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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Show Your Love this Holiday by Baking Heartfelt Ornaments

We all want to show our loved ones how much we care, especially during the holidays. Perhaps, you're better off skipping the long lines and parking lot brawls, and baking gifts that will last year after year.


This recipe can be used for a variety of projects like making ornaments or little knick knacks. You can let your children or pets add their little hand or paw prints. You can even create your own designs using your fingers, toothpicks, straws, or anything you can think of.

Let your imagination guide you as you gather your supplies. You will need flour, salt, water, and acrylic paints. The original recipe for this project can be found here.


Ornament Mold Recipe
4 cups Flour
1 Cup Salt
1 1/2 cups Water

Directions  Step-by-step instructions
1. Combine all ingredients in bowl and knead for 15 minutes.
2. Roll out dough and use cookie cutters or a butter knife to cut out shapes.
3. Add handprints, footprints, fingerprints, pawprints, (you get the idea).
4. If you're making an ornament, use a toothpick to make a hole all the way through the clay.
5. Bake on a wax paper-lined cookie sheet at 300°F for 20-25 minutes until golden.
6. Paint and personalize any way that you want.


These are so easy and fun to make. They add such a heartfelt touch and can really mean a lot to the recipient.

Have you made these before? If you decide to do this, please share in Twitter using#alacuisinellc and stay tuned for my video on this later in the week!

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Here's 5 Ways to Get Glowing Skin in Your Kitchen This Holiday Season

With all of those hectic schedules this holiday season, it's so easy to forget about self-care. It's crucial to take the time for yourself, even if it's only 10-15 minutes a day. Here are 5 easy beauty treatments with ingredients that you probably keep in your kitchen.


Sugar 
Sugar scrubs are a wonderful way to exfoliate while moisturizing for beautiful, glowing skin.

Sugar Scrub Recipe
1/2 Cup Coconut Oil
1/4 Cup Sugar
1/2 tsp. Lavender Essential Oil (optional)

Combine all ingredients and use as needed.


Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a lightweight, efficient moisturizer that can be used as a waterproof makeup remover as well. You can even apply a thin layer to your legs instead of shaving cream!

To use: apply a thin layer, and softly wipe away.


Cucumber
Cucumber not only tastes wonderful, but it has a few key skin care benefits as well. It rejuvenates skin, improves complexion, and tightens pores.

Directions
Mix cucumber juice or puree with 2 drops of lemon juice and apply as a mask. Leave on for 15 minutes before rinsing away with warm water.


Bananas
Bananas can provide an ultra-hydrating mask for skin and hair. Affordable and easily available, that's good news during these winter months.

To use: puree 1 banana for face or 2-3 for hair and apply generously. Wait 30 minutes and rinse away with warm water.

Baking Soda
There seems to be some disagreement as to whether baking soda is safe to use on the face, so I'm going to stick with sharing this callous-remover.

To use: to remove calluses from feet, mix 2 Tbsp baking soda with very warm water in foot bath and soak feet for 30 minutes. Follow with Sugar Scrub Recipe above.

I hope that these tips help you to look and feel your best this season. Do you use any of these treatments already?

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Monday, November 28, 2016

Functional Food Series, Part 3: Honey, Nature's Golden Elixir

Welcome to the third part in my functional food series. If you missed the first two, you can find Tumeric here and Apple Cider Vinegar here.

The use of honey by humans has a history that spans back at least 10,000 years. Originally, it was gathered from wild hives that were sought out through definite peril.


The earliest recorded "apiaries" can be credited to the ancient Egyptians. During that time hives were made out of old tree trunks and logs to imitate wild hives. Since that time, honey has been studied through extensive methods by a variety of scientists and health professionals to substantiate the claims of benefits associated with it.


The list of benefits include preventing heart disease and cancers, blood sugar regulation, reducing ulcers, reducing and eliminating throat irritations, probiotic, antibacterial, antifungal, and it aids in healing burns and wounds. That is a very comprehensive list of abilities!

