Category Archives: Recipe

What are you doing?

What are you doing? That’s what I keep asking myself, especially around finals time. I get a kick when people tell me that I don’t like change or take risks… I guess quitting a decent job, ergo a serious lifestyle change, to go back to school full-time to do something completely different doesn’t seem like a change or risky.

"Mountain Climber " by Sura Nualpradid

“Mountain Climber “
by Sura Nualpradid

I don’t have much to write about today. I am prepping for finals and end of term projects. I’ve learned so much since September. I learned that there is a hell of a lot of nutrition information that I don’t know. That there are a lot of people out there that are not ready to make changes – real changes that can be life or death. I see them every week at the hospital I am doing my supervised field experience at.

Change is never easy but when you are ready and see that it can be for the best it can be the most amazing feeling ever. I know that not all change feels like it is for the best, in those situations you have to make the most of it – you know, how you are in charge of your destiny. When I lost a job 2 years ago I decided to volunteer at a local animal shelter –  although that change wasn’t for the best, one of the outcomes was positive.  While I was very fortunate to get a new job within a couple of weeks I am now happy to be back at that shelter.

Now that I think about it losing that job started the trajectory that lead to where I am now, maybe it was the best thing that ever happened to me. So the lesson here is that while you are in the midst of change it may not seem like the right (or sane) place to be, it could be the best thing that ever happens to you.

Since I have been busy with school I don’t have an original recipe to post. I do want to share a wonderful stuffed pepper recipe garnished with shiitake bacon that I used for a demo in one of my culinary courses.  I love the fact that the chef that teaches the class that loves real bacon found this bacon to be “impressive”. Enjoy!

Spicy Vegan Stuffed Pepper with Shiitake Bacon

Source: VegNews Nov 10 2008 (my birthday!)
Recipe by Robin Robertson

Source: VegNews

6 red bell peppers
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 16-ounce can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup tomato salsa
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons minced canned jalapeños
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup apple juice or water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice off the tops of the peppers, reserve and set aside. Remove the seeds and membranes and discard. Plunge peppers into a pot of boiling water and cook until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Remove from the water and drain, cut side down. Chop the pepper tops and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and reserved chopped pepper tops and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the onion mixture with the rice, beans, salsa, peanut butter, jalapeños, parsley, sugar, salt, and pepper to taste. Mix well.
Fill the pepper cavities evenly with the rice mixture, packing tightly. Place upright in a baking dish. Add the apple juice to the baking dish, cover tightly, and bake until the peppers are tender and the stuffing is hot, about 40 minutes.

Shiitake Bacon

Source: Alex Jamieson

2 cups thinly sliced shiitake caps
3 tablespoons  olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 360 F. In a bowl mix mushrooms with oil and salt, make sure they are all coated well. Spread the sliced shiitake caps on a sheet pan covered with a piece of parchment paper. Bake for 40-50 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until crispy. Remove from oven and eat while warm. You can also make this in a dehydrator, I don’t know how long but I would check it after 2 hours.

Have you seen any UFOs lately?

I don’t know about you but I have seen a lot of UFOs out there. Unidentified Food Objects. OK so I can’t take credit for that one, I saw Mark Bittman speak back in September and he gave a great talk on food and what our food system has become.

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Here we have cheese doodles, a food-like object, and carrot sticks. I think it’s a pretty impressive image. I mean really what ARE cheese doodles?

Unfortunately, there are a lot of foods like this. Sometimes we don’t event think twice about them because they are so ubiquitous in our food system, soda comes to mind. And for the record, yes I have had cheese doodles in my lifetime. Can’t say when the last time I had them was, probably once my palate matured since in my opinion they don’t really taste like food.

Kidding aside, you all know how much I push for you to eat real food*. Eating real food can heal the system or at least begin the process. As a culture our industrial food is so full of sugar, salt and fat that many people have no idea what real food tastes like. I was one of them, I used to eat a lot of processed food, it was easy and fast. Now I cringe when I think of the things I ate, and sometimes when I revisit them I am shocked by how sweet, salty and artificial tasting they are. It takes about a month for your taste buds to change when you reduce your intake of salt and sugar, that’s pretty amazing if you ask me and a testament to what the human body is capable of.

