Posts Tagged: vegetables

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! 😀

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Thoughts on Eating AFTER the Cleanse

http://milaryn.tumblr.com

http://milaryn.tumblr.com
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Hello everyone,

As mentioned in my previous post, today’s post will involve what I’ve eaten for the past 28+ days, and why–more importantly–the way I have eaten has changed both my digestive/overall health, and how it has changed my perspective on my old consumption habits and the way I plan meals.  A little perspective; if you did not happen to catch my last post, something I focused on was listening to  your body in a very pure way, hearing out the good and the bad.   Moreover, those messages our body is sending us have the tendency to surface in a myriad of ways, and more than likely the pattern we hold in our eating behaviors are a primary contributing factor.  Now, keeping all of this in mind, we must consider the degree to which we are conditioned by our previous eating habits based on type, texture and combinations on the plate.

More than anything, what I’ve come to understand (although, perhaps I had fooled myself into thinking I already understood) is a couple of things.  Nobody’s body is the same. Duh, right?  One woman’s naughty meal is another woman’s normal.  I’ve discovered that anything that even ranges close to what’s ‘normal’ for most is not going to fly with my body, but I’m finally okay with this.  I uncovered that I too was still a victim of ideals about food combining and texture seeking, when I thought I was immune to those feelings that I once felt.  Hedonism is a part of daily life for most human beings, but hedonism in regards to food is an epidemic that’s out of control in many ways. But who am I to judge, right?  Thus, from day one of the cleanse, my diet became EVEN MORE restrictive, if that’s even possible (news flash: it is), and I was a mad grumpalump.  “Why is something(food) I love and enjoy so much, my enemy? I feel like I’m in a bad gastronomy epic poem that will never end. OH WOE IS ME!”  After my incessant self-pity party, I did a wompledywomp dance (my husband has introduced this into our lives when we’re in a funk) and I saw past the culinary blocks I was putting up.

As the days whooshed by, I began to see more clearly what was going on; my body was happier with the way I was eating.  It really needed a break from some of the food items I was consuming regularly.  What I noticed?  The portion size of my meals was entirely skewed, the pace at which I was eating was inconsistent, I was going on auto-pilot and I wasn’t really getting in touch with where MY body was coming from.  Yeah, that’s right, chatting my body up. :p  Some of you may find this to be ridiculously hokey, please…tell me your thoughts, but I feel quite sure my body was on its soap box with me.

Okay, so finally to the part where I explain what exactly I was eating.  Before I do (yes, there’s more exposition), I want to reiterate something I state often on my blog; everyone’s body is different.  This is about an outlook, not a formula, so please don’t interpret my experience for a formula.  Basically I ate vegetables, fruits and fats (coconut oil, olive, and grape seed oil) with lentils (the only legume I ate next to peas), and brown rice (the only grain I was consuming)…yes rice. :/  I avoided anything processed, soy, corn, gluten, sugars (refined, not natural like fruit), nuts, seeds and other oils.  I think that covers it, but I may be leaving something out. Basically, I gave up any typical control I would have, and I let my acupuncture specialist be my guide.  This, too, was emotionally cleansing.  Now I’m to the part where my perspective started to change.  I began to feel GREAT, and I was completely satisfied by my meals.  Everything but vegetables was secondary, which is something I don’t think I had ever 100% invested myself in, prior to this detox.  I didn’t feel deprived or miserable and I still don’t!

With love and support, I’ve been given the gift of a new perspective on eating, a perspective I couldn’t have gotten by reading another person’s blog, book, or op-ed piece. Nor do I expect or wish for any of you to gain this enlightenment from my blog post.  I hope only to instill some positivity into the journey you might be taking, and I aim to be a sounding board for questions and concerns you may have about resources for what you’re going through.

