Wine and Cheese

Herbed Chevre

Smoky Cheddar

Sure there are all sorts of vegetable substitutes for this staple food which vegans admonish from their diets. Sometimes it is the last animal product we let go of, maybe because it is so good, perhaps because it is truly addictive! What am I talking about here people?? Yes, CHEESE! (and dairy products too). The congealed secretions of bovine and other mammary glands, ICK! How did humans ever become so creative with food that we came up with cheeses? When we finally give up cheese and other dairy products, for good, many plant-based eaters go immediately in search of some fake food substitute. I was bound and determined not to go there for several years until the launch of DAIYA brand cheese substitutes. My curiosity took hold of me and I tried them. Now I admit to using these products occasionally and sparingly and this is how I recommend they be used. They are not an everyday food and certainly NOT healthy, nutritious foods. Much like animal cheeses, I have often looked at the ingredients in vegan cheeses and wondered how these products are made. I had made simple cheeses in the past from cow or goat milks but never even dreamed to attempt non-dairy cheese making with the exception of the tofu ricotta, a nacho or mac and cheese sauce made from squashes or my much-loved parma-non, a combo of nuts, nooch, & lemon zest.
Not until Miyoko Schinner's new book came into my hands. This book fascinated me and I immediately went to work recreating her recipes and sharing the product with anyone who would dare to try them.

Miyoko's Book, a must have!

The basic recipe uses cashews as the protein and in a similar technique to traditional cheese making, the protein (in this case nut or soy protein) is inoculated with a pro-biotic in the form of Rejuvelac (a liquid formed by sprouting grains). After you have made the rejuvelac and the basic cashew recipe, Miyoko gives you options for several cheeses. Because many home cooks would choose never to go down this road on their own or without guidance, and because most of us would never be able to attend one of Miyoko's classes, I decided to offer a Vegan Cheez-making class right here in Southeast Georgia. The class attracted people who are vegan and non-vegan as people avoid dairy for many different reasons these days. One attendee was there just because she loves food and was curious!
I started the cheez-making process ahead of time and had different stages of all ingredients for the attendees to play around with in class as well as take home. We had a great time!
having fun making cheezes!

Wines from Vegan Sommelier, veggie-go's & J.K. Adams Wine & Dine boards

While planning the class, I was looking through VegNews magazine and noticed the ad for Vegan Sommelier. Immediately the thought crossed my mind to have some vegan wines to taste along with the cheezes! I contacted John and Gina Trippi the compassionate owners of Vegan Sommelier who were kind enough to coach me through the wine selection process and tell me the truth about wine-making which regularly uses animal proteins such as fish guts and shrimp shells in the wine-making process, YUK!! The class attendees LOVED all of the wines! "Very Impressed" were the exact words from at least one cheez-maker. Thanks John & Gina! The wines are fabulous and will be featured at our holiday table from now through the New Year! These wines are small batch from independent growers and I highly recommend them! Most wines at VS are $20 or under and there are great tasting notes on the website to help with your selection. John & Gina are available by email too. In fact, there is a recipe of my own Smoky cheeze ball on their facebook page which you can find HERE. (remember to LIKE the page!!)

Ahhhhh, what a great day it was, and all of us were able to serve some delicious vegan cheezes at our Thanksgiving feasts, if they lasted that long! We sampled Veggie-Go's by the Naked Edge and each participant went home with a J.K. Adams Wine & Dine cheese board too. I can't wait to hold this class again and make more Cheez!!

Sláinte! (slawn-cha), Gaelic for Health!

North Florida VegFest and Health B-4 the Holidays!

 WOW, what a week it has been. I arrived back into Brunswick just in time to exhibit at two really awesome events; The North Florida VegFest  put on by the Girls Gone Green, down in Jacksonville and a smaller, more local event in Brunswick -  Health B-4 the Holidays which was the brainchild of Kel & Erin Quarterman from Gold Coast Nutrition.

Here are some photos to help catch you up with were we are these days. Vegfest was all day on Saturday, November 3 and one week later, Health B-4 the Holidays was Saturday, November 10.

My Booth at North Florida VegFest, notice the new 'burnout' Elephant tees. 

The event planners included a scavenger hunt, run using text messages and we gave some prizes away. One of the winners, Maria Begonia, won a JUST EAT PLANTS t-shirt and a book about making baby. It was really serendipitous for Maria to win that particular book because she and her husband of 10 years have just decided to start a family :-)

Scavenger Hunt Winner; Maria Begonia won a Book & T!
I was accompanied by my great & dedicated friend, Nurse Good-body herself - Karen Ansel. Karen works nights at our local hospital, delivering and looking after babies, especially the sick ones. Karen had to get up at 6 AM (an ungodly hour for a vampire) to drive me and all of my boxes down to Jacksonville. Some other friends including Mark Farver and Carin Berolzheimer made the trek down to Jville to check out the Festival, thanks guys! One of the food vendors was Shakti Life Kitchen. Check them out HERE.

