Monday, February 13, 2012

Just Say No to Eating Animals Monday: Volume #39: Healthy Salad

We had pancakes and eggs all weekend, and then my husband sent me this article today
about over-eating and memory loss

Excessive calorie intake isn't only making us fat.

A new study from the Mayo Clinic found that people over 70 who ate higher-calorie diets had an increased risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a stage of memory loss that often precedes dementia (via Time Healthland).

Researchers divided 1,233 participants—163 who had symptoms of MCI—aged 70 to 89 into three groups based on the amount of the calories they consumed each day.

The group who ate the highest amount of calories (between 2,143 to 6,000 calories per day) were twice as likely to have MCI compared to those who consumed the lowest amount of calories (between 600 to 1,526 per day).

“Not only did each category show differences, but we also saw a dose-response trend,” study author Dr. Yonas Geda told Loren Grush of “This means that if you keep increasing and increasing caloric intake, then the risk of developing MCI keeps increasing. So we looked at each category separately, and then we looked at [and observed] a trend overall.”

So we still have to eat and I love food too much to not have something delicious, but who says great tasting food can’t be good for you?

So I had an idea, that combined the delicious honeybell tangerines I shipped from FL, it’s the end of the citrus season there, pomegranate, just-shelled pistachios, and home-cured olives. But when I put those ingredients together, no ordinary salad dressing would do, a drop of rose water was essential.

Souk Salad

8 c. of torn romaine

1 honeybell tangerine, peeled and chopped

¼ c of olives, pitted and chopped

1/3 c. of just-shelled pistachios, chopped

½ c of pomegranate arils

¼ c of thinly sliced red onion


5 ¾ T water

¼ t of rose water

¼ c. of EVOO

3T Champagne wine vinegar

2 t Dijon Mustard

Salt and Pepper to taste

Toss ingredients and then add 3 T. vinaigrette and serve.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Just Say No to Eating Animals Monday #38: Cauliflower, Chickpeas, and Coconut Milk


Not too long ago, a food industry acquaintance said that, “I always wanted to change things”. She was talking about recipes and I don’t think she meant it as a compliment. Then I stumbled across a piece where another food industry acquaintance was quoted talking about being served fake ribs, this was several years ago and I will never be convinced that he wasn’t talking about me. It wasn’t complimentary either. Now I rarely serve meat analogs to folks anymore—food industry or not—because my husband loathes them, but I have nothing against them and find some of them quite tasty. Yes, even some of those that taste like meat that come from huge multinational conglomerates.

Unlike some people, I don’t own a lot of cookbooks. In fact, I only purchased three cook books last year, and one used birthday gift certificates from Instead, I get many of my ideas from magazines and newspapers. The problem for me is the same as it is for some folks who buy lots of cookbooks; I intend to get around to cooking that shiny new recipe and I just don’t do it. Last year, I culled several recipes from my binder that included recipes for poultry and seafood back when I ate them. I last ate poultry and seafood over 15 years ago. Additionally, in 2011 I had an unofficial rule to cook more of those recipes, post-culling, from periodicals, including blogs, and have no repeats because I had more than enough old recipes, to do no repeats for the entire year! This year, has gone well so far except Cook’s Illustrated’s Fluffy Scrambled Eggs and Blueberry Pancakes—we had fresh eggs—showed up two or three times last week. This week’s recipe was made for dinner the Monday before the Super Bowl and I couldn’t help but think of how I wanted to change it to make it even better—although I thought the original was exquisite. It was perfect to take to a last-minute-Super Bowl Party.

So here’s what we took to the Super Bowl Party as the “Vegetarian Option”, as my husband called it, and it held its own surrounded by chips, peanuts, salsas, guacamole, garlic bread, and three or four types of chicken wings. This dish is fast, easy, delicious, and chock-full of beans and cruciferous vegetables. The bonus is it is vegan!

Continue Reading Over at the Local Beet....

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Weather Outside is Delightful-- Big News for Chicago Gardeners

Sometimes I wonder if I can win the lottery, today, like yesterday here in Chicago, it feels possible. The weather yesterday, registered 60 degrees here.

I have short-term good news for gardeners here in Chicago. It’s short term as in probably good for at least 50 years or something like that. The USDA has revised the hardiness zones.

The hardiness zones provide information based on the weather and climate. Specifically, it provides the annual average extreme minimum temperatures. For gardeners, it tells us how long are growing season will probably be. It is the time when the tender plants, like tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers, can be set out without worry about overnight low temperatures harming them.

Drum roll please, Chicago is now in zone 6a. That means the last expected frost date is April 15th, instead of last year’s May 15th. Yippee for us in summer 2012 and probably bad news for the polar bears, and Gaia.

From the USDA:

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Department of Agriculture(USDA) today released the new version of its Plant Hardiness Zone Map (PHZM), updating a useful tool for gardeners and researchers for the first time since 1990 with greater accuracy and detail. The new map—jointly developed by USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Oregon State University's (OSU)PRISM Climate Group—is available online ARS is the chief intramural scientific research agency of USDA.

For the first time, the new map offers a Geographic Information System (GIS)-based interactive format and is specifically designed to be Internet-friendly. The map website also incorporates a "find your zone by ZIP code" function. Static images of national, regional and state maps also have been included to ensure the map is readily accessible to those who lack broadband Internet access.

So what tender varieties are you putting outside in April?