Archives For Recipes

Sure, there are countless vegetables you can eat at any given moment in time. While eating any vegetable is better than eating no vegetable at all, seasonal varieties growing in your region are your absolute best bets. Currently here in Florida, it’s the season for nutrient rich root and cruciferous vegetables and leafy greens. Here’s a quick look at how to get your fill of some of my favorite winter picks.

ROOT VEGETABLES

Don’t be intimidated by earthy root vegetables or fooled into thinking they are too much work. With just a little washing and chopping, root vegetables can be enjoyed a number of ways.

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Baba Ghanoush Made Easy

November 17, 2015 — Leave a comment

Baba Ghanoush [pronounced BahBuh Guh Noosh here in the South] is a rich, savory eggplant dip—one I am openly obsessed with. Yet I always assumed it was way too much trouble to make on my own. Shame on me for assuming.

Last week, I finally decided to give Baba Ghanoush a fair shot and craft my own easy rendition using this homegrown eggplant I was gifted.

Eggplant

Since using this little guy pictured for my first experiment, I’ve already picked up two more eggplants from local farmers and whipped up round two.

I can’t say my version tops authentic Middle Eastern or Mediterranean Baba Ghanoush, but I can say the result was nothing short of Baba-licious. Not only is this Baba dip creamy and pleasing to the tastebuds, it’s packed with fiber and B vitamins.

Here’s a quick look at how to make your own Baba Ghanoush following my easy bake and blend approach.

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“I wish I had the time and money to cook (and eat) good food.”

This is a statement I’ve heard uttered repeatedly, especially in response to my electing to be vegan, and my mention of how much I cook.

CheesyTaters

A couple of weeks ago, I posted the above photo on social media, along with the following note:

“It only takes twenty minutes (or less) to turn a basket of teeny taters into cheesy mash. The fact that this tater basket was only $1 at the produce stand made last night’s dinner taste ever better. Local green beans, broccoli, red pepper, sweet onion, spinach and cabbage were steamed in a pan on the stovetop and enjoyed alongside this mash + a fresh juicy tomato & DIY goddess dressing.”

I also mentioned that I only gave this meal 5-10 solid minutes of prep and stovetop attention and the rest of the time I let it cook itself while I fed the pup, let him outside, went outside with him (with window open to keep an eye on the food), straightened up some things, washed a few dishes, changed clothes…etc.

Truthfully, I’m always slightly baffled (and bummed) when I hear someone say they don’t have the time or funds to cook good, healthy food. Believe me when I say, it doesn’t take fancy ingredients, excess money, or excess time to cook up a fresh, hearty, delicious, local meal, using just a pot and a pan.

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Spring is officially coming at us this week! Consider celebrating the arrival of a fresh new season filled with green, by springing for plants—eat vegan for an entire day. 

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There’s still time to join the masses in making an official pledge to eat plant-based this Friday, March 20, via Meatout.org. Since 1985, this international Meatout event has helped raise awareness of the benefits of eating vegan: helping animals, achieving great health, and saving the planet. Each year, thousands upon thousands make a pledge and join in.

If you are thinking of springing for plants this season—by pledging to do so Friday, or any other day—here are some suggestions to help you eat vegan at all hours, any day you choose.

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Last week I found myself up against a creative wall, riding waves of self-doubt, and needing much more positive affirmation than usual. I caught myself asking Andrew for feedback countless times, and spent an equal amount of time picking up the phone to call my mom for her words of wisdom. Rather than an “I can” attitude, “Can I?” was a question that played on repeat in my head. I felt far more inadequate than I did renewed. 

The thing about opportunity finding its way onto your lap, is that no matter how wonderful it is, it often takes much more energy than we can possibly predict. For the entirety of last week, I spent the bulk of my waking hours glued to the computer screen, pouring my energy into new projects, on top of those already existing.

