I chose Madre Chocolate to include in my Vegan Mexican Pop-up Dinner after learning all about how they make the chocolate bean to bar. They are very supportive of fair and clean food from the farmers to their own production. I’m so excited to use their Xoconusco chocolate in my mole sauce!
A cacao tree on the Windward side
Another cacao tree on the same farm
Dave was telling us about lilikoi which they also use in their chocolate
Cacao seeds are purple on the inside before they are fermented and roasted.
Dave was explaining about the roasting process
Here’s a close-up of the cacao pod, roasted beans, vanilla, and cocoa butter.
Some of the finished product on display for sale in their Kailua shop.
“What is mole? Mole generically means “sauce”. Modern mole is a mixture of ingredients from three continents, North America, Europe and Africa, making it the first international dish created in the Americas. Moles come in various flavors and ingredients, with chili peppers as the common factor. The ingredients are all roasted and ground into a fine powder or paste depending on the ingredients used. This roasting and grinding process is extremely laborious and if done by hand, takes at least a day. Traditionally, this work was shared by several generations of women in the family, but after the arrival of electric mills, it became more common to take the ingredients to be ground. Moles made in families are all different, as each has had its own varieties passed down for generations, with the making of it reserved for special events in large batches.” (From Wikipedia)
I first had enchiladas al mole when I lived in Eugene, OR. There is a large Mexican population there so the restaurants are amazing, and my dear friend Mario (and his wife Jenny) used to treat me to his mole and homemade salsa while we listened to salsa music from all over the world. I’ll be serving this tasty sauce over a pinto bean burrito, with a side of MA’O Organic Farms Sassy Salad.
When my friend Ashley sold her share of Baby aWEARness, my space for cooking demos went “aloha”! I was trying not to worry about this (even with all the people asking, “Why isn’t anything on your calendar?” when one day, Melanie Kosaka called me and let me know about her new business Cookspace Hawaii that was coming on-line in the spring of 2013. Holy Wow! What manifesting luck was that?! I recently had my first class there, which was a private corporate bonding event, and this space simply a dream come true. Hope you’ll come check it out on 3/17 when I teach my Go Green Cuisine cooking class!
I’m really excited to include Madre Chocolate‘s Xoconusco chocolate in my next pop-up dinner (Vegan Mexican) featuring their chocolate in a mole sauce. In case you haven’t heard about them yet, their chocolate is made “from bean to bar” in Kailua. I’ve taken a farm tour with them to learn how they grow the cacao as well as attended a chocolate-making class and had a complete blast. Each time, I learn so much. Listening to them talk about flavors in chocolate reminds me of wine tasting, or learning about subtle nuances in coffee roasting to create certain flavors.
Today I was talking to someone who does her menu planning every Sunday and she actually whipped out her notes there on the spot. As a result, I just about had a happiness heart attack. Picture me …. Click. I took a picture of it with a little hop in my step, and now I’m sharing it with you!
Note that she’s not vegan or macrobiotic, but here’s what I love about her menu plan: It’s super simple in a good way. To make things work for she and her husband, she has a protein, grain, and vegetable. She has a brief list of items that she needs and then she has where she needs to buy them. This saves her hours that she can devote to play.
Do you need help menu planning? I’d love to help you put together your own plant-based plan and teach you how you can save yourself lots of valuable time that you could better utilize! What is in it for you?
Improve eating habits
Maintain a healthy weight
Understand one’s body better
Make self-care a priority
Manage cravings and binges
Bring more mindfulness, peace, ease, and joy about cooking and eating into your life
Feel confident in choosing and preparing better food for you and your loved ones
Experience an increase in overall happiness in your life.
When was the moment in my life where changing my diet made a real results-producing difference? I was thinking back to this, and when my life truly started to become really awesome was actually when I started to eat brown rice. It sounds completely strange and a little woo woo, I know. But here’s the story:
I was living and working in Eugene, OR at the age of 23 and had about the most disastrous break up a person could have; the lowest of moments probably for me by far and I’ll spare you the gory details. I’d get up and walk over to this cafe near my home and order the tempeh chili with brown rice and then go home and go back to bed for a while.
Slowly but surely, I see how my life started getting better. I would never have attributed any changes in my life at that moment in time to having eaten the rice, but now in hindsight, all of the most most profound healing things I did for myself came after that. That time was the vortex, the quantum leap, even though it took time to root, grow, and flower.
The flowers looked like this: I quit smoking, finished my undergrad degree, got an amazing job in the Psychology Department, came to Hawaii to get my MA, and then went to Japan to work and ultimately learn macrobiotics. Along the way with these changes, I started earning more money and found greater inner peace.
The next big quantum leap came when I fully committed to eating a whole foods plant-based diet. That put my journey on warp speed with pretty radical change. Now I suddenly wanted to open a business and do public speaking and actually ENJOYED this. (This surprised me more than anything.) Of course not every moment has been perfection or ideal, but the general trend has been of great personal growth and improvement.
I just can’t say enough about the benefits of eating healthy, even if you do just one thing for yourself. Eating well changes people on a deep holistic level that you would never expect. Whatever you do will sprout and grow into more goodness, perhaps without ever realizing!
• build community by providing a forum for people to meet, share, and exchange information and ideas as equal human beings through healthy discussions.
• cook healthy food of the best possible quality available with positive energy. Organic ingredients (such as grains, beans, and leafy greens) are my priority, and I purchase traditionally handcrafted/harvested products (like sea vegetables, miso, amazake, shoyu, and umeboshi vinegar). I enter the kitchen with joy and happiness that I can share what I have learned with others, and to express myself through the meditative art of cooking.
• nourish people in body, mind, and spirit. I believe that we care for our bodies when we eat good food, showing self-respect and self-love, which increases our quality of life.
• stand by the environment by using local and seasonal ingredients whenever possible, thereby reducing the amount of petroleum needed to ship items here. Buying locally and seasonally also supports the local economy.
• provide a fair and living wage for the markets and companies I purchase from, for the farmers, and for myself, based on the quality of food I prepare for my customers.
Scientific studies are now starting to implicate genetically modified foods to infertility
Studies show conventionally grown food has lower nutrient value
High fat and sugar diets lead to obesity, hypoglycemia and diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, digestive distress, among many other common lifestyle related illnesses (Plant-based diets prevent and reverse the same ailments.)
There are about 5,000 deaths each year from food-borne illnesses like e-coli
Someone else is controlling your food source! There’s a definite lack of information about what’s actually in the food. Corporations do not often trace back to producers from places like China and it’s nearly impossible for consumers to get this information about all the ingredients in food items.
What’s the cost of getting a serious illness? Besides the financial cost, the emotional cost seems quite high.
Studies have shown that fruits and vegetables are more satiating–they make you feel fuller than junk food even though they have fewer calories.
Pesticides poison farm workers, the water system, and those who eat the foods
Lost marine life due to soil run-off
Loss of plant diversity from use of genetically modified seeds and produce
Risk of extinction to many marine species from overfishing
Use of machines to plant, harvest, refrigerate, and transport food uses fossil fuels that pollute the environment.
Small farmers going out of business
Resources are diverted to purchasing stimulants, depressants, sleeping pills, pain killers, and various other medications to alleviate symptoms
Use of machines to plant, harvest, refrigerate, and transport food uses expensive fossil fuels