Archive | January, 2012

Blood Orange and Beet Salad

30 Jan

Think eating locally needs to stop once winter comes?  Winter produce isn’t as scarce as you may think.   Cold weather crops, the use of hoop houses and other methods to extend the natural growing season, and old-fashioned storage vegetables like cabbages and potatoes all mean that there are plenty of winter fruits and vegetables to choose from in most of the country.   In an effort to eat fresh and local you want to look for these at your Farmers Market or grocery store.

Winter produce:

  • Apples
  • Beets
  • BloodOranges
  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Celery
  • Clementines
  • Collards
  • Endive
  • Grapefruit
  • Green onions
  • Horseradish
  • JerusalemArtichokes
  • Kale
  • Kiwi
  • Kohlrabi
  • Kumquats
  • Leeks
  • Lemons
  • Lettuce
  • Mandarin Oranges
  • Onions
  • Pears
  • Peas
  • Persimmons
  • Pommelos
  • Radishes
  • Rutabaga
  • Spinach
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Swiss chard
  • Tangerines
  • Turnips
  • Winter Squash

So now that you have a list of winter fruit and veggies, here is a recipe to use two of my favorites: Blood Oranges and Beets.

Blood Orange, Beet, and Fennel Salad

  • 2 medium red beets, tops trimmed
  • 2 medium golden beets, tops trimmed
  • 3 blood oranges
  • 1 medium navel orange (preferably Cara Cara)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 small fennel bulb, very thinly sliced crosswise on a mandoline
  • 1/4 red onion, very thinly sliced on a mandoline (about 1/3 cup)
  • Good-quality extra-virgin olive, pumpkin seed, or walnut oil (for drizzling)
  • Coarse sea salt, such as fleur de sel
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro and/or chervil leaves

Preheat oven to 400°. Wash beets, leaving some water on skins. Wrap individually in foil; place on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until beets are tender when pierced with a knife, about 1 hour. Let cool.

Meanwhile, using a sharp knife, cut all peel and white pith from all oranges; discard. Working over a medium bowl, cut between membranes of 2 blood oranges to release segments into bowl; squeeze juice from membranes into bowl and discard membranes. Slice remaining blood orange and Cara Cara orange crosswise into thin rounds. Place sliced oranges in bowl with the segments. Add lemon juice and lime juice.

Peel cooled beets. Slice 2 beets crosswise into thin rounds. Cut remaining 2 beets into wedges. Strain citrus juices; reserve. Layer beets and oranges on plates, dividing evenly. Arrange fennel and onion over beets. Spoon reserved citrus juices over, then drizzle salad generously with oil. Season to taste with coarse sea salt and pepper. Let salad stand for 5 minutes to allow flavors to meld.  Garnish salad with cilantro leaves.


27 Jan

Last night I was looking through boxes in my closet and I happened upon a few of my old PETA stickers from the 90’s.  I was a militant vegan back then – forgive me I was a moody teenager – and I loved to slap those stickers all over everything.  Some of them are down right cute, and others….well they are sad.  I want to share some stickers with you, some old and some new.

Espresso Black Bean Chili

25 Jan

From one of my favorite chefs, Mark Bittman.  Here is a unique spin on chili.  Personally I adore coffee and black beans are so yummy (and healthy).

Why are black beans so healthy?  They are a wonderful source of dietary fiber, which has shown to help lower cholesterol. In addition, the high fiber of black beans helps to prevent blood sugar from rising too rapidly after a meal, which is beneficial for people with diabetes or other similar diseases. In addition, black beans are especially high in insoluble fiber, which helps keep your digestive tract healthy. Most importantly, black beans are a high source of protein with virtually NO FAT. Recent research has also found that black beans are rich in antioxidants, the highest level of antioxidants among other beans. These antioxidants, known as anthocyanins, found in black beans help destroy free radicals in the body, which can help fight against heart disease, cancer and aging.

Espresso Black Bean Chili

Makes: 6 to 8 servings

Time: 1 1/2 to 2 hours, largely unattended

3 tablespoons neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn
2 onions, chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 cups chopped ripe tomato (about 1 1/2 pounds whole; canned is fine; don’t bother to drain)
1/2 to 1 cup freshly brewed espresso, 1 to 2 cups brewed coffee, or 2 tablespoons espresso powder
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/4 cup dark brown sugar or 3 tablespoons molasses
One 3-inch cinnamon stick
1 pound dried black beans, washed, picked over, and soaked if you like
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Put the oil in a large pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

2. Stir in the tomato, espresso, chili powder, brown sugar, cinnamon, and beans and add water to cover. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat so the liquid bubbles steadily but not violently. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are beginning to soften, 30 to 40 minutes. Add a good pinch of salt and pepper.

3. Continue cooking until the beans are tender, anywhere from another 45 minutes to 11/2 hours. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more sugar, salt, or pepper. Serve or store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days

I challenge Paula Deen to go VEGAN!

