Friday, February 25, 2011

10 Dirty Fruits and Veggies


"10 dirty fruits and veggies"

"by, on Tue Feb 8, 2011 10:27am PST
By Ashley Macha

Are the fruits and vegetables you buy clean enough to eat?

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) studied 100,000 produce pesticide reports from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to create a list of 49 of the dirtiest and cleanest produce.

So before you hit the grocery store, see how some of your favorite fruits and veggies measured up.

Did one of your favorites make the list? Don't worry, the EWG recommends purchasing organic or locally grown varieties, which can lower pesticide intake by 80% versus conventionally grown produce.

This stalky vegetable tops the dirty list. Research showed that a single celery stalk had 13 pesticides, while, on the whole, celery contained as many as 67 pesticides.

Chemicals fester on this vegetable as it has no protective skin and its stems cup inward, making it difficult to wash the entire surface of the stalk. It’s not easy to find locally grown celery, so if you like this crunchy veggie, go organic.

Peaches are laced with 67 different chemicals, placing it second on the list of most contaminated fruits and vegetables. They have soft fuzzy skin, a delicate structure, and high susceptibility to most pests, causing them to sprayed more frequently.

This red, juicy fruit has a soft, seedy skin, allowing easier absorption of pesticides. Research showed that strawberries contained 53 pesticides. Try to buy strawberries at a local farmer’s market for a sweet dessert.

Apples are high-maintenance fruit, needing many pesticides to stave off mold, pests, and diseases. The EWG found 47 different kinds of pesticides on apples, and while produce washes can help remove some of the residue, they’re not 100% effective.

Blueberries (domestic)
These antioxidant-rich berries have a thin layer of skin that allows chemicals to more easily contaminate the fruit. Domestic blueberries were loaded with 13 pesticides on a single sample, according to the EWG. Imported blueberries also made the list at No. 14 for the dirtiest produce.

Sweet bell pepper
This crunchy, yet thin-skinned, vegetable is highly susceptible to pesticides. According to the EWG, sweet bell peppers showed traces of 63 types of pesticides. While some pesticides can be washed away, many still remain.

Spinach, kale, collard greens
These leafy green vegetables are on the list, with spinach loaded with 45 different kinds of pesticides and kale 57.

In 2006, Dole recalled bagged baby spinach after multiple E. coli illnesses associated with the vegetable made their way across the country.

Grapes (imported)
These tiny fruit have extremely thin skins, allowing for easy absorption of pesticides. And think twice before buying imported wine. The grapes that go into the wine could be coming from vineyards that use too many pesticides.

Have you ever indulged in a potato skin at your favorite restaurant? You might want to think twice before eating the skin. This spud was highly laced with pesticides—36, according to the EWG—that are needed to prevent pests and diseases.

Cherries, like blueberries, strawberries, and peaches, have a thin coating of skin—often not enough to protect the fruit from harmful pesticides.

Research showed cherries grown in the U.S. had three times the amount of pesticides as imported cherries. Because cherries contain ellagic acid, an antioxidant that neutralizes carcinogens, it’s worthwhile to buy organic or seek imported ones."

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"Flavors in mothers milk may determine the foods children like"

From the Telegraph: 

"Flavors in mothers milk may determine the foods children like

9:00AM GMT 20 Feb 2011
Mothers wanting their children to eat their greens should consume plenty of vegetables themselves while breast feeding, new research has suggested. 

