Friday, September 11, 2009

Welcome Back!

We welcomed back a great crowd of regulars and some fun newcomers for our first meeting of the "year." After a summer off, it was clear that we didn't take the time off from finding new and delicious recipes. Of course, many came for Bob's famous Rosemary Focaccia Bread, pictured here, which in itself would make a wonderful meal. (Several of us are working on gluten-free versions, sinc we have so many Celiacs or gluten-sensitive folks!).

We ate first, followed by speaker Tom Miller, of Green Thumb Growers and the FACSAP who spoke on preserving the summer bounty, specifically canning. He began with an overview of the many preservation options and, following the green trend of the times (although to he and many others, it is merely a lifelong lifestyle) calculated the carbon footprint, energy cost, and financial cost of freezing and canning versus store bought. It was estimatedly cheaper to can, because of the electricity cost of refrigerators/freezers, which, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, uses more electricity than all other appliances (except for a pool pump or a spa pump and heater) in one year. Once you boil the water for the cans (which typically are glass jars, not metal), your energy use is done and they can last for years (although they won't be as nutritious or tasty).

Here are some other links on canning and preserving that might be of interest:
We all enjoyed Tom's presentation very much, and there were lots of great questions. It's a good thing we had eaten already, or our questions might have been drowned out by hungry bellies! Here's what we noshed on for our first meeting back (feel free to email or comment here if I have made a descriptive/labeling mistake):

A intriguing new take on a favorite summer fruit: Watermelon Salad (feta cheese optional, thank you!)

Whole Wheat Couscous and Tomato salad

A delicious lentil and corn based salad (gluten-free of course!)

A gorgeous dish from a newcomer: hummus surrounded by dipping options - wow!

Gluten-free Peanut Butter Cookies - yay!

Vegan Coconut Snow Drops

Some raw, vegan cookies, these being Pecan Pie flavor (not shown, Trail Mix Cookies). We have more raw foodists in our mix every month!

Garlic and Sour Cream Bread, possibly from Eileen's, the store that bought our old UUFF building (??).

A rich-looking Pineapple-Cheese Casserole

Local, organic watermelon from Tom :)

Of course fresh fruit from many others, all vegan ;)

Another couscous-lentil dish (vegan) - we love warm meals like these and expect more as the seasons change!

A nice, fresh chickpea-tomato-cabbage salad

And the crowd favorite, a raw, vegan broccoli salad, with a dressing made from nuts. We can't wait for this recipe to be posted on the wiki! (Contact us to be added to the wiki).

We are already looking forward to next month's presentation by Jen Z., on Vegetarian Lunches for the Young and the Young at Heart! She will also focus on her experiences raising her two (very healthy!) vegetarian children. See you on Saturday, October 3rd, 11:30-1:00p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Fredericksburg, located on Plank Rd (Route 3) across from Meadow Farms (5044 Plank Rd).

Next month also brings a Vegetarian Month food and information presentation, entitled, "Where's the Meat?" at the Salem Church Library, not far from the UUFF. On Wednesday, October 7th, from 7-8, there will be a delicious hour of vegan desserts, information for those interested in the vegetarians/vegans lifestyle, and cookbooks and meal ideas for anyone who's interested in a healthier lifestyle! Bring your friends!

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