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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Pomegranate Persimmon Paste

Pomegranate Persimmon Paste
Vegan; 10 minutes; Gluten Free; Raw

Now that my kitchen has been busted out of storage, I've welcomed my missed "Gourmet Sundays". Here is the first of many more to come. Super easy, the messiest part is making sure you don't stain everything squeezing the pomegranate. I used this as a spread for french toast, so delicious!

2 persimmons, chopped
2 Tablespoons of freshly squeezed pomegranate

1. In a food processor combine ingredients and blend until smooth. Add 1/8 teaspoon of maple syrup if needed to cut tartness. Enjoy, will last 2 weeks in an airtight container.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Earth Balance & Palm Oil

Dear Jacqueline,

Thank you for taking the time to contact us here at Earth Balance. We always appreciate hearing from consumers who care enough to reach out to us with their comments or questions.

As palm oil is one of the critical elements to our proprietary blend of oils, we’re dedicated to being proactive in growing awareness around the issue.

While Earth Balance is only a small palm oil user (we use less than 0.05% of all palm oil), we’re taking a big stand against unsustainable palm oil. Here’s how…

First, we are firmly committed to sustainable sourcing, and we believe in the power of informed consumers to change the world for the better. We are educating our suppliers about ways to safeguard the rainforest through sustainable palm oil sourcing, and we’re educating our customers about how they can have a direct positive impact by exclusively purchasing responsibly sourced palm oil products.

Thirty percent of our palm oil comes from sustainable palm oil plantations in Brazil. Our Brazil-sourced palm oil is 100% organic and is used in all of our organic products (and because orangutans are not native to South America, the Brazilian palm industry does not adversely impact their wellbeing). The remaining 70% of our palm oil comes from responsible sources in peninsular Malaysia, which are all members of the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), the leading global organization developing and implementing global standards for sustainable palm oil production. We insist on continuing assurances from our suppliers that all palm fruit oil purchased for Earth Balance complies with the RSPO policies, and we are committed to terminating any suppliers that violate these policies.

In addition, we purchase GreenPalm Certificates, which work a lot like carbon credits. The money used to purchase these certificates helps improve the infrastructure and practices behind sustainable palm oil. Moreover, we are supporting the action-oriented, on-the ground conservation work of Orangutan Foundation International (OFI) in Indonesian Borneo. OFI is a non-governmental, non-profit organization, led by world-renown primatologist and conservationist Dr. BirutĂ© Mary Galdikas. OFI is committed to rescuing and rehabilitating orangutans that are adversely affected by the palm oil industry, and has been working for more than 40 years to conserve rainforest habitat and educate people throughout the world about the orangutans’ plight. Earth Balance is especially proud to be a financial supporter of OFI’s ongoing initiative to return 330 wild-born, ex-captive rehabilitated orangutans back to the wild, into biologically-rich, protected forest, where they rightfully belong.

For more information, please see our White Paper: Addressing the Social & Environmental Challenges with Palm Fruit Oil, posted on our website.

We recognize this effort takes time, and we are committed to working with the industry and with organizations to develop long-term sustainable solutions. You can visit our website for more information.


Your Friends at Earth Balance

Palm Oil & Making the Connection

Palm Oil & Making the Connection

What is Palm Oil? Well, if going to Wikipedia you'll find: Palm oil (also known as dendĂȘ oil, from Portuguese) is an edible vegetable oil derived from the mesocarp (reddish pulp) of the fruit of the oil palms, primarily the African oil palm Elaeis guineensis,[1] and to a lesser extent from the American oil palm Elaeis oleifera and the maripa palm Attalea maripa.

Palm oil is naturally reddish in color because of a high beta-carotene content. It is not to be confused with palm kernel oil derived from the kernel of the same fruit,[2] or coconut oil derived from the kernel of the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera). The differences are in color (raw palm kernel oil lacks carotenoids and is not red), and in saturated fat content: Palm mesocarp oil is 41% saturated, while Palm Kernel oil and Coconut oil are 81% and 86% saturated respectively[3]

Along with coconut oil, palm oil is one of the few highly saturated vegetable fats. It is semi-solid at room temperature and contains several saturated and unsaturated fats in the forms of glyceryl laurate (0.1%, saturated), myristate (1%, saturated), palmitate (44%, saturated), stearate (5%, saturated), oleate (39%, monounsaturated), linoleate (10%, polyunsaturated), and alpha-linolenate (0.3%, polyunsaturated).[4] Like all vegetable oils, palm oil does not contain cholesterol,[5][6] although saturated fat intake increases a person's LDL[7] and HDL[8] cholesterol. Palm oil is GMO-free,[9] i.e., it is not derived from genetically modified organisms.