Here are a couple of sample meals:

Connect a Bite © 17 February 2013

Connect a Bite © 17 February 2013

This was a busy Sunday meal (post cleanse, but representative of how I was eating during):

My favorite part; the perfection that was this grapefruit.  It came from the SFC’s downtown farmers’ market.  We picked up this lovely gem (that is the grapefruit) from an older gentleman and a young lady who were only selling citrus at a small stand.  I scooped away at it with an antique grapefruit spoon my grandmother gave me.  I couldn’t resist; grapefruit is one of my most favorite treats.  What you will notice behind this yummy pink citrus bliss, is a salad of many colors.  It’s loaded up with red leaf lettuce, baby spinach, red bell pepper chunks, garlic stuffed olives, an avocado (yep, the whole thing), and some roasted garnet yam chunks.  Then, I topped it off with a homemade dressing, and I was off. Chow-down city.

Connect a Bite ©  2013

Connect a Bite © 2013

Connect a Bite © 2013

Connect a Bite © 2013

Hooked on avocado and squash!  What you see is half of a roasted acorn squash with mildly wilted lacinato kale and a long grain brown rice medley of garlic, onion, red bell pepper, herbs and spices, all topped with 1/2 an avocado.

Finally, I know transitions of any type are often vexing to some degree, and it is my intention with each blog post to help make your food connections and transitions a little less vexing.  Thanks for reading…and remember, bite responsibly.

 

Healthy Regards,

RAM

 

Life beyond gluten, continued.

So, now you understand the basics of how to live a life less dependent on gluten, but what the hell are you supposed to eat now? You are used to taking a whole wheat sandwich everyday with (insert your food trappings here) and spaghetti for dinner and oh yeah toast for breakfast–even a muffin or doughnut.  And if you are vegan, than you are initially going to feel even MORE restricted, but trust me this feeling too, shall pass.  If you start to forget what it means to apply your new founded dietary change refer back to my last post or food journal that I know you have all been keeping since Sunday. Where are your weak spots?

Lucky for us, we live in a time of excessive labeling and precautionary companies, so it is easy to avoid gluten in processed foods.  If gluten will not be 100% cut out of your diet than it is important to at least avoid it in trivial amounts in other foods.  For example:  if you like to eat oats in the morning, you no longer can eat conventional oats because they are processed in a plant where gluten is handled.  You can however by ‘safe’ oats, I suggest Bob’s Red Mill.

What do I suggest you eat?  This is a semi-difficult question to answer because I can only direct my response to the vegetable/fruit based diet.  Here are some ideas for foodstuffs you might consider in your transition:

  • whole rolled oats with unsweetened almond milk (insert amaranth, quinoa, oat groats); for those with a sweet tooth, try adding stevia (liquid or granule) or a teeny amount of pure maple syrup.  You could also try adding in coconut oil (shoot for cold pressed).
  • green smoothie variety:  recipes are in assortment online, I say switch off your complimentary fruits inside the smoothie to the season at the moment, but bananas are always a great natural sweetener and thickener regardless of the season.
  • protein smoothies:  blended mixtures with hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, almond milk (hemp milk), stevia, raw cacao, etc…
  • greens wraps with roasted root vegetables, sprouts, hummus (raw and typical chickpea)
  • raw almond butter with celery, apples, carrots
  • brown rice crackers with avocado and bell pepper
  • vegetable sticks or pieces:  bell peppers, celery, carrots, radishes
  • blended vegetable soups with a grain (millet, quinoa, brown rice assortments)
  • HUGE salads:  go crazy with the vegetable variety and add deeeeelish raw dressings like raw sunflower seed ranch, or a walnut dressings
  • buckwheat noodles marked as gluten-free with steamed veggies
  • legumes hot, or sprouted in salads:  sprouting your legumes isn’t hard, and they are better for your simple digestion
  • lentil dips
  • raw seeds and nuts (soaked of course)
  • corn tortillas:  although more acidic, these are great on occasion and of course in moderation; check for non-gmo corn!
  • craving pasta:  there are an assortment of gluten-free pastas out there, I say stick to the ones containing the LEAST amount of corn starch and vegetable oils like canola, I like these brands =  Ancient Harvest & Tinkyada (neither one of these are very gummy and mushy)
  • tempeh sautéed with assorted vegetables (raw, roasted, steamed, sautéed)
  • AGAIN dips are your friend!!
  • For those craving moments, there are gluten-free pizza crust recipes and some pre-made mixes and there are also a variety of gluten-free baking recipes out there.

I could certainly list more, but these are the most critical items without getting too detailed and frivolous.  The key to cutting out gluten is to realize what you are NOT missing and move on.  Don’t even consider it an option when you are dining.   If you are vegetarian, this could be a simpler process.  Dwelling on any circumstance from the ‘past’ is not a very fun or healthy mental state to carry everyday.  Overall, cutting out gluten for some is just a transition into eating more processed foods or equal value to those they were eating previously, but I say try to see cutting gluten out of your daily food routines as another excuse to bring your diet closer to the ground, to whole, slow-foods.

As always, if you have any questions, critiques or comments, I would love to hear from you.

And remember…bite responsibly.

 

Healthy Regards,

~RAM~

Ten Reasons I Adore Shopping at My Local Farmers’ Market

Hello Everyone,

Today, I would like to take some time to express my true appreciation for the local farmers’ where I live–and everywhere for that matter–who make farmers’ markets possible.  In no particular order, here’s Reasons I Adore Shopping at My Local Farmers’ Market:

  1.  A perfectly sound reason to wake up early on  Saturday.  As I am most naturally a morning person (whatever that means), there is not one particular day of the week I enjoy appreciating more than another.  For me, the mind is most astute and active earlier in the day, and I don’t make real exceptions for when I awake.  My only personal rule is, I love getting eight-hours of sleep.  Sleeping-in is nine hours.  Thank you FM for enticing me into a productive and lovely start to a day with little obligation. (note: the SFC’s Farmer’s Market has multiple markets, I just tend to frequent one.)

by Dons

  1.  A dog show in its most casual format.  As I do have a strong fondness for felines, I also have a very special place in my heart for canines.  Growing up, we had a basset hound name Bevo, and my strongest memories are of Hercules our Rottweiler.  Now, I have a ridiculous affinity for all animals long hair, or odd in some way.  I’ve seen a tremendous assortment of breeds at the market from English Bulldogs to the every so intelligent and elegant Australian Shepherd and it makes me giddy every time.  I doubt not, that for that hour or so we’re there toddling about I revert back to being 8 again, squealing and giggling.  A very silly side of me comes out for sure.  OH, and how lovely that people want to take out the animals they are guardians to and share such happy communal experiences.

  2.  Members of the community working together for something bigger.  Each market I attend I am reminded that with perseverance, communication, integrative ingenuity, and thoughtful behavior anything can happen.  Well maybe not ANYTHING, but most things can organize.  The FM is a true reminder of the grace and beauty that human beings can possess if given the opportunity and knowledge to do so.

  3.  Recognizing a face with what I’m eating.  Making the connection between the food on your plate/bowl/napkin/hand to its originator is an incredible rush.  I mean, the next best thing would be taking the necessary steps to growing all of your own produce (I’m a beginner farmer now), but recognizing a face and having them recognize you back is one immediate way to show appreciation for all that nourishes us.  Connect the dots, that’s all I can say, do this when possible.

www.urbanrootsatx.org

  1.  Variety.  By variety, I don’t just mean of produce, I also mean the farmers’ you choose to buy from.  Though there’s a need for some consistency in life, at the farmers’ market you know you can rely on a farmer whose produce you’re especially keen on, but rest easy knowing there’s always someone new offering a different type of kale you’ve never tried, or a native fruit that you’ve never actually tasted directly from your home state.  When we go to the market, our tendency is to distribute our funds to different farmers’ and vendors throughout.  The variety is exquisite and never disappointing.  *This means dinners always have variety too.

  2.  It’s an experience.  In many ways, calling the farmers’ market an ‘experience’ seems to down-grade its importance, but perhaps grammatically it’s all in how you look at ‘it’.  Nonetheless, if you’ve never been to a live market, it’s certainly something you should try.  I will warn you, there is a level of intimidation on your first visit that may make going sort of off-putting.  For some people, this feeling resonates over into many visits until they get into the swing of things.  Markets can be highly trafficked, especially if it’s a well marketed one in a bumpin’ area.  This alone can cause introverts or claustrophobes to run screaming, but please, I beseech you to give it a try.  I am by no means a crowd person, but it’s quite exhilarating to be sure.

I have picked up a few plants from this sweet and helpful plant farmer.

  1.  The privilege of being able to connect produce with its rightful season.   Baring in mind you are buying a majority of your produce at a FM you will assuredly see this benefit for all that it is worth.   With whizzing technology and little room for slowing down, what was once a human instinct has now become forgotten lore for many.  Produce has seasons?  What’s scarier is that most youth of now–unless we work hard to educate them–will have absolutely no connection with where their food comes from because they’ll be able to pop quarters and slide plastic cards for instant access to ‘food’…in excess.  I have this text-book that has a chart which identifies the seasons with the vegetables and fruits that fall under said seasons.  Rather than having to use this book on a regular basis I’m becoming accustomed to what there will be before I go.  Instincts.  😀

  2.  Nutrient-packed veggies and fruits.  In their raw form, you can’t do any better than snagging some fresh peaches at your summer FM.  Yes, you  might be able to easily pick up peaches at the grocery store, but they might be shipped in from another state, and be hard like stone fruit (they are more decorative than edible).  When you buy from your local market, the produce is most typically ripe and full of flavor.  Also, keep in mind that every time your food is shipped in, it is that many more days lacking in nutrients.  After talking with a farmer a weekend ago, I was convinced to buy a basket of tomatoes that needed a bit more ripening simply because he just picked them the night before.  Delightful.

  3.  Organic without the label.  Many small farms cannot afford the cost of labeling their produce USDA Organic, but rest assured, most local farmers’ produce is in fact organic and free of many of the chemicals that turn a normal strawberry into a toxic mess.

  4.  Experimenting with vegetables and fruits I’ve never tried before.  From the geometrical masterpiece of romanesco brocoflower to the crisp and colorful Japanese kale , I’ve never been disappointed by the choice of interesting and fun produce.  I’ve ‘mixed-it-up’ a few usual recipes with an item I would have otherwise ignored in a grocery store.

I could easily list more, but instead why don’t some of you tell me about your market experiences.  The good, the bad and the ugly.  I hope I’ve helped many of you cultivate more reasons to shop at your local market.

I would also like to give a special thanks to the Sustainable Food Center‘s staff and volunteers who work hard every week to keep these markets running smoothly.

Have a lovely day, and remember…bite responsibly.

 

Healthy Regards,

~RAM~

 

 

Food Prep for the Spatially & Equipment Challenged

This weekend I began thinking about food preparation from all aspects.  Rather, what it actually takes to live in such a way where you are relatively sustainable in the kitchen and how one can imbue the importance of self-sufficiency onto others.  In the same token, I am not under the illusion that everyone I meet enjoys cooking, execution of food readiness, or the many facets that are involved in pre-consumption, as much as I do.  There are many challenges to be faced when it comes to involving oneself directly with meal planning and preparation, so I thought I would narrow down some of the main tasks I try to accomplish every weekend to ease my weekday duties.  Granted, when you have a busy schedule these tips are key, but they may not be as necessary for those who have a free-flowing schedule.  Additionally, the incongruous nature of a small ‘kitchen’ space or lack of kitchen gadgets can be frustrating and stifling, so I’d like to touch on this as well and offer a few helpful tips.  So, as Mario says…”HERE WE GOOO!”

(These are in no particular order)

