Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays & Bring in the New Year!

Its the time of year that we lose sight of the real reason for this season. Running around shopping, dining and making sure to check your list twice and make sure you nice. I know that it is my busiest time of year at work where we make sure all our customers have the best food to serve for their special events or family dinners. We've all busted our butts all year long for one month of madness.
So today, December 24th it's time to slow it down and focus on the birth of Jesus Christ. He has blessed me with better health and family. My life has had some major ups and downs and I know that I couldn't have made it through without my faith.
I'm focusing the next 2 weeks on my family. Its funny how when you get older family becomes so much more important and you want to create new memories for your little ones. I wish all of you a joyful season and remember to stop, put down the wrapping paper and pray. Give thanks for all you have in your life, large or small, difficult or good. For if it's difficult, somehow someway it is a breakthrough to better days.
I will resume my writing after the holidays. It will be time to focus on good health again for it's a new decade with this new year. A decade of new beginnings...
God Bless You All

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Savory Oatmeal

I had a funny thing happen over Thanksgiving weekend when I took the kids down to the local Walgreen's to pick up something to drink. When we were paying for our drinks I was asked by the cashier if I would like to donate to the Childhood Diabetes Foundation and if I did then I could select something off the table they had out front with a variety of baked goods. Now that might have enticed most people and they probably didn't make the connection but I couldn't believe they did that. All the items on the table were overloaded with sugar and it just didn't make any sense to offer sugar laden baked goods in exchange for a donation to help fund the fight against childhood diabetes. I was floored and made the comment to the cashier. She made a big frown to me when I made the comment and then the other cashier burst out laughing. Now I wasn't trying to be funny but merely trying to make a point. I had simply said "Are you kidding me? Don't you understand the reason behind childhood diabetes? Why would you offer a sugar fest of baked goods in exchange?" She didn't know how to answer that question. I had to explain to her that those foods were terrible choices in exchange for donations. She was mad and irritated. I think the baked goods were her idea. Oops.

I believe the reason we have so much of an issue with childhood diabetes is most people don't understand that eating the wrong foods, over processed and full of sugar is the number one reason we have an issue in the first place.

So this post is dedicated to the lady at the Walgreen's. Take your morning oatmeal and make is a savory dish. Think of your oats as any other grain. You can add a variety of sauteed vegetables and herbs. I used up some slow roasted tomatoes I had left over from the previous nights dinner and sauteed up some crimini mushrooms which are actually baby portabellos. I also added some fresh herbs and a drizzle of olive oil. Try steel cut oats and cook according to the package directions. Make sure to season it with salt and pepper.

A great switch from sugar oatmeal and very satisfying !

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mango Lime & Raspberry Zinger Sorbet

Well one holiday down and the other is right around the corner. I did pretty well this year and didn't indulge in turkey for the first time. However I did have mashed potatoes and gravy which was one of my favorites that I just didn't pass up this year. I passed on the pie but the neighbor had to sabotage me with home baked monkey bread and I picked a couple of pieces off the top. Oh well...I won't beat myself up and move on.

So tonight I wanted a little something sweet after dinner so I decided to whip up a simple sorbet. I don't know about you but I'm already sick of holiday food. Maybe it's because I work for a catering company and the magazines, blogs and food shows have already over stimulated us with every kind of holiday dish imaginable that I just couldn't bear to post something after Thanksgiving weekend that was about pie or something heavy so I opted for a light full flavored sorbet that is super easy to prepare and is a better choice than the sugar laden ice creams and store bought sorbets.

I combined by love for red raspberries and that mango chili lime combo to make this sensational sorbet. Here's the recipe.

Mango Lime & Raspberry Zinger Sorbet

1 Cup Mangos, Chunks (Frozen)
1 Cup Red Raspberries, (Frozen)
1 Stevia Individual Package
1/2 Lime, Juiced
Pinch of Chile Seasoning

In a food processor add the mangos, raspberries, truvia, lime and chili. Process until it becomes a smooth sorbet.

You can eat it right away or freeze it to make it a little more firm.

Raspberries are loaded with vitamin C, manganese, folate, magnesium, niacin, potassium and copper. This makes them a very good source of B class vitamins, as well as an excellent source of soluble dietary fiber. They are also high in ellagic acid a phytonutrient belonging to the family of tannins that have been reported to have an anti-cancer activity which this compound is particularly exclusive to the raspberry.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Coconut Water - Nectar of the Gods

God is an awesome God and he has provided us with so many incredible plants to provide food and healing for our bodies. Young coconuts are so good for you in many ways. The water inside a young coconut is so pure and refreshing. Coconut has a long history of being both food and medicine.

Coconut water contains a load of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acides, enzymes, growth factors and phytonutrients. They are grown close to the ocean and their roots have access to the oceans mineral rich salt water. These minerals are absorbed by the roots and are passed to the heart of the coconut. An 8 oz cup of coconut water is loaded with more potassium that a banana with trace elements of zinc, seleium, idodine, sulfer, manganese, etc.

There are many things that coconut water can help with correcting in the body but my favorite and most important factor is the lifeline to the heart. The minerals magnesium and potassium are known to help reduce high blood pressure and in Jamaica they consider coconut water as heart tonic. Studies have shown that coconut water when consumed improves the ratio of good cholesterol to bad and lowers the reduces plaque formation in the arteries thus reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.

With the benefit of blood circulation it is a wonder food for diabetics. It also contains certain forms of fiber and amino acid that help moderate sugar absorption and improve insulin sensitivity.

The benefits of coconut are too many to mention and I've only touched the surface. I would encourage you to do some additional research and learn all that this wonder plant has to offer.

You can find young coconuts in the grocery store by the speciality produce items or at an ethnic grocery and health food store. These young coconuts are green but are peeled and left with a white soft shell. Just trim the white shell from the top close to the point and then take your knife and use the bottom part of the blade to make a dent then take the knife edge and pop the top off. Grab a straw and enjoy this wonderous juice inside. You can them to smoothies or other juices. I love drinking them alone. Its so refreshing and satisfying.

Top 10 Reasons to Drink Coconut Water

1. Contains 5 essential electrolytes: Potassium, Mangesium, Phosphorus, Sodium and Calcium.
2. Replenishes the body of fluides and aids in dehydration.
3. Provides immune support and detoxification.
4. It cleanses the kidneys and ease the stomach.
5. Improves muscle performance and allows for quicker muscle recovery.
6. Promotes smoother skin, hair and nails.
7. Boosts circulation and oxygen into the cells filling them with nutrients.
8. Reinforces proper alkaline balance.
9. Restores alkaline balance in the body.
10. Promotes heart health, weight loss and mental clarity.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pan Fried Tacos & A Quick Sandwich

Who said vegans don't eat real food? It's not all carrot sticks and lettuce wraps. Here are some simple mealtime solutions that will satisfy any meateater. I just love a couple of brands of Vegan Chorizo that I want to share with you.

