Roundup : April 2014


My new loom.

 I’ve decided that I would start a roundup of all my favorite things/happenings/interests of the past month.  Sort of a what-I’m-into-these-days kind of thing for each month.  So much is happening that I want to share, but who wants to read an entire blog post on my new obsessions with wall tapestries?  (Well, I would, but that’s beside the point) Here goes:

Wall Tapestries–  I’ve been loving my new rigid heddle loom my hubby got me for Christmas.  I started seeing these mini woven wall hangings online and wanted to try one out on my loom.  I believe they are usually made on frame looms, but I figured I could make it work on my rigid heddle.  I bought some odd textured yarn from the fabric store and gave it a shot.  I must say I’m quite pleased!  It’s sort of 70’s boho sheik, but if you know anything about me, then you’ll know it’s right up my alley!  I will post some pictures of my first wall hangings soon.


These lovely pieces are made by Justine Ashbee.  I am becoming slightly obsessed with her work.

Game Of Thrones-  Yup.  It’s happened.  I knew something had to fill the place of ‘The Walking Dead’, and G.O.T. has been awesome!  So much action, great character development, and the story behind it all intrigues me. We’ve finished season 1, and are going to see how long we can hold off before starting season 2.  Erik has become a slight fanatic as well, which makes both our early mornings unbearable.  I also just found out that Peter Dinklage (who plays Tyrion Lannister), is a vegan!

The General Store-  Has anyone been here?  Am I preaching to the choir?  I follow one of the women, Hannah Henderson on Instagram, who co-runs this amazing shop in Venice Beach CA.  I am lucky not to live out there anymore, or I fear I’d have no money left to eat!  Everything they sell seems delicately hand picked.

DSC_0280_grandeTriangle cutting boards….drool.

Blind PilotThis love affair has been going on for quite sometime.  I think with the coming of spring, Blind Pilot tunes are such a nice fit.  All of their albums are quite good, but lately their iTunes live show has been in repeat in my kitchen.

Stencils-  Another old obsession, but since our little one has been growing leaps and bounds, we had to craft up another array of onesies.  I even made a special 13 pointed lightening bolt (homage to the grateful dead).  So much fun.  I will attempt to make these shirts next week for some special people.  In case you were wondering how I have perfected the skill of stenciling, check out my post here.

imagesShop Midnight Rider.

Food- March is always a transitional month for vegetables.  I am so thankful that winter has ended in Maryland.  As far as food here, we’ve been enjoying asparagus, fiddle head ferns, lots of sweet potatoes, and lots of greens, with the pairings of heartier meals such as loafs and stews.  I am still awaiting rhubarb, which I think should be peaking sometime soon. I have also been working at perfecting my chocolate chip recipe (I am close!) which has resulted in late night cookie feasts….no one’s complaining.


 Perfecting perfect.

Books-  The babe and I have been trying out our yoga moves together with Baby Om.  So far when we get going its been nothing but laughs.  Though that makes it a little hard for me to take it serious.  I’ve also been skipping through pages of The Vaccine Book, by Dr. Sears.  Its completely been mind blowing!  As a person who has spent the last 13 years of her life checking ingredient labels, learning about the preservatives in each vaccine has been slightly disturbing.


This cover pose, the child’s flying pose, is by far Olivers favorite!

That concludes my month!  Till next.

Gorman Farm, Laurel MD, & Community Supported Agriculture.

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As the growing season comes to yet another end, it always goes out with a bang!  My favorite time of year is always fall.  The weather, the fashion, and the veggies- oh the veggies!  I must say while I was living in San Diego, I felt cheated of how beautiful being immersed in fall was.  For this reason, I mostly planned my trips to venture back home to NY in Autumn.  Then I ended up in Germany, and then Wisconsin.  Wisconsin too was almost sort of a tease.  The colors change, you get all the great hearty cold weather cropped vegetables, and the before you know it-BAM- winter hits you in the face and you’ve only worn your favorite cardigan once.  As of now, being in Annapolis, I am adoring the weather.  Fall is still here (its November 8th) and it seems like it will stay for a bit.

Though with the end of fall, comes the end of CSA shares, and the last of the years’ crops.  Now I have a confession.  I have never held a CSA share.  Not once.  Yes it seems bizarre even to me.  I think its that I have been so lucky to have an amazing array of friends surround me, friends that love to garden and farm, thus the need was never there.  The last 3 years Erik and I grew so much of our own food, we started to feel as though we were running out of ideas to can and preserve.  We often found ourselves turning into our own CSA, dropping off bags of veggies we knew we couldn’t get too!

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For those who aren’t familiar with what exactly a CSA is, let me explain.  CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  This basically means that you are supporting your farmer of choice to provide you with what is called a ‘share’ aka membership. The farmer rotates what they are able to provide you with, based on the season, and what they have available.  Sometimes this isn’t just limited to veggies.  Some farmers will have eggs, flowers, and possibly meat and cheeses.

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 Full Shares and half shares. The best thing about this farm is YOU get to pick out which head of lettuce, cabbage, etc you want.

