New Year Cup Cakes of Starbuck Korea

Celebrating the Year of the Dog

French-style Hors Doeuvre with Toasted Baguette and Tapenade Spread


24 thin baguette slices
nonstick olive-oil cooking spray or olive oil
sweet pepper strips for garnish (optional)


1-1/2 cups pitted mild brine-cured green olives such as Luques or picholines, black Niqoise olives, or a combination of several kinds
3 anchovy fillets, rinsed and patted dry
3 tablespoons capers, rinsed
1-1/2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1-1/2 tablespoons Cognac or brandy
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
freshly ground white pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil


  1. To make the tapenade, combine the olives, anchovies, capers, parsley, garlic, Cognac, lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon white pepper in a food processor. Pulse once or twice to combine roughly, then add the olive oil and pulse briefly, stopping to scrape down the bowl sides once or twice. The texture should be chunky, rather than a smooth puree. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  3. Arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet and coat them lightly with the olive oil spray, or brush lightly with olive oil. Bake until golden, 10-15 minutes.
  4. Transfer the toasted baguette slices to a serving platter. Spread each one with about 1 tablespoon of the tapenade, then, if desired, crisscross 2 small strips of sweet pepper on top. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 24 bites.

Source: Hors Doeuvre

Sushi Set to Celebrate the Cat’s Day on February 22 in Japan

Cat Face and Paws Kazari Roll Sushi and Three Inari Sushi

Each set (若廣の肉球助六セット) is sold by Ecute Nippori (エキュート日暮里) for 580 yen (tax included).

Study Shows How A Carb-restricted Diet Battles Fatty Liver Disease

New details about how a carbohydrate-restricted diet improves metabolism were revealed in a study published today, which could lead to improved treatments for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

A research team in Sweden examined the effects of reduced carbohydrate consumption – without an accompanying reduction in calorie intake – by putting 10 subjects with obesity and high liver fat on a two-week diet. The study, which involved KTH Royal Institute of Technology’s SciLifeLab research center, combined clinical and big data analysis to determine the subsequent changes in metabolism and gut bacteria.

By doing so, they identified why the subjects showed “rapid and dramatic” reductions of liver fat and other cardiometabolic risk factors, along with marked decreases in synthesis of hepatic fat. Published today in Cell Metabolism, the work was authored by researchers from KTH, University of Gothenburg and other international collaborators.

Adil Mardinoglu, a systems biology researcher at KTH, says that the subjects were restricted to an isocaloric, low-carbohydrate diet with increased protein content. The researchers found that the metabolism of dangerous hepatic lipids was “strongly linked” to rapid increases in B vitamins and the bacteria that produce folic acid.

This benefit was coupled by a reduction in the expression of genes that are involved in fatty acid synthesis, and an increase in the expression of genes involved in folate-mediated one-carbon metabolism and fatty acid oxidation.

“A carbohydrate-restricted dietary intervention such as the one we used can be an efficient treatment strategy for a severe health problem, as medical science continues the development of new drugs,” Mardinoglu says.

The study relied upon a combination of systems medicine and advanced clinical studies, with close interaction between experts in systems medicine, basic scientists, nutritionists and clinicians. Combining forces enabled the team to apply a “multi-omics” approach, which means integrating multiple data sets from the body’s omes (genome, proteome, transcriptome, etc.) to identify biomarkers.

“We’ve moved from an era where scientists could work individually and command – in one laboratory – everything they needed, to a world that’s much more interactive,” Mardinoglu says.

Lead author Jan Boren, a professor at University of Gothenburg, says: “We found that the diet, independently of weight-loss, induced rapid and dramatic reductions of liver fat and other cardiometabolic risk factors, and revealed hitherto unknown underlying molecular mechanisms.

“It’s important, however, to clarify that diets are complicated and that one type of diet does not fit everyone. For example, subjects with hypercholesterolemia should be careful.”

