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TGIF ladies.  Let's talk about my intended subject and share some ideas on "spicing up" our everyday side dishes.

Here are the fastest and easiest fixes to try (many of you might do this all the time):

Rice-try a different type.  Always have long grain?  Try brown, jasmine, basmati or a wild rice mixture.  If you use water or chicken broth-change it for vegetable stock or a fruit juice.  Try browning the grain in olive oil or butter before you add the liquid.  Add some minced garlic.

At the end of the cooking, stir in some chopped fresh herbs that you are using in your main dish.   For that matter-try an herb you've always wanted to use.  Adding at the end and off the heat will keep the flavors fresh.

Try new grains-quinoa (rinse it really, really well) is one of the healthiest grains in the world and can be on the table in about 20 minutes.  So can couscous-try to find the larger Israeli type.  Have your family try barley or make some tabulleh with lots of fresh mint, parsley and tomatoes.

Add some fresh herbs to your salad.  Instead of bottled dressing, whip up a homemade one.  It only takes a few minutes and it tastes so much better.   Always use iceberg?  Try romaine, butter or a red leaf-switch it for spinach or a fancy gourmet blend.  Add more than tomatoes and mushrooms!  Add some mandarin oranges, strawberries, grapes or dried cranberries.

I love roasted pears with arugula and goat cheese.  Go wild-veggies are beautiful to look at and are really tasty.

I mentioned a cookbook put out by the Junior League of Orange County on Monday-you might consider checking it out if you are in the mood for a new book on your shelf.

This week I've gotten out of hand-so next week, let's talk about trying something new with our main courses.

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