Monday, April 19, 2021

 Our House and Creek Gardens


Mike at our house and personal garden

Front garden (note the $120,000 tiny home next door on the left)

East side of the house


One of our gardens next to our outdoor shop area by the creek

Front entrance to our shop area

The "Circle Garden" next to the shop entrance

We built this area for the seats and table one our resident's kids gave us

Our shop garden

The "Trellis Garden" is populated with objects (including the trellis) from a home in our park that was torn down and the park owner gave us permission to get all these items and we put them together in this installation. The park owner LOVES it!


The east "Dog Park Garden." This is the second garden we put together starting about 2 years ago.

The west "Dog Park Garden." This is the first garden we put together starting about 2 years ago.

The "Lower Dog Park Garden"

I planted these aeoniums (look like large flowers) behind the dog park shed to prevent erosion.

Looking west at Morro Creek

"Jenny's Garden"

"Jenny's Garden"



Looking west down the street at the creek gardens


We revived a bunch of old birdhouses that were in various states of disrepair and brought them back to life.

The "Apple Green Garden" Everything we built was from recycled wood and fasteners, and leftover stains and paints.



Most pots are donated by neighbors. We bought a few pots with our own money but they are usually damaged and we negotiate a cheaper price.

The "Pink Bomb"


"Kim's Garden"

"Mike's Garden"

"Mickey's Garden" We did this garden as a memorial garden for her deceased brother and her father.

The "Jewel Garden"

The "Zig-Zag Garden"

"A Row Corner Garden"

"Gail's Garden" is the trellis on the right. We built this one for our neighbor Gail who has created and maintained gardens across from her home for many years. As always, these gardens are built from discarded wood and trellises, reused screws, leftover stain, all donated by neighbors.

The "Jewel Garden" and the trail behind the rocks

Looking east down the trail behind the rocks

One of our "Vignette Gardens" behind the rocks

Looking down the trail, "Judy's Garden" on the left

The "Water Park Garden"

Looking west down the trail

Looking east along the road toward the dog park

Our view of the creek from the shop area


Monday, December 4, 2017

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Super Smoky Vegan Cheese Sauce

This is one of our favorite home made vegan "cheeses," and is a fabulous comfort food addition to your daily menu.

If you own a high speed blender such as a Vitamix or Blendtec, this recipe can be blended for 5 minutes which will cook the ingredients and cause the thickening to happen from the addition of the cornstarch. 

If you don't own a high speed blender, blend ingredients for 1 minute or until smooth, then pour the slurry into a sauce pan and heat over medium heat while stirring constantly until thickened to your preference.


Super Smoky Vegan Cheese Sauce

1/2 cup fresh yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup roasted red bell pepper
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. liquid smoke
1 tsp. salt
1-1/4 to 1-1/2 cups water (less for thicker sauce)


Blend in Vitamix blender on high speed for 5 minutes. Use less water for use as a dip or more water to drizzle over wraps and nachos.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Vegan Lifestyle Links

We start with websites that support the vegan lifestyle, then add links to recipe websites we like, then equipment we use daily, then our links to learn more about vegan meat and cheese substitutes to help you transition to a whole foods, plant-based diet.


Forks Over Knives http://forksoverknives.com/ You can rent the movie there or see it on Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Video, check out of your local library. There are lots of free recipes, success stories for inspiration plus tips on making the lifestyle work for you.

Nutrition Facts NutritionFacts.org is run by a hero of the planet, Dr. Michael Greger MD who compiles and presents all of the English language research papers about nutrition and presents them in videos (usually about 2-3 minutes long) that explain the scientific evidence in lay person’s terms, citing each paper presented in his videos so you can go read the papers for yourself.

Dr. John McDougall MD drmcdougall.com practices in Santa Rosa, California and has several patients who have reversed heart disease, defeated cancers of all kinds, reversed type 2 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and several other diseases. There are lots of inspiring videos of his patients describing how sick they were before adopting Dr. McDougall’s diet and how good they feel and look now. There are also free recipes and newsletters available.

