Plant-based "Made in Hawaii" Potluck, Oct 15th

I just spent the afternoon shopping and preparing a few dishes for the “Made in Hawaii” potluck my friend Joy and I are hosting tonight. It was difficult to choose what to make because so many ideas flew into my mind while all the veggies simultaneously flew into the shopping cart. Approximately $100 later and I was on my way!!! I have a hard time with restraint when it comes to quality ingredients. 🙂 (But I will choose quality ingredients over other treats any time.)

I had a hard time with the flavor of the oil that I picked up (which shall remain unnamed) so my executive decision was to change to olive oil and use some balsamic vinegar too. Those were the only non-local ingredients in these dishes.

One of the items that I’d like to incorporate into a dessert is some kona coffee…. How to do this vegan style??? Hmmm…… Ok will work on that.

Here are some of the things that I was working with…..

Chinese cabbage, red radish, daikon, asparagus, basil, thyme, mint, lemon, orange, strawberry, lilikoi, tomato, Waialua chocolate, Japanese cucumbers, mac nuts, beets, beet greens, kale, and arugula.






Cold French Lentil Salad

My friend Kathy turned me onto this dish that combines French lentils with fennel. I have to admit, even though I am adventurous, I was at first a little bit skeptical, until I tasted it.

The flavors exploded in my mouth, and boy, did I change my mind quickly! It was absolutely stunning!

It was so good that I immediately decided to highlight this recipe in my Grains and Beans cooking class.

When I took out the fennel, everyone got nervous and squirmed a little bit in their seats (kinda like how I had too). I could see them looking at me and thinking, “What is she about to do?!”Here everything is ready and we are just about to eat.

(photos by Ruth)

My Trip to Waikiki Worm Company

I’ve dabbled in composting before, but I was told that I wasn’t doing it quite right. I had a spinning composter, but worms don’t like to get tossed around. When I changed living arrangements, I sold my spinning composter and took a hiatus from the whole endeavor.

Throwing vegetable scraps away just didn’t feel right, and after attending the recent agriculture conference, I committed to seriously getting back into composting. I made my visit to the Waikiki Worm Company this afternoon and purchased all my new composting items. Here is the store owner getting my worms ready for me.

Mindy explained to me how to set up my system. First, I have to shred paper and place it into my composting bin.
Then, I take the pile of worms and separate it from the vermicast, sprinkling the vermicast onto the paper to make a nice bed for the earthworms. It’s important to water it so that it stays moist.
From there I take the ball of earthworms and place them onto the bed and let them wriggle their way into their bed of paper and vermicast.

Now I can begin to feed them, so I grabbed some alfalfa sprouts that I had leftover from a cooking class and sprinkled them in.

Finally, it’s important to cover the food with more paper, and then wet everything down, and place on the lid.

My system is now operational! I’m heading back to her shop on Saturday to pick up some compost tea to spray on the foilage of my plants.

I’m really seriously working on getting a big container garden going. Here is my kale, basil, thyme, chives, parsley, and Maui onions…. (hard to see but they are all in there!).

Cilantro and arugula are sprouting in some other containers…

Hawaii State Agriculture Conference

On September 23rd and 24th, I attended the Hawaii State Agriculture Conference at the beautiful Ko’Olina Resort. For two days, I thoroughly enjoyed and took in as much of the information as possible, and here is my interpretation and summary of the issues for you:

  • We as a nation and world are in completely uncharted territory in terms of CO2 emissions and are in dire need of innovation and new ideas.
  • The most critical issues facing the islands seem to be the price and/or availability of energy, land, water, and the number of farmers. In addition, financing and transportation are important issues. ‘Energy’ and ‘Agriculture’ may see some big fights to come. The main recommendation is for everyone (conventional and organic farmers and ranchers) to try to “get along” and to communicate well regarding our shared issues.
  • UH’s College of Tropical Ag is working on aquaponics to meet some of the new sustainability standards set for 2050. Aquaponics helps solve problems of access to land. Some of the components of farming this way are expensive, so they are looking at ways to source items locally (e.g., fish food and fertilizers).
  • We currently have 90% of our energy shipped to the islands in the form of oil. There is a big push to move to biofuels (and I was sitting between someone from the Department of Energy and another person from the Navy who were both asking lots of questions and taking many notes), but farmers and ranchers are losing their land so that biofuels can be grown and produced. Although it was left unsaid, it was implied that the biofuels are GMO crops.
  • It’s critical that we all move to organic and sustainable methods of production. For health reasons in particular, organics were strongly recommended. We heard from ex-conventional farmers who have completely changed their methods and yielded some incredible crop results.
  • Consumers need to educate themselves that food doesn’t come from a store, it comes from the farmers. We all really need to stop shopping at places that offer “cheap” food and start prioritizing local producers. Buying “cheap” creates more long term systemic problems.
  • Ranchers and farmers are people on whom we all currently rely every day (so we really need to value and respect them).
  • Ranchers are moving toward grass fed beef. The cow is becoming a key part of the biofuel industry. It’s predicted that perhaps the ranchers will start building some bio-refineries and when this happens, they will be selling energy back to HECO. (Seems like we really ought to be nice to our farmers!)
  • Cows and worms are some pretty valuable creatures.
  • Korean Natural Farming Methods and biochar are a couple of things to seriously learn about and incorporate into current farming.

