PROJECT RECIPE: Red Wine Chocolate Cake

I LOOOOOVVVE red wines.

Perhaps I was a little over-excited by the red wine on markdown at the grocery store a few weeks back. Sometimes you should not buy red wine from the bargain bin. If the price of wine seems too good to be true, it probably is. Lesson learned.

This tastes like grape juice. It probably is. But I hated throwing it out. So I dug out some recipes I had saved in my binder that called for leftover red wine. Because I hardly know what that is…

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I printed this recipe for Red Wine Chocolate Cake off a long time ago from Smitten Kitchen. I love this blog, by the way, and since I printed this off, Deb has published a cookbook, which I am dying to get my hands on. You should check it out, for sure.

What struck me, besides the use of red wine in cooking, which I am always a fan of, was the story she includes with the post. It’s about September 11th and meeting her future husband. Worth a trip over to the blog entry for that alone. What a touching story.

So, with more than half a bottle of yucky red wine and a rare free Saturday night, I set out to make this cake. It’s probably the best use of a bad bottle of wine I’ve found. Sweet and tangy, moist and fluffy. Even this wine, which is most definitely not ideal, pairs so wonderfully with the rich cocoa. I can’t imagine how much better this would be with good wine.

PROJECT RECIPE verdict: It’s a keeper. Should I ever find myself with leftover wine and needing a quick dessert, I know where to go. It was easy and quick. I didn’t make the mascarpone topping because I didn’t have the ingredients on hand. And I planned to simply dust the cake with powdered sugar, but when it came time to do that, I realized I didn’t have any powdered sugar. And after smelling it bake for 30 minutes, I didn’t want to wait any longer by making some quick ganache (which I had ingredients to make) to top it with. But it’s really good without. And since I’m someone who doesn’t like overly sweet stuff, it’s perfect, if you ask me.

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I couldn’t resist having a piece with a glass of milk while it was hot.

The recipe only called for 3/4 cup of wine, so I pretty much still have a half a bottle left. I have another recipe for blackberry cabernet cupcakes, which I might try. And the rest will go into a big batch of bolognese. A pretty good way to use up wine if you ask me.

Clean Out The Fridge Curry

This beautiful dish is what happens when you have a craving for curry and a pile of vegetables just past their prime in the fridge.

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I love making dinner when you start throwing things together and you get a fabulous meal. Sometimes those are the best meals.

That’s what happened tonight when I started pulling vegetables out of the fridge. I knew I had some yellow squash that really needed used up or I would have to throw them out–which I hate.

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Here’s a disclaimer: This isn’t a traditional curry. I took some short cuts. So if you’re a curry purist, this might make you mad. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. But if you’re looking for a quick and easy dinner that uses up a bunch of veggies, this is your game.

Clean Out The Fridge Curry 4 Servings

  • 1 Tb coconut oil
  • 1 cup of carrots sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 2 or 3 stalks of celery, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tb lemon grass paste
  • 1 sweet bell pepper, diced
  • 2 medium yellow squash, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 small tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 3 Tb tomato paste
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne (or more if you like it hot)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • chopped cilantro, for serving

Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add carrots, onions, and celery. Place a lid on the skillet. After a couple minutes, check the vegetables to see if they are beginning to get soft. Stir and continue cooking with the lid on for a few more minutes. When the vegetable pieces begin to soften, reduce heat to medium, remove the lid and add garlic, lemon grass and bell pepper. Stir and cook for a few more minutes until the pepper gets soft. Add squash tomatoes. Stir well and reduce heat to low. Whisk tomato paste into the coconut milk until smooth and not lumpy. Add the spices to the coconut milk mixture. Add the the 1/2 cup of vegetable stock to the mixture. Pour the mixture into the skillet of vegetables and stir well. Turn heat back up to medium and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occassionally, for a few minutes until the mixture thickens. Serve over basmati rice and top with chopped cilantro.

