Monthly Archives: June 2014

Strawberry Pie without the Oven version Two

Because you can’t just have one strawberry pie recipe for the whole summer I have a second one for you. The filling for this one is thickened with chia seeds. This one is done in a Mary Ann style pan. Click here for the first pie recipe.

Strawberry-Chia Pie with Chocolate Crust

Crust Ingredients:
2 cups raw walnuts
1 cup dates, pitted
2 Tablespoons cacao powder
1.25 ounces cacao butter

Filling Ingredients:
2 cups strawberry puree
2 Tablespoons MI honey (or agave nectar for vegan)
Pinch sea salt
¼ cup chia seed

1. Gently melt the cacao butter in a dehydrator or double boiler.
2. Process the crust ingredients in the food processor.
3. Press into bottom of Mary Jane pan and place into freezer until the cacao butter is hardened.
4. Remove the crust from the pan and flip the crust over.
5. Blend the strawberry puree, sweetener, and salt in a blender. Add the chia seeds and blend just to mix them in.
6. Pour filling into a bowl and let the mixture thicken for 15 minutes.
7. Pour filling into pie crust and let thicken further in the refrigerator until set.
8. Store in refrigerator.




Filled pie



Strawberry Pie without the Oven version one

Longing for strawberry pie, but you don’t want to heat up your kitchen? My two different raw strawberry pie recipes will do the trick. Version one is below. Click here for version two.

Creamy Strawberry Pie (Serves 6-8)

Crust Ingredients:
2 cups raw walnuts
1/2 cup dates, pitted
2 teaspoons water
1/8 cup dried coconut – for the bottom of the pan.

Filling Ingredients:
6 cups fresh strawberries (measured whole if small, or cut in half if large; these are for filling, you will need extra for garnishing if desired)
2 cup raw cashews, unsoaked
6 Tbsp Michigan raw honey (or substitute agave nectar if vegan)
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 pinches sea salt
2 tsp lemon zest (stir in after pureeing)
Extra strawberries for garnishing, optional

1. Process the walnuts, dates, and water in the food processor.
2. Sprinkle dried coconut onto the bottom of an 8 or 9 inch spring form pan. This will prevent the crust from sticking.
3. Press crust onto the prepared pan.
4. To make the filling, blend all listed filling ingredients except the lemon zest. Blend until smooth, stir in lemon zest, and adjust to taste.
5. Pour the mixture onto the crust. Remove air bubbles by tapping the pan on a table.
6. Place in the freezer until firm (at least 5 – 6 hours). After this time, the pie will be partially set, but can be sliced. You can freeze it longer, and remove the pie about 20 minutes before serving, to slice easily. (Must be served partially frozen for best texture.)


spring form pan prepared with coconut


the crust


finished pie


LEARN TO EAT LOCAL at MI Local Foodbeet

Triple Strawberry Cake

It’s Throwback Thursday! I love strawberries, and this recipe includes fresh strawberries, dried strawberries, and strawberry yogurt. I posted it to my old blog page after revising it from a recipe that I saw in the Grand Rapids Press a couple of years ago. It’s healthy too!


2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

3 large local eggs, at room temperature

1 cup low-fat strawberry yogurt (I used Thomas)

1 cup Michigan honey

1/3 cup vegetable oil

½ cup dried strawberries

2 cups of fresh strawberries, chopped and mashed for topping



–  In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

–  Add eggs, yogurt, honey, and oil.

–  Using an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat for one minute until blended.

–  Scrape sides and bottom of bowl with a spatula. Then, beat on medium speed for one minute.

–  Stir in the dried strawberries.

–  Spread the batter in a 9-inch square metal pan sprayed with non-stick spray.

–  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.

Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert the cake onto the rack and cool completely. Serve with mashed berries on top.

strawberry cake ingredients

Did You Know We’re Number Four?

Michigan Local Craft DistillersFourth in the nation in overall number of distilleries, Michigan distilleries unite to form a statewide organization. There are more than two dozen Michigan distilleries

The Michigan Craft Distillers Association is a non-profit organization charged with marketing the individual member businesses, their products, and events, but also to help bring a voice for the industry when it comes to legislative issues that affect the overall beverage industry. Dianna Stampfler of Promote Michigan will serve as the association’s part-time Executive Director.

“In 2012, I was approached by several of the Michigan distilleries to research and form an organization to represent the industry’s needs,” says Stampfler, who has also worked as the publicist for the Michigan Brewers Guild since 2008. “It’s been a time-consuming process and although no formal organization was in place, the distilleries have been communicating and working together to develop and enhance their industry.”

