Vegan, Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie

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I have evolved this recipe over many holiday seasons.

Prepare one of these crusts:

BAKED CRUST Enough for one pie; multiply as needed

Two cups of gluten-free baking flour (usually a combo of rice, garbanzo, oat, and millet flours – any or all of these)

¾ cup coconut oil

Measure and then chill the coconut oil. Place it in a food processor with the flour and an ice cube. Blend until it forms a soft ball of dough. If it doesn’t form a dough ball while blending, very gradually add a tiny bit more cold water. As soon as it gets the right amount of water, it will form a soft ball of dough.

Flatten the ball into a disk and press into a 9 inch glass or ceramic pie pan so that it is of even ¼ inch thickness all over, and form a scalloped edge with your thumbprints. Make fork holes every ½ inch all over the bottom and sides of the pie shell. Bake at 375 Fº until golden, but not brown.

If you have extra dough, form it into a cookie shape (star, heart, tree, etc.) in another pan, make fork holes every ½ inch on it, and bake it along with the piecrust. After the filling has chilled and become firm in the crust, place the cookie shaped piece of piecrust on top of the filling. For ease of handling, I suggest forming and baking the cookie shaped piece on top of a piece of baking parchment, so that you can easily slide it onto the top of the pie without it crumbling in the process.


In a (clean) coffee grinder, powder one cup each of walnut meats and raw cashews. Remove pits from 6 dates, chop them well and place them in a food processor with the nut flours. Blend until it forms a soft dough. Press the dough into a 9 inch glass or ceramic pie pan. Keep the edge small and simple, since an extended, scalloped edge will crumble off when the pie is cut and served. Chill in the refrigerator.

If you’d like to make a decorative raw cookie for the top of the pie, take some of the nut/date dough, form into the shape of choice, and dehydrate at 105 Fº until almost crisp.


Cut a medium sized butternut squash or small kabocha (green) pumpkin into pieces about 1 to 2 inches on a side.

Spoon out the seeds, and either roast, plant or discard them. (If you compost them, who knows, you might get volunteer squash plants growing out of your compost..)

Peel two thumb-sized pieces of fresh ginger and chop into small pieces.

Steam the squash and ginger until soft and let them cool until you can easily pick up one of the squash pieces with your (clean) hand, at which point you can spoon the flesh out from the shells into the food processor bowl, and compost the shells. Then dump the steamed bits of ginger from the steaming basket into the food processer with the squash, and blend until smooth. If the mixture is so thick that it bogs down the food processor, slowly add a tiny bit of the cooking water, until the blades are moving easily.

After blending, just to be sure there are no annoying bits of ginger in the pie filling, pour the mixture through a sieve into a large bowl, and stir with a wooden spoon to complete the separation.

If you’d rather not bother with peeling, chopping, steaming, blending and sieving fresh ginger, you can always skip it, instead adding ½ tsp. powdered ginger along with the other spices below. (Personally, I think it’s worth the extra work.)

Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly: one cup of unsweetened, non-flavored vegan milk (hemp, almond, rice, soy, or, if you’d like a very rich pie, coconut cream) with 2 teaspoons of agar flakes, 1 tsp. cinnamon, ½ tsp. nutmeg, ¼ tsp. cloves, ½ tsp allspice) and 3 droppers of non-flavored stevia glycerite, stirring until the agar is completely dissolved and the spices are well blended into the milk.

Place the food processor: the butternut squash and the agar/milk mixture. Blend until completely smooth.

Pour the filling into the pie shell and chill until the agar is set (at least one hour, although you can make this pie the day before serving it and keep it in the refrigerator until then).

If you have more filling than pie shells, pour it into custard cups and chill.

A nine-inch pie will serve 8 people.

Topping (optional):

Coconut Bliss vegan ice cream (Naked Coconut flavor) would be my choice, but there are also excellent choices available from Tofutti, So Delicious, and other vegan ice cream brands.

Alicia Bay Laurel 2012 Japan Tour Schedule

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Truly a wonderful tour.  I enjoyed every day of it!

May 20 live at Ocean Café 18:00-20:00 in Aichi (near Nagoya) for Little Eagle Fashion Exhibition

May 25 live at Juzu (Go West Hemp Boutique) in Ebisu, Tokyo 19:00 for Little Eagle Fashion Exhibition

May 27 live at Natural High Festival at Doshi, 11:20 to 12:00.  Otherwise I’ll be at Kurkku/apbank booth.