18 Jan

Paula Deen needs to take responsibility for her health.  We love to criticize athletes and famous actors for not being good role models, but what about our Food Network stars?  Paula Deen’s food is amazingly delicious, unhealthy, fattening, and has contributed to her diabetes 100%.  If she were to eat a plant-based whole-food diet, she could rid herself of this nasty disease, but….she has chosen – for the time being – to give up and blame it on the scapegoats: lifestyle, genetics, stress.  It’s FOOD, Paula!  She knows it, and so do we.

I challenge Paula to go VEGAN for 6 months and see what her results are!   A whole-food, plant-based diet can oftentimes reverse Type-2 Diabetes, and a person can usually become free of his or her diabetes medications.  She can cure herself by rejecting animal-based and processed foods.

Funny that I had posted my healthy version of her Shepherd’s Pie only a week before I heard she had Type-2 Diabetes.  Maybe I should email her, send her the recipe, along with other alternatives.  Gosh, it’s inspiring to think of what she could come up with if she were to decide to start making healthy southern food.  She is an awesome chef.  Oh please Paula, conjure your magic and create 5 star vegan meals for us!

I hope she steps out from behind her denial, for her sake as well as many others.  She has a wonderful opportunity to help people (26 million Americans diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and 79 million Americans who have “Pre-diabates”) by taking the lead, setting the right example.  I’m crossing my fingers.

Watch Paula’s explanation of her Type 2 Diabetes in the video linked below.  She is being a coward. 😦

Paula Deen and Al Roker Talk Type-2 Diabetes

Cure Yourself

17 Jan

An amazing movie (documentary) claims the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting animal-based and processed foods.  Quit the meat, quit the dairy, and you can cure yourself?  Watch Forks Over Knives.

I am a believer, and I have been since 1997 when I went Vegan.  My sources back then were not as well prepared and entertaining as Forks Over Knives.   This movie is so easy to watch; it flies by.

Myths, old-wives tales, and greed driven propaganda are dispelled so absolutely it will blow your mind.  Degenerative diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even several forms of cancer, could almost always be prevented, and in many cases reversed, by adopting a whole foods, plant-based diet.   But do you want to believe it?  I bet you don’t, because it’s just too hard….to give up your meat.

(Forks Over Knives is currently showing on HBO, as well as free-streaming on Netflix.)

Wishing you happy enlightenment my friends.  Be good to yourselves.

75 Reasons Being Vegetarian is Awesome!

12 Jan

Thanks vegnews for this fun list!

Looking for a reason to go veg? We’ve got 75 for you!

If you’ve already said sayonara to steak but are tired of defending your decision, check out our favorite reasons—from serious to silly—for going veg.

1. Never having to wear leather pants.
2. Lärabars.
3. Lowered chances of contracting animal-borne diseases.
4. Planning veg vacations.
5. Never having to eat Spam.
6. Compassion tastes great!
7. The joy of “veganizing” a recipe.
8. Vietnamese-style spring rolls.
9. Vegan marshmallows.
10. Helping put an end to global famine.
11. Morningstar Farms Riblets.
12. A lower rate of sexual impotence.
13. Resisting cruel fashion trends without a second thought.
14. Lactose intolerance is a non-issue.
15. Being a part of something that matters.
16. Having clean arteries that aren’t clogged with dead-animal goo.
17. Not having to worry about getting blood stains on the tablecloth.
18. Looking good and feeling great!
19. The cinnamon buns at Sticky Fingers Bakery.
20. Getting to bow out of in-laws’ barbecues.
21. Not having to look at the gross materials handed out by animal-rights activists!
22. Greater spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical strength.
23. Not contributing as much to global warming.
24. Being the change that you want to see in the world.
25. Setting a good example for younger generations.
26. Olsen Haus shoes.
27. Helping Grandma learn new words like “vegan.”
28. Watching loved ones and strangers slowly evolve toward veganism.
29. Saving an average of 200 animals a year just by not eating them.
30. Having low cholesterol.
31. Looking into the faces of animal companions without guilt.
32. Vegan guys are hot!
33. No dead bodies in my refrigerator.
34. Being an activist at every meal.
35. Juicy, sun-ripened tomatoes.
36. Mexican, Ethiopian, Indian, Chinese, and Japanese food.
37. Meeting brilliant, compassionate, creative people who advocate for the voiceless.
38. Cooking is easier and more fun.
39. Feeling instantly at home in veg restaurants anywhere in the world.
41. Tater tots.
42. Having food scraps that are always readily compostable.
43. Eating food that’s less prone to incubating bacteria.
44. The automatic leg-up on those eco-footprint quizzes.
45. Bean and guacamole burritos.
46. Vegetarians taste better.
47. Belonging to a higher-IQ demographic.
48. The chickens, turkeys, and ducks in the backyard.
49. It’s fashionable! (Green is the new black, right?)
50. Being the voice for the voiceless.
51. Sandwiches at Ike’s Place in San Francisco.
52. The 3-to-1 ratio of female to male vegetarians.
53. A lowered risk of osteoporosis.
54. $3 Vietnamese tofu sandwiches.
55. Parma!
56. Vaute Couture coats.
57. Lower amounts of pesticides, PCBs, and other chemicals in vegetarians’ breastmilk.
58. One needn’t be an Einstein to choose vegetarianism (although Einstein was veg).
59. Being consistent. (Claim to love animals? Prove it!)
60. Good karma.
61. Better skin and fewer zits.
62. Getting to wear pleather in a non-weird way.
63. Cheaper groceries.
64. All those amazing vegetables!
65. Reducing the risk of acquiring many chronic diseases.
66. Being veg is intellectual! (Thoreau, Gandhi, and many great thinkers were pro-veg.)
67. Adhering to ahimsa.
68. Becoming a conscious consumer.
69. Indulging guiltlessly in rich, delicious vegan desserts.
70. Eating fewer trans-fatty foods, without even having to think about it.
71. Not enslaving animals just to eat them.
72. Never having to cut and prepare blood-soaked food.
73. Idli and Uttapam.
74. Discovering the unknown-but-delicious greens at the Asian grocery store.
75. Fake meat.

