Monday, November 7, 2016

Kabocha Squash and Azuki Beans with Kale!

What's the difference between "pumpkin" and "squash"?   

This is the best answer I could find:
"Squash are generally separated into three categories: summer squash, winter squash, and pumpkins. The difference between them all is really just based on how they are used. Summer squash are harvested when young and tender, while winter squash are harvested when hard and ripe. Pumpkins are really just winter squash, but have a distinctive pumpkin shape."* 

Not to mention there are SOOOO many varieties.  I found great lists (plus additional recipes) - All About Pumpkins Varieties and Seed to Supper.  In this recipe, I used the Kabocha Squash but Butternut or Acorn could have easily been substituted.  There was so much squash left I had to figure out what to do with it.  Check out and join later this week for the great treat!!  

Pumpkin is so nutritious, full of fiber and beta-carotene.  Here is more in formation:
1 cup of cooked pumpkin flesh contains**:
Calories 49 
Protein 2 grams
Carbohydrate 12 grams
Dietary Fiber 3 grams
Calcium 37 mg
Iron 1.4 mg
Magnesium 22 mg
Potassium 564 mg
Zinc 1 mg 
Selenium .50 mg
Vitamin C 12 mg
Niacin 1 mg
Folate 21 mcg
Vitamin A 2650 IU
Vitamin E 3 mg

To truly amp up this macrobiotic dish, add some brown rice.  Check out last week's blog on the macrobiotic diet.  Prepare the Kabocha Squash and Azuki Beans with Kale or any of the other wonderful recipes and and you'll find yourself saying "That's Vegetarian?!"

Kabocha Squash and Azuki Beans with Kale

1 6-inch Piece of kombu
1c Azuki beans, dried
2c Kabocha squash, cut into 1/2 inch cubes, can leave peel on if organic, I prefer without
1/2 bunch kale, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1t soy sauce or shoyu
1t ginger

Combine the kombu and beans in a bowl and cover with 3 c water.  Soak for a minimum of 5 hours preferably overnight. 

Drain the kombu and beans, discarding the soaking water.  Slice the kombu into 1" x 1" squares and put the pieces in a pot.  Add the beans and fresh water to cover the beans by about 1 inch.  Put the burner on high and bring to a boil, straining any foam that rises to the top.   Boil for about 5 minutes or so.  Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for about 30 minutes checking every 10 minutes for enough water (at bean level) and doneness.  Soaking the beans longer decreases the cooking time.

Once the beans feel al dente, add the ginger and soy sauce (or shoyu) and stir.  Then place the squash on top and simmer covered for about 10 minutes.  Check, it should be slightly soft, then add the kale and simmer for another 10 minutes.  It should still be bright green.

Prep time: 15 minutes, mostly for cutting the squash and kale.
Bake time: 50 minutes
Serves 4, about 1 cup each
Level of difficulty - Intermediate.

Monday, October 31, 2016

What IS a Macrobiotic Diet?

"Macrobiotics", translated from Greek, means great life and dates back to Hippocrates. Macrobiotics as we know it today was started by a George Ohsawa, a Japanese educator, who was battling a serious illness. This simple diet cured him.

The macrobiotic diet is a holistic approach to a lifestyle. It utilizes the idea of food containing yin and yang properties which help balance out the body, spirit, and energy.  Yin foods are cold and sweet while yang foods are hot, salty and bold. It can be a "flexitarian plan" in which occasional fish is okay, however most are vegetarian. It does require a fair bit of planning to be on the macrobiotic diet.

Some foods will over stimulate the body. The diet discourages processed foods, coffee, alcohol, high fat foods, extremely cold foods, dairy, eggs, and animal products. In limited quantities, it is okay to have seafood, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and nuts.

Food should be consumed in the most natural state or by preparing with baking, boiling, pressure cooking or steaming. Eating slowly and chewing your food thoroughly is an essential part of the program. The macrobiotic approach also means eating locally, what's in season, organically, and focus on whole grains. (Click on term to read previous blogs relating to these topics.)

