Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday Fix

For your Friday fix try this fabulous cake "Torta di Mele della Nonna", Grandmas Apple Cake. I found the recipe on the wonderful blog of La Tavola Marche cooking school in Italy. You can stay at this wonderful Inn operated by a cute young American couple who moved to Italy. The blog is an enjoyable browse with lots of great recipes and beautiful pictures of the Italian countryside.

I made this cake yesterday with some substitutions. I used half whole wheat pastry flour, added some applesauce to the batter, and used olive oil instead of plain old vegetable oil. As far as treats go it makes a fairly healthy, yummy treat.....

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Farview Farm is on Stanton Road (County Road 629) in Flemington, just down the road from the Stanton market. Stop by their stand for your fresh, free-range eggs (or get them at the Stanton Market) and seasonal produce. They also sell angus beef (as quarters, sides, or'll never ask "where's the beef" again), pork, lamb, and chicken. "We farm using only natural and organic methods. All of our animals are antibiotic and hormone-free, and pasture raised using traditional grazing." Everything is to order---sign up now to get your frozen chickens (I did) and you'll get them in the fall.

I think these are turnips......???

Here's Elyse displaying her delicious ice cream!
I bought and devoured the caramel chocolate nut...(like a Snickers bar, but no Snickers in sight, of course) and WAY better. She also sells delicious coffee, by the way......

Stanton Farmers' Market

Hi everyone!

Recently I visited the brand-new Stanton Farmers' Market. (This is the first farmers' market to come to Readington Township!) Be sure to check it out, every Thursday from 4pm (I think) until 7:30pm, in the parking lot of the Stanton Reformed Church, 1 Stanton Mountain Road (only about 5 minutes off of Route 31.

I salivated over the certified organic fresh veggies, including asparagus and salad greens, from Green Gourmet Gardens, and sampled some delicious scape pesto (scape, I discovered, is an odd-looking shoot that grows on the tops of spring garlic plants...who knew???) And would you believe they still farm using HORSEPOWER??? How awesome is that???

The Griggstown Quail Farm and Market stand offered a delectable selection of chicken, chicken sausages, game birds, and amazing pies. (I purchased and sampled the chicken sausage with spinach and feta cheese. Delicious!!!) All poultry is all-natural, free range. The Griggstown Quail Farm serves leading NJ and NYC restaurants as well as the well-known D'Artagnan brand. This is quality stuff, folks, and you don't have to drive to Griggstown (near Princeton) to get it!

Lastly, I drooled over the Millstone River Creamery's ice cream. This is as decadent as it gets, folks. All natural, gourmet ice cream. Owners (and newlyweds) John and Elyse create and sell their amazing concotions in Millstone, New Jersey. It's premium-quality all-natural ice cream with a unique twist: it’s fresh! “We use fresh cream, fresh eggs, locally grown fresh fruit, no preservatives, no chemicals, no artificial flavors—only all-natural ingredients. Our Fresh Mint Chocolate Chip, for example, is made with fresh mint leaves. Virtually everything is made from scratch!" notes their website. You can do your e-drooling at but better yet, come out to the farmer's market, meet Elyse, and pick up a pint (or two or three) while you're there! YUM!!!

There's a lot more to folks....get out there and tap your inner "locavore." Eat local, and support small NJ farmers who are committed to quality of product and use practices that preserve the integrity of our land.

Happy eating!



Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Another book to read.....

I knew it wasn't my fault! I admit it, I love junk food. Who doesn't like the taste of that squishy bun on a fast food sandwich? No wonder a stroll through the supermarket is like running the gauntlet.

Heck I had my hand on the squeeze cheese the other day. You know, the golden yellow goop in a can for squirting on a cracker, or your finger for that matter. How's that for a quick fix. Fortunately my daughter stopped me and said "MOM, you're writing a healthy eating food blog, don't do it!"

Read this review from the NY Times of a new book, “The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite” (Rodale) by David Kessler, former head of the FDA and Harvard educated pediatrician.

An excerpt from the article...
When it comes to stimulating our brains, Dr. Kessler noted, individual ingredients aren’t particularly potent. But by combining fats, sugar and salt in innumerable ways, food makers have essentially tapped into the brain’s reward system, creating a feedback loop that stimulates our desire to eat and leaves us wanting more and more even when we’re full.

