Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Guest Blogger Brooklyn Glick recounts her experience at a John Pierre Lecture

The following post was written by my 14 year old daughter after attending her first JP lecture! We had a great time together and I am so very proud of her for writing such a powerful post on Livin La Vida Vegan about one of my biggest heroes. You can visit his website if you're interested in learning more.

Being a teenage girl who has an awareness about health and the food industry can be hard to endure. I have found myself surrounded by people who are not informed or educated about health. It is not just my fellow teens, it is the adults I see daily as well; teachers, my friend's parents, relatives and  even some doctors. If you take the time to examine marketing, or food options at just about every national restaurant chain it is not hard to see how misinformed and unhealthy we Americans are. I have found that the majority of people my age today blindly accept what is 'sold' to them. People in general are sheeple who don't read ingredients, don't know what is IN their food and eat what they are told by the FDA - an agency bought and paid for by the factory farming industry. Often times at school I find myself dreading our lunch break because I am regulary criticized for the way I choose to eat.

"You're scrawny because you don't get enough protein. Go home and eat a steak."
"You're so stupid. Milk makes your bones stronger, everyone knows that."
"Brooklyn... will you stop talking about animal cruelty?! The animals dont feel pain... they kill them humanely."
"Ha! Soymilk makes you gay!"

More than once I've left my table in disgust and anger. I often wonder, how could my friends be so ignorant? how could they say such insulting things to me? Even when I present conclusive evidence - proof - that what I 've said is true, they still turn a blind eye. I am appalled that even when shown pictures and documentation about the practices of the factory farming industry my peers simply laugh or roll their eyes, claiming that I am "such a hippie". I find myself frightened and feel as if Im in a horror movie where I desperately need someone to let me inside to save me from the dangers lurking outside. These experiences have caused me to become resentful, but have hardened my resolve to continue to be strong.

When my Mother told me about a lecture we were going to attend by a nutritionist she admires named John Pierre, I admit I was hesitant. I thought I would much rather stay around the warm house and enjoy a quiet evening. After some encouragement I agreed to go with her. I have gone to several lectures and have seen many public speakers over the years, so my excitement was minimal. I was not expecting anything out of the ordinary. On the car ride over my Mother was bubbling about Pierre's brilliance. When we arrived I was hoping he would meet my newfound expectations and not be some dull monotonous man in a grey suit. I was surpised to find him a fit man with short stature, like myeself, who appeared to be around the age of 30 years old. I was pleased to see he was a lively person and didn't wear a suit, but instead a shirt that labeled him as 'herbivore'.

John Pierre began his lecture and I thought to myself "Why, he's almost as smart as my Mother!"
As he progressed I became aware that this man was brilliant. Not only was he intelligent, funny, and dedicated, but he was compassionate as well - a quality I highly admire. He made many good points and spoke about foods which are good to eat and foods that are not good to ingest and why.

I am always flabbergasted when people ask me how I get my protein. "Through almonds, peanut butter, plants, fake meat and other plant based foods of course." I think to myself crossly. Until I saw John Pierre, however, I was unsure of what exactly they meant by their question. The question implies that you can only get the best and high-class' protein through eating meat. But Pierre made things very easy to understand. He explained that it really does not matter how your body gets protein, your body accepts it just the same. He said that it would not make sense for amino acids to come from just meat, after all, where did the cow get it's protein? From plant matter! I was delighted and surprised to have a new outlook, for I had not considered that fact before...

Another point that Pierre made which I had not considered was how the human digestive tract works; a carniverous creature such as a cat has a very short digestive tract so that meat can travel quickly through, while humans have a longer digestive tract, and meat generally is not meant to be digested in it. People may make the argument "Then why do we have canines?" The answer is simple; we don't have canines. We have the basic type of teeth needed to break rough plant matter. The teeth people refer to as canines are not sharp enought to be considered canines, though they do have a similar appearance.

