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Volume 35, No. 3

Vegetarian Mexican Lasagna

Prep & Cook time: 
45 minutes
Ingredients & Amounts: 

10-15 flour tortillas (I like whole wheat)
2 16 oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 to 1 12 oz. container vegan sour cream (I like Tofutti brand sour supreme)
1/2 large cooking onion, finely chopped
2 green bell peppers, finely chopped
1 to 2 red or yellow bell peppers, finely chopped
a few hot peppers (optional), diced
2 portabella mushrooms, finely chopped
3 to 4 cloves garlic (or more) minced
1 packet vegan taco seasoning
chili powder (optional)
salt and pepper
olive oil (for cooking veggies)
hot sauce (optional)

Directions: 

Heat oil in large frying pan or wok.
Add onion, garlic, and peppers and cook on medium heat until they begin to soften.
Add mushroom and continue cooking until veggies are tender and there is some liquid in pan.
While cooking, add chili powder, salt, and pepper to taste.
While veggies are cooking, mash up black beans with back of fork or potato masher until pasty.
Some whole beans can still be present.
Add sour supreme by large spoonfuls and mix with beans until mixture is creamy. You may use 1/2 whole container
depending how creamy you like it.
Add taco seasoning to bean sour supreme mixture and stir until thoroughly combined.
If you really like spice, add a little hot sauce.

Grease the bottom of a 9x13 inch casserole dish and arrange tortillas so that entire bottom of dish is covered.
Tortillas can overlap, but feel free to cut them to fit.
Spoon out half of cooked veggies and spread them on top of tortillas. Trying not to use liquidy part.
Arrange another layer of tortillas on top of veggies and spread bean sour supreme mixture on top.
Arrange another layer of tortillas and pour remaining veggies and cooking liquid on top. Using the liquidy part of the cooked veggies for the last layer allows it to seep down and flavor the whole casserole.
Arrange a final layer of tortillas for top of casserole.

Place in oven and bake for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Allowing casserole to cool for a few minutes before cutting will make it much easier to cut.

Thank you to: VegetarianRecipies.org

Food Category: 
Casserole
Dietary Restrictions (check all that apply): 
Egg Free
High Fiber
High Protein
Low Glycemic Index
Low Sugar
Peanut Free
Tree Nut Free
Vegetarian
Servings: 
6 - 8

USDA Defines Food Deserts

Food deserts are defined  as parts of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas. This is largely due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy food providers.

'Fresh' Squeezed?

The leading orange juice companies such as Tropicana (owned by PepsiCo), Minute Maid and Simply Orange (owned by Coca-Cola), and Florida’s Natural tell us many stories about orange juice: it’s natural, it’s pure and simple, it’s squeezed from oranges grown on pristine looking trees in Florida. But they leave out the details about how most commercial orange juice is produced and processed. Considering roughly two thirds of US households buy orange juice, Americans have a right to the whole story.

Roasted Acorn Squash Salad

Ingredients & Amounts: 

2 medium-size acorn squash, halved and seeded
Grated zest of 1 orange
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely minced crystallized ginger
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
5 ounces organic mixed greens
1 to 2 tablespoons walnut oil
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1/3 cup toasted walnut pieces

Directions: 

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.

Place the acorn squash halves on a baking sheet, cut sides down. Roast until the squash is tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, 30 to 45 minutes depending on the size of the squash. Set aside to cool.

Combine the orange zest, juice, maple syrup, olive oil, and crystallized ginger in a clean glass jar. Seal tightly and shake vigorously to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set the dressing aside at room temperature while you finish the salad.

When cool, remove the flesh of the squash from the skins and cut into cubes. Transfer to a medium-size bowl and add the dressing, tossing gently to combine. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes so that the squash can absorb the dressing, or refrigerate for up to 3 hours.

To serve, place the greens in a large bowl and toss with just enough walnut oil to coat the leaves lightly. Transfer the greens to a serving platter and top with the marinated squash. Sprinkle with the parsley and walnuts, and serve.
A simple dressing made with ginger, maple, and orange adds flavor and zest to this salad featuring tender roasted acorn squash and lively mixed baby greens.