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Obviously, since this is called “Clean Out The Fridge” curry, use what vegetables you have on hand, as long as you end up with about 6 cups (or a skillet full). You can sub a hot pepper for the sweet pepper if you like your curry hot, or use all squash and onions, or any combo. It’s your call, and the point is to have something different to make for dinner when you need to use up veggies. You could even throw in some chicken or tofu to bulk it up. I’m stoked about having leftovers for dinner later this week. I have a feeling this is going to be a dish that gets better the next day.

PROJECT RECIPE: Mini Pepper Chicken Nachos

I got this recipe for Mini Pepper Chicken Nachos a while back from some friends (Hi, Chris and Jane!). They suggested I try it for the blog, but I wanted to wait until peppers were in season at the farmers market. I think there are few things more sensory than the farmers market this time of year. Neat stacks of yellow, purple, green and bright red tomatoes, bins of pink and white dried beans, shiny soft-ball sized eggplants, and piles and piles of peppers–hot and sweet, long and skinny and short and blocky.

The Capitol Market doesn’t carry the mini peppers the recipe called for, but I knew I could use some sweet gypsy or marconi peppers that they do sell. I sliced them in half and cut each half in two or three pieces to get roughly the same size as the mini peppers.

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The recipe is from the blog, “Heat Oven to 350,” which is an adorable blog full of beautiful pictures of everything from main dishes to dresser makeovers. I love Nicole’s philosophy that food should 1) taste good and 2) be made from scratch. Me, too!

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PROJECT RECIPE verdict: Keeper! For three reasons: 1) these “nachos” were so easy to throw together for a quick weeknight meal; 2) they are infinitely adaptable–you could use different cheeses/vegetable/protein combos (I was thinking how great they would be with black beans in place of the chicken); 3) they are healthier than traditional nachos with tortilla chips-super low fat!

That’s a grand slam in my book. The most important thing is that they were so tasty, too. We had some leftover, and they were even better the next day after the flavors hung out together for several hours.

How I changed the recipe: I didn’t use cheddar cheese, I used some queso fresca that I had on hand. They would have been awesome with cheddar cheese, though. I also didn’t put any black olives on them, because the Hubs doesn’t like black olives. I meant to dice up and avocado for them, but I totally forgot. That would have been really good.

I can’t wait to make them again while peppers are still in season, and change them up a little. Maybe black beans and cheddar cheese with that avocado I still have. Hmm…

Put it Up! It’s high tomato season.

One of the first things I canned by myself was tomatoes. And I can vividly remember my mom canning tomatoes and tomato juice when I was little.

I buy at least a half a bushel every year to put up, either canning them in halves, as salsa or soup. We love tomatoes, and this helps spread summer crops throughout the year. This year, I lucked out. My in-laws bought a bushel and shared with me. If you want to see me get giddy, give me some produce to put up!

The last couple years, I have canned tomatoes in my beautiful yet functional Weck jars. Not only are they pretty to look at, they’re very practical too. The common two-piece ring and lids mostly by Ball and Kerr are just about fool proof. But those lids are lined with BPA. (Although both Ball and Kerr recently began offering bpa-free lids.)

At first, I was a little apprehensive about canning with Weck jars because i was used to the process using Ball lids. But after doing it for the last two years, I’m comfortable with it now. The more I understand about canning and the why and how it works, the more confident I am in the process.

This post is by no means a substitute to a reputable source for canning such as the USDA’s National Center for Home Food Preservation or the Ball Blue Book. I just wanted to show you some pictures of the process, not a comprehensive set of instructions. I consult both of those sources regularly, and you should too. It is imperative to follow canning instructions to a T and not deviate from the recipe or recommended times for processing.

Canning tomatoes is usually a time consuming process because you have to peel them. This year, I set up a little assembly line and got everything in place, which made it go much more quickly. The easiest way to peel tomatoes is to cut an “x” in the bottom of the tomato and drop them into a pot of boiling water for half a minute or so, then put them into an ice bath. The skin will crack and in most cases, slip right off. I save the skins and cores in a gallon-size freezer bag with other vegetable scraps like carrot peelings, onion cores, and celery leaves to make vegetable stock. Once I get a full bag, I make a batch of stock.