Everything Pierre spoke of I found intriguing in one way or another and I was especially interested by his views on milk. He was very funny and said "Let me put it to you this way.... if a woman in the back of the room said 'hey guys! I have some extra breast milk, do you guys want any?' I found this idea absurd, obviously that would be strange. The people in the room started laughing and he asked 'What? What is so funny? That's basically what we do, only we drink the milk of a cow!' The point is valid and easy to relate to. He spoke of how the cows that are in the dairy industry are regulary sexually assaulted to remain pregnant and producing milk. He spoke about how the udders of the cows are swollen to the point of dragging on the floor which is covered in feces and then the cows step on them. Their udders become infected and need to be treated with antibiotics which results in blood, pus and antibiotics in our milk. The FDA regulates how much of these can be in our milk that is distributed before it is considered 'contaminated'. The food industry uses marketing to deliver the message that milk does a body good and makes our bones stronger, however the opposite is true. Milk actually causes your body to go into an acidic state, which then causes your body to want to regulate therefore it leeches calcium from our bones. This actually makes our bones weaker.

I left his lecture feeling inspired to spread the messages that he had brought so eloquently to the crowd. He was a generous man as well and spoke about giving and increasing the love in your life and others. My Mother went to speak with him after the lecture and he remembered me and that I had asked him a question he felt was very intelligent. I had asked about freezing fruits and vegetables and how that affects the living enzymes within them. He told my Mother that he wanted to speak with me. I approached JP and he greeted me kindly. He pointed to the tables where there were products for sale, books and samples of various nutritional supplements. He told me to go pick out anything I wanted from the table as his gift to me. I wanted to accept graciously but was speechless, I was grateful for his kindness but did not expect him to give me something. I have come to anticipate a sales pitch after a lecture - people don't generally go out of their way to be giving or kind to others. I've grown accustomed to self serving individuals. The fact that he gave me this gift was surprising because not many people would do something like that. I felt like I was in his debt after his lecture and his gift so I was determined to do my best to live what he taught.... eat whole foods plant based diet, be compassionate, move your body - not 'excersize' and make choices in your life that are good for your body, the earth, and especially the animals. I am thankful for the experience that I had and the opportunity that JP presented to me.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A recipe for recovery......

Eating Disorders in America
Eating Disorders are a debilitating problem for nearly nine million Americans, which often go undetected. These disorders are a complex group of mental illnesses which are difficult to treat, diagnose and prevent because they are rooted in a multitude of causes which can be difficult to untangle. Some issues which contribute to the development of these illnesses include powerful psychological media messages that indicate a warped and shallow definition of beauty, depression, stress, low self-esteem and a desperate need for control. It is imperative to examine this problem and to talk about the issues surrounding it. 

At the age of 34, I can safely say that I have conquered my own personal battle with an eating disorder. After nearly a decade, my long treacherous journey as a young woman has provided me with a plethora of important lessons. It took a great deal of effort to be able to see the flaws within my unhealthy obsession. I have now arrived at a place where I am able to channel my fixation with food and weight into a healthy pursuit of wellness. I learned to turn a critical eye to the media. I learned that I may never be able to change the way that I perceive my body, but understanding that it is a harsh and unforgiving view is crucial to my wellness.

 It took a long time to admit to myself that I was ill. I could admit it to other people before I was able to truly accept it. The most invaluable lesson which I came to understand was how to truly love myself. As a young teenager I attended a summer camp for performing arts. It was at this camp that the first indication of the severity of my illness became apparent. It was several more years before I received clinical treatment; however it was the events which took place that summer which began the process. The following is an excerpt from several journal entries I made during that time.

I was face down on the floor and my chin hurt from the impact. It felt like being under water, as if I were surrounded by muffled sounds and was utterly disoriented. It took several moments before I became aware that I was motionless on the floor. Then suddenly, my consciousness surfaced and the urgency to get moving surged through my mind. I mentally shouted at myself “Move your fat ass!” Nothing happened. My body would not budge. I knew for certain that I was dying. I could hear my heart’s indolent thumping, which sounded deafeningly loud. I was terrified by how slowly it seemed to beat. The sound of my breath surrounded me like a stereo. I entertained the idea of losing consciousness, of drifting back to sleep. There were six other girls my age asleep in their bunks in that room and none of them heard my fall. I longed to be like them, asleep, peaceful, and content. I was different. I was not peaceful and secure. I was sick, but I knew how I would find my peace. I realized that I was not jealous of their slumber; I was completely relieved they were fast asleep. My morning routine required their ignorance. The counselors were out late last night drinking beer and I was sure that neither of them stirred.

