Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

Breadman bread machine review

My husband gave me a Breadman Pro Bread machine for Valentines Day this year. I was excited to be able to make fresh bread so easily and we both agree that it’s also healthier than the store bought versions which have preservatives and typically other ingredients that we would like to avoid (i.e. high fructose corn syrup).

Everything was great for a couple months. I made bread about once a week and found a whole wheat recipe that we loved. It also made fantastic fresh bread that we loved with our spaghetti dinners. And it was so easy – just measure everything, liquids on bottom, yeast last and boom, in a few hours you have a lovely loaf of bread. However it soon stopped kneading on one cycle, then another. Since it was still under warranty, I contacted the manufacturer and they sent a replacement.

So the replacement came, a BR2500, so I prepped it and was excited about the delayed timer function. That night, I decided to make fresh bread to have for lunches the next day, so I set the delay feature to start about 3:30am. At about that time, I am awakened by a very loud beating noise, like someone beating metal with a heavy object. I was scared to death someone was breaking in our house. My heart pounding, I headed towards the sound and found it was the bread machine. I closed all the doors between our bedrooms and the kitchen (which reside on opposite ends of the house anyway). Still heard it, so I had to move it behind one more door into the laundry room and stuff towels under the door. I could still hear it, but at least it was faint enough I could go to sleep with a pillow over my head. Hoping for a fluke, I tried again on a different cycle, hoping for a different result, yet it was the same loud beating/grinding sound.

Needless to say, Applica (who manufactures this piece of equipment) got another email requesting a replacement for my replacement. Now, let me back up a second and mention that even though the bread machine is not working properly, they expect you to pay for shipping of a new machine to you, as well as pay for the shipping of the cord to them (with tracking no less). Applica received an earful for this. I was not about to pay for them to ship me a new machine, but I did ship them the cord the first time and got them to waive the shipping of the new machine. The 2nd time however, I was not going to spend another dime, so I requested a prepaid label to ship them the cord of the “new” bread machie.

I am currently awaiting my 3rd breadman. I am reallyhoping it will work. If not, I will put the Zojirushi Home Bakery Bread Machine on my wishlist. While the reviews of this machine on Amazon are not perfect, they are much better than the Breadman.

What do I want out of a bread machine? At this point, honestly, I would love one that just works. I will say the different size loaves, a delay setting, and the ability to customize are nice.

If I were to start from scratch and replace my bread machine today, I would consider these, in order of my preference:

Zojirushi Home Bakery Bread Machine. Definitely more expensive at $227 on Amazon, but this brand is clearly the Cadillac of bread makers).
Panasonic’s Automatic Breadmaker also gets good reviews and is about as affordable as the Breadman at $105, and there is another version with a fruit and nut dispenser.
Sunbeam (reviews are only slightly better than the Breadman, but it’s currently about $55 from Amazon.)
West Bend 2lb Bread Machine gets fairly good reviews as well and is affordable at $60
Cuisinart has an OK one, though the reviews to be put it only slightly over the Breadman

Watch for any Black Friday deals and near-or after-Christmas sales.

High Fructose Corn Syrup contains mercury

A new study shows half the samples tested contained mercury. This includes 1/3 of 55 popular name brands where HFCS is the first or second ingredient.

Mercury contamination is very harmful and toxic in all forms. It should be avoided. Pregnant women are advised to avoid certain fish because of high levels of mercury.

High fructose corn syrup is a synthetic sweetner that has replaced sugar in many items. It’s much cheaper than sugar, so is used by many companies in all types of foods and all kinds of brands. 

“Mercury is toxic in all its forms. Given how much high-fructose corn syrup is consumed by children, it could be a significant additional source of mercury never before considered. We are calling for immediate changes by industry and the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] to help stop this avoidable mercury contamination of the food supply,” said the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy’s Dr. David Wallinga, a co-author of both studies.

The use of mercury-contaminated caustic soda in the production of HFCS is common. The contamination occurs when mercury cells are used to produce caustic soda. So the good news is HFCS can be produced without caustic soda, the bad news is us consumers do not know if the HFCS containing products we are consuming are produced using caustic soda or not.

What can you do? Avoid HFCS. Read the labels, if it contains HFCS, put it back on the shelf. This is what I have done, even before knowing about the mercury contaimination.

We try to avoid sythetically produced ingredients in our house, opting for the safe and natural stuff. HFCS has also been linked to behavioral problems, but not sure anything has been proven there. Though I know several kids who were taken off HFCS and their behavior improved drastically with this change alone. Proof enough for me. 

Related Articles
Is Horizon milk really organic?
Grass fed beef is healthier
Is your organic food really organic

Is it safe to microwave plastic?

The Milwaukee Wisconsin Sentinel conducted a study on the safety of microwaving plastics. Surprisingly, BPA (bisphenol-A) was found to be leaching from many types of plastic, not just polycarbonate. And these plastic containers are labeled “microwave safe,” a claim that is commonly used yet not regulated.

Excerpt:
“The amounts detected were at levels that scientists have found cause neurological and developmental damage in laboratory animals,” the paper reports. “The problems include genital defects, behavioral changes and abnormal development of mammary glands. The changes to the mammary glands were identical to those observed in women at higher risk for breast cancer.”

Makes me glad I recently ditched my plastic for glass, and I usually remove the plastic lid before putting in the microwave and ensure no plastic is touching food in the microwave.

BPA was also found in the plastic trays of microwavable meals, microwavable soup containers and plastic baby food packaging. Even in plastics labeled #1, 2 and 5, which are generally considered safe and typically BPA-free.

