Tag Archives: local

5 Kale Salad Dressings

25 August

I don’t know about you guys, but I love eating greens. However when it comes to kale, it’s a little bit difficult to just pop in my mouth and chew it without anything on it.
One Sunday, I was being lazy and enjoying my day at the beach when I got a call that there was no green left at Josh’s market.
So Denis and I ran to the market but it was true, no lettuce was left! There was only two buckets of kale left. So I packed almost all the kale left and bought it. When I got home, I made a nice kale salad but I remembered it was always hard for me to eat it without anything. So I came up with a nice dressing for it. The next day I had the same issue, so I whipped up another dressing!

I came up with actually 5 kale salad dressings that I thought I MUST shared with the world. Spicy Sun Dried Tomato Tahini, Avocado Tahini, Ginger Miso, Sunflower Dill, and Almond Butter Coconut. They all have pretty much the same ingredients and are made the same way.

Spicy Sun Dried Tomato Tahini

5-6 sun dried tomatoes (soak for 10 to 15 minutes)
1 TBS Raw Organic Tahini (you can also switch for raw almond butter instead)
1 Red Chillie Pepper or any spicy pepper to taste
1/2 Tsp organic or natural Mexican seasoning
Salt, garlic, and olive Oil to taste

Mix in personal blender until smooth adding water if needed. Pour over kale salad and add chopped cilantro.

Avocado Tahini

1/2 ripe organic avocado
1 Tbs of Raw Organic Tahani
the juice of 1/2 grapefruit
1 Handful of cilantro
Olive Oil and salt to taste

Put all ingredients in blender and mix until smooth.  Pour over Kale salad and sprinkle some black and white sesame seeds.

Ginger Miso

1 inch (cube) fresh ginger peeled
1 Tbs unpasteurized miso (I prefer brown or red)
1/2 carrot
1 Tbs raw tahini or raw almond butter
1 Date
Salt and Olive Oil to taste
(you can also add chillie peppers to make it spicy)

Put in blender and mix until smooth. If needed, add water to blend. Pour over kale and mix well.

Sunflower Dill

1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup dill loosely fit or to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
the juice of 1/2 grapefruit (or lemon)
1/2 Tbs raw organic tahini
Salt and organic cumin seed powder to taste

Mix in blender until smooth. Add more grapefruit juice if needed. Pour over kale salad and massage. Sprinkle sunflower seeds and any other seasonings.

Almond Butter Coconut

1/4 cup raw almond butter
2 teaspoon namashoyu
1 Date
1 Tbs fresh lemon or lime juice
1/4 cup raw coconut milk
1/2 chillie pepper or spicy pepper of choice
Garlic, Salt, Olive Oil, and Curry powder to taste

Mix in blender or personal blender. Add water for desired consistency and pour over kale salad. Mix red cabbage with kale for a “Pad Thai” feel. I use this recipe for my kelp noodles to make raw Pad Thai.

ENJOY!

5 Tips to Green Your Kitchen

09 August

Following with my Green Series, here are some tips to start transitioning to an environmental friendly kitchen.

Cleaners & Paper

As I mentioned in my post about green tips for your bathroom, I recommend using more natural cleaners. I make my own cleaning spray using vinegar, water, and soap.  I also use baking soda and vinegar to clean my kitchen sink or my vitamix after many green smoothies which usually leave a “yellowish” coat on my vitamix.  I avoid using paper towels to clean; instead I have a nice supply of organic cotton kitchen towels that I purchased at Target for a reasonable price. I don’t purchase paper napkins either, instead I use the small kitchen towel or cloth napkins when I have guests over. I love using cloth/cotton towels because they are reusable and very inexpensive in the long run.

Compost/Trash

Compost Bucket

One of my favorite things I do everyday is saving my kitchen scraps for my compost. Not only I avoid creating more trash, but also I use vegetable scraps for my compost which eventually go to my edible garden. In fact, since we started composting, our weekly trash is about a 3 gallon bag! Mainly the trash I have left over is the corn cups I get from Josh’s Organic Garden from my daily juice because most of the rest is recycle paper or some (very minimal) plastic containers. This is one of the biggest advantages of being a raw foodist, there is very little trash if you compost.

