Tuesday, March 31, 2009

3 Beans-N-Rice

Yay! I made something from scratch with no recipe...and I didn't have to throw it away!!!

Backstory: I am a good cook, but possess few to no instincts on a "pinch of this, dash of that." Most of my attempts at improv result in a really sad moment of scraping the pan over the garbage can.

But this week, I did it!!! I was craving red beans and rice, so I got work. We had a bunch of different kinds of peas and beans, but not enough of just one. I decided to cook kidney beans, pinto beans, and white beans. I seasoned them with fresh minced garlic, fresh parsley, Tony's chacherie, Zatarain's liquid shrimp/crab boil (yep, vegan!), salt, pepper, and other assorted spices (a little at a time as I am notorious for throwing in one big dash of something or other that can ruin a meal quickly!). I cooked some Alter-Eco Fair Trade red rice and mixed it in. Final step was to saute some veggie sausage sliced into little rounds and mix it it. YUM!!! This stuff was great!! We topped it with some awesome Hurtin' Habanero hot sauce.

Spicy!

ch

Monday, March 30, 2009

Tofu, You Light Up My Life

I am not a big tofu fan...BUT...this meal made me incredibly happy!

I breaded and baked some leftover tofu to make little nuggets. I used a mixture of panko, cracker crumbs, ground flax seeds, and seasonings to bread the tofu nuggets.

Then I made a whopping triple play of sauces! BBQ sauce, chunky marinara sauce, and a homemade agave mustard concoction. Swoon!


I really did want to sing You Light Up My Life to those tasty little nuggets and delicious sauces. Yay!!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Things I Like

Fancy imported stuff...such as Belgian raspberry beer!


Carrying stuff in my bike basket...like homemade wedding gifts, my Sigg, and 25 cent garage sale purses


Pigtails! Both kinds...attached to their owners please!




Sparkly, fluttery, or otherwise distracting decor!


My pink deer lamp, sock monkey, Hello Kitty alarm clock, goofy 1990's celestial-themed mug, homemade purple table, blue metal bird hook thing from the Goodwill, etc. etc. etc.

Traveling and eating ethnic food


Being cozy at home (and cute tiny stuff!)

Whatchoo like?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My favorite comfort foods are:

  • Macaroni and cheese

  • Bean burritos

  • Stuff with gravy

  • Chocolate & Dr. Pepper

What are yours?

I made a very comfy meal this week.

It started out as this:


...But turned into The Best Vegan Mac & Cheese Ever. (Ok I think I like VegNews' better because it is seriously like black magic delicious, but Brad loves The Best Vegan Mac & Cheese so much we call it Sexy Mac!)

We ate it with spinach, Simple Chicken-Style Seitan from Yellow Rose Recipes over rice, and Mighty Miso Gravy from La Dolce Vegan...definitely my new favorite gravy!!!




Not the most beautiful plate in the world...but oh so yummy!!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Joy!

It may sound pretty hippy dippy, but I always get these emails from The Secret on the exact day I need them...read on for Joy!!!







A Secret Scrolls message from Rhonda Byrne


Creator of The Secret

Be in Joy now and everything will change

In the moment that I discovered The Secret I realized that I had been living my entire life backwards. If things were good in my life, I was happy. If things were difficult in my life and everything was going wrong, I was stressed and miserable. In my ignorance, I had been misusing the law of attraction all of my life. But all of that changed when I had the knowledge of The Secret.

To live in accordance with The Secret and the most powerful law in the Universe, we must be in Joy first - and then everything will change. To live our lives by emotionally reacting to what is happening outside of us is misusing the law! As we react with negative emotion to any difficulties, we attract more negativity into our lives. We cannot defy the law of attraction, which operates on the most microscopic levels of vibration, and with absolute exactitude.
You must be in Joy first. And then your life will change into Joy.

Difficult times are the greatest opportunities in disguise. When we face difficult times we have to put in determined work to get ourselves into Joy. But let me tell you, when you can get yourself into Joy despite what is happening around you, your life must change - it's the law!
In addition, as you become Joy in difficult times you are becoming the master of your emotions, the master of your life, and the master of the law of attraction. Difficult times are your greatest opportunity to practice yourself into Joy.

Of course if your life is going along swimmingly then it is very easy to be in Joy. During those times your Joy is most likely a reaction to the good times. But the magnificence and the power that you really have within you will be seen when you can be in Joy during difficult times. It is then that you will see the true power that you have within you, because as you hold to Joy, you will shift all the energies of the Universe, and your life and your world will change.

