Memories and healthy recipes for your dinner table.

Month: June 2010

Family Campout Tips and Checklist

Photo: El Capitan, Yosemite National Park While I love living in our time period and the technology that we are blessed to have I feel it refreshing to escape the fast paced world of video games and internet to reconnect with nature. I feel like […]

Lemon Sponge Puddings

There is a path by our old house that lingers near a home with a lemon tree in the back yard. What is so special about this tree is the fruit that grows on it. The lemons are the size of oranges and harbor a […]

The History and Many Uses of Lemons

Citrus Limon

Art Work by: Franz Eugen Köhler

No one is for certain where exactly the vitamin packed “Golden Apple”, as the natives of Northern India often referred to lemons, came from.  Lemons are believed to have originally come from India and China. Those in Northern India considered the lemon to be a valuable trade as they prized the lemon for its unique flavor in cooking. The Chinese used them as an antiseptic for wounds and as an antidote for poisons. The lemon eventually made its way to Egypt and the Mediterranean by way of the ancient Jews. Lemons were introduced to the Islamic gardens as an ornamental plant while the Egyptians used the leaves of the lemon tree in a drink known as Kashkab. Kashkab was a beverage made of fermented barley, mint, rue, black pepper, and Citron (lemon) leaf. By the thirteenth century the trade in lemon juice had grown considerably. Records of a medieval Jewish community in Cairo show that bottles of lemon juice, Gatarmizat, made with sugar were consumed locally and exported. Scholars believe this lemon juice to be an early version of lemonade.

By the time Christopher Columbus made his second voyage in 1493 the lemon tree was well established across the Mediterranean and Asian continents. On that voyage Christopher Columbus brought with him the seeds of the lemon tree, among other citrus trees, to the Island of Haiti. The Spaniards also brought a crew populated with scurvy (a nutritional deficiency) to the New World. Ironically they were carrying the vary fruit that could have prevented the disease. The antidote for scurvy was not published until British naval surgeon, James Lind, sanctioned the use of lemons in his “Treatise on the Scurvy”, in 1753. Nonetheless, his advice to give citrus fruit to the sailors was not implemented by the Royal Navy for several decades. By 1563 groves of citrus fruit including the lemon were introduced along the South Caroline coast and Saint Augustine Florida. Today California and Florida remain the largest producers of lemons in the United States while India is the world’s largest exporter of lemons.

Lemon juice is a complementary flavor in many fish dishes. Lemons are often used in marinades with poultry or red meat. They are also used to flavor steamed vegetables and lend flavoring in baking decadent desserts, cakes, pies, tarts, icings, puddings, fillings and candies. Mostly lemons are used as a garnish for iced beverages or hot tea. Besides cooking, lemons offer many healing properties.

  • Lemons are considered a diuretic and may be useful to help flush toxins out of the body. Drink a regular tonic of lemon juice and water to cleanse the liver. It is also thought to help dissolve gallstones, treat infections, asthma and arthritis.
  • Lemons have the highest content of vitamin C of all citrus fruit. Drink water flavored with freshly squeezed lemon slices to help boost the immune system
  • Mix lemon juice with hot water to aid in digestion and help cure nausea, heartburn, constipation, worm infestations and relieve hiccups.
  • Mix lemon juice with hot water and honey to relieve a sore throat.
  • Mix lemon juice and cranberry juice to help cure a bladder infection.
  • Use lemon essential oil mixed with massage oil to aid circulation.
  • Soak fingernails in a mixture of water, baking soda and lemon juice to clean nails and cuticles.
  • Wipe cutting boards with lemon juice to sanitize and get rid of odors.
  • Use lemon juice and vinegar to white underarm stains and ring around the collar. Then place in the sun.
  • Brighten laundry whites. Add 1/2 cup lemon juice to the wash cycle of a normal-size load.
  • Squeeze lemon juice on sliced apples or pears to eliminate browning.
  • Shine stainless steel and clean glass shower doors.
  • Spray lemon juice on your hair then go out into the sun for natural highlights.

