Friday, June 29, 2012

Banana Fritters (Gluten-Free)

1 cup GF baking and biscuit mix
1/3 cup coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon GF baking powder
1/2 cup sucanat (sweetener) or sugar of your choice
2 egg yolks, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 lemon, zest
3 large bananas, mashed
Pure vegetable oil (for frying)

Whisk all the dry ingredients. Set aside. In a separate bowl, combine all the wet ingredients and add to the dry.

Add a few inches of oil to a deep sided skillet.  When it reaches 375 F, drop 5 teaspoonfuls of the dough in and cook for 5 minutes flipping over halfway during cooking. 

Remove donuts from the oil with a slotted spoon. Drain on paper towels. Repeat process until all the batter is used up. 

When donuts are cool enough to handle but still warm, toss them in the cinnamon-sugar mixture to fully coat.

Cinnamon Sugar:
1/2 cup raw brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Toss to combine.

Chocolate Ganache:
1/4 cup chocolate chunks (60%) or similar
1/4 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.

Serve warm with chocolate ganache or dipping sauce of your choice.  Enjoy!

What exactly is MSG? - June 29th, 2012

MSG, or Monosodium Glutamate is a salt of the amino acid - Glutamic Acid (glutamate).  A salt is the chemical name for a molecule held together by opposite charges. Basically one (mono) sodium atom is "stuck" to the amino acid glutamate.

What is an amino acid?
Amino acids are often called the building blocks of life because it takes many of them linked together in a chain to create a protein.  DNA tells the body how to make the chain and in what order the amino acids must line up.  Some amino acids must be eaten because the body cannot make them (essential), some the body can make (non-essential), and yet others are able to be made during some times, but not others (conditionally essential).  The life processes are all dependent on proteins which play critical roles in the body as structure, messengers, enzymes, and hormones. 

Proteins are globular and clumpy because the amino acid chains fold in on themselves.  This is how the immune system recognizes proteins.  They are large compared to single amino acids, and they are uniquely shaped.   The immune system does not recognize tiny MSG as an allergen.  However, trouble can begin because the body can attack the larger enzymes like GAD, responsible for turning excess MSG into GABA.

What is an enzyme?
Enzymes are simply proteins with interesting day jobs. Enzymes help make things happen by helping to create other proteins and by helping break them down too.   Enzymes are not straight chains, they are globular and clumpy, because they are folded into intricate shapes like other proteins.  It is these shapes that help them create and break down other proteins and compounds. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Turkey Meatballs in Peanut Glass Noodles

1 pound fresh lean ground turkey
1 small white onion, chopped
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 large egg
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Handful fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 teaspoon mustard
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Pre heat oven to 400 F

Combine all the ingredients together and mix well to combine. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Roll into about 1" diameter balls. Arrange on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until cooked. Keep warm.

Peanut sauce:
1 can full cream coconut milk
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter 
1 tablespoon teriyaki sauce 
1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce
1 tablespoon honey
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Bring coconut milk to a boil, whisk in peanut butter, teriyaki sauce, sweet chili sauce, garlic, and honey. Add sea salt and black pepper to taste. Continue whisking until the sauce thickens and smooth (about 3 to 4 minutes). Set aside.

Glass Noodles:
1 packet glass noodles/vermicelli

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).

Arrange noodles at the bottom of a large serving platter. Add meatballs and drizzle sauce all over the top. Garnish with fresh herbs and chopped peanuts.

Serve hot.

