Vegan Baby Shower

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This past weekend my gorgeous friend Jessica was given a baby shower. Jessica is having a healthy vegan baby and we all can’t wait to meet her! Jessica’s beautiful friend Emily, who’s not a vegan, took it upon herself to make all the amazingly delicious vegan appetizers for the baby shower. Let me tell you, they were DELISH! Thanks to all the original authors of these yummy recipes. The recipes are not mine, nor Emily’s or Jessica’s, but I believe the creators would be proud to see them and know how much they were enjoyed. 

Table with food

Author: The Coconut Mama

Coconut Fruit Dip – Paleo & Dairy Free! 

Coconut Fruit Dip

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup of Coconut Cream, cold with water removed. Coconut cream is the cream on top of cold coconut milk (I use this coconut milk). I suggest refrigerating the coconut milk overnight before making this dip. The coconut water will pour out easily leaving the cream on top.

  • 1 Tablespoon Raw Honey/Maple Syrup or a few drops of Liquid Stevia

  • 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

Instructions

  1. Scoop cold coconut cream into a medium size mixing bowl.

  2. Whip up the cream using an electric mixer.

  3. Add sweeter and vanilla.

  4. Refrigerate dip until ready to serve.

  5. This recipe makes approximately 1 cup of dip.

  6. Serve with fresh fruit or coconut flour graham crackers. Enjoy!

Jessica

 

5 MINUTE CHOCOLATE HUMMUS

Serves: approx ¾ cup

INGREDIENTS

  • 1½ cup cooked garbanzo beans* (how to soak and cook dry beans) OR 1 can of garbanzo beans, strained and rinsed 3 times

  • 3½ – 4 Tbsp maple syrup

  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • 4 Tbsp unsweetened baking cocoa

  • 2 Tbsp water (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a blender or in a food processor, combine all the ingredients except water, using just 3½ Tbsp of maple syrup.

  2. Puree until the mixture is smooth, about 30-60 seconds. Add water 1 Tbsp at a time to create the desired consistency. Taste the chocolate hummus and add remaining maple syrup if desired.

AUTHOR’S NOTES

* I’ve tested this recipe with great northern beans, garbanzo beans and black beans. I prefer to use black beans since the “bean” flavor is more subtle and they produced a creamier texture, but you can really use whatever you happen to have.
* If you use canned beans and there’s salt already added, reduce the salt in this recipe to just a pinch.
** If you choose garbanzo beans, remove the skin from the bean first. You can do this by pinching the bean between your thumb and index finger, and the skin will peel off. This helps to create a creamier texture when using garbanzo beans.

Sherry Lime

HEALTHY ARTICHOKE DIP [VEGAN, GLUTEN-FREE]

vegan-spinach-artichoke-dip-2

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 can organic artichoke hearts (14 ounce can, drained)

  • 1 can organic chickpeas (15 ounce can, drained)

  • 2 tablespoons organic extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 organic lemon (freshly squeezed)

  • 2 cloves organic garlic (freshly crushed)

  • 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast

  • 1 teaspoon organic chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon organic dried thyme

  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon pink himalayan salt

PREPARATION

  1. Put all ingredients into a blender and blend just long enough until everything is well combined – do not over process (you want to still have small pieces of artichoke).Serve with your favorite chips, crackers or veggies.Enjoy!

Vegan-French-Onion-Dip-w-Dill-2

Vegan French Onion Dip with Dill

Prep Time 10 Minutes          Cook Time 20 Minutes         Total Time 30 Minutes

A dairy free, whole foods version of my favorite French Onion Dip and Dill Dip combined. It’s, of course, great with potato chips, but raw veggies, pita chips or crackers would be delicious as well!

Course: Appetizer, Dip, Snack

Cuisine: dairy free, gluten free, oil free, refined sugar free, vegan

Servings: 8 1/4 cup servings

Calories: 140 kcal

Author: Jenn S.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Heat the vegetable broth in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and stir to coat for a minute or two. Turn down the heat to med-low, add the onion powder, garlic powder, 1/2 tsp salt, and pepper, and stir to combine. Let the onions cook about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a 1 tbsp or 2 of water (or more veggie broth) as necessary if the onions start to stick.

  2. Meanwhile, rinse and drain your soaked cashews

  3. In the bowl of a food processor, place the cashews, vinegar, lemon juice, dill and salt. Process until it starts to come together. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add 1/4 cup soy milk and process again until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. If you feel you need additional liquid add more soy milk 1 tbsp at a time. It should be the consistency of loose cream cheese when it’s done.

  4. When the onions are done, turn off the heat and add the cashew mixture to the pan. Pour in the other 1/2 cup soy milk and stir until smooth and creamy. If you like a a dip a thinner consistency, add a little more soy milk.

  5. Let cool, then refrigerate until cold.

  6. Serve cold with chips, raw veggies or crackers.

Recipe Notes

*You can slice you onions in long thin strips or dice them smaller. It’s really just personal preference. I’ve made it both way and prefer them in a dice, but both ways are good.

