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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Quest for a Vegetarian Sloppy Joe

I have been on a quest for sometime to make the perfect vegetarian sloppy joe.  I think this is the best recipe so far.

4 Amy'sVeggie Patties
red and yellow bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup of vegan barbecue sauce
1 Tsp of ketchup
1 tsp of Louisiana Hot sauce
1/2 tsp of brown sugar
1/2 tsp olive oil

Defrost veggie patties in microwave and the crumble until it resembles ground meat, set aside. Saute bell peppers in olive oil until soft, add veggie crumbles and heat through, in a bowl add barbecue sauce, ketchup, hot sauce and brown sugar whisk together and pour over the veggie crumbles and stir continue cooking until the mixture simmers.  Pile of a bun or fresh Kaiser roll with your favorite cheese.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The livestock sector is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, while all the cars, lorries, ships and planes added together do not account for more than 13% of greenhouse gas emissions.

It's so easy to commit to one day a week without meat, not only will it be beneficial to the environment, but it can have a positive impact on your health as well.  If you are a die hard meat lover, try using a meat substitute like Morning Star Crumbles, they work great with tacos, chili, or spaghetti sauce.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Lemon Rice

  • equal parts rice and water
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon of rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon vegan butter
you can boil this or steam it, juice both lemons (reserve 2 slices for garnish) add the juice to rice and water, next add the garlic, bay leaves, rosemary and butter, cook rice per instructions and serve hot

Sweet Potato Curry

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

½ yellow onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

2 tablespoons of green curry paste

1 can of coconut milk

¼ teaspoon of ginger paste (you can use fresh if you like)

½ teaspoon of rubbed red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon of coconut oil

in a wok or stir fry pan Heat coconut oil and sauté onion and garlic until onion is transparent,

add pre-boiled cubed sweet potatoes, curry paste, coconut  milk , red pepper flakes and ginger paste, heat to a boil and then let simmer for 10 minutes, serve over jasmine rice

The First Thanksgiving

The only written eyewitness account of the first Thanksgiving dinner was a letter written by colonist Edward Winslow to his friend in England in late 1621. History scholars have scoured this correspondence to try to accurately forge an account of the true Thanksgiving meal. The vision of the feast this letter and history form is far from how it is traditionally replicated in modern America.

Foods That Were Not Served at the First Thanksgiving

  • Turkey - Turkey was often eaten by both the Wampanoag and the Pilgrims but is not specifically mentioned in Winslows’ letter. The account mentions “wild fowl” only and could have referred to duck or geese instead of wild turkey.
  • Popcorn - There was no popcorn, corn was prevalent but was not popped.
  • Cranberry Sauce - Fifty years after 1621 there is mention of a cranberry sauce for use with meat in English recipes. Prior to this time sugar, a necessary ingredient in cranberry sauce was an incredibly expensive import. Both the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag would add whole cranberries as an ingredient to add tartness, however cranberry sauce itself would not appear until the 1670’s.
  • Potatoes - White potatoes were virtually unknown in England at the time of the Thanksgiving feast, they were only raised by specialized botanists at the time and were not a part of the English diet. Sweet potatoes were, in the early 1600’s, imported into England from Spain and were used only by the ultra wealthy for their purported aphrodisiac properties.
  • Pumpkin Pie - There were no readily available ingredients for the crust of a pumpkin pie at the time. Pumpkin and squash were included in the feast but served as vegetables only. After 1621, pumpkin dessert recipes included pumpkin pieces sliced similar to apples only.
  • Apples - Apples were not present in 1621 in Plymouth.

Foods Included in the Original Thanksgiving Feast

In addition to the wild fowl, pumpkin and squash mentioned above, the following foods were certainly abundant and most likely were included in the “harvest” celebration:
  • Fish
  • Lobsters
  • Eel
  • Mussels
  • Oysters
  • Corn
  • Parsnips
  • Collards
  • Turnips
  • Spinach
  • Onions
  • Dried Beans
  • Dried Blueberries
  • Grapes
  • Nuts

1621 Thanksgiving Meal Details

  • The celebration lasted for three days, not one, and consisted of intermittent feasting and entertainment (games and shooting of muskets).
  • It was most likely held in October, not November.
  • There is no evidence that the Indians (Wampanoag) were explicitly invited.
  • It was not called “Thanksgiving”. It was a “harvest festival”.
  • It did not become an annual event.
“by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.” - Edward Winslow – December, 11, 1621

Read more at Suite101: The Original Thanksgiving Day: The Surprising First Thanksgiving Menu- No Turkey, No Pumpkin Pie?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cleansing Tea

mix green tea leaves, dandelion root and peppermint root

  • peppermint aids in digestion
  • dandelion cleanses the liver and kidneys
  • green tea is used to treat everything from headaches to depression

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Dinner- Green beans and Cranberries

This is a great recipe from the PETA website:
1/2 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut on the diagonal
2 Tbsp. margarine
1 cup cranberries
1 clove garlic, minced and pressed
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh tarragon, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

• Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the beans and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
• Drain the beans in a colander and hold under cold running water to stop the cooking process. Blot the beans with a paper towel to remove the excess water.
• Put the beans into a dry skillet and heat over medium heat until the remaining moisture on the beans evaporates. Stir in the margarine, cranberries, garlic, parsley, tarragon, salt, and pepper, tossing to coat well.
• Cook until heated through.

Vegetarian Thanksgiving -Apples and Sweet Potatoes

·         4-5 sweet potatoes, sliced or chopped
·         2 apples, chopped
·         1/4 cup maple syrup
·         2 tbsp brown sugar
·         2 tbsp margarine, melted (earth balance, for vegans)
·         1/4 tsp cinnamon
·         1/4 tsp nutmeg
·         salt and pepper to taste
Place apples and sweet potatoes in a crock pot or slow cooker.
Sprinkle remaining ingredients on top of the potatoes and apples.
Cook on low for 4 to 5 hours. Add more salt and pepper to taste.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Vegan Potato Soup

about 1 pound of potatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil  
2 chopped onions
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 vegetable bouillon cubes
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves
4 cups of water
cheddar soy cheese, shredded
dollop of Tofutti’s vegan sour cream

In a large stock pot, saute the onion with  sea salt until the onion turns slightly translucent
Add the garlic and stir well with the onions. Saute for another minute
Add the potatoes and saute for about a minute or two
Add the water and bouillon cubes
Cover and bring the soup to a brisk boil
Reduce heat to a simmer
Simmer the soup for about 20 minutes
Turn off the heat and use an immersion or hand held stick blender to puree the soup in the pot. You can also pour the soup into a blender and puree the soup one cup at a time.
Add the fresh rosemary leaves while blending and blend until smooth making sure that all of the chunks are pureed out.
Once the soup is pureed and smooth, return to the soup pot to reheat.
Top with cheese and sour cream

Alicia Silverstone's Recipes: See What She Eats to Stay Healthy, Energetic and Happy

my husband and I are currently reading this
it has wonderful information ,as well as, great recipes
Alicia Silverstone's Recipes: See What She Eats to Stay Healthy, Energetic and Happy

Friday, November 19, 2010

I'm not crazy about casseroles but...

  • 2 cups of plain soy milk
  • 1 8 oz tub of cream cheese (you can use vegan if you like)eat
  • 1 can of rotel tomatoes
  • 1 can of sliced mushrooms, drained
  • 2 cloves of garlic, mashed into a paste
  • Pasta of your choice, I used rotini
  • grated cheese for the top
  • cracked black pepper to taste
cook pasta according to directions
heat soy milk on medium temp, add cream cheese and garlic paste and stir until the cheese melts.
once cheese is melted and milk and cheese are combined then add tomatoes, mushrooms, and pepper
pour mixture over pasta and top with shredded cheese, bake at 350 for 20 minutes

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Dinner-Cranberry Sauce

  • 1½ c sugar
  • 1½ c water or water/orange juice mixed
  • 1 t grated or minced orange zest
  • 4 c fresh cranberries

Mix sugar, liquid, and zest in the saucepan and boil for 5 minutes.
Add cranberries, lower heat, and simmer until the berries are tender and the skins have popped, 10 minutes or so.
Transfer to a bowl and chill until the sauce is like jelly.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Meatless Burgers

One of our favorite meals is soy burgers and sweet potato fries.  We recently decided to do a comparison of three different meatless burgers we have found.

Nutrition Information: 130 calories, 0 saturated fat,
0 trans fat, 390mg sodium, 12g carbs

Nutritional Information:  170 Calories, 1g saturated fat,
0 trans fat, 360mg sodium, 4g carbs

Nutritional Information:  120 calories, 1.5 saturated fat,
0 trans fat, 380mg sodium, 6g carbs

  • Overall we like the taste and texture of the Boca and Morning Star best. 
  • Morning Star has the best texture for grilling
  • None of the brands held up well in the microwave, not recommended, grill or grill pan work best.
  •  Amy's has the best nutritional value.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Dinner



  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus 1 teaspoon room temperature for pan
  • 4 3/4 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 1 cup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup whole milk, room temperature


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Grease a 6-cup popover pan with the 1 teaspoon of butter.
Place all of the ingredients into a food processor or blender and process for 30 seconds. Divide the batter evenly between the cups of the popover pan, each should be about 1/3 to 1/2 full. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 40 minutes. Remove the popovers to a cooling rack and pierce each in the top with a knife to allow steam to escape. Serve warm.

Store bought Roux and Voodoo Seasoning

 this is my favorite roux

Voodoo Seasoning

Vegetarian gumbo
Pre-made Roux (don’t ask me how to make it, I either don’t get it dark enough or I burn it)
2 generous Tsp of Voodoo Seasoning (dried herbs like oregano and thyme and some other good stuff)
the holy trinity
¨       2 onions
¨       Red, yellow and green bell pepper, diced
¨       4 stalks of celery
6 cups of vegetable broth
1 can of stewed tomatoes
3-5 shakes of Louisiana Hot Sauce
3 cloves of garlic
1 ½ cups of chopped okra (I like frozen)
Salt and pepper to taste
About a tsp of file powder

In a large stock pot
follow the directions for the roux
sauté the holy trinity in some olive oil, veggies should still be firm
add vegetable broth to the roux then the trinity, hot sauce, garlic, tomatoes, okra,
voodoo seasoning and salt and pepper
 bring ingredients up to a boil and let it simmer about an hour or all day so the house smells good
spoon over cooked rice and add file powder to thicken

Comfort Food-Improvised Sandwich Press

sometimes you just need a good old fashioned
grilled cheese sandwich
sushi plate and Buddha statue makes
a great sandwich press
homemade sour dough and Amish American cheese

*try using 1 part butter to 2 parts olive oil for cooking
can be modified for Vegans using a whole grain bread,
vegan butter and soy or rice cheese

desserts-Cake Balls

  • 1 package cake mix
  • 1 container prepared frosting
  • Chocolate or white Almond bark for coating
Prepare the cake mix according to package directions using any of the recommended pan sizes. When cake is done, crumble while warm into a large bowl, and stir in the frosting until well blended.
Melt chocolate coating in a glass bowl in the microwave, or in a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth.
Use a melon baller or small scoop to form balls of the chocolate cake mixture. Dip the balls in chocolate using a toothpick or fork to hold them. Place on waxed paper to set.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Dinner

Pumpkin Soup
4 cups cooked pumpkin
1/4 cup butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups vegetarian soup stock

Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Gently add the onion, salt and pepper and cook over medium heat until the onion is soft and browned. This will take around 30 minutes. Add the cooked pumpkin, then gently stir in the vegetable stock. Bring to a rolling boil, then lower the heat and simmer covered for 45 minutes. To thicken the soup, simmer uncovered for ten minutes and allow to stand before serving.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Mindful Eating

We are all so busy in the world today.  It makes the practice of mindfulness very difficult, this is especially true in my life right now, in fact I decided to post this while I ate my dinner (peanut butter sandwich) last night from a napkin, as I stood over the sink in the kitchen.  I was the only one home and it seemed silly to mess up a dish, or even sit down and enjoy my food, I simply inhaled it and went back to the paper I was working on.  This attitude has contributed to the rampant obesity we have come to accept in this country.  Like in meditation, we must sit and develop awareness regarding our bodies and it's basic need for nourishment in our daily lives.  Here is a wonderful description by Thich Nhat Hanh.