Department of Justice Digs into Food Corruption - June 28th, 2012
When it comes to the food sector, the Department of Justice -- particularly its antitrust division -- has become very hungry.
Last month Monsanto Co., the world’s largest seed developer, disclosed that the DOJ has requested information about its herbicide-friendly soybean seeds business as part of a probe into anticompetitive practices.
The DOJ also filed an antitrust lawsuit in Milwaukee against Dean Foods Co., the country’s leading distributor of dairy products, in an effort to dissolve a 2009 deal it made to buy a Midwestern competitor. The deal allegedly left many Wisconsin school districts with only one dairy supplier and gave the company a dominant hold over the sale -- and, allegedly, curtailing the competition over price -- of milk in Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin, according to the complaint. (The attorney generals for all three states also joined the suit.)
And, of course, there’s the ongoing probe into California’s tomato industry.
Amid concerns about corrupt practices in the food industry, nine people have pleaded guilty to charges including racketeering, money laundering and bid-rigging in a federal probe of SK Foods of Monterey. Last week, the FBI arrested the company’s former owner, Frederick Scott Salyer, at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport as he was exiting from a return flight from London. (Salyer has been charged with 20 counts of mail and wire fraud. His attorney has said his client plans to plead not guilty.)
So, what’s going on? Turns out that the federal government is paying closer attention to the public complaints that, as the food sector becomes more industrialized and consolidated, grocery bills may be growing because of corrupt or monopolistic practices among food processors, distributors or farmers.
Now, given that, let's consider the lowly tomato.
About 95% of the country’s tomatoes are processed in one of four companies in California. A lot of what they make is paste -- essentially turning Roma (and other kinds) of tomatoes into the thick red, gooey stuff used to make ketchup, salsa, sauces, juice, soups and other foods.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Blueberry Cinnamon Crumb Cake

1 1/4 cup cake flour
2 cups fresh blueberries
1 cup powdered sugar/icing sugar or stevia (natural sweetener)
8 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 lemon, zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt into a large bowl. Beat butter and powdered sugar on high speed until light and creamy (about 5 minutes). On low speed, add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add lemon zest, yogurt, and vanilla. Add flour to the batter to just combine. Fold in blueberries. Spoon batter into a prepared 9" by 9" round cake pan.

1 cup dark brown sugar
8 tablespoons butter
1 cup cake flour
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 teaspoon nutmeg

In a food processor, pulse butter, flour, sugar, almonds, and nutmeg until it starts to resemble crumbs. Scatter over the top of the cake.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into center.

Remove from the oven. Leave in the pan to cool completely before serving.

Top 10 Reasons to Support Organic in the 21st Century - June 27th, 2012
1. Reduce The Toxic Load: Keep Chemicals Out of the Air, Water, Soil and our Bodies
Buying organic food promotes a less toxic environment for all living things. With only 0.5 percent of crop and pasture land in organic, according to USDA that leaves 99.5 percent of farm acres in the U.S. at risk of exposure to noxious agricultural chemicals.Our bodies are the environment so supporting organic agriculture doesn’t just benefit your family, it helps all families live less toxically.

2. Reduce if Not Eliminate Off Farm PollutionIndustrial agriculture doesn’t singularly pollute farmland and farm workers; it also wreaks havoc on the environment downstream. Pesticide drift affects non-farm communities with odorless and invisible poisons. Synthetic fertilizer drifting downstream is the main culprit for dead zones in delicate ocean environments, such as the Gulf of Mexico, where its dead zone is now larger than 22,000 square kilometers, an area larger than New Jersey, according to Science magazine, August, 2002.

3. Protect Future Generations Before a mother first nurses her newborn, the toxic risk from pesticides has already begun. Studies show that infants are exposed to hundreds of harmful chemicals in utero. In fact, our nation is now reaping the results of four generations of exposure to agricultural and industrial chemicals, whose safety was deemed on adult tolerance levels, not on children’s. According to the National Academy of Science, “neurologic and behavioral effects may result from low-level exposure to pesticides.” Numerous studies show that pesticides can adversely affect the nervous system, increase the risk of cancer, and decrease fertility.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sauerkraut Raisin Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

2 lbs pork loin roast
2 cups GF bread, chopped into small pieces
1 cup raisins
1 cup sauerkraut, chopped
1 celery stick, chopped into small pieces
1 shallots, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped finely
2 small garlic cloves, crushed
Sea salt and black pepper

Pork Loin:
Using a clean work surface, butterfly the pork loin. Use any instructional video online if you are not familiar with the process, as it is hard to describe. 

