Monday, February 22, 2010

Grocery Store Wars

I thought maybe you could all use a chuckle.  :-)

Thursday, February 18, 2010


 FoodNews: Shopper's Guide to Pesticides

At the yahoo E2L group, one of the members referenced this FoodNews website that lists the worst and most contaminated produce. 

At the link above you'll find more information on the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen and the full list of vegetables and fruits that have been rated from worst to best. 

You may want to bookmark it for future reference.  You can also, if you prefer, download a pdf version or an iPhone app at their website.

 The list of the most contaminated produce has changed since Dr. Fuhrman wrote his book, Eat To Live.  This may be of importance to you if you purchase organic produce from his list because some things have changed.

 Dr. Fuhrman's dirty dozen included five items that are no longer on the top twelve list. 

 Dr. Fuhrman's List

  1. Strawberries
  2. Bell peppers
  3. Spinach*
  4. Cherries - USA
  5. Peaches
  6. Cantaloupe - Mexico*
  7. Celery
  8. Apple
  9. Apricots*
  10. Green beans*
  11. Grapes - Chile
  12. Cucumbers*
*No longer one of the top twelve

New list
  1. Peaches - 100
  2. Apples - 93
  3. Bell peppers - 83
  4. Celery - 82
  5. Nectarines - 81
  6. Strawberries - 80
  7. Cherries - 73
  8. Kale - 69
  9. Lettuce - 67
  10. Grapes - Imported - 66
  11. Carrot - 63
  12. Pear - 63
  13. Collard Greens - 60
  14. Spinach - 58
  15. Potato - 56
  16. Green beans - 53
  17. Summer squash - 53
  18. Pepper - 51
  19. Cucumber - 50
  20. Raspberries - 46
  21. Grapes - domestic - 44 
  22. Plum - 44
  23. Orange - 44
  24. Cauliflower - 39
  25. Tangerine - 37
  26. Mushrooms - 36
  27. Banana - 34
  28. Winter squash - 34 
  29. Cantaloupe - 33
  30. Cranberries - 33
  31. Honeydew melon - 30
  32. Grapefruit - 29
  33. Sweet Potato - 29
  34. Tomato - 28
  35. Broccoli - 28
  36. Watermelon - 26
  37. Papaya - 20
  38. Eggplant - 20 
  39. Cabbage - 17
  40. Kiwi - 13
  41. Sweet  peas - frozen 10
  42. Asparagus - 10
  43. Mango - 9
  44. Pineapple - 7
  45. Sweet corn - frozen - 2
  46. Avocado - 1
  47. Onion (best) - 1
Note: We ranked a total of 47 different fruits and vegetables but grapes are listed twice because we looked at both domestic and imported samples.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Simple Salsa

Last night I came home and fixed a huge salad for supper.  I also boiled a pound of jalapeno peppers to make some salsa for dh.  He loves the stuff  and adds it to almost everything he eats.

 What I normally do is to add an onion and some garlic into the pan with the peppers, but this was one of those times I didn't. I let those green-hot beauties boil for about ten minutes and then cut off the heat and let them cool while I ate supper.

Afterwards, I destemmed them and plunked them into my Vita-mix canister.  And by the way, when I do use onion and garlic, I leave the garlic cloves whole and cut the onion in forths.  But as I said previously, I didn't add them in last night so I reached for the onion and garlic powder allowing them to pour like sand into the canister until I think I've added enough. 

Everyone's different when it comes to taste.  My dh is more of a plain and simple with some of his food and salsa's one of those foods.  If you wanted more flavor, you could add tomatillos, cilantro, oregano, cumin, etc., but for dh, onion and garlic makes him happy. 

I don't add salt like I use to, but the 28 oz  can of diced tomatoes I dumped on top of the peppers have 220 mg per 1/2 cup serving.  So that's not too bad for someone cutting down on salt.

I try to have only 300 mg of added sodium per day, but dh is not quite there yet.  So I've adjusted my eating habits somewhat to accomodate what he's able to handle and although he's cut down on his sodium intake quite a bit, he's not ready to follow Dr. Fuhrman's recommendation just yet. 

So at this point I turn the dial from low to high real quick and flip the power button off.  We like our salsa a little chunky, but if you want yours less chunky or completely smooth, you'll need to leave it on a little longer. 

Also, this salsa is really hot.  You may need to experiment with your ratio of peppers to tomatoes.  I have a friend who would make this and she added some tomato juice because it was just way too hot.  But that makes it more liquidy.  So it really depends on what you like.  You may want to try 1/4 of a pound of jalapenos to a 28 oz can of tomatoes.   Even that may be too hot for some. 

I use the home-made salsa every night when I roll up a flour tortilla with pinto beans in the center topped off with this fiery-hot stuff.  This is for dh's breakfast in the morning.  He's not quite ready for a green smoothie. 

I also peel and orange and drop it into a Ziploc bag and there are cans of low-sodium V-8 juice in the fridge and he takes one of those with him too.

Sometimes the jalapenos we get here don't have a lot of heat and maybe that's true for you too.  Dh is always disappointed when they end up mild so I  add some hot chili powder to give the salsa some heat.  If any of you try the salsa recipe, I'd like to hear how it goes. 

Thursday, February 4, 2010

More on making life easier.

Remember the food saver from the previous post.  I showed you how you can remove the air from canning jars and store your cut up veggies for two or three days.

Well I only have the wide mouth sealer and haven't bought the regular size sealer yet.  But you can still remove the air from the regular jars without it. At least you can with the smaller jars. 

There's a 3 canister set that came with my food saver.  A small canning jar will fit into the largest size canister as shown in the picture. You attach the plastic tube to the lid on the canister and also to the food saver vacuum machine. 
Then you push the canister button and it'll take all the air out of the pint size jar. I plan on getting the regular mason jar sealer, but until I do, it's nice to be able to seal the small jars.  The jar in the picture has some brown rice in it.  You can store all your rice, legumes, whole wheat pastas, etc. this way, but you'll want to use the quart size and not the pints.

There are bags that you can purchase for the food saver and they also have a rolls of plastic in two different sizes.  It's sides are sealed and the top and bottom are loose to be sealed by the purchaser.  As you can see in the picture, I used bags to freeze some lasagna.  What I did was cut the lasagna into individual portions and froze them overnight on a cookie sheet.
The next day I sealed the lasagna in single and double portions.  If my dh and I both want lasagna, I'll pull out the double portion, but if just one of us will be eating the lasagna, I wanted the single portions available too.

I actually had fun operating the machine.  I felt like a kid playing with a new toy.  :-)  The directions say that you can place the bag in boiling water (not to exceed a certain temperature -  and no I don't remember what that is at the moment), or you can place the vacuum sealed lasagna in the microwave.  I don't think I'll do either.  I'll probably let them defrost and remove them from the bag onto a plate and heat the food in the microwave.  The bags can be washed and reused, but not if you've boiled food in them or put them in the microwave.

The only problem I see with reusing them is that you need three inches at the top for sealing so the food size would end up becoming less and less.  I guess I have some experimenting to do.  :-)