July 26, 2010

Dairy Free Blueberry Creme Pie

This is one of Dr. Andrew Weil's recipes from Eating Well for Optimum Health.  This was one of the first books I read when I decided to go head first into cooking for health as well as enjoyment.  I have had it a long time.  I can tell because I have weight watcher's points written in the book near recipes.  I haven't kept track of what I eat like that or counted calories for many years.  I just eat a plant based diet as much as I can and I don't have to count calories or points.

This is a very light dessert, with added protein and less sugar than your average blueberry creme pie. It's made with tofu masquerading as cream cheese and since fresh  blueberries are abundant right now, it's time for pie.  I had great fun watching my husband and granddaughter trying to get just the right picture without eating it.  The model got so small by the end of the second serving at lunch the next day, there was only one small piece left. I did make some changes, as I usually do, reducing the processed sugar where I can.

  Dairy Free Blueberry Cream Pie

1 pound silken tofu
1/4 cup sugar, or more to taste
      I used a few drops liquid Stevia
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
     I used the seeds from half a vanilla bean
freshly grated zest of 1 fresh lemon
1 baked Easy Pie Crust, (follow link to recipe)
1 pound fresh or frozen blueberries
1/4 cup light brown sugar 
     I used a little less than 1/4 cup raw agave
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
11/2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
     Agar can be used in place of the arrowroot powder
2 tablespoons water

1. Drain the tofu well and process in a food processor until smooth.  Add the sugar, vanilla extract, and lemon zest, and blend well.
2.  Pour the tofu mixture into the pie crust and chill in refrigerator.
3.  Place the blueberries in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until they begin to boil.  Boil gently for about ten minutes.
4.  Add the brown sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon, and cook for another 2 minutes.
5.  Mix the arrowroot well with the water, and pour mixture into the simmering blueberries while stirring.  Cook, stirring, until the mixture becomes clear and thick.  Continue to cook for 1 minute.
6.  When blueberry mixture is cool, spoon it over the tofu mixture, and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.

TLT with Avocado and Fresh Beet Chips

It's hot and I'm loving it.  I welcome the sun! Here's an easy meal for a hot evening.  A TLT, a  tempeh, lettuce, and tomato sandwich. Grilled lemon pepper tempeh strips marinated in teriyaki sauce on toasted whole grain bread with avocado and garden fresh tomatoes and lettuce.  I served it with thinly sliced turnips, golden beets, and red beets from our garden.  I  called them chips and my granddaughter ate them as if they were her favorite chips.

Vacation "At Home" with Kaylee

I've been on vacation at home the last week enjoying the company of my six year old granddaughter.  We've made lots of good memories and I have lots of blogging material.  I just haven't had the time to sit down and do it.  I said aloud to my husband, that I was amazed at women who work and have small children to raise.  I even said "How do they do it?"  Oh yeah, I did that,duh!  Guess we just forget very quickly how much energy it takes.

I take a vacation 'at home' thinking I'll have some restful days of not getting up early and racing out of the house each morning.  I think I almost always work harder when I do this than go on a vacation adventure away from home.  I was actually looking forward to getting to work today to do some mind work and not move around so much.  Last week, besides learning how to live with a small child around, I canned and froze 27 lb of cherries, sweet red and Rainier, a flat of strawberries, a flat and a half of raspberries, a flat of blueberries, put away a pint of garlic cloves in olive oil, (the garlic is from the garden), and made some lavender oil for the first time.  All of these grown by local farmers and gardeners.  I picked the lavender myself in Port Angeles and Sequim.  I also put some herbs and onions to dry so I can use them during the cold weather when the garden is sleeping.

We started the vacation adventures on Friday with a few hours sleep, left at three a.m. driving three hours north to pick up our granddaughter.  We had an ETA of 6:00 a.m. so we could see her mom before she went to work.  We made it at 6:30 a.m., then on to the Edmonds Ferry to Kingston, and another hour or so drive to Sequim where we met up with Uncle Bill.  On the way to Sequim we stopped to take a short walk and stretch.  Kaylee was ready with her camera "let's go on a nature walk grandpa."  We were happy to oblige.  We weren't very far on our walk when we realized we were in an old private cemetery.  It was a very beautiful spot.  Very original, no two graves were alike.  This was a very special and beautiful spot. It was also at this place that it occurred to me that we had not been on a weekend trip together that didn't involve going to a penal institution since we were in Sequim in December. I was pointing out to Kaylee how a flower pod spreads it seeds with the help of the wind to plant more flowers in the forest when a sudden gush of love just rushed through me.  I almost lost my breath when I figured out where I was and what I was doing.  What a great way to start the weekend!

