Food & Dining
The Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” Winner Shares Tips for Holiday Desserts PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Wednesday, 27 November 2013 10:51

If there’s one downside to fabulous, food-filled holiday celebrations, it’s the gurgles and groans of post-feasting indigestion.

“We assume it’s because we overate, but for a lot of people, that pain and sick feeling may not be about how much you ate but what you ate,” says Kyra Bussanich, (, three-time winner of The Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” and author of a just-released recipe book, Sweet Cravings: 50 Seductive Desserts for a Gluten-Free Lifestyle.

“About 2 million Americans have celiac disease – an auto-immune reaction to gluten, the protein in wheat,” says Bussanich, whose painful symptoms became life-threatening before she was finally diagnosed with the illness. “Most of those people aren’t diagnosed though, because the symptoms look like so many other intestinal ailments.”

People with celiac disease must completely avoid gluten, which is also in rye, and barley, to avoid a case of painful and gut-damaging indigestion. But, as Harvard Medical School reported earlier this year, avoiding gluten also appears to help people with less serious digestive issues.

“It really does seem to provide some improvement in gastrointestinal problems for a segment of the population," says Harvard assistant professor Dr. Daniel Leffler.

For Bussanich, a chef, there was no choice: One speck of gluten would make her ill. But she refused to give up pastries, cakes and other treats, so she perfected gluten-free varieties. Her award-winning desserts left their flour-based competition in crumbs on “Cupcakes Wars” in 2011 and 2012, and she was a runner-up on the show’s “Cupcake Champion.”

Bussanich offers these tips for whipping up gluten-free baked goods this holiday season:

• If you’re following a recipe, don’t substitute the listed flour or starch with another type unless you’re familiar with its properties. There are many different types of gluten-free flours and starches, including millet, sorghum and sweet white rice flour, and potato and tapioca starches. Each has its own idiosyncrasies. For example, millet flour has a slightly nutty flavor and is well-suited for goods with a hearty texture. Sweet white rice flour holds moisture well and is good for recipes that have a slight gumminess to them. Potato starch is light and good for fluffy cakes.

• Use eggs and butter at room temperature. Eggs are often used as a binder, the protein that substitutes for the missing gluten. Eggs and butter are both easier to work with when used at room temperature, and room-temperature egg whites whip up fluffier. If you forget to pull the butter out of the refrigerator beforehand, heat it for 7 to 12 seconds in the microwave. Put cold eggs in warm (not hot) water for 30 to 60 seconds.

• Don’t overwork batter and dough with xanthan gum in it. Corn-based xanthan gum is often used as a stabilizer and thickener in gluten-free baked goods, sauces, dressings and soups. Once this ingredient is added, overworking the dough can give it a slimy, gummy texture, and cause it to lose flavor. (A good substitute for xanthan gum is ground psyllium seed husk.)

• Heat higher, cream longer for lighter cakes. One complaint people sometimes have about gluten-free baked goods is that they’re too dense. To prevent this, try setting the oven temperature 25 degrees warmer than you would for flour. This will cause the butter in the recipe to release its water as steam, which helps the cake rise quickly. Also, cream eggs and butter together longer – about 10 minutes – than you would for flour cakes.

Try some gluten-free desserts and maybe your holidays will be indigestion-free this year, Bussanich says.

“If your recipe doesn’t turn out wonderfully the first time, don’t give up,” she says. “I promise you, anyone can make delicious gluten-free desserts. It just may take a little practice.”

About Kyra Bussanich: Kyra Bussanich is a three-time winner of The Food Network’s hit show, “Cupcake Wars.” She graduated with honors from Le Cordon Bleu and opened her award-winning bakery, Kyra's Bake Shop, which features gourmet, gluten-free sweets. She has branched beyond desserts to other gluten-free goods in order to help those with celiac and other autoimmune diseases enjoy quality treats

Carl's Jr and Hardees Introduce Fresh Baked Buns on Premium, 100% Black Angus Beef Burger Lines PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Julie McLean   
Tuesday, 26 November 2013 14:23

Carpinteria, Calif. - Nov 2013 - More than a decade ago, Hardee's and Carl's Jr. proved fast-food consumers can get a burger that rivals sit-down restaurant offerings with the introduction of their 100 percent Black Angus Beef Thickburgers and Six-Dollar Burgers. Now the chains have upped the ante yet again. Currently, rolling out across the country, Carl's Jr. and Hardee's premium burger lines will soon be served on Fresh Baked Buns.