However, if you are still eating microwavable food and take out, please look for recycle containers and avoid using new plastic containers when you order food. Bring your own containers so that you can avoid making more trash. For more information on composting, there is tons of sites that are very easy to use.  Also, for trash bags, I recommend bags made of corn that will biodegrade instead of your regular plastic bags that will outlive humanity.

Food

Yes, food is a way to green your kitchen! Buy organic food and hopefully from local growers. Buy more vegetables and fruits instead of pre-packaged foods that create trash and are not healthy for you. See it all leads to being healthy… yeah you catch my drift now. I write a lot about this, so here are some posts on food and environment.

Also, start buying organic herbs and seasonings, star transitioning everything in your pantry to healthier organic foods. For example, if you eat tons of pepper, next time you run out, purchase an organic pepper (most likely) in a reusable container that you can later refill. You don’t have to invest tons of money all at once on switching to healthier foods if you start slowly as they run out.

Energy & Kitchen Appliances

Using the same principle in replacing your food, start replacing your appliances to energy saving ones or better yet, get rid of them. Starting with the microwave! Are you still using it? I mean really? Get rid of it instead of replacing it, and if you still need something to heat up snacks and food, get a small toaster oven. In addition, consider using your regular oven less times a week or use it more efficiently; for example, prepare 3 or more meals that you can save for later days all at once.

Change the settings in your refrigerator to a lower temperature. Most times they are set too high when you don’t use most of the space.  Unplug your appliances when not using them everyday. I have two surge protectors where all my appliances are plugged and before I leave for work, I turn the surge protectors off that way I don’t have to unplug each appliance. Avoid using the dishwasher if you have one, and please don’t tell me you do cause I’ll cry!

One of the biggest (my top 5) advantages of being a raw foodist is that our energy bill decreased immensely since we stopped using our stove, and now in our new apartment, we don’t even have a stove!

Utensils & Kitchen Containers

Organic Fruits & Bamboo Bowl

Avoid buying plastic; please really, I mean it! Plastic is the worst thing ever!  It’s made of oil and can’t be recycled most of the times. So no more Glad, instead buy glass and bamboo for your utensils. Again, you don’t have to give away all 100 Tupperware pieces you have (that don’t even match anymore) all at once, but as things get lost (and wind up in the ocean), replace them for more environmental friendly choices like glass and bamboo. Unless you really want to get rid of it all after reading this very inspiring post, but please don’t throw it away (there is really no throwing away, it means burying in and hoping it will decompose after 200 years), so donate it to a poor college student, goodwill, or a relative. You can post it in FreeCycle.org and someone will take it.

Ok so those are more than 5 tips for sure, but hopefully one will stay with you today and forever! If you have other “Green Kitchen” tips, please share them with us.

Green Tips to Decorate Your Home

04 May

It’s always fun to redecorate you living space especially after a nice spring cleaning! I wanted to share some tips to decorate your home without spending a lot of money and contributing to the environment at the same time.

Reuse

The best way to stay in budget and help the environment is to reuse. Even if you don’t like everything you have at home, there are always items that can be salvaged. For example, an old curtain can be reused to make new pillow covers.  Another way to reuse is to switch things around the house. I do this with a lot of my decorations, frames, candles, and statues. I move things from one room to another or take what I don’t like to my office and stuff from my office can go back into the house. I also switch outdoor decorations or even plants around the house too.

By giving things a second chance in your home, you are also helping to conserve and prevent production of brand new things. Therefore saving resources like logging, mining, and manufacturing.  

Recycle

If you want to buy new items, try recycled items. For example, recycled glass and “downcycled” wood items. However, if your budget for decorating consists of whatever people are giving away, try Freecycle.org. There is a local chapter in almost every city and many people give away great items in good condition.

