Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Think Before you Pink!

Well, here we are approaching October and the breast cancer marketing machine is in full gear with tv campaigns, billboards, and food label proclamations! You may be surprised to learn that many products brought to you by companies promoting pink ribbon campaigns actually CONTAIN CARCINOGENS!!! All types of companies; food, cosmetics, hair cair, etc.

Check out Think Before You Pink brought to you by the Breast Cancer Action network.


Cosmetics: Philanthropy or Hipocrasy?
In 2003, BCA coined the term “pinkwasher,” referring to companies that promote pink ribbon products while the products themselves contribute to the disease. Furthering our work challenging Avon, we focused on cosmetics companies that raise money in the name of breast cancer, but manufacture body care products with known carcinogens or reproductive toxins. We took out a ¾ page ad in the New York Times. more.....

Read here about BCA Success stories.

go to the Breast Cancer Action site to sign up for their newsletter (Lots of good info here!)

Read about how Eli Lilly is Milking Cancer.....(Go to BCA and sign easy on-line letter to Eli Lilly)

There's something deeply disturbing about a company that manufactures products that cause cancer as well as drugs to treat cancer.

That's the problem with pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly, the sole producer of rBGH, the hormone linked to cancer. Earlier this year General Mills stopped using rBGH, a huge victory thanks to activists like you.

In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness month visit Think before you Pink and the Breast Cancer Action Site. Be informed! Cancer is big Business!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

FRIDAY FIX..........

Yes, I know we usually blather on about cutting down on red meat and working more vegetarian dinner choices into our diets. But it's been quite a while since we posted a meat recipe (have we ever???), and this is soooo yummy, so let's take a break from veggies today.
Actually, I'm not a pork fan, but I've been in that "I'm-so-sick-of-the-same-old-stuff-for-dinner" mode lately. I needed a change. You, too?

To break out of the dinner doldrums, I decided to try pork chops (haven't had 'em in years) from Flemington Farmers' market. (I think the name of the purveyor was Purely Pork.) Pasture raised, of course. Pricey...of course. But truly lovely--1 1/2 inches thick, perfect for the grill, and extremely lean. I grabbed one of the provided recipes and gave it a shot.

How'd it go? Well, when I set these babies on the table, my husband was in ecstasy. Meat!! At last!! Actually, the whole family enjoyed this recipe. My daughter even said, "my compliments to the chef." That would be me. High praise from a 14 year-old who turns up her nose over just about anything even slightly out-of-the-ordinary.

(for two chops--double for four, etc...)

Two large pork chops, approx. 1 1/2 inches thing (preferably local, pastured pork)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon terriyaki
1 tablespoon worcestershire
3 tablespoons vermouth (I substituted white wine)
1/2 medium onion, finely sliced
fresh ground pepper
fresh ground sea salt
brown sugar

Mix all ingredients except salt, pepper, and sugar, then add pork chops, coating well with marinade. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 1 1/2 hours, turning once or twice. Remove pork chops, reserve marinade, and pat dry with paper towl. Preheat grill. Once grill is very hot, lower one burner to medium while leaving remaining on high.

Place chops over burner with reduced heat. Grill 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 minutes each side until internal temperature reaches 135-140 degrees. While chops are cooking, reduce marinade over medium high heat in a sauce pan on the stove top. Bring to a vigorous simmer and stir, creating flavorful gravy.

Remove chops from grill, cover lightly with tin foil and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes*.

(Note from purveyor: "We prefer to remove our chops from the grill while they are still on the rare side as they continue to cook under the foil and because pastured meats tend to be on the leaner side.")

Top chops with marniade reduction and use as a tasty gravy for sides.

*While it's important not to overcook pastured meats, I found that these chops were underdone even after sitting for 5 - 10 minutes. I put mine back on the grill over indirect medium heat for an additional 5 minutes or so to cook through. Also, I found that the brown sugar coating on the chops caused flare-ups if the grill was too hot. I suggest using medium heat, turning down if necessary--otherwise they'll char.



Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What The Heck Are These?

I think what I enjoy most about shopping at farmers' markets is finding unusual produce. These weird little thingies certainly fall into that category. I'd never seen them before. (They look like mini versions of the pods from "Invasion of the Body Snatchers.")

What the heck are they? Well, all I can tell you is they're called husk cherries. Just squeeze the tan, paperlike outer husk, and out pops a little yellow orb that you eat--and there's no pit! (Actually, in response to the "try one" sign at the market, I almost made the mistake of eating it whole. The whole shebang was in my mouth, husk and all. Boy, was I embarrassed!)

What do they taste like? Well, the taste-testers in my household (consisting of me, my husband, and my daughter) had differing opinions. To my palate, they were slighly sweet with creamy herbal overtones (sounds like a good red wine, right? Hmmm, husk cherry wine...) My husband chewed, shrugged and did not comment (not exactly a rave review). My daughter screwed up her face and said they reminded her of the flouride treatment she once got at the dentist (mind you, that was years ago, long before I read about the dangers of flouride. But that's fodder for another blogging session). So, that's a downright pan from the resident teenager.
So, that's that. Not exactly a hit, but interesting nonetheless. Ok, I know what you're thinking: reading this cost five minutes of your life you'll never get back. Well, look at it this way: now you know what a husk cherry is. And that's knowledge I'm sure you couldn't have lived without!

I promise tomorrow's recipe post will be a bit more interesting (DELICIOUS pork chops). And I guarrantee that husk cherries will NOT be on the ingredients list!


Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Catch a Buzz…..Save The Bees!

Every morning, a plump, yellow and black visitor descends upon my deck, happily buzzing around a flower-filled planter next to the slider door. This rotund fellow makes his rounds from bloom to bloom, drinks his fill, then zooms off in search of new delicacies.

Not too long ago I would have viewed this large, stinging insect as a pest, and wished him gone. But that's no longer the case. In fact, lately I’ve been having lots of warm, fuzzy thoughts about bees.

Why? Well, did you know that bees pollinate 60 percent of the food that we eat? Yep! Without them, we wouldn’t have melons, squashes, blueberries, apples, nuts, alfalfa, clover, cocoa, vanilla, mango, plums, apricots, broccoli, coffee….the list goes on and on. Suffice it to say that without bees, “life on this planet as we know it would end,” as noted in an excellent article by Tammy Toad Ryan in this summer’s Edible Jersey magazine.

Folks, bees need your help. They’re in trouble. Here in New Jersey, we’re down from 40,000 hives in 1990 to 10,000 now. Not good! You’ve probably heard about the phenomenon referred to as colony collapse disorder, where previously healthy colonies simply die off. This happens when colonies become weakened, and experts believe this is probably due to loss of food sources and the effects of toxic chemicals in the environment.

What can we do? Experts urge farms and lawns to go organic, since bees are killed when they come into contact with insect-control products that are given to plants in food, water, or soil, or when they eat the plants themselves. Says Tim Schuler, currently the New Jersey State bee inspector (how’s that for a job title??!), “the biggest threat to honeybees is the lack of forage because of changes in land use, and pesticides in our environment. The image of the perfect lawn needs to go.” Turns out that the weeds that foil our quest for the perfect lawn—like dandelions and clover—are perfect food for bees. And the pesticides we use to kill these weeds kill not only the weeds, but the bees, too. A double-whammy! Yikes!!

What else can we do? Plant a variety of flowers (wildflowers are great), to provide bees with viable sources of food. I just added three butterfly bushes to my yard—not only do the butterflies love them, the bees do, too! If anyone can recommend deer-resistant perennials and bulbs, please share!

Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz……. Lisa

Friday, September 11, 2009

FRIDAY FIX....................................

Ok, carnivores, here's something that will make grilled veggies taste so delicious you might just forget there's no meat on your plate! Here's my all-time fave marinade, from the excellent cookbook "Quick Vegetarian Pleasures" by Jeanne Lemlin (first introduced to me by my pal Kelly).

