Vegan Diaries – Roasted Veggie Salad

 

Here’s a salad to boast about! On some nights the problem is finding something to make that won’t taste run of the mill but is idiot-proof.

 

The solution? Roasting and grilling!

 

Roasting and grilling brings sophistication to veggies. Broccoli for example is boring and waiting for dip or hummus when it’s raw, but after a drizzle of olive oil and some heat it becomes something altogether different (and exciting)!

 

I looked like a cartoon character with my head in the frig and giggling like a maniac as I pulled out vegetables. Broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots, corn sailed overhead and landed on the granite counter top like astronauts ejected out of the space shuttle…

 

A great salad has fresh greens and a light dressing in order to savor the individual flavor of each ingredient. The result was just perfect.

Crusty bread is a nice addition.

There’s a local pizzeria that sells organic baguettes- I’m pretty sure it’s made with rosemary infused oil. The outside is textured and crusty without being too hard. When you break a piece off the inside is fluffy and dense at the same time. Amazing, right?! And when you take a bite, you inhale.

The rosemary wafts in your nose and then….you chew. 

I call it magic bread. 

Ooops sorry- I digress. But yeah, bread with the salad. Go for it. It’s tasty.

 

Ingredients 

  • Brussels sprouts (sliced in half)
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots (cut in 1 in. pieces)
  • Fresh corn (cut off of the ear)
  • 2 T olive oil (or non-stick spray)
  • 1/2 T oregano (dried)
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

For the salad

  • Spring greens
  • Cucumbers (sliced)
  • Red onions (very, very thinly sliced)
  • vegan feta or regular feta cheese (optional)

 

For the dressing
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh lemon Juice
  • Salt and pepper

 

Preparation
  1. Pre-heat oven to 450-475 ( or heat grill, or use a grill pan- see so many many ways to dress this up!)
  2. In a bowl coat vegetables with olive oil and spices
  3. Place vegetable on a cookie sheet
  4. Roast vegetables for 35-45 minutes checking them every ten minutes and turning them after 20 minutes
  5. Combine vegetables salad ingredients
  6. Dress the salad with lemon juice and olive oil
  7. Add salt and pepper and toss

 

Namaste y’all.

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Food Yoga – The Slow Food Movement

photo credit nourishnetwork.com

What is the Slow Food Movement anyway?

While browsing Black Girls Guide To Weight Loss I read a great article on the Slow Food Movement. I went to the website slowfood.org and got their definition. “Slow Food is an idea, a way of living and a way of eating. It is a global, grassroots movement with thousands of members around the world that links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment.”

In short, it gets us back to basics.

For many of us- food=love.

We had dinner around a table. Our mothers, aunts grandmothers or dads etc. cooked, and we ate. They went to the grocery store or food stand. But the biggest part? The smells that came out of a kitchen and conversation that happened around a table.

That’s powerful stuff right there.

Family dinner can be a time of fellowship, communion and a time when the important thing is what is right in front of you. In this day and age of single parent incomes, video games and smart phones- it’s hard to slow down and eat together.

It may not happen every night- and it doesn’t have to be a five-course meal- but not having it could be costly. Families that eat together are less likely to have kids that do drugs, get depressed, drop out of school or get pregnant. Kids who eat around a table with others do better in school. It matters and the data shows that.

The folks at Slow Food know that and all over the world they are raising awareness- it seems that we are a better planet when we know where our food comes and take time to cook it. There is much debate over whether it is more expensive to cook your own food- and let’s face it- the dollar menu can come in handy.

The reality, though? Raised on nothing but fast food- people face an increased risk of diabetes-, which in the long run cost much more in doctors’ bills. Long term thinking of living in the moment makes this thought process hard to grasp.

The idea that tomorrow ay never come is tempting- but tomorrow does come for most of us- we should make the most of it and give ourselves and our children the best shot by shopping along the aisles of a supermarket and taking a few extra minutes to make dinner instead of take out.

Our lives may depend on it.

This is yoga. Take it slow.

Namaste y’all.

Vegan Diaries – Spinach Mushroom Soup

There’s nothing like a cup of soup to set the world right. There are so many great things about soup:

  • It can be an entire meal
  • It can be rich and creamy
  • It can be slim and lean
  • It freezes well

This recipe was inspired by Veggie Belly! The trick of adding a pinch of baking soda to keep the spinach greens, *high pitched voice* brilliant!!!

