Veggie Video


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Smoothie Mania!

I am addicted to smoothies.

There, I admitted it.

I have one every morning. Usually, it’s a green smoothie – not really sweet, but bursting with greens and fruit. It is delicious, and it gives me a wonderful boost of energy for the day.

One morning, a few weeks ago, it was bitterly cold outside. We had left the heat on low the previous night, so I had been freezing all night long. I felt frozen from the inside out. I looked at my husband, who was preparing cold, cold veggies and fruit for the smoothie and I shook my head. I couldn’t even entertain the thought of putting that cold stuff in my cold belly.

“Not today. I’m having oatmeal.”

He looked at me, knowingly. “Are you sure? I think you might regret it.”

I was absolutely certain though. I made my oatmeal mix and headed off to work, braving the cold in anticipation of warming my insides all the way through with hot, cinnamon and walnut oats once I got to work. The oatmeal was good. It was even pretty good, but it was no smoothie. I missed my burst of energy. I missed the knowledge that I had ingested loads of nutrients before 9:00 a.m. I had a smoothie as soon as I got home, and it was as if all the cells in my body let out a sigh of relief. From then on, I decided that I would meet the winter coldness with a smoothie in hand.

The moral of the story is: drink smoothies! They are an awesome way to get more greens and fruit into your diet. The energy and nutrition are contagious! If the beginning of your day is so healthy, it’s hard not to follow it with more healthy choices.

I want to share our basic smoothie recipe as well as a couple special ones for you to try and enjoy. Just blend all the ingredients together in a blender. We have a crappy, old blender that serves us well. If you use kale and you have a cheap blender, you might have to blend a little longer to smooth up the tough kale leaves. These recipes will serve two hungry people, or four not so hungry people. I suggest doubling the recipes if you are trying to feed more than two or halving it if only feeding one.

Refreshing Cucumber and Berry

This is the usual formula for our breakfast smoothie. Sometimes we replace the fruit with an avocado, add some celery, and have a full on veggie smoothie, but only occasionally.

2 bananas

1 Cucumber, peeled

¾ Cup to 1 Cup frozen fruit (we are on a blueberry kick right now, but I any berry would be good)

Huge handful of spinach, kale, or romaine

1 to 1 ½ Cups Water

2 heaping Tbs of Hemp protein powder, optional

1-2 heaping Tbs of milled flax seed, optional

Sweetener to taste (stevia, agave nectar, dates, etc), optional

Handful of ice if needed

Almond Butter, Apple, and Banana Smoothie (Pictured at the beginning of the post)

We had this one for a weekend breakfast one morning and it was a thick, decadent treat.

3-4 bananas, depending on size

2 medium apples (sweet ones, not Granny Smith or the more sour apples, unless that’s your thing and then go ahead!)

2 Tbs almond butter (or peanut butter, if that is what you have handy)

1 Tbs milled flax seed, optional

Sweetner to taste, (stevia, agave nectar, dates, etc.), optional

Cinnamon, to taste, optional

1 to 1 ½ Cups Water

Handful of ice, if needed

Banana Cherry Peach Smoothie

This fantastic smoothie was discovered while we were in Arizona earlier this month. The sweetness of the peaches and the sharpness of the cherries makes a delicious treat.

2 Bananas

1/2 Cup frozen sweet cherries

1/2 Cup frozen peaches

Huge handful of spinach, kale, or romaine

1 to 1 ½ Cups Water

2 heaping Tbs of Hemp protein powder, optional

1-2 heaping Tbs of milled flax seed, optional

Sweetener to taste (stevia, agave nectar, dates, etc), optional

Handful of ice if needed

Also, the beauty of smoothies is that you have so much control. There are no rules, so you can alter these basic recipes to fit your likes and dislikes. If you don’t like bananas, replace it with cucumbers or a fruit that you do like. If you don’t like spinach, use romaine. Experiment and don’t be afraid!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Arizona - Sunshine, Palm Trees, and Vegan Food

Imagine… palm trees swaying under bright blue skies, lemon tress fragrant and dripping with fruit, 70 degree weather, and delicious vegan food every where you turn.

Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?

I spent four lovely days enjoying these things in Pheonix, Arizona, while we visited Brandon’s aunt and uncle. It was a welcome break from the winter weather here in North Carolina. We relaxed, had great conversation, and ate delicious food.

If you ever find yourself in Pheonix, I have three restaurants you absolutely have to try. I’m only sorry that I didn’t take any pictures of the food we ate. We wolfed it down too quickly!

Chakras 4 Herb and Tea Shop

This place is absolutely awesome. It’s tiny, but it has a nice, colorful ambiance. It’s an all vegetarian restaurant which caters to those who are vegan and who eat raw. The food is pricey, but the portions are big and the food is deliciously spicy. They have unbelievable desserts. All of us, including Brandon’s omnivorious aunt and uncle were blown away by the raw vegan cheesecake (at $9 it better be good!). I suggest you grab a steeply priced pot of their Chocomaya Chai tea with almond milk and agave (it will serve 4 people with seconds). It is wonderfully fragrant, spicy, and chocolately. Everything we tried on the menu was delicious, but if you are a greens lover like me, grab the Rawvacodo kale wrap (although it can also be a sandwich or a regular wrap if you please), and the half-size will serve you well. Any bigger and you will be totally gorged and won’t be able to get those delicious desserts. Just be prepared to spend a pretty penny here. You’ll leave with empty pockets, but a happy belly. The store itself has a ridiculous array of spices and jarred treasures for purchase, from the tea on their menu (really expensive at $3.50 an ounce!) to chia seeds and cacao nibs to grapefruit peel and basil.

