Monday, February 28, 2011

Living On Caffeine

Lately I’ve been in a strange (and unpleasant) routine of staying up far too late and needing to get up pretty early (early for me; may not be early for you).  In order to maintain a functioning capacity with this routine, it is vital for me to consume caffeine in significant quantities.  Lots & lots of caffeine.  In the form of chocolate, soda, coffee, etc. 

However, I know that this is not a healthy lifestyle.  I do recognize that consuming caffeine actually makes me MORE tired in the end.  Realizing this fact has not helped me succumb to a caffeine-free existence, however.  I do try pretty hard to stay away from the zippy beverages in the evening.  But when morning dawns, I’m drawn right back in.

I didn’t always struggle with caffeine.  No, I used to dive right into the caffeine-loving existence, quite struggle free.  I still remember the birthday in college that my friend (or was it a boyfriend?  surely not!) purchased a case (yes, a 24-pack) of Dr. Pepper for me to celebrate the passing of 19 years of life.  And celebrate I did.  I consumed all 288 fluid ounces of those 23 authentic blended flavors in record time.  Approximately one day, to be exact.  (Hold applause.  What?  You’re appalled?!  I thought that was sheer wonder on your face.  Huh.  And to think I thought it was impressive.)

I still hold a love of the sweet, sweet Doctor.  I have 2 (yes, two) shirts that declare his permanent hold on me.  I blame my parents.  Because both shirts originally belonged to them.  And because they introduced me to this spicy beverage ("spice" - get it?! Dr. "Pepper"!!) and exhibited a deep & profound attachment of their own.  Mostly my dad.  But if ever there was something that a parent passes onto a child that is entirely forgivable, this is just the thing. 

Anyway, I think you can probably tell that I’m writing this on fewer hours of sleep than would be entirely beneficial for me.  And I’m just hoping - despite the fact that my eyes are so tired they’ve refused to focus for the better part of the day - that I’m typing the right letters to form the right words and so on.  Maybe I’ll just go get my afternoon soda boost…

Monday, February 21, 2011


Stokes is a local Omaha joint with 2 locations now: one off 114th & Dodge (Miracle Hills) and one at 12th & Howard in the Old Market.  I’ve been to both locations and wouldn’t say one is better than the other.  I’ve been to Stokes 3 times total now, over a period of about 3 years or so.  Here are my findings:

-It is pricey.  The food is basically southwestern fare with offerings like enchiladas and quesadillas.  If you go for lunch, you will not get out of there for much under $10.  And for dinner you should expect $15-$20 for entrees.  This seems a bit high.  I’m not saying it’s not good quality food, but I think they could price things a bit more reasonably.

-The menu has a consistency.  The food offerings are diverse, from salads to enchiladas to mussels, but it all make sense as a whole.  They all incorporate the same kind of theme and flavors.  And there’s a wide enough variety to accommodate most tastes.

-The drinks are delicious.  I recently went to the Old Market location with my sister-in-law for a girls night out.  We both splurged a bit and ordered expensive beverages.  I’ve never had a margarita I really liked, but the sip of her cancun margarita that I nabbed was amazing.  And my raspberry mojito was fantastic.  Sweet but refreshing.  Stokes does have a happy hour, which would help a lot on price – I think my drink at the non-happy hour time was as expensive as my meal.  (It should be noted that I didn’t order an entrĂ©e, so my meal wasn’t as expensive as it could have been.  But the drink was still pricey.  Because it was a DRINK and still cost as much as my main sustenance.)

-The wait staff is good.  My most recent endeavor was rewarded with a pleasant and helpful waiter.  He neither doted on us annoyingly nor left us wanting more.  He made decent suggestions when asked for it and was timely in his service.

Menu recommendations:  I loved the bowl of roasted corn chowder.  And my side salad was delicious – it even had a sprinkling of actual bacon.  For a side salad, that’s rare indeed.  My sister-in-law had an appetizer chicken quesadilla and though she thought it was strange that it also had bacon in it, she found the side of BBQ used for dipping to be surprisingly good with the quesadilla.  It’s been awhile, but I know I had the smoked chicken penne for lunch a few years back.  I remember it being great.  Sharon’s Almost World Famous Chicken Enchiladas weren’t my favorite, but you should take that with a grain of salt: I don’t like flour tortillas (I prefer corn ones, which is why LaMesa is my FAVE for enchiladas).  Since they use flour tortillas for their enchiladas at Stokes, many people like them.  My husband always prefers flour tortillas to corn (one of many areas in which we differ).  My sister-in-law echoes his preference.  Anyway, I know one friend noted on Facebook that these enchiladas were something she liked, so they have that going for them. 

