Falling for Figs…

Late Summer and Fall is the Season….

Oh, my …

Do you really need a reason?

Loaded with calcium would be only one!

Though they don’t store for long….


You can’t go wrong…

One luscious bite…

…and you’ll be undone…

——–

Decadece and bliss…

Oh, dear…

You’ll surely be remiss…

Enjoy them while they’re here!

Note:

 Most figs contain insect parts, having been pollinated internally by a certain species of wasp. As this would, technically, render them “not vegan,” I stick to a variety of the ficus carica figs — Black Missions — which are common in California, and do not require this type of pollination.

While entomophagy has been touted as one of the most nutritious diets, I’m certainly not on that bandwagon ;). Though, we all consume critters unintentionally because they get caught in foods we eat all the time (such as tomato sauces, and other packaged foods; on or in fresh fruits, grains, and veggies, etc.) There is even a certain amount the governing bodies “allow” in our food. Yipes!

I do know that many cuisines of various cultures around the world have been eating this way for the ages, and consider this a diet more healthful than consuming other animals of the four-legged kind,  fishes, or birds.  It seems it would be. I imagine the disastrous, life-killing effects of flesh and dairy would not be found in an entomophagic diet. Aside from the ethical vegan issue, it would make for interesting nutritional discussion. I would love to see scientific study or research on nutrition and entomophagy…I bet there is little.

Strix

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Must See DG!

Yes, who needs “Must See Tv” when we’ve got Must See Dr. G.? 😀
Fantastic presentation by the very personable doctor, Michael Greger, of Nutrition Facts.org. How often do you find a doctor with a funny bone, who is approachable and, guess what? knows his stuff!

It’s an hour, but let’s face it: you’re reading a post on a blog called BeStrixed. You can spare the time! 😛 So turn up the volume while you prepare your meal or whatever you’ gotta do. This is Must See DG!!!

uprooting-the-leading-causes-of-death

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And now, for all you plant lovers…

I’ve been looking for an organic one of these for ages, but have been unsuccessful 😥 . I decided to just get the regular and live with it (hopefully!)

So…time to play…

What Is It?

Okay, it’s a plant…

But what plant?

Okay, I know it looks like it could be a few different things…

Could it be?….

No? Am I being too tough on you?

Little closer, then…

Okay,

Here…

You got it now, right?

Okay, so maybe some of you gardeners out there can give it a shot…

Hmm….

Okay, here’s a hint:

I made this with it…

😛 Now that’s a dead giveaway, Y’All. C’mon, now!

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tnim etalocohc 😉 – Yep. Tastes like and bonus,SMELLS like! Awesomest herb ever. Try some!

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things…

Silky Araucania Ruca Yarn

/Cue Music   

“Raindrops on windows and whispers from willows

Shepherds of sea life from great whales to minnows

silver white tea leaves sun-kissed into greens

These are a few of my favorite things!”

/Cut Music

*

Okay, been a while since my last “Favorite Things” post…ya think? 😕 But here we go…

So, my favorite tea greens are ground up into Matcha, as I’ve mentioned; my favorite being Matcha from Mountain Rose Herbs which consistently offers superior quality for fantastic prices. You’ll not find that quality matcha for less.

***

A Touch of Evil 😀 (just a touch 😉 )

Jerusalem Artichoke Inulin Powder, from Natural Zing

Now, I normally do not recommend sweeteners aside from fresh fruits,and, really, it shouldn’t be needed much at all on a  NDE Diet. But, occasionally, when needed, I like to go as natural as is good —  this is my favorite:  One of the ever increasingly popular type of  inulins being used as sweetners; specifically, my favorite is Artichoke Inulin. (The most popular, well-known, and the “original” is chicory inulin*) This is not the  artichoke flower which may come to mind, but a different root veg called Jerusalem Artichoke,  also known as sunchoke. These were a “What Is It?” featured here on BeStrixed.

Artichoke inulin is available from a few sources; I get mine from Natural Zing — another “Favorites” places! Lots of raw-foodie good stuffs 😀

By the way, fresh sunchokes, aka Jerusalem artichokes are great mashed and combined with cauliflower to make faux mashed potatoes! Delicious veggie!

I first tried inulin in chicory form, many years ago before I was an NDE, and, while it didn’t taste bad, it was not sweet enough for me, nor for the recipes I was making at the time. Whew! Glad those hyper-sweet days are long gone! Still it is much better than the alternatives such as Splenda, and saccharins out there, so if the artichoke is not available for you, the chicory may be one to try.

