Category Archives: Food

SpaghettiOs Is Forced To Apologize For Tweet While Over-reaction On The Internet Is At An All-Time High

After outrage from the masses, Campbell Soup has felt compelled to apologize on Saturday for a tweet sent out by its SpaghettiOs brand that marked the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attacks with a picture of its smiling mascot waving an American flag.

The infamous Tweet

The infamous Tweet

The fact that ya’ll got your panties in a twist over this is ridiculous. Campbell’s says the tweet was meant to pay respect and later tweeted,   “We apologize for our recent tweet in remembrance of Pearl Harbor Day. We meant to pay respect, not to offend.”

Have we really run out of valid things to complain about or does it seem like we’re going disproportionately overboard here? And not just here, but this seems to be a trend where daily I see people yapping about some asinine thing. Dude, chill. I actually think the tweet was cute. And so what if they use their brand mascot to pay tribute to remember a historical American tragedy? You dress your kids up in American flag shirts and post pics of them on the fourth of July. I don’t really see a difference. SpagettiOs is proud of their mascot and I believe genuinely wanted to pay tribute. What if they posted the same message without their guy, would it have been the same reaction? So what if their motive was to make their company seem family oriented or patriotic? Those qualities in a brand are refreshing. The story isn’t that Campbell’s was too insensitive, it’s that people are too jumpy to complain about crap that doesn’t hurt anybody.

 

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Wegmans Provides Healthy Snacks To Our Local Elementary School

Local Grocer, Wegmans, often gives back to our community and in particular donates in various ways to our community’s children and our local schools. Their charitable donations have recently touched my children’s elementary school. Starting this past week Wegmans will now be providing free healthy snacks for every child, EVERY DAY for the rest of the year in our (RCSD) school. This is a program that schools can apply for and we were luckily granted. The program is tremendously generous and makes a huge difference in the day of our little ones. Many of the classes previously either didn’t offer an afternoon snack or relied on parents taking turns providing daily snacks for the class, and many times were food items that consist of empty carbs, high sodium or sugar. Wegmans will now be offering healthy fruit and veggie options such as carrots, watermelon, apples etc. Kudos to Wegmans, your generosity and continuation to give back to our community is greatly appreciated. Thank You!

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Sweeter Success, One Year Later

Almost exactly one year ago I hung out with my friend and (then) local cupcake shop owner, Heather Saffer, who was still reeling from her win on the Food Network TV show, Cupcake Wars, to do a super-fun, amazing, experimental frosting adventure and of course we both blogged about it.

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This was us last year, so much fun!

Since then Heather has closed her cupcake shop, Dollop, become a published author of an awesome cookbook, The Dollop Book of Frosting: Sweet and Savory Icings, Spreads, Meringues, and Ganaches for Dessert and Beyond, and totally amped up her blogging game. Lately she’s been doing the local celebrity press rounds and dishing out cupcake/baking/frosting advice and bringing us along on her continuing journey called life.

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To commemorate the one year since our last co-blogging adventure I asked Heather if I could interview her.