The cause of everything is within you, and the effect is what you experience in your life. You have the power within you to change everything by putting yourself in Joy. You can change everything so easily by becoming Joy first! And nothing can change until you get yourself in Joy, because that is the law of attraction. Like attracts like! The energy of Joy attracts energy of Joy!
Do whatever it takes to find your Joy, and then keep yourself in it no matter what. Keep ramping up your level of Joy every day. There is no limit to the levels of Joy you can reach. You will see change to the degree of Joy that you can attain and maintain. The higher the Joy you can create within you, the more spectacular the change, and the higher the Joy, the faster the change. Once you get yourself in Joy it is easy to maintain it, because your emanation of Joy attracts more Joy. The law of attraction will continually send you more feelings of Joy.

You cannot criticize or blame or complain when you are in Joy. You cannot be afraid when you are in Joy. You cannot speak negatively when you are in Joy. You cannot harm another when you are in Joy. Negativity cannot reach you when you are in Joy.

When you are in Joy you are compassionate. When you are in Joy you are considerate and caring. When you are in Joy you love others. When you are in Joy you appreciate everything. When you are in Joy you are in love with the world, and the Universe is in love with you.
Be in Joy. Seek it with all of your heart, and you will find it.

May the Joy be with you,
Rhonda Byrne, The Secret... bringing Joy to billions

Monday, March 23, 2009

I Do Not Heart Raw Onions...

...at all!!! No amount of peppermint tea, soymilk, or anything else can make me feel better every time I think I will try eating raw white onions again. Booo!




I made Ani Phyo's Hemp Sunburgers, which taste-wise, were awesome! I don't have a dehydrator, however, and I'm guessing I need to stay away from raw onion recipes. A shame, as these really were delicious, even undehydrated! I think I will try making them and cooking them as the recipe says you can, like a regular veggie burger. Yum!


Here's the recipe.

Ani's pic...so appetizing!!










Hemp Sunburger
makes 4 servings

(If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can always bake at low temperature or prepare as you would a veggie burger. Though, raw food dehydration is always the best option for optimal nutritional benefits. )

This recipe is vegan, vegetarian, organic, gluten-free, wheat-free, sugar-free, healthy, delicious and raw!

2 stalks celery, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1⁄2 c yellow onion, chopped
1 c red bell peppers, chopped
1 t sea salt
2 t oregano, fresh or dried
1 c sunflower seeds, ground
1⁄2 c flax seeds, ground
1⁄4 c hemp seeds
1⁄2 c filtered water

Place all ingredients in bowl, adding the water last.
Mix well.
Form 4 balls, flatten into patties.
Dehydrate 3-4 hours at 104 degrees, and serve warm with Flax Flat Bread (or on your favorite whole grain bun).
Garnish with tomato, lettuce, catsup, mustard as you would any burger.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Lunch Break La La!!

Welcome to our yard! Today I spent lunch outside eating and playing. Here are some nice highlights!

Tyler and I snuggle a little in the sun.



The compost tumbler is busy...composting stuff.



Flowers are blooming...


Tomatoes are...well they aren't doing much of anything yet, but soon! The herbs are going strong!!



Brad is getting in a ferocious lunchtime drum break!
And I am busy munching strawberries!!!



Bye!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I Love Books



There is nothing better to me than a fresh stack of books to read. Ok...maybe a seat by a window and a plate of cold, crunchy apple slices make it better.... :)

Today I checked out these two from the library.


What I wouldn't give for a coffee date with Alice Walker. She has to be one of my favorite authors. Her books are intense and I have to read them at the right times in my life, but they always astound me. I liked her daughter Rebecca Walker's autobiography Black, White, & Jewish as well. I'd like to read more of her work.



I just finished Eat, Pray, Love, which is Elizabeth Gilbert's story of living a year in Italy, India, and Indonesia. I highly recommend this book. It is equal parts gorgeous food writing, travel guide, and reflective journey. I read that a movie is being made of this book...I'm interested to see how it comes out.



What are you reading?
P.S. Check this out.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Natural Products Expo Treats!!



I was having a rather rotten couple of days last week (the storm cloud has dissipated, thank goodness) and someone made my day! I skulked into Fiesta Nutrition Center to buy my supplies for the week and all the smiling faces made me feel better right away. Even better, the proprietress, Angie, surprised me with goodies from the Natural Products Expo that was held at the beginning of March in Anaheim, California. I've been enjoying videos from the expo, so treats from across the country, the healthy living shangri-la, were even more exciting!

