Vegan, oil-free challah

Happy Friday! You won’t believe how delicious this is. challah

Ingredients:

1 cup warm water

2 & ¼ tsp. yeast

½ c. organic vegan sugar

½ cup of organic unsweetened applesauce

1 tsp. salt

3 tsp. Ener-G egg replacer and 4 TBS. of water to mix (the equivalent of two eggs)

2 c. organic bread flour

2c. organic white whole wheat flour

Salt and sugar mixture – ½ tsp. of each for topping

Continue reading “Vegan, oil-free challah”

The Fight to Know What is in Our Food

 

 

dylieThis is a pivotal moment in the fight to know what is in our food. The integrity of organic food and labeling issues are very much in flux right now.

As it stands about 90% of all corn, soy, cotton, canola, sugar beets grown in the U.S. contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or are considered genetically engineered (GE). About 50% of zucchini, yellow squash and Hawaiian papaya are GE.

What does that mean? According to the Institute of Responsible Technology, “A GMO (genetically modified organism) is the result of a laboratory process where genes from the DNA of one species are extracted and artificially forced into the genes of an unrelated plant or animal. The foreign genes may come from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans. Because this involves the transfer of genes, GMOs are also known as “transgenic” organisms.”

Why does this matter to you? 85- 90% of all processed foods contain one or more GMO ingredient. GMOs were introduced to the market in the mid 90’s without any long-term testing. That’s right. You’ve been the guinea pig for about twenty years.

Perhaps over the last twenty years you’ve noticed a rise in some disease states such as cancer (specifically kidney, breast, colon and anal), diabetes, allergies, gastro-intestinal disorders, infertility, autism, auto-immune disease, ADHD etc. I’m not saying the two are linked, but I would say that there needs to be long-term studies on the effects of GMOs. Continue reading “The Fight to Know What is in Our Food”

The Good, the Bad and the Imposter Organic Brands

protest“No thanks, we’d rather not know what’s in that box of food stuff,” said the people of Washington state and California.

Not really, they were just bamboozled by brilliant and brilliantly deceptive ad campaigns costing $70 million dollars.

Last year Proposition 37 in California and just this month Ballot Initiative 522 in Washington State asked voters if they wanted mandatory labeling for foods containing GMOs in the respective states. Both states failed to pass labeling laws at about the same margin, 48% yes to 52% no. Continue reading “The Good, the Bad and the Imposter Organic Brands”

Just in Time for Fall Pumpkin Squash Soup

pumpkin squash soupI think it dropped below 70 degrees here in Austin, TX yesterday so I made this. You can make it vegan or vegetarian or even use chicken broth instead of vegetable broth. I made mine vegan and it was creamy and delicious.

2 Tbs. Butter or Earth Balance (for vegan recipe)
1 chopped organic onion
1 organic Granny Smith Apple (medium to large)
1 box or can of organic pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
1 small butternut squash
Vegetable broth (about 3 cups)
Salt and pepper
Dash of nutmeg
Can be topped with crème fraiche

Cook the squash until a little tender but not mushy (375 degrees for 15-20 minutes).
In the meantime, sauté the onion and chopped green apple in the butter or earth balance for about five to seven minutes.

When the squash is finished cooking remove the seeds and discard, then scrape out the guts and put it in a pot with onion and apple. Add the pumpkin, vegetable broth, dash of nutmeg and salt and pepper. Heat but don’t boil, reduce to simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour.

Either puree in a blender, food processor or my preferred method, emulsion blender.

Hello, Carbs. I’ve Missed You

pizza beerMy husband and I recently returned from a vacation in Italy. I literally ate more carbohydrates in the two weeks in Italy than I have in the past year. And I’m not one bit sorry. It was fantastic. We ate pizza and or pasta every single day and washed it down with lots of red wine followed by gelato.

ravioliI took a cooking class where I learned to make homemade pasta. During the class we ate two different pasta courses with bread and cake. I’m not kidding. I would normally never do this and I almost stopped myself, but really? I’m in Rome at a cooking class and I’m going to monitor my carb intake? Nope. Not me. So I told myself to shut up and I did it.

You would think from this description that I would have had to buy a second seat on my return flight. I did not gain a single pound. I’ve covered this in prior posts so I won’t go crazy, but there is something here that is really important.

First of all, we walked everywhere in Italy. I live in Texas where the only place I walk is to my car. I have to take myself on a walk like a dog to get any exercise. It’s pitiful.

Second, we ate real food, cooked fresh that day, and ate only what was in season. Even when we were in the train station, there was no fast food; only a man and a Panini press and an espresso machine. I never saw once Sysco truck or the equivalent the whole time we were there. I did see a produce truck, lots of farms, vineyards and ladies rolling out dough and crushing tomatoes.

A couple of times I ordered something that I saw on the menu like spinach. I was told, “No spinach in season only eggplant, zucchini or red pepper.”

This happened a couple of times until I realized they keep the vegetables on the menu but people know what is in season (except Americans who are used to getting things year round).

fruit storeTheir grocery stores are not the behemoth eyesores we have in the states. They are small, charming and have only this: produce, meat, fish, fowl, cheese, milk, eggs, flour, sugar, wine, baguettes, pasta and a small amount of cereal and chips.” That’s it. No ridiculous frozen sections, not twenty types of cereal, not twelve varieties of bread, soda, crackers, goldfish, pop tarts etc.

Furthermore, they don’t have the guilt associated with food that us Americans have. They eat and enjoy. They talk and linger and drink. Oh yeah and they get to have the wonderful oblivion that comes with living in a country where there are no GMOs and chemicals in your food.

So cheers or cin cin to you, Italy! I’ll be back. Until then, I’ll be rolling out the ravioli at home.

