Kickstart my Vegan Heart

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Being huge fans of the website Kickstarter, we find ourselves constantly looking for independent businesses, projects, and ideas to support in hopes of expanding the ever-growing world of vegan commerce.  When you add in our passion for cookbooks, new and old, it’s no surprise that we jumped at the opportunity to fund an all-vegan cookbook inspired by the author’s world travels and culinary adventures.  This project was met its funding goal last October, and we have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the finished product.  The authors have done a great job of keeping us posted on the progress, sharing additional recipes and thoughts along the way, and building the excitement up to the release date.

We recently received our copy of The Lotus and Artichoke and couldn’t wait to crack it open and start cookin’!  Along with the author’s story and pictures of adventures, the book features amazing recipes from all over the globe representing multiple cuisines and ethnic fare.  We’ve already “tested” a couple recipes, and have several more on our growing list to try out over the course of the next month or so.  They will definitely make an appearance on the blog, and we are looking forward to sharing these with all you in.  In the meantime, check out the official website for the Lotus and the Artichoke, and head on over to their Facebook page and give them some love.  If you feel inspired enough, pick up a copy or three for yourself and two of your best friends and get cookin’ yourself!

If you need some extra inspiration or a soundtrack for your cooking, we leave you with this gem.

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Monday meal planning: 5 tips for success

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 Have you ever seen an adult woman throwing an all-out temper tantrum? You know, the kind where she burns anyone near her with the flames projecting from her eyes, the items in her arms get used as weaponry, and/or she flails herself on the bed cursing any variety of events that would make any sane-minded person merely scoff? Well…Evan met a version of this medusa after my first experience with meal planning. I have since reclaimed composure, learning a few ‘what not to do’s’ in the process and educating myself on how meal planning can be less like a day at the DMV and even borderline enjoyable.

1. Enjoy at least one green smoothie everyday. If the rest of your day is filled with oreos and italian food, at least you can say you made this one nutritious choice. Chances are if you begin your day with a nutrient-packed smoothie you will have more of the confidence and energy to keep the healthy momentum going!  The best part of a smoothie is you can change it up everyday to add variety to your routine and, since your body is able to more quickly digest liquid food, it will aid in digestion, ensure hydration, and empower your immune system while giving you instant energy due to the fructose absorption from the fruit. If you don’t already, go out RIGHT NOW and purchase a Vitamix. It is the best investment you will every make. Our typical smoothie includes:

 

  • 1/2 – 1 cup of frozen fruit: blueberries, strawberries, pineapple
  • 1/2 – 1 medium banana
  • 1 cup greens: spinach or kale
  • 1/2 non-dairy milk: coconut or almond
  • 1 – 2 tbsp brown rice protein
  • 1/2 – 1 scoop Vega performance protein powder
  • 1/2 – 1 tbsp chia seeds
2. Cook up a few signature nutritious items.  In the real world where we are always either coming or going with an extreme sense of urgency, leaving a gap between good intentions and desired outcomes. Translation: no time to cook and you end up eating large portions of sugar cereal and crying. Bridge that gap folks, and take some time on a day off to cook a few items such as:
3.  Build your menu around the seasonal ingredients you buy, not around recipes. Doing this step in reverse was exactly what lead to the tantrum. Searching for recipes first and/or choosing more then 1-2 actual recipes will just lead to less flexibility if the week gets zany, a long list of ingredients, and an expensive trip to the store while potenentially leaving you with items that don’t get used. Beside the extras for step 5, shop for the low cost items then use a recipe builder if you have time to cook. The vegetables and fruits ripe in April are:
  • Zucchini
  • Rhubarb
  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Spring peas
  • Broccoli
  • Lettuce
  • Pineapples
  • Mangoes
4. Every meal should include: A bean, a green, and a grain. Follow step 2 and achieving this balance should be easy.  Our go-to combination is just making a rice bowl with our pre-made ingredients such as: brown rice with black beans, tofu, sweet potato, and kale then topped with Bragg’s Liquid Aminos and Yumm Sauce.
5.  Make one dish meant for a family dinner. Pick what sounds like fun to make and fun to eat, and commit one day to cooking a sit down meal such as this amazingly creamy Cosmic Kate:

COSMIC CASHEW KALE AND CHICKPEAS W/ CONFETTI QUINOA

FOLLOW LINK ABOVE TO A TRUE HAPPY MEAL

Straight up "EUREKA" yo.

 

Happy meal planning, and be sure to share your ideas with us…we would love to feature your recipes and stories!

 

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The Ultimate AM oatmeal extravaganza

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Hey...wanna get yo oatmeal on? Mmmm girl...

I like flavors. I realize that seems like a very obvious assumption considering this is a blog based on food, but until you bear witnessed to the pageantry involved in preparing my morning oatmeal, it’s difficult to articulate just the extent of my nerousis about flavor perfection. To paint that picture, watch this clip of Ron Swanson from our favorite show, Parks and Recreation, and instead of “bacon and eggs” insert the word “flava”…

Yeah. I lika da flava.  So, what the hell does that mean, you ask?  After nearly 3 years of eating oatmeal every morning I have become the oatmeal sorcerer, concocting a formula for deliciousness (and nutritiousness) using spices, extracts, powders, fruits, and grains…and I present to you:

The Ultimate AM Oatmeal

 2 tbsp quick oats

1 tbsp brown rice protein 

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tbsp Uncle Sam Cereal 

2 tbsp Ezekiel 4:9 flax cereal

1/4 cup Barbara’s cinnamon Puffins

1 tbsp raisins

1/2 medium banana

1/4 cup frozen blueberries

1/4 – 1/3 cup water

1/4 cup non-dairy milk (I prefer sugar-free vanilla coconut milk)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp chia seeds

1 tsp shredded coconut

pinch of cinnamon and sugar (optional)

Mix together all ingredients except fruit to ensure no brown rice powder clumps at the bottom of the bowl.  Once mixed add the fruit and shake bowl to slightly mix in fruit with dry ingredients. Add water – the ingredients should not all be covered and no water should pool on sides of square bowl or on top of mixture. Microwave on high for 1 min 50 seconds.

Once out of the microwave, add non-dairy milk and vanilla extract and stir to combine. Top with chia seeds, coconut, and cinnamon/sugar. The banana adds the sweetness to the oatmeal, and without the cinn/sug there is zero artificial sugar in this breakfast.

While this is how I like the flava, make this oatmeal your own!  Try substituting one of the cereals for another you like, use half the protein powder, add different fruit, use coconut or maple extract, or top with other items that add nutrition and texture such as hemp seeds or chopped nuts.  Anyway you make it, this oatmeal is a great way to fuel your morning and jumpstart your creative energy for the day!

NUTRITION: 379 calories – 7 g total fat – 0 cholesterol – 182 mg sodium– 71 g carbs – 15 g fiber – 20 g sugar – 19 g protein- 7 WW points

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