Archive for August, 2014

Actually, I’ve been running like crazy for the past couple of weeks.

Not physically running, though that would be nice if I had comfortable running shoes or had time to hit the beach every morning.  I did manage to spend about four hours riding my bike for an event called Save the Ferry here in Jacksonville.  It was put on by the St. John’s Riverkeeper in order to raise funds to keep the ferry operating.  This was the third year for it, and we had seventy-eight people involved in it.  Great turnout & fantastic time!  I highly encourage people to ride bikes around, and when it’s for charity, that’s even better.

Remember that podcast I mentioned a few weeks ago?  We have a website now at www.greenbeanpodcast.com.  Check it out, let us know how we’re doing & enjoy!

Do you like nachos?  Specifically vegan nachos?  We started up a nacho bar called #nachobar at the Neptune Beach Farmer’s Market a couple of weeks ago & it has been doing great!  If you’re in the area, you should check it out.  If you’re not in the area, you should come visit Jacksonville for a vacation & check it out.

This is what art looks like.  In food form.

This is what art looks like. In food form.

On to pizza.

I made a pizza a couple of weeks ago & had a lot of people asking for recipes on it.  I made everything from scratch, so there are about four basic recipes that make it(dough, sauce, eggplant pepperoni, & white bean vegan cheese).  There’s a lot of chopped veggies on it too, but it’s up to you to figure out how to cut things that aren’t your fingers.

I started with the dough, because that takes some time.

Take 1 1/4C of warm water & add 2t of yeast & 1t of sugar to that.  Let that sit for about ten minutes & when it’s all murky & a little foamy on top, add 2T of olive oil, 4C of flour, 2t of salt, and knead that for some time until everything is incorporated & relatively consistent.  Cover tightly & set aside for an hour to rise.

While that’s happening, puree some tomatoes to make about three cups of tomato puree.  Put that in a sauce pan & simmer that with a tablespoon of white vinegar, three minced cloves of garlic, a teaspoon of salt, a tablespoon of oregano & a tablespoon of thyme.  I’ve added blueberries in a variation too, which works out wonderfully.  Let that all simmer until it becomes closer to a sauce than a liquid.

Mmmmm.  Saucy.

Mmmmm. Saucy.

In the meantime, cut a Japanese eggplant into round slices and toss them in a bowl with some salt.  This should get some moisture out of the eggplant, in which you will then add a tablespoon of paprika, a teaspoon of fennel seeds, a pinch of cayenne and salt & pepper to taste.  Easy, right?

By now, the dough should have risen to about twice its size.  Grease a pizza pan, dust it with either more flour or corn meal & lay the dough out, pushing toward the perimeter of the pan until you have an even thickness going on.  It’s going to look a bit like this:

Dough in it's raw beauty.

Dough in its raw beauty.

Kind of knuckle down on a lot of the dough to prevent bubbling, then let that sit for another fifteen minutes before putting it into the oven at 350 for another ten minutes.  This will keep the pizza from getting soggy from the sauce.

Spoon some of the sauce onto the dough when you pull it out of the oven initially.  Then add your eggplant pepperoni & whatever other veggies you like.  Here’s another picture.

Another picture.

Another picture.

Put that yumminess into the oven while you work on the white bean cheese.

I just kind of flew with this one….I grabbed a blender & threw in two cups of cooked white beans, three tablespoons of nutritional yeast, half a teaspoon of salt, a clove of garlic, water to the consistency wanted & just a pinch of cumin & paprika. I added a chili to it for some heat.

Pull the pizza out of the oven & put some of that cheese on it.  Now, it’ll look like this:

What has been seen cannot be unseen.

What has been seen cannot be unseen.

Put that into the oven for just about ten more minutes & you are ready to eat an entire vegan pizza.  I think the process took me about two & a half hours for the first time, but I’ll be able to cut down on it with practice I’m sure.

So that’s it, easy, right??!!

Now for more pictures of pups…..

Cinder was happy to see me.  She's almost always happy to see me.  I love that.

Cinder was happy to see me. She’s almost always happy to see me. I love that.

Alec has a habit of laying in the grass, so I'll just sit next to him & soak up some sun.  Good father/son bonding time.

Alec has a habit of laying in the grass, so I’ll just sit next to him & soak up some sun. Good father/son bonding time.

I also sleep like this.

I also sleep like this.

In this household, photobombing is something we do a lot of.

In this household, photobombing is something we do a lot of.

That’s about it for this post, hope everything is going well for you & enjoy the pizza!

