Happy Birthday to ME!

The Universe works in strange and wonderful ways! A few weeks ago I discovered I share the same birthday with Lindsay Nixon aka The Happy Herbivore. I offered to send her one of our JUST EAT
PLANTS tee shirts as a gift.

Lindsay preferred to accept the shirt for a "giveaway" on her blog, (she is soo generous). This was a fabulous boost for me and the tees! If you read my blog regularly, or if you read the HH post, you know we designed this slogan and t shirts as a means to generate money we could give to some worthy causes. We had no money of our own to give so the JUST EAT PLANTS product line was going to be the ticket! It has not been the money raising endeavor we had hoped, until maybe now!! Since the giveaway, JEP tees and other items have started to sell from our  Cafe Press store. As both David and I are challenged when it comes to navigating Cafe Press, we have a limited selection hence the grey tee you see me wearing in the photo above AND on the HH blog post are only available by emailing me directly. Also keep in mind, when you purchase a t shirt or other item through Cafe Press only a very little moola goes to the charity, most of the money you spend goes to Cafe Press. When you purchase from me, all of the profits go to the charities; WILDAID, GORILLA DOCTORS and PCRM. I split it up 3 ways at the end of the year. Thus far, it has not amounted to much money, but I see all of this changing! You can read more about this process here, here and here. We are happy and full of gratitude to Lindsay and her staff and to Mary and the Shirttales gang for printing our shirts.

Yippee! Silly, Happy David and MiMi
On another plane, the universe was conspiring to give back to me! As many of you Food for Lifers know, Hannaford Supermarkets has supported the FFL classes here in midcoast Maine for the last 2 years. This really helps keep the class costs down and makes the classes more affordable. Our last series, which ended in August, was the last supported by Hannaford. My contact and advocate no longer worked for the company. There were remodels going on at many of the local stores making it more difficult to find the "healthy" options in the store. I inquired about renewed funding with one of the new store managers and was basically turned down. Well, with another series starting on Oct. 2, and participation low this time, I decided to take a deep breath and inquire with Hannaford Corporate. I pulled out the old email trail which Mark, my former contact had printed out the last time he gave me the donation. These were printouts of emails which I had not been cc'd on during the donation negotiation. I was never sure if Mark meant to give them to me but I kept them anyway. They were filed in last years filing box. I looked on the email thread for an address to the person who actually granted the donation. It was the Community Relations Coordinator, Lori Hamilton. I wrote an email to her on Sunday and  yesterday she returned my email with the news she was sending us gift cards to cover food costs for the 2014 classes! This was the best birthday present ever! With this type of  synchronicity, I know teaching the Food for Life classes and encouraging a JUST EAT PLANTS diet is the right thing for me to do!!! Thank you Hannaford Supermarkets and SPECIAL THANKS to Lori Hamilton and Mark Castonguay!! Universe... keep it coming! :-)

Hannaford even featured a VEGAN FEAST in their Spring Fresh Magazine!!

Here's to the Best Birthday ever for all September 24 babies everywhere, every year!

Cecina, Socca, Pakoras Farinata, Pizza, Omelette!

You can make the tastiest things from versatile Garbanzo Bean aka Chickpea aka Besan aka Gram flour. This morning we made an "omelette" filled with tons of veggies from our garden.
Omelette style

Crepe style

Delicious Mediterranean Flatbreads; socca, cecina and farinata are all a variation of an unleavened pizza or crepe-like staple you will find anywhere from Genoa to Nice to Pisa, all made from ground ci-ci beans (garbanzos). It is quick, easy, and HEALTHY!

Chickpea flour is used in the cuisine of many countries, even as far east as India where they make delicious (but not so healthy) Pakoras. Here is a link to a healthier version of this tasty Indian treat.

I've posted this simple recipe for a pizza we make in the Leafy Cafe Cooking School classes. I was sure I had posted the recipe before but  always get requests whenever I post a photo. Today I looked for the Leafy post featuring this particular recipe and could not find it so here goes!

Last Spring, I was a guest on Melissa Lee's blog, The Permanent Tourist, where Melissa and I share her kitchen and made Socca along with a few other delicious vegan recipes. Here is a link to that post with photos and recipes. Here is another. Keep in mind the recipes I shared with Melissa are not the low-fat version and we were a little more free with the cashews, coconut milk and olive oil (but they are still vegan :-).
Socca, Farinata, Pizza style flatbread

The Socca Batter can be used as a crepe, flatbread, omelette, etc. Just skip the olives and flavor it however you like. Thin the batter with more water to the desired consistency. Thinner for crepes, thicker for flatbreads/pizzas. Top the batter and finish in the oven for the pizza variety. Slide the cooked crepe or omelette onto a plate and fill with your choice of sauteed veggies/fillings then fold over like an egg omelette.

Socca Pizza

Mediterranean “street” food at its best!
1 c. Chickpea (Garbanzo Bean) Flour
½ t. salt
¼ t. fresh black pepper
2 t. fresh rosemary or basil, chopped
1 ¼ c. water
3 T. Olive Oil, divided (optional)
¼ c. red onion, minced
¼ c. kalamata olives, pitted
Your choice of toppings: arugula, artichokes, mushrooms, tomatoes, etc. Just be sure it is not too wet! Try a yummy, garlicky white bean puree. Just mix a drained can of cannellini beans in food processor or blender with lemon juice, garlic, salt, and some chopped fresh herbs of your choice.
  1. Mix flour, salt & pepper and herbs in a bowl with 2T of oil and water.
  2. Cover and let set at room temp for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 425.
  3. Stir in onion and olives.
  4. Heat remaining oil in a cast iron skillet over high heat. Pour batter into skillet and cook for 1 – 2 minutes or until edges are lightly browning.
  5. Add toppings and transfer to oven. Bake for about 12 – 15 minutes on convection, a bit longer if not convection. Serve and Enjoy!