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Make Ahead Make Over 4 Bean Salad

4 Bean Salad

4 Bean Salad, no sugar added recipe

Recently, my mother was ill and I catered her a meal that included four bean salad.  Store bought mixtures are far too sweet tasting for me, so I made over a recipe from the early 1970’s.  This original recipe was in the Better Homes and Gardens Blender Cook Book.  My make over version eliminates table sugar and cuts the sodium by at least half.  You can find my version by going to my main web site, www. floridafuntimes.com and clicking on the “Cooking At Home” tab.

If the site is down for maintenance, it means that I am busy posting the recipe and check back in about 20 minutes for the computers to update.  But do check out this recipe.  It is fast, easy, nutritious, and can be stored in the refrigerate until you finish eating it up.  I have never seen it go bad, although I am sure it’s possible.  I enjoy having something like this that can be eaten cold, which is great for catering, picnics, hot weather, and a spur of the moment pot luck dish.

In the case of my mother, I had to drive more than an hour to her home.  All the food I took could be eaten cold and kept well in a cooler with ice.  It was just luck that I made this and other recipes when she happen to need it.  She was better by the next day; I think having good food ready for her to eat had something to do with it.

Hibiscus Tea and Fruit Punch Recipe

hibiscus tea and fruit punch

Hibiscus tea and fruit punch

The Twinings Tea Company, which has a presentation at the Festival Center at EPCOT, this weekend, has inspired me to make this post of a herbal tea and fruit juice punch recipe which I created. I was told that Twinings carries a hibiscus, pomegranate, and raspberry tea. This sounds delicious, and when I find it, I will try it.

Although I didn’t know about the Twinings hibiscus tea, and am not using it for this recipe, it is possible that you might use it to substitute for the Nile Valley brand which I am using. Depending on the amount of flavorings in the Twinings tea, you might want to reduce some of the fruit juice in my recipe.

This might make the punch recipe a bit more economical, as pure cranberry juice is quite expensive and difficult to find. Usually, I need to make a trip to the health food store. Big box stores carry apple juice flavored with cranberry juice. Pure doesn’t mean 100 per cent one type of juice. Read the ingredient statement carefully. The labels are very misleading.

Here is my original recipe, it has a sweet tart flavor and it’s very addictive:

Florida Fun Times Hibiscus Punch

6 pure hibiscus tea bags (I order this from Nile Valley Herbs)
spring water
3 stevia plus monk fruit packets, I use the Kal Brand
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup 100 % cranberry juice with no additives, sweeteners, or other juices
2 cups Pom Wonderful juice, or other brand of 100 % unsweetened pomegranate juice

In a saucepan, place tea bags and enough spring water to cover plus half inch. Bring to a boil. Boil for five to seven minutes. Turn off the heat and let the infusion of water and tea sit until it is cool.

Meanwhile squeeze and measure out 1/4 cup of lime juice. Set aside.

When the tea has cooled, remove each tea bag, and give them a good squeeze to save every drop.

Place a canning funnel, or other funnel, on top of a 64 ounce glass container. Pour in the hibiscus infusion. I usually sit the glass container in the sink. It’s easier that way.

Kal Stevia plus Monk Fruit

Kal Stevia plus Monk Fruit

With a table knife, one at a time, stir in each of the three Kal packets, mixing well after each one with the long table knife.

Add the rest of the ingredients, stirring well.

Add enough spring water to fill the glass container. Cover with the container top, or with waxed paper and a rubber band.

Keep refrigerated. Enjoy over ice, or straight up.

The White Coat and the Lunch Box

Recently, our daughter received her white medical coat, and she is on her way to achieving her dream of being a veterinarian.

Across the world, many people are entering dental, medical, or veterinary school, and preparing to work diligently morning, noon, and night to understand the overwhelming amount of information being presented to them. Lab courses can run into the early evening and study at the library sometimes lasts until closing time for many students.

With the size of a lunch box and no refrigeration, this presents some challenges to keep the food interesting. I am thinking about a world theme menu, and searching the Internet for recipes. For example, there could be sushi for a Japanese lunch, kimchi, for a Korean lunch, and shish kabobs for a Greek lunch. Certainly, most young children in this country might not appreciate wasabi, seaweed, spicy hot and sour kimchi, or be trusted to eat meat and vegetables from a pointed object. But I thought these mind and body health strengthening foods might be just the type of easily packed lunch box items for a young adult.

Is there someone out there who has tried to pack an adult box lunch for themselves, or for their family? Do you have any thoughts about this? Please send in a comment, even it it’s just packing suggestions. All help will be appreciated.