So, if you want to incorporate the benefits of honey into your life, consider using it as a sweetener in hot tea, yogurt, smoothies, and hot and cold cereals. You can mix it with peanut butter and spread it on crackers or even drizzle it on oatmeal bars.
These are just a few ideas to get you started.


Do you use honey daily? Were you aware of the benefits of honey?

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Friday, November 25, 2016

The Easiest Pie For that Leftover Turkey

Thanksgiving was wonderful, but you're left with half of a gigantic bird that's now taking up valuable real estate in your fridge. There are hundreds of recipes you could use, but this is probably one of the easiest and it's absolutely delicious!


I love making chicken pot pies, so I got the idea of using leftover turkey, it's so simple yet an ultimate comfort food. The ingredients that you'll need for this recipe are all inexpensive and the prep takes about 5 to 10 minutes tops.

Feel free to customize the seasoning depending on your preferences and how the turkey was originally seasoned. I normally buy the pie crusts that come rolled up in a two pack in the refrigerated section. If there's one you prefer, you can certainly use that instead.

Here is my ultimate turkey leftover recipe!


Turkey Pot Pie
2 Pie Crusts
2 Cups of Turkey (cubed)
1 bag of Frozen Vegetable Mix (Peas, Corn, Green Beans, Carrots)
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
Salt
Pepper
1/2 tsp. Oregano
1/2 tsp. Basil
1 tsp. Garlic Powder

Directions
1. Thaw frozen vegetables.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
3.Firmly press 1 pie crust into the bottom and along the sides of your pan. Set the other pie crust aside for now.
4. In a large mixing bowl, add the soup can and 1/2 can of water and whisk until smooth.
5. Add 1/2 tsp each of basil and oregano to mixing bowl of soup. Add 1 tsp garlic powder. Add salt and pepper to taste.
6. Fold turkey and vegetables into soup and gently pour into pie crust.
7. Place second pie crust over the filling, pressing top crust firmly into bottom to seal pie. Fold extra dough over onto itself to create a ridge. Using a butter knife, cut a vent into the middle of the top.
8. Bake 30 minutes or until pie is golden brown.
9. Enjoy!

I hope you enjoy this recipe! Here's a video of me baking this pie. You can freeze the pie after its cooled if you don't want to enjoy it right away. If you make this, feel free to post a picture on Twitter using #alacuisinellc.

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The Easiest Pie For that Leftover Turkey

Thanksgiving was wonderful, but you're left with half of a gigantic bird that's now taking up valuable real estate in your fridge. There are hundreds of recipes you could use, but this is probably one of the easiest and it's absolutely delicious!


I love making chicken pot pies, so I got the idea of using leftover turkey, it's so simple yet an ultimate comfort food. The ingredients that you'll need for this recipe are all inexpensive and the prep takes about 5 to 10 minutes tops.

Feel free to customize the seasoning depending on your preferences and how the turkey was originally seasoned. I normally buy the pie crusts that come rolled up in a two pack in the refrigerated section. If there's one you prefer, you can certainly use that instead.

Here is my ultimate turkey leftover recipe!


Turkey Pot Pie
2 Pie Crusts
2 Cups of Turkey (cubed)
1 bag of Frozen Vegetable Mix (Peas, Corn, Green Beans, Carrots)
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
Salt
Pepper
1/2 tsp. Oregano
1/2 tsp. Basil
1 tsp. Garlic Powder

Directions
1. Thaw frozen vegetables.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
3.Firmly press 1 pie crust into the bottom and along the sides of your pan. Set the other pie crust aside for now.
4. In a large mixing bowl, add the soup can and 1/2 can of water and whisk until smooth.
5. Add 1/2 tsp each of basil and oregano to mixing bowl of soup. Add 1 tsp garlic powder. Add salt and pepper to taste.
6. Fold turkey and vegetables into soup and gently pour into pie crust.
7. Place second pie crust over the filling, pressing top crust firmly into bottom to seal pie. Fold extra dough over onto itself to create a ridge. Using a butter knife, cut a vent into the middle of the top.
8. Bake 30 minutes or until pie is golden brown.
9. Enjoy!