So the next time you are tempted by whatever it is in the crap aisle remember that your body and you deserve better.

And to prove that eating real food doesn’t have to be boring…

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Apples ‘n PB
1 Granny Smith Apple
1 Tbsp Peanut Butter
1 Tbsp Flax seeds, ground
1 Tbsp Hemp Seeds
1 Tbsp Chia Seeds
1 Tbsp Cacao Nibs
Nut Milk or Water as needed

Core and wedge the apple into about 8 pieces. In a small bowl combine the peanut butter with the seeds and nibs, add liquid (as much as needed) and whip it with a fork to get a desired consistency. I like it a bit creamy.

Dip the apples in the mixture and enjoy!

Variations: You can use any nut or seed butters that you like. I also add maca powder to the mix. You can also spread on toasted Ezekiel bread and top with a banana.

*real food: foods closest to their natural state such as grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruit. If it is processed foods then choose those with minimal ingredients, <5.

Happy New Year!

Wow! Has it really been almost 2 months since my last post? Time flies when you are having fun and sometime even when you are not.

It’s tempting to post that this is the perfect time to renew goals and resolutions but come on, you’re probably getting that up the whazoo right now and you don’t need me telling you that you need to eat less sugar*, exercise more and breathe a little deeper. You know that already!

So what have I been up to for the last couple of weeks? I finished my first semester of school with straight As, YES!!!! It was tough and totally worth it. In a couple of weeks I start my first field rotation and I can’t wait. We’ll find out next Thursday where we will end up.

In order to have access to fresh greens I have  started an indoor garden. This has been something I have wanted to do for a while and we were fortunate enough to have been gifted this light shelf. I don’t usually do well with indoor plants but having them so close by helps me keep tabs on them. I do need to pick up more herb seeds.

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Here are some collards

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Some arugula

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And some basil

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Some peppers

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Some ends that I stuck in a pot and are doing well

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Like celery

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I also have tomatoes that I don’t remember planting…

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Yep, must have been pulling an all-nighter during that one. I also baked my first bread – here’s a photo of what was left of it.

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I have some dough rising right now as we speak. I really wish I hadn’t found making it so easy! Here’s the recipe:

French Bread
2 Tbs Active Dry Yeast
14oz Water, 110 degrees
1/2 Tsp Sugar
1/2 Tsp Molasses
1 1/2 cup Bread Flour
1 1/2 cup Wheat Flour (or another flour you like)
2 tsp Salt
Corn Meal for dusting
All Purpose flour as needed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl mix together yeast, water, sugar and molasses in that order, let sit for 15 minutes. Add in the rest of the ingredients and mix with a spatula until well combined and pasty, if it’s too sticky add some AP flour. Let sit for 3 minutes covered with a towel. Then mix again for another 5 minutes. Add more flour if it’s still really sticky, and then cover it with a towel and let it sit until it doubles in size. This could take anywhere from 90 minutes to 3 hours. I preheat the oven  and put some water to boil to get it to rise in 90 minutes. After it’s risen you are going to beat it down again to get the air out. Dust with flour if it’s too sticky to work with. Flatten it out with the heel of your hand and shape it to look like a cigar with the seam on the bottom pinched together. Make sure you do this on the surface that you are going to bake it on (i.e., I use a pizza stone) and that the bottom is  well floured with corn meal or some other flour. Let it rise covered with a towel for another 30 minutes and once it has risen again – and sometimes they don’t so don’t worry too much if it didn’t rise – cut 3 slits across the top, place it in the preheated oven and bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until it sounds hollow when you knock on it. Let it cool on a rack and enjoy. That’s it, easy peasy! One of my favorite snacks is to spread a slice with avocado and top it with basil and a little salt – YUM!

* I’m doing a Sugar Blues workshop on January 19th at Jack’s Health Food Country at 1pm so yeah – I am gonna tell you to eat less sugar!

Did Someone Say BBQ?

I wish I could remember where I got this photo from

It’s how I brand our annual BBQ and this year was no different. I felt blessed to see a lot of friends and family. It’s always a hectic pace when you are getting ready for an event. Sometimes it’s hard to remember to slow down and simmer instead of putting the petrol on at once (see image above). The abundance of food was parallel to the abundance of love. For that we are truly fortunate. Abundance is there for those who want it and accept it.

