Captured by Cashew Hummus Collard Rolls

IMG_1474

Every once in awhile I come across a dish that is so amazingly delicious and incredibly impossible to resist. A meal that encourages taste buds to jump with excitement.   Nourishment that makes your eyes light up, your mouth smile widely, and your stomach hunger for more. Tasting a bite of cuisine so good that it immediately transports you to somewhere beautiful, luxurious, and  imaginative.  I like to visualize super ingredients forging together to create powerful, breath-taking moments that cause all in its path to surrender to its delicacy.  I imagine that anyone eating even a bite will be so spell-bound and grant any request of the asker.

IMG_1481

I was entranced last night as I enjoyed the fresh mango, avocado, bell pepper, and alfalfa sprouts stuffed collard rolls.  The process was simple: wash and remove stems from collard greens. Spread layer of cashew hummus on inside of collard green. Stack layers of sliced veggies and mangoes (bell peppers, cucumbers, avocadoes, carrots). Add sprouts and roll collard greens like a burrito.

IMG_1477

IMG_1458

IMG_1454

This recipe was taken from The Present Moment Café, an adorable and delicious café in St. Augustine, FL.  The key to the deliciousness in the roll is the cashew hummus: 3 cups pre-soaked and rinsed cashews, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1/4 cup water, 1.5 Tbsp cumin, 7 cloves of garlic, salt to taste.  You can place some plastic wrap around the collard roles to help stabilize them. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

IMG_1491

Aside | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Step by Step Basil Spring Rolls

IMG_1209

Begin by prepping and dicing your veggies. You’ll need about 1/2 cup julienned carrots, 5 green onions chopped, 1/3 head of cabbage chopped, 1/2 cup of bean sprouts, 1 tbsp of soy sauce, 1/2 inch piece of minced or grated ginger, 1/4 cup chopped basil and 1 Tbsp of fresh squeezed lime juice. Find the original recipe under Thai Style Spring Rolls on about.com

IMG_1192

Heat 1 tbsp of oil over medium heat and cook thin strips of extra firm (already pressed) tofu until it reaches a light golden color on all sides. You can omit tofu completely and the recipe is still delicious.

Add cooked tofu to veggie mix and toss together. Place rice paper shells (one at a time) in warm water until shells are loose and flexible.

IMG_1219

Remove rice paper from warm water. Begin to assemble rolls by placing extra basil leaves, rice noodles (pre cook 1 cup), and veggie mixture in the middle of the rice shell. Fold ends of shell towards the middle and roll into a long cylindrical shape.

IMG_1222

Serve with your own homemade dipping sauce or Trader Joe’s amazing sweet chili sauce.

IMG_1201

Basil spring rolls are a great appetizer for your favorite Thai curry with jasmine rice. I hope you also enjoy the hands-on fun and messiness these rolls can provide. Enjoy!

Posted in Food | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Pita Pizza in a Jiffy

IMG_1170

Veggie pita pizza: a quick and easy meal!

One of my all time favorite foods is pizza. I have fond memories of eating pizza with friends at slumber parties in grade school, making quick baby pizzas on English muffins in college,  enjoying a fresh slice of the daily special at my favorite local pizza co-op in the Bay Area, and appreciating the intense flavor of a deep dish slice on Salano Ave. It’s rare that I would turn down a slice of vegan pizza, especially if it has all my favorite toppings: bell peppers, fresh pineapple (not canned), tomatoes, onions, brocolli, and daiya cheese (yum!). What more could a hungry gal who is short on time, low on cash, and really not in the mood to cook need?

This potato and pineapple combination was one of my favorite versions. Slice and pre-cook potatoes for about 10 minutes on the stove. Drizzle with olive oil, add cheese and pineapple and bake.

This potato and pineapple combination was one of my favorite versions. Slice and pre-cook potatoes for about 10 minutes on the stove. Drizzle with olive oil, add cheese and pineapple and bake.

And what if I told you the whole process could take you about 15 minutes, including the baking?  Now, that’s my kind of meal.

