Five foods to cure a sore throat

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Despite what the Internet says, forget about tequila as a cure for a sore throat. Snopes says it’s wishful thinking.

If you want to boost your immune system and speed recovery from a sore throat, cough, or sinus congestion, think instead about honey, vinegar, green tea, sea salt  and fiery spices. More

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Yoda soda summer punch bowl

Punch bowl

May the fourth be with you!

Enjoy a replay of a recipe we posted a few years back for a summertime drink that’s as good for you as it tastes. Fresh lime juice gives this cooler its Yoda color, and sparkling water adds the bubbles. For a gourmet touch, add some lime sorbet.

Click here for the recipe.

Vinny’s on Yum Goggle

Ile de Re: Fish market

Vinny’s been updating older posts recently and putting them up on Yum Goggle. Yum Goggle features food photography from contributors around the world. The photos whet your appetite for the recipes you can get simply by clicking on the pictures or the words GET THE RECIPE. It’s a great site and we’re proud to be a part of the team. More

Celebrate Pi day with this easy chocolate cake — only 3.14-ingredients

Pi day cake

A cake suitable for Pi day, photo by Tip Junkie

The story behind Pi day

Normally, I’d choose a pie to celebrate the math constant π (Pi = 3.14159…) on its special day, which is coming upon us soon. Scientists the world over will likely be tucking into a delicious slice of one, perhaps a banana cream or pecan pie, More

Help Mr. Pancreas do his job – try low-sugar cookie-candy

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Nuts and fruit slow down the release of glucose into the blood.

Sugar’s role in our health

Sugar is Will’s favorite food group.

“Maybe you can cut back on the sugary things, once in a while,” Vinny suggests.

“Sugar is in everything!” Will proclaims. “It gives us energy!”

“That’s true,” Vinny agrees. “What I don’t like, though, is when we add sugar to our food, over and above what nature puts there. Have you heard about your pancreas?” More

Chocolate-and-pear tart for Marie-Laure

Saint Malo

Saint Malo

A blind orphan threads her way through the streets of Saint Malo at the end of the World War II, with a fresh-baked loaf under her arm. Her name is Marie-Laure and dry bread is all she will have to eat for several days… .

Hidden in the loaf are coordinates destined for the Allied Forces, pin-pointing where the Nazis are headquartered in the town, where their supplies are stored, where their ammunition is kept. Marie-Laure’s uncle radios this vital information across the airwaves on a powerful set hidden in their attic. More

Food heroes that fight cancer

5 foods tht fight cancer

Foods that are known cancer fighters

Berries, walnuts, garlic, tomatoes and tea. What do they have in common? They are all proven cancer fighters!

They work best as members of a team. For best health, join them up on your plate with other battle-scarred food heroes of the likes that are cited in this valuable article from the American Institute for Cancer Research.

More

We need our fabulous new GMOs

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“The war against genetically modified organisms is full of fear-mongering, errors, and fraud. Labeling GMOs will not make you safer.”

As an ex-food scientist, I’m convinced of the safety of GMO foods. You will be too, if you can wade through this excellent, but very long article. More

Cherry clafouti solves one omnivore’s dilemma

Omnivore's dilemma - Pollan

What’s for dinner?

Once upon a time some friends formed a neighborhood reading salon. One night they slogged through the snow to sit by a fire together and discuss a book Michael Pollan wrote nearly 10 years ago — The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

Pollan’s story lifts the blinders to show where our food comes from, just as deftly as if he wrote it, well, yesterday.

More

Gut wars! Arm yourself with yogurt and prosper

Grilled pineapple, sweetened greek yogurt, cinnamon & almonds

Yogurt, yogurt everywhere!

 En garde!

Trillions of bacteria live happily in our gut. The goodies among them help us digest our food and absorb its nutrients. They also help our body make vitamins, absorb minerals, and get rid of  toxins. They make our immune system strong. And best of all, they work on our brain cells to help them battle anxiety, stress, and depression. Friendly bugs in our gut make up the army that protects us from disease, including mental illness.

