Archive for the ‘organic’ Category

I’m Digging Two Moms In The Raw

May 28, 2010

Here’s my latest discovery – Two Moms In The Raw. Nope, it’s not a video you can get fired for looking at on your work computer. It’s the name of an amazing brand of gluten-free, organic, 100% raw crackers and granola bars made from millet, buckwheat, flaxseeds and sunflower seeds. And they’re delish.

What started out as a quest for wellness resulted in a product line dedicated to creating these convenient, nutritious, raw products for the whole family.  Thanks to Two Moms In The Raw, you and your kids can enjoy dairy-free, wheat-free, gluten-free, organic and raw treats that are not only super good for you, they are addicting!

Try their granola bars in goji berry, raisin, cranberry or blueberry or have their sea crackers made with flaxseed and kombu in garden herb, pesto or tomato basil. You won’t regret it.

But the real story here is how I discovered just how delicious these products are. I tried them right in the aisle at Whole Foods.

As I contemplated purchasing these products, I must admit I hesitated slightly because they are a little pricey.  So I did what I normally do and ask around if anyone has ever tried them before I spend my hard earned cash on them.  No one had so the Whole Foods guys told me I could just open the bag and try them.  Imagine that!  Of course I shared them and everyone loved them.

Next up, I try the same tactic at the Hermés store.

The Petit Appetit is a big hit

April 27, 2010

So, I have a new favorite cookbook, The Petit Appetit cookbook – easy Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler by Lisa Barnes.  The book concentrates on kids 4 months to 4 years, and is full of delicious, nutritious recipes for kids of all ages.

What I really like about The Petit Appetit is her emphasis on fresh, organic food and making mealtimes and cooking not only fun but educational.  There is also valuable information on food storage, food safety and pantry must-have items. And you’ll find egg-free, gluten-free, wheat-free, vegetarian and vegan recipes that will not disappoint.

Lisa splits up the sections by age starting with “The Beginners” (4-6 months) and then moves on the “The Explorers” (6-9 months) and ends with “The Connoisseurs” (3-4 years).  I just made her Cereal Batons and my husband ate them like “The Animals.”

Get your copy here… http://amzn.to/cogYhi

But wait, there’s more…

March 30, 2010

If last night was any indication, then we should be attending every event associated with the launch of the movie Fresh.

My husband Joe and I went to raw vegan restaurant Pure (http://bit.ly/arDdbN) and tried the Farm to Table dinner tasting menu (created specifically to benefit Fresh). It was amazing. A salad of shaved fennel, an italian almond tart stuffed with fennel and cherry tomatoes, celeriac risotto with black truffle and lemon cheesecake with dried cherries and lemon thyme.  In short, delish. My hat goes off to the chef at Pure. And Karen. And Becky. And everyone else at Pure.

So, why do I bring this up? Well, I am always telling my clients that the healthiest most sustainable way to eat is to go with the F.L.O.W.  Eat fresh, local organic and whole foods. It really takes the guesswork out of everything. Of course, sometimes trying to go with the flow can be as challenging for some of my budding chefs as matching a belt and shoes can be for my husband.

Pure is a great example of what can happen when you commit to eating as healthy as possible, and Fresh is a great example of why you should be vigilant about what you eat. So they’re a natural pair.

Up next, Fresh has two exciting kick-off events on April 1st. The first is Ana Lappe’s Diet for a Hot Planet book launch from 6:30-7:30 at The New School’s Wollman Auditorium, 65 West 11th street, 5th floor, NYC.  The event is free but reservations are required. Get yours by emailing dhplaunch@gmail.com.

Then it’s off to Brooklyn for a wine and cheese reception in front of a sixty foot ant sculpture at hot new gallery, The Invisible Dog. Ana Sofia Joanes (the director of Fresh) will be there at 6:30. The wines will be carbon neutral and, while there will be wine glasses available for $2, feel free to bring your own. Tickets are $25 and everyone who attends will receive a voucher to see Fresh at the Quad Cinema April 9-15.

Hit them both if you can, or pick one and know that you’re doing your part to make the world a better place. And tell your friends. Shouldn’t they be doing their part as well?

See you there.

Clean Food, Clean Plate

March 24, 2010

I love to cook. But, I’m not a natural.  I wish I could be one of those savant culinary alchemists intuitively mixing spices, textures and tastes to concoct unusual delicious delicacies. But, I’m not. Let’s just say any time I spend cooking is a work in progress.

