Honey Nut Cheerios With Banana

When I was a kid, my mom wouldn’t let us have “sugar” cereal. That means we didn’t get Fruit Loops, Apple Jacks or Honey Smacks. The closest thing we ever bought was Honey Nut Cheerios. I would eat bowl after bowl, but eventually they got pretty boring. So, I decided to mix things up, eating Honey Nut Cheerios with banana.

Honey Nut Cheerios with Banana

Honey Nut Cheerios with banana

I’m not really a cereal guy anymore, so I don’t have Honey Nut Cheerios — or any other type of cereal — very often. But, I was strolling the aisles at the nearby corner market last night, and I spotted that classic brown, yellow  and orange Honey Nut Cheerios box. For some reason I just couldn’t resist. I bought the cereal and some milk, and made my way home.

As I was getting ready to devour my Honey Nut Cheerios (for dinner — yup, I’m all grown up), I saw an aging banana sitting on my counter. I honestly hadn’t even thought about Honey Nut Cheerios with banana for years, but the memories quickly jolted back into my brain. I didn’t hesitate — I snagged the banana, peeled it open, sliced it up and tossed it on my cereal.

I’m happy to report that Honey Nut Cheerios with banana are just as good as I remember. I know it’s not adding much (cutting up one whole banana and throwing it on top), but it brings a whole different element to your “same old” breakfast (or dinner in my case).

Don’t get me wrong — Honey Nut Cheerios do just fine on their own, but Honey Nut Cheerios with banana simply gives you a new option. You should give it a shot and report back. I would love to hear what you think. You can leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out All Around Tim for more great food ideas!

Cheerios with Banana

Honey Nut Cheerios with banana

Traditional Full English Breakfast

Until I went to Great Britain last summer, I didn’t even realize there was a traditional full English breakfast. I always just assumed the British, Irish and Scottish all ate exactly what we do — bacon, eggs, waffles, pancakes, etc. Apparently, that was just me being a stupid tourist.

I was first introduced to a traditional full English breakfast in Kilkenny, Ireland. My mom and I walked into this restaurant and aside from a case full of pastries, there was just one thing on the menu – a full breakfast. Since I was hungry, there were no other options, and I wanted to eat like the Irish — I dove right in (not knowing what was included).

Traditional Full English Breakfast

Traditional full English breakfast

A traditional full English breakfast consists of poached or fried eggs, bacon (which is more like a thin slice of ham — not the bacon we’re used to in America), sausage, baked beans, a fried or grilled tomato, and white and black pudding. Depending on where you are, there are also sautéed mushrooms (my breakfast in Kilkenny didn’t include them, but my breakfast in London did). It’s a massive amount of food.

I didn’t know what white and black pudding were all about, I was just going to eat them no matter what. A few minutes into breakfast, one of the workers came up to our table and asked me, “How come you haven’t tried the blood pudding?” I wasn’t exactly sure what she was talking about, so I gave her a quizzical look. She pointed down to the black pudding and said, “That’s blood pudding.” That was the last thing I ever wanted to know. After that, I was hesitant to give it a try (I have a weird thing about eating blood). I finally gave it a try though, and I wound up eating the whole thing of black pudding (although I’m pretty sure I held my breath for the last few bites). It wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever tasted, but I honestly wonder if I would have liked it if I didn’t know it was blood pudding? I guess I’ll never know the answer to that.

The traditional full English breakfast I had (in Kilkenny and London) was a little bland, but it was still good. I just remember being really, really full when I was done. There’s quite a bit of food to consume. I’m heading back to London this summer and I won’t hesitate to have another traditional full English breakfast when I’m there. In fact, I might do some research to find out who serves the best in the city. When in Rome (or London), right?

The really cool part is, you can make a traditional full English breakfast at home. Aside from the white and black pudding (which I’m not sure are easily found in America), you can get all the ingredients you need at your local store. If you really want to make it traditional, buy back bacon (aka Irish or Canadian bacon) instead the bacon you typically have for breakfast. Don’t forget the baked beans! That’s one of the things that makes a full English breakfast unique.

