Tuesday, May 28, 2013

GMO Rant

Although this started out as a post on Garlic took on a life of it's own.  A separate post will follow, as less opinionated post, equipped with recipe and everything.  Until then, humor me :)

Quick - get the soapbox, somebody!  STAT!!  For what you are about to read is my own opinion...

Yes, bag torn open - like a savage

If you are going to buy soy products, please consider choosing organic and/or GMO-FREE.  Soy is one of the worst GMO altered foodsThe Top 5 worst altered foods:  Corn, Soy, Sugar, Aspartame, and Canola Oil.

Genetically Modifying Food, in my opinion is unnatural.  Sure, there may be few exceptions...but do we really need (or want) pesticides spliced into the DNA of plants?  At the very least, shouldn't we have the right to know if what we are buying and eating has been altered?

In my house we have to read labels to avoid death!!  Seriously, if S ingests a peanut....let's not even go there.  So if scientists decide to add peanut DNA into other plants, for what ever reason, can they guarantee it won't be harmful to him if ingested?  Or, if you avoid certain foods, for your own belief-systems, and you are eating GMO foods that might have animal DNA in that okay?  Guess what?  THEY CAN, & DO, THIS WITHOUT HAVING TO DISCLOSE IT!!

Trying to keep abreast of the current legislation battle against Monsanto (the Mother  EFF of all things GMO) is maddening.  They have so much more money, lobbyists, and power over our nation's food supply than they should.  They produce seeds, hold strict patterns on "their" crops....if a farmer is growing non-Monsanto GMO-free crops, and they happen to inadvertently cross pollinate with Monsanto GMO crops,  Monsanto can/will/and has sue(d) the farmer for patten right infringements.  Oh yeah!  The wind carrying their GMO pollen, mixes with other crops producing a GMO plant, in which they hold a patten on, and they will sue you....or you can pay them a  hefty "license fee" for growing their seeds without their permission.  Also, Monsanto seeds are not open pollination seeds - meaning the seeds CANNOT be saved (grown for seed, for the following year), you have to purchase seeds for a new crop - every year - making farmers heavily dependant on them.

Sadly, lab coat-wearing-scientists engineering our food could replace the idyllic overalls-wearing-farmer.  In a schoolyard, Monsanto is the bully stealing our lunch money.  Stand up to the bully - read labels, choose organic & GMO free, support you local organic farmers.

Am I an expert on this matter?  NO; these are just my opinions and beliefs....opinions are just like noses - everybody has got one, some bigger than others.

Understanding GMOs
Percy Schmeiser Stands Up To Monsanto
Nelson Farm (ND) vs. Monsanto
US Senate Votes NO to GMO Labeling
Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant GMO maize
Connecticut says YES to labeling GMOs
Vermont Votes YES to labeling GMOs
aaaaand, you guessed it:  Monsanto threatens to sue the state of Vermont

Thanks for staying with me and reading!!

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Sunday, May 26, 2013

We're Moving & My Kitchen Challenge

We move a lot; sometimes, I think we should invest in our own moving van.  It's not an intentional thing, our moving, it just sort of happens - for mostly work related reasons.  Such is the case for latest move.  A year ago we came to Edmonton, AB when S accepted a promotion.  Now after another promotion, S will be traveling for work on a regular basis and I will be squatting with family and meeting up with him as often as possible.  Eventually we will figure out where we will be living....eventually.

So here I am, again, boxed up.  All my worldly possessions locked in a storage unit, waiting for the moving vans to haul it away.  I am down to the bare essentials for a few weeks:  1 - XL nonstick skillet, 1 - spaghetti pot, 1 - electric kettle, 1 - coffee maker (I use a Melita cone carafe - I refuse to part with it.  *refuse*), 1 - coffee grinder (again, *refuse*), 2 - odd sized bamboo/plasticy bowls, that also double as plates - they've made appearances in my last few posts because they're all I have left(!), and my backpacking kitchen pouch (complete with Lexan eating & cooking utensils).  Our mattress is on the floor, and we have 2 outdoor chairs in the living room - most times occupied by Duke & Notch.

My Kitchen Challenge is to use up as much of my pantry as possible....kind of like an episode of Chopped.....Today's mystery ingredients:  Pork Pate, Canned Pumpkin, Brown Rice Couscous, and Raspberry Preserves (God, I need a hobby).  That's the randomness I have to work with.

This is what's in my kitchen
Of course, I have so many cool ideas to try....and then realize my food processor, blender, stand mixer, etc IS IN STORAGE!!  So it's back to basics for me, for a while; mixing and kneading by hand, mincing garlic without a Microplane (the horror...but the fingernails are happy), and chopping with a terrible, terrible paring knife.

So far I've made:  Sunny-Honey No-Bake Cookies,  Buffalo Chicken Patties with Blue Cheese Slaw, and Scrambled Eggs (notice they're all pictured in the same bowl?)

On deck this week:  Baked Sole with Carrot & Parsnip Fries, Garlic Edamame, and 5 Minute Marinara Sauce....then things are going to start to get complicated.

Thanks for reading!  Although an it's an unconventional move, we are both super excited!

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Patties & Blue Cheese Slaw

These buffalo chicken patties - with blue cheese slaw - to be honest, are my lazy version of the infamous wing/tender deal.  I'm not jackin' around with a fryerlator every time we need a Frank's Red Hot and blue cheese fix.  Sure, you could go all dippy-dredgey with the 1-2-3 (flour, egg wash, breadcrumb/cracker meal), but like I said - this is my lazy version, 1-2-3-ing wings/tenders would require effort...and lighting the oven.

