Monday, December 10, 2012

Traditional Holiday Meals from Around the World

Here in the states we tend to take our Holiday turkeys and hams for granted. What's a holiday meal without traditional trappings like cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes? Little do we know that Holiday meals from around the world are made up of all sorts of delicious and surprising things!
(Click pic to embiggen. Chart courtesy of

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Halloween Kitty Litter Cake

I have to admit, I was hesitant to eat this cake because it looks so dang realistic, but it was actually very tasty! And, surprisingly, it is rather easy to put together. You'll need to pick up an unused kitty-litter pan and scoop for effect, and this recipe:

1 (18.25 ounce) package German chocolate cake mix
1 (18.25 ounce) package white cake mix
2 (3.5 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
1 (12 ounce) package vanilla sandwich cookies
3 drops green food coloring
1 (12 ounce) package tootsie rolls

Start by making both cakes according to their instructions in any size pan, then allow to cool completely. Also, prepare the pudding according to the instructions and then set aside to chill. Crumble sandwich cookies using either a food processor or in a ziplock with a rolling pin. Separate 1/4 cup of the crumbs to dye green.

Crumble the cooled cakes into a large bowl with 1/2 of the remaining cookie crumbs and enough of the pudding to moisten the cake. In the end, you don't want the mixture to be soggy. Spoon into lined kitty-litter box.

Microwave half of the tootsie rolls, then give them some realistic shapes (blunt ends, curves, etc.). Bury in the cake and sprinkle with half of the remaining cookie crumbs. Sprinkle a small amount of the green colored cookie crumbs lightly over the top.

For more grossness, heat 3 or 4 of the tootsie rolls in the microwave until almost melted. Scrape them on top of the cake and sprinkle lightly with some of the green cookie crumbs. Heat the remaining tootsie rolls until pliable and shape as before. Spread them out, top with remaining crumbs, and serve with scooper for a super-gross, Halloween treat!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

GIANT Pumpkins

The results of this year's Giant Pumpkin weigh-in are in, and the winner is:

Tyler Quiqley and his 1,500 pound pumpkin.

That is one big gourd. Interestingly enough, Tyler's neighbor, Matt McConkie, hold's the current state record for giant pumpkins, which is 1,600 pounds. Want gourds this big? The contest is held every year, and you can find details at the Utah Giant Pumpkin Grower's web site, and you can learn about growing your own giant pumpkin in Issue 5.

Monday, August 6, 2012

CSA Bounty

After a couple of weeks of being a slacker after vacation, I made it back to the garden to put in a few hours and pick up some of the most recent harvest. There was a selection:

I helped myself to one of these
I didn't take that huge one, but the one I ended up with is a lot bigger than what you generally find at the store. I also took one of these:
Zuccini (yes, I took the big one). And this too:
Giant Cucumber, which I did take. And check out those curly ones. You certainly don't see that at the store!

So, the CSA program to which I belong is obviously awesome. For $50 per year and with at least 25 hours worth of work, I'll be receiving fresh produce until well into November. And with summer veggies the likes of these, my grocery bill is already benefiting! If you haven't already, check out CSA Utah and find a CSA program in your area. Get out there and support local agriculture!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Buying Local on a Budget

Okay, so let's just go ahead and say it: eating healthy is not always the most financially viable option. It's no coincidence that the foods that are slowly killing us are the cheapest ones. Guess what. It's possible to get healthy, fresh, local food inexpensively. Example: I just got a whole growing season's share of food for $50 and 25 hours of work in any of 13 local gardens per year. Can't beat that deal with a stick. And that's the beauty of CSA. Consult this list from Serious Eats for more ideas about fitting local products into your budget.
Get involved, get healthy. That's what we're talking about.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Sad News!

According to Salt Lake Tribune, our friends at Morgan Valley Lamb will be closing up shop. Morgan Valley has been providing Utah with fresh, organically raised lamb for over a decade. The land on which their herd grazes is being sold by the family that owns it, so the Gillmor's have to leave. Did you know that 600,000 acres of Utah farmland was lost just in the five years between 2002 and 2007. Morgan Valley's parcel of 10,000 acres seems like a tiny portion of that, but it represents a disturbing trend that should be of greater concern to the public. Check out this story in Issue 8 for more about it.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Finely Textured Lean Beef aka Pink Slime

Finely Textured Lean Beef (FTLB) is the proper term, but consumers today know the ammonia treated beef by its more sickening name, pink slime. This rather unappealing term first came to my attention by way of a coworker who stumbled on Jamie Oliver’s video on it a few months ago. In the video Jamie actually demonstrated how the product is made by way of a washing machine, using low heat to separate bits of “beef” left clinging to the trimmings that remain after all the butchering is done. The resulting scraps are then sprayed with ammonia to kill of any bacteria, and the end product looks a lot like lean ground beef.

Since the release of Jamie's clip it seems that I can't go an entire day without coming across the term at least once; people are up in arms over it, and I along with them. The fact that we have been consuming this stuff for years without being aware of it is just the tip of the ice burg when it comes to the problems that I have with pink slime. Shockingly (or maybe not that shockingly), the FDA and the USDA do not require the presence of pink slime to be disclosed on food labels. The chemical used to treat FTLB is ammonium hydroxide, and it is, apparently, widely used as an antimicrobial in food. What else is it found in? Window cleaner, and many other household cleaning products.

