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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Rescue A Pet Today

Written: by Eliza Chute

It seems that lately pets have become the new accessory. It is no longer an uncommon sight to see a woman walk by you with a little Chihuahua head peeking out of her purse. The pet industry is thriving. You can buy everything from clothes for your pet to health insurance. If I want to ensure Whiskers my one year old hypothetical cat with routine coverage it would cost me about twenty dollars a month. If I want the works it would cost me 40. Rex, my non existent dog would run me 25 dollars a month for common problems and 47 per month if I want everything covered.
It’s not really a surprise that people want to take such good care of their pets. They are adorable and cuddly and provide unconditional love. They are personified and become almost like a member of the family. And everyone seems to want their dogs purebred. They are coming up with new breeds every day, including cockapoos (cocker spaniel poodle mix) and labradoodles (Labrador-poodle mix). Pure bred dogs these days can run up to well over a thousand dollars.
While some people are paying 600 dollars annually on pet insurance plans, others are abandoning their animals. There are many loving pets in need of homes all over the country. In January of 2009 the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society (Paws) they saved 263 homeless animals, and that’s not including animal rescue’s statistics. Of those, they found homes for 186 animals, and foster homes for 71. So, instead of paying for an overpriced purebred, try heading down to the local pound and seeing if there are any furry friends to your liking. Though they may not be pure-bred, they are just a cuddley and just as loving and even more in need of someone to take care of them.

Insurance information from:

For more information on Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society:

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Meatless or With Meat..My Dilemma!!

Written by Elizabeth Chute

Remember the energy flow diagram we learned in middle school biology? About how plants turn the sun’s energy into nutrients through photosynthesis, then when they get eaten, only 10 percent of that energy gets passed on, then when that animal gets eaten only 10 percent of that energy gets passed on, but since it’s only 10 percent of the original 10 percent, its really only 1 percent of the original nutrients. Moral of the story: shouldn’t we always be eating vegetables? Well, that I’m not sure about, we do need the protein, but there are other ways to get it, like beans lentils and tofu. The official government food pyramid recommends to eat more fish beans peas nuts and seeds, and when eating meat to eat more lean meats and protein. So we all do know that red meat is not very healthy, but what about the taste? It is delicious. There is always fake meat, but does it really taste like the real thing? I went to find out.
First thing I discovered: for my tastebuds... nothing will taste like a hamburger that isn’t a hamburger. It doesn’t matter how many boca or veggie burgers I eat, or what I put on them. For my palate nothing replaces the taste of biting into a slightly red, juicy burger. So, sorry heart, but you’re just going to have to deal with that bit of red meat. Meatballs however are a little more replaceable. Gimme Lean beef comes in a tube, and while perhaps looking unappealing can be cooked so that they taste just like meatballs, especially when smothered in sauce and cheese. I cooked dinner for a friend the other night, giving him fake meatballs, and telling him they were real. He couldn’t even tell the difference.
When eating saucy dishes, I have some to find that tofu is better than other meat options. If you have a good sauce, tofu does the best job absorbing it, and with no other competing flavors, because tofu is the blandest thing on the planet, you get pure curry or teriyaki or whatever you decide to put on it.
Ok, but what about sausage? Who doesn’t love their morning sausage? Well I’ve found the solution. Veggie patch sausages are quite delicious. They even come in flavors, my favorite: jalapeƱo cheddar. The trick to making these sausages taste just right is slicing them up and cooking them in some olive oil. Although the texture of meat cannot be mimicked, you can find something that tastes just as good as red meat, and maybe a little better on the arteries.

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Are You a Coffee or Tea Person?

