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Thanksgiving Showdowns

25 Oct

What’s the difference between brining and marinating or mashing and whipping? Find out the answers to all of your Thanksgiving dinner questions.

Written and researched by Meaghan Cameron and Amy Zerello

In or Out? Stuffing vs. Dressing

For those who believe the conventional wisdom, stuffing is the stuff that is cooked inside the bird while dressing is baked on the outside. But Chow notes that both are actually the same thing, according to the National Turkey Federation, which states, “Both terms are used interchangeably.” Since this side dish is most often discussed at Thanksgiving, we think the turkey experts at the NTF may know best. If you do choose to stuff your turkey remember that it must reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees! Sources:,

Sweet Debate: Yams vs. Sweet Potatoes

Don’t lose your potatoes over this, but these two spuds are not related botanically. Now that you’ve digested that bombshell, here are a few more potato particulars: Sweet potatoes come in several varieties, classified as either firm or soft. Firm varieties remain firm after they’re cooked, while the soft varieties get moist and soft. The Library of Congress says these soft types are often labeled “yams,” but adds that true yams are native to Africa and it is unlikely you’ll find them at your local grocery store. Yams are starchier and drier than sweet potatoes, though they can be used interchangeably in recipes. Sources:,

Turkey Bath: Brined vs. Marinated

Every year on Thanksgiving you hear about people brining a turkey, but not marinating it. Why is that? The difference has to do with acidic marinades versus salty brines. Acid, a strong component of marinades, tenderizes only the surface of meats, thus they are not the best way to add flavor to your large turkey. Brining is a longer, deeper process. The salty nature of the brine “adds moisture to the meat through osmosis.” The salt draws the water inside the meat out while the brine flows into the meat, adding extra water and juiciness. Want to do both? Try this Citrus Marinated Turkey recipe from Iron Chef Jose Garces, in which he first brines and then marinates the meat. Source: Continue reading


On a Strawberry Swing

8 Jul

Is it normal to get excited for my husband to try new things I bake/cook/whip up for him? I mean, without sitting down to eat it too? This morning I ingeniously stirred our remaining strawberries into a bowl of whole grain pancake batter and threw in a pinch of cinnamon (his favorite).

As soon as the batter was ready for the pan it dawned on me: we’re out of syrup. For my husband, this was almost a deal breaker. I had to remind him, sweetly, that strawberries would make the pancakes sweet enough. He conceded and said he’d have them without the syrup, as long as I really buttered them up (no problem!). Piled on a plate, I proudly presented my creation and laughed when he got up to look in the cupboard one more time for hidden syrup. (Below, my Whole Grain Strawberry Pancakes!)

Strawberry Wholegrain Pancakes

The verdict? Seems like he ate 75% of what I gave him, so I call that a breakfast victory — especially given he never lets me add fruit to my recipes. Let’s just say he’s not a fan of me modifying recipes… Maybe it’s a police thing, following the rules and all? I love theorizing.

Anyway long story short: Strawberries truly do make breakfast sweeter. I had a bite, they were delicious.

Liquid Gold, Strawberries and Basil

6 Jul

I’m never far from a new idea for incorporating the olive oil we brought home from Sorrento on our honeymoon.

Pictured here, my afternoon breakfast/lunch: strawberry and basil on a whole grain waffle, drizzled with olive oil, or as they called it on the farm, liquid gold.

Strawberry Basil Waffles

If I’d never had a strawberry and basil margarita, I’m not sure I’d have come up with this waffle idea, but have to admit, SO glad I did! It’s delicious! Happy I chose to hold off and have a late breakfast today :) And to think, Hubby asked for waffles this morning and wouldn’t let me put anything on them but butter and syrup (no fun!)

More on our Italian treasure… Here is a photo from Cooperativa Le Colline di Sorrento, the farm and winery where we purchased our olive oil. You can see why they’re able to produce such amazing product, with all of that abundant sunshine!

Cooperativa Le Colline di Sorrento

If you get to Italy and have a chance to bring home olive oil or wine, do it. It’s worth the heavy baggage fee!

More awesome food pics here!

A Weigh In on the Weight-Loss Wars

5 Jan

Just in time for our resolutions to start chugging their way to their respective early deaths, Tara Parker Pope’s story on why permanent weight loss is often a pipe dream rears its head, a monster of a magazine feature that’s as depressing as it is illuminating.

“The Fat Trap,” one of this week’s most e-mailed stories, examines what happens to the body after weight loss. Instigated by the research of a physician from the University of Melbourne, the story details why motivated people have so much trouble maintaining their weight loss.

And trouble is putting it lightly.  Joseph Proietto’s study proved the body basically launches a hormonal assault, upping the hunger hormone, ghrelin, weakening peptide YY, responsible for satiation, and lowering leptin, the hormone tasked with appetite suppression and metabolism activity. In other words, after weight loss, your body’s hormones fight to bring the fat back. An hunger does nothing for one’s preoccupation with food. It’s a vicious attack against the best intentions.

Read the post to learn more, and meet the couple profiled, two people who collectively lost roughly 300 pounds but must do everything in their power to keep their weight in check.