Eskimo Nebula

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

End of the year food photo show

Happy Holidays everybody,

I actually have a few entries in the stack, but I haven't done an old fashioned show and tell of the food that I've been cooking over the year. I still take a lot of photos, but I don't always post them. Sometimes, I think that it's too much and maybe people don't need to see every single little thing, but anyway, here's a little show and tell. 

Mediterranean Style Fried rice with chopped Makdous, shredded carrots, spices and garnished with Organic Cilantro

These were a batch of V,GF Banana Bread Muffins
Same batch

A Fresh Mango and Black Bean Salsa that I made.

A V flatbread topped with an herb pesto and sliced green olives

Served with an organic marinara sauce

This was one of many different coconut based fusion curries that I made

At a restaurant: Fresh Vegan Vietnamese Fresh rolls with a peanut sauce
At a restaurant: customized V, Vietnamese rice noodles
I made a batch of V, Spinach pies as a gift to one of my friends

Filling the homemade dough

Pies waiting to be put on the tray

Pies ready to get a golden tan


V, Zucchini Ribbon Pasta 

Veggie Maki

This is homemade Pak tong koh and if you don't know what that is, then you don't know how  crazy it is to be making it at home! We would normally just buy this at the Chinese bakery, but it was amazing to be able to make this special rice cake!

One of the first versions of Vegan Filipino Kaldereta  that I made.  I didn't have any green olives to use; so I ended up using some calamatas. The next batch had real deal and I liked that one a lot better. =)

This is a Organic Baby Kale Salad with Organic shredded carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and red cabbage in a mustard vinaigrette with toasted Organic sunflower seeds

One of the many incarnations of my Jessified Vegan Shawarma

V,GF Date and Organic Sunflower seed Mamouls and V, GF Orange and Fennel Shortbread

V,GF Apple Crisp getting ready for the oven

Delicious Tostones =)

V,GF Filipino Champorado style porridge (without tsokolate!) with sweetned mung bean  and dusted with chia seeds

V, Zatar with black calamata olives on a homemade crust

V,GF Rice noodles with sauteed Chinese greens, King Oyster Mushrooms and Fresh mung sprouts in a  Vegetable soup

At a restaurant: Koshary, an Egyptian specialty. This is one of those dishes that can make or break a relationship.  Pasta, rice, lentils, chickpeas, carmelized onions served with a savory tomato sauce.

I didn't post all the food photos from this past year; otherwise this would be a billion pages long. I also didn't want to re-post photos from previous posts and things that were already posted on FB. I hope that you enjoyed some of them and let me know which ones peaked your interest the most. 

I hope that you all had a good year and that you have another beautiful and health filled 2013.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Join Me for Merienda: V,GF Cranberry Apple Spice Cobbler

Hello again blogosphere,

I recently made this for Thanksgiving not knowing that it would ultimately make somebody very happy. My cousin Desiree flew in from Texas with her husband, friends Maria and Darren. I didn't know it, but Maria had recently switched to a gluten free regimen for about a year. She also had a dairy allergy; so she was happy to know that she could eat a dessert. So, this post is dedicated to Maria. I hope you'll make this for your next gathering. Thank you for appreciating my cooking =)

 I do not have Celiac disease, but I've learned to bake and cook a lot of Gluten Free dishes as a result of making treats and food while my brother Jonathan would visit. I think that even if you don't have Celiac disease it's still not a good idea to overload on gluten or wheat products (generally, you just shouldn't overload on any one thing, anyway). People who have problems with joint pains, arthritis may especially want to consider lessening or possibly eliminating it from their diets as gluten can cause inflammation. There is also a case for those diagnosed with Autism to follow a Gluten Free diet because of few different factors, but if you'd like to learn more about it you can certainly do your own research or read entries from Jonathan's blog The Canary Files

I am one of those home cooks that cooks with my senses and so it's sometimes a bit frustrating when I have to actually put down measurements, but don't get me wrong, it is important to have ratios; especially when you're dealing with liquid,dry and leavening ratios. Generally though, I cook on the fly, but it's only because I've had experience. When I first start making something I try to use a few guidelines and then after that I have fun playing in the 'lab' customizing my food. =)

