Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Link Roundup and the Promise of Things to Come

Somehow the week went by without leaving me any time to write a blog post. I blame a last-minute scramble to renew my driver's license that was far more complicated than necessary. But just because I'm not contributing anything new doesn't mean there isn't news. There's plenty of it in fact. And some of it's even good! For instance:

Michael Pollan and Mark Bittman BOTH have new books out. "Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation" and "Vegan Before Six" respectively. (I don't want to get all up on a soapbox or anything but buy them at your local bookstore, not Amazon k thanks.)

California killed a bill that would have made it all but illegal to report systematic abuse of farm animals.

A study finally found some real evidence that GMO corn is toxic. (OK the fact that it's toxic isn't the best news, but we always suspected it was. I'm alright with anything that makes it harder for Monsanto to deny that.)

Check back in the upcoming weeks for some exciting new restaurant reviews, book reviews, and everything you need to know about Corn-Free-July 2013!

In the meantime, please enjoy some quality entertainment:

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Wicked Good Cookies for Boston

Here in the Boston area, we're overwhelmingly relieved that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is finally in custody.

Here's a cookie recipe I put together after the bombing to cheer myself up. It features ingredients inspired by the city I love. Make yourself a batch, or keep on scrolling to the end of the post to get your own dozen cookies straight from the corn-free kitchen. All profits from your $20 purchase will benefit One Fund Boston, a charity set up to help the victims.


3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dried kidney beans (in honor of Boston baked beans)
1 1/2 locally farmed grass-fed butter, melted
1 cup New England maple sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 eggs, locally and humanely farmed

2 teaspoons local, pastured milk
1 1/2 teaspoons local, pastured butter
1/2 cup maple sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons potato starch (You can't make New England clam chowdah without potatoes. Incidentally, you also can't make corn-free frosting with confectioners' sugar, so the starch adds that powdery quality to the granulated sugar.)


1. Grab a friend and a glass of home brew and put the Red Sox game on.
2. Preheat the oven to 350. Line the cookie sheets with parchment paper.
3. Divide the dried beans in half, and put the first half in a food processor until they're finely ground, then add the rest. After about one minute, the mixture should become powdery.
4. Pour your newly made bean flour into a large bowl with the all-purpose flour and stir until gently mixed, then sift together into another bowl. This will mix them together well, and any too-large beans pieces won't make it through the sifter.
5. Beat the butter until it's creamy. Gradually add the maple sugar, then vanilla, eggs, and flour mixture.
6. Pour plenty of flour onto a flat surface to keep your batter from sticking to itself, and roll it out until it's about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out whatever cookie shapes you like and bake for about 10 minutes, until the edges are golden brown.
7. While the cookies are in the oven, start on your frosting. Mix together milk, butter, sugar, and starch. Mixture should be thick enough that decorations won't run. Add sugar and starch as needed until you arrive at the right consistency.
8. When cookies come out of the oven, let them cool completely before frosting.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Pumpkin Walnut Cookies

If you're like me, you don't keep a lot of perishables like milk, eggs, and butter around because they end up going bad before you get a chance to use them. This can really cramp your style if you decide to bake a spontaneous batch of cookies and don't want to go to the store. Luckily there are some fantastic recipes out there for vegan baked goods. You can buy the ingredients for this batch and forget about them for months.


1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1 1/3 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 dash salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup sugar
2/3 cups maple syrup
2/3 cup organic canola oil
2 tablespoons molasses
1 can organic pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped walnutes


1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. In a medium sized bowl, mix together flours, starch, oats, baking soda, salt, and spices.
3. In a large bowl, mix together sugar, maple syrup, oil, molasses, pumpkin, and vanilla.
4. Add dry ingredients to wet in three batches, stirring or beating in between batches.
4. Fold in walnuts.
5. Drop by tablespoon onto greased cookie sheets and flatten.
6. Back 16 minutes and set on a wire rack to cool.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Top 5 Things to Buy This Week That Aren't Discount Easter Candy

It's finally here. The sacred holiday we've been eagerly awaiting. Today is the day that Easter candy goes on sale. Not since February 15th has this much chocolate been this cheap. And even if you're not the kind of person who usually goes for that sort of thing, don't act like you're above it. The discount Easter bunny can strike anyone. One minute you're in Walgreen's in search of toothpaste, and the next minute you're literally tripping over one of those strategically placed baskets in the middle of the aisle, and really, how are you supposed to just not buy something that's ten for a dollar? To tell you the truth, I'm eating a Peep right now. And I don't even LIKE Peeps!

So just in case you find yourself in that situation and you want to turn around and buy a spring-themed treat you won't regret within the hour, here's a list of things that you'll find just as easily at the drug store.


They're cheap. They eventually lead to something healthy, delicious, and/or beautiful. Gardening is fun and good for your mental health. What more do I need to say?


With warmer weather right around the corner, it's time to start making preparations for eating outdoors. One more way to make meals an activity rather than an afterthought.


And while we're on the subject of outdoor eating, it's never too early to start stocking up on the things you'll need for a cookout. The seasonal aisles are starting to fill out up with accessories for using and cleaning your grill, plastic tablecloths and cutlery, you name it.


Bird feeders are fun if you like bird-watching, but they can also be helpful in attracting pollinators you'll want for the seeds you're growing. Look up what kinds of birds are native to your region and what their preferences are. Hummingbirds are more common than you might think. They take a special kind of food and they'll show their appreciation for it by helping out with pollination of your butterfly weed, zinnias, and geraniums to name a few.


If you just can't stay away from the holiday aisle and you hate to see all those sad Easter baskets that didn't get to brighten some kid's morning yesterday, take advantage of the clearance sales on out-of-season merchandise and buy yourself a colorful, fun accessory for carrying your purchases at the farmers market this season.