I know that Stokes makes an effort to use fresh & whole ingredients, which can be a rare thing for restaurants these days.  If you’ve got a decent amount of spending cash and a craving for some tasty treats, I would say you should give Stokes a shot.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Food is the 6th Love Language

Awhile back the small group we were a part of read the relational tome The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman.  Jake & I had previously read the book before we got married, but as several years have passed since then, we decided it would be good to do a refresher course.  I’m glad we did.  But ever since, I’ve heard one friend repeatedly claim that Facebook is “the 6th love language”.  As much as I love a good Facebook session, I have to respectfully disagree.  In my opinion, the 6th spot goes to food.

A recent conversation I had with my sister-in-law spawned this theory.  We were discussing my late mother’s cooking habits, especially in relation to big family gatherings.  Mom was always in the kitchen cooking up a storm.  She loved to create our favorite dishes or present us with new inspirations.  She excelled at delivering tasty delights and we, as her captivated audience, were rarely less than eager to be her guinea pigs.  (With few exceptions.)

However, later on I developed the idea that a round of frozen pizzas would be preferable to hours spent sweating in the kitchen for such family gatherings.  My thought was that something simple & quick would leave more time for discourse and games.  I felt bad that Mom was always left out of the “fun”.  But mostly, I was lazy & didn’t want to have to help whip up the latest feast she had in store. 

But my sister-in-law indicated that although Mom would have liked to enjoy the family time more, she loved to serve us her food creations.  It was like a gift to us.  Never more so than on our birthdays growing up, when we each got to choose the meal and the cake.  (I think I’ve mentioned before that prior to college, I was entirely unaware that people often bought cakes for birthdays.  My mom was never afraid to tackle any request, including ice cream cakes as well Big Bird  Batman cakes.)

In fact, said sister-in-law noted that perhaps my mother needed the positive feedback she received when we lavishly heaped praise upon her fruits of labor.  I’ve always thought quality time (one of the established 5 love languages) was probably my mom’s primary love language, but perhaps it was the words of affirmation she received during large family meal gatherings that was the most sought after.  One does not go without the other, so it is difficult to know for certain. 

One thing I know:  the love of fine cooking & the praise that follows said cooking is something she’s passed down to me.  Though I have a hard time accepting praise graciously (one friend in particular is especially good at encouraging me in this area – probably because words of affirmation is most likely her primary love language – and she can attest to my difficulty in this area), I do relish it.  My husband is good at praising my culinary efforts as well, which is also not surprising given his affinity for words of affirmation. 

So the next time someone makes you a special treat that you cannot get enough of, be sure to praise them profusely for it.  Because it can’t hurt.  No cook I know of hates to be thanked and asked for more of his/her cooking creations. 

But you should also know that words of affirmation will only get you so far with me.  I do love them in relation to food, but that’s where the buck stops.  I normally couldn’t give two rips about words of affirmation – actions speak louder for me (and gifts, just in case you’re prone to that – gifts of food are perhaps the best!). 

And now you know why Jake & I bicker.  We rarely speak the same language, folks.  But food usually brings us together.  There’s something special about food.  It stands on its own.  Thus, food as the 6 love language!  See?  It all makes sense.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Funky Food Stuff

My friend Kayla has a blog where she posts about all sorts of things about her life, but a big portion of that pertains to their adoption of two Haitian children.  This is a recent post she penned that fits perfectly within the parameters of this blog, so with her permission, I thought I’d share it with you:


It's one of those things that you just can't put your finger on.  It's one of those things that is just a bit off.  It's one of those things where you convince yourself of one thing and then spend time second guessing the convictions you have.

The "it" in question could be anything.  It's some small, semi subtle behavior that your adopted child exhibits that just resonate in a weird way.  It happens to often to be completely innocent.  But it's not so dramatic that it interferes with every aspect of normal life.  If you are parenting a kiddo who does not see to have a major or somewhat major issue (be it attachment, cognitive delays, etc.), there's a chance you know exactly what I'm talking about.

