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Showing posts from May, 2021

The Thistle I Eat

  My hunch was that thistles are probably full of nutrients-- chlorophyl for sure-- and that they would be a nutritious, albeit somewhat bitter, addition to a smoothie.  I didn't think that they would be easy eating in a salad or a sandwich (similar to stinging nettles in that respect). And then I ran across this very interesting video by Victoria Boutenko's son Sergei, who was traveling the world and presenting workshops on wild edibles.  I'm pretty impressed with what he has to say.   He mentioned some fruits that he would choose to blend with the thistle.  He also stated that peeling the stem back exposes a tasty stalk that can be chopped and used in salads like celery or cucumber (has the potential to taste like either of these).   Since I also have a fair representation of thistle in my backyard I believe that I will do a little exploring.  If I come up with any really amazing recipes, I will post them here. Some notes on the healing and values of the  Silybum Marianum

Plant-Based Cheesecake Snack Cookies

  Plant-based cheesecake cookie snack After making a nice tofu Mayo with no oil, no refined sugar, or salt, I began to think of the possibilty of making a similar spread with a cheesecake flavor.   And while I was at it, why not put together an SOS (no salt, oil or refined sugar) plant-based cookie to slather the cheesecake spread on. Ingredients Cheesecake Spread 500g /16 oz. firm tofu Juice of 1/2 lemon 2 tablespoons Simply Organic lemon flavoring 2 -3 tablespoons maple syrup (optional) 1 teaspoon vanilla (optional) Snack Cookies 2 cups quick oatmeal 1 cup unsweetened apple sauce 1 tablespoon maple syrup 2 teaspoons cinnamon 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped 1/2 cup medjool dates, pitted and chopped    Method Cheesecake Spread (9-12 tablespoons) 1.  Drain and press extra water from tofu.  Cut in cubes and put in bowl of food processor (or blender carafe) with other ingredients.   2. Pulse until smooth and creamy.   3. Store for up to 3 days in fridge in container with a lid. Snack Cookies (9

Fit by Fidgetting

Starting a brand new #FridayFitness series of blog articles here focusing on folks like myself who are looking for a fitness routine that: has *Beginner* level options Is fun, with variety and encouragement has a brain science component is free is easily accessible online (NOT ZOOM) I have 2 suggestions for try-outs this week.  I will be incorporating these particular fitness variants into my own schedule this week and will report back next week.   I sure would like to know what you think and how they work for you if you try them yourself.   1. FIDGETTING as Fitness Yes, you read that right.  Getting in touch with your Bored Inner Child is required.  (Just kidding-- sort of) Dr. Andrew Huberman is a neuroscientist from Stanford University where he and his team primarily work to understand and develop improved functionality for congenital eye problems.   Fortunately, Dr. Huberman is also not adverse to teaching laypeople everywhere about how our fascinating brain and connected systems

Nettles and the Locavar Ideal

  Gathering Stinging Nettles: Tools include scissors, bag, and GLOVES!  (or buy at your local whole foods store) I am at the height of my locavore yearnings right now.  I want to eat only from the abundance of the nearby (within a 100-mile radius). I was originally inspired by the  Dervaes family  in Pasadena who grow 6000 pounds of food on their 1/5 acre property. If, right now, I were to eat only what edibles I could glean from our 1/3 of an acre  and what I have left over in the fridge from last season, we could eat the following: frozen blackberries, rosemary, thyme, chives, kale, grape leaves, oregano, some lettuce, blueberries (soon), parsley, aloe vera (leaves for green smoothies), nettles (yes, my son seeded some), mushrooms, sprouts, and dandelions. I guess there would be other leaves as well. Moving slightly afield, if I were ovo-vegetarian, I’m sure my dear neighbor would sell me some eggs from his free range chickens  (escorted everywhere by their possessive rooster master)

7 Things To Do With Rosemary

I have a large Rosemary 'bush' growing in a front flowerbed,  an inheritance from one of our home's past owners (thank you!). I love the sharp, clean, Mediterranean fragrance of rosemary, but I would like to know what I can do with it beyond roasting it with potatoes (which I don't do much of) or putting it into pork and turkey (which I also do not do because I do not cook meat). By the way, for anyone cooking with rosemary, a tip is to freeze the sprigs in plastic baggies-- retains its character much better than drying does.  So, here are some ideas that I found: Infuse a jar of Celtic Sea Salt with Rosemary .  The salt will smell and taste of rosemary.  There is no need to remove the sprigs. Put a sprig or two of Rosemary into Apple Cider Vinegar  and let it stand for about 30 days, then remove.  This makes a perfect hair rinse for people with dark hair.  (You can add some  stinging nettles  if you have some-- super nice rinse for bringing out the sheen in dark hair.

