Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Make a resolution to eat more organic foods

There are so many reasons to eat organic foods--here are some excerpts from this article by the Organic Consumers Association:

- Many unprocessed organic foods contain more nutrients than conventionally-grown foods
- Organic food doesn't contain food additives, flavor enhancers (like MSG), artificial sweeteners (like aspartame and high-fructose corn syrup), contaminants (like mercury) or preservatives (like sodium nitrate), that can cause health problems.
-Organic food doesn't contain pesticides. More than 400 chemical pesticides are routinely used in conventional farming and residues remain on non-organic food even after washing. Children are especially vulnerable to pesticide exposure. One class of pesticides, endocrine disruptors, are likely responsible for early puberty and breast cancer. Pesticides are linked to asthma and cancer.
- Organic food isn't genetically modified.
- Organic animals aren't given drugs. Organic farming standards prohibit the use of antibiotics, growth hormones and genetically modified vaccines in farm animals. Hormone-laced beef and dairy consumption is correlated with increased rates of breast, testis and prostate cancers.
- Organic animals aren't fed animal remains or slaughterhouse waste, blood, or manure. Eating organic reduces the risks of CJD, the human version of mad cow disease, as well as Alzheimer's.
- Organic animals aren't fed arsenic.
- Organic animals aren't fed byproducts of corn ethanol production (which increases the rate of E. coli contamination).
- Organic crops aren't fertilized with toxic sewage sludge or coal waste, or irrigated with E. coli contaminated sewage water.
- Organic food isn't irradiated. Cats fed a diet of irradiated food got multiple sclerosis within 3-4 months.
- Organic food contains less illness-inducing bacteria. Organic chicken is free of salmonella and has a reduced incidence of campylobacter.

Not to mention organic (and especially locally-grown) foods just plain taste better.

I know some people are hesitant to buy organic because of the cost . . . but really it's the processed organic stuff that costs a lot. Brown rice and other whole grains, fruits and veggies, and other unprocessed ingredients really aren't that much more expensive . . . and the savings to your health and the planet more than make up for it.

So when you're making those New Year's resolutions, add eating organic to your list.

Wishing everyone a great 2010!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Time for baking

What a great day -- sewing machine is put away, presents are wrapped, and I actually have time to do something I really love: BAKE! So far, Barley Soda Bread (perfect for breakfast or with soup for dinner). And since we are having a friend over that can't eat gluten, I made these yummy Flourless Sesame-Almond Cookies (made with arrowroot flour!). Both recipes are from The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook. I've posted them below so you can try them as well.

Happy Holidays!

Barley Soda Bread

This bread is delicious plain but I especially like it with butter, cream cheese, or nut/seed butter.

3/4 cup rolled oats or rolled barley

1 cup regular or golden raisins

1 1/2 cups plain yogurt (dairy or nondairy)

1/4 cup water or milk (dairy or nondairy)

1/4 cup blackstrap molasses

2 tablespoons oil

1 tablespoon maple syrup, brown rice syrup, agave nectar, or honey (optional)

3 1/4 cups barley or other whole grain flour

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Oil a large baking sheet. In medium-size bowl, mix together oats, raisins, yogurt, water or milk, molasses, oil, and optional sweetener. In separate large bowl, whisk together flour, nuts, sea salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Add oat mixture to flour mixture. Stir until dough holds together. Turn out onto a floured board and knead gently for 45 to 60 seconds. Divide dough in half. Shape each half into an oval ball. Place on prepared baking sheet, leaving plenty of room between loaves. Use a sharp knife to make 2 slashes on each loaf about 1/2 inch deep.

Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375ºF and bake 20 to 25 minutes more, or until loaves are golden. The bottom should sound hollow when tapped. Cool completely on wire rack before slicing.

Makes 2 loaves

Flourless Sesame-Almond Cookies

These delicious crispy cookies are gluten- and egg-free.

1/2 cup sesame seeds

1 cup almonds

1/2 cup softened unsalted butter or coconut oil

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup arrowroot powder

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons evaporated cane juice

1 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon grated orange rind (optional)

2 to 3 tablespoons water or orange juice

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Oil 1 or 2 large cookie sheets. In food processor or blender, grind sesame seeds and almonds to powder. In mixing bowl or food processor, mix ground seeds and almonds with butter or coconut oil, sea salt, arrowroot powder, evaporated cane juice, almond extract, vanilla, and grated orange rind. Add water or juice, a little at a time, until dough holds together. Place walnut-size balls on prepared baking sheet leaving about 3 inches in between. Press balls with fork twice to form a criss-cross pattern. Bake 20 to 22 minutes, or until bottom and edges are golden.

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen

Note: I chilled the dough and then rolled out because my kids wanted to use the cookie cutters. The dough is a little crumbly for this so don't roll too thin.

Friday, December 18, 2009

And the winner is . . .

MONSANTO!!!!! What did they win you ask? The Angry Mermaid Award! And I can't think of a more deserving corporation. Find out why they won.

And by the way -- the latest study on Monanto's GMO corn finds that it has adverse affects on the kidneys, liver, heart, adrenal glands, spleen and more . . .

Monday, December 07, 2009

Book Reviews: Children's Books

Check out the December issue of VegFamily Magazine for reviews of some children's books that promote vegetarianism, kindness to animals and healthful eating. My pick is Monsters Don't Eat Broccoli!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Healthy Holiday Gift Ideas

Listen to my foodcast for healthy holiday gift ideas . . . and here are the recipes:

Multigrain Pancake Mix
(Makes about 8 cups) 

The flours in this recipe are very flexible - I recommend using at least 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour - but for the rest, feel free to substitute your favorite flour or use just a couple of different ones. This recipe can be easily doubled or tripled so make extra to keep for yourself!
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 cups barley flour
  • 2 cups buckwheat flour
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 cup corn flour
  • 1/4 cup baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 cup Ener-G Egg Replacer
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup natural granulated sugar (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon or pumpking pie spice (optional)
Sift or whisk all ingredients together in large bowl until completely combined. Pour into jars or plastic bags and tie with a pretty ribbon. Make a label to attach to jar or bag with the following instructions: 

Whole Grain Pancakes
  • 1 1/4+ cups milk (dairy or nondairy)
  • 2 tablespoons oil or melted unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat or Multigrain Pancake and Waffle Mix
Whisk together 1 1/3 cups nondairy milk and 2 tablespoons oil. Stir in 1 1/2 cups Multi-Grain Pancake Mix. Mixture should be fairly thick but if it does not spread on griddle, add a little more milk. Cook on preheated, lightly oiled griddle or skillet until golden brown on both sides. 

Makes 6 servings (2 pancakes per serving) 

Note: If I did any canning during the summer, I like to give a jar of homemade jam or applesauce along with the pancake mix. Maple syrup in a pretty bottle or fruit preserves from your local farmstand or gourmet shop is also a nice accompaniment. 

Millet Crunch Granola
Makes 8 servings 

Granola is great as a breakfast cereal, topping for fruit or yogurt, or on its own as a crunchy snack. Your friends will love this version that is packed with protein and essential fatty acids. It's cooked over low heat to preserve the nutrients.
  • 2 1/4 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup uncooked millet
  • 1/3 cup agave or maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseeds
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • Optional: 1/2 to 1 cup dried fruit (raisins, dried berries, etc.)
Preheat oven to 250ºF. Place rolled oats and millet on baking sheet. Roast for 1 hour. In small pan, melt sweetener, tahini, and water together over low heat. In large bowl, toss oats, millet, and seeds with tahini mixture until completely coated. Spread on unoiled baking sheet, and bake for 30 minutes. Stir once or twice during baking. Cool completely. Stir in dried fruit, is using. Do not bake fruit. 

Pour granola into jars or plastic bags and tie with a pretty ribbon.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

How about a commercial-free black Friday?

Instead of spending the day after Thanksgiving in crowded stores spending money, we are staying home and making gifts. It's a great way to spend time together, save money, and give gifts that are really meaningful to us.

Check out this site for a guide to commercial-free holidays.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

GE Crops and Pesticides

Contrary to what the biotech companies would like us to believe, genetically engineered crops do NOT reduce pesticide use. According to a Rueters article based on a recently released report, GE corn, soy, and cotton has "promoted increased use of pesticides, an epidemic of herbicide-resistant weeds and more chemical residues in foods"--in fact, herbicide use has grown by 383,000,000 pounds since 1996 and 46% of that was between 2007 and 2008!

Check out the article here. And remember you can avoid genetically engineered foods by buying organic.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Vegetarian Thanksgiving

If you're looking for vegetarian alternatives to the turkey dinner this Thanksgiving, check out my foodcast with ideas for meat-free meals and even alternatives to the usual sit down dinner.

Also--if you want some great vegan recipes for the holidays, check out the e-cookbook A Bountiful Vegan Thanksgiving. For just $8.95 you can get the e-book delivered right to your inbox and the profits go to a great cause. There are recipes from Nava Atlas as well as many other respected authors and bloggers (including yours truly!). 

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream -- dairy-free

The weather's been so wonderfully warm here on the central coast of California -- perfect ice cream weather. Here's a delicious flavor from Lick It! Creamy Dreamy Vegan Ice Creams Your Mouth Will Love that's perfect for fall.

Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream

Makes 1 generous quart

You can cook a fresh pumpkin for this recipe if you like, but canned works just fine. You can also substitute puréed sweet potato or squash for the pumpkin. Try this ice cream topped with Whipped Orange-Cashew Cream (recipe follows).

 1 (14-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk

1 cup puréed cooked pumpkin

1/2 cup soymilk or other nondairy milk

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Then freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Whipped Cashew Cream

Makes 2 cups

Cashews are amazingly creamy and make a wonderful, thick topping similar to whipped cream.

1 1/2 cups raw cashews

1/2 cup rice milk

2 tablespoons maple syrup or agave syrup

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Place the cashews in a blender and grind them into a powder. Add the rice milk, maple syrup, and vanilla extract and process until smooth. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour, or until cold and firm.

Whipped Orange-Cashew Cream: Add 1/8 teaspoon of orange extract along with the vanilla extract.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

rBST Milk

Dr. Samuel S. Epstein, Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition, is criticizing a report claiming that milk from cows injected with the genetically engineered rBST is safe for the cows and the consumer. The report was written by paid consultants from rBST companies, including Monsanto. 

According to Epstein, rBST has about 20 toxic effects on cows including mastitis, and the pus from the mastitis infection along with the antibiotics used to treat it end up in our milk. He also says that some of the hormone ends up in the milk and is absorbed by the human body. He claims that rBST milk is chemically and nutritionally different than natural milk. Click here for more details on the report and Epstein's comments. 

If you consume dairy products, buy organic or at least rBST free. Boycott companies still allowing the use of genefically modified bovine growth hormone such as: Dreyer's, Breyer's, Edy's, Nestle, Haagen-Dazs, Klondike, and Good Humor. Better yet look for dairy-free options made from coconut milk, rice, almonds, or organic (GE-free) soy.

