Food

The Evolution of Cheese: The Winners & Losers

Bruce Bradley documents the scary evolution of cheese from REAL food to an industrialized mess“What is cheese?” Seems like a pretty easy question, right? Unfortunately it may be much more difficult to answer than you might think since over the years a lot of changes have happened to what’s called cheese.

Although the exact origins of cheese are unknown, the process is believed to date back more than 4,000 years ago. Like many discoveries cheesemaking is believed to be the result of an accident that occurred when an Arabian merchant stored milk in a pouch made from a sheep’s stomach. When the rennet (an enzyme produced in the stomach of ruminant animals) combined with the milk and the warmth from the sun, violà—cheese was created. Continue Reading >>

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Why do food companies ignore real vegetables in their healthy diet advice?What’s the one healthy habit you never hear food companies talk about? It’s the power of vegetables and other plants in our diets. Don’t believe me? To help illustrate this point I took a quick look at advertising spending for the past several years, and do you want to guess what percent of spending supported healthy, minimally processed fruits, vegetables, nuts, or other plants? Less than 0.1%! 1

Think about it. Despite all the weight loss and “healthy food” ads on television, how often do you see one for vegetables? Recently I’ve seen a couple for Bird’s Eye and Green Giant sauced-up vegetables, but in the big scheme of things, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes get the short end of the stick. To make matters worse these days you’re more likely to find companies advertising that their highly processed junk food is as good as if not better than real fruits and vegetables, something that couldn’t be further from the truth. Here’s just one example of this strategy brought to life by FiberOne’s Oat and Chocolate Chewy Bars:

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Notes:

  1. Fruit juice advertising excluded since research demonstrates fruit juices provide significantly less nutritional benefit than their whole fruit counterparts.

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4 Simple Last Minute REAL FOOD Gift Ideas

4 simple gift ideas that might also inspire with their real food message.Is your holiday shopping complete? I’ve almost got mine “wrapped” up. But if you’re not so lucky, here are several simple gifts that are not only thoughtful, but might also share a subtle REAL food message with your friend or loved one!

Your favorite REAL food recipe and a dish to serve it in:

Last minute gifts: recipe and serving dishWhen I got married one of our wedding presents was a wonderful recipe for a hot cheese dip with a serving dish to prepare it in. Over twenty years later I still remember the gift and who gave it to us. Why? The gift was personal, the recipe was delicious (I’ll probably share it on the blog sometime soon), and the idea was totally unique.

So if you’ve a got a simple, family-favorite REAL food recipe, write it down and wrap it up with a serving dish. My guess is it will be a gift that’s remembered for years to come! Continue Reading >>

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Recipe: Crazy Good Cranberry Orange Quick Bread

Learn why boxed mixes may not be your best option for holiday bakingOver the years Cranberry Quick Bread has become a festive, holiday classic. In fact when I ran Pillsbury’s dessert and baking mix business, Cranberry Quick Bread sales were so important that they were a big part of making our profit goals in November and December. And part of the marketing strategy behind these mixes was to portray them as a fresh, home-baked alternative to scratch baking. But when you take a closer look at what’s really in them, you might want to “beware of the box” and make a REAL, homemade recipe instead.

Learn why boxed mixes may not be your best option for holiday baking

With ingredients like white flour, white sugar, dough conditioners (sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate), and emulsifiers (propylene glycol esters of fatty acids, distilled monoglycerides) store-bought quick bread & muffin mixes are filled with highly processed ingredients and lots of GMOs (genetically modified organisms). Probably the most concerning item on the list, however, is BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), an ingredient used to increase the shelf-life of the highly processed oils used in these mixes. While preventing these oils from going rancid is important, it definitely comes at a cost since BHT has been linked to higher cancer rates in some animal studies. Finally, quick bread mixes often include some dairy ingredients that are typically sourced from dairy cows treated with growth hormones (rBGH) and/or antibiotics.

To avoid all these processed ingredients the best solution I’ve found is to make my own CRAZY GOOD Cranberry Orange Quick Bread recipe. It’s lightly sweetened with honey and some orange juice, and it uses REAL ingredients like whole wheat flour, fresh fruit, butter, and buttermilk. And since it only takes about 10 minutes to whip up, it really isn’t that hard to make!

Ready to give it a try? Then preheat your oven and get out your mixing bowls! Here’s my recipe!

Bruce Bradley's CRAZY GOOD Cranberry Orange Quick Bread is lightly sweetened and uses only REAL ingredients

Recipe: Crazy Good Cranberry Orange Quick Bread
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert/Treats
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 slices
 
Ingredients:
  • 2¼ cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 6 tablespoons stick cold, unsalted butter, cut into ¼ slices, plus extra to grease the loaf pan
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ cup honey
  • ⅔ cup buttermilk
  • ⅓ cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 orange, zested (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ cup chopped cranberries (fresh or frozen)
  • ½ cup pecans or walnuts, chopped (optional)
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease and flour large loaf pan.
  2. In a food processor pulse together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cold butter until it resembles cornmeal.
  3. Pulse in honey, buttermilk, orange juice, and orange zest.
  4. Pulse in eggs. Don’t over mix.
  5. Fold in cranberries and nuts (optional).
  6. Pour into a prepared pan.
  7. Bake at 350F for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
  9. Remove bread from pan and cool on wire rack for at least 30 minutes.
Notes:
We recommend using organic ingredients when possible.

Our cranberry orange quick bread embraces the fact that cranberries are a tart berry—so this bread isn't overly sweet. We believe when cooking with cranberries, you're shooting for some of that tart taste vs. covering it up with a lot of sugar. That said, if you're looking for a truly "sweet" quick bread, add a ¼ cup more honey (or sugar) and increase the bake time slightly. Just remember that whether it's sugar or honey, sweet is sweet and we all should be trying to limit our intake of sugars. =)

I love to share these wonderful quick bread loaves as gifts. What are some of your favorite holiday gifts from your kitchen? PLEASE … share them in the comments below. And if you’re looking for some tools to make this recipe just a little bit easier, check out my Kitchen Tips and Resources below! Finally, if you love the tart, fresh taste of cranberries, check out my next post for Cranberry Orange Crisp Cookies. Yes, the recipe uses some sugar, but an occasional holiday indulgence isn’t bad, right? :-)

Cheers!

Kitchen Resources and Tips:

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Recipe: Turkey a la King

Turkey a la King is a Thanksgiving leftovers family favorite in our house! One of my favorite parts about Thanksgiving is all the amazing meals you can make with leftover turkey. But without a doubt my absolute, all-time favorite post-Thanksgiving recipe is Turkey a la King. In fact I think it’s so popular in our family that everyone looks forward to it as much if not more than the actual Thanksgiving meal!

However, like a lot of our holiday traditions, the original Turkey a la King recipe has undergone several revisions over the past five years as our food values have evolved. Here are just a few of the updates we’ve made:

  • More veggies since that’s our top goal!
  • White, all-purpose flour has been eliminated and replaced it with whole wheat pastry flour.
  • Organic and pastured dairy products are now our preference since most of the regular butter and milk in grocery stores comes from cows raised on GMO feed, pumped up with growth hormones, and oftentimes raised in CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations).
  • We now use organic, whole wheat toast cups or other whole wheat bread options to serve the Turkey a la King on.  We’ve replaced those Pepperidge Farm pastry shells that contain white flour, hydrogenated FrakenFats, and other highly processed ingredients.

Continue Reading >>

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Bruce Bradley Named Food Hero by Allergy Kids Foundation