Malabar Farm Sign

Malabar Farm

What’s “Malabar Farm?”

I remember asking on the rather new brown state signage on the side of I-71 in Ohio on the way to one of our weekend soccer tournaments.

“Don’t know.”

So, as any other curious passenger might do, I googled it.

 

This Ohio State Park is the former homestead of Louis Bromfield, Pulitzer Prize winner, fiction and non-fiction author, screenwriter for MGM, and a man ahead (and behind) of his time in many regards. Malabar Farm received its name in honor of the Indian Coast; most likely a tribute to the story “The Rains Came” that allowed Bromfield to purchase his farm.

His life was a dichotomy from what I have read and understood from our tour guide at the farm. While he enjoyed the finer things in life (such as his “Big House” and frequent parties with Hollywood celebs, including Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall who were married near the double staircase in the Big House) he also appreciated and respected the more simple things in life: cultivating the land, preserving natural resources, and tending to his acreage in mid-Ohio.

Ahead of His Time

Bromfield was a man “ahead of his time” in some regards in that he recognized the importance, and the de-evolution of the “family farm” well before many other Americans recognized it. Growing up on the farm himself, he had originally studied to become a farmer… not realizing yet that his real fate was writing.

However, his recognition of the need to conserve natural resources (the land, soil, water, and forests) as well as preserve a more “natural” and conservative way of farming such as rotating crops and feeding pastures, allowing animals to graze, and growing produce; creating more sustainable, organic, eco-friendly farming methods and greater farming success.

Bromfield’s fear of the family farm and our environment’s downward spiral has proven to be visionary to a degree. Of course, Roosevelt was the first to point out the conservation was necessary years before; but it was Bromfield who wrote poetically about real life on the farm, and the consequences our actions have more than just on our own immediate surroundings.

While some of his practices on the farm were somewhat “radical” for the time period, they helped influence what has become organic methods of farming. It was interesting though, that he wasn’t the perfect environmentalist. Whether or not he realized his impact at the time, he had a famous Jeep which he took to explore his farm; had the “newest” appliances (such as a dishwasher) and, according to our guide, always had the latest and greatest inventions of the time.

And, Behind His Time

While he was a contemporary of Hemingway, his writing was praised at the time, but has lost fashion with readers. His work was honored in literary circles, and received recognition and awards including the Pulitzer Prize for Early Autumn (1927). Many works were turned into movies as well. One such movie,  The Rains Came (1939) won the Academy Award for Special Effects up against a pretty tough competitor at the time: The Wizard of Oz. The screenplay (also written by Bromfield) was based on his novel Rains Came: A Novel of India.

However, his “old” Victorian writing style quickly lost fashion with the reading public in favor of more modern styles such as those of Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Faulkner. Today, it is thought that his books are not on the recommended reading lists of schools and Universities because the Victorian style is better illustrated by authors such as Charles Dickens and Oscar Wilde.

The Farm Today

Upon the author’s death in , the State of Ohio purchased the land and the original buildings that stood on the property, including over 800 acres, cabins, the “sugar shack”, and of course, the Big House. They operate under the same philosophy of Bromfield: to remain eco-friendly, self-sustaining, and with little impact on the environment. The area is now a State Park and offers tours, hiking, and even some camping along with some scheduled events such as the Maple Syrup Festival and Ohio Heritage Days.

(That being said… I am sure by the site of natural gas lines and a decently sized plant in the immediate area that there may have been some financial interests in obtaining the farm as well… but I digress.)

The farm is expansive, but the impact truly does appear minimal. When you explore the land on foot, you will encounter all sorts of natural wooded areas, a cave, creeks, and even a fishing hole and wetlands along with fenced pastures and natural fields.

The hike to the cave and the Sugar Shack took only about a half hour or so and were quite easy to navigate until you got to the wooded foot paths which were a little more steep. This area was carved out by passing glaciers, and offered a stark contrast to the manicured fields of the farmers nearby.

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A few guide signs helped us learn more about the farm, its animals, and the property as we passed by. There is a guided farm tour available on wagon, too, for those who don’t want to hike.

(As a side note, the famous ” Shawshank Tree” is located on the property. However we didn’t spot it. The tree was used in the movie which was filmed nearby at the Ohio Reformatory. They offer guided tours as well if that sort of thing interests you.)

