Thursday, November 3, 2011

I Love Pumpkin

One of my favorite things about this time of year is the plethora of items that are available made with pumpkin.  There is a local bakery here in Bowie that makes Pumpkin danishes that I just absolutely love.  My wife picked up two of them for me last week.

This is also one of my favorite times of year when it comes to Starbucks.  I do not treat myself to Starbucks as much as I used to these days, but this time of year I have to treat myself to a Pumpkin Spiced Latte.  It also means that it will soon be time for them to come out with their Eggnog Lattes.

There are several locations where I can pick up other pumpkin goodies like pumpkin donuts, pumpkin muffins, and pumpkin cheesecake.  Of course, for more adult treats I can always pick up one of several pumpkin brews available at the liquor store.

One of the reasons that I have been thinking about pumpkin today is that I received an email from Kraft.  In it, was a link to their website with literally hundreds of recipes for pumpkin dishes and desserts.  I saw one recipe for a pumpkin pie that I made one year that I got from a Philadelphia Cream Cheese cookbook that has a layer of cream cheese and a layer of pumpkin  

One of my coworkers might be an even bigger pumpkin fan than I am,  plus he does a lot of baking, so I forwarded the link to him.  Hopefully he will find a few of them to his liking and make a few of them and let me sample them.

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Edible Cannabis

Legal medical marijuana clinic, Denver, Colora...Image via WikipediaIn my job as a candy and snacks buyer, I receive a lot of email newsletters related to the food industry.  One of the newsletters that I subscribe to is put out by Natural Food Merchandising magazine so that I can stay aware of any trends in the natural and organic snack markets.  This week, they had a rather interesting article about the use of medical marijuana in food product.

Now, I am not, nor have I ever been a marijuana use.  I did try it a couple of times in college with a couple friends of mind, but all it did was make me cough.  I just could not manage to inhale the smoke.  I did have some friends who did smoke on a regular basis.  Some of them talked about baking marijuana into brownies, and I remember  a particularly funny Barney Miller episode where the squad mistakenly got high off of marijuana laced brownies.

The gist of the article was about companies in Colorado who were working on a variety of gourmet food products that are infused with medical marijuana.  In particular, they mention a company called Simply Pure that makes a wide variety of products that goes beyond the stereotypical pot brownies.  Among their offerings are pizza, sodas, energy drinks, cheese cakes, and candies.  Their goal is to product all natural, organic, gluten-free and sugar free foods.

The article goes on to include quotes from a doctor who specializes in medical marijuana evaluations and nutrition.  He talks about the benefits of healthy and natural eating for everyone, but especially for those who require medical marijuana.  In addition to healthy eating as a whole, the good doctor say that consuming medical marijuana in foodstuffs may be more beneficial to patients than smoking, due to a slower absorption rate in digestion and burning through smoking can destroy some of the beneficial cannabinoids in the marijuana.

I do not intend to get into the arguments on whether or not medical marijuana is a good or bad thing for society.  There seems to be some evidence that it does help some people suffering from cancer and long term pain.  Of course there is always the opportunity for abuse.  I can see the benefit of ingesting medical marijuana in food form versus smoking, just based on my experience of not being able to inhale smoke.  Though I hope I never get so sick that I will require medical marijuana. 
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Friday, August 5, 2011

Benefits of Chewing Gum

Many types of North American chewing gum from ...Image via Wikipedia
It has been a good week in the news for gum chewers.  I have read of two different studies this week about the benefits of chewing gum.

Earlier this week, a study came out that showed that chewing gum may help to reduce the craving for snacks between meals.  This would be a tremendous benefit for anybody trying to lose weight.  It is similar to another study that came out two years ago that I posted about here that stated that chewing sugar free gum could help reduce caloric intake and increase energy expenditures.

Today, I found another article that stated that chewing gum could help teenagers to increase their math scores.  This will certainly pose a dilemma for teachers and schools across the country who have always told students they can't chew gum during class.  There has been anecdotal evidence that gum chewing helps some folks stay focused on a task, and now there may be scientific evidence to that end.

There is one caveat that I would want to add about these studies.  Both studies were backed in part by the Wrigley Science Istitute.  One would think that they would have a vested interested in having a positive outcome regarding the benefits of chewing gum.  Consequently, I always tend to be a bit skeptical of some of these studies.  Isn't amazing how often the organizations backing a study manager to get their desired results?
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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Strict Adherance to Package Dates Costs Billions

A tag sealing a bag of hot dog buns displays a...Image via Wikipedia
What do you do when you find a package of food that has passed the date printed on the package?  Do you assume that since it is past the date on the package that it is no longer good, or do you figure that the date is just a guideline?  I have been in the retail food industry most of my life.  I know that most food, if properly handled, is still edible after the date on the package.

However, a recent study by and Harris Interactive shows that most Americans believe that some food is not safe to be eaten once the the date has passed.  They surveyed about 2500 adults and asked their opinions on whether or not 10 refrigerated products were safe to eat past the expiration date. 

