About Food: In the News

Would you drink your Fritos? How about potato chips? Beer nuts? You may get a chance, because PepsiCo, looking to diversify it's market, is planning to turn snacks into drinks.

Researchers develop coconut-flavoured pineapple

The Department of Agriculture's research station in Queensland has been working on the new breed of pineapple for more than a decade. It is expected to be on the market in two years.

 It may never come to a theater near you, but a film with heart, soul and soy sauce has been cooked up. Make Haste Slowly is a mini-doc that tells the story of how Kikkoman's ubiquitous condiment came to be such a big hit on tables everywhere. The trailer, now showing on YouTube, is as compelling as any big screen preview and whets your appetite for more.

 Are Hasbro's Easy-Bake Ovens just for girls? Their pink and purple color scheme might suggest so, along with ads and packaging that show only girls playing with the classic toy. Of course, that hasn't stopped generations of pie-curious boys from experimenting with baked goods at a young age.

Three Healthy Gifts Ideas for Foodies

Healthy Gift Idea #1

A Window Herb Garden

Why not bring fragrance, flavor and nutrition to someone’s kitchen year round.  Indoor herb gardens are an easy way to spice up anyone’s culinary repertoire while adding antioxidants.  By using fresh herbs, they can enhance flavors and cut down on salt and sugar.  Fresh herbs like oregano, rosemary, parsley, basil and mint, offer great aromas to the kitchen.  According to Kristyn Hall Rd, compared to 1 cup of ice berg lettuce-raw fresh parsley gives 3 times as much fiber, 8 times the calcium, 16 times the iron, 4 times the potassium, 50 times the vitamin C, 5 times the folate and 17 times the vitamin A?   Herbs pack a powerful antioxidant punch!  A window Herb Garden requires minimal care when placed in the proper light and watered regularly!  The cost is minimal starting as low as $10. Check out your local department stores or purchase online.

Healthy Gift Idea #2

Chef’s Knife

Hammer Stahl Knives
Every cook needs a good Chef's knife. The Chef’s Knife is one of the most used kitchen knives and can be used for everything from chopping to slicing fruits and vegetables. Most chef's knives have a broad blade that curves upward towards the tip to allow the knife to rock for fine mincing. The spine of the blade is thick to add weight and strength. Chef's knives come in blade lengths of 6, 8, 10, and 12 inches. Longer blades can be more difficult to control, but make for faster cuts. Shorter blades allow for greater control for small hands. When purchasing a Chef’s knife consider  High Carbon Steel knife because it can be sharpen easily.  Whatever knife is purchase make sure it is comfortable for you to the person to handle. Visit a few kitchen specialty stores and department stores before purchasing to get a feel for the knife and always check on line for a good price.

Healthy Gift Idea #3

A Gift Certificate for a Cooking Lesson or Healthy Prepared Meals

From learning how to make soups, to Thai food, appetizers, basic knife skills to creating everyday and gourmet dishes, purchase a gift certificate for in home cooking lessons or a workshop at a location.  Share the art of making food taste fantastic and expanding ones’ repertoire!  If you think your loved one would rather have customized prepared meals then a personal chef service gift certificate would be perfect.

Potato Pancakes

Latkes known, as little potato pancakes are a traditional Hanukkah food, serving as a reminder of the food hurriedly prepared for the Maccabees as they went into battle, along with the oil they are fried in as a reminder of the miraculous oil. Other traditional foods contain cheese to celebrate Judahs’ victory.
Hanukkah originated when Judah the Maccabee and his followers reclaimed the temple in the village of Modi'in from Syrian King Antiochus IV. The temple was cleansed and prepared for rededication. The Hebrew word Hanukkah means "dedication."  You will also see this holiday spelled “Chanukkah” due to different translations and customs. When the sacred temple Menorah (candelabra) was relit, there was only enough sacred oil to burn for one day. Yet, according to tradition, the oil miraculously lasted eight days until more purified oil could be found. In remembrance, a candle is lit each of the eight days of Hanukkah.

