Honey & BeeThe Sweet Truth Behind Honey 

How much do you know about the honey bear bottle in your pantry? With recent confusion over pollen and filtration, the National Honey Board (NHB) wants to clarify any misconceptions surrounding this natural ingredient with harvesting, filtration and nutrition facts about honey. With more than 300 varietals of honey in the United States, honey adds its own unique profile to every recipe. Plus, honey has many benefits before and after it gets to the pantry.

An Artisanal Craft: Harvesting honey is an ancient craft that begins with the honey bees. Honey is made from nectar, gathered by honey bees from flowering plants. The honeycomb is then removed from the beehive and honey is extracted by a beekeeper. Afterward, it is shipped off to a honey packer who places the golden liquid into honey containers, finally landing in a supermarket near you. It’s both an art and science that generates a myriad of honey varieties, ranging in both flavor and appearance.

Filtering Honey: To improve clarity and delay crystallization, many honey packers use a filtration method. The honey is warmed up to help it flow through the filters to remove pollen or residues from the beehive. Because filtered honey is cleaner and clearer than nonfiltered honey, it is less likely to crystallize as quickly and it’s more consistent in texture. Once the honey is filtered, it goes through the bottling stage.

“Through our recent Attitude and Usage study1, the National Honey Board has learned that when purchasing honey, 48 percent of consumers say it’s important for honey to be brilliantly clear and golden,” Bruce Boynton, CEO, National Honey Board, said. “Also, based on a recent research study2, we learned that filtering honey did not impact its nutrient content. We think these two studies are important as we continue to educate consumers on the multifaceted journey of harvesting honey to distributing it.”

Pure Honey Is Just That: Read the label: Honey contains only one ingredient: honey. With no added ingredients or preservatives, honey is just honey. Pure honey is sold in several forms: comb, liquid, creamed/whipped and organic. A honey blend or honey syrup should list the other ingredients or sweeteners. Take the stress out of finding pure honey in your area and visit www.honeylocator.com.

Versatility in the Kitchen: Honey can be used as something other than just a sweetener for your tea or on toast. Think of it as a natural flavor booster. Just take one look at the versatility of honey, and it’s easy to see why it’s a secret culinary weapon that can provide balance to any dish, complementing and enhancing a variety of foods and flavors: sweet, sour, bitter, salty and savory. Honey also masks bitter flavors often found in gluten-free flours. This natural sweetener can also be used as an emulsifier in sauces and dips, a glaze for meats and vegetables, and as a humectant to attract and retain moisture in baked goods.

Whole-Body Benefits: This versatile ingredient is traditionally found in the kitchen pantry, but can also live on the bathroom vanity, in the gym bag and inside the medicine cabinet. Did you know honey can be used as a natural cough suppressant? A teaspoon or two of honey can be taken to soothe and relieve the irritation of a cough, according to emerging research2. Plus, at approximately 17 grams of carbohydrates per one tablespoon, honey is an effective, all-natural energy booster. Honey is also a humectant. This means it attracts and retains moisture, making it an ideal ingredient for a natural skin care regimen. Add a little honey to your normal moisturizing routine, or enjoy a honey mask every once in a while and reap the benefits of this liquid gold.

From being a vital component in a healthy ecosystem to providing whole-body benefits, honey is a sweetener with so much more. Visit www.storyofhoney.com to watch the minidocumentary “The Story of Honey,” which captures the many positives of honey.

1. National Honey Board, Attitude & Usage Study, 2013. Phone survey of 501 households nationwide, which consisted of men and women between the ages of 21 and 74. Ketchum Global Research & Analytics designed and analyzed this phone survey, fielded by Braun Research. January 5-11, 2013. Margin of Error: 4.4%
2. Ropa, D. “Comparison of Vitamin, Mineral and Antioxidant Levels in Raw and Processed Honey.” 2012. Research project funded by the National Honey Board.
3. http://news.psu.edu/story/192001/2007/12/03/honey-proves-better-option-childhood-cough-otcs

*Article courtesy of NAPS.* Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.*

Sweeties are high in vitamins B6, C, and D, iron, potassium and magnesium. And they’re super sweet but won’t spike insulin like their more common, white-potato cousins do. They are the perfect sidekick to most rolls, AND they’re really good dipped in Green Goddess Dressing, Schmoo, Green Slime, Green Dream, Orange Zinger, Grecian Dip, and, and, and….

Sweeties

(Sweet Potato Crisps)

2 medium, organic, sweet potatoes, peeled
2 tablespoons/30 ml olive oil
1 tablespoon/15 ml soy sauce
1 teaspoon/5 ml lime juice
Salt, to taste

Preparation

Preheat oven to 300°F/150°C.

With a Y-shaped peeler (see Equipment, page 183) peel sweet potato flesh lengthwise into long strips. Mix olive oil, soy sauce and lime juice, and toss potato slices to coat.

Lay out slices in a single layer on parchment-lined baking sheets and bake for about 1½ hours. Rotate your baking sheets as needed, depending on your oven. When the potatoes start turning golden brown they’re almost done—be careful not to over-brown. Sprinkle with a bit of salt immediately after removing from oven. Sweeties will keep for 2 to 3 days in a zipper-lock bag.

