Monday, May 31, 2010

Is This Worth It?

You've seen them before, the vegetable appetizer platters, with the chopped raw peppers and carrots arranged around a bowl of ranch. They taste good, look nice, and can be procured from any caterer or supermarket produce aisle. However, these platters are a huge waste of money. Think about it, one package of celery, one head of broccoli, one head of cauliflower, a bag of baby carrots, one cucumber, one bell pepper and one box of grape tomatoes does not collectivity cost $36 dollars, but thats how much these platters cost. Now you may say, "oh no i'm waisting my money because chopping veggies involves effort and time, both things I do not have." Well, first of all, i'm embarrassed for you that you do not have the skill to run a knife through a bell pepper. Second of all, it takes little time to chop veggies, and no one said you had to do it all at once. You can chop the carrots and celery the day before, and the broccoli the day of, no one will know the difference. Doing it yourself also allows you to select local and organic produce, both of which are better for the environment than conventional produce. So to conclude this lesson, chop your own vegetable platter, its better for your wallet and better for the earth.

Get Grillin'

For my tomato display, I sliced up a bunch of beefsteak tomatoes and arranged them in a stoneware pan. For garnish, I artfully arranged some leftover romaine and rosemary springs. The tomatoes looked like someone had spent half of a day slaving over them, but it was really only 30 minutes. I must say, this barbecue was quite the success.

Now that its officially summer, people have begun inviting friends and neighbors over to grill and enjoy burgers. Unfortunately, most of the people who do the inviting become overwhelmed with the thought of having a large amount of friends over and immediately rush to the caterer to chop up veggies and put them on a tray with some dip. And they also roll out the money to pay some guy to slice tomatoes and lettuce and artfully arrange them so people can put them on their burgers. It is time to end this nonsense. You, yes you, can slice tomatoes and prepare lettuce in an artful and beautiful way that cost tons less than catering, and you can have quality control so you can choose to use all organic or local produce. By using local and organic produce, you are helping sustain your local environment and your local economy. Plus, the produce will be a lot fresher. What a way to grill.

For my lettuce display, I washed 3 bunches of organic romaine and chopped each leaf in half. Then I arranged them in a shallow, wooden salad bowl. Simple enough. And to make it look beautiful, I added lemon slices and a sprig of rosemary to the front of the lettuce display. Looks catered, taste catered, but doesn’t cost catered.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Lookin' Classy

look how classy that pitcher looks, how fancy and wonderful.

So to be honest, I hate lemonade. For the most part actually, I hate most flavored drinks, and especially those containing citrus. But unfortunately, the general populus seems to enjoy lemonade a lot, especially at BBQ’s or any outside summer activities that involve food. So what is one Drewsie to do? I refuse to make it my self, because that involves getting up close with citrus which I’d rather avoid. But I also have a reputation to maintain as someone who is a foodie and a good cook, so I can’t serve bad lemonade from a carton. However, being the wise individual that I am, I worked out a solution. First, I went to the farmers market, and found some farm fresh lemonade. No room for Tropicana or Minute Maid here. Then, I procured a large, classy, glass pitcher. To this pitcher I added thin lemon slices and two branches of rosemary. Then into the pitcher I poured the cold, farm fresh lemonade. It looked so class-tastic in its pitcher, that people immediately assumed I had spent hours laboring over lemons and the juicer. Win for me.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Memorial Day Munchies

isn't that hummus cute, in its little jar. Yes, yes it is.

Memorial day is coming up, and most normal people celebrate this occasion by going down the cape or grilling. However, I decided to use this long weekend to celebrate my birth with a sunset celebration. Instead of buying a tub of hummus for 7 dollars or whatever, i made my own, for about $1. Here is what to do:
Take one can of chickpeas and dump it, water included, into the food processor. Then add 5 heaping tablespoons of tahini. (tahini is like peanut butter, but instead of peanuts, its sesame seeds.) Add a tablespoon of paprika, chili powder, and curry powder. Blend until a creamy consistency is achieved. Enjoy this dip with pita chips, celery, bell peppers, on veggie burgers, on salads, or with a spoon. Om nom nom.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Is This Worth It?