This researcher simply states
“There is no such thing as safe microwaveable plastic,” said Frederick vom Saal, a University of Missouri researcher who oversaw the newspaper’s testing.

Related Articles
BPA free bottles, sippies and food storage
Baby products packaged in PVC
Canada bans baby bottles with BPA
BPA linked to chemotherapy resistance

Pregnant women told to avoid BPA packaging

I saw this article this morning. Good advice for pregnant & lactating women in avoiding the hormone mimicking BPA.

Pregnant women told to avoid BPA packaging
By Charlotte Eyre
 
03-Apr-2008 – A US health-advocacy group has warned that pregnant women should reduce their exposure to packaging that contains bisphenol A (BPA) to avoid passing the controversial chemical to their unborn children.

The warning, from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), will serve as yet more negative publicity for packaging companies, many of which use BPA when manufacturing polycarbonates for water bottles, canned soups and drinks, and baby food bottles.

“We don’t want to tell people not to eat canned beans or tomatoes,” said CSPI nutritionist David Schardt. “But at the same time, it makes sense for all parents, and especially pregnant and nursing women, to minimize the exposure of their kids’ developing bodies and brains to BPA.”

The group cites a scientific study published by the National Institute of Environmental Health (NIEH) in August last year, which warned that rats exposed to BPA experienced “a wide range of adverse effects”.

While the influence on humans has not yet been fully studied, the NIEH said that the changes in the animals indicated that BPA may provoke childhood health problems such as early onset of puberty, obesity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and urogenital abnormalities.

According to the CSPI, these findings are worrying enough to call for pregnant women to boycott packaging products containing BPA.

“In fact, the food industry could make life easier by phasing it out entirely,” Schart said.

Bisphenol A was first studied in the 1930s as a possible mimic of the hormone estrogen in women. The chemical was later developed to make clear plastics for use in the food industry.

Several scientific results have been conducted into the safey of BPA in recent years, and researchers have also linked it to adult health concerns, especially breast and prostate cancer.

In 2007, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) set a maximum limit for human daily intake of BPA of five milligrams per kilo of body weight per day, but stressed that more studies were needed to link the chemical with human health problems.

The Canadian government has also launched a study into BPA, the results of which are expected later this year.

Related Articles:

  • “Cheat sheet” of BPA-free sippy cups and bottles
  • Pregnant women told to avoid BPA
  • Today Show report on BPA & plastic safety
  • BPA may lead to health problems such as obesity and ADD/ADHD
  • Whole Foods private label canned food contain BPA
  • Canned foods and BPA
  • BPA is found in infant formula
  • Gerber baby food containers
  • BPA and other plastic safety
  • Z Recommends: The Z Report on BPA In Infant Care Products, Third Edition
  • Environmental Working Group: Guide to Baby Safe Bottles & Formula
  • Environmental Working Groups Report on BPA in Baby Formula
  • Breastmilk contains stem cells
  • Breastmilk cures
  • Can breastmilk cure cancer?
  • What they didn’t tell you about recent meat recall

    This is disturbing. Once again consumers are not being protected. I have to wonder how often this happens?

    What they didn’t tell you about recent meat recall
    By Stephen J. Hedges

    Chicago Tribune

    So why haven’t those products been recalled?

    They have been — very quietly.

    Nestlé, General Mills, Heinz and ConAgra each acknowledged to news organizations that they have recalled products containing beef from the meatpacking company Hallmark/Westland. Read more….

    Aunt Jemima Pancake & Waffle Mix recall

    I need to check my pantry. I think we have some of this mix. Yikes! 

    Business Week 
    March 4, 2008

    The Quaker Oats Co. said Tuesday it is recalling a limited number of Aunt Jemima Pancake & Waffle Mix products because of potential salmonella contamination from raw or undercooked ingredients.

    The company said a small quantity of Aunt Jemima Pancake & Waffle Mix: Original, Original Complete and Buttermilk Complete products are included in the recall. The recalled products are sold in 2 pound and 5 pound boxes with best-before dates of Feb. 8, 2009 through Feb. 16, 2009 stamped on the top.

    The company added that no illnesses have been reported.

    Quaker said any consumers with the recalled products can return them to the place they were purchased for a full refund.

    The company said it has identified the warehouses involved and is in the process of recovering any products that were potentially contaminated.

    Chicken recalled over bacteria scare

    Another recall I found today…

    By The Associated Press

    A New York company recalled nearly 7,000 pounds of chicken and meat products Tuesday while three other companies recalled another 16,332 pounds of a chicken product because the foods could be contaminated with the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes.

    Listeria is a microorganism that can cause serious or fatal infections in children, the elderly or those with weakened immune systems. No illnesses have been reported to date, according to the Agriculture Department’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, which sampled the products.

    Gourmet Boutique LLC of Jamaica, N.Y., recalled 6,970 pounds of 12 meat and poultry products, which each bear the production code GBD 08058 on the package. These products, which are mostly chicken but also include meatloaf and turkey, were sent to stores in Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Wisconsin, as well as distribution centers in New York.

    In separate announcements this week, three importers recalled 16,332 pounds of Discover Cuisine Red Curry Chicken & Jasmine Rice, with a best buy date of Dec. 18 this year, because the food also could be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. This was sent to stores nationwide.

    This product’s recall includes 3,780 pounds from Inovata Foods of Alberta, Canada; 10,368 pounds from Costco Wholesale of Issaquah, Wash., and 2,184 pounds from Meijer Distribution Center of Grand Rapids, Mich.

    For more information on the curry chicken and rice recall, consumers can call Inovata at 780-454-8665 ext. 236. For more information on the recall from Gourmet Boutique, consumers can call 718-977-1200.

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