A Celebration of Food and Food Sustainability Projects

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Sausage and Yam Skillet

Photo by Bonnie McDonald Dixon

A big bag of organic yams caught my eye at the supermarket. Trying to think outside the sweet recipes my mind went over to savory. What did I have in my freezer and pantry that would compliment the yams? Hot Italian Sausage links, a big organic red onion, and my favorite jar salsa. Oh and fresh Russian Garlic from the local farmers market. Yes, I said to myself that could make a nice dinner.

The best thing is it was fast easy and delicious! I served this with toasted garlic bread. This would also be nice served with rice or noodles.

Make it with your favorite sausage and favorite salsa to make this your special recipe.

Sausage and Yam Skillet

3 links Hot Italian Sausage

4 cups peeled cubed1/2 yams

1 sliced red onion

3-4 garlic cloves chopped up fine

1 cup favorite salsa

Optional: cooked rice or noodles

Fry up the Hot Italian Sausage links on medium heat in frypan till almost done. Add peeled cubed yams and sliced red onion and garlic. Continue cooking till yams are tender and red onion and garlic translucent. Add the salsa.

That’s it. Easy peasy. Delicious too!

Best Garlic Bread Ever

1 baguette, cut into slices, or in half and then into 4 – 6 in pieces

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

2-4 large garlic cloves, diced fine

Melt butter and olive oil over medium heat in cast iron pan. Add chopped garlic saute till just golden. Scoop garlic out of the skillet. Add baguette slices fry till golden. Top slices of bread with garlic tidbits. So yummy.

Make it Vegan.

Use Vegan Italian Sausage. Use all olive oil making garlic bread.

Cauliflower The Power Veggie

Photo from Pixlr.com

I was shopping and stopped in my tracks when I saw a big beautiful head of cauliflower in the produce department. I hadn’t even thought about buying a cauliflower… it wasn’t on my list but I had to buy it and decide how to enjoy this nutritionally power-packed hunk of veggie for dinner.

My oven is subpar in our Motorhome so baking was out. I didn’t want to deep fry. BBQ could work but the smoke was heavy outside from fires in the area. So simple stir fry called to me.

What is nice about cauliflower is it can be used in so many ways. Riced, Baked, Fried, BBQ, Soup, made into faux Buffalo Wings, Faux Sweet and Sour bites, used as a Pizza crust, and simply stir-fried.

The other nice thing about Cauliflower is it has a nutritional punch and yes low in calories! According to Livestrong.com: Cauliflower is a nutritional powerhouse — providing antioxidants, phytonutrients, fiber, and other important nutrients.

One side effect that some people experience is gas. Veggies from the cole family can upset some people’s systems so you can take an enzyme like Beano to help with flatulence. Cooked versus raw can also alleviate gas as well.

Simple Cauliflower Recipe

  • 2 – 3 heads of small cauliflower (or 1/2 head large)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • a couple pinches of sea salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small bunch of chives, chopped
  • zest of one lemon
  • freshly grated Parmesan
  • a bit of flaky sea salt


  1. To prep, the cauliflower, remove any leaves at the base and trim the stem. Now cut it into tiny trees – and by tiny, I mean most florets aren’t much larger than a table grape. Make sure the pieces are relatively equal in size, so they cook in the same amount of time. Rinse under running water, and set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil and fine grain salt in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the cauliflower and stir until the florets are coated. Wait until it gets a bit brown on the bottom, then toss the cauliflower with a spatula. Brown a bit more and continue to saute until the pieces are deeply golden – all told about six minutes. In the last 30 seconds stir in the garlic.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the chives, lemon zest, and dust with a bit of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a pinch of flaky sea salt (if you have it on hand). Serve immediately.

Prep Time 5 minutes Cook Time 7 minutes Total Time 12 minutes Serves 3

To make this recipe vegan, just omit the Parmesan cheese finish – still delicious!


Crazy MacSlaw Salad

I was trying to use what I had in the pantry and fridge for dinner and was thinking about macaroni salad or coleslaw. Hmm, what if I combined the two recipes and made a MacSlaw Salad. What makes it crazy is we all have our favorite recipes so the recipe can be changed up to taste.

Crazy MacSlaw Salad

8 oz of favorite pasta, nice with elbows, fusilli, shells

1/2 head Green Cabbage Chop into fine pieces.