**If you are in a hurry and don’t have time to soak your cashews, it will still work. Unsoaked cashews will make more of a cashew butter, than cashew cream, so you may need several extra tablespoons of non-dairy milk (or water would work too) to thin it out.

***I have used Silk Unsweetened Original Cashew Milk in this recipe as well. It is also very tasty…a little sweeter than using soy milk. But, any unsweetened non-dairy milk should work in this recipe. 

Vegan Buffalo Cau

VEGAN BUFFALO CAULIFLOWER DIP

Prep Time 10 Minutes         Cook Time 30 Minutes         Total Time 40 Minutes

This addictive Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower Dip is super creamy, decadent, and secretly healthy/ You’d never guess it was vegan, gluten-free, and packed with protein. Make it for the big game or as an appetizer for your next dinner party.

Alexis: Alexis

Cuisine: Appetizer

Serves: 12

INGREDIENTS

  • 1-12oz bag frozen cauliflower florets, steamed according to package directions

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked and drained

  • 1-15oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

  • ¾ cup original Frank’s Red Hot sauce

  • ½ cup water

  • ½ tbsp lemon juice

  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast

  • ½ tsp onion powder

  • ½ tsp garlic powder

  • Tortilla chips (I love Beanitos Pinto Bean Chips) and veggies, for serving

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place cashews in a bowl of warm water for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

  2. Preheat oven to 375F. Spray an 8x8in baking dish with cooking spray.

  3. Add to the bowl of a large food processor the steamed cauliflower, cashews, chickpeas, hot sauce, water, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, onion powder, and garlic powder. Process until the mixture is smooth and creamy, which will take several minutes. Scrape down the bowl as needed.

  4. Transfer dip to baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil, turn the oven to broil, (keep the oven open) and cook for 5 minutes longer.

  5. Serve with chips or veggies for dipping. I like it hot or cold!

  6. Dip will last at least a week in the fridge.

dip

Easy Vegan Vegetable Dip

Credit goes to: Around My Family Table

Ingredients

  • 8-12 oz container Tofutti Better than Sour Cream

  • 3/4-1 package Ranch seasoning mix (non-dairy), vegetable dip or Italian Dressing Mix (or use a homemade version)

  • 1/2 avocado

Instructions

  1. Combine “sour cream” and Italian dressing mix in a small container (or just right in the sour cream tub). Blend with stick blender or hand blender. Refrigerate several hours before serving.

Easy Hummus Recipe – Better Than Store-bought

Credit goes to: inspired taste.net

  • PREP  10 mins
  • TOTAL  10 mins

Homemade hummus is very easy to make and it tastes much better than anything you can buy at the store. If you don’t have any tahini, a paste made from sesame seeds, you can try making it yourself (see our Easy Homemade Tahini Recipe) or leave it out. A chickpea purée without it is still quite delicious. Just add more olive oil. Another option is to use a natural unsweetened creamy peanut butter in its place. We love serving this with flatbread — here’s our easy flatbread recipe from scratch.

Makes 6 servings or about 1 1/2 cups

YOU WILL NEED

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas or 1 1/2 cups (250 grams) cooked chickpeas

1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh lemon juice (1 large lemon)

1/4 cup (60 ml) well-stirred tahini, see our homemade tahini recipe

1 small garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Salt to taste

2 to 3 tablespoons (30 to 45 ml) water

Dash ground paprika, for serving

DIRECTIONS

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the tahini and lemon juice and process for 1 minute, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl then process for 30 seconds more. This extra time helps “whip” or “cream” the tahini, making the hummus smooth and creamy.How to Make Hummus-Recipe-Step-1

Add the olive oil, minced garlic, cumin, and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the whipped tahini and lemon juice. Process for 30 seconds, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl then process another 30 seconds or until well blended.

Open, drain, and rinse the chickpeas. Add half of the chickpeas to the food processor and process for 1 minute. Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl, then add remaining chickpeas and process until thick and quite smooth; 1 to 2 minutes.How-to-Make-Hummus-Recipe-Step-3

Most likely the hummus will be too thick or still have tiny bits of chickpea. To fix this, with the food processor turned on, slowly add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water until you reach the perfect consistency.How-to-Make-Hummus-Recipe-Step-3

Taste for salt and adjust as needed. Serve hummus with a drizzle of olive oil and dash of paprika. Store homemade hummus in an airtight container and refrigerate up to one week.

 

 

And on a final note…

Jessica I

…Can you believe, that Emily, seen seated here, who is just about to give birth, made all those amazing appetizers for the party? Look at these two beautiful mamas to be! I was truly amazed and inspired at the amazing spread and variety! I sincerely hope you get a chance to make a few, if not at some point try them all! I promise you will not be disappointed. Your party is bound to be a success…even if most of your guests aren’t vegan.

Thank you to Emily and Jessica! xoxo

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Dutch Vegan Artist Ronn Kools

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Happy June, Vegalicious Humans!

Docga-Bowie-II

Coming to you from Brazil. This is my interview with Vegan artist Ronn Kools.

N: Hi Ronn, tell my readers about yourself.

R: I am a Dutch artist-illustrator who currently works on a series of animal ballpoint pen portraits with human characteristics in Brazil.

