Archive for February, 2012

Olive Oil Origins

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 12, 2012 by ecofrenfood

Olive Oil Origins

The olive tree actually originated in Asia Minor (Anatolia, now Turkey) and spread to the rest of the Mediterranean. Many people believe that the best olive oil is Italian olive oil and that most olive oil comes from Italy. Though Italy is the largest exporter to the US, Spain is actually the largest olive oil producer. In the US Spanish Olive Oil is the 2nd most imported, followed by Turkish Olive Oil. Italy imports olive oil from nations such as Spain, Turkey, Greece and Tunisia. This non-Italian olive oil is usually mixed with Italian Olive Oil and marketed at “bottled in Italy” or “packed in Italy.” Much of the Greek olive oil that is produced is consumed in Greece. Most of the rest is exported in bulk to Italy or bottled as Extra Virgin Olive Oil and exported to the EU, the US and other markets. Spain still supplies much bulk olive oil to Italy, but over the last 20 years has developed brands of bottled olive oil that are successful in the US market. Careful Olive Oil consumers have learned to buy olive oil according to taste, not just origin.

Types of Olive Oil (International Technical Classifications of Olive Oil)

There are 3 main types of olive oil sold in the US. But first we will look at the internationally accepted classifications for the olive oil.
Virgin Olive Oil is not usually sold in the US, but in order to understand the other two oils that are sold in the US it is important to understand this what the term “Virgin Olive Oil” means. The term Virgin Olive Oil is used in two ways. First it is used to describe all olive oils that are extracted by only natural means (pressure and water) not refined or chemically altered. Virgin Olive Oil then has 4 sub-categories.
1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil – the highest quality Virgin Olive Oil (see below)
2. Virgin Olive Oil – (This is the second way that the term “Virgin Olive Oil” is used). Virgin Olive Oil in this case refers to oil that is fit for consumption, but it has oleic acid up to 2% and/or it has organoleptic (flavor & order) characteristics fall short of the subjective standard for Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
3. Ordinary Virgin Olive Oil – this oil can have up to 3.3% oleic acid. Its taste profile (organoleptic characteristics) has more defects. This is sometimes called “unrefined olive oil”
4. Lampant Virgin Olive Oil – has oleic acid levels above 3.3% and is not fit for human consumption. If it is refined then it can be used for human consumption. Or it can be used as “lamp oil” or for other non-food applications. This is sometimes called “unrefined olive oil” or “lamp oil.”
Refined Olive Oil is made by taking low grade Virgin Olive Oil (usually Ordinary Virgin Olive Oil or Lampant Virgin Olive Oil) and putting it through a 4 stage process of refining using chemical, heat and filtering. The result of this refining process is a colorless, tasteless oil. In this respect it is similar to all of the major cooking oils sold in the US, which also all undergo a similar refining process. Refined Olive Oil loses some of the health-giving properties of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (some of the antioxidants are removed and it is chemically altered) but it is still a heart-healthy oil. Refined Olive Oil is not sold as a consumer product by itself in the US market, but it the main ingredient in Pure Olive Oil and Light Olive. It is also used as an ingredient in other products.
The three main Olive Oil grades sold in the N. American retail market are:
1.Extra Virgin Olive Oil – This should have 0.8% oleic acid and conform to IOOC (International Olive Oil Council) standards. It is the fruit juice of the olive tree extracted by only mechanical means (pressure from a press or centrifuge) and warm water. Extra Virgin Olive Oil offers more health benefits than Pure Olive Oil or Light Olive Oil. There are some Extra Virgin Olive Oils that are marketed “premium extra virgin olive oil” or “estate” olive oil. The main advantage of these oils is the taste. Like a fine wine, these “designer” olive oils may offer superior taste.
2.Pure Olive Oil – The technical name for this oil is “Olive Oil” according to the IOOC. The world “Pure” is using in the US for marketing purposes. There are 2 ingredients in “Pure Olive Oil.” The main ingredient is “Refined Olive Oil.” In order to add color and flavor Virgin Olive Oil is added. (This can be any of the first 3 grades of Virgin Olive Oil). By definition, the oleic acid of “Pure Olive Oil” cannot be over 1.5%. The ratio of Refined Olive Oil to Virgin Olive Oil can vary. It is usually less than 20% Virgin Olive Oil.