Renewable & Natural

Most people are not aware that the best renewable sources make beautiful furnishings and decorations for a home. For example, bamboo, wheat, cork, or wool are easy to produce and grown and require much less resources than say wood or stone.

What to Look For? – Read the Labels

Yes, not only I’m asking you to read your food labels, but also anything that you bring into your home. Here is a quick checklist to keep handy when shopping:

  • Look for locally harvested or made: you will be supporting local businesses that require less transportation and therefore using less fossil fuels. Not to mention that you would be supporting American made products!
  • Non-Toxic substances: Paint is the first one that comes to mind, but also any cleaning supplies and candles or even incense
  • Organic or Non-Genetically Modified: yes there are organic materials and fabrics! For example, organic cotton sheets, pillows, covers, towels, kitchen towels, etc. Hemp and bamboo are also a great fabric to buy. Even Target carries organic cotton bedding and kitchen linens nowdays and not just online, but also in their stores
  • Reusable: I mentioned reusing items from your home, but if you are shopping for new furnishings or decorations, go for items that can be used later with little or no manufacturing

Out with the Old

I wrote a blog about Clearing your Clutter, which I recommend reading before redecorating your home. So after you decide to get rid of things that no longer serve a purpose in your life, what are you going to do with them? NOT THE TRASH!

Recycle and Reuse is always the answer! Sign up for Freecycle.org and OFFER your items to other people that might be interested in them. You can also try to sell them, but that may require more time and effort and if you have a hard time letting things go, you may change your mind and put it back into your life. Donations to organizations are also great. I’ve become familiar with all the local organizations that take donations of furniture, clothes, etc. Most known are Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity, and Salvation Army. These are also great place to shop for furniture.

I don’t believe in making money of things I’m getting rid of, so I donate everything or offer it in Freecycle.org. I believe in making space for good things in my life. I also believe in manifesting for things. For example, I recently had a purple purse that a friend gave after I helped her clean her cluttered closet, but I had to retire it (to GoodWill), and the next day my boss gave a brand new purple purse that she found while clearing her clutter and that was her closet sitting for a year not being used.

I hope these tips help you in clearing your sacred space and redecorating it while contributing to the environment.

Reusable Picture Frame Photo by Foxtongue

Bamboo Photo by caseyyee

Bicycle Depot Photo by Peter Blanchard

Saturday Morning Green Delight

31 January
Saturday Morning Juice & Ganesh

Saturday Morning Juice & Ganesh

One Saturday morning I woke up waiting a green juice. So I took everything green out of the refrigerator and juice it. I usually don’t juice greens because I get a fantastic green juice at Josh’s Organic Garden called the “Thank God” five days a week. Not only does Josh have the best greens ever, but also their juicing method is out of the world.

So I have gotten used to drinking green juices five days a week and Saturdays they are not open. I washed all my greens and juiced them including two apples because my juicer is not as great as the one at the Juice Bar. And now it has become a tradition to wake up Saturday mornings and juice the greens.

Here is what I juice:

3 types of Kale (dinosaur, red, and green)

3 types of chard (red, yellow, and white)

Florida Romaine lettuce

Dandelion, Spinach, Collard Greens

Celery, Carrots, Cucumber

2 apples (optional)

I juice everything and put it in a jar, mix in about 2/3 of water, and some pH drops. I save half of that for my sweetie and he adds a lime/lemon to his juice, and I add the two juiced apples to mine.

And that’s our Saturday morning delight!

Thank God at Josh's Organic Garden

Thank God at Josh's Organic Garden

Raw Borsch – Beet Soup

05 December
Russian Raw Borsch

Russian Raw Borsch

One of my favorite cooked dishes was Russian borsch. It was my favorite soup to make for Denis and when we became vegetarians I stopped using beef to make it. However, when we became raw, I had a hard time finding a recipe for borsch that I liked. Finally, I invented my own and liked how it came out.  The almond milk gives it a “sour cream” feeling to it.  I have actually made this soup with golden beets as well.  So I hope you enjoy it as well!