Veganism wasn’t new to me when I decided to stop eating animal proteins. As an artist you need to be open to “new” ideas and information. Some of my friends had been vegetarian and others vegan for years, but it was the documentary Cowspiracy which convinced me that we – people – need to start thinking differently about food.

N: How long have you been vegan? Who inspired you to go vegan?

R: I went vegan (only) about a year ago. It started out as a two month challenge together with my partner, after watching Cowspiracy. I wanted to do it for a while, but it was definitely easier doing it together. In the beginning we thought it might be more expensive, but it wasn’t at all. You simply buy different things. Loving to cook, and experimenting new recipes definitely helped. So, yes Cowspiracy definitely was my inspiration.

N: That’s Awesome! It’s definitely a powerful film! How has veganism changed your life? Any health improvements?

R: Veganism made me look at animals as other beings. I have always loved animals, but the human mind is so programed to see certain animals just as product providers instead of seeing them as our fellow beings on this planet.
Going vegan definitely had a positive impact on my health. I lost weight to start with. I sleep much better. And I don’t feel so stuffed anymore after a meal. I feel much better.

Skateroo

N: Tell us about your art? Has it changed since you went vegan? Did you draw animals before?

R: In 2015, I had my first solo exhibition (“Till Death Do Us Part”) in Recife, Brazil. It was a collection of realistic oil paintings about the feeling of missing people in our lives. The show was successful and got a lot of attention, but right after the opening I knew I wanted something different for the next step in my artistic career. The theme of my show was heavy, and I decided I wanted something lighter; something with a message, but still something that would put a smile on peoples faces.

Punk-Panda

I experimented with some ideas, but when I started sketching animals with human characteristics it all came together for me. The idea was, and still is, to present animals as other beings, with the hope that people will start treating them better. Most people simply smile when they see my animal portraits, and won’t have this direct connection right away, but I believe that subconsciously it will have some influence.

I experimented with some ideas, but when I started sketching animals with human characteristics it all came together for me. The idea was, and still is, to present animals as other beings, with the hope that people will start treating them better. Most people simply smile when they see my animal portraits, and won’t have this direct connection right away, but I believe that subconsciously it will have some influence.

Suusi-Kahlo-II

It’s also for this reason that I stepped out of the world of art galleries, and started looking for bigger platform to reach more people with this concept. This resulted in my portraits being printed on t-shirts, posters, stickers, mugs, pillows, and other products, which are now being sold by online stores such as Society6, Curioos, Redbubble, and DesignByHumans.

Strangely enough I wouldn’t say me going vegan has changed my art. I would say my art has helped me find veganism. It was the process before starting this series, as finding something close to my heart, something true to myself, and an idea I wanted to share with the world. Before this series the models for my work were mainly people. I did draw animals before, but never with a concept like this one.

N: I love your work and the playfulness of adding human characteristics to these beautiful animals. It also serves as a wonderful way of seeing ourselves in our animal friends and perhaps will give someone pause to think, “Hey, he/she looks a lot like me! Maybe I ought to not eat someone I have so much in common with?!”

N: What has the response been from your friends and family?

R: The response to the animal portraits has been amazing. Many people who buy the t-shirts send me a photo of them wearing them, or tag me when they show them wearing them on social media. Even actor-singer Hugh Sheridan send me a photo of him wearing his Pantherasta t-shirt, and actor Rafael de la Fuente send me one of him wearing his Don’t Pussy Me t-shirt on a night out in Hollywood.

Dont-Pussy-Me

R: The response I have received for going vegan is very mixed. A lot of narrow-minded people walk around with the idea that it’s not healthy, or bluntly joke about eating meat because they simply don’t want to accept what is happening to the animals before they have that dead piece of them before them on their plate. Other people respect it but say it’s just too difficult. I always tell them it’s one of the easiest things I have ever done in my life. But of course the best response you get is the response from people who are genuinely interested and want to try it for themselves; even if just for one or two days a week. It’s a start after all.

N: I completely agree with you. Even if it is just one or two days a week. That is a great start! How is it being vegan in your part of the world?

R: Being vegan is Brazil is not as easy as in some other parts of the world. I used to live in London, and my friends there tell me there are lots of options for vegans now. There are many vegan products for sale in supermarkets, and vegan restaurants everywhere, such as the very popular pizzeria Picky Wops.

It’s different in Brazil. The meat industry has a lot of influence in every corner of this country. They have established a very strong meat eating culture. You will hardly find any vegan products, except from your regular fruits and vegetables, in supermarkets here. For these products you will have to go to specific vegan stores. They sell everything a vegan could wish for, but they aren’t cheap. Far from it, but it is definitely a growing market. The meat industry might be strong in Brazil, but the free mind of the people will always be stronger.

My favorite place to get some vegan deliciousness from in Recife has to be Pizzeria Vesuvio, which has a few amazing vegan pizzas on their menu.
In a few weeks I will travel The Netherlands. I always look forward to seeing what different kind of options my home country has to offer.

N: That’s a great point, Ronn, “…the free mind of the people will always be stronger!” I’m about to head to Denmark, I always look forward to seeing what changes have been made in my home country since I was there last in the vegan department.