To juice a lemon keep them in a bowl on the counter rather than in the fridge. Press down and roll the lemons on your cutting board before juicing.

Banana Oatmeal Muffins

Ideally one should be able to take any cake or quick bread recipe to make muffins. The banana bread recipe that we love so much by Baker’s Illustrated is not an exception to this rule. However, for our banana muffins we prefer a more delicate […]

June A New Hobby To Love

Photo: Hobbies Magazine February-March 1919 issue, cover by J.E. Standley Several years ago a friend of mine started a Yahoo Group for local moms comprised of her friends, our friends and their friends as a way to share news quickly without having to call everyone. […]

Skillet Tuna Noodle Casserole

Tuna Noodle Casserole

Tuna Noodle Casserole is what you get at the end of the month when the monthly grocery allotment is depleted and the items in the pantry and the refrigerator are limited. As for the pasta anything goes. I used half a box of the little tubular salad pasta and a can of mushrooms from the pantry. The extra pasta that was not added to the casserole was set aside for lunch the day.

I am not an advocate of purposely hiding vegetables I just like to use diced vegetables to help add flavor. The vegetables also contributes a few healthy vitamins and minerals that are lacking in an ordinary serving of pasta and tuna with peas. The broth is an important step that you may be tempted to overlook. Not only does the broth add a little flavor it helps to soften the celery and onion. If you skip adding the broth turn down the heat after adding the onions and celery and cook longer or you are likely to end up with crunchy tuna noodle casserole. I like the idea of not having to bake the casserole. First off the bread crumbs are eliminated and secondly the time is cut down to only 30 minutes.

2 cups broccoli
8 oz pasta
1 tbsp olive oil
1 celery stalk, diced
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
8 oz mushrooms, sliced, thinly
1/2 chicken broth
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheese
1 can tuna
Salt and pepper

Steam broccoli in a pot of water until slightly tender but still cunchy. Remove. Let cool then chop and set aside. Boil pasta in the same pot of water until desired doneness. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet. Add celery, onions, garlic and mushrooms. Cook over medium heat until onions are translucent, about 7 minutes. Add broth. Simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes.

Melt butter in the same skillet with the vegetables. When the butter has melted stir in the flour. Slowly whisk in the milk blending until all the lumps are gone and the sauce is smooth. Simmer until the mixture starts to thicken, about 3 minutes. Stir in cheese. Mix until well blended.

Stir in chopped broccoli and tuna. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Family Togetherness: Wednesday Breakfast

“Frukostdags” by Hanna Pauli Wednesday morning breakfasts appeared one day without any solicitation on my part. On Wednesday mornings I like to make pancakes. They make for a nice variation from the typical egg burritos or oatmeal. One Wednesday morning I was surprised to discover […]

Basic Homemade Pasta Dough

We do not eat very much pasta around here. When we do I prefer to make my own. I found a pasta maker years ago for $13.00. It seemed like such a bargain as the Kitchen Aide attachment can run you $150. I do not […]

June Website Review: Family Mint

Family Mint

Jeff Eusebio is the CEO and Co-Founder of FamilyMint.com.  Jeff created Family mint to give families an easy fun way to teach children and teenagers how to manage their money.

Family Mint is a free website. The way it works is you, the parent, sign up creating a virtual bank. As owner of the bank you manage your client’s (your children) funds matching interest rates, handling deposits and withdrawls just as a bank would for you. Family Mint takes the stress off parents by automatically depositing your child’s allowance in their account. Allowance deposits can be made weekly or monthly.

Each child creates their own account to keep track of their progress. They can manage deposits, withdrawls, transfers and plan long and short term expenses and saving goals. As the banker you can help motivate your child to save by giving them interest for so much money they save or by offering to price match when they reach a decided goal.