May 30 live at Cafe Slow in Kokubunji, Tokyo, 19:00 to 12:30 for Little Eagle Fashion Exhibition

June 2 live at Jisoan Gallery in Gifu, 14:00 – 18:00 for Little Eagle Fashion Exhibition. Telephone 0572-65-2010

June 3 live at MI.CA.LI Gallery in Osaka, 19:00 for Little Eagle Fashion Exhibition

June 9 live at Beach Muffin Cafe in Hayama, Kanagawa, 16:00 for Little Eagle Fashion Exhibition

June 14 live at Cay in Aoyama, Tokyo with Inoue Ohana Band, start 20:00.

June 15 live at Natural and Harmonic Plants (organic mall) in Yokohama 18:00 for Little Eagle Fashion Exhibition

June 16 live at Studio M in Koganei, Tokyo. Doors open 14:00, show 15:00. For information, call Spoonful Cafe at 080 3386 0635

June 19 Art workshop and live performance at Holistic Health Care Institute in Kichijoji, Tokyo. 18:00 – 22:00.

June 21 live at Thumbs Up in Yokohama with Inoue Ohana Band, start 20:00.

June 22 live at Chikyu-ya in Kunitachi, Tokyo, with Inoue Ohana Band, start 19:30.

June 23, live at Yukotopia in Umejima, Adachi, Tokyo, with Ha-Za-Ma, High Blood Pressure and Howdy Groovies. Doors open at 18:30, live begins at 19:00. I play last.

June 24 live at Alishan Organic Center in Hidaka, Saitama, 16:00 start.

June 29 live in Fukushima at Ginga No Hotori (Edge of the Milky Way) Café with Yoshie Ebihara, Inoue Ohana Band and Kaorico Ago. A gift to the Tohoku people from Little Eagle. Doors open at 17:00, start time 18:00.

June 30 live in Ishinomaki at Cafe Roots with Yoshie Ebihara, Inoue Ohana Band and Kaorico Ago. A gift to the Tohoku people from Little Eagle. Doors open at 18:00, start time 19:00.

July 1 art workshop (making fabric picture books) in Sendai, co-led with Kaorico Ago 13:00.  Live with Yoshie Ebihara and Kaorico Ago at 15:00. Location: Akiu Kinoie Center. A gift to the Tohoku people from Little Eagle.

July 4 live at Marunouchi House (close to Tokyo station), CD Release Party for Monk Beat’s 2nd CD, Animal Collection.  Monk Beat, Alicia Bay Laurel and Mirrorbowler.  First set begins at 17:00.

July 7 live at Nagoji Temple in Tateyama, Chiba, with Monk Beat featuring vocalist Yae. Doors open at 17:00, show starts at 18:00. A fundraiser for Tohoku survivors. 

July 13-15 – Weekend workshop in beautiful Tamagusuku, Okinawa, co-led with Sachiho Kojima, including nature walks to sacred sites, musical meditation, beach time, live music, and shrine-building art workshop. To join us, or for more details, please contact Sachiho at or message Sachiho on Facebook.

July 15 live at Roguii Cafe, Okinawa, with Amana band.  Doors open at 19:00, show at 19:30. Cafe address: 1663 Yogi, Okinawa City, Okinawa. Phone: 098 933 8583.  Hand craft and farmers market at the cafe from 15:00.


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The Los Angeles Visionary Association Salon and a Walking Tour of Victorian Downtown Los Angeles

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The Los Angeles Visionary Association, founded and directed by art historians Kim Cooper and Richard Schave (who are also the owners and operators of the amazing Esotouric), has been holding monthly salons for nearly two years at historic CliftonÂ’s Cafeteria in downtown Los Angeles. IÂ’ve been a member since the beginning, but this was the first time IÂ’ve managed to attend a salon. It was wonderful fun.


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The opening event was a set of original songs performed by the Ukulady, Thessaly Lerner, and her band (on mandolin and electric autoharp). The Ukulady evolved her act during her years as a student and then a teacher at Wavy GravyÂ’s Camp Winnarainbow Circus and Performing Arts Camp in Northern California.

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Next up was a slide show lecture by the gorgeously attired Dr. Paul Koudounaris, professor of art history at California State University Dominguez Hills, to introduce his book The Empire of Death, a lavish collection of his photos and research on the worldÂ’s forgotten charnel houses, ossuaries, and reliquaries.