Look at these blondies, don't they look nomlicious? don't you want to eat one? Yes, you probably do, thats why the smart people at Roche Brothers (supermarket) put them right next to checkout, so when your waiting in line, you decide to put them in your carriage and purchase them. Now, i'm not denying their deliciousness, infact, i've already has two today. But my question is, is this worth it? Lets first look at the price, $4.49, thats more than dollar per blondie. If you were to make a tray of blondies at home, the whole tray itself would most likely cost a dollar. Then look at the plastic bag, do you really have another use for that plastic bag? Its most likely about to spend a couple million years in a landfill. Or maybe it will be recycled, where it will become another bag. Also, even these brownies are Roche Brothers brand and were probably baked this morning, they were most likely baked in a warehouse, and then trucked around to all the Roche Brothers in the area, using diesel thirsty trucks. Now these blondies are delicious, don't get me wrong, but you could easily make them at home, and it would cost less from your pocket, and cost less on the environment. Think about that.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Princess and the Grain

In order for princess to give hugs to her loyal princess subjects and her children Gingery and Army, it's important she eats a solid variety of grains.

Moving on to rice and other grains, we have brown rice, white rice, and quinoa. Looking at the ingredients, the white rice is the only one with vitamins added, which already makes me question the processing of the rice. Like the pastas, they all mach up relatively equally in the fields of calories, fat, sodium, and cholesterol. There is a difference in total carbohydrates, but it is small enough to not matter. At fiber, things start to matter. The white rice has 1g of fiber, which is only 4% DV. The brown rice has 2g so is a little better than the white. The quinoa wins with 3g of fiber, 13% DV. Moving on to protein, the quinoa wins again with 6g, leaving white rice’s 3g and brown rice’s 4g in the dust. Of these three grains, I would recommend that the princess consumes quinoa. Because she chooses not to eat meat, it is important that the princess gets enough protein, and quinoa has the most for a grain. (Yes the multigrain pasta had more, but the multigrain pasta is made with a blend of grains and legumes, not just one grain.) Also quinoa has a rich nutty flavor that taste good in a variety of situations, such as mixed in with vegetables, or tossed into soups.

Princess Pasta

Princess, when she’s not eating tofu, enjoys a good grain. There’s nothing like a good carbohydrate to really make her day. Without carbohydrates, princess would not have the energy to sit up straight in her princess crown. As you can see, princess just ate lots of pasta, and is not having any issue sitting up.

Now lets compare some grains. In the pasta area I have some run of the mill white angel hair pasta, Barilla Plus multigrain pasta, and 365 whole wheat pasta. Now first, as you should do with any food that comes in a box, I read the ingredients. The whole wheat pasta has one ingredient, durum whole wheat flour. The other two both have a handful of ingredients. Even though I can recognize most of them, I always question foods that add vitamins such as iron or folic acid, because it usually means in the processing of the food, the natural vitamins were stripped. As far as calories, fat, sodium, and cholesterol are concerned, each pasta is relatively the same. But when I hit fiber down the list of nutrition facts, things start to change. The angel hair only has 2g, relatively low considering pasta is most often a main course. The multigrain pasta only has 4 g of fiber, which is ironic because their package boasts about how much fiber the pasta contains. It appears these package design people are not wise enough to read. It’s a good thing I’m here to figure these things out for the princess. The whole wheat pasta has the most fiber, 5g, and it doesn’t feel the need to obnoxiously put it on its label. Even though the multigrain pasta was annoying about fiber, it wins the protein contest, coming in with 10g, while the other two lag behind with 7g. Now for the princess I would recommend the whole wheat or multigrain pasta, whichever one she likes the taste of more. However, I myself would choose the whole wheat because I think it taste better and it is organic and less processed.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Pita Chips

Look at these pita chips, don't you want one? yes you do. Now you can make them. This is what you need:
Pita . However much you want. 1 pita, 16 pitas, 5 pitas, etc.
Olive Oil
Garlic 'n herb seasoning blend (really you can use whatever seasoning you want, or you can keep it simple with just salt and pepper, or get creative with rosemary and thyme and basil. its all up to you)

