New England Gingerbread Pudding, A Classic Holiday Dessert

As someone who considers herself handy in the kitchen, this has been one of the most interesting (unusual?) recipes I’ve ever followed. Mostly because until yesterday I had never heard of cornmeal pudding. In fact, when I was approached by the moderators of this blog to see if I would be interested in evaluating the recipe, my first response after glancing at the ingredient list was “Oh no, they wrote cornmeal, not corn starch!” As you can imagine, I was initially apprehensive about the success of this dish.

But I’m willing to be proven wrong, and I consider myself a bit of a savant when it comes to homemade puddings, thanks in large part to the wisdom of Maya Angelou’s cookbook, The Welcome Kitchen. There are few things more comforting than a nice, warm pudding on a rainy afternoon, so I set to work.

image001I  first preheated the oven to 300 degrees, and then began the pudding by scalding 5 cups of milk in a medium saucepan, a step designed to help to milk mix smoothly with the cornmeal. Because I don’t have a double boiler, I worked over a low heat to avoid burning the pudding. Continue reading


Giving the Gift of Flavor

I love giving food-related gifts during the holiday season. They are fun for everyone, from food connoisseurs to your friend whose idea of cooking is boiling water for pasta. I try to give gifts that are tasty, healthy and encourage the recipient to try something new. While everyone indulges a bit over the holidays, it’s great to help others prevent cancer through healthier food and fitness-related gifts.

One of my favorite ways to flavor and season vegetables is also turning into one of my favorite gifts to give. Working with individuals trying to lose weight, I often hear people talk about how much they dislike vegetables. Flavored balsamic vinegar and olive oil can change that.

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Why olive oil? It’s rich in antioxidants and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, and including it in your diet can help lower your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. However, since olive oil is also high in calories, highly flavorful oils – like lemon or walnut – can boost the taste of your food with small amounts. Continue reading


Cook meals – eat better, new study (it can help prevent cancer too)

We talk a lot about food and eating here because research shows it matters for cancer prevention. Now a study that quantifies the benefits of home cooking finds that if you frequently cook dinner at home you’re more likely to eat fewer calories, both at home and eating out, compared to those who seldom cook.canstockphoto18508832

The study was published in Public Health Nutrition yesterday.

People who cooked dinner the most, at least six nights a week, were eating 137 fewer calories per day on average compared to those cooking dinner only once a week or not at all.

Study authors used data from almost 9,600 adult participants of the government National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Participants answered questions about how many times they cooked during the past week and what they ate during the past 24 hours, along with questions such as about dieting.

The more people cooked, the less calories they ate. In 8% of adults’ homes, someone was cooking dinner once or less a week. These people were eating on average 2,301 calories a day. Almost half of households – 48% – were cooking dinner six to seven times a Continue reading