I am often asked about how I got started making food pun tees. I’m not an artist and can’t draw or paint to save my life. I’ve always had a silly sense of humor that I credit my dad for. As a kid, I loved puns and still do today. Being in a food field, I seek out food-related swag for myself and for gifts for my colleagues.
I was in Old Navy one summer day getting a few things for my daughters when I saw a tee shirt that said, “breakfast, lunch, dinner” with the images of a doughnut, slice of pizza and a taco. Granted- these are all tasty vittles, but would I wear that shirt? Nope. For starters, it wasn’t very creative. I think I’d seen that same design somewhere else. Secondly, did I want to wear something that suggested eating more, less nutritious food? I realize the tee was a joke, but I failed to see the humor.
I started thinking about what tees would I wear? What would I want my messages to be? I met with a graphic designer and friend who had his own line of tee shirts. I wanted to pick his brain about how to start a tee biz and also bounce food pun ideas off of him. My mission was to make healthy food fun again. I wanted to use simple designs and font but have the messages be a tiny bit more cerebral and tongue and cheek, so to speak!
My first idea was Peas romaine seeded, which I made up while sitting on an airplane. I kept hearing the flight attendants say, “Please remain seated” so many times, that it just clicked. https://soundbitesnutrition.com/product/peas-romaine-seeded-short-sleeve-t-shirt/ From there, I had a small run of 25 shirts printed for friends and family and had them test drive them. My printer is www.diyprintingshop.com/ in Walnut Hills. Aaron Kent has been great to work with and I highly recommend his print services!
Once Peas romaine was off the ground, the puns kept coming. This. Is. The. Wurst was made after the 2016 election results. It was my way of saying, “are you kidding me?” https://soundbitesnutrition.com/product/this-is-the-wurst-short-sleeve-t-shirt/ Praise cheeses was also part of the initial collection because, I love cheese! https://soundbitesnutrition.com/product/praise-cheeses-unisex-short-sleeve-t-shirt/
After a year of selling the tees in a few markets around the city (Clifton Market, EMC near Findlay Market (now closed), Jackson Whitacre (closed) and Kennedy Heights Arts gift shop, I decided they needed a purpose. I am passionate about food insecurity as well as nutrition education. Because nutrition impacts so many aspects of our livelihood and health, it’s important to have enough food and also to know how to prepare it.
The idea of Lettuce Beet Hunger hit me like a ton of bricks. https://soundbitesnutrition.com/product/lettuce-beet-hunger-short-sleeve-t-shirt-2/ I decided to partner with Cooking for the Family in OTR. A program that provides a 5-week cooking class for $10 for families.Part of my proceeds go towards sponsoring students. While they are unable to operate currently due to the pandemic, proceeds that I have donated are going towards providing food for those who cannot afford it. https://www.sfsministries.org/our-ministries/cooking-for-the-family/
I initially had the tees in gray to give them a retro, gym class feel. I’ve since expanded to a few colors, but have kept the font the same for branding and consistency purposes. I started adding the puns to onesies, which I think make a great gift for friends, family or co-workers with new babies.
If you’re on the hunt for a fun gift, check out my shop and save 20% until Friday when you use code summer20 at check out. If nothing else, I hope the puns put a smile on your face!
A few styles of my tees can be found (in shops only) at the Civic Garden Center gift shop https://www.civicgardencenter.org/, Morsel and Nosh in Northside http://morselandnosh.com/ or at Kennedy Heights Arts gift shop. https://kennedyarts.org/
I’ll admit- I don’t have a green thumb. Give me a plant and it will likely be brown within a week. Maybe it’s because my schedule in the past was more hectic and I’d forget to water my plants. With COVID19, I’m home and enjoying my deck more often where my basil plant resides. I also have a tomato plant that’s doing quite well, thank you very much! I hope they are ripe by August to use.
Being a huge fan of Mediterranean food, I love having fresh basil to toss in pasta, salads or veggies. I had some leftover white beans from another dish as well as a few dying cucumbers and ripe tomatoes. I chopped a few things and now I have a new salad.
