food crumbscooking, food preparation, recipes, nutrition, food science

For young athletes, doctors suggest water rather than sports drinks.  From commercials and the TV young athletes may think they should drink sports drinks as they see the professionals do. However professional athletes play at a much higher intensity and for a longer period of time. It is suggested that one must be exercising 45 – 60 minutes or more of intense workout before one needs to replenish sugar and salts found in sports drinks. Plain water is the best way to hydrate. Choosing a sports drink when not exercising can increase caloric intake.

Taking energy drinks with caffeine and other stimulants, which some professional athletes use to increase focus and prolong attention span, is never suggested for the young athlete. Most doctors and nutritionists do not recommend energy drinks even for professional athletes.  They suggest one should improve skills and conditioning and better nutrition. These stimulants can elevate blood pressure and cause cardiac problems – such as palpitations and arrhythmias, cause headaches, upset stomach and a general jittery or nervous feeling.

Children should be properly hydrated when exercising – but use water. The authors suggest if children are playing 30-45 minute halves, then have a water break. One may like to add fresh orange slices or a granola bar and for post-workout recovery they suggest plain old chocolate milk – whole or low fat. They say it has the perfect combination of fat, protein and carbohydrate to put back into the body. They add, if the exercise is to lose weight, so one doesn’t drink up more calories than one burned during the exercise, then the best drink is, again, Water.


(You may also enjoy – Water – The Most Important Part of Your Nutrition Program,, 11/30/2009)




Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center,, The Medical Minute: Water beats Sports Drinks for young Athletes.









The Gluten-Free diet has been around for years for persons with celiac disease and for persons with wheat allergy. But today we are seeing many persons adopting the gluten-free diet and putting children on the gluten-free diet.

Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, rye, barley, etc. Thus it is in bread, cereals, pastas and baked goods.

For persons with celiac disease, even small amounts will make them sick. Persons with an allergy to wheat also cannot eat gluten and more recently we are recognizing persons with gluten sensitivity. However there are only a very, few people with celiac disease or wheat allergy. About 1 in 1000 persons have a wheat allergy and 1 in 100 have celiac disease. And possibly about the same, 1 in 100 persons with wheat sensitivity.*  For the 98% of the population not affected – it is advised that they not follow a gluten-free diet, as whole grains, including gluten grains are good for one’s health in reducing coronary heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and other chronic diseases.

Celiac disease and wheat allergy can be diagnosed with a medical test. So check with your physician.

However keeping children, who do not have Celiac disease or wheat allergy, from eating breads and cereals, etc., may be unhealthy to the child.

  • Children could be missing important nutrients. Whole grains that contain gluten have essential nutrients – including the B vitamins, antioxidants, iron, selenium, and magnesium and fiber. Omitting foods that contain gluten, may result in the child being malnourished.
  • The diet, without whole grains, can be too low in calories for growing children. Children need calories to grow and when omitting foods that contain gluten, it may be very difficult for the child to get enough calories for proper growth.
  • The diet, without whole grains may be arsenic. Often when omitting whole grains, rice is substituted. However many rice products are high in arsenic. The rice plant gets arsenic from the soil and from pesticides where the rice has grown. Arsenic can be deadly and in small amounts, over time can lead to cancer and other health problems including learning problems. **

Before restricting gluten products from a child’s diet, talk with your doctor. Have tests done if you think your child has Celiac disease or wheat allergy. A child’s present health and future health are too important to allow a food craze to cause problems.




  • Greger, Michael. M.D., FACLM, How a Gluten-Free diet Can Be Harmful. org, February 23, 2016

**     McCarthy, Claire, MD, Harvard Health blog –, June 7, 2016.









Almost all households consume packaged or bagged salads.  We are accustomed to thinking that the food we purchase is safe – but how safe?

Prepackaged vs non-packaged greens – Some say  bagged greens may be more at risk of containing bacteria than a regular head of lettuce because the leaves are younger and cut.  Bacteria can enter the cut and travel into the leaf whereas a head of lettuce has longer leaves and the consumer can remove the outer leaves.  In addition the many steps to get a bagged lettuce to market means many more opportunities for contamination.  Also inside the bag the growth of bacteria can continue. *

Some say that bagged leafy greens are the riskiest food one can eat in terms of food safety.  A lettuce leaf and other greens have crevices and raised areas where soil, chemicals and bacteria can “hide”

Many packages contain “pre-washed” greens and sometimes “triple washed”, but they can still contain harmful disease-causing bacteria, like Listeria, salmonella or E. coli, which can not always be rinsed off.  Pesticides and other chemicals are on regular & pre-packaged foods.  However they say not to be alarmed, because the product will be washed with chlorinated water – often greater than the concentration in a swimming pool.  But because of the nooks and crannies, even in “triple-washed” leaves, some adhered bacteria may remain attached to the leaf and continue to live and grow. The leaf surface forms a microenvironment that reduces the bleach concentration and allows bacteria to grow. **

