Monday, April 26, 2010

vegan cashew mac& cheese

I have had a sweet tooth lately and a piece of fruit isn't cutting it but what does totally satisfy it is unsweetened carob chips. I like the Sunspire brand. I love carob instead of chocolate or cacao.
Also tonight I made a vegan cashew mac & cheese. The recipe is from one of my favorite restaurants Real Food Daily in Santa Monica,Ca. If you are in Santa Monica don't miss the chance to eat there. I adjusted the recipe a bit because I did not have all of the ingredients for the cashew cheese but it worked out just fine. I will give both the real version and my substitutions.

First make the cashew Cheddar cheese

1 1/4 cups raw cashews
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
2 tsp. onion powder...I used 1 whole slice so about 5 rings from a medium red onion
2 tsp. sea salt...I left it out
1 tsp. garlic powder....I used 2 cloves of garlic
1/8 tsp white pepper... I used Cayenne pepper
3 1/2 cups unsweetened plain soy milk...I used rice milk
1 cup agar flakes...I did not use...I used some mesa flour
1/2 cup canola oil...I used grape seed oil
1/4 cup yellow miso....I used Nama Shoyu
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Using the pulse button on you food processor finely grind the cashews and add the nutritional yeast, onion & garlic powder and pepper. Pulse 3 times to blend it all. Combine the soy milk.agar & oil in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Stir occasionally for about 10 minutes. Pour the mixture into the food processor with it running until it is smooth & creamy. Here in lies the trick. If you do not use the agar this will not happen but it will still work I have found. It will be more liquidy than it should be but when it is baked in the mac & cheese this remedies that issue in my use the agar if you can find it. You want to have it dissolve.

12 ounces of spelt elbow macaroni
2 slices of wheat bread...I like to add paprika to the bread crumbs
1 tbs. fresh parsley...I use more to taste
1 tbs. olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 325 & cook pasta according to instructions on the box. Put bread along with some paprika to taste in the food processor and pulse to make bread crumbs.
Drain pasta keeping 3/4 cup cook water for later. Toss the macaroni & cheese mixture together in a casserole dish adding the cook water if needed. cover and bake for 20 minutes. Toss the bread crumbs with the oil, garlic, pepper & parsley and sprinkle on top of the macaroni continue baking uncovered for 15 minutes or until the crumbs brown. My faster version is to skip the step of mixing the garlic, pepper,bread crumbs, parsley & oil together and simply toss my chopped parsley and bread crumbs on top of the macaroni before ever baking it,cover and bake for 20 minutes. This is yummy topped off with steamed asparagus. You could add the parsley after baking to preserve the nutrients like calcium that parsley possess. It is not just a garnish.

Making nut cheeses is an art in & of itself raw or otherwise. It takes a few times to get it right. I am still trying even with a recipe.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

toxic ingredients

I highly recommend a magazine called Natural Solutions. I found it Monday at the ecologist's office. I flipped through it and from the looks of it was probably the only one who had. The March issue has great info. in it. Articles on eating for alkalinity, eco friendly non toxic female products and the importance of that, detoxing the right way in accordance with our bodies' own abilities,etc. There is a list on line of toxic chemicals to look for in body care products & make up which is very helpful. Most of the products on that list are in everything lining the shelves. So I thought I would share some of the things we use because I have been pretty conscious of this stuff for awhile but especially so when cancer dropped in. First thing to know is that nothing enters my house that is animal tested. That has been a golden rule for my entire adult life and in my choices as a teenager.
Nature's products & hand soaps
Dessert Essence...face wash & body lotion
Badger Balm....healing balm for hands & feet
Aubry...aloe for face
Lily of the Valley....aloe gel for body
No Miss nail polish & remover
Tom's toothpaste & Paul likes one of the bar soaps
Dr. Bronner's liquid soap for a body wash
Seventh Generation dish soap
Whole Foods 365 brand or BioClean laundry Soap
Bon Ami... scrubbing cleanser
Vinegar Water...homemade clean with
lemon clean with

