Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Arrivederci!

No, I'm not leaving this blog (though my absence over the last few months would probably suggest otherwise). BUT, I'm getting ready to go on a trip to Europe next week! WOO! I'm so excited! And, I won't lie, I've been slightly nervous about what to eat over there. For three days I'll be in Rome, and for another three I'll be in Athens. A bunch of native Greeks told me that I'm going to be perfectly fine eating authentic Greek foods in Athens because a LOT of their foods are plant based. Everything from Horta to Fasolakia, Mavromatika, Gemista, Gigantes, Fava, Briam, and SO many other dishes. I'm very excited!

And of course we have Italy, the country that birthed spaghetti and pasta carbonara (a triple whammy dish full of eggs, meat, and cheese). Though the food choices will be a little slimmer because the Italians love their cheese, I'll be able to eat lots of pizza marinara, pasta all'arrabiata (I think that's how it's spelled), and a few other dishes.

In honor of my trip coming up (all of my dishes of which, I'll document and share with you), I decided to make some plant-based lasagna rolls last night. This recipe comes to us from, again, my favorite food guru: Lindsay Nixon, the Happy Herbivore. You can find the recipe in her first recipe book, The Happy Herbivore AND online on her website here. And I'll be honest, I didn't actually follow the recipe. Why? Because I fell in love with another "cheese" sauce. Dreena Burton and her Plant Powered Kitchen makes a wonderful Mac-Oh Geez! recipe:) But the cheese sauce doesn't have the nutritional yeast in it that gives it that overly strong taste (which is perfect for a ricotta stand-in).

When I made this last night, I didn't have the brazil nuts or the mustard powder, or the lemon juice. So, as what's great about cooking . . . I improvised. Instead of the 1/2 cup of Brazil nuts, I just used another 1/2 cup of cashews. Instead of the mustard powder, I used an actual TBS of dijon mustard. And instead of the lemon juice, I used lemon pepper. I also omitted the non-dairy milk (and of course, the oil) because I didn't want it to be liquidy (Yes, liquidy is a word for the sake of this post).

Just mix up in the blender, mix with the spinach, spread on the cooked lasagne, roll up, and cook as directed in the Happy Herbivore recipe! It's SOOO wonderful! I might just have to stop into one of the restaurants in Rome and teach them how to do this.

(ha ha. Just kidding. That would scare the crap out of me.)

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Cookie Dough Monster

I've never been a huge cookie dough eater.

Until now.

I'm always on the lookout for good dessert substitutes. Most of the time I reach for a piece of fruit... other times I need something a little harder:)

Chocolate Covered Katie
I found the original Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough recipe here on Chocolate Covered Katie's website and blog. First of all, I could get stuck making her desserts all freaking' day long if I didn't have, you know, a job, or a life.

What brought me to this recipe was my co-worker. He approached me and another co-worker one day and told us that he was at a loss as to what to get for his pregnant wife for her birthday. When he added that he wasn't allowed to buy the present, one thing led to another. Homemade dinner, homemade ice cream, and cookie dough. But, with his wife being pregnant, he didn't dare risk the salmonella in raw eggs.

I grinned.

"You can make egg-less healthy cookie dough, you know," I said. He was skeptical, but when I promised him it would taste exactly the same, he asked for me to send him the recipe. The only problem was that...I didn't have a recipe... and I'd never made healthy cookie dough before. But, I was so confident in my diet that I'd made the promise. I immediately got on Pinterest and searched for "healthy cookie dough" and the first result was Katie's cookie dough.

When I sent the recipe to him I told him the same thing I'm gonna tell you... don't be afraid of the ingredients. You eat all of these things all the time, but you've never eaten them this way.

I had to go home immediately after work to make it myself and make sure I hadn't lied.

I hadn't. In fact, I've made it a lot. A lot.

And when I ran out of dark chocolate dairy-free chips...I wondered if there were other healthy cookie dough varieties. I was so in luck:)

I love oats. I love raisins. I love Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Dough. You can check out the recipe.

