Category Archives: Food Facts

Adzuki Beans & Brown Rice with Cilantro & Carrots

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Adzuki beans are one of the most nutrient-packed, and we’ve read a lot about them, but never actually ate them.  Which is sad because they’re so yummy especially for such a healthy bean!  They’ve got magnesium, copper, zinc, protein, potassium, iron and other B vitamins in them, making them a food staple we need to consume MUCH more often.

2 cups cooked Adzuki beans

2 1/2 cups cooked brown rice

1 1/2 cups shredded carrots

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup coconut milk

2 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tbsp raw sesame seeds

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

  • Mix together rice, beans, carrots, cilantro, coconut milk, salt and pepper together
  • In a frying pan over medium heat, cook olive oil for 2 minutes
  • Add rice vinegar and sesame seeds and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring occasionally (remove from heat if seeds start to brown before 2 minutes)
  • Remove from heat, stir into rice and bean mixture and serve

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The Honey Debate & Jim’s Bees

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For any of you who may be strict vegans, you probably look at some of my recipes that fall under the vegan category, yet they still list honey as an ingredient.  I completely understand why some people choose to cut bee products out of their life.  Vegan means NO ANIMAL PRODUCTS and bees (insect or not) are indeed an animal.  Some say bees feel pain when smoked (which prevents beekeepers from getting stung or making it easier to transport hives), some say taking honey from bees is unnatural and it starves them over the winter when they’re depleted of food.  Some even go as far as to say it’s animal cruelty or enslavement to keep bees in a beehive that wasn’t constructed in nature.

Jim and I?  We think about totally different aspects of bees and honey, since Jim maintains a thriving beehive of around 30,000 bees (it’s really hard to keep an accurate headcount with so many buzzing around).  He’s been passionate about sustaining a colony since he read about how most food supplies are dependent on bees and found a woman who runs a bee warehouse in Woburn, MA that set him up with a starter hive.  They’ve only been smoked one time (I really don’t think they minded it), we provided them a huge (organic) garden to enjoy and considering we’re around thm pretty frequently and have only been stung once, I truly feel like they’re at home here.  It may all sound like some optimistic, unrealistic vision of what they go through, but in our eyes, they’re necessary for food and life in general, and the more bees there are, the better off we all are.  They’re not being maliciously killed or butchered, and they still get to have some of the honey too.

So to us, it’s OK.  Many vegans I know feel the same way– some don’t and that’s fine too.  One thing I’ve learned about vegetarianism/veganism, is that everyone has their own beliefs, they’re own rules, and everyone’s personal food preferences are up to them and no one else.

But for those are you who are interested, here’s a look into Jim’s beehive!  It’s really amazing and they’re such smart creatures! 🙂

          

          

       

(honey straight out of the hive)

    

(bottles of honey after straining- about a gallon)

Kitchen Trash…Or Treasure?

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Cleaning out our kitchen clutter is one of our favorite chores.  Tossing out the old gives us a reason to stock up on new foods, and we always welcome a trip to Trader Joe’s.  But sometimes, all the expired food, tired produce and seemingly trash-worthy items may actually find purpose someplace else in our home.  Recycling is just good common sense, so here are some tips and tricks for putting all your kitchen trash to good use and getting the most bang for your buck!

  • Composting is one of the obvious ways to reuse any unwelcome cooking scraps and trash, which will save you from piling up smelly garbage in your trash can and help your growing garden.  And freezing veggie scraps or fruit toss-always is a cheap (and fun) way to create your own vegetable stocks or fruit jams.
  • Thinking about tossing that stale loaf of bread? Think again.  Cubing leftover rolls or toast scraps is a simple way to make croutons by baking them in the oven.  Throwing less than perfect bread or stale crackers in the food processor also make for instant breadcrumbs!
  • Lemon is the absolute goldmine of the kitchen.  Not only can it be mixed with water, vinegar or baking soda to produce and array or chemical-free cleaning products, but it’s also got healing powers that’ll treat everything from sunburn to a sore throat.  Its rinds are great for smoothing over your skin as well for a super easy facial!
  • Consume one too many glasses of wine and you forget to plug the bottle back up when you’re done? – we’re guilty of this.  Instead of dumping alcohol, save it for cooking up some yummy sauces or dressings. It may have lost its buzz, but it’ll still retain its flavor when sautéed or blended.
  • Don’t forget the pets! Most any leftover (unbleached) paper towels or cardboard boxes are great for small critter bedding and can save you the trip to the store (and a lot of money!)

