Welcome to My Blog...

A warm and simple, welcome.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Getting Ready for the Holidays with Mighty Muffins...

The Holiday Mighty Muffin
(Almighty Muffin)

My two sisters, Mary Lou and Mary Ann (yes, really) are amazing bakers.  I think it is something that they got from our Mom, Marie, who was an incredible baker, herself.  I have never been interested in baking, and even at best, it has never been my thing.

As a plant-strong vegan, baking is the most remote thing on my radar.  But, I do have to get into the mood and act as though I am embracing the holidays.  When I listen to my friends talk about Christmas prep, I hear a forgein language.  The talk about things like spritz, and roll, and reindeer food.  Just not for me.  But, I do make one fun thing that has been a staple for a few years.  And, guess what? People actually like them!  They have become my newest gift for friends (you either get my Holiday Mighty Muffins or a handmade pair of earrings, if I really like you, you get both!).

Invest in a few silicone muffin pans. I have them in shapes of flowers, snowflakes and trees.  The finished product looks beautiful.  In my family of origin, we always made cookie trays adorned with fruit and candy.  My version of a cookie tray isn't quite as fancy as Grandma Montaruli's, but I do my plant-strong best.

You can find the recipe for the Mighty Muffin at www.Engine2diet.com. Take that recipe and make it your own!  Add dried fruit, grain sweetned vegan chocolate chips...the world is your muffin. 

Christmas doesn't have to be a time of the year for a food freakout...freakout in the sense of either eating too much, OR in that of "What am I going to do to stay plant-strong?"  Make some muffins, and you will be fine.  Get some pretty tins, and you will have some beautiful gifts!

Wishing you a Plant-Strong Christmas and every good Plant-Strong Wish for a Healthy 2013.

As we say in Philly, "Yo, Yo, Yo..."

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Still Eating Plants

The New Delivery Ladies from Candle 79 West

Guess which one is the Silver Haired Vegan?  The brunette, my friend Deb, is also a vegan...I hang out with lots of vegans.  We are not boring.

Hello and happy December.  So, so busy.  Eating plants.  Working out at a new gym.  Making sugar-free jam. And trying to find balance, just like everyone else.

You can find me regularly over at the Engine 2 Diet, where I have been blogging in a column called "Saving Time with Char."  It's my approach to fast, delicious plant-strong food that doesn't keep you in the kitchen for hours at a time.  On Engine 2 Extra, I get to work with "members" who are on this journey to eat plant-based, and embrace a healthier lifestyle.  And sometimes, one of my blog entries becomes the "featured" blog of the day.

The primary cornerstones of being plant-strong involve the following:

-No salt, sugar, oil

-No dairy, eggs, meat, fish

-No white flour, rice

If you want to find out more information, visit:  www.Engine2Diet.com

You can also find out lots about Engine 2 Extra.  Both worth your time and energy.

I'll see you again.  Don't worry, I am not hidden in a vat of cookie dough.

Love.  Love.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Low Down on LoMein

Delicious Whole Wheat LoMein

So, I really like Chinese food.  But, nowadays, if I do eat Chinese out, it is limited to a bowl of steamed vegetables and brown rice.  Most Chinese restaurants seem to use lots of oil, not just for frying, but as an additive to any dish.

I've got a really easy solution for you that will make you think, "Why didn't I think of that?" because this is so good.  If I was Carla on "The Chew," I'd say "slap your mama good."

These are the ingredients that you will need:

Roland's Whole Wheat LoMein Noodles (available at conventional store, international section)
Low Sodium Tamari
PB2 Peanut Butter Powder (available at Whole Foods Market)
Garlic Powder
Frozen Broccoli
One Cup of Grated Carrots

Are you ready for the easiest thing in the world to make?

1.  Boil water.  Add one "bunch" of LoMein, and at the same time, add about two cups of frozen broccoli.  Let them cook together  until the LoMein are done.

2.  Drain well.  Add Tamari to taste, along with the garlic powder.  Add two tablespoons of the peanut butter powder,  Mix well.

