Category Archives: Recipes/Food

Nancy writes on “Cooking for my Family”

NANCY

I’ll start with my daughter. I was still eating chicken when she was born, so she grew up on that classic American child diet of spaghetti and chicken fingers. Around the 10th grade, she decided to become vegan. That was about six years ago, and it was much more difficult to be vegan then: no veggie burgers, no great websites like gardein, no cashew cream, no vegenaise.

I struggled to find things for her to eat–mostly pasta with olive oil and whatever vegetable, such as broccoli or asparagus, I could cajole her into eating. I wondered how she would survive in college, but, lo and behold, she chose to go to a school that served up a vegan menu for visiting students’ day! I vividly remember her gleeful description of their vegan pesto pizza. Only one problem:  the school trotted out those vegan selections only on visiting days. They craftily ensnared her in their overly expensive system for four years:  four years of battling the food system there and spending an equal amount of dining hall dollars at the local Whole Foods. (At one point, I even tried in vain to get the school to let her be on the commuting students’ dining plan, since she rarely found anything she could eat in the dining hall–and, even when she did, she’d later discover that it had been labeled wrongly or that the cooking staff had no understanding of the difference between vegetarianism and veganism.)

Moosewood Cookbook

But she survived, and, as a result, has a strong interest in food issues and students’ rights. She spent the last year and a half working with Real Food Challenge, an organization working toward a just and sustainable food system by empowering students to enact change in their college dining halls. (I still remember one of her successes. The excitement came through in her text on the train ride home:  “THE DINING CAR HAS VEGAN VEGGIE BURGERS!”).

Finally, the world was coming around to her way of thinking, and life was becoming easier around our dinner table. Vegan cookbooks appeared, and all the little secret substitutions to turn a regular recipe into vegan became common knowledge. There were even frozen food options by the score when you didn’t feel like cooking from scratch. Yes, life was good, and it wasn’t that difficult to cook for my husband and feed my daughter at the same time.

Then my husband went on a diet.

This was a terrific idea, long in coming. By the time he started, I’d long given up on trying to get him to eat better and focused more on keeping our dogs from getting harmed by anything he might be consuming, such as chicken bones or grapes. The diet has now been going on since October,  and he’s dropped 30 pounds, and I’ve become the queen of salad–and not just your average, dump-the-bag-salad-on-the-plate-and-add-a-tomato variety. No, I’ve felt obligated to make things interesting, add almonds, raisins, artichokes, pears, feta, and those little orange segments whose name I can’t remember (yes, Jane, this is what the 60’s are like!). 

Whatever may come next must be predicated by the best damn salad you’ve ever had. But–because of the diet–along with all of this necessary forethought, I’ve lost the ability to fudge dinner. No more luscious grilled cheese sandwiches at the last minute. No more homemade pizza, no more spaghetti, sob. My husband is thinking of food all the time because he’s starving, and I’m thinking of it because I’m trying to figure out what he can eat. Oh, and did I mention that my daughter doesn’t like salads that much? Are you beginning to get the picture of the war going on in my head each night over dinnertime?

Veganaise

I can either cook for him or for her but not really so much for both of them at once. My husband loathes beans; tofu makes him squeamish; and when his sons come to visit, I hear them grumbling about the almond milk in the fridge. And that brings up a whole other nightmare:  two big, big, bigmeat eaters, who, when visiting with us, slip out in the night to purchase their ice cream or in the morning to get a Bojangles fix.

Worst of all:  with my husband’s new diet comes competition for the foods I like. Whereas I used to get a bag of dates and savor them for days, now they get carted off to his work or just disappear altogether. I can’t keep apples in stock, and why is it that he can’t eat the older ones first and not take the prime new ones as soon as they appear? I reach for my morning banana to add to my oatmeal, but they’ve all disappeared in the night. And just as soon as I join in the game and restock sufficiently, my husband’s tastes change, and I’m stuck eating three boxes of clementines that he’s no longer touching. The irony here is that I’m not dieting, but I’m sure I’m thinking about food as much as (if not more than) he is.

Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’ve been neglecting my daughter at mealtime, so tonight I made the lentil soup from the great classic Moosewood Cookbook and leek fritters from Deb Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen Cookbook (find the recipe if you click here). (Thank you, Sadhvi, for a comment in a column long ago about smittenkitchen.com). My husband had the barest of tastes of each, but my daughter and I enjoyed both until we sat satiated and content. One more night down. Nothing to worry about until tomorrow!

Leek Fritters

 

 

Sadhvi Sez: Keep Your Heart Open by Creating and Giving

SADHVI

This Holiday season is different on account of so many things: the end of the Mayan calendar on December 21, 2012 (oh no, the end of the world!); the end of the Kali Yuga on that same date; astrological configurations that have not occurred since 26,000 years ago; not to mention the intense times on the planet on account of financial, emotional, and weather-related things that just don’t seem to end.

Hey wait, maybe December 21st will be the end of all the chaos and nonsense, wouldn’t that be nice?

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This year I’m not even able to play my usual Christmas Songs while baking the things I send to my family who live far away; Nat King Cole and Bing just don’t sound very good.

I’m listening to classical music and my favorite Osho music more, trying to find comfort and joy inside. I’ve never taken that technological step with getting an iTunes account or a MP3 player or an iPod, so I am thankful that I have a CD player that is hooked up and still works!

I also like to bake to chill out, and I’ve been doing a lot of it lately. I have my grandma’s recipe for poppy seed and nut rolls, and it is the best one I’ve found, and I’ve searched the web extensively for a better one – believe me, there is no better recipe than hers! Because of my Czechoslovakian background, I find that I start to crave something with a lot of poppy seeds in it around now. They are so good and everyone loves them. If you like to bake, you should try to make them.

I don’t buy things that are mass-produced for any gift-giving occasion, so here are a few of my favorite things:

1.) My favorite hand-made soap is called Goat in the Patchouli Patch from ThingsFromHome. Really, in the ocean of hand-made soaps that are out there, Mickey’s goat milk soap’s stand out for their purity and price.

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2. And forget all those fancy anti-aging products that promise everything and are expensive to boot, because really and truly, none of them will make me look like I did when I was in my 20’s again! Instead, finding a product that is really good for my skin, not crazy expensive, and something that smells really really good is what I am after.

What I found to be all that is Garima’s Lavender-Rose Moisturizer. Besides being a master herbalist she’s an aromatherapist too. My skin likes her products, and they make me happy because they smell divine! And, they are very high quality and affordable too. Check her stuff out.

3.) I found these seeds that are beautifully packaged and great gifts for anyone who gardens. Check them out at this site: Hudson Valley “Art Packs”.

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4. I am also into supporting the local artists in my area. And while at one of our tailgate markets this past year, I saw Kristen Schooover’s whimsical and cute functional pottery. She has an Etsy page and is on FaceBook. You can also contact her in the old-fashoned way of telephoning or emailing her, if you write and ask me for it.

BENYO POTTERY

And lastly, I wear hats and scarves almost year-round; I feel especially protected when I’m wearing something on top of my head, and around my throat. I was really pleased to get a present of this hand-made silk scarf from a dear friend who got it from an online company in Canada called, WomenClothingToday. I love my silk scarf with a hand-painted design from Austrian artist, Klimt.

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I’ll close with a wish that you are surrounded by love and beauty and feel a deep sense of contentment with what is, and what’s to come!

Happy Holidays!

 

 

 

 

 

Sadhvi Sez: House of Building, Home-made Chocolate Cake, and Morning Glory’s

YES, IT TASTED AS GOOD AS IT LOOKS!

Life sure is interesting these days, ain’t it? I seem to be taking care of my “bucket list” without even thinking about it. For instance, I’ve always wanted to make a layer cake for someone’s birthday, instead of one in a 13″ x 9″ pan. Not that there’s anything wrong with a rectangular cake, but I just wanted to make a layer cake for as long as I can remember.
It’s a chocolate cake with a 7-minute frosting and some coconut sprinkled on it. It turned out so good! I know just about everyone can and has done this baking feat. But now, so have I:)

I also went on a trip to visit family and friends in Ohio earlier this summer by myself. It was great to get away. To jump out of my normal, day-to-day workaholic life.