For us, one of those behaviors centers around one of our kiddos and his/her food habits.  For kids who are struggling with attachment issues, hoarding food or stealing food can be major issues.  We are not dealing with that.  Instead, we have a child who wakes up every morning asking for food, demanding to be fed.  This same child is what I call a food scavenger.  This child snoops for food. As in looking in the garbage can for food during the first few months home.  As in opening cabinets looking for food.  As in keeping a keen eye on the kitchen counters for food.  And if there is food in one of those place, this child must touch it.  He/she doesn't always eat it, but, especially in the first few months home, touching it was almost always a given.  Sometimes this child sneaks the food off of the counter.  If food is present, it's as if the child has turned into a bloodhound on a scent trail.  They search out the food.  They look at whomever has the food with a look that says, "please feed me."  It does not matter if they have just eaten.  They will ask for the food.  They will, at times, beg for the food. 

Yes, some of it is a child's attempt at finding boundaries.  Some of it seems like something other 3 or 4 year olds might try.  But there is something about it that is not the same.

It seems a bit too intense to be normal.  It's as if this child gets fixed on food in a slightly unusual way.

I honestly believe that most of this is related to the way food is distributed in orphanages.  At an orphanage, food is dispersed on a strict schedule.  Breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner all occur at specific times each day.  Food is only available at these times.  (It should be noted this child has never known extreme hunger like some children have who come to live in orphanages.  And the orphanage this child lived in did provide 3 meals and a snack every day.)  Contrast orphanage living to what it is like to live in a family. 

Yes, families often serve food at routine times.  But food is an ever present thing in a family setting.   By that, I don't mean that the food is always out and presented to the child.  Instead, I think that living in a home with cabinets and refrigerators and freezers full of food must be a completely mind boggling thing for a child who grew up in an institution.  Food is everywhere!  

In an orphanage setting, there are no dinner rolls cooling on the counter that you must wait until suppertime to eat.  In an orphange, there is no left over Christmas candy sitting in a bag, easily accessible to little hands.  In an orphanage, if you ate a few hours ago and it's not snack time yet, you have no way to get food so it makes waiting to eat until snack time a relatively easy thing.  And in an orphanage, food is not wasted so food thrown into a garbage can in a family home must be something that a little mind is not sure how to process.  In general, in a home, it is very easy to know where the food is and how to access it.  The temptation to get into the food is everywhere. 

In an orphanage, if a visitor or worker does bring special treats, it is often first come, first serve so it is a good idea to eat quickly and see if you can get seconds.  Specials treats are not able to be kept for a later time.  In a home, if the amount of special treats are limited, usually the treats are stored to eat later.

 It's actually the way one of my kiddos reacted in a situation with special treats that made me decide to write this post.  A few weeks back, at story time, the town librarian handed out treats to all the kids and then announced that there weren't enough for seconds but there were enough for the adults to have treats too.  My kiddo didn't hear or didn't understand what was said but saw that the treats were being passed out again.   He/she started shoveling the rest of the treat into his/her mouth, hoping to finish quickly and go back and get another, beating out the other kids who were still eating.

For us, we've chosen to go a couple of different routes in addressing this.  When the child first came home, we let it slide and instead encouraged the child to use his/her words to ask for food.  We tried to teach the child that if he/she wanted food, he/she needed to ask.  And we rarely told the child no if he/she asked in an appropriate way.  After we felt sure that the child understood we would provide the food, we then went back and changed our strategy a bit.  We chose to address it by looking at the child's heart.  What is impacting the child's choices?  In our case, we have focused on the words from 1 Corinthians 13, "Love always trusts."  This means love trusts that I will have food when I need it, not just when I want it.  This means that love trusts that Mama and Papa know what's best for me in terms of when and what I eat.  This means that love trusts that if Mama or Papa say we can eat a certain food later, it means we really will eat it later and I do not need to take it right now. 

And there have also been some logical consequence dished out.  Caught drinking out of Mama's pop can without asking?  (Which one of mine does often.)  You get water for the day.  Continually touching food on the counter?  (Which happens all the time and is often not just limited to food items but often includes the child touching all sorts of stuff that he/she is not supposed to.)  The child has now been given the task of giving themselves a spanking on the hand for every infraction.  (Suprisingly, I think it's worked well.  Spanking yor own hand gets old when you have done it 20 times over the course of the day.)  I've also made the offender tell the hand why it's getting spanked.  (Which can be kind of funny to hear.) 