I hope you enjoy this recipe. You can freeze the pie after its cooled if you don't want to enjoy it right away. If you make this pie, feel free to post a picture on Twitter using #alacuisinellc.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

3 Simple Tips to Avoid Gaining Weight During the Holidays

During the holidays, it seems we are bombarded with snacking options. From the baked goods circulating neighborhoods to the "specialty" offerings in every grocery store. Here's what you can do to ensure that your clothes don't "shrink" during the season of eating, I mean giving...


1. Try to limit eating to your main meal times. Let yourself have the cookie or cake, just for dessert. When you save the special items for after your meal, you're less likely to overindulge. By looking at snack foods as part of your meal instead of a filler for in-between, you're allowing yourself a guilt-free indulgence. You may find that this makes it easier to abstain throughout the day.


2. If you want to be trendy while having your cake and eating it too, eat a small slice for breakfast. You can read more about the benefits of that here.

3. If your holiday traditions involve baking all of those delicious goodies, try to share them with friends and family, or perhaps drop some off at the local businesses to brighten up the employees' day. You can freeze most things as well. Whatever you do, don't keep them all on the counter beckoning you every time you pass by.


Hopefully, these suggestions help you enjoy all of the holiday delectables without the inevitable expanding waistline. Do you have additional tips for navigating the gauntlet of celebratory snacks?

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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

10 Dinner Ideas to Take Some Stress Out Of the Holidays

With everything that has to be done to prepare for the holidays, struggling to think of what to cook shouldn't be one of them. Here's a list of 10 dinner ideas to take the guesswork out of your evenings.



  1. Easy Broccoli Quiche
  2. Garli Roasted Chicken Breasts
  3. Quinoa and Black Bean Crockpot Chili
  4. Pork Chops and Sauerkraut
  5. Potato Soup
  6. Shrimp and Grits
  7. Hamburger Steaks
  8. Chicken Enchilada Casserole
  9. Crockpot Barbeque Meatballs
  10. Quinoa Stuffed Butternut Squash




Hopefully these ideas help your holidays run a little smoother! Do you have a go-to recipe for when you're stuck in a rut?

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Monday, November 21, 2016

Functional Food Series, Part 2 Apple Cider Vinegar: the Fermented Fat-Burner

There have been claims that Apple Cider Vinegar can do everything from burn fat to repair split ends. I don't know about the hair care part, but I notice that I do feel better when I ingest it on a regular basis.


This vinegar is created by fermentation. Its imperative that you get an apple cider vinegar with "the mother" of you're using it for health reasons and the companies that have it clearly labeled are the best bets. Or better yet, make your own with this easy Apple Cider Vinegar recipe. The "mother" is full of beneficial bacteria even though it looks like something out of a mad scientist's experiment, you have been warned...


Realistic expectations for benefits of using this vinegar include faster digestion of carbs, lowering blood sugar levels, and lowering cholesterol. Here is an interesting article that goes into more detail.

To take ACV, try mixing it into a dressing or using it in marinades. It can be taken diluted in a shot glass as well, but it is not recommended to ingest it straight as it can burn your esophagus and damage tooth enamel. (thank you internet for informing me of that last fact a little late...)


Do you use apple cider vinegar as a functional food? What's your favorite way to use it?

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Friday, November 18, 2016

The Only Orange Sweet Bread Recipe You'll Ever Need

Sweet breads are amazing, although you should never get them confused with sweetbreads, totally different ball game.


One of the great things about breads like this is that they freeze well. You can make a batch or two ahead of time for when you need it and its a great way to take some of the stress out of planning teas and brunches. I always keep some in my freezer for just such occasions.