I have always liked stevia (combined with erythritol,which I also recommend – no laxative/gas/bloating effect; and better for some applications); however, Dr. Greger has recommended what is a safe amount of stevia, so bear that in mind (But also, pure unprocessed stevia seems to  have no problems**)One thing to remember, though, is that stevia doesn’t require large amounts anyway. I used to find erythritol in small independent vitamin shops (if lucky) or online in few places; it’s now everywhere. Again, sweeteners should not be used in large amounts in a Nutrient Dense Diet; but, I use it for the occasional beverage, for example, and moreso for guests dishes and desserts.  I’ve used it for Thousand Island dressing as well.

I really don’t like date sugar unless it is for a brown sugar substitute, for which it is perfect( See my No-Grains Granola, and my Essene breads/Manna/Raw/Ezekiel, etc.)Plus, way too much sugar, way too many calories, and…

…very grainy makes it less than ideal: See here what happens when you sift date sugar

Big difference!  Oh, and …

always check the label to see if it’s 100% dates…Yikes!Oat flour! And Wheat!

HOWEVER….

…You know there’s always one ;^)  On the plus side, fresh dates are very nutritious and don’t have to be excommunicated from your Eat To Live relig — uh, I mean, menu! ;^) ) Occasionally, they are fine. See my Butterscotch Pudding” recipe 😉

Luo Han Guo, pure,  is another sort of brown-sugar-ish flavor sweetener with a fruity-ish twist; I don’t like it, really. It’s got its own unique flavor which makes it use very limited. It can be found in combinations (with one of the sugar alcohols, for example),which improves it immensely; some being better than others. Basically fruit and, GRAS, it doesn’t seem to be bad; however, there are always critics.

As an aside, D mannose, commonly used to treat bladder infections, is sometimes found in sweeteners. It is also a “simple sugar molecule.”

Many other sweeteners out there, but I don’t or didn’t intend this to be a review of all faux sweeteners! 🙂

***

–> Back to the Artichoke Inulin — 😉

*

I’d say, it’s about 70% as sweet as the same amount of sugar; HOWEVER, I must caution that my sweet sense is really heightened compared to the taste buds of someone consuming sugar at a standard rate. I haven’t had sugar in over 8 years; so, it probably would not be a choice of the average American-style-diet consumer. In fact, I know it wouldn’t. A standard diet eater may think this is maybe 40- to 50% as sweet as regular sugar.

It’s actually delicious.

Upsides

Unlike all fake sweeteners, Jerusalem artichoke inulin has some nutritive value. Even the erythritol I mentioned is harmless, but it’s not nutritious — not by a long shot.

Healthful; pre-biotic;  It is white-ish; dissolves well (though best in warm to hot) and clear; has no aftertaste; no strange flavors or bitterness whatsoever; very “clean” taste; measures more like sugar; has an emulsifying ability, adding smoothness/creaminess, slight thickening; NO graininess at all, it’s powdered, but not dusty; goes with well with any type of recipe.

Downside

is the price 😦 . Still, if you are an NDE (Nutrient Dense Eater) who has healed from sugar addiction, then you  won’t need loads of it 😉 It does provide some calories,; though not too many, in my opinion.  Another you may like is Agave Inulin — higher calories; less expensive.

So, Artichoke Inulin —  my favorite, best recommendation for sweetening, when you must!

***

/Cue Music

“Plant yarns,  and fabrics, compassionate satins

Pleathers and faux furs, save seals brutal lashes

Bees buzzing by with nectar on their knees…

These are a few of my favorite things!”

*

/Cut Music   😉

***

Araucania Ruca is a gorgeous drapey yarn made from sugarcane — Yes, THAT sugarcane! It is a perfect substitute for silk and is often mistaken for same. Stunning, silky and soft.

*

There are a plethora of plant yarns and fabrics so there is no need to rob animals of their skins and hair (and then eventually kill them, no matter how “humane” you are told they are treated).

Wendy-Peter Pan 4-Ply Fingering Yarn

Really, way too many favorites, but a stand out yarn for socks is Wendy Peter Pan “Happy 4-Ply” Bamboo/Nylon blend. The reason I love-love-love this yarn is because it is a true fingering weight yarn (I can use a quintuple 0 needle  for socks). The color — as with most bamboo — is stunning. It’s machine washable; strong(!); and wears very well. Feels mighty nice, too. No drapey socks, either; the nylon holds them up well.Wish they had solids!

