29 September 2012

Recipes XI: Fried Spring Rolls

Vegetarian Fried Spring Rolls

So Easy to Make and Freeze!

Ever stop by the freezer section and drool over the tiny perfect little spring rolls with a fat price tag of $5+ ? It happens to me occasionally. Then I mentally slap myself and mutter why not make these from scratch for less than $2?
Makes approximately 22 rolls. 
1 cup tvp seasoned and cooked (I like to make it taste like sesame chicken!)
1/2 cup of manolined (thinnest setting) and then chopped carrots
1/2  cup of manolined (thinnest setting)and then chopped celery
1 cup of cabbage chopped very small
1/4 cup minced onions
3 cloves of pressed garlic
drizzle sesame seed oil
1 package of egg roll sheets (freezer section at the Asian store)

1 basting brush
1 small cup of water
Wax paper
Cooling racks

Prepare vegetables into the smallest and thinnest pieces. This will ensure even cooking inside and that you aren't dragging huge pieces of vegetables out with each bite. Stir well the vegetables, tvp, garlic, oil in large bowl. 
Lay out a long piece of wax paper on counter or table. Use one side for dry preparation and one for moist finishing. 
On the dry side, take a sheet out lay it like a diamond, scoop about 1.5 tablespoon of filling onto the egg roll sheet, closer to you, slightly off center. Gently, fold the right corner in, then the left corner. Then bottom corner, rolling. When complete should look similar to an envelope. 
On the wet side take a basting brush and gently seal the envelope flap shut with water. Place completed egg roll on cooling rack. Repeat until the sheets run out or the filling. Makes about 22 spring rolls. 

In a hot skillet of oil or deep fryer place 3-4 in. Allow 2-4 minutes for cooking, rotate. Don't burn them! :) When done cooking remove and place on paper towel lined plate to collect excess oil. 

They can be eaten right away with dumpling, duck or soy sauce, etc. Or you can cool them off and freeze them. Then whenever you get the craving for a tasty spring roll its ready to go! Feel free to get creative with inside. Consider: tofu, other vegetables, meat if inclined, sauces, etc. 

The Deviltry of Seitan: A Meat Alternative

Part of being vegetarian is not eating meat; well a big part. This leads to creativity and seeking out other sources of protein and nutrition. Instead of mindlessly reaching in the fridge for something to smash into my face, I have to be more aware. I have felt the little lazy voice in me urging me to eat chicken nuggets or shirk my commitment.

15 September 2012

On Becoming a Ovo/Lacto/Veg'n

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Founder of The Art of Living, said, "When you become subtle in your mind and go deeper in your heart, you turn vegetarian naturally.”

I went Veg/Ovo/Lacto/Pescatarian late July 2012. I honestly never had any inclination to ever become a "vegetarian" of sorts. I was pretty much sure I could never give up chicken in place of beans. ugh. Beans. I hate beans. I don't do the bean scene. Sorry daddy, beans are just plain nasty-ola.

Ironically, at a horrible festival, I ate at this veggie food stand a lot. I subconsciously started lessening my meat intake. I started really thinking about my craving for a fried chicken strip. Was it worth the horrid treatment, de-beaking, sick, starving chick's life for my selfish desire? Nah. I love animals. I don't support the chicken, beef or pork industries. They are horribly vile and un-necessarily cruel to animals. For what gain? A slab of steak? I could sail away to happiness on a fat bowl of pasta. I also had been experiencing meat side effects, shall we say. After eating beef, issues with ma' bowels and horrid arm pit odor. Ok, tmi but these are solid facts.  I was on the war on B.O. I gave up anti perspiration because I don't believe we should block our bodies natural response to heat: sweat. I've been using Jason's Tea Tree Oil Deodorant. So I had to do several deo-reloads (as I endearingly called them) a day.

I started reading.

Apparently meat purifying in the gut causing this horrid aroma. I'd already nixed cow milk and seen unbelievable benefits. Skin cleared up, less phlegm, not feeling sick for hours, no hurricane feeling in the gut. Maybe giving up meat could benefit me too. 

09 September 2012

Recipes X: Water Kefir Recipe

Easy Water Kefir Recipe

Probiotics and Friendly Yeasts for Pennies

1 quart glass mason jar or old glass juice jar
2 tbsp dark brown sugar, light brown sugar, molasses, cane sugar, organic agave nectar (NEVER HONEY)
2 cups spring water or boiled and cooled water (NO TAP Water)
1 pinch baking soda
sliver of lemon or lime with skin removed, medjool date, piece of apple, or some kind of fruit
3 tbsp tibicos/kefir grains

Remember no metal contact with the kefir grains. This harms them. No honey either, as it is antibacterial and anti-fungal  (Honey makes a great sore throat relief). Honey will either significantly harm them or kill them. 
You can use white sugar, however, it doesn't feed the grains like unsulfured bootstrap molasses does. If you brew beer you'll agree that white sugar when fermented leaves a bad bitter apple taste. Undesirable. I prefer light brown sugar in winter time and large granular cane sugar in the summer. 

