Monthly Archives: March 2012

Eugene Food Swap

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Photos Courtesy of Jenny Wunder friend and co-blogger of Eugene Garden Lounge

Overall, it was a small quiet get together with some amazing food and very genuine people. There was so much I wanted to swap for but not enough of my goods to trade with. Next time I shall bring more. Some things that Jenny and I got: chamomile tincture (for sleepytime), nettles tincture (for detox), lavender tincture (for relaxation), winter sweet sauce (basically dried fruits soaked in booze mixed with citrus and made into a spread yummm…), eggs, pickled beets, grape jelly, saurkraut, and kombucha. There were also lots of great baked goods, white bean hummus, flavored oils and vinegars, the list goes on. These ladies are great. Cant wait to learn more and trade for some great stuff at the next Eugene Food Swap

Body Scrubbin’

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After a sunny and uncommonly warm February, all my starts were in full fruition, and my thoughts were in full bloom as well. My body was ready for the new season. Well, March had other plans; progressively getting colder and wetter and colder until the day I woke up and there was about 4 inches of the white stuff outside. Looks like my kitchen will remain full of egg cartons and terra cotta pots for another few weeks. C’e’ la vita.

I’m worried about the little guys though. They are looking a bit droopy and sad. Hoping that sun comes out soon… For now, maybe a little perk from some spent coffee grounds will help.

Speaking of coffee grounds, I have been experimenting with different body scrubs and salves. I wish I would have tried this out much earlier in my life instead of spending $18 at the local Bath n Body shop. All you need is…

  • An exfoliant: coffee grounds, brown sugar, raw sugar, course salt
  • A moisturizer: coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil
  • A “fragrance”: (I say that in quotes because you dont want to use parfum or typical fragrances. Stick to natural/nontoxic ones) essential oils, lemon zest, lavender buds, etc. Some great essential oils are:
  1. Eucalyptus: helps in repair of red blood cells and blood oxygenation. Helps to soothe stress and makes the mind cool and relaxed
  2. Lavender: aids in relief of stress, calming, skin conditions, headache, and migraine
  3. Peppermint: Aids in relief of circulation, colds/flu/fever, cramps, nausea, fainting, headache, migraine, vertigo, acne, ringworm, scabies

So basically, you mix the three ingredients until you reach a desirable consistency. Mix the oil/moisturizer in slowly and you will only need a few drops of essential oil. Some of my favorite mixtures so far are:

  1. Peppermint latte=  coffee grounds+brown sugar+peppermint+coconut oil
  2. Citrus beach= course salt+eucalyptus+lemon zest+olive oil
  3. The ultimate (the tea tree oil and sunflower oil are a great anti-fungal and just overall good for skin)= course salt+raw sugar+tea tree oil+sunflower oil

Enjoy your clean, exfoliated, non-chemically treated bodies!

A week of legumes and grains…

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This week of no meat has been fulfilling and just plain filling. I spent about half as much at the grocery store this week and felt fuller most days. I have been experimenting with lots of different grains and bean main dishes. One of my favorite dishes of all time is falafel. There is just so much freshness mixed with so much comfort in these little delights, I can’t help myself. And, little did I know, they are so easy to make.

Megan’s Falafel Extraordinaire (this makes about 2 cookie sheets worth, this is a lot, enough to freeze, so cut in half if you only want some for a meal)

  • 4 c soaked and boiled garbanzos/chickpeas
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 c fresh chopped parsley (or 2 T dried)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • lemon juice and olive oil until right consistency

Directions:

Falafels are so easy I have no idea why I waited so long to try. Put the garbanzos in the food processor, process until fine and grainy. Add the parsley, spices, onion, and garlic. Process until mixed. Add a few teaspoons of lemon juice and add either olive oil or broth until it reaches a workable consistency to shape the balls. Shape the mush into a cookie-like ball. Put on cookie sheet with parchment and bake at 350 degrees for about 20-30 minutes until slightly crisp on top. At this point you can either (a) eat them like this, (b) freeze/refrigerate them, or (c) pan fry them with a little bit of oil to get that nice crispy edge. I like to serve on pita with cabbage, carrot, and cilantro. Top with a dill+yogurt+salt+pepper mix.

The multitude of non-wheat grains has also been a wonderful addition to my diet. Buckwheat, oat groats, rye berries, teff grain, all wonderful, nutty, rich, and flavorful. My breakfasts have been consisting of oat groats, berries, nuts, and cinnamon. Or when I am feeling ambitious, I’ll make a cobbler: canned peaches, apples, canned plums + cobbler top of ground oat groats, ground flax seed, rough ground hazelnuts, raw honey, little whole wheat flour, cinnamon, and melted butter to barely pull it together. Sprinkle on top and bake for about 20 minutes at 350. So simple and delicious. Also good fresh out, cold, or with nut milk the next day.

My DIY moment of the week, was making my own Rayzen Brann. I love the idea of taking something that people think they have to buy, and making it at home with a fraction of the ingredients. This cereal can also easily be gluten-full or gluten-free.

Home Made No Additive Good Old “Raisin Bran”

  • 1 c fine flour (like buckwheat, whole wheat, amaranth, anything really fine)
  • 1 c course flour (like teff grains, processed oats)
  • 1 c nut flour (hazelnuts, almonds, walnut, etc)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2/3 c milk
  • 1/2 c water
  • 2 T-1/4 c honey or brown sugar (I prefer to heat up raw sugar and pour in)
  • Any spice you want: cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger, etc

Gather all ingredients and mix together. Bam! That easy

Roll out (1/4 mixture at a time) between parchment and plastic wrap. You must use parchment and plastic wrap because this stuff is sticky (I made the mistake of using wax paper and baked completely inedible flakes). Roll out until almost transparent.

