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By Chef Todd

You'll Have Barbeque Sauce All Summer With Home Canning

I’ve been making my own barbeque sauce since I was a kid, it's a really easy sauce to make, but it caused conflict in my household before I knew about home canning.

I’d make gallons of my “New York Attitude” Barbeque Sauce and portion it into used plastic Wonton Soup containers. The shear number of containers would fill my Mom’s refrigerator.

I had to find a better way to preserve my sauce without taking up the whole fridge. “People have been preserving food for generations,” I thought to myself. “They didn’t have refrigerators or Chinese take-out containers, how did they do it?”

At the time, I probably had to go to the library and look through the encyclopedias. That seems laughable now, but even as a child, I knew there was a better way waiting for me. I found it with a 125 year old device, the two-part lid canning jar.

The inventors of these jars are really the creators of home canning from that day forth. The idea is simple. Their jars consist of a flat lid with a rubber washer to seal the jar. A band fits over the lid, securing it to the jar but also allowing air to escape.

Under boiling water, air leaves the jar between the two parts of the lid. When it’s cooled, it creates a vacuum, sealing the jar in an anaerobic environment. This not only preserves the sauce, but keeps it safe from bacterial growth as well.

Hot water home canning is meant for highly acidic products like tomato sauce, marinades, and perfect for my barbeque sauce. At sea level, water boils at 212F or 100C. This is certainly hot enough to let the two piece lid do its job, and the acid content of the sauce will keep it safe.

If you try to eat locally and in-season, knowing how to store the freshest ingredients is one of the key elements in my FREE webinar, "How To Cook Fresh In 5 Simple Steps".

The Precise Canning Steps:
1 ) Inspect all jars, lids, and bands for defects.
2 ) Wash all jars, lids, bands, and any other equipment that will come in contact with the sauce.
3 ) Place a round cake cooling rack in the bottom of a very large stock pot and fill with water.
4 ) Bring the water to a full, rolling boil.
5 ) Place the empty jars in the boiling water to sanitize them.
6 ) In a small saucepan or bowl, remove some boiling water and place the flat lids in the hot water.
7 ) Prepare your barbeque sauce and keep it very hot.
8 ) Remove the jars from the water bath, one at a time, and fill with barbeque sauce
9 ) Be sure to leave 1-2 inches of “head room” between the sauce and the lid.
10 ) Wipe the rim clean of any spilled sauce
11 ) Stir the jarred sauce with a wooden stick to drive out excess air
12 ) Remove the flat lid from the warm water and place it on top of the jar.
13 ) Secure the lid with a band and hand-tighten only.
14 ) Place the filled jar, standing up, into the boiling water canner.
15 ) Wait 15 minutes and remove the jar to cool.
(Add 5 minutes for every 3000 feet above sea level)

As the barbeque sauce cools, you’ll hear the vacuum created as the jar lids are sucked toward the interior of the jar. Soft “ping”, “ping”, a symphony of suction is created and the jars are now safe for storage. Any jar lid that still yields to pressure when pressed with a finger has not sealed correctly. It should be refrigerated and not stored at room temperature.

The home canning instructions are different for low acid products, because there’s greater risk of bacterial growth. Items like vegetables or protein-based soups must be canned in a high-pressure canner because the boiling water bath does not get hot enough to assure the safety of the food.

As a child, I simply wanted to preserve refrigerator space. What I discovered is a process that’s been around for more than a century. Home canning saves money, preserves fresh ingredients, and is a fun and easy hobby when you know the canning how to steps.

By Chef Todd

Sticky Grilled Fish Change The Method Not The Food

Because white fish filets are so delicate and your barbeque is so intense, when the two meet the result is burned, dry fish that is destroyed when it sticks to the grill. However, changing your grill’s heat is the key to discovering how to grill fish without sticking to the grates and achieving great grilling success.

The cause of delicate products sticking to the grill is the same thing that gives you attractive marks when you grill hamburgers or steak, the coagulation of proteins and caramelization of sugars. Not being aware of these changes is one of the 3 big mistakes most people make when grilling.

Coagulation is the stiffening and shrinking of proteins. That’s why your grilled hamburger is considerably smaller than the raw burger you started with. Caramelization occurs when sugars reach 320F / 160C and turn brown.

