Monday, April 30, 2012

Cooking with the Kids

A few weeks ago I took my daughter to a local organic bakery in Ridgefield.   While I sipped a cappuccino with skim, she had a cinnamon/butterscotch scone and fell in love.   I tasted a corner, and I would have to agree that it was very, very yummy.   We bought two more scones to bring home with us, and by the weekend, my daughter was asking to go back to the bakery to get more.

I had some problems with just going back to the bakery and buying more.   For one thing, although they're really, really delicious, a cinnamon/butterscotch scone is best as an occasional breakfast treat and not a breakfast staple for a growing 11 year old girl.

Another thing, I kind of adhere to Michael Pollan's philosophy that it's OK to eat goodies, as long as you make them yourself.   Buying scones, even at an organic bakery, side-steps that rule.   Did I also mention that buying scones at an organic bakery is somewhat pricey???

So instead of just buying more of my daughter's favorite new treat, we could try making them ourselves.  I thought it would be a good lesson in baking, and following a recipe.   I proposed the idea to my daughter and she enthusiastically agreed.

I Googled "Cinnamon butterscotch scone" and came up with nadda.   I next tried "cinnamon scone" and came up with several recipes although none seemed to match the basic scone that we had gotten at the bakery.  

I realized that I'd have to start with a base recipe and adapt.   I explained this to my daughter, and thought that this would be another good baking lesson--you don't have to just slavishly follow a recipe.  

So here's the base recipe we decided to use.   The organic bakery scones had a sugar/cinnamon topping, so we thought this would be a good start.   We followed the recipe with two changes.   First we added 2 teaspoons of cinnamon to the flour mixture.  Second, we swapped out butterscotch chips for the cinnamon chips (which we couldn't find anyway).

The end result?   Not quite what we were looking for.   The overall product just wasn't as "yummy," my daughter told me.  

My own feeling was that the scones where too "caky" as opposed to "flaky."  Probably due to two things--the heavy cream and the egg.   Generally, I usually like to use buttermilk as opposed to cream in my scones and the next version of this recipe will definitely swap out the cream for buttermilk (and eliminate a lot of the fat as well).  

The cakiness was also likely do to the egg in the recipe.   I thought the egg an odd addition for a scone recipe.   I've made scones plenty of times in the past and I never added egg.   So prior to our next try, I'll do some more research again and try to find an eggless cinnamon scone recipe.

The cinnamon/sugar topping and the butterscotch chips, however, were definite keepers.  

So, my daughter and I are now on a baking mission to replicate her scones.   It's a good lesson for her to learn.   Not everything has to come out of a packaged box or be purchased.   And, if you try a recipe and it doesn't come out as planned, adapt, and try again.

Friday, April 27, 2012

All Natural--REALLY?????

It turns out that Kellogg's Kashi cereal contains GMOs.    The above photo was put on the shelves of a very ethical natural food market.   When it discovered that Kashi, which claims to be "natural" contained GMOs and pesticides, it heaved it's sorry "unnatural" ass from the market's shelves.  

I've written before that you can't trust the "natural" label on food.  It's meaningless.   But then, "organic" is pretty meaningless as well.   

I guess the only thing you really can do is arm yourself with information.  

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Burger King is pledging to source it's pork and eggs from cage-free facilities.

I call this progress because it represents a step back from the factory-farmed, processed foods, that have predominated our food supply for too long now.

Don't get me wrong.  I still think that actually eating at Burger King should be avoided.   The food is still too processed to be either healthy or low-cal.  

However, by treating animals humanely, it will hopefully mean that fewer antibiotics will be needed--a good thing.   If we "de-factory" the methods of creating meat, maybe that will mean that we'll eventually "de-factory" our food production down the line until we are once again eating natural, un-manufactured food.

It's a dream.   I know it, but then, I'm a dreamer.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What the F@ck did they Do to Blogger???

 I log onto blogger to see what's going on with my blog, and everything is different.   They've completely changed the Dashboard.   It took me six minutes to figure out how to review comments, and then I couldn't figure out how to put up a new post (I'm still not sure I'll be able to do it).

