Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pineapple Watermelon Coconut Smoothie

2 cups fresh pineapple
2 cups seedless watermelon
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons maple syrup, raw honey, or sugar
1 cup ice

Blend all the ingredients until smooth. Serve icy cold in tall glasses garnished with fresh fruit.

Battle Brewing Over Labeling of Genetically Modified Food - May 24th, 2012
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — On a recent sunny morning at the Big Y grocery here, Cynthia LaPier parked her cart in the cereal aisle. With a glance over her shoulder and a quick check of the ingredients, she plastered several boxes with hand-designed stickers from a roll in her purse. “Warning,” they read. “May Contain GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms).”
For more than a decade, almost all processed foods in the United States — cereals, snack foods, salad dressings — have contained ingredients from plants whose DNA was manipulated in a laboratory. Regulators and many scientists say these pose no danger. But as Americans ask more pointed questions about what they are eating, popular suspicions about the health and environmental effects of biotechnology are fueling a movement to require that food from genetically modified crops be labeled, if not eliminated.

Labeling bills have been proposed in more than a dozen states over the last year, and an appeal to the Food and Drug Administration last fall to mandate labels nationally drew more than a million signatures. There is an iPhone app: ShopNoGMO
The most closely watched labeling effort is a proposed ballot initiative in California that cleared a crucial hurdle this month, setting the stage for a probable November vote that could influence not just food packaging but the future of American agriculture.
Tens of millions of dollars are expected to be spent on the election showdown. It pits consumer groups and the organic food industry, both of which support mandatory labeling, against more conventional farmers, agricultural biotechnology companies like Monsanto and many of the nation’s best-known food brands like Kellogg’s and Kraft.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Grilled Pesto Lemon Asparagus

1 lb fresh asparagus
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon fresh basil pesto
1 lemon, slice
1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Extra Virgin olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper

Preheat grill to 500 F

In a large bowl, add asparagus, pesto, garlic, and lemon juice. Drizzle olive oil over the top. Season with sea salt and black pepper and toss to combine.

Arrange asparagus on a single layer on a grill sheet with lemon slices on top. Grill for about 4 minutes, turning over halfway during cooking.

Place asparagus on a serving platter, drizzle olive oil over the top. Garnish with pine nuts. Serve hot.

Don't Let Chicken Packing Plants Operate Their Conveyor Belts Twice As Fast - May 29th, 2012
In response to the United States Department of Agriculture's proposed guidelines that would allow poultry processing plants to operate conveyor belts at a maximum of 175 chickens per minute, or twice the speed at which they currently operate:

These measures would make working conditions even more dangerous for poultry plants workers and would negatively impact the industry's 300,000 workers. Meatpacking is already one of the most dangerous jobs in our country, the main source of danger being the dangerous speed at which conveyor belts operate, according to Human Rights Watch and the Southern Poverty Law Center. The Food Empowerment Project explains, "When you combine sharp tools and automated machinery in a high-paced, crowded environment, injuries are inevitable." A 22-month investigation into poultry processing in the Carolina by the South Carolina Charlotte Observer found that workers broke limbs and tore off their fingers.

The United States Department of Agriculture does not have any guidelines to protect poultry plant workers' safety. Rather, worker safety guidelines fall under food sanitation guidelines, although these are not the same things.

In 1999, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that chicken slaughtering and processing workers had the fifth highest rate of repeated-trauma injury, at an average of 337 per 100,000 workers. A 2007 study by Duke University found that 43 percent of workers surveyed suffered from musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), which The Nation reported can be so severe that one worker could not even hold a glass of water and another's thumb joint had almost disappeared.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Eggless Chocolate Cake

3 cups all purpose unbleached white flour 
2 cups powdered/icing sugar 
1/2 cup chocolate/cocoa powder 
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon nutmeg 
1 teaspoon salt 
2 cups cold coffee 
1 cup melted bittersweet dark chocolate 
1 cup pure vegetable oil
1 teaspoon melted butter 

Preheat oven to 350 F

Sift all the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Set aside. Blend all the wet ingredients together and fold into the dry.