You have to eat a traditional full English breakfast when you’re in Great Britain. If you don’t have plans to travel abroad, then you should cook one at home. It’s always fun to step outside of what you know and try something different. In this case, it’s not that much different than what we normally have in the States, but it still gives you a feel for how other people eat around the world.

Have you ever tried a traditional full English breakfast? What did you think of it? I would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below or connect with me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out http://allaroundtim.com for more on the world of food, sports and music!

Full English Breakfast

Traditional full English breakfast

Raw Onion Sandwich | A Trip Back In Time

My grandpa is easily one of my favorite people on the planet. The man is 83-years-old, and he’s lived a good, full life. I honestly learned more about him recently than I’ve ever known before. He’s visiting from out-of-town, and my brother, sister and I fired question after question toward him about his past. He didn’t hold anything back when he answered; the stories just flowed out of him. I could have listened to him tell stories for days.

Born in 1929, my grandpa lived through the Great Depression. The funny thing is — he didn’t even realize there was a depression at the time. His family was poor, but he honestly didn’t know the difference. He was just a kid growing up like he thought everyone else did. We asked him more and more questions about the Great Depression, and it was very clear that one of the things he remembered most was the food they ate back then.

Raw Onion Sandwich Recipe

Raw onion sandwich

Even though they were poor, my grandpa says he never went hungry. He told us that his family would walk three-miles to the welfare office every week to get food. They were usually given potatoes, cabbage and onions. That means most of their meals were very simple. One of his favorite treats was a raw onion sandwich. His mom would simply take two pieces of rye bread, lather on some lard, add a thick cut of raw onion and turn it all into a sandwich. He says that’s why he still loves onions today.

I’m a fan of onions too, so the idea of a raw onion sandwich peaked my interest. Not only would it be good to try, it would also give me a quick glimpse into my grandpa’s past. It would allow me to taste something similar to what he tasted more than 70 years ago as a little boy in during the Great Depression. So, I decided to give a raw onion sandwich a shot.

This is what you need…

Great Depression Raw Onion Sandwich Recipe

Raw onion sandwich

Raw Onion Sandwich Recipe

Two slices of rye bread
Butter or mayonnaise (I’m not sure lard is readily available anymore)
One sliced onion

Like I mentioned, coat the rye bread with butter or mayonnaise, throw the sliced onion between the two slices of bread and consume. That’s the simplest form of raw onion sandwiches, and the way my grandpa ate them as a kid. You can easily get more creative than that. I’ve seen other recipes call for salt and pepper, and one recipe that uses peanut butter instead of mayonnaise or regular butter. I might need to give that a shot sometime.

As you can imagine, my grandpa’s raw onion sandwich recipe tastes like raw onions, butter and rye bread. It’s pretty darn simple, but it tasted much better than I thought it would. I liked it enough that I made another raw onion sandwich after I finished the first one. With that said, I probably won’t be making one again anytime soon. There are too many options nowadays with much more flavor, and I don’t really eat much bread. Not to mention, I’m still trying to get the onion taste out of my mouth.

Tim Lewis | Raw Onion Sandwich

Me biting into a raw onion sandwich

I’m so thankful my grandpa was willing to take us back in time with his stories of the Great Depression. You could see the light on his face as he reflected back to his younger days, speaking of his parents and the community he grew up in near Chicago. His stories encouraged me to step out of my box to try something different, and it might sound weird, but a raw onion sandwich allowed me to connect with my grandpa on a different level. And although I didn’t share the experience with him personally, it’s a moment I can hold on to forever (and relive again and again in the future).

Have you ever tried a raw onion sandwich? What did you think? Have your parents or grandparents shared their stories from the Great Depression? I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out http://allaroundtim.com for more fun recipes!

P.S. I want to tell you a few other stories that my grandpa shared about food during the Great Depression.

He told us about how his mother would go to the creek every Sunday. She would stand in the water, dig her hands under the rocks and pull up crawfish after crawfish. He said she would do it for hours; so long that her fingers were bleeding by the end of the day. They would take the crawfish home, boil them up (he can remember the sound of them fighting to stay alive in the hot water) and eat them once they turned red.

