Homemade Sweet Potato Fries

Homemade Sweet Potato Fries

1 large sweet potato (about 1 pound)

Vegetable oil

Salt to taste

Peel sweet potato, if desired. Cut into ½” strips.

Heat 1” oil in a heavy skillet on medium until a drop of water sizzles when dropped into it (5-10 minutes).

Carefully put sweet potato strips in hot oil and fry until golden brown (7-10 minutes), cooking in batches so as not to crowd potatoes. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels or rack. Salt to taste while still hot.

Serve with honey mustard dip, if desired.

3 servings, 200 calories per serving

Weird Foods Of The World

There’s a lot of weird food out there. Most of these strange offerings are simply menus that have been eaten through the generations and have become commonplace (and enjoyed) in the areas where they’re consumed. I’m acquainted with people who have come to my country from around the world and visa versa (myself included). All of these people (myself included) have a tendency to miss the food from home, all the things they can’t get where they are currently planted.

I think we can all agree that traditions, including food traditions, are something we all hold dear without ever really wondering how they came into being. Why are some foods eaten in certain areas of the world but not others? Two words: Opportunity and necessity.

Many parts of the world today are fortunate to have continuous access to food that is sourced locally as well as internationally but this was not always the case.
Before there were grocery stores and worldwide transport, food was provided according to what could be grown, foraged or hunted locally. There was always the fear that this food supply could be interrupted at any time by weather, insects, political unrest, illness and many other random occurrences.

For this reason, any item that was obtained was used to its fullest extent. No part of the animal or vegetation was wasted.

And when those interruptions to the food chain did take place? You still gotta eat. Of course, anything tastes good when you’re hungry but many people found that their “food of last resort” was better than they thought it would be and continued to eat it even after the crisis had ended.

What do you say we take a look at a few of these weird hangers-on that are still enjoyed in different areas of the world?

Aftermarket Body Parts

Fish Heads and Eyeballs

Although the head and eyes of animals are eaten worldwide, fish seems to be the most popular. In many cultures, the entire fish is presented at the dinner table and the eyes of the fish are often saved for the most honored guest. The heads of animals are commonly used to make soup in a number of countries.

Jellied Moose Nose

Similar to head cheese, this dish is considered a delicacy among indigenous communities of the northwestern region of Canada and Alaska.


Shirako translates to “white children” but is actually the sperm sacs from certain fish. These blobs look like tiny brains and are said to have a sweet, custardy taste.


Served mainly in the Philippines, Balut is a fertilized duck egg. To properly eat one of these puppies (um….duckies?), tap a hole in the top, slurp out the liquid goodness and then enjoy the crunch of the partially developed embryo that’s left.


Muktic is raw whale blubber with the skin still attached. This dish can be served “as is”, frozen or pickled and is popular in Greenland and Canada. Apparently, if you have enough chew power, it renders a oily, nutty flavor and is high in vitamins C and D.

I’m Gonna Eat Some Worms

Crispy Tarantulas

It’s believed that tarantulas were first eaten by Cambodians starving under the Khmer Rouge regime. These days, the fried creepy crawlers are often rolled in sugar or garlic and sold by street vendors but, unfortunately, the effects of deforestation and over-harvesting may put an end to the practice.

Ant Egg Soup

This blend of fish, fish stock, spices, ant eggs and ant embryo is popular in parts of Asia. Fans say it tastes like shrimp, while the addition of baby ants lends a sour aftertaste.


Eating Locusts sort of makes sense. They’re crunchy and sweet tasting, can be eaten smoked, dried or fried, sometimes mixed with meringue or caramel for dessert. Locally sourced and high in protein, locusts are also kosher. And they eat your crops. What better revenge than to beat them at their own game?

Did Someone Say Cheese?

Casu Marzu

This cheese from Sardinia starts out as Pecorino. Fly larvae are introduced into the cheese which burrow through the cheese after they hatch. Casu marzu is considered unsafe to eat after the maggots have died unless it’s been refrigerated.


This German specialty cheese starts out as something akin to feta but then it’s placed in a box with some rye flour and mites. The enzymes in the digestive juices excreted by the mites (Yup. Mite poop) cause the cheese to ripen. This method of cheese making, which dates back to the Middle Ages, was almost extinct by the 1970s when only one person remained who knew how the process worked. Luckily (?) he was able to pass the information on before he died.

