Articles written by Elizabeth Fiend

SUNSHINE PASTA SALAD

Make this for the next barbecue!

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RECIPE BY ELIZABETH FIEND
Serves 4, Time: 45 minutes

Category: Vegan / Vegetarian Recipe

With the arrival of summer you’ll really enjoy this cold pasta salad which capitalizes on freshness. This tangy, light pasta salad features the color orange. It will brighten your outlook and your look because it’s made with a dressing that contains lots of healthy herbs and spices, but no fat! The spices used in the dressing weren’t chosen randomly. They taste good and have health benefits. Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties that increase circulation, give energy, alleviate aches and pains and help reduce symptoms of allergies and sinus congestion. Mustard fights stress as it is a good source of magnesium, a calming mineral. Garlic is an immune system booster.

Salad Ingredients:
1/2 lb thin whole wheat spaghetti
4 tablespoons parsley chopped
2 carrots grated and diced
1 orange bell pepper cut into thin strips
3 oranges peeled and cut into bite size pieces
½ pint grape tomatoes cut into quarters
1 cup pecans broken into halves

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VEGAN COLE SLAW with Maple-Lime Dressing

written BY ELIZABETH FIEND

Category: Vegan, Vegetarian Recipe

This is one of the recipes I made when I was a guest on the Food Network’s “ROKER ON THE ROAD” TV show starring weather man Al Roker.

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I developed this recipe to not only give you the health benefits of turmeric (to learn more about turmeric click here), but the added benefits of another “warming” spice, cayenne pepper.

This recipe packs even more of a punch with the vitamins and antioxidants found in red cabbage and carrots and the minerals found in seeds.

It’s also low-cal and it tastes so refreshing!

VEGAN COLE SLAW with Maple-Lime Dressing (and turmeric)
GOES GREAT WITH BBQ!!!!!

Serves 4, Time: 15 minutes

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Dressing Ingredients:
1/2 cup soy milk
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt

Slaw Ingredients:
2 carrots, grated
1/4 head red cabbage, grated
4 teaspoons sunflower seeds

Directions, Easy as 1-2-3:
1.) Mix up dressing (use a container with a lid and
shake it up baby)
2.) Pour dressing over grated carrots and red
cabbage
3.) Top with sunflower seeds right before serving

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3 GREAT HERBS 4 u 2 GRoW

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Article and Photo BY ELIZABETH FIEND

SALAD BURNET makes an awesome home-grown herb because it’s practically evergreen. Do you realize the implications of this? Well, the pilgrims did when they brought it to America from its native Europe. It means you can grow something GREEN to eat practically year round, even in cold climates. It tastes yummy, like chicken. Oh, no that’s rattlesnake. Salad burnet is tangy with a hint of cucumber. It makes an attractive edging plant and is easy to grow.

PERENNIAL CHIVES is a must have herb not only for cooking but also for the garden as it’s a great companion plant which repels problem insects. In the Middle Ages chives were used to ward off evil spirits. Today we appreciate their high content of vitamins A, B and C plus the minerals iron, potassium and calcium. Like all alliums, chives reduce blood pressure. The purple flowers are edible and very good tasting. Sprinkle some snipped chive stalks and a crumbled chive flower over rice, or other food, and you’ll have a strikingly beautiful presentation of green and purple confetti.

FLAT-LEAF PARSLEY is a biennial herb that’s easy to start from seed. Parsley contains more vitamin C than an orange! Because if its high chlorophyll content, parsley gently clears toxins from the body thus combating inflammation and high blood pressure. The ancient Romans gave parsley to gladiators to promote their fighting skills.

TO GRoW Salad burnet and parsley are biennials, which means the plant has a two year lifecycle. They’ll grow like gangbusters the first year and you should harvest plenty. The next year they’ll “bolt” or “go-to-seed” producing flowers, than seeds and then they commit suicide. It’s a good idea to “deadhead” or pinch off the flower head and replant the seeds. Plant new seeds every year to ensure a steady supply of these nutritional powerhouses. Chives come in many varieties. I recommend a perennial chive which will live forever, giving you more bang for your buck. There are also flavors of chives like garlic chive (you can recognize it by its flat leaf). Buy plants or seeds. Reseed and make more plants as needed.

