Hi everyone! Another recipe awaits!
A friend recently received his Master’s degree and in celebration I made an on the spot stir-fry. Recently he asked me for the recipe and it occurred to me I did not write down the creation. Since then, I have mulled over what I could have possibly used and what follows is the recipe–as close as I can recall–and a few pics that my love happened to take that night.
Friendships and Food
Our friend is of Latino descent and his lovely girlfriend (also a close friend) is very involved and interested in Mexican culture. Additionally, they are both vegetarian, which worked out well for the ideas I had for the dish because I didn’t have to hold back on any of the veggies I wanted to include. I decided on an Asian themed dish but with a Latino (South American) twist. I wanted to make something that the two of them had never tried and it turns out I did!
When I think about eating and preparing food, I immediately think about sharing. In many ways, I feel like food is one of the most wonderful and full-hearted gifts you could ever give someone. A well prepared, home-cooked meal is full of dedication, trust, and creativity. Food, as a gift, polishes the idea of friendship because it’s sharing a part of yourself with the people in your life that mean the most to you. Preparing a meal, or giving the gift of food (especially if personally prepared, picked, sought out) is a way of leaving your mark on the world. Sadly, in some opinions, it’s much less permanent and much more easy to forget. I say let us remember these acts and appreciate every bite! Even when you’re sharing a meal with friends at a restaurant, take the time to truly appreciate the flavors, the environment and where the food came from. If it’s possible, you could even take the time to thank or compliment those who helped make the meal for you. Take a picnic with your friends and enjoy nature while enjoying your basket or bag full of wonders. Essentially, imbue the thought. I hope all of you enjoy preparing this meal and are able to share it with someone extra special. And remember…bite responsibly!
Peruvian Chili Lime Stir-Fry w/ Vermicelli Noodles
Ingredients / Utensils
Notes: I focused on the style in the cut of the vegetables. I wanted them to seem slightly uniform for a more aesthetic, pleasing look to the eye. I was going for a slender, matchstick or even julienne look to pattern with the small, delicate noodles. On my choice of noodle; I was inspired by Vietnamese dishes that frequently have vermicelli, thus I was hooked! I over-cooked the noodles just slightly that night, and they became a little gummy, but adding the slightest amount of sesame oil helped loosen them up. Also, I’m still perfecting the science of presenting a recipe because personally, I pour and shake my spices and liquids, thus it’s difficult for me to portion out measurements for others to use. I just go by taste. Patience, please! 😀
Good Afternoon Everyone,
I hope you’re all faring well. Today, I’d like to highlight the Texas Veg Fest, soon to be in Austin, TX for its second year running. After attending last year’s first Texas Veg Fest, I’m anxious to see what changes there will be. Last year, I was able to sample a tremendous amount of food, I scored tons of great coupons and freebies and chatted with some helpful and informative companies/vendors. I would say if you’re into trying new, funky vegetarian/vegan variations of foods like faux migas, faux cheese (that melts :p ), and some of the best dairy-free ice-creams out there, this festival is for you! You will also get connected to businesses that are in the holistic and naturopathic vein, which is incredibly beneficial if you’re new to a plant-based diet. Having a support system is incredibly important during any transition and there were numerous outlets of info last year and many more to come, this year. My hope is that there will be more of an abundance of veggies and whole foods this year, but only time will tell.
Here’s a breakdown of Texas Veg Fest, straight from the source:
Texas VegFest is a family-friendly festival celebrating plant-based foods, with a focus on health, physical fitness, the environment, and compassionate living. For this year’s event, more than five thousand attendees will gather at beautiful Fiesta Gardens on Town Lake on Saturday, April 6th from 11am – 6pm. With engaging activities, vendors, speakers, demos, and, of course, great food and live music, you won’t want to miss Texas VegFest!
Our Fabulous Speakers and Cooking Demonstrations
Come see best-selling cookbook author Isa Chandra Moskowitz cook delicious cashew-based meals like Caesar salad, Creamy Chickpea and Rice Soup, and cheesecake. Executive Chef Ayinde Howell, the entrepreneur behind Hillside Quickies in Seattle, will be serving up some amazing vegan soul food including Broccoli Cheddar Soup, Texas BBQ Rubbed Seitan, and Mini Sloppy Joes. The Blissful Chef Christy Morgan will demonstrate easy protein-packed snacks that everyone will love.