3.Light Olive Oil – This is sometimes marketed as “Extra Light Olive Oil” or “Extra Light in flavor Olive Oil” or Extra Light in taste Olive Oil.” This is the same as “Pure Olive Oil” except that it has less Virgin Olive Oil added. This product was created specifically for the US market by the Bertolli (Unilever) because the US consumers wanted a cooking olive that was healthy, but did not have a heavy olive oil taste. The term “Light” refers to flavor/taste, not to calories. All olive oil is 100% oil. Oil is 100% fat. Therefore it is not possible to have a low-fat olive oil. If you are wondering about the calories in olive oil just look at the back label. It is always 9 calories per gram (or 120 calories per tablespoon). This is the 2nd most popular olive oil product in the US, after extra virgin olive oil.
Benefits of Olive Oil

Olive Oil benefits us in many ways. It is a key ingredient in Mediterranean Diet. Heart disease (Cardiovascular disease) is the leading cause of death in the world. For example, it takes 2 lives in the US every minute. The USDA made the decision to allow health claims on the label of olive oil because of benefits of using olive oil instead of less healthy fats (trans fats and saturated fats). Extra Virgin Olive Oil increases HDL (good cholesterol) which actually helps to clear clogged arteries. This is why Olive Oil is first on the list of healthy oils and fats recommended by the American Heart Association. 30% of the risk factors for heart disease are related to the excessive use of unhealthy fats.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil contains the highest level of antioxidants when compared to other oils including refined olive oil products such as “Pure” Olive Oil and “Light” Olive Oil. Olive Oil is rich in monounsaturated fat and antioxidants like chlorophyll, carotenoids, vitamin E., flavonoids, squalene and polyphenols which may help to protect against cancer. These antioxidants help prevent cell damage caused by “free radicals” (chemicals that contain oxygen).

This is why we urge you to dump unhealthy fats and switch to olive oil only™. American needs an oil change! ™ “Olive Oil = health! Olive Oil = nutrition!”

How to Buy Olive Oil – Here are some simple rules for buying olive oil.

Buying Olive Oil for Health … Inexpensive Olive Oil If you are buying olive oil for your heath and you are on a tight budget you should buy the least expensive “Extra Virgin” Olive Oil you can find. At least 1/3 of the olive oil consumers in the US buy olive oil only when it is on sale. Since the shelf life of olive oil (when stored properly) is at least a year from the date of production, it is a good idea to buy a large tin and refill a dark glass bottle for everyday use.

When US consumers buy olive oil there are a number of things they are looking for. They look at the origin and are usually looking for Italy or sometimes Greece on the front label. For this reason the front labels of most major brands give the impression that their Olive Oil is from Italy. The real origins are often printed in tiny letters on the back or side labels. Since what appears to “Italian” Olive Oil is usually a mixture of oils from several nations, seeing an Italian flag (red, white and green) or an Italian name on the front does not tell you anything about the oil inside the bottle.

If you learn to read bottles carefully you can still learn something about the oil inside before you open the bottle. If it is “single origin” olive oil, this means that it comes from one region. This may mean that the oil is all from one country, or from one region of a country or from one grove. Real Italian olive oil will often have an official seal that tells you what part of Italy it was grown in. California Olive Oil has a special seal as well. You may find a logo on the label telling you the olive oil is New Zealand Olive Oil, French Olive Oil or Australian Olive Oil. In Turkey regional designations are also being registered and printed on olive oil labels. If the bottle is from a single grove it is often called “estate” olive oil or “boutique” olive oil. This allows for a greater amount of control in the growing, harvesting and processing and often produces a gourmet olive oil with very low oleic acid (0.5% or less). Like fine wines, these oils have a unique flavor profile. They also offer the most health benefits. But most are quite expensive. If you shop carefully you can find some brands of estate extra virgin olive oil that are just a bit more expensive than regular retail olive oil.