Thank you Earthbound Farms
 

Food Category: 
Salad
Dietary Restrictions (check all that apply): 
Dairy Free
Egg Free
High Fiber
Low Cholesterol
Low Sodium
Peanut Free
Soy Free
Vegan
Vegetarian
Servings: 
4

Pumpkin Smoothie

Prep & Cook time: 
40 minutes
Ingredients & Amounts: 

2 c. canned organic pumpkin
Organic agave nectar or honey, to taste
1/2 c. organic rice milk, raw or organic (preferably raw) milk
Dash vanilla extract
1/2 c. vanilla yogurt
1 1/2 c. crushed ice or ice cubes
1 T. pumpkin pie spice
Organic whipped cream
1/2 lemon, juiced cinnamon sticks (optional)

Directions: 

In a blender, combine pumpkin, milk, yogurt, pumpkin spice, juice of half a lemon, agave nectar or honey to taste, and vanilla extract.
Blend together until smooth, and begin adding the ice while continuing to blend.
When mixture is thick and creamy, stop and hold in refrigerator at least 30 minutes.
Top with whipped cream and garnish with cinnamon sticks. Serve.
Make sure you add enough sweetener or it will be bitter!  Of course use organic ingredients whenever possible.

Thank you Green Halloween

Dietary Restrictions (check all that apply): 
High Fiber
Low Sodium
Peanut Free
Soy Free
Tree Nut Free
Vegetarian
Servings: 
4

Drunken Chunky Apples

Prep & Cook time: 
1 hours
Ingredients & Amounts: 

5 lbs organic apples - [Don't use all one type, try mixing varieties Macintosh, Granny Smith, Honey Crisp. Fuji, etc.]
Fruit Juice
Cinnamon
Nutmeg
 
Optional Mix-ins
Chopped nuts [walnuts, almonds, pine nuts]
Chopped fruit [pineapple chunks, orange chunks, pomegranate seed]
Raisins
Cranberries
Rum

Directions: 

Cut apples into generous chunks, leave skin on.
Put apples into large stock pot
Add any of the optional mix-ins, (except raisins)
Pour in fruit juice, to cover approx. 20% - 25% of apples
Add 2 tablespoons of cinnamon
Add 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
Cook on low heat, approx. 30 - 45 minutes, stirring occasional.  If using raisins, stir in for the last 10 minutes of cooking.
Remove from heat when the apples begin to soften.
Can be served warm or cold.  Chilled, makes a refreshing Fall desert.
Can be topped with granola for extra crunch
 
Notes:
Can also be prepared in a slow cooker
If you wish a more adult desert, add rum (about 1/2 - 3/4 cup) after removing from heat, to retain the alcohol content. 
Remember to warn your guests!
 

Food Category: 
Dessert
Salad
Dietary Restrictions (check all that apply): 
Dairy Free
Egg Free
High Fiber
Low Cholesterol
Low Sodium
Vegan
Vegetarian
Servings: 
4 - 6

Vaccine Safety

Worry over vaccine risks continue to be an issue, even becoming fodder for the Presidential candidates.  A just released analysis, by the Institute of Medicine, of more than 1,000 research articles claims that few health problems are caused by or clearly associated with vaccines. 

Bee Decline

Scientists are investigating a possible link between tiny particles of pollution found in diesel fumes and the global collapse of honey bee colonies.

Professor Guy Poppy, an ecologist, Dr Tracey Newman, a neuroscientist, and their team from the University of Southampton, believe that minuscule particles, or ‘nanoparticles’, emitted from diesel engines could be affecting bees’ brains and damaging their inbuilt ‘sat-navs’. They believe this may stop worker bees finding their way back to the hive.

Win for Organic Farm

Does anyone remember the case of Percy Schmeiser, a Canadian farmer who was sued by Monsanto  after the company's Roundup Ready canola had drifted onto his farm without him knowing about or wanting it? A new case in Minnesota could be just the opposite scenario: Oluf and Debra Johnson say that pesticides from surrounding conventional farms have been wafting onto their 1500-acre organic farm—damaging their crop and impacting their profits. A court has now ruled that the Johnsons can sue to recover their losses for this illegal contamination.

Blood Pressure Gene

In one of the largest genomics studies ever, an international research consortium that includes the National Institutes of Health has identified 29 genetic variations across 28 regions of the human genome that influence blood pressure. This unprecedented effort brought together more than 230 researchers across six continents and scanned the genomes of over 200,000 people. The results will appear in the Sept. 11 edition of Nature Genetics.

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