This time of year, citrus is at its best…juicy, delicious, full of vitamin C and perfect for many wonderful dishes, sweet and savory! I love adding a splash of fresh citrus to almost any dish…but it is more beautiful and more delicious when the white pithy skin is removed and the lovely juiciness shines through! Sectioning citrus takes it from looking ordinary to extraordinary and it is so easy to do…
Now, make slices between each section and remove each slice with your knife.
Its that simple! And that beautiful.March 22, 2012 by LindsayTarquinio · 0 comments Read More
I get super excited when I see pomegranates show up at the farmer’s market (I got a little too excited- because I bought one yesterday and it was a little too early…please excuse the sad looking pomegranate in these pictures!!)
I LOVE using pomegranate for all kinds of things in the Fall months- salad dressing, parfait toppers, pancake syrup, marinade…or just a great, healthy snack- but the idea of cleaning a pomegranate can be a little intimidating. All of those great juicy seeds are protected by thick, maze like grooves- and trying to detach the seeds from their protectors can be quite the difficult and MESSY task.
A few years ago, I learned a great, easy and mess-free way to clean one of these nutrient rich- antioxidant packed gems. (I don’t remember where I learned this…maybe Martha Stewart??)
So, here is a step-by-step “How to clean a pomegranate” guide. Please excuse the ugly pictures!
1- Gather the tools you will need: A sharp knife, a bowl, a strong spoon, a cutting board, and your pomegranate.
2- Cut the pomegranate in half, horizontally.
3- Hold one side of the pomegranate, cut side down in the palm of your hand and then rotate your hand so that your palm, and the cut side of your pomegranate are facing the bowl.
4- Grab the spoon with your other hand and firmly hit the pomegranate with it…over and over as the seeds start to fall out….continue until all of the seed are in your bowl.
5- Repeat steps 3 and 4 with the other side.
6- Enjoy the fruits of your labor, literally!
I know it is quite presumptuous to assume that a person has the time to go to work, keep the house clean, take care of children, have any sort of social life, keep up some kind of exercise regimen AND make all of their food from scratch. I know it seems daunting and I know that rolling the shopping cart over to the frozen foods isle of the grocery store…or the blue box Mac N’ Cheese section is extremely tempting, but I feel like before those processed and packages decisions are made, it is only fair that one knows the truth about those foods.
So, here goes…my argument for home made…for REAL food than can actually be found in nature…food that has not been pumped full of hormones, pesticides, hydrogenation and genetic modification. I will start my argument with some very compelling and eye opening statistics from a book that I have been reading: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.
…[Since 1980] 70 percent of our midwestern agricultural land shifted gradually into single crop corn or soybean farms, each one of them, now on average, the size of Manhattan…US farmers now produce 3,900 calories per US citizen, per day. That is twice what we need, and 700 calories more per day than they grew in 1980. Commodity farmers can only survive by producing their maximum yields, so they do. And here is the shocking plot twist: as the farmers produce those calories, the food industry figured out how to get them into the bodies of people who didn’t really want to eat 700 more calories a day…
…most of these calories enter our mouths in forms hardly recognizable as corn, soy beans, or even vegetable in origin: high fructose corn syrup, lecithin, citric acid, maltodextrin, sorbitol and xanthun gum, for example are all manufactured from corn. So are beef, eggs, and poultry, in a different but no less artificial process. Soybeans also become animal flesh, or else, a category of ingredient known as “added fats.” If every product containing corn and soybeans were removed from the grocery store [isles] it would look more like a hardware store.
[This next section is a little obvious but I thought a good point to reiterate]…plenty of studies show that regularly eating cheaply processed fast foods and snack foods slap on extra pounds that increase the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular harm, joint problems and many cancers. As a country we are officially over the top: the majority of our food dollars buy those cheap calories, and most of our citizens are medically compromised by weight and inactivity. The incidence of obesity-associated diabetes has more than doubled since 1990, with children the fastest-growing class of victims. One out of every three dollars we spend on health care, by some recent estimates, is paying for the damage of bad eating habits. One out of every seven specifically pays to assuage (but not cure) the multiple heartbreaks of diabetes–kidney failure strokes, blindness, amputated limbs.