Pour into a lined 8" round cake pan. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until a stick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Ganache:
1/2 cup chocolate chunks (60%) or similar 
1/2 cup heavy whipping 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 cake. Decorate with fresh berries.

Popcorn Isn't All it's Popped Up to Be

"Unadulterated" popcorn has to be one of the healthiest snacks we could consume. Here are some of the nutritional facts:
• This whole grain contains over 40 nutrients including all the B complex vitamins, vitamin E, riboflavin and thiamine

• It is high in fibre and contains heart-protecting phytonutrients 
• Has more protein than many other grains, excluding quinoa
• Has more iron than eggs, roast beef or spinach
• Contains only 30 calories per cup
Sound pretty good? Yes, if you have it air popped with nothing on it. But few of us consume popcorn in that way. The trend is to devour a large bag at the movie theatre with butter and additional seasonings. Now watch the calories, fat and sodium go through the roof! Are you sitting down?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Banana Pancakes (Gluten-Free)

1.5 cups almond flour/meal
1.5 cups tapioca flour
2 teaspoons GF baking powder
2 large very ripe bananas, mashed
1 tablespoon stevia
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup almond milk
2 large eggs (room temperature)

Combine eggs, almond milk and oil. Set aside. Add all the dry ingredients and mashed bananas into a food processor. With the motor running, drizzle in enough liquid to make a smooth batter (not thin and runny).

Heat a lightly buttered griddle or frying pan over medium heat. When griddle or pan is hot, pour a 1/4 cup of the batter into the griddle, cook until bubbles appear on the surface (about 1 to 1.5 minutes). Flip over and cook a further 2 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and keep warm. Repeat with the rest of the batter.

Serve with maple syrup and fresh fruit (warm).

Healthy Food Isn't Necessarily More Expensive Than Junk Food - May 15th, 2012

WASHINGTON -- Is it really more expensive to eat healthy?

An Agriculture Department study released Wednesday found that most fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods cost less than foods high in fat, sugar and salt.

That counters a common perception among some consumers that it's cheaper to eat junk food than a nutritionally balanced meal.

The government says it all depends on how you measure the price. If you compare the price per calorie – as some previous researchers have done – then higher-calorie pastries and processed snacks might seem like a bargain compared with fruits and vegetables.

But comparing the cost of foods by weight or portion size shows that grains, vegetables, fruit and dairy foods are less expensive than most meats or foods high in saturated fat, added sugars or salt.

That means bananas, carrots, lettuce and pinto beans are all less expensive per portion than French fries, soft drinks, ice cream or ground beef.

"Using price per calorie doesn't tell you how much food you're going to get or how full you are going to feel," said Andrea Carlson, scientist at the USDA's Economic Research Service and an author of the study.

For example, eating a chocolate glazed donut with 240 calories might not satiate you but a banana with 105 calories just might.

In the comparisons, the USDA researchers used national average prices from Nielsen Home scan data, which surveyed a panel of households that recorded all food purchases over a year from retail outlets.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Baby Spinach Artichoke Bread Salad

6 cups baby spinach
12 baby artichoke hearts (marinaded in olive oil and lemon)
6 slices rustic sourdough bread
1/2 red onion, sliced
4 ounces shredded fresh mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts (optional)
Extra virgin olive oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Sea salt and black pepper

Divide salad ingredients amongst 6 salad plates. Scatter pine nuts over the top (optional). Season with sea salt and black pepper. Serve chilled with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil on the side.

Food FYI: Yes or No to Farmed Salmon? - May 3rd, 2012
Puerto Montt, Chile - In the Pacific Northwest, where I've lived and worked for 40 years, salmon is more than a commodity. It's a regional icon and an article of faith, part of a regional doctrine that dictates: thou shalt eat wild salmon only, for farmed salmon is a blasphemy.

