Friday, March 30, 2012

Roasted Balsamic Peppers

5 large red peppers
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (plus extra)
Good quality balsamic vinegar
Fresh herbs of your choice for garnish
Sea salt and black pepper

Preheat oven to 450 F

Place peppers on a large baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Toss in garlic. Season with salt and black pepper. Roast for 30 minutes or until caramelized.

Arrange on a serving platter. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the top. Garnish with fresh herbs. Serve warm.

Chemical Additives Linked to Skyrocketing Obesity/Diabetes Rates

A CHEM Trust (Chemicals, Health and Environment Monitoring Trust) report released today highlights the dangers of our exposure to hormone disrupting chemicals in food and consumer products because of their links to obesity and diabetes.

Studies published in recent years provide compelling evidence that human chemical contamination can play a part in both conditions.

The report concludes that the cocktail of chemicals that we accumulate throughout life, via our everyday lifestyles, is likely to contribute to these modern epidemics, both of which are major financial drains on the National Health Service (NHS) and the economy.

The report, commissioned by CHEM Trust, entitled; Review of the Science Linking Chemical Exposures to the Human Risk of Obesity and Diabetes, is written by two of the world’s leading experts; Professor Miquel Porta and Professor Duk-Hee Lee. They reviewed over 240 research papers to reach their conclusions.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Baked Pesto Chicken

4 chicken breasts, cut into thick strips
3 cups cooked chickpeas
1 cup fresh basil pesto
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 lemon, juice
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (plus extra)
Sea salt and black pepper

Preheat oven to 500 F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine pesto, fresh parsley, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and mustard. Stir to combine. Add chicken and chickpeas and make sure to fully coat. Season with sea salt and black pepper.

Arrange chicken and chickpeas in a single layer on a prepared baking sheet. Drizzle extra olive oil on top. Bake for 5 minutes, turn over and bake a further five minutes or until chicken is cooked and chickpeas crispy.

Vegans Bash Starbucks For Beetle Coloring in Frappuccinos

Starbucks has the vegan community seeing red over what it recently began using to color its Strawberry Frappuccinos: beetles.

That's beetles as in ground up cochineal beetles — mostly found in Mexico and South America.

Gross as that may sound, it's a common, government-approved food coloring used widely throughout the food industry. It's in everything from some Yoplait yogurts to three Kellogg's Pop-Tarts flavors.

A Vegan website,, this month warned its readers that Strawberry Frappuccino was no longer vegan and now is using the beetles for coloring. Starbucks made the switch in January when it aggressively moved away from artificial ingredients.

For Starbucks, which is eager to get artificial ingredients out of its food and drinks, it's an unexpected PR problem. Never mind that Frappuccinos, in total, represent a $2 billion global business for Starbucks. "This is the quintessential modern day PR crisis," says PR expert Katie Delahaye Paine. "You try to be good and green, and someone is going to get you for it."

Daelyn Fortney, co-founder of the vegan website, was informed of the change by an anonymous Starbucks barista. She wants Starbucks to go back to using a vegan coloring like red beet, black carrots or purple sweet potatoes. She's posted a petition from her group on the website, under the heading, "Starbucks: Stop using bugs to color your strawberry colored drinks." Late Wednesday, it had 779 signatures.

"This was known as a drink that vegans can safely consume," she says. "We're not trying to cause any problems. Our point is, vegans are drinking this and it's not vegan."

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Crispy Garlic Chickpea Stuffed Red Pepper

4 red peppers
4 cups cooked chickpea
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley
3 tablespoons fresh dill
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1 lemon, juice
Sea salt and black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 F

Combine all the ingredients (except peppers). Season with sea salt and black pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a greased baking sheet and baking, turning occasionally until crispy and brown (about 10 to 15 minutes).

Cut off stems and remove seeds from inside peppers. Stuff the peppers full with chickpeas. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the top. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Garnish with fresh herbs and enjoy!

How Safe Is Our Food, Really?

