Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Raspberry Lemonaide

Probably my quickest, easiest recipe ever!

Juice 9 Lemons

1/2-Cup of raw organic sugar

....handful of raspberries

1/2 gal of water.. add all into your blender... strain/ pour into a cup.


Soooo soo so good! I used Eureka lemons, regular standard grocery store lemons. You can use Meyers too for a little different taste & you could use less sugar if you wanted to. Meyer's are a cross between a Mandarin and a Lemon, so it will be a touch sweeter. I use organic lemons and raspberries, well water, and organic raw sugar. I also strained mostly just the seeds out of the liquid leaving in some of the pulp. Lemons are so healthy for you, I like to get as much of it in as possible. My four testers LOVED it!

<3 Heather :)

Saturday, February 6, 2016

New England Vegfest is Coming!

Arguably the largest Vegfest in New England is coming to Worcester! When: Sunday May 1st. Time: 11 AM- 5 PM. Where: The DCU Center, at 50 Foster St. Worcester, MA. 01608. Right from their Facebook event page: " The New England VegFest is a free festival that brings the local community together to celebrate vegetarianism: an animal-friendly, environmentally sustainable, and healthy lifestyle. The VegFest began in 2010 as the Worcester VegFest. The event now encompasses all of New England!


FREE Admission

FREE Food Samples

Incredible Speakers

Tasty Restaurants

Local Businesses

Animal Advocacy

Cooking Demo

Kids Activities

Raffle Prizes

Follow @VegWorcester and use hashtag #NEvegfest on Twitter & Instagram!

Admission is free, though we highly recommend bringing cash for the many vegan restaurants & bakeries serving up full menus, as well as all the great exhibitors featuring vegan products such as books, clothing, pre-packaged vegan foods, and more. We encourage you to donate to the many animal advocacy organizations representing and to support our work at VegWorcester!

PARKING: The DCU Center does not have its own private lot. We encourage attendees, volunteers, exhibitors to carpool. Local street parking is free on Sundays & Major Taylor Municipal Garage has prices advertised as (Up to 1 Hour $2, Each Additional Hour $1.) Major Taylor is the closest garage to the event, though the Commercial St. Garage is also next door. More info on DCU Parking can be found here:

Hope to see you there! --Heather :)

Friday, January 8, 2016

Vegan Cupcakes! Gluten Free Too! Nut Free Shop!

Some lovely person posted in one of the local Vegan FB groups the other day about Bella Cakes in Clinton MA. They are an old time bakery & soda shop located at 1 High Street in Clinton, MA. I believe they are pretty new to the area, as I don't recall seeing it last year when we were there for photographing the dam. BellaCakes is right across the street from the new Russian Icon Museum, next door to Subway and AIM Dental. They have both gluten free vegan items, and regular non-vegan or vegetarian items. I even saw some vegan drinks on their lovely chalk BB. They also carry vegan ice cream & cones too. Yum!

Not only is the place super-adorable, it's also got vegan items?!! Gluten free too??! Also it's a nut-free shop too! Awesome, count us in! We got the Vegan shortbread cookies, and buttercream frosting on carob cupcakes! Hubby cleared them out (they had more in the back tho) too! They are so good, I'm glad he got extra. Next time we will stay for a drink & maybe a vegan ice cream cone. (This time tho, we were on our way to dinner at The Loving Hut and the kids were going to have to wait till after for cupcakes.) I also love how they decorated the place. The chalkboard BB is awesome, love it. I need to paint one of those on my walls and soon! There are also some lovely old fashioned advertising on the walls from places that used to be in Clinton, MA. I don't know if any are still in existence, but really nice the historical, old timey feel. What cute little chairs & tables too. You can read on their website some of their history, apparently, they moved from Marlborough. So glad they did and that we heard about them. Such a cute, fun place to have a treat. They are pretty close to another fav place of mine, Tower Hill Botanic Gardens. Ooh! Another "excuse" to go to both places! ;) :)

The cupcakes were yummy, moist and perfect in every way. No dry or crumbly cakes here. Absolutely perfecto! I haven't had shortbread in a super long time, it was nice to try a vegan, gluten free version. It was delicious as well. Nice texture. Good flavour. Lovely in the shape of a heart. I really like that hubby can eat the cupcakes too. He has a chocolate allergy, it's like they knew we were coming!

This pic above is my plate after the eating of the cupcakes. It's such a cute, old timey plate, considering BellaCakes' decor I thought this was appropriate to eat the cupcake off of. I just noticed Boston, MA is mentioned right on the plate too. My mom handed these plates down to me. I don't think they are old or anything, just repros. I really love them too. So cute.

