Saturday, January 23, 2021
If my birthday weren’t in January, I’d be as fit as all The News readers have been since 2021 hit us, right? It’s a Capricorn bump I have to face, but I’m back to plant-based options and I haven’t missed my 10,000 steps goals. Read on for tips on healthy ways that may serve you well:
Sunday, January 17, 2021
My family thinks I don’t like soup. It’s because I told them I don’t like soup and have avoided certain soups from them. But I actually mean I tend to really hate vegetable soup or bland and salty canned soups. Bring on a good French onion, potato or gourmet cream version. In January, when one craves a bowl of warm comfort, I’m all about gumbo. I’m about gumbo in steamy summer months as well. My husband loves gumbo, but he always brings up his musings of if gumbo is really a soup. This is tedious, as he’s still going on about it as he dishes his second bowl. Readers, let me know what you think. Do you consider gumbo as soup? Or is it a special category of Cajun elixer?
Wednesday, January 13, 2021
Turns out… I truly like nearly any food, or at least like trying it. For decades, if someone asked a food I don’t like, and I’d shout out “turnips” quick. Truth is I probably had one dull, bland bite as a kid and they never came up again. I didn’t even realize people grew them around here. A local gardener gave me some and I didn’t hesitate to try it. He suggested a method that involved bacon but I happened to have some chicken fat at hand so I tried that with great results. He doesn’t peel them, so I didn’t either. Just pretty much roasted them, with great results. The greens were also surprisingly easy and good and did have the promised spicy “bite.” This is a guilt-free addition to my diet, so not worried about finding a new food to enjoy. But what will I say when people ask what I don’t like? Turns out, turnips are terrific. Tofurky. My friend said he’d had something like this about 10 years ago and imagined the process had improved. This time around, he complimented the texture several times and said it was filling, too. On my end, I have to say the round ball looked like a big mound of modeling clay. There was also a gravy pouch. I roasted it with cabbage, turnips and onions and guess what? People liked Tofurky. It sliced well, revealing stuffing and just like that, Tofurky was the talk of the day. If you are doing plants, check into this easy-to-handle roast. Cart Safe Did you assume grocery carts were “icky” even before the pandemic? Studies show they have more saliva, bacteria, etc. than public telephones and bathrooms. Did you ever want to put like a giant shower cap around your hold cart while you’re loading up on fresh produce and the rest of your necessities? Thank a mom who invented Cart Safe for the times of Covid. Gonna say, of when you push your cart around the market that’s lined with this blue protective layering you’ll get notice from other shoppers who will likely want to order, too. Get a look at Safe Cart at www.cartsafe.com Keto Beam Are you trying to maintain ketosis? Some of you know just what I mean but I don’t have much experience with this lifestyle. Keto-BEAM.com will hook you up with Electrolyze, Micro-Boost and Insta-Lytes. I received samples and will agree that they taste like water, which is a welcome sensation when compared to some supplements. I’m most interested in the Insta-Lytes Electrolyte Misting Spray you can spray on your face and elsewhere to soften cramps, sooth aches and recharge electrolytes. I do like this sensation. Darragh Doiron is a Port Arthur area foodie committed to a new year of healthy resolutions. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, January 2, 2021
“Texas Place Names” Fort Spunky? Not Familiar. Port Arthur? Of course I knew about railroad magnate Arthur Stilwell. But now everyone can, in if they proudly display Edward Callary’s big red book done with Jean K. Callary. Premise? The book cosists of just a blurb about how each city in the great state of Texas got its name. Dime Box? Raisin? Our own Sour Lake? Read all about it, and then plan some good-eatin’ road trips. This is fun stuff and I love that Texas is so big this hefty book clocks in at 400 plus pages. See round. Maybe in China.
Saturday, December 26, 2020
Black-eyed peas, and chickpeas, too. Please eat your black-eyed peas, but try some roasted chickpeas, too. We southerners need to eat extra black-eyed peas for some 2021 luck. That’s understood. But save room for something I finally tried: roasted chickpeas. I suppose I tried to roast some from a can many years ago and they weren’t crunchy. This time I succeeded. Crispy and sprinkled with cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom, they were a satisfying snack. I ate the whole can’s worth, which I do not recommend. I certainly do not suggest that you open another can, roast some more and eat that, too. That was a bit too filling. So the process is simply to drain the liquid and pat them dry and roast them in olive oil for about 350 degrees for roughly 20 to 30 minutes. Sprinkle with your spices after they are baked. You may shake the pan every 10 minutes and they will pop. I’ll be doing this again. Churros. Say it again… If even saying the word “churros” gives you a comforting feeling, you’re not alone. In Southeast Texas we puff our dough and cover it in powdered sugar like the Cajuns do in New Orleans. We also love our Mexican flavors and they shape their dough into churros with sugar then add cinnamon for extra spice. San Diablo does churros of Utah and ships them everywhere. Scott Porter got his artisan flair in Mexico City while on mission work, so don’t be alarmed by the little devil logo and the red plastic pokey pitchfork that comes with an order. There’s an angel on there, too and she’s probably trying to tell you to not eat so many and save some for your husband. A batch arrived and it was easy as churros for me to heat them up 6 minutes and serve with included sauces. Their big news is they can ship you a churro maker, so you have the power to create in your own home. Are you and the angel ready for this power? I’m also considering La Muerte, a cinnamon sugar blend with ghoste pepper. Now that will spice up your day. Sandiablochurros.com
Sunday, December 20, 2020
Dreams Aren’t This Good has Port Neches Ties Is branding Dreams Aren’t This Good a tad arrogant? Is it “the most addicting salsa in the world” that makes me ask myself questions I can’t answer? I was attracted to Just Dance Jalapeno Salsa before I connected Matt Bennet, founder, to Port Neches. He dreamed the Mexican and Cajun spice blended into his youth could go New York City style, combine with energetic branding and hit the bigtime. First, it’s really, really good, with a kicking original another fave being Now or Never, the avocado pepper blend and Girls Girls Girls with blueberry and coconut. then the marketing is fantasy/funny and to top it off, you can wear the DATG fashion line and know you’re helping makers support good causes. No wonder it’s billed as “The World’s First Lifestyle Salsa Brand.” But wait, there’s over-the-top chips in the line, too. Bennett has ties to Bogalusa, La., the “super small town of Port Neches” that’s “pretty much almost Louisiana,” and LSU. He makes salsa. Give yourself a treat and go to dreamsarentthisgood.com to get the story better than I can tell you. I have to go cultivate my salsa lifestyle. * * * Inspired by DATG, I’ve woven an American Dream Theme into the following reports on holiday indulgences below: Cranberries go chutney I wouldn’t dream of holidays without cranberries and my family always went above the squeezed out of a can model. Mom made a tangy relish that makes a turkey feel naked without it. Circle B Ranch of Missouri came to my rescue now that Mom’s gone. They’re in the humane pork business, so it’s no wonder they suggest their fruit chutneys, such as Pear Ginger, served with their quality chops. But this is the season for Cranberry Apple Jalapeno Chutney and Cranberry Chutney to shine. Once my husband tasted one jar, he asked that all three be put out at each meal until they were done. Circlebranchpork.com will set you up with all this and more. Gluten-free bloody Mary mix anyone? Sparkle What’s a unicorn’s dream breakfast? Waffles or whatever, it would come topped with Runamok Maple’s limited Sparkle Syrup, glimmering with pearlescent mica, a mineral that will also create radiant cocktails. Eye-catching and creative flavors are this Vermont-based company’s specialty and they’re always packaged in memorable bottles. As the sun comes up, light is catching my Sugarmaker’s Cut filling my workspace with amber glow. Mini bottles of Markut Lime-Leaf Infused and Cinnamon + Vanilla Infused versions look like the big mama bottle’s babies. Runamokmaple.com offers gift ideas and recipes tap your creativity, so remember to gift yourself. Cashews can be “buttered” The humble peanut does not need my promotion. Americans are in love with peanut butter and I encourage them to expand their horizons with awareness that there are other nut butters. The cute little Once Again raccoon mascot knows it. A family’s “dream” business model has come to fruition here. The little rascal adorns bottles of Creamy Cashew butter, which also comes in an organic blend. Copper, folate, protein and fiber are some of the “shiny things” inside what is a super-creamy and rich experience. I already consider cashews one of the more “elite” nuts. Once Again is proud of their nut source and the product is has a similar but different mouth feel to peanut butter. I consider it a more special/subtle brunch thing, but hey, cashew butter can certainly glam up an everyday lunch. Of course onceagainnutbutter.com has the line’s many nut options and recipes, which include pumpkin pairings. My batch will probably go down by the spoonful, straight from the jar. Darragh Doiron is a Port Arthur area foodie dreaming everyone can have the option of eating better and actually choosing that path. Reach her at email@example.com
Basic pantry stock gets elevated with these picks. Each have a proud backstory that’s worth looking up. SALTVERK Salt of the earth? As rarely as I use it, I can go for the good stuff. Saltverk is the good, good stuff, hand-harvested from Iceland. Did you know that was a thing? The umami comes from pristine sea water of Iceland’s remote Westfjords. Saltverks refived a 17th-century process powered by geothermal energy, leaving zero carbon footprint. So I did Google saltverk.com and those people are sure having fun leaving zero carbon footprints. Flaky Sea Salt is one of the sustainable varieties and it just tastes pure. Lava Salt is a sparkly black and Birch Smoked Salt is my favorite of those I tried. There’s a body in it and the pleasure of knowing where your food came from. If my eye catches the jar, I’ve been known to stop and take a little transporting whiff of the stuff. I also looked up images of the area and the beauty is breathtaking. I have a great sense of pleasure imagining all this when I pinch a bit of salt to sprinkle over a simple meal.