Each year, one in six Americans gets sick because of contaminated food.

And according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Protection (CDC), outbreaks may be on the rise. During a five-year period from 2005 to 2010, 39 outbreaks made more than 2,300 people ill, but nearly half, or 17, took place during 2009-20120.

But do we really need to worry about our spinach? Be scared of peanuts? Sure, today's far-flung food supply network comes with new risks. But food safety doesn't have to be a tradeoff for bountiful food.

Our food supply network, complex as it is, can be accountable. We could track food from farm to table. We could pinpoint right away where a bad batch of food came from instead of resorting to massive recalls. We could even keep contaminated food from hitting shelves in the first place.

Hard to imagine, partly because for so long skeptics have argued that food tracking systems are too complex, too expensive and too unworkable on a broad scale.

But that's just not true any longer. Technology can make our food safer and it's here now. We can combine easy-to-use common technologies -- such as barcodes, cloud computing, smartphones, and analytics -- at minimal costs. We can also create tracking systems that are affordable and work for everyone from Mom and Pop farms to multinational company food testers.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Roasted Garlic Beets

4 large beets
3 ounces fresh goat cheese, coarsely crumbled (optional)
1 cup cherry tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 lemon, juice
2 tablespoons fresh dill
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Line a baking sheet with foil. 

Peel beets and dice into bite size wedges. In a bowl, and lemon juice and drizzle a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil over the beets. Add chopped garlic. Toss to coat beets. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Place beets on a baking sheet and roast for about 20 to 40 minutes or until caramelized and soft.

Arrange on a serving platter and drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the top. Garnish with goat cheese crumbles (optional), cherry tomatoes, and fresh herbs.

Just How Unhealthy is Our Daily Bread? - March 22nd, 2012

12 million loaves are sold in the UK every day but many contain barely any nutrients. Here's how to use your loaf when buying bread
“Most of us mindlessly pick up a loaf of bread once or twice a week without really knowing what’s in it. We just assume it’s healthy,” says nutritionist Vicki Edgson.
Almost every household in the UK regularly buys bread, but are you using your loaf when it comes to this popular product?
But just as breakfast cereal has come under fire recently (the consumer watchdog Which? discovered some have more sugar than biscuits), bread is also a food most of us believe is fairly healthy when in fact it can be anything but.

“A large proportion of the bread we buy is bleached, blanched and nutrient stripped,” says Vicki. “It’s made from processed wheat and as well as containing salt and preservatives, some loaves also contain sugar.”

So why is this a problem? As well as the health implications of eating too much salt and sugar (especially the ‘hidden’ kind found in products like bread, pasta, ready meals and cooking sauces), experts also argue that the extra additives are causing bloating and other digestive problems.

Nearly three quarters of the bread we now eat has been made with extra yeast – this enables it to be baked more quickly and prolong its shelf life.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Gluten-Free Apricot Pull-Apart Bread

3 cups gluten-free all purpose flour (plus more for dusting and rolling)
1 packet GF yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 tablespoon xanthan gum
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
3 large eggs
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup club soda (warm)
2 cups apricot jam (plus more for glazing)

Whisk all the dry ingredients. Combine all the wet ingredients together and mix into the dry ingredients using the dough attachment of a food processor.

Turn dough out into a well-oiled glass bowl and cover in a warm place for two hours.

Preheat oven to 375 F

Pat dough out onto a heavily floured surface because the dough is very sticky. With floured hands, pat the dough out to a square (about 1/2 inch thickness) piece. Spread preserve over the dough leaving about an inch all the way around free of preserve. Roll up like a Swiss roll and cut 12 even rolls. Place on a prepared 12" by 12" round tart pan or similar. Allow to rest a further 40 minutes. 

Brush the top generously with melted butter and apricot preserve.

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until rolls are baked and golden brown.