Eat This and That

Huitlacoche (Cuitlacoche)

The word itself translates to “corn smut” or “black mushroom” and refers to a blue black fungus that sometimes grows on organic corn. It’s a rare occurrence and is considered a delicacy in Mexico.


This Mongolian drink is mildly alcoholic and made from fermented mare or camel milk. Advocates say the taste is “quite agreeable after getting used to it” and the flavor profile “refreshens and sparkles softly on the tongue”. Very few first time drinkers agree.

Black Pudding

This is a traditional English/Irish pudding made from the fresh blood of a slaughtered animal. Although similar to blood sausages found in other regions of the world, black pudding is distinctive for using a higher proportion of cereal (such as oatmeal) and various spices.


Eat! Drink! And Be Merry!

While I’m not adventurous enough to actually try any of these foods, I’m certainly not knocking them. Hey, I’m from New England, where we eat peanut butter marshmallow sandwiches (“fluffernutters”) and brown bread that comes in a can. Moxie, a local carbonated beverage for which outsiders have used the words like “burnt root beer”, “rust” and “battery acid” to describe it’s flavor, actually has its own yearly festival. Who am I to point fingers?

Have you tried any of these unusual foods? What strange foods are served in your local area? Let me know in the comments below!

All my best,



Easy Pan Fried Chicken Tenders

Easy Pan Fried Chicken Tenders

2 cups water

2 tbsp salt

2 tbsp sugar

8 oz boneless skinless chicken breast

⅓ cup flour

½ tsp salt

½ tsp thyme

½ tsp basil

¼ tsp oregano

½ tsp black pepper

¾ tsp paprika

¾ tsp garlic powder

¾ tsp ground ginger

⅓ cup cornmeal

⅓ cup milk

1 egg

Vegetable oil

Make a brine by dissolving 2 tbsp salt and 2 tbsp sugar in 2 cups of water.

Cut chicken breast into 4 strips. Place strips in brine and allow to soak for at least 2 hours but no longer.

In a small, shallow bowl, mix flour, salt, thyme, basil, oregano, black pepper, paprika, garlic powder and ginger. Place cornmeal in a separate small, shallow bowl. In a third small bowl, whisk together milk and egg.

Remove tenders from brine and dry with a paper or kitchen towel. Allow them to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

Dredge each chicken tender in the flour mixture, dunk in egg mixture and coat with cornmeal. Lay coated tenders in a single layer on a flat surface and allow to rest for at least 5 minutes.

Pour 1” of oil into a heavy skillet and heat on medium until a drop of water sizzles when dropped in (5-10 minutes).

Carefully place chicken tenders into hot oil and fry for 10-12 minutes, turning once. Tenders should be golden brown and have an internal temperature of 160℉.

Let cooked tenders rest for 5 minutes before eating. Serve with honey mustard dip, if desired.

185 calories per tender

Panko Parmesan Crusted Scallops

Panko Parmesan Crusted Scallops 
(Courtesy:  Ray and Irene Horne)

6 sea scallops

Dash of salt

Dash of pepper

1 tbsp butter, melted

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp chopped shallot

1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp)

¼ cup panko breadcrumbs

2 tbsp Parmesan cheese

Heat the oven to 425℉. Coat a small oven-proof pan with cooking spray. Pat scallops dry and arrange in a single layer in the pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Whisk butter, lemon juice, shallot and garlic in a small bowl and pour evenly over scallops.

In the same bowl, mix breadcrumbs and Parmesan. Sprinkle over the top of the scallops.

Bake until the scallops are opaque and the topping is golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes.

Serve hot.

1 serving, 450 calories

Hack: Scallops can be purchased individually from the seafood counter at most grocery stores. Alternately, they can be purchased frozen in larger portions if you wish to keep some on hand. Thaw needed amounts before cooking. 


Seafood can be thawed overnight in the refrigerator. It can be thawed more quickly by placing it in a sealed bag and submerging in a bath of cold water for about an hour.

Garlic Herb Focaccia Bread

Garlic Herb Focaccia Bread

7 tbsp olive oil, divided

2 garlic cloves, minced (2 tsp)

1 tbsp dried Italian seasoning

1 ½ cups water

2 tbsp sugar

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp dry active yeast

3½ cups flour

1¼ tsp salt

In a small bowl, mix 2 tbsp olive oil, garlic and Italian seasoning. Set aside.