NPR reports that according to USDA data, U.S. imports of palm oil more than doubled between 2005 and 2012. Last year we imported about 2.7 billion pounds. Much of the palm oil ends up in snack foods such as cookies, crackers and microwave popcorn. And a number of manufacturers are using a mix of oils in many of their products. For instance, it's typical now for crackers to contain a little palm oil as well as soybean, canola or cottonseed oil.

According to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (founded in 2003). First started by WWF for Nature and Unilever was created to work to ensure that sustainable practices are in use for the protection of the environment, human rights and the protection of Sumatran orangutans and tigers. Now incorporates more than 700 members made to promote sustainable agriculture on palm oil plantations. These groups are made up of various stakeholders in the entire palm oil supply chain from planters, processors, traders, consumer goods manufacturers, retailers, bankers, investors as well as environmental and social non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
Their vision is:
-RSPO will transform markets to make sustainable palm oil the norm
And their mission statement is:
-To advance the production, procurement, finance and use of sustainable palm oil products;
-To develop, implement, verify, assure and periodically review credible global standards for the entire supply chain of sustainable palm oil;
-To monitor and evaluate the economic, environmental and social impacts of the uptake of sustainable palm oil in the market;
-To engage and commit all stakeholders throughout the supply chain, including governments and consumers.

Here are my thoughts on this. Going to RSPOs website, and you click on Executive Board Members and Alternate Board Members; you find some that work for Oxfam and WWF. You also find ones that work for Kraft Foods (Head of Sustainable Source Chains); Unilever (Global Director of Sustainable Sourcing Developer); and formally worked for Procter & Gamble and now works for Kraft Foods, he is the (Director of Sustainability Global Issues Management). How many of these board members have a conflict of interest? Since palm oil is found in most of the U.S. processed snack foods. If looking at the rest of the world, there is a Wilmar Group associate that sits on the board. The Wilmar Group is Asia's leading agriculture business. They have been reported to use unsustainable 3rd parties to harvest palm oil leading to the destruction and habitat loss of Sumatran Tigers. They sell to Colgate-Palmolive; Nestle; and Procter & Gamble. Educate yourself, call companies or send them e-mails to inquire where they source palm oil.


Foods, Body Products, Cosmetics & Cleaning Agents:
Vegetable Oil; Vegetable Fat; ^Sodium Laureth Sulfate (in almost everything that foams); ^Sodium Lauryl Sulfate; ^Sodium Dodecyl Sulphate (SDS or NaDS); #Palm Kernel; #Palm Oil Kernel; #Palm Fruit Oil; #Palmate; #Palmitate; #Palmolein; #Glyceryl Stearate; #Stearic Acid; #Elaeis Guineensis; #Palmitic Acid; #Palm Stearine; #Palmitoyl oxostearamide; #Palmitoyl tetrapeptide-3; *Steareth -2; *Steareth -20; #Sodium Kernelate; #Sodium Palm Kernelate; *Sodium Lauryl Lactylate/Sulphate; ^Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate; #Hyrated Palm Glycerides; ^Sodium Isostearoyl Lactylaye; #Cetyl Palmitate; #Octyl Palmitate; ^Cetyl Alcohol; #Palmityl Alchohol

# These ingredients are definitely palm oil or derived from palm oil.
* These ingredients are often derived from palm oil, but could be derived from other vegetable oils.
^ These ingredients are either derived from palm oil or coconut oil.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Crispy Kale Pasta Bake

Crispy Kale Pasta Bake
Vegan; Soy Free; Serves 4

This is adapted from Fig and Cherry. The first time I made this it came out really bland for my taste. Here I added poblano peppers and vegan Parmesan cheese. I omitted the cornflour and vegetable spread to make it lighter. Hope you all enjoy! My mom and I did.... Happy Eating!

1 1/2 cups shell pasta (or other small-shaped pasta)
1 bunch kale (or other leafy vegetable such as spinach or silverbeet)
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cups unsweetened hemp milk or non-dairy milk
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
2 small to medium poblano peppers, diced
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1/3 cup onion, chopped
1-2 teaspoons of chipotle cayenne vegan Parmesan cheese

1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling water for 10 minutes or as per packet instructions until almost al dente. You want it a little underdone because it will be heated again in the oven later on. Drain well and then place into a 1 1/2 quart ovenproof baking dish. Set aside. Preheat oven to 400F.

2. Destem the leaves of the kale. In a large skillet over medium heat kale, peppers, onion and garlic for 1-2 minutes or until just wilted (adding a Tablespoon of water at a time if needed). Transfer half the kale mixture to a mini food processor and add 1/3 cup hemp milk, mustard, pepper and chipotle cayenne vegan Parmesan cheese. Blitz for 30 seconds until finely chopped and smooth. Pour over the pasta in the baking dish and gently fold in the rest of the wilted kale mixture from the skillet. Slowly pour in the remaining hemp milk.

3. Sprinkle breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese over the top of the pasta and place in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown and crunchy. Serve immediately.