Category Archives: MISCELLANEOUS

STAND FOR OUR LAND! New York City Community Garden Coalition Forum 2013: Free

POST #917

NYCCGC Forum 2013:

STAND FOR OUR LAND!

Join New York City Community Garden Coalition,
Fellow Community Gardeners, Parks Advocates, Friends and Allies for…

NYCCGC Forum 2013 :
STAND FOR OUR LAND! MAYORAL FORUM and GRASSROOTS ORGANIZING TEACH-IN
Saturday, April 27th
9:30am – 4:00pm The Cooper Union 7 East 7th Street
Register for the forum today! As always, the NYCCGC annual forum is completely free of cost.

Join us for New York City Community Garden Coalition’s FREE annual forum. This year’s forum will serve as a platform for mayoral candidates to go on record with their policies on community gardens, parks, and urban agriculture. We will also use this day to organize and inspire the grassroots movement to protect and amplify our community gardens and open public spaces so New Yorkers can grow healthy food, learn from one another, celebrate our diversity, and nurture our planet and our communities.

Register for Free Tickets here!

Candidates confirmed as participating in the Forum are Bill de Blasio,Christine Quinn, Sal Albanese, Tony Gronowicz, and Erick Salgado.

TEACH-IN WORKSHOPS LED BY
Picture the Homeless
Tenants and Neighbors
South Bronx Unite
La Guardia Corner Gardens & Lawyer
La Plaza Cultural & LUNGS
NCYHA

Special Guests:
PETE SEEGER! international icon and legendary folk singer, songwriter, environmentalist and tireless social justice advocate will be a guest of honor at the NYCCGC Mayoral Forum.

Morley – Socially conscious singer songwriter whose blissful music message is consistent and clear; love, justice and inspiration. She uses music as a tool for conflict resolution and dialogue facilitation when working with youth from international conflict zones. Her powerful music has brought her before many world leaders and policy makers.

Stephan Said: Singer-songwriter, rapper and global activist for social change

Fulaflute: Haunting sounds of west-African flute duo, by Sylvain Leroux & Bailo Bah

Pierce Turner: poetic Celtic soul

Also acknowledging all the NYC Greening groups supporting this event:
Green Guerillas
Just Food
NYRP (New York Restoration Project)
BQLT (Brooklyn Queens Land Trust)
East New York Farms
Farming Concrete
NY4P (New Yorkers for Park)
596 Acres
Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger
Brooklyn Botanic Garden Greenbridge
More Gardens
New York Botanic Garden – Bronx Green Up
Tenants & Neighbors
Green New Yorkers
LES Ecology Center

Join us to create fertile grounds for growing healthy food, learning from one another, celebrating our diversity, and nurturing our planet and our communities.

More Info:
http://www.nyccgc.org

Facebook Event:
https://www.facebook.com/events/228402843972192/?ref=3

RAW CHEF DAN’S UBER-COOL POP-UP RESTAURANT

POST #844
Right before I left on vacation, I had the wonderful opportunity of participating in a “raw vegan pop-up restaurant” event at Raw Chef Dan’s place in Manhattan. Woo hoo!

I have taken a couple of Dan’s courses and loved them, as well as his interesting studio/classroom/kitchen — I am always fascinated by how people use space). (In case you are unaware, Dan is also the chef at Quintessence restaurant, on of the few remaining raw vegan restaurants in New York City.

I was very excited when this opportunity came up; for an amazingly minimal fee, I got a full meal with four or five delicious courses, a kombucha drink, and a delicious pumpkin pie with butter pecan ice crème to finish. The concept was that the attendees were to help eat up what his students had made during their course-work that day. (What a wonderful way for Dan to choose to give back).

I got there early so I also had the opportunity to chat with Dan, ask his opinion on some things I have heard around recently, and just enjoy some last leisurely moments before hopping a train for Virginia.

After a while, some other folks came along, filled up the two other tables, and brought along new conversational opportunities, which made for more fun. I was almost sorry I had to leave, although I was really full, and running short of time by then.