Hemp yarns are great for accessories; here is just one way I’ve put this strong, sturdy yarn to use –a nice pair of working gloves :^)

I love hemp fabric. One would think it’s harsh; it’s not! Try my favorite, Hemp Traders. Lots of variety. Seriously, they’ve got hemp velvet and terry cloth — suede! Love it. All kinds of blends. Great place. Great service. Great products. I’ve bought tons from them.

_

Purlple Aronia Berries, powdered

And since I added that link to the agave inulin, a shoutout to Z-Naturals! A definite “Favorite Things” place. The fastest service I’ve ever experienced, good-quality products and  good prices.

I have been using their superfruits in my green smoothies — Purple Aronia berries and Seabuckthorn berries (though only available in powdered form and most products are in bulk.) A few other things I’ve ordered, all fab quality. Good stuff.

But of course You All know how I adore Mountain Rose Herbs. Def at the top of my Faves list! I’ve been shopping there for years and they just get better and better. Here’s a tip, though: If you phone order, make sure to get all you need when you call because, one, they will not allow you to add anything once they put your order through (as in you cannot call back even 1 minute later and add on; nor even right after they input it while you’re ordering!); so write it all down and have ready to order if you call; two, the shipping is expensive!

“Amla”Also known as INDIAN gooseberries

I’ve mentioned lots of stuff I get from MRH, including dried fruit; Iam so glad they offer  whole, dried Amla berries . I also love-LOVE their bilberries — super yummy in my GJGS’s! Elderberries, and, of course Maqui’s are two others I buy regularly. YES, I still use fresh fruit! But why deprive myself of this bounty when it’s available?

______

*Chicory, by the way, is one of, if not the, original coffee substitute. The roots are roasted and ground. There are many variations of its use for coffee; so if you need one, a blend with chicory and dandelion is one you may want to try.

**That I am aware, pure stevia plant, meaning the green leaves, simply ground or used whole-leaf has no problems associated with it — if anyone knows any different, please leave let me know in the comments! The stevia most used and referred to is the highly processed and isolated white stevia powder.

More “Favorites” to come!

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Eat Your WHITE Foods! Yes, I said that…

WHITE. The dreaded “white foods,” right? WRONG!  White foods are some of the most powerful on the planet. I for one, am tired of the white foods bashing and am taking a stand! Take a looksee…

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Of course there are more like parsnips, durian, and jicama…

Some have white varieties such as white radishes; white pumpkins; white peaches; white  nectarines; white corn, etc.

Many seeds, nuts, and beans are white…

Some I’m not sure about such as guavas. Or, for example, kohlrabi (green or purple) which, if not young or of certain variety, can have inedible colored skin and only white parts to eat — like the black radishes I mentioned in my black foods post.

Of course we must avoid processed junkola, but that isn’t real food, is it?  I mean flour is an isolated processed part of a whole. Very few whole foods are the dreaded “white foods.” I’ll give you white potatoes and popcorn, but even those are sorta okay once in awhile.

But let’s set ’em straight, shall we? Next time someone says to “avoid the ‘white foods,'” rattle off some of the above power foods. Educate them about the many delicious, healthful, anti-aging white foods that the Nutrient-Dense-Eaters among us eat to live  ;^)

  1. Quince
  2. Garlic
  3. Galangal
  4. Jerusalem Artichoke
  5. White Lima Beans
  6. Pignolis
  7. White Chias
  8. Rutabaga
  9. Banana
  10. Cashews
  11. Sunflower Seeds
  12. Cauliflower
  13. Cherimoya
  14. Chestnuts
  15. Coconut
  16. Turnips
  17. White Figs
  18. Onions
  19. Ginger
  20. White Grapes
  21.  Mushrooms
  22. Pears
  23. Plantains

Can you think of some other white foods?

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Try Something New…

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Beautiful Blue Poppy Seeds

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Sesame Milks

**

Seed_Mylk


The Gold…

Ever had sesame milk? Why not try something new?! 🙂 May surprise you.