Latkes or Potato Pancakes are great any time of the year and are limitless to your creativity.  Try these two recipes and let us know what you think.


Sweet Potato Latkes made by Meal Makers Inc.
Sweet Potato Latkes
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 2 latkes)
  • 1 pounds Sweet Potatoes
  • 1 small onion (about 6 ounces), peeled
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch ground Cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1. Peel and par-boil the potatoes. Shred the sweet potatoes and onion using the shredding blade of a food processor.  
2. Combine egg, flour, salt, and pepper in a small bowl, stirring with a spatula in a medium size bowl.  Add egg the potatoes to the mixture and, stir well to combine.
3. Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil to pan, swirling to coat. Using a tablespoon, make patties and add to the pan. Cook 3-4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove latkes from pan; keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil and remaining potato mixture.
Serve with sour cream or apple sauce.
Cheese Latkes

Serving Size: About 15 Silver Dollar size
  • 1 potato Idaho small, boiled (3 -4 oz) peeled 
  • 1 tbsp butter 
  • 1/2 lb farmer cheese 
  • 2 tbsp flour 
  • 2 egg yolks large
  • (see note for sweet version)
  • 2 egg whites large 
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar or salt 
  • 1 tsp salt  
  • 1/2 tsp pepper white 
  • Canola oil for frying 
  •  sour cream 
  • apple sauce


1. In a 2 quart bowl with a flat bottom mash the hot peeled boiled potato, salt, pepper and butter, using a hand masher. Add the farmer cheese and mash some more until uniform. Then add egg yolks and mix smooth. (If you are making the sweet version, add the sugar, cinnamon and vanilla along with the flour.) Add the flour and mix smooth and uniform. 
2.Beat the egg whites to soft peaks, add the cream of tartar or salt, and continue beating till medium peaks. 
3.Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the cheese mixture to soften it. Then fold the remaining egg whites into the cheese mixture. This should give you a mixture that is firm enough to fry.

3.Heat canola oil frying pan to 325 F.  Drop rounded tablespoons of the batter onto the pan, using 2 tablespoons, one to lift and one to push off the batter.   When a brown and crispy, turn it over gently using a spatula and a fork, and gently pat down the top of the pancake to spread it a little.
Serve with sour cream or apple sauce.

Note: Sweet version. 
You can also make these sweet. Add 1-2 tbsp sugar and a few drops of vanilla extract, and a shake or two of cinnamon after the yolks.


Safe Food

Serve Safe Food this Holiday

For safe cooking and handling of food—know that bacteria multiply rapidly between 40°F and 140°F, doubling in number in as little as 20 minutes.

To keep food out of this danger zone, keep cold food cold and hot food hot. Keep food cold in the refrigerator, in coolers, or on the service line on ice.

Set your refrigerator no higher than 40°F and the freezer at 0°F. Cold foods Salads, dips deviled eggs … must be below 40°F.

Keep food hot in the oven, in heated chafing dishes, or in pre-heated steam tables, warming trays, and/or slow cookers. Hot foods temperatures must be above 140°F.

Use a clean thermometer that measures the internal temperature of cooked food to make sure meats, poultry, and casseroles are cooked to the temperatures as indicated in the figure.