Customers often want to see a green or golden color. For this reason some major brands use different colors of glass to sell their olive oil. Others have used artificial yellow dies. Some producers put olive leaves in with the olives to achieve a greener color. In some areas the olives are harvested earlier, while they are still green and this gives a greener color. Many different varieties of olives are used to produce olive oil and this will change the color. Color is actually not a factor in determining the quality of extra virgin olive oil. For this reason professional olive oil tasting panels use dark blue glass cups so the tasters are not influenced by the color.
Most consumers will probably not notice this taste difference. For this reason we would suggest that if you really want to buy olive oil in plastic bottles, go ahead. But if you are concerned about taste, then it is best to buy olive oil in glass or tins.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Virgin Olive Oil are the only consumable oils that are made 100% by natural processes. All other oils use a process of heat, bleach, chemically processing and filtering to obtain oil. Extra Virgin and Virgin Olive Oil is squeezed from the olive by a mechanical press or centrifugal force. The term “first cold pressed olive oil” or “first cold press olive” is used to describe this process. In most modern olive oil production the olives are technically not “pressed,” but the oil is still separated only by using pressure (centrifugal force). Water is used to help separate the oil from the rest of the olive solids. Olive oil with low oleic acid (0.8 % according to the International Olive Oil Council in Madrid Spain) and that has good organoleptic (flavor & odor) characteristics is called “Extra Virgin”. This is the most popular olive oil in the US. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the fruit juice that comes from squeezing olives.

Many consumers are looking for NOP organic olive oil (or ECOCERT organic olive oil) because they an even more natural product. The olive tree is sometimes called, the “undying tree” because they can live for over a thousand years without much help from man. Because the olive tree is so hardy, organic olives are relatively easy to grow. Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil with low oleic acid may be the very healthiest olive oil of all. Olive Oil gift baskets often contain there high end products.

Flavored olive oil or flavor infused olive oil, such as Garlic Olive Oil are becoming more popular. You can also find Lemon Olive Oil, Red Pepper Olive Oil, and many other interesting flavors. These can be used as dipping oils or to add flavor. The base for these may be Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Pure/Light Olive Oil.

Enjoying Olive Oil

Just buying olive oil is not enough. You need to learn to cook with it. Knowing where to find good Olive Oil recipes is important only if you are willing to make the effort to use them. I have visited many homes with where a 3 liter bottle or tin of rancid olive oil is collecting dust on the top shelf. Cooking with olive oil is not difficult. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is great to eat raw on salads, drizzle over vegetables or for dipping. Some varieties are peppery and others have a sweeter fruity taste profile. This later profile is the one that we prefer. It can be used to add flavor to pasta, fish or meat dishes. The olive oil recipe we like best is quite simple. We like to put a dash of course paprika, a bit or oregano, black pepper and salt (or salt substitute) in a dish of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and dip bread or toast for breakfast, instead of unhealthy fat spreads. If children can learn to enjoy the flavor of olive oil when they are young it can become a habit for life. “Pure Olive Oil” and “Light Olive Oil” are both products that are made up of mostly refined olive oil with Virgin Olive Oil put in to add color and flavor. Pure Olive Oil is good where you want a light olive flavor, for example for preparing potatoes for baking, with cooked vegetables, or in pasta. When you want to use a healthy type of oil for cooking or baking, but don’t want an olive flavor “Light” Olive Oil is the best to use.

Storing Olive Oil

The flavor, taste and chemistry of olive oil is best protected by dark glass bottles or tins. This is because olive oil deteriorates with exposure to light. Plastic bottles can affect the taste of olive oil. It is best to store olive oil in a cool place. If your olive oil is in a clear class or plastic bottle, then it is best to keep it in dark place. Heat, light and air can all cause oxidation in olive oil which will ruin the flavor and decrease the health benefits. If Extra Virgin Olive Oil is put in the refrigerator, or in similar cold conditions, it will harden up and appear cloudy. This does not affect the quality of the oil at all. If your olive oil that is labeled “extra virgin” does not cloud up when it is cold it might mean that the bottlers put refined olive oil in with it, as it does not show as much clouding.