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Calcium rich, sesame milks are an excellent nightcap 😀 Who needs “a glass of warm COW milk?!!? Do you really want that? Eeeoow Double YUK! Hip, hip, Hurray for sesame milk, a great alternative 🙂 It’s soothing and So nutritious. Calcium is great before bed, as it aids in sleep (and mental health through seratonin production!) Tryptophan seems to be key — if you have trouble getting those Z’s, have a couple of walnuts with that milk 😉 Sesame seeds are rich in methionine and tryptophan, and are 25% protein. Good anytime, and in recipes, too,though! I tried it in my Indian Spiced Lentil Soup, and it was delicious.

Sesame milks are much more difficult to “perfect,” since the flavor is a pronounced one, and everyone’s palate is different. Experimentation is definitely advised! However, if you love tahini or sesame seeds, you’ll probably be a fan of sesame milk :). Alternatively, you may like to combine it withalmonds for a delicious combo, and a tempered “sesame” flavor.

sesame-mylk_brown_unhulled-2-copyI used to love the idea of sesame milks, but all the recipes called for way too much sesame, and the result, cloying, especially using the hulled seeds. I think the key with these nut and seed milks is finding the right ratio of seed to water. And, of course, we all have varying palates 🙂 so finding the right ratio for you is the real key. The brown, unhulled (with shells) must be soaked and rinsed to alleviate the bitter components in the hulls.

My experience has been that the following are well received by most everyone to whom I served them. You can, however, make these with less water; it’s then easier to just add water if it needs it. Folks unaccustomed to natural flavors find sesame strong; but if you like sesame, by all means 😀

==

Sesame Milk, unhulled

*



1/4 C unhulled, organic Brown Sesame Seeds

Water for soaking

1 1/4 (or up to 2) C Water (I like 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 )

Soak Sesame seeds in water 4 hours. Drain.

Rinse well until water runs clear.

Place in a blender with 1/2 C water and blend till creamy.

Strain into a glass storage jar.

Add remaining water to the milk and mix well or shake.

Store, well-sealed in the refrigerator.  Shake well before using.

Makes 1 1/4 – 2 C

Lasts 3 or 4 days.

Notes:

Optionals: You can add sweetener (fresh date) or vanilla. A piece of banana is also very good here.

I  like it richer tasting, so you can try 1 C water; conversely, if it’s strong-tasting, adding more water, combining with another milk, or using optionals are all possibilities.

If you are in a big hurry or don’t mind that the seeds get slightly cooked, then you can pour hot or boiling water over the seeds, and let soak till cool. Then drain and rinse till water runs clear.

Alternatively, after soaking 4 hours (not the hot-water soak), you can sprout the sesame seeds for 24 hours to maximize nutrients. Do not sprout for longer than 36 hours or they get bitter. I usually do 24 or so. According to SproutPeople, they also do not store well; so use them up within 2 days.

~ *** ~

Straining sesame seeds through cheesecloth works well…

sesame_mylk_brown_unhulled-2-copy

~Beautiful and delicious!~

sesame-mylk_brown_unhulled-8-copy

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And the Black...

Ever had black sesame? Hey, it’s ALL a crapshoot — why not just try something different? 😉

I love black sesame, and they are part of my regular fats rotation 😀

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Black Sesame – More nutrient-rich than white or brown! CalciYUM!

*

Be more adventurous :D…

~

midnight-mylk_blk-sesame-26-copy

Now that’s an NDE* nightcap 😉

~

Midnight Milk

1/4 C Black Sesame Seeds

Water for soaking

1 1/4 – 2 C Water (I like  1 1/2-ish)

Soak Black Sesame for 4 hours. Drain and rinse well. (Sprout, if desired)

Combine Black Sesame and 1 C water in a blender. Blend on “High” till thoroughly creamy.

Strain into a glass storage jar. Add remaining water and mix well.

Shake well before using.

Makes 1 1/4 – 2 C

Optionals: Sweetener of choice; Vanilla to taste

I also like this at about 1 1/4 -1 1/2 C water because I love the taste of black sesame; however, to some, it has a strong taste. You can try it with less water to start, then just add as you go. I found the up to 2 C to be acceptable to most people; you’ll have to just try it — your mileage may vary 😀 .

Try it warm; it’s delish.

And don’t forget, it’s easy-peasy to make your own tahini.

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Feeling even more adventurous?

How about Poppy Seed Milk?