My grandpa also shared a story of how the men in the community would put large nets in the trees. They would then sprinkle bird seed in the trees to lure in the sparrows. Once there were enough birds over the net, the men would pull a string and capture all the sparrows. They’d take them home, pluck the feathers and boil the birds for dinner.

There was one other memory my grandpa shared. He can remember people digging through the dirt to find dandelion stems. Instead of lettuce, they would use dandelion stems for salad. I’ve never tasted a dandelion stem, so that might be next on my list.

It’s amazing to hear what a hunting and gathering society it was during the Great Depression. I should have assumed that (you need to do whatever you can to stay alive), but I never really thought about it. My grandpa says after everyone collected their food, they would have community dinners. If you worked to get the food, then you and your family got to eat that night.

My grandpa’s stories make me feel fortunate that I’ve never had to go hungry. I’ve always been able to afford a snack when I want one. I’m also thankful I had an opportunity to hear my grandpa’s stories about the Great Depression. It helped me learn about him and a period of history I’ve always been interested in. I hope you enjoyed the stories, too.

Raw Onion Sandwich

Raw onion sandwich

Incredible Grilled Oysters Recipe

I love oysters. I’m not afraid to admit it. I enjoy them raw, but I’m especially fond of grilled oysters. I remember the first grilled oysters I ever had. I couldn’t get enough of them. I literally at 30 all by myself. My passion for grilled oysters hasn’t died since. Anytime I can get my hands on them — I do. The best part is: you can make grilled oysters tonight, and it’s fun and easy!

Incredible Grilled Oyster Recipe

A bucket full of raw oysters ready to be grilled

All you really need for grilled oysters is a barbecue, oysters and an oyster shucker. Yup, it’s that simple. My friend Kyle (who I look at as the master of grilled oysters) advises against using a really nice grill for grilling oysters. Apparently, the salt water can damage your grill, so he suggests using an older grill or a cheaper hibachi instead. Unless you’re grilling oysters every night, I can’t imagine there being a problem with using your normal/nice grill. But, I just wanted to give fair warning.

Here’s how it works:

In the world of oysters, they always tell you the smaller the better, but I suggest using the larger Pacific oysters for grilling. The oysters tend to shrink when they’re grilled, so a gerthy oyster works best.

Kyle and I typically trek the beach behind his house when the tide is down to find a few oysters (nothing beats free oysters), but you can also simply buy oysters at your local market, which is probably easier said than done when you live away from a coastal city. However you need to get your hands on oysters — do it.

After you have your oysters — fire up the grill. I suggest using medium to high heat. Place the full oysters (shell and all) directly on the grill grates. Close the grill and let the oysters cook. Once they open up a little, that means they’re ready to rock.

NOTE: I recommend using sturdy yard gloves or an oven mitt for this next step, because the oysters are hot (and the juices inside are even hotter). Plus, you’re protecting yourself from an arrant shucker.

Take the opened oyster off the grill and use the oyster shucker to remove half the shell (simply slide the point of the shucker into the back of the oyster and twist — it should come off easily). Try to keep those juices in with the oyster while you’re shucking. They’re full of flavor, so you want to keep them around as much as possible.

Grilled Oysters Recipe

Oysters on the grill

You can choose to slug the oyster right off the grill (I highly suggest letting it cool a little bit first), or you can have a little fun with it (this is my favorite part). Feel free to top grilled oysters with anything you want. I’ve used soy sauce, cocktail sauce (usually mixed with a little horseradish for some kick), lemon juice, Tabasco sauce — the list goes on and on. You can honestly use anything. There are some really “classy” grilled oyster recipes available (with all sorts of herbs, cheeses and butters), but I personally like my grilled oysters simple (because I actually enjoy tasting the oyster).

NOTE: This next part fits into that ‘Incredible Grilled Oysters Recipe’ title that I have for this post.

Kyle (again, the master of grilled oysters) enjoys using Tiger Sauce and Parmesan cheese (the shredded stuff; not the powder you put on pizza). Once he peels off half the shell, he coats the oyster in Tiger Sauce and Parmesan and then places it back on the grill. He lets the oyster (now just on the half shell) heat long enough until the cheese melts, and then it’s time to take them down. Trust me, it’s an incredible grilled oysters recipe.