“Even though the association wasn’t officially formed, the board and many of our future members have been working on various levels to raise awareness for Michigan’s craft distilling industry,” Stampfler says. “Not only is there is regular communication among the distilleries, but our social media channels are full of news clips focused on this rapidly-expanding industry. We’ve been busy – and now, we can formally move forward as the state’s official organization.”

Within the first year of operation, the Michigan Craft Distillers Association will strengthen its ties with other Michigan associations as well as national distiller organizations like the American Craft Distillers Association and the American Distilling Institute.

A directory and map identifying distillery locations is in the works, aimed to boost visits the individual tasting rooms and distilleries. The guide will also serve to encourage residents and visitors alike to seek out, ask for and sample the many Michigan-made craft spirits that are available in the marketplace. This publication will be distributed statewide at the Welcome Centers, chamber offices, and visitor bureau offices, and will also be available online.

An Enthusiast level membership will be offered in the future, allowing individual members of the general public to support the craft distilling industry.


Girl Meets Grill

Interested in grilling techniques? Then, Under the Vines in Grand Rapids has an event for you.

Johnny Secreto Foods, a local award-winning artisan Italian food company known for using all-natural, Michigan-sourced ingredients, are hosting a free grilling clinic for women on Thursday, June 26th from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Under The Vines located at 959 Cherry Street SE in Grand Rapids.

While the clinic, called Girl Meats Grill, is designed to introduce women to grilling, men and couples are also encouraged to attend the event. Guests will have the opportunity to learn about the basic aspects of grilling with a gourmet touch from Chef Devin Maloney. He will be creating and demonstrating two different recipes featuring Johnny Secreto Spice Blends and sauces and pairing them with wines from Under the Vines.

“Our Grilling Clinic is a great way to kick-off the beginning of the 4th of July Holiday,” said John Coram, owner, Johnny Secreto Foods. “And what better place is there to hold the event than at Under the Vines, where they specialize in selling Michigan-made wines and food items that pair well with wine?”

Participants are encouraged to register for the event in advance at Under the Vines or by e-mailing john @ The first 24 people to register will receive a t-shirt and recipe cards and they will also have the chance to be entered into a drawing for a door prize for a complete set of Johnny Secreto products.

“I just love Grand Rapids and the Cherry Street neighborhood, especially this time of year, when people can get out and enjoy all of the family friendly activities that are held here,” said Sandra Kidner Otte, owner of Under the Vines. “Eat. Shop. Rock., an event featuring free live music, will also be held on the 26th so it will really make for a great night out for everyone.”

In business since 2011, Under the Vines is focused on selling Michigan-made food products. They also offer one of the largest selections of Michigan wines in the area and feature a vast collection of Michigan Beers.

Photo of Johnny Secreto Craft BBQ Sauce (1)

Johnny Secreto at  Under the Vines

LEARN TO EAT LOCAL at MI Local Foodbeet.


Party Time at the Market

This Saturday, June 21, The Fulton Street Farmers Market’s new Board of Directors is hosting a Summer Solstice Party from 5-8pm at the Market.

This event is in celebration of the new growing season and the Market’s new facilities. Founders Brewing Company, Martha’s Vineyard, Virtue Cider, Farmers Market vendors, and many local restaurants are donating delicious treats for the celebration. Appetizers and non-alcoholic drinks are free; there will be a cash bar available for beer, wine, and cider. Musical entertainment by Elle Pohlman.

A minimum donation of $25 provides a ticket to the event as well a thank you gift – a shopping bag with their new logo. Tickets can be purchased in advance through Eventbright.

This event also serves to launch the new Friends of the Fulton Street Farmers Market group. Members of the group will have access to information about the market, first opportunity for future events, opportunities to learn about and help the Market, and other privileges. It is a chance for the Fulton Street Farmers Market to thank community members for their support throughout the years.

With the completion of the new facility, Fulton Street Farmers Market is even more committed to fulfilling its potential as a diverse, inclusive, vital, and vibrant community marketplace that offers convenient access to high quality, locally grown, farm fresh products.

Fulton Street Farmers Market is the oldest and largest in Grand Rapids. It was established in 1922 and has recently been renovated. The land is owned by the city of Grand Rapids and considered a city park although the market is overseen by a newly created board of directors.

I hope to see you there!

FSFM Summer Solstice Invite

Dress that Salad

It’s always salad season in Michigan thanks to hoop-house growers. But, right now lettuces are really in season, there are greenhouse tomatoes and cucumbers available, and Michigan carrots are always at farmers markets. So, I’m sharing my favorite salad dressing with you!

