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Mary "Tyrtle" Rooker

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Free Online Recipe Sources      Meal Preparation Tips     Breakfast     Lunch and Dinner     Dips & Toppings for Salads, Veggies     Toppings for Soups     Garnish Fun     Desserts    

I intend to add new recipes a few times a year, so please check back from time to time or let me know by e-mail (greentyrtle(at) if you'd like me to send you an e-mail anytime I add new recipes.

General Recipe Sources, Free Online

Feel free to search online by ingredient, such as "vegan recipe cauliflower", or by dish, such as "vegan recipe lasagna".

ChooseVeg.Com; not oil-free, but great for starter ideas! Sorted by meal: breakfast, lunch, dinner, soup, snacks.

Physicianís Committee for Responsible Medicine recipes

The Engine 2 Diet, by Rip Esselstyn. Professional athlete-turned-firefighter Rip Esselstyn helped his fellow Engine 2 firefighters in Austin, TX, change from dire physical condition (one had a cholesterol level of 344!) to health. By following Ripís program, everyone lost weight (some more than 20 lbs.), lowered their cholesterol, and improved their overall health.

Fat-Free Vegan Kitchen: Sinlessly Delicious; by Susan Voisin. "Fat-Free" is a misnomer; like me, she replaces oils with the small amounts of the healthy fats of whole nuts, seeds, avocados, etc.

By Any Greens Necessary: A Revolutionary Guide for Black Women Who Want to Eat Great, Get Healthy, Lose Weight, and Look Phat [Book], by Tracye Lynn McQuirter, MPH. Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books, 2010. 214 pp.
     See her website. McQuirter is a dietitian and one of my favorite writers on this topic! She's an engaging, compelling writer. Her book is a great read for everyone, regardless of color, sex, gender, or other identity. She occasionally offers cooking classes, including Vegan Soul Food! Caution: she uses oils, but you can find healthy substitutes.

Low-Fat Vegan Comfort Food, by Veronica Grace, a.k.a.The Low Fat Vegan Chef. Many recipes from her book are free online! Check these out for holiday dishes and more!

Robin Robertsonís Global Vegan Kitchen

Meal Preparation Tips

Cook Less, Go Raw. The best part about my healthier cooking these days is that it means less cooking. I eat a lot more raw veggies, about half raw and half cooked, as Dr. Joel Fuhrman recommends. Beans or grains need to be cooked, but I'm eating much less of those. Raw foods are healthy, so go as "raw" as you like. Aim to have at least one large raw meal a day, enough that the average person in the U.S. would be stunned to see one person eating so much food. In addition to a large raw "salad" every day for lunch or dinner, my breakfast is nearly always also a raw meal of fruits, seeds, and nuts.

Cook in Quantities Once a Week. Some cook beans daily using a crock pot to simplify life and have the evening meal ready out of the pot when they get home. I prefer to cook veggies daily but to cook beans or rice only once a week so those are ready-made to just serve cold or heat up. Once a week, you may want to prepare the following:
  • A big pot of beans;
  • A big pot of rice or other whole grain;
  • An oil-free salad dressing (usually no cooking, just toss ingredients in the blender and store in the fridge in a jar or dressing dispenser).
Also, I often freeze beans and grains in meal portion sizes, then just take them out as needed to thaw and toss on top of my big salad or steamed veggie meal. Same with rice. Amaranth and quinoa cook up pretty quickly, but I don't eat grains more than a few times a week. With extra time now freed from cooking, I like to garnish some of the veggies to make the plate look as delectable as it tastes. Garnishing is fun and lets me play with my food.

Eat Beans. I try to satisfy any desires for "heavy" foods with beans, nuts, seeds, or sweet potatoes instead of grains, white potatoes, or breads. My handy, 4-page Beans Without Gas! Soaking & Cooking Tips can help. I still have my egg and oil substitution charts taped on the inside kitchen cabinets, but I don't use them as much as I used to. Trying to adapt animal- or oil-based dishes is more work than just tossing together some veggies with my own dressings and toppings.