Thanks for looking! <3 Heather :)

All photographs by 3 AM Art 2016.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Letter to the Editor

I wrote to the Editor of the T&G Newspaper this evening. I might have done this before in High School on issues, a time or two. It's been a long while though. Much easier to do now, with the advent of the computer in every home.

The following is my letter, it's not been printed as of this date. But like the above photo says; "Think Positive" and maybe it will be!

"On the topic of the proposed Hunting ban being lifted, so hunters can hunt M-S:

*I'm a photographer and an avid hiker; when are we allowed to be safely in the woods during hunting season, hiking with our children and loved ones?? I do a lot of my photography work in the woods, fields, forests on the weekends. It's only a matter of time, before someone's loved one gets gunned down accidentally. Why can't we use rationality here? This law keeps people safe, and it's a rational law. It needs to stay. I'm also opposed to this on a species-survival level. I am seeing lower and lower amounts of deer in my area, and I live on the Spencer / N. Brookfield line, right out in the woods. Enough already, let Mother Nature take care of her animal numbers. This is what coyotes and other predators are for! It's their job as top carnivores to hunt & kill and eat the sicker or weak deer. We humans aren't doing that, we're going after the strong buck deer & ruining the deer herds in that way, to say nothing of all the killing of carnivores that goes on. Animals belong here on the planet too. We need to share this planet better. Sincerely, a concerned mother of three children, who adore hiking in Massachusetts. --Heather V O'Connor *

Valley Vegfest is Coming!!!

Mark your calendars: Valley Vegfest 2016 will take place on Saturday, April 2nd, from 10:00 to 4:00 at JFK Middle School in Northampton.

Hope to see you there! <3 Heather :)

Saturday, November 21, 2015

ThanksLiving Menu

This is the plan for ThanksLiving Dinner with my family this year. It's really a rough draft though. I might change things up, like do the typical green bean casserole (vegan style of course) and add carrots or some other veggies to the lightly steamed Kale. We shall see. *Yes a lot of the time we eat high raw, vegan here for health reasons, but Holidays are for fun and comfort foods. So I'm a little lax for the kids & hubby on holidays & for eating out. Our breakfast will be raw, probably a green smoothie or a bowl of fruit. I'll most def be having some ginger Kombucha with the meal, perhaps an apple or something raw just a little bit before the meal. Some of the desserts I've linked are raw, so I might just have my entire meal raw. I found some amazing Satsuma oranges the other day. I could eat a bunch of those for a meal! But generally I begin my days fully raw & try to fill up so I'm not that hungry for other stuff. If I wanted to stay fully raw for Thanksliving I'd have water, fruit smoothie for breakfast. Bring a fruit salad for my meal & then have some raw dessert a bit later on. Dinner when I get home (if I'm still hungry) will be chard wraps & a green juice.

Here is the list of recipes (I've linked every one for your ease) I'm following this year. I never fully follow a recipe to the T. I always omit or add something to make it my own, but this is where I got my ideas from.

We have already done a test run on the Butternut Vegducken. Technically, once you eat that, you don't really need any other veggies as it's like 5 or 6 veggies in one. Vegducken recipe on Epicurious. This is so easy, you spice it and baste it like once or twice. Super simple and super wonderful. We did it for dinnner recently, it went over really well. My boys both loved it! They'd much rather eat vegan junkfood for lunch, dinner and breakfast, but they really loved this & I heard no complaints and several times they came back for more! Below is the Vegducken photo. So many different veggies you could use here. This time I used carrots, onion, zucchini, garlic, brussel sprouts.

Vegan Zombie Lasagna Rollups. I don't bother with the faux meats at all for this recipe. I make my own tofu cheese instead of cream cheese. Tofu cheese is so easy too. 1/2 a brick of tofu, pink salt, basil, garlic, onion, tiny bit of water or milk--into the blender. Blend, blend blend, done! So simple. I use this sub for riccotta in regular lasagna too.

Vegan Cherry Clafoutis, you can replace the cherries for cranberries like I did. Altho cherry would be magnificent too. I so love cranberries and this is a fun way to do them for ThanksLiving. We did a test run of this today! So yummy and delish! It was really easy and so pretty, my favorite kind of food to make! I'm still torn though. I grew up with canberry and honestly, I adore canberry. I mean it's only once a year and it's yummy and they do have BPA free linings in cans now. My dad later on in life, probably around high school used to whip up cranberry-orange sauce and that's excellent too.