Makes about 3 cups of chips.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Stealth Health Lunches Kids Will Love, by Tracy Griffith.*

Emerald City BurgersA double dose of cheese helps these green guys go down. Packed with energy-rich beans and mighty spinach, these emerald burgers are just what the great and healthy Oz ordered.

Emerald City Burgers

(Veggie Burgers in Mini Pitas)

Ingredients

1 16-ounce/450 g can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup/27.5 g baby spinach leaves
½ cup/75 g rice crumbs
½ cup/45 g cheddar cheese, finely grated
½ cup/75 g finely grated carrots (about 2 medium carrots)
1 scallion, finely chopped
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Kosher salt and ground pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon/15 ml olive oil
4 ounces/113 g mozzarella cheese, shredded
4 gluten-free mini pitas
Green Slime (page 158) for serving
Alfalfa sprouts, for topping (optional)

Preparation

In a food processor, briefly pulse the pinto beans and the spinach. Then add rice crumbs, cheddar cheese, carrots, scallion and egg, and pulse briefly again. Pour out into a bowl and season with salt and pepper,
mixing with your hands. Form 8 small 3-inch/7.6 cm patties.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Fry veggie patties, pressing lightly to flatten, until browned—about 3 minutes. Flip burgers, sprinkle mozzarella on tops and cook another 3 minutes. Warm pitas, slice almost to the end and swipe a little Green Slime inside both pita sides. Tuck in a warm burger, and stuff in a couple of sprouts if you can!

Serves 4.

Serve with Bunny Nibbles (page 149) or Origami Crisps (page 140).

*Recipe and image courtesy of “Stealth Health Lunches Kids Will Love,” by Tracy Griffith.*

Mighty Oats GroupIf you have a tiny tot at home, then “Mom” hopes you have heard of the nutritious, organic snack & cereal line with the mission to provide kids with good food for a healthy lifestyle! “Mom’s” baby girl is a BIG fan of their Tiny Fruits, a full line of no-sugar added, bite-sized snacks made from 100 percent organic fruit using a slow drying process to preserve the essential nutrients and phytochemicals found in fruit. In baby language, that’s “num-num-num” and a whole lot of yelling when the bag is empty!

Mighty Oats Blueberry Cinnamon

In April, Little Duck Organics launched Mighty Oats, a certified organic instant cereal for little ones that comes in first-of-its-kind plantable and compostable packaging. Yes, you read that correctly! Adding a fun upcycling component, the plantable, biodegradable cardboard outer casing of the packaging is embedded with vegetable seeds – tomatoes, lettuce and carrots – giving kiddos the ability to grow their own vegetable gardens. What a perfect summertime activity!

This delicious, eco-friendly, no sugar added, Non-GMO Project-verified breakfast cereal is made with a blend of good-for-your-baby ancient grains (Quinoa, Amaranth, Chia, Buckwheat, Millet and Oats) and comes in three tasty flavors – Strawberry & Vanilla, Blueberry & Cinnamon and Coconut & Banana. “Mom’s” little one likes the Blueberry & Cinnamon! (num-num-num!)

Mighty Oats is ideal for children over four months of age. Each container takes just 60 seconds to make and is truly all-natural with no added salts, sugars, colors or preservatives.

Tiny Fruits - Blueberry Apple

Mom” is loving that Zak Normandin, the 29-year-old father-of-three founder and CEO (who created Little Duck after not being able to find no-sugar-added, organic snacks for his little ones), wanted Little Duck Organics’ take on baby cereal to be a product consumers can feel good about giving their kids. With function and convenience top of mind, Little Duck packaged the cereal in a compostable bowl that breaks down in less than six months for an eco-friendly, on-the-go meal. How’s that for feeling a little less guilty when hitting the road this summer with the kids in tow!?

At Tiny Green Mom, we love the fact that all of Little Duck Organics products are certified organic, gluten-free and Kosher, all-natural (no added salts, sugars, colors or preservatives) and Non‐GMO Project verified. As a Certified B Corporation, Little Duck Organics meets rigorous social and environmental standards, sourcing directly from certified organic U.S. farms. You can learn more at www.littleduckorganics.com.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this piece.*

Lemon Chia FizzIt’s the perfect drink to serve at a brunch for your mother, with chia seeds as a garnish and bubbling with Blackberry Hibiscus Mamma Chia drink!

Lemon Chia Fizz

Ingredients

3 lemon wedges
3/4 ounces simple syrup
2 ounces Meyer Lemon Sake
Chambord
Louis Roederer Champagne
Mamma Chia, blackberry hibiscus flavor
Chia seeds for garnish
 
Preparation

Muddle three lemon wedges, add Lemon Sake, shake and strain into champagne glass.

Add Mamma Chia blackberry hibiscus, then top with champagne and splash of Chambord. Garnish with chia seeds and serve in a champagne glass.