This is the photo of the original cobbler that I brought to Thanksgiving. Can tell how much it bubbled in the oven?I did some tweaking to the recipe; since I had time to edit it and I hope you'll enjoy the results =)

V,DF- Cranberry Apple Spice Cobbler

Dry Ingredients:

3/4C Besan (Garbanzo) Flour
1C Rice Flour
3/4C Tapioca Starch
1/2-3/4C FT Organic Unrefined Sugar
3-5Tb Organic Ground Flax 
1/2tsp Allspice
Dash of Nutmeg
1tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
Dash of Himalayan Pink Salt or regular sea salt fine ground
*You could also use one of those Gluten Free All Purpose Mixes,
 but I prefer to blend my own.

Wet Ingredients:

1/4C Canola Oil
1/2tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
3/4-1 C Organic Almond or Rice or Coconut Milk (depending on humidity)
1 1/2 C Room Temperature Homemade Spiced Cranberry Sauce
 ( You can use my recipe *see below, The Canary files recipe or your own recipe)
3-5C Peeled and Sliced Organic Apples
*Optional you can toss your apple slices in a bit of lemon juice a tiny bit of sugar and a tiny bit of cinnamon and let them macerate for a few minutes before you mix the apples into the cranberry sauce

Macerating/Marinating the apple slices in Organic Lemon Juice, Organic FT Unrefined sugar and a bit of spice.
*Optional 4-6 Sliced Dried Unsulphured Unsweetened Plums or any other dried fruit perhaps cherries or apricots etc.

Tools needed:

Mixing bowl
Baking sheet
Wooden Spoon
A casserole dish


Sieving the dry ingredients together. No lumps for me!
Batter up!
Preheat your oven to 365F. Sift your flours together with the spices,flax,leavening,sugar making sure that there are no lumps. I like besan flour, but I do not want to get a surprising dry lump of it while eating this cobbler =) Add in your liquid components until just combined and mostly smooth, it should be a bit thicker than pancake batter.Set aside the batter for a few minutes and prepare your casserole dish ( I used a large corning ware casserole dish with lid) using a bit of canola oil, spreading it around to just coat the surface lightly. This will help with the cleanup portion of it later.
Evenly distribute the apples and cranberry sauce in the dish.
Pour the batter on top in 1/2C increments. Don't overflow the dish!
I had about 1C of batter leftover. 
 Make sure that the cranberry sauce and the apples are evenly distributed in the casserole dish (this is also would add in the dried fruit of choice) and then carefully pour your batter on top. If you find that you have more batter than you need (looks like the casserole dish is getting crowded) you can save the extra batter to make other goodies (I had about 1C of batter leftover). Tap the casserole dish to get rid of any extra air bubbles, place it on the baking sheet and then put the lid on the dish and place it into the 365F oven for about 20-30 minutes (it may take longer or lesser time, depending on what type of over you use, for example I use an electric oven where as a gas oven make cook it more quickly). 

My dog Seeley looking sleepy as he perches on a chair waiting for me to finish making the cobbler. Do you think he wants a piece?

We keep the lid on it first to make sure that the batter cooks through evenly and then carefully remove the lid (don't give yourself nasty steam burns, open it away from your person) rotate the casserole dish and put it back into the oven turning down the oven to 350F and cooking it for a further 15-20 minutes (again depending on your oven type). You will see the top brown and a lot of bubbling action. Please be careful when removing it from the oven, wear oven mitts and an apron (if you've got one!) and let it rest on a trivet for about 10-15 minutes before serving. 

This is what it looked like straight out of the oven.

This is what it looks like after you let it rest for 10-15 minutes.

A glorious scoop of freshly made cobbler. No a la mode for me! 
I like it on its own (it's already basically cake and sauce), but some people seem to be really into this thing called a la mode, maybe you've heard of it? Yep, so if that's you then you could top this off with a scoop of V,GF non dairy ice cream.

Oh and here is one of my recipes for homemade cranberry sauce:

One of Jess' versions of Homemade Cranberry Sauces

Some of my friends call me saucy, but others just want to relish my friendship =p

1 package of cranberries preferably Organic washed and drained
2/3C or less FT Organic Unrefined Sugar
1 small cinnamon stick
3 Green Cardamom Pods
2-5 Slices of Fresh Ginger (if you love ginger go for 5)
2-3 Whole Allspice
1 Clove
1 3/4C  Filtered Water
A dash of Himalayan Pink Salt


Place all ingredients into a medium sized sauce pan with a lid on and bring to a boil and then turn it down to medium low and simmer for at least 25 minutes.