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, the author of five books and frequent guest on Food Network and PBS, will captivate you with her presentation “From Excusitarian to Vegan.” Champion boxer Omowale Adewale is coming all the way from New York to share his presentation on how to incorporate positive habits into your life. His presentation will be interactive, so come prepared to learn a few moves. Dr. Baxter Montgomery, the founder of Montgomery Heart and Wellness, a cardiology practice and wellness center in Houston, will speak about all the health benefits of going plant-based.
Fantastic Activities for Families
In our kids’ area, enjoy youth yoga and face painting by Austin Bhakti Yoga, Austin’s premier nonprofit yoga center, or watch Austin’s healthy cooking school, The Natural Epicurean, demo recipes for kids and teens. Food is Free Project will share their model of simultaneously growing food and community through seed planting and seed ball-making activities. The captivating Brooke Chavez of Sunny Day Farms will be speaking to kids and teens about animal compassion and awareness. Sunny Day Farms is the largest farm animal sanctuary in the Central United States. For some quiet time to balance all this activity, Vegbooks.org has donated fantastic kids’ books for our reading and coloring zone.
Hungry for Food and Knowledge?
Hungry attendees can feast on a variety of food such as curry, Tex-Mex, funnel cake, fresh juices, cupcakes, falafel, and veggie burgers from some of Austin’s most-loved restaurants. Or sample delicious treats and great products from companies across the nation. It’s all delicious, and it’s all vegan!
Explore local produce, tempeh, earth-friendly cleaning products, agave nectar, plant protein mixes, an electric car, blenders, baked goods, and other items showcased by Texas VegFest sponsors Plant Fusion, South Point Nissan, Natural Epicurean, and Wholesome Sweeteners, Vitamix, Clif Bar, Health Force Nutritionals, Dr. Lucy’s, Greenling, Johnson’s Backyard Gardening, The Hearty Vegan, Veggietopia, Way Better Snacks, Ecos Earth Friendly Products.
Nonprofits like Mercy For Animals and Vegans Rock Austin will be there to answer all your questions about how you can help protect animals. And people of all ages can enjoy a few moments of guided mediation by the Isha foundation on the shore of Town Lake.
Talented Music Line-up
It wouldn’t be an Austin festival without live music, and Texas VegFest doesn’t disappoint! Musical backdrop for Texas VegFest 2013 includes:
· Ray Prim
Keep an eye out sometime next week for my follow-up post on the festival, where I will give a ’round-two, Veg Fest breakdown’. My thoughts, exciting new discoveries, critiques and more. I’ll break it down for you!
Thanks for reading, tell all of your friends, and I hope to see you there. And remember…bite responsibly!
As mentioned in my previous post, today’s post will involve what I’ve eaten for the past 28+ days, and why–more importantly–the way I have eaten has changed both my digestive/overall health, and how it has changed my perspective on my old consumption habits and the way I plan meals. A little perspective; if you did not happen to catch my last post, something I focused on was listening to your body in a very pure way, hearing out the good and the bad. Moreover, those messages our body is sending us have the tendency to surface in a myriad of ways, and more than likely the pattern we hold in our eating behaviors are a primary contributing factor. Now, keeping all of this in mind, we must consider the degree to which we are conditioned by our previous eating habits based on type, texture and combinations on the plate.
More than anything, what I’ve come to understand (although, perhaps I had fooled myself into thinking I already understood) is a couple of things. Nobody’s body is the same. Duh, right? One woman’s naughty meal is another woman’s normal. I’ve discovered that anything that even ranges close to what’s ‘normal’ for most is not going to fly with my body, but I’m finally okay with this. I uncovered that I too was still a victim of ideals about food combining and texture seeking, when I thought I was immune to those feelings that I once felt. Hedonism is a part of daily life for most human beings, but hedonism in regards to food is an epidemic that’s out of control in many ways. But who am I to judge, right? Thus, from day one of the cleanse, my diet became EVEN MORE restrictive, if that’s even possible (news flash: it is), and I was a mad grumpalump. “Why is something(food) I love and enjoy so much, my enemy? I feel like I’m in a bad gastronomy epic poem that will never end. OH WOE IS ME!” After my incessant self-pity party, I did a wompledywomp dance (my husband has introduced this into our lives when we’re in a funk) and I saw past the culinary blocks I was putting up.