It IS still summer, right? I know that some places are just starting their summer; like in Switzerland. And Seattle is having a heat wave with temperatures coming close to the 90 degree mark. Bring it on Kali Yuga!

THE SNOWBALL TREE IN BLOOM

Here it feels like fall is just around the corner. Oh, you say that fall IS just around the corner? Oh, that’s right, it is! It’s foggy in the morning, but then, around 10am or so, the sun usually comes out, and it’s another beautiful day. And I even saw yellow fallen leaves on my walk tonight for the first time.

Before I forget, let it be known that I get thrilled driving over bridges. I am filled with wonder and awe, knowing that some person designed it, and then, a whole lot of men built it. Bridges are amazing. I wanted to share a picture I took while driving over a bridge somewhere around Sandusky, Ohio.

A BRIDGE IN N.W. OHIO

Yes, I did take the picture with one hand on the wheel, but it was my dominant hand. I think.

So now you know why I will never get a smart phone, nor will I ever text. Because while mobile device’s have changed the world in which we live, it would be the end of mine.

It was so good to get away (did I say that already?). I don’t think I’ve been on vacation, let alone get out of area, for almost 2 years. I found that while I enjoy going back to the place that I grew up, where everyone looks like me, acts like me, has the same strange sense of humor as me, and seems to love me, it is good to come back to the place that I call home.

I’m going to test Mother Nature and plant some of the blue, blue morning glory’s tomorrow, in the hope that I will get some of those wonderful flowers before the cold weather sets in. “They” are saying that it’s gonna be a cold one. But, with a little luck, I will be posting some of those pictures around Thanksgiving!

TWO MORNING GLORY'S

Oh, and not wanting to be a music snob or anything, I just want to say that I don’t like a lot of the new music. Sorry. I am from Cleveland, remember? However, I recently listened to some music that some friend’s made, and it kind of made me sit up and take notice.

The group is called “House of Building”. Scott shot the clip. He is so cool. The rest of the band is also way cool. And Frieda has the voice of Nina Simone. Really. So if you know someone who is connected to the music industry, please pass this clip on to them. The world could use some good music. Amen.

Use a Knife and Fork, Please!

Annice

I probably shouldn’t write about pet peeves, I mean who really cares?  But, I need a minute to rant.  Is it just me, or have people in the U.S.  forgotten how to eat with utensils?  And, I’m not talking about sushi, cous-cous, Ethiopian cuisine, or other ethnic foods.  I’m also not talking about  young people who lack proper dining etiquette. I’m talking about patronizing a fairly nice restaurant and noticing a very well dressed women in her 50s, shoveling pieces of omelette onto her fork with her fingers.

As a result of that episode, all I do now in restaurants is stare at customers while they eat.  Only it’s worse. I play this little game when someone sits down –  I look them over, and based on their appearance and manner, I make a decision about whether or not they will use a knife and fork  properly.  And, guess what?  My diners do not disappoint.  Many eat in a way that grosses me out.  I want to run over to their table and say, “Can you please use a knife and fork when you eat.”  After all, there are still knives on the table when you sit down in a restaurant, so obviously they are there for a reason.  Frankly, I don’t care what people do in the privacy of their home, but in public, use a knife and fork  P-L-E-A-S-E.

Correct use of knife & fork

Is there a Link Between Bras and Breast Cancer?

Annice

It started over a week ago when a dear friend in New Jersey e-mailed me a link to an article that was being discussed on “Coast to Coast,” a radio show that airs on more than 560 stations in the U.S., as well as Canada and Mexico. The show boasts nearly three million weekly listeners from 1-5.a.m. (Paula, I didn’t know you were an insomniac).

The topic on the show was breast cancer and how to prevent it “naturally.”  The article in question claimed that there was an increase in breast cancer rates between women who wear bras versus those that who do not. It said the odds of getting breast cancer dramatically increased with bra-wearing over 12 hours per day. My friend, like so many of us, is not a fan of the bra when at home. Always ready to forward health info, I sent the article to a group of women over 50, and within minutes, it sparked a flood of comments, such as:

Nedra: I don’t know what to think but who really wears bras at home? I only wear mine when I go out period. Never at home, hate them! When I wear a bra, I like Spanx, get them on-line. 