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You should also wash your jars in hot, soapy water, and closely inspect them for cracks or chips. A chipped rim will not seal properly and a cracked jar can burst in the canner, making a huge mess.

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Fill the jars and make sure there are no air bubbles in them. Safe canning depends on the air to liquid ratio in the jar, and air bubbles can affect this. Since tomatoes are right on the border of low-acid food, you must add some acid to each jar if you want to can them in a hot water bath. Most people add a little bit of lemon juice, but you can also use citric acid, which I happen to have leftover from a failed cheesemaking run. I added 1/4 tsp of citric acid to each jar. I had to add only a little bit of boiling water to each jar to bring the liquid in each jar up to the proper level of headspace.

Put the jars carefully in the canner. It’s a little more tricky with the Weck jars than with regular two-piece Ball lids because of the clips on the Weck jars. Make sure the jars are covered by at least an inch and a half or two inches of water. Start the timer for the recommended process time AFTER the canner has begun a rolling boil again. It is important to try and match the temperature of what you’re canning to the temperature of the water to make sure the contents of the jar reach the proper temperature to kill any nasties. For example, if you are going to cold pack your jars, you want to place the jars in cold water in the canner and bring the whole shebang up to a boil at the same time. If you are putting hot ingredients in the jars, you want to place them in hot water in the canner, so that the water and the contents reach a boil at the same time.

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Aren’t these beautiful? It’s normal for some of the liquid to seep out in the canning process, but it shouldn’t be too significant. Once you remove them from the canner, you should sit them some place they can cool completely over 24 hours or so. Sometimes this is really hard for me since I don’t have a lot of counterspace. I’ll usually let them cool on the counter for an hour or so and then move them to the dining room table to finish cooling.

When I first began using these Weck jars, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to tell if they sealed since you don’t have the “ping” you get when Ball two-piece lids seal. The “tongue” of the Weck rubber seals should be pointing down if the jars sealed properly.

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And you can very carefully pick up each jar by the lid to see if it comes lose. Weck jars work the same way Ball lids do, by creating a vacuum that holds the lid on the jar to create an air-tight seal. I realize this was dumb to do over my GLASS TOP dining room table. I could have very easily been replacing a plate of glass when a quart of tomatoes went through it.

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I used to only can pints of tomatoes, since many recipes call for a 14-ounce can of tomatoes. But I started canning some quarts too, which are nice for a pot of chili or soup that would take a couple cans of tomatoes.

The half bushel that my mother-in-law sent me yielded six quarts and nine pints, and handful leftover. I might have enough left to make a batch of salsa. At any rate, I have enough tomatoes put up to last me until next summer.

Canning is super easy once you get the hang of it. I took a class offered by the WVU Extension service a few years back, but my best teacher was my mom, who learned to can from her mom.

The easiest thing to can is probably pickles, so if you want to jump into canning, I would start with that. I cannot stress enough to follow the directions from a reputable source. This ensures you get the jars to the proper temperature and the contents contain enough acid to kill any bacteria that could make people sick. If you follow the directions, there’s nothing to be scared of. Once you get comfortable canning, the possibilities are practically endless. And you’ll always have something to do with it in case someone gifts you a pile of produce.

PROJECT RECIPE: Eggplant Caponata

The first time I ever heard of caponata, Tony Bourdain was eating it. I think it was on the Emilia Romagna episode, which could be my favorite episode.

That whole episode makes me think of Italy completely differently. I’d never heard of Emilia Romagna before, and it instantly went to the top of my bucket list.

Anyway, I’m getting sidetracked. And my mouth is watering. I was intrigued about caponata. I like eggplant, and this sounded like an easy way to use it.