As a journalist with agnostic tendencies, I've never really subscribed to this belief. But I've always been a tad suspicious of farmed salmon. I suppose it has to do with vague recollections of something I read about the use of antibiotics, or to the label we frequently see on salmon packages: "color added."

So when I jetted off to Chile a few weeks ago, it was with a twinge of skepticism.

Over the following five days, I saw a lot of fish. I walked the galvanized steel catwalks around floating netpens the size of three football fields and 100 feet deep - pens that contained millions of Atlantic salmon, shadowy missiles milling beneath the surface until the automatic feeders spring to action and the surface suddenly boils with bright, silvery, hungry salmon that reminded me of an Alaska spawning run.

I toured factories that resemble surgical wards, with scores of workers draped in white gowns, masks and rubber boots, stepping through disinfectant baths between rooms. I watched men and women trimming gorgeous, red fillets into meal-size portions for freezing, then for shipment to markets around the world. I listened to workers explain what they do, and what they've learned from the last few years, when an invading virus killed millions of fish, and almost killed the industry.

At each stop, I asked questions about our perceptions of farmed salmon, about antibiotics and Omega 3 fatty acids and food coloring.

Read More

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Apple Raisin Nut Crumble Cake (eggless+gluten-free)

3 cups all purpose GF baking mix
2 cups raw brown sugar
4 cups sliced granny smith apples
1 cup grated granny smith apples
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup raisins
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup pure vegetable oil
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 cup apple juice
1 teaspoon melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 F

Sift all the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Set aside. Peel, core and slice apples. Add brown sugar and mix to combine. Let it sit for 30 minutes. Blend all the wet ingredients together and add to the dry. Fold in apples.

Pour into a prepared 12" by 12" round tart pan and bake for 55 minutes or until a stick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Serve warm with fresh whipped cream and ice cream as a dessert or cold as a slice.

Amy's Products Now Produced in Non-BPA Cans - May 23rd, 2012
Amy's, the nation's top-selling brand of natural and organic convenience foods, is pleased to announce that as of March 1, 2012, Amy's has completely transitioned all of the production of its canned products to a non-BPA liner. Details of Amy's announcement is available on the company website here.

Though the FDA maintains that BPA is safe in US packaging,* Amy's has been working to find new solutions for many years. Amy's has been and is always concerned for the safety and health of its consumers and is very pleased to have developed a new solution.

"We've been searching for the best possible non-BPA replacement for our cans for almost three years. We conducted shelf tests with over 20 different liners before choosing the best one for our needs and high quality standards," said Andy Berliner, Co-Founder of Amy's.

"Amy's has rigorously tested the newest non-BPA can linings and chosen the most safe and effective option available. It is important that consumers understand that BPA is omnipresent in the environment from a multitude of sources. Tests on our canned products with the new liner show extraordinarily low BPA levels of less than 1 part per billion," said Berliner.

Once Amy's chose the best can option, it took more than a year for the can industry to provide sufficient inventory for Amy's to ensure that all of their cans could be made with this new non-BPA liner.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bolognese on Glass Noodles (Gluten-Free)

I pound freshly ground/mince grass fed beef
28 ounces roasted tomatoes, blend
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup fresh basil pesto
1 white onion , chopped
1 handful fresh basil, chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper
1 packet glass noodles/vermicelli

In a large frying pan on medium high heat, drizzle enough olive oil to cover the bottom. When hot, add onion, garlic, and ground sirloin.  Stir continuously to cook and brown. Add all the wet ingredients and continue stirring until it starts to bubble. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer slowly for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Set aside.

Bring a large saucepan of water to boil. Remove from heat. Add glass noodles. Set aside for 3 to 4 minutes to soften, or until al dente, then drain. Cut noodles into small pieces with a pair of scissors (optional) and toss into the bolognese sauce.

Serve hot on a large pasta bowl with fresh parmesan cheese on the side and fresh bread. Drizzle with extra olive oil over the top and garnish with fresh basil. 

National Stroller Brigade: Moms Descend On Congress To Urge Toxic Chemical Reform - May 22nd, 2012

Christine Nienstedt is a fairly typical mom. Her time is stretched thin between work and her kids' soccer games -- and navigating the array of toxic chemicals that fill her family's world.