Scientists have discovered that babies' taste buds are primed between the two and five months after birth by the flavours they are exposed to and this can influence their preferences in later life.
Researchers found that children fed a bitter and sour tasting milk formula during these early months of their life continued to like its taste as they grew older and even into adolescence.
Those who were given the milk formula for the first time at six months old rejected the drink.
Dr Gary Beauchamp, director of the Monell Chemical Senses Center, in Philadelphia, who led the research, said it appeared that children's exposure to flavours during these key first few months of their life shaped their taste preferences and therefore food choices in later life.
Babies are typically exposed to low levels of flavour compounds from the food their mothers are eating through their breast milk.
Dr Beauchamp believes breastfeeding mothers can "prime" their children's taste buds to be familiar with fruit and vegetables by eating them themselves. In contrast formula milk is "bland and constant tasting", he said.
"We have demonstrated that there is a very sensitive period between two and five months of age when infants will learn to like these milk formulas," he said.
"This learned preference for formula milk will last at least into adolescence and we believe for their entire lives.
"By exposing infants at this very sensitive period is appears to be possible to make them like something that they would otherwise deem to be horrible.
"If we could enhance consumption of vegetables amongst pregnant and nursing women, it ought to impact on their children's later food choices and result in healthier eating.
"We have yet to do this work, but we would like to run a large-scale trial to see if this would be the case."
Dr Beauchamp presented his findings at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington yesterday. The study has also been published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Taste preferences are generated through a combination of inherited genes which leaves individuals more sensitive to certain taste and odour molecules.

Earlier research has also shown that infants are exposed to small quantities of their mother's diet while in the womb which can help to prime some of their preferences.

The latest findings now add to the evidence that exposure to different tastes during early life has an impact on what people like and dislike eating as they grow older.

They will also fuel about whether breast feeding babies is better than giving them formula milk.
Campaigners insist that breast feeding can give children a better start as it boosts immune systems as well as being linked to lower risks of heart disease, obesity and cancer in later life.

Dr Beauchamp said: "There is some evidence that if children are exposed to variety, they are more likely to go after a wide variety of food.

"In the breast fed infant, they are routinely exposed to variation in flavours through their mothers milk. In the typical formula milk fed infant, they are exposed to an extremely bland and constant tasting food." One concern we have with formula feeding is that infants do not get the varied sensory experience that children who are breast fed get.

"Nutritionally the formula milk is almost identical to human milk as is possible, but from a sensory point of view formula milk is impoverished.""


Monday, February 21, 2011

Recipe of the Day- The Fab Life of a Housewife

My favorite blog, "The Fab Life of a Housewife", has done it again! Hawlie has made and posted a great recipe that can be made for any age. (A few modifications would be needed for babies who have not yet had nuts).

and...p.s. You NEED to follow this blog!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Recipe of the Day- Dr. Greene

A great resource for parents is

The site has articles about every parenting topic and Dr. Greene is especially passionate about healthy eating.

Part of the site is all about healthy food for your family, and offers a featured recipe of the day. The recipe includes tips on how to get your kids involved in the cooking process and even lets you know if it is better to use organic products, or if regular ingredients are okay.

Today's recipe: Creamy Dill Potatoes:

Nothing complements the flavor of dill like potatoes. Make this yummy dish for your little ones!

Dirty Dozen Alert: Potatoes – choose Organic please

Compost your food scraps (potato peels, discarded dill sprigs, etc.)

Have your little one help mash the potatoes as well as help to fold in the chopped dill. If you have them help you chop the dill – I bet they will eat it!
4 large russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 cup whole milk or rice milk
1 tablespoon salted butter
5-6 sprigs of fresh dill, whole
1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fresh ground pepper
In a large pot, bring potatoes to a boil on medium/high heat. Boil until they are tender, about 20 minutes.

While potatoes are cooking, steep the whole dill sprigs by gently warming the milk & in a small pan on low heat. Stir occasionally.

Drain water from potatoes once they are cooked. Using a mixer, mix potatoes until they reach the desired texture. A potato masher can also be used. Discard the whole dill sprigs from milk and then slowly add the milk to the potatoes. Mix until milk is incorporated. Fold in chopped dill.

Makes 4 cups.
Nutritional Information: 
Calories 187; Total Fat 2.46g; Cholesterol 4 mg; Sodium 187mg; Carbohydrates 36.16g; Dietary Fiber 4.48g; Sugars 3.22g; Protein 5.76g

(recipe and photo courtesy of:

Click HERE to learn more about Dr. Greene

Click HERE for the Dr. Greene Homepage

Click HERE for the Dr. Greene recipe of the day

Monday, February 14, 2011

New Cookbook to Revolutionize Food Prep

I am very intrigued about this cookbook...not only does it provide great recipes, it provides the science behind cooking.