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After the salon, we all trooped out after Richard Schave and Nathan Marsak, who gave us a rousing walking tour and lecture on Victorian Los Angeles.


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I particularly loved this wonderful old building and our guidesÂ’ tale of how it was saved from destruction by fire by a brave and dedicated elevator operator.


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Kim pointed out that the building’s elevator grills had little demonÂ’s heads in the filigree.

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Even the view out the side door of this building offered a dream scene.


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Downtown Los Angeles fascinates with unapologetic Victorian grandeur, Â…

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Â…ambitious, passionate murals,Â…

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Â…and unexpected entertainers (thatÂ’s a banjo player on a bicycle trailer).

Alicia Bay Laurel Radio Interview on FM YOKOHAMA December 15, 2010

On December 15, 2010, FM YOKOHAMAÂ’s beloved radio personality Mitsumi aired her interview of me on her show “Ine! Good for You!” She translates my answers to the interview into Japanese, but you can still hear some of what I said in English. If you speak Japanese, you will have even more fun listening to the show. ItÂ’s 17 minutes and 14 seconds long.  You can listen to it here.

Artist Power Bank Festival 2011 T-shirt and Towel Gather Funds for Japan Earthquake Survivors

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May 13, 2011. Today the t-shirt and towel that I illustrated (both designed by Aiko Shiratori of environmentalist non-for-profit arts organization Artist Power Bank in Shibuya, Tokyo) were posted for sale on their Kurkku shop website. Both items are fundraisers for the survivors of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters, and will be sold at the annual music festival Artist Power Bank produces each summer to raise money for its projects.

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Happy 40th Birthday, Living on the Earth



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OK, birthday candles are in order. The 40th anniversary of the first edition of Living on the Earth (The Bookworks, Berkeley CA) was in September 2010. The 40th anniversary of the bestselling second edition of Living on the Earth (Vintage Books, Random House, NYC) was in April 2011. ItÂ’s still in print as a hardbound library edition. The 40th anniversary of  Mariko Fukamachi‘s translation of Living on the Earth (Soshisha Ltd., Tokyo) was in April 2012. ItÂ’s still in print as a paperback book.

It sold somewhere in excess of 350,000 copies, and itÂ’s still selling in English and Japanese, and maybe still in Korean. I heard a rumor that the Provos in Amsterdam made a bootleg translation back in the 1970s (IÂ’ve never seen one of those either, but I would LOVE to have one if it exists!!)


LOTEÂ’s illustration and design style was so revolutionary when it first came out that Publishers Weekly devoted two pages to acknowledging this with an article in handwriting, illustrated with drawings selected from LOTE. I scanned and posted the PW piece here.

LOTEÂ’s illustration and book design begat The Massage Book (and the Random House/Bookworks series), The Moosewood Cookbook series, The Vegetarian Epicure series, Handbook for Survival into the 21st Century, and numerous others. More recently, motivational writer/speaker SARK told me that Living on the EarthÂ’s illustration and design had helped launch her graphic style as well.

Soshisha, Ltd, in Tokyo released a Japanese translation in 1972, with a blurb on the cover from Japan’s poet laureate, Shuntaro Tanikawa. It says, “I want to do everything in this book. If I can’t do everything in this book, then I want to dream about it, because I know that if I do, I will be a better person to the marrow of my bones.”

Tokyo Fashion T-shirt with Alicia's Art for Japan Earthquake Charity

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Tokyo fashion designer Aya Noguchi (her company is Balcony & Bed) and I have been collaborating for five years now, so, when the Tohoku triple disaster struck, we agreed to collaborate on a garment to raise money for the people stranded in the shelters, both of us donating all of whatever we would have made from this project.

I asked Aya to send me a few of the resulting shirts to sell in the USA, so that my friends could both donate to help the survivors and enjoy one of our collaborative pieces.

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The jersey shirts are half cotton, half lyocell, an environmentally friendly and nontoxic wood pulp fabric, also known as tencel. Aya intentionally made a diagonal hem at the bottom, and blended illustrations and text from Being of the Sun with a newer drawing of a bird from a notebook of drawings she commissioned from me in 2009. She added appliqué daisies to the finished shirts after silk-screening on the art.

The t-shirt size would be a menÂ’s medium or a womanÂ’s large. I have both gray and black shirts.

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AyaÂ’s price tag says 10,000 yen (about $123). Shipping within the USA is $5, $7 to Canada, $11 elsewhere. You can send me payment via Paypal or by postal money order. Please send me an email or a Facebook message, and IÂ’ll send you the information you need to complete your purchase and donation.

Upon receipt of your payment of $123 plus postage, I will make a $123 donation in your name to United Earth, and enclose a copy of the international bank wire transfer when I mail your shirt. United Earth is a Japanese social action collective that formed in response to the 1994 Kobe earthquake, and offers long-term support for rebuilding, in addition to donations of supplies to survivors and aid workers, in Japanese communities destroyed by earthquakes. Donations to United Earth are not tax deductible in the USA.

Kim Cheese

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The hot weather is coming back, and it’s time for another cool vegan protein recipe.

Kim cheese was inspired by a spread I tasted at the Maui Four Seasons Hotel’s restaurant about 20 years ago. Theirs was a spread served with thin slices of a dense, dark bread with walnuts in it, and it was made from cream cheese, mayonnaise and kim chee, Korea’s fiery pickled Napa cabbage. Pacific fusion cuisine, I guess. I liked it.

I already knew I could make a vegan sour cream or cottage cheese by blending tofu, Veganaise and ume vinegar in the food processor. So I added kim chee to this, and liked the result.

I realized, though, with the sour and salty ume vinegar and the pungent kim chee, I didn’t need the extra flavor of the Veganaise, and I substituted olive oil, and liked it even better.

I use this spread on baked potatoes, steamed cauliflower, puffed brown rice cakes, cucumber slices, or whole grain pasta.

I vary the consistency from dense to runny by the type of tofu I use. Extra firm tofu makes a thick spread, better for crackers or cucumber slices. Silken tofu makes a runny sauce to pour over pasta or vegetables.

Here are the ingredients:

One 8 ounce block of tofu (from organic, non-GMO soybeans. SprouTofu’s my fave.)
One 8 ounce jar of spicy kim chee (preferably organic, certainly without MSG)
2 tablespoons of organic extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons of ume vinegar (Japanese plum vinegar, made from the pickling of unripe plums. It is salty. You can skip it if you are avoiding salt. You can certainly add more if you prefer a saltier taste to your kim cheese.)

Place them all in a food processor and blend until smooth. Chill until serving.

Alicia Plays the Puna Music Festival in Hawaii



IÂ’m playing slack key guitar and singing hula music at 3 PM on Sunday, May 1, 2011 at the Puna Music Festival at Kalani Honua Oceanside Retreat on the Big Island. May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii, and IÂ’ll be wearing flowers, for sure. (That’s me in the blue and white mu’u mu’u on the poster.)

Not only do I perform, but, at 1 PM, I’ll be teaching a one-hour slack key guitar class.  Admission to the festival is $25 per adult and $10 per child for the whole day (10 AM to 8 PM).  If you want the guitar class, that’s an additional $15. Kalani Honua grows its own fruits and veggies organically and their chefs make delicious super-healthful meals. I recommend making a reservation to have dinner at their restaurant.  I certainly will.

The festival falls on the day after the grand finale of the annual Merrie Monarch Festival at the Edith KanakaÂ’ole Stadium in nearby Hilo (and, for many years, on KITV. This year itÂ’s televised, plus streaming on the Internet, on KFVE).

I think of the Merrie Monarch as a sort of Hula Olympics, a competition of the best of the best, plus pageantry, floral arrangements and aloha galore.

All of the very uncomfortable cement seats of the stadium are always completely sold out five months in advance for all three nights. The girls in the audience scream like rock fans at the end of each hula. It is HiloÂ’s glory weekend for visitors. But the TV footage, with gorgeous closeups of the dancers, is, IMHO, a better view than the one from the bleachers. So, unless I find myself watching it with friends on their TV, I will watch it on my laptop. I always weep with joy watching hula kahiko; the earthy spirituality of this ancient dance overwhelms me.

However, I’m not a trained in Hawaiian chant; I sing songs, so my hula set with be all hula auana. The hula dancers for my set include Richard Koob, founder/director of Kalani Honua, and Kalani Honua staff members Lynda TuÂ’a and Jonathan Kaleikaukeha Kimo Lopez, plus Robbie McGrath, who teaches hula at University of Hawaii Hilo, and four of her students.

Lynda promises to do a couple of “rascal hulas,” that is, sexy, naughty and funny interpretations of standard hula choreographies. “We gonna kolohe da house,” she told me.