Monthly Archives: June 2016

Here Comes Shark Week: Your Fears can be Delicious

shark-surfThere’s a commonly held belief…rule, really… held by surfers that one should never eat shark.  It’s a karma kinda thing…why tempt fate by eating what might someday eat you out there on the waves.

However, the vast majority of us do not surf, therefore, we are in no way bound by the surfing rule regarding sharks.  And since the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week is upon us once again, we thought this week would be the perfect time to confront your fear of the ocean’s greatest predator head on…with your teeth, in fact.

So, as you violate Bruce’s (the great white from Finding Nemo) rule of “Fish are friends, not food,” there is one important rule that we would like you to follow.  And that rule is when you’re in search of the shark for your Shark Week viewing party, ensure that it’s a sustainable species as the horrible practices of shark finning and factory fishing have decimated many species of sharks.

makoThe Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program recommends the spiny dogfish shark from California, Oregon or Washington or the common thresher or smallfin mako sharks from California or Hawaii.

If you’ve never eaten shark, most find it lean, mild and meaty.  It tends to be denser than tuna or swordfish and doesn’t flake as easily.  Most recipes call for the meat to be marinated prior to cooking to add some flavor, tenderness and to prevent dryness.  As one might expect, steak is the most common and easiest way to prepare shark.  So we thought we’d give you two variations on this method: shark tacos and shark kabobs.

Shark Tacos

 Marinade

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. ground turmeric
  • ½ tbsp. crushed mustard seed
  • ½ tbsp. minced ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 1-2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
  • Cracked black pepper and sea salt
  • 1 lb. shark steaks, 1 inch thick
  • 8 flour tortillas
  • 1 cup finely shredded cabbage tossed with 1 tbsp. chopped cilantro and a pinch of sea salt
  • Tomatillo salsa (either prepared or purchased)
  • sriracha

Mix the marinade ingredients together in a shallow bowl, sprinkle steaks with sea salt and marinade for 20 minutes.
Grill, broil, or pan fry the shark steaks until they flake easily with a fork, usually 5-6 minutes for each side.  Roughly flake steaks with a fork.

To serve: placed flaked shark meat in warm tortillas and top with cabbage, chilled salsa and sriracha.

Shark Kebabs

Marinade

  • ½ cup rice wine
  • Lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • 3 tbsp. peanut oil
  • ½ cup dry sherry
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 ½ lbs. shark steaks cut into 1 x 1 inch squares.
  • Large mushrooms
  • Onion wedges
  • Red and yellow pepper wedges
  • Bamboo skewers

shark-kebabsMix marinade ingredients in a bowl large enough to hold shark meat and allow to marinade for two hours in refrigerator.

Alternate meat, onions, mushrooms and peppers on kabob skewers and grill or broil 10-15 minutes while marinating liberally and often with remaining marinade sauce while rotating a quarter turn every 3 minutes or so.  Shark meat should fake easily with fork when fully cooked.

Kabobs can be served on a bed of rice of your choosing.

Tbruce-sharkhus you can see, there’s no need to get a bigger boat, fish CAN be food rather than friends, and unless you plan on carving up a wave any time soon you can certainly enjoy some shark without the fear of the roles being reversed.  So fire up the grill and enjoy!

facebooktwitterpinterest

Why Isn’t Dad Eating? Senior’s Changing Nutritional Needs

elderly-handsIt is estimated that there are over 3.7 million malnourished seniors living in the United States at the current time and even more with various vitamin deficiencies. The reasons for this are varied and range from loss of appetite due to medications to depression to dental issues.

Whatever the cause, not eating properly as we age can become more serious due to the changing nutritional needs of seniors. Thus, determining exactly why the seniors in your life aren’t eating properly as well as knowing what they SHOULD be eating can go a long way to getting them back on the road to proper nutrition.

lemon-herbsAs we age, we suffer from (among other things) appetite loss due to diminished taste buds and sense of smell. Add to those two causes the side effect of loss of appetite from medication and it’s easy to understand why some seniors have lost the interest they once possessed in food.  One way to combat this is cooking with lemon juice, vinegar and different herbs rather than butter and/or salt. These tastes will often be discerned where more subtle ones won’t.

depressed-senior-manSome seniors tire of cooking for one and eating alone and, therefore, do less of it. Depression, especially after the loss of a loved one, can also cause many seniors to eat less. Finally, dental issues, such as tooth loss and the pain associated with it or ill-fitting dentures can be the reason some seniors avoid eating certain foods.

