WATERMELON LIME COOLER: Refreshing Summer Drink

Here is an outtake recipe video! Read: “Web Exclusive”, AKA We didn’t have enough time to include it in the edit of the next episode, so you get this little internet video!

In Episode 4, you’ll see me sharing this drink with the special guest, so here’s what we’re drinking!

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  • 1 small banana (or 1/2 of a really large banana)
  • 3 cups watermelon, cut into chunks (no seeds)
  • 1/8th lime wedge
  • 1 cup ice
  • 1/2 cup water

Put everything in a blender and… blend! (If you have a high-speed blender and organic limes, you can keep the rind on the lime. Otherwise, just remove the rind.)

Pour into some lovely glasses and garnish with extra lime! Share with a crafty friend. Or drink it all yourself while watching Say Yes to the Dress marathons (oopsies).

Watermelon Lime Cooler/Smoothie/Drink/Yum!

EPISODE 4 WILL AIR THIS SUNDAY, August 5th, on RCN Channel 4 at 9:30pm. It will be posted online next week!

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Ginger Maple Miso Fairytale Eggplant

Once upon a time…

We were shooting the “on location” segment for Episode 4, and I was delighted to find these gorgeous and quirky eggplants at the market from Apple Ridge Farm. These are “fairytale eggplants”, a perfect name for their whimsical color and tiny size.

If Jackson Pollock got a hold of some eggplants then put them in the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids machine, they would turn into these guys.

Fairytale Eggplant, Apple Ridge Farms, PA.

I left them on the table in a bowl for a few days because they are just so pretty! Finally, I made a simple ginger miso marinade and roasted them in the oven. This is a very easy dish with no added oil (expect to spray the pan), and the eggplants become so creamy. Their skin is very tender and doesn’t need to be removed.

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  • about 15-20 fairytale eggplants (or 2-3 purple large eggplant cut like pickle spears)
  • 1 Tbsp white miso paste
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2-inch chunk ginger, grated
  • 1 large clove garlic, grated

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Remove the stems from the tops of the eggplant, then slice in half vertically.  Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray, and place the eggplant on the sheet, cut side up.

In a small bowl, add the miso and the hot water. (Make sure water is hot, it helps dissolve the miso paste.) Whisk until miso is dissolved. Add remaining ingredients and whisk together.

Miso marinated roasted eggplant.

Brush marinade on eggplant until all is used up. Put eggplant in the oven for 25 minutes, or until it becomes very soft and creamy.

You can garnish with a little cilantro and sesame meeds, or crushed peanuts!

Miso Maple Ginger Fairytale Eggplant, roasted.

Maple Miso Ginger Fairytale Eggplant, roasted.

This makes a great, low-fat side dish or serve it as a main course along with a big green salad. The flavors lend themselves well to accompany Asian influenced dishes.

These would also be excellent on the grill!

COAL TOWN: My (vegan) Visit to Scranton, PA: The Fanciful Fox, GreenBeing, and Eden Vegan Cafe

One perk of having a comic for a boyfriend is that he sometimes gets free rooms when he performs out of town – and if I arrange it correctly, I get to go too! I grew up in Wilkes-Barre, PA (Kingston, specifically) which is just a stone’s throw away from Scranton.

Chick’s Diner, Scranton PA

Scranton “The Electric City” is undergoing the same young, creative revitalization that I love about my current home in the Lehigh Valley. Small businesses, music and DIY efforts have continued to pop up all over the city in the past several years.

Beautiful old sign downtown.

But there’s a bonus for vegan-folks: there is a stretch of Adams Ave., downtown, that is a tiny vegan mecca. A record store, next to an all-vegan cafe, next to a tattoo shop with vegan ink, next to a boutique that sells fair-trade items and handmade vegan bath and body products. Who would have thought!? Scranton! Giving Portland a run for it’s money!

We got into town just in time to grab some dinner at Eden – A Vegan Cafe. After running into a friend from Bethlehem (small world, eh?) I took my indecisive brain to the menu board to choose something for dinner. It is such a luxurious novelty to be able to order anything on a menu, as is. I went with a pizza with black olives, spinach and chicken and Ryan got an “Elvis burger” with housemade burger patty, tempeh bacon and cheddar cheese. I don’t know if we stopped to breathe or even chew.