Although the mood was hopeful and optimistic, I came home concerned about our food and energy security.

Photos from the Lunch: Wraps & Spreads cooking class



Thanks again to Ruth for sharing her photos from the afternoon cooking class! I had some help rolling everything up for everyone so that we could move on to the next recipe. Looking forward to next week’s class, Lunch: Gourmet Bento Box Items

Cooking Class: Adjusting to Warm Weather and Tropical Climates

The recipes taught in Saturday’s Cooking Class (that’s 4/17/2010) will be:

  • Corn Chowder
  • Mediterranean Style Barley Salad
  • Fresh Chickpea Salad
  • Asian Salad with Sesame Dressing
  • Red and Green Mixed Veggies
  • Glazed Pineapple and Strawberries

Sound good? Come join us!

For more info, and to register go to Leslie’s website

Warren Kramer Seminar

After coming for the first time in October of 2009, Warren Kramer, an internationally renowned senior macrobiotic educator and health counselor will be back to teach us more!

Enjoy a variety of ways to participate, including:

Lectures/Cooking Classes The goal of practicing macrobiotics is freedom and happiness. Without our health, we are not free to live our lives as we wish. Macrobiotic education teaches principles we can use to guide our own lives. Yin and Yang, or the complementary and antagonistic aspect of all of life, are at the core of much of macrobiotic education. It is the study of change.

Lectures will include:

1) $30, Thursday April 15, 7 to 9 pm

2) $30, Friday April 16, 7 to 9 pm

3) $30, Saturday April 17, 9:30 to 11:30 am

4) $30, Sunday April 18, 1:30 to 4:30 pm

Cooking Class will be:

$50, Saturday April 17, 1:30 to 4:30 pm

Click on the lecture or cooking class title above to learn more and to pay. It will take you to a separate page with the course description and PayPal button.

Health Consultations Schedule a one-on-one meeting with Warren Kramer to discuss your particular needs and to receive individualized recommendations for how to strengthen or regain your health.Your recommendations are specific to you and based on macrobiotic principles of health and well-being. A limited number of personal consultations with Warren are available. They can be scheduled Wednesday (the 14th), Thursday (the 15th), Friday (the 16th), and Sunday (the 18th) and will be held at a private residence in Manoa.

All classes will be held at Pan American MOA Foundation, 3510 Nuuanu Pali Drive Please see Leslie’s for all the payment and registration details

Easy Whole Foods Cooking for Busy People (8-week series)

Easy Whole Foods Cooking for Busy People (8-week series)
**discounted class fee!**

When: Begins May 2ndKeiki Seminars
Taught by: Leslie Ashburn
Fee: $160/series; $30/class

Are you interested in healthy eating but not quite sure how to practice it? Are you overwhelmed by the task of cooking for your family?

This is the cooking class for you.

This 8-week series is intended to provide a very approachable and affordable way to commit to your cooking journey.

Leslie’s vegan macrobiotic cooking classes are for people who seek a healthier lifestyle and a natural approach to diet and healing. Learn how to bring more balance, flexibility, and joy into your life through the power of food. In each class, you will discover the importance and health benefits of a whole foods plant-based diet. Only the freshest, organic, seasonal ingredients are used in a variety of sumptuous and enticing ways. The recipes shared in the class are easy to prepare, even if you have just a little bit of cooking experience.

Classes include an introductory lecture, demonstration, recipes and educational material. The atmosphere is casual, interactive, and friendly. All questions welcomed during the cooking classes. We sit down to enjoy a delicious taste of the food, followed by cooperative cleanup.

Series includes recipes for:
grains
beans
sea veggies
greens
root veggies
round/ground veggies
soup
dessert

Early Registration is required. The entire series is $160. You can sign up ala carte for $30/class.

Sacred Kitchen


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Originally uploaded by macro808

The energy you approach your cooking with will be translated into the food as it’s prepared. They say the kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the home because cooking is the highest art. The food we eat creates our health and consciousness.

The kitchen is also where I spend a lot of my time since cooking yummy vegan macrobiotic food and teaching is my job. I want the area to look beautiful and be a sacred space. When I walk into the kitchen, there are items that evoke positive feelings for me such as peace, abundance, and beauty. For example, we have milagros from Peru, Chinese good luck coins and characters, bowls filled with organic produce, organic teas, and symbols of longevity, prosperity, and welcome.