Saturday, February 27, 2010

Read and Reading

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World has Never Seen

If you’re a runner, or have ever been a runner, you’ll love the book,"Born to Run." The author, Christopher McDougall, begins the journey in Mexico inspired by the Tarahumara, a tribe living in the Copper Canyons of Mexico, that live, eat and drink like they have for centuries. These people run endlessly, for fun and (most intriguing) in sandals! McDougall argues that these, largely unknown, people may be the best runners in the world and they have NO HEALTH ISSUES!

But the Tarahumara are not the only runners in this book and it doesn't take place only in Mexico. There are crazy stories about people that love running above all else, that drink wildly before insanely long runs, and run in climates and on terrain that few would ever consider. All of this is told as the story is woven into and out of nightlong races of incredible distances with unbelievable athletes often in dangerous areas.

Also interesting, McDougall explores the idea that humans are born to run, literally! He claims that running is a part of who we are, and in fact, at the core of our existence. He evaluates why our ancestors outlived the Neanderthals, and why today’s expensive running shoes actually increase a runner’s probability of getting hurt. It’s a great read… fun, entertaining and interesting.

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

Right now I’m reading,"The Complete Idiot's Guide to Vegan Living." It’s a good resource for anyone who might be considering becoming a vegan or has recently switched to a plant-based diet (like me). I think it’s written with the young, inexperienced cook in mind. Still, I found the information on vegan staples, hidden animal ingredients in food and beauty products, and the health benefits associated with a vegan diet all informative. The chapters are handy, the authors provide websites so the reader can find more information and products, and there are recipes (none of which I’ve tried yet) that look good. The authors cover a lot of information, most of it good, some of it open to discussion. For example, there is text in the book on vaccinations that I disagree with, but I know some would not. Personally, I'm not extreme in my beliefs or practices, but this book gave me plenty to think about. It's worth the read for those just starting out, but it should not be used as the only resource.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Vegan Living

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Recently my husband and I drove to Traverse City to visit family. While we were there, my sister Susan and her husband took us to Oryana, a natural foods market and cooperative. What a wonderful “field trip” it turned out to be. This market is like a mini Whole Foods nestled in a quiet, quaint neighborhood of Traverse City.

Oryana is a small but focused market that has everything from bread to candles. So what is it focused on? Oryana is a market committed to providing healthy food, much of it locally produced. In fact, its Northern Michigan’s only certified organic retailer dedicated to supplying food that’s produced using eco-friendly methods.

At Oryana there's a great little restaurant called Lake Street Cafe. The café offers espresso, fresh juice, smoothies, and vegetarian & vegan sandwiches along with fresh baked goods. While we were there, my sister bought a vegan apple-walnut muffin. We shared this taste treat and WOW...I regretted not buying several myself! (Just look at the walnuts and that big slice of apple!! YUM!)

So if you’re planning a trip to Traverse City, and while there you find yourself hungry for some vegan fare, fear not. Just head to 260 East 10th Street. The phone number is 231.947.0191 and the web address is

Go… You’ll thank me AND my sister.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Stuffed Sweet Onions

I was snowed in (along with half the nation) and I faced either cleaning the house or coming up with a new recipe. Take a guess at how I spent my day...

This dish was inspired by the vast whiteness surrounding me, a few leftovers in my refrigerator and my husband’s love for onions. He's always loved onions, which is great because onions are good for you! Evidence suggests that onions are effective against the common cold, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and other diseases. They contain anti-inflammatory, anti-cholesterol, anti-cancer, and antioxidant components such as quercetin. Regular consumption of onions has been shown to lower high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. So make a point to eat more, and you can begin by trying this recipe!

Sweet Stuffed Onions

Serves 4

4 sweet onions, unpeeled
olive oil for drizzling
½ cup brown rice, cooked according to directions
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ cup diced celery
4 ounces shittake mushrooms, stemmed and chopped
4 sundried tomatoes, chopped
2 cups loosely packed spinach
1 tablespoon water
1/8 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon thyme
1/8 teaspoon basil
1/8 teaspoon salt
Panko, whole wheat

First, get the onions started. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Slice the top off of the onions and a small part of the bottom so that it sits flat. Put onions on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake the onions for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until the onions are tender. Remove and let cool a little.

While the onions are cooking, cook the rice according to directions.

Just as the rice is finishing and onions are cooling saute the garlic, celery, mushrooms and tomatoes in 1 tablespoon of olive oil for 3-5 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of water and the spinach cooking until the spinach is wilted. Combine the veggies, rice and spices and stir to combine.

Remove the skin from the onion and make a large X in the center of the top of the onion with a sharp knife. Remove most of the center leaving enough onion to retain the shape nicely. Chop a little of the roasted onion (2 T.) and add it to the rice mixture, reserving the rest for another day.

Stuff each onion with the rice mixture and top with panko. Broil the onions until the panko is browned. It's yummy!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mediterranean Pasta with Garlic, Greens and Butter Beans

I came in from a long day at work and had only minutes to put dinner on the table. I was tired, brain dead and there wasn't much in the refrigerator. So I pulled out one of my new cookbooks, "The Best of Vegan Cooking," by Priscilla Feral and found a pasta dish that looked like it would take only minutes... and it did (hallelujah).

The family loved it, but I have to say that when I make it again I will change a few things... I think it needs more olives, sundried tomatoes, greens and artichoke hearts. In fact, I put a can of artichoke hearts into this dish because I didn't want to leave half a can in the refrigerator, and I think it's a must. Otherwise, it's just too much pasta. Also, I'm going to try using cannellini beans in place of butter beans next time. So try making this dish and tell me what you think!

Mediterranean Pasta With Garlic, Greens and Butter Beans

Serves 4 - 6

1 pound fusilli pasta, cooked and drained,(I used whole wheat)
1/2 cup kalamata olives, sliced in half
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup artichoke hearts
1 can of butter beans, drained and rinsed
1 large bunch of greens, blanched and chopped (I just threw greens into the pan)
1/4 cup olive oil (I cut this in half)
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
salt and pepper to taste
fresh chopped parsley
1 to 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

Saute garlic in olive oil until fragrant. Stir in greens, sundried tomatoes, olives, beans and artichokes. Toss with pasta and season with nutritional yeast, salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh parsley.

The Best of Vegan Cooking

Monday, February 1, 2010

News worth sharing

My youngest daughter has become a vegetarian! I’m so proud of her commitment to a healthier and more socially conscience lifestyle. Happy birthday gorgeous!

Note: Image is from