Truth in Labeling

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You want to know that when you select a food product labeled as having certain virtues that the company will stand behind what’s promised.
But while some food labels are federally monitored and clearly defined, others aren’t so strictly regulated. Consumer Reports’ Greener Choices website decodes commonly used food labels at its eco-labels center.

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Last Minute Holiday Goodies

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I am a list maker, and taker, in this case.  I collect them all – from “Top Ten Kitchen Gadgets” to “the Most Romantic Beach Destinations” (which, of course, is a constant research project.)  Since most of the work has already been done, I thought you might enjoy some of these suggestions when crossing your list and checking it twice, or trying to avoid shopping hangovers.

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Goat Cheese with Cumin and Mint

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I am part of something new and exciting this week.  Seven fellow food writers are joining together for a “Progressive Thanksgiving Dinner Party”  and you are invited to attend!  Each of us will be offering recipes every day this week comprising an entire holiday meal. You will have several options for each category, depending on taste and food combinations.  Yesterday we started with beverages at Whole Life Nutrition and Gluten Free Organics.  Today I will be presenting an appetizer, along with two more from Book of Yum and Gluten Free Organics.

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Fresh Pumpkin Pudding

I figured we all have pumpkin on hand this week…so I thought I’d share some tips on how to bake the flesh inside, and put it to several yummy uses.  Most of the baking recipes call for Sugar Pie pumpkins, but you can also cook with acorn or butternut squash if you prefer.  This pumpkin pudding is so easy and a great make-ahead when entertaining, or great for breakfast, too!

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Heirloom Tomato Tart with Cilantro Goat Cheese

There are tons of deals to be had on tomatoes at the farmers’ markets, even heirloom varieties.  I recently purchased a box for $1/lb. because the fruit was either blemished or going a little soft.  That’s a savings of up to $10!  The flavor was intensely sweet and juicy, but with enough acid for balance. And some were just perfect for slicing…which is how we used them last night.

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BlogHer Food 2009

I am still entering my notes from the BlogHer Food conference at the St. Regis in San Francisco.  Phew!  It was quite informative and revealing on so many levels (translation: I have much work to do:-) There were seminars on “Finding Your Voice in a Crowded Blogosphere,” to “How Food Blogs Can Save the World” (yeah!)  Mix that with heavy networking, food demos, and even a lunchtime treat in the name of hottie Rocco DiSpirito, who was peddling frozen foods, which had the room all in a twitter (now that certainly has a new meaning!) I mean, we ARE food bloggers, afterall…

The cocktail party was electric with fanatic foodies, writers, photographers, sponsors and media.  (To think I barely scratched the surface – isn’t that always the way at conferences?)  And the swag – OY!  I still have a sense of guilty pleasure every time I dig in (let’s just say there was plenty of Scharfenberger chocolate involved.)

The Gluten Free Gang

The Gluten Free Gang

As I continue to download, edit and tweak the backlog of recipes and healthy tidbits I have in store, I wanted to send a shout out to you – my loyal readers – for continuing to support the discovery of my voice while influencing even a tiny change in the world…one walnut at a time.  Recipe tomorrow!


Panna Cotta with Nectarine Coulis

Hike in Pagosa Springs

Hike in Pagosa Springs, CO

I’m back!  Thanks for sticking around.  We had a glorious trip through Colorado.  Did you know they have 54 mountains with an elevation of 14,000 feet or more?  Quite impressive.  I’d like to say we hiked them, but just tackling 9500 feet was ‘breathtaking.’  We ate very well along the way, even scored a few farmers’ markets.  Let me know if any of you are planning to travel there; I have plenty of suggestions on where to eat – from Boulder and Telluride, to Crested Butte and Aspen.

Speaking of food (that’s why you’re here, right?)…a few weeks ago I mentioned a dish I made for my final presentation at Bauman College. It was a Coconut Chai Panna Cotta with a Nectarine Coulis and Orange Tuile.  As you know, I don’t usually post complicated recipes, but while this one may have one or two more steps, believe me when I tell you it is out.of.this.world.

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This and That

While I scale the Rockies (no violins, please;-) I didn’t want to keep you from receiving vital information on the healthy bandwagon, so…here are some timely tidbits from fellow bloggers:

Kelly the Kitchen Kop offers a wonderful summation of the film, “Food, Inc.”  If you haven’t seen it yet, make sure to put it in your queue.

The Modern Forager takes a no-nonsense approach to the constant challenge of balancing food, fitness and fat.

Speaking of fat, we need it! (healthy fat, that is…)  Take a look at Michelle’s findings which further substantiate: eat fat to lose fat.

There has been a lot of bally-hoo lately over the pro’s and cons of agave nectar.  As you know, I use it often in my baking recipes, but have been ‘taking note’ of recent findings. Judy Barnes Baker gives her perspective on agave and other alternative sweeteners.

And, of course no posting of mine would be complete without an excerpt from my sustainable food guru, Michael Pollan.  It’s a sobering look at how our society has moved from the kitchen to the couch as we devour cooking shows on the telly.

Enjoy the potpourri.  Let me know your thoughts…and see you in a week!


Grad Night and Julia

It’s official – I am now a certified Natural Chef.  Last night was our final day at Bauman College as we turned in our reports (27 pages!) and contemplated evaluations (hence my delay with this post.)  It was a comprehensive program which offered an array of skills and recipe applications focusing on the Eating 4 Health model – fresh, whole foods in their most natural state (you know the kind…it’s what you read about here;-)

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Handle With Care

A lot can happen from the time produce is picked off the vine or pulled from the earth. Some fruits and veggies go to a packing house; others are cooled and transported an average of 1200 miles before reaching the consumer.  Freshness equals nutrients, not to mention color and flavor.  But we certainly can’t eat all of our purchases in one day.  And while I’m trying to keep up with summer’s bounty by roasting tomatoes and making pesto, if I have to store my fresh-picked produce for a few days, I’ll want to keep it as close to its most natural state as possible.

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