Meatless Mondays: Mushroom Pulled “Pork”

Meatless Mondays: Mushroom Pulled “Pork”

Hubby and I spent the weekend in Baltimore. We had the pleasure of attending Vegan SoulFest 2018 and visiting with friends. Yesterday, they took us to a lively farmer’s market in the city where we purchased (among many other things), oyster mushrooms. I have had them in restaurants but never cooked them myself.

We ended up using a recipe from liveeatlearn com and I can’t wait to try it again.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

  • 4 king oyster mushrooms*
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 30 mL, divided
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • ¼ cup BBQ sauce
  1. Shred mushrooms.Preheat oven to 400 degrees (204 C). Clean mushrooms with a damp paper towel. Using two forks, shred the stems and caps roughly into pieces. Set on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

  2. Bake: Drizzle with 1 Tbsp of the oil, paprika, salt, cayenne, and garlic. Toss around to evenly coat the mushrooms, then bake for 20 minutes, or until mushrooms are a bit crispy and brown on the edges.

  3. Sauté: Heat remaining 1 Tbsp oil in a large saute pan over medium high. Transfer cooked mushrooms to pan and add BBQ sauce. Stir and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until mixture is thick and fragrant. Serve warm on sandwiches, nachos, salads, tacos…or whenever you eat pulled pork!

    We chose to serve it on a wheat bun with my husband’s version of deviled potaties. Definitely looking forward to eating this dish again.

Meatless Mondays: I Made My Own Raw Dressing!

Meatless Mondays: I Made My Own Raw Dressing!

For the next 5 days, I have decided to return to eating raw vegan. Let’s just say I went off the rails during vacation with my vegan cooked foods and kept it up for a few days afterwards.

I usually like to make huge salads for dinner while raw and seek a recipe from the internet or something store bought for the dressing but tonight, with inspiration from recipes I’ve seen online, I decided to go ahead and make my own.

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Ingredients I blended for my homemade dressing!

Here’s the recipe:

  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of raw cashews
  • 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon of juice from olives (you can even throw in a couple if you choose).
  • 1 tablespoon of spicy brown mustard

Blend together and enjoy this creamy dressing with your veggies!

Transformation

Transformation

On June 3rd, I wrote FACE

It was about accepting how far I have come in my health journey with psoriasis. Even though I wasn’t thrilled about what happened to my face since being diagnosed, I had come to a point where I was happy with the progress I had already made.

And then I challenged myself to be a raw vegan for the month of July and with the exception of a few bites of hummus here and there, I succeeded.

Then something else happened. My skin started changing rapidly. The picture above is the transformation from June 3rd to August 3rd. The pink scales started to clear and my real skin appeared. My real brown started to emerge again. I walked out of the house several times without a stitch of makeup except for lip gloss. It has been years since I felt comfortable doing that.

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Out and about feeling like a real psoriasis warrior!

Even though I indulged in cooked food a few times over last weekend, I know how key this is to my healing and I know I’ve written it many times now, but I am not letting it go. When I first looked at those pictures side by side, I was bowled over by the change. There is an answer for me that doesn’t look or sound like injections or pills or steroids.

How blessed am I for having access to fresh fruits and vegetables? How blessed am I that I have access to information about how they heal and how my body wants to heal itself? I am grateful that I was open to it.

I was open to my healing.

One-Year Vegan Anniversary!

One-Year Vegan Anniversary!

Today, my article sharing 3 tips to going vegan was published on 30seconds.com.

It was fitting because today is my one-year vegan anniversary. Hubby and I started for health reasons and eventually grew to care more about the environmental reasons, too.

During the course of a year, I have learned many things. I learned about my dependence on processed food, that cheese was the hardest food to kick, the importance of reading labels and that there is a plethora of delicious and diverse plant-based options in the world.

I also learned eating this way has been healing. I no longer deal with acid reflux or heavy periods. I also sleep better than I used to.

I have found a community that supports this lifestyle, too. I go to vegan potlucks, pop-ups and community festivals and lectures. Food justice in underserved areas is a real issue I care more about than ever thanks to the David Carter lecture I attended in Baltimore.

