First Stop - Lunch at the Raw Kitchen in West Palm Beach, Florida
If you received this via email, click here to get to the web version--lots of photos & links in this post.
This week I've been on a laid-back "visiting vacation" with family--and a meet-up with our newest family addition: one-month old great niece Lily. Unlikely that I'll be posting--but just some quick shares. Uhh, never got around to posting--just got home last night--this is the post-trip-post!
My sister-in-law is an adventurous cook, and she's trying hard to eat & cook more plant-based, so as soon as my husband & I landed in Florida, we headed on over to lunch at The Raw Kitchen--the only vegan restaurant in the area.
This was my first experience eating raw--something I'm slightly skeptical about--but all four of us thoroughly enjoyed our lunches. Raw vegans do lean heavily on nuts, seeds, avocados & oils--so definitely not-Esselstyn-approved fare--but a delicious eating adventure nonetheless.
My Sprouted Buckwheat Crust BLT Pizza with Eggplant Panceta, Veggies, Nut "Cheeze", & Chipotle Dressing
My Sister & Brother-in-Law's Asian Zucchini "Noodle" Bowl Topped with Portobellos
My Husband's Zucchini "Noodle" Pad Thai with Julienned Vegetables, Savory-Sweet Almond Sauce
Red Pepper Hummus & Homemade "Raw" Flax & Sunflower Seed Crackers--the inspiration for our own "Kitchen Lab Experiments"
Our next stop, before we made the long ride home was to pick up groceries for the week at Whole Foods. We had a whole week's worth of meals planned.
- Sunday: Home-made tahini-free red pepper hummus with raw peppers & raw flax-seed crackers. Main dish: Spicy Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili
- Monday: Chickpea & Spinach Burgers, with lemony tahini (just a little) tofu sauce & spicy oven-roasted sweet potato fries. Burger Tips not found in the recipe link: Use a whole can of drained garbanzos, not 1 cup. Consider making a double-batch to freeze the left-overs. Don't fry--bake the burgers at 400 degrees on a silpat or parchment paper for 30 minutes total time--flipping after 15 minutes--until browned on both sides. Recommended: Alvarado Street Bakery Sprouted Wheat Burger Buns.
- Tuesday: Barbara's Sprouted Corn Enchilada Casserole with Butternut Squash, Roasted Corn & Pepitas--topped with Green Tomatilla Sauce--plus Lisa's Curried Yellow Split Pea & Carrot Soup
- Wednesday: Sami's Millet & Flax Pizza with Artichoke Hearts, Roasted Red Peppers, Mushrooms, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Greens, and little Field Roast Italian "Sausage"
- Thursday: Appetite for Reduction's Upside-Down Lentil Shepherd's Pie with Mashed Potatoes (of course) Never made this one--got home too late from the space shuttle launch--had plenty of left-overs to eat!
What's on My Vacation Podcast & Reading List?
1. Over-Diagnosed. Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health, by Dr. H. Gilbert Welch, Dr. Lisa M. Schwartz, and Dr. Steven Woloshin. Boston: Beacon Press, 2011. This one's "post-worthy"--so, stay-tuned for a later summary post.
"According to Dr. Welch, a complex web of factors has created the phenomenon of over-diagnosis:
- The popular media promotes fear of disease and perpetuates the myth that early, aggressive treatment is always best.
- In an attempt to avoid lawsuits, doctors have begun to leave no test undone, no abnormality--no matter how incidental--overlooked (OK--this one's a press-release exaggeration, IMHO)
- Inevitably, profits are being made from screenings, a wide array of medical procedures, and of course, pharmaceuticals.
Examing the social, medical, and economic ramifications of a health-care system that unnecessarily diagnoses and treats patients, Dr. Welch makes a reasoned call for change that would save us from countless unneeded surgeries, debilitating anxiety, and exorbitant costs."
These are three of my favorites physician-authors. They're nationally recognized experts who publish widely in the most-respected medical journals--and they also happen to be professors at the Dartmouth University Institute for Health Policy. Welch, Schwartz, & Woloshin are able to make an objective reasoned analysis of the statistics, delve deeply into the research and tell the truth about the down-sides of screening tests on healthy people--like regular PSAs, mammograms, & CT-scans--as well as the down-side of the continual lowering-of-the-bar on the diagnostic test values that are used to prescribe drugs to treat non-diseases, like pre-hypertension, pre-diabetes, osteopenia, and elevated cholesterol. The treatment group just gets larger & larger as the bar is lowered. Sometimes, more isn't always better--and the diagnoses & treatments that follow aren't without risks. Just to be clear--these authors are all for making the necessary lifestyle changes to prevent disease. As they say, "There is more to prevention than early-diagnosis, and the prescriptions & procedures that usually follow."
