Mid-Winter in Maine...

Currier & Ives: Winter in the Country

Well, not really mid-winter yet, but we are surely right in the thick of it, aren't we?? We're even on the upswing with daylight increasing well...daily, although its hard to tell! Don't get me wrong, this post is NOT going to be a downer about Winter in a state that is located on some of the furthest latitudes North in the lower 48 (or is it 49)?? We've had a rather lovely weekend and just wanted to share it and a recipe. I have no photos to prove any of what I am about to type so you must have blind faith that the food was good and the company even better. The weather co-operated too with a nice little snowfall, just at the right time, enough to make everything look like a Currier & Ives postcard...

Lets back up to Tuesday when I had a phone call from long-time GA friend who now lives in 2 locations: Georgia and Vermont (sound familiar?)  For a girl who never spent any time north of Savannah, GA until she married a yankee, Deb did alright for 17 years in Vermont then finally put her foot down and high-tailed it back to Georgia (on a part time basis) to warm her lil' okole (Hawaiian for patootie, Debbie also lived in Hawaii and plays a mean uke!).  'Living the dream' of retirement and freedom to do as she pleases within limits, she decided to take a road trip over the White Mountains to come to Appleton for  a visit. This was no easy task as it involved convincing her husband, renting a car (they have only one right now) and then making the trek without a GPS!! I was sitting on the other side of those mountains thinking this is never going to happen but as it turns out, the stars were all aligned and Debbie turned up at 3 pm on Wednesday! Rosie and I were so happy because David had been away for 2 weeks already and had another week to go before returning to the Ridge! I started a series of Food for Life Classes on January 12 but it was held off for a week due to weather so I was starting a new series on Jan. 19 and now I had an extra pair of hands (besides my usual lovely assistants from the Picker Family Resource Center).

We breezed through Wednesday evening and Thursday chatting and prepping for the class. The class is full (20 ppl) and everyone enjoyed the first session. This is the first series for which we have been able to offer SCHOLARSHIPS! Yes, we've received a nice donation from an anonymous source which will enable people to join who may not have taken the classes due to budget constraints, a wish come true for us in our efforts to reach-out to our community. :-)

Friday we had another snow storm which came & left early enough so I could keep an appointment with Patricia & James who are designing the Leafy Cafe Web site, so exciting! The website is one of the first steps in offering a Whole Foods, Plant Based Personal Meal Service and Cooking Class Parties! Patricia & James are both artists who also have very strong social media skills :-) and experience building websites. I dropped my friend in Belast while I was at the meeting then we both went to the Co-Op to shop for dinner. The Belfast Co-op has been in operation since 1976! Anyone remember their first co-op experience?? Mine was at Stockton State College in 1977, those 70s must have been the years of the co-op! I wonder if Stockton still has its co-op, anybody know? We have our first Birthday Party Cooking Class scheduled for February 4th, even without a website - Thanks to Colette!!

We returned home with zucchini, yellow squash, carrots and a few other organic goodies like Kale, onions & portabello mushrooms and proceeded to make one of the best veggie pasta meals ever served at The Leafy! My sister D came for dinner and the 3 of us laughed, reminisced and had a wonderful time. We had a delicious non-dairy chocolate mousse for dessert (recipe from the CSG) but I failed to take any photos, sorry! I did not think the weekend could have been topped except it just kept getting better. We took long walks any time weather permitted and a drive down to Pemaquid Point on Saturday. Debbie left on Sunday so I joined my sister for a noon-time spinning class at The PenBay YMCA . Ahhh, life is good!
Until Next Time,


Vegetable Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper Cream Sauce ~ Gluten Free, Dairy Free YUM!! trust me on this one!

Serves at least 6, especially if you serve it on a bed of sauteed Kale, Onions & Mushrooms!

Ingredients for the “Pasta”:
2 zucchini squash, shaved thinly lengthwise with a vegetable peeler
2 yellow summer squash, shaved thinly lengthwise with a vegetable peeler
2 long, fat carrots (or maybe 3 or 4 if they are skinny)
Your choice of chopped herbs

Ingredients for the Roasted Red Pepper Cream Sauce:
1 cup raw, unsalted cashews (cannot use any other) soaked in spring water for an hour.
2 roasted red peppers, peeled & seeded (make life easy and use the kind in a jar)
1½ c water or low-sodium veggie broth
Pinch of garlic & onion powders (or you can roast some fresh garlic & onion for a more intense flavored sauce.
Lemon juice to taste (about the juice of 1 lemon
Nutritional Yeast to taste (about 1 T.)

Method for “Pasta”:
1. Using a Spiralizer, Mandoline or vegetable peeler and knife, process all veggies into spaghetti-like shapes.
2. Set aside “noodles” until sauce is ready.
3. When sauce is finished, lightly steam the veggies in a large sauté pan with a small amount of water or in a microwave oven for a couple of minutes – do not overcook You want them to maintain their crunch!
4. Heck, you don't even have to cook these noodles, just serve them raw tossed with the sauce if you prefer!

