August 25, 2010

early Babi women

i am hoping others will be awe-inspired and reflect on the post from a blog that wrote about early Babi women: strawberryface: footnotes.  my thoughts are centered on the unimaginable yet real story of what women in general, but specifically these first believers in the Bab, have endured at the hands of oppressors throughout history.

i am a woman who always wondered what life in general was like for women at different periods and places in time..even now. it is true, as the strawberry-face author explains, that women are not the ones writing history, and we are left out of history. it is written by men, for men. it rarely touches, if at all, on any reality of what women's lives experience in general, let alone in the face of war and tyranny.

thank you, strawberry-face, for touching my heart with the story of the early Babi women which was beautifully described by Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Baha'i Faith in God Passes By.   i am certain that the women of this Age will continue to arise to capture history from a woman's perspective.

August 10, 2010

Recipes: ALKALINE dishes for dinner

main ingredients: onion, garlic, ginger, hot peppers and lemon
I received some requests for recipes while posting about our alkaline diet on Facebook.  Our family has been enjoying a wide variety of meals that include no gluten, no sugar, and no dairy, as well as any other condiments that are considered acidic to the blood.  At the end of this post is a list of alkaline and acidic foods.

Here are a few recipes for those who are interested in a delicious meal that is abundant with nutrition and flavor:

SWISS CHARD/TUNA FISH STEW:
1/4 c. butter
1-2 onions, chopped finely
3-5 garlic cloves, chopped finely
1 T. shredded ginger
1-2 tomatoes, chopped finely
1 big bunch of swiss chard, chopped finely
2 carrots, shredded
1-2 cans tuna fish (in oil preferably)
3-4 T. curry powder
2-3 T. coriander powder
1 t. turmeric
1/2 t. cayenne pepper
salt/pepper to taste
1/2 t. hing (if you have it; if not, it's fine)

Saute onions, then garlic&ginger in butter.  Add tomatoes once soft.  Add spices then enough water to make a stew for the swiss chard, carrots and tuna fish.  Cook at low heat for about 15 minutes.  Do not overcook chard; let it stay bright green.  This is a beautiful, yummy dish!
** canned beans (drained) easily substitute for the tuna fish; we often eat it this way as well :)


BASMATI RICE -- Persian style:
3c. basmati rice
3 T. salt
2 medium potatoes, sliced
1 t. turmeric
1-2 cloves crushed garlic (optional)
1/3-1/2c. oil
2c. black-eyed peas or frozen peas

soak the rice in enough water that it is covered by 3cm for at least 1 hour.  boil for 4 minutes and then strain.  pour enough oil back in the pot to cover well.  lay the potato slices side by side on the bottom and sprinkle with salt and a little turmeric.

start piling the rice into the pot, a couple of big spoonfuls at a time, alternating with a big spoonful of the frozen peas or cooked black-eyed peas*.  with each layering, sprinkle salt and a little turmeric.  when finished, pour about a 1/4c. or so of oil on top and if you like garlic, add taht as well.  put the lid on and cook on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes.  turn the heat to low and cook for at least 5 minutes -- it may take up to 15 minutes, depending on how well the rice was cooked.

when finished cooking, stir the veggies and rice altogether and then dump it into a big bowl.  the bottom fried layer is called 'tadik' and is very yummy.  if it doesn't come out (non-stick pots are the best!), leave for a few minutes and then scrape it off and put on a side plate.

*there are many other possibilities for this style of cooking rice, with other veggies, beans and seasonings.  you can be very creative.  the rice always tastes delicious and goes well with stews, salads, yogurt, meat and fish.


TRADITIONAL GHANAIAN TOMATO SAUCE:
after years of making sauces, i wondered what the process was for creating the ghanaian tomato sauce because whatever i was trying wasn't tasting anything like how it's been prepared for me. the ingredients aren't unusual but the end result is spectacularly unique to this region and is incomparable to any other tomato sauce i've made.  it tastes great with pasta as well as all the traditional grains here that are eaten with one's hand, as well as rice dishes as an accompaniment.  hope you give some feedback once you've tried to make it..