Mindful Eating

Mindful eating is very pleasant. We sit beautifully. We are aware of the people that are sitting around us. We are aware of the food on our plates. This is a deep practice. Each morsel of food is an ambassador from the cosmos. When we pick up a piece of a vegetable, we look at it for half a second. We look mindfully to really recognize the piece of food, the piece of carrot or string bean. We should know that this is a piece of carrot or a string bean. We identify it with our mindfulness: "I know this is a piece of carrot. This is a piece of string bean." It only takes a fraction of a second.
When we are mindful, we recognize what we are picking up. When we put it into our mouth, we know what we are putting into our mouth. When we chew it, we know what we are chewing. It's very simple.
Some of us, while looking at a piece of carrot, can see the whole cosmos in it, can see the sunshine in it, can see the earth in it. It has come from the whole cosmos for our nourishment.
You may like to smile to it before you put it in your mouth. When you chew it, you are aware that you are chewing a piece of carrot. Don't put anything else into your mouth, like your projects, your worries, your fear, just put the carrot in.
And when you chew, chew only the carrot, not your projects or your ideas. You are capable of living in the present moment, in the here and the now. It is simple, but you need some training to just enjoy the piece of carrot. This is a miracle.
I often teach "orange meditation" to my students. We spend time sitting together, each enjoying an orange. Placing the orange on the palm of our hand, we look at it while breathing in and out, so that the orange becomes a reality. If we are not here, totally present, the orange isn't here either.
There are some people who eat an orange but don't really eat it. They eat their sorrow, fear, anger, past, and future. They are not really present, with body and mind united.
When you practice mindful breathing, you become truly present. If you are here, life is also here. The orange is the ambassador of life. When you look at the orange, you discover that it is nothing less than fruit growing, turning yellow, becoming orange, the acid becoming sugar. The orange tree took time to create this masterpiece.
When you are truly here, contemplating the orange, breathing and smiling, the orange becomes a miracle. It is enough to bring you a lot of happiness. You peel the orange, smell it, take a section, and put it in your mouth mindfully, fully aware of the juice on your tongue. This is eating an orange in mindfulness. It makes the miracle of life possible. It makes joy possible.

from the website:

Thich Nhat Hanh was born Nguyễn Xuân Bảo in Thừa Thiên (Central Vietnam) in 1926. At the age of 16 he entered the monastery at Từ Hiếu Temple near Huế, Vietnam, where his primary teacher was Dhyana (meditation Zen) Master Thanh Quý Chân Thật .A graduate of Bao Quoc Buddhist Academy in Central Vietnam, Thich Nhat Hanh received training in Zen and the Mahayana school of Buddhism and was ordained as a monk in 1949.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Veterans Day

In honor of Veterans Day, I wanted to present a little information on food in the military.  It has come a long way since the days of the Civil War. 

The Armed Forces Recipe Service is a compendium of high-volume foodservice recipes written and updated regularly by the United States Department of Defense Natick Laboratories, and used not only by military cooks but by institutional and catering operations. It originated in 1969 as a consolidation of the cooking manuals of the four main services, and is based on previous military publications dating back to the first standardization efforts in the US Army in 1896. Recipes are based primarily on American cookery, though with the addition of specialized items such as vegetarian, kosher, and halal recipes to meet more specialized needs of those being served. The Service database is now distributed by the Joint Culinary Center of Excellence, a division of the US Army Quartermaster School based in Fort Lee, Virginia.
Each recipe card has a standardized format; each recipe is calibrated to feed 100 people, with a basic nutritional analysis across the top of the card. Traditionally available primarily in print format, the AFRS database is also available electronically. 

Here is a military vegetarian recipe!

Cabbage and Tofu Dumpling Soup

1/4 pound firm tofu
4 tablespoons water
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 medium head cabbage
1 tablespoon corn oil
8 cups boiling water
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Chopped scallions

Dumplings: Blend tofu with water until smooth.

Sift dry ingredients. Stir in tofu mixture. Knead for 1 minute, form into 1/2-inch balls and set aside.

Soup: Mince core of cabbage and shred leaves finely. Heat oil in soup pot. Add cabbage and sauté over medium heat until golden.

Add water and bay leaf; return to a boil.

Add dumplings, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. The dumplings should be floating on the top at this point. Remove bay leaf.

Dilute soy sauce in a bit of the broth, then add to the soup. Simmer for another 5 minutes. Serve garnished with scallions.