"I do my best, but it's just not easy to know which mattress to buy, or how far from flame retardants you can get, or what food wrapped in plastic packaging is okay," she said.

On Tuesday, Nienstedt and her 11-year-old daughter, Tyler Cheyenne, joined about 200 other moms and children as part of the National Stroller Brigade in Washington, D.C. Their mission: convince Congress to retire the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act and replace it with the proposed Safe Chemicals Act, which currently awaits a Senate vote.

The swap would essentially shift the burden of proof for chemical safety from the current assumption that a chemical is safe until proven toxic -- generally after it has already spent years on the market -- to a requirement for industry to prove that a chemical is safe prior to placing it on store shelves.

"To me, the idea of testing chemicals before they are allowed to be used is common sense. We should have had that in place decades ago," Nienstedt said.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Curried Apple Chicken Salad

1 whole roasted chicken
1 1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt
2 large green apples
3 celery sticks with leaves, chopped
1 cup raisins (optional)
1 cup slivered almonds (optional)
2 shallots, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
Handful fresh Italian parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons curry powder
Sea salt and black pepper

Get a sieve, and a bowl that fits nicely under the sieve with a decent amount of space under the bottom of the sieve, and a cheesecloth or a clean tea towel placed in the sieve, pour the yogurt in, and keep refrigerated overnight or up to two hours if you are short on time to drain off all the liquid in the yogurt, giving you a very thick consistency for the dressing.

Remove apple core and chop into bite size pieces. Remove skin and bones off chicken and chop into bite size pieces. Combine all the ingredients in a large salad bowl (except curry, garlic and yogurt). Toss to combine and season with sea salt and black pepper.

Combine yogurt, garlic and curry powder (add another tablespoon of curry if you prefer a stronger curry flavor). Season with sea salt and black pepper and add to the salad for a final toss. Keep refrigerated until serve.   

Bring back butter... and cheese, red meat and whole milk! - May 12th, 2012
I love butter. Smothered on vegetables or, best of all, melted over a juicy sirloin steak.

And I eat masses of red meat – lamb chops or my favourite, pork belly. 

Sometimes we’ll put a piece in the oven at lunchtime, and slow cook it to make the crackling really crunchy by evening.

My only two rules are that the meat has to be good quality and that all the fat is left on. 

As a food expert, I spend my working life imploring the public to eat a nutritious diet – so I know these may sound like odd admissions. 

What I am suggesting flies in the face of everything you have heard about healthy eating.

But I firmly believe that we all need to eat more fat – including the much-demonised saturated fat. I’m not talking about junk foods but fresh meats and dairy. 

There should be a shift back to butter, full-fat milk and red meat – all often labelled high sat-fat foods – as they are nutritional gold mines.

Read more

Monday, May 21, 2012

Eggless Chocolate Muffins

3 cups all purpose unbleached white flour
2 cups superfine sugar
1/2 cup chocolate/cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups cold coffee
1 cup melted bittersweet dark chocolate
1 cup pure vegetable oil
1 teaspoon melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 F

Sift all the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Set aside. Blend all the wet ingredients together and fold into the dry.

Scoop into a lined 18 cup muffin pan 3/4 full.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until a stick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Ganache:
1/2 cup chocolate chunks (60%) or similar
1/2 cup heavy whipping 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.  Brush a generous amount over the muffins.

Home Cooking Increases Longevity, Cambridge Study Shows - May 18th, 2012

For those of you who use your stove for shoe storage, nota bene: all that wasted time with an inactive kitchen could be shortening your lifespan. In fact, a new study found that people who cook up to five times a week were 47 percent more likely to still be alive after 10 years.

“It has become clear that cooking is a healthy behavior," said lead author Professor Mark Wahlqvist in a statement. "It deserves a place in life-long education, public health policy, urban planning and household economics."

