Roses and Juliets
The name sounds intriguing huh?
Well, join the Denver book and wine club created by Mastermind Lacey: @roseandjulietbookclub
Last month's book chosen was "Food Revolution: How your diet can help save your life and our world" by John Robbins. If you haven't picked this one up, even just to peruse the contents, you should. Robbins is the son of Baskin-Robbins co-founder and author of many books advocating nutrition, physical health, and environmentalism. He created the organization EarthSave as a reaction to his first book: Diet for a New America. He promotes healthy environmentally sound food choices, produce from the medical system and raise awareness of "the ecological destruction and cruelty linked to the production of food animals."
In conjunction with reading the ideas and views of Robbins, we decided to host a vegan cooking class as our monthly "experience." Of course, we too enjoyed wine from the subscription Lacey has through Winc, wine club.
Keep your eyes on the horizon as Lacey bridges the two concepts...wine and book club. We're all in for a treat!!
In the meantime, stay full with this recipe that we used in our cooking class for last month's meetup:
7-Ingredient Vegan Cheesecakes
7-ingredient vegan, gluten-free cheesecakes that are creamy, slightly tart, perfectly sweet, and 100% irresistible. Better than real cheesecake and the perfect healthy, simple dessert to feed a crowd (or just you).
Author: Minimalist Baker
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Vegan, Gluten-Free
1. Add dates to a food processor and blend until small bits remain and it forms into a ball. Remove and set aside.
2. Next add nuts and process into a meal. Then add dates back in and blend until a loose dough forms - it should stick together when you squeeze a bit between your fingers. If it's too dry, add a few more dates through the spout while processing. If too wet, add more almond or walnut meal. Optional: add a pinch of salt to taste.
3. Lightly grease a standard, 12 slot muffin tin. To make removing the cheesecakes easier, cut strips of parchment paper and lay them in the slots. This creates little tabs that makes removing them easier to pop out once frozen.
4. Next scoop in heaping 1 Tbsp amounts of crust and press with fingers. To pack it down, use a small glass or the back of a spoon to compact it and really press it down. I found the bottom of a glass works well. If it sticks, separate the crust and the glass with a small piece of parchment. Set in freezer to firm up.
5. Add all filling ingredients to a blender and mix until very smooth. For the coconut milk, I like to scoop the "cream" off the top because it provides a richer texture. But if yours is already all mixed together, just add it in as is.
6. You don't need a Vitamix for this recipe, just a quality blender. I mixed mine for 1 minute, then "liquified" or "pureed" it until silky smooth. If it won't come together, add a touch more lemon juice or agave or a splash more coconut milk liquid as the liquid should help it blend better.
7. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. If adding peanut butter, add to the blender and mix until thoroughly combined. If flavoring with blueberry or caramel, wait and swirl on top of plain cheesecakes (optional).
8. Divide filling evenly among the muffin tins. Tap a few times to release any air bubbles, then cover with plastic wrap and freeze until hard - about 4-6 hours.
9. Once set, remove by tugging on the tabs or loosening them with a butter knife. They should pop right out. Our favorite way to devour these was with a little more caramel and a touch of coconut whipped cream. But they're perfect as is! Keep in the freezer for up to 1-2 weeks.
10. Optional: You can set them out for 10 minutes before serving to soften, but I liked them frozen as well.
Mezcla Maggie Turns 3!!
Officially, my first catering event was May of 2014. Legally, our first catering event was December of 2014. So, somewhere in between, I decided October was the best time to celebrate our birthday. It is the perfect time, weather is changing, we're finishing up wedding season and heading into the holiday season.
Come celebrate with us this year, October 15th at the Denver Press Club. We are keeping with the theme of Oktoberfest(although I have yet to explore Germany..) There will be games, lots of food, beer pairings and more! You don't want to miss out, and its all FREE.
We want to make sure everyone connected to Mezcla Maggie knows how much we love and appreciate your support, clients, friends, family, suppliers--we want you all!!:)
Email us for more details or to RSVP email@example.com
Protect Your Brain: Lion's Mane
Not only does it taste delicious, having the texture and consistency as some seafood like scallops or lobster, but it also has powerful neurotrophic abilities. Hericium erinaceus, is an edible fungus that has been long used by Chinese practitioners, touting users to have "nerves of steel and the memory of a lion."
Lion's mane mushrooms can literally take on the appearance of a mane, with cascading spores growing to great lengths before they are harvested. (see photos)
Lucky for us, we were able to see first hand, the life cycle of these protein packed fungi, during our tour of Hazel Dell Mushrooms in Fort Collins, Colorado. The Farm Manager, and mushroom guru, Jared, led us through the growth and harvest process for their five varieties of mushrooms: Crimini (most common, Large Portobello), Lions Mane, Cinnamon Cap, Shiitake, and Oyster (King Oyster).
