Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wake and Bake at Colorado’s ‘Bud and Breakfast’


With recreational marijuana now legal in Colorado, businesses both in and out of state have been inspired to create such offerings as weed and sushi pairings and melty weed pizza. Now, the owners of the Adagio Bed and Breakfast signed a one-year lease with a company that will soon be known as “The MaryJane Group, Inc.” Ahem.
According to a press release, the soon-to-be MJG plans to transform the quaint bed and breakfast into a “pilot project in the marijuana-friendly lodging industry.”
The all-inclusive “Bud and Breakfast” will include unlimited food, drinks, and “the best marijuana and marijuana edibles Colorado has to offer.” Let us repeat: all-inclusive marijuana. Oh, and there will be an in-house chef on deck to prepare gourmet meals cooked to order. Insert heavy breathing here.
If the concept Bud and Breakfast proves successful, Joel C. Schneider, President and Chief Executive Officer of Pladeo (aka The MaryJane Group), says they plan to “expand through the leasing or acquisition of additional inns and Bed and Breakfast establishments.”

While Schneider did not disclose the room rates and the date the transformation will take place, we hope it’s very very soon.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


Are you willing to pay up to $100 for chocolate flavored toothpaste? Theodent thinks so. The oral care company’s toothpaste is made with a patented substance derived from the cacao plant.  The substance, called rennou, is supposedly non-toxic, safe for kids, and not harmful if swallowed. Best of all, since it’s derived from cacao, it makes your tooth-brushing taste like dessert.
The toothpaste is fluoride free, using theobromine, calcium, and phosphate to create a natural alternative. Theodent also claims that these compounds not only clean teeth, but actually build up your enamel, making your pearly whites even stronger. Oh boy, ma!
As for why it costs such a steep price remains to be seen. The classic toothpaste claims to only cost $10, but is currently unavailable for purchase on Theodent website. Conveniently, the Theodent 300 — the extra strength paste with extra high doses of rennou — costs $99.99. Packs quickly raise the price even higher.
So what do you think? Is it worth it to have your breath taste faintly like chocolate all the time?
Theodent Toothpaste $99 and up

H/T  RocketNews

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Ramen Are Not That Bad After All; I Love Ramen!


This video comes from our friends and partner site POPSUGAR FOOD. Originally written by Brandi Milloy.

Long gone are the days of instant ramen merely serving as fodder for broke college kids. Chefs around the world are experimenting with the boldly flavored noodles, creating dishes like Keizo Shimamoto’s Ramen Burger. Inspired, we created a ramen-enhanced take on another fast-food favorite: wings. These crisply crusted bites, as seen on the Today show, will make you rethink ramen.

Ramen-Crusted Chicken Wings

Yield: 2 to 3 servings

1 pound chicken wings
For the dry batter:
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
For the wet batter:
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup vodka
1 packet ramen seasoning
2 packages Top Ramen, crumbled
1 quart vegetable, peanut, or canola oil
For the dipping sauce:
1 teaspoon sriracha
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon scallions, finely chopped


Rinse chicken wings in cold water, and pat dry.
Mix together dry batter ingredients in a bowl, and set aside. Mix together wet batter ingredients in a separate bowl. Break apart the dry ramen into a third bowl. You want the pieces to be small enough that they will stick to the chicken but large enough that they still have their shape.
Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or electric deep fryer to 350°F. Line a half-sheet pan with paper towels.
Working in small batches, dredge the chicken wings in the dry batter. Shake off any excess, and dip the wings in the wet batter. Brush off any excess batter with a food-safe brush.
Fry the wings for 5 to 6 minutes, turning occasionally for even browning. Let the wings drain on the paper-towel-lined half-sheet pan. Repeat with the remaining wings.
Dip the par-cooked wings back in the wet batter, and brush off any excess batter. Coat the wings in the crumbled ramen.
Fry for an additional 2 to 3 minutes or until the outside has browned and is crisp.