The raw bun dough is given time to rise or "proof" and is then baked, cooled, sliced and served. These are no ordinary hamburger buns in many other ways. Consumers will notice the buns are denser, a little sweeter (bringing out the flavor of the charbroiled 100% Black Angus beef patties) and, of course, baked fresh, then grilled so that each one is served perfectly hot, soft, and delicious.

Following the completeion of the Made from Scratch buttermilk biscuits roll-out at Carl's Jr., both chains now have ovens installed in virtually all of their locations. In addition to baking fresh biscuits for breakfast, the ovens also make it possible to prepare Fresh Baked Buns for lunch and dinner guests.

The Iowa Dish Thanksgiving Edition PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Teresa Bjork   
Tuesday, 26 November 2013 13:26

Welcome to The Iowa Dish!
With the holiday season fast approaching, and the Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings just a few days way, we're excited to share our latest e-newsletter, The Iowa Dish.

When entering our recent "Iowa Farmers Feed Us" grocery giveaway, you told us that you were interested in learning more about food and farming in the state.

Our goal with "The Iowa Dish" is to spark a conversation about how our food is grown and raised, and to introduce the Iowa farmers who work to feed families here at home and abroad. Plus, we'll serve up quick bites on food safety, nutrition and meal trends. And of course, we'll share some of our favorite in-season recipes.

We've got a lot more recipes and information to share as well as future contests, so please look for our semi-monthly e-newsletter in your email inbox. We look forward to dishin' with you about Iowa food and farming.

Teresa Bjork
, sr. features writer, Iowa Farm Bureau

Let's Talk Turkey
While Thanksgiving turkeys get all the attention this time of year, Americans actually eat more turkey year-round nowadays compared to our grandparent's generation.

Here in Iowa, our farmers are on the leading edge of the deli turkey trend. Read more.

USDA Organic

What do the labels mean?
If you're into bargain shopping, then you are probably checking out the grocery store ads right now, trying to find the best deal on a Thanksgiving turkey. Is it worth paying more for a "gourmet" bird with all the labels? Read more.

Sizzlin' Trend: Turkey on the Grill

With the growing popularity of year-round outdoor cooking, more Americans are planning to grill, smoke or deep-fry their turkeys this year to free up oven space for their favorite Thanksgiving sides. Read more.

Antibiotics: Is Meat Safe? Find out more here.

Do you have a question or topic that you would like me to cover in a future issue of The Iowa Dish? Drop me a note This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

CommonGround Volunteers Discuss Food on Popular Morning Show PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Cassie McCloud   
Thursday, 21 November 2013 12:57
Lifetime Network's "The Balancing Act” welcomes farmers to discuss popular food and farming issues

CommonGround volunteer Sara Ross sits down with Danielle Knox to discuss GMOs.

ST. LOUIS (Nov. 21, 2013) – CommonGround volunteers will share how they grow and raise food for America's families with the hosts of popular Lifetime TV morning show, "The Balancing Act.” The four-segment miniseries will air throughout the next three months, with the first episode airing Monday, Nov. 25 at 7:00 a.m. (EST/PST).

Viewers will get the chance to learn from American farm women about:

Understanding Cost of Food in America with CommonGround (Airing Nov. 25 and Dec. 6)
Mary Courtney, a Kentucky farmer and CommonGround volunteer, provides a way for moms looking for answers about food to connect with and get real, credible food information from moms who grow and raise it.

"'The Balancing Act' provides a great forum to connect with moms across the country and let them know that farmers just like me want to share the story behind how American food is grown and raised,” said Courtney.

- Recipes From American Farms To Your Kitchen (Airing Dec. 5 and 12)
Ohio farmer Kristin Reese shows off her cooking skills while teaching viewers about family farms in America. Reese also shares her favorite holiday recipes.

"I am often shocked that many people do not know 96 percent of the farms in America are family-owned and operated,” said Reese. "It is wonderful to be able to share facts like these with the moms who tune into national television programs like the 'The Balancing Act.'”

