What Are Healthy Moms Talking About?

Wow, how did it get to be March already? As we look ahead to spring, our conversations have turned from focusing on the indoors, cleaning up from winter and now looking forward to gardening, being outdoors and what to do with kids when the weather gets nicer. See what the Horizon Organics community leaders are talking about and be part of the conversation. Your insight and expertise are valuable and we’d all love to have you share.

Check out these new conversations from my community


COMMENT TO WIN: Got Any Easy-Peasy Homemade Condiment Recipes?

I was in the middle of making my kids’ favorite chicken salad
recipe when I learned that we were ALL OUT of mayonnaise (oh the
HOR-RUH, I know)!
Of course, I didn’t have time to go out (okay, I was lazy, don’t
So, I searched the internet and found an easy-enough recipe (I
hoped) and … read more…

Are you going to miss Google Friend Connect?
I’m not sure I’ll miss it — I guess I’ll find out 🙂
Will you miss it?

read more…

Cookie dough dip
Using pureed chic peas as the base – you’d never know that you
were eating beans in this recipe!

Can of Chic Peas
Brown Sugar
Nut oil (we used nutella as I have a peanut allergy)
dark chocolate

Here is the recipe so you can make your own.

read more…

Do you shop at Aldi?
Do you shop at Aldi?  Since I went Gluten Free I have to
say that I am shopping there more and more.
I love to buy my produce at Aldi and I also love to price match
Aldi does not accept coupon but you can still get some good
deals there.  Check out this post on
how to shop at … read more…

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Disclosure: I am a compensated Horizon Healthy Families Community Leader at The Blog Frog. This post is provided as part of my role as a Community Leader. This post has not been reviewed by a third party and all opinions are my own. This conversation is written by me on behalf of Horizon. The opinions expressed by me do not necessarily reflect the view of the Horizon Organic brand. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Preserving Memories: Handing Down Family Recipes

Recipe File Box

Disclosure: I am a compensated Horizon Healthy Families Community Leader at The Blog Frog. This post is provided as part of my role as a Community Leader. This post has not been reviewed by a third party and all opinions are my own. This conversation was written by me on behalf of Horizon. The opinions expressed by me do not necessarily reflect the view of the Horizon Organic brand. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Blog Law – True Story: A Bigger Blogger Took My Recipe

Cookie Jar

Today I came across a series of tweets about a food blogger who was upset that another blogger took her photo and recipe, reproduced it on her site while providing a credit and link back in smaller text but also tagged the original blogger on Facebook.

Earlier in the week, Confessions of a Cookbook Queen posted a photo and recipe for Shamrock Mint Oreos. Although unclear because there is no copyright notice, I’m taking her word that the image is hers. As such, it is protected by copyright and any use of it on the other website is clearly a violation of copyright. The law does not require a copyright notice, but it does help to let people know you own it.

The issue actually is a bit more complicated regarding the photo because on the photo, Cookbook Queen uses a registered trademark, Oreo. Kraft is the owner of the registered trademark for the word Oreo as it pertains to cookies, and in fact that trademark has been registered since 1913. So we have a photo of homemade sandwich cookies in the style of what an Oreo would look like with the word Oreo on the photo. This brings up the issue of Trademark Infringement.

Is the original photo infringing on the right of Kraft’s exclusive use of the word Oreo as pertaining to this type of sandwich style cookie? The result is that even though Confessions of a Cookbook Queen may have a copyright on the photo in question, it does contain a potentially infringing use of a registered trademark. That, however, does not mean the other blog can take the copyrighted image, whether giving a link back or not.

Now, let’s get to the recipe part. I’ve discussed Recipe Copyright before and mentioned that ingredient lists are not protected by copyright. So let’s look at the directions. Are they sufficiently original to be considered substantial literary expression? There is some argument the directions could rise to that level, because there is a mention of specific dimensions and cutter. Although I don’t think it’s a strong position, there is some argument that there could be a copyright claim.

While I did not discuss this in my prior post, here we have an example of what could be a derivative work. In the United States, the Copyright Act defines “derivative work” in 17 U.S.C. § 101

A “derivative work” is a work based upon one or more pre-existing works, such as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture version, sound recording, art reproduction, abridgment, condensation, or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted. A work consisting of editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations, or other modifications which, as a whole, represent an original work of authorship, is a “derivative work”.

The original blog says she adapted the recipe. That would mean she used a pre-existing work. Is that pre-existing work subject to copyright? I don’t know about the specific recipe. Although, the cookbook from which it came certainly is.

If the prior recipe was not copyrightable, the new work would not be copyrightable to the extent the directions are the same or similar. To be copyrightable, a derivative work must be different enough from the original to be regarded as a “new work” or must contain a substantial amount of new material. Without seeing the original recipe, I can not say for certain but with only a few special aspects to the directions claiming copyright would be a very difficult argument to make.

In this particular instance, it is clear the copyright claim would be tenuous at best. And if the recipe is not subject to copyright, there is little if any protection against someone taking it and using. The issue of plagiarism doesn’t come in to play because the second blog actually credited the recipe both in the post and by tagging in Facebook. The credit was provided, as Cookbook Queen mentioned, although in a smaller font and not quite as obvious and maybe it could have been.

So what to do when there is likely no copyright claim for the recipe, nor was there plagiarism? There is still the issue of the copyright for the photo, for which that alone Cookbook Queen could ask that the image not be used without whatever attribution she wishes, if she so wishes to even permit use of her photo. It is, after all, her copyrighted image. The issue of the use of a trademark would be handled separately by the trademark holder.