TO HARVEST For salad burnet and chives, simply cut off the stems about 1 inch from the ground. Parsley grows in individual stalks. Cut them right above a set of leaves. Always make sure to leave at least 1/3 of each plant intact. Best eaten fresh (not dried).

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FLOWERS AND BOMBS

Edible Flowers

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Article and photo by ELIZABETH FIEND 

The first time I ever ate flowers, they were served to me by a man who just moments before had uttered the command: “Don’t smoke in this room, this is where we make our bombs.” He then pointed out the window, where on an overhanging roof rung with barbed wire I spied rows and rows of Molotov cocktails, finely crafted in Heineken bottles. The bombs were needed in case the police came a-knockin’. Or as I found out first hand, several hours later, when they don’t knock. The cops actually come a-bangin,’ with a battering-ram. And they dress in full riot gear — shields, helmets, batons.

Welcome to the world of European squats.

Later that night, while I was performing there with my band More Fiends, I told the crowd that this would be our last song. I looked down and a second later when I looked up, the room was totally deserted.

Huh, I thought some weird Danish custom? Nope, the place was under attack by the politi and everyone had fled upstairs to their defensive positions.

No Molotov cocktails were thrown that night. Instead, they activated Plan B, the lobbing of fist-sized chunks of asphalt via sling-shots – the super industrial kind that are sold for ‘hunting.’ The asphalt chunks were kept in cascading mounds in each corner of a room that was down the hall from the bomb making room. Helmets with face masks were hung on hooks down one wall, the sling-shots on the other.

You could smoke in that room, no problem.

While my bandmates and I stood alone in the back hallway watching the double doors bend inwards with each assault of the police battering ram, some moments of uncertainty passed. What should we do? But I did know one thing for sure, edible flowers would have a place in my future.

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The Do’s and Don’ts of Ordering from Garden Catalogs

Article and Photos by ELIZABETH FIEND

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Although there’s still a chill in the air and a bit of winter to come, if you want to do a garden this year, start now. That’s right. The key to gardening is to be on top of everything. Gardening is based around the weather and the weather waits for no man — or woman.

You probably have a growing mound of garden catalogs by now. A few arrive in my mailbox every day.

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Overwhelming! If you don’t have catalogs, try buying a mail-order plant ONE time, and you’ll be flooded with garden catalogs for the rest of your life.

What I do is just thin out from the very beginning. If you try to look through every single catalog, you’ll be paralyzed by too many options. So you must weed out from the start.

Divide the catalogs into categories like flowers, seeds, landscaping, accessories. I grow a lot of soft fruit, so I set aside catalogs that sell fruit as well.

After you’ve divided the catalogs into categories, start with the Buy Local philosophy. Sure, buying local helps dollars grow in your own neighborhood economy, but there’s another reason why this is a good idea. Buying a plant from a nursery located in an area that has the same ecology as where you plan to plant the plant is some extra insurance that it will grow happily in your yard. Yes, that plant from the nursery in New Mexico is gorgeous but face it, it’s just not going to take root around here even if the phrase “hardy enough for colder climates” is tossed about in the catalog’s description.

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I live in Philadelphia and there are some big nurseries right here in my state. You can’t get much more local than that. Plus by buying local, you’ll be kinder to the environment by saving fossil fuel with a shorter transport to your garden. There is one major downside to the buy local thing when it comes to mail order. The Feds. When you make a snail mail or Internet purchase from a company located in your home state, yikes, you’re going to be charged sales tax. Still, I do it.

Of course, not all the plants I desire can be obtained from Pennsylvania nurseries. So I move out geographically, just not too far.  I also make a political decision and NEVER buy from a company associated with evil GMO company Monsanto. Instead I look for companies that have good work conditions, and care for the environment. Check out this article from the Organic Consumers Association for more info.

You know about the hardiness zones right?

The hardiness zone, or just zone, was developed by the United States Department of Agriculture. Zones are based on the average annual minimum temperature over a five-year span. Numbers are assigned and graphed, they make undulating bands across the map, much like you see on a weather forecast map. Zone 1 is the coldest, here in Pennsylvania, we’re Zone 6. (Yeah, the zone thing is starting to get a little thorny right now due to global warming, but we won’t get into that today.)

