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I FINALLY found a Peanut Butter I Love!

I’ll keep this short and sweet.   I LOVE peanut butter.   Always have.   Eat it by the spoonful out of the jar kind of love.   Since I’ve switched to all natural peanut butter, my love has waned a bit.    Let’s face it, when you have to pry it out of the jar and it breaks your bread in pieces there is some love loss.   I know you’ve been there.   And don’t get me started about stirring a fresh jar – oh the mess!

Well, all of the mixed emotions are now gone.   I went into Trader Joe’s for Easter Candy earlier in the week (which by the way no Chocolate bunnies this year.  What?)  and picked up this jar to make the copy cat Reese’s Eggs I posted earlier this week.

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I’m in LOVE!   There was little to no oil separation on the  top to stir in.   The consistency was wonderful – not at all grainy or clumpy.   And best of all?   I stayed that way once refrigerated.    I took this picture after it had been in the fridge a couple of days.

WP_000713Dare I say it actually reminds me of good old Jif or Skippy?   Which made me check the label again.

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And it’s all good.  For those of you who prefer chunky or unsalted, Trader Joe’s has those too.

Happy Friday!   I’m off to have a PB&J!

Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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What Will Your Bunny Bring?

eggs2Can you believe that this weekend is Easter?   It’s seeming a bit unreal to me.

Easter is one of the holidays that I loved as a kid.   The candy was good – you know I’m not one to pass up chocolate –  but what I loved most was hunting  Easter Eggs.    I would do it for weeks before and after with plastic eggs.    I would hide them for anyone that I could get to search for them.   OK, so  I’ve still got a thing for it.   Grant and I have already been doing it.

On my list of fun for this week are coloring eggs and finalizing Grant’s basket.    I really wanted to create my own food based dyes this year.   But it’s just not going to happen.  Luckily that was just for fun anyways as no one in our house (besides the dog) will actually eat a hard boiled egg.   If you plan to eat them, please consider buying a kit without artificial colors or make your own dyes.

Now, onto the basket.    Please don’t just fill it with candy.    Your kids may love you for it, but do you really want to deal with the sugar crash a few hours later?  I could go on about all the JUNK that’s in mass produced candy, but this is a holiday post and I’ll keep it happy.   Please just DON’T go there!!   (ok, here’s a link to tell you why)

In my mind balance is key.    There needs to be chocolate, bright colors, fun.   Ideally something for outside, something to read, something to create and of course something to eat.

Some of my favorite basket goodies include:

For Outside
Kites
Sidewalk Chalk
Bubbles
Jump Rope
Jacks
Tops
Bouncy Balls
Bug Nets
Garden Tools / Seeds

To Read
Books
Magazines
Comics

To Create
Water Color Set
Sketch or Coloring Book
Journal
Crayons, Markers or Colored Pencils
Legos

To Eat
A reasonably sized chocolate bunny (Gluten-Free, Organic, Fair Trade )
Trader Joe’s Organic Lollipops
Trader Joe’s or other Natural Jelly Beans
UNREAL Chocolate Pieces (like M&M’s but NO Corn Syrup, Trans Fats, Artificial Coloring or GMOs) – these are Grant’s favorites.
Annie’s Bunnies – take your pick of variety
Homemade Treats– Peanut Butter EggsPeeps (with all natural food coloring)  I hope to try both of these yet this week!
And maybe a bunch of fresh carrots with the greens still on???

To Hide in Eggs
Pennies (or larger coins if you feel generous)
1 gold dollar
Trader Joe’s or other Natural Jelly Beans
and don’t feel like every egg has to have “something in it”

I just had an awesome brainstorm.   I’m going to take the small Lego set I bought and break it up into some of the eggs.   Instructions in one, pieces in the rest.   Find all the eggs to get all the pieces – FUN!

100 Days of Real Food also has a great list of candy alternatives.

So have fun with your Easter baskets.   I’ll post pictures of Grant’s next week.  HUGS!  (just feel like you needed one today!)

© Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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A Sunday Surprise

I was thrilled to wake up and see the sun this morning.    The pacific northwest has only been home for a little over a year.      Even though Minnesota was COLD, we saw the sun in the winter.    Let’s just say it’s been an adjustment.

I got up early to sit  in the sun and finish a book that’s it’s taken me forever to get through.   The sun felt so good it was motivating.    It felt like a garden day.

One of the things I’m still dumbstruck by is how different the growing season is here.   I did go from zone 3 to zone 8 (those are garden zones), so it shouldn’t shock me.   But it still does.    It feels weird to see patio pots with flowers (yes, real ones) year round.    It’s even more strange to me that not only are my daffodils up (not a chance in MN) but will probably blossom by the end of the week.  My hubby even had to mow the lawn last weekend.   No kidding!

