maca energy bars

These are really Maca Energy Balls– but that title just might get my site shut down. This recipe was featured in a long-ago cooking class, but it’s one I make for other events, too, and folks always ask about the recipe. These are great snacks to keep in the car, or in your desk for a quick pick-me-up.

Dates are great sources of natural sugars, perfect for after a workout (or just a long day at work!). Maca- if you don’t know- is a teeny turnip-looking root native to South America. It is a delicious supplement that can help with energy, libido, and adrenal function. Most importantly, though, it tastes like caramel malty yumminess. If you are not interested in maca, substitute cacao/cocoa, or just leave it out entirely; nutty cinnamon date balls will still be delish.


Maca Energy Balls

½ cup almonds
½ cup walnuts
pinch salt
3 Tablespoons maca powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¾ cup Medjool dates, pitted
1-2 Tablespoons coconut oil
1-2 Tablespoons water

  1. Add nuts and salt into food processor.  Blend until very fine- much like the texture of sand.
  2. Add in the remaining ingredients, starting with just one Tablespoon of the oil. Blend again, until mixture begins to thicken and stick together inside the processor.
  3. Check the texture by pinching a bit between your fingers; if it is slightly sticky and keeps its shape, it is ready! Add 1 Tbsp more liquid if mixture is too dry.
  4. Pour into a bowl and then shape with your hands into balls (or press into a pan to flatten). Place 1 almond in the center, and store in the fridge.

Yield: About 15, one inch energy balls

homesteading book reviews

Here is a review of two of my favorite homesteady books:

can’t wait to get started!

Canning and Preserving with Ashley English is comprehensive guide to canning, pickling, and ‘putting up’ all types of fruit and vegetables, with both basic and fancy recipes for jams, jellies, and curds. I have never done any canning before- and while I was curious before I am crazy excited right now, wondering how I can get my hands on heaps of organic strawberries along with other cool fruits I can experiment with.

She makes very clear the whats, hows, and whys of canning, including jar selection, vegetable prep, issues about bacteria and pH and all sorts of important things you need to know before cutting up six pounds of berries or asparagus.

I have fond memories of heading to the local u-pick operation and digging in the dirt all morning for strawberries, then heading back to grandma’s house to wash, hull, and chop the strawberries that she then made into jam.  I had to give up the jam when I became a vegetarian- she faithfully used gelatin in all her jam, and would not change. It is my hope that I can make something similar- surely the results will be posted as soon as I can find some berries!

learn how to care for feathered friends.

I also got Keeping Chickens! Equally charming, cute, and practical as her canning book, dealing with all manner of chicken raising- including breed selection, feed choices, and building plans for housing your chicks.  I am especially charmed that she has a chicken-joy similar to my own, raising them for love and eggs, but not for meat.

If it seems odd for a mostly vegan blogger to gush about raising chickens then I imagine you probably have not spent much time with these goofy feathered friends. Personally, I had never thought much about these chicken creatures until I began on the farm with 20 resident chickens. Though I was initially ambivalent, ‘the ladies’ worked their charm on me and I fell deeply in love; in December we got six baby chicks and I was doubly smitten. I found so much joy feeding them kale and broccoli from the fields, often doing harvests just for the ladies. I brought stale rice, beans, bread, and not-perfect vegan baked goods for them, and soon they were eating out of our hands and jumping up to steal our foods. Every morning and afternoon they would come when called, wobbling and gobbling over to me so I could feed them their scratch. I look forward to a day when I can have a few little ladies of my own.

Lady English has a lovely way with words, the design is terribly cute, and her farmhouse lifestyle is very enviable- but also very do-able. And she has a likewise charming blog, and writes all over the place too. Follow her other work:

Small Measure Blog

A follow-up: while I was doing some canning research today I came across some warnings about the BPA in the lids of the canning jars.  Apparently only the seal has the chemical in it (the white part, specifically), and the chance of your homemade goodies getting contaminated is slight, especially if you follow her rules (and general canning rules) and leave a good amount of ‘head space-‘ so the food does not touch the lid.  If this freaks you out, there are alternatives available, including plastic lids (which look like they would fit on ball jars/mason jars, and another company that makes pretty all-glass jars (not interchangeable). Here is the link for the company that makes regular ball jars– so you can contact them and complain!