It's no secret that most of us don't eat enough veggies. We need to increase our veggie intake (and eat less meat overall), so check it out! Try replacing one or two meals a week with a vegetarian/vegan option. There are lots of fabulous recipes for main courses, soups, salads, breads, muffins, desserts...and much more.

This marinade makes AMAZINGLY SCRUPTIOUS grilled veggies. I especially like it with eggplant (of course), zucchini, peppers, and especially portobello mushrooms. They're so dense and substantial, you wont miss the slab of sirloin that's NOT on your plate! It's also a nice change from Italian-style vinegar-based marinades. I don't know about you, but I'm balsamic vinegared-out!!

LEMON-SOY Marinade

1/2 cup vegetable oil (since I strongly prefer olive oil over other types, that's what I use)

3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

4 1/2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce (I've used regular and low-sodium and they're ok, too)

1 scallion, very thinly sliced

3 garlic cloves, pressed (local, organic if possible! It's so much better!)

1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger (my husband is not a ginger fan, so I reduce or omit it entirely. I love the touch of ginger, but it's still delicious without)

Mix all ingredients together. Makes about 1 1/4 cups

Note: If you're in a hurry, I find the veggies marinate nicely in as little as 30 minutes (although Lemlin says to marinate 4-6 hours). You can brush more marinade on as they grill if you wish.

Delish!! Enjoy!!


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Food Coloring - Demystified....

Avoid it! for you, for your kids! It's insidious and you can easily eliminate it from your diet.
Cancer, Asthma, Allergies, Hyperactivity, NO THANKS!

Here's the scoop.....

There are basically seven, 7, only SEVEN what they call "certifiable" food colorings that are permissable in food production.


Being designated as Classified Colors they must be listed on the ingredients list by name.
They are...

Blue # 1 (Brilliant Blue)
Blue #2 (Indigotine)
Green #3 (Fast Green)
Red #3 (Erythrosine)
Red #40 (Allura Red)
Yellow #5 (Tartrazine)
Yellow #6 (Sunset Yellow)

Here's WHY you want to avoid the CERTIFIABLE Colors....

They are derived from..........drumroll please....

Petroleum Distillates or Coal Tar!

What will that do to you?

Following dye info from

(annotations by moi....)

Red #3 can increase thyroid hormone levels and lead to hyperthyroidism, was shown to cause thyroid cancer in rats in a study in 1990; banned inUK January 1990, but not recalled by the US FDA**; banned in Norway

This kills me!$% Thyroid Cancer, come is this acceptable!

FD&C Red No.40; Orange-red colour used in sweets, drinks and condiments, medications and cosmetics, synthetic; introduced in the early eighties to replace amaranth which was considered not safe due to conflicting test results; allura red has also been connected with cancer in mice; banned in Denmark, Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Austria and Norway
Are you kidding me - CANCER! Gee thanks, let's bundle them up and send them to school with a nice yummy dose of CANCER!

FD&C Yellow No.6; used in cereals, bakery, sweets, snack foods, ice cream, drinks and canned fish; synthetic; also in many medications including Polaramine, Ventolin syrup; side effects are urticaria (hives), rhinitis (runny nose), nasal congestion, allergies, hyperactivity, kidney tumours, chromosomal damage, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, indigestion, distaste for food; seen increased incidence of tumours in animals; banned in Norway

more cancer! and other great stuff!

FD&C Yellow No.5; known to provoke asthma attacks (though the US FDA** do not recognise this) and urticaria (nettle rash) in children (the US FDA** estimates 1:10 000); also linked to thyroid tumours, chromosomal damage, urticaria (hives) and hyperactivity; tartrazine sensitivity is also linked to aspirin sensitivity; used to colour drinks, sweets, jams, cereals, snack foods, canned fish, packaged soups; banned in Norway and Austria

more Thyroid TUMOURS! had enough, are we done yet or are we willing to accept Thyroid Tumours as just a price we have to pay for a yummy treat!