There are SO many pros to this set up!  The first for me is knowing where your food has come from.  For our growing(!) family if I cant personally dig up some dirt- I want to know exactly how my vegetables are being grown, and what practices are being used.  Any local farmer should be happy to share this info with you.  The second biggest pro for me is the support of your local community.  I could rant on and on about my big business nonsense here- but I think you all know what I’m getting at.

So All these lovely pictures I took at Gorman Farm in Laurel MD.  Erik and I moved to Maryland too late to be an active CSA share holder, but twice our household has been lucky to have a friend leave town and give us her share!  A full share!  So awesome.  The farm really is beautiful, and it looks like all the staff seem to enjoy their everyday tasks.  Their mission: “To encourage an understanding of the connection between the food we eat, the life we live and the health of our community.”

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 I love all the cool weather greens!  And my favorite of all- the beets!

The other great thing about Gorman is the farm stand they have open three days a week to the public.  Anyone can shop directly out of the big barn and enjoy their local produce.  They also sell an assortment of local honey’s and pies.

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If anyone is interested in becoming part of a CSA next season,go to Local Harvest to find a farm in your area!  They may seem a little pricy at first, but if you are household that tends to cook a lot at home, especially a veggie household, then its right up your alley.  Plus, with farms like Gorman growing over 100 different varieties, you may learn how to cook with new vegetables you’ve never even seen before!  How exciting!

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 Happy Harvesting 🙂

Caramel Sea Salt Chocolate Cups


Blame it on fall, but I am loving the dates surrounding me lately.  I often think figs are my favorite fruit.  Figs have such a great texture, and are not too sweet.  I used to love eating them fresh off the trees in San Diego.  They are just so beautifully unique.

As far as dates go, they taste like nature’s caramel.  Creamy, rich in dietary fiber, potassium, and Manganese (Manganese is good for your bones, anemia, and premenstrual  symptoms) dates can be used in so many different ways.  Smoothies, salads, oatmeal, savory dishes, brownies, or just as is.  I’ve been using them to sweeten my 2 minute hemp mylk…recipe to come soon.

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Dates!  And yes, that is a huge Kohlrabi in the background!

There are endless varieties of dates grown in the Middle East, but from California the two most common are the Medjool and Deglet.  My roommates just brought back a bag of plump Medjool dates from this great little place called Sun and Earth.  I have yet to venture there, but they sell an assortment of bulk organic herbs, spices, and other random organic grocer products.  The dates they brought back are out of this world!  Its like they reached their peak of plumpness as they entered our kitchen, and hadn’t dried out too much where you’d want to re-hydrate them.  They are just perfect.

With all this date hype, I wanted to share a recipe I used for Erik’s birthday.  My husband doesn’t like cake, he’s not big on pie, so I opted to try for Caramel sea salted chocolate cups…. no biggie  🙂

Caramel Sea Salt Chocolate Cups


  • For the caramel filling:

  • 2 cups pitted dates, soaked for at least 2 hours. Save date water...see below 🙂
  • 1/4 cup soaked date water
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

  • For the chocolate:

  • 3/4 cup vegan chocolate chips
  • 1 Tbl almond milk
  • 1 tsp virgin coconut oil


    For the Chocolate:
  1. Melt chocolate chips in a small heavy bottomed sauce pan.
  2. Stir in coconut oil, and almond milk. You may want to use a small whisk to help make sure the coconut oil is well mixed in.
  3. Line about 15 mini cups with melted chocolate, bottom layer!
  4. Place in fridge.
  5. For the Caramel:
  6. Drain soaked dates, but save the date water!
  7. Place all ingredients in a food processor. Blend until smooth, thick, and creamy. Using a spatula, scrape down the sides as necessary, making sure all gets incorporated.
  8. Set aside.
  9. To assemble:
  10. After bottom layer of chocolate has firmed up in fridge, layer with a caramel dollop, then top off with more melted chocolate mixture. Garnish with cacao nibs, and some course salt flakes.
  11. Place back into fridge to solidify. They should be ready to eat in 15 minutes.

Some side notes:
I was a little concerned that the melted chocolate wouldn’t surround the ‘caramel’, so I added more than I should have.  Not that I’m complaining, I mean ANY amount of chocolate is fine by me.  But because of this, they did turn out a tad rich.

I also ended up with some of the date-caramel sauce leftover, which was great to eat with fresh apple slices!  Or a spoon.  That stuff is amazing, and definitely a danger to have just lying around the kitchen.

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The first layer of chocolate goes in… did I mention that should you happen to make a mess, this is the best finger licking recipe to have that happen?!

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The caramel layer.  


Happy 30th Erik!  This is definitely a big boy dessert!  Who needs cake anyway?!

Mindy’s Mint Julep Smoothie

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Please ignore the avocado and bagel seeds…. they do not find their way into this smoothie!

Mindy, Mindy.  If you only knew how much I missed your vegan sausage patty breakfast sandwiches, your tofu cutlets, the fresh squeezed grapefruit juice you bring me while I’m still in bed, and alas, your mint julep smoothies.