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Spring Cleaning

The Problem With Cleaning Products

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Written By ELIZABETH FIEND

When the earth is tilted so that the sun is directly over the equator at high noon, this is the vernal equinox. In this momentary balance of light and dark, we are halfway between summer and winter, we are in the spring. Mid-points have been celebrated through out the ages and around the world. In ancient Babylon, the New Year occurred at the spring equinox. The ancients of America oriented their giant earthwork mounds to equinox sunrise points. Celtic Pagans lit fires at dawn to cure ills, renew life and protect crops. Today, we party in Cancun.

Or we clean.

This season of renewal brings with it the tradition of spring cleaning, making now as good a time as any to switch to all things natural. I’m talking about cleaning products — for your home and your body. All types of non-toxic cleaners for your home are now available in conventional supermarkets: glass, drain, dishwasher, dish soap, laundry, shower, even toilet bowl cleaners. Most are competitively priced or cost just a tad bit more than chemical-based cleaners. Theses natural cleaners are conveniently located right next to the toxic ones, or maybe on a shelf not quite at eye level.

Instead of the toxic, nonrenewable or harmful-to-the-environment ingredients like petroleum, butyl cellosolve, chlorine bleach, and the cancer-causing fragrance ingredient phthalates, the new non-toxic cleaners are made from ingredients like corn, grain alcohol, palm kernel, and citrus and coconut oils. And they really work. Hypo-allergenic, with no perfumes or dyes, they smell nice too. To my nose, they smell way, way better.

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CHRISTMAS TREES, NAUGHTY OR NICE?

Written By Elizabeth Fiend

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Christmas causes cancer. You knew it would come to this sooner or later.

 

Okay, OK, Christmas doesn’t cause cancer, but Christmas trees might, and I’ll get to how both real and fake ones might lead to cancer. But the real point of this column is: If you have a real tree, don’t throw it in the trash! Recycle your tree. Recycle your tree. Recycle your tree.

First, which is kinder to the planet — a real Christmas tree or a fake one?

 

FAKE TREES: No Vinyl, That’s Final pretty much says it all.

Fake trees are made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride). It’s bad stuff. These faux trees are made from nonrenewable sources and are petroleum based — and, uh, we’re running out of oil, have you heard? PVC is also considered one of the most environmentally damaging plastics on the market.

PVC is a plastic that keeps on giving. The trail of destruction begins in production, where dioxin, dichloride, ethylene and vinyl chloride are all generated by the making of PVC. These chemicals pollute neighborhoods around PVC factories — many of which are located in China, where there is the added factor of no environmental controls, and poor and unregulated (read: unsafe) conditions for factory workers handling hazardous chemicals.

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Lead: not just for toys!

Lead is used to stabilize PVC products, to make them more rigid — like your child’s brain will be if she inhales any dust from your lovely faux tree that might happen to settle on her lead-painted toys as they lay wrapped under the Christmas tree. You’ll actually see a warning label on fake Christmas trees that warns you not to inhale or eat any of the tree (kinda funny if it wasn’t so sad). And hey, don’t forget the lead on the strings of PVC-coated holiday lights! They have warnings too.

The chemicals used to make PVC, and the added lead, have been linked to neurological, reproductive, liver and kidney damage, and yes, cancer. And they’re not just bad for you, they’re toxic to the environment, too!

Although these faux trees can last for centuries, they rarely become family heirlooms passed down thorough the generations. Statistics show most people discard their tree after only about nine years. That means the last 291 years of your fake tree’s life is spent slowly leaching out nasty stuff in a landfill.

 

Option Two: A live tree.

There is the trendy, greenish option of buying a live tree, complete with root ball and all. The plan is after enjoying the tree indoors as your Christmas tree you plant the tree outside. And presto you have a new tree, producing life-giving oxygen — a beautiful and elegant solution to the real-or-fake dilemma.

Problem is, January’s not the time of year to plant trees. This activity is most successfully done in the fall or spring. Plus the tree you get for Christmas might not be suited to your locale. So in reality, this scheme which sounds so good is mostly doomed to failure and is just a ‘feel good’ kind of solution. That is, until you’re constantly aware of your ex-Xmas tree that now sits dead and brown along your driveway, and then you feel pretty crappy.

