Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Greek Yogurt Review X : Giant Brand Greek Yogurt

 Last weekend, I discovered that the Giant Supermarkets ( a large chain that essentially blankets the North East of the US from Maine ( as Stop & Shop ) to Virginia ( as Giant / Giant Eagle / Martin's ) had released their own "store brand" Greek yogurt. Well of course, I had to get a cup for review!

     I was a little hesitant, after my bad experience with Safeway brand Greek yogurt,  but decided that since I'd had a slightly better experience with the Hannaford store brand.,  I would give Giant's new product a try with a clear mind and an open heart. Now, I know most store brand groceries are actually made by the main conglomos of the world - and after tasting Giant's store brand Greek yogurt, I'm convinced the Chobani Corporation is moonlighting for Giant.

      Again, for reasons of a fair review, I chose to sample the vanilla yogurt. ( I generally eat the vanilla flavor anyway; I add my own fruit every morning, and the sugar count is generally lower. )The yogurt is packaged rather plainly, with little fanfare or splashy advertising. I reviewed the nutritional data: mixed reviews.

Calories? 130 - pretty good for a Greek yogurt. Most are 30-60 calories more.
Sodium? 105 mg - in line with other Greek yogurts.
Sugar? 17 g - a few lower than most yogurts.

     Ingredients? Cultured, pasteurized nonfat milk, sugar, vanilla extract,  pectin, locust bean gum, live active cultures.
Almost identical word for word with Chobani. However, the Chobani label lists "evaporated cane juice" where Giant's store brand lists "sugar". Knowing that evaporated cane juice is more expensive than sugar - it makes sense to put it in the store brand rather than the premium, higher cost brand.
Clean?  - Um...just this side of borderline. Added sugar makes it not as Clean as it could be. I wish it wasn't in there. However, it is difficult to discern how much of that sugar count is from the inherent sugar present in milk, and how much is added sugar. But overall, fewer ingredients than some brands like Dannon. Nothing I didn't recognize.
Tanginess? Same as Chobani, about a 2 of 5 on my "Tangyness" scale.

    Overall, the Giant brand flavor and texture wise is excellent. I'd definitely recommend it as a less expensive alternative to Chobani. On the Clean Eating scale, this is ok. Yes, it has added sugar - but it is a sight healthier for you than most commercially prepared yogurts. If you like Chobanii and have a Giant or Stop & Shop near your home - I'd definitely recommend Giant brand yogurts.

     Thumbs up!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Make Your Own Clean "To Go" Oatmeal Packets

I love this idea. Instead of buying significantly overpriced individual envelopes of oatmeal, make your own take along bags. These would live very nicely in your office desk drawer for a long time - just consider skipping the addition of sugar or use stevia instead. Or - have a bottle of honey in your desk, and use a squeeze of that instead for some sweetness. Just follow the directions on the box of oatmeal you are using to determine how much water to add.

( I'm having trouble getting the video to show up in this space - click the link below to go over to and view - thanks! )

Monday, February 27, 2012

Lady Alice Apples


     I used to be known for my long red hair. As in "Go ask the woman with the long red hair; you can't miss her." Now, I'm known for apple consumption. :-) Yesterday at the grocery store, the clerk saw me, smiled, and said "You are the lady that likes new apples, right?"


     According to the Rainier Fruit Company's website, The Lady Alice variety was named after the company founder's mother, Alice, who was instrumental in the successful growth of Rainier Fruit. It was discovered by chance on a farm near Gleed, Washington in 1978; the result of a grower accidentally cutting an apple tree with his farm equipment - a disc from this plow hit at the bottom of a red delicious tree. The tree send out another branch which did not look like the rest of the tree. The fruit it would go on to produce was also very different than a red delicious. This new variety was thus created by accident, so the actual parents of this apple are a mystery. Upon looking at the apple it has some yellow patches that look like a Golden Delicious.Over the next 25 years, steps were taken to preserve and propagate the chance seedling's distinctive characteristics.

     The Lady Alice is a dense, crisp fruit with a delicious apple cider like juice to it. It has a remarkable sweet/tart taste that is perfect for snacking. I found I liked the Lady Alice best of all the new apple varietals I've tried this year. I enjoyed it cut up with a little almond butter, and I also enjoyed just eating it plain out of hand.I've not baked with it yet, but have plans to experiment with some as a baked dessert.

      Unlike many apple varieties, the Lady Alice is slow to brown when cut – making it perfect for salads and fruit trays. The Lady Alice can also be used in a variety of cooking and baking recipes. Its heirloom-like flesh ( meaning dense )  helps it retain its texture when heated at high temperatures.

     Of all the various apple reports I've posted in the past 6 months, I can't recommend the Lady Alice more highly. It is crisp and sweet, but not as crisp and sweet as a Honeycrisp.  It is juicy, but not as juicy as the Junami. I loved Sonya apple - and now I've got another variety to add to the "must buy" list: The Lady Alice.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Off Topic: Ode to Joy

     I'm working on next week's topics, so if you haven't done so already, leave a comment in my post for the cookbook giveaway. Click the Clean Eating 2 banner in the side board to access the post. 

     In the meantime, enjoy Beaker and his rendition of Ode to Joy. It made me smile. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Clean Eating In The News: The Government Doesn't Have Your Best Interests at "Heart" - Shocking, I Know...

      The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (that’s a government agency, an arm of the National Institute of Health - NIH  ) has partnered w/ Diet Coke to help spread “The Heart Truth” and encourage “heart healthy behaviors”.

What, like drinking liquid plastic with caramel coloring? Yeah, that’s great for your heart.

