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We Love Green Smoothies

17 Jan

For many years now, us Organic Garden Bloggers have been drinking green smoothies every day. Besides making us feel bright and happy, it has given us tremendous health benefits.

We are happy to share with you  our daily elixir … well, one gardener is protesting and wants to call it a panacea – for “dancing water” in arabic:

Organic Garden Blog’s Green Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Orange Juice (unpasturised or fresh squeezed)
  • 2 Cups Water (use more or less to adjust consistency to your taste)
  • 3 Large Kale Leaves, diced (we like Organic Dinosaur Kale a.k.a. Black Kale)
  • 1 Cup Greens (sunflower sprouts, cilantro, collard – anything fresh from the garden)
  • 1 Banana (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 Cup Blueberries (fresh or frozen, wild or domestic)
  • 1 Cup Mixed Tropical Fruits (we like Wawona brand with Papaya, Pineapple, Mango, and Strawberry)
  • 1 Tsp Fresh Ginger, diced (leave the skin on)
  • 1 Lemon, Chopped (rind, seeds and all)
  • 2 TBSP Udo’s Oil
  • 1/2 Tsp Kelp Granules
  • 2 Tbsp Ground Flax Seed
  • 1 Tbsp Turmeric
  • 1/8 Tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/4 Tsp Cayenne Pepper

Directions

Blenderize until smooth. Cheers!

Related Quibbits

Did You Know?

A chlorophyll and Haemoglobin (human blood) are almost identical.
The only actual difference between clorophyll and human blood molecules is one
metallic atom element.
The metallic atom is iron in Haemoglobin, while in Chlorophyll the metallic atom is magnesium.

Since Chlorophyll and Haemoglobin are so much alike in atom structure, Chlorophyll is absorbed quickly into the blood stream.
Chlorophyll as medicine

  • Anemia -Chlorophyll aids in rebuilding the bloodstream.
  • Deodorant – when chlorophyll is taken internally in adequate quantities, it reduces or eliminates offensive body and breath odors.
  • Skin problems – chlorophyll ointments are very beneficial in treating various skin diseases including weeping & dry eczema, insect bites and infections.

Look good, smell good; what more could you ask for ( except for world peace, a winning lottery ticket and immortality)

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Food Combination Chart Gifts

15 Sep

* New * Food Combination Chart Gifts: a comprehensive chart listing foods that are acid or alkalizing to the body’s pH, how to combine foods for optimal assimilation and digestion, as well as digestion times of various foods.
See Here

Italian Breakfast of Champions

13 Apr

This page is a testament of Love to my Mother, Netta.
“May the lamp of all souls shine her light upon us”

Every morning before school, my Grandfather would take me by the hand and walk me to the chicken coop at the back of his garden. His eyes would twinkle as he handed me the freshest egg from a nest. I carried this warm present in my hands very carefully past the grape vines and fig tree to Grandfathers wine cellar.

In the cellar, he opened a bottle of his homemade wine and poured some into a little glass. I handed him my egg to which he broke the shell and let the egg fall into the glass of wine. Then, he instructed me to drink this down quickly. After I drank his elixir, I felt rosy warm glow come to my cheeks.

This was our custom every day. Nobody in the rest of my family even knew we were doing this. To this day, I credit my Abbruzzese Grandfather with helping me on maintaining my health and wellbeing.

I have never heard of anyone with a similar life story until I found this wonderful article which I post here for you today.

Salute’!

Italian Breakfast

Benefits and tradition are in a glass of red wine (and a fresh raw egg)

From: L’Italo Americano

Grandparents knew value of good red wine for everyday celebration.

As we raised our glasses high, Papa’s words sang out over the dining table, “Saluté per chinto Anno,” his deep, rich voice as hardy and pure as the red wine he held in his glass.

“Good luck, for a hundred years,” his dinner guests echoed back.

I remember how Papa’s face beamed with pride at these joyous occasions and how our meal never began until each family member had repeated the traditional dinner toast and sipped from our small glasses of red wine.

Wine was always a part of our family’s holiday meal. I was introduced to its flavor, as well as its medicinal benefits, at an early age. As each family milestone occurred–baptisms, first holy communions, confirmations, birthdays, graduations and marriages–another bottle of Papa’s homemade red wine was uncorked. Bottles were also poured on Sundays, holy days of obligation and all national holidays–there was always cause for celebration in Papa’s house.

Grandma often put the benefits of red wine to good use as a medicinal cure. It was administered in moderation as a remedy for arthritis and to purify the blood, cure anemia, alleviate stomach cramps and prevent infection. During World War II, when cases of trench mouth and whooping cough reached epidemic levels in the U.S., Grandma administered the rich red wine to each grandchild as a preventative mouthwash and gargle. It must have worked because none of us ever contracted either disease. We did, however, develop a profound liking, in later years, for chianti, cabernet sauvignon and merlot.

Grandpa often walked me to the chicken house to get my fresh egg. He then cracked the egg in a glass, poured in his wine and watched happily as I drank my breakfast. Can you imagine a child today going to school with the smell of hearty burgundy on his or her breath? I shudder to think of the consequences.

As a teenager, I recall the looks of astonishment on the faces of my non-Italian friends as they watched Papa fill my dinner glass with wine. To those who objected, Papa would simply say, “Wine is served in church at the communion rail, is it not? And it was served at the Last Supper.” End of discussion.

Papa’s house was a peaceful one and a place where he felt happiest. He eliminated the extraneous and engaged in living a simple and satisfying lifestyle. His home was well-balanced, filled with the practical things he needed and the people he loved. He had his own quiet corner to which he retreated after a robust meal. It was his belief that the soul sighs after eating a large, traditional dinner and that one should spend time in contemplation and reflection. Papa reflected at least an hour after every meal–the sound of his snoring vibrated though the house.

October has always been my favorite time of the year, when the air is brisk and leaves turn a vibrant rainbow of colors. Papa looked forward to this autumn month, too, but for a different reason. October is the traditional time of year for winemaking. It was then that he assembled paraphernalia and ingredients for the making of his hearty burgundy.

Winemakers on the East Coast had to wait for good winemaking grapes like malaga and zinfandel to come in by rail car from California. But this valley’s winemakers, like Papa, were lucky enough to have the plentiful grapes of the Napa and Almaden valleys practically in their back yards. They only had to arrive in their pick-ups to local vineyards to buy boxes of the finest grapes. Some old-timers nurtured their own tiny grape vineyards for the express purpose of making homemade red wine.

Devoted winemakers, like Papa, usually owned their own grape-crushers, while others rented or borrowed one each fall. After the crush was finished, the juice was poured by funnel into the huge oak barrels that had been cured with sulfur smoke.

Here’s where the talent for good winemaking would come in. One mistake and the winemaker’s barrels would be filled with vinegar instead of wine. But, like Papa, most winemakers had inherited their skills from the Old Country and rarely made a bad batch.

My favorite memory of winemaking was how the family gathered together at the ranch house to help Papa make the wine. The hub of activity was usually in Grandma’s kitchen, where the ladies were hard at work making homemade pastas, sausages, raviolis and hot tomato ketchup, in preparation for a grand October feast. The aroma of roasted bell peppers wafted through the air from Grandma’s hot oven every fall, filling our nostrils with their wonderfully pungent smell.

In the fall, the men in the family gathered in the cellar to cure the wine barrels and to help Papa set up his wine press. Some of the men helped Papa haul in the grapes, others set up the grape-crusher and some cured the oak barrels.

As a child, I remember hearing Papa and Nonna speak of the renowned vineyards of Brolio Castle, the baronial estate of the Ricasoli family, an area famed for its chianti. It is said that wine has been made in this region of Italy since 1000 CE. It was this revered standard of chianti that Papa tried his best to clone.