However, fish is much more delicate than steaks for grilling, and need to be treated differently. Technically, fish proteins will coagulate before sugars caramelize, stiffening and shrinking around the grill grates, holding on tightly.

By the time you’ve achieved the grill marks and caramelization of sugars that will release the fish from the grill’s grasp, it’s too late. Your fish is burned.

How to grill fish without sticking lies in changing the way your grill is delivering heat during the cooking process. By turning one side of the grill’s heat off, and placing a pan of water on the opposite side, and closing the lid, you can create a moist, indirect conductive cooking method to delicately cook the fragile fish.

When you place the fish on the indirect-heat side of the grill, you can cook with the confidence that you’re not subjecting the soft proteins to the intense dry heat of the barbeque. With this method, you’ll know how to grill fish confidently without leaving most of your dinner stuck to the grill.

Beside fish, what other delicate products might you apply this method to? I’d love to hear your inspirations with a comment below:

By Chef Todd

10 Steps To Grilling Taught In Culinary College

I've been telling you for years that ALL cooking comes from step-by-step repeatable methods, not recipes. This is true for grilling as well. When I teach tomorrow's great chefs in culinary school, they are exposed to the very same things I teach you through this blog and my websites.

Professional quality grilling comes down to 10 basic steps:

1) Choose The Right Item To Grill - Grilling is intense, direct source heat. There's no time to tenderize something put on the grill, it just cooks too fast. Items to be grilled should be already tender and able to cook quickly. You can't grill a large beef roast. It would be charred on the outside and raw in the middle. This type of item is better roasted, smoked or braised with indirect dry or moist heat. The freshest ingredients are the easiest to grill and when you know how to choose the freshest foods, your cooking will be even easier.

2) Use Marinades Correctly - There may be no time to tenderize during grilling, but BEFORE grilling you can have a small effect on the food with a marinade. Marinades add flavor to grilled items, but if they contain an acidic ingredient they'll also break down connective tissue and tenderize your ingredient. Acidic ingredients like wine, citrus, or tomato are best.

3) Grill On HIGH - Grilling isn't for the faint of heart or the indecisive. There should be no lowering or increasing the heat during the process like saute'. The grill is the "rocket ship" of cooking. Let it blaze away to take advantage of the intense direct source heat.

4) Coat With Fat - Brushing your grilled item with olive oil or a high smoke point fat will aid in caramelization of sugars which will result in nicely browned foods with attractive grill marks.

5) Show Side Down - The presentation side of your item will be "up" on the plate so the diner can see it. That's the side that should cook the longest for the best plate appeal. Don't flip grilled items multiple times. They should cook as much as possible on one side and then finished on the other because nobody's ever going to see the second side. It will be facing down on the plate.

6) Sneak A Peek - After a few minutes you'll peek under the ingredient to see if those nice grill marks are developing. If they're not, leave it alone. If you see beautiful black caramelization lines, it's time to move the steak around.

7) Make a 90 Degree Turn - Move the item to a fresh hot spot on the grill and turn it 90 degrees from where it was previously cooking. This will develop the cross-hatched grill marks that look like a pro cooked it.

8) Cook 75 / 25 - Any grilled item should be cooked the majority on the first side and simply finished on the second side. As soon as you turn your steak, chicken or burger, you're just looking at a brown piece of meat. You've lost all the indicators of whether your item is done or not. Watch the changes in the food, the blood rising, the proteins stiffening and you'll make a better decision about turning it only ONCE.

9) Stick It To It - The ONLY way to quantify your grilling and tell when something is cooked to your liking is with a digital instant read thermometer. You don't have to guess when you cook to a precise internal temperature. You don't have to poke it with a fork or gash it with a knife. If your personal steak number is 140F for medium, as soon as the thermometer says so, it's done.

10) Bump And Run - This is what separates amateurs from professionals. If you've ever eaten a steak or burger from a bloody plate or a soggy bottom bun, you've seen a cook who doesn't bump and run. Because of the high heat, your food will continue to cook after it's removed from the grill. Juices will re-distribute and it's better if this happens for 5 minutes on a paper towel than on a bloody plate. Bump it onto a towel and run out to the dining room.

