Posts Tagged: food

Noshed in a Book: Live or Die & The First Biography of Joan of Arc

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I added a surprise second selection for this particular Noshed in a Book post.  Most of the time, before I begin reading a book, I take some time to ponder the title and what it may or may not mean in relationship to the text.  Collections of poetry are no exception to this rule, and, I would have to say, heighten a stronger sense of my analytical self than prose.  Then of course there’s biographical books, which often–not always–follow a restrictive naming; the reader needs to grasp the purpose of the book immediately.  Oddly enough, reading Live or Die by Anne Sexton unfolded a series of poems that revealed the true meaning behind the title, but The First Biography of Joan of Arc–my surprise additional reading for this post–did not deliver on the title.  Titles are important, but maybe this was a lesson for me and us all that you can’t judge a book by its title, and if you do, expect to be surprised and don’t be disappointed if you’re not.  Let’s dive in!

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Live or Die by Anne Sexton

A series of poems that are organized chronologically, which for better or worse focus on our delicate relationship with not just death, but life as well.  My approach to poetry is one that is unpracticed because I tend to not read collection after collection, instead spreading out poetry collections over time.  Also, there’s a level of apprehension I have when reading poetry.  Each word is precisely chosen and I often fret about not giving due time to each poem and respecting its pacing and structure.  Anne Sexton’s writing is remarkable and flows and I didn’t once feel overwhelmed by the direction or pacing of her poems.  Just some of the topics Sexton touches on in this series are dreams, womanhood, death of love, death of literal life, mother and daughter confessions, and bones.  Here are a few excerpts that moved me.

 “Awake, I memorized dreams.

Dreams came into the ring

like third string fighters,

each one a bad bet

who might win

because there was no other.”


 

“I was tired of being a woman,

tired of the spoons and the pots,

tired of my mouth and my breasts,

tired of the cosmetics and the silks.

There were still men who sat at my table,

circled around the bowl I offered up.

The bowl was filled with purple grapes

and the flies hovered in for the scent

and even my father came with his white bone.

But I was tired of the gender of things.”


 

“Death’s a sad bone; bruised, you’d say,

and yet she waits for me, year after year,

to so delicately undo an old wound,

to empty my breath from its bad prison.”


 

“If I’m on fire they dance around it

and cook marshmallows.

And if I’m ice

they simply skate on me

in little ballet costumes.”

Additionally, I recommend checking out these particular poems in their entirety:  Mother and Jack and the Rain; Christmas Eve

The First Biography of Joan of Arc by Daniel Rankin and Claire Quintal

A book that is by no means a page turner, but by all accounts clear and concise in its diction, this text outlines the life of Joan of Arc–know as the “Maid”–a heroine of the fifteenth century who led and structured a siege in order to take back France from England during the Hundred Years War.  Only a teenager at the time of her leadership of the French Army–behind King Charles the VII–and at the time of her horrendous death–she was burned alive–Joan of Arc stands as a figure of bravery and as a trailblazing representative of the “YOLO” concept before it was ever a concept.  She lived her life for a purpose and broke through many class and gender barriers to be the figure she was for the people of her time and generations after.  This book, as I stated earlier, did not deliver on its title.  Maybe my expectation was too simplistic, but I wanted a straightforward description of her life up front with factual information pieced in categorically after this.  I feel like I have come to know more details about Joan from other sources over the years, but this book did a great job of outlining sources of materials and chronology.  Here are a few quotes from the texts that may intrigue you.

“You believe, gentlemen that because I am a woman, I do not know how to conceal a secret.  For your information I know every detail you have discussed.  Here I give you my pledge–I WILL NEVER REVEAL PLANS WHICH ARE TO BE KEPT SECRET.”


 

“The Maid has made use of magic and diabolic cunning.  She is a heretic.”


 

“For some time past it has been known to all and it is notorious that a woman who insisted on being called Joan the Maid, discarding the garb and vesture of the female sex, an act repugnant and forbidden by all law, a deed contrary to Divine Law and abhorrent to God, put on and wore men’s garments and likewise armed herself as a man.”


 

“As soon as her armor was made she put it on, went out into the fields of Poitiers with other armed combatants where she handled her lance as well or better than any man there.  She rode spirited chargers, the capricious ones that no one else dared mount without fear.”


 

“Without the presence of Joan of Arc it seems certain that the courage and stamina of the soldiers marching toward Reims would have dissolved into a speedy disaster.”

 

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Recipe Inspiration

As for edibles, I decided to make a piña collada smoothie.  This all started a few weeks ago, on a Friday evening, in the midst of pizza making.  All of a sudden I started thinking about piña colladas, and how I HAD to have one.  The Mr. and I started to scour the kitchen for all of the basic ingredients and had to improvise.  Let’s just say, after extra handfuls of ice and almond milk it was eventually edible. This culinary experimentation got me thinking about how I wanted to do this the right way, with or without the buzz.  Although it has been noted that Anne Sexton liked Dry Martinis and taking on the town with Sylvia Plath, I can’t help but feel she too would have loved the indulgence of a tropical treat every once in awhile, especially in the summer.  As for The First Biography of Joan of Arc, well, some of you may need something to liven up your day after this dry read and perhaps even have a lively discussion on women’s cultural icons with your gals.  Either way, enjoy the treat!

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Piña Collada Smoothie with  Mango (animal-product-free, gluten-free, soy-free)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coconut milk (from a can)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 heaping cup fresh or frozen pineapple
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen mango chunks
  • 1/4 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
  • 1/2 -3/4 cup ice cubes
  • 1 full dropper of liquid stevia (or to taste)
  • Cherries(frozen or fresh) and dried coconut for garnish

Instructions

  1.  Pour liquid ingredients into blender first, then add frozen fruit, vanilla extract, ice cubes and the sweetener
  2. Blend well until creamy
  3. Garnish with cherries and dried coconut
  4. Enjoy in your favorite glass

Notes:

  • Spike at will with your choice of rum, or if you’re my husband and there’s not rum around, use whiskey (don’t get me started, haha)

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Poetry and history have a differing tone that’s unmistakable, but reading the voice of a strong woman followed up by reading about the voice of another strong woman, was both inspiring and empowering.   When you read these books, what tasty treats come to mind and what are some of your favorite Anne Sexton poems or excerpts?  Know any special factoids about Joan of Arc?  I can’t wait to hear from you all.  Share your #noshedinabook pics and thoughts and check out more Noshed in a Book posts.  Join me in my next reading selection, The First Bad Man by Miranda July.  And remember…bite responsibly!

Healthy Regards,

 

RAM

 

 

 

Noshed in a Book: A Thousand Years Over a Hot Stove

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“What’s more important, the food itself or the meaning we give it?”

Watching the weather is a favorite pastime for some–and there are dramatic headlines to draw you in–but when I was a kid, the weather mattered to me for different reasons than pure daily drama.  Sure, when I lived in an area that was riddled with tornadoes, I knew to keep abreast of the weather updates through whatever means I could–probably a news bulletin on the television–in order to stay safe.  Maybe the weather even ruined an anticipated, outdoor field trip every now and again.  But most importantly, there were the days when I planned to make a sweet dessert called divinity with my grandmother (Mama -“mawmaw”).

