Monday, November 30, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Today's green smoothie: parsley, frozen raspberries, banana.
Well, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you MUST read labels! It’s really beginning to annoy me how many animal products are in everything, and I mean everything! I’ve mentioned before that I was taking the occasional ibuprofen caplet to control mild menstrual pain but, when I went out to buy some more, I decided to read the ingredients and I didn’t like what I
Ibuprofen has glycerine, gelatin and magnesium stearate, all of which are animal by- products. Glycerine is made from animal fats, gelatin is made from the boiled skin, tendons, ligaments and/or bones of cows and pigs, and stearates are stearic acid which is taken from the fat of cows, sheep, & euthanized animals from animal shelters.* Yuck! Why, you may ask, are these products used? Because it’s cheaper and it uses all the other parts of the animals that aren’t used for food.
So now I’m using white willow bark, an herb made from the white willow tree. It is an anti-inflammatory (just like ibuprofen is) and works the same way. You can read more about it here.
*How It All Vegan by Sarah Kramer & Tanya Barnard, cited from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
**This happy-sounding group is one that I missed seeing several years ago at the Magic Bag Theater in Ferndale, when they toured on their 20th anniversary reunion tour. They would have been great to see live. I love their swing sound, with unexpected additions of banjo and violin thrown in for fun.
Friday, November 27, 2009
1 cauliflower, cut into florets
water to steam
1 small red onion, coarsely chopped
1 tsp dried dill
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
I placed a colander over a saucepan with water & added the cauliflower, onions, & dill. When tender, I drained the water, threw the cauliflower, onions, & dill in the pan and added the rest of the ingredients, stirring well to combine. This way of preparing it makes it perfect to eat either warm or room temperature in a salad.
**If there is a definitive Christmas album from my Hispanic childhood, it's this one. From the year of its release (1970) on, this album was played over and over in my house. Every single time I hear it, I think of my Cuban grandparents, Antonia & Rafael Almaguer, and Christmas dinners in their basement (the kitchen was way too tiny). There, with family & friends, after dinner, we would dance to Latin music played on the stereo. Fun times!
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Spicy Potato (& Onion) Wedges (adapted from Amazing Meals by LuAnn Bermeo email@example.com)
1 lb potatoes (Jim used purple), sliced into thick wedges
1-2 onions, sliced very thickly (really, as many as you want which, for me, is a lot!)
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
2 tbsp Earth Balance Buttery Spread (the recipe called for olive oil, but Jim wanted a butter flavor instead--I tell you, he’s always experimenting!)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper & set aside.
In a saucepan, melt 2 tbsp buttery spread then add spices to combine. Pour this mixture over potatoes & onions in a large bowl, then toss to combine. Place on baking sheet & bake for 10 minutes. Turn the potatoes & onions, then bake for another 10 minutes or until they are browned & crispy-tender. Serve hot.
Here I served them with a tofu sandwich.
Mushroom, Kale, & Onion Saute
Bunch of kale, washed, & stems removed
1 large onion, chopped in very large chunks
4 small portobello mushrooms, washed, stems removed, & sliced into thick wedges
In a skillet with a little olive (or other light) oil, saute kale & onions for a few minutes. Meanwhile, in shallow dish, combine 1/2 tbsp liquid smoke seasoning, 2 tbsp olive oil, & 1 tsp agave nectar. Dip mushrooms into marinade before adding to skillet with onions & kale. Cook on one side of the pan until browned on both sides, then combine with kale & onions. Serve hot.
Mushroom, kale, & onion saute served with Chicken-Style Tofu Loaf (from LuAnn Bermeo's Amazing Meals; firstname.lastname@example.org)
Leftover Jerusalem Chickpea Sandwich Filling in whole wheat pita with raw onions, arugula, & avocado
Sunday, November 22, 2009
I made this the night before to enjoy the next day as the recipe, from Shortcut Vegan, promised the filling would taste even better the next day. They were right!