Written by :Eliza Chute

There is an age old question, and the answer is usually based on preference. Are you a coffee person or a tea person? But which one is better for you? People love having pearly white teeth. That is why there is a multi-million dollar industry dedicated to teeth whitening, and brushing making sure those pearly whites stay white. Coffee and Tea can stain teeth but does one do it more than the other ? Although it isn’t scientific research, I scoured the internet for answers, because I didn’t have two friends with the exact same whiteness who were willing to sacrifice their teeth for science. Though there were no official press releases from the American Dental Association, the general consensus of the web-sites I looked at, was that tea stains teeth more, more specifically dark tea. I mean just look at your mug after you drink either of them and the tea cup will be stained more. Thus, one point for coffee.
The question I really thought I would be answering was: which is worse for you; coffee or tea. For years people have been talking about the downfalls of the two. That both are really bad for you, but recent studies have shown that there are actually health benefits to both. An article in ABC news that came out in 2006 reveals that there are benefits to both the drinks, more than just the extra boos of alertness. Apparently anti-oxidants in tea and coffee “can prevent inflammation of the blood vessels, and it has been linked to reduced risk for cancer.” In terms of what has the most, the list, in order, goes white tea, green tea, black tea then coffee. So, a point for tea. In addition, “Daily cups of coffee have been linked to a reduced risk of Parkinson's disease, liver cancer, gallstones and type 2 diabetes. In addition, green tea and white tea have been touted for their health benefits”. However, they do not recommend more than four eight ounce cups a day.
At the end of the day, most people choose their drinks based on the taste. I personally choose chocolaty coffee drinks, even though I know that that is one of the worst things for me. And even though I know it is bad for me, I always think, “just this once,” but when “just this once” starts to become every day, I’m going to need to make a change.

For more information on the benefits of coffee and tea:

July 9th- Whole Foods Market, Jenkintown, Pa The Basic Art of Italian Cooking School and The Outdoor Kitchen, recipes perfect for the picnic, the beach and dining al fresco.. Call store at 215-481-0800 to register or email:

July 16th, Whole Foods Annapolis Maryland
July 18th- Whole Foods Fairfax/ Fair Lakes, Virginia
July 31-August 2-Atlantic City food and wine festival

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Place for Foodies in Philadelphia

Written by: Eliza Chute

If you are looking for an interesting food experience in the USA... you can find everything you need at Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia, Pa. It is quite the melting pot of delicious food. You can find everything from crepes to soul food, vegetarian restaurants to meat by the pound. This indoor market takes up an entire city block.
There is even the unique opportunity of getting freshly grown Pennsylvania Dutch made foods. There are eleven Pennsylvania Dutch owned shops. If you are craving chocolate, Chocolate by Mueller is the place to. All chocolates are hand-made on site. They even have a display kitchen, so you can watch them make their chocolates, as your mouth waters in front of the window. Looking for something a little more nutritious? Try the Dutch Eating Place. They serve breakfast and lunch, including their famous blueberry pancakes and apple dumplings. These delicious pancakes are fluffy and served by Pennsylvania Dutch in full garb, making it a tasty and fun experience. Or try Hatville Deli for some great deli food. However, don’t forget to bring cash, because the last two only accept cash and gift certificates.

For more Information on Reading Terminal Market of Pennsylvania Dutch Shoppes
AJ Pickel Patch & Salads
Beiler's Bakery
Dienner's Bar-B-Q
Dutch Eating Place
Hatville Deli
Kauffman's Lancaster County Produce
L. Halteman Family
Lancaster Co. Dairy
Miller's Twist
Rib Stand
Sweet as Fudge Candy Shoppe

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For more info and recipes go to

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Know Where Your Produce Comes From!

Written by: Eliza Chute

When you go to pick out apples at a grocery store you have no idea where they came from, but when you go to a farmer’s market you can rest assured you are buying locally grown products, that are often also organically grown with little to no pesticides. Venture into Clarke Park in Philadelphia on a Thursday from 3-7 p.m. in the summer and you will find their own Farmer’s Market. When approaching 45th from the North or South, it looks as if there are only one tent, but when you get closer you will see an array of vendors lining the street, their unmarked and unbranded vans and trucks sitting behind them. In front of them lies their particular array of produce. This Farmer’s Market was set up by The Food Trust, which now operates 29 other Farmer’s markets in the Philadelphia region. These markets were set up in order to provide an outlet for local farmers as well as nutritious foods for local people. Something you might not guess about these farmer’s markets is that they all accept food stamps and Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program vouchers. After all, the Food Trust’s Motto is “Ensuring That Everyone Has Access To Affordable, Nutritious Food”. They have a variety of different programs to ensure this mission, including both community-based and school based. In the past year, the food trust has expanded it’s farmers market programs to include the now 30 they operate, enlarged their school programs to now include 100 schools in SE Pennsylvania, and has begun work to expand their efforts to other states, in addition to other recognitions and accomplishments.
This particular Farmer’s Market is the Largest in the city, and has been in operations for 10 years. The Project Associate, Jon Glyn told me that come July there will be fruit vendors lining 45th along with the current ones. The vendors on Thursday June 11th had a variety of different produce with vendors like Big Sky Bread Company and Mountain View Produce. Urban Girl’s Produce, a one-woman run vendor, also joins the line of other tents, selling delicious sweet potatoes, and even the Asian vegetable Poc Choi. Alongside her is Country Meadows, who sell delicious smelling chicken, cooked right there, with an interesting marketing strategy. Along there table are pictures of live chicken, a helpful reminder of
where your food is coming from. The Park itself is home to more than just farmer’s markets. This popular city park in West Philadelphia, also has an extensive playground in addition to hosting flea markets, arts and music festivals, movie screenings in the summer, Youth Expos and more, bringing the greater community together one activity at a time.