Preheat the oven to 400'. Drizzle EVOO over a baking sheet that has sides. (if it doesn't have sides, the oil will run everywhere). Put the pita in stacks of 2 on a cutting board. Slice into 8ths using a pizza wheel. Arrange the pita slices on the baking sheet. In a small bowl, stir together some EVOO and the seasoning of your choice. Remember this will be brushed over the pitas, so go heavy on the seasoning. Brush the oil/seasoning combo over the pitas, being sure to hit each slice. Bake in the oven for 15 mins or so, but watch them carefully, they burn easily. these chips are good with hummus, salsa, dip, or by themselves.

Vegan Banana Dark Chocolate Shots

3-4 ripe bananas, mashed,

2 tablespoons water

1/3 cup vegetable oil

¾ cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 1/3 teaspoon baking soda

1 ½ cup whole wheat flour

2/3 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350’. Mix and mash the bananas, water, and oil together. Its ok if the banana is a little bit lumpy. Add in the sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, baking soda, and wheat flour and continue mixing. Add in the chocolate chips and stir. Break out the mini muffin tin, and grease each little muffin hole with love. Fill each mini muffin hole almost all the way. Bake the shots for about 20 mins, a toothpick should be able to come out clean. Then pop the shots out of their hole and enjoy!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Protein Princess

Look at this princess right here, isn’t she lovely? I think so. Look at the way she coaches. Look at her monochromatic outfit. Look at those snakeskin accented sneakers. As an athlete and a coach, it is important that princess gets enough protein, and keeps her calorie and cholesterol intake in check. And because princess loves sheep and chickadees as much as she loves athletics, she chooses not to eat meat. Now, you may be wondering “how does princess get enough protein if she doesn’t eat burgers? Or chicken?” Well princess has a little thing up her sleeve called tofu. Now let’s compare some nutrition facts.

Protein: Calories: Fat: Cholesterol:

Tofu (124g) 10g 94 6g 0mg

Chicken (87g) 18g 150 8g 56mg

Ground beef 15g 220 28g 62mg

80%l Lean (87g)

At first glance, this data may make you think, “oh princess should eat some chicken.” But no, look again. Chicken comes with a hefty price of 56 mg of cholesterol, about 20% D.V. And her portion of chicken would be much smaller than her tofu portion, because chicken is more caloric than tofu. Even when the tofu portion is larger by 37g, princess still gets more calories from the smaller hunk of chicken. Ground beef would weigh the princess down in an overwhelming amount of fat, calories, and cholesterol. The princess would not be able to engage in princess activities such as taking Dave Lyons to prom because the hunk of ground beef would prevent her from zipping up her dress. Tofu is really what princess needs to stay healthy for coaching and working out. Because it is lower in calorie than meat, she can eat more of it and therefore take in more protein. And when she eats more of it, her cholesterol level does not rise at all, and her fat intake still remains low. After a meal of tofu, balanced with some vegetables and brown rice, princess is ready to kick butt on the lacrosse field, or kick the butt of her team by making them run sprints. Or coaching them to defeat Nobles tomorrow. Yup, I said it.

Powering Displays of Athleticism

Look at this starter huddle. The intensity is burning. Now look at that bench huddle. Woah, i'm intimidated.

Tomorrow, The River’s Women’s Varsity Lacrosse Team will defeat Nobles in their last game. But victory can only be achieved if we eat properly. Keep these things in mind while powering up for a game, run, or Olympics.
-The day before the display of athleticism, load up on complex carbohydrates (ie whole wheat pasta, brown rice) for dinner. Your body will store the rice in your liver as glycogen, which you can easily tap into when you’re taking off to get the ground ball and box the Nobles girl out of the way. Remember to balance the carbohydrates out with lean proteins
-The day of the athletic event, avoid eating close to the game. It takes the body 6-4 hours to digest fat, 3 hours to digest protein, and 2 hours to digest carbohydrates. If you eat right before the game, your blood will be busy in your stomach digesting instead of bringing oxygen to your muscles, which will slow you down. If you are going slow, you won’t be there to make the stellar cut and shoot. Also, have you ever tried running on a full stomach? You feel like you’re going to puke everywhere. If you are super hungry before a game, munch on an easily digestible carbohydrate, such as saltines or a slice of bread.
-After the athletic event, your body will be repairing muscles and recovering from exhaustion. Give your body plenty of water, some protein, and a good night sleep. Don’t forget to give yourself a nice pat on the back for being victorious.

