You’re Cleaning Mushrooms Wrong

This is a public service announcement, and it won’t take long. If you’ve been reading Heated this month, you may have noticed that we’ve been talking a lot about meat alternatives — such as high-tech burgers that “bleed” like beef but are made mostly of plants (that sort of thing), and this mushroom-nut burger. Well, before any of this stuff existed, people who wanted something “meaty” without eating meat ate mushrooms. For better or worse, the default “oh, so you don’t eat any meat?” dish served to vegetarians at restaurants and parties was a portobello “burger” or some analogous concoction where the mushrooms masquerade as meat.

Whether you cook mushrooms constantly, infrequently, or somewhere in between, there’s a decent chance you’re cleaning them wrong.

There’s this myth that you should never ever wash mushrooms because they’ll absorb too much water. Instead, what we’ve been taught to do is daintily wipe the dirt off with a damp cloth or paper towel.

This is maddeningly slow and a huge waste of time. To clean mushrooms, you should rinse them under running water. Yes, mushrooms are porous, and if you leave them sitting in a bowl of water they will soak it up like a sponge. But a quick blast of running water to wipe the dirt off will not make them any worse for wear, and will save you a lot of time and frustration in the kitchen.

If cleaning mushrooms is less frustrating, maybe we’ll cook more mushrooms. If we cook more mushrooms, maybe we’ll eat less meat. If we eat less meat, maybe (definitely) we’ll be healthier and so will the earth. PSA over.

By: Mark Bittman

Opinion | Padma Lakshmi: I Was Raped at 16 and I Kept Silent – The New York Times

When I was 16 years old, I started dating a guy I met at the Puente Hills Mall in a Los Angeles suburb. I worked there after school at the accessories counter at Robinsons-May. He worked at a high-end men’s store. He would come in wearing a gray silk suit and flirt with me. He was in college, and I thought he was charming and handsome. He was 23.

When we went out, he would park the car and come in and sit on our couch and talk to my mother. He never brought me home late on a school night. We were intimate to a point, but he knew that I was a virgin and that I was unsure of when I would be ready to have sex.

On New Year’s Eve, just a few months after we first started dating, he raped me.

I have been turning that incident over in my head throughout the past week, as two…

— Read on www.nytimes.com/2018/09/25/opinion/padma-lakshmi-sexual-assault-rape.html

Reasons to Eat More Walnuts

The simple walnut offers a wide list of benefits. For starters, a new study shows that eating whole walnuts or walnut oil can slow prostate cancer growth.  But if you need more reasons than this, maybe the following reasons may persuade you to add these delicious nuts into your diet.

A large study at Harvard found that people who ate a handful of nuts every day were 20 percent less likely to die from any cause in a thirty-year period.

• English walnuts decrease cardiovascular risk by decreasing LDL and total cholesterol.

• Walnuts help control weight.

• They help control insulin in diabetics.

• Eating walnuts increases male fertility.

• Walnuts enhance cognitive function and improve thinking ability.

• Eating walnuts has been shown to suppress breast cancer tumors, perhaps from their omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and phytosterols.

• They have also been shown to inhibit the growth of colorectal cancer by decreasing angiogenesis.

• Walnuts are a source of highly potent, high-quality antioxidants.

• Ellagic acid, a major polyphenol found in walnuts, has remarkable bone-building activity at the cellular level.

• Eating walnuts and walnut oil can reduce the stress response and lower the resulting blood pressure.

Just a quarter cup of walnuts provides more than 100 percent of the daily recommended value of omega-3 fats as well as providing copper, manganese, molybdenum, and biotin. It’s better to buy walnuts raw and organic to avoid those that are irradiated and pasteurized.

—Adapted from “13 Healthy Reasons to Eat More Walnuts” by Margie King, at http://greenmedinfo.com

Homemade Tomato Sauce

     When August and September rolls around and you have a sea of freshly picked tomatoes, there’s only one thing I could think of, pasta sauce. After I’ve shared and eaten and picked, it’s time to preserve for the winter. As if I live in the wilderness. I don’t obviously, but it’s cost effective to preserve for later uses.  My tomatoes were at its ripest and that’s what you want. The reddest, sweetest and densest tomatoes. 