If someone wants to purchase your art or see more of your work, how can they get a hold of you?

Here are some links:

instagram: ronn.kools.artist

Tumblr: http://ronnkools.tumblr.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ronnkoolsart
Curioos: https://www.curioos.com/ronnkools

Society6: https://society6.com/ronnkools

To those out there who have questions about my work, or being vegan, or to those who would like me to create a portrait of their favorite animal, please send me a message on Facebook, and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Finally, to those out there who still believe it’s to difficult to go vegan, just give yourself the two month challenge. Everybody can do two months, right?!

Enjoy the experience.

Yours,

Ronn Kools

N: Ronn, Thank you so much for sharing your Amazing artwork and thoughts with me and my readers! I greatly appreciate it!  

If you’re interested in reading more stories like this one go to “search” and look up “Two Years of Plant-Based Interviews”

 

Vegalicious Vegetable Soup

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Hello Veggie Lovers,

It has been a while, but I’m back again with new inspiration, stories and recipes!

Lani's Soup 2

Yesterday, I taught a fun class on Plant-based cooking for an audience of 12 at my favorite health food store. I’d been asked to make “comfort food”, so I made “Pete’s Shepherd Pie” (link to recipe is at the bottom of this) and also Lani Muelrath’s “Simple Vegetable Soup” – the template for this is in Lani’s awesome new book, The Plant-Based Journey on page 114 along with so many other delicious recipes. Plus I also made a vegan chocolate mousse. I asked Lani’s permission to share my version of this recipe with you all and she said yes! Thank you, Lani!

The group I taught was 11 non-vegans to one vegan and I wish I’d had extra copies of Lani’s book with me because it is full of excellent advice & tips for how to transition to a plant-based diet! The Plant-based Journey has been recommended by many top-notch doctors and once you read it you’ll understand why!

One participant commented, “The soup was “Da Bomb!” They all loved it! Enjoy, it’s still a bit chilly out!

Here’s the recipe:

Lani’s Simple Vegetable Soup Template

Adopted from Lani Muelrath’s book, The Plant-Based Journey

 

Ingredients:

3 – 5 large root vegetables (ex. carrots, potatoes)
2 large onions, coarsely chopped (red gives more flavor)
1 large bunch dark leafy greens (ex. kale, chard, spinach)
½ cup dried shiitake mushrooms (dried shiitakes for stronger flavor)
1 cup lentils, soaked overnight or precooked to minimum time
2 containers of Organic Vegetable Broth (32 oz. each)
Vegetable bouillon, miso paste, salt, or other soup seasoning and spices to taste.
Adding fresh and finely cut Rosemary gives it extra flavor.

 

Directions:

  1. Precook lentils.
  2. Coarsely chop the root vegetables.
  3. Pour the vegetable broth into a large pot and heat. Then add the root vegetables and cook for about 10-12 minutes. Check the potatoes with a fork. You do not want them mushy.
  4. Add the seasoning spices, pre-cooked lentils, shiitake mushrooms and the dark leafy greens. Cook for another 3-5 minutes. Serve.
Yield: 4 – 6 Servings.

plant-based-journey-with-lani

Enjoy Pete’s Shepherd Pie too:

https://urbanveganchic.com/?s=Pete%27s+shepherd+pie

Pete’s Pea Salad

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Happy Holidays, Vegalicious Readers!

It’s almost Christmas and I haven’t written since November. I’ve been so busy with work and getting my students ready for their holiday concert that there hasn’t been time, but I promise to make it up to you. I have some vegalicious recipes coming, including this one and have a few interviews lined up with some great people – so please check back! This first one is my friend Pete’s Pea Salad recipe. It’s seriously easy peasy to make! We are attending a Danish holiday party together and this is one of the dishes that we are bringing. Here’s a look at the finished product first.

Pete's Salad

First chop the sweet onion, then dice the water chestnuts and add seasoning.

Mixture

Water Chestnuts

Thaw two bags of Organic Sweet peas. First let them sit out for a while. Then put the bags in warm water and finally rinse under warm water in a strainer.

Peas

Add Veganaise to the mixture of onions & water chestnuts and add to the peas, which you will need a larger bowl for! While the peas were thawing, cut up the “meat” into crumbles and then let it brown slightly in a small pan. We couldn’t find Vegan Bacon, so we used Tofurky’s Hickory Smoked Deli Slices instead. Just so you know that you’ve got options!

Meat Crumbles

Tofurky

Ingredients:

2 – 12 oz bags of frozen organic peas

3/4 cups of Sweet Onion diced

1 can of water chestnuts sliced

1/4 cup of diced vegan bacon or Tofurky Hickory Smoked

3/4 cup of Veganaise

1 tsp of Braggs Organic Sprinkle 24 Herbs & Spices Seasoning

1/4 tsp of black pepper

1/4 tsp of dill – fresh is preferred – chopped

Final note: Mix the ingredients well, add Veganaise if you feel it needs extra. Refrigerate before consuming for at least an hour. Then mix together before serving!

ENJOY and Happy Holidays!

