Health Starts Here and it couldn’t be more beautiful! | barbara stroud Health Starts Here is a program at Whole Foods Market…. and it couldn’t be more delicious! Look at how beautiful this is!

You may remember a while back I mentioned that Fred and I are currently on a customer advisory panel for Whole Foods Market. We have learned so much. It lasts for six months (once a month), this is the fourth month and the subject was healthy eating… and an introduction to their Health Starts Here program. They prepare food that is so very scrumptious, then give you time to eat and chat, then there is a talk. Sarah Jane at our local Whole Foods (Mount Pleasant, SC) was so interesting to listen to, and full of great tips and suggestions for healthy eating.

They also gave us a great booklet THE HEALTHY EATING HANDBOOK – it’s FULL of great information, recipes, guides (ideas for smoothies, breakfast bowls, dinner bowls (which we are hooked on right now!), salads, etc. – Click on the link to download!

Also note the BULK BASICS booklet… full of great info on all the different types of beans, whether you soak or don’t soak, the ratio of beans to water, how long to cook, etc. More than beans… so pick one up if you’re in the store! | barbara stroud

The Health Starts Here program that Whole Foods Market has started helps take the guesswork out of eating healthy!

I had a white bean dip and an avocado dip with veggies, a scrumptious wrap, lentil chili, a wonderful salad with avocado vinaigrette, and raw apple crisp that was out of this world! I was so full. How often do I eat this many veggies at one sitting? Hmmmm, never! But this showed me that it was possible, and we’ve been adding so many more fruits/veggies ever since this meeting!

Healthy eating is much easier when you get an idea of some of the foods that you should choose… If you have a Whole Foods Market in your area, you’ll see some foods are labeled in the salad/hot bars, prepared food secretion and the self serve prepared meals with a Health Starts Here logo – if you see that you’ll know it’s good for you, and that it was prepared without any extracted oils/processed fats, they only use the healthier sources of fat… nuts, seeds and avocado… YUM!

All foods that have the Health Starts Here log follow their Four Pillars of Healthy Eating:

– They’re made using the purest whole foods, not the processed foods that many of us are used to!

– The ingredients used are plant based – which means there is fiber (that help keeps you full), protein and phytonutrients!

– They only contain healthy fats such as nuts, seeds and avocados!

– They’re high on the list of nutrient dense (containing the most nutrients) list… they have a great way to measure the super nutritious foods… At Whole Foods Market, in the produce section, the fruits and veggies have an ANDI (Aggregate Nutrient Density Index) score. So say you want to make a brown rice bowl and add some greens, you want the most nutrient dense greens, so you check the ANDI list and see the Kale is higher on the list then Arugula, so you choose that green.

With that being said. If you’re eating veggies, you’re doing good… this just packs a more powerful punch!

So I would like to shout out a big THANK YOU to Whole Foods for making healthy eating much easier!

Catch you back here tomorrow!

New England Spider Cake – you’ve got to try this!

Art Food Home | barbara stroud

New England Spider Cake

I received an email from Food52 the other day. Have you heard of it? Wonderful recipes, GORGEOUS photos (the one above is mine, sigh…) and once I saw this recipe for New England Spider cake I was intrigued. Interesting name. Cornmeal?! Doesn’t sound too sweet… and by pouring heavy cream on top of the batter you create the most wonderful custard-like layer to the cake. To. Die. For. (Well, not literally).


You start by combining milk and vinegar in a bowl and set it aside for 5-10 minutes until it gets lumpy. Then you mix the dry ingredients: cornmeal, sugar, flour, salt, baking soda… Heat butter in a cast iron skillet – I swirled and got butter on the sides of the pan as well (cast iron skillet is key!), then pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and combine and pour into the skillet!