I made a batch of caponata last summer, but I couldn’t find the recipe. I found a different recipe this year, but the basic ingredients don’t change much: eggplant, onion, garlic, tomato, honey and red wine vinegar. The recipe is from Mountain Mama Cooks. I think I found it on pinterest, but I’m glad I stumbled on it. This blog is full of gorgeous pics of comfort food that just make me want to make it all and eat it up!

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PROJECT RECIPE verdict: Keeper. I love the Italian way of eating–long, leisurely, casual meals with lots of wine, good cheese and bread. What’s not to love? This dish basically begs you to eat it that way, by spooning some on bread, enjoying some cheese and wine.

How I changed it: I halved the recipe. Also, I didn’t have pine nuts, so I omitted those. I didn’t have an orange, either, but I had some orange sections (I bought the orange a week or so ago because I needed zest, and I was putting the leftover orange sections on my salads.) so I just squeezed a couple of them into the pot.

It gets better the longer it sits, too, as the flavors blend together. It should be better leftover. It’s a good thing, since I halved this recipe and it still made a huge batch.

It gets bonus points for being fast and easy, too. Chop everything up and add it to a pot. Simmer for about 20 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften and you’re done.

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Best way to enjoy Italian food. Leisurely and with wine.

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Tomato Week

The Discovery Channel has shark week. I have tomato week.

I love this time of year, because I LOVE tomatoes. But just any kind of tomato will not do. Mealy styrofoam-tasting grocery store tomatoes? I’ll pass. Give me a just barely overripe garden grown heirloom tomato and I get starry eyed. Yummy.

And this time of year, you have all the tomatoes you could ever want. At one time. It’s like treading water to just keep up with the avalanche of tomatoes when they start coming in. I put up as many as I can–canning them in halves and by making salsa. But I love to make tomatoey dishes and use them fresh as much as I can, too.

So, that’s what I’m doing this week. Here’s a taste of what I’ve made:

Pasta with Golden Tomato Sauce

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I put a handful of fresh spinach in my sauce to make it healthier and more colorful. I’ve made this a number of times and you just want to gobble it up as fast as you can get it to your mouth.

Fried Green Tomatoes

This is a really CRAPPY picture. But, hey, I was hungry.

This is a really CRAPPY picture. But, hey, I was hungry.

Roasted Tomato Soup

I don’t have a picture because I couldn’t remember to take one before I ate it. And now it’s all gone. Ooops.

Caprese practically at every meal

And this.

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Still this many left after canning six quarts.

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PROJECT RECIPE: Buffalo Falafel

To steal a quote from the blog I got this from…

“Buffaloes have balls, not wings. You know this.”

Indeed. I love the Thug Kitchen blog. You should check it out. Unless you don’t like profanity. Then definitely don’t.

I am in the camp that finds profanity, if used smartly, to be hysterical. Yes, I was a fan of George Carlin.

Thug Kitchen reminds me a lot of Epic Meal Time, because of delivery. But it’s better because, let’s face it: the food they make on Epic Meal Time is kinda gross. I would never think of eating most of it. But it’s funny to watch. Thug Kitchen rocks because it’s mostly vegetarian. And I will eat the shit out of some vegetarian… Sorry. I just got carried away after scrolling around on Thug Kitchen.

So, last August, the Hubs and I did a Reverse Meatless Monday challenge, where we only ate meat one day a week for the whole month. It was incredibly insightful, and broadened my repertoire of tasty vegetarian recipes. I was thinking about doing it again this year, but ultimately decided not to. I did however make a conscious effort to eat a meatless meal more than one day a week (which I do already in observance of Meatless Monday). With all the vegetables coming out of the garden and from the farmers market this month, it’s easier than you’d think.

Drawing on what I learned last year when I did Reverse Meatless Monday, I knew I had to come out of the gate with a fantastic meatless meal that would grab our attention and inspire us to power through the rest of the month on only a handful of meat dinners. And when I saw the recipe on Thug Kitchen for Buffalo Falafel, I knew I was onto something.