This is a mild orange bread so it pairs well with a lot of things. You can serve it with butter and fruit spreads if you like, but it doesn't need them. This means that it can stand alone as part of a variety of finger foods, (such as for afternoon tea), or it can play a supporting role as a dinner bread, or perhaps even dessert.


Orange Bread Recipe
1 1/2 cup All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
A Pinch of Salt
3/4 cup Sugar
1/3 cup Oil, such as Olive Oil
1 cup Orange Juice

Directions (Step-by-step video)
1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease pan(s).
2. Combine Flour, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, and salt together and whisk until blended.
3. In a separate bowl, combine Sugar, Oil, and Orange Juice and whisk until Sugar is dissolved.
4. Add Orange Juice mixture to Flour mixture and whisk together just until blended well, do not over-mix.
5. Pour into pan(s) and bake for 30 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
6. Allow to cool and enjoy!


I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!  If you make this bread, please share your photos or experience on Twitter using #alacuisinellc. Is therr a favorite bread recipe that you always use? Do you keep sweet bread in your freezer?

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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Elevenses, Not Just For Hobbits

This mid-morning break is an often overlooked retreat from the hustle and bustle of daily routine. Perhaps, it's time to reclaim elevenses and with them a bit of our sanity.


The earliest recorded use of the term elevenses dates back to the early 18th century. It is not a full meal, but rather a morning snack break at, you guessed it, 11 o'clock.

Elevenses are not to be confused with afternoon teas, as the latter is a light meal traditionally held between 2 and 4 o'clock. You can find more information on teas here: http://alacuisinellc.blogspot.com/2016/11/afternoon-tea-and-high-tea-whats.html?m=1  Elevenses are a 20-30 minute break, for the sole purpose of recharging your batteries.


Tea or coffee is customarily paired with simple cookies and enjoyed as a brief hiatus from the demands of the workday morning. Its a time to relax and reset, to enjoy a moment guilt-free.

Elevenses are replaced by brunch on the weekends when there is more time to socialize and enjoy more filling fare.


Perhaps we can thank J.R.R. Tolkien for reminding us about this forgotten post-breakfast pause. Regardless of the reason, it seems like a perfect time for Elevenses to make a culinary comeback.

Do you enjoy Elevenses? Have you ever heard of them?

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Are You Making this Detrimental Parenting Mistake?

Whether you're a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, or even a babysitter, we all try to do the best we can for the children in our care. Let's think about meal times for a minute.

I have seen many instances of a child being told to "clean their plates" before they can leave the table. Seems harmless, right? I mean, everyone wants to make sure their child is getting enough to eat.


Well, there's several issues with this situation. First, it's programming the child to mindlessly eat the food in front of them as if it's a task. This takes the joy out of eating. It robs children of the experience of taste.

If children are taught that meals are just a chore to get through, they do not learn to appreciate the different flavors and textures, not to mention aromas of the foods in front of them. They can't develop a healthy admiration for the process of cooking and the culinary adventures that cooking produces.

The other grave issue with this mentality is that by forcing a child to eat everything, they are actually being taught to ignore their own hunger and full signals. Those signals are irrelevant if they have to stuff themselves silly every time they sit down to eat.


Is it really any mystery that there is an abundance of individuals who mindlessly eat processed foods and are overweight? If a child is taught to blindly eat whatever is on their plate until their plate is empty, why not go for the cheap, processed crap?

When we as a society diminish the value of quality food and listening to one's own bodily cues, we create a nation of robotic eaters who have been denied a healthy relationship with food. The ever-growing surge of diet cookbooks can attest to that fact.

Unless a child has special medical needs, they are perfectly capable of eating enough all on their own. Provide a balanced diet full of variety and they will flourish. I think this is one family argument that can be laid to rest.


Do you trust your child to eat as much as they need? Do you think children should eat everything on their plate?

