Friday, October 26, 2012

Sweet News For Sore Throats

I cringe each time someone sits next to me with a bad cold, sore throat and sniffles.  Half of New York seems to be sick.  I wonder if it has anything to do with flu shots being given out?  My poor roommate has it bad and I started to feel the front of my throat hurt yesterday.  I was on my way to Whole Foods anyway so I picked up some Wellness formula and an organic lentil, broccoli pot pie for dinner.  I've been on such a sweet kick lately that I'm sure my vegan ice cream escapades the other night were to blame for my immune system's lack of protection, but I still wanted a dessert so I grabbed a few slices of dried organic pineapple from the bulk bin and headed home.

Was it perfect timing that the Wellness formula kicked in just as I ate the pineapple?  My sore throat immediately cleared.  I looked up pineapple.  Yep.  It's a remedy for sore throat.  Well if worked instantly and I've been fine since.  (Though sure makes me want to go get some more pineapple - you know - just to make sure...)  That's got to be one of the best tasting remedies ever.  Much nicer than gargling with salt water.  I think I'll stock up before the word gets out...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Make Your Own Halloween Treats - vegan, macrobiotic, gluten free recipe

The smells of the Malt-O-Meal factory permeated the air in Northfield, MN where I grew up.  Around Halloween you could find individually wrapped popcorn balls in bins everywhere.  I loved them.  Sweet and crunchy, these fairly healthy treats (when you make them anyway...) are fun to eat.  You don't have to stop at the baseball shape either.  Do stars for Christmas or Chanukah, animals or cones that you dip part way in chocolate.

Caramel Corn/Popcorn Balls

This simple and healthy treat is fun any time of year.  You might like to add chocolate chips, nuts or seeds or even dried fruits to the mix.

8 cups popped popcorn (about 2 T. cooked in a 2 quart pot works well)
1/4 – 1/3 C. brown rice syrup
1/4 – 1/3 C. maple syrup
small pinch of sea salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
squeeze of lemon
Optional 1 T. Earthbalance buttery spread

Heat the syrups together and boil for several minutes.  The color will darken but do not burn.  Remove from heat and add the other ingredients and then coat the popcorn.  To make popcorn balls place some of the coated corn on wax paper and use the paper to form a pressed together ball.  Allow to cool completely.  If you want the caramel corn to be more crunchy you might want to place on a baking sheet and bake in a 350°F oven for 10 – 15 minutes watching it so as it doesn’t burn.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Right Again - A Moment

Last nights lovely Stogo's ice cream eating left me waking up fuzzy this morning.  I opened my tiny jar of ume extract first thing, stuck a chop stick in it to dig out a pea sized amount of the thick goo.  The first taste can make your eyes water.  I'm too lazy to make kudzu tea and don't really want it.  The ume is alkalizing enough to set me right from a small sized pomagranate chocolate chip and red velvet.  At least that is what I tell myself.  We'll see I suppose if there is a reaction in the next few days.  The kind that only come out 48 to 72 hours after ingestion.  The moods, the skin reactions,  or  discharge like a runny nose. We'll see.

Most people don't notice their reactions.  They live in a below optimal state constantly, and think waking up fuzzy is what coffee is for.  Others avoid the fun foods, eat starkly and manage their feelings of taking themselves out of society.  I empathize with both sides. 

I cut into an apple and find it too sour to eat the whole thing.  It's only the size of a golf ball but I leave the second half sitting face down in a dish meant to hold a condiment like soy sauce for sushi.  I've cooked some millet and enjoy it plain with a dash of flax oil and some twig tea.  I'm starting to feel right again. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

20% off books lasts until Friday

Any books you purchase from this week (until Friday) will get 20% off by using the code JEKYLL

Get some new recipes.  Stay inspired.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Raw vs. Cooked - Which is better?

I was just looking on a blog of someone I used to know.  Ironically he was making fun of me about my diet back when I knew him.  Now he is marketing himself as a "Caveman," making his food and feeling better than ever.  There are a lot of raw food enthusiasts who claim the same health benefits as those who are macrobiotic or vegan or any number of names for eating more whole foods and less processed products.  The diabetics often say they need less insulin or can stop taking it, cancers disappear, aches vanish, skin clears, and weight becomes slender easily.  You can achieve a lot with a switch in diet.