- Food Myths and GMOs (Airing Dec. 19 and 26)
Iowa farmer Sara Ross leads the conversation about popular myths surrounding biotechnology, often referred to as GMOs.

"We are thrilled to work with 'The Balancing Act' to create television that will really dig deeper into some of the hottest food topics,” said Ross. "There is such a strong desire here to really delve into every aspect of American food, and, as farmers, we bring a unique perspective on issues like GMOs, organic food and the local food movement to an audience that is hungry to hear from women who share their experience and concerns, but also have first-hand knowledge on these subjects.”

- Understanding How Farmers Raise Healthy Food for Our Families (Airing Jan. 14 and 21)
Nebraska farmer and rancher Dawn Caldwell shares health news you can use regarding food safety. Caldwell breaks down food-safety myths and gives valuable tips to prepare meat and produce at home.

"People often forget to take the proper safety precautions with food once they get it home,” said Caldwell. "As a farmer dedicated to raising a healthy food supply, I want Americans to also pay attention to how they prepare the food they feed their families.”

More than 400,000 women watch "The Balancing Act” every day, offering a perfect opportunity for CommonGround to share the truth about food with the women who buy it.

About CommonGround
CommonGround is a grass-roots movement to foster conversation among women — on farms and in cities — about where our food comes from. The United Soybean Board (USB) and the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) developed CommonGround to give farm women the opportunity to engage with consumers through the use of a wide range of activities. USB and NCGA provide support and a platform for the volunteers to tell their stories.

Have a question about your food? Find CommonGround online:

About The Balancing Act airing on Lifetime Television
Now in its sixth year, "The Balancing Act” continues to empower women in all aspects of their lives. The mission at "The Balancing Act” is simple – the show strives to help today's modern woman balance it all by bringing them exceptional solutions to everyday problems. Entertaining, educational and trusted by women, viewers can tune in to America's premier morning show, "The Balancing Act,” on weekday mornings at 7:00 am (ET/PT) airing on Lifetime television. For additional information or to view a segment visit

St. Ambrose Occupational Therapy students providing a Traditional Thanksgiving meal to area refugees PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Mary McNeil   
Thursday, 21 November 2013 12:30
(Rock Island, IL) Approximately 50 refugee families from eight countries speaking eleven different dialects will gather for a traditional Thanksgiving meal and family reading night thanks to the effort of some local college students.  The Church of Peace Family Reading Night will take place on Thursday, November 21 from 6:00-7:30 pm.

The special night will consist of eating a traditional Thanksgiving dinner and then reading to refugee families.  St. Ambrose University graduate students from Dr. Christine Urish and Dr. Terry Schlabach’s Occupational Therapy classes have been collecting books to read and give to the refugee children.
The graduate students began collecting books when their classes began in August and have at least one book to give every child on Family Reading Night.  Several of the OT students will be reading to the entire group, playing guitars and singing songs.  In addition to supplying the refugees and all of their families with a full dinner, they will receive a sack filled with full size self-care supplies (shampoo, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant).

The immigrants are attending “English as a Second Language“classes funded by the “Lights ON for Learning” program at the Church of Peace.  The Rock Island County Regional Office of Education oversees the 21st Century grant that is a cooperative effort among Black Hawk College, the Regional Office of Education and the Church of Peace.  The students are from many countries with the majority being from Myanmar (used to be called Burma), Iraq, and Africa (Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania).

Lisa Viaene, the Site Coordinator of the Family Literacy Program, says the partnership with St. Ambrose has been wonderful for the students and the refugees.  “The professors and students have been an integral part of our English as a second language program at the Church of Peace.  They have volunteered numerous hours already this semester and prepared projects to help our students with functional life skills.  On Family Reading Night the refugees will be introduced to new foods, learn new songs and get to hear some children's stories before leaving with a book and a bag
of personal hygiene products."

Tammy Muerhoff, the Superintendent of the RIROE, says the program has helped so many families adjust to their new life here in the Quad Cities. “The funds provided through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers grants and our partnership with Black Hawk College have offered refugee families an opportunity to become familiar with English as a second language, a new community, and customs.  Having local students take an interest in their well-being is heartwarming and vital for their education.”

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