" Diet Coke® continues to support The Heart Truth® through a variety of awareness-building activities including retail programs across the country and online advertising, partnerships and visibility on more than 6 billion packages of Diet Coke featuring The Heart Truth logo.
This year, Diet Coke is asking its fans and followers to help raise awareness and funding for women's heart health programs. Funds raised will go to the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) in support of The Heart Truth and women's heart health education and research.
For the fifth consecutive year, Diet Coke will also be the presenting sponsor of The Heart Truth's Red Dress Collection Fashion Show. The Diet Coke Heart Health Ambassador will walk in the Red Dress Collection 2012 Fashion Show to further raise awareness of the issue. For more information on how to participate in the campaign, visit"

     How Noble! Next, I think Phillip Morris should support the American Cancer Society. And putting a "Heart Healthy" logo on their soda cans? Nearly criminal.

      Ironically, their non-diet product, Coke, contains HFCS. That’s been directly linked to heart disease. Just more sad evidence that the government is NOT necessarily looking out for your best interests, particularly when it comes to health and nutrition. If they were, they wouldn't accept corporate money from a company that is devoted to making their heart unhealthy product the number 1 soda in the world.

Maybe partner with a water bottling company next time?

     Why is this Clean Eating news? Part of Clean Eating is filtering out all the background noise corporations throw at you to position their product in a more favorable ( read, healthy ) light. Learn to recognize marketing and promotion that is not in your best interests. Diet Coke is in this promotion only so they can slap that "Heart Healthy" logo on 6 billion packages - when it isn't, at all. It simply gives their product the impression of being heart healthy.

Always take the information you are given with a careful eye. While the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute might have good intentions, partnering with a soda manufacturer lacks the forethought someone over at NIH might have had before accepting a large check from a conglomo who is taking their carefully designed logo and using it for unhealthy purposes.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Fat and Oil Comparison Chart

     I found this fat comparison chart online a while back, and have been meaning to post it for some time. Saturated fat percentages are shown in red, polyunsaturated fats are in green, and monounsaturated fats are in yellow.  In general, the more yellow and green versus red are more healthy fats. In Clean Eating, it is important to understand not only the "rules" of what to eat, how, and when - but making healthier choices overall with the foods you do choose to eat.

From The Mayo Clinic's website:

Harmful dietary fat

The two main types of potentially harmful dietary fat:
  • Saturated fat. This is a type of fat that comes mainly from animal sources of food. Saturated fat raises total blood cholesterol levels and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, which can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. Saturated fat may also increase your risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Trans fat. This is a type of fat that occurs naturally in some foods, especially foods from animals. But most trans fats are made during food processing through partial hydrogenation of unsaturated fats. This process creates fats that are easier to cook with and less likely to spoil than are naturally occurring oils. These trans fats are called industrial or synthetic trans fats. Research studies show that synthetic trans fat can increase unhealthy LDL cholesterol and lower healthy high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. This can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Most fats that have a high percentage of saturated fat or trans fat are solid at room temperature. Because of this, they're typically referred to as solid fats. They include beef fat, pork fat, shortening, stick margarine and butter.

Healthier dietary fat

The two main types of potentially helpful dietary fat:
  • Monounsaturated fat. This is a type of fat found in a variety of foods and oils. Studies show that eating foods rich in monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) improves blood cholesterol levels, which can decrease your risk of heart disease. Research also shows that MUFAs may benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control, which can be especially helpful if you have type 2 diabetes.
  • Polyunsaturated fat. This is a type of fat found mostly in plant-based foods and oils. Evidence shows that eating foods rich in polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) improves blood cholesterol levels, which can decrease your risk of heart disease. PUFAs may also help decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes. One type of polyunsaturated fat, omega-3 fatty acids, may be especially beneficial to your heart. Omega-3s, found in some types of fatty fish, appear to decrease the risk of coronary artery disease. They may also protect against irregular heartbeats and help lower blood pressure levels.
Foods made up mostly of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature, such as olive oil, safflower oil, peanut oil and corn oil.

      While no specific amount is recommended, the guidelines recommend eating foods rich in poly and monounsaturated fats while staying within your total fat allowance. Most physicians and nutritionists recommend you limit saturated fat to no more than 10 percent of your total calories. Limit to 7 percent to further reduce your risk of heart disease. Based on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, a 10 percent limit amounts to about 22 grams of saturated fat a day, while 7 percent is about 15 grams. Saturated fat intake counts toward your total daily allowance of fat.

      Need help calculating what your daily fat intake should be in grams? Multiply your daily total calorie intake by the recommended percentage of fat intake. Divide that total by 9, which is the number of calories in a gram of fat. For example, here's how a 7 percent saturated fat limit looks if you eat 2,000 calories a day. Multiply 2,000 by 0.07 to get 140 calories. Divide 140 by 9 to get about 15 grams of saturated fat.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Greens: A Visual Reference

1. Kohlrabi Greens

Alternate name: Cabbage turnip (Kohlrabi is the German word for it)
Characteristics: German for "cabbage turnip," this vegetable—reminiscent in shape of a hot-air balloon— is usually found in the marketplace with the stem and leaves still attached to the bulb. The bulb can be eaten raw or cooked, but the leaves do need to be cooked before serving. The easiest method to prepare the leaves is to separate and discard the ribs and then sauté the leaves in olive oil and garlic. The bulb has been incorporated into cuisines around the world, from India to Germany, but it is primarily in the southern part of the United States that the leaves are consumed, usually prepared in a manner similar to collard greens.