I was taught that raw is a cooking style.  It's cooling for the body to eat raw veggies and fruits and some fattier fish are easier to digest raw.  From the perspective of yin/yang where yin is long lean, light, floaty etc., than raw is yin.  For people who are very yang, eating more raw foods can help them get to balance and feel better.  You have to work with the constitution you are born with.

I'm more yin to begin with.  I have long lean limbs, torso, even my neck.  Not excessively but you wouldn't say I was built stocky.  For me, eating too much raw food and I'll get cold, painfully thin and usually just a little too much and I have a cold and feel lousy.  I enjoy salad or fresh fruit but I wouldn't ever make a raw diet a way of life.  Most of what is served in the raw restaurants is indigestible for me.  I just end up sick.  For people who feel great from it, they can't understand why I don't.  Maybe it's their body type or perhaps they have come from eating a lot of heavy meats, breads and things I have not touched in years so for them it's beginning to clean up where my cooked whole grains have already done that. 

One book I read said that humans didn't develop the part of the brain for higher thinking until we discovered fire.  Too much yin can certainly make you spacey or unfocused and forgetful.  Cooked food tends to be easier to digest and give long lasting centered energy.   You get to do what works best for you.  The good thing about all of the increased attention to diet is that more people are discovering the benefits of good organic natural foods and no relying on products.

If you still are looking for the cookies and snacks more than enjoying wholesome meals, you might want to get a little coaching and find out what is underneath that.  What drives your food choices and what keeps you from finding balance and vibrancy?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

All or Something - Stop Sabotaging Your Health

I just had the most lovely email from a woman who decided to stop getting my blog emailed to her.  She had been eating well, doing Pilates and yoga and read inspirational books.  Then she got a new job, moved to a new city and left all of her feeling great about her health and body behind.  "There's no time," she writes.

Making healthy food choices doesn't take time.  While I understand letting go of some email, (whose inbox isn't full of extras?) I don't understand the all or nothing thinking to living a lifestyle she says has made a huge difference for her.

My salad for lunch today took only twelve minutes to put together and it was very hearty and satisfying.  Dinner is going to have to be late because of a 5-8pm meeting I need to go to.  I have ideas in my head of options.  I could make a quinoa, kale, onion and artichoke heart dish with tofu or pick up a veggie empanada on my way home.  I'll see how I feel, and how late it is for cooking.  Food is a part of life that doesn't go away just because this woman doesn't have the luxury of hours to spare anymore.

She also writes that she is angry and upset with herself for how she feels and looks now.  

Where do you give up on yourself or let yourself down and why?  Do you think there could be another way to go?  What would that take?  What small changes could make you feel better about your food choices right now?  (Please don't be saying you'll start by switching your cookies or ice-cream to healthier ones, how about trying a new vegetable or cooking a soup from scratch?)

Stop sabotaging yourself, if you are, and start treating yourself like a star.  Create a new healthy habit this week.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Relaxing Fall Sweets with a little spice - vegan, macrobiotic, gluten free, recipe

My friend Joli and I were dining at Angelica's kitchen the other day when she was visiting NYC.  She asked me what Maple Tofu whip was when she saw it on the menu.  It's so simple to make, I thought I would post it and also give you a pumpkin mousse to play with.  Happy Healthy Fall sweetness....

Tofu “Whip” Topping

1 lb. Tofu
1/2 C. maple syrup
1/8 tsp. Seas salt
1/2 tsp. Vanilla extract
Lemon juice

Put the tofu in a saucepan with a little water and simmer with a lid on for 5-10 minutes.  (This makes the tofu more digestible and I think gives the topping a better flavor)  Take out the tofu and put in the blender with the other ingredients.  I use just a squeeze of lemon and you may wish more or none at all. Blend until smooth.  Chill well.

Pumpkin Mousse
This is a very healthy dessert that Meredith McCarty got from Harriet Mcnear.  Both excellent whole foods cooks.