Servings: 6

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

For the Holidays

Eggnog Daquiris
equal parts store bought eggnog and ice
2-4 shots of a premium vodka
1/3 cup of condensed milk
blend until smooth

Vegetarian Thanksgiving

Crudités is a French term that refers to "raw vegetables," so a platter of crudités typically consists of one or more types of raw vegetables served with one or more dips. These are great for parties and can be served as an appetizer or in place of a salad. The sky is the limit, use what you like best.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Vegetarian Thanksgiving

Simple Vegetarian Dressing
1 Package of premade stuffing cubes
1 container of organic vegetable broth
1/2 cup of sliced onions, chopped
1/2 of a small white onion
2 large stalks of celery, chopped
1 can of organic mushrooms
1 can of organic water chestnuts, drained
1/3 tsp of dried tyme
1/3 tsp of dried sage
cracked black pepper to taste
sea salt to taste, but remember the broth as a lot of sodium so taste befor you add

saute veggies in a tsp of vegan butter until soft, add 1 cup of vegetable broth and let simmer
in a large mixing bowl add your stuffing cubes, sage and tyme
pour the sauted veggies and hot broth over the cubes to hydrate
stir and contiue to add the rest of the cold broth to the mixture until it is soft and wet
Spoon in a metal baking dish and spread evenly
bake until the liquid is absorbed totally and the top is brown

Fall Comfort Foods

Gingerbread Cupcake Recipe

1 1/4 cups of flour
1 1/2 tsp of ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp of sea salt
4 Tsp of vegan butter
1/ cup of sugar
1/2 cup of pure maple syrup
1/4 cup of cinnamon flavored applesauce
1 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
sift together flour, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and sea salt
in a different bowl cream butter, and sugar together and beat until fluffy
beat in syrup and apple sauce until smooth
dissolve baking soda in a cup of hot water, stir until the mixture seems curdled
stir into mixture and then add to the flour mixture
combine ingredients well, fill cupcake liners 1/2 full and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees
cool and frost

*I used a store bought cream cheese frosting.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Easy Pizza

brush with olive oil and sprinkle on Italian seasonings
Bake at 450, for 10 minutes or until crisp

for sauce use all natural Bruschetta
it's perfect for pizza
saute some veggies in 1tsp vegan butter and 1tsp of olive oil
top crust with bruschetta, veggies and your choice of cheese,
 bake until cheese melts
slice and eat

