Making the Perfect Iced Tea…Some Like It Hot — May 7, 2021

Making the Perfect Iced Tea…Some Like It Hot

Making iced tea using the hot method is great because it allows you to drink the tea right away…unlike the cold brew method.

Like anything else you could possibly make, perfect iced tea can only be made with perfect ingredients—in this case, only two ingredients—water and tea—so it’s more important than ever that your ingredients be absolutely perfect.

As far as the water, only use filtered tap water or spring water.

As far as the tea, , loose-leaf will yield a more full-bodied tea.

How much water and tea you use depends on which tea you are making…as well as how strong or weak you want your tea to turn out.

Brewing tea using the “hot method” is quick, easy and efficient….simply combine hot water with loose-leaf and tea and then let it steep before straining the tea and refrigerating to cool.

Brewing tea using the “hot method” also allows you to create more variations because you actually get to taste the tea as you are making it and adjust how much water you add and how long the tea steeps. However, brewing tea using the “hot method” will bring the bitterness and acidity of the tea…meaning that you may have to use more sugar or sweetener.


Simmer the Water

Bring half of the water to a simmer…not an actual “boil.” How hot you want your water to be will depend which type of tea you are making.

For white tea, you want your temp to reach 175–185°F…For green tea, you want your temp to reach 180­–185°F…For black tea, you want your temp to reach 200­–205°F…For herbal tea, you want your temp to reach 212°F.


Steeping the Tea

Once your water has reached the right temperature, add your loose tea or tea bags. Then let the tea steep for anywhere from four to ten minutes, depending on the desired strength.

Because your tea will become more watery as the ice melts and it cools down, you will need to steep your tea longer than you would hot tea.

If you’re making less than four cups of tea, use two tea bags or two teaspoons of loose-leaf tea for every single cup of water you are using.

If you’re making more than four cups, use eight cups of water and eight tea bags four tablespoons of loose-leaf tea.

As far as which tea to use, you want to be sure to use only high-quality tea…so choose the same quality of tea that you use to make hot tea…whether you are making black iced tea…green iced tea…herbal iced tea…or fruity iced tea.


Finishing Making Tea

Once your tea has strained for the appropriate amount of time, remove the tea bags or strain the tea. This will depend on if you’re using tea bags or loose tea.

If you are using sugar or sweetener to sweeten your tea…(which actually isn’t even a topic of debate where I’m from…if you don’t sweeten the tea, then we will not drink it)…add the sugar or sweetener while the tea is still hot.

Refrigerate until chilled. To keep your tea from turning cloudy, let the tea cool down to room temp before refrigerating.

Mango…The Why — April 29, 2021

Mango…The Why

  • Mangos are not only delicious and low in calories, but they also have contain lots of nutrients…such as vitamin K, which is important for helping your blood clot effectively, helping to prevent anemia, and helping to strengthen your bones…vitamin C, which is important for forming blood vessels, producing healthy collagen, and helping you heal…In addition,
  • One cup sliced mango provides…
  • Calories: 99
  • Protein: 1.4 grams
  • Carbs: 24.7 grams
  • Fat: 0.6 grams
  • Dietary fiber: 2.6 gram
  • Vitamin C: 67%DV
  • Copper: 20%DV
  • Folate: 18%DV
  • Vitamin B6: 11.6%DV
  • Vitamin A: 10%DV
  • Vitamin E: 9.7%DV
  • Vitamin B5: 6.5%DV
  • Vitamin K: 6%DV
  • Niacin: 7%DV
  • Potassium: 6%DV
  • Riboflavin: 5%DV
  • Manganese: 4.5%DV
  • Thiamine: 4%DV
  • Magnesium: 4%DV


Health Benefits


Mangos also provide important health benefits, such as…

CancerMangos contain many antioxidants…including polyphenols and beta-carotene, the antioxidant that is responsible for giving the mango its yellow-orange color. Antioxidants are important for fighting off any free radicals that could which potentially could lead to cancer—including leukemia and cancer of the colon, bone, lung, prostate and breast cancer. These antioxidants can also stop the growth or destroy cancer cells.

Digestive Health…Mangos contain enzymes that help break down large food molecules so that they can help stabilize your digestive system—such as helping to convert difficult starches and complex carbs into into glucose and maltose…as well as the water and dietary fiber needed to help with digestive problems—such as constipation and diarrhea. In fact, eating a mango a day keep chronic constipation away more effectively than taking a fiber supplement with the same amount of fiber.

