Food FYI (and ants)

I was going to have a wonderful post for you today with my Alfredo Sauce recipe.  Until I walked into the kitchen last evening and found ants EVERYWHERE!  The problem here is that they move from house to house.  The house next door to us probably just got rid of them, so they migrated to my house today.  They are so annoying.  In the desert we get a wide assortment of annoying pests, but these have to be the worst for me.  I hate how they come back - and they seem to do so twice a summer.  So, I keep a stash of any baits around the house in hopes that they'll be gone in 48 hours. Did I say they were annoying yet?  Well, they are.

With that being said, I'm giving you another post today.  Annoying.  :)

Pineapple.  I've been on a HUGE pineapple kick lately.  Grilling it, eating it fresh, drinking the juice, it's so good.  When I went to Hawaii several years ago, I think I came back with a mouth full of cankers from all the pineapple I ate while there.  And with the Fruit Dip, it's even better!

The pineapple plant is indigenous to South America, originating in Southern Brazil and Paraguay.  It was cultivated by the Mayans and Aztecs, and was taken to Europe by Columbus.  From there, the Spanish took it to the Philippines, Hawaii, Guam, and Zimbabwe.  And of course the most famous influential cultivator of pineapple was James Dole, who started his pineapple plantation on the island of Oahu in 1900.

Pineapples are a great source of nutrients and dietary fiber.  It contains natural enzymes that break down proteins for digestion and can help prevent against diseases such as cancer and heart disease.  It is a wonderful source of manganese and vitamin C.  Manganese is an essential nutrient for improving bone strength and formation, aids in wound healing, and contributes to healthy skin and hair (no wonder all those Polynesian women are so beautiful!).  Bonus time: it can significantly reduce osteoporosis in older women!  Score!

(Source: www.freegreatpicture.com)

So how do you use pineapple? Do you like it fresh or canned?  Do you like it cold or have you tried grilling it yet?  Here's a few recipes for you:

Grilled Pineapple with Coconut Caramel Sauce - I recommend serving this with Breyers French Vanilla Ice
        Cream.  It gives the pineapple a wonderfully rich taste.
Sweet and Sour Chicken Kabobs
Fruit Dip

Bonus Tip: Do you know how to pick a ripe pineapple?  Simply pull one of the center leaves out - if it comes out easily with a little resistance, you have the perfect one.  Too much resistance or too little, it is not going to taste very pleasant - when not ripe enough it will be sour, when too ripe it will be too sweet.  You can also check the bottom of the pineapple - if it is solid yellow and brown, it is too ripe.  You want your pineapple to be half yellow, half green.  Hope that helps next time you are at the market!

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