VZ 097: How to Shop Smart at a Farmers Market

Vegetarian Zen Podcast episode 097 - How to Shop Smart at a Farmers Market http://www.vegetarianzen.com

http://media.blubrry.com/vegetarian_zen/p/traffic.libsyn.com/vegetarianzen/Vegetarian_Zen_097___Shopping_Smart.mp3   In this episode of the Vegetarian Zen Podcast we’ll be discussing how to shop smart at farmers markets.  These venues are a great place to shop for fresh, local veggies and fruits, plus scratch-made breads and pastries, jams and jellies, honey, soap, and lots more. Shopping at a fresh market is very different […]

VZ 096: Growing the Future with Heirloom Seeds and Plants

Vegetarian Zen Podcast Episode 096 - Growing the Future with Heirloom Seeds & Plants http://www.vegetarianzen.com

http://media.blubrry.com/vegetarian_zen/p/traffic.libsyn.com/vegetarianzen/Vegetarian_Zen_096___What_are_Heirlo.mp3   In this episode of the Vegetarian Zen podcast we’ll be continuing with our spring gardening theme and talking about heirloom plants and seeds. The word “heirloom” means a treasured possession that has remained in a family for generations.  In today’s episode you’ll learn why seeds need to be treasured and preserved more than […]

The seed has no idea of being some particular plant, but it has its own form and is in perfect harmony with the ground, with its surroundings … and there is no trouble.  This is what we mean by naturalness.

Shrunyu Suzuki
(from Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind)

Winning Combination: Rogers Family Company Organic Coffee + Silly Cow Farms Hot Chocolate = Silly Coffee!

Silly Coffee  http://www.vegetarianzen.com

I usually have at least one cup of coffee in the afternoon.  Today I was craving chocolate as well.

As the Keurig was brewing a cup of my fave, Rogers Family Company’s San Francisco Bay Organic Rainforest Blend, I wandered to the pantry in search of a treat.  A bottle of Silly Cow Farms Hot Chocolate mix caught my eye, and Silly Coffee was born.

It’s not a cafe mocha or mocha latte…espresso and steamed milk don’t make an appearance.  Just a freshly-brewed cup of organic coffee and a tablespoon or two of Silly Cow Farms hot chocolate mix, plus my normal coffee fixin’s — a little fresh, homemade almond milk (click the link to learn how to make your own!) and a little extra unrefined cane sugar.

I like Silly Cow because it’s made with natural cane sugar, Grand Cacao, and Dutch-process cocoa powder, and without a lot of extra processed ingredients.  To increase the awesomeness, they offer 9 flavors of hot chocolate mix:

  • Chocolate Caramel & Sea Salt
  • Chocolate Maple
  • Chocolate Marshmallow Swirl
  • Chocolate Moo-Usse
  • Chocolate Peppermint Twist
  • Chocolate Pumpkin Spice
  • Chocolate Truffle
  • Chocolate Udderly Milk Chocolate
  • Chocolate-Chocolate

And I love Rogers Family Company organic coffees for so many reasons…in fact, check out Vegetarian Zen Podcast Episode 093: Coffee Talk with Vickie and Larissa to learn all about them!





10 Ways to Enjoy Pecans on National Pecan Day (or ANY Day!)

Happy National Pecan Day

Happy National Pecan Day!   Was there life before pecans?  Many Southerners might argue against it!  Although Native populations had been eating and trading pecans for centuries, Europeans did not learn about them until Spanish explorer Cabeza da Vaca described them in the early 16th century.  There was no Spanish word for this tasty discovery, so […]

Quick Tip Tuesday: Freeze Bananas!

Freeze Bananas Quick Tip Tuesday  http://www.vegetarianzen.com

We’ve all done it…gotten overly-ambitious at the banana bin of the produce section.  Boy, these bananas look terrific!  Of course I’ll eat 12 of them before they get mushy!  And then…

Three days later there are still eight bananas hanging on the banana-hook thingy…and you’re officially sick of bananas.

So now you have three options:

You can choke down 8 bananas before they go bad, probably in the next 2-3 days,

Quick Tip Tuesday: Freeze Bananas  http://www.vegetarianzen.com

OR you can let the bananas hang until they pass the point of no return and then toss them…and be riddled with guilt every time you see them there, looking so sad and blackish,

Quick Tip Tuesday: Freeze Extra Bananas  http://www.vegetarianzen.com

OR you can FREEZE ‘EM!

Frozen bananas make excellent smoothies or ice cream.  It’s so simple:

  1. Make sure your bananas aren’t too far gone.  In other words, if they’re leaking out of their skins, it’s too late.  Compost them instead!  If they’re too mushy but not liquefied, you may want to make banana bread with them.
  2. Bananas should be peeled before freezing.  Trust me on this one…I’ve tried removing the peel from a frozen banana, and you don’t want to do it.
  3. Cut or break the peeled banana into bite-sized chunks.  Whole frozen bananas are not very blender-friendly.
  4. Place the chunks in a freezer bag or other container suitable for freezing.  If the pieces are kind of “sticky”, freeze bananas in a single layer on a cookie sheet first, and then move to a bag or container for storage.
  5. Stash in the freezer until needed.

