Here is a recipe to help you eat what’s in season
Here’s something so yummy and easy that it’s become a winter staple in our house.
Baked Pinto Beans and Sweet Potatoes, Enchilada Style
The following ingredients are for a vegan recipe. If you’d like to add cheese, get 1 cup of cubed Monterey Jack cheese ready, too.
- A little EV olive oil
- Your favorite salsa
- 1 can pinto beans
- 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 cup crushed tortilla chips
- A little cilantro for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400F. Use a tablespoon or so of oil to grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.
- Spread the potatoes and salsa in the dish, cover the dish with foil, and bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove the foil, and add the beans and some salt and pepper (and cheese if you like). Sprinkle the tortilla crumbs.
- Bake until the sauce is bubbly and the tortilla chips are browned (or cheese is melted), 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the cilantro.
Voila! Easy and delicious…and family-friendly!
(Recipe is thanks to Mark Bittman.)
My enthusiasm for discovering where my food comes from lingers on.
As I move from Skinny Bitch to The Omnivore’s Dilemma, my enthusiasm for discovering where my food comes from lingers on. So far I’m learning a lot about corn, and how pretty much everything non-plant that we eat contains some form of it. Which is interesting since there is very little of nutritional value in corn. Hmm.
What I’m excited about this year that’s new in my life is eating according to the seasons. Since we started taking the vegetable basket at our doorstep once a week, we’ve been sort of forced into it. Not only do we find the challenge of finding recipes for all of these vegetables we’ve never tried (or sometimes even heard of) exciting, but we also love learning about what is growing now—and in our region. In other words, even though you can buy pineapple at the grocery store in the cold winter months, it’s not in season, and therefore our bodies don’t need it. That is what is eye-opening for me. Our bodies are in great harmony with the earth. We sleep when it’s dark and rise when it’s light. Why fight the earth when it comes to eating what it provides? We have to go with it. So if you don’t like leafy greens, the winters will be long for you!
Continue reading “#7: Eating in Season”
A high point in our quest for a kinder diet.
If you haven’t already heard me raving about these, hear me now. These nut burgers are fantastic (thank you, Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian!). As Mike said, “I can’t believe how long this recipe has been sitting in our house unmade!!”
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 medium onion
- 1 cup walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews—whatever nut tickles your fancy (we use walnuts and they are awesome)
- 1 cup cooked brown rice or raw rolled oats
- 2 T ketchup, miso, tomato paste, nut butter, or tahini (we use tahini)
- 1 t chili powder
- 1 egg
- Salt and pepper
- 2T EV olive oil (or other neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn)
Here’s how you do it:
- Chop the onion in a food processor. Add the nuts and rice or oats and pulse to chop, but not too finely. Add the binder (ketchup, etc.), spices, and egg. Process briefly. Add a little liquid (e.g., water, stock, soy sauce, or wine) if necessary; mixture should be moist but not loose.
- Let the mixture sit a few minutes if you have the time, then shape it into 4 to 6 patties. Put the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, add the burgers to the skillet. Cook for about 5 minutes, more or less undisturbed, then turn. Lower the heat a bit and cook on the other side 3 or 4 more minutes, or until firm.
- Serve on buns, with your sauce or fixings of choice! (We use a raspberry chipotle sauce—yum!)
Vary these by substituting up to ½ cup sesame, sunflower, or pumpkin seeds for half of the nuts. Or make it vegan by omitting the egg and adding a ½ sheet of crumbled Nori Chips to the food processor (use miso or nut butter instead of ketchup, and soy sauce for the liquid).
A couple weeks into a kinder diet: a check-in
There are a bunch of new foods in my life: so which ones get the thumbs up so far? Yay for Vegenaise. It’s pricey, but so worth it. Real mayo is pretty sketchy, but Vegenaise has substance and flavor, and of course, is dairy-free! Big huge thumbs up for Whole Soy yogurt. Mmmmmmmm. Love. And oh my gosh, try Trader Joe’s Cherry Chocolate Chip Soy Ice Cream even if you don’t care at all about dairy. It is deLIcious.
As I dabble in the dairy-free cheese category, I’m not quite so dazzled. First we went through some products that were deceptive—we learned that just because a food says soy-based does NOT mean it contains no dairy (why? really—why?). So then we moved on to rice cheese slices and 100% dairy-free shredded cheese. I’m okay with them, but certainly not wowed. I’m tempted to let those slide in future. Dairy-free milk I can do. I’m loving all the different options: rice, soy and almond. I think I’ll stick to rice milk, though, since it’s one thing that’s NOT soy, and it’s made of such basic ingredients. It also tastes very yummy in my oatmeal.
