Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Finals Survival

The Finals Survival Talk and Tour was such a success that we will be holding the same event again next Friday! So don't fret if you missed it, be sure to come this upcoming Friday, December  7th at 2pm!
Worried about finals? Concerned about not getting enough sleep? Or not passing classes? Well, worry no more! Come learn about fueling your brain, how to stimulate memory and other study tips! Isla Vista Food Coop will be hosting Finals Survival, an event to help college students during the demanding time of finals. I will be giving a talk on my tips for brain health, study patterns and eating well through the stress. Madia, IV Coop's own Nutrition Educator, will be walking the store with me as we tour you through our aisles pointing out all of our favorite Finals Survival foods! Be sure to come by our Finals Survival demo table, which will be up all week in the store. My Office Hours are today from 3-4 in the afternoon and I will be at our demo table to answer any questions! Hope to see you this week and good luck on finals!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Cinnamon-Spice Baked Apples

The sweet smell of these Cinnamon-Spice Baked Apples filled my grandmother's home as we finished off our Thanksgiving dinner. These baked apples have a way of coming to the table amazingly delicious and still wonderfully healthy. The key to a wholesome dessert is simple: quality ingredients with natural sweeteners. There are plenty of natural sweeteners that don't have the harmful effects of white sugar. Natural sweeteners like raw local honey, organic maple syrup and, as used in this recipe, fresh dates are nutrient dense foods that have additional health properties. Dates are rich in potassium, iron and other nutrients while aiding in digestion and the function of your nervous system.

5 medium sized apples
5 fresh dates
1/4 C chopped raw walnuts
1t cinnamon and a few cinnamon sticks
1/2t allspice and few whole allspice berries
1/2t nutmeg and a few nutmeg kernals
1/2t ginger
maple syrup
Pasture-raised cream

1. Find a corning ware dish with a lid that your apples fit inside nicely. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
2. Core the apples using an apple corer or sharp knife.
3. Using a food processor, or simply a bowl and spoon, mash the dates with a bit of water to make a thick paste. Start with just a drizzle and add as needed, the amount will depend on the softness of the dates you're using.
4. Mix in chopped walnuts and spices.
5. Stuff the cores with the date/walnuts mixture and cover the tops of the apples, rub the leftovers all over the apples.
6. Place a small bit of water in the bottom of your dish, a quarter of a cup is plenty. Place the cinnamon sticks, allspice berries and nutmeg kernals in the bottom of the dish.
7. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the apples are soft to the touch with a knife but not mushy.
8. Pour cream into a large bowl and whisk at a constant pace until the cream begins to whip, be careful not to turn it into butter. Serve each apple with a very large dollop of  freshly whipped cream., a sprinkle of cinnamon and a drizzle of maple syrup, if so desired.

These apples are a favorite in my family. Try them for any dessert not just thanksgiving as they are quite the hit!

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Wholesome Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time of food, family and of course, giving thanks. And what a better way to give thanks than to make a meal with the abundance of healthy food we are so lucky to have access to. It is actually surprising how delicious a healthy, wholesome thanksgiving can be. One of the most simple ways to improve the health of your thanksgiving meal is to improve the quality of the food you are cooking with. Always choose organic to reduce your body's toxic load, choose whole foods rather than refined, processed packaged foods, and choose fresh produce rather than frozen, packaged or canned.

For your superstar bird choose a high quality turkey that comes from a farm where the animals are raised in pasture. This is the highlight of any thanksgiving meal, especially a wholesome one and your extra dollars spent will be well worth it. Conventional turkeys are raised in filthy, overcrowded, dark coops and fed an unnatural GMO diet, laden with pesticides and even anti-biotics because of the prevalence of disease. Spare your family the negative health affects that come along with eating animals raised in this way and buy a high quality turkey this year.