If you don’t have access to a grill, you don’t have to be left out. That’s because you can easily bake oysters in the oven. I usually wrap the inside of a long casserole dish with aluminum foil and place the oysters in the dish. I preheat the oven to 425 degrees and then let the oysters sit in there until they open. From my experience, it takes a little longer for oysters to open in the oven than it does on the grill. Just like on the grill, once the oysters open, they’re ready to be eaten.

I personally think everyone can enjoy grilled oysters. I’ve known plenty of people who won’t eat raw oysters (because of their texture), but they’ll eat a dozen grilled oysters in a sitting. That’s because the heat toughens the oysters up and takes away all of the raw oyster “slime” that many people don’t like.

Grilled Oysters Recipe

Where Kyle and I usually get our oysters

Half of the fun of grilling oysters is the grilling part (at least the way we do it). We usually just gather around the barbecue, swill a few beers and eat the oysters as they come off the grill. There’s no plates, silverware or dinner table — you just grab the oysters, choose your ingredients and eat around the grill. Although shellfish is considered better in the colder months, grilling oysters is an awesome summertime activity (even though I’m all about grilling oysters year-round).

If you haven’t tried grilled oysters before — I suggest giving them a shot as soon as possible. If you’ve had raw oysters before, and you’re trying to find a new way to eat them – give the Tiger Sauce and Parmesan cheese recipe a try (you won’t regret it).

I’d love to hear what you think once you’ve tried grilled oysters (especially if you try to special recipe). I would also love to know how you choose to devour grilled oysters. You can simply share your recipe in the comment below, or you can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and . Don’t forget to also check out http://allaroundtim.com for more on the world of food, sports and travel!

Horiatiki Salad Recipe

When you work in the television news business, dinner breaks are hard to come by. That’s why it’s nice to find some solid restaurants near work. You need places that you can grab food and go. One of my favorite local restaurants is called the Grecian Corner (located at Fisher Plaza in Seattle). They serve up all sorts of traditional Greek food, but my favorite item is easily the Horiatiki Salad.

My dad is the one who introduced me the Horiatiki Salad when I started working in Seattle in July. He literally eats one every Tuesday night. I had never heard of Horiatiki Salad before, but now I’m hooked. It’s the only thing I order when I go to the Grecian Corner (aside from the occasional gyro, of course). If you live out of the area, I’m pretty sure every Greek joint around the globe offers a Horiatiki Salad, so keep your eyes peeled.

If you don’t eat out often, or Horiatiki Salad isn’t on the menu at your favorite Greek restaurant — you can make it yourself. Horiatiki Salad is really, really, really easy to make at home. All you basically need are fresh vegetables and a knife. It doesn’t involve any cooking (unless you want meat), so the salad only takes a few minutes to make. Here’s what you need you:

Horiatiki Salad Recipe

Horiatiki Salad

Horiatiki Salad Recipe

2 tomatoes
2 peperoncini peppers
1 cucumber, peeled
1 white onion
feta cheese
kalamata olives

Dressing

3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/8 tsp. dried oregano
salt
pepper

NOTE: The number of vegetables vary depending on how large you want to make your Horiatiki Salad, but you’ll need at least two tomatoes, two peperoncini peppers, one cucumber and one onion.

All you have to do is cut up the tomatoes and cucumber into chunks (said like a true bachelor), and thinly slice the white onion. Add the feta cheese (the Grecian Corner uses crumbled feta, but other recipes I’ve found call for slabs of feta) and kalamata olives (I personally believe the more olives the better). I’ve also seen other Horiatki Salad recipes calling for two tablespoons of fresh parsley to be mixed in with the salad (and some for garnish).

As for the Horiatiki Salad dressing, the Grecian Corner wouldn’t share their secret recipe with me, so I found a recipe online. All you have to do is whisk the olive oil, red wine vinegar and oregano together. Add salt and pepper to taste. Since they wouldn’t share their recipe with me, the Grecian Corner suggested using an Italian dressing if you don’t want to hassle with making it yourself.

