Sunday, November 15, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
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!).
Monday, October 19, 2009
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
1. REDUCE SALT & PRODUCTS WITH SALT The need for dietary salt from natural sources (sun-dried sea salt) is dependent on several factors; a lack of salt can cause fatigue, stimulate a desire to overeat and often result in a craving or animal protein. However, with the availability of good quality sea salt, miso paste, tamari soy sauce and natural pickles, it's quite easy to overdose. Thirst and a craving for sweet foods is one of the most reliable indicators of excess dietary salt.
2. REDUCE ANIMAL PROTEIN The standard four basic food group propaganda was force-fed to the American public along with the myth that animal protein should be a dietary staple. The meat and potatoes mentality has to re-think its philosophy since established research shows excess animal protein can lead to colon and prostate cancer. If this applies to you eat less in volume (2 to 4 ounce servings) and limit it to three to four times per week (maximum), as opposed to daily.
3. REDUCE FOOD VOLUME Overeating leads to fatigue and sluggishness. This makes a stimulant like sugar (or coffee) more appealing. Eating more frequently will allow you to reduce overeating with a minimum of effort.
4. EAT MORE FREQUENTLY THROUGHOUT THE DAY One of the most common reasons for sugar cravings--especially at night. By skipping meals or waiting long periods you stop supplying your blood with glucose. The blood sugar drops and by the time you finally get around to eating, you're going nuts for simple sugar. You're also likely to end up overeating or craving something fatty as a compensation for sugar. Initially, don't wait more than 31/2 to 4 hours between meals.
5. AVOID EATING PRIOR TO BED If your body's digesting when it requires much needed rest, you'll require more sleep, dream excessively and find it difficult awakening with alertness. Good deep sleep will result in wide-awake days. Eating to close to bedtime creates a groggy awakening craving the stimulation of sugar (or caffeine) the following morning. Eat a light evening dinner at least 21/2 to three hours before retiring.
6. AVOID SUGAR This might sound obvious, however, continuing to eat simple sugars results in a falling blood sugar. This stimulates a need for more sugar and the cycle continues. Even though fruit is a simple sugar, switching to fruit instead of sugar is a good first step. Eat the skin of the fruit as well since fiber slows blood sugar elevation.
7.EXERCISE MODERATELY, BUT CONSISTENTLY Daily aerobic exercise will increase circulation and strengthen will power. Brisk walking, biking, light jogging, etc. naturally increases sensitivity to the effects of sugar. Try to get 20 to 30 minutes of some type of pleasurable exercise at least 5 times per week. Enjoy this. It should not be a chore.
8. EMPHASIZE NATURAL WHOLE COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATES- If your daily diet is includes whole grains (brown rice, oats, millet, barley, etc.), vegetables (roots, greens and round vegetables such as squashes, cabbages, etc.) as a primary fuel, you'll find you automatically crave less sugar. Emphasizing sweet vegetables such as carrots, cooked onions, corn, cabbage, parsnips, squashes, etc., adds a natural sweetness to meals. Introduce some sea vegetables (aka "seaweeds") for much needed minerals to enrich blood.
9. DON'T SUPPRESS FEELINGS This doesn't mean you have to broadcast every feeling--only those that matter and to those who really matter to you. Food indulgence, especially with sweets, is a convenient way to anesthetize feelings. Sugar can consume you with sensory pleasure, temporarily providing mental relief from whatever might be stressful. However, sweets can hinder energy levels and mental clarity so in the long run your emotional coping ability becomes compromised.
10. BEWARE OF PSYCHOLOGICAL TRIGGERS The many psychological associations we connect with food have a powerful influence. Beware of family associations, movie rituals, familiar restaurants, childhood habits, etc.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
~consistent and high physical energy
~the ability to fall asleep easily and to awake after a few hours totally refreshed
~a hearty appetite for simple, nourishing food
~a positive and happy frame of mind, even in the midst of difficulties
~a good memory
~clarity and speed in thought and in action
~a profound gratitude for the gift of life
Sunday, October 11, 2009
short grain brown rice
azuki beans and squash
fall vegetable and dried tofu medley
tahini scallion dressing
Yum. This was good. It's not complex, as the ingredients are few.
you will need:
kale, ( I used dinosaur kale)
shoyu or braggs
ume plum vinegar
Soak the azuki beans for 4-6 hrs.