Seeya!!

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I think I’m a week off of schedule with this.

That’s okay, I’m doing it now & there is a TON of stuff going on right now in my life, so to the eight people who are regular readers to this, I apologize & will explain more in the near future.

In the meantime, I made pancakes.

Specifically apple cinnamon oatmeal flax seed pancakes.

Monday is no match for this plate of noms.

Monday is no match for this plate of noms.

I love pancakes, & putting everything but the kitchen sink in them is something fun to do with these guys.  I LOVE THEM.

I started with dry ingredients:  1 cup of flour, 1 tablespoon of sugar(or some maple syrup if you’d like to get really nommy), a quarter of a cup of ground flax seed, a quarter of a cup of oatmeal, a teaspoon of cinnamon, an eighth of a teaspoon of nutmeg, half of a tablespoon of baking powder, and just a few shakes of salt.  Mix that until it is thoroughly blended.

Wet ingredients are easy:  water.  Like around 1 1/4-1 1/2 cups of it.  Really easy.  Mix that into the dry mixture really well.  There should still be some lumps from the oatmeal.  Feel free to use a little oil, but I’m trying to get away from a lot of that in this recipe, so minimal use on the skillet is all I use.

Then there’s the in-between wet & dry ingredient:  two apples, diced to about 1/4″ or so.  Mix that into the now wet dry mixture.

Ladle some of that onto an oiled skillet heated to 350.  Flip the cakes when the edges are bubbling.

You should get about eight good-sized cakes out of this, which are usually a serving for me or at least a few servings for someone else.

So good.

And now for these local canine messages:

We were apart for five long days while visiting Ohio for my sister's wedding.  I never want to leave them for that long again.

We were apart for five long days while visiting Ohio for my sister’s wedding. I never want to leave them for that long again.

It's awesome in the kitchen when I'm making the vegan dog food.

It’s awesome in the kitchen when I’m making the vegan dog food.

See??!!  They change from dogs to dinosaurs(that’s the terrible lizard thing in the title, get it??) when I’m making their food!  I love that they get along so well now, not that Cinder didn’t just tolerate Little Baby Alec Baldwin from the start.  Cinder is kind of Alec’s idol/lick friend, too.

Now back to the post.

Has anyone ever heard of a food desert?  There are a TON of them out there in urban concrete jungles where low-income meets low access for quality groceries.  Wondering where there’s one around you?  Check out the map that the USDA compiled here.

The obvious problem with food deserts is that people just can’t get good, nutritious food.  Everyone should have an opportunity to enjoy bananas or apples instead of being coerced to buy a shitty bag of chips or fast food value meal that will only lead to potential health problems & possibly even slight addiction(we’ll talk about the chemicals put into foods that cause mild, unconscious addiction on another post).

The reasoning behind this conundrum is potentially the fact that a lot of businesspeople that deal with grocery store locations see an area that is thriving with businesses & immediately want to put their store there(usually the potential sales is the driving force in area decision).  If enough stores are clustered together in a tight-bound knot of sales-addicted fervor, eventually these food deserts are then created by the migration of businesses to the knot or the businesses that stay in the soon-to-be desert are slowly starved(no pun intended) & sent out of business.

What is the solution?  What can people do to fix this & how can it help the people who can fix this?

What about creating a food oasis?  It might be as simple as this:

Go to a wholesaler(bonus points if it is a local farmer that will hook you up with a deal on a case) & pick up a case of apples, oranges, bananas, any kind of fruit.  It doesn’t have to be a specific fruit & dependent on local laws, sales might be permitted as long as you classify yourself as a roadside stand.  This is a big might, because in Florida, it looks as though what’s called Cottage Law here would permit it.  If you buy a case of fruit at wholesale & sell it individually, chances are, you’ll make a profit.

The other option is trying to put together a farmer’s market.  Start by looking for a location.  An old parking lot, a little park, just a clear area.  Talk with the owners, see if there is a permit process with the city to work on, & find some local farms to come in & sell their veggies.  I make it sound easy, which it isn’t, but the return is great.

With either solution, it’s a step in the right direction & like I mentioned before, everyone should have an opportunity for nutritious food.

In any case, that’s it for me.  Going to record a new episode for the Green Bean Podcast today & work on some pretty pressing issues, but that’s for another time.  Have a great couple of weeks & throw some comments down below on what you think about some of the info above!  I’m by no means a pro with laws, especially from wherever you are in most cases, but I’d love to learn more on this because I think it would help so many communities!

Seeya!!