Eden – A Vegan Cafe in Scranton, PA

We went back for lunch the next day and Ryan got a chicken + steak cheesesteak and I had an Italian hoagie. An Italian hoagie! So simple, yet so nostalgic. I remember my elementary school used to do “hoagie sales” (oh, Wilkes-Barre, I love you and your quirks) and it was always the best lunch for a bunch of hungry third graders.  Eating lunch that day was a quiet little moment of connecting to my childhood, through food (a hoagie no less!) near my hometown.

Bonus: The employees and owners are the sweetest potatoes! Incredibly kind and friendly, they help to make the atmosphere welcoming and upbeat.  Ryan hasn’t stopped talking about it, and I can’t wait to go back… Or convince them to open a location in the Lehigh Valley (pretty please with Vegenaise on top!?).

After spending the next morning having lunch with my (super-awesome) Mom, we went back to swim at the hotel, spent a little time flopped across the huge bed reading, and then went back to town.

GreenBeing is a beautiful shop that sells vintage + handmade items. Repurposed accessories, a great selections of men’s and women’s vintage clothes, art, housewares and jewelry can be found here, in addition to some absolutely awesome classes you can take through the shop if you’re a local – anything from screenprinting to bookbinding.

GreenBeing in Scranton, PA

Next door, I got to see a dear friend Amanda, who is co-owner of The Fanciful Fox (along with her sweetheart Mom, Kathie). I met these two at Vegetarian Summerfest 2011 and instantly fell in love with them. Their presence alone is calming yet energizing, and I can honestly say they are two of the kindest, nicest people I’ve ever met.

The Fanciful Fox in Scranton, PA

The Fanciful Fox carries only fair trade and vegan items: gorgeous purses, modern necklaces, coffees and teas, but the real bounty is found in the bath and body products Amanda and Kathie make in-house. Bath fizzies, lotions, candles, linen sprays, bar soaps, shampoo and conditioner… they have a little empire of ethical goodies.

Amanda, Trixie (tiny dog!) and me outside The Fanciful Fox.

… and if you can’t make it Scranton, you can still order from their shop online.

Saturday evening I was contacted by Lisa, a Save the Kales! supporter who has been so incredibly encouraging since we found each other over the last year. Sometimes, out of the blue, just when I’d need it most, I’d get a sweet email from her which would rejuvenate me and get my swirling brain back on track.

Lisa and me. Twins!?

Hercules, the manatee-dog. I think I left a piece of my heart with him.

We hadn’t met in person yet, so I was beyond happy to go to her house and meet her! There, we sat for hours at her table with her husband and all of their wonderful dogs and cats, laughing, talking about ideas for the future, sharing stories, eating nutritional-yeast covered popcorn, plums, and imbibing in homemade wine.  It was a truly lovely evening and I do feel as though I’d known them forever. (Thank you, both.)

I am so full of gratitude for a wonderful weekend reconnecting with friends, family, familiar city streets and new joyful discoveries. If you’re ever in Scranton, I hope you’ll stop by Adams Ave. and say hello to these wonderful people bettering their community and the world through compassion. 

Take-home goodies:

  • Autumn whipped body butter (it smells like October!), and men’s facial serum and beard oil, from The Fanciful Fox
  • Color-blocked bamboo mixing utensils made by The Kitschy Kitchen, from GreenBeing
  • Full bellies from Eden Cafe (not pictured)

Find these places on Facebook: The Fanciful Fox / Greenbeing / Eden – A Vegan Cafe

“The World Laughs in Flowers”

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Summer bouquet, Apple Ridge Farms. Bethlehem, PA farmers market.

At night, I try to sleep but can’t. My mind is racing with possibilities, playing out scenarios, sometimes I wake myself up talking as though someone would give a reply. There is so much to do and fully realizing how much we can do makes sleep, though necessary and desired, fade away into groggy 4am stumbles through the kitchen, scribbling notes on scrap paper and telling myself “remember this idea tomorrow, remember this idea tomorrow”.

And all the while, the world really does laugh in flowers.

EPISODE 3: Vegetarian Summerfest, Graphic Design, Sandwiches and Raw Pie

I hope you enjoy Episode 3 of Save the Kales!

Just a heads up! These sandwiches have a lot of components – you can make most of them the day before, then simply assemble and broil when you are ready to eat. Once you know how to make the different elements, you can use them in other recipes, of course.

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In this episode, view the “kale cam” video diary from my attendance at Vegetarian Summerfest 2012, including clips from some of the most inspirational authors, speakers, and activists in the plant-based movement.