Homemade Tortilla Chips

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on February 12, 2012 by ecofrenfood

10 tortillas (white or yellow flour OR corn)
vegetable oil cooking spray
popcorn salt (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350 or 375.
Lay the tortillas on the counter top, side by side, very close together.
Spray ’tillas generously with the oil spritzer; sprinkle with optional salt.
If using the pizza cutter AND in a hurry, stack ’tillas in piles of 3 or 5 and slice up quickly into triangles (make five to six cuts to get uniform sizes).
If using cookie cutters, don’t pile up the tortillas–it’s too thick and aggravating!
Lay the “chips” on the cookie sheets and pop them into the oven—bake ONLY until a very light brown.
Cool slightly and THEN–dive in!
You might as well double the recipe, because you’re going to wish you did as soon as you take your first bite!

Read more:

White Bread is bad…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 12, 2012 by ecofrenfood

White Bread is bad…
Why is bread bad for you?

There are different schools of thought at work here. Some say that even whole wheat commercial bread is better because it is loaded with fiber and its glycemic index is lower. However, what I’m concerned about in processed bread is a pretty nasty ingredient- bromide- and the fact that all the naturally occurring nutrients have been stripped out in the factory process.

I don’t buy the argument that commercial/processed whole wheat bread is still healthy because all the vitamins and minerals (calcium, iron, vitamin E, etc) are added back to the flour as part of the process. Its still no match for the naturally occurring nutrients that were there in the first place! Also, the companies are using them in their synthetic form, which are not able to properly adapt to our bodies.

Processed bread is treated with a variety of chemicals from the ground to production in order to “bleach” the flour and prevent it from sticking- such as:



•benzoyl peroxide or chlorine dioxide (known to cause cancer)

•methyl bromide

•nitrogen trichloride


•ammonium carbonate

•nitrogen peroxide


These “hidden ingredients” can cause:

•allergies that manifest as bloating, diarrhoea, eczema, asthma, headache or general malaise or lack of energy

•leaky gut syndrome

•growth of unfriendly toxin generating bacteria in the gut

•slowing of bowel transit time, so toxic substances are in contact with the bowel for longer

It sure makes me crazy that someone would buy a refined, processed “whole wheat plus fiber” bread at their grocery store, hoping it is what they need to support the gastrointestinal tract and help flush out toxins. When they are getting the opposite!

So…What’s Bromide?

Bromide is a dough conditioner found in most flours as potassium bromate. It came into use in the 1960’s as an “improvement” on potassium iodate.

I’ll cut to the chase: Bromides disrupts the endocrine system and slow down the metabolism. Because bromide is also a halide (Any organic compound that contains a halogen atom can be considered a halide) it competes for the same receptors that are used in the thyroid gland (among other places) to capture iodine. This will inhibit thyroid hormone production, resulting in a low thyroid state. This throws your metabolism out of whack.

Why on earth do they use it, then?

Some commercial bakers claim they use bromated flour because it yields dependable results, and it makes more elastic dough which can stand up to bread hooks and other commercial baking tools.

The UK banned bromate in bread in 1990. ?Canada banned bromate in bread in 1994.

Back in 1999, the Center for Science in the Public Interest petitioned the FDA to prohibit the use of potassium bromate, charging that the FDA had known for years that bromate causes cancer in lab animals, but had failed to ban it.

Why White Bread is Bad for You

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 12, 2012 by ecofrenfood

Why White Bread is Bad for You
By Janice White

“The whiter the bread, the quicker you’re dead!” – old saying.

Bread made from refined white flour is certainly not good for your health, its true. There is a little known fact that numerous scientific studies have proved time and time again that certain food items that are commonly consumed in our modern, fast living diets that are detrimental to our health. One of these is white bread, a main stay of most people’s diets. Believe it or not, eating white bread is bad for you!

This may be something you won’t be too pleased to hear, but if you want to improve your health, lose some weight and avoid the possibility of ending up with type II diabetes, then white bread will have to go. This hub page takes a look at why this is and why, if you want to enjoy good health you really do need to avoid white bread or even exclude it completely from your diet.