Crafting the sugary confection was hard work, and she’d always tell me ahead of time “if it’s humid or rainy we won’t be able to make it.”  The thrill of her perfected method of making this dessert instilled in me an unusual need to whisper to mother nature to hold off on her sweaty hot flashes and crying jags for a couple of days so I could get some dessert work done.  Sometimes she leaned in and heard my requests, sometimes I left my Mama’s house sans candy and feeling sore about the weather.  You see, making this candy with my grandmother made me feel important and a part of something I don’t think I understood back then.  Making divinity was part of my womanly right of passage.  Forming those white fluffy clouds of decadence was hard work–a delicate sweet treat to be respected–and my grandmother understood its finicky nature, as well as my own, and introduced this process as a way to train me to concentrate, remain dedicated, and follow through.  Though you’ll never see these instructions listed in a divinity recipe, I can assure you they are key.  Cooking and baking were a part of my life lessons, as I’m sure they are for many women and men during their formative years.  However, today we speak just about women and their role and evolution as creatures of the kitchen, and how they’ve come to translate this position over the years.  Laura Schenone explores women’s history through food and helps us all understand American history through a new lens.

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A Thousand Years Over a Hot Stove by Laura Schenone

Told through a series of recipes, anecdotes, historical lessons and personal recollections, A Thousand Years Over a Hot Stove blooms into a field of fragrant flowers as it pollinates and harvests myths and perfunctory exaggerations about American women.

Schenone explores the long trajectory of women’s time in the kitchen and how they embarked on a world beyond.  Women were of the first to display signs of cooking and would use books to raise money for worthy causes.

Women’s rights, suffrage and winning WWI

Preparing food and cooking for wounded soldiers represented a point of freedom disguised as oppression.  Women’s frugality and inventive nature with what little foodstuffs they had, left them free of having to ingratiate themselves to higher powers for change. Their actions and intentions, born out of necessity and a nurturing nature, were loud and clear.

“American women did not have the constitutional right to vote, yet the food conservation campaign appealed to their love of democracy.  With the housewife’s help, liberty and freedom would prevail.  Each extra bit of food conserved meant more for American soldiers and the Allies.  All this was a woman’s job–essential, morally right, and heroically grounded in the kitchen.”


“In this way, food–in its endless connection to women’s lives–pushed forward the cause of suffrage.  In 1919, Congress passed an amendment to give women the constitutional right to vote in all elections.  In 1920, it was ratified, and a seventy-year battle was won.”

Forced conformity, perpetuity of labels and roles for women in the late 19th century

Still, in the twenty-first century, women are backed into a dusty corner, overrun with spider webs, and told we’re supposed to be something that is innately not who we are.  Conformity has bludgeoned most of us at some point in our life and if you are one of the fortunate few to have made it past your teens with nary a metaphorical bruise, I salute you.  Schenone asserts that even in her role as a skilled physical worker of the land and a provider of nutrition, woman has been denigrated.

In the midst of the war, women were still expected to be “pretty, practical, and patriotic.”


“Neat, clean, pretty to the eye–and above all not too spicy or offensive–these things both food and women were supposed to be.”


“They simply did not, could not, and would not comprehend that hard physical work out-of-doors could possibly be a source of respect and power for women.”

Connecting our life to our nourishment

A most touching motif of this book is woman’s connection to the earth.  I was reminded that what is most beloved about the kitchen, is the depth for which our hands and minds can connect us–by way of preparing a meal or baked good–to the beauty of nature’s offerings.  From one set of hands to the next, a fresh basket of green beans finds its way into my kitchen in spring, and I’m grateful for the love and care that will soon be transposed into my body.  Schenone’s book expresses a pure sense of gratitude, and I respect her perspective on women’s roles because of this.

“‘The act of putting into your mouth what the earth has grown is perhaps your most direct interaction with the earth.”” – Frances Moore Lappé


“By caring about the act of cooking itself, by believing in it, we give food a higher meaning.  Once we value food and cooking, from there other good things follow.  We make good choices.  We care about the animals and earth and other human beings involved in our food chain.  We find nourishment.  We take care of others, ourselves, and the planet.”


“In my most idealistic moments, when I go to the stove or cutting board, I try to think of myself connected to a long human story.  Then, I know that a dinner of sandwiches or a fresh salad with the right amount of grace and love can be superior to the finest presentation of salmon or squab with saffron that is cooked with disregard.”

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As for edibles, I decided to make Gypsy Soup, a recipe representative of rebellion against both corporations and simplified palettes that had taken over America in the mid to late twentieth century.  To me, this soup symbolizes female strength and ingenuity.  Although a hot dish, it folded perfectly into the end of spring here in Austin, Texas, as this part of the state has seen an unusual deluge recently, and a hearty soup felt perfect to top it all off.  Enjoy this recipe, straight from Moosewood Cookbook (1977) by Mollie Katzen; I pulled a copy of this recipe from A Thousand Years Over a Hot Stove.

“The main ingredients–brightly colored sweet potatoes and wholesome garbanzo beans–seamed to stir ancient memories of Mother Earth.  The “gypsy” could be found in the scent of garlic and onion and turmeric, promising and adventurous culinary and spiritual journey far away from those commercialized kitchens of the 1950s.”

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Gypsy Soup (animal-product-free)

Ingredients

  • 2 medium-sized ripe tomatoes
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 medium bell pepper, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, minced
  • 2 cups sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cups spring or filtered water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp basil
  • dash of cinnamon
  • dash of cayenne
  • 1 bay leaf

Instructions

  1. Heat a medium-sized saucepan full of water to boiling.  Core the tomatoes, and plunge them into water for a slow count of 10.  Remove the tomatoes, and peel them over a sink.  Cut them open; squeeze out and discard the seeds.  Chop the remaining pulp and set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a deep pot or Dutch oven.  Add onion, garlic, celery, and sweet potato, and sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes.  Add salt, and sauté 5 minutes more.  Add seasonings and water, cover, and simmer about 15 minutes.
  3. Add tomato pulp, bell pepper, and chickpeas.  Cover and simmer for about 10 more minutes, or until all the vegetables are as tender as you like them.  Taste to adjust seasonings, and serve.

Notes

  • I made this recipe almost just as it’s listed.  It was delicious and just what we needed!
  • About 45 minutes to prepare
  • Chickpeas need to be prepared in advance of soup prep; canned ‘ok’
  • Yield:  4 to 5 servings
  • The Vegetables in this soup can be varied.  Any orange vegetable can be combined with any green.  For example, peas or green beans could replace–or augment–the peppers.  Carrots, pumpkin, or squash could fill in for the sweet potatoes.  Innovate!

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Reflecting on my history as a woman in the kitchen, and that of my friends and ancestors, has been a challenging awakening for me.  This book combines my love of food and feminism and is a literary recipe you’re bound to walk away from satisfied.  Share your thoughts and photos about #noshedinabook and check out what else I’ve read this year, here.  Join me for my next reading selection, House of Incest by Anaïs Nin and a supplementary reading selection of Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.  And remember…bite responsibly!

Healthy & Happy Kitchen Regards,

 

RAM

Kitchen Letters #11: A Food-Loving Friendly Reminder

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Dear patient students of life,

Routine can often be very comforting to me.  The methodical piecing together of the day’s events, both necessary and nonessential is something I take pleasure in.  However, a regimented life can easily lose any semblance of comfort and reliability if we allow ourselves to become too comfortable in our habits.  Recently, I had the pleasure and joy of teaching a friend how to prepare a meal I make often during the autumn and winter months.  It was an incredible experience that challenged the way I approach preparing a meal and it was infused with the irreplaceable gift of teaching myself a lesson too.

