Aug 30, 2012

Bread vs. Tortilla

So, my son and I got into a conversation about nutrition and he asked why I eat 6" flour tortillas instead of bread like him. I answered "because it is better for you," to which he replied "PROVE IT." Here is the results of the research we did together, form your own decision (I'll still keep eating tortillas).

We started by comparing the wrappers from the bread he normally eats (Nickles Italian) and the tortillas (La Banderita) that I eat. Then online to find out what was available from the "nutrition" sites out there (this one is the best, click HERE).

Nutritional Data Nickles Italian BreadLa Banderita Tortilla
Serving Size 1 slice (32g) 1 tortilla (33g)
Calories 8081
Total Fat 1 g.7 g
Cholesterol 0 mg0 mg
Sodium 180 mg209 mg
Total Carbohydrates 15 g15 g
     Dietary Fiber 1 g2 g
     Sugars 1 g0 g
Protein 3 g3 g

So, what does this all mean? Think about making a sandwich. Using the same amount of lunch-meat, lettuce, slice of tomato, condiments...that doesn't change anything, but you have to double the numbers for the bread since it takes 2 pieces of bread to make a sandwich, you just roll the tortilla. Bread sandwich ends up being 160 calories, 2 grams of fat, 360 mg of sodium, 30 grams of carbs (2 grams of sugar).

So yeah, I'll stick to using the tortillas...that allows me an extra Snickers bar every month without the guilt or weight...

Aug 18, 2012

Italian JoJo's & Breakfast Burrito for Dinner

Italian JoJo's & Breakfast Burrito for Dinner
With a teenage son around, it is hard enough to keep him fed, let alone find time to blog. So, today I'm putting a personal, easy recipe for Italian JoJo's  and a suggestion they can accompany for a filling dinner. The idea was inspired by my question to him about "what do you want for dinner?" He replied "breakfast for dinner." So here goes, dinner for 2.

Italian JoJo's
  • 2 baking potatoes (scrubbed but not peeled)
  • mixed Italian herbs
  • olive oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 420° F/ 215° C while you cut the potatoes into 3/8 " (9.5 mm) wedges
  2. Put them in a large bowl, cover them with olive oil, and use your bare hands to get them coated with oil
  3. Oil a baking dish evenly
  4. Put the wedges in the baking dish, standing on their peel side when possible
  5. Sprinkle as much Italian herbs over them as you desire
  6. Bake 30-35 minutes, keeping an eye on them for the last 5-10, until they are the way you like them
Breakfast Burritos

  • 5 eggs
  • 5 TBSP milk
  • Italian herb mix (as much as you want)
  • Sausage links (amount depends on size of each one)
  • 4 soft taco sized tortillas (6 inches / 15 cm)
  1. Put the sausage links in a cold skillet with enough water to cover the bottom 1/4 of them, turn burner on medium, cover skillet
  2. Beat the eggs, milk, and Italian herbs in a bowl
  3. Pour the egg mixture into another large skillet (also set to medium)
  4. Monitor sausage links and the eggs. Eggs will take 5-8 mins, sausage will depend on the directions on the package, but they need to reach 170° F / 77° C internal temp
  5. Fold the egg mixture over on itself halfway through the cooking time, when done, cut into four sections to fit on the tortillas
  6. Wrap eggs & links in the tortillas as a breakfast sandwich
Personal Comments
2 recipes in one blog entry is a bit much, but so is raising a teenaged son. Take them individually if you want, at least you don't have to click any more links to get to them all.
Consider doing "breakfast for dinner" once in a while. Occasionally having scrambled eggs, pancakes, or French toast for dinner and it can be really enjoyable.
Watch your times. Overall, this only takes about 20 minutes to prep the potatoes and get them in, but you have to watch the clock to get the sausage links and eggs done so they all arrive on the buffet.
Make them assemble their own burritos as soon as possible.
Roll the bottom of a burrito / wrap from the bottom first, then the sides. Prevents juices from dripping out of the corners.
Add as many FLAVORS that you want. I add Tabasco and a slice of cheese to mine, but my son didn't want it.
Served with a glass of milk, some cut fresh fruit, and a dessert (as desired), this is awesome!

Cooking according to a recipe is a guideline, not a law book. Use what you DESIRE. That is what my grandmother always told me...