You can also add meat to your Horiatiki Salad if you want. When I get mine from the Grecian Corner, they top it with a pile of gyro meat. I’ve also had their Horiatiki Salad with lamb (served on a skewer). I know gyro meat isn’t easily accessible to most people (unless you have one of those huge, rotating chunks hanging out in your kitchen), so you should probably stick with lamb if you want to add meat at home.

That’s the best part about Horiatiki Salad — you can’t really mess it up. Yes, there’s a recipe, but you can totally make it your own. If you want more cucumber and less tomato; make it with more cucumber and less tomato. I load up on kalamata olives, but some people probably only use a few olives. Make your Horiatiki Salad however you want to — just be sure to make one — there’s no way you won’t love it (unless you hate vegetables, and in that case, you should have stopped reading this a long time ago)!

Do you have a special Horiatiki Salad recipe? Are there any other secrets to jazz up a Horiatiki Salad? I’d love to hear from you. Please leave your comment or recipe below, or connect with me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out http://allaroundtim.com for the latest on food, music and sports!

Horiatiki Salad Recipe

Horiatiki Salad

Evolution Fresh | The Best Orange Juice Around

My name is Tim Lewis and I’m an orange juiceoholic. It’s not just any orange juice though — it’s only the fresh squeezed stuff. You’re missing out if you’re still buying orange juice from concentrate. I’m pretty sure I’ve tried every type of orange juice there is, and one stands out as my all-time favorite: Evolution Fresh orange juice.

Evolution Fresh Orange Juice

Evolution Fresh orange juice

I was introduced to Evolution Fresh orange juice at Starbucks about a year ago. I saw it sitting on the shelf and just needed to try it (thanks to my addiction to O.J.). The stuff blew my mind. It was unlike any other orange juice I’d ever had, and it was in its simplest form. The only ingredient in Evolution Fresh orange juice is oranges (five of them to be exact).

There’s a big difference in the way Evolution Fresh makes their orange juice compared to others. Evolution Fresh cold squeeze the oranges, so the juice is never heated. Most other orange juices are pasteurized. That means they’re basically flash heated to kill any organisms that might cause disease or spoilage. If you look at the orange juice in your refrigerator, I guarantee it says “pasteurized” somewhere on there — unless the O.J. in your fridge is Evolution Fresh orange juice. I honestly wouldn’t have guessed that pasteurized orange juice tastes different than cold-squeezed orange juice, but I think that’s what makes Evolution Fresh really stand out.

It’s funny how our world works though. The less Evolution Fresh does with their orange juice (plain and simple — they squeeze it and bottle it); the more they charge for it. A 15.2 ounce bottle costs around $4. You can almost get an entire 59 ounce container (or larger) of other orange juices for that price. That’s almost four times the liquid for the same price. Fools like me don’t help the cause. I’m more than willing to pay $4 for a bottle of Evolution Fresh orange juice, so why wouldn’t they charge that much?

I used to only find Evolution Fresh orange juice at Starbucks (like I mentioned before), but now it’s at Safeway as well. That’s a double-edged sword. I like that Evolution Fresh is more accessible, but I can’t go to Safeway without buying some now. That means my bill for orange juice keeps shooting through the roof.

I’ve tried some of the other Evolution Fresh juices, but I don’t think they match their orange juice (although the Defense Up smoothie is pretty good). Evolution Fresh is popular enough now that they’ve even opened stores in Washington and California (serving food, juice and smoothies). I’ve visited one of their locations in Seattle, but I’ll save that experience for another post.

If you get your hands on Evolution Fresh orange juice — be warned — you’ll never look at orange juice the same again. I still buy and drink other O.J. (because they’re more affordable), but they simply don’t compare to Evolution Fresh anymore. It’s like comparing a Lamborghini with a tricycle. Yes, Evolution Fresh orange juice is that good. You should give it a shot sometime!

Have you ever tried Evolution Fresh orange juice? What do you think of it? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a message below or connect with me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Don’t forget to check out http://allaroundtim.com for more on the world of food, music and sports!

The Best Way To Eat Thin Mints

‘Tis the season for Girl Scout Cookies! As always, there are some incredible options: Samoas, Tagalongs, but let’s be real — nothing beats Thin Mints. They’re the best of the bunch, and in my opinion, they’re not even in the same ballpark as the rest of them. Thin Mints are the king of Girl Scout Cookies. They’re good no matter how you devour them, but I honestly think I know the best way to eat Thin Mints.

