How Avoiding Dairy Honors the Sacred Feminine

Warning this is a strong opinion piece Since I’ve become a mother I feel more deeply connected to other mothers of all species. That bond of parent and child is obvious from elephants to kittens. It’s a protective, nurturing force that is so powerful it can be bewildering.

After reading Carol Adams book The Sexual Politics of Meat, I was moved by one of the images in her book that was a poster with a tearful cow on it that read, “Milk comes from a grieving mother”. It struck a chord in me that took me back to all my years of researching the horrors of the factory farming industry that eventually lead me to adopt a plant-based lifestyle. Not only did the cows have their babies taken away after they were born, this process was repeated over and over again throughout the lives of these poor animals until they where “spent” and wound up as fast-food burgers. milkcomesfromagrievingmother The females are injected with bull semen by machines that violate their vaginas, forcing their wombs to bear another life so that we can harvest the milk that is intended to nourish their offspring. And for what? we are exploiting the reproductive organs of these sentient beings because “it tastes good” or because we’re addicted and “can’t live with out cheese”? To me this falls short of an enlightened human consciousness that we are supposed to be moving towards. Call me crazy but I think coconut milk ice cream is pretty damn good.

Even small-scale organic dairy operations have the “by-product” of male baby calves to deal with, most of whom end up being butchered after spending a short miserable existence in a veal crate. The sadness is incredibly difficult to witness. I’ve seen countless videos of mama and baby crying for each other as they are separated. Shortly after giving birth the mother’s udders are hooked up to sucking machines that often leave them swollen and infected. And for any nursing moms who have ever used a breast pump can attest that it can be pretty painful. Imagine having one hooked to your body all day? even if you are bleeding and have mastitis? Never mind the hormones and pasteurization which basically renders the milk carcinogenic and nearly impossible for you body to digest.

According to the China study the protein casein found in cow’s milk is linked to tumor growth in other mammals including humans. So unless you’re getting raw dairy from your neighbor’s cow who milks it by hand in-between the nursing calf who is allowed to grow up and live in a grassy pasture in the sun, I would enjoy a glass of non-dairy milk instead. Let us allow these dear sisters to be free from the exploitation of their bodies for the sake of profit and indulgence. There is enough sexual abuse, rape and disrespect of the feminine in the world, we don’t need to pour it over our breakfast cereal before heading off to work.

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Persimmon Cookies

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Persimmons have been ripening on the trees here at the farm so I was inspired to bake some cookies! These turned out moist and are full of protein. I prefer to use the fruit as a natural sweetener and added only a small amount of coconut sugar in place of white sugar. The spices really make these a seasonal treat without a lot of fat and calories. Great to share with your friends and fam, these disappeared fast!

INGREDIENTS
2 cups all purpose regular, whole wheat or spelt flour
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 cup persimmon puree
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2tsp baking powder
1 flax egg (1tbs ground flax mixed with 1/2 cup hot water)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
3/4 cup raisins
1 cup nuts or seeds (I used a mixture of almonds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds pulsed in food processor. You can also use walnuts)
1/4 cup vanilla rice milk (optional)

DIRECTIONS
1. Mix dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. 2. And in separate bowl mix flax egg, persimmon puree, milk and coconut oil. If coconut oil is solid heat on low heat in a skillet until liquid. 3. Mix well and combine with dry ingredients.
4. Place small spoonfuls of cookie dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and  bake in batches on 350 for about 12-15 min. Let cool for 10-15 min and enjoy!

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New Food Medicine Cooking Classes This Fall!

Hi Everyone it’s been a while! Been busy with my new baby boy the past few months but I’m ready to put my love and healing energy back into my culinary creativity offerings for you! Next month I’ll be teaching a Comfort Food cooking class where you can learn to make some of your favorite dishes with out all the gluten or guilt. These recipes are also all vegan so you’ll be enjoying cruelty free eating as well. Great tasting and good for you? That’s what Compassionate Eating is all about.

