Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Do You Trust Supermarket Organic Claims?

Call me skeptical, but there is something downright fishy about a national supermarket chain claiming to sell organic foods. How do we know? Do we know their farming practices? Do we know what they mean by organic? The word is continually being contested, with all types of interpretation existing. It is easy to slap a label on packages, put on department signage, and use other marketing tactics. All are intent to show how concerned the company is about consumer health.

Bull...the only thing a supermarket chain is concerned about is the bottom line or profits. They can market their foods any way they want, but that is the fact. They would be out of business if they were not profitable.

Supermarket chains also claim to deal with local farmers. How do we know the farmers are treated well? How do we know what type of deal they enter into? Do we know how much control the supermarket has over the farming practices? We don't.

After seeing so much deception involved in the food industry, I am highly skeptical of these organic, local farmer claims. It is easy to take a farmer's picture, post it near the produce, and claim the food is local. We could call the farmer or farm management, but would any response received be a deciding factor?

Farmers may receive remuneration in the form of “hush money” to speak positively about the chain. After experiencing so many false testimonials both in real-life and online, I do not trust testimonial quotes at all. I know from first-hand experience that many testimonials are paid for. Some others are simply false statements used as promotional tools. How do we know the farmer testimonials aren't really produced by the supermarket's marketing department?

I have had a love affair with farmers and their passion for fresh foods since I was a kid. My family all took part in our backyard garden where we grew corn, potatoes, carrots, broccoli, onions, radishes, chives, beets, lettuce, and other delights. Our fences were covered with raspberries and blackberries.

There is nothing comparable to growing your own food or having a working relationship with a treasured farmer. There is a true passion and love for good, organically-grown food involved.

When the food industry (which supermarkets are a part of) gets involved in the organic area, that love vanishes.

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Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Easy Homemade Pumpkin Butter

I have received numerous requests for my autumn abundance article, so here it is...Enjoy!

It's autumn and with that comes the abundance of squashes. Squashes grow like wildfire and provide so much taste. Doesn't pumpkin butter sound delicious? You can make your own for much less than the cost of buying it in the store. Plus, you control the ingredients. What more could you want? You can make your own nutritious blend for dirt cheap. Read on....

Every year I like to steam up pumpkin, let it cool and peel it. Then, I freeze it for later use throughout the remaining year. It's a great beginning for any pumpkin recipe, including my pumpkin butter. You could probably used canned pumpkin, but I cannot guarantee the final result. I can attest to FRESH pumpkin as providing superb taste, though.

You can make pumpkin butter either on the stovetop or in a crockpot. I started making my recipe on the stovetop. Then I noticed I needed to stir it too frequently, even while cooking it on low heat. So, I transferred everything to a crockpot and let it cook. How easy is that?

This recipe relies on the natural taste of spices and the sweetness of pumpkin instead of heavy refined sugars. Most recipes, you will notice, use an inordinate amount of sugar. Not mine. You will receive the pure, natural taste of ingredients. My tasty recipe only uses minimal refined sugar. And, you could easily substitute unsweetened apple or white grape juice for the white and brown sugars. Of course, you can add more sugar as you like.

So....

You will need:

3 cups pumpkin, cooked and peeled
1 T. cinnamon
¼ t. nutmeg
½ t. ginger
2 t. white sugar
2 T brown sugar

Place all ingredients into a crockpot and stir thoroughly. Turn on high heat. Cook for 3-4 hours. Stir as needed. 

Store in airtight container in fridge. You can also can this and give as a holiday gift. 
 
Find interesting? Kindly share...Thanks! 


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Thursday, August 07, 2014

Colorful & Nutritious Beet Soup

Beets are the way to go if you want naturally colorful food that supplies a powerhouse of nutrients. In addition to making the greens into a salad, you can use the bulb in a variety of creative ways. Roasted, steamed, baked, boiled, or freshly grated, all provide excellent ways to enjoy this sweet and succulent veggie.

