December 2nd, 2005 - Barbara Feiner
Delicious Asiago cheese
It’s confession time: I’ve always had a morbid fear of cheese balls. Those prepackaged, way-too-orange dairy orbs that retailers roll out during the holiday season are seldom organic, and every ingredient is highly processed. Ugh.
I’m happy to report that culinary therapy has cured me of my disorder. Cheese balls, you see, are now considered a hip holiday appetizer—as long as they’re homemade with healthful organic ingredients.
The best news of all? They’re incredibly easy to prepare. Just mix, shape and refrigerate, advise experts from the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.
Here’s a great recipe for your holiday table. Note: Because you follow an organic lifestyle, Organic Authority recommends using certified organic ingredients, when available, in all recipes to minimize your risk of exposure to pesticides, chemicals and preservatives.
Savory Italian-Style Cheese Ball With Asiago and Fontina
Makes 25–30 servings
3/4 cup pine nuts
8 ounces (2 cups) Asiago cheese, shredded
2 ounces (1/2 cup) Fontina cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, shredded or grated
4 ounces cream cheese, cut in chunks and at room temperature
2 tablespoons prepared, refrigerated basil pesto
2 tablespoons half-and-half
1/4 cup marinated sun-dried tomatoes, diced and dried well
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread pine nuts on a baking sheet and toast for about 5 minutes or until golden. (Check after 3 minutes and stir.) Pour onto waxed paper and cool.
- Place Asiago, Fontina, Parmesan and cream cheese in bowl of food processor. Process until well blended. Add pesto (drain first if the pesto is runny). Pulse to incorporate. If the mixture is too stiff, add half-and-half to desired consistency. Remove mixture to a bowl, and stir or work in tomatoes with hands.
- Refrigerate for at least an hour. Shape into ball. Roll ball in pine nuts, pushing nuts into ball, if necessary.
- Garnish with fresh basil and slivers of sun-dried tomatoes, if desired.
- Serve with crusty bread, Italian breadsticks or crostini crackers.
Recipe and photo courtesy of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Inc.
Read More:Don’t Dread the Holiday Cheese Ball!
November 25th, 2005 - Barbara Feiner
Trying to be an organic Martha Stewart? (NBC Universal Photo)
Martha Stewart can go to jail, host two TV shows and still find time to make snowflake ornaments in time for the holidays. Worried that you can’t measure up as you prepare for your family celebrations?
Successful professionals, in particular, often attempt to create the “perfect holiday.” The pressure they put on themselves can become overwhelming, according to experts at the famed Menninger Clinic in Houston, Texas.
“I think many professionals struggle with the holidays because they are not doing well and are reflecting on how poorly they are coping,” says John O’Neill, a social worker and director of Menninger’s Professionals in Crisis Program. “They tend to mask how they are doing and try to make it through them. I can only imagine the amount of energy this must take. Many of them hold it together, appear fine and then crash after. This is why we start to see an increase in psychiatric hospital admissions in January.”
At Organic Authority, we encourage you to remember your organic spirit. Today marks the beginning of the hectic holiday shopping season, so be sure to set aside some time for quiet introspection and give thanks for the good things in your life—even if times are hard.
Perhaps Dr. Denis Waitley, a behavioral psychologist who helped train U.S. astronauts, put it best: “Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.”
Read More:When the “Perfect Holiday” Isn’t So Perfect
November 24th, 2005 - Barbara Feiner
Happy Thanksgiving from Organic Authority! Expect to have your fair share of organic turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie today? The average American consumes at least 2,500 calories and 86 grams of fat during a typical Thanksgiving dinner—the equivalent of eating 16 slices of pepperoni pizza!
If you haven’t joined a structured exercise program or gym, you can work out for free tomorrow at your local Bally Total Fitness club in honor of post-Thanksgiving “Fat Friday.” Bally’s goal: to help Americans kick off the holiday season with a healthy start.
Centers will open their doors to the public (minimum age: 18) at no cost to help you burn calories from your Thanksgiving feast. Trainers and nutrition experts will be available to offer tips and advice on preventing holiday weight gain, which plagues many Americans each year.
A recent Bally survey found that more than 70% of those polled gain 1 to 10 pounds between Thanksgiving and the New Year—weight that proves difficult to take off. Bally execs hope the free day of fitness will encourage Americans to make exercise a priority so they can stay fit.
To find a Bally Total Fitness club near you, call 1-800-FITNESS or use the company’s online locator.