Jersusalem Chickpea Sandwich Filling
1 celery stalk, quartered
1 3/4 C cooked chickpeas or 1 15-oz can, drained & rinsed
2 tbsp tahini
2-3 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp sea salt, or to taste
few sprigs of parsley
2-3 tbsp water
dash of cayenne pepper
Pulse all in a food processor until you get a coarse thick spread.
I actually combined these instructions with the Lemon-Tahini Sauce recipe (which this recipe requires 5-6 tbsp of). I didn’t feel like making an entire cup (which the sauce recipe makes) just to make this sandwich filling. So I fiddled with it and combined ingredients in both recipes to get what I was after. The result was delicious. Jim said it tasted like tabbouleh.
I served it rolled up in a warmed whole wheat pita with arugula and raw onions for my work lunch.
**I confess!; I like The Carpenters. Unfortunately, the only thing they're remembered for now is the fact that Karen died of heart failure due to complications from anorexia nervosa. What's forgotten is that her voice was absolutely beautiful and clear and that she was an accomplished drummer. Yes, that's right, she played the drums! The Carpenters were a soft, classy presence in the hard rockin' 1970's and were also discovered by Herb Alpert. Again, I only remember hearing the Carpenters on the radio or seeing them on television when I was a child; I don't think my parents had any albums. I think my cousin Suzanne had a 45rpm single of "Bless the Beasts and the Children." But I always enjoyed their music and was very sad to hear of Karen's death when I was thirteen. Her death brought anorexia nervosa to media attention (remember the book The Best Little Girl in the World)? Troy Library owns two albums by them; very cool!
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Caribbean Black Bean Soup
2 1/2 C water
1 14-oz can light coconut milk
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes w/green chilies or 1 can diced tomatoes w/1 fresh jalapeno, seeded & diced (I didn't have either so just used diced tomatoes)
1 15-oz can organic black beans
sea salt to taste
freshly ground pepper to taste
Tabasco sauce, to taste
1/4 C chopped fresh cilantro (or 1 tsp dried if you don’t have fresh)
In a large soup pot, bring water, coconut milk, & tomatoes (w/liquid) to a boil over high heat, stirring often. Add beans and seasonings (except fresh cilantro if using). Cover, turn off heat, and let stand 5 minutes. Serve with fresh cilantro. This soup is spicier the next day (as are most soups).
This paired well with the Asian Slaw:
3 tbsp brown rice or seasoned rice vinegar
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 tbsp tamari
1 head Napa cabbage, shredded
1 C grated or finely chopped carrots
1 C diced onion
1/4 to 1/3 C chopped fresh cilantro
Hot red pepper sauce, like Tabasco, to taste
raw sliced almonds, pomegranate, & sesame sticks were my add-ins upon serving
Make dressing with first three ingredients & set aside. In a large bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients. Use dressing & other toppings just when you’re ready to eat or it will get soggy. It’s also wonderful served with sauteed tofu rolled up in a whole wheat pita for lunch the next day.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
While on my retreat weekend, I decided that I also should be using a variety of grains for my morning muesli. I enjoyed a 5-grain hot cereal and amaranth (cooked in a slow cooker on a timer overnight) as well as a cold Swedish muesli for my retreat breakfasts which got my mind really going on all the possibilities.
I also purchased a two-set cookbook (Amazing Meals--trust me, they ARE amazing!) written by LuAnn Bermeo, one of the chefs for the retreat. LuAnn lives on the west side of the state and her cookbook is filled with hundreds of delicious vegan recipes.
I tried her recipe for Magnificent Morning Muesli over the weekend and it IS magnificent. It uses raw rolled oats chopped up even more in the food processor. I was a little dubious about this thinking it would have to be soaked overnight like my usual muesli. You can soak it if you wish but it's not necessary. It has a wonderful chewy texture that does not have an uncooked taste.