If you are looking for a quick, easy, and tasty way to enjoy these delectable root vegetables, consider making a batch of some homemade soup. While being short on time in the kitchen the other day, I conveniently and quickly put a variety of fresh veggies into a pot and came out with this welcoming dish....Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

8 cups water
1 large beet root, peeled and cut
1 small onion, cut
1/4 cup mushrooms, sliced
1-2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
1 small stalk broccoli, peeled and sliced
1 cup cabbage, sliced
1 garlic clove, diced or 1 T minced garlic
1 T Italian seasoning

Add water to large dutch oven or stock pot. Add remaining ingredients. Put pan onto stovetop burner. Cook at medium temperature until all veggies are poked done with a fork or knive. Stir to evenly distribute ingredients throughout cooking span. Reduce heat if ingredients begin to boil over. 

Serve with wholegrain crackers or bread. 

Store leftovers in airtight container in refrigerator. 

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Monday, July 28, 2014

An Easy & Tasty Gluten-Free Tuna Pasta Salad

Hi everyone! The summer months are here. Finding ways to make tasty dishes without using heat is a great way to stay cool.

Tuna macaroni/pasta salads are popular picnic items, potluck dishes, and hot weather foods. For those of you unable to tolerate gluten, for whatever reason, there is a tasty alternative. Substitute rice noodles for the traditional wheat pasta. It takes less energy to digest, leaving you with a sense of fullness without all the tiredness associated with standard wheat products.

Find rice noodles at your local Asian market. Many standard grocery stores sell these items in the Asian section, as well. Noodles come in all widths, so find one that is suitable for you. Personally, I prefer the 1/2"-thick variety. It fits in perfectly for cold pasta dishes.

Here is the simple recipe. Prepare it an hour of so before your dining time to allow it to properly cool.

You will need a Dutch oven or large stock pan. Add the following:

6-8 cups water
pinch of salt
drop of oil to keep noodles from sticking together

Place pan onto stovetop burner.
Put temperature onto medium heat.
Bring water, salt, and oil to boil.
Add in the noodles
Reduce heat and cook for about 8 minutes, until noodles are done.

Remove from heat and drain into colander. Rinse with cold water.

Either return noodles to cooking pan or place into mixing bowl. The choice is yours...
Put into refrigerator and cool for about an hour.

When completely cooled, add the following:
1 small onion, chopped
1 t Italian seasoning
1/4 cup lowfat mayonnaise or plain yogurt (mayo is sweeter)
1 can albacore tuna, drained
1/2 cup sweet peas
1 garlic clove or 1 t garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Mix thoroughly to evenly distribute ingredients.

For diversity, add a chopped egg.

If desired, you can substitute lowfat sour cream for the mayo or yogurt. The choice is yours.

Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container.
Enjoy!

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Steaming Foods Without a Steamer

Hi everyone! Do you like steaming food but do not have a vegetable steamer? Here's a quick and easy solution that uses what you already have in the kitchen.

1 - Take two plates that fit into a large dutch oven or stock pot pan.
2 - Put a small amount of water into the pan. About a 1/2 inch will do.
3 - Turn one plate upside down and place it into the pan.
4 - Place the second plate, eating-side up, on the overturned plate.
4 - Add your veggies or whatever else you want to steam.
5 - Turn the heat on.
6 - Cover the pan.
7 - Steam until food is poked done.

Plates are much easier to clean than those sometimes troubling commercially-made steamers.

Good luck!

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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Some Processed Foods Are Good For You

Ok, I know you purists are probably gasping. With so much type today about the evils of processed food, it is important to realize that there are some good ones. Here's a little history...

Back in the 1970's (a fantastic time of life, by the way)...there was something known as brown rice syrup. It was purported to be a wonderful alternative to high fructose corn syrup and other commercially prepared sweeteners. Only the “peace-loving hippies” and natural food enthusiasts knew about it. You could only find it in “health food stores”, food co-ops and similar places.

Well...fast forward to the 2013 year. While perusing the syrup aisle at my local food franchise chain, I find an interesting bottle with an “ALL NATURAL” printed on it. Underneath this description is a smaller print stating “table syrup.” Hmm...My curious is sparked.