We decided to tour the Big House after our exploration of the farm’s property; but not after we checked out the baby goats and the miniature ponies which we were allowed to pet. The animals were quite friendly to say the least. I assume they are very familiar with guests… and with what guests might bring them in way of treats. (The sign says please don’t feed the animals, but I must have witnessed a half dozen people or so in the short time we were there try to hand them some long grasses or other “treats.”) It was actually one of the highlights of the trip when two overly friendly little goats attempted to escape the enclosed area to explore the tastier selection of clover on the other side of the gate. Of course mam goat was not all too thrilled with the little explorers. (Totally cute… and something every mom can relate to when their little ones get out of hand.)

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The Big House tour was guided by a Park Naturalist who expertly walked us through the main rooms, pointing out all of the items of interest. What was fascinating was not only that the house remained virtually unchanged from its 1950′s state; but that it also contained a wealth of stories, both written and implied. The estate is home to Bromfield’s collection of over 4,000 books, many of them signed first editions, as well as two Grandma Moses original paintings (Bromfield wrote the intro to her biography), Disney Cells (a Bromfield story was turned in to a cartoon) and tons of interesting artifacts from the author’s life and times.

 

So many riches; in a well-lived house that shows its age and wear in the woodwork, door handles, floorboards, and more. One thing that struck me was that the house… well cared for and huge especially in its day for sure… also was “home” because of the Bromfield family’s willingness to share the home with their friends and even their famed boxer dogs.

What might be looked at as a flaw by other mansion-owners was viewed as a mark of character by the Bromfields: the paw marks the dogs left in their doorways and floor. This was, afterall, a farm and a home… as much as it was a respite for the Hollywood elite, the author and his family.

bromfield sign malabar farm

Malabar Farm Restaurant

After the tour, we ate at the Farm Restaurant which touts a menu unlike most other Mid-Ohio eateries: it offers locally grown food.

The restaurant, located just down the street on the property, stands next to a natural well, and “watering hole” frequented by animals, American Indians, and travelers on the busy nearby early trade route. The former homestead of the Schrack was finished in 1820 from bricks made on site. It was purchased by Bromfield in 1941 and added to his Malabar property, where he sold fresh produce from his farm to passers-by.

While our experience at the restaurant was not the best food we have ever eaten (or the least expensive!) there was something exciting about eating only items that were fresh made and locally harvested, including the grass-fed local beef.

We left the Malabar Farm with our bellies full, and our minds full, too.

Not too shabby for an afternoon hike.

malabar farm map scan

 


 

Malabar Farm is located at:
4050 Bromfield Rd, Lucas, OH 44843

It is located in an areas called “Pleasant Valley” (Which happens to be another one of Bromfield’s book titles.)

The area is near Mansfield, Ohio, Mohican Park, and Mt. Gilead. The State Park offers free admission, however, there is a charge for tours. The Big House tour was roughly $5 per person.

 

 

 

 

 

gluten free ode to chicken pot pie

Gluten Free “Ode” to Chicken Pot Pie

Sure, I could make a gluten free pie crust… but for a weekday meal, sometimes it is just time prohibitive. What to substitute instead? How about the good ‘ole gluten free penne! It offers the perfect replacement for the carb-y crust, plus it is probably a little lower in saturated fat. (I’m not really going to look up the numbers here… but the only gluten free pie crust I have had success with has included a ton of butter and shortening in the recipe.)

Next time, I think I will try this over some mashed potatoes… yum :)

Shopping List:

  • 2 Lbs. chicken breast
  • 1 cups water
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups sugar snap peas
  • 2 cups baby carrots
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • black pepper & salt (to taste)
  • 12 oz.- 16 oz. size gluten free penne (I used Barilla Gluten Free Penne Pasta which cooks up pretty consistently and quickly.)

