Thursday, April 29, 2010

Polling Time!

So, right now I have a poll on my side bar that I would liked everyone to answer.
How am I doing with this blog?
You have until Monday to vote!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My Breakfast Cereal Can Kill Me?

So, here I sit munching on a bowl of Frosted Mini Wheats, one of my favorite cold cereals. Curiously, I read the ingrediants.
Whole Grain Wheat, Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Gelatin, Vitamins and Minerals: Reduced Iron, Niacinamide, Zinc Oxide, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6)Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)Thiamin Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1)Folic Acid and Vitamin B12. To Maintain Quality, BHT Has Been Added to the Packaging.

My first reaction was that I knew most if the ingrediants, vitamins are vitamins but what the heack is BHT? With a little research into the internet world I found that BHT stood for Butlyated Hydroxytoluene. The full name gave me little clue as to what this was besides a chemical additive to an otherwise 'healthy' breakfast food. The wikipedia artical read further saying that it was an 'organtic compound...used as antioxidant food additive'. But this little chemical additive has links to cancer and 'hyperactivity in children'.
More research found this:
However, the same chemical properties which make BHA and BHT excellent preservatives may also be implicated in health effects. The oxidative characteristics and/or metabolites of BHA and BHT may contribute to carcinogenicity or tumorigenicity; however the same reactions may combat oxidative stress. There is evidence that certain persons may have difficulty metabolizing BHA and BHT, resulting in health and behavior changes. BHA and BHT may have antiviral and antimicrobial activities.
To go even further with this another sources reports:
BHA and BHT could lead to a full range of reactions such as asthma, insomnia, depression, fatigue, learning difficulties, and behavioral problems.
For now, I'm saying 'No thank you' to BHT and BHA. There are a few more food presevatives that are like BHT so watch the labels for ingrediants that are acronyms!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Book Review: The Omnivorie's Dilemma by Michael Pollan

Yes, I read the young adult edition of this. But this shouldn't reflect my level of reading. At first I picked up the adult edition, but while I could read it Michael Pollan used words that an average person probably could not understand. While I thought the content of this book was important. Throwing away all notions that young adult books are inferior and dived into this. I'm glad I did. If the goal of the adult edition was to get his ideas acrossed as clearly as possible I would have continued to read it. Pollan was preaching from the mountian top. It was sort of like reading a shakespear play; you know what the words mean but in that order it makes no sense.
With readablity of the adult book aside, I believed that the young adult struck the right tone with me. It was easy to understand and the illisatations and side blurbs made it fun to read and understand fully what Pollan is trying to say. The book shows you four seperate food chains; industrial, industrial organic, local sutainable, and the do-it-yourself meal. While all four food systems where entertaining to read about, I found that the local sutainable and the do-it-youself systems were very informing. People know little about these two systems so it was nice to have them detailed. The systems that we hear most about at the industrial and industrial organtic.
I'm fortunate enough to be able to utilize all four of these systems, but it might be a shock to the average reader in the city and hard to wrap the idea of eating mushrooms from a forest around their mind.
I mostly enjoyed reading about Joel Salatin and Polyface farm. It shows that animals don't need to be handled like a piece of meat just because they are going to become meat and that all of the animals died a honorable death.
Overall, I believe Omnivore's Dilemma was a very informative and entertaining read and I highly recommend it to anyone that wants to learn more about food systems and how what you buy is like a vote.
A little side note: Customers do have a say in what products a company produces. If a company sees a decline in sales because customers do not want high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in their foods, companies will cater to their needs. For example, a few companies, such as Hunt, are going to switch to sugar from HFCS. So cast your vote at  the check out.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Join Jamie's Quest and Sign the Petition!

Come fellow food loves and join us! Show your support and love by signing Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution petition or by texting "Jamie" to 222888 to help change the way we eat. I'm not asking for money or a date to the prom, just a few moments of your time to sign it. By signing it your mind will rest, assured that the children of America will have balanced diets in the school system. Please show that you care and sign!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Heads Up

Just to give you a little idea about what is in store.
I haven't been posting a lot because there isn't much to post about right now. I'll be posting a review for the book that I've been, slowly, reading and a movie review for Food Inc. Rhubarb is coming into season so I'll be making a nice pie out it. I'm hoping to comeplete the compost pile soon, next week I hope, so I'll post details on that. Pepper and lettuce updates as well. The lettuce should be ready to harvest next month. I'll so detail on making succulant chicken gyros. Lecker! Lecker! (translation Yum Yum)
So stayed tuned!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bethlehem, Cars, and Cats

There's is just so much stuff that has happened in the last few days. Some good, but, unfortunatly, some bad. I'll tell you the good first.
I got a car! For the past eight months I've been using my dad and mom's cars to go to work and the occasional trip to a friend's house or for alone time. We've been looking for awhile for a good canidate that could be my or my mom's car. Unfortunatly, in October, our car's, Gumby, struts in the rear rusted and we were forced to part with it because it cost too much to repair. A few weeks later we bought Jewel, a '95 Ford Escort. Man, she is a Jewel! Lately, I've been giving up what I want to go around my mom's schedule. What pushed this even farther is Monday night I forgot to switch the car seat to the other car so my mom was stuck with my nephew for a few more hours than nesscary.
Today, we drive down the road and there she is! A red '94 Mercury Tracer wagon. If you know a thing or two about cars, Mercury Tracers are like cousins to Ford Escorts, so the switch would be a breeze. Call the owner up and it turns out that a family friend is selling it. They wanted about $3,000 for it but we managed to talk them to $2,300 and tomorrow the car will mom's, I'm keeping my Jewel. I'm so happy! Next year, I can go to college!
In other good news, I went to Bethlehem, PA today. I had a good time, except for the reason that my mom and I were there (long story). But, man! If I could spend a day there! Coincidentally, our destination was located two doors down from the brew supply store or I bought some champange yeast and more extract.
So, now for the sad news.
Juno, one of our Tuxedo cats, passed away today. It's weird, really. Literally one second he was fine then...Boom...he's crawling on the floor unable to support himself with it back legs. His appeite was good and so was his will to live, but his feet were as cold as ice. We rushed him to the vet. There was nothing that financially we could do. Juno, had a blood clot that was cutting off cruclation to his back legs. We had no choice but to put him down.
Truthfully, I was never really a fan of the cat. He would stupidly follow my sister and I around. Don't get me wrong, he was a good cat, but there wasn't something right about him. We had a strong belief that he was an inbred.
So, I'm exhausted and need time to process everything. Too much at once.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Beginnings of Beautiful Relationship

