Tag Archives: organic

Learn something new every day

There’s always room for improvement, right? I know I am certainly not perfect, and there are always things I can do to improve my life. I think one of the most important components of improving one’s life is through education. We are never too old (or young!) to learn new ways to take care of the precious vessel we live in. But, we are all too busy, right? Wrong! Small changes can make a big impact!

Recently, I have been catching up on some health/food documentaries that I have been meaning to watch for a while now. I highly recommend BOTH of these films: Fat Sick and Nearly Dead and Hungry for Change. Both movies provide great insight into what happens to our bodies when we eat. I won’t spoil the films for you if you haven’t had the pleasure of watching them.

My takeaways from these films:

  • We are an over-fed, undernutritioned society. We eat TONS of foods that have little to no nutritional value, and we consume little of the foods that have the most nutritional value. Example: TONS of cheeseburgers, and a tiny bit of salad.
  • JUICE MORE!!! In our house, we usually juice once a day, usually before dinner. We each drink a giant glass of leafy greens, cucumbers, and celery juice. Watching these films has prompted me to juice in the morning, too! So, before I go to sleep, I cut up apples, oranges, grapefruits, carrots, beets and other goodies, so that when I wake up – instead of morning coffee, I have morning juice!
  • Stop eating sugar!!! Not just refined sugar … but also: organic sugar, bread (yes, bread is metabolized as sugar!), pasta, rice, waffles, coffee (the way I drink it – it is SO sweet), potatoes (yes, potatoes are metabolized as sugar!), pizza, muffins, pancakes, rolls, biscuits, english muffins, and anything wheat. This one is going to be hard for me …
  • Replace my coffee with tea. This one is not going to happen over night. So far, I’ve gone four days with no morning coffee … I’ve had tea … and there have been no meltdowns. I did have an afternoon coffee yesterday … but at least I put it off until then. (PROGRESS not PERFECTION!)
  • Move your body and get it outside! We are humans. We were born to live in the wild – our bodies need to be outside in the fresh air walking or doing something. Even a 30 minute walk – walk your dog, take the kids to the park, anything! Get outside and get moving. If you do this 3 times a week (really, 1.5 hours is not too much to ask for the sake of your health) you will feel better and have more energy.
  • Never, under any circumstance, drink soda. The stuff is POISON in a can! The sugar is bad, the fake sugar is bad, the caffeine is bad, and the phosphoric acid deteriorates and weakens your bones.

How do you make progress toward your health goals? Have you ever seen either of the films I mentioned?

Until next time, I send you peace, love and good energy!

~Sharon

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Eco Emi January 2013 – Unboxing

Check out what I got in this month’s Eco Emi box!

Until next time, I send you peace, love, and good energy!

~Sharon

Creamy Baked Fennel

This is the recipe for the side dish I made on New Years Eve for myself and Sugar. In all honesty, I’ve never had fennel before, let alone cooked with it (somehow I missed the fennel bus when I was younger). I was looking for something different and tasty … and when I saw this in my cook book – I thought I would give it a swing. This recipe is adapted from Sue Ashworth’s recipe in her book “Vegetarian Dinner Parties” which Sugar and I picked up at a used bookstore in Grass Valley, California, last summer.

This is the original recipe as it is out of her book. I did make some substitutions such as using non-dairy cream cheese and cashew milk as I tried to avoid any dairy in the process. I also used panko bread crumbs in place of traditional bread crumbs. Substitute or not at your pleasure.

Baked fennel tastes fabulous in this creamy sauce, flavored with caraway seeds. A crunchy bread crumb topping gives an interesting change of texture. 

Serves 4

  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 2 bulbs of fennel, trimmed
  • 1/2 c. low-fat soft cheese (I assumed this meant cream cheese)
  • 2/3 c. milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 c. bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh parsley for garnish
  1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil, and add the lemon juice. Slice the fennel thinly, and add to the saucepan. Cook for 2-3 minutes to blanch, and then drain well. Arrange in a buttered oven-proof baking dish. (I used coconut oil spray)090 091 093 094 096
  2. Beat the soft cheese in a bowl until smooth. Add the cream, milk and beaten egg, and whisk together until combined. Season with salt and pepper, and pour over the fennel. 097 101 102
  3. Melt 1 T. of the butter in a small skillet, and fry the caraway seeds gently for 1-2 minutes, to release their flavor and aroma. Sprinkle over fennel. 104
  4. Melt the remaining bread crumbs, and fry gently until lightly browned. Sprinkle over the surface of the fennel. (to be honest and admit my lazy ways – I cooked the caraway seeds in with the breadcrumb topping.)118
  5. Place in a preheated 350 degree F oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the fennel is tender.
  6. Serve, garnished with sprigs of parsley. 124

I served this fennel alongside a goat-cheese and mushroom tart (recipe coming soon!).