So, until I become a fabulous chef, I rely on recipes. One of my new favorite cookbooks is Clean Food by Terry Walters. Chock full of amazing seasonal recipes, she makes it easy to eat fresh, local organic and whole foods without having to spend your whole day in the kitchen.

Of special note, her Green Goddess Dip makes anything taste better. It’s especially good for kids of all ages who say they don’t like vegetables. Serve it with crudité and then see what they say. It’ll probably be something like “Why don’t we have veggies more often?”

You can buy the book here…

http://bit.ly/artY9C

Green Goddess Dip

12 ounces extra firm silken tofu

3 scallions, chopped

3 tablespoons fresh parsley or cilantro

1 tablespoon maple mustard

juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar

2 teaspoons mellow white miso

2 teaspoons brown rice syrup

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

water

Wrap tofu in paper towels and press gently to remove excess water. Place in food processor or blender and process until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and process to combine. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time to achieve desired consistency. Cover and refrigerate to thicken and allow flavors to blend. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Variations: This dip can be thinned with water and used as a salad dressing, or made with 1 ½ cups great northern or navy beans instead of tofu.

If Michelle Obama can do it…

March 3, 2010

I’m not sure why we never though of this before, it seems so obvious now. Since we’re all so dedicated to making fresh, local, organic whole foods available to everyone, let’s take a page out of Michelle Obama’s playbook and plant our own garden. Not in our back yard. Not on our stoop. But here in New York City, right in front of City Hall, where it’s visible, impactful and symbolic.  Let’s lead the charge, plant our flag (cue epic music) and stake our claim as the visionary trendsetters who-

What’s that? Someone already started a petition to plant a garden in front of City Hall? Oh, well (Ahem)…

Join me in signing the petition to have a vegetable garden planted in front of City Hall. This garden will represent New Yorkers’ commitment to education, public service, healthy eating and environmental stewardship.  This garden will be tended by NYC public school students, in collaboration with the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation and our region’s talented gardeners and farmers.  The harvest will be donated to a nearby food pantry to feed the hungry.

You can sign the petition here: http://bit.ly/bQvx5Q

And let’s just keep the first part of this blog between you and me.

A MESSAGE FROM OUR FRIENDS AT PAN

February 11, 2010

A quick word about some people who are doing amazing work. The Pesticide Action Network is an organization that works to replace the use of hazardous pesticides with ecologically sound and socially just alternatives.

I feel like this is one of those ideas that when you hear it, you can’t help but think “Well, duh.” Of course we shouldn’t be using hazardous pesticides.

But we are.

Enter Pesticide Action Network. They’re working hard but they need your help in getting the word to President Obama that we need his leadership today in building a safe, fair and green food system for our country. Let him know by signing the petition they’ve set up at http://action.panna.org/t/9559/petition.jsp?petition_KEY=1983

While you’re at it, download WhatsInMyFood.org’s free iphone app that helps you find out what pesticides are on what and what chemicals are the most dangerous.  It’s at http://whatsinmyfood.org/iphoneapp.jsp. You can also compare organic to conventional foods in ways that go far beyond the dirty dozen.

Come on people, keep it clean.

Really, Gerber?

February 9, 2010

This just in…A toddler meal made by the trusted brand Gerber has been awarded the “Salt Lick” award from the Canadian Stroke Network for high sodium content in their Lil’ Entrees.  Gerber’s chicken and pasta wheel pickup dinner contains 550 mg of sodium – more than half a toddler’s daily intake of 1,000 mg!

FYI, That’s about two orders of medium french fries from McDonalds.

We all know that a high-sodium diet increases blood pressure . High blood pressure is a major risk factor for stroke, and heart and kidney disease. Too much dietary salt has also been linked to osteoporosis, asthma, stomach cancer and obesity.

And Gerber is making this for toddlers?

So, what’s a parent to do to protect your little mmmunchkin from all of this sodium?   The answer is easy enough. Make your own baby food!  Of course you will be using fresh, local, organic and whole foods. It will automatically be fresher, safer, more nutritious, and most importantly delicious.  Doesn’t your baby deserve the best? If that is something completely out of your wheelhouse (not trying to guilt you here but all you really need is a blender) then please read the labels.  A jar of string beans should have just one ingredient, you guessed it- string beans.

I don’t remember the last time a toddler has asked to pass the salt.

