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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Hello Beautiful People

Thanks for visiting our blog, and for your interest in our group! Unfortunately, we are no longer operational. But do not despair - we still have a wealth of information at our fingertip that we are eager to share with you! Please feel free to contact us, and we hope to help you find what you are looking for.

Over the last 5 years that the group and blog have been idle, we have continued to generate interest in the form of phone calls and emails.  We still love to hear from new folks! Since there has been an unexpected surge of interest in the last year especially, I thought I'd post an update telling you that even though we are not operational - we are still here for you!!

Also, while you are here - please feel free to browse the blog, as there are still some yummy recipes posted, links to great books, documentaries, etc.

~Be Well~

Monday, October 20, 2008

Learning the Art of Handmade

In our quest to become more self-sufficient, to be able to make the things we need instead of buying them, I have begun sewing. I've always had a sewing machine, and remember watching my mom sew when I was a kid, but I can probably count on two hands the number of things I've actually made on my sewing machine over the last 10 years.

I've been working hard lately, and really putting effort into developing some sort of a skill with my hands. These items have taken many hours of trying to figure out just what the heck I'm doing. I hope to actually post some stuff up for sale at some point, but until then, I just wanted to share my handiwork's!! It feels SO good to be able to create with your hands, its very rewarding and invigorating.

Quilted, patchwork pillow that matches nothing in my house.

Bird Mobile I made for a friend at work who is having her first baby.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Gravies and Sauces....A few more recipes

Courtesy of The Spot:

Mushroom Walnut Gravy

4 cups water
2 Tbsp chopped onion
1/4 tsp granulated garlic
2 Tbsp Bragg Liquid Aminos
2 Tbsp Tamari
1/2 c mushrooms and/or chopped walnuts
3 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch mixed into 1/4 c water

In a large saucepan, combine the water onions, aminos, tamari, garlic, mushrooms and walnuts. (I might choose to saute the onions first in a little oil) Bring the mixture to a boil. Separately, mix the cornstarch in 1/4 cup of water, and slowly add this mixture to the sauce. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens - about 10 minutes.

Savory Sauce

3/4 c almond or safflower oil
3/4 c water
1/4 c Bragg Aminos
1/8 c brewers yeast
1/4 tsp kelp powder
1/4 tsp spike seasoning
1/4 tsp basil
1/8 tsp granulated garlic
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp tamari1 pkg firm tofu, rinsed well.

Blend all ingredients together until smooth and creamy.

We also like the Tofurkey gravy that comes out this time of year. Its pretty good, and Tofurkey is good about using non-GMO soy and canola! Yay for them! a related side note. MorningStar DOES use GMO ingredients in their products, and they do not feel that they need to inform consumers. I asked them, in a letter, why they did not label the GMO ingredients on their packaging. They simply said that GMOs were safe. I responded back by asking why they felt they had the right to make that choice for me (with regard to the safety of the GMO's) - why not label the ingredients and let the consumer make the ultimate decision?

They never responded to that question. Shame on them.

We recommend that you do not buy or consume MorningStar products.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

World Vegetarian Day

....October 1st kicks off World Vegetarian Day, which in turn kicks off Vegetarian awareness month.

As many of you know, David and I are vegetarian, vegan in essence, but not strict - so sometimes we end up consuming a little dairy or eggs that may be contained in something else.

We have chosen this diet for many reasons, mostly - because our personal palettes never quite agreed with the taste of meats. We also do it for ethical, environmental, and health reasons.

I'm sure that most people are aware of the health benefits of becoming vegetarian, but many are not aware of the environmental impact that industrialized meat has on our planet.

Here's a brief listing I picked up while in Seattle last year explaining a few key points of the effects of industrialized livestock on our Earth:


Last year the United Nations and the FOA stated that livestock contribute more to greenhouse gases than all the cars in the world. There are now 20 billion livestock on earth – more than triple the number of human beings!

The world is heading towards a drinking water shortage. It takes 130 gallons of water to produce 2 pounds of potatoes, 520 gallons for 2 pounds of rice, but 26,000 gallons for 2 pounds of beef. Livestock consume 80% of the world’s water supply.