Monday, November 02, 2009

The HOT Lunch Box

Check out The HOT Lunch Box in the November issue of VegFamily Magazine. I had such a good response to my post about using thermoses that I expanded into a full article -- recipes included too.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween and Candy

We're gearing up for Halloween here -- we live in a rural area so I don't need to worry about having candy in the house for trick or treaters . . . . but we do go into town on Halloween eve so my daughters can trick or treat with their friends. As you might imagine, the bags of candy--loaded with high fructose corn syrup (made from GE corn), artificial dyes and chemicals makes me cringe . . . but luckily, we have a Halloween Fairy! 

My daughters choose a few pieces of candy to keep but the rest is left by the door for the fairy who takes the candy and in return leaves a gift for the girls. The more candy they leave, the better the present they'll get. The presents have been everything from stuffed animals to books (my kids are reading fanatics so that's not as boring as it sounds), however, the fairy always includes a brand new toothbrush!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Heathy Breakfast Ideas

Listen to this foodcast for some healthy breakfast ideas. And here are a few recipes from The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook.

Crunchy Buckwheat Cereal

Here’s a cold breakfast cereal you can feel good about. It is easy to make in advance and will keep in your refrigerator for days. It’s delicious sprinkled over fruit, too. This is gluten-free.

2 cups raw whole buckwheat groats

2 tablespoons maple syrup, brown rice syrup, agave nectar, or honey (optional)

1/4 cup nut or seed butter (almond butter, tahini, etc.)

Preheat oven to 300ºF. Spread buckwheat on large baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Stir buckwheat around a bit. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes more until golden. Immediately mix hot buckwheat with sweetener and nut or seed butter until buckwheat is coated. Cool. Store in covered jar in refrigerator. To serve, place 1/2 cup of cereal in bowl, cover with milk. Add fresh or dried fruit if desired.

Makes 4 servings

High-Protein Porridge

This cereal is a good source of minerals and B vitamins, as well as protein--plus it's gluten-free.

1/3 cup quinoa

1/3 cup millet

1/3 cup amaranth

5 cups water

Pinch sea salt

1/4 cup flax or sesame seeds, ground

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or cardamom (optional)

Rinse quinoa. Place grains, water, and sea salt in heavy-bottomed pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent cereal from sticking to bottom of pan. Stir in ground seeds and spices.

Makes 4 servings

Instant Oatmeal

Store-bought instant oatmeal is usually loaded with sugar. This version is just as convenient but much healthier.

Mix together 4 cups quick-cooking oats, 1 cup dried fruit (e.g., raisins), 3/4 cup chopped nuts or seeds (e.g., almonds). Store in covered container.

To serve: Pour about 1/2 cup of mixture into bowl. Cover with boiling water. Let sit one minute. Top with milk or yogurt if desired.

Makes 5 1/2 cups

Note: For extra chewy cereal, use regular rolled oats.

Try the following combinations:

 -       Chopped dried apple, cinnamon, and walnuts

-       Raisins, coconut, and sunflower seeds

-       Dried bananas and almonds

-       Dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Vegan Soapbox Review

Vegan Soapbox -- great ezine if you haven't check it out -- just ran a review of Lick It! Creamy Dreamy Vegan Ice Creams Your Mouth Will Love. They're running a giveaway too so be sure to check it out.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

How about a treat?

We all deserve a treat every now and then. How about a slice of dairy-free Chocolate Chai Ice Cream in a chocolate-creme cookie crust topped with chopped walnuts? 

To make the pie, place 18 chocolate-creme cookies (like Newmans) in your food processor. Grind to crumbs. Add 3 tablespoons oil. Process until combined. Press the crust into an 8-inch square baking pan or pie pie pan. Freeze 15 minutes. Fill the crust with ice cream, top with chopped walnuts or chocolate chips. Freeze for about 3 hours!

An easy but delicious treat -- makes an impressive dessert for guests too! And don't forget about all the benefits of coconut milk

Chocolate-Chai Ice Cream

Makes 1 generous quart

This ice cream combines creamy, rich chocolate with hints of Indian spices. 

1 1/4 cups soymilk or other nondairy milk

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

10 whole cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate

1 (14-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk

1/2 cup granulated sugar or agave syrup

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pour the soymilk into a small saucepan and add the cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom. Warm on medium-low heat, whisking occasionally, until the soymilk just begins to boil. Cover and remove from the heat. Steep for 15 minutes.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the cloves. Add the chocolate and stir until it is melted. (You may need to reheat the soymilk on low heat if is not hot enough to melt the chocolate.) Whisk in the coconut milk, sugar, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. Then freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.

recipes from Lick It! Creamy Dreamy Vegan Ice Creams Your Mouth Will Love

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Lunch Box Thermoses

With the weather turned cooler, I'm really using thermoses for my daughters' school lunches. Not only do they get a healthy, hot lunch every day, it's so easy to give them dinner leftovers or soup. 

Here's a few tips:

- Get a smaller thermos. I really like the 5-inch high thermoses. They are the perfect size for kids and fit easily into any kind of lunch box. The last couple of years I was using the thermoses sold by Laptop Lunchbox but not only was they expensive, even the smaller size is just too tall. My kids don't want that much of any one item and it's harder to eat from that tall bottle, especially for younger kids. And, if you don't fill the thermos all the way, the food cools down too fast. (The smaller Laptop Lunch ones are great for adults though.)

- Get a stainless steel thermos--plastic leaches chemicals into the food when hot food is put into it (which is why I don't recommend the 'heat and go' type thermoses).

