Saturday, December 11, 2010

FOOD WASTE WATCH


I am a big fan of The Frugal Girl blog, Kristen blogs almost every day and always includes nice images as well.

On Friday she shows the food that went to waste, to help her to reduce wasting food. I have posted about this before, yet Kristen's food waste images encouraged me to continue to keep an eye on it.
"Every week, I post a picture of the food that has gone bad over the last seven days. Why do I do this? Because in March of 2008, I finally got fed up with the amount of food I was wasting, and I thought that showing my waste to other people would motivate me to use up my food instead of wasting it."

This morning I checked my food waste for the week and I am happy with the result: a few slices of turkey and some tofu--I turned into a dessert but my daughter didn't like it--and it was too much for me to eat it all.

Some people have composters or animals that could eat the scraps. We have two dogs and 7 chickens, even our wasted food does not really go to waste! What I like about watching food waste is that you become an efficient meal planner (including better portions), more creative cook, and save some money in the process!

Here's a nice article about the amount of food we waste from The New York Times.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Homemade bread


Last week I re-posted this blog posting by The Frugal Girl and received a warning...oops I never intended to do anything wrong! Actually I provided her name and included a link to her blog. Still think it is a great article so this time I'll just include a link

The conclusion is that home made bread is cheaper (only if you do not include labor) but the most important thing is that it is healthier because you have power over the ingredients.

I love fresh made bread, but I do not like the work, so I looked for a soda bread recipe that does not require kneading the dough ( a good exercize I admit)or raising time. This recipe is very easy and the result was awesome!

Spelt bread is not gluten free, but easier to digest than wheat and very good for low carb eaters. You can read more about spelt here

I made half of the recipe, just one loaf. The recipe has many great reviews and suggestions for adding things and improvements. I added a little honey as well as the molasses and a pinch more salt. Great with Winter soups!

Friday, September 17, 2010

GOT GREENS?


The reason I started this blog is because I wish to help people eat healthier and become more aware of the relation between their health and the food they eat. Today I found the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and it re-assured me to continue this blog and my effort to help families with the daily challenge of preparing nutritious meals.

Maybe I should become a health coach myself I wondered while watching the videos on this site. Maybe one day I will! For now I would like to share some of the videos from this Institute.

One of the myths about healthy food is that it takes a lot of time to prepare it, NOT TRUE. Andrea Beaman will show you the tricks.

Monday, August 23, 2010

SHELF LIFE OR MY LIFE?


I read a blog posting by Sue Schick and saw that we're making a little progress as far as the commitment by several food producers in our country is concerned. Since we decide where we'll spend our dollars the food producers better start making better food!

I found this wonderful whole grain cracker the other day, that would have been a great afternoon snack for my daughter but when I got home and read the ingredients label (didn't bring my glasses while shopping) I saw it contained partially hydrogenated oils and got sad, because again they did attempt to make something healthy (and a good job promoting it) but still used a silent killer in in.

Not only obesity is a problem in this country but heart related diseases are number 1 in this country! Partially Hydrogenated Oils have been banned from restaurants in several states, but are still "poisoning" most of our foods in the grocery stores and turning healthy peanut butter into heart attacks (for example).

When I shop there are a few things I look for (to avoid): the length of the ingredients list (too long is very suspicious), Monosodium glutamate (MSG), Partially Hydrogenated Oil (PHO), and High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). I want our food to come without these 3...that should be possible!

What is more important? Shelf life or my life?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

WHAT'S YOUR WASTE?


"There's more energy in wasted food than there is in the Gulf of Mexico." The title of an article I read this morning. Being an unemployed single mom (who ran out of benefits for the past 2 months), I really have to watch each dollar I spend and not waste any food. You'll become very creative and efficient in using your resources.

We are lucky to have been invited by a friend to live on her farm. So we have a veggie garden and chickens. Nothing goes to waste here! Scraps go either to compost or the chickens. We are also lucky to have access to local, fresh food via Farmer Girls and on-line farmers market and since the farmers only bring what the customers have ordered on-line there is no waste at the farmers end either!

