Archive for the ‘
Food ’ Category
Thursday, May 16th, 2013
No matter how health-conscious you are or what diet you’re on, there are times when you just can’t pass on dessert.
When it comes to Sandra Lee’s pineapple-passion-fruit cupcakes, Guy Fieri’s caramel apple bread pudding, and Buddy Valastro’s Italian butter cookies, I can’t think of a single reason to say no.
On May 1, I perused the World’s Largest Bake Sale at Grand Central Station, sampling sweets, meeting local bakers, but most importantly, learning about child hunger in America.
Sponsored by the Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign, the bake sale raised both money for the cause and awareness for the more than 16 million children affected by hunger in America.
I chatted with of New York City’s best bakers and browsed their selection of champagne cupcakes, pistachio-cherry scones, and peanut-butter-strawberry-jam doughnuts. All sweets were sold for $5, the proceeds from which were put toward the campaign.
Bake sale host Sandra Lee whipped up her favorite strawberry shortcake and banana split cupcakes for the event, and spoke to me about the urgency of the child hunger epidemic.
“Some working moms are going home with one check, paying rent, and wondering how they are going to feed their kids. Sometimes they have to choose between paying bills and food,” she said. “It shouldn’t be that way in America.”
Buddy Valastro, the “Cake Boss,” said that as a baker and a father, he just had to be part of the event. He also shared with me a personal story about his family history.
“My dad grew up in Sicily and I remember him telling stories of going to bed hungry, after sharing one plate with his family,” he said. “It really puts life in perspective. This is about more than raising money, it’s about saying, ‘Hey, America, this is happening!’”
Ty Pennington, former host of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, expressed a personal connection to the cause and donated a colorful, handmade bake sale stand for the Share Our Strength Auction.
“I may not have a child of my own, per se, but it is staggering to hear that one in five kids goes hungry,” he said. “It really opens your eyes about not wasting as much and makes you think about what we can do to make sure they are fed.”
The Share Our Strength Auction for No Kid Hungry runs through May 31 and features items donated by food masters like Martha Stewart and Emeril Lagasse. This is your chance to take a class in the Cake Boss’s kitchen, dig in to Bobby Flay’s signature Southwestern dishes, or learn to swirl icing like New York’s iconic Magnolia Bakery.
Categories: Food, GoodyBlog | Tags: auction, bake sale, baking, Buddy Valastro, Cake Boss, charity, child hunger, children, Family, fundraiser, Grand Central, No Kid Hungry, Sandra Lee, share our strength, Ty Pennington, World's Largest Bake Sale
Friday, May 10th, 2013
I am lucky not to have any food allergies, but I still want to make so many of the delicious-sounding recipes in Elizabeth Gordon’s new book, Simply Allergy-Free: Quick and Tasty Recipes for Every Night of the Week. Just looking at the gorgeous photos in the book, you’d never know that ever recipe is free of gluten, dairy, soy, eggs and nuts. Author of the blog My Allergy Free Life and owner of the online allergen-free bakery Betsy & Claude Baking Company, this busy mom of two girls has multiple food allergies. She says, “I like to think of these recipes as the little black dress of my pantry—simple and economical fare that can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion.”
She shows you how to use (and where to buy!) key ingredients like xanthan gum, agave nectar, superfine rice flour, powdered vanilla rice milk, and sorghum flour, which can make gluten-free and allergen-free foods taste like “the real thing.” The recipes I can’t wait to try include chicken tikka burgers, chickpea French fries, beef tostadas, corn quinoa salad, herbed biscuits, and chocolate pretzel pie. Yum!
Categories: Food, GoodyBlog, Health & Safety | Tags: allergen-free, allergy, cookbook, family dinner, food allergy, gluten allergy, gluten-free, recipe, recipes
Wednesday, February 27th, 2013
Interviewing Joe Biden was only one reason I found myself in Washington, D.C., at the White House last week. Earlier that same day, I was among a group of digital editors there to discuss healthy eating and how people use the internet to find recipes for their families. We met with officials from the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), the Let’s Move! initiative that the First Lady launched, and other White House staffers who are involved in the effort to promote healthy eating habits (and feed the First Family).