The Growth Cycle (Copied from James Hammond 1/18/09)
Mushrooms are the spore (seed) producing part of a fungus. Like all living things Mushrooms can have many different shapes and colors depending on the variety. Some mushrooms are edible and choice *Like Ours!* and some are poisonous or simply just don't taste good.
The vegetative state of a fungus is called mycelium and this is typically white and cottony looking. Fungi do not manufacture their own food like plants. The mycelium grows through whatever material the fungus is feeding on and derives its nutrion from it.
A fungus can live for years in the vegetative state. Changes in certain environmental conditions will stimulate the fungus to produce the spore producing mushroom as a way of reproducing itself. Spores are produced and blow in the wind to some new spot to regrow into mycelium and start the fungal process over again.
At Hazel Dell, we grow our mushrooms on hardwood sawdust and mimick indoors what happens in nature. The sawdust is mixed with water and wheat bran and packed into special mushroom growing bags. These bags are steam sterilized and innoculated with pure cultures of the mycelium for the variety of fungus we are trying to grow. The mycelium grows throughout the bag in a period of 4-13 weeks at about 70 degrees F.and binds the sawdust together.
The block of sawdust is then removed from the bag and placed in a humidified and well lit harvest room which is about 60 degrees F. and has plenty of fresh air. This change in environment stimulates the block of mycelim impregnated sawdust to produce mushrooms. It takes about 1-2 weeks in our harvest rooms for the mushrooms to develop and they are then picked and sorted by trained harvesters. Because we use pure cultures of mycelium, we only get the mushrooms we are trying to grow.
Think of the change from a dry summer to a wet fall and thats what our farm is. Except that it is all done indoors under sterile conditions which creates consistant year round production of our wonderful mushrooms.
(see pictures from petri dish, to plate, below)
Now. For what you've been really looking to find out...how to make your brain cells grow and more powerful. For years, studies have been conducted (mostly on animals) to see the affects these mushrooms have on brain cells. It has been concluded that they have antibacterial, anti-hypertensice and anti-diabetic and would-healing properties.
Two novel bioactive compounds – known as hericenones and erinacines – in these mushrooms have been shown to activate a peptide found naturally in our bodies, known scientifically as “nerve growth factor” or NGF. NGF is critically important and necessary for the growth, maintenance, and survival of our brain cells, known as neurons.
These naturally occurring lion’s mane compounds also stimulate a process known as re-myelination. This proces helps to keep brain cells healthy, prevents them from being damaged, and increases their ability to conduct electrical signals efficiently.
This ability of lion’s mane to protect, heal, and regenerate brain cells may one day make it very useful for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, muscular dystrophy, senility, Parkinson’s disease, and other debilitating neurological conditions.
Since 1991, many studies have been published on the brain regenerative properties of lion’s mane mushrooms. For instance, a small clinical study published in 2009 showed that when lion’s mane was given to 50- to 80-year-old Japanese men and women diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), their brain capacity improved significantly – but only as long as they kept consuming the mushrooms.
In this study, 15 men and women took four tablets containing 96 percent Yamabushitake (the Japanese name for lion’s mane) three times daily for 16 weeks. These subjects were then observed for a further four weeks after the therapy period ended.
The study researchers noticed that the Yamabushitake group had significantly higher scores on their cognitive function. In other words, their ability to use their brains to learn and remember were better when compared with the control group. The longer they consumed the lion’s mane mushrooms, the better their scores were.
However, 4 weeks after the study ended and their consumption of mushrooms had stopped, the scores of the Yamabushitake group went down significantly. No adverse effects of Yamabushitake were reported throughout the study or afterwards.
This study shows that lion’s mane could potentially be used to reverse some of the symptoms of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in elderly people. MCI can involve problems with memory, language, thinking, and judgment and is considered to be an intermediate stage between normal mental decline seen with aging and the more serious brain function deficits seen in dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease.
(Copied from https://organixx.com/lions-mane-mushroom-brain-protector/)
Pretty rad stuff!! Let us know what you think in the comments below! Be sure to check out Hazel Dell Mushroom farms and be on the lookout for out next pop-up dinner featuring these fabulous fun guys!!;)
Season of Love
As we wind down this summer, the wedding season continues..this past weekend we celebrated with a couple we've been planning with for over a year. Molly, the bride and a talented violinist, performed during the reception, serenading her new husband on the dance floor. Her bridesmaids also helped create a dynamic song that really made you feel the love! (see video below). It was a first I've ever seen and quite moving!
We also welcomed a few new staff members to the picture..literally in the picture below. Meet Rich and Sabrina, who both made their debut last night serving during the cocktail and buffet. Their vibrant personalities and bright smiles really served the crowd and made the evening enjoyable for the guests out front and the back of the house!
We have a few more weddings on the books with friends of ours, Josh & Heather coming up in a few weekends as well as Shannan coming up at the end of the month..along with a few in October!
