Tag Archives: walnuts

An Ode to Fat: Vegetarian and Beyond

Gentle Readers, it is not a well-kept secret that The Practical Cook is overly fond of food. As such, I’m naturally skeptical of any kind of diet craze. At a basic level, I don’t want to give up any category of food. Full respect for people who have found they live better by doing so and maintaining it.

Beef Filet Charring in Bacon Fat

Beef Filet Charring in Bacon Fat

But don’t look for me to go all Paleo or heaven forbid, no-fat. So while I do not judge, I will tell you this: even as a youngster during the height of the “Snackwell” craze, I thought that was crazy. How can foodless foods be satisfying?

The Practical Cook’s Ode to Fat: 3 Reasons to Love It

1. It fills you up. I’ve never understood eating certain things low or no-cal when the point of eating is fuel and being full. In my experience, avoiding this only leads to eating more.

Avocado sliced in the halfshell.

Avocado sliced in the halfshell.

2. It’s necessary to live. I didn’t say you had to eat 3 meals a day at KFC, but stop thinking of fat as the enemy! You are not at war with it.

Sartori Salad with Apples and Walnuts

Sartori Salad with Apples and Pecans

3. It tastes good!!! I will fully admit being the person who eats the fat on steaks and chops when no one is looking. And sometimes when they are. It tastes like sunshine.

Sunflower Yellow Egg Yolk from Farm Fresh Egg

Sunflower Yellow Egg Yolk from Farm Fresh Egg

A Few of My Favorite Fats: Walnuts, Avocados, Cheese (OMG, I heart cheese), Peanuts/Peanut Butter, Olive Oil (the good stuff), Eggs, Bacon Grease, Liver, Salmon

Clusterfluff is shorthand for ice cream peanut butter crack.

Clusterfluff is shorthand for ice cream peanut butter crack.

That is obviously not an exhaustive or even completely coherent list, but you get the drift. I eat a lot of salad, and I prefer olive oil and balsamic over commercial dressing, but I don’t skip the olive oil (or the egg when available). And before anyone heaps health advice on my head, know that while eating this way (again, see a lot of salad and exercise), I’ve dropped many many points off of my lipid panel.

Now is the time to come out of the closet. Raise your hands with me and proclaim your love for fat. The comment area is below, and the line forms here.

Send your high-calorie foods, deep thoughts, and general challenges 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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On Sunday, it’s, wait for it, Weekly Menus, Travel Edition!

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One Ingredient, Three Ways: Walnuts Edition

Gentle Readers, The Practical Cook does not change her cabinet stores wildly at the hint of every new food trend. Remember when nuts were forbidden fruit? And then they were okay, in small doses. Apparently walnuts will turn you into a genius, and that brings us to today’s post.

The Practical Cook buys walnuts in bulk!

The Practical Cook buys walnuts in bulk!

I love walnuts, and thankfully The Practical Cooks Junior do, too. When they outsmart me, as they do repeatedly, I sometimes regret my snack choice. But I digress. Here’s how to bring more walnuts into your world.

One Ingredient, Three Ways: Walnuts Edition

1. With Apples. For those who feel walnuts have an inherent bitterness, pairing them with apples brightens both ingredients. Great in a parfait, on a salad, or just tossed together in a bowl as a simple, balanced snack.

Apple Walnut Parfait!

Apple Walnut Parfait!

2. For Dessert. Try it in place of pecans in your favorite pie, in chocolate chip cookies, or as Moroccan French Toast.

Morrocan French Toast

Moroccan French Toast

3. In Oatmeal. Pair walnuts with blueberries and a drizzle of maple syrup for a high-impact breakfast with protein.

Steel-Cut Oatmeal in a Bathtub-Sized Bowl

Steel-Cut Oatmeal in a Bathtub-Sized Bowl

Walnuts are a great way to add some protein to a sugary breakfast, as a trail mix component, and as a grab and go snack.

What’s your nut of choice? Are you a walnut fan? Post a comment below!

Send your squirrels, recipes, and queries 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, The Practical Cook opens up the confessional booth. Tune in to find out.