If you're wondering what to eat these fabulous cookie dough dips with, here are some suggestions:

  • Uh...you don't need anything else, pick up a spoon and go to town.
  • Apples are fabulous!
  • For you processed food cheaters, graham crackers are a hit.
  • Strawberries!
  • Pretty much any fruit you want.
When I made each of these, I didn't use as much sweetener (I'm a WFPB eater of honey and maple syrup), and when I made the oatmeal dough I didn't use apple sauce, I just added a little almond milk to thin it out.

But either way... these are SO good. You'll thank me!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Back By Popular Request

Let me just put this out there right now...I'm a horrible blogger. In the sense that I'm horrible about being consistent. So, just excuse my last, like...four month hiatus.

I'll let you know right now: I'm still plant-based. And I still love it:)

I had a good friend message me tonight, asking me to discuss a certain topic on this blog. She is part of a home-school group where many of the mothers advocate GMO-free foods, no sugars, and no processed foods. Which, I'll admit, is a great thing. It's always about making BETTER choices--not necessarily being perfect.

But one of the topics this group of mothers has discussed is "brain food." Their belief that children need organic meat, raw milk, and organic eggs in order for their brains to develop properly.

I'll come flat out and say that this is absolutely FALSE. It's a misconception, and lie told by the dairy, meat, and egg industries to sell more of their products.

In fact, did you know that eggs are not allowed to be marketed as a health food? Just their cholesterol content alone makes them more detrimental than helpful. You can see a video clip about the topic here, given by Dr. Michael Greger.

A lot of health professionals and the medical world at large, has, for years, taught and believed the fact that children on a plant-based diet have a retarded growth. In fact, in 1992, after reviewing all available scientific evidence, the Department of Community and Family Medicine at the University of California at San Diego concluded that children on a diet of mostly vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes, when consuming adequate calories, not only grow normally, but have actually been shown to attain greater height than meat-eating children.

But what about brain functions? Obviously, our brains need fat, right?

Yes.

However, the risks of consuming animal products far outweigh their benefits. The extra saturated fats, the excessive proteins that feed cancer cells, and other problems are not worth the risk, in my mind (not unless I'm in extreme hunger or in famine--as the WOW directs).

So, what fats should children be consuming that are not in animal products?

The answer is easy: Nuts, Olives, Seeds, Avocados, and Tofu.

The same fats that are necessary for healthy brain development are also contained in plant foods. What's even better is that these foods contain a multitude of other vitamins and nutrients for our health and children's health.

And other people are seeing the benefits of these REAL brain foods. Consider a study from a school for troubled youth in Miami. Dr. Antonia Demas from Cornell University put kids there on a vegan diet, resulting in a The Miami Herald headline, “Brain Food: Student Vegans See Boost in Grades, Energy.” School Principal Mary Louise Cole explained that the students “seem to have a lot more energy—they don’t have the down times.” Gabriel Saintvil, stated that “I used to get tired when I ran laps or lifted weights. Now I get endurance and keep on doing it.”

One of my favorite Plant-Based Diet advocate doctors, Dr. Joel Fuhrman (who was also an Olympic figure skater), talks about the need for children to have healthy brain development:

A nutrient-rich diet is essential for children to develop optimal brain function. A recent study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health followed the dietary patterns of nearly 4,000 children from birth for over eight years. The study found that toddlers who ate a nutrient-rich diet full of fruits and vegetables had higher IQ scores when they reached 8 years of age compared to the toddlers who consumed processed foods full of fat and sugar. The foods that the toddlers ate had a dramatic long term effect on their brain function. 
Nutrition plays an important role in brain development during all stages of childhood. Whereas the brain grows fastest in the first few years of life, it continues to develop throughout adolescence. Thus, it is important that children of all ages consume a high nutrient diet to ensure adequate brain development.    
Children who eat a nutrient-dense diet are providing their brains with supplementary antioxidant support. The brain uses the most oxygen and produces most energy of any part of body, and thus it is highly susceptible to oxidative stress.  Oxidative stress is inflammation caused by uncontrolled free radicals.  Free radicals can propagate throughout the cell, damaging the cell and even lead to cell death. Cells have their own antioxidant defense enzymes to process the free radicals, but they are not 100% efficient and we must use dietary antioxidants to process the rest. The brain’s antioxidant defenses becoming overwhelmed is one of the main mechanisms of brain aging, and this has been linked to neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. 
The foods children consume early in life provide them with the raw materials to construct their brains and ultimately supply their brain power. A diet rich in vegetables, fruit, beans, nuts and seeds is the only way to ensure children get the array of phytochemicals, antioxidants, fatty acids and other micronutrients to adequately supply their growing brains.
Dr. Fuhrman talks about the importance of breastfeeding as well, but that's another subject for someone else's blog:) You can read the article here.