Speaking of a slow simmer, what BBQ would not be complete without a little homemade BBQ Sauce?

BBQ Sauce
1 Tbsp Coconut Oil (Olive Oil OK too)
4-6 Cloves of Garlic
1 Cup Ketchup
1/4 Cup Jim Beam or some other Bourbon or Water
1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp Smoked Paprika
1 Tbsp Chili Powder (optional)
1 Tsp Cayenne
1 Tsp Molasses
1 Tsp Vegan Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tsp Apple Honee
1/2 Tsp Liquid Smoke

Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the garlic and saute until soft and golden, don’t let it burn. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a slight bubble, reduce heat. Simmer for 45 minutes.

Putting the fire on all at once is also what I’ll be talking about on Thursday at my Inflammation workshop at Pure Light Crafts & Beyond at 233 Highland Park, NJ. Come on by if you’re around!

Garden Update

I’m very happy with how the garden is going, we are at the end of June and have been harvesting asparagus, peas, herbs and tons of greens. The Florida like weather has been helping – sun all day a bit of rain in the afternoon. A lot of our flowers are also blooming. And the first of the tomatoes, squashes and cucumbers are coming out.


Let’s see what we have…

I love having the echinacea, I’m not sure what to do with it if anything, it’s buzzing with tons of bees.

The calendula patch is also buzzing with activity 

I also enjoy having lots of zinnias, I planted them in two beds this summer. I also have cosmos, those haven’t bloomed yet.

This year our nasturtium came in, last year they didn’t do so well. I think the mild spring had something to do with it.

And the sunflowers are oh so close to blooming! I don’t know if my mammoth ones will get to bloom this year, lesson learned: those seeds need to be protected from the birds if you’re direct sowing outdoors.


Now to the veggies…

Our tomatoes have really taken off

We see a few fruits coming.

We also have our first cucumber

And the beginnings of a summer squash.

Our beans are also looking lovely.

Unfortunately, our peas have run their course – so I will plant something else in that spot – not sure what yet.


Over the weekend I made a new dish that I thought I would share with you, the photo is not so great and I ate it up before checking and retaking the photo…


Potato Scramble

This is a take on the traditional Tofu Scramble except I didn’t have any tofu so I used up some potatoes we had.
 
4 – 5 Medium Potatoes Diced
1/2 Onion Chopped
2-3 Cloves garlic Chopped
3 -4 Tbsp Tofu Scramble Spice Mix  – I use the one in Dr Barnard’s Reversing Diabetes book there are tons online.
Leafy Greens and fresh herbs of your choice – amount up to you, 4 cups is good
Tofu Pups or Vegan Sausage Chopped (optional)
1 Cup Water or Veggie Broth
 
Place the potatoes in a large saucepan fill with enough water to cover. boil for about 15 min until just soft. drain the water and put back in the pan to pan cook them with garlic and onions (saute everything if using oil) put the spice mix on them and cook for a few more minutes. If you’re not using oil add more water or broth if the pan as the pan gets dry. When the potatoes are nice and coated add your greens, herbs and any pups if using plus add some more broth or water cover and let cook for 5 minuets or until your veggies are a bright green and your pups are warmed through. 

 

Windowsill Garden and Cooking Demo

We have quite the little windowsill garden growing. It all started with scallions that Jared put into water.

Then it was some celery


And then it was some bok choy

I think it’s pretty cool, he has a few other root things growing that have nice green leaves on top.

This would be a fun project to do with kids since you see pretty quick results. That celery was from a week or 2 ago. The first celery he did is now in a pot with dirt.

We also have a lettuce going, basil and some dandelions.

