Smoky Tempeh and Beans

smoky tempeh and beans

Mercury is in retrograde and whoah I’m feeling this one! Our Internet was down for a few days this week and I have this overwhelming feeling of frustration because I can’t catch up. I am pretty sure that feeling also has something to do with school being out for the Summer. I’m either pulling boys out of trees, wiping tears, refereeing arguments, icing bruises, chasing kids out of the house every 20 minutes or trying to get work done…. and I’m not getting any work done! I certainly love having my son home though. Every minute surely counts.

Not only is communication whacky but this week is also jam packed with energy of all kinds…. I’m letting go of my childhood home, as it sold yesterday. I have been in an out of that house for 32 years! No going back now! A lot of letting go happening there. Then a few days ago I talked with a friend who had a huge awakening after watching the documentary Vegucated and wants to go vegan….yay!!! Such a beautiful thing to see unfold! I assured her that this is an AhhhmAzInG lifestyle! There are simply not enough days in a year to try all the delicious vegan recipes on my list. Then there’s today – I am excited for tonight, to get my Sister Hazel fix, as they are in town. Woohooo. Yes, a little 90′s, but their lyrics speak to me and hold a few fun memories. I don’t know if I am more excited to see and hear them play or more excited to be going with an old friend who I haven’t seen in 20 years!!!! This week is all over the place and we are not through it yet!

Alright, I better share this recipe with you while I have means of communicating. BTW, I am SO thankful for having internet.

Ok. This is a new creation of mine and definitely a keeper. The family loved it! It is quick to prepare which is always nice for weeks like this. You can make this gluten free by ditching the organic pita and just serving over rice. I wanted something hearty and don’t mind the extra fiber and B vitamins so I added the pitas. This isn’t made too spicy because I have a 6 year old, umm and a 40 year old. Hubby doesn’t like spicy.

You can also omit the cheese if you prefer. This dish has enough flavor to hold it’s own. I just thought it was fun, so I added it.

Let me know what you think. This recipe is just different enough to help mix flavors up between dishes. I love when new recipes like this happen. I’m not saying it’s the prettiest thing you have ever seen, but who cares when you have to feed your family every night. You just want it to taste great and hit the spot.

Smoky Tempeh and Beans

Ingredients

  • 1 +1/2 Cup Vegetable Broth
  • 2 Tbs Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tbs Tomato Paste
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tsp regular Paprika
  • 1 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1 can Cannellini beans, drained
  • 1 8oz Package of Tempeh, cut into 1/2 inch cubes ( I prefer 3 grain tempeh)
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbs divided, Grapeseed Oil – Optional
  • Grated Vegan Teese Mozarella Cheese – Optional ( I used about 1/2 cup or a little more)
  • 2 Cups Cooked Brown Rice
  • 1 Cup Cooked Peas
  • 1 or 2 Avocados – Optional
  • Organic, Whole Wheat/Grain Pitas

Directions

Heat the oven to 300 degrees

Cook the brown rice, and peas in which ever manner you prefer. Combine and set aside, keeping warm

Mix first 7 ingredients together for the sauce and set aside

Lightly fry the tempeh cubes in the grapeseed oil…. OR go oil free and steam your tempeh (I prefer to fry, it brings out a toasted nutty flavor). When the tempeh is almost done and lightly browned on each side, add the minced garlic and cook another minute, add the sauce and the beans. Cover and simmer until thickened a bit and boiled down slightly. Remove from the heat and add some grated vegan cheese in the amount you desire. Put the lid back on for a minute or two, to melt the cheese.

Place pitas in the oven to warm for about 10 minutes

To Serve: Scoop a hearty portion of the rice and peas over the warm pita. Top that with a scoop of smoky tempeh and beans…. and enjoy with a side of avocado and perhaps a side salad.

May you survive the rest of the retrograde….. Deep breaths…… I’m waiting until it’s over to make much needed changes and updates to my blog. Hence the font color change. This old format won’t let me match the colors anymore. It’s time for a makeover here to keep me inspired.  I’ll keep you updated on that.

~The Karmatarian

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Spinach Pesto Portobellos with Cranberry and Mint Quinoa Salad

Spinach Pesto Mushroom with Cranberry Mint Quinoa Salad

Alright, Alright…. I know you are tired of seeing that Turkey rescue post every time you come to my blog. My friends, you have spoken, I have heard you… and I am back. Yes, I ditched this blog. For many reasons. I really didn’t intend for that to happen, but it did. I will fill you in about the soul searching journey I have been on this year so far, and my new take on veganism. That’s for my next post. Right now, let’s eat…

Spinach pesto portobello mushrooms with cranberry and mint quinoa salad. This was our delicious dinner yesterday! I threw this together pretty fast. Don’t you just love when that happens!? I really liked this combo. Try it and be sure to let me know what you think.

I haven’t made portobello pizzas in a long time. I usually like them with red sauce as in my other mushroom pizza recipe on the blog. I tend not to do pesto too often because of the large amount of basil needed.  Basil costs a lot it seems, and it goes bad quickly for me. Maybe it’s just me? I don’t buy it too often. I prefer to grow it, but I don’t have any right now. I always have a huge tub of fresh spinach on hand, so I thought I would try a spinach pesto. This one is not fat free, it contains olive oil.