Good bacteria, called probiotics, come to us in fermented foods. Buttermilk, pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, sour dough bread, raw-milk cheeses and kefir all harbor the good guys. For many, though, probiotics march forth  into our gut in yogurt. More

Fabulous Fennel, plus an Italian side-dish

Braised fennel with chinese chicken

Fennel makes a great side for barbecued chicken.

What’s Fennel?

Fennel’s a bit of an odd vegetable. Although it turns up in the produce departments of most super markets, it’s not really a regular guest at most people’s tables. Fennel’s best pals with Celery, another kind-of-blah veggie that is often left languishing. These two veggies have the same pale greenish-white crisp flesh. And Fennel’s stalks grow around one another like Celery’s stalks do. Both veggies can be served raw or cooked. And both have a fibrous, mild flavor.

But Fennel deserves a closer look. Once you get to know it, you’ll see it’s loaded with character. More

Where’s Walnuts?

One walnut hiding among other tasty nuts

Can you spot the walnut hiding among all these other tasty tree nuts?

Verse 4

Walnuts, raw
Develop the jaw,
But walnuts, stewed,
Are more quietly chewed.
with a gentle nod to Ogden Nash

I’m nuts for walnuts…

I lied, when I promised I’d stop waxing poetic about nuts. I forgot about the walnut, one of nature’s treasures! Carrying on with my nutty soliloquy, I present verse 4.

Crunchy or pureed, if we’re smart, walnuts will be found hiding on our plates in everything from soup to salads! I’m so impressed with walnuts’ healthy benefits, I hardly know where to begin… perhaps with the letter A. More

Round Vinny Grette’s kitchen in pictures – best recipes of 2013

Here Vinny presents his best efforts for 2013 –
easy, healthy, and kid friendly food.
For a glimpse into Vinny’s kitchen, click on any picture.

For recipes, copy and paste the link that appears below each caption. More

Miss Macadamia takes the crown! Fats demystified

Macadamia wears the crown

Macadamia is the sweetheart of Hawaii.

Verse 3

Whose dress is made of sweetgrass?
who wears a golden lei-a?
Who’s promised to be kind and true?
Ma-ca-da-m-i-a.

The queen of nuts…

Moving along to my third post honoring the wonderful nut, I admit, Okay… maybe this poetry thing is a little beyond my capabilities. But before I finish with my nutty soliloquy begun in my past two posts, I wanted to sing the praises of Macadamia. Difficulty with rhyming and pentameters isn’t going to hold me back. Because if I’m any judge, Macadamia wins the healthy nut contest hands down.  And it’s not just because of her pretty face and fine figure. More

An ode to almonds, plus grilled pineapple

Almond blossoms

Almond tree in bloom

Almonds are so super good for you, they deserve an ode. One well-known nursery rhyme featured a nut tree that bore nothing… except silver and gold that is, which, as everyone knows, taste awful.

But those who have been reading along with Vinny know that nut trees in real life bear many wondrous things, more precious than money. More

Mood Foods

Christmas bread

Christmas bread smells like good times

Study Guide for Cook Up A Story

CHAPTER 6

This is the last in my series on study guides for the print version of Cook Up A Story. Chapter 6 is about how our moods affect our food choices. We’re wired that way. The part of the brain that stores memory and feelings detects smells, too.

Our last story, Melting Moments, shows how cheery memories are braided together with smells, sounds and tastes. That’s why when we’re blue, we crave foods that remind us of good times. When a small boy finds himself missing his grandmother at Christmas, he takes comfort in his family and its holiday traditions.

More

Don’t be shy… Milk’s got it!

