Sunday, May 8, 2016

New Hampshire VegFest

It's vegfest season and I was happy to return to New Hampshire this weekend for my third time as a presenter at NH VegFest.  Attendance was regular and steady throughout the day, and I had a fabulous audience for debuting my new talk "Cooking Vegan for Nonvegan Family and Friends."  This is a topic that resonates with many of us.

Afterward I had some very touching conversations with people, including a couple who said this was their third time attending and they look forward to my talks every year (awwwww.....), a young woman who said she attended one of my talks and was inspired to start teaching inmates at a prison where she works how to make the vegan transition, a young man who bought my cookbook and said he refers to it ALL the time, and a woman who said that when I showed the slide "Main Course: Compassion" with a photo of Cesar Chavez and his dog, Boycott, who inspired him to become vegetarian, she almost cried.  I truly feel fortunate to be able to get to do what I do.

Thank you to everyone who attended and made this such a fun event.  Thank you also to Kathy DeRoches for all her hard work organizing the vegfest, the wonderful volunteers, vegan vendors and informative presenters, and Erica Ueberbacher for the photos.  I am so inspired now and can't wait to get started planning my next event!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

UMASS Guest Chef

I was the featured guest chef recently at the Franklin dining hall ay UMass Amherst cooking up a vegan menu in honor of Earth Day.  The event was coordinated by the P-Nut student group which teaches about the health and environmental benefits of adopting a plant-based diet.

It was a pleasure to work with the kitchen crew and give a presentation to students afterward.  So many great questions demonstrating a knowledge of sustainable agriculture, organics, the dangers of GMOs, and a concern for animals.

I wish I knew this much when I was a college student, and I wish they taught this kind of stuff back then!  Nonetheless, it gives me such hope that future generations will take care of our planet and lead people on the right path.

Planting a Chef's Garden Class

I held the first official class at Ahimsa Health & Harmony recently, and it was a ton of fun!  There's nothing like digging in the dirt and playing with food to make you feel like a kid again!

Twelve of us gathered in the classroom space to learn about "veganic" growing methods for kitchen gardens.  This takes the principles of organic - no chemical fertilizers, pesticides or industrial products - a step further by also avoiding animal products.  Instead of using bone meal, manure, blood meal or other animal byproducts, we use "green manure" such as seaweed, cover crops, and compost.

We planted up some pots with Fafard potting soil, coconut hulls, and liquid kelp and made a kitchen garden with oregano, chives, parsley and pansies, then tucked in some pea and nasturtium seeds to surprise us later in the season.

Everyone received a recipe for Chimichurri made with wild garlic mustard, dandelion greens, parsley and oregano, as well as a taste sample on some baguette.  I hope these little pots inspire everyone to get digging in their gardens and grow a bountiful harvest to share with family and friends!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Ahimsa Health & Harmony Grand Opening!

It was a whirlwind of excitement welcoming everyone to my new vegan wellness center Ahimsa Health & Harmony this weekend.  Thank you to all who attended the Grand Opening! 

The hours of preparation made for a fabulous spread that was enjoyed by all.  

I've been reflecting on the many accomplishments over the past 13 years running my vegan personal chef service Well on Wheels and it seems like this was the perfect time to expand into a permanent home. People come to me because they want to eat a healthy diet that doesn't harm the planet or animals, but they don't know where to begin.  I help make it easy for them by cooking whole foods plant-based meals in the comfort of their own kitchens, and have shown hundreds of people how to make the vegan transition through private lessons and wellness coaching, cooking classes at public libraries, schools, adult education programs, engaging presentations at conferences and private events, staff retreats, and menu consulting.

I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to do more of this at Ahimsa Health & Harmony!  

Thank you to all of my clients, students, friends, fans and supporters!  It was a pleasure to celebrate with many of you this weekend. In particular I'd like to thank Dianne Wageman of Divine Treasures for donating a platter of incredible nut cheeses for this event, Steve LaPenta of The Bridge Tofu for donating a box of the best tofu on the planetScott Riley of Cambridge House Brew Pub for the growlers of amazing local brew, to everyone who has ever come to a cooking class or hired me to cook for them, and to my parents for their support over the years, and my mom for hostess service and dad for doorman duties during the party.    

cheese platter from Divine Treasures

Buffalo tofu bites made with The Bridge tofu

growlers of Cambridge House Brew Pub beer

I launched Ahimsa Health & Harmony because I wanted a place where likeminded people could gather and feel connected. The idea of a wellness center to me was a place that empowered people to take charge of their own health and become their best selves while also healing the planet. Following in that theme, the first official class at Ahimsa Health & Harmony will be “Planting a Chef’s Kitchen Garden” on Saturday, April 23.  Please register in advance to be sure there will be a spot for you!  Also in the works are a Vegan Culinary Tour of Hartford in May and a Tofu Making Tour at The Bridge in Middletown in June. 

Please “Like” and Share Ahimsa Health & Harmony and Well on Wheels on Facebook and tell your friends, family and co-workers about the amazing things happening here.  Remember our motto: 

“When we come together in unity with compassion for ourselves and all beings, we can heal the planet.”

And now for some more photos of the food and festivities!

buffet table in the classroom space

portobello pate with crudités 

sundried tomato arancini with roasted red pepper coulis

wheel of Kite Hill vegan brie

tempeh Waldorf salad 

raw "neatballs" with cashew béchamel and parsley pistou

spring quinoa salad with parsley pistou

cucumber, dill and cashew crema

eggless egg salad on endive boats made with The Bridge tofu

glutenfree lemonbundt cake with edible flowers 

gluten free double chocolate brownies

raw date nut truffles

happy daffodils on the windowsill