3.  Put on a serving dish, garnish with grated carrots.  Good to go.  Serves three.

Bonus Info...

-No added fat.

-The Peanut Butter Powder has 85% less fat than if you were to use peanut butter.

-Is creamy and delicious.

Even if your family scowls at being a low-fat vegan, this will tickle their palates.

It's a reasonably priced dish to make, is perfect for leftovers (if you have any).  You can also use any kind of vegetable...artichoke hearts are great.  But, I am in love with broccoli, so what can I say?

This also takes about five minutes to make, so even if you are rushed for time, there is no reason to call the Lucky Panda for steamed veggies.

Enjoy your weekend.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Keeping Cool in the Summer

From Tuscany. 
And those Italians (my people) are so smart...
Clear bottle is for spring water.
Green bottle  is sparkling water (San Pellagrino)

It's easy to say that it has been awfully hot and humid here in Philadelphia.  And, in the back of my mind, all I can hear is my sainted mother saying, "Drink some water if you want to cool off."  I grew up in a generation where, if you wanted water, you got a glass, turned on the faucet, and drank some water.  Easy.  Done.

But today, you are easily assaulted at the grocery store with a plethora of beverages that are generally primary colored, artificially sweetened, or riddled with sugar.  What to drink is still the question.  And the answer still remains, water.  For some strange reason, though, I cannot drink it from the tap.  And even though I've purchased all sorts of filters and devices, I feel as though it is okay to indulge with bottled water. I know, I know, it isn't good for my carbon footprint, but I do recycle.  I buy clothing from the thrift shop.  And I make a lot of soup which tells you that I really recycle.  It balances out, right?

Two things that I love.  One is Italian natural spring water. Acqua Panna is my preferred favorite.  Chilled in a glass bottle, what could be better.  And not to worry, because I will fill an empty bottle with tap water, place it on ice, and use it as "back up" to the sacred Acqua Panna.

And the other thing I love, love, love? Sun tea.  I still have a stash of Paromi tea from my Whole Foods Market days, and will soon venture to loose teas (more cost effective).  I make 6-8 jars of sun tea per week.  Different flavors, so I am not bored with a half-gallon of one monotonous flavor.  And making it in jars makes it very portable.  I also think that my coolness factor goes up, because let's face it, how good does drinking tea from a recycled glass jar look?

This goes back to my Mother, who was always right.  Drink the water.  Simple as that, just drink the water.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Atsa Nice Pizza Pie...

Whole Wheat Salad Pizza
Garnished with Oil-free Sundried Tomatoes

When I was a little girl, my family and I lived atop my grandparents' Italian restaurant. It was called Luigi's...which was my grandfather's name. At the height of his career, he was about the age that I am now. He was an amazing chef, and most well-known for his pizza.

I'd like to think that when other four year olds were mingling in nursery school, my sandbox was Luigi's. I learned to set a banquet table when I was a pre-schooler's age. And, I used to love and watch Grandpa make his pizzas.

So much of who I am stems from those early years at Luigi's Restaurant...my love of food and people, and my ability to cook without cookbooks.  I invent things all the time, and never make the same thing the same way twice, ever.  Luigi's was my grandfather's restaurant.  And, we lived on the second floor.

Luigi's was my sandbox, so to speak.  When other pre-schoolers were hanging with Miss Francis from Ding-Dong School, I was using Luigi's as my play area.  It's where I learned to set a banquet table, run orders, fold napkins, and greet guests.  It's also where I loved to watch my Grandfather make pizza, lots of it, too!

As a low-fat vegan, you can never go wrong with pizza.  A few years ago on a trip to Rome, I was impressed with the thin and bubbly crust used in their pizza presentation.  As I read more about pizza, you can go to Naples and find that they make a "pie" as my Grandfather used to call them, and simply put a marinara sauce on top, then bake it.  When it comes out of the oven...you throw a salad on top...and presto, you have a nice "pizza pie."