Veggie Lovers Growing In US

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Exciting news! According to The Raw Food World there are now 16 million people in the US who are vegan or vegetarian! That’s awesome! I really enjoyed reading the article about it, which includes the numbers and why the United States is going more veg. Well, the time is NOW! It’s capital F U N and DELICIOUS…and exciting to be a veg head, if I may say so! If someone had taught me what I know now twenty years ago, I would have gone vegan in a heartbeat! I just didn’t know!

group of friends jumping on the beach

 

Well now there’s SO much information and help out there if you’re considering going vegan! If I had known about PCRM’s cooking classes I would have signed up in a heart beat! There are instructors ALL over this country (the United States) and even in some outside the US. These classes are reasonably priced and not only do you get to learn about staying healthy, but you get to learn while watching the instructor cook, then sample the food (or eat a full meal) and at the end you take the recipes home! What’s not to love about that? Anyone who can read can do this! We need to get away from eating out all the time and take the power back to our own kitchens! Not only will it save you a lot of money, but it will save your health. You will know exactly what goes into your food! When you eat out at a restaurant you really don’t know unless you of course work there or run the restaurant!

 

Swedish_Fans_22_08_08

In Sweden they’re even further ahead than the United States with one in ten Swedes being either vegetarian or vegan! Way to go! This positive trend is not going away, that’s a fact! There’s a massive shift going on towards Veganism with greater awareness of it being better for ones health, for the planet and for the animals! It is so exciting to watch! Here’s to hoping that it will occur sooner than later, especially for the sake of future generation and for the planets survival!

 

Livestock

Here’s a link to the articles:

http://news.therawfoodworld.com/16-million-people-us-now-vegan-vegetarian/

 

Mark Twain

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/one-in-ten-swedes-is-vegetarian-or-vegan-according-to-study-9212176.html

Me:PCRM

Find a PCRM instructor in your area – go to:

http://www.pcrm.org/health/diets/ffl/ffl-the-power-of-food-for-health

 

 

Broccolicious Wraps

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Last night, my friend Alejandra came over for dinner. Since she was coming straight from work, I wanted to feed her – besides just having tea! What’s more fun than that? Alejandra even offered to help me in the kitchen, so I put her in charge of chopping the bell pepper. Earlier, I had come across a few new recipes from PCRM (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine) online – that they had sent out in conjunction with an ad campaign to “Drop the Dog” – meaning give up processed meat and hot dogs because they are linked to colorectal cancer. There are four recipes attached to the link that I’ll post at the end. I had bought ingredients for two of them, but decided to try out the Broccoli Burritos first. It should be noted that I didn’t have tahini on hand, so instead I substituted with Earth Balance’s Mindful Mayo (it’s vegan) and it worked just great! Here are the broccolicious Wraps!

 

Broccoli Burritos

Steam the broccoli. Use a food processor for the roasted red peppers, garbanzo beans and lemon juice. I used Rudi’s Gluten Free Spinach Tortillas. Do heat the tortilla on a pan – you do not need to add oil or anything else! Just heat it up! Then take off the pan and add the goodies and simply roll it up! (*Recipe at the end!)

 

IMG_0885Broccoli Burrito – Ready to Eat! 

 

These were SO delicious! I ate two and Alejandra ate three! We also added salsa on top…and we had some red wine! YUM! Try these out and please let us know what you thought of them! I know that I’ll definitely be making these again soon! Here’s the link to PCRM’s “Drop The Dog” – look to the right and you will see the colorful Recipe Cards in PDF – that’s where the recipe is located! Enjoy!

http://www.pcrm.org/health/health-topics/dropthedog

 

 

Plant-based Christmas Dinner

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Most people are curious about what you eat when you tell them that you’re not having the traditional holiday fares. I think they envision you sitting with a big salad in your lap, like some giant rabbit chewing slowly on each leaf of salad…and they’re thinking, “Her skin might be glowing and all, but I’m sure glad I’m not eating  that  for the holidays!” Well, trust me that sounds pretty boring to me too, unless it’s some rockin’ salad with lots of goodies! Let’s get out of fantasy land for a minute and I’ll share what I actually made for this years party. I celebrate Christmas Eve with around nine other people who have been having this tradition for the last 20+ years and we even have a “virgin” at the party…but more on that later! Here’s a look at what was on my plate

 

Xmas Veggie DinnerMy Christmas Dinner…and again had it the next day!

 

You’ll have to excuse me, but I was so busy cooking that day, that I simply didn’t have time to stand and take pictures in a kitchen full of pots & pans, people and four dogs! It was a lively event to say the least and the food turned out deliciously! And that is all that really matters! Everyone enjoyed the food and tasted all the dishes! I made a new rice salad that I will share with you that was inspired by the Healthy Librarian, except I made my own version of it!

Rice Salad with applesRice salad with apples

 

Calling it my Holiday Rice Salad – will post the recipes at the end! I also made PCRM‘s Zippy Yams and Collards, but with sweet potatoes instead of yams. The taste of the steamed collards with the potatoes, satisfies my cravings for traditional Danish holiday food!  And yes, as you can see on the first picture there was a big stinkin’ salad! No, really, it didn’t stink! I just felt like saying that! The recipe for the salad is PCRM inspired and is so simple that I could do it in the dark. Here’s the recipe for that:

 

Spinach Mandarin & Pear Salad (serves 10)

 

2 bags of organic spinach (for salad)  –  can be baby spinach. Trader Joe’s has triple washed!

