Ginger Martin's Blog

Posts from July 2014


Just LIke Grandma Used To Make
You know the saying, “If your grandmother didn’t eat it, then you shouldn’t either”.  I think it is great advice.  Although there are probably some fat filled recipes grandma did make, I think the point is to really get in the kitchen and learn how to cook healthy meals from scratch.  And perhaps make grandma’s recipes a little healthier by today’s standards.  I find that a lot of the recipes on the Copps and Pick N Save websites follow that.  Good food can be low fat and low sugar and low sodium.  And you can make it yourself.  Who needs preservatives when you can go to your garden for the fresh stuff you need or stop by your local Copps and Pick N Save.  Here’s a pretty clean recipe that just screams “grandma’s house in the summertime.”  It’s one of my personal favorites. 
 
Ingredients
2 cups cucumbers
1 pinch salt
¼ cup vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp water
1 teaspoon dill
 
 
Preparation
 
Slice, very thin, 1-1/2 to 2 cups cucumbers.

Place the slices in a bowl. Salt each layer and place a weighted plate over the whole. Refrigerate 2 hours. Rinse in cold water, drain and dry.

Place the cucumbers in a bowl and toss them in 1/4 cup vinegar and 1 tbsp sugar dissolved in 1 tbsp water.

Season to taste.

Chill 1 to 2 hours and serve garnished with chopped dill.
Makes 4 servings.  Prep Time: 120 minutes
 
 
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Are You Ready To Rummage?
I am a garage sale junkie.  I love going to them (even if I never buy anything) and I love having my own garage sales.  I usually have one every three or four years.  It’s just enough time to let more stuff accumulate and for everyone who shopped at my previous sale to forget what I had that they didn’t want the first time. 

So, this is the year that I am having another garage sale and boy, I’ll tell ya’, it is a LOT of work.  It takes time to go through every closet and drawer in the entire house.  But that is what I’m doing to make sure I really clean house this time around.  I started with the upstairs.  Two bedrooms and a bathroom took an entire afternoon.  Then there was the kitchen.  Ah, yes.  The kitchen.  The place where most of us have more than one junk drawer and cupboards too high to reach crammed full of old coffee makers and waffle irons that never get used.  Not to mention all those old coffee mugs and flower vases.  You know the ones. 

This week I am tackling the basement every day after work.  I found an old vacuum, humidifier, carpet cleaner and exercise equipment that have been sitting in a corner collecting dust for years.  How many strands of Christmas lights do I really need anyway?  I’ll sort through those boxes tonight.

There is something refreshing and fun and cleansing about getting rid of old things that you no longer need or want.  And the best part is seeing people get excited about the things you once loved and have them give those things a new home.  Oh, and the cash....yeah, bringing in extra cash.  It makes all my weeks of cleaning out, sorting, tagging, setting up and sitting in the hot sun for three long days totally worth it
to me.  LOVE garage sales.   
 
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'Tis The Season
I have a small garden and lots of things are ready or almost ready to harvest, including cucumbers.  Whether you like to grow your own vegetables or shop for the best selection at your local Copps or Pick N Save, I think it's important to keep the way you prepare and eat them interesting.  Vegetables are the things you can eat and eat and not worry about adding unhealthy calories or other worthless things to your body. 

In striving to eat healthier, I like to vary my recipes so I don't get bored with the same old fresh broccoli with a splash of olive oil.  This recipe for cold cucumber soup is divine.  You can substitue low fat yogurt and low sodium chicken broth to make it even healthier.  And you can find more recipes just like this at www.copps.com or www.picknsave.com.  Just click on the recipe tab and start trying some!   


Cold Cucumber Soup

2 whole cucumber peeled, seeded and chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh dill
2 cups canned chicken broth
2 cups yogurt
1 tablespon onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon cucumber, finely chopped for garnish
1/4 teaspoon salt


Preparation

Put the cucumbers, broth and onion in a saucepan, cover and cook over low heat until the cucumbers are tender, about 20 minutes.
Put through a food mill or puree in a food processor.  Add salt and pepper and dill.  Allow to cool.
Blend in the yogurt and a little extra salt if needed.  Chill.  Serve in chilled bowls with a garnish of chopped cucumber or dill.
Serves 6.  Prep + Cook Time:  30 minutes



 
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Hooked on Cooking Shows
I'll admit it.  I am hooking on cooking shows.  There's something relaxing about watching other people do all the cooking.  Plus, I literally learn something new each time I watch a cooking show and try to utilize those tips whenever I can.  I've learned cool ways to squeeze a lemon so you don't get seeds in your recipe.  I've learned new ways to use cinnamon.  I've learned how to tie a Cornish hen for roasting.  The list goes on.