Great Food and great t-shirts!
 The organizers, Girls Gone Green, did a fantastic job. Everything was easy to navigate and there were plenty of cool offerings. Here is a photo of a couple of the many fun mascots which were roaming around the festival grounds all day. There was a very impressive KIDS corner too with more than just face painting!

The Loving Hut is a rep of one of the fastest growing chain of Vegan Restaurants. I had no idea there was such a thing! This is what staying in rural Maine does to a gal. Check out their site here.
Another great Food Vendor

Health B-4 the Holidays! Here I am manning my booth. Kel and Erin Quaterman are a dyn-o-mite husband/wife team who own a cool shop where you can meet all of your supplement and shelf-stable nutritional needs right in downtown Brunswick! They are really concerned about people and so they put together the health fair event. The radio station Magic 105.9 was present doing a remote and I was honored to be on-air with Mark Douglas!

Kel and Erin Quarterman

Booth at Health B-4 the Holidays!
 I could not have pulled it off without the help of another dear friend, Catherine Fleming, Thanks Kitty!! Catherine helped me schlep everything over to the space, get set up, and took these photos. We made Green smoothies and YONANAS along with sharing samples of Trail Mix Bars and Smoky Cheddar (recipes below)! People really like both but the YONANAS was really a hit. I think many were going right over to Target or Bed Bath and Beyond to get one of these great little cuties for themselves. In fact Mark Douglas and his fiancee have registered at Bed Bath & Beyond and they have included the YONANA on their wedding list of "must-haves".

Making Yonanas with one little fella waiting patiently for more!
It was a very busy week and now I must vamp up for the Holiday Entertaining Cooking Class this Wednesday, November 14th! Thanksgiving is just around the corner!

Smokey Nut-Cheddar Ball

MiMi McGee – Leafy Café


½ cup blanched, slivered almonds
½ cup dry roasted, unsalted cashews
4.5 oz, or 1/3 of 14oz. block firm tofu, very dry (pressed with a Tofu Press works Great!)
¼ cup Nooch (Nutritional Yeast)
½ t seasoned salt such as Herbimare
1 t sugar or Succanat
1 t fresh squeezed lemon juice
¼ t liquid smoke
½ t smoked paprika
½ t Hungarian paprika
1 t Vegan Butter such as Earth Balance
1 t EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
1 t mustard
1 t garlic
1 t grated onion
¼ c sliced almonds

1.      Place almonds and cashews into a food processor until ground up for about 2 minutes or until it starts to form a paste.
2.      Using 1/3 of a block of tofu from a 14oz block, (it's important to use firm tofu) drain & press tofu. If you do not own a Tofu Press, use a strainer by smashing and pressing firmly. Using a clean dish towel to soak up some of the water helps too. It's important to get as much water as you can out.
3.      Now add the tofu to the almond and cashew nut paste that's already in the food processor along with the nutritional yeast flakes, seasoned salt, sugar, lemon juice, liquid smoke, paprika, vegan butter, olive oil, mustard, garlic powder, onion and blend about 2 minutes.
4.      Spray a bowl and a square of plastic wrap with no stick spray or rub with EVOO. Pile mixture into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place in fridge and chill for at least 5 hours or overnight. It will get firm and can now be shaped into a ball and rolled in sliced almonds and paprika. 

 Shrek Smoothie

MiMi McGee – Leafy Café
Serves 2 for meal replacement or 4 for snack
2 c. Frozen Spinach
2 T. Apple Juice Concentrate
8 oz. Crushed Pineapple
½ Frozen Banana or ½ avocado for creaminess
2 c. Almond or other Non-dairy milk
Optional (for protein and Omega boosts): Hemp, Chia and/or Flax Seed; Almond butter, cooked Quinoa
Blend all together in a high speed blender until smooth. Add more water, ice or non-dairy milk as needed. Feel free to add a couple of pitted dates for extra sweetness or some of the other protein boosting 

Mary's Good News!

I'd like to share some recent emails from Food for Life Alumnae, Mary Brand. A while back we featured Mary and her husband who own the printing company where our JUST EAT PLANTS shirts are printed! Mary attended my first ever FFL Cancer Project class on St. Simons at the Island Natural Market on Dec. 1 2011. She then followed up with the entire series later in 2012. Now, Mary has some very GOOD NEWS!

