Food Trends 2017
Food Trends 2017

It’s time for my annual Food Trends update, this time of course focusing on predictions and trends for 2017 in food, nutrition, restaurants, and ingredients.

I find the focus on regional American cuisines and plant-based eating refreshing as well as the return to home cooked meals for Generation Z. This is a lot to digest, but included are some nice links to PDFs from Sterling-Rice Group, Baum + Whiteman, and the National Restaurant Association’s What’s Hot Culinary Forecast for 2017, as well as a list from Global Food Forums, that they keep updated as new lists and trend reports are published.

Global Food Forums: 2017 Food Trends
Top trend lists in food, beverage, and nutritional product trends for 2017

National Restaurant Association: What’s Hot 2017 Culinary Forecast

Sterling-Rice Groups: 10 Cutting Edge Culinary Trends for 2017

NPD: Predictions for 2017 and Beyond

Washington Post: Plant proteins, healthy fats and more 2017 food trends

Tasting Table: Our predictions for the most delicious food and drink tends of the year

Eater: Every Single Food Trend That’s Been Predicted for 2017

Kim Severson: The Dark (and Often Dubious Art of Forecasting Food Trends)

Linked-in David Craig: 2017 Food Trends Roundup

Oldways: Five Food Trends to Make 2017 The Best Year Ever

QSR: 12 Fast Food Trends for 2017

International Food Information Council Foundation: Functional foods, sustainability, protein, CRISPR, What’s Healthy

Baum + Whiteman International Food + Restaurant Consultants:
13 Hottest Food & Beverage Trends in Restaurant & Hotel Dining for 2017

Cookbook author and culinary dietitian Maggie Green coaches aspiring cookbook authors in the process of writing cookbooks, cookbook proposals, and building their author platform. Download her checklist “Am I Ready to Write A Cookbook?”

What We Ate Last Week Resurrected
What We Ate Last Week Resurrected

I just sat down to a lunch of leftover Hoppin’ John (from Monday evening) and stared to think about how I stopped my weekly What We Ate Last Week blog post. The reasons I stopped are somewhat unclear to me except I was bearing down on the deadline for my cookbook and I felt like I was always eating (read testing) the same thing.  Today, I quite frankly don’t feel too much different. The cookbook is in a different stage of production that’s for sure, but in some ways I feel like I keep cooking and eating the same food/meals. So what?

That’s the point of What We Ate Last Week. An honest glimpse into the evening meal for the GreenApron family – one whose lead cook (me) is a Registered Dietitian, former personal chef, culinary-trained, cookbook author etc., etc.  No secrets, no surprises, just a list of our evening meals.

“Are you cooking lots of gourmet food over there”? or “How many times do you eat out”? are questions I am faced with more often than  one might realize. So next week will be the first in the resurrected installment of What We Ate Last Week.

And now a quick question:

Does your week start on Sunday or Monday?…

What We Ate Last Week Revisited
What We Ate Last Week Revisited

When I started blogging one of my regular posts was a weekly recap called What We Ate Last Week.  This was my explanation for the posts:

“For the past few years I’ve kept a log of all the food I cook. Yes, I write everything down in a little notebook. Not that high tech. When I create a new dish without a recipe I write it down. When I prepare a new dish with a new recipe I write it down, along with the source of the recipe. Whether I make Red Beans and Rice, Barbecue Chicken, or Blueberry Muffins, everything is documented in the book. Now my method of organization uses this blog as an electronic list. Maybe it might inspire you to try something new. Maybe it might make you mutter to yourself, “she doesn’t really cook all that”, or “wonder what the kids eat?”. Maybe I’ll reach a point where I can provide recipes, or shopping lists, to go along with the menus. I’m a long way from reaching that point, so for now I’ll just share the menus. Use as you wish, or not. Thank you for your support.”

