The Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook

My son is a Page at the local library, and brought The Northwest Vegetarian Cookbook home for me the day it was put into circulation.  He almost skipped it due to its lack of interior gloss, but I’m so glad he didn’t!

If you are a vegetarian living in the Pacific Northwest this is a must have book, for all its insight into local products, traditions and seasons of harvest.  The only thing that could make the book better is if its pictures were in color and included some shots of finished products.

If you are a vegetarian living elsewhere and simply want to indulge in some of the 200 recipes from Oregon and Washington, than this is also your book!  The Pacific Northwest produces a wondrous bounty of unique ingredients!

Last night my family enjoyed the Wild Mushroom Soup with Sherry, using the Garlic-Mushroom Stock recipe also found in the book, and it was superb just like everything else we’ve tried!  And after this, I’m sending the Bake Bean with Hazelnut Bread recipe to my Step-Dad!

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Prevent Food Waste, Save Money, Help the Planet

The results of an intensive 10 year study of food loss recently published through the University of Arizona reveals just how wasteful our nation is with its bounty.  The study, which also made use of decades of earlier research by the same UA Bureau, is the first to quantify the nation’s edible wastes with accurate percentages that track the entire production/consumption equation.  For example, at a commercial level the study finds that nearly half of all perfectly edible produce, nuts and grains are discarded without ever reaching intended markets, often plowed under due to failed bets on the high stakes commodities market.  This constitutes a major impact to the environment as mature crops are discarded in favor of a new bet on a new potential crop.

At a consumer level, the study finds that the average household ultimately discards 14 percent of all food purchases.  Nationwide this is the equivalent of 43 billion dollars each year!

So the question becomes, what can be done about it?  I believe we can turn this knowledge into a positive by letting it spur us to action.  In fact, the study noted three consumer actions that will have a big impact on the future direction these percentages take (given in all caps; the expounding is my own):

  1. PURCHASE PLANNING.  Keep a well-stocked pantry, free of lots of store bought cans and processed junk.  Repurpose glass jars and fill them with organic, whole foods bought locally in bulk and representative of everything your family eats the most of (i.e. don’t buy things just because they happen to be on sale).  When something is used from the pantry or you notice the bulk-jar needs a fill-up, immediately add the item to your next shopping list.  This will help you avoid impulsive trips to the store (the most likely time for you to buy a bunch of stuff you don’t need; 15 percent of such purchases statistically go to waste).  Plan your shopping trips wisely.  Examine the pantry, look in the freezer, examine the sale-ads for the store(s) you’ll be visiting, and then make a meal list for at least a week, if not two or more.  Buy on sale, but not just because it’s on sale.  For example, don’t let cheap prices lure your family into stocking-up on processed foods.  Instead look for good prices on fresh foods that can be paired with items on hand in your pantry, or turned into pantry items (i.e. a cheap price on strawberries becomes a year’s worth of homemade strawberry jam).  Also look for good sales on your common pantry items.  Try not to buy anything at the store that isn’t on your  list, unless you find a good deal on a healthy item that will expand your running list of meals.
  2. RESPONSIBLE USE.  If you appreciate flexibility like we do, avoid planning your meal list by the day of the week and instead just keep a numbered list of the complete meals you have on hand.  Remove meals as they are consumed and add them as they are acquired.  Put the meals that utilize the most perishable ingredients at the top of the list and make choices that don’t allow those items to go to waste (i.e. take-out can truly wait a night if you have fresh ingredients on hand you are letting spoil).  Save any leftovers from your prepared meals for lunches, save the unused portion of any ingredient for use in other meals (in fact, count on this when planning your list), and save the best scraps of meal preparation in freezer bags (for making great stocks, broths, gravies, casseroles, etc.).  If you see produce moving toward over-ripe, preserve it through freezing, dehydration, or canning; or let it motivate you to make something from it in impromptu fashion.
  3. EDUCATION.  Learn about the ingredients you buy and consume and how they are best stored and preserved.  Always take the extra moment to store things properly.  Label and date anything you freeze or otherwise preserve.

And if you really want to see our nation start to break its ties with the specter of mindless insatiability, I recommend a fourth.  Support one of the many programs nationwide that collects surplus foodstuffs from restaurants, grocery chains, produce warehouses, and distributes what would otherwise be thrown away to those who need it most.

Be Aware: Keep Evil out of the Fridge!

If you have watched Food, Inc. then you likely remember Monsanto by way of their Nazi-esque lawyers, fighting tirelessly against the American Farmer and People on behalf of Genetically Modified Organisms everywhere.  Monsanto is scary stuff.  And if I were to start including the word ‘evil’ in my vernacular, I’d apply it to them first.  In fact, did I mention that their name means ‘Sacred Mountain’ and that Satan is often referred to as the Lord of the Mountain?  No joke.  I’ve also read that they bring their people straight into the present day from a time-machine developed in their lab to seek out the soul-less, extract them from their wicked past, and fashion them as corporate heads… not good.

Not only is Monsanto disproportionately rich and powerful, they presently own – that is, hold patent on – over 90% of the seeds used to sustain America’s food supply.  Putting all our eggs into one basket isn’t the best idea to begin with, even the basket of the best Samaritan as any number of things may happen…but what about putting all of our precious eggs into one really greedy basket that wants nothing more than to hold all the eggs?

Nearly every non-organic food product can be linked to Monsanto directly (i.e. without any degrees of separation) through one or more of its ingredients.  So guess who’s regularly one of organic food’s biggest adversaries?  Guess who makes no bones about wanting full control?