Thin Mints

Thin Mints

We’re not making ice cream or cupcakes — I’m keeping this really simple. All you need are Thin Mints and a small glass of milk. Yes, a lot of people probably eat Thin Mints with milk (or I assume they do), but there’s an art to it that not everyone knows.

If you take Thin Mints directly out of the roll and dunk them into milk, not much happens. They’re coated with chocolate, so the milk slides right off. Here’s the secret: take a small bite (probably described better as a nibble, but I didn’t want to sound like a sissy) out of the Thin Mints first. After you’ve done that, dunk the Thin Mints under the milk. I mean really get in there. Submerge the whole cookie under the milk. When you do this, it allows the milk to get inside the Thin Mints. You know you’re doing it right when you see little air bubbles come to the top of the milk.

NOTE: Your fingers are going to get wet in the process (if you’re truly giving it 100%), so be sure to have a napkin handy.

I like to leave the Thin Mints under the milk for a few seconds before I eat them. The milk softens up the inside of the cookie a little bit, but the chocolate still stays firm on the outside. Doing this truly takes Thin Mints to a whole new level. It’s like eating a Peppermint Pattie, but even better.

I’m going to state the obvious here, but the longer you leave the Thin Mints under the milk, the softer they’re going to get. That means you need to make a few test runs to find out exactly how you like them. This probably makes me sound like a nerd, but I find myself counting down the seconds in my head (3, 2, 1…eat) when I really get in a groove (and you thought I was lying when I said it’s an art). Chugging the post-dunking milk is an added bonus.

Thin Mints are delicious, but this approach takes a good thing and makes it even better. I really think this is the best way to eat Thin Mints (said in the least dorky way possible). I encourage you to give it a shot and let me know what you think. You can easily leave a comment below, or you can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Google+. I can’t wait to hear from you!

Chocolate Caramel Bars

My family has always enjoyed making Christmas cookies. I remember digging through recipes as a kid, hoping to find the perfect treat for the holiday season. The tradition has slowed down over the years (as my family has started to spread out), but I know it will never die. My mom asked if I wanted to make chocolate caramel bars for dessert on Christmas Eve and I jumped all over the opportunity.

My mom picked out the recipe, but I did all the work. I only tell you that because I’m not the greatest cook in the world. That means this recipe is easy enough for anyone who wants to do it. Here’s how it goes!

Chocolate Caramel Bars

Chocolate caramel bars

Chocolate Caramel Bars

1 bag Kraft caramels
6 tablespoons evaporated milk
1 cup flour
1 cup quick oats
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 (6 ounce) package chocolate chips

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix flour, oats, salt, baking soda and brown sugar. Pour in melted butter; stir. Press half of the mixture into 8×8-inch greased pan. Bake for 12 minutes.

While the bars are baking, melt the caramels and evaporated milk (microwave on high for two minutes, stir, and then microwave for two more minutes). Stir and set aside.

Remove the bars from the oven, sprinkle chopped nuts and chocolate chips across the top. Spread the caramel mixture over the top, and then sprinkle the rest of the crumb mixture evenly over the caramel. Bake for 25 more minutes.

The recipe says the chocolate caramel bars should set overnight and I agree with that. We ate a couple of the bars about an hour after I made them on Christmas Eve (they were delicious), but I think they were even better after sitting until the next day.

The biggest pain of making the chocolate caramel bars was unwrapping all of the Kraft caramels. I needed a larger number of bars, so I actually doubled the recipe when I made them. That meant unwrapping two bags of caramels. I’ll say this though — it was better than making the caramel from scratch, and it was all worth it when I saw the caramel oozing out of the bars when I pulled them out of the oven.

The chocolate caramel bars got rave reviews from everyone who tried one (or two or three). I even got praise from my sister, and she’s picky. I might have been the biggest critic. I was honestly hoping the bars would taste a little more like caramel. With that said, I still highly recommend the chocolate caramel bars to anyone who wants to make them.

