Applegate Farms Uncured Organic Sunday Bacon

I admit, I love bacon. No, it’s not something that I eat every day, but hey, once every week or two, it’s a savory splurge!

I never buy cured bacon, with the added nitrates, so I always look for a natural uncured brand.

I’ve tried the Whole Foods 365 brand, which was good, but I picked up a package of Applegate Farms uncured organic Sunday bacon, and it was fantastic. It cooks nicely in my cast iron pan, and even when over-cooked, it doesn’t shrivel down to tiny pieces. The flavor is superb, and I could probably eat the whole pound in one sitting!

applegate farms uncured organic sunday bacon

I made a batch of Boston Baked Beans with it, and I couldn’t stop myself from frying up a couple of slices for breakfast the next morning! We finished the package for Sunday morning brunch yesterday morning. Aaaah, it was heaven!

The best thing about Applegate Farms bacon is that it’s made from truly natural organic ingredients. There aren’t any unpronounceable ingredients in this bacon:

Organic Pork, Water, Sea Salt, Contains Less Than 2% Of The Following: Organic Evaporated Cane Syrup, Celery Powder.

I found this package of Applegate Farms Uncured Organic Sunday Bacon at Market Basket grocery. I don’t know if they sell it at Whole Foods, I will have to check! I will certainly be purchasing this bacon again!

Most Delicious Flavorful Whole Grain Bread!

I’ve been experimenting for a few weeks, and I think I’ve found the trick to making delicious flavorful bread dough. It’s easy, but it’s time consuming, taking about 2 days to complete.

whole wheat barley bread after long cold fermentation in refrigerator

You can use any whole grain/whole wheat bread recipe, but reduce the yeast amount to 1/2 or 3/4 tsp.

Here’s what you do:

Continue reading “Most Delicious Flavorful Whole Grain Bread!”

142.6 – NO Way!

I am shocked. This morning I weighed myself and I am now down to 142.6 – this can’t be correct! I know it sounds like whining, but how can I still be losing weight without even trying? I keep worrying that there is something wrong with me, like an illness or something.

I really hate to sound like I am complaining, because I love that I keep losing, but at the same time, the worry-wort in me keeps popping up!

I’ll see what happens tomorrow AM on the scale.

Cooking Day on the Q

Oh lord, I admit it. I am a QVC cooking junkie. I just love David Venable and I try to watch the In the Kitchen With David show every Sunday (and Wednesday PM now!)

Well tomorrow is a full 24 hour day of cooking on QVC and I am so excited! Looking forward to learning about the Vitamix blender, along with seeing all the new toys. The joy starts at midnight tonight! Whoo hoo!

Would you believe that while I am a Q Junkie, I’ve never purchased one thing from them! Ha!

I’ll update this post as the day goes on!

UPDATE: 9am Sunday, Stayed up as long as I could last night to watch the Vitamix presentation, but fell asleep in bed at around 12:30am. Woke up this morning at 7:30 to watch Caroline’s show. They presented a set of two microplanes and they look pretty cool. Checked them out on amazon, and I added it to my (Amazon) shopping cart. I might buy one for zesting and cheese. We’ll see.

UPDATE: 12pm Sunday, it’s time for In the Kitchen With David – 4 hrs! whoo hoo!
Watched most of the morning shows. I find it a bit disturbing that the best selling cookbook on QVC is the Eat What You Love: More than 300 Incredible Recipes Low in Sugar, Fat, and Calories book by Marlene Koch. The artificial sweetener craze is bigger than ever, and it really makes me sad. Oh well, that is a subject for another day. I did request the book from the library. Going to give it the benefit of the doubt before I condemn it!

Vitamix buzz on the QVC kitchen discussion forum is that the model offered on the Q is slightly different…and the 5 year warranty is less than the 7 year if purchased directly from A lot of people are buying them though. It’s fascinating to watch the presentations, but truthfully I don’t think I need something that elaborate. I have a blender and a food processor already, and I’m not so much into smoothies.

Stupid Domino’s Pizza Commercial

The new Domino’s commercial just infuriates me! They’re trying to jump on the grass fed bandwagon! Their new commercial is trying to give the impression that their cheese comes from happy grazing dairy cows in a pasture!

