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Posts Tagged ‘organic’

FarinaStrawberries2It’s always a good sign when I want to take a photograph of something, even if it is only my breakfast, and even better when I want to write about it. Still fighting some persistent flu or virus, I have been using all my energy these last 6 days to keep up with my workload. Creativity on my own behalf has hardly been an issue. Most days, just getting up and moving has been my primary focus. I’m sure you’ve been there.

But this morning I planned on making a hot breakfast and including the most luscious organic strawberries folded in and on top. What you see is a delicious brown rice farina. Yum! I’m not a shill for Bob’s Red Mill, really I’m not, but I do love many of their products, all of which are whole grain. If not organic, they are all non-GMO, and knowing my food is safe and not gene-spliced makes me a happy camper. As for the yes, pricey, organic strawberries, I look at it this way. Although I am all for cooking with produce in season, I’ve come to the conclusion that, as is often true in life, exceptions can be made. On the plus side, berries are phenomenally rich in anti-oxidants. I recently read about a study where women who faithfully ate strawberries 2 times a week actually reduced their risk of cancer. (Blueberries are another powerful anti-oxidant fruit.) The other plus is that because mainstream strawberries are the most heavily pesticide-sprayed fruit in existence, buying organic also buys me peace of mind.

Farina-MBastinBowl2

Now before I sign off, take a look at that bowl. It was given to me as a gift by a friend  about 14 years ago and is my favorite bowl for hot cereal all fall and winter. It’s the perfect size, has a handle, but most importantly, features the artwork of the so very talented wildlife artist, Marjolein Bastin. I know for some time she had an arrangement with Hallmark, and it was fairly easy to find her wonderful work, now a little harder. I’ve bought her calendars in the past, from which I’ve plucked a print to mat and frame in my kitchen. Her work is so lovely, why not toddle over and take a look? Bastin is a modern day artist whose work is something to emulate.

And so I’ve mused. Isn’t it wonderful how some of the simplest things in life can brighten our day? Good food, friends, inspiring art … it needn’t take much to bring us a bit of happiness and gratitude. Thanks for stopping by and sharing breakfast with me, and may your day be warm and bright!

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Salad and I haven’t really been talking much of late. In fact, we’ve been on the outs.

Although it’s been a warm winter out this way, soup, veggie pizza and many other vegetable concoctions have really been hogging the conversation. Salad just didn’t seem to have much to say.

It’s not like Salad and I don’t get along. We go way back. But as of late? Salad’s mind seemed somewhere else and so did mine. I started to wonder if it was really over. You know … OVER.

But then while food shopping this past weekend, Salad caught my eye in some half-pleading, half-come-hither kind of way. Next thing you know, some veggies I hadn’t entertained in my cart in a while were along for the ride. And on their way home with me.

And then, fellow blogger D. LaSauce, featured this beautifully plated salad yesterday. It felt like a conspiracy, but Salad was somehow working the magic behind the scenes.

Lunch today? Salad totally had me. Called my name and I waltzed to the kitchen helplessly in thrall and put together the tasty organic dish you see above. That’s Spring baby greens, red onion, cucumber, orange bell pepper, and feta cheese tossed with light salt and pepper, extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice.

That Salad’s a pretty clever one, eh?
Being back together is always sweet and Salad knows it.

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Are you looking to make some healthier changes in the way you eat? Here’s one way – lower your intake of pesticides. The timing is perfect as yummy fresh produce is making its way to local merchants of all kinds.

The Dirty Dozen is a list of produce which carries the highest pesticide load of any fruits and vegetables in the U.S. This list has been publicized by many including Dr. Andrew Weil, Martha Stewart, Prevention Magazine, Oprah, the Environmental Working Group and more, yet this information still seems to not have reached a great deal of the general public. Pesticides, particularly organophosphates, which are the most widely used, can harm the nervous system and are stored in tissues. The developing brains of young children and festuses are at the highest risk. Organophosphates are also used to make nerve gas, and often remain present even after washing and peeling. What to do? Don’t be discouraged … just make better choices.

The Dirty Dozen – it is recommended that these 12 fruits and vegetables be purchased as 100% organic** and that baby food including these 12 be also purchased as 100% organic. Here are the Dirty Dozen – apples, celery, peaches, strawberries*, spinach,  nectarines (imported), grapes (imported), sweet bell peppers, potatoes, blueberries (domestic), lettuce and kale/collard greens. (Prevention Magazine – see link above – covers this more broadly and includes how pesticides are also found along the food chain in meat, dairy, etc.)

The Clean Fifteen – and now the good news – the following fifteen fruits and vegetables carry the lowest pesticide load and can be eaten safely: onions, sweet corn, (this is one of the most common GMO crops in the U.S. — if a concern, buy organic), pineapples, avocado, asparagus, sweet peas, mango, eggplant, cantaloupe (domestic), kiwi, cabbage, watermelon, sweet potatoes, grapefruit and mushrooms.

It is always recommended that we eat a good variety of fruits and vegetable to assure we are not taking in particular pesticides to excess.

*According to Prevention Magazine – “Strawberries are the crop that is most heavily dosed with pesticides in America. On average, 300 pounds of pesticides are applied to every acre of strawberries (compared to an average of 25 pounds per acre for other foods). Thirty-six different pesticides are commonly used on strawberries, and 90% of strawberries tested register pesticide contamination above safe levels.”

* *Here’s more good news. With the arrival of Spring, farmer’s markets and roadside stands are popping up and selling fabulous fresh produce. Ask your local farmer about how he uses pesticides. Increasing numbers of farmers may be growing organically but not going through the costly, (as I understand), process of being certified, or are growing their food sustainably with a minimum of pesticides. Don’t be shy … ask! They’ll usually be happy to share what they do, and you can make more informed, safe and delicious choices.

(Note: Although this is not generally the subject matter of this blog, I thought I would share this information due to the timeliness and the season.)

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