2 – 3 pears  –  depending on the size, cut into small pieces

4 – 5 Mandarin oranges  –  peeled and separated

A small handful of brazil nuts   –  chopped

Annie’s Lite Raspberry Vinaigrette  –  half a bottle or to taste (don’t soak the salad!)

Directions:  

 

Add all ingredients & mix in a large bowl and serve! Didn’t I tell you that was easy?! For extra crunch you can add apple or small amounts of other types of nuts.

 

VirginNot our virgin. If so, I doubt half the party would have eaten much!

Yes, I did mention earlier, that there was a  “virgin” at our party…We invite one every year! Everyone at the party has been a virgin at some point! My next blog will have the recipe for the virgin!

Make it a great day! Here’s the recipe for the Zippy Yams & Collards. Click on the link below:

 

Zippy Yams and Collards

Vegan Holiday Self-Defense

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HO! HO! HO! Merry Christmas to you all!

It’s the holidays and there are parties that all of us veggie lovers attend! However, as you are about to read, knowing a bit of what I call “holiday self-defense” might not be such a bad idea!

 

Vegan fitUVC’s Holiday Self-defense 101

However, that said, some veg lovers avoid these events like the plague, others go to these parties, bringing delicious vegetarian or vegan dishes with them, while a few have experiences like the one I’m about to share. I am sharing this woman’s story because I don’t believe she is alone with her experience. Yesterday, I came across her comment and asked if she would allow me share it with you all. Thankfully, she said yes! Here is what she wrote:

 

Overheard in the bathroom at work while I was apparently stealth peeing (or maybe they didn’t care who was in there):

 

Two ladies discussing the Meat Festival that was our floor party lunch last Friday. Steak (yum!), stuffed chicken breast (sigh of pleasure), etc. Oh, and there was salad and roasted vegetables for the two “vegetarians.” Smirk, eye roll, exasperated sighs (there is a crack in the stall and I saw the whole thing).

 

gossip women

First of all, there were not two vegetarians at the party. There was a vegetarian and a vegan. And the poor vegan couldn’t even eat the roasted vegetables because she wasn’t sure if they were roasted in butter or oil.

 

It’s just been a bad week in general. The holidays seem to bring it on. I was questioned at another party as to why I wasn’t trying the lobster casserole. I said I didn’t even eat lobster before I went vegetarian (the whole boiling it alive thing kind of got to me even as a clueless, meat-eating child), and I now don’t eat any seafood as a vegetarian. Duh

 

Then I got the whole “food chain” lecture about the “natural order” and how we’re superior to animals and were put on this earth to eat them. So I said would you eat your cat. Oh, that’s different.

 

Going out tonight to my first ever vegan restaurant experience. No one will ask why I’m not ordering meat – yay!

 

Thanks for letting me vent. Happy holidays!

 

You know this happens, right!? Any of us can find ourselves in one or both of these scenarios! Going vegan or vegetarian, you often become the “odd man out”, so to speak, unless you’re amongst “your own”! So how do you guard against situations like these? Do you take lessons in self-defense and go for a total smack down? (FYI: It is healthy and normal to fantasize about what you would like to do in situations like these! It only becomes “unhealthy” when you act it out! So go for an all out “smack down fantasy” if that’s what it takes!)

 

Women wrestlersFantasy Smack down!

 

All right, if you’ve read my postings or know me in person, you already know that I am not into these kinds of sports or taking people down…unless it’s the meat & dairy industry or corrupt politicians! I wouldn’t mind seeing them leave town! Let’s get back to the topic! What can you do if faced with co-workers, family members or others who want to give you a lecture or be nasty behind your back?

Reminder

Well, I don’t think there’s much you can do other than be YOU! The fact is that we can’t change people’s behavior. If they choose to be rude, ignorant and/or disrespectful behind your back…or directly to your face, then that’s on them! Remember, that you are not responsible for their behavior only for your own! I remind my students at school that, “If someone is being mean to you, it’s about them, not about you! A person who feels good about themselves never treats others in such a distasteful manner!” 

vegetarian

Your most powerful “weapon” against people like these is to bring amazing vegalicious food for them to try! Don’t even mention that it is vegan or vegetarian! Just bring a delicious dish or two. Even better, bake something so mind blowing that it leaves their small brains spinning! Trust me, they will be asking you for the recipes! Other than that, shrug it off, smile, and have fun at the party! It took me a long time to come to the point and say, “These people’s opinions aren’t important! Life is too short! I’m not going to waste it on people who put me down, criticize me, talk about me behind my back – who simply are not kind people!” I’ve even let go of family members who exhibit this undesirable behavior!  So girl friend, kick up your heels and smile…if that doesn’t work, go out to your car and scream loudly! Then return to the party and grab a cocktail or two! YOU deserve it, dear!