  1. Have some idea of what you do or don’t like and then make a list.  Make a list of ‘things I won’t eat’ & ‘things I will eat’.  This will help you understand where you’re limited and where you’re not limited in the kitchen.
  2. Consider the season and where your food comes from.  Having some idea of what’s in season in the area you’re living in can be a tremendous help.  It will allow you to choose vegetables & fruits at their fullest flavor. They will be easier to access, and most importantly higher in nutritional value for a lower cost.  This might be a helpful website.
  3. Reflect on your schedule for the upcoming week.  Are you going to be full-blast from the moment you awake until the moment your head hits the pillow at night, or will you have breathing room?  Demarcating what ‘free’ time you have from ‘busy’ time will help in evaluating a smoothly run day.
  4. Once you have a handle on the ideas from above, decipher your weekly budget for groceries.  Be realistic.  Know that when you  make a list you should stick to it, but sometimes we do waiver.  Sometimes prices have risen, sometimes we pay a little extra for local/organic foods–if you’re in the position of doing so–and sometimes we buy bulk (grains, legumes, etc..).
  5. As  mentioned previously, sit down and make a list of essential groceries necessary for the week.  Take note of where you’ll need to shop, how early they open and what’s the best day of the week to go–again based on your schedule.  Plan your route the day before heading out, so as to utilize all of your time–I’m sure this won’t suit some, but it’s a thought if timing is an issue.
  6. Pending the following items aren’t on your ‘things I won’t eat’ list, try these foods out as weekly staples (some will last longer than a week depending on how many you’re feeding):  lemons, ginger root, celery, cucumber, original unsweetened almond milk-I purchase the SILK brand, gluten-free bread/Eng. Muffins, greens(collard, spinach, kale, spring mixes, lettuce, chard etc…), tempeh, coconut water, coconut oil, raw apple cider vinegar, nutritional yeast, quinoa & millet, kombucha or kefir water, flax seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, cabbage, carrots, avocados & sprouts, raw almond butter, raw cacao treats, yams or sweet potatoes and stevia.

    www.sustainablefoodcenter.com

  7. Plan out breakfasts, but don’t eat until you’re hungry!  Green smoothies are your friend and try oats (gluten-free) in the morning and gluten-free toast with coconut oil spread on top.
  8. Conceptualize lunches and dinners, but don’t ‘plan’ them necessarily.  I don’t always know exactly what I’m going to consume for every meal of every day of the week.   This would feel suppressive and boring to me, so I conceptualize which helps in creating an adequate grocery list.
  9. Whichever day of the weekend you have free–assuming you have any portion free, change for another day of the week if your schedule is different–use this time for weekly prep.  I say, chop up as many vegetables ahead of time as you possibly can.  I try to cut up my snack vegetables–except cucumbers and bell peppers–ahead of time so that when I’m prepping for lunch/dinner/snacks I can just grab those with little thought.
  10. If access to a stove-top or oven is not an option, try planning more raw fresh meals. Invest in an inexpensive and small toaster oven.  They can do wonders for fast food prep, energy conservation and space consolidation in a tiny or non-existent kitchen.

    photo by: Jasmyne Rose – Myself & a friend in a kitchen from my past buried behind all those books.

  11. Essential kitchen gadgets to have:  chopping board, chef’s knife & pairing knife, peeler, colander, sieve, containers for storage, measuring spoons and cups, and at least one large mixing bowl.  There are many more I could list, but having had that tiny non-existent kitchen before, I understand the need for a micro-setup.  I’d also suggest getting a small crock-pot if you have the space.

I know this list may perhaps come off as very obvious for some, but I hope it is a helpful guide for others.  Also, know that the above mentioned ideas are not exhaustive and whenever I come up with new tips, I will post them.

Let me know if you have any questions or comments.  I am more than happy to produce personalized detailed plans for any individual upon request.

And remember…bite responsibly.

 

Healthy and Spacious Regards,

~RAM~

 

To Be Frank…


 We as human beings do not feel SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS—as the late Robert B. Sherman said and his brother Richard M. Sherman—100% of the time.  Rather our body’s many functioning properties are more like that of a statistical sine wave, but maybe with frequency increasing, so those waves occur more and more frequently until we cannot remember the last time we felt ‘normal’.  In fact for many, ‘normal’ is not as ‘normal’ does—to play off of the ever-popular Forest Gump.  What is recognized as a normal state-of-being for many people has become so mangled and botched that societies’ vision has acquired cataracts, and we are forced to surgically diminish the cloudy covering over our collective eyes.  Yes, our bodies are like fantastic warm-blooded machines and yes we’re capable of feeling better than we do!  REALLY!

An associate said something to me this morning that inspired me to write today’s post.  But first, a modicum of back-story is in order.  The typical office environment has the tendency to lend itself to rolling spouts of sickness.  Sickness of all types, but sickness nonetheless.  My office is no exception, and thus I will continue with the commentary.  The aforementioned individual stated—she has a cold presently—(and I paraphrase) that “it’s astounding that humans have discovered how to split the most itsy-bitsy (does that even cover it?) particle called an atom, yet we’ve yet to truly discover a ‘cure’ to the common cold,” and then my mind was racing.  I started to envision what she meant.  I think maybe I had an Ally McBeal moment or something similar because I could see the germs attacking people at Starship Troopers size proportions, and these very stoic calm scientists and engineers huddled to indeed split the atom…I digress.