Let it cool down to room temperature before using in the cobbler recipe.
If you prefer a smoother sauce you might want to puree 60 percent of it before mixing it all together with the apples.

I'm trying to put up a few more posts before the year is over, but in the meantime I do hope you try this recipe out for your next gathering. 

Wishing you all Happy Holidays and another Healthful New Year!

Jessica <3

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Join me for Merienda: Organic Carrot and Ginger Soup

Hello again,

It's been another stretch and so much has happened since the last post. I'm planning on a post about the Philippines, but for now it'll resides in my handwritten notes. Just be patient and it'll come =)

I've made this version of carrot and ginger soup a couple of times now. As almost all of the cooking and meals happen in my kitchen it was just out of happenstance. I think what prompted to me make soup was not only the chillier temperature outside, but also because my little niece was over for the weekend. Two of her favorite foods are noodles and soup. I remember that when she was maybe 8 months old how she loved eating the Veggie Curry that I had made. She didn't start getting to be a pickier eater until the last year, but you just have to keep on presenting different types of foods to children and just ask them to try it. They may not like it at first, but a few tries down the line they may enjoy it.  

This is a very easy and quick recipe as long as you do the prep work ahead of time. To speed up the cooking time as well as a means to retain almost all of the nutrients of the organic carrots; I steam them. I also do not peel the carrots (as long as they're organic) I just wash them very well. If you do this one day ahead it gives you one less thing to worry about. I haven't had a chance to substitute the carrots for other root vegetables, but I'm sure that parsnips, rutabagas, yams, sweet potatoes, squash would work just fine.

This could also potentially be a nice soup to bring to a potluck or for the holidays, but you don't need any special occasion to ever enjoy a great dish or meal =)

The swirl of paprika on top makes this bowl of soup look like one of our planets in the solar system. Can you guess which one? =)

Organic Carrot and Ginger Soup- V,DF,GF


3-5 Organic Carrots chopped into 2 inch lengths (pre-steamed)
2-3 Tb Canola or Safflower Oil
1-2 Tb of Organic Ginger minced
1 1/2 - 2 Stalks of Organic Celery diced
1/2 of an Organic Red Onion diced
4-6 Cloves of Organic Garlic minced
1 Organic Bay Leaf
A pinch of Cumin seeds
1/2 tsp Organic Turmeric
1/2 tsp Organic Paprika
1 tsp of either Shawarma spice or Poultry spice
A Tiny pinch of Nutmeg (Optional)
1 Cube of Organic Vegetable Bouillion or 1C of homemade vegetable stock
3 C of Filtered Water
1/4 C of Organic Almond or Rice Milk
Freshly Ground Black Pepper and Himalayan Sea Salt to taste

 Equipment needed:

A medium sized pot
Wooden spoon

Serves 4-6 people (depending on how big of a serving you give them ;p

Do you notice what's missing from this plate?

I had some fresh turmeric; so I thought I would give it a photo shoot =)


Add oil to the pot and saute the onions,ginger,celery,garlic with the bay leaf until you smell the onions,see the celery becoming transparent and the garlic becoming a bit golden. Add in the bay leaf, cumin seeds,turmeric,paprika,shawarma or poultry spice, vegetable bouillon cube and stir until you hear and smell the cumin popping and spices blooming (about 4-5 minutes depending on your stove-top, mine is electric so it may take longer than somebody's gas stove-top). You can now add in your filtered water and stir and bring it to a boil. You should make sure to give it a taste and add in a bit of salt if needed. Let it simmer for 5 minutes and then add in your steamed carrots and simmer for another 10-15 minutes. Take it off the burner and let it cool a minute or two and then add your soup to a blender, adding in the carrot pieces and other solids before the liquid being very careful not to burn yourself. Remember to pour away from yourself, not toward =) I recommend holding the top of the blender with a dish towel before blending it until smooth. Carefully empty the soup back into the pot and use the almond or rice milk to rinse the blender and add it into the rest of the soup. You can add more or less depending on if you want the consistency to be thicker or thinner. Taste the soup again and adjust your seasonings. I would add in your tiny dash of nutmeg in at this point and stir it in and let it sit a minute. 

