Review | Superfood Kitchen by Julie Morris

March 25, 2013
Review | Superfood Kitchen by Julie Morris

It’s hard to read any food or nutrition book, magazine, or website without some reference to the latest and greatest “superfood.” Not all mentions of them are good, there is plenty of skepticism about the veracity of these powerhouse foods–the acai, the goji, the chia, the maca. Are they really all they’re cracked up to be? Who knows. Whether you cite ancient cultures that revere these new-to-us foods or the science behind them, I’m of the opinion that it never hurts to make dining choices that could improve our health and, maybe, prevent the need for as many pharmaceuticals as we take these days. (Though I’m also quick to add that I don’t think we should disregard doctor’s prescriptions for a “natural” remedy without so much as a by-your-leave; scientific research and implementation has it’s place.) This is why I was more than happy to take a look at Julie Morris’ Superfood Kitchen and, of course, try out a few recipes in the process. Morris,  a Los Angeles’ natural foods chef, has written an informative tome on the popular superfoods of today focusing on nutrient density and a plant-based diet. She candidly shares her personal experience, and a common one at […]

Read more »

Perfect Pasta Without the Wheat

March 18, 2013
Perfect Pasta Without the Wheat

In honor of National Noodle Month, I though it’d be a good time to talk about the wheat-free pasta situation. Is it a situation at all? That’s for you to decide. Pasta and sauce has always been the go-to meal for the time and cash strapped individuals and families out there. Spaghetti is cheap (about a dollar a pound for the basics) and a sauce can be anything from seasoned crushed tomatoes to olive oil with a little Parmesan cheese. It’s a satisfying meal, no question. And who hasn’t loved gooey mac & cheese at some point in their lives, right? With many people looking to get whole grains in their diet, whole wheat pasta has secured a place on the shelves and–while not always as tasty as the refined durum semolina products out there, many of us accept it as one of those little steps we can take to be that much healthier. When you go wheat free (like I did when I switched to a Low-FODMAP diet), pasta is one of those things you automatically kiss goodbye, usually with a heavy heart. That doesn’t have to be the case, however, if you’re willing to give some alternate grains […]

Read more »

Technicolor Food: Think Before You Eat

March 11, 2013
Technicolor Food: Think Before You Eat

For St Patrick’s Day, it’s not just people who will celebrate by wearing ‘o the green, food will be taking on a decidedly different hue. Green beer is only the beginning. It seems like green got an early start with many people celebrating Dr. Seuss’s birthday last weekend, there were lots of versions of green eggs (with or without the ham) popping up. I’ve seen green velvet cake on Pinterest, but at least it’s a change from the rainbow cakes featuring layer upon layer of technicolor batter. And that before we even get to the cakes, cupcakes, and cookies dripping with green icing. We eat with our eyes, it’s true. And a great way to insure maximum nutrition is to have many colors on your plate. So I suppose it’s no surprise that we’re drawn to these technicolor foods: they’re meant to be festive, after all. Yes, back in my cake-decorating days I dealt my share of vibrantly colored cakes and pastries. I used to love red velvet cake before I made my first one from scratch only to cringe at the 2 bottles of liquid dye it takes to achieve that rich, red color. These days all I can […]

Read more »

Review | The Complete Gluten-Free Whole Grains Cookbook by Judith Finlayson

March 4, 2013
Review | The Complete Gluten-Free Whole Grains Cookbook by Judith Finlayson

Some folks thing giving up gluten-bearing wheat, barley, and rye means a lifetime sentence to rice side dishes. Now, I happen to like rice in all its various forms and flavors, but even I’d get tired of it if that was my only grain option! This is, of course, not the case even if you just expand your horizons only as far as oats and corn. And then there’s quinoa–a pseudo-grain (really a seed) that is becoming quite popular and is tasty source of plant protein, millet–a cost-effective option but you might have to look for it in health-food stores, and wild rice (another seed); chances are you’ve heard of more than a few of these, too. In The Complete Gluten-Free Whole Grains Cookbook, the author also digs deeper into other grains like amaranth, buckwheat, Job’s tears, and sorghum–all of which might be tough to find in smaller cities, at least in raw material form. I find amaranth in my new-favorite gluten-free cereal option (Mesa Sunrise), and buckwheat I can find in mixes and soba noodles (not that we’ll be seeking those out any time soon after the last reminder that their flavor is somewhat of an acquired taste), and […]