Let the love keep coming and we'll keep cooking!:)
And we are back now! Having recently traveled through Rome, Italy; Champagne,France; Stockholm, Sweden and Kevlavik, Iceland. We are in Denver again for some time leading up to another international trip to Paris, France for the Salon du Chocolat !!
The best part of most of my trips...besides the people I'm visiting and sharing the experience with, is of course--the food!
Starting with Rome. Tip to all travelers in this gorgeous historic place, DO NOT feast near the tourist attractions. If so, get a recommendation from a local. Likely, you will have mediocre(if that) food for a heavy price. My suggestion, is to take a few extra steps to the neighborhood of Travestere. Here you will eat what the locals eat, you'll find handmade pasta, sauces with rich flavors, and cold beverages to cool you after your walk around the city. We enjoyed gnocci at a small joint called Pasta and Wine. How more direct can you get? It was awsome..basically the Chipotle/Qdoba if you will, of Italy. You pick you pasta, you pick your sauce and you eat! Wonderful!!
We also stayed in a LOVELY bed and breakfast called GLI Artisti, located at Via Degli Scipioni, 53 Vaticano Prati, Rome 00192. A cute establishment on the 4th floor of a building within blocks of the Vatican City. Fresh espresso and capuccino every morning with fresh baked croissant, filled with nutella and fruit, little cereals, yogurts, fruit and sliced meats available as well. Everything was warmly and artistically decorated, a real gem! We would certainly stay here again.
Moving on to Champagne. We flew into the Paris, Orly Airport and rented a car for a whooping $66 for 4 days. Drove to meet up with some other friends at the Chateau d'Etoges in the Champagne Valley, the only place you will taste REAL champagne at its finest. We explored the World Heritage Site Wine cellars of Veuve Cliquot and Mumm and some other boutique wineries as well, the important guys who feed the big names. We toured the city of Reims, very important to the history of champagne and the region. Probably shouldn't have gone to an Italian restaurant in the heart of France, haha, we had a little trouble ordering our food, but nevertheless, everything was delicious and the Champagne on point! One thing I will never forget, is the magnitude of meals in Europe. Course dinners last at LEAST 3 hours, so make sure you're prepared to wine and dine all night:) Our first night in the Cheateau we enjoyed a 8 course meal (3 of which were dessert).
Champagne countryside was gorgeous with sweeping hillsides of grapes, majority chardonnay, pinot munier and pinot noir (all included in the creation of the best champagne). It seemed like most of the towns we drove through were uninhabitated, or at least no one was wondering the streets. I always wonder what people do for jobs in Europe; apparently, they are just awaiting the picking season. Over 100,000 people come from all over the world to help harvest the grapes. the government only allows the farmers to pick for a week and a half stretch. Why? I didn't catch that. But it is very important it is the most opportune time, and that there are enough people there to get the job done!
Our third country, Sweden. Wow! I really had no expectations going here...except that it was probably going to be similar to my visit to Switzerland...cold, and gorgeous. Yup, correct! But, when the sun was out, it was perfect. Stockholm and Sweden is a compilation of 14 island chain, surrounded by the Baltic Sea and Lake Malaren. We decided to try couchsurfing here, hosted by the magnificent Magnus and his husband Gustav. They introduced us to the country with a warm homemade soup on the evening we arrived, while telling us about the culture in their homeland. Luckily Magnus had time to explore the city with us, taking us first to the Vassa museum. The museum shares a deep part of Sweden's history showcasing the largest preserved object in the world. Vassa is a recovered warship dating back over 350 years ago. It left the port on its maiden voyage and sank within 20 minutes. No one could recover it for over 333 years. Impressive! 98% of the ship is the original, and the museum is still putting its pieces back together.
After the museum, we wandered the streets, thoroughly enjoying Gamla Stan, the old town; nearby there is a Medieval museum (free entrance) that you can get a better feel of how life was there in the 13th century. We tasted street herring and their renowned cinnamon rolls and of course Swedish Meatballs!
Kevlavik was a quick layover while in Iceland. We walked from the airport, a quick 1.5miles. I spent some time 4 years ago in Reykavik and was a bit shocked to see the negative impact tourism is having on the island. It just seems that the last 4-5 years, tourism has boomed and they just can't support it. It was even more apparent when we were boarding our flight to leave Iceland. There weren't enough workers and not enough space to keep everyone in the boarding process. It all worked out...but keep your eyes out in the future for what is happening in Iceland before you go. It's a beautiful country but you'll need to save extra money for any excursions, and you will need to do an excursion to see the sights, there isn't much going on in the city and prices are astronomical because everything is imported. One piece of advice would be to visit their grocery store! A lot cheaper and still delicious. I have yet to try puffin, their delicacy, but I'm still not sure I want to!
That is our 10 days in a nutshell, please feel free to ask questions or for advice about where to go in these cities. I will certainly return to them all! Especially to visit our new Swedish friends!!
Check out our instagram for food photos @MezclaMaggie