One thing is for sure, transitioning to a meat-free lifestyle isn't too difficult if you know what to look for at the store. These brands are excellent substitutes for the fat laden versions of sausage. My favorite brands are Field Roast and Upton's Natural Seitan Chorizos. They've got great flavor and since it's made with seitan it has a meater texture. I've also used Melissa brand of Soy Chorizo for the faux egg salad and it's great to mix with tofu.

Field Roast is usually in the frozen section at Market Street and Upton's is available at Wholefoods and Krogers. These might be available at other grocers but these are the ones I know of in the Dallas area. If your grocer doesn't carry them, ask someone to start offering a better selection. They don't know your looking for items until you tell them.

Here's a couple of ways to use it. Just saute in a skillet with coconut oil and break it up. Be careful not to overcook it. It's easy to do if your used to cooking meat. I like to add it to a bowl with small diced red onions, cilantro and mix with Veganaise (Grapeseed Oil is the best version) and season with salt and pepper. This makes a great faux egg salad and you can serve it with a vegan bread toasted. Look at the ingredients on the bread to make sure it doesn't contain milk or eggs if your trying to cut those items.

Another way to serve this is to mix the chorizo with some soy cheese, chopped onion and cilantro then place in a warmed corn tortilla, fold over and saute to toast on each side in some coconut oil in a saute pan. Serve with chopped fresh avocado and my favorite brand of salsa is Arriba Fire Roasted Chipotle Sauce.

You can use these a substitutes in most ground beef recipes as added flavor. They are spiced well and will add a great depth of flavor and texture. These two meals are quick easy and satisfying without all the cholesterol. Be sure to use coconut oil when cooking these as it is the best cooking oil to use and is processed by the liver quickly and body doesn't reserve it as fat.

I'll be discussing coconut oil soon. You will be amazed at all the possiblities of this wonder nut!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Himalayan Pink Salt - 84 Essential Minerals

Imagine a salt that in its purest form is enriched with an astounding 84 trace minerals in which God created within the human body. Most people over-dose their bodies with sodium chloride found in regular table salt. Our bodies only require a minimal amount of salt on a daily basis. Consuming an overabundance of sodium chloride triggers our body to recognize this as an aggressive cellular toxin and tries to eliminate it quickly which overburdens the kidneys. Table salt is used as a preservative and as a flavor enhancer. It is found most prepackaged, over processed foods and is in almost every home kitchen.

Himalayan Pink Salt is the highest form of natural salt and is the finest quality for our bodies. It was formed millions of years ago by an ancient sea evaporated by the sun leaving an absolute pristine crystalline salt in a beautiful pink hue. This crystal salt is not contaminated by pollutants or chemicals and is buried deep in the Himalayan Mountains which is mined and processed gently by hand to bring you a salt that still retains the original qualities of this ancient body of water.

When we consume regular table salt the body surrounds the sodium chloride molecule to break it up into ionized molecules of sodium and chloride to neutralize. In order for this to be accomplished, water is needed for this process, and taken from our cells which cause dehydration of the cells. Himalayan salt is a special salt and when it touches water it will come alive, setting free its essential healing energy.

Be looking for an opportunity to purchase Himalayan Pink Salt in fine and medium crystals and my Spice For Life Seasoning from my online store which will be launched in 2012.

Himalayan Healing Elements:
84 essential elements that are found in Himalayan Pink Salt. Hyrdogen, lithium, berylium, boron, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, fluride, sodium, magnesium, aluminum, silicon, phosphorus, sulfur, calcium, scandium titanium, vanadium, chromium, manganese, iron, cobalt, nickel, copper, zinc, gallium, germanium, arsenic, seleium, bromin, rubidium, strontium, tin, antomny, tellurium, iodine, cesium, barium, lanthanum, cerium, praseodymium, samarium, europium, gadolinium, terbium, dysprosium, holmium, erbium, thulium, ytterbium, lutetium, hafnium, tantalum, tunsten, rheniym, osmiym, iniduim, platinum, gold, mercury, thalium, lead, bismuth, poloium, astatine, francium, radium, actinium, thorium, protactinium, astatine, francium, radium, actinium, thorium,protactinium, uranium, neptunium and plutorium.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Forbidden Rice & Grilled Sweet Potato Salad

Forbidden Rice or otherwise known as Black Rice is a powerhouse packed nutrient and mineral filled heirloom rice that's been my little secret. This nutty deep purple rice was once eaten only by the ancient emperors of China and were banned from the common people.

That's right - this rice is filled with phytonutrients that provide antioxidants, iron, amino acides and minerals important to human health. A food scientist recently said that a spoonful of black rice contains more health promotion anthocyanin antioxidants than a spoonful of blueberries, with less sugar, more fiber and vitamin E antioxidants. So if berries are used to boost health then why not black rice? Anthocyanin antioxidants are what gives fruits and vegetables their beautiful colors and what makes blackberries black and blueberries blue. They are a class of flavonoid antioxidants that protect many body systems such as the brain and nervous system.

And according to scientists they claim that the single most important dietary change for most people would be to replace fatty foods with foods that are rich in complex carbs such as sweet potatoes. They are ranked number one in ALL VEGETABLES and for good reason. The sweet potato is loaded with fiber, has natural sugars and complex carbs, protein, iron, calcium, vitamin A and vitamin C and if you eat the skin it has more fiber than oatmeal. Benefits out the wazoo and they are only about 150 calories.

The other night I made some Forbidden Rice for dinner and had some left over in the fridge. I needed a quick lunch so I peeled and sliced a sweet potato, flipped on the grill and cooked them for about 5 minutes on each side, just until they were cooked through but still had a little bite for texture. Then tossed it in a dressing while it was still warm to soak up the flavors and served it with this this nutty black rice. It was a winning combination and the presentation and color combination with something worthy of a formal dinner!

I've made this grilled sweet potato salad millions of times and everyone goes nuts over it. Now I need to make this for my next dinner party and show my friends that eating vegan is not only healthy but also interesting, easy and beautiful. I hope you enjoy...

