June 15, 2013 By Kate
Corn Tortillas

Grocery Store Corn Tortillas vs. Homemade Corn Tortillas

Grocery Store Tortilla Ingredients:  Corn (Ground corn treated with Calcium hydroxide and Water), Water, Sodium propionate, Propionic acid, Sodium hydroxide, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Gum blend, Sorbic acid, Fumaric acid, Dextrose.
May contain FD&C Yellow #5, Yellow #6 and Red #40.

While the use of preservatives in food has been OK’ed by the FDA, there are a few that are bothersome. Sodium Hydroxide is the chemical name for lye while calcium hydroxide is the chemical name for slake lime.  Dextrose is added sugar, there is some evidence that Methylparaben mimics estrogen and can cause endocrine disruption, and artificial colorings have been linked to hyperactivity in children and cancer in lab rats.  Also, these preservatives are generally tested in isolation (one at a time) over a relatively short period of time, a few weeks to a few months.  What happens with repeated long-term consumption combined with several other preservatives is anyone’s guess.
Furthermore, another area to consider is the environmental safety of using these preservatives en masse.  Calcium hydroxide (slake lime), propionic acid, sodium hydroxide (lye) and sodium hydroxide are all highly caustic materials that can cause chemical burns and are actually poisonous in large quantities.

Homemade Tortilla Ingredients: Maseca Flour, salt, water  

1.     Combine maseca, salt and water per instructions on the back of the flour bag.
2.     Get two pieces of saran wrap (or a plastic bag) and a pie plate, a book, or really anything flat and with some weight to it.
3.     Put a small ball of masa flour in between the two pieces of saran wrap and squish it into a tortilla.
4.     Put the tortilla in a frying pan with some olive oil and cook for a few minutes on each side until it starts to brown.

Enjoy delicious, warm, home-made corn tortillas.

June 14, 2013 By Kate

How to Cook Tempeh

So thanks to Health Food stores and Thai restaurants, we all know what tofu is.   Most people think that when you are eating vegan, vegetarian, or just trying to eat a meatless meal, it’s pretty much your only plant protein option.  Fortunately there is another soy protein source out there that is delicious, has a satisfying texture, and is easy to cook…..tempeh!
I have to admit, my introduction to tempeh was not a favorable one.   They would occasionally serve it in my college’s dining hall, and usually it was in giant chunks, pretty much raw and covered in some overly sweet Teriyaki sauce.  When we found it at Ingles and Zach wanted to buy it because it was on sale, I initially demurred. 
“It’s not that great,” I said.
“Yeah, but it’s only $2.89, and the normal price is $3.78.  And it’s way cheaper than tofu.”
He had a point.  For $2.89 and almost a dollar savings with the Ingles Advantage, I figured I could suck it up and try it again. 
Fortunately the pack of tempeh came with directions on the back, and Zach was cooking with me (I grudgingly admit that he is a better cook than I am).  It actually turned out to be pretty good, and is now one of my favorite veggie protein sources.  I think it’s easier to cook than tofu, and I like that it has more texture than tofu does.  So here’s how to cook it:

1.     Open up the package and cut the tempeh into small cubes, maybe about 1 inch cubes. Since I really like eating, I like to cut it in to small pieces because it feels like I get more that way.
2.     Put some olive oil in a skillet, turn on to medium high heat and wait about 1-2 minutes for the oil to heat up.
3.     Put the tempeh in the skillet, along with a spoonful of minced garlic and a tablespoon or two of soy sauce. 
4.     Let the tempeh sauté in the pan until it starts to brown

This is great to eat on it’s own, or to add as a protein to pasta dishes, tacos or our personal favorite, Pad Thai.  Enjoy!

June 05, 2013 (6:05pm)
by Kate
My Milkshake Brings All the (Vegan) Boys to the Yard

Ok, so maybe just this one vegan boy named Zach, but hey, I’ll teach you and I

won’t even charge!  So I’ve been following this vegan diet recently, and I must say, I

have a few love hate feelings with the “no dairy” part.  I notice that I have more

energy, less stomach problems and clearer skin when I am not eating dairy. 

