Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Get moon pied over your Valentine
If you can’t take your Valentine to Dallas, you can serve Dallas to your sweetie.
From green tea ice cream cake at Asian Mint and Godiva Chocolate Bombe from 2900 to Santiago’s Ruby-Red Grapefruit Cake at Food Company, author Helen Thompson offers “Dallas Classic Desserts: Recipes from Favorite Restaurants.”
Photos, restaurant profiles and recipes are soothing to the senses. One of the simpler concoctions is White Chocolate Banana Moon Pie from Hector’s on Henderson. Pudding, chocolate chips, whipping cream, strawberries, blueberries, honey and chocolate sauce are some of what goes under and over simple moon pies.
Oh my, my sweet.

Grab and go toward the sea wall
Here’s a quick grab for your Mardi Gras float parties: Cheez-It has a new flavor. My samplers loved pepper jack baked snack crackers and I’ll be you will too.
I love the commercial where a woman bakes up new Pillsbury Savorings flaky pastry bites and the man acts like he’s at a trendy restaurant. I tried them in mozzarella and pepperoni flavor, without the date-like atmosphere.

Simple stuff
Do you really need another book to tell you to eat better, get more sleep and drink more water? If you haven’t actually followed that advice, you do. Jeannette Bessinger’s “Simple Food for Busy Families” is a good one. It’s not so much a recipe book as a mix and match. This “whole life nutrition approach” lets you add sweet or savory goodies to your grains and gives a primer for veggies, spices, etc. She wants to keep us from SAD: the standard American diet. I learned about the water sauté. Use stock or water instead of oil to wilt those veggies. Here are her ideas for savory snacks:
• Baby carrots poked into green or black olives.
• Smoked fish with horseradish or whole grain crackers.
• Brown rice cakes with hummus or nut butter.

You’re the TOPS
Here’s some light tips the Groves area TOPS members may be incorporating into upcoming Mardi Gras and Valentine celebrations. TOPS Club, Inc. Take Off Pounds Sensibly is billed as the nation’s original weight-loss support group. Visit or call (800) 932-8677 for more information.
Tops says the following diversionary tactics provide the “feel” of snacking, but cut down on the penalties suffered later.
• Lighten nachos with reduced-fat cheese and baked chips.
• Replace a cheese tray with a fruit tray or with pita bread and hummus.
• Make a pot of vegetarian chili or use ground turkey instead of ground beef.
• Order pizza without the cheese and pile on extra veggies.
• Offer diet soda and non-alcoholic beer and, of course, have a designated driver available.
• Pop low-fat microwave popcorn and set it out in bowls.
• Include apple halves or carrot sticks as finger food.
• Replace sour cream in dips with plain yogurt.
• Eat baked pretzels rather than fried chips.

Cost Cutters Alliance to Save Energy calls on Americans to be more energy-efficient to reduce soaring summer electricity bills, pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and potential for blackouts or brownouts simultaneously while also helping our nation's energy security.
• One easy tip is to clean or replace filters monthly.
• Listen to your mother. ("What do you think—we own the electric company?!") Turn off everything not in use: lights, TVs, computers.
For more tips, visit
• I love the smell of coffee more than the taste. I wrapped some grounds in a filter to use as a sachet in my car. My daughter calls it Starbuck’s on wheels.
• Socks are not just for keeping feet warm, they also work well for dusting and cleaning. Slip the sock over your hand, dampen with polish or window cleaner and wipe away fingerprints and dust.
• Coffee filters do more than filtering grounds to make great coffee; they also leave a lint-free shine when used instead of a cloth to wipe down mirrors and windows.
• Vacuums are not just for carpets anymore. With their wide array of attachments, the vacuum can be used to remove dust and dirt from ceiling fans, ornate wood furniture, hard-to-reach banisters, and inside drawers and cupboards.

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