60 million people die of starvation each year. It takes 26-35 pounds of grain to produce 2 pounds of meat or milk. Livestock consumes 40% of the total grain grown worldwide. A vegan needs ½ acre of land for sustenance; a non-vegetarian needs 30 times this amount of land! Starvation can literally be wiped out by wiping meat and dairy off our diets.

Our diminishing forests are seriously threatened by grazing animals. Large numbers of wild animals are killed each year to protect or make room for grazing animals in our food chain. 260 million acres of virgin forest in the world have been cleared for cropland to support a meat centered diet.

Meat is energy intensive. The world’s petroleum reserves would last for only 13 years if all humans were meat eaters, but 260 years if all humans were vegetarian.

Animal husbandry and slaughter result in air, water, and land pollution. The total increase in the number of animals killed for food in the world each year exceeds the total human population.

Death is never a pleasant affair, least of all for the animals killed. 56 billion land animals are killed each year to appease our appetites! (This does not include aquatic animals)They suffer claustrophobic confinement, terrible transport without food, water, or rest, to meet their final bloody end in the slaughterhouse.

We are descendants of primates that are primarily fruitarian, and our anatomy is similar to theirs. There is ample evidence to show that a balanced, non-refined vegan diet is the best for our health.

Whether it is to improve our health, end starvation, save wildlife, conserve water or energy or reduce pollution or to reduce animals’ suffering, perhaps the greatest impact an individual can have is to reduce or stop animal products in their diet.


We are not opposed to eating meat, its just that we choose not to do it ourselves. In toady's market, we prefer not to support an industry that has, for the most part, blinded itself to the cruelty that is inherent. Factory farmed animals come from an industry that has put more value on profit than life itself, or the respect of life.

So, if you choose to keep meat as a part of your diet, there are several good options that we hope people would take advantage of. Store bought, organic being one of them. Free-range if you can. There are options that do take a little more effort, and maybe cost a little more, but can end up being better for your family, better for your conscience, better for the animal, and better for your taste buds. Buying an animal at auction from a family farm and having it slaughtered is one. Seriously. You just need a bigger freezer.

Either way, meat or not - all of our actions have an impact.

Happy World Vegetarian Day!

Here are a few links, one of which is a book I HIGHLY recommend by Jane Goodall.

I haven't got enough good things to say about her topic or her approach. Both are wonderful, informative, and inspiring. She's not trying to convince anyone NOT to eat meat, just trying to provide honest coverage of the subject - the book is much more broad in subject matter though- covering our food supply as a whole, meat is only one tiny portion. Please read the book - it can likely be found at your local library, and I have a copy I can lend out if you'd like. 'Harvest For Hope'

A series of animated shorts, entitled 'The Meatrix':

Animated Short - A little more propaganda-y but not off the mark. 'Backwards Hamburger':

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Whats for Dinner Tonight?

Since this morning, I got 2 giant bunches of swiss chard, a bunch of spinach, a couple handfuls of okra (all organic, all fresh picked today) and we have a several pounds of garbanzos here...I decided to go back and make something I haven't made for a while.

It is classified as a 'soup', but I've always cooked mine it thicker and can be spooned over rice or quinoa. Enjoy.


3/4 lb firm tofu cut into 1/2" cubes (we are using garbanzo beans instead)
2 tbsp hot pepper sauce
3 tbsp olive oil
3 ribs celery chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
1 jalapeno chile, seeded and chopped (use to taste)
8 oz okra stems removed and cut into rounds
4 oz fresh spinach or swiss chard, stems removed, blanched
5 cups veggie broth
1 1/2 c coconut milk
2 springs fresh thyme
2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground nutmeg
4 sprigs of cilantro for garnish
Juice of 1 lime

Marinate the tofu in the hot pepper sauce for about 30 minutes. Set aside

Heat the oil in a large pot, or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add celery, onion, garlic and chile pepper. Saute for 10 min, or until tender. Add the okra and the spinach or chard and saute 5 minutes. Add the veggie broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to low heat and simmer. Add the coconut milk, thyme, salt, black pepper, and nutmeg, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove 2 cups of the mixture, liquid, veggies, and all - and put into a blender. Blend until smooth, being cautious of blending hot liquids. Pour the mixture back into the pan, cover, and cook for 40 minutes more. Add the beans, and simmer uncovered until it reaches the desired consistency.

