My love of chocolate making has been reignited this year, and I especially enjoy making special treats to share with friends. This week I made a box of chocolates for my friend Mary’s birthday. After witnessing her excitement (who wouldn’t be thrilled to receive a colorful box of rich, sweet, vegan bites?) I decided to share the process here. This project is suitable for kids or adults. It’s fun, and it reuses materials. If you’d like to give a box of chocolates to a friend, all you have to do is:
*Find a small, cardboard box that you don’t need anymore. A tea box works beautifully.
*Recycle scraps of old wrapping paper, pages, photos, etc. by gluing them all over the box. Collage, draw, write. Make it clean, make it messy. Make it beautiful.
*Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit inside the box. You can glue it down as lining, or just stick it in there like tissue paper.
*Make chocolates! The box I made for Mary was all raw– turtle shells, chocolate-lavender bars, cinnamon-cayenne chocolates, and mint chocolates. For some wonderful raw chocolate recipes, check out Ani’s Raw Food Desserts. Or just browse around online and explore the endless recipes! No matter what kind you make, it’s worth researching your cacao provider before purchasing. For organic and fair trade cacao, I recommend Mountain Rose Herbs.
*Keep chocolates in the freezer until ready to gift. Assemble box, and adorn with a bow or flower.
*Give box of chocolates to your friend, and watch as their love for you grows.
On another note, would you like to color something Springy? I drew this for my young friends at the University School of Nashville, and thought you might like it too!
…here’s another Springy coloring sheet from last year.
I can’t believe it’s been over a month since my last post– winter is flying by! I’ve been sleeping a little later, moving a little slower, eating a little heartier, dancing, drawing, reading, and doing some big-time snuggling. Letting winter be winter.
Foodscaping my backyard with my sweet, sweet friend Jeremy:
Can’t wait for the next batch!
And now, what you came for: coloring! Hope you enjoy these little veggie valentines. Color, cut, and share with your dearest.
Happy February, friends! xo
It’s finally getting cold here in Nashville and I’ve flipped to the last page of my calendar. I’ve been cherishing each and every carrot, radish, head of lettuce, leaf of kale… it’s all still here, but not for long.
Last week I celebrated November in all of its abundant glory– a creative, collaborative, joyful, farm-fresh, vegan Thanksgiving feast!!! Friends arrived throughout the day, and we worked together to make lentil-pecan-stuffed acorn squash, cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato-peanut soup, spicy daikon cakes, kraut, tempeh, chanterelle gravy, fresh bread with rosemary-garlic spread, turnip greens, salad, cranberry sauce, stir-fried broccoli, pumpkin cheezecake, chocolate-peanut butter cookies, whipped cashew cream, wine, hibiscus tea, and even more stuff I’m forgetting! DELICIOUS.
What a celebration! When we choose not to have a turkey on the table, our traditions are not threatened– instead, our celebration becomes more meaningful and full of life.
…and what would Thanksgiving be without Green Friday???
After helping our farmer friends harvest for the CSA, we all feasted on leftovers–
Thanks again to all who have supported, endorsed, enjoyed, and COLORED my very first zine, Happy Thanksliving! This was such a fun project. Your glimmering, shimmering feedback has gotten me totally pumped, and I can assure you that there are more coloring zines to come!
Filed under: book reviews, food, Happy Thanksliving! coloring zine, interview, recipes
A few bits of Thanksliving lovin’ before we get to the way-too-delicious lemon ice cream recipe.
-Thanks to Marsha at the Institute for Humane Education for her super-supportive review. IHE has also compiled a list of 9 turkey-friendly children’s stories for Thanksgiving. Sweet! (This one also looks promising). I recommend browsing this wonderful site to learn more about IHE’s compassionate work.
-Want your copy of Happy Thanksliving! to arrive before Thanksgiving? Place your order by tomorrow!
-Here’s a fun, new interview!
-Adam Gnade of Microcosm Publishing has put together a vegan recipe zine, entitled Let Gluten-Freedom Ring! This collaborative cookzine is only $4 at Microcosm and includes my recipe for raw cheesecake balls. Not exactly Thanksgiving-themed, but fun news nonetheless!
-On a glutenous Thanksgiving note, this looks incredible.