Joe is quite the artist - More milk please

Study Guide to Cook Up A Story

CHAPTER 5

The many faces of milk is what Chapter 5 of the print version of Cook Up A Story is all about. The story, More Milk Please, offers a time-honored recipe for getting along with people—especially people of the opposite gender. Izzi’s best friend Jill and a jug of milk is all it takes to help her overcome her awkward shyness. More

Creamy triple-chocolate mousse, loaded with omega-9 from avocado

Avocado Mousse

A healthy chocolate dessert

Instead of the suspicious fats usually lurking in rich desserts from heavy cream and butter, this chocolate pudding hides a secret agent known far and wide for his success in fighting disease. His name? Detective Avocado. More

Body Basics – Chapter 1 of my book “Cook Up A Story”

Wauna's ice krispies

Wauna’s ice krispies

Study Guide to Cook Up A Story

CHAPTER 1 – BODY BASICS

In the print version of Vinny’s book Cook Up A Story, read Vinny’s original fairy tale, Wauna’s Song. Then cook up some  Ice Krispies, mentioned in Wauna’s joke to the evil Snow-Woman. Wauna makes it easy to learn about your body, how it works, and how we need balanced  meals to make it run smoothly. More

Wheat and the Glycemic Index… Loaded question!

Wheat

The glycemic load might be a better guide to healthy eating than the glycemic index

What should we believe? The Internet bombards us with so many facts, ideas, opinions and outright lies, it’s hard to make out the signal from the noise.

Dr. Davis in his book Wheat Belly makes a lot of noise about wheat. He calls it a blight and a poison and says no-one should eat it, not just the 6% of us who are gluten intolerant. But many of his statements are misleading. More

Wheat is not satan… but look out for those sneaky little sugar devils

This sinister gilded crust was the model for Salvador Dali's famous painting Bread 1926.

This sinister gilded crust was the model for Salvador Dali’s famous painting, “Bread 1926.”

Is bread the only villain in today’s battle with obesity?

How did this food, which people have enjoyed since the dawn of agriculture, get such a bad rap?

Doctor William Davis leads the attack. In his book Wheat Belly, he blames wheat and wheat alone for everything from heart disease to diabetes to arthritis and everything in between. His inflammatory accusations have some validity, of course. But overall, I think the good doctor is stirring the pot with too big a spoon. More

The 17-day diet, starring Dr. Mike Morano

17-day diet

A doctor’s plan for rapid weight loss
Sharon talks to Vinny about her adventures with the 17-day diet

Vinny: How fast can you lose weight on this diet plan?

Sharon: Ok. Right off the bat my radar goes up. Anybody knows you can’t expect to lose weight fast… and keep it off. But Mike says, yes you can! He promises results that last. It’s right there on the front cover.

When I crack the book open, his first words to me are, “Just give me 17 days.”

Vinny: How is this plan any different from all the other pitches out there? More

Pita Pan Bread from Whole-Grain Wheat

She may not be Tinkerbell... but she does have wings!

Our little friend here may not be Tinkerbell… but she does have wings!

Processed white flour

If flour lived in Never-Never Land, enriched white wheat flour would play the part of  Captain Hook. Arrrr… it’s bad to the core. In fact, it’s bad because it has no core.

After milling, only the endosperm remains. More

Fave fotos à la 2012

A year in review, through Vinny’s favorite pictures. The pictures are a fun way to index some of  the posts you liked best. Should old acquaintance be forgot… click through and remember! More

A Few Crunchy Numbers to Munch On… What was hot in 2012?

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Low-sugar cookies

"Skinny" Brownies

“Skinny” Brownies

Mohawk Gardens Public School

Vinny goes back to school

Beet cake

Choco-beet cake

Tibetan pie with it's hat off, so you can see what's inside

Yak’s Sherpa pie

Let's make some chips!

Kale and coconut oil

 

 Click the pics to view the posts   The carrots are cooked! Thanks to the WordPress gurus, we now know our blog, Cook Up A Story, got 11,000 views in 2012. People from all around the world logged on to read Vinny’s 41 stories over the year and to check out the 242 pictures we uploaded. I know there are lots of blogs out there with far bigger readerships, but I’m thrilled with the faithful following we’ve grown over the past year. Thanks so much to our readers who make blogging such a lot of  fun! More

Beetniks: a winning formula

the beet goes on

Sonny and Cher’s coded message: Beets help you run faster!