I was pleasantly surprised when I attempted this “milk”; it’s delicious. It is often my go-to “milk. High in calcium, this is an excellent bedtime milk:

One Tablespoon Poppy Seeds contain 13% the Daily Value of CalciumWow!

poppy-mylk_fini-6

…an excellent “regular milk” substitute:

~ *** ~

Poppy Milk


1/4 C organic Poppy Seeds

Water to soak

1 C water

Soak seeds in water 4 hours.

Drain.

poppy-seeds_strain

Rinse well. Interesting color! 😀 Must be the anthocyanidins changing shades 😀 – (Save that Pulp!!)

Place in a blender with 1/2 C water and blend till creamy.

poppy-mylk_tribest

Wasn’t sure my little Tribest Personal Blender would handle those teeny-tiny seeds, but, yep, it broke ’em up….however, I blended it a few minutes, and I did use the flat blade…

poppy-seeds_tribest_blade

Strain into a glass storage jar…

poppy-mylk_strain-4

,

I like to use my handmade tea bags (no waste!), but use these tea filters, too (although, these don’t work well with “fluffier” pulp); use cheesecloth, if you have it. The grainy little poppies are sand-like and the drainage is good. Here you see it oozing out the bag…

poppy-mylk_strain-9

poppy-mylk_strain-5

squeezing out as much as possible.

BUT be careful! The tea bags are light and delicate; Don’t squeeze too hard or…

poppy-mylk_strain-7

…and you don’t want that pulp dropping back in to your milk 🙂 As much as I know this, I still get too rough with my poor seeds :D. (Wetting the filter bags first, before filtering, helps a lot.)

Add remaining 1/2 C water to the milk and mix well or shake.

This tastes best the following day, too. Makes 1 C of delicious, creamy white milk…

poppy-mylk_fini-4

I think this is better than cashew milk. Another surprise, it actually tastes better a couple days later.

Store, well-sealed in the refrigerator. Shake well before using.

Makes 1 C

Notes: This ratio of seed to water makes a milk suggestive of regular milk. I found the 1:4 seed to water formula to be excellent as a milk substitute. The poppy seed flavor is so mild, it’s undetectable and much lighter than I anticipated.

I also found it to not need anything added at all. Of course, optionals such as vanilla, or sweetening can always be used.

This would make a good base for any recipe calling for plain milk, since the taste is mild and more like “cow’s milk” (but trust me tastes better!)

A little aside: poppy seeds have a thickening quality! Very nice in dressings.

Important Note: I’ve read that poppy seeds do not contain opium and that they do contain trace amounts. From what I’ve read, it is within certain varieties, which are grown specifically for the drug.  However, either way, it’s only from the plant that the drug is made,and the seeds contain trace amounts only. And,  again, it’s possible that only a select type has it .

Poppy seeds do seem to possess “sedative” qualities, often recommended for insomnia (Walnuts and sesame are high in tryptophan, and also recommended as good sleep aids; so they could also be “sedative”). I’m not sure if this would even be true for so small amounts that one eas (as opposed to the type of poppy used medicinally). Please make a choice based on knowledge and thorough understanding; the consumption of this milk is your sole responsibility. False positive drug tests have been reported with ingestion of poppy seeds (similar to the false tests that hemp seeds can render); however, there is a specific tell-tale chemical, thebaine, which will be present only with ingestion of the seeds, so no need to worry 🙂

NOTE: I wouldn’t  serve this this children — just to be on the safe side; there are many other alternatives, anyway (After running this past Dr. Fuhrman he advised against serving a lot of poppy seeds to children; so this may be too-concentrated a source, I think; better to err on the side of caution) However, it certainly is “something new” and interesting to try for us responsible adults 😉

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Sweet Sesame Dreams 😉

sleep _ Strix

sm row smiles

*Nutrient Dense Eater 😉 – NDD– Nutrient Dense Diet

Rediscovering Sumac

Sumac, ground: Related to the pistachio, no wonder I love it!

*
Some of my favorite flavors come from the Middle East. I don’t think I’ve ever  had anything that didn’t taste good from the region!  Haven’t had these flavors in ages.

Ever had Za’atar? It’s a  delicious combination of flavors, used in various cuisines, each expressing a unique version, while maintaining a similar base of sumac, herbs, sesame seeds, and salt. Can make most ANYthing taste gourmet- delicious.

