GALERIE.LA curates sustainable "Fashion With Integrity"

June 18, 2020 by  
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Again and again the headlines emphasize the dirty world of fashion . Polluting waterways, consuming materials and creating trendy fast fashion pieces that lead to massive landfill waste are all part of the process. So one company in Los Angeles called GALERIE.LA decided to track down the most sustainable clothing and fashion accessories it could find, bringing them together in one place for in-person or online shopping convenience. GALERIE.LA promotes a simple concept — fashion can be sustainable. From lipstick to shoes, the storefront at 767 South Alameda St. #192 in Los Angeles curates ethical options from head to toe. In store and online, each product features extensive traceability, so the consumer can easily make purchases based on what they believe defines a sustainable purchase. Related: Olli Ella releases capsule wardrobe made with organic cotton Dechel Mckillian, a celebrity stylist passionate about sustainable, conscientious fashion, is the founder of GALERIE.LA. After more than 10 years in the fashion industry, Mckillian saw an opportunity to connect people to their clothing, showing how meaningful it can be to shop for items that match one’s values. The company answers many questions about fashion. Who made this? Is it supporting my community? Were any animals harmed? What’s the environmental impact? To make the inventory easy to navigate, each item is tagged, either physically or virtually, with a variety of labels aimed at providing answers to these questions. Using these labels, shoppers can sort items by whether they meet the vegan criteria or are made using recycled materials . Another label identifies whether the product was sourced and produced within the same region. Other labels show if a product meets ethical manufacturing practices, such as fair wages and safe working conditions for employees, or if an item is made by an artisan and represents culture and tradition. Products in the store and online include clothing, accessories, home goods , beauty and self care, each carefully selected with the same goal in mind. “To have a positive environmental and social impact that is not at the expense of style and design is key,” the company said. “Our team is committed to scouting the most intriguing designers who use sustainable production methods to reduce their environmental footprint while taking the ethical business practices necessary to benefit people and communities.” + GALERIE.LA Images via GALERIE.LA

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GALERIE.LA curates sustainable "Fashion With Integrity"

Easy vegan ice cream recipes to enjoy all summer long

June 2, 2020 by  
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With summer just around the corner, now is the perfect time to experiment with frozen treats, particularly some delicious and refreshing vegan ice cream. Not sure where to start? Here are four vegan ice cream recipes you can make right in your kitchen — no ice cream maker or hard-to-find ingredients required. Banana-based vegan ice cream The absolute simplest — and healthiest — vegan ice cream recipe requires just two ingredients: bananas and cocoa powder. This sounds a little far-fetched, but it really works to make a convincing ice cream consistency. Related: Should you make sourdough starter? The recipe from Bowl of Delicious gives the important instruction to slice the bananas first so they don’t break the blades in your food processor or blender. While the recipe says to freeze your banana slices on a parchment covered baking sheet, if you don’t have parchment, you can just put a layer of banana slices in a container to freeze. Once the banana slices are frozen, it’s time to make ice cream. The original recipe recommends using a food processor, but a blender should do the trick. If it seems to be having some trouble, add a little non-dairy milk to help the process along. From there, add the cocoa powder and blend until the dessert has a smooth texture. Sure, it’s not Ben and Jerry’s, but it is more satisfying as a dessert than you would expect. This recipe is your best bet if you want a healthful, low-fat, no-churn vegan ice cream without added sugar. You could jazz it up by adding some nut butter, jam or cinnamon. Tahini-chocolate vegan ice cream This recipe from Strength and Sunshine suits both vegan and paleo diets. The ice cream is made using only four ingredients: coconut , tahini, cocoa powder and erythritol. Erythritol is a no-calorie sugar substitute, which, according to WebMD , appears to be safe for people with diabetes. I used sugar instead, as I already had that in the pantry, and added cinnamon and a dash of cayenne for a spicy chocolate flavor. This one is super easy to make in the blender. I didn’t blend the ingredients nearly as long as the recipe instructed — 3 minutes for the coconut milk alone, 5 more minutes for all the ingredients together — because it was sufficiently blended far sooner than that. I poured the mixture into a wax paper-lined loaf pan as the recipe suggested, then covered it with foil. Unfortunately, pieces of the wax paper tore off and stuck to the ice cream as I scooped it, so in the future, I will pour the ice cream directly into the pan. Less waste, less problems! The chocolate tahini vegan ice cream was my favorite of the four recipes. The tahini gives a slightly bitter flavor, so if you want something sweeter, you could add a little more sugar (or erythritol). Avocado-lime vegan ice cream Courtesy of Delish , this is another unique vegan ice cream recipe. Avocado-lime ice cream is simple to make. Just put your avocados, coconut cream, lime juice and other ingredients in the blender, and you’ll soon have a very green substance to freeze in a loaf pan or other freezer-safe container. In case you’re wondering what the difference is between coconut milk and cream, the cream is much richer. It’s made by simmering four parts coconut in one part water, making it high-calorie and very high in saturated fat. I used sugar because I didn’t have maple syrup on hand, and the flavor still turned out great. Allow at least 5 hours for your avocado lime ice cream to freeze. It becomes a lovely green color with a bold lime taste. Sweet potato-gingerbread vegan ice cream This vegan ice cream recipe from Food and Wine is a good balance between the healthful banana-based ice cream and the other more indulgent options with coconut cream. Sweet potato forms the base for this gingerbread-flavored ice cream. It takes only one-half of a cup of coconut milk, plus a frozen banana, a couple of tablespoons of nut butter and a lot of spices. Dates sweeten the mixture. The main work here involves prepping the sweet potato. The recipe calls for steaming the sweet potato, mashing it up, then freezing it in ice cube trays. However, these blocks of frozen sweet potato can prove to be a real challenge for some blenders. Be prepared to add more coconut milk or other vegan milk to help break down the frozen sweet potatoes. This one tastes pretty good, but the texture is not totally convincing as ice cream. It needs a lot of blending to avoid rather unpleasant little chunks of sweet potato. Also, it might taste better with more sweetener, or maybe regular sugar, maple syrup or agave instead of dates. If I make this again, I might experiment with blending the mashed sweet potatoes directly with the other ingredients, then freezing the entire mixture. It would also be easier on the blender blades if you made smaller frozen sweet potato cubes by only filling the ice trays halfway. More vegan ice cream recipes The internet has plenty more vegan ice cream recipes to try. Here are a few more that sound promising: date-sweetened, five-ingredient chocolate vegan ice cream from Minimalist Baker ; raspberry delight from Food and Wine ; almond butter-based ice cream from Unconventional Baker ; and cinnamon roll ice cream from Blissful Basil . Enjoy! Images via Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat

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Easy vegan ice cream recipes to enjoy all summer long

How to cook dry beans

April 23, 2020 by  
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The time has come. You’ve cooked everything in the fridge, anything halfway palatable in the freezer and cupboard, and the only thing standing between you and a pandemic panic trip to the grocery store is that forgotten bag of dried chickpeas. Or maybe  coronavirus  has decimated your paycheck and you’re trying to stretch those food dollars farther than they’ve ever stretched before. Dried beans and peas are the answer. They’re inexpensive and full of protein and nutrients. And now that we’re sheltering in place, there’s plenty of time to cook them. Dried beans 101 One of the reasons that people avoid cooking dried beans is that they don’t provide instant gratification. Instead, you need to plan ahead. The first step is sorting through your beans , peas or lentils to pick out rocks. Yes, rocks. Don’t skip this step because nobody wants to make an emergency dentist trip right now. Well, ever. But especially not now. You can shake your beans into in a colander a small handful at a time, or spread them out on a cookie sheet and look for any non-beans hiding in their midst. Once you’ve sorted out any rocks or withered or discolored beans, rinse those remaining in your colander. Next comes soaking. This step is somewhat controversial. Proponents say soaking removes sugars from the beans, making them less gassy and decreasing cooking times. Other people say this step is overrated and not so effective. Still, with the pandemic forcing people to spend so much time at home, an overnight soak can’t hurt. The beans are going to swell up, so add two or three times as much  water  as beans. When you’re ready to use the beans, drain and rinse. You can feed the bean water to your  plants . Getting started So, which beans should you cook? That depends on what dishes you want to make or, in these times, which beans you can find. My nearest and least crowded neighborhood store is a big  Korean  market. So the pandemic has me experimenting with adzuki and mung beans for the first time. There are hundreds of types of beans and legumes in the world. Here we’ll consider some of the most popular and easy to find. When cooking beans, cover the beans with an extra few inches of water in the pot, to account for absorption and evaporation. You’ll want to bring the beans to a boil, then turn your pot down to simmer. Cooking without a lid results in firmer beans. If you prefer a softer bean, put the lid on slightly ajar to allow some steam to escape. If you want to flavor your beans as they  cook , throw in some onion, garlic, bay leaves, cumin or dried chili peppers. Check your beans often to make sure there’s still water, or you’ll be scraping your pot later. Black beans Black beans are a mainstay of Central American, South American and Caribbean cuisine, and are tops in tacos and veggie burgers. They go especially well with  avocado , dairy or nondairy cheese, jalapeños and tomatoes. You’ll need to cook your presoaked black beans for at least 60 to 90 minutes. If they’re still not soft, simmer for another 30 minutes. Black beans contain about 8 grams of protein per half-cup serving, according to the  Bean Institute . They’re also high in folate, manganese, thiamine and iron. Kidney beans Kidney beans are firmer than black beans. They hold up well in cold bean salads and are a mainstay of chili. They come in dark and light red, the latter being popular in Portugal, Spain and the  Caribbean . Mustard, vinegar, pasta, sauerkraut, sweet potato and yogurt all mix well with kidney beans. Allow 90 to 120 minutes for cooking. Like black beans, kidneys contain about 8 grams of protein per half-cup serving. They also contain significant amounts of folate, manganese, thiamine, copper and iron. Garbanzo beans Also known as chickpeas, this bean is a staple of Middle Eastern cooking. Think falafel and hummus. It’s also used to make chole in Indian cooking. Or toss a handful into a salad for a filling  protein  boost. Garbanzos taste good with cumin, olive oil, ginger, garlic, sesame seeds and tomatoes. Your soaked chickpeas will take 60-120 minutes to cook. Start checking their consistency after an hour. Garbanzos are particularly high in manganese and folate and contain more iron and copper than other common beans. According to  Healthline , they’re a high-carb food that’s good for increasing insulin sensitivity and reducing blood sugar. Pinto beans Pinto beans are one of the most popular beans in the Americas, and the most widely produced bean in the US. They’re the usual bean for making Mexican  refried beans, although black beans also work. Pintos pair well with chiles, cilantro, black olives and onions. Cook them for 90 to 120 minutes. Pinto beans are good sources of folate, manganese, copper and thiamine. Lentils Lentils are the exception to the soak first and cook long rule. These small, high protein legumes cook quickly, so they are very convenient to have on hand for putting meals together in a hurry. Brown lentils are the most popular type. They cook in about 20 minutes and hold their shape well for stews. Yellow and red lentils take as little as five minutes to cook and have a nutty flavor. Tiny beluga lentils are black and resemble caviar. Lentils are one of the least expensive ways to get protein, plus nutrients like folate, phosphorus, manganese and  copper . Don’t be intimidated by the need to sort and soak. Beans are good for you and good for the planet, as they provide a protein source that’s both more humane and environmentally friendlier than eating  animals . Images via Pexels and Pixabay