Years ago, Mama and Papa never had to call in a baby-sitter to watch the kids. There was always an older family member available for this chore. One of my favorite of these family baby-sitters was my great-grandpa, Vincenci. When it was his turn to watch the kids, he’d begin by telling us a long, colorful story of his days as a Cavalry soldier in the Italian army. Along with Granddad’s story, we were also treated to a hot wine drink, similar to zabaione. To keep us occupied after supper, grandpa gathered us all around a crackling fireplace, and as he told his story, he handed us each a large cup. In the cup he placed a raw egg and a teaspoon of sugar. We were then instructed to whip the egg until it was very frothy. By the end of great-grandpa’s exciting tale, our eggs were ready for the boiling water and jigger of marsala wine. After drinking down this rich zabaione toddy, we kids–and great-grandpa–were all ready for a good night’s sleep.

Today, America is having a love affair with wine. And authorities tell us that drinking a glass of red wine a day can increase longevity. But Papa and Nonna, who lived well into their 90s, knew of these benefits early on.

Coffee – Grounds for Joy

4 Nov

Fresh Roasted Harar CoffeeA fig for partridges and quails,
ye dainties I know nothing of ye;
But on the highest mount in Wales
Would choose in peace to drink my coffee.
~Jonathon Swift

Our coffee adventure began when we called up our local coffee roasters to order some of our favorite Mexican coffee and they said that they didn’t roast those beans anymore. So we decided to see what other coffee options were out there.

After reading a lot of info on the internet and tasting many coffees that were roasted by local companies we decided to search for green beans and roast our own.

Home roasting turns out to be a cost-effective luxury; you always get the optimum fresh cup that makes coffee drinking such a profound joy. Having fresh roasted coffee is also a benefit to your health – the roasted coffee you get in stores have been sitting for who knows how long and the beans go rancid after about a week… not good to ingest.

Here are a few tips and insights we have gathered through our coffee learning experience.

Our Favorite Coffee Bean

The beans we love are called Harar Longberry, named after a region where coffee arabica is indigenous and first domesticated, and comes from some of the highest grown bushes in the world (up to 2600m.).It’s one of the world’s most ancient commercially traded coffee, yet still grown and processed exactly as it was five hundred years ago when it first seduced the world. Harrar Longberry is known as the best highland grown Ethiopian Arabica coffee. It has a medium acidity, full body, and winey, gamey, berry flavors …as the roast gets darker, a chocolate flavor comes out.

The coffee bushes are allowed to grow wild and although it doesn’t say so on the sacks, no fertilizer or pesticides are used. The Harar coffee is hand/dry processed. This means that when the beans are ripe, they are picked by hand, dried in the sun and carried to market, where the dried fruit husks are removed by the millstone and the chaff winnowed from the beans by hand. Most commercial plantations use a water method of soaking the beans to loosen the husk and this makes the bean ferment, ultimately making the coffee less tasteful and healthy.

Coffee processing: Dry Vs Wet

The coffee cherry matures for about 5-6 months on the branch.
The cherry must be ripe when picked. At any given time a branch contains ripe and unripe fruit simultaneously. Good quality coffee is hand picked with continuous passes on the same trees.

Dry-process:
The whole ripe coffee cherries are laid out on patios to sun-dry. Then the seed is milled out of the cherry once the moisture content is down to about 12%. This simple ancient method produces a tastier and healthier coffee.

Wet-process:
First the beans are dumped in water tanks. Any overripe cherries, leaves, sticks etc float to the top and are skimmed off. Next the beans travel down a water slide to be de-skinned. Then the seeds, still covered with their pulp, go into tanks to ferment. Then they are once again sent down a water channel to remove the now soft pulp. Now the bean can be dried and packaged.

Roasting

Years ago we found a great home roaster: the Home Innovations Precision Roaster.
We drilled an extra large hole in the lid so we could insert a high temp thermometer to see precisely what temps we preferred for roasting. We found that our favorite roasts are Full City+ (454 f) and Vienna (465 f).
When our roaster finally died we bought Hearthware iRoast2 and it does a great job.