- Fill the thermos with hot, hot water while you are heating the food. This will help the thermos to heat up and the food will stay hot longer.

- If heating food in the microwave, I find out how much food fits in the thermos by filling it with water and pouring it into a measuring cup. Then when heating food in the morning, I fill the measuring cup to that level (my thermoses hold about 1 1/4 cups of food) and just nuke that. Never microwave in plastic -- chemicals leach into your food. Or of course, you can heat the food in a pot on the stove.

- Don't forget to pack a fork or spoon. (Woops -- have done that several times. Sorry kids!)

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Genetically Engineered Sugar

The good news is that a Federal court ruled that the USDA's approval of genetically engineered sugar beets was unlawful, according to an article by The Center for Food Safety.  The USDA has to now conduct an assement of the impacts on farmers and the environment. Over 100 companies have joinedthe Non-GM Beet Sugar Registry which oppose the introduction of GE sugar beets and says they will avoid using GM beet sugar in their products. Unfortunately, American Crystal Sugar, the largest processor of sugar beets, remains pro-GE. Go to Organic Consumers Association for more info and ways to take action.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

If you eat beef . . .

You might be interested to know that feedlot cattle are routinely fed chicken waste--that is chicken feces, feathers, dead birds, spilled feed, and anything else found on the ground in the chicken houses. Now I'm all for recycling, but that's going too far. Not only is it disgusting but it spreads disease like E. coli, salmonella, etc. -- not to mention, chicken feed often contains meat and bone meal from cows which when fed back to cattle can spread mad cow disease.

If you also find this disgusting, unhealthy and inhumane, sign this petition requesting that the FDA ban the practice of feeding chicken waste to cows.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Support Organics in California

California Assembly Bill 1401, the Transition To Organics Act, will create a fund to provide financial assistance to California farmers who want to transition from conventional farming to organic farming. Assembly Bill 1401 will promote more organic farming! This bell is on Governor Schwarzenegger's desk right now. If you are a California resident, let him know how important organic farmers are. Ask Governor Schwarzenegger to sign AB 1401 into law!

Here's a link that will send your email.

Healthy Lunches that Kids Like

Listen to my soundbyte for some ideas for healthy lunches that your kids will like. For more recipes, try these cookbooks:

 The Vegetarian Mother’s Cookbook and Simply Natural Baby Food by Cathe Olson

These books have lots of recipes for sandwiches, soups, muffins, cookies and crackers made from whole foods. There are also great breakfast recipes that can be used in lunches like pancake mix, French toast, muesli, and scrambled tofu.

Feeding the Whole Family by Cynthia Lair

Lair has tons of whole foods recipes and a great section on packing lunches.

Vegan Lunch Box and Vegan Lunch Box Around the World by Jennifer McCann

These books, by the creator of Vegan Lunch Box Blog, have innovative and delicious ideas for the lunch box (though most take quite a bit of prep).  All the recipes are delicious and very well tested.

The Vegetarian Family Cookbook by Nava Atlas

This is a great all around cookbook. The book includes a section on sandwiches, wraps, and school lunches.

Vegan Deli by Joanne Stepaniak

This book is full of salads and soups – perfect for the lunchbox or picnic.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Book Review: That's Why We Don't Eat Animals

Check out my review of the great new picture book -- yup, that's right picture book -- That's Why We Don't Eat Animals.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Benefits of Coconut Milk

Listen to my foodcast about the benefits of coconut milk -- and for more information and recipes, check out my article in VegFamily Magazine.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Strawberry Milkshake

I didn't realize this would be the last shake my Osterizer blender would make . . . Here are my daughters and their friend enjoying a Fresh Strawberry Shake.

And here's the recipe from Lick It! so you can make your own.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Help me choose a new blender . . .

I'm missing my Osterizer! That thing would blend anything -- frozen fruit and/or ice in smoothies, grains and nuts, hummus; it was awesome -- in fact, I was unconvinced that even a Vitamix could do much more.

But now that I need a replacement, I'm torn. Should I spring for the Vitamix even though I can't imagine paying that much for a blender. Should I go for a Waring -- somewhat less costly but by no means cheap. Or get another Oster. I'm seeing mixed reviews on amazon.

Tell me -- what do you have and how do you like it? What do you recommend -- and please give specific models if possible. I see many kinds of Waring and Oster's all with different reviews.

Thanks for your help.

Monday, August 31, 2009

My blender died!

Twenty-two years ago, I was given my Osterizer Blender as a present. It has served my tirelessly all these years--making smoothies, baby food, grinding nuts and seeds, and lately mixing up batch after batch of ice cream mixes. It's survived seven moves and traveled with me across the country from Massachusetts to California. It had been slowing down lately. I noticed at my last few ice cream demos, it was struggling to break up those chunks of frozen fruit . . . but I wasn't ready to let go.

But yesterday . . . it blended its last smoothie. The glass canister, fell over in the sink and broke into pieces. Boo hoo! The end of an era.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Tell the USDA not to lower organic standards

The USDA wants to allow genetically engineered foods and the use of nanotechnology to be organic!

Here's the letter I sent to Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture:

I am concerned that the USDA is trying to degrade organic agriculture by trying to allow genetic engineering and nanotechnology into organic regulations. A May 2009 report issued by the USDA Foreign Agriculture Information Network, "The Unexplored Potential of Organic-Biotech Production," argues that "Governments should change their regulations to allow producers to gain organic certification for biotech crops grown with organic methods." Also in May, the National Organic Standards Board began talking about a ban on nanotechnology in organic, but felt stymied by their assumption that "Under the current definition, most nanotechnology would not fall into the category of excluded methods."