Now we’ve expanded our “kind diet” to phasing out white sugar products, too. Whole wheat graham crackers: yum. Agave syrup: yum. I think our taste buds learn to wrap themselves around the whole wheat, whole grain, brown rice type flavors, such that the old-school, easy and cheap stuff simply doesn’t hold the same place on the flavor pedestal any longer. There is just such an amazing heartiness to the whole grain flavors. I swear I’m not brainwashed, I’m just really tasting things these days! Stay tuned…
Oy. The soy. Now that I’ve started to bring in a few non-dairy “dairy” products, I’m wondering if it’s possible we’ll be taking in too much soy. What to do? Even the vegan babysitter struggles with this dilemma. Now she tells me.
As usual, our answer in this household is moderation. We have decided to be moderate with our use of soy-based products. So if I use soy milk for my coffee and oatmeal, and have tofurkey and soy cheese on my sandwich, I might skip the soy meat product at dinner and just count on my grains and veggies to fill me up. Something like that. It’s working so far, and I’m enjoying the flavors of the new foods I’m bringing into the house very much. This isn’t just about buying soy milk instead of cow’s milk—it’s not so simple. Soy milk is far from perfect. This is the middle ground between cow’s milk and something like rice milk, which is basically shifting from dairy to grain.
This is good. I can tell already. I feel so amazing about what’s going into my body, and about the fact that animals aren’t having to give up their lives to sustain me. Every time I eat a slice of soy cheese, that’s a little less demand on the livestock industry. A little less need to cut down trees to give that livestock a place to graze. But I might switch to rice cheese next week.
Dig deep–in the dirt, that is–and you might just find a way to get in shape.
Everything is cyclical—we hear that all the time, but I do believe I am now witnessing it. I live intown, and have neighbors who have chickens. Gardens are flourishing (or languishing, but at least they have been planted) in front yards, back yards and anywhere sun gets there right here in the city. One of my neighbors is making a good side job of building garden boxes for city dwellers. The people have spoken, and what we want is wholesome, organic, do-it-yourself foods.
The reason I love this growing trend is, well, take this direct quote from my 3-year-old daughter yesterday: “I wanted more arugula.” I think it’s easy to look past the grammar issues to the word “arugula.” When I told my husband about it, he said, “I don’t think I even said the word ‘arugula’ until recently.”
Continue reading “Farm to table to…your best shape ever”
so we must treat our planet as we treat our bodies
I am inspired by the two movies I’ve managed to see in full since the birth of my son several months ago: Food, Inc. and No Impact Man. I already live a pretty environmentally aware life–we take tupperware to restaurants instead of using to-go boxes, pick up recyclable litter on walks and always bring our own bags to stores. But seeing these movies made me want to be even more vegetarian! I want to do MORE.
On reflection, I think it makes sense that people who care about their bodies would care about their Earth. I go to great lengths to make time for exercise, cook healthy foods, nurture my mind… only to walk around breathing in pollutants and kicking trash out of my way? It doesn’t jive. Rather than pick up and move to the Pacific Northwest–and believe me, it’s been considered over and again–I know that I must make strides here in my own city toward creating a healthier place to live.
Continue reading “Your Body Must Reside on This Planet…”
Could you give up dairy?
Are you up for the challenge? Could you give up dairy? I’ve started to read up on Alicia Silverstone’s Kind Diet. It’s “kind” to your body, to animals, and to the earth. I can’t find anything wrong with that so far. I’m already a pesce-vegetarian, so it doesn’t seem like a huge leap to cut out the other animal products, but I didn’t set out to be a vegan, so I’m not sure about all this. I like being able to find things to eat on any menu without having to ask for special treatment. And I don’t want to give up dairy, really. I just want to see if it’s true that I’ll feel lighter and have clearer skin and more energy… Sounds like it could be worth a try.
The good news: Mike’s into doing it with me. Whew! That will for sure make it easier. We’ve decided to try it for two weeks. Our babysitter is vegan; she says it will be easy. They make it all dairy-free now if you want it—we just have to get used to the taste and texture. So we’re cleaning house now. This is a home where every single person has our own special yogurt, including the baby. So we’re eating up the Greek yogurt (oh, how I shall miss you!), the snack cheese, the plain yogurt for cooking, the (already cage-free, vegetarian-fed) eggs…
As I get more into the book and the ugly truth behind why I’m trying this out, I’ll write about it. For now, I am interested because of how a dairy-free lifestyle supposedly makes you look and feel. (My life with two kids could certainly use a boost in the energy department!) I’ll let you know when we say “go”!