Eye Health…Mango contains nutrients that are important for maintaining your vision…such as two very important antioxidants—lutein and zeaxanthin. Lutein and zeaxanthin are important for helping your eyes to not absorb excess light and shielding your eyes from both the sun and harmful blue light. Mangos also contain vitamin A, which is important for preventing dry eyes, nighttime blindness, and even more serious issues, such as corneal scarring.

Hair and Skin Health…Mangos contain several nutrients that are important for promoting healthy hair and skin…such as vitamin C which is important for making collagen, a protein that gives elasticity and structure to your skin and hair, gives your skin its bounce and combats sagging and wrinkles…as well as vitamin A, which encourages hair growth and the production of sebum, liquid that helps moisturize your scalp as well as protect your skin and hair from the sun…and the antioxidants called polyphenols, which help protect hair follicles against damage from oxidative stress .

Immunity…Mango contains nutrients that can boost your immune system…including vitamin A and vitamin C…both of which help your body produce more disease-fighting white blood cells, help these cells work more effectively.

Mango…The What — April 27, 2021

Mango…The What

tropical fruits composition on pink background

In some parts of the world, mango is called the “king of fruits.”

In the last three months I have learned perhaps why.

You see, I cut my hand mid-January and have had two surgeries to reattach the tendons in my left ring finger…all because I tried to pit the mango with a wine glass and the wine glass broke.


What Really Is a Mango?


Mangoes are a drupe, or stone fruit, which means that it has a large seed in the middle.


Where are Mangos Grown?


Mangoes grow on  evergreen trees that are native to India and Southeast Asia…where they have been cultivated for thousands of years.

Today mangoes are commercially grown in countries with the right climate…including Brazil, Spain, Bermuda, the West Indies, and Mexico.

Almost half of the world’s mangoes are cultivated in India alone.

In fact, India has declared mango as its “official national”..(by the way, the United States does not have a national fruit).

Here in the United States, they are grown in South Florida and the California, and Hawaii.


The Which


There are hundreds of types of mango varieties out there…each with a unique taste, shape, size, sweetness, skin eating quality, color, and flesh color—the flesh can range from pale yellow, gold, or orange…the shape can be round, oval, or kidney-shaped…the size can range anywhere from two to ten inches long…the weight can vary anywhere from five ounces to five pounds…the color of the skin can be green to yellow, yellow-orange, yellow-red, or blushed with various shades of red, purple, pink or yellow when fully ripe…the texture of the fruit can be soft, pulpy, juicy texture similar to an overripe plum or much firmer texture, like an avocado or cantaloupe.

BBQ Jackfruit…”Their” Way and Mine — April 19, 2021

BBQ Jackfruit…”Their” Way and Mine

I grew up in the deepest part of the Deep South…a place known for its good cooking, love for fried food, ability to prepare and eat almost any carnivorous thing that happens to cross our driveway(?!), a high propensity for eventually developing type 2 diabetes, and the list could go on and on and on…

Where I’m from there’s no questioning if you “might be a redneck or not”…even the lawyers and doctors in my hometown wove their redneck flags with pride…just wearing better quality and more expensive clothes than most of their other counterparts.

So I shoulda known that eventually the dreaded d-word “diabetes” would enter our daily planet. 

And I also shoulda know that changing a lifetime of bad eating habits and poor diet choices was not gonna take place overnight. I mean there are certain things that a redneck girl just can’t give up too willingly—such as barbecue pulled pork sandwiches.

Growing up two hours south of Memphis, I must have eaten BBQ pulled pork or chicken at least once a week…loved it then…love it now…and probably couldn’t imagine life without it.

So living without my BBQ pulled pork or chicken was not even an option.

When we first received the official stamp across our doorpost reading “diabetic family,” I switched from the family meal section of my emeals meal planning subscription to the vegetarian section.

One of the first meals that I made when we ventured into vegetarian or plant-based or whatever-else-you-wanna-call it eating was BBQ jackfruit.

I had never heard of jackfruit, but it was on the menu…so it was now on my grocery list…and in my grocery cart…and in my freezer…and on my list of meals to cook for that week.

I kinda dreaded pulling the package out of the freezer to make the meal that first day that I tried it. I am from the Deep South. Leave my perfectly awesome pulled meat world alone.

That perfectly awesome pulled meat world that can find pulled meat topping anything from tortillas, buns, taco shell, wrap, whatever…maybe a baked potato…heck, where I’m from we could all probably eat bbq pulled pork three meals a day, every single day of the week and never get tired of it….kinda like Elf and his maple syrup.

But out of a sense of obligation, I prepped the BBQ whatever-the-heck-jackfruit-is stuff…

And I liked it…and my husband liked it…and my kids liked it…and even my brother Sam liked it.

