Browsing Food for Thought

The Kitchen Think: Would You Eat a Test-Tube Burger?


Please don’t hate on the new test tube burger.

This could be the answer to feeding billions of people around the world. But… it’s going to be a hard sell.

I’m sure you know that scientists just served up the first in-vitro burger, made from harvesting stem cells from cows.

The petri-dish burger got so-so reviews for taste, but here’s the upside that I’m not sure anyone is focused on: the burger offers real hope that laboratory-made food may help feed the hungry. It also has the potential to reduce the amount of water, land and energy used to raise real live livestock.

Now, admittedly there are few kinks they’re going to have to work out, mainly the $330,000 price tag (that’s just a tad more than the usual “dollar” menu items at McDonalds). Also, most of us are trying to get away from genetically engineered food, rather than embrace it.

What do you think? Would you eat lab-made meat?

I’m not sure I would, but I know that it’s getting harder and harder to produce food in the traditional way.

And there are a lot of hungry people around the world…

Here’s a creepy video that shows you how it is done:

Kitchen Think: Getting Picky Eaters to Eat


Mama doesn’t believe in tricking picky eaters into eating healthy food… especially vegetables.

There are books and blogs dedicated to doing just that, I know. But if you introduce veggies early enough, and in small quantities, you have a better chance of bringing them into the tent.

Kale, the darling of the leafy vegetables world, is the perfect example. Kale used to be hidden in winter soups or boiled to death with other hearty greens.

Now, it’s roasted, sautéed and shredded into salads. There are entire Pinterest boards dedicated to Kale recipes.

Kale chips are even being tucked into lunch boxes. Guess what? Kids love them… even the picky eaters. The other day I saw a kid with a green smoothie… WHAT? Kudos to the parents (or the kid) for venturing into territory my kids would NEVER have explored. Picky Eater Pasta

This all goes back to introducing kids to greens early… as soon as their little tummies can digest the fiber.

Mac and cheese, a kid favorite, blends beautifully with finely chopped kale, broccoli or spinach. Start with just a little bit, a teaspoon or two per serving is about right.

Another idea: sauté the chopped leafy veggies in the same pan that you fry bacon. Top with chopped bacon and a little cheese. Easy and delicious and goes great with a meaty main course.

Do your best to get them to eat their veggies. But at the end of the day, DON’T WORRY… they’re not going to starve if they turn their nose up at a dish.


Kitchen Think: This Week’s Food News You Need To Know


Time for a round up of the food headlines of the week… the really important ones, like the eating habits of movie stars and gadgets that will keep your coffee hot.

(Mama likes taking the low road every now and then—it’s waaayy more fun, and a lot dang easier to write!)

This was a short week, what with the holiday and all. Here’s a quick quiz: What’s the Fourth of July really about? Freedom, course. Which means Americans are free to gorge themselves in ridiculous food eating contests. God Bless the U.S. of A.



You know how much Mama loves gadgets. Well here’s a great one to keep your java hot: a cup that reheats without electricity.

Good News for Sharks everywhere (no, I’m not talking about lawyers). China has banned the tasty soup at official receptions!

Love Taco Bell’s “Breakfast Cocktail?” (For the uninitiated that’s Moutain Dew and OJ.) Well, looks like other fast food joints are going to be pushing soda in the morning, too.

I hate when I read things like this: Movie star Blake Lively eats tons of cupcakes and doesn’t work out. It. Just. Isn’t. Fair.

Have a great weekend… and have no fear, next week, it’s back on the high road! Maybe.


The Kitchen Think: You Think That’s Healthy???


I know you don’t want to hear this on Monday morning, but after your not-so healthy food-fueled weekend, you need to know that the bag of trail mix you’re nipping into isn’t doing you any favors.

Even if you aren’t trying to lose weight, a lot of the so-called “healthy” options out there are loaded with fat, sugar and sodium. You know I’m a huge advocate of “everything in moderation.” But honestly, even if you limit yourself to a serving size, these things are still packed with bad stuff in quantities that actually aren’t healthy.

Steak and Cheese Wrap

For example…

Wrap Sandwiches— Wraps seem healthy because they aren’t so “bready.” But unless it’s filled with steamed vegetables, the tortilla, condiments, meats and cheeses make this a meal high in fat, sodium and calories. Suggestion: Make a traditional, portion-sized sandwich using whole grain bread.

Vitamin Infused Water—  While many of these drinks are loaded with vitamins and minerals, they are also loaded with sugar (and sometimes caffeine) to make them taste good. Suggestion: Need flavored water? Squeeze a lemon or orange into your glass of good old H2O.

Frozen Yogurt— Yogurt’s healthy, right? Not always. Some frozen yogurt has more sugar and calories than ice cream. Suggestion: Make sure the container says “Live and Active Cultures” if you want the probiotic benefits of yogurt… and look at the sugar content.

Granola—Another taste sensation that we’ve been duped into thinking is healthy, when in reality it is packed with sugar and fat and has very few vitamins and minerals. Suggestion: Treat granola as a garnish and use it to top oatmeal, probiotic yogurt or cereal.

Trail Mix— Nuts have protein. Dried fruit have vitamins… but together they’re major calorie bombs. Also, it’s REALLY hard to eat a single serving because the sweet and salty balance makes trail mix taste so good. Suggestion: Portion out the trail mix into serving sizes in small resealable plastic bags or containers.

You know that the easiest way to eat better is to read labels and really work at portion control. But if you’re like me, when it comes to certain foods, this is the easiest thing to do: DON’T BRING IT INTO THE HOUSE!




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I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: