Archive for April, 2010

Nearly raw veggie wraps!

April 19, 2010

As I was thumbing through my favorite blogs today, I came across a fresh veggie wrap. I needed one. I mentally went through my inventory of all the ingredients in my fridge, pantry, nut section and garden, as I was not in the mood to make this complicated by going out to the store. So basically…it was delicious! The entire concept was built around two things: the need to make veggie wrap and papaya. For some reason, papaya became the main ingredient of the wrap. So I began with the sauce:

~smashed walnuts

~minced ginger

~orange rind and juice

~olive oil

~fennel

~honey

Mix it all together!

I had a pot of black beans already prepared and decided they should be in my wrap. Here is what the wrap consisted of:

~Chard for the wrap

~black beans

~papaya

~avocado

~cucumber

Wrap your wrap with fennel stems/leaves. Pour the sauce over it and Voila (r)!

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I heart herbs for so many, many reasons.

April 17, 2010

Just as flowers grow from the earth, so the remedy grows in the hands of the physician…the remedy is nothing but a seed which develops into that which it is destined to be.

~Paracelcus


I plan on having several posts on the many uses and benefits of herbs. Nothing beats fresh herbs (or veggies and fruit for that matter) straight from your own garden. Today, I will share the benefits of steaming your herbs for a bath and a facial steam. While I don’t know the science or specifics behind each herb, what I do know is that I notice the benefits and that’s good enough for me. The heat and volatile oils in the steam will help relax your mind, muscles and joints, increase circulation, open and cleanse your pores and nourish your skin.

Take inventory of your herbs and get creative. I gathered these suggested herbal steams (and then added additional herbs) from the book, ‘Herbal Healing”, by Rosemary Gladstar (of course that’s her name!).

The purpose of this bath is to relax your body and assist in alleviating pain in your muscles. For my bath I used:

~Eucalyptos

~fresh Ginger

~Chamomile

~Lavender

~Calendula

~Fennel

~Sage

~Rosemary

I prefer to pour boiling water over the herbs and let them steep for 5 minutes to ensure maximum usage before I pour it into my bath. It’s even better if you add a cup or two of Epson Salt. Amazing!

If you can find the time, it’s best if you can do an herbal facial steam, once each week (so far I am one for one!). A facial steam is your best bet (besides heading to an esthetician) for a deep pore cleanse, resulting in that ‘glow’.

For my facial steam I used:

~Lavender

~Rose petals

~Chamomile

~Rosemary

~Calendula

~Sage

I took a handful of the mixture and placed them in a large bowl with a generous splash of Witch Hazel. I boiled water,  poured it over the herbs and placed my head and bowl under a towel for 10 minutes. What a treat!

Loquat Chutney!

April 16, 2010

I swear this will be more than just a food blog. This is just where I am at right now! As I was taking photos for my water post, I noticed about 10 ripe loquats on our tree. The only thing I could think was…chutney! I picked every single last one of those loquats (there were literally 10 on the entire tree) and peeped my kitchen for some ingredients. I ALWAYS have ginger, garlic and onions on standby for such emergencies (and this was no different). You will find that I don’t measure anything but I will give it a shot for blogging purposes. Keep in mind, this was using 10 loquats (good enough for one dinner serving).

-minced ginger (thumb size)

-grated my left over grapefruit peel (it calls for orange, but that’s all I had!) (teaspoon)

-brown sugar (a handful)

-10 halved loquats

-raisins from a granola mix (that’s your preference)

-white vinegar (1/3 cup)

-a pinch of cayenne pepper, cumin and cinnamon

I threw it all in a pot and let it simmer (covered) for 30 minutes. The end result was quite tasty! Again, I would have liked to have made at least a jars worth, but in the end, it was a nice addition to our dinner and it gave our tree a little more self worth.


Drink water!

April 15, 2010

We all know we need to drink it. But are we really drinking enough? I know I don’t. If you divide your weight in half (using pounds), that is precisely how many ounces of water your body needs in order to regulate its temperature, provide the means for nutrients to travel to your organs and to rid your body of the toxins we humans, take in every day. Twenty percent of your water will need to come from the food you eat and the rest via beverage.

I love water, but sometimes I just can’t swallow the idea of drinking tons of flavorless water. It really depends on my mood. Solution…add tasty fruits, herbs or even veggies! I like to add some sort of citrus fruit, mint leaves and slices of cucumber. Today I didn’t have any cucumber so I added a second citrus just for fun.  Get creative!

Today, I chopped up some lime, grape fruit and fresh mint leaves! I like to fill up a pitcher each day (and hopefully refill it through out the day) so that the tasty water is ready for me or any guests who happen to stop by. Enjoy!

Yucca Izote!

April 15, 2010

This is absolutely my new favorite thing to eat (this week)! While riding through the streets of San Miguel, Guatemala, we noticed this peculiar stem of flowers. I had never seen one before. Either way, I wanted one! Not only is it a beautiful blossom, stemming from a Yucca tree…it’s edible! Our gardener, Pedro, tells us that his wife uses them in tamales, while other people will dice them up and use it with eggs. Whilst tapping into my creative side, I remembered a recipe that I like to use with zucchini blossoms and decided to experiment with this new creature and hope for the best. The result…AMAZING! You can try this recipe with any blossom, but today…it’s with Izote blossoms!