Meanwhile, mix together the sriracha, rice wine vinegar, and scallions. Serve the wings hot with the dipping sauce.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Hospital food safety measures reduce risk of contaminated hospital food

A new study found more than 80 percent of raw chicken used in hospitals in food for patients and staff was contaminated with a form of antibiotic resistant bacteria called extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) producing E. coli. While sufficient preparation eliminated the presence of bacteria, poultry meat delivered to hospital kitchens remains a potential point of entry for these dangerous bacteria into the hospital.

The study was published in the April issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America.
"While a high proportion of chicken contaminated by antibiotic resistant E.coli is a significant concern, robust food safety measures taken by hospital kitchen staff are able to prevent the spread of these pathogens and minimize risk to food handlers, staff and patients," said Andrew Stewardson, MD, the lead author of the study.
Researchers from the University Hospital of Geneva in Switzerland collaborated with the Food Control Authority of Geneva to test raw chicken delivered to the central hospital kitchen that prepares more than 8,000 meals daily. They compared the hospital samples to food in local supermarkets for the presence of ESBLs finding that most (86%) chicken meat samples were positive. E. coli is a normal part of healthy human gut flora but can also cause urinary tract infections and occasionally more serious invasive infections.
The researchers also looked at how food, as a potential source of multi-resistant bacteria, impacts the health of food handlers, healthcare workers and patients. They found six of 93 food handlers were ESBL carriers, but overall were no more likely to be colonized by ESBL-producing bacteria than the Swiss population.
The authors concluded that industrial risk management strategies in the hospital kitchen appear sufficient to minimize risk to food handlers, hospital staff and patients. However they caution that this conclusion may not apply to household kitchens, where food safety precautions are less rigidly applied.
Story Source:  The above story is based on materials provided by Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

How to Make Mini Peanut Butter Tagalong Cheesecakes


 By: Natalie Purcel 

Despite my best efforts to avoid the evil Girl Scout army this year, I ended up with a couple boxes of Tagalongs hanging out in the pantry anyway. I hadn’t opened them yet because… well, I know what happens when I open a box of Girl Scout cookies.
Those “servings” on the side of the box? Lies.
So I was left with a problem to solve: how do I open the box of cookies without immediately inhaling all of the contents and collapsing into a pile of self-loathing on the floor?
My solution? Chop up all the cookies and divide them between another bite-sized treat… Thus, the mini Tagalong cheesecake was born. In the end, you really just end up eating a bunch of delicious cheesecake bites filled with Girl Scout cookies. Sigh, it’s the thought that counts.

Mini Tagalong Cheesecakes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Yield: 21 cheesecakes
1 pound cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
1 cup peanut butter (not “all natural”, I use Jif)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 box Tagalongs, coarsely chopped** (or 1.5 cups mix-ins of your choice)
21 whole Tagalongs* (see note below)
Preheat oven to 275 degrees and line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Place 1 whole cookie in the bottom of each liner* (see note below)
In a small bowl, gently beat eggs with vanilla extract, set aside.
In a large bowl or stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until smooth, scraping down the sides of bowl as needed. Add peanut butter and continue beating until incorporated.
Gradually add sugar and continue beating until combined, scrape down sides of the bowl.
Drizzle in egg mixture, a bit at a time, beating until incorporated. Add sour cream and beat until combined.
Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl and stir in chopped cookies by hand.
Divide batter evenly among cookie-lined cups, filling each almost to the top. Bake about 22 minutes, or until filling is set. Outsides should be stiff but it’s ok if the centers jiggle a little when you tap the pan.
Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Refrigerate uncovered for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Serve with whipped cream, drizzled chocolate, and additional chopped cookies.
*For the “crust” you can use a cookie of your choice. I used a second box of Tagalongs for the first 16 and then used Oreos as needed for the rest.

**You could use 1.5 to 2 cups of any mix-ins for these cheesecakes — chopped peanut butter cups or chocolate/peanut butter chips would also be great.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Why dark chocolate is good for your heart

Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology


It might seem too good to be true, but dark chocolate is good for you and scientists now know why. Dark chocolate helps restore flexibility to arteries while also preventing white blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels. Both arterial stiffness and white blood cell adhesion are known factors that play a significant role in atherosclerosis. What's more, the scientists also found that increasing the flavanol content of dark chocolate did not change this effect.

