Monday Kick Off

by Cate on January 10, 2006

Planned on leftovers for dinner tonight, since the refrigerator is beyond the overflowing point, but The Husband put in a request for pizza, and who am I to deny him? Pizza it was. Leftovers can wait another day.

Before I forget, some of the recipes from last night’s dinner are posted below. Hope you try them! Funnily enough, unbeknownst to me, last night turned out to be very fitting for my Elvis Paninis – it turned out that his birthday yesterday! How cool is that?

I was doing some recent catch-up on my magazines, and uncovered an article that is great to focus on with the new year. It listed the Top 10 Brain Foods, explaining why each is important to your daily diet. Check out the list below – how are you doing?

  1. Baked Beans: High in fiber and protein.
  2. Bananas: Contains trytophan, a protein that, once converted, helps put you in a good mood. Can’t argue with that! Also helps ward off depression and dark moods.
  3. Blueberries: Helps improve memory.
  4. Eggs: A good source of lecithin, which is a great brain stimulant, also rich in choline, which helps improve memory function.
  5. Oats: One study found that they give you a longer lasting supply of energy than sports drinks do.
  6. Red Meat: A good source of iron. A recent study showed that kids whose diets were higher in iron scored better on tests and had higher IQs.
  7. Sardines: (Ok, here’s where I skip to #8 – sorry!): Packed with omega-3 fatty acids, it’s the ultimate brain food.
  8. Sunflower Seeds: A fantastic source of magnesium that regulates a part of the brain responsible for learning and memory.
  9. Whole Grain Bread: Great source of zinc. Improves hand-eye coordination, attention span and reasoning skills.
  10. Yeast Extract: Packed with Vitamin B, which boosts brain function, and may possibly improve concentration.

Looks to me like my breakfast tomorrow may be some whole wheat toast, an egg and blueberries with my yogurt… with facts like these, it certainly can’t hurt, and I’m ALL OVER anything to improve my memory!

Don’t forget, tomorrow is ARF/5-A-Day Tuesday #2. If you make a food that has an ARF (Antioxidant Rich Food), fruit or vegetable in it (or go wild using all three!), e-mail me your permalink by 9 pm EST to be included in the evening round-up. No hard and fast rules to join in, just fun. It doesn’t have to be from your lunch or dinner Tuesday night — something else recent is fine. It’s all about the inspiration. Have fun with it … and keep all of us on our healthier track for 2006. Until tomorrow… today is National Apricot Day, go have yourself one. :)

Greek Vinaigrette
(from Party Line with the Hearty Boys)
1 shallot, diced
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil

Put the shallot into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until well chopped. Add the lemon juice, feta, oregano, salt and pepper and pulse again to combine. With the processor running, add the oil in a steady stream. Pour into a small pitcher and set aside.

Sweetnicks’ Notes: Very delicious and easy to make. For the salad, we used chopped romaine lettuce and added sliced red onions, black olives, and feta cheese on top.

Pancetta Crisps with Goat Cheese and Pear
Bon Appetit, December 2004
16 thin slices pancetta
16 teaspoons soft fresh goat cheese (from 5-ounce log)
2 very ripe small pears, halved, cored, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (used canned)
Fresh thyme leaves

Preheat oven to 450°F. Place pancetta slices in single layer on large rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with pepper. Bake until golden, about 10 minutes. Using spatula, slide pancetta crisps onto platter. Top each with 1 teaspoon goat cheese and 1 pear slice. Sprinkle with thyme and serve.

Sweetnicks’ Notes: Absolutely excellent, and so easy to make, it should be illegal. Saltiness from the pancetta, creaminess from the goat cheese and a little bit of sweetness from the pear makes this an OMG appetizer for us.

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Clare Eats January 10, 2006 at 2:17 am

I think you forgot the vegemite (aka yeast extract) for your toast ;)


Cate January 10, 2006 at 2:44 am

LOL. From what I’ve heard about vegemite, it doesn’t sound too appetizing, but house rule, you gotta try everything once, so when you send me over a little can….


Heather January 10, 2006 at 3:05 am

I have some vegmite in my cupboard from BBM, I will use it and tell you how it works…of course after I figure out how to use it.
Thanks for the greek dressing recipe, now all I need is a food processor. Do you have an suggestions on features that I need to have when buying one?


Cate January 10, 2006 at 3:26 am

Hey Heather! Given Clare’s from Australia, I know she can chime in and give some Vegemit-usage pointers. I know I’ve heard Nicole Kidman say how much she likes it, so you’ll be in good company. Now for the food processor … I have two. One a larger one, and one a mini-one, both from Cuisinart. I use them all the time. You just need the basics – no frills necessary. This is the Mini Food Processor I have and love it. Hope this helps!


Anonymous January 10, 2006 at 3:31 am

Those pancetta crisps look great, plus you gave them a great review. They looked great, but did you find them real messy to eat (not saying I couldn’t deal with that — what I don’t do for good food!).



Cate January 10, 2006 at 3:44 am

No, not messy at all. Only thing was the crispier they get, the crumblier they get, and I kinda got a bit distracted and went slightly over the 10 minutes. Would also work great with prosciutto. Hope you try it, and if you do, make sure to report back. ;)


Anonymous January 10, 2006 at 4:05 am

I’m glad you loved this appetizer. When I posted this on the clbb there wasn’t one comment which was disappointing since we all thought it was awesome!!!!! Darla


Michele January 10, 2006 at 5:20 am

We made pizzas today too. I think I’m doing good on the brain foods! I’m actually making homemade baked beans tomorrow.


Cate January 10, 2006 at 1:50 pm

Really Darla? I never saw the posting, but will go see if I can find it to bump it up. It should be seen! I happened to get an e-mail a few weeks ago from Epicurious, and that was one of the recipes they were highlighting for the holidays. Definitely a repeater for us.

Michele – baked beans for breakfast? You’re a shoe-in for brain food AND ARF/5-A-Day!


Christina January 10, 2006 at 3:19 pm

thanks for the list of brain foods. Now that i have a blog (finally!), I’ll post a link to it tomorrow!


Anonymous January 10, 2006 at 3:39 pm

It was posted 10/31/05 . Thread name was 2 Great Appetizer Recipes to Share. (dgeevanson) The second recipe listed with that thread is also awesome. You should try it sometime. darla


Anonymous January 10, 2006 at 7:09 pm

Ok, I give. What is a pancetta?


Cate January 11, 2006 at 1:41 am

Jeanine – it’s a lot like prosciutto. Most grocery stores have it in the prepackaged deli meats area, and they’re usually in round pieces. Hope this helps!


Clare Eats January 11, 2006 at 12:31 pm

Ok your on :)

BUT you have to post about it ;)


Cate January 11, 2006 at 3:00 pm

Clare – bring it on! I’m ready for ya!


Anonymous January 11, 2006 at 11:47 pm

Thanks for the appetizer recipe – It sounds great and I think that I will have to try it this weekend, although I think that I might be tempted to drizzle with a little reduced basalmic vinegar – or would that be gilding the lilly?


Cate January 12, 2006 at 12:57 am

I’d vote for it being lily-gilding, maybe try half and half? And report back! :)


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