For more on these docs, check out my 2009 post on Woloshin's & Schwartz's investigative research into FDA's approval process: Drug Safety and Drug Benefits--The FDA Information That Never Reaches Doctors & the Public. Dr. Lisa Schwartz & Dr. Steve Woloshin Discover the Data That Gets Lost in Transmission
- Listen to Dr. Welch's interview on Vermont Public Radio. Gael in Vermont recommended this podcast/interview--and it's well worth the 30 minute listen. Click here
- Listen to NPR's Science Friday interview with Welch. You can listen to the podcast, or just read the transcript (lower left-hand corner), click here.
2. How Sugar Harms Our Health--the effects of fructose/aka sugar on obesity, insulin resistance, and the liver. This was a recent People's Pharmacy podcast(able) radio interview with Dr. Robert H. Lustig, a neuroendocrinologist, and a professor of clinical pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco.
Lustig is another well-respected clinician/researcher who makes a strong case about the hazards of eating sugar that's devoid of fiber, in its "extracted form"--including fruit juice, soda, table sugar, syrups of all kinds, & high-fructose corn syrup, etc. There's a good reason insulin resistance, type-2 diabetes, & obesity are ever-increasing--and sugar devoid of its natural fiber is a big one.
Lustig's Rules: Avoid processed foods, eat foods that come from the ground in their natural state, and eat fruit only in its natural form with all its fiber. No juice for babies or children! Eat only whole grains--nothing removed. When it comes to whole wheat, that includes all parts of the wheat kernel -- the bran, germ and endosperm. Learn more at the Whole Grain Council site. Fiber rules--and most of us are sorely deficient. The USDA's recommendations for 25 grams a day are too low--Lustig recommends 50 grams a day--most Americans are getting only 12 grams/day. If you think 50 grams a day is impossible, think again. Without fail, I get over 60 grams of fiber a day eating plant-based. This eye-opening interview is absolutely "post worthy" and I'll be ready to share more later this week.
3. Real Life with Celiac Disease: Troubleshooting and Thriving Gluten Free, by Melinda Dennis, RS, RD, LDN, and Daniel A. Leffler, MD, MS. This is a must-have book for anyone with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities. It's hot-off-the-press--just published in December, 2010 by the American Gastroenterological Association, and the authors are both on staff at the Celiac Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School. The authors are international experts in the field--and Melinda Dennis lends personal experience to her expertise-- being diagnosed with celiac disease 20 years ago.
With 53 chapters, written by different experts in the field, every possible topic of concern is covered: from celiac's causes, symptoms, the diagnostic tests, supplements to consider, and the co-existing conditions that can arise, like anemia, depression, nutritional deficiencies, neurologic & dermatologic manifestations, malabsorption, and osteoporosis. Another "post-worthy" book to review. Highly Recommended!
Experiments in My Sister-in-law's Kitchen Lab
I'm so lucky. I've got the perfect partner for kitchen lab experiments with my sister-in-law Lis. Always ready to try something new.
Homemade Cocoa Walnut Chia Energy Bars
1. Homemade Raw Cocoa Walnut Chia Bars. Right off the bat Lis got inspired to just whip up a batch of my Raw Cocoa Walnut Chia Bars. Fabulous, except, by mistake she dusted them with garbanzo bean flour, instead of oat flour. Stick to the oat flour! Click here for the recipe if you missed it in October 2010.
Mixing the Crackers
Spreading the Cracker Goop on the Dehydrator Racks
Homemade Raw Italian & Barbecue-Flavored Seedy Flax Crackers - Delicious!
2. Crispy Homemade Flax, Pumpkin, and Sesame Seedy Crackers. After tasting the crunchy homemade seed crackers at the Raw Vegan Kitchen, we decided to borrow my niece's Nesco tabletop food dehydrator & do a little experimenting of our own. I had just received my own Nesco as a gift from my kids--but I hadn't yet had the time try it out. Next on the agenda: spicy kale chips.
