George Rucker's Exquisite Newsletter for May 30, 2017

Your first paragraph ...

Do you like rice served in a Mexican restaurant?  I is easy to make without using any of the boxed mixes.

Mexican style rice.

Ingredients

1 cup rice, white, basmati and jasmine work great
2 cups Progresso chicken broth
1 10oz can Old El Paso enchilada sauce
salt and pepper to taste


Directions

In a large skillet or saucepan add the rice, Progresso chicken broth and Old El Paso enchilada sauce. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stir well, cover the pot, then turn down the heat to a medium.

Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until the rice is completely cooked, stirring occasionally.

Season with salt and pepper.

Top with tomatoes, green onions and cilantro or whatever else you prefer before serving.

I could personally just have rice, or rice and beans for lunch or dinner. I know not everyone feels that way though. This rice works as a filler for burritos as well. You’ll find that it’s simple to remember, too; which allows you to just whip it up whenever as the perfect side. This rice goes so perfectly with pretty much anything that you don’t have to pay too much attention to your main dish.

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Eating whole grain oatmeal has been shown to be a powerful weapon in the prevention of many medical conditions, including high cholesterol, heart disease, colon cancer, breast cancer, type 2 diabetes and even asthma. The problem with eating oatmeal is, of course, that many people dislike the bland flavor and pasty texture of this healthy food. The following is a list of suggested additions to jazz up your healthy oatmeal so that you and your family will enjoy eating this beneficial food.

I happen to like Oatmeal for breakfast, while my wife does not.  I use the basic recipe on the tube like box, with the following exceptions.  I like to add, a tablespoon of butter, a tablespoon of brown sugar, and probably two tablespoons of walnuts.  I sometimes dice a quarter of an apple and toss that in also.  That is about it.

While on vacation and reading a free magazine from an Orlando supermarket, I saw a recipe that used peanut butter, honey plus flaxseed.  I decided to give peanut butter and honey a try and omit my brown sugar and butter.  I say it is ok, a little thicker than I like but I decided to see if any other items could be added.

http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/tasty-healthy-things-mix-oatmeal-1345.html

Plain Yogurt (will skip this as I am not a fan of plain yogurt)
Milk (my grandmother always put about a shot of cream into her oatmeal, at least I thought it was cream)
Fresh fruit, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, mangoes, melons, apples, peaches and pears
Dried fruit, pretty much all you can buy including dates, figs and prunes.
Nuts and Seeds, note: some might need to be cooked
Sweet spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and pumpkin pie spice
Grains, which include grain products like wheat germ, wheat bran, and the new kid on the block, quinoa (just needed to add that to my computer dictionary and it is a grain I have tried and do not care for).

I wish Patty would eat oatmeal as it would be healthy for her.

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A wife was making a breakfast of fried eggs for her husband.

Suddenly, her husband burst into the kitchen.

"Careful," he said. "CAREFUL! Put in some more butter!

Oh my Goodness! You're cooking too many at once. TOO MANY!

Turn them! TURN THEM NOW! We need more butter. Oh my GOD! WHERE are we going to get MORE BUTTER? They're going to STICK!

Careful . CAREFUL! I said be CAREFUL! You NEVER listen to me when you're cooking! Never!

Turn them! Hurry up! Are you CRAZY? Have you LOST your mind?

Don't forget to salt them. You know you always forget to salt them. Use the salt. USE THE SALT! THE SALT!"

The wife stared at him. "What in the world is wrong with you? You think I don't know how to fry a couple of eggs?"

The husband calmly replied, "I just wanted to show you what it feels like when I'm driving."

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Last week was my birthday and I didn't feel very well waking up that morning.

I went downstairs for breakfast hoping my wife would be pleasant and say, "Happy Birthday! ", and possibly have a present for me.

As it turned out, she barely said good morning, let alone "Happy Birthday."

I thought... Well, that's marriage for you, but the kids will remember.

My kids came in to breakfast and didn't say a word. So when I left for the office, I felt pretty low and somewhat despondent.

As I walked into my office, my secretary Jane said, "Good Morning Boss, Happy Birthday!" It felt a little better that at least someone had remembered.

I worked until one o'clock and then Jane knocked on my door and said, "You know, it's such a beautiful day outside, and it's your birthday, let's go out to lunch, just you and me." I said, "Thanks Jane, that's the greatest thing I've heard all day. Let's go!"

We went to lunch. But we didn't go where we normally would go. We dined instead at a little place with a private table. We had two martinis each and I enjoyed the meal tremendously. On the way back to the office, Jane said, "You know, it's such a beautiful day...We don't need to go back to the office, do we?"

I responded, "I guess not. What do you have in mind?" She said, "Let's go to my apartment."

After arriving at her apartment, Jane turned to me and said, "Boss, if you don't mind, I'm going to step into the bedroom for a moment. I'll be right back."

