Slow Miracle Raw Low Fat Zucchini Bread Bars

One summer many years ago on Asbury Street when Mike was a teenager, I opened my front door to a couple of college students who introduced themselves as my neighbors from across the street. Two English majors: Peter and his girlfriend Jennifer. In fact they and their roommates were the first to call the yellow house Yellow House, since they were living there when it was first painted yellow.  Peter did most of the talking. He said that one of his professors, a former colleague of mine, had asked him if he knew that he lived across the street from a poet. “So I thought I’d better come over and meet  you. My girlfriend and I are staying here for the summer, and we thought this would be a good time to meet our neighbors. And you in particular.”

I was immediately charmed by this young man’s sincere belief that it would be fun to get to know the neighbors. Most 21 year olds have very different things on their minds. I was a little embarrassed to be labeled as a poet living across the street, since I wasn’t able to do a whole lot of writing. But I was pleased, too. And thus, a friendship was born.

It turned out Peter’s girlfriend Jennifer was also a poet (a good one). Peter and their other roommate Alex also immediately both took to my son Mike. A friendship between them was cemented when they learned Mike had been video taping Simpson’s episodes for the past few years. Mike would loan them tapes, and Peter, who worked at a bakery downtown, would trade in extra baked goods. Many mornings Mike would check the mailbox to find pastries or cinnamon rolls in exchange for the tapes. When Winter came around, they’d sometimes come get Mike and take him sledding–at night.

Back in that Summer of g=Getting to Know the Neighborhood Poet, they were also learning to grow a garden. Peter also loved to cook, so we had lots to talk about. He is the first person who clued me in to how good fresh rosemary and potatoes are together. I gave them extra salad greens and they quizzed me on the best way to grow lettuce. I invited them to pick some of my raspberries. Before they moved away, Peter and Jennifer both came to have me read their astrological charts for them, and they insisted on paying. Peter also gave me a food dehydrator he had found at a garage sale as a kind of “going away present.” The woman he got it from had the same last name as he has, so he thought it was good luck, and that I could use it to save the bounty from my garden. I still have it, and I still use it. The young people who would follow in their gardening footsteps at Yellow House would also borrow it to dry their tomatoes and peppers.

It isn’t a fancy food dehydrator. It doesn’t even have a fan, which I actually like. It’s quiet, and slow, like I am a lot of the time. But over the years I’ve dried pears, tomatoes, apples,  plums and mushrooms in abundance. One year I even made raisins from a friend’s concord grapes.

Until recently, though, I’d never thought about using it for anything other than stocking up on such basics. I’d never made anything fancy with it. One of the reasons I’ve never made a  dessert with the dehydrator before is that the recipes are always high fat. This one from the Rawtarian is no exception. But the idea of making tiny zucchini breads that didn’t require baking in the oven was captivating to me, so I set about searching for how to make them without 2 cups of nuts and 1 cup of coconut.

I was lucky enough to find this wonderful tip about how raw oat groats can be soaked for making cookies in the food dehydrator, so I decided to try putting elements from both sources together, with a couple of my own twists, and this is what I came up with. It’s fun, rich, and filling while still being a low fat and relatively healthy way to use up your extra zukes without having to turn the oven on.


This is the first in a series of  3 posts I hope to write about the adventurous food I made beyond dried fruit and veggies in my food dehydrator this Summer. Stay tuned. . .

Maria (moonwatcher)


Happiness Challenge

by moonwatcher on August 22, 2014

Twilight Crescent original watercolor by Maria Theresa Maggi

I had a very difficult week. At a visit to the dentist I thought was a conscientious inquiry about a sensitive tooth, I discovered I need much more extensive work than I would ever have dreamed. I won’t be discussing the gory details here or in the comments, but suffice it to say that I’ve been on a steep  learning curve this week about what it means and what kinds of choices i will have to make, and what kind of price tag I’m looking at, along with a return to putting mouth care at the top of my priority list.

Since going to the dentist is among my least favorite things, topped only by having the dentist find something wrong, I thought this might be one of the worst weeks I’ve had in a long time. And yet, on Friday afternoon, as I dozed on the couch with Romeo, listening to a summer thunderstorm roll in, I realized with sharp clarity that despite all this, there had been many times this week I was very happy–and none of the ones I could remember were BEFORE I got the bad news at the dentist.

Perhaps it’s my leisurely reread through The Nature of Personal Reality that helped me to such a realization, with its matter of fact assurance that our beliefs about ourselves and our reality can be changed by no one but ourselves. Yet it isn’t necessary to read channeled material to consider such things. Nearly anything can be a prompt. For instance, one of my friends on facebook has fashioned herself an 8 day gratitude challenge, which she invited a few other friends to join her in. At the end of each day she’s posting what she is grateful for that day on her wall.

It’s easy for me to find things to be grateful for. That’s never been my challenge. Just thinking of one thing creates an almost instant mood shift. But happiness can seem more elusive. Maybe it’s that I guard it more carefully, am hesitant to jinx it, so I “put it in the mouth of the wolf,” as an old Italian saying goes. But suddenly, as I listened to the approaching thunder crack its mighty whip, I was energized by the MANY times I was happy in a week I had begun to assume (and describe) as only difficult.

I’ll list some of them here, in no particular order. And I hope it helps prompt you to remember what made you happy this week, no matter what else took your time and attention.

-At the dentist: after the full mouth x-ray session was over (I was grateful for their equipment which emits a third less radiation than the standard), I was so tired that I thought I would not be able to get up out of the chair, let alone walk home. But then after a while during the exam I felt myself rally and knew I could walk home and enjoy it.