I get to try Cashew Juice, which will be a new experience. I am saving this power-packed little juice box to have after a good workout. The info:

  • O.N.E. Cashew Juice may help: calm an upset stomach, soothe a sore throat, protect the skin from problems like acne and eczema, and fortify the immune system
  • O.N.E. Cashew Juice is less acidic and provides five times more Vitamin C than orange juice

  • O.N.E. Cashew Juice is a rich source of Vitamin C and other important nutrients including beta-carotene, Vitamins B1, B2, and B3, calcium, and iron

I am also loving this Navitas Naturals Cacao lip balm! Ack! As if I didn't already love Navitas Naturals' hemp seeds and hemp protein powder...lip balm!!

The goods:





Lips Love Cacao
$3.99

Almost everyone loves the taste of chocolate, but did you know your skin loves it too? Enjoy the benefits of chocolate all day with Navitas Naturals Cacao Lip Balm. This buttery lip moisturizer is made from the pure, cold-pressed oil of the cacao bean, along with a rich mixture of nature’s most skin-friendly oils. The result is an aromatic and sensuous balm that leaves your lips hydrated and soft and your nose equally invigorated. Move over Hershey’s -- this is a real chocolate kiss.

Source and Processing:
Navitas Naturals Cacao Lip Balm is a truly all-natural product, featuring our very own organic raw cacao butter made from 100% pure cacao oil. All ingredients used are certified organic, vegan-friendly, cruelty-free, and contain no chemical preservatives.
Yay for goodies and for gloomy days getting brighter!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Meatout!!

What is Meatout?




"On (or around) March 20 — the first day of spring — thousands of caring people in all 50 U.S. states and two dozen other countries get active to host educational Meatout events. Activities include colorful festivals, lectures, public dinners, feed-ins, cooking demos, food samplings, leafleting, information tables and more.

The occasion is Meatout, the world's largest and oldest annual grassroots diet education campaign. This year is the 25th annual observance! Every spring, thousands of caring Meatout supporters educate their communities and ask their friends, families, and neighbors to pledge to "kick the meat habit (at least for a day) and explore a wholesome, compassionate diet of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains."

This year's theme is "Change Your Diet - Change the World!"

Check out this site for more info!

Click here for a free vegetarian starter kit!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Oh my yum!!!

I was perusing blogs yesterday and found a recipe I couldn't resist trying!




It is a raw recipe meant to approximate/replace/show up tuna salad! I have made several vegan tuna and tuna salad replacements. They have all been fairly good, but none knocked the proverbial socks off. I also have issues with plopping half a jar of Vegenaise into a recipes.


So...I found Oh My This Is A Tuna! It was a major hit at our house, and the bowl was pillaged before the night was done. True love must be Scrabble, saltines, and raw fake tuna salad :P





Here's the recipe. Try it! This recipe is not just for vegans or raw eaters...it's just delicious!

Oh My this is a Tuna! (My adjustments noted)

1 Cup Sunflower Seeds (soaked)


1 Cup Raw Walnuts (soaked)


1/8 Cup fresh squeezed Lemon juice


1/2 Tsp. Garlic (minced)


1/2 Tsp. Kelp flakes (I used dulse flakes. Some nori put through the blender/food processor would work fine too)


2 Tbs. Nama Shoyu (I used regular soy sauce)

*******************************

Blend/process seeds, nuts, lemon juice, garlic, kelp & Nama Shoyu.


Transfer to bowl and add:


1 pickle chopped


3 Tbs. pickle juice


(I replaced the top two ingredients with pickle relish to taste)


1 Tsp. apple cider vinegar or Ume Plum vinegar (I used acv)


1 Tsp. Herbamare seasoning (I used a little generic seasoning mix instead)


1 Tbs. fresh Dill Weed (chopped) ( I didn't use)


1/4 Cup Onion (chopped)


1/4 Cup chopped Celery


1/8 Cup Parsley (chopped)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Pasta Pesto & Natural Calm

Today I tried Natural Calm for the first time. Last time I ordered some raw food supplies from The Raw Food World, they sent some samples of Natural Calm. I'm not usually one for weird supplements and such, but what with my love of ever-increasingly exotic smoothie ingredients, I figured I would give a packet of stress relief in powder form a try.




