Healthy Humane Menu Plus a Giveaway!

With all of the garbage that is put in our food today, it is important to be conscientious about where your food is coming from. Not only that – but where your meat is raised is a BIG deal. By buying welfare-certified animal products, or more plant-based products, you send a strong message to food companies that you care about the treatment of farm animals. Most of the nearly 9 billion animals raised for meat, milk, and eggs in the US are suffering in inhumane factory farms. I know – it is disgusting and sad to even think about it. But where DOES your meat come from?

A normal medium size family spends hundreds of dollars each month on things like chicken, beef, and sausage. As consumers, most of us do not realize just how powerful we are. As a group, we have the power to make something a success or even push to have something inhumane pulled from the shelves. But it takes us as one collective to actually get it done.

ASPCA Healthy and Humane

It is time to put a STOP to these inhuman conditions and we, as consumers, can fully harness the power of our collective purchases and demand better lives for farm animals with the Shop With Your Heart initiative launched by the ASPCA. This initiative gives consumers the resources to recognize, locate and demand meaningfully welfare-certified meat, eggs and dairy products as well as plant-based alternatives.

Here are five simple ways to become a more aware and welfare-conscious consumer when shopping for your family’s groceries.

  1. Eat Seasonally – Eating foods in season means that you’re able to buy from a more local economy and avoid having your food ship from other countries. This means fresher foods picked at peak ripeness too!
  2. Shop Locally – CSA’s and local farmers’ markets help support local, often smaller scale, farmers, and ranchers who are producing outside of the traditional factory-farm system. If you aren’t sure where to start, visit your local farmers’ market and start asking some question – this guide will get you started.
  3. Conquer Labeling Confusion – Marketers create confusion with their flashy labels and clever catch-phrases. But unfortunately, sometimes they care more about finances than transparency. Words like “natural” or “humane” often don’t have any oversight to actually tell you as a consumer anything concrete. However, some phrases and labels do have regulations associated with their use, and that’s what you can start to look for as a savvy shopper. Here’s a guide to labeling to get you started.
  4. Be Careful to Minimize Waste – One of the ways we can treat the animals used for food respectfully and humanely is by making the most of the food we purchase. Purchase only what you know you’ll use and serve the right sized portions to avoid wasting what your family buys.
  5. Look for Certifications That Mean Something – Unlike marketing gimmicks, there are certain certifications and awards that have true meaning. For example the USDA Organic label shows that the produce grown (or fed to the animal) didn’t use banned pesticides. Others include Animal Welfare Approved or Certified Humane

See The Good Groceries Guide for more information about how our shopping habits impact the lives of those around us – animals included.

WILL YOU TAKE THE PLEDGE?

Take the pledge to be a more welfare-conscious shopper: aspca.org/shopwithyourheart. Everyone who signs the pledge also gains access to an exclusive Shop With Your Heart Grocery List, including welfare-certified and widely available plant-based brands.

ASPCA Healthy and Humane

MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

To fully harness the power of our collective purchases and demand better lives for farm animals, the Shop With Your Heart initiative gives consumers the resources to recognize, locate and demand meaningfully welfare-certified meat, eggs and dairy products as well as plant-based alternatives.

SHARE YOUR BUYING POWER!

Post a photo of yourself on your social media channels or use one of the resources here to show your friends, family and co-workers you are a part of the movement with sample language like:  “Join the movement with me and pledge to #ShopWithYourHeart! aspca.org/ShopWithYourHeart @ASPCA.” 

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rigoni di Asiago and Nocciolata Spreads

Rigoni di Asiago are an Italian made food family of spreads that are now available in stores nationwide. Their fruit spreads, honeys, and chocolate-hazelnut spreads are both sustainable and organic.

Made with organic ingredients completely free of GMO’s, preservatives, colors, additives, or artificial sweeteners, Rigoni di Asiago’s Nocciolata combines hazelnuts, fair trade cocoa and cocoa butter, natural vanilla extract, skimmed milk, and raw cane sugar for a chocolate-hazelnut spread with undeniably superior flavor. It is made with environmentally-responsible cold-pressed sunflower oil (no palm oil!). It also contains far less sugar than other brands and is free from hydrogenated fats. Rigoni di Asiagoeven offers Nocciolata Dairy Free, is a certified-vegan alternative of this chocolate-hazelnut spread.

