Friday, November 23, 2012

Leftover Cranberries? Cranberry Walnut Muffins!


If you are like me and buy fresh cranberries for Thanksgiving, then you probably have some leftovers sitting in your refrigerator as we speak. Well, fear no more, I have a tasty solution for you to use up those extra little guys. This recipe is easy and delicious, and is an absolutely beautiful addition to an Autumn breakfast or as a snack. They can also be wrapped individually and given as little edible party favors at your next event.


Cranberry Walnut Muffins
These muffins come out slightly sweet, with a bit of tang from the cranberries. Delish!
  • 1/4 cup sunflower oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 cup unbleached white flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a muffin tin and set aside. Whisk the oil, syrup, almond milk, vinegar and vanilla in a bowl. In a separate larger bowl, mix the coconut sugar, flours, baking soda and powder, cinnamon and salt. with a rubber spatula, mix the wet ingredients into the dry. Do not over mix the batter. Fold in the 1/2 cup walnuts and cranberries. Using a medium sized ice cream scoop, put one scoop of batter into section of the muffin tin. Top with the remaining 1/4 cup walnuts and place into the oven. Bake for 20 minutes and rotate the pan half way for even baking. Bake 5 minutes more and until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean. Let cool for 15 minutes and remove muffins from the tin.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Thanksgiving Inspirations


Every year my whole family looks forward to Thanksgiving - the one holiday where we get together to eat, relax and have fun! This year will be the best one yet - since we will be coming from all over the US to gather together for great food AND great company. This year I am doing it vegan-style for my family and am excited to share colorful and flavorful, healthy dishes that will leave everyone feeling satiated, happy and healthy.



In anticipation of this Thanksgiving, I have already created my menu for this year's awesomeness:

  1. Steamed Southern Style Cornbread Muffins
  2. Pecan Crusted Seitan Cutlets
  3. Seitan Herb Stuffing
  4. Herbed Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Mushroom Gravy
  5. Whipped Maple Sweet Potatoes
  6. Creamy Root Vegetable Gratin
  7. Garlicky Green Beans
  8. Cranberry Citrus Sauce
  9. Fresh Green Salad
  10. Warm Pumpkin Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream
  11. Old Fashioned Apple Crisp

I hope this menu of scrumptious goodies will inspire you to make some healthy, vegan dishes to add to your holiday table. Happy festivities!



Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Kosherfest Coming This November

Attention all you kosher business owners... Get ready to connect with the international world of kosher, at Kosherfest!

Kosherfest is a 2 day kosher food event meant for people who work in the kosher food industry to check out new kosher products as well as learn more about the upcoming trends and find out about the latest and greatest developments in the kosher food world.

Some of the events I am particularly interested in checking out in the show schedule are a discussion on "Meeting the Special Needs of the Kosher Consumer." This events will address the diverse needs of kosher clients, in terms of diet and palate, since an increasing number of kosher consumers are seeking out specialty foods as gluten-free, organic, and low-fat.

I am excited to check out"The Authors Corner," where there will be book signings and opportunities to meet cookbook authors such as:
  • Jamie Geller: Quick & Kosher: Recipes from the Bride Who Knew Nothing, Quick & Kosher: Meals in Minutes, Joy of Kosher Magazine
  • Levana Kirschenbaum: Levana's Table, The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen 
  • Gil Marks: Olive Trees and Honey, Encyclopedia of Jewish Food 
  • Jeff Nathan: Jeff Nathan's Family Suppers, Adventures in Jewish Cooking
  • Leah Schapira: Fresh & Easy Kosher Cooking: Ordinary Ingredients - Extraordinary Meals
  •  Paula Shoyer: The Kosher Baker

There will also be a Kosher Culinary Competition, "Iron Chef" style. Very exciting!

Kosherfest is November 13-14, 2012 at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, NJ.

For more info, check their website: http://www.kosherfest.com/

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Natural Autumn Decor Warms Up Your Home


I love Autumn in the northeast. The rich, vibrant, golden colors surrounding us when we are outdoors inspire us to get outside more, appreciate nature and breathe in fresh, crisp air. I find that the deep burgundies, burnt oranges, rich chocolate browns and dark forest greens of the season actually help to comfort and “warm us up” as the weather begins to turn cold and we find the need to break out our knitted sweaters and scarves.

One of my favorite things to do, besides cook and bake like crazy during this season, is decorate my home. I am pretty much OBSESSED when it comes to gourds and home decorating during this time of the year. I enjoy bringing a little bit of nature’s bounty into my home and appreciating all of the rich colors, textures and scents of the season.

When I think of Autumn I think of the smell of Old Fashioned Cinnamon Apple Crisp filling my home and pumpkin everything - pies, breads, muffins, puddings. I also love making hearty soups, stews and roasted vegetables. Pretty much anything warming, creamy and comforting helps me feel nice and toasty from the inside out in this cold weather.

