Sunday, March 30, 2014

Giving Thanks for Winter Squash

"Of the nearly 500 colonists living at Jamestown in the fall of 1609, only 60 remained by the spring of 1610. This period is remembered as "the starving time". The following year remaining colonists redoubled their efforts to grow enough food. They had only the seeds of English plants that were not well adapted to the heat of the Virginia summer.

Tribes of New England were well entrenched in growing winter squash, which became known by the colonists as "vegetable marrow". The first Thanksgiving featured various hard shell squash and pumpkins grown by the Indians. The colonists quickly saw the wisdom in cultivating a plant that was native to the area yielding fruits that could be stored in a cellar for much of the winter.

The best way to get a real time feel for how the first colonists grew their own food is to visit Colonial Williamsburg. This living history museum at Williamsburg, Virginia shows visitors just how these gardens were set up to feed a family. This was done without garden centers and hardware stores, using only what they could find in their New World home.

Vegetable Gardening

Gardening in the 18th century has changed little from how we cultivate organic backyard vegetables today. A truly inspirational book lays it out for us from paling fences to crops and cloches. Vegetable Gardening: The Colonial Williamsburg Way (Rodale, $30), by Wesley Greene helps you get a real feel for what it was like to garden on a primitive homestead. The title page states "18th Century Methods for Today's Organic Gardeners" proves little has changed here except that we thankfully don't have to tote buckets of water to keep our plants alive. The natural simplicity of these early American gardens created with little more than natural soil, animal manures and plant materials reminds us we are a nation rooted in agriculture, blending the Old World plants with New World natives for the richest heritage on earth.

Photos by: Barbara Temple Lombardi

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Meatless Monday Roundup: 4 Savory Quiche Recipes

crustless quiche

If you’re looking for a quick and easy recipe for a Monday night supper, quiches are where it’s at. Be they crustless frittatas, vegan, eggless tarts or a more traditional quiche recipe, all you need is one bowl and one tart pan, and dinner’s on the table. This Meatless Monday, try out some of our favorite savory tart and quiche recipes.

For a vegan option, the mini crustless quiches, depicted above, are perfect. A variety of vegetables and herbs come together with a silken tofu-based filling for a quiche that everyone will love. For dinner, serve a few alongside a green salad. But these mini quiches also make a great appetizer or passed hors d’oeuvre for a party. Feel free to change up the variety of vegetables to suit the season.

Onion and Cheese Tart

Photo courtesy of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board

Nutty gruyère cheese and sweet-and-savory onions make up the base of this delicious tart. Thyme and nutmeg add just the right amount of spice to the dish. Choose local organic gruyère from Wisconsin to make this onion and gruyère tart.

spinach tart

Image: Isabelle Palatin

This spinach and feta tart is full of vitamin-rich leafy greens. To make it slightly lighter than other similar tarts, the base of this one is made with Greek yogurt instead of the more typical cream. Feta, with its strong flavor, can be used sparingly.

asparagus, red pepper and potato frittata

Image courtesy of AllWhites/ARA

A frittata is similar to an Italian omelette, but it’s also a great substitute for a crustless quiche. Our version, with asparagus, red pepper and potato, is hearty and flavorful. If you didn’t jar your own spring asparagus, you can also use another vegetable, like Swiss chard or spinach, while you wait for them to come back into season.

Top Image: Regan Jones

Related on Organic Authority:

Meatless Monday Roundup: 4 Vegetarian Pasta Recipes

Meatless Monday Roundup: 4 Autumn Hors D’oeuvres Recipes

Meatless Monday Roundup: 5 French Recipes

View the original article here

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Food Babe:1 Chick-fil-A: 0—Chain Changes Ingredients After Blogger Pressure


Chick-fil-A, the popular fast food chain, has announced that it will immediately begin removing ingredients, including high fructose corn syrup and artificial food colors, found in many of its menu items.

The decision reportedly comes after Vani Hari, the blogger behind, put pressure on the chain because many of its sandwiches contained close to 100 ingredients, reports the Huffington Post. The controversial ingredients pointed out by Hari include peanut oil with TBHQ (a chemical made from butane), artificial colors, flavors, and high fructose corn syrup, which has been linked with the nation’s obesity and diabetes epidemic.