I feel more aware, healthier and it helps that I walk this road with a partner who reaps the benefits, too.

I am looking forward to what comes in year two. Year one opened my eyes to a world I don’t ever want to be closed off from again.

 

FACE

FACE

Who are you without your “face?”

I never thought about it until psoriasis came for a visit and never left.

I barely ever wore any kind of powder or foundation and rarely got pimples.

I basically had the luxury of rarely thinking about it.

But then psoriasis came to visit and never left.

Even though it came slowly and didn’t seem threatening at all, it did eventually ravage my body. And no steroid could fix it and I am not fond of exposing my body to biologics. In fact, I have spent most of my life scared of all medications outside of OTC and antibiotics.

So after fielding multiple questions such as “What happened to your face?” I started to delve back into plant-based healing and learning about the devastation inflammation brings (for me, psoriasis and PCOS). So even while I waited for the flares to become less frequent, I had to figure out how to cover the pink and red flaky patches on my face. Of course, it was makeup and if for some reason, I didn’t have my makeup brush and Dermablend with me, my spirits would sink. I remember on one particular day not wanting to get out of the car when I parked at church. I drove away and found somewhere to cry.

I felt like a monster without my “face.”

The pain of an itchy scalp, raw thighs and a scarred face sometimes felt like too much of a strain on my mind, let alone my body. I often smiled through a lot of it but I felt like I was wilting on the inside.

As we all know, we can’t escape our own mind or body.

It took a long time to start to see some improvement and I don’t have flares as often as I used to but damage was done.

People who meet me now will never know what I used to look like and it seems like a small thing but it was a real adjustment. I believe my smiles are more genuine now. It’s funny that I am actively pursuing a profession that puts me front and center when I can remember feeling like that’s the last place I really want to be or should be.

I think it took blogging and writing classes and prayer and fruits and vegetables and talking it out over and over again with my husband, family and friends for healing to start taking place. I know I have a long road ahead of me but I think I found a formula that works.

I think I know who I am without my “face.”

 

 

 

 

 

A Gentle Reminder

A Gentle Reminder

As I was leaving the gym last night, I passed by a sign I assume that’s been for quite some time but I was just seeing for the first time: “Eat Food, Not Too Much. Mostly Plants.” Even though I subscribe to “Eat Food, Not too Much. All Plants”, it was a great reminder especially the “Not too Much” part. I had a one pound loss this week and although I am always happy to be going in the right direction, I know I have to be more aware of eating too much. I have big health goals for 2018 but I need to focus on balanced eating AND balanced thinking. There is an extreme part of my personality that is attracted to those plans that promise 30lbs in 30 days but there is nothing balanced about those plans. That is also “too much.” So while I will pause now and again at the lovely reminder at the gym, it will also remain a gentle reminder to aspire to achieve a balanced mindset, too.

Your turn:

Any reminders lately that got you back on the right track?

Meatless Mondays: Easy Vegan Taco Bake

Meatless  Mondays: Easy Vegan Taco Bake

In our effort to do more gluten-free vegan dishes, I chose a vegan taco bake dish from buildyourbite.com. It was a relatively easy recipe that also did not use oil which I am also trying to get away from cooking with so often. Outside of the flavor of the dish, squeezing half a lime over it provided just the right amount of acid. I am so glad the recipe called for it. I would definitely bring this to our next vegan potluck. We also ate some broccoli to make sure we got our greens in tonight. Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 large bag of tortilla chips (13 oz)
  • 1 can of black beans, drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika (see notes)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 of a lime, juiced
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 cups of salsa
  • sliced lime, for serving

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Directions

  1. In a bowl, add drained black beans, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, chili powder, and the juice of ½ of a lime
  2. Stir ingredients until well combined
  3. Get out a 9 X 13 casserole dish and lay down an even layer of tortilla chips
  4. Spoon evenly half of the bean mixture over the tortilla chips
  5. Cover with ¼ cup of nutritional yeast
  6. Add 1 cup of salsa, spreading out evenly
  7. Repeat steps of chips, beans, nutritional yeast, and salsa
  8. Top with remaining tortilla chips, crushed into small pieces
  9. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until browned
  10. Serve hot with fresh lime juice squeezed on top
  11. Be sure to reheat any leftovers in the oven for best results

This was such a life-saver tonight as allergies are currently sapping my energy. I am going to have to look into more recipes from buildyourbite.com.

