Health Post – Use this, not that

The Ultimate Guide to Plastics

Courtesy of Baby Green Thumb
Plastic Number 1

Polyethylene Terephthalate

Plastic #1 – PET or PETE stands for polyethylene terephthalate, a plastic resin and a form of polyester.

Where is PETE found?
PETE is commonly used to package:

  • Cosmetics
  • Household cleaners
  • Water
  • Juice
  • Soft drinks
  • Salad dressings
  • Oil
  • Peanut butter

Health Concerns
Studies have found levels of antimony (a toxic chemical) leaching from water bottles that have been placed in heat for prolonged times. Although PETE does not contain BPA or Phthalates, it’s always best to make sure that your water bottles are not temperature abused. PETE plastic should not be reused because cleaning detergents and high temperatures can cause chemicals to leach out of the plastic. Plastic #1 is only intended for one time use.

Plastic Number 2

High-Density Polyethylene

Plastic #2 – High-density polyethylene (HDPE) is a polyethylene thermoplastic made from petroleum. HDPE is hard, opaque and can withstand somewhat high temperatures.

Where is HDPE found?
HDPE is used in the manufacturing of toys, and the packaging of:

  • Laundry detergent
  • Milk jugs
  • Folding chairs & tables

Health Concerns
No known health concerns.

Plastic Number 3

Polyvinyl Chloride

Plastic #3 – Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is a thermoplastic polymer. Through the use of phthalates, a plasticizer, it can be made softer and more flexible. Read about the harm of phthalates here.

Where is PVC found?

  • Shower curtains
  • Cling wrap
  • Waterbeds
  • Pool toys
  • Inflatable structures
  • Clothing
  • Vinyl IV bags used in neo-natal intensive care

PVC can also be found in car interiors and vinyl flooring, resulting in the release of toxic chemicals into the air.

Health Concerns
PVC is one of the toxic plastics that should be avoided.

  • Purchase a shower curtain made from organic hemp, bamboo or PEVA. PEVA (polyethylene vinyl acetate) is a non-vinyl (PVC-free), chlorine-free, biodegradable plastic.
  • Air out the car before getting in.
  • Avoid using cling wrap made with PVC.
  • Avoid inflatable structures, air mattresses, and toys made with PVC. Note: Aerobed pakmat and Aerobed Ecolite are PVC and phthalate free.
  • Choose all baby toys, pool toys, and bath toys that are labeled to be PVC, Phthalate and BPA free.
Plastic Number 4

Low-density polyethylene

Plastic #4 – Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) is a thermoplastic made from petroleum. It can be found translucent or opaque. It is flexible and tough but breakable.

Where is LDPE found?

  • Juice and milk cartons (as the water-proof inner and outer layer)
  • Most plastic grocery bags
  • Some packaging material

Health Concerns
No known health concerns.

Plastic Number 5

Polypropylene

Plastic #5 – Polypropylene (PP) is a thermoplastic polymer. It is strong, tough, has a high resistance to heat and acts as a barrier to moisture.

Where is Polypropylene found?

  • Yogurt & margarine tubs
  • Plastic cups & baby bottles
  • Kitchenware, microwavable plastic containers and lids

Health Concerns
Most PP are microwavable safe and dishwasher safe. NOTE: microwavable/dishwasher safe only means that the plastic will not warp when heated. It does not imply that it is a healthy practice. A better alternative is using glass containers to heat foods and to hand wash plastic instead of using the dishwasher.

Plastic Number 6

Polystyrene

Plastic #6 – Polystyrene (PS) is a petroleum-based plastic. It can either be hard or used in the form of styrofoam.

Where is Polystyrene found?
Polystyrene is widely used in packaging materials and insulation. Some common items include:

  • Disposable cutlery
  • CD and DVD cases
  • Egg cartons
  • Foam cups & to-go foam packaging from restaurants.

Health Concerns
According to the Foundation for Achievements in Science and Education fact sheet, long term exposure to small quantities of styrene can cause neurotoxic (fatigue, nervousness, difficulty sleeping), hematological (low platelet and hemoglobin values), cytogenetic (chromosomal and lymphatic abnormalities), and carcinogenic effects. Styrene is classified as a possible human carcinogen by the EPA and by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

Ways to avoid Polystyrene:

  • Package left over foods from a restaurant in your own glass or stainless steel containers.
  • Avoid styrofoam cups or plates and instead use stainless steel, glass, or bamboo products.
  • Bring your own silverware to fast-food restaurants instead of using their plastic ones.
Plastic Number 7

OTHER (Varies)

Plastic #7 can be a little tricky as it stands for “Other” which may or may not contain BPA. It is commonly used to label Polycarbonate (PC). The letters PC may be present with the recycling symbol, which would indicate that the product is made with polycarbonate.

Polycarbonate is derived from BPA. Read more about the harm of BPA here.

Where is Polycarbonate found?

