Creative Coffee

‘Sweet Little Rain’ served by a coffee shop in Shanghai, China

The cotton candy is melted by the steam coming up from the coffee and the melted sugar is dripping down like raining.

Chicken Provencal


1 chicken, weighing about 3 pounds, cut into 6-8 pieces
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 firm-ripe tomatoes, peeled and coarse chopped
2 cups dry white wine
1 tablespoon finery chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon fine chopped fresh thyme
1 cup black olives


  1. Saute the chicken in the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
  2. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
  3. In the same pan, saute the onion, garlic, and tomatoes until the tomatoes begin to break down, 8-10 minutes. Season with salt.
  4. Lower the heat and pour in the wine. Stir in the rosemary, thyme, and olives. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Return the chicken to the pan. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until the chicken is very tender, about 30 minutes.
  6. Remove to serving platters and serve hot.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Modern Mediterranean Cooking

Canadian Chinese Dish Ginger Beef Was Invented in Calgary in 1975

Robyn MacLean wrote . . . . . . . . .

The polarizing Chinese takeout dish may be inspired by (and is a direct translations of) a northern Chinese dish called Stir-fried Beef with Ginger (shown below), but the crunchy, sweet and spicy version (shown above) that Canadians have grown to love actually originated in 1975 at the Silver Inn Restaurant in Calgary.

Like many non-Western restaurants at the time, Chinese food wasn’t yet prevalent, and chef George Wong was looking for new ways to attract locals into the restaurant. He began playing around with the recipe, eventually concocting the sweeter, saucier version of the marinated deep-fried beef strips that has become a popular go-to dish on Chinese takeout nights.

The dish is not as prevalent in Eastern Canada, but regardless, over the decades it has become one of our country’s most iconic dishes.

Source: Eat North

FDA Warns Women of Childbearing Age about Possible Safety Risks of Dietary Supplements Containing Vinpocetine

On June 3, 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers about safety concerns regarding an ingredient called vinpocetine that is found in dietary supplements, specifically concerns about the use of this ingredient by women of childbearing age. According to data reviewed by the FDA, including a recent report by the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) National Toxicology Program (NTP), consumption of vinpocetine is associated with adverse reproductive effects – in other words, vinpocetine may cause a miscarriage or harm fetal development.

These findings are particularly concerning since products containing vinpocetine are widely available for use by women of childbearing age. That’s why today we’re advising pregnant women and women who could become pregnant not to take vinpocetine. We are also advising firms marketing dietary supplements containing vinpocetine to evaluate their product labeling to ensure that it provides safety warnings against use by pregnant women and women who could become pregnant.

Vinpocetine is a synthetically produced compound that is used in some products marketed as dietary supplements, either by itself or combined with other ingredients. Vinpocetine may be referred to on product labels as Vinca minor extract, lesser periwinkle extract, or common periwinkle extract. Dietary supplements containing vinpocetine are often marketed for uses that include enhanced memory, focus, or mental acuity; increased energy; and weight loss. Scientists who have studied the effects of vinpocetine on pregnant animals concluded that vinpocetine decreased fetal weight and increased the chances of a miscarriage. The blood levels of vinpocetine measured in the pregnant animals were similar to those reported in people after taking a single dose of vinpocetine, indicating that pregnant women may experience adverse effects from vinpocetine similar to those seen in the pregnant animals.

In some countries outside of the U.S., vinpocetine is regulated as a prescription drug. When products like vinpocetine are sold as dietary supplements in the U.S., they have not been reviewed by the FDA under the safety and effectiveness standards that apply to drug products. This means that the FDA has not reviewed each vinpocetine product, or its labeling, before those products become available to consumers.

In the 1990s, the FDA received several premarket safety submissions (known as new dietary ingredient notifications) for vinpocetine as an ingredient in dietary supplements. In 2016, we requested comment from stakeholders as part of an administrative proceeding to evaluate whether vinpocetine is legal for sale as a dietary supplement. With the results in NTP’s report, it was important to issue today’s warning because the availability of dietary supplement products containing vinpocetine has grown and the labels of vinpocetine products often have no warnings about the dangers of miscarriage and harm to fetal development. For the same reasons, the FDA will expedite completion of the administrative proceeding that we began in September 2016.