Farms I like:
-Mary's Turkeys
-Diestel Farms
-Shelton's Turkeys

For your stuffing choose a whole grain variety in place of the traditional refined, white bread packaged variety that often contains sugar and rancid oils. Frankly, thanksgiving would not be thanksgiving if it didn't have stuffing so find a wild rice stuffing or use my favorite: Mark Bitman's Autumn Millet Bake. The millet adds a nutty flavor, the butternut is sweet and the cranberries tart, so it's the perfect blend of flavors.

For your side dishes, choose fresh organic produce and use the most traditional oils for cooking and baking. Choose ghee or coconut oil for high heats, and butter for lower heats. Always use grass-fed dairy to ensure you're getting the heart health omega 3 fatty acids and cancer protective CLA compounds. I like Straus Family Creamery for milk, Organic Valley Pastured butter and Kerygold butter. Make a simple vegetable dish like roasted shallots with steamed green beans, kale sauteed in ghee and garlic, or baked sweet potatoes.

Always serve a salad and use organic extra virgin olive oil to make your own healthy dressing, I love this Maple Vinaigrette for fall salads. Make your own gravy and use gluten free flours, like oat flour. Buy free-range, organic turkey or chicken broth, I like Imagine Foods. Always use sea salt with grey coloring so you know it contains minerals and plenty of organic dried spices for their antioxidant value! For your pie try this Whole Wheat Pie Crust and even try substituting oat flour for a gluten-free version. For your cranberry sauce try other sweeteners like raw honey and freshly squeezed orange juice in place of white refined sugar. Have some fun and let your kids whip the organic cream into fresh whipped cream! There are so many lost traditions because of the convenience of processed foods but making a truly home-made thanksgiving meal is worth it on every level.

It's not as difficult as you might think to improve your thanksgiving meal but it does take a little inspiration and effort to plan. Use this post as a starting point and use your friends as a resource for healthy recipe ideas. Make this thanksgiving different by really changing the quality of the food you purchase for your meal. It's important to feel good about what you are bringing to the table and feeding your family.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Book Signing of The Passionate Vegetable

No chef, kitchen nor home-maker is complete without a proper cookbook, one with nourishing recipes using the highest quality ingredients. Afterall, a meal prepared with careful thought and proper preparation is part of living a wholesome lifestyle. The Passionate Vegetable, by organic chef Suzanne Landry is a beautiful guide to healthy recipes for you and your family. The cookbook is complete with an introduction to 'true food' and nutrition. There are recipes for every meal from 'Health Start Breakfast' to 'Salads that Satisfy'. Suzanne's 'Good for You Dessert' section is complete with plenty of options for the health-food sweet tooth.

This Saturday, November 10th from 3-5pm IV Coop will be hosting a book signing where Suzanne herself will be offering up her 'Tips Chefs Love'. She'll be doing a demonstration of dicing onions, mincing garlic among other basic chef tips while I will be teaching on the health benefits of these wonderful foods. Learn how to easily incorporate them into your everyday diet for optimal health! Her cookbook will be for sale and you can have her personally sign it! It will be an afternoon of celebrating health, good recipes and real food so be sure to come by!

You can also find out more about Suzanne Landry's work and her cookbook, The Passionate Vegetable here.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Project We Own It

Isla Vista Food Coop has been committed to enhancing the health of the community by providing you with organic, high quality, sustainable food for the last 40 years. They have helped local farmers bring their produce to the marketplace. They have helped families find the real food they need to support their health and well being. They have helped students by offering a convenient shopping location. They have more than helped this community and now they are asking for your help.

When the Coop was alerted that their current home, a building settled in the heart of Isla Vista was going to be sold this next year they made the choice to buy it and secure their future for years to come. That is where Project We Own It began; a movement to bring about an awareness to the community that Isla Vista Coop is fund-raising to purchase their building! Please visit their website to learn more about it and offer any support that you can! Spread the word about the coop, become a member, do your shopping there, bring in friends to shop and teach them about becoming members, there are endless ways to help! Be sure to come check out the tour we will be having this Friday!

Hope to see you all there!