Category Archive for: ‘Vegetables’
How to Carve a Halloween Pumpkin

How to Carve a Pumpkin

Pumpkin carving has developed from a fun thing to do at Halloween to a competitive art.


There are as many ideas as there are pumpkins.  “The limit is only your imagination”, as the creative types like to say.  The following are pictures to help inspire.

Southern Living Idea

From Southern Living –

Seasonal designs

Seasonal designs are unique

How to make a pumpkin cooler

Or try something more traditional

More Picture Ideas

More Reasons to buy Organic

If you haven’t gotten on the organic band wagon, I’ve got some more convincing to do.  The following is largely from an article in Organic Gardening Mag.

Think about it

You should be eating a heavily weighted diet of plants and raw foods.  I don’t want to hear the same old BS that we are meat eaters and should be eating red meat.  That may have been true 100 years ago, but not know.  Chemistry has gotten into our diet.  Chemists have found ways to increase the yield of everything and haven’t thought about the long term costs until recently.  If you don’t eat organically grown food you are ingesting 12 or more chemicals  and pesticides that can  HARM you, your family and your future family.  The hormones in the dairy and meat we eat are changing the size of the human race.


Maybe you’ve heard of the chemical “Roundup”?  Supposed to be one of the safest weedkillers around.  So safe that chemists have genetically engineered crops like corn to be “Roundup ready”, meaning that a corn crop can be planted then when the weeds start to grow and compete with the corn, Boom, just fly by with a crop duster and spray Roundup on everything and the genetically engineered corn being resistant to the Roundup lives on while the weeds die.

Sounds great, doesn’t it.  Not so much.  Roundup is not just salt as we might have heard.  The main component of Roundup is GLYPHOSATE.  Glyphosate is a systemic chemical, which means it is absorbed into the root system of the plant.  People being lazy, greedy, bastards, farmers are no exception.  They found that using Roundup increased the yield of their crops and was a whole lot easier and cheaper to use.  So much so that researchers can find glyphosate in RAIN and in the air and of course our ground water and streams.  In 2009 the USDA says that farmers sprayed 57 million pounds of glyphosate on food crops.  That alone is reason to buy and eat organic.  Not convinced?  I’ll proceed.


To be brief – glyphosate is a hormone-disrupting chemical.  It is linked to metabolic damage, infertility, obesity, learning disabilities and birth defects.  Need More?  Really?  If you are smugly thinking that you are a meat eater and don’t eat much corn, think again.  Most cattle are raised on CORN and that corn is Roundup ready.  Don’t believe me – take a trip to Nebraska.

In fact if you live in a corn growing state like Nebraska, you are drinking glyphosate in your household water unless you have a granular activated carbon filter to remove it.

We are eating Crap!

I’m not just being crude.  Human sewage sludge is used as fertilizer in farm fields.  Yes, that is a potential source of salmonella out breaks or worse.  I make this point because another huge problem is hormone-disrupting phthalates which are very common fragrance chemicals used in soaps and shampoos.  Phthalates are being found inside our produce and the only reasonable source is the sewage sludge.  EAT ORGANIC- the use of human sewage is banned in organic farming.

Fat and don’t know why?

May be you eat too much.  But maybe it is the pesticides that are making us fat.  Even in very low doses, pesticides tamper with our body’s natural weight loss chemistry.  These are also linked to cancer and type 2 diabetes, go figure.

The nice thing is that eating organic for just five days can rid the body of virtually all pesticide residues.

What to avoid?

Avoid synthetic fragrances, soft vinyl products and “slow release” or gel-coated medications to eliminate phthalates.  And of course eat organic.

More reasons

Pesticides can interfere with your vitamin D levels.  Organophosphates are a class of pesticides that include 20 or more different pesticides and account for more than 70 percent of the pesticides used in the US.  It is known that these pesticides interfere with the body’s ability to metabolize vitamin D.  D, known as the sunshine vitamin protects us from cancer, diabetes, infections, heart desease, broken bones and boosts our immune system.

Feed Lot Farming – now this is a story in its own right, but hopefully you’ll read it anyhow.  Feed lots are a farming method to raise a large number of cattle or fowl in a small space.  The animals are herded into tightly packed pens or corals.  They are fed in situations that force the animals to eat their own feces.  These “Lots” are so filthy the farmers inject low levels of antibiotics into the animals to keep them health, which in turn end up in the meat we eat and cause antibiotic resistance in humans.  All mass produced animals including cows, chickens, turkeys, pigs, dairy cattle and sheep are raised this way.  In such conditions pests can also be a problem, so farmers spray the herd or flock with pesticides which also get into their food.

Conditions are so bad that e.coil bacteria is a problem, so to prevent it from getting into the food supply, after slaughter, one method is to wash chickens in a chlorine bath that contains 30 times more chlorine than a swimming pool.  To mask the chlorine odor and supposedly to keep the bird moist while cooking, the chickens are then injected with a solution of water and phosphate.  Phosphate can increase our risk of kidney disease, weak bones and even cause premature aging.

Need more reasons?

You are beyond hope – it was nice knowing you – jughandle





No, olives don’t grow on the tree with the pimento already in them.  In fact, most olives are very bitter when they are fresh and usually need to be processed or cured in lye or a brine to give them the familiar flavor we know.  Green olives are allowed to ferment before being brined while California Black olives are not which gives them a milder flavor than the green ones.  It is the phenolic compounds in the raw fruit that make them bitter.  The fermentation and brining remove those compounds.

