Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Banana Jam

Wow! It has definitely been a while since I posted almost Thanksgiving! So many posts to catch up on so I will just go ahead and start out from the middle.

This year my Mr.Phi and I have made the valiant attempt to eat mostly locally. It's much harder than I had ever anticipated, especially when dealing with a certain favorite fruit. That is the BANANA!! Oh precious Banana, we thought we had wished you goodbye forever. UNTIL I met the lovely Banana Lady at the San Carlos Farmers Market. Not only does she grow mini "golden finger" Bananas but she grows HAWAIIAN APPLE-BANANAS!!! My favorite Banana of all time...drool.

So she saved my life and Mr.Phi's as well since hes nutso for banana bread. Recently at the Farmer Market, she informed me that the Apple-Bananas were at the end of their season and wouldn't be back till May of 2010! So I bought all the Apple-Bananas and decided to make Jam with them.

I found this recipe for Banana Jam and altered it a lil for my preferences.

Banana Jam
2 lbs ripe bananas or even better APPLE-BANANAS
2 Cup brown sugar
1/2 Cup Honey
1 Cup water
juice of 3 limes (or lemons)
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoons of pure vanilla extract
1 dash of ginger powder
1/4 Cup of rum (1/2 dl)

Peel and mash the bananas. Mix water, lime juice, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, ginger over moderate heat and stir until syrup thickens. Add the mashed bananas and let cook 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add rum during the last few minutes of cooking to let alcohol burn off. Immediately place in jam jars and seal.

I had given away a couple of jars of the jam and finally opened one for myself. Some may like it sweeter and I would suggest the original recipe for that. But I prefer a not too sweet. Thats a big turn-off in jams for me. I think this jam is amazing for peanut butter sandwiches and add some honey for a lil extra sweetness. Yum.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Detox or "How to not fart for 2 whole weeks..."

Holy Canoli! I never thought I would be on one of these. Me + Detox= rather diAt!
I had tried a few and every time on the second day I would throw up, eat a muffin and say DONE&done!!"

But this time it was different. I hadn't been feeling like my usual peppy self and I was tired/laggy a lot of the time. What was worse is that my usual foodie fare was tasting blazah. Nothing sounded good to eat. And I had gained a 5 pounds in addition to that 5 pounds you are always constantly trying to lose. Plus I have been wanting to cut down the meat in our diets. Not that I don't LOVE good quality meat. Oooooh I do, idoidoidoidoooooo.....BUT I don't think its healthy of us to eat it all the time and we had been wanting to switch over completely to farm raised meats. Specifically the type that Eat Wilds website explains much better than I can.

From there I started trying to figure out what to do. There are a lot of detox diets out there. And I really wasn't looking for a diet, more just to flush out my system. First I started looking for recipes because I didn't want to be stuck in the kitchen all day. That led me to raw food which I wasn't completely in to. I'm really a hot soup type of girl. I had heard of the lemonade diet and definitely wasn't into that. Then my hairdresser told me how she did it for 34 days and felt awesome. From there I decided I SHOULD definitely do the lemonade diet. lol

So I started looking at this site for the lemonade and got a couple of books at the library. I was all ready to do it when I realized I am signed up for CSA deliveries which cannot be put on hold. So I would be letting boxes of these beautiful vegetables wither right during the peak of season too!! Or worse give them to someone else to enjoy. Maybe I should do the Raw Food diet I thought again..... So I tried making a recipe for raw tomato soup. DO NOT WANT is all I can say about that!

Well by now I was on Day 2 of a start of some kind of detox diet. I'd eaten a plain vegetable soup. (I actually cheated on this the whole time by using chicken stocks for the soups but cmonnnnnnn) BUT I had no game plan at all, just a bunch of different ideas. So I decided to try the pills option and walked over to Whole Foods to check out kits.

Now one of my botched attempts at a Detox was when I bought a kit from Whole Foods with a Fiber Blend that I was supposed to drink every night before bed. It tasted like a glass of wet sand and I threw up the second day. So you can understand my hesitation on getting another kit. Luckily a nice man with multiple piercings and a tattooed head was working the Herbal remedies section at WF and provided me with excellent advice. I told him how THIS was basically my first serious attempt at a Detox. He went over the kits with me and what did what or focused on some kind of problem. Since I wasn't focused on a specific area, and it was my first time, he suggested the WF store brand "365 Complete Body Cleanse Kit" or the Whole Body Cleanse Kit. Both were the same, except the 365 Kit included basically no instructions on how to eat, but I could deal with that for $13 less. Especially since I'd been reading and researching for about a week now. I definitely was aware of what NOT to eat. "Et tu, cupcake?!"

So I skipped home with two "365 Complete Body Cleanse Kits!" Oh I forgot to mention, my dear Mr.Phi decided to do the detox with me. He'd been wanting to lose some weight and thought this would be a good way. So he'd been going along with all my schemes and said he was game for pills now too. What a dear sheep that is until he saw the amount of pills we had to take. Felt like Valley of the Dolls.

Now I bet you're wondering what kind of diet we did. Basically it was cutting out everything we like to eat rofl! No Meat, No Gluten, No Wheat, No Sugar, No processed foods, No dairy, No caffeine, and No alcohol sob!! What is even harder is we try to eat locally, so there was additional stuff we could no eat. boooo Oh and in addition to this , we would try to eat 1 raw meal a day. Usually a salad of some sort.