What’s old

People who are into sports could take a winning tip from Sonny and Cher’s top-100 hit of 1967:  The beet goes on. Yeah. They’re saying, like: Eat your beets, man, and you’ll run harder, longer, faster. Crazy but true! More

Mini Chefs Dish up Maxi Nutrition

This spring Cook Up A Story caught the imagination of a public school teacher in Burlington, Ontario. John Highley, who teaches at Mohawk Gardens Public School, said, “If we can  get the word out to schools, this thing might take right off. I see teachers using Cook Up a Story as a resource in their classrooms for nutrition/health units from grades 1 to 6, as well as the grade 5 chemistry unit.” More

Yackity’s Yaks

Let me tell you the strange tale of how a Sherpa girl called Yackity ended up on a ranch far from home and got to the meat of the matter. More

Loverly coconut oil and some kale chips

Click on the coconut to hear Grampa’s song

My Great-Great-Ever-So-Great Grampa used to sing about coconuts at the top of his lungs. But he wasn’t much into eating them. Although he loved fine dining, his choices rarely included stuff that was good for him. Broccoli? Yuck! Brown bread? No way! Bring on the butter and the whipped cream! More

Little Annie Okra

Fiber Bonanza!

Annie Okra hits the target every time when it comes to scrubbing out our innards. Also known as “lady finger,”  this nutritious green pod is rich in fiber as well as some other gluey stuff. This duo helps digest your dinner.  More

Antioxidants, nature’s anti-rust agents

A scoop o’ colorful puréed veggie soup helps the antioxidants go down.

Antioxidants unmasked

Among scientists she goes by the name of  antioxidant. But Vinny’s friends know her as Auntie Oxidant. By either name, she is a kid’s best friend. She is a powerful protector from degenerative disease. This fighter disarms invaders called free radicals, bent on destroying our cells. More

Apples and a Misty-Moisty Cake

Dan and Christine's wedding - apples

An apple a day keeps the doctor away

This little rhyme is one of the first things kids learn about healthy eating. One of baby’s first solid foods is apple sauce. And as kids grow, they often choose apples as a favorite snack. But are apples really so good for us? More

Scallops and beans battle stroke with magnesium

A plateful of Magnesium

Smoking and stroke

Are your grandparents looking a little worn around the edges? Maybe you see them filling up on junk food or puffing away on cigarettes too often?

If so, they could be setting themselves up for a medical catastrophe known as Stroke. Holy smokes! That could be serious. Is there anything you can do to help? More

Mares eat oats and Does eat oats

Banana oat cones are healthier than ice-cream. They are also ridiculously tasty!

Why do Mares and Does eat oats?” asks Will. “Oats look like dry little bits of paper. Ugh. Does Bambi’s mom know something we don’t?” More

Behind Mr. Beans’ Back Door

The many faces of Mr. Beans

The many faces of Mr. Beans

“Beans, beans, the musical fruit
The more you eat, the more you toot
The more you toot, the better you feel
Beans, beans at every meal!”

The good news

I love you, Mr. Beans, especially on this blustery, cold March day. Your down-home taste spiked with bacon, tomato, and maple syrup fills my tummy nicely. And your hearty goodness gives me the energy I need to take me through the day… not to mention the awesome protein, fibre, iron and calcium you put into my tank while you’re at it. “But, Mr. Beans,” I have to ask,” Why so much gas? That’s something that’s really not pleasant to pass!” More

Let’s play with our food again!

Oh… no! Evil Dragon Man tries to blow up Black Hack (our favorite British taxi dude).

Last year we saw how much fun we can have, turning plain old cornstarch into OObleck. How about we have some more of the same? More

Ancient eggs help ring in the new year, Chinese style

They’re from Land Before Time!

With the Chinese new year just behind us, I invited some friends over to help me look into that famous Asian delicacy, 1000-year-old duck eggs. When the gang arrived, I pulled the brown, grassy ovals from the cupboard.

