“I’d gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today” (Wimpy from Popeye). A foodie grandma’s dream. My little alligator dressed up as a hamburger for Halloween. I just had to, had to, share. It brings a tear to my eye.
Let’s not forget about the mystery I left you with yesterday.
Here’s another hint….
And if you noticed the title, yet another hint.
Have you solved my little puzzle?
Some of you know that I work for BioLife Plasma Services, which is part of Baxter. I am so fortunate to work in the business of saving lives, a little bit different than my previous life of saving teeth. Baxter and BioLife have selected November as healthy eating month. Arrrgh, during the holiday season, are they crazy? That was my first thought, my next thought was, why not? It’s always a good time to focus on healthy eating. Myself and Kimmers from work have teamed up to put together a month of healthy eating/exercising activities for our center.
One of which is keeping a food and/or exercise journal. Being a public person, a public food person, I’ve decided to incorporate a healthier life style into this month’s blog.
I know I won’t be one hundred percent perfect, especially with the Foodbuzz convention coming up on my birthday weekend (oh yes it is) and Thanksgiving this month. I will give it a good shot though.
First, I had to think what’s most important to me, quality or quantity? Yes. Okay, that doesn’t work out well. More thinking…quality as in what? Quality = good ingredients. I’d rather have, no, I demand that full fat cheese, butter and bacon stay in my food repertoire. In those cases, I’ll keep them but make sure I limit the quantity. As for the rest of the stuff, I know I have enough cooking savvy and dieting experience to make my food taste good and reduce the calorie content. If I want to splurge????? Simple solution, exercise. We all know the math: burn more calories than consumed and you will lose weight.
Of course, this isn’t just about losing weight, although I really need too. It’s mostly about being healthier. Healthier really does equal happier. Healthier also requires planning, especially meal planning. If you don’t plan your meals, you will fall victum to Halloween candy, fast food, or what ever treat someone brought into work (remember those Joy Cupcakes from yesterday…I had to turf them…sorry to start by sabotaging everyone at work…self preservation I tell ya, I had to do it).
I plotted and I planned, I also had a couple of things that I didn’t make last week that I needed to cook…not entirely healthy things either. So I converted them to a healthier version. The first of which was Seafood Chowder. The word seafood itself evokes images of healthy food, but cook it with salt pork and cream, well, it’s just lost it’s healthiness. Is healthiness a word? If not it should be.
I started with Martha Stewart’s recipe for Seafood Chowder.
I made some changes, some for healthy reasons, some because it’s what I had on hand.
I used boxed seafood stock…it was on sale and seemed easy.
I added the shrimp shells to boost the flavor.
Drain the clam liquid into the pot if you use canned clams. Flavor booster!
Drain out the shells…yukky shells.
While the stock reduces, get a little prep work done. I chose to use bacon instead of salt pork. Now I love salt pork, it’s full of flavor and its cheap. But it is mostly fat. Bacon isn’t the leanest meat but it beats salt pork. Also 1/4 pound distributed by 12 servings, worth it for the flavor.
In a post long ago, that for the life of me I can’t remember when I posted, I had a picture of a potato that looked like, well, a butt.
I am still juvenile, if I find food that looks like, well, umm, certain body parts…I can’t help but think it’s funny.
Now I have another potato; is it in old mans butt or some old biker chicks saggy boobs? Wait I think I resemble that remark.
Enough of my silliness, now back to the serious side of cooking. I used Yukon Gold potatoes because that’s what I had.
Mealy potatoes like the recipe originally called for, probably would help thicken the chowder, but I felt I should use up my saggy bottom/boobie potatoes first.
Cook the bacon until the fat is rendered. Drain if needed but leave at least 1 tbs of fat.
Add the celery and leeks. If you have trouble cooking it down add a little of the stock. In retrospect, I could have drained all the fat and cooked down the celery and leeks with just the stock.
Add the stock and two bay leaves.
Since the stock was already warm, I added the potatoes straight away and cooked until tender, about 15 minutes.
Then add your seafood. I used a variety of frozen and canned.
After cooking the seafood for about 5 minutes, I added some evaporated milk. Fat free would have been perfect, but I didn’t have it. The great thing about evaporated milk, it mimics the richness of cream without all the fat.
Season it up….I was pretty generous with the cayenne because that’s just the kind of gal I am…Spicy!
Then serve it up nice and hot in a fabulous new bowl that you only paid a dollar for :o)
Let the journaling begin.
- 1/4 pound bacon cut into 1/8-inch cubes
- 2 leeks thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 cups chopped celery
- 2 quarts seafood stock
- 4 cups peeled Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 pound (about 30) shelled, deveined shrimp, fresh or frozen
- 2 pounds Mussels
- 1 pound cod, skin and bones removed, cut into chunks
- 2 cans canned chopped clams
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Bring 2 quarts of Seafood Stock and shrimp shells to a boil. Turn down to medium high and reduce to 1 1/2 quarts. Drain and discard the shrimp shells. Heat a medium Dutch-oven over low heat. Add bacon and cook for 5 minutes, do not drain. Add onion and celery and cook, stirring, until soft, if needed add stock to help cook. Add seafood stock and bay leaves, and bring to a simmer. Add potatoes and cook until just tender, about 15 minutes. Add shrimp, clams, [mussels] and fish, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add evaporated milk to Dutch-oven. Season chowder with cayenne, salt, and white black pepper. Serve hot.