Shock For Consumers With New Labelling Law

Consumers are set to be horrified when they see what harmful substances they have been feeding their children in some fruit juices, when producers list all ingredients on their labels, as required by the new Consumer Protection Act that came into effect this month, and which stipulates accurate product labelling.This is according to SurePure marketing executive Steve Miller who said that when consumers started to understand how many preservatives were in the juices they buy, or how little nutrient value was left after the ultra-high levels of heat their juice had been subjected to, they were going to be shocked, and producer brands were going to suffer as a result.

"Consumers will be able to read the labels on their juices and see exactly what kind of processed beverage concoction is masquerading as 'pure fruit juice' as the way producers process, pad and preserve their products will be a little more evident in the future and the ugly truth revealed," he said.

"If producers follow the letter of the new law, consumers will know exactly what ingredients are in the beverage, and what little nutritional value they actually contain. Consumers will be horrified at the pervasiveness of sugar, colourants, flavourants and especially preservatives most juices they feed to their families contain."

Since the act does not stipulate that "all ingredients need to be listed" manufacturers will still be able to keep consumers in the dark regarding certain ingredients in fruit juices.

Miller warns that while producers will, in theory, have to be totally truthful as to what ingredients, additives and preservatives their juices contain, they are still allowed not to list certain preservatives.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Gooey Chocolate Banana Cake (gluten-free)

3 cups almond meal/flour
2 cups melted dark chocolate
4 large eggs, room temperature
3 large bananas, chopped
1 cup raw honey
1/2 cup pure vegetable oil
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons espresso powder

Preheat oven to 375 F

Blend all the ingredients in a blender to combine (except bananas). Fold in bananas. Pour into a prepared round 10" Springform cake pan and bake for 1 hour or until a stick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Let the cake cool completely before removing from the pan while you prepare the ganache.

Chocolate Ganache:
1/2 cup chocolate chunks (60%) or similar
1/2 cup heavy cream

Bring heavy cream in a saucepan on medium heat to simmer (don't boil). Pour over chocolate chunks and whisk until chocolate mixture is smooth and shiny. Pour over the top of the cake and spread out to cover the entire cake.

Keep refrigerated until serve.

Food Can Help Fight Pain

Relief from indigestion, diabetes, headaches and even arthritis may be in your kitchen instead of your medicine cabinet.

Dietitians and doctors are making the connection between food and pain, and say that changing your diet can change the way you feel.

Pain and inflammation are the body's reaction to injury, but foods can reduce them.

Eating To Fight Pain
Shelly Asplin, a registered dietitian at Omaha grocery story Hy-Vee, said Omega-3 fatty acids go a long way toward fighting pain and inflammation. Asplin said she recommends foods that are high in Omega 3s to arthritis and fibromyalgia sufferers.

Fish and seafood are often high in Omega 3, as are flax seeds and walnuts.

"A handful (of walnuts) a day gives you a recommended serving of Omega 3. Fresh, wild seafood from very cold water contains the highest sources of Omega 3 fats," Asplin said. "Flax has to be ground -- the complete seed only delivers fiber, but ground varieties have fiber and Omega 3s."

Asplin said she sprinkles ground flax seed on her morning oatmeal.

Omega 3s and more are also widely touted to lessen arthritis pain and inflammation. A list of additional foods is posted at

Some Foods Increase Pain
Asplin said there are foods to avoid when fighting pain. She said refined and highly processed foods can cause inflammation.

"Whole grains are anti-inflammatory. Make sure the first ingredient is whole grain," Asplin said. "Whole fruit is anti inflammatory, but leave the skin on."

John Mixan, a dietary life coach in Omaha, said his wife has successfully fought knee pain with diet. He advises clients to boost their intake of ginger, garlic, cinnamon, turmeric, curry and basil when they're fighting pain.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Chicken Corn Soup

8 cups water
1 whole chicken
4 carrots, chopped into large chunks
1 large onion, chopped
4 celery sticks with leaves, chopped into large chunks
4 cups sweet corn
Handful fresh dill, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 large lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons chicken bouillon
Sea salt and black pepper

In a large soup pot on medium high, add all the ingredients. Leave one cup of corn aside and some fresh dill for garnish. Season with sea salt and black pepper, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for three hours. Turn off heat, remove all chicken and some carrots from the pot. Blend broth. When cool enough to handle, remove all the meat from the chicken (discard skin). Add chicken, carrots, and corn to the broth. Bring to a boil. Turn off heat. Garnish with fresh dill. Serve hot.