I believe Wednesdays are going to start to be my days to cook. To cook what ever I want for dinner. Why not? I'm itching to get in the kitchen a learn. Why stop me? I'm so much different than I was a year ago. It amazes me. Heck, I year ago I still wasn't cleaning up after myself properly. Now, dishes get done and the kitchen is cleaned. Not to mention good foo made.
Above was tonights dinner. Panko crusted chicken, oven fries, and a mixed green salad with leaf lettuce, carrots, broccoli, green peppers, cucumbers, and radishs. See? I can make a well balanced meal. The only thing that I would change is the ketchup.
I love ketchup and eat it with just about everything. Fries, hot dogs, hamburgers, almost anything chicken, meat loaf, ect. But the high fructose corn syrup in it just makes me uncomfortable. According to, Heiz ketchup has 15 calories per tablespoon. It's really not bad but the third ingrediant is HFCS (high frutose corn syrup) and then after that corn syrup. Wasn't the HFCS enough? Just pump it for of more sugar! Four grams, in fact, of it.
On one of my trips to Lancaster last year I picked up a bottle of ketchup that was made by the local Amish. It just wasn't my thing. So I'm now on the search for a good commerical ketcup. Now, Annie's Naturals ketchup sounds like a winner. No HFCS just sugar. The nutritional facts state the same 15 calories per tablespoon but only 2 grams of sugar. both products are 15 calories per tablespoon but the one with corn syrup is higher in sugar content than the other. Interesting. Can this be the answer to why American hinies are getting larger? I think this calls for farther investigation.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Eat More Veg

Veg. That has a nice ring to it. Better than vegetables and more trendy than veggies. Maybe if we call it 'veg' more kiddies will eat it? Doubt it. But maybe if we were different, if we thre caution to the wind and prepared it differently surely there would be more takers. Instead of boiling and steaming carrots how about roasting it. Such foreign words these are for most people.
I'm tired of the same old same old steaming corn, green beans, carrots and such. Let's take veg to the next level. Veg does not have to be boring and, honestly, we all could eat a little more of them.
Above, is a picture of what lunch was today; a ham and coleslaw sandwich on dark german wheat bread. Good? You bet! I used purple and green cabbage with carrots in a light mayonassie, dijon mustard, vinegar sauce.
In one of my recent posts I talk about the roasted chicken dinner I had made with roasted carrots, onions, and potatoes. Try coating aspargus in olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper before roasting in the oven at 350 degrees until tender.
See, veg doesn't have to be boring. It just takes a little effort to create something different.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Seedlings and Such

About two weeks ago I started my California Wonder sweet peppers. They are doing excellent! I'll have to rig a plant light for them elsewhere when I start my cabbage. I need to check my lettuce tomorrow and continue working on getting the garden in working order. There is plenty of wood to be collected and stacked. Only then will I be able to start other projects. First things first, I need to built the compost pile. Then we'll do the fence. I can't wait, but I'll believe it when I see it.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Where I'm Headed

That's it. I'm done. No more. I can't take this lifestyle anymore. I'm hurting myself.
Jamie Oliver
Michael Pollan
Barbara Kingsolver
They speak for what's wrong in society today. How were's hurting ourselves by what we eat.
Deep fried
Slathered in sauces
Burgers dripping with cheese
There are better things. Much better things to eat then those mentioned. Food doesn't have to be slathered in sauces containing high fuctose corn syrup and mystery spices. The meal above is just one of the many possiblities.
Herbed roasted chicken with roasted root vegetables. It's amazing what you can do to food. I swear, this was the best meal that I've had in months. So, I wont be winning the Noble Peace prize or getting a call from Jamie Oliver. But being content with what I'm trying to do is good enough for me. Last night's dinner is the step in the right direction. I know that I can't switch totally over home cooked meals every night, yet, but this is enough for now.
This is where I'm headed. And that's where I'll stay.
For those interested here's the recipe for the chicken.

From Cook This, Not That
Herb Roast Chicken with Root Vegetables
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 large russet potato, sliced into 1/8" round
Zest and juice of one lemon
2 onions, quartered
1 Tbsp olive oil 4 large carrots, cut into large chunks
1 chicken (4 lbs)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Mix the garlic, rosemary, lemon zest, lemon juice, and half of the olive oil.Working on the chicken, gently separate the skin from the flest at the bottom of the breat and spoon in half of the rosemary mixture; use your hands to spread it around as throughly as possible. Spread the remaining half over the top of the chicken and then season with plenty of salt and pepper.

Mix the potato, onions, carrots, remaining olive oil, and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Arrange the vegetables on the bottom of the pan and place the chicken on top, breast side up. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes, until skin is lightly brown.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and roast for another 30 minutes or so. The chicken is done when the juices between the breast and leg run clear and an instant-read thermometer instered deep into the thigh reads 155 degrees.Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving. Serve with the vegetables.