INGREDIENTS

  • 10 pounds fresh tomatoes 
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3 garlic clove, halved
  • 2 basil springs 
  • 3 bay leaf

PREPARATION

Step 1:  Cut tomatoes in half horizontally. Squeeze out the seeds and discard, if you wish. Press the cut side of tomato against the large holes of a box grater and grate tomato flesh into a bowl. Discard skins. You should have about 8-9 cups.

Step 2:  Put tomato pulp in a low wide saucepan over high heat. Add salt, olive oil, tomato paste, garlic, basil and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a brisk simmer.

Step 3:  Reduce the sauce by almost half, stirring occasionally, to produce about 4 1/2 cups medium-thick sauce, 25 to 30 minutes. Taste and adjust salt. It will keep up to 5 days in the refrigerator or may be frozen.

I freeze mines. Let it cool completely and insert desired amount in ziplock freezer bags. I like the quart sizes. Enjoy!!

My Fibrous Fig Tree

Capelas variety

     My fig tree blessed me with a bountiful harvest this year. I’ve always wanted a fig tree in my yard.  Once my husband and I closed on our first home, that same week I had my mini-potted fig tree planted in my back yard.  The first summer it didn’t produce much, but this year, it quadrupled in size and bared the sweetest fruits.  Fresh figs are extremely delicious to eat and very full of fiber. Eating fiber-rich foods have great advantages for losing weight and even reducing your breast cancer risk.  I came across a study done on postmenopausal women.  The results of a prospective study involving 51,823 women for an average of 8.3 years showed a 34% reduction in breast cancer risk for those consuming the most fruit-fiber compared to those consuming the least. 

     In addition, in the subgroup of women who had ever used hormone replacement, those consuming the most fiber, especially cereal fiber, had a 50% reduction in their risk of breast cancer compared to those consuming the least. Fruits richest in fiber include apples, dates, figs, pears and prunes. When choosing a high fiber cereal, look for whole grain cereals as they supply the most bran (a mere 1/3rd cup of bran contains about 14 grams of fiber). Adding these fiber-rich fruits to your cereals will boost your fiber intake. 

Resources: Study – Dietary fiber intake and risk of postmenopausal breast cancer defined by estrogen and progesterone receptor status–a prospective cohort study among Swedish women.

Ugly, Not at All!

Check these carrots out. I plucked them up earlier this week from my garden. My children thought it looked hysterical.  Then my eldest son Justin asked, “what are you going to do with that?”  My response was simple, “eat it!” My youngest Lily said, “let’s juice it mommy!” So, we did just that.  I have a profound appreciation for these kinds of so-called “ugly” foods, and not because I grew these carrots, because it’s food not worth wasting. Huge problems exists in our food system today that we as consumers deal with on a daily basis. We have Big Agro over spraying pesticides and herbicides, Genetically Modifies Organisms (GMO) contaminating our foods, and so much more. One very important aspect that doesn’t get enough attention, is food waste.  In America alone, about 25% of produce is wasted before it even reaches the grocery store, and that’s just based off of looks.  The most notable new data showed that the United States waste $218 billion a year, or 1.3% of GDP, growing, processing, and transporting disposing food that is never eaten. Its food totaling 52 million tons sent to landfills annually. Those figures are disturbingly our reality. With high homelessness, starvation, and educational cut backs year after year, it’s disgraceful to know these staggering figures is due to food waste. 

We live in a world that is constantly judging looks, our socioeconomic status, religion and race. You probably didn’t realize it but, food also is highly judged.  Fruits and vegetables that are grown with disfigurations and scars are usually tossed to the side by retailers and consumers. They’re not considered edible by as many as 1:7 Americans. These foods end up as waste.  

