Sunday, November 15, 2009

in case you are wondering...

I'm pregnant...making thinking, cooking, planning, writing, talking about food a touchy subject. All of the above makes me queasy. I will be writing off and on for a little while. Also I'm pretty busy making bracelets and

happy holidays

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

trick or TREAT-pumpkin face mask!

No this isn't the spooky kind of mask, this is the make you glowing and smell like pumpkin bread kinda mask. I love the fall, like Halloween*, but I do not look forward to carving that darned pumpkin. It was fine when all was expected was just triangle eyes and a toothy smile with that handy aluminum serrated knife, but now there are booklets and multiple tools for this annual undertaking, that takes someone with the patience of an ice sculptor. So, I'll bake the squash, roast the seeds, make the pumpkin pie...wait no I won't make the pumpkin pie. Heck, i worked at a Marie Callender's for four years, sacrificing my Thanksgiving's to make an extra dime...I abhor pies.

SO... what was I to do with all that fibrous pumpkin mush? I'm sure there are less vain ideas, but today I wanted some serious halloween pampering. Even my mother-in law was in. Here's the recipe...


2 teaspoons raw pumpkin, pureed
one-half teaspoon honey (humectant, regenerative)
one-quarter teaspoon soymilk)

Optional Ingredients

For dry skin
One-half teaspoon brown sugar (exfoliates, moisturizes, alpha hydroxyl acid)

For oily skin
one-quarter teaspoon apple cider vinegar (tonic action promotes skin circulation; alpha hydroxyl acid; regulates pH).
-or-one-quarter teaspoon cranberry juice (high in antioxidants critically important to the utilization of essential fatty acids to maintain balanced, nourished skin.
Combine the ingredients for your face mask. Mix gently and apply to your face avoiding the eye area. Rest and relax for 10-15 minutes while your pumpkin pie face mask gently exfoliates, nourishes and conditions your face. Rinse with warm water and apply the appropriate moisturizer for your skin type.

*(except for the part where everyone dresses up in trashy lingerie-seriously why has halloween turned into who can dress the sluttiest instead of who can dress the spookiest?)

Friday, October 23, 2009

apricot couscous cake

I made a delicately sweet dessert this week that is another classic macrobiotic dish. Warning though: Ladies, do not tell your husband to "get ready for cake", as it sets up particular expectations that will not be met, (I don't know why he would expect anything different though, it's not like I'm whipping out triple chocolate rum cakes every night!).

Anyway, this is delicious in it's own right. It gives you and the little ones, the satisfaction of dessert without the sugar blues. Oh, if you haven't read sugar blues, it's a fabulous book by William Duffy. I make this cake for the week, and have a nibble now and then with a cup of tea, or after a meal. You will enjoy the aroma of cooking dried apricots. They remind me of caramel.

I've made this "cake" at least 10 times, and of course the time I'm writing about it, it's not my best. I needed to keep the couscous a little more moist to make it stick better. This is not hard to do, just gets increasingly harder when you have a 1 yr old whose hands are brimming with rocks from the patio and is climbing the stairs.

Macro food fact:

Kuzu is a white starch made from the root of the wild kuzu plant. It has been valued for two thousand years as an important food and medicine. Use it as a substitute for any recipe calling cornstarch. It is used as a thickener in making soups, sauces, gravies, desserts, and for medicinal purposes. In Chinese medicine, kudzu roots and flowers are used to relieve acute pain, stiff neck and shoulders, fever, colds and hangovers.

Here's the recipe from Changing Seasons by Aveline Kushi and Wendy Esko:

you will need:

for the cakey part:
2 c couscous
2 1/2 c apple juice
1/2 c raisins
pinch of sea salt

for the topping:
2 c dried apricots (un sulphured)
pinch of sea salt
2 c water
5 tablespoons kuzu diluted in water
1 lemon slice


Wash couscous and drain. Place apple juice, raisins and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce flame to medium low. Simmer about 10 minutes. Add couscous and cover and simmer 2-3 minutes. The heat in the pot causes couscous to cook thoroughly. Remove and place in a glass or ceramic dish, pressing couscous firmly down with a wooden spoon before adding topping.


Cook dried apricots down with 2 c of water and a pinch of sea salt. I put mine in the pressure cooker for 20 minutes. Stir, then put back on a low flame and add diluted kuzu. Stir constantly to prevent lumping. Simmer until apricot mixture becomes thick. Remove and cool slightly.

