Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Vegan Moussaka!

This is a fantastic recipe, given to me by a vegan friend, that is not only delightful in and of itself, but for meat craving individuals, it's a fantastic transition dish that many, if not told, would not know that it did not contain any meat or cheese in the dish.  My husband is a trained executive chef and is an omnivore.  I doubt he will ever give up meat, but I do my best to make yummies that do not include meat and dairy as it is a kindness to the creatures.  I've understood for some time now that our meat consumption wasnt sustainable and encouraged folks to eat meat 2x week or even 2 x a month if possible.  We always bought organic and not off factory farms believing the animals were treated better.  Not up until very recently, was I clued in that this really isn't true.    For dairy, the mother cows are repeatedly impregnated against their will, to produce milk for us.  Their babies are taken away at birth and given powdered milk during their short sad lives.  Cows are very social and create strong bonds with their offspring who typically remain with them for years.  So I thought I would always eat cheese...but I cannot cause this level of harm and feel good about myself.
And the meat, well, even in the best case scenario, which is honestly few and very far between, we are taking a life that truly honestly really wants to live.  They know what is happening, they shed tears, they feel upset, they feel fear.  They also feel such joy when treated well and allowed to live a happy existence with us.
To this end and that of our health (of our bodies, our souls and the planet) I bring you this delightful dish!  Enjoy!
I did modify the recipe a tad.  I used corn starch for the bechamel sauce as I did not have potato starch.  We couldn't find smoked Tofu so I used Trader Joe's Beef-Less Ground Beef.  The texture of this product isn't bad and it does look like the real thing.  This product, by the way, is also terrific in tacos.  If you don't have a TJ nearby, this product, the Ultimate Beefless Ground,  by Gardien is good.
For the spices, as this is typically a lamb dish, I used Rogan Josh which is a persian spice mix.  The above link is less expensive, but there is also one from Penzys Spices, which is actually the one I used for the dish above, which is $13.23 and free shipping.  But the other sounds great and is only $9.65 including the shipping.   I post links in here to save you time and also money.  I try to locate the highest quality and best price on Amazon prior to posting.  :)  I adore this spice mix which has Cumin, Coriander, Cardamom, Cloves, Saffron and Cinnamon amongst other spices in it.   The flavor profile of this spice mix just raises the dish to a new level and I sauteed my garlic and onions till almost caramelized, then I sauteed the spices to amp up that delightful flavour!
Serves: 6
Tomato Sauce
  • 1 (28-ounces) can plum tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tsp maple syrup (optional)
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 12 ounces smoked tofu (firm)
  • ⅛ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ⅛ ground black pepper
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 3 medium-size eggplants
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 and ½ cups almond milk
  • 2 tbsp potato starch
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
  1. Drain the tomatoes into a bowl. Keep the juice.
  2. Cut the plum tomatoes into small pieces and add to a skillet with their juice.
  3. Heat over medium heat until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in tomato paste, maple syrup, salt, pepper and cinnamon and remove from heat.
  5. Wash and cut the eggplants into 1-inch think slices, brush slices with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Fry slices until tender and golden brown on both sides in a large non-stick skillet over medium-heat. Depending on your skillet you can probably fry about 5-6 slices at a time.
  6. Transfer the eggplant slices to paper towels.
  7. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, and cook until soft, about 7 minutes. Scramble the smoked tofu and add to the skillet, cook for about 5 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, mix until everything is combined and remove from heat.
  8. Preheat oven to 400°.
  9. Arrange a layer of half the eggplant slices in a greased baking dish (I used a 10-by-6 inch pan). Cover with the tomato/tofu sauce. Top with another layer of the remaining eggplant slices.
  10. Pour the bechamel over the top and spread evenly.
  11. Bake 25-30 minutes until top is golden brown.
  12. Top with chopped parsley.
For the bechamel
  1. Add ½ cup almond milk to a medium sauce pan. Mix in the potato starch, (or Corn Starch), nutritional yeast, salt and nutmeg. Whisk until everything is well combined and add the remaining milk. Heat over medium heat for about 5-10 minutes, whisking constantly until it thickens. Remove from heat.

Home Made Vegan Milk - Nut Milks - So Easy!

A few decades ago, people were farmers (or knew a farmer) and folks grew their own produce, lived off the land and traded items for what they needed, perhaps an over abundance of Cilantro was traded for carrots.

