Saturday, August 21, 2010

Gahanna Community Wellness Festival

Today Bob and I participated in a 'Community Wellness Festival' at Schoedinger in Gahanna. A “wellness” festival at a funeral home, you say? Why yes. I believe it was a gesture of reaching out to the community and offering an afternoon of family fun along with some good information about services offered in the Gahanna area.

We met a lot of really cool people. It was a great opportunity for us to talk with others who care about our town and want to touch others’ lives. And of course, we brought food with us to share! Always, there is food!

Elizabeth Gerhard (our friend and Schoedinger manager) kicked off the event with a welcome to all,

and the “Legal Limit Quartet” gave a lovely rendition of the National Anthem while the flag was raised.

There were presentations that were interesting and quite informative. Dr. Marc Hollander spoke about how dental care affects just about every part of us. Cathy Philips, the director of the Ohio Herb Education Center spoke about healing herbs and tea “thyme” (Dianne Williams baked some absolutely delicious banana nut muffins to go with the tea!), and Michael Schoedinger talked about “green burials”.

Beecher Chiropractic & Wellness Center was there and were had info and testing on laser allergy treatments. They offer some really interesting services and are definitely worth taking a look at if you’re not familiar with them!

We met folks from Celebrate Recovery, which is a “Christ-Centered Recovery Program” for “healing life’s hurts habits and hang-ups”. Meetings are Thursdays at 7pm at Shepherd Church of the Nazarene.

Smoothie King was there with some yummy samples and information on all the products they have. YMCA had representatives at the event and Bernie Decicco (YMCA) was making healthy snow cones with fruit juices. I had a mango concoction and Bob had one made with grape juice. Just delicious! Schoedinger provided grilled hot dogs that were done just the way I like them! They were served on whole grain buns which bumped up the “healthy” factor. Who knew they made whole grain hot dog buns?

And then there was Dishing-it-Up! Columbus. You might have heard of them? Oh yeah, we were totally into it! Keeping with the healthy (okay, not totally if you think about all the butter I used) and herbal theme (Gahanna = herbs), I made several different kinds of herb butter. Bob and I had a set up that really was quite lovely. Bob brought pots of flowers and our own potted herbs to decorate. We had vases of cut herbs including basil, rosemary, Italian parsley and chives.

A produce basket almost overflowed with fresh vegetables that Bob used to make the most wonderful bruschetta. No kidding; the stuff was incredible. It was full of fresh tomatoes, basil, garlic, chives, Italian parsley, shredded cheeses, and then dressed with balsamic vinaigrette. This morning before we left, the two of us had made three loaves of crostini; toasted bread that was rubbed with a garlic clove as soon as it came out of the oven.

When he worked his magic with the tomatoes and garlic, etc and topped a crostini with a heaping spoonful of the gorgeous mixture, I fell in love with him all over again. Oh be still my beating heart. *sigh* One bite of this and your taste buds began to sing. Really! It was that good. I think it was the balsamic vinegar that just put it over the top. I can see a lot of this bruschetta in our future. A lot!

This painted man sure liked Bob's bruschetta!!!

I started out with a pretty standard herb butter that contained basil and chives. We had some cracker sticks for sampling the butter. To get an even better taste of herbs' abilities to communicate with other fresh ingredients, I made simple cucumber sandwiches. Now I ask you, how long has it been since you’ve had a cucumber sandwich? They were pretty darn good. But what was really fun was when I started experimenting!

I had a slab of butter that I mixed with some basil. It cried out for something more! I just happened to have a container of sundried tomatoes with me. I picked out some nice juicy ones and pressed them between layers of paper towels to remove as much of the oil as I could. We had chosen to use Plugra (European style butter with 82% butterfat, compared with 80% butterfat in American butters), so I figured we really didn’t need the extra oil from the tomatoes. I finely diced the tomatoes and added a couple of cloves of garlic for good measure, because you can never have too much garlic. A pinch of salt and I called it good. I folded, I mixed and I stirred. Then the moment of truth … can I just say that this stuff rocked? Oh my. I have a new love in my life. And my waist and thighs ain’t gonna be happy about it! A cucumber sandwich with this butter climbed to a new level. (As far as cucumber sandwiches go, okay?) My mind was reeling. What if …? Oh dear. What if I were to make a bacon sandwich with this? Oh the possibilities!!! I couldn’t take it. I had to sit down.

So there you have it. We sliced, we diced, we chopped and we slathered. We fed the masses! Well, I might be going just a bit overboard.

We sure did have fun, though!


Yikes! I cannot believe I forgot to put the recipe for the bruschetta on here! Please forgive me! If you don't now, you will after you make this recipe!

Bob's Bruschetta
adapted from recipe from "Culinary Herb Guide"
Serves 4 (supposedly ... ha!)


2 medium to large tomatoes, diced
3 large cloves garlic, chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
8 slices Italian bread, cut on the bias about 1" thick
4 Tablespoons grated Italian cheese blend (we used Sargento's)


Whisk together vinegar, salt, pepper, and oil.

Combine tomatoes, chopped garlic, basil, and chives. Add to vinegar mixture. Let sit at room temperature.

Toast the bread. This can be done either in the toaster (if it's got really wide slots) or under the broiler (if using this method watch closely so it does not burn.)

When the bread is toasted rub each piece, on one side, with the whole garlic pieces.

Mix grated cheese into the tomato mixture. Top each piece of bread with bruschetta mixture.

Serve immediately.

Accept praise and accolades from family and friends! Take appropriate bows.


  1. Thanks for sharing Jean. Looks like you and Bob have new careers in store!

  2. Jean and Bob's foods were sooooo yummy!! I think I have to try the Bruschetta recipe.