The breakdown of a typical macrobiotic diet will vary from source to source. Here is an approximation based on various resources:
  • Whole grains, especially brown rice: 50%-60%
  • Vegetables: 25%-30%
  • Beans and legumes: 5%-10%
  • Sea vegetables: 5%
  • Fish, nuts, seeds, fruits, miso soup: 5%-20%
  • Soup (using ingredients above): 1-2 cups/day
Best bets: Brown rice, barley, whole wheat, fresh broccoli, cauliflower, butternut squash, chickpeas, tofu, sea vegetables like kombu and nori, and vegetable soups. A few servings of nuts and seafood per week are allowed. 1

That's Vegetarian has provided you with many recipes that are in accordance with a Macrobiotic Diet.  Here are a few.  Go back and check these out:

The macrobiotic approach has been shown to help in healing in prevention and cure in cancer, although it has not been scientifically proven.  The American Dietetic Association also approves the macrobiotic diet as a well balance approach to a vegan diet, if done correctly.

There is so much more information on the macrobiotic diet. Books upon books and websites upon websites. I have included links to some websites for more information on the basics of the diet, food lists, the lifestyle, and the history.

Visit That's Vegetarian's website, blog , and YouTube channel for more information, videos, and recipes!!  You'll find yourself saying "That's Vegetarian?!"

Sunday, June 12, 2016

To Be or Not to Be Organic. That is the Question.

There are so many articles out there that say "Buy this organic..." then another one says "No, buy this organic. Arrrggghhhh which is it? Then the environmental impact of pesticides.  What to do?

First and foremost, eating your fruits and veggies is most important. If you cannot afford organic, it's okay.  Clean your fruits and veggies with an appropriate scrub/rinse. You can buy the veggie wash from the store or you can make your own with common household items. Do you know which household ingredients go a long way in reducing the pesticide residue on your foods?  Click here for more.

Here is what you can do to get rid of the pesticides in a friendly way:
  • Baking soda ~ Using, a clean sponge or cloth, sprinkle, scrub, and rinse!
  • Make a spray bottle with 1t vinegar (white or cider) and fill the rest with water. Make a separate spray bottle with 1/2t hydrogen peroxide and water. DO NOT MIX TOGETHER IN ONE SPRAY BOTTLE TO SAVE A STEP!!! Creates a Peracetic acid which in no bueno to consume. Then rinse.
  • Add 1/4-cup vinegar and 2 Tablespoons salt into a sink full of water and let sit for 15 minutes then rinse.
  • Combine 2T vinegar, 1T lemon juice, and 1c cold tap water in a spray bottle, shake well, and apply to your produce. Rinse
  • 4T salt and juice of half a lemon in a sink full of water, soak for 5-10 minutes, less for leafy greens and berries. Rinse. 
Why buy organic? Many people buy organic because of the amount of pesticides that are usually used on that particular crop that will absorb into the food and/or stick as a residue which will be passed onto the consumer, aka your body. I'm not going to get into the politics or more specifics, check out the links below for additional reading.

Here is a quick list that I gathered from multiple resources1 that agreed on what to get organic:
  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Strawberries
  4. Stone fruits - peaches, apricots, cherries, nectarines
  5. Leafy vegetables - spinach, kale, collard greens, lettuce
  6. Grapes
  7. Sweet bell peppers
  8. Potatoes
  9. Blueberries
What other foods are recommended organic and why?  

It is also suggested to find organic meats and dairy products because of the hormones that are used. Coffee because of the countries it comes from. Raisins and wine because they are made from grapes. There are also the ideas of eating foods in season so it doesn't have to be imported and travel long distances to get to you. Imported foods have different standards on pesticides used vs. domestic. Cantaloupe is one of the foods that is okay domestic but organic imported. The fruits and veggies with peels have less concern because the pesticides don't penetrate as much and they are peeled off. But with bananas there is a concern on proper harvesting and sustainable farming. Those are the issues that I will leave for you to decide.

Here is a list of what doesn't need to be organic because minimal pesticides are used for this particular crop and/or they don't absorb as much of the pesticides.
1. Onions                                                                                                                                           
EWG's Dirty Dozen Cheat Sheet
EWG's Dirty Dozen Cheat Sheet              2
2. Corn
3. Pineapples
4. Avocado
5. Asparagus
6. Sweet peas
7. Mangoes
8. Eggplant
9. Kiwi
10. Mushrooms
11. Cabbage
12. Watermelon
13. Sweet potatoes
14. Grapefruit

Organic is great if you can fit it in time wise and financially. If not, use one of the helpful tips to eliminate the majority of the pesticides. BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY, organic or not, EAT YOUR FRUITS AND VEGGIES!!!!! Your body really does need the nutrients they provide that you can't get in such glorious form anywhere else.

Check out the other blogs for links to watch the video, print the recipe, prepare any one of the dishes and you'll find yourself saying "That's Vegetarian?!"