Category Archives: recipes

Flower-based recipes not just for pica eaters

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It’s an indescribable urge. 

My mouth waters. I begin to grind my teeth at the thought of chewing the succulent texture. 

I’m not salivating over a fine steak or wishing I could have a bite of a sweet truffle. In fact, I’m not even in a kitchen, restaurant or sidewalk cafe. I’d be more likely to be in a floral shop, field of wild flowers or holding a bouquet. 

It’s because this urge comes from a weird thought of mine. I have the desire to eat flowers. Particularly roses.  

I actually have never eaten a flower. But every time I get flowers sent to me or am in a garden, the sacchariferous smell of the petaled-beauties transcends into a delicious flavor. 

Until now, it has kind of scared me. There is an actual condition termed Pica that is characterized by an appetite for substances largely non-nutritive, such as clay, chalk, dirt, or sand.

But flowers, like vegetables, seem like they might not fit in that category. 

On the constant prowl for unique recipes, these flower-infused bites are most definitely something I need to try.

The recipes include tempura banana flowers, candied rose truffles and more accepted recipes like basil and mushrooms and artichoke bruschetta. 

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20 of the most awkward cakes

In the era of cupcake fanatics and cake decorating fads, these cakes stand out among the rest. But not because of their beauty, skillfully created design or artistic merit.

These have to be some of the most awkward…and unappetizing…cakes around.

Bon Appetite.

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Coolest Pinterest food boards

Only recently have I gotten back into Pinterest. Before I had five boards and less than 100 pins. Now I’m up to 19 boards and 798 pins. Yikes!

I feel like a rich stay-at-home mother of two.

Regardless, there is so much eye candy on Pinterest. One of the major topics besides inspirational quotes that make us pinners feel better about ourselves and skinny jeans the majority of us will never fit into is food.

I’ve compiled a list of five interesting food boards with different twists. Let’s just say, they’re not your average recipe boards.

1. Melanie Miller’s Vintage Recipes

Many of the pins are actual advertisements from old magazines. And I thought the 1950s were too stuffy for rum punch at Thanksgiving.

2. Phyliss Martin’s Street Food

BBQ snake anyone?

BBQ snake anyone?

It’s more of a cultural study that would cause any foodie to salivate…or gawk at the disgusting so-called food in some countries.

3. Delicious Karma’s When Food Becomes Art

It starts out with cute stay at home mommy sandwich lunchbox art, but ends with Dan Cretu’s food sculptures like the retro cassette.

4. Ariel Lee’s Dollar Tree Shtuff

There’s a lot more at the Dollar Store than you ever imagined.

5. Foodista’s Food and Wine Infographics

Who isn’t a fan of infographics. It’s like a picture book for adults.

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Hysterical commentary on “healthy” eating

Nobody makes me cry my own tears! Nobody! But the lovely lady from Northwest Edible Life did just that with her post “The terrible tragedy of a healthy eater.” Eating-Paleo-Meme

As an avid believer of the paleo diet, I found many of the references completely hysterical. But you don’t need to be a health nut to get the many puns and predicaments the writer pokes fun at. I think it’s see to say, anyone who’s done a Google search on healthy eating will identify with the humor.

Seriously read it all.

All you want to do is eat a little healthier. Really. Maybe get some of that Activa probiotic yogurt or something. So you look around and start researching what “healthier” means.

That really skinny old scientist dude says anything from an animal will give you cancer. But a super-ripped 60 year old with a best-selling diet book says eat more butter with your crispy T-Bone and you’ll be just fine as long as you stay away from grains. Great abs beat out the PhD so you end up hanging out on a forum where everyone eats green apples and red meat and talks about how functional and badass parkour is.

You learn that basically, if you ignore civilization and Mark Knopfler music, the last 10,000 years of human development has been one big societal and nutritional cock-up and wheat is entirely to blame. What we all need to do is eat like cave-people.

You’re hardcore now, so you go way past way cave-person. You go all the way to The Inuit Diet™.

