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This past Christmas, we surprised my daughter with a Yonana machine – an electric kitchen appliance that turns frozen fruit into a soft serve treat called Yonanas. My daughter is a vegan so fruit is a big part of her diet and although the majority of fruit she eats is fresh, more than a portion of our freezer is allocated to frozen fruit for her daily smoothies. Sometimes I open the freezer and think Carmen Miranda is looking back at me only to realize its a frozen fruit fest. There are piles of frozen mangos, blueberries, strawberries, pineapples, cantaloupes, raspberries, blackberries, and most popular of all – bananas. Read more »



Sandcastles are an original take on an old Moroccan cookie recipe that utilizes rye flour and coconut oil instead of flour and butter as the basis for each of the four varieties of cookies:  Deep Chocolate Infrared, Maple Dusted Cardamom, Vanilla Black Sesame and Marzipan with Toasted Almonds.  Slightly suspect (because what can be better than butter and flour in a shortbread cookie?), I reluctantly purchased these cookies for my vegan daughter who was looking for a great tasting cookie that satisfied her dietary restrictions. Read more »


Vegan Chocolate Cake

A good chocolate cake has to have big chocolate flavor and be moist with a tender crumb but to make a really good vegan chocolate cake, a bit of creativity is needed because by definition, a vegan product cannot contain the very ingredients – butter and eggs – that traditionally make a cake taste so good (making a chocolate cake from scratch is relatively easy with butter, eggs, and cocoa). Read more »


“Music Through the Floor”

Music Through the Floor is a collection of ten fictional short stories written by Eric Puchner, a writer and professor of literature at Claremont McKenna College in California.  Published in 2005, Music Through the Floor was a finalist for the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award and The California Book Award – a tremendous accomplishment for an author’s first publication of short stories. Read more »


Clarine’s Florentines

Clarine Hardesty is a pastry chef and owner of Clarine’s Florentines, a Berkeley, California-based commercial operation that specializes in the Florentine:  a delicious mixture of toasted nuts and candied fruit held together by a honey and sugar mixture that hardens and forms a crunchy candy-like delicate cookie. To complete the treat, Clarine’s Florentines are dipped in bittersweet chocolate. Read more »