Honestly, there are times when the crockpot full of bbq pulled pork or chicken just waiting to be plopped onto a bun with some coleslaw and served with baked beans and potato salad and sweet iced tea just keeps calling out my name…to me, this is the ultimate comfort food…

From now I save that meal for special occassions…

And on a more “regular” basis, I am quite content to go with the flow and settle for bbq jackfruit instead.


BBQ Jackfruit

  • 2@14 oz cans green/unripe jackfruit packed in water
  • 2tsp olive oil
  • 1/3C chopped onion
  • 2 minced cloves garlic
  • 1Tbsp paprika
  • 1Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2tsp chili powder
  • 1/2tsp onion powder
  • 1/2tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4tsp salt
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/4C BBQ sauce
  • Drain jackfruit. Shred the pieces apart hand. Heat 1Tbsp oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook 5min. Stir together paprika, brown sugar, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder and salt in a small bowl. Add shredded jackfruit and spices to the skillet. Turn heat to low. Add BBQ sauce. Stir well so that all the jackfruit gets covered in the barbecue sauce. Cook for about five minutes.
  • Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week. Freezing the BBQ jackfruit will change its overall texture…so I wouldn’t recommend freezing it yourself…just grab some the next time you place your grocery order or stroll through the frozen food aisles.


Their Way

Black Beans

Even though we’re originally from Mississippi, my husband was active duty Army until he retired…so we have lived four different places in the last thirty-four years—Frankfurt, Germany…Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri…Fort Jackson, South Carolina…Fort Polk, Louisiana…and Dallas-Fort Worth, actually Arlington.

We have actually lived in the DFW area since 1992…and one thing I have learned—Texas is very different from the Deep South, states like Alabama and Mississippi.

And people here in Texas thing barbecue totally different from us…

The first time that I was invited to eat barbecue when we moved here, I was seriously disappointed to find that actually meant dried-out brisket…thankfully I’ve had much better barbecue here since…or have at least gotten used to brisket and acquired a taste for Tex-Mex food…as opposed to pulled pork barbecue sandwiches with coleslaw and potato salad and coleslaw…

Black Beans

1-1/2Tbsp olive oil

2 garlic cloves

1/2tsp paprika

1tsp cumin

14oz can drained and rinsed black beans


Put everything in saucepan. Heat…(kinda obvious, right?!)



4 medium avocados, scooped out and roughly chopped

1/2 small onion, diced

1/4tsp salt

2Tbsp lime juice

1 garlic clove

1/2 medium white onion, minced

cilantro and/or chives, optional

The key to making great guacamole is choosing the perfect avocados…avocados that are at that perfect stage of ripeness for making truly great guacamole. The avocados that you use to make your guacamole should have “give” all across its surface…in simple terms, should be mashable…

Just like using butter that has set out on the counter to reach room temperature before baking instead of simply using butter straight out of the fridge can make a huge difference in baking…choosing the right smooshability of avocados is important in making the perfect guacamole.

You also want to avoid any avocados that are past their prime. You can tell if this is the case by looking at how dark the skin has become. Trust me, there’s no telling how many overripe avocados I’ve reluctantly had to throw away.

But hey, I did learn a new fact today…I’ve always known to store them in a dark place or even in a paper bag to ripen them more quickly, but I’m gonna now start keeping mine in the fridge so that when my weekly supply of avocados arrives they will ripen less quickly. Just make sure that you set them out of the fridge and let them reach room temp before starting to make your guacamole.

  • Scoop the pit out of the avocado…Just be careful if you try to do this using the method I found on youtube where you pit the avocado using a tumbler or glass…My recent attempt at doing this ended up in two surgeries and lots of unpaid medical bills. Anyway, after you pit your avocados, use a potato masher or fork to mash them up until a few chunks still remain but most of the avocado is smooth—probably goes without saying, we’ve all eaten guac before, right?!
  • Once you finish smooshing up your avocado, add the onion and salt. Then drizzle lime juice over the top surface of the guacamole to prevent it from browning…waiting to stir the lime juice into the guac right before serving.

  • **************
  • Pico de gallo
  • 4 large Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 1/2 diced red onion
  • 1/4C finely chopped coriander
  • 1 can diced green chilies
  • 2Tbsp lime juice
  • Put tomatoes in a colander set over a bowl. Sprinkle with salt. Let sit there draining like this for at least twenty minutes. This will allow any excess moisture to drain out. When you are ready to finish making your meal, gently press the tomatoes to squeeze out even more juice. Combine the tomatoes, onion, coriander, chili and lime juice.