Prepared with perfectly ripened organic fruit, Fiordifrutta fruit spread simply contains fruit sweetened with organic apple juice, providing a completely natural, healthy, low-calorie spread. These come in 17 different flavors.

Fiordifrutta fruit spreads come from organic farming. Each 8.82 ounce jar is made exclusively from over three pounds of selected organic fruit using using a patented low-temperature cooking process. Unlike most other spreads on the market, Fiordifrutta fruit contains no added sugar. Sweetening is made instead with organic wild apple juice. This exclusive recipe preserves the nutrients of the natural fruit while significantly reducing the sugar substance content (30% or more compared to other spreads) and contains 30% fewer calories than most others.

Mielbio encompasses a full range of raw Italian honey from Wildflower to Acacia, Orange Blossom, Lime and more.

Crisp Apple Donuts (with fewer calories and less sugar)

Ingredients

For The Donuts:

  • 1 cup Crisp Apple Sparkling ICE
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • ½ cup Splenda Sugar Blend
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 ¾ cup all purpose flour

For The Cinnamon Sugar:

  • 1½ cups Splenda Sugar Blend
  • ½ cup ground cinnamon

Directions

  • Part 1:  Making the donut dough

In a mixer, cream the butter and sugar together, on medium high speed for approximately 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time until combined.  Slowly pour in the milk and half of the Sparkling ICE to the mixing bowl. With the mixer on slow speed add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt until just combined. The dough should look shaggy. Slowly pour in the remaining amount of Sparkling ICE on medium speed for 2 minutes.

  • Part 2:  Dough storage

Tear 2 pieces of parchment paper the size of a baking sheet. Line the first piece of parchment on a clean baking sheet and heavily dust with flour. Turn out the dough onto the floured parchment and press evenly till its about 3/4 inch thick.  (If the dough seems too sticky flour your hands before pressing.) Lightly flour the top of the dough and place the second piece of parchment over the dough.  Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.

  • Part 3:  Frying donuts

In a deep induction frying pan, heat enough oil to come up 2 inches from the bottom to 375 degrees using a candy thermometer. Gently peel the top piece of parchment off the dough. Using a floured donut cutter, punch out dough and place in hot oil. Fry on each side for 2-3 minutes or until light brown.  Adjust the heat if needed.  Scoop on paper towel lined baking tray. 

  • Part 4:  Finishing donuts

Combine cinnamon and splenda in a large bowl. While the donuts are still warm, toss with cinnamon and splenda mixture until evenly coated. Serve warm and enjoy!

Recipe Credit: Sparkling Ice

Canvas Food Truck Review


The Canvas Food Truck
in Los Angeles is a great stop, wherever they happen to be parked!The Canvas Food Truck in Los Angeles

There is always something to be said about a great burger. Whether that burger is beef, chicken, turkey, or salmon, we are burger lovers. The Canvas Food Truck is a great place to get a burger and they have all of those patty option so you can take your pick. For those that want a cooler option they have wraps and salads as well so check out their full menu. I got to sample two of their signature creations with a side of delicious shoe string garlic fries.

With cute names like “The Chick” and “The Bird” the Canvas Food Truck’s two white meat options are popular choices. I got a taste of “The Chick” and enjoyed how refreshing and light it was. The meat was seasoned to perfection and topped with cucumbers, mixed greens, and tomato. The cheese on the burger is mozzarella and that is finished with a roasted pepper aioli. I am a fan of cucumbers on a sandwich or burger and that addition was the icing on the cake to finish this off and take it to the next level. If you are cutting back on your red meat this is a definite highlight of the menu.

If red meat is still on your to be enjoyed list the Canvas Food Truck has a real treat in store for you. One of my favorite dishes from my food truck tour here in LA, their Chef Style burger. Be prepared for a decadent food experience. You do need to be a fan of Blue Cheese because that is a major factor in the flavor punch this burger will give to your taste buds. When you take a half pound patty of grass fed beef then add sautéed onions and roasted pepper aioli you can’t help but fall in love. I thought the Blue Cheese gave the burger a kick and certainly is the feature that made this a top pick of mine. Even if you swapped cheeses, for all you cheddar eaters, this would be a great selection.

If you find yourself out and about in Los Angeles County, Hollywood, Downtown, or in the Valley definitely keep your eyes open for this roaming restaurant. The Canvas Food Truck should definitely be on your radar.

Find out more about the Canvas Food Truck on their site: canvasfoodsla.com or on Social Media: Twitter or Facebook

Summer Drinks with Award Winning Vodka

An Icy Addition to Summer

The last days of summer are here so celebrate a season well spent with a cocktail. Two great Award Winning options are LEAF Organic Vodka and Khortytsa Platinum Vodka. Both offer a refreshing kick to your dry martini or mixed drink.

LEAF Organic Vodka comes in two varieties, Alaskan Glacial Water and Rocky Mountain Mineral Water. The difference is actually the source of Vodka’s main ingredient, Water! I was amazed that such a subtle difference can have so much impact on flavor. An in home tasting comparison was a fun evening with friends. Both varieties were popular with an even split of favorites for each. Rocky Mountain mineral water lends crisp clean taste while the Alaskan Glacial has a bit of sweet. Another plus is the fact that both products are organic, quality products from quality ingredients.

LEAF Organic Vodka – Find them on Social Media – Twitter – Facebook – Instagram

Khortytsa Platinum Vodka goes through an extensive and unique filtration process which gives the product its clear and clean flavor. Distilled in the Ukraine with a filter enhanced with birch and alder-tree charcoal and quartz sand the results are unique and delicious. You can almost taste the cold, which is a wonderful feature on a hot summer day. 

Khortytsa Platinum – Find them on Social Media – Twitter – Facebook – Instagram

Summer Spice Vodka Lemonade Recipe 

Ingredients:

1 & 1/2 Cup Lemon Juice – Approximately 6 Fresh Lemons

6 Cups Water

3/4 Cup Agave Nectar – you can also use sugar

3 Jalapeños Peppers – Sliced

Dash of Salt

Vodka to Taste

Start with your lemons. If you have fresh, cut them in half and juice them by hand or if you have a juicer until you have a cup and a half of lemon juice. Any extra lemons can be sliced to add in as a decorative element to your drink.

Mix water, agave nectar, salt, and lemon juice together and mix until dissolved. Add sliced jalapeños, more or less depending on the level of heat you enjoy. Finish with ice, lemon slices, and vodka to taste.

 

Roni Macaroni Food Truck

Comfort food and cheesy goodness.

Their slogan is “For the love of Mac n’ Cheese!” and their food lives up to it. Roni Macaroni serves exactly what you might expect, Mac and Cheese, but they do it in ways you might not expect. Their menu also goes beyond this crowd pleasing favorite. If noodles aren’t calling your name try the fries, or order up one of their stacked high sandwiches, a cheese burger, or a Roni Kosher Beef Chilli Dog.

Roni Macaroni’s menu has options within the Mac and Cheese category as well. The Buffalo Ranch Chicken Mac is one, a mix of their classic mac with shaved carrots and celery, Frank’s Buffalo Sauce, ranch dressing, and diced chicken. Beef more your style? How about the Steak Mac & Cheese with sliced rib eye, mouth watering grilled onions, and toasted bread crumbs. The floor reminded me of a Philly Cheese Steak in a bowl with a extra cheesy finish that had my mouth watering.

My favorite is the L.A. Street Mac & Cheese which includes a beef hot dog, bacon, grilled onions, and bell peppers. What could be better than two childhood favorites mashed and mixed in just the way I love. Bites of delicious and juicy hot dog coated in cheese sauce is a delight that made me smile while the onions and peppers raised the level of taste beyond what my mom cut up on my kiddy plate. This is a great mix of nostalgia and quality food in a bowl.

