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helwen: (Steam)
My thanks to [livejournal.com profile] calygrey for sharing this on her journal:


I'd do something rather different, but just the idea of this kind of cake is interesting. Also, the page mentions the tea salon in NY that inspired this version of the mille crêpes cake.

And there's a link to more pages on tea and goodies near the bottom of the page.


I'm imagining this with buckwheat flour for the crepes, and powdered maple sugar on top...
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Thinking about making something to carry just a small amount of various spices/herbs. Found a site that sells little vials with (I think) screw-on caps. Sort of a Steampunk idea, but inspired by the fact that I like having ginger in my tea in the morning but, for some strange reason, restaurants don't have ginger on their tables :D

So far, I'm thinking of having ginger, cinnamon, dill, turmeric, salt, and pepper in the kit. The last two are for in case I'm on a picnic. Any other spices or herbs that folks think would be nice to jazz up a restaurant meal? I'm not sure on the turmeric though...that's mostly for medicinal purposes (aside from curry), so maybe garlic instead.... yes, all dry and/or powdered.
helwen: (Due Consideration)
Been unpacking and finding things I haven't been able to use since we moved to Ashfield. This week I found a beautiful little pot/vase we got while visiting up in Halifax years ago. We'd gone up with Henry McQueen and stayed with Daffyd and his lady Deirdre (sp?) for a teaching event up there. A truly lovely time.

Another pot I found is a cooking pot made by Eadric the Potter. I have no idea how to use it yet, but hopefully this year...
helwen: (jug)
If you drink milk, read:


U.S. Dairy Industry is petitioning the FDA to approve aspartame as a hidden, unlabeled additive in Milk, Yogurt, Eggnog and Cream -- cuz like, aspartame is safe...

[EDIT: My thanks to gardengirl6 for sharing this on FB!]

Food Query

Feb. 21st, 2013 01:20 pm
helwen: (Due Consideration)
So, if you don't have much money and you want to get animal proteins that are non-GMO/GE and no sodium-nitrites, what's available besides eggs and tuna? Thoughts?

And on veggie equivalent, I'm aware of combining beans w/ rice or corn but I don't digest beans well.
helwen: (Due Consideration)
This recipe was adapted by [livejournal.com profile] fitzw from one he found online at Recipe.com, and re-named from Pumpkin Muffins to Harvest Cake, mostly I think because he usually bakes it in a 9" x 12" pan. It's just as tasty as muffins though ;)

The original recipe used wheat flour as well as the buckwheat flour, so he simply replaced the wheat with buckwheat. The original recipe also used milk but we subbed rice milk for that for when we were picnicking with friends who couldn't have dairy or soy. And we don't usually have OJ in the house but I sometimes have pear sauce (not this year, alas). Applesauce would probably also work. Oh, and he used eliminated the orange peel because we didn't have that, and you don't need it with pear or apple sauces. If you use orange juice, you may want to add 1/2 tsp. of finely shredded orange peel, as stated in the original recipe.

1-1/3 cups plus 3/4 cup of buckwheat flour (2-1/12 cups total, or some approximation thereof)
1/4 cup to 1/3 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 slightly beaten eggs
1 cup canned/cooked pumpkin (we've also used Butternut and Hubbard squashes)
1/2 cup rice milk
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup orange juice/pear sauce/applesauce

1. Spray/spread nonstick spray/butter/etc. on pan and set pan aside. In a medium bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center of flour mixture; set aside.

2. In another bowl combine the eggs, pumpkin/squash, milk, oil, apple/pear sauce (or OJ and peel). Add the egg mixture all at once to the flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy).

3. Spoon batter into the prepared pan. Bake in a 400F oven for 15-20 minutes for muffins, 20-25 minutes for cake pan, or until light brown. Cool on wire rack for 5 minutes. If making muffins, remove from muffin cups to serve. As a cake, run a knife around the edges, lift the edges gently to loosen the pan's hold on the cake, then put a tray over the top of the pan and flip it out, and cut cake into squares. May be served warm or cold.

We find this to be very tasty plain, with butter, or with a bit of maple cream.

