Thursday, June 24, 2010

Life IS a bowl of cherries...

I'm not feeling particularly philosophical this week. I've had a few moments of brilliance, but nothing that is formulated well enough in my mind for me to put "on paper" yet. So what's my topic today? You'd think I would think about this during the week. It's kind of like fixing dinner. You know you're going to have to do it every day, and yet, every day we seem surprised by the fact that's it's dinner time, and we have to come up with some food on the table. 24 hours is just not long enough in between. If God's time is 1000 years = 1 day, I could use one of those. Maybe I could get that pile cleared off my desk...

We are all loving the fruit this week. Last night we had some cherries left from the week before (I know, unbelievable!), and I begrudgingly got started on them knowing we should clear them out before starting on the ones coming in this week. What a nice treat when I discovered how delicious they were. I thought how stupid I was not to be eating them all week (I'm a watermelon girl most of the time when it's in season). I think we enjoy our summer fruits even more knowing we will only have them for a short while. Well, summer will be over soon enough, that's for sure.

We also made an albondigas spaghetti tonight (that's Mexican meatballs for all of you who missed the dialogos in Spanish 101). It's amazing the mileage we get out of the lowly sunflower seed and nuts in general.

We've also been wanting a new dessert. Last week we made parfaits with some of the lovely blueberries. We layered it with vanilla yogurt sylk and topped them with some crunchy buckwheaties. I went to an all day class in Orlando last Saturday. I knew they were having lunch catered in, but I was not willing to gamble that they'd have a nice salad let alone any vegan food, so I brought a Viva La Verde salad (thanks, Roger) and a blueberry parfait. Not only did they not have anything vegan to eat, but they were 50 meals short, so my food looked really good to at least a few other folks! I had brought watermelon to eat for breakfast on my way down, so I was a happy camper. We had black grapes to nibble on the way home, and I couldn't have been happier. (Of course, the really great class and company on the trip didn't hurt either!)

Found another new dessert to try today: vanilla panna cotta, an Italian custard dessert we are making with coconut milk instead of the traditional dairy. Hopefully those who try it will like it. It is topped with a fruit coolis; I haven't decided which fruit yet. I'll see what we have an abundance of tomorrow when I start packing up for the market. Other desserts this week are the pumpkin pie and chocolate mousse layer cake.

Another new treat I've been wanting to try I've called CRUNCH MEISTER. There is a non-raw version of it and I wanted to make it healthier. It's almonds, pumpkin seeds, and cashews. So far everyone that has tried it has loved it. It's a nice little pick me up. We're still making curried cashews which I love too along with candied pecans. Darius says all of these make great guilt free salad toppings.

I also experimented with some date treats. One is stuffed with a baklava mixture (equal amounts of chopped almond, walnut, and agave nectar), so we'll call it "Greek Dates". The other has some chocolate ganache in its little center, and it's topped off with an almond. Fun, fun, fun.

We've also made some delicious queso dulce (cashew cream cheese mixed with raisins) to celebrate the gorgeous celery we were able to get in this week. Made some crema and picante mayo while we were into the cheese. Gotta have those elotes con crema. I don't think we can go a week without them. It was good with those albondigas tonight too! Loving the queso verde with the bumper cherry tomato crop. It makes a really nice hors d'euves with or without a cucumber slice under it. Cucumber salad is still really appealing to us as well.

We don't seem to be able to give up our salads even though we can't find a local lettuce green within several hundred miles. I confess: we're bringing in our lettuce from California. I know, I'm so ashamed, but I love salads, what can I say? We can stretch it with kitchen grown sprouts, and maybe a few garden weeds, but we still want our Romaine for the base. Well, maybe it will get cool soon, and we can get a new batch of lettuce started. The guilt is killing me! We're going through a gallon of Ranch dressing every 4 to 5 days, so I thinking there are plenty of others to share the guilt. Don't even try to tell me all the ranch is being used to dip carrots; they're coming from California too! We'll be shredding up some locally grown squash/zucchini this week to have with peanut sauce (no peanuts; it's made with almond butter, ginger, honey, and lemon juice). Does that help redeem me in any way?

We've got a fresh batch of everyday bread for some open face sandwiches with all the yummy tomatoes. Also made some corny chips for some monster nachos (corny chips, elotes con crema, guacamole, tomato salsa, crema, olives) this week.