Photo Credit: The Ugly Fruit And Veg Campaign

There’s nothing wrong with these foods and many consumers need to understand that.  Picking out the most perfect apple or the brightest orange doesn’t make them healthier for you. They are just as nutritious and edible as their unmarred brethrens.  Thanks to some amazing people over at the @UglyFruitAndVeg Campaign, change is slowly taking shape.   They started petitions that targeted huge retailers that got amazing responses from people and organization who want to stop food waste. The support from other anti-food waste campaigners like Foodtank and EndFoodWaste.org also contributes to the awareness with programs and petitions.   Today, relailers like Whole Foods Market and Walmart are selling “ugly” fruits and vegetables. Change is taking place slowly but consumers should support by buying these ugly fruits and vegetables.   The next time you come across an apple with a dent or a conjoined carrot, buy it.  Irwin Goldman, a professor of horticulture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison said, these fruits and vegetables aren’t genetic mutants. “They’re totally edible and in some cases, quite beautiful.” Don’t discriminate against disfigured foods. Buy’em, eat’em, cook’em or even juice’em and enjoy🤗
Resources:  ReFED – Rethinking Food Waste. Ugly Fruit – The 20 Billion Pound Elephant in the Room

Me and My Lady Friends


I woke up thinking it was Friday this morning. SMH! You could just imagine the feeling that overcame me when my reality settled in.  It’s not TGIF, instead Hump Day.  I was even planning out my weekend laying in bed. Oh well, it’s Wednesday, so I thank God for waking me up, and I got myself and the family ready to hit the city pavement.  The night before, I was pretty busy cooking, cleaning, and entertaining one of my favorite cousins, Ken.  I gave him a grand tour of OrganicREADY’s garden and of course shared some of my harvest with him. Ken left with a yellow squash, kale, callaloo, a green bell pepper and two eggplants.  After all of that and putting the kids to bed, guess where I went, back in the garden. 

Gardening is exceedingly rewarding, as you see here, but time consuming. That’s my beautiful organic eggplant above.  I grilled it on the stove yesterday and it was yummy!!  Growing my own vegetables have significantly cut down the cost of my monthly grocery bill.  I’m practically growing a little of everything. There’s carrots, cucumbers, garlic, yard beans, cabbages, tomatoes, peppers, hot and sweet and much more. It’s a wonderful feeling and my hobby. Gardening takes patience, planning, strength, and tender loving care.  Me and the family prune, weed, till, mulch, fertilize, water and so much more.  My body is extremly limited due to injuries I sustained in an accident earlier this year.  Lucky for me, my family helps out immensely. I wouldn’t give up gardening for anything.  Come to think of it, it’s my stress reliever.  I just wish I had an extra three hours in my day to get everything done.  Summertime is a busy time for me, especially; during the week because I also work. I average about 5-6 hours of sleep a night, where as, during the fall and winter months, it’s between 8-9 hours.  


Look at my eyes and my hairline, LOL! Last night, I got four hours of sleep time and my eyes are feeling heavy, dry and they even look dark.  Thank goodness for undereye concealers.  Hopefully, I’ll make up for it tonight.  My edges (hairline), on the other hand, needs some tender loving care or more like a dye job. Not going to happen this weekend! The grays will have to wait.  My priorities have shifted to my garden so my eye pencil will have to suffice for now.  


Check out my beets and some of my beautiful garden friends, the Ladybug. They play a natural/organic role in controlling unwanted pests in the garden. Ladybugs feast on aphids and anything smaller than them.  I ordered these from GrowOrganic. Aphids are annoying but so far, my ladybugs are keeping them at bay. 


Are you planting a garden this year? What’s in it? I would love to share ideas and tips🌱

My Favorite Flower, Peony

Freshly cut peonies from my garden.  Why should I just let my neighbors and random strangers enjoy them.  I have three big plants in the front yard so there’s a huge amount of flowers on them for me to cut. Plus, un-opened buds for later. According to the Old Farmers Almanac, peonies are hardy to Zone 3 and grow well as far south as Zones 7 and 8. In most of the country, the rules for success are simply full sun and well-drained soil.  Where I’m located, the sun is bountiful. 