Experiment with What's on Hand. Remember from my main Recipes & Tips page the Quick Guide for Creating Lunch and Dinner Recipes, which is as easy as picking one or more item from each column. I use recipes for desserts and dressings, but basic lunches and dinners are mostly just any combination of veggies that I'm in the mood for with whatever out-of-the-fridge toppings I want.

Reference Charts & Tips
Quick Guide for Creating Lunch and Dinner Recipes
8 Principles for Becoming Plant Perfect, by Ann Esselstyn
Ten Tips for Staying Happy and Healthy on a Vegan Diet, by Ginny Messina, R.D.
Drying Fresh Herbs

Daily Mealtime Cooking

  1. As you make each lunch or dinner, prepare your veggies only, either raw or steamed. It's okay to make enough for two meals while you're at it, if you like.
  2. Add 1/2 cup or so of beans or grains per person.
  3. Dress with your favorite toppings, and be sure to add some nuts or seeds (if not in your dressing) to get that needed, healthy fat to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins in your veggies.

About Nutritional Yeast & Flax Seeds

These two have special health benefits, but they also just add nice flavor to boot! Brewer's yeast is also healthful, but I prefer the nutritional yeast taste. I tend to use flax meal with fruits and nutritional and brewer's yeasts on veggies or grains.

Flax seeds, like all seeds and nuts, are usually best eaten raw. Flax seeds, though, must also be ground into a meal or powder. This is quick and easy to do in most blenders. I buy a month's worth of flax seeds in the bulk section of my local food co-op, then blend/grind enough to last a week or so and store those in a jar in the fridge.

My usual apple breakfast uses flax meal.


Lunch/Dinner Entrees

Dips & Toppings for Salads, Vegetables

My Favorite Soup Toppings

Garnish Fun



Apples 'n' Greens Power Breakfast

My favorite "fast food" breakfast! Wash and dice one apple, add toppings, DONE! Serves one.
     — diced apple
     — 1 tsp. Ceylon cinnamon
     — 1-2 Tbsp. flax meal
     — 1 Tbsp. hemp seed or chia seed
     — 1 or 2 leaves of diced kale or other fresh green or sprouts
     — handful of cranberries or goji berries
     — maybe a few raisins
You could add a few walnuts, but I eat those later in the day as desserts with dates and carob powder. Back to My Recipes index      



     — 1/2 cup or so of your favorite pre-cooked beans
     — sliced and halved zucchini
     — sliced and halved squash
     — oil-free salsa (I often use store-bought)
     — nutritional yeast
Cook beans if they're not already done. Steam the zucchini for a few minutes until just softened but not mushy. Serve and assemble with beans and toppings. Also good with chopped onions and garlic added to the steamer pot. Explore other herb toppings, too, like basil. You could also add a sprinkling of seeds.

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Beet Spaghetti

     — red beet
     — chard
     — purple cabbage
     — fresh orange
     — green pepper
No cooking for this one; it's a regular, raw salad. Cut the chard into small bite-sized shreds, diced the purple cabbage and green pepper, and put them on the plate. Run the beet through the Cook Helper (spiralizer) or shred it with a grater, blender, or the groovy groover tool. Dice the fresh orange and add it. Serve as is or top with anything else you like (nuts, seeds, dressing).

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Broccoli Garden

     — broccoli (save the shredded broccoli stalk for garnish)
     — cabbage
     — tomatoes
     — pinto beans
     — oil-free Fuhrman's Thousand Island Dressing
     — shredded broccoli stalk garnish
Cook your beans and make your dressing if you don't have some pre-made.

If you have a groovy groover, run it down the broccoli stalk to make thin spaghetti strands for a nice optional garnish. You can also put the stalk through the carrot curler to make some lovely flowers. Or you can just thinly slice (1/8 inch or so) the stalks. Whatever method you used, place them in the bottom of your steam pot along with the diced purple cabbage.