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine http://pcrm.org started by another hero of the planet, Dr. Neal Barnard MD as an association of physicians who promote a healthy plant-based whole food diet as a way of healing their patients. There are several free recipes there along with video cooking lessons. They sponsor a free 21-Day Vegan Kickstart which you can sign up for and start on the first day of each month. They’ll send you free recipes and links to videos to help keep you motivated and on track. It normally takes about no more than 14 days, up to 21 days for your tastebuds to reset and after that you won’t miss the high fat animal foods that are making you sick.

For cooking ideas, check out Happy Herbivore http://happyherbivore.com/ Lindsay Nixon is the creator of the Happy Herbivore and she’s written several books which are a good way to get started with plant-based cooking, the ingredients are mostly easy to find in your local grocery store and are not usually complicated or time consuming.

If you have Netflix look for Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue for great information about getting rid of the harmful items in your kitchen, how to shop for foods and how to prepare a few recipes. Highly recommended.

Fat Free Vegan http://blog.fatfreevegan.com created by Susan Voisin is another great website with free recipes that we make all the time.

Jeff Novick, RD, MS has videos about shopping and cooking for the vegan diet, here’s one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXi998JX8YM

Chef AJ http://chefajwebsite.com/index.html is fun and witty and has some really great videos in her “Healthy Living with Chef AJ” series.

Jill McKeever has super fun videos and has some amazing recipes, many using the Instant Pot, here’s her YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/user/SimpleDailyRecipes

You may be interested in buying an Instant Pot, it’s super versatile and Chef AJ and Jill McKeever have tons of recipes using it. This is the model we use https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FLYWNYQ/

A high speed blender such as Vitamix or Blendtec will definitely make your life easier. We absolutely love our Vitamix! They sometimes sell Vitamix blenders at Costco, that’s where we bought ours.

Meat substitutes: you really want to read the labels on these because many companies put animal proteins into their products. There are a few that are vegan such as:

Beyond Meat http://beyondmeat.com


Field Roast http://fieldroast.com

Gardein https://gardein.com/ I think Gardein products are most or all vegan, check the label first (should say it’s vegan on the package)

“Cheeses”: Same with meats, check the ingredients to avoid animal proteins, but these are vegan:

Daiya “cheese” http://daiyafoods.com available at Whole Foods and certainly other grocery stores.

Miyoko’s Creamery Artisan Vegan Cultured Nut Products http://miyokoskitchen.com available at Whole Foods and other health food stores, spendy but fun to have around from time to time.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Purple Sweet Potatoes

The winter solstice for us is the beginning point of our year so this year our celebration included buying a 40 pound case of organic purple sweet potatoes. We spent the rainy day pressure cooking and bagging them for freezing. For those of you who might be interested in our process, we’ve posted a few pictures.
We like the flavor of these much better than the orange flesh varieties, and there's a big nutrition bonus in this variety, they are very high in cancer fighting antioxidants. Almost anytime you see this beautiful dark purple color in a vegetable or fruit such as beets, red cabbage, blueberries, concord grapes, goji berries, blackberries, etc., it means it’s loaded with antioxidants.
40 pound case of organic purple sweet potatoes.

Potatoes before washing: notice the produce code starts with the number 9 meaning these are organically grown.

After washing in a 10% salt water solution and scrubbing the skin with a brush, then rinsing afterward. Salt water removes any pesticide residue and kills other organic toxins like E. coli and salmonella.

We cut the potatoes in half, then quarters, then cube for pressure cooking.

Cubes ready to cook.

Into the pressure cooker with 1 cup of water, cook at high pressure for 6 minutes, quick pressure release.

Drain the potatoes retaining the wonderful tasting, antioxidant rich "pot liquor" to drink later. We let the potatoes cool in a pan, then spoon into freezer storage bags, about 2 cups per bag. We plan to eat one bag of these between us every two days.

Solstice project complete. Two months worth of purple sweet potato superfood bound for the freezer.

This is our reward: Gorgeous deep purple sweet potatoes with a drizzle of maple syrup, home made pumpkin pie spice, and pecan pieces sprinkled on top, yum!