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This recipe takes falafel to a new level. Falafel is a Middle Eastern dish made from mashed chick peas formed into balls or patties and deep fried. What’s not to love? It’s basically deep fried balls of hummus. Add some buffalo sauce and you are thuggin. Except these are baked, not fried, so they are actually pretty healthy.

PROJECT RECIPE verdict: I’m still thinking about it. I probably won’t keep it. Here’s why: this was a good “gateway” recipe for falafel. It’s like the first time I had egg rolls, they were from Charlie Woo’s and they were “pizza” egg rolls. I’ve had falafel before, but it was fried. Fried food is always better. These fell apart kinda easily, but they were still very tasty. I might have made the mixture a little too lose when I was mixing it up by adding some water. At any rate, I liked them and so did the Hubs. I think we’re ready to graduate to the deep fried more-authentic version though.

This recipe gets bonus points for being super fast, though. They were done in about 30 minutes. I didn’t make the buffalo sauce with the recipe, though. I’m not a huge fan of buffalo sauce, actually. Shocker, I know. It’s one of the few things that I really don’t like. I was afraid I wouldn’t like them if it put it all over them, so we used some Frank’s buffalo wing sauce we had, and I put a little bit on them. I then proceeded to smoother out the buffalo taste with homemade ranch dressing. I should have put them in a pita bread, though. That would have been tasty.

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The bottom line is, do I think you should make these? Of course. Or at the very least, check out the blog and find something else awesome to make. Will I make this recipe again? I doubt it. But I would not rule out making falafel again though. It’s pretty boss.

…And What’s the Big Deal About GMOs?

My post last week about grass-fed beef prompted another question: What’s the big deal about GMOs?

I spend a lot of time reading twitter, blogs and other websites condemning GMOs. And I’m convinced I need to avoid them as much as I can. But sometimes I have to remember what it was like when I was first learning about this stuff and trying to get both sides to make an informed decision. There’s no question there is a LOT of information out there on the topic of GMOs. Both sides seem to be pointing the finger at each other. So how do you know who’s right?

The truth is. We don’t know. There have been studies supporting both sides (more on that later). There are pros and cons to both sides. I have to remind myself not to get all preachy about what we are eating. Nobody likes to be told what they should be or should not be eating. What I can do, and I think is more effective, is tell you why I made my decision and why it is important to me to avoid GMOs. And I can give you some resources to check out and decide for yourself. (I’ve embeded links to my sources).

First a little background…

Because we live in modern times and most of us don’t produce our own food like some of our ancestors did, our modern food system must produce enough food for a global population growing at a truly remarkable rate. Over the years, technology has made our modern life easier, and the production of food is no exception. Advancements in farm machinery and in the types of plants and seeds used help farmers produce more food as their numbers have dwindled (another story). In the mid 1990s, seeds classified as “genetically modified organisms” (GMOs) hit the scene, developed by biotech behemoth, Monsanto. GMO seeds are seeds for everyday plants like corn that have had one or a few genes altered to diminish or enhance certain qualities of the plant. In theory, it was a genius idea. And it really wasn’t a new idea. Farmers have been doing some form of genetic engineering for decades. Tomato plants were first cross pollinated in the 1800s to yield a more hardy and sweeter fruit. In the 1990s, Monsanto’s seeds were developed that would be resistant to their keystone product, RoundUp herbicide. Planting these seeds would allow farmers to spray their entire field with RoundUp keeping unwanted weeds at bay while the RoundUp-resistant corn thrived. Since then, Monsanto has rolled out new product after product based on this technology, which has vastly changed commercial farming in the United States. GMO seeds are simply the norm now for many farms that grow corn, soybeans and alfalfa.