If you have not done so yet, I highly recommend that you check out the RawChefDan website, and, if you are in the city, check out his upcoming classes. Even if you are not local, you can still get his recipes and make delicious/easy-to-make dishes in the comfort of your own kitchen. Also, do sign up for his newsletter, so that you can receive news and announcements (that’s how I learned of the pop-up restaurant).

SOMEBODY TAKE A PICTURE! I actually ATE a peach today.

POST #783
I do love peaches.  I don’t know why I don’t eat them — I’ll blend them into a smoothie or a shake/with cashews, or a pudding/with cashews, but, for some reason, for several years now,  I haven’t eaten a peach.  Today I ate a peach.  It was easy. It was surprising. It was, of course, delicious.  (I got up early and sliced a peach and put it in a little container.  It ended up being my lunch – after I ate the peach, I didn’t want any of the other cool stuff I had packed for lunch).  I think I’ll eat another peach tomorrow.  

If eating a peach is that easy, then I might well eat an apple soon (I’ll drink apple juice, and eat the pulp as apple sauce), but I never put apples in any food, and I never eat apples.  I think I will try slicing up an apple and eating it slice by slice.

Don’t get me wrong.  I do eat some fruit.  I eat grapefruit sections sprinkled with cinnamon.  I eat plums.  I eat prunes. I eat grapes. I eat strawberries. I eat blueberries. I eat raspberries. I eat blackberries. I eat bananas. I eat pineapple.  (There is no way I will eat mango, though.)  I think I’m ready to eat an apple. Maybe.  First, I have to eat my way through this bag of peaches.  I feel like an explorer.

07/19/12 CSA SHARE: What they say we will get

POST #765
07/19/12 CSA SHARE
Here’s what they say we will get this week

Zucchini – several pieces
Cucumbers – 2-3 pieces
Swiss Chard – 1 bunch
Cippolini Onions – 1 bunch
Broccoli – 2-3 pieces
Garlic – 1 large or 2 medium heads
Beets – 1 quart
Batavian Lettuce – 2 baby heads

Yea! Garlic! Yum! Beets!  Whoopee! Cucumbers!

I hope I can get there early, so I’ll stand a chance to make a good trade for the Chard.

ARE THE OATS YOU ARE BUYING RAW?

The subject of the rawness of steel-cut oats  recently came up on the frugalraw mailing list .  It got me thinking, and I ended up spending a couple of hours roaming the Internet and learning quite a bit about oats, commercial oat production, oat farming, and oat sprouting.

As much of what I learned was eye-opening, I’ve decided to include the results of my research here, in an expanded form of my original post to the mailing list.

Are steel cut oats raw? Good question!  I googled oats and steel cut oats, and found that most sources tend to pussy-foot around the issue.

Wikipedia states that hulled oats ” pass through a heat and moisture treatment to balance moisture, but mainly to stabilize the groat. Oat groats are high in fat (lipids) and once exposed from their protective hull, enzymatic (lipase) activity begins to break down the fat into free fatty acids, ultimately causing an off flavor or rancidity. Oats will begin to show signs of enzymatic rancidity within 4 days of being dehulled and not stabilized. This process is primarily done in food grade plants, not in feed grade plants. An oat groat is not considered a raw oat groat if it has gone through this process: the heat has disrupted the germ, and the oat groat will not sprout.”

Does this mean that oat groats and steel-cut oats which are sold as food products raw or not?

Wisegeek.com says “Just as with all types of prepared oats, steel cut oats are made from oat grains that have been hulled and steamed. Generally the finished oat groats that are destined for preparation as steel cut oats are also roasted, helping to release an enhanced flavor in the oat groats.”

Companies which produce and package oats and steel cut oats do not say that their oats are a raw product.  The closest that any such company comes, per my research, is McCann’s claim that other companies’ oats undergo extensive heat processing, which affects the flavor.  McCann’s does not state, however, that their product is *not heat processed*)

Bob’s Red Mill, which offers both flax seed meal (known to go rancid quickly) and steel-cut oats, cautions consumers to keep the flax meal refrigerated for freshness, but does not offer similar advice for its steel-cut oats (what does this say?)

