Meals with a Message

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Mardi Gras Meal

Gulf Coast Supper For Mardi Gras

Suggested Menu
Okra/Seafood File’ Gumbo
Swamp Wild Rice Almandine
Carrots/celery relish plate
Creole Bread
Louisiana Pecan pralines
Or Mardi Gras Cake
Southern Ice cream
Mint julep limeade
Café Noir

Tip: Mardi Gras is a time of jubilee among the New Orleans and Gulf Coast region.
Decorate the table with beads and moon pies or trinkets. Christians often use this time for spiritual retreats.
Food for Thought:
Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:32

Family Meal Planning
Eating Well for Wellness
Eating well for wellness involves many aspects of eating. First, enjoy any food that is placed before you. Eat a variety of foods so that you can obtain adequate nutrition for the proper function of your body organs. If you are served something that is unappealing, either pass it without comment or eat it with thankfulness and consideration of the one who is serving it. In foreign counties, you may find it hard to eat a goat’s intestines or even some types of fish, as I have found. Yet if you eat with a prayer in your heart and an attitude of appreciation of the things that God created, all foods are tolerable. When you concentrate on creating a cheerful environment, enjoying friends and family and eating with joyfulness, you can persevere. In everyday situations, chew your food well. Chew at least 25 times or until it is a liquid. The liquid form of food goes into the blood stream faster and provides energy and nutrients for your bodily functions. If you find yourself in a resentful or angry atmosphere, or if you are chewing your food too fast, calm down. Take deep breaths; start again; this time start slower. Stop eating when you grow tired of chewing or you are on the verge of feeling too full. Pleasant eating atmospheres and correct eating habits help you to eat well for wellness.

Gumbo is a cherished dish from the southern coastal area. It is made with file’ or okra as a thickening agent. File’ is made from sassafras leaves that are dried and ground into powder. The recipe is derived from the Choctaws Indians. The Indian word for sassafras is Kombo. Cajuns took the word and made it into Gumbo. File’ is added only after the dish is completely prepared and removed from the heat. Okra is mixed with the other vegetables and cooked. A roux also adds to the thickening of the soup or stew mix. Gumbo is a good dish to use left over meats. A mixture of meats can be used in gumbo. The vegetables can be cooked in beef or chicken broth. An authentic Cajun Gumbo is served over heaps of rice. The rice may also be cooked in leftover beef or chicken stock for variety. The slower the gumbo is cooked, the tastier it will be. About 2 hours is the basic time for slow cooking. For more tender vegetables, cook longer. Cajuns add Tabasco or hot sauce to their gumbo, but most Americans prefer it without. Either way, gumbo is a nutritious dish for a family meal.

From the Nutritionist: Gulf coast cooking is an easy way to obtain the nutrients that a family needs. This menu is an enjoyable way to enjoy cuisine of the region. Okra is still in season and is still economical in many farmers markets. A roux is mixed with the tomatoes, okra, and onions. A roux in the gumbo recipe is made with flour and oil to serve as a thickening agent. Although shrimp or crab meat is best, chicken or even sausage can be substituted. Other meats like venison and turkey can also be used. The vegetables in the gumbo as well as the relish plate provide needed vitamins and minerals. Protein is found in the meat. The rice has almond slivers sprinkled on top for an added appeal. Creole Bread is sausage cornbread with corn, plenty of black and red powdered peppers and Creole Seasoning. Rice and bread are 2 servings of carbohydrates. The pecan pralines and almonds give extra protein and minerals. Cooking a softball caramel candy mixture and adding the pecans is the method of preparation for making Louisiana pralines. Homemade ice cream is always a treat and supplies calcium to the food diet. The Mardi Gras cake is made with a yellow round layer. Place a cake decorator’s baby inside. A prize should be given to the person who bites into the baby. (Be sure to warn eaters about the trinket inside the cake and caution not to swallow.) When dishes are created from scratch, the sodium and sugar content can be controlled. This makes the menu adaptable for diabetics and special need dieters. Tabasco hot sauce is vital to Cajun meals. However, it can be omitted from the gumbo recipe without any major affects to the taste for most Americans. Happy Mardi Gras!!!!

After dinner coffee is a must. Chicory is desirable for an authentic cup of Cajun coffee. Green limeade with mint flavoring and a sprig of mint on the side can be substituted for mint juleps without alcohol. Happy southern coastal feasting!

Recipes are available upon request.
Comments and questions are welcomed.
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Sunday, February 12, 2006

Valentine Meal

Feb. 14:
Valentine’s Day
Suggested Menu:
Savory Swiss Steak
Sweet Peas /Glazed-eyed Carrots
Heavenly Hash Fruit Salad
Honey Butter and Angel Biscuits
Decadent Chocolate Cake Heart
Strawberries dipped in Chocolate
Tea for Two
(After dinner)
Hot cocoa topped with whipped cram
Tip: Stick toothpicks in strawberries. Dip the berry in melted chocolate and shake off excess. Turn berry upside down and insert toothpick into a block of Styrofoam or egg carton. Fresh strawberries keep longer if stored in an airtight food storage container with paper towels between the layers and on top. Fresh strawberries are a nutritious snack and diet food.

