Tag Archives: maple syrup

Sugar making means Spring!

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Spring is around the corner when sugar making starts. Maple syrup has gained importance as vegan sugar alternative. In early March, when snow is still on the ground, the sweet tree sap starts to flow, pushing the nourishing winter starch up before the tree chemistry changes, a perfect time for tapping and sugar making. Ups and downs around the freezing point determine the length of the sugaring season. NY State has a relatively short season to tap, Continue reading

Treats from seeds

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Seed bars work for many occasions. Relatively quick to make, they can replace trail mix, pastries and cookies. After eating too much chocolate, it was time for me to  go a step healthier. Raw seedbars often contain chocolate powder or raw chocolate nibs, which have no sugar or dairy added and are not heat processed.
Depending what you have at home, you can make this recipe truly raw, or nut free, you can also replace some ingredients that are heat processed for a vegan treat. The bars will harden in the freezer, and can be stored in the refrigerator, you may also add some time in the food dryer to remove moisture.
Despite the large amount of ingredients, the amount of servings is relatively small, reminding me again how nutrient dense this food is. See recipe

Nutty schmear

SchmearDSC_5858What will go on my bread? If you don’t do cheese, cold cuts or liverwurst, you may wonder what will go on your bread. While you can make your own cream cheese or paté, even ajvar in summer, I recommend to experiment  with a wide selection of nut and seed butters.
Europeans grew up with chocolate noisette creams, such as Nutella and Americans have their Peanut butter. Real peanut butter, technically not a nut butter, but a bean butter, is avoided by some because of high aflatoxin and allergy risk. Stores readily sell alternative butters from ‘real’ nuts and seeds, some are even made from peas.

With a food processor, you can make some fresh butters yourself with ingredients of choice, which may also qualify as RAW food.
Doing it yourself  also brings you awareness of how highly concentrated food a butter is. See 1/2 cup of tree nuts turn into concentrated spoonfuls of delightful butters that will be gone quickly. For example hemp butter, which also adds healthy Omega3’s. See recipe

Mexican milk alternative

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Mexican restaurants and food trucks sell horchata; Asking about this variety of ‘agua fresca’, we learned about the variety of ‘rice milk.’
Horchata originated in Spanish speaking countries, and Latin America has several different traditions for horchata.
The refreshing milky drink is usually ice cooled, tastes of cinnamon and has a tan color unless you use white rice and white sugar. The satisfying milk alternative can easily replace a meal. If you do it yourself, you can influence details such as what sweetener is used, use brown rice and raw nuts. Use more almonds than rice, to achieve a richer, less chalky taste.
While the original recipe includes soaking the ingredients overnight, you can also make a quick horchata in an instant, blended and strained in modern kitchen equipment. Horchata recipe and horchata chia pudding

Eating with the Moose – Moosewood Restaurant Ithaca

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The Moose was always on my list. Everyone here of course knows the famous Moosewood restaurant, the cookbooks will find you early if you are veg. friendly. Mollie Katzen’s first books from her days in the cooperative, had made the place famous, beyond Ithaca.
For me directly from Europe, the early vegetarian cooking style felt a bit strange, as much as the rest of the local food in NY. Today, vegetarian and vegan cooking has moved on, from local and natural, to beauty oriented or raw–fancy, indulgent and gourmet showy. Not always with health in mind, just think ‘vegan cupcakes’. Continue reading

Lazy Sunday breakfasts

GlutenfreeDSC_4681.1Gluten free pancake mixes? This week I stumbled over a recipe that promised good looking pancakes, even without regular flour. While I usually don’t have a Gluten Free regimen at home, I was able custom make my flour blend with a grain mill blender cup. This is really great, as you don’t have to buy multiple bags of expensive and hard to get specialty flour that also may spoil in an instant. If you have a small household, it also helps you to use up f.e. whole brown rice, which won’t last long, plus you have freshly ground flour. This recipe produces nturally dark pancakes with a very yummy crispy rim, which I attribute to the brown rice in it. Prepare the flour blend in batches, which are then quickly to use in the morning. See for recipe

The sweet life

SugDSC_0000If sugar is bad for us, which sweetener is wiser to use?
Is Agave Syrup better than Maple Syrup or maybe Xylitol? Is zero calorie better than honey? Diet sodas are often sweetened with Aspartame, is that good?
Many products claim to be better than sugar for different reasons, if you need sugar specific properties, it depends what you want to do with it, if you want to bake, or just want to sweeten your coffee. And of course it also depends what your diet is like.

In doubt use a mashed banana to make ice cream and cold desserts, even pancakes and baked banana bread, it is a superior sweetener without the need of other sweeteners.
Here is an Overview that compares recommendations for different diets. I have tested sweeteners for some time and will update on a regular basis. 

Oh, my Godess…

GreenDSC_4354For Shakespeare, ‘Salad Days’  were not a diet. Likewise with ‘Green days’ he described a youthful inexperience. Sounds good to stay young and green, and eat that salad too!
When making salad dressings, I tend to settle with the tried and true. But it is great to look over the fence sometimes. With summer herbs in abundance, try a creamy herb based ‘Green Godess’ variety, such as the Mexican Creamy Cilantro dressing. If prepared and bottled ahead of time, you have a quick alternative. This vegan version of the dressing goes well with green salads and mexican salads with bean or corn, also works if you have anything but cilantro… See recipe.