It didn’t take long for flaws to be exposed in process of growing GMO crops. Many species of living organisms have survived history through their ability to adapt to changing conditions. It is really one of the beautiful things about nature. The weeds targeted by RoundUp were no exception, either. As RoundUp use has become more prevalent on commercial fields over the past 20 years, these weeds have morphed into “superweeds” than can resist routine dosings of RoundUp, forcing farmers to use more and more of the product (at a mounting cost to the farmer). Here is a Bloomberg Business Week story about how hard it is for farmers to fight these superweeds from 2011. If pesticide residue left on crops worried anyone before, the exponential use pesticide on the same amount of crops should be alarming!

Another problem for the farmers who grow GMO crops is the cost. Technology ain’t cheap, and for years Monsanto was the only game in town. GMO seeds are patented. Without getting too much into intellectual property law, how it works is the farmer buys the seed from the seed company. The seed company owns the technology that gives the seed it’s ability to withstand pesticide, not the farmer. Years ago, it was common practice for farmers to save seeds from their annual crop to replant next year. However, seeds produced by GMO crops cannot (in most cases) be saved. Some farmers have tried to save them, and the seed company has employed tactics akin to organized crime to enforce their patent and ownership of the technology. The movie Food, Inc. highlights this topic in fascinating detail.

Even more troubling is when GMO seeds cross-pollinate with non-GMO crops, known as GMO contamination. Farmers who affirmatively choose not to grow GMO crops have been harassed by the seed companies when it has been discovered that their non-crops have the GMO characteristics of a neighbor’s field of GMO crops. GMO contamination has a much bigger impact that anyone could have imagined. Most of the European Union and a number of countries in East Asian have (wisely) banned GMO crops. Earlier this summer, Japan and South Korea suspended imports of US-grown wheat after it was discovered to be contaminated with GMO wheat. The suspension was lifted yesterday, actually, but you can bet US crops will be scrutinized more closely by importing countries from now on.

So GMOs have proven less than perfect for farmers, but what about for eaters?

This is where the rub lies for me. I already mentioned that farmers must use an increasing amount of pesticide on GMO crops as superweeds emerge. It’s no secret that pesticides are poison. The EPA lays it right out on their website. Pesticides have been linked to a number of scary afflictions including endocrine and reproductive toxicity, neurological damage and even the prevalence of obesity. Because of that, I avoid pesticides as much as possible. I’ve found the Environmental Working Group’s website to be invaluable for information on pesticides in our food, including the Dirty Dozen, their list of the top 12 vegetables to buy organic because of pesticide residue. Certified organic produce cannot have ever been treated with pesticide and must be GMO-free.

The health risks specific to consuming GMOs gets a little more dicey. The standard employed by government agencies to approve the use of a GMO crop is whether the GMO crop “differs substantially” from the original. At first blush, the answer would certainly be “no.” GMO corn is the same color, size, shape, taste, etc., as non-GMO corn. But the lasting effects of consuming GMOs has never been extensively studied in humans. As early as 2003, the University of Minnesota warned that human consumption of GMOs could be linked to food allergies, increased toxicity and decreased nutrition. Studies have been conducted on animals, namely mice and pigs, with dismaying results. At least two European studies have linked a GMO diet to increased tumors in mice. And most notably, this summer, an Australian study linked a host of serious health conditions to GMO consumption in US pigs, including stomach inflammation and infertility. The pig study is particularly troubling because the organ systems of pigs are very similary to humans. Although there have been no human trials on GMO consumption, it is hard to argue with the explosion in food allergies and food intolerance in our population. There have been at least a few documented cases of a specific allergy to GMO corn, as noted in this story in Elle of a woman’s misery before she discovered she suffered from an allergy to GMO corn.