While we're on the subject of blue cheese, just for the record, we are TEAM BLUE CHEESE in our house.  Sorry, ranch dressing - we-don't-want-you, gettoutahere!!  For all things buffalo:  blue cheese all the way!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Prosciutto, Melon & Herbed Provolone

Prosciutto with melon is just divine, and it is so simple.  The sweet, juicy cantaloupe, the savory, salty cured ham - which itself lends a certain sweetness - both together will create a party on your palate!  This combo has been around for years, it is the O.G. of sweet and salty (O.G. = Original Gangsta, just in case...I figured I'd save you a Google search).  Now lets add some herbed provolone, shall we?


The inspiration for this plate came from our flight home from Hawaii.  Edmonton to Honolulu has got to be the LONGEST flight I've ever taken.  So when we grossly underspent our travel funds, an upgrade to first class, on our red eye flight home, was a no brainer!  I have NEVER flown first class - I don't get out much, period.  What a difference, OMG.  Complimentary non-stop beverage service, video players, luncheon plate, coffee and dessert.  Sadly, this will probably have been my only jaunt in first class (tear).

Friday, May 17, 2013

Scrambled Eggs & Food Allergy Talk

Scrambled eggs has to be one of THE first things I ever cooked on my own, all by myself.  It is my preferred method of preparing and eating eggs, and I really don't eat eggs quite that often.  S is allergic to eggs - he can eat them baked into something like a cake, bread, cookies, etc. - yet alone, they trigger his allergies, resulting in freakishly-swollen, distorted facial features aaaaand raspy voice.

There are many stories of his childhood experiences, and the process of elimination as to what foods would trigger a response.  One in particular, S was left with his Dad for a while, as his Mom ran a few errands.  I am assuming he was between 1-2 years old, he was in a highchair - I don't know nuthin bout birthin no babies, so just humor me with me estimation of age.  Corncob (S's Dad...he use to smoke a pipe) decided to make his famous One-Eyed-Jacks for breakfast...hollowing out a slice of white bread, breaking and egg into the center on a griddle, essentially a fried egg in toast.  All was going well; little baby S was starting in on his breakfast.  Corncob turns to prepare himself a Jack.  Stifled by screams, Corncob turns around to see his wife, D-9 (that's her nickname) standing in the garage/kitchen doorway - bags of whatever dropped by her feet -  hands clutching her face, yelping, OMG Corncob!!  Whatdidyoudo!!  There sat little baby S, happy as a clam, and swollen like a hot air balloon, diligently eating his eggs and toast.  So that's how it was determined that eggs, alone in full concentration, were a no-no.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sunny-Honey No-Bake Cookies

These Sunny-Honey No-Bake Cookies are a peanut-free version of your typical peanut butter no bakes, except these are made with Sunbutter.  Sunbutter is my savior!!  Seeing how peanut butter is a no-no in our house (remember "bubble boy"- my hubs - and his slew of allergies?).  It is the closest thing to peanut butter, and I've tried them all.  It has a slightly thinner texture, and the taste ALMOST the same as peanut butter, almost.  Yet, if you are baking with it, you can hardly tell the difference.  Just a note:  the Natural Sunbutter may cause your baked goods to take on a greenish color - the chlorogenic acid, found naturally in sunflower seeds, causes this discoloration (which is perfectly safe to ingest, Kermit would approve), the Natural Sunbutter is just ground seeds, no sugars or tocopherols (preservatives) added.  I use the Creamy variety, which has added sugar and tocopherols; I have had no such issues with my baked goods tuning green.  

So the Sunbutter is the "Sunny" part of this equation, and the "Honey" part is just that; I swapped out the sugar for honey.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Blueberry Chai Banana Bread

This Blueberry-Chai Banana bread is a keeper!!  It's also a good way for me to highlight some of my spices, and the overripe bananas in my kitchen.

Cooking for a person with food allergies - especially foods from other countries - means that you are going to have to stock an array of spices and condiments.  If you want Chinese, Thai, or Indian foods you can't simply call for take out, or eat out....these types of food usually utilize peanut oil for it's high smoking ability, or flavor.  For making Chinese, and Thai food, it's handy to have sesame oil, rice vinegar, fish sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, various soy sauces, and Chinese 5-spice...just to name a few.  For Indian food, dried chilies, black & green cardamom (which you must husk and grind), fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, turmeric, again - just to name a few, are essential.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

DIY Del's Lemonade (Frozen Soft-Serve Lemonade)

When life gives you a 4 pound bag of lemons, you make your own  Del's Lemonade!!

What's a Del's Lemonade, you ask?  Why, it is a soft-serve, frozen lemonade famous in Rhode Island.  It's like drinking snowy lemonade (which is exactly how it was created), but NEVER with a straw - you shake it and roll it around the cup, the heat from your hand slowly melting it into the perfect drinking texture.  And weather you buy it from a Del's Lemonade stand, truck, or cart - a pretzel rod or gumball stuck atop is the perfect garnish, regardless of age.

So I don't have any pretzels or gumballs....and I don't have any of the iconic green, waxy cups that it's dispensed in...but I do have the sweet, tart, and frozen concoction that has all southern New Englanders swooning!!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Star Wars Pizzas, #MayTheFourth

MayTheForth be with you... In honor of Star Wars Day, I decided to try my hand at making Star Wars themed pizzas.  I first found these on Pinterest and have traced them back to Ramahughes' Flickr page.  Admittedly, I am no artist....especially using produce as my medium....I did my best.

I had fun making these...combining pizza & Star Wars seemed like a no-brainer!  I kept speaking Yoda - out loud, to myself (not weird)- " Yoda, on my pizza, your face is!"  And lets not forget Lord Vader....gggoooooooo (said whispering, while inhaling), gggaaaaahhhhh (said whispering, while exhaling) - again, it's only weird if you let it be weird.


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