What’s funny about ‘salad’ is that most people assume it will just be some greens and other veggies and dressing. When you add beans, lentils, edamame or chick peas to a salad, it makes it more of a meal. All types of dried beans and legumes are high in protein and fiber, which are way more filling to eat than just romaine or spinach. These also add color and texture to your salads to make them more interesting.
Here’s a tasty salad to try:
1/2 cucumber, chopped
1 ripe tomato, chopped
1 small handful fresh basil leaves, ripped
1 can white beans (Navy, Great Northern or canellinni)
1 Tbsp. feta cheese
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Dash of salt
- Combine the cucumbers, tomatoes, basil, beans and feta cheese in a large salad bowl.
- Whisk vinegar and olive oil together and drizzle over the salad.
- Toss salad with a dash of salt and serve cold.
Makes 4 servings.
I am embarrassed to admit it. I’ve never made a homemade pie with the exception of pizza. But, that’s not dessert. Pie is one of those desserts that seems daunting. You have to get the crust just right to fit into the fluted pan and if you mix the dough too much, it’s tough and not flaky. What if the filling flows over the pan and you’re left with a gooey mess in your oven? I have pie anxiety.
I kept seeing beautiful pictures of galettes on Instagram and Pinterest during the pandemic and thought, “how hard can it be”? It turns out, it’s really not that hard.
My husband is the pie guy in the family. A scientist by trade, he likes to measure every ingredient down to the tiniest tincture before he puts anything in the oven. He’s turned out everything from apple to pumpkin mince pie over the years with ease, while I just watched in awe and eat.
I tend to “wing” most of my meals. A pinch of oregano here, a dollop of mustard there. This is the way my mother cooked- no recipes required. But, being in a food field where people want to know calorie, carb and fat counts, I’ve learned the art of recipe writing and following. And obviously, to write a cookbook, you have to write the recipes! https://www.amazon.com/Healing-Gout-Cookbook-Anti-Inflammatory-Recipes/dp/1646114469
The beauty of the galette is that it’s a little of both. While the ingredients for the crust should be fairly exact, the execution of the dough is not. As you’ll see- it’s perfectly imperfect. Now that’s my kind of pie!
You can use just about anything in a galette, but since it’s summer and peach season, I had to make peach. I bought the peaches at https://www.countryfreshfarmmarket.com/ where you can find just about any fruit, herb, delightful cheese, beer or wine. Their produce is amazing and it’s important to me to support a local store. Below is the recipe for this delightful summer treat. I found the recipe for the dough (AKA Pate Brisee) in the Martha Stewart Pies & Tarts cookbook https://www.marthastewart.com/1502266/pie-recipes
The recipe below will make 1 galette.
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. white sugar
1 stick cold butter, cut into small chunks
1/4-1/2 cups water
3 ripe peaches, cleaned and sliced
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
- Combine the flour, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the butter using a pastry cutter (or fork) until the mixture is a course meal with pieces of butter remaining.
- Add water slowly over the mixture and continue to blend until it begins to hold together. If the dough is too dry, add a tsp. or so of water until a soft ball forms.
- Wrap the ball of dough loosely in plastic wrap and press into a disc shape.
- Refrigerate the dough for at least one hour before using.
- Place the peaches, cinnamon and brown sugar in a small bowl and toss.
- Once ready to make the galette, turn your oven to 400 degrees.
- Roll the dough out on a floured surface into the shape of a rough circle. It will be roughly 8-9 inches.
- Place the dough onto a baking sheet or greased baking pan prior to adding the fruit.
- Evenly distribute the prepped peaches onto the dough, then fold over the edges about an inch in.
- Bake the galette for 25-35 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the peaches are bubbly.
Makes 6 slices.