We mixed up two different kinds of crackers, a barbecue chipotle and an Italian version. We really had no idea what we were doing, but we soaked 1 1/2 cups of golden flax seeds in 3 cups of water until it was a nice thick gelatinous mess--about 20 minutes. Then we added in pumpkin and sesame seeds. To half of the goop we added sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes & fennel seed. To the other half we added a mixture of Bone Suckin' Sauce Seasoning & Rub spices, chipotle powder, nutritional yeast, and chili powder for a spicy-sweet taste. Dehydrating is a slow process--taking us about 15 hours at 105 degrees to get the nice crisp taste we wanted--but, "oh, baby" were these crackers fabulous. Thankfully, I had a stash to travel with yesterday--and these high-fiber crackers kept me satisfied for the long-day of airplane delays.
3. Curried Yellow Split Pea & Carrot Soup. OMG delicious, spicy, hearty, & super healthy. This soup has it all: plenty of fiber, beta-carotene, iron, calcium, protein, potassium, the B-vitamins, a nice supply of the sought-after amino acid tryptophan--the one we need to manufacture the brain chemical, serotonin--which regulates mood, appetite, hunger and sleep. Want to read more about how power-packed split peas are, click here. Thank you, Lis, for providing this link!
Lisa's Curried Yellow Split Pea & Carrot Soup
click here for a copy of the recipe on one page
Serves 8 generously
6 medium carrots, peeled and diced (can substitute squash or sweet potatoes for the carrots, or use a mixture)
1 large sweet onion, roughly diced
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
1 tsp ginger, peeled and roughly chopped (or more to taste)
1 pound yellow split peas, rinsed
2 TBS. curry powder (start with 1 TBS & taste) *I think I'd also like some Garam Masala
2 tsp. dried mustard
1 tsp. sriracha sauce hot chili sauce (aka Rooster hot chili sauce--find in the Oriental section at most groceries) Could substitute a pinch or 2 of cayenne or other hot chili sauce
7-8 cups of low-sodium vegetabe broth (use less if you want a thicker soup)
3 TBS. cider vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste
For the spicy cream (optional):
1/2 cup silken low-fat tofu
1 TBS. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 scallion, chopped
1 TBS lime juice
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1. Cover the split peas in water, and heat to boiling. Simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off heat, and let them soak for 10 minutes--this speeds up the cooking process. Drain, and reserve peas.
2. Heat a heavy-bottomed stock pot on high, and when sufficiently heated, add the carrots, onions, garlic, and ginger. Stir well, adding small amounts of water when & if the vegetables begin to stick to the pot. Cover & cook until the onions are tansluscent and the carrots are tender--about 8-10 minutes.
3. Stir in the pre-soaked yellow split peas, curry powder, and dried mustard. Add vegetable stock and bring soup to a boil for 2 minutes, then reduce heat to a simmer and cover.
3. Cook soup until peas are tender, about 35-45 minutes. Add cider vinegar, and season to taste with salt & pepper. Set aside to cool slightly.
4. Prepare spicy cream, if desired. To make this, stir all the ingredients in a small bowl--you may want to use either a processor or blender to "cream up" the silken tofu, first. Refrigerate until ready to use.
5. Once the soup is cooled slightly, puree 1/2 of it in a blender--or use an immersion blender to blend up 1/2 in the soup pot. We all liked the smooth/chunky mixture achieved by blending only half of the soup. Ladle soup into bowls & top with spicy cream, if you're using it.
Nutitional Information based on 1/8 of the recipe:
The Healthy Librarian's
Curried Yellow Split Pea & Carrot Soup
Serving Size: 1 serving
|Amount Per Serving|
Kennedy Space Center - The Final Discovery Space Shuttle Launch - Thursday February 24, 2011. We Were There!
On the last day of our Florida visit we decided to make the 5 hour round-trip trek up to the Kennedy Space Center to view the final Discovery shuttle launch. Good thing we were completely clueless about how often these launches are delayed or canceled, or we never would have set out! Post-launch we found out that 10 minutes before lift-off, the launch was 4 seconds away from being scrubbed because of a computer malfunction. Yes, we lucked out.
I'm not much of a space enthusiast--but honestly, this was an absolutely thrilling experience for all of us. We're were so happy we made the trek and that this map-and-GPS-less-crew were lucky enough to serendipitously arrive at a perfect beach viewing site.
L-R: My sister-in-law, brother-in-law, me, and my husband awaiting the Final Discovery Launch
The Launch Site
My Out-of-Focus Lift-Off Shot