Now, once you’ve figured out why the senior(s) in your life aren’t eating the way they should, the next task is to determine what they need to be consuming to meet their unique nutritional needs. Generally speaking, a proper diet can aid in preventing or treating heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, osteoporosis, constipation and certain forms of cancer.

Essentially, just about everything seniors eat should provide some nutritional value…no empty calories! Of course we all immediately think of fruits and veggies, but there’s one simple rule to remember: when it comes to fruits and veggies think “color.” Yes, color. There’s a reason they come in a variety of hues. Their color is derived from the fact that they’re packed with a variety of vitamins and antioxidants. So don’t just think leafy greens, think yellow peppers, orange carrots, red raspberries, blueberries, red apples, white asparagus, and blackberries. It’s a simple way to ensure seniors get a variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

hippocrates

Lean Roast Turkey from MagicKitchen.com
Lean Roast Turkey from MagicKitchen.com

Also, seniors need plenty of lean protein, vitamin D and calcium from varied sources such as seafood, poultry, legumes, nuts and fat-free or reduced fat dairy, while avoiding red meats and fried foods. They also require plenty of whole grains (think quinoa, brown rice, popcorn) and fiber (which can be derived from fruits and veggies) and they should stay away from trans and saturated fats as well as sodium. Just remember, when it comes to eating, food consumed by seniors should provide nutritional value. If it doesn’t, they shouldn’t eat it. (Although an occasional piece of dark chocolate wouldn’t go amiss.)

MagicKitchen.com provides Senior Meal Plans and individual senior meals, so if you’re worried about your older parents eating right, visit us.  Order a la carte or see our complete meals. Either one provides good nutrition and great taste, wrapped up in a convenient package.

facebooktwitterpinterest

Eating Well on a Special Diet

MagicKitchen.com: An Alternative to Meals on Wheels

Portion Control meals
Honey Mustard Chicken, one of our meals

Let’s begin this post by stating, unequivocally, that Meals on Wheels is a terrific program that has looked out for the nutritional, safety and companionship needs of seniors for decades. Their tireless volunteers ensure that eligible seniors receive at least one hot, nutritious meal a day delivered to their home or senior center. They also spend time with the seniors they deliver to and provide much needed safety checks. For millions of seniors, Meals on Wheels has been more than just a meal delivery service. However, despite their best efforts, Meals on Wheels does have some limitations and might not be the ideal meal delivery program for everyone.

Healthy Frozen Meals
Spinach Mushroom Lasagna with Green Beans

Several of those limitations include eligibility, lack of availability in certain areas, and limited meal choices. Generally speaking, Meals on Wheels is designed for those seniors who, for various reasons, cannot prepare their own meals and do not have a caretaker to assist them with that task. Due to limited resources, such as money and volunteers, Meals on Wheels must make the above a requirement for eligibility. But at MagicKitchen.com we have no such requirement. You can simply avail yourself of our services because you would like a break from preparing meals, or are tired of the post-meal clean up, or like the convenience of having delicious and nutritious meals delivered to your door. The reasons you choose MagicKitchen.com are your own.

Three Cheese Ravioli & Spinach Alfredo, Cauliflower and Mixed Vegetables - Individual Meal Three Cheese Ravioli & Spinach Alfredo, Cauliflower and Mixed Vegetables
Three Cheese Ravioli & Spinach Alfredo, Cauliflower and Mixed Vegetables

Meals on Wheels is actually comprised of over 5,000 independently run, local programs and in some urban areas, availability can be quite limited due to the limited resources of the program. In some instances, otherwise eligible seniors are placed on a waiting list.

At MagicKitchen.com there are no waiting lists and availability is not limited in any way, shape or form. Your meals will be delivered to your door at your convenience. Meals are delivered frozen. You heat them at your convenience in your microwave, enabling you to eat on your own schedule.

You can also order a la Carte, with fantastic main courses, soups, sides and desserts!
You can also order a la carte, with fantastic main courses, soups, sides and desserts!

In most cases, the meals that are prepared and cooked by Meals on Wheels are done so at a local hospital and for that reason menu choices are limited and the food can be, how shall we say…quite bland. One look at our menu and one quickly realizes that this is no hospital menu.

We offer a myriad of choices based on our customer’s nutritional and/or medical needs. So whether you simply enjoy good food, are on a low-sodium diet or require diabetic-friendly meals, we’ve got you covered with various meals to choose from.

