My Top Ten

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

America's Food Crisis, coming to a grocery store near you soon....

I watched Food, Inc. last night. I was aware of several of the issues represented in the film, but boy, oh, boy was it a most informative refresher. I was just waiting for them to bring up Monsanto, and they did, near the end of the film. If you don't know anything about Monsanto, you should know these two things:

1) They started out as a chemical company, and are now pioneering the way for genetically modified foods. I dont know about you, but I work hard to keep chemicals and food separated, not combined. Mosanto's pride and joy is the Roundup Ready soybean. They control something like 80 % of the soybeans in the USA. That should scare you folks, scare you right into action. Write a letter to your Congressmen and let them hear your voice. There is power in numbers. Power of the people, it still works today.

2) President Obama named Monsanto the head of agriculture for the United States of America. This means that without intervention of the people, Monsanto is now on a fast track to control the majority of food in America from seed to market. They already have an insane monopoly on the soybean, sueing small time farmers who don't use their product, but whose crops have involuntarily become contaminated with Monsanto's Roundup Ready soybean by winds blowing the contaminated seeds from neighboring famers who DO use Monsanto's soybeans.

We eat three times a day, 365 days a year. To me, it's worth putting in some research from time to time to ensure that one is abreast of the food world and can make educated decisions about what to put on the table. There are always "new and exciting" opportunities available to us in this country. New and exciting does not always mean it's best, or healthiest. Unfortunately, so often, the American public readily ingests media propaganda becuase "they" said so and don't ever think twice. Let me just give you a news flash which will never appear in mainstream media. You cannot trust the government with your health. They absolutely do not have your best interest in mind, they have their pocketbooks and stocks in mind. The food and drug industries in this country are like peanut butter and jelly. You can't have one without the other. There is so much money involved, that no one at ground level is going to make any positive change until we, the people, rise up and demand a change in our agriculture. It is incumbent for you to assume full responsibility for your health, don't allow that responsibility to fall to someone else's shoulders. You are your own advocate. And as your own advocate, I strongly encourage you to watch Food, Inc. (if you have Netflix, you can watch it instantly online right now) or forgoe your daily Starbucks and spend your money on renting Food, Inc. You are getting the better end of the deal, trust me. You may want to order your Venti half-calf Caramel Macchiato with organic milk from now on ;)

Recommended resources:

Food, Inc official trailer; watch it here

Michael Pollan's Book The Omnivore's Delimma

The Future of Food Film --- watch it for FREE here, courtesy of Hulu.

What's the big deal with GMOs (genetically modified organisms)? Well, I'm glad you asked. I just came across a very informative article and encourage you to click here to read it.

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey in the Wall Street Journal "The alternative to Obamacare"

Friday, January 22, 2010

Kick'n it Crunchy Asparagus Style....

Lish's Quick Tip for Crisp Asparagus:

Don't actually cook your asparagus, just quickly sear it in a very hot pan.

Here's how:
1) Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
2) Coat oven safe glassware with olive oil
3) Roast 1/4 c of sliced almonds or pine nuts until golden brown or to your liking (7 min or so)
4) While nuts are roasting, break asparagus ends off
5) Remove hot pan from oven and immediately set asparagus into pan to sear, move the asparagus around with a spoon so as to aid it in crisping up evenly.

This produces, in my opinion, the perfect asparagus. There's nothing worse than soggy asparagus. I mean, come on, peeps. If I am going to eat the stuff and suffer the consequences of "asparagus pee" then I am most definitely not eating it soggy!

Did I mention that this method of "cooking" your asparagus is healthy too? The less time you cook your vegetables, the more nutrients you retain.

In the words of dear Julia .... "bon appetit"

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A friend once asked, "how do you create healthy meals?"

And I answered:

For dinner; we eat a protein (usually a meat), a veggie or two, a piece of fruit, & a simple carb (bread)

I start with choosing a meat. We love salmon, and it is oober healthy brain food, so eat it at least once a week if possible. That leaves chicken, brats, sausages, turkey, pork, buffalo, other sea food and red meat. I would recommend eating red meat no more than 2 times per week. Also, the meat protein can be incorporated into the dinner so you aren’t serving a whole piece to each person. Add it to soup, marinara sauce, pasta, rice dishes, enchiladas, etc. Purchase quality meats (organic or at least grass fed, no antibiotics) and then use it in a meal to “stretch” it. Utilizing your meat this way can help make up for purchasing the higher quality, more expensive meats. At the minimum, please buy organic chicken. There are so many hormones packed into chicken breasts (and dairy) today, it is thoroughly disgusting. Google "Monsanto and genetically modified" and see for yourself what the typical American diet has turned into because of greedy corporate giants. Or visit, and type "the World According to Monsanto" into the search box for the 2 hour special about Monsanto. I strongly encourage you to watch this video, consider it an investment in your health.