So – how was my first fennel experience? It was tasty! The fennel was nice and tender in the creamy sauce and had a slight anise flavor to it. All and all is was savory and delicious. If you are like me, and have never had fennel before – this is a simple recipe to make and it makes a nice side dish to replace the “same old thing” in your routine.

Until next time, I send you peace, love, and good energy.

~Sharon

Eco Emi December 2012 – Unboxing

Here’s a long-ish video I shot yesterday showing you the samples in my Eco Emi box. Eco Emi is a monthly subscription service that sends you samples of food, make-up, lotion and other goodies. It’s a service that highlights the many earth-friendly products that are available out there that you may never have heard of … or some that you already love. In any event … I love getting a monthly package full of healthy goodies. So check out my dorky video linked below … I’m no youtube sensation … this is purely for those that are interested in discovering new products.

Until next time, I send you peace, love, and good energy!

~Sharon

BBQ Chik’n & Smashed Potatoes

Last week, I was in a time crunch. I only had 45 minutes to get a full meal on the table, and I didn’t have time to go shopping and it had to be a tasty and satisfying meal. Also, I was craving comfort food (Fall/Winter always makes me crave comfort foods!) I had to work with what was in my house … luckily, this is my specialty. This is the magical meal I came up with.  Serves two.

What you will need:

  • 2 Quorn Chik’n Cutlets
  • 1/2 – 1 cup of vegetable broth
  • BBQ sauce
  • salt, pepper, poultry seasoning
  • 6 medium to small organic red potatoes
  • broccoli florets

First, I switched the oven on to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, I quickly grabbed a small glass baking dish, threw down the cutlets, added the vegetable broth around the cutlets, seasoned the cutlets with the salt,pepper, and poultry seasoning, and then topped it all with a good pour of BBQ sauce over each cutlet. I then threw that in the oven. I simultaneously threw the cast iron skillet into the oven as well to warm it up. 

Next, I filled a large pot with water, seasoned it with salt, and then threw in the red potatoes which I poked with a fork. Turned, the burner on high and brought that to a boil. 

Next, I threw the broccoli florets into the steamer pot. (notice the amount of “throwing” in this recipe … it denotes just how fast I was working). However, I did not turn on the burner to the broccoli. That will happen when there is about 10 minutes of cooking time left. 

I kept checking on the chik’n to make sure I wasn’t burning it. After the potatoes were fork tender (about 20 minutes or so), I drained the potatoes, and took the cast iron skillet out of the oven and put the skillet on a burner set to medium. NOW turn on that burner for the broccoli to high to get the steaming going.

Put a couple tablespoons of oil or butter in the skillet, and then add the whole potatoes. Get out your potato masher, and squish the potatoes so they look something like this.

You’re going to fry the potatoes on both sides so they look like this:

Now take the bbq chik’n out of the oven, and plate up that dinner! I added some more bbq sauce on top. 

Who says quick can’t be delicious and satisfying?

What are your favorite go-to meals when time is on the line? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section.

Until next time, I send you peace, love, and good energy.

~Sharon

Crispy Tofu Bowl

Recipe inventing comes naturally to me … I am constantly thinking of new combinations in my head. Sometimes, I challenge myself to make an exciting dish out of what’s already in my kitchen/garden. I also don’t have much time, so I usually come up with these ideas when I’m at school or work … I jot a few things down, use some of the cooking techniques I’m familiar with, and then throw in a new twist.

Here’s yet another one of those concoctions … I wasn’t sure about it at first, but it turned out splendid and it got the stamp of approval from my Sweetie.

What you will need:

  • 8 ounces of tofu, thinly sliced.
  • a cup of broccoli florets
  • 15-20 shiitake mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed
  • 1 lb or green beans, washed and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • skillet
  • oil or butter
  • salt and pepper
  • Blue cheese crumbles for garnish

Saute` tofu over medium heat until crisp, season with salt and pepper, remove from pan and place into a bowl until later. 

Saute` mushroom caps until brown, season with salt a pepper, remove from pan and place in bowl with tofu. 

Turn up the heat to medium-high and add the green beans and broccoli and char.  Season with salt and pepper. This will cook the vegetables slightly while giving them a nice smoky flavor. 

Now push the vegetables to one side of the pan and add the tofu and mushrooms back to the pan to warm them through. 

To plate: Place a large scoop or two of vegetables to a bowl. Then put down a layer of mushroom, top with the tofu and then sprinkle on the blue cheese. The blue cheese gives a nice creamy element to the crisp veggies and tofu while adding a nice punch of flavor to the dish.

Please let me know what you think in the comments section. I always love hearing feedback.

Until next time, I send you peace, love, and good energy.

