Happy National French Fry Day!
July 13, 2017

July 13 is National French Fry Day! Folks everywhere can participate by enjoying one of the many varieties of the classic food.

French fries, also known as chips, fries, finger chips or French-fried potatoes, are sticks of deep-fried potatoes and are common fixtures at fast food restaurants that are loved by adults and kids alike!

A wide selection of condiments such as ketchup, ranch dressing, vinegar, mayonnaise, honey mustard, cheese and many more compliment French fries. Sweet potatoes make an alternate, healthier offering of fries found on menus around the United States. Other varieties are baked and come assorted shapes such as curls, waffles and crinkles.

The expression “French Fried Potatoes” first occurs in print in English in the 1856 work Cookery for Maids of All Work by E. Warren.

It is believed that the term “French” was introduced to the potatoes when American soldiers arriving in Belgium during World War I tasted tasted Belgian fries and called them “French”, as it was the official language of the Belgian Army at that time.

Shrimp and asparagus: A lovely combo
July 13, 2017

It was the favorite vegetable of Julius Caesar, King Louis the XIV, and Thomas Jefferson. But the history of asparagus begins long before that.

The name comes from a Greek word meaning stalk or shoot. The Romans borrowed asparagus from the Greeks and cultivated it in every land they visited.

Asparagus is a member of the lily family and is related to onions, leeks, and garlic. It contains more cancer-fighting glutathione than any other food. It is packed with folic acid, which helps to prevent birth defects and heart disease, and it’s a good source of potassium, fiber, vitamins A, D, B6, and thiamin. And it is rich in rutin, which helps strengthen blood vessels.

Health-conscious dieters will be pleased to know that asparagus contains no fat and no cholesterol. It’s low in sodium, and contains only 20 calories per serving.

Under ideal conditions, it can grow up to 10 inches in a day and reach up to 12 feet in height.

The best asparagus has firm, fresh stalks with tightly closed tips. Because its folate is destroyed by exposure to air, heat, or light, it is best to store it in the back of the refrigerator or in a produce drawer.

Microwaving destroys fewer of its nutrients than boiling or steaming. Cook it upright in a tall container with a few inches of water in the pot. Simmer 5 to 7 minutes with the tips out of the water.

Orange-Soy asparagus sauce
Combine 1 tablespoon each of soy sauce and fresh orange juice with 1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind, grated ginger, and dark sesame oil. Stir in 2 shallots or 1 small onion, minced. Drizzle over cooked asparagus and toss to coat.

Shrimp and asparagus
Perfect for low carb diets, shrimp has no carbs and asparagus has 5 carbs per cup. Lemon juice has 5 carbs per 1/4 cup.
Prepare this lemon sauce for the dish and set aside.
Combine in small bowl:
2/3 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup lemon juice
Add a tablespoon of sugar, if you desire.
Stir fry shrimp in olive oil, 1 teaspoon minced garlic and 1 teaspoon ginger until shrimp is pink. Remove. Using the same pan, add asparagus, cooking until bright and tender-crisp.
Bring asparagus and shrimp together in same pan. Pour lemon sauce mixture over shrimp and asparagus. Simmer for a minute to thicken sauce. Serve.
If carbs are not an issue, add rice or noodles.

Community Events Food
FUNDRAISER – The Donut Kitchen is coming to Warren Memorial Hospital’s North Entrance
July 5, 2017

The Donut Kitchen is coming to Warren Memorial Hospital’s NORTH Entrance on Tuesday, July 18, and is making their delicious donuts fresh for you on their food truck.

  • 6am – 2pm or until sold out.
  • The featured donut is Salted Caramel.
  • Will also be making Bavarian Custard, Glazed, Chocolate Frosted, Blueberry and Cinnamon Sugar.
  • Cash or Debit/Credit.

This is a fundraiser sponsored by WMH Auxiliary. Thank you for your support!

Location: Warren Memorial Hospital, 1000 N Shenandoah Ave, North Entrance, Front Royal, Va 22630

The best donuts freshly made for you! Tuesday, July 18, 6am – 2pm. Hot & Yummy!

Over 50 and back in the kitchen for fun and nutrition
June 29, 2017

After a lifetime of cooking for a family, seniors can find themselves happily in the kitchen again.

In fact, cooking can actually be fun when there are no picky children and no stresses of schedules.

Since most older people don’t need to eat as much as they did in the past, there is a tendency to snack and go for easy microwave dinners, rather than plan meals. But browsing food this way may be unsatisfying and, as a sense of taste reduces with age, just plain boring.

The good news is that cooking can make more interesting meals, improve nutrition and even help in maintaining weight.

Soups and stews top the list because they can be fun to make and are easy for people with dentures. Plus they offer liquids, very important for keeping healthy. Try making your favorite vegetable beef combo in a slow cooker.

You can also cook those old-fashioned foods that you ate as a child. Try white beans, for example, in the slow cooker. Go easy on the salt for heart health, but add onion or garlic for a little punch.

As you age, you may find you develop a sweet tooth. That’s not unusual since the taste of sweets lasts longest. For dishes healthier than the candy dish, try naturally sweet foods such as fruit and yams.

You don’t even have to use a stove for a fun meal. Try experimenting with sliced meats and cheese rolled up into a easy taco. Thing ham slices rolled over swiss cheese make a tasty lunch. Add spicy brown mustard for a zing.

Microwave idea
If you hate food splattering in your microwave, put a coffee filter over the dish or bowl.

Amp up your hot tea
To make the best cup of tea, always start with very hot water. Then, instead of sugar, drop in a hard candy like a mint or lemon drop.