Preparation:

  • Cook the penne as instructed on the box.
  • In a large skillet, bring the 1 cup water and chicken stock to almost boil. Cook the chicken (diced) over medium heat in the liquid. Cover.
  • Once chicken is nearly finished cooking, add the vegetables. Cover to steam the veggies and finish cooking.
  • In a heat-safe (glass) measuring cup, carefully add about 1 cup of the hot liquid. To this add the 1/4 cup of corn starch and the garlic powder, and whisk well to make a thickened liquid.
  • Quickly add to the warm liquid on the stove top and stir quickly and thoroughly to combine all ingredients and create a gravy-like consistency in the skillet.
  • Remove from heat, and add the warm (drained) penne noodles. Sprinkle on salt and pepper to taste.

 

 

gluten free snack caprese

Easy! Caprese Bites

Who doesn’t love a caprese salad during the summer when basil is fresh and the tomatoes are ripe? Its the perfect time of year to make these awesome salads… or try a caprese bite for a quick and easy snack alternative!

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 sliced tomatoes, sliced and halved
  • Fresh basil (chiffonade of basil, about two to three leaves)
  • Fresh mozzarella, sliced and halved
  • White pepper (to taste)
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Olive Oil
  • Seed crackers (I use Blue Diamond Multi-Seeds Crackers … they are seriously really, really good!)

Simply stack a tomato and piece of fresh cheese on each cracker, and sprinkle with your chiffonaded? chiffonated? (Oh, you know what I mean! I seriously think the past tense of chiffonade is non-existent!!!) basil. Lightly top with olive oil and vinegar and a light dusting of white pepper. (A spray version of the olive oil and vinegar works really well for a light misting. A good, reasonable one to try is Balsamic Vinegar Spray By Acetum imported from Italy.)

Il gioco è fatto! Facile!

 

 

 

 

 

heroic glutenfree bbq veggie meatloaf

More Ways To Be Heroic: BBQ Veggie Meatloaf

I love finding new ways to incorporate gluten-free, all-natural HEROIC! seasoning into some of my weekday family meals. The seasoning blend from California Gold BBQ Rubs is salt free and sugar free which makes it a perfect addition to your own recipes without adjusting for sodium or sugar content.

This “mini meatloaf” also includes another very important ingredient: hidden veggies. They add a good sweet flavor, some nutritional benefits, and a super-easy way to incorporate veg into the meal.

Shopping List:

  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup gluten free corn flakes, pulverized in food processor
  • 1 cup zucchini, shredded or minced
  • 2 large carrots, shredded or minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup plus one teaspoon of canola oil
  • 1 cup natural ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar ( I use Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar Organic Raw … with the “mother!”)
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Heroic! BBQ seasoning

Preparation:

  • In a large bowl, mix ground beef, eggs, gluten free corn flakes, zucchini, carrots and garlic until well blended. Form into approximately 8 mini meatloaves/thick patties.
  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • Heat 1/4 cup canola oil over medium flame in a frying pan on the stovetop.
  • Add half the meatloaf patties into the warm oil to brown on one side. Flip patties after about 3-4 minutes to brown the other side. Place patties on a tin-foil lined cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining patties.
  • To create the BBQ sauce, mix together the remaining ingredients: ketchup, mustard, honey, vinegar, sugar, Heroic!, and 1 teaspoon canola oil.
  • Pour equal portions of the BBQ sauce over each meatloaf patty.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 20 minutes.

Delicious! Tangy and sort of sweet, I served ours with Jasmine rice (with a pat of butter and a little parmesan cheese mixed in) to balance the meal a bit; however, these would be great with just about anything including gluten free mac and cheese, potato salad or even homemade french fries or chips.

 

 

 

Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us


The book Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss was published in 2013, and offers an up-to-date, and interesting look at the “big” food companies and their dependence on inexpensive… and addicting… ingredients to sell more of their products, gain shelf space in the grocery aisle, and have people asking for more.

There are so many take-aways from this book, and so many interesting points that are made by the author. What is extremely interesting to me is the investigative reporting on the companies, the interviews, and the candid quips that the author shares about his meetings and findings. (Like, for example, most of the heads of major companies don’t eat their own food.) I also enjoyed the bits on marketing methods, brand growth strategy, and “world domination”… (errr, I mean brand saturation strategy) of the major food companies, who no doubt also influence the “smaller brands. (That is, of course, if they aren’t bought out or gobbled up by them.)

