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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.


Project: grow basil plants from bagged grocery-store basil

It's not too late to grow your own basil this summer, especially if you start with a bag of "living basil" from the grocery store.

I didn't get around to planting basil seeds in April or buying plants in early June this year. Last week, my local nursery only had leggy and parched basil plants. They did have packs of basil seeds for a whopping $3.95.

So I splurged on a bag of live basil in the produce section at the grocery store. What looked like one plant  turned out to be several plants with many long roots.

I trimmed eight healthy tips off the top and other eight from

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3 ways the Plant-Based Prevention of Disease conference changed my eating style

Last week, I heard a torrent of talks on how eating a plant-based diet makes you feel great and helps you avoid many "diseases of affluence": cancer, diabetes, stroke, and more. I'll share more lessons from the Plant-Based Prevention of Disease conference later, but thought you'd like to know how I started eating better because of it. I'm already eating a plant-based diet, but if I hadn't been, this conference would have convinced me to drop the animal foods and eat whole grains, vegetables, fruit, seeds, and nuts. If you don't want to go that far, rejoice! Many of the researchers said even small changes in diet or lifestyle can make a big difference.

1) Include more variety

Dr. Milton Mills and others praised a varied, plant-based diet diet because it helps

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Mothers' Day menu with all plant-based, homemade recipes

I love that Mothers' Day comes during strawberry season. Here's an update to the Mothers' Day menu I did years ago, now with all vegan recipes and make-ahead tips.

banana pancakes

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Cocoa lingo: the difference between natural and Dutch-processed, cocoa and cacao

Most products with "natural" on the label are trying to pull a fast one on you. "Natural" usually doesn't mean anything except "buy me, I'm green." But with cocoa powder it can make a big difference in your baked goods. To add to the confusion, you can now find cacao powder as well as cocoa powder in the store, both of which come from pods of Theobroma cacao trees. Read on for the scoop.

What is the difference between cacao powder and cocoa powder?

I use them interchangeably in recipes, but there is a difference. They both come from fermented, ground

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Food news: toxins and kids' brains, a new video profile, more

The Effect of Toxins on Children's Developing Brains

This video scared the tar out of me by clearly showing the accumulative effect of toxins on children's developing brains. As scary as it is, it doesn't address the effects of combining toxins.

I found it through an insightful article by the David Suzuki Foundation, which recommends eating fresh and frozen foods and avoiding pesticides. That means not just pesticides on the food you eat but also pesticides sprayed to control insects inside and outdoors.

Food Evangelist Video Profile

Casey Toth manages to capture my mission in less than three minutes

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