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How to cook dry beans

Chef Mark Reinfeld opens a vegan culinary school in Colorado

April 15, 2020 by  
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If you’re interested in vegan food, you may already be familiar with Chef Mark Reinfeld. He was the founding chef at the Blossoming Lotus restaurants in Hawaii and Portland, Oregon, has authored eight cookbooks and was inducted into the Vegetarian Hall of Fame in 2017. For more than 20 years, Reinfeld has trained everybody from home cooks to top vegan chefs and consulted with corporations around the world. Now, he’s opening a brick-and-mortar vegan culinary school this fall ( pandemic permitting) in Boulder, Colorado. Reinfeld took some time to talk with Inhabitat about his new Vegan Fusion Culinary Academy. Inhabitat: What kind of students will attend your culinary school? Reinfeld: So the main program is we want to train people for a career in the plant-based culinary world. So we’re calling that the aspiring chef. We’re looking to have that be a four-month nationally accredited culinary program. We’ll offer job placement and support and help people get gigs out in the real world with the training. Related: Pixie Retreat — behind the scenes in a raw commercial kitchen And then we’ll do consulting, like professional chef trainings. So if you’re a chef out in the real world but you didn’t know anything about vegan or plant-based, you could come and take anywhere from a one- to five-day training. Then we’ll also be offering evening classes for date nights and vegan desserts, or vegan holidays, as well as kombucha-making and cheese-making, all-day and weekend workshops. The idea is to have it be a real community center where we’ll have movie screenings and we’ll be able to do benefit fundraising events for vegan and other environmental organizations to raise awareness and funds for some of those. Inhabitat: Besides yourself, who will be teaching the courses? Reinfeld: We’re going to have guest chefs come to teach. Fran Costigan is on the books to be the first visiting chef to do a course on vegan desserts. Miyoko offered to do a cheese-making class. If you look on the website on the Our Team page, you’ll see a lot of the leading voices in the plant-based culinary world will be passing through to do either a presentation or a cooking class with their expertise. Inhabitat: What else are you planning for the school? Reinfeld: My wife is a vegan naturopathic doctor, so she’s developing an eight-part Food is Medicine component of the aspiring chef program. We want to empower students with a basic knowledge of the health of a plant-based lifestyle. We’re also going to be working with the local medical community to create a CME, continuing medical education credit, for doctors and nurses to learn about the healing qualities of plant-based foods. Dr. [Michael] Greger and Dr. [Joel] Kahn have agreed to come to the school and teach. We’re bringing in the medical community that way, too. Inhabitat: Are you getting more acceptance now from the medical community about plant-based eating? Reinfeld: Yeah. Definitely, the movement is growing. And Dr. [Kim] Williams, who was the president of the American College of Cardiology, he’s also expressed a willingness to come to the school . He said cardiologists are either vegan or they haven’t seen the data. He’s a well-respected person there. Inhabitat: Tell us more about your motivation. Reinfeld: I like to consider what I do as food activism . Basically, by educating people on the how-to part of plant-based cuisine, like how to bring plant-based food into your daily rotation, I put in the activism category because you’re empowering people with the gift of their own health. Then, if they’re aware of the environmental impact or the animal welfare components, well, those benefits will occur whether people are aware of them or not. If they are aware of them, then it goes even further, I think. Inhabitat: What is your vision for the future of veganism in general and your students in particular? Reinfeld: I’ve been plant-based for 20-plus years, so I’ve seen a lot of changes occur — more recently than in years prior. It just feels like it is reaching a tipping point where it will be considered more mainstream to eat more plant-based. I would love for the students to be innovators and leaders. As far as where they wind up, whatever type of food service sector there is now will become more and more plant-based. Opportunities in any of those emerging plant-based industries like food trucks, restaurants , personal chefs that are able to help people have a foundation for a healthy, plant-based lifestyle. I could see them writing cookbooks and developing recipe formulas for major companies or consulting with companies on how to bring more plant-based foods into their food service. Part of what we think is cool is the people that come here to train will go back to their communities around the world and have their plant-based knowledge there. Inhabitat: What’s the best thing about being a vegan chef? Reinfeld: I like to show people that you can have food that’s amazing and still be plant-based. Inhabitat: What else should readers know about you, your work and the academy? Reinfeld: We’re really striving to create the best environment that we can for people to learn about the plant-based lifestyle and the cuisine in whatever way people are wanting to go with it. Whether it’s a home cook who wants fresh ideas for her family or a chef who’s been in the restaurant business for 20 years but needs training in plant-based cooking or a deep four-month immersion into cuisine and lifestyle… everyone’s welcome. + Vegan Fusion Culinary Academy Images via Mark Reinfeld

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Chef Mark Reinfeld opens a vegan culinary school in Colorado

Help NASA save endangered coral with a new gaming app

April 15, 2020 by  
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NASA is calling citizen scientists of all ages to help map endangered coral — while sheltering in place. Instead of endlessly livestreaming TV shows during the pandemic , you could help program a supercomputer to classify and ultimately save ocean life with a fun app called NeMO-Net. The Neural Multi-Modal Observation and Training Network, also known as NeMO-Net , is a new gaming app. Players use 3D images to identify and classify coral while virtually cruising the seas on a research vessel called the Nautilus. The end goal is for all the players’ input to be pooled together, producing the highest resolution global map of coral reefs. Scientists will use this map to figure out how to better protect shallow marine systems. Related: Newly released video game challenges players to survive the climate apocalypse Researchers at NASA Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley are improving fluid-lensing, a way to look through the ocean’s rippled surface. Through complex calculations, they’ve found an algorithm to correct for the way water absorbs and intensifies light, which distorts images and makes them hard to read. Scientists at Ames’ Laboratory for Advanced Sensing are refining two fluid-lensing technologies: FluidCam and MiDAR, the Multispectral Imaging, Detection and Active Reflectance instrument. But the resulting images still need discerning human eyes to correctly classify them. “NeMO-Net leverages the most powerful force on this planet: not a fancy camera or a supercomputer, but people,” said principal investigator Ved Chirayath at NASA Ames Research Center. “Anyone, even a first grader, can play this game and sort through these data to help us map one of the most beautiful forms of life we know of.” On each virtual dive, players will interact with real NASA data. Their actions will help train NASA’s Pleiades supercomputer to identify different coral on the ocean floor from images of varying quality. The more input Pleiades gets from players, the better it will be able to use machine learning to classify corals on its own. Players will learn about different kinds of coral, earn badges and watch educational videos about creatures that dwell on the sea floor. Surprisingly, scientists have mapped Mars and Earth’s moon in great detail, but only 4% of the ocean floor is mapped. With the new fluid-lensing technology — and the help of a homebound population — NASA hopes to change that. + NASA Image via NASA

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Help NASA save endangered coral with a new gaming app

How to stock a vegan pandemic pantry

April 7, 2020 by  
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As what used to be ordinary errands become brave forays into a coronavirus -paralyzed world, online grocery stores have seen a huge uptick in orders. People with dietary restrictions may be especially challenged. “When you’re vegan, it’s so much harder to find some of the things you need,” said Ryan Wilson, co-owner of Wisconsin-based Vegan Essentials. He and his wife Courtney Ernster, who founded the mail-order grocery in 1997, have been working around the clock to keep up with demand. Here are some tips from Wilson on what to buy for a vegan pantry, where to get these items and why getting groceries might take longer than you expect. What vegan pantry supplies to buy The first instinct is to stock up on dry goods and pantry staples: flour, sugar, vegetable oil, rice, dried beans and lentils. Ground flax seed makes an easy egg replacement in baked goods, and perhaps grab as much shelf-stable soy milk as you can carry. Related: Keep your pantry stocked with these staples for a plant-based diet But Wilson surprisingly said people are ordering “anything and everything.” Even items that usually sit for a while are now flying off the shelves. “It is truly a period where no matter what we have, every single thing is going, whether it’s frozen meals, refrigerated products, dry goods, even dog food and treats are going out at faster paces than usual.” What are Wilson and Ernster stacking in their own pantry? Turns out they’re thinking farther ahead and bringing home jerky, canned chili and heat-and-serve pouch meals. “Things that are easy if you want to tuck some extra stock on the shelf just in case there’s limited cooking abilities or anything of that sort,” Wilson explained. “Things that are just very easy to open up, grab, heat or just eat straight from the pack.” We’ve been avoiding thinking about grid failure, but he makes a good point. A can of chili won’t fail you like dried beans and rice will if you can’t turn on your stove. A few sweets can be comforting at a time like this. Dates and dark chocolate have some nutrients and can be eaten on their own or baked into delicious treats. Where to buy vegan food online Like many people, the pandemic finally eroded my resistance to Amazon Prime, partly because of the free delivery from Whole Foods. Alas, I filled up my online shopping cart only to find out there were no delivery windows available. This is a problem plaguing many grocery stores that deliver. As a warning, all of the stores in this section may let you down at times, as items continue to fly off shelves and stores remain understaffed. In addition to retail giants like Amazon and Instacart, many more specialty businesses appeal to vegetarians, vegans and health -conscious individuals. Bob’s Red Mill , beloved purveyor of whole foods, is a superstar when it comes to grains, cereals, flours, mixes, beans and seeds. Bob’s Red Mill also has a dedicated gluten-free production line. Related: The best sources for plant-based protein Vegan Essentials can fulfill your alternative meat and cheese needs, and this online grocery sells vegan treats such as white chocolate, caramels and snickerdoodle dessert hummus. It also stocks all the standard things a vegan household needs, from pantry staples to cleaners. Deja Vegan specializes in vegan snack foods, like cookies, crackers and bars. A business partner of PETA , Deja Vegan donates half of its profits to animal causes. Coronavirus-related complications to supply and demand When you’re ordering groceries during the pandemic, it helps to be patient and ready to substitute items. Vegan Essentials’ experience is probably typical of many online food businesses right now. “It went from being a normal volume we were very, very much able to handle to getting about three to five times our normal business almost overnight,” Wilson said. “Which of course is only exacerbated by the challenge of people being restricted and everybody kind of being stuck inside.” Supply chains have mostly been reliable, Wilson said, but he has encountered some shortages. At the lowest point, he was placing orders and only receiving half of what he needed for his customers. “But it seems that right now we’re getting about 75 to 80% of what we need,” Wilson said. “I’m hoping in the next few weeks as companies start to ramp up production and things smooth out, I’m hoping we can get that back to having everything on hand all the time.” There’s also the problem of quickly adding staff as demand soars. Vegan Essentials is relying on a network of family and friends who have suddenly lost their jobs. More than ever, trust among employees is paramount. Wilson said, “We try to keep self-contained where we kind of know everybody and everyone feels safe and doesn’t wonder, ‘Was that person going places they shouldn’t have gone?’” Vegan Essentials is getting more international orders than it has had in the past, including from new customers in Australia, France, Japan, Germany, Sweden and Finland. “We haven’t heard specifically why people are looking to order from the USA more than just sticking with the usual places in Europe that can get things to them a little bit sooner. But it could just be that now that people are confined, they’re looking for a little extra variety to have something different on hand.” Because grocers are essential businesses, the folks at Vegan Essentials will keep working to meet demand. “There’s not much else we can do right now but work and keep things moving,” Wilson said. “So we may as well just keep doing the best job we can.” Images via Maddi Bazzocco , Martin Lostak and Andrea Davis

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How to stock a vegan pandemic pantry

Wisconsin’s hidden eco-wellness hotspot

March 24, 2020 by  
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Madison,  Wisconsin  is defined by water. It’s only one of two cities in the US built on an isthmus (the other is Seattle), and it has five lakes. The population of just over a quarter million is overwhelmingly young and educated, thanks to the massive University of Wisconsin. Mad City is one of the Midwest’s more progressive places and regularly features on “best of” lists. But you have to be tough to live here. Winter temperatures regularly dive below freezing, while summer temperatures often top 90 degrees. Outdoor activities in Madison Madison’s outdoor recreation revolves around its lakes. If you like kayaking , stand up paddleboarding or water skiing, you’re in luck. This is also a place to try more extreme water sports, such as wakeboarding, kiteboarding and flyboarding (where water can propel you almost 50 feet in the air). Those who are looking for something more contemplative will enjoy a trip to  Olbrich Botanical Garden . The 16 acres look their best in spring and summer, but even in winter you can enjoy orchids blooming in the sun-filled glass Bolz Conservatory. The garden’s 30-foot high Thai pavilion was a gift from the Thai royal family. The red lacquer and gold leaf structure was built in  Thailand , shipped by sea, rail and truck to Madison, then reassembled by Thai artisans without using screws or nails. At the  UW Madison Arboretum , you can meander through woodlands, wetlands, savannas and restored prairies on more than 17 miles of  trails . You can also see rare effigy mounds built more than 1,000 years ago. The arboretum features events like fungi workshops and expert-led nature walks. In the winter, it’s a popular place to snowshoe and cross-country ski. Wellness in Madison The Garver Feed Mill building is the latest wellness star in the Madison scene. After the US  Sugar  Company constructed this brick behemoth in 1906 for beet sugar processing, it became known as the Sugar Castle because of its dramatic arched gothic windows. Later it was a factory for formulating livestock feed, before sitting derelict for a couple of decades. But just last November, it reopened as a spectacularly popular event space, site of the farmers’ market during winter, and home of wellness providers and artisan food makers. The whole building is gorgeous, with lots of exposed brick walls, big windows and chandeliers. For the perfect wellness-focused day at Garver, take a class at  Perennial Yoga , eat a healthy meal at plant-based Surya Café, then visit  Kosa Wellness Spa & Retreat  to relax in the steam room and sauna or to get an Ayurvedic treatment.  “Something society doesn’t afford us is quiet and space,” said owner Shilpa Sankaran, who aspires to provide Madison with just that. “Where do you hear your own voice? That’s where the remedy lives, in our own knowing.” She sources most of her spa products from Wisconsin and has a special interest in supporting women in business. Women in  India  who have escaped sex trafficking manufacture the spa’s robes. I especially liked how they left some of the more attractive graffiti in place on the treatment room walls from the years that squatters filled the building. If art uplifts you, the  Chazen Museum of Art  on the UW campus houses lots of work by famous artists, including Miro, Picasso, and Louise Nevelson, plus interesting installations by UW art faculty. This big  museum  is free and well worth visiting. Dining out in Madison Madison is an easy town for vegetarians and  vegans . The  Green Owl Café , Madison’s first all-veg restaurant, is a cheerful and comfortable hangout spot for bowls, veggie burgers, vegan wings and vegan desserts like lava cake and coconut cream pie.  Surya Cafe , in the Garver Feed Mill, features more adventurous — some might say startling — combinations, such as a curried cauliflower waffle with maple-cumin kale and mango jalapeno sauce. Himal Chuli serves Nepali food, with several veggie and tofu-based options. The roti is so excellent I ordered a second serving.  Ian’s Pizza has several locations and is one of my favorite Madison eateries. You can custom order a gigantic salad with more than 40 mix-in options, and they often have vegan slices. For vegan dessert, don’t miss  Bloom Bake Shop . This bakery has a whole case of vegan cupcakes. Public transit Since Madison is largely a college town, you’ll find lots of public transportation and  bikes . It’s known as an extremely bikable city, so if you like biking, check out Madison  BCycle , the local bike share program. This program is designed for short trips of under an hour. If you want a bike for longer-term use, the  Budget Bicycle Center  rents various kinds of bikes. Metro Transit  is Madison’s bus company, serving the greater Madison area. Eco-wellness lodging The white dome of the Capitol filled my window at the  Madison Concourse Hotel . In addition to this stunning view and a convenient downtown location, the Concourse has been refining its eco measures for a decade. The  hotel uses energy-efficient lighting, offers reusable glass cups instead of plastic in guest rooms and is a member of REAP Food Group, which works on shortening the distance from farm to table. The Concourse’s Ozone laundry system and high-efficiency water heaters save an estimated 400,000 gallons of water per year. For an out-of-town sojourn, the  Holy Wisdom Monastery  in nearby Middleton has private rooms in its retreat house and two additional secluded hermitages.  Holy Wisdom offers the choice of a communal spiritual experience or lots of solitude as you hike trails through its prairies or read in the  library . You can even wear a silence tag if you want to take a silent retreat, and people won’t talk to you. Images via Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat

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Wisconsin’s hidden eco-wellness hotspot

Pixie Retreat: Behind the scenes in a raw commercial kitchen

March 18, 2020 by  
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I’ve been vegetarian since childhood and have met people with many different takes on a healthy plant-based diet. The raw foodists I’ve encountered have blown me away with the innovation it takes to come up with a menu beyond salad while limiting cooking temperatures to no more than 118 degrees. The raw food philosophy is that heat breaks down food’s nutritional value, while low temperatures allow food to retain enzymes and vitamins, leading to the body’s ability to prevent and fight disease and generally thrive. So when Theresa Keane, co-owner of Pixie Retreat , invited me to tour her Portland, Oregon raw food kitchen, I was intrigued. Her team produces a full vegan, organic , gluten-free and mostly raw menu on a commercial scale. Not only do they supply Pixie Retreat’s three Portland retail locations, they’ve also started wholesaling to local stores. Let’s take a behind-the-scenes look at a commercial raw food kitchen. The early years Pixie Retreat was built on a dream and a lot of hard work, trial and error. Keane co-founded the business with Willow O’Brien in 2008. At the time, they wanted to make and sell healthful and delicious food , but were new to the dining business. “We didn’t know what we were doing,” Keane said. “We never worked in kitchens, Willow and I. She didn’t even know how to make food. She made tea and stuff like that.” They started out sharing a commissary kitchen with other vegan businesses. That’s where they met Anna Clark, who later became their third business partner. Clark, a pastry chef, was the only one with formal culinary training. After 9 months in the commissary kitchen, they rented a house and ran Pixie Retreat out of it, working late into the night while filling wholesale orders. Keane described a time when an engineer acquaintance stopped by. Their setup left him shocked. “We had eight refrigerators, freezers, 20 dehydrators,” Keane said. “He said it’s amazing you don’t burn this house down. Every night, the power would trip off. We couldn’t even turn the heat on because it would trip the power.” A spotless, modern raw food kitchen They’ve come a long way. Now headquartered in Southeast Portland’s industrial district, the Pixie Retreat RAW’r Laboratorie & Makery is both a retail outlet and the site of their commercial kitchen. The small front part has a seating area and a case of premade wraps and goodies. “We’re grab-and-go style, because that’s how people are living,” Keane said. “We’re not a sit down-like service restaurant . We’re into flavor, satisfaction and integrity of our ingredients. Plating is not my forte.” Customers can also custom-order kale- or millet-based bowls and coconut cream puddings with toppings. The millet is one of several cooked ingredients available. A big white curtain hangs behind the counter, obscuring the kitchen. “That’s more for health department reasons,” Keane said, indicating the curtain. “And to protect the magic back there.” We step through the curtain and find three workers preparing food in an extremely well-organized kitchen. It’s Thursday, one of the big assembly days for delivering to the two other Pixie Retreat outlets. Tacked up on the door of the walk-in dehydrator are long to-do lists for each day of the week. Keane introduced me to her staff and to each machine, many of which were specially made or adapted to the needs of a mostly raw food kitchen. The walk-in dehydration room is the most exciting and unusual. Keane opened the door, releasing a smoky smell. Inside are trays and trays of eggplant bacon strips, which stay in there for 72 hours. Pixie Retreat bought the dehydrator from a former kale chip entrepreneur who devised tools to streamline raw food making. Keane estimated the walk-in dehydrator is 75% more efficient than the company’s former multiple-dehydrator setup. Pixie Retreat has a Robot Coupe Blixer, which is an industrial-strength food processor. “This tool is a game changer,” Keane said. “I mean, it’s expensive like a car, but it paid for itself in labor. I love this tool so much.” The company uses it to blend ingredients for pizza dough, macadamia nut cheese and raw onion bread. Pixie Retreat makes raw chocolate in its chocolate machine, melting it down at a temperature of 108. The chocolate winds up in treats like chocolate salted “karmals”, “almond butta cups” and dehydrated, oat-based chocolate chip cookies. Other interesting tools include an Italian fruit press repurposed for squeezing excess moisture out of sauerkraut and a specially made enormous cookie-cutter to cut onion bread into uniform squares while minimizing waste . Raw and vegan at home The Pixie Retreat kitchen is cool but daunting. What about the average person who wants to add more raw food into their diet without shelling out for a Blixer? “Make nut milk ,” Keane said. “That’s where I would start.” You’ll need a nut milk bag, available online or in some grocery stores’ produce departments. She recommended starting with hazelnuts or almonds. For flavor and sweetness, add sea salt, vanilla and a Medjool date. Put it all in your blender. “Kick it up on high. Blend it. Then you put it in the nut milk bag and you squeeze it out.” Dry out the pulp and use it as a nut flour for baked goods. Related: How to choose the healthiest, most sustainable milk alternative After you master nut milk, try making nut cheese. Keane recommended blending buttery macadamia nuts with water, Italian seasoning, lemon juice and sea salt for a plant-based ricotta. Going national Pixie Retreat scaled back from wholesale for a while to focus on retail locations. But it has just relaunched, selling chocolate “karmal”, salted “karmal” and raspberry “l’il puddin” at New Seasons stores in Portland. Made with organic young coconut meat and Irish moss, these raw desserts are packed with nutrients . Soon, Pixie Retreat plans to introduce nationwide cold shipping of the “l’il puddin’”. Currently, customers across the U.S. can order sweet or savory Pixie snack boxes . But Pixie Retreat’s goals go far beyond Portland or even the U.S. When I asked Keane about the company vision, she immediately said, “Global. That’s the dream. We want to be the fast food of the future.” + Pixie Retreat Images via Josh Chang and Marielle Dezurick / Pixie Retreat and Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat

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Pixie Retreat: Behind the scenes in a raw commercial kitchen