It all starts with the amazing little berry that is…sumac. Bursting with flavor, this little fruit contributes a flavor complexity to your dishes. I had all but forgotten about sumac since I started my simple way of eating — how sad!  It is tart, with a lemony flavor, and slightly salty-ish and used as a substitute for citrus and vinegar; but it has that something special that makes it unique.

Use it in place of lemon or tamarind. Also, note that a lot salt substitutes use lemon or citrus in their formulas.Try using it in your favorite home-prepared salt substitute or storebought herbal. It brightens up any mixture 🙂

Of course, on its own, sumac brings out lots of flavor in your dishes 🙂

BUT

Sumac-package

Yes, there is a “but,” unfortunately. Sumac, without added salt is a real challenge to find. Why add salt to an already salty spice? A couple reasons — for preservation: Sumac loses potency very quickly; salt helps to preserve it in the form of a dried spice. Another reason is to keep it from clumping during the processing of the berries; it also extends storage life.

Okay, now why such a challenge? Well, for starters, the kind found in ME markets (like the package above)  are not labeled with an ingredients list. I would suggest that one should assume it contains salt.  It usually does. But those packages are very inexpensive — below a dollar, usually — so may be worth trying. To further complicate things — How to tell if an already-salty-tasting spice has salt added?! It’s very close to impossible, unless you taste truly unsalted at the same time or have a very keen taste for added salt, which can be tricky!

On the plus side, the sumac purchased from Middle Eastern sources are not over-the-top salty, and using it in your mixture would not add a lot of sodium to your finished dish.

However, the best way to know is to buy whole sumac berries and, yep, crush them yourself. Okay, easy enough…hm, not really: If ground sumac is hard to find, the whole berries are even harder. Still worth a look at the markets or specialty-foods sections, though.

*

Now for the good news,

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Aren’t sumac berries gorgeous!

After wasting what seemed like hours emailing and e-searching for salt-free, pure sumac — ground and/or berries — guess where I found it?

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MOUNTAIN ROSE HERBS, for goodness sakes! Well, DUH! I’m forever rambling about MRH — they are referred here a zillion times over, and yet, I failed to look there FIRST, like I usually do…heh. Silly me. 😉

Sumac-leafWell,  they have both the ground sumac and the whole berries, and, for good measure, the dried leaves — all salt-free. Never even knew about the leaves, but am looking forward to using them in lots experiments; soups are a no-brainer.

World Spices also has no-salt added ground sumac — confirmed via email inquiry — but it is not organic. Remember, too, that you just may find sumac tucked away in a gourmet-type, or specialty foods store or section; but know it is available, organic, without additives or preservatives via a reputable source: Mountain Rose Herbs.

As always, keeping within Dr. Fuhrman’s recommendations for added salt to the diet would be best; but you may want to buy one little package of sumac just to taste test (they are usually under $1), if you don’twant to haul off and buy a package of sumac berries 😉

SO,

with that difficulty resolved…

It is exceptional in beans — any bean dish! Test it on a portion of your favorite hoummus or other beany creation.

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Soupy Ful Madammas

**

Here is one of my favorite ways to use sumac — in za’atar, of course! You can add/tweak as you like, or according to how you prefer your za’atar; it varies from region to region as well as from taste buds to taste buds!

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*

ZA’ATAR

2 TB ground Sumac

1 TB Thyme, whole, dry leaves

1 TB Sesame Seeds, raw, hulled

Pulse to a med-course powder, the 1 TB sesame, making sure not to cream it. I used my small personal blender with the flat blade; a coffee grinder or similar appliance will work.

Add the thyme and sumac and pulse @ 5 or so times to combine and break up the thyme a bit, but not powder it.

Store in a glass jar with a tight lid. I use an old spice jar.

Variations: …are endless! a few common are to use some oregano, marjoram, or savory in place of OR in addition to the thyme.

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Za’atar ingredients. Fresh or dried thyme can be used.

*

Pulse-grind sesame seeds to a meal, taking care not to butter it.
Pulse-grind sesame seeds to a meal, taking care not to butter it.

**

Combine thyme, sumac, and optional black pepper
Combine thyme, sumac, and optional black pepper

*

*


*

Add spices to the sesame meal; pulse to combine
Add spices to the sesame meal; pulse to combine

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Enjoy! :^)
Enjoy! :^)

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Here is how I enjoyed za’atar recently: (Miss Olives? You don’t have to 😉 Click here)

Za'atar_Olives

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Za’atar Olives:

1 garlic, clove (see note on prep)

2 tsp za’atar

2 t – 1 TB fresh lemon juice, or to taste

blackpepper, to taste, optional

12 unsalted raw olives

Directions:

Pit olives or smash (see pic).