If you wanted a smoother soup you could always run it through a sieve, but I think that the soup is fine unfiltered. I would describe this soup as having a velvety body and is quite substantial. This type of soup is really good on a cold day. The ginger and spices make it a  bone and soul warming soup =)  Inversely, this is also a good soup to eat chilled and in the summer time it is very refreshing.

This soup will also hold up well in the freezer. If you intend to freeze it; I would first freeze it into single portions and then tightly seal them in zip-top bags or vacuum seal them. To thaw, simply refrigerate until you're ready to use and then reheat.

Soup's on!

I hope you enjoy this recipe and that you all have nice holidays with your loved ones.

Wishing you good health and happiness!


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Oh the Humanitea's Travel Tips for those with dietary restrictions or allergies

Hello again,

I'll be traveling soon and so I thought that I would write about how I'm preparing for it. In some previous posts I may have mentioned about how I have transitioned to being a Vegetarian to being a Vegan for almost a year now; this is why I thought that this would be helpful for anybody else in the same situation. I was a Vegetarian for a very long time and the last few times that I've traveled abroad or traveled in general being Vegetarian was sometimes a stretch depending on where I was, but still manageable. Even though Veganism is not really something unknown these days; there are still a lot of people that do not have that much knowledge about it; so it's a bit more difficult to deal with, especially when you're not at home base. 

If you have any dietary restrictions or allergies; you are probably already accustomed to being ready at the drop of a hat. You generally will always have a back up plan, eat ahead of time or carry some 'safe' snacks with you. So, when you're traveling you need to make sure to do the following:

1) Pack the essentials
Do people still use these types of suitcases anymore? Hehehe =)

     -Special medicines or supplements: 
Even if you think you can find your exact medicines or supplements; you're better off bringing them with you. You never know what could happen during the course of a trip. Always pack any medicine or supplements in your carry-on bags too and never in your check in luggage. 

     -Basic portable snacks: 
I have made some homemade 'lära bar' type snacks as well purchased some special trail mixes etc. I will also be making homemade crackers and cookies that I will also be sharing with my relatives when I've reached my destination. It's always nice to bring a taste from home to share with everybody.

2) Do your research

Dr. Felix Orangutango  researching!

   - Find out about local restaurants and local markets/groceries:
Find out whether or not they serve/stock key food items.This will involve doing online searches and calling and or emailing the business/restaurant or store. If you have any issues getting responses or answers; ask your friends or relatives who live there to try and speak to them on your behalf. That's what friends and family are for =)

- Check International Standards:
Especially in the case for those of you with gluten intolerance or Celiac disease; there is yet to be a true 'international' standard determined or put into working action. Some countries can have gluten free labeled products but because of the standard difference may potentially have more than twice (some countries even more so! yikes!) the allowable percentage of gluten. 

-Check regulations:
If you're traveling abroad you need to make sure that if you're bringing any food stuffs with you; that they are not prohibited items. For example; if you're thinking of bringing some grains or seeds with you that are raw; you may be violating agriculture laws for a country. Usually if you are thinking of bringing fresh produce with you...ehhhh!!! Nope, not going to happen =) Please don't risk bringing contaminants and pests into another country and cause an ecological calamity. That type of situation is generally frowned upon. Check those governments sites, embassies and consulates and find out. Ask them if they can provide you with a concise list.

   -Place Reservations:
If you're flying to your destination; don't forget to reserve a special meal ahead of time: They will need you to confirm your meal reservation as well. (I would still make sure to have a back up meal/snack; just in case. The airlines do make the effort, but anything can happen in between now and then =0

3) Inform

No chismis!!!! Just tell me! =)

   - Don't keep people in the dark: 
If you'll be staying with family or friends; make sure to let them know about your particular regimens and restrictions. For my upcoming trip I've spoken both on the phone and also sent emails with all the information and included additional links to website with more concise information.You don't want to offend them when you show up there and they've made something for your to eat and it turns out that you can't have it =( 
You may also want to make sure you know how to explain your dietary needs in the local language. I would definitely take the time make sure it's correct and to practice this over and over again. Be sure to write it down on some index cards and keep those index cards with you all the time. If you have food allergies; you should do the same thing (include instructions about any medications that you may need, where they are located and who to contact in case of emergency etc.