"Ok." I nervously replied.

She went into the bedroom and, after a couple of minutes, she came out carrying a huge birthday cake... Followed by my wife, kids, and dozens of my friends and co-workers, all singing "Happy Birthday".

And I just sat there...

On the couch...

In my birthday suit.

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Many that really know me know that I eat what I want and like.  I do take medications for both heart and cholesterol.  I am not a stickler about the time I take them, just morning and evening.  If I miss one on a day because I am occupied I just pick up again on the next morning or evening. Both my stress test, and lab results seem to constantly improve and on my next birthday I will be 77.  Why the mention of this?  I know grilling is bad for you, because of the carcinogens they give off.  I have a charcoal grill, I have a gas grill and I have a hardwood smoker.  I have all the bases covered so I can max out all the carcinogens.  My personal preference is geared to what I am cooking, let it be fish, beef, pork, chicken, hotdogs, burgers etc.  I eat what I want to eat, most all the time either healthy or unhealthy.

If I want smokey taste added, say a brisket, I use the smoker.  If I want the brisket less smokey during the cooking time I cover it in tinfoil.  If I want to sear a steak I use the charcoal as I can get the grill to probably over 500 degrees.  If I want medium heat I use the gas grill say for fish and chicken and probably hotdogs.

I find that gas grill cost more to buy than charcoal, yet less to operate.  I like the taste of things cooked over charcoal better than those cooked over gas.  I like natural charcoal over pressed briquets.  What I am saying is you get great smoky flavor and an unparalleled crust from cooking over or beside coals or wood. That said, on a Wednesday night there is little easier than lighting a gas grill after softball practice and cooking a bunch of brats for the team. There are positives and negatives to each form of fire, depending on what you are cooking, and when and for how long.  Using a smoker is probably more of a gourmet thing as with some recipes, including the rub and the slow cooking over 24 hours..

While grilling does create foods that have a unique flavor and texture, and grilling is pretty synonymous with summertime, we do have some concerns about it.  There are documented health risks associated with the char-broiling and gas grilling of foods. In general, these risks are associated with the formation of Many that really know me know that I eat what I want and like.  I do take medications for both heart and cholesterol.  I am not a stickler about the time I take them, just morning and evening.  If I miss one on a day because I am occupied I just pick up again on the next morning or evening. Both my stress test, and lab results seem to constantly improve and on my next birthday I will be 77.  Why the mention of this?  I know grilling is bad for you, because of the carcinogens they give off.  I have a charcoal grill, I have a gas grill and I have a hardwood smoker.  I have all the bases covered so I can max out all the carcinogens.  My personal preference is geared to what I am cooking, let it be fish, beef, pork, chicken, hotdogs, burgers etc.  I eat what I want to eat, most all the time either healthy or unhealthy.

If I want smokey taste added, say a brisket, I use the smoker.  If I want the brisket less smokey during the cooking time I cover it in tinfoil.  If I want to sear a steak I use the charcoal as I can get the grill to probably over 500 degrees.  If I want medium heat I use the gas grill say for fish and chicken and probably hotdogs.

I find that gas grill cost more to buy than charcoal, yet less to operate.  I like the taste of things cooked over charcoal better than those cooked over gas.  I like natural charcoal over pressed briquets.  What I am saying is you get great smoky flavor and an unparalleled crust from cooking over or beside coals or wood. That said, on a Wednesday night there is little easier than lighting a gas grill after softball practice and cooking a bunch of brats for the team. There are positives and negatives to each form of fire, depending on what you are cooking, and when and for how long.  Using a smoker is probably more of a gourmet thing as with some recipes, including the rub and the slow cooking over 24 hours..

While grilling does create foods that have a unique flavor and texture, and grilling is pretty synonymous with summertime, we do have some concerns about it.  There are documented health risks associated with the char-broiling and gas grilling of foods. In general, these risks are associated with the formation of heterocyclic amines (HAs). Most HAs are well-documented carcinogens, and keeping their levels to a minimum in a diet can decrease our cancer risk. Here are the basic factors involved with HA formation in food:

    It is best to grill or broil on an area without a direct flame as the temperatures directly above or below the flame can reach as high as 500°F to 1000°F. HAs form most easily at high temperatures. Under 325°F, the formation of these compounds is very low. As temperatures increase above 400°F, the formation of HAs can increase by 700%-1000%. Gas and charcoal grilling often (but not always) involve higher temperatures.

    More HAs form when a food is in very close proximity to a heat source. Flame-grilling is perhaps the best example of a food coming into direct contact with a heat source. Less contact with the heating element (whatever heating element is used) lowers the formation of HAs. In deep fat frying, for example, where we might expect high HA formation, there is often very little HA creation due to relatively low temperatures and indirect exposure to the source of heat (although deep fat frying involves its own set of issues related to health concerns).