           

Our First Raw Meal! Zucchini Pasta with Spinach & Tomato Cashew Cream Sauce

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FINALLY!!

It’s only been a few weeks since I even began to learn about the world of eating a raw, living diet but I must say the benefits of doing so had me intrigued from the get-go.  My boyfriend initially signed up for a class that revolves around eating uncooked foods and quickly got me to join after, in which I was thrilled to start understanding and researching the rewards of consuming raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and sprouts.  Initially, it didn’t sound all that appetizing to me, but I have to admit our first meal was without a doubt, one of the MOST amazing meals I have ever enjoyed!

Before we share our recipe here’s a few perks to having a living foods diet:

  • Raw foods maintain the nutrients, minerals and enzymes that are usually killed by cooking
  • Cooking raw requires less preparation and virtually NO clean up!
  • Eating raw is completely efficient in fighting lots of diseases like heart disease and cancer, because no free radicals are formed when you don’t cook food
  • Issues like indigestion,heartburn and constipation greatly decrease when consuming living food
  • Especially if yo grow your own garden, eating raw saves money of money when it comes to grocery shopping, as well as not needing to buy pots and pans anymore and cutting on  your electrical appliance bills
  • It is SO much better for the environment when you don’t buy packaged foods and throw away tons of containers and wrappers.  And the more you depend on locally grown produce, the less you depend on food factories that pollute the air when they release carbon dioxide as they cook food
  • It improves sleep AND energy levels (many people claim eating such nutrient rich foods creates a euphoric high or state of being- I can attest to that!)

ZUCCHINI PASTA WITH SPINACH CASHEW SAUCE

For the pasta and actual dish:

2 medium zucchini

20 grape tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup green onions, chopped

  • Using a vegetable spiraler (we HIGHLY recommend the World Cuisine Spiral Vegetable Slicer) simply slice zucchini through the machine
  • Toss with tomatoes and green onions, and set aside

For the Sauce:

1 cup cashews, soaked over night

2 cups fresh spinach, half of it chopped

1/2 sun-dried tomatoes

2 lemons, juiced

1/4 cup white onion

3 cloves garlic

1 cayenne pepper, minced

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup water

1/2 tsp sea salt

Pepper to taste

  • In a food processor, blend cashews, cayenne, lemon juice and olive oil and  blend well.  Stop and stir a bit, then add the onions, garlic and sun-dried tomatoes and blend again until well mixed
  • Stir again, and then add 1 cup of the un-chopped spinach and blend again until smooth.  Once that is mixed, add the water and blend until creamy
  • Remove from food processor and stir in chopped spinach, salt and pepper
  • Toss with pasta, grape tomatoes and green onions and enjoy!

(NOTE:  Since this was our first experience we have to give credit to Rawmazing, for providing such a great recipe we altered a little to make our own version)

Crash Course in Composting

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We LOVE our organic produce, but with the rising costs of food in general we DON’T love the skyrocketing prices of pesticide free food.  So with the warm weather approaching, we’re excited to get started on our annual garden growing where we can pick our own fresh veggies everyday without having to make the costly trip to Whole Foods.  So in order to keep our soil healthy AND save ourselves a huge amount of trash, we’ve begun collecting anything and everything that can be used for a compost pile.  It’s only been 3 days and were amazed at the massive amount of great materials we’ve collected!

Composting Tips

  • To reduce any smell coming from your mixture, make sure to turn and rotate your pile often.  This will also aid with the decomposition process
  • Apply the compost 2 to 4 weeks prior to planting so that everything has a chance to blend in with your soil
  • DON’T use any non-organic materials.  Pesticide ridden elements will be harmful to your garden
  • For faster composting, keep your materials in direct sunlight or at the warmest temperature feasible
  • Finished compost generally shrinks to half the volume you started with, but it’s much denser and heavier
  • Good compost should look rich, dark soil
  • 

What can be Composted?

