Sunday, June 30, 2019

BBQ Pineapple Pizza

This is our all time favorite pizza recipe from Chef Chloe Coscarelli's cookbook, Chloe's Kitchen. We own all of her cookbooks, but we seem to always go back to this recipe the most!  

If you're pizza freaks like we are (and who isn't?!), we also recommend Chloe's amazing Grilled Pesto Pizza with Sweet Potatoes, Kale, and Balsamic Reduction on page 98 of the same cookbook, as well as her Garlic and Artichoke Pizza in Chloe's Vegan Italian Cookbook.

Now on to the recipe:

1 14-ounce package extra-firm tofu, drained
2 cups barbecue sauce* (purchased or prepared. We use Chloe's recipe.)
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing
2 large onions, sliced (We prefer sweet white onions)
Sea Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup diced pineapple
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (Optional. We do not use!)
1 to 1 1/2 pounds pizza dough. (We use two packages of pizza dough from the Publix deli. We also just discovered Trader Joe's pre-made pizza crusts, which comes 2 to a package).

*Make your barbecue sauce ahead of time to save on time.

1. Press the tofu between two towels or paper towels using a heavy frying pan (or something similar) to remove excess moisture, and cut into cubes and toss with 1 cup barbecue sauce. Bake for 45 minutes at 325 degrees, turning a couple of times throughout. Remove and turn up oven to 450 degrees.

2. Meanwhile, sauté onions in the olive oil until tender and caramelized, about 20 to 30 min. Season generously with salt and black pepper and set aside.

3. Coat the border of the crust with a mixture of olive oil and garlic powder and spoon the remaining 1 cup of barbecue sauce onto the pizza crusts and spread, leaving a border along the sides. You may not want to use all the sauce, just enough to coat the dough.
4. Layer the tofu, caramelized onions, pineapple and cilantro.

5. Bake for about 15 to 20 min, until the crust is slightly browned or golden.

*BARBECUE SAUCE (Makes about 3 cups)

2 cups ketchup (We prefer Publix Greenwise or Trader Joe's)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup maple syrup (again, we use Trader Joe's) or packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and carefully bring to a boil. reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes. Stir frequently and take care to not allow it to stick to the bottom of your pan and burn.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

It's Hot Out, Drink Up!


Did you know that water makes up two-thirds of our bodies?   Water is the major component of every kind of tissue we have from blood to bone and everything in between.  We need to be hydrated at all times or else our bodies do not function properly.  Around three-fourths of our water is in inside the walls of our 70-plus trillion cells.  Water is involved in every system and every event in our bodies.  Nothing happens without it.  Inside our cells is where salts, electrolytes and water combine to create the electrical energy that fires up our mitochondria, the power plants of our cells.  Water controls our body's temperature,  responsible for removing waste matter produced in our cells past the cell membranes to be filtered and removed by our liver and kidneys, it keeps our joints cushioned in the form of Synovial fluid.  Water operates our immune system, transporting white blood cells from our bone marrow to our tissues to fight off disease. The lymphatic fluid carries toxic substances and carcinogens to the lymph nodes where they can be destroyed.  Our brains and nervous systems are nearly 85-90% water!  All "electrical" events that happen there need water to work.

We need to stay hydrated!

As much as we need water, we are constantly losing it.  Through normal bodily functions like sweating, urine, tears, saliva and even breathing we lose about three quarts of it per day.  And we don't store it, so we need to replenish it constantly. 

How much do we need?

A good rule of thumb is 1 ounce per 2 pounds of body weight.  The most important thing is to drink more than our thirst seems to require.  The more we drink, the more our bodies will use and the more we will crave it.  After your first pee of the day your urine should be clear or pale yellow.  It will be darker the first pee because your body is removing the waste from detoxing the night before.  If it is darker during the day, you are not hydrated enough!  Most important is you need to be drinking water, not sodas or even store bought flavored waters( which are usually high in sugars and artificial colors).  Drink filtered water or for something different try filtered water with a tea bag of green tea, No sugar, your taste buds will grow accustomed to and even crave it in a very short time.  Green tea is very high in antioxidants, which helped in cell hydration.  We like to use any type of tea that has Hibiscus flowers in its blend.  Hibiscus tea has been shown to contain an even higher concentration of antioxidants.  Celestial Seasonings  brand can be found most everywhere and there "Zinger" flavors have Hibiscus in them. One tea bag can be used over the course of the day. 

Because I work outside and its usually hot and humid, I try to consume 1 gallon of distilled water with 1/2 teaspoon of  Pink Himalayan Salt daily. I feel amazing and hydrated.  For more information on that, here is an excellent article by Darin Olien on the benefits of Pink Himalayan Salt.   And another one from Natural News.  