I love to start gathering cute little gourds, different sized edible pumpkins and squashes, pine cones and pressed leaves to arrange as centerpieces for my festive holiday tables. These inexpensive natural decorations can really help to enliven a living space and bring natural beauty into your home.

I recently had a friend over for lunch and made a beautiful arrangement using many of these items. What a difference it made! The table was all dressed up and took our meal from mediocre to fabulous!


To make your own Autumnal inspired decorations, start with some simple gourds and pumpkins. I recently found some beautiful Tiger pumpkins at my local Trader Joe's. How stunning! Mix these with an assortment of mini pumpkins or even some white pumpkins like these:


White pumpkins like these are so stunning and simple, they even look good like this, in a simple arrangement on a plate or bowl.

You could also get more creative and arrange something more elaborate like this:


Here are some other fantastic arrangements that will brighten up your Autumn table for any holiday, family gathering or upcoming Thanksgiving meal:



Here is a more elegant look for a table setting:

Check out this link for Martha Stewart's Fall Centerpieces to dress up your table and home: Martha Stewart's Fall Centerpieces

Happy decorating! 


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Cooking With Love


Putting love into the food you prepare for yourself and others can make all the difference between a regular meal and something spectacular.

A meal prepared with love and care has the power to transform a person's mood, outlook on life and feelings about oneself and the world. A wonderfully prepared meal has the ability to relax, strengthen or help a person heal. A meal made with care can make the difference between creating more love, peace and joy in this world or creating disharmony, lethargy and dis-ease.

Isn't that powerful?

These thoughts are something that have been on my mind a lot. If someone is in a negative mood, saying hurtful, rude or negative things to others while they are cooking, how does it effect the food and the person who consumes it? Just think of the movie, Like Water For Chocolate. Remember that wedding cake scene?

When a person prays while they are cooking, speaks kind and gentle words, and feels love and joy to be cooking for others, how does that effect the food?

Our thoughts, feelings and actions are all energy. Energy we are putting into the food and energy we are putting out into the world.

That's pretty powerful.

We have the ability to create or destroy. We have the ability to lift people up or drag them down ~ all with our thoughts, words, actions and intentions.

Try an experiment. Make one dish. Give yourself enough time and space to put gentle and loving energy into the food you are making. Think of the people who will benefit from the food you are preparing so lovingly.

How do you want those people to feel after they have eaten your food?
What kind of energy do you want your food to give to them?

Treat the food kindly the entire time you are cooking. Pray while you cook and infuse the food with holiness, love and healing energy. Talk to your food and tell it beautiful things.

At the end of cooking, serve the food on a beautiful plate. Taste it.

Awesome, right?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Packing Your Lunch? Check Out the Bento Box Rules


Get ready to be a lot more excited about packing your lunch for work or school!! American lunches often consist of the usual travel-friendly foods such as sandwiches, chips, crackers, cookies, apples, baby carrots, juice boxes and the like. Those foods can be nice, but sometimes you just need to mix things up and have something deliciously awesome to look forward to all morning.

One of my favorite things about Japanese culture is the bento box. Not only is a bento box filled with home made fresh vegetables, rice and protein - very healthy - but it is also most often beautifully presented and packed, as well as totally delicious!

Check out this cute book I just stumbled upon, The Just Bento Cookbook: Everyday Lunches To Go. This book has excellent and practical ideas for packing visually appealing and delicious lunches. It is sure to inspire you to try some new things and help you feel great about eating well and enjoying it.


I need to buy this - even just for the pictures and inspiring ideas!

I also found the Just Bento Blog, (even better since it's free!) with Maki's Top Ten Bento Rules - a must read for getting ideas about lunches that travel well. Enjoy your new outlook on lunch and get ready to chow down with adorable Japanese style.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

How to Store Fruits and Vegetables


I just found this awesome article about 'How to Store Fruits and Vegetables to Keep Them From Rotting.' EXACTLY what I have been dealing with in my current job. Being responsible for feeding fruit and vegetables on a daily basis to over 700 campers and staff has been a pretty great learning experience. There are so many things I now need to consider that I never had to worry about when I only did private cooking.

Most recently, I have been ordering a large amount of fruits from our distributor so that we can prep snacks daily. We get cases of bananas, peaches, plums, oranges, grapes and pears - and they all need to be stored correctly, washed, and served, but only when they are just ripe. A day too early and no one will touch them, and a day too late and we will have brown and mushy over-ripe fruits.

What a challenge!

This blog posted lists of vegetables and fruits and exactly what to do with them. Worry no more - just consult the list.

Happy reading and fruit eating.

http://www.mythirtyspot.com/2011/09/how-to-store-fruits-and-vegetables-so.html

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Cooking With the Hip Chick...