Soak the brown rice for 2 hrs.
(Soaking aids digestibility, and hastens the cooking process)
Cook in this order, beans, rice, vegetable medley, greens, (sauce can be made anytime)
azuki beans and squash- "a nice sweet dish for Autumn"~Aveline Kushi
thoroughly wash, and soak for 6-8 hrs
1 cup beans to 1 cup kabocha squash , (cut in 1" by 1" chunks)
Place beans in a pot, put squash on top of beans, add just enough water to cover.
Place on a low flame and cook for about 1 1/2-2 hrs. Add water occasionally, because beans expand as the water evaporates. Add sea salt to taste. Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated.
macro foodfacts: Ideally beans make up about 10 percent of the macrobiotic diet, especially azuki, lentils , and chick peas. Azuki or Aduki beans, are the "king of beans" according to the Japanese. They are cooked with rice on holidays to make "red rice", and frequently eaten plain or sweetened in dessert. The small red beans have been cultivated for centuries in Asia , and now grown commercially in the U.S. Aduki beans tonify the kidneys. In Oriental medicine the strenght of the kidneys is the indicator of overall strength. Weak, depleted kidneys and overworked adrenal glands are the by-products of too much sugar, alcohol, caffeine, and stress. Aduki's are a rich source of protein, are low in fat and easy to digest.
The kabocha squash nurtures the stomach, spleen and pancreas, helping to keep blood sugar even and stabilize mood.
This is an all around fabulous dish for when you are feeling depleted, and need some strengthening food.
Wash, and soak for two hours.
2:1 water to grain ratio
Boil for 50 minutes.
Add Sea salt to taste.
fall vegetable and dried tofu medley:
Soak dried tofu in water for ten minutes. Cut into little squares. Cut up rutabaga and carrots. If you have a Japanese Nabe pot, this is ideal. Slow cook the vegetables and tofu in a little water until almost tender, then add the leeks, and finish cooking, adding a little olive oil and shoyu or braggs to season. I added a little spike seasoning, rosemary may be nice too. This was flavorful and delicious. I love dried tofu, It's hard to find, but is worth it for it's chewy texture, and ability to take on the flavors in a dish. This dish tastes great with the tahini sauce.
chop, steam greens in a steamer basket, add a little sea salt and a squeeze of lemon
tahini scallion dressing
buy good quality tahini, blend with a little water chopped scallion and some ume vinegar- to desired taste.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
We are lucky to be able to share in the abundance of delicious foods all over the world, but I think we sometimes our need for the exotic makes us take for granted the energy it takes to have, say, strawberries in winter, mango and pineapple, and of course many other foods that travel miles from all over the globe. Obviously it may be very difficult to eat entirely locally, depending on your lifestyle and where you live, but if you can't grow your own food, it is easy enough to look out for the labels at the supermarket-supporting our local farmers, and eating foods that keep us in harmony with the earth around us. Please feel free to comment on any other input, statistics, or thoughts you have about this topic!
Monday, October 5, 2009
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Making soft rice is so easy, just put the leftover rice in a pot and cover with water, bring to a boil and then cook on low for about 40 min, till the rice is soft. I like using this time to stretch or check facebook, (oops did I say facebook?), uh, I meant do yoga; It's hard to update your status and do sun salutations at the same time, so keep the computer turned off:) The house warms up,a gentle sweet rice smell wafting all the way upstairs and waking Ryan, just in time for daddy to keep the baby from toppling over the bed rail, guard his nipples from sylvie's pinching fingers, or do the dishes. The kabocha squash melts into the rice, giving it a peachy- orange color. Garnish with a little purply shiso leaf condiment, scallion, or nori strips, and you've got a delicious autumn breakfast. Not to mention, Sylvie ADORED it, as it's nice and sweet.
If only there were a pile of leaves outside to jump in, but alas not here. As non-seasonal L.A is, I find that eating locally and seasonally really connects me to what is really going on around me, and reminds me that there is still a cycle of transformation happening, as subtle as it is.
I like mine with a little raw, organic, cheddar from happy cows of course! Or you can try a little tomato or avocado.