Forbidden Rice
Cook according to package directions. (For best results for this salad, let rice cool completely before using in this salad.)
Grilled Sweet Potato Salad
1 Large Sweet Potato, Peeled and Sliced
2 Oz Red Onion, Sliced
2 Tablespoons Cilantro, Chopped
1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1/4 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
Squeeze of 1/2 Lime
1/2 Cup Grapeseed Oil
Sea Salt & Cracked Black Pepper
Dash of Hickory Flavored Liquid Smoke
Slice peeled sweet potato and toss or spray with oil (lightly). Grill for approximately 5 minutes on each side or until the potato is cooked but a little firm in the center. This is best for texture.
While potato is cooking, mix together, dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, lime juice, liquid smoke and chopped cilantro. Season with cracked black pepper and sea salt.
When potatoes are finished grilling, add the red onions and toss with 1/2 of the dressing and it will soak up the flavors while it is warm.
To plate: Spoon some black rice on the plate, top with the grilled sweet potatoes and drizzle with the remaining dressing. Serve immedately.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Vegan Quest - With Rants...

November is Vegan MOFO - Which means Vegan Month of Food - Bloggers are writing about everything Vegan. Not necessarily recipes, but about the vegan lifestyle. So today my post is a rant - not a recipe.
I am stunned that everyone thinks that just because I am eating a vegan diet that I am eating boring bean sprout food. I have received comments from friends that they could never do it because it's to restricting and they don't like to eat sprouts, beans or hippy food. Hippy food - What the hell?

Now anyone that knows me knows that I love food, all kinds of food, and all flavors of food. This vegan lifestyle is anything but boring hippy food. It's about eating great food and combining great flavors while trying to consume a plant based diet for health reasons.

Another thing I have realized is that our mainstream restaurants and fast food joints are missing out on an opportunity to provide healthy food without animal products to millions of people who are looking for great food without the crap. With so many people with heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol it's beyond me that there are not better food options. It is merely impossible to go out to eat and get vegan food without ordering sides, boring salads and picking apart an entree only to have them hold the butter and cheese. With all the fantastic talented chefs around - I don't get it. They haven't tapped into this untouched market. Sure anyone can put together a menu for restaurant with the typical ribs, mashed potatoes, sliders and cheese fries. But who has the balls to make a menu that is meateater and vegan friendly? So everyone can dine together. You either go to a restaurant that is balls to the wall loaded with meat and cheese items or you have to hunt down a vegetarian or vegan restaurant on the other side of town and get the expected lentil loaf and quiona pilaf that makes you want to eat meat!

So I challenge you my friends - the next time your eating out - look to see what options are available for vegans. I bet you will be surprised to find that it's very limited and extremely disappointing. Make sure you mention it to management and hopefully we can start to educate the world of fine dining and fast food drive thru windows that there is another world out there - a world filled with dying individuals who need better food options while dining with friends and running out to pick up a quick lunch.

I find this vegan lifestyle pretty easy to follow because I am a cook and I don't mind fixing something quick to eat. However there are so many people begging to heard.

Snap out of it people - Look around.....America needs some smart and savvy businesses to wake up and smell the coffee.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Red Curry Coconut Soup

I don't know about you but everytime I've purchased a soup at the supermarket that's in those plastic containers I am sooo disappointed. The vegetables are always overcooked and mushy and the broth is just one note of flavor. And have you ever looked at the sodium content? OMG - Don't get me started...
Now I have been told that I am hard to please a bit of a food snob, but I believe that if you can make it better yourself and make it great what's the point in paying for crappy food. Soup is one of those meals that is so easy to put together at the last minute and you can't beat the flavor you get by garnishing with fresh herbs. Making your own soup allows you to control the sodium content and build layers of flavors that are sure to please.
With cooler weather a nice soup in the evening is always welcome. This soup is fragrant and easy to throw together as long as you have a few essential items in your pantry on hand. Coconut Milk, Red Curry Paste, Canned Tomatoes and Vegetable or Chicken Stock. Plus I always keep on hand in the refrigerator fresh herbs whether it's fresh cilantro in a cup of water (which by the way will last a week as long as you cut the stems and put in fresh water when you get home from the grocery store) or a packet of fresh basil.
Adding fresh herbs to any dish will immediately brighten it up and make a blah dish spectacular. Cilantro is super cheap and always packs the punch!
Red Curry Paste is a combination of chili peppers, lemon grass, garlic and galanga (a root that is similar to ginger), coriander, kiffer lime and peppercorns - it can blow up the heat quickly so be sure to taste as you go so you don't over power your dish. Look for Red Curry Paste in the Asian section of the grocery store in jars. Once opened keep in the refrigerator. You can add it to sauces and stews and it will add a little kick and a great depth of flavor to a lot of dishes.
Red Curry Coconut Soup
1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
1 Small Onion, Diced
1 Tablespoon Ginger, Minced
1 Teaspoon Red Curry Paste
1 14 oz Can Fire Roasted Organic Tomatoes, Diced
4 Cups Vegetable or Chicken Stock (for non-vegan eaters)
6 oz White Wine
1 14 oz Can Coconut Milk
1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
1 Teaspoon Organic Sugar
1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
Fresh Basil or Cilantro, Chopped
In a medium stock pot over medium high heat, saute onions, ginger and red curry paste. Cook the onions until they are translucent approximately 5 minutes and then add the chopped tomatoes. Cook for 1-2 minutes and add the vegetable or chicken stock, white wine and coconut milk. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a low simmer. Allow soup to simmer on low for about 20 minutes so that the curry seasoning has a few minutes to blend with the other ingredients.
Add the sesame oil, sugar and salt. Add the chopped basil or cilantro and simmer an additional 10 minutes.
To serve splash with a dash of sesame oil and garnish with fresh basil or cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Cherry Ginger Nut Stuffed Apples

Halloween and cooler weather brings fond memories of dunking my head in a big tin tub trying to grab an apple with my teeth! As I was wondering through the produce isle the other day that memory flashed through my head when I saw mounds of apples. I just cracked up. That was so random.

Then I thought - what can I make with apples that's different than pie or dumplings that I can eat for breakfast and stay on this vegan diet? Well.....Brew some chickory coffee and throw these little nuggets in the oven for a morning treat! This beats oatmeal any day. So simple to make ahead and keeps in the fridge wrapped with plastic wrap until your ready to bake.

Just pick up some gala apples, dried cherries and pecans. Mix together brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves and candied ginger and dot with a little coconut oil in place of butter. Bake and enjoy.....Here's the actual recipe.