2 1/2 C. Soy Milk
2/3 C. Maple Syrup
3 T. Agar flakes
3 T. Arrowroot powder
2 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Powdered ginger
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
1/2 tsp. Cloves
1/2 tsp. Sea salt
1 C. pumpkin puree

Place 2 C. soy milk with the syrup and agar flakes in a 3-4 qt. Saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.  Turn down and simmer until agar is dissolved, about 5 minutes, continuing to stir every once in awhile.

Mix remaining 1/2 C. soy milk with arrowroot, seasonings, and pumpkin puree.  Whisk into soy milk.

When simmering resumes, transfer to a heatproof bowl to chill.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Vegan, Macrobiotic, Vegetarian, Delicious Dumplings

Here is Junie.  She owns the wonderful vegan, healthy ice cream shop Stogos that I adore.  We were doing some food experiments yesterday.  (More on that later...)  I love learning great tips from wonderful chefs like Junie.  Notice the pan fried dumplings she brought over.  (Ignore the pan, it's not either of ours but I'm living in a furnished flat at the moment and don't have much of my own...) She included garlic in them and told me that she took out the stem of the garlic.  Apparently that is what gives you the bad breath.  Good to know.  Parsley wasn't needed after this lovely meal.

To make your own, just chop up what you might want in your dumplings.  Examples could be cooked shrimp, garlic and chives or tofu, cabbage and green onion, you could use leftovers even and plunk your small bits into the center of a dumpling wrapper.  Seal with a little water and then pan fry.  We used olive oil because it was what I had...sesame oil would give a nice flavor.  Use ginger, tamari, and a little vinegar to make a dipping sauce...Ummmmm.

Junie's food is fabulous and her upbeat energy is infectious.  Stop by Stogos in NYC when you are there just to get a healthy healing dose of the love she infuses into everything.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Healthy Candy? Yes...

Have you tried the Chocolate Candy Crunch in my collection of recipes with stories and tips?  Maybe you have enjoyed the Halloween Betwixt Bars I have put in past newsletters and in that same collection?

I used to also love the vanilla taffy made with rice syrup you can buy at many health food stores and the Honey mints that could rival Junior mints.  What about crunch?  One year I made a lovely Pumpkin mousse to bring to an October gathering.  It's different than pie and instead of cookies to go with it, I made a pumpkin seed brittle.  You can use nuts, seed or combinations. I used barley malt but rice syrup is good or a combination of the two.

1 Cup Syrup (barley malt/rice or your pick.)
1/2 teaspoon light vegetable oil
pinch of sea salt

1/2 Cup toasted nuts/seeds

Place the syrup, oil and sea salt in a saucepan.
Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down a tad placing a candy thermometer into the mixture.  Get the temperature up to the hard crack line (300 F.)  Turn off the heat, mix in your nuts/seeds and then pour onto a lightly oiled baking sheet and let cool in the fridge.  Voila - your own brittle. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Quinoa Souffle - Vegan, macrobiotic, vegetarian, recipe

I'm not quite sure where this recipe came from.  I wouldn't now call it a souffle because that would imply eggs.  This is a vegan version of a casserole type dish that has a lovely creamy satisfaction to it.  You could use any noodle or grain in place of the quinoa too.  There are endless combinations of additions.  Herbs like sage or parsley or basil or if you like spice you could add red pepper flakes or a chipolte chile...  Play, experiment, make it your own.  Then we won't care where it came from, only that you write down your fantastic version for more good meals to come...

Quinoa Soufflé

1 c. raw quinoa
2 c. water

1 lb. tofu, firm
1 c.  winter squash, steamed until soft

1/4 c. tahini
1/2 t. sea salt (or less)

1 c. bread crumbs

Boil quinoa in water for 15 minutes.

Puree or mash quinoa, tofu and winter squash until mixture is smooth.  Stir in tahini and salt. 

Oil a small soufflĂ© pan or casserole dish.  Press 1/2 the bread crumbs up sides and on bottom of dish.  Add quinoa mixture.  Top with remaining bread crumbs.

Cover and bake at 350 for 1 hour or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Serve hot or cold. 
Makes enough for a side dish for 4-6 people.