Here are the basic ingredients:
toasted sesame oil
tempeh ( slice lengthwise down the middle)
braggs aminos or shoyu
whole wheat sourdough bread
sauerkraut, homemade or of good quality
Heat a little oil in a skillet. Fry the tempeh on med-high heat for 1-2 minutes each side. Lower heat to med-low and add enough water to cover tempeh halfway. Season with a little shoyu or braggs. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Simmering the tempeh really softens it and brings out it's flavor. Spread a thin layer of mustard on both slices of bread. Top with tempeh, sauerkraut to your liking, and lettuce. Serve warm. I enjoyed this with pureed squash soup, and a side of leafy greens.
Macro food facts:
-tempeh is a staple food in Indonesia
-Rich in B12 (if unpasteurized), protein, and omega 3's
-made from fermented soybeans and grains
-very appealing for those in transition from eating meat
-restores energy and vitality
Friday, October 2, 2009
I had enough of rice balls, lara bars, fruit, trail mix, salad and noodles...all the quick foods I eat when I don't have time to cook. After a long week though, I wanted something warming but not too elaborate...Tangy tempeh sandwich, steamed kale with a light dressing, and gingery squash soup...and of course a cold local amber ale to relax!
Here's what you'll need for the soup: Serves 2-3
a medium kabocha squash, organic and washed. There is a variety of squash called the hokkiado pumpkin, that may also be used. It is similar, and also delicious. Make sure the rind is free of soft spots or cracks.
grated fresh ginger
1 medium onion-diced
sprig of parsley
Kabocha Squash is probably my favorite squash. It's rich, creamy, and naturally very sweet. Medicinally it is very calming and soothing to the body, especially to the spleen, pancreas, and stomach.
Cut the kabocha in half with a large sharp knife. (I needed help, this squash is tough). Put half away or cook for another meal, and remove the seeds from the other half. The seeds may be saved for roasting separately if you like. Cut up into medium chunks, leaving the skin on. The skin is edible and nutritious. and of course soft when cooked! Bring to a boil in a pot, reduce to med low, and simmer for about 10 minutes. After the first 5 minutes add diced onion. Puree squash and onion in a blender, add grated ginger, pinch of salt and a dash of pepper. Puree till creamy. Garnish with a sprig of parsley.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Sylvie was wincing in the back seat and I couldn't help dreaming of mint carob cookies so Ryan quickly veered down a side street, (not too quickly) to locate my secret un-metered parking spot that I remembered back in the days when I used to work at RFD.
Real Food Daily is more down to earth than I remember these days, sporting a Feng Shui kind of vibe. It was hard to get cozy with a 12 month old trying to pour sesame salt in my kukicha tea, and pilfer nachos from the adjacent table, but the new kids menu reminded me that she was indeed welcome.
Ryan had a tempeh reuben sandwich, myself the basic 3-choosing seitan with vegetarian gravy, arame sea vegetables, and the house salad, and Sylvie had a fairly large meal off of the kids menu-veggies, potato, lentils and cashew cheese sauce, with a kids cup of rice milk.
I never remember RFD feeling this laid back and kid-friendly before, it seemed as though when I used to work there, it was full of dieting waifish supermodel types, and neurotic foodies, "Um excuse me, how many calories are in the sea vegetables?", and my personal favorite, "I'm allergic to ice".
Maybe since macrobiotics and vegetarianism in general -even veganism, have all become somewhat mainstream, RFD is attracting a well rounded bunch of people, including families with children. So...I overall recommend it.
Ann Gentry's creations are really one of a kind. The desserts are stupendous, and all sweetened with either maple syrup, fruit juice or agave nectar, everything is organic, the service is prompt, and the salisbury seitan will leave you craving more. We ended up spending more than we wanted to spend, but sometimes celebration trumps frugality.
This is seriously scrumptious.
Makes 1 cup.
You will need:
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 cup fresh parsley- de-stemmed
3 tbsp sweet white miso
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup raw pine nuts
1/4-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Lightly roast pine nuts. Combine all in a blender or food processor.
Serve over homemade pizza, or whole grain pasta.
Picture to follow!