Sadhvi: Interesting article…now, all I need to do is find some kind of undershirt that will bring some kind of support for my 42DD size!  Let me know if any of you know of something.

Marjorie:  Hi all, this missive has been around for a long time. Given the fact that probably 99% of women wear a bra, I think the statistics are ridiculous. You can buy a wire-free, front closing sports bra at Kmart for $7.99. It is comfortable and will give you some support so your tee tees don’t hang down to your belly button! Now for my 2 cents. Here is what I think causes cancer (since I have it, I feel I can be bold and pontificate)!  

1.         Stress….which causes our immune systems to make mutant cells and while most people can throw them off, it’s like getting the flu, sometimes your body can’t ward it off. I believe that childhood trauma is where it starts. Of course not everyone will get cancer who was abused, but cancer is a long process. You don’t wake up one morning and say, “Oh, I got cancer” like it just happened overnight.

 2.         Diet….all I will say about that is get a hold of the movie “Healing Cancer from the Inside Out”. I don’t know if it’s on Netflix, but I went to see it last night and believe me, if I had seen this right after I was diagnosed, I would NEVER have done radiation. I opted out of chemo immediately, but the radiation is just as poisonous. All of the doctors in this film are MD’s they are not crazy quacks. If nothing else, stop eating meat and dairy products. I just started using coconut milk in my coffee and it’s really good!

 3.         The American Cancer Society, The National Cancer Institute, the drug companies, the hospitals and all the “so called cancer information we get” is a huge hype. It’s like the wars in Iran and Iraq, so much money has been poured into making them right, there’s no turning back. And, here’s the big one……the incidence of people who are living longer because of these barbaric treatments is slim to none. The numbers are being padded because if someone lives for 5 years after treatment, they are considered “cured”.

 So, please don’t get caught up in the bra vs. no bra story. Please watch this movie before you are prodded along like cattle to make decisions fast once you (God forbid) are diagnosed. Also read the China Study….it’s a little on the academic side, but scientifically proves why diet can cause cancer.

Believe me, I’m not perfect. It will take me awhile to get on a totally plant based diet, but I’m really trying. Hope some of this gives you some “food for thought”.

Minda:  Reading The Main Street Vegan by Victoria Moran? Really good for beginners. Not that I’m going vegan but also want to eat more of a plant based diet. Experimenting with greens this weekend. 

Lisa: Hi ya’all, I too was diagnosed with cancer (way too early) and believe wholeheartedly it was stress and diet oriented, not to mention genetics as I have the same cancer my mother and her sister have but I got it twenty years earlier.

The easiest way to get lots of greens in is to blend them into a smoothie with berries and stevia-flavored drops to sweeten it up. Cucumbers are excellent. This morning I even have fennel in my smoothie. If I miss one of these in the morning, I really feel the difference. Plus, check out the super foods: maca, lucuma, etc… they come in powder form. Chia and hemp seeds are great for a wide variety of reasons. Dr. Brian Clement, who runs Hippocrates Health Institute has a new book either coming out or already out called KILLER CLOTHES. 

Marjorie:  I got a juicer on Amazon….not the super duper best, but it does work well.  I do kale, chard, beet greens, and any other organic greens I can get.  Oh, carrots and ginger too, and it’s really delicious. Check out the “Juice Guy” on YouTube.  He is pretty hysterically funny but you get the idea of the juicing!  

Based on the flurry of comments, I decided to do some of my own fact-finding. According to the Scientific American, those ideas have been circulating since the late 60’s. A leading researcher, Dr. Sherry Marts, Scientific Director of the Society for Women’s Health Research, says it’s more urban myth than science. The legend was perpetuated in the 1995 book by Sydney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer entitled, Dressed to Kill: The Link Between Bras and Breast Cancer. According to About.com, Women Health sites review of the book, Singer and Grismaijer claim that they surveyed over 4700 women and discovered that “100% of women with breast cancer wear bras.” The authors hypothesized that bras inhibit lymphatic circulation, which leads to a buildup of cancer-causing “toxins” in the breast. Apparently, it just ain’t so. For more info go to Snopes.