I am super interested in the "why" and this book provides the answers! (I probably will have to borrow it from the library, given the $675 price tag...or maybe I will win the lottery and get my own copy, haha!)

from Yahoo!

"The Game-Changing Cookbook

by Katy McLaughlin
Monday, February 14, 2011
provided by

Nathan Myhrvold's 2,400-page 'Modernist Cuisine' upends everything you thought you knew about cooking

Here's the recipe for the most astonishing cookbook of our time: Take one multimillionaire computer genius, a team of 36 researchers, chefs and editors and a laboratory specially built for cooking experiments. After nearly four years of obsessive research, assemble 2,400 pages of results into a 47-pound, six-volume collection that costs $625 and requires four pounds of ink to print.
To call inventor Nathan Myhrvold's "Modernist Cuisine: The Art & Science of Cooking," on sale next month, a "cookbook" is akin to calling James Joyce's "Ulysses" "a story." The book is a large-scale investigation into the math, science and physics behind cooking tasks from making juicy and crisp beer-can chicken to coating a foie-gras bonbon in sour cherry gel. There is precedent in this genre—science writer Harold McGee has published popular books explaining kitchen science, and chefs Thomas Keller and Ferran AdriĆ  have written about sous vide and other techniques of avant-garde gastronomy—but nothing reaches the scope and magnitude of Mr. Myhrvold's book. While it will likely appeal to professional chefs, within its pages are insights that even the humblest home cooks can use to improve their meals. The book puts traditional cooking wisdom under scientific scrutiny, destroying old assumptions and creating new cooking approaches.

The man behind the tome is a former chief technology officer for Microsoft and an inventor of hundreds of patents (he invented an electromagnetic car engine and is seeking a patent for his French fries treated with starch and placed in an ultrasonic bath). Though many of Mr. Myhrvold's 51 years have been devoted to math and science—by the age of 23, he held two master's degrees and a doctorate in mathematical physics from Princeton—in the 1990s, his passion for food began to loom large. First, he got deeply into barbecue (he was on the "team of the year" at the Memphis World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest in 1991), and then moved onto haute cuisine.

"My career at Microsoft really was getting in the way of my cooking," said Mr. Myhrvold. After leaving Microsoft in 1999, he launched Intellectual Ventures, an invention and patent firm, and in 2007, with help from two young, scientifically-minded chefs, Chris Young and Maxime Bilet, he began work on the book. When publishers balked over the size and scope of the project, Mr. Myhrvold said, he ditched the conventional route and decided to self-publish through his publishing company, the Cooking Lab.

Among the book's revelations: Expensive pots and pans are a waste of money. Organic food is no healthier than non-organic. Black coffee cools off faster than coffee with cream.
We pored over the book and selected some of our favorite counterintuitive nuggets of wisdom. You'll never think about frying, boiling or making pizza the same way again.

PROBLEM #1: Your pan-fried food comes out soggy and greasy.

SOLUTION: Use more oil.
Before shallow-frying, pour oil into a pan that is equivalent to nearly half the depth of your food. Heat it well and fry the food. When done, drain on a rack and blot excess oil with paper towels. The food will be crisp and less greasy than if you had skimped on the oil.

WHAT'S GOING ON: When food heats, water escaping from the food creates a tiny layer of steam that lifts the food off the bottom of the pan. If there's not enough oil in the pan, the food will not make contact with the oil. That means that instead of frying, it steams, and then merely absorbs the oil, sponge-like, upon contact. With a thick enough layer of oil the food will have full surface-contact with the oil and will fry—and properly fried food does not actually absorb much oil.

PROBLEM #2: The first batches of your deep-fried food don't come out crispy enough.

SOLUTION: Use a bit of old oil.

Each time you deep fry, cool down the used oil and keep a couple of tablespoons in the refrigerator. Next time you deep fry, add about a tablespoon of the old oil to the pot along with fresh oil, and bring it to temperature for about 10 minutes before frying.

