Mmmm, Butter

March 27, 2014

“[T]here’s just no evidence to support the notion that saturated fat increases the risk of heart disease.”
Bittman Op Ed citing Journal Annals of Internal Medicine

Well, hallelujah, because Kerrygold butter is delicious.



Is Yogurt Junk Food?

March 25, 2014

In my mind, yogurt and Cheerios go hand in hand when it comes to baby foods – healthy, almost universally loved, and always stocked in our house.  A few months ago, I was looking at yogurt labels to compare protein and noticed that plain yogurt has sugar in it! straus-family-creamery I don’t know why this never occurred to me, but I assumed plain yogurt was sugarfree since it doesn’t taste sweet, but Strauss Organic plain yogurt has 7g of sugar in 1 cup.  That’s almost 2 tsp.  I guess that isn’t that bad, though it is about the same as a regular sized cookie (6g), which I don’t let my kids eat, but once you start getting into the flavors, one cup of yogurt has about the same amount of sugar as a can of soda!  And oddly, lowfat yogurt typically has more sugar than full fat yogurt.  Here’s a list of how much sugar is in 1 cup/8 ounces of the following foods:

  • Cheerios – 1g
  • Strauss plain – whole milk – 7g
  • Strauss plain greek – whole milk – 9gsugar
  • Strauss plain – lowfat and nonfat – 10g
  • Whole/reduced fat milk – 12 g
  • Strauss plain greek – low fat – 12g
  • Fruit Loops – 12g (This is just here for comparison, I am not suggesting that anyone give their kids Fruit Loops, Frosted Flakes, or Coke!)
  • Frosted Flakes – 15g
  • Strauss blueberry pomegranate- whole milk – 25g
  • Coke – 26g
  • Strauss maple – whole milk – 27g
  • Strauss vanilla – whole milk – 32g
  • Strauss vanilla – nonfat – 33g

Obviously there are good things about yogurt that cookies, sugar cereal, and soda don’t have – calcium, protein, good bacteria – but is it worth the sugar?  I’m inclined to think it’s not worth the sugar in flavored yogurt.  Since my boys don’t drink a lot of milk or eat a lot of meat, we’ll stick with plain greek yogurt for calcium and protein for now, but 2-3 tsp still seems like a lot of sugar to me.  Maybe I should be encouraging cheese eating over yogurt eating/milk drinking.

Has anyone else thought about this?  Am I the only one who didn’t know yogurt and milk has lots of sugar in it?  Am I being totally nuts?

Update: Milk sugar is natural, like sugar in fruit, so I guess it’s not as bad as soda or sugar cereal, but something to keep your eye on as your kid suck down bowls of yogurt, especially when those bowls often proceed bowls of fruit!

Update 2: In case you’re not reading the comments, the fiber in fruit and the fat/protein in dairy slow the absorption of natural sugar, so stick with plain yogurt and everything will be a-ok.

Cronuts – finally!

March 21, 2014

I blame motherhood for being REALLY late to the cronut game.  In February, we were in Tahoe with friends and they talked about cronuts like they were sliced bread.  When I asked for clarification, I was struck with a deep sense of FOMA that I had not yet tasted one.  For those of you as non-food hip as me, a cronut is the baby of a croissant and donut.  Sounds delicious, right?

Some history based on a very superficial google search:  The cronut was created in NYC by Chef Dominique Ansel in May 2013 and has made it as far as downtown Oakland, but, as far as I can tell, not to Berkeley.  It seems like the west coast cronuts are all made and distributed by Posh Bakery in Santa Clara.  Ansel has also trademarked “cronut”, so on the west coast, people are sometimes calling them “cronots” or some other bastardized form of cronut.

Well, over a month later, I finally remembered to track down one of these cronuts, which was not that easy.  I tried to find one in Berkeley, but it seem like only Paris Bakery had them and the reviews weren’t great (unexpectedly, it’s a South Korean chain – no Paris connection at all).  The only places I found that sold cronuts in the east bay are in downtown Oakland and though that isn’t far from where I live/work, it’s too far to go during lunch and not that convenient to go on the weekend with kids.  There are probably other places, but that was all I could find with information available online.  So, I sent my very accommodating partner on a mission to Lee’s Deli in downtown San Francisco to secure a cronut to bring home.  Admittedly, it would be not be super fresh, but at least it would be a same day cronut.  To give him further props, he forgot them in his office and had to take a later bus because he went back to get them for me.  What a nice guy 🙂

The verdict?  Cronuts are overrated.  My partner brought me a glazed cronut and a cinnamon sugar one.  Weirdly, they were different textures from each other.  The cinnamon sugar one was drier and more bready.


