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Visit the Cook for Good blog for wildly good cooking tips, money-saving ideas, book reviews, and more from Linda Watson and guest bloggers.


Gwyneth Paltrow's food stamp groceries are good start

Thank you, Gwyneth Paltrow, for casting dried beans and brown rice as the stars of your food-stamp challenge this week. You are taking a lot of flack for those seven limes and the cilantro, but overall you made good choices. You bought real food and will save money by cooking it yourself. (Dried beans are much cheaper than canned beans.) Read below for my tips for shopping on a food-stamp budget and stretching what you buy, plus my experience with four weeks of SNAP challenges.

Gwyneth Paltrow twitter pic on her food stamp groceries

Key to delicous, healthy food on a food-stamp budget

You've got many of my favorite wildly affordable ingredients: dried beans, brown rice, greens, ...

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Q&A: do electric pressure cookers work? Which one is best?

Barb emailed me to ask:

What is your take on electric pressure cookers? I recently bought one, and had to send it back. I have used pressure cookers for decades, but this was a disappointment. I do plan on ordering another one...........any suggestions?

I frequently used a traditional pressure cooker when I had an electric-coil stove, but stopped when I got a glass-topped stove. I worried about the rocking motion damaging the top.

Fortunately, I know Jill Nussinow, the Veggie Queen and the Princess of Pressure Cooking. When I asked her about electric pressure cookers, she said:

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Eat as much as you want, get slim, and stay healthy

Sometimes, a conversation will remind me of how lucky I am to have found the Cook for Good approach. Last week, I took dinner over to a friend who needed a little tender loving care. It was nothing fancy, just pinto bean and tomato stew over quinoa, cooked kale and beet greens with mushrooms, and Don't Settle Apple-Walnut Crumble from Fifty Weeks of Green.

My friend looked very happy to get the meal and said it might help her slim down if she didn't eat it all at once.

I was startled, because I'd brought her the same portions that I intended to eat for dinner myself. I told her:

Eat it all if you want! Don't eat more than you want of course, but that's the beauty of this food. I always eat as much as I want and don't worry about my weight.

A few days later, my friend told me how much she'd enjoyed the dinner and the surprise that followed. She said:

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Dietary Guidelines report brave on less meat, "bizarre" on more dairy, says top nutritionist

Walter Willett, MD, DrPH, provided a shocking end to the webcast Wednesday about the science behind the proposed new U.S. Dietary Guidelines report, calling the origin of a key recommendation "bizarre" and highlighting its negative consequences for health and the environment. His comments are so important and well-phrased that ...

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Understanding new poll about safety of GMO food

Is GMO food (containing genetically modified organisms) generally unsafe to eat? Yes, say 57% of the general American public but only 11% of "scientists," according to a widely misquoted study from Pew Research. The polls addressed in Public and Scientists' Views on Science and Society asked both groups about thirteen core topics, from animal research to vaccines, with separate questions for each group. The gap between the two groups was largest for GMOs, but key questions were not asked and even the results have been twisted.

Here are some key points to help you think about and discuss this topic.

What was asked: are GMOs generally safe to eat?

After defining GMOs in terms of their benefits, the survey asked a limited question: can most people safely eat GMO food?

The public was given a glowing definition of GMOs, including popular benefits but no concerns, then asked the first question. Here's the wording from the survey with the results:

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