After a stop for a late breakfast and stroll through the farmer's market we were off to Port Angeles for a restful three days away from it all.  Our friend's up there have a very nice private spot on a hill overlooking the Straight of Juan de Fuca with plenty of room for Kaylee to run.  They've built a chicken coop and a pen for the rooster since we've been there last.  Kaylee had a great time running around with the chickens and she learned a thing or two about roosters.  He tends to chase children, she learned the word 'aggressive' rather quickly.  They got along well as long as he was in his pen.

Priscilla—"Queen" of Pristine Farms
Some of the younger girls
The older women have their own yard

I had free rein of the kitchen and the garden.  I so love just going up there and staying.  The guys go to the bay and fetch some fresh crab, I brought all the vegetables I had along with supplies I like to have when I cook.  I think the guys we visit, Ken, Allan, and Bill look forward to my strange and healthy way of preparing meals.  I always try to create something new for them to try.  After all, I get to go there and be comfortable in an atmosphere of love and beauty for nothing.  I don't mind cooking for everyone at all, in fact, I love it. I've been cooking with and for Bill and Scott for over 28 years now. We all used to be roommates in California.  Scott and Bill have been friends and brothers for over 45 years now. He is our family and I don't feel like 'company' up there. For those of us who share their love with food, at least I'm learning to do it in a healthy way.

Gotta have my favorite items to cook with

After the four hour drive home Monday, we were at the garden checking out the growth over the weekend.  Wednesday we went to a concert at the Zoo, a band from Africa.  That was something!  The music was good and very lively, but I think we came very close to group child abuse.  Just think, there were probably over 500 small children at the show and none of them got to go see animals.  It was a common question being asked by many short people, including the one we brought, as we left the zoo:  "Mommy, where were the animals, I wanted to see animals" Oops

Thursday night was music again at our local summer concert at the lake.  I was happy to hear Kaylee ask to just stay home this weekend.  We just about did that from Friday to Sunday except for our daily trips to the garden to weed and water. By the way, for those of you wondering what I feed her because we eat mostly vegan, I haven't changed anything because she is here.  She hasn't complained about anything we have offered her except one dish I made a little too spicy.  She has eaten the many raw or cooked fruit and veggies we eat daily and drank our nondairy milk and seems to like it as much as we do. I haven't turned on a television since she's been here either and she hasn't seemed to miss that either. I hope that doesn't change too soon.

Here she is  with a stewed cherry shortcake smile.

July 24, 2010

First Cabbage from the Garden

I plucked out the first huge, firm cabbage from the garden last night and here's my version of coleslaw. It's best made a few hours before you want it, or better, the night before.  This gives the flavors a chance to blend together.

These measurements are only estimates.

3 C grated green cabbage
2 C grated red cabbage
1 C carrot, grated
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
1 medium red onion, diced
1/2 of a small pineapple, diced, about 1-2 Cup
1-2 TB garlic, minced (about four small cloves) Too much garlic is one of my food rules.
1 C organic Veganaise (like mayonnaise made with flax oil and olive oil)
2 TB Lemon Juice
1 TB Poppy seeds
1/4 C scallions - I used the long green tops of the onions from the garden
1/4 C fresh parsley, chopped
2 tsp sucanot (unrefined sugar)
Sea salt and pepper to taste

July 21, 2010

Vegetable Wheat Berry Risotto

I love Sequim in July - Lavender touches all my senses

While in Sequim this weekend I picked up some Hard Red Spring Wheat Berries from their local farmer's market.  I bought a couple different varieties from this vendor, Nash's Organic Produce.  I made a nice wheat berry salad while I was up there with fresh produce from my friend's garden and some of my own.  Yesterday I made some wheat berry risotto. This was very easy!  Anyone can make this effortless dish.  It does require soaking the berries overnight, so planning ahead is a good idea.  After the berries have soaked, the prep work is about 15 minutes. This is a high protein, vegan meal. The wheat berries tested out at 14% protein.  It can be served as an entree or a side dish.

Vegetable Wheat Berry Risotto

Vegetable Wheat Berry Risotto

About 2 TBL olive oil, I used garlic chili oil I made a couple weeks ago
1 medium to large onion, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1½ cups wheat berries (pearl barley would substitute just fine.)
1 medium zucchini, diced in half inch cubes
4 cups low sodium vegetable broth (can be combined with water wheat berries
soaked in to make up the four cups of liquid)
2 TBL golden balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup tart juice, (cranberry, pomegranate, or apple cider would work)
1/4 cup freshly grated parmigiana cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste, I used cayenne pepper for a little extra zip.

Soak wheat berries overnight or for at least three hours.  Rinse and reserve the liquid for stock.

Heat up the broth to almost a boil for adding to wheat berries a little later.

Saut­è onion and garlic in oil about 2-4 minutes.

Add the wheat berries and sautè for about five minutes allowing the wheat berries to brown a bit. When I did this my kitchen had a toasty nutty smell, it was wonderful.

Add the broth, juice, vinegar, and zucchini and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cover the pot.  Simmer for at least an hour.  I like my wheat berries al dentè so that there is some texture.  If you like them a little softer, you may have to cook a bit longer.  I simmer until almost all the liquid is absorbed leaving a nice gravy consistency.

Remove lid and add the cheese and cook a little bit longer, about ten minutes.

Rialto Beach, WA

I've been in Port Angeles, WA in the Olympic National Forest area for a few days.  We had some fun with our granddaughter and friends,  shared some great meals together, and explored some of the great countryside we call home.   We shared a warm family picnic with Allan's family at Rialto Beach. This is a very beautiful beach with natural driftwood sculptures everywhere.   I heard someone call it rugged, wild, and other-worldly.  I think that's a good description.  It was a literal hike through the massive logs.  I often think I should look around for pieces of driftwood to turn into art myself.  But, when I am in the presence of this beauty, I have an overwhelming feeling that it's wrong to disturb what's going on.  It would be like taking a wild animal out of the forest.  I can take pictures though and use them for future inspiration.  I saw so many animal shapes in these logs and I think I may have caught a glimpse of a fairy too.

Kaylee had a great time, climbing the logs and building her sandcastle on the beach with a little help from Allan, who raced the waves to get her bucket of sand just the right amount of sea water. It was a challenge, the tide was coming in pretty steadily. By the time her little sand castle was finished, the ocean took it.

July 16, 2010

Stephanie's Cooking with History

Stephanie playin' in the kitchen with Aunt Debbie

Remember my niece Stephanie?   She got a job with the colonial museums in Huntsville, Alabama since my visit in April.  She recently demonstrated how to make vegetable gumbo in an open kettle at a civil war reenactment. She sent me some pictures and the recipe.  She, like her aunt, made her own changes and used vegetables out of her garden. I was so excited about her adventures, I wanted to share them and the recipe with you.  She used zucchini from her garden instead of okra for the gumbo.  I wonder how that went over in the South. When I was in Alabama I noticed that okra and dandelion greens were as plentiful in the produce store as lettuce and apples are in Washington.

Hearty Vegetable Gumbo
Cook time 25 min. yields 4 servings
•    1/2 cup chopped onion 
•    1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper 
•    1/4 cup chopped celery 
•    2 cloves garlic, minced 
•    2 cans (14 1/2 oz each) stewed tomatoes (you can use no-salt-added stewed tomatoes) 
•    2 cups tomato juice (you can use no-salt-added juice) 
•    1 can (15 oz) red beans, rinsed and drained 
•    1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley 
•    1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves 
•    1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce or more if you like it spicier 
•    2 bay leaves 
•    1 1/2 cups uncooked quick-cooking brown rice 
•    1 package (10oz) frozen chopped okra, thawed 
How to make it
•    Spray a 4-quart Dutch oven with cooking spray; heat over medium heat until hot.
•    Add onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic. Cook and stir 3 minutes or until crisp-tender.
•    Add stewed tomatoes, tomato juice, beans, parsley, oregano, pepper sauce and bay leaves.
•    Bring to a boil over high heat. Add rice. Cover; reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 15 minutes or until    rice is tender.
•    Add okra; cook, covered, 5 minutes more or until okra is tender.
•    Remove and discard bay leaves.