Serves 1.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Mamma Chia.*

Artichoke TartFrom Executive chef De’Ann Wellwerts at the Markethouse in Chicago, Illinois comes this rich, filling tart made with artichokes.

Artichoke Tart

Ingredients
 
8 oz. all-purpose flour
 
4 oz. butter, diced, cold   (“Mom” prefers organic)
 
Ice water, as needed
 
Pinch of sea salt          
 
1 fresh thyme sprig, leaves only   
 
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
 
1/4 cup Spring garlic, sliced
 
4 fresh artichoke hearts, fresh, cooked
 
5 Sundried tomatoes, sliced
 
3 oz. Goat cheese               
 
8 Eggs (“Mom” prefers cage-free eggs)
 
2 Tbsp. Heavy cream (“Mom” prefers organic)
 
Salt and pepper, as needed
 
Artichoke cooking liquid, as needed
 
Parsley, finely chopped, as needed
 
Chives, finely chopped, as needed

Preparation
 
1. Combine cold butter and flour until mixture resembles coarse meal, add in thyme leaves. Add water little by little until the dough comes together.
 
2. Knead dough into a ball and chill for one hour, can also be made the day before.
 
3. Roll out dough in a circle and line 4- 4 inch tart molds and dock with a fork. Cover with parchment paper and weights (dried beans or uncooked rice) and blind bake shells for 10 minutes at 350*F.
 
4. In small sauté pan, add artichoke hearts, 1 Oz artichoke cooking liquid and spring garlic.
 
5. Reduce to a glaze, add 1 tsp parsley.
 
6. When fully glazed cut artichoke hearts, cut into quarters, then reserve.
 
7. Divide Artichoke heart mixture between tarts, 4 pieces per tart.

8. Top with sundried tomatoes, about 1 TBSP per tart.
 
9. In separate bowl mix eggs, cream, salt and pepper.
 
10. Pour over artichoke and tomato mixture in tarts. Leave a rim in case they soufflé.
 
11. Garnish the top with crumbled goat cheese and chives.
 
12 Bake another 10-12 minutes at 350*F until tart is fully cooked, serve warm.

Makes 4 servings.

Mother & DaughterTen Thank-Yous Your Mother Should Hear

Nothing makes mothers happier than to know that they’ve raised fulfilled, healthy, successful, and self-aware kids. On Mother’s Day, let your mom know exactly what she did to turn you into the adult you are today and how her influence still shapes your life. Be specific!

From Todd Patkin, here are ten suggestions to get you started.
 
• First and foremost, thank you for always telling me how proud you were of me and pointing out all of the ways in which I was (and am!) special. Because of you, I know how important it is to love yourself.
 
• Thank you for insisting that I always be on time. I may have dragged my feet a lot as a kid, but now I know that punctuality shows respect for other people.
 
• Thank you for showing me how to conduct a civil disagreement with others. While I don’t enjoy confrontation, I am comfortable sharing and defending my views.
 
• Thank you for being a stickler about completing chores. I may never love to vacuum and do laundry, but I know how to keep myself and my house clean.
 
• Thank you for teaching me that people do judge a book by its cover. I may not always be a walking fashion plate, but I do take pride in my appearance. And I know to iron my shirt and pants before important occasions!
 
• Thank you for forcing me to eat asparagus and Brussels sprouts when all I wanted was chicken fingers and potato chips. Now I’m a healthy eater who loves the produce aisle!
 
• Thank you for encouraging me to keep trying and practicing after I was cut from the soccer team. You taught me how to be determined and resilient, and that persistence usually pays off. (I made the team the following year!)
 
• Thank you for teaching me how to be polite and courteous to everyone I meet. I have gotten to know so many interesting people because I simply smiled and said hello!
 
• Thank you for reading bedtime stories to me for years. You introduced me to so many new ideas, and you helped to make me a creative and imaginative person.
 
• Thank you for drilling me on my spelling words before my quiz each week. You taught me how valuable it is to put your best effort into whatever job you happen to be doing. You were right when you told me that careful preparation usually helps you to get results you can be proud of!
 
About the Author

Todd Patkin, author of Finding Happiness: One Man’s Quest to Beat Depression and Anxiety and—Finally—Let the Sunshine In, Twelve Weeks to Finding Happiness: Boot Camp for Building Happier People, and The Sunny Days Secret: A Guide for Finding Happiness (coming 2014), grew up in Needham, Massachusetts. After graduating from Tufts University, he joined the family business and spent the next eighteen years helping to grow it to new heights. After it was purchased by Advance Auto Parts in 2005, he was free to focus on his main passions: philanthropy and giving back to the community, spending time with family and friends, and helping more people learn how to be happy. Todd lives with his wonderful wife, Yadira, their amazing son, Josh, and two great dogs, Tucker and Hunter.
 
About the Books

Finding Happiness: One Man’s Quest to Beat Depression and Anxiety and—Finally—Let the Sunshine In (StepWise Press, 2011, ISBN: 978-0-9658261-9-8, $19.95) is available at bookstores nationwide, from major online booksellers, and at www.findinghappinessthebook.com.

*Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.*