I am not trying to play Debbie Downer here, but I think that the argument for home made, pretty much makes itself. No one wants to pump themselves, or their families full of completely fake things that are essentially slowly killing them…so, I think it is important to take a stand…stay out of the freezer section (except for straight up, frozen veggies (cheese sauces not included), avoid the aisles, and stick to the things that God created. Fruits, vegetables, WHOLE grains, rice, oats, beans, GRASS FED meats, honey, milk, (SOME) cheeses (many grocery store varieties are actually known to contain large amounts of saw dust and other products that don’t really draw up lovely images).
My passion for home made was just ignited a little further the other night when we had dinner at one of our friend’s homes. We were about to eat when he said, “Do you want to hear something completely disgusting?” Of course, when you hear something like that, your curiosity is piqued and you have to answer, “yes”!
So, he proceeded to tell us about how he lent his house to some friends when he was out of town one weekend. He came home to find a cake in his refrigerator…a decent looking, rectangular chocolate cake, topped with a cherry, from a very well known grocery store bakery. One slice was taken off of the end. Our friend had recently heard a story that one could leave a McDonald’s burger sitting on the counter for an entire month and it would look exactly the same as the day you bought it (and probably be safe enough to eat without getting sick because of all of the preservatives). So, he decided to test this with the cake.
After one month, the cake was unchanged. The CHERRY was unchanged. After month two and three, same thing. We arrived at his home at the end of MONTH SIX. This is what the cake looked like: good enough to eat, right?
BUT, would you WANT to eat this…SIX MONTH OLD cake and cherry?? I didn’t think so! ONE 2 inch slice of this cake has 510 calories and 25 grams of fat. So, in the spirit of offering solutions for problems…here is a wonderful chocolate cake recipe…completely natural…it probably wont last 3 days without starting to wither…but hopefully it tastes so good, it wont last three days either way…and it has about 110 calories and 2 grams of fat per piece (no soy beans or corn added.)
*I will add pictures later, the internet connection in Africa is VERY slow!
2 cups oat flour (or really any other flour you like)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup 0% Greek yogurt
1/4 cup skim milk
1/2 cup agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 Cup oat flour
1/4 Cup Cocoa powder
1/4 Cup agave nectar
1/4 t salt
1/4 Cup skim milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×9 inch baking pan. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt and stir well. In a separate bowl.mix together the eggs, yogurt, milk, agave, and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until lumpless. Pour and spread the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
When you are ready to serve, make the sauce (inspired by my love for raw batters!) In a small bowl, mix together all of the ingredients and then drizzle over each individual piece.Posted on March 21, 2011 by LindsayTarquinio · 0 comments Read More
Eating organic seems to be all the rage these days. Millions of people flock to Whole Foods and Fresh Market to essentially pay double for organic goods. I will be the first to admit that Whole Foods by far provides my favorite grocery shopping (in a store) experience. But, living on a non-profit salary…trying to be a good steward of the money that we do have, and therefore, living on a very tight grocery budget, does not really afford us the Whole Foods luxury.
Eating healthy, and putting good, clean food into our bodies is very important to me…it is something that I would say that I am pretty passionate about, so over the last few years, I have tried to do as much research as a can to figure out the most important foods to buy organic and the ones that are virtually the same whether organic or not.
Last year, I came across an article about “The Dirty Dozen”…the top 12 foods you should buy organic. I also found a lot of information to support the fact that buying organic when it comes to certain things has absolutely no effect on your health. (Eggs are a great example of this).
Side note: I do think that it is important to think about where your food come- the way that your meat and eggs were raised and the local farmers that are trying to make a living (but that is another blog for another day).
So, without further ado, here is a list of the 12 most contaminated foods from www.organics.org
Peaches (which can be purchased organic at Jaemore farms in North Georgia during peach season for less than “regular” peaches from the grocery store!)
Sweet Bell Peppers
Lettuce (Whole Foods has a “low price guarantee” for lettuce…its only $1.99 a bag…WAY less than Kroger!)
A key for purchasing these foods Organic on a budget is purchasing them when they are in season! Local Farmers markets, Whole Foods and Trader Joes all run specials on organic foods during their peek season!
Now, here is a list of the 12 Least Contaminated foods…AKA…foods that you should just buy at the regular grocery store if you are trying to be budget friendly.
Sweet Corn (Frozen)
Sweet Peas (Frozen)