 

Kick up your heels

Happy Joyous Holidays everyone! 

Heart Protection with Veggies

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Let’s talk about the hearts and heart disease today! After having lost both my father and my close college buddy, Paul in the last two years to heart attacks, I feel this is a relevant topic. Paul was only 42 when he passed away this summer! Hence, this issue is very close to my heart! I could have called this post, “Wrong Advice Could Kill You!”

 

 

heart

A few days ago, my guy received this holiday letter from a friend’s wife:

 

“HO! HO! HO! Merry Christmas from the City of Destiny. 2013 has been a long, trying year for us. It seems to be closing out well, so we are hoping for a better 2014. 

John had a stroke in May and spent most of June in a rehab center. He’s fully recovered and become much healthier; losing a significant amount of weight now that he’s following a vegan diet. He’s also working again at two part-time jobs.”

 

Then yesterday I received a phone message from my friend Beth that went something like this,

 

“Hi Nina. Ron and I are at The Mayo Clinic, where Ron is awaiting his new heart, so I just wanted to let you know that you will not be getting a Christmas card from us this year! We hope you are doing well!” (For privacy, I have changed their names!)

 

I used to believe that heart attacks were inevitable for my family, especially my father’s side of it, since this is what most of them have died from. Now I know the difference! I have to ask, do we really have to lose a loved one or get a heart attack to come to a “change of heart”? Is this what it takes to go on a plant-based vegan diet? Apparently it is for many people! Look at Bill Clinton! He went on a plant-based vegan diet due to his heart surgery. Luckily, Clinton found, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and is now a convert! (Link included at the end!)

 

clinton vegHeart Healthy Mr. Clinton

 

Unfortunately, not everyone, including the American Heart Association or other associations will suggest a whole foods plant-based diet for heart disease and protection. It doesn’t exactly produce new customers! My friends husband is lucky that he got sound advice where he went – that can actually save his life! Others are not so lucky and will get “ducky”!

 

Braendende-kaerlighed-a-la-Hjerteforeningen-455x350Brændende Kærlighed – “Burning Love” in Danish…

…A Dish from the Danish Heart Association that does NOT love you back! Trust me!

 

Once I saw duck recommended as a dish for the Danish Heart Association on their Facebook page. What? Seriously? I thought, “Are you not aware of how fattening and unhealthy eating duck meat is?” I wrote and told them! I’m not sure they appreciated my comment, but seriously! If you’re trying to help people get better, then please do so! Those types of recommendations are just plain wrong! And not only wrong, they are life threatening!  

On the Danish Heart Association recipe page alone there’s six duck recipes! Wow! No one is going to get cured of or protected from heart disease by eating duck or other meat and cheese products! Duck in Danish is called “Andebryst”. On their website there’s even a fried pork dish down in the “S” category – look under, “Stegt Flæsk med græskarpure”. I have included a link to their website at the bottom, so you can see for yourself that I am not making this up! 

Hjerteforeningen

The Dish, “Brændende Kærlighed”, that I showed in the photo above, just to give you an example, not only has meat in it, but is filled with milk, creme and margarine. Okay, so not a lot of creme and margarine, but it is in the dish! I am being critical because if you are an organization set out to truly try to reverse this ugly trend then these should not be on the menu! By the way, I’d be delighted to come and speak at The Danish Heart Association – Den Danske Hjerteforeningen – if they should have interest in learning more about a plant-based diet! I’ll be in Denmark in the spring of 2014! Isn’t it time to change the menu, folks? 

 

preventandreverse

Heart disease is preventable through the right diet! It is not a destiny! So, Go Plant-strong! Here’s Dr. Esselstyn talking about heart disease:

 

From my heart to yours! Please protect your precious heart for yourself and those who love you!

 

veg-heart-315x217

Bill Clinton Reveals How He Became a Vegan

 

Hjerteforeningen – Opskrifter fra a-å

Busy Mom Wants to Go Vegan

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Hi All,

I’ve been busier than ever this month, hence I haven’t had time to post! However, my Danish friend Helene wrote me this week and I asked her if I could share her letter with you, so that it would benefit not just her, but someone else out there who is a young busy mom who’s thinking about going plant-based vegan, but doesn’t have time to read a whole bunch. Here’s a section of what my friend wrote:

 

Helene & Vega IHelene & Vega

Hi Nina,

I’ve been wanting to write you for so long, but something always gets in the way. Time seems to fly with Vega running around and needing attention. She is amazing and at a wonderful age. She understands a lot and does fun things…Time’s flying – she will be two in February! I hope you are doing well – it looks that way. You look healthy and happy! Speaking of healthy, I wanted to hear if you would recommend some good books about “plant-based for beginners”? Something that is easily accessible, with ideas for all three meals. I am still very curious about it, but have not yet dared to take the plunge into it. Kevin is fully supportive of it. It is one thing that keeps “poking” at me in my thoughts. I have no doubt that it is healthier, but momentarily I just feel like it might be really difficult, and that is probably one of the biggest reasons why nothing has come of it yet. And I may be completely wrong? Perhaps it is really simple. I could easily live without meat. It is more cheese, eggs and milk, etc. Doesn’t it take time to get used to not eating these products. Well, I talk, you just got a few of my thoughts. I need a book with recipes, not a lot of theory, I don’t get anything read during this time, period. Now I can hear Vega crying in the background. Time to get her from her nap!