I pick up the attractive container and notice Log Cabin is the manufacturer.

The front label clearly states...”No hugh fructose corn syrup.” Upon reading the ingredients, I notice that brown rice syrup is the number one ingredient! Combine that with added sugar and brown sugar and you have a healthier syrup substitute. (I could do without the added sugar and brown sugar, though...)

Anyways, I purchased the bottle. And...it tastes DELICIOUS!! It must be kept refrigerated. The cost is not that much more expensive than high fructose syrup-containing versions.

So...here is a processed food that is actually a viable option for those needing to satisfy their sweet tooth in a healthier manner.

Kudos Log Cabin!!

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Homemade Pumpkin Butter


If you're like me, you freeze pumpkin for year-round use. If you don't, you need to start doing this. You won't regret it. Doesn't pumpkin butter sound delicious? You can make your own for much less than the cost of buying it in the store. Plus, you control the ingredients. What more could you want? You may be surprised how cheap it is to make your own. And, it's not that difficult.  Read on....

Pumpkin contains a wealth of antioxidants, the most notable being beta carotene. The beta carotene is what gives this delicious squash its vibrant color. Once in your body, this vital nutrient is converted into Vitamin A. Numerous studies reveal that this essential antioxidant plays a key role in reducing degenerative diseases such as heart disease, some types of cancer, and arthritis.

Plus, pumpkin does not contain any fat. It is perfect for those wanting to lose or maintain their weight. Who doesn't love a NO FAT food?


It's low in calories. As a plant-based food source, calorie counting is not a concern when enjoying this tasty delight. You can fill yourself up with minimal calories. Nice.


The high potassium content found in pumpkins helps regulate your heart beat, reduce muscle cramping, and keep your musculoskeletal system operating at optimal levels.

Enough for the nutrition information...let's get down to using this delectable food.

Every year I like to steam up pumpkin, let it cool and peel it. Then, I freeze it for later use throughout the remaining year. It's a great beginning for any pumpkin recipe, including my pumpkin butter. You could probably used canned pumpkin, but I cannot guarantee the final result. I can attest to FRESH pumpkin as providing superb taste, though.

You can make pumpkin butter either on the stovetop or in a crockpot. I started making my recipe on the stovetop. Then I noticed I needed to stir it too frequently, even while cooking it on low heat. So, I transferred everything to a crockpot and let it cook. How easy is that?

This recipe relies on the natural taste of spices and the sweetness of pumpkin instead of heavy refined sugars. Most commercially prepared or online recipes, you will notice, use an inordinate amount of sugar. Not mine. You will receive the pure, natural taste of ingredients. My tasty recipe only uses minimal refined sugar. 

And, you could easily substitute unsweetened apple or white grape juice for the white and brown sugars. Of course, you can add more sugar as you like.

So....

You will need:

3 cups pumpkin, cooked and peeled
1 T. cinnamon
¼ t. nutmeg
½ t. ginger
2 t. white sugar
2 T brown sugar

Place all ingredients into a crockpot and stir thoroughly. Turn on high heat. Cook for 3-4 hours. Stir as needed.

Wasn't that easy?   Now.....
 Have you been wondering about what to do with pumpkin butter besides spreading it on your morning toast? Well....after making another tasty batch, I discovered other uses that I believe are worthy of sharing....

Use it as a topping over ice cream, muffins, rolls and croissants. 

Use it in your sandwich. Instead of traditional jelly or jam, substitute some pumpkin butter. You'll increase the nutritional value and may find the taste addicting. 



Jar some and give as gifts. Everyone loves homemade items, especially as holiday gifts. After making a batch, remove it from the heat and let it cool. Place the pumpkin butter into your favorite jar. Secure tightly. Label it and present it as a gift.

Use in recipes instead of pure pumpkin. Most baked goods recipes call for pumpkin, cinnamon and spices. That is exactly what pumpkin butter is. Save yourself the time and effort of mixing individual ingredients.

These are some ideas, and uses, that work particularly well to highlight the versatility of pumpkin butter. Can you think of any others?


Find interesting? Kindly share....