Tag Archives: apple

To Bite An Apple Again

I haven’t bitten into an apple in almost 25 years.

Don’t get me wrong, I love apples. I love Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Braeburn, Gala, Fuji, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious and McIntosh just to name a few. I love apple pie, apple tarts, applesauce, apple cider, apple juice, apple crumb cake, baked apples, drunken apples and just about anything else apple that you can think of making with apples. If dish on the menu at the restaurant has apples in it, the odds are good I am ordering it. I just can’t bite into a crisp, ripe & juicy apple on its own.

It’s my teeth.

I wasn’t born inheriting the best teeth you could get from your parents. They had issues too. I also wasn’t always good as a kid when it came to brushing my teeth. A wet tooth brush and a pep-o-mint lifesaver tricked my mother for a while. An excessive flirtation with demon rum in my late teens and early twenties probably didn’t help things either. I went from cavities to root canals to crowns to posts to gum surgery to wire splinting. I’m actually surprised my mouth didn’t set off metal detectors in airports. Even with all that, my teeth slowly continued to fall apart until we got to where we are today and it’s not a place I really want to be.

On Monday April 23, I start a journey that I have jokingly labeled as “DENTAL HELL”. I have finally come to the realization that my teeth are beyond the patchwork fixes that have held my mouth together these past few years. It’s time for me to make wholesale changes. I am sure the work will be painful and in my own mind at times, I am sure that it will be somewhat humiliating. I just have to keep telling myself that all of the work, money & pain will be worth it in the end. I’ll be writing & updating throughout and I plan on sharing the trials & tribulations as they come. Hopefully, there will be some good stuff in there to write about as well.

So when all is said & done some 12 to 18 months from now, I will once again be able to bite into a crisp, ripe & juicy apple.

I just hope I remember how.

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Just because it says Butter on the label…

While I was out driving with the family the other day, we started talking about butter. Not exactly a typical topic of conversation but not out of the ordinary either in that I have one of those families where we will happily talk about food instead of the Kardashians and their ilk. We were actually trying to come up with sayings about butter like “She must be butter cause she’s on a roll” or “He’s smooth as butter.” when my wife asked why so many things that aren’t butter say that they are butter ? It was a very good question and it did give me pause for thought and almost made me miss my exit too. It also led me to ask why so many products out there try to ride Butter’s coattails ?

All you have to do is look in my fridge or look in my pantry or look on my spice rack to know that I have a lot of products that claim to be butter but really aren’t. I have apple butter, cinnamon apple butter, maple butter, mango butter, banana butter, avocado butter, pumpkin butter, chipotle lime butter and three different kinds of peanut butter (regular, white chocolate & dark chocolate). I even have a tub of half eaten stuff that claims you can’t believe that it’s butter left over from my DIE-t but we can all believe it’s not butter so that one really doesn’t count. All of these items and more have butter in their name but they really aren’t honest to goodness 100% creamery butter made from cows. All of these products and more want you to think that just because they spread smoothly that they are like 100% creamery butter. All of these products and more want you to think that they have that same quality that 100% creamery butter has. All of these products and more want you to believe that by seeing the word “butter” in their name or product description that you will immediately begin to have warm feelings from your youth just through word & sensory association.

Sadly, the fact of the matter is, they aren’t 100% creamery butter. You can’t substitute any of them successfully for 100% creamery butter either. Can you imagine using a pumpkin butter in the Beurre Blanc for your filet of sole ? How about putting avocado butter on your pancakes or waffles just before pouring on the maple syrup? I don’t know about you but I know I’m not about to try and fry an egg in peanut butter and I think, no I know, my Grandmother would come back from the grave to haunt me if I ever tried to put mango butter in her Holiday Spritz Cookies recipe. Let’s face it, using non-butter “butter” in place of 100% creamery butter isn’t even something they would do on one of those bizarre reality cooking shows you see on TV these days.

So just because it says “Butter” on the label doesn’t mean that it’s real 100% creamery butter or that it’s even good which begs the question, do they sell “Trump Butter” ?