“The fast-food chicken chain says the reformulated buns are being tested in about 200 Georgia locations, while the sauces and dressings will be tested starting early next year,” reports the Post. “It says it also removed a yellow dye from its chicken soup and that the new recipe should be in all restaurants by the end of this month.”

Hari first targeted the chain in 2011 with a post entitled “Chick-fil-A or Chemical Fil-A?” After seeing the post, Chick-fil-A executives invited Hari to their headquarters to discuss making improvements to the menu. “They took my concerns and started developing a road map of how to address them,” Hari told the Post. While recent labeling laws in Washington state and California failed to pass at the polls, the decision by Chick-fil-A is a welcome victory for Hari and bloggers of all kind—highlighting the power of the internet and social media as tools capable of creating major improvements in our food supply.

Chick-fil-A has been battling image issues in recent years. The chain has been involved in a lawsuit with a Vermont t-shirt company over use of the slogan “eat more kale,” which the chain says infringes on its “eat more chikin” slogan (in ads featuring cows with spelling challenges). The chain was also recently called out over anti-gay comments made by founder Truett Cathy.

Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

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Hey Chick-Fil-A: Kale Isn’t Chikin!

Image: alberthuynphoto

View the original article here

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Modern Fire for Outdoor Spaces

Add a fire pit pool side for a warm glow during a late night swim or cocktail party.

The reflection of flames along the water will add to the ambiance in your backyard. Paloform’s Miso is made of handcast concrete, topped with river rock or lava rock for a natural accent near the pool.

Learn about all of Paloform's firepit products.

View the original article here

Friday, March 14, 2014

5 Exercise Tips for Maintaining Motivation in the Freezing Cold

running shoes

It’s easy to run, walk, hike, and boot camp it up to your heart’s content when the sun is shining and it’s 70 degrees outside, but when the temperature drops and the skies turn gray, exercise becomes a task. Even still, exercise is as important to your overall health in the winter as it is in the summer. Need to stay motivated to exercise during the upcoming winter? Here’s how:

1. Invest in the right cold weather exercise gear.

It’s about finding the perfect balance of clothing when it’s cold outside. Layers are key to exercising in the winter. Exercise generates heat, but if you wear layers you can start to remove them as you warm up. Avoid cotton, which stays wet next to your skin. Instead, put on a thin layer of synthetic material like polypropylene to draw sweat away from the body. Also, protect your hands and head with gloves and a hat. When you’re warm enough, the sun might as well be shining.

2. Train for a race.

Training for a race is a great way to stay motivated during the winter. For one, there’s excitement at the end of the sometimes dark tunnel of winter. Additionally, you’ve already paid for something which is all the more motivation to get it done. Take it a step further and plan to run a race as part of a larger vacation. This way you’ll have the motivation of the race and excitement of planning a trip altogether. One winter, my husband and I trained to run a marathon in Hawaii. We ran throughout the winter in Washington, DC and had the continual motivation of an Hawaiian carrot.

3. Get a trainer.

Hiring a trainer during the winter months may be worth the cost. Again, your wallet can be motivation and at the same time you have someone that you’re forced to answer to if you snooze your alarm clock an hour past your morning workout.

4. Try hot yoga.

Hot yoga is a great workout and the winter is the perfect time to give it a try. In Bikram Yoga, the room is heated up between 113 and 117 degrees Fahrenheit. Enthusiasts claim it promotes cellular metabolism, detoxification, and allows the muscles to open up. Other forms of yoga heat the room up but usually not as warm as Bikram. It’s a good way to turn up the heat and detox when it’s cold outside.

5. Change your mind.

Instead of viewing winter as a cold, dark season when you’re stuck inside, change your perspective. Enjoy the solitude of this quiet season and use this time to revisit your exercise goals.

Related on Organic Authority:
Does the Best Time of Day to Exercise Exist?
Zumba: Is It the Exercise Routine for You?
The Big Debate: Treadmill vs. Outdoor Running

Image: ishtar

View the original article here

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Warming Winter Vegan Smoothie Recipe with Maca and Raw Chocolate

chocolate smoothie

It’s true, smoothies really are a summery treat. The cold creaminess. It’s straw-worthy sipping that keeps you cool while delivering potent nutrients either for breakfast, lunch or as a snack (dinner smoothies work too). Come winter, though, and we opt for heavier foods. Pancakes for breakfast. Or oatmeal. Big bowls of soup for lunch. Warm coffee and teas with pastries for snacks…And the blender sits in the cabinet waiting for the weather to break. Bust it out though, because this smoothie recipe will warm you up for winter and keep you healthy, too.

