Thursday, June 22, 2006

Blackhook Beer

I may get in trouble for posting this on my wife's health food blog, but hey, beer is healthy. I recently stumbled on Black Hook beer- a dark porter from Red Hook Breweries. Their website is dumb, but the beer is good. Pick some up if you can find it.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

What's the deal with Grits?

As I've mentioned I'm from the south. One of the stereotypical beloved southern foods is grits. The traditional form of grits is made from hominy, corn soaked in an alkaline solution which removes the hull of the corn kernel (or skin) and germ. The hominy is then dried and milled. The resulting meal is called grits. Now commercially made grits are made by steaming the corn kernel, which removes the hull and germ. The endosperm is then processed, ground to the desiring size- from larger to smaller quick cooking particles. So this means that commercial grits contain only the endosperm of corn. Now there is nothing wrong with eating only the endosperm, but you are missing out on the nutrients and fiber that can be obtained from the hull and germ.

My husband really likes having grits for breakfast and asked me to get some "weirdo grits". Well by my definition, a grain product that has had the hull and germ removed is not exactly my idea of healthy. So I did order some stone ground grits from Bob's red mill. Although the fat, protein, and fiber content did not vary much between Bob's stone ground grits and commercial grits such as Quaker , we like Bob's grits better. I'm not sure if it has much to do with the corn used to produce the grits, but I suspect the processing of the grain causes differentiation in taste of these two products. Stone ground processing leave more nutrients intact in a grain because in commercial grain processing the steel used to pulverize the grain causes heat and loss of nutrients. Whatever the reason we have been enjoying Bob's grits for breakfast.

But the weirdo in me wasn't satisfied. I needed to find heartier grits, and I stumbled upon them one day online. Anson mills produces stone ground grits that peaked my interest. So I emailed the sales department and had a very quick reply (mere hours!). Glenn Roberts wrote me concerning their grits...
"Our grits, as with all our products, are 100% whole grain and include 100% of the germ."
Well that was a relief to know, I was unable to get an answer as to the nutritional content of their grits,
"We will begin formal nutritional analysis of our grains when we stabilize the maize, wheats, rices, and other heirlooms we are trying to save..."
Although their grits cost more than commercial grits and must be stored in the freezer (due to the presence of the germ) they are a whole grain product. I've ordered a few bags so I'll post an article based on our experience trying out the whole grain grits.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Food and Cleaning?

I do intend for this website to be about food, and primarily healthy eating that tastes good. In the recent past I have had another home issue (besides cooking) on my mind. I've gotten into these "environmentally friendly cleaners". In my quest to eat healthier, I began to purchase stone ground flour and cornmeal (an issue too dear to me to be added as a side note), I've been spending more time in the "weirdo section" of the grocery store. My husband and I have named the organic section "weirdo" in making fun of ourselves as much as anyone else. I'm from Mississippi and my granny makes excellent biscuits (out of Crisco and refined flour- neither of which reside in my kitchen) and excellent southern food in general. All southern cuisine isn't unhealthy, but classic southern fare tends to be high in fat. Point being I'm sure many people in this area and others consider whole wheat pancake mix and stone ground cornmeal- cornmeal muffin mix and organic foods to be "healthy food" for hippies and health nuts. I personally am proud to shop in the weirdo section of our Kroger. I've found some great products there. Our grocery store's "weirdo section" doesn't have much in the way of household products. However in my quest to eat healthy, exercise regularly, I have begun to question other areas of my life and our household.

My newest target for healthy change has been our selection of household cleaners. I guess it began with my visit to, a site I got hooked on when I was working full time and trying to find ways to decrease the number of errands I had to run after work. I ordered Caldrea's countertop cleaner- Citrus mint ylang ylang scented. I'm not sure that it is any better for our health to use this as opposed to soap and water and a washrag- but it smells so good. In fact Daniel (my beloved husband) has said that he likes the way it smells, and it seems to be an incentive for keeping the countertops cleaner- so healthy or not the countertop cleaner is here to stay. Then I began to notice all the "natural products" one could buy to replace all purpose cleaner, glass cleaners, dish detergent, laundry detergent, brown- unbleached paper towels. A.These products cost more B. They are not found at my grocery store, so I have to order them. I actually have tried some of these products. But in discussions with my husband about the budget and household expenses I began to wonder about the necessity of spending more $ to clean our house.

I will say one can spend alot of $ on cleaning supplies in general- with the popularity of the use and throw away products- floor sweepers, mops, cleaning cloths, toilet wands, ect. I am guilty of using a good many throw away products. After all what's easier than throwing away nasty used cleaning supplies after cleaning the toilet or a dirty floor. In a quest to cut down on our trash, we've begun to recycle more, and I have replaced the disposable mops, cleaning cloths, and brushes we were using with good quality mops and brushes, and microfiber cloths.
So where is the food? Well in my internet researching on the "evils of cleaning products" I have discovered something I have seen before and paid little attention to. We have some excellent cleaning products in our kitchen! You can't get more natural than cleaning with vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda. I'm sure there are countless articles on the net about cleaning with normal household products. I actually cleaned our bathrooms yesterday with vinegar, although I've seen information saying it can be diluted- I used it straight and was fine. I must say it did a good job, no chemical fumes or having to worry about wearing gloves to protect my hands from harsh chemicals. The smell really did disapate pretty quickly, so my home didn't smell like an easter egg dying workshop!

The best site for information I found was:

There is a lot of information there about cheap and safe household cleaners. They have some great suggestions from disinfectants, to drain cleaners, oven cleaners, and the list goes on. Check it out, save yourself from having to handle harmful chemicals, and save some money!

Monday, June 12, 2006