Y5 – Day 148 – Mountain Mama Soup

As it is cooler in the San Bernardino mountain range at 5300 feet above sea level and the air is breezy and clean, I decided to make a triple C invention: a Cauliflower, Cannellini bean soup thickened with Cashew cream and topped it off with water sauteed mushrooms, red onions and fresh basil. Yum. Satisfyingly delish. No oil, no salt, no sugar, no starch.

Y5 – Day 41 – Culinary Lavender

Organic lavender is also edible. For culinary use, finely chop the blossoms.

Make your own Herbes de Provence. Blend chopped dried savory, thyme, lavender, rosemary, fennel and basil. Yet, another recipe calls for basil, oregano, lavender, sage, and fennel. Herbes de Provence is delicious added to homemade bread or combined with butter. I add garlic, shallots, sea salt and olive oil then toss with root vegetables and roast. Be inventive!

Lavender sugar, lavender lemonade, lavender lemon cookies, jam and lavender ice cream are a few ways to try lavender with sweets.

Pour hot water over lavender buds for tea, strain and add lemon and sweetener of choice, such as honey. Alongside its herbal cousin mint, lavender settles the stomach and aids digestion.

Lavender expands and enhances your cooking repertoire.

Y4 – Day 362 – Spring Cleaning part 2

The formula works, and I tested it for over thirty years. In fact, I washed walls, floors and kept counters clean with this cleanser, throughout my entire adult life. I shared the directions so many times and today, the secret, is yours. The simple preparations include re-using an old plastic spray container you emptied and rinsed out or buy a new refillable bottle. I keep several scents and spray bottles around the house. I invent different combinations and encourage you to add or subtract, to make it your own as well. From now on, I invite you to select this as your new, cheap, environmental, non-hazardous all-purpose spray cleaner. I guarantee these instructions are fool proof. Make sure to read, incorporate and act on today’s THINK ACTION this year!

You will need:
1 funnel and 1 24-32-ounce spray bottle, glass or recycled plastic
1 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar
1 1/2 cups filtered or spring water
1-3 teaspoons biodegradable dish soap, and 20- 30 drops essential oil
– I recommend tea tree as a base (at least 10 drops) because of tea tree’s antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiseptic and antiviral properties. I then add eucalyptus, lemon, peppermint or orange as a general rule, but a plethora of other pleasant and wholesome scents exist so you could include bergamot, geranium, jasmine, lavender, rose, pine, cedarwood or cinnamon to name a few.
Place ingredients into the bottle using a funnel, reserving the dish soap for last (or it will overflow with lather). Shake often while using as it has no preservatives to keep it blended and will naturally separate. It lasts at least a year.

I honor and cleanse my surroundings with a smile.

Y4 – Day 200 – A Quick Vegan Ice Cream

Vegan Soft Serve Ice cream

2 servings/Prep time: 5 min

This is a quick cold dessert to beat the heat or just as a treat. I usually have 1 or 2 bananas from a bunch that go ripe before I can or want to eat them so I peel them, cut them into thirds and place the cut portions in a freezer bag and freeze them for up to one month. It is a great way of not throwing out food and re-purposing it. Plus, it is delicious, and it is worth letting the fruit ripen just to have them handy for this protein, potassium packed, icy refreshment.


2 – 3 frozen bananas

¼ – ½ cup non-dairy milk to ease blending

2 Tbs. nut butter

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

pinch of salt



Place ingredients into a high speed blender and mix till everything is completely incorporated.

You can add 1-2 tsps. of cocoa if you like it chocolatey.

Change the extract flavor and experiment.

You can add mint extract and combine chocolate chips into the ice cream.

Try vegan cookie dough as an addition.

I like it with maple syrup and walnut butter and a few crushed walnuts on top.

Add fruit like strawberries and coconut butter for a tangy fusion.


Calories: 210/serving with ingredients listed. Add or delete calories accordingly if you are changing it up.