FD&C Blue No.2, commonly added to tablets and capsules; also used in ice cream, sweets, baked goods, confectionary, biscuits, synthetic coal tar derivative; may cause nausea, vomiting, high blood pressure, skin rashes, breathing problems and other allergic reactions. Banned in Norway

Here's a new one.....High Blood Pressure! yippee!!!

FD&C Blue Dye No.1; used in dairy products, sweets and drinks, synthetic usually occurring as aluminium lake (solution) or ammonium salt; banned in Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Austria, Norway



1) READ THE LABEL and don't buy anything that specifically mentions a color and number. Remember that they have to use the FD&C color number. That's an easy Rule to remember!

following exerpt from

If a certified color is used, it must be explicitly declared on the ingredient list, as "FD&C Red Dye #40" or "Red 40" So if you are reading a products list of ingredients and all you see is the nonspecific "artificial color" then you can be sure it's not a certified color. It may be beet juice extract, it might be carmine or it could be caramel color, but it's certain that it's not Red40.

2) CHOOSE BETTER PRODUCTS - because every time you make a purchase you're casting a vote. Somewhere, someone is looking at those numbers. Let them know by voting with your $$$$. Check everything! It's out there in your Doritos, Fruit Loops, Ice Cream, Cheese. Check the product labeled "Natural". It can be in there too!

3) Drop them a line! Why not let them know what you want. There are alternative or exempt colors that are made from natural plant, animal, and mineral sources. I'd much rather eat something colored from beets wouldn't you?

So in closing, with EYES WIDE OPEN.....PLEASE...........Do Something!

We all really need to take back our food system. It's supposed to be nourishment, ya know, fuel for the body, fuel for growing brains, etc..... It's not supposed to slowly kill us with screwed up thyroids, high blood pressure, hyperactivity and the BIG C....Cancer. No wonder we're all tired, sluggish, pudgy, and lumpy. We don't stand a chance when these things are slipped in while we're too busy raising our kids, going to work, just trying to live.........

This Rant brought to you by......MaryAnn

p.s. you can read more at the links above for and

There's lots of info out there related to hyperactivity and A.D.H.D. Some dyes have even been banned successfully as a result of public outcry.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Italian in a Previous Life???

Maryann, I'm right there with you....LOVE eggplant, and I'm not even Italian (well, by marriage--does that count?? In any case, I'm convinced I was an Italian opera singer in a previous life. Ha, ha.)

I bought lovely organic eggplants at the Flemington Farmer's market last week, too. (Are we a team or what???) What did I cook? Well, this is where we diverge....I wasn't nearly as virtuous when it came down to making a healthy choice. In fact, I caved. Big time. Before I could say "melanzana" (that's eggplant in Italian) I had whipped up a mouth-watering batch of rollatini, generously stuffed with creamy mozzarella, ricotta, and asiago. Delicioso....but undeniably fattening. It's salad for me for the rest of the week! (Speaking of salad, I also found beautiful organic romaine at the farmers' market). Well, even though it was fattening, I took comfort in the fact that it was "real" food, not something encased in plastic that emerged from a cardboard box.

In the spirit of "real food" here's something I spied while perusing Edible New Jersey. (If you haven't yet seen that wonderful publication, keep your eyes peeled. I find it at farmers' markets and health food stores.) This is from Michael Pollan, one of the nation's leading writers and thinkers on food and the author of the well-known book, "The Omnivore's Dilemma."

Michael Pollan's 12 Commandments of Food

1. Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food
What do you think great-grandma would say about Cool Whip?????

2. Avoid products containing ingredients you can't pronounce
There goes at least 75% of what you find at the Shop-Rite.....

3. Don't eat anything that won't eventually rot
Hmmm....wouldn't honey be an exception to this? Isn't it the only food that never spoils? And raw, local honey is so good for you--studies even show that it has antiviral properties!