  • Any organic vegetable or fruit leftovers (moldy or spoiled is great! And all seeds, cores, peels and pits are fine)
  • Grass
  • Paper towel pieces
  • Coffee or tea grinds
  • Soy milk or tofu
  • Fish bones
  • Feathers
  • Pencil shavings
  • Lint
  • Egg shells
  • Wooden toothpicks or matches
  • Stale bread, cereal, pasta or potato chips
  • Hair or nail clippings

                    

Happy Gardening 🙂

Superfoods!

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You think you eat healthy enough.  Maintaining a good intake of fruits and vegetables may SEEM like you’re doing everything right when it comes to your diet.  But even a heaping of roasted, sautéed or steamed veggies and cooked fruits deplete major portions of the nutrients and vitamins that occur naturally in produce when it’s raw.  A process occurs in your body when you consume cooked vegs and fruits, called digestive leukocytosis, in which your organs actually recognize the unnaturally cooked food and treat it as an invader, using up unnecessary energy and negatively affecting your body. So if you’re doing any of the following to produce…

  • Baking
  • Roasting
  • Frying
  • Steaming
  • Sautéing
  • Boiling
  • Microwaving (which is harmful on MANY other levels as well)

…you’re adversely robbing yourself of some of the benefits of food that would be perfectly wholesome, if eaten raw.

But there are some little known superfoods out there which pack a lot more vitamins and nutrients than your average produce and since they come raw, usually in the form of dried, powdered or tablet, your body is able to easily absorb all of them!  Most are also delicious with smoothies and can be bought through food stores, my choice being Raw Food World.  Here’s a list of some of the top picks for amazing superfoods…

Maca: A rare Incan superfood, which contains high doses of amino acids, vitamins B, C and E, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, zinc, calcium and iron appropriately, puts Maca at the top of any superfood list! From a root grown high in the Andes, it also aids relieves countless health symptoms like increasing energy and supporting endocrine health.

  • Eat this ESPECIALLY if…you are prone to sleeplessness or fatigue, want to have more energy, increase stamina, libido and sexual health, relieve stress or want to relieve symptoms of PMS or menopause.

Spirulina: This blue-green algae has been proven to prevent and treat cancers within the human body, with its high levels of chlorophyll that stimulate the destruction of growing cancer cells. It also has ounce for ounce, twelve times the digestible protein as beef AND has been known to have potent immune-boosting nutrients within it. Just 10 grams of it more than cover your daily recommended intake of B12 and A vitamins and 83% of iron!

  • Eat this ESPECIALLY if…you suffer from Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease OR have suffered nerve damage, are looking to prevent or treat cancer, want to maintain good brain health, have certain allergies, skin diseases or anemia.

Chlorella: This additional algae relates to spirulina, but has incredibly strong potency of its own. Known for highly effective detoxification, it is an excellent way to rid your body of harmful chemicals you may be unknowingly ingesting. It also helps cleanse the liver, boost T-cell activity (to fight bacteria, viruses and cancer), along with tons of other minerals, vitamins and nucleic acids.

  • Eat this ESPECIALLY if…you need to reduce your cholesterol levels or blood glucose, are looking to prevent or treat cancer, to aid in digestion, promote muscle strength, balance estrogen or to control inflammation.

Goji: This little berry is teeming with cartenoids, vitamins and essential minerals. The vast amounts of antioxidants help protect us from free radical damage and radiation and are known for promoting superior eye health. It is also critical in boosting your immune system and promoting longevity and vitality. They also contain 18 amino acids making it a complete protein, on top of harboring 21 trace minerals like copper, magnesium, calcium, selenium and zinc, to name just a few.

  • Eat this ESPECIALLY if…you are prone to eye issues or macular degeneration, looking to decrease inflammation, increase stamina and metabolism, support a healthy pregnancy, minimize risk of heart disease or maintain healthy hair and skin.

Cacao: Quite possibly the best tasting superfood out there, solely based on the fact that it is the purest form of chocolate. It has MORE antioxidant flavanoids than blueberries, red wine or green tea! It is also made up of large doses of magnesium, protein and zinc, while helping increase levels or serotonin, endorphins and other natural mood-boosters.

