Maple Ginger PorkChop and Colcannon

The definition of healthy cooking is a different meaning to everyone. There are vegetarians, pescatarian, only chicken and fish, paleo and the list goes on. In this household, I’m weary of our mostly vegetables, poultry and seafood diet. A couple holidays ago, Dad placed a few smoked pork chops in front of Jacinto and me. In less than ten minutes, except for the 2 pork chops Dad quickly saved, we ate them all. The flavor was juicy, savory and different. Since then, I often think about ‘diversifying’ our protein sources.

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Maple Thyme Chicken Thighs and Pears

2014 was the year that failure was recognized as an attribute towards the journey of success. That’s if the lesson was learned from the act of failure. This recipe was a difficult dish to develop. It was perfect the first time. The second attempt was too sweet. The third try lacked a flavorful taste. And, when the dish was finally successful, it was perfect.

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A forkful of pancakes

Some time ago, I noticed extra weight gain. A panicked call was made to Mom. In a harsh and sweet tone of a voice, she said, “You know how to eat healthy. Now eat less and exercise more,” she continued with the reality of my dilemma, “…if you gain weight now, it’s difficult to get it off… You’re older and the weight doesn’t come off like it use to. There’s no excuse for being fat.”

Some may view the advice as insensitive. Personally, I appreciate the seriousness of it. Why cry about it when the solution is simple: Eat less and exercise more. The following morning, I was up at 6 am for a quick two-mile run. A food diary was started to find potential problems, which revealed large portions of food and too much sugar.

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Maple Cumin Bread
Maple Cumin Bread

My knowledge of wine could be more than the average person, for I know my basic pairings with food. I’m also not an aficionado when it comes to tea, but I know enough to start with loose-leaf tea leaves and the different steeping times. However, my knowledge of beer is flat. Last autumn, Jo of AGiftofTea.com — a true tea connoisseur — invited me to her Beer and Tea pairing event in Harlem. Although, my time management is a work in progress, I missed the demonstration. However, I was able to sample Organic Golden Monkey Black, Jasmine Green and Alishan Oolong teas while nibbling on beer flavored popcorn, spicy dried mango from Trader Joe’s (that’s now part of my grocery list) and dark chocolate.

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Quince Apple Skillet Pancake

The quince apple was hard. Immediately letting me know this isn’t a fruit to eat while running out the door to work or as a midday snack. It needed to be cooked down with a roast chicken, in a cobbler, pie or an apple skillet pancake. It had a beautiful floral and fruity fragrance, a scent that took my memory to perfumes and candles using quince in their blends. One large quince apple was purchased with a bag of organic tart Granny Smith Apples.  Read more