Me: My social media feeds were filled for most of Friday with buzz about your giant spread in local paper, The Democrat and Chronicle. You not only had a full-page spread, but also was feathered on the front page with a cookie hanging out of your mouth, no less. How does it feel to have your face plastered on newspapers, on the cover of books and in videos on TV?
Heather: It feels exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. It’s exhilarating to get the exposure that I’ve worked so hard to get but it’s terrifying to think that tomorrow everyone will forget about me. People have short attention spans these days with the constant stimulation of social media and the Internet. I need this type of exposure to do the things I’m trying to achieve, yet I know that it’s very fleeting. I put a lot of stress and pressure on myself to achieve great things. It’s a constant internal struggle that I don’t really let the world see. On a positive note, it’s pretty freaking awesome to see your face everywhere.
Me: You’ve achieved my life-long dream of being a published author, how does it feel and do you have any advice to give those of us dreamers aspiring to do the same?
Heather: I didn’t know it was your life-long dream to be a published author! I say go for it.  For me, it feels very surreal. Like, the book doesn’t even feel real. I mean, it feels like a book, especially when I’m flipping through it but it doesn’t feel like a real book. It’s crazy to think that I’m a published author. 
My advice to those of you dreaming of becoming a published author is just to do your research before diving in head first. Will self-publishing fulfill the dream or do you need a book deal from a publishing house? What type of book do you want to write? Research what’s out there and then start your plan of attack. It might take some time but anyone can do it. 
Me: What is your hands-down best, must-make recipe?
Heather: This is a tough question. You must make them all. Is that allowed to say? If I had to pick one… it’s tough because it depends what you’re craving… but my all-time favorite frosting is my Peanut Butter Buttercream. In fact, I almost made it last night just to eat it with a spoon. Then I realized how much candy corn I already ate and stopped myself. Oh, my other must-make recipe right now with it being concord grape season (which if you didn’t know lasts only about two seconds) is the Concord Grape Frosting with Peanut Butter Granola. It’s seriously amazing. And gluten-free. And vegan. It’s for everyone. 
Me: You seem like you are always working and doing everything from reality TV, authoring books, to travelling, to owning the cutest dog on the internet; what’s one thing we can expect from you in the future?
Heather: For my own sanity, I wish I had a definite answer to this. You can expect a lot more daily blogging on a wide-range of topics (including Donald aka the cutest dog on the internet), more vlogging, book signings, and new creations. I just launched a Dollop Frosting Shop on Etsy where you can get frosting apparel and I’ve started casually writing my memoir. There are so many things I want to do and so many ideas I have that I’m constantly trying to reign myself in. Also, I really want to hear more of what people want from me–what can I offer the world that will benefit people and people’s lives in some way?
Me: Do you have any funny blooper stories you can share from the kitchen?
Heather: There were several travesties at the Dollop Cupcake Bar. In fact, I deemed myself Commander of Disaster Control. One Saturday we had orders for three weddings, a major corporate event, and several showers and birthday parties. I think the cupcake number totaled well over 1,000 that day. Baking, decorating, and packing up 1,000 cupcakes in a 400 square foot shop is a challenge in its own right so I had two employees helping me that morning. It was a warm windy day and with the oven on, the shop was scorching so I opened the windows. We were running out of room to put the finished cupcakes and for fear of violating health code and setting them on the floor I decided to stack the boxes on the wide windowsills of the retail area. Well, we were all gathered in the kitchen decorating the final cupcakes when we heard a loud thunderous and ominous crash. As I turned around and looked in the retail room I saw the 5 big boxes of finished cupcakes I had placed on the windowsill all piled in a giant frosted heap on the floor. Each and every cupcake ruined. The wedding was supposed to be delivered in less than an hour and we had no cupcakes. My employees were just thrilled that I was the cause of the disaster and not them.
Me: How would you describe yourself in three words?
Heather: Real, Driven, Kind-hearted. (Why do I only get three words?)
Me: What would I find in your refrigerator right now?
Heather: Let me look. Hold on. Ack. Um… eggs, spinach that needs to be tossed, half of the BBQ sauce aisle, ketchup, chicken that must be eaten tonight, leftover egg salad from last night, butter, and three jars of frosting (of course).
Me: This is sort of becoming a yearly September tradition for us, can we blog together again next year at this same time to see what’s changed?
Heather: Absolutely! And dear God, I pray that something has changed by then (stagnation is my enemy).
** I think I NEED to try Concord Grape Frosting with Peanut Butter Granola ASAP! Heather’s book comes out on Tuesday; Either try your luck at winning it here, or check out Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
You can follow Heather on Twitter at @Heathercupcakes (that’s where we met first).
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Local Delight or Local Embarrassment?

Everywhere you go, in every culture we (people) have immense pride associated with local foods. Go to Philadelphia you need to get a Philly Cheesesteak. Come to Rochester you must get a garbage plate. NYC it’s pizza or bagels. Go to the State Fair you get something fried. Deep fried butter or a double donut burger or GTFO. YOU MUST GET THE LOCAL DISH OR ELSE it seems. I often see these militant dish pushers that go beserkazoid if you don’t dish about their favorite dishes. Coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs or something. But the problem is, for the health conscious folks, the local dishes leave much to be desired. It’s often the fattiest food around. Which is funny, because when I think of “locally grown” foods I think of vegetables and farmers markets. Healthy stuff. But local favorite plates are often greasy, high calorie stomach-cramp inducing nightmares that trade any thoughts of health for grease-guzzling savoriness. Just another part of an obese culture. Militant pride in bad foods. And you all know how I feel about Bacon, right?!

