Category Archives: Community Activity

I Love Silverlake Glee Club

I’ve switched from a holiday singer to a year round singer at the Silverlake Music Conservatory Glee Club (or the Silverlake singers as some prefer). I’m not very good, but I figure the more I practice the better I’ll get and it is a chorus, so I feel like I can blend in. Sometimes I even pretend sing. I’m that bad. I’m dedicated to improvement, I try to make all the rehearsals and I even tried to take a sight-reading class. I tried real hard, but had to quit, it made no sense to me whatsoever.

 Here’s the reason I signed up for this season; I really like being part of a musical community. I love listening to the children’s chorus rehearse before us. (See my Johnny in the back row? So handsome.)

chorusI love when coach needs a guitar player and six folks raise their hands. I love seeing musical instrument cases come and go with the wee ones, listening to a bunch of adolescent boys play horns and I love the piano man.horners What a gift, all of it.

I’m sure there’s scientific proof that singing raises the world vibration, but I don’t need it. I know it does. We all know, which at our core is why we sing together.

 You know, when you hit 60 as a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, you gotta go. They show you the door. Bye bye. That could be me in another 5 years, but I don’t fret, I’ll still be singing with the Silverlake Glee Club. And I’m hoping I’ll be pretty good by then.

Sing a song.

The oranges are calling. And the lemons, kumquats and grapefruits.

My Los Angeles neighborhood is at it’s most enchanting when it’s busting at the seam with citrus fruit. Oranges are hedgesGrowing next to fences, driveways and in front and backyards. tree driveAnd there are papaya too!

papaya 2Friends, if you have a tree that needs harvesting,  give my friends at Food Forward a call. They’ll come help. And if your looking for some low hanging lusciousness, try the Fallen Fruit Map!

Or call me!!  I’ll come over and pick a few!!

orange tart

Blood Orange Tart. Easy and delicious.

And then make a rustic tart and invite your friends over for pie and joe.

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Fat Tuesday Fasnacht day has come and gone.

Back in Sellersville, Pennsylvania Dutch Country, the day before Ash Wednesday was fasnacht day. Time to use up the fat in the larder and fry up a huge batch of german donuts before repenting for 40 days of Lenten sacrifice (we never did that part). We did it for good luck, the same way we ate pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day. My Grammy who lived with us growing up made them every year and only once a year. They were a real treat and I loved them.grammy in kitchenGrammy typically made a recipe with baking powder instead of yeast. She fried up lumpy hard donuts, like the kind they call “old fashioneds” and we topped them with a bucket of powdered sugar and ate them up before school. The original breakfast of champions. We washed them down with full fat vitamin fortified cow’s milk before we walked to school.

table of fasnachts

The next day, Lots of the other kids had ashes on their foreheads. (We didn’t do that either) and I never understood until I was older that the two rituals were actually connected.


Today, no fasnachts, no Grammy; but I thought of both of them all day with love and longing.

And I’m feeling lucky. rachel grammy

Buy the book at Indie Bound, read reviews on Amazon.

Oh Milk. You’ve lost that special something.

The  Milk Processor Education Program has announced that “Got Milk?” the slogan they’ve used since 1993 is being replaced.  The lobby’s new slogan “Milk Life” will attempt to recast milk for a hyper-competitive food and beverage marketplace.  Expect ads that look more like Gatorade commercials that suggest consumers reach for “milk instead of an energy bar in the morning.” milk Good lord, what a crock of hooey – HOW MANY THINGS ARE WRONG WITH THAT!  Perhaps milk consumption is down (more than 25% since the 1970’s) because we’re getting smarter as consumers. Maybe the corporate dairy industry should be focused on making their milk better for us and be honest about their product and additives. Consider this happy non-GMO Dairy cow from Straus Family Creamery.

strauss cow While he’s smiling and munching grass in the field, his corporate cow pals are likely standing in pens of pooh up to their elbows pumped up on antibiotics to reduce boils and infections, ingesting GMO corn and soy feed so they bulk up and produce more milk.  This falls under animal cruelty and  corporate greed, not public health. Not only is the feed (try dehydrated garbage in some cases) cause alarm but these operations are condemning us to ingesting antibiotics on a daily basis, not to mention unlabeled GMOs. (No horror pictures here….you can search the web for those.  Back to another happy cow from Clover Organic Farm)

other cow

I think our friends at the Weston Price Foundation get it just about right;

“Once you understand how modern milk is produced and processed, it seems logical to just avoid it altogether. But Real Milk–full-fat, unprocessed milk from pasture-fed cows–contains vital nutrients like fat-soluble vitamins A and D, calcium, vitamin B6, B12, and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid, a fatty acid naturally occurring in grass-fed beef and milk that reduces body fat and protects against cancer). Real milk is a source of complete protein and is loaded with enzymes. Raw milk contains beneficial bacteria that protects against pathogens and contributes to a healthy flora in the intestines. Culturing milk greatly enhances its probiotic and enzyme content, making it a therapeutic food for our digestive system and overall health.”

 Dairy consumption is a very personal choice.  Choose wisely and pay attention to your body.  It’ll let you know whether you’ve made the right choice.