These 10 steps are what I teach in culinary school, but you don't have to be a professional chef to cook like one. Burn your recipes and cook with your eyes, your nose, and a little bit of science and your outdoor cooking will be a winner every single time!

By Chef Todd

The 3 Grill Issues That Could Ruin Your Cooking This Summer

A clean grill means that dirt and debris aren’t stealing heat from your food. For the most efficient and successful outdoor cooking this summer, start with these basic maintenance tips. And once you've taken care of basic maintenance, you want to get ready for cooking, and make sure you are not making the 5 Biggest Grilling Mistakes that almost everyone makes!

Your poor, poor barbeque grill, it took some abuse this winter. It had snow piled on top of it, freezing temperatures, spiders, dust, and carbonized pieces of last year’s hamburger spend an intimate winter with it.

However, now is the time for your grill to shine, so treat it well and your rewards will continue all summer long. There are three basic areas that you’ll want to inspect, clean and repair before you start cooking outdoors this year.

1) The Gas - Liquid Propane (LP) gas grills are potentially dangerous because of the flammable nature of the LP.
a. Inspect the LP canister for leaks or breaks. With some soapy water and a soft-bristled paintbrush, brush the water on the areas where the tank and gas lead are coupled. Also brush valve stem and valve of the tank. Bubbles indicate gas leaks and should be repaired immediately.
b. Be sure you have enough gas. Unless you have a pressure gauge on the tank, the only see how much gas you have is by weight. The average canister weighs 18 pounds empty.

2) The Grates - Clean and inspect the cooking grates for wear, rust, or remnants of last July 4th. This includes the lava rocks that are suspended above the burner. Vacuum the grates, rocks and bottom of the grill to remove debris

3) The Burner – The most important part of your grilling often goes neglected. Remove the I-shaped or H-shaped burner from the grill and inspect the propane holes for wear. If it has deteriorated such that the holes have joined together, making a large hole, this is potentially dangerous and the burner should be replaced.

With a clean grill, you’ll enjoy the cooking season more fully because your equipment will allow your true outdoor cooking talent to shine through. You can make those beautiful grill marks on your chicken or beef, so it has great eye-appeal. Also, don't forget that a grilling rub adds flavor for even the worst cooks, so get your spice rack ready too!

By Chef Todd

Fresh Eggs Are The Gateway Drug To The Farmers Market

“You pay FIVE DOLLARS for a dozen eggs?” my culinary class asks in disbelief. “I pay two dollars at the grocery store, how can you pay that much more for eggs?” they pressed.

“Here’s what I want you to do,” my response begins, “I want you to take this little tiny chicken, raise it for 3 months, feed it, house it, clean up after it, gather its eggs, wash them, package them, drive to the market at 5am, sit there and sell them all day, and I’ll pay you $1.99.”

Nobody wants to take that deal because they are used to eggs just APPEARING in the supermarket. They’re willing to pay less and know less about their food. However, there ARE hidden costs in buying commercially produced eggs, and they prevent you from the freshest cooking.

Massive scale egg producers regularly make the news for inhumane treatment of chickens and unsanitary conditions. It's no mystery why diseases then take hold in henneries. Massive numbers of chickens in deplorable living conditions become stressed, then become sick and contaminated, spreading illness up the food chain. And the next step up the food chain is YOU.

There is something you can do right now to improve your own health and the lives of these animals; you can buy your eggs from farmers who raise happy, healthy chickens the natural way because the real facts about eggs say it’s the perfect food.

Buy your eggs from the hand that pulled them from under the chicken. Fresh eggs are a gateway drug, after you taste ONE, you’ll think you’ve never eaten a REAL egg before. Then, inspired by the tremendous difference in something as common as an egg, you’ll be curious about other better-tasting products at the farmers market and you’ll be hooked.

Eggs from hens raised on pasture and allowed to freely forage outdoors produce a healthier product with more vitamins and higher levels of protein. Fresher eggs are obvious if you do what I did during The Great Egg Test.

Fresh eggs make fluffier omelets, stiffer custards, and baked goods with greater leavening resulting in higher, more tender muffins, cookies, brownies and quick breads.

Start with fresh eggs and you’ll be “Jones-ing” for the other items at your farmers market that look better, taste better, make you feel better, and you’ll be helping your community as well.

Starting TODAY, you can cook healthier, better tasting food and STILL save money.