Brewing Methods

We highly recommend using a French press. If you don’t have one, the next best brewer would be either the espresso pot (moka pot) or to make cowboy coffee.

French Press

It’s a cylindrical glass pot that has a plunger attached to the lid so that when you push down on the top of the plunger, it forces a fine wire mesh through to the bottom. You put the ground coffee into the pot, add hot water, and cover with the lid. After the coffee steeps for two minutes, push the plunger down, forcing the grounds to the bottom of the pot while the brewed coffee remains above.

For the French Press, you want a grind that is as fine as possible without letting sediment past the screen. This usually works out to be a tad coarser than filter-drip grind.

Cowboy Coffee

It’s just like the French press method, but without the press. In a pot, boil your water, shut off the heat, take a long breath (or whistle for the cows) and then add the coffee grounds (you may need to add slightly more grounds than usual). After two minutes, pour through a fine strainer and drink.

* French Press and Cowboy coffee methods leave some sediment in the final cup which is unattractive to some folks, but the pay off is you get a much more flavor. If you really dislike sediment, pour the brew through a fine strainer before drinking.

Espresso/Moka Pot

These stovetop brewers produce a dense cup that’s something between espresso and Turkish coffee. The grounds are put into a filter between the lower chamber (that you fill with water) and the upper chamber that will contain the finished beverage after brewing. Since the water is forced through the cake of coffee by pressure, the process bears more resemblance to espresso extraction than gravity-based (infusion) brewing. Use a low to medium flame, which also helps avoid blackening the brewer itself. If you invest in one of these, be sure it is made of stainless steel.

Don’t be a Drip

PLEASE DON’T !!!…
put the coffee in a regular auto-drip coffee maker; due to it’s inability to get the water to the correct brewing temperature (195-200 degrees), it will obliterate the multi-layered flavors that make this kind of coffee a special treat.

Test the Water

We are lucky to have ultra clean well water that’s on the hard side because it makes for an ideal brew. Soft water can make coffee taste dull, muting the good bright flavors in a cup. So, its always safe to use bottled spring water if you have soft water at home or when you are traveling.

To prevent scalding the grounds, boiling water should never come in contact with fresh ground coffee. The ideal brewing temperature, regardless of method, is about 195 – 200 degrees F.

Grounds for Joy

2 heaping tablespoons of ground coffee for each 10 to 12 oz. of water (for each regular mug). This is our preferred measurement, you may find that you like your coffee stronger or weaker than this.
* There is a standard coffee measure scoop used by the Specialty Coffee Association. It is 1 Level scoop that approximates 7.25 grams coffee. Use 1 Scoop per 6-8 oz water.

Drinking Tips

Fresh brewed coffee tastes best within the first 10 minutes.

As you can tell, we really love our coffee. If you are interested in home roasting, We’d be happy to relay any tips we learned through our own roasting experiments.

Happy day to you.
We hope you will have a moment to sit quietly outside and enjoy this special coffee treat.

More Info

Sweet Maria’s
We order beans and bought our Roasters from Sweet Maria’s. They also supply roasters, grinders and all sorts of coffee paraphernalia as well as provide valuable info for coffee lovers and home roasters.

Homeroaster.com

Pictorial Guide to the Roast Process

Tweaking Coffee’s Flavor Chemistry

The Coffee FAQ

A morning without coffee is like sleep. ~Author Unknown

Arugula – Rocket Power

23 May

Arugula – Rocket power your own protean transformation to a healthy vibrant life.

Chance favors the prepared mind – Louis Pasteur

Last winter we scattered chance seeds in our garden.

Chance seeds being the variety of seed that defies titles and demands that us gardeners employ our curiosity and bestowe our gift of providence upon them. We obligingly plant them in our garden without the slightest notion of what?? they are.