Read it here

Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday Fix.....

Hey Lisa,
Your scoop on turkeys is just plain sci-fi disturbing. Sometimes it all seems so overwhelming! Who is the boob that came up with the uber growth concept of the uni-boob turkey??? Ya know, now that I think of it, turkey used to taste so much better.

So, really, what we have now is QUANTITY vs. quality. We have giant feast size turkeys that need to be brined and soaked and deep fried to have any flavor. In addition, the QUANTITY, I mean size, of the average american has grown along with the boob size of our turkeys!!!! It's an outrage!

For my part I'm going to seek out organic, humane, more natural turkeys for any future feasts. Do we really need to stuff ourselves this way? Who wants all of that leftover turkey anyway. There is something grotesque about the way we've been brainwashed into a "more is better" bunch of boobs. Rushing through fast food lines, missing the little things?

Can we eat and live in a more thoughtful way?

Let's make one change this week, how about a "Friday Fix". It doesn't have to be a big deal. Try something new in the supermarket, or better yet, visit a farmers market this weekend! Make a commitment to look for non-gmo healthy alternatives for your family. Break the cycle and vote in the check-out line!, from the freakish frankenfoods that are sneaking onto our tables!

Here's Hugh kickin' back with his pet heirloom turkey.
Really......the man can do no wrong!

Have a great Friday Fix!


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Talkin' Turkey

with Lisa

Come on, Mary Ann….posting a picture of a hunky, half-naked guy on our brand-new blog? That’s really hitting below the belt! (Sorry, I just had to do it!) It just goes to show that you never know when something completely random (and possibly inappropriate) might appear here, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled! (Just so you know, we’re also partial to cute dogs. Hmmmm….Hugh Jackman cuddling a peek-a-poo? Now that’s an idea!)

All kidding aside, I have a very serious subject on my mind today. What is it? Here’s a hint: gobble, gobble. Yep, we’re talkin’ turkey here. Well, turkey sex. Actually, the lack thereof. Did I hear you say “huh???” Don’t worry I’ll explain.

Okay, here goes. Did you know that the Broad-Breasted White—99% of the turkeys Americans eat are of this breed—can’t reproduce without human intervention? Yep, it's true. The mating gene has been bred right out of the poor deprived gobblers, necessitating artificial insemination (now, no turkey baster jokes, please) of the poor gal turkeys to ensure that we have little gobblers to grow up to grace next year’s Thanksgiving table.

Not only that, but they’ve been bread to have breasts even Dolly Parton would envy— a uniboob so humungous that the poor birds can no longer walk by the time they’re a year old—they’re so off-balance they topple over! Truth be told, they’ve hit the chopping block before that happens, so it doesn’t really matter, right??

Are we the only people who think this is really messed up?? What do you think?

Anyway, the bottom line is this: The good old-fashioned turkeys that our grandparents ate—known as heirloom breeds---have all but disappeared.

It's a shame, I know.......but a girl’s gotta eat, right? So, I set off in search of the next-best thing: broad-breasted whites that are raised with care. My search led me to DiPaola’s Turkey Farm in Hamilton, NJ, about 15 minutes from downtown Princeton. They’ve been producing all-natural whole turkey and turkey products since 1948. There’s a small store on the premises with a lot of products to choose from, but the days/hours are limited, so if you’re interested in going, give them a call first (see below).

I tried their turkey—in breast, ground and sausage form. It’s really good!

Unfortunately, you won’t find DiPaola's products at any New Jersey farmers’ markets. Why? Well, DiPaola’s owner, Art DiPaola (a 2nd generation turkey guy) informed me that NJ folks just aren’t willing to pay the price for his superior turkey items, so he only sets up shop at farm markets in New York City where, he notes, people "appreciate our products.” In fact that’s where I discovered DiPaola's—at 65th street and Broadway, to be exact. (It’s worth the price, by the way).

Ok, time to wrap up this turkey of a post. But before I do so, I’ll leave you with this:

Fascinating turkey talk is just a sampling of what you’ll discover in the eye-opening book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle,” by the respected fiction writer Barbara Kingsolver. It’s a must-read for anyone interested in learning about the food we eat and where it comes from. It might just revolutionize how you look at food and will definitely influence the choices you make in your local supermarket.