1/2 cup of raw almonds & water (or 1 cup of raw almond milk)
1 medium size tomato
2 medium size beet
2 carrots
3/4 cup shredded cabbage
Garlic and onion to taste
Salt to taste
Olive Oil
Chopped dill

Blend the almonds and water to make almond milk. Strain the milk in a nut bag or if you want to keep the pulp, don’t strain. Poor the milk back into the blender and add one beet, one carrot, and the tomato. Add some salt, garlic, onion, and olive oil and blend until smooth. Put aside in a bowl.

Shred the other carrot and beet and add to the soup base.  I use my food processor with a shredding blade to save time. Add cabbage and dill.

Pour in serving bowls and add some olive oil on the top.

Serves two hungry adults 🙂

Making the Almond Milk/Base for Borsch

Making the Almond Milk/Base for Borsch

Raw Vegan Kimchi

29 September
Raw Vegan Kimchi

Raw Vegan Kimchi

Kimchi is one of my favorite dishes ever! I think I can eat it almost everyday. Here is my way of making raw vegan kimchi.

1 Napa cabbage or Chinese cabbage

Real Salt (first to salt the cabbage and then to salt the whole recipe)

5 to 7 cloves of garlic

Peeled Ginger to taste (I use about 1 inch square of a ginger root)

1 red pepper

1 jalapeño pepper or cayenne pepper (not powder)

1 yellow onion

1/4 cup Bariani Olive oil

Chili flakes and pepper flakes to taste

10 Scallions julienned or cut in long strips (lots of scallions is what makes this recipe)

Wash the cabbage and separate the leaves. Let the water drip off the cabbage and get a container ready to place the cabbage for the salting part of the recipe and another container to press down the cabbage. Line up some leaves on the container put salt all over. Add another layer of leaves on top and add more salt and repeat until you use all the leaves and salt every layer. Use the other container to press down the cabbage. Let sit for 8 hours or overnight until all the cabbage is soaked in the salty water. You can let it sit more time to ferment more, but it won’t probably be raw at that point. You can also choose to let it sit less time, but I find that 8 hours is just perfect. Taste the cabbage and if it’s too salty for your taste, rinse it, but if it’s fine, just dumped the residual water.

Cabbage and salt in layers

Cabbage and salt in layers

To make the paste, I like to use my juicer to mince all the ingredients for the red paste. However, you can use a vegetable chopper or a food processor for this part. So mince or chop or process the garlic, ginger, red pepper, onion, and some of the red pepper flakes or jalapeño pepper or cayenne pepper. When I put this thru my juicer using the mince blades, there is also some juice that comes out which will make the paste a bit more liquidly and that’s why I don’t have to add water to this recipe. If you use a food processor or a chopper you may have to add a few spoons of water and the olive oil. Mix this paste and taste it for flavor. Depending on the saltiness of the cabbage and of the paste, you may want to make sure they will balance each other.

Peppers and Garlic for Kimchi

Peppers and Garlic for Kimchi

Using the same washed container, spread some of the paste at the bottom of the dish and take some of the scallions and spread them over the paste… you are going to layer the cabbage and paste like a lasagna. Take some cabbage and cover the first layer of the paste, and then add some more paste and scallions over the cabbage and keep layering in that order. Once you used all the cabbage and paste, cover the container and refrigerate for a few hours (4 to 6 hours). If you have cabbage or paste left over, just add it to the sides or try to fill in every space in the container.

I get about 6 to 8 servings out of this because I use a lot of it in different salads. I like to take a cucumber and chop it small cubes to add to the kimchi.

Cucumber Kimchi Salad

Cucumber Kimchi Salad

What is the Difference between Conventional and Local Organic Vegetables?

04 July

Organic Fruits

Even though it is still surprising to me and most of my friends why people still need an explanation of why local organic food is better and a healthier choice, I wanted to explain my thoughts on this subject… why I choose to go with local organic foods.