I knew that I needed to get moving and could not stay there. I felt the weakness of my body conflict with my fortitude and determination. I was able to roll over onto my back and slide my arm along the floor. I did not dare attempting to stand, but felt comfortable pulling myself up by the blanket of my bed. I knew that if I were to try to use my own strength to push my body up that my arms would fall limp and disappoint me. Just like everything else about my body, a weak and fragile disappointment. My fingers clenched the blanket and I was able to use my grip on the cloth to lift myself up into a seated position.

I looked at my watch as I knew that the time I would have for working out was being wasted there on the floor. Almost two hours before camp wakeup, this would allow me to swim 2 miles at top speed. I reached for the table next to my bed where I had prepared a water bottle full of my “fuel”. It contained water, lemon juice and cayenne; a mixture that I read was great to help lose weight. The first sip burned my throat and I fought an urge to cough. I believed that the sugar I was ingesting from the lemon juice would give me the energy I needed to swim 2 miles in one and a half hours. I hid one of the bunk towels under my bed and it was several days used. It smelled like chlorine and mildew, but it was dry. I snatched the towel and a pair of sweats that I stuck next to the towel. I pulled the sweatpants on under my nightgown and crawled towards the screen door. It was summer in New Jersey and the camp was on a farm so we slept with our bunk doors open, just the screens remained closed. I was painfully aware of every breath that I took as I opened the door as slowly as possible. There was no sound from the door and I was able to slip out silently.

I raced through the field between our bunk and the pool. It was dark still, but light threatened the horizon. When I arrived at the pool I took my nightgown off and hung it over the fence with the towel so that they would remain dry. I put the sweatshirt on and took a rubber swim cap out of the pocket. I put the cap over my hair and dove into the pool. I would have preferred to swim at a much more relaxed pace than I would have to that morning. The pattern I had perfected was to get up three hours before the wakeup call so that I could enjoy swimming 3 miles, or 210 laps with a few breaks in between. I was inclined to exercise for long periods of time at a medium pace. That morning, when I woke at the usual time, I stood up and reached for my water bottle of 'fuel' and the world started spinning. My body seemed foreign, like a car that I was riding in as I fell to the floor. I knew that I was passed out for some time and had lost nearly half my workout time, but I was not going to allow myself half the distance, my goal was to swim at least two miles. I would make up the lost time with a more powerful stroke and no breaks.
When I was swimming I was so focused on my body, on my movement and on keeping track of my laps that the pressure of the world and the pain of my depression seemed as far away as the moon from the bottom of the pool. I liked the physical pains that I felt in my chest when I gasped for air between strokes. I enjoyed the dizziness and hunger. I swam my fat ass off in my clothes because it made me work harder. I didn't think about the pressure of my upcoming performance. I didn't compare myself obsessively to any other girls. I was alone. I was in control. There were no crowds lined up in velvet covered chairs judging every single movement I made. No reporters writing reviews of my pitch, tone and emotion. No photographers armed with their cameras poised and eager to freeze my awkward expression eternally in one position. No poster of me in a costume adding ten, no ten thousand pounds.

I kept a careful watch on the clock above the pool so that I could get to the showers where I rinsed off, changed clothes and dried my hair before anyone woke up. When I finished my laps I hurried to the showers.The room was dark, and I fumbled around to find the blow dryer and turned it on the lowest setting. My hair was not too wet thanks to my cap. My sweats however, I had to leave hanging in my locker to dry. I slipped back into my nightgown and dashed back to the bunk. I feared that someone had gotten up and noticed I was gone, but they were all asleep. I made it back to bed with 10 minutes to wakeup. The next morning everything changed. The routine I had grown accustomed to abruptly came to an end.

The next morning when I stood up to get my water bottle I passed out again. This time everyone noticed. I don't remember crying out, I don't recall injuring myself. I just remember how everyone had overreacted to the miniscule splash of blood on the concrete floor. I was sent to the infirmary, where they kept me separated from the other girls for several days. I made an attempt to brush it all off with the excuse of fighting the flu, but I had been found out. The nurse talked with me about the choices I was making and what I wanted out of my life. They notified my parents of the incident. I knew what to say because I had actually been in the position of lying to an adult about my 'Self-destructive habit' a few times before.
When I look back on that summer, I wonder how I was not hospitalized earlier. I had been starving myself and throwing up when I couldn't starve myself and had been getting away with it for three years prior to going there. I was excessively working out for extended periods of time. I was only happy; I was only fulfilled, when I was unfilled. When I was denying myself the nutrients and the necessary ingredients for life I felt in control of something. I felt powerful. I felt wonderful. I felt physically elated anytime that I was able to get away with vomiting. I liked having a terrible secret.