Well, that's all for today, folks. More about turkeys (including a possible heirloom sighting in Hunterdon County!!!) another time. Stay tuned!

DiPaola Turkey Farm, 883 Edinburg Road, Hamilton (609) 587-9311.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Just say NO to GMO !

So what the heck is a GMO?

Excerpt from the Institute of Responsible Technology

The Basics:

What's a GMO?

A GMO (genetically modified organism) is the result of a laboratory process of taking genes from one species and inserting them into another in an attempt to obtain a desired trait or characteristic, hence they are also known as transgenic organisms. This process may be called either Genetic Engineering (GE) or Genetic Modification (GM); they are one and the same.

(You can read more here)

So, now we know what it is......... FRANKENFOOD! But, should we care?

Surely these products are safe?

The creators of such sophisticated potentially altering scientific products wouldn’t endanger the food supply of the ENTIRE PLANET EARTH? would they?

You'd think there would be thorough testing before products go to market???? Think again....

More from “The Institute of Responsible Technology…….

Q. Didn’t the scientists at the FDA study GM foods themselves?

No. The FDA relies solely on information supplied by the biotech companies.

Q. What kind of information did the companies provide?

Calgene, the makers of the first GM crop, the FlavrSavr tomato, was the only company to submit detailed raw data from animal feeding studies to the FDA. The rest provide only summaries and conclusions. Industry research can be rigged; data often is omitted or distorted.

In the FlavrSavr tests, lab rats refused to eat the tomatoes and had to be force-fed. Several developed stomach lesions, and seven of forty died within two weeks. Still, the tomato was approved, but has since been taken off the market.

Q. Based on the information that was supplied, did the FDA scientist have concerns?

Agency scientists did warn that GM foods might create toxins, allergies, nutritional problems, and new diseases that might be difficult to identify. Internal FDA memos reveal that the scientists urged their superiors to require long-term safety testing to catch these hard-to-detect side effects.

Read more (here) about the dangers of GMO's and study results regarding disease. Gems like this are comforting! 55.6% Mortality in Rats Whose Mothers Were Fed GM Soy. Ya know, even if you fall back on the ever-popular notion that all studies can be skewed, this flys in the face of COMMON SENSE!

Q. What did the FDA do about these concerns?

Nothing was done that would protect consumers. In fact, in the case of genetically modified bovine growth

hormone, some FDA scientists who expressed concerns were harassed, stripped of responsibilities, or fired. The remaining whistleblowers had to write an anonymous letter to Congress complaining of fraud and conflict of interest at the agency

Q. How could the government approve dangerous foods?

A close examination reveals that industry manipulation and political collusion – not sound science – was the driving force.

The FDA official in charge ignored all warnings of the FDA staff scientists. The official, a former outside attorney for Monsanto, was a political appointee specifically to a new FDA post on GM policy, and left shortly after to become vice president at Monsanto.

Q. Why aren’t foods with GMOs at least labeled here?

The same political influence and money that got them past the FDA has prevented any labeling laws from being passed. However, President Obama had indicated support for labeling laws during his campaign.

Q. So do the biotech companies always get everything they want?

No. The biotech companies have fallen far short of their goals due to consumer resistance. The GM potatoes and tomatoes were taken off the market, and other GM crops, although approved, were never commercialized.

Concerned consumers in Europe were able to get major companies to commit to eliminate GMOs within one week. This was done with only a small percentage of the overall population. Businesses do not want to lose even a portion of their customer base. Everyone can vote with his or her pocketbook!

SO WHY DON'T WE CARE!!! Are we all that complacent, stupid, and drawn to anything shiny and bright!!!!! Does fancy packaging fool us! Stop saying "I don't want to know"

In 1998 the industry tried to get the USDA to let GM products pass as organic. During the public comment period, the Department received over 275,000 irate letters of protest from citizens, a public response unprecedented in the USDA's history. Thanks to this public protest, GM products cannot be labeled organic in the USA.

This stinks on so many levels! As usual we can follow the money trail back to ties between big agri-business and the pesticide giants. What’s really scary is that these GMO plants are taken in the wind to pollinate wherever they wind up. We could lose all of our pure non-GMO plants if we keep this up!

Gosh, it all seems like common sense to me. Stop messing with Mother Nature and maybe we’ll all be healthier and not completely destroy the planet.