2. Bok Choy

Alternate names:Chinese white cabbage, pak choy, pak choi, white mustard cabbage
Characteristics: Chinese cuisine has made this cabbagelike vegetable popular. Bok choy has a tender and mild flavor, especially the immature baby bok choy, shown on the left. Part of baby bok choy's appeal is that you can cook the small vegetable whole, without breaking its leaves apart, thus adding a beautiful visual element to a dish. When cooking larger, more mature bok choy, cut the leaves from the stem and cook the stems first, since they will require a slightly longer cooking time.

3. Spinach

Characteristics: Though originally from Persia, this is one of the most common greens around and can be eaten both raw and cooked. Baby spinach, pictured on the right, is ideal in salads because it is so delicate and has a milder, less bitter taste than other greens. If you plan to cook spinach, purchase more than you think you'll need, since cooking reduces its volume drastically. Unlike the other cooking greens in this guide, spinach is good for mixing with other foods—its flavor isn't overpowering, and its delicate nature requires little preparation and a shorter cooking time.

4. Broccoli Raab

Alternate names:Broccoli rabe, rapini, cima di rabe, turnip broccoli, Italian turnip, brocoletti di rape, choy sum
Characteristics: Don't let the name mislead you: This veggie is not a member of the broccoli family but is in fact related to the turnip. Often used in Italian and Chinese cooking, this leafy green vegetable with small florets is increasingly popular in the U.S. Use broccoli raab to balance a dish and add a dash of natural bitterness.

5. Chard

Alternate names: Swiss chard, Silverbeet, Mangold spinach beet, leaf beet, sea kale, white beet
Pictured left to right: Rainbow, white, and red
Characteristics: This vegetable makes a bold statement with its large, thick, dark leaves and colored veins and stalks. The leaves taste somewhat like a more intense spinach, although the texture of chard leaves is nowhere near as smooth—or as soft. Don't discard the stalks: They have a mellow flavor. The stems and the greens are best prepared separately to prevent the leaves from getting overcooked.

6. Collards

Alternate names: Collard greens, borekale, tree cabbage, or nonheading cabbage
Characteristics: A member of the cabbage family and closely related to kale, collard greens are often associated with Southern cooking in the United States. Typically they are cooked along with ham, pork, and various vegetables, as well as with other greens, such as kale. Collards have Mediterranean origins and pop up in plenty of cuisines.

7. American Mustard Green

Alternate names: Curled mustard, American mustard
Characteristics: The frilled, curly edges of this chartreuse green help make it stand out in a crowd. The seeds are used to make the condiment mustard. In the United States, mustard greens are an integral part of Southern cuisine, usually cooked or mixed with other cooking greens, like kale and collards. There are a number of Asian varieties, such as dai gai choy, bamboo mustard, and green-leafed mustard, all of which look nothing like the American version but still contribute a peppery bite to any dish.

8. Beet Greens

Characteristics: If you happen to purchase beets with the stems and leaves still intact, don't discard the leafy tops. The leaves' minerally taste will complement the root's sweetness. If they are young, beet greens can be eaten raw; otherwise, cook them as you would any other dark leafy green.

9. Kale

Alternate names: Borecole, cow cabbage, kail
Pictured, left to right: Curly and Tuscan (also known as black kale, dinosaur, lacinato, cavolo nero)
Characteristics: Kale, another form of cabbage, has leaves that look like they're a mix between collard and mustard greens. As with many other dark leafy greens, kale tastes slightly bitter when eaten raw, but unlike some of its relatives, cooked kale won't lose its general shape or texture, nor will its volume reduce dramatically. For whatever reason, many cuisines pair kale with potatoes.
Thank you, Epicurious!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Cocoa Infused Black Bean Soup


      I'm always on the lookout for new ways to use black beans. I love them - cheap, versatile - Clean. Last week, I ran across this recipe for cocoa infused black bean soup in a freebie magazine a grocery store was giving away. I was instantly intrigued. I know the depth of flavor cocoa adds to things like chili. I immediately suspected cocoa would be amazing in a black bean soup. After some investigation, I discovered the identical recipe online, with multiple different attributions - the February 2011 VegNews magazine, the February 2011 issue of Delicious Living ( another grocery store freebie mag ), and several sites with the identical recipe ( and photograph! ) but no attribution at all. So to whoever first thought of this? I thank you!

     Confused about Dutch process cocoa versus regular cocoa?  Dutch-process, or “Dutched,” cocoa has been treated with alkali to tone down cocoa’s natural acids. The result is a smooth taste, a beautiful dark reddish-brown color, and a velvety texture that dissolves easily in liquids (however, it contains fewer antioxidants than regular cocoa). In baked goods, Dutched cocoa is not necessarily interchangeable
with regular cocoa powder, which is full flavored and more acidic. ( I don't think "Dutch Process" cocoa is too processed to eat. It makes the naturally slightly bitter cocoa silky smooth. )

Cocoa Infused Black Bean Soup

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, diced
3 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 cup no-salt-added tomato purée
2 low-sodium vegetable bouillon cubes
4 cups water
1 (25-ounce) can low-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa
1/2 teaspoon+ freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon+ smoked paprika (or hot paprika)
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro ( optional )

1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat and add onion, bay leaves, and salt. Stir occasionally until onions are softened, 4–5 minutes. Add celery, carrots, and green pepper and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until all vegetables are softened, 7–8 minutes. Add tomato purée, bouillon cubes, and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, or until vegetables are very tender.

2. Remove bay leaves. Stir in beans, cocoa, pepper, and paprika and return to a simmer for about 5 minutes. Stir in cilantro and serve.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Eve Was Partially Right - Cookbook Giveaway!