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Compassionate Eating Classes offer hands on ways to learn in a fun supportive environment. Tuition includes all organic food, instruction, recipes and shared meal at the end of class. Please bring clothes you don’t mid getting dirty in or an apron (we will also have some extras available) and a positive attitude . All cooking backgrounds welcome wether your a recovering microwaver to an experienced chef we are all here to learn from each other.

Time: 12noon-3pm (classes can sometimes run late so give yourself some extra time)
Location: 
212 Glen Ellen Drive Ventura Calif. 93003 map
Menu:
Chocolate super food almond milk shake
Vegan gluten free mac and cheese with seasonal veggies
Vegan spinach and mushroom quiche
raw coconut cacao chia “truffles”

Early bird registration is $50 dollars per person until Oct 1st.
After that class will be $60 per person. Your tuition helps cover the cost of food, marketing which includes design, printing, website management, social media and your instructors time. Space is limited to 9 participants click button below to reserve your spot! Please e-mail or call 805.701.9858 if you have questions.

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Thank-you for your interest in our Compassionate Eating cooking classes! we look forward to seeing you soon. Sorry we will not be able to offer refunds with less than 24 hours notice as we will have already purchased food and my not be able to fill the spot with another participant. If you do need to cancel please call Bianca directly at 805-701-9858 so that we may inform those who may be on the waiting list. Thank-you for your understanding. Early sign-up is appreciated, registration will be closed the day prior to the class as we will be out shopping for you!

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Gluten-Free Cilantro Pesto Pasta

This is one of my favorite things to eat in the whole world! Lots of good stuff in this recipe; cilantro is a natural detoxifying herb that aids in the break down of heavy metals in the body. Un-cooked olive oil has lots of good healthy fats (cooking olive oil on high heat changes the molecular structure and can actually be harmful. Better to use coconut or grape seed oil for sauteing). Garlic is good for heart health and boosts the immune system. Creamy cashews replace the need for parmesan cheese in this recipe and nutritional yeast adds B vitamins and tangy “cheese” flavor without the dairy. Enjoy!
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You can also add broccoli, kale or asparagus to this recipe or any other vegetable you like!

INGREDIENTS
1-2 servings of brown rice or quinoa pasta
1 bunch organic cilantro
1/4 cup olive oil
handful of cashews
(you can also use pine nuts,
sunflower or pumpkin seeds)
sea salt to taste
1 clove garlic
broccoli florets (optional)
kale (optional)
nutritional yeast (optional)

DIRECTIONS
1. Cook pasta according to package directions. 
2. In a food processor blend nuts/seeds into a powder.
3. Add garlic clove and pulse until crumbly.
4. Add chopped cilantro (mostly leaves), olive oil and sea salt. Blend on High until pesto forms, scraping sides of food processor as needed.
5. When noodles are nearly done add broccoli or kale (if using) to pot and lightly cook, then strain noodles and veggies into colander.
6. In a bowl add pasta, veggies and pesto and mix well. Top with nutritional yeast if using.

Tip: for extra protein you can sprinkle pumpkin seeds over pasta, which are also good for the male prostate 🙂

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New Irish Cooking Class

Irish_cooking_class_web copyThis month we will be offering an Irish themed cooking class with yummy alternatives to the typically meat and cheese laden fare! The menu will include a vegan Shepards pie, herbed tempe, a creative cabbage dish and some creamy dairy-free mashed potatoes.

Class will be held on Sat. March 22nd from 12-3pm in Midtown Ventura.

Click here
for more details and to sign up! Early bird tuition specials available for a limited time.

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Creamy Cauliflower Potato Leek soup

This warm comforting soup is perfect for those cold winter nights. It’s really simple to make and you can enjoy it for lunch the next day with a roasted veggie sandwich or quinoa salad! It’s always important to use organic vegetables especially for onions and potatoes since they grow underground and can soak up pesticides and herbicides more readily.

cauliflower soupINGREDIENTS
1 half head of cauliflower
2 medium potatos cubed
(yukon gold or russets work great)
1 leek thinly sliced
1-2 stalk celery (optional)
2-3 cloves of minced garlic
handful of chopped parsley
handful of chopped dill
2-3 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS
1.Place chopped cauliflower, potato, half of leek and celery in a medium pot and fill with filtered water (enough to cover veggies) add some salt.
2. Cook until veggies are tender and soft.
3. Strain veggies into a food prossor or blender saving some of the liquid. Add liquid as needed for blending until soup is creamy.
4. Wipe out pot used for cooking veggies and add olive oil, leek and garlic and saute until translucent.
5. Add cooked leek, oil and garlic to soup and blend a bit more.
6. Pour soup back into pot and add chopped parsley, dill, salt and pepper and heat on low for a few min. Serve hot with some herbs on top for garnish.
Enjoy!

