5 Foods Americans Eat that Are Banned Around the World

Food For Thought!

Be a Seed for Change

by The Daily Meal | Shine Food

Synthetic Hormones rBGH & rBSTSynthetic HormonesrBGH & rBSTThe United States government has set several rules and guidelines in place to protect us from eating potentially harmful foods. Several dishes considered real delicacies in other parts of the world, like haggis in Scotland or fugu (puffer fish) in Japan, are banned from the U.S. food market because of potential health risks. But looking at the issue from a reversed angle, there are actually several common foods eaten in America that are banned in other parts of the world.

RELATED: 11 Banned Ingredients We Eat In the U.S.

The shocking truth is that many of our favorite foods, like boxed mac and cheese and yogurt, include ingredients that other countries have established as potentially harmful for health, and therefore are banned. Clearly, mac and cheese on its own isn’t poisonous in any way, but the yellow food colorings…

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Monster Muffins: Revamped for October!

I thought that this was just absolutely great. These are my family’s absolute favorite muffins (refer to the previous post, titled Monster Monday), but we put an excellent spin on them by adding these sweet little eyes! All that you need is some gel icing and eye-candy decorations, (I found both at Target for under $5 total), and add to these spooky little muffins.

***WARNING: Word to the wise- don’t add the eyes unto right before serving. I left my first batch in the refrigerator overnight and the eye decorations absorbed the moisture of the gel and “dilated”. At that point, I learned my lesson. They were much less cute.

London’s Sweet Monster Three: A Party Fit For a (Monster) Prince.

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Have you ever seen that television show “My Sweet Sixteen” on MTV where those seemingly vapid, unrealistic American teenagers selfishly torture their family’s into hosting extravagant parties and then they cry when the get a Lexus instead of a Lambo?  Okay- now imagine an elegant and age-appropriate birthday celebration for a gracious child with incredible friends and parents that shares that certain element of extravagance that you would see on a show such as that.  Clearly, I’d choose the latter.

My son is my best friend.  We experience everything together.  I am constantly striving to “one-up” the last smile on his face and bring him more of that beautiful joy into his sunshine-y soul, so this year, after careful consideration, I decided that three was the perfect age for him to pick a theme and create a beautiful party together.  The theme?  Monsters Inc., of course. 

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We chose to use one of the oldest and most prominent estates in Florida, a venue called The Heitman House,  as our venue for the party.  The Heitman House specializes in weddings and special events of all kinds.  It is 105 years old, and was an engagement gift from it’s founder, businessman Gilmore Heitman, to his bride.  I strongly encourage anyone who is not familiar with the property to take a moment to check out their Facebook page:  www.facebook.com/TheHeitmanHouse.  I have never been more impressed with any other location in this area for all events.  

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I went on an outrageous, weeklong cooking and baking spree! The menu for the party included nearly all homemade vegan and vegetarian dishes, with only two small exceptions, and was of course, immensely Earth-friendly!  Menu items included a modified version of the previously posted Monster Muffins, decadent (and scary) triple-chocolate cupcakes, PB&J mini wraps, refreshing cucumber salad, handmade caramel apples, kale chips, and of course, a Monsters-version of an infamous Baking Bad rock candy cake that was four thick layers tall and built tall to conquer!

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We decided to skip the modern classic, a bounce house, and went a more artistic route with some of the activities.  Children were able to get in touch with their spooky side while painting pumpkins, get spoiled with glitter tattoos and professional face-painting by Character Birthday Parties, LLC, (www.facebook.com/CharacterBirthdayParty), and even enjoy games for all ages such as corn hole, croquet, and bocce ball provided by the Global Marketplace.  (www.gmrentals.com)

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Overall, the party was overflowing with creativity,  light and positivity.  It entailed a great deal of team work from friends and family, and the presence of the most effervescent party guests and courteous, enthusiastic staff is what truly made the day.  I cannot wait to see what London picks for next year’s theme, and in the meantime, we’ll be enjoying year number three and all that it has to offer our sweet family.  Happy October, Monsters! 🙂

 

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Happy October, Vampires!

As some of you may know, I have been working a great deal with fashion photographer, Red Scott, as of late. I just wanted to share one of our latest photographs with everyone. It’s cold, it’s pale, and it’s hot for fall. We have another project coming out this fall, so watch out for it!

I also encourage you all to check out his Facebook photography page:
http://www.facebook.com/RedScottPhoto

New Revolutionary Natural Parenting and Consignment Store in Cape Coral, Florida

Anybody who knows me even in passing knows that I absolutely melt at the opportunity to try out anything new and natural.   Lads and Lasses is an all natural parenting and consignment store in Cape Coral, Florida.  Not only can you bring to them your gently used clothes and toys so that you know that they will be put to good use again, but they have an entire section of the store completely dedicated to natural and organic products for entire family ranging from laundry detergents to amber teething necklaces and anklets for your little one.  Also, if you want to shop but have your kids with you (which we all know can be a difficult task), Lads and Lasses has a fantastic play room for your kids to keep them entertained.  If you are a breastfeeding mother and need somewhere to relax and feed your little one, Lads and Lasses also has cozy area for breastfeeding mothers!  This store is full service for your entire family.  Also, look out for special events on the last Saturday of every month, such as September’s Cupcakes and Portraits Day where the store had professional family photographer, Taylor Rowe, come in and do free portraits sessions for the guests.  I truly hope that you enjoy their Earth-friendly, natural-parenting paradise as much as we did! 🙂