     I'm thankful that my blog has touched so many people. I feel good I'm helping people understand Clean Eating better as I myself continue to explore it. I've shared my triumphs and some ups and downs with you. Now, I'd like to share something a little different.

     Leave a comment in this thread - it can be a simple blog shout out, a thank you, a nice comment ( hopefully you don't have something negative to say! ) , or anything else. On Saturday March 3rd, I'll put the names into the proverbial hat and pick one to win a copy of the newest Clean Eating magazine cookbook - The Best of Clean Eating 2 which was published in November 2011.

 Thank you to all my readers - whether loyal daily visitors or folks who find me from a Google search. I appreciate each comment, and the steady uptick of traffic I've seen in the past year has been a blessing. Leave a quick comment, maybe win a cookbook - either way, you have my thanks.

*Note: Contest Over - Comments are Now Closed**

Friday, February 17, 2012

Redirection and Refocus

     Something’s been amiss recently, and I’ve struggled to put my finger on it. When something isn’t quite right, you can sense it – but it is just beyond your reach.

     Something wasn’t quite right for a long, long time in my life – I was eating poorly, making bad choices. Not able to control snacking impulses. Eating mindlessly. Not enough water, fruits and vegetables, too little nutrient dense food to help my body’s mechanism work at peak performance. I was amiss for so long, I didn’t know any differently until the Clean Eating lightbulb went off in my head, and I began to take control of myself for the first time.

   So why have the past 6 weeks been a struggle? Why has my resolve been less than steadfast? Why have I   ( more than occasionally ) gone off path? I’ve thought about this a lot – and came to a few really astonishing conclusions.

First and foremost? I’ve not been eating enough. Seriously.  Before Christmas, I was eating my 6 mini meals a day. I was eating heavy breakfasts, medium lunches, and spare dinners - with mini meals in between. I didn’t snack, and didn’t even feel the need to cheat – at all. Now? The salt and vinegar potato chips I ate the other night tell the story.  I need to refocus myself back to eating a lot more during the day so my snacking impulses are at a minimum.

Second, I know I haven’t been as conscientious about drinking water as I need to be. Several days in the past week I’ve noted I drank only one small bottle of water in a day – nothing like my previous 60-80 ounces per day consumption.

Third, I haven’t been journaling my food for the day. Why? I’m not holding myself accountable for the garbage in / garbage out. 

I really feel that if I get back to these basic 3 core tenets - my evening snacking and urges to cheat will be eliminated, as they were for well over a year when I as so successful with Clean Eating.

I know you come here, looking for CE information – and here it is. You pick yourself up, you brush the salt and vinegar potato chips off your lap, and you refocus yourself.

Nobody is responsible for my bad eating except me. No more excuses. 
Once I take ownership of it – I can change it. 
Like a friend of mine says in a homespun country accent "You gotta dance with the one who brung you."

I need to go back to what I had success with: Clean Eating.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Harris Teeter Baby Broccoli Buds & Other Good Frozen Food Values

I like broccoli, a lot. I realize this like isn't universally shared ( I have no idea why... ) but one of the things I think most people dislike about commercially available frozen broccoli is the proportion of stemmy, stalky broccoli stalks to the more flavorful, tender, and preferable broccoli florets.

After a year of trying different brands of frozen broccoli, I came across Harris Teeter's frozen house brand of broccoli- Baby Bud Broccoli. Small tender florets. All the time. No stems, no stalks - and the bag is similarly priced for a 1 lb bag to other more premium "non store brand" products.

     Unfortunately, Harris Teeter is only in the Southern part of the US - from about my neck of the woods      ( Maryland ) south to North Carolina - only about 200+ locations.

However, a close second is Safeway's organic broccoli "O" Naturals - and they are ( almost ) nationwide.

As an aside, while looking for a picture for this post, I found this image below - extolling the virtues of Costco's Kirkland brand of frozen veggies. if you have a Costco near you - I'd say this bag is a great Clean buy! The Costco bowl is much preferable ( and cheaper! ) to the other grocery store cheap frozen vegetables.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Clean Food Spotting : Test #2

      You're out with friends, and you are all hungry. You decide to stop by a small restaurant and discover the offerings are above. Wow, slim pickin's here! What do you have? What do you eat?

     Believe it or not - there ARE at least 2 best choices for the Clean Eater on this menu. Can you spot them?
My "best choices" are in the comments section for those of you who want a little self test...


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

"Rounding Down" to Dupe Consumers = Bad Food

Question: How can a product that is almost pure fat be advertised as Fat Free?

Answer: By reducing the serving size so that the amount of fat per serving is less than 0.5 grams.

      The primary ingredient of the PAM Cooking spray illustrated here is canola oil, which is marked with a note 'ADDS A TRIVIAL AMOUNT OF FAT' and the Nutrition Facts proclaim: Total Fat 0g.

 Why?  Because the serving size has been defined to be a 1/3 second spray containing 0.266g of product. Since this is less than half a gram (0.5g) per serving, it can be rounded to zero.

The claim takes advantage of the FDA regulation that allows rounding to zero any ingredients that account for less than 0.5 grams per serving.

The line above the Nutrition Facts, states that 'A 1 SECOND SPRAY COVERS A 10" SKILLET'.
 A one-second spray would contain approximately 0.8g of fat with 7 calories and would have to be reported on the Nutrition Facts. The manufacturer has chosen to reduce the serving size in order to avoid reporting the fat in the Nutrition Facts and to be able to add the slogan "for Fat Free Cooking" in the front of the can. Technically, this complies with the FDA requirements.

So I tested this. I had my son ( who LOVES his stopwatch ) time me as I sprayed a fairly large skillet with Pam from my cupboard. My time? A little over 3 seconds. That's right! I sprayed that pan for 9 times longer than the serving size on the container!