Well, now I've learned there is a new way to learn new recopies and cooking tips in a fraction of the time it takes to watch a whole show on TV.  It's with Copps and Pick N Save 5 Minute Cooking Classes on copps.com and picknsave.com.  Today I learned the proper way to peel an artichoke and how to roast corn for the perfect corn chowder.  

If you need quick, helpful tips on how to prepare salmon or make perfect chocolate ganache all you need is to log onto the website of Copps or Pick N Save and click on the recipe tab.  There you'll find dozens of helpful 5 Minute Cooking Classes.  Careful, you might get sucked into watching all of them at once!  Click HERE to watch a 5 Minute Cooking Class now.  Bon Appétit!      

 
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I Have This Thing
I’m one of those people who suffer from Mosquitoitis.  Really.  It’s a thing.  It’s also known as Skeeter Syndrome and I have it. 

When mosquitoes bite me it usually takes 18-24 hours before I notice any symptoms.  But when the symptoms do occur they are much more severe than a slightly itchy pink welt.  The itch is so ghastly it makes me want to climb the walls.  Calamine lotion is of no use.  The welt then spreads into a giant rash that blisters and oozes and sometimes looks like an extreme case of poison ivy.  I sometimes get severe swelling of whatever limb or body part the mosquito decided to have her liquid lunch.  Anaphylaxis is another symptom of Skeeter Syndrome.  I have never experienced that and I hope I never do.  My symptoms are torturous enough.  I want to scratch my skin off and in fact, I have.       
    
The older I get the more severe my reaction to mosquito bites gets, so I’ve learned to armor myself up before going out dusk to dawn.  Sometimes I look like I’m ready to go build a snowman rather than a fire pit in the backyard.  All that extra clothing gets a generous dousing of mosquito repellent with an extra spray for good measure.  And for all my good measures, somehow, someway Mrs. Mosquito still manages to find a way to probe through my sock or jeans to get at my delicious type O blood.  If blood is like wine to mosquitoes, they must consider mine Champagne.    

If you also suffer from extreme allergic reactions to the proteins in mosquito saliva, take heart.  You are not alone.  I’ve heard that extra strength Benadryl will help.  Don’t be embarrassed by your red, rashy ankles.  Consider them war wounds in your fight against summer’s biggest enemy and be proud that you have not let them take you down and carry you away.      

 
  
 
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Healthy Summer Continues....
As we get closer to the height of summer vegetable harvest I'm excited to try new recipes where I can use what I've grown.  Onions, scallions, zucchini and summer squash are all things I can go pick from my backyard and the rest of the ingredients I'll get at my local Copps.  To make this recipe even healthier you can use low sodium soy sauce or try using honey instead of sugar, olive oil instead of vegetable oil.  More healthy, fun and delicious recipes for summer can be found @ copps.com or picknsave.com.  Enjoy your garden and enjoy your health! 

Turkey & Summer Squash Stir-fry

3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp dry vermouth
2 tsp sugar
1 lb turkey cutlets, cut into strips 3" long 1/2" wide
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 whole large onion cute into 1/2" thick half moons
3 whole scallions, chopped
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 whole garlic clove, minced
2 medium zucchini cut into 1/4" half moons
2 medium summer squash cut into 1/4" half moons
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tsp cornstarch


In a medium bowl combine soy sauce, vermouth and sugar.  Add the turkey strips and marinate for up to 30 minutes. 

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat.  Add onion and stir-fry for 1 minute.  Stir in scallions, ginger and garlic.  Add the zucchini and yellow squash and cook, stirring often, until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes.  Transfer to bowl and set aside.

Drain turkey strips, reserving the marinade.  Add the chicken broth and cornstartch to the marinade and whisk to dissolve.  Set aside. 

Add the remaining oil to the skillet.  Sitr the marinade mixture, add to the skillet, and bring to a boil.  Cook until the sauce is thickened, about 1 minute.

Spoon turkey, vegetables and then sauce over steamed long-grain rice.  Serves 4-6   
 




 
Party Time Woo-Woo!
I like to host backyard parties during the summer.  I invite people over to play croquet and ladder golf and hang out by the fire pit.  I’m pretty busy with mowing the lawn and cleaning the porch and setting up chairs that I don’t have time to prepare food for all my friends so I just depend on my friends from Copps to do that for me.  Their party planner menu is outstanding!  I can choose anything from meat and cheese trays to yummy sammies to deviled eggs.  They have it all and all I have to do is order it and pick it up.  I never have any food left by the end of the party because all my friends want to take home the leftovers.  If you have a big party coming up this summer check out the Copps/Pick N Save party planner menu.
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