Coat a 9” x 13” pan with cooking spray. Drizzle 2 tbsp olive oil over the bottom of the pan.

In a small microwave safe bowl, mix water, sugar and 3 tbsp olive oil. Heat in microwave to a temperature of between 110℉ – 115℉. This should take less than a minute and it’s very important to use a thermometer to get the correct temperature. (See my recommendation for kitchen thermometers here).

Dissolve yeast in water mixture and set aside for 7 minutes to proof. It should “bloom” or form a foam on top.

In the meantime, add flour and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk together with a fork. When yeast mixture is proofed, add to flour and mix on high speed for 30 seconds.

Scoop batter into prepared pan, cover and let rise for 60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375℉.

Use your fingers to dimple the surface of the bread. Use your fingers or a pastry brush to drizzle and spread garlic/herb/olive oil mixture over the surface of batter. Use more olive oil, if necessary, to ensure that the top is completely coated.

Bake in a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes then turn out bread onto a wire rack.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

12 servings, 185 calories per serving

Hack: Tightly covered leftovers will remain fresh at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for 1 week. Alternatively, they can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Yogurt Granola Cup

Yogurt Granola Cup

½ cup plain Greek yogurt

1 tsp honey

⅛ tsp vanilla

Dash cinnamon

¼ cup fruit nut granola

In a small bowl, mix yogurt, honey, vanilla and cinnamon. Stir in granola just before serving.

1 serving, 280 calories

OneHope Wine Review


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Show of hands…who loves wine?  Me, too!  Are you wondering why this subject is coming up on a website that encourages healthy eating habits?  Because, as it turns out, wine is good for you.  It’s science, man.

There’s evidence that moderate wine intake helps prevent heart disease, can delay the onset of cognitive impairments and even make you a happier person.

What’s not to love?

Now, what if I told you that every bottle of wine you bought would provide meals to children who are battling hunger?  Contribute to planting a tree in reforestation projects around the world?  Help a lonely dog or cat find it’s forever home?  Well, it’s true.

Welcome to my OneHope Wine Review.

The Story of OneHope Wine

Jake Kloberdanz, Brandon Hall and a group of friends founded OneHope Wine in 2007 after one of Jake’s best friends was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at 22 years old.  They decided they wanted to make a difference.

Since Jake worked for Gallo wine at the time, it wasn’t a great leap to decide they wanted to start a wine company.  They also decided that the best way to make an impact would be by not just supporting one cause but many.

Starting a wine company is a long and arduous process that can, under the best of circumstances, take years.  Jake had a better idea:  he approached the Mondavi wine family and asked for their help.  The Mondavi’s were happy to let OneHope use their facilities to get their socially conscious business up and running.

In the early years, they had just three varietals and just three causes.  Chardonnay (breast cancer research and awareness), Cabernet Sauvignon (children with autism) and Merlot (AIDS treatment and prevention).

Wine With A Cause

Now, 13  years later, their brand has grown to 100 different products and 40 different non-profits.  To date they have given more than 5 million dollars in donations through OneHope Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Here are a few specifics:

  • Sparkling wine provides meals to children fighting hunger
  • Cabernet Sauvignon funds ABA therapy for autistic children
  • Pinot Noir helps provide a forever home to a stray animal
  • Red Blend helps veterans support disaster relief
  • Chardonnay funds clinical trials to find a cure for breast cancer
  • Merlot provides educational resources to prevent heart disease
  • Sauvignon Blanc helps to plant trees in reforestation efforts
  • Rose provides education on ovarian cancer risks and symptoms

I could go on but I think you get the point.  Every single bottle supports a charitable cause.

Most recently, OneHope has been giving hope to mothers who have been laid off in the service industry during the Pandemic as well as healthcare workers.

One Hope Foundations continues to add cause partners but rarely changes them as they feel that building long term relationships are an important part of having a sustainable impact.  They pair this with the need to ensure that each charity continues to adhere to the strict guidelines, goals and missions that had originally enabled a partnership with OneHope.

Potential cause partners are thoroughly vetted using a 13 standard method to ensure the authenticity and stability of a non-profit organization as well as impact and overhead ratio.  Only those that have very little overhead and give the biggest percentage of their donations to charity work are selected.

OneHope Preferred Customer Benefits

In addition to partnering with nonprofits, OneHope strives to bring the community together by allowing preferred customers to donate 10% of their annual purchases to a nonprofit of their choice!  In addition, preferred customers get up to 20% off AND free shipping with a wine club membership.