Steam the stem and cabbage for 5 minutes or so, because they will need longer to cook than the florets. Then add the chopped florets and steam another 6 minutes or so. The florets should be bright green and not too soft.

Assemble everything on your plates or serving bowl and enjoy.

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3C: Carrots, Cabbage, & Collards!

     — carrots
     — cabbage
     — collards
     — pea shoots
     — black sesame seeds
Garnish with pea shoots and black sesame seeds.

Another simple, all-raw salad. Wash and cut up the veggies of your choice in the amounts you like. I picked carrots, using the groovy groover. My garnish add-ons were the thin carrot shreds, pea shoots, and black sesame seeds. You could add any of the usual toppings you like.

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Creamy Delight Soup

     — 1 head of cauliflower
     — 1 or 2 medium beets
     — 1 potato, white or sweet
     — leftover steam water, as needed for desired soup thickness
     — green garnish (sweet pea shoots here, but any herb will do)
     — nutritional yeast
     — optional: 1 tsp. or so of Miso or Bragg's Liquid Aminos (but watch the sodium in Bragg's! Try it without the Bragg's and see if it isn't yummy as is or with Miso.)
Steamed cauliflower, beets, and potatoes in one steamer pan, starting with the one that needs to steam the longest and adding in the others; this varies by the thickness of the cut of each. When all are done, puree with a small amount of leftover steam water in the blender, however much you need to keep the blender happy. Keep it thick for a puree or add more water for a soupier consistency. Serve, stirring in nutritional yeast for an even creamier, slightly cheesy taste. Top with green garnish.

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Daikon Delight!

     — daikon radish
     — cucumber
     — cabbage
     — golden beet
     — beans
     — Fuhrman's Thousand Island Dressing
Another simple, all-raw salad. Wash and cut up the veggies of your choice in the amounts you like. I used the Cook Helper for the cucumber garnish and golden beet "spaghetti." The groovy groover and carrot curler quickly made the fabulous daikon radish fans. You could add any other toppings you like.

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Greens n Rice

     — 1/3 to 1/2 cup cooked brown rice per serving
     — kale
     — broccoli
     — carrots
     — onion, about 1/4 per serving, to taste
     — garlic, about 1 clove per serving, to taste
     — Fuhrman's Thousand Island Dressing
     — black sesame seeds

Cook rice if not pre-made. Chop carrots and thinly slice the broccoli stalk. Steam them for about 5 minutes before adding chopped broccoli florets, finely diced garlic and chopped onion. Add thinly chopped kale strips about 3 minutes after florets go on the steam pot. Steam about 5 more minutes. When all is done, serve with an oil-free dressing if you like or any of the usual toppings; I added black sesame seeds.

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Kale-Golden Beet Salad-Red Pepper with Cucumber Garnish

     — kale
     — golden beet
     — red pepper
     — green pepper
     — cucumber
     — dressing of your choice
I used the Cook Helper for the cucumber garnish and golden beet "spaghetti." See demos for the cucumber "roses" and "pinwheels" at the top of the plate, made with a simple kitchen knife. Add any dressing. Sliced avocado would also be good.

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Root Veggie Casserole topped with pecans

     — beets
     — cabbage
     — zucchini
     — onion
     — Fuhrman's Thousand Island Dressing
     — pecans
     — sesame seeds, black or white
Dice beets and purple cabbage; steam them until tender or just leave them raw. Grate zucchini (I used Cook Helper) and slice onion. Toss, add dressing; top with pecans and black sesame seeds.

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Salsa Rice & Peppers

     — brown rice
     — green and red peppers
     — salsa

Cook rice if not already prepared.

Chopped peppers can be lightly steamed, sauteed in water, or served raw. Serve over a bed of re-heated brown rice and top with salsa. Hummus, guacamole, or sliced avocado would also be good in place of the salsa.