When I began to think of any person—with all of our many resources—resigning her or himself to the notion that a cold could overtake their life, it bugged me.  Not that this is what my coworker was doing, but many do.  The reason there is no direct ‘cure’ is because we have the power to avoid getting a cold a great majority of the time.  Then I started to realize that I too feel a little crummy sometimes, perhaps not in relation to an ‘illness’ per-say, but we all become downtrodden occasionally for an assortment of reasons.  Next I thought, if all of the above is true, then why add to the misery by stuffing our bodies full of toxic to semi-toxic and gangly foods and over-the-counter drugs?!

Answer:  We do not!

Thereby, I have decided to use what could be taken as a negative chain of thoughts and turn them positive.  I have brewd up a list of some happy foods, that can make you feel great, potentially cleanse and even enable a dash of indulgence because let’s be straight, when we’re feeling blue, we all need a little sugar in our bowls…both types :p —thank you Nina Simone.

I would like to call this list (note I often create new words/names) my…

Spunky Foods:

  • Warm or room temperature lemon water

-If you’re feeling a sweet tooth coming on, try adding a bit of Stevia, it’s herbal and for those watching their

waistline it’s calorie free.

-Also, I like to drink lemon water first thing in the morning to boost my body’s happy cleansing properties.

-If you are feeling especially yucktastic, try peeling about an inch or so of fresh ginger root and cutting it into

chunks add a few sprinkles of cayenne and stevia to sweeten.

  • Millet toast (gf) with coconut oil spread on top

-Choose gf to minimize clogging your body’s intestines with sticky gluten paste.

-The coconut oil works wonders for reducing stress, and boosting our thyroid along with many other wonderful

benefits all thanks to lauric acid.

  • Pure unadulterated raw cacao treats

-If making them yourself is not an option, though I highly recommend trying Hail Merry treats.

-You have probably heard it before, but it never hurts to hear it again, chocolate contains magnificent party

down antioxidants that are ever-present to help rescue our body from the oxidizing invaders that age us and

make us feel lumpy.  Yep, lumpy—I’m not talking Lumpy Princess either.  The part most forget is the cacao

must be raw in order to reap its full benefits; again, too many wonderful aspects of this product to list them all.

  • Ginger kombucha (or any flava as long as it’s lower in sugar)
  • Killer probiotics escalate beautiful body flora
  • Rainbow Quinoa with avocado and roasted garlic

-For those who question protein in a vegetable-based diet, question no more.

-Quinoa is in fact a complete protein all on its own.

-Avocado is a lustrous fat that will plump your skin and make your hair sheen.

-Garlic loves fighting bacteria and charges your immunal functions.  Delicious too!

  • Celery with raw almond butter

-If you’re native to TX, try raw pecan butter.

-Celery acts as a diuretic (water retention issues anyone?) and adds that crunch you crave.

  • Spicy Sprout Green Salad with Raw Sunflower Seed ‘ranch’

-Try adding cayenne for the extra immune body charge

-Oxygen and alkalizing!

All right, of course this list is not exhaustive, but it’s a beginning for everyone, and I hope it is helpful and doable.  I will post recipes and explanations soon.

Keep a few more things in mind:

  • Running on E is never a good idea, because you can wear out your body like a rusted and gunky fuel pump.  Unfortunately we’re not Cylons so we cannot replace ourselves like you can the fuel pump! I say, get some rest and fill up on body-loving nourishment.
  • While in the state of woe and ick avoid:  caffeine, sugar and excessive amounts of fruit, alcohol, and of course all animal products.
  • Nap, attempt relaxing, and try out a bit of aerobic exercise, endorphins are a magical thing.
  • Never forget the power of water.
  • CHEW, chew, chew!  Do not underestimate what thoroughly chewed food can do for your digestion and the way you feel.

I hope today’s post helps everyone, and you’re able to kick that ick!

And remember…bite responsibly.

 

Healthy & Happy Regards,

~RAM~