Monday, February 18, 2013

Raw Fig Newtons

If you like fig newtons you are gonna love this healthy raw alternative!  Figs are fat-free and a great source of potassium, calcium, iron and fiber.  Keep in mind that dried figs are naturally high in sugar and eat accordingly (meaning you should always try to stay within the normal daily recommendations for sugar).  These are a perfect sweet treat for kids to enjoy with a cold glass of milk.  The ingredients are simple and few and they're  easy to make.  This version of an old favorite is gluten and dairy free, raw and vegan.

Raw Fig Newtons

1/2 cup natural almonds, ground

3 cups dried figs, cut up with hard stem-ends removed
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2-3 shakes of sea salt
juice of a large lemon

Grind nuts using s-blade of food processor into coarse flour; dump onto a large piece of wax paper.  Place  cut up figs, cinnamon and salt in food processor and pulse while adding lemon juice a bit at a time until well incorporated.  This should be quite thick.  I like to refrigerate it for a couple of hours so it's easier to handle.  Divide into quarters  and shape each into 7-8" logs; flatten between sheets of parchment or wax paper and roll in the reserved ground almonds.  With a sharp knife cut each piece into 4 or 5 portions.  Store in fridge.

                                          I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!

I've read that as a country we're losing our ability to feed ourselves and it's largely due to our dependance on imported produce.  Super farms in South America and Mexico ship mass quantities of produce north relatively cheap.  So cheap that local farmers are unable to compete and many are forced to give up on farming or turn to crops not intended for human consumption.  I have also heard that some of the greenhouses around  here are now not growing their own produce  but importing it and packaging it for resale.   I find this trend alarming.  These super farms grow GMO's and they don't even employ a lot of people because of the huge machinery they now use.  I don't need to tell you whose pocket the money goes into.

Sure there are some things that can't be grown locally like bananas, but the next time you buy a cucumber and you have the choice of buying one produced locally or an imported one, buy local even if it cost a little bit more.  Local produce is not picked prematurely and unripened to survive long transport and is much tastier and nutritious.  Fresher IS better. You will help keep our farmers in business and keep the money in our own economy.  Just sayin.

Another thing we can do to lessen our dependance on imported produce is to grow our own in season and preserve the surplus for the winter by dehydrating, freezing or canning it.  These have become long-forgotten arts that need to be revived!  Almost everyone has a computer these days and if you have a computer you have access to information on how to do these things.  There are many ingenuous ways to garden in small spaces including balconies.  I myself would like to see more urban gardening including the (responsible) keeping of chickens for eggs and pest control!  Start small - grow some herbs in window pots, plant a few tomatoes or peppers in patio planters.  Gardening can be a relaxing and rewarding hobby.  Don't you just love this open garden shed...I want!

The concept of buying local should also extended to our other purchases.  I try to buy products that are made in this country even if they are a little more expensive because I know they were made by people who earned a fair wage for their labor and it helps keep jobs in my own country.  Buying local also helps foster a sense of community I think.  Okay....enough of my rant!  Please just give this some thought.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Just recently I signed up to receive a newsletter and was entered in a draw for a fabulous gift basket full of soaps, a meditation candle and a healing salve.  I was quite surprised to find the email from Vicki Strom at OJAS Ayurveda and Yoga announcing I had won and would soon be shipped my gift basket.  Who doesn't love to get free stuff!  I am so impressed by the loveliness and quality of these soaps that I have to tell people about them.

I had actually forgotten about the draw until I won and then  I went to the OJAS website to see what they were about and I liked what I read about the company.  Please take the time to follow the link to learn about them.  They are fair trade and ethical and the products are all natural.


These soaps are gorgeous.  They are hand made without added fragrance and smell fresh and clean like soap should.  The lather that comes off these soaps is like silk and not waxy or greasy feeling like soaps made with animal fats.  I really like the feel of it on my skin.

These soaps would make lovely gifts and anyone would be pleased to receive them!  They make a fabulous gift for yourself!

Thanks again Vicki for this lovely gift basket - I will enjoy every luxurious moment!

How to teach an old dog new tricks...

French toast the easy (lazy) way.  Bet you didn't know that old waffle iron could do this trick!

Just make a batter out of eggs, a  generous splash of milk, a drop of vanilla and a dash of salt. (I use one egg for every two pieces of bread). Fat and a spatula are not required.  Heat up your non-stick waffle iron according to manufacturers instructions, dip your bread of choice, and let the waffle iron do the rest!  Save on calories, time and mess.  You can top it with your favorite syrup, fresh fruit, or if you are inclined, top with a nicely fried egg and serve with a side of hash browns.  Do this.  Do it right now.  Enjoy!