Recently in Eating Healthy in the Bay Area Category

After an excellent appointment with my midwife's assistant/doula in Menlo Park, my friend and I headed to downtown Los Altos to indulge in something light and sweet at Satura Bakery. If you've not yet been, I highly suggest taking a trip there on a Thursday afternoon. After eating one of the best choux creams in my life, we walked over to the farmers market. This is one of the rare markets that stays open later in the day. We sampled different types of flavorful cherries that were sweet and not the least bit sour, hearty Jersey Brand milk cheeses, super sweet sweet peas, and dark juicy red strawberries. I left with five small, but crisp and sweet, organic white peaches from Kashiwase Farms, organic Spring Hill Farms garlic curds (made from fresh mozzarella), and also one of their pesto jack blocks, melt-in-your-mouth roasted rosemary fingerling potatoes (we ate those there), and a small basket of unusually pointy, but remarkably sweet strawberries!! Oh, and I also purchased five of Satura's choux creams for Naoki -- three vanilla and two green tea flavored. Forgive all of these foodcentric posts. Occupying my mind most of the time is food, house hunting for friends/clients and ourselves, and this baby.
Hello and welcome to my latest obsession...fresh strawberries, dunked in lowfat sour cream, then swiped in light brown sugar! 

I had a colleague share this foodie tip with me recently and internally I scoffed at it.  C'mon the combination sounded to bizarre to be good; however, curiosity got the best of me after my brother said he'd tried and liked this concoction.  So, yesterday after a quick stop at Whole Foods to pick up super ripe organic strawberries (good enough to eat on their own) and tub of sour cream, I ripped open that bag of light brown sugar Naoki was waiting to use for one of his breads (that's his current obsession btw).  Together those three simple ingredients were absolutely delish!!  I had heard that it would have a cheesecake like flavor, which I am not a fan of, but was pleasantly surprised that it was even better!

If you have a chance to try this combo, I would highly recommend it (unless you're lactose intolerant, in which case contact me for the perfect enzyme supplements).

NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per strawberry: 29 calories; 1 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 2 mg cholesterol; 6 g carbohydrate; 1 g protein; 0 g fiber; 2 mg sodium; 43 mg potassium.

1/2 Carbohydrate Serving

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Last week Naoki and I had one of the most delicious veggie friendly meals at a wonderful friend and her husband's home in gorgeous Palo Alto.  Their cool condo had been beautifully redone with bamboo flooring and the balcony was extended into a sunroom that added square footage to their 1000 square foot property.  What really brightened up the place was the sunflower yellow wall that held a morning glory painting of a well-known artist's, whose name escapes me at the moment. 

For dinner we had yummy tempura zucchini with a soy-vinegar dipping sauce, and braised portabello mushrooms that were marinated to perfection.  As our main course, we had tofu steaks that had pretty little heaps of mashed potato, crisp greens, and grilled sweet onions.  Served on the side was a garden fresh mix of salad with juicy citrus and crisp pears.  A deep purple, sticky sweet rice was also served.  Everything was absolutely tasty and you could tell cooked with care.

We moved to the sitting area for a cup of light flavored chamomile tea from Korea and special treats prepared by my girlfriend.  More crisp Asian pears and sweet oranges served with tiny whale toothpicks added just the right sweetness, and to make it even more perfect, she prepared a cake that wasn't too sweet and had bits of pistachios that added crunch and a complimenting flavor.  See recipe below...


2 cups of sweetrice cake powder
2 cups of milk
1/2 cup of sugar
half can of red bean (azuki bean)
1 tsp Baking soda
1tsp Baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
 
just mix all ingredients and bake it at 350 F for 45 minutes.

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I hadn't seen my friend in two years, so this get-together was a very special one.  It was our first time meeting her absolutely charming, talented and interesting husband.  It was a blessing to meet a couple that pair together so well.  Both are musically inclined, share a passion for traveling and fine food, as well as seem to be very in love with each other (after being together for 10 years).


~ pictures to follow at http://jeanette.hada.us

The following information has been circulating for a few years. It's copied from an email I received awhile ago. If you have any interest in learning more about genetically-modified food, please watch the documentary "The Future of Food" and visit EWG.org.