Now it’s May 2010. As some may or may not know I’ve used my  “little notebook”,  notes, and  menus as the basis for the cookbook manuscript submitted a few weeks ago with the publication of my book One Year in My Kentucky Kitchen (working title) in May 2011. Due to the number of  readers who benefited from the What We Ate Last Week posts I plan to resume them on a regular basis.  Here is a sample of the most recent What We Ate Last Week post.…

How To Crack An Egg
How To Crack An Egg

Today is Tip Wednesday (really?) and for today I offer a simple, forever-useful tip I learned from my friend Shirley Corriher, author of BakeWise.

Need to crack an egg? Are you doomed to the world of shattered egg shells?

To crack an egg like photographed in the above photo, hit the egg on a flat surface, not on the edge of a bowl, nor on the edge of the countertop. When cracked this way the egg opens beautifully, often with a straight-edged crack. This makes seperating eggs easier and opening the egg much easier as well. When hit on a pointed surface, or edge of something, the egg shell crushes making opening the egg a bit of a challenge. This is when you usually end up with egg shell in your food.

Yesterday evening, I was setting up a recipe test for a batch of oatmeal muffins (to bake this morning). I needed two egg whites. I hit the first egg on the flat counter and because of the nice straight edge I then seperated the egg with no trouble. The second egg I accidentally hit on the edge of the counter (old habits die hard) and ended up with both thumbs inside the egg’s shell before I got it opened. Then when I did finally crack the egg open I promptly put the whites down the drain and threw my seperated yolk in the cup. WRONG. I got so distracted by the crushed egg I did the wrong thing – I needed the white not the yolk. Oh well, such a simple tip but it makes all the difference in the kitchen. And maybe next week I’ll get my tip posted on Tuesday.

PS: I’ve enlisted the best male cook I know in helping me remember what we ate last Thursday. He snarfs down the leftovers so fast we don’t even have those around to help jog our memory.…

Tips for Keeping Your Kitchen Filled with Ingredients
Tips for Keeping Your Kitchen Filled with Ingredients

Today is tip Tuesday and I offer five tried and true tips on stocking your kitchen with ingredients for cooking real food.

Ask yourself, “What do I cook on a regular basis?” If the answer is nothing, feel free to move along to this post. Let’s face it; we all fall back on 7 to 10 familiar recipes around which our supper meals revolve. Keep assorted shelf- or freezer-stable ingredients on hand for these familiar recipes and then the temptation to resort to quick and easy fast-food or restaurant alternatives is lessened. What We Ate Last Week reveals the food I cook for dinner each week. From reading What We Ate Last Week you can probably surmise how I rely on canned black beans, red beans, chick peas, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, reduced-sodium chicken broth, pasta, white rice, brown rice, frozen lean ground beef, green peas, lima beans, corn, black-eyed peas, spinach, turnip greens, and chicken for many of our meals. Fresh lemons, garlic, potatoes, and onions are essential too.

After you shop, rotate the ingredients. Whether canned or frozen, dried or fresh, every ingredient has a shelf life. No matter the food with time it will go stale or deteriorate. Even dried beans don’t last a lifetime. Over time they lose moisture and turn into little, shriveled beans that are practically impossible to cook and soften. Every time you cook use older food first. When you shop move older ingredients to the front of the pantry or freezer and place the new ingredients behind the old. In food service lingo we call this principle of food rotation FIFO – first in, first out. Some cooks use a Sharpie to write the date on the top of their cans or boxes to ensure use of the oldest food first. I employee the Sharpie-method-of-food-age-identification for opened boxes of chicken stock stored in the refrigerator and meats I freeze.

Group like ingredients with like ingredients. In one area of my kitchen I store jars of spices and in another area I store baking ingredients. In yet another area I have a shelf for canned goods and boxes of cereal, crackers, and Cheeze-its. By storing like items together the possibility of food replication is reduced – meaning you won’t have six cans of cream-of-salt-bomb soup on hand when you realistically only need one or two, or none for that matter.