"Discover my simple 5 step process for getting fresh, nutritious and cost-effective meals on the table every night of the week! "

By Chef Todd

3 Truths and 1 Lie About The Farmers Market

The farmers market is not a grocery store. A grocery store is a brick-and-mortar retailer who gathers global products that will sell to the largest number of people. If it doesn’t sell, it loses its shelf space.

The grocery store has one truth, it’s convenient. However, it also brings many lies.
How many times have you heard of products making health claims that are then removed because of a court order? Are the “natural” eggs from anti-biotic fed chickens your definition of natural? The grocery store is more advertising than advocacy.

But, your local farmers market is most often telling the truth. You can ask the guy that picked the tomatoes, chose the eggs, or raised the cow. He’ll tell you more about your food than the mega-mart employee, setting on your way to cook fresh foods.

There are three main truths you should bring to your mind for farmers market shopping success, but also be aware of the one lie that is already in your head.

Truth Number 1: You Need A Flexible Palate To Shop At The Farmers Market

You won’t be able to get everything all the time from local farmers. You may not be able to get some things at all, but that’s okay. The truth is that you should approach your visit with an open mind and an open palate.

With a little awareness, you can recognize which items are the freshest, which are in season, and which will yield the most food enjoyment. This is a dramatic change of thought for many people who buy ingredients for a recipe rather than creating a recipe from the ingredients available.

You have to pay attention to the season to get the most benefits from your local market. If your broccoli has a band reading “Mexico” and it’s October, that’s not the freshest product. But, when you anticipate blueberry season and enjoy them fully for 6 weeks, you don’t eat blueberries for the rest of the year. There’s something else to discover just coming into season. When you shop seasonally, you’ll really know how to save on food. http://www.howtosaveonfood.com

Please don’t confuse “organic” with local. Produce that is labeled organic has followed certain guidelines AND had the resources to file with the USDA. Many of your local farmers follow the exact same rules, without searching for loopholes, but don’t go through the arduous process of securing the label.

Truth Number 2: You Need To Spend Cash

Your local farmers are small business owners. They work very hard to provide wholesome food and should be rewarded for these efforts. Using a credit card at the farmers market gives a mega-bank 3 percent of the farmer’s money. Most market purchases are under 10 dollars anyway. Please don’t be the person who uses plastic to buy 3 apples.

The advantage of using cash to you is that it makes you more aware of your purchases. Farmer’s market ingredients are not waxed, gassed, or preserved like the grocery store so they will spoil more quickly. When spending cash, you’ll be limited to buy only what you will cook within the week. There’s no reason to stock up on farmer’s market foods. Next week’s purchase is still in the ground and will be even fresher in 7 days.

Spending cash also helps you with your food budget because it’s so easy to throw additional items into a shopping cart when you flash plastic through the check out line. With cash, you may have to make decisions between which items to buy. That’s an advantage because only so many items will fit within the weekly meal plan anyway.

Truth Number 3: You Need To Learn How To Cook

I speak with people all the time that want to take advantage of the benefits the farmers market offers, but they don’t know how to cook many of the ingredients there. Without confidence, they search recipes. Recipes call for specific ingredients, and that negates the need for the farmers market, as I said before. It’s a vicious cycle.

You don’t need to be a chef to learn to cook with the freshest ingredients. As a matter of fact, it’s easier to cook fresh food than packaged foods. When you concentrate on the basic methods of cooking, then you’ll realize it doesn’t matter WHAT you’re cooking when you know HOW to cook it correctly.

To take advantage of this great local food, there are three skills you’ll need in the kitchen. First, knife skills are important because your ingredients won’t come already cut up for you. Second, be able to replicate ONE basic cooking method like grilling, sauté, or roasting. If you can consistently sauté something well, it doesn’t matter if it’s chicken, beef, or vegetables. Third, know how to make sauces. A good sauce can improve the flavor, texture and appearance of any cooked item.

The Big Lie: The Farmers Market Is Too Expensive

Please stop saying that the farmers market is too expensive. It’s just not true. I think this myth was started by people who shopped there once, on a dare. Having spent their lives ignoring prices at the grocery store, they go local and for the first time scrutinize prices. “One pepper for a dollar-fifty?” they say, having paid even more by the POUND at the grocery store last week. They haven’t been paying attention.