Little by little, bit by bit, I think we're seeing progress.  Believing hearts can heal even if it's from something that seems like a minor owie...

Friday, February 11, 2011

Here’s To a Healthier New Year (Kicking & Screaming)

Last year Jake & I decided to venture out and get our dog some healthier food.  She’d been having a lot of scratchy skin and hacking cough issues.  A friend told us that their dog had similar issues & they found a dry food without corn ingredients which helped rectify those issues.  To be honest, we’re not the kind of people that want to spend a fortune on dog food.  So we were hesitant to try a special new food for her since they are so much more expensive.  But with couponing came the opportunity to try a new healthier food for her at a much reduced cost.  So we did.  And I think it’s helping.  She still rolls around a lot, scratching her itchy skin.  But that seems to happen a lot less.  And she hasn’t been hacking at all.  So I’m pleased.  And now we’re probably stuck with the expensive food.  We’re slowly becoming “those” people that cater to their dog’s every desire.

I find it unfortunate when people are willing to spend buco bucks on their pets or their kids and not on themselves.  If we’re willing to pay more for better food for our dog, shouldn’t we be willing to shell out something for ourselves as well? 

This year is bringing many changes to our eating, as has previously been noted on this blog.  Not only is Jake going gluten-free but due to high cholesterol, he’s also going low fat / low cholesterol with diet too.  Which is not a bad thing.  His family health history is scary on both sides.  So this is something that’s needed to happen for awhile. 

But why does it take a trip to the doctor to jolt us into doing what we should have been doing all along?  The psychology of that is intriguing to me, but nevertheless, it’s working.  Whether we like it or not, we’re both going to be healthier people in the end.  Sometimes I’m glad to have a good reason to be healthier.  And avoiding an early death is a good reason in my book.  But it has been more expensive, to be sure.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Trader Joe’s: My Newfound Friend

Recently a new health food store opened up in Omaha and caused quite the hubbub.  Apparently it is just the ticket for many people!  I waited out what sounded like hoards of people for the opportunity to peruse the shelves for myself.  And I’m glad I did.  I took my sweet time strolling through the aisles, looking for just the right finds for us.   

I. Was. Impressed.  Not only did Trader Joe’s have an amazing assortment of produce, healthy grains, meats and treats, but they were at decent prices!!  Unbelievable.  I’m pretty used to paying up the yin yang for specialty foods (Jake’s not my first gluten-free pal, along with other food issue friends).  I mean, check out your friendly neighborhood Walmart’s price on gluten-free products, good readers.  NOT CHEAP.  And organic produce is right up there on the cost scale, too.  But not so at Joe’s.  YAY!!!!

The only drawback I saw was that the store was pretty teeny.  But it packs a big punch.  So I got over that pretty quick.  I had hoped for a larger gluten-free section for this gluten-free newbie girl.  But next time I’ll just have handy their gluten-free buyer’s guide (available to print from their website, just like Whole Foods) before I go in so I know what to look for, rather than just relying on great big “GLUTEN FREE” signs on products or my limited knowledge of secret “gluten” ingredients.

Here are my favorite Trader Joe’s finds from what is bound to be the first of many, many trips:

-2 (frozen) vacuum-sealed Ahi tuna steaks for under $4.  INCREDIBLE!!!!!

-HUGE avocadoes for $1.29 each.  Sure, I can get shriveled, over-ripe, tiny black avocadoes at Walmart for $.99 each now, but seriously – there’s no comparison on size vs. value here, people.  (To be fair, Aldi had avocadoes for $.29 each last time I was there, but they do tend to go bad quite quickly.)

-16 oz. box of quinoa for about $3.  This is almost half Walmart’s price.

-several gluten-free soup options, including beef stock (beef broth/stock is usually not gluten-free), that were more reasonably priced than anything Walmart offers

Oh, so much more.  I took one tiny little grocery bag in with me and it was stuffed to the gills when I came out.  Silly me.  I should have known I would find more treasures than I was prepared for. 