WHAT'S GOING ON: It's a "free-radical reaction." When deep-frying in perfectly fresh oil, escaping water from the food creates a barrier of water and steam. This prevents even browning. However, after several batches of food have had contact with the oil, free radicals begin to break down the oil into natural emulsifiers, changing the oil's chemical structure and allowing it to get in closer contact with the food.

PROBLEM #3: You love Neopolitan-style pizza, but don't want to invest in a brick oven.

SOLUTION: Make an oven out of a steel sheet.

Get a ¼-inch-thick sheet of steel from a metal fabricator (Search online for a local one), have it cut to the size of your oven shelf and insert it in the rack closest to the broiler. Preheat the oven at its highest temperature for ½ hour, then turn on the broiler and slide your pizza onto the metal plate. It should emerge perfectly cooked in 1.5 to 2 minutes.

WHAT'S GOING ON: Pizza in a brick oven cooks at about 800 degrees—way hotter than the highest setting of most home ovens. The metal sheet is more conductive than a brick oven's stone, so it can cook just as fast at a lower temperature.

PROBLEM #4: You can't make perfect fish.

SOLUTION: Broil it in wine.

In an oven-proof pan, lay a piece of fish on a bed of onions, fennel or another aromatic. Pour wine to nearly cover the fish, leaving only the skin uncovered. Place the pan under a hot top-heated broiler and cook until the skin is crisp; the exact timing will vary widely depending on the thickness of the fish and other factors. Remove from broiler, insert a digital thermometer and wait until the fish reaches the desired temperature (somewhere between 120 and 130 degrees is often optimal). If the fish does not reach temperature, heat the pan gently on the stove top until it does. The fish will be tender, with crispy skin.

WHAT'S GOING ON: "Evaporative cooling" is at work here. The alcohol in the wine evaporates so rapidly that it cools the wine, keeping it from getting too hot and overcooking the fish. Meanwhile, the broiler crisps the skin to perfection.

PROBLEM #5: You want homemade chicken stock, but you don't have eight hours to kill.

SOLUTION: Chop small to chop time.
Pulse the ingredients (typically, carrot, onion and celery) in a food processor until very finely diced; remove vegetables, add boneless chicken pieces and puree. Chop chicken wings into tiny pieces. Brown all the chicken, then add vegetables and cover with water. Simmer for an hour. The stock will attain the same flavor it would have taken 8 hours with large chunks.

WHAT'S GOING ON: "Fick's first law of diffusivity" is at work. This principal indicates that flavor molecules have a shorter distance to travel if the pieces of food are smaller, and thus will be extracted more quickly.

Write to Katy McLaughlin at"


Sunday, February 13, 2011

5 Ingredient Healthy Meals

I just came across a great resource for all of us busy parents, who also want to provide healthy meals for our kids and family.

On the site, there is a link to 98 different 5 ingredient, healthy recipes!

The recipes are easily listed by categories such as: Soups, Salads, Sandwiches, Vegetarian, Chicken, Meats, Seafood and Pantry.

Each recipe includes nutrition information and reviews too.

Click here to look at all of the time saving, healthy 5 ingredient meals from Cooking Light!

Friday, February 11, 2011

The cutest idea for Valentine's Day!!

I found the best idea for Valentine's Day (or any day) from Twig and Thistle...

DIY Valentine's Day Fruit Stickers!!!

They have sweet little messages like: “I’m going bananas over you.”, “Orange you glad you’re my valentine.”and “I love you berry, berry much.”

The best part??? THEY ARE FREE!!! 

Simply click this link to Twig and Thistle and view instructions on how to download and make these great little stickers.

(Pictures courtesy of Twig and Thistle

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The More a Mom Works, The More Overweight Her Kids


A recent study found that there is a link between the amount of time a mom is at work and the weight of her children.

Read the entire article HERE

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Groundhog Day Pudding Treats!

My friend Hawlie over at The Fab Life of a Housewife, has found the MOST adorable Groundhog Day treats ever!!! Seriously, I am in love.

You MUST make these with your kids today!!!

Click here to see the recipe!

"Why 'Spoiled' Babies Grow Up to be Smarter, Kinder Kids"

A hot button topic with many parents...the Cry-it-out (CIO) versus the nurse to sleep parents. The baby wearing versus the blanket time people. As a new parent- it is all very overwhelming. All anyone wants is the best for their children and every parent just wants to share helpful advice with others. 