The farmers market is NOT more expensive when you consider overall value.
The farmers market is NOT more expensive when you want to help your community.
The farmers market is NOT more expensive when you care about the earth.
The farmers market is NOT more expensive when you know the source of your food.
The farmers market is NOT more expensive when you know what is IN your food
The farmers market is NOT more expensive when you eat only local and stop snacking.
The farmers market is NOT more expensive when you spend money on less important things.
The farmers market is NOT more expensive when you get the value of shopping with family.
The farmers market is NOT more expensive when you teach your children about good food.
The farmers market is NOT more expensive when they treat the animals well.
The farmers market is NOT more expensive when workers are paid a fair wage.
The farmers market is NOT more expensive when you compare to take out food.
The farmers market is NOT more expensive when you buy only what you’ll eat.
The farmers market is NOT more expensive when you care about your health.
The farmers market is NOT more expensive when you shop there SMART.

Now, it’s your turn. Please leave a comment below and finish this sentence:
“The farmers market is NOT more expensive when…..”

By Chef Todd

These 11 Facts Prove Why Shopping
At The Farmers Market Is Better

I love shopping at the farmers market for many reasons. Before you start telling me your objections to avoid the best food in town, let me prove to you why you SHOULD be getting your food directly from the farmers, and then you'll know How To Cook Fresh.

1 – It just tastes better. If you are a fan of food, good food, this is where you’ll find it. I understand that many people have dumbed-down their taste buds due to the convenience and low cost of commercial food production. However, full-flavor food and the enjoyment of it is one of the greatest parts of being alive. Bright colors and brilliant eye-appeal heighten your cooking and eating experience. If you combine that with the REAL flavor of a local strawberry, peach, lettuce, or even chicken, you’ll have greater enjoyment from your food.

2. Live in the Moment (or at least the season) – They won’t have everything all the time at the farmers market, and that’s okay. You don’t get your birthday or Christmas every day either. When it’s Strawberry season, I enjoy Strawberries very much and then they’re gone. Luckily, it’s Blueberry season by the time that happens. There’s a connection you experience with nature when you eat only what’s fresh, local and available.

3. Farmers Are Working Hard For You. These guys work HARD to supply excellent food and I want my money to support them. Most often, they are multi-generational farmers and have a deep sense of pride in what they do. They’re not getting wealthy through farming, but do lead richer lives.

And, if you spend $100 at a farmers' market, $62 goes back into the local economy, and $99 out of $100 stays in the state. If you spend $100 at a grocery store, only $25 stays local. So, where do you want your money to go?

4 – It’s Good For The Earth - Food in the U.S. travels an average of 1,500 miles to get to your plate. This takes a lot of jet fuel and gasoline. Shipping food creates a lot of waste, and it’s often treated, waxed or gassed to help lessen this effect. Your local farmer loves the land that supports their family. Corporate farms are polluting, depleting lands, and using inordinate amounts of resources to make food cheaper.

5 – It’s Better For You – When food is harvested before it’s fully ripe, it has less nutrients than items allowed to ripen on the plant. If you’re to ship food 1500 miles, it must be picked before ripe to reduce spoilage. Much of the mega-mart food is highly processed and grown using pesticides, antibiotics, hormones or gene modification.

6 – The Serendipity of Something New – Grocery stores sell what sells. Farmers sell what grows. I enjoy seeing what is n ew every week at the farmers market, asking the farmer about it and using it in my cooking. My meals are never dull when I keep a wide variety of fresh, seasonal, wholesome foods on my table.

7 – You're An Animal Lover – I can’t even listen to stories about the mistreatment of animals. Now, I’m also a carnivore so this is a bit of a contradiction. I’m not enough of an animal lover to stop eating some of them. I’m higher up the food chain. If chickens, cows, and pigs are raised humanely, in sanitary conditions, and treated well, they have only one bad day.