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Unfortunately this is only for North America!
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VERY INTERESTING INFORMATION


I didn't know until I read it that the little stickers on loose fruits and vegetables have valuable information on them! According to a letter from 'a scientist knowledgeable in the field of genetically modified organisms (GMOs)' in the October 2003 issue of Gourmet magazine:

"A useful tip to the consumer [would be] a primer on how to read the little stickers on loose fruits and vegetables. Besides providing the store's cash registers and computers with product identification and price information, these stickers can tell you a lot about the food you are buying. A label with four digits indicates conventionally grown food. Labels with five digits starting with an 8 indicate that the food is genetically modified. Labels with 5 digits starting with a 9 indicate that the food is organically grown."

Well as soon as I read this I looked at all my little stickers and it's true! All my organic food had stickers with 5 digits beginning with 9 and all the conventional food had stickers with four digits. There were no five digits beginning with 8, nor do I plan for there to be, but what a great thing to know! Am I the last one to know this?

omurice.JPG This is "omurice" (Japanese-style omelette rice topped with demiglace sauce) from Clover Bakery in San Jose.

Last night I found two teabags of my favorite organic mulberry tea and enjoyed it alongside my pastries filled with spicy fish roe (mentaiko) this afternoon. The flavors brought back memories of our travels to Taiwan and Japan two years ago. Taipei is where I purchased this wonderful tea. Naoki and I often ate Japanese style pastries/bread while we were running around Japan hosting presentations and promoting our business.

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I'm so excited about the opening of Nijiya here in San Jose! It will be the closest market to us that sells locally grown, organic produce, Japanese/Asian food items, delicious cooked lunch box sets, and yummy desserts!! We've been traveling to the Mountain View location to purchase their special organic brown rice and to Mitsuwa off of Saratoga Avenue to find other ingredients. This is so much more convenient.

Hopefully there will be other wonderful retail stores and restaurants that come to San Jose's Japantown!

Orange Creamsicle

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ORANGEDRINK.JPG This past weekend, I had the worst craving for an Orange Julius drink. Do you remember those? There are still some stands in select malls around the Bay Area. This super sweet orange drink is like a liquid creamsicle, the orange popsicle with vanilla cream center. I know we could have probably stopped at the grocers to purchase the mix, but due to it's high sugar content, artificial flavoring and color, I passed.

To satisfy my fix, I blended two scoops of French Vanilla low-glycemic shake with one heaping scoop of naturally flavored orange fiber/energy mix (no, not Metameucil for those of you wondering!) along with a cup and a half of cold filtered ionic water and a handful of ice (also made from the same water). The taste and flavor was spot on, and the plus side was that this frothy drink was low-glycemic, high in protein and fiber.

This same concoction makes a lovely sorbet if blended til smooth then placed in the freezer for 30 minutes! Yum :)

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Sophie's beautiful mother recently ordered us a bazooka-load of these delicious organic, sundried dates from Oasis Garden Farms!

When I was younger, my friend's mother used to make the most amazing homemade chicken soup and used these types of dates to give it a touch of sweetness. The dates also flavor tea in the most remarkable way too. What's special about the dates we received is that they're organic, do not contain sulphur, and their huge size. Most of the ones sold in markets are small and have a tiny seed, whereas you can tell that these were allowed to grow to full size before harvesting.

Please contact me via email if you would be interested in ordering any of these dates. You can learn more about these special fruit (sometimes known as "jujube" Chinese, "daechu" Korean, or "natsume" Japanese) on Wikipedia!

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There are always treasures to be found at each of the local farmers markets in the Bay Area. Today was our first time exploring the one held in downtown Campbell. We decided last Sunday while at Santana Row's Farmers we'd follow one of the friends we made at the Twin Girls Organic Fruit Stand to his new location and purchase some of their fresh pressed, organic pomegranate juice. As usual, we arrived 30 minutes to closing. We found our friend, Isaias, and puchased a bag full of Fuyu persimmons, red/black pluots, two pomegranates (cracked, how Naoki likes them), and two bottles of the pom juice.

If you've ever tried and liked POM at your local grocers, you will LOVE Twin Girls freshly pressed pomegranate juice! The first sip will make you pucker, but after your initial taste it really becomes so deliciously sweet. It would make for a wonderful popscicle, drizzled atop vanilla ice cream or even a fruity vinegarette dressing. One thing to keep in mind though, it's best to drink it in a small glass. While it is preferable to drink after it's just been pressed, it does contain a high amount of sugar. There's also a potent amount of antioxidants, but a little does go a long way.

