What’s a little bug spray here and there?


The USDA would like most people to believe that, in the face of the latest study released by the Environmental Working Group. They have stated that the amounts of pesticide found in the produce used in the study are in keeping with the EPA guidelines for pesticides in food.
According to the study, most of the regular produce samples it examined retained pesticide after ten seconds of washing and even peeling in some cases. They suggest that the following be bought organic if possible, because of the levels of pesticides found – apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, nectarines, grapes, sweet bell peppers, potatoes, blueberries, lettuce, kale/collard greens. This is not a good excuse to give up fruits and vegetables, as the USDA and the Environmental Working Group agree that it is healthier to eat the produce after washing it than to skip fruits and vegetables altogether because of their nutritional value.

Baking with blue agave nectar


This year when I baked Max’s birthday cake in his favorite red velvet, I tried something different – blue agave nectar instead of sugar. I had been toying with the idea ever since I got my first vegan cookbooks. It really appealed to me, because I’m always open to new ways to reduce the amount of refined sugar we use. Another thing that made me interested in the agave nectar was the fact that it is a low glycemic food and doesn’t cause the blood sugar spikes that come with the amounts of granulated sugar called for in cake recipes. I was a little apprehensive, because I wanted my cakes to have their usual taste, so I talked to Diva in Demand, cake baker extraordinaire, and she raved about the flavor of desserts made with blue agave nectar. My cakes came out well and was slightly more moist with the 1:1 ratio. Everybody thought they were great. I made a pineapple upside down cake and it was amazing. In the future, I am looking at toning that down to a 3:4 ratio because I found myself having to balance the flavor of the nectar with a teeny bit more vanilla. Some are perfectly happy with the flavor of desserts with a 1:1 ratio, though.

The Soup Diaries. Day 1.


One of the wonderful things about having oral surgery is the opportunity to eat soft and liquid food. Good times, right?Today I had Imagine Natural Creations creamy broccoli soup. It was delicious – smooth, balanced, and filling – and easy to make. I’ve used Imagine in the past for my husband when he’d have the flu or something and they are usually high quality soups that have fresh, organic ingredients and are low in sodium.

Creamy broccoli soup is ¬†also non-dairy and gluten free and happened to be marked down at Safeway (actually all of the Imagine soups were), which was a bonus. Since they average about 70 or 80 cents a serving at regular price, I think it’s a good choice for a special treat or as part of a healthy lunch. Each one cup serving of the broccoli soup only has about 60 calories and 15 from fat, so neat things like cheesy toast or croutons can be added without guilt.