8 – Eat Your Own Dirt – Not literally the dirt, but the minerals and nutrients native to where YOU live that are characteristics of local food. I believe there is credibility to the idea that food from your earth carries the minerals and anti-bodies necessary to keep you healthy. Knowing where your food comes from, the source of the food, is becoming increasingly important with the potential food safety hazards of global shipping,

9 – Cooking Is Easier and More Fun – When I vacation in Hawaii, I cook dinner almost every night because of the inspiring ingredients there. Many people ask me why a chef wouldn’t want a vacation FROM cooking. Just as a violinist would love to play the finest instrument, the freshest ingredients inspire you to cook. The freshest ingredients are also the easiest to cook and most nutritious. They’re like a Stradivarius violin or Steinway piano, you simply MUST play them.

10 – Make Gathering Your Food A Family Event – The farmers market is where people like you, people who care about food, congregate. Meet your neighbors, talk to farmers, enjoy the outdoors rather than fluorescent lighting and bring your family with you to learn about fresh food. The farmers market makes shopping an exciting treasure hunt and takes more involvement and thought than the grocery store.

11 – Avoid Plastics And Packaging – Think about how much packaging goes into the grocery store. Lettuce is in plastic bags, fruit is bound with mesh, even broccoli is placed on a Styrofoam tray and sealed! Bring your reusable bags to the farmers market and place your fresh ingredients directly into them and you’ll be saving landfills as well.

Farmers Market shopping has many more benefits over traditional mega-mart stores that might not be apparent to me. I’d love to hear what YOU think is the best reason for shopping locally. Please leave your comment below:

Starting TODAY, you can cook healthier, better tasting food and STILL save money.

"Discover my simple 5 step process for getting fresh, nutritious and cost-effective meals on the table every night of the week! "

By Chef Todd

Chocolate Easter Eggs You Can Make Yourself

Chocolate Easter Eggs that you buy in the store have questionable chocolate quality. I'm a chocolate fiend, I could have Chocolate At Every Meal, and just as I always assure the source of ALL my food, the same is true for Easter chocolate. I don't want sweetened vegetable oil, I want good quality chocolate!

Let's be honest, after you dye two-dozen hard boiled eggs and stink up your kitchen with vinegar and egg perfume, what do you do with those eggs? Can you eat THAT much egg salad within two days? I'm not a fan of egg salad, but I DO love chocolate and chocolate eggs have a much longer shelf life. They are a lot more fun to make as well!

The reason many people avoid making their own chocolate Easter eggs may be because they've tried in the past and became frustrated at chocolate that would melt, but never return to a hard candy coating. That's because the key to making chocolate Easter eggs is not melting chocolate, but tempering chocolate.

Tempering is a process where you melt chocolate to a precise 100F, and then add room-temperature chocolate to it. This aligns the crystalline structure and allows it to return to a crunchy state. This is the same method I used when I showed you how to "Make Your Own Chocolates For Valentines Day."

After the chocolate is correctly tempered, then your creativity can take over and use any shape as a mold. To create chocolate Easter eggs, I use a plastic one and apply chocolate to the inside with a pastry brush. I've also used small tart pans, muffin cups, and paper muffin tin liners.

I can't decide whether to make a cream egg or a peanut butter and chocolate Easter egg, but I can make both. Peanut butter can be sweetened with powdered sugar to make a great filling. Or, powdered sugar, water, and vanilla will make my simple cream filling.

This is where the fun and the mess arrives, because filling the chocolate eggs must be done quickly. The more you handle the chocolate, the more quickly it will melt from the heat in your hands. Fill them quickly, apply more tempered chocolate to the edges as a "glue", and seal the egg with another molded half.

Making your own chocolate Easter eggs is fun but takes some kitchen technique to complete successfully. Chocolate is better than dyed eggs, and creating your own holiday treats gives you pride in your accomplishment.

Do you think this is too much work for the reward?
Please leave your comment below:

By Chef Todd

Answer The Whats For Dinner Question Forever

"What's for dinner?" It's a question that makes many home cooks stressed and insecure. The pressure is on! It's up to YOU to conceive of, prepare, cook and serve dinner for your family. It had better be good or you'll be ridiculed. Don't blow it!

When you have no ideas, you search for recipes and try to follow their written instructions. You ask the cookbook for WHAT to cook and they try to tell you how to cook it. This type of search is half-flawed.

Recipe books are good for ideas, but they frustrate most home cooks because of vague directions and variables that make them hard to duplicate results.

However, if you turned your thought process around and concentrated on HOW to cook something, then the WHAT to cook question would answer itself. You'd be able to Make Your Cooking A Winner Every Single Time.

