Tag Archives: Food

The Prettiest Poison

 

As I walk down the isles of the supermarket I take note of the shelves, fully stocked neatly in rows, colorful boxes, bottles and packages all so well designed. Eye catching – using words like “diet”, “light”, “natural”, and “healthy”, yet when I pick up the items to read the ingredients I find a myriad multi syllabic words that I struggle to pronounce and would need a doctorate in biochemical engineering to decipher. 

“Pretty poison” are the two words that pop into my head when staring at supermarket shelves these days. My perspective on grocery shopping has shifted drastically in the last few years. 

Here in America, eating has become a war on health, obesity and our wallets. Most of us grew up with our parents cooking but also incorporating packaged foods into the mix to save time. They bought them at the local shop and we assumed, as they were approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), that they were safe and good for us. After all that was the purpose of the FDA – to keep us safe and healthy…. Right? We didn’t think all that much about what we ate, other than it was recommended to eat 3 meals a day – breakfast, lunch and dinner and that within those meals we should use the food pyramid as a guide as to how many servings of what we should consume. It was straightforward and easy. 

These days, so many chemicals, preservatives, colors and additives have been added that a good portion of the “food” we eat, is not actually food. Added to that, even the actual food portion we consume and recognize and easily pronounce isn’t what it used to be. It is over processed and depleted of vitamins and nutrients. And with the introduction of genetically modified foods (GMO) on a base DNA level, even corn isn’t really corn any more. Our animals are fed mutated grains, hormones and antibiotics which when we consume their meat, milk or eggs are passed along to us. This has lead to antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria as well as many health problems.

There is little doubt that the health of this country is going down hill at a rapid rate. 

Some of the most common additives found in food these days:

HFCS – High fructose corn syrup. Much of the HFCS contains mercury, a deadly metal when consumed in high doses. It is added to everything from cereal bars, to ketchup to (surprisingly) even things like egg and chicken salad! Why on earth those would need to be “sweetened” is beyond me. HFCS limits your body’s ability to produce insulin making it difficult to metabolize food and hindering appetite control. It also increases the risk of diabetes, tooth decay, raises triglycerides, raises risk for heart attack, can contribute to anemia and poor immunity overall. It is now sometimes labeled as corn sugar, in a lame attempt to make you think it’s a different compound. *the same thing was done with Rape Seed Oil (which is toxic), when it was renamed as Canola oil. 

Artificial sweeteners – Aspartame, NutraSweet, equal, and others are often labeled as “sugar free” or “diet”. They are known carcinogens. They can erode intelligence and effect short-term memory and can lead to a wide array of super fun ailments such as 
brain tumors, diseases like lymphoma, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue, emotional disorders like depression and anxiety attacks, dizziness, headaches, nausea, mental confusion, migraines and seizures. It should also be noted that they do quite the opposite of what they advertise. These items may be low or no calorie, but your body still reads it as sugar, and it causes you to gain, not lose weight.

MSG (mono sodium glutamate) – is an amino acid/flavor enhancer. It is an exotoxin – which means it over excites the cells to the point of damage or death. Consumption results in adverse side effects, which include depression, disorientation, eye damage, fatigue, headaches, and obesity. MSG affects the neurological pathways of the brain and disengaged the "I'm full" function that explain the effects of weight gain.

Trans Fat – Trans fat is found in fried foods, processed foods, margarine and hydrogenated vegetable oils. It is used to extend the shelf life of food. It is among the most dangerous things you can eat. It can lead to increased LDL cholesterol levels contributing to heart attacks, heart disease, strokes, inflammation, diabetes and other health issues.

Sodium Sulfate/Sodium Nitrate – are used in coloring and flavoring bacon, ham, hotdogs, luncheon meats, and also in other processed foods. This ingredient, which sounds harmless, is actually highly carcinogenic once it enters the human digestive system. There, it forms a variety of nitrosamine compounds that enter the bloodstream and wreak havoc with a number of internal organs: the liver and pancreas in particular.

Food Dyes – Food dyes are found in everything from soda, candy, sports drinks to meats and salad dressings. They have been linked to behavioral problems in kids and a significant reduction in IQ. Animal studies have also linked them to cancer. It is interesting to note that the FDA allows a certain amount of mercury and arsenic in these dyes when at any level, they are toxic.