Best, Helene

 

VegaVega

Hi Helene,

A quick note for now, as I have to go to work. I will write more later! Yes, Helene, it is one of the Best decisions I’ve ever made for myself! Now I wish I’d started in my twenties or even earlier! Difficult? Were there difficult days in the beginning when I first started out? Yes, but most have been surprisingly easy! It has only been a difficult transition when I haven’t taken the time to plan or prep food, which I started doing on Sundays. Since you’re going to be in the United States for Christmas, I’d recommend that you start with a book like, “Everyday Happy Herbivore” by Lindsay Nixon. This one will provide you with all three meals. Another new cookbook is, “The China Study Cookbook” by Leanne Campbell. I just received this one not too long ago, but it also looks really good. I am a huge fan of Jennifer Reilly‘s book, “Cooking with Trader Joe’s – The Skinny Dish”. She’s the mother of two young boys (I believe) and was one of my trainers at PCRM. You do not need a Trader Joe’s to cook from this book. I hope this helps! Gotta run!

Talk later, Nina

 

Everyday Happy Herbivore

Hi Nina,

Thank you for your speedy response! I will definitely look for the books that you suggested when we come to the United States. I have a couple other questions for you:

What do you do when you’re somewhere where there’s simply only a nasty, unhealthy, non- plant-based option available. For example, at an airport “dead hungry” and/or running short on time. What do you do? Do you compromise, or starve yourself until a better option presents itself? And I can’t get away from the situation where you’re invited to dinner, and the person has done a decent job with a delicious dish, where you then have to say, “Sorry, I cannot eat it!” and what if you unknowingly have eaten an egg in a cake – or something else? Do you get sick or “sour” because you weren’t paying attention? These are in a nutshell issues and problems that I can foresee. 

 

Vega IIVega wants to know too!

Fine points and questions you bring up Helene! I would say, eat the cake or the dish in that situation as long as it is something you can live with. I mean, what are you going to do if you’ve already eaten the dish, not knowing what was in it? However, some dishes are so obvious! It is easy to say in a social situation, “My doctor has asked me to stay away from eating these products!” Who will argue with that? Not many! Yesterday, I went to a huge Christmas party, but had eaten before I went. (That’s always a good idea, then you don’t get tempted to “sway from the diet”!) There were huge tables set up with the usual big meat spreads, baked goods, candy dishes and only two trays with vegetables! I snacked on the vegetables along with a glass of wine and no one even noticed! I politely declined when other trays came around!

 

veg tray4A beautiful Veggie Tray

In regards to the airport, I haven’t been in the situation that you described. I would suggest packing snacks (nuts, seeds, fruits, vegan snack bars, etc.) to take along on any trip! I have always found something I could eat in any airport I’ve been in in the past two years! It has not been an issue! Most side dishes are vegan when you think about it. Plus, there’s usually a place to order up a veggie burrito – just ask them to hold the cheese! Or a large salad for that matter! There are vegan cheeses on the market! One of my students recently commented on really liking a certain soy cheese and something else. Some taste great, others don’t! You sort of have to test your way through to find the ones that you like! I used to miss cheese the most, but now, I don’t! As far as eggs are concerned, I have learned how to bake without them and so far I haven’t run into any issues! What deters me from eating them, besides knowing the cruel treatment they undergo, is that one egg equals two Burger King Whoppers in cholesterol and saturated fat! No Thanks!

By the way, when you book your overseas tickets, just ask for the “Strict Vegetarian Meal”! Your meal will arrive before anyone elses…A bonus if you’re hungry! And my experience has been that my seat companion has always either been jealous and/or regretful that they didn’t order what I was having!

 

Helene & VegaMy friend Helene & her daughter…I love this photo!

I know you didn’t ask me this, but as I mentioned earlier, I would schedule a “prep day” for your fruits and veggies! Mine is usually on Sunday, where I wash, chop and store for the week! This keeps me on track! I love making a big salad with kale, beans, cabbage, beets, and other veggies to take for lunch or simply to snack on! You make amazing salads, Helene! I know that you will make an easy transition into this wonderful world of whole foods plant-based nutrition! There are plenty of sites and free recipes out there for you to check out. Here are links to some of my favorites:

 

Healthy Girl’s Kitchen: Healthy Recipes

 

Happy Herbivore Recipes

 

The Engine 2 Diet – Favorite Recipes

 

FatFree Vegan Kitchen

 

Happy Healthy Long Life

 

Post Punk Kitchen

 

Carrie On Vegan – Recipes

 

This should at least help get you started and well on your way! I am so happy that your awesome hubby is on board as well! It is extremely helpful to have a partner who is supportive of going plant-based! I am really excited for you! This is such an exciting adventure – at least it has been for me! I miss you guys! If you have any other questions, feel free to ask…this goes for anyone reading this post as well! [Thank you for reading!]

Talk soon! xoxo Nina & Pippa…Woof!