Obviously these are all good things that I appreciate from my new diet.  But the

problem is that I am missing my one great edible love, a food I could eat every day at

every meal and never grow sick of.  And that, my friends, is ice cream. 

Maybe it’s the South Florida childhood that wants nothing more than a cold,

creamy ice cream cone on a humid, hot day spent swimming and running around in

the sun.  And honestly, I can’t think of a food that has a more satisfying texture;

sweet, refreshing, melts in your mouth.  I love ice cream in all forms, but I must say

my particular favorite is the milkshake.  And so I was elated to discover, via a happy

accident of trying to create a paleo protein shake that didn’t taste like garbage (yes,

I’ve tried it all as far as diets go), that I discovered this recipe.  Completely dairyfree, no added sugar, and tastes just like a milkshake with two of my favorite flavors,

peanut butter and bananas as well!

Here’s what you need:

-Almond or soy milk (I like to use unsweetened vanilla almond milk)

-Ice cubes

-Peanut butter

- A banana

- A blender

Put about 5 ice cubes in a blender.  Then put the banana in a blender.  I find the riper

the banana the better. Then put peanut butter in the blender; I like peanut butter

a lot so I probably put like 4 tablespoons in.  Then put in almond milk so that the

bananas, ice cubes and peanut butter are almost covered but not completely.  Hit


The thing I love about this recipe is that you can personalize to your tastes.  Usually

I blend, taste a spoonful, see what it’s missing in my mind to taste more like a

milkshake, then go from there.  For instance, if it’s too runny or not cold enough, I

add more ice cubes.  Kind of bland?  Maybe a little more peanut butter.  Feel free

to get creative; try chocolate soy milk, add some spices, almond butter instead of

peanut butter. It’s mainly the combination of creamy peanut butter with almond

milk and ice cubes that give it the ice cream flavor/texture.  Hopefully it will help all

you ice cream loving vegans out there feel like you don’t have to miss your favorite

food any longer!

June 05, 2013 (6:00pm)
by Kate
Vegitas- The truth about vegetables

So I think if you asked anyone in America what they needed to do to be

healthier, they would say, “eat more fruits and vegetables.”  Not rocket science right?

But as many of you produce department cruisers have found, this is much easier

said than done, especially when it comes to the veggies.

Sure, there are some vegetables that taste good raw.  Carrots, celery,

tomatoes and lettuce if you’re going to make a sandwich (though I think tomatoes

are a fruit…) ummm, did I say carrots already?  I guess cucumbers taste OK…

Despite celebrities like Alicia Silverstone toting the values of a raw diet and all those

cleanses that require a $150 juicer to make, the reality is that for a lot of vegetables,

if you’re going to eat them raw you might as well go ahead and eat a handful of

grass.  What in the world am I supposed to do with this bag of Brussels sprouts? 

And what potential taste-good mysteries are concealed inside that acorn squash?

But fortunately, for many vegetables, there is one secret weapon, an easy

culinary code to bring out the taste they were born to have, elevating them from

easier to chew cardboard into healthy taste bud bliss.  And all you need is a cookie

sheet, and oven, olive oil and some salt. 

Step 1: preheat your oven to somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 degrees.

I usually go with 425, but I think anywhere between 400-450 will do the trick.

Step 2: Prepare your veggies.  Wash them, and then cut them up.  For

broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini and any sort of potato, go with bite sized pieces.  For

asparagus, break off the bottom (fatter) end.  For bigger squash, you can either cut

them in half and lay them face up on the cookie sheet, or remove the rind and cube

them.  For Brussels sprouts, cut off the end, cut in half and lay face down.

Step 3: place on cookie sheet and coat with a thin layer of olive oil and some

salt.  Don’t be afraid to use your hands to rub that olive oil in.

Step 4: Put it in the oven.  It’s done when you can easily put a fork into the

veggie and it’s soft  (for smaller things, like broccoli and squash cubes, this can take

between 12-15 minutes).  If you want crispy veggies, leave it in until you see it start

to brown.

Step 5:  Let it cool down so it doesn’t burn your mouth, and then enjoy

vegetables like you’ve never seen them before!

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