Monday, October 28, 2013

Trick or Treat 2, Kitty Litter

Stop the Monsanto Boogie Men and vote YES to label foods as non-GMO. GMO’s are a serious threat that touches many aspects of our lives. While there is an increased awareness of GMO’s, we are still far too unclear about whether or not many foods contain GMO’s. For example:

Denny and I recently welcomed the cutest little kitty, Ichi, into our home. So, what do I feed him? I researched natural ways of feeding cats, and came up with some useful information. Cats are carnivorous, and it is better to feed them a diet that is lower in carbohydrates. I decided against buying cat food that has refined grains in it because I want him to remain sleek and stealth. However, what about protein? Many cat foods have squid, chickens livers, and other creatures in it. When was the last-time you saw a cat jump into the ocean and fish out a squid? More importantly, what are the chickens who eventually end up as cat food eating? Are they being fed GMO-free grains? My answer to this dilemma is to feed Ichi wild fish, along with sharing some of my organic grain, bean and vegetable dishes with him.

I have had the same issue with finding good-quality cat litter. There is a natural kitty litter that is made up of only corn kernels, and does not include dust. However, when I called up the company to see if the corn kernels used are GMO-free, they were not able to give me a straight answer. This is why it is so important for there to be specific labels to inform consumers of whether or not a food contains GMO’s. It is important to know the quality of the products we buy for our selves and our families, as well as for our pets. My friends out there, please shop consciously and do your research before going to the store.
He's Purrrrrfect!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Sweet Potatoes: The Other Orange Vegetable

The sweet potato has been a part of my diet since childhood. Who doesn’t remember at least one Thanksgiving dinner with candied sweet potatoes (marshmallow topping optional!). Sweet potatoes are often given to babies as their first taste of solid food. These earthy beauties are universally appealing with their stunning color, luscious texture, and sweet taste.

When I first began studying macrobiotic cooking, I was shocked to discover that potatoes, America’s “perfect” food, where considered among the worst foods for health. Potatoes are stem tubers, so technically speaking we cannot even call them the “root of all evil".  All joking aside, they are one of most acidifying plant foods and for optimum health it is better not to include them as a regular or even semi-regular part of your diet. Being the young enthusiastic macrobiotic student I was, I took this information to heart and pretty much avoided all kinds of potatoes, white, orange, and even purple, for many years.

Missing the wonderful, comforting texture of potatoes, and a favorite veggie bar snack (the french fry), I decided to occasionally include sweet potatoes in my diet. Sweet potatoes are very relaxing, and sweet potato fries make a delicious (but rare!) treat. Fortunately, for all of us who like to indulge, they are classified as tuberous root vegetables and besides being delicious have a number of health benefits. 
I encourage you to enjoy “the other orange vegetable”, a less-dense alternative to the winter squash. 

Today I am going to share my recipe for candied sweet potatoes. While they don’t have marshmallow fluff on top, you are sure to appreciate them even more than the original, sugar-filled recipe. You will also feel great after eating them! 
Sweet, orange and delicious!

Candied Sweet Potatoes


Sweet potatoes- Peeled and cut lengthwise into 2 inch thick slices
2 Tablespoons of Brown rice syrup
1 Tablespoon of Barley Malt
1 teaspoon of Extra virgin olive oil
1/4 to 1/2 inch of water to cover the bottom of the pot
A small pinch of Sea salt - 1/16 to 1/8 teaspoon

*Note: this works best using a wide, saucepan; ideally a cast iron pan with a lid.
Place Sweet potatoes in the pan with enough water to cover the bottom of the pot. Cover and bring to a boil.
Lower the flame and steam on low heat for 5 minutes.
Remove the lid and drizzle a little olive oil over the sweet potatoes.
Add a pinch of salt, cover and continue to steam for 10 minutes.
In a separate bowl mix all of the sweet ingredients together.
Pour the sweet mixture overtop of the sweet potatoes and continue to
cook until they become tender.
As the potatoes cook the sauce will reduce forming a sweet glaze.