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.