Friday, December 31, 2010

Its the last day of the year. Last evening of 201o. Begin the evening with a time honored favorite, champagne! Always the drink of choice for a celebration, and tonight calls for celebration. Getting together with friends ,and or family to look back on the past year. Its a time to recall the events that took place, our accomplishments, and all the moments in between. Which brings us to new beginnings. Yes, new beginnings. Let's say it together!
Well then, its time for the last drink of the evening. Champagne! To celebrate as the clock hits midnight. To look ahead to what we have planned for the coming year. Our hopes, dreams and goals for 2011. This is a chance to put your best foot forward for a new beginning. So lets go- make a few resolutions you know you can stick to . Make it happen! Tonight, lift that champagne glass and toast to "new beginnings" ! Happy New Year to all our Peacecake fans and followers. All the best to you and your family in the coming year!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Vegan? What are you baking with?

OK-so we're finishing out another holiday season of baking all kinds of things for friends, family and just about anybody we were willing to share our festive holiday baked goodies with. So -what did you learn from this baking season? Did you make some healthy changes to the recipes? Did you make some good substitutions for the better of the baked good?

Just some food for thought.

If you're baking Vegan, its so easy to use a vegan margarine instead. You should also try using unrefined coconut oil which is solid at room temperature. Canola oil works well with agave because its a liquid sugar and the two work well together.

Milk is probably the easiest ingredient to substitute. By using almond milk you will add a nice richness to your baked goods along with a subtle almond flavor. OK, not so bad. We like that!

Coconut milk will do the same, with a subtle coconut flavor , but also giving some nice body to your baked good. If you choose rice milk. Not a problem, its just a bit lighter, but works well also.

Go on, just a lil more baking before the New Year, and everyone takes a break from cookies and cake while they enjoy salad leaves for all of about 3 days. Then, we come back to reality and whip up some brownies. Because, that's just what we do!

Monday, December 20, 2010

As we wrap up the season.....................

Its important to remember that its really all about "giving". Have your children go through toys they are not playing with any more and give to those who have not.
Let them help in wrapping the gifts, taking part in the giving process makes them feel special too.
Volunteer at a soup kitchen and bring the kids to help out.
Are you teaching your kids about the power of the words,"thank you"?Just a simple handwritten note to someone showing that whatever they did or have given was greatly appreciated. Remember that an email is just not the same. Its more meaningful to sit down and just take a moment to write it out.
A home cooked meal or baked goods to a family in need is a great way to give something back this holiday season. Children need to see us doing it first.......the "good" ways will follow.
Food for thought during this busy week......

Monday, December 13, 2010

Bundle up in orange!

Oh what a great thing color therapy can be. Especially on a cold winters day. As the temperature drops, ice particles form on the sidewalks, and the wind rushes towards your face,

be sure to go out that door happy! Certain colors can actually promote emotional well-being. It has been used throughout history to create moods. In recent decades, psychologists have put together tests to demonstrate that color really does dictate how we feel.

So, to enhance happiness, stay away from black, deep violet and blue. These colors can increase depression. During this busy holiday season, nobody has time to be "down". So then, what color should you surround yourself with? According to color therapists, orange is the color of "happy"! The color orange can promote optimism, happiness and enthusiasm. The color red can also be a uplifting color , however, its not recommended for overly excitable personalities.

So pick up some orange flowers today, put on an orange sweater or bundle up in an orange coat.

Get orange, and get happy!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Kick off the holi-days with a new kick.

So now we are in the 6 week period between Thanksgiving and the end of the year. Do you look forward to the holidays with anticipation and cheer? Set a new tone this season by changing things up a bit. Add a new color to your decorating style you don't normally do. Call a friend from way back you have not spoken to and reconnect. Seems like your always baking the same gifts to give away or for family get togethers? Try out a new recipe or add something new to the old ones. Oh-here's a good one, why not change the message on your phone? Record a cheerful holiday greeting . That should set the tone for the beginning of a fresh new season!