If you want an order you can wrap your hands around Roni Macaroni’s BBQ Pulled Pork Melt stands out with their house made pulled pork, mac and cheese, and more sweet, sweet grilled onions. Using mac and cheese to add another level to this sandwich is a skillful move. A thick melt on perfectly toasted bread is a texture treat as well. The buttery crunch of the bread, the smooth cheesy elbow macaroni, come together to compliment the BBQ and tender onions in each delicious bite.

This is not the mac and cheese you make out of a box and “For the love of Mac and Cheese” give it a try!

Want to learn more or track Roni Macaroni? Check out their website for more details – ronimacaronifoodtruck.com

On Social Media – TwitterInstagramFacebook

Brew Wings Food Truck

Wings and Waffles will make your mouth water!

Brew Wings has kicked it up to a whole new level with their take on the now classic chicken and waffles. Wings and Waffles adds spice to the sweet salty goodness that has attracted eaters to the original pairing. If you like Buffalo wings at all, you will love this food truck.

Chicken is a major feature, but the Brew Wings menu goes beyond what their name implies. Yes they have wings, great delicious ones that come in your choice of sauce, Stefano’s Original Buffalo or Brew-B-Q, and chicken tenders too. For those that want to keep their fingers clean there are options like the Kickin’ Chicken Sandwich or the vegetarian grilled cheese. You can also go sweet all the way and enjoy some crisp waffles in syrup. Add a few tatter tots and you have a meal that will hit all your tastebuds.

Wings and Waffles was a new experience and as a wing lover this new spicy element adds to my general craving for the lip burning goodness of Buffalo sauce. The wings are lean and large which makes for a healthy bite without dealing with tiny chicken pieces. The Brew Wings sauce is also a perfect blend of flavors that left my tongue and lips tingling in the best way. If you can’t handle a little heat definitely go with the Brew-B-Q sauce.

The waffles that accompanied those wings were light and fluffy with a great crispy outside. As someone that makes a lot of waffles I was really impressed with Brew Wings. You might be thinking the spicy Buffalo sauce and maple syrup wouldn’t mix but it is a surprisingly great combo that I am already craving more of. In a line up of food trucks this would be a top pick for me.

Now I love my tatters in tot form on any day but when you can get them fried to golden deliciousness then smothered under chicken, cheese, and I poured on the BBQ sauce, the combo is divine. The BBQ sweetens up the savory tots, which are tossed in garlic salt to give them a nice depth.
In the case of the Brew Wings Food Truck the line might be long, but that is because what they are serving inside is worth the wait!

You can find out more about Brew Wings on their website brewwing.com

You can also follow them on Social Media – TwitterInstagramFacebook 

Samurai Burrito Food Review

A new sushi adventure!

Exciting things are happening with familiar ingredients again in the world of sushi and Samurai Burrito is leading the charge from their food truck based out of Orange County California. First there was sushi, then the sushi roll, after came deconstructed sushi bowls, and now inspired by the form and concept of our neighbors to the south we have sushi nachos and burritos! You won’t find any flour or corn tortillas, but why not embrace the “easy to eat on the run” burrito wrap?

Food Trucks like Samurai Burrito offer high quality food in unexpected locations. Sometimes it is hard to chose what to try, in which case I usually pick the most unusual and new. I have come across sushi burritos before, but the Samurai Super Nachos… they were a discovery.

The wonton chips are reminiscent of those found on the table at a Chinese restaurant. They make an excellent base for the overflowing flavors in this dish. King salmon, spicy tuna, eel, masago, and three house sauces are complimented by fresh cut onion to give the Samurai Super Nachos a real kick. Absolutely an item for sharing as it is very rich and the portions are generous.

There are a lot of options for burritos, tacos, bowls, or salads or you can mix and match your favorite ingredients for a personalized experience. Even the selection of wraps for burritos is extensive with traditional options like seaweed and soy paper, or more exotic ones like togarashi and shiso. Some of the items are imported all the way from Japan.

This truck is a refreshing option on a hot summer day so I definitely recommend keeping your eyes open for it. You can also track them down online for their scheduled appearances.

You can find out more on the Samurai Burrito website – Samuraiburrito.com

Or on  FacebookTwitterInstagram