Six Green onions chopped fine

2-3 carrots peeled and shredded

2-3 sticks celery chopped fine ( optional)

1 red pepper chopped fine

1 cucumber chopped into small pieces


1 to 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise

1/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup Braggs Organic apple cider vinegar

2 tsp mustard or dijon mustard

1 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp Sea salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper, or to taste

So pick your favorite pasta, then cook al dente per the package direction. Drain, set aside to cool. You can toss with a little Olive Oil to keep the pasta from sticking.

In a large bowl add dressing ingredients. Whip with whisk till blended.

While pasta is cooking Chop the cabbage into fine pieces. Place on top of the dressing. Set aside.

TIP You can use your Food Processor just don’t chop too fine.

Chop the other veggies and and add to the cabbage. Toss to coat with dressing.

Add cooled pasta. Toss to incorporate Slaw and Pasta.

Best if you wait an hour or two. Really good the next day.

Good keeper. Lasts in fridge 3-4 days.

Make it fast. Purchase prepared undressed coleslaw from produce section.

Make it a meal: add canned garbanzo beans ( ceci beans). You may want to add extra dressing.

Fun add ins:

Garbanzo Beans

Toasted sunflower seeds

Green or black olives

Chopped pickles: dill or sweet

Food Safety Announcement

Recall: Freshouse II, LLC, a Salisbury, N.C.-based company, is recalling a number of brands of Red B Potatoes, Lemons, Limes, Organic Limes, and Valencia Oranges due to potential Listeria monocytogenes contamination.


“We are also asking our direct customers to notify their customers of this recall,” Freshouse said in the recall report. Consumers with questions may contact Freshouse II, LLC at 631-369-7150, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET. Consumers may also contact the company via email (customerservice@freshouse.com) or visit the company’s website here.

Saskatoons: The Delicious Berries of the Prairies

Saskatoon Berries are beautiful firm dark purple berries about the size of a small blueberry. The flavor is lovely. The texture can be firm and a little seedy. sometimes.

Ready in early summer near dry sunny slopes in British Columbia and Alberta, across the prairies to Ontario. Often called Juneberries in the northern United States. The bushes can be 3 ft to 16 ft tall. Interestingly they are more related to apple than blueberries.

I start looking for the bushes in the spring. You can identify them from the little white flowers. I make a note to remember where the bushes are. Picking them is fun and easy. Grab a mixing bowl with a handle, Ice cream bucket with a handle, or even a plastic grocery bag and find a bush and start picking.

Pick shiny ripe dark berries. Often you find them bunched like little grapes. Leave the dark pink ones to ripen. Pick as many as you can store. They freeze and can well, so if you have room keep picking!

Don’t pick the berries you see with yellow spots or striping. That is Entomosporium leaf and berry spot fungus.

Once home, pour out a couple of cups at a time on a cookie sheet with a rim. Sort and pick through discarding any stems, leaves, or imperfect berries that birds may have partially eaten. I then make my baked goods, jam, or other treats or freeze them for a later time.

Pies, Oat Bars, Muffins, Jam, Ice cream, and savory relishes can be made from these wonderful little berries. High in antioxidants they are a great addition to your morning smoothie. I like to add a crisp Granny Smith apple to my Saskatoon pies to make the flavor and texture pop. I used the same pie filling for the Oat Bars. So yummy. My sister Brenda said it was the best pie she ever ate!

For More information http://saskatoonberryinstitute.org/saskatoons/

Fruit Filled Oat Bars

You can use any fruit pie filling or jam with these delicious Oat Bars


1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats

2⁄ 3 cup brown sugar, packed

1⁄4 teaspoon baking soda

1⁄2 cup butter or other fat coconut oil works nicely

2 cups of pie filling or jam


In mixing bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, and baking soda.

Cut in margarine/butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Reserve 1/2 cup of the flour mixture.

Press remaining flour mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 9x9x2 baking pan.

Spread with desired filling. See Saskatoon Pie filling below.

Sprinkle with reserved flour oat mixture. Press down with hand or spatula.

Bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes or until the top is golden.

Cool in pan on wire rack.

Cut into bars. Control yourself… they are so good.

These travel and freeze well.

Bonnie’s Famous Saskatoon Berry Pie

6 Cups Saskatoon Berries

1 med unpeeled apple chopped up fine~ I like a tart Granny Smith for this recipe

3/4 to 1 Cup Sugar

½ Cup Water

4 TBSP cornstarch

1 TBSP Fresh Lemon Juice

Favorite Pie crust for 9-10 inch pie~ I like to make Amish Pie Crust

I egg white, beaten

Prepare your pastry. Line pie pan 9 or 10 inch with prepared crust.