Serve with cilantro and lime juice over your favorite grain.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Intro to Nutritional Yeast.....


1 1/4 c water
1 c silken tofu, drained, crumbled
1/2 c raw cashew pieces
1/4 c nutritional yeast flakes
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp onion granules
1/2 tsp garlic granules
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 c scallions

6 medium white potatoes, thinly sliced
salt and ground pepper to taste

To make the Gruyere Sauce, place the first 8 ingredients in a blender, and process for several minutes or until completely smooth. Stir in onion and scallions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Oil a large deep casserole dish, and arrange in it a layer of potatoes - sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle on some of the blended sauce, then more potatoes, more salt and pepper, more sauce, and so on - finishing with a layer of sauce. Cover and bake for one hour, then uncover and bake about 45 minutes more, or until the potatoes are very tender and the top is golden brown. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.


Prep a flaky pie crust in advance (make or buy)

2 (10oz) pkgs of frozen spinach, thawed
1 c scallions
1/2 lb firm regular tofu, drained and well mashed
1 tsp dried basil leaves
1/2 tsp dried marjoram leaves

1 1/2 c water
1/3 cup quick cooking oats
1/4 c nutritional yeast
4 tbsp tahini
4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp arrowroot or cornstarch
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp mustard powder

Have pie crust ready, lightly browned
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Place the spinach in a mesh strainer, and press to remove as much moisture as possible. Transfer to a bowl and stir in scallions, tofu, basil, and marjoram. Mix well and set aside.

Place the remaining ingredients in a blender, and process several minutes until very smooth. Pour over spinach mixture, and mix thoroughly. Spoon the filling in to the pie crust and bake for 40-50 minutes or until the center of the pie is firm and golden in color. Cool for 15 minutes.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Glowing Inside and Out

We are resuming Co-Op activities.....having returned from a week-and-a-half vacation on Kauai, and Oahu.


And the food was incredible. We stayed with some family friends on Oahu, and their backyard is a Garden of Eatin'!

Fresh Starfuit, Raw Macadamias, Tangerines, Coconuts, Bananas, and a giant vegetable garden. We picked our breakfast each morning, and dined on freshly picked salad each night.

On Kauai, we visited several farmers markets for our local pineapples, apple-bananas, mangoes, dragonfruit, avocados.....and fresh salad mix.

We also dropped by a local vegan/raw restaurant a couple of times, Blossoming Lotus. They also have a sister location in Portland - both come highly recommended from us if you are ever visiting either area!! Here is the website:

We normally eat a lot of whole grains, and fresh produce - so we have an appeciation and love for the power of fresh foods. An understanding that fresh foods truely have more 'life' in them, imparted by the farmers and earth....created through toil, passion, and nuturing.

While in Hawaiii, we practically lived entirely on fresh, local, seasonal organic fruit that we just don't get here in California. Over here on the mainland, the only pineapples, mangoes, and bananas we see are shipped from long distances, over long periods of time, one of others arising from a uniform crop variety, each one the same as the last! Blah!

The taste of the fruits we get here in California are nothing compared to their true nature - and its was an amazing experience to quite literally notice the difference immediately.

I wish I could put into words the incredible energy we felt from this food. Each fruit looked itself, but was saturated with more color, taste, and life than the lowly varieties we see here in California! There is a true energy and power contained in fresh foods, and sometimes only by comparison of apples to apples (or pineapples to pineapples in this case) are you reminded, quite vividly, of those savory qualities that industrialized food lacks.

Hawaii's fruits have left us glowing inside.

Speaking of glowing inside, we also happen to be glowing outside - after soaking up some rays, and reading while doing so. Here is our beach reading list:

Ecological Literacy: Educating Our Children for a Sustainable World by Stone and Barlow

Harvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating by Jane Goodall

Hopes Edge: The Next Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappe & Anna Lappe