On to the rich, creamy, tart, sweetness! Yesterday we celebrated a family member’s birthday and his request was lemon ice cream. I stuck with my tried and true cream base– coconut milk and raw cashews– and the rest was so simple and terribly delicious.
Vegan Lemon Ice Cream
-1 can coconut milk*
-1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least an hour
-1/2 cup liquid sweetener of your choice
-1 tsp. vanilla extract
-1/4 cup + 2 tbs. lemon juice
-1 tbs. lemon zest + more for garnish
*I recommend Native Forrest brand organic coconut milk, because the can is BPA free.
Combine all ingredients in high speed blender and blend until smooth. Pour mixture into ice cream maker and follow manufacturer’s instructions. Garnish with additional lemon zest. I recommend serving this ice cream with the blackstrap gingersnaps from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. (Or something similarly warm and gingery).
Yesterday at the post office I stood in line next to a guy whose right eye was red like mine. He said he noticed my Ohio license plate. He’s from Michigan. It was quickly established that (like just about everyone who moves to Nashville from someplace north/east/west) we are both allergic to this place! Ayayay.
I’ll skip the part where I complain about how yucky I’m feeling and go straight to the good stuff. I feel so lucky to have herbalist, doctor, midwife, and other wellness-friends here who are happy to help out when I need some guidance. I called up my dearest Heather (experienced doula, nurse-midwife-in-training, and daughter of an herbalist/naturopathic doctor… what a resource!) to ask what she recommends for relieving environmental allergy symptoms. Other than using my neti pot, I didn’t really know what to do. Since many of us deal with allergies this time of year, I want to share some of Heather’s insights with you…
Here are some allergy relief suggestions:
Allergies occur when the body’s immune system treats a harmless substance (such as pollen) as if it’s toxic. The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal suggests a regular daily intake of vitamin C to support optimal immunity and prevent/treat the haywire activity that occurs in the body and results in the allergic reaction. I’d suggest 500-1000mg of vitamin C daily. For reference, one orange = 70mg, one medium tomato = 23mg, cup of kale = 80mg (!!!!!), cup of parsley = 79mg vitamin C. A good vitamin C supplement (with bioflavonoids) may help you achieve the recommended amount.
The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal also recommends using Elderberry. This makes sense to me, because Elderberry is a premier immune tonic. Tincture or syrup are the best preparations.
Garlic, garlic, garlic. The Green Pharmacy recommends Garlic because of its high concentration of quercetin, a compound that retards inflammatory reactions. I’d suggest several cloves garlic daily, preferably raw.
Nettle is another plant The Green Pharmacy recommends for allergy relief. As well, Herbal Healing for Women includes it for hayfever treatment. I can attest to its power wholeheartedly. The dried leaves are used to make a strong tea (known as an infusion) of 1 part Nettle to 8 parts water steeped covered for 4-8 hours. The tea turns dark brown and should be strained at the end of steeping and stored in the fridge until being used. I fill a quart-sized mason jar with 1-2 inches plant material and cover it with almost boiling water. Drinking a quart a day seems to be an effective dose. Alternatively, freeze-dried Nettle leaves in capsule form seem to be quite helpful for many folks. Both the dried leaves and capsules can be found at Whole Foods. I get my Nettle from Mountain Rose Herbs
Chamomile is also suggested by The Green Pharmacy. It contains compounds that are anti-histamine (histamine is what the immune system produces that causes inflammation) and anti-allergic. Drink it as a tea and massage the diluted essential oil on itchy places of the skin.
Doing some more research, I’ve found that many folks encourage higher doses of vitamin C than I suggested…anywhere from 3000-5000mg/day, with the dosage split and spaced in even intervals several times daily. Also, Magnesium is a natural antihistamine…400-800mg/day seems to be the common dose. Parsley seems to have some antihistamine properties, too…I’d suggest making a strong pesto and incorporating several heaping tbsp into your meals. Finally, Reishi mushrooms are touted as a plant remedy for allergies…a compound in the mushroom called Lanostan appears to inhibit the release of histamine. They also happen to be a wonderful adaptogen, and thereby offer general support for the adrenal glands and immune system. I think Mountain Rose has Reishi…like any tonifying plant, effects are generally seen after taking the plant for a period of time…immediate results are less common than those appearing after several weeks.