First, wash your blossoms!

Stuff the blossoms with goat cheese, honey and rosemary…YUM!

Dip your filled blossom into a bowl of stirred eggs and place into an oiled pan. Flip a few times until it looks damn good!

Serve it with a sprinkle of fresh rosemary and a bit more honey on top.

Voila!

DIY Wall Mounted Head Board!

April 13, 2010

That’s right! While strumming through an Ikea Catalog, I found a modern/urban looking head board that I loved. Two problems, the size and the price. The Ikea photo shows 2 headboards, so the total cost would have been around $350, including taxes and extra parts. Um…Yeah. I don’t have that kind of change laying around. So I decided to get creative and build my own. I went to one of my favorite stores, Home Depot, and purchased a deep walnut stain (I know, not the greenest purchase and I’m normally so good!), some slabs of cedar wood (they will do up to 12 cuts for free) and screws. The total cost was just under $75.00! Sweeet!

The most important part of this entire process was devising a plan, writing it down and taking measurements (always measure twice, cut once!).

Here is a before photo:

OK! First things first! Stain the wood and let it dry over night.

Next, gather all your pieces and map it out. It’s muy importante that you use a level so it’s um….level.

Do not drill the screws in all the way until everything is set. I drill about 2/3 in and then finish at the end. Nothing worse than screwing up your screws and trying to take them all out from scratch.

And the finished product! Not only is it 3 times the size of the Ikea headboard, it’s custom to fit around my window and leave room for my nightstand and lamp. I love it!

Nothing beats…homemade broth!

April 13, 2010
I have a feeling I may end up with entire category titled: Nothing beats…homemade _____! Drinking mineral-rich vegetable broth is one of the simplest and least expensive ways to improve your health. It is one of the best ways of bringing the pH into balance. Chicken and bone broth will be saved for a future post. This post will be about vegetable broth. It’s a nice way to get some needed vitamins and minerals in your system and many recipes will often call for a veggie broth. After I first made my own broth, I just could not find the heart to purchase broth in a box ever again, whether organic or not.
I have never made the same broth twice, but love ones I have made. For me, making my own broth became a bit of life savor because I always seem to buy more than I can swallow and often end up throwing away veggies. It’s painful! Here is what you do:
Take all of your washed, wilting and limp vegetables and cut them into large chunks.  This includes the skins and stems. (I have even added potato and carrot skins from another meal)
-Chop up some garlic, onions and even ginger if you like.
-Add dry or fresh herbs or both!
-Add some salt, pepper and a little oil (any kind, I prefer olive oil).
-Place all of this in a large pot, add enough water to cover and simmer for at least an hour and strain at the end.
Voila!
Before:
During:
After:

Hibiscus in a glass!

April 13, 2010

I absolutely LOVE to cook. To me, there is nothing more satisfying than cooking a new recipe and having it turn out much better than expected (well, I’m sure there are a few things more satisfying, but you get the drift). I also LOVE to explore herbs, spices and their medicinal properties. My herb/flower this week is Hibiscus, which I have turned into a delightful juice or tea. There are some amazing health benefits to the flower so I thought I would share.

Hibiscus tea provides a healthy dose of cancer fighting antioxidants and immunity boosters. In addition to being rich in vitamin C, controlling blood pressure, boosting the immune system, and guarding against cellular damage, hibiscus tea may also reduce cholesterol by dilating blood vessels. Plus, hibiscus tea contains an enzyme inhibitor that impedes the production of amylase, which is an enzyme that breaks down sugar and starches. That means drinking a cup of hibiscus tea after eating may reduce the absorption of carbohydrates and thus, promote weight loss. It has also been suggested that hibiscus tea can prevent bladder infections and constipation. In all, hibiscus tea is an excellent beverage choice that is believed to improve many areas of health.

The preparation of tasty Hibiscus Juice/Tea (measurements are never exact):

Most health food stores carry it in bulk, I feel really lucky that here in Antigua I can purchase it very cheaply at the local market.

Take one cup (more or less) of dried Hibiscus blossoms and place in a large pot of water. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 10-15 minutes. The water will be a rich in the color red. Strain the water and place in the fridge to cool.

Pour into a nice glass filled with ice, add Mint or Yerba Buena leaves, lime and there you have it. Some people like to add sugar, but I prefer to taste my herbs in all it’s glory.

travel.eat.craft.

April 12, 2010

It’s what I do. People have been telling me for a while that I should start a blog. So here I am. I hope I don’t disappoint. A quick recap/up-to-speed of what is happening with me:

I moved to Guatemala for 4 reasons:
1. Learn Spanish.
2. Continue my doula services and be an apprentice to a Midwife.

3. Learn to cook loads of new dishes.
4. Take photos…lot’s of photos.

At home, the former home, in Oakland/San Francisco, I became a craftinista. Now that I am in my second Guatemalan home, I hope to pick that up again. Here is a photo of the town I live in.