Moderate Moment | Moderate Moms

Archive for June, 2013

Girl Power! /

Girl Power

June 6th, 2013

When we see our cell phone batteries constantly running low, most of us just groan at the need to re-charge it — yet again. Ugh.

One 18-year old, on the other hand, quit complaining … and did something about it. Now it’s earning her a alot of attention and accolades.

Eesha Khare — who’s just finishing high school in Saratoga, California — invented a way to recharge cell phone batteries — pretty much instantly!

Actually, it would take about 20-30 seconds. Right now, it takes hours.

She’s found a way to store a lot more energy than usual, into a smaller space than usual — which can then be transferred to power a phone much faster and longer than before.  It could work on other things, too, like car batteries.

Her invention hasn’t been fully developed yet, but for now she’s been able to light up a small LED light bulb to show her idea works. It’s an incredible way to use science (chemistry, in this case) to solve an every day problem.

It also earned her an Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award, last month, and $50,000 with it! She beat out 1,600 other applicants from around the world. Many companies are reportedly interested in her. She’ll be studying at Harvard University in the Fall. And NBC Nightly News profiled her in their broadcast last night, (only her story is in the clip below, and sorry for the ad, it comes from NBC’s video):

What every day problem would you want to solve? And how?


– See more at:

Salmon and Vegetables in a Packet

Recipe courtesy of Joel Fuhrman, MD 


4 oz. Salmon

freshly ground pepper

1 tsp. freshly grounded ginger root 

juice of 1 lemon

2 ripe tomatoes, chopped 

1 medium zucchini 

2 cups sliced mushrooms

1 medium red onion, sliced 

1 clove garlic

4 cups coarsely chopped mustard greens or swiss chard 

4 sheets aluminum foil 

small amount of olive oil spray 

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place the salmon fillets in a glass baking dish and add pepper, grated ginger, and lemon juice. In a large bowl, mix tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, red onion and garlic. Fold each square of foil over to make a square of double thickness. Brush the center portion of each square with a small amount of olive oil. On each square, place 1 c. mustard greens, one salmon fillet and one quarter of the tomato/vegetable mixture. 




The Mom Vivant / More Sour to You /

The Mom Vivant / More Sour to You /

For years, I have been saying to my kids that when I was a kid something sour was bad. It meant there was something wrong. Because a treat was supposed to be sweet, maybe savory, but definitely not sour. So, this article on made me smile. 

Why tart foods like pickles, Greek yogurt, and kombucha are sweeping America.

By |Posted Thursday, June 20, 2013, at 5:00 PM

Illustration by Rob Donnelly

Mark Garrison also reported on the growth of sour foods for the public radio program Marketplace. Listen to the audio companion story here:

If Katherine Alford says sour flavors are having a national moment, pay attention. A vice president at the Food Network, Alford runs its expansive test kitchen in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. Recipes and ideas that make the cut here will find their way into kitchens across America through the network’s TV, Web, and magazine content. Alford’s job is to stay in front of America’s ever-changing palate without alienating a mainstream audience. Right now, Alford is finding that audience increasingly hungry for sour foods.

Alford spears a few pickled carrot slices and cauliflower florets out of Ball Mason jars for me; their tartness is bright and crisp. Years ago, Food Network’s pickle recipes used more sugar to mitigate sourness, but the vinegar flavor in these vegetables is unbridled. She then whisks up a lemon vinaigrette for a kale salad, explaining that the current recipe uses more lemon juice than past versions. These days, her audience isn’t afraid to pucker. “They’re looking for a much more intense sour flavor, whether it’s from lemon or vinegar,” Alford says.

Alford isn’t the only culinary professional perceiving a growing taste for sourness—others in the food world are picking up on the same signals, and companies are swooping in to capitalize on America’s growing taste for tartness. Think of thick, sour Greek yogurt, which has expanded from a meager 1 percent market share in 2007 to take over more than one-third of the entire yogurt market this year. And salt and vinegar chips, which used to seem like the kind of thing your weird uncle ate, have also gained a foothold in the American market. Now there’s enough demand for sour snacks to inspire a whole array of competing mass market pickle-flavored chips from giants like Lay’s and Pringles, which markets its tubes of XTRA Screamin’ Dill Pickle chips with a dare: “Brave one bite and you’ll be hooked on the aggressive taste that won’t quit.”