Stephanie's Revisions

•    I added zucchini instead of okra. Carrots and some corn.
•    I also popped some grape tomatoes in the oven and added it to the mix.
•    For the stewed tomatoes, I added one can regular and one can Italian stewed tomatoes for extra flavor.
•    I also put in mixed bell peppers, not just green.

July 14, 2010

Little Veggies

The garden is producing daily food now.  I am picking a pound of peas a day, three or four onions, and lots of herbs.  Yesterday I noticed there are little veggies popping up all over.

8 Ball Zucchini - It's about three inches in diameter.
Little Broccoli beginning
Up close

Sunburst Squash
Golden Zucchini beginning

July 13, 2010


I love it that the cabbage look like big roses. :-)

I'm waiting anxiously like an excited little kid for my husband to come home in a few minutes so we can get out to the garden.  We didn't go yesterday and it is so funny that I miss it in only one day.  I have lots on my mind today and have wondering what I'd have to blog about.  When I realized the joy I just felt knowing that my best friend will be here soon and we can go do what we love, I figured out what to write about.  Joy!

I've posted this song before, but it is a song that makes me feel happy.  The people on the stage and in the crowd are our friends and family. Check out Mark Binyon on the piano. Whew!  We have danced many a night indoors and out to their music. Pescadero is where we had a son and began our life together. I am the girl at the local restaurantè in the song. It's the only country song they play and it's hard to get them to do it anymore.

Enjoy the day!

July 11, 2010

Dairy Free Triple Berry Mousse

This is a variation of the dairy free mousse, Dairy Free Strawberry Mousse, I learned to make last winter with avocados and bananas.

I used about four small ripe avocados, one banana for sweetness and texture, about three cups of fresh local strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, mixed, and almost a teaspoon of liquid stevia.  I made a smooth puree of it all in the food processor and poured into a large mixing bowl.  I folded in some whole fruit and a half tablespoon Agar dissolved in a half cup of hot water.

Vegan Pineapple-Carrot Cake with Vanilla Frosting

This recipe is definitely "under construction."  It's another test recipe, but I wanted to make it my way, fresh, vegan, and with as little added sugar as possible.  The recipe called for roasting the carrots before making the cake and I kind of thought that was weird to cook the carrots before cooking.  I made a raw carrot puree in the food processor instead of roasting them.  I also used 2 teaspoons of liquid Stevia instead of the 2 cups of sugar called for in the recipe.  That's where the "under construction" part comes in.  In my efforts to make up for the liquids by replacing the sugar with Stevia, I added more crushed pineapple and a banana.  I think I overdid the extra liquids a bit.  It doesn't have a cake like texture, it's more like a dense cake with a pumpkin pie kind of texture.  It is very, very tasty though, my husband likes it a lot.  I think the recipe called for a little too much oil too.  It also called for walnuts, but I used some pecans I brought home from Alabama this last April.  I did make the vanilla creme cheese frosting as directed with organic powdered sugar, but I made a cream cheeze with tofu instead of using dairy creme cheese. I will try this another time soon and post the recipe when I am sure someone else can make it without any problems.  I served it with a fresh Washington apricot.

Pineapple-Carrot Cake with Vanilla Frosting

Barley with Tomato, Capers and Kalamata Olives

This is another of the test recipes for The Flexitarian Cookbook.  It is supposed to be made with Farro which is a whole grain similar to wheat berries or barley.  I couldn't find it in town and when I looked it up online it was $11 a pound. Yikes! I substituted pearl barley without a problem.  I really like this grain dish, it's very flavorful with unexpected flavors, as my husband called it.  It's a warm or cold whole grain dish with a zesty flavor and great texture.  It's very easy to make, the prep time for everything except the barley is about 20 minutes.

It's a very simple meal with roasted red peppers, garlic, fresh parsley, fresh tomatoes, capers, and kalamata olives.  I served it on a bed of fresh picked beet greens.  This salad will make future appearances at my house.

Green Onion Griddle Cakes with Cool Gazpacho

I received some more recipes from The Flexitarian Cookbook coming out this fall to test.  They came at the right time for my weekend cooking adventures.  I made a few of the recipes for our meals this week.  Last night I tried the Green Onion Griddle Cakes with a Cool Gazpacho salad.  Our garden is starting to produce daily vegetables, I was able to use a lot of things we grew ourselves, like the onions, parsley, and nasturtiums for this meal.

Onion Potato Pancakes with Cool Gazpacho
This recipe is a different style of making potato pancakes than I have seen before.  It's a combination of mashed potatoes and raw grated potatoes.  I mixed it all in the food processor until it was a nice smooth consistency.  They came out really fluffy and flavorful.  The recipe called for creme fraiche, but I served them with plain soy yogurt.  This is a vegetarian meal as there is an egg in the batter.  The gazpacho is made with fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, avocado, fresh picked onions, garlic, chili oil, and balsamic vinegar.  The recipe directions were to blend it to the desired consistency.  It is supposed to be a soup, but my desired consistency this time was whole vegetables.

Yes, I eat the nasturtiums.  Nasturtiums are a watercress.

Watercress contains significant amounts of iron, calcium and folic acid, in addition to vitamins A and C.  Many benefits from eating watercress are claimed, such as that it acts as a stimulant, a source of phytochemicals and antioxidants, a diuretic, an expectorant and a digestive aid.  It also appears to have cancer-suppressing properties; it is widely believed to help defend against lung cancer.

Summer Fruit

Frozen cherries are great on a hot day.

I had too much fun at the farmer's market Saturday. The strawberries are almost over and I wanted to make sure I got some more before they are gone. The raspberries are plentiful and the blueberries are starting to show up everywhere. There were also some Washington apricots and cherries. I spent $120 at the market, that's quite a bit. I usually spend about $30-60 depending on what fruit is in season. The garden will lower that cost shortly.  Soon, I will be buying boxes of lovely Washington peaches and pears. As well as all the fruit, I did pick up much of our vegetable groceries too. There were fresh beets, carrots, cucumbers, corn, and just about everything we need to eat well for the week. I also bought some locally made chocolates and locally roasted coffee too. I almost don't have to go to the conventional grocery store at all this time of year.

I almost scared myself when I got home and saw all I had purchased. I was worried I wouldn't get it all processed. My husband was happy to help, he likes pitting cherries. We have a little cherry stoner he likes to use. We put a flat of blueberries, a flat of raspberries, 2 flats of strawberries, about ten pounds of cherries, and a huge batch of rhubarb sauce in the freezer this weekend. 

Kitchen freezer before they go to the Big freezer downstairs.

I like to put as much fresh fruit away in the freezer while in season so we have plenty of fresh fruit in the fall and winter too. I had fruit all the way up until January this year. I post a lot about dinner meals and desserts, but I don't talk too much about breakfast. That's because there isn't a whole lot to it. We eat a fruit smoothie everyday, no recipe, just whatever is available. I fill the blender with fruit, add a little water and blend. I used to put protein powders and flax oil, but finally just went with fresh fruit. I put an avocado in just about every day which makes it thick and creamy and the fat from the avocado keeps me satisfied until I have my morning snack of more fruit around 10:00 a.m. I think I have five servings of fruit everyday before I leave my house.

July 9, 2010

The Garden's Having Some Fun Now

Summer's here and lovin' the weather, so's the garden.

I figured out, this slide show is nice with the music playing by the Secret Garden in my previous blog.

Secret Garden

A letter to Barb

Things have been pretty quiet in our lives lately. Summer is here and we look forward to some music, camping, festivals, time with friends, gardening, and fresh food adventures.  I've been stuck for something to write about. Not much of a writer, but I still feel like I should have something to say and not just post a blog because I feel like I should. I was writing a letter to my friend and sister, Barb, this morning and realized it would make a good post as it sums up life pretty well.

