Millet Mess, FDA, Food

After many phone calls, I spoke with someone in the FDA.  I found out the following:

1.)  Even though you see product sell by, expiration dates, etc. on almost all products, this is voluntary information provided by the company.  It should be a law, but it is not.

2.)  If there is no expiration date and the food is expired when a customer buys it, there is nothing that the FDA can do.

3.)  The power of the pocket book is the only way to maintain voluntary information from a company.  That is, if you don’t see an expiration date, do not buy it.  Buy products that have not only an expiration date, but several codes which might indicate source, packaging and other data necessary to track down potential sources of food contamination.

4.)  If you have a problem with a food, immediately contact the company and provide as much information as you have about their product, any health problems you or your pets experienced, etc.  Don’t throw away the food.  Don’t throw away the package.  You need to store it as any other food of that type, but keep it tightly wrapped.  After the company, or a medical doctor requests a sample of the product, then it’s OK to throw the food away.  You have your photos and all other documented communication.  Wrap the food tightly again, and wear a mask if you think you might inhale any spores or fumes while you dispose of it.

5.)  If you are tired of throwing out your romaine lettuce, you might want to contact your elected officials to write mandatory compliance laws to provide food history information on all products that are produced or sold in our country.  That would mean all food including food used by restaurants, hospitals, schools, etc.  Help the FDA do a better job of protecting us.

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Bob’s Red Mill Millet

Haven’t had time to blog much lately.  My parrot needs antibiotic liquid each day.  No way to tell if his infection was caused by the spicy hot and bitter tasting millet flour that I used to make his bird cookies (which I also ate.)

If you have had any problems with any millet flour from any company, please contact that company immediately.  You will need to send them a sample.  If you have the manufacturing information on the side of the package, please email that information to them, but keep your package.  I have not thrown mine away.

Bob’s Red Mill considers myself, my mother, and my sick parrot as only one complaint.  They requested a sample from the batch in order to smell it, then, store it in the event anyone else complains.  They refused to put the sample under a microscope.  They stated to us that they are not allowed to taste the sample.  You, the unsuspecting public, are their tasters.

There is so much more I would like to say about this, but I don’t have the time.  The above is the essential information that you need, if you have any problem with any food for yourself or your pets.

Soup Starter

Beet soup with almond milk instead of coconut milk.

Beet soup with almond milk instead of coconut milk.

The recipe for beet soup that I found on the Internet is not the story here.  What is the story, is that even though the recipe turned out delicious when my mother made it, she followed the recipe with only one substitution.  When I decided to make it today, I made several changes.  In particular, I lacked the canned coconut milk that was part of the original recipe and used much more ginger.  I wish the recipe would have given the number of ounces of fresh ginger root.

Since I decided to double the recipe, I have limited space in my refrigerator, and the recipe called for the coconut milk after cooking the rest of the ingredients, this turned out to be the perfect storm of inspiration to make a soup starter or concentrate.

I decided to blog about this idea, since so many people these days are like me.  They have whole whipping cream, almond milk, coconut milk, A2 cow milk, plain greek yogurt, etc. taking up valuable real estate in their refrigerator.  Sometimes this is due to trying too many recipes and sometimes it’s because your family members are on different diets.

Here is a picture of some of the starter or concentrate that I made before having several bowls with different types of milk stirred in just before serving:

Beet Soup before any type of milk is added.

Beet Soup before any type of milk is added.

Now it’s time for me to clean up the kitchen.  I am glad that I doubled the recipe. I don’t want to go through this beet splatter clean up again this week.  Did someone say CSI photos are less messy?

Make Ahead Make Over 4 Bean Salad

4 Bean Salad

4 Bean Salad, no sugar added recipe

Recently, my mother was ill and I catered her a meal that included four bean salad.  Store bought mixtures are far too sweet tasting for me, so I made over a recipe from the early 1970’s.  This original recipe was in the Better Homes and Gardens Blender Cook Book.  My make over version eliminates table sugar and cuts the sodium by at least half.  You can find my version by going to my main web site, www. floridafuntimes.com and clicking on the “Cooking At Home” tab.