-When I saw the “Easter Island” kleenex dispenser with a Kleenex coming out of its nose in the consultation room and I laughed out loud. Then when the dentist came in we both laughed out loud about it all over again. He said although he hates wasting the kleenex, it’s the best thing in the world for putting 3 year olds at ease. I liked him instantly for that.

-During my whole conversation with the x-ray technician about care products. Just appreciated her style and honesty–and the free Spry gum she gave me

-When Romeo poked his nose up through the arm of the dentist chair to see if I was alright after the dentist touched a sensitive spot in my mouth.

-When the receptionist offered to take care of him while they did the x-rays so he wouldn’t get any “scatter” x-ray, however slight.

-When I discovered it’s easy to eat quinoa, even when my mouth was at its most sensitive

-When I discovered that I LOVE quinoa topped with a generous sprinkling of carob powder, a dash of cinnamon, and a splash of almond milk.

-When my left handed self figured out how to load the right handed soap dispenser in the dishwasher.

-When the young couple and their baby that used to live in my house came over to visit. While we grown-ups visited and dreamed up some ideas about the rain chain we will construct for my new rain barrel, their 10 month old son sat on the ground at his mom’s feet intently examining the marbles, rocks and shells that came out of the jar with some of the ones we will wrap into the rain chain. It made me very happy to see him enjoy himself so intently, something in each hand at all times.

-When my pizza dough, already resting in the fridge for several hours, took the forgotten bit of added salt needed for a proper rise into itself so neatly.

-When I saw how lovely it looked the next day when it was all ready to go in the oven.

spelt sourdough veggie pizza pre-oven


-When I realized this zucchini slice looked like a spider web to me.

spider webbed zucchini slice

-When my trusted herbalist friend gave me some clove oil and a whole list of good things to do and eat, along with her love and support, based on our long years of knowing one another so well.

-When I saw a woman I know on the street after my dentist appointment who told me she wanted to buy my watercolor “Twilight Crescent” hanging in the library for Art Walk (see above). I so enjoyed her lovely words about my other paintings at the co-op show last winter, and also those she shared with me about the beauty of hay, after telling me how much she liked my Haystack of Light painting, which had sold to someone else. She owns one of my rainbow paintings and she said, “Now I’ll have a rainbow and a moon.”

-When I ran into my friend at the co-op and we sat on the bench outside the store and just talked for a while.

-When I went into the store after that and met a woman while i was staring at all the tooth care products who had been through worse than I’ll have to go through and the kind perspective and recommendations she gave me.

-When I got silly while asking my friends who work in produce if they were going to get any fresh figs in.

-Whenever I had a nap or night time cuddle with Romeo, warming up my feet or spooning into my legs. Best cuddler ever, human or not.

original chalk pastel by Maria Theresa maggi

-When I decided to wear my watermelon-colored pants.

-When I finally solved how to frame a drawing I did for a friend.

-When I ate my lunch “with my son” while talking to him on the phone.

When I did my sun salutations early in the morning and the sun was “right there” with me at the window in the front bedroom.

-When I heard the thunder and it ushered in these and other times of happiness in a difficult week.


Your turn. Can you remember your times of happiness this past week?

Maria (moonwatcher)



Instant Vegan Carob Banana Ginger Dipping Sauce (or Pudding)

August 18, 2014

I’ve never had any hesitation that moving to the little house on Van Buren Street was anything but the absolutely right thing for me to do. I just knew it from the very beginning. But if you’d asked me why I’d have a hard time telling you. I could have said “time for a change.” […]

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White Bean and Basil Spread (and The Return of the Sandwich!)

August 13, 2014

Feeling at home on the electric range was just the beginning of what seems likely to become a chain of surprises revealing themselves in my new home. This latest story of surprise and enlightenment has roots that go all the way back to when I was first diagnosed with MS in 1996. One of the […]

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Cucumber Water: Poetry in a Jar

August 9, 2014

Last July I was scurrying around my old kitchen to create sugar free low fat whole food treats for the guests that would arrive when I hosted poetry night at the Asbury Street house. But this July poetry night was literally a walk in the park. It was being hosted quite a ways farther south […]

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Tasty Thai Style Hummus

August 6, 2014

  When it comes to a vegan staple, hummus is right up there at the top of the list–it’s healthy, can be made low fat or fat-free, travels well, and can be spread in a sandwich, a pita, or used as a dip. The usual treatments with garlic and lemon, or the addition of roasted […]

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A Gentle Reminder: Perspective

July 30, 2014

Long ago as a university writing instructor I didn’t have the luxury–or the confidence–to draw pictures on the chalkboard to illustrate a point. Instead it would be key words or concepts from the required reading. What I never failed to marvel at, though, is how many times it was necessary to repeat these key words […]

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Double Banana Bread (Vegan and Gluten Free)

July 25, 2014

When Mike and Kelly and I come together, we always wind up with an overabundance of bananas from both our households. Some travel all the way to Moscow from Portland, needing to be used up before they turn liquid. Others have accumulated at my home base, as I try to squirrel away more than usual […]

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Home on the Electric Range

July 21, 2014

A long time ago, as my friend Jim was building the masonry stove in the house on Asbury Street, we got into a discussion about whether it’s satisfying to be right all the time. Jim is an intelligent and conscientious craftsman and at the time he was very invested in getting things right. And, “rightly,” […]

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Pineapple Basil Garlic Scape Pesto

July 13, 2014

I’m sharing a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share this year from the organic farm at Washington State University with two friends of mine.  I’m so glad they asked to include me, because it’s meant I’ve had more local fresh produce during the move than I otherwise would have, since planting an extensive garden at either […]

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