In my plant-strong, low-fat vegan world here's what you can do to create a healthy pizza.  I make a whole wheat dough (I fiddle with it, so don't ask for a recipe), and somehow, it comes out nicely.  Sprinke a generous amount of your favorite low-fat tomato sauce...and cook it on a pizza stone.  I usually throw some corn meal on the bottom of the dough...adds authenticity to the crust.  You can also use Ezekiel tortillas, they make an awesome pizza base!

When the pizza comes out of the oven, I throw a big tossed salad on top, and without adding oil, enjoy a magnificient creation of delicious-ness.  You won't miss any cheese, meat, or anything, because this is just plain delicious, clean eating.

I do not use Daiya cheeses...they are laiden with oil.  I may as well drink a cup of oil instead of using the Daiya.  You don't need the "fake" cheese. 

Nothing fake here, only delicious pizza that makes me think of Luigi Montaruli, who was a real stand-up guy.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Quench Your Thirst...

Delicious Homemade Ginger Ale

You know, there was a time where I thought that a diet soda was the be-all to ending my thirst.  I loved it in a tall glass with loads of ice, and a slice of lemon.  But, I also drank it straight from the can, too.  I wasn't very fussy.  I cannot remember when I had my last diet beverage, but I think it has to have been more than ten years ago.

My best friends are water and sparkling water.  But, let's face it, sometimes, it spells B-O-R-I-NG.  Even when you serve it in a goblet, come on, you know that it is still the same water, cool, clear, water.

With summer temps so high and the humidity even higher, quenching my thirst has been a major goal to accomplish.  So, last night, I think I fell into the fountain of brilliance.  And it was so easy to make, and so delicious, that I had  to make this delicious "Ginger Ale" it twice in a few hours.

You'll need your juicer for this.  I always fall victim to info-mericals, so, yes, I have the Jack LaLanne model.  It is my second one...my first one, which was well used, died last summer, so I got another one.

How to Make your own GINGER ALE!

Juice a one inch piece of fresh ginger, along with one Granny Smith Apple.  You should get about 3-4 ounces of liquid.

Put it in a 12 ounce glass.  Add sparkling water to the top.

And that is how you make your own ginger ale.

This is a quenching beverage and will also help to ease the ills from a queezy stomach.

Aside from the deliciousness, you will also save a bundle of moolah.  And, no more excess bottles to recycle!


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What Do You Eat for Breakfast...

Quinoa, Glorious Quinoa
A Seed Packed with Protein!

After the "How do you get your protein?" question, the next one is always about breakfast.  It's not as though I am substituting an Egg McMuffin here, but I have come to realize that for many people, that it is their way of eating breakfast, and on the run.  If I told a Mickey Dee devotee that I had quinoa today, they might freak out.

With summer here, and fresh fruit so bountiful, breakfast is the most fun meal of the day.  I have a very busy waffle iron, that just today housed the batter of an oatmeal/banana and quinoa waffle.  And it was SO good.  Some freshly sliced strawberries...and, it was a perfect breakfast.  It took me about three minutes to prepare, was very filling, and ever so delicious.

As I have evolved on this vegan voyage, the more I am away from my former point of entry, the healthier and more inventive I become with all kinds of recipes.  Recently, I was at a breakfast buffet where a friend said, "It is super healthy, you will love it!!"  But, the truth was, the only thing I could eat was fresh fruit, and the kale garnish on the fruit salads.  The breads were "faux whole wheat," and the nut butters all had sugar in them.

Back to the quinoa.  The first time I ever saw it for breakfast was at my first Engine 2 Immersion in Austin in 2010.  I remember thinking to myself, "They may as well have put out brown rice."  But quinoa, aside from all the amino acids that it packs, can go either way...as a breakfast or a side dish.  Embrace your inner quinoa for a nutritious breakfast, snack, salad builder, whatever.  Make it in bulk, and pack it in individual servings. 

Quinoa is considered to be a complete protein. Unlike other plant-based foods, it contains the amino acid lysine. One cup of cooked quinoa contains 8 gm of protein. This is equal to the protein found in one cup of milk. Other grains, such as pasta and rice contain an average of 3 gm of protein per serving, making quinoa a great choice for people trying to incorporate more plant-based protein in their diet.  Take that, naysayers!  Or protein askers!