Everyone around me thought I was so perfect. They saw a star soloist and beautiful dancer. I was known as the little girl with a grownup opera voice. They all told me how pretty I was.... how talented. There were many girls my age who were so jealous of me that they went out of their way to be cruel.... if only they had known how cruel I was to myself.

I began my battle with an eating disorder when I was eleven years old, the age that I began to develop breasts. I was a young performing artist who had been in a competitive environment from the age of six. I was actually encouraged by a dance teacher of mine who told me that I would never be a professional performer if I did not learn to control my weight. I was not a heavy girl, but my breasts were rather large compared to other girls my age. I was wearing D cup bras by the time that I was age 12.

As a young girl I felt the pressure to be beautiful. The television advertisements and photographs of models that surrounded me sent a very clear message in my mind. The rigid world of performing arts combined with an abusive home life left me feeling out of control. My secret, my eating disorder was intoxicating. It was an addiction, it was a rebellion, it was empowering and crippling, it was a game, and it was defiant and all consuming.

Me at 14 years old. I was 98lbs ~ the summer before I was hospitalized.

There are many complications preventing and prolonging people suffering from eating disorders from getting treatment. Some of the perceptions that hinder people from seeking treatment are that having an eating disorder is a choice, that it is not serious, that the person with ED can see that they are very thin, but don’t care, and that it is not a real illness. According to the National Eating Disorders Association “In the United States, as many as 10 million females and 1 million males are fighting a life and death battle with an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia

The fact that our society demands extremely thin physiques in order to be considered beautiful is a major contributing factor to eating disorders. It is not only the messages that we see in the media, airbrushed models, waif thin runway walkers, actors and actresses oiled up and stripped down, but the things we hear in social encounters. “You look great! Have you lost weight?” The messages on the clothing that we buy such as “Instantly Slims You!” or Spanx “Trust your Thinstincts Bodysuit.”  We are also confronted by messages on food products such as “Sinfully delicious” and “No Fat!”

One article that points out the drastic changes in the modeling industry standards was published in the January, 2012 issue of Plus Model Magazine and was titled “Plus Size Bodies, What Is Wrong with Them Anyway?” In this article Editor-in-Chief, Madeline Jones confronts some very controversial statistics. The majority of runway models are dangerously underweight, with body mass indexes that meet the physical criteria for Anorexia. The article also states that while on average, 50% of women wear a size 14 or above clothing stores in general cater to sizes smaller than 14. Two decades ago fashion models weighed approximately 8% less than the average woman and today they weight 23% less. The article explains that the average size of a plus sized model a decade ago was between 12 and 18, today most plus sized models range from size 6 to 14!
Plus Model Magazine

I found this image in the article so striking and I won’t ever forget it. The woman with curves looks vibrant and healthy and the woman she holds in her arms has such a delicate skeletal frame that this thin tiny female appears almost like a child in a woman’s arms, yet they are both adults of similar age. The image demonstrates the drastic contrast between the average woman and the industry standard for models. It is important to draw attention to these standards, as they promote extreme health risks that accompany dangerously low body weight. I encourage people to question what it is they find desirable. It is also important to practice conscious consumerism, purchasing products that have realistic marketing, sizes and standards. Another action that has an impact is communicating with the companies that send these unhealthy messages. As a Mother, I also communicate regularly with my children about the images that they see, teaching them to look around them with critical eyes.

Eating Disorders are complicated illnesses which develop over time; they are not a choice someone makes one day. The support of friends and loved ones is critical to recovery. There are many different aspects to consider. Does the individual have a healthy outlet for their emotions? Are they in a situation that causes them to experience elevated levels of stress? What can be done to offer relief for the pressure that they might be under? As eating disorders are multicausal, learning about the signs and symptoms is critical to early diagnosis. The road to recovery is not an easy one, but through the development of adequate treatment programs, education, support and community awareness this epidemic can be brought under control.

Around the same time that I began experimenting with the self destructive behavior surrounding food I also discovered what really happens to animals in the factory farming industry. I decided to become a vegetarian. My Mother was somewhat supportive but wasn't really able to teach me about how to eat healthy as a vegetarian. To her... it meant that I just ate side dishes at dinner time. Over the next decade I became very unhealthy and was obsessed with food - with not eating it, with overeating it and then vomiting.I continued the unhealthy behaviors into my early adult life, until I became pregnant with my daughter. It was at that time that I found the strength within myself to become educated and healthy. I let go of my fear and let go of my ED.

