Healthier Cooking of Meat Helps Curb Cancer in Women

Greetings all!

If you’re like me you hate when meat is cooked to the standard of a hockey puck!  Personally, I like a steak that’s medium or medium well so that it’s cooked but still tender, juicy and flavorful with a bit of pink.  Well, here’s another reason to keep from munching on the grey slab of crunchy charcoal that is well done.  According to the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, women who ate hamburger, steak and bacon very well done were at 4 1/2 times more at risk of getting breast cancer than women who ate these meats rare or medium!  The reason being heterocyclic amines, or HAs, that form when meat is cooked beyond well done.  This is fairly old news to some as I’m sure I’m not the only ones who’ve heard about the dangers of consuming carcinogens but how do you avoid consuming too many HAs?

Alternate Methods of Cooking

Roasting meat in an oven allows easier temperature control and avoids overcooking.  Steaming and stewing meat are also ways to keep meat moist which prevents HAs from forming.

Exercise caution when grilling

Avoid the drying out and charring of meat when grilling, broiling or frying as HAs can form.  When grilling marinate the meat first to ensure a dramatic decrease in HA levels.

Undercooking is also not your friend!

While you want to avoid overcooking your meat, undercooking can present a whole new world of problems as bacteria responsible for nasty illnesses like salmonella and E.coli can hang around if the meat is not cooked properly.  Be sure to cook steaks, chops and seafood to 145F, ground beef to 155F and poultry to at least 165F.

Veggies, however, are your friend!

While not a vegetarian myself, I tried for about three weeks but I loves me some MEAT, bear in mind the HAs only form in muscle tissue so when in doubt you can always try substituting vegetables or soy meat.  Personally I prefer Boca over Morningstar and tofu can be pretty good if it’s left to marinate long enough, just be sure to thoroughly wash your veggies first or the food-borne illness can rear its ugly head once again.


Chow for now!


Whinging Wednesday: Stupid News Edition (NSFW)

Happy Hump Day folks!

This week’s Whinging Wednesday features some annoying and downright idiotic goings on in the hospitality world.  First up, apparently the Swedish Chef is Public Enemy #1 in Sweden!

According to The Atlantic Wire, Swedes absolutely HATE the otherwise beloved muppet with the fire of 1000 suns, finding him “stereotypical, possibly offensive, certainly bumbling, and probably not even Swedish.”  Apparently, the people of Sweden having been stewing over this hatred of the felt Chef for 37 years mostly thanks to American tourists constantly asking what they think of him.  Also, his accent is wrong and he should actually be called the Norwegian chef! FYI, the inspiration for the Swedish Chef apparently comes from some Berlitz tapes Jim Henson heard years ago.  So, get your facts straight you filthy American pig dogs, the Swedish Chef is not funny because he’s Norwegian so quit asking already!

Either way, the Chef should steer clear of Burlington, Vermont unless he wants to pay extra!  ABC News reports speaking in a foreign language in Burlington restaurants gets you the 18% gratuity usually reserved for large groups tacked on to your bill!  Apparently, the overworked staff in the Vermont town, which is situated 100 miles from Montreal, gets inundated with Canadian tourists in the summer who are notoriously bad tippers according to wait staff.

“Some Canadians come in, they spend like $100 or $150 and they leave the wait staff maybe a $1.00 tip,” says Sandy Kong, owner of the Asiana Noodle Shop, “It happens pretty often. I realize that the Canadians think it’s discrimination, but on all the receipts it’s printed out on bottom—’we suggest an 18 or 20 percent tip.’ ”  So, if you have any plans to visit Burlington in the near future be sure to keep your conversation in the King’s English, or as near to it as we Americans can usually muster and if you get slapped with a high gratuity, blame Canada!

Damn you Canadians with your lack of tips and flapping heads!

Damn you Canadians with your lack of tips and flapping heads!

Of course if finances keep you from frequenting dining establishments you don’t really have to worry about tipping.  However, if you’re visiting, living or working in the Denver area and decide to bring your lunch from home, make sure you don’t leave your bag in the park or the bomb squad could be called!  That’s what happened in Monument, Colorado where several streets were closed as police and the bomb squad had a standoff with what turned out to be a soft-sided lunch box containing a bottle of Gatorade.

