Recipe: Whole Wheat Rye Sesame Muffins

whole wheat rye sesame muffins

I haven’t been inspired (or had the time) to make any muffins or quick breads for months. But I’ve been craving desserts, so tonight, I decided to take to heart Michael Pollan’s Food Rule #39: Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.

Which muffin recipe to make? I thought about peanut butter chocolate chip, blueberry, and oat raisin, but decided I’d like to try something new.

I searched through my Evernote recipes and found a lovely sesame seed muffin recipe. I loved that the recipe included a good amount of sesame seeds, but I wanted more whole grains, so I adapted it to my needs.

Here’s my modifications:

Healthy Low Sugar Whole Wheat Rye Sesame Muffins

Makes 12 muffins


  • 1 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup rye flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder (aluminum free)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp (approx) freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 cup milk (I used So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk, but almond milk would also work very well, as well as plain yogurt)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (the good stuff, not imitation)


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together whole wheat & rye flours, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and sesame seeds.
  3. Whisk oil and egg together in a small glass bowl or large glass measuring cup until slightly frothy
  4. Mix in molasses, milk, and vanilla.
  5. Pour wet mixture into dry flour bowl and stir to combine. Try not to over mix.
  6. Scoop into 12 muffin tins lined with paper and bake for 14-20 minutes.

whole wheat rye sesame muffins


  • The mixture is firm, so it’s easy to pile the batter high in the tin.
  • I think I’ll add more spice next time. The cinnamon and nutmeg was fine, but I think it needs more ginger and maybe even a bit of anise or fennel seed.
  • It was easy to scoop the batter into tins using my Oxo Good Grips Medium Cookie Scoop.
  • I slightly over-cooked the muffins, so next time I’ll bake for only 14 minutes. I bake in a counter-top convection oven.
  • These muffins are not sweet, so more sweetener can be added if that is what you like. We plan on topping with a dollop of jelly for tomorrow’s breakfast!
  • Raisins would be a great addition, as would some dark chocolate chips (leave out the spices).
  • The sesame seeds are yummy! I might increase the amount added next time. They add a touch of chewy sweetness to the muffin.

Nutritional Data

Each muffin is approximately 2 oz.

Calories: 165
Total Fat: 8.3g
Saturated: 1.7g
Polyunsaturated: .5g
Monounsaturated: 3.2g
Cholesterol: 16.3mg
Sodium: 225mg
Potassium: 53mg
Total Carbs: 17g
Fiber: 2.7g
Sugars: 4g
Calcium: 13.5%
Iron: 12.5%

Use the nutritional data as a guide; the info is not absolute, your results might vary considerably depending on the total weight of the finished dish.

UPDATE: For breakfast, we ended up melting some organic whipped butter on top of a sliced muffin. It was yummy. I’ll definitely add a bit more sweetener next time, or possibly some sweeter mix-ins like raisins or chocolate chunks, along with a bit more sesame seeds.

butter topped whole wheat rye sesame muffins

Slow Cooker Cook Book Reviews

There are so many slow cooker cook books! I just borrowed a bunch from the library! I wanted to jot down some notes for a few of them.

Better Homes & Gardens Ultimate Slow Cooker book

better homes and gardens ultimate slow cooker book

Better Homes & Gardens Ultimate Slow Cooker book – see my more detailed review on this book. Bottom line, great photos for over half the recipes plus prep and cooking times are also included, along with nutritional data. But the book is unfortunately loaded with way too many recipes using “shortcut” ingredients like canned soup and jarred sauces. Not for me, but it would work for those that need quick prep time without using all homemade ingredients.

Make it Fast, Cook it Slow

make it fast, cook it slow

Make it Fast, Cook it Slow : the big book of everyday slow cooking by Stephanie O’Dea. Excellent book with recipes from appetizers to desserts. The book sits nicely on the counter, making it easy to read while cooking. Written by the “A Year of Slow Cooking” blogger, which means that all of the recipes are available online with photos and additional visitor comments. Which leads me to question why would you need to buy the book? It all depends if you like recipes in printed text or not. Check out the blog first and see if there are many recipes you’d like gathered together in one book.