I still thought about food more than your normal person.... but I used that to educate myself. I learned so much about the industry about the harmful effects of preservatives and processed foods... I learned about free radical damage, dietary supplements, I learned about dyes and pesticides...and I am still learning. I recently went back to college to pursue a degree in Nutrition and perhaps one day an ND! I am eager to learn and I feel healthy and vibrant and alive. I don't ever feel guilty about my attitude towards food..... not anymore. I feel full of purpose now. I feel educated and intelligent. I am thankful for my awareness of the horrors of the industry and I am always eager to engage someone in a conversation about it..... about food.... about health.... but I try my best not to be arrogant or pushy. I often read books about nutrition and cookbooks for fun. I read vegan blogs religiously. I have never felt better than I do now. I look back to the days of being a teenager when I struggled with desire to eat and desire to starve. I look back at the time when I was becoming a vegetarian... my convictions outweighing my palate.. because of what I KNEW about the food on my plate. I remember feeling a physical yearning for something once that today would disgust me. I Love eating healthy. I feel GREAT. I am so happy to have a compassionate diet that excludes that which animals suffer and die to provide us.

A healthy me.... ready to feed you

I wanted to share this information with you because I have recently been reflecting on this. For the last decade I have been on a journey. A wonderful evolution, in which, I have grown closer to Love and to life. I've been reflecting on the fact that I have always, for as long as I can remember been focused on food! I understand now that this passion and this Love for food grew out of a time when I was lost, conflicted and struggling with food....with what I ate.... it wasn't until recently... until I became a vegan... that I felt full... complete.... and absolutely not conflicted. I am full of conviction. I am full of compassion. I am full of inspiration. I am full of delicious vibrant healthy food.

I hope to spread awareness with this blog as well as deliciousness. I believe now that I was meant to cook for others. That I was meant to feed people! I feel connected to food on a deeper level. I feel connected to plants. Cooking is more than a passion of mine.... it is a purpose. Thank you for reading this..... if you made it to the end I applaud you for reading this much!

Happy Healthy me.... in Love.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Serrano 'Cheddar' Corn Roll Meatless Meatball Sliders

Making sliders is fun.... but eating them is MORE fun! Who doesn't love adorable tiny meatless meatball sandwhiches? What a blast this delicious dinner turned out to be.
The rolls can be as spicy as you want them to be - it all depends on you! You can use the pepper of your desire: serrano, jalapeno, habanero, even ghost peppers if you're terribly brave. We even added a tsp of some very hot habanero sauce to a batch. Feel free to play. As always on Livin La Vida Vegan we encourage experimentation. Cooking is more art than science. Feel, taste, smell and create!

Making rolls takes a couple of hours so be prepared to start this meal ahead. You won't be standing in the kitchen for two hours because it will take your dough time to rise. I suggest a meditation with the dough as it rises. Focus your attention on your breath, let thoughts of abundance rising within your vibration rise as the dough rises, as your breath rises. What does abundance mean to you?
       ~ Sample meditation:

As I breathe in my chest rises filling my heart chakra with Love and abundance that expands to all corners of the universe. As I exhale the unlimited potentiality and radiance swelling within my chest is released. The pause between is an opportunity to let go of any hindrance I may have to receiving or experiencing abundance. The circle of breath, of life resonates in each breath. 

As you begin to shape the rolls remember the nature of this circle of abundance 

1 cup almond milk, unsweetened
1/4 cup agave (optional)
Egg replacer (equivalent to 2 eggs)
1/3 cup soy-free earth balance
2 1/2 tsp active yeast
3 cups spelt flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
2 tsp Bragg's Amino Acids
4 serrano peppers minced - keep seeds if you want to increase the heat of the rolls

'Cheddar' baste
nutritional yeast flakes to flavor, soy-free earth balance
Combine your dry ingredients - 1 cup of flour, yellow cornmeal and yeast
In a saucepan heat almond milk, soy-free earth balance, agave, braggs and peppers (with seeds optional) let the mixture heat for about five to ten minutes on medium high heat, ensure that the milk does not boil, if it looks as if it may boil lower the heat. Once you have heated the mixture allow it to cool to about 125 degrees. If you do not own a thermometer you can stick your pinky finger in and gage if the mixture is 'warm'