I’ve heard mixed reviews on Trader Joe’s from family and friends.  Frankly, I’m baffled by that.  Perhaps I went at a really good time on a really good day?  I don’t know, but I’m definitely going back. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Wasabi Sushi: A New Omaha Hotspot

Thanks to the few of you who suggested restaurants for our anniversary dinner this year!!  We decided that we were in the market for some good seafood, and sushi hit the spot.  A new sushi restaurant just opened up within the past year here in Omaha called Wasabi Sushi.  Actually, several new sushi places have popped up recently, but this is one we’d heard much ado about and wanted to try.  It is an all-you-can-eat sushi place, with a standard set fee.  $12.99 for lunch or $22.99 for dinner is not a bad price for sushi.  With that price comes a selected menu you can order off of as many times as you’d like.  (Dinner offers more options than lunch, thus the higher price.)  The only catch: if you order too much & have leftovers, you will be charged regular a la carte price for them.  They obviously do not want you trying to take home large amounts of sushi for later.  Which is understandable – sushi isn’t cheap. 

Right before we went, we got an offer to purchase $10 worth of Wasabi sushi for $5, so we bought into that, knowing we’d be using it soon.  (Some of you are familiar with Groupon deals, which are similar.  This happened to be an “Omaha Daily Deal” offer.) 

We were all set.  And then Jake got sick.  So we had to postpone our anniversary feast for a week.  Bummer. 

When we finally arrived, we were antsy for some good sushi.  I will confess that I was reluctant to try another sushi place, since I’ve tried several and though some have been fine, nothing has ever matched Hiro’s excellence in my mind.  I just didn’t want to waste good money.  However, I was excited to try some new things for an all-you-can-eat price. 

We ordered tempura mushrooms for a starter, which were just about the most delicious mushrooms I’ve ever tasted.  I love tempura batter.  It’s just so light & flaky compared to the breading on most fried mushrooms.  Jake agreed, though I think he was anxious to just get to the “good” stuff (aka sushi).  We ordered several rolls, he ordered his very first handroll (my goodness, those are huge) and he ordered several pieces of nigiri.  That was what he was most excited about, since those (& sashimi, which is only offered at dinner there) are the most expensive of the sushi options normally. 

One roll we ordered that was interesting was the Boston, which had shrimp, crab, avocado, cucumber, lettuce (Boston Bibb) and spiced mayo.  It was pretty good at first bite, but later on it didn’t seem quite so delectable for some reason.  (I’d say maybe the reason is coming.  Keep reading.)

I ordered an asparagus salmon roll that had cream cheese in it.  From the menu, it sounded exactly like something I’ve gotten a lot at Hiro and enjoyed.  Unfortunately, I did not enjoy it.  Some texture in it was way OFF.  (I’m not always a “texture” person, not having issues with many of the textures that bother a lot of people. But textures in sushi are a bit different deal for me.)  I think they mixed the salmon with the eel sauce, rather than just putting the eel sauce on top, like Hiro does.  They shouldn’t mix it in.  Since it had cream cheese in it, Jake wouldn’t touch it and leftovers weren’t an option (refer to policy explanation above).  So I choked most of it down, all but one piece.  However, I think that tainted my view quite a bit about Wasabi as a whole. 

Something we noticed about Wasabi’s roll options was that most involved some kind of mayonnaise.  At first I didn’t mind that touch, but after awhile, it got to be too much.  In fairness, I think other places, even Hiro, lean a bit too much on cream cheese as an ingredient in their rolls.  But I guess I can live with that better than the mayo bit. 

At the end, we put in an order for shrimp tempura as well.  That was DELICIOUS.  Again, the tempura batter was awesome.  One thing I didn’t note above, but that also accompanied the mushroom tempura, was the dipping sauce.  Tangy and sweet but very mild.  I’m sure it’s pretty standard for a tempura dipping sauce, but nonetheless, it was great.  I was just so happy to have a good ending, rather than the enduring taste of the roll I had to choke down.

We’ll definitely go back.  You just can’t beat the price.  And we even have some more coupons that came in the mail.  I would recommend it, but with an asterisk.  If you want the BEST sushi, go to Hiro.  If you want decent sushi at a great price, Wasabi is pretty darn good.  But avoid the asparagus salmon roll at Wasabi at all costs!

**This was before my husband’s new diet restrictions.  Though I’m sure there are lots of menu items that will still work for him, a lot of the menu would now be off-limits, including the delicious tempura items and anything with mayo.  Big. Fat. Bummer!!  However, his precious mackerel nigiri would still be safe.

Friday, February 4, 2011

How To Be A Better Foodie (Book Review)

My husband and I recently killed some time in Big Lots before a movie we were seeing.  While there, he discovered a $3 book that he thought might intrigue me.  He was indeed correct; I was intrigued.  So we purchased said book and I spent the next week reading it.  It was a smallish book, so I didn’t think it would take that long to peruse.  I was wrong.  The book was deceivingly thick.  (A week is a pretty long time for me to take reading one book, though I know that’s not the case for everyone.)

How To Be A Better Foodie: A Bulging Little Book For The Truly Epicurious by Sudi Pigott was the little find.  A first glance, it appeared to be a little encyclopedia of facts and interesting tidbits.  I’m always curious to know more about gourmet food especially, which this book seemed to focus solely on.  I should have known from the title that it was a little too self-important.  But I just thought it was kind of tongue-in-cheek.  It was not.

Apparently Ms. Pigott is British.  This is not surprising after reading her book.  But I’m not sure I would have been quite as interested in the book if I’d known that from the get-go, simply because I might have suspected that her opinions and experiences would be on quite a different par than my own.  A suspicion that would have proved true.

This book is entirely snooty and almost unreadable.  Throughout the book, the author uses as many large, frilly, French, Italian or unpronounceable foodie words as humanly possible.  (Example from page 38, just a title for a short paragraph: “A plethora of recondite and vintage batterie de cuisine”.  I understand about half of that phrase.)  Several times she actually defines an ingredient I’ve never heard of with another word I’ve never heard of.  (Example from page 272: “What is zampone, often eaten at Italian New Year celebrations, better known as?  Trotter.”) 

The book is sprinkled with quotes from well-known people about food.  (Example from page 45: “‘There is no love sincerer than the love of food.’ George Bernard Shaw, playwright and Arch Better Foodie.”)  These are delightful and interesting to me.  (I should note that the use of the term “Better Foodie” is prolific throughout the book, used to describe people who are on the same Foodie plane as the author herself apparently.)      

I would never have called myself an expert on food.  I just enjoy it a lot.  But I felt like the author was name-dropping names I’d never heard of or cared about.  (No mention of Julia Child?!)  I’m sure everything she lists, in terms of ingredients as well as restaurants and chefs, are high quality.  But more than half of what she talks about I will probably not be able to enjoy in my lifetime.  Expensive, expensive.  Not to mention she must be a world traveler, with special note of European locales.  She includes a couple State-side eateries but still nothing that would be in my price range or general demographic area. 

In my opinion, this book was a waste of time, though I think I have a better grasp of the fact that I’ll probably never attain “Better Foodie” status.  And I’m okay with that.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Butter vs. Margarine

I must confess: I use margarine.  I grew up on it.  I’m used to the way it handles, melting easier & faster than butter & baking more evenly.  My husband even prefers the taste of margarine to butter at times.

HOWEVER.  As we all have come to know, natural fats are better than processed ones.  And margarine is definitely a processed fat.  Natural fats, in moderation, are key to a healthy diet.  Crazy.  I love learning about the chemistry & alchemy related to cooking & food in relationship with our bodies and how we process it all.

I have a dessert recipe I make pretty often that calls for margarine AND butter.  You’re supposed to use the margarine in the crust part and butter in the fudgy filling part.  Lately I’ve been doing this, whereas I always just used to use margarine for it all.  Frankly, I can’t taste a difference at all.  And the butter melts SO. MUCH. SLOWER than the margarine did.  So it’s annoying. 

I have to say that melted butter on my popcorn is preferable to melted margarine, though.  I make my own popcorn, instead of buying the bags of prepackaged stuff.  I usually pop ¼ cup of popcorn (measured unpopped) and melt 2 tablespoons of butter to pour over it (slowly, as I stir & salt the popcorn).  Again, the butter takes infinitely longer to melt but it’s decidedly worth it.

I had been slowly working real butter into my cooking more & more.  But now, with Jake’s new low fat, low cholesterol diet, we’re going to be using Blue Bonnet Light margarine for just about all our needs.  It’s also dairy-free.  However, I'm trying to make more things without any butter/margarine at all now.  And more good fats like olive oil, avocados and nuts are being incorporated into our diet.

My younger brother’s recent declaration was, “If you have real butter, use it!”  (Perhaps paraphrased a bit.)  What’s your take?