Barb and I have been friends and sisters since we were 14 or 15.  We dreamed of our own home together in high school and we did have that home together, a couple times.  Love you Barb!

Deb & Barb 1979
Hi Barb,

I haven't been very sociable this year. The deal with Marty really broke our hearts. I have been dealing with a different kind of pain like I have never known. Two evenings with this young lady and so far he has plead guilty to 'rape of a child' in two counties, I think three counts. He is facing two more right now. FOR THE SAME NIGHT! He's been in a jail or prison for a year and a half now. This is the fifth jail he is in right now.

He finished his prison term for WA last month and was transported directly to St. Helen's Oregon to face another two charges for the same fucking incident. You see you have to drive through Columbia County to get to Astoria where he was first convicted. Apparently they might have stopped at the beach near the river on the way. He is getting charged now for what we might call the "pre-game." But, whatever happened, it happened on the way to the main event in Astoria and the charges he already plead guilty to now count as prior offenses. So, two nights, something like five counts of some form of rape in three counties, two states. He is facing 14 years in prison in Oregon. If he is found guilty of the charges in Oregon he would be sentenced to 14 years without the chance of parole.  And, this is his first offense, I don't understand this.  If he had robbed a liquor store, he'd be completing his probation by now.

Scott and I stick pretty close to each other these days. We have pulled together like a couple that has been together 25 years should.  We have had a few bumps along the way, but for the most part, we've been good to each other through this.

We have a great garden, 40' x 40'. It's in a community garden plot where there are 120 gardens. It's an awesome place. We put lots of our energy into that. Last year we gave away food to almost everyone we know. I dropped off lots at churches, AA halls, and brought veggies to both our jobs. I can't believe how much we love it. We first started the big garden last year during this ordeal. Someone said gardening would relieve stress and I thought we could try it. They were right, I can go two, sometimes three, hours without thinking about Marty and Bob.

Anyway, we do get into pictures a lot. Since Marty has been in so many places, we go see him every other weekend, we see a lot of the countryside. The prisons were both a four hour drive, roundtrip. We make sure to stop along the way to hike, take photos, and try to turn it into an enjoyable trip. We've been to see him in three jails and two prisons. Unfortunately I know the difference between a good visiting area and a bad one. We have been searched numerous times and gone through some interesting and humiliating procedures. Oh, he can't live here when he gets out either because we are too close to a school. Fuck, he didn't rape anyone, he had consensual sex with a young lady who called our house and asked him out. I dunno, time to buy a small farm I think. We do need a business. I want to retire in six years, but I know I will still need to work.

Pisses me off, I live my life sober and honestly, Scott & I don't do harm to anyone and live a pretty quiet life. We have a happy loving relationship. Sometimes I just don't understand how it could go so wrong so quickly. I still have a hard time believing this is happening.

Bob is in Afghanistan. He communicates on facebook now & then. He says there is more fighting going on then when he went to Iraq. Some stories he probably shouldn't be telling his mother. He sent some interesting pictures of his unit going through farms picking vegetables. Or, I thought they were vegetables. I posted the pictures on my blog and later when he called asked him what he was picking. He said, mom, look closer, those are huge Oregano? plants. Oh, duh, guess I have pictures of huge pot growing in vegetable fields and I didn't even know it. Yeah, I'm an old fart now I guess.

So, I am still me, just a bit quieter, bitchier, and sometimes down right pissy. But, I still love you. I am looking forward to your son's wedding, whenever it may be. It will give us a good excuse to come play in the bay area. We like that.

Here's a link to our pictures we take, Our pictures. There is a folder called "Garden 2010." We are really happy with gardening. I think we will probably get a run down farm in the future and go back to living in the country, I'm ready. After all, we moved into town for the kids years ago, they aren't here anymore.

Enjoying the sunshine tremendously, it's been in the 90ºs, we had no spring! Get to go get my granddaughter next weekend and play with her for a couple weeks. I am going to start the adventure with a trip to Sequim for the Lavender festival.  She's big enough to go visit the farms with me and make some lavender crafts herself.  I am very excited about that.

Love you, Deb

Isabelle's Makeover

We all go through stages of growth before we get beautiful.  We all start out beautiful, but some of us take a little change to realize we are beautiful from the inside out.