Many women I meet who are interested in learning more about healthy diet and lifestyle often tell me they feel overwhelmed with all of the information out there. One magazine says to eat this, one diet says to eat that - there are so many philosophies and ways of living that claim to the be "RIGHT" way.

To these women, I have recommended one book. One book to start them on a healing journey - to open their minds and give them a basic understanding about healthy food and lifestyle - and to do it all with humor, wit and intelligence. This book that I recommend is written BY an exceptional woman, FOR exceptional women. Once I got my hands on a copy, I really couldn't put it down. It is not only fascinating, but so well explained that it allows the readers to easily grasp the concepts and apply them to their own lives.

This book is The Hip Chick's Guide to Macrobiotics. It is always my go-to book for women just starting out and wanting to learn the in's and out's of macrobiotics.

Get a copy - even if you already have a deep understanding of healing through natural diet and lifestyle and the energetics of food, this book is a valuable resource to add to your own collection of cookbooks. It features over 80 delectable recipes that are good for you AND taste good!

Also, if you ever have the opportunity to learn from the Hip Chick herself, Jessica Porter, grab it! She has a wealth of knowledge about food, health and life and her classes are sure to be educational as well as entertaining.

For more information about Jessica Porter and The Hip Chick's Guide to Macrobiotics, check her website and blog:

www.hipchicksmacrobiotics.com

www.hipchicksmacrobiotics.com/blog/


Monday, July 23, 2012

Extra! Extra! Read All About Cooking for Summer.

For fun and fresh Summer cooking ideas, check out the latest issue of Bitayavon Magazine. This beautifully photographed magazine is all about delicious, kosher gourmet food. The pictures in this mag are so fantastic - be careful not to drool while flipping through its pages...


The Summer issue features articles and tips for Summer picnics, healthy smoothies, sizzling summer desserts, and out-of-the-box grilling ideas. It also features an article and three recipes on scrumptious summer salads and health tips throughout the magazine, all written by yours truly! I am so glad to have my article featured in this magazine and get my message of eating well and enjoying it to a larger audience.


The recipes I featured are perfect for cooling down, relaxing and energizing your body during the hot summer months. I also introduce "exotic" ingredients like ume plum vinegar and dried daikon radish, as well as one of my favorite salad recipes, Southwestern Salsa & Black Bean Salad with "Sour Cream" Dressing. Oh yeah.


To get your copy, check your local kosher supermarket, judaica store, some Shoprites or Barnes and Nobles. To order a copy online, go here: http://bitayavon.com/

For more info and kosher, gourmet inspirations, find Bitayavon Magazine on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/bitayavonmagazine

Also, stay tuned for the upcoming Fall Issue of Bitayavon... I will be writing more healthy tidbits, plus tips on how to have an easy fast - perfect for the upcoming High Holiday of Yom Kippur, this September 26, 2012. Looking forward to sharing more info with you soon!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Summer Treats: Frozen Chocolate Covered Bananas


I recently took on the exciting job of Kitchen Coordinator for a summer camp. One of the things I love about this kind of work is that I get to do a lot of problem solving. For some reason, I find it thrilling and fun to work under time constraints and stress. Something about having to deal with difficultly staring me in the face, makes me rise to the occasion and somehow accomplish what I did not think was possible. I also love learning and figuring out how to be creative to accomplish the tasks at hand.

One of the most recent challenges that came up was bananas! Literally. We had a HUGE amount of leftover bananas and they were very, very ripe. One more day and they would have been a mushy mess. A few people mentioned that we should make banana bread/cake. Something with chocolate swirled into it and sprinkles baked into the batter. This SOUNDS fun, but in reality, I was not fond of the idea of making a large amount of bread using non-organic, conventional ingredients; white sugar, flour eggs, etc. And I also did not want to spend so much time with a hot oven in the summer. Those of you who know me know how I feel about baked flour products...

So we came up with another idea...

Frozen Chocolate Covered Bananas on a Stick.

Now we're talkin'!!! What a great idea. So I had the staff peel and cut in half, like, a million bananas. By the end, they never wanted to see another banana again, but, we saved the bananas and took care of our snack prep for a day. We are feeding over 700 people each day in camp, so that's a whole lot of chocolate covered bananas.

Here is the recipe. Of course, you can make yours at home, for friends and family to enjoy. If you get organic bananas and vegan chocolate, you will be in pretty good shape! I like to use really ripe bananas, because they taste sweeter and creamier when frozen. You can dip the bananas (once covered in chocolate) in anything you like - crushed roasted peanuts, granola, shredded coconut or any other kind of fun topping you can think of.

Happy Summer!

Frozen Chocolate Covered Bananas on a Stick
4 bananas
2 bars vegan chocolate - I used this:
http://chocolatebar.com/products.php?product=3oz.-All%252dNatural-Supreme-Dark-Chocolate
2 Tablespoons sunflower oil
a pinch of salt
popsicle sticks
  1. Peel the bananas and cut them in half.
  2. Stick a popsicle stick into the cut side of each half and place the bananas onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. 
  3. Put the bananas into the freezer for 30 minutes.
  4. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Mix in the sunflower oil and salt.
  5. Take the bananas out of the freezer and dip them in the chocolate to cover them completely. If you want to make it easy to coat the banana, transfer the chocolate into a cup and then dip the banana into the chocolate for an even coating.
  6. Sprinkle the chocolate covered banana in whatever topping you like.
  7. Place the bananas back on the parchment lined cookie sheet and freeze them until the chocolate sets and the bananas are fully frozen, about 3 hours.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Check Out This Flick: No Impact Man


Need some inspiration on going green and staying green?

We all know that making the choice to live lightly on our planet makes sense, but making a deeper commitment to environmental sustainability can be difficult when we lead busy lives. Sometimes we need a little push, to feel inspired and to remember why we do what we do.

This movie came out a while ago, but I think it's a great reminder for people who want to renew their commitment to living lives with respect to environmental sustainability.

The movie is about a man and his family embarking on a journey to living cleaner and greener lives. The film follows this family as they make changes to their lifestyle. Everything from buying only locally grown foods at their farmer's market to getting rid of electricity usage from lights by switching to using candles, to even washing their clothing in their bathtub! Some of this stuff is pretty far out there, but it is cool and inspiring to see how far people will go to live in line with their values.

The good thing is that you can watch this film and let it inspire you to make small changes, and to live a life that is more mindful of how all of our behavior, actions and spending habits truly do effect the people around us.

Check out this movie and let it change your life for the better.

http://noimpactproject.org/movie/

http://noimpactproject.org/

http://noimpactman.typepad.com/

Monday, June 18, 2012

Pickles from Your Bubby



I love this graphic. I am sure a happy marriage needs a few more ingredients than at least one good cook, but it is a good start!

Even if your marriage does not have at least one good cook, or if you are single, you can still enjoy the health benefits and great taste of delicious sauerkraut. Bubbies brand of sauerkraut and other various pickles are  fantastic.

The ingredients are wholesome and simple and the taste is crunchy, salty-sour and just plain good.

You can find them in the refrigerated section at your natural food store. It is important to either make your own pickles or to buy pickles from the refrigerated section of the store, as opposed to the canned variety or pickles in jars on the shelf.

Buying refrigerated pickles is great because the refrigeration ensures that the live bacteria that was created during the fermentation process is still alive and kickin'. This makes all the difference because it will help the flora in your intestinal tract flourish, which means your digestion will be stronger. When your digestion works well, you can absorb the nutrients from your food better and you feel energetic, not bloated and have regular bowel movements. Yup, I just said that - it's true!

Try eating a little bit of sauerkraut, pickle or fermented food each day and see how you feel! If it is too salty, rinse the pickle in cool water before eating.

Happy digestion!

http://www.bubbies.com/

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tighten and Smooth Your Skin with Earth & Sea Clay Mask


Hands down - this is the  B E S T  all natural facial mask I have ever used in my life.


Seriously, once I started using this mask nothing even comes close in comparison. My skin feel smooth, looks healthier and is tighter after I use this mask, even just once! I have tested a lot of natural skin care products in my day, and this one outperforms them all. I seriously look 5 years younger after I use it.


Here is the low-down on this amazing skin care product:


This truly all-natural mask is made with bentonite clay, well known for its powerful abilities to draw out impurities, smooth, tighten, and tone. Combined with our other selected plants and herbs, this mask is also effective for diminishing the appearance of pores, fine lines and wrinkles, soften, and soothe. Your skin will look more radiant, refined and refreshed. Contains enough for 20 masks.
Ingredients: internal grade pure bentonite clay, organic orange peel powder*, organic rosehip powder*, organic strawberry powder*, wild harvested bladdewrack (fucus vesiculosus), and organic spirulina* (anthrospira platensis).
*Organically grown and produced in accordance with the California Organic foods Act of 1990.
Order it online:
http://www.kushistore.com/Rejuva-Organics-Earth-and-Sea-Clay-Beauty-Mask-Kit-REJ04.htm



Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Green Printers for You and the Environment

If you are in need of some great quality business cards and want to go eco, then check out Green Printer. They offer a variety of green papers to choose from and vegetable based inks. They can print anything from brochures and business cards to posters and postcards.

I recently ordered a brand new batch of newly designed business cards and used one of my own photos on the card and it came out great!

Here is a link to the new design:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1sH7pJM7TftlZR8EZYJp_BcUpthGpN0-ejWwkxC7ZbNw/edit

Want more info on why YOU should print GREEN?
http://www.greenprinteronline.com/content/WhyGreen

Check out Green Printer:
http://www.greenprinteronline.com/



Monday, May 28, 2012

Lift Your Mood and Feel Energized with Burnout Reviver


After a long week at work or a particularly stressful time, I find that it is very important to take time to do things that help replenish my energy, nurture my spirit and take care of my body. One thing that I recently discovered during a trip to Whole Foods in Massachusetts is this fantastic essential oil blend called Burnout Reviver.

As soon as I smelled it, I felt better. This stuff is amazing. I brought it to work with me to help improve the air quality near my desk and smell it when I need a lift during the day - and let me just tell you, it is working! I put it on my wrists and use it like perfume. Ahhh... yes.

Check out Leyden House, the company that sells various essential oil blends, carrier oils, shea butter and diffusers.

Next time you are feeling fatigued or need a mood lift, try out some essential oils!

Here are some benefits of diffusing essential oils:

  • Improving air quality and health
  • Can significantly reduce mold spores, dust mites, fungus, bacteria and viruses from the air we breathe
  • Help with respiratory issues
  • Elevate your mood
  • Reverse negative emotions
  • Can encourage concentration, reduce stress and improve sleep


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Quick and Satisfying: Soba Noodles in Shiitake Broth


I love this dish because it is fast, easy to make, delicious and a complete meal in one bowl! When I come home from a long day, the last thing I want to do is cook a big meal. This dish is simple and fun and does not take much time to prepare.

Ingredients:
1 package organic soba noodles
1 stamp sized piece kombu
2 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked for 1/2 hour (reserve soaking water)
1/2 block firm tofu
soy sauce
sweet potato
scallion
optional: any other vegetables you like
  1. Boil the soba noodles in a pot until they are cooked. Drain and set aside.
  2. Boil 2-4 cups of water in a pot (depending on how much soup you want to make).
  3. Rinse off the piece of kombu and drop it into the boiling water. Add shiitake soaking water.
  4. Trim stems off of shiitake mushrooms and discard. Slice mushrooms and add to the boiling water.
  5. Dice sweet potato and any other vegetables you would like to add to the soup. Add to the boiling water.
  6. Turn the water to low and let all ingredients simmer.
  7. Cut the tofu in small cubes and add to the simmering pot.
  8. Once the vegetables are cooked, add generous amounts of soy sauce to flavor the soup.
  9. Place some noodles in a bowl and ladle the soup and vegetables on top.
  10. Garnish with sliced scallion. Enjoy!


Monday, May 14, 2012

Heaven and Earth Meet at Ahwatukee Farmers' Market


If you love healthy and delicious food and you live in the Phoenix area then you are in for a treat! An incredibly talented and creative chef has recently opened up shop with an array of absolutely delicious and nutritious sushi, side dishes, desserts and beverages at the Ahwatukee Farmers' Market every Sunday from 9:00 am - 1:00 pm. Chef Seiko Yamanobe of Heaven and Earth House of Macrobiotics prepares natural, local and in-season fare to feast your eyes and your mouth on.




Here is a "taste" of their ever changing menu... YUM!!


Miso Soup & Market Vegetable Soup
made from scratch daily

Small Plates and Deli Items

Edamame Hummus, Macro Green Goddess Dip, Cashew Miso SpreadKale & Quinoa Salad, Steamed Vegetable Plate, Italian Miso Salad, more.

Maki

unique macro in nori rolls
Heaven & Earth Roll, Not California Roll, Tokyo Tempeh Roll, TBLT Roll, Cabo Cabo Special, Shojin Tempura Roll, Kyoto Kinpira Roll, and more.

NuMacro

modern twist on classics
Earth, Wind + Fire Spring Roll, Veggie Heaven (all vegetable) Roll, and more.

Drinks

quintessential Macro basics & more
Twig tea, Roasted Barley tea, blended Apple tea, Green tea, Home-made Fresh Ginger Ale, Amazake Shake, Ume Sho Bancha, and more.

Macro Treats

sugar, dairy, egg free, gentle gems
Yin & Yang Sesame Crunch, Kanten Jelly, Brownies, PB & J Cookies, Almond Biscotti, Blueberry & Raspberry Muffins, Carrot Cake, and more.

Five Elements Energy Bars

formulated for each season, sugar, dairy, egg free
Tree Energy (AAA) Bar, Fire Energy Bar, Earth Energy Bar, Metal Energy Bar, Water Energy Bar

See their carefully selected menu of the day.  (Always in harmony with the season, balanced whole foods, inspired by nature.)



Check out the amazingness every Sunday at 4700 E. Warner Rd. Phoenix, AZ 85044.

For more information, to see the menu or to pre-order, check their website:
http://houseofmacro.com/

Like them on Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Heaven-Earth-House-of-Macrobiotics/340114606022234




Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Put Some 'Spring' In Your Step With Seasonal Fruits and Veggies

Lots of Veggies in Springtime 

Spring is here and so is an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. Spring means that it's time for us to eat foods that are lighter and more refreshing. We can incorporate more raw foods into our meals, salads and pressed salads, light soups, quick stir fries and emphasize vegetables in our meals. Leafy greens, sprouts, parsley and scallions are excellent for this season. Sour and bitter flavors like lemon, lime, and bitter dandelion greens help support the liver and gallbladder in detoxification. Mildly sweet foods help us feel happy and relaxed Cooking with less oil and shorter cooking times are recommended.

Recently, I have been trying to make milder sweet dishes that satisfy my cravings but don't leave me feeling the sugar rush of super sweet baked goods and other desserts. Here are some great alternatives to heavier and more intense sweets from Winter.

Instead of grabbing a cookie, muffin, cupcake or chocolate, try...
  • Sweet fresh corn on the cob. Buy organic, steam for 3 minutes and then smear with umeboshi paste. It is DELICIOUS!!! You will never eat corn on the cob another way again.
  • Cooked squash - there are so many to choose from and they are all sweet and satisfying.
  • Roasted Japanese sweet potato or yams. Clean the yam/sweet potato, take out any eyes, and put in a Pyrex dish in the oven on 425 degrees. Let it cook for about 45 minutes and poke with a fork to see if it's done. When the fork goes in easily, it is ready! Slice and peel the skin. Enjoy the creamy sweetness.
  • Whole grains. When I want a sweet snack I take some left over well cooked brown rice and drizzle brown rice syrup over it. So easy and so good.
  • Carrot juice - refreshing and sweet. I like it best mixed with green apple juice, so it's sweet and sour 'Carrot Green Apple Juice.' Yummm.
  • Fruit compote - if I am craving something fruity, I toss some sliced fruit into a pot with a pinch of sea salt and simmer it for 10-15 minutes. I like to mix it up and use fresh, frozen and dried fruit. Fruit compote can be simple (made from one fruit) or more complex. I like to use apples, dried apricots, frozen blueberries, frozen cherries, peaches, raspberries, strawberries... the combinations are endless. The compote can be eaten plain, served on top of oatmeal for breakfast, or spooned over frozen dessert (see below).

Vanilla Soy Ice Cream with Fresh Strawberry Peach Compote and Toasted Almonds



Thursday, May 3, 2012

Clean THE LAND May 18, 2012


During my time in Israel, I remember thinking that people there needed to really step-up their game when it comes to basic environmental awareness. I constantly saw trash all over the place - throughout the streets in neighborhoods, on the side of the road, everywhere I looked.

I was raised in a neighborhood that was pretty conscientious about recycling, not littering and taking care of our environment. So going to what many people refer to as "the Holyland" and seeing it totally trashed was a pretty surprising sight!

I thought I was somewhat alone in my views about trash in Israel, but I am excited to say that I recently found the coolest group doing exactly what I had wanted to do, but did not have the time or resources while I was there.

This group is called Clean the Land.Clean the Land is a social, environmental initiative with two simple components: a coordinated, annual, nation-wide trash pickup day; and a mission to educate communities about recycling, sustainability and environmental protection. Ummm, YES  Pleeeeease!!

I cannot tell you how thrilled I was to hear about this group! Environmentalism does not just stop in your own home, or in your neighborhood, we need to spread the word about it to everyone - even in other countries. Not everyone grows up with environmental education and awareness like many Americans do, when they learn about these things in public schools. Many children do not know that they should not throw their candy wrappers on the ground outside...

Be a part of the solution. Help educate the people. Bring communities together.

This MAY 18, 2012 is the Nationwide Trash Pickup Day in Israel. If you live in Israel, get involved. If you know someone who lives in Israel, tell them.

Let the Clean the Land motto inspire you, "Love it. Live it. Clean it."













Check their website for more information and to get involved:

Find them on Facebook!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Springtime Allergy Relief


I used to have sever allergies every Spring...runny nose and itchy eyes, ears and throat. Springtime was beautiful when everything started to bloom, but I often felt like I couldn't enjoy any of it because my symptoms would interfere.

Once I changed my diet and lifestyle a few years ago, I was finally able to experience a beautiful allergy-free life all year long. The changes I made helped me so much that when I found out last year that a good friend of mine had similar symptoms, I was happy to help her feel better.

The information I gave her is very simply laid out in this fantastic book:
The Macrobiotic Path Total Health

This book is a great resource that people can use to look up all kinds of ailments and illnesses, find out the cause, learn about the illness and find out how to overcome it through following a natural approach to healing. This book has a lot of information, so I suggest getting a copy so you can have this information at your fingertips.

My friend implemented the advice, and within a couple of weeks her allergies were gone! She felt great.

