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Product Alert – Olive Oil Scandal

olive oil production

Is nothing sacred anymore? I love olive oil and have been using it for many years. It is good for your heart, helps reduce risk of stroke, is great for your cholesterol levels and more. So I was very disappointed to learn that this wonderful product is being tampered with by the unscrupulous. My favorite has been EVOO (Extra Virigin Olive Oil) because of its lighter taste.  I would hunt for good sales because I use it often and don’t like to run out. Now it turns out that I don’t really know what I’ve been buying. Here’s the real deal on olive oil.

A staggering 69% of all store bought olive oils in the US are fake. Many that claim to be Italian  are only bottled in Italy and not produced there. Many companies cut the olive oil with cheaper refined oil to increase their bottom line. Standards established by the International Olive Oil Council (OIC) found the following:

Of the five top-selling imported “extra virgin” olive oil brands in the United States, 73 percent of the samples failed the IOC sensory standards for extra virgin olive oils analyzed by two IOC-accredited sensory panels. The failure rate ranged from a high of 94 percent to a low of 56 percent depending on the brand and the panel. None of the Australian and California samples failed both sensory panels, while 11 percent of the top-selling premium Italian brand samples failed the two panels. Sensory defects are indicators that these samples are oxidized, of poor quality, and/or adulterated with cheaper refined oils.

3 ways to check if your EVOO is real:

  1. Check for the harvest date.                                                                     Seal of appoval
  2. See where it comes from (this means the specific region, not just the country)
  3. Check the cultivars (A cultivar is a plant or grouping of plants selected for desirable characteristics), or what olives the oil is composed of.

If these essential elements are missing, it doesn’t speak well to the quality of the oil or the producer. It is probably fake.

According to Consumer Reports’ study, many expensive imported olive oils just didn’t make the cut, even compared to American-grown brands that are available at a fraction of the price.The freshness with olive oil is important, and a cheap but freshly-pressed extra virgin olive oil is better than an expensive one that’s been stored for weeks before shipping, only to sit on a store shelf for weeks.

Also, stay away from anything labeled extra light.  Extra light refers not to the fat content, but to the the fact it’s technically more clear and refined than standard olive oil. Extra light typically has almost no flavor or color.

I’m switching to American produced oil while the powers that be try to get a handle on this situation and if you are health conscious should consider doing the same. Next time you go shopping just remember to really examine the label so you can keep enjoying this healthy, wonderful product.                          USA Oil

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Beef and Broccoli

I love Chinese food but it makes my blood sugar spike so I can’t have it as often as I would like.   This recipe fixes that!  It taste better and is better for you than any restaurant. Let me know if you try it. Enjoy!

  • Makes: 4 servings                                                                    Beef and Broccoli
  • Carb Grams Per Serving: 39

Ingredients

  •  3 teaspoons cornstarch
  •  1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  •  3 cloves garlic, minced
  •  1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  •  12 ounces boneless beef top sirloin steak, bias-sliced 1/8-inch thick*
  •  4 ounces Chinese egg noodles or whole wheat vermicelli
  •  1 pound fresh broccoli
  •  3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  •  2 tablespoons water
  •  2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  •  1 tablespoon canola oil
  •  3/4 cup reduced-sodium beef broth
  •  1 cup quartered and/or halved cherry tomatoes

Directions

  1.  In a medium bowl stir together 2 teaspoons of the cornstarch, the soy sauce, garlic, and crushed red pepper; add beef and stir to coat. Marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes.
  2.  Meanwhile, cook Chinese noodles or vermicelli according to package directions, except omit salt; drain and set aside.
  3.  Cut broccoli into 2-inch florets. Peel broccoli stem and cut into 1/2-inch slices; set aside. For sauce: Stir together hoisin sauce, the water, sesame oil, and the remaining 1 teaspoon cornstarch; set aside.
  4.  In a very large skillet or wok heat canola oil over medium-high heat. Add beef mixture; stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes or until still slightly pink in center. Remove beef mixture; set aside.
  5.  Stir beef broth into skillet, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of skillet. Add broccoli; bring to boiling. Reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until broccoli is crisp-tender.
  6.  Add sauce to broccoli; cook and stir until thickened. Add beef and tomatoes; heat through. Serve over cooked Chinese noodles or whole wheat vermicelli.

Tip

  • *Test Kitchen Tip: For easier slicing, freeze the beef for 30 to 60 minutes before slicing.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:

Servings Per Recipe: 4
PER SERVING: 379 cal., 14 g total fat (4 g sat. fat), 48 mg chol., 532 mg sodium, 39 g carb. (8 g fiber, 7 g sugars), 26 g pro.

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Food Speak Shopping

chef-papercraft

Get your chef on at my new shopping page. I am trying to find the things you need at a great price! Need something you just can’t find? Let me know what you want and I’ll try to find it? Inventory will change monthly so if you see something you want, grab it.  Happy shopping! 

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100 Greatest Cooking Tips (of all time!)

100 Greatest Cooking Tips (of all time!)

Tips from the best of the best. Enjoy!

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Asian Chicken and Slaw

If you prefer to make your own coleslaw then by all means do so!!                                                                   Chicken Coleslaw3

Ingredients

  • 1-1/4 pounds ground chicken
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 green onions (including some green), finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 can (8 ounces) water chestnuts, drained and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons dark Asian sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 package (16 ounces) shredded coleslaw mix
  • 1/4 cup beef broth

Directions

  1. Combine chicken, 2 cloves garlic, green onions, 2 teaspoons ginger, half of water chestnuts, 2 teaspoons sesame oil, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, hoisin sauce, 3/4 teaspoon salt and pepper in a medium- size bowl. Shape into patties.
  2. Heat remaining 2 teaspoons sesame oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties and cook 4 minutes per side or until internal temperature registers 165 degrees F on an instant thermometer. Remove to a serving platter and keep warm.
  3. Add remaining garlic, water chestnuts, soy sauce and salt to skillet, along with coleslaw mix. Cook over medium-high heat 7 minutes. Add broth, cover and cook 3 minutes or until tender. Serve slaw alongside patties.
Nutritional Information (Per Serving)
Calories: 344
Protein: 32 g
Sodium: 579 mg
Fat: 16 g
Carbohydrates: 5 g
Exchanges: 3 Low-Fat Meat; 2 Fat
 
Source: Family Circle’s “All-time Favorite Recipes”

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Dominick’s Deli & Resturant – 5249 Ehrlich Rd Tampa

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Sauteed Spinach with Garlic

Ingredients

1 pound raw spinach
2 tablespoons olive oilsauted garlic
1 fresh tomato
2 cloves garlic

Salt & Pepper to taste
Directions

Wash spinach thoroughly and drain.
Saute tomato and garlic in olive oil in a large saute pan.
Add spinach, cover and cook over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring a few times.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Cook, uncovered, 5 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.
Nutritional Information (Per Serving)

Calories: 108
Protein: 3.9 g
Sodium: 94 mgspinach and tomato and garlicFat: 7 g
Carbohydrates: 4 g
Exchanges: 1 Vegetable; 1-1/2 Fat
Source: The Diabetic Newsletter

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