Our Way


  • 1 head cabbage, finely shredded
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 2Tbsp finely chopped onion
  • ½C mayonnaise 
  • ⅓C white sugar 
  • ¼C milk
  • ¼C buttermilk
  • 2Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2Tbsp vinegar
  • ½tsp salt
  • ⅛tsp pepper 
  • Mix cabbage, carrots, and onion in a large salad bowl. Whisk mayonnaise, sugar, milk, buttermilk, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and black pepper in a separate bowl until smooth and the sugar has dissolved. Pour dressing over cabbage mixture and mix thoroughly. Cover bowl and refrigerate slaw at least 2 hours (the longer the better). Mix again before serving.


Jackfruit…The Which — April 15, 2021

Jackfruit…The Which

Jackfruit can be found fresh, canned, or frozen in many specialty supermarkets and Asian food stores.


Fresh Jackfruit

Fresh jackfruit can be purchased at Asian food markets and specialty stores…where it’s typically sold by the pound, The typical jackfruit will weigh somewhere between ten and twenty-five pounds.

The smell of a jackfruit indicates its ripeness: The stronger the jackfruit smells, the riper the jackfruit is.

Fresh jackfruit can often be hard to find when it is not in season, but can be useful at any stage of ripeness.


Unripe Jackfruit..

Unripe jackfruit is green and will become yellow as it ripens. This unripe, green jackfruit is what most of us will find the most interesting and useful because it has a texture very similar to chicken or pulled pork, making it an excellent meat substitute—in such savory dishes as curries, pies, tacos, soups, stir-fries, chili, stews, wraps, and burritos.

Honestly, I’m not sure that I’d ever go to the trouble of buying a whole jackfruit and processing it myself…it seems like a big pain in the butt.


If you’re willing to try it and let me know just how easy or difficult it is, go for it. I just had surgery on my hand and will be content to buy either the pre-packaged and pre-seasoned jackfruit chunks that are found in the freezer or the canned stuff…both already packaged to have that look and texture of meat that makes it such a great meat substitute.

If you do go all out and buy the real deal, first you have to cut through the thick, green coral reef-like skin with a sharp serrated knife. Chilling the jackfruit in the fridge for a while before breaking into it will make this easier to do.

Once you’ve dug your way into the jackfruit, you will find a creamy white interior filled with large, pale yellow seed-containing bulbs that are connected to the fruit’s core.

Keep slicing until you have large chunks of fruit (leaving the skin on).

Before you can use the fresh jackfruit in recipes, you will need to boil the jackfruit chunks for about 45 minutes…until the inner flesh is soft and a bit stringy, like chicken. You could also do this in your pressure cooker.

If you are working with a fresh, unripe jackfruit, first cut the fruit in half. Next remove the yellow fruit pods and seeds from the skin and core with either a knife or your hands. The white, fibrous parts inside of the jackfruit will be very sticky, so you probably should wear gloves while doing this.

You will need to boil the jackfruit chunks for at least thirty minutes…until the flesh becomes soft and stringy…the same texture as pulled pork or chicken….before you can use the jackfruit in any of the recipes that I will sharing in the next few posts..(more on this later)…


Ripe Jackfruit

Ripe jackfruit has a rather neutral flavor that will absorb the flavor of whatever other foods it is cooked with, much like a potato. Fresh, ripe jackfruit can be eaten on its own, added to yogurt or oatmeal. or used to make a wide range of recipes—including desserts.

Often stores will sell packages of precut jackfruit because the entire jackfruit itself can be so big. Always choose this instead of buying a whole one and going to the trouble of cutting it yourself…will save you time, money, and effort in the long run.

Regardless what form of jackfruit you buy, always avoid fruit with black or dark spots.

If you buy green jackfruit, you need to go ahead and use it while it still is green…or process and freeze it as soon as possible.

Cut, ripened jackfruit can be stored in plastic in the fridge for up to a one week or in the freezer for up to a month.


Jackfruit Seeds

You can also roast or boil the jackfruit seeds and then combine with seasonings to be eaten whole…or can be used to make hummus, top a salad, make a smoothie, or grind into flour.


Canned Jackfruit

Canned jackfruit will be packed in either a brine or a syrup. Always choose jackfruit packed in brine because this will be better for making savory dishes.

Also check to make sure that the labels includes the words “green,” “young,” or “tender” if you plan on using the jackfruit as a meat substitute..


Jackfruit Products

These days it seems like more and more foods containing jackfruit are sprouting up at your local Whole Foods, Sprouts, and the health-food section of just about any traditional grocery store. Try them. You might find yourself as pleasantly surprised as I was as to how great these products can be.