P.S. Goats make milk too.


 Buy the book at Indie Bound, read reviews on Amazon.

Canning Collective Sunday Fun Day

What a day! Forty pounds of cabbage later we each took home over twelve pints of goodness. We made pints and pints of pickled cabbage and sauerkraut.

lootI strained my apple scrap vinegar from Make it and Take it; surprisingly delicious, just ask sister. You should see the mother in that tank!  WOW. I just ordered some oak barrels for my next batch, tasty homemade vinegar from apple peels –  love that!

rachel vWe pressure canned some organic beans, a plain cannellini and a Christmas bean in tomato sauce –  had it for dinner last night with Pickled Cabbage- delish!

beansIt’s a busy afternoon and takes about 4 hours including clean up, and it’s worth every minute. Hanging out with fun folks, getting our hands all in the dish and spreading the love. Thanks Rick, for the amazing cabbage massages.rickAnd we even labeled everything!

gilrs working

Cooking with friends. I could do it every weekend. How about you?

 Buy the book at Indie Bound, read reviews on Amazon.

Please invite the babies.

This picture is from my cousin Eva’s Wedding day back east in Pennsylvania. My  California daughters, upon seeing the fountain in the front yard, stripped down naked and began a hearty session of water play.sc0ea7c54502

Naturally I was mortified, but it was family, and highly entertaining, and nobody was bugging but me. So I let go and took that adorable snap. I really think kids make a wedding day more complete. Take this photo for instance.20130810-DSC02964

The professional photographer By Cherry  captured this moment with Dillard my baker. Dillard looks very happy!  And lookie here at this little lady. There was a chicken coop in the back of the yard at this wedding that was very compelling for the youngsters and kept them very busy – who doesn’t love a little barnyard?

DSC_0704 2

Kids will also take full advantage of the dance floor.20060610_0631

Now I understand your fear –  this could happen. But that’s OK! 1441276_10151717385006510_920292405_nA wedding is about love, community, celebration and family. A whiny baby or sassy toddler adds delightful flavor and diversity to the mix and if you’re not having a black tie affair, let the wee ones come, you’ll be glad you did. Someday soon my sweet bride and groom, you may want to bring your own.2014021595212929

 Buy the book at Indie Bound, read reviews on Amazon.

There’s an Elephant in the Room

Last week, I was part of a panel on sustainability for commercial production. Despite the fact that  water bottles make us  all tyrannical, we’re a calm, dedicated and driven group for change. The gals from EcoSet are making huge waves of change doing a few simple things we’ve heard before,  REDUCE REUSE RECYCLE. That lovely lady next to me (I’m the dork with the re-purposed beverage hang tag as a name tag)  could possibly be my new BFF, Eva Scott from Craft ECO -  we run on the same juice – the “save the world and feed them well” elixir many food maniacs drink daily. There were other amazing members of Mother Earth’s Transition Team, and we all fight the same fight, trying to do enough, do more, keep doing.

IMG_4498We had a great turnout, especially for a rainy night. Sustainability is hip cool, current and attainable. It takes time and all different systems working together.

But what about the fact that the corporations we’re working against, are often the companies that ultimately are responsible for our paycheck?  How are we going to get water bottles out of the daily grind when we’re working with a cola company that produces the hideous bottles of filtered tap water?  Tricky stuff.

True confession. We have a company we love that does print ads for umm… CIGARETTES. The budget is the best, it’s a sustainable set, and yet, ciggies, ugh. Life is a delicate balance, isn’t it?

We’re all dedicated to the fight for a sustainable future, but dang, where is easy street??

 Buy the book at Indie Bound, read reviews on Amazon. 

Fire Cider Controversy

This company wants to trademark the name “fire cider” and this is a link to their response regarding trademarking and here’s a recipe to make your own.

I love fermented potions and it’s difficult to get my mind around someone trademarking a folk remedy, or a way of life (the urban homestead controversy comes to mind).

Can’t we all just get along and pickle together? IMG_2068

Or enjoy pictures of parade dogs in dresses? (with pointy tails)IMG_2703

And one more thing, I’d like to know who’s coming to the kraut making canning collective on the 23rd of February?

I think we should make fire cider too!

Buy the book at Indie Bound, read reviews on Amazon.

Keep Dreaming

I hope you’re taking the opportunity on this National day of service in Recognition of The Great Martin Luther King Jr. to  be of service. I recommend reading his quotes on Pinterest  if you need a little inspiration.  For my part, l’m declaring  on the interwebs  that I will continue to advocate for clean, safe and sustainable food for everyone. Mostly  with my friends at RootDownLA. This little non profit is making a difference. Educating  kids about food has grown into a full gardening program! And this week the team launched a nine week food business class.  Way to go RootdownLA!

Here’s a little seed education happening with our partners  at WE CAN.

IMG_20130717_170542In case you were curious, it takes many many people to make a garden grow. Lots of talking and  making space for food to get big and delicious. IMG_20131002_163627

Support, friendship and follow through are essential. Time and love need to be invested. And in the end,  when the food is harvested, the best part happens; sharing a meal. IMG_20130710_164707

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