Food Themometer Safe Zone

Thanksgiving Dining

Thanksgiving Dining Etiquette Rules:
Whether you are dining this Thanksgiving with family or friends or strangers, keep in mind a few basic rules to be respectful and to be invited back again.
Always be well groomed and adhere to the host/hostess Dress Code if requested.
Arrive at least 10 minutes early unless otherwise specified. But Never arrive late!
It is proper to bring a small hostess gift, one that the hostess is not obliged to use that very evening. Gifts such as flowers, candy, wine, or dessert, are not good hostess gifts, as the hostess will feel that it must put it out immediately. 
If this is a sit down dinner, wait until the host indicates where you should sit. Usually guests wait for the host or hostess to sit down before taking their seats. If the host/hostess asks you to sit, then do so.
 A prayer or 'blessing' may be customary in some households. The dinner guests may join in or be respectfully silent. Most prayers are made by the host before the meal is eaten.
Passing dishes or food:
Pass food from the left to the right. Do not stretch across the table, crossing other guests, to reach food or condiments.
If another diner asks for the salt or pepper, pass both together, even if a table mate asks for only one of them. This is so dinner guests won't have to search for orphaned shakers.
Set any passed item, whether it's the salt and pepper shakers, a bread basket, or a butter plate, directly on the table instead of passing hand-to-hand.
Butter, spreads, or dips should be transferred from the serving dish to your plate before spreading or eating.
Never intercept a pass. Snagging a roll out of the breadbasket or taking a shake of salt when it is en route to someone else is a no-no.
Always use serving utensils to serve yourself, not your personal silverware.

DO NOT Talk with food in your mouth! This is very rude and distasteful to watch! Wait until you have swallowed the food in your mouth. Chew with your mouth closed. Loud eating noises such as slurping and burping are very impolite. 
Always taste your food before seasoning it. Usually the hostess has gone to a lot of work making sure the food served is delicious to her standards. It is very rude to add salt and pepper before tasting the food.
Don't blow on your food to cool it off. If it is too hot to eat, take the hint and wait until it cools.
Cut only enough food for the next mouthful (cut no more than two bites of food at a time). Eat in small bites and slowly.
Do eat a little of everything on your plate. If you do not like the food and feel unable to give a compliment, just keep silent. It is acceptable to leave some food on your plate if you are full and have eaten enough. If the food served is not to your liking, it is polite to at least attempt to eat a small amount of it. It is never acceptable to ask a person why they have not eaten all the food. Don't make an issue if you don't like something or can't eat it - keep silence.
Even if you have dietary restrictions, it is inappropriate to request food other than that which is being served by the host at a private function. If you have serious dietary restrictions or allergies, let your host know in advance of the dinner.
Do not "play with" your food or utensils. Never wave or point silverware. Do not hold food on the fork or spoon while talking, nor wave your silverware in the air or point with it.
Try to pace your eating so that you don’t finish before others are halfway through. If you are a slow eater, try to speed up a bit on this occasion so you don’t hold everyone up. Never continue to eat long after others have stopped.
Once used, your utensils, including the handles, must not touch the table again. Always rest forks, knives, and spoons on the side of your plate or in the bowl.
Guests should do their best to mingle and make light conversation with everyone. Do not talk excessively loud. Give others equal opportunities for conversation. Talk about cheerful, pleasant things at the table.
Do not blow your nose at the dinner table. Excuse yourself to visit the restroom. Wash your hands before returning to the dining room. If you cough, cover your mouth with your napkin to stop the spread of germs and muffle the noise. If your cough becomes unmanageable, excuse yourself to visit the restroom. Wash your hands before returning to the dining room.
Do not use a toothpick or apply makeup at the table.
Turn off your cell phone or switch it to silent or vibrate mode before sitting down to eat, and leave it in your pocket or purse. It is impolite to answer a phone during dinner. If you must make or take a call, excuse yourself from the table and step outside of the restaurant.
Be Present! It is Thanksgiving a day for gratitude love and giving. The best gift you can give is your attention to others.

Resources: http://whatscookingamerica.net/Menu/DiningEtiquetteGuide.htm
photo credit: edenpictures via photopin cc

Nov. 2nd is National Deviled Eggs Day !

Deviled Eggs

Also known as stuffed eggs, starts with hard-boiled eggs, peeled, cut in half and stuffed with a seasoned, mashed yolk mixture. The yolks are removed from the whites, mixed with a moistener, such as mayonnaise, flavoring foods and/or seasonings and then piled back into the whites.