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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Afternoon Tea and High Tea, What's the Difference and Why Should You Care

Though the terms have become interchangeable, Afternoon Tea and High Tea are very different things. So, for those of us who do not hail from the UK, here's some clarification.



Afternoon tea, also known as Low Tea, is the occasion that most of us are familiar with. Generally held between two and four in the afternoon, this tea is the dainty, snacking affair that boasts elegance in every aspect.

Historically, Afternoon Tea utilized delicate china tea cups and saucers. One would find spreads of sweet cakes, tea sandwiches, and scones. Clotted cream and fruit spreads were customary as well. Also known as Low Tea because it was typically enjoyed at low tables in parlors.


High Tea is pretty much the opposite of Afternoon Tea. Aptly named because it was originally enjoyed at high dinner tables, it cannot be described as particularly elegant or dainty.

Enjoyed sometime between five and seven in the evening, a stronger tea was enjoyed out of heavy mugs. The fare was traditionally hearty foods, such as ham, pickled salmon, and pot pies. Ale was regularly enjoyed during this divine, pre-dinner engagement.



High Tea was a neccessity for the working class that would come home famished from a hard day's work. Everyone could enjoy their fill and then a small sandwich would suffice for dinner around eight or even nine at night.

Whether you have afternoon teas, high teas, or a combination of the two; these occasions are a wonderful way to socialize with friends and loved ones. Do you have teas? Do you prefer them more in the summer or winter?

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Monday, November 14, 2016

Functional Food Series, Part 1: Tumeric, the Orange Dye that Fights Cancer

Its not enough for food to taste good and fill you up. If it's not increasing your health or protecting you from illness, you're doing it wrong. The functional food trend has been on the rise for a few years now. The ingredients change, but the ideals remain the same.

One of the hottest functioning food ingredients, (for the moment), is Tumeric. There was a time that this mildly aromatic spice was primarily associated with curries and it wasn't a common kitchen staple. But, oh how times have changed!


The earliest known use of Tumeric is thought to be around 2500 BC. Pots uncovered near New Delhi were analyzed and showed tumeric residue. Before it's medicinal properties were discovered, it was originally used as an orange dye. A fact that a few of my dish towels can attest to, I'm afraid.

Health benefits boasted by Tumeric include reducing inflammation, dramatically increasing antioxidant levels, improving brain function, lowering risk of heart disease, fighting depression, alleviating arthritis, delaying aging, and treating certain cancers and Alzheimer's.

With so many beneficial qualities associated with it, tumeric is being added to everything. From smoothies and teas to casseroles and egg scrambles, it has found its way into the hearts and stomachs of America.



To take advantage of all that tumeric has to offer, try adding some to rice for a healthier yellow rice, or sprinkle a little on your scrambled eggs. For a delicious health concoction, make some tumeric tea. Here's a recipe:

Tumeric Tea

1 tsp Ground Tumeric (add more as desired)
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 pinch Clove
1 pinch Black Pepper
2 cups Water

Directions

1. Simmer herbs and water for 10 min. Strain.

2. Serve with honey and milk of your choice.


Do you use Tumeric? Have you noticed any health benefits?

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Friday, November 11, 2016

Elderberry Syrup - the Simple and Delicious Cold and Flu Fighter

Elderberries don't look like anything spectacular the first time you see them, but they have been used for centuries as an amazingly effective cure-all. Now you too can partake in this ancient remedy and keep you and your family healthy throughout this time of year.


These deep hued, little berries are packed with vitamins A and C and raise antioxidant levels, boosting the immune system considerably. Studies conducted on the effectiveness of these amazing berries boast claims that they can lower cholesterol, improve vision, improve heart health, fight against colds and flus, tonsillitis, and bacterial and viral infections.

With all of these incredible benefits, it's certainly makes sense to keep a jar or two in your fridge at all times. The recommended dose is 1/2 Tbsp to 1 Tbsp for adults and 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp for children five days out of the week, increasing to every 3-4 hours in the event of illness.