Mint tea from the herb garden
June 11, 2017

A refreshing treat to try in the summer is mint tea from your herb garden. Pick roughly a dozen sprigs of mint and pull the leaves off the stems. Put the leaves in a large bowl of cold water and squeeze, rip, and tear the leaves in the water with your hands.

The mint flavor will transfer to the water. Pour the water through a colander into a pitcher. Repeat this until your pitcher is full. Add sugar or honey to taste and some ice cubes. For winter, you can dry your mint leaves then steep in a teaball for a hot version that is good for upset stomachs.

Using up zucchini
June 5, 2017

Zucchinis are a great example of a plant that can keep feeding you even in winter. You can eat the orange-colored blossoms and the fruit. Zucchini also keeps well shredded in the freezer.

Fried zucchini blossoms
Make a simple batter with flour, salt, and a 12oz beer. Dredge the blossoms in the batter and fry them in some oil.

Grilled zucchini
Slice the long way. Place the slices on the grill and brush them with Italian dressing on each side. They make an excellent side dish at any barbecue.

Freeze the rest
The rest of your zucchini you can throw in a food processor to grate and then store two cups worth in freezer bags and pop them in the freezer to use all year long. The grated zucchini is a great way to hide some extra veggies in your tomato sauce. You can also use it in a quiche, muffins or bread.

Getting the most out of pumpkins
May 31, 2017

Pumpkins are useful all year long. Save the big ones to make jack-o-lanterns. The rest you can cut into quarters (save the seeds for roasting!), bake until the flesh turns golden. Then scrape the flesh out of the skin. Toss the flesh into a food processor with a tiny bit of water and puree. Divide puree into two-cup batches and freeze.

You’ll find many recipes that call for just this measurement for muffins and breads. The puree can also be used for soups and pies.

Pumpkin french toast
Try blending eggs, milk, cinnamon, sugar, and nutmeg and use that as french toast batter.

Food Home
Family dinner: Evolving, good for kids
May 22, 2017

During years as kids grow, family dinner time tends to change, but it remains one of the fundamental building blocks of kids’ character and knowledge, experts say.

With young children, families might have to eat early, ignore some table manners, and endure the usual bouts of crying, mess and chaos, according to
As the kids grow, dinner time has less chaos, but perhaps more sullen children as they reach teenage years.

Is it worth it?

Absolutely, says Harvard Medical School Professor Anne Fishel, co-founder of The Family Dinner Project.

For one thing, research published in New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development has found that dinner conversations are essential in building vocabulary, acquiring general knowledge and understanding culturally appropriate talk.

Researchers found that young children learned 1,000 rare words at the dinner table, compared to only 143 from stories read allowed. This helps children read earlier and more easily.

For school-age kids, regular mealtimes are a predictor of high achievement scores. Adolescents who ate family meals five to seven times a week, were twice as likely to get A’s in school, according to the Washington Post.

One study in Pediatric Psychology even found that family dinner rituals even acted as a protector for children with asthma.

For adolescents, a number of studies showed that regular dinners lowered high risk behaviors and mood problems.

The key is emphasizing interpersonal relationships with casual conversations, not scolding or yelling at each other.

Easy steps to keeping a kitchen garden
May 22, 2017

Keeping a kitchen garden can benefit your pocketbook and your health.

With some simple planning and a little bit of space in the yard, you can have a garden that will keep you fed all year long.

Start with seeds
In more northerly zones, buy and start seeds in February or March. Warmer zones might start even earlier.

Seeds offer great variety and they are much cheaper than starts. You can get just what you want including heirloom veggies. An envelope of seeds can cost $5, but you get about 50 seeds. If you can’t use all of them one year, keep them cool and dry and your investment will span two or more seasons.

Cold-hardy plants
Begin with a few plants that do well in the cold and can be planted as soon as the ground is thawed and workable. They include lettuces, cabbage, spinach, and peas according to

By late spring, you can be picking a salad from your garden each day.

In late summer, you and the kids can snack on grape tomatoes right out of the garden.

Warmth-loving seeds
Start seeds that are less cold hardy at a sunny window inside or sow them directly in your garden when it is warm enough. Squashes, pumpkins, tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers need warmer temperatures.

Berries and herbs
You can buy a flat of strawberry plants and each year they will come back and spread. A blueberry bush will do the same thing. Most herbs work the same way. A small mint plant will come back every year and spread. The same is true for oregano and other herbs.

Food Home
Save on groceries by planning meals first
May 3, 2017

If you really want to cut your grocery expense in half — or more — don’t make a shopping list until you plan your meals.

Money experts are in near unanimity about meal planning as a way to save on grocery costs.

The advantage of meal planning is that you buy just what you actually eat, cutting down on food waste and time spent figuring out every meal.

According to, if you make a meal plan you’ll find that you usually eat simply, even if you do like to fantasize about the fancy meals you see on Facebook.
Meal planning can allow for hurry-up meals and make room for more creative cooking. The key is: Plan first.

Use the weekly grocery flyer in your local newspaper to find deeply discounted items. The Simple Dollar recommends identifying three discounted items and planning six meals around them.

Using the discounted items as a base, plan your meals for a week.
How much can you save?

Writing in Simple Dollar, Holly Johnson says she feeds her family of four on $150 per week by creating meal plans and shopping sales.

Here’s how her grocery list roughly breaks down:
Produce: $52, including fruits, lettuce, carrots, celery parsnips, cabbage squash, tomatoes.
Core Foods: $51, including bread, eggs, milk, noodles, cereal, vegetable broth, juice, cheese, beans, peanut butter and soup.
Snacks: $10, crackers and granola bars.
Drinks: $14, beer, soda, tea.
Total: $127.25.

Among the meals Johnson planned
for the week: Vegetable soup, vegetable lasagna, egg sandwiches, spaghetti squash and sauce, grilled cheese and tomato soup.