Cherry Ginger Nut Stuffed Apples
2 Gala Apples
1/2 Cup Pecans, Chopped
1/4 Cup Dried Cherries
3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Crystalized Ginger, Chopped
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon, Ground
1/8 Teaspoon Cloves, Ground
Dash Sea Salt
2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil (add this just before baking)

Using a knife or spoon to hollow out the apples leaving approximately 1/2 inch apple in the bottom to keep filling from coming out.

Mix together pecans, dried cherries, brown sugar, crystalized ginger, cinnamon, cloves and sea salt. Fill apples with nut mixture.

At this point you can put in an airtight container and wrap with plastic wrap to keep for a couple of days.

Put apples in a baking dish and add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil on top.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 40 minutes.

Serving Suggestions: Great for breakfast or as a side dish with dinner or a spinach salad tossed with a warm cider dressing.

Everyone knows that having an apple a day keeps the doctor away but did you know that if you ate one each day it can lower your serum cholesterol levels by 8-11%? Apples are rich in fiber and flavonoids which help decrease heart disease. Pecans are cholesterol free, nutrient dense and are packed with antioxidants.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fire Roasted Artichoke Hearts & Thai Dipping Sauce

It's been a few days since my last post because I had a wonderful visit with my birth mother catching up on our lives and cooking together all week. Now since I have been on this vegan quest I was worried that my new way of life and cooking might be faltered with company however I found that it was kind of fun trying to find ways to introduce this lifestyle to someone who loves food but is also a meat-eater. I did cheat one night with salmon and only ate about a 4 oz size. My stomach did a few turns since I wasn't used to it but all in all it was an easy week of cooking and even ejoying some fantastic organic red wine. Sipping a glass or two throughout the evening without over endulging.

The first evening we sat outside in the beautiful October sky and enjoyed a spread of Fire Roasted Artichoke Hearts with a Thai Dipping Sauce, Slow Roasted Tomato Jam with Grilled Flatbread and a fabulous Organic Zinfandel!

It was a perfect light dinner and conversation. The tomato jam was a huge hit - once again! Which I have been told needs to be jarred and sold. So don't be surprised if you receive some from me for the holidays this year. I just might take her up on the advice.

Here is the recipe for the artichoke hearts and sauce. I hope you enjoy!
Fire Roasted Artichoke Hearts
2 Artichoke Hearts
1 Lemon
Sea Salt
Cracked Black Pepper

To prepare the artichokes for the grill. Wash them throughly and open the leaves to let the water run through. Then turn the artichokes upside down and give them a good shake to release the trapped water. Dry them by putting on a paper towel and then pat dry.

Using a sharp knife, trim off the top about 1 1/2 to 2" from the top where the leaves are tightly bunched.

Take some kitchen shears and trim the sharp points off each leaf continuing all around the artichoke.
Slice the artichoke in half bearing the head of the violet-colored thistle-like flower in the center. Now use a spoon and scoop out the center getting all the prickly pieces out.

In a large stock pot add about 2 quarts of water, season with sea salt, squeeze fresh lemon juice and add the lemons to the water. Bring the water to a boil and add the artichoke heart halves.

Boil in the seasoned water for approximately 15 minutes. Drain and let dry completely by placing face down on a pallet of papertowels.

Brush the artichoke heart halves with melted coconut oil and season with sea salt and cracked fresh black pepper. Place on a hot grill and roast until they become charred. Approximately 5-8 minutes.

Thai Scallion Dipping Sauce

1/4 Cup Soy Sauce (Low Sodium)
2 Tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar (Unsweetened)
1 Teaspoon Lime Juice
1 Teaspoon Sesame Oil
Dash of Agave Nectar to sweeten a bit
1 Scallion, Thinly Sliced

Mix all ingredients together with a wisk. Pour in a dipping dish and dip your artichoke leaves in and enjoy this sensational sweet and salty sauce!

Artichokes Healing Properties
Who knew that artichokes are actually considered a herb? Even though this herb is most commonly used as a vegetable it has diuratic properties, increases blood circulation, regenerates liver tissue while stimulating the gall bladder. Artichokes reduce blood lipid, serum cholesterol and blood sugar.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Zucchini Carpacio Salad

Sometimes don't you want a salad that is more than mixed greens and salad dressing without adding a bunch of calories and fat? Well tonight I decided to change it up a bit and make a carpaccio style salad with Zucchini, Fried Capers, Arugula and Grape Tomatoes. I drizzled it with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Lemon Juice and Sherry Vinegar, then garnished it with fresh Basil, Sea Salt and Cracked Black Pepper.
Zucchini - A cucumber like vegetable that is actually, botanically considered a fruit. This slender shaped fruit has many health benefits and one zucchini is 25 calories, an ideal stomach filler for those looking to lose weight. Zucchini helps to cure asthma and fight against cardiovascular disease containing Vitamin C which is an anti-inflammatory property.
This vegetable is high in Potassium, Folate, Vitamin A and Vitamin B6.
Capers on the other hand have been used throughout history to promote healthy liver function. They contain two bioflavonoids, rutin and quarcetin which have strong antioxidant properties. They are high in sodium which need to be used sparingly and can be used in place of salt in a dish.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Take The Vegetarian Pledge for October

Did you know today is World Vegetarian Day? Alright all you meat eaters - take the pledge for one month to eat vegetarian and see how wonderful you feel! Click on the image above to pledge and you could be a winner and save a pig a chicken or a cow!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pineapple Coco Balls

My friend Jodi has decided to jump on the bandwagon and try this vegan lifestyle but she said I had to come up with some kind of sweets. So I put together a combination from a few raw vegan dessert techniques to come up with these satisfying Chocolate Pineapple Balls. They are the perfect little popper when you need to have something a little sweet! So Jodi - this is for you.
1 1/2 Cups Almonds
1/2 Tsp Sea Salt
1 Vanilla Bean, Scraped
1 1/2 Cups Dried Pineapple, Chopped (unsweetened no sulfites)
1 1/2 Cups Pitted Dates
1/4 Cup Shredded Coconut (unsweetened and dried)
1 Tablespoon Carob Powder
In a food processor, process the almonds, salt and vanilla. Process into a fine powder first. Add the chopped pineapple, dates and carob powder. Mix well.
Transfer mixture to a large bowl and using a small scoop, portion out some and roll between your palms to form a ball. Repeat until all is rolled out and refrigerate.
Optional: You can roll in the coconut as a garnish if you prefer.
This will keep for over a week in the refrigerator. Perfect for a quick snack or with breakfast.
Carob Powder - Can be found in the baking isles of most grocery stores or health food stores. It is fromt he dried pulp of the finest mediterranean carob beans. Carob helps digestion and lowers cholesterol in the blood. Carob also fights against osteoporsis due it's richness in calcium. It's used as a substitute for chocolate in baking and contains no chocolate, cocoa, added sugar or caffine.
Dried Pineapples - Sulfites is used as a preservative in dried fruits. Finding dried pineapple that contains no sulfites is usually organic and without sweetners it's a healthier option since pineapple is naturally sweet. Pineapples have a digestive healing property and are loaded with vitamin C, trace mineral maganese and thiamin (vitamin B1) for energy and antioxidant defenses.
Coconuts - A superfood and helps to cure cancer, AIDS, baldness, weight loss, digestive problems, diabetes and contain antiviral and antibacterial properties.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

It's Official....I'm definately Going Vegan!

