Tag Archives: crackers

For the Love of Cheese and Jelly

Gentle Readers, it is once more time to open up the food confessional. When I was a kid, one of my favorite snacks, and please don’t ask how this came to pass, was a slice of American cheese covered with strawberry jam. Though I’ve advanced to cheddar and chutney, there is still a special place in my heart for the plasticine combo.

Afterschool snack requested by the Juniors: goat cheese with pepper jelly and wine jelly.

Afterschool snack requested by the Juniors: goat cheese with pepper jelly and wine jelly.

Enter The Practical Cooks Junior. Never have two people been more willing to combine things on their plate. The Eldest keeps everything separate simply so she can combine in the proportions and permutations of her choosing. So when we held a mini cheese tasting the other day, brought about by a sale at the local cheese shop, it was game on.

Strawberry Jam Session

Strawberry Jam Session

For those of you who are Southern, you may skip ahead. For everyone else, meet Pepper Jelly. It’s a slightly sweet and a little bit spicy concoction, best served with goat or cream cheese in my opinion. And definitely on a salty cracker.

When in doubt, taste jelly with a spoon!

When in doubt, taste jelly with a spoon!

But why stop there? Brie and chutney is a classic, so we paired a hoop cheese with red wine jelly. The list goes on. It makes for an amazing grilled cheese: white cheddar melted on good bread, schmear it with apple butter. The salty and sweet are made for each other.

Classic Grilled Cheese

Classic Grilled Cheese

Not every combo is a winner, but the fun is in the journey. Special thanks to Miss Clairol for the inspiration and the jellies. It’s good to revisit one’s culinary roots sometimes.

Are you a fan of the cheese and jelly pairing? Share your combos in the comments section!

Questions? Submit now. The question that is. Your free will is still your own. Email me: practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today! Also, follow the food pictures on Instagram @amylewi.)

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Coming up Friday, Get Your Iron On: Beet It!

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Filed under On the Table, Snacks

What Not to Eat When You’re Feeling Green

Gentle Readers, this subject is not so gentle, and The Practical Cook will do her best to be mild in the language used regarding the enemy of food lovers (and people of all ages): the upset stomach. Having recently faced down this beast in the household (the stomach bug is running rampant right now), this topic is timely.

For authenticity purposes, let me also state, this is an area of unfortunate expertise for me, courtesy of my body’s reaction to pregnancy. So I can tell you what not to eat when you’re feeling green, and what you might want to try when an encore presentation is possible.

Let’s start with the “not to eat list”:

1. Granny Smith Apples. OMG, I literally almost died on this one. I remember thinking, so this is what happened to Joplin, Morrison, etc. . .

2. Dairy. Don’t do it. The medical peeps will tell you it can be an irritant, and I can tell you it is not good.

3. Pomegranates. Or anything that is used to dye clothing in nature. Trust me on this.

What to eat to calm the stomach:

1. Nuts. If you’re at the “am I hungry or feeling unwell” decision calculus stage, these are the perfect test balloon, assuming you’re not allergic.

A Few Cashews: Just what the doctor ordered

A Few Cashews: Just what the doctor ordered

2. Dry cereal. Don’t be tempted to add milk, and choose something basic, like Cheerios, Corn Flakes, etc. Chew very slowly.

The Practical Cook's Cereal Warehouse

The Practical Cook's Cereal Warehouse

3. Baked potato. Easy to microwave, add some salt but nothing else. Sometimes the warmth of the potato will help you feel better.

Thinly Sliced Russet Potatoes

Thinly Sliced Russet Potatoes

4. Popsicles. Cold works. You can freeze anything, just use ice cubes if you have nothing else.

Beautiful Blackberry-Lime Popsicles

Beautiful Blackberry-Lime Popsicles

5. Grapefruit. Okay, that’s probably just me, and best for morning sickness, not the flu. But I craved them, ice cold. And apparently, if you’ve been unwell for a while, something acidic is just your body replacing what has been lost. Point being, take all advice with a grain of salt (possibly literally), and trust your cravings.

The Grapefruit

The Grapefruit

Of course, rice, bananas, plain pasta, all wonderful choices, but if you’re the cook, I’m providing some options that you can try without expending much effort. Though many people swear by ginger ale and soda crackers, they are so guilty by association for me now that they make me feel ill on sight.

So pass the Lysol, take small sips of water, and I hope you all avoid whatever is going around!

What do you crave when you’re unwell? Post a comment, or Tweet!

Send tea and sympathy to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Tomorrow, we’ll move to corrective measures,¬† Homemade Chicken Soup Recipe.

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Filed under Kitchen Philosophy

An Ode to Bread or Bite Me Atkins

Gentle Readers, The Practical Cook is not usually so vigorous in her titling, but alas, she feels she must take a stand. You see, I am deeply Southern, and bread¬† on the table is a requirement. Especially if you’re feeding my father, or anyone of his generation. Recently, I found myself tapping those roots when challenged to serve a meal that not everyone wanted to eat. There is an answer.

Bread, it's what's for dinner Dr. Atkins.

Bread, it's what's for dinner Dr. Atkins.

It’s bread. I dare you to find a picky eater who won’t go for it in some form. I have the makings for cornbread on hand all the time (and I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating, if you want THE resource for cornbread, for you or as a fabulous holiday gift, get The Cornbread Gospels [yes, I worked for the company in a past life, and swear by this cookbook]). Cornbread is great for bean-based meals, chili, stew, and anything vaguely Mexican.

Cornbread is the Southern staff of life.

Cornbread is the Southern staff of life.

When I want something soft and squishy, my current fave is the Whole Wheat Mom’s Dinner Roll from Whole Foods. These are perfect for sliders, lunch box variety, or anything else really. They just rock.

Buy this bread, and not just for the festive imagery.

Buy this bread, and not just for the festive imagery.

For those who swear by the Atkins diet, I will say that for me personally, bread is not an extreme weakness. I’m already a protein and veg fan. When I’m hungry and service is delayed however, I will eat my weight in the breadbasket and butter category. All that aside, serving bread with a meal can save you extreme headache if you’ve got kids, hungry people, or picky eaters (or triple threats).

Hot Bread Calling Out for Butter

Hot Bread Calling Out for Butter

Alternative bread ideas:

1. Sandwich bread: Toast it, add garlic to it, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, etc. Instant interesting.

Pimento Cheese and Toasted Bread

Pimento Cheese and Toasted Bread

2. Corn tortillas: These are filling, and you can make little tacos out of practically anything. Look for these coming soon in a dish I managed to save.

3. Crackers: This is a family tradition, though my tastes tend to run to the Trader Joe’s Rosemary Raisin over soda crackers. However, I’m sure you have some crackers in your house, put a bowl on the table and let the picky eaters stop complaining.

Tractor Cornbread, Just Because I Can

Tractor Cornbread, Just Because I Can

House rules stand, I don’t permit bread-only to avoid tasting what’s on the table. I often suggest putting the food on the bread and trying it that way. And if the meal is going to be challenging, I often serve with cut-up fruit and cheese, providing options. But it’s not called the staff of life for nothing. Bread works, and has for hundreds of years.

Cornbread with Molasses

Cornbread with Molasses

Do you serve bread with your meals? Post a comment or suggestion below (click through if you’re reading this as email). Or Tweet my way with #bread as your hashtag.

Cookie samples, deep thoughts, queries? Email me at practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Tomorrow, the last of the Ben and Jerry’s Taste tests for awhile (famous last words): Late Night Smackdown.

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Filed under Kitchen Philosophy, On the Table