Ingredients

  • olive oil – 2 tablespoons
  • onions – 1/2 cup chopped
  • garlic cloves – 2 peeled and minced
  • potatoes – 1 cup peeled, diced
  • spinach – 4 cups tightly packed fresh, tender  leaves
  • fresh oregano – 2-3 sprigs  (or freshly dried oregano)
  • baking soda – A pinch of  optional
  • button cap mushroom tops – 15 large
  • dried mushrooms – 2-3 soaking in 4 cups of hot water (for at least 30 minutes)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation 

  1. Heat a medium, heavy bottom sauce pan with the olive oil.
  2. Add the onions, and sauté on medium heat until translucent.
  3. Add the minced garlic cloves and cook for 30 seconds or until the garlic is fragrant.
  4. Add the mushrooms and sauté on medium heat till they brown, about 5 minutes.
  5. Then add the potatoes, a pinch of salt and 4 cups mushroom water.
  6. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer until the potato cubes are cooked.
  7. Add washed spinach leaves, oregano and salt to the pot (keeping in mind you’ve already added a little salt to the soup in the previous stage).
  8. Immediately add a pinch of baking soda to the spinach; this will keep the spinach green when cooking; but this step is optional.
  9. Boil for about 1 minute or till the spinach is wilted.
  10. Turn off the heat. Using a hand/immersion blender, puree the soup till smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, pour the soup into a regular blender and carefully puree. If the soup is too thick, add ½ cup water and blend again.
  11. Serve warm, with a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper.

Winter may be on its way out, but it’s still soup weather!!!

This is yoga. Sometimes you have to hold it around your hands and take a big warm sip.

 

Namaste y’all.

The Vegan Diaries

vegan_heart

I miss cheese. I know…pathetic.

I keep talking about it. It’s the only thing I miss since I started my vegan challenge. And don’t tell me to try vegan ‘cheese’ because it won’t do.

I’m a cheese person.

By choice, I went to a farm in Northwestern NJ to take a tour and meet the cows.

Yes, really. It’s this great farm that lets the cows roam free. They personally milk the cows and don’t use those horrible milking machines.

I’ve also gone to cheese boot camp. In one weekend we tasted and learned about 60 cheeses. Wine was also involved. It seems redundant to mention that this was an outstanding weekend. A final exam was given at the end of the boot camp and yes, I welcomed it.

More than just good eatin’, these experiences opened my eyes to the Slow Food Movement. Slow Food promotes the idea: real food, grown sustainably and cooked– not processed. The Slow Food Movement supports national and local projects like urban gardens and green markets. These folks do good work.

Other than my cheese fantasies, eating vegan has been a wonderful experience. Food and meals should be a time for expression and sharing. Cooking has always been a way for me to relax. I was afraid that my vegan adventure would mean a six-week sentence of rice cakes, hummus, black beans and salad.

Somebody shake sense into the lazy minded yogini! Like anything else, effort and thought is required.

I must take a quick detour to the Black hair care world. It all comes full circle, promise. Previously, I chemically straightened my hair. It’s just what I (and millions of other Black women) did.
There was a period when I cut it short and wore it natural, but for reasons that I can’t remember, I relaxed (straightened) it again. It wasn’t good for my hair. My hair was dry, the ends split and no good can come from slathering chemicals on your scalp every 6-8 weeks. Over a year ago, my sister who was known for her absolutely stunning head of hair, chopped it all off and began to wear her hair natural.

I followed suit about six months later. I loved it. I loved the texture and the freedom. But I also had to learn how to care for my newly chemically free head. It required work, a little effort, research and patience. It’s second nature now- and honestly- my hair is awesome, but I may be a little bias.

chemical free!!
chemical free!!

So I said to myself as I tackled this vegan challenge, ‘Self, you’ve never eaten a vegan diet before. Do research. Do homework. You’re a research geek and book nerd , go crazy.’

It’s been a very interesting time. I’m learning a lot about food. I’m learning that I don’t miss certain things that had been a regular part of my diet.
I’m finding out that I miss other things. But, if I want to make changes, change has to happen and it’s not always comfortable.

Good stuff is on the other side of discomfort. Stuff like health, happy animals and a smaller carbon footprint. The Yamas and Niyamas teach us about Tapas, or that burning but disciplined passion. I think this is what sustains change.

Tapas, fresh ingredients and love. Hmm, sounds like a recipe.

This is yoga. And it tastes fantastic, even without cheese.

Namaste y’all

quinoa stuffed pepper
quinoa stuffed pepper- yep I made this tasty goody- it’s stuffed with quinoa and wild rice- you can click the photo for the recipe
Vegan burger
ultimate vegan burger- made this burger too- and. it. was. bangin. w-o-r-d click if you’re interested in wowing those taste buds, bud.