Low-calorie holiday treats that won’t cause diarrhea!

image Unless you’re a hyperactive nine-year-old fueled by Pixie Sticks and Hostess Cupcakes without an ounce of concern for weight-gain because concern is the ONLY ounce you’re going to gain this holiday season, then you’re like the rest of us trying to get through the next six weeks without looking like Jabba the Hutt’s stunt double.

What this means is finding a healthy balance between satisfying your God-given right to partake in all of those delicious holiday treats while, at the same time, adhering to the God-given Commandment to avoid gluttony.

Yes, the Lord does indeed work in mysterious ways. Take fruitcake for example…

No, seriously. Please take mine.

That’s because over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing quick and easy holiday recipe tips that are both low-calorie and delicious! And not just because “quick and easy” is my pet name.

Today, I am going to show you how to make a cup of hot chocolate that you can drink as an alternative to buttered rum or egg nog, which are not only high in calories but, depending on the alcohol content, can lead to makinge a snow angel in the front yard wearing nothing but a Santa hat.

In August.  Continue reading

Advertisements

Step one to romantic cuisine: Insert beer can into chicken cavity

Meimagen, by their very nature, are grillers of food. If you follow me on Facebook, then you know I love grilling everything from steak kabobs to bacon-wrapped bratwurst. This is because grilling, aside from providing men with a legitimate excuse to drink beer and play with fire, is actually a sign of romance and affection dating back to the discovery of fire itself.

We know this thanks to recently discovered cave paintings depicting what archeologists believe is a romantic meal prepared by a Neanderthal named Glork soon after the discovery of fire.

According to archeologists, the sequence goes like this:

Painting one: Glork makes a small fire using a careful mixture of embers, dry leaves, and an assortment of twigs. He then douses it with liberal amounts of highly flammable liquid, creating a massive fireball that scorches the roof of his cave.

Painting two: Glork adds a marinated pterodactyl drumstick to the fire and begins drinking an unidentified beverage.

Paintings three through six: Glork continues drinking a lot more of his unidentified beverage.  Continue reading

A man’s guide to romantic cuisine — Step one: Insert beer into chicken cavity

image Men, by their very nature, are grillers of food. If you follow me on Facebook, then you know I love grilling everything from steak kabobs to bacon-wrapped bratwurst. This is because grilling, aside from providing men with a legitimate excuse to drink beer and play with fire, is actually a sign of romance and affection dating back to the discovery of fire itself.

We know this thanks to recently discovered cave paintings depicting what archeologists believe is a romantic meal prepared by a Neanderthal named Glork soon after the discovery of fire. According to archeologists, the sequence goes like this:

Painting one: Glork makes a small fire using a careful mixture of embers, dry leaves, and an assortment of twigs. He then douses it with liberal amounts of highly flammable liquid, creating a massive fireball that scorches the roof of his cave.

Painting two: Glork adds a marinated pterodactyl drumstick to the fire and begins drinking an unidentified beverage.

Paintings three through six: Glork continues drinking a lot more of his unidentified beverage.

Painting seven: Attempting to capture the attention of an attractive cavewoman, Glork uses the flaps of his animal skin to fan the aroma of dinner in her direction. In the process, he inadvertently exposes himself, leading to the creation of what archeologists believe is the very first “Kiss the Chef” apron. Continue reading

I’ll be off the grid today because of pasta

image In case you were wondering why I was mostly absent from my blog yesterday, it’s because I spent the day at the fire station preparing for our annual Siuslaw Valley Firefighter Association’s St. Paddy’s Day Spaghetti Feed. And by “preparing for it,” I don’t mean stretching out my stomach and putting on pants with an elastic waist. I was cooking off 60 pounds of pasta and dicing up 30 pounds of tomatoes while Capt. Liz Iabichello cooked off 40 pounds of meat and diced 10 pounds of onions.

Today, we’ll finish the sauce, make garlic bread and prepare the salad for tonight’s fundraiser dinner, which is from 4 to 7 p.m. If any of you happen to be on the central Oregon coast tonight, stop in! We’re expecting about 300 people but I’m sure we can find you a table.

And we promise you’ll get your food faster than you would on Hell’s Kitchen. Continue reading

Never had food poisoning? Make sure to thank a humor columnist today

In observance of National Columnists Day, I’m running a post from a few years ago that I feel captures the essence of what it means to be a humor columnist, and why it’s a good idea to keep a current Food Handler’s Card available…

image Being a journalist, I naturally have journalist friends who, whenever we get together, want to talk about (yawn) heady issues facing the nation and the world. This is done in a discussion format similar to “Meet the Press,” except that our debates are often interrupted by someone’s beer getting knocked over.

Aside from that, it’s just like the show on TV.

As you can imagine, our exchanges get pretty heated as each of us presents an important topic of debate:

What is our stance on the Middle East?

Should we overhaul social security?

How do we deal with North Korea?

Or, as I challenged:

Why does the new Bugs Bunny look like he’s been shooting steroids with Jose Canseco?

That’s usually when our debate comes to a screeching halt and I’m forced, once again, to defend my journalistic integrity by explaining the value of what I do, then underscoring it by offering to pay for everyone’s beer. Continue reading

Best gumbo west of the south was almost good enough for first place

image So when the chef’s aprons finally hit the floor at the end of yesterday’s firefighter cook-off, and I realized why I’d been feeling a draft all day, our team finished second with our chicken and sausage gumbo. The host team from Newport, with it’s briquet chili, took the top prize. I didn’t get a chance taste it, but it must’ve been amazing in order to beat out the Best Gumbo West of the South.

