Posted by: Emily | December 7, 2009

“Just Food” Documentary

Fresh Vegetables

The day before Thanksgiving I had the pleasure of viewing a documentary called Just Food.  The documentary recorded interviews conducted with farmers of agriculture and livestock.  Some of the farmers owned organic farms and others used commercial agricultural procedures.  The diversity of the the interviewees was great, with one farmer raising sustainable crops in the middle of a large city.

One of the greatest things about the documentary was its mastery of spreading the word about healthy choices and the importance of organic produce, meat, and dairy.  I learned that non-organic produce contains pesticides that are harmful to our bodies and massive livestock farms use monoculture, which creates a need for large amounts of antibiotics.  These antibiotics are consumed by us when we eat this meat.  Nature’s natural way of producing food is not monoculture, but instead a diversity of plants and animals living in one space.  Monoculture ruins land and creates a great amount of pollution.  Food travels thousands of miles to the places where it will be consumed, making it less fresh.  In the end, it will not be a sustainable way for us to live on earth.  Unfortunately, the two corporations that run most of the agricultural production in the United States are running small, sustainable, family farms into the ground.

The organization that produced this documentary is also called Just Food and is located in NYC.  There will be a showing of the documentary on December 15th in New York.

More information about sustainable agriculture.

More on agricultural antibiotics.

Posted by: Emily | December 1, 2009

Using Whole Grains In Baking

There are many health benefits to eating whole grains.  They are rich in fiber, antioxidants, iron, and vitamins such as B and E that our bodies need to stay healthy.  Whole grains are linked to lower cholesterol and lower rates of

Whole Grains

obesity.  They are also important in lowering the risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and many other diseases.  So what exactly is a whole grain?  Whole grains are made up of seeds in their natural state or seeds that have been altered but still contain the nutrients of unaltered seeds. More information on whole grains.

Sounds great, right?  There is just one little problem with whole grains…baking with whole grain flour can be extremely tricky for the amateur baker or the baker who is new to whole grains.  One common mistake made when first cooking with whole grains is simply substituting whole grain flour for the amount of all-purpose flour previously used.  Because whole grain flour is different, you must convert the measurements to fit the whole grain flour you are using (about 130g per cup of all-purpose flour).  If you do not substitute correctly, your baking will most likely be too dense and fail to rise correctly.

Jennifer Iserloh has some great tips for baking with whole grains!

For more information on how to use whole grains correctly in baking, click here.

Don’t have time for a lot of baking?  Check out some of Jill’s easy suggestions for adding whole grains into your lifestyle.

Posted by: Emily | December 1, 2009



Just last night I was devouring some Alden’s Cookies and Cream Ice Cream when my friend remarked, “This tastes a little like malt.” So I got to thinking, “Wow, I’ve heard of malt before but I really have no idea what it is.” After talking about malt for some time and coming to no conclusive thoughts on its origin, I got off of my butt and walked to this very computer to find a determinate answer (Wikipedia seems to be the best place for this sort of quickie-research thing). Click on “malt” for more detailed information.

Malt is an ingredient used in many different types of foods and beverages. It can be found in beer, bread, and all different types of sugary sweeteners. Malt is rich in protein and carbohydrate, so it is a good nutrient for your body. As pictured to the right, malt is made from various cereal grains, which are soaked, partially germinated, dried, and cured.

A new recipe: From Emeril Lagasse

Posted by: Emily | November 24, 2009

Blog in Transition

Hey All!

I’ve decided to make some slight changes to The Bitten Brownie.  Although the blog will continue as primarily a food blog, I would like to have some discussion about women’s issues so I have added a page called “A Little Something Different…”  After posting yesterday I realized my desire to speak more about feminism and daily life.  This new page will be slightly different from posts about food because I really want “Girl Talk” to be an open discussion about issues and concerns that affect us daily.

I hope you enjoy this change and the opportunity to have your voice heard!