Do you have a chocolate caramel bar recipe you’d like to share? I’m always open to trying new things. You can leave your recipe/comments below, or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out http://allaroundtim.com for more great recipes!

Chocolate caramel bars

Chocolate caramel bars right out of the oven

Healthy Meal | Cantaloupe And Cottage Cheese

A little more than two years ago, I went on a quest for fitness. Over a one-year period of time I dropped 40 pounds, and I felt better than I have in my entire life. While I was on my quest, I was always on the prowl for quick, healthy meal ideas. One of my favorite go-to recipes was cantaloupe and cottage cheese.

Cantaloupe and cottage cheese

Cantaloupe and cottage cheese

I’m a dude, so I needed simple. Cantaloupe and cottage cheese is truly as easy as it gets. All you have to do is cut a cantaloupe in half, spoon out the seeds from the inside, and then fill the crater in the cantaloupe with cottage cheese. Poof! Just like that you have a healthy, delicious meal!

According to CalorieCount.com, there are 300 calories, 40 grams of carbohydrates, nearly 29 grams of protein and less than 5 grams of fat in half a cantaloupe and cottage cheese. It’s a perfect idea for breakfast or an afternoon snack.

Healthy Meal | Cottage Cheese and Cantaloupe

Cantaloupe and cottage cheese

Cantaloupe and cottage cheese is a solid alternative for your post workout meal as well, especially if you don’t like protein shakes. The melon is high on the glycemic index, so it’s a fast-acting carbohydrate. That means the cantaloupe will spike your insulin levels, allowing glucose to get into your muscles. That glucose creates a pathway for the protein from the cottage cheese to build up everything that you just broke down at the gym, on your run, etc. I’m not a scientists, so I’m describing the process how I understand it. I hope it all makes sense. If not, just trust that cantaloupe and cottage cheese is good for you!

You should give cantaloupe and cottage cheese a try. You won’t regret it. It’s filling, tasty and healthy. What else could you ask for? If you’re like me, you’ll keep coming back to it over and over again.

I’m not on the fitness quest I was on before (although I desperately need to get back to it), but I’m still looking for quick, healthy meal ideas. Please share your ideas and recipes in the comment section below, or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Thanksgiving | Green Bean Casserole Recipe

What’s the one Thanksgiving food you can’t go without? I asked that question to my Facebook fans the other day. The answers ranged from ‘a BIG drumstick’ to ‘my mom’s cornbread dressing’ to ‘carmelized brown sugar sweet potatoes’. Those all sound amazing (and I would devour all of them in a heartbeat), but nothing beats green bean casserole at Thanksgiving.

When I was a kid, my mom made us choose which side we wanted to make at Thanksgiving. I always chose green bean casserole. I was the first one awake, so I always had first pick year after year. My green bean casserole recipe has transformed a little bit over the years, but it hasn’t changed much.

Green Bean Casserole

Green bean casserole

Here it is!

– 10 3/4 oz. can of cream of mushroom soup
– 3/4 cup milk
– 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
– 2 6 oz. containers of French’s French Fried Onions
– 2 14 1/2 oz. cans of green beans (drained)

Note 1: This green bean casserole recipe is six servings

Note 2: I like A LOT of fried onions in my green bean casserole. Plus, there’s always some extra to munch on along the way.

– Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
– Mix the soup and milk, and then the add pepper, green beans and a container of fried onions in a casserole dish.
– Bake the green bean casserole for 30 minutes
– Take the green bean casserole out of the oven and stir it
– Top the green bean casserole with more onions (I usually use half of the second container, but cover it with as much as you’d like)
– Bake the green bean casserole for another five minutes
– You’re done!

Green Bean Casserole Recipe

Green bean casserole

I always tell myself I’m going to make green bean casserole throughout the year, but it never happens. I think there’s a part of me that’s scared that I’ll ruin my love for it. My current routine of once a year keeps me craving green bean casserole every Thanksgiving.

I hope you have a very happy Thanksgiving! Please let me know if you have an awesome green bean casserole recipe (or a fun twist to mine). I’m always game for new ideas (and we can share them with others). You can leave a comment below, or connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. Don’t forget to also check out more on food, sports and travel on http://allaroundtim.com.