For more information on The Food Trust go to:
More information on Clark Park can be found at:
A Review of Urban Girl’s Produce can be found at this site:

July 11th- Chestnut Hill Book Festival- Celebrity Chef Maris Liberati will be signing books and on a panel discussion for writing about food

July 16th- Annapolis, MD, Whole Foods Market Culinary Center-The Basic Art of Italian Cooking Program & Sampling with book signing.

July 18th- Fairfax, VA- Whole Foods aMarket, The Basic Art of Italian Cooking Program and Wine pairing, book signing after. Samples, wine tasting provided. Email:

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Summer Cocktails

Written by: Eliza Chute

In the summer, when it’s hot and humid (when you are in the northeast at least), nothing makes you feel better than a nice cold beverage or perhaps a cocktail. Lemonade has always been the classic summer beverage, but if you are tired of the same old summer drink, there are several variations on it to spice it up a bit. At you can find a multitude of variations on the classic lemonade; from Rico’s Passionate Pink Honey Lemonade, to Pepper-Mint Lemonade. For the more calorie conscious lemonade drinker, I would recommend Vitamin Water Multi-V lemonade. It’s a refreshing, but a little less sweet alternative.
If you are looking for a thicker drink, smoothies are always the way to go, and they are fairly simple to make. Just add ice, yogurt, juice and fruit to your blender and it’s like you just came back from your local smoothie place. For an extra kick, try blending coffee, ice and banana, and some vanilla yogurt, for that morning wake-up or mid-day refresher.
In the quest for a new refreshing summer cocktail, I went and bought a variety of juices. After several hours in the lab (i.e. my kitchen), I finally came up with one. I haven’t picked out the perfect name yet, but to make the drink, you fill a cup one eighth raspberry vodka (if you have a smaller budget Burnett’s works well or if you could splurge on Smirnoff), then three quarters with cran-apple juice and fill the rest up with champagne. It’s a newer, stronger, more dynamically flavored take on an old favorite: the mimosa. Another less complicated, but delicious concoction I created, though less original, was vanilla rum and V8 splash tropical blend. However, I don’t recommend making a lot of it, the sweetness of it makes it difficult to drink more than a glass.

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Quick & Yummy Picnic Ideas

Written & Edited by Eliza Chute

Who can have a bad day, when the sun is shining, not a cloud in the sky? But better question is, who wants to be inside? Picnics are a great outdoor activity, whether it’s taking lunch in the park nearby your office, or hiking through the mountains to a beautiful peak point, and settling in there. If you are tired of the same old portable food options you have always been bringing, and looking for easy alternatives, try reading The New York Times article by Mark Bittman (link below) that outlines 101 20-minute dishes for picnics. My personal favorite thing to bring on a picnic, is a pesto and mozzarella sandwich. It’s fast and easy to make and even good cold. All you do is spread pesto on toasted bread, add the cheese. I also like to add tomato or sun dried tomato for a little extra flavor. (It also makes a nice pesto grilled cheese if you are at home, in that case it is especially
good with Monterey Jack.)
Although picnics are a great summer activity, picnics on the beach get a little bit more complicated, sandy food is less than desirable. There is nothing worse than the crunch of sand as you bite into a sandwich you’ve been waiting all morning to eat. The key to avoiding such a catastrophe: packaging. First and most common mistake: baskets. Although they are cute and the quintessential picnic accessory, there are holes in them, so sand gets in. Due to the environment of the Beach, I doubt you will be able to have a salad without every bite getting ever more crunchy as it travels from your Tupperware to your mouth. Sandwiches are probably the best way to go, however if you are really craving a salad try putting it in a whole wheat wrap for a healthier lunch.