Why You Should Exclude White Bread From Your Diet

White bread is made from refined white flour containing several unwholesome constituents and very little in the way of nutrients and dietary fibre, essential for a healthy digestive system and a stable metabolism. This is why:

Refined white flour is produced from the whole wheat grain which is then subjected to the refining process which removes all traces of the husk, or bran and along with it all the goodness contained in the grain. It is then bleached using chemical bleaching agents which contain chlorine and dried in kilns at high temperature to kill any remaining beneficial constituents. This insipid, bland, tasteless powder then has gluten added, which is a product that an increasing number of people are becoming allergic to, which helps to produce a more evenly risen and air filled loaf. A standard while loaf of bread also has sugar added to enable the baker’s yeast to prove the dough and make it rise. Salt is also added to check the progress of the yeast and prevent the loaf from rising too much, or over-proving.

Eating mass produced white bread can be somewhat likened to eating cardboard, such is its blandness and lack of any useful dietary benefit whatsoever. Small bakery bread and home made loaves usually taste a little better but because refined white flour is used in their production, there is still no health benefit.

Negative Health Aspects of Consuming White Bread
So what are the negative health aspects of eating white bread?

To begin with, as with white pasta and other products made from refined white flour, white bread contains a large proportion of high GI (glycemic index) carbohydrates. These carbohydrates cause sugars to be released quickly into the bloodstream. This causes a rapid rise in blood sugar levels which triggers a similarly rapid release of the body’s own sugar regulating hormone, insulin. This hormone is secreted in the pancreas and is responsible for regulating blood sugar levels. Insulin is what people suffering with type 1 diabetes have to inject to regulate their blood sugar levels because their body does not produce sufficient naturally. Type II diabetes is a rapidly spreading disease brought on by too frequent imbalances in blood sugar levels causing insulin production to become overworked, which eventually leads to the problem and all the negative health aspects associated with it.

Other negative health aspects come in the form of raised levels of bad LDL cholesterol in your bloodstream. This can lead to problems such as heart disease related to the narrowing of the arteries. When levels of LDL cholesterol become too high artery walls thicken and blockages can occur, leading to thrombosis (blood clots) as well as high blood pressure.

Another negative effect of eating white bread is on the body’s metabolism. This is retarded causing reduced efficiency in digestion and greater fat storage, which is more often than not accumulated around the belly. In fact, this is one of the main reasons why weight loss is so difficult for people who continue to eat white bread. Not only that, but it makes you feel more sluggish and less inclined to want to exercise. The lack of dietary fibre is a big problem for your digestible tract especially the intestines that finish the job and allow waste to leave the body. When there is little or no dietary fibre present in your diet, your colon will suffer and be unable to effectively remove all waste products from the body. This leads to such diseases as Crohn’s, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and can lead to cancer of the colon.

But all is not lost! While eating white bread is bad for your health, bad for your weight and bad for your digestive system, there is a nutritious, healthy alternative!

The Alternative to White Bread

You don’t have to give up bread from your diet, just white bread. The viable alternative is of course brown bread, otherwise known as wholemeal or wholegrain bread. This is produced from wholemeal flour which is not refined in the same way as white flour. Wholemeal flour retains the husk of the wheat, or bran which is where all the nutrients and dietary fibre exist. There is no bleaching either and gluten levels are generally lower than in white bread, although you should always check the label for this information first.

Wholemeal flour contains much lower levels of high GI carbohydrates than white flour and also higher levels of low GI carbohydrates, which work in the opposite way to high GI carbohydrates, as the low GI carbohydrates contained in wholemeal bread produce the slow release of sugars into the bloodstream. The upshot of this is that insulin is only slowly released into the bloodstream and in far lower amounts. The metabolism is stimulated rather than inhibited, meaning that your digestive system gets a boost in efficiency and less fat gets stored. This is good news for slimmers and anyone concerned about their weight.