Sprouthouse.com lists “Oat Groats Raw Organic” but says “These are NOT oats for oat grass.”  (and why not?  This statement does beg the question.)

Sproutpeople.com lists oats for growing oatgrass “these are the same seeds we sell for Oat Sprouts.  Hulless Oats do not usually grow a great crop of grass.”  Under the sproutpeople.com listing for sprouting seed, “hulless Nebraska oats” are listed as “Hulless, tender and very quick to sprout. These are a wonderfully tender grain with a mild sweetness. Raw, not cooked, not heated, not hulled.”  The claim is very clear, here, however confusing — if these oats are not hulled, how are they hulless?

The question of how those Nebraska oats got to be hulless is answered, at length, in Katherine Czapp’s article “Naked Oats”, on the Weston A. Price Foundation site , which suggests that “hulless oats” (avena nuda, as opposed to the more common avena sativa) were once commonly grown in America:

“Naked oats, so called because the kernels thresh free of the hulls, have been grown for centuries ….can also be easily used as porridge or other food for humans.

The nutrition profile of naked oats is quite impressive, with contributions rich in minerals and vitamins and a fat content rivaling that of corn, along with high-quality protein similar to that found in soybeans…… Naked oats also supply unsaturated fatty acids that contribute to the production of higher quality eggs, milk and meat products.”

This article also tells us that early colonists  grew “silpee”, also known as “pilcorn” and “peelcorn” (avena nuda), which they sometimes referred to as “corn,” both to feed their livestock and to make the traditional Scottish porridge “sowens.”

Seedsofchange.com, an on-line organic seed supplier, says of its avena nuda  (listed as hulless oats) “produces oats without a thick hull, easy process [sic]  for home use. ”

TO MAKE A LONG STORY SHORT:  If your steel-cut oats have been made from “naked oats”, then they may well be raw.  If the oat groats you buy are from “naked oats”, then they may well be raw.  Pointedly ask your supplier/food market if the oats you are interested in buying can be sprouted.   If your oats are from “avena sativa”, the most commonly available oats in America and Europe, their rawness must be suspect. If this concerns you, you should track down the producer and pin them down to a specific yes/no answer on the question of heat-processing.

VEGETABLE SOAK & SPRAY: a cheap way to go natural, go clean

Here are two natural recipes to clean your vegetables.and remove dust and dirt and kill any bugs and/or bacteria, for mere pennies

SPRAY FOR CLEANING PRODUCE
to clean vegetables, remove dust and dirt and kill bugs and bacteria

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp baking soda
1 cup water

  • Place all ingredients in a spray bottle (the mixture will foam up).
  • Shake gently to mix
  • Spray on fruit and vegetables..
  • Allow sprayed produce to sit for about 2 – 5 minutes, then rinse under cold water.


Any unused spray may be refrigerated until used again,

SOAK TO CLEAN PRODUCE
to help help preserve your vegetab;es so that they will last quite a lot longer

1/4 cup vinegar
2 Tbsp salt

  • To a clean sink or large basin full of cold water; add vinegar and salt and swish around with hands to mix.,
  • Place produce in the water and soak for 25-30 minutes or up to an hour. (this will not affect the flavor)  The vinegar cleans and the salt draws out bugs, dirt and other unwanted things, in addition to removing some of the wax which may be coating the produce)
  • Rinse under cold water and dry.


The exact amounts do not really matter. A little more will not hurt, If you are using a smaller bowl then reduce the vinegar to 2 T and reduce the salt to 1 T.  It will work just as well.

MSN CONFUSED ABOUT RAW FOOD

An article on MSN Health & Fitness, entitled “Diet Trends You Should Never Try: Pass on these weird weight-loss fads”, by Julie Upton, R.D., has an unusual take on why the raw food diet is not a good idea.  While Upton acknowledges that “most dietitians would agree that eating lots of minimally processed fruits, vegetables, and grains is best”, and a diet rich in plant-based foods can provide a variety of meals, she states that “following this type of diet to a T requires a lot of complicated food preparation” and so is ”impractical for most working people”.