You can get fast dinner ideas by using a repeatable cooking method and simply change the ingredients. With command of a basic saute method, you can cook anything with the ingredients you already have on hand.

The meal I've improvised in today's video was imagined only 10 minutes earlier. I looked into my pantry, rummaged through the refrigerator and the ingredients presented themselves to me.

I've called this improvised dish Shrimp and Cannellini Bean Florentine using a stove-top saute method and only ONE pan to save clean-up time.

Perhaps tomorrow it will be Chicken and Black Beans Over Rice using the same exact procedure. Those pork chops will become an Asian stir-fry the next night all because I repeat the HOW and change the WHAT.

Answering the what's for dinner question should begin with asking yourself, "HOW will I cook dinner?" When you're confident in a repeatable method, the ingredients can be easily changed.

But, saute is only one cooking method, there are many more. If you want to cook great food more consistently, then you'll want to explore all the repeatable methods behind cooking. These are the same methods I reveal in my webinar, Discover The 3 Secrets To Making Your Cooking A Winner Every Single Time.

You can register for the FREE webinar HERE and you'll always have an answer for the what's for dinner question.

What 5-6 ingredients do you have in your home RIGHT NOW that you could apply this method to?
Please tell me your most creative ideas below:

By Chef Todd

How Food Saved Her Husband’s Life
And Confounded All The Doctors

Brandie Schwartz has made powerful changes in her life
through better food.

She may have saved her husband’s life through it. I’ve been following Brandie for quite some time, but only recently did I fully understand from where her passion emanates.

Her story serves as an outstanding example of what can be accomplished through self-education and small practices that have life-changing impact. It is so compelling to me because she personifies what I try to empower people to do through better food and cooking methods, and she’s accomplished it to incredible results.

I wanted her to share her experience with you, which I’ve condensed into this interview:

Chef Todd: “I know you’ve been on a difficult journey, and before we share all the details, what did you take away from the experience?”

Brandie: “Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food.” It’s a quote associated with Hippocrates, the father of Western Medicine. I say before you reach for a pill or get a needle, try to eat your medicine. You can eat one’s self to life!”

Chef Todd: “Are you against Doctors and Western Medicine then?”
Brandie: “No. Western medicine has a very valid place in the process of maintaining health. In particular, modern western medicine is remarkable in its diagnostic capabilities. It is this very strength that led me down the path of holistic health.”

Chef Todd: “Your path started with your husband’s health, right?”
Brandie: “In 2008, my husband was getting a head‐to‐toe physical to determine his eligibility for a job. Again, this is a major strength of modern Western medicine. The tests he undertook included echocardiograms, blood sugar urinalysis, and many more.

A couple of the tests came back with results that were a bit disconcerting. His A1C, a test that measures a three‐month running average of one’s blood sugar, was dangerously high, measuring at 8.7. Ultimately, the diagnosis came back that he was a Type II Diabetic and suffering from chronic Kidney Disease. It was a matter of time before his kidneys would stop functioning all together. My mission was clear. I had to find a way to heal my husband.”

Chef Todd: “What did the doctors say?”
Brandie: “They prescribed 12 different medications, and we received counseling from dialysis nutritionists. The diet that they encouraged my husband to eat was atrocious. Diet soda, white bread, and a host of other processed foods were not only allowed, but encouraged! This didn’t make sense to me and I was going to use all my education and research to the fight we had before us.”

Chef Todd: “What is your education?”
Brandie: “Most of my life has been dedicated to the health and care of others. As a teenager, I volunteered at the local hospital in my hometown, Odessa, Texas. I pursued a nursing career and eventually earned a Registered Nurse’s license and a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing. For over 16 years, I watched a cornucopia of humanity pass through the hospital doors. I specialized in wound care and ostomy. I noticed that patients who maintained a healthy diet healed quicker and more thoroughly than their counterparts that did not have comparably healthy diets. This fascinated me. My interest in holistic medicine began to captivate me.”

Chef Todd: “You were not a stranger to healthcare and research, how did you use your past knowledge and experience to help your husband?”

Brandie: “Slowly, with more and more research, the answers came to me. Simply put, eating real whole food was the answer. This revelation beckoned me to learn more. As a result, I attended the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and started Eat Your Medicine. My husband would be my first client. The results of our hard work would determine the course our future would take.”