When excluding the copyright issue of the photo, this situation likely comes down to ethics, standards and best practices. Obviously Cookbook Queen did not like her recipe being taken by this ‘bigger blogger’ and she asked that there be better attribution. It appears that bigger blogger was not happy and has since taken down the post and put up an explanation post. Bigger blogger likely did not appreciate getting an email from a ‘smaller blogger’ asking for better attribution.

This situation clearly demonstrates the differences of what the standards and best practices are among bloggers. When there is no law to lean on, all we have is our ethics and standards and any best practices that are out there. Clearly, bigger blogger and Cookbook Queen do not see eye to eye on these. But what it comes down to is that if you’re so in love with someone’s work, copyrighted or not, send your readers to them.

Your readers go to your blog because they love you and appreciate all that you share. They’re not going to abandon you. And if you’re a bigger blog, showcasing smaller bloggers is terrific. Why, though, use a smaller font to tell your readers how to find the original post? And why do a cut and paste job instead of just sending your readers to the other blog?

Maybe it’s not illegal to have taken Cookbook Queen’s recipe, but it’s definitely not cool!

What are your thoughts? Do you think ‘bigger blogger’ did anything wrong? Did Cookbook Queen over-react? How would you have handled this?

Disclosure: While I am a lawyer, I am not offering legal advice. Posts on legal matters are intended to provide legal information and do not create an attorney/client relationship. This post is part of my Blog Law Series.


Recipe Copyright

Recipe Copyright Laws

Speaking at Blissdom about the legal issues related to blogging showed me that there are many bloggers who have questions about copyright. It also made realize that there is a lot of erroneous information out there. So I am creating this little series called Know Your Digital Rights. Today I’ll cover some of the issues that came up with food bloggers.

How do I protect my recipe from being copied?

Creating a meal is one thing. Write it down step by step, ingredient by ingredient is painstaking, tedious and not to mention time consuming. So it’s no wonder that very few recipes are truly original. Most recipes have been adapted from family favorites, modified because you want to simplify the ingredients or method or re-created from a handfull of similar recipe that you’ve taken the best from each.

Once the recipe is perfected, tested, and photographed nine-hundred and thirty two times, you blog about it and post pictures and further bask in what surely will be loving and wonderful comments of your faithful readers. Then you hit publish and wait for the Google Alert to warn you that someone has just done their finest cut and paste job and posted your recipe on their blog. And because they are so genuinely nice they even gave you a ‘shout out’, which is how you know you’ve been loved on so nicely. Now what? (besides wanting to beat them with a wet homemade noodle)

Plagiarism? Copyright violation? Rogue food blogger? Whatever it is, you’re having none of it!

Plagiarism is not illegal. Unethical, sure. Preventable by law, no. Plagiarism is the unauthorized use of another’s work represented as your own. Being that there are no legal constructs for it with regard to your recipe you’re better off  focusing your efforts on other theories. Your post, to some degree, is protected by copyright but the recipe itself may not be. And if they gave you a ‘shout out’ or somehow attributed that recipe to you then they’re not claiming it as their own and plagiarism will not apply.

Copyright sounds like it should apply. And it may, if the ingredient list AND its instructions are lifted verbatim or “substantially”. In general, US Copyright applies to original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium. “Original” means that an author produced a work by his or her own intellectual effort instead of copying or modifying it from an existing work. “Fixed in a tangible medium” means that the work is able to be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated. Your blog is the necessary ‘tangible medium’.

Continue reading “Recipe Copyright”


Beef Stroganoff

photo credit: finecooking.com

My twitter friend Mindi at Moms Need To Know put out a request for beef recipes a week or so ago.  We do eat a fair amount of beef, but nothing really gets the raves that come when I make Beef Stroganoff.  So, I decided to share it with her and her readers.  Being that it is my first attempt at sharing a recipe online, I think I did well.

Head on over to Moms Need To Know and check out my Beef Stroganoff.

Thank you Mindi for being so kind and featuring one of my family’s favorite beef dishes !

If you have a favorite beef dish you’d like to share, I’d be glad to post it!  Email me your recipe at savingforsomeday (at) gmail (dot) com.


Update 8/2011 – Mindi has since taken the post down so I will share the recipe with you. It’s a standard Beef Stroganoff recipe that I’ve been making for 20+ years.


Beef Stroganoff


1 1/2 pound beef tenderloin (premium) or sirloin (moderate/budget), cut into small cubes and lightly sprinkle with salt/pepper
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 pound mushrooms, thinly sliced (premium) or 2 small can sliced mushrooms, drained
1 1/2 cup beef broth or consomme
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup sour cream (regular or light)
Salt and freshly grounded black pepper
1pkg (1 lb) egg noodles, cooked

In skillet, heat olive oil and 1 tablespoon. Working in small batches, cook beef over high heat and sear until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes depending on size. When done, remove from pan and set aside to rest.

In same pan on medium heat, add 2 tablespoons butter and saute chopped onion. Add (fresh) mushrooms when onions are nearly done. (If using canned mushrooms, don’t add until later.) Saute mushrooms 3-4 minutes or until tender.

Whisk in beef broth and Dijon mustard. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Whisk in sour cream and allow sauce to thicken 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat, add beef back in to the sauce (if using canned mushrooms, add now), stir and season with salt/pepper to taste.

Serve over egg noodles.

Option: If you like pickles, chopped cornichons (or small dill pickles) can be mixed in to the sauce (aprox. 1/4 cup)

Option: Garnish with chopped parsley