Spread the apricot mixture to cover couscous cake. Garnish with a lemon slice. Allow cake to sit for about an hour before slicing and serving.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Another autumnal dinner-sweet potato style!

sweet potato with a little olive oil and cinnamon
long grain rice and sweetcorn
pinto beans
carrot and onion nishime
tahini basil salad dressing/sauce
tahini basil dressing/sauce (from the self-healing cookbook by Kristina Turner):
3 T sesame tahini
1 T lemon juice
2 T white or chickpea miso
1/2 c water
1/4 tsp fresh basil
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp shiso condiment, (or ume vinegar)
This may have been even more delicious the next day as a warm salad over organic spring greens, with some ground flaxseed and black sesame on top.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

guilt free chewy ginger cookies..mmmm

I'm not a baker. I don't own cookie cutters or a rolling pin. I guess I haven't been a domestic goddess long enough.
But I made cookies...and good ones....versatile ones! They took no time to make. They are a great, middle of the day snack, after dinner treat, and I even ate them with a morning miso soup, where they took on an almost scone like quality-balancing the saltiness with a mild spicy sweetness. They were even teenager approved by my 15 yr old sister, Julia. Sylvie has been toddling around with one in her hand, her favorite thing to do is pick out the raisin first before munching away.
I have an excellent cookbook: American Macrobiotic Cuisine; A macrobiotic celebration of America's ethnic cooking by Meredith McCarty. I found this recipe, and increased some of the measurements slightly, as the dough was too dry when I followed it exactly.
Makes two dozen
You will need
3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup brown rice syrup or maple syrup
1 1/4 cup apple juice
3 tablespoons safflower or corn oil
2 1/2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
raisins to garnish
Heat all ingredients together except flour and raisins, then stir and add flour to form dough. Don't let dough sit or it tens to harden. Roll out to quarter-inch thickness and cut with a 3" cookie cutter or other shape, (or improvise as I did). Press a single raisin into the center of round cookies. Grease pan ad bake until golden on the bottom, 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees. (Mine took 20-25 minutes as they were the thicker and heartier version:)

brown rice pilaf with mushrooms and apricots

This tasty vegan dish is perfect paired with a salad, and a vegetable side. I prepared it for my sister after a late night at a football game. I had left over rice, so it took no time to make. She had it with some brussel sprouts, and a mixed greens salad. Ginger cookies for dessert. She said, you're going to put this on your blog right?
It's hearty, sweet, a little nutty, something unique and fun...something i'm planning to make as part of Thanksgiving dinner. It is courtesy of a whole foods market monthly magazine. This recipe serves four:
You will need:
2tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4lb sliced button mushrooms
2 portobello mushrooms-chopped
1/2 small onion chopped, (I had a shallot and used it-it was great)
1 cup long grain rice, ( I used short grain because I forgot!)
2 cups of water or vegetable broth
salt and ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped non-sulfite dried apricots
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
1/4 cup total of chopped fresh parsley and thyme. ( I used more parsley for color because I like it!)
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts, ( I used raw, and crushed them in my hand, because I prefer raw walnuts)
1.In a medium saucepan, saute' all mushrooms and onion in warmed oil over med-high heat for about 6-8 minutes
2. Stir in rice, water or broth, salt and pepper to taste, bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to medium low, simmering until liquid is completely absorbed, about 45 minutes. If the rice you use is already cooked as mine was, then cook for only about 10 minutes on medium low.
3.Remove pot from heat and let sit 10 minutes, uncover and fluff with a fork. Transfer to a large bowl, add apricots, walnuts, herbs and vinegar and toss to combine.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

rad and amazing tofu dippers

Sylvie likes to dip anything in everything. Her grandma Jane taught her this handy trick while at a visit to Sylvie's favorite restaurant, Pomodoro. At Pomodoro ,Sylvie dips warm bread in a pesto sauce, no more than three times each bite, a favorite dinnertime ritual.
Well now the ritual has become more like an obsession. Anything she eats, (and doesn't eat) is now dip-worthy... she spent 15 minutes of a play date teaching her friend Sadie to dip raw carrot sticks in water. almond butter sandwiches are now slathered in applesauce, and of course my cell phone is tenderly dipped in my oatmeal.
So I decided to indulge her, with something appropriately dippable-tofu dippers!

If you like fish sticks and or french fries, you'll love these!

You'll need:

1 package of extra firm tofu
1 egg
whole wheat flour
a vegetable oil, (i used safflower)
pretzel sticks

sauce 1

pickle spear chopped

sauce 2
natural ketchup
lemon juice

directions (serves 4)

1. wrap tofu with paper towels and press to absorb all excess water from tofu. careful not to break tofu. cut into 1/2 inch width and 2 inch lengths.
2. whisk egg in a medium bowl. tofu on a plate and coat all sides lightly with flour. Dip into whisked egg, then transfer tofu sticks into a bowl of bread crumbs, coating all sides.
4. heat oil, about 1/2 inch in a large frying pan. Add tofu and cook until color is a golden brown.
5. Use pretzels as "sticks" to insert in each dipper.