So, the truth of the matter is...the more fruits and veggies your kids eat, the healthier their body will be, the healthier their brain will be, and the better their development!

Monday, March 31, 2014

A New Health Pyramid

For those of you concerned about what should be in your diet each day for a plant-based approach:


Monday, March 17, 2014

Another Win For Quinoa!

Yes, its been quite a while since my last post. Mostly because my dear brother got married this month and life has been absolutely crazy! Exciting, but crazy:)

However, that has not stopped me from making a ton of new recipes (all of which will eventually be featured on this blog, so stay tuned!). One of my favorites over the last little while has been a salad. And I'm not really a salad person. If I'm going to eat my greens, I love them in a hummus wrap! Anyway, this salad comes to us by way of The Gluten Free Goddess. I fell in love with her website back when I had to cut wheat out of my diet (something I'm very glad I don't have to do anymore).

This Pear and Quinoa Salad with maple vinegar dressing is SO great! So when we had a St. Patrick's Day Potluck at work today, I signed up for a salad and hoped this one would be a winner. Boy, was it! I was afraid I brought too much and would have to take a lot home...I didn't even get a chance.

*If you want to make the dressing oil free, do it! I just used red wine vinegar and natural maple syrup. Like I said, it's one of my favorite salads! And I'm not a salad person:)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

A Healthy Truffle?

chocolate peanut butter "truffles"
Veg Kitchen

The truth of the matter is that there is no such thing as a real healthy truffle. Not really. BUT it is possible to make them healthier. True story. I'm not going to lie, but I have a bit of a chocolate sweet tooth. Especially dark chocolate. And when I found this recipe for a peanut butter chocolate protein truffle, I went nuts! Because not only does it have healthful grains, but it also has a healthy fruit... one that you'd never guess when trying one. Raisins.

This Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffle recipe comes from the brilliant Nava Atlas and her website Veg Kitchen. Its simple, its easy, and you can probably make it with things you already have in your kitchen. When I made these, I did not have wheat germ, so I used flax seed powder instead. These are loaded with protein, fiber, omega fatty acids (if you use the flax seed) and you wont feel as guilty giving them to your kids (or eating a few extra yourself). I'm not going to lie, I've sometimes been known to sneak more than eight onto my bedroom and eat all of them in one sitting.

Hope you like them!!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

What Are Animals For?



I'm always up to addressing other people's concerns in my posts and this one just happens to be one of those posts. A friend of our family had been in their ward in a primary class and the children had been learning about the creation, I'm assuming because the teacher asked the kids at one point, "Why did God create animals?" and then immediately answered his/her own question with, "For us to eat."

This friend's mouth, probably if it were capable, hit the floor. Is that what we are teaching our children? That animals are merely there for our indulgence? In fact, I hope I'm not overstepping spiritual bounds when I point out the fact, that in the church, we've learned that animals are to "fulfill the measure of their creation and to have joy." I sure hope you all recognize that line, because if I were to show you pictures of factory farmed animals (the animals that probably 95% of your meat comes from), you'd see that there has not been one moment of joy in their entire lives. And it breaks my heart--to see God's creations being used so flippantly.

So, let me spell out the ways that animals are far beyond the feral use of mankind's stomach:

  • To bring us true joy
    • In my lifetime, our family has been stewards over a rabbit-Bucky; a hamster-Mickey; four dogs-Shady, Peebo, Winnie, and Nilla; three cats-Spook, Oreo, and Sicko; two horses-Wizard, and Gunner, and endless bottles of pill bugs. Not one of them have we ever used to eat. In fact, Peebo, lived to an age of 18 which is quite old for a dog. He stank towards the end, and was covered in tumors, but the memories we'd made with him when we were kids ensured joy in his life as well as ours. When I  visit my parent's home these days I have "sleep overs" with Nilla and Winnie where we have a girl's night, sleeping in my bed. My mom has video of me, as a kid, reading a rabbit book...to Bucky. In other words, these blessed animals have been family. They have made us laugh, they have comforted us when we're sick and sad, they have played games with us, protected us, and more. In short, these animals were made to be our friends. In fact, animals are known to help reduce and eliminate depression.