IMG_1171

This “pita dough” is crispy and crunchy. If you want the dough to be softer, simply cut the original pita pocket in half without opening it to create your crust. Add your toppings and cheese accordingly.

This recipe is inspired by one I found in Vegetarian Meals: Meatless Recipes Everyone Will Enjoy.  It is versatile and can be used at ‘build your own pizza nights’ with friends and family.  Prepare a variety of vegetables and fruits in separate bowls and allow folks to create their own desired pizza masterpieces. Don’t forget the extra cheese and embrace the pizza frenzy!

  • Pita Pizza: Serves 4
  • Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup sliced onions
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh FRESH pineapple
  • 2 freshly baked pitas (find them at your local bakery), cut in half and opened to make half circles (one pita yields four half circles)
  • Daiya or other vegan shredded cheese
  • 1/4 cup quartered organic grape tomatoes
  • Italian seasoning, to taste
  • Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Saute sliced onions and garlic for about 2-3 minutes over medium heat in a non-stick pan. Add other vegetables and saute for another minute or two.  Add pineapple to pita pockets and cover with Daiya cheese. Bake for 7-10 minutes until cheese is melted.
  • Remove from oven. Top with quartered tomatoes and sprinkle with Italian seasoning.
  • Enjoy!
Posted in Food, Main Dish | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Apple Quinoa Salad Recipe….Group X approved

Last weekend I attended our Group Exercise staff meeting/party. This was a delayed holiday gathering for all of the newbies (including me) and the seasoned staff to get together to laugh, get updates on their classes, and support each other through those dreaded days when the speakers or mic isn’t working, the temperature is too hot or too cold, and the choice of music doesn’t appease everyone. I appreciated this meeting of sorts. I enjoyed meeting instructors whose names I’ve read on the weekly group ex schedules and connecting with other locals who know the value of good workout.

I was thrilled to answer questions about veganism, foods to eat post workout, and how to help get non-vegans and kids excited about non-animal proteins and food. The ethics of eating quinoa was also introduced (Here’s a counter argument to keep the conversation going). Before the event, I opted, as I often do to create a dish based only on ingredients that I had in the kitchen. The following is what ensued:

My spontaneous Apple Quinoa Salad recipe:
1 cup cooked organic red quinoa* (Cooked in Veg. broth; cooled to room temp.)
1 can organic garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed)
2 small organic apples (peeled, cored, diced)
1 container of grape tomatoes (quartered)
1 red medium onion (chopped)
2 cloves of garlic (minced)
2 Tbsp canola or olive oil (optional)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1-2 Splashes of balsamic vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
Lemon pepper and salt to taste

Directions:
1)Saute onion and garlic in a couple of tbsps of water on the stove. Only saute for 1-2 minutes. This way you keep the crunchiness of the onion but the taste isn’t as strong.
2) Combine oil, vinegar, lemon juice, lemon pepper and salt in a small container and set aside.
3) Combine all other ingredients in a large bowl.
4)Drizzle oil and vinegar combination over the other ingredients and stir to combine.
5)Serve and Enjoy!

*The main flavor of this dish comes from the veggie broth, so do make sure to use it. You could also throw in some raisins or dried cranberries for extra color and flavor.

The salad also is great refrigerated about an hour or so before serving.

Yum! Yum! Yum!

Posted in Main Dish | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

I support non-violence.

IMG_0115

I choose to support non-violence. I choose kindness and compassion. I believe in the power of healing, love, and open-communication. I value kindness towards myself, others, and creation. I wish to create peace within myself and to share that peace with others.  I hope to cultivate kindness and understanding in all my relationships, including relationships with nature.

For me, choosing to eat a vegan diet is just about that: non-violence. It’s about taking the mistreatment, abuse, and neglect that the animals experience and actively and intentionally choosing not to participate. It’s a stance that makes a difference; one that starts conversations and piques curiosity. Most importantly, it promotes compassion.  Compassion, kindness, and non-violence are interrelated and they all beckon engaged, active responses.