[all amounts are estimates and can be adapted to your own taste]

handful of small chili peppers (green or red), including seeds
1 lg. red onion, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, chopped
2 T. chopped (not grated) ginger root
BLEND ALL IN BLENDER WITH LITTLE WATER & SET ASIDE IN BOWL

5 medium tomatoes, quartered
BLEND IN BLENDER UNTIL LIQUIFIED, SET ASIDE

1 lg. red onion, finely sliced lengthwise
at least 1c. oil (any vegetable oil)
at least 1/3c. tomato paste
1/2 cube of vegetable boullion (here it's a brand called Maggi), optional
cayenne or chili powder to taste
salt to taste

anything that you like to be in the sauce: typically it's fish already pan fried or cooked white beans..we used a can of tuna fish -- and it's delicious with green pepper and some thinly sliced carrots
Place all of the oil in a medium sauce pan.. add slivered onions & fry 5 minutes on medium heat.. add blended tomatoes & fry 5 minutes.. add tomato paste & fry 5 minutes..add cayenne or chili powder (we used 1/2 t.) & 1/2 of the cubed seasoning..stir then add SOME of the garlic/ginger paste: test to see the color of the sauce -- this seems to be a key part of the success of the sauce: if you put too much it will take away from the dark red color.. keep adding if the color stays dark.. save any unused paste in the freezer for the next batch.. now add some salt (about 1t.)
choose what you would like in the sauce to simmer in it for at least 10 minutes, on med-low heat.  shredded tuna is really my favorite out of all the times i've had it.


SIMPLE VEGETABLE CURRY:
the other day i created a simple coconut milk curry by putting together a can of chick peas with some fresh vegetables and the basic ingredients.

1 T. butter
1 onion
1 tomato, diced
several cloves of garlic, minced
1 t. ginger, minced
1 t. curry powder
salt, to taste
1 can chick peas, drained
bunch of chopped veggies: carrots, potatoes, celery, etc., with a few greens if possible
1 can coconut milk
optional: add cooked fish or a can of tuna

saute the onions in the butter.  add the tomato.  stir and cook a few minutes before adding the garlic and ginger.  then add the curry powder, salt and mix well.  add the remaining ingredients and cook covered until the vegetables are tender.  i often add some water if there are too many vegetables.



our typical dinner plate
to the right is an example of an alkaline meal, mostly African style:  it consists of rice (which i mixed with a little tomato paste, oil, salt, cinnamon and turmeric), lentil stew (Ethiopian version but can be varied to any other seasonings), baked plantain, gari (which is cassava flour mixed with boiled water), Ghanaian red sauce, and a simple salad of tomato, cucumber, green pepper and onion with a vinaigrette..



ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH or PUMPKIN:
butternut squash or fresh pumpkin
6-8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
salt to taste
olive oil and/or butter

Use as much squash or pumpkin as you like.  Peel and chop as you would for roasted potatoes.  Put into a baking dish with a generous amount of oil &/or butter.  Mix in the garlic and salt.  Bake 1 hour or until soft at 200/400 degrees.  Broil at the end to make it crispy on the top edges, about 3 minutes.


LENTIL SOUP (Italian style)
:
1 bag of brown lentils
1-2 onions, finely chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 t. crushed red peppers (optional)
1-2 tomatoes
1/2 c. or more of finely shredded carrots
1/2 c. or more of finely chopped celery AND leaves
2 T. oregano (dried)
1 t. basil (dried)
1-2 bay leaves
salt/pepper
1 packet or small can of tomato paste

Soak lentils at least 1 hour.  Saute onions, then garlic, in olive oil.  Add oregano, basil, bay leaves, then tomatoes.  Once tomatoes are soft, stir in carrots and tomatoes.  Pour in water and lentils.  Add generous amount of salt and some pepper.  Boil until very tender, about an hour.  The longer it simmers after boiling, the better the flavor will be.  Add the tomato paste near the end.

Enjoy with any kind of rice or other gluten-free grains.  Bon Appetit! :)


RICE and SESAME PANCAKESrecipe from 101 Cookbooks

IDEAS FOR A WEEK'S WORTH OF ALKALINE MEALS:
felafel salad with yogurt dressing (and french fries on the side!)
  • bean chili with corn chips
  • fried rice with egg and vegetables
  • bean soup, rye bread and salad
  • mexican style beans and cheese with salsa, guacamole and corn chips
  • couscous with pan-fried fish and salad
  • roasted potatoes, carrots, onion and garlic with baked fish
  • curried vegetables with rice 
  • hummus and felafels with yogurt and salad
A LIST OF ALKALINE and ACIDIC FOODS:


...ALKALINE FOODS...