The Benefits of Juicing

juice veg farI touched on juicing in the blog, “Big Girl Steps to Health” and in other posts. I get a lot of questions about juicing from my friends so I wanted to address it again.

In the past year I have made a lot of changes for the good of my health. The biggest and best change has been juicing in the morning instead of eating breakfast. I generally don’t eat from dinner the night before until noon the next day. I juice in the morning. If I’m absolutely starving and cannot wait until noon to eat, I eat an avocado; the whole avocado straight out of its little skin.

This gives my body a chance to really digest whatever I have eaten the day before. I am not hungry throughout the day in a way that I was a year ago. I truly believe it is because my body is actually getting nutrients. It is nourished. It is a new feeling.

There are a lot of different theories and preferences when it comes to juicing. There is the whole Vitamix versus juicer controversy; well, hardly a controversy, but two different camps. The Vitamix keeps the fiber in the drink. The juicers remove the fiber. We all know that fiber is good for us, so why remove it? From what I have read, it is better to remove the fiber so the body does not have to do any digesting. The nutrients are quickly absorbed from the juice. Don’t get me wrong, I eat my share of veggies and get my fiber that way. But in the morning, I go straight for the nutrients.

YOU MUST USE ALL ORGANIC PRODUCE WHEN YOU JUICE. If not, you are grinding up and ingesting pesticides. I mainly juice vegetables. Sometimes I will juice grapefruits or cherries. Cherries have incredible anti-inflammatory properties. If you know anyone who suffers from gout, have them juice cherries.

This is the juice that I make 9 times out of 10. I have listed the benefits to each ingredient:

4 celery stalks (8 anti-cancer compounds, fights tumors, lowers the risk of stomach cancer, lowers blood pressure, neutralizes pH, lowers cholesterol, cools your body, reduces constipation, acts as a diuretic, breaks up kidney stones, aids in kidney function Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celery
http://cancer.stanford.edu/patient_care/services/nutrition/recipes/juicingRecipes.html

Health Benefits of Celery

1 cucumber Contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, contains Lignans which have been shown to reduce cancers of the breast, ovary, uterus, and prostate, high in vitamins K and C. Source: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=42#healthbenefis
Either chard or Kale (about 4 stalks) Benefits of chard: regulates blood sugar, supports bone health, high in vitamins K, A and C. Source http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=16
Benefits of Kale: Anti-inflammatory, reduces risk of cancer, reduces cholesterol, reduces bone loss, and reduces the risk of macular degeneration. Source http://fitlife.tv/5-health-benefits-of-kale/
A handful of cilantro Huge cleaning properties, removes heavy metals and toxins, may lower blood sugar, may reduce cardiovascular incidence, a natural anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. Source http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/health-benefits-of-cilantro/
A handful of parsley Inhibits tumor growth and neutralizes carcinogens, protects against rheumatoid arthritis and promotes cardiovascular health. Source: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=100
4 carrots Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, inhibits the growth of colon cancer cells and other cancers, high in antioxidants, and of course, it promotes eye health. Source: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=21
1-2 beets reduces high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high cholesterol. It increases stamina and blood flow. It protects your liver. Source: http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/benefits-beet-juice
1/2 inch of ginger (ginger is very strong so be careful the first time you use it) – This is a super star: Anti-cancer, anti-fungal, antibiotic, diabetes prevention, repairs ulcers, aids in digestion, anti-inflammatory, aids in reversing toxicity, and new evidence shows that it corrects non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (fructose damage). Yes, this is a new disease state from using fructose as a sweetener. Source: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/node/83545
½ of a Granny Smith apple – Green apples are lower in sugar, but red is okay too in a pinch. High in antioxidants reduces the risk for many cancers including pancreatic, liver, colon and breast, lowers blood sugar, prevents cardiovascular disease. It has many benefits for your lungs. Source: http://www.whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=15

Moreover, this juice is highly alkaline versus acidic. You should try to keep a ratio of foods and drink at 70% alkaline and 30% acidic to keep your body functioning at an optimal level. You can Google more information on alkaline versus acidic foods. Basically, disease thrives in an acidic environment.

Drink your veggies and avoid disease. Cheers!

My Big Fat Ugly Delicious Vegan Burger

vegan burgerI don’t want you to be afraid to cook. Don’t be afraid to experiment. I did and well… I made this.

I know it’s “ugly” but it was a really delicious experimental vegan burger. Most bloggers show their triumphs, I wanted to share my mess. I thought it would be encouraging to those who are a bit intimidated by making up recipes.

I scoured the web for vegan burger recipes and found most were really long and complicated or just didn’t look appealing (ironic, right?). So, I went into my kitchen and starting throwing things in to the food processor.

The result was something incredibly tasty that fell apart and didn’t look so much like a burger. I have to figure out how to keep it together (the burger that is).

These are the ingredients that I threw into the food processor; it made 6 “burgers”:
Use the grater attachment for the first two ingredients and set them aside
½ of a small onion
2 carrots

Process the rest together with the chopper blade:
1 can of Eden brand Garbanzo beans (remember Eden’s cans are BPA free and they reject the USDA certified organic seal because it is not stringent enough!)
1 cup of cooked millet (out of the bin at Whole Foods – cook according to directions)
1 portabella mushroom
A handful of almonds
A tablespoon of sunflower seeds
Garlic powder
Cumin
A couple of shakes of organic Worchester sauce
A couple of squirts of organic ketchup
A few dashes of Bragg Liquid Amino

Add the carrot and onion mixture back in and mix well by hand.

Bake on parchment paper in the oven at 400 degrees. I was about to write about how to dress the burger, but let’s be serious, we all know what to do from here. Enjoy!