I began writing the above litany after the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut.  It’s just one of the small ways I’m still processing all that has happened and continues to happen as a result of the shooting.  Ultimately, my hope is that this horrific occasion and others like it will awaken an awareness of how connected we truly are with one another and creation. May it open an access to mental health resources in general–not because those who are diagnosed with a mental illness shouldn’t have access to weapons–but because funding for mental health programs has been significantly reduced in the last 20 years.  May it engender a sense of responsibility to one another, awaken a call to action, and instill a promise of hope for a more supported future.

I invite you to take a stand today in support of non-violence (or even less-violence). Choose your words so they are free of hurt, judgment, spite, and offense. Consider going out of your way to include someone you normally wouldn’t. Turn off the violent TV show–or just turn off the TV or your favorite electronic device period. Write a love letter to someone. Visit the sick or imprisoned. Feed the hungry. Do whatever it is that works for you to continue the movement of non-violence–and please, begin or continue this work today.  Your effort is vital to promote the kind of healing that is needed. As we strive to live our lives with more peace and kindness, may we witness life around us embodied with the same gentleness and respect.  May we be awake to the peace that lies within. May we access that peace when interacting with one another and may all these things be so. Amen.

IMG_0131

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Wunderbar Essen in Deutschland: Staying vegan on vacation abroad

Recently I traveled to Germany to celebrate the Christmas holiday season with my partner and his family. I found myself enjoying some tasty meals along with plenty of Gluhwein at the festive Christmas markets. What’s not to love about Germany at Christmas time? Below you will find a sampling of some delights of the edible nature.  Frohe Weihnachten!

IMG_1104

Found in Essen at Why so serious? My first German vegan-friendly restaurant!

IMG_1105

German Vegan Lentil Burger with all the fixings including Veganaise!

IMG_1106

Vegan Currywurst for the Duetche

IMG_1137

Reibekuchen mit Aepfeln: Potato pancakes with cooked apples

And now for the Kleiner Christmas Eve traditional dinner:  kindly accommodated for the vegan guest!

Gruenkohl: "Green cabbage"

Gruenkohl: “Green cabbage”

Kartoffeln: Potatoes

Kartoffeln: Potatoes

IMG_1142

From left to right, clockwise: Gruenkohl, Kartoffeln, schlesische Weisswurst, und Sauerkraut. Lecker!

There is so much good food to appreciate in the land of my ancestors….and let’s not forget the beer!  Guten Apetit!

Posted in Main Dish | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cooking Ethiopian Delights: Gomen Wat, Atkilt Wot, and Lentils with Red Kulet

IMG_1094

I was first introduced to the amazing wonders of Ethiopian food about 5 years ago in Berkeley, CA on the famous Telegraph Avenue. It was always a treat to take friends there for the first time.  The many elements that comprise Ethiopian food—amazing injera (sour tasting flat bread that is sponge-like), eating with your hands (without utensils), a variety of spices and tastes, and lots of vegan dishes–invite its tasters into a more intimate dining experience.  It was such an honor and treasure to create a few of my favorite Ethiopian dishes and to share them with friends in my home.

IMG_1092Featured above are Lentils with Red Kulet Sauce (left), Gomen Wat (top right) and Atkilt Wot (bottom right).  I purchased the injera and red kullet from a local Ethiopian market. All other ingredients can be found at any major grocery.  You can also make homemade Ethiopian red lentil dishes if you wish. As for the Gomen Wat, I doubled all spices (excluding salt) and cooked them in olive oil before adding the onions. Typically, Atkilt Wot calls for cabbage, carrots, and potatoes. I didn’t have any potatoes in the house and the dish turned out great! I followed this recipe, doubling the spices except the salt and halved the oil to 2 tbsps. Each of the dishes was amazing and the three of them together balanced and complemented one another quite well.

IMG_1093May you also find pleasure in the simplicity and heartiness that this food provides. The uniqueness of the flavors will be sure to delight your taste buds for hours on end. Enjoy with your closest loved ones!

IMG_1091

Posted in Main Dish | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment