Hoppin’ John – Happy New Year!

December 31, 2014 at 11:37 AM | Posted in CooksRecipes | Leave a comment
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From Cook’s Recipes, Start your New Year of with a dish of Hoppin’ John!
Hoppin’ John
Cooksrecipes 2
Hoppin’ John is a tasty, Southern black-eyed pea classic.
Recipe Ingredients:
1 pound dried black-eyed peas
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon oregano
5 cups chicken stock
8 cups hot cooked rice
Cooking Directions:
Soak peas overnight with water to cover by 2 inches. Drain peas and set aside.
In large saucepan, sauté onion in oil until transparent; add peas, seasonings and chicken stock. Cover and cook slowly until peas are tender, about 30 to 40 minutes. If made ahead, cover and reheat.
For each serving, serve 1/2 cup of peas over 1/2 cup rice.
Makes 16 servings.

December 31, 2013 at 10:52 AM | Posted in Food | Leave a comment
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7 Lucky New Year’s Eve Foods from Reader’s Digest, the link to all 7 is at te bottom of the post.

7 Lucky New Year’s Eve FoodsReaders Di
Many of the foods people around the world traditionally eat for luck to ring in the New Year are also good for you. Here are 7 lucky new year’s foods (yes, we believe 7 is a lucky number) worth including at your gathering for a year of prosperity and good health!

Supposedly greens are eaten on New Year’s Eve because they resemble money. They are also teeming with vitamins and minerals so eat up! ….




Beans, like greens, resemble money. More specifically, they symbolize coins. Whether you choose black beans, lentils or black-eyes peas, try some healthy fiber-filled beans to soak up that champagne.

* Click the link below to get all the foods and recipe ideas. *



10 Good Luck Foods

December 28, 2013 at 10:24 AM | Posted in Food | 4 Comments
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More success, happiness and good health in 2014? We’ll toast to that! Start the new year out right with these good luck recipes. All from the Food.Com web site.


10 Good Luck FoodsFOOD COM

Success: Hoppin’ John

Simple but delicious, Hoppin’ John (made with black-eyed peas) represents success because each pea represents a coin, and a whole serving equals prosperity….


Happiness: Glitter Grapes

Try the Spanish and Portuguese tradition of eating 12 grapes at midnight on New Year’s Eve — sweet ones supposedly lead to 12 happy months….


Progress: Roast Pork Loin

Eating pork on New Year’s Day symbolizes progress in several countries, as the pig is known for pushing forward.


* Click the link below to get all 10 recipes to start of 2014 the right way! *


10 Power Foods You Should Eat This Winter

February 7, 2013 at 11:05 AM | Posted in diabetes, diabetes friendly, Food, fruits, vegetables | Leave a comment
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Another fine article from the Diabetic Living On Line web site. This one’s about the 10 power foods to help keep us healthy! I left the Diabetic living logoweb link at the bottom of the post. Enjoy!

10 Power Foods You Should Eat This Winter
Compiled by Janice Baker, RD, CDE, CNSC, BC-ADM and Caitlyn Dimig, 2013
Include these wintertime power foods for diabetes in your meal plan to keep your health on top. Try them in our delicious diabetic recipes!

New Year, New You
Boost your health this season with the freshest winter ingredients. Learn which foods are at their peak during these chilly months, as well as how to pick them, how to cook them, and why they’re healthy. These foods are easy to incorporate into a diabetes meal plan and will tantalize your taste buds all winter long…..


*Read the entire article by clicking the link below.

Lucky Foods for the New Year

December 28, 2012 at 10:43 AM | Posted in Food | Leave a comment
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Lucky Foods for the New Year
Our guide to feasting for future fortune
By Lauren Salkeld
F or many, January 1 offers an opportunity to forget the past and make a clean start. But instead of leaving everything up to fate, why not enjoy a meal to increase your good fortune? There are a variety of foods that are believed to be lucky and to improve the odds that next year will be a great one. Traditions vary from culture to culture, but there are striking similarities in what’s consumed in different pockets of the world: The six major categories of auspicious foods are grapes, greens, fish, pork, legumes, and cakes. Whether you want to create a full menu of lucky foods or just supplement your meal, we have an assortment of recipes, guaranteed to make for a happy new year, or at the very least a happy belly.

New Year’s revelers in Spain consume twelve grapes at midnight—one grape for each stroke of the clock. This dates back to 1909, when grape growers in the Alicante region of Spain initiated the practice to take care of a grape surplus. The idea stuck, spreading to Portugal as well as former Spanish and Portuguese colonies such as Venezuela, Cuba, Mexico, Ecuador, and Peru. Each grape represents a different month, so if for instance the third grape is a bit sour, March might be a rocky month. For most, the goal is to swallow all the grapes before the last stroke of midnight, but Peruvians insist on taking in a 13th grape for good measure.

Cooked Greens
Cooked greens, including cabbage, collards, kale, and chard, are consumed at New Year’s in different countries for a simple reason — their green leaves look like folded money, and are thus symbolic of economic fortune. The Danish eat stewed kale sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon, the Germans consume sauerkraut (cabbage) while in the southern United States, collards are the green of choice. It’s widely believed that the more greens one eats the larger one’s fortune next year.

Legumes including beans, peas, and lentils are also symbolic of money. Their small, seedlike appearance resembles coins that swell when cooked so they are consumed with financial rewards in mind. In Italy, it’s customary to eat cotechino con lenticchie or sausages and green lentils, just after midnight—a particularly propitious meal because pork has its own lucky associations. Germans also partner legumes and pork, usually lentil or split pea soup with sausage. In Brazil, the first meal of the New Year is usually lentil soup or lentils and rice, and in Japan, the osechi-ryori, a group of symbolic dishes eaten during the first three days of the new year, includes sweet black beans called kuro-mame.

In the Southern United States, it’s traditional to eat black-eyed peas or cowpeas in a dish called hoppin’ john. There are even those who believe in eating one pea for every day in the new year. This all traces back to the legend that during the Civil War, the town of Vicksburg, Mississippi, ran out of food while under attack. The residents fortunately discovered black-eyed peas and the legume was thereafter considered lucky.

The custom of eating pork on New Year’s is based on the idea that pigs symbolize progress. The animal pushes forward, rooting itself in the ground before moving. Roast suckling pig is served for New Year’s in Cuba, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, and Austria—Austrians are also known to decorate the table with miniature pigs made of marzipan. Different pork dishes such as pig’s feet are enjoyed in Sweden while Germans feast on roast pork and sausages. Pork is also consumed in Italy and the United States, where thanks to its rich fat content, it signifies wealth and prosperity.

Fish is a very logical choice for the New Year’s table. According to Mark Kurlansky, author of Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World, cod has been a popular feast food since the Middle Ages. He compares it to turkey on Thanksgiving. The reason? Long before refrigeration and modern transportation, cod could be preserved and transported allowing it to reach the Mediterranean and even as far as North Africa and the Caribbean. Kurlansky also believes the Catholic Church’s policy against red meat consumption on religious holidays helped make cod, as well as other fish, commonplace at feasts. The Danish eat boiled cod, while in Italy, baccalà, or dried salt cod, is enjoyed from Christmas through New Year’s. Herring, another frequently preserved fish, is consumed at midnight in Poland and Germany—Germans also enjoy carp and have been known to place a few fish scales in their wallets for good luck. The Swedish New Year feast is usually a smorgasbord with a variety of fish dishes such as seafood salad. In Japan, herring roe is consumed for fertility, shrimp for long life, and dried sardines for a good harvest (sardines were once used to fertilize rice fields).

Cakes, Etc.
Cakes and other baked goods are commonly served from Christmas to New Year’s around the world, with a special emphasis placed on round or ring-shaped items. Italy has chiacchiere, which are honey-drenched balls of pasta dough fried and dusted with powdered sugar. Poland, Hungary, and the Netherlands also eat donuts, and Holland has ollie bollen, puffy, donut-like pastries filled with apples, raisins, and currants.
In certain cultures, it’s customary to hide a special trinket or coin inside the cake—the recipient will be lucky in the new year. Mexico’s rosca de reyes is a ring-shaped cake decorated with candied fruit and baked with one or more surprises inside. In Greece, a special round cake called vasilopita is baked with a coin hidden inside. At midnight or after the New Year’s Day meal, the cake is cut, with the first piece going to St. Basil and the rest being distributed to guests in order of age. Sweden and Norway have similar rituals in which they hide a whole almond in rice pudding—whoever gets the nut is guaranteed great fortune in the new year.
Cakes aren’t always round. In Scotland, where New Year’s is called Hogmanay, there is a tradition called “first footing,” in which the first person to enter a home after the new year determines what kind of year the residents will have. The “first footer” often brings symbolic gifts like coal to keep the house warm or baked goods such as shortbread, oat cakes, and a fruit caked called black bun, to make sure the household always has food.

What Not to Eat
In addition to the aforementioned lucky foods, there are also a few to avoid. Lobster, for instance, is a bad idea because they move backwards and could therefore lead to setbacks. Chicken is also discouraged because the bird scratches backwards, which could cause regret or dwelling on the past. Another theory warns against eating any winged fowl because good luck could fly away.
Now that you know what to eat, there’s one more superstition—that is, guideline—to keep in mind. In Germany, it’s customary to leave a little bit of each food on your plate past midnight to guarantee a stocked pantry in the New Year. Likewise in the Philippines, it’s important to have food on the table at midnight. The conclusion? Eat as much lucky food as you can, just don’t get too greedy—or the first place you’ll be going in the new year is the gym.
Read More http://www.epicurious.com/articlesguides/holidays/newyearsday/luckyfoods#ixzz2GMRzRsCi

New Year’s Day Tradition – Black-Eyed Peas and Greens

December 28, 2012 at 10:40 AM | Posted in beans, cooking, Food | 6 Comments
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New Year’s Day Tradition – Black-Eyed Peas and Greens
On New Year’s Day, you’ll find people throughout the South eating black-eyed peas and greens. Many former Southerners have spread this tradition to other parts of the country. If this tradition is new to you, you probably have lots of questions – how did the tradition start? What do the foods symbolize? How do I cook them? Here are some answers to get you started.

Eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s has been considered good luck for at least 1,500 years. According to a portion of the Talmud BlackEyedPeaswritten around 500 A.D., it was Jewish custom at the time to eat black-eyed peas in celebration of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. It’s possible that the tradition arrived in America with Sephardic Jews, who first arrived in Georgia in the 1730s. Common folklore tells that the tradition spread after the Civil War. The Northern Army considered the black-eyed peas to be suitable only for animals, so they didn’t carry away or destroy the crops.

There are a variety of explanations for the symbolism of black-eyed peas. One is that eating these simple legumes demonstrates humility and a lack of vanity. The humble nature of the black-eyed pea is echoed by the old expression, “Eat poor on New Year’s, and eat fat the rest of the year.” Another explanation is that dried beans loosely resemble coins. Yet another is that because dried beans greatly expand in volume, they symbolize expanding wealth.

Clearly, a lot of people closely associate good luck with monetary gain. That’s where the greens come in (in case I need to spell it out, green is the color of U.S. currency). Any green will do, but the most common choices are collard, turnip, or mustard greens. Golden cornbread is often added to the Southern New Year’s meal, and a well-known phrase is, “Peas for pennies, greens for dollars, and cornbread for gold.” Pork is a staple of just about every Southern meal, so it’s usually cooked with the black-eyed peas. The pork seems to be there for flavor as opposed to symbolism, but some theorize that because pigs root forward when foraging, the pork represents positive motion.

There’s no single official way to prepare your black-eyed peas on January 1. One popular dish is Hoppin’ John, which is a mixture of black-eyed peas, rice, and bacon or ham hock. Some people throw a dime into the pot and believe that whoever winds up with the dime in their serving gets extra good luck for the coming year.


Christmas at EnterTRAINment Junction!

December 4, 2012 at 11:11 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Tis the Season! Fantastic place to take the family to during the Holidays! The train display is one – of – a – kind. Here’s all the details and web link.

Entertainment J

Create a holiday tradition for your family! See the magic of Christmas at the home of the World’s Largest Indoor Train Display. Take a “Journey to the North Pole“, where you can can meet Mrs. Claus and Santa himself. The Junction also offers some beautiful winter train displays that are FREE to the public. Extended Hours! From December 15th through December 23rd and December 26th through December 30th we will remain open until 9pm. The Junction is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas day and closes at 4pm on Christmas Eve and New Year‘s Eve. Santa goes on vacation after Christmas.

WELCOME…to EnterTRAINment Junction, unlike any indoor family entertainment center on the planet! 80,000 Square feet of unmatched family fun featuring two world class attractions. At EnterTRAINment Junction, you can Marvel at the world’s largest indoor train display (that’s 25,000 sq. ft. of model trains on an enormous train layout), bounce, climb and crawl in a spectacular children’s play area, discover at our imaginative railroading museum, engineer your own locomotive around a track in a hand-cranked railroad car or ride our narrow gauge train ride, and enjoy the greatest funhouse on earth. It’s like an theme park and it’s all indoors!

We were voted Ohio’s Best Family Entertainment Center and are fast becoming THE Cincinnati Train Display and one of many fun things to do in Cincinnati and Dayton, and one of the premiere attractions in Southwestern Ohio.

You can see our world’s largest indoor train display with an area of over half a football field and includes over 2 miles of track, 90 G-scale locomotives and 1000 cars , our railroad museum that shows how trains shaped the growth of the US, and our kid’s play area every day we are open. You won’t want to miss our newest attraction the A-Maze-N FunHouse: The Greatest FunHouse on Earth. Throughout the year we have seasonal and special events for everyone to enjoy. Click here for event dates and information.

Hours of Operation
10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Sat., Noon-6 p.m. Sunday. (Closed Closed Wednesdays, January thru March, and Easter Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. Early closing on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve) Note: A-Maze-N FunHouse opens one hour later on most days and closes one hour early off-peak.

EnterTRAINment Junction is off I-75, 30 minutes north of downtown Cincinnati and 25 minutes south of downtown Dayton, at the Tylersville Rd. exit (#22). Go East. Right on Kingsgate. Right on Squire Court. 7379 Squire Court, West Chester, Ohio, 45069



Research Links Green Tea to Weight Loss

February 10, 2012 at 10:44 AM | Posted in diabetes, diabetes friendly, Food, green tea | Leave a comment
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Another good article on one of my favorite drinks, Green Tea. You can read the entire article by clicking the link at the bottom of the post.

Research Links Green Tea to Weight Loss
by Karen Lee Richards*
February 10, 2012

Research Links Green Tea to Weight LossYear after year weight loss tops the list of New Year’s resolutions – and with good reason. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that two out of every three U.S. adults are overweight or obese. If you’re one of the millions of people struggling to lose weight, it may be time to add a little green tea to your diet.

There is a strong body of scientific evidence supporting the beneficial effects green tea can have on body weight, waist circumference and abdominal fat.

Tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world, second only to water. Green tea in particular has gained great popularity in recent years, largely due to the tremendous amount of research showing its multiple health benefits. Much of that research has focused on the antioxidant properties found in green tea and their potential to reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease and cancer. …..


Start the Year off Right!

January 1, 2012 at 1:04 PM | Posted in baking, Food, grilling | 1 Comment
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On New Year’s Day, people around the world set the table with foods that are said to bring good luck and prosperity.

For instance, many cultures believe that eating doughnuts will get you more than a flabby tummy. In the Netherlands, anything in the shape of a ring is considered good luck because it symbolizes coming full circle, completing a year’s cycle. So for the Dutch, it’s doughnuts for New Year’s.

And in the American South, there’s a saying that, if you eat peas on New Year’s Day, you’ll have plenty of everything the rest of the year, which is why the dish Hoppin’ John made with black-eyed peas is so popular in many parts of the United States.

Pork plays a role in many countries’ feasts, including Germany, where it’s served with sauerkraut. Sauerkraut is made from cabbage, which is considered another lucky dish, because the leaves are said to represent paper money.

Lentils and pork: In Brazil, as in Italy, bowls of little coin-shaped lentils will be served up to signify wealth. To make the dish even better, chunks of pork sausage are added.

Hidden coin: In Greece, St. Basil’s Cake is served with a gold or silver coin inside. The first slice is for St. Basil (New Year’s Day coincides with St. Basil’s Day, which is named for one of the forefathers of the Greek Orthodox Church), the second slice is for the house and the next slices go to the most senior resident down to the youngest. The one who finds the coin will be blessed with good fortune in the coming year.

Watermelon: For the Vietnamese, watermelon is a sign of luck because of its red flesh. People even dye the seeds red and serve them as delicacies.

Red snapper and soba noodles: Red (or pink) is also considered a lucky color in Japan, where red snapper is served up, as well as long soba noodles. The belief is if you can suck up one noodle completely without it breaking, you will have a long life.

Rice, herring and cod: Rice turns up on New Year’s tables from Vietnam to Scandinavia, where a silky rice pudding is served. Like the St. Basil’s coin, an almond is hidden in the pudding, and the lucky recipient is said to enjoy good fortune.

Grapes: In Spain and Portugal, as well as Mexico and Cuba, it’s tradition to eat 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. According to the legend, Spain enjoyed a gigantic grape harvest at the turn of the 20th Century. The Spaniards considered that a huge stroke of luck, so a dozen grapes from a bunch are eaten in celebration and to ensure another 12 months of happiness.

Sources: Chicago Sun Times

A Healthy and Happy New Year!

December 31, 2011 at 11:33 AM | Posted in baking, Food, low calorie, low carb, scallops, seafood, shrimp | Leave a comment
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From the eatingwell.com web site a couple of healthy appetizers to end the Year and start the New Year off right with. If  you’re not familiar with Eating Well they have a great web site and magazine packed full of healthy recipes and ideas. Enjoy these and Happy New Year!

Five-Spice Scallops
8 servings

Active Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes


1 pound large dry sea scallops, quartered (see Note)
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 teaspoon five-spice powder, (see Note)
1/4 teaspoon salt


Preheat broiler.
Toss scallops with oil, five-spice powder and salt. Broil on a baking sheet until cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Serve with toothpicks.

Tips & Notes

Notes: We prefer “dry” sea scallops (not treated with sodium tripolyphosphate, or STP). Scallops treated with STP (“wet” scallops) are mushy, less flavorful and will not brown properly.
Often a blend of cinnamon, cloves, fennel seed, star anise and Szechuan peppercorns, five-spice powder was originally considered a cure-all miracle blend encompassing the five elements (sour, bitter, sweet, pungent, salty). Look for it in the supermarket spice section.


Per serving: 61 calories; 2 g fat ( 0 g sat , 1 g mono ); 19 mg cholesterol; 2 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 10 g protein; 0 g fiber; 164 mg sodium; 183 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Protein, magnesium, potassium, selenium.

Exchanges: 1 1/2 very lean meat

Lemon-Garlic Marinated Shrimp

12 servings

Active Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes


3 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/4 pounds cooked shrimp


Place garlic and oil in a small skillet and cook over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper. Toss with shrimp in a large bowl. Chill until ready to serve.

Tips & Notes

Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 hours.


Per serving: 73 calories; 3 g fat ( 0 g sat , 2 g mono ); 92 mg cholesterol; 1 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 10 g protein; 0 g fiber; 154 mg sodium; 108 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Protein, selenium.

Exchanges: 1 1/2 lean meat


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