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Balanced Diet

Balanced Diet I enjoy cooking. I also enjoy restaurants. Finding balance between those worlds is where I’m happiest. Balanced Diet. They’re not flashy or trendy words.

They’re not organic or home-grown words. They’re real words from a real person. When I lean too far to either side for extended periods of time I’m reminded middle is best.

5 years ago I “retired” from classroom teaching and became a stay-at-home mom. In 5 short years I’ve gone from someone who cooked purely on instinct to someone who combines recipes and creative input. I used to serve meals th

They’re not organic or home-grown words. They’re real words from a real person. When I lean too far to either side for extended periods of time I’m reminded middle is best.

5 years ago I “retired” from classroom teaching and became a stay-at-home mom. In 5 short years I’ve gone from someone who cooked purely on instinct to someone who combines recipes and creative input. I used to serve meals th

Operating as usual

07/03/2020
Baby Chef

Besides the cute kiddo getting an early start in the kitchen, I love the brave parents who made this happen!

Every year we have the good fortune of being able to pick Texas blueberries. Even with the current world events and soci...
05/25/2020

Every year we have the good fortune of being able to pick Texas blueberries. Even with the current world events and social distancing, this year was no exception.

After picking almost 12 lbs of blueberries, our family decided that the first dessert on the docket should be blueberry custard pie. This easy-to-follow recipe can be made with or without gluten, with a handmade or store-bought crust, with freshly picked or store-bought blueberries, salted or unsalted butter, full or low-fat sour cream, etc. In other words, it’s a pretty forgiving recipe and perfect for bakers of all levels.

Note: I used a gluten-free crust from The Maine Pie Co. , purchased at Central Market, and 1-to-1 gluten-free flour from Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods. The results were just as delicious as the gluten-filled version I’ve made in the past.

Bring it on!!!! 😂 🍽
03/25/2020

Bring it on!!!! 😂 🍽

When your favorite Chinese restaurant of the last 18 years makes the difficult decision to temporarily close for 2 weeks...
03/17/2020

When your favorite Chinese restaurant of the last 18 years makes the difficult decision to temporarily close for 2 weeks to soften the financial blow of having to close in-restaurant dining due to #COVID19, you make a special trip, order a little extra, and package the extras for the freezer. #chinesebbq #porkribs #familyfavorite

I’ll admit it was a little spendy, and I’m not exactly a connoisseur of Korean bbq, BUT I really enjoyed my first visit ...
02/17/2020

I’ll admit it was a little spendy, and I’m not exactly a connoisseur of Korean bbq, BUT I really enjoyed my first visit to BORI on Sunday. We arrived for an early dinner, which happened to be during happy hour, without a reservation. However, unless you plan on showing up around 5/5:30 I would highly recommend a reservation, especially on a weekend.

We ordered the Butcher’s Feast, which should have been too much for 3 of us but as it turned out a few of the bigger side dishes (steamed egg, soup, and cheese corn) were forgotten until the end which helped us focus on the meats. The Butcher’s Feast was a combination of beef and pork with a few choices to make, some of them requiring a slight up charge. We chose beef belly, ribeye, seasoned short rib, pork rib, and marinated pork rib. In the past I’ve always eaten the meat separately from the side dishes. This time I noticed and read the printed guide on How to Eat Korean BBQ and then proceeded to swallow my pride by asking a server for specifics on what to do. I’m happy I asked. Besides the flavors specific to the way BORI makes their side dishes, I thoroughly enjoyed layering the meat, sauce, and sides within the lettuce and perilla leaves. Their version of jangajji (pickled radish, onion, and jalapeño) was so unbelievably good that our server refilled our bowl 3 times. As I mentioned our bigger side dishes had gotten lost in the shuffle and didn’t appear until we realized and inquired about them toward the end of the meal. This was a good thing. Although we all agreed that these dishes were tasty, we were happy to have enjoyed and finished all the meats without much competition for stomach real estate.

