June 2008 Archives

June 2008 Archives

By Emily Chase Lapine, Age 10

Have you ever wondered what our world will be like in 100 or so years, if we don’t act fast about landfills, global warming, and the environment in general? “Nobody knows what is going to happen” says environmentalist John Mape. “But whatever is we are doing the best we can to stop it.”  Every day you are polluting greenhouse gasses in to the air which come from cars, planes, factories, ect... But also every day you are helping the environment without even knowing it? We can not just stop driving our cars in a matter of one day to stop pollution, but we can cut back on a lot of things that we do that effect the environment. For example we can buy cars that are better for the environment because they travel on less gas, and pollute less.

Read on to find some easy ways you can help the environment and ways you are already helping the environment!
Easy ways you can help the environment

Helping the environment is not a big task. Most people think that helping the environment just stay clean takes up every minute of your life. But you really can help so much in your daily life without even noticing. Here are some ways that you can go green the easy way!

Did you know that when you stop buying cd’s and download music to your I-Pod or MP3 player you are already helping the environment. By not buying cd’s you are not throwing away so much stuff. Especially throwing away cd’s because the take so, so, so long to disintegrate and when they finally do they leak a toxic acid which is very, very harmful to the environment.

Also when you buy stuff and sell stuff on Ebay you are also helping the environment, because you are not throwing away your stuff like furniture, electronics, and tons of other stuff. Do you know how much that helps our environment?   

My friend Olivia says, “People don’t care enough about the environment to understand that our world is getting ruined by littering and air pollution as we speak.” Well Olivia is right, we don’t care enough about our environment to take time and actually think about what is happening to the world. If you want to help stop the global warming and all of the stuff that is hurting our world, take a day and go help clean up a local park and do some other stuff to help the environment. Just remember that you can make a difference.

Air pollution

Air pollution is also a big problem for our world. Studies show the biggest ways of traveling are by car, and by plane which is not very good for our environment. All things that run on fuel, which produce pollution are destroying our world. Cars are an important part of life for most people. But cars also release pollution and greenhouse gasses in to the air. Fortunately, car manufacturers are making cars better for the environment by making them run on battery and less gasoline called Hybrids. They don’t pollute as much as regular cars, using these cars can help reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses in the air.

Factories and transportation depend on huge amounts of fuel, billions of tons of coal and oil are consumed around the world every year. When these fuels burn they introduce smoke and other less visible by-products in to the atmosphere. Although wind and rain occasionally wash away the smoke and other bad stuff in the air from power plants and automobiles it still effects our world. The cumulative effect of air pollution gives a great threat to humans and the environment.

How it effects our world

I bet you didn’t know that everyday one small Ice berg melts, every month a chunk of the North Pole floats away, and every 5 years a glacier melts. The point is that global warming is just bad and so is air pollution and all of those other things in the world that are bad for the environment. I wrote this article to get people to start helping and actually know what is happening to our environment every single day. Just know that every person counts.

Tons of success on the first day

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From: Melissa
Sent: Tuesday, June 17, 2008 8:16 AM

    Well I got everything pureed and ready to go and we had a first supper lastnight and went well.  I did the pizza bagels and the homemade corn chips with nacho dip and no one noticed or complained.  I already made the choc. milk up for breakfast and tried it before my son got up and and you can't even tell the chery juice is in there.  WELL DONE!!!!  My son really needs this as he east no fruits or vegetables!!!
    I have 3 quick ?'s for you.  First as far as the cherry juice I know we'll use it a lot b/c he loves choc. milk, but instead of making it Juicy Juice has a cherry juice would that be the same thing??
    Second I have a homemade bread recipe we like it calls for 2c. white flour and 3/1/2 c. whole wheat flour, can I use 5/1/2 c. of the flour blend instead???  Also what are the benifits of the flour blend??
    Thanks so much, as I know we'll use these recipes everyday, not only is my 4 yr. old picky my brother in law who helps us farm is also and he don't eat and fruits or vegs. either so I'm helping 2 people and they don't even know it :) :)  AWSOME WORK!!!  Melissa

