July Gathering and…..Exciting News!

First, the “Exciting News!”

I had such grandiose plans when I started this blog a year or so ago.  As my blogging friends out there know, researching and writing posts could easily be a full time job. So, this blog sort of fell by the wayside and became somewhat neglected. That is about to change! The news? Well, we now have a fantastic writer who will be contributing new posts on a regular basis. She is a creative writer, an inspired photographer and shares my passion for great, wholesome and nutritious foods. We are blessed that she has offered her talents and her time. With her contributions, this blog may begin to live up to the vision I had when it was first conceived. Great things are in store for this blog. So Welcome MMH! Welcome.

Now, on to the food….Our monthly gatherings continue to grow. We welcomed new faces this month as well as some who returned after a short hiatus. The food…well, that goes without saying. None of the additives, preservatives, colorings, etc., but ALL of the flavor. Without meat of course. There are some creative cooks out there and the caliber of food that shows up month after month continues to inspire. My favorite this month…a tough call, but I loved the Tu-no Salad. Enjoy the pictures, try the recipes and we hope to see you next month!

The Raw Curried Cabbage Salad recipe can be found here. The Tu-no Salad recipe can be found here, and the recipe for the Bliss Balls can be found by searching this blog–they were included in an earlier post.

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Chickpea- A Vegan Quarterly

This is going to be short and sweet, because the best thing I can give you, is a link. Chickpea is a quarterly magazine filled with vegan goodness. Cara and Bob, the duo behind the blog Hipsterfood, wanted to create a beautiful and inspiring food magazine to showcase the vegan lifestyle and bring together the vegan community. I think they have succeeded, not only on that level, but in creating a magazine that anyone who cares about healthy and nourishing whole foods will enjoy. The magazine looks great and is brimming with recipes and articles. They have published 3 issues so far, with a fourth on the way. I looked through the Spring 2012 issue—they are all available free online or you can order a print copy.  At 95 pages (yep!) you will have plenty of recipes to try and articles to read until the next issue arrives. Check out their blog too…it’s pretty cool.

May Gathering & Recipes

The most popular posts are by far the ones where I post recipes.  Why is that?  Well, I think because of the role that food plays in our lives. Yes it nourishes us, but more than that, most people enjoy coming together over a good meal–breaking bread, if you will, while sharing stories and uniting over the things we have in common.  And that is why we gather each month. To come together with old friends, welcome new friends and to enjoy great food that does nourish our bodies, but also our hearts and spirits. If you happen to live in the Hilton Head/Beaufort/Savannah area, or will be visiting, we invite you to join us.

In May we gathered at The Preserve around the pool.We were honored to have Cheryl McCarthy of Ageless Acupuncture as our guest speaker. Not only is she a dear friend, she is a bright light with a remarkable story and a wealth of knowledge.

Cheryl McCarthy of Ageless Acupuncture speaking to the group about the benefits of acupuncture.

Cheryl treats emotional, respiratory, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, neurological and other conditions. If you are in the South Carolina/Georgia lowcountry and would like more information, send me a message and I will pass it on to Cheryl.

The food again this month was outstanding. I’m running out of adjectives to describe the great food. One stand out for me was the Three Sisters Farm Arugula & Sorrel Pesto. I loved the peppery bite from the arugula and it was just so fresh tasting. I think that may have been my first introduction to sorrel as well. But there were many other fantastic dishes.  Eating without meat is never boring!…at least not with this group!

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In addition to the recipes posted, there were Almond and Pecan cookies; Squash with chickpeas and marinated with basil, mint, dill, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil…; Roma tomatoes with mozzarella cheese, balsamic vinaigrette, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and fresh basil…; and an amazing Chocolate-Almond Biscotti based off of the Chocolate-Hazelnut Biscotti found from Veganomicon. You can find that recipe here.

Enjoy and we hope to see you soon!

Food Movies

After we watched the wonderful Forks Over Knives last month, this list of food movies was shared with us. I am posting a partial list here and, if available the trailer. Some of these are not actual movies, but lectures and excerpts, if available, are posted.

Eating by Mike Anderson

Healing Cancer From the Inside Out

Should I Eat That? How to Chose the Healthiest Foods by Jeff Novick

Fast Food by Jeff Novick

Calorie Density: How to Eat More, Weigh Less and Live Longer by Jeff Novick

Lighten Up: Weighing In on the Weight Debate by Jeff Novick

Nuts and Health: What the Science Really Says by Jeff Novick

You may notice that there are quite a few movies/lectures from Jeff Novick. Well, who is he?? Turns out, he is a nutritionist and dietician of vast knowledge and experience. From his website: “He is Vice President of Health Promotion for Executive Health Exams International and lectures at the McDougall Program in Santa Rosa, California and at the Engine 2 Immersion program in Austin, TX.  He is also the Director of Nutrition for the Meals for Health community project which is helping empower low-income families to achieve optimal health.” I have listened to excerpts of his lectures and he come across and very knowledgeable, but with a laid back and humorous delivery. He is well worth listening to.

This list of recommended food movies/lectures is far from complete. Movies about food seem to be as popular now as ever. What are your favorite movies or documentaries about food? Have you listened to any amazing TED talks about food that influenced your diet? Share your recommendations in the comments section.