The Book of Slow Cooking

book of slow cooking

The Book of Slow Cooking by Anne Sheasby. This is a really thin book, with interesting recipes; every recipe includes a finished dish photo, plus photos for three main steps. I like that she includes instructions for using smaller dishes inside the main crock insert. The introduction includes many helpful tips on slow cooker usage, including a great hint for adding cream or milk toward the end of cooking time to avoid curdling.

The recipes are all “from scratch” with none of the dreaded canned cream soup for an ingredient. She uses fresh ingredients! Yes, you can probably find a lot of similar recipes online for free, but it’s nice to have one book with classic recipes (ie pea soup) along with some unusual ones (ie fresh lemon sponge pudding). It’s certainly a great book for a beginner who needs some simple homemade slow cooker recipes. Awesome price at Amazon for a “very good” used copy. Under $3.50 including shipping.

Mary Engelbreit’s Fan Fare Cookbook

slow cooker favorites: mary engelbreit fan fare cookbook

I had never heard of Mary Engelbreit before, but it appears that she is a wonderful illustrator/artist. She is not a cook, so it seems strange to me that she has released a bunch of cookbooks, relying on friends and family to supply the recipe content. I borrowed the 120 Slow Cooker Recipe Favorites: Mary Engelbreit’s Fan Fare Cookbook from the library, and as I started browsing through the recipes, I felt a sense of deja vu. There is a whole chapter on chili…with 11 recipes….trouble is, how many chili recipes do you need? There’s Best Ever Chili, Tomatillo & Steak Chili, Grandmama Whynne’s Fall Foliage Chili, Green Chili Stew, Aunt Diane’s Chili, Aunt Jane’s Chili, Warm You Up Chili, Pork Chili, White Chili, Vegetarian Chili and Vegetable Chili. I just felt there were way too many similarities. It’s the same for beef stew: Best Beef Stew, Mouthwatering Beef Stew, Beefy Stew, Savory Stew, Jo’s Sweet & Sour Beef Stew, Slovenian Stew, Ms. Georgie’s Soup, Beefy Lentil Soup. It might have made better sense to limit the amount of recipes to only the best, but suggest alternative ingredients and cooking tips afterward. And be warned, there are many recipes using jarred tomato sauce, onion soup mix, and canned cream soup.

On a positive note, the book is hard cover with a spiral binding, perfect for reading on the counter while cooking. It has an old fashioned homey feel, like reading through your own family’s cookbook. But there are no finished dish photos, and trying to choose one recipe among pages of similar recipes might be confusing to some cooks. But it’s under $12 at Amazon, so it might be worth it for some, as long as the buyer realizes that they’re paying for a lot of similar recipes. On a side note, one of her other books Mary Engelbreit’s Fan Fare Cookbook: 120 Family Favorite Recipes can be purchased for under $7 at Amazon.

I love reading cookbooks, like some people love reading novels! I am inspired by recipes, and enjoy learning ideas from cookbooks; I like putting my own spin on a recipe rather than exactly following it. Please keep in mind that my opinions might be completely different from the other home cooks.

Experiment: Whole Wheat, Cornmeal, Barley Sesame Seed Bread

whole wheat bread made with cornmeal and barley with sesame seeds

I love experimenting with cold fermentation for developing flavorful bread dough. I started a new (for me) bread experiment yesterday, based on the technique of Peter Reinhart’s book “Whole Grain Breads: New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavor“. In the book, Peter advises to mix both a mash and a biga, refrigerate for at least 12 hours, then mix up a new dough with the two plus a small amount of ingredients.

I decided that I would try mixing one biga mash together with no sugar, oil, salt and just a touch of instant yeast, refrigerate for a day, then mix up a new dough using the biga mash with new flour and ingredients.

The result was a fair success! A yummy fluffy high rising whole grain bread. I love a hearty dense loaf, but sometimes you just want bread to be light and airy!

I still need to work on this technique though, although the taste is fantastic, the “crumb” is usually too crumbly and the top crust pulls away. By the time I get to the middle/end of the loaf, it’s usually difficult to slice thinly. I think it might be an issue of not shaping my loaf properly, or it could be over-proofing (final rise). I don’t think it’s an issue of too much milk and/or oil but maybe my dough needs more water. It’s also possible that I am not kneading long enough, but that seems hard to believe since I’m using a machine for the final dough. I’ll have to do some additional reading on the Fresh Loaf web site, and maybe re-read Peter’s book. There is still so much to learn!

whole wheat bread made with cornmeal and barley with sesame seeds

Anyway, here is my process.

Biga Soaker – Day One

It only take a few minutes to mix up the biga soaker dough.

Note: I use the West Bend 41300 Hi-Rise Electronic Dual-Blade Breadmaker for all kneading.

Biga Soaker Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk product. I used So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk, but I have used almond milk in previous recipes.
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 oz whole grain flour = I used 1.5 oz cornmeal and 2.5 oz barley flour
  • 8 oz King Arthur white whole wheat flour, (for a total of 12 oz for ALL flours)
  • 1/4 tsp instant yeast

NO salt, oil, sugar just yet

Bread Machine Biga Directions:

It’s possible to process the bread dough using the “dough” setting, but you should NOT allow it to rise the bread. Shut off the machine after the kneading process finishes, and remove the dough before the warm rise step.

Here’s what I did:

  1. Machine knead for about 10 minutes
  2. Stop the bread maker for an autolyse rest for 20-30 minutes. During this resting time, leave the dough in the bread machine pan.
  3. Re-start the machine and knead again for 10 minutes
  4. After 10 minutes, shut off machine again, and allow a short rest of 2-3 minutes before transferring the dough (using wet hands) to a bowl.
  5. Cover bowl and keep in fridge for at least 12 hours and up to 3 days.

Bread Baking Day:

Take the dough out of fridge, allow to warm up for at least two hours.
Chop up dough into several smaller pieces, using pastry scraper or sharp knife.
In bread machine pan, add dough pieces with the following ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 6 oz white flour
  • 2 Tbsp sucanat sugar
  • 1.5 tsp kosher salt
  • 1.5 tsp instant yeast
  • Optional seeds or nuts (1/4 cup)

Baking Day Directions

  1. Using the bread maker dough setting, combine all ingredients in bread maker and allow the machine to do it’s thing including the rise.
  2. When machine is finished, wet hands, and pull dough out of the pan.
  3. Gently form into loaf shape and place into loaf pan (lined with parchment paper)- this is where I might be going wrong. I think I am not shaping the loaf correctly.
  4. Allow to proof for 30-60 minutes
  5. In preheated 375F oven, bake for 30 minutes
  6. Or until internal temperature of bread reaches 190F
  7. Remove from loaf pan and allow to cool for at least an hour.

Makes one 30 oz loaf (after baking and cooling) – even better, it’ll also make two smaller loaves too!

whole wheat bread made with cornmeal and barley with sesame seeds

Nutritional Data:

Calories: 97
Total Fat: 3.5g
Saturated: 1g
Monounsaturated: 1g
Cholesterol: 0
Sodium: 13.5mg
Potassium: 14mg
Carbs: 14g
Fiber: 1.5g
Sugar: 1.5g
Protein: 3g
Calcium: 1.5%
Iron: 5%

Dark Chocolate

Updated: For a list of recommended chocolate brands, check

I like taking a bite of plain dark chocolate with a one or two nuts (cashews, pecans, almonds, pistachios), that way I made my own nutty chocolate bar in my mouth.

Same with peanut butter. Spread a bit on top of a few dark chocolate squares, and you’ve got a healthy version of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups!

What does Chocolate Percentage % Mean?

100% chocolate is 100% unsweetened pure chocolate, either in the form of cocoa, chocolate liquor, and/or cocoa butter. The higher the percentage, the higher the actual chocolate content. The lower the chocolate, the higher the sugar.