Today, for just a moment, figure out what the holidays mean to you and how you can add a little change and zest to your usual December routine of getting ready to give!

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Brownie Goes Way Back.........

So where did the whole idea of making brownies begin? Is it a cake or a bar cookie? The legend is told that a Chef in the early 20th Century added chocolate to a batch of biscuits he was baking by mistake. The result? Brownies. Then there is a story of a woman who was making a chocolate cake, and forgot to add the baking powder. When the cake didn't rise, she served the flat cake (brownies) to her guests anyhow. There are many who report that the first brownie recipe was in the 1987 Sears Roebuck Catalogue. This must have been a very big deal back then. The brownie really does go way back.

Many food historians have traced the very first "brownie" to the 1906 copy of The Boston Cooking School cook book. This is a less rich, and less chocolaty version of the brownies we know today. In fact, its interesting to note , the first brownie contained no chocolate at all.
No chocolate at all? Really?

They've just gotten more chocolaty and richer over the years. The brownie didn't
become truly special till the roaring 20's, and to this day remains a divine sweet.
Just some food for thought.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Finish up those Halloween Cupcakes............

Careful now! OK, so you've made your vegan or your organic cupcakes. Or maybe they are gluten free what? Decide on your colors and designs.Icing colors are very important, especially when there is a holiday involved. You know what to do!

With Halloween coming up this Sunday, its the obvious trio of colors. Need I say more? Now, whats on top?Who's on first and after I make the icing, how do I pipe it out? OK, see the video below.

You choose the tip....the trick is all in the wrist. Remember, practice makes perfect! Careful now, nobody wants to clean up a big mess! The most important thing is that these little guys taste amazing, look fabulous, and keep them coming back for more!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Oh Marmalade

Try this out for a change. Add a jam or marmalade to you next dish. Warm up an apricot jam and serve over your next fruit compote or as a glaze with a slice of your favorite vanilla cake.

For a great flavor benefit, try adding orange marmalade to an oozing mound of soft cheese that's been warmed in the oven. Top with walnuts and serve with crusty bread.

Or just use your favorite flavor marmalade by mixing equal parts with a great grainy mustard and rub in on salmon, pork or chicken before cooking. Any dish could call for a boost of marmalade

Friday, October 8, 2010

Take in some art this week -end.................

A study was done that showed those who take part in cultural activities were more likely to live longer than those who did not. They didn't even have to do anything active. Researchers concluded that it was because they were simply adding some meaningful culture to stimulate their environment and their minds. This in turn increased brain function ,and stimulated their immune system which protects against depression. This week -end is a good time to check out an art exhibit, or see a concert of choice. Oh, I think a movie would count here too! What cultural or artistic endeavor calls you?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Thinking about indulging in your innocent craving?

Isn't there something, just one simple food you deny yourself? You know you shouldn't have it. Maybe you can't eat it because you're gluten free. Maybe you can't enjoy it because you are a vegan, and you know it would not be right. There must be some way to get around this problem.

First, think hard about it. There must be a similar indulgence that would allow you to enjoy the thing you want most.

So just for this week. Some time in the next few days that is. Go ahead and indulge your innocent craving. Just don't think about it anymore. The favorite flavor of ice cream you like, the candy bar you loved as a child or that chocolate brownie you've been thinking about. Whatever it is you try to avoid because you're being good. Go ahead and splurge. While you're splurging, really savor the moment, the flavors, textures , aromas and tastes. That way it will be less likely to be habit forming.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Oh the lusciously sweet figs that have such a texture that combine the chewiness of their flesh with the smoothness of their skin. Figs are a great source of potassium, which help controls blood pressure. Since so many people do not eat enough fruits and vegetables, but do take in large amounts of sodium, they may be lacking in the proper amounts of potassium.

Here's something simple to bake next time you feel the need for a "fig fix".