The recipe is very simple and should last about 6 months refrigerated, although it probably will not last that long if taken as directed. (Due to its very pleasing taste, this is one herbal remedy that's actually fun to take!)

Elderberry Syrup Recipe
2/3 c. Elderberries
2 Tbsp fresh or dried Ginger
1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp Cloves
3 1/2 c. Water
1 c. Honey, (you can substitute agave or maple syrup if desired)

1. Combine all ingredients except Honey in a pot and bring to a boil, cover and summer for about 45 min.

2. Once liquid is reduced by half, remove from heat and allow to cool just enough to handle.

3. Pour mixture through a strainer, mashing berries to extract as much liquid as possible.

4. Once liquid has cooled to room temperature, add Honey and stir until thoroughly mixed.

5. After your syrup has completely cooled, store it in the refrigerator.


I hope that this recipe helps you as much as it helps us! Do you use elderberry syrup already? Have you experienced the health benefits associated with it?

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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Donald Trump's Eating Habits and What They Mean for America

Love him or hate him, Donald Trump is America's new President-Elect. Here's what his favorite foods and eating habits could mean for America during the next four years.

Mr. Trump has a reputation for his love of fast food. He likes foods that are ready at all times, and prefers everything well-done. He doesn't really favor elaborate meals planned out well in advance, he decides when he's hungry what he wants and he wants it now!


These facts elude to this billionaire baron's personality. He sees hunger as a problem to be solved instead of an event. He is concerned with bigger things, the entire picture, the end goal.

Mr. Trump prefers hand-held foods, also known as biting foods. This shows us some insight into his aggressive nature. When he wants, something, he goes for it. Not a bad quality for the U.S. President.

Fast food is very relatable, it spans across the divides of race, religion, and creed.  A majority of people cannot afford elegant dinners in the finest restaurants, but everyone has had a McDonald's cheeseburger. And, fast food is cheap food. Perhaps it makes financial sense. At least we know that the country's budget will not be frivously spend on lavish cuisine.


Donald Trump is known as a man that prides himself on cleanliness. Perhaps this is why he prefers his steaks and eggs extremely well-done. It would not be beneficial to experience some negative result from undercooked food and Mr. Trump is willing to sacrifice flavor for his ability to function at his best at all times.

Coffee, tea, and alcohol are suposedly banned on his diet, and he limits starches and carbs. Maybe this trade off helps him balance his fast food intake. Balance is important and knowing how to limit oneself is an excellent presidential quality.

Regardless of his frequent fast food fare, Mr. Trump is no animal at the table. He eats his KFC and his pizzas with a knife and fork, exuding proper table manners and etiquette at all times. Such a crucial quality when representing the nation.

His favorite ice cream is cherry vanilla. Not basic, but far from extravagant. A man set to purpose with no need for the frivolous extra bells and whistles.


Based on his eating habits, it seems safe to say that our new Commander-in-Chief will be a man that is aggressive in his pursuits, doesn't get caught up in life's extravangant distractions, has a knack for finding balance, is relatable to the people, and allows himself simple pleasures occassionally. All positive qualities that can be admired.

What do you think about our next President's eating habits? Do you think they show positive qualities?

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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

You Eat Bugs - Is it Knowingly or Accidental?

I have to admit, when I think of people eating bugs, I think about ancient cultures and survivalists. The suburban family of five does not spring to mind.

According to the Scientific American, it's estimated that individuals unknowingly ingest between one and two lbs of insects annually. Most of this is due to the less than sterile process of canning vegetables and fruit preserves. Insects are not thoroughly removed before everything is sealed up and shipped out. But, accidents happen, right?



Well, you may also want to be aware of the fact that confectioners glaze and red food dye are intentionally made with insects. The Lac bug is used to make glaze, which is used for everything from candy to furniture.