I do have experience preparing cooked food, in addition to my years as a raw vegan, and I honestly do not see much difference in the time required to prepare most basic raw dishes.  If cooked food people follow the concept that “cooking from scratch”, using natural foods, is more healthful than using prepared, packaged foods, food prep time is roughly the same.  In fact, many raw vegans spend very little time preparing food, other than cutting up raw fruit and vegetables.  I even know one fellow who cheerfully munches a head of lettuce without even pulling the leaves apart.  I suppose he does wash the lettuce – but that is all the preparation he needs for his mono-meal.  Green smoothies take no more time for raw vegans than it takes to make a non-raw smoothie.  Yes, the numerous raw food recipe books do have some complex recipes that involve advance preparation, but most people I know do not use such recipes on a daily basis.  I will try a complex recipe once in a while, to see how it turns out, but, as a working person myself, I generally prepare foods that I can whip up in the blender, in my food processor, or with my trusty knife – with no cook-time, my meals are much quicker to prepare than if I were eating cooked natural foods. While does take some time  to grow sprouts or dehydrate crackers, the prep time is minimal, and I can go off to work while the sprouts or the dehydrator are doing their thing.  The only cheez I make with any regularity takes 2 minutes from start to blenderized product.

Upton seems to think that following a raw food diet must necessarily involve purchasing prepared foods at high-end supermarkets.  I do not buy prepared foods in supermarkets, and I rarely eat out, simply because, yes, those ways of obtaining nourishment cost more than I wish to spend.   I can make delicious healthful raw food dishes in minutes in my home much more inexpensively, and I can control the ingredients, as well.

I am a member of a CSA, so my organic vegetables come direct from the farm at a much lower price than if I bought them from a market. This helps me save money.  Nuts and seeds can be pricey, but I do not use the most expensive ones at all, and I do not make “nut-intensive” recipes every day, or even every week.  I would say that my food costs are significantly lower than those of people who rely on prepared, processed foods of any kind, and I do believe the nutritional value of what I prepare myself to be superior to what I can buy already prepared.  I know it is much cheaper.

Yes, if you are only eating out, a raw food diet will be quite pricey.  If you only prepare “restaurant-type”dishes which emulate cooked foods, you may end up spending a good bit of time.  With a little foresight and planning, however, a raw food diet can be satisfying, affordable, and easy to manage, however.

SEA NOODLES: deal with them if you can

After a week of wondering whether or not my Sea Noodles order to http://www.kelpnoodle.com had been received, I did receive the noodles.  In the meantime, I emailed the company to find out if they had received the order, and what the shipment costs were (with no response) and, finally, had called the company long distance.  When I finally reached a company rep, I still could not learn the shipping cost, and was told that UPS should contact me (this is not normal – the shipper should give this information)

I received the noodles yesterday, and made my first recipe with them, and realized that I need to work with this product some to make it be something I want to eat at least 24 more times (I bought 2 cases/24 pkgs)

I am happy to have my Sea Noodles, but disturbed because, until tonight, I had been unable to get the company to tell me how much they had charged me for shipping.  A few minutes ago, (almost two weeks after I placed my order and emailed the company asking to know the shipment charges)  after I emailed the company that I would be publicizing my experience, I finally received an email from them telling me that I had paid $22.47 (which included a $2.00 surcharge for residential addresses, although my shipment came to my business address, which UPS does recognize)

I can now finally figure my cost per package.  I paid (at least, according to what the website told me – they still have not sent me any total bill), $60.00 for 2 cases/24 pkgs. (this will arrive in one box), and $22.47 for shipping.  That puts my total cost at $82.47, and my total cost per package (including shipping) at $3.70 per package.  Now that I know this deep dark secret that the company needed to hide from me for a week and a half, I feel comfortable about what I paid.  I will probably order again (although they probably hate me for forcing them to give me this information).

What agony!  As far as charge-able work-hours go (in terms of time spent in contacting the company and trying to get a straight answer from them, looking for their return emails and reading the nothingness of most answers), I think this first shipment cost me a good $100 more than what was charged and paid.  Nevertheless, now that I finally know what I ultimately paid, the next payment will work out to $3.70 a package, unless the company suddenly changes things.