Even as more and more emphasis is placed on eating healthy, going green, and living well in the United States, more and more Americans are overweight or unhappy with that extra muffin top bulging over their jeans.  One of the main reasons for this excess is the abundance of processed foods in the marketplace.  While not every processed food is bad for you, many processed foods are made with extra trans or saturated fat, sugar, and sodium.  These ingredients are used to enhance taste or preserve food.  Here’s a link for more on processed foods.

Ok, so you’ve heard enough about the bad foods you shouldn’t be eating.  I don’t blame you.  So what should Americans be eating more of?  One thing we can do to improve our diet is eat more whole grains.  Recently, there has been a trend among popular cereal manufacturers like General Mills, Post, and Kellogg’s to advertise a healthful

Cereal Low in Sugar Content With Real Fruit

lifestyle by eating their whole grain cereal.  While this may be a step in the right direction, popular cereals still remain processed with tons of extra refined sugar.  For example, compare the sugar count per serving for these cereals that are advertised as healthy compared to some common ‘sugar cereals.’

Advertised As ‘Healthy’ Cereals:

Kellogg’s Smart Start Healthy Heart: 17 grams sugar

Kellogg’s Raisin Bran Crunch: 20 grams sugar

Kellogg’s Special K Red Berries: 10 grams sugar

General Mills Honey Nut Cheerios: 9 grams sugar

Commonly Known ‘Sugar’ Cereals:

Kellogg’s Apple Jacks: 15 grams sugar

General Mills Lucky Charms: 11 grams sugar

Post Cocoa Pebbles: 11 grams sugar

However, if you are a cereal junkie like me, all hope is not lost.  One good way to eat healthy cereal is by picking a cereal low in sugar and added fat and adding fresh fruit.  Fruit in its raw form is high in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins your body needs, and natural sugar, which tastes great!  Even better than that is to pick a natural cereal that is simply whole grains.  To pick a cereal like this, just look at the ingredients.  There should be only one ingredient listed–the whole grain you are eating.  Personally, I have a passion for puffed grains, especially puffed kamut.

For some fun cereal cover designs, check this out.  My favorite post of the Cereal Killers blog is “Capsized Crunch.”

Posted by: Emily | November 14, 2009

A Cactus is Edible?!?

I was so excited when my brother came to visit me at Rutgers for my birthday.


Pierre The Cactus

And what did he bring me? A cactus!  Before talking to my brother about Pierre (yes, we named him) I had no idea that many types of cacti are edible and often eaten in cultures inside and outside of the United States.  Unlike the silly video i posted above, cacti are often prepared in dishes or at least de-bristled.  Although I am unsure if Pierre is an edible cactus, I do know that he is what is called a “Moon Cactus,” which is a term used to describe grafted cacti.  The red top of Pierre is a type of cactus that belongs to the genus Gymnocalycium and the green bottom is a Hylocereus.  Click here for more information about growing a cactus like mine.

Ok, so I know you’re still wondering about preparing and eating cacti.  In the Southwest United States and in Mexico, there are hundred of types of cacti that belong to the genus Opuntia. They are composed of fruit and pads, both of which are edible and easily foraged.  In Mexico, the the stem of the cacti is called nopales.  Nopales can generally be found in the United States in Mexican groceries.  These cacti can be boiled, battered and fried, added to soups, used as taco meat, or even grilled.  They taste either sweet or sour and are relatively low in calories while providing a good amount of vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, and even a little iron.

For some raw food recipes or more information about preparing a cactus, check out “How to Use the Nopal and Cactus Pear Fruit in Raw Food Recipes.”

For a yummy stew recipe that uses nopales, click here.

If you prefer chicken, this recipe got some good reviews.

Posted by: Emily | November 10, 2009

Eaten Any Superfoods Lately? Try Spirulina!


It may not look too appetizing in its natural form, but Spirulina is often called a ‘superfood’ — one that is rich in nutrients that the body needs to maintain health.  As seen in the image to the left, spirulina is a blue-green algae that is formed by two kinds of cyanobacteria.  It is a food rich in whole proteins, calcium, fatty acids, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, folic acid, vitamin D, vitamin C, and vitamin E.  Long list, right?  That’s why it’s called a superfood.  In fact, some people take Spirulina as a supplement to their daily diet.