Where’s the Meat?

12 Jan

Do you want to strengthen your immune system?  Then load up on your antioxidants!  It is a known fact that adding more fruit and veggies to your diet will improve your health,  but some foods are higher in antioxidants than others.  The 3 major antioxidant vitamins are beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E.  You’ll find them in colorful fruits and vegetables, especially those with purple, blue, red, orange and yellow hues. To get the biggest benefits of antioxidants, eat these foods raw or lightly steamed (blanch); don’t overcook or boil.

So, why shouldn’t you over-steam or boil your veggies?  The enzymes and nutrients in your vegetables are destroyed when they reach 100 degrees, so you are not getting the most out of your veggies. Steaming can release just as many nutrients as boiling, the water will still absorb just as many vitamins and minerals. Have you ever steamed a green vegetable only to find that your water is green?

Blanching your vegetables is a good way to ensure you keep your vegetables crisp, bright in color, and full of nutrients. Blanching is very different than boiling. Your vegetables are placed in simmering salted water for about a minute. This is a method of flash cooking that barely cooks your vegetables.

Below is a nifty table with photos of some of the major antioxidant food sources.  Where is the meat on this chart?  When discussing how to improve health, I don’t ever hear that we need to incorporate more beef.  As I mentioned earlier, we all know more fruits and vegetables are what we need to be healthier.


11 Jan

I found the most beautiful berries at my local farmers market.   Makes you wanna go to your farmers market this weekend, huh?

Just had to share.  Click the photo for a larger version.

Vegetarian Shepherds Pie!

11 Jan

You should be very very excited! I have a hearty vegetarian recipe for you.  This one pleases vegetarians and omnivores alike.  What is unique about this Shepherds Pie is the way it’s layered.  The potatoes are on the bottom, “meat” in the middle, and a yummy layer of biscuit on top.  It’s super duper cool.

I found this Paula Deen Shepherd’s Pie recipe and made it so much better!  I substitute the ground beef with Yves Meatless Ground Round, which all supermarkets have nowadays, and a few other tweeks described below.


  • 1 small onion
  • 2 Carrots
  • 4 stalks of Celery
  • 2 Packages of Yves Meatless Ground Round
  • 2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups of peas (no salt)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 to 10 medium red potatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 12 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups instant biscuit mix ( I prefer the garlicky kind)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Potato Layer:  Peel and slice potatoes 1/4-inch thick. Cook in salted boiling water for approximately 15 minutes or until fork-tender. Whip potatoes; mix until moderately smooth (lumps are good.)  Add 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup butter, and sour cream. Salt and pepper, to taste.  Mix ’em up again, until you have reached your desired consistency.

Beef Layer: Create your standard mirepoix by chopping up your onions, celery, and carrots.  Saute your mirepoix in 2 tablespoons butter. Add Yves Meatless Ground Round.  Once the Yves Meatless Ground Round is hot and has absorbed some of the yummy mirepoix juices, add tomato sauce; mix in peas.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Biscuit Layer: Combine biscuit mix and 1 cup milk. The mix should be thinner than normal biscuit mix but not runny.

Layer a 9 x 13 dish or pan half way up with the mashed potatoes. Next, spread a layer of the “beef” and veggies.  Pour biscuit mix over meat.  Bake for approximately 35 to 45 minutes until top is golden brown.

I like to add a dollop of sour cream on the top of my serving for an extra kick.

Enjoy my friends!

Meat and Diabetes

6 Jan

The Harvard School of Public Health has released the results of an important study linking processed meat and red meat to Type 2 Diabetes in adults.  What are some of the symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes? Bladder, kidney, skin, or other infections that are more frequent or heal slowly, blurred vision, erectile dysfunction, pain and numbness in feet/hands, increased urination, fatigue, etc. etc.   Are your hot dogs, bologna, hamburgers, salami slices worth having these symptoms?  Over 25 million people in the USA have diabetes, and most have Type 2.  Would you like fries and a soda with your Diabetes???  Eat healthy and get outside my friends. 

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