Blue #1 and Blue #2 (E133)
Banned in Norway, Finland and France. May cause chromosomal damage

Red dye # 3 (also Red #40 – a more current dye) (E124)
Banned in 1990 after 8 years of debate from use in many foods and cosmetics. This dye continues to be on the market until supplies run out! Has been proven to cause thyroid cancer and chromosomal damage in laboratory animals, may also interfere with brain-nerve transmission.

Yellow #6 (E110) and Yellow Tartrazine (E102)
Banned in Norway and Sweden. Increases the number of kidney and adrenal gland tumors in laboratory animals, may cause chromosomal damage. This is derived from coal tar. Coal most definitely not edible. 

Green #3 
This dye is not permitted in the European Union due to animal studies showing Fast Green to be a possible carcinogen that can cause DNA level structural damage.
BHT and BHA – Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydrozyttoluene (BHT) are preservatives found in cereals, chewing gum, potato chips, and vegetable oils. This common preservative keeps foods from changing color, changing flavor or becoming rancid. Effects the neurological system of the brain, alters behavior and has potential to cause cancer. BHA and BHT are oxidants, which form cancer-causing reactive compounds in your body.

Potassium Bromate – An additive used to increase volume in some white flour, breads, and rolls, potassium bromate is known to cause cancer in animals. Even small amounts in bread can create problems for humans.

And one of my personal favorites

TBHQ – Tertiary Butylhydroquinone (there is a fun one to pronounce), As a food additive. Consuming TBHQ can cause variable toxicity and in high doses can be fatal. It can lead to a variety of negative symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), delirium and collapse. In toxicity studies, long-term, high-dose TBHQ administration in lab animals showed a tendency for them to develop cancerous precursors in the stomach, as well as causing DNA damage. I discovered this little beauty reading a Reeses’ Peanut butter Cup wrapper. It is also found in chicken nuggets and many other pre packaged foods. 

The only solution is to stop eating pre-packaged foods. Or at the very least – limit the part they play in your diet. Preservatives are meant to extend the life of the food… ironically, they can drastically shorten yours.

Choose instead organic vegetables and fruits (which can be identified by the # on the sticker – if it starts with a 9 it is organic.) Nuts, seeds, berries – choose raw milk from a local store or farmer, where the animals are treated humanely and fed whole non-GMO grains, drink lots of clean pure water – spring water or reverse osmosis filtered to remove the chemicals, impurities and fluoride – a gallon a day is recommended. The more raw food the better as cooking actually kills the living enzymes your body needs to sustain itself. Meats ideally should be grass fed and farm raised. Or if you are willing, give up meat all together. Juicing is another wonderful way to get healthy. Juicers are inexpensive and easy to use (though I will say very messy to clean up!). The amount of nutrients you can get from just one glass of juice is equal to 2 big salad bowls full of fruits and veggies without all the fibrous parts that fill you up. Stores like Whole Foods, Farmers markets, and local health food stores are wonderful sources. The best would be to grow your own garden, if you are able.

Health is a choice. The FDA along with companies like Monsanto who produce GMO crops have declared a war on the American people, and their weapon is food. Arm yourselves by being informed consumers. Take back your bodies, minds and health. It is your inalienable right to be healthy and happy.

Peanut Chicken Soba Sauté

Made this tonight, and even though I desperately need to post a life update more than a recipe for a meal, this one needs celebrating. It was AWESOME. ’nuff said.

Peanut chicken, greens, and soba sauté.

Sauce
2 T rice vinegar
2 T smooth peanut butter (I used our homemade that’s a little sweet because of the honey I add)
2 T tamari soy sauce
1/4 cup water
2 teas arrowroot powder (could use cornstarch, but I don’t cook with that anymore, use your judgment…1 teas?)
Mix the sauce ingredients and set aside.