The commercial shows a “panel study” group discussing how they don’t trust the ingredients that Domino’s uses, and then all of a sudden, the walls come down and they are smack dab in the middle of a cow pasture, surrounded by cows. Yeah right! That’s realistic!

While I admire Domino’s Pizza marketing department for trying to revamp their image, starting from scratch, putting together a new pizza recipe… I hate when big food companies try to pull the wool over consumer’s eyes. Just like the ads for “happy California cows“, it’s very misleading! The majority of dairy cows do not lead a wonderful carefree life, as depicted in the new Domino’s Pizza commercial.

I would be a hypocrite if I said that I didn’t eat dairy; in fact, I adore cheese, but I try to limit my consumption just because it really is a cruel life for a dairy cow. And Domino’s Pizza is just adding to the misconception! I don’t think I’ll be trying Domino’s new improved pizza any time soon!

ETA October 28, 2010: After receiving a comment from “Dairy Farmer”

Yes, the farm in the commercial is a real farm….googled and found some info.

Truttmann Dairy, LLC is a real farm, and they look like they are doing the right thing by raising their cows naturally and grass based.

BUT it’s highly unlikely that this farm provides the bulk of Domino’s cheese inventory. My guess is, Domino’s is using a much much larger diary or dairies and Truttman’s is actually just for show to make consumers think they are getting a natural product.

Ha! After more googling, looks like I’m not the only one that doubts Domino’s intentions and marketing scheme:

There aren’t many farms left that are like Truttman’s and I applaud them for trying to do the right thing. But there is no possible way that Domino’s is using grass based naturally raised dairy on all their pizzas!

So, quit fibbing to the public, Domino’s and fess up!

Word is the next commercials will cover their naturally grown tomatoes and spinach! Can’t wait to see them!

Food Rules (Michael Pollan) Book Review

Michael Pollan is one of my heroes! His book “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto” was a huge inspiration to me when I started on my healthy lifestyle change.

Eat Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plants is his simple mantra.

Those words of wisdom define the three parts of Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual.

Part One: What should I eat? (Eat Food)
Part Two: What kind of food should I eat? (Mostly Plants)
Part Three: How should I eat? (Not Too Much)

It’s definitely an easy to read book. 140 pages, a quick afternoon read, easy to understand. I think that was the reason I never bothered to read it until now. Too simple? But I was pleasantly surprised to learn a few insights from the book, that made me slap my forehead (figuratively) and say “duh! Of course! Why didn’t I realize that before!”

So, there’s 64 basic “Food Rules”. No, you aren’t forced to follow all of them, but it’s a good idea to try to follow a good many of them.

Here are a few of my favorite rules:

  • #2 Don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.
  • #8 Avoid food products that make health claims – if it’s got a label with a printed claim, then chances are it’s probably processed!
  • #10 Avoid foods that are pretending to be something they are not – soy meats, butter spread, american cheese, artificial sweeteners, fake fiber. Michael Pollan mentioned in one of his lectures that he just noticed a food product called Splenda with Fiber! Now that is marketing genius! Jump on the weight-loss extra fiber bandwagon! Big food just keeps getting smarter and smarter, and Americans keep getting dumber, fatter, and more desperate!
  • #11 Avoid foods you see advertised on television – I’ve been living that advice for awhile. Big food is a HUGE BUSINESS, and if it can afford to advertise, then it’s best to stay away from that food product. Of course, this doesn’t always apply to whole foods, like nuts, beef, eggs, but at the same time, even they can be a little shady. Stay local and you won’t have to worry so much!
  • #21 It’s not food if it’s called by the same name in every language. (Think Big Mac, Cheetos, or Pringles) – this blew my mind, because it’s something I never really thought of. Brand names are usually given to PROCESSED foods, not whole foods!
  • #24 Eating what stands on one leg (mushrooms and plant foods) is better than eating what stands on two legs (fowl), which is better than eating what stands on four legs (cow, pigs, other mammals) – Chinese proverb
  • #26 Drink the spinach water – brilliant! Never really thought about it, but it makes great sense. Add it to soups and sauces, or even teas!
  • #33 Eat foods that have been predigested by bacteria or fungi – I do eat yogurt, but I need to really learn more about the benefits of sourdough bread, and making start baking some!
  • #34 Sweeten and salt your food yourself – I love this rule. Such good advice. So many processed foods start out with tons of sodium and sugar. It’s such a good idea to start with clean ingredients and season and sweeten to your own taste!
  • #39 Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself. This rule was an eye opener. Could it really be that easy? If I want a burger, I should just cook one myself? bacon? cookies? ice cream? I think this one might have been my favorite rule!
  • #44 Pay more, eat less
  • #51 Spend as much time enjoying the meal as it took to prepare it
  • #63 Cook – A simple rule, that if followed, would alleviate so many health problems in America. Take the time to control all the ingredients in your meals, and you will be happier and healthier!