I do not wear makeup so I am not a big help there but I do use Alba lip gloss, Dr. Bronner's Magic All in One lip balm & Gabriel Color lipstick. I admit that I am not sure the ingredients of the lipstick. I put my trust into Whole Foods which is where I bought it.
A good guideline when buying these products is to remember that what goes on your body goes in your body so if you wouldn't feel comfortable eating it leave it.
Have a great day!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My husband & I are in a funny and perfect situation when it comes to our best friend. We have the same amazing angel for a best friend. She lives out of state now and for the past 3 years which is hard sometimes but it works. It is a long distance friendship that feels closer and more special most days than any friendship ever has. Dana is the wife of one of Paul's former band mates so that is how we all know each other. Dana goes out of her way to make sure we know she's got our back no matter what in everything. She makes time for us in her extremely busy schedule which always amazes me. She & Paul are night owls so they get to talk on the phone more which is fine with me. Dana is the therapist we both need sometimes and I am so grateful that my husband has her to talk to. Hopefully we give back as much as we get. She is in town for a visit and the minute she walked through the front door a calm and relaxation blanketed our house. We don't see friends that much any more. Canser has a way of cleaning house I guess. So for both of us it has been a long time since we just hung out with a friend. Especially me with a girlfriend. Any stress I had just melted away. You cannot beat spending time with your best girlfriend even if you are just sitting together at the table talking about nothing. I had to work yesterday but came home to a more relaxed husband and a clean kitchen. Yep, Dana worked her magic and took my husband out for the afternoon to hang with some other girlfriends & their little ones. He had a great time with the ladies and new babies. I'm jealous. I am doubly lucky because my husband is a terrific girlfriend on his own. I am not putting down his masculine side because there is no doubt that he is a man but he hangs out with the girls and enjoys it. :} she will be back next weekend and I can't wait. If I have learned anything over the past few years it is the importance of loving,caring supporters in my (our) life and we have a few. We need to take the time to appreciate these people as much as possible for being a part of our lives and a positive force in them. I am so grateful! I can't wait to move to her city. It is a city we have been planning to move to for like 5 years now..we love it and when they moved there we were sad that they were leaving but we were so happy that they were going to be there too. Anyway true friends are like angels or gifts from angels. Love them& thank them often.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Big bad Cancer

Last night my husband & I had dinner at one of our favorite organic vegan/vegetarian restaurants close to our home. On the other side of the parking lot is a fairly small but nice well maintained park. It is known as The Bloch Cancer Park and is dedicated to those living with & who have passed away from canser (I spell it wrong on purpose).There are informative & inspiring facts and words on plaques along the walkway of he park. My husband wanted to go over and walk last night so we did. We were the only ones walking there and it is in a very popular & busy area of town. What struck me was people don't even want to be in this park which is lovely because it is the cancer park. That is how stigmatized the illness is. Now honestly I cannot say that we chose to spend time there before canser became a part of our lives but I used to live across the street from it when I was in college and before it underwent renovation and I did go over there and hang out sometimes. Canser is so scary and has been portrayed as the "Jason" of serious illnesses. Certain death, no hope,etc. The conventional treatments are horrific in and of themselves...much more scary in my opinion, than the illness itself. One thing I know without a doubt about canser is that we as a whole are misinformed and uneducated about something that happens normally in the human body several times during our lifetime. "It is believed that the average person gets cancer 6 times a year. Their immune system destroys the cancer cells, and they know nothing about it. Occasionally,something comes along to depress the immune system, which allows these malignant cells to get a foothold and multiply. When the immune system recovers, the cancer is already too well established and they have a detectable case of cancer." Richard and Annette Bloch. These two are not doctors or scientist but a wife and "terminal" cancer survivor. These facts can be found when reading most anything on understanding cancer. This fact alone comes to my mind when people say things like I don't have cancer so I don't need to worry about it or it will not happen to me or why do you eat like your husband, what do you do all these things for? I don't want to be a canser patient & I understand how canser works as much as I am able. I understand that I am just a susceptible to it as the little girl down the street and my elderly neighbors. It is important to understand our bodies & how they work and how to maintain them. Some people spend hours and tons of money maintaining cars, houses,their external selves but when it comes to being healthy on the inside it becomes a flippant matter. This is another reason to eat pesticide & herbicide free foods, eat healthy whole antioxidant rich foods, only use body care products that are also free of the carcinogens,clean with natural cleaners, stop smoking,drinking excessively, just simply getting rid of exposure to carcinogenic stuff in our lives. It only takes one trigger and it is a game of Russian Roulette if you don't eliminate those things. A healthy immune system begins in the gut with our good bacteria. Probiotics should be a part of everyone lives and so should the prebiotics that feed the probiotics. Suppressing that immune system is the worst thing we can do to ourselves health wise. Eating crappy junk is a sure fire way suppress it. The food we eat is meant to nourish our bodies not harm them. Real whole foods do this. Fake foods like most candies, fast foods,processed foods,artifically sweetened and processed foods do not.
Here is my point. I do not have detectable cancer as a disease in my body and I plan to keep it that way. My husband does and has since Dec. 2007. It was diagnosed at stage IV,metastic & inoperable with a life expectancy of 3 to 6 months. You do the math. We have made many changes in our lifestyle and in our thinking and are enjoying a simple,happy, healthy life. I am not afraid to know that I have cancer cells in my body because I know with confidence that I am preventing the illness through my diet & lifestyle. I want everyone to be able to say the same thing. I also want health classes to be taught in every school in the world and I am not talking about extra gym time. It is better to teach healthy preventative habits to young people than wait until those bad habits have set in. Wouldn't you like to see children asking for an apple instead of chips or fries and wanting to play outside instead of sitting in front of the tv playing video games. That is how it should be.
Canser does suck but it doesn't have to be the big bad boogie man. People need to open their eyes & minds and say yes to a healthy life. Everything we need we have. Mother nature provides for us. Nobody wants to think about getting a serious illness but education is key to prevention. Talking about sex won't get you pregnant and talking about canser won't give you a tumor.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Allergies & sinus