New England Spider CakeNow comes the magic… you pour HEAVY WHIPPING CREAM in the center of the batter and place it in the oven…

New England Spider Cake

Mine wasn’t quite as “spidery” as some I’ve seen. This cake cut like a dream. All it took was a tiny drizzle of real maple syrup. WOW!!! But it’s best eaten warm! So that first night is the best. Invite some friends over and make this quick and easy cake!

Here’s the recipe! Thank you Food and Jonathan Reynolds at the New York Times (Jonathan’s link below) (the link to the recipe on Food 52 where you can easily print) – if you just need to look at your screen, well, here you go…


I N G R E D I E N T S 

2 cups milk

4 teaspoons white vinegar

1 cup all purpose flour

3/4 cups yellow cornmeal

3/4 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup heavy cream

Maple syrup, for serving…


Preheat oven to 350F. Combine milk and vinegar in a bowl and set aside to sour (wait 5 to 10 minutes, you’ll see the milk get lumpy).

In another bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking soda and salt.

Whisk eggs into the soured milk. Stir into dry ingredients and set batter aside.

Melt butter in a 10 or 12 inch cast iron skillet. Pour in the batter. Pour cream into center, then slide the skillet into the oven and bake until golden brown on top, about 45 minutes.

Slice into wedges and serve warm, with maple syrup if you’d like.

Recipe comes from Jonathan Reynolds at the New York Times 

Catch you back here tomorrow!

Downtown Charleston… classy decor at Goat. Sheep. Cow! | barbara stroud

There is this cool specialty cheese shop (and more!) called Goat. Sheep. Cow. in Charleston, and I pass it on my way in to work. When I walked by the other day the light was just right. Such pretty classy decor! Check out their website!

Hey, they’re great for more than just holidays, stop in and check out all they’ve got! If you’re lucky enough to get one of their sandwiches during the day (limited quality), you will be so happy! Exquisite!

Catch you back here tomorrow!

Recipe: Quiche Lorraine – and YES, real men eat quiche! | barbara stroud

Quiche Lorraine. This is one of my favorite recipes, because you can change it so that you use what ingredients you have on hand. Although, I have to say, I always go back to the bacon and swiss… the combination is out of this world. Serve this with a side salad, some wonderful baby greens, avocado, and a drizzle of olive oil/rice wine vinegar and oh la la!

I found this recipe on and changed just a few things… originally it called for onion… My mom took French cooking classes when I was young, so we ate a lot of Quiche Lorraine, it never had onions that I can recall… so it just seemed odd to me. Probably tasty, I put them in everything else, but this seemed like it would be better without. I also used less bacon, about 3-4 slices instead of the original 6 and it worked fine.

I’m thrilled that a quiche can be made with milk instead of cream, woohoo!

Here is the link to the original recipe… do NOT let the photo scare you! ha ha… it’s an unappetizing photo (we’ve all done it… sigh) and mine did not look like this at all. Maybe because I used a glass pie dish instead of foil? I did not make my crust, but I should. I used one Pillsbury pie crust (refrigerated section at grocery store).

Here is the link to my version (where you can print minus all these words and photo)… and here, my friends, is what you’ve been waiting to see!

Quiche Lorraine |


Catch you back here tomorrow!

Recipe Flashback! Grandma’s Fruitcake recipe… this one is TASTY!



RECIPE FLASHBACK for the holidays!

[Oops! Just realized (thanks dad!) that I didn’t have the entire recipe showing yesterday… this is fixed now (and has always been accessible via the “Click HERE to print the recipe minus the photos” link :)]

I’m here to set the record straight. FRUIT CAKE IS NOT BORING. It’s lively and cool and oh so wonderful. It also makes your house smell soooo good when it’s baking… check out the original post HERE (with step by step photos)…  Click HERE to print the recipe minus the photos…

**My grandma made a note on her version… she placed a pie dish with water in the oven at the same time as the fruitcake to keep it moist, good thinking!

Fruitcake - | barbara stroud

It’s nice to start a family tradition, or to give a fruitcake to friends and neighbors.