...ACIDIC FOODS...
ALKALIZING VEGETABLES
Alfalfa
Barley Grass
Beet Greens
Beets
Broccoli
Cabbage
Carrot
Cauliflower
Celery
Chard Greens
Chlorella
Collard Greens
Cucumber
Dandelions
Dulce
Edible Flowers
Eggplant
Fermented Veggies
Garlic
Green Beans
Green Peas
Kale
Kohlrabi
Lettuce
Mushrooms
Mustard Greens
Nightshade Veggies
Onions
Parsnips (high glycemic)
Peas
Peppers
Pumpkin
Radishes
Rutabaga
Sea Veggies
Spinach, green
Spirulina
Sprouts
Sweet Potatoes
Tomatoes
Watercress
Wheat Grass
Wild Greens

ALKALIZING ORIENTAL VEGETABLES
Daikon
Dandelion Root
Kombu
Maitake
Nori
Reishi
Shitake
Umeboshi
Wakame

ALKALIZING FRUITS
Apple
Apricot
Avocado
Banana (high glycemic)
Berries
Blackberries
Cantaloupe
Cherries, sour
Coconut, fresh
Currants
Dates, dried
Figs, dried
Grapes
Grapefruit
Honeydew Melon
Lemon
Lime
Muskmelons
Nectarine
Orange
Peach
Pear
Pineapple
Raisins
Raspberries
Rhubarb
Strawberries
Tangerine
Tomato
Tropical Fruits
Umeboshi Plums
Watermelon

ALKALIZING PROTEIN
Almonds
Chestnuts
Millet
Tempeh (fermented)
Tofu (fermented)
Whey Protein Powder

ALKALIZING SWEETENERS
Stevia

ALKALIZING SPICES & SEASONINGS
Chili Pepper
Cinnamon
Curry
Ginger
Herbs (all)
Miso
Mustard
Sea Salt
Tamari

ALKALIZING OTHER
Alkaline Antioxidant Water
Apple Cider Vinegar
Bee Pollen
Fresh Fruit Juice
Green Juices
Lecithin Granules
Mineral Water
Molasses, blackstrap
Probiotic Cultures
Soured Dairy Products
Veggie Juices

ALKALIZING MINERALS
Calcium: pH 12
Cesium: pH 14
Magnesium: pH 9
Potassium: pH 14
Sodium: pH 14


Although it might seem that citrus fruits would have an acidifying effect on the body, the citric acid they contain actually has an alkalinizing effect in the system.

Note that a food's acid or alkaline forming tendency in the body has nothing to do with the actual pH of the food itself. For example, lemons are very acidic, however the end products they produce after digestion and assimilation are very alkaline so, lemons are alkaline forming in the body. Likewise, meat will test alkaline before digestion, but it leaves very acidic residue in the body so, like nearly all animal products, meat is very acid forming.

ACIDIFYING VEGETABLES
Corn
Lentils
Olives
Winter Squash

ACIDIFYING FRUITS
Blueberries
Canned or Glazed Fruits
Cranberries
Currants
Plums**
Prunes**

ACIDIFYING GRAINS, GRAIN PRODUCTS
Amaranth
Barley
Bran, oat
Bran, wheat
Bread
Corn
Cornstarch
Crackers, soda
Flour, wheat
Flour, white
Hemp Seed Flour
Kamut
Macaroni
Noodles
Oatmeal
Oats (rolled)
Quinoa
Rice (all)
Rice Cakes
Rye
Spaghetti
Spelt
Wheat Germ
Wheat

ACIDIFYING BEANS & LEGUMES
Almond Milk
Black Beans
Chick Peas
Green Peas
Kidney Beans
Lentils
Pinto Beans
Red Beans
Rice Milk
Soy Beans
Soy Milk
White Beans

ACIDIFYING DAIRY
Butter
Cheese
Cheese, Processed
Ice Cream
Ice Milk

ACIDIFYING NUTS & BUTTERS
Cashews
Legumes
Peanut Butter
Peanuts
Pecans
Tahini
Walnuts