As the days whooshed by, I began to see more clearly what was going on; my body was happier with the way I was eating. It really needed a break from some of the food items I was consuming regularly. What I noticed? The portion size of my meals was entirely skewed, the pace at which I was eating was inconsistent, I was going on auto-pilot and I wasn’t really getting in touch with where MY body was coming from. Yeah, that’s right, chatting my body up. :p Some of you may find this to be ridiculously hokey, please…tell me your thoughts, but I feel quite sure my body was on its soap box with me.
Okay, so finally to the part where I explain what exactly I was eating. Before I do (yes, there’s more exposition), I want to reiterate something I state often on my blog; everyone’s body is different. This is about an outlook, not a formula, so please don’t interpret my experience for a formula. Basically I ate vegetables, fruits and fats (coconut oil, olive, and grape seed oil) with lentils (the only legume I ate next to peas), and brown rice (the only grain I was consuming)…yes rice. :/ I avoided anything processed, soy, corn, gluten, sugars (refined, not natural like fruit), nuts, seeds and other oils. I think that covers it, but I may be leaving something out. Basically, I gave up any typical control I would have, and I let my acupuncture specialist be my guide. This, too, was emotionally cleansing. Now I’m to the part where my perspective started to change. I began to feel GREAT, and I was completely satisfied by my meals. Everything but vegetables was secondary, which is something I don’t think I had ever 100% invested myself in, prior to this detox. I didn’t feel deprived or miserable and I still don’t!
With love and support, I’ve been given the gift of a new perspective on eating, a perspective I couldn’t have gotten by reading another person’s blog, book, or op-ed piece. Nor do I expect or wish for any of you to gain this enlightenment from my blog post. I hope only to instill some positivity into the journey you might be taking, and I aim to be a sounding board for questions and concerns you may have about resources for what you’re going through.
Here are a couple of sample meals:
This was a busy Sunday meal (post cleanse, but representative of how I was eating during):
My favorite part; the perfection that was this grapefruit. It came from the SFC’s downtown farmers’ market. We picked up this lovely gem (that is the grapefruit) from an older gentleman and a young lady who were only selling citrus at a small stand. I scooped away at it with an antique grapefruit spoon my grandmother gave me. I couldn’t resist; grapefruit is one of my most favorite treats. What you will notice behind this yummy pink citrus bliss, is a salad of many colors. It’s loaded up with red leaf lettuce, baby spinach, red bell pepper chunks, garlic stuffed olives, an avocado (yep, the whole thing), and some roasted garnet yam chunks. Then, I topped it off with a homemade dressing, and I was off. Chow-down city.
Hooked on avocado and squash! What you see is half of a roasted acorn squash with mildly wilted lacinato kale and a long grain brown rice medley of garlic, onion, red bell pepper, herbs and spices, all topped with 1/2 an avocado.
Finally, I know transitions of any type are often vexing to some degree, and it is my intention with each blog post to help make your food connections and transitions a little less vexing. Thanks for reading…and remember, bite responsibly.
So, now you understand the basics of how to live a life less dependent on gluten, but what the hell are you supposed to eat now? You are used to taking a whole wheat sandwich everyday with (insert your food trappings here) and spaghetti for dinner and oh yeah toast for breakfast–even a muffin or doughnut. And if you are vegan, than you are initially going to feel even MORE restricted, but trust me this feeling too, shall pass. If you start to forget what it means to apply your new founded dietary change refer back to my last post or food journal that I know you have all been keeping since Sunday. Where are your weak spots?
Lucky for us, we live in a time of excessive labeling and precautionary companies, so it is easy to avoid gluten in processed foods. If gluten will not be 100% cut out of your diet than it is important to at least avoid it in trivial amounts in other foods. For example: if you like to eat oats in the morning, you no longer can eat conventional oats because they are processed in a plant where gluten is handled. You can however by ‘safe’ oats, I suggest Bob’s Red Mill.
What do I suggest you eat? This is a semi-difficult question to answer because I can only direct my response to the vegetable/fruit based diet. Here are some ideas for foodstuffs you might consider in your transition:
I could certainly list more, but these are the most critical items without getting too detailed and frivolous. The key to cutting out gluten is to realize what you are NOT missing and move on. Don’t even consider it an option when you are dining. If you are vegetarian, this could be a simpler process. Dwelling on any circumstance from the ‘past’ is not a very fun or healthy mental state to carry everyday. Overall, cutting out gluten for some is just a transition into eating more processed foods or equal value to those they were eating previously, but I say try to see cutting gluten out of your daily food routines as another excuse to bring your diet closer to the ground, to whole, slow-foods.