Recipes and Photos from March Gathering

Some of these pictures are not for the faint of heart.  I will be upfront with that. Chef C from delisheeeYo was at our March gathering teaching us how to make kombucha.  She brought a big jar of kombucha with the scoby mushroom intact and took us step by step through the process.  If you are a kombucha fan (I am), then you may be familiar with strands of the “mother” or scoby floating in your bottle. Nonetheless, the sight of a mature scoby pulled from a freshly brewed batch of kombucha can be a little disconcerting as these pictures show.

Unwrapping the kombucha

Initial reaction to the scoby.

Chef C makes delicious kombucha–not to strong, fresh and the flavor of this batch made with Yerba Mate was particularly enjoyable. Again, in the interest of full disclosure, making kombucha is easy, but there are a  number of steps involved.  Comprehensive directions for brewing kombucha can be found here. If you decide it is too many steps for you, it can be found in any health food store and some mainstream grocery stores.  If you are in the Lowcountry, Chef C sells it by the shot glass and in larger containers to take home.

Now, the food:  Yummy, Tasty, Delicious, Healthy…I have recipes or links to recipes for many of the dishes. If there is something you would like a recipe for and it is not posted or you need more information on a recipe, leave a message in the comments section and I will do my best to find it.

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I was too busy eating to take pictures of the wonderful Collard Green Chips that Barb made in the food dehydrator. There were also sweet and spicy Thai Peanut Butter Cups that were a big hit.  The recipe for Aloo Gobi can be found here. Also,  Kickin’ Chickpeas, The Best Lentil Salad Ever (really) and Louisa’s Cake.  

Hope to see you in April for Forks Over Knives.

April Gathering: Forks Over Knives

FORKS OVER KNIVES examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting animal-based and processed foods.

Hungry For Change

Hungry For Change is a documentary, in their words, about “creating lasting weight loss, abundant energy and vibrant health”  from the food choices that we make. You can watch the movie online for free until March 31, 2012.

Urban Roots and From Seed to Plate- Edible Inspiration in time for Spring

This is going to be a a quick friday morning post because I am inspired and I want to share that inspiration.  Here in the Southeast, spring is definitely in the air. My hands are itching to begin their first real attempt at growing food. If we really want to know where our food is coming from, control how it is grown and get it at its peak, then it is best to just grow it yourself.

There is a increasing trend of people in urban areas finding ways to grow large amounts of food in small spaces. Check out how Detroit is educating a community, inspiring kids and working toward sustainability.

Urban Roots Trailer from Tree Media on Vimeo.

In this video, an edible roof top garden.

Seed to Plate: A Garden Story from Riley Hooper on Vimeo.

The infamous Chipotle video: will it help get rid of gestation crates?

If you don’t know who Marion Nestle is, you should. To say she is a nutritionist is just the tip of the iceberg. She is a huge proponent of food safety and had been very influential in bringing food politics into the light. Her book “What to Eat” is a fascinating and illuminating read. Earlier, I posted the Chipotle video depicting a farmer’s change of heart as he transitions from a factory farm. Marion Nestle has some thoughts about the video and wrote about it on her blog. There are a lot of things I still don’t know (and probably don’t want to know) about factory farming. It is definitely worth reading.

The infamous Chipotle video: will it help get rid of gestation crates?.

Kitchen Failures: Adventures in Attempting Recipes from Well Known Blogs

Saturday was our Eating Without Meat of the Lowcountry’s monthly gathering.  As usual, the food was great and plentiful.  I made a Vegan Cheesecake with Chia Seeds that was well received. What most people don’t know, is that I actually made 2 dishes–one that made it to the gathering, and 1 that did not.

I love to cook- always have.  Whereas when I was a child and found most of my recipes in my mother’s cook books or Bon Appetit, now I find a lot of recipes on the internet. And there is no shortage of food blogs and recipe sites so a google search for a particular ingredient will yield thousands of results.

A few months ago, I came across a blog called Green Kitchen Stories.  I like the name, the recipes sound delicious and the photographs are beautiful. I decided to try making her Gluten Free Spinach and Carrot Muffins.  This was a Kitchen Failure.  I followed the recipe faithfully, but my muffins and her muffins do not appear to be related…maybe distant, distant cousins. Was it the recipe? My interpretation of the recipe? A difference in ingredients?…who knows.  If you want a good laugh, here are pictures of one of my muffins:

From the side...see how it didn’t rise?

From the top...

The inside....not exactly light and fluffy.

You’ve seen the beast, now go to her website and check out her beautiful muffins.

Now I cannot attest the the flavor or texture of her muffins, but mine needed salt. The onion and nutmeg flavors were pronounced, but worst of all was the texture! No matter how many “5 more minutes” I added, the texture retained a certain wetness.  They weren’t moist and springy the way you want a muffin to be.  Could that be because they were gluten free? I doubt it.

This is my question to you:  How many of you try recipes from food blogs.  How often do you leave comments about how good something looks?  Have you or would you leave a comment if your attempt did not turn out well?  What was your last “Kitchen Failure”? What do you think?