~Sharon

Cornbread Breakfast Skillet

Cornbread for breakfast? Yes! I just said that. I have an on-again/off-again relationship with eggs, and I want a healthy meal that’s not the same old boring breakfast items you can find anywhere.This is what my silly brain came up with this morning while I was drifting somewhere between sleep and consciousness.

I will note I was under a bit of stress as to what to do with the large amount of leftover cornbread from last night’s vegan chili extravaganza – which explains my wierd dreams of cornbread for breakfast today.

What you will need:

  • Some left over cornbread
  • 3 eggs
  • vegetarian sausage
  • 5 mushrooms, sliced thick
  • a bit of onions, sliced
  • 2 T. soy milk (or whatever milk you like)

In a skillet on medium, add some oil or butter. Then add the sausage, mushrooms, and onions to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. 

As you can see, I had two morning star sausage patties, and two links … I just used a mixture. Once everything is nice and brown and yummy, remove from the pan and set aside to be added back in later. (I chopped up the sausage into bite-sized chucks).

Next, scramble the eggs in a bowl with the soy milk. Season with salt and pepper. Then, crumble the cornbread into the bowl in bite sized chunks. This sort of reminded me of making french toast. I mixed the chunks around until the cornbread had absorbed most of the egg mixture (there was still a bit of egg at the bottom – no big deal)

Now be sure to add a pat of butter or some more oil to your pan before you put your egg-cornbread mixture in there. Add the mixture, and fry up over medium to medium low heat. You want the eggs to cook, not burn.

Once the eggs look cooked, and the cornbread is a bit toasted looking, add the mushrooms, sausage, and onions back in. Mix to combine and warm through.

I plated mine by topping it with grated cheese, some green onion, and added some hot sauce to the side. It was savory, satisfying, and filling! This is definitely not a boring breakfast.

How do you spice up your breakfast? Please tell me in the comments.

Until next time, I send you peace, love, and good energy.

~Sharon

Creamy Potato Soup (Vegan)

Over the last week it got very cold here in Nevada. We even had some snowfall in the mountains (hooray for ski season!) Although – it did botch my plans for a mini motorcycle trip on Friday. I’ll get over it – there will be plenty of opportunities to take Black Beauty out. (I call my bike Black Beauty, I’m a dork, I know – it’s awesome.)

What goes great with chilly weather? Fluffy sweaters, flannel blankets and warm creamy soups! I came home yesterday and whipped up this little number. I hope you enjoy it!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 3 celery stalks washed and sliced
  • 2 carrots cubed
  • 5-7 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 8 cups of vegetable broth, I used 1/2 mushroom base 1/2 veggie bullion cubes
  • 1 T. Rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed bay leaves
  • 2 T. brown rice flour (or whatever flour you want)
  • 2/3 c. unsweetened soy milk (or non-dairy milk of your choice)
  • 2 T. Nooch (optional)
  • Vegan sour cream for garnish
  • salt & pepper to taste

Serves 4. Use organic ingredients when you can.

First, give the bottom of your soup pot a good swirl or two of olive oil. Add onions, cook for 3-5 minutes, add celery, carrots, cook for another 3 minutes. 

Then add the broth, garlic, rosemary, bay leaves, and about half of the potato cubes. If you don’t want your potatoes to oxidize, cut and cube half of your potatoes for this part. Then we will put the other half in towards the end of the cooking process. 

Cook for 30-45 minutes. I had time to kill until my sweetheart got home so I cooked mine for about an hour. I’m sure this recipe could be cooked in under an hour.

Then get out your stick blender or regular blender and blend it all together to create the creamy base for your soup. If you use a blender, make sure to cool the soup slightly before blending. I used my stick blender and shoved it right into the pot on the stove.

Now add the milk, nooch and the rest of the potato cubes. Next, you’ll want to make a slurry in a jar using the 2 T. of flour and about 3 T. of water (or milk). A slurry thickens the soup, so you want to put the water and flour in a jar, put the lid on tight and shake it up, now add that to your soup. 

Cook for about 20 minutes until the potato cubes are soft and the soup is slightly thick and creamy. Make sure to check your seasonings … I found mine needed some additional salt and pepper.

Ladle a good amount into some soup bowls, top with a dollop of sour cream and enjoy the creamy goodness. I served mine with some toasted naan bread for dipping. It was delish! Bowls were licked clean last night – hooray for no dishes! (Kidding!)

What’s your favorite way to stay warm? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Until next time, I send you peace, love, and good energy.

~Sharon

Warm Homemade Apple Cider

Fall is one of my favorite times of year – it is full of great smells: frosty air, wet leaves, apples, and cinnamon. I love it!

As most of my followers know … I’ve been trying to get rid of a whole lot of apples… and I didn’t want to do just one recipe with apples because that would be boring. You know what else would be boring? If everything turned out right the first time. Right?! Right. /sheepish smile

Soooooo … I wanted to make apple cider. I love going to Apple Hill, they have some fantastic fresh ciders out there. But since I missed a lil trip out there this fall I thought it would be nice to make my own.