Now I know I am not a perfect eater, and I don’t live a “clean food” lifestyle 100% of the time, but darn it, I try my best! And that’s all we can do. I highly recommend this book! It’s under $5 at Amazon. How can you go wrong!?

Seasonal Slump

I had been feeling very dissatisfied with food lately. I couldn’t exactly put my finger on it, but I felt unfulfilled. Not with my meals, but with snacks. I’d just stare into the fridge or cupboard and feel bored. Feeling bored with food is dangerous when you are trying to maintain a healthy weight!

But I finally think I figured it out. It’s the change in seasons.

I was thrilled with the summer bounty, and especially with blueberries. I was addicted! I’d buy 2 boxes of blueberries twice a week from the local farm. They were sweet and delicious and I couldn’t get enough of them!

Blueberries were a constant snack, but blueberry season is long gone, and I guess haven’t quite found the adequate snack replacement just yet. But now that I know what’s happening, I can work with it…and it’s definitely getting better.

I’ve been buying more apples, and baking more. I’ve been trying a few new healthy sweet bread recipes. In about a month, the California Naval oranges will be here and I know that’ll help tremendously! I’m such a fan of California Naval oranges, and I’ve been looking forward to their arrival to Whole Foods stores!

Thankfully my meals haven’t been an issue. I’ve been excited about winter veggies like tatsoi, beets, carrots, chard and potatoes. I’ve been craving soups and braised meats. I now need to get just as excited about autumn snacks!

Meatless Dinners

It’s funny. Growing up in a Catholic family, we used to have meatless Fridays, and not just during Lent either. We were allowed to eat fish, rumor has it the pope back in the day, allowed fish because he wanted to help out the Italian fishing community. Who knows!

Either way, I always dreaded that rule. I disapproved of a church telling me what to eat or what not to eat on any given day. It was so old fashioned and UNCOOL!

Now it’s become COOL to eat vegetarian one or two days a week! It’s so funny how things have changed! Go meatless for the earth, but not for religion!

We try to eat meatless for dinner once or twice a week. I think tonight, I’ll make some pizza. I usually buy premade naan or flatbread, but hmm, do I dare making the dough myself tonight? Let’s see!

Kashi Go Lean Cereal Offers as Much Protein as Egg

I’ve been constantly seeing the new commercial from Kashi bragging that their cereal offers as much protein as an egg.

Come on! Do people really believe that the “soy protein concentrate” in Kashi cereal would be equal in quality to the protein in real food like an egg?

Since Kashi is owned by Kellogg’s, somehow I doubt that they have our best interests at heart. Big food companies need profits, so they’re always trying to find a new way to manipulate the public into buying more of their products. And I’m sure the public will fall for it, like they always do. It’s easier to pour a bowl of processed cereal than it is to scramble up an egg for breakfast. But is it healthier? No way!

Sure, eggs might have saturated fat and cholesterol, but it’s been proven over and over again that eggs are not the enemy! In moderation, they can be part of a healthy balanced diet. I love eating a scrambled egg sandwich with cheese & whole wheat/grain bread for breakfast.

People need to stop eating processed food disguised as health food!

ETA (November 7, 2011) I feel it’s necessary to mention (thanks to comments from “veloved”) that while I promote eggs, I do not agree with the current way that egg-laying hens are treated in “factory farms” – the healthiest eggs will not be found at most grocery stores. Even the ones marketed as “free-range” or “organic” are not necessarily humanely raised.

Check the Cornucopia Institute’s Organic Egg Scorecard for details on eggs found at the grocery store; it’s surprising that most store brands are rated very low.

If you want the freshest, healthiest eggs, look for a small farm selling them in your neighborhood or local farmers market. Or better yet, start raising them yourself!