Next, add a veggie. Fresh is best. The second best method of cooking vegetables is with steam. Steaming (please do not boil vegetables and NEVER microwave a fresh vegetable, this is a tragedy, seriously) vegetables lightly is the best way to preserve the naturally occuring vitamins and minerals. Roasting, grilling and pan-searing vegetables, especially root vegetables, produces a delightful vegetable anyone can be proud of! Don’t be afraid to add seasonings and marinades to make your vegetables taste good. When I say “veggies”, I mean a green or orange veggie. Not a potato or corn, those are both highly starchy. Those we would eat in place of the bread. I am talking about the following: Broccoli, Asparagus, Green Beans, Carrots, Snap peas, Zucchini, Squash, Tomatoes, Bell Peppers, Spinach & other greens, Cucumbers, Sweet potatoes, and the list goes on.

Add a piece of fresh fruit; slice up an apple, banana, orange, peach, pear, grapes and split it for the family to share. Also, if serving a salad, add fresh fruit to the salad, it’s such a sweet and wonderful contrast to the lettuce taste. My favorite salads are relatively simple: I use a dark green lettuce (spinach), add nuts (walnuts), cheese (swiss), fruit (grapes) and a small amount of balsamic vinaigrette dressing. The above is one of my all time favorite salads.

Then add a piece of whole grain bread to dip in olive oil, or toast it in the oven with Italian spices and garlic, or lay sliced tomatoes on top and melt a little parmesan reggiano over it. Or add corn or potatoes-(mashed, baked, boiled) in place of a whole grain bread.

Again, I strongly encourage you to buy organic chicken, eggs, and dairy products. Due to the excessive content of chemicals in our nation’s dairy products, it is worth each additional cent because it directly affects your family's health. The healthier you eat now, the less you will visit the Doctor later in life. This is our family motto and our “insurance policy” if you will.

The American Dietetic Association recommends the following:

Servings from the Food Pyramid



Whole Grains:6-11

Fats/Sugar: sparingly

Milk/Dairy: 3-4


If you want to count calories: 2000 per day is a fair standard for a moderately active person; on your feet chasing children, walking around the zoo, running errands, etc.

This breaks the basic three groups down to the following percentages for consumption:

Carbohydrates 60% - strive for mostly complex carbohydrates; vegetables, fresh fruit, whole grain breads, pastas, rice, cereals, and oats!

Protein 30% - meats, nuts, legumes, eggs, cheese, yogurt, milk

Fats 10% - don’t be afraid of fat. Fat is essential. It is crucial to maintaining healthy body function. The imperative thing about fat is to consume healthy fats. Avoid trans fats or anything hydrogenated. Saturated fats are also necessary, but be sure to eat them in moderation.

Sorry for the short novel, I just came across this information in my Word documents and thought it may encourage and inform someone, somewhere?!?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Comfort Food

We all have foods that are comforting to us. This recipe is one of mine. I just love these muffins. They are so simple to make and bake up in a snap. The ingredient list is so minimal that they're one thing that can always be produced from pantry staples when your refrigerator is humming that obnoxious "I'm empty, feeeeeeed me" noise. There's no further need to introduce them, just please, make them.

Doughnut Muffins

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees

Mix together wet ingredients:
1 egg, beaten into submission (sorry, I've scenes from Julie & Julia floating around)
1/3 c baking oil (canola or grapeseed)
1/2 c milk (i use soymilk and they turn out excellent)

Add in 1/2 cup sugar to wet ingredients, mix well.

Sift together:
1.5 c flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg*
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredient; incorporate.

Scoop evenly into muffin pan
(or the new silicone baking cups which are super handy & highly recommended; more here)

Sprinkle muffins with cinnamon & sugar mixture.
1.5 tablespoons sugar mixed with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and yes, I use it all!

Bake for about 17 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in middle of muffins comes out clean.

*Of course you can use pre-ground nutmeg, but the flavor of fresh nutmeg is amazing.
Nutmeg will literally keep for a year, so there's really no excuse not to keep some handy.....
Just grate it with your handy, dandy Microplane. If you aren't sure what a Microplane is just go to my archive and pull up "Why I love my Microplane" from November 2009.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Welcome, Savory Spice Shop, Welcome!

Ok, so I am a little belated in my "welcoming" of the Savory Spice Shop to Colorado Springs, (they opened a store downtown on Tejon Street, Thanksgiving 2009) however; I am still thrilled to finally have them in town. They offer a wide array of largely organic, quality herbs, fresh ground spices, extracts, and spice blends at very reasonable prices. The above picture is of the storefront in Denver, when once upon a time we would make Saturday trips up to the shop so I could stock up on a bounty of goods for my cooking needs.
This was always a fun trip to make, as it's located across the street from REI Denver. Anyhow, if you haven't heard of them, you should give their website a quick peak: But, let me tell you, it is much, much more fun to go into the shop. There is an entire shelving section donated to gourmet salts, at least six types of baking cocoas, free recipe cards, and fun kitchen gadgets. It's a superfoodie's dream.
If you're reading my blog, and you're not in Colorado Springs, no worries. You can order online, and it's a snap. So give them a try! I was instantly a fan of Savory Spice Shop, and I think you will be too.