• Rice festival offers something for everyone, including boudin balls

     This year’s second annual N.C. Rice Festival took place Sept. 19-20 at the Brunswick Riverwalk at Belville Park. As an added attraction, all the festival queens from this year’s inaugural North Carolina Rice Festival Pageant, ranging in age from 4 to 22, were on hand to greet everyone in attendance.

  • Mushrooms may be eaten raw or cooked whole, sliced or chopped

     So what exactly are mushrooms? They aren’t really a true vegetable in the sense they do not have any leaves, roots or seeds, and really do not need any light to grow.

    A mushroom is a fungus, which grows in the dark and creates more mushrooms (or fungus) by releasing spores. Brimming with protein, B vitamins (riboflavin, niacin and pantothenic) and minerals (selenium, potassium and copper), mushrooms are low in calories and, cooked fresh, offer the most nutritional benefit versus the canned version that may have more sodium.


  • Tasty French onion and beef entrée using pizza dough

     In my never-ending quest trying to cut down on excessive fats and carbohydrates in my diet, I’ve learned recipes can be adjusted to be healthier and still taste just as good, and in some cases, even better. I’ve tried, although not always successfully, to stop making and eating anything that contains excessive fats or carbs.

    I recently came across an absolutely delicious French onion and beef entre using cumin and caramelized onions, but containing a large amount of fat. How could it be made lighter?

  • When it comes to low-fat animal protein, whitefish is the winner



    It seems everyone these days is trying to balance meals with low-carb, high protein foods, yet low-fat at the same time. What about whitefish? It’s lower in fat than any other source of animal protein.

    Tilapia is a mild, tender, white-flesh fish that cooks up in minutes. Because of its lack of fishy flavor and low price, it has become the most popular farmed fish in the U.S.

  • Easy-to-make dessert recipes, like Chocolate Earthquake Cake

     For anyone wanting to make a Chocolate Earthquake Cake, I would have one word of caution: Do not try to squeeze it into a smaller pan than specified. You want an earthquake, not a volcano!

    This rich chocolate cake has always had wide appeal, probably because it’s easy and quick to make (my kind of recipe). What makes a dish easy to make? What makes a recipe simple and tasty? All of the ingredients are easily available, probably in your pantry or fridge. And the taste? Just checking off the few simple ingredients needed in these recipes should give you a clue.

  • Winners from last year’s N.C. Rice Festival share their recipes

     September is National Rice Month and the North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce is again sponsoring the North Carolina Rice Festival this coming weekend, Sept. 19-20, at Brunswick Riverwalk at Belville Park, 580 River Road in Belville.

    Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Entry fee is $5 per adult and children 12 and younger are free with a paying adult. There is free parking across the street at Belville Elementary School.

  • Do we really need all these ‘low-fat and ‘low-carb’ choices?

     While at the supermarket the other day, I came across my favorite soda of choice, Coke, which was on sale if I bought four 12-packs of cans. But as I checked out the choices, I encountered vanilla Coke, black cherry vanilla Coke, Coke Zero, Coke cherry Zero, diet Coke, caffeine-free Coke, caffeine-free diet Coke, diet Coke with lime and diet Coke with Splenda. Where was my just plain regular Coke?

  • Anyone for boiled peanuts? Send me your best recipes

     One day last week, a gentleman stopped by the Beacon to talk with “Norm.” Since I was not there at the time, he spoke with Cindy Turner, our office manager. He said he was looking for my best recipe for boiled peanuts.

    I told Cindy I really wasn’t into boiled peanuts, since my first and last taste of them was more than 30 years ago. At the time, I thought they tasted like cooked kidney beans, but not as good. So I figured I should do some research on them.

  • Pennsylvania Dutch food is still quite popular in the South

     Late in the 17th century, a cultural group formed by early German-speaking immigrants, including Mennonites from Switzerland and Holland and the Amish, an offshoot of the Mennonites, began migrating from Europe to Pennsylvania. They tilled the land and built big barns and homes. Since then, they have come to be known as the Pennsylvania Dutch.

  • Corn on the cob is plentiful, available at farmers markets

    When they are fresh, pulled right from the fields, they are crisp and flavorful. Even though it’s available year round, I love corn during the summer when it is at its peak.

    Like tomatoes, corn is best when grown locally. Check out our local farm markets and farmers markets. Usually, the corn sold there has been picked that morning, unlike corn sold in supermarkets. Corn loses it freshness very quickly.

    Corn on the cob is usually prepared one of three ways: boiling, roasting or microwaving.