The cover of Time Magazine caught my eye yesterday: on it was a clearly overweight boy with a double scoop ice cream cone, standing on a stressed out skateboard sagging under his weight. The magazine dedicated almost 40 pages to “our super-sized kids,” addressing “the most important public health problem facing the country today.”
The article, written in Time Magazine on June 12, is called, How America's Children Packed On the Pounds by Jeffrey Kluger. It provides an excellent history on how America’s kids have arrived at the state they’re currently in.
I picked up the issue and devoured it in one sitting. Overall, Time’s coverage gets high marks. But there were some blind spots:  “If you can’t be bothered to hunt up some veggies (…) now and then, your weight problems are you own,” stated one journalist. While I agree that eating veggies instead of processed foods is one of the most important ways to help kids lose weight, our kids don’t always agree with this ideal–I don’t know when the last time was that I last saw my daughters or their friends on a veggie safari, stalking celery in the fridge. Realistically, I think we’d better find new and exciting ways to get the veggies from the fridge into our children’s tummies, and in my unbiased (ahem…) opinion, the Sneaky Chef way is probably the easiest and most effective.
In fact, a recent study at Penn State University showed that calories and fat can be significantly reduced by simply substituting some veggies into meals that kids already like to eat.
In the Time article, there are three two page, full color, double spread images–real eye candy. The first features a typical cafeteria meal from the 1950’s. The second is a photo of a typical cafeteria meal today, and the third is an idealistic cafeteria tray of the future. We need figure out how to get to that ideal from where we are.
The first tray has pot roast with gravy flanked by mashed potatoes with butter, peas and corn, and a slice of buttered bread; a cup of whole milk; an apple; and for dessert, ice cream.
On the next photo spread is typical, modern day fare: nachos with cheese and salsa, refried beans, Mexican rice, a couple of chocolate chip cookies, and canned peaches for dessert. Hmmm, definitely appealing, but with alarming amounts of fat, sodium and calories that are far from healthy–unless, that is, we do a Sneaky Chef makeover. For example, I’ve got special recipes for nachos, chocolate chip cookies and salsa that will cut the unhealthy elements of those dishes in half, while adding beans, fruits and vegetables that will be eaten with a smile! Pardon me for tooting my own horn here, but this just seems so obvious. Is there any reason not to make these dishes the healthy way?
Flip to the next page, and we’re into the idyllic imaginary future, which represents the perfect meal for our ideally healthy children: a turkey wrap with whole wheat tortilla, vegetable soup swimming with whole vegetables, raw carrot sticks with dip, a bunch of grapes and a handful of strawberries. Things I personally love to eat, but kids’ palates today have been trained to prefer higher fat, more processed “fun” foods rather than these wholesome foods in their natural states. As beautiful as the spread looks, I can’t think of many children who will find it palatable (unless they augment the meal at a few vending machines).
Turning back one page to the previous photo spread of today’s classic meal, we find ourselves where our kids really are today in terms of what they’ll actually eat. What’s needed are transitional recipes that will take them from where they are to where they need to be. We have a tool to change our present day predicaments into opportunities to feed our kids wholesome foods that they’ll actually eat with Sneaky Chef makeovers.

Marion Nestle, Professor of Nutrition at New York University is quoted in the article as saying, “I would look for little ways to introduce more fruits, whole grains and veggies into these diets.” I wholeheartedly agree, and I think I know a way…
As a sneaky chef you are addressing this problem head on in a way that ensures success.

Food Bank of Westchester
Hunger Heroes Third Annual Breakfast
June 11, 2008

Missy Chase Lapine, The Sneaky Chef

When I told my kids I was speaking at a superheroes breakfast this morning, my youngest asked me if I wanted to borrow her Spiderman costume! When I further explained that these were not comic characters, but rather heroes because of their ongoing support of The Food Bank for Westchester, she remarked that she had no idea what kind of costumes those heroes wear. I promised her a picture when I got home. From up here, even without your costumes, you all look like heroes to me.

I would like to thank Christina Ro-hay-tinski, Judy Matson, Marie Rossi, and the other leaders of the The Food Bank for Westchester for this privilege. I would also like to recognize the sponsors and award winners of the Food Bank here today, without whose dedication and vision The Food Bank would not have the success it has to date in combating the hunger around us. Supporters such as you all have come together to move mountains -- mountains of food that is, to make sure the hungry get fed.