Here's a nice, simple, quick and easy qunioa recipe from Martha Stewart.  She uses brown sugar, I just omit the sugar.  If you need a sweet bang to this, try date sugar.  But, really, the blueberries do it all.

From Martha and me...


So, try the quinoa for breakfast.  Lunch.  And Dinner.

Happy Tuesday!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Really Supporting Local

I have long been a fan of supporting local growers and producers.  Today, everyone is on the local bandwagon, even Walmart (I kid you not).  As I carve out a new life for myself after almost nine years at Whole Foods Market, I am trying to find new places to shop, because after all, part of shopping local is reducing your carbon footprint.

For a long time, I have been a fan of Martindale's, a 100 year old family owned "natural grocer" located in Springfield, PA.  It isn't big, but always seems to have the staples I need.  They have a great bulk spice area with a collection of rare and exotic spices that I often use.  What I also love about Martindale's is that I get to see other products that I have supported...Examples would be Burlap and Bean Coffee (Newtown Square), One Village Coffee (Souderton), Vesper Brothers Signature Tomato Sauces (Brookhaven), and many, many, more.

People at Martindale's are very friendly and give very good and sincere customer service.  It is America's first health food store!  Imagine that!  They are opened daily from 8:00 AM - 9:00 PM.  On Saturdays, they close at 6:00 PM.  Sundays, they are closed.

They give you a nice magazine that is filled with many recipes.  I'm attaching one that you will LOVE.  Omit the oil (use carrot juice for the saute) and exchange the brown sugar for date or maple sugar.

If you are looking for a new and fun experience, stop in at Martindale's.  BTW, all of their produce is local and organic.  Imagine that.

Best part, prices are excellent.  And, it is very close to my home, so I am not driving on highways to get to the bigger box stores!

Here's the recipe for Barbeque Black Bean Dip


Enjoy the dip.  Stop in and shop at Martindale's.  No bells.  No whistles. But well worth the trip.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Not Too Far from Kennett Square

Delicious Stuffed Mushrooms

If you are ever a contestent on the game show, Jeopardy, and the answer is "Kennett Square, PA," you will know that the question is "Where is the mushroom capital of the world?"  It's about a thirty minute drive from my house, so last week, I headed to Phillips and got some freshly picked mushrooms.  Phillips is one of the largest mushroom growers in the world, and their retail store is close by.  My mushrooms were nice, big, white caps, perfect for stuffing.

Sometimes, I remember the way I cooked before becoming a plant-based vegan, things were laced with cheese, and oil, salt and more cheese.  I wanted to create something delicious and nutritious and use only clean ingredients.  These were so good that I actually ended up using the leftovers for sandwiches, and were that


Get a pencil, here's a great recipe for you to try.

Super Broccoli Stuffed Mushrooms

10-12 large stuffings mushrooms
2 cups of cooked broccoli
2 cloves of garlic
2 T of nutritional yeast
1 slice of whole wheat bread (to make your own bread crumbs)
All the mushroom stems and gills
Low Sodium Tamari, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1/4 cup of raw cashews

You never wash mushrooms.  Dust them with a clean cloth.  WIth a spoon, scoop out the "gills" after you've pulled off the stems.

Take the garlic, mushroom stems/gills, and broccoli and place in your blender or food processor.  Pulse until paste like.  Add the bread crumbs and nutritional yeast.  Add all but one tablespoon of ground cashews to the mixture.  Mix together well, and then add your spices.

Let this sit for about fifteen minutes.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Get a muffin tin, yes a muffin tin.  Stuff each mushroom with the mixture.  Then, place the stuffed mushroom on top of one of the muffin spots.  Bake covered for about 20-25 minutes.

Garnish with a dolyp of tomato sauce and a sprinkle of the  ground cashews.

You can eat these hot, warm, or cold, and they will not disappoint.  These took about 20 minutes to make, and made enough for several meals.  Try them, you'll like them!