For organic consumers like myself, there is no question that these developing technologies have no place in organic agriculture--and I do not want them in the food and products I give my family. Genetically modified organisms are not safe. They have been linked to thousands of toxic and allergenic reactions, thousands of sick, sterile, and dead livestock, and damage to virtually every organ and system studied in lab animals. Nanotechnology is also very dangerous. Early scientific evidence indicates that some nanomaterials produce free radicals which destroy or mutate DNA and can cause damage to the liver and kidneys.

Every day, new evidence of the dangers of nanotechnology emerge: 

- Workplace nanoparticle exposure was linked to seven cases of serious and progressive lung disease in China - including two patient deaths.
- Nanoparticles present in a chemical found in sunscreens - titanium dioxide - are being studies for their connection to Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

Genetically engineered and nanotech products are already unlabeled because the government refuses to acknowledge that genetically engineered and nanotech versions of natural substances are very different from the original. Buying food and personal care products that are certified organic is the only way for me to avoid these dangerous and untested technologies. Please do not lower the organic standards and allow these dangerous and unnatural technologies in organic products.


To get more info or to send a letter, go to the Organic Consumers Association Web site.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Take action to improve school meals

Here's a letter I just sent out to a list of people involved in revising the Child Nutrition Act:

When revising the Child Nutrition Act this year, I ask you to please consider that good nutrition will actually help our children succeed in school. The food that kids eat affects their mental as well as physical well-being.  

Schools need increased funding so they can get away from cheap processed food and start serving whole foods that are free of pesticides, genetically-engineered ingredients, chemicals, dyes, factory farmed meats, and foods that are not loaded with sugar and sodium. Optimally, the Act would provide incentives that will encourage school food service departments to meet these higher nutrition standards.  

Lunch should be a learning opportunity for children just like every other class they attend--a time when they learn about real food and good nutrition. As obesity continues to rise and many children are being left behind in academics, it's imperative that children be fed nourishing, wholesome, healthful meals. Thank you for considering my statements.

If you want to let legislators know what you think, go to this link and they'll email your letter to the appropriate people.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Get Cultured - Pickled Vegetables

Listen to the third part of my Get Cultured soundbytes about naturally fermented vegetables.

Here's a recipe from The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook:

Carrot-Wakame Pickles

Cultured vegetables help to ensure that your inner ecosystem is rich in friendly bacteria. These pickles are great on sandwiches, salads, or with meals.

 8 cups shredded carrots

1 cup wakame, soaked in water 15 minutes

3 tablespoons sea salt

3 cloves garlic, sliced (optional)

2 tablespoons diced ginger (optional)

Toss all ingredients together in large bowl. Use a wooden spoon, meat pounder, or whatever works to pound carrot mixture until juices are released and volume is reduced to about 4 cups. This takes 5 to 10 minutes. Let your children take turns. Even a toddler will enjoy doing this. Transfer mixture to quart-size jar. Press down mixture until liquid rises above it. Cover tightly and place in cool spot (not refrigerator) for 3 days. Transfer to refrigerator. Flavor will improve with age. Pickles will last in refrigerator for months.

 Makes about 1 quart


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sigg Water Bottle Controversy

This is a really interesting article -- they assert that SIGG secretly swapped it's BPA-containing lining for a new one. Check it out.

Friday, August 21, 2009


I just heard that the USDA wants genetically engineered food to be allowed to be called organic. This is completely outrageous. There has been so much evidence showing that GE foods are not equal to their non-GE counterparts and are causing both health and environmental problems. Read this article showing what the USDA is saying to justify their position.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ban Aspartame

The Cancer Prevention Coalition is calling on the FDA to ban aspartame, according to this article by the Organic Consumers Association. Aspartame is used in food, sodas, and gum--but it's been shown to cause cancer in lab rats. The article gives a brief history of how this dangerous artificial sweetener was even approved in the first place. If you're drinking diet sodas or chewing sugarless gum -- or worse giving it to your kids, please read this article.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Get Cultured-Miso

Listen to part two of my Get Cultured Soundbytes. This one features miso. And after you've heard about all the benefits, here are recipes from The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook to try:

Tahini-Miso Sauce

This white sauce is great over tempeh, vegetables, grains, or pasta.

1 cup water

2 tablespoons arrowroot powder

1/4 cup tahini

1 tablespoon miso

Pinch ground nutmeg

1/4 cup minced fresh parsley (optional)

Black pepper to taste

Whisk or blend all ingredients together. Pour into saucepan. Heat over low heat until thickened.

Makes about 1 cup


Miso-Noodle Soup

This is a soothing soup that is great for upset stomachs or jangled nerves. I especially like it with brown rice pasta.

5 1/2 cups water

2 tablespoons chopped wakame

1 carrot, thinly sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

3 green onions, thinly sliced

1 cup chopped kale, cabbage, watercress, or other green

1/2 cup snow or snap peas

1/2 cup small uncooked pasta noodles

8 ounces tofu, diced

2 tablespoons miso

Soy sauce to taste

Place water and sea vegetable in medium-size pan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Add remaining ingredients and simmer uncovered 10 minutes, or until pasta is just cooked. Remove from heat, stir in miso. Season with soy sauce if desired.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce and Roasted Veggies

Well -- after typing up that last post I decided the pasta sounded really good. I made up another batch of Fresh Tomato Sauce -- though with a lot more basil -- and tossed it into the hot pasta. I roasted some green beans, eggplant, and summer squashes to go with it. Yum!