For more recipes & articles

To get your copy of the best selling book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking go to

June 15th 7 PM-Join Celebrity Chef Maria Liberati at the Cooking Cafe at the Willingboro Library in Wilingboro, NJ for a book signing and cooking demo with sampling. Free and open to the public. Call the library or email:

July 11th- 2PM_Chestnut Hill Book Festival, Maria Wil be on a pane lfo cookbook authors to discuss writing your cookbook.

July 16th- Whole Foods market, Annapolis Md, A Tuscan Picnic, book signing and cooking demo from the best selling book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking. Open to the public, call the store for info or email

July 18th- Whole Foods Market, Fairfax, Virginia, Tuscan Picnic & wine Pairing will include a cooking demo of recipes from the best selling book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking and wine pairing with 4 wines and 4 recipes, samples, book signing. Free and open to the public. Call store or email:

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

The State of Coffee

Written/Edited by Eliza Chute

I do not claim to be a coffee connoisseur, in fact I am far from it. As a few of my friends put it, I don’t drink coffee, I drink caffeinated sugar milk. Because of this fact I tend to judge a coffee shop by its mocha. The mocha drink of Blue State Coffee on Thayer street, though a little more coffee and a little less sugary than I normally prefer, was quite delicious. However, Blue State coffee has a greater appeal than simply the taste of their coffee. Not only is the coffee both organically grown and fair traded, but after you buy it you are given a voting tablet, where you can then vote for which charity you would like them to donate 5% of their profits to. After purchasing my mocha I took my tab and put it into the Marriage Equality of RI slot, before tasting my drink and deciding not to add an extra packet of sugar.
Blue State Coffee was started by lawyer Marshall Ruben and his son, Drew. These men are on a mission, a mission which is four-pronged. First of all, they deal with only fair trade, organic coffee, and as they put it, “roasted to perfection”. Secondly, they donate 5% of profits that reflect their “progressive values”, some of those in Rhode Island include, Youth in Action, Southside Community Land Trust, RI family life center, and the previously mentioned Marriage Equality RI. According to their web-site they have already donated 78,000 dollars to various causes. If that isn’t noble enough, they also make an effort to “run a zero waste, environmentally sustainable business.” They take various measures to do this, from discounts for people who bring their own mug to their Providence location being completely powered by wind power. O yea, and they are also trying to bring everyone dedicated to bettering the country together through their shops. They say coffee is an acquired taste, one I have yet to acquire, but this is something I can definitely see myself getting used to.

All quotes taken from Blue State website

Get your copy of the best selling book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking at

Join Celebrity Chef Maria Liberati on June 15th at Willingboro Library for a book signing and cooking program. Free and open to the public call llibrary for info or email

June 13th- Saturday- 5PM hear Celebrity Chef Maria Liberati 's latest interview on Chicago's Restaurant Radio show on AM 560 WIND or listen to it online from anywhere in the world at

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Herb Garden or Not.....

Guest Editor: Eliza Chute

My mother’s garden is her new child. Since my sister and I both left for college and now our dog has passed, she devotes a lot of time to our back yard, which has become quite lush with various plants and small bushes. Every time I come home she’ll say, “did you notice the new plant I planted, isn’t it wonderful?”
“Yea, I did.” (No, I didn’t)
I have to say, that I am very surprised that she has accomplished such a feat, considering the fact that she killed almost every plant she brought home in a pot. I think it goes to show that if she can do it, anyone can. I’m not kidding, she killed a bonsai tree.
Besides the beauty and great ambiance of our back deck, there are a few more perks as well. She grows her own herbs. Instead of paying 3 dollars for some basil from the grocery store, that will only be useful for about 24 hours, she can just go into her garden and pick her own. Sounds pretty easy, right? All she did was buy the plants and transfer them to her garden. According to her, it’s important to have good potting soil. She also gives a helpful hint, which is to put the plants together that need the same amount of moisture, then you are less likely to drown them. It really does look like anyone could do it. I personally am tempted to try it myself, but I’m not sure I’m that ambitious.

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To Design a House..