With all the mounting information questioning the safety of GMOs in our diet, the thing that adds the most insult to injury is that GMOs are damn near impossible to eliminate from our diets. And that’s on purpose. GMO corn and soybeans are largely grown for feed for animals that later become our food. Most of the rest of GMO crops become refined ingredients in junk food. You can bet that high fructose corn syrup is made from GMO corn. But also are a number of other common ingredients in packaged food that I’ll bet you never knew where made from corn or soybeans, such canola oil, cellulose, citric acid, dextrose, maltodextrin, stearic acid, and MSG. There are tons more. I’ll be honest. I find it completely exhausting to be on the look out for GMO ingredients all the time. And I’m pretty diligent. I can’t imagine someone who doesn’t have the free time that I have–a harried new parent, or someone who works long hours or two jobs, having the time to do the research I do to keep them out of my house. Which is a nice segue into the next issue. It would be so much easier to avoid them if they were just labeled.

Last year, California proposed through ballot iniative a law which would require GMO foods to be labeled. The ensuing campaign, both for and against, crystalized the controversy for the rest of us across the country. The measure initially polled that it would pass, but food corporations opposed to the measure dumped $45 MILLION into marketing and advertising to ultimately defeat it, compared to the $5 million the Just Label It campaign raised. Their fear was that forcing food products to be labeled as containing GMO ingredients would only confuse and strike unnecessary fear into consumers. Since California’s unsuccessful bid for labeling of GMO ingredients, at least two dozen other states have considered bills to require similar labels of GMO ingredients. So far, Connecticut is the only state to successfully pass a labeling law, but it’s implementation is hung up on the fact that surrounding states do not require the label. The fact that a recent poll found that 82% of Americans support mandatory labeling is hopeful for other states to follow suit. Add to that fact that most countries in the European Union either have an outright ban or a labeling law for GMO food.

The biotech industry and food corporations insist GMO foods are safe. A new website was recently rolled out by the biotech and food industry with the purpose of dispelling some of the “misplaced” fear of GMO food, as many states contemplate a labeling law. The website, called GMOAnswers, does have a feature that readers can submit their questions to be answered (it’s not clear by whom), and some of those questions are pretty legit. At any rate, I hope visitors see the website for what it is, a PR tool designed to get the pro-GMO message to consumers before they make up their mind otherwise. Here’s a story on Take Part about the website, I found particularly interesting.

The bottom line for me is that I just don’t like the thought of my food being anything but … well, food. A generation ago, we didn’t have to worry about heavy pesticide use and GMOs (and a bunch of other problems in our food system). We just don’t know what kinds of chronic illness we will be dealing with in a few years because of a steady diet of GMO and pesticide-laden food. I hope to live a long and healthy life, and I try to do everything in my power to make sure I am not exposing myself to anything that could lead to health conditions down the road. I’ve been blessed with good health, but I have seen folks who have not been so blessed lead better quality and more free lifestyles even with illness because they have changed their diets. I’m a huge believer in the saying “Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.”

Because every post needs a picture... My GMO free backyard harvest

Because every post needs a picture… My GMO free backyard harvest

Of course, like I said, you can’t eliminate GMOs completely. It would be great if this area had a Whole Foods or a Trader Joe’s, 2 supermarket chains that support consumer awareness of GMOs. And, I can’t lie… I’m didn’t turn down the piece of cake a coworker’s going away party this week, and I’ll likely hit a wing night again at some point in my life time. For me, the key is to be a savvy grocery shopper and restaurant patron and avoid them as much as I can, so I don’t stress out too badly when I do eat something that likely contains GMOs.

There’s no question there is a lot of information out there. I have embedded by sources, and I tried to use mainstream media outlets as much as I could to avoid any bias opposing GMOs, since those are the types of websites and blogs I generally read. However, if you would like to know some of the places I like to get information from, here are the ones I read most:

One particular series I’ve followed that I have really enjoyed is on the Grist website by Nathanael Johnson. He is skeptical of GMOs, but not after doing his homework. He started the series with an open mind, given the mounds of conflicting evidence on the subject, to get to the bottom of it. He is not finished, but he does a fantastic job at researching the topic and presenting it an easy to follow format.

Everyone is different. Some folks might not feel as strongly as I do about my food, and I understand that. It’s a decision each person must make individually. I just wish the food industry wasn’t trying to hid the ball from us so consumers CAN make an decision about what they buy.