Fresh Tomato Sauce

I'm trying to eat as much locally-grown produce as possible so when we had a family pizza night, I figured I'd make sauce from our own tomatoes and herbs rather than canned stuff. It came out so good that I thought I'd share.

Fresh Tomato Sauce

5-6 medium tomatoes, diced

4 green onions, sliced thin

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano

salt and pepper to taste

 Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. 

For the pizzas, I got round flatbreads at Trader Joe's. We spread the tomato sauce of the flatbreads, and then added other veggies I had roasted in the oven -- eggplant, summer squash, onions, bell peppers--as well as olives and mushrooms. Then sprinkle with cheese if you like (it's good without too). Bake at 450 for 10-15 minutes.

This sauce would also work tossed into hot pasta, I bet. Maybe with some toasted pine nuts . . .

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Get cultured-Yogurt

Listen to the first of my Get Cultured soundbytes. This one focuses on yogurt. Below is my recipe for Cashew Yogurt from The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook.

Cashew Yogurt

This creamy, nondairy yogurt just takes a few seconds to mix up. The incubation period is 8 to 24 hours depending how warm you keep it.

1 cup raw cashews

1 cup water

Place cashews in blender and grind to a coarse powder. Add water and blend until smooth. It should have a consistency of heavy cream. Pour mixture into a jar and place in warm location (70ºF to 100ºF). Cover with a light towel or napkin. Start checking the yogurt after 6 hours. First you should notice bubbles forming. When it has formed thick curd with a layer of liquid (whey) on the bottom, cover and transfer to refrigerator. Chill for at least one hour. When ready to eat, stir the whey and yogurt together. Add a little honey, agave nectar, maple syrup, molasses, fruit, or jam if desired. Yogurt will keep refrigerated up to a week.

Makes 2 cups

Note: Choose a place where the temperature will remain constant to incubate your yogurt. I like to fill a small cooler with warm water and place the jar in the water (make sure the water is below the level of the jar). Another good place is on top of the pilot light in a gas stove. As long as the temperature in your house is at least 70ºF, you can place the jar anywhere. Keep in mind, the lower the temperature, the longer the incubation. At 70ºF, it will take about 20 hours.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Millet . . .

Check out my soundbyte about millet -- a delicious grain that is gluten-free and super nutritious. And here are a couple of recipes to get you started with millet.

Cream of Millet Cereal

Millet porridge has been said to help alleviate morning sickness. The taste and texture is similar to Cream of Wheat®. To save time in the morning, toast the grains the night before.

 1 cup millet

Pinch sea salt

5 cups water

Toast millet in dry skillet, stirring occasionally, until mixture begins to pop (about 5 minutes). Cool and grind to powder in blender or coffee grinder. Place water in pan. Whisk in ground millet and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, or until mixture is thickened and millet is soft. Stir occasionally to keep mixture from scorching. Serve with milk, cream, butter, flaxseed oil, and/or dried fruit if desired.

Makes 4 servings

Note: For a richer cereal, substitute milk for half of the water in the cereal.

Millet Mashies

This is a delicious alternative to mashed potatoes. It is a good source of protein and iron and the vitamin C from the cauliflower and parsley help the iron to be absorbed.

1 1/2 cups millet

4 cups cauliflower florets

5 cups water

Pinch sea salt

2 teaspoons miso

Black pepper to taste

1/4 cup minced parsley (optional) 

Place millet, cauliflower, water, and sea salt in a pan. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 25 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Stir in miso. Puree millet mixture in food processor, using additional water or milk to get a mashed potato consistency. (Food mill can also be used.) Season with black pepper if desired. Sprinkle with parsley.

Makes 8 servings

Millet-Coconut Pudding

This light, creamy pudding is delicious for breakfast or a snack as well as dessert.

3/4 cup millet

3 cups water

1 (14-ounce) can light coconut milk

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 to 3 tablespoons maple syrup, brown rice syrup, agave nectar, or honey

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

2 cups fresh berries or sliced fruit (blackberries, strawberries mangoes, peaches, bananas, etc.)

 Optional toppings:

2 to 3 tablespoons shredded coconut or chopped macadamia nuts

Place millet, water, coconut milk, salt, vanilla, sweetener, nutmeg, and coconut in heavy bottomed pan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to the very lowest setting. Simmer uncovered one hour, or until pudding thickens. Stir occasionally to prevent scorching. Place warm or cold pudding in serving dishes. Spoon fruit on pudding. Sprinkle coconut or chopped macadamia nuts (or both) over fruit.

Makes 6 servings 

Note: Other dairy or nondairy milk can be substituted for coconut milk.


Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Chocolate Chai Ice Cream Pie

Try this--Chocolate Chai Ice Cream in a cinnamon graham cracker crust, topped with crushed crackers and chocolate chips!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Vegan Chocolate Chai Ice Cream

Learn to make Chocolate Chai Ice Cream -- one of my favorite flavors from Lick It! Creamy Dreamy Vegan Ice Creams Your Mouth Will Love. Rich and creamy chocolate with a hint of spice -- and best of all completely dairy-free. Click here for the complete recipe and instructions.

It's also up on YouTube.

Trader Joes Unauthorized Commercial

I just had to share this funny Trader Joes film on YouTube -- it's so funny. 

Saturday, August 01, 2009

VegFamily -- August Issue

The August issue of VegFamily Magazine is just out -- there are some great articles:

Check out the article about tasty and healthy summer drinks--with recipes for treats you can make yourself like slushies and shakes. I also liked the comparision of different types of V8 drinks in the Vegan Cooking Tips section. Also book reviews of Isa Chandra Moskovitz's new book Vegan Brunch and 101 Foods That Can Save Your Life by David Grotto, RD, LDN.