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Tofu Natanson

Do I have great neighbors or what?! My neighbors, The Natansons, gave me some of their freshly home-made tofu!
     — kale
     — golden beet
     — tofu
     — dressing of your choice
     — black sesame seeds

Slice thinly the kale and steam it for 5 minutes or so, topped with the tofu. You could water-saute the tofu, but that means another skillet to wash.

While that's steaming, grate some of the golden beat, however much you want; I used my Cook Helper spiralizer. You could toss the beet threads into the steamer, but I prefer it raw. I topped with Fuhrman's Thousand Island Dressing, but any dressing works with this versatile dish, even a peanut sauce.

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Cashew Cremes: Regular, Sour Creme, & Whipped Creme
Raw cashews easily make 3 great, quick, versatile dips or toppings for veggies, beans, grains, or fruit—any dish, really! Lasts 3 to 5 days in the fridge.

Basic Cashew Creme
     — 1-1/3 cups raw cashews (do not use roasted)
         (Note: you can substitute raw macademia nuts for half of the cashews)
     — enough water to cover the nuts while soaking
     — fresh water for blending, 1/2 to 2/3 cups (use less for a thicker consistency)
Soak nuts, covered, at room temperature or in fridge for 2 to 8 hours. Drain when done soaking. Blend on highest speed with enough fresh water to get the desired consistency, depending on how thick or thin you want it to be. Use a high-speed professional blender for the creamiest results or strain it through a fine-mesh sieve.

Sour Creme
Follow Basic instructions as above, but add
     — 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon or lime juice (freshly squeezed is best)
     — 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
Vary proportions to get the taste you prefer!

For Whipped Creme
Follow Basic instructions as above, but add
     — 2/3 cup dates, pitted
     — 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
     — Other optional additions: 1 medium banana or 1/2 cup or so of any non-dairy "milk" like soy milk
If you're making larger batches, I use about 2 large medjool dates per cup, but you can use more or less to get the desired sweetness.

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Super-Easy Dressing #1: Tahini with Cider Vinegar
Ready in 5 to 10 minutes, by The Tofu Guru, Brittany Roberts.
     — 3 Tbsp sesame tahini (preferably raw)
     — 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
Stir with a fork, and, if needed for consistency, add a bit of water. She uses this dressing for collard wraps, but itíd be good on anything. You can ignore the first 47 seconds, where she shows off her sunglasses.

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Super-Easy Dressing #2: Angelic Avocado Dressing
You won't believe this healthy alternative to deviled eggs!
     — 1 Avocado, ripe
     — 2 tsp. mustard, more or less to taste
     — 1/4 tsp. black salt, aka "Kala Namak" (optional; find it in any Indian or ethnic grocery)
Split avocado in half and remove pit; scoop out the avocado into a bowl (or even on your plate) and mash a bit with the back of a fork. Add mustard and black salt. Stir; done!
   Serve on sliced raw zucchini, green pepper, celery, broccoli, or other raw veggies. Great on steamed or baked potatoes or as a steamed broccoli topping!
   To get different tastes, add a bit of lemon or lime juice; nutritional yeast; garlic or onion powder; fresh diced onion; maybe even hot sauce...experiment!

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Super-Easy Dressing #3: Yummy Peanut Sauce
     — 4 Tbsp Peanut butter
     — 2 Tbsp lemon juice
     — 2 Tbsp Braggís Liquid Aminos or Soy Sauce
Stir the above into a bowl. Add water if desired for consistency. Done!
Optional additions: a clove of crushed garlic, 1 teaspoon dried ginger powder.