Garlic To Go

Separate and peel cloves from about 10-20 garlic heads (crowns) and whirr up in your blender. We all know that raw garlic can't be beat for antibiotic action (as a non-medical person that is what I am understanding from what I read) --it's the  allicin .  I stopped taking a particular 'superior' brand of garlic tablet because it contained silicon dioxide (sand) that has been suggested to contribute to "chronic fatigue syndrome". I ramped up my use of raw garlic.  ( IMPORTANT : Herbs are potent medicine. Do your due diligence and speak to your health provider about any conflicts that might exist between garlic and any prescribed medications). There are circumstances (lots of them) when I really don't have the luxury of time needed to peel and chop garlic. So, I am doing what  Dr. Ben Kim  describes his mother doing: I simply peel cloves of entire garlic bulbs, dump them into my Vita-mix canister, let it rip until they are finely chopped, nearly liquified, a

Blended Arugula Salad (FakeV8)

Before I was 55, I perhaps  had heard of  arugula  (I recall once watching a video where it was mentioned by the urban farmers, the Dervaes family) and believe that I had even tasted it (my husband says so, and that "we" didn't like it).   This weedy-looking little green re-emerged in our lives when I enrolled in the 28-day Raw Cleanse over at Penni Shelton's  Raw Food Rehab  and started faithfully following some of the recipes in Penni's book,  Raw Food Cleanse:Restore Health and Lose Weight by Eating Delicious, All-Natural Foods-- Instead of Starving Yourself.    My husband brought home the groceries for the recipes and when I went to make the fake-V8 (oh, so much much much tastier than the real-V8) I popped  the 'handful' of arugula into the vitamix that the recipe called for. And the first taste was one one those forehead-wrinkling-nostril-flaring-kitty-tonguing  (you know, nik,nik,nik licks that kitties make in the cream bowl) attempt to identify the

Raw Kale Chips Recipe-- vegan, gluten-free

This is a delicious little snackfood  that needs to be considered a "treat"  vs. an everyday staple of the raw diet.   As with many "raw" recipes, it will be necessary to dehydrate the Kale to obtain that near-the-traditional (cooked)-thing mouth appeal.  I bought myself an  Excalibur dehydrator  early on in my raw food experience but any brand will do, and if you absolutely must have the chips,  even an oven will work -- preheat your regular oven to 140 degrees Fahrenheit/60 degrees Celsius or the lowest setting, and spread out your chips on parchment paper on cookie sheets.   Put them into the oven with the door slightly propped open with a butter knife or chopstick.  Your chips (or other dehydrated foods) will take a long time to dry satisfactorily this way and it is not an environmentally friendly method, so use it sparingly, and you will likely want to invest in a dehydrator with a timer pretty soon into the process. Tools I use for the process: * Coffee Bean G

Health Benefits and Other Uses for Lemon Balm, Melissa Officinalis

Lemon Balm,  melissa officianalis  ©Cynthia Zirkwitz 2019 Lemon Balm, or  melissa officinalis , is a perennial herb from the mint family.  It may have originated in Europe, the Middle East or Asia, but now it grows like a wild thing in my garden, and maybe yours?  But unlike other "invasive plants" (sometimes incorrectly labeled "weeds"), lemon balm has so many wonderful attributes-- lemon scent, lemon-y flavour, beautiful fresh vital green colour-- that you would never hack it out and dump it in the forest.  However, I do suggest that you grow it in a container or a bed that doesn't have access to other parts of your garden. But DO grow it. During the summer small white flowers show up, with bee-attracting nectar in them.  ( Melissa  is actually Greek for 'honey bee'.)  Melissa may well be the "honey leaf" referred to by Theophrastus, (c. 371-c.287BC) successor to Aristotle, and called "the father of botany" by the Greeks. BALM IN TH