Recently- there has been overwhelming research that shows that allowing a baby to be alone and not responding to his/her cries and needs immediately can have lasting negative effects later in life. 

I personally tried everything. I think I read too much and did not just trust my instincts. I have now ended up more to the attachment parenting side, but with hints of the other side mixed in. The epiphany for me, came when I watched the documentary "Babies" and read the article titled, "Why African Babies Don't Cry".

To give you some food for thought- here is some more research about responding to your baby:


"Why 'Spoiled' Babies Grow Up to Be Smarter, Kinder Kids

Read more:
Can extra nurturing during infancy make your child kinder and smarter?
Over the last several decades, more and more research has suggested that experiences in early life — even prenatal life — can have a disproportionate influence on the development of personality and physical and mental health. Now another group of studies, led by Notre Dame psychology professor Darcia Narvaez, confirms earlier work suggesting that children who get more positive touch and affection during infancy turn out to be kinder, more intelligent and to care more about others. (More on Why the TV Is Risky for Kids: It's Not Just the Programming)
Narvaez, who will present her findings at a conference in early October, conducted three separate studies. The first compared parenting practices in the U.S. and China. Another followed a large sample of children of teen mothers who were involved in a child abuse–prevention project, and compared outcomes of various types of early parenting practices. The third examined how parents of 3-year-olds behaved toward their children.
All three studies suggested the same thing: children who are shown more affection early in life reap big benefits. Researchers found that kids who were held more by their parents, whose cries received quick responses in infancy and who were disciplined without corporal punishment were more empathic — that is, they were better able to understand the minds of others — later in life.
Although there were some differences between American and Chinese practices, "we found mostly parallels," Narvaez notes.
Given that highly affectionate parenting practices are similar to the practices anthropologists believe parents used during the thousands of years that humans lived in hunter-gatherer societies, it's likely that they are closely matched with what a developing baby's brain naturally expects. (More on Similac Recall Outrages Parents: Are Beetles Bad?)
Consider the way babies instinctively cry when put to sleep alone. In the early human environment, a child would never have slept more than arm's reach from his parents or other caregivers. Lone sleeping may elicit a stress response in the baby because it's not the "safe" environment that the brain is programmed to expect. The fact that most babies can adjust to it anyway shows how flexible and "plastic" brain development is — but Narvaez' research suggests that meeting the brain's early expectations may have added benefits.
"What's been studied most is responsivity," she says, referring to the way parents respond to their babies and act accordingly, for example, noticing when they are about to cry and reacting appropriately to subtle positive and negative signals about what they want. "[Responsivity] is clearly linked with moral development. It helps foster an agreeable personality, early conscience development and greater prosocial behavior."
Even rat research confirms the importance of early nurture. Rat pups born to mothers that lick and nuzzle them — even rats that are put in the "foster" care of such mothers — are healthier, grow faster, and are better able to run mazes and interact socially than pups that are neglected. Rats raised by less affectionate moms have deficits in all these areas — but they do perform better in extremely stressful situations. (More on Why Most Moms Don't Follow Breast-Feeding Recommendations)
I summarize much of the latest research in empathy in the book Born for Love: Why Empathy Is Essential — and Endangered, co-authored with leading child psychiatrist Dr. Bruce Perry:
[W]hile we are born for love, we need to receive it in certain, specific ways in early life to benefit most from its mercy. We need to practice love as we grow through different social experiences to best be able to give it back in abundance. The brain becomes what it does most frequently. It is shaped every day by what we do — and what we don't do.
If we don't practice empathy, we can't become more empathetic. If we don't interact with people, we can't improve our connections to them. If we don't ease each other's stress through caring contact, we will all be increasingly distressed.
Of course, early life is certainly not the only influence on empathy: some of the most caring, altruistic people have suffered horribly neglectful and abusive childhoods. Children are, thankfully, quite resilient. But if you want to give your child an edge in these areas, lots of cuddles and responsive parenting certainly can't hurt.

What do you think???