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Archive for June 27, 2013

RECIPE: July 4th Layer Cake

A patriotic layer cake. Photo courtesy
Harry & David.

 

You can buy this delicious Red, White and Blueberry Cake from Harry & David ($49.95 plus shipping). Or you can make your own.

First, Harry & David’s cake:

Made in the company’s bakery, three layers of fluffy vanilla cake are separated by strawberry and blueberry fillings and covered in rich cream cheese frosting.

The fun continues with the decoration: What look like blueberries atop the cake are actually Harry & David’s chocolate-covered dried blueberries.

We can’t imagine who wouldn’t want to receive one of these as a gift.

 

BAKE YOUR OWN JULY 4TH LAYER CAKE

It‘s easy to bake your own red, white and blue layer cake.

Ingredients

All you need are:

  • A box of white cake mix, or your own from-scratch recipe
  • Raspberry, strawberry or other red jam or preserves
  • Blueberry or other blue jam or preserves
  • Frosting (we like our cream cheese frosting recipe)
  • Garnish: fresh blueberries and raspberries or chocolate-covered dried berries, sparklers
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREPARE batter and bake cake in 3 layers, according to package or recipe directions. Check directions to see if you need to prepare extra batter for the third layer. Cool.

    2. MAKE frosting. Assemble cake, frost and garnish.
     
    You can add red, white and blue candles and sing “Happy Birthday” to America.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: The Dirty Dozen & The Clean Fifteen

    The bounty of summer produce encourages us to eat more fruits and vegetables. It seems like the healthy thing to do, and it is.

    But it’s also time to consider the issue of pesticide residues, and when you should buy organic versus conventional produce.

    Rinsing the produce does not remove all of the chemical residue. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) creates an annual Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides to reduce your exposure to chemical pesticides. For fruits and vegetables that have the most pesticide residues—the list below on the left side, known as the “Dirty Dozen”—it is the most important to buy organic versions.

    But the organization also underscores that:

  • The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure.
  • Eating conventionally-grown produce is far better than not eating fruits and vegetables at all.
  •  

    Affordable in the summer months, we love eating blueberries as often as we can. They’re so high in antioxidants—but also high in pesticide residue. Photo courtesy Siggi’s.

     
    As far as the most chemical-free produce, look to the list on the right: the “Clean Fifteen.”

    Why is some produce “dirty” and others “clean?”

    Crops differ in their hardiness—whether they’re more or less susceptible to intense heat, cold, rainfall, drought, fungus or other disease, etc.

    In the case of bugs, some crops are more readily attacked and destroyed by the hungry little critters. So chemical pesticides are used to kill the bugs, fungus, etc. before they kill the crop.

    Though the Environmental Protection Agency has been restricting the uses of the most toxic pesticides, they are still detected on some foods. For example, green beans were on last year’s Dirty Dozen Plus list because they were often contaminated with two highly toxic organophosphates. Those pesticides are being withdrawn from agriculture. But leafy greens still show residues of organophosphates and other risky pesticides. That’s why they are on the Dirty Dozen Plus list for 2013.

    Learn more at EWG.org.


     
    Infographic courtesy EWG.org.

      

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