Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cooking With Mom

I have just returned from a long trip across the country, which actually began with a wonderful trek over the Pacific to Maui.  From there, after a brief stop in Northern California to repack and refamiliarize myself with my home, I was off to New England.  I stopped in, again, very briefly, to visit my family, and then was off to Ireland for two weeks, on business.

After a very successful stay in Northern Ireland, I returned to New England, where I stayed at my mom’s house.  We hung out, had a good time, but I complained about how I could not find any decent vegetarian food while on the Emerald Island (lots of good beer and deep-fried potatoes, but a dearth of healthy green, leafy types of foods; and very poor Italian recipes).

I informed my dear old ma that I was dying for some pasta, made with a very healthy tomato-based sauce.  She said that she had a bunch of jars of spaghetti sauce in her cupboard that I could drizzle over some pasta.  I asked if she felt like making one of her famous tomato sauces.  She replied, “I have all the ingredients, but don’t have the time nor desire to make that time-consuming sauce much anymore.”

“Hmmmm,” I replied.  “How about I whip up my own marinara sauce, one that tastes amazing and only takes a mere thirty minutes to create?”

She said, “Only if I can hold your camera and film it.” (Totally fabricated).

Here is the delicious and amazing result:

30 Minute Marinara Sauce (Cooking with Mom)

I am now at work on editing an outtakes video from all the film footage I tossed out after creating this wonderful vid.  My mom is not only a good sport, but an excellent cook who taught me everything I know about healthy eating and cooking.  I hope that this is only the start of many more "cooking with mom" videos.
Enjoy and manga!

Until next time...



Saturday, November 12, 2011

Maui Avocado! WOW!

Aloha from Ireland...huh?

Okay, so maybe just greetings from the Emerald Island, where this post is being transmitted.  Besides my lingering jetlag, my confusuion stems from my desire to be back on Maui...and the size of this amazing avocado. 

I could have called this post:


And these babies were killer - killer tasting, that is.  I love Maui avocados even more than the California-grown Hass variety, which before encountering the above monster, were once my favorite.

I don't think you really can see from the above pic what I am talking about.  Maybe this photo will help demonstrate the size of this beast.  And while size is good, the taste is even better.

Is that a Maui avocado, or are you just happy to see me?

All of these fun and delicious recollections have moved me to reprint one of my favorite posts.  Please enjoy:


As much as I love eating avocados today, it's hard to imagine that I didn't taste my first one until I was well into my twenties. I grew up in a small town in a small New England state. Our foods of choice leaned more toward clam cakes and chowder than tacos and enchiladas. Avocado? I hadn't a clue what one was.
And don't even get me going about guacomole. Guaca...huh?

I understand that the avocado existed when I was growing up Back East, and they may even have been available at the local grocery store where my mother shopped. But mom never purchased one, never brought one of those green-skinned babies home. Believe it or not, I did not know WHAT an avocado WAS until I relocated to sunny California in the mid-80's. And even then, I wasn't sure what to do with one or how to eat it.

Today, avocados seem more popular and prevalent in everyday cuisine. In most restaurants you can find them chopped atop salads, sliced in between sandwiches, and, in its most popular form, as guacamole, that amazing green nacho-chip-dipping-taste-sensation.

While your mouth is watering, consider these interesting facts about the avocado:

  • a member of the berry family, avocado is a fruit, not vegetable
  • the Aztecs named it after the word, ahuacatl, which meant "testicle," because of its shape
  • they have been around since 900 A.D.
  •  they have been grown in North America since 1856
  •  also known as the alligator pear, Jamaicans call them pears

(for more fascinating information about the avocado, visit this site)

Most of you by now have tasted avocados, but if you still are like I was, back in the day, you should give them a try. You don't know what you are missing. But do you know the best way to cut one open? Here's a video that will help:

Hey, next time you have that chip loaded with guac, happily remind yourself that besides enjoying a delicious snack, you are also getting:

  • 10 grams of dietary fiber
  •  more potassium than one banana
  • vitamins E and B
  • 10 grams of the good fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated)


While very healthy for you, avocados are also high in calories and fats. The good news: these are the good fats--monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. These are heart-healthy fats and help lower LDL (bad cholesterol).

The bad news, for those counting calories or watching their weight, is that an average size avocado has around 300 calories--so tread carefully. I know that I can eat one all by myself, diced, with a sprinkle of sea salt.
Try it! In moderation.

It's hard to imagine that I spent half my life deprived of the succulent taste of avocado. Maybe that's why I've spent the last twenty-five years eating more than my share, trying to make up for lost time.

You should too!

Always remember that you can watch hundreds of self-help videos about health and nutrition, and any number of other topics, at

Until next time...