Rest of Ingredients
2 T peanut oil, sesame oil or unflavored coconut oil
4 cups broccoli florets (or more!)
1 red bell pepper sliced or chopped, your preference.
4-5 cups of kale (or other green such as chard or spinach)
3 cloves of garlic minced
3 green onions diced
2 cups of cooked, diced chicken (I used leftover rotisserie chicken)

Preparation

Heat over medium high heat the oil in large sauté pan or wok. Add chopped broccoli and cook for 2 minutes. Add chopped bell pepper and sauté another 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and green onions to the center of the pan and stir, cooking until fragrant 30 seconds or so. Add kale and a splash of water, cover and steam for a 2 more minutes, uncover and let water evaporate then toss in diced chicken and sauce over everything and stir in and only cook until the chicken is heated through.

Serve over cooked soba noodles or brown rice if you prefer.

Note: This does not make a saucy stir fry, so you may want to toss your noodles in some oil and soy sauce, or cook your rice in a little extra water or broth if you prefer it saucier.

In reflection, this is great because it’s not sweet, and doesn’t have an overly powerful peanut flavor. I hope you enjoy this as much as my kids, the engineer and I did!

Cheers!

Menu Monday November 7th 2011

mealplanmonday_v1

            Ladies! It’s been a whole month of meal planning in my house!! Wait! It’s actually been more like 6 weeks hasn’t it? Wow…All I can say is that it’s made my life so much more organized. I LOVE having my family’s meals selected for the week; The flexibility of rearranging however I would like and most especially the fact that on Sunday’s I’ve already made sure I have all my ingredients. (That’s really a huge one for me, because I do NOT like going to the grocery store and lately haven’t had the padding in the budget for extravagant meals so I’m pulling from the pantry quite a bit. (Maybe I’ll do a pantry challenge next week and show you how I’ve learned to keep a well stocked pantry.)

            Anyway, here is our menu for the week. I’m not going to list out the days this time because I feel that sometimes I like to pull from a menu like I would do at a restaurant…Items A, B, or C and depending on our afternoons, sometimes that slow cooker meal just has to wait until tomorrow because of x, y, or z reasons, or I forget to defrost and I hate defrosting in the microwave, etc.

  • Both Beef and Bean Tuscany stew and the Slow Cooker Lentil Rice Casserole from “The Everything Beans Book; Thanks Katie!
  • Spicy Asian Noodles with Chicken from allrecipes.com (I change it a bit…adding freshly stir fried chicken and zucchini.
  • Meatless meal; Easy Baked Ziti with Joe’s Rosemary bread. Allrecipes.com I think the Ziti comes from Lifeasmom or Goodcheapeats.
  • Ham, Broccoli and cheese Calzones 5dollardinners.com
  • Herb Crusted Halibut (Kind of like really good fish sticks. (We never got to this last week; hubs out of town again!)

That’s my six meals for the week. I also plan on doing a little freezer cooking during nap time with Chicken nuggets and homemade tater tots. (Both using coconut oil-my new favorite oil for EVERYTHING!

Enjoy!

UPDATE: After looking back at our hostess’ challenge website, she had a few reflection questions for us; 

“So let’s talk… what did you learn? What makes meal planning work for you? What benefits have you seen? What struggles or challenges still exist?” Stephanie @Keeperofthehome.org

I already covered what I liked, but since she asked for more; here it is…

What Did I Learn? I learned that meal planning is simple and kind of exciting. It’s like seeing the menu of the restaurants you plan to visit on a vacation and having enough time to carefully make your selection!! I thoroughly enjoyed learning how easy it is.

What Makes Meal Planning Work For You? Really, the fact that half my family is gone for a few hours on Sunday evenings makes it work for me because I can sit with my cookbooks in my kitchen and take a good long look at the pantry and fridge and sort it out without the distractions of the “menfolk”

What Benefits Have You Seen? In my family, I have two very picky eaters. I can’t necessarily narrow it down to “He dislikes green, and she won’t eat meat, etc” but it’s an every changing selection on their “Do not eat” list. My son could love something one night and ask me to make it the rest of the week, and then refuse to eat it next week. So I have started showing my kids the menu and asking them what they’d like. That way when they start to get fussy at the site of a hated vegetable in their meal, I can say; “Well, I gave you a choice and this was yours, so you need to follow through.” or something to that affect…Another benefit is that I have been able to choose menu’s that have more vegetables and seasonal offerings to make the most of my budget instead of opening the fridge and wondering…

What Struggles and Challenges Still Exist? Getting my kids to happily eat every night hasn’t changed much, but we are making some headway with the choices aspect of menu planning. One more challenge is planning out lunches and breakfasts. I didn’t write anything for those meals, but I usually have breakfast and lunch thought out the day before because most times in involves soaking grains, or making bread so that the first two meals can be semi-ready. so actually writing it out the whole week before is still a challenge for me because some mornings are easier and more time is available than others. But it’s a day to day change.