This was also a very exciting weekend, on Sunday I did my very first cooking demo! I had to submit a YouTube video of a cooking demo for an application to a program I want to get into. So here is the full length version, the version I submitted had to be less than 5 min:

And here’s the recipe:

Dill Cashew Cheese

2 cups soaked cashews
juice of 2 lemons
7 probiotic capsules opened
¼ cup water

Soak cashew for at least 4 hours then rinse and drain. Blend the cashews, lemon juice, and probiotic powder. Add water 1 tbsp at a time until it has the consistency of cream cheese. Put the mixture in a strainer (a nut milk bag or paint strainer is perfect) in a sieve and leave it in a bowl. Give it a little squeeze to get any excess water out and let sit at room temp with a towel covering it for 10 – 24 hours. Chill for at least 2 hours and mix in chopped dill or any other dried or fresh herbs you like.

Diabetes

Diabetes has been on the minds of a lot of people lately, most notably Paula Deen. Last week there was a bit of a hubbub over Deen’s coming out about her diabetes. I have to admit that I agree with her critics, probably the only thing I will agree with Anthony Bourdain on, for slamming her. No matter how you look at it, she was knowingly peddling the same food that most likely made her sick. And she did it for 3 years.



Diabetes is no joke though.

According to the American Diabetes Association’s 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet, 25.8 million children and adults in the US have diabetes. In addition there are 79 million people with prediabetes. Add that up my friends and it equals a full third of the US population. And if you’re wondering how much of that is people with Type 1 Diabetes, formerly know as Juvenile Diabetes, that’s only 5% of this group.



A full third of the country with the increased risk of the following complications due to their diabetes:

Heart disease and stroke
High blood pressure
Blindness
Kidney disease
Nervous system disease (Neuropathy)
Amputation

What does that translate to? Oh about $218 BILLION back in 2007.

Back to Paula, instead of making a slow and gradual change to a healthier diet – come on in 3 years she could have gone raw vegan and people wouldn’t have noticed. Seriously though, In that time she could have helped her fans adopt healthier eating habits and by doing it slowly they would have a better chance of succeeding and making it a real lifestyle change.

Shame on you Paula, I’m not going to talk about the Novo Nordisk Victoza deal because I understand a girl has to make a living… but at what price?

Picture
That’s what it looks like while you’re adding the mashed layer

Wolf in Shepherd’s Pie Clothing

5 med potatoes cubed
2 acorn squashes, peeled, seeded and cubed
1 cup almond milk
1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt
3 tsp coconut oil divided
1 onion chopped
4 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 can Eden Organic adzuki beans drained
1 can Eden Organic navy beans drained
1 cup dried mushrooms (can also use fresh) chopped
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp organic soy sauce or liquid aminos (Bragg’s or coconut)
1 tbsp all-purpose seasoning blend
1/2 tsp thyme
3 tbsp arrowroot with water to dissolve
1 12-oz bag of frozen mixed vegetables (if it has corn make sure it’s organic and non GMO)
2 slices of whole grain bread toasted
Fresh ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400. Dice the potatoes and peel, chop de-seed the acorn squash. Roast until soft about 40 – 60 min.

While the veggies are roasting heat 1 tsp of coconut oil in a large saucepan and add the onion. Cook until soft then add the garlic. Cook for a few minutes making sure not to burn the garlic. Add in all of the beans, the mushrooms, 1/4 cup purified water, the soy sauce or liquid aminos, the thyme and pepper to taste. Simmer until the mushrooms are soft. In a bowl mix the 3 tablespoons of arrowroot in enough water to dissolve and add to bean mixture. Once it is well incorporated add the frozen vegetables and let simmer for another 5 minutes and shut off heat.

In a mini chopper or food processor process the toasted bread slices into breadcrumbs. If you don’t get a cup’s worth then toast more bread and repeat.

In a large bowl combine the potatoes, acorn squashes, 1 tsp coconut oil, almond milk, the 1/2 tsp salt and pepper. With an immersion blender blend until smooth, you can also transfer to a blender or use a potato ricer or masher.

To assemble:

Grease a casserole dish with the remaining coconut oil and line the bottom with the breadcrumbs. Then layer in the bean mixture and cover with the mashed potato/acorn squash mixture. Bake for 40 minutes at 400 until the top layer has a golden color to it.

I like to eat this with nutritional yeast and sriracha sauce. YUM!

Variation: Use lentils, black beans or kidney beans.
Serves 6 – 8 small bowls
Cook time 90 min
Equipment: Large sauce pan, casserole dish, hand blender or blender, mini chopper or food processor