Whole Foods Olives

Even though more attention has been sometimes been given to their delicious oil than their whole food delights, olives are one of the world’s most widely enjoyed foods. Technically classified as fruits of the Olea europea tree (an amazing tree that typically lives for hundreds of years) we commonly think about olives not as fruit but as a zesty vegetable that can be added are harvested in September but available year round to make a zesty additionto salads, meat and poultry dishes and, of course, pizza.

via WHFoods: Olives.

Georgia Olives

The US produces less than 1/10 of 1 percent of the world’s olive oil.  Georgia was a big producer of olives in the 1600’s.  Spanish settlers planted trees at missions in southeast Georgia in the 1590’s.  Olives were grown in Georgia well into the 1800’s until the Civil War and other problems eliminated the crop.  Recently there has been a resurgence of olive crops in that same area.

Nutritional value

1 once or about 8 olives have the following :

41 calories

4 g total fat

1 g saturated fat

3.7 g monounsaturated fat

.4 g polyunsaturated fat

436 mg of sodium

1 g carbohydrates

1 g dietary fiber

26.3 mg total Omega-3 fatty acids

340 mg total Omega-6 fatty acids

2% vitamin A

1% calcium

1% iron

Rates 0 on the glycemic load index

Rates a 24 and are mildly anti-inflammatory


Olives and their oil are a good source of “good” fat and there fore a good substitute for animal fat that has cholesterol in it.  I love all things olives and recommend them completely. – jughandle


Great prices on bulk olives on Amazon

Georgia Olive Oil on line

or for Olives click here

A Swing and a Miss

Thanksgiving had a couple of dishes that I totally screwed up.

 These baked southwestern egg rolls were one of those disasters.

Baked Southwestern Egg Rolls

2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (10 oz.) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
1 (4 oz.) can diced green chiles, drained
4 green onions, chopped
1 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 package egg roll wrappers (about 24 total)


In a large bowl, combine everything but the egg roll wrappers.  Mix well to blend.  Lay an egg roll wrapper out on a work surface so that one of the corners is pointing toward you and place ¼ cup of the filling in the center.  Fold the tip closest to you up over the filling, roll a bit, then take the points pointing outward and fold them in toward the center.  Continue rolling into an egg roll shape until a small part of the remaining point is still free.  Dip a finger in water or beaten egg and lightly brush on the edges of the free corner.  Finish rolling and press to seal closed.  Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling.

Preheat the oven to 425? F.  Lightly oil a baking sheet with cooking spray.  Place the sealed egg rolls on the baking sheet seam side down and spray the tops of the egg rolls with cooking spray.  Bake for about 15 minutes, or until lightly brown, turning halfway through baking.  Serve warm with salsa.

Printed from Annie’s Eats



Looking at the picture and the recipe, you might say, “Jug, how could you screw that one up”.  I’ll tell you how.  First I used spring roll wrappers and not egg roll wrappers.  Big difference.  Then I added way too much cayenne pepper and finally I tried to deep fry these beauties instead of baking them.  Wow, what a mess.  I substituted fresh corn for frozen and fresh sauteed spinach for frozen, but that was the only thing I did right.
Spring roll wrappers are made of rice and are transparent when steamed or soaked.  They don’t hold up to frying at all, plus they are round and hard to roll.  Egg roll wrappers would have probably worked in the fryer, but baking does make more sense.
Can’t win them all.  I’d make these again, because I like the concept, but I’ll use the right wrappers – jughandle

As I write this post I am enjoying a bowl of stone ground grits.  Not the instant grits found so often, but real stone ground grits with the little black flecks in it.  Killer good cooked with just milk and butter and slowly boiled to a creamy consistency with the grits left just a little firm or al dente (to the tooth)

What the heck are grits?

Wikipedia says that grits got their origins from the American Indians.  I say thank you.   Grits are coarsely ground flint or dent corn, which is grown hard on the cob.  The kernels are dried on the cob and then soaked in baking soda, lime or wood ash.  The soaking causes the hulls to soften and swell.  Then the kernels are hulled and de-germed using friction methods and dried further.   Hominy is the dried corn or maize that has been treated with a weak lye (alkaline) solution to break down the niacin in the corn which also effects the protein balance, decreasing it.  Even though the protein decreases, the lysine and tryptophan are increased.  Even in the South, most people have never tried Hominy, which look like large, soft swollen white corn kernels.

The best grits, in my humble opinion, are stone ground in the old fashioned way.  You really can taste a difference.

 white hominy   fried hominy

How do we use Grits

Grits can be savory or sweet.  I prefer savory, but I’ve had some very good grits mixed with brown sugar and chunks of fruit that were great.  Without getting too detailed, grits are basically white polenta, the European version of grits which is made from ground yellow or white cornmeal.

Both polenta and grits are cooked to a porridge like consistency then embellished with anything from sugar or honey to cheese, butter, sausage, bacon, ham and even spinach or kale.  Both make a great side dish for any meal.

Additionally, grits or polenta can be placed in a container or glass and cooled or frozen then sliced into rounds and fried in oil or bacon fat.  Delicious!



Stone Ground grits are available through the Fat Farm Store or click here  – jughandle