Friday, September 21, 2012

No Need to Fret with No-Knead Bread!

Do you, or someone in your household, bake this fragrant, hearty, genuine crusty bread?  The particular loaf above is a rye bread with caraway seeds in it.  It has a crispy, crunchy crust and a hole-y crumb (inside of the bread).  I baked it using the fantastic recipe and videos from Breadtopia AND my brand new favourite tool (read: kitchen toy) called LaCloche (you can see it in the background.)  It's a stoneware, or clay (or you can use enameled cast iron) "baker" that comes in two parts: a baking 'pan' base (more like a cake pan in shape) and a heavy lid.

Available from Amazon. Click Above.
The LaCloche simulates baking your bread in a clay oven (the highlight of Pioneer Days in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan was the delicious bread the Hutterites baked in an earthen/clay oven behind their booth).

This rye bread is no-knead... that means you don't thump and knead it as part of the process.  It's made with quite a lot of water, and allowed to rise twice.  The first rising is for eighteen (18) hours.

My husband is of German extraction and rye bread for him is comfort food heaven.

The recipe and a how-to video for this bread can be found HERE.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Upside-Down Vegan Banana Cake

So, I made this delicious Upside Down Banana Cake adapting a recipe from the blog US Masala I saw on Pinterest-- dee-lish-us!  I did lots of substitutions to the original, but I'm sure it tasted just as good, but not better.  This is a great way to use up 3 or 4 over-ripe bananas.  I made fresh apple sauce in my Vitamix, but you can, of course, use the ready-made stuff.  And I used both coconut oil instead of butter and coconut oil (melted) instead of the oil called for in the original recipe.  AND, I made full use of my food processor, as usual.  But other than that, well, it could be the same recipe.
For the Upside-Down Layer:

  • 3 ripe bananas, cut in 1/2" pieces
  • 1/4 C. Brown Sugar
  • 3 T. Melted Coconut Oil
For the Cake:
  • 1 C. Unbleached Flour  (or sub 1 1/2 C. GF mix for this and the tapioca starch)
  • 1/2 C. Tapioca Starch
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp. Organic Cinnamon
  • 5 T. Coconut Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla (I used Vanilla Powder)
  • 1 C. Coconut Milk 
  • 1/2 C. Organic Apple Sauce (I made mine in blender, raw, from 2 diced apples)
  • 1 very ripe Banana
  • Set Oven to 350F
  • Combine the melted Coconut Oil and Brown Sugar in the bottom of a 9" round cake pan (I used a silicon pan, so if you are using a metal/glass pan, spray with DIY cooking oil
  • Cover the syrupy bottom of the pan with the sliced bananas
  • Combine the Flour, Tapioca Starch, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Sea Salt, Cinnamon, Coconut Sugar and Powdered Vanilla (if using) in the Food Processor and combine with a couple of pulses.  Put this dry combo into a small bowl.
  • Combine the 'wet' stuff in the Food Processor until the banana is puree-- Coconut Milk, Apple Sauce, Banana, and Vanilla (if using the liquid)
  • Put dry ingredients back into the food processor and with a limited number of pulses, combine (just until moistened)
  • Pour over the banana layer
  • Put in oven for 40-45 minutes
  • Cool on a rack and then carefully turn over.  You might want to use a silicone pan (a treat) or perhaps a cheesecake pan or just put parchment paper on the bottom and sides of your pan for easy removal of the cake
Hope you enjoy it!  We sure did!

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Bushels of Salads...

Every Girl Should Know How To Make A Salad
I have had a lovely summer... and lots of great salads! Above is a picture of my 6-year old granddaughter making a salad -- what I want her to be skilled at in the kitchen, actually.  In my day it was an omelet.  But we vegans have different ideas about what is appropriate! If you want to see a pile of excellent salad recipes why not go to my Pinterest Salad Board and 'follow' it?  There are great recipes for salads on there right now, and a bunch more to come!  You could have a different salad every day of the! (Keep them organic of course!)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Imagine this Beauty in your Garden!

Wow, I just ran across this gorgeous stained glass structure while doing my early morning peruse of PinterestCan you imagine anything so beautiful in your own garden?  Can you imagine yourself inside of this enchanting art piece: the sun streaming through and reflecting all the colors, blending them-- what if there was sunshine AND rain falling: imagine the rainbows!  This is the inspirational and beautiful idea-filled material you will find on Pinterest... are you part of it yet?  If not, why ever not?  Follow me and I'll follow you!

If you are the photographer/artist/owner of this image, let me know and I will credit you or delete it from my blog.  The same disclaimor is on the Tumblr blog where I got this from.

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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

For the Love of Leftovers...