Mary holding up one of the first tees, hot off the press!

Both emails are from Oct. 2012 while I was prepping supplies for the VegFest in Jacksonville, including the newly designed Elephant JUST EAT PLANTS tshirts.

Hi MiMi

Got CA 125 blood test results today and I am at 26.8 now!  That's in the acceptable range of 0-34.  I am very happy!  It has gone down from 91 in January!

I have a question for a friend, is your Holiday Cooking Class gluten free?



and then this: 


Hey!  Wow, you were so smart to leave the north when you did!  Hope the storm didn't mess with you on the trip down here.

Both of your orders are ready to pick up at your convenience.  I won't be out there for a while due to end of month work that I have to do.  But I am looking forward to seeing you at class! 

I never answered your last email . . . Thanks for the congrats!  You can use my story and I will share in any way you need, I can guest blog if you tell me how to go about it.  I feel like bricks have been lifted off of me!!!  I have been telling everyone about the benefits of a vegan diet.  That's two major turnarounds for me, both proven with blood test results.  The first was stage one kidney disease completely reversed to the good, and now this CA 125 cancer test.  Without having the recommended hysterectomy and following pathology, there is no way to tell if I actually had cancer or just many false positives.  Some people told me not to wait, get the surgery right away.  I am so glad I waited and thankful that it worked out this way.  I credit the vegan diet and Dr. Cabeca's supplements to the good test results. Thank you for your influences to keep me on this healthy path.


I hear of these types of results in classes from other alumni of the Food for Life Program. I am so fortunate to present this valuable information in our communities!

GO Mary!! Wooo HOOOO!

The October McDougall Newsletter

I was unsure about where to begin this post. So much has happened this week and thoughts of blog have been absent, I admit. However, when I saw Dr. John McDougall's October Newsletter, I had write something in hopes it might fall upon eyes which would otherwise not read it.
I have re-located to my beloved coastal Georgia just in time to escape Hurricane or Post Tropical Cyclone SANDY, leaving Maine on Sunday and flying directly over the monster storm. My family, most of whom reside on the New Jersey shore, some in NYC and a few more in the storm's westerly path, did not have it so easy. Everyone is accounted for and homes are still standing but the days and weeks to come will have them processing what has really happened around them, in their towns and to their closest friends and I send them much love and pray they have the strength that is required (I'm sure they do). God Bless you brothers and sisters, cousins and neighbors and friends.

I just received the latest McDougall Newsletter. I look forward to Dr. McD's monthly rants, informative articles and awesome recipes from Mary or guest chefs. This month, John pays homage to George McGovern who passed away on Oct. 21. I vaguely remember when Sen. McGovern ran for president against Richard Nixon in 1972, we know what happened in that election. But, what I did not know, and what Dr. McD writes about in his latest newsletter is Senator McGovern's concern for public health and the food we eat or rather, should eat. McGovern was re-elected to the senate 1974 and during his years as a senator, from 1968 - 1980 he was involved in many issues related to agriculture, nutrition, and hunger. Here is an excerpt from the 1977 Dietary Goals for the United States. You can read more from the report as well as Dr. McD's comments HERE


Excerpts From The First Edition Of
"The Dietary Goals For The United States"
Dr. C. Samuel West's Statements Regarding The Three Page Forward Of Second Edition
Senator Percy's Three Page Forward To The Second Edition Of The Dietary Goals

Printed for the use of the Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs
As a nation we have come to believe that medicine and medical technology can solve our major health problems. The role of such important factors as diet in cancer and heart disease has long been obscured by the emphasis on the conquest of these diseases through the miracles of modern medicine. Treatment not prevention, has been the order of the day.
The problems can never be solved merely by more and more medical care. The health of individuals and the health of the population is determined by a variety of biological (host), behavioral, sociocultural and environmental factors. None of these is more important than the food we eat. This simple fact and the importance of diet in health and disease is clearly recognized in Dietary Goals for the United States.

I was floored by reading this. That was 1977! It reminds me of how close we were to addressing & resolving so many issues at hand in 1977 which we still have unresolved, even mushroomed out of control TODAY! In 1977, I went off to college hoping to be a part of a country changing for the better. The Environmental movement was in full swing. I held that flag and waved it high choosing Environmental Science as my major. I thought we could change the world for the better; recycling, growing our own food, eating closer to home and reducing consumption, those were our mantras. Get outdoors and enjoy nature, protect and preserve the Mother, reduce the use of petroleum! WHAT HAPPENED?? 
Please read Dr. McDougall's newsletter to learn more. 

Sláinte is a word literally translating as "health"

I hope this Irish pub located on Bowery and Bleeker was able to weather  SANDY!