Food for Thought:
God is Love…. 1 John 4:8LB

Family Meal Planning
Protein along with carbohydrates and fats provide the body’s needed energy. Amino Acids or Protein is the nutrient that is necessary for building and maintaining the cells, tissues and muscles. It is necessary for a healthy heart. A healthy diet needs about 3 serving of protein daily. Family meal planners should include an adequate source of protein foods such as lean meats, milk, eggs and legumes. In a vegetarian diet, meal planners must include high protein vegetables and nuts to provide an adequate amount. Diets lacking adequate protein cause edema in the stomach area.
Chocolate originated in South America. The Indians used it for a delicious drink. With the arrival of the Europeans, chocolate was used for currency. Europeans learned that the solid form of chocolate made delicious candy and could be combined in puddings, cakes and icings. By Victorian times chocolate became associated with romance and love. Soon it became a major part of Valentine’s Day. The caffeine in the chocolate has made it known as a feel "good" food. Research is on going concerning the healthy benefits of chocolate for the heart. Chocolate cookies and candy are excellent foods to share with others in food gift baskets.
From the Nutritionist:
The Bible emphasizes God’s love for people and encourages people to love their families and one another. Christians have long recognized Valentine’s Day as the day for love and romance. One legend says that a man by the name of Valentine, who was imprisoned and in love, sent the first romantic greeting card. It became known as a Valentine card and February 14 became known as Valentine’s Day in honor of his romantic appeal. Our menu this week highlights this event. Our food recipes are easy for a busy family meal planner. The Savory Swiss steak recipe that provides protein and dairy can be prepared ahead of time, placed in a casserole dish and baked while getting the other food on the table. Honey butter is made by mixing honey and butter to spread on Angel biscuits. Diabetics can adjust the Decadent Chocolate cake to a diabetic recipe by substituting unsweetened applesauce for sugar and serving with fresh strawberries. Biscuits and cake serve as 2 bread exchanges for diabetics. To create a more romantic atmosphere after dinner, save orange peels from the Heavenly Hash Fruit Salad and throw into the fire in the fireplace for a captivating aroma. Hot chocolate milk topped with whipped cream may be served as an after dinner delight and a supplement to the dairy requirements. Food meal planners should always balance nutritious foods with exercise for the family members.
Recipes are available upon request.
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Saturday, February 04, 2006

General Beauregard’s Groundhog Day

General Beauregard’s Groundhog Day

Suggested Menu:
Vidalia Onion Soup
Oven Fried Chicken with Pecan Coating
Potato/Cheese Casserole Green Beans
Carrot Sticks Homemade Rolls
Peach Cobbler
Iced Tea

Tip: Make a paste of ¼ c. oil, ½ c. flour, 1 c. pecans, salt and white pepper. Coat top of each chicken piece and bake. Pecans are cholesterol free and contain Vitamin E, potassium and magnesium.

Food for Thought:
You are good at reading the weather signs…red sky tonight means fair weather tomorrow; red sky in the morning means foul weather all day…read the obvious signs of the times! Matthew 16:2-3

Family Meal Planning

Ground Hog Day
Traditionally, the Bible rites of purification were on Feb. 2. The date became known as the commemoration of the Purification of the Virgin Mary and candles were lit. Groundhog Day began as a Christian holiday called Candlemas when candles were blessed. The light of the candles often frightened animals. Since hibernating animals emerge halfway between the winter equinox and spring solstice, folklore developed. If animals saw their shadows, they became frightened and retreated to their dens, thus, 6 more weeks of winter. Since the North American animal most frequently seen was a groundhog or hedgehog, Feb. 2 became Groundhog Day in the United States and Canada. The Southern groundhog General Beauregard, who works only one day a year as the Weather Prognosticator, lives a lavish lifestyle in Georgia. General Beauregard’s diet is mainly vegetables and fruits. Our easy menu for the family meal planner consists of foods from his region of the country.
Vidalia Onions

Onions are high in vitamin C, fiber
Has natural sweetness. Cooking is easy. Soup makes an excellent winter meal. May cut onion under running water to prevent tearing.
Home : Recipes : Soups the Nutritionist:
Family meal planners and diabetics will find this menu has onions, potatoes, greens beans, carrots and peaches that provide 4 servings of fruits and vegetables needed daily for the family. The cheese in the potato casserole will provide 1 serving of dairy. For more calcium, the meal planner may serve ice cream on top of the peach cobbler. Carrot sticks may be stored in a safe food container and used as snacks or diet food. Carrots may be cooked into cakes or cookies, placed in a gift food basket. The green bean recipe is a free exchange for diabetics. Diabetics should limit potatoes and carrots since both are high in carbohydrates. One chicken piece provides one serving or exchange of protein. Sugar free peaches and sugar free ice cream may be served for a diabetic dessert.

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