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

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Affects of TV on children's eating habits

Listen to my short foodcast about the affects of watching TV on your children's eating habits.

What do vegans barbeque?

When everyone else was eating fish tacos -- I marinated some portobello mushrooms in herbs, soy sauce, olive oil, and water -- then grilled until soft. Sliced them up and rolled in a tortilla along with grilled green beans and fresh salsa -- and oh was it delicious. For dessert, a vegan fruit cobbler with dairy-free vanilla ice cream. It doesn't get any better than that!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Interview and GIVEAWAY

Check out Exhale for an interview with yours truly -- plus a giveaway for my new nondairy ice cream cookbook Lick It!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

New study shows GM foods DO pose health risks

A study released on May 19, 2009 by the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) found that "several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food consumption including infertility, immune dysregulation, accelerated aging, dysregulation of genes associated with cholesterol synthesis, insulin regulation, cell signaling, and protein formation, and changes in the liver, kidney, spleen and gastrointestinal system."

They are finding this so serious that they are asking that:

  • "Physicians to educate their patients, the medical community, and the public to avoid GM foods when possible and provide educational materials concerning GM foods and health risks.

  • Physicians to consider the possible role of GM foods in the disease processes of the patients they treat and to document any changes in patient health when changing from GM food to non-GM food.

  • Our members, the medical community, and the independent scientific community to gather case studies potentially related to GM food consumption and health effects, begin epidemiological research to investigate the role of GM foods on human health, and conduct safe methods of determining the effect of GM foods on human health.

  • For a moratorium on GM food, implementation of immediate long term independent safety testing, and labeling of GM foods, which is necessary for the health and safety of consumers."
The most common GM foods in the US are corn, soy, canola , and cottonseed oil. Avoid products that contain these ingredients unless they are organic. Here is the AAEM report.

Spread the word . . . 

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

amazon review

Now I don't mind an honest review of my book -- even if it's negative. I don't expect that my books will be for everyone and that's okay. But I do mind when someone posts a scathing review based on a couple of random pages they saw thru the 'search this book' feature on amazon.com.  Someone posted that my book is full of unhealthy coconut milk recipe and that how could she eat ice cream every day if it had so much fat in it . . . . well -- first of all, I never expected that someone would eat ice cream every day. Full fat, low fat or no fat, that's a lot of sweets to be eating. Second, though the book does have a lot of recipes that use coconut milk in them -- that's what makes them so rich and creamy -- it also has lots of recipe for low fat ice creams, frozen yogurts, and sorbets as well as healthy fruit sauces and toppings. In addition, coconut milk is a healthy plant-based fat (we do need good fats in our diet), and even so my recipes are lower in fat than most dairy ice creams.

So  . . . if you have a copy of Lick It!, please post an honest review based on having actually seen the book.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Vegan Lavender Truffles

Some friends are coming over on Saturday to watch the movie Chocolat. I've been wanting to try my hand at truffles and this seemed like a good excuse.

I steeped lavender buds in coconut milk for 30 minutes. Then I strained out the lavender, reheated the coconut milk and mixed in the chocolate. Stirred until smooth and then chilled the chocolate until it was firm. I formed the chocolate into balls and placed them in the refrigerator while I melted white chocolate chips. The while chocolate wouldn't melt smoothly so I added a little oil and then it melted nicely. I dipped the dark chocolate balls into the white chocolate but the balls were melting too much. I put the balls into the freezer for 10 minutes and tried again and that worked well. I also rolled some truffles in cocoa powder instead of dipping them. Then I chilled the truffles for about half an hour in the refrigerator and YUM!

The only problem will be hiding these from my family until Saturday night . . . .

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Grow Your Own Wheat

It's easier than you might think to grow your own wheat and transform it to flour -- check out this great article with instructions on how to do just that.

How to avoid GE Sugar

According to the Organic Consumers Association, more than 70 companies have signed a pledge promising to avoid using sugar from genetically modified sugar beets "wherever possible." Unlabeled and untested GE sugar, derived from Monsanto's GE sugar beets, is now laced into hundreds of (non-organic) brand-name products. OCA and critics of genetic engineering have raised concerns that the modified beets could produce food allergies, threaten wildlife, and spread herbicide resistance or other modified traits to closely related species. See the list of companies that refuse to use GE sugar in their products.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Lick It! Giveaway

Check out the Vegan Appetite blog to enter a giveaway for Lick It! Creamy Dreamy Vegan Ice Creams Your Mouth Will Love.