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New Food Medicine Class For February

Food_medicine_webHi Everyone! I’m offering a new Italian themed food medicine class on Sat Feb. 22nd. Come see how delicious healthy can be! We will be learning about foods that fight and prevent diseases like cancer and diabetes and how to boost our immune systems for whole body wellness (and have a tasty time doing it!). Class includes, demos, tastings, hands on activities and a shared meal at the end of the class.

Click here for more details and sign up!

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Raw Almond Milk with Fruit & Nut Bars

I have tried many non-dairy milks over the years and found very few that meet all my overly-informed food phobia requirements, (organic, non-GMO, soy-free, etc). I wanted to reduce my intake of soy products since being a vegetarian often lends itself to an abundance of tofu, veggie meats, milks and products that contain soy protein/lecithin. The last two are commonly used as thickeners for products like ice cream and non-dairy cheese. But my latest aversion- wanting to avoid carrageenan- has left me with a surprisingly limited selection.

non dairy milk

I found that carrageenan, a common seaweed/algae-based thickener, can cause inflammation in the stomach and bowel. While non-toxic outside of the body once the chemical process of digestion begins it can cause upset in many sensitive people. I used to wonder why I would experience a mild irritation in my stomach after having cereal or oatmeal with store bought almond or coconut milk and after some research, began to suspect carrageenan. So whats a veg foodie to do? Make my own! I also found a way to use the pulp left over which was another reason I had avoided the process of home-made milk before. Hope you enjoy these recipes!

Raw Almond Milk
INGREDIENTSalmond_milk_crop
1 cup organic raw almonds
4 cups water
¼ tsp sea salt
1 tbs honey or agave (optional)

DIRECTIONS
1. Place all ingredients in a high-powered blender and puree.
2. Pour almond milk through strainer into a sealable jar.
3. Save almond pulp for fruit and nut bars!
(See recipe below) Will keep for 3-4 days.

Fruit & Nut Bars
food_barsINGREDIENTS
8-10 pitted dates (soaked in warm water)
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
¼ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup shredded coconut
left over almond pulp
Option: add chia seeds!

DIRECTIONS
1. Soak dates in hot water for 10-15 min
2. Puree dates with some of the water in a food processor until a paste forms.
3. scrape into bowl (rubber spatulas work great!) and add nuts, seeds, almond pulp and shredded coconut if using and mix well. *you can even spice these up with cardamom, cinnamon or cayenne).
4. Spread mixture about a quarter-inch thick square over parchment paper or dehydrator sheet cover and rack.
5. Dehydrate on medium setting for 4-6 hours until mixture begins to bind and harden*
6. Cut into bars and store in airtight container. You can separate bars with pieces of cut parchment or wax paper to reduce sticking. ?
7. Enjoy as a protein packed breakfast or snack!
* If you don’t have a dehydrator you can bake these at low temperature in the oven for a few hours.

thai coconutOption: You can also use the water and meat of a young coconut to make a larger batch of almond milk. Or make a batch of almond milk and bars at the beginning of the week and then when you run out make raw coconut milk using just the coconut water and meat as there is no pulp to waste. You can add some filtered water to make a larger batch of coconut milk, making it as thick or thin as you like.