OneHope Cause Entrepreneurs can also host wine events on-line to raise money for causes their hosts care about.

Do you have to be a Cause Entrepreneur to make this happen?  Nope.  You can simply host a virtual wine event, give to a great cause and earn points that you can cash in for free wine and merchandise.

As a matter of fact, I’m hosting a virtual event right now to further support OneHope Foundation.  If you choose to host your own event, you can pick a nonprofit cause that’s close to your heart!

As you can see, there are many ways you can take advantage of OneHope Preferred Customer Benefits but maybe you just want a bottle of wine.  That’s cool.  We can do that too!

Wine Time

But, you ask…what about the wine?  Yes, I hear you!  OneHope is an American-made wine out of Napa Valley.  Since their inception in 2007, they have received numerous awards including:

  • Top 100 consumer product companies
  • Impact 100 social business of the year
  • Top 300 of 8,000 wine companies in the U.S.
  • Wine Enthusiast magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 Tastemakers
  • INC. 500/5000 top 1,000 fastest growing private companies
  • EMPACT100’s Social Business of the Year.

The wine itself has received over 100 medals in wine competitions and multiple 90+ pt ratings. Positive articles and write ups have appeared in Wine Enthusiast, People Magazine, Martha Stewart Weddings and Forbes Magazine.

Add that to the fact that 100,000 cases of wine were sold in 2018 and I would say that’s a testament to their popularity!  

Life’s Too Short To Drink Bad Wine

OneHope has a commitment to make great wine paired with a commitment to support worthy causes around the world.  With every glass, you’re making the world a better place.  Why not make giving back something you do every day?

As it turns out, doing good tastes great! And then there’s the whole wine-is-good-for-you thing.  So…raise a glass.

Because life’s too short to drink bad wine.

All my best,



Vanilla Dessert Sauce

Vanilla Dessert Sauce

1 cup milk

2 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp cornstarch

1 tsp vanilla

Whisk together milk, sugar and cornstarch.  Bring to simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly.  Allow to simmer for one minute and remove from heat.

Can be used warm or cold.

Refrigerate leftovers in a tightly covered container.

Serving size: 2 tbsp, 31 calories per serving

Hack:  Pour over a fruit salad, apple crisp or bread pudding!

Best BBQ Beans


Best BBQ Beans

The Best BBQ Beans

⅔ cup dried navy beans

2 cups water

3 oz salt pork, chopped with rind removed

1 onion, chopped (1 cup)

1 jalapeno pepper, chopped (2 tbsp)

3 cloves garlic minced (1 tbsp)

1 cups chicken bouillon

1 cup sweet and spicy barbecue sauce


Cover beans with 2 cups of water and allow to soak for 6 – 12 hours. Drain and rinse.

Saute salt pork and onions in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until onions are tender (5-7 minutes). Add peppers and garlic. Saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add bouillon and beans to the saucepan. Turn heat to medium. Cover and simmer for 45-60 minutes or until tender, checking occasionally to ensure there is enough water to keep beans from scorching.  Add more water, if neccesary.

Add barbecue sauce and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until sauce is thickened.

Serve with jalapeno cheddar cornbread, if desired.

4 servings, 415 calories per serving, excluding cornbread

Hack: Freeze leftover portions sealed in serving sized portions for future use. Allow to thaw completely in the refrigerator before reheating.

Hack: One cup of frozen onions can be substituted for fresh onion in this recipe.

Hack: One 15 oz. can of navy beans, drained and rinsed can be substituted for the dried beans in this recipe.





Quick and Easy Pickled Red Onions


Quick and Easy Pickled Red Onions

1 red onion, thinly sliced

1 tbsp sugar

¾ cup apple cider vinegar

½ tsp salt

Place onions in a ceramic or glass container.

Place sugar, vinegar and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer.

Pour hot liquid over onions, making sure the onions are completely submerged. Cover and allow to cool.

Store leftovers tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

134 calories

Hack: Do not use metal or plastic containers to store onions.

Hack: These onions are great on tacos, burgers, sandwiches, salads, beans or anything else you want to flavor up!

Hack: This vinegar, sugar and salt combo can be used to pickle any vegetable. Try it with cucumbers, cooked beets, radishes or anything else you have on hand. Better yet, experiment with some combinations!