Tired of this new health food craze?  You should know that the health benefits of spirulina are not a newly acknowledged phenomenon.  In fact, spirulina was used hundreds of years ago by the Aztecs, who formed the spirulina from lakes into cakes of food.

Aztec Spirulina Cakes

Want to know more about spirulina’s history?  Check this out.

Ok, so I know what you’re thinking.  Aztec spirulina cakes don’t look too appetizing, do they?  Well, spirulina is an easy nutrient to add to your food.  It complements the taste of many fruits, veggies, and whole grains.  I recently had an awesome spirulina smoothie from Namaste Cafe, which is a juice bar found in New Brunswick above the George Street Co-op.  Here are some recipes to try using spirulina.  Or, if you are not much of a chef, you could simply buy some spirulina smoothies at you local health food store.

Finally, if you are interested in learning more about different green superfoods, check out The Lunchbox Bunch blog post on ‘yummy green superfood powders’.

Posted by: Emily | November 5, 2009

Too Cold for Gelato?

Oh so creamy...

It’s never too cold outside for gelato!  If you havn’t tasted Italian gelato, it is absolutely imperative that you try a handful of the multitudes of flavors available.  While the best gelato can only be found in Italy, it can also be found many other places like your local Whole Foods Market.  So, if you are like me and perpetually low on cash, making it impossible to vacation in Italy like Matt Armendariz recently did, you can still try decent gelato.  Here is Matt’s picture of gelato from “How Not To Behave Like a Glutton in Rome” that he tasted while in Italy:


Armendariz's Italian Gelato

For those of you who don’t know, gelato is Italian ice cream.  However, it would be false to think about gelato only in terms of American ice cream.  Gelato is generally creamier, softer, and cleaner on the palate than American ice cream.  It’s flavors are most often fruity or nutty and it is served in smaller portions because of its extremely rich quality.  I’ve personally sampled some amazing gelato from Rocco’s Pastry Shop in New York City at 243 Bleeker Street.  Little Italy in NYC is a tourist area full of wonderful restaurants and bakeries that serve gelato.  For more information, check out David Lebowitz’s blog called “What is Gelato?”

If you want to try and make some gelato at home, check out this recipe from Epicurious:


Posted by: Emily | November 1, 2009

Check This Out

Another food blog similar to Serious Eats with a little more organization and focus on community:


On a side note…

I think I have done enough reviewing of food blogs and I am ready to refocus The Bitten Brownie.  Goals for this week: rewrite the About page with organized ideas for renovated site and begin food blogging!

Posted by: Emily | October 30, 2009

Serious Eats

Serious Eats is a food blog very different from Matt Bites and Canelle et Vanille.  First, the blog is authored by a number of different food bloggers including Ed Levine, the founder of the site, and numerous other contributors.  Because the blog has many contributors, the periodicity of  its post are is much more frequent than the other blogs.  The layout of Serious Eats is much more busy than the other blogs, with ads filling up the right side and other tidbits between the posts.  For example, the blog has a feature called “Talk” that poses a question for readers to respond to.  Most recently, there was a “Talk” post on using pumpkin or apple sauce instead of oil in baking.  Readers also have a chance to post their food photography in special posts on the site.  Using these two outlets, Serious Eats is a blog that offers more community than the other blogs I have looked at.

Despite all of these positive aspects of the blog, Serious Eats is not necessarily an example of the type of blog I am looking to produce.  The blog is definitely not as visually appealing as the two previous blogs reviewed.  Take for example this photo from “Come on in ‘The Kitchn.'”


A Little Unappealing?

On the other hand, I like the the many topics of the posts found in this site.  Whereas the two previous blogs reviewed were very personal, Serious Eats is more commercial and informative.  I like how the blog enlightens its readers about the topics of each post.  For example, the most resent “Dinner Tonight” post took time to discuss tarragon and its powerful qualities.

On a more personal note, reviewing this successful food blogs is exciting and informative for me.  A few more and I will be ready to reform The Bitten Brownie.

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