You never know what could be lurking in strange packages!

Finally, whether indoors or out it seems dining in general can be dangerous to one’s health at least it is here in the good old Sunshine State, especially if you talk smack about someone’s mama!  Ten days ago two brothers were having dinner with their dad when one of them had some not so nice things to say about dear old mom.  The other brother didn’t take too kindly to the remarks and when the fight escalated to the point where one brother wailed on the other with a Styrofoam plate, the injured brother called the cops and had him arrested.

It had slipped Helen Keller’s mind that Anne Sullivan actually COULD understand what she’d signed about her mother!

So that’s today’s post mine damer og herrer!  I wish you a good day and hope this post is the extent of your brush with stupidity:)  Chow for now!

Tuesday Table

Afternoon everyone!

Apologies for dropping off the face of the earth already.  The ole ball and chain and I have just completed our transfer from Maine to Florida and have been busy settling in, unpacking and all the fun stuff that’s involved with moving as well as preparing for the hurricane that wasn’t.  Well, ok, it did get a bit wild here for a bit yesterday but what’s a Tornado Warning or two among friends;)

Anyway, no recipe today however I did come across this nifty little video on Buzz Feed.

I don’t know Chinese (which I believe this is) but it appears to be a demonstration of how you can use the suction in your average water bottle to separate an egg yolk from the white.  Although not exactly practical, it is pretty cool to watch:)  Chow for now!

Mute Monday Musings


Since my husband and I hooked up with family and did the tourist thing in New York City this weekend, the Big Apple is the subject of this week’s musings.

The Guggenheim Museum

Inside the Guggenheim










Coney Island

Naked Cowboy – Times Square


Sabrett Hot Dogs & Mister Softee – Staples of NY cuisine



NY Giant and cop dance at Puerto Rican Day Parade



Happy Birthday Julia Child!

Yesterday marked the 100th birthday of the one and only Julia Child!

Born in the glamorous city of Pasadena with all the pretty people, Julia was the eldest of three and daughter of a Princeton grad and staunch Republican and a paper company heiress whose father was also Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts.  Julia lived a life of privelege yet life was not always rosy for this 6’2 California girl.  She had gone to school intent on becoming a famous novelist and worked in the advertising department of W&J Sloane. However, she apparently didn’t get along with her new boss after transferring to the store’s LA location because she was fired for gross insubordination. During World War II Julia volunteered as a research assistant with the Office of Strategic Services, now known as the CIA, in Washington DC, China and Sri Lanka where she met the love of her life, Paul Child.  The two returned to the states at the end of the war and were married.

In 1948, now working for the U.S. Information Service at the American Embassy in Paris, Paul and Julia moved to France where Julia’s culinary adventures began. She trained at the infamous Cordon Bleu for six months before joining forces with fellow students Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle to form the cooking school L’Ecole de Trois Gourmandes.  With the intent to introduce French cuisine to American cooks and rescue their families and guests from atrocities like the casserole and jello molds with fruit and marshmallows in them, Les Trois Gourmandes embarked on the creation of a two-volume cookbook. Unfortunately the 3lb., 734 page manuscript was rejected before another publisher picked it up and released it and in September 1961 Mastering the Art of French Cooking was born. This book changed the culinary industry in America and remained the bestselling cookbook for five straight years after publication. Julia went on to promote her book on a PBS station in Boston which began her television career that won her countless awards including the George Foster Peabody Award and an Emmy!

Over the years Julia Child has received criticism for everything from not washing her hands on air to the high fat content French cuisine is famous for to which Julia advised everything in moderation saying, “I would rather eat one tablespoon of chocolate russe cake than three bowls of Jell-O!”  In 1993, Julia became the first woman to be inducted into the Culinary Institute Hall of Fame and received France’s highest honor, the Legion d’Honneur, in 2000. Two years later, her famous kitchen in which three of her cooking shows were filmed, became an exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

In 2004, two days shy of her 92nd birthday, Julia Child died of kidney failure at home in Montecito, California.  Her legacy, however, lives on!

