Category Archives: Tips & Tricks

What’s up with Spoonsense

As you may have noticed, Spoonsense has been lying low. Our kitchen renovation has been taking longer than anticipated. Only two hot plates in the living room for cooking and water only from the bathroom, there is plenty of reason to avoid cooking. With the slim veg’n choices of local Westchester restaurants, I cannot wait to get back to cooking.

Meanwhile I am reading another book on low inflammatory food. ‘Stop Pain’ by Vijay Vad, MD. Recommendations for inflammation lowering foods and supplements are listed here: List on recommended foods…

Sugar making means Spring!

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Spring is around the corner when sugar making starts. Maple syrup has gained importance as vegan sugar alternative. In early March, when snow is still on the ground, the sweet tree sap starts to flow, pushing the nourishing winter starch up before the tree chemistry changes, a perfect time for tapping and sugar making. Ups and downs around the freezing point determine the length of the sugaring season. NY State has a relatively short season to tap, Continue reading

Is my food safe from arsenic?

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Consumer Reports (CR) wants FDA to limit arsenic in food. Especially rice, apple products and beer have been tested for contamination in the last two years. Inorganic arsenic, the predominant form of arsenic in food, is ranked as Group 1 carcinogen. While there is no FDA standard for arsenic levels in our food, there are regulations on arsenic in water, max 10ppb per liter (NJ standard 5ppb). High levels of arsenic in public water are known to be linked to genetic damage, bladder, lung, and skin cancer in humans, among other suspected diseases, as seen in Chile and Argentina. Continue reading

The sweet life

SugDSC_0000If sugar is bad for us, which sweetener is wiser to use?
Is Agave Syrup better than Maple Syrup or maybe Xylitol? Is zero calorie better than honey? Diet sodas are often sweetened with Aspartame, is that good?
Many products claim to be better than sugar for different reasons, if you need sugar specific properties, it depends what you want to do with it, if you want to bake, or just want to sweeten your coffee. And of course it also depends what your diet is like.

In doubt use a mashed banana to make ice cream and cold desserts, even pancakes and baked banana bread, it is a superior sweetener without the need of other sweeteners.
Here is an Overview that compares recommendations for different diets. I have tested sweeteners for some time and will update on a regular basis. 

Home Remedies

A friend asked me about German onion cough remedy. Apparently a Greek version has alcohol in it, but I know only family style ‘onion juice’. The recipe requires the onion to be cooked. With the hot version, you can also add herbs. However there are other recipes that are using the juice cold, which some people think is more potent. Both are supposed to help with cough and cold and flu symptoms, are tasty and safe to give even small children. The remedy lasts abt. 4 weeks in the refrigerator. See recipe here

Sugar and Spice…

Spice scents make Christmas memories. Pine scents, Mulling spices or Gingerbread blends immediately will evoke Christmas feelings. When I once sampled Indian Rogan Josh spice, it felt like Christmas to me. And indeed, many of the traditional Indian and oriental spices are used in today’s Gingerbread cookie blends as well. Special in Gingerbread is that it does not use yeast or sourdough as rising agents, instead recipes list potash and hartshorn.
For true German Peppercake or Gingerbread cookies, you will need a ‘Lebkuchen’ spice mix, which in Europe you can just buy ready made in a small sachets. Here, of course you can DIY your mix and learn about how to replace the raising agents. Please contact me for a blend info.

Milking the soy cow

Try milk making at home. As I started this blog with my home made foamy almond milk, quick ‘milk making’ became an easy habit.
Despite storing a package of dried beans at home, I have never tried making soy milk. I never use much anyway. Soy milk easily flocks in hot drinks and sensitive people find the taste green and bitter. I am not a big fan of tofu either and the process sounded more involved. Besides, don’t you need special equipment for it? Continue reading

Shroomsday

2012 is the year of the mushroom. The unusual wet Spring and early Summer supports my theory. While I always liked odd shaped fungi, edible mushrooms are my newest pastime. With this year’s 50th anniversary of NYMS, Eugenia Bone published her hunting experiences with ‘Mycophilia’. The easy ‘who is who’ in mushrooming all over the country, including descriptions of mushroom walks, culture and cultivation methods, including her own short experience in ‘home mushroom farming’. Continue reading

PLU’s and known GMOs

Consumer organizations demand the labeling of genetically modified food. In most cases we are safe with the purchase of organic food. Knowing PLU codes may help to avoid genetically altered items among fresh produce, nuts and dried fruits. The PLU – ‘Price Look-up Code’, Continue reading

Sparkling clean – a shameless plug…

Like a 50’s housewife in a commercial, I will now rave about the perfect cleaner for your kitchen items. No invention from the 50’s or beyond, no fancy brand name or a stellar advertising budget; Rather an old traded wisdom from long before we trusted chemical mixtures… And I had no idea. Continue reading