Triple Washed – greens aren’t necessarily washed with water.  In fact they are usually washed with sanitizers and other compounds that are intended to reduce pathogens which eliminates about 90 – 99% of the microbes. However that 1-10 % may remain and grow.***


When one hand washes greens at home, one examines every leaf, but commercial machines are not so careful and some dirt and grit gets through.  A lettuce cleaning solution for the masses is used – chemical additives, not potentially harmful like pesticides- and not to be feared.  They are used to improve the industrial process and clean the vegetable. The salad mixes do not simply go through a sprinkler three times and then to the drying machines and then popped into a plastic bag, but rather go through chemical solutions containing chlorine and ozone which are added to the water to make an effective cleaning solution.  Large packaging firms develop their own cleaning mixtures and label them on their package.  Complaints about pre-washed bagged salads often refer to the gritty texture, the slimy texture or the flavor is a bit off.  Lettuce is filled with nooks and crannies and not the easiest vegetable to wash.  The sand and grit just gets in there and does not let go and can have a gritty texture.    These chemical washes, although generally recognized as safe by the FDA, can create the “off” flavor that some persons object to in packaged salad mixes.  Also this “off” flavor can be due to the fact that the product after being washed and pre-cut and placed in a plastic bag for a week or two before you bring it home. The slime – that is “rot” and rotting vegetables harbor bacteria. Lettuce that has been washed, cut and packaged, tends to spoil more quickly.  Sometimes preservatives are used to maintain freshness and the bags may be punched with special holes that allow it to respire or breathe.  Also some claim that the nutritive value begins to decline immediately after harvest and continues as the product is cut up, washed and put into a bag. ****

If you want the convenience of pre-washed lettuce and salad mixes, there are some things you can do at home. – WASH THE LETTUCEWASH THE SALAD MIXES. Wash away any grit, wash away the slimy lettuce, and wash away at least some of the bacteria. Wash the product before you eat it, whether or not it has already been washed. Wash only the amount you will eat at the time. When washing lettuce take care to not add additional contamination. Do not mix with utensils, cutting boards, bowls, etc., that have been used to prepare other foods. Do not put lettuce or salad greens directly into the sink as sinks may hold bacteria and you can cross contaminate.

Also watch the expiration dates on prepackaged products and always store products in the refrigerator.





You may also like to read – in this blog:

Food Safety in Produce,, 6/29/2014

Vacuum Cooling of Produce,, 11/28/20012

Lettuce-Harvesting, Storage, & Transport,, 10/31/2012


*  *   *



**    Breyer, Melissa, 7 Reasons to Ditch Packaged Salads,, August 20, 2015.

***  Kearse, Stephen, Why are Salad Greens Always Labeled “Triple-Washed”?,, April 27, 2016.

****  Sidhu, Allison, Pre-Packaged Salad Mixes: Are they Really Safe?,, November 24, 2015















1 ½ cup fresh, canned (drained) or frozen Green Beans
1 ½ cup fresh, canned (drained) Peach slices
¼ cup sliced Celery
1/4 cup green onions
1 Tbsp minced parsley

2 Tbsp Vinegar
2 Tbsp Salad Oil
1 Tbsp sugar
dash salt
1/8 tsp Hot Sauce
4 Lettuce cups

Combine beans, peaches, celery, onions, and parsley.

Combine vinegar, oil, sugar, salt and hot sauce. (Can add any syrup drained off canned peaches.) Pour over bean-peach mixture. Chill.

Make individual lettuce cups and place on serving plates. Ladle 1/2 cup of salad on each lettuce cup.


.                                     ¼ cup chopped sweet red pepper
.                                     ¼ cup chopped onion
.                                     2 Tbsp finely chopped jalapeno pepper
.                                     3 cloves of garlic, minced
.                                     1 Tbsp Olive or vegetable oil

.                                     2 cups cooked rice
.                                     1 cup frozen corn
.                                     ½ tsp salt
.                                     ¼ tsp pepper
.                                     3 green onions
.                                     Soy Sauce – optional

In a large skillet, saute the red pepper, onion, jalapeno and garlic in oil until tender.
Add the rice, corn, salt and pepper.
Cook and stir until heated through.
Sprinkle with green onions. Serve with Soy Sauce, if desired. (Serves 4.)


2 lbs chicken breasts, split, skinned & boned Cut chicken in 2-inch squares.(For appetizers, cut in 1-inch squares.)
½ cup all-purpose flour Combine flour, salt and pepper.
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

2 eggs, beaten Dip chicken in eggs, then coat with seasoned flour.

Oil for frying. Pour ½ inch oil in wide frying pan.
Place over medium-high heat. (To test – drop . a pinch of flour into
pan, flour should sizzle & float on hot fat.)
When fat is hot, add chicken, half at a time.
Cook, turning as needed until chicken is . golden brown.
Allow 6-8 minutes for larger pieces,
Allow 4-5 minutes for smaller pieces.

