Five Things I’m Loving Lately, Part 5

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1. FDA stance on artificial trans fats.

Many of us have heard about the Food and Drug Administration’s preliminary determination that partially hydrogenated oils are not GRAS (generally recognized as safe). Partially hydrogenated oils are the main dietary source of trans fat in foods like prepackaged baked items, crackers, and baking mixes. This is huge news. Why?

I’ve mentioned trans fat in passing on THIH, but I’ve never gone into depth about this insidious substance. Artificial trans fat is the one exception to my rule that foods should not be vilified or banned (say it with me: “Always, Sometimes“). These fats are never foods. The correlation between intake of artificial trans fats and development of diseases like coronary heart disease is clear.

Partially hydrogenated oils are used because they increase the shelf-life and flavor profile of many foods. Getting rid of these fats would mean a pretty big upheaval in some production markets. I understand the difficulty in potentially phasing out this ubiquitous substance, but the dietitian part of me can’t help but hope such a transition would signal a renewed interest in less processed foods. This is what a dietitian dreams about, dear reader.

To be clear, the current determination is not a ban on partially hydrogenated oils (despite what headlines all over are screaming); rather, the FDA is announcing that, based on a review of the relevant information and research, they’ve decided partially hydrogenated oils should not be included on the list of foods that are safe for their intended use. For the next 56 days, the FDA will accept comments on this issue. See here for more information. They will then determine whether or not partially hydrogenated oils are GRAS.

2. This.


I recently finished a knitting project using 350+ yards of bamboo yarn and had less than a half-inch of yarn left over. For those of you in the know (i.e. you knit or crochet), you understand exactly how I felt as I approached those final few inches: pounding heart, nervous sweat beading on furrowed brow, bargains with whatever higher power would listen, promises to trade my favorite block of cheese for enough yarn to finish, etc. etc.

It was … intense.

This is living on the edge, folks. Who says knitting isn’t good exercise? Perhaps I should add that to my list of reasons why I knit.

Next to my mini-penguin for scale:


What? You say you don’t know how large the penguin is and therefore can’t use it as a comparison tool? Well … you may be right.

3. Our indoor greenhouse.

A month and a half ago, I attended an Eastern Illinois Dietetic Association meeting where we learned all about the medicinal and culinary qualities of herbs. We each left with a Ziploc baggie filled with a handful of dirt, a few herb seeds, and a spray of water. (And air, I suppose. Must account for every stray molecule.)

I set the baggie by a window and didn’t think much about it until this week, when I discovered these mighty sprouts.


Those are seedlings that have defied my expectations and grown into actual cilantro (as opposed to, say, a bag of dirt). I had planned to show you the picture below instead of the back lit, super-fuzzy gross condensation-filled picture above, yet here we are and all that mumble de mumble blah —

Oh, look! Cilantro!


If you’d like to start your own indoor greenhouse, follow these directions:


4. Peter made chocolate-covered chocolate fudge with chocolate-peanut butter bites on top.




C’mon. Surely I don’t need to explain this one.

5. This new kitchen addition.


What is it, preciousssss? Check back on Wednesday for the great reveal! (It’s tasty, I promise.)

Have a great week!



  1. That’d be super nerve wracking to get down to those last few inches of yarn. I don’t even knit and that sounds nerve-wracking to me.

    Also, chocolate covered fudge sounds genius.

  2. I need a refresher on how to check for trans fats in ingredient lists. Partially hydrogenated is bad, right?
    I have totally been there at the end of a knitting project! It can be intense.
    Cute penguin!
    That fudge looks delicious.
    Sorry we missed you yesterday. ๐Ÿ™ I hope we can actually participate next time!

    1. You got it! Trans fat is also on nutrition labels (subset of the total fat category), but if the food has less than 0.5 grams trans fat per serving, the nutrition label can list 0 grams trans fats. So the most accurate way to tell is to look for “partially hydrogenated” in the ingredient list.

      I hope so, too! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I;am starting at the end… what lovely roses!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I thought knitting was supposed to be relaxing?!

    Chocolate fudge and peanut butter and more chocolate yummm

    I hope that I have reduced my trans fat intake by bringing my own lunch to work. There are no trans fats in fresh ingredients (meat, veggies etc) right?

    1. Knitting IS relaxing … most of the time ๐Ÿ˜‰ There are some naturally occurring trans fats in foods like meat and dairy, but they don’t seem to have the same bad effects as the artificial trans fats. Bringing your lunch to work is a great idea!

  4. You’re right, they did make it sound like trans fats had been completely banned (in our dreams!)….either way,i it’s progress and I’m happy.

    I’m loving your indoor herb garden idea! Cilantro?? Yes please. Herbs in the fall, I like it.

  5. What kind of knitting project was it? It’s not a giant blue penguin, right?

    Love the herbs (had no idea that was possible! although I just saw an indoor mushroom growing kit at Whole Foods and I’m very tempted to buy it), love the chocolate (as always!), and the pretty flowers of course ๐Ÿ™‚

    I hope they actually take action re: trans fats…maybe MSG, too?

    Have a marvelous week, Jessie ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. It’s a gift for someone who doesn’t read this website, but I figured I’d be safe and not post a picture of it yet ๐Ÿ™‚ A mushroom growing kit would be fabulous!

      Have a great week, Lucy!

  6. Oh girl! You barely made it with that yarn! How nerve-wracking and exhilarating! I want to see more of the final product! And of course, the fudge looks SO VERY GOOD. Thank you for sharing Jessie!

  7. Love the idea of the Baggie greenhouse!
    The new addition almost looks like it might be a double boiler…
    I could totally be wrong. Double boiler do have so many yummy possibilities!
    Like hollandaise sauce.
    Chocolate covered peanut butter fudge would be good too …. Mmmm

    1. You’ll just have to wait and see … >:D

      1. Nooooo! I don’t think I can wait that long

  8. I don’t get why the FDA is so slow to move on everything, especially when Europe always seems ahead of the game. But I do thing that it is a step in the right direction!
    Congrats on finishing your knitting project!! I tried to learn to knit but I felt like all the hours didn’t provide much outcome.n ๐Ÿ™ I am trying to get into sewing more. I enjoy it and it seems to take less time..well, for now.

  9. Wow…you can knit! Amazing. I am so impressed.

    And yes, the FDA is finally making some progress. Almost as impressed with them as I am with your knitting!

  10. I wish I know how to knit or crochet – my mother and/or grandmothers donโ€™t knit/crochet, so I donโ€™t knit/crochet, but I would love to! I can’t wait to see more of your knitting! That is some cute mini-penguin! I love coriander (or cilantro) – it is my favorite Asian herb and great on anything! Thanks for the โ€œindoor greenhouseโ€ baggie tip – I want to grow them in the bag and use them soon! The roses look gorgeous – who was it for? ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Peter gave me the roses for my birthday ๐Ÿ™‚

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