Take stock before you shop. After you make a plan for the meals ahead, take stock of what’s already in the house. Give your pantry and refrigerator a good look. If your pantry is full, avoid shopping the sales and bringing home extra food. Any spoiled or deteriorated food, no matter the price you paid for it, is always more expensive when wasted. On the flip side – use common sense. While it does pay to stock up, and have food on hand to avoid the seeming we- need-to-eat-out emergency, stocking up can lead to food waste so use …

What We Ate The Past Few Months

I’m taking you again to to  for a pretty tasty visual menu of foods we’ve eaten since I began this blog. Rice, beans, chicken, soup, salad, bread and the word green stand out. That means those foods were on the menus several times, and foods such as cherry, baguette, and alfredo appeared on our menus less. Bummer on the alfredo.

If you haven’t given wordle a spin for yourself, take a document and copy and paste the text into the wordle box to create your own word cloud.  Better yet, create a wordle valentine. You might (or might not) be surprised by the words that jump out at you. By the way, you’ll need Java to use wordle and to view my menu. If Java creates too much frustration, or causes you to spend large amounts of time monkeying with your firewall instead of doing more important stuff ,  don’t worry about it.  It’s pretty neat but not worth too much frustration.…

Baked Chex Mix - Part Duex
Baked Chex Mix - Part Duex

I just have to share a bit of information with you guys (and gals) and it’s not about this butterfly, or spring, or warm weather.  It’s about something food related:

About a month ago I posted several recipes for goodies I traditionally cook/bake around Christmas. This might seem rather odd, but homemade Chex Mix made the cut. We ALWAYS stir together a double batch of Chex Mix to nibble on during the holidays. Chex Mix is the perfect blend of salt, garlic, nuts, and crunch. I like to pick out the corn Chex first, then the rice Chex, then the wheat Chex, and all we’re left with is a bowl of lonely peanuts whose Chex Mix friends have been eaten one by one.

OK – so why am I blabbering on and on about Chex Mix? Well, my blog stats went through the roof back in December when I posted the recipe. Seems that General Mills had modernized their recipe by “baking” the mix in the microwave oven. They did this to all recipes on their boxes of cereal and their website. Can you imagine Chex Mix made in the microwave? Well, not me. Here on this blog you’ll find the old-fashioned oven-baked recipe. According to key search words many, many of you also want to make the oven-baked version, not the new fangled microwave-baked recipe.

This past week we were iced and snowed in by a massive storm which cut a swath of downed trees and power lines from Texas to New York. My state of Kentucky was particularly hard hit. Coinciding with this ice storm I’ve watched my blog stats go through the roof, again, due to searches for “oven baked” Chex mix. I mentioned this to the best male cook I know after dinner last night. “Do you think the ice storm is driving this search for oven-baked chex mix?” He looked at me as if I had two heads and replied in sort of a flat voice, “Ice storm? No, that’s not what it is. It’s the Super Bowl.” THE SUPER BOWL – I’m pretty sure he’s right – it’s the Super Bowl! Oven-baked chex mix and the Super Bowl are a perfect match. Salt, crunch, nuts, touchdown!

I say welcome if you’re here looking for the recipe for oven-baked Chex mix. Be sure to come back and visit from time to time. Better yet subscribe to my RSS feed and you’ll automatically be alerted to updates. But since you’re here, take a few minutes to read some other favorite posts and recipes:

Why Do I Share What We Ate This Week

Exploring Health In A Whole New Way

All I Need Is A Kitchen Table

and a few favorite recipes:

Quick Vegetarian Vegetable Soup

Winter Wheat Berry Salad

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Mark Bittman Posts Food Diary

This week Mark Bittman, on his blog “Bitten“, started keeping an online food diary called “What I Ate Last Week”. I personally believe an online food diary is a terrific way to show you that eating “well” is possible. I wonder where he got the inspiration? See my What We Ate This Week dating back to October 2008 for a menu of the evening meals we eat around here.  Mark, if you or Kate (hi Kate), are reading my blog, I applaud you for being open about what you eat!…

Surimi = Imitation Crabmeat
Surimi = Imitation Crabmeat

My cooking and ingredient knowledge got ahead of me last month when I posted the following surimi recipes:

