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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June Gathering with Farmbag of the Lowcountry

We were honored in June to have as our guests Erik Lyons and Steve Howard of Farmbag of the Lowcountry (aka Local Farmbag). Although there are several local farmer’s markets in the area, I found I was having difficulty making it to any of them. That is where Local Farmbag comes in. They deliver organic and/or locally sources fruits and vegetables right to your front door. You can also include into your bag “add ins” which could be anything from artisan breads and cheeses or free-range eggs. Every Sunday, Erik sends out an email with the contents of the bag for that week and recipes using the fresh produce. I must say, they easily accommodate substitutions.  Don’t like cantaloupe? No problem! They even let you choose want produce you want more of to compensate. So Erik and Steve came to our gathering, made a tasty fresh corn salad using, talked about Local Farmbag and answered lots of questions–boy, were there lots of questions! In addition to what they do, these guys know a lot about gardening.

Moving on to the food. Although the food was plentiful, as usual, I do not have a lot of the recipes. I just don’t. One the most talked about recipes was for a Coconut-Gingersnap Sweet Potato Pie. This was not the bland pie commonly found on Thanksgiving tables. This pie was bold, earthy and flavorful. Another dish bursting with flavor was the Plantain and Pinto Stew. In addition to plantains, which I loved, it had mix of tongue tingling smokiness from cumin and heat from jalapeños. Beets are abundant in the lowcountry this time of year. The sweetness of beets, was perfectly paired with a tangy mint vinaigrette and the saltiness of cheese in this Golden Beet Salad with Parsley Mint Vinaigrette. You will see from the pictures that red beets were substituted.

Enjoy the photos and the recipes! See you in July.

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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.

From Farm to Table: Farmboxes

We are in the season of gardening and farmer’s markets.  Here in the lowcountry, between Savannah, Beaufort, Hilton Head and Bluftton, there are a lot of farmer’s markets. Despite my best intentions, I know I don’t always make it to the farmer’s markets and vegetables from my garden?, well, it remains to be seen what nature will bring! For people like me, there is another option:  Farm Boxes.  I love the idea of these.  The produce is going to be what is in season and theoretically you will be getting it at it’s freshest. But I also love the surprise of getting this box of fresh fruit and veggies and having to creatively include it in meals. The challenge of figuring out what to do with something you may have bypassed in the grocery store or getting varieties that aren’t usually available. This also seems like a good way to increase the variety in your diet. There are 2 farms that I have recently seen advertising farm boxes.  I don’t have any experience with any of them, but if you do or if you have used farm boxes in the past, I would love to know your thoughts.

Earth to Table Farmbox Delivery:

Brought to you by Jason and Stacy Berry of Berry Farms. This farm, located outside Vidalia, GA has been certified organic since 2007. It offers farm box pickup or delivery locations in Savannah, Tybee, Hilton Head, Bluffton, Wilmington Island and more. The farm box comes in 3 sizes:  Small, Medium and Large. Add on’s such as locally caught fish, wild Georgia shrimp and artisan cheese are available. Some of the produce available this week included:

  • rainbow swiss chard
  • rainbow carrots
  • broccoli
  • strawberries

Heritage Organic Farm:

This 20 acre farm in Guyton, GA claims to be the first farm in GA to be certified organic. There farm boxes are designed by a nutrionist. Options include:

  • Family Box:  three types of fruits and vegetables
  • Petite Box: same variety, smaller amount
  • 80/20 Box:  8 different veggies, 2 different fruits
  • Custom

Special orders include:  extra fruits and veggies, certified organic egg, meat, cheese and coffee. Recipes and nutritional information are either emailed or included in the boxes.

There are pick-up locations for these boxes in Savannah, Okatie, Bluffton, Richmond Hill or from the farm.

If you know of any others, or have experience from using farm boxes, please share them here.

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.