Well, I guess that about covers it for this week. Wishing you and yours a wonderfully "fruit-full" one as well.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Seasonal Availability vs. Appetite

We were having a discussion about summer time being the time when so many fruits are available, and hopefully we are all taking advantage of this. I was thinking of the biology of that situation. In the winter time, at least in the tropical areas of the world, the greens flourish, root crops are abundant, cruciferous vegetables are available, and we can usually get citrus pretty easily. Apples are produced in the late fall and are usually available until spring when the juicier fruits become available. Then comes the glorious spring when the wonderful berries, melons, and stone fruits descend upon us along with the tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and squashes. What would it take to align this seasonal availability with our appetites?

When I first learned about the living foods approach to diet back in 1983 (at which time I was very unsuccessful at applying it), my mentor told me that vegetables and herbs heal while fruits cleanse. If our bodies could communicate with us, they would tell us what we need at any given point in time. Craving salads? Perhaps our bodies want to do some healing. Can’t wait to bite into those strawberries? Cleansing is the name of the game for us. Of course, our bodies need to do both everyday, so a variety of cleansing and healing foods are good. In fact, my mentor warned, if we eat a lot cleansing foods, our bodies will dump toxins and garbage as fast as it can, welcoming the opportunity to do so. Unfortunately, this can be a little unpleasant sometimes for the body doing the dumping! It’s not a bad thing, just an uncomfortable one. She advised me to eat fruits in the morning and stick with vegetables the rest of the day.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot since I have been eating A LOT of cleansing foods lately, and my body is definitely glad the long winter of discontent is over. I have had several days in the last few weeks that I only ate fruits. Nothing else seemed appealing to me. I’ve had a few moments of discomfort, but all in all I have a tremendous feel of well being.

I was impressed the other day with how low the stress levels can be when we choose a simpler way to eat. Not only is it less stress on the body, but it is less stress in the food prep area. My granddaughter and I had some appointments in town, and we were going to be gone over the lunch time window. Now any of the other family members, including my grandson, would have thought to pack food. They pack food everywhere they go even if they won’t be gone over a meal time. But not Angelina or I. We just gather the things we need for our appointments, and out the door we go.

Around noon we were getting a little hungry, and I was frustrated thinking of all that food sitting in our refrigerator at home. Why hadn’t I been more prudent or thoughtful? (Truthfully, I NEVER have to think of this because there are 4 others who ALWAYS do it.) But now I was stuck...

We decided to go the supermarket and rummage around in the produce department. They have a nice little organic section as I remember it. (I haven’t been to the grocery store in over a year.) So we looked around for awhile. I gave her a dollar amount to make it more challenging. (She’s the type that would pick out $50 worth of food and pick through it all day long.) She picked out one of those 2 packs of the giant portobello mushrooms, a pack of alfalfa sprouts, and 2 red Bartlett pears (none of which we had at home by the girl). I got a bag of baby carrots and a carton of raisins (I like that combination) which also contributed to her meal. I also got a hand of ripe bananas. She stuffed her mushrooms with the sprouts and topped them with raisins (I know, weird), and she was very satisfied as was I. Would it have been better to bring food from home? Sure, but it was kind of an adventure for both of us, and we got to have a nice lunch of fresh (I hope), organic, raw fruits and vegetables, and we were none the worse for wear. How easy is that? And we only went 50¢ over our budget! We even had food left over for another meal since she only finished off the mushrooms and the pears. Everything else has been re-purposed. So I guess the supermarket is our new fast food joint! I would have preferred going to the farmer’s market (we don’t have one in our area) or even an independent produce vendor, but none in our area carry organic produce (except us, of course!). So there we are at the mercy of corporate America in spite of ourselves.

We could, of course, have waited until we got home around 3:30. That would not have been a big deal for me, but I’m afraid I would have had a rather cranky little girl on my hands. I’m just not good about remembering that we have to eat. A simple diet suits me better than most for that reason, I suppose. A lot of that has to do with eating addicting type foods. If all of our foods are there to meet the needs of our bodies and not to satisfy addictions, it doesn’t really matter what we eat, and when becomes a lot less important too. It probably should have more to do with our caloric needs than anything else. If I were more active, hunting and gathering would probably be more important to me.