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Carefully cut 8 large figs into quarters, leaving the bottoms in tact. Place them in an ovenproof baking dish and drizzle with honey. Cover with tinfoil and bake for 15 minutes, or until tender. Serve over ice cream, with cheese or alone as a side dish.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A few forgotten power foods?

Are stuck in a food rut eating the same foods all the time? Well, here are few choices you really need to consider adding to your everyday meals. Not only are they packed with all the good nutrients and vitamins your body needs, they are yummy substitutions for the same old , same old.

First, let me reintroduce you to kale. Did you know that one cup of kale (steamed, not overcooked) can give you double the vitamin A you need for a day? Kale also gives a healthy dose of calcium. Well, maybe you need to take another look at kale ,and add it wherever you would leafy greens.
Here's a kale saute' with cranberries and pinenuts . Just a suggestion!

Barley is another. Barley is full of protein, fiber and potassium. Have some barley as a side dish instead of rice for a change, or just add it to your next batch of soup. Packed with fiber, you will just be filling up on something that just makes sense to add to you diet.

Oh yes, and don't forget the lentils. Lentils supply about 40 percent of the daily requirement for protein and 65 percent of the daily requirement for fiber. Its a great source for B vitamins, and copper, with zero fat!

Just a friendly reminder on a few forgotten power foods.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Keep the pesticides out!

The more organics we buy , the more pesticides we keep out of our soil ,and eventually our bodies. So some of you are saying, "Yes, I get that, but its more costly to purchase organically."

Maybe, yes, but its more nutritious, better tasting and there are no toxins. Think about that for a moment. Do your own taste test. Buy some conventional produce ,and then the similar organic version. You will be surprised at how much better they taste, and free from toxins!

If you're just starting this process, then, just make gradual changes at first. Start by purchasing only organic produce. It will be a balance at first between whats available to you, and the cost. Beginning this process will not happen immediately. It will take time to make the changes.

But do make the changes!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Thank you fans!

So, before we get into the week-end , I just wanted to say thanks to all the Peacecake fans that stay connected to us every day. Thanks for the comments, the pictures you send in ,and just being there to support us. We know who you are and appreciate you very much!

Its not every day people get around to saying thank you to those who count! Follow my lead. Get out there and thank someone today that you feel you should have acknowledged a while ago. Isn't it time to show your appreciation?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mix up some homemade vanilla......

Mix up some homemade vanilla extract today. The process couldn't be simpler. This is all you need to get started:

quart mason jar
lid and screw down ring
6 vanilla beans
2 cups organic vodka

First, cut the vanilla beans in half lengthwise, then add them to the jar. Cover the beans with the organic vodka and store in a cool, dark place for about 4-6 weeks. Be sure to shake the jar every couple of days. The more you let it stand, the more intense the flavor will be. When its ready, strain into a dark bottle and store. Now you have your own homemade vanilla extract for baking!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Go animal-free this week-end!

More than 3 million Americans are living the vegan lifestyle. With so many animal-free options out there today, it makes it easy for anyone to give it a try. You would be surpised at how many vegan foods you are enjoying already. Did you know that just one less meat-based meal a week helps the planet, and your diet. It takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce just one lb. of beef. Is that really necessary? For each hamburger you eat that started out from animals raised on rainforest land, about 55 square feet of forest was destroyed. Is that burger worth it?
Just try it this week end. Breakfast can be cereals, oatmeals yoghurt or a fruit smoothie, with soy milk of course. Then for lunch and dinner, vegetarian meats if you must, but fruits and vegetables are always a great choice. Have a potatoe, some pasta,brown rice, or even peanut butter and jelly. Just start slow. Snack on pretzels, popcorn, raisins, nuts and fresh fruit.
Are you setting a good example for your kids? Its their future. Think about that the next time you pick up dinner. Itsn't it time you made some changes that will impact them and their envirement?
Oh, and don't forget when you are shopping this week- end to buy cruelty-free products. Most of these items can be found in natural stores. Saving the anmimals saves the planet. Not so bad ! You will feel better, and you'll be saving the planet in your own very personal way. Give it a try!