Combine the wet mixture with the dry ingredients. Whip up your egg replacer so that it is thick and frothy. Then stir it into the mixture.  At this point you should slowly mix in the rest of the flour - keeping some reserved to roll out the dough in. You can add some more almond milk into the mixture a little at a time if it is too thick. If you are using a mixer you can beat the dough at a high speed for a short period of time. Once all of the ingredients have been combined it is time to knead your dough. This is fabulous fun. Enjoy this moment. I find spicy things are better when you reflect on things which you are passionate for. Your dough should be elastic and formed into a ball. Take a bit of coconut oil and grease the inside of your mixing bowl and let the dough rise for an hour or so. It should be somewhere warm. I cover the mixing bowl with a wet towel so that it doesn't dry out.

Once your dough has risen you've got another fun opportunity to meditate with food! You get to punch your dough down and and flatten it. You could use this time to let go of any anger or frustration or focus your attention on becoming strong and charging the dough with powerful force.

Be sure that the area you are working on has been well floured. After you've beat your dough a bit cover it and let it sit for about fifteen more minutes.

Roll your dough out but not too thin... you can cut your dough with a round cutter to make a biscuit shape or you can just tear the dough and roll little dough balls. I prefer to roll them into balls rather than rolling the dough and cutting it! It is great fun.

Next you should put the rolls onto a baking sheet, I grease mine with coconut oil first. Leave them be for about fifteen minutes before you bake them.

To make these rolls ''cheddar'' combine melted soy-free earth balance with nutritional yeast flakes until you get the desired 'cheesy' flavor. The baste should be thick enough to create a nice coating on the rolls. I brush them a few times during the baking process. The oven should be pre-heated to 375. Bake for about 15 minutes - keeping an eye on them towards the end. Remove them when they are golden.

As you baste you can channel the 'cheesy' delight of laughter at silly jokes... think of the cheesiest things you can. It is easy to be guarded to become cynical and often in life there are moments that we tend to diminish because they are ''cheesy'' - romantic gestures, loving statements - open your heart and melt as the butter does......

Makes approximately 15  rolls.prep time: 2 hours.cook time 15 minutes

Meatless meatballs:

1 tbsp vegan worcestire
1 tbsp smoked paprika
3 tbsp braggs amino acids
1/4 cup organic no sugar added catsup
1/2 cup water

Marinade your meatballs while your dough is rising. Once the dough is in the oven place them in a skillet with a bit of white wine and continuously toss the balls every few moments. After you remove the rolls from the oven put the meatballs on a low broil to give them a somewhat hard exterior. Do not broil for very long.

Chipotle Aioli Sauce

Combine veganaise with a scoop of your favorite chipotle salsa, nutritional yeast and a squeeze of lemon juice

Assemble your sliders with one glorious meatless meatball, a dash of chipotle aioli sauce and then top with fixings according to desire. We placed one spinach leaf and a little sliver of onion and tomato on ours. We served these along side of some fingerling potatoes in a white wine rosemary sage sauce and carmelized brussel sprouts.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Pumpkin Coconut Tiramisu

I saw a link on Vegan Coloradocal for Vegan Pumpkin Tiramisu by Chef Chloe and was thoroughly inspired. The following recipe is my adaptation.


 1 bag of Classic Vanilla Cake Mix
 (1/4 cup oil, 1/2 cup water, Ener-G egg replacer for 3 eggs )
I doubled the water as the mix was too thick for my liking

1 Pie Pumpkin - should yield - 10 oz pumpkin
2 tbsp soy-free Earth Balance
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup water
4 tbsp Agar-Agar
1/4 cup So Delicious Nog (Coconut Milk)

5 tbsp instant organic espresso
1/2 cup organic sugar
1/2 cup amaretto
1/4 cup rum
1/4 cup water
1/4 Orange Peel in Dark Chocolate Chocolate Bar
1/2 Crystalized Ginger in Dark Chocolate Bar

Preheat your oven to 375.
Put a bit of water in the bottom of a baking dish.
Cut pie pumpkin in half and smear 1 tbsp of earth balance on each half.
Sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice and place the halves face down in baking dish and cover with foil.
Bake for 1 hour.