As always, if you have any questions, critiques or comments, I would love to hear from you.
And remember…bite responsibly.
Today, I would like to take some time to express my true appreciation for the local farmers’ where I live–and everywhere for that matter–who make farmers’ markets possible. In no particular order, here’s Reasons I Adore Shopping at My Local Farmers’ Market:
Members of the community working together for something bigger. Each market I attend I am reminded that with perseverance, communication, integrative ingenuity, and thoughtful behavior anything can happen. Well maybe not ANYTHING, but most things can organize. The FM is a true reminder of the grace and beauty that human beings can possess if given the opportunity and knowledge to do so.
Recognizing a face with what I’m eating. Making the connection between the food on your plate/bowl/napkin/hand to its originator is an incredible rush. I mean, the next best thing would be taking the necessary steps to growing all of your own produce (I’m a beginner farmer now), but recognizing a face and having them recognize you back is one immediate way to show appreciation for all that nourishes us. Connect the dots, that’s all I can say, do this when possible.
It’s an experience. In many ways, calling the farmers’ market an ‘experience’ seems to down-grade its importance, but perhaps grammatically it’s all in how you look at ‘it’. Nonetheless, if you’ve never been to a live market, it’s certainly something you should try. I will warn you, there is a level of intimidation on your first visit that may make going sort of off-putting. For some people, this feeling resonates over into many visits until they get into the swing of things. Markets can be highly trafficked, especially if it’s a well marketed one in a bumpin’ area. This alone can cause introverts or claustrophobes to run screaming, but please, I beseech you to give it a try. I am by no means a crowd person, but it’s quite exhilarating to be sure.
Nutrient-packed veggies and fruits. In their raw form, you can’t do any better than snagging some fresh peaches at your summer FM. Yes, you might be able to easily pick up peaches at the grocery store, but they might be shipped in from another state, and be hard like stone fruit (they are more decorative than edible). When you buy from your local market, the produce is most typically ripe and full of flavor. Also, keep in mind that every time your food is shipped in, it is that many more days lacking in nutrients. After talking with a farmer a weekend ago, I was convinced to buy a basket of tomatoes that needed a bit more ripening simply because he just picked them the night before. Delightful.
Organic without the label. Many small farms cannot afford the cost of labeling their produce USDA Organic, but rest assured, most local farmers’ produce is in fact organic and free of many of the chemicals that turn a normal strawberry into a toxic mess.
Experimenting with vegetables and fruits I’ve never tried before. From the geometrical masterpiece of romanesco brocoflower to the crisp and colorful Japanese kale , I’ve never been disappointed by the choice of interesting and fun produce. I’ve ‘mixed-it-up’ a few usual recipes with an item I would have otherwise ignored in a grocery store.
I could easily list more, but instead why don’t some of you tell me about your market experiences. The good, the bad and the ugly. I hope I’ve helped many of you cultivate more reasons to shop at your local market.
I would also like to give a special thanks to the Sustainable Food Center‘s staff and volunteers who work hard every week to keep these markets running smoothly.
Have a lovely day, and remember…bite responsibly.
This weekend I began thinking about food preparation from all aspects. Rather, what it actually takes to live in such a way where you are relatively sustainable in the kitchen and how one can imbue the importance of self-sufficiency onto others. In the same token, I am not under the illusion that everyone I meet enjoys cooking, execution of food readiness, or the many facets that are involved in pre-consumption, as much as I do. There are many challenges to be faced when it comes to involving oneself directly with meal planning and preparation, so I thought I would narrow down some of the main tasks I try to accomplish every weekend to ease my weekday duties. Granted, when you have a busy schedule these tips are key, but they may not be as necessary for those who have a free-flowing schedule. Additionally, the incongruous nature of a small ‘kitchen’ space or lack of kitchen gadgets can be frustrating and stifling, so I’d like to touch on this as well and offer a few helpful tips. So, as Mario says…”HERE WE GOOO!”
(These are in no particular order)
I know this list may perhaps come off as very obvious for some, but I hope it is a helpful guide for others. Also, know that the above mentioned ideas are not exhaustive and whenever I come up with new tips, I will post them.