The cochineal beetle is our source for red food dye. It's used for everything, from red candy to red lipstick. Even Starbucks admitted to using it in their beverages at one point. You can read about that here: http://blogs.starbucks.com/blogs/customer/archive/2012/04/19/cochineal-extract-update.aspx

On the other end of the spectrum, if you are one of the 80% if the world's population that willing consumes insects, you may want to check out these companies.



Hotlix is a company that specializes in insect lollipops. They do custom work, but routinely go through 300,000 worms and 100,000 crickets every week. Here's their site: http://www.hotlix.com/candy/

If you're in the market for every insect that can legally be sold in the U.S., you should check out edibleinsects.com Here you can find an assortment of insects in a variety of different forms. They state that their biggest costumers are those on the Paleo diet.



Lastly, there is Bitty. This company specializes in baked goods, using cricket flour. Their most popular product, cookies, seem to win over practically everyone brave enough to try it. To find out for yourself, check out their site here: https://bittyfoods.com/

It seems that it is inevitable that you will ingest insects in some way, the question is whether or not you want to. What do you think of these companies. Is this just a weird fetish or the future of protein sustainability?

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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

3 Easy Ways to Simplify your Food Life this Holiday Season

Ahhh, the time of year when planning family trips, preparing for Thanksgiving di,ner, and shopping for presents make your already busy life almost unbearable. Well, the good news is that with these simple tricks, you can make meals a snap and eliminate some of the stress.


1. Plan your meals
With so many things competing for your time these days, the grocery store should not be one of them. Plan your meals a week in advance so that you go to the store armed with a complete list.

Try opting for simple breakfasts, such as fruit and yogurt or smoothies. Here's a quick and easy smoothie recipe: https://youtu.be/neil5RiwnRQ Leftover dinners can make great lunches and cut your prep time in half. Think casseroles, chilis, and other one pot dishes.


2. Utilize Meal Prep
Using a portion of your morning or afternoon on a day off to prepare meals ahead of time is an excellent time-saver. Make several meals in advance and freeze or refrigerate for the rest of the week.

You can have a chili or stew cooking in your crockpot while a casserole or pie is baking in the oven. When your finished cooking, just divide everything into daily portions based on the size of your family and you're set. The piece of mind that meal prep gives you is worth the few hours in the kitchen one day a week. For more info, Check out my video here.


3. Have Dessert
This last one puts the fun in functional. While you're doing your meal prep, bake a simple cake as well. It doesn't have to be fancy or extravagant, just something that you and your family enjoy.

If you add an additional course to dinner, (cake in this instance), you can use smaller portion sizes. This means that your meals can go further and thus you are technically cooking less. While there are other course options, cake is the simplest for saving time during the week.

I hope that these easy tips help you navigate the holiday season with ease. Do you already utilize any of the practices? Of not, do you plan to now?

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Monday, November 7, 2016

Is This Historical Cake Enough to Bring Harmony to Election Day?

Nothing can quite bring people together like cake. And what better way to celebrate our unity as a country during this trying time than with a traditional cake reserved for just this occasion.


Historically, election day was a celebratory affair, filled with food and drinks. People would travel to the polls, visiting family and friends along the trip. There were dances and special balls to commemorate the occasion.


During this special time, women would bake election cakes and give them to men at the polls to encourage voter turnout. Voting was harolded as an American right and that was something worth celebrating. (And it still is, in my opinion.)

This sourdough cake is a cousin to the fruit cake and a batch could feed an entire community. Typical recipes could call for 10 lbs of butter, 13 lbs of sugar, and 3 dozen eggs among other ingredients!



Election day was a reminder of the principles that America was founded on. With all of the stress associated with this election, perhaps we could all benefit from sharing some election cakes together as one nation. Remember, after all of the votes are counted, we are still Americans and we are all in this together.

You can find an excellent Election Day Cake recipe here via the Cooking Channel:  http://m.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/election-cake.html


Do you make Election Cakes? Have you ever heard of them before now?

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