Hi all,

So the past 2 weeks have been very stressful for me. One of my nephews was in the hospital very sick. The hospital he was in sucked big time and a lot went wrong because of it. He is doing fine now that he is out of there but it wore me out. It is spring time which I am so happy about but this time of the year can be both great & suck for those of us with seasonal allergies. I have been allergy tested and am allergic to the grasses & most trees that grow here in the Midwest. Home sweet home! Some years it is a big problem & some years not so much. This year is a problem Spring so far. We have had lots of big windy days,temperature fluctuations,etc. so it has kicked the pollen up into high concentration. When you couple that with stress & exhaustion it is bad news. On Monday night I started to get the symptoms of not only my allergies appearing but also a mild sinus infection. I suffered with sinus infections for years in the past...all year long. I did the allergy shots took the steroid nose sprays and the zyrtecs & claritans before they became OTC meds and nothing worked. For the sinus infections I was always put on antibiotics which I hated and a decongestant of some kind. I downed Tylenol & ibuprofen like candy for the headaches which in turn caused rebound headaches. So I had headaches that lasted for days sometimes weeks. I saw specialists and nothing helped me. I was miserable and frustrated all of the time. When I made some dietary changes things changed. Dairy..see ya! Processed revoir. Welcome whole foods,fruits & veggies! I made these changes initially for my husband's cancer diet but they ended up helping my allergies. My primary care doc even commented on the fact that he was shocked that I wasn't having allergy or sinus issues like before. There must have been a trigger in those foods. Dairy is well known as an inflammation causing food & processed foods are full of food allergy causing items. Anyway my tree & grass allergy is still present although under much better control these days. I use a netti pot regularly. I have also discovered a few natural things that really seem to remedy these issues. The supplements Quercetin & Olive Leaf as well as drinking some Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar diluted in water, eating a clove of garlic (yeah that will wake you up in the morning) and a nasal spray that contains grapefruit seed extract that I found at Whole Foods. Grapefruit Seed extract is anti fungal,viral & microbial. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant. I clean with the white vinegar. and garlic is nicknamed the Italian antibiotic for its' healing properties. These things work for me. You might give them a try if you have allergies and resulting sinus issues. They are natural to the body, easy to find at your health food store and not addictive or causing side effects. The netti pot is a big deal in our house. We use it often & when we travel they accompany us. I slacked off the past two weeks because I had a lot going on and I learned my lesson. If you still haven't tried one out what are you waiting for? Go get the Nell Med at your drugstore if you don't want to buy the netti pot and give it a try. Same concept. I prefer the netti pot to the NellMed bottle myself. If you follow directions it is very pleasant. One of my sisters refuses to try it saying she is afraid she will feel like she is drowning. I promise it doesn't feel hat way at all. It takes a few tries to get used to it is all.

Happy Spring! I am wishing us all a clean & clear season.