Also, here’s some runners up in the worst food to feed your toddler contest…

-Gerber Graduates for Toddlers Lil’ Entrees, Macaroni and cheese with peas and carrots: 520 mg of sodium per serving.

-Parent’s Choice (Wal-Mart brand) My Little Meals, Shells & Cheese with Frankfurters: 520 mg of sodiumper serving.

-Gerber Graduates for Toddlers Lil’ Entrees, Cheese Ravioli in Tomato Sauce with carrots, peas and corn: 480 mg of sodium per serving.

-Heinz Toddler Vegetables, Beef & Pasta Casserole: 470 mg of sodium per jar.

-Heinz Toddler Beef Stroganoff: 420 mg of sodium per jar.

LET’S GET TO THE ROOT OF IT

February 8, 2010

How many reasons do you really need to go meatless on Mondays?  Besides reducing your risk of heart disease, maintaining a healthy weight, improving the overall quality of your diet, reducing your carbon footprint, minimizing water usage, and reducing fossil fuel dependence, all the cool kids are doing it.

Trying to eat locally can sometimes be a challenge, especially in the winter months. Don’t you worry!  You can visit your local farmer’s markets where you can find an assortment of delicious and nutritious root vegetables including beets, celery root, parsnips and turnips. How excited are you?  For those of you who are root vegetable-challenged, here is an easy entrée into the world of down-unders.

Sweet and Savory Root Vegetable Stew

From Clean Food by Terry Walters

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

6 shallots diced

2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

2 parsnips, peeled and diced

2 medium rutabagas, peeled and diced

2 turnips, peeled and diced

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

1 celeriac(celery root), peeled and diced

1 fennel bulb, halved, cored and diced

1 cinnamon stick

Vegeable stock

Ume plum vinegar

In a large pot over medium heat, sauté shallots and ginger in oil for 5 minutes or until soft.  Add parsnips, rutabagas, sautéed shallots andd ginger in oil 5 minutes or until soft.  Add parsnips, rutabagas, turnips, sweet potatoes, celery root, fennel and cinnamon stick.  Add enough stock to barely cover vegetables, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer 25 minutes.

Remove from heat, discard cinnamon stick and gently puree soup 3 seconds using handheld blender to slightly thicken liquid and blend flavors.  Season to taste with a few dashes of vinegar and serve.

Serves 6-8

The not so sweet surprise

February 5, 2010

I just can’t watch this commercial enough. It’s for High Fructose Corn Syrup, from the Corn Growers Association. It’s brilliant. Insidious and misleading, but brilliant. It’s not necessarily promoting HFCS, but rather, defending it. And the brilliant part is it defends it simply by calling out Americans on their own lack of knowledge about HFCS. So just in case you get stuck talking to a birthday party host in a questionably fashionable top, let me arm you with the facts.

Chances are you eat foods that contain high fructose corn syrup on a regular basis. It makes up nearly half of the sweeteners used in processed foods and is found in everything from sodas, fruit juice, crackers, cereal and even ketchup. Ketchup!

Big food companies LOVE HFCS not only because it is 6 times as sweet as cane sugar, but also, you guessed it, it is cheap! (genetically modified corn crops are heavily subsidized by our government as opposed to something that’s actually good for us. Don’t get me started.)

For the record, in 1983, the FDA granted high-fructose corn syrup as “generally recognized as safe” for foods and beverages.

Hmmmm… didn’t they say they same thing about cigarettes?

Here’s the trouble: According to many experts, our bodies process high-fructose differently from other sugars and when processed in our liver, HCS triggers our triglycerides putting us at risk for stroke or heart disease. That doesn’t strike me as “safe,” general or otherwise. Further, I believe that HFCS plays a major role in our obesity crisis today. Scientists have shown that the sweetener doesn’t send the same “I’m full” signal to the brain as when we consume sugar. So you can eat, and eat, and eat and never really feel satiated. This continues the cycle of our nation, and especially our kids, being over-fed and undernourished.

Try this experiment – next time you go to the market try to find something that does NOT contain HFCS. If you’re buying anything that’s processed, it’s next to impossible. That’s the real not so sweet surprise.

I’ve always preached “everything in moderation” but with the ubiquitous presence of HFCS (it’s in nearly ¾ of all processed foods) moderation is kind of tough. You’re better off sticking with the fresh, local, organic and whole foods.

And good luck at those birthday parties.

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.