Thursday, November 4, 2010

What the Buddha Said About Eating Meat

Ajahn Brahmavamso

Since the very beginning of Buddhism over 2500 years ago, Buddhist monks and nuns have depended on almsfood. They were, and still are, prohibited from growing their own food, storing their own provisions or cooking their own meals. Instead, every morning they would make their day's meal out of whatever was freely given to them by lay supporters. Whether it was rich food or coarse food, delicious or awful tasting it was to be accepted with gratitude and eaten regarding it as medicine. The Buddha laid down several rules forbidding monks from asking for the food that they liked. As a result, they would receive just the sort of meals that ordinary people ate - and that was often meat.
Once, a rich and influential general by the name of Siha (meaning 'Lion') went to visit the Buddha. Siha had been a famous lay supporter of the Jain monks but he was so impressed and inspired by the Teachings he heard from the Buddha that he took refuge in the Triple Gem (i.e. he became a Buddhist). General Siha then invited the Buddha, together with the large number of monks accompanying Him, to a meal at his house in the city the following morning. In preparation for the meal, Siha told one of his servants to buy some meat from the market for the feast. When the Jain monks heard of their erstwhile patron's conversion to Buddhism and the meal that he was preparing for the Buddha and the monks, they were somewhat peeved:
"Now at the time many Niganthas (Jain monks), waving their arms, were moaning from carriage road to carriage road, from cross road to cross road in the city: 'Today a fat beast, killed by Siha the general, is made into a meal for the recluse Gotama (the Buddha), the recluse Gotama makes use of this meat knowing that it was killed on purpose for him, that the deed was done for his sake'..." [1].
Siha was making the ethical distinction between buying meat already prepared for sale and ordering a certain animal to be killed, a distinction which is not obvious to many westerners but which recurs throughout the Buddha's own teachings. Then, to clarify the position on meat eating to the monks, the Buddha said:
"Monks, I allow you fish and meat that are quite pure in three respects: if they are not seen, heard or suspected to have been killed on purpose for a monk. But, you should not knowingly make use of meat killed on purpose for you." [2]
There are many places in the Buddhist scriptures which tell of the Buddha and his monks being offered meat and eating it. One of the most interesting of these passages occurs in the introductory story to a totally unrelated rule (Nissaggiya Pacittiya 5) and the observation that the meat is purely incidental to the main theme of the story emphasizes the authenticity of the passage:
Uppalavanna (meaning 'she of the lotus-like complexion') was one of the two chief female disciples of the Buddha. She was ordained as a nun while still a young woman and soon became fully enlightened. As well as being an arahant (enlightened) she also possessed various psychic powers to the extent that the Buddha declared her to be foremost among all the women in this field. Once, while Uppalavanna was meditating alone in the afternoon in the 'Blind-Men's Grove', a secluded forest outside of the city of Savatthi, some thieves passed by. The thieves had just stolen a cow, butchered it and were escaping with the meat. Seeing the composed and serene nun, the chief of the thieves quickly put some of the meat in a leaf-bag and left it for her. Uppalavanna picked up the meat and resolved to give it to the Buddha. Early next morning, having had the meat prepared, she rose into the air and flew to where the Buddha was staying, in the Bamboo Grove outside of Rajagaha, over 200 kilometres as the crow (or nun?) flies! Though there is no specific mention of the Buddha actually consuming this meat, obviously a nun of such high attainments would certainly have known what the Buddha ate.
However there are some meats which are specifically prohibited for monks to eat: human meat, for obvious reasons; meat from elephants and horses as these were then considered royal animals; dog meat - as this was considered by ordinary people to be disgusting; and meat from snakes, lions, tigers, panthers, bears and hyenas - because one who had just eaten the flesh of such dangerous jungle animals was thought to give forth such a smell as to draw forth revenge from the same species!
Towards the end of the Buddha's life, his cousin Devadatta attempted to usurp the leadership of the Order of monks. In order to win support from other monks, Devadatta tried to be more strict than the Buddha and show Him up as indulgent. Devadatta proposed to the Buddha that all the monks should henceforth be vegetarians. The Buddha refused and repeated once again the regulation that he had established years before, that monks and nuns may eat fish or meat as long as it is not from an animal whose meat is specifically forbidden, and as long as they had no reason to believe that the animal was slaughtered specifically for them.
The Vinaya, then, is quite clear on this matter. Monks and nuns may eat meat. Even the Buddha ate meat. Unfortunately, meat eating is often seen by westerners as an indulgence on the part of the monks. Nothing could be further from the truth - I was a strict vegetarian for three years before I became a monk. In my first years as a monk in North-East Thailand, when I bravely faced many a meal of sticky rice and boiled frog (the whole body bones and all), or rubbery snails, red-ant curry or fried grasshoppers - I would have given ANYTHING to be a vegetarian again! On my first Christmas in N.E. Thailand an American came to visit the monastery a week or so before the 25th. It seemed too good to be true, he had a turkey farm and yes, he quickly understood how we lived and promised us a turkey for Christmas. He said that he would choose a nice fat one especially for us... and my heart sank. We cannot accept meat knowing it was killed especially for monks. We refused his offer. So I had to settle for part of the villager's meal - frogs again.
Monks may not exercise choice when it comes to food and that is much harder than being a vegetarian. Nonetheless, we may encourage vegetarianism and if our lay supporters brought only vegetarian food and no meat, well... monks may not complain either!

May you take the hint and be kind to animals.
[1] Book of the Discipline, Vol. 4, p. 324
[2] ibid, p. 325
more on this subject-http://

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Perfect Portion

I am all about individual desserts, Cupcakes vs. a whole cake and single serving pies vs. a whole pie.  You eat it, it's gone, and there is no temptation calling you to the kitchen later that night.  My boys requested something with apples this week, so this is what I came up with.

Individual Apple Pies

  • 5-7 whole apples, peeled and sliced
  • 3/4 cup of light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp of lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp of apple pie seasoning (nutmeg and cinnamon)
  • 2 tsp flour (for thickening)
  • 1 Tsp of Butter
Saute apples in butter, add brown sugar, lemon juice, seasoning and flour.  Cook at a low temp until apples are soft.  I used single serving puffed pastries (bake according to directions on package) while the pastry is still hot  put in your filling. Top with a dollop of low fat or fat free whipped cream.