And if you decide to go with our auto-ship meal program, your meals will be delivered automatically when you desire, and selected according to your likes and needs. Don’t like a meal? Let us know and you won’t receive that meal again. Really like chicken? Every meal can feature chicken, if you prefer.

As previously stated, Meals on Wheels provides a very valuable service to seniors across this country and does so in an exemplary manner. But due to limitations beyond their control, the services they offer are limited and may not meet the needs of those who, for whatever reason, enjoy the convenience of home delivered meals, and that’s where MagicKitchen.com comes in. So please visit our home page at MagicKitchen.com or call us at 877-51-MAGIC (877-516-2442) for more information.

facebooktwitterpinterest

Today is National Kitchen Klutzes of America Day

There are  lot of strange holidays, and this is one of our favorites. Celebrate your klutziness!

disaster1A klutz is someone who is clumsy, which can be truly dangerous in the kitchen.  Here are a few true kitchen disaster stories to celebrate the day. If you’re a kitchen klutz, save time and energy and buy some MagicKitchen.com meals instead!

It even happens to real chefs:

Clark Frasier And The Great Cheese Explosion
As anyone who’s attended a state fair can tell you, few things can’t be deep-fried. There are caveats, though — just ask Clark Frasier, the co-chef and co-owner of Maine restaurants Arrows and MC Perkins Cove. He once attempted to make a Latin-inspired cheese fritter, whipping up a farmer’s-cheese filling, encasing portions of it in dough and placing the little packets of deliciousness in the deep fryer. When they’d turned a beautiful deep gold color, he removed them — and then the explosions started. One fritter blew up and hit the ceiling, another went off in Frasier’s face and burned his lips. When the gooey blobs had disaster2settled, Frasier figured out that the dough he’d used was too tough, so the moisture in the cheese couldn’t release into the oil (and, therefore, shot out with a vengeance all over the kitchen). With a little research, Frasier might have known that it would’ve been better either to use a softer dough or just to fry the cheese on its own. Lesson: If you’re trying something brand new (and it involves hot oil or another potentially dangerous cooking element), do a quick Google search to make sure you aren’t setting yourself up for disaster.
-Huffington post

Here are a few stories from the Internet:

-my aunt put a few cans of baked beans in the oven to heat. She didn’t open them first, and they made a huge mess when the cans exploded.

My disaster moment came the day I disaster3thought it would be a good idea to save some dishes and just brown the veggies for my crock pot meal in the crock on the stove. When it cracked it sounded like someone had shot off a gun next to me. We ate out that night.

oh my. my husband (before we were married) and I were making some food for a group of friends we were having over. he was in charge of the rice. easy, right? … he had gone out and bought a 1kg bag (2lbs) of rice. he thought this would be a good amount to cook, suitable for the 10 people that were coming. he later called me telling me the rice would not stop “growing” out of the pot! they filled up 2 or 3 more pots with the rice that was overflowing and were scooping it with a dustpan since it was all he could find that was big enough to curb the disaster! i laughed for months. now, he laughs too

-It was my first year being married and my husband and I were spending it alone in Minnesota without any relatives or the normal family traditions to comfort us. I had planned dinner to be a combination of the best of both of our family favorites until the dog jumped up, knocking my elbow, sending the casserole across the room and eventually taking out a house plant and a freshly baked pie. I thought the world had ended.

We hope you enjoyed these stories, let us know if you have any of your own to share!

facebooktwitterpinterest

Our Dialysis Friendly Meals and the Ease of Ordering

Chicken & Apple Curry With Jasmine Rice & Broccoli
Chicken & Apple Curry With Jasmine Rice & Broccoli- a Dialysis Friendly Meal

Generally speaking, we all should monitor what we put into our bodies, but for dialysis patients, diet is of critical importance as they must limit their intake of sodium, potassium and phosphorus and ensure they consume enough protein.  If you are a dialysis patient, you probably have other things on your mind than tracking how many milligrams of phosphorus you consumed over the past day.

Not to worry, we here at MagicKitchen.com can perform that chore for you while providing you with appetizing dialysis friendly meals at the same time.  And ordering them is as easy as “point and click.”

Our dialysis friendly meals all have reduced amounts of sodium, phosphorus and potassium, and the exact milligram information is provided with each meal.  We provide 40 different entrees to choose from, as well as breakfast and six vegetarian options.  We also offer six different meal packs to choose from.