Jackfruit…The Why — April 13, 2021

Jackfruit…The Why

Jackfruit in bowl

Jackfruit has an impressive nutrition profile…containing nearly every vitamin and mineral that is recommended for healthy diets…including significant amounts of vitamins A and C…as well as the minerals potassium, riboflavin, and manganese…and the antioxidants.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, one cup of raw, sliced jackfruit contains…

Calories…157…Half of a cup of jackfruit contains 95 calories.

Protein…2.84 grams……the edible pulp of a jackfruit contains almost three grams of protein…way more than the typical zero to one grams in apples and mangoes.

Fat...Jackfruit contains only a small amount of fat…1.06 grams.

Carbs…38.36 grams..Approximately 92% of the calories come from carbs.

Fiber...2.5 grams

Sugars…31.48 grams


Jackfruit and Vitamins

A food is considered a “rich source” of a particular vitamin or mineral if it contains 20% or more of the Daily Value, DV, of that particular vitamin or mineral.

Vitamin B1…9%DV….105mg

Vitamin B2…Riboflavin…5%…0.055mg

Vitamin B6…25%DV

Vitamin C…22.6 mg…18% RDI


Jackfruit and Minerals

  • Copper: 15% of the RDI
  • Riboflavin: 11% of the RDI
  • Potassium……739mg…14% of the RDI
  • Magnesium…15%RDI…48mg
  • Manganese: 16% of the RDI


Jackfruit and Antioxidants

Jackfruit is a good source of antioxidants, including carotenoids—which have been shown to help lower inflammation and reduce the risk of various chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease…and flavanones—which contain anti-inflammatory properties that may help lower blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels — important factors in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.


Health Benefits

Blood Pressure…The potassium found in jackfruit can help lower your blood pressure by counteracting the effects of sodium and reducing tension in the walls of blood vessels.

Cancer…Jackfruit contains antioxidants that help prevent the oxidative stress caused by free radicals that could lead to several chronic diseases, including cancer.

Cholesterol Levels…Eating jackfruit seeds may help reduce levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, or “bad” cholesterol, that can cause a waxy deposit to build up along the inner walls of your arteries…resulting in restricted blood flow, high blood pressure, and increased risk of heart attack or stroke…as well as raise levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, or “good” cholesterol, that helps remove LDL cholesterol from blood vessels and send it back to the liver.

Diabetes…Jackfruit has a fairly low glycemic index (GI), meaning that your blood sugar will not spike quickly after you eat it. Jackfruit also contains flavonoid antioxidants that have been shown to help balance your blood sugar levels and keep your pancreas healthy, which is important because the pancreas is what organ actually produces insulin.

Digestive health…Jackfruit is a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber…as well as the prebiotics needed to help support the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut.

Heart Health…The potassium, fiber and antioxidants found in jackfruit may lower your risk of heart disease.

Immune System…The vitamin A and C content of jackfruit may help prevent illnesses and reduce the risk of viral infections.

Skin and Bones…Jackfruit is a good source of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that all already know is good for maintaining a healthy immune system. Vitamin C is also needed in order for your body to produce collagen, a protein so very important for maintaining healthy skin, bones, connective tissues, blood vessels and cartilage….and for healing wounds. Not only that, jackfruit has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal properties.

Guava, Guava Do — March 29, 2021

Guava, Guava Do

Next on our walk through the produce aisle…more specifically the fruit section…even more specifcally the tropical fruits..we move on to the guava.



Guava are native to Mexico, Central America and the northern parts of South America. In fact, archaeological sites in Peru have shown that guavas were cultivated as early as 2500 BC.

Today, India is the one country that produces the most guava per year—about 17,650,000 metric tons of guava per year…followed by China, producing 4,366,300 metric tons.

Guava are oval in shape with rough, light green or yellow-colored skin…measuring anywhere from one to five inches long. The flesh can range from off-white to deep pink, depending on the species…species also indicates whether the guava will be bitter taste or soft and sweet.

Guava trees are small trees that belong to the myrtle family…have tough dark leaves that measure two to six inches long and white flowers.




Nutritional Value

Guavas are low in calories…loaded with fiber, antioxidants and potassium, Not only that, one guava contains 90 mg…100%DV vitamin C.





Health Benefits

Blood Sugar Levels…Guava can improve blood sugar levels, long-term blood sugar control, and insulin resistance….which makes it great for diabetics or those at risk of developing diabetes. Drinking guava leaf tea can lower blood sugar levels by more than 10% for up to two hours after that meal.


Cancer…The high levels of antioxidants in guava may help prevent the development and growth of cancer cells.


Digestive System…One guava provides 12%DV fiber…meaning that  eating more guavas may aid healthy bowel movements and prevent constipation….as well as reduciong the intensity and duration of diarrhea.