Friday, September 25, 2009
"You could say that cooking is what separates
man from beast, as it developed as an art along with culture. To master the art of cooking-to choose the right kinds of foods, and to combine them properly-is to master the art of life, for the greatness and destiny of all people reflect and are limited by the quality of their daily food." ~Michio Kushi
Yin attracts Yang and Yang attracts Ying:
Grain and vegetable based meals provide:
-Less dramatic moods
Sugar and caffeine can space you out leading to cravings for meat, cheese, and salt, leading you to more chocolate, sugar, alcohol... and on..and on..extreme yin foods attract extreme yang foods...
Symptoms of eating too Yin:
(sugar, alcohol, fruit...)
dull aches and pains
moist conditions (runny nose, loose bowels)
spaced out, dreamy
Symptoms of eating too Yang:
(salt, meat, cheese...)
sudden sharp pains
dry conditions (dry skin, constipation)
Adapted from The Self-Healing Cookbook by Kristina Turner and
The Book of Macrobiotics by Michio Kushi
What are the extreme yin and extreme yang foods specifically for a temperate climate? Which foods are suggested for daily balance in a temperate climate?
Yin to Yang Foods
Processed and Chemically enhanced foods
Sugar and Coffee
Honey and Spices
Butter and Oil
Potato and tomato
Local Fruit and Nuts
Leafy greens and Seeds
Roots and Winter Squash
Beans and Sea vegetables
Miso and Tamari
As you can see, the foods in the middle are neither extremely expansive, such as alcohol (relaxing, un-grounding) or extremely contractive, red meat (tensing, grounding).
That's why the basic macrobiotic diet consists of whole grains, vegetables, (leafy, round and root), sea vegetables, beans, seeds nuts and fruit. These foods provide us with the most balanced physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual energy.
Once we know this we can food becomes powerful, we can "play" with our food, and create the life we want...
These basic foods are the traditional foods that protected our ancestors from many of the degenerative disorders that we suffer from today. Throughout the world, vegetables, beans and grains have been the staples of the traditional diet. In general, animal proteins, including meat, eggs, and dairy products, were used much less frequently than present, while people in temperate climates rarely ate products imported from the tropics.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Here are the guidelines:
-Local, Seasonal, Organic, as much as possible.
-The featured grain is millet.
-Round shaped vegetables, such as onions, squashes, and turnips. They have a wonderful naturally sweet taste when cooked.
-Contracted leafy greens, such as daikon, turnip, carrot tops, kale, and autumn fruits
-Richer, heartier dishes, and emphasis on bean stews, sauteed vegetables, grain stews, soups.
-Longer cooking time.
-A little more oil and salt
-Fewer raw foods.
-Vegetables cut in larger sizes
Monday, September 21, 2009
Kanten or Agar agar is a gelatin substitute often used in making macrobiotic sweets. Gelatin is made from the collagen in boiled animal bones. Agar Agar on the other hand is derived from sea vegetables.
This is simple to make. Feel free to get creative with it. Berry Kanten would be superb too.
Macro Food Fact: Agar agar provides good bulk for regulating the intestines, and it contains zero calories.
Apple Spice Kanten
3 cups apple cider
1/4 cup agar flakes (Whole Foods or Japanese Market)
1 cinnamon stick
3 crushed clove buds
2 tbsp coconut milk
2 1/2 tbsp agave nectar
2 small apples (if you like, choose different varieties for a festive look)
ground cinnamon for garnish
sprig of mint
1. Pour apple cider and agar flakes into a small saucepan, let sit 10 min.
2. Add cinnamon stick and clove buds. Over a low flame, slowly bring to a boil, whisking several times. Lower heat and simmer 10 minutes more.
3. Remove cinnamon stick. Add coconut milk and agave nectar. Stir well. Turn off heat.
4. Evenly distribute apples into 4 small glass bowls. Ladle hot cider on top of apples, filling bowls about 1/2 full.
5. When steam is no longer rising from the bowls, place them in refrigerator to firm up, about 30-40 minutes.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Expansive Foods (YIN) are:
grow in a warm climate
sweet, sour, or bitter
spicy or oily
They encourage mental, psychological, or spiritual activity, relaxation, looseness in our body.
Contractive Foods (YANG) are:
grow in a cool climate
salty, bland, or meaty
They encourage physical activity, purposefulness, focused work, tension in our body.