Some people say it’s a little fringe, but you are committed to live a healthy lifestyle. “Okay,” you say, “let’s do this shit,” as you fry your caribou steak and seal liver in rendered whale blubber. You lose some weight which is good, but it costs $147.99 a pound for frozen seal liver out of the back of an unmarked van at the Canadian border.

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There is no such thing as a “skinny margarita,” just less fattening

Cinco de Mayo is Saturday. Besides sombreros, nachos and Mexican independence, margaritas are a big factor in the celebration. But margaritas have a notorious reputation for being ridden with calories. 

A friend asked me on Facebook, “Do you have any “skinny” margarita recipes for Cinco de Mayo?!”

The term skinny girl became famous because of a recipe bottled by Bethenny Frankel, one of the cast members of The Real Housewives of New York. Her margarita mix, priced at $19, claimed to have no preservatives and its only two ingredients were agave nectar and tequila.

However, last year Whole Foods yanked it from their shelves after finding that the recipe also contained sodium benzoate, according to a New York Post article. Sodium benzoate is a preservative that extends the shelf life of products by inhibiting the growth of mold and yeast. It is not known to be harmful, however, it is currently being studied.

So what is the best way to make a margarita that is all natural and fewer calories.  

Use fresh juice never store-bought mixes! However, juice still contains a lot of sugars so Margaritas will always be a bit unhealthy, but it’s Cinco de Mayo so enjoy life a little.
 
Here’s a good recipe I found from sheknows.com:
  • 2 ounces silver tequila
  • 1 1/2 ounces lime juice (freshly squeezed)
  • 1 ounce agave nectar

If you don’t want to use agave nectar, substitute it with splenda, orange juice or sugar-free triple sec.

Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

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American foods that are strange to foreigners

Raw meat, sea cucumbers and chocolate drizzled chicken; I love trying new and bizarre foods. In fact, just yesterday I munched on some squid. It wasn’t the first time I had calamari, just the first time it was whole and not fried. The sight of it was more intimidating than the taste. The head was in a classic oblong oval shape while its suction cup dotted tentacles curled up like the wicked witch of the west’s feet after a house fell on her. But the little guys tasted delicious despite their looks.

I ate squid at an Asian restaurant where it is common to eat different types of seafood. To this specific culture, it probably seemed like no big deal to devour these squishy ocean critters. And that got me thinking. What types of American food do different cultures find disgusting, repulsive, strange?

One Australian on a yahoo answers message board had four different foods they found strange; pumpkin pie, clam chowder, sloppy joes and their number one, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

And this Aussie isn’t the only one that thinks PB&J is nasty. Natacha from Chile says peanut butter is “weird” in a Houston Press blog post. And Iris from Germany thinks our regular sandwich bread is “squishy.”

Other foods on the blog list are mayonnaise, biscuits and gravy, eggs and bacon, grits, pepper and pasta. And these are some of the basic staples of American cuisine.

Do you think certain American foods are strange? Let me know in the comments.

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Is juice really that good for you?

You might want to think again next time you offer juice to your child to go with dinner. Juice has always been thought  to be a healthy option and good for you. But is juice really that good for you? In today’s market, it can be confusing when deciding what kind of juice to buy; cocktail, concentrate, 100 percent. What are the differences?

Juice and Adults

Say you’re trying to lose weight fast. An all liquid diet of vegetable juice and fruit juice sounds like a tempting choice. It seems filling and you think you’re getting the same health benefits as you would be from whole veggies and fruits. But are you really?

The problem with juice is that is exits our stomachs quicker than solid fruits and veggies, according to self.com’s  dietician, Willow Jarosh. This means that you won’t feel as full for as long.

“Not only do whole fruits and veggies keep you fuller…they do it on fewer calories. For instance you could eat 1 cup of cubed papaya for 55 calories, but 1 cup of most fruit juices contains twice the calories (110),” Jarosh said.

You do still get the nutrients and minerals in juice as you get from the solid food, however, you don’t get any fiber.

Types of Juices

There are so many different types of juices to choose from at the store from flavors to labels that aren’t so clear such as pasteurized, from concentrate, 100 percent and cocktail. So what do all these cryptic messages mean?

