Monday, December 10, 2012

Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti

Spaghetti covered in meat sauce was such a staple for me growing up. One of my favorite meals, actually! Though I eventually realized that the reason why I loved it so much was that the noodles acted as a vehicle to shovel delicious, flavorful sauce into my belly.

Enter the spaghetti squash.

This fantastic winter squash has a comforting pasta-like texture but grain-free, gluten-free, all-natural, sugar-free, low-fat, oh friggin' yeah that was just 5 health buzzwords in a row! (I'm playin' to win, my friend). But on that note, it is so important to remember that organic fruits and vegetables are the true health generators. A head of lettuce or bunch of radishes doesn't need advertising or marketing dollars - you just know that it's good for your body.

(I know, it's not the most appetizing picture. But it's delicious, I swear!)

Simple Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti
The main concept behind this is to use cooked spaghetti squash as a grown up sauce carrier! Steaming has been the cooking style of choice in my kitchen as of late so that is the methodology I used below (though baking would work just as well).

1 spaghetti squash

Halve the spaghetti squash (my tactic was not exactly safe but very enjoyable - stab with knife, lift knifed squash and slam back down onto cutting board so that halves shoot apart).
Scoop out squash guts and seeds.
Bring about 1 inch of water to a simmer in a medium saucepan.
Place squash halves in saucepan and cover. Allow to steam for 20-25 minutes - You'll know it's done when the outside skin is easily pierced with a fork.
Use a fork to tease out the spaghetti-like squash fiber into a bowl.
Top with sauce of choice.*

*While marinara is an absolute classic, above I used coconut oil, sea salt, freshly ground pepper, sliced red onions, and chopped kalamata olives. It was very tasty, so simple and I definitely recommend it!

Squash purchased from the Ann Arbor Farmers Market, grown by Tantre Farm.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

She's baaack...

My goodness, it has been a while. There have been many things distracting me away from this creative outlet, however the main excuse I will highlight is overwhelm. Not from my life (though my life has had some highs and lows in terms of busy-ness as a student finishing off her college degree!), but overwhelm by the initial challenge that I took on 2 years ago. As a vegan living in a 4-season climate, I felt straight-up deprived during some cold winter months - I remember a specific week where I ate nothing but bulk grains and legumes because there was nothing growing (that I knew of) here in Michigan. While since then I have learned about wild edibles and started growing some vegetables of my own, there has still been a sense of guilt and deprivation that I have attached to this blog and this challenge.

An interesting aspect of living in such a high tech society is we are given so many opportunities to spiral into information binges. What a blessing and what a curse. There are so many (contradicting) opinions - scientifically back, personal, or experiential - on how we should be eating. Food is a smokin' hot topic and legitimately so. We are literally coming into union with another energetic being! Maybe that is too "woo woo" of a comment, but I do not think it was a fluke that traditional societies have intricate rituals around eating.

At a secondary thanksgiving event yesterday, my cousin asked if he could get the info of this blog to share with his mother-in-law as inspiration for a more vegetable-centric lifestyle. I kind of didn't want to give it to him because I was embarrassed by my virtual disappearing act. Well I am ready to challenge myself again - in a very subdued way. I have danced dirty with deprivation and I will not allow myself to feel that way again. I know that my body feels best when I consume large amounts of raw vegetables and if I can not get them locally now, that is juust fine, it is something to strive for ;)

Another note, I am no longer vegan, vegetarian, and I'm boycotting any labels of this sort as a general rule. Though it makes life a whole lot easier to go into new situations being able to say "Yeah, I'm not gonna eat that. I'm veeegan." and about 95% of what I eat on a daily basis is vegetables (soooo many vegetables), I have come to terms with the fact that just because something is "vegan" or "locally produced" or "gluten free" does not mean that I want to put it into my body. I think I will call how I eat now as a high vibration diet. But that is another conversation for another day...

(black radish love to all of you)

Anyways, thank you so much for reading this (if anyone is haha) and I hope that anything that I say, do, take pictures of, eat inspires a more conscious lifestyle!

Love, Sam

Friday, June 17, 2011

[Hawaii Update] Three weeks in...

Okay, I am finally sitting down to write a proper of my last 3 weeks. Hawaii! I'm here on the big island, Ninole to be exact, on the wet side of the island. I am working on a farm called Every One Grows- named after Drean (the owner)'s desire to help every one be able to grow their own food. He owns over 100 sq acres of land (most   of which he has left untouched) with about 50 chickens roaming free (talk about "free range"), a green house, and a large vegetable garden.

I am traveling through a program called Worldwide Opportunities for Organic Farming (WWOOF, pronounced like a dog would) which is essentially an online work exchange database that connects travellers who want to gain farming experience with farms. You exchange hours of farm work for free room and board.

I've been working 8-1 Monday-Friday since June 1st, mostly feeding chickens, collecting eggs, weeding, harvesting vegetables, planting seeds and starter plants, watering veggies in the greenhouse, and other odds & ends. Let me tell you, 25 hours a week is nothing. The amount of free time that I have is mind boggling to me. I am embarrassed to say that I have not been using my time wisely. Since I travelled out here 1 month ahead of my lovers and friends, I have not been Dora exploring as much as I should be. Instead I have been spending a lot of my free time eating and sleeping. But boy have I been getting good at my most recent hobbies! I'm averaging about 1 book every 2 days and 10-12 hours of sleep per night (much better than my typical 4-6 hours back home!).

My body has sunken into the lackadaisical summer-in-the-country lifestyle- rising and falling with the sun (and here that means getting drowsy at 8 pm and waking at 5 am). This country lifestyle also means (at least by my definition) that I only need 2 outfits- one for farm work and one for non-working times- and probably less showering that I should admit. Come and get em' boys!