  • To use FOR food
    • For centuries, mankind has worked by the sweat of his own brow, and animals have been used to work right beside him. The horse and ox have pulled man's plow, hogs used to hunt out truffles, insects and birds used to maintain pests in crop fields, bacteria (yes, an animal) lives in our guts to help digest food, their uninfected manure used to fertilize plants (my parents put their horses' manure in their garden beds), bees and other insects and animals are used to pollenate plants. Goat herds can be used to eat weeds, ladybugs used to eliminate garden worms and other harmful insects, snakes manage rodent populations that threaten crops (although I hate snakes, I see them non-stop in my garden, which makes me happy!),
  • To serve us
    • Not like slaves, but look at canines who are wonderful seeing-eye dogs to serve the blind, look at the animals that are used in hospitals and nursing homes as a means of therapy for the patients. Dogs are also used to sniff out cancer and warn epilepsy patients when a seizure is coming on. Bomb sniffing dogs to detect threats, seals and dolphins are trained by the Navy for security. Elephants, horses, mules, kine (that would be animals like cows and oxen), llamas, dogs, and other animals are used for packing and transportation. Cats help eliminate the overpopulation of pests, wolves control the excessive deer population, and the list goes on and on. Those snakes I mentioned earlier? In cutting down rodent populations, it helps protect us humans from disease. During wars in the past, birds and other animals have been used to transfer messages. Animals have and can warn us of natural disasters. Canaries have been used to warn miners of deadly gas. It's easy to see signs of animals serving us every single day...and this is just scratching the surface.

  • To bring beauty to the eye
    • Peacocks, flamingos, giraffes, horses, elephants, whales, fish, insects...how beautiful are these creatures? How amazing are they to look at? They fill us with wonder, with appreciation, and gratitude. Not everything has a "practical" use. And I have a belief that God wanted to give us things to please the eye and gladden the heart. Like a sunset, a beautiful valley, a majestic mountain range, or deep canyon, there are creations in existence to amaze us. Not for our carnal desires.

  • To clothe us
    • In the coldest climates of the world where man has lived for centuries, the wool of sheep, alpacas, llamas, goats, oxen has been woven and spun into warm clothing and blankets. In extreme climates, yes, the animals are skinned to protect the wearers from frostbite and protect them from the elements.
  • As food
    • As the Word of Wisdom explains, animals are also here as food for us...in times of cold, winter, famine, or extreme hunger. I do not feel it is right to NEVER eat meat. Where would the Martin Willey Handcart company have been without the fatty meat of the buffalo that was brought to them? How would Nephi and his family had survived all their travels to the promised land without access to animal flesh? As Genesis explains, the flesh of animals is meant to save our lives. And I'm so grateful for that.
In the end, the purpose of animals "as food" for us to eat, is miniscule compared to all their other duties on this planet. Are there any other purposes for animals that you can think of?

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Gnocchi alla Genovese

So, I've never done Gnocchi  before (pronounced "nyokee") but I've ALWAYS wanted to. Gnocchi is a pasta usually made out of flour and potato starch. When I found this plant-based recipe, I was so excited because it looked SO good. BTW, I have to credit Pinterest for this find. I actually find most of my recipes this way, and I love it.

I found this particular Gnocchi alla Genovese recipe on One Green Planet. The problem I quickly ran into, however, while I was shopping, was that I could NOT find a pesto that wasn't made with oil and parmesan cheese. Of course, in order to rectify this problem I went to the only place I could think of that would have a non-oil, non-cheese pesto recipe . . . that's right, Pinterest. And I found this Oil-Free Vegan Pesto on Healthy Girl's Kitchen.
One Green Planet
I think that this recipe would also go really really well with asparagus added in (the more veggies the better, right?!)! And, I also purchased the whole wheat Gnocchi from Harmons (Cucina and Amore brand). It's really good!