Wholemeal flour products like brown bread contain high levels of dietary fibre. This is essential for the functioning of the colon and the complete digestion of food and waste elimination. They also contain lower levels of bad LDL cholesterol with higher levels of good HDL cholesterol. This means healthy arteries and a better normalised blood pressure, bringing with it better health and less concern over the negative effects of white bread.

To finish things off, brown or wholemeal bread tastes good and doesn’t have that cloying, pasty texture that massed produced white bread tends to suffer from. Make the switch to wholemeal bread and you’ll quickly grow accustomed to its taste and texture. Soon you’ll find yourself preferring its superior taste along with all the health benefits and goodness that come with it as part of a healthy, tasty diet.

Additional Info:

Thanks to a comment made by someone who decided to include a comparison of the two types of bread, I’ve had to add this paragraph with more accurate nutritional information so that people don’t get put off by in your face figures like that – a trick used by advertisers to get you to want something. So here it is:
Analysis Of Bran

………………………………Payen.. Millon… Kuhn.. Grandeau.. Warington.. Wolff.

Water …………………… 13.90 … 13.90 . 13.40 …. 12.80 ……. 14.0 …….. 13.6

Nitrogenous matter ….18.77 … 14.90 . 14.00 ….. 13.82 …… .14.2 ……. 13.6

Fatty matter …………….4 00 …… 3.60 … 3.80 ……. 3.59 ……… 4.2 ……… 3.4

Carbohydrates………… 48.26 .. 51.00 . 45.00 ….. 55.91 ……. 50.4 ……. 54.9

Cellulose………………… 8.78 …. 10.49 . 18.30 ……. 8.65 ……. 11.1 ……… 8.9

Salts ……………………… 6.29 ….. 5.70 …. 6.19 ……. 5.23 ………. 6.1 …….. 5.6

The above results are analyses produced by different authorities. They show certain variations in the levels of nitrogenous matter, cellulose, and carbohydrates. However they all agree closely enough to show that chemically speaking, bran contains all the requisites for nutrition.

The nitrogenous ratio varies from 1: 2.8 to 1: 4.3. Among the total salts represented are potash, lime, magnesia, soda, phosphoric acid and silica.

There is a full nutritional composition chart of wheat bran available for your information if you want to know exactly what is in the bran that is included in bread made from wholewheat flour that is missing from white bread. The chart is too complex to re-create here, so to view it, please follow this link:

New Asian buyers thirst for fresh wine tastes

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on February 12, 2012 by ecofrenfood

New Asian buyers thirst for fresh wine tastes

(Reuters) – The bubble may have burst in the Bordeaux market, but new Asian collectors are seeking diversity and in some cases even choosing second growth Bordeaux for value, said Robert Sleigh, head of Sotheby’s Asian wine department.

Global economic uncertainty has hit the Asian wine market, with demand falling for top Bordeaux at the auction house’s first Hong Kong wine auction of the year in mid-January, leaving many bottles unsold.

Though the auction overall raked in sales of more than $5 million, it failed to match its pre-sale estimate and only 85 percent of the lots found buyers.

“Some of the prices are a little bit softer than the end of last year. That adjustment is really on the back of the historic price increases we’ve seen over the last three years,” said Sleigh, referring to the top Bordeaux.

Those wines, including the prized first growths, have seen historic price rises from 2008, up to 400 percent at their peak, Sleigh said. But they’d come off those highs by some 5 to 20 percent by the end of last year.

Sleigh attributed some of the cooling interest to a growing thirst among investors for a far broader array of wines, and increasingly sophisticated tastes.

“You’re seeing a growing diversification of the market. Burgundy is very, very popular,” he said, although he added that the supply of top quality Burgundy remains quite limited.

“People are trying to get everything they can, and second growth, which has been undervalued for the last three years — they’re moving up as well. So I think it’s the signs of a more sophisticated market and ultimately a healthier market.”

Second growth Bordeaux — some of which are known unofficially as “Super Seconds” for their quality — have been drawing the attention of pan-Asian buyers from those in established markets such as Hong Kong and the mainland, all the way to newer collectors in Taiwan, Singapore and Indonesia.

