Monday, December 20, 2010

Vintage Cookbook

My friend Stephanie on Facebook posted a link to download a pdf version of the orignal Fannie Farmer Cookbook.  I thought it would be interesting to see this and it's free.  I'm sure cooking has changed a lot since then.  You can down load it here.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Soy and Hexane

Deciding whether or not to eat soy, is a complex issue.  There are some serious health implications with certain types of soy including soy protein isolate and textured vegetable protein.   There are some concerns for those with thyroid disease as well, since there are chemicals in soy which can cause thyroid goiters.  Then there is the estrogen effect.

When you research soy you can find a gamut of articles on each side of the fence.  The most conservative say that only fermented forms of soy such as Miso and Soy Sauce are okay for human consumption.  Just when I got used to and actually started liking Tofu and Tofu noodles! LOL

A greater concern is Hexane gas, a neurotoxic chemical solvent.  Natural New TV shared this on the use of Hexane gas in soy processing.  If you use soy, check your labels!  The Cornucopia Institute has this soy score card which can help you evaluate your favorite brands.  I was surprised to see some readily and widely available brands that received a ZERO rating!

Answers on Dehydrating

First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to comment on my post about dehydrating. So much has happened between then and now that this is the first opportunity I have had to post answers. I am uncertain how to answer through the comments themselves, so I will answer here.

While fruits and veggies that have been dehydrated, can be re hydrated to use in recipes, I will not be doing that with these pears. I have used other re hydrated fruits but I think that the pears would just fall apart. They could be used for a cake or muffins.

We will be using our pears for snacks. Dehydrated fruit snacks are very expensive in the store and most of them contain sulfuring of some type for preservation. Since I am allergic to sulfur, this is not a good option for me. Personally I don't care if my fruit looks brown as long as it tastes good! However there are some things you can do naturally. One thing is soaking them in lemon juice. Not only does this help with coloring but Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) is a natural preservative. Potentially this will help them store longer.

To date I have dehydrated bananas (a big hit in our family) and pears. Apples are next.

When I was growing up, my Grandma dehydrated a lot of food. She took classes from a local woman named Gen MacManiman, a master herbalist who wrote a book called Dry It You'll Like It. A lot of her information is geared to "make it yourself" dehydrators and the old kind running on light bulb heat. However, she does have great tips and a little info on drying herbs and what they are good.

I purchased my dehydrator from a local company who happens to make one of the most highly acclaimed dehydrators used by raw food chefs and other "health nuts", called an Excalibur. They sell on their site and on eBay. You can buy less expensive models but this one is engineered very efficiently. Also the round ones cannot do very much at a time. I find even with the big one, I need to do a couple batches to go through a box of fruit.

Excalibur has their own book, Preserve It Naturally, which is a great resource whether you use their dehydrators or not.

In the future, I hope to dehydrate some veggies for making homemade soup mixes and more fruit to have for summer snacks in the winter!

Friday, November 12, 2010


So, this may not be the most glamorous photo I've ever taken but this jar is filled with yummy goodness. Who knew 15# of pears could fit in a gallon jar?! I made these in my Excalibur dehydrator. I have only used it twice but have 20# of apples coming specifically for dehydrating and I can't wait! Have any of you dehydrated? What do you like to do and any tips?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Organic Eggs

Eggs are a controversial subject in healthy eating circles. Some people don't eat them because they are vegan and I do respect that. Others don't eat them because of cholesterol issues. In today's market there are more reasons to not eat them than cholesterol. The type of chicken farming that happens today has significantly decreased the quality and the taste of eggs.

If you have chickens in your back yard, you are extremely blessed. Home raised chickens produce eggs of higher nutrient quality and just looking at one broken open you can see the difference in color and texture. But wait until you taste it, yummy! Eggs happen to be one of my favorite foods in the entire world... I'd rather eat them than ice cream. But eggs don't like me so well and when I can, I adapt a lot of my recipes for vegan.

But today on Facebook I ran across a post that Nutiva had shared and thought it was interesting. Those of us who do buy eggs that we think are healthy... well, maybe they are not!

I hadn't heard of the Cornucopia Institute before but they have this video that talks about egg farming and quality as well as an egg score card that scores various national and regional egg farmers on their care of and provision for chickens. Many of the places where I have purchased "organic eggs" receive a 1 egg score (which is the lowest). Many producers in my home state (Washington) receive high scores, 4-5 eggs, but very few where I live in California. For locals, it appears that Clover Organic Eggs (Clover Stonetta) and Wilcox Organic Eggs (they are west coast) and Organic Valley (Wisconsin - so they are trucked a long way) are the best choices at 3 eggs which is still considered "very good" on the scale. The big surprise for me was the 1 egg score for Trader Joe's, Whole Foods and Safeway's brands! I have purchased all of these eggs in the past.

Lately I have been purchasing from our local farmer's market, but I believe they are still a large producing ranch and I want to look into it further. They are called Haney's Egg Ranch in Ceres, CA. The eggs definitely do not look and taste like farm eggs but they are better and less expensive than many in the stores. Well, doing a little research while I'm writing this up, it doesn't look good. I found a website called California Factory Farms whose purpose is to give information on farms in the state of California known for confining animals. Haney's is on their list. Sad... I think there is the perception that if someone is at a farmer's market they are "healthy".

Some of you might not care about how the chicken is treated. I do, but aside from that, when the animal is not treated well, it effects the quality and nutrition of the food.

I sure would like to have chickens in our backyard but it is required to have 10k square feet or more and we are just under 8K.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


It has been a long off and on journey, but I'm itching to "get back on the trail" and begin sharing with you my fun in the kitchen, ideas and learn what you are up to as well. Welcome back to my blog, "My Journey To Wholeness". Please excuse a little construction mess as I get the links and side elements set up. Please drop me a line and let me know how you are doing!