What did I learn?  I learned to pace myself in life.  If you know me at all, you understand me to be a fast-paced person, but when you’re teaching someone else the steps to making a meal, pacing is key.  I learned that teaching others is fulfilling because it presents you with the gift of spreading knowledge, and in this instance, breaking down the daunting barrier of food that is unknown, was very exciting.  I learned that it takes more than writing about something regularly to truly understand what you’re writing about.  I learned that putting your hands and heart into a meal make it taste all the better.  I learned that making a meal with love makes it taste better too.  I learned that sharing a meal is one of the most special gifts you can give.  More than anything, I broke down the idea of being fully content with what consumption habits that I had carried with me and re-purposed the content nature with one more aligned with what I write about here on Connect a Bite, being evaluative and connected.

Labels in life are stifling, but nonetheless we’re asked to label ourselves. It is imperative to not restrict myself to a point of personal confusion that leads to arbitrary decision-making. I choose to not label my diet or my consumptions habits, and I vow to be true to only some self-imposed standards when it comes to food.

  • Take care of yourself, first and foremost.
  • Listen to your body, it’s sending you signals all the time.  Each person is different, so pay attention to what your body is telling you.
  • Envision a world where little harm is imposed on other creatures, and strive to make your meals based around this principle.
  • If within your means, try to eat food that’s grown organically.  To be more specific, eat foods that aren’t laden with chemicals, pesticides, fillers, and preservatives.
  • Eat whole foods!
  • Indulge yourself sometimes–*sometimes is key–and be grateful for the ability to indulge.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings, the environment you’re enjoying your meal and maybe even strike up a conversation with those around you.
  • Be generous, but understand your own personal boundaries and respect them, no matter what.

I’m happy to be able to share with you a few thoughts, and here’s to less unhealthy labeling of ourselves, more friendly meals and spreading our knowledge onto others.

Healthy Regards,

RAM

 

Podcast # 2: Cinema Cuisine: Italy – L’eclisse

Japanese B2 poster L'eclisse 1962

Hello All,

I’m very pleased to say that podcast #2 has happened!  That’s right, if you weren’t absolutely titillated after the first one then this one might help to get you more in the mood for a delicate intermixing of film and food.  Foreign Film Sunday (ffs), also known as Cinema Cuisine, has morphed into the type of occasion that can fall on whatever day is most forgiving with time and the day that allows for the most edits and polishing to occur.  Thanks for your patience in the transitioning.  I hope you enjoyed my introductory post with all of the recipes and my first ever FOOD RELATED VIDEO!!!  Please let me know what you think, and again, much gratitude and thanks to my sweet and talented love for all of his help and creativity.

Podcast HERE–> Cinema Cuisine Ep.2 – Italia

Some notes on Italian food culture:

  • Most beverages are typically enjoyed at room temperature as the Italians feel–and is often proven–this aids digestion. (Personally, I prefer all my drinks at room temperature. My love found this to be a bit more challenging.)
  • Multiple course meals are often followed up with coffee or espresso (Italian press was enjoyed with breakfast and after).
  • As simplicity and full flavor is often the goal in an authentic Italian meal, unless a strong sauce is being prepared–battuto, the starter to a dish wherein aromatics are used:  onions, carrots, celery, parsley, garlic, finely chopped–either onion or garlic are chosen for a dish, not both  (I tried to stick to this principle).
  • Creamy, garlic white sauces are often used on pizza and pasta dishes over red sauces. (I had so much fun creating this sauce).
  • Local, and seasonal produce is important when creating a meal (one of the most exciting aspects, for me).
  • Salad is a side dish, rarely a starter to a meal.
  • Typically each dish is served on a different plate. (We did not follow this tradition, as we would have been cleaning dishes until next year).
  • Primo (starter, rice or pasta), secondo (main course), contorno (side dish). (We enjoyed each of the dishes I prepared all at once rather than in stages with the exception of breakfast).
  • Breakfast is typically eaten around 11 and dinner is also enjoyed much later in the day (8 p.m.). (We ate earlier in the day).

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This quote is still haunting me:

“Vittoria: Why do we ask so many questions? Two people shouldn’t know each other too well if they want to fall in love. But, then, maybe they shouldn’t fall in love at all.”

Somehow, I was entirely beguiled by the main protagonist, who spoke this line. It has resonated with me ever since.  As someone who has the tendency to look at the world with a relatively cynical view, I cannot question the love and devotion I have to my special someone. However, it does occur to me that before him, there were years of questioning and an incredulous nature that was hard to tame for awhile.  This film helped align my thoughts to the concept that those feelings or perceptions in our life that are left without sufficient closure on finality, leave us feeling as though we’re in a stagnant state of disbelief.  Vittoria seemed like this type of character to me.  Underlying naivety coupled with insecurity.    Perhaps that is why this quote sticks.  There’s discussion of institutions in the podcast, but something we–Matthew and I–neglected to remark on, is the more obvious fact that the film itself was displaying the institution of marriage of hearts to one another forever, and the credibility or likelihood of this happening with comfort and ease for everyone.  Moral concepts, we as humans, try to tattoo onto our culture and place precedence on, lose meaning when we–consequently–desecrate and participate in such institutions without a willing and bending heart.  Again, I speak to the idea of absolutes and their danger.  (See commentary in previous podcasts.)

What is more, our instinct for detachment in some aspects of our lives and–on an outside food related note–our detachment from our food and where it comes from is forgotten and ignored.  In turn, our general lethargy with consumption and the creativity that is necessary in the growth and preparation of all worlds of food is stunted.  Incidentally, the media doesn’t allow much room for empathy and seeing outside of ourselves to appreciate things.  What I mean to say is, our empathetic instincts are being muted because of societal entrenchment into technology and “moving forward”, rather than stopping to appreciate the present.  This is where we’re all flawed; our negligence to stand still and take in the beauty of our world whilst living in it.

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I hope this podcast helped stitch you in a little closer to the food world and it’s connection to another artistic medium.  Let me know you’re thoughts and critiques below.  And remember…bite responsibly!

Healthy Regards,

RAM

-featured gifs/jpg:  courtesy gelsominas, unpetitgateau, missavagardner

Cinema Cuisine: Italy – L’eclisse [1st Video]

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Hello Everyone,

My experience with preparing and cooking the assorted dishes for Cinema Cuisine, Italy, was that much more care, devotion, patience and love had to go into each dish.  What do I mean?  Oftentimes in the kitchen, as much as possible, I try to be efficient and quick in my approach to making a meal.  I embrace delicate measures when necessary, but otherwise, I’m multitasking and moving from one dish to the next, incorporating one spice or ingredient after the next. After much sweat and heart, the meal is complete.  Shortly after, I either feel one of two things: a strong sense of accomplishment and elation or a mild sense of disappointment and anxiety.   These feelings are common because I’m either pleased with my creations or I’m displeased with–by my standards–an unsatisfactory outcome.  Either way, I’m able to enjoy my creations with a loved one and, being the critic that I am, dissect the many facets of the meal.  With this in mind, for my Italian meal I allowed self and outside critique, but I channeled a level of love into the process of making the dishes that I rarely do.  It was one of my most enjoyable cooking experiences yet.

Before the big meal, my love and I knew we needed to begin the process of making the homemade pasta for a few reasons, but mostly because we had never used a pasta maker before.  For the winter holiday of 2012, we received an authentic, Italian press (with some extra attachments) and a bamboo wooden drying rack for the pasta.  Up until the end of June, we had yet to crack open the box, and this lack of attention to this thoughtful pasta making gift set in motion my idea of choosing Italy as our next film and cuisine exploration.

Below you’ll find many recipes and my FIRST VIDEO that you too could incorporate into a day or days of Italian themed dishes.  Most of them are my own creations and ideas, but some are inspired by wonderful chefs I’ve discovered.  I hope you enjoy every bite and appreciate the process of making this meal or meals as much as I did.  What is more, as the Italians do, enjoy this meal with a group of people and even encourage a potluck. Making all of these delicious recipes and more could turn into an all day affair.  For me, there’s nothing more rewarding and satisfying.

A quick note on L’eclisse.  Why–before the viewing of this film–I had yet to see an Antonioni film, escapes me, but I can say these dishes couple consummately as their simplicity matches the contemplative and confident manner of this movie.  Please, enjoy every bite and every frame.

Keep a look out for our podcast where you’ll hear much more depth into L’eclisse. I’ll post it in a few days!  Please let me know what you think of the recipes and the tweaks you made to your own creations.  And remember…bite responsibly!

 

Breakfast

Raw Cacao, Avocado Pudding/Spread w/ Apple slices & Italian Press Coffee

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 ripe medium avocados
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 to 3 tbsp unsweetened almond (or coconut) milk to taste
  • 1 to 2 tbsp pure maple syrup to taste
  • 1 or 2 drops of liquid stevia to taste (slightly more liberal w/ powder version)
  • 6 tbsp raw cacao
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 large apple of your choice (pear)
  • fresh coffee beans
  • coffee press
  • water

INSTRUCTIONS

 

For Pudding/Spread

  1. Slice the avocado lengthwise to break past the outter skin barrier, remove the pit and spoon out contents into high powered blender/food processor
  2. Add vanilla, maple syrup, raw cacao, cinnamon and the first tbsp of almond milk
  3. Blend until a smooth, creamy texture is reached (note:  Add remaining tbsp of milk if mixture is too dry. Additionally if not sweet enough, add in stevia–take care to not add too much initially as excessive amounts could make the pudding/spread too bitter.)
  4. Slice apple with skin on and enjoy it with liberal amounts of this delicious pudding

For Coffee Press

  1. Coarsely grind two tbsp of coffee for ever 6 oz of water
  2. Begin to heat water, don’t boil
  3. Place ground coffee beans at the bottom of your press
  4. Pour VERY hot water (not boiling) over beans and immediately cover with coffee press lid, but do NOT press down filtration piece yet; let sit for 3-5 minutes
  5. Press down filtration press piece and pour into your favorite mug
  6. ENJOY!

NOTES

 

This dish could also be made with soft and soaked medjool dates (6 to 8). I happened to not have any on hand. Raisins would also be a nice substitute.

Also, Italians often enjoy their chocolate spread with bread or toast.

For a more dense protein treat, add some pre-soaked raw pecans (you’ll get a flavor closer to Nutella but without the hazlenuts).

Should store, refrigerated for up to two days.  After two days I’d smell it/taste it.

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Flavorful and full-bodied coffee beans from www.equalexchange.coop

Lunch/Dinner

Italian Summer Salad

INGREDIENTS (serves 4 large portions or 6 smaller portions)

  • 1 head romaine lettuce (chopped)
  • 1/2 large cucumber (sliced thinly into half moons)
  • colorful sweet peppers of your choices (I chose:  1 purple, 1 red, 1 green, 1 banana; thinly sliced rings)

INGREDIENTS (DRESSING)

  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar (if you’re watching alkalinity, nix this and add an extra 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar)
  • salt to taste
  • course, freshly ground pepper
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp & 1 tsp dried Italian herb mixture (my mixture is:  thyme, basil, oregano, parsley, rosemary, marjoram; if you have fresh herbs available, curve the amount; also, the dressing cannot be kept as long)

INSTRUCTIONS

 

For Salad

  1. After cleaning, chopping and drying lettuce, place it in a large bowl
  2. Add pepper rings and cucumber slices
  3. Toss with clean hands until vegetables are all mixed

For Dressing

  1. Pour liquids into a jar and then add remainder of ingredients
  2. Place lid on the top of jar and shake until mixture combines
  3. Before mixture separates, conservatively pour over salad
  4. Enjoy salad soon, or lettuce will wilt.  If only enjoying in single portions, plate salad portion and drizzle dressing over individually.  Secure remaining dressing with lid, store at room temperature

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Beet Balls

NOTES

  • Please see my previous post for the beet ball recipe HERE.
  • Some tweaks: I adjusted the herb mixture, type of mushroom and nut when I made these recently, and unlike my old post, I find that golden beets do bring out a more savory nature to these balls.

 

Sauteed Summer Squash

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 summer squash (yellow & zucchini, mixture of your choosing; thinly sliced into half strips)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp grapeseed oil/coconut oil
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

 

  1. After slicing squash and mincing garlic, heat skillet over medium heat and add oil
  2. Once oil is hot–should move like water in the pan–gently place squash slices into skillet and gently toss until every piece is covered with oil
  3. After beginning to brown, add garlic
  4. Cook until gentle (to fork) and garlic is fragrant, lightly browned, but not burnt; about 7 minutes
  5. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss, serve and enjoy ^_^

 

Homemade Pasta (gluten-free, soy-free, vegan)

Recipe by:  Cassie

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp flax (ground)
  • 6 tbsp warm water
  • 1 3/4 cup chickpea flour (additional amount for rolling out and pressing)

INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO

Check out my very first instructional video (also streaming on YouTube) on how to make homemade pasta!

NOTES

 

  • I made farfalle and fettuccine noodles (both of which fell apart to some degree). I’ll need to do my own personal tweaking to the recipe for the future. Don’t overcook!
  • SALT the water!
  • Make sure you have plenty of flour for rolling out and putting dough through pasta press, otherwise you’ll have a sticky mess.
  • I also recommend keeping a small bowl of cool water nearby wherever your hands are when rolling out the dough. This works much better with moist hands (the dough will not cling to your fingers in such large clumps with a little water).
  • Have a partner! Though you could make this pasta alone, I think it would be more fun and easier with a buddy.
  • Give yourself plenty of time and space. Don’t let the ingredients deceive you, this recipe is relatively time consuming, especially if you’re in a moderately cramped space.
  • Please do not get discouraged if you are in a one butt kitchen or don’t have a pasta press, this is completely doable without both, but it will be more challenging.  Respect your space and the amount of time it will take to make.
  • Kick back and enjoy the experience, otherwise you’ll botch the recipe and process and find yourself very frustrated.
  • Stick to the instructions in the video. Although I’m an advocate of going with the flow in recipes, skipping or rushing a step could lead to problems. :(

 

Walnut Basil Pesto

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 to 1 cup raw walnuts–depending on how ‘nutty’ you want your pesto (soaked w/ apple cider vinegar for 6 hours, rinsed)
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups loosely pressed basil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (more or less to your desired consistency)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (more or less to your desired consistency, taste)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

 

  1. Place nuts, oil and all other ingredients in high-powered blender or food processor
  2. Begin to blend and slowly increase speed to high
  3. Use bowl scraper to wipe sides of container and blend once more to catch the rest of the ingredients that may have splattered
  4. Depending on the consistency you want (either chunky or smooth), pace your blending
  5. Serve mixed into pasta (specifically for this recipe) and freeze the remainder in an ice-cube tray covered in plastic wrap

NOTES

  • This will make a sizable amount. Try freezing the remainder in ice-cube trays and cover with plastic wrap.  Later, you have a quick meal as all you’ll have to do is pop a pesto cube onto your dish and heat it up or thaw it out.

 

Italian Creamy White Sauce w/ Parsley and Grape Tomatoes

Follow directions HERE for dressing then do the following:

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1 garlic clove (yes, more garlic)
  • 3 tsp dried Italian herb mixture
  • water to desired consistency (unsweetened almond milk for a thicker consistency)
  • 6 grape tomatoes (quartered)
  • handful of fresh flat leaf parsley (gently minced; lucky me, this go round I had some from my herb garden!)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Follow instructions for dressing FIRST
  2. Next, add cashews, garlic, Italian herb mixture and water
  3. Blend once more
  4. Serve mixed into pasta (add in parsley and quartered grape tomatoes), or over your favorite, homemade gluten-free pizza crust (without the added parsley, just the tomatoes)!

NOTES

  • Italians typically serve a plain or ‘pasta blanco’ for ease of digestion as a more minimal dish. I dressed up the idea but created a vegan, high protein/omega-3 cream sauce, free of soy and other additives.

fullplate_cab

 

finalmealwithwine_cab

 

Healthy Regards,

RAM

 

Refernces:

Italian Breakfast

Italy Food Culture

Primer – Italian Food Culture

Peruvian Chili Lime Stir-Fry w/ Vermecilli Noodles

Peruvian Chili Lime Stir-Fry w/ Vermicelli Noodles

Peruvian Chili Lime Stir-Fry w/ Vermicelli Noodles

Hi everyone!  Another recipe awaits!

A friend recently received his Master’s degree and in celebration I made an on the spot stir-fry.  Recently he asked me for the recipe and it occurred to me I did not write down the creation. Since then, I have mulled over what I could have possibly used and what follows is the recipe–as close as I can recall–and a few pics that my love happened to take that night.

Friendships and Food

Our friend is of Latino descent and his lovely girlfriend (also a close friend) is very involved and interested in Mexican culture.  Additionally, they are both vegetarian, which worked out well for the ideas I had for the dish because I didn’t have to hold back on any of the veggies I wanted to include.  I decided on an Asian themed dish but with a Latino (South American) twist.  I wanted to make something that the two of them had never tried and it turns out I did!

When I think about eating and preparing food, I immediately think about sharing.  In many ways, I feel like food is one of the most wonderful and full-hearted gifts you could ever give someone.  A well prepared, home-cooked meal is full of dedication, trust, and creativity.  Food, as a gift, polishes the idea of friendship because it’s sharing a part of yourself with the people in your life that mean the most to you.  Preparing a meal, or giving the gift of food (especially if personally prepared, picked, sought out) is a way of leaving your mark on the world. Sadly, in some opinions, it’s much less permanent and much more easy to forget.  I say let us remember these acts and appreciate every bite!  Even when you’re sharing a meal with friends at a restaurant, take the time to truly appreciate the flavors, the environment and where the food came from. If it’s possible, you could even take the time to thank or compliment those who helped make the meal for you.  Take a picnic with your friends and enjoy nature while enjoying your basket or bag full of wonders.  Essentially, imbue the thought.  I hope all of you enjoy preparing this meal and are able to share it with someone extra special.  And remember…bite responsibly!

Peruvian Chili Lime Stir-Fry w/ Vermicelli Noodles

Peruvian Chili Lime Stir-Fry w/ Vermicelli Noodles

Peruvian Chili Lime Stir-Fry w/ Vermicelli Noodles

Ingredients / Utensils

  • 1 crown of broccoli (cut into small pieces, I even used 3/4 of the stalk and sliced it into very thin julienned pieces; waste not!)
  • 1 medium yellow onion (sliced into thin strips)
  • 1 large carrot or 2 medium carrots (or whatever amount seems right to you, julienned)
  • 1/2 large zucchini or 1 small (skin on, julienned)
  • small sweet peppers or 1 bell pepper (thinly sliced into rings)
  • 3 garlic cloves (more if you’re a garlic freak like me, minced)
  • 3 small Yukon potatoes (1/8 inch thinly sliced)
  • 4 or 5 white or baby bella mushrooms (thin, long vertical strips)
  • 1 lime (quartered)
  • 1 medium to large avocado (cut into strips)
  • dried vermicelli noodles (gluten-free, vegan; whatever amount suits the party you’re serving)
  • 1 package tempeh (cut into long, medium-sized strips or you can crumble it)
  • sesame seeds w/ dulse (used to garnish the dish at the end)
  • coconut oil or grape seed oil for sauté
  • drizzle of sesame oil for noodles
  • 1/4 tsp onion granules
  • 1/8 tsp garlic granules (more if you cut back on the garlic cloves)
  • pinch or two of cumin
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil
  • 1/8 tsp ginger powder (1 tsp minced if you have it fresh)
  • 1 tsp (or more to taste) Peruvian chili lime spice
  • 3 tbsp gluten-free, low-sodium tamari (or to taste, I normally just poor :/) (this is fermented soy sauce, better for your digestive system and shouldn’t wreak havoc on your hormones)
  • bamboo spoon or large bamboo chopsticks for mixing
  • sharp chefs knife
  • chopping board(s)
  • bowls (if you want to portion out your veggies)
  • measuring spoons
  • A wok is preferable for heating this meal, but if you have a large skillet this should do.

Instructions

  1. Prepare all veggies first!  (I like to keep mine separated in bowls or on separate chopping boards organized by cooking order, but I’m a big dork.  :p )
  2. Once all veggies are cut, begin heating water for noodles.  Add noodles once water is boiling and cook for just a few minutes until tender.  Do not over cook, or they will become gummy!  At this point, line up your herbs, spices, and Tamari for easy access.  If you want to be especially tidy, you could allocate all of your spices into a small glass ramekin and then set the remainder of your bottles away, for less clean up time later.
  3. Begin by sautéing the garlic and onions until fragrant, then add in the tempeh and cook until tempeh turns a light golden color but before onions are caramelized.
  4. Next, add in the broccoli, carrots and potatoes. Cover and toss until just before tender.  Then, add in the remainder of the vegetables, cook until mushrooms produce an ever so slight broth.
  5. Follow-up by sprinkling in your herbs and spices and mix everything together gently.  Now, add the tamari to taste.
  6. As you’re cooking the vegetables, keep on eye your noodles (as mentioned above) and once prepared, drain and rinse with cool water.  Drizzle sesame oil over noodles once back in the pot.
  7. Plate the noodles and serve prepared stir-fry over and to the side of the noodles.
  8. Place slices of avocado on the side and sprinkle with sesame seeds and dulse.
  9. Set a quarter of a lime on the plate and squeeze over dish just before consuming.
  10. Eat up, happily, and with friends!
Peruvian Chili Lime Stir-Fry w/ Vermicelli Noodles

Peruvian Chili Lime Stir-Fry w/ Vermicelli Noodles

 

Notes:  I focused on the style in the cut of the vegetables.  I wanted them to seem slightly uniform for a more aesthetic, pleasing look to the eye.  I was going for a slender, matchstick or even julienne look to pattern with the small, delicate noodles.  On my choice of noodle; I was inspired by Vietnamese dishes that frequently have vermicelli, thus I was hooked!  I over-cooked the noodles just slightly that night, and they became a little gummy, but adding the slightest amount of sesame oil helped loosen them up.  Also, I’m still perfecting the science of presenting a recipe because personally, I pour and shake my spices and liquids, thus it’s difficult for me to portion out measurements for others to use.  I just go by taste.  Patience, please! 😀

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Podcast # 1: Cinema Cuisine: England – Withnail and I

Gif Courtesy of:  http://emptyandsmoking.tumblr.com/

Gif Courtesy of: http://emptyandsmoking.tumblr.com/

Hello Everyone,

About two years ago (although I think in the pc we said one, but it has been almost two) my husband and I began a fun ritual on Fridays called ‘Foreign Film Fridays’, wherein we would choose a country, a film to represent that country–whichever one of us was in charge of picking the country and film, would prepare a meal representative of that country.  It was such a blast, but as our schedules grew busier, Foreign Film Friday sadly fell by the wayside.  You all will be happy to know, it has been reincarnated, but on Sundays!  So, we lost some lovely alliteration, but we gained a more relaxing day, with more time to prepare.  Also, I do the cooking/preparing and we are going to alternate picking the country/film.  One of Matthew and I’s biggest passions in life is film, and we both have a deep connection and fondness for food.  This podcast has allowed me another way to connect food to all of you out there.

I’m very happy to introduce my very first podcast and even more pleased that I’m launching it in conjunction with connectabite.  Please, be forgiving when you listen to it as this is our first ever time to attempt this, and though we’re both avid podcast listeners ourselves, there is certainly a separation in action of something you love.  Needless to say, here it is!  I hope you enjoy and I’d really like to start a dialogue about what you hear.  Tell me what you don’t like, what you do like, was it funny, was it awkward, could you understand what we’re saying, did you appreciate our commentary, etc…

CLICK HERE: –> (right click here) Cinema Cuisine Ep.1 – England

Below you’ll find the recipes to the meals I created, plus sources to some of them.  I hope you will join us in foreign film connecting and food and share with me  your experiences, recipes, ideas and so forth.  I’d love to chat about it all!  Maybe some of you have recommendations?  Enjoy both listening to the podcast and preparing these recipes, and remember…bite responsibly!

Gluten-Free Orange Pecan Scones

               Recipe inspired by Alex Jamieson

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups of almond flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp of sea salt
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 egg replacer (could also substitute ground flax or chia seeds)
  • 2 tbsp of maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
  • Zest from one organic orange
  • 1/2 cup & 2 tbsp unsweetened almond, coconut, rice or other plant-based milk ( I used almond)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (I broke them into pieces with my hands rather than processing them in any way)
  • ½ cup raisins (you could also substitute another dried fruit)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients: almond flour, coconut flour, sea salt, and baking soda.  Take special care with the coconut flour as it will want to clump together.  Use a fork and sift through large bulges.)
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg replacer, maple syrup, orange juice, zest, and milk.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until blended thoroughly. If the dough seems too dry and isn’t sticking together, use another tablespoon or two of milk.  Dough should feel almost spongy.
  5. Dump in the pecans and raisins.  Then wet your hands to evenly distribute the nuts and dried fruit through the dough.
  6. Use an ice cream scooper to scoop out evenly sized scones and place scones on a parchment lined baking sheet and gently press down to flatten to 1/2 in thick with palm.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes or until the tops are golden brown, and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.

NOTES

  • These are slightly crumbly scones but have a nice density.  They aren’t as heavy and thick as I was used to, but they are gluten-free, thus for what they are, fantastic!  I was so fretful the entire time I was making them/they were baking, that they would turn out flat and fall apart because there is no fat, and for must scones that a key ingredient, but these were only slightly crumbly as I mentioned and had the most divine flavor.
  • We enjoyed these with a hot cup of English Breakfast tea and the combination was superb!
  • I have a few ideas on how to improve/perk up the recipe and someday I’ll post my newest re-creation.
Orange Pecan Scones (gluten-free, vegan) © ConnectaBite 2013

Orange Pecan Scones (gluten-free, vegan) © ConnectaBite 2013

British Beetroot Salad

INGREDIENTS

For Salad

  • romaine lettuce (cleaned and chopped)
  • two medium beets (washed, peeled, and cut into small triangular wedges then cooked until tender, yet firm to form)
  • green peas (portion size is up to you, I’m a sprinkler/dumper)
  • two green onion (diced at an angle into 1/4 inch pieces)

For Dressing

  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds (previously soaked-about 6-8 hours, and rinsed)
  • 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 to 3 tbsp dulse
  • 3 to 4 tbsp (or more depending on your taste buds) Organic horseradish mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or more depending on your taste buds)
  • freshly crushed black pepper to taste
  • onion granules to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves (peeled)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. For Salad:  layer as follows – lettuce on the bottom, followed by green onion, peas, and top with whatever amount of beets sound yummy to you
  2. For Dressing:  in a high powered blender, add to blender all ingredients starting with water, seeds, lemon juice, then horseradish mustard, and so forth.  Blend on low and increase to high until a thick, white creamy sauce is before your eyes.  Do a few taste tests to make sure it’s just right for you.  The dressing should resemble the ubiquitous ‘Ranch’ dressing that so many love.  Drizzle dressing over salad. Enjoy before main entrée.

NOTES

  • You’ll have plenty of leftovers if you’re making this for just two, enjoy this delicious salad for a few days.  Store the dressing in a clean glass jar.
British Beetroot Salad w/ Raw Sunflower Seed Horseradish Dressing © ConnecaBite 2013

British Beetroot Salad w/ Raw Sunflower Seed Horseradish Dressing © ConnecaBite 2013

Lentil & Mushroom Shepherds Pie

               Recipe inspired by Susan Voisin (via Nava Atlas)

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 medium golden yukon potatoes
  • olive oil to taste (for potatoes)
  • 1/2 cup rice milk (rice/quinoa blend-unsweetened)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons grape seed oil or coconut oil*
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped (I used white)
  • 2  large cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 ounces baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 cup cooked brown lentils (creates about 3  to 31/2 cups cooked lentils with a little of their cooking liquid)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoon reduced-sodium, gluten-free tamari (fermented soy sauce)*
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 to a 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons arrowroot
  • 8 to 10 ounces baby kale leaves
  • cooked millet, maybe a day or two old

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Dice the potatoes. Place in a large saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and transfer to a small mixing bowl.
  2. Mix together olive oil, potatoes and some salt (to taste) then add the milk and mash until fluffy. Cover and set aside until needed.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  4. While the potatoes are cooking, heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic and mushrooms and continue to sauté until the onion is golden.
  5. Add the lentils and their liquid and bring to a gentle simmer. Stir in the tamari (optional) herbs and spices. Cook for 5 minutes while stirring gently, then letting the mixture rest to disperse flavors. Combine the arrowroot with just enough water to dissolve in a small container. Stir into the lentil mixture.
  6. Add the kale in small handfuls, cooking just until it’s all wilted down. Remove from the heat; taste to adjust seasonings to your liking.
  7. Lightly oil a 2-quart casserole dish.  Distribute the millet on the bottom of the dish. Pour in the lentil mixture evenly, then spread the potatoes evenly over the top.  The potatoes should spread almost as if they were thick frosting.  Spread with a spatula/bowl scraper.
  8. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the potatoes begin to turn golden and slightly crusty. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes–to set–then serve.

NOTES

  • This would be especially tasty with a British inspired onion gravy–vegan and gluten-free of course, but I didn’t make one this time.
  • Also, I was so anxious to try this dish, I didn’t let it set for the 5 minutes initially, but the next day when we had leftovers, oh, so yummy!

shepherd'spie

English Mushroom Lentil Shepherd’s Pie © ConnecaBite 2013

 

Also, I thought you’d want to know we did indeed record this on a Sunday, but editing and the like took a bit longer.  :p

“Isn’t it stimulating, getting back to a basic sort of life for awhile?  Surrounded by trees and nature, one feels a glorious stirring of the senses, a rejection of poisonous inhibition, and a fecund motion of the soul” – Monty, Withnail and I

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food and Oral Hygiene | The External Process

tumblr_mmnp0piD6Q1qiz3j8o1_500

Hello lovely friends,

Yes, I love eating, and as you can tell from my last post, I have braces, which can make one of my favorite actions in life a frustrating and daunting task, sometimes.  But, fear not!  As I’m sure you could have guessed, I have ample ideas to help keep those chompers clean with or without the braces.  It’s not always convenient to carry around some type of oral sanitizing device with you, but a tasty treat can both cleanse your palate–and your teeth–whilst satiating your cravings.