All of that being said, my menus these days are very simple. We did get in some lovely Romaine lettuce from California, so I know we’ll enjoy a couple of salads. Our cherry tomatoes from the garden are fantastic, and I enjoy them as a meal in themselves, but they are great in the salad too especially with some olives. Everyone likes them on top of a cucumber slice with a little queso verde to glue it on.

Speaking of queso verde, the cilantro has all but dried up since it is a cold weather herb, so I am thinking of trying basil in it. Actually, I have been thinking of trying some of my weeds in there. I don’t know why domestic herbs have such a tough time in the summer, but we’ve got weeds like crazy. Some plants obviously love the hot weather. Last year I experimented with quite a few of them in my smoothies, and they were surprisingly not yucky. Maybe I’ll see how they work in the cheese as well.

Smoothies, by the way, are an excellent dinner. They are filling, cool, and very nutritious, especially if you throw some greens in there. My favorite way to make them is with 1 quart jar of frozen banana (we buy a lot of extra bananas on purpose so that we’ll have some to put in the freezer for smoothies), 2 cups rejuvelac, 1 lime zested and juiced, and agave nectar to sweeten if you want it. We also use other frozen fruits if we have and/or want them including strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or mango. I like mild greens in my smoothies, like spinach or kale, and I use a large handful. Not as much as some folks, I guess. You can play with the numbers.

Another good dinner drink is a strawberry mylk shake. I use almond mylk as a base for this, about 2 cups, a couple of frozen bananas, and I load up the blender with strawberries. You might need to add some agave nectar as well if you like it as sweet as I do. Of course, chocolate mylk shakes are great too, but I figure they’re not as nutritious as the fruit ones.

Mango lassi is one of my favorites. It is also made with an almond mylk base, and then I load up the blender with frozen mango, one zested and juiced lime, and some agave nectar to sweeten. The recipe calls with cardamon. I like it with or without it. It adds another level of flavor, I suppose.

Another meal we’re enjoying is our cucumber salad. Another great simple easy meal. We slice cucumbers and onions as thinly as possible and mix them with agave nectar, apple cider vinegar, and some pink salt. I don’t know amounts, I just do it to taste, and it probably comes out differently each time. We do love it though, and it is a meal in itself (if you have enough of it).

We’ll probably also have our chili rellenos this week as well: split any kind of sweet (or hot if you’re into that) pepper in half and clean it well of any seeds and membranes. Then smear in some cashew cheese, queso verde is my favorite, and top with anything that suits you. I like them with just the cheese and the pepper, but you might like them fancier. Salsa on top would be nice too.

While I’m in the Mexican mood, I think I’ll make some elotes con crema. These are so delicious in the avocados which are perfect right now. Some of that shredded romaine would make a nice base for that.

I’m not sure what else we’re going to come up with for the week. Maybe some of our customers’ requests will spark something. I know we’ll be making key lime tarts for dessert. I love lime and lemon this time of year.

If you’re still reading, bless you. Thanks for sticking with me. Hoping you have a delicious, light, and cooling week.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Core Values

We've been asked to do a program for a group tonight, and when we asked them what they were most interested in hearing about, they said they wanted us to explain why anyone would ever spend money buying organic when there is plenty of cheap conventional produce out there.

My first thought was that we were walking into a lynch mob situation. It seems that people who eat organic food do so because it makes sense to them to do it. Likewise, those who don't, do so because it doesn't make sense to them. It seems like we are all basing our decision to eat organic on what appears to be the more logical to us.

There is a magazine I get every month that has a controversial question in it, and they have an expert from both the pro and con side give their opinion. Then they ask random people what their opinion is, and they publish the opinions of 3 pro and 3 con. Every month when I read these, I always wonder if it ever changes anyone's mind. Maybe it is helpful to fence sitters. It gives them the ammunition they need to make a decision one way or the other.

I'm not much for trying to convince anyone of anything. I don't think that's really apathy on my part; I'm just not a very persuasive person. Decisions come very easily to me. Things are never as black and white as they seem, and there's probably some good in both sides. I think we ultimately side with the one that appeals to our core values. So there it is...

According to, core values are "those [values] which prescribe the attitude and character of [a person]." Our attitude and character are determined by our core values.

What core values would we be employing when deciding that we will spend the extra buck buying something grown organically? There is an article I read recently that may shed some light on this ("10 Reasons to Eat Organic").

