipes were much more sugary. I still am keeping several in mind for a future order.

The first recipe I baked was Blueberry Muffins (pg 36). Check out my recipe details. Yum!

I’ll be baking more recipes as autumn and winter move on!

I love reading cookbooks, like some people love reading novels! I am inspired by recipes, and enjoy learning ideas from cookbooks; I like putting my own spin on a recipe rather than exactly following it. Please keep in mind that my opinions might be completely different from the other home cooks.

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins

whole wheat blueberry muffins

I found the book Muffins & Quick Breads (Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Library) at the library a few weeks ago and after browsing through the many recipes, I found so many that I was excited to try! A lot of the recipes were lower in sugar, and that was even better.

I searched for it on Amazon and was thrilled to find a used copy for less than $4. Yay! It was from a 3rd party seller, but “fulfilled by Amazon” which means it qualified for free shipping if your total order was $25 or more.

I ordered it immediately! I highly recommend this book if you are into muffins and quickbreads. Read my review for more details.

Continue reading “Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins”

Whole Grain Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Muffins

UPDATED 2011-07-14

This recipe is inspired by the “Peanut Butter Bread” recipe found in Tate’s Bake Shop Cookbook: The Best Recipes from Southampton’s Favorite Bakery.

whole grain peanut butter dark chocolate muffins

I altered the sugar quantity, added dark chocolate & sunflowers, and of course replaced the white flour with whole grains (whole wheat and barley flours).

Continue reading “Whole Grain Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Muffins”

Biggest Loser Season 10

I might be a total sap, but this season looks to be so inspiring!

I love learning about the contestants! Very motivating for me to keep on the right healthy path!

One woman, Shanna Masten (38 years old) from Arizona really got to me. She is a breast cancer survivor, having gone through treatment a year ago. I haven’t talked about it publicly yet, but both my mother and sister were diagnosed with breast cancer within weeks of each other. And I had a little scare that required a biopsy, which thankfully turned out to be nothing.

Anyway, Shanna reminded me so much of the situation with my sister and mother. She said that getting breast cancer wasn’t her “choice”, but losing weight IS her choice. She weighed in at 242 pounds. Unfortunately, she didn’t make it to the ranch, but she’ll be working hard at home (I hope)!

I’ll be rooting for all the contestants and cheering them on. They seem like a nice group of people. I like when they seem like they’re in it for health, not necessarily for the back stabbing game play!

Here is the first episode video on NBC

UPDATE October 5, 2010: Not so happy with this season so far. I thought I would really like the contestants, but I don’t like how it’s turned into more of a game vs losing weight & getting healthy. I am disappointed that it’s all about losing the most weight possible, and 5 pounds is looked upon as a failure. Come on!

Also, I don’t like the new placement of the “yellow line” at all. It just doesn’t seem fair to the girls, since it’s virtually impossible for them to lose as much as the boys. The whole thing is not fair!

I am not feeling inspired by anyone and the trainers are really pissing me off too. Jillian and Bob are getting more and more commercial! yuck!

We’ll see what happens next week

Tomato Patio Plant – Review

I originally blogged about the patio cherry tomato plant I purchased from Mahoney’s Garden Center back in June. It was a steep initial investment of $30, but I was willing to take a chance that it would be worth it.

It was a massive plant, about 3 feet tall when we bought it.

Tomato plant on our deck

It grew grew grew all summer, mostly outward, and we had to string the branches several times so they wouldn’t droop on the deck. When we brought it home, there were tons of yellow flowers along with many green tomatoes. It didn’t take very long for them to turn red, and I was very pleased with the vast amount of tomatoes the plant gave us!

It was wonderful to pick handfuls and bowlfuls of delicious cherry tomatoes – every 2nd or 3rd day, I was picking them. I ate them in salads, sauces, and bruschetta. I think my favorite was roasting them in the oven!

So, yes, the $30 investment was worth it. The plant gave us hundreds and hundreds of tomatoes all summer long. I would definitely purchase it again!

the huge bounty of cherry tomatoes

Hope I Am Back on Fitness Track

Finally worked out again this morning. I’ve been in a fitness lag of sorts, but it surprisingly hasn’t affected my weight in the least. I guess my metabolism is good, even without actual exercise. I am active all day long, so I guess that is most important.

Anyway, I worked out for 35 minutes on the Wii Fit this morning. I hope to get back into a routine again, of at least 3-4 days a week. I’ll start back on the Walk it Out game too, and maybe invest in a couple of new games later this season.