Food Information

Paper Plate Gourmet : Banana Muffins

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 I love muffins.  I love the tops of muffins.  I do not love my muffin top.



 These are obviously healthy – they are made WITH bananas!


I even froze a bunch and have been eating them from the freezer.  GASP! I know – does not sound like somehting I would do.  But, I have to tell you –  I pop them in the microwave for 10 seconds and savor every precious moment with it.



1 ½ cups all purpose flour (I used organic, not sure if that makes a difference.  Next batch will be made with whole wheat!  CRAZY!)

1 teaspoon Baking Powder

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

2 tablespoons Corn Starch

½ teaspoon Salt

4 Ripe Bananas (mine were scary looking)

¾ cup sugar (I used organic cane sugar, seems similar to brown sugar)

1 egg

3 tablespoons Coconut Oil (melted)

3 tablespoons Butter, (melted)

Liberal Dash (1 tablespoon-ish) Vanilla Extract




  1.  Preheat the oven, put liners in the cupcake pan.
  2. Cut up the bananas (I just broke them into pieces) and add them into a bowl
  3. Add the sugar, coconut oil, egg, butter and mix.  (I used my trusty ol’ mixer)
  4. Once combined, add the baking powder, baking soda, corn starch, and ½ cup of the flour and mix again.
  5. Keep adding the flour until you incorporated it all.
  6. Spoon into Muffin Tin
  7. Bake for 15-18 minutes.  Mine needed 17 Minutes.



 I bet they would be even better with some walnuts or, dare I say it, chocolate chips?  Next time, for sure!

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Food For Thought: GM-What? Genetically Modified Organisms & Your Food

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 Alright, so bear with me while I start to lay this out.  It was like writing a term paper….

Just remember, I share because I care…



Genetically Modified Organisms are the new buzz word around the Food Industry. Have you heard of them? 


This is a hotly debated topic with proponents on both sides.  Those who are anti-GMO have been labeled Anti-Technology orAnti-Science by GMO advocates who say there is nothing to fear… Yet over 60 countries have banned some or all GMOs from their food supply.


Here is what I discovered in a nutshell….


What are GMO’s


The Non-GMO Project defines GMO’s as:

“…plants or animals that have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other plants and animals. These experimental combinations of genes from different species cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding.”


Sounds tasty.   


In theory, this cross-mutating of crops should result in an increase in the yield of a plant, make it more drought-hardy and possibly increase the nutrition of a given food.  Sounds like an answer to famine and malnutrition throughout the world, right? 


Let’s take a look at corn.  Corn which has been genetically modified will withstand copious spraying of weed killer while everything around it will shrivel up and die all the while retaining the same  nutrition of regular corn.   


Yet, despite what is being touted by bio-tech experts, there appears to be no substantial increase in crop yields.  GMO corn was also found to contain dangerous levels of chlorides, formaldehyde, and other harmful chemicals.  


Did I mention the company who is producing the weed killer is also the same company producing the genetically modified corn (Monsanto)?


Regulation and Testing


At this point, I am sure you are asking yourself the same questions I did.  If the FDA approves the use of GMOs, aren’t they okay to eat?   Or my personal favorite – “I have been eating this stuff since I was a kid and I am fine!!!”  


 First off, GMO’s have only really entered the food supply since the ‘90’s.  Secondly, it seems like the FDA’s analysis is inherently flawed


 Per the FDA‘s website,  (Note:  I like how they use the term ‘developer’ instead of ‘farmer’… )


 “The developer produces a safety assessment, which includes the identification of distinguishing attributes of new genetic traits, whether any new material in food made from the GE plant could be toxic or allergenic when eaten, and a comparison of the levels of nutrients in the GE plant to traditionally bred plants.  FDA scientists evaluate the safety assessment and also review relevant data and information that are publicly available in published scientific literature and the agency’s own records.  The consultation is complete only when FDA’s team of scientists are satisfied with the developer’s safety assessment and have no further questions regarding safety or other regulatory issue.”


Regulation and Testing In Reality



Basically, the company developing the genetically modified food is also responsible for providing the tests that show the food is suitable for our consumption. My mind is officially blown….  Where  is there accountability ?  