C'mon , have a vegan week-end!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Isn't it time you went green and black?

Ok- so you know you should be drinking more tea, right? Well, start with the green stuff you know is good for you. The main ingredient in green tea is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Can you say that? It doesn't matter if you can, all that matters is that you are drinking it because it keeps your metabolic rate up. This helps burn more calories during the day and helps with keeping the abdominal fat off so you can still eat your cookies. Ok, we like that.

Green tea also has loads of antioxidants to help fight aging and ward of diseases. This is good stuff. Are you listening?

Now, green, oolong and black teas all come from the same plant . However, there are different processes that cause the black and oolong teas to lose their green color. Studies have shown that black tea can help in reducing Cortisol levels, which encourages fat storage around the mid section. Black tea also aids in lowering cholesterol and regulates blood sugar. Ok, so now that we have discussed the benefits of these teas, its time to put the hot water on and have a cup!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Did your cookies come out flat?

Ok, so your cookies came out too flat? What did you do wrong? Sometimes it happens. If the butter or vegan spread you used was too warm when you added to the mix, your cookies will come out as flat as pancakes. Sometimes its a good ideas to refrigerate the cookie dough for about 45 minutes before scooping and baking. Ok, there, now try that , and let me know how things went for you the second time around.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

...end of the summer garden

Well, here we are on our farm at the end of another summer. With so much work done in the vegetable garden in the past few months, you would think there would have been more tomatoes and blueberries coming into the kitchen. There were lots of deer around this past season, along with some other lil fellows we were not able to identify. Thats ok, whatever was grown this summer was greatly appreciated. How wonderful it is to slice up the peppers and fresh thyme with some chopped tomatoes you grew in a purely organic garden that was given all your attention and love. Even over some of the warmest days of summer, we were able to grow some veggies that seemed to be happy and lovin every minute of the beaming sun. You really appreciate the flavor , taste, and time that was given to grow such wonderful things.
Hmm....what to plant now?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Find a peaceful "third place".

It happens, we all get stuck in the same path of going from work to home and then back. Not much in between, and getting into a rut of the same daily places. For many years now, sociologists have said we need to find a "third place" where we can go and get some perspective. Where you can stand outside yourself and get a different look at life in a whole new way. Some people find that place in a familiar restaurant, favorite shop, or a place they meet up with friends. Some would prefer to be around a large crowd of nobody they know. Others would just like to get lost for a little while and for a new change of place.There are many benefits to having a "third place". Do you have one yet? Think about how it would inspire you and shake up your day, your week, your life. If not, there no time like now to go find one.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

8 Ways to Save Food

1. Make pesto with your extra parsley and basil. Then, you know what to do with the pesto. Why not add some extra olive oil for a marinade before grilling?

2.Use up tomatoes before they go bad by drying them in the oven. Then store them in extra virgin olive oil in the refrigerator.

3. Dry out herbs at the end of the growing season by hanging them by their stems in a dry location that is somewhat cool. Once dried, store in airtight containers.

4. What about those extra pasta pieces that are broken at the bottom of the box? Mix them into a rice and veggie dish , and add those dried herbs for a great side dish.

5. Got some bad apples? How 'bout some apple sauce? Not hard to whip up. Saute' chunks of peeled apple with a splash of lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg and water and cook in a saucepan for about 15 minutes. Done! Yum!

6. Leftover cereal from the bottom of the box is perfect to mix in with your granola. Go ahead, try this one.

7.Check food dates on labels, and be sure to know when a food item is "best before". Make the most of your meals by doing this, and avoiding "throwing out old stuff"

8. Lastly, but the best by far, always try to plan your meals. If you know what you are preparing, you'll know what to shop for. Therefore you won't buy too much of anything.
It really does pay to plan!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Oh, Sugar Sugar!