I’m going to be honest with you right now … I made apple cider … but it was a journey to put it nicely … so I will share with you the recipe I used and what I would do differently next time.

I used this recipe. Which is a great recipe … but since this was the first time, I ran into a few hitches. Nothing I couldn’t overcome! 🙂

Here is my journey in pictures: (if you read the recipe you’ll see what I’m doing … I just didn’t want to repeat it all since I followed that recipe)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cooking part was fine. I probably doubled the recipe.

Here are my thoughts on this process:

  • Have lots of cheese cloth on hand. I don’t think I had enough to properly strain the apple mush.
  • Apples have a lot of silt … I’m not sure if that’s the right word for it – but it perfectly describes the natural sediment that is produced from the process – so be aware that you probably won’t make a clear product.
  • I got sick of squeezing the apple mush through the cheese cloth (because I don’t think I had enough of it to do it properly) so I ran the rest of the apple mush through my juicer … which I’m not sure if it helped. But I did it and I wanted to confess that part. And then I ran it through a fine mesh sieve as I poured it into my glass containers. (Kind of a pain as I had to constantly keep rinsing out the sieve to remove the silt)
  • I wish I hadn’t added 1/2 cup of organic sugar. My cider turned out to be a little too sweet for me. I think it would have great flavor without it – but it’s up to you. I add a little water to mine when I warm it up.
  • This is time consuming, but a fun adventure if you’re just hanging around the house on a crisp fall weekend.
  • Your house will smell amazing while this is cooking!!!
  • Enjoy the fruits of your labor – because they were worth it. Even better – share this with the people you love … because there is nothing better than making something fun and sharing it.

What is your favorite part about fall? Do you have a special recipe? Share your thoughts in the comments section. Thanks for reading!

Until next time, I send you peace, love, and good energy.

~Sharon

Make Your Own Body Oil/Lotion

For most of my life I’ve been itchy … dry skin, allergy rashes … you name it. All I was ever told by a doctor was to not take hot showers, put on lotion twice a day, and avoid things I’m allergic to (food, insects, etc.). No one ever stopped to wonder if it was just the food allergies or if there was more to the story.

Now well into my adulthood I have finally stopped to wonder if there was more I could do for myself. Although I can attribute some of my skin itchies to food allergies, I think dry skin is mostly to blame. Despite eating very well, I still find I have dry skin. And no matter how much store-bought lotion I put on … it never helps. I had to figure something else out.

My Sweetie has me on wonderful supplements, I take flax seed oil and safflower oil daily … so I’m nourished from the inside. But what about the outside? Fortunately, there are relatively inexpensive all-natural ways to take care of that. I only recently discovered the magic in natural oils. I wish I had found them sooner!

There are many wonderful ingredients given to us by Mother Earth that are absolutely perfect for nourishing and caring for our beloved skin. Here are some to name a few:

  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Jajoba oil
  • Shea butter
  • Coco butter
  • Almond oil
  • Argon oil
  • Avocado oil

Recently, I’ve been messing around with different combinations for my skin. The one I’m going to share with you is a great combination of oils for my dry skin. It goes in an old lotion bottle that has a pump. I personally love the pump over a jar … much more user friendly. I find that this particular one is best used when you get right out of the shower when your skin is still hot and your pores are still open. I simply pump as much as I need into my hand and rub it all over. I wait a little bit before I get dressed so it absorbs into my skin and not my clothing. 

What you will need:

  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. coconut oil
  • 1/4 c. jajoba oil
  • 1 T. of rose hip oil (optional)
  • essentail oils (optional)
  • funnel
  • double boiler (optional)
  • container for your product

Let’s get mixing!

  1. Melt your coconut oil. You can do it in the double boiler or the microwave. If you don’t know what a double boiler is check out how here. You simply fill the bottom pan with 1 inch or so of water, place the other container/glass bowl on top… and melt stuff in the top part.
  2. Remove from the heat. Add olive oil, jajoba oil, and rose hip oil to the coconut oil. Stir to combine.
  3. Now you can add the essential oil of your choice for scent … lavender, etc. I prefer mine unscented.
  4. Next, use the funnel to pour the oil into a container.
  5. Let it cool and it is ready for use!

I used these small containers just to show you as my lotion pump was already full. When I start to run low, I will use these as refills.

Note: this is merely one combination of oils … I’ve experimented with several different combinations. I personally enjoy this one because it will work in my pump bottle and it stays liquid. Anything with lots of the ‘hard’ oils in it … such as coconut or shea will harden when it cools. I will keep experimenting and let you know of any new discoveries!

What’s your favorite moisturizer? Leave any questions in the comments!

Until next time, I send you peace, love and good energy.

~Sharon