Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Falafel Queen

I started out wanting to make hummus, but they cooked little devils of deliciousness turned into delectable balls of goodness, more commonly known as Falafel. But for those of you who have not checked out the Middle Eastern Site on my side bar, please do so. Those recipes are are extremely genuine, so check them out.

But tonight I made the Falafel and man oh man, these little guys came out great, but I did have to adapt the recipe, for I did not have any fava beans, and my chick peas were already cooked and the recipe called for soaked chick peas. I love improvising.

Original Recipe

Thee only thing I did differently was not add fava beans, and I used 3/4 cup of garbanzo flour and also added 1/2 cup whole wheat flour.

These little things were so delicious that I even amazed myself. they were oh so simple to make. So give them a try, whether you make them as is or my variation. Or tweak it to your home/kitchen. Whatever works.

You can use any tahini dipping sauce you like. I just took some Greek yogurt, added some tahini and some crushed garlic and salt to my taste and there you have it. this meal is a no brainer for sure.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Healthy Quotes

I have been scouring the web and moreso after watching Food Matters...again.

But here are some Healthy Quotes I found on Dr Saul's Website.

If you have not seen this film, then please do yourself a grand favor and rent it...go see it somewhere. And then tell me that doctors, hospitals, pharmaceuticals are not all bed partners and not trying to make us well at all. For if we got better, they would be out of business. Think about that for a moment and then let it sink in.

This is my second time watching this film and I will watch it 2 more times before I send it back via Netflix. It is one of those films I could watch over and over again. And for those who still think that what the food industry is telling what they are selling you is healthy, then please take off the blinders and see what is really going on. they are LYING to you. Trust me on this one.

You do not have to be a rocket scientist to see that you are what you eat and the pulling up to a fast food joint is the way to go. I had someone ask me, "Well isn't it more expensive to eat healthy?" And that may be true, but only in dollars. I would gladly forgo a movie to put better food in my families stomachs. I may be paying now, but you will be paying later on when you develop cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and so many more I cannot name. I will not be plagued by those diseases, because i have made my choices now and chose not to be filled with pills for every little ache and pain, for I will not have those aches and pains you will be getting.

And yet no one can truly believe that disease can be cured by what you eat all by itself. What a concept. If you think it is hog-wash, then eat super healthy for a week, then go back to you tried and true ways and see how much better your body feels. But remember, you may go through a time of detox, and that is when so many people will say, "But I felt worse." Well yes, because your body was letting go of all the toxins you had been stuffing inside, so it had to come out somehow. Be patient and diligent, it will get better.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Raw Apple Pie

I found this recipe while searching for dishes for my next raw food class. This is easy, inexpensive and no oven needed. My family was not to shab on the crust, but it was more a texture thing and not a taste thing. But I will make it again for sure. I think we have been just so use to a smooth crust that they have to get use to the new style of crust. Their plates were still cleaned. Hah!!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Knick-Knack Paddywhack...

...give a dog a bone. Let's talk about bones for a moment. I talked about protein in a prior post and I will be going into more detail with more information as I learn about the misconceptions we have been led to believe about calcium and protein.

I rarely if ever pay full price for any of may books. Whether I purchase them at flea markets, garage sales, at the withdrawn/reduced section at the library, thrift shops, or on Amazon. I like to find bargains. And believe you me, the bargains are out there, you just have to look.

I stumbled upon a book called The Complete Idiot's Guide to Being a Vegetarian , and if you have ever wanted information for yourself or that skeptical aunt who still tries to tell you that you still need to eat meat at every Thanksgiving, even thought you have been a veg-head for more than 7 years, then this is the book for you. I have even learned tons of interesting things to inform my readers with. It was information I knew 'of', but not 'about'. Now I know.

I recently watched an hour long video from John McDougall (which I will be posting here in an upcoming post) and everything he said in the video is here in this book. This book was published in 1999. The McDougall was made in 2006...I believe. What keeps striking me most is that after listening to so many people about our over proteining ourselves, via meat and or dairy, that folks would still not see the light. That meat and dairy are causing way more harm than good, without a doubt.

