Feta Substitutes

A few months ago, we decided to try to eat a little more the way the Mediterranean Diet is. Less meats, more vegetables, fish, and olive oil, etc.

One thing some of us don’t enjoy is feta cheese. It seems it is in almost every meal I see. I have found there are some substitutes that work just as well, and don’t taste, well feta-ish.

I have seen you can try ricotta. Now I really love ricotta but it seems a little too wet. You can drain it with cheesecloth and it will hold up better. Another cheese to try is called ricotta salata. It has a firmer texture than the ricotta in tubs you usually buy. It may also be called ricotta pecorino or ricotta secca. (Ricotta means re-cooked and salata means salted.)

It is made by heating up the whey (from sheep’s milk), adding vinegar so it will curdle, add salt and press it and put it in a cheese refrigerator (50-55 degrees). After 12 hours, take it out and press salt into the rind to remove any more whey. Let it dry for another 3 months.

I first heard about ricotta salata when I was at a county fair and watched a chef make manicotti using it instead of the ricotta usually used from tubs. It was very good. It is not as crumbly as feta or even regular ricotta but you can still break it up.

Another thing I don’t really care for is olives themselves. I’ll have to hunt for a substitute for that.

About your sneeze…

Ever wonder about what happens when you sneeze? This short video will show you.

The takeaway from this is that you should always cover your face when you sneeze and maybe try to stay far from others. Also try to stay away from others when they sneeze. Or at least wash yoru hands or other surfaces that have been sneezed upon. Sneezes can travel pretty far!

How fast do you fall asleep?

Sometimes during the day, you can feel so tired. When you are supposed to be falling asleep, do you just lay awake tossing and turning? ASAPScience has an entertaining video (below) about “How to Fall Asleep in 2 Minutes” based on what you should do before you go to bed and a technique the Navy uses.

They say to first sleep in a colder environment – around 65 degrees.
Take your hot shower or bath before bed. It actually lowers your temperature.
Put your clock out of site so you can’t see it.
Avoid caffeine and nicotene.
Exercise earlier.
Nap earlier.
Relax before bed without electronics.
Get sun exposure during the day – at least 30 minutes a day.
Go to bed the same time of day and get up the same time, even on weekends! (bummer)

Navy technique:
Close eyes and breathe out – relax each part of your body one at a time and focus on relaxation, try to clear your mind.

FoodPrint

The Victor crew came across a site called foodprint.org. So what is a FoodPrint? What we found is that they are calling a foodprint the result of all the processes it takes to get your food from it’s original state to your plate. They are concerned with sustainability.

Sustainability has to do with how easily the food you are eating can be replaced. With the world’s wild caught fish being over-fished, this could be a problem. However, the struggle is being told to stay away from farmed fish. If you do eat farmed fish, look for fish raised in a “recirculating” closed farm.

Grow a garden. Use your local farmer’s market. Bring reusable shopping bags when you go.

You can take a quiz to see how your foodprint is doing: Take the quiz

Homemade Dressing

Have you ever read the rather long list of ingredients in most of the dressing you buy in a store? Between the colorings and the unnecessary flavorings and the ingredients used for preserving, most of them just don’t need to be in them. It’s fairly simple to make a vinaigrette right at home.

Here is a simple Orange Poppyseed Dressing that we have made and love!
Ingredients:
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tb honey (optional to taste)
2 Tb white wine vinegar
1 tsp poppy seeds

Mix first four ingredients with a whisk. Whisk in poppyseeds.
Store in refrigerator for up to a week.

You can experiment with other citrus such as lemon, lime, grapefruit, tangerine. You can adjust the sweetness with honey.

Remember that olive oil in the refrigerator will solidify so you will need to take out the dressing a little earlier to bring it back to room temperature.

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