My friend Malinda, aka Mindy, is one of my favorite people in the world.  I could list all the amazing things about her, but we all have best friends we feel this way about.  She is such a caring person, and has all those motherly dispositions that I love in all my girl friends.  We have been sharing recipes for years, and no matter how many times I try to replicate some of hers, they never, and I mean never, turn out as well.  Suffice to say, had she made this recipe, it would be ten times better than mine.

I’m not entirely sure why she calls it a mint julep smoothie, as there is no rum, or sugar.  I have also altered this a tad, adding some chia seeds for a morning boost.  We all know how food fads come and go (kale, flax, quinoa, kombucha), and how each year a different ‘super-food’ so to speak plays a larger role.  This year I think it would have to be Chia seeds.  Chia seeds, much like flax seeds are high in omega 3’s and 6’s, something we all need more of.  They are also high in fiber.  When using them in recipes, chia seeds get gelatinous like ground flax, only you don’t need to take that extra step and ground chia seeds.

Image-1  Tiny, tiny Chia seeds

My two favorite things about this smoothie are the fresh, cooling flavors the mint brings, and creaminess you get from the tahini.  Tahini being another one of my favorite versatile ingredients, loaded with protein and dietary fiber.

Mint Julep Smoothie


  • 1.5 cups frozen Peaches
  • 1/2 cup Mangos
  • 2 Tbl. Chia seeds
  • 2 Tbl. Tahini
  • 1.5 Tbl. Agave
  • 1 cup Almond milk
  • Handful of fresh Mint Leaves


  1. Place all ingredients in blender.
  2. Run on high till smooth.
  3. If its too thick to your liking add a tad more almond milk to thin it out.


This summer I fell addict to Health Warrior’s Chia coconut bars.  They are so dreamy, and the perfect pick me up snack!  Health Warrior also has an amazing list of athletes that consider themselves in the chia tribe.  Each serving (approx. 2 Tbl.) of chia seed contains five times the omega-3 content of a 1/4-cup serving of walnuts, twice the iron and magnesium of a cup of spinach and more than twice the fiber of a cup of oatmeal.  Now that is a superfood!  Chia seeds are also great sprinkled over oatmeal, cereals, in granola bars, and I love em in raw crackers.  Enjoy!

Birdie Granola aka ‘Nola’

photo (23) Its been almost 2 months ago since we left Wisconsin.  And as much as I do miss it, I am whole heartedly enjoying Annapolis, Maryland.  What a great city.  A charming brick laid downtown, overly dog friendly, bike friendly, and I love living in a city that thrives off of the water.  And have I mentioned yet how nice it is to be able to smell the salt water!  Its lovely. Back in Sheboygan, we were making a plethora of granola bi-weekly.  Vegpod sold two flavors at the farmers market, and two flavors to Goodside Grocery for resale.  It always had a tendency to sell like crazy, and we never ran out at the house.  Win-win.  Annapolis is proving to be similar.  Though we are not wholesaling anywhere, and though we don’t run a booth here, we do live with the cutest two-and-three-quarter-year old, who loves to eat granola, or ‘nola’ as she calls it.  Lailah like to eat her nola just as is with a spoon, or out of her hand.  How kid friendly is that? photo (22) The other great things about this granola is that its super easy to make.  And homemade always tastes better anyway, so why out source?  Thats no reason to stop buying Vegpod’s granola, but I encourage everyone to try it out!  I promise you will feel amazing and your kitchen will smell fabulous for hours!  Did I mention its gluten free as well?

Birdie Granola


  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup quinoa flour (scoop and shake to level)
  • 3/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, walnuts, or any kind of nut
  • 2/3 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 tea. pinch sea salt
  • 2 tea. cinnamon
  • 1 tea. nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup safflower oil
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup (the good stuff) or agave nectar
  • 1.5 tea. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup raisins, cranberries or any other chopped dried fruit


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix first set of ingredients together in large bowl.
  2. Then mix second set of ingredients in separate bowl.
  3. Pour wet into dry ingredients, combine until well coated. spread evenly on the baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes, stir. bake for another 10 minutes, keeping a close eye on the stuff, both agave & maple syrup can brown quick!
  5. Remove from oven, stirring again.
  6. Once its cool, stir in the dried fruit.

There you have it!  I told you it was easy.  You don’t have to be precise with any of the nuts or fruits, really anything to your liking will work.  Sometimes I like to stir in toasted coconut, then sometimes cherries are great for a little tartness.  You can be like Lailah and eat it as is, or have it over your favorite yogurt or milk with some berries.  I have been obsessed with the Trader Joe’s brand soy yogurt, but they have been out of stock for months!  Such a bummer.  Since then I’ve opted for the so-delicious coconut milk based yogurt.  Its not bad, but nothing compared to Trader Joe’s.  Once the weather cools, I will pull out the dehydrator and start making my own again.  Oh fall, how I am ready for you!

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