Raw Sweetheart Chocolate Cheezcake

   Lots of hugs and kisses! INGREDIENTS: Crust: 2 cups  shredded Coconut 1 1/2 cups  Medjool Dates  (or other pitted dates) 1/4 - 1/2 tsp  Celtic Sea Salt The Cheeseless Cheez Cake Filling: 3 cups  Cashews , soaked (you can substitute other soaked nuts such as pine or macadamia nuts) 1 cup  Cacao butter , melted 1 cup  Water 1/2 cup  Maple Syrup, Raw Honey or other sweetener of choice 1/2 cup  Cacao powder  OR  Carob powder 1 tsp  Vanilla 1 Tbsp  Chia Gel pinch of  Celtic Sea Salt Ganache Topping: 1/2 cup raw organic  Cacao powder 1/2 cup  Cacao Butter , melted 1/4 cup  Maple Syrup, Raw Honey or other sweetener of choice pinch of  Celtic Sea Salt Place your cacao butter in a bowl over hot water to start melting. In food processor, process coconut, dates and salt until it clumps uniformly.  "Grease" a springform pan with some of the  melted cacao butter. Remove the crust mix from the food processor and press it evenly in pan. Place in freezer to set while you make the rest of

Raw Royal Chocolate Cheezcake

This is as "healthy" as anything with chocolate is going to get (while still maintaining its high chocolate integrity)!   This chocolate chia-zz cake cake doesn't contain dairy, eggs, gluten, or processed sugars!  It has that rich dark chocolate flavour that sometimes gets masked in cheese cake by the dairy component, and sometimes in the raw vegan cheesecakes it gets side-tracked with whatever sweeteners are used (i.e., dates, agave, raw honey).  It is more like "high raw" in the way that I have made it because I had some left-over organic coconut milk in the fridge that called out to me just before I made my almond milk from scratch.  But you can be virtuously 100% raw with this recipe and it is still a smash hit! Get out  a 6" or 9"  springform pan  (DON'T grease it).   I used both a  Vitamix  and a  Food Processor , but I bet you can get away with just using the Vita-Mix for the whole thing-- I'm just kind of smitten with my nice Cuisinart

Lemon-Almond Cheezcake

In my continued search for the perfect tasting & textured raw vegan “cheesecake” I put this one together last night.  I drew on a couple of recipes, using some of my own fave ingredients (chia seed gel) and substituting a date-nectarine-coconut pudding I’d made a couple of nights before for the date paste that was called for in another recipe’s pie crust. It is unlikely that you will have all the ingredients for this raw vegan creation on hand, but it is really worth making as a project for a potluck or dinner with your mother-in-law.   It is very “wow” and healthy. INGREDIENTS 5 C. raw organic/natural  almonds,  soaked for 5-8 hours, husked so they look like “blanched almonds” 2-4 T.  Chia seed gel  (put 2-4 T. Chia seed in a jar with a cup or more of filtered water, stir, and let gel for about 15 minutes before using.  Store extra in fridge with lid on.) 5 T.  date paste  or something like it made from soft, ripe medjool dates (pitted) Pinch of  Celtic Sea Salt 1 C. organic  Lemo

Delicious, Healthy Raw Vegan Pizza

  I was chafing at the  at the bit to make this raw vegan pizza as we drove home from a Camp Meeting on a Sunday night several years ago.  At this time in my life I had been making up a variety of raw/living ‘recipes,'any based on my previous non-raw favorite recipes.   At Camp there had been salads and raw fruit and veggies with most meals, but that was pretty much it for “raw” and the salads were cafeteria salads… there probably wasn’t anything organic or the sort of fresh that I grew for the two of us out of our small garden plot. The following recipe is a fabulous Pizza recipe that can be found in Paul Nison’s book  Health According To The Scriptures . It is actually the size of a cooked pizza that my husband and I used to demolish in one sitting, no problem, but the one here is so hearty, so full of flavour and textural variety and fiber, that it truly does feed up to eight people who are committed to getting lots of nutrition from smaller quantities. RAVE FOR THE CRUST:  If y

Garlicky Raw Vegan Flax Crackers

The following “raw” flax crackers (they are dehydrated at 115 degrees F. over a lengthy period of time…. until you think they are crisp or chewy enough for you…18-24 hours)  have 6 cloves of organic garlic in them. You can vary that, as you can all the additions to the basic flax seeds. Yeah, I like garlic. I like garlic a lot.  I like its astringent pinnng and its heady fragrance. It’s also very good for you because of the natural antibiotic effects of its constituents. So, start by soaking in filtered water, for 12 hours: 4 Cups of organic  Flaxseed  in a Large Mixing Bowl 1 Cup of natural, raw  Almonds  in another bowl After you have done this, then drain the almonds and spin them up in the Vitamix along with the following: 2 large, juicy, ripe, organic  Tomatoes 3 stocks of organic  Celery 6 cloves of organic  Garlic 3 medium organic  Carrots 1 small organic  Zucchini 2 T.  dried Italian herbs OR handfuls of fresh herbs such as Rosemary, Basil, Oregano, Chives, Parsley , etc. (to t