The website says it helps with all this stuff:
Stress
• Fatigue & Low Energy
• Inability to Sleep
• Muscle Tension, Spasms & Cramps
• Anxiousness and Nervousness
• Irritability
• Headaches
• Weakness
• PMS and Hormonal Imbalances
• Weakening Bones
• Abnormal Heart Rhythm
• Calcification of Organs

Verdict: orangey, less fizzy Alka Selzer. Not bad, not good. If the stuff has me on Cloud 9 while dealing with stress at work, I'd be willing to drink it again. We shall see!
Edited to add: I never did find myself in a blissful state of stress-free-ness, but I wasn't that wound up to begin with. I'd say give this stuff a chance if you experience chronic stress and really need a natural solution along with relaxing and such.
Bonus: Raw Food World is having a 17% off sale if you enter "VISA" in the discount section. You're welcome :)
Now onto the food!

I made a delicious recipe from Vegan Planet, albeit with a few tweaks of my own.

Cumin Pasta With Jalapeno Pesto! This was nice because the pesto is a bean-based jalapeno one, no basil needed. I used whole grain pasta and raw purple onions. The dish was great on a bed of fresh spinach. Yum!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

She-Bible Yay!!

Once upon a time, on a forum called the Post Punk Kitchen, some stylish lady posted a link to She-Bible, a clothing line hailing from San Francisco, CA. I clicked on over and ooohed and ahhhed over the pretty stuff, but sadly it was a little out of my budget...


But it's sale time!
Some of the items are as low as ten dollars! Lots of pretty dresses for around $30 and up. Check it out! Pretty stuff!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Etsy, Vegan, Miscellaneous Spring Cleaning!

I am Spring Cleaning at the moment (well, over several moments)!



I am listing links here to my Ebay and Half.com listings should anyone be interested in perusing the Etsy goods, vegan stuff, and various fun things up for grabs! I'll be adding frequently.

Happy decluttering everyone. The flowers are starting to bloom!!






Ink Pink You Stink?

The vegan lifestyle eventually brings to light many issues of healthy and joy-full living that require some deliberate choices. As I refine habits and cut out the stink in my life (figuratively speaking), I have found it opportune lately to address the stink, literally.



I have been looking into smells, deodorants, sweating for health, etc. Here are some interesting things I've come across.

You may have seen stickers and shirts touting claims that Vegetarians/Vegans Smell/Taste Better. Is it true? I'll address the taste factor some other time, but the smell thing has some pretty strong truth as I see it.
Inspire To Act wrote this blog post on how, as we clean up our diets, our bodies are cleaning themselves. Take a look at her tips that address exercise, diet, and more. (The sauna is my new best friend!) Vegetarians and vegans often notice over time that body scents becomes less malodorous and actually more sweet/earthy. I can definitely vouch for this assertion. I enjoy the way I smell after a good workout. It's a scent that reminds me of the smells of playing in the garden, rather than any type of traditional "body odor" type smell.



Related to body scent is the debate surrounding the possible ill effects of standard deodorant/antiperspirants. Many sources claim that inhibiting sweat is unhealthy, and there is also contention about the possible relation of the aluminium in antiperspirant/deodorants being connected to breast cancer and Alzheimer's.

There are several alternatives to traditional deodorants and antiperspirants. Some people just happily go without. If that's not your style, consider either homemade products or one of the many natural formulas available.


I recently read this article about healthier deodorants. The author, Marisa Belger, shares the
top five ingredients to avoid:

Parabens: These preservatives come in several forms (methyl, ethyl, propyl, benzyl and butyl) and have been found in breast cancer tumors — though the link to cancer has yet to be substantiated. Parabens are found practically everywhere. Really, spend five minutes in your bathroom today and you’ll find parabens lurking in products in the medicine cabinet, the shower, and your makeup bag.

Aluminum and friends: Aluminum should be wrapped around sandwiches and not absorbed into the body where, as I mentioned earlier, it has been connected to Alzheimer’s disease. But aluminum is a key ingredient in antiperspirant and may look like any of these on a label: aluminum chlorohydrate, aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly or any other aluminum compound.

Triclosan: Sounds like a toilet bowl cleaner, but it’s really a chemical that is classified as a pesticide by the FDA. It’s thought to contain carcinogenic contaminants and is stored in body fat. Also look for triclosan in antibacterial soaps.