If the site is down for maintenance, it means that I am busy posting the recipe and check back in about 20 minutes for the computers to update.  But do check out this recipe.  It is fast, easy, nutritious, and can be stored in the refrigerate until you finish eating it up.  I have never seen it go bad, although I am sure it’s possible.  I enjoy having something like this that can be eaten cold, which is great for catering, picnics, hot weather, and a spur of the moment pot luck dish.

In the case of my mother, I had to drive more than an hour to her home.  All the food I took could be eaten cold and kept well in a cooler with ice.  It was just luck that I made this and other recipes when she happen to need it.  She was better by the next day; I think having good food ready for her to eat had something to do with it.

Hibiscus Tea and Fruit Punch Recipe

hibiscus tea and fruit punch

Hibiscus tea and fruit punch

The Twinings Tea Company, which has a presentation at the Festival Center at EPCOT, this weekend, has inspired me to make this post of a herbal tea and fruit juice punch recipe which I created. I was told that Twinings carries a hibiscus, pomegranate, and raspberry tea. This sounds delicious, and when I find it, I will try it.

Although I didn’t know about the Twinings hibiscus tea, and am not using it for this recipe, it is possible that you might use it to substitute for the Nile Valley brand which I am using. Depending on the amount of flavorings in the Twinings tea, you might want to reduce some of the fruit juice in my recipe.

This might make the punch recipe a bit more economical, as pure cranberry juice is quite expensive and difficult to find. Usually, I need to make a trip to the health food store. Big box stores carry apple juice flavored with cranberry juice. Pure doesn’t mean 100 per cent one type of juice. Read the ingredient statement carefully. The labels are very misleading.

Here is my original recipe, it has a sweet tart flavor and it’s very addictive:

Florida Fun Times Hibiscus Punch

6 pure hibiscus tea bags (I order this from Nile Valley Herbs)
spring water
3 stevia plus monk fruit packets, I use the Kal Brand
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup 100 % cranberry juice with no additives, sweeteners, or other juices
2 cups Pom Wonderful juice, or other brand of 100 % unsweetened pomegranate juice

In a saucepan, place tea bags and enough spring water to cover plus half inch. Bring to a boil. Boil for five to seven minutes. Turn off the heat and let the infusion of water and tea sit until it is cool.

Meanwhile squeeze and measure out 1/4 cup of lime juice. Set aside.

When the tea has cooled, remove each tea bag, and give them a good squeeze to save every drop.

Place a canning funnel, or other funnel, on top of a 64 ounce glass container. Pour in the hibiscus infusion. I usually sit the glass container in the sink. It’s easier that way.

Kal Stevia plus Monk Fruit

Kal Stevia plus Monk Fruit

With a table knife, one at a time, stir in each of the three Kal packets, mixing well after each one with the long table knife.

Add the rest of the ingredients, stirring well.

Add enough spring water to fill the glass container. Cover with the container top, or with waxed paper and a rubber band.

Keep refrigerated. Enjoy over ice, or straight up.

The White Coat and the Lunch Box

Recently, our daughter received her white medical coat, and she is on her way to achieving her dream of being a veterinarian.

Across the world, many people are entering dental, medical, or veterinary school, and preparing to work diligently morning, noon, and night to understand the overwhelming amount of information being presented to them. Lab courses can run into the early evening and study at the library sometimes lasts until closing time for many students.

With the size of a lunch box and no refrigeration, this presents some challenges to keep the food interesting. I am thinking about a world theme menu, and searching the Internet for recipes. For example, there could be sushi for a Japanese lunch, kimchi, for a Korean lunch, and shish kabobs for a Greek lunch. Certainly, most young children in this country might not appreciate wasabi, seaweed, spicy hot and sour kimchi, or be trusted to eat meat and vegetables from a pointed object. But I thought these mind and body health strengthening foods might be just the type of easily packed lunch box items for a young adult.

Is there someone out there who has tried to pack an adult box lunch for themselves, or for their family? Do you have any thoughts about this? Please send in a comment, even it it’s just packing suggestions. All help will be appreciated.