Besides great food, the service was outstanding. We never lacked for attention from both assistants and waitstaff, and our waitress did an excellent job of cooking for 2 other tables plus ours. The setting is beautifully modern, and there is a art gallery, set just to the side of the lobby area, worth walking through before or after your meal. If you step away from your table before the feast begins, you can watch the meats being sliced and plated through the big picture window of the prep room that looks out over the dining area. But be sure to hurry back because once the eating begins you may not get your share if you’re not present and accounted for...

My second attempt at making beef pho in my Instant Pot... it’s just as good as the first attempt, so I guess it wasn’t j...
02/08/2020

My second attempt at making beef pho in my Instant Pot... it’s just as good as the first attempt, so I guess it wasn’t just a fluke!

In trying to create an open-minded eater/foodie, I try to offer a diverse selection of vegetables. It’s not just about e...
01/30/2020

In trying to create an open-minded eater/foodie, I try to offer a diverse selection of vegetables. It’s not just about eating exotic or high-priced foods. On tonight’s menu: red beets (no golden ones available), Yukon Gold, yams, Brussels sprouts, turnips, parsnips, and yellow onions.

Nestled in at 3510 White Oak Drive there’s an abode that’s humble in appearance, big in service, and both simple and pow...
01/16/2020

Nestled in at 3510 White Oak Drive there’s an abode that’s humble in appearance, big in service, and both simple and powerful in flavor. It goes by the name Handies Douzo. It’s led by chefs Patrick Pham and Daniel Lee. And it’s worth the wait. Limited seating, counter service only, no reservations, and no parking lot. Still with me? Those familiar with the chefs, including their new baby KOKOROHTX (located in Bravery Chef Hall and only recently dethroned as an only child by the birth of Handies) know that these challenges are worth the effort to taste the wares.
We recently dined at Handies on a Saturday at 5:15, entry 15 minutes after the opening bell is a must when dining as a family... There were already 6-8 diners when we arrived, and when we left at 6:30 there was a line waiting to be seated with more arriving on the front porch as we walked out the door.

All of my other posts will reveal my interest in photography. This one will not. I have one photo to post that’s clearly not my best. Honestly though, I’m okay with that. I even hesitated about sharing this visit and have waited a few weeks to do so. Why? Because I loved it so much that I just wanted to keep some of it for myself. But I also love to share. So, here it is.

Handies Douzo. Where do I begin?The seaweed has the perfect crispness, all the way down to the last bite, that’s lacking with most hand rolls even when they’re handed directly to you at the sushi bar. The negi toro has always been my favorite roll and unavailable at most places. I was stunned to find that Handies’ negi toro was even more perfect, if that’s even possible. Everyone makes a spicy tuna roll, some more palatable than others. Handies’ spicy tuna was outstanding, and even though the habanero aioli lit my mouth on fire, I loved every bite.

There were more bites, but that’s all I’m sharing. For now. 💜

Sautéing the “holy trinity” plus minced jalapeño... prepping my favorite dish of the year, Black eyed peas with sausage ...
01/01/2020

Sautéing the “holy trinity” plus minced jalapeño... prepping my favorite dish of the year, Black eyed peas with sausage and rice!

I’m thankful for the bountiful blessings of this life I am fortunate to live.  🎄 Merry Christmas! 🎄
12/26/2019

I’m thankful for the bountiful blessings of this life I am fortunate to live. 🎄 Merry Christmas! 🎄

One dish dinner: roasted chicken and roasted vegetables (Brussels sprouts, yam, Yukon Gold potato, carrots, Golden Beet,...
12/16/2019

One dish dinner: roasted chicken and roasted vegetables (Brussels sprouts, yam, Yukon Gold potato, carrots, Golden Beet, sweet yellow onion! So easy and so delicious. My daughter LOVED the roasted Brussels sprouts!