Fun Facts

There is a rose the color of butter named for Julia Child that she chose herself.

The French Chef was the first cooking show ever televised on PBS and the first show ever to be close captioned for the hearing impaired.

Julia Child wore a size 12 shoe.

Julia’s last meal was French Onion soup.

Because of her height, Julia had her countertops built two inches higher for comfort.

Bon Appétit!

Whinging Wednesday

Good day good people!  I have designated this day, Whinging Wednesday and on each Wednesday I will rant and whine and moan about anything hospitality related whether it’s crappy service or a bullshit article or practice like airlines charging you stupid little fees for everything except breathing (and I wouldn’t put it past them to suddenly have a problem with the airflow at high altitudes and needing money to drop the masks if they could;)

I LOVE to travel, hence this blog and my current field of study, however my least favorite mode of travel is by air.  This is a crying shame because I used to love flying!  My first flight ever was on American Airlines for my uncle’s wedding in Puerto Rico way back in the stone age or 1989.  The stewardesses were friendly, the little plastic cups that you were served coffee or tea in were too cute, you got a nice fluffy pillow and blanket when they tried to freeze you out while you’re in the air and seemed to be lots of leg and arm room, you didn’t have to worry about waking up with someone’s head in your lap and when we landed at Luis Munoz Marin Airport the passengers actually applauded!

ZOMG so cool!

I used to get so excited getting on a big British Airways jet (I’m not a major fan of Virgin even if they are a bit cheaper) to visit my then fiancee in England at the turn of the century when I could stretch across an aisle to sleep on my red eye flight.  My first flight to London I once again rifled through the cute little plastic bag handed to me by the flight attendants that were filled with all kinds of goodies like comfy airplane socks, a pen and some kind of lip balm I guess to help combat the dryness you get from the recycled air being pumped through the system.  I had plenty of embarrassing moments on that flight but I didn’t care much because I was excited, young and stupid;)  These moments included being so engrossed in the episode of Friends I was watching (the one where Ross had to be sedated for screaming at his boss) that when he started shrieking “MY SANDWICH!” I burst out laughing before remembering I was on a nice quiet airplane carrying nice quiet British people.    There was also the time when I was handed a hot wet cloth and had no idea what to do with it followed by when I was brought a nice tray of creams, scones, coffee, cheese and fruit.  Everything looked so good but suddenly I had a major problem.  I had two packets that said cream but clearly one cream was for my coffee and one was for spreading on my scone thing and after a good 7 minutes I was unable to figure out which was which.  After a couple of passes where I assured the flight attendant I was fine I finally buckled and explained my dilemma which after a chuckle she helped remedy.  Good thing too because I absolutely had it wrong!

What? It was funny!

So to me flying was an adventure and I loved it.  I didn’t mind going through security and I loved how over the years technology has brought TV and radio to the airline passenger (Jetblue is my favorite airline:).  However, I’ve long wearied of having to choose my seat when buying my ticket only to get to the check in kiosk and find I’m given a completely different seat, then stand on a long ass line to hand over my luggage to stand on yet another long line to give a free strip tease and go through super special extra screening because I’m just brown enough for the TSA to think I’m a potential terrorist and finally wait for someone to arrive at the gate to change my seat BACK to my original choice!  Then I sit and watch every passenger hover by the door DESPITE the fact the attendant is announcing rows that clearly, unless these people are sitting on each other’s laps or perching on each other’s heads, not everyone standing in line belongs in those rows!  Finally, I’m squeezed into an itty bitty seat where the clown in front of me will lower his seat ALLLLLLL the way back to the point where I’m thinking of asking him to pitch in for the price of my ticket!

Naw, airlines aren’t being cheap, they’re promoting unity and togetherness!