I received an interesting food sample in the mail the other day: a product called Crunchsters made out of sprouted mung beans. If you’re not familiar with mung beans, they are the tiniest member of the legume (AKA bean) family and can be eaten raw or cooked. Sprouted mung beans are similar in texture to dried soy nuts and equally nutritious. They don’t call them “mighty mung beans” for nothin’!
A little over a 1 oz. serving of sprouted mung beans provides 7 grams or plant-based protein, 5 grams of dietary fiber and 20% of the daily value for magnesium- an essential mineral needed for blood pressure and bone health. They are relatively low in sodium (7% of the daily value) and also provide potassium, iron and manganese. The sample pack I received included 4 different flavors: smokey balsamic, sea salt, beyond bacon and BBQ. The beans may be eaten solo as a snack or used as a topper for a recipe.The whole pack of Crunchsters provides 180 calories, which is totally reasonable for a mid-day snack.
Given the warm temps, I opted for a big salad as part of my lunch today. I had some cannellini beans on hand as well as kalamata olives and a few cherry tomatoes. I like to make my own dressing since I think salads taste fresher than with store bought dressing. If you see them in the store (available in Whole Foods or Amazon), give them a try! #freesample #smokey #balsamic #mungbeans #vegan #nonGMO #organic #crunchsters
2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
5 kalamata olives, cut in half
5 cherry tomatoes cut in half
2 Tbsp. cannellini or other white bean (navy, Great Nothern, etc.)
1 Tbsp. Crunchsters smokey balsamic mung beans
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
- Place romaine in a bowl and top with tomatoes, olives, white beans and Crunchsters mung beans.
- Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice and oregano. Drizzle dressing over salad and serve.
Makes 1 salad
While I realize it’s summer, I still have favorite foods that I incorporate in my meals all year long. Sweet potatoes are one of them. Despite their name, sweet potatoes have a slightly lower glycemic index than white potatoes, which means they don’t raise your blood sugar as quickly after eating. Eating the skin of potatoes increases fiber consumption- just be sure to scrub the skin well to remove any dirt or pesticides.
In addition to fiber, that beautiful bright orange hue of sweet potatoes is compliments of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene gets converted to vitamin A in the body, and is found in other brightly colored fruits and vegetables including carrots, cantaloupe, acorn and butternut squash, apricots, peaches, nectarines and mangoes. Vitamin A is needed for healthy skin and immunity and is best to get in your diet VS supplements.
Long term beta-carotene intake (> 18 years) from food, has been linked with improved cognition in older adults in one study of over 4,000 men. In addition, foods high in beta-carotene are protective against lung cancer and reduce the risk of macular degeneration- a disease of the eye that impacts vision. Beta-carotene is more bio-available when cooked VS raw. So, when you eat cooked carrots, your body actually absorbs more of the antioxidant.
Fruits and vegetables high in beta-carotene have also been linked with cancer reduction due to their high anti-oxidant content, which help fight free radicals that damage cells and DNA in your body. Fruit and vegetable intake (in addition to not smoking, limiting alcohol, maintaining a healthy weight and getting regular exercise) is one of your best defenses in preventing cancer. Include more if your diet whenever you can (especially vegetables, which are lower in calories).
Sweet (and white) potatoes also provide potassium– an essential mineral that aids in blood pressure reduction. Potassium has recently been added to the food label because of its role in blood pressure. You can also find potassium in green leafy vegetables such as kale, Brussels sprouts, spinach, mustard and collard greens and broccoli. I eat something green and leafy at least once a day, but typically more.
Below is the recipe for this simple side dish:
2 large sweet potatoes, cleaned and cut into 1/2″ discs, then cut in half
Non-stick cooking spray
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
- Spray a large baking pan with non stick spray.
- Place the cut sweet potatoes on the baking pan and spread them out.
- Spray the potatoes with non-stick spray.
- Dust the potatoes with one pass of each: cinnamon, cumin, and seasoned salt.
- Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then flip and bake for another 15 minutes until potatoes are slightly soft.
Makes 4 servings (roughly 1/2 cup each).