Sadistic Salad?


I was over at Spiritual Birdwatching and she asked what "they" (a major fast-food chain) put on lettuce that makes it smell funny.

I thought this was a great question, worth answering in a post of my own. Or, more accurately, with a post of my own that quotes Carol Alt's Eating in the Raw...

"Salad greens that are soaked in preservatives such as sulfites to keep them crisp and colorful on the salad bar (or even in the produce section of your supermarket) are raw from the standpoint of cooking. But while they appear fresh for a long time, they simply aren't. It's all show.

They have more in common with a well-made-up embalmed veggie corpse than live, organic raw food. They can cause liver toxicity and elicit severe allergic-like reactions in sensitive people...Substances that were formerly foods but have turned into potential museum exhibits simply are not food." (p.53)

Well, there you have it. Kind of a variation on the "white-washed tombs" Jesus talked about.

And now, here's a not-so-sadistic raw salad you might enjoy...

Red Cabbage & Orange Salad

Red Cabbage Salad

Mix all & serve:

- 1/3 of a red cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1 carrot, shredded
- 1 to 2 oranges, peeled and cut in chunks
- small dash of raw shoyu or soy sauce
- 1/4 tsp kelp powder
- 1/2 tsp dulse flakes
- handful of raisins
- small handful cilantro or mint, chopped
- a few pours olive oil

Photos by L.L. Barkat.

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Wordless Wednesday: Just Ask

Ivy & Snow Path

Stand at the crossroads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way lies; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. Jeremiah 6:16

Path photo from Secret Place by L.L. Barkat.

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Squirrel Upside Down

pssst...can you find the squirrel?

Whenever it snows, my older daughter begins telling everybody what to do. "You can't walk here. Only step there." She wants to preserve the pristine look of gently rolling white.

The other day, as I walked to my secret spot, I understood her urgency in this matter. Every step I took felt like a violation. I so wanted an invisible footprint. Similarly, sometimes, when I lie under the pine tree, I imagine what it would be like to melt into the ivy in total camouflage, with my presence creating only negligible impact.

Of course, this is impossible, both in my yard and in the world in general. For instance, as an American, my "footprint" is rather large compared to what the world can support. As I recall from Radical Simplicity, there are about 4.5 acres for each person alive... that's what it takes to support a life. But the average American footprint is 24 acres. In other words, I am far from being a world chameleon. You might say I'm wearing red neon in the forest.

Still, one way I'm learning to live a little lighter is through my food choices. Some of us do other things like drive a gas-economical car. But food's my thing. It's one small way I'm trying to leave a little snow patch pristine, so to speak.

So here's an earth-light recipe. With the king-of-chameleon as its highlight: tofu. Tofu is bland, yes. That's its star quality. Because it melts into the background, it simply absorbs all the other flavors and showcases them. This makes it a great choice for dishes with rich or spicy flavors.

Tofu Joes 2

Tofu Joes

Saute in olive oil 'til light brown:

-onion, chopped

Add & saute briefly:

- 2 garlic, minced
- 1 to 1 1/2 TB chili powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- 1/4 tsp fennel seed
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- optional dash red pepper flakes

Add & simmer about 10 minutes:

- 2 TB shoyu or soy sauce
- 1 package firm or extra firm tofu, mashed
- 1/2 jar of spaghetti sauce
- 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped


- pour of olive oil
- salt & pepper to taste
- chopped cilantro

Serve on wheat buns slathered in olive oil (raw olive oil is always good for us!). Add a side of fried potatoes and something green.

About tofu: HIgh in protein, calcium and iron. Can help control cholesterol.

Squirrel Chameleon photo and Tofu Joes photo by L.L. Barkat.

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Wordless Wednesday: Thorn Berry

Last Berry in the Thorns

from my secret place...a lone thorn berry...

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Myth & Meal


On vacation, I go to the Leu Garden in Orlando. My family and I pass by the starfruit tree. It is heavy with golden, liquid sweetness. Smashed fruits lie beneath the tree. The children ask, "Pick one! Please?!"

No signs forbid it.

So I pick.

A cry and laughter burst, "You picked the fruit! You are Eve!"

Later, I meet Christianne for dinner (a blessed privilege). I tell her my forbidden fruit story. And how my family and I decided that if we were the owners of the Leu, we'd put the fruit in baskets with signs that say, "Take. Eat. Enjoy."

"Good idea," says Christianne. "No one's going to eat it anyway."

"Yes," I say, biting into my Greek salad. Then a thought comes, "I bet Eve thought that in the garden— 'look at all that Tree-of-Knowledge fruit just falling to the ground. If I don't eat it, who will? What a waste!'"


Today, as I write this, I'm reminded of the Greek Pandora myth. We humans open some boxes, eat some fruit, pillage some of creation's resources thinking, "If not us, then who?" Open. Take. Eat. And we become Eve of Eden, all over again.

On a different note, here's a delicious Greek meal. Nothing forbidden. Deliciously healthy. Make. Serve. Eat. Enjoy...

Greek Meal

Potatoes & Olives

Potatoes & Olives

Add and saute briefly in large pot:

- small pour olive oil
- 5 red potatoes, unpeeled, washed and chopped into 1-inch chunks
- 2 garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp. dried oregano

Add and boil for about 20 minutes or 'til potatoes are tender:

- 1 28-oz. can Muir Glen organic pureed tomatoes
- 1/2 to 1 cup pitted kalamata olives
- water to cover all


Salt and pepper to taste, plus a few pours of olive oil. Serve with orzo, lentil salad, and something green.

About Potatoes: Full of fiber that lowers cholesterol, as well as potassium, potatoes are a heart-healthy food choice. (French fries don't count, but I knew you'd ask.)

Lentil & Feta Salad

Lentil Salad

Boil 'til tender, 20-35 minutes, depending on age of lentils:
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups lentils

Drain lentils, add & mix with:

- 1 cup or so roasted red peppers
- olive oil, generous amount
- 4 or more TB red wine vinegar
- large handfull dill, chopped fine
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- salt & pepper to taste


- olive oil
- feta cheese

About Lentils: These legumes were one of the first crops ever cultivated. At about 18 grams of protein per cup (compared to 15 in a 3 oz. beef patty), lentils hold their own in the health department. They also have an excellent balance of fat and carbohydrates. High in calcium, magnesium, vitamin A, and potassium, they're a great choice for both kids and adults!

Photos by L.L. Barkat. Original recipes, modified here, were taken from The Greek Vegetarian

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Wordless Wednesday: Herbs

Herbs in Jar

herbs in a jar of water, ready to put in my produce drawer, ready to last about two and a half weeks...

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Five Reasons Why I Blog

Old-Fashioned Typewriter & Girl Photo

Thanks, Aimee, for tagging me. Here's my answer, which just shows what a trip to Florida will do to a Northeasterner's winter-weary brain...

I blog because...

1. it is significantly cheaper (and uses less fuel) than flying to a writer's conference to meet an editor for 15 minutes, so she can kindly reject my article entitled "Five Reasons Why I Blog."

2. I can do it from the comfort of my own home. Consequently, I don't have to get in an airplane to travel around the world in order to deliver my manifesto, "Five Reasons Why I Blog." This has particular advantages, such as... I do not have to subject myself to atmospheric radiation or be tempted to buy "food for purchase" on the flight (which consists of a single cinnamon-sugar cookie or a pack of M & M's or a blue cylinder half-filled with chips, for the price of $3.00, at dinner time).

3. blogging allows me to talk to people in my pajamas, with unbrushed teeth, while eating cinnamon-sugar cookies and successfully pretending that I have no idea where last Halloween's M & M's are hidden in the fridge.

4. I can publish fun and simple articles like "Five Reasons Why I Blog," which is a good break from writing things like a 50,000-word book (which I am still revising, thanks to my very committed editor who I adore, so that I now believe my book has—for all intents and purposes—been a 65,000 word book. But no one will be the wiser when they pick it up, hopefully sometime before the end of this year, and note that it is indeed a 50,000 word book.)

5. Blogging is safer and more socially acceptable than riding a tricycle down 5th Avenue, in my pajamas, with unbrushed teeth, holding a sign that says, "Writer for Hire! Cheap!" Though I must admit, the tricycle would provide more exercise than Blogger.

Photo by L.L. Barkat.

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