1/3 cup soy sauce Meanwhile heat soy, honey, sherry, garlic and ginger
1/3 cup honey in a small pan.
1 Tbsp dry sherry Lift chicken from oil. Drain briefly.
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed Dip in glazed mixture, then place on a rack,
1 tsp grated fresh ginger set in a baking pan.

2 Tbsp sesame seeds, optional When all of chicken is cooked and dipped,
sprinkle with sesame seeds, if used.
Bake at 250 degrees F for 20 minutes.
Brush with glaze after 10 minutes.
Serve hot or at room temperature. .



4 cups Flour In mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking
1 1/3 cups packed brown sugar powder, cinnamon, salt and oats.
2 Tbsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp salt (optional)
2 cups quick-cooking oats

1 can (30 oz) Purple plumbs, packed in heavy syrup, Drain syrup and reserve, remove pits and chop plums.
Stir chopped plums in flour mixture to coat well.
Add enough water to plum juice to make 1 ½ cups liquid.
2 eggs, beaten Combine plum juice, eggs, and oil.
½ cup Vegetable oil Add to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are
Pour into two greased 8 ½ x 4 ½ x 2 1/2 – inch loaf pans.
Bake at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes. Cool 10 minutes.
Remove from pans. Cool on wire rack. Makes 2 loaves.
Flavor develops when wrapped and stored overnight.


1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened 2 cups flour 1 egg 1 tsp baking powder ¼ cup sugar ½ tsp baking soda 3 Tbsp milk ¼ tsp salt 2 Tbsp butter, softened 1 1/3 cups milk 1 Tbsp cornstarch 1 tsp vanilla ½ tsp vanilla Fudge Frosting 4 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate ½ cup butter, softened 2 cups sugar 2 eggs

Combine cream cheese, 1 egg and ¼ cup sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Beat at high speed until smooth. Gradually add 3 Tablespoons milk, 2 Tbsp butter, 1 Tbsp cornstarch, ½ tsp vanilla. Beat well. Set aside.

Place chocolate squares in top of double boiler, bring water to a boil. Reduce heat. Cook until chocolate melts, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool.

Cream ½ cup butter, gradually add 2 cups sugar, beating well at medium speed. Add 2 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour baking powder, soda and salt, stir well. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with 1 1/3 cups milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix after each addition. Stir in melted chocolate and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Spread half of chocolate batter in a greased and floured 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan. Spoon reserved cream cheese mixture evenly over chocolate batter. Top with remaining half of chocolate batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 – 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Spread frosting over cake. Yield 15 servings.

FUDGE FROSTING 2 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate ¼ cup butter 3 ½ cups powdered sugar 1/3 cup milk 1 tsp vanilla Combine chocolate and butter in top of double boiler and bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook until chocolate and butter melt, stirring occasionally. Remove mixture from heat and let cool. Add powdered sugar and milk to chocolate mixture, beating at medium speed until smooth.
Stir in vanilla. Yield: 2 cups








Remember your mother telling you -eat your carrots, they’re good for you!

Carrots are a root vegetable, usually orange in color but purple, black, red, white and yellow varieties exist.  The plant probably originated in Persia.  Carrots are one of the most economically important vegetable crops in the world.  In 2013 world production of carrots (combined with turnips) was 37.2 million tons with China producing 45% of the world total -16.8 million tons.  Other major producers were Uzbekistan and Russia with 4% of the world total each and United States at 3 % and Ukraine at 2%.

Carrots can be stored for several months in the refrigerator.  Carrots contain beta-carotene and lesser amounts of alpha-carotene, y-carotene and zeaxanthin.  Alpha and beta carotenes are partly metabolized into Vitamin A providing more than 100% of the Daily Value (DV) per 100 grams serving of carrots.  Carrots are also a good source of Vitamin K (13% DV) and Vitamin B6 (11% DV).

Carrots are also an excellent source of Vitamin A.  The anti-oxidant beta-carotene that gives carrots their bright orange color.  Beta-carotene is absorbed in the intestine and converted into Vitamin A during digestion.

It has been found that the pro-vitamin A beta-carotene from carrots does not actually help people see in the dark (a myth)unless they suffer from a deficiency of Vitamin A.

Carrots are 88% water, 2.8 % dietary fiber. Carrot dietary fiber is mostly cellulose with smaller amounts of hemicellulose, lignin, and starch.  Free sugar includes sucrose, glucose, and fructose.

Raw Carrots -100 grams = 3.5 ounces- contain approximately:*

Energy  . . . . . . . . . .     41   calories                               Vitamin A equivalent – 835 micrograms (104% DV)

Carbohydrate  . . . . . . . .        9.6 grams                                 Beta-carotene  —    8285 micrograms (77% DV)

Sugar  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .         4.7 grams

Dietary Fiber  . . . . . . . . .         2.8 grams

Fat  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .         0.24 grams

Protein . . . . . . . . . . . . . .         0.93 grams





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