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Top 10 Thanksgiving Dinner Foods

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Thanksgiving Dinner Foods

Do I even have to mention that these are my personal favorites and not something I got off a list on the internet?  Every family does it a little differently, I’m sure, but a most of these are traditional American favorites that many people put on the table during the holiday.  I have never personally cooked a Thanksgiving Dinner by myself.. that is usually best left up to my mom or my husband.. I’m usually stuck cutting up the veggies or arranging Hors d’oeuvre on a table beside the football fans.  What are you making for Thanksgiving this year and what are your favorites?

Hostessapocalypse

2012 and apparently the Mayans were wrong, but little did we know that something entirely unforeseen and much more dramatic was going to happen. Sorry friends, the Hostessapocalypse is now reining down on our nation like a ton of bricks. This is not a joke, this is not a drill. Twinkies, wonderbread, Ding-Dong.. All soon to be Ding-gone.

Shocking as this may all seem, the company has been going down hill for years. Hostess has been in bankruptcy twice since 2009, and has had a series of inexperienced CEOs mismanaging the company into the ground. Six to be exact in the last 8 years. Even though the company has had plenty of financial troubles, the current CEO just got a hefty raise of 300%, that’s right: from $750,000 to $2,500,000! Now that’s a whole lot of Wonderbread! The company blames it’s woes on the striking workers that (oh the horror) dared to demand benefits and fair pay, an easy scapegoat for sure. Already petitions are floating around to bailout the well indulged junk food company just like we did the auto industry, a fat mistake that would be for sure. I’m only surprised Obamacare wasn’t blamed for the snack-cake company’s downfall, which seems to be a popular excuse for millionaire and billionaire CEOs to throw around as reasons why they don’t want to supply their low paid workers with decent benefits as they sit by the pool eating Ding-Dongs to their heart’s content.

Anyway you slice it folks, sadly 18,000 Americans are now out of a job right before the holidays and hopefully they snagged a case of Twinkies on their way out the door, because apparently these snack-cakes are literally selling like hot cakes on eBay at upwards near 10,000 a box.

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Jammin’ It

I’m ending food week with a guest post by my good friend Amy.  She has her own blog, and makes the best recipes that are actually do-able for people like me. (that need direction and a bit of ease) Check out her blog here!

Thanks to my good friend Andrea for asking me if I would write a post about food and cooking. Andrea and I have been friends since middle-school when girl scouts brought us together. I feel old when I can claim someone as my friend for more than 15 years. Whoa.

Anyway, I’ve really loved reading her blog and excited to get to share a cooking debacle with you all! Also, this is the perfect excuse for me to get back on the blogging horse.

I thought the perfect post to share with a new audience is a cooking mishap. Let’s keep it real, right? Earlier this year I thought it would be a swell idea to whip up my first ever batch of jam in the dead of summer and during record humidity. Cool. I’m full of smart ideas. I’m going to walk you through my missteps to guide you on what not to do. And, ultimately the mess worked out and was delicious so it’s a happy mistake.

I started with some plump blueberries from Joel’s parents own blueberry bushes. Yum.

Mistake number one: starting the jam in this small-ish pot. The thing I learned about canning is you need to bring the fruit to a boil. This scene in the pot should have been a clue that problems were a’comin’. But, instead, I soldered on and waited until this was a boiling-over hot mess. Oy. Lesson learned. The hard way.

To give you a sense of how chaotic the boil-over was here’s the view of the stove top pre-mess. As it turns out making jam requires me to have every burner going. The steam from all of the boiling water plus the mess of the boil-over I felt like I was in an episode of I Love Lucy. I didn’t snap a photo because it was such a mess and frankly the boiling jam was a bit dangerous and of course my side-kick, the dog, was underfoot the whole time. #jamfail.

Ahhh, much better. And check out the bottom right corner in the pic and notice evidence of the spillage. I’m just keeping it real, friends.

I successfully made the blueberry-cinnamon jam and even a strawberry rhubarb jam. Both equally delicious. I’m not an expert in making jam as you’ve probably guessed at this point. However, the fabulous

Food in Jars blog provided me endless guidance in my jamming adventures.

As you may know I could eat ice cream daily so it’s no surprise that I enjoy the jam warmed up over vanilla ice cream. Yum-yum so delicious. What a fabulous way to enjoy this treat.

How about you – have you ever had any kitchen mishaps? Do you love making jam? Are you laughing at my boil-over hot-mess? All of the above?

Can Beggars Be Choosers?