Touting sourness may be new, but that kind of boastful goading isn’t. It’s the same sort of language marketers have used for years to promote their hot and spicy items. Take Tabasco sauce: In the 1990s, its ad campaigns switched from encouraging people to sprinkle dainty dashes of pepper flavor to urging them to douse their food with heat; 10 years ago, Tabasco’s tagline repertoire included, “You always want more no matter how badly you got burned last time.” Mary Chapman, the director of product innovation for the food consultancy Technomic, sees the growth of sour as a natural extension of America’s desire for big and bold flavors of all kinds. Now that hot and spicy foods are well established, people want to taste what happens when sour flavor is cranked up.

Both sour and spicy flavors have ridden to popularity on a wave of new international cuisines that reflect the nation’s growing diversity. Sour flavors have gained acclaim as more Asian cuisines—particularly Thai food—have expanded their reach. Thai food purists may grouse, correctly, that the cuisine has been debased as it has spread. But even an inauthentic Thai menu is bound to offer sour dipping sauces and spicy soups punched up with lime juice.


Sour foods are also growing because of what they aren’t: Sweet. With public health officials and influential food polemicists in open warfare with soda and corn syrup, the opposite of their flavor profile sounds an awful lot safer to many consumers. “Sugar in so many ways has become demonized,” explains Kazia Jankowski, associate culinary director at Sterling-Rice Group, which advises various global food companies. “Taking that tart flavor and bringing it forward connotes that sense of ‘OK, this isn’t a sugar-laden product.’ ” Her firm put sour food at the top of a recent list of culinary trend predictions. A key reason Jankowski’s clients are doing more with sour foods is that consumers perceive them as healthier, not just because of sugar fears, but also the potential health benefits of the helpful bacteria involved in the fermentation that creates those tart flavors.

Fermentation has become a popular DIY pastime, too, and this Portlandia-mocked obsession is also growing the market for sour flavors. From Pinterest-loving Mormon mommy bloggers to Grizzly Adams beard-rocking hipsters, pickling has a legion of fans with missionary zeal. Kombucha, the mildly fizzy fermented tea, has grown so far beyond its crunchy origins that I saw bottles of it in rural Virginia gas stations on a recent road trip. And kimchi, fermented cabbage, has spread from Korean kitchens to Los Angeles taco trucks to Michelle Obama’s recipe repertoire for White House garden produce.

The boom in artisanal sour products was on display at Savor, a recent craft beer and food festival thrown in New York by the Brewers Association, the trade group for small beer makers. An enthusiastic crowd of 3,400 filled a sprawling downtown Manhattan ballroom over two days to swirl snifters filled with the labors of dozens of breweries from around the country. Unsurprisingly, the most common style on offer was India pale ale, consistent with the craft beer world’s obsession with maximizing hoppy bitterness. But many breweries brought tart beers that weekend as well, and sour beer panel discussions happening alongside the main event drew sold-out crowds. These funky beers, which can be enlivened by wild yeasts and given further complexity through barrel aging, are seeing steady growth. Belgian sour is the second-fastest growing style of beer (after IPA), with sales up 31 percent in a year, according to GuestMetrics, a company that tracks restaurant and bar sales.

Upland Brewing Co. was among those popping corks on sours at Savor. Its experimentation started with what brewery president Doug Dayhoff called a “science fair project” in four used wine barrels in 2006. Now that project fills about 200 barrels, and they’re working to expand.

Chefs are helping drive that kind of growth. With high-end restaurants now expected to put as much thought into their beer selections as their wine list, stocking sour beers is a way to stand out and open doors to new and interesting pairings. “I make sour beers for a living, but I don’t go home and slam four pints,” says Andy Parker, whose Avery Brewing Company business card bears the title “barrel herder.” “I break open a really good sour beer when I have friends over for dinner. They’re very good for food pairings.”

Avery’s team proudly poured a cabernet barrel-aged sour called Odio Equum at Savor, matched with goat cheese, itself a product riding high on the sour flavor wave. Fans crowded around the Boulder, Colo. brewer’s table, comparing tasting notes and peppering the staff with questions about yeast strains. Even some diehard hopheads who had come for Avery’s imperial IPA seemed impressed. The last bottle of sour was drained well before the party ended, leaving many in the crowd thirsty for more.