Anticipation...
12/01/2019

Anticipation...

One more dish to bring our friends over to the Instant Pot side of the world... Tonight: Frito Chili Pie!
12/01/2019

One more dish to bring our friends over to the Instant Pot side of the world... Tonight: Frito Chili Pie!

Making dinner for friends, post-Thanksgiving and showing how easy and quick an Instant Pot can be! Tonight’s menu: “Lazy...
11/30/2019

Making dinner for friends, post-Thanksgiving and showing how easy and quick an Instant Pot can be! Tonight’s menu: “Lazy Lasagna”

Taste testing Mom’s stuffing, before it goes in the bird, because someone HAD to do it...
11/27/2019

Taste testing Mom’s stuffing, before it goes in the bird, because someone HAD to do it...

Wow! My preference is usually savory, but these cookies “with the thumb prints of the little old Italian ladies who made...
11/20/2019

Wow! My preference is usually savory, but these cookies “with the thumb prints of the little old Italian ladies who made them” are DIVINE! Make the drive to Central Market and head to the freestanding holiday display in the dairy section. It will be worth it. I promise. BONUS: they’re made with almond flour, so they’re gluten free.

I’ll never look at avocado toast the same way again... 🎃 Happy Halloween!! 🎃
11/01/2019

I’ll never look at avocado toast the same way again...
🎃 Happy Halloween!! 🎃

Thank you to Thomas P. Nguyen and Peli Peli for this morning’s opportunity to help Kids' Meals, Inc. provide sack lunche...
10/04/2019

Thank you to Thomas P. Nguyen and Peli Peli for this morning’s opportunity to help Kids' Meals, Inc. provide sack lunches for those in our community who might otherwise do without.

2,000 sandwiches and 2,080 packed lunches will help with some of this weekend’s needs.

Dear friends,FB keeps reminding me that my birthday is coming up soon and that I should pick a fundraiser and cause that...
09/23/2019

Dear friends,

FB keeps reminding me that my birthday is coming up soon and that I should pick a fundraiser and cause that’s important to me. So here it is...

Our family has been loving the fabulous fluffy shaved ice from Yeti Sunshine since 2014. I was drawn in on a hot Houston day to a shiny Airstream trailer advertising made-from-scratch out-of-the-ordinary flavors like Lime-Thai Basil, Vietnamese Coffee, Crème Brûlée, Cucumber Mint,... Just one is all it took. I made sure to share our good fortune in local food groups and with personal friends, picked up some new followers, and even converted some Mam’s House of Ice fans to Yetis.

On Thursday when Houston saw the deluge of record rainfall in record time, the owner of Yeti Sunshine, Serena Hightower, lost everything. The van she used to take the catering cart and supplies was flooded and her townhome took in 2.5 feet of water. She lost everything except for a few boxes of possessions. And yet, she met all of this weekend’s catering obligations, including my daughter’s birthday party today, with a borrowed truck and a smile.

Unbeknownst to Serena, a friend of hers started a Go Fund Me account to help her on the path to recovery. Serena is a giver, not a receiver. But we’re doing our best to convince her to receive help. If you’re so inclined to help, a $5 donation would be much appreciated. The link is in the comments. Thanks for your help!

Tonight my family and I ventured into Savoir on its 4th night of service. Houston, we hit pay dirt!There are many who av...
09/01/2019

Tonight my family and I ventured into Savoir on its 4th night of service. Houston, we hit pay dirt!

There are many who avoid, and advise others to avoid, a new restaurant for the first few months it’s open. Soft openings are for working out the kinks, giving the staff a chance to find their fit & flow as a team, managing timing and delivery. If you attend a soft opening or visit a new restaurant within the first few months and decide you will never return because of the service, you should heed the aforementioned advice. If you decide not to return because you didn’t like the food, then maybe it’s not the right fit for you and waiting will not matter. Although I’m not opposed to visiting within the first few months, I don’t usually attend soft openings. Playing the part of the guinea pig gets tiresome after awhile. However, tonight’s visit couldn’t have been better even if I had scripted it myself.

