Monday, October 24, 2011

12 Minute Applesauce

My daughter LOVES homemade applesauce. Unfortunately, I don't always have the time to make it. So today, she really wanted applesauce for an afterschool snack, so we tried this experiment. And it worked! Now she can make her own homemade applesauce whenever she wants. Here's how we did it:

1) Core and cut 4 apples into small piece - she used our apple corer/slicer (the little handheld kind that cuts the apple into 8 wedge) and then cut each wedge into small pieces . . . we didn't bother to peel them.
2) Place the pieces in a microwave-safe bowl. Sprinkle cinnamon over them. Add enough water or apple juice to cover the bottom, about 1/8-inch high.
3) Cover bowl, leaving a little opening for steam to escape. I used the lid for the bowl, but angled it so there was a small opening. Microwave on high for 10 minutes.
4) Mash apples with a fork. Taste and add sweetener if needed (our apples were quite tart, so we used just a little brown sugar, but maple syrup, stevia, agave, honey would work great too).

It was really, really good!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Deception in the Natural Cereal Industry

There is a huge difference between cereals labeled "organic" and those labeled "natural" according to a report done by the Cornucopia Institute. The word "natural" is basically a marketing ploy to get us to think the product is safer and healthier than regular cereals, but there is no regulation or really even a definition of what "natural" means. "Natural" cereals contain ingredients grown on conventional farms where the use of toxic pesticides and genetically engineered organisms is widespread. In fact the Cornucopia Institute tested cereals by leading natural brands including Kashi and Mothers (now owned by Kellogg and Pepsico) and found that they contained high levels of genetically engineered ingredients.

Many companies that offered organic cereals are switching to conventionally-grown ingredients and calling their products "natural." Barbara's and Annie's have drastically reduced their organic cereal offerings . . . so don't assume the cereal you've always eaten is still organic . . . be sure to check the label and buy only those with the USDA organic seal, not those trying to mislead consumers.

To make the deception even worse, the supposedly "natural" cereals are often priced higher than regular cereals. Watch this short video to find out more and check out this cereal scorecard to see how your cereal rates.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Really good vegan cookies

When I want a cookie, it pretty much has to be homemade. Storebought cookies never seem to have the right texture. Either they're too chewy or too dry--and almost always too sweet, especially the supposedly healthy fruit-sweetened ones.

But even homemade ones have to be right . . . so I'm always experimenting. Well, I hit on these the other day and I I have say these are one of the best I've come up with. They are crisp but moist, taste great--and best of all they are made with whole grain flour and are lower in fat and sugar than most cookies. Give them a try and let me know what you think.

Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup oil
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups spelt or whole wheat flour
3/4 cups unbleached white flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinammon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cups vegan chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil 2 cookie sheets. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the oil, peanut butter, applesauce, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk the spelt flour, white flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Pour the flour mixture into the wet mixture and stir until combined into a stiff dough. Stir in the chocolate chips. Scoop tablespoons onto prepared cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until edges are golden. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Makes 3 dozen

Monday, October 03, 2011

October is NON-GMO Month

According to the Organic Consumers Association:

- In 2011, Monsanto added sweetcorn, sugar beets and alfalfa to the list of GMO crops that already included field corn, cotton, canola, soy, and papaya - without regulations to protect organic farmers from contamination and no labels to respect consumers' right to know.

- However, also in 2011, Monsanto couldn't hide its failure any longer. Its GMO crops toppled over and were strangled in the fields, attacked by the very insects and weeds they were genetically engineered to resist.

October, 2011 is Non-GMO Month. You can get involved. Check out these sites for more information:


NYC to DC - Oct 1-16 - The Right2Know March

Austin, TX - Oct 2 - Rally for Real Food

Nationwide - Oct 15 & 16 - Millions Against Monsanto World Food Day Events