Tacos with a Side of Nature

After my first day off from class and work, and many hours of hitting the books, I wanted a quick and easy dinner. I threw some chickpeas in a pan with some salsa and simmered on medium heat. Then I sautéed green peppers and onions. Once it was ready I spread the mixture on a lovely tortilla and ate outside while enjoying the sounds of the Mississippi river and some rowdy wildlife. Oh and for the record, Cholula is now my favorite hot sauce. Such flavor!

Cheers!

My buddy Jack joined me!

 

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Simple Black Bean Burger

I came across this recipe yesterday from Happy Herbivore and decided to try it out. Yea, I know, it’s not raw… but it sounded really good, and easy. I love recipes that have 5-6 ingredients. Black bean burgers can be really great and can be really lackluster too. This recipe was in the middle, leaning towards great. I’d definitely make it again for its simplicity. But I don’t know if I would make this for my omnivorous friends… Maybe I’ll jazz it up next time and put some fun additions in, Daiya? Jalapenos?….

  • cup instant oats
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbls yellow mustard
  • 2 tbls ketchup
  • 15 ounces black beans, drained and rinsed

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400F. Grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper and set aside. In a mixing bowl, mash black beans with a fork until mostly pureed but still some half beans and bean parts are left. Stir in condiments and spices until well combined. Then mix in oats. Divide into equal portions and shape into thin patties. Bake for 7 minutes, carefully flip over and bake for another 7 minutes, or until crusty on the outside.

Happy Rawgust!

A friend of mine recently enlightened me about a raw food movement that is currently taking place; fittingly called, Rawgust.

I’ve dabbled with raw foods, but never adhered to a full-on raw foods diet. For those of you that are unfamiliar with a raw foods diet, you only eat natural whole foods that aren’t cooked over 104 degrees Fahrenheit. You will come to befriend appliances like Vitamixes and dehydrators. After taking a raw foods cooking class back in October, I really opened up to this idea and began incorporating raw into meals here and there.

On Monday CAA had a dine-out at the raw restaurant in Minneapolis, Ecopolitan. The food was outstanding. I sampled sides like kimchi, cole slaw, fermented cucumbers, and a smokey cheese dip. My main course was so beautiful I could barely eat it! I had the Savory Casserole, “Herbed cashew ‘cheese’ & fresh vegetables layered with zucchini, avocado, & buckwheat ‘breadcrumbs.’” For dessert I dined on delightful little donut holes.

I invite you to join me this August in going raw. My own goal is to have a raw meal 5 times a week. But feel free to mold it to your liking. Maybe a Sat-raw-day? Ha. Yeah.

Kale with a Cheezy Sauce

The best part about summer, other than the non-frigid temps, is fresh produce! After getting a plentiful bunch of kale, I decided to whip up Isa’s ‘healthy’ cheezy sauce. I tweaked it a bit and here is what I came up with…

Cheezy Sauce

  • 3/4 c nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 c flour
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 a chickenless bouillon cube
  • a dash of turmeric
  • a dash of salt
  • 2 c of water

Add dry ingredients into a saucepan, stir, then pour water into dry. Use a fork or whisk to get the lumps out. Bring to a boil. Once it starts to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally throughout the heating process. Add mustard and salt to taste.

I stirred this into some steamed kale, cherry tomatoes and white kidney beans. Mmmmm!

 

My Year with CAA

I feel like Doogie Howser, M.D right now. Late at night, e-journaling after a long day. Cue the cheesy 80’s theme song.

Well today was unforgettable. For those who are unaware, today was my last day working with Compassionate Action for Animals (CAA). I cannot thank those enough who came out to bid me adieu. Although technically I am not totally leaving. I plan to serve on the board and attend events when possible. Anyway, tonight made me realize that I have connected with one of the best communities in town. Some of us go by vegans, veg*ns, vegetarians, omnivores, flexitarians, animal lovers, welfarists, abolitionists, and activists; but at the end of the day we all belong to the same community. We are all working on ways to create a better life for animals that suffer day in and day out just to satisfy our “cravings.” Speaking of cravings…want to see the feast we dined on tonight? Sure you do…

Delicious and 100% plant-based. Yumm-may.

I am honored to have worked along with volunteers, staff and board members who have all shared the same vision that I have. Which is why it is bittersweet to step down as Director of Volunteer Programs. I’ve questioned whether or not this decision came too quickly, but no matter what, I will always consider myself an activist. Whether it be through signing petitions, writing to my representatives, keeping up on readings, working on campaigns, engaging in outreach or simply sitting down to eat a plant-based meal.

While my time with CAA flew by, I can honestly say I have grown more in this year than ever before. This growth is greatly attributed to my experience with the organization. I have become much more confident in my abilities as a leader; I have learned to relax and let go – not all deadlines will be met, not all events will thrive, and this is okay; I have stepped out of my cooking comfort zone – from curries to tagine, and even making room for desserts along the way; I have learned to take risks – food permits, who needs them?; and I have learned to not be afraid to voice my opinion, even if it’s likely to fall in the margin.

So I venture down my new path in life with some gusto, knowing that if the going should get rough, I have an entire community only 72 miles away.

I hope you all stay stalkin’ my blog here, as I will try my hardest to keep regular updates with fun recipes and maybe some more philosophic ponderings.

Almond Jam Cookies

Ok so I promise this is the last recipe I’ll show/test from Sweet Vegan. I have a massive amount of strawberry jam and needed a good recipe to utilize my abundant jam supply. It’s a really good one. Enjoy!

 

  • 1/2 c earth balance
  • 1/4 c evaporated cane juice (I used agave)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1 c flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp egg replacer, whisked with 2 tbls warm water
  • 1/2 c chopped almonds
  • 1/2 strawberry jam

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350, line cookie sheets with foil or parchment
  2. Cream butter and cane juice (agave) til light and fluffy. Add vanilla and almond extracts. Add flour and salt. Mix on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add egg replacer, mix for 30 seconds. Once a ball forms, stop mixing, wrap and refridgerate for an hour.
  3. Roll chilled dough into 1″ balls. Roll the balls through the chopped almond pieces. Put on lined cookie sheet and press your thumb in the center. Fill with 1/2 tsp of jam.
  4. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until they have browned.