Anyway,  although Amtrak isn’t nearly of the same caliber of train travel in Europe and Asia, I actually like traveling by train and apparently I’m not the only one.  Today, the New York Times reported that 75% of travelers between New York and Washington DC travel by train rather than dealing with the hassles and high prices of airlines.  Over the years I’ve taken the train from NY to Maine, Niagara Falls, Seattle and down to Florida.  In fact, my husband and I are currently en route to our brand new home in Florida via yet another military transfer and will be taking the Auto Train this weekend.  Yes my friends, there is an auto train.  Although it doesn’t travel nearly as far as I would like and is not available everywhere, but you can board a train in Lorton, VA and ride in comfort all the way to Sanford, FL without adding the extra mileage to your car.  You get the option of riding in a coach seat (which I don’t recommend if you have a bad back as I discovered during our journey to Seattle when we rode in coach during the first leg of our trip before switching trains in Chicago) or a selection of bedrooms from the cozy but tiny roomette to the large and roomy bedroom with your own bathroom.  Price includes a fairly decent meal (you get an option of dining times when you first board) and while you’re away the staff turns down your bed.  Depending on the train and season you get to watch a movie or two in the lounge car or you’re treated to a kind of guided informational tour about the region you’re traveling through.

Comfort with a view

Yes, it can take longer to get to your destination by rail than flying but there’s far less hassle, for the most part it’s a lot cheaper, and the ride is much more pleasant and relaxing.  There have been attempts to revive the days of train travel to its former glory and revamp this country’s rail system however Congress has been far from accommodating.  So if you’re like me and would like to see train travel restored so that the US can at least match the rail systems in the rest of the world, drop your Congressman a line and talk his or her ear off about it!

Tuesday’s Table

On Tuesdays I will be posting my favorite recipes that I either discovered on another site or book or that I’ve created myself.  This week I’ll be going light and healthy.  The first recipe I’ve been using for years and found on this terrific weight loss website called Spark People.  This is the Applesauce Oatmeal Muffin recipe which is extremely filling, sweet but not sickeningly so and if you want to be bad, goes FANTASTIC with TempTee Cream Cheese;)  Otherwise jelly is also nice but the muffins really do stand on their own:)


1 cup old fashion rolled oats (not instant)
1 cup non-fat milk
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 egg whites
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. sugar
raisins or nuts (optional)


Soak the oats in milk for about one hour. 
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Spray muffin pan with cooking spray.
Combine the oat mixture with the applesauce and egg whites, and mix until combined.
In a separate bowl measure and whisk the dry ingredients together.
Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until just combined. Add nuts or raisins if desired.
Do not over mix the batter or the muffins will be tough. Spoon muffin mixture into muffin pan.
Combine the cinnamon and sugar and top each muffin with some of the mixture.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until done.
Remove from pan, cool and enjoy.
These can be frozen and reheated in the microwave for a quick breakfast.

Number of Servings: 12


Now I’m not ashamed to say I have been battling a weight problem for several years.  As it turns out I have  reactive hypoglycemia which I am learning how to control via medication and diet.  The one thing that helps me is having a LOT of protein.  I know it’s terrible but I hate eating breakfast in the morning (which is why I found these muffins because they’re great when you’re on the go).  However, I discovered a high protein breakfast will set me up with enough energy to last for hours which is far better than having to stop and grab something to eat every 2-3 hours or pass out with the shakes, crankiness, lack of concentration  and all that good stuff:-/  I used to rely on those Fiber One and Special K bars but in the Florida summer heat they just don’t sit well in the car.  So a relative clued me in to keeping high protein snacks in the car that won’t be damaged by the heat like mixed nuts, dried fruit and jerky.  I also need a lot of potassium but I’m wary of my sodium intake so I’m not crazy about the jerky idea but I’m looking into it.

Anyway, one of the things I love to indulge in is soda but I can’t STAND diet soda and don’t need to be drinking either!  However, I’ve recently discovered that combining Crystal light packets or squirting Mio into some club soda or seltzer water REALLY does the trick!  Whenever I feel like soda but don’t want the calories, and let’s be honest after drinking soda you just become more thirsty or hungry, I combine some lemon, lime (or lemon-lime) seltzer water with a squirt of Mio Strawberry Watermelon and I’m treated to a nice refreshing sparkling beverage without all the calories!  Just a word of warning, if you’re like me and you like to drink out of those plastic cups with the lid and straw that resemble something you’d get from a fast food place do yourself a favor and do NOT stir the mixture with the lid on unless of course you want to mimic the mentos in a soda bottle effect and spend the next 10 minutes cleaning up your kitchen counters:-p