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Feast on the Fire

Happy 4th of July everyone!

My family just returned from a gathering at our river house on the west fork of the Washougal River, in Washington state.  It’s about an hour drive from Portland, but it feels like it’s very far from “normal” life.  I’m including photos of some of the fun and the projects that kept us busy over the holiday.

Berries and Whipped Topping

First, here’s a recipe for vegan whipped topping, which is a delight on all the local berries now in season in our area!  I was going to make some vegan french toast (earlier post) as the “cake” for shortcake, but decided the berries and topping were so good by themselves, they didn’t need anything more!

This topping would also be delicious on vegan brownies!  Recipe coming soon….

Just in case you’re beginning to wonder if I have any wonderful savory (not sweet) dishes to share, here is some pics and information on how we cooked for our family gathering……over the open campfire!  It was so much fun!

Lindsay roasting veggies

Each evening, we would cook some rice, and then gather our veggies together and head out to the fire pit.   By this time, the fire had been going for awhile in order to build up a really nice bed of coals.  We started by pulling the husk back from ears of corn, de-silking them, then pulling the husk back over the ear, wrapping them in heavy-duty foil, and tossing them in the coals.  A couple of turns, and about 20 minutes later we had delicious roasted corn!

My daughter, Lindsay, marinated some veggies and then put them in a wire “cage” and held them over the fire for 5-8 minutes.  After taking them off the fire, she put them back in a small amount of the marinade and tossed them with a little salt and pepper.  They were heavenly.

Beautiful veggies

Lindsay also brought some beet greens from her garden, which we sauteed over the open fire.

The meal was so delicious, and we had the fun of cooking over the fire without the steak, burgers, or hotdogs!

Beet greens over the fire

Sauteed greens over an open fire?!  Why not?  They were amazing!  The hot cast iron skillet cooked them quickly and easily, and the smoke from the fire gave them a very subtle smoky flavor.  All we added was a little salt and pepper.  Be sure and saute your greens in oil that has a very high smoke point, as the oil will turn bad in the heat if you use an oil with a low smoke point.  Click the link to learn about what oils to use at high heat to avoid oils becoming rancid and unhealthy if exposed to high heat.

Snail comes to the party

Nature offers us such a wonderful opportunity to leave the hustle and noise of the city, and to reconnect with that which nourishes our bodies and souls.   As snail showed up and reminded us, it’s important to take the time to slow down, to step out of our “normal” routines and experience life from a different perspective.   Teachers appear in the mundane, and learning is always available in the small stuff, as well as the big stuff, that touches our lives.  When we tune in to the small stuff that offers its wisdom, we don’t necessarily have to experience the big stuff, i.e, illness, depression, etc., that shows up to help us shift to a healthier way of living, of being.

Welcome to a new way of eating, and of living, that not only provides all the necessary dietary nutrition, but also provides delights for the taste buds.  This is a welcome relief to our bodies, that have worked so long and hard to process the many foods we throw their way.

West fork of the Washougal River

I have found this way of eating also provides the spiritual nutrition of living in alignment with that which so many of us value in life – living by the principle of ahimsa, or causing no suffering to other living beings, and  living in peaceful harmony with our natural surroundings, not causing undue stress on our beautiful Mother Earth through the environmental damages that eating meat and dairy causes.

Several people have asked the question, “how much protein do we need and how do I get enough on a plant-based diet?”  I’ve got some information on that topic that I think you’ll find helpful.  Stay tuned….it’s coming soon!

Wild and fragile lilly

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