There are so many sugars out there. No, really, so many choices its hard to decide what is good, and good for you to use in your food. For example, there are so many natural cane sugars that are available to us on the market now. How do you choose? Its best to look for a natural can sugar that is moist and has an appearance very close to that of brown sugar.
You want the grain to be fine, as fine as you would see in a white sugar. You don't want your sugar to be dry or dusty in texture. This is absolutely going to make a difference in your final dish. Do I even need to remind you that the package should say, organically produced and if possible, fair trade certified. Once you stumble upon the brand of sugar that you prefer, stick with it. Soon it will dissapear into that next batch of what ever you're making and the quality will be all that and more.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Let Go Of That Cookie......

GeoTagged, [N34.11930, E84.33000]

Sometimes its hard to let go of certain habits or ways that are so familiar to us.
We cling to the status quo because the familiar is so comfortable to us.
Soon, we finally realize we must let go of a bad habit, a relationship that does not work any more, or something that needs to be out of our world.
We realize just how much a part of nature we are just like everything else in the world.
Things are born, they blossom and grow, then wilt and die. So do the different aspects of our life. New ways about us are always being born,and we should not cling to something past its time. We should give that cookie to someone else and embrace something new!
You know how good that first cookie was!
Give this one away- embrace something new right now! You must let go of that cookie!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Oh Nuts

Make a mix of nuts....
then add on top of your muffins before baking.
So many different nuts to choose from. How do you decide? Nuts have between 12-29 percent protein. Ok, we like that! This protein is incomplete ,so its best to mix nuts up with grains or legumes for a better quality protein value. Ok, we can do that!
Most nuts are high in fat having a high percentage of oil.

They are a great
source of calcium,phosphorous, and potassium.
Keep a bag of mixed nuts in your car for when a hunger attack hits..better than stopping for something not so good for you! Yes, we do that already!

They can be chopped, ground, mixed into salads, muffins, sauteed with vegetables or topped on just about anything. Thats right. Anything! They come shelled, raw, roasted, seasoned, salted or spiced. There is no possible way to go into all the types of nuts out there. But, if there is one thing we want to leave you with is this.
Nuts are one of the most versatile foods out there, and there are no rules to where you can add them!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Reaching out to someone....

When was the last time you brought muffins to someone who needed a pick-me-up? When was the last time you called a friend you know you have not seen or heard from in a while? When was the last time you helped a stranger or held an open a door for an individual you didn't even know? Acts of kindness are all around us just waiting to happen. So what if you cannot bake. Buy the muffins or cookies and bring them to that someone you know could use a friendly visit.

Doing acts of kindesss for no reason at all can make you feel good. Its a way for us to connect with another individual, sometimes that we may not even know. Its a way to bring light into their day. Doing something nice for someone else is not only a spirit lifter for the other person, but for you as well. What are you waiting for ? Turn your oven on and bake someone something. Then reach out and share some cookies with that act of kindness.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Save The Chickens...........

Bananas, they are the fruit of a tropical plant that have been around for as long as life has been recorded. They grow on tall, treelike plants in bunches. It takes about a year for the fruit to develop and one bunch of bananas can weigh up to 60 lbs.

Bananas are rich in potassium, magnesium and many other minerals. They have twice as much vitamin C as apples. They are low in fat and protein. Ok, so what do bananas have to do with chickens?

Well, you said you want to save the chickens right? If you want to save the chickens and /or your are eating the Vegan way and/or you may have egg allergies ,then here is the scoop. You can replace 1 very ripe banana for 1 egg. Remember though, bananas have a very strong flavor and so you be sure what you are baking compliments the banana flavor. You should also add an extra 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder to help with the rising of your baked good. You see, in a cake, the egg serves as the leavening agent and helps to make the cake light and fluffy. In cookies and muffins, the egg acts as a binder to bring all the ingredients together.
So there you have it. You can have your cake, eat it , and save the chickens!
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