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BUY LOCAL, or BUY ORGANIC?
Article written by: ELIZABETH FIEND

Get out to your local farmers market RIGHT NOW while you still have time.  

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Photos by Rob Kates of : Greensgrow farmer Mary Seton Corboy and the author Elizabeth Fiend.

Our food system has gotten out of whack due to the industrialization of farming (AKA agribusiness) and the globalization of food. Currently there are basically three types of places that grow our produce: big agribusiness factory-type farms, organic farms and recently, a growing movement of small local farms. It used to be a no brainer that if you wanted the best, most healthful food, and could afford it, buy organic. But since the initial burst of organic farms in the 60s and 70s, things have changed and what was a given is suddenly up in the air.

Certainly, buying organic food seems like the way to go since using pesticides is strictly a no-no in organic farming. Organic practices are kinder to the land, they promote good soil development, as opposed to agribusiness techniques which deplete the soil — and hence your food — of vital nutrients. Organic practices don’t pollute the water, the air or the workers on the farm through exposure to toxic chemicals the way agribusiness practices do, either. And a fundamental part of the organic philosophy is to treat workers fairly and pay a living wage.

But there’s a crisis in the organics world, and it’s called big business. Too much of a good thing has gone haywire. Organic food is so much in demand that there just isn’t enough to go around. The only solution has been to change farming methods, to outsource, and to go global to get the desired goods. What was once an industry of small family farms has mushroomed into a new kind of agribusiness, one doing business with Wal-Mart, Kraft, Kellogg and General Mills; one that outsources the growing of organic food to places with little regulation, like China.

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Chuck the Caterpillar. Part of the series “Fiend Garden Notes”

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Photos and Story by Elizabeth Fiend

This is Chuck. He lives out back.
Chuck’s interests are eating bronze fennel and hiding from birds.
Chuck hopes to grow up and be just like his mother a beautiful Black Swallowtail butterfly.

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I touched Chuck once. He was eating the fennel I was going to use for Mr. Fiends lunch. I moved Chuck over to a different fennel plant, one I could share. Touching Chuck was really super cool. He felt like no other thing I had ever touched. He was sort of marshmallow like. But he was alive! The way he felt stayed with me for several days. I wanted to touch him again. But I haven’t. I don’t want to stress him out. He already was going super still every time I took his picture.

Chuck will have a pretty interesting life. Having started out as an egg, he’s now a caterpillar. Soon he’ll be a pupa and then a butterfly!  WOWZER. Love, Elizabeth Fiend

Click to learn about a Swallowtail butterfly’s life cycle.

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BASIC BAKED-TOFU

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BY ELIZABETH FIEND
Time: 1 hour, Active time: 15 min., 4 servings

Category: Vegan / Vegetarian Recipe

In America in the 60’s and 70’s when tofu was first coming into recognition by the crunchy, granola eating set the suggested preparation method for cooking tofu was very complicated. It usually involved pressing the tofu under weights and marinating it for hours before cooking. I have combined all those steps into one easy method that’s basically: dry rub then bake! Baked tofu is so good and versatile to use I often double this recipe and cook 2lbs of tofu at once.

Quick and easy uses for baked tofu:
Use baked tofu in sandwiches. Slice or dice baked tofu and substitute for chicken in any of your favorite recipes. Add it to a can of soup for an instant upgrade in flavor and nutrition. Add, with vegetables, to ramen noodles, or combine with vegetables in a stir-fry. You may want to add the tofu to your dish at last minute to preserve its texture.

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Ingredients:
1lb EXTRA firm tofu
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons ginger powder
½ teaspoon mustard powder
spray olive oil

Method:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Open tofu package — discard water.

Slice tofu on the shortest side of the block into 8 pieces.

Spray baking sheet with olive oil and lay slices of tofu on baking sheet.

Season:
Sprinkle on the garlic, ginger and mustard or your favorite seasonings.
Shake on the soy sauce (don’t overdo the salt!).
Bake:
Bake for 25 minutes or until the bottom is golden and crispy.
Slide a thin spatula under each piece of tofu and flip.
Spray light coating of olive oil over top.
Bake for 20 more minutes or until the bottom is golden and crispy.

 

 

 

 

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