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We wish you a Merry Christmas with some websites that are slightly off the beaten, albeit healthier, path. First up is a local YouTube cooking show at www.rhymeswithvegan.com. It's hosted by a Minneapolis woman, Meagan Holtgrewe, 37, who was a vegetarian for 15 years before becoming vegan (an even stricter vegetarian). She'd long resisted the shift "because I was afraid of the infamous 'deprivation,' " but used that fear as a source of creativity. "I knew how I wanted to eat and what I wanted to taste. I just had to figure out how to do it." Episode One debuted in November with tofu-seitan kebabs, and she's tackled hot artichoke dip to come up with what she calls a "kick-[ahem]" version. Her latest? Beer-battered tofu cutlets. Good production values, great music and Holtgrewe's engaging manner combine to make this a local asset.The vegetarian peak
If you were looking for "the most comprehensive vegetarian site in the world," www.vegnews.com claims that title. This new site features thousands of tested recipes, vegetarian job postings, global events, VegNews TV and more. The site is a product of VegNewsMedia, San Francisco publishers of VegNews magazine, which has won oodles of awards in its eight years, so there's some honest street cred here amid the effusiveness.Great minds drink alike
Perhaps it's best not to delve too deeply into the "who thought of it first?" question. But the fact is that while several varieties of Obama Blend coffees now are popping up across the country, a local coffeeshop owner says he came up with the idea more than a year ago. Steven VandeWater, owner and chief roaster for the Bean Factory, 1518 Randolph Av. in St. Paul, said he began thinking about a special blend as a means of supporting Obama's candidacy. He ended up with a secret concoction of Kona coffee from Hawaii and Estate AA beans from Kenya, and describes the resulting brew as "noble, not tart, but mellow and with great aroma."
In the meantime, Obama Blend coffees are being marketed by Campos Coffee in Sydney, Australia; by the Longfellow's Coffee chain in northern New Jersey; by the Caribbean Coffee Company, which calls theirs Grounds for Change, by the Seattle Coffee Works -- shall we go on? Hey, it's one way to jump-start the economy.The Mayo knows
The Mayo Clinic has teamed up with Phyllis Pellman Good, the bestselling author of the "Fix-It and Forget-It" cookbook series that's sold 9 million copies. The result is the "Fix-It and Enjoy-It! Healthy Cookbook" in bookstores in January. Good selected recipes from among hundreds submitted by home cooks, and the Mayo Clinic analyzed each one for its nutritional value and how well it fit within its Healthy Weight Pyramid guidelines. The top 400 made it into the book. Each includes prep and cooking times, nutrient analyses and information, and the number of pyramid-worthy servings per recipe.The raw truth
Chef Matthew Kennedy, a James Beard Rising Star nominee, has made a name for himself as a raw food expert and author of "Entertaining in the Raw." Now he has his own online magazine/blog, www.matthewkenneylifestyle.com. Along with recipes, he profiles other raw foodists, visits farmers markets and raw food cafes around the world, and taps the latest raw trends. What constitutes raw food? Everything must be made from whole, fresh and preferably organic ingredients, none of which may be heated above 118 degrees.