My very creative friend, Rachel, made Isabelle some arms, gave her a beautiful pink boa and made some other womanly enhancements.  She's also brought some love and warmth to our garden, and our lives, as she does everywhere she is. The sun is finally shining and Isabelle has many growing plants to watch over.

July 5, 2010

Dairy Free Cherry Upsidedown Cake

This came out pretty nice looking. I used the white Rainier Cherries. I can't believe it came out of the pan so well. The little specs you see on top are pieces of ground cardamom. I keep whole cardamom seeds on hand and grind them myself.

Cherry mixture

3 cups fresh cherries, pitted and split in half
zest of an orange, chopped
1 tsp sucanot
sprinkling of cardamom, about a half teaspoon. You can use nutmeg, cinnamon and a very small dash of cloves if you don't have cardamom.

Cake Mixture

1 cup non dairy margarine, softened
1/2 cup Agave
2 drops liquid stevia
Egg substitute, equivalent of 2 eggs
     I use an egg substitute from Bob's Red Mill.  1 tablespoon ground flaxseed dissolved with 3  tablespoons water also works as a substitution for two eggs.
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
about ¼ cup non dairy milk to get a smooth consistency

Preheat oven to 350º

Prepare a 8" x 11.5" baking dish with some oil, I use coconut oil.
Mix cherry mixture ingredients together and spread on the bottom of the pan.
Beat cake mixture ingredients together until smooth and spread over cherry mixture.
Bake about 30 minutes or until toothpicks inserted into cake come out clean.
Allow to cool, turn out onto serving dish.

I served it with some of the cashew coconut creme.

My husband said it seemed like a cross between a crisp and pie. He mentioned that during his second piece.

Back to Basics - Black Beans and Raw Vegetable Salad

Every week I make a pot of beans and a very large salad so we have some healthy "fast-food" options on hand during the busy work week. This week I made a pot of black beans and a fresh, raw vegetable salad. Many of the salad items are now coming from the garden and the farmer's markets. I just love this time of year. Sun or not, the food still represents summer. When I come home some night this week, I can warm up a tortilla and some beans, add some salad, and I have a great vegetarian burrito. That's my kind of :"fast-food."

What's in the salad? Beet greens, zucchini, crookneck squash, red cabbage, red bell pepper, one large jalapeño pepper, chopped roasted fennel bulb, carrots, chopped cucumber, the juice of one orange, 2 medium avocados chopped, about half a cup of roasted pumpkin seeds, and a handful of dried currants.

Fresh Wild Salmon with Quinoa & Roasted Vegetables and Fresh Garden Peas

Fresh wild Salmon poached in vegetable broth, Quinoa with roasted vegetables: red pepper, fennel, carrots, & onions, and fresh peas and garlic tops from my garden lightly steamed in the vegetable broth I used for the salmon. 

July 2, 2010

Holidays are a Good Thing

Friday off and I get to leisurely get ready for the day.  We have some nice plans for the weekend.  Nothing too stressful or far away. Tonight we will be enjoying music outdoors with friends at the Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland.  I am looking forward to it this year, as always, but this year is a little more speical as I couldn't go last year due to my broken ankle.  I friend of mine offered to carry me, I declined that offer.

They all have to work today, so I'll make sure to have something ready for dinner when they arrive.  I'm going to start some dough to rise and visit the local produce stand for some additions for a Vegetarian Pizza.  I picked up some of the best strawberries in the area yesterday from Crawford Berries 'n Cream. I am thinking of adding a fresh strawberry pie to tonight's menu.  That should be a nice summer surprise. 

Early tomorrow we might check out some of the fourth of July festivities at the local lake.  A cardboard boat rigatta was started last year and it looked like it was great fun.  I am hoping to check out some artistic seaworthy creations and get some photos.  As for the rest of the holiday, we might visit the Blues Festival once more time, but other than that, it's gardening and relaxing.

Speaking of the garden, Isabelle has a friend now.  I am encouraging more gardeners to put up a funny scarecrow.  We had so much rain, the garden isn't as tall as it usually is at this time of the year.  There are about 120 gardens in the community plot.  I think it would be fun to turn it into a little sculpture park.

Isabelle's Friends