I hope you like it as much as I did! And a perk? This is relatively easy and quick to make!

Gnocchi alla Genovese

Serves 2 as a main, 4 with sides | Cooking Time: 10-15 min.

INGREDIENTS:

1 packet of gnocchi
two handfuls of frozen green beans
two handfuls of frozen peas
2-3 tbsp pesto (recipe below)
1/2 cup soy cream (or non-dairy milk--I used Almond Milk)
PREPARATION:

Steam the green beans and peas over a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes.
Pour the cream and pesto into a large pan to simmer.
Add the gnocchi, stirring to cover them in creamy pesto sauce. Stir in the peas and beans, then serve while it’s still hot.

Oil-Free Pesto
2 cups tightly packed fresh basil
1 to 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped (to taste)
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 cup low sodium vegetable broth
Sea salt (or not) to taste (I didn't use any!)
freshly ground pepper, to taste

Place the basil, garlic, walnuts, pine nuts, lemon juice and nutritional yeast in a food processor fitted with the S blade. Pulse to combine, until the mixture is coarsely ground.


Turn the motor on and drizzle the vegetable broth in a thin stream. Taste, Add the sea salt (or not) and pepper to taste. Pulse a few more times to combine.
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Friday, January 31, 2014

Not by Commandment or Constraint

I saw it today. The beast. The HOLE that is commonly called Negativity -- it sucks people in and spits them out into red-faced ravening wolves, ready to turn on each other and reduce their normal respectful character into beings they wouldn't normally be.

Okay, I exaggerate (as I'm apt to do for a small lift of the corner of your lip--not really a smile, but close enough). But let's just say that I saw and read some things today that shocked me a bit.

I said in a past post that I had never dealt with people truly being offended by my food beliefs, but today, I got it. And I feel like I need to say a few words. Okay, two words: I'm sorry.

I'm sorry that I should have added a footnote to all my spiritual findings, clarifying that these are my findings and my feelings. No, the church has never come out and officially declared exactly how we should eat. The scriptures, quotes, examples, research, and thoughts that I present on this blog . . . that ANY of us present on this blog belong to us as individuals.

Do those of us who choose to eat PBWF (Plant-Based Whole Food), Vegetarian, or Vegan diets judge or condemn others for not? Certainly not. Right now, there's not a single member of the General Authorities who have said that they eat that way, and they are called of God, they are righteous and self-Sacrificing people who are closer to touching the Heavens than I am.

Do I feel impressed to share my beliefs? You betcha. My mom's testimony and how she felt when she deepened her outlook of the Word of Wisdom was one of the first things that made me consider something different. I needed that outside influence. In her own words:

You should know something about myself. I'm 50 years old and for the first time in my life I actually feel good. I know that sounds crazy, but I have suffered with arthritis and obesity much of my adult life. I've tried everything and nothing seemed to work for very long. I made some big changes over a year ago and have lost almost 50 pounds. I was courageous to try something different. But now that I have made such a huge decision in my life, I'm healthier than I've ever been. Such a shame to have waited to find out till I was 50. But mostly, I am surer that ever that Joseph Smith is a prophet. What an amazing man. Now, let me make myself clear. I am not saying that [other decisions are] wrong. I simply have been on a journey, as well as my sweet daughter . . . I will not judge you. Neither with the Lord. In fact, I am sure of it when I say that eating meat will not hold you away from the Celestial Kingdom. But there are somethings that will--how you treat all of God's children. I will say that what you eat is not important. Find what makes you happy. If you are happy, and sure of decisions you have made, then BE HAPPY. BUT if you're not happy then I suggest that you open your mind and find what makes you happy. Then it won't matter what any one else says, you know what makes you happy. I certainly have compassion for you. I've been there. And with love in my heart, I would also hope you find what is important.

She's said many of those things to me over the months and something stirred inside me. Something made me desire more. And now, I find it a great blessing.

