Archive for January, 2010

Taco Bell goes “Green”

January 29, 2010

I’m all for going green, but can it be taken too far? Well, yes. Just saw this video. Hilarious.

Happy Friday.

Octopus anyone?

January 28, 2010

Have you ever read something that just reinforces how smart you really are?  Let’s put it this way, Nancy Tringali Piho and I agree on a lot of things, such as don’t be a short-order cook, there should be no such thing as a kid’s menu, make your own baby food from the family dinner, try to stay away from processed foods especially with Dora’s mug on the front- you get the picture.

Her book, My Two-Year-Old Eats Octopus-Raising Children Who Love to Eat EVERYTHING, is a great, no-nonsense guide for all parents who want to introduce their kids to nutritious, delicious foods and ultimately create life-long healthy eaters.

The book covers everything from what to eat when you are pregnant to the important of nursing your kids so they get a variety of tastes and flavors from their very beginning moments of life to how to expand your toddler’s palate and prevent picky eaters. She even includes the dos and don’ts of restaurant dining.

It’s exactly the book I would have written. So, thanks Nancy, for saving me the trouble.

You can get it here…

http://bit.ly/9DYOsu

Dunkin’ Do Nots

January 27, 2010

For all you parents out there who bring Dunkin Donuts to your kids’ class for snacks…umm, shame on you. Unless you’re looking to raise a new generation of Homer Simpsons. In that case, well done.

Just so you’re aware, here’s what’s in a Dunkin’ “Donut”…

INGREDIENTS: Donut Dough {Dough Mix [Enriched Flour (Bleached Wheat Flour, Barley Malt, Niacin, Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Sugar, Soybean Oil, Egg Yolks, Nonfat Dry Milk, Leavening (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Baking Soda, Sodium Aluminum Phosphate), Contains 2% or less of: Soy Flour, Salt, Wheat Starch, Soy Lecithin, Wheat Germ, Konjac Flour, Carrageenan, Dextrose, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Vegetable Color (Annatto, Turmeric), Phospholipase, Sodium Silicoaluminate (anti-caking agent)], Water}, Shortening (Palm Oil, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil and Partially Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil with TBHQ and Citric Acid added to help protect flavor).

Do you have any of those ingredients lying around your food science lab, err, I mean, kitchen? I didn’t think so. Which is an excellent indication that you shouldn’t be feeding them to your kids.

Here is a healthy recipe for raisin-bran muffins that your kids will love and with ingredients that won’t make you say “D’oh!

RAISIN BRAN MUFFINS

(makes 1 muffins)

3 cups organic unsweetened bran cereal

2 ¾ cups whole wheat flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 large eggs, beaten

½ cup vegetable oil

½ cup honey and ¼ molasses

1 ¼ cups milk

2/3 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Combine the cereal, flour and baking powder in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, blend the eggs, oil, and molasses, honey, milk and raisins.  Mix all the ingredients together, stirring just until mixed.  Smooth the mixture into greased pans, making sure not to fill them more than 2/3 full.  Bake until golden and starting to come away from the sides of the pan about 25-30 minutes.

The Soy of Cooking

January 26, 2010

Like so many of my vegan friends already know, there are lots of ways to enjoy soy. Throw some tofu into your stir-fry. Mix it into a smoothie. Nosh on some edamame. Substitute tempeh strips for bacon and don’t tell your husband (alright, that’s just me).

But, there’s more. Like everything else that you feed your family, there are a few things to know about soy.

Most of the soy available to the American shopper is genetically modified. Dun dun dun!

So here’s a few quick tips to remember when you’re soy shopping. Buy organic. Organic products won’t have all those pesticides and they don’t contain GMO’s (genetically modified soybeans). Stick with the whole soy foods.  Like any other food, processing sucks the valuable nutrients out of soy. If you want to by mock-meats, look for products whose main ingredients include organic tofu or tempeh.

Also, try to avoid carrageenan (derived from a red seaweed), especially if you have IBS or other intestinal problems, it is a cheap thickening agent used in soy milk, desserts and other products known to aggravate the digestive tract.

Soy is a yummy, versatile and healthy food, but the things they’ll do to it if you’re not careful…Soy vey.

Meatless Monday!

January 25, 2010

Hey, it’s Meatless Monday! You know what that means – well, it’s Monday and we’re not eating meat. Anyway, here is an easy delicious meat-free  recipe from the fabulous www.candlecafe.com.

Black Bean Soup

2 ½ cups black beans, rinsed

1 1-inch piece of kombu*

8 cups vegetable broth

1 small yellow onion, peeled and diced

1 carrot, peeled and diced

1 teaspoon fresh or dried oregano

1 teaspoon chopped fresh or dried rosemary

1 teaspoon fresh or dried thyme

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

1. Put the black beans and the kombu in a large poi or bowl and cover by about 2 inches of cold water.  Soak the beans for at least 6 -8 hours of overnight.  Drain, discard the kombu, and set the beans aside.

2.  Put the beans, broth, onion, celery, carrot, oregano, rosemary, and thyme in a large soup pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for approximately 45 minutes, until the beans are softened.  Season to taste with sea salt and pepper.

*kombu is a sea vegetable that aids in digestion.  You can find it at your local health food store or whole foods.

