Monday, January 31, 2011
A few weeks ago, while attempting to remove the seeds from a pair of butternut squash, I had a flash of domestic goddess brilliance.
Why not use a grapefruit spoon to do the job?!
I tried it and am happy to report that it works really well. The spoon's tiny little teeth make the seed removal easier and quicker than it would be with a regular spoon.
Now I wouldn't dream of using anything else... Give it a whirl and see what you think.
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Saturday, January 29, 2011
A quick update on my earlier post about where to find BPA-free canned goods. Just a couple of weeks ago, Eden Foods, the makers of BPA-free canned beans, introduced a new, largely BPA-free option -- glass jars of tomatoes and sauce.
Their jars use a special amber-colored glass to help maintain freshness, flavor and nutrients by preventing light from damaging the tomatoes. Although the new jars do still have some BPA in the jar lid, it is separated from the tomatoes by another layer of epoxy (likely also not that good for you) and also by an air space.
Regardless, Eden Foods is definitely heeding the call for more BPA-free options and doing their best to give us safer, healthier products.Thanks, Eden!
To sum up, we now have the following safer options:
Pomi uses Tetra-Pak packaging which contains no PVC. The packages are lined with polyethylene -- one of the safer food-grade plastics. They offer chopped tomatoes, strained tomatoes, marinara sauce and chopped tomatoes with basil.
BioNaturae offers glass jars without BPA in their jar lids (but the jar lids are lined with PVC which is also not so great for humans)-- they offer whole peeled, diced, and crushed tomatoes, as well as tomato paste.
Eden Organics offers glass jars with a little bit of BPA in the lining of the lids (though separated from the tomatoes by a layer of a different plastic) -- they now offer organic spaghetti sauce, no salt spaghetti sauce, pizza & pasta Sauce, crushed tomatoes, crushed tomatoes with sweet basil, and crushed tomatoes with roasted onion & garlic. They also offer a full line of BPA-free canned beans and chilis.
Of course, you can also preserve your own tomatoes in glass jars (though there is undoubtedly some BPA in the lids of home canning jars, too) or freeze them (an entirely BPA-free option!) But this is not really the season for it...
Thanks to Alicia at The Soft Landing and Tree Hugger for the info. You can also read more at Eden Food's web site.
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Saturday, January 1, 2011
A few weeks ago, we discovered that Will LOVES pumpkin bread. Since he's often too busy to be bothered with eating (after all, who can eat when there are trains to push, trucks to drive, and big words like po-me-gra-nate, a-va-ca-do and re-fri-ger-at-or to say loudly?), we are always thrilled to find something he's willing to make time for.
The recipe is from my new favorite cookbook, Recipes From The Root Cellar. I doubled it and made one loaf with almonds (for me) and one loaf with chunks of crystallized ginger (for my husband who is wild about the stuff). Will can eat both, of course. Had I had them on hand, I might have added mini chocolate chips to one of the loaves, too...
The result is gooood. A sweet, rich, moist loaf with just the right amount of spice and flavor. Excellent plain and even better toasted and spread with butter or cream cheese.
This recipe calls for butter but if you don't eat dairy, there are many others out there that use oil instead of butter. I used canned pumpkin but you can also use leftover squash purees (even if they're already flavored or spiced) or make your own pumpkin puree if you've got the time. If you do that, just remember to seek out a pumpkin meant for eating -- the ones we carve would taste gross!
Enjoy! Wishing you and yours a sweet new year.
Pumpkin Bread With Almonds & Crystallized Ginger
Makes one loaf
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 tsps baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsps ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled
- 1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
- 2 eggs (use pasture-raised if you can get 'em)
- 1 cup cooked, pureed pumpkin or winter squash
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds or chopped pecans or walnuts (optional) or
- 1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger (optional) or
- 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate morsels (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and set aside.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt in a medium bowl.
3. In a large bowl, whisk the butter and brown sugar until well-blended. Beat in the eggs and pumpkin/squash until smooth. Stir in the flour mixture then fold in the optional ingredients (nuts, ginger, chocolate). Scrape the batter into the greased loaf pan.
4. Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes then remove from the pan and cool completely.
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