Mexican Turnip

jicama

It may look like a potato, but the jicama (pronounced HEE-ca-ma) is far from your average spud, and unless you live near the southern border, it is not likely you will find one at your local farmers market.

Jicama (also known as the Mexican Turnip or Yam Bean) is a tuberous root vegetable native to Mexico and Central America. It also is a great snack that is low in calories (approximately 50 calories per 1 cup serving) and high in fiber (6 grams per serving) and vitamin C.

This vegetable is thirst-quenching and slightly sweet. I like it plain or lightly salted, and also use it as a healthy tortilla chip alternative that tastes great dipped in salsa or guacamole. You can spice it up by adding a little lime juice and chili powder or can eat them as raw-food-friendly fries. Jicama is also commonly used in cole slaw recipes.

So next time you are in the produce section of your market, don’t pass by this root veggie just because of it’s rough and rugged exterior. If you do, you’ll be missing out on the sweet and healthy treat waiting on the inside.

Posted in Chew On This by Rhaya on February 18, 2008 | Permalink | 2 Comments

Squash & Kale Risotto

Liz’s Friday Recipe

Squash and Kale. What a great local food combo for this time of year.  This dish makes a nice filling, ”comfort food” type of meal this time of year without being overly heavy.  Skip the white rice and use something a little healthier like brown or basmati, you may have to cook it a little longer but it’s worth it! 

Winter Squash and Kale Risotto
Adapted from a recipe by the National Cancer Institute

2 tsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. short grained rice
1/4 c. pine nuts
20 oz. vegetable broth
1 small to medium winter squash (Butternut worked well for me)
2 c. fresh kale, rinsed well and chopped
1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan chees

Pre-heat oven to 400.  Peel, seed and chop the squash into 1 inch cubes.  Toss the squash with a little olive oil and place into a glass baking dish, pop it into the oven for about 30 minutes or until tender.

When squash is about halfway done, start a few tbsp. of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add salt, onion, and garlic, and saute for 2 minutes.  Stir in the rice and pine nuts, and toast for about 2 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add 1/2 cup broth; cook on medium-low heat stirring often until liquid is almost absorbed.  Continue to add about 1/2 of a cup at a time, stirring often until each addition is nearly absorbed before adding the next.  

After 10 oz of the broth has been added and nearly absorbed, stir in the diced squash with the next addition of a 1/2 cup.  Add the remaining broth 1/2 cup at a time as before.  With the last 1/2 cup, stir in the kale and cook the mixture until all the broth is absorbed and the kale is soft and bright.

Serve with a little freshly grated Parmesan over the top.  Makes about 4 servings.  

Posted in Going Local,Recipes by Liz on February 15, 2008 | Permalink | No Comments

Spread the Love

Treehugger

Whether your are happily married or celebrating the single life, there is someone who could use a little lovin’ this Valentine’s Day — our Planet Earth! We’ve put together five relatively easy changes that you can do to show your Mama Earth a little love today, and every day!

BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag)
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again… just say no to plastic (and paper) bags by bringing your own when you do your shopping.

Trust Your Tap
Individual water bottles are a waste of money and resources. Opt for a reusable bottle (such as a SIGG or Klean Kanteen) that can be refilled again and again.

Eat Local
You might be surprised to find out that buying and eating more local foods is easier than you think. And not only are local foods usually more fresh than their grocery store alternatives, but buying them also is good for the environment.

Veg Out
We mentioned it first on World Vegetarian Day that if every American ate meatless once a week, it would be the equivalent of taking more than 5 million cars off our roads. Squash Patty, anyone?

Buy Better Bulbs
Switching to compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) will save on your electric bill and lessen your impact on the environment. The EPA estimates that if just one room in every U.S. home were switched to efficient lighting (CFLs), we’d reduce CO2 emissions by over one trillion pounds.

So celebrate your Valentine’s Day by showing some love to the environment, and make a commitment to keep lovin’ it year-round!


P.S. There’s more to this post! In addition to what’s shown here, readers of The Squeeze also got SIX easy ideas and recipes on how to make a meatless meal.

What else have subscribers to The Squeeze received? One lucky reader won a SIGG Water Bottle, and all of the December readers got a pre-release discount on Green-Lemonade products. Want to get in on the action? Sign up for The Squeeze today!

Posted in Living Green by Rhaya on February 14, 2008 | Permalink | No Comments

Sweet Survey

Take The Survey

It’s not as important as the primaries and presidential election, but as a reader of Green-Lemonade.com, your voice counts!

We want to know more about you, and what you want, so we are requesting that you take a short 10 question survey regarding Green-Lemonade.com.

UPDATE: One lucky participant was chosen at random and was awarded a jar of Organic Bold Roast Chocagave that Liz posted about yesterday. Now that’s sweet!