Even though Americans are aware of the dangers of salt, sugar and fats, somehow, it doesn’t seem to matter when it comes to convenience foods that most people rely on, and grew up eating. Even the smartest people… doctors included… often fall into the traps that these companies set through plan that involves strategic marketing, placement, and of course what is referred to as the food’s  “bliss point.” People who try to watch their intake of salt or sugar, or eat low fat,  are often still duped into falling into the convenience-slash-deceptive marketing tactics that these companies use. In fact, example after example is given; fact after fact indicating that people believe they are eating healthier by choosing granola bars, cereals, or convenience meals marked “low fat” or “with calcium” when in fact, they are eating nothing less than the equivalent of a candy bar or can of soda.

Think that food should just taste good? That food giants create hit products based on taste and texture? Think again.The sections about finding the bliss point for manufacturers was fascinating. Of course, it makes sense: scientifically finding the perfect balance of sweet, salty, and fatty to give a good initial “taste” (but, as you’ll read, not “too tasty” or complex, or different) plus a good mouth-feel (something I never really considered before, but surely have encountered once it was explained) as well as a good price point (make it cheap), convenience (make it fast) and durability (make it last a really, really long time on the shelf.) It’s like a huge, scientific pros and cons curve where the ultimate goals is not to find something healthy and delicious; but to find something that people can tolerate while maximizing profits.

In addition, the strategies of brand managers and marketing teams to promote, sell, and addict buyers in order to continue selling were also fantastic. (Fantastic in a sense that they are remote from reality and imaginative; not that they are extraordinarily good or outstanding. Although, I am sure that the marketing managers believe themselves fantastic otherwise, because they are making HUGE profits when they get it right.) The very notion that they use the same strategies as the cigarette companies did long along to bait and hook people is almost appalling. And, while some rather small strides have been taken to reduce advertising to youth (more of an illusion than a reality, really) the more often they can get their products into the hands of a child, the more likely the product will succeed long-term. This explains why cartoon characters are featured on brands that supposedly don’t advertise during children’s programming any longer; or why things appear without crusts that children peel off their sandwiches; or arrive in boxes with games on the side.

The thing I really realized: they have me, too.

Maybe they don’t own me to the same degree as many other people… but they do have me. I have canned goods, soups, broth, and albeit gluten-free and minimal, I still have prepackaged cereals in my pantry. It is very hard to get away from it completely. The fact is it is just too easy to say “have a bowl of cereal” or “eat some yogurt.”  I suspect, if you look in your pantry and fridge, they have you to some degree as well. Perhaps now that my eyes are opened even wider by Moss’s well-written and well-investigated book, I’ll be less likely to settle for cost and convenience over health and nutrition even more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

gluten free blueberry boy bait

Arrowhead Mills Brown Rice Flour

The latest gluten-free product review has posted to The Gluten Freedom Project website.

The full length review on my experience using the Arrowhead Mills Organic Brown Rice Flour can be found at: http://www.glutenfreedomproject.com/topic/product-review-arrowhead-mills-organic-brown-rice-flour.

Since writing the review, I have made several other items with the flour, including the “Blueberry Boy Bait” recipe courtesy of author and allergy-free baker/chef, Cybele Pascal. (The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook, 2010, Random House Publishing.) It turned out well, and would, as my review suggests, purchase the flour again because of the value it presents in both price, versatility and taste.

 

 

 

 

gluten free nut roll

Gluten Free Hungarian Nut Roll

Gluten Free Nut Roll. Somewhat of a misnomer?

Um. Not any more.

I have not been able to find (at least near me) any traditional Hungarian nut roll that was wheat free/gluten free. I once walked past what had promise at the Earth Fare that I shop at… only to be disappointed that someone had simply misplaced (or reshelved!) the roll improperly in the gluten free area. So, of course, I do what I always do: set out to make one myself.

I’m no stranger to nut rolls. I’ve made them before, with varying degrees of successfulness. However, the gluten free version was a first for me. I’ve been thinking about this for a while; however, for those of you that have made nut rolls before, you know it takes some “building up” of nerves. (Unlike cookies and cakes, I always have to work myself up to taking this on! Honestly, its not that it is that complex; it’s just that I fear wasting the time and expense of creating them if they don’t turn out delicious! Walnuts, lemons, butter, dates, yeast = yikes on the grocery bill! Double yikes if you mess it up!)

