A Practical Guide To Healthy Living
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Category — Misc.

What’s Up?

I’ve been gone from here for a while . . . and some of you have taken notice. “What’s up with you?” come the emails, the questions at school, the texts and phone calls.

It’s all been good, friends. There’s no crisis, no health emergency. My mammo was clear, my cholesterol rocks.

No, it’s this: I’ve been taking some time away to evaluate the blog, my involvement with the blog and what I want to do (or not do) with the blog. I’ve also been committed to my Move Into March challenge and to healthy eating, and I’ve lost the 7 lbs. I gained thanks to my arthritis and my vacation. I have been able, for the first time in 2 years, to exercise standing up. I feel great, I’m enjoying myself. I’ve been reading lots, and prepping very simple, very healthful food.

“So what about RECIPES???” “The well is dry!!!” come other emails . . . I love love love that you all depend on the recipes – that this blog serves you so well! I may try posting once a week or so – try to strike a happy medium for us all, but truthfully, I’m really quite preoccupied with thinking up ways to better integrate my passion for healthy living, my love of food and cooking and face-to-face, real-life connections with people like you.

As Tama Kieves says, “If you feel lost, you’re on your way to the miraculous.” I’ll admit it – I have no idea what’s going on yet.  But hang with me, will you? What’s yet to come might be even better than we all could have imagined!

Image: Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

March 23, 2011   3 Comments

Happy New Year!

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.” (Edith Lovejoy Pierce)

Hope your year is filled with joy and promise, health and happiness, great food and friends!


January 1, 2011   No Comments

New Ways With: Peanut Butter

peanut butter

If there are no allergies at your house, chances are you’re like us and this stuff’s a staple.  We love PB&J, PB&honey and PB atop apple slices.  Yawn.  Lookin’ for some new mates for a favorite spread?  Look no further!

  • Stir a tablespoonful or so into your hot morning oatmeal
  • Add 1/3 c. into pancake batter before cooking – using crunchy peanut butter will add texture and flavor
  • Grill up up a PB&pear sandwich – add a few thin slices of pair and a drizzle of honey to your sammie and grill ’til wam and toasty
  • Whip up a spicy sauce:  combine 1/2 c. creamy PB, 2 T. each of low-sodium soy sauce and brown sugar, the juice from 1 lime, a teaspoon of sriracha and a little hot water to thin . . . brush it on chicken or tofu and grill

More PB inpiration is here. . . a video + recipes by Gail Simmons (Food & Wine Magazine) that’ll make your mouth water and get you into your kitchen, stat!

What’re your favorite ways to use peanut butter?

September 24, 2010   3 Comments

New Ways With: Pesto

basil pesto

I know that some of your gardens are still over-flowing with basil . . . and if you have a food processor or blender, pesto is so easy to whip up.  Make it in big batches, omit the cheese (for now) and throw it in your freezer for a little hit of sunshine come winter.  Then go beyond pasta and use your pesto in a new way:

  • Use as a spread for grilled cheese sandwiches – try some great bread and use provolone cheese
  • Top a homemade or prepared pizza crust with pesto, cheese, red bell peppers and/or chicken and enjoy a new twist on a quick old favorite
  • Top a cracker with a schmear of cream cheese (or goat cheese) and a dollop of pesto for a gourmet snack
  • Spread it under the skin of bone-in, skin-on chicken parts and bake for a moist, savory treat
  • Add a spoonful to your favorite tomato or roasted red pepper soup
  • Broil up a fillet of mild white fish (think cod, haddock or tilapia) and serve it with a little pesto smeared over the top
  • Use as a topping for baked potatoes

What’re your favorite ways to use pesto?

September 13, 2010   2 Comments

New Feature @ Semi-Sweet

exclamation point

Hey Friends!

Did you notice anything new around here?  I got inspired by a recent reader comment and finally got off my duff to add a “print this” option to each post . . . it’s not pretty enough for me, but it’s functional.  You can now print a copy of any post you like without all that annoying sidebar junk taking up space and wasting your paper.

Keep those comments coming, and if you know of a WordPress plugin for printing that’ll allow me the flexibility to place the icon wherever I want it, please clue me in!



March 27, 2010   2 Comments

A Note About The Divine Caroline Voting

love this site banner

So my SIL clued me in last night that in order to vote for Semi-Sweet on the Divine Caroline site, you need to register.  So it’s more than “2 secs” to vote. I’m sorry, I didn’t realize this.  But!  Registration is free, and the good karma with which you’ll be endowed for doing it is limitless . . . .

Here’s the link if you have a minute or two?  I would SO appreciate it!

November 27, 2009   4 Comments

Taste Test: Kettle Brand Baked Chips

kettle chips salt & pepper

Whole Foods recently had a special on their small (4 and 5 oz.) bags of Kettle Brand chips, and I’ve seen that Kettle has started making baked chips and was curious to try them.  Our absolute, to-die-for favorite flavor of these is “salt & fresh ground pepper,” aptly described on the bag as the “yin yang of spice.”  They are thicker than your average Lay’s chip, and are super crunchy and satisfying.  The salt & pepper chips are tangy from the salt and have a little bite from the pepper – hard to describe, easy to love.

So, if I could have all this satisfaction and enjoy better nutritionals, I’d be psyched.  Well, I hate to report, the baked version is not great.

First off, the nutrition low-down.  The baked chips are far better – each serving (28 g) has 120 calories, 3 g of total fat, 120 mg of sodium, 21 g of carbs, and a whopping 430 mg of potassium.  The same serving size of the fried chips has 150 calories, 9 g total fat, 180 mg of sodium, 16 g carbs and 420 mg of potassium.  So unlike some “light” products, these do offer a nutritional benefit.

But the taste, well, just doesn’t match up.  The baked chips aren’t “krinkle cut,” which isn’t a problem – they’re nevertheless satisfyingly crunchy.  But the salt & black pepper can’t seem to consistently adhere to the chips due to the lack o’ grease or something.  I did expect these to be overall less flavorful due to being baked, not fried, but it’d be great if they could get the flavorings to better stick to the chip.  So what you end up with is 4 oz. of baked potato chips without any salt, even.   Isn’t saltiness the point of chips? 

Are they better than Baked Lay’s?  Definitely.  These taste like real food – to me, the Baked Lay’s taste of a laboratory.  And when you do happen upon a chip with the seasonings on it, it is tasty, despite the lack of fat.

So instead of spening your hard-earned cash on these, I vote for splurging once in a while on the regular, full-on version - if you’re like me and don’t eat chips very often, you might as well go whole-hog and just enjoy the real thing.  Just try not to eat the entire bag in one sitting, OK?

September 4, 2009   No Comments

Check Me Out!?

I am Larabar’s “fan of the day” today!

August 24, 2009   No Comments