Have you ever thought about having your own home built but were overwhelmed by what to do? Well large part of that was made easier by of HDA,Inc. Now designing your home, which is one of the most important parts of geting that home made just to your liking..can be doen in the comfort of your own desk while online. Pick your favorite house plans from a choice of many..And you will soon be calling that House a Home..

So many styles of houses available. If your tastes take you to a luxury style house..go to for the luxury house plans
Your dream home is truly only a click away with these plans..
If a cottage style is what you have been dreaming of get your cottage house plans there..all you will need is that English Garden in the backyard to complete it.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Grilled Pizza..I think..

We welcome Eliza Chute as one of our guest editors this summer. Eliza will be posting on many topics this summer and is a fellow foodie ,hope you enjoy! You can contact her here at:
Editor: Eliza Chute
Cooking is hard. I love food, but I rarely find I have the time or energy to cook myself a great meal. And even if I do manage to find the time, I usually end up eating enough of the ingredients before I get the thing cooked that by the time it’s done, I’m full. So since I am no cooking expert, I tend to gravitate towards the grill. Sometimes I end up burning stuff due to my inability to pay attention, and sometimes I eat it undercooked due to my impatience, but sometimes, just sometimes I get it right. One thing I am trying to get a handle on with the help of my mother is grilling my own pizza. If you are feeling really ambitious you could make your own dough. You can make it in large quantities and then freeze it for months until you want to thaw it out and use it again.
When my parents and I decided to get together and make a pizza, I have to admit I was worried. My parents like to do things their way and more often than not it is the opposite way. But this seems to be a method that is too easy to argue over. Once the toppings were picked, it was pretty much smooth sailing. However, that decision is tough. Do you go classic with marinara and mozzarella? Or do you do something crazy like pear slices, olive oil and brie? But then again thank god for the classic pizza solution, half and half. And so, you just roll out the dough, throw it on the grill and add your toppings. If you’re like me, it will probably take you a few failed try to get the timing on the grill right, but if you have any sort of cooking talent, whatsoever, you will probably have better luck.

Appearances for The Basic Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Liberati tm and book signings at:
July 11-WHole Foods Market, Jenkintown, Pa- Summer recipes with Celebrity Chef Maria LIberati. Program is at 6:15 PM> cal lstore at 215-481-0800 or email:

July 15th- 7PM- Willingboro Library, Willingboro, NJ -In the cooking cafe with Celebrtiy Chef Maria LIberati & The Basic Art of Italian Cooking. Cal llibrary for info or to register or

July 16- 7PM- Whole Foods Market, culinary center in Annapolis, Maryland 7PM-Have a Tuscan Picnic with The Basic Art of Italian Cooking & Celebrity Chef Maria Liberati
Call the store or to register

July 18th, WHole Foods Market, Fair Lakes Virginia, Tuscna Picnic Lunch & wine pairing with The Basic Art of Italian Cooking & Celebrity Chef Maria Liberati. Incldues 4 wine pairings with samples of recipes. Call store to register or

To join Maria at The Basic Art of Italian Cooking School in Italy

For more recipes

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Refresh With a Summer Salad

A simple refreshing salad for lunch or a light dinner..
Grilled Greek Salad
copyright 2009, Maria Liberati

A recipe for a simple, refreshing Greek salad on hot summer days. Try grilling the tomatoes and red onion slices for some added flavor to this classic summer salad.

You will need:
1 large beefsteak tomato cut into 1/2” slices
1 large red onion cut into 1/2” slices
1 cucumber split lengthwise, deseeded and cut into 1/4” slices
1 cup pitted kalamata olives
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 head romaine lettuce

1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper

Brush the tomato and onion slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a hot grill and cook for one and a half minutes per side to achieve grill marks. Cut the slices in half and set aside while you assemble the dressing.

Whisk together red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and taste.

Assemble the salad in a large bowl. Wash and chop the romaine head into bite sized pieces and combine in the large bowl with grilled tomato and onion, cucumber, olives and feta cheese. Drizzle with some of the dressing and toss to combine. Taste for seasoning and dressing coverage.

Tueday, June 2nd, The Basic Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Liberati tm will be at Kenilworth Library in Kenilworth NJ to present Cooking on A Budget with The Basic Art of Italian Cooking from 7-8 PM. Based on the bestselling book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking, the recipes will be for summer appetizers. for more info or call the library

Mangia Bene, Vivi Bene

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