When I made the choice to eat simply, locally, organically I had to begin to look at my buying habits as well as my eating habits. Happily for me it was a fairly easy job because I had just moved into a house with roommates who already kept a macrobiotic kitchen.  The pantry was stocked with large glass jars (old mayo jars from the deli) filled with grains, beans, seeds, nuts and seaweeds. In the ’70’s, natural food stores did not have frozen meals, rice dream, soups in a box or good quality cookies. Pretty basic, simple and clean. 

 

In my cooking classes the first thing I ask my students to think about is what is in their pantry and refrigerator? My rule of thumb is to read the label and if there are more than 8 ingredients and if there are words you can’t pronounce, then give or throw the package away. If the ingredients include sugar, chemicals, food coloring, additives, MSG, over 180 mgs of salt per serving or any cholesterol- pitch it. If anything is past its “sell by” date- throw it out. Making choices about what we eat is a daily practice. This is the first step to creating a healthy and natural kitchen.

Apples

October 15, 2008

We have apple trees on our land which have never put out fruit until last summer. The crop was so abundant that huge branches broke under the weight. This year I had promised myself I’d prune the trees but the garden got much more attention than the apple trees. Again there is a bumper crop. There are apple trees hidden around our property that I didn’t even know existed. Picking one’s own fruit is very rewarding. My freezer is stocked with blueberries and strawberries from the summer. Here are some things I’ve discovered great info about “picking your own” and where you can go to pick. Pickyourown.org has everything you want to know including how much to pick, what to pick and why and even how to make jam and pickles. Of course, making apple sauce or an apple pie is by far the easiest thing to do. Here is a recipe for a gluten- free crust that you can use with your favorite fruit pie recipe:

Nut Meal Crust:

2 cups (heaping) nut meal- try almonds- just blend until meal

1/2 cup non-gluten flour ( try Red Mill)

1/2 cup safflower or grapeseed oil

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon, if desired

Combine all of the ingredients to form a ball of dough

Press the dough oiled pie dish. Makes 2 pies.

Bake the crust at 350 degrees F. until firm- 10-15 minutes.

Cool before filling

M Cafe LA

October 13, 2008

Okay, this is the kind of nourishing experience I could repeat daily, or twice daily. The clean cuisine at the M Cafe is not only good looking it’s also good tasting and good quality ingredients and good people serving you. I had the most scrumptious Corn and Lotus Root chowder, it was so sweet (but not from sugar) and filling I hardly had room for the beet quinoa salad and the kale with peanut sauce and the salmon nori roll. It’s comfortable deli style: place your order at the counter after looking over all the mouth-watering selections in the display case. Take your number, sit down and within a minute or two your meal is in front of you. There are 3 locations and they are open all day until 9pm. Tonight there were people of all ages- even a few children one of them eating with chopsticks! I love that this hip cafe is introducing people to the delights of Macrobiotic cooking. 

 

Like a street fair, crowds flock to the San Luis Obispo Thursday Night Farmer’s Market which involves more than 120 vendors. Farmers park their trucks in the center of the street and restaurateurs wheel out massive barbecue pits for grilling ribs, chicken, sausages, tri-tip and even barbecued calzones under the evening sky. There are various food booths that offer everything from pizza-by-the-slice to warm-from-the-oven cookies. As an east coaster, my eyes feasted on the produce ranging from dozens of varieties of apples and beautiful fruit, organic as well as unsprayed, to greens, and squash and hand-harvested nuts. Fresh walnuts are a taste sensation and there are gorgeous bouquets of garden-grown flowers, hand-pressed cider and other seasonal treats. A very inspiring turnout- throngs of families on an evening outing. Smokey the Bear was on hand to teach kids about fire safety. Loved this event.

Get a Bike, fold it up!

October 10, 2008

According to The Economist bike sales are up. Giant, one of the largest manufacturers sold 460,000 bikes last month! And there are reported shortages in New York and Taiwan where people are actually putting deposits on their future 2-wheeler delivery. Bikes in urban settings are not a new fad yet taking a bike public transport is difficult and often not allowed, particularly during rush hour. So check out the folding bike solution. How brilliant, although the bikes are not made for long distance. “It’s a three-legged comparison between the durability of the bike, how much it’s going to cost and how much it’s going to weigh. If you want something that’s very light and very durable, you’re going to pay for it. If it’s going to be durable and reasonably priced, it’s going to be heavier,” said David Fiedler, bicycling guide at bicycling.about.com.  

via: treehugger

Eureka- black gold

October 6, 2008

   

 
I have found the gadget I’ve been dreaming of- better than worm composting, better than a trash compactor, better than shlepping out in the middle of winter to the compost pile with organic scraps, it’s an indoor composter. How’s this: – automatically mixes, heats and aerates, separates fresh materials from finished compost, allowing you to access finished compost continuously throughout the year, uses an internal air filtration system to eliminate unpleasant odors and makes compost in as little as two weeks! It is made from stainless steel and recycled food-grade polyethylene, uses only 10 watts of power, EnergyStar compliant. This composter recycles its weight in waste every 10 days, diverting over two tons of waste from landfills over its life. Every kitchen needs one.

 


Wrist-erciser

October 5, 2008

 

Micah just sent me this link for a very interesting hand and wrist exerciser. It has won the Medical Design excellence award. The Xtensor is the only product on the market to perform with true biomechanical correctness, able to stimulate muscles and tendons in the hands, wrists and elbows that have been virtually off limits to all other devices. Just the thing after a long day of driving and gripping a steering wheel, playing music, and other repetitive motions.

Bee Pollen-Friend or Foe?

October 5, 2008

 

I went over to the local farm-market today and was chatting with the bee-keeper from Berry Ledges, John Baker. We were looking at his autumn honey which has a deep red color from the Japanese Knotweed that was in bloom this August. It was first introduced as an ornamental and for erosion control but now is known as an invasive plant and it is growing along my road. In late August the bees flock to the fragrant white flowers. I had a taste of the honey- delish! Bought a jar.

I also tasted bee pollen for the first time. I have heard that people with allergies use bee pollen to build immunity – but I had a bad reaction- my throat swelled up first with blisters and then just one big welt, turned red, and my mouth tingled, my lips went numb- all within 15 minutes- I was very concerned that I might not be able to swallow. I took a claritin and waited as calmly as I could and the symptoms seemed to stabilize and slowly improve. Freaked me out, though. I have since read a great deal about bee pollen and there are mixed reviews. Some people consider it the perfect food. And some people warn us to use it carefully. There are no documented studies showing that bee pollen improves performance or helps relieve allergies. If you have seasonal allergies- try one or two pellets of bee pollen to see if you are sensitive to it before you try using it in any quantity. There have been cases of anaphylactic shock reported. 

I’ll stick to using honey in my tea and leave the pollen to the bees.