The I Can't Believe it's Not Butter spray, which is an emulsion of soybean oil and water, also claims to have zero calories and fat if you use 1.25 sprays (0.25g). How are you supposed to accomplish a .25 spray?
Water, Liquid Soybean Oil, Salt, Sweet Cream Buttermilk, Xanthan Gum, Soy Lecithin, Polysorbate 60, Lactic Acid, (Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Calcium Disodium EDTA) as Preservatives, Artificial Flavor, Colored with Beta Carotene, Vitamin A (Palmitate).

No Trans Fatty Acids




     Trans fats have been nicknamed "stealth fats" because they have not been shown on food labels. Some food products may show 17g of Total Fat, 3.5g of Saturated Fat, and nothing else. What kind of fat is the remaining 13.5g? Nobody knows without doing a laboratory analysis. Technically, trans fats are unsaturated fatty acids with uncommon configurations that have been implicated as causing cardiovascular diseases. Some margarines, like Benecol margarine, claim to have no trans fatty acids. The ingredients, however, show the presence of partially hydrogenated oil that cannot be manufactured without creating trans fatty acids.  Reduction of serving sizes to implement this type of misinformation became more frequent when the new FDA regulations requiring disclosure of trans fats went into effect in 2006.

 Thank you, Scientific Psychic...

The FDA provides guidelines about the claims and descriptions that
manufacturers may use in food labeling to promote their products:
Claim Requirements that must be met
before using the claim in food labeling
Fat-Free Less than 0.5 grams of fat per serving, with no added fat or oil
Low fat 3 grams or less of fat per serving
Less fat 25% or less fat than the comparison food
Saturated Fat Free Less than 0.5 grams of saturated fat and 0.5 grams of trans-fatty acids per serving
Cholesterol-Free Less than 2 mg cholesterol per serving, and 2 grams or less saturated fat per serving
Low Cholesterol 20 mg or less cholesterol per serving and 2 grams or less saturated fat per serving
Reduced Calorie At least 25% fewer calories per serving than the comparison food
Low Calorie 40 calories or less per serving
Extra Lean Less than 5 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, and 95 mg of cholesterol per (100 gram) serving of meat, poultry or seafood
Lean Less than 10 grams of fat, 4.5 g of saturated fat, and 95 mg of cholesterol per (100 gram) serving of meat, poultry or seafood
Light (fat) 50% or less of the fat than in the comparison food (ex: 50% less fat than our regular cheese)
Light (calories) 1/3 fewer calories than the comparison food
High-Fiber 5 grams or more fiber per serving
Sugar-Free Less than 0.5 grams of sugar per serving
or Salt-Free
Less than 5 mg of sodium per serving
Low Sodium 140 mg or less per serving
Very Low Sodium 35 mg or less per serving
Healthy A food low in fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium, and contains at least 10% of the Daily Values for vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, protein or fiber.
"High", "Rich in" or "Excellent Source" 20% or more of the Daily Value for a given nutrient per serving
"Less", "Fewer" or
At least 25% less of a given nutrient or calories than the comparison food
"Low", "Little", "Few", or "Low Source of" An amount that would allow frequent consumption of the food without exceeding the Daily Value for the nutrient - but can only make the claim as it applies to all similar foods
"Good Source Of", "More", or "Added" The food provides 10% more of the Daily Value for a given nutrient than the comparison food

Monday, February 13, 2012

Have You Tried Lemon Plums?

Last week, I was browsing in Safeway when I discovered a small yellow fruit a little smaller than my palm. There was no sign marking what these odd little yellow bulbs were, no price tag, either. Intrigued, I brought it up to the cash register and the clerk entered the PLU in to the computer: lemon plums.


I had never heard of a lemon plum before, but the little bulb so intrigued me, I bought it and brought it home. On the Internet, I learned the lemon plum is a scarce fruit, native to South America and is only available for a few weeks each year in the US. It tastes like a plum with a refreshing shot of citrus in it. However, most lemon plums sold in the US are unripe, so you leave the lemon plum on the counter for about a week until the lemon skin turns a blushed red pink color.

So I waited - until Sunday. My lemon plum had turned from a pale yellow to a rosy blushing red.

It was a little softer than when I bought it, but I'd still call it firm. The taste? Exactly as you'd expect a plum shot with a zing of citrus to taste - and this little plum was amazingly juicy!

Plus side? A deliciously different piece of fruit I eyed with anticipation for almost a week - rewarded with a burst of lemony plum taste. I would eat another again in a heartbeat!

Negative? Completely not native to the Eastern seaboard of the US - or even this continent. Expensive. Rare.

Would I buy more if given the chance? Undoubtedly. I loved the light lemon taste to it. What a nice reminder that Spring is right around the corner.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Going Out To Dinner

      So my man and I will be attending a nice dinner this evening my company is hosting at a pretty swank restaurant in our area. It's our company Christmas party, rescheduled from an earlier date for a variety of unforseen circumstances. There will be about 25 people there - the engineers and support staff in my company, and our respective spouses. This is an upscale steakhouse, the kind where steak is priced according to how long it is aged, and everything is a la carte. You order the meat, then you order your vegetable, etc. You build your meal as you see fit, not as the chef or owner thinks your meal should be - and it is priced accordingly.

      As I usually do at times like this, I try to look online and see if the menu is posted on their website - and it is. I scoped it out thoroughly, and calculated the 2 best options for me for this evening: While I could have a 14 oz Kobe ribeye steak for almost $60 ( !!! I could feed my family for a week on $60! ) are my 2 main options. I'll make my final decision this evening based on my mood at the time.


with a few of the following:


if I get the scallops, I'll have SMOKED NORTH ATLANTIC SALMON as an appetizer.
if I get the beef, I'll have a simple HOUSE SALAD with balsamic vinaigrette.