In Large, non- reactive pot over medium –high heat, bring berries, apple, sugar and water to a boil.

Whisk cornstarch into 3 TBSP cold water. Whisk into berries. Let cook for 1-2 min or until it begins to thicken. Add lemon juice; this brings foam to the top. Skim off foam.

Place filling in bottom crust, top with top pie crust, crimp, and brush edges with egg white. Cut vents for steam to escape.

Cover a rimmed cookie sheet with foil. Place pie on the cookie sheet and pop in the oven. Bake on the middle rack of preheated 350 deg. oven for 40-45 minutes or until pastry is golden and filling is bubbly.

Double filling recipe to make 2 pies or a pie and Oat bars with some leftover over for ice cream, Pancakes, or Waffles.

Sweet Potato Bean Burritos

Oh my, these are good! These burritos have a unique flavor twist and are high in nutrition and fiber from the sweet potatoes and beans. Make a batch or two. You can freeze the extras for a quick meal. The original burrito recipe called for kidney beans, but I prefer pinto beans or a combo.

The wonderful thing about this recipe is that is very forgivable. Vary the burrito sized tortillas: whole wheat, ancient grain, or whatever looks good. Vary the beans, mashed or whole, add cheddar, Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, or your favorite vegan cheese.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups canned kidney beans, drained
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin 4 teaspoons prepared mustard
1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
3 tablespoons soy sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos
4 cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes

12 (10-inch) flour tortillas, warmed
8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese or vegan cheese

Serve with favorite salsa, sour cream, avocado slices.

Extra delish crisped up in a frypan with a small about of oil.

Scottish Oat Scones

I love this Scottish Oat Scone! Quick to mix together and is forgiving if you want to make changes. Use currents, or raisins, or dried cranberries or dried mixed fruit. Add walnuts, pecans, sesame seeds or chocolate chips if desired. Frost or sprinkle with a bit of sugar or brush with maple syrup. Make with unbleached flour, whole wheat flour or a gluten-free flour mix and gluten-free oats.

You can also change the fat. I use real butter but you could use coconut fat. I have not tried it with oil. I might someday try the recipe with olive oil.

The sweetener can also be swapped. I use brown sugar. You could also try coconut sugar. If you use honey or maple syrup you may have to adjust the milk so the dough isn’t too wet.

So follow the recipe the first time and enjoy then have fun with the many variations to suit your taste and diet.


2/3 cup butter or vegan margarine melted

1/3 cup milk or milk alternative

1 egg

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1-1/4 cups Quick Quaker Oats, uncooked

¼ cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup raisins or currents


Add butter, milk and egg to combined dry ingredients; mix just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in raisins. Shape dough to form a ball; pat out on the lightly floured surface to form 8 inch circle. Cut into 8 to 12 wedges; bake on a greased cookie sheet in a preheated hot oven at (425 F) 12 to 15 minutes or until light golden brown. Serve warm at breakfast or brunch with butter or, preserves or honey, as desired.

Makes 8 to 12 scones

Variation use 1-1/2 cups Old Fashioned Quaker Oats for Quick Oats.

Out of Cream of tarter? Use 4 Tsp of Baking Powder I like Rumford Brand

Stark Sister’s Maple Almond Granola

I was blessed to interview Debra Stark owner of Debra’s Natural Gourmet in Concord, MA . She was just a delight.

‘Best of Boston’ Boston Magazine and ‘Best Mail Order Food Gift’ The New York Times, are just a few of the rave reviews Stark Sisters has garnered. Bon Appetit called it “one of the best we’ve ever tasted.” Featured in Boston Globe as “Hit of the Week,” Stark Sisters was dubbed “the Ultimate Granola.”

For almond lovers. For maple syrup lovers. For grain lovers. Allergies? Feel free to substitute one grain for another. If you want to use only oats, go for it. Although Debra likes variety and believes each grain brings something different to the table. Yes, use only organic grains. It’s that important!

Stark Sister’s Maple Almond Granola

Makes 12 servings. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

½ C dried unsweetened coconut 1 C barley flakes
3 C sliced almond 1 C maple syrup
2 C rolled oats ¼ C canola or sunflower oil
1 C wheat flakes 1 tsp real vanilla extract
1 C rye flakes ¼ tsp good salt

Mix dry ingredients except for salt in a large bowl. (If you don’t have a large enough bowl, divide between two bowls. For example, 1 C. oats in one bowl, and 1 C. in a second bowl).