*not a vegan recipe

Glass vs. Plastic

my water bottle, it works great

Glass Water Storage Bottles vs. Plastic

By now, a bottle of water has become such a common accessory that few of us give any thought to the impact that that bottle has on the environment once we are done with it. In an effort to make healthier beverage choices, people the whole world over purchase water packaged in plastic bottles and the market has grown larger than any beverage company�s wildest dreams. But this convenience has come at a steep price for us and our environment. Here are some numbers:
  • Worldwide, bottled water consumption surged to 154 billion liters (41 billion gallons) in 2004, up 57 percent from 98 billion liters in 1999.
  • At up to $2.50 per liter ($10 per gallon), bottled water costs more than gasoline in the United States.
  • Fossil fuels are used in packaging and transporting the water. Most water bottles are made with polyethylene terephthalate, a plastic derived from crude oil. Making bottles to meet Americans' demand for bottled water alone requires more than 1.5 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel some 100,000 U.S. cars for a year.
  • According to the Container Recycling Institute, 86 percent of plastic water bottles used in the United States become garbage or litter. We are unnecessarily adding millions of plastic bottles to our landfills each week, week after week.
  • The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) issued a report in 1999 that stated that around 40% of the bottled water sold in this country comes from the same municipal water systems that provide the tap water for our homes.
Many of us have purchased water filtration equipment for our homes in recent years to further purify the water that we get from our taps. To save money and lessen our impact on the environment, lots of us like the convenience of bringing our own home-filtered water with us in reusable plastic bottles as we run errands and go about our daily lives. But these plastic bottles may introduce some health hazards of their own.

Plastic Water Bottles

According to several recent studies, polycarbonate plastic gradually leaches a chemical called bisphenol-A (BPA) into foods and liquids that are stored in containers made from this material. BPA has been identified as an endocrine disrupting chemical, or a chemical that easily mimics hormones when absorbed by the human body.
Additionally, a University of Missouri study, as reported in the July 2003 issue of Environmental Health Perspectives, found that the BPA leaching problem isn�t restricted to older polycarbonate bottles. Instead, researchers found detectable levels of BPA leaching out of brand new bottles at room temperature. This new finding calls into question the safety of any kind of polycarbonate plastic container, new or used, for food or beverage use.
A study conducted by Dr. Patricia Hunt of Case Western University in Ohio on the health effects of BPA in food and beverages concluded that BPAs may impair reproductive organs and have additional adverse effects by fostering the creation of tumors, and impeding breast tissue development and prostate development by reducing sperm count.
As more and more of us become aware of the impact that plastic bottles have on our health and our environment, reusable bottles made of glass are becoming increasingly popular with folks that want to take their filtered water with them wherever they go.

The Advantages of Reusable Glass Water Bottles

Protecting the health of you and your family may the be best reason to recycle your reusable plastic water bottles and replace them with reusable glass bottles but here are a few more:
  • Cleaning reusable plastic bottles with detergents will cause the plastic to cloud and may increase the amount of BPAs that leach into the water. Glass bottles are much easier to clean and will retain their clarity after hundreds of washings.
  • Glass is made from heated sand and lime, not from crude oil derivates, which decreases our dependence on non-renewable, foreign oil sources.
  • Glass imparts no unpleasant plastic off-taste to water and other beverages like plastic can. Even days or weeks after filling up a glass bottle and putting it in your fridge, you can enjoy the clean, crisp taste of filtered water with no worries about BPAs and other chemicals leaching into your water.
  • For those that like to flavor their water with citrus fruits and other flavors, the acids in fresh oranges, limes, lemons, and other fruits often cause a plastic bottle to become cloudy and unsightly. These acids have no effect on glass so you can flavor your filtered water with whatever you�d like and your glass water bottle will remain crystal clear.
  • A portable glass water bottle that you bring to work, class, the gym, or wherever is a statement to everyone that you are actively taking steps to reduce your impact on the environment and sets a fine example to those who wish to reduce their contributions to landfills.
Any reason that you switch from plastic to glass is a good reason for you, your family, and the environment and with the rising popularity of reusable glass bottles, it appears that many people are making this choice. These bottles are available in many styles, sizes, and colors so you can have clean drinking water, convenience and environmental responsibility all in one!