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WA Dad captures Teenage Daughter’s Facebook Stalker 

Downstate Illinois official quits post after calling African American candidate a “street walker”

Just when it was beginning to look like moderate Republicans have to switch parties to get elected, a small victory in Illinois, gives hope. I could not believe my eyes when I read an article the other day about how an African American candidate, a former Miss America and Harvard grad who is also a moderate Republican was called “a street walker” by someone in her own party. Jim Allen of Farmersville, who accused attorney Erika Howard of “pimping” for the Democrats and moderate Republicans, was forced to resign from his post as county chairman by state officials who have, ironically, been actively courting minority candidates. State Republican officials did the right thing when they labeled his comments “offensive and inappropriate” and asked him to step aside. 

Lately, I’ve been wondering about both sides and wondering what it is going to take to build up a reasonable middle ground in politics. It seems like some Democrats consider themselves the small kid on the playground who has to throw a sucker punch to stand up to a much bigger, more powerful opponent. After all, reports of the Obama Administration’s cell phone tapping and internet surveillance of ordinary citizens does give pause. Terrorists, yes. Ordinary Citizens? No.

Instead of coming together, each side seems to be digging in and looking for new weapons to unleash in the fight.  And that isn’t what Americans want.  They want compromise. And progress. 

This attack on female candidates isn’t new or even the work of just one side. In fact, it’s the oldest tactic in the book. And while some Republicans are guilty of legislating against women, it isn’t just Republicans who are using this ugly strategy of labeling smart, strong, opinionated and outspoken women “whores.”  It happened to moderate Republican Meg Whitman when she ran against Gov. Jerry Brown in California. It happened here in Missouri when Claire McCaskill was accused of being unladylike by opponent Todd Aiken.  Let’s just hope it doesn’t happen again.

Here’s the full article on Erika Howard in the Chicago Tribune: 

Remarks were in email about her planned candidacy

June 21, 2013|By Rick Pearson, Chicago Tribune reporter
A Downstate Illinois Republican county chairman resigned Thursday in the wake of likening former Miss America Erika Harold, who’s challenging a sitting GOP congressman in next year’s primary election, to a “street walker” whose “pimps” were Democrats and moderate Republicans.

Jim Allen, of Farmersville, the chairman of the Montgomery County GOP, sent the resignation letter to new Illinois Republican Chairman Jack Dorgan, who called Allen’s remarks “offensive and inappropriate.”

Allen, who supports Republican U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis of Taylorville, made his remarks in an e-mail to a supporter of Harold’s. She is the 2003 Miss America from Urbana and a former Chicago attorney who plans to run against Davis.

In the email, which was later posted online, Allen referred to Harold as a “little queen” and the “love child” of the Democratic National Committee. Allen also wrote that after losing the March 2014 primary, Harold would end up back in Chicago — though he used a derogatory spelling of the city — “working for some law firm that needs to meet their quota for minority hires.” Harold is African American.

Allen, who was unavailable for comment, later acknowledged to the State Journal-Register of Springfield that his comments were “very inappropriate” and said he had apologized to Harold and her supporters.

But on Thursday, Allen submitted his resignation to state GOP officials after being urged to do so by Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and by Rep. Davis.

Priebus, who heads a political party actively seeking to improve its outreach to racial and ethnic groups after the 2012 elections, said “the astonishingly offensive views” expressed by Allen have no place in the party. “His behavior is inexcusable and must not be tolerated,” Priebus said.

Davis said Allen made comments that were “incredibly dumb” and said he should step down.

Harold’s entry into a primary race against Davis has fueled anger among the freshman congressman’s supporters who contend a costly contest would divert resources from what’s expected to be a tough general election campaign.

Davis was chosen by local GOP leaders to fill a ballot vacancy last year after veteran Rep. Tim Johnson of Urbana decided not to run again after winning the primary. Davis is regarded as a top target for Democrats next year in the 13th District, which stretches from Champaign-Urbana north to Bloomington and southwest toward East St. Louis.

In the November 2012 election, Davis defeated Democrat David Gill by 1,002 votes, or 0.34 percent, out of more than 273,000 ballots cast between the two candidates.