Here is a little bit of the information I gave her from the book:

Cause
"Allergies are usually triggered by contact with specific foods such as milk, nuts, or shellfish;substances such as pollen, dust or animal dander; drugs and medications; and insect bites. Such reactions usually show that the blood, lymph, and other bodily fluids are imbalanced from the consumption of too many acid-producing foods, including animal products, dairy foods, sugar and sweets, stimulants, spices, alcohol, chemically grown or treated foods, and other articles in the modern way of eating as well as a lack of whole grains, fresh vegetables, and other high-fiber foods that help discharge toxins from the body.

Overall the condition of someone with allergies tends to be more yin - overly expansive, loose, and weak. Most allergens or triggers are also extremely yin, so that yin repels yin and the body attempts to throw off the allergen or trigger by sneezing, itching, or other reaction. The principal foods that cause allergies are milk and all other dairy products, overly oily and greasy foods, animal fat, sugar and other concentrated or artificial sweets and sweeteners, refines foods and flour products, tropical fruits, juices, and vegetables with tropical origins (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, avocados, and others), and often various drugs, chemical additives, and similar products. Among these, dairy foods, sugar, and tropical fruits are probably the most common and prevalent causes."


Solution
  • "Eat whole cereal grains at every meal, temporarily avoiding all processed grains and grain products."
  • "Vegetables can be prepared in a variety of cooking styles, especially iron-rich vegetables such as collards, kale, mustard greens, turnip greens, and other green leafy vegetables..."
  • "All types of sea vegetables are helpful and will help strengthen the blood."
Of course, the book contains a lot more information about how to overcome allergies, but I wanted to give over some of it here.

Have a happy, healthy and allergy-free Spring! Enjoy the new warm weather and the beautiful seasonal blooms. Here are some pictures I took recently of Springtime in New York.











Sunday, April 22, 2012

Recipes for Vegan Hors D'oeuvres at Green Festival

Cucumber Cups with Avocado Cilantro White Bean Dip

Here are the two recipes from my Vegan Hors D'oeuvres Class on the Good Food Stage at the NYC Green Festival. I am so excited to share them with you!


I created these two recipes because they are perfect for Spring, featuring ingredients and cooking styles that are in harmony with the season. The raw cucumbers are crisp and refreshing, the sour flavors of lemon and lime help to cleanse your liver and gall bladder, and the steaming and quick saute cooking methods are perfect to keep you feeling light and relaxed.


If you couldn't make it out to this year's festival, there are more coming up, so keep your eyes on the Green festival website, http://www.greenfestivals.org/  I hope you enjoy the recipes.




Cucumber Cups with Avocado Cilantro White Bean Dip
1 cup Great Northern Beans
3-4 cups water
1 stamp sized piece kombu seaweed
1 teaspoon sea salt


1/2 large avocado
3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon umeboshi vinegar
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 pinch sea salt
6 stalks finely shredded fresh cilantro leaves


1 small red bell pepper
1 Tablespoon umeboshi vinegar


2 hothouse cucumbers


Beans:
  1. Sort through the Great Northern beans to take out any dirt or pebbles. Rinse the beans in cool water 2 times. Then soak overnight or for 8 hours in a bowl with fresh water.
  2. Drain the soaked beans and transfer them to a pot. Add fresh cool water (approx. 3-4 cups) to the beans and cover them with about 1 inch of water. (You can measure by sticking your thumb into the pot. Let your thumb touch the top of the beans and make sure the water goes up to you thumb knuckle.)
  3. Bring the beans to a boil. Skim the beans if any foam arises. Rinse off the piece of kombu in cool water and add it to the boiling beans. Then turn the beans to low and let simmer for about 1 hour.
  4. Taste the beans after 1 hour, if they are pretty much done, then add 1 teaspoon of sea salt. If not, let the beans cook longer until they are done and then add the salt. Let cook for 10 more minutes.
  5. Take the beans off of the stove and let cool.
Bean Dip:
  1. Once the beans have cooled, drain them. Then transfer them to a bowl and mash them by hand with a  potato masher or with the back of a fork. Mash until almost all beans are mashed. I like to keep some in whole form to give the dip a little more texture.
  2. Add the avocado, fresh lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon umeboshi vinegar, garlic powder, and sea salt into the beans and mix. Then fold in the cilantro. Feel free to add more seasoning if you like.
Garnish:
  1. Slice the red bell pepper into 1/2 inch strips. Then thinly slice the strips.
  2. Heat a saute pan on medium heat. Add the strips of pepper and then add 1 Tablespoon of umeboshi vinegar. Saute for 3-4 minutes.
Assembly:
  1. Slice the cucumber lengthwise down the center. Then slice each half into 1 1/2 inch pieces.
  2. Take the small end of a melon baller and scoop out the center of a cucumber slice. Repeat this until you have many cucumber sliced with hollowed out centers. Place the scooped out cucumber pieces into a bowl and set them aside. (You can use them in making a salad later. I used mine in a spinach salad with leftover red bell pepper garnish and shredded carrot, tossed with olive oil, salt and a little balsamic vinegar).
  3. Take a teaspoon and spoon in the white bean dip into the center of each cucumber cup. Garnish with red pepper slices. Serve and enjoy!