Y4 – Day 199 – Mason Jar Oats

Mason Jar Oats

Serves one/ Prep Time: 5 minutes/Total Time: 9-12 hours (overnight)

This easy mason jar recipe is ideal for breakfast on the go or a homey dessert. It works with so many combinations. I have added 1. Peanut butter powder instead of protein with peanuts, no raisins and 1 tsp of unsweetened cocoa. 2. Raspberries with pecans and cocoa, no raisins. 3. Blueberries with 1/2tsp.-1 tsp. cinnamon, walnuts and 4. Strawberries with ¼ cup unsweetened flaked coconut, 1 tsp. lemon juice, 1 tsp. lime juice, no nuts, no raisins and vanilla specks or powder.

Be creative or use my formulas.


¼ – 1/3 cup old fashioned oats or steel cut

2/3 – ¾ cup non-dairy milk

¼ – ½ cup berries, any kind or a mix

2 Tbs. nuts

1 Tbs. raisins (optional)

1 Tbs. protein powder(optional)

1 tsp. maca (optional)

pinch of salt

stevia or Splenda to taste


Just add everything in exactly the order of ingredients. Cover with the lid and shake. Refrigerate overnight. This lasts up to 4 days. When you are ready, just shake the jar, unscrew the lid and stir before eating, testing for desired sweetness.





Y4 – Day 170 – Mountain High Vegan Meals

High altitude Mountain Momma strikes again.

I guess I get inspired up here in Arrowhead so I cooked up two vegan one pot meals at the same time. My old standby is a salad and throw everything I have in it. I wanted something more substantial to go alongside it and by making two different types of dishes in quality and quantity, I can skate through the rest of the week eating healthy without much thought by just tossing a salad and heating up ready made bowls of vegan goodness. Then, I can focus on my writing, painting and researching.

I basically started with the same veggies “sautéed” in water; yellow and green peppers, sliced, diced onions and some minced garlic. I added a can of diced tomatoes to one and a bottle of spaghetti sauce to the other. I also added pinky tan Northern beans, half a can each for extra protein but not so much gas. Both pans simmered with a combination of miso and veggie broth. Each pot was filled with a mix of organic, store bought items and ingredients from my OC, organic garden I cleverly and easily brought up the mountain in Trader Jo insulated bags (everything pre-washed, bagged and sealed).

Then, I added cumin, corn, cayenne, oregano, nutritional yeast, ketchup and smashed up black beans to my Mexican style hearty stew. I served myself a huge helping with slices of avocado and lime, punctuated by homegrown parsley.

I added Italian herbs, kale, vegan meatballs, zucchini and vegan sausage crumbles to my Italian style sauce and served myself yet another sampling of tastiness in the evening with homemade “parmesan” sprinkled on top.

Today, I intend on making tortilla filled tacos with the Mexican stew and add some vegan Mexican cheese sauce and/or salsa to it.

My Italian meal is going to be stuffed into this gigantic zucchini I picked in the garden just before coming up, baked with vegan mozzarella. I may or may not do this today.

While the squirrels, adorable teeny chipmunks (Simon, Theodore and Alvin) and at least five different colorful and extraordinary varieties of birds (mostly in pairs and romantically enough, they feed each other) feast on our feeders, I will dine in high altitude style too.


Y4 – Day 149 – Vegan Caesar Salad Lite

Vegan Caesar Salad by Melissa D’Arabian – Adapted by Cecilia Steger – Best with all organic ingredients.


1/3 cup raw unsalted cashews

Boiling water

¼ cup raw walnuts

¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes

¼ tsp. garlic powder

¼ cup lemon juice

2-3 peeled garlic cloves

2 tsps. Dijon mustard

¼ water

2 Tbs. white or red miso paste

Pepper to taste

3 Hearts of Romaine, roughly torn

2 cups croutons or homemade bread cubes, brushed with olive oil and toasted. OPTIONAL for those with no carb issues.

Place cashews in a small bowl and cover with boiling water.


  1. Toast walnuts in a dry skillet, preferably cast iron or in a 400 degree oven, tossing frequently till warm brown.
  2. In a food processor or blender, combine the walnuts, yeast and garlic. Pulse until well ground. Set aside in a small bowl.
  3. Drain and rinse the cashews and transfer to processor or blender. Add the lemon juice, fresh garlic cloves, water, miso and pepper.
  4. Blend until the mixture is mostly smooth. Taste, adjust seasonings and whirl again until fairly smooth.
  5. In a large bowl, toss the lettuce with the dressing, then top with croutons, if so desired and the ground walnut mix.

The original recipe called for ¼ cup of olive oil but the water when blended in the machine emulsified just as well and therefore I was able to reduce the calorie count by 480 calories.

Y4 – Day 138 – A New ChimiChuri

In my family, spicy, tangy ChimiChuri and sweet, sticky Dulce de Leche, have been standard accompaniments to savory and dessert dishes, respectively. In the last several years, exciting chefs have learned how to concoct this Argentine salsa type item, chimi churi and even Breyer’s brand has Dulce de Leche flavored ice cream these days.

Lots of experimenters have different takes on what ingredients to add or delete to a chimi churi which resembles an Italian green sauce or salsa verde . Most variations include Italian parsley, an acid and plenty of garlic. The recipe calls for mixing finely chopped greens in a bowl with garlic cloves mashed up in a mortar and pestle and allowing the flavors to meld at room temperature with vinegar, oil and spices. I decided to substitute water for the oil to save some calories and it didn’t take away from the flavors. You can keep Chimi Churi for quite a while in the fridge.

My husband brought home dandelion greens, I had some leftover spinach leaves and I cut some Italian parsley from my front yard stash. After washing the greens, I toasted coarsely cut up garlic in a very hot cast iron pan, added a few other ingredients to my food processor and then pulsed and blended it all together. Easy peasy as Jamie Oliver would say.

IMG_1448Here is my adaption from a recipe for dandelion greens pesto I found on line at boardsandknives.com.

Dandelion Chimi Churi.

Use atop salads, vegetables, soups or alone with baguettes.

INGREDIENTS – Use all organic

2 cups       dandelion greens

1 cup        spinach

½ cup        parsley

¾ cup        water

4 large      garlic cloves

1 Tbsp.      raw cashews

1 Tbsp.      fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp.      red wine vinegar

1 tsp.        salt


  1. Heat up a small cast iron skillet on high.
  2. Chop garlic coarsely and large. Toast garlic in pan and toss till lightly browned.
  3. Add all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse till smooth.
  4. Transfer to a sterile glass jar and set it on the counter for one hour to marry the flavors.
  5. Refrigerate up to one or two weeks but I doubt it will last that long.

Y4 – Day 18 – Hi Altitude Veggie Soup

It is relatively cold up here in Arrowhead so yesterday I cooked up a soup that is both delicious, easy and nutritious. It was made completely from leftover organic produce I brought up.

I heated a smallish amount of coconut oil in a medium saucepan on medium high heat. First, I added some medium sliced red onion, and later, I added some chopped up red onion. In total, about half a medium large one. I covered the pot and diced up two carrots, thinly chopped one stalk of celery and added it after stirring up the onions which at this point had become translucent and soft. After that, I covered it and chopped up a peeled large zucchini. I added the squash and one minced garlic clove and stirred, covering the pot. I brought up half a jar of organic, Italian chunky tomato sauce and added that and around one cup of water, stirred and covered. I de-stemmed one large kale leaf and ripped it up into the veggie mix. I brought the soup to boil, stirred, covered, simmered and waited for five minutes. At this point and time, I added organic veggie Better than Bouillon paste I had left in the fridge up here and stirred, tasted, covered and simmered. I chatted with a friend, puttered around and made myself a salad. By this time, the soup was ready.

It took the birds (especially the stunning red capped woodpeckers) just about 24 hours to realize I had put out some wild bird seed in the feeder. And it took me, less than an hour, to create a delicious, nutritious and super easy melody of layered flavors. It tastes much better than my amateur food picture and… I was in a rush to eat. 🙂

This is vegan, gluten free and worth it. Today, I will add cubed, sautéed tofu to my leftovers for a protein punch.