So I worked in the sun, in my garden, in a state of awe.    Because it was the first weekend in March.   Because my berry bushes had buds.    Because some of my perennials never went dormant.   Most most of all when I pushed aside a pile of leaves and saw orange!   My carrots that didn’t do much of anything over the summer had FINALLY grown!

I proceeded like a kid on an Easter egg hunt, giggling with every carrot I found.   By the time I dug them all, I probably had 4 pounds.

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They are not  pretty store bought carrots.   They have personality.    They taste bright, sweet and positively yummy.

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I doubt they’ll last the day.

Happy Sunday!

Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Eating More Scary Veggies – Romanesco

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At first glance you might think  this was some type of odd undersea creature.   Maybe some type of sedum (succulent garden plant)?   My hubby even said it looked mathematical.   Grant’s take?  Alien ear wax.  Hey, what can I say, he’s a 6 year old boy!  Although I do have to say the vibrant green color does lend to alien thoughts.

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Is it starting to look any more familiar?     What if you took those gorgeous conical spirals and and made them look more like mini trees?   Any ideas yet?

Yep, Romanesco is actually a heirloom variety of one of my favorite veggies – broccoli.  It’s a beauty to look at and one to taste as well.

I really should have taken pictures the day it came in my farm box.   It looked so much prettier.  But I didn’t.   So you get pictures with bumps and bruises after sitting in my veggie drawer for a few days.   It still looks awesomely cool if you ask me!

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Taste wise, I find Romanesco to be a mix between broccoli and cauliflower.    It’s very mild, and the color stays when you cook it.   Sometimes, especially when roasted, it can take on a slightly nutty flavor.

Where do you find such a thing?
I was lucky enough to get mine in my Box of Good  from Klesick’s last week.   Because it is an heirloom vegetable, it’s most likely to be found in the organic produce section.   I’ve seen it in several of the better grocery stores in my area and it’s becoming wildly popular at farmers markets as well.     Look for it at farmers markets when other broccoli hits the stands.    What you find in stores now (and what I had) is coming from California.

How to pick one?
Look for bright vibrant color and lack of blemishes.   If the leaves are still present you want to make sure they are still crisp and not wilted.

How to cook it?
I simply steamed it this time.  You could add it raw to jazz up your crudité platter.   It also works well substituted it in my Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower Recipe.     Here are a couple recipes that are on my list to try:

Smoky Romanesco Cauliflower, Celery Root and Broccoli Soup
Pasta e Broccoli

So what do you think?   Will you give it a try?

Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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It’s time to kick the can!

I’ve kicked the can.   The BPA (bisphenol A) lined can that is.   image

BPA first came to my attention a few years ago when they decided that it was dangerous enough to ban it from baby bottles.   BIG sign that it’s probably bad stuff.    But the majority of food producers are still using this as a component in the lining of our canned foods.

So what is BISPHENOL A ?   Per Webster:  an industrial chemical compound C15H16O2 that is a component of several commercially useful types of plastic.

Where is it found?   The lining in canned foods, plastic containers (especially those marked with #7 recycling symbols, but in others as well) and even in the paper used for thermal cash register receipts.   It’s also found in some dental fillings.

Why is it so bad?  BPA is endocrine-disrupting chemical that has been linked to fetal/child development issues (possibly even ADHD and Autism),  heart disease, diabetes, thyroid disease and liver issues.    It also thought to be linked to fertility issues, breast and prostate cancer and numerous other chronic diseases.   In fact, the World Health Organization has recently called endocrine-disruptors a “Global Threat.”

I encourage you to read “The Global Threat Lurking in Your Kitchen,”  published by Rodale.    This article further discusses BPA and other endocrine-disruptors and the effects that they are having on our bodies.

Some ways to avoid it

  • Limit or simply don’t eat canned food unless you know the company has a specific NO-BPA stance ( Eden Organics does.   Muir Glen is rumored to but does not specifically state it on their website.  My Trader Joe’s manager claims some of their products are, but that they do not label – so how can you tell!)
  • Avoid all plastics labeled with the #7 recycling seal.
  • Use as little plastic as possible around your food.   Consider switching food storage to glass or stainless steel.   If you choose to continue using plastics, make sure they are labeled as BPA free.
  • Don’t microwave in plastic.   Plastic may breakdown and leach components into your food.
  • Talk to your dentist about what’s in your current fillings and any new ones.  
  • Say “no thank you” to the receipt.   Especially at the gas pump or anywhere else that thermal paper is used.    You can absorb BPA through your skin too.

Resources / Further Reading
http://www.rodale.com/endocrine-disruptors?cm_mmc=TheDailyFixNL-_-1209228-_-02212013-_-The_Global_Threat_Lurking_in_Your_Kitchen_title
http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2013/hormone_disrupting_20130219/en/
http://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/sya-bpa/http://www.edenfoods.com/articles/view.php?articles_id=178
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/bpa/AN01955
http://www.rodale.com/dental-fillings-mercury-and-bpa
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-57473287-10391704/bpa-in-tooth-fillings-may-boost-kids-behavioral-problems/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bisphenol_A
http://www.rodale.com/topic/bpa-and-plastic

© Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

On the Quest for a Better Girl Scout Cookie

It’s that time of year again.    Everywhere you turn there is someone offering you a Thin Mint.