While the pumpkin bakes prepare cake mix and bake in non-stick cake pan.
While cake is baking prepare the espresso liqueur soak

Bring water to a boil and dissolve espresso and the sugar in the boiling water.
Stir constantly. Let the mixture boil for several minutes until the mixture has thickened.
Remove from the stove and let the mixture cool and thicken further.
Once the mixture has cooled and thickened stir in the amaretto and the rum.
Pour most of the mixture into the bottom of the cake pan, saving some to pour over the top of the cake later.
Use a cheese grater to shave the chocolate bars into a bowl. Once mixed together place half of the chocolate on top of the espresso soak in the pan. Save the rest of the chocolate for later. Place the cake back in the pan on top of the espresso soak. Place cake in warm oven (the oven should still be warm from use earlier - do not 'cook' the cake again, just warm it in the oven)

Pumpkin Filling

Yum! Macaroons!
Scoop all of the pumpkin into a blender with nog and the bag of Hail Merry's Raw Vegan Macaroons and puree.
On the stove bring the water to a boil and stir in agar-agar. Turn the heat down and let simmer for five minutes. Let cool for five minutes and combine with pumpkin mixture. Place in the refridgerator to set about 1 hour.

When pumpkin mixture is set, cut the cake into squares. Sprinkle reserved chocolate over half of the cake. Layer pumpkin mixture on top of the chocolate and place naked cake on top. Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve!

We created this to serve at dinner with my Father for Thankgiving. Don't forget that the state of mind that you are in is an important ingredient. I highly recommend adding a heart full of gratitude to this recipe. It tastes delicious.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sushi and Herbed Cream Cheese

I was craving some fresh herbs. I was craving sushi.

So I gathered some organic fresh herbs, vegetables and some tofutti cream cheese and went to town.

 I began the evening with chopping the fresh herbs. The aroma of sage and rosemary and thyme inspired a bit of Simon and a bit of Garfunkle... and I found myself longing for parsley.... but I was glad that I chose basil instead.

I sprinkled chopped red pepper on the cream cheese and a dash of garlic powder and sea salt as well. After a bit of whipping.......

For this roll I soaked slivers of daikon for several hours in a mixture of lemon juice, umeboshi plum vinegar, braggs aminos, sriracha and a bit of mirin. I sliced the delightful rainbow carrots you see pictured above and placed them inside as well. I also added a sliver of cucumber and some of my fresh herbed cream cheese.

I am a yogaholic.... so Im a fan of stretching beyond your comfort zone. I have tried to experiment with a variety of different ways to fill my sushi rolls beyond rice. This roll was a result of that experimentation. What I do to create this roll is boil a few beets with a bit of miso in the water until they are nice and soft and ready to mash. I drain the water and then let the beets 'air' dry with a bit of sprinkled oregano. While the beets rest a bit before the next part of their journey I bake a sweet potato with basil and sea salt and a few teaspoons of a sauce "Steviyaki" I purchase at a local restaurant called Tokyo Joes. It is a teriyaki sauce made with stevia and is one of my favorite condiments.

When the sweet potato is soft and mashable I mix the beets with a tiny bit of potato for the perfect consistency to fill the sushi roll. I place the beet mash in the same position that rice would go in the roll. For the filling of this roll I used avacado, mango, green onion sweet potato and sesame seeds.

Unfortunately I did not get any great pictures this time around of the beet sushi rolls.... but I make them regularly - so one day soon I will post an update of the picture. I had a disaster that involved a hungry cat that jumped up and smashed the roll to pieces before it had been I improvised to recreate another roll from the leftover similar ingredients - but alas, while it tasted delicious. It was not a pretty sight.

This roll was nice n hot. I sprinkled some dried thai chili seasoning over the rice and added jalapeno, mango, avacado, some krispy gardein strips and instead of  herbed cream cheese some hickory smoked 'we can't say its cheese' spread. I finished it off with a good strong squeee or two of 'Ass Reaper' hot sauce.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Sweet and Spicy Black Bean and Lime No-Meatballs

These no-meatballs were bold. I started dreaming about this recipe weeks ago when I began trying to plan the menu for our November wedding. I decided to experiment with making a sauce for the no-meatballs we are planning to serve at our wedding. They turned out perfectly! They could be served as a main course or an appetizer. They are versatile!

