Experimenting with various tastes can be challenging; follow this advice for altering the taste of your creation: If a dish is too sour, add sweet; if a dish is too sweet, add sour. A dish that is too salty needs an increase in volume of the base ingredient (for soups that may be water, for example), or add something sweet. For a dish that tastes bitter, add sweet or salty.

A Garret Creation:

In my own experiment, I pulled the following cards:

• Brown rice

• Pears

• Apple Cider

• Carrots

• Rosemary

• Olive oil

• Pork tenderloin

• Spinach

I roasted the pork tenderloin (lightly coated with olive oil and chopped rosemary), with pears and carrots surrounding, in the oven for about 30 minutes at 375 degrees. After roasting, I drizzled apple cider over the entire dish and let it sit. I also tossed the cooked rice with a small amount of olive oil and a teaspoon of chopped rosemary. The sweetness of the pears and carrots paired nicely with the acidity of the vinegar, and the rosemary provided a little vitality. I sautéed spinach in a small amount of oil and served. Dinner done and creativity abundant!

Inspired by her children, Mary began a 100-pound weight loss commitment in 2003 to set a positive example. Soon after, Mary became an ACE-certified lifestyle and weight management coach. She now holds a Bachelor of Science degree in health promotion from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, is a certified health education specialist, and is pursuing a Master of Arts degree in counseling psychology. Her story has been featured in Health Magazine, Cooking Light, ABC’s 20/20, The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet and more. She began writing professionally in 2009. For more information, visit her website:

Copyright 2011, used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared in the Fall 2011 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade magazine for homeschool families. Read the magazine free at or read it on the go and download at to read the magazine on your Kindle Fire or Apple or Android devices.