So, for me, for now, I’m going to print out this handy NON-GMO shopping guide. Better yet, maybe I’ll just jot down the items and save a few trees. I’m happy to see many of my favorite brands on the list. We all tend to buy the same things over and over so the extra work to compile your list shouldn’t be too much of an inconvenience.

It occurs to me that I should be doing something!!! At the very least buying a T-shirt or something to raise public awareness. Make sure you subscribe to the organic consumers association newsletter and click on their take action tab to make your voices heard. Sign the petitions, it's easy!!!

Other good sites:

Organic Consumers Association "We are the only organization in the US focused exclusively on promoting the views and interests of the nation's estimated 50 million organic and socially responsible consumers."

Network of Concerned Farmers (Aussie network of farmers. Good reading here)

Seeds of Deception (Read article here about Jeffrey M. Smith and all the research he's doing on GMO's) (Lots of great links on his site Seeds of Deception! Do your own research and take action!)

Now go grab your re-usable shopping bags and stock up on healthy Non-GMO yummies!

Happy Shopping!

Mary Ann

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Follow the yellow brick road!

Let's start by saying WAKE UP! Yes you do want to know what's in your food! STOP SAYING you don't want to know, or that we worry too much. Knowledge is power and your choices in the checkout line drive the market.

When we started buying organic foods over fifteen years ago it was no small feat. You had to drive a hundred miles to find a whole foods market and then pick up the other bits and pieces needed from health food stores and small organic farmers. Wow have times changed!

The market has responded full-force and now the corporate giants of food-Dom have joined the fun. There it is, history has shown that the choices made by people just like us have helped drive healthy foods into the mainstream.

Now what? Well, it's not a perfect system and things are not as they may appear. In some cases it's just the same old stuff, different name. So again, we need to make those choices an ongoing part of our lives and demand the pure, healthy food we want.

We need to hold their feet to the fire with our mighty dollars and tell them no hidden ingredients, no fillers, .......... and no more nasty things in our food!!!

So, Please Join us! WAKE UP, Rise UP, Read UP and make good choices in the checkout line.
We'll figure it out together.......

Your children, your body, and the planet will thank you someday!

Yee HA!

Now that we've got your attention! and....

Just so you don't think this is a militant, purist, vegan blog we'll start our food adventure with our visit to the Readington River Buffalo Company in Readington, NJ. We found ourselves winding our way down a long, bumpy, dusty driveway to the Buffalo Store with some trepidation. Would there be a mini natural foods market all shiny and bright with blinking lights? A cooler in the shade? Ooh, perhaps....A young hunkish farm hand? Hugh Jackman? Who knows?

What we found was a simple white building with a charming older gent and freezers full of buffalo. Lisa and I both grabbed some buffalo burgers and flank steak. I've already tried the burgers and they were delish!

I've always had a problem with buying meats from companies that use factory farm methods where animals are mistreated and not fed naturally. (I've been a vegetarian on and off but always seem to fall of the wagon so I'm not one to preach about vegetarianism and the issue of eating animal products.)

But, if you are going to eat animal products, it seems wise and logical to know where they come from, what they eat, and the conditions they live in. You know what they say "Garbage In, Garbage out".

Buffalo at the Readington River farm graze in the beautiful green pastures of Hunterdon County.

"Our bison are grass fed until they are ready for harvest, and at that time they are fattened with grain. To ensure that we have only the finest and pure grain feed, we grind it ourselves. We use corn, wheat, barley, molasses, and minerals in our feed."

Sounds good to me! Buffalo is also low in fat!

Here's the USDA Comparison:
Comparison Guidelines form the USDA handbook

(Per 100 gram portion, 8-5:8-10; 8-13; 8-17)
Bison Fat (grams): 2.42 Calories (kcal): 143 Cholesterol: 82
Beef Fat (grams): 9.28 Calories (kcal): 211 Cholesterol: 86
Pork Fat (grams) 9.66 Calories (kcal) 212 Cholesterol 86
Chicken Fat (grams) 7.41 Calories (kcal) 190 Cholesterol 89

Now I won't lie to you, Buffalo is a bit more money than the mass produced beef you buy in the supermarket. However, I think there's a world of difference in the quality because I know where it comes from, what it eats, and that it's lower in fat!

Check it out Readington River Buffalo Company
Happy Shopping!