Toss well with lemon juice and galic (note: you can use slivers or slices, if you don’t want minced, raw garlic all over your olives); alternatively, maybe some lightly roasted or carmelized garlic would be nice.

Add the za’atar and toss lightly till thoroughly covering the olives.

Cover with a lid and place in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours to marinate.

Eat!

*

If you want to leave the pit in, then give each olive a good whack with the side of a sturdy knife to break up the olive innards to release flavor as well as allow the flavors to permeate…like so:

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then toss as per directions. Otherwise you can pit them all like so…

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Toss in the ingredients; Marinate:

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And devour ;)!

These are utterly delicious; you feel deceptively decadent eating these morsels of olivicious goodness! These feel like they’ve been soaked in the best olive oil, yet not a drop of oil added — only the fruit’s own natural oils.

I’ve rambled about my love of these olives: Give a looksee ;^)

Interestingly, I found that, like most marinaded foods, the flavor improved with time, but they also mellowed. In other words, the potency (think the garlic punch) lessened, but the flavor developed. Either way they are delish. Something to note anyway, just in case you find you may have added too much garlic, it will mellow over the next day and longer. So don’t worry 🙂 You can use thicker cuts or slices of garlic, if you want to be able to remove them.

Also, za’atar mixture (stored)  has a bad habit of losing flavor quickly, so make in small amounts. For this olive recipe, it preserves quite well. I imagine it is the natural oils — I guess there is quite enough in the olives — which acts as the preservative, the same as covering with a load of oil would. The lemon helps too.

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Here’s an idea:

garbanzo-beans_za'atar-spiceFul Za’atar

Toss heated home-cooked fava beans, garbanzo beans, a combo (or baby limas are a fantastic substitute in a pinch) in a little bit of their broth with lemon juice; za’atar; add garlic, if desired. Let sit at room temperature till ready to eat – flavor improves as it marinates. Serve cold or room temperature. Add chopped parsley, (add a bit of fresh thyme or oregano, optional; can add chopped tomatoes and/or onions, too) before serving.

OR

“Toast” in your oven at 248-degrees or below (to avoid acrylamide formation) OR, my preference,  dehydrate cooked garbanzo beans, tossed in their broth, some lemon or lime, and the za’atar spices (and garlic if you like) for some healthy, crunchy no-fat, no-oil, no-salt needed, no-acrylamides Garbanzo Nuts!

Crunchy-Yum Garbanzo Nuts

Crunchy-Yum Garbanzo Nuts

OR…Add za’atar to any soup as a topping, or mix in (sort of like Italians add pesto to soups). It changes ordinary soups into something special.

~ The limits are defined by your imagination ;^) ~

~ *** ~

For dinner guests, I utililzed sumac: For example, lentil, and green chips; leafy salad; soup; fava hoummus; some bean “flatbread”; cucumber mint salad; Rose spiked sumac-ade (aka “sumac lemonade”); and Figs in Spiced Syrup. For me? Well, a giant ETL salad is enough; but I also like  simple side dishes, such as prepared mushrooms or olives, etc. ;); But, you can make most any style of eating you or your family likes nutrient-dense or ETL-ish with just a little bit of effort.

Here are a few pics of some preparations:

One popular way to enjoy sumac is to make a refreshing “lemonade-ish” drink. I haven’t had the fortune to taste this with fresh berries, which is purported to be the best; however, the dried is also employed. I like it well enough 🙂 It doesn’t taste like anything else, but if I had to give a likening, I’d say it would remind you of Agua de Jamaica, (Jamaica flower tea), aka, “Habiscus” tea/drink, and would make a wonderful substitute or change. It is has the traits of unsweetened cranberry juice — tart but fruity. I’ve added it to my GJGS‘s… too.

(simply crush or pulse-grind the berries…

add water and       soak in water…


Strain…


… add sweetener, a few slices of lime, – ooh, a knob of ginger! —  and serve! Chunks of chopped fruit and you have a delicious ETL Sangria ;).