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Filed under One Ingredient Three Ways, Snacks

Chocolate Yogurt: A Poor Man’s Banana Split

Gentle Readers, lean in close, it’s confession time. The Practical Cook adores a banana split. In her misspent youth, she would devour an entire one by herself. After all, it’s practically a fruit salad with the bananas, walnuts, and cherries. Well, perhaps that is a touch hyperbolic. Fast forward a few years, and an entire banana split would spell sugar crash, complete with headache.

Trader Joe's Low-Fat Chocolate Yogurt Topped with Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup

Trader Joe's Low-Fat Chocolate Yogurt Topped with Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup

Enter Chocolate Yogurt. Yes, it’s a bit of a sugar bomb compared to unflavored plain yogurt, which you can certainly chocolate up yourself (and I sometimes do, a topic for another day), but it’s portion controlled and convenient at 3 pm, when all good people crave chocolate. (Okay, fine, I crave chocolate then, who’s with me??)

One dark chocolate peanut butter cup from Trader Joe's.

One dark chocolate peanut butter cup from Trader Joe's.

For the purposes of this test, I ate Trader Joe’s Low-Fat Chocolate Yogurt, as The Practical Cook does not believe in fat-free yogurt, in two ways. First, with a few walnut pieces and half of a banana, sliced, second with a single, finely chopped dark chocolate peanut butter cup, also courtesy of Trader Joe’s (note to self, stop shopping there when hungry, it’s like a freaking chocolate emporium).

I really enjoyed the balance of sweet and crunchy in the first combination. With little imagination, I was back at Topsail Island or perhaps the Mayberry Ice Cream Shop. Bliss. I might even add a maraschino cherry next time. The second version was more reminiscent of a Blizzard than a sundae, and is dessert-worthy. Simple, easy, and portable.

What are your thoughts on Chocolate Yogurt? Comment below, or confess your snack secrets. I won’t tell.

Thoughts, favorite ingredients, and queries can be emailed 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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Up next, Halloween snack review: Jack-o-Lantern Jo Jos!

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Filed under Punt!, Snacks

Three of My New Favorite Indgredients (Or Why I Should Not Shop Alone)

Gentle Readers, today’s post is by the Eldest Practical Cook Junior, who was greatly amused at the thought of me skipping down the aisles tossing items into the cart with abandon. The Practical Cook must admit, a research trip to the grocery store borders on nirvana for her. So here it is, a post for her, but I shall not scan and share the receipt that went along with it.

Three of My New Favorite Ingredients

Let the record show, for thematic purposes, all items are from Trader Joe’s. I also find that shopping there frees me from some of my stricter shopping rules. I don’t know if it’s the relatively small size of the store, the random factor, or the Hawaiian-print shirts, but into my cart items leap.

As a further disclaimer, if you want serious ingredients, with gorgeous pictures and actual useful information, visit my friend David Schiller’s blog, aptly named The Ingredients.

Ciabatta, Cookies, and Walnuts from Trader Joe's

Ciabatta, Cookies, and Walnuts from Trader Joe's

1. Ciabatta. Though not new, the Trader Joe’s version is quite respectable, and stales quickly enough to become fabulous French Toast. You may all be jealous of my breakfast tomorrow. It also made a great tomato sandwich.

2. Cinnamon Schoolbook Cookies. These are great for teaching spelling, um right. And when that gets old, toss them in the food processor and make a cookie crumb crust. These were featured in yesterday’s Personal Banana Pudding recipe as one of the crumb contributors.

3. California Walnut Halves and Pieces. Gentle Readers, I have a walnut problem, but I just bought them for the first time at Trader Joe’s. Wow, they are really tasty. I do eat them straight up, but also slip them into pancakes, muffins, parfaits, trail mix, and whatever else. These are can’t miss. Seriously.

Thoughts, pictures, blog requests? Email 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, live and on video, Which Tastes Better, Moon Pie or Choco Pie?

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Filed under Kitchen Tool Talk, On the Table, Snacks