Cookus Interruptus – How to Cook Fresh Local Organic Whole Foods Despite Life’s Interruptions

Cookus Interruptus – How to Cook Fresh Local Organic Whole Foods Despite Life’s Interruptions.

This is a fun site I was just turned onto by a friend.  I love the premise, and it is great for people new to the concept since they have a ton of ‘how-to’ videos.  The videos are really funny as well since they make a point of showing how life continues even while they film cooking videos.  For example, a man will walk in to ask what loads of laundry are being done in the middle of the cooking demonstration.  Just click on over and enjoy!

CADA Breakfast

_DSC0291Here is a yummy, quick, nutritious breakfast treat you may like to try. You throw some healthy ingredients in a food processor and  eat it like cereal.  It is called CADA which stands for Coconut Almond Dates and Apple. I found it in my Vegetarian Thermomix cookbook.  Basically, you just throw a handful of each into the Thermomix and pulse it a couple of times.  I usually use 2 apples, a handful of everything else and add in some ground flaxseeds.  I did a quick internet search and found that this breakfast is quite popular and many people have made their own changes as well.  Some people serve it with yogurt, others add ginger and one person makes muffins with it!

6 Processed Foods You Should Always Buy Organic | Rodale News

Over the past several decades, we have all sacrificed our health for cheap and convenient food, and we desperately need to change these bad habits.

organic meals | 6 Processed Foods You Should Always Buy Organic | Rodale News.

I guess it is from too many stories like these that I started buying pretty much all organic food.  In Germany, it is pretty easy to do when you go to a ‘bio’ shop.  It IS more expensive, and it ISN’T a guarantee that you will be eating a perfect whole food, but it is the easiest way for me to consume healthier foods for my family.

 

Kale

the powerhorse

 

Well, it appears that kale has come in season here in Germany as I received so much in my delivery last week that I couldn’t store it all in the house!  Kale, or ‘Grünkohl’ auf Deutsch, is almost always available frozen in conventional stores, but fresh and organic supplies are extremely limited except when in season.

According to Web Md., Kale is “one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet” – it has 685% of your daily Vitamin K recommendations!!!! (not to mention all the calcium, vitamin C and vitamin A).

Unfortunately, it is not always very popular because it is quite tough.  My kids and husband resist, and my mother refuses to even eat it.  Even I still struggle to find ways I really like it, but I know it is worth the effort.  On the positive side, you can do lots of things with kale.  I made my menu this week with some kind of kale dish every day. On Monday I had soup with Kale, on Tuesday, salad, on Wednesday, a stir fry with potatoes, on Thursday, pocket pies and on Friday a smoothie.  So hopefully you can find a way to enjoy this power horse as well!

Gingerbread Cut-Out Cookies | Post Punk Kitchen | Vegan Baking & Vegan Cooking

I know I haven’t posted in ages.  I guess I have continued to be distracted by daily life, but today I finally got some inspiration to share.  I made these gingerbread cookies form Isa Chandra in preparation for the holidays, and the dough is amazing!

Gingerbread Cut-Out Cookies | Post Punk Kitchen | Vegan Baking & Vegan Cooking.

I haven’t rolled them out and cut them out yet (and that is often where I have problems with doughs).  However, I couldn’t stop sneaking bites of this dough.  In fact, I would be happy to eat it all raw!

For those of you living in Germany and looking to do some holiday baking as well, I would like to give my 2 cents on a vital ingredient for these treats – molasses.

dark and thick, baby!

dark and thick, baby!

Basically, molasses is a by product when refining sugar to get the white sugar we are used to.  Any of the nutrients that are in sugar originally stay in the molasses (calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin B-6).  Some even claim that you could have a spoon or two a day as a vitamin!  However, not all molasses products are equal.  Most of the health claims of molasses are for ‘blackstrap’ molasses.  This is a very dark product from the third boiling.  Sometimes you see other molasses available, and those could  be lighter in color, but not as rich in nutrients or flavor.

You can also produce molasses from a variety of products.  In the US we use sugar cane for the most part.  In Germany, most sugar production is with sugar beets, not sugar cane, so the molasses (i.e., Goldsaft)  you usually see in the corner shop also comes from the beet. I haven’t been able to find too much information of the health benefits of sugar beet molasses (other than from the company producing it), but what I have seen  comparing the leans in favor of the cane.  Cane sugar molasses is much higher in iron, copper and manganese.  If you want to make sure you have sugar cane molasses, you want to look for the words ‘Zuckerrohr’ which means ‘sugar cane’.  I have bought this one in local bio shops, but not all bio shops carry it – usually only those with the bigger selections.