1. Organic farms have a better balance of wildlife. (Core value: Make sure wildlife isn't deprived of their homes because of my eating choices.) (This picture from our sweet potato patch was a precious catch. I like it because you can look close and see little holes in the leaves eaten by the catepillar that preceded this beauty. Our sweet potatoes are none the worse for it...)

2. Soil is not depleted on an organic farm. In fact, this valuable natural resource is actually enriched. (Core value: Belief that as a human living on this planet, I don't have the right to rape it of its resources.)

3. Animals fed organic food fare better than those fed "conventially" grown food. (Core value: I and my family deserve to thrive; my food choices should not diminish my health but enhance it.)

4. Organic produce has more salicylic acid which helps fight hardening of the arteries and bowel cancer. It is produced in plants naturally as a defense against stress. "If plants don’t have to resist bugs because of pesticide use, they generate less salicylic acid, and pass less on to us." (Core value: God created plants as the main food for humans and intended for us to eat them without manual manipulation.)

5. Organic foods have higher nutrient values. (Core value: see number 4.)

6. Organic food tastes better and has a better texture. (Core value: I want to feed my body and my family's bodies the best quality food I can.)

7. Organic farming can feed the world. While many think it is not feasible to organically grow all of the food needed by humans and animals, studies have been done to prove similar yields are often possible. Even when yields are lower, "The organic plots required 34% to 53% less fertilizer and energy and 97% less pesticide, however, and produced more food per unit of energy and fertilizer." The ecological impact was also less. (Core value: I do not believe I am entitled to anything not available to everyone.)

8. Organic farming protects the climate by storing more carbon in the soil which helps to stop global climate changes. (Core value: My actions should not negatively impact the planet.)

9. Organic methods are more effective in drought conditions. (Good to know; can't think of a core value I have that would apply to this.)

10. This is often used as the ONLY reason to eat organically: Organic food is safer. Farmers and farm workers who farm conventionally are 6x more likely to contract cancer from pesticide exposure. We all know it doesn't make sense to eat food which has been sprayed with poison, yet what we don't, won't hurt us, right? (Core value: I should make decisions based on intelligent logic.)

This article from which these 10 reaons are taken is written by Guy Dauncey and originally appeared in Common Ground Magazine, August 2002. I'll be glad to e-mail it to you.

I've had a really hard time thinking what core values are in play when making the decision to buy conventionally grown food. I'm sure there are some, but I can't think of them.

That being said, I have to say that I love being able to support farmers who are swimming upstream in a difficult current to do something they believe is the right thing to do. None of the organic farmers I know are getting rich. They are not in this business because it is a lucrative employment. I love voting for them instead of the corporate thieves robbing us of our health.

My sister asked me what I do with the wheat after we make our rejuvelac. We use it to make some gently dehydrated crackers we call Alicia crackers. The wheat is saved after the rejuvelac is strained off, and then we mix it with some tomato, a slice of lemon or lime, some garlic, and whatever herbs you have that you like along with some salt. We just mix this up in the blender. They taste kind of like cheezits as the wheat has a cheesy flavor. We pour the mixture onto our dehydrator sheets and dry them until they lift off the sheet indicating they're dry all the way through.

These are nice with soups, and we also like them with a little avo mayo, a slice of tomato, and a few sprouts as an open face sandwich.

Seasonal eating dictates lemonade is more of a winter drink, but it does taste good on a hot day. Rejuvelac, with its lemony flavor, is an adequate summer substitute. Your body will love you for it.

We're really enjoying the melons this year. They are delicious and amazingly hydrating. The berries have also been delicious. Last Sunday, we layered some blueberries and raspberries in our dessert dishes. We put on a dollop or two of vanilla yogurt silk (non-dairy cashew cheese cheese mixed with honey, lemon, and vanilla bean), and then sprinkled on some Hawaiian Granola (gently dehydrated buckwheat sprouts (no gluten!), pineapple, raisins, honey, dates, coconut, almonds). It was a wonderful dessert/dinner. Angelina and I are also pigging out on the mangoes. The tomatoes are delicious this year, and I'm enjoying whole meals of them by themselves (or breakfast as the case may be). I hope everyone is basking in the deliciousness of the season as I am!