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Gee Whiz Spread

Great, quick, thick spread for veggie slices. This is my variation of a recipe.
     — 2 cups white beans, cooked (or one 15 oz. can, drained and rinsed)
     — 1/2 cup roasted red peppers or 1/2 cup pimiento, pieces
          (can substitute 1 tsp. paprika or 2 Tbsp. unsalted tomato paste or sauce)
     — 6 to 8 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
     — 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon or lime juice (freshly squeezed is best; can substitute 1-1/2 Tbsp. white vinegar)
     — 2 Tbsp. sesame tahini or 2 to 3 Tbsp. smooth cashew butter
     — 1 tsp. prepared yellow mustard
     — 1 tsp. chives, dried (or one Tbsp. fresh)
     — 1/2 tsp. salt
     — 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
     — 1/2 tsp. onion powder
Optional, but I recommend it: 1 to 2 teaspoons light or chickpea miso, for an "aged cheddar" flavor.
Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until completely smooth and evenly colored (may take a few minutes). Stop processor and scrape down sides of bowl as necessary during processing. Chill completely before serving. Keeps 5-7 days in the refrigerator.

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Carrot Salad Dip
Photo source: Fat-Free Vegan

     — 2 cups carrots
     — 1 medium ripe bell pepper or roasted red pepper
     — 1 tomato (optional)
     — 1 Tbsp. Bragg's Liquid Aminos (I prefer Apple Cider Vinegar)
     — 4 Tbsp. no-oil dressing (I used 1/2 cup or more of raw cashew or macademia nuts, soaked in water 2 to 8 hours, then pureed in blender)
     — 2 stalks of celery
     — 1/2 medium red onion or spring onions
     — 1/2 cup parsley
     — 1/2 tsp. dulse flakes to taste (I used more, about 2 teaspoons)
I added 1/2 tsp. or so of the following herbs:
Basil, Celery seed, Celery salt, Ginger powder, Marjoram, Garlic powder, Garlic (fresh, 2 small cloves), Ground mustard, Onion powder, Black pepper

I put everything in the food processor, but you can also prep by hand: finely chop the pepper, celery, onion, and tomato. Place in a bowl. Finely grate carrots, resembling carrot pulp, and add the carrot to the vegetable mixture.
Combine 4 Tbsp. of no-oil dressing, Bragg's, parsley, dulse, and herbs; add to the above chopped vegetables. Mix well and allow to marinate for flavors to blend. May be served on a bed of lettuce, on sliced raw zucchini or celery chunks, on a sandwich, or to stuff a pita or tomato.

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Simple Garnishing Tools

These run $8 to $10 and are worth every penny and more to me. In addition to making veggies and fruits look stunning very easily and very quickly, they let me play with the food. I enjoy these simple tools and find them to be great fun! The orange tool is a large version of the carrot curler. The black object below it is the groovy groover. The last item is, of course, a regular kitchen knife.

I made all the garnishes you see on this plate with these three simple tools. The top of the plate garnish is cucumber; the white spiral and "coins" at the bottom are daikon radish.

The online 6-minute demo shows how to use both the Large Carrot Curler & Groovy Groover.

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Cook Helper Spiral Slicer

This is a non-electric machine that you operate by turning the handle on top.

The main (permanent, slicing) blade gives lovely, super-thin cucumber curls, which can be stretched out into a "necklace", gathered into a decorative, curly pile, or even quickly rolled into roses.

A second blade can be added to turn golden beets, zucchini, etc. into what looks like spaghetti. The "spaghetti-izing" blade comes in a narrow, medium, and wide width, depending on how thick or thin you want your "spaghetti" strands to come out.

Soooo easy, and looks gourmet! About $49, so not cheap, but I love mine! Watch the 11-minute video to learn how to use it.

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Walnut Date Balls or Fudge Babies

This recipe came to me from my wonderful sister, Ann, who has helped to wean me off of chocolate. These treats used carob, not chocolate, but taste quite chocolatey!

     — 1 cup walnuts (raw)
     — 1 1/3 cup pitted dates
     — 1 tsp. vanilla (use real vanilla, not artificial)
     — optional pinch of salt
     — 2 to 4 Tbsp. carob powder

1. Chop/blend all in Vitamix. (Not sure if a blender will work but if you don't have a Vitamix, by all means try the blender.) Be careful not to overblend. It should form one large clump, but blending too long will release the oils in the walnuts. It will be real thick and you have to dig it out with a spatula or your hands to get it all out.

