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Tea for Thought

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Here is the recipe for a soothing herbal tea, perfect for sipping after dinner, encouraging your family and friends to linger around the table for just a moment longer. This makes a big batch so you can give a jar to friends and family.

You can find the herbs in a well stocked health food market, or if you are lucky to have a garden you can grow and dry them yourself!…

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Citrus and Baby Beet Salad

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This bright salad combines two of winter’s tastiest seasonal offerings: root vegetables and citrus fruit. Top it with a bit of crumbled cheese for a heartier meal or serve alongside your favorite entree. This recipe comes to us from our friends at Melissa’s Produce.

Cooking Tip of the Week: Beets are a sweet root vegetable that many kids love, but their dark red juice can make them a hassle to prepare. For a nutritious kitchen shortcut, look for packaged steamed beets in the produce section.

Food for Thought: Most fruits, like apples and peaches, taste best in late summer or early fall. This is when they are “in season,” meaning that farmers harvest them. But citrus fruits like tangerines are in season from late fall through winter, making them a refreshing way to perk up your winter dishes! In the US, citrus fruits are mainly grown in states with a mild winter, including California, Arizona and Florida.

Visit The Kids Cook Monday for the directions for making this delicious Citrus and Baby Beet Salad. A great dish for your Meatless Mondays!

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EWG’s 2015 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce

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Environmental Working Group has just released their 2015 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, which includes their Dirty Dozen (produce with the highest pesticide) and Clean Fifteen lists. As EWG explains:

“Nearly two-thirds of the 3,015 produce samples tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2013 contained pesticide residues – a surprising finding in the face of soaring consumer demand for food without agricultural chemicals.

EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce calculates that USDA tests found a total 165 different pesticides on thousands of fruit and vegetables samples examined in 2013.

The USDA findings indicate that the conventional fruit and produce industries are ignoring a striking market trend: American consumers are voting with their pocketbooks for produce with less pesticide. USDA’s Economic Research Service estimates that the organically produced food sector, though just 4 percent of all U.S. food sales, has enjoyed double-digit growth in recent years. The trend is particularly strong for sales of organic fruits and vegetables, which account for the lion’s share of all organic food sales: USDA economists reported that organic produce sales spiked from $5.4 billion in 2005 to an estimated $15 billion last year and increased by 11 percent between 2013 and 2014. Pesticides persisted on fruits and vegetables tested by USDA, even when they were washed and, in some cases, peeled.

EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce recognizes that many people who want reduce their exposure to pesticides in produce cannot find or afford an all-organic diet. It helps them seek out conventionally grown fruits and vegetables that tend to test low for pesticide residues. When they want foods whose conventional versions test high for pesticides, they can make an effort to locate organic versions.”

Read the full report at EWG.org

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Soy Sauce vs. Tamari

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While you can substitute tamari for soy sauce, and vice versa, there are differences. Both are made from fermented soybeans, soy flavored sauce originated in China, tamari comes from Japan and is generally richer flavored and less salty than soy sauce, making it a gentler choice, especially for when you are using it in dressings and dips.

Both soy sauce and tamari can contain wheat, but wheat-free versions of tamari are available in most Asian groceries, making it better for anyone with gluten allergies. Shôyu is the Japanese word for soy sauce.

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