*Mix water, sugar and baking soda until all dissolved. 
*Pour into jar.
*Add the grains gently.
*Drop in sliver of fruit.
*Cover with cloth and rubber band on (fruit flies love love love to sneak in unless its covered)

Wait 24-36 hours for the sugar to be digested by the grains. Tiny bubbles may form on the surface. Its ok to give it an occasional shake or swishing.  The cloth allows oxygen to enter the brew. Sealing the jar shut  will create bitter kefir wine and deprive the grains of oxygen. The grains need oxygen to survive. 

Strain off the grains for the liquid. I personally enjoy making mine into fruit juice soda. I like to add 1 cup of juice (no high frutose corn syrup) to the 1 cup of water kefir. Then pour into swing top bottle. Let sit on the counter for 1-2 days in a flip top beer bottle or grolsh bottle. This allows the flavors to meld together and secondary fermentation to occur. The secondary fermentation builds the carbonation in the beverage. Then put in the fridge.Careful when opening the lid for the first time. 

You can drink it right after straining the grains but its kind of tangy and boring. I've made some water kefir juice fizzier than your average cola. The flavor possibilities are endless. Take care of your grains and they will grow. The grains are very forgiving which is good if you're like me and forget them for a week. :( If you have too many, I read you can dry them out and make them into powder. This gives you the ability to add to many dishes or pet food or drinks.

The best part about tibicos/bees/water kefir is it produces about 1 trillion probiotics and friendly yeasts within about a day. I was spending about $45/month on probiotic tablets. You can buy the grains on Amazon or look for blogs who are giving them away for free. These grains really do multiply quickly! Essentially they should never die, if you take decent care of them. This stuff really gets your digestive tract moving. I enjoy drinking about 4 oz first thing in the morning. I've even considered spiking it with rum...erg I know bad idea probably, but it tastes so good. 

For more info: http://www.yemoos.com/faqwahealth.html
Bacteria & Yeast species in Water Kefir: http://www.yemoos.com/waterkefirstrains.html

08 September 2012

Plants--the Original Sources of Protein and Amino Acids

By : Dr. John A. McDougall, M.D.

Plants--the Original Sources of Protein and Amino Acids

Proteins are made from chains of 20 different amino acids that connect together in varying sequences—similar to how all the words in a dictionary are made from the same 26 letters. Plants (and microorganisms) can synthesize all of the individual amino acids that are used to build proteins, but animals cannot. There are 8 amino acids that people cannot make and thus, these must be obtained from our diets—they are referred to as “essential.”

After we eat our foods, stomach acids and intestinal enzymes digest the proteins into individual amino acids. These components are then absorbed through the intestinal walls into the bloodstream. After entering the body’s cells, these amino acids are reassembled into proteins. Proteins function as structural materials which build the scaffoldings that maintain cell shapes, enzymes which catalyze biochemical reactions, and hormones which signal messages between cells—to name only a few of their vital roles.

Since plants are made up of structurally sound cells with enzymes and hormones, they are by nature rich sources of proteins. In fact, so rich are plants that they can meet the protein needs of the earth’s largest animals: elephants, hippopotamuses, giraffes, and cows. You would be correct to deduce that the protein needs of relatively small humans can easily be met by plants.

People Require Very Little Protein

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that men and women obtain 5% of their calories as protein. This would mean 38 grams of protein for a man burning 3000 calories a day and 29 grams for a woman using 2300 calories a day. This quantity of protein is impossible to avoid when daily calorie needs are met by unrefined starches and vegetables. For example, rice alone would provide 71 grams of highly useable protein and white potatoes would provide 64 grams of protein.

Our greatest time of growth—thus, the time of our greatest need for protein—is during our first 2 years of life—we double in size. At this vigorous developmental stage our ideal food is human milk, which is 5% protein. Compare this need to food choices that should be made as adults—when we are not growing. Rice is 8% protein, corn 11%, oatmeal 15%, and beans 27%. Thus protein deficiency is impossible when calorie needs are met by eating unprocessed starches and vegetables.

The healthy active lives of hundreds of millions of people laboring in Asia, Africa, and Central and South America on diets with less than half the amount of protein eaten by Americans and Europeans prove that the popular understanding of our protein needs is seriously flawed.


03 September 2012

Simple ones: Lusciously Divine Whipped Cream

Home-style Whipped Cream
Now without Petroleum!

Easiest recipe ever. You'll never go back to that tub of petroleum rubbish.

1 Pint whole whipping cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar

Pour the whole milk whipping cream into a tall walled bowl. Pour the powdered sugar on top. Turn on the mixer and whip the liquid. Keep mixing until thick like whipped cream. Keeps for 4-5 days in the fridge in a sealed container. Use in any recipe that calls for whipped cream. Delicious by itself, on crepes, in ambrosia; I could go on and on.