Nancy Walker's


Healthy Eating, Vibrant Living!


The first official day of fall is just around the corner, yet it seems that summer is still here!  Lots of hurricanes, tropical storms and rainy weather have been the general rule through August and September.  But summer really is ending and we are going to start seeing a shift in the available fruits and vegetables in our local grocer's.  Peach, nectarine and berry seasons are behind us and we are beginning to shift into pears, apples and all of the rich winter squashes and greens.  I always hate to see the summer abundance of sweet delicacies fade away, but I also love what the cooler seasons bring to us.  Once again, I will find myself back in the kitchen preparing roasted vegetables, fruit pies and many other baked delights that the summer months leave us too warm to even consider preparing.  Lately, I have been experimenting with a wide variety of dishes, trying to make them easier and healthier.  The best thing I have discovered is that fruit pies, without the bottom crust are just as tasty and delicious as those with a bottom crust.  I have always hated preparing crusts and never found one that passes the muster on tasty and healthy - so I decided to completely skip the crust.  Our fresh blueberry pie, apple pie and pear crumb pie are so much easier to fix without the extra step of crust preparation - and taste just as wonderful.  Actually, leaving off the bottom crust allows more of the fruits flavor to permeate my taste buds without wreaking havoc on my waistline.  So as pear season rapidly approaches, and the cooler weather sets in, get out that old pie pan and start making the best pear pie in the world. 

If you need help picking out the best pears to cook, bake with, or eat out of hand, read this article about Pears.


Plastics - are they safe?


It seems that everyday I am reading more and more about the dangers of plastics.  I am not normally an alarmist, but I have become so convinced that I have replaced all of my food storage containers, beverage holders and anything else I can think of with glass or stainless steel.  What is it about plastic that is so scary?  It is the Bisphenol A (BPA) which leaches out from our plastic containers that has me scurrying to clean out my cupboards and pantry. (For a great article on BPA click here.)  Just recently, our local paper ran another article (Orlando Sentinel Article) which shows that research is now showing that BPA is also linked to cardiovascular disease.  (This article even got my husband to make the switch - and he thought I was a little crazy when I started pitching our plastic.)  Previous research has implicated BPA in a variety of cancers and other hormone related issues.  One of the problems with BPA is that it causes health problems at much lower bloodstream levels than those normally considered toxic.  When the FDA and other scientists run tests to determine if a compound is safe for human consumption, they only look at the level of compound which would cause poisoning - but BPA causes problems at much lower levels than those considered toxic.  Although BPA is a central component in a wide variety of products that we come in to contact with daily, I have decided that I can lower my family's exposure by ridding my kitchen of plastic.  It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.  Pyrex and Anchor Hocking make some really nice glass food storage containers.  They look so pretty and stay so clean that I love them.  I also discovered that good old-fashioned mason jars make wonderful storage containers for my dried goods.  I even found some half-gallon mason jars at our local hardware store.  They have nice wide mouths, hold my beans and oats nicely and they look really cute when I store them on my counter.  Now, if I can just teach my children that glass isn't quite as forgiving as plastic when it's accidentally dropped on the tile floor- we'll be all set.         

Check out our latest Step-by-Step picture recipe on  Warm Sauteed Pears.

I now have available My Second Cookbook available. These 60 recipes are a collection of the tastiest and easiest dishes that my family enjoys everyday.  My two children - now ages 7 and 9 - are my toughest critics and food tasters and each of these recipes has earned two thumbs up from them.  I've detailed how to select and prepare the most common vegetables you will find in grocers and produce markets - everything from Asparagus to Zucchini. Read more about it and order here in either hardcopy or ebook.



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