Use your frozen banana chunks in smoothies just as you would fresh bananas.  The great thing is that the frozen bananas will also serve as ice cubes, which will help maintain a thicker consistency to your smoothie without diluting it with ice!

Question: Do you freeze your extra bananas? What do you use them for? You can leave a comment by clicking here.



VZ 095: A Guide to Eco-Friendly Home Furnishings

Vegetarian Zen Podcast Episode -VZ095 - Eco-Friendly Home Furnishings http://www.vegetarianzen.com

http://media.blubrry.com/vegetarian_zen/p/traffic.libsyn.com/vegetarianzen/Vegetarian_Zen_095___Eco-Friendly_Ho.mp3   In this episode of the Vegetarian Zen Podcast we offer tips to make your home eco-friendly.  First, we let you know why “traditionally-made” furnishings such as furniture, mattresses, pillows, and linens fall short on the sustainability spectrum. Next, we let you know what to look for when shopping; things like ecologically-harvested wood, bamboo […]

Fewer and fewer Americans possess objects that have a patina, old furniture, grandparents pots and pans / the used things, warm with generations of human touch, essential to a human landscape. Instead, we have our paper phantoms, transistorized landscapes. A featherweight portable museum.

Susan Sontag

Quick Tip Tuesday: DIY Non-Toxic Insecticidal Soap Spray

Last year I bought a lovely little butterfly weed plant.  It’s been sitting in a pot on our back patio.  Not too much growth, and occasionally it will put forth a few blooms.

butterfly weed  http://www.vegetarianzen.com

This year, to my delight, it has started sprouting lots of new leaf growth at the base.  Yay!  Unfortunately, it also started attracting a TON of orange aphids.  At first I panicked, but after a little research and a lot of plant and aphid observation, I realized that they really weren’t doing any harm.  And all was well.

orange aphids   http://www.vegetarianzen.com

Until…I started to notice brown, curling, sickly-looking leaves.  A peek underneath revealed that these guys had joined the party:

whiteflies & brown aphids  http://www.vegetarianzen.com

Whiteflies and brown aphids.  And they don’t know how to play nice.

I try to keep my gardening as organic and chemical-free as possible, so I didn’t want to use a commercial, chemical-laden pesticide.  Insecticidal soaps (also called horticultural soaps) are a nice, chemical-free alternative to strong pesticide products.  These soaps are generally effective on soft-bodied insects including aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, thrips, and whiteflies.

While there are commercially-made insecticidal soaps available, it can also be made at home…with some cautions:

  • Use a natural, gentle, unscented soap, such as Dr. Bronner’s castille soap. Avoid using dish detergents or hand soaps.
  • Use filtered water (I use water from my Brita pitcher).  Using hard water can reduce the efficacy of the mixture.

For any insecticidal soaps, commercial or DIY, always observe the following precautions:

  • Always test the spray on a few leaves first.  Spray thoroughly, wait at least an hour, then check for signs of wilting or browned edges.
  • Spray the plant well with water several hours after applying the soap mixture to remove any residue.  Using a strong spray of water will also remove the dead pests.
  • Spray and rinse plants early in the morning, before the sun hits them full-strength.  Strong sun hitting soap-sprayed leaves can result in burning.
  • Avoid using on beans, peas, cucumbers, gardenias, ferns, succulents, ivy, tomatoes, azaleas, lantana, and waxy-leaf plants.

And one SuperCaution: if you are trying to encourage butterflies to visit your garden, please always check milkweeds (butterfly weed is a milkweed) and other plants that butterflies utilize for food and egg-laying before spraying with insecticidal soap.  It will harm caterpillars and butterfly larvae!!

DIY Insecticidal Soap Ingredients  http://www.vegetarianzen.com

To make insecticidal soap spray:

  • 1 quart filtered water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pure, unscented soap
  • 3-4 drops orange essential oil (optional, but adds insect repelling properties due to the phytochemical limonene which is found in citrus fruits)

Combine all ingredients in a quart jar or other large container.  Pour into a spray bottle for use (store extra in a tightly-closed glass jar).  Be sure to clearly mark both the sprayer and storage jar.

To use: Spray infested leaves thoroughly, being sure to wet the undersides well.  Allow to sit for a couple of hours before spraying the plant well with fresh water.  Repeat whenever you see pests return.

Question: Do you have any tips for natural, chemical-free garden pest control? Share them in the comments section below! You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Finding Vegan Vitamins Can Be Hard. Vegan Cuts Makes It Easy!

Vegan Cuts
April 6, 2015

Vegan Cuts Vegan Vitamins Supplement Box  http://www.vegetarianzen.com

Many vitamins and supplements on the market are not vegan-friendly.  Gel caps often contain animal-derived gelatin and the supplements themselves may have inactive ingredients that are not plant-based.

Luckily, Vegan Cuts has taken some of the guesswork out of buying vitamins and supplements that will fit into the vegan lifestyle. Their Vegan Vitamin Essentials Box contains the following items:

To add to the awesomeness, shipping is FREE to the United States!  Take a moment to check out the vegan vitamins and supplements in the Vegan Vitamin Essentials Box from Vegan Cuts today!