Here's how I do it: slice along the length of the loin at an angle that leaves about a 1/2 inch thick of flesh (like peeling an apple, but thicker); continue slicing through, while pulling and unrolling the inside of the pork until you get a flat rectangle that is about 1/2 inch thick.  Season both sides with olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper. Set aside.

In a large deep-sided skillet, add three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.  When hot, add onions, celery raisins, shallots, sauerkraut, crushed garlic, and rosemary. Season with sea salt and black pepper to taste. Saute, stirring occasionally until soft.  Add bread and mix well to fully combine. Drizzle over top with extra virgin olive oil (about 1/4 cup). Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Spread stuffing on pork starting from the edge closest to you, covering the pork entirely, leaving about 1" clear on the far edge. Roll tightly, starting from the closest edge.  Cut 6 equal pieces (refer to picture) and then secure with twine.

Place on a prepared dutch oven or similar. Cover and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, turning over once at the halfway point and removing the lid. Let the roulade rest for 10 minutes before carving. 

Just previous to serving, brush pan drippings on the slices for extra color and flavor (refer to picture). Slice and serve warm, atop vegetables of your choice.

Manufacturers Continue to Target Children With Sugary Cereal Ads - June 25th, 2012
Despite their participation in the Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative, a self-regulatory industry group pledged to reduce the marketing of unhealthy products to children, the food industry continues to aggressively promote its least nutritious cereals to children.
That's the troubling, but perhaps not surprising, conclusion of a new study, the findings of which were released in summarized form today by the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity.  (The detailed findings will be presented this Sunday during the Biennial Conference of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues in Charlotte, N.C.)
Entitled "the Cereal FACTS report," the study found that although:

companies have improved the nutritional quality of most cereals marketed directly to children... they also have increased advertising to children for many of their least nutritious products...
From 2008 to 2011, total media spending to promote child-targeted cereals increased by 34 percent.
Following up on its 2009 cereal study, the Rudd Center once again examined the nutritional quality of more than 100 brands and nearly 300 individual varieties of cereal, as well as the scope of industry advertising on television, the Internet, and social media sites.  Some key findings:
The good news is that the overall nutritional quality improved for 13 of the 14 brands advertised to children, with increases in fiber and decreases in sugar and sodium. And children viewed fewer TV ads for 7 of 14 child-targeted brands, including Corn Pops and Honeycomb.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Lemon Yogurt Muffins (Gluten-Free)

1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon zanthan gum
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 1/3 cups stevia (natural sweetener)
3 eggs, room temperature
1 large lemon, zest
2 large lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup pure vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 F

Whisk all the dry ingredients to fully combine (including lemon zest). Set aside. Beat all the wet ingredients to combine and fold into the dry.

Scoop into a lined 12 cup muffin pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a stick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool completely in the pan.

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup powdered/icing sugar sugar
Combine and brush a generously amount on top of each muffin.

Antibacterials in Personal-Care Products Linked to Allergy Risk in Children - June 19th, 2012
ScienceDaily (June 19, 2012) — Exposure to common antibacterial chemicals and preservatives found in soap, toothpaste, mouthwash and other personal-care products may make children more prone to a wide range of food and environmental allergies, according to new research from Johns Hopkins Children's Center.

Results of the NIH-funded study are published online ahead of print June 18 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Using existing data from a national health survey of 860 children ages 6 to 18, Johns Hopkins researchers examined the relationship between a child's urinary levels of antibacterials and preservatives found in many personal-hygiene products and the presence of IgE antibodies in the child's blood. IgE antibodies are immune chemicals that rise in response to an allergen and are markedly elevated in people with allergies.

"We saw a link between level of exposure, measured by the amount of antimicrobial agents in the urine, and allergy risk, indicated by circulating antibodies to specific allergens," said lead investigator Jessica Savage, M.D., M.H.S., an allergy and immunology fellow at Hopkins.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Chicken Vegetable Flatbread

2 cups all purpose unbleached flour
1 cup butter, frozen and cut into small cubes
1/4 cup fresh parmesan cheese, grated
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Ice water

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until it starts to come together. Add enough water to form a dough. Form into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Roll out pastry dough. Place in a prepared 16" by 11" inch cookie sheet pan. Refrigerate while you prepare the vegetables.