To be able to participate in an event this important - so close to my home - is both an honor and a stark reality. When I spoke with friends about the event and the organization, it was met with a response that I am certain the Food Bank has heard more than a few times.  “You mean that there are actually hungry people in Westchester County, one of the most affluent counties in the country?” People were stunned to learn of such an organization right in the middle of our comfortable neighborhood.

Certainly many of us grew up hearing the line, “eat your veggies, there are starving children in Africa,” How about eat your veggies there are starving children in Westchester County? From the outside it would seem this is a problem that can be solved by throwing bags of overproduced or undersold food products at it.

However, as I studied more about the organization, I realized that the problem runs much deeper than just a bag of groceries for those who cannot afford to buy them, and that hunger is not just lack of food. In more cases that not, it is a lack of the right foods -- the ones that fuel health, growth, and energy needed by all of us to simply keep up with the demands of our daily lives.

I personally struggled with the request of being the guest speaker today. My main work to date, including two books published, with a third on the way, is dealing with the opposite of what we are here today to support.

The Sneaky Chef deals with children who are overfed, yet undernourished - who are literally fighting to keep the good stuff off their plates. What credential do I have to stand up here and talk about children that don’t have such options? As I came to understand this process more clearly, I ultimately realized the common denominator in both cases is children who are undernourished. Whether in abundance or scarcity, far too many children, and many adults are undernourished today in our modern and plentiful world.

The Sneaky Chef work has been so focused on good nutrition that it is easy to forget that feeding the hungry is a primary need, even when the nutrition must be subordinated to satisfying that hunger.  But can we do both? Can we help advance the cause of not only feeding the hungry, but also making that food more nutritious and more palatable?

My first focus in The Sneaky Chef is on children who are our future. Good nutrition is the must-have-ticket to think straight, grow straight and stay on the straight and narrow.  We want to raise children whose brains are functioning at a level that helps them to be creative, honest, productive members of society. It’s easy to think that drugs and alcohol are the evils that lead our kids astray, but lack of good nutrition fails to fuel the growth that children need to make the proper choices later in life.

A study was done by Oxford University in the late 1990’s. They studied prisoners in England where half were given fish oil and vitamins and the other half placebos. The group given the fish oil showed a marked reduction in violence, specifically 35% fewer violent incidents than the group that was fed placebos. Could proper feeding of the hungry have that much impact on health and behavior? Absolutely.

Research has shown time again, that children who eat a good breakfast have better standardized test scores, better behavior, and are less hyperactive than children who skip breakfast.

Fast forward that into adult lives and understand this basic rule never changes. Even if we can supply foods for breakfast to the hungry, our work cannot be done until we have also helped the hungry understand how to maximize the food they receive. And it’s not just empty stomachs equal empty brains. The wrong food can often have even more devastating life effects. For example, obesity and a lifetime of health issues associated with it, comes more times than not from a lack of good nutrition, as opposed to overabundance of food. Simply put, eating without proper balance is a prescription for so many problems and challenges to everyone, not just the underfed.

I have devoted myself to simplifying this seemingly daunting task of implementing nutrition in every meal. Let’s do our own experiment today. Under normal banquet conditions the bread basket in front of you would contain just enough carbs, sugar and fat to make you feel satisfied as you listen to the speeches and awards. Today’s basket, however, is an example that good nutrition can happen anywhere, at any time. The chocolate, blueberry and banana muffins were prepared with the Sneaky Chef method, which substitutes blueberries, spinach, white beans, yams, carrots, wheat germ and oat bran. You didn’t realize you have been eating a salad of healthy ingredients hidden in a bread basket.

Feeding the hungry and teaching good nutrition simultaneously is not an easy task, but with knowledge you can help people turn every meal in one worth eating.

My dear friend is a chef whose tag line is “never waste a meal.” Well I say never waste a chance to make a meal as beneficial and as nurturing as it can be. I believe you will see from your bread basket indulgences this morning that the protein and fiber from the whole grains and veggies will keep you satisfied until lunchtime, or at least awake throughout my speech!

On the contrary, giving your children, or feeding the hungry for that matter, sugary breakfast cereal or white flour pancakes with syrup, will leave them hungry, tired and foggy thinking by mid morning. With the Sneaky Chef method you can take those most fundamental of American foods and use ingredients - basic every day ones, not just expensive ones, and enhance the results for child and adult alike. High glycemic sugary foods leave people hungrier – and this is not the result a family whose cupboards are bare needs after a meal.