Shrimp & Vegetable Linguine
Shrimp & Vegetable Linguine

Each meal pack consists of seven different meals to cover your entire week and if you order two or more you can receive a $10 discount.  And, as always, all your meal selections will be delivered, frozen, to your door.  You simply place them in your freezer and then re-heat them in your microwave to enjoy at the time of your choosing.

We have also streamlined our ordering process to make it as quick and easy as possible.  The process goes something like this:

  1. From our homepage at MagicKitchen.com, click on “dialysis friendly meals” to bringup our menu page.
  2. Click on the meals or meal packages you desire to add them to your cart.
  3. Once you’ve selected your meals, click “checkout.”
  4. Then, add any gift certificate or promo codes you might have.
  5. Next, input your 5-digit zip code to calculate your shipping costs.
  6. On the next screen, simply choose from your delivery date options.  Of course, the sooner you’d like your meals, the more FedEx will charge.
  7. Chicken Marsala With Rice & Peas & Carrots
    Chicken Marsala With Rice & Peas & Carrots – another dialysis meal from MagicKitchen.com

    Almost done…now, add your shipping address and payment info, click “submit order,” and expect your delicious, dialysis friendly meals to be delivered on the day you selected.

And if you ever get “lost” just click our “how to start” button from our home page and we’ll walk you through the ordering process from the beginning.  Finally, if you’re internet averse, simply call us at 877-51-MAGIC (877-516-2442) and we’ll discuss your meal options with you and answer any questions you might have.
Bon appetit!

facebooktwitterpinterest

A Tribute to Dads (mine in particular)

welder1Yes, folks, Father’s Day is just around the corner and I thought I’d share a few humorous anecdotes about my 80-year-old dad that are still fresh in my mind despite the attempts of time to erase them from my memory.

My dad was forced to quit school at the age of 13 and is still the smartest man I’ve ever met (although age has slightly dulled the sharpness of his intellect).  His dad sent him off to work in a local automobile factory where he welded car frames just outside Huddersfield, England in 1949 as the country was still recovering from World War II.  He told this story, and continues to do so, in a vain attempt to toughen me up as I whined about trivial things in my life, such as when the arm came off my G.I. Joe or when I was denied use of the family car.

As I approached adulthood and went through the “difficult” years, I remember telling him that I didn’t care about his “stupid” life story and his version of the “having to walk 6 miles, uphill, to school in all types of weather” tale.  In fact, I told him that I never wanted to hear it again on several occasions.

Portrait of a smiling man with arms folded against white backgroundHowever, in 1991 as I traveled across the Kuwaiti desert during Operation Desert Storm, I desperately wanted my father to be there to relate that story to me once again and I thought about it often as the heat, sand, and events of war threatened to destroy my resolve.  When I returned home and revealed this fact to him, he simply said, “I didn’t know when, but I knew that story would help you at some point,” and as he said those words I’m sure I saw him do something I had never seen him do before…wipe a tear away from his eye (which he still adamantly denies to this day).

As a child, I remember my dad working long hours at the sheet metal shop and coming sheet-metal-shophome exhausted every evening.  During the summer months, my mom had her hands full with three young children to care for.  As a, shall we say, “mischievous” child, I got into more than my share of trouble and my mom would use the often heard refrain, “You just wait until your father gets home,” which usually meant a spanking of some type.

However, when I was ten I remember giving my younger brother what I deemed, an attractive haircut.  My mom deemed it otherwise.  I knew I had stepped in it yet again and waited with fear in my room for the inevitable squeaking of my door which would spell my doom.  My dad simply came in and said, “Son, I’m never going to hit you again.  It’s not the right thing to do (he would often ask me when I had a dilemma, “what’s the right thing to do?”).  But your mother expects me to give you a spanking, but I don’t want to fight that battle with her right now.”  We then proceeded to act out the spanking behind the closed door, complete with my dad hitting my bed with his belt and me crying out in feigned pain.  And he has never raised his hand in anger to me again.

hugLook, my dad  is and was not perfect, but he did the best he could for me and my siblings with the resources available to him, and I’m sure yours did the same.  I sometimes resented him, as all children do, but I have come to understand, as a father now myself, the immense difficulty of this…”job” isn’t the right word.  So, this Father’s Day do something simple and heartfelt for your dad…a thank you and a hug would probably suffice.  I know it’s all my dad requires.

Steve, MagicKitchen.com blogger

facebooktwitterpinterest