Friday, 24 February 2017 17:19

If It Makes You Happy

Written by John Reardon
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Hello my Foodie Friends. This coming week marks the 20 year anniversary of our relocation to Saratoga Springs New York. My wife and I began our adventure to Upstate New York as part of a corporate relocation. It is amazing to look back and see how quickly 20 years have gone by. Recently, we were reflecting upon our first weeks in this area. While Paula would travel weekly to the Rochester/ Buffalo area for work, I would often times be taking our two children to dinner after work. One particular memory was while catching a quick dinner downtown. On the music speaker at the restaurant was a song that was very popular at the time. Our daughter Aubrey, who was almost four at the time, recognized the song and with spontaneity, jumped on the table and started singing “If it makes you happy, then why the ---- are you so sad!” by Sheryl Crow. She sang with enthusiasm as if she understood what the words meant! I had to quickly cover her mouth. Paula and I remember those times of when we were basically “two ships passing in the night” making life work while we were both working in the corporate environment. The weekends were the only times we really had as a family to sit at the table and enjoy a good, home cooked meal. We both would travel for our jobs and appreciated having something home cooked. Paula often stated that cooking on the weekends made her happy. It was our true family time. How does cooking make you happy? Here are some reasons: Once you start to look at cooking the same as driving your car, working at your career, or practicing your hobby, the things you do without thought every day, you will enjoy the same benefits of cooking that make you happy. #1) Freedom – You have the freedom to cook ANY ingredients that you can find, even if you don’t exactly know what they are. You can create fantastic meals from the items on-hand and don’t have to run to the grocery store for food that the recipe commands. Make recipes from what you already have. 2) Confidence - Have the confidence to know that meals will be a winner every single time because you can repeat a standard process on a wide variety of foods. Saute’ many different ingredients, or cook one ingredient in many different ways. Confidence makes you happy. 3) Health – You can be happy because you know you are improving your health with wholesome foods that you cook yourself. Purchase nutrient rich fresh foods and you can experience more energy, more brain power, and better sleep patterns because of good food. Learn to cook fresh foods! 4) Family - Cooking is a social skill. My family is excited when we cook because they know it will be creative and interesting. We attend more parties because of our cooking skills, and can talk about food topics because we have been behind the stove and seen what happens when we apply heat. Being around friends and family with a good meal can make you very happy. 5) Money – You can save money when you cook. The meals you make at home would cost $20 a plate or more at a restaurant. Save money on the BEST ingredients by purchasing fresh from reputable stores or local farm stands. Cooking at home can save on empty calories, bad ingredients, and lots of money over convenience foods. One of Sheryl Crow’s favorite foods is sweet potato fries and at Compliments to the Chef, we stock a great French Fry cutter to make your fries quickly and straight! Life can be hectic. Planning our meals and being able to have the time to cook is not always an ideal situation. However, spending time at the dinner table discussing life events, plans, or simply in savoring your own creation can make you happy. I am not sure if the restaurant appreciated my daughter singing on their table. However, it is a story that we still laugh and talk about at the dinner table. That song remains one of our favorites! So “If it makes you Happy” then make wonderful memories together. Remember: “Life Happens in the Kitchen”. Take care: John and Paula Here is a healthy Sweet Potato French Fry recipe to bake in the oven: Ingredients • 2-3 large sweet potatoes, sliced into thin strips (use a French Fry Cutter or cut with a Chef’s Knife) • ¼ cup olive oil or melted coconut oil • Spices of choice (use: garlic, sea salt, pepper, basil, oregano, and thyme) Instructions 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 2. Put olive oil and spices in small bowl and mix well. 3. Slice sweet potatoes and put on large baking sheet (or two if you are making a lot). 4. Pour oil over the fries and toss by hand until evenly coated- this will also coat the baking sheet. 5. Bake for 25-30 minutes or more until slightly browned and tender. 6. Serve with homemade ketchup or mayo (It is a French thing!).
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