I thought that the FDA was supposed to be looking out for consumers. I thought that’s why they mandated ingredients labeling. And yet, the presence of FTLB in beef products does not have to be listed on the label. That, to me, sounds fishy. The companies that make it and the USDA insist that it is safe to eat, and in all likelihood we have been eating it for years without knowing, but it’s a chemically-treated product. Even sunscreens and hair products, which aren’t directly ingested, have to list their chemicals on the label. Why isn’t this chemical labeled? It doesn’t make sense.

Thankfully, now that we know it is out there, it is easy to avoid pink slime. Fast food giants McDonalds and Taco Bell were the first to stopped using it, and in Utah most major grocery stores responded to the public outcry by ridding their shelves of the sneaky, chemical-laced "beef" by the end of March 2012. Still, ask the meat department in your grocery store if they sell anything containing pink slime so that you can be sure to avoid it If all else fails, know that anything labeled 100% Certified Organic does not contain any FTLB.

Even better, why not get your beef from a local source that you can really trust? Like from our friends at UtahNaturalMeat.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Utah Weather Strikes Again

It was close to 60 degrees yesterday when I got in my car to go home from work, and yet two days ago we saw more snow in two days than we had in three months. So far, it seems, this year is shaping up to be a repeat of last. Which gets me wondering: Can this crazy weather be enough cause for concern to Utah growers? According to this KSL article, it's too soon to tell. I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens in the next month or two.

In the mean time, it's out with the growing lights to get your seedlings started! And be sure to check out the upcoming Spring Issue of Ingredients Magazine when it launches on April 1, 2012!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Going Green!

I don't know about y'all, but every January I start in on the usual new year's resolutions: exercise more, eat less and healthier, etc. In previous years such "resolutions" have been quickly forgotten in the hullabaloo of daily life, but 2012 is going to be different. I've realized over the years that big changes are daunting and scary, but small changes are easier to accept and incorporate.

In my search for healthier diet choices, I came across this article on KSL about making smoothies. This is such an awesome idea! My neighbor actually introduced me to incorporating spinach into my smoothies some time ago, but using other leafy greens never occurred to me. So smart, so healthy and so easy, there's pretty much no reason why spinach and other iron-rich greens can't be blended into any fruit smoothie. Think of it as homemade V8 Splash, only more delicious and less expensive.

So, cheers to the new year with health-packed, delicious smoothies!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Recipe of the Day: Ginger Stir Fry

It's cold outside, so all I want to do is curl up by the fire with something warm and tasty. In my search for appropriate tastiness, I stumbled upon this recipe:

Ginger Stir Fry
Serves 6, takes approx 40 minutes

1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger (divided)
1/4 cup vegetable oil (divided)
1 small head broccoli florets
1/2 cup snow peas
3/4 cup julienned carrots
1/2 cup halved green beans
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 1/2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 tablespoon salt

To prepare, start by combining cornstarch, garlic, 1 teaspoon ginger and 2 tablespoons oil in a large bowl. Stir until cornstarch is disolved. Use this mixture to coat snow peas, broccoli, carrots, and green beans before cooking.

Heat the remaining oil in wok over medium heat. Toss in coated veggies and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly so as not to let them burn. Add soy sauce, water, onion, remaining ginger and salt. Cook until veggies are crisp yet tender.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Melinda's Mint Hot Chocolate

There is finally snow on the ground in Salt Lake! I was starting to think that it wasn't going to happen, but here it is! Warm up tonight with this deceptively simple hot chocolate recipe, courtesy of my mom:

Melinda's Mint Hot Chocolate

1 bag mint tea
1 packet hot cocoa mix
Marshmallows (optional, but why not?!)

Boil water and steep the tea in a mug for five to eight minutes. Add hot cocoa packet and stir to combine. Top with marshmallows, drink and enjoy!

Issue 7: Free Range Eggs

The term “free range” is such a trendy buzz word these days that its presence in advertisement and labeling cannot always be trusted. Some “free range” producers are really the same old industrial producers who believe that the American public is willing to buy anything labeled with  it and similar trendy buzz words like “all natural” and “hormone free.” But when the product comes from China or India or anywhere outside of Utah for that matter, how can one be sure that it is legitimately all natural? 

Read the rest of the article in Issue Seven.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Welcome to Ingredients Magazine!

Hello! Welcome to Ingredients Magazine's Blog. Here's what you need to know about us:

Ingredients Magazine is an online publication that gives voice to local farmers and ranchers, independent grocery stores and the local food scene in Salt Lake City, Utah. We launched our first issue in June 2011, and just published Issue Number 7 at the beginning of January 2012 after a major overhaul of the magazine's design. Check it out at

You can find us on Facebook, and don't forget to follow the blog to keep up with our day-to-day activities. Please send your comments/questions/feedback/recipes to YourIngredients.