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.