Anyways, I won't lie about the fact that I am lonely. I miss my friends and my mom and brother a whole lot. I just wish that I had someone to enjoy this place with. It is so beautiful here that I should be soaking everything in but I am finding it a little difficult when I am in a rural area with no way to escape until the weekends roll around and we get access to a car. Oh well. 12 days until Abby is here! :-)

On a much brighter not, the amount of greens that I have access to is borderline appalling. Rows and rows of lettuce in the garden along with multiple kale plants (which look surprisingly like mini palm trees). The WWOOFer fridge is always stocked with freshly harvested veggies and if for some odd reason we're out of something, I just have to walk 20 strides and pull it out of the earth! I have been unquestioningly satisfying my salad fix.

Well I hate writing long posts (because I don't think people necessarily enjoy reading long posts) so I will stop after a few closing statements:

  • Macadamia nuts blow my mind
  • Mosquitoes were created by Satan
  • Showering via waterfall is well worth cutting your foot open over
And on to some photos...

[Hawaii Update] Meet Tomoko

This is Tomoko. She is a 33-year-old Hula instructor from Tokyo, Japan. I have now known her and have been working with her in Hawaii for 17 days. Tomoko left Japan after the earthquake hit because, despite the government's claims, she does not believe that it is safe there right now.

Today she watched some Japanese news broadcast on the laptop provided for us in a corner of the farm's potting shed. People in Tokyo have been reporting that they have been getting bloody noses and sore throats (and who knows what other serious health conditions) from living in an environment riddled with radiation. The health effects are especially obvious in children.

When Tomoko was explaining this to me at dinner this evening, my immediate emotional response was (and still is) sadness. Sadness that people do not have the choice but to live in unhealthy and dangerous situations. For Tomoko, there is also fear. Her 3 month visa is almost up and soon she will have to leave Hawaii and return to Japan. She says that she knows in her heart that it is not safe there but Tokyo is were she grew up, it's where her family is, and it is where her friends are.

It is easy to be an outsider and comment "Well of course I would get the hell out of there. It's a nuclear disaster zone." But not only are there legal/political obstacles for moving away, there are social barriers as well. Would you rather stick around and chance serious health repercussions sue to radiation exposure or leave everything you know/love?

Be thankful for the choices that you have because some people do not have the choice to healthy and safe.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Quick update on my life [vlog] ch-ch-ch-check it out

Oh and I forgot to mention that I am pumped to essentially to be living on fresh coconuts and avocados. And all those other amazing fruits that are native to Hawaii! Aww snap.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What's all the buzz about?


And on that note, here are a couple honey-themed beauty recipes:

Basic Honey Face Mask
1 T honey
2 drops of lavender or tea tree oil (both natural antiseptics)

Mix the oil and honey and put on a clean face.
Leave on for 15 minutes before rinsing with warm water.
If your skin is dry, simply eliminate the essential oils.

Honey Cleansing Scrub
1 T honey
1 T oatmeal or almonds (natural exfoliants)
1 t lemon juice (takes oil out of oily skin)

Grind oatmeal/almonds in a food processor or blender.
Mix together the honey, oatmeal/almonds/lemon juice.
Massage mixture gently over your face and rinse with warm water when done.

(thanks to Food for Thought)

Is your life too plastic?

bag it.

Fair Food: Growing a Healthy, Sustainable Food System for All

So now that finals are over and I have started to conquer the beast that is my gmail inbox, I finally read an email informing me about this soon to be released book:

Fair Food: Growing a Healthy, Sustainable Food System for All is being released this month and I am more than excited (to say the very least). 

I mean, it really sounds like the holy grail of information for someone who wants to help create a sustainable food system! The book is broken down into three parts (source: About The Book):
Part I introduces our current food system, how and why it evolved as it did, and the ways in which it no longer serves us well.
Part II describes four key principles a redesigned food system should embody and offers examples of how various individuals and organizations have started to integrate these principles into their enterprises, providing inspiring new models for producers and consumers, businesses and communities.
Part III offers a practical guide to how you can participate in collective action to precipitate big changes in our food system, from your kitchen to your community to your state house and the White House. Dr. Hesterman’s menu for change offers the reader questions to ask at farmers’ markets, tools for starting buy-fresh/buy-local campaigns; advice for forming buyer’s clubs that purchase food directly from farmers and fishermen, and guidance about the legislation to support at the local, state, and federal levels.
I know. Awesome, right??

So let's start listing the reasons why I have a serious academic crush on the author, Oran B. Hesterman, Ph.D.:
  1. He happens to be the president and CEO of Fair Food Network. <<(seriously check out this website, it is amazing all of the stuff that they're doing! I.e. working to increase local food production in Michigan and increase food access in low-income areas)
  2. He co-led the Integrated Farming Systems and Food and Society Programs for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
  3. He researched and taught forage and cropping systems management, sustainable agriculture, and leadership development in the crop and soil sciences department at MSU.
  4. He played an essential role in establishing the Michigan Food Policy Council.

Dr. Hesterman will be holding public book signings: 
  • Saturday, May 21, 12–2 pm at Detroit Eastern Market (outside the Welcome Center located at 1445 Adelaide between Market & Russell Street, Detroit, MI)
  • Saturday, June 18, 8 am–12 pm at Ann Arbor Farmers Market (outside the Welcome Center, 315 Detroit Street, Ann Arbor, MI)
I am crossing my fingers that I will be able to make it to the signing on May 21st since I will be in Detroit for a sustainable urban planning course :)

Oh, and don't forget to pre-order the book [here]!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Raw Coconut Macaroons

recipe [HERE]: I used Michigan raw honey instead of agave nectar and you can just roll them into balls and eat as is if you are dehydrator-less. Or bake for 10-20 minutes at 350F.