You'll become a better planner/purchaser as well. Buy what is in season or on sale, if the quantity is too large, share it with a neighbor or friend. Prepare multi meal dishes and freeze smaller portions for later. Instead of nasty soda's or expensive store drinks I make lemonade myself (when the lemons are on sale) and use part of it to make my own popsicles. I make ice tea and use part of that as well for posicles (kids love fruity teas like peach and mango)

It has its positive sides to be on a tight budget: you waste less, eat healthier, and lose some weight as well! For example: when our tomatoes have blemished skins, I dip them in boiling water to remove the skin and freeze the skinless tomatoes for later use as a pasta sauce or soup. Even if you have a balcony you can grow a few things, see what grows well in your area and save yourself a few bucks in produce shopping.

Be well, Monique
Image: Some rights reserved by Flickr user Nutloaf

Monday, July 19, 2010

Herbes de Fauquier

I’ll admit that I am addicted to lavender and had to be weaned off after the month of June (it bloomed early this year). As a young child I used to camp during the summer weeks at a lavender farm in the Northern part of the Provence. Tucked away in a pretty valley with grape vines, lavender and the river la Drôme.

This is where I learned to make Fusettes de Lavande (fusette means spindle). The lavender was growing right behind our tent and the scent of a fresh cut bouquet would relax us instantly. I feel so lucky to actually live on a lavender farm, Deborah Williamson invited me and my daughter to stay with her while job hunting in the region. Not sure if I want to leave though!

During the season I teach people how to make what we call here lavender wands. Some of my older wands were 15 to 20 years old and after a gentle squeeze the lavender scent would re-appear like it was made yesterday.

Now that the field is empty and our harvest is drying I had to come up with a new activity and it didn’t take long to figure out what else I could do with lavender: cooking! Yes, lavender is a wonderful aromatic herb, its works well in cookies and on the grill. Since we are growing many other herbs in our garden I decided to try to make my own Herbes de Provence mixture.

First I did some research and asked several French friends about the original ingredients and it seems like with curries, there are many different recipes. Back to the herbs I personally like I started to dry our marjoram, basil, sage, thyme and rosemary. In the mean time I found this little history I would like to share.

Aux Anysetiers Du Roy was first a restaurant located in the old Paris quarters, L'Ile Saint-Louis, near Notre Dame de Paris. The building is classified as the historic monuments in Paris and it dates from the 17th century. At one time it was a cabaret. The restaurant specialized in Provencal cooking, using olive oil, aromatic herbs, garlic, etc. It was the first restaurants to grilled meats seasoned with Provence Herbs, as the Lombard family originally came from Provence. It was a fashionable to frequent restaurant in the 60s, where you could meet celebrities who would often sign the crocks as souvenirs. At the end of his or her dinner, each customer received a small gift: the small Herbes of Provence crock, special blend prepared by Louis Lombard, who was the first to include lavender flowers in aromatic herbs. The crocks are made in a small village in the Drôme, near Valence (south of Lyon). Aux Anysetiers du Roy creates their own recipes such as special blends of aromatics herbs and spices. The crocks are filled up by hand. It is a craftsmanship production, original and exclusive. Today Anysetiers du Roy produces fine foods, mostly herbs and chocolate fondue, in their signature herb pots and these are made from their special secret recipes, perfected over the decades.

As my daughter watched me drying the herbs and crushing them in my new “for herbs only” coffee grinder, she decided to make her own mixture. She named it: “Marunca” and it contains fennel seeds, sage, mint, tarragon and bay leaves. We used it on a tomato cucumber salad the other night and it was delicious!

After I finished my first Herbes de Fauquier as I named my mixture I got inspired to make more and other mixes. It is so much fun making them and naming them! I have an Asian and Moroccan version in mind and can’t wait to try them! Another interesting way of incorporating herbs and spices is to combine them with either salt or sugar. Lavender sugar is awesome to add to a tea or sprinkle on your cookies. Add a favorite herb to a good quality course salt and grind it together for some punch to any dish!

I love it when I can engage my daughter in kitchen activities, she is so much more willing to try new foods and she learns a lot about ingredients and preparation techniques. We are blessed to be able to grow herbs ourselves and we order them from Farmer Girls as well. Farmer Girls usually carries 10 to 15 different types of fresh herbs. It is “thyme” to make your own mixture!

Monday, July 12, 2010

JUNK FOOD MOUNTAIN

The astonishing amount of rubbish one child eats every year

Had to share this article and great images with you.

I hope my daughter will understand some day why I said nay!