2. Roll into balls or shape into bars.

These make a grrrrrrrreat dessert! I can only eat two at a time for they are rich! If you do not want it real caroby, use only 2-3 T of carob powder.

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Homemade Chocolates

     — baking chocolate bar or chocolate chips
     — any desired dried fruit: cranberry, blueberry, cherry...
     — any desired chopped nuts or seeds: almonds, cashews ...
     — any desired zest: I make orange zest from fresh organic oranges and stock it in a small jar in the freezer
     — any desired flavorings: orange oil, peppermint ...

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Once it's all melted, stir in any additions into the pan. Release by the spoonful onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment or waxed paper or use candy mold trays. Place sheet/tray in freezer 5 to 10 minutes; they're done when all wetness is gone and they easily come off the paper or readily pop out of the mold.

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Orange Goji Berry Balls
     — 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
     — 1 cup chopped walnuts
     — 1 cup dates, pitted
     — 1/2 cup raisins
     — 1 cup unsulphured dried apricots
     — 1 cup Goji berries (or dried blueberries or dried cherries)
     — 2 tablespoons unhulled sesame seeds
     — 3 tablespoons flax meal
     — 1 teaspoon dried organic orange zest (I add a tablespoon or so)
     — 1 teaspoon water

1. In a food processor, process oats until finely chopped, then add walnuts and process until chopped but not a powder. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
2. Place dates, raisins, apricots, and Goji berries in food processor. Process until the mass forms one large ball. (My food processor is small, so I briefly stirred these ingredients together in a bowl and processed them in the processor in portions.)
3. Turn into oat-walnut mixing bowl and add sesame seeds, orange zest, and water along with the oat mixture and knead by hand until thoroughly combined.
4. For balls: roll into balls and serve. You can roll in coconut flakes or oat/walnut "flour" from placing them in the blender, but I like them plain.
For energy bars: Press into an 8 X 11 1/2-inch baking dish and cut into 12 large bars or many smaller squares. Serve!

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Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Thousand Island Dressing

This is one of my favorite dressings from Dr. Joel Fuhrman, as featured on the Dr. Oz show! Dr. Fuhrman's books, recipes, and website are terrific. Dr. Fuhrman's recipes made it possible for me to go oil-free with zero suffering; his oil substitutes are healthful, easy, and amazingly delicious.

This recipe can easily be adapted to serve as a dip with a veggie or cracker tray; just reduce the amount of "milk" so it's thicker. It says "Serves 4", but I think it makes a lot.

     — 1/2 cup raw almonds (I use all cashews, but almonds are fine, too)
     — 1/2 cup raw cashews
     — 1/2 cup unsweetened soy, hemp, or almond milk
     — 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
     — 2 tbsp lemon juice
     — 1 tbsp fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried
     — 1 tsp onion powder or granules
     — 1/2 tsp. garlic powder or one or more fresh garlic cloves
     — 3 tbsp tomato paste
     — 1 or 2 pitted dates
     — 1/2 cucumber, peeled and cut into two equal portions
     — 1/4 cup finely chopped onion

In a food processor or high-powered blender, blend together the nuts, milk, vinegar, lemon juice, dill, onion powder, garlic, tomato paste, and half of the cucumber until smooth. Remove from blender. Finely chop remainder of cucumber, combine with onions, and fold into the dip.

Serve, or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

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Drying Fresh Herbs

Here's the simplest method I've found for drying fresh herbs that you can't use up right away.

(1) Rinse and dry them thoroughly (blot with clean towel and let air dry a bit).
(2) Place them, still uncut, in a brown paper bag, like the old-fashioned lunch bags.
(3) Fold over the top of the bag once, and place the bag in the fridge.
(4) In time, they will dry nicely without a dehydrator.

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   • Liberate yourself from dietary habits that harm your health!
   • Align your dietary habits with your environmental and animal-loving values.

© 2012, Mary Rooker  *   Please obtain permission before reproducing anything from this website. Thanks!
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