Talc: This seemingly benign duster of baby bottoms is often contaminated with asbestos (which is carcinogenic). The catch? The amount of asbestos in talc is unregulated, so you don’t know how much asbestos you’re in for when you buy products containing talc.

Propelyn glycol: As a “penetration enhancer,” propelyn glycol sounds as if it should be sold with Viagra, but it is actually believed to be a neurotoxin that may cause kidney or liver damage.

Belger recommends Dr. Haushka's and Weleda products. These brands both look lovely, but I decided to give a budget model a try first. After a few less than stellar experiences, I found a deodorant I like and I have been very pleased with the results.
I started with Tom's of Maine deodorant in the Lemongrass scent. Verdict: sticky going on, sticky after just a little while of wear. Thumbs down, and that's no great loss, as Tom's is now owned by Colgate anyway. There are much better ways to go...
I bought Desert Essence Roll On at my local health food store and love the stuff so far. Natural roll-ons seem to be the way to go in terms of comfort and ease of use. Desert Essence is also a family-owned company, which I like. A little dusting of Lush or Burt's Bees Baby Powder (sadly now owned by Clorox*), but I'm still using a giant canister that I got brand new at the Goodwill for $1.99 a long time ago) and I have been happy and smelling great. Secret, Degree, and all the rest get the big kiss off for now!! Let's just hope these great results hold up in the blazing Southern summer weather coming up!
*P.S. This is an interesting take on the "Big Green" situation of giant, animal-testing, chemical-laden corporations buying out the smaller green businesses. Aveda is owned by Johnson & Johnson, Odwalla is owned by Coke, etc. etc. The author makes some good points. Hmmm...

Friday, March 6, 2009

One Week Raw

I am really excited to start "uncooking" from this great E-Book I found on KombuchaChic's website. It's called One Week Raw, and each week is written by a different raw food chef/blogger/etc.

This morning I am sipping on a post-workout green smoothie from the E-book. Yum!

The recipes look fun!!

Download it here and join me in trying some new foods!




P.S. Check out The Raw Divas blog for a whole different take on raw...girly-fied!!!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Lentil Tacos!

Here we have Lentil Tacos from Please Don't Feed The Bears Cookzine.



I must say that every single recipe I have made from this zine has been delicious! They all taste so good and have helped me expand the variety of foods I learn to make (ohhh yeah calzone...yummmm!). This recipe is no exception. It's easy, yummy, and versatile, which is code for saying that we have been snacking on the leftover lentil mix with tortilla chips for late night snacks!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Holy moly stroganoff!!

Please make this seriously delicious meal!!

Alfredo Stroganoff recipe from the Post Punk Kitchen:


First marinate the mushrooms. (I used peas and carrots this time but mushrooms are excellent too! This marinade rocks.) They soak up the flavor pretty fast, so you don't have to marinate them for too long if you don't want to.
Mushroom Marinade Ingredients
1/3c Vegan Worcestershire sauce
3 tbsp tamari
2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/8c water
Mix and let baby bellas or creminis marinate while you make the sauce.
Sauce Ingredients
1/2c Earth Balance (or a little more is fine, to taste)
2 cups soymilk (unsweetened is best)
1 package Extra firm tofu (appr 12 ounces)
1-2 tbsp white cooking wine
2 tbsp onion powder
2-3 tsp garlic powder
1-2 tsp sea salt
1-2 tsp black pepper (to taste)
pinch of nutmeg
3-4 tbsp arrowroot powder (more or less, as needed.. it should be creamy and the margarine should not separate)
Other ingredients
Pasta: preferably spaghetti or Fettuccine
1c peas (use more or less as you prefer)
Baby bella or cremini mushrooms, use as many or few as you like
Combine all of the ingredients except the arrowroot powder into a food processor and blend until creamy and smooth. Put the mixture into a pot on low-medium heat. While this is cooking get your pot of water started on the stove for your pasta.
Get the peas ready to be heated up (microwave or stove... whatever. You want to coordinate this all to be ready at the same time).
While your sauce is heating up on low-med heat, preheat a skillet. When it is warm, dump the marinade and the mushrooms into the skillet. Mix the arrowroot powder in a little of the sauce in another container and add the mixture to the sauce when it is nice and hot. You can turn the heat up a little, but just don't let it boil. When it thickens and just starts to bubble, it is done. Put the pasta on a plate, cover with sauce, peas, and mushrooms.
I used sprouted grain pasta, which was delicious. Yum!!