They would go splendidly over a bed of yellow saffron rice.


 1 bag of No Meatballs:
I prefer Nate's Savory Mushroom. Im a fan. Of the mushroom. Love the flavor...and of Nate's GREAT company! They also confirmed they use non-gmo soy!
1 Shallot
1 tbsp Organic chopped garlic
Evoo - enough to coat the pan


1/4 box of organic vegan refried beans
2 tbsp chili seasoning
1 1/2 cups water
1 jar Crofters Black Currant jelly
3 tsp Braggs Amino Acids or tamari
1 bunch of green onions
1/2 mushroom bullion
1/2 cup Coyote Trail salsa

For the 'stock' of the sauce I chopped the bunch of green onions up in a fine mince. I placed the minced onions in just enough water so that they could float around. I turned the water on low and let it simmer until there was a rich aroma and the onions were soft and clear and had created a broth. I added the half of a mushroom bullion to the water and stirred it until it was dissolved. With an immersion blender I pureed the onions. Then I added 1 and a half cups of water and the box of black beans, and the rest of the ingredients. I turned the pot on low and let it simmer until the sauce had grown thick.

While the sauce simmered......

I threw the shallot and the garlic and evoo in a skillet and let the garlic brown and the shallot turn clear. When the pan was prepared with the perfect sizzle I tossed the bag of no-meatballs in and rolled them around until they turned a golden brown.

Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of the finished meatballs right now - technical difficulties... but I will try to get them uploaded eventually. Instead... please accept this picture of a satisfied taste tester.

~ note ~ As with all of my recipes any measurement is a guestimate - so please experiment to find your perfect flavor and consistency.

I did play around with the thickness and amount of water in the sauce... so you may want to add the bean mix and add water slowly....... as you want a thick jelly like substance for this sauce.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Creamed Green Chile Quinoa

Delightfuly easy. Hearty and Flavorful.

I know... you're starving now and surviving off of rice cakes because it has been so long since I have posted any recipes! Oh I am so very sorry! I've been a little bit on the lazy side with cooking since the childrens are on vaca in FL.... and I have also been experiencing technical difficulties with my camera phone - and I really should be more motivated to shoot some pictures of my cooking with my beautiful Nikon camera that my Lover gave me..... but as I said just a moment ago - I've been rather lazy. It's been a lazy Spring folks. Apologies!

So on to the quinoa. You know how I feel about Quinoa. This glorious grain is just an essential ingredient in the vegan diet! Complete protein folks.


~ mixture of peppers: Pasilla, Poblano, Jalapeno and Thai Chiles
~ 2 yellow bell peppers
~ 2 tsp liquid smoke
~ dash of smoked sweet paprika
~ dash of cayenne
~ 1 tbsp dried red chile flakes
~ 3 green onions chopped
~ 1 stalk of celery
~1 bunch of fresh basil
~ Vegan Sour Cream
~ Vegan bouillon
~1 tsp chopped garlic
~1 tbsp vegan butter

Once again - the measurements of this recipe will be guestimated. I encourage you to start slowly and add ingredients until you've found the perfect flavor for you.

I prepared this dish by placing several hot green chiles (my Lover would say - there is no such thing as a 'hot' GREEN chile....) and two wimpy yellow ones on my cutting board chopping them to bits while I cackled...... I scooped the entire contents of my chopping block into a sauce pan - including the seeds. Seeds really do give any pepper dish more heat and a developed complex flavor. I highly recommend keeping those seeds around. I added chopped green onion, 1 tbsp of vegan butter, and a tsp of chopped garlic. I turned the peppers on a medium heat to brown them and soften them a bit.

While the peppers were heating up I chopped up some celery as well as some fresh basil. I put some water on to boil (I would guestimate about 4 cups) Once the water was boiling I tossed a boullion cube and the 2 cups of Quinoa into the water and let it boil with the lid off for about 5 minutes before turning it down to simmer.

I returned to my hot pot of peppers and took it from the stove to cool a bit. After it had cooled slightly I put all of the peppers into the food processor and turned it mostly to puree with a few 'chunks' left in it.

Then when the Quinoa had thoroughly cooked I added the peppers and continued to cook it until the consistency was thick. About 5 minutes before I was done cooking this pot of chile I put in the chopped basil and the chopped celery and stirred in half a tub of vegan sour cream......


Is so good. Is really good. Is really good for real.