It has taken a bit of a paradigm shift to realize my beloved lettuces really aren't in season right now. In thinking of what this meant to me, I realized it wasn't so bad. I'm loving the cucumber salad (thinly sliced cucumber and onion mixed with apple cider vinegar, agave nectar, and a little salt) as a meal in itself. I'm loving the tomatoes as I already mentioned. I'm thinking it's not so bad to dispense with the salad and instead have a bed of shredded zucchini at each meal with one of the many sauces available (all non-dairy, non-flesh, non-gluten): cheddar cheesy sauce, sweet n sour, marinara, "peanut", and alfredo. We also like mixing the shredded zucchini with queso verde for a green spaghetti. I'm trying to understand the benefits to my body of eating what nature is providing in each given season.

Desserts this week: pumpkin pie, key lime tarts, chocolate mousse layer cake. We are also enjoying the chocolate mousse layered with berries. We also have some chocolate macaroons made fresh.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

To Be or Not To Be Organic?

There's a lot of controversy about whether or not we should "waste" our money buying organic produce. There will always be controversy when one group of people are losing money while another group is thriving. It seems like we are all so lost in our little world that there is no room for anyone else to be successful especially if it is at our expense.

Well, sure, survival of the fittest, and all that, right? We are all born with the instinct to survive no matter the cost to others, right? My personal belief is that we are put on earth not so much to live on our instincts but to actually see if we will live a higher law that prepares us for the life we live after this one.

Example: when we are growing up, our sibling slugs us. Instinct dictates that we slug back. Yet, we have a higher law that says we are to turn the other cheek and walk away. If someone needs our coat, survival mode tells us, "No, I need it for myself so that I don't freeze." A higher law says to not only give him the coat but offer other articles of clothing that he might need as well to help him be more comfortable in the coming freeze. So, where does that leave us? Coatless and with a few bruises where we have let people smack us around, yes? We are told that if we do these things (turn the other cheek and look out for the welfare of others over our own needs) things will go better for us in the life to come than if we simply choose to follow our survival instincts. Certainly an amazing amount of faith in the hereafter is required for us to live the golden rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Whether a person believes that eternal rewards are dependent upon the choices made here in mortality or not, one cannot live a life of service without learning that realizing that we are happier when we try to reach outside ourselves. Those who are most miserable are those who so self-absorbed as to think the world revolves around them. In fact, it has been suggested that when we feel most put-upon, we should find someone we can help.

So, lest the reader think I am again rambling, what does all this have to do with whether or not we should be buying organic fruits and vegetables?

Once upon a time in a land not so very far away, humans ate what they could find growing on trees and in the ground. All of their effort every day of their lives was spent searching for the calories needed to sustain their lives. No thought went into the nutritional value of the foods they were eating, and I'm sure they found that a mango satisfied them more than a handful of dandelion greens. Yet, hopefully he knew instintively that he needed a few of the green (not calorically dense) foods to sustain his life as well.

Of course all food was "organic" in the sense that it had not been chemically treated in any way. Once man started domesticating his food (i.e. growing it himself instead of depending upon what could be found in the forest and field), he soon learned he had to move frequently as the soil would not continue to produce food in the same place over and over again. At some point, he learned that he could enrich the soil in a variety of ways and moving to another piece of property every couple of seasons would not be necessary. He learned to emulate nature as she prepares her seed beds for their constant replanting: mulch them well, allow spent crops to go back into the soil, and plant cover crops so the soil does not lie fallow in its "off season".

Still there was no chemical manipulation of the crops. While there was work required to accomplish the enrichment methods, healthy strong crops resulted with no need for supplementation. What about insect and fungus control? The farmer knew a certain percentage of his crop would be lost to the natural elements of nature and planted accordingly.

Later, (when chemical warfare was being discovered during the World War I and II period and there was an excess of chemicals when the wars were over) men determined that plants would grow if fed man-made nutrients. In fact, they would grow faster and give greater yields. ("Yields" refers to the amount of a crop that is produced on a given amount of land - usually an acre.) While they were at it, they determined that pests could be killed and further increase the yields. The motivation for these "improvements" was profit margins, not nutrition.

Prior to the beginning of the industrial revolution (around the turn of the 20th century), most people grew their own food. Those who did not, like a fur trader or a lumberjack, used their skills to barter for food. Once men started to leave their farms to work in the "city" where factories were being built, providing food for people became its own industry. Talk about the ideal "get rich quick scheme"! Everybody's got to eat!