If you order from this company, please insist that they tell you what they are going to charge you for shipping BEFORE you order.  That is your only protection.
I also suggest that you find some way to stipulate that they confirm your order and notify you when the order ships.
Unfortunately, as far as my experience goes, you will end up spending some time making sure that the company has a) received your order, b)sent your order… and you will have to contact them directly and repeatedly, (and not politely), if you need any information about your order.

All of that said, I did enjoy the first recipe I made with my Sea Noodles.

PURELY DELICIOUS

Layout 3Speaking of magazines, the new issue of Purely Delicious raw food magazine is just out. There aren’t a whole lot of raw food magazines out there, and this one is one of the nicest. The articles in this issue are very interesting and informative…. just what you need on a cold winter’s eve.

I personally would like to collect all of the raw food magazines out there, so I could have good reading and propaganda on the subway. I could lay magazines around on my desk at work and provoke lots of questions and comments. I could, I know, be a raw food activist without saying a word. Hey! Cool idea! I just might put that on the list of all the things I have to do.

Get your own

Purely Delicious Magazine

2009 FOOD TRENDS: SAD?

Food trend watchers are predicting that, in 2009, people will be focusing more on back-to-basics, going for comfort foods, cooking from scratch, and nostalgic foods like those Mamma and Grandmamma made, as they rein in food spending.

Interestingly, although food trend watchers predict a decrease in organic food buying, they foresee, at the same time, that the focus on nutrition and natural health choices will increase. Do you see a dichotomy here?

Free food’ is seen as becoming more popular, with foraging [let’s all go find vegetables in Central Park– do they still have those foraging tours?], and freeganism (that practice of “dumpster-diving”, foraging for discarded, but still edible foods that have been thrown away) increasing in popularity.

Now, what can you do?

JOIN A CSA: The first thing I would do is sign up for a CSA membership. Community Supported Agriculture organizations provide weekly deliveries of fresh organic vegetables directly from a local farm. The cost of a 6 month CSA membership (usually from June through October or November) works out cheaper than what you would be paying for organic vegetables in a market. Since I joined the CSA 2 years ago, I have had more than enough vegetables and fruit (sometimes I have to dehydrate what I cannot get to), and, with the winter extension (25 lbs. every 3 weeks, December through March for @ $140), I have been able, most weeks, to avoid a trip to the supermarket entirely. Yes, sometimes, I do supplement, if I want an avocado, or some oranges, or if I need dates, raisins, or nuts.

INVEST IN A DEHYDRATOR: My dehydrator is the best investment I have ever made (okay, I love my Champion juicer and my VitaMix). I can dehydrate leftovers (leftover sauces can be dehydrated then powdered to make instant sauces for later), and make snacks, patties, fruit leathers, chips, and crackers. I can take advantage of seasonal prices and snap up vegetables I love, and dehydrate them for use throughout the year (I get 40 lbs of tomatoes in the late summer from my CSA, and dehydrate most of them to have “sundried” tomatoes and tomato powder for sauces and seasoning throughout the winter. You don’t have to be rich to have a dehydrator – you just have to want one. I live on a limited budget in a tiny apartment –- I saved for several months to be able to by my $250 Excalibur 5-tray model with a timer and a temperature control, and I keep the dehydrator on a microwave cart in the hallway near the kitchen. I recommend getting an Excalibur simply because you are going to be using your dehydrator a lot, and Excalibur, with its front-loading trays, is much easier to use than the cheaper stacking kinds of dehydrators)

SHOP AT FARMERS’ MARKETS: Often, the farmer’s markets can offer vegetables and fruit at cheaper prices than regular markets can (Do you homework: know the prices at your local markets so that, when you venture into the farmer’s market, you know whether you are getting a bargain or not.

BUY SEASONAL VEGETABLES AND FRUIT: Seasonal vegetables and fruit are normally cheaper in season than when they are not in season and must be transported from far away places where they are in season. You can also buy large quantities of vegetables and fruit when they are in season and dehydrate them to be able to enjoy them later.

Of course, you could also consider joining a freegan group and going out dumpster-diving late at night with like-minded people.