Having a plan before you go into an eating scenario like this is very important. Because last year, my boss discovered I have a weakness for whisky... I decided to eat really carefully so I can enjoy the undoubted glass of liquid fire sure to be stuck in my hand this evening. Plan carefully on this hand...indulge carefully on the other hand...*wink*

Friday, February 10, 2012

Clean Eating In The News: McDonald's Confirms It - No More Pink Slime

Remember this post of mine back in November about the "pink slime" or mechanically separated chicken that looks like pink slime?

     McDonald's announced last week that, as of last August, is has stopped using ammonium hydroxide in the production of its hamburgers. MSNBC reports that the chemical, used in fertilizers, household cleaners and even homemade explosives, was also used to prepare McDonalds' hamburger meat. This is the process by which meat processors get every last potential "edible" bit from processed meat.

So, what moved McDonald's to make the change in their hamburger production? In a statement posted on its website, McDonald's senior director of quality systems Todd Bacon wrote:
"At the beginning of 2011, we made a decision to discontinue the use of ammonia-treated beef in our hamburgers.  This product has been out of our supply chain since August of last year. This decision was a result of our efforts to align our global standards for how we source beef around the world."
The U.S. Agriculture Department classifies the chemical as "generally recognized as safe." McDonald's says they stopped using the chemical months ago and deny the move came after a public campaign against ammonium hydroxide by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.

The food industry uses ammonium hydroxide as an anti-microbial agent in meats, which allows McDonald's to use otherwise "inedible meat."

On his show, Oliver said of the meat treatment: "Basically we're taking a product that would be sold in the cheapest form for dogs and making it 'fit' for humans."

Even more disturbing, St. Louis-based dietician Sarah Prochaska told NBC affiliate KSDK that because ammonium hydroxide is considered part of the "component in a production procedure" by the USDA, consumers may not know when the chemical is in their food.

"It's a process, from what I understand, called 'mechanically separated meat' or 'meat product,'" Prochaska said.  "The only way to avoid it would be to choose fresher products, cook your meat at home, cook more meals at home."

I know you don't eat at McDonald's or other fast food chains - but the idea of your meat partially being that pink slime above is nauseating!

Thursday, February 9, 2012 : Oxygen Magazine only $4.99 A Year!  has a great deal for the next 13 hours only - get 1 year of Oxygen magazine for only $4.99 for a whole year!  That is the cost of a single issue at the newsstand!

     If you are into Clean Eating AND starting to work out / need that extra incentive to start working out - Oxygen magazine is it!  Oxygen is for women who love to work out, and for women who WISH they loved to work out ( me! ) - you'll be motivated when you read the articles about clean Eating and fitness.

 When you get to the order screen at Tanga, enter promo code OXYGEN and the price drops from $19.99 to $4.99 for the entire year! Order qty 2 , and you'll get 2 years at $4.99 each !

That is a GREAT deal for a wonderful magainze - just don't get swayed by all those ads for protein powders!!

Clean Eating With A Slow Cooker: Hot 3 Bean Casserole

My co-worker's husband makes this 3 bean casserole every month or so, and it is a favorite "Can I have a taste??" foods for my boss to nab. She sent me a link for the recipe; it comes from an old cookbook her husband has, but she found it on the TLC website as well: Hot 3 Bean Casserole.
It is very good served as a side dish with something like meatloaf, or even as the main protein for your meal.

Hot 3 Bean Casserole

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup coarsely chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (about 15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 can (about 15 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup coarsely chopped tomato
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 to 2 jalapeño peppers, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons sugar
1‑1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2‑1/2 cups (10 ounces) frozen cut green beans

The night before you wish to make this, heat the olive oil in a skillet and saute the onion, celery and garlic until tender. Put in the fridge for use the next morning.

Add all remaining ingredients in the crock pot with the onions/celery/garlic from the night before and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Newstand Alert: Clean Eating Magazine March 2012

     The new issue of Clean Eating magazine is hitting newsstands and mailboxes now. Here are the top articles and recipes in the March issue! This month's main article is about cooking gluten free. Personally, I feel the whole "gluten free" thing is really only meant for people with gluten intolerance - and if you are one of them, you know. But if gluten and you get along great...we're being told to eliminate or reduce gluten anyway. I don't personally get it. I don't feel the reduction is necessary if you don't have an issue with gluten. However, there are a few recipes worth checking out.

 1. There's a great wrap on page 15 of wild and brown rices that you can find in most grocery stores. I like it when they take real products you see in the store ( but may not have ever thought to buy ) and highlight them.

2. I like the panko encrusted cutlets starting on page 17. I make a Japanese pork cutlet ( Tonkatsu ) that is very similar to the recipe on page 19.

3. The Hearty Beef and Veggie Bowl recipe is very similar to several permutations of My Sunday Ground Beef Special.

4. I liked the flavored oils and salts round up on page 54. 4 different kinds of flavored olive oil, and 4 different flavored salt blends. ( I like making my own mixes and flavorings! ) How To Make Your Own Infused Olive Oils

5. The only recipe that really caught my eye was tucked away back on page 78. There's a relatively simple Salmon Oat Cake recipe there, and I've been trying to find a salmon cake recipe that holds together and tastes good - not an easy task; I've tried several and all have failed in one way or another. Here's hoping 5th time's the charm...