The meeting marked the beginning of a partnership between Let’s Move!, PHA, and major magazine and web brands, including Parents and several of our sister brands at Meredith, such as Family Circle, Recipe.com, and AllRecipes.com. The aim is to grow awareness and use of the USDA’s MyPlate nutritional guidelines, and of course, to encourage families to eat healthier. As you may know, MyPlate replaced the classic Food Pyramid and offers a simple-to-use graphic depicting in clear terms the relative proportions of different food types that we should aim to eat. The message it–and this partnership–intends to send is that healthy eating doesn’t need to be more difficult, more expensive, or less delicious than eating unhealthily.
Through this collaboration, you’ll find many delicious, healthy Parents recipes pinned on MyPlate’s Pinterest boards, and you’ll soon see the MyPlate logo on some Parents.com slideshows, offering you an at-a-glance way to know that those recipes conform to these important guidelines for healthy eating.
While a handful of editors at the meeting got to continue the discussion directly with Michelle Obama afterward, the highlight of the event for the rest of us was a tour of the White House garden, conducted by the White House pastry chef, Bill Yosses. In the garden in back of the White House, the staff grows vegetables year-round, and in the middle of February it was amazing to see broccoli and spinach and other greens still growing.
Personally, I was most interested in the White House beehive–yep, their own natural honey machine. Yosses explained how eating locally produced honey can reduce allergies through its trace amounts of local pollen, which get your body accustomed to the allergens it faces in your area. It was also fun to pass by the Obama girls’ swing set!
See some photos from the day:
A shot of the White House garden
Bill Yosses, White House pastry chef, brings us on a tour of the White House garden.
A sign embedded in the garden, with a quote from Thomas Jefferson: “…the failure of one thing repaired by the success of another; and instead of one harvest, a continued one throughout the year.”
The swing set on the White House lawn.
Monday, February 18th, 2013
Job number one: Feed your baby! Is there a bottle your little one has grown to love? What about a breast pump that makes it easier to serve breastmilk? Click on favorites in either or both categories, then leave a comment below explaining why the product works so well for you. Finally, enter for the chance to win a $250 gift card! Don’t see your brand? Feel free to write it in.
Thursday, November 29th, 2012
As the first and only female winner of Iron Chef America, Cat Cora isn’t a stranger to challenges. But like the rest of you, sometimes her biggest battle is getting her four kids to eat healthy food. I met Cora at an event for Wonderful Almond Accents where she shared some of her secrets to keeping a peaceful dinnertime.
Make clear rules
Cora gives her kids one choice for dinner and her rule is that they must try at least one bite. “I tell my kids, ‘If you don’t like dinner, breakfast will be delicious the next day!” she said.
Sometimes it’s okay to compromise
Cora said that one mealtime her kids wanted chicken, but she was planning on making pancakes. Cora found a happy medium by blending chicken into the pancakes with a little honey and created a brand new recipe that they were all happy with.
Let your kids help you cook
Cora says her kids are more likely to enjoy their food if they are a part of the cooking process. For instance, children ages 4 and up can sprinkle on almond slivers, grated cheese, sunflower seeds, or chopped herbs on their salad. (For younger kids, nuts and seeds are choking hazards.)
Cora also shared her recipe for a lettuce-free salad.
Greek Chopped Salad with Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper Almonds
Makes 6-8 servings
½ cup Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper Wonderful Almond Accents
2 large cloves garlic
½ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh oregano (or 2 teaspoons dried kosher salt)
Freshly ground black pepper
6 large ripe tomatoes, cored and chopped
1 English cucumber, chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
½ cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved
- In a small skillet over medium-high heat, sauté garlic in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, stirring often, until garlic is caramelized and crunchy. Be careful not to burn.
- In a large bowl, whisk together remaining olive oil, vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper.
- Add tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, feta and olives. Mix well.
- Stir in caramelized garlic and Wonderful Almond Accents just before serving.