Creamy Surimi Dip

Surimi Salad

I sat at lunch yesterday with my mother and 4 of my sisters discussing what “surimi” was. “It’s fake crab meat made with a white fish like pollock or hake”, I told them. “Ohhhh, so surimi is imitation crab meat”, one sister replied. DIONG – Lightbulb moment. On this blog I used the word from borrowed from the Japanese language – surimi- instead of a term we all might be more familiar with – imitation crab meat. I apologize if this confused anyone. The recipes are tasty none the less.…

Superfoods in A Super Diet
Superfoods in A Super Diet


According to the American Dietetic Association ,”superfoods are purported to have more significant health benefits than other types of food because they provide high amounts of one or more beneficial components”.

The concept of “superfoods” has captured much interest in the press. I think we all know we can’t live on one food alone, but a diet filled with wholesome foods serves us best nutritionally and forms the foundation for good health.

For healthy adults and children the goal is to promote health and reduce overall risk for some chronic diseases. Health and prevention is a two part process. First, eat a “super diet”. Include many of the foods below on a regular basis. (There are many, many “superfoods”. This is only a small representation.) Second, get up off your can (rather than reading blogs?) and move. Physical activity is key to healthy muscles, bones, and bodies. Now for a short list of some of my favorite superfoods. Note: phytochemicals are naturally occurring chemicals found in plants and antioxidants are a compound that prevents free radical damage to cells in the body. You’ll see these terms sprinkled liberally throughout the list.

Avocados may have a bad reputation for high calories and fat, but most of the fat in this fruit (yes, fruit) is monounsaturated, and avocados are packed with nutrients. Avocados contain about 60 percent more potassium than bananas and contain more vitamin E (which helps prevent muscle damage and reduces inflammation) than most other commonly eaten fruits. Make guacamole, chop it up and put it on top of a bowl of chili, or slice is and serve on a sandwich.

A medium-sized banana contains a whopping dose of potassium and, in case you haven’t heard, potassium is one of the body’s most significant minerals, critical for proper cellular and electrical functions. As an electrolyte, potassium actually carries a tiny electrical charge with it throughout the body. It regulates the water and acid balance in blood and tissues and is one of the most important nutrients for normal growth and building muscle. Use in a smoothie, slice and put on a bowl of hot oatmeal, or eat out of hand for a quick snack on the go.

Rich in antioxidants and anthocyanins (the blue color pigment), blueberries promote a healthy urinary tract and enhance night vision. Not to mention the phytochemical lutein and the natural sources of dietary fiber that may reduce the risk of diabetes, circulatory problems, and memory loss. Use frozen blueberries during the winter time when fresh aren’t available. Sprinkle fresh blueberries on spinach salad or make a yogurt parfait.

A readily available vegetable, broccoli boasts high amounts of vitamin C . Part of it’s powerhouse protection is derived from phytochemicals that give your immune system a boost. Use fresh in salads, or cooked in soups, pasta dishes, or cut into spears, sprinkled with a pinch of kosher salt and fresh lemon zest.

Dark Chocolate
Now we’re talking. Who knew chocolate was …

See The Bread Masthead...

In August we had the good fortune of vacationing in Northern Michigan – Northport to be exact. This was our second summer vacationing there. We love the fresh water, cool summer air, and the local food and wine scene. We don’t need, nor did we rent, a fancy place to stay, although next time I will look for a cabin/cottage with softer water. Not sure if rustic and soft water are used in the same sentence when it comes to Michigan cabin/cottage rentals, but it’ll sure be worth a look.