Friday, September 18, 2009
FYI: Keep away from toddling youngsters -they have some sort of magnetic pull towards it. Mine ended up in the bathtub this morning.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
About a year ago, upon the arrival of Sylvie, Moms' at the fabulous school I used to teach at, signed up to bring me 6 weeks worth of dinner every Wednesday. This was the BEST baby gift ever. Seriously, if someone in your neighborhood or community is having a baby, as far as I'm concerned skip the balloons and flowers, good, healthy food is the best gift you can give. When you are sleep deprived, and nursing, and have no time to do dishes...food is a god-send.
This dish was prepared for me by a friend, I fell in love with it and HAD to have the recipe. Well it's been a busy year, and I've finally made this soup. It won't be the last time.
Macro Food Fact: In Macrobiotic cooking, locally grown, seasonal vegetables are important because they help you adapt to your surroundings by subtly connecting you to the rhythm of the seasons. Corn is a highly recommended grain for summer. More expansive vegetables such as leaf lettuce, corn on the cob, green beans, cucumber, and summer squash, have a high water content that enables them to thrive in the heat. We stay cool by emphasizing these foods in our summer diet.
Late Summer Vegan Corn Chowder
Adapted from the Enchanted Broccoli Forest Cookbook by Mollie Katzen
I close to doubled this recipe and made enough for about 6-8 servings. I recommend making lots and lots...
You will need:
1 medium potato with the skin on and diced into small chunks
2 1/2 cups of water. (I ended up adding more as it boiled down, so use your intuition)
1 tablespoon earth balance
1 1/2 cups minced onion
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 medium stalk celery, finely minced
1 small red bell pepper, finely minced
5 cups (approximately 4 to 5 cobs' worth) fresh sweet corn or a 1lb of frozen sweet corn. Buy corn Organic! ( I did the frozen option this time as Sylvie was on my back with a fever during this cooking process and I had limited time-it was still fabulous)
pepper to taste
3 tablespoons minced fresh basil (or more, to taste). I used green and purple ruffle basil. This made it extra pretty.
1 cup unsweetened soy milk
Okay now that you are dreamily humming Simon and Garfunkel while you cook...Oh wait you are probably not as nerdy as I am. "Are you going to Scarborough fair, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme!" I was just seriously excited about cooking with a new herb. I've never ever cooked with thyme before. it's absolutely lovely, reminiscent of an English garden, and it makes this dish what it is...
Place the potatoes and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, cover, and cook until the potatoes are tender. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a medium sized pot. Add the onion, thyme, and salt, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring. After about 5 minutes, add celery. Five minutes later add this mixture to the cooked potatoes with all their liquid, the red bell pepper, the corn, and a few shakes of white pepper. Stir well, cover, and reduce heat. Cook on low for about 5 minutes longer.
Using a blender or food processor, puree about half the soup in some of its own liquid. Return this to the pot, and let it rest until serving time.
Stir in the soy milk about 10 minutes before serving time. Don't actually cook the soup any further; simply heat it--gently!-- until it's hot enough to eat. Serve immediately. Garnish with basil, and more seasoning if necessary.
I think this would make a meal with some sourdough rolls and a simple green salad!
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
~The ancient Greek word for carrot, philon, comes from the word "love"-as this root was considered an aphrodisiac~
Here's Aveline's recipe:
Remove and discard the fibrous stem
Do not use salt- salt brings out the bitterness
You will need:
1 bunch carrot tops
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1-2 teaspoons of tamari soy sauce
Wash the carrot tops and chop them fine
Dry roast the seeds in a frying pan
Put the roasted seeds in a suribaci or mortar and pestle and grind until about half crushed, adding a little tamari. The taste should not be salty. Quickly saute' carrots tops in a little olive oil for about 3-4 minutes. Add to the crushed seeds and mix.
Then came my Japanese friend Mai. Today she gave me a tour of a store minutes from me that I knew nothing about-Nijiya Market purveyor of healthy and gourmet Japanese foods http://www.nijiya.com. Mai can read the labels. I left with products that I thought I could only order online. Nijiya sells organic produce, that comes from their own farm! There is a hot deli, where Sylvie and I shared a $1.50 mouthwatering vegetable croquette covered in crispy breadcrumbs that you dip in a fruity sauce.
We left more than content, bags filled with dried tofu, shitake mushrooms, quality miso, and adorable snacks for Sylvie featuring dancing broccoli and squash characters on the packaging. Thank you sweet Mai for sharing with me!