The machine would like us to believe in the grocery store, lock, stock and barrel.  While a grocery store is both convenient and necessary for many of us city folk.  I grew a garden this year but it was not large enough to encompass feeding our family entirely.

So while we want to remain thankful for conveniences a grocer brings us, let's also seek out local farmers where we can buy directly, too.  The reason is because things like milk, orange juice,  get pasteurized.

When you heat up things as you do to pasteurize it, you may very well kill a bug or two but you are also stripping the product of its natural enzymes.  I wont call it carcinogenic, but I will call it severely lacking in the natural enzymes and minerals and vitamins it should have provided you.

The Almond milk you buy at the store is pasteurized.  The flavor is also thin.  And, who knows, really, just how many almonds you are getting in that milk.  I bought for years but after my Hippocrates Health Institute Life Transformation Training, I now make my own.  And its so super easy, there is little excuse for you not to follow suit!

Firstly you should get a nut milk sack/bag.  I dont know about you and I sure don't mean to offend, but the ones I purchased, My Big Fat Nut (Milk) Sacks, offered a bit of humour to the process, as well as being a fantastic product.  You want a bag that is easy to clean, roomy enough to hold all the milk and easy enough to squeeze the milk out to separate the nut bits from the milk produced.  So start here and if you click on the blue writing, it will take you right there to purchase.

The best nuts to make the milks is Almond and, for something heavier, great in tea and coffee, Brazil Nuts!

So, when I began making my nut milks at home, I had only ever tried store bought Almond and in my training they spoke of Brazil Nut Milk being so much richer.  I went straight to making Brazil Nut Milk only.  But I did buy a passel of raw almonds and eventually ventured into giving that a go too because of a recipe that called for it.  Well, let me tell you, this is when I discovered that, OMG, the almond milk you are going to make at home is on a whole new level than the store bought in texture and flavour.

How To?  Firstly, keep in mind that things that do not have the life cooked out of them, actually have a life that can more readily spoil.  So get in touch with how much milk you are going to consume within about 5-7 days.  Only make enough to use within that time-frame so your milk remains nice and fresh in the fridge.

Step 1) Soak your nuts overnight. (I typically soak a cup of nuts for 3-4 cups of of milk and you can stretch that out or inward depending upon the depth of milk you want to create so feel free to play with that flavor texture profile.)
Step 2) The following morning after your nuts have soaked, rinse them and dump them into your blender.  Add purified water to the level you desire.  Blend for a few seconds, until you see milk and the nuts are good and pulverized into tiny bits.
Step 3) Pour the milk from the blender into your nut sack that is sitting in a big bowl.
Step 4) Squeeze the bloody hell outta the sack to get all the milk drained from it.
Step 5) Now pour the milk into a vessel you will use to store it in your fridge and enjoy!

For the pulverized nut bits, you can use that roughage to make crackers or add to a meat loaf (vegan meat loaf is animal friendly)  Or compost it.

As always, I am here to answer any questions or read any comments you post.  Cheers to your health, enjoy!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Green Juice Recipe For Detox & Health!

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So, our world we live in is so damaged and, consequently, so are we.  The air we breath, the water we drink and the food we typically buy(if not organic) is filled with pesticides and other contaminates.

 Each one of us carries what is known as a body burden, which is the storage of toxins that each of us personally carries.  These toxins, stored in our fat as our body's attempt at protection from harmful things it cannot process, eventually wreak havoc.

I lost my dad, my mother and my brother to cancer.  My other brother and cousin are currently sick with cancer.  Prior to her death, mother stated cancer was after the family, taking us all out.  But i know that while each of us carries cancer, carries some mutated cells, our bodies have the ability to fight, given the tools.

90-95% of cancer is from what you are exposed to.  The remaining 5-10% is genetic.  This means we can win this if we treat our miracle machine right.

The green drink pictured above is 1 cucumber, a small chunk of ginger to taste, half a bunch of celery and a cup or so of sunflower sprouts.  I also add in a cup of pea sprouts too,  but I didn't have any on hand today.   You can add lemon, or cilantro and leave out the ginger, play around a bit with it.  See my other blog post on the iPlant sprouter review and link to purchase if interested.  I grow my own sprouts.  Eating as much as I do of them, its the best and freshest way as well as the most variety.  There is also another blog on the Angel Juicer I own and love. Celery is high in beneficial enzymes and helps the body regulate its alkalinity, helping to protect against an acidic body.  Cancer doesn't thrive in an alkaline environment.  Cucumber is high in chlorophyll, copper and calcium and sunflower sprouts are high in zinc and B vitamins and are beneficial to the nervous system.