For my first gluten free attempt, I actually HALVED the original recipe I had. Which, actually worked out just fine and made one large roll. Here is the recipe as I used it for one roll:

Shopping List:

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (one small packet) dry active yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups gluten free flour
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (for yeast)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (extra, reserve for dough)
  • 1/2 cup plain almond milk, warm
  • 8 tbls. unsalted butter, cubed, soft
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 egg, beaten, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

    For filling:

  • 1 cup ground walnuts
  • 1/2 cup medjool dates, pitted and processed to small pieces. (Or, you can use raisins)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbls. water
  • 2 tbls. lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Preparation:

  • Combine yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar, and 1 teaspoon of the flour in a bowl.
  • Pour warm milk over yeast mixture, mix gently and allow to sit for 15 minutes.
  • Combine remaining flour, xanthan gum, lemon zest, cinnamon and nutmeg and 1 tbl. sugar in a second large bowl. With stand mixer, mix in the 8 tablespoons butter. Remove from stand mixer.
  • Make a well in the center of the flour bowl, and pour in the yeast and one egg. Gather and knead until well mixed and smooth.
  • Put the dough onto a floured surface and continue to knead for about 2-3 minutes until very smooth. Set in a bowl, and cover in warm place for 30 minutes  to allow to rise slightly.
  • After 30 minutes, set dough on floured surface and re-knead for 2-3 minutes.
  • Place in refrigerator for 2 or more hours to cool dough and make it easy to roll out.
  • Roll dough out to a very thin (1/8 inch if possible) rectangular sheet on a well-floured surface.
  • Make filling by combining the processed dates, brown sugar, 2 tablespoons water, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tablespoon butter, and walnuts over low heat in a saucepan. (Do not boil! Simply melt together.) Cool this mixture for 10-15 minutes.
  • Pour the cooled walnut mixture over the thin dough sheet and spread it with a spatula to the edges.
  • Roll the dough gently over and over to enclose the fruit (similar to a cinnamon roll.) Tuck the loose edges downward to prevent nuts and filling from leaking out the two ends.
  • Place seam-side-down on a lightly greased cookie sheet.
  • Cut 2-3 “vent” slices across the top to prevent the roll from splitting while it bakes. (Note: You should be able to place the roll back in the fridge at this point if you are not read to bake yet!)
  • Preheat oven to 375º, with roll on top of oven while it warms to allow a little more “rising” from the dough and get it to room temperature.
  • Once preheated, place roll in oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until center is set an top is golden.

 

 

 

 

glutenawayexpo

No travel! Online Gluten Free Expo

If you haven’t already done so, there is still about 6 days left to visit the online gluten free expo at http://www.glutenawayexpo.com/.

The expo delivers on the promise of “meeting” some new gluten free brands along with touching base with some old friends like So Dairy Free, Soy Joy and Udi’s. You can find coupons, order sample packs, or learn about the products and services offered by the 30-plus vendors participating, plus view recipe ideas and enter online giveaways.

The concept was developed by Taylor Miller (http://glutenaway.blogspot.com/) and his mom, Laura, who together were able to put together a nicely organized virtual expo which provides “attendees” like you and I the ability to attend a gluten free expo… which might otherwise be cost-prohibitive when you factor in travel, admission, and lodging… right from the comfort of our own home no matter where we live. Even though there is no charge to attend, one should note, though, that along with “freebies” and contests, there is a small price to pay: getting put onto mailing lists. (You have to read the fine print.) However, the odds are very good that you will wish to be on these vendor lists anyway to receive coupons, recipes and updates; plus you can always opt out/unsubscribe if you decide to do so later on.

A ton of behind-the scenes work and credit is due to Taylor and Laura here. A site and expo online is no easy feat to pull off.  Even though there have been a few glitches, I have no doubt that they will be worked out before the next virtual expo, set for fall of 2014, and they will see even more growth in both vendor participation as well as attendance as word of the expo and its inaugural success catch on. Afterall, it is really a win-win proposition; attendees are awarded samples and offers (for free!) and vendors are introduced to thousands of interested (qualified) potential customers who don’t even have to get out of their PJs if they don’t want to. Nice work, Gluten Away team!