Pour wet ingredients over dry and mix well using your hands or a rubber spatula. Add salt and mix again. Make sure all grains are well-coated.

Spread granola in shallow pans and bake until golden brown and dry, about 1½ hours. Stir gently every 15-20 minutes. Baking times vary due to weather, the size of your pans, and your oven.

When granola is dry and golden brown, remove from oven and stir. Let cool completely before storing in airtight containers.

Debra started making this in her shop, right back of the kitchen, and the smell would bring everyone back to the kitchen. Her granola never got a chance to cool because people refused to wait for a portion. When she started making it behind the store in large quantities, the smell of maple syrup and almonds was everywhere in West Concord Masscettussett. It was heavenly.

Although Debra doesn’t make this commercially anymore you can make your own Stark Sisters Granola at home.

Debra just released her book: The Little Shop That Could: A Retailer’s Love Affair with Community and Food? Available on Amazon

Order the Book on Amazon today!

Debra’s Natural Gourmet is a beloved, nationally-known and award-winning natural products shop in Concord, MA. For those people who think running a shop is simple, this is the story about turning on lights, buying a register, putting eggs in the fridge. It’s the story about “Open Sesame!” and the ensuing adventure and funny lessons learned. Running a store is a lot more than just paying for inventory like coconut water and aspirin. Okay. Debra’s Natural Gourmet has no aspirin. And sales of coconut water seem to be waning.

This book starts with childhood and a Mom who raised her family with organic food and natural medicine, who taught her children to question authority and march to their own drummers. This story introduces characters along the way these last 30 years and ends with a community that is strong, comforting and hopeful.

When is a Nut not a Nut?

Image by cgdsro from Pixabay

When it is a Peanut! Peanuts are not even close to being a nut, they are a legume. What is a legume you ask? It is a member of the pea family. Why are they called peanuts? Well, that is a good question. I couldn’t find the exact reason why. They were called ground peas or ground nuts at one time so maybe someone said hey let’s call them peanuts!

Who invented peanut butter? I thought it was George Washington Carver a scientist who created over 300 peanut products, but it was actually physician John Harvey Kellogg. Peanut Butter had a celebrated debut at the 1904 World Fair in St Louis Missouri.

Image by Huahom from Pixabay

All I know is besides peanut butter and jelly sandwichs, peanut butter cookies and I LOVE peanut sauce on chicken satay, crispy tofu or soba noodles!

Easy Peanut Sauce

Recipe makes 4-6 servings

    4 tablespoons peanut butter, natural

    4 tablespoons hot water

    2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari

    1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar or coconut sugar

    1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

    1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon or lime juice

Directions: In a small bowl combine peanut butter and water; mix until smooth paste forms. Stir in soy sauce, then brown sugar, cayenne and lemon juice. Mix by hand until well combined and smooth.

Easy Peanut Butter Cookies

1 Cup peanut butter

1 large Egg

1 Cup sugar

Optional: ½ cup mini chocolate chips and  1 tsp. real vanilla  

Mix together ingredients. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Use 1 Tablespoon dough per cookie roll into a ball. Take a glass and press gently to flatten ( you may sugar the bottom of the glass so the dough doesn’t stick)

Bake at 325 for 10-12 minutes. Leave on cookie sheet a couple of minutes.

Move to a cookie rack to cool. Makes about 20-24 cookies.

Variation Use ½ cup white sugar and ½ cup brown sugar.

May try other sweeteners as well honey, maple syrup, Sucanant, or coconut sugar probably will have a different texture and baking times.

May try other nut butters, or add small amounts of seed, nuts, dried fruit – like raisins

Savory Tofu Tahini Spread

Image by Pezibear from Pixabay

No more boring lunches instead get your craving on with this tasty spread. I love the crunchy texture from the sunflower seeds and Umami flavor from the miso. Super easy to put together and it keeps several days in the refrigerator.

1 cup mashed soft Organic Tofu

3 TBSP toasted tahini

2 TBSP Organic Red Miso

2 tsp kelp granules

2 tsp garlic granules ( or powder)

1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

2 TBSP Nutritional Yeast ( Red Star is good)

1 TBSP roasted unsalted, sunflower seeds

Mash the tofu, cream in tahini, then the miso, then the spices, lemon juice,

nutritional yeast, sunflower seeds.

Stir thoroughly. Keep in a tightly covered container.

Yummy on crackers, toast, lettuce leaf, cut up veggies, flour tortilla or pita bread.