THANK YOU, Heather! If anyone else has suggestions for folks with seasonal allergies, please feel free to share! In the meantime, here’s a very tasty recipe for parsley pesto. Gotta get that vitamin C. YUM!
-1/2 lb. fresh parsley, rinsed and drained
-1/2 c. olive oil
-1/2 c. hemp seeds
-4 cloves garlic
-1 tbs. fresh lemon juice
-1 tsp. sea salt
-1 tsp. nutritional yeast
-1/2 c. water
Combine oil, hemp seeds, garlic, salt, lemon juice, and nutritional yeast in food processor and blend well. Slowly add parsley and continue to blend. Scrape down the sides of the food processor to incorporate all ingredients, and add water as needed to create a smooth, creamy spread. This is delicious enough to eat on its own, or serve with… well, pretty much anything! Store in the fridge in the sealed container.
served with balsamic-rosemary tempeh, quinoa, and a mizuna/arugula salad
Last night Ingvar and I sewed up some new zines (WOOHOO!) while Ki made soup & salad for dinner. It was just what I needed. Simple, flavorful, nourishing food. Thank you, Ki! Love overload.
Both dishes were creamy, dreamy, and full of greens. Here are the recipes:
Creamy Rosemary Salad Dressing
-1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
-1/4 c. olive oil
-1/4 c. Udo’s Choice oil
-1/4 c. water
-4 garlic cloves
-1 tbs. dried thyme
-1 tbs. dijon mustard
-1 tsp. fresh rosemary leaves, or to taste
-large pinch of sea salt
Blend all ingredients in high speed blender or food processor. For a less creamy, but still delicious dressing: mince garlic and rosemary and whisk all ingredients thoroughly.
More about salad making here!
Coconut, Greens, & Beans Soup
-1/2 red onion, chopped
-1 head garlic, crushed
-1 small bunch celery (stems and leaves), chopped
-1 head of kale, shredded
-4 c. water or vegetable broth
-1 can coconut milk
-3 tbs. Thai yellow curry paste
-2 to 3 c. really good red beans
-splash of fresh lime juice
Preheat a pot over medium-high heat and coat with olive oil. Saute onion and garlic until they become soft. Add celery and saute a few minutes longer. Add kale and stir as it wilts. In a separate pan, heat water/broth, coconut milk, and curry paste until hot. Add to the onion-garlic-celery-kale mixture. Stir and simmer on low. Add beans and simmer until heated through. Remove from heat, add lime, and stir. Eat it and be happy!
Quick, simple, and straight to the point!
Hello again! I have some exciting news to share today.
I just finished making my very first coloring zine,
Happy Thanksliving! This veg-friendly zine honors turkeys, thankfulness, and fall fruits & veggies in all of their much-deserved glory. Happy Thanksliving! celebrates and raises questions with a fun, rhyming poem and super-sweet drawings that beg to be colored! I really cannot wait to share this work, and you’ll be the first to know when the zine becomes available for purchase at ThoraThinks.com. (Start sharpening your crayons and colored pencils now… the zine will be here before MoFo is over!) In the meantime, here’s a little peak inside:
(Here’s an interesting article about zines that’s been circulating this week).
It’s important to me that kids have as many turkey-positive books as possible during this time of year, so I’ve been working hard to finish this in time for the holiday. As a result, my meals have been basic. I wish I had a brand new recipe for Caramelized Butternut Squash with Cinnamon-Vanilla Ice Cream and Fancy Shmancy Pecan Crumble or something like that, but instead I’m just going to show you what I had for dinner last night. Leftover beans, greens 3 ways, and za’atar spiced roasted roots. And a little smoothie too! I have so much gratitude for all of this fresh food.
…for those unfamiliar with za’atar, it is a super-delicious Middle Eastern spice blend traditionally eaten with pita and olive oil. It’s very high in iron and rich with antioxidants as well. Ki and I love to toss potatoes and other roots with za’atar and oil before roasting. YUM.
I’m giving away a free, signed copy of Garlic-Onion-Beet-Spinach-Mango-Carrot-Grapefruit Juice this Sunday and entering is a piece of cake.
Show us your Ingvar!