Every little 'prairie chick' from my era (don't ask)learned that it was important to clean out your fridge before you left on a trip... something like making sure you have on clean undies when you go out(?)

So, we're heading to see our son, daughter-in-law and the chicklettes, so it is definitely leftover time! And it's a yummy meal we got out of these leftovers too... I left the instructions in case you feel inclined to get like-wise adventuresome!(under the picture)

 Strawberry-Avo Salad
 Kind of bothers me to go off while there are still piles of lettuce leaves just at their peak, but you know... and there is a bunny who frequents our yard, so it'll be his domain (without Zoe to bark him out of the place).
  • Romaine or whatever greens you got going (fresh preferred)
  • Organic Strawberries (however many you are up to)
  • Avocado, peeled and sliced/chopped (the last from a "discount bag")
  • Juice of 1/2 Lemon (the last 1/2 left)
Fry-Up Onions and Greens
  • Coconut Oil (1 T.) (to fry the onions in)
  • 3 good-sized Onions, chopped
  • Assorted Greens Husband brought in with the Lettuce (Dandilion, Kale)
  • 1/2 Jar of Leftover Spaghetti Sauce
Brown Basmati Rice (well, not technically a left-over, but delicious)

No-Meat Balls (left over from a cooking demo a couple of weeks ago).  Go HERE for the recipe (worth it)

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Friday, June 29, 2012

How to Lose Weight and Stay Healthy at 60+

Anyone out there who is over sixty (or maybe just over 50) knows how hard it is to take off weight and keep it off .  Weight loss is harder for older people than you might think... or that is, healthy weight loss.   So I was absolutely thrilled to read about how Low Fat Vegan Frederic Patenaude's mother, who is in the 55+  age group, lost 55 pounds in just 8 months (she still has another 15 to go to reach her ideal).    I'm excited because Frederic talks about what his mom now eats and what she avoids eating, and it really isn't too different from moi!  It actually fits in very closely with what most of us saw in the film "Forks Over Knives" and in Dr. John A. McDougall's new book  The Starch Solution: Eat the Foods You Love, Regain Your Health, and Lose the Weight for Good!   

So, do you wonder why it is so hard to lose weight when you are over 55? Speaking from experience, I think it is a combination of really jumbled up eating "habits" (yo-yo dieting, eating the wrong things, over-eating even the right things, rewarding habits (hmm... I've had such a crappy week I deserve XXX or I've done so well this week I deserve XXX and other 'habits' more closely affiliated with your life.) It gets harder (or for me) to make permanent changes the older I get. The traffic on those neuron highways in my brain that I use all the time is solid gridlock.

So, what wonderful news about Frederic's mom, for her, Frederic, and all of us who are battling the bulge into our twilight years... click to read the blog post where Frederic talks about the foods his mom eats, the ones she avoids, and what sort of exercise she gets. (Also see the beautiful Before and After pics of his mom!)
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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Moroccan Roasted Vegs for the Neighborhood Potluck

I think we live in the best neighborhood in Canada... we know our neighbors by name, they know us.  When someone moves, as is the case with Jean and Jerry, we get together in someone's home for a Going Away supper. 

I made a recipe from the Moosewood Restaurant's New Classics Cookbook called Moroccan Roasted Vegetables.  I love love love Middle-Eastern cuisine. 

Well, I left out the garbanzo beans and added in sliced vegetarian Spicy Italian sausage instead.  It tasted fantastic.  Here is the adapted recipe (I doubled it and roasted the vegs in 2 9"X13" pans and then combined them back into one before adding in the sausage and topping with Feta crumbs and golden raisins) :


    1 medium Onion
    1 medium Zucchini
    1 long Japanese Eggplant ( I used only 1 when I doubled the recipe)
    1 large Sweet Potato
    1 large red Bell Pepper
    2 medium ripe Tomatoes
    3 Garlic cloves
    2 Tbsp.Olive oil
    1 Tbsp. Lemon juice
    1 Tbsp. Cumin
    1.5 tsp Turmeric
    1.5 tsp Cinnamon
    1.5 tsp Paprika
    0.25 tsp (pinch) Cayenne
    2 tsp coarse Sea Salt
    1 handful Golden Raisins (may be soaked ahead of time- I did not double amount)

    1 package of Yves Spicy Italian Sausages, sliced (I did not double amount)
    1 Cup Feta Cheese crumbs (I did not double amount)

DIRECTIONS: Preheat Oven to 425F/
  1. Slice or chop vegetables (cut Pepper into rings, and other ingredients into rounds)
  2. Measure and stir Spices together and set aside.
  3. Combine all vegetable ingredients in a large bowl.  Pour Lemon Juice, Olive Oil and the Spices into bowl, and mix well.
  4. Put ingredients of bowl into 17x13" dry pan and roast (no lid) for 20 minutes
  5.  After 20 minutes, stir vegetables.  Mix in Raisins and Sausage pieces.  Top with Feta.  Bake for another 20 minutes.
  6. Serve over Brown Rice or Couscous or Quinoa
  7. Makes 4-6 generous servings.  For Potluck if you double the ingredients it will allow for about 20+ servings (people eat a little less of each item at a potluck)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Clothesline Deck Umbrella

I really love Pinterest.  I thought that it was just about smacking up commercial images and had no idea that it was all about sharing wonderful ideas with like-minded community.  Here is our little contribution to the idea world.  I was whining for a long time about wanting a clothesline in the back yard.  Nothing materialized so I bought a handy-dandy rotating clothesline.  I waited for our son to visit so that he could help me cement the pole into the ground, or whatever had to happen for me to use such a thing.  He looks at the world from Pinterest eyes (he is "of that generation") and came up with what is a great energy-saving (in many ways) idea.  What do you think?

And the Breaky on the Deck?  Green Smoothie with Big Handful  of Kale, 1 T. powdered raw Carob,
 1 T. Honey, 3 C.Almond Milk, 2 frozen Bananas

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Organic Gardening in my Yard and Garden- Early June 2012

The following pictures are of aspects of our front, side and backyard that I have been working in/on.  Today was a splendid point-and-shoot picture-taking day.
Ancient Apple Tree with Comfrey and Digitalis at its base attempting to nurse it back to wellness.
This almost looks like it could be some cutesy flower box on Pinterest, doesn't it? It's really our deck step with weeds poking through-- shame, shame!
Lupins in the sideyard where no one gets to see them-- therefore, do they exist? (next 2 pics also)

Our expanded "Kidney garden" in the front... the multi-colored orange bark mulch was recentlly laid down
and will, I hope, have more interesting features as time goes on.  Daylilies, catnip, irises, fragrant Asian lilies, lavender, and other stuff grows here.  In the mulched area is a fig  tree (bearing this year we hope) and an infant Azalea I bought last year at Canadian Tire.  It had a nice show of magenta blossoms in the earlier Spring.
The Fig Tree with our late-blooming Rhodo in the background (left).

Thornless Blackberry-- a gift from our dear deceased Pastor, Gordon Smedley.  It bears prolifically.
These multi-hued Coat of Many Colours Roses bloom in our front yard from early Spring until late Autumn.  It is said that they came from a slip from the Rose Garden at the Empress Hotel in Victoria and many of our neighbours have the same roses, thanks to the green thumb brilliance of the original owner of our home back in the 80s.

These delicious lemondrop-scented heritage Irises came from a jaunt 
to Seedy Sunday  in Nanaimo in March. 

A Hens-and-Chicks succulent that our son retrieved from a florist dump
A little club-nosed strawberry in the front flowerbed, very close to where people walk.  
I'll go bring it in for supper.

Thanks for looking!  Sorry that there wasn't anything in the way of organic veggies in this self-indulgent foray!

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Continuing Issues with MSG in our Food

I was up early this morning and fired off some emails. After I did that I trashed another pile of emails. One unread one caught my eye (from a friend who sends me a lot of 'forwards'). This particular email was about the very serious situation with the food additive MSG or Monosodium Glutamate.
Most readers will know that MSG goes by several other names when listed on our packaged foods: Accent, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, natural flavor or natural flavoring, Aginimoto, natural meat tenderizer, etc. I think I find "natural flavor" to be the most offensive and deceptive.
How many people believe they are actually getting something healthy when they read that?

Monosodium Glutamate is a non-essential amino acid, the salt part of glutamic acid. It accentuates flavours of food and chemically breaks down tough meat fibres. The European Union lists it as a "food additive". Glutamate is a naturally occurring substance (in sea vegetables)but MSG is artifically made. (see the video below about MSG). In the U.S. the FDA has approved it as a safe food. In Canada we can find it listed in any number of packaged foods, and hidden in the foods we eat in restaurants. You'll find it in your local supermarket and on the shelves of your health food store (check out the ingredients lists on most herbal tea bags and see if you don't find "natural flavor" listed). Most restaurants will insist that they do not add MSG to their food (in my experience). But if they are using packaged foods that already contain MSG, it's in the food already.

What does MSG do in the body?