More on the health benefits of these jeweled fruit -

- High in potassium, vitamin C, folic acid, fiber and polyphenols
- lowers risk of heart disease by preventing the formation of plaque
- preserves nitric oxide, a chemical that regulates blood flow and maintains healthy blood vessel health
- combats free radicals that may cause stroke, hypertension and Alzheimer’s disease
- high levels of antioxidants may prevent premature aging
- polyphenols may slow or even prevent the development of cancer

Stop that Gas Attack!

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It pains me to write about this subject, as I find it difficult to maintain composure as an adult when discussing the subject of ..well, flatulence. You know, passing the gas, tooting, cutting the cheese, etc. I could go on, but then the point of this blog entry would be lost.

Many of us have issues with digestion, either with acid reflux (heartburn), gas of some sort, constipation and/or diarrhea. Going from an unhealthy diet of junk/fast food to a super healthy eating plan can also cause an "uproar" in our system. What may be lacking are the necessary and beneficial enzymes need to properly breakdown our food, as well as a quality probiotic supplement to assist with the complete digestive process.

* 100% Pure Organic Blackberry Honey from Oregon. - My dear friend introduced us to the best honey that makes everything you put it in tastes dreamy! That's not an exaggeration either. She is also able to get other wonderful natural bee products like propolis and royal jelly from the same beekeeper. Honey is currently on hand, so if you'd like to make a purchase let me know.

* All Natural Gelatin-free Gummy Bear Snacks - These contain a blend of freeze-dried fruits and veggies, along with other added essential nutrients. (No colors, fillers or preservatives) They are so tasty, I find them hard to resist eating by the handful.

* Natural and Super Fresh Tasting Japanese Green Tea - Brewed hot or cold, this is honestly the best green tea I've ever had. Most of the tea we buy at the supermarket has been sitting forever on the shelves or have been overprocessed. This tea is actually green and makes the perfect substitute to coffee in the morning. Does contain caffeine, but does not cause the jitters like coffee.

* Travel size Aloe Gel
- Oftentimes most aloe products do not contain the active ingredients that fresh aloe does. This easy to carry gel is soothing to burns, cuts, and irritations. The healing ingredient of aloe has been stabilized in this product. Sunburns, papercuts, scrapes and bug bites are a few of the things we use this get on.

* Preservative/Paraben-Free Skincare - This line will launch in the U.S. in March of 2007; however, we are able to have our family ship it to us from Japan. It isn't anything like what is currently on the market and the results are remarkable! Did I mention I love the eye cream?

Please contact me directly via email at jeanette337 at gmail.com

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Nothing beats the taste of a freshly picked strawberry or tomato grown in your garden, or in our case, balcony planter. I never believed it til actually trying it for the first time! Our local farmers market carries a fabulous assortment of tasty, organic produce, which I believe probably tastes even more amazing right after it's picked.

We purchased organic baby tomato seedlings and wild strawberries plants from Whole Foods in Campbell earlier this spring. It was the first time I'd ever grown something edible.

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Beautiful white peaches from Kashiwase Farms (Organic, specializing in stone fruit, almonds, and Asian pears (yum!))

Today we headed to the Farmers Market at Santana Row. Thankfully the crowd was light, as I believe most people were swarming around downtown San Jose for the Grand Prix racing event. There were quite a few certified farmers there and a handful of organic vendors as well. We left with decent sized bags of delicious white peaches, white nectarines, shiney red plums, juicy strawberries, and one crisp, j-shaped Armenian cucumber - all organic of course!

Afterwards we made a quick stop over at the Great Mall in Milpitas for something to eat and to get a bit of exercise in. Window shopping at a mall that's the size of four football fields definitely counts as exercise.

This particular mall has a mix of really cool and some seriously junkie stores. I usually have a lot of fun visiting the accessory shops that sell all types of sparkley stuff. It's a bad case of "Magpie Syndrome", being attracted by things that glitter and catch the light. Maybe it was from being full or from shopping the day before at the Gilroy Outlets, but I couldn't find anything to purchase even though there were some excellent sales going on.

Jeanette Lee Hada

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