Chef Todd: “You’ve told me your husband was a big man, around 400 pounds with high cholesterol and other health issues. How do you change the diet of a hungry guy like that?”

Brandie: “The first thing I did was to eliminate processed foods. If I couldn’t pronounce every ingredient in my food, it didn’t go in my pantry. Gluten was eliminated. My studies showed me that it is a tremendous inflammatory. Sugar as we know it was gone. Instead, we went with coconut sugar, honey, molasses, and other natural sweeteners. On the rare occasions when I made pancakes for him, we used pure maple syrup. I could hear the head of his endocrinologist explode as I watched my husband enjoy this wonderful treat.

We went to organic locally‐grown fruits and vegetables. When we ate meats, they would be from grass feed cows, and free‐range pigs and chickens. These meats provide proteins that are devoid of the hormones and antibiotics that are forced into non‐free‐range meats.

Our dairy came straight from the farmer. We ate free‐range eggs, and lots of them! I could feel his doctors cringe as we told them he was eating at least two eggs a day with nitrate‐free bacon. We drank raw milk, complete with all the fat that those wonderful cows give us. We ate raw cheese. The nutritionists and doctors were going to have coronaries of their own when they heard the direction we were taking.”

Chef Todd: “Did the doctors allow you to do this?”
Brandie: “We were doing it regardless. Our first dreaded meeting with a nutritionist was made at the dialysis center. She ran through a list of FDA mandated dietary guidelines and suggestions. As she spoke, I politely replied, ”No. We will not be doing that.” She became more and more infuriated and frustrated with me until she finally snorted, ”Well, I guess we’ll see when that lab work gets in!” Yes we would. We had one month before the next lab report. We were going to make the most of the time before us.

Chef Todd: “So you had a month to test your theory, with your husband’s health lying in the balance?”

Brandie: “During that month, we followed the prescribed plan. Eat real food. That was what this was going to be all about. We ate organic locally‐grown fruits and vegetables, organic free‐range meats, natural sugars, whole grains, and supplements. One of the supplements added was Tumeric, a powerful anti inflammatory. Cinnamon, a wonderful tool in naturally lowering blood sugar, was also added. Probiotics and digestive enzymes were additionally added. And, when we washed down our meals, it was with cool, clear water.

Chef Todd: “And your next lab report said…”
Brandie: “First, we lowered his prescription drug intake from twelve drugs to three. His lab work was drawn and the day to meet with our doctor and nutritionist was at hand. The news was remarkable. His blood sugar had gone from 8.7 to 6.3. It was now just above the normal range of 6.0. The argument of not being able to eat something wholesome and sweet was now mute.

His cholesterol had gone from a total of 202 to 155. Bacon, eggs, and whole dairy products are not the villain they have been made out to be. It was with no small amount of joy that I received the nutritionist’s comment, ”Well, I guess I can’t tell you anything.” That’s right! I’ll be eating real food!

Chef Todd: “Has he maintained these results?”
Brandie: “My husband used to say that after eating a rib‐eye, the thing he likes most for dessert is another rib‐eye. However, when he began to change his eating habits, something quite interesting happened. He started feeling full….and while eating less food! You see, what was happening was that my husband was eating more nutrient‐dense foods. As that started to take hold in his body, his brain started to realize that the body was getting what it needed. As the body was getting what it needed, the brain told the body it was okay to stop eating. As a result, my husband started to drop weight, more than 100 pounds, and he wasn’t really trying very hard at all.”

Chef Todd: “It’s amazing to help change someone’s life. When I started filming cooking method videos on YouTube, the tremendous response I got made me want to do even more, and reach more people. What has come from this experience for YOU?”

Brandie: “Our success in managing my husband’s disease has been the catalyst for me to get the message of health through whole foods out to the community. I continue to coach and counsel others in their wellness journeys. Their maladies may be different. But, the treatment is essentially the same. Eat whole foods in their original state. Eat your medicine. Eat yourself to life! And, if you need any help, feel free to contact me through my Facebook page. Look for me on Twitter, too!

Chef Todd: “Thank you very much for sharing such an incredible food-related success story with me and all my followers.”

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