 The word “devil” originally referred to the combination of spices, including dry mustard and vinegar with which the eggs were highly seasoned.

Deviled Eggs are easy to make and allows creativity to flow in regards to the variety of combinations one can come up with. Check out the recipes below or create your own:

<Sriracha Deviled Eggs

Lobster Deviled Eggs
Bacon and Cheddar Deviled Eggs Recipe
Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs

Wasabi Deviled Eggs


Seafood Deviled Eggs   >

What is your favorite Deviled Egg Recipe?
Hard-boiled eggs will easily reach internal temperatures of more than 160°F (71°C) when they are done. Note, though, that while Salmonella are destroyed when hard-boiled eggs are properly prepared, hard-boiled eggs can spoil more quickly than raw eggs.

To make Hard boiled eggs, place eggs in a saucepan large enough to hold them in a single layer. Add enough cold water to come at least 1 inch above the eggs. Heat over high heat to boiling. Turn off heat. If necessary, remove the pan from the burner to prevent further boiling. Cover pan. Let the eggs stand in the hot water about 12 minutes for large eggs (about 9 minutes for medium, about 15 for extra-large).

After cooking, cool the hard-boiled eggs quickly under running cold water or in ice water. Avoid allowing eggs to stand in stagnant water. Refrigerate hard-boiled eggs in their shells promptly after cooling and use them with one week.

To peel an egg, crackle the shell all over by gently tapping the egg on a table or countertop. Roll the egg between your hands to loosen the shell. Then peel off the shell, starting at the large end. Hold the egg under running water or dip it in water to make peeling easier.

A nicely centered yolk makes very attractive deviled eggs and garnishes. However, as an egg ages, the white thins out which gives the yolk more opportunity to move about freely. This can result in a displaced yolk when you cook the egg. Using the freshest eggs possible will minimize this displacement, but very fresh eggs are more difficult to peel after hard boiling.
The best compromise for attractive eggs with centered yolks that are relatively easy to peel seems to be using eggs that have been refrigerated for about a week to 10 days. Some new research suggests that yolk centering may be better if you store eggs small-end up for 24 hours before hard-boiling.

America Egg Board

Foods that can help ease Arthritis Pain

If you find yourself with aching joints are making music like snap crackle and pop when standing, sitting or moving you may have arthritis. If you have arthritis it is beneficial to your health to be in range of the suggested weight for your height and age. Extra pounds especially in the abdomen will add pressure on your joints.
The foods you choose to eat may help ease the pain of arthritis, make your joints healthier and control your weight. Adding these foods to your diet will not cure you but can make life less painful. 

1. Fatty fish (salmon, herring, and sardines) or any other food with omega-3 fatty acids, such as walnuts, soy beans, flax seeds and pumpkin seeds
The Omega-3's decrease the production of chemicals that spread inflammation, plus they inhibit enzymes that trigger it.  4 ounces Fatty fish also contain vitamin D, which helps prevent swelling and soreness. Another easy healthy fix: Add walnuts (2.27 grams per quarter cup) to a salad or flax seed (two tablespoons has 3.51 grams) to your cereal.

2. Extra-virgin Olive oil  
Olive oil contains oleocanthal, which blocks enzymes involved in inflammation.
About 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil acts like one-tenth of a dose of ibuprofen, according to a study at the Monnell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia. That may not be much, but small dietary changes add up.

3. Fruits & Vegetables that are high in Vitamin C  

Broccoli, Cauliflower, Sweet peppers, citrus fruits ……                 
Vitamin C protects collagen, a major component of cartilage. Inadequate amounts may increase your risk for some kinds of arthritis . A Canadian study of 1,317 men found that those who got 1,500 milligrams of vitamin C through food or supplements daily had a 45% lower risk of gout (a painful condition also known as gouty arthritis) than those who consumed less than 250 milligrams a day.