It might seem too good to be true, but dark chocolate is good for you and scientists now know why. Dark chocolate helps restore flexibility to arteries while also preventing white blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels. Both arterial stiffness and white blood cell adhesion are known factors that play a significant role in atherosclerosis. What's more, the scientists also found that increasing the flavanol content of dark chocolate did not change this effect. This discovery was published in the March 2014 issue of The FASEB Journal.
"We provide a more complete picture of the impact of chocolate consumption in vascular health and show that increasing flavanol content has no added beneficial effect on vascular health," said Diederik Esser, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Top Institute Food and Nutrition and Wageningen University, Division of Human Nutrition in Wageningen, The Netherlands. "However, this increased flavanol content clearly affected taste and thereby the motivation to eat these chocolates. So the dark side of chocolate is a healthy one."
To make this discovery, Esser and colleagues analyzed 44 middle-aged overweight men over two periods of four weeks as they consumed 70 grams of chocolate per day. Study participants received either specially produced dark chocolate with high flavanol content or chocolate that was regularly produced. Both chocolates had a similar cocoa mass content. Before and after both intervention periods, researchers performed a variety of measurements that are important indicators of vascular health. During the study, participants were advised to refrain from certain energy dense food products to prevent weight gain. Scientists also evaluated the sensory properties of the high flavanol chocolate and the regular chocolate and collected the motivation scores of the participants to eat these chocolates during the intervention.

"The effect that dark chocolate has on our bodies is encouraging not only because it allows us to indulge with less guilt, but also because it could lead the way to therapies that do the same thing as dark chocolate but with better and more consistent results," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. "Until the 'dark chocolate drug' is developed, however, we'll just have to make do with what nature has given us!"

Monday, February 24, 2014

Food packaging chemicals may be harmful to human health over long term

The synthetic chemicals used in the packaging, storage, and processing of foodstuffs might be harmful to human health over the long term, warn environmental scientists in a commentary in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
This is because most of these substances are not inert and can leach into the foods we eat, they say.
Despite the fact that some of these chemicals are regulated, people who eat packaged or processed foods are likely to be chronically exposed to low levels of these substances throughout their lives, say the authors.
And far too little is known about their long term impact, including at crucial stages of human development, such as in the womb, which is "surely not justified on scientific grounds," the authors claim.
They point out that lifelong exposure to food contact materials or FCMs -- substances used in packaging, storage, processing, or preparation equipment -- "is a cause for concern for several reasons."
These include the fact that known toxicants, such as formaldehyde, a cancer causing substance, are legally used in these materials. Formaldehyde is widely present, albeit at low levels, in plastic bottles used for fizzy drinks and melamine tableware.
Secondly, other chemicals known to disrupt hormone production also crop up in FCMs, including bisphenol A, tributyltin, triclosan, and phthalates.
"Whereas the science for some of these substances is being debated and policy makers struggle to satisfy the needs of stakeholders, consumers remain exposed to these chemicals daily, mostly unknowingly," the authors point out.
And, thirdly, the total number of known chemical substances used intentionally in FCMs exceeds 4000.
Furthermore, potential cellular changes caused by FCMs, and in particular, those with the capacity to disrupt hormones, are not even being considered in routine toxicology analysis, which prompts the authors to suggest that this "casts serious doubts on the adequacy of chemical regulatory procedures."
They admit that establishing potential cause and effect as a result of lifelong and largely invisible exposure to FCMs will be no easy task, largely because there are no unexposed populations to compare with, and there are likely to be wide differences in exposure levels among individuals and across certain population groups.
But some sort of population-based assessment and biomonitoring are urgently needed to tease out any potential links between food contact chemicals and chronic conditions like cancer, obesity, diabetes, neurological and inflammatory disorders, particularly given the known role of environmental pollutants, they argue.

"Since most foods are packaged, and the entire population is likely to be exposed, it is of utmost importance that gaps in knowledge are reliably and rapidly filled," they urge.