The name of the game became "cheap" "fast" food. No longer were nutrients important. We had reverted back to our original "hunter/gatherer" instinctive survival mode. We lost sight of what the land had given us maybe because we had never appreciated how much it had contributed to our well-being. Lately we are beginning to realize that we gave up a lot more than just hard work when we gave up the family farm.

While we concede that chemicals grow more vegetables faster, can we not also admit that something has been lost in this process? I have grown fruits and vegetables organically for over 30 years. It is not easy. It is not a job for someone looking for a fast buck. Why do we bother?

There are a lot of people a lot smarter than I am finding out there are a lot of scientific reasons why organically grown food is better for us. I am sure there will be many more discoveries about this in the years to come.

I recently heard a discussion on a popular talk show where the host said we all need to buy more organic food so that the cost can come down and make it more affordable for everyone. I think the thing most people don't understand about this is that organic food doesn't necessarily have an inflated price tag on it. (I know there are inscrupulous marketeers out there who will disprove that statement, but I am referring to the true farmers who are growing food organically because they believe that they are doing the right thing.) The problem is that we have been paying so little of what food should cost that in contrast organic food seems to be overpriced.

An example is a double cheeseburger at McDonalds. How in the world can you tell me that 1/5 of a pound of cow musculature PLUS her milk needed to make 2 slices of cheese PLUS a few incidental condiments can cost $1? They are still paying butchers and cheesemakers, and there's the crewmen necessary to actually grill the meat and the cashier required to take your order and package it up for you. It is intentionally "deflated" for reasons not entirely aparent at first sight. (Please watch Food, Inc. for a great explanation for how this works.)

So, why does a box of organically grown strawberries cost $4.50? Anyone who has ever tried to grow their own food has a better appreciation for why it costs as much as it does. My best advice to everyone is to grow organically what food you can, and buy what you cannot grow from those who do it organically.

So what happens everytime we buy a fruit or vegetable grown by conventional methods? We'll take the "better for your body" argument out of it. We all have the "Walmart" mentality that cheaper is better; when will we learn that this is not necessarily true?

What it boils down to is conscious eating. Do we think about what went into the food we are putting into our mouths? One of the reasons so many people are becoming vegans is because they ARE thinking about it in terms of the flesh products they previously enjoyed.

Let's think about it in terms of the produce we consume as well. Do we want man-made chemicals and pesticides in our bodies, or do we want nutrients provided by nature in perfect harmony with our needs? Every dollar we spend sends a message. Do we want 10 peppers for $1 that are grown on lifeless soil that are sprayed with poison to increase the yield on a subsidized farm with unfair wages? Are we willing to pay more for a pepper grown on a healthy soil by a farmer that is not government subsidized that is paying a fair wage to his workers because it is the right thing to do? Are we willing to get out there in the yard and put in the hours necessary to produce a few of the things we eat every week? It is a tough question that goes far beyond how much something costs.

This week: things with zucchini! Our crop has finally come into its own and we will be enjoying lots of zucchini goodies this week. I think I'll try a zucchini hummus: 2 cups zucchini, peeled and sliced, 1 clove garlic, 4 tablespoons tahini, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon paprika, for garnish, 2 tablespoons parsley, for garnish. In a food processor with the s blade, process the zucchini, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, and olive oil until smooth. Place in a serving bowl and garnish with the paprika and parsley. Serves 4.

We've enjoyed our green spaghetti this week: shredded zucchini mixed with queso verde and marinated broccoli. Marinated mushrooms are good with this, and we had cherry tomatoes with it too. Very delicious.

I made some buckwheat pizza crusts this week you might like: 3 cups buckwheat groats, sprouted, 2 avocados, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup fresh basil, 3 tablespoons Italian seasoning, 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 3 medium tomatoes. Grind all in a food processor until it is a paste consistency. Spread it on dehydrator sheets to dry.

We also had some caramelized onions to have on our pizzas with the queso verde and marinara sauce:

Mix 5 large onions, sliced thinly, with the following blended sauce: 1 cup pitted dates, 3 tablespoons Nama Shoyu, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/4 cup water. Spread on dehydrator trays. This can be eaten "wet" if you want it to be like sauteed onions, or you can dry it more to make it crunchier.

Desserts this week are apple crisp, pumpkin pie, chocolate mousse layered trifle, key lime pie, and chocolate macaroons.