Read More:Get “Un-Stuffed” Tomorrow!
November 23rd, 2005 - Barbara Feiner
Organic Authority is firmly committed to educating parents about the dangers of childhood obesity and the importance of teaching children to eat properly.
Ironically, Thanksgiving—the holiday when we gobble down the biggest meal of the year—may serve as “a turning point in winning the war on childhood obesity and improving family health,” according to a new campaign from KidsPeace, a national charity that assists children who are dealing with trauma, depression, eating disorders and the daily stresses of life.
“Join the Fight, Help Kids Eat Right” has two key goals:
- Attack obesity’s physical and nutritional aspects by encouraging families to eat adult-supervised, healthful home-cooked meals—beginning with Thursday’s Thanksgiving dinner.
- Attack obesity’s underlying emotional precursors by encouraging families to use the dinner hour to problem-solve with kids.
Children who regularly eat dinner with their families face fewer health and behavioral risks, according to major studies. Unfortunately, a recent national study by KidsPeace and Boys & Girls Clubs of America revealed that 51% of U.S. parents say their children don’t eat enough nutritious foods—and roughly 40% eat home-cooked meals with their kids less than once a day.
“It’s not always just what our kids are eating,” says KidsPeace President and CEO C.T. O’Donnell. “Sometimes, it’s what’s eating our kids. America has more diets and more diet advice than any nation on earth, but our kids keep getting bigger and bigger. We will never win this battle until we help kids eat right and solve the emotional roots of overeating. Research shows that sitting families down at the dinner table works to improve physical and behavioral health. Perhaps the archetypal American meal embodied by the Pilgrims’ famous dinner is the model and paradigm upon which we can rebuild healthy families in this modern age. If we’re to win this battle, we have to fight it over the dining room table, as well as on the battlefields of our children’s day-to-day lives. Now’s as good a time as any to start.”
KidsPeace is offering free obesity prevention brochures: one for parents and one for teens (downloadable PDF files).
Read More:Thanksgiving: An Opportunity to Combat Childhood Obesity?
November 21st, 2005 - Barbara Feiner
Last year, as the holidays approached, we wrote about Horizon Organic Lowfat Eggnog. During a trip to Whole Foods Market last week, I found another brand that’s absolutely delicious—but it’s currently available only to Organic Authority readers who live in California.
Clover Organic Eggnog, manufactured by Petaluma, California-based Clover Stornetta Farms, is rich, creamy and delicious. The company starts with the finest ingredients: organic milk and cream, organic nutmeg, organic eggs and organic sugar. This eggnog is free of glutens or stabilizers, leaving you with a smooth mouthfeel and pure flavor.
Clover sources 100% of its milk from 18 family farms in Northern California—five of which are certified organic. Each “dairy family” follows sustainable agriculture practices to remain a viable source for generations to come. All organic products are certified by Quality Certification Services (QCS), which offers organic certification accredited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program.
In September 2000, Clover Stornetta Farms became the first U.S. dairy to be awarded the Certified Free Farmed label from the American Humane Association for humane production of dairy products. The company has been family-owned for three generations.
If you’re a fellow Californian, enjoy!
Read More:Organic Eggnog
November 9th, 2005 - Barbara Feiner
If you haven’t finalized your holiday vacation plans, why not visit an exotic locale where you can support an eco-conscious cause?
The nonprofit Earthwatch Institute sponsors international research programs, allowing you to work with teams from around the world on projects that help promote environmental sustainability.
You can choose from 130 expeditions in 47 countries. Costs range from $495 to $3,500 and run for 1 to 3 weeks. (Fees include food and lodging.)
Upcoming expeditions include:
- Rehabilitating salmon habitats in Washington State
- Measuring climate change and greenhouse gasses near the Arctic, where you’ll get a firsthand look at the effects of global warming
- Visiting the rainforests of Ecuador to track endangered bird populations
- Working with teams in Namibia to protect endangered African cheetahs
- Monitoring, measuring and tagging sea turtles in Costa Rica to protect them against poachers
The minimum age for volunteering is 16, and participants range from college students to retired professionals. Trips are scheduled year-round, so you can find a program that meets your specific needs.
The Earthwatch Institute also hosts regular lectures and conferences throughout the United States. Click here for the current calendar.
For more information, call (800) 776-0188 or click here.
Read More:Sign Up for an Eco-Conscious Expedition!