How can I, after finding something so great, that makes me so happy, that makes me feel so energized, so healthy, and so much closer to my Lord . . . can I not share it? If I were to share the gospel with a friend who is not a member, I would hope they would not think I was personally attacking and commanding that they change their views. I would hope, that they would perhaps feel that same stirring that I did as a kid, and want to learn more.

This is my motivation behind this blog. Despite the unintended negativity and well-meaning friends, I've had just as many people privately thanking me for sharing my findings and my journey.

The Word of Wisdom was not given to us as a Commandment nor a Constraint (89:2). Portions of it (strong drink, drugs, and hot drinks) were eventually made a commandment for worthy temple members 100 years after the revelation was received.

The rest of it, is 100% up to us. If the things I have shared, have expressed and laughed about have offended you, again, I say: I'm sorry. None of this has ever meant to be a personal attack on anyone's eating habits. As my mom has said, I hope you feel joy in your choices. Really! Our purpose here is to feel JOY! God's purpose is to bring about our JOY! Find it and follow it!

But, please . . . let me share mine :)


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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Food Feature: Asparagus

So, I'm on a date tonight and in my sushi roll I had a long segment of asparagus (LOVE iT!). And my date notices and says something to the effect of, "I know I shouldn't say this at the dinner table, but as good as Asparagus is . . . I know it makes your pee stink."
Uh huh. Thanks :)

But I kinda feel that's maybe all we know about this green twig that grows out of the ground like weird looking green . . . sticks. It makes our pee stink.

So what's so great about it, and why should we eat it?

Asparagus "spears" should probably be considered just as protective as a real weapon. Their javelin-like shape can be symbolic for their disease and age-fighting abilities. In fact, Asparagus has been prized as an epicurean delight and for its medicinal properties for almost 2000 years.

First, this veggie is LOADED with nutrients: with its long stringy fibers, you can know right off the bat that it's an excellent source of fiber. Added to that, you've got folate, vitamins A, C, E and K (that's a LOT of great fat-soluble vitamins). But you've also got chromium, which is a trace mineral that enhances the ability of your insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells.

Second, this plant—along with avocados, kale, and Brussels sprouts—is a great source of what is called glutathione, which is a detoxifying compound that aids in breaking down carcinogens and other harmful foreign bodies like free radicals (which AGE us). So, eating asparagus may actually help protect against and FIGHT certain forms of cancer, such as bone (a particularly nasty breed...I know, having lost a friend to it), breast, colon, larynx, and lung cancers.

Third, Asparagus is just jam packed with antioxidants. How packed? It ranks among the top fruits and vegetables for its ability to neutralize cell-damaging free radicals. This, according to preliminary research, may help slow the aging process. Want to live over the age of 98 and still enjoy being alive and with your family like Dr. Ellsworth Wareham? I'm not talking bed-ridden and in pain. I'm talking, enjoying life with your posterity!


Fourth, another anti-aging benefit of this springtime veggie is that it helps our brains fight cognitive decline (again, see Dr. Ellsworth above!). Like all leafy greens, asparagus delivers folate which works with vitamin B12 to help prevent cognitive impairment. In a study from Tufts University, older adults with healthy levels of folate and B12 performed better on a test of response speed and mental flexibility. (So make sure you're taking those B12 supplements every day!)

Fifth, and one more benefit of asparagus...it contains high levels of the amino acid asparagine (yeah, lots of big words today), which serves as a natural diuretic (TMI maybe?). Increased urination not only releases fluid, but helps rid the body of excess salts. This is especially beneficial for people who suffer from edema and those who have high blood pressure or other heart-related diseases!

And finally...the moment you've all been waiting for...why does asparagus make your pee stink? Asparagus contains a unique compound that, when metabolized, gives off a distinctive smell in the urine. Young asparagus contains higher concentrations of the compound so the odor is stronger after eating these shoots. There are, however, no harmful effects, either from the sulfuric compounds or the odor! While it is believed that most people produce these odorous compounds after eating asparagus . . . there are actually few people who actually have the ability to detect the smell. So, don't worry.

The most common type of asparagus is green, which you've probably all seen, but just this year, while visiting my Grandparents in Idaho we had white asparagus. There is also a purple variety, which is smaller and fruitier in flavor. So, just pick a type! Asparagus is a tasty vegetable that can be cooked in a variety of ways or enjoyed raw in salads (or veggie sushi!).