I thought when improvements to technology are made, one of the goals is to make it more user-friendly.    I'm freaking out here.  I'm lost.   Hopefully I'll be able to figure this all out in the next few weeks.

Monday, April 23, 2012

You're Fat Because You Eat Too Much

I LOVE this image.   It's from a 1950's Better Homes &  Gardens Diet book and I found it on the blog American Women Didn't Get Fat in the Fifties.  

As the poster pointed out, it's rare to see this kind of directness today.   For one thing, the word "fat" has taken on the same connotations as "retarded."   Fat is now kind of a "dirty" word, and using terms like "overweight," are more acceptable.

But the truth is, we are fat, overweight, etc. BECAUSE we eat too much (and don't get enough exercise).   

Thursday, April 19, 2012

What do I Miss Most About Living in the City?

The walking.   The kids are off from school this week, so yesterday my husband and I took the kids into the city for the day.  

First we went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art were we checked out the Egyptian Galleries and European paintings. 

Then, we just walked around the Upper East Side for a few hours shopping, and capped off the day by having dinner in a European-style bistro.  

We drove into the city.  Parked the car on the Upper East Side, and then from there just walked.   We walked for hours, and I wish I had my pedometer on to clock how many miles we covered. 

I miss walking like that.   I lived in New York for over ten years, and always adored just walking around.    I hated both the subways and buses and rarely took them, and I couldn't afford to cab it everywhere.    That pretty much left just walking as my primary mode of transport.  

Within a year of moving into the city, I dropped 15 pounds without really doing anything.

Walking is probably the reason why most New Yorkers are slender.   When walking is your primary means of transport, you can't help but to shed pounds.   I just wish the opportunity to walk for hours shopping, dining, etc., existed where I live now. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Does Exercising Make you Eat More???

It can, depending on how fit you are to begin with, says this New York Times article.   The bottom line of the study was that while most people LOST weight by exercising, some didn't because they ate more.   

So guess what???? If you want to lose weight you have eat less and exercise more. 


Friday, April 13, 2012

Your Pants are Lying to You

I've always thought that clothing manufacturers have "shrunk" sizes over time, but this confirms it. 

I still wear the same size that I did in college--size 4.   The only thing is that I can't actually fit into any of the size 4's that I had bought 20 plus years ago when I was a working woman and bought some high end clothes (like Chanel and Donna Karan).   My old size 4's from 20 plus years ago are more like size 2 or 0 today (0 and 2 didn't even exist as sizes back then).  

I also known that while my size has remained the same, my measurements have gotten larger.  

Still it was fun to see my suspicions regarding "size inflation" confirmed by the Economist.  

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Case Against Gyms

I have to admit that I am one of those people who loathes the gym.   Gyms are just not my scene or my kind of work-out   Yet, when I read this piece I had to object.

I guess what I object to is the "one size fits all" approach.   Yes, I agree that gyms are, for the most part, money suckers and you're better off getting your exercise outdoors or at home.   As someone who once lived in a cramped NYC apartment, however, I would have to say that a gym membership is somewhat of a necessity if you want to keep up a work-out regime throughout the year.  

Now that I live in the burbs and have the space to  devote to a treadmill in my home, I see no need for a gym membership (nor do I have the time to travel to and from the gym daily).    

I'm also not an "exercise class" fan either.   No Aerobics or Zumba for me, but I know plenty of women who hate running or walking and wouldn't exercise if not for Aerobics or Zumba.   

I say find what motivates you to exercise.   For me it's yoga, Tai Chi and walking, both outside and inside on the treadmill.  I also enjoy hiking and skiing as well.  

If you're someone who doesn't want to go outdoors unless the weather is between 65-70 degrees and sunny and don't have the room for a piece of in-home equipment, however, a gym membership may be the thing for you.   Ditto if you're a social animal who needs social stimulation to work out.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Back on the Mat Again

I'm still in recovery mode after my shoulder surgery, and will be for quite a while. My doctor says it will be a good 4-6 months before I'm completely pain free.