It's another great issue.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Genetically Engineered Corn

I was incensed by a letter to the editor in the San Luis Obispo Tribune stating that the consumer gets more BT by eating organic corn than by genetically engineered BT corn. View my response.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Food Samples and Movie: Fresh

I'll be sampling vegan ice cream from my book Lick It! before the screening of the hot new foodie movie FRESH on Friday, Aug. 7th at 6 p.m.  Food tastings start at 6 pm. The movie starts at 7 p.m. Admission is $7.00.

Tullius Chiropractic & Pilates Center
902 W. Grand Ave. 
Grover Beach, CA

FRESH celebrates the farmers, thinkers and business people across America who are re-inventing our food system. Among several main characters, FRESH features urban farmer and activist, Will Allen, the recipient of MacArthur’s 2008 Genius Award; sustainable farmer and entrepreneur, Joel Salatin, made famous by Michael Pollan’s book, the Omnivore’s Dilemma; and supermarket owner, David Ball, challenging our Wal-Mart dominated economy.

FRESH is a call to action; it means to inspire its viewers to positive change, not scare them into a terrified complacency. We will bring together farmers, activists, chefs, and policy-makers, all working to create a more healthy, tasty, and sustainable future. Please join us, not just as part of an audience, but as part of a movement to better our food system, and to bring about a new vision, a new paradigm, a new reality, one that works for everyone.

Vegan ice cream article and recipes

Lick It! was featured in the San Luis Obispo Tribune on Sunday. Check out the article for pictures and a few of my favorite recipes.

Foodie BlogRoll

My blog was just accepted by the Foodie BlogRoll . . . . the place to go for foodie blogs--plus lots of giveaways and stuff.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Lemon Thyme Sorbet

Okay -- here's my first food video . . . thanks to a cool Web site called And now you can make one of my families very favorite treats: Lemon Thyme Sorbet!

GIVEAWAY--Drawing for free cookbook!

Visit VegCooking to be entered in a drawing for Lick It! Creamy Dreamy Vegan Ice Creams Your Mouth Will Love!

ADA Report on Vegetarian Diet

The ADA just released a paper concluding that (well-planned) vegetarian diets can help prevent and treat conditions such as heart disease, cancer, obesity and diabetes. More info.

For tips on transitioning to a vegetarian or vegan diet, listen to my foodcast A Million Cooks.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Chocolate Raspberry . . . Chocolate Blackberry . . . Chocolate Strawberry . .. Oh My!

I'm still churning out ice cream for tomorrow's tasting at Rutiz Farms. I wanted to make my favorite flavor Chocolate Raspberry but . . . no raspberries yet. There are, however, lots of blackberries and strawberries so I used my Chocolate Raspberry recipe from Lick It! substituting those berries and YUM!!!! The blackberry especially blew us away!  Come on over to the farm tomorrow to check them out . . . or try making one yourself! 

And by the way -- you can find my Chocolate Raspberry Ice Cream Recipes on

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Making ice cream

I just picked up a bunch of luscious looking produce from Rutiz Farms so I can start making ice cream for Friday. My sister Lissie and her family are visiting from Massachusetts so I put her to work. Here she's straining the seeds out of marionberry ice cream.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Ice Cream Tasting

For those of you on the Central Coast of California, come on down to Rutiz Farms on Friday, July 10th starting at 1 p.m. until I run out of ice cream. I'll get sampling out some ice creams made from fresh local produce and herbs from my book Lick It! For more information about Rutiz Farms or to get directions, to to

Vegan Blackberry Ice Cream

Blackberries are everywhere right now . . . so why not make a batch of ice cream. This is one of my favorite flavors -- it's creamy, sweet and just a bit of tartness. It takes a little time to strain out the blackberry seeds but take the time because it makes a much nicer ice cream experience.

Blackberry Ice Cream

Makes 1 generous quart

Some blackberries are sweeter than others. If the berries are very tart, use the larger amount of sweetener.


3 cups blackberries

1 (14-ounce can) full-fat coconut milk

2/3 to 3/4 cup granulated sugar or agave syrup


Combine all of the ingredients in a blender, starting with the smaller amount of sugar, and process until smooth. Taste and add additional sugar, if necessary. Place a fine-mesh strainer over a medium bowl and press the mixture through it to remove the seeds. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Then freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

VegKitchen Newsletter

Check out the July newsletter from VegKitchen. Nava Atlas has featured an interview about the creation of Lick It! and a couple of my favorite recipes.

Horizon going "natural"

Seems that Horizon is following a similar pattern to Silk soy milks who recently began dropping its organic soy milks and began calling them "natural" which means they use conventional soybeans grown with pesticides, herbicides and possibly genetically engineered soy beans--how natural is that? 

Now Horizon--whose organic line is already very controversial because they were not using cows that have access to pasture which is in violation of the organic standards--is introducing "natural" (meaning conventional) dairy products.

The deception is that people are used to buying these products thinking they are organic. The labels on Silk products are so similar you wouldn't notice the word organic missing. Also, many people think natural means organic.

The worst part is for the organic dairy farmers who are in a financial crisis right now because there is a glut of milk.

See the OCA site for more info.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Book Giveaway Contest

Check out the Vegan Nutritionista blog her special July contest -- submit your favorite vegan recipe and you have a chance to win a copy of Lick It! Creamy Dreamy Vegan Ice Creams Your Mouth Will Love -- as well as her ebook A Fresh New Vegan You!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Get Cultured!