It’s a ranch-style dressing without all of the stuff I cannot even pronounce. Sure, it has about a 4-5 day shelf-life BUT IT’S REAL FOOD. And, it freezes well. So, make a big batch – it doubles or triples easily.

Theresa’s Healthy (and raw) Salad Dressing
Makes about 5 ounces

Blend the following (high-speed blender if possible):
¼ cup sunflower seeds (soaked for two hours, drained, and rinsed)
3 Tablespoons filtered water
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic

Soaking the sunflower seeds is important. Otherwise the dressing might be crunchy. 🙂

That’s it. Just chill and pour liberally onto your salad. Also makes a great veggie dip.

sunflower seed salad dressing

NEW in Grand Traverse

Heading to the Traverse City area this summer? Read on to see what’s NEW. Not only is a certain celebrity couple opening a winery, but I found a restaurant expansion, a brand new restaurant, and a new-to-me restaurant (one-year old) during my recent trip.

I was in the area Memorial Day weekend for an open house that Spaghetti Jim’s hosted to feature the expansion. It more than doubles their seating area, and it makes a great banquet room. Owners Jim and Ann Abfalter started making and selling their fabulous pasta in 2010 and opened the restaurant one year later on South Airport Road.

They have a passion for pasta and it shows. They make hand crafted pasta in five cuts (spaghetti, fettuccine. linguine, paparadelle, tagliarini) and five flavors (organic whole grain farro, spinach nutmeg, roasted tomato, buffalo wing, and saffron). If you are a pasta lover – fresh is the way to go. It has so much more depth and character than commercial dry pasta. It cooks up quickly which helps to keep the kitchen cooler on hot days of summer.

The pasta is made from Michigan eggs, and the restaurant dishes feature local produce – often from their own garden. Local meats and cheeses are sourced from Cherry Capital Foods, a distributor who handles local and Michigan products. Purchase the pasta in their on-site store or Burritt’s Fresh Market, Oryana Food Co-op, and The Village Market in Elk Rapids.

Spaghetti Jim's Traverse City

More room at Spaghetti Jim’s

As a happy accident, I came across Northern Natural, on Front Street, in downtown Traverse City. It’s a small place, but they have what you need for a delicious, local meal. They serve their own organic wine and hard cider and opened this small restaurant with food to accompany the beverages. They serve pizza (I had one with MI asparagus and morels), appetizers, sandwiches, and soups.

They source from over 29 local farms! The cheeses come from Grassfields and Terrel and sometimes Boss Cheese and Idyll Farms (goat cheese). Their cider apples come from Kaleva and Bear Lake, and the wine grapes are grown in Leland. The menu changes seasonally. They’re building a new off-site kitchen in Kaleva, so they can source local meat. Their current kitchen is small and not set up for uncooked meat.

Cider Flight from Northern Naturals

Cider Flight from Northern Natural

Pizza with local morel mushrooms and asparagus

Pizza with local morel mushrooms and asparagus

I was also fortunate to be in Traverse City for the opening weekend of The Franklin. They were barely open and super busy. The restaurant is owned by the same people that own Trattoria Stella, so I bet The Frankin will be just as popular and delicious. I don’t like to press too much for information when a restaurant is brand new, but I did ask my server a few questions. They are gearing up for lots of local flavors.

They serve Michigan-produced beer and wine. The chicken is local and soon the lamb will be too. They serve Lake Superior walleye, and Michigan cheeses and produce – which right now is mostly greens.

I ate the tomato soup – which was the best I’ve ever had – and the stuffed poblano pepper entree. The décor is as beautiful as the food. The space includes a beautiful, 120 year old back bar. It reportedly originated from a bar in Marquette and has been resting in a barn in Leelanau County since the 1980’s.

Beautiful Bar at The Franklin

Beautiful Bar at The Franklin

Tomato Soup and Michigan Wine

Tomato Soup and Michigan Wine

As I was touring wineries on Old Mission Peninsula, I learned that celebrity couple Amy Smart and Carter Oosterhouse are starting a winery along with Oosterhouse’s brother Tony. It’s called Bonobo (which is a type of monkey) and is located on the Southern end of Center Road. The building is barely under construction, although their website indicates a summer 2014 opening.

More about them soon, I hope.

Bonobo Under Construction

Bonobo Under Construction


It's easier to find Hawthorne Winery - in it's second season - from the road.

It’s easier to find Hawthorne Winery – in it’s second season – from the road.

The view from Hawthorne is the same!

The view from Hawthorne is the same!

Right Brain Brewery made a beer for Oryana Food Co-op. Delish!

Right Brain Brewery made a beer for Oryana Food Co-op. Delish!