Those are my notes!! Thanks For this Challenge Stephanie!

Monday Menu Plan

mealplanmonday_v1

Menu for the Week of October 31st, 2011

Monday- Halloween party at a friends house. If we don't eat food there, we will have leftovers. Makes for an easy Monday night!!

Tuesday- Mexican Chicken "Lasagna" 

Wednesday-  Slow Cooker Lentil Rice Casserole  from Katie's "Everything Beans Book" @ kitchenstewardship.org

Thursday-"Wanna Be" Lasagna Skillet Pasta (No boil, no bake lasagna-my kind of meal!) With Joe's Rosemary Bread (AllRecipes.com)

Friday- Herb Crusted Halibut AKA-Mommy's fish stix With a new attempt at homemade tater-tots courtesy

Saturday- Venison Chili (Oh yeah…Never had venison before, we got it from a friend. So excited to try it!)

Sunday-Sandwiches (Again, due to C-boy's AWANA program's ill-timed placement on Sunday nights at 5…Anyone know why they do this to us? Ugh)

That's the weekly round up, it's been fun planning these meals ahead of time, and makes my afternoons less stressful because I know what's in order. Breakfast and Lunches seem to fall nicely into place as well, and I have no need or desire to list them all out for the week. But I can tell you that sourdough pancakes and pumpkin oatmeal are on the breakfast list this week. Be Safe tomorrow night out with the kids (Unless you're like me and don't take kids trick or treating) have a great week!

Monday Menu Plan October 24th, 2011

mealplanmonday_v1

So even though I had nothing to foul up my menu planning yesterday, I still didn't manage to write it down in a post for the world to see. I am finally getting a minute to do so. BTW, I completely blame the horribly sore neck and shoulder that I had all weekend for the lapse in posting my menu on time! Haha!


Monday: Slow Cooker Roast Beef with potatoes, carrots, onions and buttermilk (freshly cultured too!) biscuits.

Tuesday: Turkey Burgers on home baked Sourdough rolls with a tossed salad and maybe some steamed brocolli since I need to use it.

Wednesday: Quesadilla Casserole with home made refried beans.

Thursday: freezer Meal, probably a lasagna bolognese that I made last month with a spinach and romaine caesar salad.

Friday: Halloween party at the In-Laws house. I expect only the finest "Unhealthy Foods" Since that what she creatively put on the inviations. It was pretty cool!

Saturday: Barbeque Chicken with garlic mashed red potatoes and green beans.

Sunday: Turkey and/or PB&J Sandwiches with matchstick carrots

 

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Fall Bucket List (A Part of Thankful Thursdays)

Fall is my favorite season of all of them. The smell on the air, the falling leaves, the chilly mornings and still warm afternoons. There are quite a few fun things to do in Northern California in the autumn. Here is this years bucket list before the cold gets too cold!

 

 

 

The Joy of Jars…50 Different Ways!


I absolutely love glass jars….! I have been collecting them like crazy lately, and I needed some inspiration!

I thought the whole concept of food in a jar deserved a post all of it's own.

So this weeks post is dedicated to all the glorious food you can put in a jar: desserts in a jar, bread in a jar, appetizers in a jar, meals in a jar, drinks in a jar… I think you can pretty much put anything in jar and it instantly becomes a million times cuter!