As an environmentalist vegan raw foodist, it is pretty obvious to most of why I choose organic vegetables. However, I always think that even if I didn’t classify myself in those categories, vegan, raw foodist, environmentalist, I would choose organic vegetables for the following reasons. Organic grown vegetables don’t contain chemicals, have higher amount of nutrients as supposed to conventional, and are great for the environment.

Not Food, Chemicals!

Conventional farming uses soil that has been extracted of natural minerals and fertilized with chemicals. They are also sprayed with pesticides and herbicides. Pesticides are chemical compounds used to control insects and other organisms that may reduce agricultural productivity; most are toxic and are sprayed on our food! Herbicides are chemicals that kill weeds and plants. Conventional vegetables have to be washed with soaps and special cleaning liquids to remove residues of the pesticides sprayed on them. What is the point of eating anything if you are not getting anything good out of it? Have you ever wondered why all the tomatoes in the conventional isle of your local supermarket look the same? Like clones of each other? Well most crops are genetically engineered to grow faster, cheaper, and last longer. They have spent at least 2 weeks in the back of a truck from the moment they were picked from the farm and arrived to a distribution center where they will be dispatched to a supermarket. Most conventional vegetables are tasteless, not ripe, and go bad very quickly. Yes they are cheaper… in the short term, in the long run, you wind up paying more because they go bad sooner and they wind up in your garbage as if you were throwing money away.  Local organic vegetables last longer because they are fresh and given to you right from the farmer’s hand.

Nutrient Deficient

It is also known that most nutrients are missing in conventional vegetables, therefore causing one to get hungry faster and not prevent sickness because of missing antioxidants. When unripe vegetables are picked and packed to be transported, their growth stops. They can no longer absorb nutrients from soil even though the soil is filled with chemicals as I mentioned earlier. Nutrients are important because frankly if I would waste time and money eating something that is not giving me my ROI, I rather not eat and live on supplements! Yes taste is important too and therefore if you have ever compared organic strawberries and conventional ones, you know that organic strawberries are super tasty! Nothing compares to a wonderful organic cucumber from the farmer’s hand.

Save the Planet One Carrot at the Time!

So why do organic vegetables help the environment and conventional vegetables do not? By reducing the consumption of conventional vegetable and food, the pesticide and herbicide production decreases as well. In addition, most conventional food travels about 1,500 miles to get to a distribution center; this means a truck in using that much gas to get pesticide unripe food to your refrigerator. It also requires packing which most times is not recyclable or compostable and therefore adding to more garbage in landfills that will take more than a lifetime to decompose. Local farmers do not use packaging and most times don’t transport the vegetables to sell them. Organic farming does not use pesticides, herbicides, and genetically modified seeds. The fertilizer used in organic farming is most times produced by the farmer from compost or bought from other organic farmers.

I have more reasons why local organic food is the best. It supports local farmers, and therefore supports local economies, not to mention that you know where you food came from and didn’t spend weeks in the back of a refrigerated truck. Of course, if you don’t have a local farmer’s market, the organic food at your local supermarket is probably as good as conventional minus the pesticides.

I have chosen these three reasons because they are the most common for everyone to make the choice to turn to local organic food, no pesticides and chemicals, more nutrients, and environmentally friendly production. In general I can understand why people still buy conventional food. Organic vegetables are more expensive and one has to find the right place to buy them. I consider it an investment in my health, less time at doctors and less money on pills and medicines. However, each person has to decide what is better for them. I do hope that with these words, people reading my site can get a general idea of why I chose organic over conventional.

Vote with your money!

Additional Reading and References

The Food Revolution: How Your Diet Can Help Save Your Life and Our World by John Robbins

Healthy at 100: The Scientifically Proven Secrets of the World’s Healthiest and Longest-Lived Peoples by John Robbins

The Newman’s Own Organics Guide to a Good Life: Simple Measures That benefit You and the Place You Live by Nell Newman

Wake Up and Smell the Planet: The Non-Pompous, Non-Preachy Grist Guide to Greening Your Day by Grist Magazine

Living Green: A Practical Guide to Simple Sustainability by Greg Horn

Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman