CULINARY THRILL SEEKING — Whispering pines can also smudge you up

Published 12:10 am Monday, August 21, 2023

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I like the idea of a smudge stick.

It’s going around the house with a bundle of smoking sage with the notion that the smoke will cleanse all corners of your home. I haven’t actually done it, but I like the idea.

You can use an abalone shell to catch the ashes. With all the pine needles falling on Orange County area lawns, I have been mulching and them mentally prepping for fall in 100 degree heat.

I got curious and found recipes for pine needle tea and watched how to make baskets and brooms from pines. The crafts looked challenging, until I got to the smudge sticks. Doable!

I’ve made several and found them just to lovely and natural to look at. So I’m stick ready and still haven’t smudged. Let me know if your raking turns to crafting.

Pizza — Gather the peaches, grapes, broccoli, arugula, salmon, jalapenos and radishes. We’re making pizzas.

A lot of them.

While it isn’t legally mandatory to have a red-checkered tablecloth with your pizza, it is part of the cover design for the “The Big Book of Pizza: Foolproof Pies in Every Style” from the Food Network Magazine.

Consider it a picture book, because down south we may not all envision what a New York-Style Pizza is all about. I’ve got my eye some “alternatives,” such as Butternut Squash-Soppressata Pizza, Grilled Pizza with Hummus and tomatoes, and a Potato-Rosemary Pizza with think slices of crispy tater goodness adorning the top. White Clam Pizza? Let’s do this.

Learn how to “dough it up right” and go beyond a box of the frozen stuff. But, like my mama used to, consider those frozen discs that come with a little cheese and sauce as your canvas for creating something special.

Step One Foods — Are you willing to rip open packages of dark chocolate walnut bar, mix up oat pancakes with a packet and water and grab a filling oatmeal for breakfast?

Colorful, formulated goods from this company ask you to dine on them daily for a path toward better health, specifically lower cholesterol. Need to bring those numbers down while elevating your breakfast?

I truly think these foods taste way, way better than others that make your family cringe when they hear the phrase “healthy.”

Those dark chocolate bars are great with coffee and an Anytime Sprinkle for yogurt, fruit or whatever gives you: Oat bran, chia seeds, flax seeds, dried cranberries, almonds, walnuts, raisins, plant sterols, Saskatoon berries.

You will be full and you’ll enjoy getting that way. My pancakes typically turn out a mess but this good-for-you packed helped me turn out a serving so pretty a skeptical onlooker got jealous.

Strawberry and banana smoothie mix is easy enough in the blender, or you could just pour it over yogurt for a meal in moments. Learn more at

Darragh Doiron is a Southeast Texas foodie ready to smudge with you. Reach her at