So begin the CSA Vegetable diet, some tofu and tempeh tagged along ANDDDDD it actually wasn't as bad as we thought. Except for the fact Mr.Phi had to start a week later than me on the pills. That was annoying because we had to stay on the diet an extra week. The pills were not bad, but make sure you read the instructions on the side of the bottle as well. I actually ended up lowering my dosage to 1 of the Herbal Laxative Forumal a night because it got a lil too INTENSE for me. But the bottle said to do that if it does. Still it was a ton of pills to take in morning and night. I think all the water alone it takes to choke down the pills is enough to cleanses your system.

How can you NOT have some cheats. Its really impossible. I was more impressed by Mr.Phi's willpower since he has catered lunches at work every day. What a trooper!

Our first cheat was at the Opera at the Ballpark after 6 days of goodness. We could not resist a a glass of red wine with some Gilroy Garlic fries. I mean it junkfood madness around us and here we were munching on salads with lentil soup. There are worse things we could of done.

To be honest, I really didn't start missing meat till the second week and then it hit me like a ton O' bricks. All I could think of was meat every friggin DAY. So on my second to last night of the detox, I bought a rotisserie chicken at the Farmers Market and had my way with it. Which was sooooo worth it. There was glorious drooling and absorbing every last morsel of meat on the bone. This is how we were supposed to enjoy eating, its supposed to be almost a religious experience of honoring the food. Today we don't get food the credit it deserves and the detox really made me think about that.

What Have I learned?

I think meat makes me fart and gassy. lol Not once did me or Mr.Phi fart the whole time we were on the detox. We noticed it after a week and found it hilarious.

Also, we were dissapointed by HOW AWESOME WE FELT! That was very sad because we love to eat everything. And of course we have since gone back to eatting everything but you don't forget something like that.

And now I am more aware of what I eat. I try to eat healthier and be aware of not mixing too many of the don't eats together. But that is tricky since I love to cook and they are so tasty all mixed together. But as I always say, Food is all about moderation in our society today when everything is so readily available. We know our limits and too much of a good thing can quickly become a veryyyy bad thing. Suddenly its not a treat anymore and that is heartbreaking in a way. I want my chocolate cake to make me go GAGA, not ho-hum.

In conclusion, a Detox is a wonderful to do once or twice a year. Next time I plan on buying a juicer and trying a week long vegetable juice fast. (I know WS is much more expensive but I'm a big believer in lifetime return policies)

Until then I will enjoy my clean slate and I encourage you to clean off yours as well. Cheers! :)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Changing the way we EAT

Well now, I haven't been back in a while. Guess cuz I've been having too much food in my hand lately to type. Which is probably why I'm on a 2-week detox. More about that in another post to immediately follow.

How did all this start you may ask??
My dear Mr.Phi and I have been wanting to change our eating habits. After reading such books as Animal Vegetable Miracle, This Organic Life, and The Omnivore's Dilemma, we've really started changing the way we eat. We joined a CSA and try to buy all our produce strictly at the Farmers Markets now.(We were mostly doing this anyways, cuz seriously its quite a taste difference. ) And since moving up to the Bay area, we have mostly been cooking at home.

Now for the meat arena, we are still investigating into that. I really enjoyed this article which explains what we are after. Well in NoCal, it is very easy to find 100% pasture and ethically raised meats than in other areas of the country but still we are a lil confused starting out. I found a good deal for a lady who sells her chicken eggs on craigslist, but for other meats we still need to do more research. In addition to changing what meats we eat, we want to eat meat less. Which is why we're doing the detox to ween ourselves off meat as often and get used to eating vegetarian/vegan styles. Not only is eating meat less better for you, it is better for the environment and is a lot less expensive. Because if you are buying quality meat, you're going to have to pay a lot more. Which is why some people are forming their own Meat CSAs which is something we may think of doing one day when we have a family and a freezer lol.( So suburban!)

The toughest part of this diet change is eating out. Its not hard to stop eating at chain restaurants since we really don't like the food anyway. Too spoiled from all this wonderful NoCal Food. But we do love our small Mom and Pop Shops so thats has been the hardest part. We feel guilty eating there now, but don't feel we can ask them to change their meats for us. At higher end restaurants, I have no problem asking them what kind of meat they use. But for a small restaurant where the food is $5, I do have a problem asking. Plus I don't speak enough Chinese, Korean, Thai, etc to get the point across.

And finally in addition, we've made a pact to eat whatever we can locally or as nearby CA as possible. To quote "Locally raised and produced food has been called “the new organic" — better tasting, better for the environment, better for local economies, and better for your health." And to keep to it, we try to give ourselves just 10 options for the month of items that are processed/made further away. Of course there are exceptions to the rule like some spices like Vanilla Beans, pineapples and certain grains. But whenever we have the choice, we will buy local. Also it has saved us $$ from buying items we'd usually grab with no afterthought. But I still want my Totopos or other Tortilla Chips!! Why are there no good ones made here in NoCal.

Some of my favorite local items at the moment are Straus Milk, because I love returning their milk & cream bottles to the grocery store! Plus their butter makes the pie crusts dreams are made of.....mmmmmm And SpiceHound who I started getting some of my spices from. I like that they will refill my containers, so I don't just keep buying new containers of spices.