I knew a little bit of information about the ratio of protein to calcium and that if it was out of proportion that it would be detrimental to our bones. And it is. We have been led to believe that we need animal protein to stay health. A more falsehood has never been spewed by a industry so powerful as the cattle industry. And the dairy industry is a real close second.

Let me give you a bit from the book I am reading:

Dogs do it.
Deer do it.
Even chipmunks and raccoons do it.
They all produce milk for their babies. Cows do it too. So do humans. Fifty percent of them, anyway.

But dogs don't drink chipmunk's milk. And deer don't drink raccoons milk.

That's because milk is species specific. Each species' milk is tailor-made for its own kind. So how on Earth did people start drinking milk from cows? Even adult cows don't drink cow's milk. And if we drink cow's milk why stop there? Why not drink dog's milk? Or bear's milk?

This is just a sample of the theory behind why we are not designed to drink milk from another mammal. I had this discussion with a dear friend of mine and her question was, 'Why then, were cows put here, if not to feed us?' Heck, for that matter, why are we here? I do not have thee answer. We are humans, they are not. And when I teach or talk to people, I ask them every single time, 'Would you drink elephants milk, whales milk, are any other animal's milk?' And usually thee answer is no. And my next question to them, is why not? Usually they do not have an answer, or they give me the one I am looking for. 'We are not that animal.' BINGO!

This is what I have tried to explain to my friend for a long time (even though at the time I myself was still consuming dairy), is that we were made to drink milk, yes, but from humans, not other animals.

As I kept reading into the whole calcium thing, I learned what I had been wanting to know for the longest time. Consuming extra dairy has not improved our problem with osteoporosis, not one little bit.

And you want to know why we are still getting osteoporosis, well here is the deal:

Protein form plant sources does not have the same effect on you as protein form animal sources. That's because protein form animal sources are have more sulfur-containing amino acids. Now, that is getting a little technical. Suffice it to say that the sulfur in animal products contributes greatly to the acid condition of the blood, which makes the bones lose more calcium. The sulfur also has an effect on the kidneys that causes more calcium to be lost in the urine.

The amount of protein in your diet probably has a great bearing on the health of your bones than thee amount of calcium in your diet.

As you can plainly see, consuming meat and or dairy is not something that is helpful to our systems. But most people will either not believe that or think it has any merit. I choose to believe the part of the medical community who has actually done the research and taken the time to get themselves more that the standard 8 hours of nutritional knowledge they receive in medical school. More on that in an upcoming post.

Like McDogall says multiple times in his video, 'If you don't believe me, go find thee information yourself, it is out there.' And that is just what I am doing.

Grape-Nut Bars

Another recipe under my belt. sha-BAM! I seriously hope I can keep up this trend. I love experimenting with foods. I love being in the kitchen and seeing the looks on peoples faces when they bite into that dish and savor the flavor. When I am in the kitchen, I am in my element. That is not to say I am by any means a chef. I am a cook and one that is still not comfortable with either winging it or flying by the seat of my pants. That was my mothers strong point. She could open a refrigerator and make something out of a supposed nothing.

Well here I am making a sweet dish and this fits the bill. Now, you have to remember, that with McDougall, his goal is to cut down on extra fat and sugar. So your taste buds will definitely need to get use to this line of cooking. Even though I do not have a sweet tooth, I am finding that I feel the need to sweeten up some of these dishes. But that just goes to show you how we have become accustomed to thee extra sweetener that the companies out there have gotten us use to. I want to break that habit. I am on a mission.

3 cups Grape-Nuts (we do not buy anything from the Post company, so we purchase generic)
1 cup low-fat soy milk (I don't do anything low-fat, so it is full flavor milk for us and we used almond milk)
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup raisins
2 t vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all of thee ingredients together. Pour into a nonstick 9-inch square baking dish. Bake for 35 minutes or until firm. Cool and cut into 12 squares.

This one came out picture perfect. However, thee only thing I may do differently is to use only a 1/2 cup of applesauce and use either agave , molasses or honey to take up thee other 1/2 cup. But other than that it was perfect. And, I added a 1/2 t cinnamon, for in my book, if a recipe has raisins and vanilla, then you must add cinnamon. It was a great addition.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Macaroni & Cabbage

Another McDougall recipe here. I hope to stay on this roll. Thus far, he has proven to be a pretty good cook. And his book on everything else is not too bad either. Thee only thing I would change is to add some basic spices, like salt and pepper, but other than that, this is such a simple, hearty meal and I can see myself making this during the winter more often.

12 ounces whole-wheat macaroni (we used elbows)
5 quarts boiling water
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup water
1 small head cabbage, coarsely chopped
One 28 ounce can whole tomatoes (we used diced)
One 8 ounce can tomato sauce
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Drop the macaroni into the boiling water and cook until just tender, 8-10 minutes. Saute the chopped onion in the 1 cup of water until transparent, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped cabbage and saute until the cabbage is limp.

Lightly oil a casserole dish. Spread a layer of cooked macaroni on the bottom, followed by a layer of cabbage and onion. Repeat until all is used. Slightly chop the tomatoes while still in the can, then pour over the macaroni-cabbage mixture. Pour the tomato sauce over everything. Cover and bake for 45 minutes, or until the sauce appears to have thickened slightly.

I added just a bit of salt and freshly ground pepper, and it was just enough. I will add this to the entire recipe from the beginning the next time I make this dish. I winner in my book.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Spicy Tofu Burgers

I am trying to learn how to work with tofu. Sometimes I hit it just right, others...well, I just can't seem to get it. But I will keep on trying. I love burgers. I loved them when I was a meat eater, but I just can't seem to get anything even vaguely close. Yeah, I know, I am no longer using meat. But man do I miss a quality burger. Not that McDonald crap they call burgers. Pfffft!

But I would never go back just to have that flavor again. I am a big girl and can be the grown up. So tonight I tried another McDougall recipe. Now this one id all right, but it needs some tweaking. The burger itself held together fantastically, but it still had that tofu taste. And I even let the tofu marinade before forming the burgers. But I will keep on trying until I hit it just right. so keep on reading and when i hit the jackpot, you will know about it.

1 pound firm tofu, drained
1&1/2 cups rolled oats
2T soy sauce (we use tamari)
1T dijon-style mustard (we had none so we used stone ground mustard)
1/4 t fresh cracked pepper
1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 t onion powder
1 t grated fresh ginger
2T minced fresh parsley (we were out)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place the tofu in a large bowl and mash with a potato masher. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until well combined. Moisten your hands. Shape into 8 patties and place on a non-stick baking sheet (we have none so I took a wisp of oil and painted it on a cookie sheet).

Bake for 20 minutes on the first side; turn over and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve with your favorite toppings and condiments.

I am finding that with just these two recipes, I am not missing the fat and or the sweetener. I am looking forward to more new dishes from this book.

Overnight Porridge

I love oatmeal. Always have, always will. And I am always looking for ways to bring it to the next level or spruce it up a bit. So, with my new found love for John McDougall and having found one of his cookbooks at a flea market about 1 year ago, I am beginning to dive in.

Now I openly admit to not liking every recipe we make. Some of them are downright garbage worthy. So I will not say I like a dish, just because it is a healthy one. If I don't like it, you will hear about it for sure. With that said, I tried a new twist one oatmeal. One of the things I look for in a new recipe , is mostly whether or not we have all if not, most of the ingredients, then we move on to the making process.

This one I was a bit skeptical about and for a couple of reasons. 1) There was only 1 tablespoon of sweetener for the entire dish. That is not to say I slather sugar in my food, but by making this dish, I realize just how much I came to depend on any sweetener to make our food palatable 2) I was not going to add my usual dollop of butter.