Back at the kitchen, we make one heck of a sandwich: tempeh bacon, caramelized onion, roasted pears and a walnut-carrot spread topped with melted vegan cheese and broiled to a gooey perfection. Follow up this sweet and savory dish with a healthy, ripe raw berry pie using three kinds of fresh berries and an almond-coconut crust.

Finally, meet Save the Kales! graphic designer (among other things!) Christian Weber as he shows off the Bethlehem Vegfest 2012 posters.

Note: I will be posting longer clips from some of the talks/speakers very soon, as well as a full Summerfest wrap-up. Stay tuned!

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Tempeh Bacon

  • 1 block tempeh
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp tamari (or soy sauce or Bragg’s)
  • 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
Cut tempeh into very thin strips (use the whole block). Put the strips in a container with a lid. Use remaining ingredients to mix marinade in a bowl, then pour over tempeh. Put the lid on the container and led it marinate in the fridge, turning the container every few hours or overnight. When you are ready to make tempeh bacon, spray some cooking spray in a pan and add the bacon so it’s not overlapping (may not be able to do it all at once) so the bottom will brown and crisp, then flip over so the other side side gets brown.
Carrot Walnut + Cinnamon Spread
  •  1/2 cup carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar

Put carrots in the oven at 350 until they are soft, about 25 mins. Set aside to cool. Add all ingredients to a food processor, stopping to scrape down the sides, and blend until a thick spread is made. (Add a little water if you need to move things along in the processor.)

Caramelized Onions

  • large white onion (you can use red!)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • dash of salt

Cut onion in half, then thinly slice into half-moons. Toss in a pan with olive oil. Put on the stove on a high heat until just starting to brown, then bring the heat low. (You want them to brown, not burn.) Stir in the pan every few minutes to slowly caramelize. Add the salt at 10 minutes of cooking. At about 30-40 minutes, a minute before you take the onions off the stove,  add the brown sugar to help caramelize and flavor onions. Take onions off the stove and set aside.

Browned Pears

  • 1 bosc pear, thinly sliced (remove seeds)
  • 1 tsp vegan butter

Put pears with butter on the stove on a medium heat until pears start to brown and get soft.

… FINISHING THE SANDWICH

  • nice bakery rolls (no eggs/milk!), sliced in half
  • Daiya mozzarella piled high on top of everything else!

Turn on the broiler. Put the bottoms of the rolls on a sheet pan and start building the sandwiches using all of the above components, topping with vegan shredded cheese. Put a nice smear of the sandwich spread on the top half of the rolls, and put those on the pan.  Put in the broiler for 3-4 minutes until cheese gets melty. Don’t burn the bread!

Tempeh bacon, caramelized onion and pear sandwich.

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CRUST
  • 2 cups soaked raw almonds (almonds soaked in water overnight)
  • 1 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
Add everything to a food processor and blend until crumbly and sticky. (You can use a little spray oil on your pie pan to help cut the slices out easier.) Push the crust into the pan, working it against the sides and bottom evenly.
FILLING
  • 2 cups berries of choice (mixed, all one kind, whatever! I used blueberries, blackberries and raspberries)
  • 1 cup frozen peaches
  • 1 Tbsp. agave or maple syrup
Put about 1 cup of berries aside so you can use them to top the pie! (Or omit this step.) Put the rest of the ingredients in the food processor and process until smooth. Pour into the pie crust, and put into the fridge for a minimum of two hours (a few more is better). This will allow the berries to naturally gel together.
When you are ready to eat, toss the saved berries in a bowl with 1 tsp liquid sweetner and 1 tsp water to make a simple glaze to make them shiny, then top the pie with them before serving!

Raw triple berry pie with coconut almond crust.

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Bethlehem Vegfest will be held on Sept. 8th, 2012 from 11am-6pm on Bethlehem’s southside greenway! This is a FREE event with cooking demos, food, speakers, animal adoption groups, live music, a kid’s corner, vendors, and so much more.
Last year was the first event with over 10,000 (ten thousand!) attendees.  Stay updated by following the FACEBOOK PAGE and I’ll be sure to give more updates as it gets closer.

Bethlehem Vegfest 2012 poster by Christian Weber.

Things Fall Apart

I was planning to post Episode 3 today, but the power cord of my computer broke and the battery life left is not enough to get through the post.

Check back tomorrow afternoon for Episode 3 of the show, plus the recipes!

Until then, having to go to the dumb mall for a new cord is a little better with the discovery of huge earrings on clearance and papaya bubble tea. See you tomorrow!

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