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Wild Rice and Edamame Salad

I made this using cooked spelt berries, since I had some already cooked, and it was great. I'm making it again with different grains and rice blends. Only change was to add some chopped fresh parsley.

Jan 25, 2012
annasiam in Recipes

Don't Be a Diet Bore

I am a nutrition professional and I only talk about diet or what someone eats if they specifically ask me. Then they usually don't believe me anyway because I'm telling them juice cleanses and fad diets don't work and can even have the opposite effect... No, people do NOT want to hear about your diet. They do not want advice on their own diet - even when they ask for it, even when you are actually qualified to give it. In fact when people see me eating the occasional French fry or nachos, they sometimes make a snide comment. I just shrug. I refuse to be a diet bore because I know that people only hear information about health and diet when they are ready and open to it. So save yourself the frustration and embarrassment and just don't mention it. You can only change yourself. On almost any menu there is something that is healthy, so you just eat it and let other people make their own choices, even if they are unhealthy or misinformed.

Jan 10, 2012
annasiam in Features

What Did/Does Your Dad Cook Best?

My Pop was a single dad who worked shift work, we most often ate with my grandma, but when he did cook, it was mostly breakfast stuff. I remember him coming home from afternoons around 10 at night, and making a big skillet of Spam hash - little chunks of diced potatoes, browned and crunchy in a skillet with crispy cubes of SPAM. would I eat it now, no. But I'll never forget it.

Being a single dad, he conscripted his kids into cooking as soon as we could be trusted around open flame. He taught me to make chili, his favorite, when I was about 11. He also taught me to make a mean raw-fried potatoes and onions, as well as the proper way to cook bacon (start in a cold skillet). He also taught me to make popcorn on top of the stove, and I realized not long ago, he taught me to distrust high heat and making anything boil really hard. I also crank down burners because "it's cooking too fast."

He died of lung cancer when I was just 15, back in 1990, but my love of food and cooking is because of him. Thanks Pop!

Mar 17, 2011
annasiam in General Topics

What was the worst food you HAD to eat as a kid?

I was personally not forced to eat any foods. The worst thing my mom made was the Stouffer's spinach souffle, yuck! I had to take one bite but not finish it.

My boyfriend's family made something called baloney salad. It was made like ham salad only with ground baloney instead of ham. He had to eat it, cried when it was served, and still shudders when he talks about it. Blech.

Mar 17, 2011
annasiam in General Topics

What shocked you the first time you ate it?

The first time I ever had Greek olives, it was 1992 in Columbia, Missouri. Being from a small town in Illinois I grew up on green olives stuffed with pimentoes and the black olives in cans. Loved those, but when I had Greek olives, wow. Salty, meaty, uniquely bitter and sweet all at the same time. Since then I will eat any olive known to man. I gaze longingly at olive bars like a kid through a candy store window.

At that same dinky little restaurant in Columbia MO I first tried feta cheese and hummus, too. 20 years later I am known and mocked for my obsession with hummus.

First time I tried cilantro was at a Thai place in Milwaukee, early 90s. Like many other people here I thought it tasted like soap. Now I love love love it.

Mar 17, 2011
annasiam in General Topics

Garlic-Mint Yogurt Spread

Just looking at it makes me so hungry. But there is no mint to be had in February. It won't be the same, but I think I will make it using parsley.

Feb 04, 2011
annasiam in Recipes

_______ ruins my figure/diet/life

Definitely cheese here too.

I could care less about ice cream and would rather eat apples than cookies. But I can't be trusted around cheese.

Also Doritos. Evil, artificial, swimming in MSG, bad for you in every way, but I can't stop eating them. So I never eat them.

Jan 16, 2011
annasiam in General Topics

Make Your Own Yogurt

I used the method above exactly, except I have a yogurt maker my mom got at an auction and the yogurt is really good. Creamy, milky, and fresh tasting.

Jan 07, 2011
annasiam in Features

10 Tips for a Healthy Diet

I am a nutrition professional in training and I LOVE the apple hint. The Japanese have a concept of eating until you are 60% full. The problem is we don't know when we're 60% full or 89.87% full... the apple thing is an awesome way to put measure to that abstract concept. Thank you for the article.

Jan 05, 2011
annasiam in Features

Healthy Packaged Food Cons: Are You Getting Suckered?

The tone of this article is very contemptuous. While I agree with the article's idea that everyone has time to chop vegetables or make oatmeal, I have to agree with the above poster that not everyone wants to. If a bag of pre-chopped broccoli or baby carrots encourages people to eat a vegetable, and they're willing to pay the extra cost, then more power to them. I think it's great food companies are giving people more ways to buy and prepare healthy foods (even if the pre-packaged stuff is a ripoff.)

Jan 05, 2011
annasiam in Features

You're Not Allergic to MSG and 6 More Culinary Secrets

What a great article. However, natural foods such as mushrooms and tomatoes contain glutamate (or glutamic acid), which is an amino acid that stimulates the "umami" or savory flavor receptors. Monosodium glutamate is attached to a sodium. It's created by a fermentation process and is not naturally occuring in food in this form.

Jan 03, 2011
annasiam in Features

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Loved this soup. I put in some mushrooms and added an olive oil/flour roux to thicken it up a little. I put in a box of Uncle Ben's long grain and wild rice, including seasoning. I love that stuff, been a comfort food to me all my life. It was perfect in the soup.

Dec 14, 2010
annasiam in Recipes

The Five Worst Thanksgiving Side Dishes

The only thing worse than giblet gravy is giblet gravy with chopped hard-boiled eggs. I'm not a fan of chopped hard-boiled eggs in much of anything, but. Chopped eggs. In gravy.
Laughed at the Jello salad, because my dear sweet grandma makes a lime Jello salad filled with diced apples and walnuts, and I love it. Ever since I can remember it's been there in the apple-shaped mold that doesn't get used any other time. At this point, I think my grandma and I are the only ones that eat it. I would never make it myself, being the chickpeas-and-kale cook that I am, but I'll miss it when my grandma is gone.

Nov 23, 2010
annasiam in Features

Bad-Palate Breakups

I was in a 7 year marriage with someone who didn't like food. I didn't know how to cook, so I learned to cook really well, to no real avail. He would simply rather have a frozen pot pie than try anything new. His limited palate wasn't the reason for our breakup, but now than I am with someone who truly shares my love of food and eating, I realize just how lucky I am. We dazzle each other with our culinary skills and develop recipes together. Can you trust a man who doesn't share your interests? Sure, but life is so much more fun with someone who not only eats your cooking, but shares your passions.

Sep 12, 2010
annasiam in Features

How to Make Fijis

The best cookie in the world just got better...

Mar 24, 2010
annasiam in Features

Boozy Campfire Cheese

We tried this while camping last night, with a wedge of brie sprinkled with a little brandy. We toasted the bread on a grate with the foil-wrapped cheese next to it, instead of in the coals (we forgot tongs to pull it out of the fire and had to improvise.) It is the best campfire munchie ever.
We took the aluminum foil with us when we left.

Jul 03, 2009
annasiam in Recipes