Bake at 350 until leathery. Let cool. Once cool, tear into bran sized flakes, and bake again at 275 until crisp.

Once the flakes are dry and cooled. You can add nuts and fruit. I added dried blueberries and chopped hazelnuts, then doused with a little bit of cinnamon.

So tasty.

I still do not plan on being a vegetarian, vegan, pescetarian, raw foodist, or any of the rest, but I am loving these grains, lentils, and beans. Cant wait to share these little beauties at the Food Swap tonight and bring home some tasties for myself. I’ll report back soon and let y’all know about my Food Swap booty!

Spring Cleaning Finale

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Though we have recently had random spells of wanna-be-hail and 5-minute-snow, this winter has been an unusually dry and sunny one. Even with our week of floods in the valley, I’m not complainin’ and neither are the seeds and starts.

All the greens, pinks, yellows, and lavenders popping up everywhere makes this girl (who just finished her last frozen strawberries and cherries *gasp*) very happy and excited for a new season of eating, preserving, and learning.

For my last section of “spring cleaning,” I am taking all my inspiration from fresh sprouts, budding blossoms, and the desire to empty my freezer and cupboards, to do a sort of “self” cleansing. If you know me at all, you could assume that I am not found of and find humor in things like the Master Cleanse, the cabbage soup diet, the all juice diet, the blah blah blah. But after some thought and evaluation of my current diet, and not to mention watching the documentary Forks Over Knives, Shane and I are going to eat vegan/vegetarian for a week or so to kind of “hinder” my current diet cravings and hopefully feel a little lighter. A break from cheese and meat is much needed and monetarily will be much appreciated.

Forks Over Knives is a documentary that basically states that all/most degenerative diseases can be avoided by eating a vegan only diet. The studies seem very well done and the idea that diets can save lives is something I truly believe. In a society of immense obesity, the rising accounts of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer in general only seems to be related in my mind. They also brought up a valid point that consuming the same amount of calories in different “categories” will make the body feel different levels of full (for example 500 calories in oil compared to 500 calories in vegetables can have a significant difference in fullness levels). The receptors in the stomach do not really recognize “calories” so much as they recognize the size and fullness of the organ. Wow, duh, makes sense.

Now, by no means, do I plan on becoming a vegan, a vegetarian, or whatever. This task simply means that I am trying to learn to respect and embrace the protein that vegetables, grains, and legumes have to offer and to utilize them more. As Michael Pollan says, “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”

This cleansing is also offering me a chance to improve my cooking skills and develop a few more recipes. Because, I mean, how hard is it to make a steak taste good? or bacon and eggs? But now making lentils taste that good, that’s a challenge I am willing to accept!

One important thing to remember though, when replacing animal proteins, is to make sure and create “complete” proteins (those including all nine essential amino acids) in your diet. Making complete proteins with plants usually just involves combining two together. Some good protein combos are:

  1. Legumes+Grains= peanut butter on toast, rice and beans, chili and a roll, tofu stir fry over rice
  2. Seeds/Nuts+Legumes= Hummus (if it has tahini), trail mix, lentil loaf
  3. Seeds/Nuts+Grains= seeded bread, granola with nuts, nut butter (almond/hazelnut) on whole grain bread
  4. There is also Legumes+Dairy and Grains+Dairy

There are a couple plant foods known to have complete proteins: soy and quinoa. As a locavore, these foods are both somewhat “off limits” to me. There are some farmers who grow edamame locally, but most comes from Kansas and most quinoa from South America.

Two books that I have taken a lot of inspiration from are Clean Start by Terry Walters and The Vegetarian Option by Simon Hopkinson. Clean Start is an awesome book that breaks down recipes into seasons and really tries to get away from conventional vegetarian recipes (like all tofu and tempeh!) Some of the recipes I have marked currently are: Golden Beet Soup, Daikon Carrot Salad with Cilantro and Peanuts, and Buttercup Squash with Quinoa, Apricot, and Sage Stuffing. The recipes are all very approachable, the photos are great, and her opinions are right in line with what I believe in. Her opening page has a list of tips for a “clean start”

  • eat the colors of the rainbow
  • eat dark leafy greens every day
  • eat all five tastes
  • eat foods that are grown, not manufactured,
  • skip the package
  • buy clean food and leave the rest behind
  • buy and try one new clean food each time you shop
  • know the source of your food
  • buy local and organic when you can
  • be nourished by your food and make peace with your choices

Not too confusing or outlandish right? Now The Vegetarian Option is a  more straightforward cookbook with lots of amazing photographs and some pretty ritzy recipes. These recipes are definitely not for the faint of heart, and add a little pizazz to the vegetarian world. Recipes like beet jelly with dill and horseradish cream or spinach mousse with Parmesan cream are among some of the more “foodie” recipes, but there are definitely some tasty ones to try at home: ricotta and spinach crepes or asparagus frittata and soft cheese with chives.

To start off the week and the veggie recipes to follow, I will leave you with this…

Lentil Loaf (adapted from Sue’s recipe at Camas Country Mill, makes two loaves)

  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 T oil
  • 4 c cooked, drained lentils
  • 1 c whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1 c nuts or seeds (I used chopped walnuts)
  • 1 tsp sage, thyme, and oregano
  • 1/4 c whole wheat flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 c broth or water
  • 1 T vinegar
  • 1 T soy sauce or 1-2tsp salt
  • 2 T toasted seeds (I used pumpkin)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Saute onions in oil until browned. Mix all ingredients together except toasted seeds. Shape with fingers and place in a greased loaf pan. Sprinkle top with seeds. Bake 30 to 40 minutes. So easy and so tasty, even Shane the carnivore likes it.

Got any great, protein rich veggie main dishes?