How to make a delicious vegan pie for Pi Day

March 13, 2020 by  
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Pie is delicious on any day, but Pi Day may be the impetus to bake — or at least eat — a pie. The annual celebration is named for the mathematical constant ? and observed on March 14, because ? is 3.14. In honor of Pi Day, Lisa Clark, owner of Petunia’s Pies & Pastries in Portland , Oregon shares some of her vegan pie baking tips with Inhabitat. This Pi Day is especially exciting for Clark, as it marks Petunia’s 10th anniversary. Inhabitat: What are the main differences between vegan and non-vegan pies? Clark: The main difference is just the fact that you don’t use butter for the pie dough. We use a blend of half soy -free Earth Balance and half organic shortening. We never use any of the hydrogenated stuff. Even the fillings are not too different: the fruit and a sweetener, which is usually just sugar, and citrus and something to thicken it, whether it’s organic corn starch or tapioca pearls. We do a lot of pies with streusel. We make that the same as traditional streusel but we use, again, the soy-free Earth Balance instead of butter. Related: 12 delicious and crowd-pleasing vegan brunch ideas Inhabitat: What about cream pies? Clark: That’s where it gets definitely a lot more challenging. We make coconut cream pies and chocolate cream pies, and we do key lime pie and banana cream. Depending on what the flavor is, we use a lot of coconut cream instead of regular dairy cream. We try not to use a ton of soy. A lot of people don’t tolerate it well, including myself, so we use a lot of coconut cream and nuts. We try to do some without nuts, because there’s a lot of nut allergies, too. When we make our chocolate cream pie, we use the Mori-Nu silken tofu with the coconut cream just to help the texture be a little more smooth and creamy like it would be traditionally. Automatically, that makes it super thick. Folding in the melted chocolate, it really stiffens up and sets in the fridge. We make coconut whipped cream instead of regular whipped cream for the tops of pies. Inhabitat: How do you make meringue without eggs? Clark: For the meringue, we use dehydrated aquafaba powder. We were using actual aquafaba from a can of chickpeas. But the problem with that is, what are we going to do with all these chickpeas? So there’s a product now that’s dehydrated aquafaba powder; you have to add a certain amount of water per tablespoon and mix it up. Then you cook it on the stove to reduce it down to a third of the volume. You take what’s left, and you whip that up with sugar, like if you were making a traditional meringue with egg whites and sugars. Inhabitat: What are the easiest pies to make? Clark: Definitely the fruit pies are the easiest. Berry pies are the easiest because there’s really no prep involved with the berries . Our most popular pie that we’ve made for the longest time is the bumbleberry peach pie. It’s a mix of blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and peaches. We make a coconut hazelnut streusel for the top. ( See the recipe below! ) In the summertime, if people go berry picking, that’s the best time and the best way to make the most amazing pies with fresh, in-season berries. Other times of the year, it’s totally fine to use good frozen berries or even frozen peaches. Frozen fruit works fine, it’s just a little more temperamental with the baking time. There’s more moisture in the fruit because it’s frozen, so all that water is trapped in there. Inhabitat: Can you share any shortcuts you’ve learned over the years? Clark: Chill the fats and mix all your dry ingredients ahead of time. If there’s any fruit to prep, or the lemon zest, you want to do it in advance. I will sometimes measure out the sugar and any of the spices that are going in the filling in a little bowl and have that ready. You can make the streusel in advance and keep it in the fridge. I like to get all the steps of everything ready, so when I want to throw it together, it goes together much faster. Inhabitat: What is the most basic equipment somebody needs to make a pie? Clark: A pie plate and a rolling pin. At the very minimum, that’s what you need. Beyond that, if people have a handheld little pastry blender, that’s really helpful to make the streusel and the pie crust. But you don’t have to one. You can just cut it by hand. Beyond that, if people have a food processor for the crust and streusel, that makes it even faster. A zester for the lemon zest for the filling. A knife. But most people have a knife. And time. You just need some time, some patience. Inhabitat: Any pie mishaps you’re willing to share? Clark: Oh, yeah. I think the most common one would be just not baking the pies long enough. It’s always different. It depends on the weather , it depends on the oven, the flavor of the pie, how much moisture is in the fruit, how long you mix the dough. Sometimes, the crust can start to get too brown in the streusel, but the filling isn’t cooked. We actually bake a pie for the first half without the streusel and then we put the streusel on for the second half of baking to help with that. Every oven is so different. It depends on how thick your pie plate is, too. Like a deep dish or a more shallow pie plate, the baking times can vary so much. The only way to know when it’s really done is by seeing how the fruit bubbles up through the streusel or through the crust on top. It should be bubbling really slowly and look really thick and syrupy. If it just looks watery, like water bubbling out, it’s totally not done. Inhabitat: Any last words of advice for Inhabitat readers? Clark: The biggest advice I want to give people is not to be intimidated. I think when you read the steps, it can sound like a lot. But when you break it down and take one step at a time, it’s really not too bad. The more you do it and practice, it gets easier and easier. Pies are simple. It’s just a dough and a filling you have to sweeten and thicken. And you have to bake it. That’s really all it is. So just remember, it’s very simple and don’t overthink it too much; try to have fun. When people realize that, they tend to do a better job and not get so stressed about it working. As long as it tastes good, too, it doesn’t matter what it looks like. Be brave. Recipe for Bumble Berry Peach Pie with Coconut Hazelnut Streusel By Lisa Clark, Petunia’s Pies & Pastries Pie Crust 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon white rice flour 7 tablespoons + 1 1/2 teaspoons brown rice flour 7 tablespoons + 1 1/2 teaspoons tapioca flour 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons millet flour 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum 1 tablespoon + 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar 3/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 cup + 1 1/2 teaspoon Earth Balance spread, very chilled & cut into 1/4” pieces 1/4 cup + 1 1/2 teaspoon organic vegetable shortening, very chilled & cut into 1/4” pieces 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons ice cold water Filling In spring and summer, use fresh berries & peaches if possible. The rest of the year, frozen berries and peaches will work just fine. 1 1/2 cups raspberries 1 1/2 cups blueberries 1 1/2 cups blackberries or marionberries 3 1/2 cups sliced peaches 1 cup sugar 6 tablespoons organic cornstarch 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice Coconut Hazelnut Streusel 1 cup hazelnuts, toasted and skinned 1 cup coconut 1/4 cup millet flour 1/4 cup white rice flour 3 tablespoons brown rice flour 3 tablespoons tapioca flour 2/3 cup sugar 1/4 tsp salt 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 cup Earth Balance spread, chilled and cut into 1/4” pieces To make the crust, combine the flours, xanthan gum, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl and mix well. Add the cold shortening pieces and the cold Earth Balance pieces, and blend with a handheld pastry blender until the fat pieces are in pea-sized clumps. Be careful not to overwork the fats into the dry ingredients. Drizzle the ice-cold water over this mixture and mix by hand until the dough comes together and forms a ball. Again, be careful not to overwork the dough. Flatten the dough into a disk about 1” thick and wrap in plastic. Chill for about 20 minutes. Remove the dough from the fridge and place on a lightly millet-floured non-stick baking mat or countertop. Roll the dough into an even circle, about 1/4” thick. Transfer to a pie plate. Press the dough into the pie plate and form nice fluted edges. Refrigerate the pie shell for 15 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. To make the filling, combine all of the fruit in a large bowl. Mix the cornstarch with the sugar and nutmeg. Sprinkle this mixture over the fruit and mix to evenly combine. Pour lemon juice over the fruit mixture and stir well. Let sit for about 15 minutes (about 25 minutes if you are using frozen fruit) to form juices. Pour mixture into chilled pie shell. Place pie on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 35 minutes (without the streusel). While the pie is baking, make the streusel. Combine hazelnuts, coconut, flours, sugar, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl and mix well. Add the cold Earth Balance and work it in by hand until the Earth Balance is in pea-sized clumps. Larger clumps are better than smaller for the streusel. Refrigerate until ready to use. Once the pie has baked for 35 minutes, carefully remove it from the oven and top evenly with streusel, covering all of the fruit. Bake about 35-40 minutes more. The streusel and crust should be golden brown. The pie is ready when you can see the juices bubbling out on the edges and it looks very thick and syrupy. If it appears watery, continue to bake. Let cool (at least 2-3 hours) so the pie can set a bit, then slice, serve and enjoy! + Petunia’s Pies & Pastries Images via Lisa Clark

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How to make a delicious vegan pie for Pi Day

What do Americans think about fake meat products?

February 21, 2020 by  
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The topic of how we produce food is commonplace and more relevant than ever. After all, the way we choose to grow produce affects waterways, soil and air, which in turn, affects each of us. When it comes to raising animals for meat, the stakes are even higher. Report after report doles out alarming numbers regarding pollution related to the practice. Plus, animal activists frequently remind us about how animals are treated when they are raised as food sources. The rise of fake meat With all of this in mind, it’s no wonder that food scientists have been investing copious research and development time, money and energy into finding meat alternatives. Some have already been around for decades, while new alternatives are consistently hitting the market. Although beef replacements are the most common, you can find pork, chicken and even fish alternatives. Related: Vegan and lab-grown meats predicted to take over meat market in 20 years Opinions on meat substitutes So what do people actually think about this “fake meat” phenomenon? A research group called Piplsay posed the question nationwide in a January 2020 survey and received 31,909 responses from individuals aged 18 years and older. The results show an overwhelming interest in the products and an underwhelming satisfaction. Specifically, 51% of Americans have tried meat substitute products at least once, a majority of which (53%) said they tried it because they were curious. Another 32% responded they tried it due to a concern for the environment or for their health . Others say they are trying to go vegan or vegetarian and were wondering if the meat substitute would satisfy the longing for meat (15%). Why are people trying fake meat? The results show there are a variety of reasons people try or continue to consume fake meat, none of which seem to be because they actually prefer the taste. In fact, out of 31,909 responses, fewer than 30% gave the products a thumbs up. When it comes to health, the debate rages on to whether fake meat has anything to offer. Even though 27% felt fake meat was a healthy and eco-friendly alternative, a slightly larger 28% felt these meat alternatives can’t beat real meat. Another 20% suggest the products are highly processed, counterbalancing any potential benefits from avoiding meat. A quarter of the respondents said they didn’t know what to think of them. Related: Beyond & Impossible alternative meats — are they healthier than the real thing? The most popular brands for meat substitutes When Piplsay asked people what brands they had tried, a group of big names were, not surprisingly, in the top five. Seven percent of respondents had tried Hormel, and another 7% tried Perdue brands. Impossible Foods is relatively new to the market, but at the time of this survey, 11% of respondents had tried it. Tyson garnered another 13%, and the most-frequently tried products are produced by Beyond Meat (15%). The type of meat substitute that people were interested in trying varied, too, with beef being the most popular at 38%. Chicken came in at 29%. There was a significant drop for pork at 18%, but it is a newer product to the market. Finally, fish swam in at just 15%. Study demographics One interesting result of the survey is that there didn’t seem to be a huge geographical discrepancy. The top three states where fake meat is consumed “quite often” are Washington (18%), South Dakota (20%) and Vermont (26%). These numbers don’t represent the populations as a whole, but rather the frequency of respondents who say they eat fake meat quite often, which is 12% of overall respondents. In contrast, 23% said they’ve had it once or twice and 16% admit they’ve only had it once. Age is one category where the survey highlights fairly large differences. Millennials are by far the most likely to eat fake meat on a regular basis. Although only 16% of millennials eat fake meat regularly, that’s twice the reported number from baby boomers, at only 8%. Not only do millennials rank the highest for consuming the products, but their reason for doing so stands out as well. The report shows that 23% of millennials eat fake meat for health and environmental reasons , which is highest among the age groups. In contrast, the age group with the largest number of people saying they have no interest in even trying fake meat goes to the baby boomers, with 52% opposed to the idea. The fake meat trend has room for improvement All in all, the survey revealed that while many people are interested in trying, have tried or regularly consume meat alternatives, most people feel these products leave more to be desired in terms of flavor and healthful ingredients. Still, people seem to still eat many of these fake meats for betterment of the planet, and there is still plenty of room in the industry for existing and new brands to grow and innovate. + Piplsay Images via Shutterstock

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What do Americans think about fake meat products?

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