From wikipedia:
The cacao bean products from which chocolate is made are known under different names in different parts of the world. In the American chocolate industry:

  • chocolate liquor is the ground or melted state of the nib of the cacao bean
  • cocoa butter is the fat component
  • cocoa powder is the nonfat part of the cacao bean which is ground into a powder

I usually eat a 1/2 serving of dark chocolate almost every day. It is so healthy, and the darker the better. Start off with 60% and work your way up to 70%, then 85%.

Once you get to 85%, the added sugar immensely decreases, and the fiber increases! Keep in mind the calories and fat (sat fat) increase, but if you keep it to a half serving every day, it can be a good snack choice. Plus, it’s been said that the saturated fat from chocolate is composed much differently than beef saturated fat.

Please make sure you read the labels on different brands, as the nutritional data can differ. A lot of manufacturers are using partially hydrogenated oil instead of cocoa butter.

Here’s a comparison using Green & Black chocolate:

34% Milk chocolate – 12 blocks (40g)

Ingredients: Organic Raw Cane Sugar, Organic Whole Milk Powder, Organic Chocolate Liquor, Organic Cocoa Butter, Soy Lecithin (Emulsifier), Organic Vanilla Extract.

Notice how the FIRST ingredient is sugar, then milk!

Calories: 220
Fat: 13g
Sat Fat: 8g
Cholesterol: 10mg
Sodium: 30mg
Carbs: 23g
Fiber: 1g
Sugars: 20g
Protein: 4g
Calcium: 8%
Iron: 6%

70% Chocolate – 12 blocks (40g)

Ingredients: Organic Chocolate Liquor, Organic Raw Cane Sugar, Organic Cocoa Butter, Soy Lecithin (Emulsifier), Organic Vanilla Extract, Organic Whole Milk Powder

Sugar is second, while milk is last.

Calories: 240
Fat: 18g
Sat Fat: 10g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Sodium: 5mg
Carbs: 18g
Fiber: 4g
Sugars: 10g
Protein: 4g
Calcium: 2%
Iron: 20%

80% Chocolate – 12 blocks (40g)

Ingredients: Organic Chocolate Liquor, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Fat-Reduced Cocoa Powder, Organic Raw Cane Sugar, Organic Vanilla Extract, Organic Whole Milk Powder

Sugar is added only after ALL the chocolate ingredients. There’s no soy (Soy Lecithin) added, although because it’s made in the same factory as the other flavors, it’s not officially “soy-free”

Calories: 250
Fat: 20g
Sat Fat: 12g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Sodium: 10mg
Carbs: 15g
Fiber: 4g
Sugars: 8g
Protein: 4g
Calcium: 4%
Iron: 20%

Unfortunately, I love Green & Black’s Organic chocolate, but it’s actually a UK company now owned by Kraft Foods. sigh. So many big food companies are scooping up smaller food companies, and it’s getting hard to find a decent chocolate. So, READ LABELS! Check the ingredients!

I keep telling myself to find another chocolate brand, but it’s hard because the Green & Black can be purchased for a good price. We eat so much chocolate between the two of us, it’s a difficult decision.

UPDATED 2012-01-6: I’ve since realized that saving money when buying chocolate isn’t worth it. Just as buying meat from a local, ethical farm is important, supporting chocolate manufacturers that are truly fair-trade is also important.

For a list of recommended chocolate brands, check

Sunday is Plan Ahead Cooking Day

Sunday is a great day to cook ahead for the week (and beyond). Today I’m slow cooking two big pieces of yummy meat:

  • I put a big piece of beef round into my 6 quart cast iron with 2 large purple onions and a good helping of Penzy’s BBQ 3000 spice. I added a few cups of left-over white wine.
  • And I didn’t have room enough for my normal roasting pan, so I had to use a rectangle glass pyrex dish to cook the big pork picnic shoulder. It was my first time “scoring” the fat on the roast, hopefully it comes out nice and crispy, but not too dry inside! I didn’t season or use any spices. Just a big ole naked pork shoulder!

I was hoping to be able to roast one of the small organic chickens I bought Friday at Whole Foods (on sale @1.69/lb) but there is absolutely no room in that oven. So, the chicken will have to wait until tomorrow, or hmm, depending on when the meat is finished, I might just throw it into the oven tonight.