By drinking good clean water all day long, you will be amazed at how great you will feel!


Have a great week.
Be kind.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

More Tacos Please!

More Tacos Please!

 I don't believe I've met anyone who doesn't like tacos.  I could eat tacos everyday being there are so many variations of ingredients that are available.  
According to research the origin of tacos dates back to the 18th century in Mexico.  The word "taco" referred to little pieces of paper wrapped around gunpowder to be used as an explosive device placed into the walls of silver mines.  Miners would use them to excavate the ore from the rock walls.  Basically they are named after a stick of dynamite!  You can imagine the corn tortilla like a piece of paper wrapped around some goodies. One of the first ones were known as "tacos de minero"  miners tacos.  When the lure of industry in Mexico City, migrant workers began using them for inexpensive breakfasts and lunches.  With different cultures from around the world, especially Lebanese workers, they began to fill there corn tortillas with spit-cooked pork.  By the early 1900's with the influx of Mexican migrant workers (working railroad construction and mining) tacos and tortillas made their way to the US.  By 1920, the migrant workers began to advance economically while still eating traditional Mexican fare, but then began to use more beef, lettuces and cheeses.   In 1954, Glen Bell created Bell's Drive In and Taco Tia in San Bernardino, California.  By 1962 he opened his first Taco Bell in Downey, California serving Tay-Kohs.  And so began our love for tacos.

For the plant-based eaters there are many recipes and variations of excellent tacos.

Here are some of my favorites:

First start with an exceptional organic non-GMO shell like

Don't forget Breakfast Tacos

Check out the Happy Pear video 5 Minute Vegan Tacos

Just use your imagination.  There is no right or wrong way to make tacos.

Image result for vegan tacos

Have a great week. 
Be kind.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

The Power of Kombucha

The Power of Kombucha

Related image

Image result for kombucha

Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage with great health benefits for your heart, brain and especially your gut.  Due to the fermenting process in making kombucha, it contains a large amount of living healthy bacteria known as probiotics.  These bacteria line your digestive tract and support your immune system as they absorb nutrients and fight infection and illness.  Originating in the Far East over 2000 years ago, it is known as the "Immortal Health Elixir".  Since 80% of our immune system is located in our gut and the digestive system is the second largest part of our neurological system, it is no surprise that the gut is considered the "second brain"  Just a "gut feeling"?  Regularly drinking Kombucha is a great addition to maintaining peak immune health in addition to eating a whole foods based diet.

While we lack certainty, an impressive body of studies do suggest that kombucha tea could have antimicrobial, energizing, and detoxification effects. And it may even help prevent disease, including cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
For example:
  • Kombucha could potentially help prevent a broad range of diseases. A 2014 review of animal studies published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that kombucha tea contains properties that could help prevent many diseases, particularly “broad-spectrum metabolic and infective disorders.” They concluded that it may be able to help with detoxificationantioxidation, and healthy immune function.
  • Kombucha could slow or kill harmful microorganisms. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Food Chemistry reported that kombucha made from both black and green tea had antimicrobial potential. Researchers also found that the green fermented tea had the most antimicrobial potential. Other studies have shown that kombucha could kill bacteria that commonly cause food poisoning.
  • Kombucha may have cancer-fighting power. A 2013 study published in Biomedicine & Preventive Nutrition showed that kombucha had remarkable potential to inhibit angiogenesis. (Angiogenesis is the process by which cancers lock in a steady supply of blood and become dangerous.)
  • Kombucha may help protect the liver. A 2009 study on some very unfortunate rats publishedin the Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology revealed that kombucha tea was effective in improving liver function and lowering the side effects of toxins.
  • Kombucha may reduce heart disease risk. In other studies also done on rats, kombucha improved two markers of heart disease in as few as 30 days. A 2015 study published in Pharmaceutical Biology found that kombucha lowered “bad” LDL. It also led to higher levels of “good” HDL cholesterol.
  • Kombucha may help manage diabetes. A 2012 study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine on diabetic rats found that kombucha slowed down the digestion of carbohydratesreducing blood sugar levels. Kombucha also improved liver and kidney function.
  • Kombucha is a rich source of probiotics. Kombucha is a fermented food and carries a large number of probiotic bacteria that may be beneficial to your digestive health. A 2014 study published in Food Microbiology identified a prominent Lactobacillus population and numerous beneficial yeast species that were abundant in kombucha.
You can purchase Kombucha at just about any grocery store.  You can also make it yourself very easily in about a two-three week period.