Utne wrote about it last year, Treehugger did too. For even more comprehensive information about BPA, check out Mother Earth News.

for the happy couple: chocolate cherry wedding cake

Imagine how honored I felt when my good friends asked me to bake their wedding cake! She is a dear friend and also my acupuncturist; he is a prominent local musician (check out their tunes here, please!). The Spicy Cherry Chocolate flavor they chose for their cake was decidedly unconventional, but it fit wonderfully with their unique wedding that involved outrigger canoes, the finest musicians on the island, fire dancing, African dancing, surprise songs, pole-dancing, and heaps of homemade, shared foods. Overall it was very sweet ceremony– and the reception was dangerously fun! And- thank goodness- everyone loved the cake! Click here for the recipe!

the finished cake!

the finished cake!

the liquid and the dry!

the liquid and the dry!

this is how to make cake for 100 people!

this is how to make cake for 100 people!

me working hard in the kitchen

me working hard in the kitchen

the bride with her cake

the bride with her cake

fresh raspberries for the bride

fresh raspberries for the bride

a feast for the eyes

These are some of my favorite food photos of the past three years of blogging. As I was building this website I dug through my photo archives and pulled out some of the best photos. I am not a great photographer- it’s definitely something I struggle with as a blogger. But these are some highlights, so permit me to show off some accidentally great photos! Some feature produce in all its natural glory and others feature some of my favorite recipes from here on Vibrant Wellness Education.

calamansi limes

Calamansi limes from the Ala Moana Farmer’s Market.

coconut chia pudding

Chia Pudding, a quick and easy snack.


My favorite quick meal: udon noodles with greens, tempeh, and tahini sauce.

raw chocolate berry cheezecake

Raw Chocolate & Berry Cheezecake! A sweet frozen treat made with cashews, coconut, cacao, and nuts.

homemade bbq sauce

The best barbeque sauce ever, adapted from Vegan with a Vengeance.

mango black bean salad

Mango season is fleeting, so make use of it with a hearty Black Bean, wheat berry, and mango salad.


My first (maybe last) coconut harvest, when I was living on Maui.


Vegan Gingerbread Cake with Spice Molasses Frosting: my favorite thing about the holidays!


Gorgeous organic strawberries from Maui, a rare find at the markets on Oahu!



love & scones

There is so much love in the air: not only did my little brother get engaged last week, today the ladies are celebrating the nuptials of our good friend at her bridal shower! I am feeling the romance while making my favorite vegan spelt scones and biscuits to share at the tea party. It’s been a long time since these goodies have made an appearance in my kitchen- so long in fact that I forgot some of my key ingredients (oat bran and ground nuts- sorry ladies!). But I’ve resolved to not forget about these goodies again.

But be warned: these scones just might be the key to someone’s heart. Bake them with love using one of the many flavor variations listed below, or invent your own for your special someone! xo raspberr scones

Raspberry Spelt Scones 


2 cups whole spelt flour
½ cup fine oat bran
½ cup ground toasted macadamia nuts
1 tbsp baking powder
pinch sea salt
1/3 cup liquid coconut oil
1/3 cup agave + ¼ cup for drizzle
¼ cup brewed tea
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup raspberries

  1. Preheat oven to 350° and line your cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl mix the spelt flour, oat bran, nuts, baking powder and sea salt.
  3. Measure the oil, 1/3 cup agave, tea, and vanilla into a small bowl and mix to combine. Add the liquids into the dry ingredients, and stir gently. Add the berries and stir to just combine; a few dry spots are okay.
  4. Scoop out ¼ cup batter into your hands, gently press flat, and then lay on the cookie sheets, leaving about 2 inches between the dough. Bake for 15 minutes.
  5. As soon as you remove the scones from the oven, drizzle with the remaining ¼ cup agave. Let stand on the cookie sheet for about 10 minutes, and then move to cooling racks.
  6. These stay good for a few days at room temperature, and they freeze very well.