Heart…guavas may help protect your heart and even improve heart health.because of the high levels of potassium fiber, antioxidants and vitamins found in guava leaves. Many people use guava leaf extract to help lower blood pressure and “bad” LDL cholesterol levels…and increase “good” HDL cholesterol…each of which increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Eating ripe guava before meals can lower your blood pressure by 8–9 points…lower your total cholesterol by 9.9%…and increase “good” HDL cholesterol by 8%.



Immune System…Guavas are one of the richest food sources of vitamin C. In fact, one guava provides about twice the RDI for vitamin C…twice as much as that found in one orange. Vitamin C plays an important role in maintaining a healthy immune system..reducing a cold’s duration…helping to kill off bad bacteria and viruses that can lead to illness and infections.



PMS…Taking 6mg guava leaf extract daily may help reduce symptoms of painful menstruation, including cramps.



Skin…The wide range of vitamins and antioxidants packed into a guava may protect your skin from damage… slowing down its aging process and helping to prevent wrinkles. Guava leaf extract has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that make it effective at killing acne-causing bacteria.



Weight Loss…Guavas are a filling, low-calorie snack…with only 37 calories…12%DV fiber…and lots of important nutrients….meaning that they may help you feel full and help you lose weight.

Durian Durian — March 22, 2021

Durian Durian

Another “exotic” fruit that I’ve yet to try on our journey to the top of the Raw Foods Pyramid is the durian…considered by some to be “king of fruits” because of its appearance and overpowering odor.

Durian, just like ambrosia, is a topic of debate for many reasons.

Suppoasedly the fruit seems at first to smell like rotten onions, but immediately you prefer it to all other food once you’ve tasted it.






Availability…Durian can be found in Asian markets in the United States.

Odor…Durian  have a strong  odor….some considering it to have a pleasantly sweet fragrance…while others find the aroma very unpleasant odor—described as being similar to rotten onions, turpentine, pig manure, gym socks,. stale vomit, raw sewage, or skunk spray….and can be smelled from yards away.

In fact, the odor from a durian fruit lingers for several days and has even been banned from certain hotels, subways, airports, and other public transportation services in Southeast Asia  for this reason.

(That makes us all wanna go out and buy one ASAP, right?!)

Price…Prices of durians are relatively high compared with other fruits…typically ranging from $8 to $15 per fruit.

Rind…These oblong or round fruits range in color from green to brown…with pale yellow to red flesh, depending on the species…and have a thorn-covered rind.

Season…The durian is a seasonal fruit…typically available from June to August.

Size,,,The fruit can grow up to a foot long and six inches around…and typically weigh two to seven pounds. The flesh only accounts for about a fourth of the mass of the entire fruit.

Source…Thailand is ranked the world’s number one exporter of durian, producing around 700,000 tons of durian per year…400,000 tons of which are exported to mainland China and Hong Kong. Other countries that are major producers of the durian fruit are Malaysia and Indonesia. The fruit is extremely popular and loved by many in Southeast Asia.

Taste…To those who actually like this fruit, it supposedly tastes like almonds and has a custard-like texture…a uniquely tender and creamy texture…and is not acidic, overly sweet, or overly juicy.





Nutritional Value

Calories 615 kJ (147 kcal)
Carbohydrates 27.09 g
Dietary fibre 3.8 g
Fat 5.33 g
Protein 1.47 g
Vitamins Quantity%DV
Vitamin A 44 IU
Thiamine (B1) 33% 0.374 mg
Riboflavin (B2) 17% 0.2 mg
Niacin (B3) 7% 1.074 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5) 5% 0.23 mg
Vitamin B6 24% 0.316 mg
Folate (B9) 9% 36 μg
Vitamin C 24% 19.7 mg
Minerals Quantity%DV
Calcium 1% 6 mg
Copper 10% 0.207 mg
Iron 3% 0.43 mg
Magnesium 8% 30 mg
Manganese 15% 0.325 mg
Phosphorus 6% 39 mg
Potassium 9% 436 mg
Sodium 0% 2 mg
Zinc 3% 0.28 mg
Other constituents Quantity
Water 65 g
Link to Full Report from the USDA National Nutrient Database
Units μg = micrograms • mg = milligrams IU = International units
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.






Durian can be used to make both sweet and savory dishes…sweet as in candy, ice cream,milkshakes, cappucino, candy, honey, cakes…savory as in soup, rice dishes, curry, fish.





The How

Finding durian…Durian can be found in many Asian grocery stores.