At the beginning of the school year it took the cafeteria in our school two whole weeks to print and release menus for the students and parents to view.  I had called several times and stopped in the office to inquire about the food served.  My kids are picky, and they like to choose which days they buy and which days they bring their lunches.  This year our school district has a program that provides free meals to all students.  It’s a grant given by the state because of a community based need.  The ratio of student families that receive free lunch is so high that the entire district qualifies for the state funded program.  When I went into the office to ask when we’d be able to view lunch menus, the office receptionist responded to me, “you do know it’s free, right?”  As if the price of the meal made up for the fact that we weren’t able to make knowledgeable choices about our kids meals.  It seemed as if because the meal was free, that fact was more important than making conscious informed choices.  As if that meant I shouldn’t be picky about what was going to be served to my kids.  I think this concept, that when you’re getting free stuff, you ought to be happy regardless, is also something mirrored in society.

I hear a lot of people who get absolutely livid over the fact that you can buy soda and chips even energy drinks (or really anything you want that has a nutrition label) with food stamps.  I find it interesting that people think that just because a person is poor they are not fit to make their own meal choices.  I’m sure most of us don’t necessarily make the best food choices every time we eat.  It’s nice to indulge now and then on completely frivolous food.  It’s also a freedom we may take for granted if we personally do not have any restrictions against us.  Celebrating birthday parties with the family, it’s fun to blow out the candles on a cake and then eat a piece with ice cream.  Movie Nights at home eating popcorn on the couch with the kids.  Having friends over for the Super Bowl eating chicken wings and Doritos.  Eating pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving.  No, these snacks aren’t the picture of perfect nutrition, but they’re things that we like to partake in that would all fit into the ‘junk food’ category.  Why is it that because people are getting public food assistance that we feel the need to dictate which sorts of food items they deserve to buy?  Which food items they ought to be eating for everyday meals or at snack and special occasion time?  Should we provide for the poor, but only with specific strings attached?  Should we punish those on public assistance and limit their autonomy and choices?

On the other hand, there’s a  program called WIC (women infant children), another government assisted food program, where recipients have no autonomy over their food choices.  People get food items like milk, bread, cereal, eggs, beans, cheese, and baby formula and baby food and a few other staple items.  A recipient cannot buy certain items like organic food or food enhanced with extra omega-3s with their food checks.  This program takes away the choice for recipients to provide certain food for their families like organic that many of us deem as superior.  Should beggars not be choosers, be grateful they have food on their plates at all, or should poor people have the right to choose chemical free produce?  Should the government be prioritizing quantity over quality?  What about prison food?  Should the choiceless expect to be provided with the best or be expected to get by on minimum requirements with possible health disadvantages?

Another example is what may seemingly be the best nutritional choice may not actually be the best choice for an individual.  Myself for example, because of problems with my colon, I cannot eat foods like wheat bread or fibrous cereals, amongst other things.  It’s important for me to drink vitamin water with electrolytes and expensive protein bars to maintain my nutrition and strength.  In typical situations, one would think wheat bread is a better nutritional choice than white bread and think that it’s a positive compulsory requirement, not in my case.  Without the power of choice, my diet wouldn’t be right.  What about coffee?  Many people see that as a requirement to get them through the workday.  Does this only hold true for wealthy employees?  WIC also has blanket regulations, like dictating what percentage of milk fat recipients can purchase, taking away the ability of parents to make those choices for their families.

I see pictures like this one above posted often on Facebook.  Basically the idea is, if you are poor and on government assistance, then you should not be able to make any personal choices at all.  Why stop at beer and cigarettes?  Why not restrict Christmas presents for their children or name brand shoes for their feet?  I think it’s unrealistic and unfair that we expect low-income people to not indulge in any extra expenses, especially choices over what they put into their bodies.

“Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free… just don’t ask for organic food because we aren’t that charitable.”

As a mom, I hear constant whining from my kids about what I give them.  I often say the phrase, “you get what you get and you don’t pitch a fit.”  They are children, and I have to make safe choices for them.  Does this also hold true for adults that are on public food assistance?  Should they take second-rate goods or have no control over meals and not pitch a fit?

Food is a very personal thing and freedom to make choices over what goes into your body is a big deal. So you tell me, can beggars be choosers or should they be happy with what they get?

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Wordless Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Clean 15: Produce That Contains the Least Amount of Pesticides

I already posted the Dirty Dozen list of produce, fruits and veggies that contain the most pesticides.  This list is the “Clean 15,”  or the produce that contains the least amount of pesticides.. take a look at number 7.  mmmhmmm.