Monday, May 17, 2010

What exactly is sustainability? And why does it matter when it comes to food?

My AP environmental textbook gives me a nice definition of sustainability, and because i trusted this book enough to maybe give me a 5 on the AP exam, i can trust it to give me a solid definition.
Sustainability: A guiding principle of environmental science that requires us to live in such a way as to maintain earth's systems and its natural resources for the foreseeable future.
in not textbook English, that means using resources wisely, so next year when we need a resource, its still there. for example if you cut down every tree in a forest, next year when you need a tree, there will be no trees left. but if you only cut down a few trees, next year when you return there will be trees left.
So how does this apply to food? well unlike trees that take decades and decades to grow back, food (ie corn, tomatoes, rice) only takes a season or so, and we have enough land dedicated to food production, (12% of earth's land is dedicated to growing crops, this shocking statistic was also found in my AP environmental science textbook, good job textbook.) so if one region is in drought and cannot grow crops, other regions are able to make up for it. however, because we never seem to run out of food, many do not see how we are running out of the resources to produce food. in fact, producing crops takes a lot more effort than one might think.
i'm a tomato, and i live in California. i was planted in the ground by a truck that uses diesel. then the same diesel chugging truck continued to drive around me to spray me with pesticides and fertilizers. these pesticides and fertilizers were all made in factories. every day or so, when it doesn't rain enough (which is often), a sprinkler is turned on and i am watered. this water came from the Colorado river, which is very far from my patch of soil in California. to get the Colorado water to me, pipes were built and ground was dug up to put the pipes underground and segments of the river and its tributaries were dammed, resulting in loss of habitat and a change in the river's ecosystem. when i'm finally nice and plump, a diesel chugging truck comes and picks me. then i am sent to a processing plant where i am packaged in petroleum based plastics. then i am loaded in an air controlled, diesel chugging, tractor trailer that drives me all the way to a distribution plant in western MA. from there, another truck drives me to a supermarket. at the supermarket, some lady picks me up and then drives me to her house. later that evening, half of me is consumed. the other half of me goes bad in the fridge and then i am thrown out.
think of all the resources that tomato just took up, the diesel it took to grow it and ship it to your mouth, the chemicals that had to be produced to protect it from bugs and help it grow bigger, and all the people that were needed to drive the tractor, wrap the tomato in plastic, drive the truck, unload the tomato from the truck, drive the other truck, and then arrange the tomato on a shelf at the supermarket. all of this effort was put in for one tomato, and only half of the tomato was actually eaten. tons of non-renewable resources were wasted in this process. in order to keep eating, our current food system based on waste, unnecessary energy output, and burning fossil fuels will need to change and become more sustainable.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

crust less tomato and spinach quiche

this magical egg dish can be a breakfast, lunch, or dinner. once you master the recipe you can mix up the fillings to include anything from mushrooms to rutabaga. whatever strikes your fancy. for this version, you need:
6 eggs
One cup skim milk
6 cocktail tomatoes
2 handfuls spinach
Choice of herbs
½ cup shredded cheese

Crack 6 eggs into a bowl and whisk together with 1 cup milk and a dash of your choice of herb. Chop tomatoes into bite sized chunks and rip up the spinach into similar sized chunks. Spray a pie pan with nonstick spray. Line the pie pan with the chopped tomatoes and spinach. Pour whisked eggs over tomatoes and spinach filling. Sprinkle the cheese over the top. Bake at 375’ for 30 – 40 mins.