From appetizers to dessert we enjoyed the food and the presentation. The timing and delivery of the dishes and our well-versed and attentive waiter, Jack, were icing on the cake. If limiting their reservations and walk-in traffic as well as operating under the detailed eye of proprietor, Brian Doke, was the key to tonight’s seamless visit then new restaurants should take note. Even the most patient and understanding patrons can only bear so many crash-and-burn openings before joining the crowd of those who would burn them at the stake. Even though I adored the slightly-savory crème brûlée with its playful house-made Cracker Jack topping and chocolate-dipped spoons, the highlight of the evening was watching the Executive Chef, Micah Rideout, slog his way through an enormous stack of dirty dishes in an effort to help the dish washer. It made my heart sing to see the star of the kitchen, out of sight of every table except ours, doing the dirty work because as they say, “There is no I in TEAM.”

The Restaurant Brokers’ study found that 90% of independent restaurants fail within the first year. Based on tonight’s experience, I’ll put my money on Savoir living a long and happy life.

We were a little late getting to Understory today (in the Bank of America building) during the Theatre District Open Hou...
08/26/2019

We were a little late getting to Understory today (in the Bank of America building) during the Theatre District Open House, but having fewer eating options made it easier to focus on the most interesting option... Flip 'n Patties -Filipino Street Food

Ordered and devoured: Brekpas Burger (akaushi beef, seared spam, sautéed onions, fried egg, and banana ketchup aioli), Puet Burger (akaushi beef, marinated pecan smoked pork butt, sautéed onions, provolone, housemade mayo, fnp tang sauce), and Spamsilog Garlic Rice Plate (4 Filipino style fried spam with a fried egg),

Verdict: The Puet Burger was the star of the show with its smoked pork butt accenting the luscious akaushi beef patty. The Brekpas was good, but the egg-spam-onion-burger combo made it difficult to keep together long enough to take a single all-inclusive bite. The Spamsilog was tasty because pan fried spam IS tasty (just don’t tell them it’s spam), but the garlic rice was dried out, and honestly it didn’t seem like anything we couldn’t replicate at home.

Kudos: While it was admittedly 4:30 pm on a Sunday, we were surprised to find only 2 food vendors doing business despite Understory’s posted hours of being open until 10 pm. I understand the hit-or-miss of weekend traffic in downtown Houston, but there’s no reliable way to check who will be open without finding out first hand. But back to the kudos... hats off to Flip’n Patties not only for being open, but for the chef blaring Disney show tunes and audibly (& happily) singing along. And, yes, he has a great voice.

Shaved ice? No. Snow cone? No. It’s more than just dessert or a frozen treat. Bingsu at Snowy Village is like what the n...
08/24/2019

Shaved ice? No. Snow cone? No. It’s more than just dessert or a frozen treat. Bingsu at Snowy Village is like what the name implies, like eating snow... think freshly fallen powder, light, fluffy, soft on the tongue. Since it’s not water based, I won’t called it shaved ice. It’s more like shaved milk. All of the Bingsu have the same snowy base, and you choose the fruit or sweet toppings that will be layered within and arranged over the top of the snow. It’s definitely eaten with a spoon and best left on top of the small tray it’s served on as it’s a little on the messy side. I would also advise against getting one to-go. They can be packaged to go, but between the hot Houston weather and the presentation of the dessert, it’s best suited for on-the-spot-air-conditioned-eating.

If dairy isn’t your thing, there are other treats available. There are made-to-order warm and flaky Taiyaki pastries with your choice of sweet or savory fillings. You can also choose from any of the tea drinks, milk or fruit or Topo Chico, and get complimentary boba or jelly added to your tea.