For the past 2 weeks I have been vegan and it wasn't difficult. I transitioned well by starting off selecting more vegetarian foods. That kind of prepared me for easing into a vegan lifestyle. However if it wasn't for a lot of research the past few years on the vegetarian and the raw food movement, I probably wouldn't have felt too comfortable diving into it. We are programmed to eat meat. I was, I even saw animals being slaughtered as a young girl. Cloud Packing Company in Springfield, MO was my family business and we were running around on the pastures flipping cow patties and running from the cows to get back to the house. I remember going to the plant on Saturdays with my Dad and hanging out in the office with my grandmother. I would wander around the plant and it was normal to see blood and meat hanging. (Normal? - Forgive me)

But somehow we all disconnect the reality of what we are eating and we marinate that steak and throw it on the grill! At first when I decided to go vegan it was just for health reasons and the more research I do on a vegan lifestyle the ethical treatment of animals keeps popping up.

It's strange how I purchased the book Skinny Bitch about 4 years ago, read it and then put it on a shelf. I remember reading the real truth about our meat supply and somehow, some way, disconnected it once again. Except yesterday I pulled the book from my shelf and read it again last night. OMG - I don't know what the difference was between reading last night and 4 years ago, but I can't even imagine eating meat or dairy ever again!

Since I've been vegan, I don't have any cravings anymore. That is the strangest thing of all. I don't want a hamburger or french fries, I don't want anything bad for me. It's like my body is reprogramming. I am perfectly satisfied with good food and only putting something in my body that is going to be a positive impact on my system.

If you are wanting to learn more about becoming a vegan, go to this website and watch this video. WARNING - IT IS VERY DISTURBING......But I think it is so powerful that anyone who is wanting to embrace the vegan lifestyle and feed their bodies with food that is good and full of vitamins and minerals by consuming more vegetables, fruits, nuts and wholegrains then you need to also understand what meat and dairy does to your body.

I am living proof that that crap is not good for you. And I am making a change for a better life - A Twist of Life! I hope you do too.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Soy Chorizo Scramble

Now that I'm not eating eggs I need to find ways to make breakfast interesting so I make sure I have a balanced meal at least 3 times a day. I used to love chorizo and when I found a soy based chorizo I was so excited. Using extra firm tofu allows you to have a scramble but without the eggs. So here is a quick scramble you can have with no cholesterol or animal products.

Soy Chorizo Scramble

1 Unit Extra Firm Tofu, Drained and Pat Dry

3 Tablespoons Soy Chorizo

1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

In a saute pan over medium high heat, melt coconut oil and add the soy chorizo breaking it up to season the oil. Add the extra firm tofu and break it up scrambling it around incorporating the soy chorizo. It will take approximately 3-5 minutes to get it mixed up well and cooked up a little bit.

I like to serve my scramble with sliced avocados, red onions and cilantro. Toast up some sunflower seed bread and it's a full healthy breakfast in just a few short minutes.

Sunflower Seeds: Helps treat asthma, may help reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Avocados: Provides at least 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, vitamin E, and folic acid.

Red Onion: High in fiber and vitamin C

Tofu: High in protein and with no cholesterol

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Falafel & Grilled Vegetables w/Tahini Dressing

Now that I've been eating vegetarian for the past 4 weeks, I'm starting to transition to more of a vegan diet. I knew this would happen. The process to be vegetarian wasn't that difficult for me. I just started thinking of items I would eat and omit the meat. Now I'm not eating any cheese or dairy products and have noticed my sinus headaches have gone away. Very interesting....I've heard that dairy causes sinus issues and I didn't think I was affected by it.

Some of my friends are wondering what I'm eating outside of salads and just vegetables. So tonight I decided share with you all how to make a falafel sandwich and add some grilled vegetables. My version of falafels aren't loaded with parsley but have a few more items to make it a little more flavorful. I find that too much parsley makes it lose it's taste. I whipped up some tahini dressing to drizzle on it.

1 Can Chickpeas, Drained
1 Garlic Clove
1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
1/8 Teapsoon Chayenne Pepper
1/2 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds, Whole
1/2 Teaspoon Corriander Seeds, Whole
2 Tablespoons Sundried Tomatoes (Packed in oil - drained)
1/4 Cup Cilantro, Fresh
1 Tablespoon Tahini (Sesame Paste)

Put all ingredients in a food processor and process together until mixture becomes a thick paste. Remove from processor bowl and take a large spoon and scoop some out and form a ball, then flatten to a small patty. Spray each side of the patty with Olive Oil. Repeat until all of the mixture is formed into patties.

In a non-stick saute pan over medium high heat, spray with Olive Oil and place falafel patties in saute pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until browned on each side. Remove and transfer to a plate lined with a papertowel to cool.
Vegetable Kabobs
1/2 Red Bell Pepper
1/2 Green Bell Pepper
1/2 Red Onion
1 Zucchini
1 Portabello Mushroom
Wooden Skewers

Soak wooden skewers in water for at least 4 hours to keep from burning on the grill. Cut vegetables in chunks and skewer close together alternating vegetables.

Spray vegetables with Olive Oil add sea salt and cracked fresh black pepper.

Preheat grill to 350 degrees and place vegetable kabobs on grill cooking for approximately 5 minutes on each side. Be careful not to burn the vegetables. Flip and grill on all sides.

Tahini Dressing
1/4 Cup Tahini Paste (Ground Sesame Seeds)
1/4 Cup Water
1/2 Lemon, Fresh Squeezed
Sea Salt and Cracked Black Pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together until throughly incorporated. Add sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste.

How to Assemble:

Spray both sides of a Whole Wheat Flatbread with Olive Oil and place on grill to lightly toast. Lay flatbread out and on one side add some Grilled Vegetables, 2 Falafel Patties, fresh Baby Spinach and Drizzle with Tahini Paste.

This easy dinner is very filling and packed with vitamins and protein.

Red Bell Peppers: Packed with Vitamin A, B6, and C (more vitamin C than an orange), folic acid
Portobella Mushrooms: Vitamins B6, Magnesium, Folate, Maganese, Potassium, Niacin and Fiber
Red Onions: Vitamins B6 and C, Fiber and Organosulfur which helps regulate blood pressure.
Zucchini: Thiamin, Niacin, Potassium, Vitamins A, B6 and C.
Chickpeas: Folate and Protein
Cilantro: Helps reduce LDL (bad cholesterol), richest source for Vitamin K
Sesame Seeds: Oldest condiment known to man dating back to early 1600BC, rich in minerals such as Cooper, Magnesium and Calcium.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Nutty Granola & Coconut Milk

I love crunchy nutty granola and I've finally nailed down a great recipe that is loaded with nuts and seeds. I've replaced the butter with extra virgin coconut oil and added a few spices to give it a really great depth of flavor.

This granola is great to dip bananas in as a snack, top your pancakes in the morning or simply eat with coconut milk. Turtle Mountain makes incredible dairy free milk and ice cream using coconut milk. I love it more than regular milk and it's loaded with vitamins and oh so good for you! No cholesterol, excellent source of B12, Vegan, no trans fats, gluten free, rich in medium chain fatty acids, soy free and dairy free. The ice cream is to die for which I was sad to think I would have to give up ice cream until I discovered this little gem. The chocolate is my favorite!

Nutty Granola

4 1/2 Cups Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
1 Cup Almonds, Slivered
1 Cup Sunflower Seeds
1 Cup Walnuts
1/2 Cup Flax Seeds
1/2 Cup Sunflower Seeds
2/3 Cup Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, Melted
1/2 Cup Whole Cane Sugar, Organic
1/2 Cup Honey
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon, Fresh Ground
1/2 Teaspoon Allspice, Fresh Ground
1/4 Teaspoon Cloves, Fresh Ground
1 Teaspoon Sea Salt, Course Ground

Mix all ingredients together making sure that all is incorporated and the coconut oil coats the pieces. Spread out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Then bake in a 300 degree oven for approximately 45 minutes. Watch it to make sure the nuts do not burn. Let the granola cool completely and put in an airtight container.
Healing Properties:
Cinnamon - Helps blood sugar levels
Allspice - Effective digestive aid
Cloves - Helps to prevent digestive tract cancers and treat joint inflamation
Sunflower Seeds - Excellent Source of Vitamin E
Flax Seeds - High in Omega 3 Fatty Acids and Fiber
Walnuts - Fiber, Vitamin B and E, Magnesium, Omega 3 Fatty Acids and helps lower LDL cholesterol
Oats - High in fiber, helps lower cholesterol and blood sugar
This kind of morning cereal is so much more powerful to your system than a boxed variety. Make a big batch and watch what happens to your body!

Mexican Fruit Salad & Flaxseed Toast Breakfast

Eating healthy in the morning doesn't have to consist of oatmeal and juice. Since I'm trying to get my thyroid regulated naturally, I'm trying to consume more extra virgin coconut oil which is a miracle food. Check out this website for more information
So the best way is to consume at least 3 tablespoons of coconut oil daily by using it as a cooking oil and simply adding to your food instead of using butter. Which now that I am trying to be vegan these days it's a wonderful addition to my pantry and since it helps regulate the metabolism I'm excited to see that is starting to work. It's also a relief to be able to have healthy fats in my diet without feeling deprived.

I really enjoy toasting some flax seed bread that is loaded with Omega 3. Spread on some coconut oil and sprinkle with a little sea salt. My favorite way to eat fruit is to dice it up and squeeze fresh lime juice on it with a sprinkle of chili pepper. The sweet and sour notes are so satisfying and much more fun that peeling an apple or orange. I usually use fresh mango, nectarines, pineapple, strawberry or kiwi. It really depends on what is fresh at the market that week.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Cremini Mushroom, Caramelized Shallots and Goat Cheese Pizza

Cremini Mushrooms (baby portabellas) are an excellent source of selenium. Selenium is a powerful anti-cancer fighting ingredient. Especially lowering the risk of prostate cancer.

Mushrooms are also an unrecognized source of potassium which is an element that helps lower blood pressure. Did you know that a 3 oz portion of portabella mushrooms provide more potassium than an orange or banana? Here's a simple recipe that is fulfilling and a snap to prepare:

1 lb Cremini Mushrooms, Sliced

1 Small Shallot, Sliced Thin

2 Tablespoons Virgin Coconut Oil

Pinch of Dried Thyme

1/4 Cup Sherry Wine

1/8 Tsp Sea Salt

Fresh Cracked Black Pepper

Whole Wheat Flat Bread

Olive Oil Spray

1 oz Goat Cheese

4 oz Fresh Baby Arugula

2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon Sherry Vinegar

In a saute pan, melt coconut oil and saute sliced shallots until softend. Add cremini mushrooms and dried thyme and saute until wilted and tender.

Add the sherry wine and cook the liquid out. Add sea salt and cracked black pepper.

Spray Olive Oil on the top of the whole wheat flatbread and sprinkle a little sea salt and cracked black pepper on top. In a 375 degree oven or on the gas grill warm the flatbread for about 5 minutes.

Then add the mushrooms and shallots on top of the flatbread and crumble goat cheese on top. Heat in oven until goat cheese begins to melt and flat bread is crisp.

In a small bowl add the baby arugula and toss with extra virgin olive oil and sherry vinegar, season with sea salt and cracked black pepper.

Slice pizza and serve with arugula salad.

Arugula - There are a number of nutrients in arugula - arugula greens provide an absorbable source of calcium, iron, manganese, copper and potassium. Good source of vitamin A, C and K and folic acid. Folic Acid helps form red blood cells just like B12. Folic Acid helps play the role in cardiovascular health which may help reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Hearty Fast Vegan Dinner

Some nights you just want to get home, kick off your shoes and chill without having to hassle with too much prep for dinner while trying to remain on a vegan or vegetarian diet. Tonight was one of those nights and if you pick up these 3 items and have them ready for that kind of night, your in for a treat!

Deboles makes a nice organic handmade pasta that is made from artichoke flour and whole wheat. It is a rich source of protein and dietary fiber as compared to traditional pasta, Jerusalem artichoke flour naturally contains inulin, a prebiotic that stimulates the growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive system track that aids in digestion and lowers blood pressure and cholesterol.

Mezzetta makes a great line of pasta sauces that are all natural and are a great trick when you are in pinch and need a sauce without the hassle and preservatives. I love the Artichoke Marinara. Add some to a pot, add a little pinch of dried thyme and dump in some soy meatballs. Simmer for 20 minutes on low and serve with the whole wheat artichoke flour pasta.
These meatballs are so good, my son likes them better than real meat and it's good for you without adding animal products to your meal. You can even use the left overs as a meatball sandwich in a whole wheat hoagie and soy cheese!
These soy meatballs are 13g of protein, no MSG, no cholesterol, no trans fat, excellent source of fiber and calcium. Give them a try, you won't be disapointed.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Purple Taco & Nut Meat?

It's Sunday afternoon and I'm trying to fall into this vegetarian lifestyle with ease. So when I got a craving for lunch and didn't want the normal salad or stir fry, I turned to a raw vegan recipe that hits the spot and is packed with nutrients. Purple cabbage leaves filled with baby spinach, chopped green onions, cilantro and nut meat.
Nut meat? I'm sure some of you are wondering what nut meat is and I'm here to tell you that this is a fantastic alternative to soy and meat. Chopped raw almonds and walnuts are combined with spices to make a faux meat filling. It has a wonderful flavor packed punch and gives you the filling of something substantial when consuming raw vegetables which sometimes seem to leave you feeling hungry right after you ate.
1/2 Cup Whole Almonds, Raw
1/2 Cup Whole Walnuts, Raw
1/2 Teaspoon Chili Powder
1/8 Teaspoon Chayenne Pepper
2 Tablepsoon Sundried Tomatoes (packed in oil)
1-2 Tablespoons Olive Oil (not OVOO)
1 Teaspoon Braggs Amino (Soy Sauce Alternative)
Put all ingredients in the food processor and give it a whirl. Process until then nuts form a course paste.
To assemble the cabbage tacos:
Remove the leaves from a red cabbage head
Cut out the touch pieces in the middle if it's too difficult to fold
Add baby spinach, chopped green onions and fresh cilantro. Fill with nut meat and enjoy!
Super Power Packed Lunch - No Carbs and full of flavor!

Healing Properties:
Purple Cabbage - 36 Cancer Fighting properties and loaded with Vitamin C
Spinach - Fiber rich, Vitaman A, B and C, Potassium and Calcium
Cilantro - Lowers Cholesterol, when mixed with Omega 3's like nuts it magnifies the power to heal viral and bacterial infections
Almonds - Vitamin E, magnesium, calcium and potassium
Walnuts - Mineral rich in maganese that helps support brain function, support liver function and cure heart disease.
Cumin - Helps the digestive system, eliminate urinary track issues and support the immune system.

Becoming a Vegetarian

This blog was a brain child of someone who loves to eat wonderful food and over the past 10 years my weight and health has been compromised in the process. Four years ago my father suffered a terrible battle with throat cancer and watching the recent stories flooding the airways on Michael Douglas brought back a whale of tears and sadness for him as I know he will be fighting for his life to recover from this terrible sickness.

Recently I was hospitalized for high blood pressure and a rapid heart beat that made me feel like passing out. Although five years ago I experienced a similar episode and was put into intenstive care for a pace maker installation, I still hadn't made the change to a completely healthier lifestyle. It was really crazy to think that someone who had always had a very healthy life developed a heart disease in just a few years. Over the past five years I still didn't do much about making a change to my diet and still consumed meats, alcohol and a variety of high fat and calorie meals. See my problem is that I love food and I don't mean eating, I love all kinds of food, how to cook it, how to combine flavors together, dining with friends, everything that has to do with food, I love. I'm an operations manger for a successful catering and gourmet to go retailer and I am around food 24/7. So going on a diet and depriving myself has been something that I didn't want to experience. I've had enough deprivation through failed relationships and I found comfort in great food. However I didn't realize that I had issues... for lack of a better word, abandonment issues.

So now I need a new lease on life and I have been researching the raw food diet, vegan diets and vegetarian lifestyles for a while now and have been facinated with how food is prepared with raw ingredients and how more and more people are jumping on this food revolution. For some reason I am at a place where I feel the need to make the change, finally. It was strange, it was like a light went off and I decided that eating meat wasn't appealing to me. It's not a political view and I'm not going around saying that I don't eat anyting with eyes, it's just that I don't feel like my body is processing flesh from animals too well. Plus that sounds like of gross when you think about it. So I have slowly vowed to start eliminating animal flesh from my diet. And I have to say, I feel really good, more alert, and a little spring in my step that I haven't had in a long while. I'm staying up later and sleeping really well, which is something I have been fighting for a few years.

Not eating meat is kind of strange for girl whose family owned a meat packing plant. I remember going to the plant with my father while he worked on Saturdays and it was normal to see cows being slaughtered. I grew up on red meat and it wasn't until my parents divorced that I started eating a lot of chicken and processed foods from a box. But now days it's all over the news how organic is better and eating foods more in their whole form is the best way to gain back your health. I recently did some cookbook testing for Carrie Vitt who is putting out a really nice cookbook on organic cooking. It really made me think, how easy it is to transition to more organic ingredients and also shift to more vegetables. So, I am going to go vegetarian for 3o days to see how my body responds and then after that time if I feel that I want to take the plung into the world of a vegan, I will do it. Cutting all dairy such as cheese and yogurt is a little hard for me to process but I have a feeling after these 30 days I just might change my mind.

This blog was intended to be a blog of information about food, how each natural form of food has a specific purpose to nourish our bodies. So I guess now this blog will have a deeper meaning and will speak as a journal on my quest for a better life.
A twist of life....

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Sweet Mango

Its the end of summer and the heat is starting to lighten up a bit this weekend. The windows are open and my son and the dogs are finally enjoying the outdoors again.

Its a perfect evening for something light and refreshing for dinner tonight. The grill is heating up and I'm making the perfect summer salad to go with my Teriyaki Portabella Burger.

I've been trying to lower my blood pressure and have vowed to only eat meat once a week and incorporate more fruits and vegetables in my diet daily. So this week has been a complete transformation with the way that usually eat...and I have to say, I feel great this week.

Since I wanted a light menu. I marinated a portabella mushroom in sesame oil, pineapple juice, lemongrass, ginger, soy sauce and scallions. I then reserved some of the juice to baste the portabella with during the grilling process. Grilled a fresh pineapple ring to garnish and viola. Teriyaki Portabella Burgers. Making my own sauce teryaki sauce helps control the amount of salt and the preservatives which is really important when watching the amount of sodium and additives in bottled varieties.

The other day I picked up some mangos at the market and they were still a little firm, so I put them in a basket on the counter for a few days and today they are perfectly ripe and sweet. So I decided to make a summer evening salad with avocado, mango, cilantro, chili and lime. It's so incredible and the flavors pop with the chili and lime. Give it a's really a treat.

Mangos are packed with vitamins...Here's the rundown of these juicy jewels:

Mangoes contain phenols, this phenolic compound has powerful antioxidant and anticancer abilities.

They are high in iron, pregnant women and people with anemia are encouraged to eat mangos regularly.

Mangos are effective in relieving clogged pours of the skin, combat acidity and poor digestion.

They are high in antioxidants and low in carbohydrates.

Mangos are a rich source of vitamin A (beta-carotene), E and Selenium which will help to protect against heart disease and other ailments.

So you can see, incorporating mangos in your diet is essential in many ways.

Have a wonderful Labor Day Weekend...Enjoy the outdoors.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Vacation Food

This summer we hit the beach on an island off Hilton Head called Daufuskie. It's a magical place that has the most incredible tall trees and magnificant houses nestled in the woods. We got a bright yellow beach house right on the beach and the view couldn't be better. So what's a girl to cook while on vacation? Seafood of course and how easy it was!

We threw fresh crab, lobster and shrimp in a pot with water, sliced lemons and sprinkled it with old bay seasoning. Turned on the heat to boil, covered the pot and turned it off. Poured a cocktail - sat on the front porch overlooking the beach and then an hour later, we ate moist and tender seafood! Make two kinds of butter for dipping......

In a bowl, add 1 tablespoon minced lemon grass, 1 clove minced garlic, chopped fresh cilanto, dill and basil. Pour melted butter that has been clarified by skimming the solids. Throw the seafood on a platter and dig in!

Hot butter will run down your arms as you crack open the lobster, shrimp and crab but man is it worth every bit of it!

Slow roast some tomatoes by using canned whole tomatoes, sliced in half, add olive oil to a baking dish to cover it so the tomatoes don't stick. Slice fresh garlic and tuck the slices into the flesh of the tomatoes. Add chopped fresh basil and sprinkle with a little raw sugar, salt and pepper on top. Roast in a 300 degree oven for 3 hours until the tomatoes begin to carmelize. Add shaved parmesan cheese and hot crusty French bread and you have a full meal. It's super easy and stress free. Just the way a vacation should be!


Sunday, May 2, 2010


This spicy deep undertoned root herb is most well known in Asian cooking but let's look at this little gem a little deeper and learn about how it is used for a number for medicinal uses. Ginger has a number of healing assets; it's high in vitamins A, B complex and C, minerals, calcium, phosphorus, iron, sodium, potassium and magnesium.

The health benefits of Ginger come from the natural chemicals called volatile oils, which gives ginger its spicy pungent taste. Those oils stimulate your body to produce more digestive juices and help neutralized stomach acids that cause cramping, nausea and diarrhea. Ginger is also a natural decongestant and antihistaminem, which makes it a natural treatment for head colds.
The Greeks and Romans used it extensively and Arbian traders took it to them from India by the way of the Red Sea. By the 11th century it ws a common trade from the East to Europe. In Medieval times in Europe they thought it came from the Garden of Eden.

Ginger has an ancient history of at least 3000 years. It was used as a culinary and as a medicinal herb for a number of ailments from stimulating circulation, aching joints, headaches, disgestive problems, nausea, sickness, and sipping as tea to diminish the first signs of sore throat, mucus, cold or flu.

Today most of the supply of ginger comes from Jamica, India, Africa and China. Ginger grows wild in Jamaica and other islands of the Caribbean because the tropical climate offers the best conditions. Giner int he wild produces flowers when the herb is at its most rip stage.
Jamaicans and early Americans would make beer from it; and today, natural ginger ale is made with fresh ginger as a digestive tonic. But don't be confused by the common commerical brands of ginger ale - those are loaded with artificial flavorings with no medicinal value.

I love ice cream especially homemade. This ice cream was made for a client of mine when she wanted a unique dessert. I made up a batch of this ice cream to use as a base then and I took wonton wrappers, added chocolate and baked until crispy for a garnish. It was a huge hit that night and this ginger ice cream remains one of my favorites to make. It's wonderful smashed between two chocolate cookies as an ice cream sandwich or over peach cobbler.
Crystalized Ginger & Coconut Ice Cream
Yields about 1 liter
1 14oz Can Coconut Milk
1 Cup Heavy Cream
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
3 Egg Yolks
3 Tablespoons Crystallized Ginger, Chopped
1 Vanilla Bean
In a large heavy bottom saucepan, mix the coconut milk, cream, sugar and salt. Mix to combine using a wisk and heat until the liquid is not NOT BOILING and the sugar has dissolved. This will take approximately 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat.
In a separate bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks. Pour a ladle full of the cream mixture into the yolks and whisk fast to temper the eggs so they won't curdle. Repeat and do this about three times to incorporate the egg yolks and cream. Bring pot back to the heat over medium low and cook stirring until the the mixture begins to thicken and covers the back of a spoon. The temperature should read between 175-175F. Be careful not to boil the mixture or it will curdle.
Strain the custard into a container, let it come to room temperature and then refrigerate it for at least 6 hours. Then add the ginger and vanilla bean,, mix together. Then freeze according to your ice cream machines instructions. Trasfer to a plastic container and freeze until ready to serve. Make sure to freeze at least 3 hours so it is firm to scoop.
Ginger -Carrot Dressing
3 Medium Carrots, Chopped Coarse
1/4 Cup Ginger Root, Fresh Peeled
1/4 Cup Shallots, Chopped
1/4 Cup Rice Wine Vinegar, Seasoned
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Dark Sesame Oil
1/8 Teaspoon Sea Salt
1/2 Cup Canolia Oil
1/4 Cup Water
In a food processor, add the carrots that have been peeled and coarsely chopped. Pulse until the carrots are finely ground and almost pureed. Add the chopped ginger, shallots, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, dark sesame oil, salt and pulse until the giger and shallots are miced. Slowly add the canolia oil in s slow stream with the motor running on the food processor.
Add the water and blend until smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Refrigerate for a last 3 hours so that all the flavors meld together.
Serve with chopped fresh escarole, arugula and romaine. Garnish with sliced tomatoes and radishes. This salad is very refreshing and makes a great slaw dressing with cabbage or broccoli mix.