UPDATE: beef was finished cooking first. I baked some rice and steamed beets & carrots and we ate a delicious dinner. There is enough beef for lunch tomorrow as well as a chili or pasta sauce recipe.

braised beef with onions and wine

Pork is still cooking. I’m almost intimidated to take it out. I hope it tastes good. I mean how bad could it really be? Hmm if it’s good, it could be our lunch tomorrow and I’ll freeze the beef.

UPDATE #2: Oh wow, the pork came out of the oven, and the fat was all crackling and crunchy. Broke off a couple of chunks, and oh oh yum. I allowed it to rest for an hour or so, and then I took it apart in chunks. Some of it was kind of tough and fibrous. I froze the bone with some tough meat attached for a soup starter. There is enough pork for at least three meals for the two of us, plus the bone for soup!

slow roasted pork picnic shoulder

Better Homes & Gardens the Ultimate Slow Cooker Book

Better Homes and Gardens the Ultimate Slow Cooker book

I found a copy of the Better Homes & Gardens The Ultimate Slow Cooker Book at the local library.

The book includes 400 recipes, and 200+ great photos. Each recipe contains prep time, cook time, & serving information, along with nutritional data, which I really appreciate.

The book is paperback, but does not easily lie flat on a counter if you need to read the recipe while cooking. The binding seemed weak as well. I can imagine with usage, some pages actually might fall out.

There are good slow cooker tips at the beginning of the book, but one of the most important tips was missing – how to convert the size of your crock to accommodate a smaller recipe or desserts. I would have liked to learn the best way to use a small baking dish inside the larger crock? Do you add water in the outer crock? Do you keep it dry?

One tip I don’t agree with is their recommendation for plastic liners for messier recipes, stating that they eliminate the need for harsh cleaning chemicals. Which is worse? Harsh cleaners or plastics that leeches toxins?! I’d rather apply a tbsp or two of olive oil on the inside walls of the crock than use a plastic liner. Or better yet if a recipe is that messy, it might be a better option to just bake it normally in a regular oven.

On that same note, some recipes do seem a bit excessive to cook in a slow cooker like nuts or dips but there are recipes for just about every conceivable food idea from appetizers to desserts.

A lot of the recipes are made with fresh ingredients, but unfortunately a large percentage utilize processed food short cuts like frozen meatballs, jelly, salad dressings, jarred sauces, and the ever popular canned cream soup. How hard is it to create a recipe using half/half or milk instead of cream soup?

I would have enjoyed more fresh and less processed ingredients in recipes such as Mexican meatball stew (pg 118). I don’t need a book to tell me to add canned Mexican stewed tomatoes, frozen meatballs, canned black beans, chicken broth, and frozen corn. I want to how to create a real Mexican stew using real spices and fresh ground beef. But that’s not what this cook book is about!

By the time I arrived at the Poultry chapter, I was discouraged and ended up skipping past most of the recipes. I was hoping to find something interesting in the last chapter for desserts, but as soon as I read the recipe ingredients for Fruity Rice Pudding on page 450, I knew I was doomed. Two packages of rice pudding mix with raisins and spices? Come on, how hard is it to put together rice pudding from scratch?

Of course, I understand the need for books that offer recipes that can be prepared in minutes. The majority of home cooks in the USA don’t mind using canned soup or jarred tomato sauce (hence the reason why this country is so unhealthy). So, this book is a good match for them. Some would argue that any kind of home cooking, even with processed foods, is still better than take out or TV dinners.

So all the “from scratch” home cooks, like me, can take a pass on this book, or better yet, find a copy at the library and pick and choose a few special recipes. I mean, they were not ALL bad. There were a scattered few recipes that I found in the breakfast and soup chapters that sparked my creativity:

Pg 78 Morning casserole
Pg 80 Ham Gouda potato bake – this one includes canned cream of potato soup, but I think it could be replaced by additional milk or cream.
Pg 105 Cha cha corn chowder
Ph 108 Soy ginger soup with chicken
Pg 120 Asian turkey and rice soup

I love reading cookbooks, like some people love reading novels! I am inspired by recipes, and enjoy learning ideas from cookbooks; I like putting my own spin on a recipe rather than exactly following it. Please keep in mind that my opinions might be completely different from the other home cooks.