A diet so bad, it’s funny

January 22, 2010

Pritikin, Atkins, Slim-Fast, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig , The Abs Diet, Acid and Alkaline, Eat More, Weigh Less Diet, Elimination Diet, Fat Flush Diet, Flavor Point, French Women Don’t Get Fat , Great American Detox, High- Carb, Low-Carb, No-Carb, High Protein, Low-Cholesterol, Master Cleanse, Perricone Prescription, South Beach…

I thought I had heard of them all until…

THE DIRTY (AND NOT SO DIRTY) DOZEN

January 20, 2010

A quick tip for all the recessionistas out there. There are so many reasons to buy locally grown, organic produce, but the truth is it can get a little pricey. So what’s a mother to do?

Prioritize.

The EPA has put together a handy list of the 12 conventionally grown fruits and vegetables that have the highest and lowest levels of residual pesticides. If you can’t afford to go strictly organic, at least play it smart. Among conventionally raised fruits and veggies, the most pesticide-ridden are peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, pears, imported grapes, spinach, lettuce and potatoes. You can lower your family’s pesticide exposure over 90 percent by spending the extra bucks on the organic versions of these.

On the flip side, conventionally grown onions, avocados, frozen sweet corn, pineapples, mangoes, asparagus, frozen peas, kiwi, bananas, cabbage, broccoli and papayas have been shown to have the least amount of residual pesticides. If you’re going to skimp, do it here.

Suze Orman would be proud.

App-solutely fabulous

January 19, 2010

iPhone owners rejoice!  You may drop every other call, but at least you can feel smug about all the cool apps out there now.

Need to stay away from gluten?  Find virtually any product out there NOT made with gluten using Is That Gluten Free?

Dying to know how many calories in your favorite bratwurst?  Nutrition Menu app is for you. You can even create your very own food journal complete with a personalized daily nutrient intake.

Don’t want to buy those peaches from Chile?  Find out exactly where your produce comes from by using the Fruit Decoder app.  All you have to do is enter the plu code from the sticker on your piece of fruit and find its origination.

And finally, for all you locavores out there In Season tells you exactly what fresh produce (including seafoood ) is available in your area for each month and also what imports are available too.

Feeding your family healthy food has never been easier. In fact, they may just have to change the old saying to “An app a day keeps the doctor away.”

Meatless Monday

January 18, 2010

Quinoa (KEEN-WA) is one cool seed. Known as the “mother grain,” not only is it a complete protein (who needs meat?) but it is also a good source of B vitamins, manganese, magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus. I always recommend it to my clients who suffer from migraines and it really helps!

Quinoa is so nutritious that Incan armies existed on it for many days while marching.  They used to mix it with fat to make “war balls.” And we all know how important it is for an army to have war balls.

Here is a recipe for Coconut-Infused Quinoa from a MUST-read book called GRUB by Anna Lappe and Bryant Terry. Check out their site www.eatgrub.org

Remember to rinse quinoa before cooking to remove the saponin (a bitter coating used to prevent birds from eating its seeds).

Coconut-Infused Quinoa

1 cup coconut milk, fresh or canned

Coarse sea salt

1 cup quinoa

2 tablespoons dried unsweetened coconut

Combine the coconut milk with 1 cup of water and ½ teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil.  Add the quinoa and dried coconut, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for 20 minutes.  Remove from the heat and steam with lid on for 5 minutes, then lightly fluff with a fork.

GMOs? OMG!

January 14, 2010

A study released this week shows that the genetically modified corn made by Forbes company of the year, Monsanto Foods, isn’t so great for you. Turns out that their genetically modified corn causes, wait for it…organ failure. Holy shnikeys! The study was performed on rats, but I think we can all do the math here. Their corn is bad news. And here’s the even worse news. It’s everywhere. Ketchup, salad dressing, soda, cookies, you name it.

Now, I try to be careful about not eating genetically modified organisms, GMOs, but I would say it’s high time we all upgraded that to “super careful,” especially those of us who are cooking for the whole family. After all, children are four times more susceptible to toxins in conventional produce than adults. Who knows what the story is with GMOs.

But here’s the problem – unlike the EU, Japan, China, Korea, Australia and New Zealand, the U.S. does not have laws mandating a label for products that have been genetically modified.

So now what?

Here are some guidelines:

Buy organic. 100% organic.

Foods labeled organic can still be 5% non-organic and carry the label. Which means they might have GMOS in there. So look for 100% organic. If you can’t afford to buy everything organic, at least make sure all the animal products you buy are.  Non-organic animals are likely to be raised on GM corn diets which translates into yucky meat, eggs and milk you don’t want.

Watch out for at-risk ingredients

In the U.S., somewhere around three quarters to nine tenths of the corn, canola, cottonseed and soy crops are genetically modified. Horrifying. Check the ingredients on everything you buy. If it’s got any of these four ingredients without the word organic in front, drop it.

No processed foods

You can’t imagine how many of the processed foods out there are made with GMO corn. Well, according to Michael Pollan of In Defense of Food fame, there are about 12,000 items in the average America supermarket that contain corn. And with the vast majority of American corn being genetically modified, well, uh oh.

Look for Non-GMO labels

Um, duh.

Find out for sure

Check out the super helpful Non-GMO Shopping Guide at (nongmoshoppingguide.com) for comprehensive lists of common name-brand foods that do not contain GMOS (including baby food and dog food). Also, if you have an iPhone, download the Fruit Decoder app (on iTunes or fruitdecoder.com) to find out on the go how your fruit was grown – conventionally, organic or genetically modified.

Genetically modified food in your pantry. It’s enough to give you shivers. Or maybe that’s just organ failure.