Sweet 'N Tangy Lime Seitan Skewers


Sweet 'N Tangy Lime Seitan Skewers
8 ounces seitan
zest 2 limes
juice 1 lime
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 large cloves fresh garlic, pushed through garlic press

1 stalk broccoli
1 yellow zucchini squash
6 inch bamboo skewers

Seitan and Marinade:
  1. Squeeze out any excess liquid from the pieces of seitan. Then cut into approximately 1 1/2 inch chunks.
  2. For the marinade, whisk together in a mixing bowl the lime zest, lime juice, brown rice syrup, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil and garlic.
  3. Put the pieces of seitan into the marinade and mix together so that each piece of seitan is coated with the marinade. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Transfer the seitan and marinade into a glass Pyrex baking dish and cover with a piece of tin foil.
  5. Cook the seitan for 10 minutes at 425 degrees. Then turn each piece of seitan over, so the opposite side is in the marinade. Cook for another 10 minutes. Then remove from the oven and let cool.
Vegetables:
  1. Slice the broccoli into medium sized florets. Cut the yellow zucchini squash lengthwise and then lengthwise again. Then slice into 1 inch pieces. (Try to make the size of the florets and zucchini squash a similar size as the seitan pieces.)
  2. Put a steamer basket in a pot with about 1 inch of water in the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil, put the zucchini into the pot and cover. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Remove cooked zucchini from the pot and set on a plate to cool.
  4. Put the broccoli into the pot and steam it, covered, for 3-4 minutes.
Assembly:
  1. Take a piece of yellow zucchini squash and put on the skewer. Next, put a piece of broccoli (piercing through the stem of the broccoli). Last, put a piece of seitan.
  2. Take the leftover marinade from cooking the seitan and dilute it with a little water. Mix together and pour into a dipping cup and serve on the side. (Optional: To season the steamed vegetables and serve without a sauce, brush the diluted marinade directly onto the vegetables on the skewer.) Enjoy!


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Best Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread


Finding an authentic whole grain sourdough bread can be tricky, especially when you want something with organic ingredients. Many sourdough breads today claim to be sourdough, but actually end up containing added yeast. So if you are looking for something delicious, nutritious and truly authentically sourdough, look no further.

My favorite bread of all time will hit the spot!

Bread Alone makes a fantastic Organic Whole Wheat Sourdough bread. The ingredients are simple: water, organic whole wheat flour, organic unbleached white flour, sea salt. It doesn't get much better than this.'Unless, of course, you make it yourself...

Bread Alone is kosher and is supervised by Kof-K. Check them out online or find them at a store near you.

www.breadalone.com/breads
www.breadalone.com/certifications



Thursday, April 12, 2012

Green Festival NYC for Fantastic Food and Fun



Hey All! It's time for the COOLEST, most exciting eco-event to make its way to the Big Apple - Get ready for the NYC Green Festival!!!

This year's festival will be on Earth Day weekend, and it is the first time Green Festival will be held in New York City, so it is sure to be an amazing event.

There will be some really fantastic speakers, an eco-fashion show, an organic beer and wine garden, tons of free samples and giveaways on all the latest and greatest eco-gear, and plenty of opportunities to meet some of the most inspiring change-makers and activists in the area, as well as find out how you can get more involved in the things that you are passionate about.

Along with all of this awesomeness, there will be a jam-packed schedule of speakers and 7 stages to choose from - to learn about everything from fair trade and green business to good food.

This year I will be presenting a 30 minute demo on the Good Food Stage. Come check it out on Sunday, April 22 at 2pm. I will be teaching a class how to make delicious and fun Vegan Hors D'oeuvres.

Hope to see you there!

Check the website: http://www.greenfestivals.org/nyc/updates/

Here is the Program Guide: http://read.uberflip.com/i/58249



Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Renew Your Commitment to Self-Care Once a Month

If you are needing some motivation and support to help you nurture your commitment to self care and healthy living, then look no further than your local magazine stand!

Whole Living Magazine is an excellent resource for all things healthy - from healthy recipes to exercising, getting yourself outdoors or meditating, this magazine has it all. Once a month I get to enjoy immersing myself in pages and pages of beautiful photography of nature, healthy living and delicious whole foods.

Feeling supported in your lifestyle practices of eating well and taking good care of your mind, body and spirit will help your healthy choices become easier - so you are more likely to be successful.

You can also check their website for more awesome ideas for recipes, fitness, beauty and green living.

http://www.wholeliving.com/

If you want to be extra mindful, you can toss the magazine into your recycling bin after you are done, or even better, pass it on to a friend. You could also subscribe to the digital version of the magazine - which is a great way to save some trees!

Happy reading :)