Preserve Dry Measuring Cups – Plastic Made in USA

Preserve Dry measuring cups set of 4

I received the set of four Preserve Dry Measuring Cups for Christmas. I wanted to replace the older plastic sets with something definitely BPA free, and Made in the USA. I found it in the Preserve measuring cups!


  • The set of four includes 1/4-cup, 1/3-cup, 1/2-cup, and 1-cup sizes
  • Each piece is made of sturdy plastic, but very well made, with smooth edges.
  • Larger cup size than my older sets, and more accurate. I didn’t realize how inaccurate my old ones were until I poured 1 cup of water from my glass liquid measuring cup into the 1 cup from Preserve, and it was right-on! You could probably use these to measure liquid as well as dry if you’re in a pinch.
  • Love the bright green color.
  • The cups snap (attach) together at the handles so they will stay together if that’s what you want. Personally, I didn’t like keeping them attached because it took too much time (and two hands) to detach.


  • Don’t stack straight on counter. I like keeping them stacked together on my counter, and they don’t sit flat.
  • Difficult to read text on handle. Each measurement descriptive text is engraved (impressed) on the handle, but it blends in, sometimes making it very difficult to decipher which cup is which.

Bottom line, I love them, and I recommend them, especially if you are trying to find products made in the US. I don’t like using plastic very often, but since these measuring cups will not be heated, I figure I’m fairly safe. Plus, they are BPA free and I feel they’re safer than anything made in China, including stainless dry measuring cups.

Day One – Keeping Accountable

I’m going to start working out again. Making a public announcement will hopefully keep me accountable.

Wii Fit this AM, good workout on the “bike” – gotta keep it up. I’m shooting for 2-3 times per week. That is reasonable and doable!

I haven’t gained any weight (still 138-140), but my lower body area is feeling a bit gushy lately. Gotta get the leg muscles working again!

California Pomelo Fruit

pomelo fruit from california
I always am interested in trying unique fruits. A few days ago, Whole Foods was offering Pommelo fruit on sale @ 2/$4. I’ve seen them at the grocery stores in the past, but they are usually $2.50 to $3 each. Each fruit weighs about 2 pounds, so I figured at $1/lb on sale, it was worth a shot!

Pomelo fruit is the largest citrus fruit. It’s quite larger than a grapefruit, but smaller than a cantaloupe or personal watermelon.

It is also spelled pommelo and pummelo (which was how it was spelled on the label)
California pummelo fruit label

At Whole Foods, they described the pomelo as tasting like a cross between an orange and grapefruit, but believe it or not, it’s said that the grapefruit is actually a cross between the pomelo and an orange.

I adore citrus fruit, so I thought I would be in for a treat, and just by looking at the sheer size of the fruit, I thought that my husband and I would be splitting the fruit between us for our an evening snack.

I sliced it down the middle and was disappointed to find such a large inedible rind with only a small edible portion. There would be no sharing of this fruit, I’d have to eat it all by myself! hehe

California pomelo sliced in half
California pomelo sliced in half

I ended up using a jagged grapefruit spoon to scoop out the fruit. It was awkward to dig out each segment because (as you can see from the photo) they weren’t evenly sized or symmetrical like a grapefruit usually is, but there was a ton of yummy juice that I drank from the bowl. It was sweet and delicious. Yes, very much like grapefruit, but with a lemony undertone.

As tasty as it was though, I doubt that I’d buy a pomelo again, just because it was just not worth the cost. I’ll stick with grapefruit and oranges thank you!

Don’t Fall for Perdue Chicken’s Bogus USDA Process Verification

perdue receives new usda process verification

I just saw the new {misleading} Perdue chicken TV commercial making a big fuss about their new USDA Process Verification.

I’ve only seen the commercial once so far, so I’m going on what I remember, details are fuzzy. I’ll update when I can review the commercial again.