You want to drink the juice down within 15 minutes of juicing.  This is avoid oxidization which robs vital minerals and vitamins.  Think of a freshly cut apple turning brown or a car rusting out.  Oxidization is the interaction of oxygen molecules al whatever substances they make contact with, from metal to living tissue.  We want to avoid it on our cars, our food, our person.  

Many folks eat processed foods, pastries, coffee in the morning when our bodies were designed to detox nightly.  From between about 10pm and 11am, your body is trying its level best to detox.  A great example of this is my sister in law who smokes.  In the morning, upon arising (and only then) she coughs up phlegm.  Her lungs sound healthy but they are trying to detox before she smokes again.  If you tune into your body the first few hours you are up, you can tell what areas are taking on the worst of the pollution in your environment.  Your nose may run (me) or you lungs may be trying to purge.  A neti pot is great to help detox the sinuses and there's a post on that too!

So the thing here is that you want to honor the body's level of efforts here by supporting it with a healthy detoxing green drink in the morning.  2 a day, one a couple hours before bedtime, is awesome! 

Your skin will be cleaner, clearer as well as your whole body!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Mod Stylish Air Purifiers - Rabbit Room Air Purifier Review

Why we love the  Rabbit room air purifiers.
We live in a polluted world.  And many times, the air inside our homes is the worst to breath!
Below is a link to Dr Axe for more information, but unless you are very careful to use only organic and natural cleaning agents, and environmentally friendly and toxin free furnishings, the average home contains about 10 gallons of synthetic chemical products.
From cigarette smoke, to pesticides,  from paints to household cleansers, to candles and incense or other air fresheners all can distribute toxins throughout the home.
We now have 3, 2 being this model, which I think is the sleekest.   Plus the customization is great!  We have the fish, pictured, and also one with the Julius monkey cover.  The filters typically last 2 years and are also customizable.   I have owned some ugly air filtration systems in my day and am thankful now that I no longer feel the need to sacrifice style for health. Rabbit offers the Artists Series featuring images by Gustav Klimt, Katsushika Hokusai and original designs by Rabbit Air's creative team, to offer you a sophisticated answer to stale air.
I leave mine on auto so that they automatically adjust the fan speed high or low as needed to filter the air in the entire room as much as twice an hour.
The Minus A2 - SPA 780 filters as much as 815 square feet while the Minus A2 -SPA 700A, filters as much as 700 square feet.  The unit stands on its own base or you can opt to wall mount it.
I totally dig the mood light, the LED lighting may be turned on so that it provides a soft mellow glow of soothing colours.  It automatically sense when it is dark or 'nap time' so I like to read in bed, then turn the light out for bed, watch the colours for a bit while I get myself organized and poof, it goes out a few moments later.  Perfect!
There are six stages of air purification and you can customize, as noted earlier, for Toxin absorbing, Pet allergy, odor, germs.  Many people who keep birds choose this filtration system since birds are very sensitive to bad air.
But it is also sleek and gorgeous!  We have people over and they comment on the filters, because they present themselves as art.

Driving can be very dirty business, as can sitting in a dusty cubicle.  Working from home is such blessing but I recently found myself driving into the office far more than I planned and coughing due to the detritus level. I wanted something for the car and the office that was easily transportable, nice looking and with Hepa filtration.  The Tecool air purifier USB plugs into your car or laptop for easy peasy transition and comes in a soft white or black.   A coworker was chronically coughing one morning so I unplugged my purifier and plugged it into her laptop so she could breathe some fresh air.  Within minutes her coughing grew quieter and then stopped all together.  For $32.99 it's a great deal.
If you are saddled with some lung congestion, such as from construction or just general pollution, while you work on clearing the air, I recommend Hyland Phosphorus as a natural homeopathic aid for cough or chest congestion. It works fast too!  I am never without this or Fenu-Thyme capsules which have two fabulous lung healing herbs to boost your lung's ability to clear itself out.  
Folks, as we age, the lungs take a real beating.  Support your lungs by cleaning your air, minimizing dirty environments and taking  natural supplements to support them.