Method for Roasted Red Pepper Cream Sauce:
1. Process all ingredients for the Red Pepper Sauce in a high-powered blender or food processor adding the water as needed until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasonings.
2. Place in a saucepan and warm through on very low heat as this burns very easily

How it all comes together:
1. Toss the lightly steamed veggie noodles with a small amount of the Roasted Red Pepper Cream Sauce. Many people believe this sauce to be dangerously high-fat however I find that with 1 cup of cashews I generally get at least 10 servings of sauce which is less than your daily 1 oz serve of nuts. Just be sure not to eat any other nuts on the day you have this sauce!
2. Garnish with chopped fresh herbs
3. We had this “pasta” on a bed of sautéed Kale, Onion and Mushrooms with the extra sauce on the side and it was as beautiful as it was delicious, wish I had taken a photo!!

RAW, Vegan, Gluten AND Sugar-free Carrot Cake-lets

 As you may have noticed I've been having some difficulty getting this post out there. I was trying to use my phone and/or the ipad which just was not working. It seems Blogger does not like Mac as much as it does Droid :-(
So, here it is, the post all 15 of  you have been waiting for!
Recently I did some consulting work for one of my gurus, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, plant-based Doc extraordinaire!! You can learn more about Dr. Fuhrman's amazing accomplishments here and I highly recommend joining the member center on  his site.
I was fortunate to meet Dr. Fuhrman after his lecture in Damariscotta, ME while he was signing books. I let him know what a big fan I am, love his books, etc. and mentioned that I would be interested in working for him if he could find a place for me on his team. Well, I never expected to hear from him but I did! After the usual resume and recipe submission I began to work on a project as a part of Fuhrman's team!! Can you hear me screaming with excitement?? My job was to assist in re-writing a menu for an existing restaurant in order for it to become a Nutritarian restaurant. Nutritarian is the term Dr. Fuhrman coined to describe his dietary style. The work involved creating a spreadsheet of the menu and supporting it with recipes. Many of the recipes on the menu were from Dr. Fuhrman's extensive collection but I was also allowed to include a few of my own. I spent many hours working on the revised menu in exchange for an Omega Juicer/Nutrition Center. You can read about the juicer here.

Juice tastes great in a family heirloom glass!
C having fun making juice from backyard tangerines!

Carrot Pulp :-(
Well, one, no TWO of the things I quickly learned about juicing in the Omega vs the Vita-mix (my first love) is the tremendous amount of material it takes to make a glass of juice and the unbelievable amount of pulp you have left-over for which you then have to find a use (besides the compost bin).
My leftover carrot pulp was fast filling up our freezer so I was putting it into practically everything we cooked over the holidaze from soups and stews to smoothies, breads and muffins when finally I had a lightbulb moment.
Hubby-made image

I know from my minimal exposure to Raw cuisine that many raw foodists use the leftover pulp for crackers, breads and other things but I was not sure about what those other things might be or how ones goes about it.  I was just about to whip up yet another batch of carrot  bran muffins or maybe even a carrot cake when I came up with the idea (and I'm not the first) to make a Raw Carrot Cakelettes aka muffins, aka cupcakes. Call them what you want, these small cakes pack a powerhouse of nutrition! They are so filling I had to scale down the size from regular muffin tin to tiny bites. In order to really get these to hold together and be officially RAW I used nuts galore so they are not low fat but if you only have one (hard to do at the smaller size but eating one is plenty at the regular muffin or ramekin size) you will remain under the radar from the food police when it comes to calories from fat and if you are a Fuhrman follower, you are allowed a little more fat sourced from healthy raw nuts anyway! So, here, finally, the recipe and the photos in one blog post!

RAW Vegan Carrot Cake-lettes

NOTE: as always, when preparing food which will be consumed raw, extra care for cleanliness must be taken.
makes 1 doz.
for the tiny cakes:
4 cups dry carrot pulp (you could probably use carrots grated in a food processor but you must dry it someway)
2 cups raw, unsalted walnuts
2 cups pitted medjool dates
1 1/2 cups raisins
2 t. pumpkin pie spice (or a mixture of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg & cloves)

for the icing:
soak the following in filtered or distilled water for about an hour:
2 cups raw, unsalted cashews
1 cup pitted medjool dates
1 T. fresh squeezed lemon juice
some pumpkin pie spice to taste
lemon zest

I have done this a couple of different ways but by far the best way is in the Food Processor. We do not have a full size food processor so I've also tried putting it all through the Omega Juicer separately then mixing by hand which worked fine too.
for the cakes:
1. Chop the walnuts in food processor with the dates until well blended.
2. Add the carrot pulp or dry, grated carrots and pulse until blended.
3. Add spice and raisins and pulse a bit more or blend mixture by hand.
4. Press mixture into prepared muffin tins, ramekins or silicone cupcake forms.
5. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours while preparing frosting.
for the frosting:
1. Puree soaked dates and cashews in the food processor or put through the Omega adding and mixing in water and lemon juice to desired consistency.
2. Add lemon zest and pumpkin pie spice to taste.
3. Remove cakes from fridge and take out of molds or tins.
4. Spoon or pipe mixture onto cakes.
5. Garnish with lemon zest or additional carrot pulp OR a dusting of pumpkin pie spice.

I'm testing their freezing capabilities right now :-) I've also added some raw coconut to the mix and for those of you really not concerned about fat, a bit o'coconut butter or raw coconut oil somewhere in the mix would be yummy!

the "batter"
I love those spirals!
in the tins and ready to go into the fridge

Thanks Dr. Fuhrman!