Weeks of precious water, manure tea, and a few zany dances around their plot; upbeat big 80’s dance music like ABC or Culture Club works well in this situation (Karma Chameleon, yeah!). Why? Because plants love happy gardeners.

Soon, they revealed themselves. Spiky, thin, dark green leaves with a pungent, sweet and slightly sweaty aroma. It’s unmistakable: wild Arugula, a.k.a. Arugula Selvatica, has taken over our garden.

Wild Arugula
Our beyond Organic Arugula
“Maybe arugula can only compensate
For all the cards you were dealt at the hands of fate”

(we took artistic license with “How to Be a Millionaire” lyrics by ABC)

This is not your common supermarket variety Arugula (Eruca sativa) . Selvatica has an intense and potent flavor. This taste alone may elevate your spirit to a higher plane. You laugh,but we dare you to try it for yourself.

We love to infuse extra virgin olive oil with our wild arugula.
We also eat copious amounts of arugula in salads, burritos, with dutch oven chicken, and as a main ingredient in pesto.
Wild Arugula Pesto Wild Arugula, Boy George, Mr T

  • 1/2 Cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 Cloves of our Beyond Organic Elephant Garlic, peeled
  • 2 Cups Wild Arugula
  • 1/4 cup toasted Pinon Nuts
  • 2 Dashes of Tapatio hot Sauce
  • 4 TBSP Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup freshly grated, parmigiano reggiano (*see note below)
  • 1 dash of Kelp granules

Mr. T Says, “I Pity the Fool who don’t eat Arugula!”

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.
It will keep for at least a week in the refrigerator, although we prefer to eat it fresh.
Eat this twice a week and soon you will realize that you are well on the path to happiness.

Wild Arugula Salad

  • 1 Cup Wild Arugula (10 + leaves)
  • 2 TBSP Italian Parsley (diced)
  • 1 Cup Cilantro (diced)
  • 4 to 5 Yu Choy leaves and stems (chopped)
  • 1/2 large Cucumber (sliced thin)
  • 1/4 sweet onion (diced)

Salad Dressing

Blend the following:

  • 1 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 2 TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 TBSP White Miso
  • 2 cloves Garlic (grated)
  • Dash of Black Pepper

Heres the background info:

Arugula is known by many names: Brassica Eruca L. Arugula, Eruca vesicaria, Eruca sativa, Arugula Selvatica, arugula sylvatica, garden rocket, aeruca rocket, eruka psevnaya (Russian), oruga (Spanish), jaramago (Spanish), rocket gentle, rucola gentile(Italian), ruchetta (Italian), rucchetta selvatica or rucola selvatica (Italian), rockette (French), krapkool (Flemish), roketa, Roman rocket, ruke (German), salad rocket, sciatica cress, shinlock…

Arugula has been cultivated since Roman times. The Romans used the leaves in salads and used the seeds to make aromatic oils. Arugula seed has been a frequent ingredient in aphrodisiac potions since the first century.

Arugula is a cruciferous vegetable, containing cancer-fighting phytochemicals called indoles. Arugula is also good source of Protein, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Pantothenic Acid, Zinc and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Manganese.

Informative Links:

Arugula Selvatica

NOTE*: Our original pesto recipe included Locatelli brand of romano cheese.
We’ve been informed that Locatelli is a well known italian dairy giant with lots of chemical issues in the past. We have NO idea what they could concoct for US export. It’s been suggested that they would make the cheese out of evaporated excess milk stocks.
We now use certified 100% Parmigiano Peggiano cheese. NOT Grana Padano brand; it’s way toxic. Even though it’s more expensive, real Parmigiano Reggiano is made with raw milk, grass-fed cows and limited drugs and hormones. All the “lookalike” Parmesans like Grana and such collect all the pussy residues of the mass dairy market.
If you love Romano cheese and want a healthy alternative to Locatelli, real Pecorino Romano comes in a black peel (goat’s milk) and can be found in cheese specialty shops.