Let me break it down for ya!

What’s the What:

tumblr_mm2wehkNGW1qiz3j8o1_500

This could be you before, after and between all meals!

  • Chewing & Saliva:  I know, I know. I told you that if you have braces you’ll have to give the nay-no to crunchy foods, but that’s mainly if you’re BITING into those crunchy foods.  So, chomp away, with mighty conviction knowing that with each bite you’re helping to reduce plaque build up on your teeth by minimizing food particle build-up on and around your teeth.  What is more, with every bite you will be producing more saliva, which in turn will help to balance the pH in your mouth.  [Ideal oral pH = 7.3 or 7.4]  There are strips you can buy to test this.  A dry mouth = highly acidic = gum recession and bone loss.  Additionally, you will increase your nutrient absorption if you’re properly masticating your comestibles.
  • Breath & Decay:  Bacteria can breed easily in our mouth and is cariogenic– meaning the bacteria that spreads in our mouth can cause decay.  This bacteria not only leads to decay but once festering in your mouth, can cause unpleasant breath. In regards to matters of hygiene, the sitch in our mouth may be more like a stench, and this is for various reasons outside of what I’m going to expound upon today in this blog.  Just know that if your gut is unhappy, or unbalanced in the proper bacteria–those that help keep a healthy gut–then you may or may not see repercussions of that unhappy gut displayed in your breath.  Also, some foods that we eat will overpower our senses with strong odors, while others go unnoticed.  Furthermore, if you’re out with a loved one and they’re eating garlic and onions, take a bite, then you’ll become foul breath buddies for the night.  Alternatively, if you know you’ll be consuming a culprit bad breath edible, see the list of the yummy-time chow below to follow-up a meal.
  • Between Meals & Characteristics:  What’s less manifest in the dental health realm is implementing proper saliva inducing properties between meals.  One thing is for sure, consuming fermentable carbs [see below] will surely lead to decay and, again, an improper balance in your oral pH.  Moreover, carbohydrates that cling to your teeth begin the process of something that’s almost like an acid wash over your teeth and gums. Stay away from the sticky carbs or IMMEDIATELY rinse your mouth out.

What to Look Out For:

John Lennon

John Lennon

  1. Fermentable Carbs [keep these to a minimum if you have or suspect you have certain intolerances like lactose, fructose, fructans, and sorbitol]:  dairy, apples, watermelon, pears, wheat, brussels, avocados
  2. Foods that help increase saliva:  citrus (lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange), xylitol gum, room temperature or mildly warm soup, lemon juice in water
  3. Post-Odorous Breath Inducing Foods:  cinnamon (try mixing a shake of cinnamon with hot water and drink it like tea, add stevia or xylitol for sweetening), spearmint and mint (if you have these herbs readily available, either place a couple of leaves in your mouth and suck, then chew and swallow, concentrating on the back tongue area, or make a nice, fresh tea). Also, try chewing on a sprig of parsley (if this sounds strange to some of you, and you’re more the type to throw away that ‘garnish’ on your plate, save it just once until the end of your meal, chew it up, and see if it works).
  4. Whenever Eats:  apples, pears, tomatoes, celery, nuts, jicima, radishes, cucumber, strawberries (assist in cleansing and mild bleaching), green tea (if you can  handle caffeine), spinach & lettuce (reduce staining)

It’s important for us all to keep in mind how fastened our dietary choices are to many aspects of our life, and this includes our dental health.  I find this topic very interesting so thanks for letting me share with you.  And remember…bite responsibly!

Healthy Regards,

RAM

-featured gifs:  courtesy maudit (tumblr)

Texas VegFest Re-Cap

Rachel Anne Manning © 2013 | Texas VegFest

Rachel Anne Manning © 2013 | Texas VegFest

Good Afternoon Everyone,

As this post is a little delayed from the actual festival, forgive me if my commentaries seem a little moot at this point, but I still feel they are relevant thoughts.  This year, my husband and I volunteered at the West End Info. Booth for Texas VegFest, and we were able to see the festival from the inside out, to some degree.  We were not entrenched in the workings and foundation of all the hard work that initially went into making VegFest a success in 2013, but we did see the love, motivation and dedication that was displayed by all of the hard-working volunteers, vendors, groups, companies, and farmers.

IMG_0534

Rachel Anne Manning © 2013 | Texas VegFest

Let’s get down to it then. Here’s the breakdown about Texas VegFest:

  • Location & Arrangement:  The festival is located in Fiesta Gardens, a park in East Austin that overlooks Lady Bird Lake. There are lovely palm trees and green life all around, not to mention graduated seating areas and plenty of lovely hills and trees to rest under.  The area is spread out and doesn’t lend itself to excessive noise from surrounding streets or road projects, which for me, adds to the ambiance of what this festival is supposed to be about.  Additionally, each tent–whether this act was purposeful or not–seemed cleverly placed to its accentuating counterpart. This helped make the flow and ease of walking around the fest all the more enjoyable.  However, it did occasionally feel like another festival with white-topped tents and a kettle corn vendor in the sense that there was little theme or thought put into the aesthetic of the festival. That for me is BIG.  I’m not generally a carnival, state fair kind of gal, so ‘veggie’ themed or not, I need more incentive than what’s in the title to rouse my interest in walking around for an hour+.  That being said, there was lively music and kind faces. I’ll be patient in the hopes that in years to come, ambiance will be so carefully intertwined into the festival that I won’t even have to give it a second thought.
  • Participation:  If you’re not attuned to the vegetarian/vegan/plant-based diet world,TexasVegFest is certainly a way to get accustomed, in a non-intimidating environment (like many natural foodsstorescan be for some ‘beginners’ or converts), to the manyalternativesthere are out there for people
    Rachel Anne Manning © 2013 | Texas VegFest

    Rachel Anne Manning © 2013 | Texas VegFest

    who want to attempt a cruelty-minimized life.  There were numerous vendors, companies, shops, and groups (like action groups) that were on display, full of lively volunteers ready to inform the VegFest attendees from the communities far-and-wide about their cause, products, etc. There was a tremendous amount of dedication and vigilance given to their specified field, topic, product or company, that once you walked away from their table, you’d be satisfied with full knowledge.  On the downside of this, the crowds of attendees did get thicker, and wading through groups of people on what turned out to be a windy, sun-stricken day didn’t always cater itself to ‘stop and chat a bit with the owner, creator, vendor, what have you’.  Additionally, I would have liked to have seen MORE action groups and informative booths.  Texas VegFest is a blanket of lifestyle choices so you could easily be a passive attendee and still really enjoy the fest, but for those who want to get a full experience, I fear this year would not have given them that.  I did speak to some very informative and pleasant action/information groups, and I hope next year the word gets out to even more groups so participation is even greater.