Despite my enthusiasm about the projects that have come my way lately, I couldn’t help but feel frustrated that this particular week was supposed to be a big running week for me. While struggling to focus on the work in front of me, I found myself daydreaming about the PR (personal record) I had hoped to achieve at the rapidly approaching New Orleans Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon, while feeling as though I was watching it drift out of reach.

In the evening hours, I had high hopes of switching gears to do “me” writing, some yoga, reading ,or maybe even finally unpacking from my holiday trip. Instead, I sat glued to the TV, watching episodes of “Cutthroat Kitchen.” My brain was all but mush.

Aside from an afternoon out and about on assignment, I rocked the same black on black attire the majority of the week, and barely left the house.

BlackonBlack

Something Andrew and I have discussed at length lately, is the fact that we human beings tend to only showcase the high points in our lives, not the ups, downs and everything in between. Intentionally or not, we show the parts of ourselves we are proud of and comfortable with, and much of the rest goes unseen.

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As if Vega wasn’t already number one in my book when it comes to clean, plant-based nutrition products, they’ve found a way to make their signature Vega One, All-In-One Nutritional Shake, even better.

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Why Vega? 

There are nutritional shakes and dietary supplements of all shapes and sizes out there on the market. Some are part of larger pyramid schemes, while others claim to offer a “get fit quick” fix. The first thing I love about Vega is there’s no scheming involved, nor does Vega offer empty promises of an overnight transformation of any kind.

Vega was founded by Brendan Brazier, a vegan, and former professional Ironman triathlete, who was driven by the desire for complete plant-based nutrition. As a result, Vega products are formulated with health and performance in mind. With Vega you get the real deal, absent of suspicious ingredients. You also get what you pay for—high quality products that go a long way. As someone who is anti-artificial and doesn’t buy into gimmicks, I consider these factors to be of the utmost importance.

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If it seems like there has been a two week delay in my delivering a Thanksgiving (or as I prefer, Thanksliving) followup, it’s because there certainly has been.

Let me explain. Immediately upon arriving home for Thanksgiving, Andrew and I were both hit hard with the sinus infections we had been fighting for days. It’s as if our bodies were saying, “Hey, we know we carried you through an art show and half marathon, but now, it’s time to slow down, rest and repair.”

Naturally, the combination of being home and being sick meant that every plan I thought I had for our trip fell through. Beyond that, it turned into a life lesson (our plans always fail us). It also meant extended family time, with both of our families. Above all, it left me with several valuable reminders:

  • Being able to taste and enjoy food is truly such a blessing that should never be taken for granted.
  • Snotty tissues are disgusting, but dogs still love to rip them up and chew on them.
  • No matter how bad I feel, being at home and curling up on my mom’s couch watching HGTV makes me feel leaps and bounds better.
  • Sometimes my body demands a level of rest and recovery that doesn’t include running.
  • My flesh is impermanent, but my spirit is everlasting.

Ultimately, it reminded me—”We have food on the table and we are together. That’s really all that matters.”

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Thanksliving Feasting

Speaking of food, despite the circumstances, we were able to have two feasts—one with Andrew’s family on Thursday, and one with my mom on Friday. Here is a look at Friday’s Thanksliving feast showcasing the plant-based creations Andrew and I prepared.

Before departing from St. Augustine, I stopped by the produce stand to pick up all the veggies we would need for our menu, including sweet potatoes, onions, green beans, broccoli, and yellow squash. As a bonus, the produce man gave me an acorn squash I decided to turn into a hummus-filled appetizer.

HummusSquash

To prepare, I boiled the squash for about 15 minutes to cook and soften, then sliced it in half, scooped out the gooey portion of the innards with a spoon, added a little vegan buttery spread to the rims, and placed it face down on a pan in the oven to bake for just a few minutes. The only thing that would have made this appetizer better was if I’d made my own hummus. In this case, my mom had some Sabra Spinach and Artichoke hummus on hand. Each bite of hummus was paired with warm, sweet buttery squash.

As for the the main features of our Thanksliving feast, I present to you our vegan spread.

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