    The longer a food is exposed to high heat, the greater the HA formation. When a food like a hamburger is grilled for 10 minutes versus 6 minutes, for example, the HA levels in the hamburger may increase by 25-30%.

    The so-called "MPF" foods (meat, poultry and fish) are more likely to form give rise to HA formation when prepared in the above fashion because HA requires the presence of amino acids (from protein) as well as the nitrogen-containing substances creatine or creatinine. Both of these substances are plentiful in most animal foods.

The principles of nutrient loss from charcoaled or gas-grilled foods are very similar to the principles of all cooking: the shorter the time of exposure to heat, and the lower the heat, the less the nutrient loss. Since this cooking method does not typically involve use of water, there can be less nutrient loss from this method than from boiling or simmering. However, minimal steaming of a food would typically require less total cooking time and for this reason result in decreased loss of nutrients.

The smoker here might be a plus as it uses a low heat (less than 200 degrees) but for a long time, usually hours.

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Mr. Money Mustache is the alias of a forty-one-year-old Canadian expatriate named Peter Adeney, who made or, more to the point, saved enough money in his twenties, working as a software engineer, to retire at age thirty. We’re not talking millions. More like tens of thousands, and then hundreds of thousands, which he and his wife diligently salted away at a time of life when most people are piling on debt and living beyond their means. He calculated a way to make these early paychecks last using a strategy of sensible investment and a rigorous, idiosyncratic, but relatively agreeable frugality.

I have not looked in on Mr. Money Mustache (MMM), the Canadian who is quickly becoming a millionaire.  Lets see what he has to say about a $1000 per month grocery bill.

First I find that MMM does not spend that much on groceries.  He spends $80 per week for himself and his wife, as he has no children.

The person he was writing about with the high food bill he was trying to help also took out loans to buy new cars, had at least one $2500 road bike in the garage, and hired out the household chores to allow them to conveniently work a double-career-with-kids while still taking plenty of short vacations involving air travel.

Experience still reminded me of the amazing variety of spending levels we all have available to us here in the United States. It is simultaneously one of the cheapest industrialized countries in the world to live in, and the most expensive. It all depends on the choices you make in your shopping, because everything in the world is available right here for your buying convenience.

When you look it up, the average food cost for a family of four in the US is actually quite high, at $944 per month. But to call it “food cost” makes it sound like it’s out of your control. I would call this the average food spending.

Instead of shooting for the average, you can design your own food cost. Let’s say a family of four wants to spend only $365 per month on groceries, saving them $579 per month over the USDA average family. Investing this savings would compound into about $102,483.00 every ten years.

To hit a monthly grocery spending target like that, you first have to understand what you are buying. There are four mouths to feed, each consuming three meals a day or 91.25 meals per month. Let’s say they all need adult levels of calories, so about 2000 per day.

To meet this level of grocery spending, each meal needs average out to about $1.00 per person, and provide about 667 calories. Of course, there can be plenty of variation in the cost and calories, and you might eat 6 smaller meals and snacks instead of three big 667 calorie blasters. But these are the fundamental numbers we’d need to hit.

Cost per 667 calorie “Meal” of common foods:
Basmati Rice: 25 cents
Spaghetti noodles: 28 cents
Black beans (uncooked): 49 cents
Natural (peanuts only) Peanut Butter: 53.36 cents
California Raw Almonds: 80 cents
Bananas: 92 cents
Potatoes: 57 cents
Canola Oil:  14.38 cents
Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil:  57 cents
Cheddar cheese: $1.09
Apples:  $2.79
Organic cage-free eggs:  $2.85
Organic boneless skinless chicken breast: $8.00

Canola oil is the ultimate example. It is packed with calories,  costs 17 cents per 667 calories, and it is very good for you. If you’re one of those Canola Oil Conspiracy Theorists, move up to Olive oil. That’s a higher-end alternative for even fancier people, and yet you can still get one third of a day worth of calories for 57 cents. Every time you dump these oils into a frying pan, or mix them into a recipe or a salad dressing, you’re lowering your food cost – the oil provides calories that your body might otherwise get from cans of Coke, Filet Mignon, or Burger King dollar menu burgers.

I am stopping this article here as it gets rather wordy... If interested you may read the entire article at:

<iframe width="640" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/LfKaLQkTZfQ?list=PLhZ7dfGXP_ie1uhXffnRSY9ngVDC_biKZ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

 http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/03/29/killing-your-1000-grocery-bill/

I will however give you one of his recipes as it does look good and I am a fan of Thai food.