Choosing…Look for light-colored spikes without any dark brown patches or bits of white between the spikes. Shake the durian to make sure that it doesn’t rattles. If it does rattle, the durian is is no longer good to eat. Avoid fruit with dry, shriveled stems.

Dealing with the odor…First run hot water through the durian skin to help remove the smell, Otherwise your hands will smell like durian for the rest of the day.

Cutting the fruit…Place the durian stem side down on a clean cutting surface. Use a large, sharp knife, to make a three inch cut through the thick skin on the top of the durian. Pull back the skin with your other hand as you cut..

Now lay the two halves down on the cutting board and remove the large “pods” of the fruit, using a spoon or your hands, Remove the large, inedible seeds.

Be careful handling the fruit. Its spikes can poke you.

Storing…Set the durians on the counter for a couple of days…or in the fridge wrapped in paper or plasticif you want to make them ripen less quickly. But be warned…if you do store them in the fridge, they will make your fridge (and everything in it stink.

Cooked durian will last a few days in the refrigerator in an airtight container….or in the freezer for up to three months.

Making the Perfect Ambrosia—The Familiar Heavenly Salad Now Made Healthy — March 15, 2021

Making the Perfect Ambrosia—The Familiar Heavenly Salad Now Made Healthy


Ambrosia…the “stuff” on the table on the holiday of every single home in the Deep South where I’m from and that that contained whatever your Mom and grandmother could possibly find to put in it—such as canned sweetened pinrapple, canned Mandarin orange slices, , gooey mini marshmallows, coconut, sugar-soaked maraschino cherriesbananasstrawberries, peeled grapes, and crushed pecans, fruit cocktail…all smothered in some other sort of thick, creamy binder probably processed food—such as mayonnaise, Cool Whip, heavy cream sour creamcream cheesepuddingyogurt, or cottage cheese….and then refrigerated for a few hours or even overnight to allow the flavors to meld.

What a waste of fresh produce perhaps…..not to mention an early introduction to processed foods.

Definitely not a food on the table that an ancient Greek god of mythology would have put on his plate without his mother making him do it.

While there is really no real consensus on what ambrosia should contain, ambrosia drums up memories from the past—either can be a cheap, sensory blast from the past…or a wistful nostalgia for their grandparents’ old recipes.

And there are various questions that you could ask yourself, such as…

  • Is it a dessert or a salad?
  • Should one use coconut or not?
  • What about marshmallows or whipped cream?
  • What variety of fruit should it have?
  • How did it come to exist at all?
  • Why did it become a Southern Christmas tradition?
  • And probably most importantly, how do we keep ambrosia from being a sugar-laden conglomeration of processed foods and sugar?


Ambrosia and the 1800’s

It’s hard to imagine a time when something as simple as layers of sliced oranges, grated coconut, and a touch of sugar could so delight diners.

Perhaps the first recipe for ambrosia was found in the 1867 cookbook Dixie Cookery: or How I Managed My Table for Twelve Years, written by Maria Massey Barringer.

Her recipe for ambrosia is a simple three-ingredient dish…”Grate the white part of the cocoanut [sic], sweeten with a little sugar, and place in a glass bowl, in alternate layers with pulped oranges, having a layer of cocoanut on top. Serve in ice-cream plates or saucers.”.

People soon began “twanking” the recipe to include anything from sliced pineapple, a little sherry or Madeira, bananas, pineapple, strawberries, orange or lemon juice, cherries, dates, papayas, peaches, and pears.

Recipes for ambrosia were soon found in cooking and household columns of newspapers everywhere. 

The fact that ambrosia became closely associated with Christmas in the South at this time perfectly makes sense for several reasons…

  • Coconuts became more available around the same time, thanks to the newly completed railroads linking the West Coast with the east.
  • Florida orange season began in the late fall, so in December fresh oranges would have just become available in the markets.
  • The sheer novelty of formerly exotic foods was enough to make such a dish special.


The Making of a Southern Tradition

Even though most cooks continued to use this basic recipe—orange, coconut and sugar—for making ambrosia, many cooks started adding more modern and sweeter components—especially marshmallows.

Although Ancient Egyptians had used marshmallow plants…an herb native to parts of Europe, North Africa, and Asia which grows in marshes and other damp areas…back as early as 2000 BC…surprisingly, they used the marshmallow for medicinal purposes—such as soothing coughs and sore throats and healing wounds.

Eating marshmallows was a privilege strictly reserved for royalty…and the manufacture of marshmallows was limited.

But In the early to mid-1800s, France confectioners began pressing the marshmallow sap in candy molds and marketing this candy as “Pâte de Guimauve”…a spongy-soft dessert made from whipping dried marshmallow roots with sugar, water, and egg whites.