TAKE THE SURVEY »

Posted in Green-Lemonade News by Rhaya on February 13, 2008 | Permalink | No Comments

New Email Address

Due to some spammers using contact [at] green-lemonade.com, we have deleted that account, and have created a new contact email address.

“The Squeeze,” which is scheduled to be sent tomorrow, is not affiliated with either address, so that should arrive to your inbox as usual.

Posted in Green-Lemonade News by Rhaya on February 13, 2008 | Permalink | 1 Comment

I Heart Chocagave

Chocagave

Ahh, love is in the air.  With Valentine’s Day rapidly approaching you can feel good about indulging in this little dessert topper.  A chocolate lover’s delight, Chocagave, by Organic Nectars in Woodstock, NY, is a heart-healthy dessert syrup sans the sugar-spike, preservatives and chemicals.

It’s a fair-trade chocolate twist on the Agave Syrup I previously spoke of, full of antioxidants and flavor.  It makes a great choice for anyone and any diet, as it’s low-fat, low-glycemic, vegan, and dairy and gluten free. Oh and it’s quite delicious too! The Organic Bold Roast Chocagave is fabulous drizzled over fruit and even more exciting over ice cream, but this tasty dessert syrup also comes in Raw Cacao, Vanillagave, Gojiagave flavors, which makes the dessert possibilities limitless.  So skip the boring boxed chocolates and share this little treat with someone you love this Valentines day.

 p.s. Check back tomorrow for a chance to win your own jar of Chocagave!

Posted in At The Market by Liz on February 12, 2008 | Permalink | No Comments

Taxes and Treehugging

Calculator

April 15th is still two months away, but tax time is now upon us — made obvious by the radio ads and tv commercials reminding the public that it’s time to pay Uncle Sam. The good news is that if you have made some greener decisions in the past year, you may be able get some breaks on your federal and state taxes for your eco-efforts.

Hybrid owners are usually aware of the tax breaks they get from the purchase of their vehicles. The IRS web site has a list of the Qualified Hybrid Vehicles and how much of a tax credit is offered. You may notice that Toyota and Lexus hybrids have become so popular that if you purchased one after October 1, 2007, you won’t get a credit. Even though there may not be a credit for these specific vehicles, owners are still doing their part in helping the environment, and are spending less money on gas.

Regarding your home, the Energy Star web site has a chart that details what energy-saving home improvements qualify for tax credits. Installing solar panels is a specific example of a home improvement that can make a big impact on your taxes.

To see the full run-down of the eco-incentives offered by the federal government and your specific state, check the U.S. Department of Energy list of incentives related to alternative fuels and vehicles, air quality, fuel efficiency, and other transportation-related topics.

In addition to green decisions you’ve made this past year regarding your car and your home, don’t forget that donations to non-profit groups are also tax-deductible.

As you pay your taxes this year, and begin your file folder for next year, keep in mind that federal tax credits may change after this year. Congress will make decisions soon about extending these credits, so make your voice heard, and contact your representatives today.


The information in this article was compiled from this article from Yahoo! Green.

Posted in Living Green by Rhaya on February 11, 2008 | Permalink | No Comments

Local Links – Upstate NY

Albany

Posting about “local links” in the Indianapolis area, Rhaya reminded us earlier this week that the “going local” concept goes beyond just the foods you eat. It means supporting your local businesses and organizations, getting involved in your own community and connecting with the people in it too. So, today, it’s my turn to feature some of my favorite local places and sites in the Albany, NY area. And remember, if you have some favorites of your own, where ever you may be, please let us know so we can spread the word.


Honest Weight Food Co-op – To me, HWFC is hands down one of the best places in the Albany area to find lots of locally grown food and support for our local businesses and organizations. Not only do they go the extra step to clearly label the source of their products, but they have a handy “100 mile” list too. Their bulk section is a great way to stock up for less (even better if you can re-use an old container) and I love to stop by the deli for a healthy meal during my lunch break. But, on top of all that, they have a busy calendar of free classes and workshops featuring people from our community like Massage Therapists, Reiki experts, and a Certified Wine Specialist who has been hosting a few fabulous wine and food pairing workshops lately.

Capital District Local FirstA non-profit organization in the Capital District of NY that strives to promote the locally owned, independent business community in the area. They host monthly meetings open to all and promote networking within the local business community.

Regional Farm and Food Project – Another non-profit organization, the RFFP mission is to promote sustainable agriculture and local food systems through grass roots organizing and public education. They have a phenonmenal directory of local farms, CSAs, restaurants, and farmer’s markets in addition to a long list of links related to their purpose. And I have to say that I already have their beautiful calendar hanging in my kitchen! In addition they are co-sponsoring an Eat Local Fair; Meet Your Farmer event next week. So, if you live in the area make sure you head to the Empire Plaza South Concourse next Tuesday, February 12 between 10-2 to meet your local farmers and get signed up for a CSA before they sell out!

Troy Waterfront Farmer’s Market – Another place I frequent to find fresh local food and outstanding local products throughout the year. With a very busy summer market and a hoppin’ indoor winter market, it’s incredibly easy and fun to connect with your local suppliers every week. And check out the recipes provided by some of the vendors.

Capital District Community Gardens – As non-profit community services organization, the Capital District Community Gardens is committed to helping local counties improve their neighborhoods through community gardening and urban greening programs. By working with local residents to turn vacant lots in the community into flourishing garden spaces and by making local healthy foods accessible to all through their Veggie Mobile program, the CDCG is helping to improve food security issues in our area.

Times Union Eat Local BlogJennifer Gish, a staff writer at the local paper, authors a fun blog about eating close to home, locally made products, and local food related events. It’s a great way to stay on top of what’s going on in the local food scene and may even inspire you to try a few new things like beets or spicy meslun.

The Capital Region 100 Mile Diet Challenge – Last, but certainly not least, this site is where our 100 mile diet challenge all started. Closely linked with the Regional Farm and Food Project listed above, this site may inspire you to join in for a day, a week, a month, (or even a year) next fall and is a wonderful place to help you find local sources of food during your challenge.

*The photo above was provided by our friend Renee at Almost Foodies, a local cooking club and host of the recent Soup Swap.

Posted in Going Local by Liz on February 8, 2008 | Permalink | 1 Comment

Recycling Runaround

Recycling

If you have been practicing your three R’s then you know that last step sometimes requires the most effort! Even though my husband and I pay for curb-side recycling pick-up, I still feel like I do a lot of running around to recycle all the things our recycling company doesn’t take. In some cases (such as with the Paper Retriever) it is very convenient, and I have to travel less than two miles to drop it off. However, in other cases, I have to drive 20 miles to drop off my cardboard and Plastics #3-#7.

Household batteries get dropped off at the public library, and the few plastic bags that are mysteriously acquired go to Wal-Mart, or now Kroger. Other odd items such as electronics, phone books, etc. go to other places all together.

Thankfully, there are plenty of resources online that can help you locate the easiest way to recycle those items that can no longer be reused. One of the best national resources is Earth911.org. Not only do they give you the facts and figures of recycling, but they also have a handy tool at the top of the page, that allows you to search by item and location. Additionally, the site has information on how to start your own recycling program. Another resource for recycling less common materials is this article from E/The Environmental Magazine. The article is older, but still has some listings that are still helpful today.

Perhaps the most helpful resource you can find, however, is one that targets your local area. For Indianapolis, the Keep Indianapolis Beautiful web site, seems to have to the most comprehensive and up-to-date list of recycling drop-offs and materials accepted.

Posted in Living Green by Rhaya on February 7, 2008 | Permalink | No Comments

“Keen-wah”

Quinoa

Once considered sacred to the Incas and usually thought of as a grain, Quinoa (“Keen-wah”) comes from the seed of the chenopodium quinoa plant which is actually related to green leafy veggies like swiss chard and spinach.  The World’s Healthiest Foods reports that it’s a complete protien, and full of many other nutrients like manganese.

The great thing about quinoa is that it’s incredibly versatile and easy to cook.  Just add 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water and bring to a boil over the stove.  Cover and let simmer for 15 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed and you can fluff with a fork.  You will know when it is ready because it will have a little white curly Q look to it. 

I purchased some in bulk on the cheap at the local co-op and, since I really liked this stuffed squash recipe a few months ago, I decided to try a Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash dish for my first go at making this wonderful “grain” at home.  You could also use it as a substitute for white rice in stir fry, as a breakfast food mixed with oats, and I’ve since used it in a fabulous gluten-free Quinoa and Black Bean Chili.

Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash
Adapted from the “Joy of Cooking: All About Vegetarian Cooking”

1 acorn squash, halved and seeded
1 tbsp.  butter
1/2 c chopped onions
1/2 c quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 c vegetable stock
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup chopped almonds toasted
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
4 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350.  Arrange acorn squash cut side down in a baking pan.  Add 1/2 inch of water to the pan and cover with aluminum foil.  Bake until the squash are tender, about 30-40 minutes.  Take the squash out and let cool, leave the oven on.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, stirring until golden, about 5 minutes. Add quinoa, stirring until toasted, about 3 minutes.  Stir in the stock , salt and pepper and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until the liquid is absorbed, about 10-15 minutes.  Uncover and cool slightly.

Stir in the nuts, parsley, and 2 tbsp. of the cheese.  Spoon mixture into the squash cavities.  Sprinkle the tops with the remaining cheese.  Bake until heated through, about 20 minutes. 

Posted in Chew On This,Recipes by Liz on February 6, 2008 | Permalink | 1 Comment

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