Be sure to keep in mind these cooking tips to preserve the functioning antioxidants and keep your preparation healthy:

Roast, grill, or stir-fry your asparagus. These methods cook it quick and will preserve the nutritional content and antioxidant power of asparagus. If you stir-fry use vegetable broth ... not oil:) Enjoy!
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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

World's Best Pizza

When we first started looking for recipes, after Kim and I had made our switch to a plant based diet, I found this yummy pizza recipe from Vegan Richa.  Tonight I had some bread dough in the freezer so I pulled it out and started the pizza, but modified it a bit. This is one of the best vegan pizza recipes I've ever found and the following article contains the modifications--faster and easier to fix.

Vegan Richa
Ingredients:
Pizza:
1 recipe of Whole Wheat crust (You can use your own or I'll post another one hear later. Make sure you check back.)
One can of vegan refried beans
1/2 cup of your favorite salsa
Tomatoes
Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce, chopped or sliced (I get mine at Winco. Embasa brand.  You only need a few from the can)
Sliced red onions
Pineapple chunks
Olives
6 oz can of mushrooms
One batch of Lime Crema (recipe below)
Chopped lettuce (optional)

Spread your Whole Wheat Crust on a sprayed cookie sheet.  You'll want this fairly thin, just less than 1/4 inch. Mix your refried beans and salsa together.  Spread on top of crust. Add your favorite toppings.  I was amazed how yummy the peppers were. Cook in 425 degree oven for 15 minutes. After finished cooking pour some lime crema on top. This will make TWO pizzas. Serve with chopped lettuce on top, if preferred.

Lime Crema:
1 cup of raw cashews
2 limes (you will use both the juice and the zest)
Almond milk (enough to make slightly pourable -- about 1/2 - 1 cup)

Blend the cashews in blender until very crumbly, add juice and zest. Blend again pouring almond milk in a little at a time till right consistency, scraping down sides, re-blending as you go.

 

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Monday, January 27, 2014

Veggie-Ts!!!!!

I want one. A Veggie T. A T-shirt that yells to the world, "I LOVE VEGGIES!" but still looks classy and fun. Not cheesy and ugly. So, first of all, I really REALLY want one of these (just in case anyone needs a B-day gift idea for me, I wear a men's size small--click on the image to go to the Etsy Shop):

lettuce turnip the beet - heather grey vneck - men's XS, S, M, L, or XL - custom order

But, I've been thinking, what if . . . hear me out . . . there were Veggie Mormon Ts??? Is that nuts!? I'm thinking that having some screen printed for purchase might be fun (on a made-to-order basis). Since I'm just throwing around this idea, here's a few of the lines I've come up with that might be fun:

Lettuce All Cress On
Apple Go, Apple Do
ETR (Eat The Right)

Not going to lie, it was tough coming up with those. I also came up with a few that might be fun on a non-religious basis:

Chive Talkin’
Apple Always Love You
Beet It
I’m Kind of Big Dill
Lettuce Live
Lettuce Love

Eh? Eh? What other fun Veggie-Lines could you come up with?? And here's a design I kind of mocked up:



P.S. I know . . . I'm a nerd:)

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Medications, Illness, God, and Diet

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Mormon Quorum of the...
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Mormon Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (Photo credit: More Good Foundation)
Today in Relief Society, our lesson was on Elder Jeffery R. Holland's Fall 2013 Conference Talk regarding mental health and the spirit. I, like 100% of the other church members across the globe, look forward to his talks above most of the other general authorities. And this time, he again, did not disappoint.

However, there is something about church members' reception of this talk that bothers me, and I want to address it. Now, I'm going to disclose right now that I'm not trying to be insensitive or unfeeling in what I have to say. Having a family member who struggles with Epilepsy, I know the difficulties of physical limitations in that regard. And I'm fully aware that there are illnesses and trials that we may go through that don't have a "quick fix" or "just stop being sad" resolution.