Photos: Courtesy of Wonderful Almond Accents
Friday, November 9th, 2012
I’m not a crafter. But I am cheap. And after splurging on a generator for my house when Hurricane Sandy hit last week, I decided to do a little DIY for my son Grant’s 4th birthday.
The party theme was a Batman birthday — I used last year’s Halloween decorations (cut-out bats hanging by fishing wire) as the main decoration, hanging them from the ceiling and even sticking them to the walls. And I bought a big piece of poster board and had my husband create a Pin the Tail on Batman game. There’s no tail but it still worked OK.
But the most important part of the party (at least as far as I was concerned) was creating a Batman cake. I’m a decent cook so I figured I could do this. But when I googled “batman cake” and looked for ones on Pinterest, they were all made out of fondant or in fancy shapes. I just didn’t have the patience. I decided to hit my local Michael’s and see what else I could do instead. I stumbled upon this Wilton product: Sugar Sheets. All you do is cut out the image that you want and plop it on the cake. And you can eat it too! I thought it turned out pretty well! Grant and his friends did too. It was demolished in 10 minutes. Which is also why I’m grateful I saved the money and did it myself!
Hooray for cheap moms!
Thursday, October 25th, 2012
When you head to the polls on November 6, there may be an item on your ballot that you haven’t heard of before. Californian voters will have the option to vote on Proposition 37, a bill that would require foods with genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) to be labeled for consumers. A GMO is a food that has had specific changes to its DNA by genetic engineering techniques. The purpose of these genetic alterations is to make crops more resistant to rain, drought and pests.
Supporters of the bill say that GMO’s have been linked to allergies, organ toxicity and other health problems. Fifty countries in the world, including all of Europe, Japan, India and China, already require labels on GMO’s. Over 400 nationally renowned chefs have signed a petition in support of the bill saying that consumers should have a right to know if their food has been genetically engineered.
Based on those facts, passing Prop 37 may seem like an easy decision. However, its opponents firmly believe otherwise. According to No Prop 37, GMO’s are products of biotechnology— a safe anti-pesticide process that has been going on for nearly two decades. Opponents believe that by banning the sale of millions of common grocery products unless they are repackaged or made with higher cost ingredients would increase government bureaucracy and taxpayer costs.
To research both sides further, visit CA Right to Know and No Prop 37.
Do you think GMO foods should be labeled? Let us know in the comments.
Image: Woman checking food labeling in super market, via Shutterstock
Tuesday, October 16th, 2012
A video just debuted last week from the Center for Science in the Public Interest addressing the dangers of drinking too much soda. Called “The Real Bears,” it stars a family of animated polar bears and it’s set to an fun original song by Jason Mraz. The backstory to the video is getting lots of attention, because it’s the creation of an advertising legend named Alex Bogusky, whose former clients include Coca-Cola. In fact, he helped make that famous Coke commercial starring four different animated polar bears, but he’s not discussing any comparisons. (“They’re just some bears,” he told USA Today. “I leave it up to people to decide if they see a parallel.”)
I definitely recommend watching it and sharing it–but it’s not for young kids, as it depicts the major hazards of consuming too much sugary soda, including obesity and diabetes-induced amputations. (!) The target audience, says Bogusky, is us moms: “Guys give up when things get tough,” he said in the USA Today interview, “but moms figure it out. I want moms to see it and get passionate about it.”
I’m far from a health-food fanatic–and I looooooove Diet Coke–soda is completely off-limits to my daughters, ages 4 and 7. (Well, there was one time last summer when I plied them with Shirley Temples in order to buy me and my husband a little more time at an outdoor beach bar, but that was it. Really.) I’d kind of assumed most parents felt that way, but it surprises me how many children’s birthday parties I’ve been to where soda is served to the kids themselves.
A note about the very end of the video, which I found a little jarring because it shows the bears dumping their soda into the ocean instead of drinking it. It wasn’t meant to be taken literally, but apparently lots of people felt the way I did. Says Bogusky: “That was the number-one reaction we got to the ending: What will happen to the fish? That’s so wild. We’re willing to drink cola and serve it to our kids, but we’re concerned the moment we put four bottles of it in the ocean.”