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Archive for December, 2016

Before this year slips into the sunset, let’s take a quick look back at food-trends for the past year. Below are a few trends noted by culinary experts. Some of us may have lagged in these choices. If we haven’t incorporated them into our cooking, we can see what others have been up to.

Comfort Foods with an Asian Twist. Nothing like getting out of the doldrums by jazzing up everyday foods with a little zing. Within the past few years, favorite dishes showed up with touches of Korean kimchi and gochujang and Japanese dashi stock or Sriracha sauce (and no, I haven’t tried them). These products blend well with many comfort foods we’ve enjoyed through the years.

  • The New Butters. Now many butters are seasoned with favorite flavors that make a hit with bread or added into other dishes. Flavors vary from toasted sesame seed, to madeira, shiitake, lemon, and even double chocolate. Create your own unique flavors by softening butter and adding oregano, garlic, tarragon, or ginger.
  • Ubiquitous Coconut. Coconut seems to be everywhere. The meat of coconut, a long-time staple in many kitchens, now takes center front with coconut milk. Also, look for chips, spreads, and vinegar as well as coconut flour.
  • Dukah. This blend may contain nuts, black pepper, coriander, fennel, cumin, and other spices. Ingredients vary by the chef. These blends add crunch and pizzazz to many dishes.
  • Farm-raised Fish. While wild varieties had their heyday, American fish farms are more likely to have better controlled health and safety measures. As one indirectly involved with catfish farming for nearly thirty years, my husband insists on local farm-raised fish when we eat out or purchase. Others may want to take notice. Quality and taste are so much better.

The list goes on, but these foods were trending this past year and probably, will find favor in the coming year. Forecasters predict more consumption of goat meat, and in select markets, sherry is expected to become a potential trendy item for 2017. Try these new food experiences. Whatever your choices for the new year, make them healthy.

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Eating is a major focus during the busy holiday season. Many people add a few pounds to their weight from the festivities centered around food. This isn’t the time to diet, but with a few simple changes, we can spare ourselves from gaining additional pounds.

    1. Choose smaller portions. Not easy, but many times we not only add extra calories but become uncomfortably full from excess food. Gauge those portions sizes and feel better afterward.
    2. See what calorie-laden foods you can skip or resolve to eat less. Gravies and creamed dishes add lots of calories. Select unsweetened beverages. Choose red sauces over white ones for fewer calories.
    3. Choose desserts with less calories. Double crusted pies and those with whipped cream or topping have more calories. If you must have a piece of that traditional coconut cake, make it a smaller portion.
    4. Watch out for snacks of candies, nuts, party mixes and yellow cheeses. Look for veggie or fruit trays and skip the dip.

A few simple changes can keep away those dreaded extra pounds. Make the holidays a time of love and joy without those rich, fattening foods. Have a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.

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