4. Avoid food products that carry health claims
I think "too good to be true" usually applies in these cases.

5. Shop the peripheries of the supermarket; stay out of the middle
Whether in the movies or your local grocery store, it's all about product placement.......

6. Better yet, buy food somewhere else; the farmers' market of community supported agriculture
Here's an idea: stock up on late summer's bounty by lightly blanching seasonal veggies and freezing them for use during the winter months, a la Barbara Kingsolver. I'm going to try it...I'll let you know how it works out!

7. Pay more, eat less
I know money's tight, but I'd rather buy quality food and cut back elsewhere. (Like cooking at home instead of going out to dinner???)

8. Eat a wide variety of species
As they say, variety is the spice of life! Try something new. Like leeks, maybe. I've never known what the heck to do with a leek. Well, the nice (and very patient) fellas at the farmers' market talked me into using one in potato salad. I sauteed it with garlic (theirs amazing variety appropriately named "music" that waltzes in your mouth) and olive oil. Tastes like a very mild scallion. Yum!!

9. Eat food from animals that eat grass
If you do eat meat, this is the way to go, even if it costs a bit more. You don't want to know what the CAFO's feed their animals!

10. Cook, and if you can, grow some of your own food.
The other day my daughter said to me, "Mom, I'm soooo glad that you cook!" Made all the hard work worthwhile! :) But I'm not even going to talk this summer's pathetic sad...... :(

11. Eat meals, and eat them only at tables.
Guilty. I eat breakfast and often lunch while on-the-move.

12. Eat deliberately, with other people whenever possible, and always with pleasure.
Still working on part one and two. Part three I've got down pat!

I think Michael Pollan must have been Italian in a previous life, too......

Next, I'll post the recipe for my favorite marinade....please stay tuned, everyone!


Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday Fix.......Easy Eggplant

I LOVE Eggplant Parmigiana, floured, fried, and oozing with cheese.......Oh I Really Really Do! But, it's not something I want to indulge in on a regular basis. I needed to find a way to get my Eggplant fix without the extra pounds. This easy eggplant is delicious, simple to make, and pretty darn tasty!

Slice the eggplant just under 1/2" thick, sprinkle with salt and let drain about 20 mins in a colander. You can rinse or just wipe the salt off with paper towel. Dry the slices if you rinsed. You're almost done! Put the slices on a lightly oiled sheet pan, brush with olive oil, top with a bit of your favorite sauce, sprinkle with oregano, and pop in the oven. I like to bake in a 300 degree oven till fork tender 20-30 mins.

Sometimes I'll just have a salad with a side of eggplant for lunch or dinner. So yummy, so healthy! I got several beautiful organic eggplant at the Flemington Farmers Market last Sunday.

I feel so great going there on a sunny Sunday morning (think Shiny, happy, people). There's always live music and good produce to be found.

Check it out!

and, check out the Food Renegade Blog for Fight Back Fridays!
Go for it! Rebel against processed food!!


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Not so Cool Whip..... Ditch it!

Even if you can't spend the extra money, or don't have the time to frequent the farmer's markets you can still make healthier choices at the supermarket. Let's take a look at Cool Whip whipped topping.

Wired Magazine did a post in 07'

A delicious blend of sugar, wax, and condom lube.

I laughed out loud when I read that one..... I knew whipped cream was sexy, but...

Here are two of the worst ingredients! hmmm, might inspire one to actually whip cream..

Polysorbate 60

Polysorbates are made by polymerizing ethylene oxide (a precursor to antifreeze) with a sugar alcohol derivative. The result can be a detergent, an emulsifier, or, in the case of polysorbate 60, a major ingredient in some sexual lubricants.

Sorbitan Monostearate
Chemists call this stuff synthetic wax, and it's sometimes used as a hemorrhoid cream. It's one of the magical substances that keep Cool Whip from turning to liquid over time in the fridge.

So, next time you reach for that whipped topping think about those very sexy hemmorrhoids. You might just reach for a carton of plain old heavy cream.......