Garlicky Guacamole

This quacamole is another one of my garlicky recipes.  You might want to adjust it a little to suit your tastes and circumstances! Combine together in a large bowl: 4 ripe chopped (or mashed)  Avocado 6 fresh-grated organic  Garlic  cloves 1/2 organic  Sweet Red Pepper , chopped fine 1 large ripe-ripe organic  Tomato , chopped 1/2 thumb-size organic  Ginger root piece , grated Celtic Sea Salt  or natural Dulce Flakes, to taste The power is in the  fresh grated garlic …. use as much as you like (or dare). If the person you are chatting with across the table is also eating this, neither of you will find the other offensive..hehehe. Tip for keeping the Guacamole Green …. slip a pit from one of the avocados in with the guacamole– remove at serving time. Goes great with dehydrated flax crackers or corn chips, etc. Eat in tandem with  Mango Salsa  and other luscious fruity summer dishes. To your living health! *image from pixabay Please note that I am an affiliate for many of the products an

Mango Salsa

This mango salsa been a big hit at the Sabbath potlucks. It is an adaptation of the one on “Gone Raw”. Combine in a large bowl: 3 ripe large  Mangos  (or 6 ripe peaches, nectarines, etc.), chopped up Handful of minced fresh organic  Cilantro 16 oz.organic  Cherry Tomatoes , chopped up 1 organic  Red Sweet Pepper , chopped up 1/2 organic  Purple Onion , chopped up Juice of 2-3 organic  Lemons Celtic Sea Salt  (to taste) Cayenne , just a blessing with it (tiny sprinkle) (or not)

Sensationally Cheezy Zucchini Chips/Crackers

I still get rave reviews for the Kale Chips whenever I make the suckers and take them to potlucks or family functions... but easier to make, less messy and just as yummy are Zucchini Chips. I use the same sauce recipe (with adjustments for less liquids) that I use for the Kale Chips-- the 'cheezy' flavour is from the Nutritional Yeast-- the smoky undertones a  I use my trusty old dehydrator, but you could use your oven). Cool days today are the kind of days I choose to make these chips-- I just have more energy and the house doesn't get warm from the dehydrating as it does on really hot days and nights. Have fun!  Following are the ingredients to assemble to make the Zucchini Chips: *3 large  Zucchini , or several smaller ones *3/4 C.  Tahini  OR 3/4 C. of raw  Sesame Seeds *1/4 C.  Water *1/4 C.  Tamari  OR  Bragg's Liquid Soy Seasoning (Gluten-free) *1/3 C. Apple Cider Vinegar *2-3 minced  Cloves of Garlic *Pinch of  Celtic Sea Salt *Other seasonings that li

7 Things To Do With Oregano Flowers

In my front yard I have a thriving planting of  Oregano Vulgare .  Although the herb is best eaten before the plant flowers, there ARE some very practical things that you can do to utilize the flowers. Here are 7 suggestions: Don't pinch off all the flowers  (if you must pinch off at all!) because the pretty, fragrant flowers will attract pollinators like the honey bee.  Bee farmers may actually thank you for the mild oregano-flavoured honey that results. The flowers have a more delicate flavour than the leaves  and are a lovely cullinary addition to salads, sauces, and Mediterranean-type dishes. Essential Oil of Oregano has been valued for its curative health qualities for generations!   Even just 'smelling' the plant is said to be very health-giving.  Put a garden chair next to a clump of oregano so you can sit there to take the sun and breathe in the fragrance.  Make a tea by pouring hot water over 3 T. of flowers, steeping for about 10 minutes, sweetening with honey and

The Lemon-Garlic Mixture Recipe that Chris Wark (Chris Beat Cancer) Recommends

My husband and I are both over 70, and while we have the odd age-expected ache or pain or fallen hair or swollen ankles or whatever, we have avoided many of the BIG Diseases: Heart Disease, Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Arthritis, Cancer-- but we have had family with these diseases and there is a good chance that we will have something like this hit at some time.  That is the way of the world these days, is it not? So, to be proactive and preventative, we believe that "Food is Our Medicine" and we adhere to a Whole Food/Plant-Based way of eating as much as possible.  We also watch a lot of those health seminars that mesh with our way of thinking that plants/herbs are the answer-- or at least our first rule of order when we feel ill.  We loved the Chris Beat Cancer series because, well, who wouldn't?  Chris is a charming young man with a friendly, compassionate mission to help others learn about how they too can beat cancer without (or only as a sideline) chemo or radiat