Our chicken and sausage gumbo, with dirty rice. How dirty? It wouldn't get a "G" rating, let's put it that way.

Our chicken and sausage gumbo, with dirty rice. How dirty? It wouldn’t get a “G” rating, let’s put it that way.

Rumor has it the reason the judging ran late was because they were trying to decide between our gumbo and Newport’s chili.

I think it’s also possible that, after eating both dishes, they went out for beers to counteract the spiciness.

Our team, Greg and Arda Stober, along with my wife and I. Our clear display boxes had small strobe lights covered in red and yellow tissue paper to look like flames. That's just how cool we are.

Our team, Greg and Arda Stober, along with my wife and I. Our clear display boxes had small strobe lights covered in red and yellow tissue paper to look like flames. That’s just how cool we are.

Either way, I couldn’t be more proud of our team, which included my lovely wife, and fellow firefighters Greg and Arda Stober. We also had support from Janet and Annette, who made the trip from our Florence fire station to show their support by attempting to sabotage Newport’s chili with pieces of chopped up fire boot insoles.

Nice try, girls. Continue reading

Frozen lima beans: The gift that keeps on gagging

eating,_chewing,_nut,_teeth,_mouth copy It will have been more than 80 years ago next month since Clarence Birdseye, inspired by ancient food preservation methods used by Arctic Eskimos, made history by introducing the very first frozen food option: “Savory Caribou on a Stick.”

Though his first selection was met with little enthusiasm, Birdseye persisted, and eventually created a line of frozen vegetables that many of us are still gagging on today.

I, for one, am still unable to walk past lima beans in the frozen food section without getting the dry heaves. This reaction stems from my childhood, and a spoonful of lima beans I’ve been trying to swallow since 1973.

Unless you’ve been hermetically sealed and stuck in a freezer, you already know March is “National Frozen Food Month.” Coincidentally, I should mention this happens to fall in the same month as “National Ear Muff Day,” “Extraterrestrial Abduction Day” and “National Pig Day,” meaning that, for anyone whose pig happened to be wearing ear muffs at the time it was flash frozen by alien abductors, this is a big month for you. Continue reading

A man’s guide to romantic cuisine—Step one: Insert beer into chicken cavity

cavemen-food-nutrition copy Men, by their very nature, are grillers of food. This is because grilling, aside from providing men with a legitimate excuse to drink beer and play with fire, is actually a sign of romance and affection dating back to the discovery of fire itself. We know this thanks to recently discovered cave paintings depicting what archeologists believe is a romantic meal prepared by a Neanderthal named Glork soon after the discovery of fire. According to archeologists, the sequence goes like this:

Painting one: Glork makes a small fire using a careful mixture of embers, dry leaves, and an assortment of twigs. He then douses it with liberal amounts of highly flammable liquid, creating a massive fireball that scorches the roof of his cave.

Painting two: Glork adds a marinated pterodactyl drumstick to the fire and begins drinking an unidentified beverage.

Paintings three through six: Glork continues drinking a lot more of his unidentified beverage.

Painting seven: Attempting to capture the attention of an attractive cavewoman, Glork uses the flaps of his animal skin to fan the aroma of dinner in her direction. In the process, he inadvertently exposes himself, leading to the creation of what archeologists believe is the very first “Kiss the Chef” apron. Continue reading

Got the late shift at Denny’s? Compare SAT scores with ‘Mr. Sizzles’

Who needs good SAT scores when you can have the fried platter?

Who needs good SAT scores when you can have the fried platter?

During the next few weeks, every high school senior who plans to attend a four-year college will sit in a room with dozens of other nervous seniors and be handed a 300-pound Scholastic Aptitude Test. Shortly thereafter, each student will open the exam to page one and choose between a) continuing on with the test, or b) sticking a No. 2 pencil in their eye. That’s because they’ll be answering questions they wouldn’t otherwise face without at least one “lifeline” and a chance to win $1 million.

The reason it’s important to do well on the SATs is because your score tells colleges how smart you are. The smarter you are, the better your chances of getting into a prestigious university because, let’s face it: The last thing any university wants is a bunch of dumb students who need to be educated, even if they are paying $40,000 a year toward a degree which, in many cases, still won’t provide them with their most valuable document — a food handler’s card. Continue reading

Accompaniments for deep-fried turkey should include a fire extinguisher

Deep frying a turkey. Watching football. Both are great, but not together.

The human brain.

Most of us have one.

For those who don’t, there are warning labels.

Unfortunately, these warnings don’t appear on actual humans. Instead, they are issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which has the monumental task of thinking up ways stupid people might injure themselves using standard household items.

While the commission generally stays ahead of the curve with the help of researchers, lab studies, and a select group of retired circus chimps, from time to time a hot new product is embraced so quickly by the general public that there’s simply no time to warn them that actually embracing it could result in serious injury. This past holiday season, according to the safety commission, reports of house fires involving large men submerging whole turkeys into deep fryers has risen dramatically. This prompted the commission to issue a special, multi-paged consumer alert called:

Fryer, Fryer Pants on Fire. Continue reading