ACIDIFYING ANIMAL PROTEIN
Bacon
Beef
Carp
Clams
Cod
Corned Beef
Fish
Haddock
Lamb
Lobster
Mussels
Organ Meats
Oyster
Pike
Pork
Rabbit
Salmon
Sardines
Sausage
Scallops
Shellfish
Shrimp
Tuna
Turkey
Veal
Venison

ACIDIFYING FATS & OILS
Avacado Oil
Butter
Canola Oil
Corn Oil
Flax Oil
Hemp Seed Oil
Lard
Olive Oil
Safflower Oil
Sesame Oil
Sunflower Oil

ACIDIFYING SWEETENERS
Carob
Corn Syrup
Sugar

ACIDIFYING ALCOHOL
Beer
Hard Liquor
Spirits
Wine

ACIDIFYING OTHER FOODS
Catsup
Cocoa
Coffee
Mustard
Pepper
Soft Drinks
Vinegar

ACIDIFYING DRUGS & CHEMICALS
Aspirin
Chemicals
Drugs, Medicinal
Drugs, Psychedelic
Herbicides
Pesticides
Tobacco

ACIDIFYING JUNK FOOD
Beer: pH 2.5
Coca-Cola: pH 2
Coffee: pH 4


** These foods leave an alkaline ash but have an acidifying effect on the body.
UNKNOWN:
There are several versions of the Acidic and Alkaline Food chart to be found in different books and on the Internet.  The following foods are sometimes attributed to the Acidic side of the chart and sometimes to the Alkaline side.  Remember, you don't need to adhere strictly to the Alkaline side of the chart, just make sure a good percentage of the foods you eat come from that side.
Brazil Nuts
Brussel Sprouts
Buckwheat
Cashews
Chicken
Corn
Cottage Cheese
Eggs
Flax Seeds
Green Tea
Herbal Tea
Honey
Kombucha
Lima Beans

Maple Syrup
Milk
Nuts
Organic Milk (unpasteurized)
Potatoes, white
Pumpkin Seeds
Quinoa
Sauerkraut
Soy Products
Sprouted Seeds
Squashes
Sunflower Seeds
Tomatoes
Yogurt

August 04, 2010

Etchings

Baha'i House of Worship
Wilmette, Illinois
This is a sample of my mom's etching work. Her pieces of Baha'i art are exquisite. I admire her ability to create such beauty!

If anyone would like to place an order, her email address is:
citizen1852@yahoo.com

August 03, 2010

Food for Thought

Food nourishes our bodies.  It gives us energy.  If we eat too much, our bodies cannot manage all the effort which goes into breaking down the food into nutrients and energy, so we become tired instead of energized.

All whole foods from Mother Earth are nutritious.  The more we eat of them, the healthiest we can be.  Once we start processing them and overcooking them, the less we nourish our bodies and the more our bodies become diseased, or not in balance with the nutrients needed in our blood to nourish all the organs and parts of our bodies.

For thousands of years humanity evolved as it discovered the science of agriculture, the medicinal properties of the plant kingdom, and the amazing diversity of spices and seasonings.  Food was primarily a means by which we grew strong, and whenever we were sick, we created medicine from the plant kingdom to heal us.

This is a new Day.  Humanity entered the industrial revolution and discovered innumerable ways to develop the food industry....but without a spiritual balance with regard to food, we are likely to become gluttens for punishment.  Both our health and our illness is directly connected to food.  Abdu'l-Baha explains, "...the incursion of disease is due to a disturbance in the relative amounts of the body's component substances, and that treatment consisteth in adjusting these relative amounts, and that this can be apprehended and made possible by means of foods."  (Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 15)
 
As a whole, the food industry has succeeded in destroying all that is sacred in terms of the spirit or energy that food brings to our well-being.  It is only in recent decades that the industry is responding with a sense of concern and is adopting a more healthy approach to fast foods, processed foods, and all that is decadent and convenient.
"The food of the future will be fruit and grains. The time will come when meat is no longer eaten. Medical science is yet only in its infancy, but it has shown that our natural diet is that which grows out of the ground. The people will gradually develop up to the condition of taking only this natural food. " (Baha'i Scriptures, p. 453)

Since our bodies are like thrones for our inner temple -- the soul -- we should strive to consume food that is beneficial to our bodies, as our bodies affect our soul.  We should remember that the purpose of food is to give life, not to deteriorate it.  If we remember the key to most things in life is moderation, we will find ourselves with a lot of energy & good health for both our bodies and our souls.