6. Vindaloo. Though the recipe didn't enthrall me ( page 90 ) , I did learn that Vindaloo originated from the Portuguese dish vinha d'ahlo "a toothsome stew that includes meat, "vinha" ( wine ) and "ahlo" ( garlic ). But by the time the dish made it to India where wine wasn't easily obtained, vinegar was substituted and over time, local spices added to the mix. Because "aloo" mean potatoes in Hindi, many Indian cooks also came to include potatoes in their vindaloo.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Leaping Liebster!

                               I received a very wonderful little blog bling from my dear friend, North.

Liebster means "beloved" in German, and this little bit of fun is passed from a blogger who likes your work to another blogger you admire and respect.

Here are the rules:

1. Copy and paste the award on your blog.

2. Link back to the blogger who gave us the award

3. Pick your five favorite blogs with less than 200 followers, and leave a comment on their blog to let them know they have received the award.

4. Hope that the five blogs chosen will keep spreading the love and pass it on to five more blogs.

I follow and read a wide variety of blogs - mainly couponing, Clean Eating / Healthy Eating, Preparedness and Self Sufficiency, Guns and Female gun bloggers, and an assortment of humorous blogs.

So I  chose the following blogs:

1. Saving Money Journal:  Lisa lives nearish to me in Virginia, and is a superb couponer. Her blog is simply her most recent transactions - all spelled out, line item by line item. No smoke and mirrors, no jazz hands - just a chronicle of her shopping efforts. She doesn't blog for comments, she doesn't blog to make money. She blogs simply to show the world exactly what a woman with a coupon can do - and I respect the heck out of that. Thanks, Lisa!

2. Bells A Ringing: Southern Belle and her man kx59 live in Texas with their guns, socio-political commentary, and wicked sense of humor. You never quite know what you're going to get day in and out there - could be an essay on something that raised kx's hackles, could be a Youtube video of something funny, could be a range report, or ( my favorites ) Belle reporting her evenings throwing darts at a local pub ( You know it's a fun blog when these dart posts are filed under "Drunks with Pointy Things" !! ) Now if I could only get kx to commit to Clean Eating... *wink*

3. Printable Coupons and Deals:  This blog is a "several visits daily" for me, as something new is always popping up. Steph is diligent to post one of the largest collections of Internet Printable coupons ( IPs ) on the web. I don't know how she does it - but this blog is a HUGE resource and if you are into printing coupons - bookmark Steph's little corner of the couponing world. She's one of the best.

4. Kelly at Eat Yourself Skinny  is waaay too smart for being in her 20's! Her recipes are unique, interesting, and best of all for me, almost entirely Clean. Her food photography is outstanding, and I love the way she interweaves personal bits into her recipe presentation. She's not pretentious or wordy or preachy. She's talking with you, not at you - and I like that, a lot. Thanks for being the basis for several "Recipes of the Day" here at Clean Eating Eve!

5. Food Network Humor:  Ok, technically this isn't a small blog ( I don't see any Followers ticker! ) But if you think the Food Network is scraping the bottom of the barrel, you hate Guy Fieri, and you've looked at Sandra Lee / Paula Deen / Rachel Ray and thought "WTF?" or "Is she drunk/high?" - this blog is for you. They poke fun at the Food Network like nobody's business, and nothing is off limits - so warning, a lot of times this is NSFW. Funny as hell - but NSFW.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Rosemary Sriracha Chicken Thighs

     This recipe has a lot going for it - a hot Tandoori like baked on sauce, the use of a less expensive protein source, easy prep, and it is Clean. This one is going in my recipe box for an easy weeknight dinner - marinate the thighs in the morning before work, whisk them into the oven once I get home from work. 

Crispy Rosemary Sriracha Chicken Thighs

1/4 cup plain yogurt
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 tbsp Sriracha
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
4 to 5 large bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

In a medium bowl, whisk together yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, rosemary, Sriracha, garlic, salt and pepper. Place chicken thighs in a large ziploc bag and pour marinade over. Turn bag over several times to coat chicken. Place in refrigerator and let marinate for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 375F. Arrange chicken thighs in a single layer in a baking dish or broiler pan. Spread any marinade remaining in the bag over the thighs. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Then broil on high for 4 minutes, until skin is crispy and golden brown.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Free Fresh Express Salad Kits at Safeway This Week!


     Free Salad!

     Fresh Express salad kits are $2 on sale at all Safeway affiliated stores across the country this week            ( Safeway, Vons, Genuardi's, Dominick's Randalls, Tom Thumb ) and there is a new $2/1 any Fresh Express salad PDF coupon from the Tony Tantillo’s newsletter. Click on Safeway ( or your appropriate Safeway affiliate store ) under the green "magazines" bar to view the coupons and then click on ‘print’ to print the coupon page.

There is a Tony Tantillo newsletter you can find in some stores as well in the produce department if you can't print the coupon. This deal is not limited. You can buy as many of these as you want. However, check with your local store to see if they have a limit in place. Often, it will say "Limit 2" on a sign near the item. However, since this isn't limited by Safeway, you should be able to do multiple transactions to get the number of salad bags you want!

Fresh Express Kit Salads – $2

Final Price = FREE

Note- I just found out this deal is only available in the Western part of the country - on the East Coast where I live, the salad kits are Buy One, Get One. Still, with a $2 off coupon, that's cheap salad for 2 bags. However, be advised - some areas of the country these are 2 for $5, or BOGO.


Friday, February 3, 2012

6 Mind Tricks To Help Your Body Adjust to Clean Eating

Think you know how to avoid overeating? Think again.

Research suggests that choices, like how much to eat during a meal, are often made subconsciously. Trouble is, our brains are hard-wired to mislead us in lots of little ways, which can have a big impact on our diets.