Meatless Mondays: Vegan Potluck Cookout

Meatless Mondays: Vegan Potluck Cookout

This past weekend, Hubby and I went to another vegan potluck at a friend’s home. This time, it was a cookout complete with barbecued seitan ribs, corn on the cob, garden burgers, potato salad, pesto pasta salad, fresh cantaloupe slices and ice cream. Hubby even baked his chocolate chip cookies again.

Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-28,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-Y

Maker:0x4c,Date:2017-11-28,Ver:4,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar01,E-Y

Since it was basically the same group, we had an amazing time yet again. I was pretty wiped out from attending 3 events and cooking before we even got there but we looked forward to seeing everyone and of course, it was all worth it. I also realized I had never been to an all-vegan cookout, either. We were all outside, talking, laughing, eating at picnic tables and watching the children run and swing. There’s really not much of a difference.

There’ s comfort in going to a place where you don’t have to explain why you eat what you do but by far, the comfort is always because of the people.

And the connections.

As I’ve written here many times before, it never stops being about the people and the connections.

 

Meatless Mondays: Vegan Potluck!

Meatless Mondays: Vegan Potluck!

Back from my two-week hiatus! It was good to take a break but now it’s time to get back to sharing these recipes, my writing and plant-based wellness journey. Saturday night, Jeff and I went to a friend’s house for our second vegan potluck. Our group consisted of two other couples and their combined 8 children. Since we don’t have kids, it’s lovely to visit a home filled with the warmth of laughing, playing children.

We had our first vegan potluck in December and it was such a hit, we decided to do it again. It was comforting to be around other plant-based people, share new recipes and just have some fun!

This time around, we brought shepherd’s pie and salted chocolate chip cookies made with quinoa flour (delicious!). There was also mac and cheese, Watergate salad (a marshmallow dessert), veggie kebabs, cupcakes with chocolate frosting and hummus and tortilla chips.

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Mac n’ Cheese. We all loved it and it was gone in a flash!

 

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Our shepherd’s pie!
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Watergate salad. I don’t eat marshmallows but everyone else enjoyed this vegan version of this colorful dish.

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Hubby standing proudly over his bowl of cookies!

As with all gatherings of friends, the best part was the company. Three different couples sharing their lives, a meal and and hopefully more of a future.

Meatless Mondays: Luna’s Living Kitchen

Meatless Mondays: Luna’s Living Kitchen

I was out of town, specifically in Charlotte this past weekend visiting family. We knew we would be leaving in the afternoon and wanted to stop by a raw vegan restaurant I found online: Luna’s Living Kitchen.

Since we are just getting home, I knew I would be in no mood to cook a meal and eat late so I thought I would share our meal at Luna’s Living Kitchen located in the South Bend of Charlotte. Even though I prefer to cook these meals, it’s good to know there are options everywhere to eat plant-based and even raw vegan!

We started off by sharing a sweet potato sushi roll. I decide to get a cacao smoothie and Jeff chose a Mango Tango. It had a kick of cayenne which we both enjoyed!

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Jeff had been eager to try the raw manicotti made with zucchini and cashew cream and tomato sauce. He added the lentil soup for warmth. The coolness of the manicotti threw him a little even though he was warned about it but neither of us could deny how tasty the cashew cream was and how well it mimicked the taste of ricotta cheese. I chose one of the warmer entree options: BBQ sliders. That was our favorite dish! The oyster mushrooms was such an amazing filler compared to mock meats like tofu, tempeh or jackfruit. When we come back to Charlotte, we are definitely coming back!

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The cashew cream was incredible!
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Our favorite dish topped with jalapeno slaw!