Peonies even relish cold winters, because they need chilling for bud formation.  To find out which zone you’re in click here. Plant these beauties for a gorgeous garden. For more planting tips visit the Old Farmers Almanac for growing a successful bountiful garden. 


From my garden to yours. Enjoy!

The Sisterhood of the World Bloggers’ Award! Answers and Nominations

  
I have been nominated by Lazy Girl Vegan (LGV) to participate in the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers’ Award. I’m truly flattered and honored to have been chosen amongst millions of other blog sites.  So this is how it works, I answer the ten questions chosen by LGV and then I choose my own ten questions and select other blog sites to carry on the torch.  It’s a fun experience and a wonderful way bloggers connect and learn about each other. 

Here are my answers to LGV’s questions. 

  • What are your favorite, vegan packaged food products?

At the moment my favorite vegan packaged food products are Emmy’s, St. Mary’s Banana Chips, Follow Your Heart, and Ciao Bella Gelato’s.

  • What is your go-to meal on lazy days?

On lazy days, my go-to meal is a P&J (Peanut Butter and Jelly) sandwich with a fruit smoothie. 

  • Who is your favorite cartoon character?

Wow! I don’t watch cartoons anymore however, in my younger days it was Smurfette. 

  • What is the best vacation you’ve ever taken?

I would have to say, it was my honeymoon.  Hubby and I went to Negril in Jamaica and stayed at an all inclusive sweet. 

  • Do you have any morning or bedtime rituals?

My bedtime ritual would be my face and neck regime. I cleanse, use a toner, add a few drops of my organic Vitamin C &E serum and then moisturize.

  • What are your guilty pleasures?

My guilty pleasure is having a drink of  organic coffee with steamed almond milk. I don’t crave it but once or twice a week I will have a small cup.  I’m a odd ball, because I could never finish the whole thing and it’s always a small cup.   

  • Chocolate or vanilla or something else?

Always organic 72% cacao Belgian dark chocolate😋

  • What’s your idea of a perfect Saturday?

My perfect Saturday consists of going to the farmers market with my husband and three children. Then we  buy fruits, vegetables, freshly baked pastries and head to the park for an afternoon picnic. 

  • What scents are you most drawn to?

I’m most drawn to florals. 

  • Why do you blog and what got you interested in pursuing your current blog topic?

I blog about my passions which are plant-based foods, juicing, health and wellness, and the organic grassroots movement.  My love for healthy organic plantbased nutrition got me into blogging. 

This was a lot of fun and I am greatly honored to be nominated by  Alexandra from LGV. Well, now it’s my turn to pass the torch on to my ten nominees. I chose these individuals because we share a commonality for a healthy lifestyle living.  

I nominate the following ten bloggers to take part in The Sisterhood of the World Bloggers’ Award!

  

My Nominations:

Here are my 10 questions:

  1. What was the last food documentary you saw? 
  2. Are you a vegan, vegetarian, pescetarian (eats fish only), flexitarian (vegetarians with healthier grassfed options), ovo-vegetarian (eggs no dairy), or a raw foodie?
  3. Did you plant a garden this year?
  4. What is your best dinner dish?
  5. Are trends just for young people? 
  6. How would you spend a $50,000 gift?
  7. If you could eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
  8. If you could permanently eliminate one food from the world, what would it be? 
  9. Do you exercise regularly?
  10. What have you learned from blogging? 

Have fun and keep blogging!


Strawberries Are Back 

Strawberries are back and in full-swing of things at the Union Square Green Market.  They’re super sweet, juicy, and delicious!  You’ll never find these beauties at your supermarket.  What also sets these beauties apart from the regular store-bought brands is there texture. The strawberry from the local farmers are much more tender and delicate, thus making them more juicy.

They’re in season now so stop by your local farmers market and get’em while you can.  To find your local farmers market click here.  Nutritional information on strawberry can also be found here

Enjoy😋