Although this turns out very well following the above directions, and has been well-received by both folks who are GF and those who aren't, L mixes the ingredients in a different order when making buckwheat pancakes. He hasn't tried the above using the different order, so we don't know what the results would be. For pancakes he mixes all of the dry ingredients together EXCEPT the buckwheat flour. Then he mixes all the wet ingredients and combines them with the mixed dry ingredients. Only after that does he stir in the buckwheat flour, and then lets the batter sit for about 20 minutes to let the baking soda work. This creates a very fluffy pancake, whereas the usual method of mixing creates a thinner, denser pancake.
helwen: (Default)
Friend shared this family company with me: http://www.americantuna.com

Line/pole caught, only tuna from the Northwest Pacific area, ages 2-5 years (much much safer to eat younger tuna viz. mercury). No water or soy added - more room for fish! Also, the cans are BPA-free.

Apparently they're available by the single can at Whole Foods, but you can order online directly from the company for larger quantities. Today they have some specials of 12-packs and the like -- With FREE SHIPPING.
Check it out!

[EDIT] I'm going to check the price of cans at the local Whole Foods first, as the cans are 5.99 each online. Given that you get an actual 6 oz. of tuna, not tuna plus water you have to drain, it isn't a completely horrible price, but if the store has them for a wee bit less, that would be nice.
helwen: (Default)
Back in 2005, Monsanto bought Semini's, a seed company that controls 40% of vegetable seeds in the U.S. and 20% in the World. (Monsanto bought Burpee's a while back, so don't buy from them either).

Some folks think there's no point in avoiding a company that's been bought by Monsanto, because where else will we get seeds from? Well, if Semini's controls 40% of vegetable seeds in the U.S., that means 60% is still free of their control. I vote for buying from the other guys, who are all smaller businesses and could use our help. We need MORE DIVERSITY, be it in seeds, people, or ideas, because in an uncertain world you don't want to put all your eggs in one basket.

Also, learning to save seed is good, both because it saves money and because those seeds will have experienced your garden's soil and conditions and be better prepared for the next year. Avoid hybrids if possible, as they don't breed true.


Here's a few seed companies that ARE NOT OWNED BY MONSANTO:


http://www.richters.com/ (herbs)

And if you're interested in actively helping with saving seed, there's

[Partial credit for the above list goes to Sharon Astyk, who compiled a list awhile back. I've ordered from or bought at the store, seeds from more than half of the above companies).

Also check your local hardware store and see what companies they have -- check for country of origin, make a list of the company names and check them out. Ashfield Hardware, our little local store, carries some small local suppliers, heritage seeds, etc. Neighbors (our town's convenience store and gas station) carries Hart's seeds. The farmer co-ops are another good place to go -- I know that Greenfield Farmer Co-op carries High Mowing's seeds, for instance.

I prefer to order from growers in my region, as I figure their seed will probably do better here than seed from a significantly different growing region. I make exceptions if I can't find specific plant seeds/bulbs/rhizomes closer to home. An example would be when I ordered hops rhizomes a few years ago from the Northwest Pacific because it was the only area that had them in the entire U.S. That might be changing.... there's a hops movement up in Vermont now.

Good luck, have fun, help your local growers, stay strong!
helwen: (sniper)
Followup on my rice post from the other day.

Can't copy link, but do a search for "rice exhaustive rinsing" and pick the link from www.lundberg.com (PDF).

Exhaustive rinsing is where you rinse the rice 5-6 times, until the water runs clear (a traditional Indian method). Removes 28% of arsenic, compared to raw rice.

Combine that with cooking rice using a large water to rice ratio of 6:1 reduces arsenic by 58% compared to raw rice. The more common ratio of 2.5:1 does nothing to reduce levels.

Steaming the rice reduced levels but results were inconsistent in the study.

The arsenic is considered to be most likely a result of soil conditions and how the rice is grown. Levels are very high in rice from south central U.S., but are better in California.

Recommendations from one of the articles I posted previously were Basmati rice from India and Pakistan, Jasmine rice from Thailand, and also rice from Egypt and the Himalayas.
helwen: (Tower)
Why is it that when we want to give ourselves a "treat", it's almost always something that we know isn't good for us? Why is that a treat?