*Cucumber-Mint Salad with Orange

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Lentil Chips

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Za’atar spiced Olives with Lime and Mint

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No-grain “Flatbread”

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fig-dessert_my_fini (9)

Turkish Figs in Spiced “Syrup”

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fig-dessert_my_fini (18)

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This was a thoroughly ETL meal, simple, but with more than enough authenticity.

Make your nutrient-dense food GOOD. It can be done!

Pick up an inexpensive bag of sumac  and give it a try 🙂

Poxacuatl
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Sex and the Green Smoothie…

10_Juice_after_separator

I saw a blurb on tv — don’t know if it was a show, a newscast segment, or what — in passing; I did not hear the whole report (if there was one). I guess an expert, was extolling leafy greens as aphrodisiacal foods! I thought, “Hmmm… Just got me thinkin’…

Is there a connection?

Last time I felt overly amorous was when I took maca for sports performance, of all things. All I can say is this stuff works — for the libido AND the sport-enhancing properties. So it’s certainly not a stretch to believe there are certain foods with certain — um, abilities.

So, I got to thinking…What about pleasure foods/drugs in lieu of sex? Certainly not a new concept; I think it’s pretty well established:

Food as substitute for sex.

I then read that high fatty foods, and high sugar foods, coffee, alcohol, and cigarettes — notice, all of these are always described as “comfort” foods/activities, or occupational habits, all bringing some sort of pleasure — diminish, not only one’s physical health, but sexual health: “…These “pleasure drugs” can dampen sexual desire and leech beneficial nutrients vital to our sexual health..”

What to eat to add spice from MSNBC – funny how the usual fatty fare, like chocolates and rich dairy “foods” are exactly what you DON’T want for amour filled nights!

I wonder how many of these activities are engaged, one, in lieu of pleasure (unhappiness/unfullfilled in life, etc.); and, two, as a means of denial of pleasure. In other words, some use these “pleasure” activities (eating, drinking, smoking, etc.) to suppress (what should be) a real pleasure, such as sex because of negative associations (?) — many eating disorders have roots in abuse. Or,  these “habits” are employed in lieu of pleasure (true pleasure) in their lives.

Maybe stuffing oneself is like chomping on ice cubes 😀  Okay, not to belittle it… What I mean is perhaps overeating is/food “issues” are  a non-sexual response to a sexual issue — a suppressive, or a substitute. Indulgence is indulgence…gluttony is gluttony, regardless for what reason. I imagine extreme exercise, extreme denial of X, etc., are various forms of denial of something, substitute for something, or punishment even.

Food as punishment.

Normally, indulgence is seen as “comforting” oneself; I wonder how much is actually punishment. Or perhaps all of it is, with “comfort” being the guise.

Living in denial…Maybe some of the discomfort or un-comfortableness  of becoming more healthful (“detox” symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, etc.)  is from lack of dealing with sexual issues or, more generally, life pleasure/life dissatisfaction and issues related to those…In other words, a general fear is activated when one becomes uncomfy, and specific ones come barreling through too: Hard to deal with on any given day; probably moreso when there’s no sugar/cigs/booze around…

Food as distraction from fear of…?

I don’t know; maybe no one understands what I’m trying to get at here. Am I rambling nonsensically? (again 😀 )

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There is obviously a psychological boost, a self esteem enhancement from thinning and looking “good,” which usually increases one’s self image, which may express itself in more confidence and include sexual confidence; but, physically/organically/biologically, becoming thin (not overly) seems to also be associated with healthy libido, and being overweight is a killer of libido:

WebMD has info on how weight effects sex — surprise, lose weight, eat fruit and vegetables, and exercise are mentioned as positive toward sex issues! The more healthy you become, the more sexual health is gained…Are ETLers sex fiends??!! 🙂

green_juicie_GS_

So what do you think? Has your your sexual health/associations improved via healthful foods? Jacob seems to believe so!

Are greens the Nutritarian’s oysters? 😀 One thing’s for sure, my mantra has always been, and remains: EAT GREENS, Eat More Greens…then go eat some greens ;^)

Strix

*This post is actually a couple years old! Decided to post it because I’m slurpin’ my Green Juicie Green Smoothie  :). Got so many unposted drafts. Ack! I have so many, I don’t even need to write anything new for a while; I can just post all these oldies. They need editing, though, and, probably have lots of dead links…

Maybe I’ll get back to this blog…hmmm. Time, time — where does it go?!!

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