Catch you back here tomorrow!

Support the locals on Broad Street!


Ahhh, Broad Street in Charleston, SC. It’s not the highly publicized shopping district on King Street, but what it does have are the kinds of shops that are unique. Less commercial. More small businesses. Many galleries are located on Broad Street, unique shops, some great eating places, not to mention Normandy Farms Bakery – great coffee, pastries, bread, sandwiches, etc.

It’s important to support the locals! They have a lot to offer!

Catch you back here tomorrow!

Recipe Flashback! Best Christmas Cookies Ever! | barbara stroud

These are the tastiest Christmas cookies in all the land. THE ONES that put the biggest smile on Santa’s face! Perfect for those of you who are uber creative! Each cookie is a blank canvas and you can get as fancy as you like… or you can just squeeze on the colorful frosting, and that’s beautiful as well! The recipe has been in our family since I was teeny tiny and has become a yearly tradition! My parents found it in a magazine… wonder which one? Click here to read the last post about these wonderful cookies!

Click HERE to print the recipe as shown below… | barbara stroud

Catch you back here tomorrow!

Split Pea Soup Recipe with Sweet Potato and Bacon Garnish!

Tyler Florence's Split Pea Soup with Sweet Potato and Bacon Garnish

Tyler Florence’s Split Pea Soup with Sweet Potato and Bacon Garnish

I ran across the best recipe for Split Pea Soup with Sweet Potato & Bacon Garnish in People magazine! Tyler Florence‘s recipes are always fabulous and this is no exception. We had a bag of organic split peas from Whole Foods, yet hadn’t used them… actually, I have never used split peas. Neither of us are big on thick soups. So the one thing I changed? I didn’t blend part of the peas after cooking (which thickens the soup), it still thickened itself somewhat, it was just perfect! The garnish made it over the top good. Cutting up a few slices of good bacon and putting it on a baking sheet along with sweet potatoes cut up small… oooowie, magic happens I’m telling you! It is unbelievable to me how much taste is in split peas! As you see below, in the actual soup part of the recipe, there are split peas, salt, pepper, lemon juice, (I didn’t have thyme leaves, so I did not use, and I only used parmesan once, could barely tell a difference). Yet those pretty green peas are TASTY with a capital “T”!

There aren’t a lot of ingredients – this is simply too easy! There is no soaking of the peas before hand. Another step that makes it that much easier!

Click HERE to print the recipe (as shown below!) | barbara stroud

Catch you back here tomorrow!

How to make pot roast with potatoes and carrots – can’t get easier than this!

Smells heavenly doesn't it?

B E A U T Y !

Most everyone loves a good pot roast. The taste is so wonderful, like you’ve been slaving away for hours and hours, when in reality, it basically does most everything itself. Some people prefer to make mashed potatoes, if you’re on of those people, you can certainly pull the veggies and pot roast out when done, and maybe stir in a little corn starch/water mixture and and to pan, heat to thicken the gravy. I don’t bother, the juice is just that good. I usually throw my carrots and potatoes in the pot instead of making mashed potatoes, it’s just too easy this way!

I follow this recipe from Cooking Light magazine – not exactly, but its a starting point. Add more of what you like, less of what you don’t!

My notes on the recipe below… I rarely use wine, I just like the taste of pot roast best without it, same with Thyme… garlic I use occasionally, but rarely… I buy a large container of Kitchen Basics Beef Broth (unsalted), and use about 3/4 of it. I don’t measure I just make sure it covers most of the veggies… I use a lot of carrots and a few potatoes. For a 1.5# roast, I usually bake it for about 45 minutes, then add the potatoes and carrots (I put the roast on top) and bake another hour. It’s perfect when the meat falls apart easily.

Recipe from Cooking Light Magazine!