The studies preformed are incredibly superficial (say, testing for only a few days with minimal exposure to the genetically modified substance).   There have also been no real human trials.  Most of the studies are done on rats.


 It should be noted that independent testing has found GMO’s to  be linked to intestinal damage, increases in allergies, inflammation and infertility – just to name a few.  Sounds like good times…..


Interference by Big Business


Furthermore, evidence has been provided that shows FDA’s own scientists repeatedly warned of possible adverse side effects.  However, the FDA’s  official in charge of policy at the time, Michael Taylor, ignored his own scientists.  Mr. Taylor was a former Monsanto Vice President and is now the US Food Safety Czar.    I am sure there is absolutely no conflict of interest there….


So, now I bet you are thinking you will just buy food without genetically modified stuff in it… well, it’s almost impossible. 


It is estimated that over 70% of prepackaged food contain ingredients which have been genetically modified!  Beyond that, the failure to require labeling means you are usually in the dark as to what is actually in your food. 


There have been many notable pushes for labeling with some successes.  I just want to note, though, big business spent over fifty four million dollars to help ensure California Prop. 37 (Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food) was not passed.   The biggest contributors were Monsanto and  DuPont with PepsiCo, BASF Plant Science, Bayer Cropscience, Dow Agrosciences LLC, Syngenta Corp., Kraft Foods and Coca-Cola rounding out the group.  

 One last note – these same companies do not use GMO ingredients in their products overseas…

Now What 


Whew! That was like running a 5K…. How many of you read to the end?  Sorry if I sound preachy – isn’t it nice you can skim it instead of having to listen to me?  I don’t know, this stuff seems very scary and underhanded.  If just don’t understand – if GMOs were so safe why fight labeling them?  It is mind boggling


The next post will be shorter, I promise!  It will be about what foods to watch out for, which ones definitely contain GMOs and how to avoid them.   



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Paper Plate Gourmet : Super Easy Lemon Garlic Dressing

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I have stopped buying pre-packaged dressing.


Because I can make awesome, fresh dressing in no time flat.  Easiest Dressing Ever.  Yeah, I said it. 

Totally scalable too – make as much or as little as you want.  This makes enough for my salad.



1 Lemon

1 tsp – ½ tbsp. Olive Oil

Salt (to taste)

Garlic Powder (to taste)



  1. Find a container with a top (I love my Ball Glass jar.  Isn’t it pretty?)
  2. Squeeze Lemon, take out the pits
  3. Add Olive Oil, salt (I add a little bit) & garlic powder (I add quite a bit….)
  4. Shake, Shake, Shake
  5. That’s it!!!!!  It’s meerkat approved….

Check out my Salad in a Jar… It’s all the rage now.

In theory, you can keep a week’s worth of salad fresh.  I am testing it now, will let you know how it goes!

 Update:  The salad lasted a week! 


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Paper Plate Gourmet : Homemade Chicken Stew

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Very easy & hearty for a chilly day!!!! 

The best part – add as much or as little of an ingredient you want!  There is really no right or wrong way to make this….

    • Whole Wheat Pasta
    • Carrots
    • Onion
    • Celery
    • Chicken Breast
    • 1 can of Chicken Stock
    • 1 can of Water
    • Minced Garlic
  1. Heat a pot on the stove on medium.
  2. Cut chicken into smallish pieces (I used 2 breasts).  Add to pot, stir occasionally until cooked through.
  3. While the chicken is cooking, chop the veggies.
  4. Remove the chicken, throw in the veggies until they get a nice brown to them.
  5. Stir
  6. Add the garlic, saute for a few minutes.
  7. Stir
  8. Add the can of chicken stock & can of water (add a bit more water if there doesn’t seem to be enough liquid)
  9. Stir
  10. Add Pasta
  11. Stir
  12. Cook everything until pasta is done
  13. Pour into a bowl
  14. Enjoy


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Paper Plate Gourmet : Spinach & Cheese Stuffed Shells

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Um, double yum.  I got the basic recipe from SkinnyTaste.  What a great way to get some extra veggies!

Check out my shell-disaster here….