Loving Hut

You’ve most likely seen the Supreme Master tv website popping up on random veg websites; if not, check it out here. Not only do they do global, web-based, veg-friendly television, but they also have some pretty darn good restaurants. This all vegan, asian-inspired restaurant was a big hit with everyone. We even ate there twice! The staff is friendly, the prices are reasonable, and the food is just good. Be forewarned though, that there is a lot of mock meats and soy-based items on the menu. If you don’t eat soy or you don’t like mock meats, you might not want to eat here because that makes up the majority of the menu.

Z Pizza

Don’t let the unassuming outside and Subway-esque inside fool you, this regular-looking pizza joint offers Daiya cheese! Not only that, but many of their menu items are healthy (organic, fresh, whole-wheat, etc.). They know what vegan means and they aren’t afraid to whip up a sweet, vegan pizza for you. We had a nice, casual lunch there and enjoyed every moment and every bite. I had the lovely California Salad and a California Pizza with Daiya Cheese. It's affordable and filling, plus everyone – omnivore, herbivore, or carnivore – will be happy.

With the great company and good food, I really enjoyed my sun-filled stay in Arizona. How can you not be happy in a place that has avocadoes 3 for $1? I hope that my mini-food guide will help you find some good eats when/if you visit the area.

Also, Happy National Yoga Day! Look here to find a studio near you who will be offering free classes. YogaToday is offering a second free weekly class today, if there isn't a studio near you or you just can't seem to get out today. I wanted to go to a studio today, but staying up late last night made it pretty difficult. We'll see if I make it out or if I just do my yoga at home. Namaste!

Lastly, don't forget to sign up for the Vita-mix giveaway on Chocolate-Covered Katie's blog. If you don't know what a Vita-mix is, go here for all the details. Suffice to say, you want one - so sign up!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Soup Versus Salad

Icy cold temperatures across the nation are keeping us all in doors huddled over our stoves, making soup and tea in a desperate attempt to warm up. This frigid winter is a reminder to us all how the food we crave reflects the season. In the winter, you want hearty, warm, spicy foods that warm you from the inside out. In the summer, you want light, crisp, cool foods to cool you off.

Now, I love the taste of salad and I often want salad for dinner. Tonight as I stood in my kitchen, shivering, I debated whether to have the salad I wanted or heat up the leftover soup in my fridge.

The soup won, even though I wanted the taste of the salad. It was definitely the right choice. My whole body curled around the soup and I enjoyed every warm, nourishing bite. It's amazing just how much the temperature outside reflects the choices we make regarding food.

I don't have a picture of my soup, but I do have a couple of pictures of food I've been eating lately. One of our absolute favorite dishes of all time is Veganomicon's Smokey Grilled Tempeh. It is absolute heaven with a sweet potato and buttery brussel sprouts on the side.

I know I just talked about how salad lost in tonight's battle for dinner, but I want to remind myself (and you!) just how delicious and beautiful a salad can be. This lovely massaged kale salad was inspired from Choosing Raw's lovely dish:

I hope everyone is cuddled over their own bowl of soup tonight, or if they are brave enough, crunching on a cold salad.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A New Year

Happy New Year!

I'm not huge on resolutions, but I am huge on reflection and goal setting. I think making a simple goal or two for the year is a great way to get things accomplished and take stock of your life. For me, food is a huge aspect of my daily life, so I like to reflect back on the choices I've made this year. I personally think it's important for all of us to constantly check ourselves when it comes to food; to reiterate to yourself why you've chosen this path.

For most health conscious people, especially those of us that are veg, the path we choose is fraught with sudden realizations, obstacles, and emotions. Choosing this way of eating is ultimately questioning our entire society’s way of living and consuming. It is not easy, and no two people have the same experience; therefore, it’s often a lonely path to take.

For these reasons, I think it’s very important to constantly check in on yourself to see why you are choosing to eat the way you do at this stage in your life. For example, I’ve been eating progressively simpler and unprocessed foods. I’ve began to shed the faux meats and cheeses, eating them only rarely. I’ve added a lot more green smoothies and salads to my diet. I also know that I’ve struggled in the past with calorie obsession, so I have to guard against that in my current diet. I need to constantly check in and make sure that I’m not succumbing to the worry that I’m eating too many calories. Thankfully, I haven’t stressed over calorie content in a long, long time.

Ultimately, you have to answer the question for yourself. No one can do it for you. So, why do you eat the way you eat? It’s good to check in with yourself and see why you are eating the way you are, being honest with yourself about your worries and concerns. Do you worry about weight? Does that affect your choices? If so, does it affect them in a negative way? Are any of your worries unfounded? Do you eat mindfully? Do you eat the way you do in order to reduce animal suffering, is it for your own health, or both or neither? It might even behoove you to have a buddy, who you feel comfortable with, to help you answer these questions honestly.

For me, my reason for eating the way I do is to maintain and grow my level of health and happiness, as well as to reduce the suffering of sentient beings and the planet. I want to love what I eat and feel good eating it. I think I'm definitely on that path. (Re)Discovering your reasons for your choice can sometimes help to keep you motivated and give you clarity. I know it does for me!

If you are looking to make some positive changes in your lifestyle, then I fully suggest checking out the following two challenges:

- - a daily email with short yoga videos.

- - PCRM's fantastic 21 day vegan challenge. If you aren't already vegan, then try it out! It's only 21 days! :)

- Although it costs a little moula, this looks like a great opportunity to really make a major change in your eating habits.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful New Year!!!