100 percent

Juice labeled 100 percent juice is juice that is only obtained from the liquids of the fruit or veggie. Fruit or vegetable juice can only count toward your daily intake if it is 100 percent juice. There are no added sugars in 100 percent juice. But there are still natural sugars found from the whole fruit, which can be a lot. In fact, “fruit juice contains about the same amount of sugar as the same amount of soft drink,” according to Dave Hall, who runs hookedonjuice.com.

Many juice brands who claim to be 100 percent juice have a little secret. It’s called a flavor pack. Huffington Post reported on these flavor packs using Gizmodo’s explanation of the process of making juice:

Once the juice is squeezed and stored in gigantic vats, they start removing oxygen. Why? Because removing oxygen from the juice allows the liquid to keep for up to a year without spoiling. But! Removing that oxygen also removes the natural flavors of oranges. Yeah, it’s all backwards. So in order to have OJ actually taste like oranges, drink companies hire flavor and fragrance companies, the same ones that make perfumes for Dior, to create these “flavor packs” to make juice taste like, well, juice again.

“The food industry follows its own logic because of the economies of scale. What works for you in your kitchen when making a glass or two of juice simply won’t work when trying to process thousands upon thousands of gallons of the stuff,” according to Food Renegade.

These flavor packs are made from orange by-product, but the catch is that they take certain chemicals from, say the orange peel, such as ethyl butyrate and overuse it, therefore, chemically altering the natural combination of chemicals found in oranges.

Concentrate

Juice from concentrate contains less water than 100 percent juice. This is because it receives a heat treatment that evaporates nearly all of the water from the naturally squeezed mixture. Once the water gets depleted from the liquid, only the flavorful contents remain behind. Companies do this to extend the life of juice which saves money. Juice concentrates can contain additives that work to maintain color, flavor and nutritional content within the juice. Consumer Reports experts say no notable nutritional differences exist between original and concentrate. Either of these two may be a blend of juices not apparent unless you read the label.

Drinks, cocktails

Juices with labels such as “fruit drink,” “cocktail” or “juice drink” may only contain 5 to 10 percent juice. They are also filled with water, sugar and artificial colors and flavorings, according to the WIC Nutrition Program. Basically, not really juice.

Pasteurized

According to the Center for Disease Control:

“pasteurized juice is heated to a high temperature for a short time before it is sold. By pasteurizing juice, pathogens (germs) which may be present in the liquid are killed. Most juice concentrate sold in grocery stores has been heat treated as part of the concentration process and this is equivalent to pasteurization. About 98% of all juices sold in the United States are pasteurized (1) . Pasteurized juice can be found as frozen concentrate, displayed at room temperature or in the refrigerated section of your supermarket. Pasteurized juice products may say “Pasteurized” on their labels. Besides pasteurization, some juices are treated with other processes.”

Juice and kids

Because juice, even if it is 100 percent natural, is high in sugar, it must be carefully rationed when given to children. Juice can cause an array of dental problems, especially if drank out of a sippy cup or bottle. Juice consumption can also be associated with diarrhea, flatulence, abdominal distention. The American Academy of Pediatrics offers some helpful guidelines for parents in its report, The Use and Misuse of Juice in Pediatrics.

  • Juice should not be introduced into the diet of infants before 6 months of age.

  • Infants should not be given juice from bottles or easily transportable covered cups that allow them to consume juice easily throughout the day. Infants should not be given juice at bedtime.

  • Intake of fruit juice should be limited to 4 to 6 oz/d for children 1 to 6 years old. For children 7 to 18 years old, juice intake should be limited to 8 to 12 oz or 2 servings per day.

  • Children should be encouraged to eat whole fruits to meet their recommended daily fruit intake.

  • Infants, children, and adolescents should not consume unpasteurized juice.

The report also says that juice should not be used in the treatment of dehydration or management of diarrhea and that excessive juice consumption may be associated with malnutrition (overnutrition and undernutrition).

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