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
1 cup cooked shredded chicken
1 cup baby spinach
1 cup baby artichoke hearts, cut into quarters
1/2 large white onion, sliced
1/4 cup goat cheese crumbles
1/2 cup pesto
extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons milk (for crust)

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Brush pesto generously over the base of the crust. Arrange the rest of the ingredients (refer to picture) leaving 2" around the edge clear. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Drizzle a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil over the vegetables. Scatter goat cheese crumbles over the top. Roll the edge in to meet the veggies (refer to picture) and brush with milk.

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until vegetables are cooked and crust a golden color.

Remove from oven. Serve hot.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Quinoa Mozzarella Tomato Salad

2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup baby mozzarella balls, marinaded in oil
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 small white onion, chopped
1/2 cup fresh shredded basil
1/2 cup fresh baby spinach, chopped
1 large lemon, juiced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
sea salt and black pepper

Combine all the ingredients. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper. Drizzle olive oil over the top. Serve chilled.

Meat on Drugs, Stop the Superbugs - June 20th, 2012
Antibiotics use is widespread in the production of livestock, helping to create "superbugs," and aggravating the public health problem of antibiotic resistance. To address these issues, Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, in a new report released today, "Meat on Drugs: The Overuse of Antibiotics in Food Animals and What Supermarkets and Consumers Can Do to Stop It," calls on supermarkets to stock only meat and poultry raised without antibiotics, and urges consumers to buy these products. Consumers Union is asking Trader Joe's to lead the transition by selling only meat and poultry raised without antibiotics.
Antibiotics, once called miracle drugs, may not be miraculous any more. With widespread use of antibiotics, many bugs have become immune to their effects. Doctors and scientists have cautioned that we must be much more careful in our use of these valuable medicines lest they lose even more of their effectiveness against deadly bacteria.

However, the biggest user of antibiotics in the United States today is not the medical profession, but rather the meat and poultry business. Some 80 percent of all antibiotics sold in this country are used not on people but on animals, to make them grow faster or to prevent disease in crowded and unsanitary growing facilities.

Consumer Union believes that to preserve antibiotics for treatment of diseases like pneumonia in people, use on animals must be drastically reduced. We think the most direct way to tackle this problem is at the supermarket. Consumer Reports sent shoppers to 136 stores in 23 states, belonging to the 13 largest supermarket chains, to see what kind of meat and poultry products raised without antibiotics are offered and at what price.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Gluten Free Chicken Mushroom Pasta

2 cups cooked pasta
1 cup cooked chicken, chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 cup cremini mushrooms, chopped
1 small white onion, chopped
1/4 cup sliced almonds
Handful fresh basil, shredded
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper

Add three tablespoons of olive oil to a pan on high heat. When hot, add onions and garlic. Saute until soft (about 3 minutes). Add mushrooms and tomatoes, saute a further 3 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients. Season to your taste with salt and black pepper. Toss to combine.

Serve hot with extra olive oil drizzle over the top. Garnish with fresh herbs.

5 Tips for Choosing Healthy Fats - June 18th, 2012

Here are a few tips to give those scary Trans Fats the boot and ensure a tasty meal or snack made with healthy fats.

1. Eat whole foods high in healthy fat such as avocados, nuts, seeds and oils. Toss some pistachios and dried cranberries into your salad or blend an avocado with yogurt and fresh mint for a refreshing soup. Have you ever tried making your own nut butter with sunflower seeds? I often create my own macadamia nut butter with a pinch of cinnamon.