Being vegan never tasted so good.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Vge Cafe in Bryn Mawr

Vge Cafe, Bryn Mawr, PA
843 Lancaster Avenue

I had gotten wind of a new vegan restaurant in Bryn Mawr, PA, but was reluctant to go because I am generally very disappointed when I hit a new vegan haunt.  So, I gave my friend Deb and call, and we decided to meet for lunch at the Vge Cafe.

Nothing fancy, but extremely clean and  very comfortable.  I knew it was going to be good, because several Engine 2 Challenge friends were there eating lunch.  They were like, "Hey, Char, look, I am eating Engine 2!!"  Nothing in this place is fried!  If you have visited other vegan eateries, they seem to use oil as the flavor enhancer.  But, Fernando Peralta, the owner, said that he wanted to add integrity to the vegan way of eating.

As I ordered my lunch, I knew that I was in the right place, because Fernando told me how much he loved  FORKS OVER KNIVES.  He said that Brian Wendel, film producer, was his hero.

Deb and I ordered the same thing, baked falafel wrap, served with a delicious cup of kale soup.  The food was awesome.  The wrap was stuffed with collards and kale, and a delicious freshly made falafel was snuggly  blanketed in a whole wheat wrap.  Food was tasty, clean tasting, not greasy, and not overly salted.  Other diners loved what they were eating...a lentil soup, a homemade veggie burger...everything looked delicious.  Serving sizes were very generous.  Although we didn't partake, there was a large variety of vegan desserts.

Deb has been vegan for about twenty years.  We were chatting with Fernando, who loves vegetables.  Once worked for Chrissy Hynde at her vegan eatery in Akron, OH.  He's been around.  His passion was evident everywhere in the restaurant...from the line chef to the guy hand shredding veggies...I loved being at Vge Cafe!

Lunch for the two of us was $19.00!  Free water from the soda fountain.  Great conversation, too.  Fernando does use Daiya Cheese in some entrees, but I steered clear of those.  Told him to check out Engine 2 for other alternatives. 

I could go on, but rather than listen to me, head there on your own.  You will not be disappointed.  Here's some info from the Bryn Mawr-Gladwynne Patch.


One suggestion:  Bring quarters for the parking meters!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Visiting Porch Farms

Funny, it doesn't like watermelon...

I've long been a  fan of Philabundance, the Philly based hunger relief organization.  They are always doing some innovative thing to draw attention to hunger, food distribution, and assisting those in need.  Today, though, rather then give a can of food, write a check, or sort at their distribution center, we went to a farm to work in a special "gleaning project."  We picked corn at the Porch Farms in Pedtricktown, NJ.  They are a 500 acre farm where you can find corn, watermelon, strawberries, blueberries, and squash (sounds like my lunch).  They are family owned.

When you pick corn, there are two things you learn.  The first ear is the best ear, and that is what you see at the grocery store.  The second ear is not quite as nice looking, but still usable and tasty.  We picked second ears today.  The corn will be distributed to families who cannot afford to buy fresh, local produce on their own.  Every two weeks, Philabundance heads to the farm to pick produce that would otherwise be ignored and wasted.

Corn. Who doesn't love it?  Here's a quick and easy corn relish/salsa that you can use to dress a salad, meet a tortilla chip, or use as a side dish.  I love cilantro, and use it to really add zest to this easy dish.

Corn Salsa

Ingredients:  Three ears of corn, one half red onion, one avocado, juice of two limes, head of cilantro, garlic powder

Take the corn and cut it off the ear.  Break apart in a bowl, add one finely minced red onion, cubed avocado pieces.  Mix together.  Finely mince the cilantro (I love cilantro, you might want a little less).  Mix well.  Add garlic powder, to flavor.  With a citrus squeezer, squeeze the heck out of two limes.  Pour over corn mixture and then mix well.  Chill for about an hour.

You can serve it over lettuce, or use as a side dish.  Better made a double recipe, because this is really good.

See you at the farm.  Oh, one thing I thought about today...I over buy food.  My new practice will be to purchase only what I need.  I do not want to throw out any food.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Isn't it Expensive to be a Plant Strong Vegan?