Next up on the test run list is; Stuffing-Muffins with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy! I found the recipe here on The Colorful Kitchen. I am really looking forward to trying this recipe out! I mean really. Mashed potatoes, gravy AND stuffing?? Is there a better food on the planet? I don't think so! Add some cranberry and a slice of Gardein roast to that & turn Netflix on! Biscuits I did a test run on these recently too. Didn't get any pics, they were gone too fast. Didn't see anyone eating them either. They must have inhaled them. I found a recipe here, that is pretty close to mine. I didn't use almond milk, I had plain coconut and I didn't use lemon juice either. Other than that, pretty much the same recipe. I will also test run some gluten free vegan rolls to see if they even notice. I'd much prefer they eat gluten free as much as possible. As for stuffed mushrooms, I'll probably just add some stuffing to mushroom caps & bake them off. Simple & easy. Altho this recipe looks promising too.
I'll post my recipe at the end of this post, for mushroom gravy--SOOOO YUMMY! Here is a raw pumpkin pie recipe and here is raw vegan pecan pie. I'm looking at this recipe too for pecan pie. I'm kind of a cook or baker or chef that looks at recipes, skims them, runs into the kitchen and tosses stuff into a bowl. I'm constantly making substitutions for ingredients I have. Sometimes I'll use guar gum or tapioca instead for thickening. Or I'll use agave instead of maple syrup or vice versa. Oh and for gluten free bread you cannot go wrong using a Bob's Redmill bread mix! Been using that for years for our bread replacer here. Flax seeds are my egg replacement, I also found out that flax seeds allows gluten free baked good to remain softer and chewy, just like wheat or gluten bread. I use apple blended up for the oil. Since I have raw, flax seeds that are whole. Into the blender the apple, water and flax all goes.

Below a graphic that you can use for egg replacers in baked goods and other items from Majer

Last, but not least my recipe for mushroom gravy!

My Favorite Mushroom Gravy by Heather O'Connor

Into your blender; 1/4 cup of washed mushrooms
Splash of ACV and water
Two stalks of celery--roughly chopped
Clove of garlic

Blend til smooth, then pour into a small pan w/ a pat of butter or coconut oil. Heat till warm, let cool, add spices to taste. I like Adobo it's a mix of several kinds of spices. Simply Organic makes the version we use. (*Adobo is also a genius addition to tofu scramble. So much in fact, we don't bother with nooch (nutritional yeast) anymore.) You can also use your own favorite spices, if you like the spices, odds are you will love the gravy. Same kind of thought of using wine that you would drink, if you're planning on cooking with it. Sea salt or Pink Himalayan Salt to taste--if needed. Set this mixture aside letting it cool down somewhat. After cooling I like to also run this mixture through a strainer and take out some of the "pulp" or fibers from the celery.

In a skillet with a bit of coconut butter already melted add 1/2 onion chopped, couple of two three four large (one portabella ought to do it. If they are baby bellas or white mushrooms, use 3-4 of them) mushrooms chopped up, green onion, some more adobo and ACV (apple cider vinegar) and heat on med-high till the mushrooms are wilted. Add some sea salt or pink himalayan salt to taste if needed. Mix this mixture without blending it into the blended mixture. Taste it, see if it needs any additional spicing or thickening agent. When I made my test batch I needed like a tablespoon of rice flour mixture to thicken it somewhat. You can use corn starch, guar gum, or regular flour. I've used all these thickening agents in my years of cooking & they all do it perfectly. The rice mixture I used is Bob's Redmill Gluten Free All Purpose flour. The one in the blue printed plastic bag, not the red, but the red version will do it too.

(Sneaky tip for thickening & no lumps: Put a small amount of the gravy & flour or other thickening agent into the blender & blend it. Then mix it into the rest of the hot gravy. Perfection every time!)

When doing the test run with this recipe, I had some gluten free, vegan bread freshly made. I chopped up half of the loaf of bread, mixed 1/2 of the gravy, the mushroom stems, some green onion, and stuffed and baked it into mushroom caps. I think stuffed mushrooms are reason enough to celebrate! Who needs a party? ;) I love mushroom caps, can you tell?

I also had enough gravy 'left over' to add some to brown rice, stuffed into pumpkins, plus more for the top of the rice stuffed pumpkins & even a little bit more for each person to have on their plate with the stuffed mushroom caps & pumpkin w/ rice. Add in some wilted kale or spinach and dinner is served!

Happy ThanksLiving to you & your family! <3 Heather :)

Sometimes I receive a freebie, or coupon for my blogging opinions. Contact the above email address if I can be of help. <3 :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Save the Deer

WE MUST SPEAK OUT NOW. Call Governor Baker and Demand an End to the Hunt. 617 725 4005.... The Hunt begins Nov 30th 2015 at 5AM. There will be another demo this Sunday in the Blue Hills. Hope to see you there!

Thank you, Heather :)