Aug 8, 2012

Letter Openers

How many people today still use a letter opener (a.k.a. paper knife), when dealing with their mail? I know that I always have, and always will. Why? Couple of quick points:
  1. Less paper cuts
  2. Less fluffy paper flaps to clog up your bill filing folder
  3. It just looks good
  4. The concept of "slicing something open" makes you feel better than dreaming about what you want to do to your co-workers or teammates
  5. You can flip it through your fingers when you are bored (like a drum stick)
"Back in my day," the late 1980s, my grandfather gave me a letter opener that he had used at Dehn Optical for over 30 years. That is the only high school graduation present that I still have and still use.  He handed it to me in the back stock room of his storeroom and said "use this for all of the letters you get, it will keep you on the straight and true." You know what? It has, and still brings him to mind every time I slit open yet another bill. And it is now over 60 years old...still true to form.

Over the years, I've used other things to open my mail, but his has the most impact on me. But, what else I can recommend:

  • A micro Leatherman
  • A Swiss Army pocketknife
  • A butter knife from your kitchen
  • The small side of a pair of scissors
  • A small butterfly knife
I carry the small butterfly knife for my daily work (opening shipping boxes, dealing with paper mail, etc). BUT, when I sit in my easy chair in the evening to deal with my mail, I always reach for the letter opener.  Just a simple way to keep your life uncluttered... and reminisce about your family.

Aug 5, 2012

Sunday Brunch

Being a Sunday, and not much going on, I decided to make myself a brunch. I found the Sausage Egg Bake recipe from to base it on, had the ingredients in the fridge, so I decided to make it. I'm sharing the recipe here on my blog so you don't have to click on yet another link just to get to it. Yes, I took the original recipe and recalculated it so I could make it in the toaster oven. That is what is nice about All Recipes, that you can re-calculate the ingredients to fit the number of people that will be enjoying it. I modified the recipe a little to make it more Italian, and my notes appear in purple.


  • 1/2 pound bulk Italian sausage (used Bob Evans Original Flavor)
  • 1 can condensed cream of potato soup, undiluted (used cream of mushroom)
  • 4-1/2 eggs (used 5)
  • 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons milk (used water instead, makes it fluffier)
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (used a Mexican/Taco blend)
  • Sprinkle of Italian blend herbs
  • 1/4 tsp Tabasco


  1. In a (cast iron) skillet, cook sausage over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in soup. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, milk and pepper; stir in sausage mixture.
  2. Transfer to a lightly greased 11-in. x 7-in. x 2-in. baking dish (used a 7 x 8.5" dish). Sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees F for 40-45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.


Aug 2, 2012

City Chicken

My grandmother shared with me, a recipe for "city chicken." It is called that because back in the 1920s and through the Depression, pork was less expensive than true chicken. You just made the pork LOOK like a drumstick. For only the second time, I'm am going to share a family recipe. Regardless, it is all about the flavor and inexpensively filling your belly... plus, is fun to eat

  • 1 lbs boneless pork (1 1/2-inch cubes)
  • 6 skewers (about 4" in length)
  • Salt, pepper and desired herbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 TBSP milk
  • 1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 1/2 cup water for a broiling pan (both parts needed)
  • 1 cup oil for frying in a medium sized cast iron skillet
  1. Thread 3 pieces of pork on a skewer. 
  2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and herbs.
  3. Whisk eggs and milk in a bowl. 
  4. Put the seasoned bread crumbs in another bowl. 
  5. Pour water into the bottom part of a broil pan.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C). 
  7. Heat oil in the skillet on MED to 350 F (175 C).
  8. Dip each skewer in the egg, and coat with the crumbs.
  9. Dip the skewers a second time in egg mixture and crumbs.
  10. Place in the skillet, and brown, about 3 minutes per side. Only flip once.
  11. Place on the top of the broiling pan when done.
  12. Cover tightly with aluminum foil.
  13.  Bake until hot and no longer pink in the center, about 20 minutes. 
  14. Remove foil, and bake 10 minutes more. 
  • Serves 2, if served with a salad, veggie, and cup of fruit. 3 drumsticks each (I ate one before taking the pic).
  • If you didn't notice, yes, it can be made in the toaster oven too.