Monday, June 25, 2012

Updated Dirty Dozen - Organic Foods

I've posted in the past about the importance of organic foods and local foods, but there's more to it than we think. Some foods not only are more likely to keep pesticides due to how we eat them and their "skin" but knowledge of pesticides are also important due to the effect they have on our bodies.

2012-05-22_162541 Plus, some foods we just eat so often, that even if they aren't a "soft skin" food, we come in more contact, making them more likely to cause issues.

Basically, if you eat something OFTEN, consider organic.

The Environmental Working Group is an organization I trust for safety. Here's their latest Dirty Dozen.

Check out my related posts @

Updated Dirty Dozen - Condiering Buying these Organic

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Sweet Bell Peppers
  4. Peaches
  5. Strawberries
  6. Imported Nectarines
  7. Grapes
  8. Spinach
  9. Lettuce
  10. Cucumbers
  11. Domestic Blueberries
  12. Potatoes
They've also added Green Beans and Kale (other leafy greens) to the list.

Calcium without the cow

Calcium is a mineral that is important to all members of the family. According to, Calcium plays an important role in muscle contraction, transmitting messages through the nerves, and the release of hormones. If blood calcium levels are low (due to poor calcium intake), calcium is taken from the bones to ensure normal cell function.

Veg Resource Guide has a nice table of places to get calcium without dairy.

Here are a few favorites:
- Green leafy vegetables
- Almonds
- okra
- sprouts
- sesame seeds
- kelp
- celery 
- oranges

In cooking, add garlic - as it also has a good level of calcium as well.

This week I'm attempting: No soda (which inhibits calcium absorption) and two raw meals a day.

Here's to health!

Monday, June 11, 2012

If all else fails... and you have nothing to cook

Make a casserole.

Casseroles are versatile and allow you to use up any vegetables, throw in a starch (generally noodles or rice) and away you go.

My favorite casserole is likely one of the easiest.

One diced onion
1-2 garlic cloves
Vegetables (my faves)

Diced tofu
Canned beans (or pressure cooked/soaked beans)
Ground Meat  or unmeat (if you choose)

Preheat oven to 350. When preheated, add noodles of your choice to a casserole or even cake pan, cover with salted water or broth, and bake for 15 minutes.

While this is happening:
In a pan, fry together onion and garlic. Add any diced vegetables you like, including the ones above, or what you have that is a day away from being composted.
Add choice of protein, and cook well.
Cover and allow to steam.

When oven is hot and noodles/rice and protein has been baking for 15 minutes, take from oven. Remove any excess water. With rice, leave a little extra still in there.
Add vegetable mixture
Cover with sauce of choice. Some use a pasta sauce, you can also use salsa or even sour cream with some added herbs of choice.

What's your favorite casserole? How many ways can you imagine this healthy, quick, vegetarian dinner?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Coconut Cream Pie - Vegan/GF/DF

Cold pies in the summer are a must! While apple pie may be nice for the 4th of July, this recipe may just have you hooked! I make mine less sweet as I have two people in my house (husband and daughter) who aren't huge fans of sweet. This is rich enough though to just really keep you going.




1.5 cups rolled oats
1 large banana, soft
1/2 c margarine (or butter if vegan or dairy free isn't important)
1/2 c chia seeds (optional, you can also use flax to boost protein)
1/2 c walnuts (or nut of choice)
dash cinnamon 


1.5 cups coconut cream (if you use coconut milk, you'll need to add more starch or blend differently)
1 c flaked sweetened coconut (or fresh, just increase sugar if you desire sweetness)
2/3 c raw sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c whole wheat flour (or use just over 1/4 c corn or potato starch)



Preheat oven to 350
In a food processor (or a magic bullet, etc) add ingredients and puree until mostly smooth
Lay into a pie pan
Bake for 8 minutes. Allow to cool.

While baking begin


In a sauce pan, add coconut milk and slowly bring to a low boil on medium, mixing constantly, around 3 minutes. 
Add sugar and flour, mix well. When consistency is smoothish,
Add coconut flakes and stir.
Lower heat.
 Add vanilla. Stir. 
Should be a thick soup consistency.
Pour into Crust. 

Place into refrigerator to cool. 2 hours, or overnight for very firm. 



Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Quinoa stuffed peppers

Okay I'm going to tell you this is the easiest dinner recipe ever and you will need to believe me.


2 cups quinoa (dry, makes 4 cups)
1 jar salsa (we used a smoky peach)
4 bell peppers
dash of salt for quinoa if desired


First, prepare Quinoa as directed on package. The link here is my version.

While the quinoa is boiling, rinse bell peppers. DO NOT core them. Place on to grill.

Grill and turn every 5 minutes.

When quinoa is complete, check the grilled peppers. They should be almost done. They should be mostly firm.

In the quinoa pot, add a jar of prepared salsa (2 cups). Have on low heat and Stir well.

Core the  bell peppers gently. Stand up right and add quinoa mixture.

You can bake or grill for 5 minutes to get the bell pepper taste into the quinoa, but I didn't. You can add cheeese to the top if it'll help entice your kids.

The great thing about this is the protein and nutrients are just PACKED into this dish!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Sabudana Khichdi (a Spicy Tapioca dish)

Late last night I decided to follow an online friend's lead and celelbrate Vat Savitri for my husband's success and longevity. What I thought would be a day of minimal fruits, water and my addition of coffee, was happily supplemented with Sabudana Khichidi. Unfortunately, I forgot to take photos (too hungry I suppose!).

I will say that here in the US, for some reason, maybe it is mostly parboiled, but do not soak your tapioca overnight, no matter what you see in a recipe! It causes a bit of mushy tapioca. In which case, just add sugar and milk :)

So here's the modified spicy dish I made, similar to one by Manjula's Kitchen.

  • 2 cups tapioca (sabudana)
  • 1 cup broken raw peanuts (mungfali)
  • 1  cup green peas (hari matar)
  • 3 tablespoons Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
  • 1 tsp Ground red Chili Pepper
  • 1/2  teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1/2  teaspoon Mustard Seeds
  • 1/4  teaspoon Ground Turmeric (haldi)
  • 1 tablespoon salt adjust to taste 
  • 1 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro (hara dhania)
Rinse tapioca and drain well. Place tapioca in a large mesh strainer and pour water over it, into a pot so water drains but tapioca stays slightly wet.

Dry roast peanuts on a pan, or buy roasted peanuts.

In a large pot, add coconut oil and turn on flame, since coconut oil has a low flash point you can add your cumin seeds and mustard seeds almost immediately. If you use another oil, you may need to wait for it to be hot.

Add red chili pepper and stir

Add peas (I used frozen, so watch for crackling splatters) and stir well. When peas are soft, salt and add turmeric. Mix well and add fully drained tapioca.

Stir gently and well to prevent burning or from sticking. (If it does, which mine slightly did, taste will be okay, but texture will be different than "authentic).

Salt well and mix. Taste. Add additional salt if necessary. Continue to cook for approximately 7 minutes, mixing at least every 30 -45 seconds.

Squeeze lemon juice on top and turn off flame. Garnish with coconut and cilantro.