I am an Allrecipes Brand Ambassador (a voluntary position) and I’m not compensated for my work with Allrecipes.com. Products received from advertisers are only used for experienced-based reviews on Swampy’s Kitchen & Behind The Shades. The reviews, content and opinions expressed in this blog are purely the sole opinions of Doug Matthews. This blog was written in support of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board and America’s Dairy Farmers and their GO BOLD WITH BUTTER campaign.

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As an Allrecipes All Star Brand Ambassador we are asked to try new recipes and new products from sponsors we both know and don’t know. The views expressed in this blog are purely my own and do not reflect the opinions, views or thoughts of the staff at Allrecipes.com

Now that we have that out of the way, one of our assignments for the month of October was to try the stuffed chicken breasts from Barber Foods. I will admit, I had never heard of Barber Foods and I certainly hadn’t seen their products in the frozen food aisle of our local grocery store. To be honest, the only time I walk down that aisle is to grab a bag of Ore-Ida Sweet Potato Fries because let’s face it, anyone who has ever read any of my blogs (and there might be one or two of you out there that have), know that I can’t make decent sweet potato fries to save my life, so the thought of looking for frozen stuffed chicken breasts was well….new.

After checking the company website to see what they had to offer, I armed myself with a fistful of coupons and headed off to my local grocery story to see if I could find them and lo & behold, I did. They were in the auxiliary frozen food section all the way in the back of the store near the Steak-ums, Veggie Burgers and other frozen entrees I might buy once a year at best. I actually spotted the boxes from a distance as I was walking by, which is a good thing because I had not even remembered that there was a third frozen food aisle in the store. I have to admit that I was surprised by the choices & varieties that were available. I had expected maybe two different kinds to be available but I actually had my choice of almost their entire menu of selections. I finally decided on the Fit & Flavorful Chicken Cordon Bleu (a nod to my DIE-t), the Broccoli & Cheese and the Crème Brie & Apple stuffed chicken breasts and I headed home to “make” dinner.

When I got home I pulled the boxes out to show the family what our eating assignment was this month and my teenage daughter excitedly screamed,


“What ?”, I said. I wasn’t sure I had heard her right since she does have a tendency to runherwordstogetherwhenshegetsexcited.

“You got Exploding Chicken ! We have it at camp.”

Now the fact that she had had the chicken breasts at camp usually was not a good sign since my daughter pretty much dismissed camp food as being bland & tasteless so I had to ask,

“Is that a good thing or a bad thing ?”

“Oh it’s good. We liked it. We always had the Broccoli & Cheese. Thank you Daddy.”

That night at dinner I threw all three boxes on the same tray and 40 minutes later we were sitting down to an “Exploding Chicken” dinner with a bunch of leftovers for sides. My teenage daughter took great delight in showing us with her first cut how the chicken “exploded” onto her plate. Her younger siblings also enjoyed making their stuffed chicken breasts “explode” too. All three of them thought they were good and they all said that the Broccoli & Cheese was the best of the three flavors that we bought. My wife thought they were decent and she said that they could indeed be used as an emergency dinner when she didn’t have time to cook. Her only lament was that they couldn’t be thrown in the microwave but then again, I bought the raw versions only because the fully cooked versions were not available.

As for me, well they reminded me of the stuffed chicken breasts that I get when I get upgraded to first class on some of my flights for work. They were okay but then again, I am a food snob or have found out that I am a food snob through this whole All Star program because I don’t love everything that we have been asked to do. (Could it be that I actually can’t cook very well ? That thought never crossed my mind until now) While I liked the flavor combinations and the low calories associated with each flavor, I found them to be bland. I would have preferred a bit more spice or maybe a little deeper concentration of flavor. I also thought that the chicken was a little “spongy”. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea but I am just not wild about the execution. Overall I will say that for a relatively institutional fast food dish it was a winner. My kids are having them for lunch right now and my wife reports that they are happy.

So come back next time when I discuss what went wrong or right with the Pillsbury Crescent assignment.

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