I know, most of us (here in the U.S. anyway) grew up with candy, ice cream, burgers and fries, etc. Then we're told it's bad for us, that we have to eat boring non-tasty healthy food.

Why is eating something that compromises your health a treat?

Why is healthy food not tasty?

Don't let the marketers for Big Ag, fast food chains, and all the processed food companies pull a fast one on you and your life. They'll drug you into a sugary, super-caffeinated, chemical-laden stupor if you let them.

Yes, I do have some caffeine and some sugar, just not in the huge amounts marketers try to cram down your throat, and I try to choose healthier sources of sugar. Because we do need sugar in our diets, just like we need some fat in it. Fat and sugar are methods of energy storage after all. In fact our bodies need a certain amount of fat to be healthy -- you need some for daily living, some for emergency use (when you're ill, for instance), and there are small amounts on some organs as protective padding when you're moving. We just don't need as much as is in most processed foods.

Even before I started really working on changing my diet this year, I never followed cookie recipes to the letter -- they all use too much sugar. No, I don't use substitute sugar, because I have even more problems with those than regular sugar. I do substitute honey for cane when I can though...

Anyway, I just think that's something worth thinking about... why is treating ourselves badly a reward? If we learned to eat healthy foods that we love, prepared in ways that are delicious, we can treat ourselves every day!
helwen: (Tower)
When you're trying to remove something from your life, whether it's a food or a habit, instead of focusing on what you can't have, try to figure out all the things you _can_ have!

For me, talking about going gluten-free has led to friends sharing neat foods, some of which I didn't know existed. Chinese radish pancakes and plain roasted chickpeas are two of these, and while they may sound odd, they're really quite tasty!

Physically, armored combat is now out, so now I'll have more space in active storage and can focus on other pursuits like archery. I like archery, so it's all good :)

Here's a semi-random assortment of thoughts and experiences I've been having....

One person I was communicating with commented that it's a good idea to _not_ try to find substitutes for all the foods you used to eat. Now, if you're really set on sandwiches, toast, cold cereal, it's certainly quite possible and there are more choices than there used to be. We have some of the cereals here, which I usually have with soy or rice milk (I alternate between two containers so my soy intake is moderate). Occasionally, if we pick up some raw milk from Sidehill Farm, I'll have that.

I'm not much of a toast person, although once in a great while English muffins appeal to me, so I guess I should look into trying to make some at some point.

Meantime, what are my other current breakfast choices? Eggs (over easy or as an omelette), buckwheat pancakes (light flour), and oatmeal.

Now, the oatmeal we have more than once a week, especially in cold weather. At its plainest L puts in sweetener, cinnamon, & ground flax. Sometimes instead of honey or maple syrup he puts in some fruit preserves, and I know a lady who chops up some dried fruit and throws it in to cook with the oats. The ground flax is for the omega-3, not flavor (doesn't change the taste). With all of these we sprinkle some sliced almonds on top, for a little more protein.

We end up stopping at Dunkin Donuts for coffee (L) and tea (me), going to and/or from kung fu -- we have travel mugs, but we may want to consider making up a couple of thermoses for the car... anyway, there's all that sugary goodness staring at me, and it's all wheat! And lots of sugar!! Fortunately I don't like the large cube sugar they use on a lot of things, but I did ask them about their corn muffins and they use only corn meal in them, no wheat. So if I'm hungry, there's still something there for me.

At Applebee's in Hadley, I asked one night if the chicken in one of the dishes was breaded, and the waitress asked if I'd like to see the gluten-free menu. Okay, it wasn't a huge menu, but there were definitely choices, and I was delighted that it even existed!

A couple of times now I've had a wrap from a pizza place, without the wrap. I like to have pastrami once in a while, but I wanted to be good and not have the wrap itself. So I ordered a wrap without the wrap -- they stick all the things that would be in a wrap, lettuce and all (per my request), into one of the metal tins they use for things like salads or pasta dinners, and then I had it heated, just like when you have your wrap toasted. Yeah I know, sounds weird, but it was good. Think of it as Italian stir fry :D

Our local pizza place also usually has soup or chili, and so far I've found that the tomato and red pepper, cream of mushroom (if I'm up for dairy), beef stew, and veggie chili are all excellent. I've also had their meat chili, but I think their veggie is tastier and I really like it. They have salads too, and it's easy to ask them to leave things out (like croutons!)