That being said, I feel like a lot of people heard this talk, read it again, and study it in class and come to the conclusion of "it's inevitable. I, and others like me, are dealing with depression, multiple sclerosis, postpartum depression, seasonal affective disorder, high blood pressure, cancer, fibromyalgia, lupus, anxiety, and many other physical ailments . . . and it's okay. As long as I face the issue, take my medication, and lean on Christ, I'll be blessed through this trial."

And that really bothers me.

Again, don't get me wrong, I truly, truly believe that these are not issues to brush off. They need serious help. But with all due respect to what people think Elder Holland was talking about . . . it's not about medicating. Even he said, "If we do not take time to be well, we most assuredly will take time later on to be ill."

But what does it take to be well? I'm afraid that many of us feel like being well consists of continuing to regularly take our medications, eating a "well-balanced" diet of meats, dairy, veggies and the lie that is low-carb, and taking a 30 minute walk every day.

Studies, studies, studies, studies, studies, studies, and more studies have shown that every disease I listed above (depression, MS, postpartum, SAD, high blood pressure, cancer, fibromyalgia, lupus, anxiety, etc.) can be prevented and treated with a plant-based whole foods diet (aka. The Word of Wisdom -- or the way God intends for us to eat). And these are not tales of "I finally have learned how to cope," these are stories of "I got rid of what hung over my head."


Yes, these illnesses are serious. They are not cured with just service towards your neighbor. They aren't cured with working harder and working out. They aren't cured with positive thoughts, prayer alone, or simple faith. They require a fix. Not a medicated mask, but a fix.

And again, I truly hope that you readers don't think I'm judgmental or uncaring. I know that there are even serious mental illness that can not be cured or completely cured.

But so much of it can. And we spend so many of our days "dealing with it." Coping. Trying to find that one shred of strength to get through another day -- when there is a possibility of being set free from the illness and/or the symptoms.

Like I said above, I have a family member who struggles with Epilepsy, and needs to be medicated daily as a protection to the individual, as well as the people around them. Yes, there are cases that are severe enough to require the blessings of modern medicine (I'm not a hippie, remember? I believe in the benefits and blessings of both worlds). In our day in age, however, I also feel we rely too heavily on the "pill fix."

Again, there are times where everything is crumbling around us and real depression can nearly tear us apart.

Life isn't easy.

But are we doing all we can to alleviate the pain?


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Friday, January 24, 2014

Oriental No-Beef Wontons

This recipe . . . is a Veggie Mormon original:)

Last week I made a tofu shiitake mushroom wonton soup. So I had half a package of wonton wrappers left over. By the way, the wonton wrappers I used are the only thing that isn't really a whole food, so if you want whole wheat wonton wrappers (I'll be going to Whole Foods to buy these next time), buy Tang's Whole Wheat Wonton Wrappers.

But ANYWAY . . .

One of my favorite easy things to make is TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein) meat. So naturally, I thought, "TVP . . . Wonton wrappers . . . BEEF WONTONS!"

These would make great appetizers (or . . . since I'm single and I pretty much whatever I want for dinner . . . you can eat like 12 of them at once)!


Ingredients

"Beef" Broth

  • 1 TBS low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 TBS nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp vegan Worcestershire Sauce (I bought mine at Harmons)
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup water
TVP "Meat"
  • "Beef" Broth
  • 2 TBS steak sauce
  • 2 TBS low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp orange peel
  • 1 TBS hoisin sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp Chinese 5-spice
  • 1 cup TVP
Wontons
  • TVP "Meat"
  • 2 diced green onions
  • Fresh Ginger
  • 20 Wonton Wrappers
Preheat the oven to 375° F.

Add everything for the broth into a saucepan, wisk together, and bring to a boil. Turn heat off and add everything needed for the "meat" except for the TVP. Wisk the ingredients together, then add the TVP, stir, and cover for about 5 minutes while the TVP soaks up all the liquid.

Prepare a muffin tin tray by placing the wonton wrappers inside and pressing them into the bottom, creating a bowl-shape. Then, fill with the TVP "meat" and garnish with green onion and grated fresh ginger. Then, bake in the oven for 9 minutes, or until the wontons get crispy and turn brown on the edges. 

And that's it! Hope you like my creation!

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