I fondly remember the days when I sold Girl Scout cookies.  Going door to door asking people I’d never met to buy cookies.  My Mum stood at the end of the sidewalk,  smiling and supporting.   I was the always the leading cookie seller in our troop, and I was REALLY, REALLY  proud of that fact.

Times have changed.  A LOT.   I can’t imagine sending Grant, who’s now 6,  door to door to sell anything.   What they ask our kids to sell, at least food wise, isn’t anything I would ever even consider buying at the store myself.   So do I need to buy it to support my kid?   I don’t think so.  Will I still support my kid, or the Girl Scouts?   You bet!

I have no problem just writing a check, or handing the girls selling cookies a $5 bill.    But it does tend to take people by surprise!  I think our PTA president was shocked when I emailed her to ask her how much they would make if Grant had sold 50 tubs of cookie dough (which turned out to be shocking low)  so I could write a check instead.    She gladly let me know AND she got more money out of the deal.

So are you wondering why I won’t even consider eating a Girl Scout cookie these days (aside from the gluten)?  Check out Fooducate’s reviews of what is actually in Girl Scout cookies.    No thank you to hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup and potentially GMO ingredients.  I’m sure that they were just as bad back when I sold them.      The difference is, I know better than to eat this stuff now.

That being said, I still want a taste of that nostalgia.  Selling all those cookies also meant I ate A LOT of them.   Thin Mints and Carmel deLights  in particular.     Did anyone else ever eat an entire row of Thin Mints in one sitting or was it just me?

I’ve noticed a slew of recipes popping up by great bloggers I love.   I thought it was time to put them all in one place and start testing them out.

Here are a few I’ve found so far…

GF = Gluten Free , SF = Refined Sugar Free, DF = Dairy Free

Thin MintsGF – from Gluten Free on a Shoestring

Thin MintsGF / DF – Silvana’s Kitchen

Thin Mints GF/SF, Paleo – from Elana’s Pantry (added 2/25/13)

Samoas (Carmel deLights) = GF/SF, Paleo – from Elana’s Pantry

Tagalongs (Peanut Butter Patties)GFfrom Gluten Free on a Shoestring

Do-si-dos (Peanut Butter Sandwiches) – GF – from Easy Eats (subscription required to view)

Lemonades – GF – from Gluten Free on a Shoestring  (added 2/25/13)

and because it just looks SOOO good….

Girl Scout Cookie Lara Bars – GFfrom Chocolate Covered Katie

For those of you that are not GF and want a cookie that contains wheat, do a Pinterest search and there are tons of homemade recipe options for you to try!

And remember…
Cookies are still cookies!  These recipes are real food, NOT health food.   Please eat in moderation! (yes, this as much to myself as it is to you !)

© Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Getting Back on Track… and Cookie Dough Balls

It’s been a while, hasn’t it.   Sorry about that.    WP_000032

The last two months have been filled with craziness, sickness and tears.  I lost my Grandpa just after Christmas.   I haven’t felt like doing much of anything.   I’m off track in so many ways right now.    But, I’m not going to beat myself up over it  (ok I will, but I’m trying really hard not to).   I’ve decided that I’m going to declare February 1st as the start of my New Year!

With my “New Year”  some exciting things happening……

I’m FINALLY going to try Plan to Eat (a meal planning service) and will keep you posted on my thoughts.

I’m taking two FREE classes through Coursera:  An Introduction to US Food System (via John Hopkins) and Nutrition for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (via UCSF).  I’m sure I’ll have lots of wonderful things to share from both classes.  If you are interested, you can still join either class.

And just because I wasn’t feeling good, doesn’t mean I wasn’t thinking about great things to write for you.   Coming your way soon….

    • A better way to fight the Crud
    • Beating Motion Sickness
    • Better Pain Management Options
    • How we went Gluten Free
    • Updated resources & a reading list.

Sorry, I’m rambling.    I do that.    I can hear you, you’re saying just give me that recipe already!  Right??  Well, here you go.

Cookie Dough Balls from Chocolate Covered Katie.   She actually calls them Cookie Pops which is a cute idea too.   I call them Cookie Dough Balls because that’s EXACTLY what they taste like.   Nothing’s better that raw chocolate chip cookie dough – except these, because they have no eggs and are safe to eat!    I made them with them with GF oat flour (which you can make by grinding oatmeal in your food processor – just measure after grinding).    They are highly addictive and a HUGE hit in my house!  Enjoy!

I’ll talk to you soon🙂

© Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alicia Myers Leifheit and FoodisaJourney.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.