Our friends who host Concentus practice were apologetic last night because since it's a potluck and so what shows up for food is anyone's guess (we've tried organizing, it doesn't work), they're not sure where the shortfall will be. I said to not worry about it -- after one of the practices a week or so ago when the only thing that didn't have wheat in it was the apple cider L and I'd brought, I've tried to get something to eat before we go to practice. Yesterday I had ginger tea (made with freshly cut up ginger one person brought), and some stir fry kale (L and I brought the kale). So I had tea and kale. I'd had a handful of nuts at home and a corn muffin on the way there, so that really was fine.

I did cave in at the end of practice and have some ice cream, which did have some wheat in it -- cookies and cream -- fortunately some forms of wheat don't seem to affect me as badly as others, and it was a fairly small amount. I'm grateful that I'm not as sensitive to it as some folks are. But if I were, and I really wanted to have a little dessert, my hosting friends usually have some fruit on hand.

A friend of ours can't have berries of any kind - he's mortally allergic to them. The rest of us love berries and at the time we found out about it we thought it was a very sad thing... but he said he doesn't miss having something that he knows is going to kill him.


If you're trying to go gluten-free, it might pay to look at some of the snacks that are available - granola, dried fruit, nuts, some types of corn chips, whatever, and get in the habit of having them available to you at home and when traveling. Give yourself a choice, wherever you happen to be. As long as you're not starving, it's all good!
helwen: (water drops)
Sharon Astyk can get a bit too wordy for me at times, but this is definitely one of her better posts: Casaubon's Book
helwen: (MacGyver)
Fitzw found out that there are two types of buckwheat flour, light and dark. We have the light flour, which doesn't have the hulls, just the groats. That may be why the flavor isn't terribly strong.


May. 1st, 2010 08:29 pm
helwen: (Default)
Steamed fiddleheads, chopped garlic & onion and sliced almonds, all over a bed of rice. Yum!

Only thing I would have added was some tofu for a little more protein, but I didn't have any here. And for dessert? Chocolate!

And another bit of flavor to this dinner? The fiddleheads, garlic and onion were all from the farm :)
helwen: (Default)
I should have gone on this particular walk last week, and then I would have had more tasty treats for the table -- but there were still some fiddleheads today, and I think I have enough for a couple of meals. At least I got some this year -- last year I missed it entirely. The ferns are doing quite well, by the way, and don't really care what the weather's like, wet or dry!

Dandelions are starting to bloom, which means I should also go greens hunting before it's too late. My focus has been elsewhere, so it just hasn't been a priority this year.

Got back up on the hillside and cut some more branches from the downed trees in the grove.

Cut some of the thorny stuff down to the ground in the pasture by there. Not a permanent solution, but at least it helps keep them from spreading quite as fast. There are a variety of thorny plants up there, most of which needs pruning or removal. In particular I was noticing an invasive species, that's being, well, invasive. Those definitely need to be dug up.

Then walked up to the backyard garden area to see how things are there. Brought some smaller pieces back and put them by the backyard garden. When we plant potatoes I'll throw pieces of them in, as it will help prevent scab.

Daffodils are blooming nicely, and most things seem to have made it through the winter. The parsnips I transplanted a few weeks back are doing fine too. Not sure about the Jerusalem artichokes yet, but the onions and garlic look great!

The big hops will need the tripod put back up, and I think this year we'll need a trellis system for the babies.

The fruit trees are also faring well. The older peach tree is pretty crusty-looking, but hopefully with the black walnuts gone it can recover.
helwen: (Xena)
My thanks to Loosecanon for alerting me to this:


It seems Snyders may feel that the Gluten Free market is too important to miss, but not important enough to serve honestly or safely.
helwen: (Tower)
USDA-approved ammonia-injected ground beef

Hey, all the industry is trying to do is make sure nothing gets wasted. They're being frugal, right?

Suggestions: give up beef, give up at least ground beef (although who knows what's going on with the rest of it these days), or eat local grass-fed beef


helwen: (Default)

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