Thursday, February 17, 2011

Rice Pudding (A Breakfast or Dessert Item- you decide!)

I love breakfast. It is no doubt my favorite meal of the day...
Maybe because the mornings are my alone time while the rest of my family sleeps (I'm an early bird...the only teenager I know who happily gets up before 7 am on a weekend), or maybe because it starts the day off right. And there isn't anything like a good, hearty breakfast to put you in a good mood before a weary 7 hours of school...

That, or the fact that you can get away with eating dessert-like items for breakfast!

I have a sweet tooth. Most taureans do.
I love having a bowl of quinoa or oatmeal [very] liberally drizzled with maple syrup, or a plate of sweet, juicy, fresh fruit. Or maybe cakes, muffins, scones, or cinnabuns.

And I don't see anything wrong with that...
To be honest, I thought this was normal though. I mean, what with all those nasty, processed cereals being sold today. (Though, you can't really compare a home-made, not-Quaker bowl of oats to Lucky Charms) But I guess my parents didn't agree. They thought it was odd that I offered to make rice pudding for breakfast before we went skiing...

But it's all the same. Whether you eat it in the morning or at night, rice pudding is still a yummy bowl of...rice. And hey, at least it's brown rice! Plus, if we didn't eat High-on-the-Glycemin-Index breakfasts to make our blood sugars crash, how else would we get rid of all that energy a vegan diet gives? (hee hee)

Brown Basmati Rice Pudding
2 C brown basmati rice
4 1/2 C water
1/4 tsp salt
1 cinnamon stick
1/3 C raisins
2 C unsweetened, plain plant milk (more or less to preferance, I like a litle bit more)
1/2 C maple syrup
1/4 C agave nectar
2 Tbsp vegan butter
1/4 C slivered almonds
1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 Tbsp cinnamon

1) Whirl the rice in a blender/food processor/coffee grinder to chop it up a little bit. It's okay if some turns to rice flour, but make sure most of it is about half the size it was.
2) Toss it in a pot with the water, cinnamon stick, and salt and bring it to a boil. Once it's rolling, reduce heat, add the raisins, and let it simmer until all the water is absorbed. (It took mine roughly 25 minutes, but my grains always seem to cook faster than the recommended time- whether they've been chopped up or not)
3) When the water has been absorbed, and the rice is soft and cooked fully,remove the cinnamon stick and add the milk, maple syrup, agave, butter, almonds, vanilla, and spices. Mix it thoroughly and let it cook on low just a couple minutes longer...
4) Done! I prefer mine cold, but it's tasty either way :)

And enjoy it for both breakfast and dessert ;D

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Puppy Bowl Sunday!

Well, it's that time of year again when millions of Americans sit down to watch the superbowl... and of course, the few who manage to sit through 2 hours of puppies playing non-stop in a mini football field.
It's really cute... but it gets tiring...

But whether you're watching the puppy bowl or the superbowl (or a Star Treck marathon), today should be about one thing: snacks

I wanted to try out some sweet treat for today. My mind fell on the box of phyllo dough that has been in the fridge for quite some time now, and I decided to try Baklava...

Of course, whenever you have toasted Phyllo dough coated in vegan butter, you can't go wrong!

1/2 lb Phyllo Dough
Abour 1/2 C melted vegan butter (more if needed...)

4 C coarsely chopped nuts (pistachios, almonds, and walnuts are best)
½ C sugar
½ Tbsp cinnamon
½ tsp cloves
¼ tsp salt

1 C water
1 C sugar
1/4 C agave nectar
1/4 C maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cinnamon stick

1.) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix the choppes nuts, the 1/2 C sugar, spices, and salt in a bowl.
2.) Grease a 9x13 inch pan. Place one layer of Phyllo dough in it and brush it with the butter using a pastry brush. (Make sure you keep the rest of the Phyllo dough moist by keeping it covered with a moist cloth) Continue layering Phyllo dough and coating each layer with butter until you have 8 layers.
3.) Spoon on about 1/3 of the nut mixture. Layer on two more Phyllo sheets, brushing each with butter. Do this process two more times, until the nut mixture is gone.
4.) Continue layering on the Phyllo dough, brushing each layer with butter, until there isn't any left. (It should be about 7 sheets)
5.) Bake for 35-40 minutes.

6.) While the baklava is baking, make the syrup. Mix all the ingredients together in a sauce pan and bring to a boil with the cinnamon stick in it. Once it begins rolling, reduce the heat, and let it simmer for 7 minutes.
7.) When the baklava is out of the oven, pour the syrup over it and let it soak for a couple of hours.
8.) Enjoy!

And of course, pretzels! They're always a must on any snack day, and being the proud new owner of a double boiler, I had to cover them in chocolate... plus, the world is better when coated in a nice layer of fair trade, organic, dark chocolate :D

Happy Snacking!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

GMO alfalfa...

Just days ago, the Obama Administration decided to allow Monsanto's genetically modified alfalfa into our food system.
Behind soy, corn, and wheat, alfalfa is the 4th most important crop grown in the United States. It is estimated that 93% of all alfalfa grown in America does not (did not?) even use any herbicides. Bugs are not attracted to this crop, so herbicides are not needed.
Alfalfa pollen is exceptionally volatile, easily traveling miles by way of insects and wind. This means it can (and will) easily spread to other crops and cross pollinate with non-GMOs.
Alfalfa is also a very important crop for organic meat and dairy farmers who rely on it to feed their animals. If they start purchasing the GM alfalfa, the term "Organic" will no longer ensure the product is also non-GMO. Since, unlike in Europe, there are no requirements for labeling Genetic Modification, Organic is the only way we here in the states can know a food's genes have not been tampered with. It has even been estimated that 83% of Organic-buyers buy organic just to avoid GMOs.
If organic farmers turn to GM alfalfa, then there won't be a way to avoid GMOs..they will be everywhere...
Whole Foods, Stonyfield, and Organic Valley- 3 of the largest organic companies have already turned to this new GMO alfalfa.

Monsanto is a money-hungry, selfish corporation all about genetic modification. They engineer all of their crops to do two things: Not produce seeds (in other words, they will never reproduce, are all of clones of each other, and a farmer must buy more seeds every year rather than saving seeds from the previous harvest- allowing the plant to evolve against natural diseases), and to not be able to survive witout
the use of their herbicide Roundup. Every crop patented- yes, patented, by Monsanto must be sprayed with Round up to live. Any farmer who has been found to have any patented crop on his/her land- whether they want it there or not, has been sued by Monsanto for infringement if they have not purchased the seeds. (seeds that catch the wind, fall off of transportation trucks, etc.)
Monsanto always wins.

It’s heartbreaking news to hear. Monsanto is getting everything they want, and the government is handing it to them. If the USDA truly cares about the health of the public, then they will repeal this decision, and once again illegalize GM alfalfa.

It is up to us, the People, to speak out against this. We have to spread the word to those who don’t know what Monsanto or GMOs are.

How to Contact the USDA:

Economic Research Service
1800 M Street NW
Washington, DC
20036-5831 USA


An Online Petition:
We can't let Monsanto take over our food supply, we have to stand up for Mother Nature before it's too late...

Thank you for reading, we all have to do out part and stop this!