The research team, made up of Taiwanese and Australian researchers, published their work in Public Health Nutrition, a Cambridge University journal after looking at a group of 1,888 men and women over age 65 who lived in Taiwan. At the start of the study, they interviewed each participant about several lifestyle factors, including cooking habits, household circumstances, shopping habits, diet, education, transportation and smoking.

During the initial survey, researchers found that 43 percent of participants never cooked, while 17 percent cooked one to two times per week, 9 percent cooked three to five times in a week and 31 percent cooked five or more times a week.

Friday, May 18, 2012

San Francisco Bay Area City Puts Soda Tax On November Ballot - May 17th, 2012

RICHMOND, Calif. — Voters in Richmond are set to decide whether to make the San Francisco Bay area city the nation’s first municipality to tax soda and other sugary beverages to help fight childhood obesity.

The Richmond City Council voted 5-2 on Tuesday to place the soda tax measure on the Nov. 6 ballot, despite opposition from grocers and soda drinkers. The tax would apply to soft drinks and other beverages with added sugar such as Snapple. Diet sodas and most juice would be exempt.

The money from the penny-per-ounce tax would go to soccer fields, school gardens and programs to treat diabetes and fight childhood obesity. It’s projected to raise between $2 million and $8 million.

Other cities around the country have considered soda taxes as a way to reduce obesity and its related health effects. But Kelly Brownell, director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University, said no city has gotten as far as Richmond.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Three Bean Salad With Lime Cumin Vinaigrette

1 cup cooked kidney beans
1 cup cooked pinto beans
1 cup black beans
1 cup cherry tomatoes (optional)
1 small green chili, finely chopped
1 small sweet white onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Handful cilantro, finely chopped
Sea salt and black pepper

Combine all the ingredients. Season with sea salt and black pepper to taste. Pour dressing over the top. Mix to combine. Serve chilled.

Lime Cumin Vinaigrette:
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
Sea salt and black pepper

Add olive oil, lime juice, mustard, and cumin to a jar with a lid. Shake well to fully combine just before serving. Season with sea salt and black pepper. There will be some leftover, keep it refrigerated for future use.

Educate Your Workforce to Make Better Food Choices - May 15th, 2012

We are just days away from the first ever Food Revolution Day with hundreds of local food events and dinner parties taking place in cities, communities and homes around the world as people stand up for real food and better food education on May 19th.
Kicking off the activities on Friday will be schools and companies, two key places where real food is vital and a fuel for success
When we think of food and changing what we eat and the way we eat, we often tend to think of making changes at home or in schools and forget about the workplace -- even though on average we're spending 260 days a year at work and consuming at least one meal there every day.
During work hours we can often feel pressed for time and eating habits suffer. The workplace is actually a great place to start thinking about real food, and really it should be company policy to encourage employees to eat fresh, healthy food at work, whether from the work cafeteria or brought from home. Making better food choices can improve performance in both the short and long term for a more successful workforce. After all, we all work better when we are fuelled up on fresh, wholesome, nutritious foods!
Some companies have already started making wellness a priority. Others are still a long way off. Food Revolution Day is an opportunity for workplaces and employees to think about real food. By getting your company involved and encouraging employees to make simple changes, you'll be part of a global movement and making a commitment to the health and happiness of your workforce.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Thyme Garlic and Mustard Fish Kebabs

5 firm white fish fillets
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
Extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
Handful fresh parsley, chopped
Handful fresh thyme,chopped
Sea salt and black pepper
10 small metal skewers

Dry fish with a paper towel and cut each fillet into two strips.

Combine fresh herbs, garlic, mustard, and lemon juice. Add four tablespoons of olive oil and stir to combine. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Add fish, making sure it's fully coated in the marinade. Set aside for 10 minutes in room temperature.

Preheat broiler to high

Thread fish onto skewer (one strip per skewer) and arrange in a single layer on a greased baking sheet. Broil for 6 minutes, turning over halfway.

Drizzle extra olive oil over the top. Garnish with fresh herbs. Season with sea salt and black pepper.

Serve hot.

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