You can also buy Rapadura sugar. It is unprocessed and still has the molasses mixed in.  I have used it in recipes calling for refined sugar and a teaspoon or two of molasses.

So give it a try and whip up a bunch of the gingerbread cookies.  They’re vegan, so no worries if you like the dough too much to cook them!

Eat Your Books

My Home | Eat Your Books.

Do you ever spend hours searching through all your cookbooks for a good recipe to use the turnip greens that came from the coop this week?  Well, I just discovered this website which is a step in the right direction.  Basically, you can make a list of the cookbooks you have and type an ingredient, and it will look through the indexes of them and pull up all the recipes with said ingredient.

As I said it is a step in the right direction as it has some limitations.  First of all, it doesn’t actually have the recipe (probably can’t get the rights to it, and you are supposed to own the recipe).  Also, it doesn’t tell you the page number. I find that a bit annoying as I have to then look them up in the cookbook instead of flipping right to the page.  Finally, I found that it wasn’t a complete index.  I looked up something, Mizuna perhaps, and Eat your Books came up with one or two recipes whereas the index of  my copy of ‘Wild About Greens’ lists more than 10.

 

On the positive side, it seems to have a good collection of books – it had all my random whole foods plant based books.  Also, you can add up to 5 books with a free account.

 

In spite of the drawbacks, I do recommend it as it is still quicker than looking up ingredients in each of your books.  However, I do hope they will at least add page numbers to their listings in the future.

Long Hiatus and balance in life

Yikes!  It has been forever since I have posted anything (I am scared to even look at the date!).  We bought and built a house in the last year, and it has been the most consuming thing I have ever done in my life (even more so than having 4 children!)  I feel like I basically put my life on hold for about 6 months as I never knew when I would be summoned to discuss something with a workman or then spending hours and hours researching taps or tiles.  When I was in the midst of it all, I thought I would never do it again, but now that we have been in the house for 3 months and most everything is complete and we now feel settled, I can already imagine how I would approach the process differently.

The biggest issue is the balance with your current life.  I felt like I had to drop all regular commitments, and I hardly saw friends (except those who were helping me with some aspect of the house).  It is so hard to spend time with and enjoy the people you love.  My dedication to healthy eating also suffered as I had no energy to plan, shop for and prepare healthy meals.  My running schedule became less than what I do even when I am pregnant.  I stopped all practice of yoga and pilates (which I have always done several times a week).  I did nothing at my children’s school.  I took no vacations.  I exhausted all my savings and have piled up debt.  When seen from this perspective, one would wonder why ever do something which seems so traumatic?

Overall, this was a very short term and over-all happy event in our life.  It is a better living situation for us.  My schedule and routines are now starting to return to normal.  I believe that financially we will be better off in the end.  However, not all life events are so.  Sometimes things happen beyond are control which are not joyous and are even more disruptive.  So what lessons have I learned – what do I wish I would have done?

1.  Make time for quiet in your life.

More and more I am convinced that we need some time every day to settle our souls.  As a christian, I see this as a time of quieting my soul and trying to hear God’s voice.  Research seems to support that all humans handle stresses in their lives better when they take some time to process and reflect.  My personal tendency is to do the opposite.  The more I have on my to do list, the more I try to do.  However, I think I could be more effective by taking at least 10-15 minutes per day to quiet my mind.  By taking the time to be quiet, I can then focus and think better in stead of unproductively spinning wheels.

2.  Make time for loved ones

In happiness surveys, it seems the number one factor affecting people’s happiness is spending time with loved ones and doing things for other people.  I would feel much more satisfied taking the time to call someone on their birthday and simply catching up than spending 3 hours picking out tiles.  In any case, I hope my friends will be with me longer than my floor selections or house!

3.  Make time to eat right and exercise

Like the need for quiet, our body also needs the correct fuel and exercise to handle whatever comes our way.  I think enough has been said on this topic that it is enough for me to simply remind you.

Now, I make these suggestions, but I did none of it!  Will I be smarter the next time I have some traumatic event in my life?  Perhaps by incorporating these practices into my daily life now they will become so ingrained that I won’t let them slide when I most need them?

 

Vegan Goldfish Crackers – Chef Chloe – Vegan Cooking and Recipes

Vegan Goldfish Crackers – Chef Chloe – Vegan Cooking and Recipes.

 

Just came across this, and it seemed too cute NOT to share.  I haven’t even tried it yet, but if the kids like it, I may be splurging for a goldfish cookie cutter as well (but not sure I have the patience to cut them all out!