I was cleared, however, to start practicing yoga again, and I was back on the mat Monday.   I did a self-practice at my Shala, and kept it very light and easy.  I did 40 minutes of yoga, pretty much focusing on hip opening, and doing nothing that put pressure on my shoulder.

Today I was more adventurous.   Pattahbi Jois' grandson Sharath is teaching in nearby Greenwich this week.  I didn't want to miss the opportunity to practice with the Guru's grandson, so I rolled out my mat and did what I could.   I would have preferred to be able to do at least a downward dog, but was happy that I could do what I could do.

I keep telling myself that I need to be patient, but I really can't wait to be pain free and doing head-stands, crow and other arm balances again.   Hell, I'd just like to be able to lift my arm up over my head again. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Nuke those Veggies!!!

It turns out that microwaving vegetables may not be all that bad as far as nutrition goes.  

I've always had a bit of a love/hate relationship with my microwave.    I absolutely love the convenience, but there's been so much literature about microwaves sapping the veggies of their nutrients and other bad stuff, that it's always left me in a big of quandary.   

Well, it turns out that whether you nuke, saute, boil or bake, you're losing some nutrients.   
While I'm still squeamish about nuking, I think that it's better to microwave vegetables and eat them, than avoid eating them because it's too much work (although eating raw is probably the best of all). 

I do follow some rules, however.   I never microwave in plastic to avoid the leeching of cancer causing chemicals into my food, and  try to keep the time in the microwave as short as possible.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Know Thy Chicken

Did you know that factory-farmed chickens are routinely fed arsenic, Prozac and other drugs and chemicals???? I knew about hormones but arsenic???

Nicholas Kristof covers this in his latest New York Times opinion piece.

After looking into industrial raised chicken practices here's what he found:

That’s because my topic today is a pair of new scientific studies suggesting that poultry on factory farms are routinely fed caffeine, active ingredients of Tylenol and Benadryl, banned antibiotics and even arsenic.
He was pretty floored by this:

Likewise, I grew up on a farm, and thought I knew what to expect in my food. But Benadryl? Arsenic? These studies don’t mean that you should dump the contents of your refrigerator, but they do raise serious questions about the food we eat and how we should shop.

Kristof concludes that his family is better off eating organic. But there's "organic" and then there's "organic." Organic is, unfortunately, now just another label, and doesn't necessarily mean you'll be avoiding unwanted drugs, hormones and chemicals in your food.

Eating organic, is, of course, better than eating non-organic, but in the end you're best bet is buying directly from a farmer where you can question exactly how the food was produced. Second best is looking into the farming practices of individual producers to find out exactly how "organic" their product is.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

101 Year Old Awesome Yoga Dude Does Astounding Yoga

Ok, this Dude is a little bit on the TOO skinny side, but you have got to admit that being this flexible (and healthy) at 101 is awesome.

Monday, April 2, 2012


I was checking in with Marion Nestle's always well written and informative blog Food Politics, and saw that she had three (yes three!!) full posts on the pseudo-beef, food additive that has been come to be known as Pink Slime.   You can check them out here, here and here

I've been trying to follow the debate on pink slime, but have to admit I'm still pretty confused.   I have no idea whether or not the stuff should be legally allowed into food meant for human consumption.

I can, however, tell you one thing for sure, I do not want either myself or my family eating it.   BPI and other processors of pink slime AKA Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB) can argue all they want that it's safe, healthy etc., but I don't want it in my body.

To that end I have one word LABELING.   If is an any product, then it should be clearly spelled out that it's in a product.   Of course the absolute best way to avoid ingesting LFTB would be to just not eat processed meat products or at fast food joints--something I adhere to already.  

Nestle notes that BPI argues that LFTB is safer than using the usual cheap beef products making it less likely that E. Coli will be present.

I have a better idea, just pay more for better beef.    Cheap food is making us sick and fat.   Pay more for your food, eat better and just eat less.   You don't have to spend more on food to eat better.