Listen to my soundbite about the benefits of cultured and fermented foods. I have many recipes to make yogurts, vegetable pickles, and dishes that use miso in The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook. Here are a couple of recipes:

Cashew Yogurt

This creamy, nondairy yogurt just takes a few seconds to mix up. The incubation period is 8 to 24 hours depending how warm you keep it.

1 cup raw cashews

1 cup water

Place cashews in blender and grind to a coarse powder. Add water and blend until smooth. It should have a consistency of heavy cream. Pour mixture into a jar and place in warm location (70ºF to 100ºF). Cover with a light towel or napkin. Start checking the yogurt after 6 hours. First you should notice bubbles forming. When it has formed thick curd with a layer of liquid (whey) on the bottom, cover and transfer to refrigerator. Chill for at least one hour. When ready to eat, stir the whey and yogurt together. Add a little honey, agave nectar, maple syrup, molasses, fruit, or jam if desired. Yogurt will keep refrigerated up to a week.

Makes 2 cups

Note: Choose a place where the temperature will remain constant to incubate your yogurt. I like to fill a small cooler with warm water and place the jar in the water (make sure the water is below the level of the jar). Another good place is on top of the pilot light in a gas stove. As long as the temperature in your house is at least 70ºF, you can place the jar anywhere. Keep in mind, the lower the temperature, the longer the incubation. At 70ºF, it will take about 20 hours.


This is one of the most active and easy to digest of the fermented foods because it is mostly water. It has a strong, lemony taste that is similar to lemonade. The ginger is good for digestion and gives it a little extra zing. If the taste is too strong, use rejuvelac to replace part of the liquid in a smoothie.

1/2 cup soft wheat berries

1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger root, sliced (optional)

7 cups water

Sprout wheat for 3 days as follows: Soak berries in 2 cups water for 12 hours. Drain. Place berries in quart-size jar. Cover jar with cheesecloth and secure with rubber band. Rinse soaked seeds by filling the jar with water and inverting it to drain through cheesecloth. Position the jar at approximately a 45-degree angle, mouth side down, to allow excess moisture to drain. Place jar out of direct sunlight. Rinse sprouts at least twice daily to provide them with water and wash away by-products of growth.

After 3 days, or when sprouts are about as long as the seeds, remove sprouts and place them in a blender along with the ginger and 3 cups of water. Blend for about 10 seconds, just enough to open the sprouts up a bit. Pour the mixture into a half-gallon jar. Fill the jar with the remaining water. Cover the jar with cheesecloth or a dish towel and let it sit for 3 days in a shady spot. Stir the mixture twice daily to keep the enzymes and live organisms mixed. Smell the rejuvelac each day to monitor its progress. It should have a fresh smell like lemons or sauerkraut. If it smells bad, discard it and start again.

After 3 days, or when it tastes and smells strongly like lemons or sauerkraut, stir the mixture one final time and pour through a strainer. Keep rejuvelac refrigerated in a covered jar but be sure to open the jar every few days to release gasses that will build up. It will last for at least one month.

Sip rejuvelac slowly. If you are not used to eating fermented foods, start with 1/4 to 1/2 cup per day. After a couple of weeks, gradually increase to one cup a day.

Makes 2 quarts

Note: The strained pulp can be used to start another batch. Place pulp in clean half-gallon jar and fill with water. Stir and cover with cheesecloth and ferment as previous batch. It will mature faster – probably in two days. Discard pulp after second batch.

Check out these books which also have great info and recipes:

“Wild Fermentation” by Sandor Ellix Katz

“Sproutman’s Kitchen Garden Cookbook” by Steve Meyerowitz


Vegan Ice Cream Pies

Coconut Chocolate Almond Pie (or Almond Joy Pie as I like to call it): coconut ice cream in a chocolate sandwich cookie crust topped with chopped almonds and chocolate chips.


Strawberry-Banana Ice Cream Pie: low-fat strawberry banana ice cream (made with tofu, soymilk, bananas, local strawberries) in a vanilla sandwich cookie crust.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Pesticides in food

Here are some interesting facts right from the US Government:

- The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that one of the main sources of pesticide exposure for US children comes from the food they eat.

- Over 400 chemicals can be regularly used in conventional farming as biocides to kill weeds and insects. For example, apples can be sprayed up to 16 times with 36 different pesticides.

- According to the EPA's "Guidelines for Carcinogen Risk Assessment," children receive 50% of their lifetime cancer risks in the first 2 years of life.

Check out this fact sheet from Organic Consumers Association for more information and references.

Also, here's a great site called  What's In My Food where you can search a food and find out what pesticides are in them. 

And the moral is . . . .  buy organic or from local growers who grow chemical-free.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Should cow's milk be part of a healthy diet?

Cow's milk and dairy products are pushed hard in this country. Dairy products have their own very prominent stripe on the food pyramid (with no dairy-free calcium foods given), commercials like "Got Milk?" are widely recognized, my peditrian asks my kids every visit if they are drinking their milk. Most people I talk to -- including and especially registered dietiticans -- think daily portions of milk are necessary to good health. But is milk really that healthy? Check out this article from The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Effects of Too Much Sugar In Your Diet

Listen to my foodcast about the effects of too much sugar in your diet. Also, when reading labels, here are some of the many names sugar can be listed as:
  • Brown sugar
  • Corn sweetener
  • Corn syrup
  • Dextrose
  • Fructose
  • Fruit-juice concentrate
  • Glucose
  • High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
  • Honey
  • Invert sugar
  • Lactose
  • Malt syrup
  • Maltose
  • Molasses
  • Raw sugar
  • Sucrose
  • Syrup