    • Sauce (I used Ragu Marinara)
    • 9 Shells (I had alot of stuffing left over, so you can up that to at least 18)
    • 2 Cups of Ricotta Cheese
    • 2 Ounces Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
    • 1 Egg
    • 9 ounce package of frozen spinach
    • 1/4 cup  Peco Romano Cheese
  1. Preheat your oven to 375
  2. Salt a pot of water & set to boil.
  3. Microwave the Spinach for a few minutes to thaw then squeeze the bejesus out of it.  You want as little water left as possible.
  4. Put the shells in the water & cook until they are al dente
  5. In a bowl, mix the ricotta, egg, & cheeses together.  Then mix in the spinach.
  6. Get a baking dish & cover the bottom with some delish sauce
  7. Once the shells are done & cooled, stuff those bad boys with your spinach mix & place them in your dish
  8. Shower them with some additional  sauce, cover with foil & cook for 40 minutes. 
  9. Now uncover & cook for 5 more
  10. Finally, ponder how fantastic they are while you eat them.


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Paper Plate Gourmet : Grilled Ham & Cheese on Rye

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I am not sure I should admit this, but I didn’t even know how to make a Grilled Cheese when I got married….

Here is my favorite.  The Mayo & Red Wine Vinaigrette make it fancy & extra yummy.

    • 2 slices of Rye Bread per sandwich
    • 1 slice of American Cheese per sandwich
    • 2 slices of Honey Ham per sandwich
    • Mayo & Red Wine Vinaigrette dressing
  1. Gather all your ingredients together
  2. Heat a griddle or a pan over medium heat
  3. Spread each side of the bread with a smear of mayo & vinaigrette dressing (don’t soak it!)
  4. When the pan is hot, add a slice of bread (smear side up) & top with ham, cheese & other side of the bread (smear side down this time)
  5. Cook for a few minutes, flip (I like mine on the not-so-done side, so I flip after 2 1/2 minutes)
  6. Put on a plate, eat with chips.  (Subway sandwiches have NOTHING on this baby)


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Paper Plate Gourmet : Vegetable Fried Rice

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I got the basic recipe from the Jan 2012 All You Magazine, just tweaked it (ie: no sesame oil or ginger…)

  It was yummy, easy & makes a lot of food!!!

    • Bit of Vegetable Oil
    • 3 TBSP Soy Sauce
    • 1 TBSP Sugar
    • 2 Eggs
    • 1 TBSP-ish Minced Garlic
    • Cooked Brown Rice (I used the Steam in Bag)
    • Bit of Salt
    • Bunch of Scallions
    • 1 Bag of Asian Medley Bird’s Eye Vegetables
  1. Gather all your ingredients together
  2. Microwave the brown rice & the vegetables
  3. Heat a splash of oil in a decent size pan
  4. Cook the eggs until just set, set them aside
  5. Wipe out the pan
  6. Heat another splash of oil
  7. Saute garlic, 30 seconds (becareful, mine burned)
  8. Add rice & salt, stir-fry a bit (3-4 min)
  9. Mix the soy sauce & sugar, add it to the pan
  10. Add veggies & scallions, stif-fry until heated through (5 minutes)
  11. Add eggs, stir, serve
  12. Eat


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Paper Plate Gourmet : Easy Chicken Primavera with Pasta

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So, I got the idea from the Kraft Website.  I liked it, but didn’t love it.

It was really easy to make though & relatively inexpensive.

 (I got the Kraft Cream Cheese for $1.00, the Broccolli for $.99 & the pasta for $.69)

    • 1 lb Chicken (cut into bite size pieces)
    • 1 bag of Broccoli
    • Pasta (I used 1/2 box of whole wheat)
    • 1 tub of PHILADELPHIA Italian Cheese and Herb Cooking Creme
  1. Boil the water for the pasta (add salt!)
  2. In a hot pan, add the diced chicken, cooking until no longer pink  (took me like 6 minutes)
  3. While you are cooking the chicken, add the pasta & cook
  4. Throw the broccoli in the mircowave to slighy warm ( I did 2 minutes)
  5. Add the broccoli to pan, cook for 2-3 minutes
  6. Add container of Philly, cook for 3 minutes.
  7. Add Pasta to pan, cook a few minutes
  8. Put on a plate & eat.
Honestly, I was a little bummed & didn’t do the points yet, I will get back to you. 


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