 

 

 

 

 

 

hodgsons mill yellow cake

Hodgson Mill Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix

My girls (age 11 and 12) were watching the “Next Great Baker” and wanted to try their hand at baking some of their own treats.  After some contemplation, and a quick look through some cookbooks, I concluded that the perfect way to start them off easy was with a simple box mix.  Afterall, this was this first attempt at creating something on their very own, from “scratch” and without a ton of guidance from mom.

I like to try new gluten free products, and like to keep a few “quick” solutions on hand (as my husband likes to tease me ” because you never know when the president is going to visit…” so I had a few mixes in the pantry. The girls settled on a classic yellow cake mix that they were going to add almond extract to instead of vanilla to make a very easy almond flavored cake.

The mix happened to be Hodgson Mill Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix that I had recently purchased from our local market at a fairly reasonable price. (Less than $4 for the box; a value for a gluten free, non-GMO cake mix!) Having never had this particular mix before, I was crossing my fingers that, for their sake, it came out delicious. Afterall, I wouldn’t want their first attempts at going it alone to come out poorly.

With limited instruction-slash-advice, the girls were spooning the mix into cupcake liners in no time. And, after about 20 minutes in a 350º oven, had some decent looking little cakes. To add more almond flavor and a little decoration (fancy!), we pulverized some almonds in the ninja along with a teaspoon each of sugar and cinnamon to top the cakes along with some homemade buttercream icing.

The resulting cupcakes were quite delicious; and the girls both did a good job of decorating them with the crushed almond pieces and carefully spreading the frosting. The cake itself was pretty decent, and topped with some “semi-homemade” items, turned into something the girls could be proud of for making themselves. Plus, we got to have cupcakes for dessert. (I mean, who could complain about that!)

 

 

hillary lauren bergh gluten free

Eating Real with Hillary Lauren Bergh

Hillary, like many of us, has had her struggles with health issues that eventually led her to discover new ways of eating and the value of nutrition. Call it fate, or perhaps serendipity, that a chef and lover of food discovered that her nutrition… what she ate… had a huge impact on how she felt.

On her new website, www.hillarylaurenbergh.com, you’ll find that Hillary offers health coaching, menu services, and even offers pre-made, real food snacks. In other words, her own self-discovery, studies, and even bumps and bruises along the way have also led her down a path of both instructing and feeding others healthy, real food solutions to improve one’s health, address allergies, and to boost immunity and energy.

Hillary was kind enough to send our family a nice selection of some samples from her line of real food snacks which are also wheat and gluten-free. And, when I say “real food”, I mean real food.  Because Hillary’s focus is on organic, in-season, and whole food preparation, everything on the label could be read (and understood!) by my youngest child. The foods use healthy options such as almond meal, coconut flours, coconut oil, and natural flavors derived from fruits, nuts, berries, and herbs to create tasty bites that are both good for you and satisfying.

My personal favorite was the Savory Rosemary Almond Shortbread… a moist and delicious bite that was both a tad sweet and savory. It would be awesome paired with salad… or is perfect as a treat all on its own.

Hillary also delivered some of her famous “Powerballs” that are packed with protein and real energy-providing ingredients. Having a Ketogenic diet philosophy, she makes her Coconut Almond Powerballs and the Cacao Mulberry Coconut Powerballs with all-natural (and many organic) ingredients. They are also vegan, low in carbohydrates, and have no “artificial” or empty calories. I love that you could see and taste all the bits and bites she used to make these treats. To me, they tasted like much-better-for-you (and our planet!) candy bars.

We also sampled the Fruit Gummies, which contained pureed fruit and berries. They, too, were delicious. As were the Maple Carmelized Buckinis; flavored organic buckwheat groat that would be perfect for trail hiking, picnic packing, and more. In fact, I can envision these flavorful babies as a perfect vanilla ice cream topping (whether you use soy, coconut, or real ice cream, this would be awesome on top; adding crunch, notes of cinnamon, and some traditional “cone” alternatives. I’m just sayin’…)

As Hillary helps spread the word about the benefits and tastefulness of “real eating” I am sure that we’ll be hearing of even more delicious treats that she whips up in her California kitchen… and we can’t wait to find out what she cooks up next!