  • Electrical wiring
  • CD/DVD cases
  • Baby bottles
  • 3 and 5 gallon reusable bottles

Health Concerns
BPA has been found to be an endocrine disruptor. Choose bottles made with the #1, #2, #4, or #5 recycling codes.

To Avoid BPA:

Choose BPA-free canned fish like Safcol canned tuna and salmon.

Safest Choices

In conclusion, plastic products marked with the numbers 2, 4 and 5 are the safer choices. Regardless of what plastic you use, avoid exposing your plastics to high temperatures (microwave, dishwasher) and use mild detergents for cleaning. Since there is no guarantee that plastics will not leach out harmful chemicals, I suggest playing it safe by trying to avoid plastic when possible.

– See more at: http://www.babygreenthumb.com/p-122-safe-plastic-numbers-guide.aspx#sthash.der3SxeZ.dpuf

 

 

 

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Adapted from the Cupcake Project

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups sifted powdered sugar (You can decrease this amount if you don’t care about it being as stiff for piping)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder

Instructions

  1. Mix cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy.
  2. Mix in powdered sugar, one cup at a time.
  3. Mix in cocoa powder.

Different Varieties of Buttercream

Adapted from Handle the Heat

Flavor Ideas:

You may need to adjust the powdered sugar ratio depending on your flavor preferences and adjust the cream ratio depending on your texture preferences.

Chocolate

Add 1/2 cup sifted unsweetened cocoa powder

Strawberry

Add 1/3 cup seedless strawberry preserves and a few drops of red food coloring

Raspberry

Add 1/3 cup seedless raspberry preserves and a few drops of red food coloring

Mocha

Add 1/2 cup sifted unsweetened cocoa powder and 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Use 3/4 light brown sugar in place of all powdered sugar, add 1 1/4 cups flour, and garnish with mini chocolate chips

Chocolate Malt

Add 1/2 cup sifted unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/2 cup malted milk powder, and use 1/4 cup milk, plus more if needed

Peanut Butter

Add 1 cup creamy peanut butter and reduce the powdered sugar to 2 1/2 cups

Irish Cream Buttercream

Use Bailey’s Irish Cream instead of cream

Kahlua

Add in 1/2 cup sifted unsweetened cocoa powder and 1/2 cup Kahlua in place of the cream

Mint

Add 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract and a few drops of green food coloring

Nutella

Add in 2/3 cup Nutella and reduce powdered sugar to 2 cups

Lemon (or any other citrus)

Add in 2 tablespoons lemon zest and 3 tablespoons lemon juice and increase powdered sugar to 3 1/2 cups

Coconut

Add in 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract

Cinnamon

Add 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Pumpkin

Add in 1/2 cup pure pumpkin puree and 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, remove cream

Salted Caramel

Add in 1/3 cup caramel topping and increase salt to 1 teaspoon, remove cream

How To

Yield: 3 cups

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook: 10 minutes

This makes enough buttercream to frost about 12 to 15 cupcakes. Double this recipe to frost a 8 or 9-inch two layer cake.

3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
8 ounces (2 sticks or 1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons heavy or whipping cream

Directions

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase the speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes. Add the salt, vanilla, and cream and beat on medium for 1 minute, adding more cream if needed.

STORAGE:
Transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let come to room temperature and re-whip in the stand mixer until light and fluffy again. Add a tablespoon or 2 of powdered sugar if it needs to thicken.

Sex in a Pan

sticker375x360
Courtesy of Jo Cooks
 12319338_929719340450088_257869767_n
INGREDIENTS
Crust
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 3 tbsp white sugar
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup flour
Cream cheese layer
  • 1 8 oz package cream cheese
  • 1 cup powdered sugar (use ½ cup for less sweetness)
  • 1 cup whipped cream or cool whip
Vanilla pudding
Chocolate Pudding
Last layer
  • 2 cups whipped cream or cool whip
  • shaved chocolate / chocolate bits / sprinkles
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F or 180 C degrees.
  2. Spray a 9×13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  3. In a mixer mix all the crust ingredients together and press the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
  4. Bake it for about 20 minutes.
  5. Prepare the vanilla pudding as per the instructions on the package.
  6. Prepare the chocolate pudding as per the instructions on the package.
  7. In a mixer add the cream cheese, powdered sugar and the cup of whipped cream. Mix until light and fluffy.
  8. Let the crust cool. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the crust evenly. Spread the chocolate pudding over the cream cheese, then the vanilla pudding. Top with the whipped cream and sprinkle with the chocolate.
  9. Refrigerate for a couple hours so that it sets.

12286041_929719337116755_384220698_n

12285788_929719377116751_1637329195_n 12309307_929719353783420_1806602175_n 12309071_929719357116753_808561270_n 12305384_929719363783419_747092394_n

Orange Marmalade Cupcakes – Just What Paddington Ordered!