If you go on the weekend, don’t be daunted by the line to order or the lack of seating. The snowy creations are made in pretty good time. The line moves quickly; tables and seats turn over; and everyone leaves happy.

p.s. Of all the quick serve places that offer the option to tip the employees, this is one that earns the tips. They do a great job of cleaning the tables, offering helpful service with a smile, and the snowy treats are a work of art.

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Houston, TX

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The Truth About Taking Multivitamins Many of us do this every day. But is it a good idea? By Hallie Levine May 9, 2021 …What the Research Shows A 2020 study published in the journal BMJ Open found that people who took these over-the-counter (OTC) product¬s—which contain all or most recognized vitamins and minerals—reported better overall well-being. But most research doesn’t bear this out. The BMJ study found no measurable health benefits for users. A series of papers published in 2013 in the Annals of Internal Medicine that looked at multivitamin use among tens of thousands of people found that they didn’t reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, or cognitive decline. And a 2018 editorial in the journal JAMA that reviewed the research concluded that healthy adults 50 and older simply don’t need a multivitamin. “When you put multivitamins to the test, research shows there’s no benefit, and there even might be some chance of harm,” says Edgar Miller III, PhD, MD, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University. Can You Trust Label Claims? OTC supplements aren’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration the way that prescription medications are. And 12 of the 27 multivitamin and mineral supplements analyzed last year by ConsumerLab.com were found to have quality problems, such as having more or less of the vitamins and minerals than their labels claimed. Some may also contain contaminants. Special Situations A multi may be helpful in a few cases—say, after gastric bypass surgery or for severe malnutrition due to cancer—but most of the time you’re best off getting nutrients from a balanced diet, Koncilja says. Still, evidence suggests that some older adults may benefit from certain single-ingredient supplements. If your doctor recommends one, check the product for certification or verification from a third-party group like the U.S. Pharmacopeia or NSF International. These include: Vitamin B12 Adults older than 60 may have difficulty absorbing this vitamin (found in fish, meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy), so they’re more likely to be deficient, says Nisha Rughwani, MD, an associate professor of geriatrics and palliative care medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. If tests show that your blood levels are under 300 picograms per milliliter (pg/mL), you’ll probably need a supplement, she says. Extremely low levels may call for temporary B12 injections. Vitamin D Fatty fish and fortified milk have vitamin D, and exposure to sunlight triggers your skin to produce it. But it’s hard to get the recommended daily amount for adults older than 70 (800 international units, or IU) this way, Koncilja says. If you take a vitamin D supplement, be aware that a significantly higher intake can hike kidney stone risk. If you use a combined vitamin D and calcium supplement, be aware that supplemental calcium has been linked to a higher risk of colon polyps, kidney stones, and calcium buildup in the heart’s arteries, Miller says. Iron A bit more than 10 percent of people older than 65 have anemia. If you suspect you have it (signs are weakness, headache, fatigue, shortness of breath and rapid heartbeat during exercise, and brittle nails) ask your doctor about testing to determine whether you need an iron supplement. “You don’t just want to take it on your own, as iron tablets can cause constipation and stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting,” Rughwani says. Hallie Levine is an award-winning magazine and freelance writer who contributes to Consumer Reports on health and fitness topics. Her work has been published in Health, Prevention, Reader's Digest, and Parents, among others. She's a mom to three kids and a fat but feisty black Labrador retriever named Ivry. In her (nonexistent) spare time, she likes to read, swim, and run marathons.
We tried Caliente today based on your review. Salsa tasting was fun. Kerin Mayne
This is the third of three required features for the Good Eats Houston Foodie Contest! Please check it out, comment on the Good Eats Houston post, and share it. The finish line is so close, and it's down to one other contestant and me. I'd say I can almost taste victory, but as you can see by this article I'm choosing to taste delicious seafood first. smile emoticon
Yum! I know you like lotus roots.
This is brilliant Kerin! I'm super excited to see what you post here.