The officially reported side-effects of MSG include:
  • Headache
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Numbness/ tingling
  • Burning sensation
  • Palpitations
  • Weakness
and I can report that our son, when younger, broke out in huge itchy hives on the ball diamond after a lunch at a nearby Chinese diner.  We rushed him off to the hospital where we saw a Chinese pediatrician (I'm not kidding) in Emergency who stated: "Your son will be okay.  He has what we might call "Chinese Kitchen Syndrome"-- or allergic reaction to MSG that is used in Chinese food".  (He also felt nauseous, dizzy, extreme fatigue, and headache-y).

Our Filipina daughter-in-law bought a bottle of MSG meat tenderizer when she moved to Canada in 2006, something I hadn't contained in my kitchen ever, and had not seen in my mother's kitchen since the 1960's. 

Canadian researcher, John Erb, made some alarming discoveries about MSG while working on the book called "The Slow Poisoning of America". 

The Erbs (the authors are John and his wife Michelle) feel there is a real conspiracy to envelope and keep North Americans in the "obesity epidemic" we keep hearing about in the media.  Is there an actual chemical causing obesity?  John Erb believes there is, and that that chemical is monosodium glutamate.  A study on rats injected with MSG showed that their pancreases produced 3X the usual amount of insulin with the MSG injections.  Obesity was the result.  Erbs suggest that this is the result for humans as well when they eat many packaged goods with MSG in them.  The enhanced flavouring that results from the use of MSG and addicts people to the taste experience of MSG-containing packaged foods.  Since many of these foods are high fat, high additive, salty "junk foods", it makes sense that obesity would be a result of making these primary foods in one's diet.  Even if one doesn't consider the other thesis about the "poisoning" effects of MSG it seems mighty sneaky for the processed food industries to be adding addictive substances to food.  There was apparently a statement on the MSG page that stated that the food industry did indeed want people to overeat their foods and that is why they used MSG... however, as you might expect, all "evidence" has been cleared away-- the tracks are gone.

I am not a scientist and have to give at least a bow to a lot of the critiques of John and Michelle Erb's book.  If indeed it was MSG at the root of obesity, wouldn't there be more obese Asians? Perhaps there are.  Perhaps the rural Asians don't use Monosodium Glutamate and the wealthy urban Asians do, and now the obesity problems among wealthy MSG-using Asians are also being marked?  I don't know.  Does anyone else?

Dr. Russell Blaylock has written a book on the MSG topic as well that is called "Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills."  Blaylock is a retired neurosurgeon and cited hundreds of studies in his book to support his thesis of brain damage being attributed to "excito-toxin" additives such as MSG, Aspartame, cysteine and aspartic acid in processed foods.  Blaylock wrote the book in a sort of "mystery" genre as he attempted to get at the underlying causes for Parkinson's disease.  MSG and the other excitotoxins he sees as breaking through the brain-blood barrier and overstimulating (exciting) the delicate neurons in the brain.  But this isn't a party that ends with Mom coming to pick you up and take you home where you can go to bed and sleep it off... this is a party where you go into a frenzy until you die.  Not all cells die, but certain cells DO die pertaining to excito-toxins.  Watch the videos with Dr. Blaylock to learn more.

What I think, and have from the time our son had the allergic experience with MSG, is that we are largely responsible for our own food choices, particularly those of us who are privileged with good educations, awareness, and access to a healthy, organic, plant-based, wholefood source.  Food with  "additives" in general (meaning stuff like MSG that don't have nutritional benefits and are likely going to be found to be deleterious to our health, if they haven't already been found so) should probably be rejected in favour of eating  food as close to possible to the way God created it.  Cut out that extra middle man and peel your own orange. 
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Friday, February 17, 2012

Eat Less, Sleep More, Improve Your Memory!

Paul Nison is right when he says these are not new findings (that overeating leads to memory loss). In 1983 Agatha Thrash published her vegetarian cookbook called "Eat for Strength". The title is taken from the Bible verse that reads: "Blessed are you, O land, whose king is of nobility and whose princes eat at the appropriate time-- for strength and not for drunkenness." -Ecclesiastes 10:17, New American Standard Bible (1995) This also speaks to Daniel and his fellow captives who had dedicated themselves to the Lord and refused all the fit-for-a-king rich food that was offered to them in Babylon. Less is more. People who live longer with their wits about them are frequently shown to eat pretty simply and mainly from a plant-based source.

Paul Nison is a Messianic Jew and a high raw vegan. He is quite careful about how he eats and bases much of what he eats on Biblical principles.

Drunkenness in terms of eating, quite shockingly, refers to how the body processes excess starches to become sugar, which in turn, become alcohol... another expression for drunkenness is "intoxication"... being made toxic.

Paul's book, The Daylight Diet, talks more about eating less and getting more rest as part of a good longevity regimen.

Organic Granny's RECIPE INDEX

Organic Granny's RECIPE INDEX
Mostly Vegan & Gluten-Free Recipes