2. Avoid dangerous trans fats. It goes far beyond the nutrition facts label -- be sure to check the ingredient list as trans fats are disguised in other names such as partially hydrogenated oil. Many products will claim 'no' trans fats but it's up to you to scan the ingredients to make sure you are keeping the hydrogenated oils on the store shelves and the good fats in your grocery cart. Trans fats are hidden in everything from crackers to salad dressings so be aware and keep them on your radar when you enter the food store

3. Opt for fatty fish. Sardines, mackerel, sablefish, salmon and rainbow trout are great sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. Bake a piece of fish in parchment paper with potatoes, fresh tarragon, lemons and olive oil for a perfect dinner. When dining out, select a piece of grilled fish along with a side of avocado and salsa. You can also create a healthy whole grain bagel and fish with organic cream cheese such as Organic Valley atop a hearty bagel, red onions, capers and fish such as salmon or sardines. Many of my clients enjoy making a sardine salad instead of tuna salad; they combine sardines with a canola-based mayonnaise, celery, walnuts and fresh parsley then stuff it into a whole grain pita for an easy lunch.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Mini Chorizo French Toast

4 slices of sourdough bread, chopped (I used 2 GF whole flax hamburger buns)  
1 cup ground/mince chorizo
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 small white onion, chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 F

Whisk eggs and milk to combine. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Add chorizo, onions, cilantro, and bread.

Pour into a prepared 12 cup muffin pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until crispy and cooked

Serve hot.

EWG Reveals List Of Pesticide-Heavy Fruits And Veggies - June 19th, 2012
What could be purer than a single ingredient?

As health-minded consumers work to avoid processed meals and turn their focus to whole foods, we may find ourselves picking up fruits and veggies more often. The average American currently eats about 100 pounds of fresh produce per year, but that number could be a lot higher. While the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends adults eat two to three daily servings of fruits and veggies, only one-third of us meet that recommendation.

Clearly, nothing should deter efforts to consume more fresh produce, the healthfulness of which is undeniable. But, as the latest iteration of an annual report reveals, there are some other considerations that health-conscious consumers must face from the supermarket aisle.

For the eighth year in a row, the nonprofit advocacy organization Environmental Working Group has released their list of the twelve most pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables on the market as part of their 2012 Shoppers Guide. Overall, they found that 68 percent of the food samples tested had detectable pesticide residues -- even after they had been washed or peeled. Many of the fruits and vegetables listed this year will look familiar to those who follow the yearly report -- apples and bell peppers once again top the list.

Certain pesticides have been identified as potential carcinogens, endocrine disruptors and have been associated with learning and developmental delays in children.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Raspberry Stuffed Lemon Scones

2 cups all purpose unbleached flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
6 tablespoons frozen unsalted butter
2 cups fresh raspberries
3/4 cup whole milk or cream
1 egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl. Using a pastry knife, cut butter into the dry ingredients until mixture is crumbly. 

Mix milk (or cream), lemon juice, and egg in a separate bowl. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients (you might not need all the liquid).

Divide dough in half. Pat dough out onto a lightly floured surface to make a perfect 8" by 8" square. Spread 2 tablespoons of raspberry preserve on top (this will be the bottom piece).  Arrange all the raspberries on top of the preserve. 

Roll the second piece of dough, making sure it's 8" by 8". Lay this carefully on top of the first piece and close all the edges. 

Use a 3" round pastry cutter or drinking glass to carefully cut out the scones.

Arrange on a lined cookie sheet and refrigerate for one hour.

Remove from the refrigerator and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a stick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Is a Ban on Large Sodas the Answer to Obesity? - June 17th, 2012
To understand why sugary drinks and soda are back on Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s hit list, a reader need look no further than the supermarket shelves in the Bronx, where soda is often cheaper — and more abundant — than water.

It is difficult to imagine anywhere else in America where this industry has a larger presence. It is also difficult to think of a larger contributor to the obesity and Type 2 diabetes epidemics than sugar.

Although public health is no substitute for personal responsibility, Mr. Bloomberg is correct in targeting the beverage industry, which has profited immensely from putting sugary drinks in the hands of millions of Americans, including children.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Orange Strawberry Protein Smoothie

1 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
1 cup fresh pineapple
1 cup ice
1/4 fresh strawberries
1 large orange, peeled
1 teaspoon fresh ginger
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (Bluebonnet Whey Isolate French Vanilla) 

Blend all the ingredients until smooth.  Enjoy!

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