For example, a simple can of beans, one of the most commonly donated foods the warehouse receives, can be hidden into a multitude of simple meals, and increase the value and results of every bite. You need simply mash them with the back of a fork and mix them into the tomato sauce that goes on the pasta, or into the mac ‘n cheese, and you have complemented the protein of a carbohydrate meal, giving it twice the normal staying power as well as twice the nutrients.  With this kind of awareness, we have the chance to prove that food supplies and knowledge are critical partners to eradicating hunger and undernourishment.

My message is about teaching people that a can of beans for .69 cents is worth a great deal more to a life than a bag of potato chips that costs three dollars. It is not abundance that will stamp out hunger and malnutrition, it is balance that can have a lasting impact on the undernourished in our county, and in our world.

The problem is that empty foods are cheaper, more accessible and seemingly more filling. But that destructive cycle of malnourishment and lower enrichment, is met with quicker hunger after a meal and the loop never ends. This is what we have to combat. It is not enough just to fill their bellies. It is our job to help create a healthier population, can by can, box by box.

This education is already being addressed here with the successful Steps Program and Kids Café.  We need to teach people how to fish, and not just give them fish. Let’s teach our beneficiaries how to use what’s being given to improve and enhance every opportunity they have.

I had the opportunity to volunteer with my husband and daughters this past Saturday in the Food Bank warehouse, helping sort and repack individual donations. I had the chance to work side-by-side with several other families who brought nothing with them into the room but the understanding of the urgency of keeping this organization and the people it serves moving. And that is how you come into the picture today.

You are either here to be recognized for your contribution to this most worthy and urgent of causes, or have indicated support, and today are being encouraged to step up the level of your game.

So let’s take the next step together.  Let’s help those who can’t acquire the food on their own not only have access to the proper foods needed to promote health and well being, but also to use them in a way that will increase the yield of vitamins and fibers, and increase the chances of the next day in their lives being one step healthier and wiser.

We have an obligation not just to give them that bag of food, but also the education to go along with it. Let’s add that knowledge in the most accessible form possible, to the cartons and bags of food we provide, so even a grade-schooler can understand. My challenge is to make the most of every single can and every single meal.

Let’s teach healthy recipes using simple cooking techniques and a few basic ingredients like brown rice, beans, sweet potatoes, yams, and leafy greens.

And for those parents who work all day and oftentimes into the evening, let’s teach them how to leave snacks and meals for their loved ones that will enrich their lives, not just convenience foods that can rob them of the good nutrition they deserve to have. One of the main themes of my books is how easy it is to compete with the convenience foods. Let’s pass that message around.

What is happening in this organization, and in sister organizations around the country, is crucial and special. And looking out at a room filled with passionate people like you makes me believe anything we dream is possible.

It is a privilege for me to be invited to talk with people at your level of intellect and success. I am proud to join with you in support of this organization devoted to such a high calling as the care of the needy in our own community. Whether it is Westchester or the world, the drive must be in all of us to care for the hungry as we care for ourselves.

Thank you.

A Real Father's Day Gift

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I was thinking hard about what to do for my devoted husband Rick for Father's Day this year, as I do every year. This took some real soul searching as it seems to only get harder to think of something that he'll actually value. I can't say that he has everything, but it seems that he already has everything that he wants. He's told me that all he really wants is a little extra love and attention from us, but I've never really accepted that as true until now.

So what can we give our guys that money can't buy? How about his favorite meals, made way healthier with the same great taste. They can buy their toys if they want to, and they usually have such a particular idea in mind of what they want that it would better for us not to even try.

Why my new-found understanding? It seems ironic when I think about it, but it's really been through cooking special meals for Rick, and observing the reactions my friends were getting from their husbands, that I've come to experience this first hand. This is not a theory I would have come up with. It's a genuine observation. I know that when I stopped nagging Rick and started simply tweaking his favorite meals to make them healthier, it was the best gift I could give him. Devoting ourselves to cooking our guy's favorite meals for them shows them that we love them in a very satisfying way. Going to the extra effort of figuring out how to make their favorites healthier, but still taste as good as it always does, adds another layer of love and appreciation that they feel, since it shows that we care for their health as well.