Liver fat is the earliest abnormality in the pathogenesis of both NAFLD and alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFLD) due to metabolic risk factors associated with insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome in the presence or absence of alcohol consumption.

Therefore, the strategies the research team identified could be used also for the treatment of AFLD patients, Boren says.

Source: KTH The Royal Institute of Technology

Highly Processed Foods Tied to Higher Cancer Risk

Steven Reinberg wrote . . . . . . .

If you worry about ever getting cancer, you might want to pass on the processed foods at your supermarket.

Every 10 percent dietary increase in packaged snacks, fizzy drinks, sugary cereals and other highly processed foods boosts the risk for cancer by 12 percent, new research suggests.

Breast cancer, in particular, was associated with greater consumption of mass-produced, ultra-processed foods, according to the study.

While these foods may taste great, they’re often loaded with sugar, salt and fat. They also lack vitamins, fiber and other nutritional value.

But nutritional value might not explain the observed heightened cancer risk, the French researchers said.

“Our results suggest that the lower overall nutritional quality of ultra-processed foods is not the only factor involved in this relationship,” said lead author Dr. Bernard Srour, of the University of Paris.

Exactly what it is about these foods or their packaging that might increase cancer risk isn’t yet known, said Srour, a biostatistician in the unit of nutritional epidemiology.

“Studies are needed to understand the impact of different dimensions of food processing,” he said. These should look at nutritional composition and different additives and contaminants, he added.

Marjorie Lynn McCullough, strategic director of nutritional epidemiology at the American Cancer Society, isn’t surprised by the new findings.

“This study supports what we have been recommending for a long time,” McCullough said. “This includes eating a mostly plant-based diet rich in vegetables and fruits and eliminating red meat, processed foods and sugars.”

In several developed countries, ultra-processed foods may make up as much as 50 percent of the daily diet, the researchers noted.

This includes convenience foods, such as mass-produced baked breads and buns, snacks and cookies — plus those staples of modern-day childhood, chicken nuggets and fish sticks, Srour said.

Also on the list: instant soups, frozen or ready-to-eat meals, commercially made desserts and products processed with preservatives other than salt — for example, nitrites.

Many of these items also contain hydrogenated oils, modified starches, colorants, emulsifiers, texturizers, sweeteners and other additives.

The new report was published online in the BMJ.

The specific risks posed by any or all of these additives are difficult to untangle, experts said.

“We are a long way from understanding the full implications of food processing for health and well-being,” wrote Martin Lajous, co-author of an editorial accompanying the study. He is a faculty researcher at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.

Some studies have linked highly processed foods to increased risks for obesity, high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, but no firm proof exists, Srour’s team said.

Similarly, this study cannot prove that highly processed foods cause cancer, only that an association exists between the two, Srour added.

McCullough said the results should be interpreted with caution. “People eating more highly processed foods are eating fewer healthy foods,” she said.

A diet rich in processed foods is apt to increase weight, and increased weight is a known risk factor for several types of cancer, said McCullough, who had no role in the study.

For the study, Srour and his colleagues had nearly 105,000 French men and women, average age 43, complete at least two online dietary questionnaires.

The researchers also examined participants’ medical records.

To try to isolate the part foods played in cancer risk, the researchers took into account some well-known risk factors, such as age, gender, educational level, family history of cancer, smoking and physical activity levels.

Besides finding that risk for any cancer rose 12 percent with a 10 percent increase in ultra-processed foods, the researchers looked at several specific cancers.

They found an 11 percent increase for risk of breast cancer, but no significant risk for prostate or colon cancer.

In addition, other testing uncovered no significant association between cancer risk and less processed foods, such as canned vegetables, cheeses and freshly made bread.

Meanwhile, fresh and minimally processed foods were associated with a lower risk for cancer overall and breast cancer specifically, Srour said. Those foods included fruits, vegetables, rice and pasta, eggs, meat, fish and milk.

However, the study results should be confirmed by other large-scale studies in different populations and settings, Srour said.

Source: HealthDay

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