My dining companions minus the best male cook I know
Bread from The Stonehouse Bakery
Smoked Trout from Carlson’s
Assorted Fresh Beans
Local Sweet Cherries
Pesto Hummus and Cracked Pepper Cheese
The Spread

Anyway, see the masthead (the photo at the top of the blog) with bread and fork. That’s a loaf of bread from a bakery in Leland, Michigan. I loved that bread, and that fork fed me one of the best local food meals I’ve ever consumed. We sat on the deck of our little green cabin, sipping a chilled bottle of local white wine, eating sweet, drippy cherries and just-blanched green beans, smoked trout from Carlson’s in Leland, Pesto Hummus from Two Redheads in downstate Michigan, and Cracked Black Pepper “Fresh” Cheese from Black Star Farms. It was a stellar ending to a relaxing week. So why am I telling you this at the beginning of November when the beans are gone, the cherries all picked, and we’re home from Michigan? Well for two reasons: I haven’t posted the pictures or told the story before, and I wanted you to know where the photo of the loaf of bread at the top of this blog originated. And I wanted you to know that sometimes the best meals are the simplest, and often only a short drive, or bicycle ride, away. (OK, maybe that’s more than two reasons.)…

Why Do I Share "What We Ate This Week"?

For the past few years I’ve kept a log of all the food I cook. Yes, I write everything down in a little notebook. Not that high tech. When I create a new dish without a recipe I write it down. When I prepare a new dish with a new recipe I write it down, along with the source of the recipe. Whether I make Red Beans and Rice, Barbecue Chicken, or Blueberry Muffins, everything is documented in the book. Now my method of organization uses this blog as an electronic list. Maybe it might inspire you to try something new. Maybe it might make you mutter to yourself, “she doesn’t really cook all that”, or “wonder what the kids eat?”. Maybe I’ll reach a point where I can provide recipes, or shopping lists, to go along with the menus. I’m a long way from reaching that point, so for now I’ll just share the menus. Use as you wish, or not. Thank you for your support.…

Red Beans and Rice with Chili Vinaigrette

Serves 6 to 8

This recipe has been part of my repertoire for over 20 years and I’ve made it many, many times. It travels well to a potluck and tastes best served at room temperature – and that’s a bonus if the weather is warm.


3 cups cooked brown or basmati rice

1 1/2 cups cooked light red kidney beans, or one 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed

1 1/2 cups cooked dark red kidney beans, or one 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed

1 1/2 cups frozen or canned corn kernels

1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped

1/2 cup chopped green onion, mostly green part

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste


In a large bowl combine the rice, beans, corn, red bell pepper and green onion. Toss to mix. In a small bowl combine the oil, vinegar, brown sugar, chili powder, cumin and salt. Whisk until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is well blended. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Let stand at room temperature, tossing occasionally for up to 4 hours before serving, or cover and refrigerate up to 3 days.



Where Does Your Food Come From?

September 30, 2008 – Associated Press- A retail labeling law for fresh meats, fruits and vegetables will be implemented over the next six months on an interim basis to give all parties time to adjust and comply with the regulations. Federal officials said Tuesday that consumers will be able to tell where those products come from by looking at labels, stickers, placards and stamps placed on them in grocery stores. Farm groups have long pushed for country-of-origin labels. Meat from animals that are born, raised and slaughtered in the United States must be designated as such. Another label will spell out multiple countries of origin, such as “Product of U.S., Mexico and Canada.”

Value Meals

Food marketers are talking about value today in response to the falling stock market. Instead of attempts to get people to buy fleur de sel caramels, or high-end frozen desserts, we’re being lured to the simple and less expensive – Kraft American Singles and Campbell’s Tomato Soup anyone?

I suspect we’re going to be hearing a lot about value over the next several months. You know what I think is the best value? Eating at home. I’ve always felt that way and probably always will. When I eat out it’s not because there’s no food in the house. When I eat out it’s because I want to take a small break from my kitchen and relax while eating someone elses cooking for a change. Then I see the bill and pay the tip.

Cooking at home is a good value. Tonight for dinner I made a batch of white clam sauce and served it over whole-wheat spaghetti. Chopped steamed broccoli with lemon zest on the side. Glass of local Pinot Grigio. Quite a delicious, inexpensive meal. And before I get off my soapbox, make your coffee at home – it’s SOOO much less expensive.…