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Steamy but not explicit spoof of "Fifty Shades" has romance, laughs, and my favorite recipes.

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100 recipes, 4 seasonal menus, 20-minute starter plan, tips, more!

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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.


Engaged cooking: What nourishes you? What do you nourish?

Engaged cooks prepare food with the wish for happiness, health, and safety for themselves and all beings. We want to help ourselves and others be peaceful and at ease. We may start with a very personal focus--just ourselves and loved ones--but then spread our good wishes out to acquaintances and strangers. A way to explore how food connects you is to ask yourself these questions:

  • What nourishes me?
  • What do I nourish?

Ask yourself each question five or ten times, until it's hard to come up with more responses. Consider writing down your answers to use for inspiration later. Or do this with a friend, with each of you taking a few minutes to speak. You might want to pause to explore your own answers before reading mine below.

What nourishes you? What do you nourish? Food, girl with butterfly face paint,friends at potluck, Monarch butterfly, Earth from space

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Healthy Menu Plan for 10 Servings of Fruit or Vegetables

Eating 10 servings of fruit and vegetables a day can help you live longer, says a major study. When I shared the good news, some of you asked "How can I eat 10 servings a day?" "How can I afford to eat that much fruit and vegetables?" This typical Cook for Good menu costs only $8.57 per person for three meals plus a snack using organic ingredients. You can make all but the salad ahead on Sunday to fuel your Meatless Monday. You'll have plenty extra to fuel the rest of the week too.

How big is a serving of vegetables or fruit?

The Imperial College of London's study defined a serving as 80 grams of fruit or vegetables. That's just under 3 ounces. All 10 servings would weigh 800 grams or 28 ounces. According to the USDA, a 6-inch banana would be one serving and a 9-inch one would be two servings. Beans do double duty, with each serving counting as a vegetable and as a protein.

Menu for 10 Servings of Fruit or Vegetables

Breakfast (1.5 servings)

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What is Organic Food?

The definition of organic food can seem a little hard to pin down. It varies by country. Even within the US, there are different levels of organic food. Find out about the international intent, the USDA’s definition, and the meaning of terms like transitional organic, grown using organic methods, and natural. Understanding these terms can help you avoid eating pesticides or wasting money on marketing hype.

USDA organic label

What is organic food?

Organics International captured the spirit of the four principles of organic agriculture with this definition, which they agreed on after almost three years of discussion:

Organic Agriculture is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects. Organic Agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved.

Organics International provides a template with minimum standards and other help for countries to create their own definitions of certified organic. Some countries don’t include all the aspects of the definition and others make their definitions even more strict.

What organic food isn’t

Organics International emphasizes that organic certification describes a growing process, not necessarily ...

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The Power of Cooking with LOVE

After the first week of my first Food-Stamp Challenge, I discovered that thrifty cooking had many benefits besides just saving money. I discovered the power of cooking with LOVE: Local Organic Vegetables and Engaged. Even on $5 a day, I could afford the healthy, organic meals I wanted if I focused on:

  • Local, seasonal ingredients
  • Vegetables and other plants, including fruit, whole grains, and nuts
  • Engaged and mindful cooking that reduced food waste

Local Organic Vegetables Engaged heart

My husband loves that I cook fresh food and bake from scratch. We easily reached healthy weights and found ...

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How to choose the best carrots for flavor, health, cost, and time

Investing a few minutes in considering what you want from a regular purchase such as carrots can pay off big in the long run. You can enjoy meals more, live healthier on a healthier planet, and save money. You can even save time, but that may involve a cost. You really can't go wrong. Carrots are loaded with vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, and other nutrients that keep your skin glowing, eyes sharp, your immune system strong, and reduce your risk of cancer and leukemia.

local carrots with carrot tops and funny shapes

Carrot Prices (Chart)

I was surprised to find that carrot prices range from 49 cents a pound to four dollars a pound. Yet even the most expensive carrots ...

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