Inspired by this blog I’m jumping on the bandwagon to expose the evil that might be disguising itself beneath a variety of false but appealing appearances in your pantry and fridge.  As Bob Cesca (of aforementioned blog) says, “Let’s make Monsanto a household name!”  In the spirit of avoidance, that it.   In the same way word quickly spreads about any other plague.

The best way to counter their presence is to buy organic and obtain what you can from local Farmer’s Markets and cottage industries.  If that isn’t possible, limit your exposure to processed foods; stick with labels that your grandmother would understand! Or, better yet, start growing whatever you can!

P.S. ~ Don’t be fooled by the rather shining statements released by Monsanto’s PR rep in favor of organic, sustainable, non-GMO agriculture.  In fact, let it illuminate that such only makes them slick tongued as their actions clearly and loudly speak the complete opposite.  This is a rather obvious attempt to put some distance between themselves and evil incarnate in the eyes of the press, who drives their public, who lines their pockets.  If you let it soften you, kudos to Monsanto’s PR department.  Score for them.  Personally, I’m hoping that when they got that extra dose of greed in their construct, it was at the cost of sufficient intelligence.  Case in point –  as part of their image-altering campaign Monsanto’s representative claims that he himself only consumes locally grown, organic produce and meats!  Excuse me?  Is anyone else hearing a really shrill alarm??  This is certainly no proof of the big heart they claim to possess (unless we are talking about the one they have locked in a box somewhere and held in awe by their leaders as the one treasure they cannot patent).  That their own representative avoids feeding their genetically engineered products to his family, couldn’t be a more glaring testament to the true nature of this corporate beast.

Conscious Consumerism

Conscious consumerism first requires local action, which is largely facilitated through the concept of bioregionalism.  That is, we are called on to think about the impact of our choices on the local region and consider purchases from the standpoint of sustaining the local biodiversity.  For many that means changing the way we acquire things.  It means shopping local vendors, supporting local agriculture through the regional Farmer’s Market and CSA projects, and discovering your area’s talents and intelligences.  It means stewarding the local community and its unique culture.  Imagine what people united in this effort can accomplish!

Where to Find Organic Products and Services in your area.

Where to Find CSA Farms in your area.

Where to Find a Farmer’s Market in your area.

Where to Buy Fair Trade Certified Products in your area.

How to support Local Farmers.

How to implement your own Sustainable Action Plan.

How to start your own Buy Local Campaign. (PDF Document)

I am from a rather radical school of thought that thinks in a Golden Civilization – a Civilization truly illuminated by the Light of Consciousness – a community that wasn’t sustainable wouldn’t exist.  This is the “solution” for providing sustainable abundance to All (if that is what you desire for the Future).  In keeping with this radical idea I also think that things are best priced based on their true resource and energy consumption (that includes Human energy), and should become more expensive the further they have to travel to arrive at your door…but that’s just my freaky dream of a good future economy!

Back in today’s world, however, if you can’t find what you’re looking for where you live, here are a few good places to turn:

The Conscious Consumer Marketplace

EarthLover

Global Girlfriend

Frontier Natural Products Co-op

The Back to the Land Store

A little introduction…

Eat 2 Live

Eat 2 Live

I believe in listening to synchronicity. That’s why after reading twice in the same week of the role of the fermentation process in cancer, I took note.

The first reference came from the weekly e-mail archive of an alchemy group I sometimes lurk when the topic catches my eye. The second came via my trial issue of Ode Magazine, and can be found here.

In the group’s posts I read of how oxygen-deprived cells convert to the fermentation process to better provide for their needs (what we call cancer) and yet, ironically, it is fermented foods (like Miso) that show some of the greatest promise in keeping the body from becoming dis-eased in this way. As fermented foods are known to help create and support an alkaline environment in which the cancer process is inhibited, the Ode article seemed to companion the discussion by essentially suggesting nutrition as the ultimate frontier in cancer research.

Not that I’ve ever really worried about cancer but once I read that cancer cannot survive in an alkaline environment where the blood is richly oxygenated, I wondered why I would want my body’s environment to be any other way. So I started researching. If it wasn’t clear before I quickly saw how “living to eat” can be a deadly practice. Cancer or not, an acidic diet in an increasingly acidic world can slice our genetic life expectancy by as much as half!

I immediately began implementing changes to my family’s approach to food. I wanted my children to understand that the purpose of eating is – foremost – to live.

As I feel that moderation can never be implemented through an extreme I’ve taken a gradual approach at changing our relationship to food. For example, I started with the simplest of things – replacing our table salt with Real Salt, carefully harvested, dried in the Sun, and left completely intact aside from being picked over by hand to remove the stones. Next I started using only freshly ground peppercorns and committed to using only fresh herbs whenever possible. Then I rid our cupboards of the small amount of refined white sugar we use and replaced it with better, more natural ideas like raw honey and brown rice syrup. And on like this we’ve been going, replacing the unhealthy elements of our “living” with healthier ones, ever aiming for the goal of consuming an 80/20 diet… that is, a diet that is at least 80% alkaline. no more than 20% acid…


For several years I maintained a blog named “Heavenly Cooking”. The blog received good feedback and was a place where I could share my original vegetarian recipes and interest in Astrology’s relationship to the cell salts. However, once I started to understand that a large part of an alkaline lifestyle is also based on raw and unprocessed foodstuffs I could no longer bring myself to post to a blog with “Cooking” in the title and so many recipes of my former self.

Thus, the new blog to embody my new “eat 2 live” ideal. Nothing extreme. Nothing that can be labeled one way or another. Just me, pursuing my passion for sustaining my family in an increasingly wholesome way…