That's the number one question I get, almost every day!  But I've got five quick and easy steps for you to save money, especially when you are a plant-strong vegan.  I make this distinction, because, let's face it, Oreos are vegan, but I wouldn't eat one just because they are vegan.  They are highly processed, full of sugar and fat, and are not nutrient dense at all.  I buy no processed foods, faux meats, etc.  I will confess that I ate a vegan "hot dog" last month at an event at the ball park (I wanted to fit in), and I was sick for a few days.  Not my thing (anymore).

How to $ave Moolah and Eat Like a Queen

1.  Subscribe to grocery store websites and social media outlets.  They will post sales that might not appear in the weekly or monthly sales flier.  Take note of items that you use.  Stock up, if they are shelf stable.

2.  Look for case discounts.  Stores like Wegman's and Whole Foods Market offer case discounts.  If you think you do not have the storage space for all that food (generally 12 jars or cans), split it with a friend.  You'll save $$$ and have enough shelf space.

3.  Plan a menu.  Believe it or not, this is a great tool to use.  I plan my menu for a week, then draw my shopping list from what foods we will be eating.  Keeps me focused and compliant, so that I stay within my food budget.  My meals are all related to one another--rice, beans, whole wheat pasta, red sauce.  They become interchangeable and are very versatile.

4.  Produce is the focal point of all my meals,  If you buy cheap produce, well, it is like they say, "You get what you pay for."  Hands down, Whole Foods Market has the best produce. It is fairly priced, and the organic integrity of all produce is highly maintained.  I also love going to farmers' markets, because I love supporting all that is local.  Shout out to the pan-Asian grocer, H-Mart...nice produce, clean store.  But the smells from the funky looking fish department make me feel like I need a re-breather mask from the Philadelphia Fire Department. 

Produce is something I shop for several times a week, and I try my best for it to be seasonal, local, and organic.

5.  Lastly, hit bulk departments so that you can get exactly the amount that you need.  Bulk departments are much more than rice and beans, and in many stores, you can get honey, soy sauce, brown rice syrup, and more.  These foods stay fresher, and you get exactly what you need.  No big, oversized bags staring me in the face.

So, these easy steps should point you in the right direction.  Stay away from those processed foods (sausages, roasts, burgers, "wings,") and not only will you save moolah...but, you will feel better not eating those processed foods that make you think you are doing the right thing.  The evil trifecta of fat, sugar and salt is NOT your friend.

Tell me a way that you save money in your plant strong vegan way of living...

Happy Tuesday.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Sun Tea and Sofas

Saturday was my last day at "a job that I loved."  As I pulled out of the long driveway of the parking lot, I felt very rich.  I felt that way becauce, in my heart, I did a good job, made lasting friendships, and carried a sense of pride in my heart,  Eight years prior, I arrived at this job as a meat eater who appreciated junk food, and abused many other bad foods.

But on this sad Saturday, I left as a plant-strong, baby boomer vegan.  And, yes, I cried the entire way home.  The ride seemed longer than usual.

If I had a nickel for every person who asked, "What happened?"  "Why are you leaving?  It's like this...

You buy a new sofa.  You love it.  It serves you well.  Then, you notice that the cushions aren't as comfy as they used to be.  And, you say to yourself...I need a new sofa.  And so, that is why I left my job.  The cushions weren't as comfy.  Simply, it was time to go, or, get a new sofa.

The biggest switch for me, after three full days of being "off," is matching my new budget to fit into my old style of shopping.  Easy point.  I  loved Honest Tea, caffeine free-unsweetened.  Easy grab and go.  Now?  I make individual jars of sun tea in a variety of flavors.  Not rocket science, and man, do I save a bundle of moolah.

In life, timing is everything.  If you go to a party and it is awesome, leave when it is still that way.  And the same thing happens when you make sun tea...if you leave the tea bag in too long, the tea becomes bitter.

I am keeping it sweet.  Know when it is time to go.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Gulp.  That is all I can say.  In less than 72 hours, I will leave a job that I have loved for more than eight years.  I loved it so much, that I only called out sick once during that time, and I wasn't even sick...my sister was visiting me, and I wanted to spend time with her.  I am looking forward to a new adventure, but I am not going to lie, I feel just plain sad.  So much so, that I can easily cry about the heaviness in my heart.  My tenure at Whole Foods Market is the longest time I have ever spent at one job in my entire life.  Turns out to be an eighth of my life...wow.

So, as I pack boxes, unload piles of paper, the one thing I have been doing is "counting my blessings."  Of the myriad of experiences and benefits, the best, hands down, was the gift of attending an Engine 2 Immersion.  I got to spend a week in Austin, Texas, immersed in the practices of Engine 2, and learning to become plant-strong. It might sound cliche, but my Immersion changed my life, forever.

My autographed, dog-earred copy of Engine 2 is starting to get a bit weathered, because I refer to it all the time.  I am an inventive cook, so while the recipes are very good, I prefer to experiment and tweek as I go.  Being plant strong, for me, is a cleaner way of being vegan.  Nothing processed.  No oil.  No salt.  No sugar. All clean and pure food.  And, it is delicious!  I spend loads of time prepping food for my plant-strong life.  And, I guess that I will now have more time on my hands, I will be cooking up a storm in my plant-strong kitchen.

It's all good, but I am feeling a little sad today.  Time to go and steam some kale and make some oatmeal.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Pucker Up

With the bounty of fresh fruit and vegetables, dinner, every night is a huge salad.  It is big, and all mine, made from a variety of leafy greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, kale, and more!  I haven't bought bottled dressings in more than three years.  You can save a bundle of money (and calories, fat, and salt) by making your own, especially when a fat-free dressing is your choice.

You may have a traditional citrus fruit "juicer," but these metal squeezers pictured are the B-E-S-T!  The juice comes out in mini-torrents!  Make sure the one you buy is metal, as I recently used a plastic one, and it snapped in mid-use.  These cost about $8.00.

Limes are my go-to dressing.  Great source of vitamin C, and packed with loads of properties (check out this website for more details [http://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/health-benefits-of-lime.html)].  I prefer them more than lemons.  And, everynight, here's the dressing I make for my nice, big salad.

-Juice of two limes
-One half cubed avocado
-Garlic powder, to taste
-One half finely minced shallot

Put it in a jar, and shake until the avocado looks like it is mashed.  Pour over salad.

Traveling?  Going out for lunch?  Just throw a lime in your purse, and you are good to go.

Happy Tuesday!  And, don't be a sour puss!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Where Have I Been?

You probably thought that I was stuck in a vat of cookie dough, didn't you? Nope, just busy, and really busy reading other blogs, books, and articles about the virtues of living the plantbased life. Here's a brief recap...

November: Great birthday, survived the Thanksgiving rush at work and lived to tell the tale. Went to the opening of a friend's artshow, and that was splendid.

December: Survived the holiday rush at work. Made lots of thick and delicious soups.

January: Attempted to do that half-marathon...got in the wrong corral, and the rest is that I got swept with three seconds to spare. I was devastated. I bounced back though, and went to the opening of the Wellness Center at the WFM in Princeton, NJ. Quite an amazing thing when you think about it...that a grocery store really wants its shoppers to feel better and take better and more focused care of themselves. Yup, that is WFM. Went to Martha Stewart. This is her swan song year on TV.

February: Survived wrapping hundreds and hundreds of roses and tulips, on behalf of Cupid. Got a new boss...my fifth in eight years.

March: Amazed that we had such a mild winter. Really mild. The vegetables keep rolling in. Planned a vegan sit down dinner for 40 people...at work. Great fun. I love spreading the plantbased word of life. Helped to launch a Philly premiere of the movie VEGUCATED.

April: Here I am! Planting a garden. Still exercising. Still eating plants, and only plants. Feeling blessed that this plant-strong life of mine is reinforced with joy and strength, no matter how rough a day may have been.

I'll post some new recipes, soon. I just wanted to say hello. Eat your plants. Share your joy. Spread some love.