{Source: I Am Baker}
Cheesecake in a Jar


{Source: My Baking Addiction}
Mixed Berry Cheesecake in Jars


{Source: The Family Kitchen}
Strawberry Cheesecake in a Jar


{Source: The Family Kitchen}
No Bake Oreo Cheesecake in a Jar


{Source: The Family Kitchen}
Neapolitan Cake in a Jar


{Source: Sprinkled With Flour}
Banana Split Cake in Jars


{Source: The Family Kitchen}
Rainbow Cake in a Jar


{Source: How Sweet It Is}
S'Mores Cake in a Jar


{Source: Eclectic Recipes}
Whiskey in a Jar Chocolate Cake {flour-less recipe}


{Source: The Family Kitchen}
Peanut Butter Cups {Cake} in a Jar


{SourceMartha Stewart}
Buttermilk Cupcakes in a Jar


{Source: Cakies}
Red Velvet Cupcakes in a Jar


{Source: Glorious Treats}
Orange Dreamsicle Cupcakes in a Jar


{Source: Man With a Fork}
Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake in Jars


{Source: The Boastful Baker}
Mini Canning Jar Apple Pies


{Source: Our Best Bites}
Single Serving Pie in a Jar


{Source: The Nerd's Wife}
Pumpkin Pie in a Jar


{Source: The Family Kitchen}
Peach Cobbler in a Jar


{Source: Gooseberry Patch via My Recipes}
Baked Brownies in a Jar


{Source: Pen n' Paper Flowers}
Ice Cream Jars


{Source: Paula Deen}
White Chocolate Lemon Trifle Jars


{Source: Ezra Pound Cake}
Mason Jar Breakfast Parfaits


{Source: American Spoon}
Jam, Granola & Yogurt Parfait Jars


{Source: Today's Nest}
Chocolate Banana Pudding Jars


{Source: Savor This Moment}
Bread Pudding in a Jar


{Source: Healthful Pursuit}
Layered Maple Oat n’ Apple Dessert Jars


{Source: My Baking Addiction}
Cherry Crisp in a Jar


{Source: The Family Kitchen}
Monkey Bread in a Jar


{Source: Good Food Bread & Muffins}
Chocolate Muffin Bread in a Jar


{Source: Simple Bites}
Whole Wheat Buttermilk Rolls in a Jar


{Source: The Chubby Vegetarian}
Caprese Salad in a Jar


{Source: Salad in a Jar}
Romaine Salad in a Jar


{Source: Savvy Mom}
Simple Layer Dip in a Jar


{Source: Southern Living}
Mason Jar Layered Cornbread and Turkey Salad


{Source: Savoring The Thyme}
Wheat Berry Apple Salad in a Jar


{Source: Country Living}
Corn and Chickpea Salad in a Jar


{Source: Fat and Happy}
Mason Jar Turkey Chickpea Salad


{Source: The Decorated Cookie}
Pesto Pasta in a Jar


{Source: Stone Gable}
Homemade Pasta Salad Jars


{Source: My Own Ideas}
Goat Cheese & Sun Dried Tomatoes with Garlic Herb Pesto in a Jar


{Source: Eat*Drink*Pretty}
Zucchini and Goat Cheese Tarts in a Jar


{Source: Good Housekeeping}
Shrimp Rillettes in a Jar


{Source: Fuchsia}
Hearty Lentil Stew with Roasted Squash & Pumpkin Jar


{Source: Jones in Hungry}
BBQ Sundae in a Jar


{Source: Giver's Log}
Chili and Cornbread in a Jar


{Source: Saveur}
Strawberry Moonshine Julep


{Source: Nutrition to Invigorate Mind Body and Spirit}
Mason Jar Mojito Cocktail


{Source: Southern Weddings}
Mason Jar Mojitos


{Source: Martha Stewart}
Lemony Spiked Sweet Tea


{Source: Kahakai Kitchen}
Cranberry Apple Cider Shandy

Now I want to save even more jars!

Monday Menu October 17, 2011

mealplanmonday_v1

 

Last week, I did not post a menu due to the fact that the engineer was away on business and I knew it would be a week of leftovers, freezer meals and sandwiches. Here's the lineup for this week. Have a great week and enjoy!
 