“These can’t be duck eggs!” Isla gasped.

“They look more like duck-billed dino eggs to me,” Will agreed. More

“Eat more leaves,” says Pollan

Reviewing “In Defense of Food”

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Thank you, Michael Pollan, for this simple advice. You’ve researched the heck out of the Western diet to show us it’s this easy to eat for better health. We just need to stop eating packaged food… especially those with packages boasting health benefits. And although you want us to eat more plants, you don’t make us give up on meat completely. Thank goodness! More

Custard fight! Stirred… or baked?

custard taste test

Custard fight – “Baked” dukes it out with “Stirred”

James Bond may have taken his martinis stirred. But in a recent egg custard duel, Stirred came in a far second-best behind Baked!

See for yourself. More

Tell us what you think about Vinny’s book

How did you like the soup?

Vinny wants to create a place on his blog where you can post comments about his book. This is that space! More

Blow some hot air… it’s an essential ingredient

Watch your baking soar!

I hate to admit this, but baking can be a bit iffy. Sometimes pie crusts turn out flaky. But other times, they end up as hard to chew as a bathtub mat. More

Fried eggs set the mood for a green Christmas

Murre egg? Afraid not!

How you serve up a meal is often more important than what you serve. Food that looks different from what you’d expect  can put you off. Or, it might just be fascinating!

Rumor has it that prospectors ate blue eggs during the gold rush… More

Can egg whites be blue? Believe it, or NOT!

Lovely murre egg

You can’t believe everything you read…  But there is always a grain of truth behind every lie. And the Internet is a wonderful tool for digging out the facts. More

See calories burn! Halloween warning for pixies

Halloween alert!

Calling all pixies. You  may want to toss a little fairy dust around,  to cast a spell on your friends this Halloween. But if you use powdered milk, flour, cornstarch, sugar or cocoa,  keep your tricks well away from the candle in the pumpkin. These dusts can explode! More

Get the Best Price: Save with promo codes

Buying on line? Vinny’s books are available at one dollar over cost, plus shipping. Profits support children’s programs.

Codes have  expiry dates… They are also sometimes dependent on the currency you are using or the total cost of your transaction.  If one doesn’t work, try another one. A maximum saving sometimes applies.

More

Cornstarch, A.K.A. OObleck, is good for more than cooking

Dr. Seuss invents OObleck

Cornstarch is a pretty boring food. This silky  powder has no taste, no smell and no color. But it has one  special thing going for it. It  gets  sticky when it’s wet. More

Maple syrup magic

The sugar shack: Maple goodness is best in small packages! Story source: click my photo

If you really need to have a sweetener, choose maple syrup. It’s good! And now there is some proof that it might also be good for you. More

Diet Soda: Cause for Concern?

http://mocoloco.com/art/archives/002884.php

Danger!

Too much sugar’s bad for us, but sugar-free soda could be even worse. It’s not proof positive, but new research raises concern about diet soda.  Studies find higher risks for stroke and heart attack among people who drink sugar-free soda every day versus those who drink no soda at all.

The findings should be “a wakeup call to pay attention to diet sodas,” More

Kookie Cukes

http://artfulparent.files.wordpress.com/2008/05/tomato-man-and-cucumber-caterpillar.jpg

Cute cuke – good for more than eating

Do you need to get your crayon art off the bedroom wall before Dad gets home? Have you scratched a splotchy mistake with a pen on your brother’s birthday card? Never fear. Cukes can save the day. That’s right… cucumbers are just full of surprises! More

It’s March 14th… Happy Pi day!

Pi

Happy Pi day – 3.14 (March 14)

Food is so much fun! You know what pie looks like and how it tastes. Now (thanks to College Humor Video) you can hear what Pi sounds like, to 32 decimal places!

Maybe you’ll also start to see just how magical math can be.

Why don’t you settle  yourself  down with a lovely piece of Kristina’s peach  Pi, then sit back and  listen to it?

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