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A Cruelty-Free Holiday Feast

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Nut Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

INGREDIENTS (serves 4)
2 tbs vegan butter (such as organic Earth Balance) or olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 tsp saltmushrooms
1 tbs chopped fresh sage
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup chopped pistachios
1/3 cup chopped almonds
1/3 cup chopped pine nuts
(or raw cashews)
1/2 cup flax “egg”*
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
4 portobello mushrooms stems removed

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Melt vegan butter or olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft, about 3 minutes. Stir in sage and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
2. In a large bowl, combine nuts, onion, flax, 1/2 nutritional yeast. Divide stuffing among mushroom caps, and bake until tender when pierced with a fork and tops are browning, about 30 minutes.

Stuffing can also be used for stuffing squash, such as acorn, delicata, butternut or as an appetizer using small button mushrooms or baby bellas!

*How to make flax egg: add two tbs flax seeds to half cup of water in sauce pan. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for a few min and pour through strainer into a bowl. As it cools it will create an egg-white consistency that’s perfect for vegan baking as a binding agent.

Salad with Roasted Fennel, Cranberries and Pumpkin Seeds

INGREDIENTS
Saladsalad
1 bag organic mixed greens
2 fennel bulbs
1/4 cup pepitas (pumkin seeds)
1/2 cup cranberries
olive oil
sprinkle of rosemary
dash of salt

Dressing
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup braggs apple cider vinegar
1 tbs agave
1 tsp dill

DIRECTIONS
1. Trim stalks of fennel bulbs and slice lengthwise into 4 quarters then half those. In a bowl toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and rosemary. and bake at 350 for 20-25min.
2. I’m a fan of less dishes so you can use the same bowl you tossed the fennel in. Add arugula, cranberries, pumkin seeds and roasted fennel (after baking).
3. Combine dressing ingredients in a jar with lid and shake well. Toss salad with dressing just before serving.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

INGREDIENTS
Garlic Mashed Potatoes (4-6 servings)
8-10 medium red potatoes washedmashed_potatoes
1 cup vegetable broth
1 bulb roasted garlic
(or crushed sauteed garlic)
1-2 tbs vegan butter (optional)
handful of chopped chives
salt & pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS
Boil potatoes in large pot until easily poked with fork. about 20 min. To speed up cooking time you can cut potatoes into smaller pieces. Drain and mash well. Add veggie broth, vegan butter and roasted or crushed sautéed garlic. Stir in chives and sprinkle on top just before serving.

Vegan Gravy

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup non-gmo vegetable oil or safflower oil
3 cloves crushed garlic
2 slices of brown or yellow onion chopped
4 tsp nutritional yeast
3 tbs organic soy saucevegan_gravy
2 cups water or broth
1/2 tsp sage
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup white flour
5 -6 white mushrooms chopped

DIRECTIONS
1. Pour the oil in a saucepan and heat.
2. Add garlic onions and mushrooms and saute 5 minutes.
3. Add the flour, nutritional yeast, and soy sauce, stirring constantly until it makes a thick sauce.
4. Gradually stir in the water or broth and add spices.
5. Serve hot over mashed taters!

Green Beans with Lemon and Dill

INGREDIENTS
1 lb  green beansggreen_beans
squeeze lemon juice
handful fresh chopped dill
drizzle of olive oil (optional)
Salt to taste
Capers (optional)

DIRECTIONS
Remove stems from green beans. Steam for 5-10 min or until crisp tender. In a serving dish toss beans in lemon juice, salt, dill and olive oil and capers (if using).
Garnish with lemon slices.

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pie

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Banana Flax Walnut Pancakes

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INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 cup organic whole wheat all purpose flour
(for gluten free try Bobs Red Mill Gluten-Free all purpose flour)
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
sprinkle of cinnamon
sprinkle of nutmeg (optional)
1 tablespoon of flax oil
1 1/2 cup organic almond milk
1 large banana smooshed
2 tbs ground flax seeds (you can put whole seeds in food processor)
1-2 tablespoons coconut oil for pan
chopped walnuts and sliced banana for topping

DIRECTIONS
1. Mix dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl
2. Mix wet ingredients in a small bowl
3. Combine wet and dry and mix well with a wisk
4. Heat oil in a skillet and pour batter into pan to make 3-4in pancakes. When bubbles start to show through or when the bottoms are brown its time to flip.
5. Top with chopped walnuts, banana and maple syrup!

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