Jim Perdue is having a press conference about the fact that Perdue chicken is the first to receive the USDA Process Verification. I remember hearing buzz words/phrases like “cage free”, “vegetarian fed”, “no growth hormones”! And then he closes the barn door, and there’s chickens sitting at little make-up tables with lights around the mirror, giving the impression that the chickens are superstars!

Here’s the REAL STORY.

What Does the USDA Process Verification Actually Mean?

At first, the pessimistic in me is thinking okay, Perdue pressured the USDA to create this verification process and applied even more pressure to make sure they were the first. Just sayin LOL

But here’s their official USDA Process Verification:

All Vegetarian Fed – Chickens are fed a high quality vegetarian diet, with no animal by-products.
Raised Cage Free – Perdue chickens are free to roam within the chicken houses.

So, what does the verification mean? From Perdue’s press release:

“We feed our birds the finest natural grain products, including corn, soybeans and marigolds, with no animal byproducts,” says Perdue. Products carrying the Raised Cage Free claim are verified to come from birds that are free to move about within temperature-controlled chicken houses.

Big deal!

The official-sounding verification really means nothing in terms of humane treatment of animals, but I am sure that it won’t matter to consumers. People hear the phrases cage free and vegetarian fed, and they think they are doing a good thing by buying. I know, because I fell for it myself in the past!

They feed their chickens cheap GMO {Genetically modified} soy and corn and their chickens don’t live in cages. They still can be cramped together (like poor cage free egg layers), and there is no stipulation for fresh air, outdoor access, lighting, etc.

Oh and they feed marigolds so the chicken skin turns a nice yellow color! But it does evoke a lovely scene of chickens roaming freely through fields of yellow flowers doesn’t it?

Sorry, but if Perdue is the first and only USDA Process Verified company, then I am sorry, but that just leads me to believe the whole verification process is bogus bull crap, actually make that bogus chicken crap.

Perdue’s Web Site Claims

Let’s take a look at some further details stated on their web site about this prestigious recognition (insert smirk):

We’ve always known our PERDUE® chicken was good, but with our new USDA Process Verified seal, now we know it’s VERIFIABLY GOOD. Perdue is the FIRST poultry company to have a Process Verified seal. The seal verifies that the chickens have been raised without cages and fed an all-vegetarian diet. This means you can have full confidence in the way we raise our chickens. In taste tests,** we’ve also found that this means consumers prefer the taste of Perdue USDA Process Verified Chicken.

Boy that is a lot of congratulatory self-praise, a casual reader could possibly miss the actual verification details. Did you catch it?

The seal verifies that the chickens have been raised without cages and fed an all-vegetarian diet.

If you keep scanning down the web page, the content becomes even more misleading.

They list all these great USDA Defined Terms including “organic”, “Free range free roaming”, “No antibiotics”, “No hormones”, but why? Their verification has NOTHING to do with organic, free range, hormones or antibiotics, so why are these words being listed on this page? To perhaps confuse and mislead the public?

Anti-biotics vs Hormones and Steroids

Sometimes people misunderstand the words hormones and anti-biotics, thinking they are one in the same. I know I have been misled in the past when looking at labels.

Here is what Perdue states on their FAQ page about anti-biotic usage:

Perdue does not use antibiotics for growth promotion in our chickens. We use antibiotics as directed by our company’s team of veterinarians, all of whom are board-certified by the American College of Poultry Veterinarians. The antibiotics are used in stringent accordance with FDA and USDA guidelines. All PERDUE® products are free of harmful residues as determined by routine onsite USDA sampling.

They will always need to administer anti-biotics because their poor chickens are crammed together in small spaces, which means they are stressed, which means they will get sick!

I love the line

“All PERDUE® products are free of harmful residues as determined by routine onsite USDA sampling.”

Does the USDA think anti-biotics are harmful? Does this mean that any and all anti-biotic residues are acceptable because they are determined as safe?

PS: Perdue’s consistent claim for non-usage of hormones is bogus, because the USDA forbids usage in poultry and pork. But they still try to mislead the public whenever they can get away with it.

So, please when choosing products for your family’s table, don’t fall for silly verifications like this, even if it does come from the USDA. It’s just a load of chicken sh*t!