FDA Allows Bugs In Your Food

Your food has to reach "Food Defect Action Levels" that have been created by the FDA before the regulator will take action against products with foreign matter. In other words, there is a level of grossness food has to get to before they do anything about it.

Simply put, there has to be a certain amount of bugs or bug parts in your food before it's deemed unsafe, but a little bit is totally fine. For example, manufacturers can't allow more than 225 bug parts in 225 grams of pasta. Any less than 225 parts in that batch is ok for the FDA.
Most of the time, this does not mean these foods are unsafe and in order to be on the list of these foods, the "defects" (what the FDA calls bugs and rodents) have to have been found to cause no health hazards.

Realistically it's impossible to eliminate all bugs from food grown outdoors, no matter how small the manufacturer -- but there is a certain ick-factor involved with the idea that there could be maggots in your food in any amount or form.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Mini Brioche Bread Pudding

12 slices brioche loaf
2 bananas, sliced
1/2 cup fresh strawberries
1/2 cup raisins/sultanas
2 tablespoons orange zest
1 cup cream
3 large eggs
1/2 cup raw honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 F

Grease a 12-cup muffin pan. 

Cut 4" wide (diameter) circles in center  of each slice of bread and place in muffin tins making sure to also cover sides.

Arrange fruit at the bottom of the muffin cups. Combine all the wet ingredients, orange zest and spices and fill the muffin cups.  Leave to sit for about 10 minutes so that the bread soaks up the liquid. 

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until set and caramelized.

Enjoy warm with whip cream and/or ice cream.

Top 10 Food Additives to Avoid

1. Hidden sugars
Sugar comes in many forms. As you might assume, when we eat sugar it raises our blood sugar, and chronically high levels of sugar in the blood lead to the creation of the sugar bonds known as AGEs. Therefore it is very important to learn to recognize that there are many forms of sugar; in fact, the word “sugar” may or may not appear on the label at all. Look for: white sugar, cane sugar, brown sugar, confectioner’s sugar, invert sugar, raw sugar, beet sugar, turbinado sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, dextrin, honey, maple, evaporated cane juice, malt, molasses, dextrose, fructose, sucrose, fruit juice concentrate, glucose, maltose.

2. Artificial colouring
Synthetic food dyes are unnecessary and are either toxic or are possible carcinogens, which means that they may promote cancer.

3. Aspartame and all
artificial sweeteners,
including saccharin
These are dangerous excitotoxins with many negative effects.

4. BHT and BHA
Used to preserve fats and oils. Studies indicate that they may be carcinogenic.

5. Brominated
vegetable oil (BVO)
Used in citrus flavoured sodas and banned in more than 100 countries. It has been linked to damage in the major organ systems. Apparently the FDA does not require that it be listed on labels—so avoid any citrus flavoured sodas(such as lemon or lime )as it is a good bet that BVO is included.

6. Carrageenan
Stabilizer and thickening agent; found in everything from ice cream to yogurt. May be a carcinogen and is linked to toxic hazards, including ulcers and cancer; In addition to suppressing immune function, carrageenan causes intestinal ulcers and inflammatory bowel disease in animals and some research indicates that carrageenan is associated with causing cancer in humans.

7. Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils
These are the infamous trans fats directly linked to heart disease. The FDA published a paper stating that if people in the US stopped eating trans fat there would be 30,000 to 100,000 less deaths per year from CHD. Trans fats are also linked to breast and colon cancer, atherosclerosis, elevated cholesterol, depressed immune system, and allergies.