  • Eat this ESPECIALLY if….you are looking to treat depression or maintain a happier overall mindset, support weight loss, improve focus and concentration or grow stronger nails and hair.

Hemp: This protein is also one of the most sustainable resources we know of.  Amino acids, omegas, zinc, magnesium and a super fatty acid GLA is packed inside the hemp seed.  It is vital for cellular detoxification, maintaining healthy organ function, reducing inflammation and is also effective in increasing energy

  • Eat this ESPECIALLY if…you want to boost metabolic energy, promote healthy skin, hair and nails, you need to rebuild muscle strength, a heightened immune system or for better blood consistency

Chia: It’s not surprising that this superfood used to be more precious than gold in ancient Aztec civilizations. The amount of nutrients in these tiny seeds are unparalleled. It is rich in highly concentrated levels of omega 3 fatty acids, protein, antioxidants and fiber. There are also full of trace minerals, essential vitamins and polyphenols, which aid in proper organ functionality.

  • Eat this ESPECIALLY if…you have high blood sugar, are prone to heart disease, want to lose weight, want to cleanse your colon or have digestive issues.

Acai: Avoid the gimmicks and “amazing weight loss miracles” scam companies tote this precious berry as. Pure, organic acai berries are one of the most antioxidant high superfoods and are packed with healthy omega fats, protein, fiber and extreme levels of vitamin A and C. They are rich in flavor and make it extremely tolerable in recipes and smoothies.

  • Eat this ESPECIALLY if…you want to boost your libido or energy levels, you want to fight anti-aging, want to combat digestive issues, you want better cardiovascular heath or want to stabilize blood sugars and reduce cholesterol level

Reasons to Go Organic!

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One important issue we have yet to cover, is the importance of not only eating your fruits and veggies but the QUALITY of the produce you select.  Some are skeptical, but I choose to eat fruit and vegetables that are certified organic.  Yes, they DO taste better, they’re better for your body and they improve the environment.

People scoff at the snobbiness of only eating organic food or think its ridiculous and don’t find conventionally grown items offensive or lacking nutrients.  I choose to believe that farming using chemical-ridden pesticides and fertilizing is just plain disgusting and isn’t a healthy way to eat.  I would prefer to eat food that has been grown naturally without the use of harmful ingredients like Dichloro-Diphenyl- Trichloroethane (DDT) which cause cancer, infertility and development problems.  I prefer to refrain from genetically-modified foods (GMOs) that are also known to causes diseases and a slew of other issues you can check out on Raw Wisdom.

Consuming conventionally grown produce, slightly defeats the purpose of eating healthy at all.  It’s like taking a delicious apple or crown of broccoli and sprinkling chemicals all over it before you try devour it.  Sure, washing them will help a little, but it doesn’t reverse the internal damage done by such strong pesticides.

The prices may be a little steeper, but in the long run, it is absolutely worth paying the extra penny to go organic.

THE DIRTY DOZEN: THE TWELVE DIRSTIEST PRODUCE ITEMS YOU SHOULD ALWAYS BUY ORGANIC

  • Celery: Has no protective outer skin to shield it from pesticide residue 
  • Peaches: Their delicate skin makes it susceptible to chemicals
  • Strawberries: Unless they’re in season, they generally come from countries that have no qualms about using harmful materials to grow them
  • Apples:  Are prone to attracting insects and fungi, so a heavy amount of pesticides remain on their skin
  • Blueberries: Conventional blueberries are treated with 52 known pesticides
  • Nectarines: Another delicate tree fruit, similar to apples and peaches
  • Bell Peppers:  Also have thicker skins and are heavily doused with chemicals
  • Spinach: Tops the list of the most contaminated leafy-green vegetable with 42 pesticides
  • Kale:  Even as a tougher breed of produce, it is still a highly sprayed veg
  • Potatoes:  Are generally the hardest to get completely clean and can be laced with 37 different pesticides
  • Grapes: Vineyards are continuously sprayed, and no amount of cleaning can rid pesticides from their thin skins
  • Cherries:  Even locally grown cherries are known to have 3 times more pesticide spraying than imported ones

 For even more information, check out this amazing article on being organic!