Almost half of those surveyed thought that eggs could not be eaten after the date printed on the package.  When properly stored, eggs can last 3-5 weeks after the date on the package.  Over 60% of respondents thought that milk could not be safely consumed after the printed date.  Milk usually stays good for a week after the sell by date on the package.

The study projects that if those same 60% of people think that milk is bad once the sell by date passes were to throw out a quart of milk per month, it would add up to $700 million in wasted milk.  Talk about crying over spilled milk.  With the multitude of products purchased with sell by dates, you can see how quickly the amount of money would add up.  So the next time you have a product past the sell by date, remember, there is not a clock ticking in the product that magically makes it bad when the date on the package arrives.
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Sunday, May 9, 2010

PF Chang's General Chang's Chicken

Yesterday, I went to visit my parents to drop off some vitamins that I ordered for my mother.  While we were there, my father told me about a new line of PF Chang's frozen entrees for two that they found at their local Giant grocery store.  I decided to check my local Giant to try to find them there.  The store had yet to cut them into the frozen food section, but fortunately I know the frozen food clerk, and he was able to find several in the frozen store room.  I decided to buy the Shrimp in Garlic Sauce and the General Chang's Chicken.  You can see all their varieties at their website.

Our original Mother's Day plans were canceled at the last minute, so I decided to prepare one of the PF Chang's entrees for dinner.  I let my wife decide which one she wanted, and she chose the General Chang's Chicken.  It is described on the package as "Battered white meat chicken with a sweet chili sauce, broccoli and red bell peppers."  The sweet chili sauce was tasty and had a bit of a zing to it.

Preparing the kit is about as straightforward as it gets.  You pour the contents of the package in a non-stick skillet and cook it for about 13 minutes.  The kit does not come with any rice, so if you want to serve the dish over rice you will need to cook your own.  The package contained plenty of meat, nice size pieces of brocolli, strips of red bell pepper, and frozen cubes of the sauce.  The PF Chang's entrees are a little more expensive than the Wanchai Ferry product that I had tried previously, but the sauce makes the difference.  Give the PF Chang's a try for a nice dinner for two, ready in less than 15 minutes.
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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Kraft Deli Deluxe Bacon Cheddar Slices

One day last week during my daily commute, I heard a radio commercial for new Kraft Deli Deluxe Bacon Cheddar slices.  My immediate thought was that would make for a pretty good grilled cheese sandwich.  When I was a kid, my mom would sometimes put a slice of bologna between two slices of cheese for a bologna and grilled cheese sandwich.  Bologna was good, but now we are talking about bacon.

So when I set out to do my weekly grocery shopping on Sunday at my local Giant, one of my goals was to find the coveted Bacon Cheddar slices.  Much to my chagrin, they were not carrying it as of yet.  On Monday, I left early feeling a little under the weather.  Under the weather would be an understatement, I have been fighting a major bout with the flu.  I decided to stop at the local Safeway to pick up a few things to deal with my illness.  They had the cheese.

Like I said, I have been having a major battle with the flu.  For the past four days, all I have been to do is lay in bed and drift in and out of sleep.  I have had very little desire to eat anything.  However, today was the first day that I really felt like having something other than saltines and ginger ale.  So tonight for dinner we had the bacon cheddar grilled cheese sandwiches.  It was as good as I had hoped.  If you like grilled cheese sandwiches and bacon, pick up a pack of Kraft Deli Deluxe Bacon Cheddar slices.  You might want to hurry, no telling how long they will be around once the FDA starts regulating salt.
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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Winetime Bar

Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant found in fruits, especially in the skins of red grapes.   Since it is a part of red grapes, it can also be found in red wines, which accounts for some of the benefits of drinking red wine.  There are those that believe that the resveratrol found in red wine is responsible for the so called "French Paradox" in which the French have good cardiovascular health although their diet is high in fat.

Some of the benefits of resveratrol are thought to be:

* Protect cells from free radical damage
* Inhibit the spread of cancer, especially prostate cancer
* Lower blood pressure
* Keep the heart healthy and improve elasticity in blood vessels
* Normalize the body’s anti-inflammatory response
* Slow down the signs of aging and help prevent Alzheimer’s disease

Unfortunately, the amount of resveratrol needed to obtain these benefits would require drinking an awful lot of wine each day.  The excessive amount of alcohol would cancel out the benefits of the resveratrol.  So resveratrol supplements have become very popular.  There is also a company out of California who has produced a very tasty, nutritional bar called the WineTime Bar.

The WineTime Bar is a delicious chocolate nutritional bar that has as much resveratrol as 50 glasses of red wine, without the hangover.  In addition to the resveratrol, the WineTime Bar also contains seven additional super fruits; cranberry, noni, pomegranate, goji berry, acai, mangosteen and blueberry.  I have had the pleasure of trying the WineTime Bar and it is delicious.  It is a fairly new product, so it may be hard to find, but you can place orders for it on their website.  

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