From: Cultures For Health

  1. Purchase a bottle of raw, unflavored kombucha.
OPTIONAL STEP: Make 1 cup of black or green tea.  While the water is hot, add 1-2 tablespoons white sugar. Mix until the sugar is thoroughly dissolved, then cool completely to room temperature.  While this step is not critical to the process, adding a cup of sweet tea to the bottle of ready-made kombucha gives the yeast and bacteria additional food to consume during the process of growing a new culture.  Learn more about choosing the best ingredients for making kombucha tea.
  1. Pour the raw kombucha and the cooled tea into a glass jar.
  2. Cover the jar with a tight-weave dish towel or a paper coffee filter. Secure the covering with a tight rubber band.
  3. Ferment the tea in a warm spot, 68-85ºF, out of direct sunlight, for about 7 days.  
  4. After a week, it is common to see a baby SCOBY developing across the surface of the liquid. A new SCOBY starts off as a clear film or blob and then slowly become less translucent, more white, and thicker as time goes on. If no signs of SCOBY development appear after 3 weeks, discard the batch and start over. We recommend waiting until the SCOBY is at least ¼-inch thick before using it to brew the first batch of kombucha tea. Reaching that thickness may take up to 30 days.
  5. Retain the kombucha tea and the new SCOBY for making your first batch of kombucha and then follow our instructions on kombucha tea at home.


You will need a large 2 quart glass jar, never use metal or plastic.
Bring 8 cups of filtered water to a boil.
Steep 3-4 tea bags of unflavored black(preferable), green or white tea for appr 10 minutes.
Add 1/2 cup sugar, for the scoby to consume as food.
Let cool to body temperature, add your scoby and 1 cup kombucha from scoby farm.
Cover jar with a coffee filter or paper towel and secure with a rubber band to keep flies, etc out while brewing.
Place tea in a warm, dark place.


Your scoby will now go to work turning that sweet tea into Kombucha.  The process can take 5-30 days depending on the temperature and other factors.  After a few days you should notice a new "baby" scoby forming.  A few more days later you may notice a faint vinegar smell, signaling that your brew is fermenting.  After a couple of weeks you can sample with straw or wooden spoon, but remember to be patient, good things are happening in there.


When you are satisfied with the flavor, you can now transfer the "booch" to sanitized smaller individual bottles with caps to enhance the fizz.  With clean hands, carefully remove your scoby and 1 -1/2 cup kombucha to original scoby container.  Cover with cloth and your ready for your next batch.  This where you can have the option of flavoring your booch.  Just add 20% of your favorite flavored organic juice.  Set your sealed, filled bottles out at room temp for a few days to promote carbonation and flavor.  You can leave them for a few days or week, then refrigerate them and enjoy!

Kombucha can also be used as a base for salad dressings and sauces.

For more information on Gut Health see my series here: Gut Health: Part 1

Have a great week.
Be kind.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Recommended Reading 06/01/19

I recently finished reading a book by New York Times bestselling author Bill McKibben, who founded, the first global citizens movement to combat climate change. The book: "Falter" is the latest of his writings, his call to arms to save our faltering planet and possibly humankind,  While it may seem depressing of what we have done to our beautiful planet, it gives hope that we can at least slow down the destruction process and still have hope for a great future.  There is no "Planet b", we must change the way we are headed.
"We're the only creature who can decide not to do something we're capable of doing.  That's are superpower, even if we exercise it so rarely.  Because we can destroy, but also because we can decide not to destroy.
This is a must read.

This month, the post will be all about Climate Emergency.   Recommended articles, podcasts, etc. pertaining to our environment, food production and how are choices are either helping or hurting our lives and our planet.

It is hard for me to comprehend that there are those who don't believe in "climate change".  Most of those who don't are either burying their heads in the sand or get misguided information from those like: The Top 10 Climate Deniers.  Here are "12 Excuses for Climate Inaction and How to Refute Them".  
The easiest way to help in combating climate change is moving to a plant-based diet.  Change Your Diet to Combat Climate Change in 2019.   Animal agriculture is not a sustainable industry and is the second largest contributor to greenhouse emissions.  Industrial animal agriculture is at the heart of our environmental crisis.  5 Ways to Eating More Plant-Based Foods  Benefits The Environment .  To feed the ever increasing population we must first change the way we farm our lands.  Without efforts to rebuild soil health, we could lose our ability to grow enough nutritious food to feed the planet's population.

I understand that this some disheartening information to read about.  What is our other options?  We have the power to change the way we live our lives.  We are capable of doing great things together.  The human project has long been a group effort.

Have a great week.
Be kind.