“There were really few brands that made an impact in the Asian wine market in recent years,” Sleigh said.

“That led to the top names increasing in value enormously and the second growths really got left behind, and they were undervalued. I think there is now a realization that as people understand more about wines and more about how to trade them, that those wines … have moved up to meet that quality level.”

In addition, investors seeking a similar flavor profile to the Bordeaux that have been most popular in mainland China are diversifying somewhat to California wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines from the Napa Valley, he said.

“The new collectors have cut their teeth on the Bordeaux, the big names, the well-known names, and now they’re ready to spread their wings a little bit and diversify,” Sleigh said.

Overall, the coming year is likely to be one of price adjustments, with estimates “finding their level” and continuing to soften, then possibly flattening out towards the end of the year, he said.

At that point the fine wine market may show signs of improvement — but all depends on broader macroeconomic conditions as well as supply and demand.

(Editing by Elaine Lies and Paul Casciato)

Play dough for kids

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 12, 2012 by ecofrenfood

Rubbery Play dough

2 cups baking soda
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup cornstarch

Mix with a fork until smooth. Boil over med. heat until thick. Spoon onto plate or wax paper.

Nature’s Play dough

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1 cup water
2 T oil
2 T cream of tartar
beet, spinach, and carrot juice

Mix flour, salt and oil, and slowly add the water. Cook over med. heat, stirring until dough becomes stiff. Turn out onto wax paper and let cool. Knead the dough with your hands until of proper consistency. Use as is, or divide into balls and add a few drops of the vegetable juices to make green, pink, and orange.

Bumpy dough

Add 3/4 cup water to 1/4 cup salt, then mix with 2 or 3 tsp. water.

Bread dough

Cut the crusts off slices of bread and mix with diluted white glue. Form into shapes, animals, etc. When dry, paint and/or shellac.

Paper Mache Paste #1

1/2 cup non rising wheat flour
1/4 cup powdered resin glue (available at hobby shops)
1/2 cup warm water
1 1/2 cups hot water
4 drops oil of wintergreen

Mix the flour and resin glue in a saucepan. Slowly pour in the warm water. Then add the hot water and stir vigorously. Cook over low heat stirring until paste is smooth, thick and clear. Should be used in 2-3 days.

Paperhanger’s Paste

1 cup non rising wheat flour
1 T powdered alum
1 T powdered rosin (yes, rosin)
1 1/2 cups warm water
4 1/2 cups hot water
1 1/2 cups cold water
8 drops oil of cinnamon

Mix the flour, alum and rosin in a saucepan. Then add the warm water, stirring until smooth. Pour in the hot water and stir vigorously. Place over low heat and boil until the paste becomes thick and clear. Thin with cold water. Add oil as a preservative, if not using immediately.

“GUM” for stamps and paper labels

1 (1/4 3 ounce packet) of unflavored gelatin
1 T cold water
3 T boiling water
1/2 tsp white peppermint extract
2 drops boric acid solution

Sprinkle the gelatin into the cold water to soften. Pour into the boiling water, stirring until dissolved. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

To use glue, brush thinly onto the back of a stamp or some paper and let dry. When applying to paper, just moisten it a bit. To keep, store in a small jar or bottle with a lid. Warm in a pan to turn into a liquid again.

Gouache Paint (opaque paint that dries quickly and can be painted on in layers)

2 cups dextrin (hobby stores have it)
1/2 cup honey
2 tsp glycerin
1/2 tsp boric acid solution
powdered or poster paints

Dissolve the dextrin in the water (will be foamy). Then add the honey, glycerin and boric acid. Stir well, or shake in covered jar.

Mix this base with powdered paint or poster paint and store tightly covered. Thin with water if too thick.


Put pieces of old crayons of the same or similar colors in a coffee can and set it in a pan of water on the stove. Cook until melted. Pour the wax into a mold and allow to harden.

Feelie Bags

1/2 cup dippity-do hair gel
food coloring
zip lock bag

Add food coloring and dippity-do to zip lock bag- make sure it is sealed well, and let children manipulate.

Durian Puffs

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 7, 2012 by ecofrenfood