Monday: Turkey Burgers with Jalapeno Potato Poppers
        (Curtesy of Lifeasmom.com)
Tuesday: Chicken Enchiladas with Mexi Rice and Homemade Refried Beans
        (Beans recipes from Kitchenstweardship.org's "Everything beans book" and enchilada recipe is my   own and can be found here in my recipes list)
Wednesday: Rustic Corn Chowder
                (I'm sorry, but this recipe has no link and I don't know what magazine it came from!)
Thursday: Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry with Jasmine Rice
                (America's Test Kitchen Skillet Meals Cookbook)
Friday: Homemade Pizza’s
         (my own recipe)
Saturday: Slow Cooker Meal
         (Not too sure yet, but check out crockpotgirls.com, although many of their recipes call for canned cream of X soups, I make my own and will be subbing that part of the recipe when I figure out                 what recipe I'd like to make)
Sunday: Sandwiches Before AWANA’s
          (Um…Turkey?)

Monday Menu 9/12/2011

planitdontpanic

So I am participating in the “Plan it, don’t Panic” Challenge set up by a fellow blogger. (One that I highly respect and think is totally awesome!) It doesn’t start officially until September 26th, so you have plenty of time to join me! I’ve planned weekly menu’s before, but this time I’m going to stick with it for 6 weeks…Probably more!

Here is our menu for the week:

  • Monday: Turkey Burgers, homemade wheat/flax buns and Green veggie Salad with Homemade ranch dressing and croutons
  • Tuesday: Slow Cooker Beef Roast with vegetables and Garlic Bread
  • Wednesday: Worlds best rub on Grilled Chicken, Steamed Broccoli, and Peach and Blueberry Salad (Grain Free day)
  • Thursday: Brown Rice Pasta with Marinara and Meatballs & Parmesan Baby Green Beans
  • Friday: Homemade Pizza and Caesar salad (This is a weekly special night usually accompanied by a kid friendly movie)
  • Saturday: Leftovers…or a freezer meal. Depends on what’s left.
  • Sunday: Our son just started AWANA’s at 5 pm on Sundays…We may be doing a main meal for lunch now, I’m thinking carnita’s this week. I can put it in the crockpot and let it roast all morning while we’re at church. Throw in some tortilla’s, lime, cilantro and homemade refried beans and “Linner” as we refer to it, is served! Cereal or a light snack can be eaten after AWANA’s if they are hungry!

So that’s it for this week. I’m going to try to make this a routine “Monday Mission”; To have the menu planned and shopping done on Monday’s. Sunday’s are just too busy around here to shop and plan. So Monday’s it is! I hope you’ll join me for this challenge and discover for yourself how much easier your weekly routine can be when the meals are already planned and you aren’t’ standing in front of your fridge with a blank stare at 4:30 everyday!Head over to Keeper of the Home’s blog and join us on Facebook with the Plan it, Don’t Panic Challenge!

 

White Turkey Chili

In an effort to use what is in my pantry already, (without going to the store) I invented my own recipe for Turkey Chili today. It's cold and cloudy outside, so today is the perfect day for it…It' still simmering away in my slow cooker, but I did a "quality check" and it already tastes wonderful.

 


Saute one medium chopped onion and one chopped red bell peper in 2 tablespoons veg oil, 5-7 minutes. Add 1-2 teas chopped garlic and cook until fragrant. Add 4 teas ground cumin, 1 teas salt, 1 teas marjoram, and 1/2 teas red pepper flakes. Mix to combine. Once the flavors are combined, dump pan into slow cooker along with the following: 1 small can Ortega green chili's, two cans drained and rinsed cannelini beans. (I puree one of the cans) and 3 1/2 cups of chicken stock or broth. In the saute pan, add another tablespoon of oil and place one package of ground turkey (don't use beef in this recipe) breaking up with a spoon and cook until no longer pink. 7-10 minutes. Sprinkle some hot sauce of your choice onto the cooked turkey and then add entire pan (juices included) to crock pot along with 1/3-1/2 cups of pearl barley. (I'm not too sure how much I had left, but it was between these two amounts) Season with a little more salt and definitely some fresh ground pepper and cook for 6 hours on low, or 3-4 hours on high. (Kind of depends on your crock pot, mine seems to cook really fast, and considering there is nothing raw in the recipe, it should be fine with whatever amount of time you use. You can also simmer all these ingredients together on the stove top for probably only an hour. Serve with chopped green onions, and jack or cheddar cheese.

If I get motivated today, I just may make a few bread bowls to serve these in…Maybe.