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The Food Party!

By Laura Stec

E-mail Laura Stec

About this blog: I've been attracted to food for good and bad reasons for many years. From eating disorder to east coast culinary school, food has been my passion, profession & nemesis. I've been a sugar addict, a 17-year vegetarian, a food and en...  (More)

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Free Pizza and Recipes!

Uploaded: Feb 6, 2020


I had a few folks contact me this week about recipes from last weeks post about plant-forward eating. Here’s one I taught just today at Santa Clara Valley Water District, for Clean Protein, part of our Healthy Delicious Eating series. As we talked about last week in What’s the Hottest Eating Trend?, future munching has something for everyone. While it's better for people, planet and animals if you reduce, meat consumption, you don't have to give it all up, at least not yet. :) Begin with a blend. Start replacing part of your ground meat with vegetables, grains, beans….. offering better health, but with flavors meat eaters love.

Try replacing up to 1/3 of the meat in your burger with ground mushrooms and don’t say anything to the people you are feeding. Many people won't detect it.'s our little secret.

Blended Burger

2/3 pound grass-fed ground beef
1/3 pound mushrooms (I like shiitake)*
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Grind mushrooms up in a food processor until minced. Add to beef with salt, mix, make patties and cook as you choose.

*If you want additional flavor, roast them first. To roast, toss the mushrooms and a couple tablespoons in olive or other vegetable oil and roast for 10 – 15 minutes until tender at 350F. Let cool before processing.

photo by LSIC


All prompt Food Partiers! can get free pizza Friday / i.e. tomorrow. Lunch awaits at hometown favorite, Pizza My Heart. They are giving away samples of a new plant-based vegan cheese pie. And a quality cheese company to boot - wine country's daughter Miyoko. How exciting!

I told ya the plants they are a' comin.

Here’s the details:

Pizza My Heart is giving away 200 free plant-based pizza slices at each restaurant during these times:

Friday, February 7th from 12pm - 2pm at the Palo Alto restaurant (220 University Ave)

Saturday, February 8th from 6pm - 8pm at the Monterey restaurant (660 Del Monte Center)

photo by Pizza My Heart

Pizza My Heart launches new plant-based pizza options exclusively at their restaurants in Palo Alto, CA and Monterey, CA. The cheeses are made with a new cultured vegan mozzarella from leading plant-based cheese and butter brand Miyoko's Creamery. This game-changing new mozzarella-style cheese tastes and performs like its cow dairy analog, and this is the first time it's available to the public.

What is it worth to you?


Posted by Not even for free, a resident of Bailey Park,
on Feb 7, 2020 at 10:15 am

Good lord, just don't eat pizza if you need to go through all this fakery.

Not everything has to have a pretend version of the original made of plants.
Plants are delicious, come up with great dishes that stand on their own, not some knockoff fake version of burgers or pizza or cheese. We have all experienced the broken promise of vegan cheese.

Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of another community,
on Feb 7, 2020 at 10:22 am

Good lord - stop being a downer. It doesn't work for you that's fine, celebrate your preferences! But it works for a lot of other people who want cheese but not from animals and that's fine too. Plus Miyoko's has GREAT product.

It never ceases to amaze me that the thing that often motivates people to write in is to complain. "No" is limiting. Say "YES" and enjoy the new places it takes you.

Posted by Processed foods, a resident of Blossom Valley,
on Feb 7, 2020 at 11:28 am

Please try to eat whole, natural foods if you're concerned with health.
The heavily processing needed to create the new version Franken-foods destroy much of the natural benefits of the real food.

Eating simple natural foods made with minimal processing is an important tip I got from my oncologist.
Eat the food that the food started out as, not what the scientists turned it into.

Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge,
on Feb 7, 2020 at 11:48 am

Chef sez: If you want to help people with their eating habits, don't tell them what NOT to eat. People don't know what to eat already. Teach them what TO eat. Give people options.

Posted by Processed foods, a resident of Blossom Valley,
on Feb 7, 2020 at 12:42 pm

"simple natural foods made with minimal processing"
"Eat the food that the food started out as"

Lots of options in that group.

Posted by Wow, this is timely, a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on Feb 7, 2020 at 3:41 pm

Apparently there is an issue calling foods what they are not. I agree with this. It should be called what it is.
Web Link

As consumers we really need to end this over-super-processed out of recognition type food.
Whatever the end product, the processing is the enemy.

Posted by Laura Stec, a Almanac Online blogger,
on Feb 8, 2020 at 7:32 am

Laura Stec is a registered user.

Let's get real about eating. It’s a lot easier to talk health purist, then to do it. In my experience, people who preach the most about saintly eating habits, are the ones sneaking off for another hot fudge ice cream cake when no one is looking. Eaters are best served with a diet of mostly whole, unprocessed, plant-based foods. However, everything in moderation, including moderation. Consume your favorite processed foods as the "side dish or condiment" - not the majority of your diet. Take pizza. Pizza is something we should probably eat about once a month, maybe twice every now and again. The same goes for burgers - beef or plant-based.

If you eat mostly whole-plant foods, an occasional pizza, with whatever type of cheese you like, is A-OK.

Posted by CrescentParkAnon, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Feb 10, 2020 at 7:42 am

After trying quite a few of the plant-based burger concoctions I have to at least somewhat agree with 'Not even for free' ... and I am trying hard to eat and stick to vegan.

I tried the plant-based burgers in the restaurants and the meat substitutes in the markets and restaurants and so far they have been not great, especially while sitting there taking in the aroma of regular burger that still has an appeal to me.

I do confess to liking Morningstar Farms Grillers Prime, and even the Beyond Beef version of chili when used in chili ... yum.

The problem is that they have so much salt and oil in them I cannot imagine they are very healthful, and they are the other side of eating bad ... processed foods with all kinds of chemicals.

Still, I notice a big difference in the way I feel when I stay away from meat and dairy, so I think
there is an important place for these kinds of foods since this is what most people are accustomed to eating and it fulfills a function while one is trying to transition to a more fresh and wholesome plant-based diet.

There are a lot of things to get used to. I guy the coffee with non-dairy oat milk added to it, and it has a "different" taste. I tried non-dairy ice cream but it is not the same and I am not sure it is any better than regular ice cream. I'll stick to my infrequent random stops at Gelato Classico, or whatever it is called now.

The one thing I have been wondering how to replace, or whether just to accept it and eat it is regular pizza. Eating pizza tastes great and it is fun, but it never makes me feel very good. The idea of vegan pizza actually scares me. I really do not know how to calculate the problem of eating ice cream or pizza some number of times per month? In the NetFlix documentary "The Game Changers" there were a couple of scenes that really got to me, specifically where they fed meat-eaters one vegan meal and noticed striking differences in their blood and their sexual responses. There is a significant effect that most of us do not hear about. So, I am not so sure about ...

> If you eat mostly whole-plant foods, an occasional pizza, with whatever type of
> cheese you like, is A-OK.

Especially if one is older and did not know about any of this stuff until recent decades and only started to try it recently. I for one am incensed about the lies and tricks played on us by industrial food companies for profit and the twisting of our natural behaviors that make it hard or impossible to eat healthily. That should have been a crime.


> In my experience, people who preach the most about saintly eating habits, are the
> ones sneaking off for another hot fudge ice cream cake when no one is looking.

Hey, are you following me around! ;-) Chunky Monkey and Super Fudge Brownie Chunk.

Posted by Laura Stec, a Almanac Online blogger,
on Feb 11, 2020 at 10:51 am

Laura Stec is a registered user.

CrescentParkAnon - thanks for the thoughtful comment and your long term Food Partying! Always a pleasure.

This is my take: eaters have been led astray by all processed foods. It doesn't matter if your quesadilla is made with gluten free-flour or white wheat, - it's still processed. Beef burgers don’t win over veggie burgers or vice versa. Vegan cheese is not superior to cow dairy cheese.

One of the reasons is fiber. Fiber isn’t included in much of the Standard American Diet (SAD). I'm following a "low-fiber" diet this week in prep for the ol' colonoscopy, and it has been FASCINATING because everything I eat has fiber. Not so for the average American though who's diet has been stripped of fiber by modern-day processing.

Another reason is the lack of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phyto-chemicals and all those things we miss from our current Global Warming Diet and it’s insult on healthy soils needed to transfer micronutrients to our food.

We had a discussion on the Portola Valley Forum recently. A neighbor wrote in asking for tips on vegetarian eating and the email thread quickly spiraled into a review of veggie burgers. I wrote in with “veggie burgers are NOT the major part of any balanced vegetarian diet.”

I mostly eat whole food, fiber-filled veggies, fruits, grains, nuts, beans, seeds prepared together with a sauce. So when I eat a pizza, it is NOT the norm and it doesn't matter what it is made of. If however, pizza and burgers are a part of your weekly diet, pepperoni and mozzarella, or vegan cheese and vegan sausage - both are bad as every day foods, and you should stop eating so much of either.

Plant-forward IS NOT ABOUT eating processed meals bought in BOXES AND BAGS with pretty pictures on them. Eating plant-forward is knowing how to cook quickly vegetables, grains and protein, how to heighten their natural flavors, and then how to season your dish easily in ways that delight your taste buds.

Note to self: write a Food Party! series of your course Building Blocks of Healthy Delicious Cooking.

Everyone needs tips to thrive with this “new/old” way of eating.

Posted by Avocado Chocolate Mousse, a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood,
on Feb 12, 2020 at 2:33 pm

I ate a vegan avocado based chocolate mousse at a resort in Mendocino that was amazingly good. I'm generally not impressed at all with most vegan alternatives, but this one was quite good on it's own; not as a good alternative, just good.

That's one I've found. I'm not afraid to keep trying, but I've only really found that one dish, made at that one place. Oh well, gives one hope.

Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Feb 13, 2020 at 5:35 am

Here is a Guardian Long-Read Article on the subject or processed foods.

How ultra-processed food took over your shopping basket.

It's cheap, attractive and convenient, and we eat it every day �" it's difficult not to. But is ultra-processed food making us ill and driving the global obesity crisis?

By Bee Wilson

Here is an excerpt:
But modern patterns of work do not make it easy to find the time to cook every day. For households who have learned to rely on ultra-processed convenience foods, returning to home cooking can seem daunting �" and expensive. Hall's researchers in Maryland spent 40% more money purchasing the food for the unprocessed diet. (However, I noticed that the menu included large prime cuts of meat or fish every day; it would be interesting to see how the cost would have compared with a larger number of vegetarian meals or cheaper cuts of meat.)

Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Feb 13, 2020 at 5:39 am

Forgot the link ... Web Link

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