Take the Delboeuf effect, an optical illusion first documented in 1865. It starts with two dots of equal size. But surround one dot with a large circle, and the other dot with a small one, and suddenly the second dot looks bigger.

     Every time you fill your plate, the Delboeuf illusion affects how much food you take, and how much food you think you've taken, Koert Van Ittersum, professor of marketing at Georgia Tech, tells The Salt.
He and Brian Wansink, director of the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell, performed a series of experiments to measure the effect of the Delboeuf illusion on serving behavior and perceptions of serving size. Their work recently appeared online in the Journal of Consumer Research.

     For one experiment, participants were asked to recreate a "target" serving of soup in bowls of various sizes. In another, they had to compare pre-filled bowls to the target serving. Researchers also measured serving behavior in the real-world atmosphere of a buffet line.
     As predicted by the illusion, people under-served and over-estimated on small dishes, while the reverse was true for large dishes. People using the smallest dishes undershot the target serving by as much as 12 percent. But people using the largest dishes took up to 13 percent more food than they intended.
"We are often times our own worst enemy. And that's not because we want to overeat," Van Ittersum says. The illusion is embedded so deeply in our brains, he says, it is nearly impossible to overcome. Even telling test subjects about it ahead of time, as they did in another phase of the research, didn't eliminate the bias.

     The Delboeuf illusion is just one of many subconscious biases influencing our food choices. We may not be able to prevent these kinds of effects, but with a little planning, we could turn them to our advantage. The Salt scoured the literature and came up with these suggestions for eating just enough.

     Buy smaller dishes. The average size of an American dinner plate has increased almost 23 percent since 1900, according to Wansink and Van Ittersum. They've shown that people using smaller dishes overestimate the size of their servings, even as they serve themselves less food. Contrasting colors between the food and dish, and between the dish and table, enhance the effect.

     Buy taller glasses. Another optical trick, the T-illusion, which you can try for yourself, affects the serving size of liquids. We tend to overestimate vertical lengths, compared to horizontal lengths. In a previous experiment, Wansink and Van Ittersum asked people to pour equal amounts into a short, wide glass and a tall, skinny one. They found that even professional bartenders poured too much into the short, wide glass – but thought the under-filled tall glass held more.

     Put healthy food at eye level in your kitchen. In 2010, the cafeteria at Massachusetts General Hospital adopted a green-yellow-red labeling system to indicate how healthy each food was. A few months later, they rearranged the shelves to place healthier items at eye level. Both changes increased purchases of healthy food. "We were trying to make the default or the easy choice the one that was healthier," says MGH researcher Anne Thorndike, who led the reorganization. Color-coding might be overkill at home, but you can rearrange your fridge and cabinets to make healthy foods more visible and accessible, and keep unhealthy foods out of sight.

     Avoid food porn. It should be a no-brainer that looking at images of delicious food will make you hungry, but science has finally proved it. Researchers in Germany found that looking at pictures of food increases levels of the hormone ghrelin, which makes us feel hungrier and eat more.

     Eat with the Opposite Sex, Not By Yourself. In October, The Salt reported that college students of both genders ate fewer calories in the presence of men than with women. Researchers speculate that social gender norms are to blame: Women may try to eat daintily around men, while men may feel less inclined to show off by pigging out if no women are around.

     Adopt a mindful eating  routine. Ok, so this one isn't subconscious. But several experts reminded The Salt that subliminal tricks only go so far. So slow down and pay attention to your food — and your appetite — as an additional defense against overeating.

Thanks to my sister for pointing this article out to me!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Product Review: PomBars

While grocery shopping last weekend, I picked up a POM bar, flipped it over, and looked for the ingredient list. ( The flavor I had in my hand was Banana Nut . ) 

Ingredients:  Dates, Almonds, Bananas, POMx (Pomegranate antioxidant extract) 

 WOW! I was impressed, and grabbed it, along with one that was next to it; Espresso Chocolate ( which isn't as Clean: Dates, Almonds, Chocolate (Sugar, Chocolate, cocoa butter, milkfat, lecithin, vanilla), Cocoa, POMx (Pomegranate antioxidant extract), Roasted coffee beans, natural flavors. ) but is a far sight better than most protein / healthy bars. 

The banana nut flavor ( above ) is similar looking to a Larabar - a solid mass of ground fruit and nuts. It smelled really strongly of bananas right out of the package - and wow - it tasted like banana nut. No mistaking that flavor, it was very strong. Almost too strong, I think. Not entirely how they'd "tone down" the banana flavor there ( more dates to bananas ratio? ) but the POM extract was non-existant in this bar. In the end, the taste was too strong, and I don't think I'd buy it again.

Which brings me to...the espresso chocolate bar: 

Drool. Serious drool. It was amazingly delicious and satisfied a strong urge I've been fighting for a big fat nasty chocolate bar. 
Over the Christmas holiday, my mother in law plied me with a treat she'd received from a friend: Chocolate covered pomegranate avrils. They were heavenly. Smooth chocolate taste, slightly sweet/acidic pomegranate...just delightful.

The Pom Espresso chocolate bar tickled that spot, again. A slight rich deep coffee flavor in the middle of the taste profile, and the pomegranate was really pronounced. Delicious - and covered in a think chocolate. I didn't want it to end, which is a sign I'm enjoying it too much. So, I must be careful about the POM Espresso Chocolate bar, and reserve it for extreme emergencies.

Note: They are also available in other flavors... but are varying in their degree of Cleanliness. One has cashews in it, so I won't be trying that one - but will be on the hunt for the peanut butter flavor and will try it once I find it.