This smoothie recipe can be made cold or warm. It’s a chocolate base, so if you heat it up, it’s like a hot chocolate with a superfood punch!

Makes 2 large smoothies


6 cups nondairy milk, water or tea
1 banana (raw or frozen)
handful of raw nuts (I love Brazil nuts in here but any kind will do)
3 tablespoons raw chocolate powder
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons hemp seeds
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon maca powder
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup (a bit more if you have a sweet tooth, but not too much!)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon each: dried ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom
pinch sea salt and cayenne pepper


Add all ingredients to your blender and process until smooth.

Note: If you’re making this into a warm smoothie, take precaution when blending hot liquids as heat expands. The heat will push everything up and blow the top off of your blender! So, if you have a low setting, start there. Also, take the plug of the lid out if you have that option so the air can escape.
Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

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Image: jamieanne

View the original article here

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Jell-O Salad and 6 Other Freaky Holiday Foods


Think back to your first Jell-O salad. A bright green, gelatinous mold, studded with neon orange mandarines and a dusting of shredded coconut sits shaking in the center of the table. You stared, slightly concerned, but everyone around you seemed excited to dig in anyway.

You know the traditions, and quite frankly, come this time of year, aren’t you glad some of the classic holiday dishes have died?

While many of us have moved on from gelatinous orbs and aspics to more wholesome and local items, these vintage dishes somehow stick with us–a memory of holidays past. In honor of all that we hope not to see on the table over the holidays, here is a round-up of quintessential vintage foods (and ingredients) that we are more than happy to live without this time of the year. Or any time of the year for that matter.

1. Jell-O Salad

Nothing says happy holidays like a multi-tiered neon construction of gelatin. Yum. Note to anyone hosting: Jell-Osalad does not help plan a party.


2. Tropical Hams

While the sweet and savory combination pleases many, and is the base for numerous delicious recipes, there’s just something weird about the addition of pineapple and a maraschino cherry on top of ham.

miracle whip

3. Fruit Desserts with Miracle Whip

Why anyone ever opted for anything other than regular whipped cream is beyond me. And no, you don’t want canned peaches with that.


4. Aspic

Nope, nobody goes back for seconds on a round ring of meat stock or consommé in a gelatin ring.


5. Molded Cranberry Salad (and anything else involving gelatin)

Wouldn’t some fresh cranberries be much simpler?


6. Cheese and Sausage Appetizers

It’s like someone tried to do a nice European fondue, but it all just went horribly wrong.


7. Coleslaw… Served in Cabbage

While a nice bit of raw cabbage can be good for any holiday meal, and using an edible serving devise is certainly an eco-friendly option, a coleslaw in a cabbage is quite simply just a little off-putting.

Related on Organic Authority:

Pink Lemonade Vodka Jello Shots

The New Jell-o Mold: Jiggle Chic for the Holidays

Trans Fats Out: 5 Processed Foods Impacted By the FDA Ban

Images: genibee, Thoth God of Knowledge, amy_b, Classic Film, Thoth God of Knowledge, jbcurio, Thoth God of Knowledge, Classic Film

View the original article here

Monday, March 3, 2014

Let there be Night

In the beginning of residential landscape lighting, there was fire. Granted, our Middle Stone Age kin used it primarily for tasks—such as to cook any carrion picked up earlier that day. But as the clan dined alfresco, the fires’ warm tones set a mood. The orange and red hues cast a flattering glow on the Pleistocene hominid complexion; and while the fires’ stark contrast against the black night pointed up a lack of enhancing secondary fixtures—e.g., floodlights filtering down like moonlight through the leaves of a Japanese maple—the twinkling sparks and glowing embers lent a decidedly festive touch.

Far Left: For a Villanova, Pennsylvania, allée of linden trees, Janet Moyer used stake-mounted adjustable halogen lights: 20-watts for the trunks and 50-watts aimed up at the canopy.

Near Left: Uplit roses resemble festive string lights.

View the original article here