  • Samples & Variety:  Coupled with ideas from above, I hesitate not when Isaythat that Saturday wasasampletastic event, but unfortunately I think the vendors were holding backalittle bit.  My husband and I leftwithnumerous raw bars and delicious treats that we’re still enjoying, butthesnackage was definitely limited in quantityandportion sizing.  Maybe we were a little spoiled from the first year, whereinwewere overloaded with goodies to take home or eat there on the spot.Thismay be true, but generally, I think the vendors were being alittlestingier this year.  All of this being said,the quality of the hand-outs was superb, the variety was tremendous and helpful allergy labeling
    Rachel Anne Manning © 2013 | Texas VegFest

    Rachel Anne Manning © 2013 | Texas VegFest

    was never lacking.  We’re both pretty seasoned in the ‘veggie-world’, but even we found items at VegFest we had never heard about.  On the flip side, I was highly disappointed this  year, much like last year, that there were so few farmers.  Most of the samples were not of actual vegetable dishes nor were they whole food based.  Perhaps I just have the wrong idea of what a festival is supposed to be, but I didn’t even see a tent for SFC (Sustainable Food Center), and I think farmers (and non-profits that support farmers) should be represented more than ever these days, trying to spread the word about local, fresh-sourced foods.  Even if local and fresh-source is not something you’re remotely concerned with, it should have been represented more.  Johnson’s Backyard Garden was there, which pleased me, but they weren’t sampling any of their produce.  Sigh.  I hope for more actual vegetables in festivals to come.

  • Demos, Speakers & Interactive Kid Zone:   As I didn’t have the privilege to attend any of the cooking demos or speaking events this year, I cannot comment on them directly, but I can say that this is one absolute plus that Texas VegFest has working in its favor.  Interaction and education is a great way to help the public (and that includes me) understand and appreciate what it means to expose yourself and others to a vegetable-friendly diet and lifestyle.  Also, there was an interactive kid zone with many fun activities for kids to get acquainted with vegetables and an alternative lifestyle in a way they maybe never had before.  There was kids yoga and coloring games to name just a couple.

What more can I say?  Texas VegFest increased both in community attendance and in vendor participation this year, far exceeding last year’s numbers. As someone who volunteered, the festival certainly helps to uplift and bring a positive message to the city of Austin.  I hope for more years of success in this festival, and I look forward to helping make this possible.

What are your thoughts on Texas VegFest, or a VegFest in your city or state?  I’d love to hear any feedback.  Thanks for reading and have a lovely Sunday afternoon. And remember…bite responsibly!

Healthy Regards,

RAM

Rachel Anne Manning © 2013 | Texas VegFest

Rachel Anne Manning © 2013 | Texas VegFest | Sweet Ritual vegan ice cream w/ sprinkles!!!

Texas Veg Fest

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photo by: RAM – ConnectaBite March 2012 | Lady Bird Lake

Good Afternoon Everyone,

I hope you’re all faring well.  Today, I’d like to highlight the Texas Veg Fest, soon to be in Austin, TX for its second year running.  After attending last year’s first Texas Veg Fest, I’m anxious to see what changes there will be.  Last year, I was able to sample a tremendous amount of food, I scored tons of great coupons and freebies and chatted with some helpful and informative companies/vendors.  I would say if you’re into trying new, funky vegetarian/vegan variations of foods like faux migas, faux cheese (that melts :p ), and some of the best dairy-free ice-creams out there, this festival is for you!  You will also get connected to businesses that are in the holistic and naturopathic vein, which is incredibly beneficial if you’re new to a plant-based diet.  Having a support system is incredibly important during any transition and there were numerous outlets of info last year and many more to come, this year.  My hope is that there will be more of an abundance of veggies and whole foods this year, but only time will tell.

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photo by: RAM – ConnectaBite March 2012 | Lady Bird Lake

Here’s a breakdown of  Texas Veg Fest, straight from the source:  

Texas VegFest is a family-friendly festival celebrating plant-based foods, with a focus on health, physical fitness, the environment, and compassionate living. For this year’s event, more than five thousand attendees will gather at beautiful Fiesta Gardens on Town Lake on Saturday, April 6th from 11am – 6pm. With engaging activities, vendors, speakers, demos, and, of course, great food and live music, you won’t want to miss Texas VegFest!

Our Fabulous Speakers and Cooking Demonstrations

Come see best-selling cookbook author Isa Chandra Moskowitz cook delicious cashew-based meals like Caesar salad, Creamy Chickpea and Rice Soup, and cheesecake. Executive Chef Ayinde Howell, the entrepreneur behind Hillside Quickies in Seattle, will be serving up some amazing vegan soul food including Broccoli Cheddar Soup, Texas BBQ Rubbed Seitan, and Mini Sloppy Joes. The Blissful Chef Christy Morgan will demonstrate easy protein-packed snacks that everyone will love.

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, the author of five books and frequent guest on Food Network and PBS, will captivate you with her presentation “From Excusitarian to Vegan.” Champion boxer Omowale Adewale is coming all the way from New York to share his presentation on how to incorporate positive habits into your life. His presentation will be interactive, so come prepared to learn a few moves. Dr. Baxter Montgomery, the founder of Montgomery Heart and Wellness, a cardiology practice and wellness center in Houston, will speak about all the health benefits of going plant-based.

Fantastic Activities for Families

In our kids’ area, enjoy youth yoga and face painting by Austin Bhakti Yoga, Austin’s premier nonprofit yoga center, or watch Austin’s healthy cooking school, The Natural Epicurean, demo recipes for kids and teens. Food is Free Project will share their model of simultaneously growing food and community through seed planting and seed ball-making activities. The captivating Brooke Chavez of Sunny Day Farms will be speaking to kids and teens about animal compassion and awareness. Sunny Day Farms is the largest farm animal sanctuary in the Central United States. For some quiet time to balance all this activity, Vegbooks.org has donated fantastic kids’ books for our reading and coloring zone.

Hungry for Food and Knowledge?

photo by:  Heather Schramm

photo by: Heather Schramm

Hungry attendees can feast on a variety of food such as curry, Tex-Mex, funnel cake, fresh juices, cupcakes, falafel, and veggie burgers from some of Austin’s most-loved restaurants. Or sample delicious treats and great products from companies across the nation. It’s all delicious, and it’s all vegan!

Premier Sponsor Wheatsville Co-op, opening their new store off South Lamar in June 2013, will have a booth representing their cooperative shopping model.

Explore local produce, tempeh, earth-friendly cleaning products, agave nectar, plant protein mixes, an electric car, blenders, baked goods, and other items showcased by Texas VegFest sponsors Plant Fusion, South Point Nissan, Natural Epicurean, and Wholesome Sweeteners, Vitamix, Clif Bar, Health Force Nutritionals, Dr. Lucy’s, Greenling, Johnson’s Backyard Gardening, The Hearty Vegan, Veggietopia, Way Better Snacks, Ecos Earth Friendly Products.

Nonprofits like Mercy For Animals and Vegans Rock Austin will be there to answer all your questions about how you can help protect animals. And people of all ages can enjoy a few moments of guided mediation by the Isha foundation on the shore of Town Lake.

Talented Music Line-up

It wouldn’t be an Austin festival without live music, and Texas VegFest doesn’t disappoint! Musical backdrop for Texas VegFest 2013 includes:

·         Edison Chair

·         Ray Prim

·         Mighty Mountain

·         Silver Ships

·         The Asteroid Shop

·         Technicolor Hearts

 

More information at www.TexasVegFest.com. Email us at info@texasvegfest.com, find us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter!

 

Official TVF 2013 Poster

Official TVF 2013 Poster

 

Keep an eye out sometime next week for my follow-up post on the festival, where I will give a ’round-two, Veg Fest breakdown’.  My thoughts, exciting new discoveries, critiques and more.  I’ll break it down for you!

Thanks for reading, tell all of your friends, and I hope to see you there.  And remember…bite responsibly!

 

Healthy Regards,

 

RAM