Let me know if you have any questions or comments. I am more than happy to produce personalized detailed plans for any individual upon request.
And remember…bite responsibly.
Healthy and Spacious Regards,
We as human beings do not feel SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS—as the late Robert B. Sherman said and his brother Richard M. Sherman—100% of the time. Rather our body’s many functioning properties are more like that of a statistical sine wave, but maybe with frequency increasing, so those waves occur more and more frequently until we cannot remember the last time we felt ‘normal’. In fact for many, ‘normal’ is not as ‘normal’ does—to play off of the ever-popular Forest Gump. What is recognized as a normal state-of-being for many people has become so mangled and botched that societies’ vision has acquired cataracts, and we are forced to surgically diminish the cloudy covering over our collective eyes. Yes, our bodies are like fantastic warm-blooded machines and yes we’re capable of feeling better than we do! REALLY!
An associate said something to me this morning that inspired me to write today’s post. But first, a modicum of back-story is in order. The typical office environment has the tendency to lend itself to rolling spouts of sickness. Sickness of all types, but sickness nonetheless. My office is no exception, and thus I will continue with the commentary. The aforementioned individual stated—she has a cold presently—(and I paraphrase) that “it’s astounding that humans have discovered how to split the most itsy-bitsy (does that even cover it?) particle called an atom, yet we’ve yet to truly discover a ‘cure’ to the common cold,” and then my mind was racing. I started to envision what she meant. I think maybe I had an Ally McBeal moment or something similar because I could see the germs attacking people at Starship Troopers size proportions, and these very stoic calm scientists and engineers huddled to indeed split the atom…I digress.
When I began to think of any person—with all of our many resources—resigning her or himself to the notion that a cold could overtake their life, it bugged me. Not that this is what my coworker was doing, but many do. The reason there is no direct ‘cure’ is because we have the power to avoid getting a cold a great majority of the time. Then I started to realize that I too feel a little crummy sometimes, perhaps not in relation to an ‘illness’ per-say, but we all become downtrodden occasionally for an assortment of reasons. Next I thought, if all of the above is true, then why add to the misery by stuffing our bodies full of toxic to semi-toxic and gangly foods and over-the-counter drugs?!
Answer: We do not!
Thereby, I have decided to use what could be taken as a negative chain of thoughts and turn them positive. I have brewd up a list of some happy foods, that can make you feel great, potentially cleanse and even enable a dash of indulgence because let’s be straight, when we’re feeling blue, we all need a little sugar in our bowls…both types :p —thank you Nina Simone.
I would like to call this list (note I often create new words/names) my…
-If you’re feeling a sweet tooth coming on, try adding a bit of Stevia, it’s herbal and for those watching their
waistline it’s calorie free.
-Also, I like to drink lemon water first thing in the morning to boost my body’s happy cleansing properties.
-If you are feeling especially yucktastic, try peeling about an inch or so of fresh ginger root and cutting it into
chunks add a few sprinkles of cayenne and stevia to sweeten.
-Choose gf to minimize clogging your body’s intestines with sticky gluten paste.
-The coconut oil works wonders for reducing stress, and boosting our thyroid along with many other wonderful
benefits all thanks to lauric acid.
-If making them yourself is not an option, though I highly recommend trying Hail Merry treats.
-You have probably heard it before, but it never hurts to hear it again, chocolate contains magnificent party
down antioxidants that are ever-present to help rescue our body from the oxidizing invaders that age us and
make us feel lumpy. Yep, lumpy—I’m not talking Lumpy Princess either. The part most forget is the cacao
must be raw in order to reap its full benefits; again, too many wonderful aspects of this product to list them all.
-For those who question protein in a vegetable-based diet, question no more.
-Quinoa is in fact a complete protein all on its own.
-Avocado is a lustrous fat that will plump your skin and make your hair sheen.
-Garlic loves fighting bacteria and charges your immunal functions. Delicious too!
-If you’re native to TX, try raw pecan butter.
-Celery acts as a diuretic (water retention issues anyone?) and adds that crunch you crave.
-Try adding cayenne for the extra immune body charge
-Oxygen and alkalizing!
All right, of course this list is not exhaustive, but it’s a beginning for everyone, and I hope it is helpful and doable. I will post recipes and explanations soon.
Keep a few more things in mind:
I hope today’s post helps everyone, and you’re able to kick that ick!
And remember…bite responsibly.
Healthy & Happy Regards,