Classic Beef Pot Roast (with Potatoes and Carrots)


1 teaspoon olive oil 
1 (3-pound) boneless chuck roast, trimmed 
1 teaspoon kosher salt 
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
2 cups coarsely chopped onion 
1 cup dry red wine
4 thyme sprigs
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium beef broth $
1 bay leaf
4 large carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces $
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
Fresh thyme leaves (optional)


Preheat oven to 350º.

Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chuck roast with salt and pepper. Add roast to pan; cook 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove roast from pan. Add onion to pan; sauté 8 minutes or until tender.

Return browned roast to pan. Add the red wine, thyme sprigs, chopped garlic, beef broth, and bay leaf to pan; bring to a simmer. Cover pan and bake at 350° for 1 1/2 hours or until the roast is almost tender.

Add carrots and potatoes to pan. Cover and bake an additional 1 hour or until vegetables are tender. Remove thyme sprigs and bay leaf from pan; discard. Shred meat with 2 forks. Serve roast with vegetable mixture and cooking liquid. Garnish with thyme leaves, if desired.


MyRecipes is working with Let’s Move!, the Partnership for a Healthier America, and USDA’s MyPlate to give anyone looking for healthier options access to a trove of recipes that will help them create healthy, tasty plates. For more information about creating a healthy plate, visit

Jeanne Thiel Kelley,


Ok, now for my step by step shots!

Sear the meat first!

Sear to lock in juices on all sides

Sear to lock in juices on all sides

Since there are only two of us, I usually go to Whole Foods or EarthFare and buy a pot roast (chuck roast) and if it’s really thick i have them slice it in half lengthwise, I usually end up with about a 1.5 pound roast, but if you have more than two people in your family (this is several meals for us), then you may opt for the larger cut, just keep it in the oven longer.

Start by adding a little olive oil to the pan so it won’t stick, get the pan nice and hot so you hear SIZZLE when you put the roast in the pan… you aren’t cooking it through just browning on all sides, at medium high, I even sear the sides… keeps all those juices where you want them to be! Once it’s seared, move it to a plate…

Sautee onions...

Sautee onions…

Now sautee the onions… smells wonderful doesn’t it?

Add seared roast and beef broth to pan

Add seared roast and beef broth to pan

Now add the seared roast and the beef broth to the pan – cover and bake OR… go ahead and add potatoes and carrots (If roast is small) and bake all together for around 1.5 hours or until it starts to fall apart! I tuck the potatoes and carrots all around the roast… you can check on it a time or two, splash a little more broth on top… a few hours later (and a WONDERFUL smelling house)… you have…

This is what BEAUTY Looks like when you pull it out of the oven… oh. my. word.

Smells heavenly doesn't it?

Smells heavenly doesn’t it?

Too good for words!!

Catch you back here tomorrow!

Recipe Flashback: Thanksgiving and a special treat – homemade hot chocolate!

Homemade Hot Chocolate!

Homemade Hot Chocolate!

Wishing you and yours a safe and happy Thanksgiving day! Now, if for some reason you aren’t full after a Thanksgiving Day feast, and you would like a little treat, that really feels like a treat… Try this… it’ll warm you up too!

Hot chocolate, made from scratch. YUM! Yet one more thing to be thankful for on a chilly day, right? There are only a few ingredients, you can heat the milk however you like (stove or microwave) and instantly you have wonderful hot chocolate that warms you from the inside out! Click on that link to be taken to the original recipe complete with photos!

Enjoy this Thanksgiving Day. Whew, I have so much to be thankful for… all of you, my family, friends, health, Charlie (woof) and Fred just to name a few.

If you’re feeling blessed (as I am), do something to make someone smile. This time of year can be hard on so many people for a variety of reasons. Do you have a neighbor who may be eating alone today? Invite them over, or maybe take them a hot chocolate and have a visit. We all get busy in life, but we have to keep those in mind who don’t have family and may be struggling with something going on in their lives.

Make. Someone. Smile.

Happy Thanksgiving! I’ll catch you back here tomorrow!