DSC_0797The glazed one was like a dense croissant in the shape of a donut with glaze on it.  DSC_0791

DSC_0794A few bites was more than enough.  They were too dense, too sugary, and too greasy.  I’m guessing there are better cronuts out there, but I’m not going to go out of my way to find them.  On a happier note, there were donut muffins in my office today from Bette’s Diner and those were light, fluffy, and not greasy at all – delicious!

Update: I had another cronut that my friend got from a grocery delivery place (sorry, don’t know the name) and it was much better.  It was still greasy, but not as dense as the ones from Lee’s Deli and the chocolate on top was dark, so its bitterness balanced the otherwise sweet treat.  Not all cronuts are created equal, but I still like croissants and donuts better in their unmixed form, leading to my groundbreaking realization that frying things doesn’t always make them better!


Discovering Banana Cream Pie

November 3, 2012

I grew up in a family where we didn’t eat a lot of sweets growing up.  We weren’t deprived.  It just wasn’t part of what we did, so I never realized I was supposed to want cookies, candy, cake, etc.  We had it sometimes, it just wasn’t a big deal.  Because of this, there are lots of common desserts I’ve never had or didn’t have until much later in life.  Here’s a magical story about how I discovered banana cream pie.  It had always sounded really gross to me.  Banana pie?  A pile of whipped cream?  Ick.  I wasn’t interested.

(Side story about whipped cream: I didn’t taste real whipped cream until I waitressed at an Italian cafe in high school that served it.  Then, it wasn’t until my mid-20s that I discovered it was really easy to make fresh whipped cream yourself!  A few weeks ago, I discovered Clover whipped cream in a can tastes just like homemade whipped cream!  (Thank you Sarah T. for changing my life.))

I went to Tartine last year for the first time with a friend who was visiting SF.  (She moved here recently and I’m pretty sure Tartine had a part in her decision).  Everything we ate there was pretty good, above average, but not necessarily worth the wait or the price.  My friend got the banana cream pie to go and home we went.  For some reason, fate possibly, she left the pie in my fridge and flew back to Boston.  Well, what’s a girl to do with a pie in her fridge?  Try it, of course!  Holy crap – this is not your ordinary banana cream pie.  (I’ve since had “normal” banana cream pie and it’s not great.)

Tartine’s banana cream pie has a layer of caramel and chocolate on the bottom of a deliciously flaky crust, with both banana cream and chunks of banana, real whipped cream, and shavings of chocolate on top.

Ummm, hello?  This is magic in your mouth, amazing banana cream pie!  It’s a good thing Tartine is across the Bay, has insanely long lines, and is in a neighborhood that has no parking, or I’d be buying banana cream pies every day!

Vegan Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes

October 24, 2012

As a lover of cheese, I used to think eating vegan was something akin to punishment, but a friend of mine couldn’t eat dairy for six months because her baby was allergic.  She made vegan shortbread cookies that were so delicious that it opened my mind.  Then, I got a Sunset magazine with a recipe from famed vegan baker Chloe Coscarelli for Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes.  I made them as an experiment, not quite believing that they could taste good (especially because vinegar is an ingredient), but they were delicious!  When I make these again, I will probably just make regular frosting because I’m not vegan and I think shortening is more unhealthy than butter, but the shortening frosting did taste pretty good.

I won’t copy the recipe here because you can get it from Chloe Coscarelli’s website, but I will include a picture of one of my cupcakes!

Looks pretty good, right?

Ode to Semifreddi’s Morning Bun

October 4, 2012

Oh Semifreddi’s morning bun,

I love to pull off each of your flaky, buttery layers dusted with sugary love to expose your doughy middle.

(I would include a picture of the one I bought at Berkeley Bowl, but I ate it, so here’s one from online.)

Irish Soda Bread

August 12, 2012

There’s no need to wait for St. Patrick’s Day to make this.


  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp bakind soda
  • 1 tsp salt

Add to the above and rub with fingers until a coarse meal forms.

  • 3 tbsp butter cubed

Make a well in the above and add to the above.  Gently mix.

  • 1 cup buttermilk.

Mix into the above.

  • 2/3 cup raisins.

With floured hands, form dough ball (it will be sticky).  Flatten slightly in a 8″ cake pan.  Sprinkle with 1 tbsp sugar and cut an X on top.  Bake at 375 for about 40 minutes.