Calling for better breakfasts

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What’s new? As early as in the beginning of the 19th century, US food reformers called for cutting back on excessive breakfast meat consumption and promoted healthy vegetarian cereals, such as oats, which were considered by most of the public as ‘horse food’. Despite great inventions in the last 100 or so years, not much seems to have changed in eating habits… Continue reading

Staying fresh

AquaDSC_3873In Mexican restaurants we have Aguas Frescas. The combination of fruits, cereals, flowers, or seeds is blended with sugar and water to make a light non-alcoholic beverage and are popular in Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and the United States especially during hot weather.
Aquas Frescas are different from smoothies, as they are fresh, light and based on water, lime and lots of fruit. Another Agua fresca I was writing about is Chia Fresca, which contains besides lime also Chia seeds. Especially melon is refreshing other types are guava, mango and horchata (a rice milk.) If you never know how to manage a whole watermelon in a small household, here is the solution. See recipe

The origins of paisley

MangoDSC_3239.1Mango trees still fruit when they are 300 years old. Then, a mango tree must be still a good family investment, provided you live in the right climate. The South Asian native fertility symbol is used for wedding decoration, art and traditional symbolic; Mango motifs and paisleys graced traditional Indian and Iranian embroidery styles. The first mangoes brought overseas were pickled, to allow transportation of the easy spoiling fruit. Continue reading

Greetings from Guatemala

PlantainDSC_3195Plantains can be a dessert or vegetable. While green plantains are high in starch to be cooked and used like potatoes, the riper fruits with yellow or black peel have developed a nice sweetness, without becoming mushy like dessert bananas do. Often Latin American recipes deep fry plantains, such as the ‘Rellenitos de plantano’; Plantain rolls with a sweet bean filling. However when the plantains are cooked first, mashed and filled and then lightly cooked in a frying pan, they are not as greasy and taste great as dessert or snack. See recipe

Warming Valentine hugs

CocoaDSC_3131.1Hot Chocolate is a warm hug. Cocoa or Cacao? Most likely you grew up with Nesquick or Swiss Miss – Sugary, chalky, milk powdery mixes with a faint hint of chocolate. Then as a grown up, maybe in New York, you will discover drinking real chocolate.                                                                                                                                            The word and idea of drinking cacao came from Mexican ancestors. Ancient graves unearthed, bore symbols and vessels identified with cacao consumption.  Continue reading

Bars and Balls

PowerDSC_3128Some time during the 80’s, there were aerobics, and then there was the advent of power bars. I remember the first ‘Muesli Bars’ sold before my time in college. We ate several ones during breaks, convinced they were healthy and got quite addicted. Then we noticed weight gain as the contents were just a tad nicer as in regular candies. Today, there are so many different bars; bars for athletes, for meal replacement and weight loss programs and Vitamins, even once a ‘Snooze bar’. Most of the commercial ones taste stale, rancid or sticky. But when you find out how easy you can make them fresh, there is really no reason to put up with ‘saw dust and sugar’. The ones I made, were handy when we skipped breakfast today before the snow storm and are a great snack during meetings. Just be aware that it is very concentrated food, a small bite would be more than double the size of nuts and fruits to eat. See recipe

Home Remedies

A friend asked me about German onion cough remedy. Apparently a Greek version has alcohol in it, but I know only family style ‘onion juice’. The recipe requires the onion to be cooked. With the hot version, you can also add herbs. However there are other recipes that are using the juice cold, which some people think is more potent. Both are supposed to help with cough and cold and flu symptoms, are tasty and safe to give even small children. The remedy lasts abt. 4 weeks in the refrigerator. See recipe here

Humble beginnings – Happy New Year

The New Year should start with a fanfare… celebrated with a special recipe and New Year’s greetings. However today, after so many specials and baked goods, we are craving healthy foods. So I just do, what I kept doing on my blog, cooking and posting ideas and recipes. While I am reading the ‘Happy Herbivore’ book, I made these handsome spiced corn pancakes from the dried and ground CSA corn to go with my black bean soup and salad. A nice combination. Recipe at the Happy Herbivore 

A fresh Start

Still in the old year, we are craving the New Start. Cleaning the fridge, I find a red cabbage patiently waiting, time for a fresh lunch salad with red cabbage. A recipe suggested all kinds of ingredients I did not have, so I just added what was available with and Asian style dressing. See recipe

Tribal Running Foods

I just finished reading two books, both of them (‘The Jungle effect’ and ‘Born to run’) mention the food, of the Tarahumara Indians, known as the ‘running people’. For example chia seeds and limes, called ‘Chia fresca’ which promptly became a popular ‘energy’ drink in Wallstreet. See recipe
‘The Jungle Effect’ book by Daphne Miller has several chapters where each chapter focuses on one Western disease and travels to a part in the world where the disease is rare or unknown (Cold Spots). Continue reading

Sunday mornings

I always loved waffles and pancakes! The yummy pictures in the Veg Starter Kit once convinced me that Veg life can be fun and tasty! So easy to follow, with ingredients that are at home without much planning. On Sunday mornings, maybe outside if weather allows, the waffles and pancakes are a great treat, especially after a long run. My pancake recipe is here…

‘Choco Mouse’

Obsessed with mousse! Have you ever watched the Polanski thriller ‘Rosemary’s Baby’? In one scene the elderly neighbor brings Rosemary a dessert she calls a ‘chocolate mouse’. There is something irresistible about mousse. If you saw my earlier recipe with tofu, here is an even easier tofu free version that can pass as raw recipe. Most likely the most healthy chocolate mousse ever – with an unusual ingredient, Avocado!  With 4g of protein, avocado contains all nine essential amino acids to build muscle and create more protein—in addition to heart- and brain-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Avocado is also very high in magnesium, needed to balance high calcium intake. Try me!