Adapted from NYT

INGREDIENTS

  • 215 grams coarse-cut orange marmalade (2/3 cup), divided
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus 1/2 tablespoon for glaze, and more for greasing pan
  • 150 grams granulated sugar (3/4 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons grated lime zest
  • ½ teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 190 grams all-purpose flour (1 1/2 cups)
  • 7 grams baking powder (1 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 3 grams fine sea salt (3/4 teaspoon)
  • 30 grams confectioners’ sugar (4 tablespoons)

PREPARATION

1. Heat oven to 350F/177C degrees. Coarsely chop any extra-large chunks of peel in the marmalade. Line a cupcake tray.

2. Beat together softened butter, sugar, lime zest and orange zest until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Beat in 1/3 cup marmalade and the orange juice.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together self-raising flour and salt. Fold dry ingredients into wet until just combined.

4. Scrape batter into prepared cupcake moulds. Bake until surface of cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the centre emerges clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven.

5. Empty remaining 1/3 cup marmalade, confectioners’ sugar and 1/2 tbsp butter into bowl and microwave until melted.

7. Slice oranges for decoration to top cake. Set aside.

8. Layer oranges over cake. Then slather warm glaze over top of cupcakes, allowing some to drizzle down the sides.

9. Cool completely before slicing or eat warm if you can’t resist the temptation! (We did the latter. :))





 

Peanut Butter Cookies for You *and* Your Dog!

It’s peanut butter time!

Adapted from LiisaN's recipe

Ingredients 

Directions:

  1. Cream together the sugars, butter, peanut butter.
  2. Add the eggs and vanilla.
  3. Sift the dry ingredients together and add gradually until blended well.
  4. Roll into tablespoon size balls.
  5. Roll cookie dough balls into sugar.
  6. Place on cookie sheets- do not mash with fork in normal “peanut butter cookie” fashion!
  7. Bake at 350° oven for 11-13 minutes.
  8. Devour – interestingly, this cookie is best eaten cooled (it gets crunchy)!

NB: Don’t serve cookies too warm to your dog! Remember this is a SNACK – not a meal replacement. Discontinue serving if dog gets diarrhoea or other digestive issues. Feed with your discretion.

But ALL dogs love peanut butter! And it’s good for them!

NYT Orange Marmalade Cake

I made this for my mum's birthday. She absolutely *loved* it. She ate it for breakfast the next day and said now she knows why Paddington loves marmalade. This post is dedicated to her. :D

IMG_20150609_194119838IMG_20150609_193654235IMG_20150609_193650212
Adapted from NYT

INGREDIENTS

  • 215 grams coarse-cut orange marmalade (2/3 cup), divided
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus 1/2 tablespoon for glaze, and more for greasing pan
  • 150 grams granulated sugar (3/4 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons grated lime zest
  • ½ teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 190 grams all-purpose flour (1 1/2 cups)
  • 7 grams baking powder (1 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 3 grams fine sea salt (3/4 teaspoon)
  • 30 grams confectioners’ sugar (4 tablespoons)

PREPARATION

1. Heat oven to 350F/177C degrees. Coarsely chop any extra-large chunks of peel in the marmalade. Grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.

2. Beat together softened butter, sugar, lime zest and orange zest until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Beat in 1/3 cup marmalade and the orange juice.

IMG_20150609_182004152 IMG_20150609_183601566 IMG_20150609_183558205 IMG_20150609_182554039 IMG_20150609_184423746 IMG_20150609_184209644 IMG_20150609_183903364 IMG_20150609_183900647

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together self-raising flour and salt. Fold dry ingredients into wet until just combined.

IMG_20150609_185018624IMG_20150609_184647971 IMG_20150609_184818658

4. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake until surface of cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center emerges clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Remove from oven and turn upside down.

IMG_20150609_193304972IMG_20150609_193258871 IMG_20150609_193357103

5. Empty remaining 1/3 cup marmalade, confectioners’ sugar and 1/2 tbsp butter into bowl and microwave until melted.

IMG_20150609_190341169
IMG_20150609_190510301IMG_20150609_190926046IMG_20150609_190923711

7. Slice oranges for decoration to top cake. Set aside.

8. Layer oranges over cake. Then slather warm glaze over top of cake, allowing some to drizzle down the sides.

IMG_20150609_193436916 IMG_20150609_193650212 IMG_20150609_193513587

9. Cool completely before slicing or eat warm if you can’t resist the temptation! (We did the latter. :))

IMG_20150609_193654235 IMG_20150609_194009639 IMG_20150609_194013167 IMG_20150609_194026344 IMG_20150609_194112797 IMG_20150609_194119838 IMG_20150609_194146153 IMG_20150609_194155142 IMG_20150609_194259374 IMG_20150609_194451697 IMG_20150609_194457250 IMG_20150609_194500544