Here’s the recipe as I made it, enough for me to have a few days’ worth:
1/4 C flaked raw coconut, toasted or not
2 tbsp raw pecans
2 tbsp raw walnuts
2 tbsp dried apricots
2 tbsp pitted dates
2 tbsp figs
2 tbsp dried cranberries (you could also use raisins)
2 tbsp raw sunflower seeds
1/8 tsp sea salt
2 C uncooked old-fashioned rolled oats (or combination of other rolled grains--think barley or rye flakes)
In a food processor, combine coconut, pecans, walnuts, apricots, dates, & figs, then pulse until desired texture is obtained. You don’t want a powder. Transfer to large mixing bowl.
In a food processor, combine rolled oats and dried cranberries and pulse until cranberries are chopped. Again, you don’t want an oat powder so watch carefully. Transfer to mixing bowl and add sunflower seeds & sea salt & stir well to combine. Transfer to jar or other airtight container and refrigerate.
Eat as usual cereal with soy or rice milk, soy yogurt, flaxseed meal or fresh fruit.
This is SO much better for you than processed boxed cereal and doesn’t take very long to make. Plus it tastes so good and will last you several days. How’s that for easy and delicious?
I plan to make many more dishes from this cookbook, but if you're interested in purchasing the cookbooks, contact LuAnn via email at email@example.com
**I'm pretty picky when it comes to musicals. My absolute favorite (though I've never seen it live) is The Music Man. I just love the humor, the songs, and the general fun mood it evokes. Whenever I hear the overture or other songs from the show (usually on WRCJ), I get a big smile on my face. And Robert Preston singing "Ya Got Trouble" ALWAYS makes me feel good! After all, what's better than a band?
Monday, November 16, 2009
Music: Donna Summer, On the Radio, Greatest Hits**
Today's green smoothie: parsley, fresh pineapple, 1 banana, 2 ice cubes, water
This recipe that Jim tried (from Vive Le Vegan by Dreena Burton) is a great alternative to potatoes and the taste is a great combination of slightly sweet and salty spicy. In a word: delicious!
Chipotle Yam Wedges
2 tbsp olive oil
2-3 tsp chipotle hot sauce (I use Tabasco brand)
2 lbs yams, peeled & cut in wedges (we bought organic so just scrubbed them & left skins on)
1/4 tsp sea salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, combine olive oil & chipotle hot sauce, then add yam wedges and toss. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (including any oil/sauce mixture still left in the bowl), & season with sea salt. Bake for 45-55 minutes (depending on your oven), tossing once or twice throughout, until the wedges have browned and are soft when pierced. Season to taste with more hot sauce and/or sea salt.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Music: Nat King Cole**
On my South Haven retreat, a woman presenting the seminars on raw foods and green smoothies mentioned a web site called Safe Cosmetics (www.safecosmetics.org). At that web site, there is a link to a database called, Skin Deep, where you can put in the names of all the cosmetics you use and it will tell you what the ingredients are and if they are considered safe for your use. It’s amazing to me what the FDA allows women to use on their skin, the largest organ of our bodies with millions of pores! Even I, who only wear translucent powder and a bit of mascara, was shocked to find that Physician’s Formula brand (one my eye doctor recommended) cosmetics contain toxic ingredients!
Well, I don't want that in my body.
So I decided to try to make those two products with homemade ingredients. After a little web browsing, I came up with this recipe for my face powder:
organic rice flour
organic cocoa powder
I sifted all in a little saucer, adding cocoa until I got the color closest to the powder I was already using. I tested it on the top of my hand for color matching, then my face. It smells so good! I used cocoa powder because I’m dark haired and have a little darker pigment to my skin tone than blondes.
For mascara, I just used barely any almond oil on the tips of the tops of my lashes after using a lash curler.
The real test was did the look last all day? Yes, it did! No more toxic cosmetics for me. And a lot cheaper, too. What a scam I've been fed all these years. Better late than never.
**My father loved Nat King Cole and one of my earliest memories is Cole singing, "Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy, Days of Summer." Whenever I hear it, I think of my dad.