 

For more information about Lads and Lasses, check out this article by the News-Press:

http://www.news-press.com/article/20131003/NEWS0101/310030004

Autumn Stuffed Squash

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Finally! It is my absolute favorite month of the year. In lieu of my lifelong love for fall weather, Halloween-themed makeup & fashion, (and my health food obsession, of course), I will be posting copious amounts of autumn-related recipes and craft ideas this month. The first of which is an incredible stuffed squash recipe that will keep everyone happy and impress guests. I have tried several stuffed squash and pepper recipes over the years, and this one seems to be my favorite. Another reason why this recipe is great is because although it IS time consuming, it is simple, the presentation is pleasing, and the ingredients are rather inexpensive to buy.  

 

What you will need:

  • One half of a large, butternut squash
  • 3 Tbs. Olive Oil
  • 3-4 finely chopped garlic cloves
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • Basil (preferably fresh, although ground is fine)
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Parsley
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 small zucchini
  • 1 small yellow squash
  • A few small sweet peppers (I used multi-colored ones)
  • Crumbled Goat Cheese
  • Gruyere cheese

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat over to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cut the large squash in half and scoop out seeds.  Carve the inside out just enough to create a “bowl” out of one half of the squash.  Save the other half of the squash for later, or double second part of recipe if you decide to bake both halves. Add useable parts of the scooped out squash to the vegetable mixture in Step 5.
  3. Mix together olive oil, garlic, and and any other desired spices and brush over the squash bowl. Sprinkle with ground black pepper and other desired spices.
  4. Bake on baking sheet for approximately 35-40 minutes.
  5. Next, chop the remaining vegetables into bite-size, with the exception of the cherry tomatoes, which should be left whole.  Place on a separate baking sheet, season, and bake for 28-30 minutes. 
  6. Once both squash “bowl” and the vegetables are prepared, artfully scoop the veggies into the squash, adding desired amount of goat cheese while filling.  
  7. Chop Gruyere, basil and parsley into small pieces and then sprinkle on top of dish and allow to melt.
  8. Serve dish in slices, (yes, literally slice of pieces of the squash!) or serve filling scooped out of the squash with Pita bread.

 

*Also keep in mind that stuffed vegetables are an excellent opportunity to improvise.  Make dishes like this different every time by changing around ingredients.  Other ingredients that go well in a stuffed squash include,  but are not limited to: mushrooms, shallots, black beans, and sweet potatoes.

 

For All You Dexter Fans…

Here is a link for one of my latest projects- well, technically, this is Miami/London-based photographer Red Scott’s project, and I have found myself in such auspicious circumstances so as to be involved. Here is a small teaser.

Happy October!

London’s “Sam-I-Am” Green Eggs and Ham(wich)

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My little one, London Atticus, absolutely adores the Dr. Suess books.  They made learning his alphabet go much more smoothly, and now, they are a secret weapon to explaining to him that even though some foods look “funny”, they can really be much better than expected!  Hence, our household’s favorite version of classic Green Eggs and Ham.  It is simple to make and only takes about 10 minutes to throw together.  It also just happens to be  Pair it with the book if your LO needs convincing as you sneak nutritious food into their sweet little system! 😉

 What You’ll Need…

For Green Eggs-Omelette:

  • 3 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons of pesto (homemade or store-bought is also fine)
  • 1 small yellow pepper
  • 2 mushrooms
  • Small amount of diced onion
  • Parsley for garnish
  • Tbs. of fat free half and half

For “Hamwich”:

  • One slice of whole wheat bread, toasted
  • 3 small slices of tomato
  • 3 pieces of bacon (We used Morningstar Vegetarian bacon, but regular bacon is fine, of course!)
  • Hummus

Directions:

For omelette, whisk eggs, half and half, and 3 Tbs. of pesto in a bowl, season, and set aside.  Dice/chop pepper, onions, and mushrooms, and cook for a couple of minutes on medium high with a small amount of oil in a small frying pan until slightly brown.   Set veggies aside.  Next, cook your omelette in the pan as you would any other omelette, fill with the veggies and flip into a classic half-moon shape.  Garnish with remaining Tbs. of pesto by smudging it on the top of the omelette and any remaining veggies.  Place little tuft of parsley in the middle.

For Hamwich, toast the piece of whole wheat bread and with a butter knife, spread the hummus atop of it.  Crumble and layer the bacon in any which way that you please, and garnish with the fresh tomato slices.

Finally, read the book Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Suess and give them some inspiration to try new things.  Once kids try one odd-looking dish, it only becomes easier to convince them to try more new foods as they grow and develop their fine little pallets.  Happy breakfasting!

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Energizing Spinach Smoothie

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I just blended up this incredible (and VERY green) energy-packed smoothie for my son and I as a midday mini meal! I definitely am feeling very full and focused!

In the blender, Mix:

4 cups of spinach
2/3 cup blueberries
1/2 cup strawberries
2/3 cup of fat-free, natural, plain yogurt
Fresh orange juice (add until smoothie has reached desired smoothness.)
Ice cubes

Mmm, guilt free foods are always the most satisfying! 🙂