The dietary supplement market is a growing industry, with sales multiplying ten-fold over the past 25 years and more than half of all Americans taking at least one dietary supplement on a regular basis. This expansion is one reason why earlier this year, the FDA announced new efforts to strengthen the regulation of dietary supplements by modernizing our regulatory framework.

Today’s safety warning is just one of many steps the FDA is taking to adapt to the realities of the evolving dietary supplement industry. Protecting the public from unsafe dietary supplements remains a top priority for the FDA. We’ve also created a public-private partnership, the Botanical Safety Consortium, to promote scientific advances in evaluating the safety of botanical ingredients and mixtures in dietary supplements. In April, we introduced a new tool, the Dietary Supplement Ingredient Advisory List, to more quickly alert the public when we become aware of ingredients that appear to be unlawfully marketed in dietary supplements. And finally, just last month, we held a public meeting with our stakeholders to discuss responsible innovation in the dietary supplements industry.

These efforts, along with today’s announcement regarding vinpocetine, underscore how the FDA will continue to preserve access to safe, well-manufactured, and accurately labeled dietary supplements, while we protect the American public from potentially unsafe or otherwise unlawful products.

Source: U.S. Food & Drug Adminstartion

Highly Processed Food Tied to Heart Disease and Earlier Death

People who get many of their meals from packages may have heightened risks of heart disease, stroke and premature death, two large studies suggest.

The findings, published online in the journal BMJ, are the latest to point the finger at “ultra-processed” foods.

They include not only “junk food” — like chips, sweets and fast food — but also the breads, processed meats, jarred sauces and frozen meals that many people consider staples.

In one study, researchers followed more than 100,000 French adults for about five years.

They found that the more ultra-processed foods people ate, the higher their odds of a first-time heart condition or stroke: Those who ate the most processed foods were 23% more likely to suffer cardiovascular trouble compared to those with the lowest intakes.

And it wasn’t only because those foods were loaded with sugar, salt or fat — or because those people were heavier, exercised less or had other unhealthy habits.

Instead, there might be other things about highly processed foods that take a health toll, according to researchers Bernard Srour and Mathilde Touvier, from the University of Paris.

Other studies, they noted, have hinted that additives or contaminants formed during food processing have negative effects on metabolism and the cardiovascular system.

The researchers stressed that their study can’t prove cause and effect.

But taken along with other research linking processed foods to ill health effects, they said the message is straightforward: Strive to eat more “whole” and minimally processed foods.

Dr. Andrew Freeman, a cardiologist not involved in the study, had the same advice.

“I like to say: The longer the shelf life, the shorter your life,” said Freeman, who directs cardiovascular prevention and wellness at National Jewish Health in Denver.

Based on the overall body of research, he said, the most heart-healthy diet is one rich in whole foods — particularly plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts.

To make that more affordable and convenient, Freeman pointed to healthy, packaged options — like fresh-frozen vegetables.

Srour agreed that not all packaged food is bad. It’s the degree of processing that seems key.

For example, he said a canned soup made of water, vegetables, vegetable oil, herbs and spices would not fall into the “ultra-processed” category. A dried soup loaded with preservatives would.

The French study included more than 105,000 men and women who were, on average, 43 years old at the start. Over the next five years, just over 1,400 suffered a heart attack or stroke, or developed clogged heart arteries.

The risk was 23% greater among those who ate the most ultra-processed foods — even with a host of other factors considered, including body weight, exercise habits, and salt, sugar and fat intake.

In the second study — of nearly 20,000 Spanish adults — ultra-processed foods were linked to a shorter life span: Those with the highest intake were 62% more likely to die over two decades, compared to those with the lowest intake.

Again, factors such as weight and lifestyle habits did not fully explain the link.

Then what else could be going on?

There is growing evidence that heavy processing itself plays a role, said Mark Lawrence, a professor of public health nutrition at Deakin University in Australia. He wrote an editorial published with the studies.

Food additives and compounds produced by industrial processes — such as acrylamide and acrolein — may help explain the health risks tied to highly refined foods, according to Lawrence.

“It’s ultra-processing that’s the problem,” he said, adding that convenient, minimally processed food can fit into a healthy lifestyle. Simple switches — from sugary drinks to water, or sweet treats to fresh fruit — are good starting points, Lawrence said.

The fewer nutritionally empty foods we eat, the more room there is for nutrient-rich ones, Freeman pointed out.

“It behooves us all,” he said, “to use nature to our advantage — to eat more nutritious foods, and rely less on medication.”

Source: HealthDay

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