Read more »

Recipe | Low-FODMAP Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

February 25, 2013
Recipe | Low-FODMAP Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

One of the biggest challenges for me, starting off this Low-FODMAP Lifestyle (especially since we started just after Thanksgiving so I was facing Christmas without cookies, etc.), was finding high-quality, good-tasting bread products that didn’t include wheat, barley, rye, or any of other high-FODMAP ingredients. Thankfully (though I consider it a bit of a double-edged sword–but that’s a topic for another time), gluten-free foods and products are a lot easier to find these days, and those products are an excellent place to start when you’re going low-FODMAP, but gluten-free doesn’t automatically mean FODMAP-free (or, rather, low-FODMAP–FODMAP-free would be really tough). Many times a gluten-free cookie or break will include high-FODMAP fruit-derived sweeteners like apple and pear juice concentrates, fructooligosaccharides (aka FOS), high-FODMAP fiber additions like inulin, or even simple ingredients like honey or agave nectar that are no-nos for those of us on this diet. Consequently, I found myself getting better results baking from scratch than using mixes–even pre-made gluten-free flour blends–but sometimes you really do want that convenience factor. So I keep trying whatever I can find. One product I’ve been fairly happy with the is Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Yellow Cake Mix. I bought it on a lark one […]

Read more »

Review | Better Food For Dogs by Bastin, Ashton & Nixon

February 18, 2013
Review | Better Food For Dogs by Bastin, Ashton & Nixon

Honey, tonight we’re eating dog food! And you know what? It wasn’t half bad. Let me back up a second before you think I’ve completely lost my mind. When I picked up Better Food for Dogs (with the oh-so-adorable wrinkly bulldog puppy on its cover), I was expecting a few lists of things dogs should never eat and a lot of recipes for treats, “muttloaf” and things of that nature. What I found was a book full of information that every dog owner can use, including many “Doc’s Doctrine” sidebars from Dr. Grant Nixon, D.V.M., the veterinarian that contributed to the book along with David Bastin and Jennifer Ashton–former dog bakery owners and dog-lovers themselves. The recipes come only after a rather thorough examination of what the proper diet can do for dogs. The authors purport that does benefit from varying diets just as humans do and that it’s difficult for them to receive all the nutrition they need from a steady diet of only one sort of food. They even take on the topics of vegan diets for dogs as well as the raw diet trend–neither of which they are highly in favor of (the first as it’s not realistic for […]

Read more »

Review | Savory Pies by Greg Henry

February 11, 2013
Review | Savory Pies by Greg Henry

Pies have always had their fans, but it’s a food usually offered as an alternative to cakey goods. One of the main best selling points is the ratio of filling to crust you get in a pie that far outweighs the filling and frosting ratio in a similar cake. But that’s all desserts–what about pie as your meal? Probably the first thing you think of when considering a main-dish or savory pie is quiche, that brunch staple, or else a chicken pot pie might come to mind. I admit an old episode of Emeril and his crawfish cheesecake is also lurking in the back of my head, so I was more than a little curious to see what inspiration there might lie in Greg Henry’s Savory Pies: Delicious Recipes for Seasoned Meats, Vegetables and Cheeses Baked in Perfectly Flaky Pie Crusts. I was not disappointed. The first thing to notice is that this is not just a book of pie fillings. Henry goes beyond the simple single- or double-crust pies with fluted edges into tarts, turnovers, pizzas, and pastelles. Pretty much anything that could be put into or under a crust or covering was considered fair game. There are sections […]

Read more »