So that's how I settled on crab cakes for dinner on Father's Day. Rick loves crab cakes but unfortunately they're usually loaded with fat. Here they are with a lightly spiced tangy mayo-mustard flavor (see below for recipe)*. And then I thought about what the kids might be able to make on their own to serve to their dad breakfast for in bed. They could make a breakfast fruit smoothie. Smoothie ingredients would be easy for me to prepare ahead of time, so that all the kids would have to is load the fresh fruit chunks in the blender with some fresh juice and turn it on. Rick loves smoothies in the morning.

So that's how Father's Day is going to get off to a great start this year. Two of his favorite meals made healthy and delicious. The rest will take care of itself, I just know it.

Happy Father's Day : )

Missy Chase Lapine
The Sneaky Chef

*Click here to order my Men's Book with another 125 recipes for classic guy foods made healthier.

Concealed Crab Cakes

I can’t think of a tastier way to give your man a good dose of fiber and omega-3s than with these authentic yet low-fat crab cakes. Put on a Jimmy Buffet disc and your favorite sundress and you’ll feel like you’re in Key West for a romantic getaway.

Makes 8 crab cakes
1 tablespoon light mayonnaise
1 egg white
1⁄4 cup White Bean Puree (see Make-Ahead Recipe #9)
1 tablespoon Dijon or coarse-grain mustard
1⁄4 to 1⁄2 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1⁄3 plus 1⁄3 cup wheat germ
Freshly ground pepper
1⁄2 pound fresh lump crabmeat (about 2 cups), drained
Optional extra boost: handful of chopped green onions, celery, and/or bell peppers

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with oil.
In a medium-size bowl, whisk the egg white, then mix in the White Bean Puree, mustard, hot sauce, Old Bay, 1⁄3 cup of the wheat germ, a few grinds of pepper, and the crabmeat.
Pour the remaining 1⁄3 cup of wheat germ on a plate. Scoop about 1⁄3 cup of crab mixture and form it into a fairly thick cake. Dredge the cakes in the wheat germ, fully covering all sides of the cake, and place the crab cake on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining crab mixture. Spray the top side of the cakes with oil and bake for 10 minutes. Flip once, spray oil on the tops of the cakes, and bake for another 8 to 10 minutes, until golden brown.

Serve cakes with a lemon wedges and Side of Slaw

Nutritional Effects of Cooking

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Hi Missy,

Thanks for your great recipies, which I use nearly every
day! My question is: Do you know if any nutritional value of the
veggies in the purees is lost through cooking and/or freezing?
Also, you said you want to know if we use your ideas in any other
recipies, and I have gotten great success with beef stroganoff! I put
one of the darker purees in the ground turkey when browning, and then
I add white or white bean puree to the sauce when mixing. My family
loves it and is none the wiser!
Christine A., MS

Summer Experiment

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Missy-- I just made my first sneaky recipe (the brainy
brownies) and so far, they smell great (and the batter tasted pretty
good, too!) I can't wait for my husband and toddler to taste them!
My question is: Can I use whole wheat flour instead of the mix of
whole and white?: What about natural sugar cane instead of the white
sugar? WHERE O WHERE can I find a few nutritional information about
the recipes?
Tomorrow I am going to try the mac & Cheese! Thank you for this great
cooking experiment I will have this summer!
Sara W., MO

Healthy Family Green Juice

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I love both of your books- and I would love to share hint based on
your green juice- I 3x's the recipe in a big soup pot
( Ioften include 3 cups of Swiss Chard or Kale)freeze the juice in
icecube trays that measure about 1TB1/2size cubes) I then put 2 green
juice cubes into my 3 1/2 year olds favorite watered down no sugar
added organic fruit juice - I often defrost the cubes in microwave
slighty and adjust how much I water down the juice based on how green
it may or may not taste but I figure based on your calculations he
gets about 1/2cupto3/4cup of green nutirents in his favorite daily
drink-My child is none the wiser! I often do this for myself as well !
Thank you for your wonderful books - We were already a very healthy
food conscious family but you have contributed some new great ideas
and recipes. –Melissa C.

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