Even so making marshmallows from the sap od the mallow plant was too time-consuming for marshmallows to be affordable to be enjoyed by the average Joe.

But thanks to companies such as Stephen F. Whitman & Son of Philadelphia, marshmallows were introduced to the United States and available for mass consumption…sold in tins as penny candy…and used in a variety of recipes—such as banana fluff.

The Whitman company introduced what most of us refer to as “marshmallow cream” around World War I,

So at this time, the late 1920s to 1930s, people began publishing recipes containing this marshmallow cream all across the country—especially recipes for ambrosia, salads that included oranges, bananas, pineapple, strawberries, along with grated coconut and some orange and lemon juice poured over the top…

Ambrosia soon became associated with holidays around the South…the one dish that no Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner “required.”



The 1970s and 1980s

Back when I was growing up…ambrosia basically was a term used to describe any fruit salad smothered in something so that the fruit was unrecognizable…anything from expansive fruit salad with lots of citrus and non-citrus fruits tossed with coconut…strange, bright orange concoctions made with flavored gelatin, canned whipped cream, and plenty of marshmallows…traditional mixtures of fresh sliced oranges, grated coconut, and a sprinkling of sugar….a bag of sweetened shredded coconut and supremed orange sections, occasionally with a few Maraschino cherries and some little marshmallows for visual interest.

And including a variety of ingredients.

  • Fruits such as cherries, dates, papayas, peaches, pears…
  • Smothering stuff such as mayo, sour cream, marshmallow cream, Coo. Whip, cream cheese…
  • Flavorings such as rum, grenadine, almonds…


The Recipe

Obviously you can still make ambrosia out of pretty much anything you darn well want to, but the goal is to make it fresher and to cut back on processed foods…

But here’s a recipe that is a good jumping off point for making heavenly ambrosia…


  • 2 cherimoya, peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 6 navel oranges
  • 1 pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into cubes
  • 1C fresh shredded coconut
  • 1 large banana
  • 4.5oz maraschino cherries, drained well (optional)
  • 1C mini marshmallows
  • ½C pineapple juice
  • 1C vanilla Greek yogurt


  • Toss all of the fruit together in a bowl.
  • Let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Stir together juice and yogurt.
  • Add to the fruit.
  • Mix gently until combined.
  • Refrigerate anywhere from thirty minutes to a day or two, but the longer it sits in the fridge, the smooshier the  salad will become…which explains why most of us remember ambrosia as the smooshy gross stuff that we all avoided on the Chr1istmas buffet back home when we were little.

Making Perfectly Deliciously and Perfectly Healthy Coconut Cookies — March 7, 2021

Making Perfectly Deliciously and Perfectly Healthy Coconut Cookies

The perfect coconut oatmeal breakfast cookies are perfectly delicious, perfectly healthy, and the perfect way to start a perfect day.

Did I use the words “healthy” and “cookies” in the same sentence?

Actually, yes I did.


Because these coconut breakfast cookies are vegan, gluten-free, and paleo-friendly.

Perfectly delicious because they are perfectly moist and che`wy on the outside…perfectly crisp on the outside with perfectly crisp edges…and bursting with the perfect amount of coconut f1lavor.


Dry Ingredients

  • ¼C + 2Tbsp rolled oats
  • ¼C flour—coconut flour, almond flour, regular flour, almond flour
  • ½tsp cinnamon
  • ¼tsp baking powder
  • ¼tsp baking soda
  • ¼tsp salt
  • 2Tbsp coconut sugar, maple syrup, organic cane sugar or organic brown sugar…or 2Tbsp granulated stevia…or ½C pure maple syrup


Wet Ingredients

  • 8oz coconut oil or vegan butter
  • 1 flax egg or four medium eggs….
  • 1tsp. vanilla


The Coconut…½C unsweetened coconut flakes

Make sure to use large coconut chips or flakes…Using large coconut flakes or chips will ensure that your cookies spread out and flatten like regular cookies…instead of ending up looking like macaroons.


Add-in Ingredient

Feel free to customize these cookies to your liking ny adding whatever else you want—such as finely-chopped nuts, seeds, raisins, dried fruit. sugar-free chocolate chips, and so on and so forth.


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or greased foil. Set aside. Whisk together all of the dry ingredients. Whisk all of the wet ingredients in a second bowl until smooth. Pour the wet mixture over the dry mixture. Cream together until light and fluffy. Fold in coconut and any other add-in Ingredients.

Scoop 2Tbsp-sized firmly-packed dough balls onto prepared cookie sheet. Press down with your palm into a cookie shape.  Bake for about 15 minutes, until golden brown around the edges and slightly golden on top.