8. Nitrates
Nitrates form powerful cancer-causing agents in stomach; are found in smoked foods such as deli foods, cured meats, bacon, hot dogs, pepperoni, sausage, etc.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Stuffed Baked Salmon

This recipe is one of many that I will be sharing in my upcoming book, "Rustic Modern Cuisine". To pre-order your copy, please click here. Available for a limited time only!

GM Foods & Reproductive Health

Genetically Modified Foods Already Linked to Reduced Fertility

Genetically engineered (GE) corn and soy have already been shown to reduce fertility in animals, and glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s weed killer Roundup, which is heavily used on GE crops, has also been shown to alter fertility.

For example, female rats fed GE (Roundup Ready) soy for 15 months showed significant changes in their uterus and reproductive cycle, compared to rats fed organic soy or those raised without soy. According to researchers, if women experience similar changes in the uterus lining and altered hormonal levels, it might increase the risk of retrograde menstruation, in which menstrual discharge travels backwards into your body rather than through your uterus. This can cause a disease known as endometriosis, which may lead to infertility.

The disorder can also produce pelvic and leg pain, gastrointestinal problems, chronic fatigue, and a wide variety of other symptoms. Genetically modified soybeans are called Roundup Ready.

They contain a bacterial gene that allows the plants to survive a normally deadly dose of Roundup herbicide. Although the spray doesn’t kill the plant, its active ingredient, glyphosate, actually accumulates in the beans themselves, which are then consumed by livestock and humans. There is actually so much glyphosate in GE soybeans that when they were introduced, Europe had to increase their allowable residue levels 200-fold!

Glyphosate Poses Risk to Female Reproductive Health

Although there are only a handful of studies on the safety of GE soybeans, there is considerable evidence that glyphosate—especially in conjunction with the other ingredients in Roundup—wreaks havoc with the endocrine and reproductive systems.

Glyphosate throws off the delicate hormonal balance that governs the whole reproductive cycle. It interferes with aromatase, which produces estrogen, and it’s also highly toxic to the placenta in pregnant women. In a 2009 French study, scientists discovered that glyphosate can kill the cells in the outer layer of the human placenta (the trophoblast membrane), which in turn can kill the placenta. A mere 1/500th the amount needed to kill weeds was able to kill these cells! The amount is so small, according to the study’s authors, that the “residual levels to be expected, especially in food and feed derived from Roundup formulation-treated crops” could be enough to “cause cell damage and even [cell] death.”

Monday, March 19, 2012

Gluten Free Blueberry Peach Muffins

1 1/4 gluten free cake flour blend
1 cup almond flour
1 cup coconut sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 cup almond milk or milk of your choice
1 cup pure vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Zest of one large lemon
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup fresh peaches, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 F

Combine dry ingredients. Lightly dust fruit with flour. Combine wet and fold into dry ingredients and add fruit. Mix to combine.

Scoop into a prepared 12 cup large muffin pan and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or when a stick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

The Hidden Email the White House Hopes to Keep Under Wraps - March 06th, 2012

Did You Know? GM Crops are Sown in Wildlife Refuges Across U.S.

Americans are finally waking up to the reality of genetically engineered food—what it is, and its many dangers to human health and the environment.

Genetically engineered (GE) foods are also known as genetically modified (GM), or as genetically modified organisms (GMO).

In the video above, activist Adam Eidinger proposes a GMO shareholder resolution at Monsanto's 2012 annual shareholder meeting.   

He tries to make the board and shareholders more aware of the dangers of Monsanto's pesticides and GMOs, the company's questionable practices, and the growing consumer backlash.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Roasted Pepper Egg Salad with a Balsamic Vinaigrette

4 cups baby spinach
2 large roasted red pepper
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella
1/2 small white onion, sliced
3 large hard boiled eggs, cut into wedges
1 cup cherry tomatoes
Sea salt salt and black pepper

Arrange salad ingredients on a large serving platter (refer to picture). Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper.

Balsamic Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup good quality balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon raw brown sugar
1 small garlic clove, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil.

Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend to fully combine.

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