Real Food For Families

Book Review by Katie & KC


By Sheryl and Carrie Berk

One of my favorite series is called “Peace, Love and Cupcakes”. It’s by Sheryl and Carrie Berk, a mom and a daughter. This series is about four girls, Lexi, Kylie, Sadie and Jenna. They all have a problem and they tough it out together by creating a cupcake club. Well, that becomes a bit hit! Such a big hit that the owner of a famous restaurant orders a weekly 240 cupcakes. Read these awesome books and get some awesome recipes at the end of your book! This series is interesting for all ages. I hope you enjoy them!


The Cupcake Club


Aunt Missy’s Pizza Sauce

My sister in law (Katie’s Aunt Missy) is the cake baker in our family. All of the cousins are terribly spoiled when it comes to their birthday cakes…and I hope they don’t ever take her fabulously yummy and beautiful creations for granted…I know that we parents are extremely grateful to her. So, besides baked goods, she apparently knows the secret to delicious pizza sauce as well. Direct quote, overheard at our dinner table, the night we tried it…”You MUST make this sauce every time we have pizza!!” Okay then…I will! Here’s the surprisingly simple recipe. Thank you, Missy!

Aunt Missy’s Pizza Sauce
~1 (28 oz) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained
~1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
~1 tsp red wine vinegar (I didn’t have any, so used balsamic vinegar)
~2 medium garlic cloves, minced
~1 tsp salt
~1 tsp dried oregano
~1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth (about 30 seconds). Store in the fridge until ready to use. See our previous post on homemade pizza for a dough recipe.


Is Sugar Toxic??

Robert Lustig, M.D. is a pediatric endocrinologist who works in the area of childhood obesity. He studies the effects of sugar on the central nervous system, metabolism, and disease. I read his book on the train to and from our vacation to New York City this past week (where, somehow, my children convinced me to buy 3 pounds of M&Ms at the M&M store) and I think that anyone who eats or feeds others needs to read it. The rest of you can skip it.

From the book: “Everyone blames everyone else for what has happened. No way is it their fault. Big food says it’s a lack of activity due to computers and video games. The TV industry says it’s our junk food diet. The Atkins people say it’s too many carbohydrates; the Ornish people say it’s too much fat. The juice people say it’s the soda; the soda people say it’s the juice. The schools say it’s the parents; the parents say it’s the schools. And since nothing is for sure, nothing is done. How do we reconcile all these opinions into a cohesive whole that actually makes sense and creates changes for the better for each individual and for all society? That’s what this book is about.”

We all know that sugar is not good for us and that it is basically empty calories, but Dr. Lustig explains the science behind how too much of it affects our system. He shows how sugar contributes to the diseases which accompany obesity, namely diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, cancer, and dementia. He goes so far as to describe sugar as a toxin that should be regulated like alcohol and tobacco. Pretty interesting stuff! He also challenges us to reconsider blaming the people who are obese. It’s very popular to say that we all need to take personal responsibility and just “eat less and exercise more”…but this solution has not been very effective for our society as a whole. Even if you are lucky enough to have maintained a healthy weight…obesity affects you…everyday. Your family, your friends, your co-workers, your neighbors…they are all getting heavier and having more health problems because of it. We are all going to pay more as our health care system strains under the burden of caring for more and more of us. After sorting through all of the science and research, the take home message of the book is that we are eating too much sugar and not enough fiber. Robert Lustig offers advice for the individual trying to improve their own eating habits and he also offers important suggestions for how we as a community can make changes that will help pull our society out of this black hole of obesity that we seem to be falling into.

This book has really scared me. In a good way. In a way that has made me take a closer look at how I am eating and feeding my family. In a way that has me rethinking how and why America (and the rest of the world) has become so overweight and so ill. It’s easy to just say “Everything is fine in moderation” and ignore the information about sugar. But the problem is that the vast majority of us are no longer ingesting sugar in moderation. Most of the processed food that we buy either has sugar added to it, fiber removed, or both! This book has simultaneously saddened me and given me hope. There is a way out of this mess…and it starts with you and me. This is me…asking you to read this book, and if it makes sense to you…share the information with your family, with your friends, with your communities. As Robert Lustig says in the book, “Public outcry is a powerful force for change.” Let’s help change things.