4. Brazil nuts  
Brazil nuts contain huge amounts of selenium – 272 micrograms in just three or four nuts, compared to 63 micrograms in 3 ounces of tuna.

5. Onions and leeks    
Onions and leeks contain quercetin, an antioxidant that may inhibit inflammatory chemicals.
Other foods high in quercetin are kale, cherry tomatoes or apples. Add a ½ cup or more of these fruits and vegetables to your daily diet.

photo credit: rockyeda via photopin cc photo credit: geishaboy500 via photopin cc

Homemade Pumpkins Seeds Make a Great Snack!

Pumpkin Seeds are high in protein and fiber and full of antioxidants. After carving your pumpkin with the family, reserve the pumpkin seeds to make a tasty snack.

One large pumpkin yields approximately 1  cup of seeds    

Remove the seeds from pumpkin pulp and stings and wash in cool water to remove remaining residue. Rinse and let seed soak in clean water for 12 hours. Drain and lay pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet, then place in a 150-200˚ F oven to dry out. 

Place in the dry seeds in a bowl and season.

Natural: Mix dry pumpkin seeds with 1Tablespoons grapeseed oil and 1 heaping teaspoon of sea salt and ½ tsp ground black pepper

Fall Harvest Spice: Mix dry pumpkin seeds with 1/2 Tablespoon Grapeseed oil, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, 1/4 tsp. cloves, 1/8 tsp. ginger, 1 tsp brown sugar.

Mole : Mix pumpkin seeds with  Tbsp brown sugar, ½  tsp cinnamon, ½ Tbsp Ancho chili,  powder, 1½  Tbsp Cocoa, 1 Tbsp finely ground coffee beans , pinch sea salt and ½ tbsp of grapeseed oil

Cajun: Mix pumpkin seeds with garlic grapeseed oil, 1 tbsp Cajun seasoning and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Pre-heat oven to 400˚ F.  
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread seasoned pumpkin seeds evenly on the parchment paper. Bake the pumpkin seeds for 12-15 minutes turning seeds with spatula intermittently while roasting. Seeds should be crisp and fragrant. 

photo credit: Mexicanwave via photopin cc photo credit: justgrimes via photopin cc

Zucchini Mushroom Cupcakes

This recipe is easy to make and one in which you can include the children in making dinner.
Zucchini Mushroom Cupcakes
Yield: 12 servings
  • 2 large Zucchini, Sliced
  • 3 Tablespoons Wildtree Basil Grapeseed oil
  • 10 ounces Mushrooms cleansed sliced
  • ½ cup Red onion medium dice
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 16 ounces Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 Egg
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • Pinch Nutmeg
  • s/p to taste
  • 1 ½ cup Marinara sauce
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

  1. Prep vegetables. Heat two large skillets over medium heat and divide Basil Grapeseed oil between the two. Sauté the onions, garlic and mushrooms in one pan stirring occasionally over medium heat until cooked. Season mushrooms with salt and pepper. In the other pan over medium heat plate a layer of zucchini slices in pan and sauté on each side for several minutes to cook slightly. Season zucchini with salt & pepper. Continue this process until all zucchini slices have been sautéed and cool.
  2. Drain water from Ricotta and place in a bowl. Add egg, parmesan cheese,1/2 of mozzarella cheese, Italian seasoning, nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. Mix well.
  3. To assemble the cupcakes:
  4. Place parchment paper liners in the cupcake pan. Place 1 teaspoon on marinara sauce in bottom of the liner; then a couple slices of zucchini; Spread a teaspoon of the ricotta cheese mixture over zucchini; place 1 teaspoon of the mushroom mixture over ricotta repeat with sauce, zucchini and mushrooms then place zucchini slices, marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese on top.
  5. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 375F. Bake the zucchini mushroom cupcakes for 30 minutes.

Looking for cooking lessons for you or the children check out www.MealMakersinc.com