Yep, today was my first day of my venture into being vegan. I openly admit that I may fall off the wagon, and trust me when I say it was extremely tempting to dive in at work and grab a few pieces of cheese, but I did it, I left the liquid meat out of my mouth and I am still here to type about it...who knew.

So on to the recipe. Very simple, common ingredients and you just prep it the night before and viola!, you have a new recipe in the morning.

1/2 cup bulgur
3T rolled oats
1T molasses or brown rice vinegar (we used molasses)
1/3 cup mixed dried fruit pieces or raisins (we used raisins)
1&1/2 cups water
Place all of the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Stir well. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Transfer to a saucepan. (It has microwaveable directions, but since I no longer use a microwave, I am not going to offer those instructions)

Stove method: Cook over medium heat for 6-8 minutes, stirring frequently.

I served this as is, no added sugar or sweetener and it was to die for. Next time I will change the fruit and maybe add some nuts. A definite keeper for sure.

Serves 4

I Use To Think

Way back, when I was a vegetarian the first time(1992, before the Internet took off), I had a hard time adjusting, and for many reasons.

1) Lack of recipes (Or so I thought)
2) No support (You can imagine a woman in her child bearing years, telling her family she was losing meat. How dare I)
3) Nowhere to get information (Or so I thought)

So as you can see, I was in a pickle...or so I thought. I ended up finding a Vegetarian Times magazine and getting in touch with a local support group, which did OK, but that was my foot in the door. At that time I met vegans who I thought were weird. I mean come on, I had already given up all meat, why go that far? Little did I know the brainwashing that had been and is still going on by the meat and dairy industry.

We have been and still are being sold a bag of goods that would lead us to believe that we 'need' both meat and dairy to be healthy, when in fact just thee opposite is true. I have listened to people who tell me that our bodies need either meat or dairy, and some ask me, if we don't need meat or dairy, then why were cows put on the earth. I really don't have that answer, but why were we put here, if you can answer that, then you are one up on me. But dairy is touted as the 'perfect' food. Yeah, if you are a baby cow who needs to get from 100 pounds to 600 pounds in 6 months. go ahead, do the math.

If we were designed to drink milk form another animal, then why are we not selling or drink elephant milk, or rhino milk, or for that matter, whales milk. Why, because our bodies could not stand the fat content. We are humans...they are not. And where in the 'wild' nature do you see other animals drinking one anothers milk? You don't. You only find that in human society stories. So if it does not happen in nature why are we doing it? Beats me.

But I sat here just the other day as I am contemplating going full vegan and it hit me. When I listen to those who still consume meat and hear them say, 'I just can't see how you live without eating meat.' I would look at them and think what ninny-heads. How whacko are you, it is oh so simple to lose me that was. Now that I am on thee opposite side of the coin and trying to let go of dairy (for the eggs have been gone for a while now), I can see how people view me just as a vegetarian. So trust me when I say I will be a bit more compassionate when I talk of my eating habits.

I thought I knew the evils of dairy, but I was still astonished when I saw this video with John McDougall. I knew of this man, but had no idea just how smart he was. And his angle was never about animal rights. He always came strictly from a medical point of view. His peers told him he was nuts to tell people they could get better just form diet alone. But you know what? He was/is right. He has proven time and again. And one of the lines he uses in this video is' Don't take my word for it, look it up yourself.' He has done his homework and is the real deal.

I hope to be dairy free in a few weeks. I have always been a small step person, butter is no biggie, but cheese, I am finding that to be a bit more difficult. But I shall endeavour and be where I want to be in my own time. But for those who may want to hear about the man and his message I am talking about, please take the time to watch this video. I know, it is 1 hour and 15 minutes. It took me an entire day to watch it. I watched it in segments. But his message is clear and no denying what he is telling us. That dairy is just liquid meat.

The Perils of Dairy