Tag Archives: Sustainable Food

Share the Love

Tip of the Month – February 2017

By Cynthia Ruzzi

Can’t say I’m much for Valentine’s Day; at least not since the days of making hand-made cards in school for mom and dad – and the boy across the aisle. However, in a winter that has been ‘this-trying’, stressing us in so many ways; it’s time to share a little love. Now, I’m not talking about the kind that comes from a heart-shaped cardboard box – I’m talking serious, thoughtful effort for those you love and for those that need your love. I encourage you to embrace ideals from movements like “Pass it Forward”, “Random Act of Kindness”, “One Warm Coat” and the “Free Hugs Project”.

Locally, I am inspired by individuals like Amelia and Heidi Abramson and their small band of volunteers that run The Bounty Garden https://thebountygarden.wordpress.com/ teaching others in Hap Magee Park to grow organic vegetables that are donated to local food banks or Anna Chan aka “The Lemon Lady” who walking her toddler saw lemons going to waste on a neighbor’s tree and started a foundation to collect such fruit for those in need and of course, Siamack Sioshansi, Founder of The Urban Farmers who has helped neighbors, schools and spiritual groups coordinate fruit harvests from here to Solano welcoming everyone through their online calendar.

Got too many things going on to commit to a coordinated effort? Try something spontaneous and delicious. How ‘bout random deliveries of packaged goodies delivered to a few in your neighborhood? Here’s a simple recipe for homemade granola bars that may find their way to your doorstep on February 14th.

Dark Chocolate – Coconut Granola Bars

Ingredients – Makes about 20 2 inch squares (Choose Organic if you can)

  • 2 Cups Rolled Oats
  •  ½ Cup Raisins
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ Cup Coconut Oil
  • ¾ Cup Smashed Pecans or Almonds
  • ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 Cup Coconut Flakes
  • 1/3 Cup Agave
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • ½ cup melted dark chocolate


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spread oats on a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet and toast in oven for 20 mins. Remove the oats and turn the oven down to 300 degrees. Carefully transfer to a bowl and toss with the coconut oil. Add the coconut flakes, raisins, nuts, cinnamon, salt vanilla and agave and give it a good mixing.

Return the mixture to the parchment paper on the baking sheet. Spread to about ¼ inch thick using the back of a tablespoon to press down a little as you go. Don’t worry about it being exact. Bake at 300 degrees until golden brown – about 18 minutes in my convection oven. Remove pan and let cool completely. Melt chocolate in microwave or over double boiler (set one pot over another that has a cup of simmering boiled water) and use a tablespoon to slowly drizzle chocolate over the top of the bars.

Once completely cooled and hardened, cut the bars into 2 inch pieces and store in containers or bags for your delivery. Keep the crumbles for your own yogurt topping.  Decorate the bags with hearts and lace for a nostalgic trip back to elementary school or make it a project for your little ones. To protect those with allergies please include a copy of the ingredients or recipe so they will know what has been included. Along with this consider including a handwritten note telling the recipient what you love or admire about them. Make it fun and sign it with your version of ‘secret admirer’ …perhaps ‘love and peace, your neighbor’.  Now you’re ready to share the love with your yummy doorstep bundles.


The Essence of Herbs

Tip of the Month – March 2013 

By Joey Mazzera, Danville Area Sustainable Business Owner, Green Apple Acupuncture 

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) herbal medicine is at the root, so to speak, of achieving balance in the body. For thousands of years Chinese doctors have used nature and more specifically food as not only preventative but also active medicine. When we think of herbal medicine we tend to think of sticks, roots, flowers and maybe even some obscure animal parts. All of those do in fact make up the Chinese Pharmacopeia however everyday foods are also considered medicine. In TCM, dietary choices are the anchor of health and healing. As an acupuncturist people are always asking me about weight loss, a faster metabolism, and what specific foods they should be eating; The fact of the matter is how you eat is just as important as what you eat. Keep it simple and listen to your body.

Every body is a different machine that requires an individual and specific dietary plan. The TCM diet is very much a personalized approach to food and nutritional health. The foundation begins with eating fresh foods, eating as seasonally as possible and acknowledging how your body reacts to certain foods. Eating mindfully with intention can teach us how we are assimilating our foods and how we may need to change our dietary ways. The preparation of foods changes the energetic properties. For instance, a raw carrot may cause a different metabolic reaction than a baked carrot. Understanding what you need from an individual food will change the way you prepare it. For someone who can’t digest raw vegetables a light sauté may be the way to incorporate those important veggies. If someone runs too hot but still wants spicy food pairing that dish with something cooling in nature is a way to eat those spicy treats. When you start to look at foods as a balancing act you begin to understand how to create the perfect harmonious plate.

When we use food as medicine it is important to think of food in terms of energetics. All foods and herbs are composed of three elements – Energy, Movement, and Flavor.

The energy of foods relates to a foods ability to either create heat or act as a coolant. When a person generates too much heat in their body we can see things like hot, itchy skin issues or a hot red face. In these cases its beneficial for that person to eat foods cool in nature. Bamboo shoot, chrysanthemum (a staple Chinese herbs) and bananas all have a cooling effect on the body. Contrarily a person with arthritis that is exacerbated by a cold and damp day would do better with warm foods: pumpkin, onions, peppercorns, etc.

When we think of movement of foods we think in terms of guiding the “Qi” of certain foods. Food and herbs have the ability to move inward, outward, up and down. For example when at first sign of a cold you can make a strong cup of ginger and garlic tea in efforts to induce a sweat (an outward motion) to expel pathogens and help body recover from the cold more quickly.

Finally, there are five flavor categories that food falls into – salty, sour, bitter, sweet, and pungent. Each of these flavors has a specific action in your body and are often used in conjunction with each other to create a balanced meal. Understanding the flavor relationship can enhance your digestive assimilation of nutrients as well as help guide you to the food your body needs. The flavors of foods are often associated with specific organs and related processes.

Using food as medicine is a primal and instinctive way to get in touch with our bodies and reconnect with our health. Food should be fun and interesting and used a way to nourish not only our bodies but also our heart and souls. Bon appetite!

Sustainable Danville Area and The Danville Library present The Essence of Herbs on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 6:30pm  at The Danville Library, Mt. Diablo Room 400 Front Street.  With Joey Erwin Mazzera, Green Apple Acupuncture a  Diplomat of Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine with the NCCAOM and a licensed Acupuncturist with the state of California we’ll explore the five food categories and dozens of herbs that delight the senses, enhance food and your health.  For more information, visit www.sustainabledanville.com and follow us at www.facebook.com/sustainabledanvillearea

Reprinted with permission from Danville Today News