4) Share the love
    -If you have a chance to prepare a meal while traveling; take up the opportunity and share it with your hosts, friends and family. As I mentioned previously; I have made some treats to be share upon landing. 

I hope that you found some of this information useful. Traveling in itself is stressful enough; so the more you do ahead of time; the easier it will be when you arrive at your destination. Make sure that your vacation doesn't turn into a chore!

Wishing you all good health and happy travels!

Take time to breathe and enjoy the view!


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Modern Day Nonsense 2

Hello again, I have another installment for the Modern Day Nonsense series.
I've decided to just write about 3 topics at one time; so I don't go off on too many tangents =p

Lost Skills:

If you read my previous post about Modern Day Nonsense; then you'll recall how I mentioned that we have become overly dependent on convenience and how we seem to be using less and less of our own brain power. I bring this up because these are 3 of major things that I talk about whenever it's about the difference between generations. 

Cursive Writing-

Remember doing these writing drills?

I would have to do some hard research to pinpoint when the cursive skills plummeted, but it was first brought to my attention; when I was in one of my language courses and I was writing down something in cursive and one of my classmates was astonished 'Whoaaa, you still know how to write in cursive?! I've forgotten how to do that.' Another one of my classmates chimed in and said 'Yeah, me too.' Up until that moment; I wouldn't have thought that it would ever be some sort of issue or even a topic, but it is now. 

I remember all of the lessons that we learned in elementary about printing and cursive. Although my penmanship can sometimes be a bit sloppy; if I'm writing too quickly, I know that I still have the skills to write in cursive. There are some cursive capital letters that I often omit for a large print character, but for the most part; I do find it quicker to write in cursive. I'm fairly sure that these skills are still taught in school though and I hope that it's not going to become an endangered art. Typing is much easier and more legible, but it doesn't share the same intimacy and meaning as a true written sentence, letter etc. 

Telling time the Analog way-

I bet you're thinking 'Hey that looks like the clock from Beauty and the Beast.'  =p

Most people today don't actually use analog clocks; some people just wear watches to accessorize or have grandfather clocks in their houses strictly for décor purposes. I know that some may find analog clocks cumbersome and unnecessary, but you cannot deny the history and the craftsmanship. We've become so accustomed to checking the time on the desktop of our computers/laptops, cell phone faces; that we've lost the skill to read an analog clock. I know that digital clocks tend to be more accurate, but think about the idea of not relying on electricity. If we lose everything digital; you might as well have one skill to give you a leg up. I know that it can be confusing to read an analog watch especially; if it's getting close to the next hour or if your watch doesn't distinguish between AM and PM, but keep on trying. =)

Basic Gardening-

Thank you girls, for giving me hope =)

Prior to the industrial revolution, the world was an agrarian society. We lived off of and worked with the land in order to support and sustain ourselves. Even though there is a resurgence of urban farming and interest in fresh produce markets; we still have a long way to go, until everybody regains the gardening skills of our ancestors. During times of war, the governments would often encourage people to raise gardens and conserve all that they possibly could, but when everything was more stable; people would often abandon them. I always appreciate it when I see people gardening; especially when I see people of the younger generation. It gives me a great hope that the spirit lives on. 

I think that most people who've tasted homegrown produce versus some mass produced crop for the supermarket; would agree that there is no contest in flavor and the homegrown always beats the overpriced market stuff. I mean no offense to the farmers, but when you're trying to mass produce it's obviously a game of quantity over quality. You don't have the same flavor profiles because most of the produce cannot be vine ripened or ripened naturally. They cannot do that because they need to ship it from point A to point B. So most of the produce is artificially ripened, it doesn't get the same tender loving care as a homegrown plant.

Gardening is not an easy thing, but it's also not an insurmountable task either. You just need to start with some basics and you'll soon discover that it's not only fun, but also very rewarding. You may even find that your stress level goes down considerably. We all need a moment to relax and get out of the high-speed lane that we're always on everyday.

I hope that all generations will take time to rediscover some of these skills and really remember why they were and still are important. 

Have a happy and healthful day!