Thai Curry and Coconut Butternut Squash soup

Ingredients:
1 large butternut squash, about 2.5 pounds
1 tbsp oil
½  an onion, chopped up very small
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
4 cloves garlic
2-3 tsp Thai Red Curry paste
4 cups chicken broth
1 13-14 oz can unsweetened coconut milk
1 tsp  salt
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice

Fancy optional things:
Some toasted coconut for garnish
A few kaffir lime leaves, chopped up a bit

Cut the squash in half, take out the seeds, brush it with oil, and bake it for an hour at 400°F. Then scoop out the soft squash with a spoon when it’s done.

Fry the onion, ginger and garlic in some oil for a few minutes. Add the curry paste and cook for a few more minutes. Stir in the chicken broth, coconut milk, salt, squash and shredded lime leaves. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the lime juice.

Finally, blend up the contents of the pan in a blender or a bowl with a hand mixer. Serve in colorful bowls with the garnishes.

MMM says this soup is extremely filling due to the deliciously high fat content of coconut milk, and so good you will not believe it came from your own kitchen. It also stores well in the fridge and freezer, and can be brought to work or on road trips and reheated anywhere.

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Let’s talk shark attacks. Where and when do they bite?

In the U.S., Florida reigns with a well-appointed crown above all other states, with 778 confirmed unprovoked attacks from 1837-2016, according to the International Shark Attack File. That’s more than the total number of attacks - 566 - in the other 19 states combined during the same period.

Worldwide, it’s USA all the way. The 1,352 U.S. shark attack cases logged by the ISAF for 1580-2016 were twice as many as the 607 attacks in second-place Australia. South Africa’s 250 unprovoked attacks, Brazil’s 103 attacks and New Zealand’s 50 attacks round out the global Top 5 list.

Didn’t Cape Cod have a shark attack recently?

Yes, on July 30, 2012, off Ballston Beach in Truro. Christopher Myers of Denver, Colo., was bitten by what was likely a great white shark while swimming off the beach with his son. The attack left four deep wounds in each of his legs and two severed tendons.

What about since then?

The Global Shark Attack File, which records provoked and unprovoked shark attacks back to the early 1800s, logged two other Massachusetts attacks, including the last known attack in the state in 2014 when two women were thrown from their kayaks in Plymouth when a great white shark attacked from below.

The ISAF reported a grand total of three confirmed, unprovoked shark attacks in Massachusetts since 1837; the state’s last fatal shark attack was in 1936 in Mattapoisett one year prior to the record keeping of ISAF.

Still, lightning is more likely to kill you before a shark ever does.

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Those kids are up to no good!! You find out interesting things when you have kids, like...

1.) A king size waterbed holds enough water to fill a 2000 sq. ft. house 4 inches deep.

2.) If you spray hair spray on dust bunnies and run over them with roller blades, they can ignite.

3.) A 3-year old boy's voice is louder than 200 adults in a crowded restaurant.

4.) If you hook a dog leash over a ceiling fan, the motor is not strong enough to rotate a 42 pound boy wearing Batman underwear and a Superman cape It is strong enough, however, if tied to a paint can, to spread paint on all four walls of a 20x20 ft. room.

5.) You should not throw baseballs up when the ceiling fan is on. When using a ceiling fan as a bat, you have to throw the ball up a few times before you get a hit. A ceiling fan can hit a baseball a long way.

6.) The glass in windows (even double-pane) doesn't stop a baseball hit by a ceiling fan.

7) When you hear the toilet flush and the words "uh oh", it's already too late.

8.) Brake fluid mixed with Clorox makes smoke, and lots of it.

9.) A six-year old kid can start a fire with a flint rock even though a 36-year old man says they can only do it in the movies.

10.) Certain Lego's will pass through the digestive tract of a 4- year old boy.

11.) Play dough and microwave should not be used in the same sentence.

12.) Super glue is forever.

13.) No matter how much Jell-O you put in a swimming pool you still can't walk on water.

14.) Pool filters do not like Jell-O.

15.) VCR's do not eject "PB&J" sandwiches even though TV commercials show they do.

16.) Garbage bags do not make good parachutes.

17.) Marbles in gas tanks make lots of noise when driving.

18.) You probably DO NOT want to know what that odor is.

19.) Always look in the oven before you turn it on; plastic toys do not like ovens.

20.) The fire department in Austin, Texas has a 5-minute response time.

21.) The spin cycle on the washing machine does not make earthworms dizzy.

22.) It will, however, make cats dizzy.

23.) Cats throw up twice their body weight when dizzy.

24.) 80% of women will pass this on to almost all of their friends, with or without kids.

25.) 80% of men who read this and try the brake fluid and Clorox mix.....(but, boys, it's toxic, so wear a mask)

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Another weeks letter completed ... See some of you at exercise ... George

For your own every week copy, put letter in subject line and email grucker@capecod.net

You can see some of my old letters, but with liberal Walter additions here and there

go to www.capecod-beaches.com