Before I share the recipe, let me tell you where I’m at with oil right now. The cleaner I eat, the more obvious it is that my body doesn’t like certain oils. Canola, Sunflower and Safflower oil for sure. I can feel the inflammation take hold. Gee, I wonder… could it be all the GMOs and the fact that I’ve eaten it my whole life? Manufacturers put in in EVERYTHING!! No more of that! I read all labels now and avoid canola and sunflower as best I can. I made a commitment a while back to cook whole foods plant based style, and that is… little salt, no sugar and no oil, nothing processed. I do this 4 nights per week. I have been doing this steadily for about a year and a half now. The other few days of the week I like to have fun. There might be a little oil, or lightly processed vegan foods combined with whole foods. These recipes happen to be more fun to post. Anyone can pick up a Forks Over Knives cook book. This is my go-to book! I’ll admit, it was intimidating at first, with few pictures, but now I just usually open the book and wherever I land, that is what I will try. Who said I’m not adventuresome?

If I do use oil, I prefer olive, grape seed or coconut oil. If I want to do a fat free pesto, I use veggie broth, tofu, water or soaked nuts in place of the oil.  The mixture just needs something to wet it down a touch in the food processor. I have to get dinner on the table every night. I do balance out the oil/no oil/ fat/no fat recipes over the course of a week. I definitely have a family with differing needs in the calorie department. The oil of course, helps to make this dish rich and creamy. It sure makes it good and we enjoyed it!

Here are the recipes…

Spinach Pest Portobellos

Spinach Pesto Portobellos

Ingredients

  • 5 Portobello Mushroom Caps (I used 2 very large and 3 medium/small)
  • 5 Cups Fresh Spinach Leaves, packed
  • 1/4 Cup Almonds
  • 1/4 Cup Organic Olive Oil
  • 4 Small Garlic Cloves (I don’t know what they are doing to garlic these days but the cloves are HUGE. Have you noticed?)
  • 1/4 -1/2 tsp Salt, or to taste (I used 1/2 tsp)
  • 2 Tbs Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 Tsp of Lemon Basil dried herbs or just plain dried basil. If you have a little fresh basil on hand, use that
  • Lemon Juice – Half Lemon, Squeezed
  • Squirt of Agave (Optional. I did this because mine was a bit too salty. Be careful with your salt.)

Directions

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Wash and dry the mushroom caps and remove the center stem. Fill the mushrooms with pesto sauce and place them in a glass baking dish (non greased). Bake for 25 minutes until the juices of the mushroom start to run. Let cool slightly to set, before cutting.

 

Cranberry and Mint Quinoa Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Tri-Color Quinoa, cooked according to package directions, and cooled or cooled mostly
  • Lime Juice – 1 Lime, Squeezed
  • 1/2 – 1 Whole Lime Zested (start with 1/2 and adjust to taste)
  • 2 tsp Agave
  • 1-2 Tbs Orange Champagne Vinegar (or a little orange juice plus more lemon juice and a dash of apple cider vinegar)
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Fresh Mint
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley
  • 2 Scallions, Chopped ( I included the whites. Why not?)
  • Handful or 2 of Chopped Dried Cranberries

Directions

Mix all of the ingredients together and toss. Taste and adjust.

 

Enjoy!

~ The Karmatarian

 

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A Must See Heart Warming Turkey Rescue

 All I know, is that if I were a turkey, Karen Dawn can rescue me anytime! Her amazing voice can put me right into a trance. She reminds me of Snow White, but who is now all grown up, living in CA and rescuing some very LUCKY turkeys every Thanksgiving. What an inspiration!

This video hits home, as once upon a time, I had a Cockatiel named Sunny Bird who lived with me for 15 years. He showed me first hand how smart and sensitive birds can be. His favorite thing to do was enjoy a warm blow dry after a spa treatment ;) So I know that feeling of caring for God’s special animals. There is little that is more rewarding than helping to make someone feel safe, happy and loved. Sunny Bird would close his little brown eyes and just sit there, just like the turkey in the video, until he was all dry. I miss that little guy. 

My Sunny Bird

Memories of blow drying Sunny bird is the closest I will get to rescuing a turkey this year, well, if you don’t count our adopted Turkey from Farm Sanctuary. We love doing that every year!

I hope Karen’s video inspires you to have a kinder holiday season and to inspire those around you. Maybe it helps to see turkeys in a different light?

I have never enjoyed Thanksgiving as much as I do now. It took having that little something more to celebrate which is bigger than myself, to realize how much more meaningful it can be. I love celebrating life.  I know per history we are supposed to be celebrating having food to eat, but luckily most of us never have known what it’s like to not have food to eat. So without knowing that contrast, the genuine grateful feeling can come from showing mercy to another by not cooking it and shoving stuffing up it’s arse. I know this contrast well, because as a researching vegan, I see the horrors on a daily basis. It’s definitely kindness that makes this holiday special now. Heck, it makes every meal special. I am sorry to say, that I haven’t always shown mercy, but I didn’t know better back then. Now I do and act on it. One day, when I get to those pearly gates, I certainly hope to be forgiven.

What’s on the menu this year?

Well, we will enjoy a mini feast starting with cranberry pesto crostini, a wonderful green salad with avocado, cranberry, almonds, chopped apples and balsamic dressing. A gardein stuffed roast, orange grand marnier cranberry sauce, garlic and rosemary mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy, rosemary and garlic green beans, sweet potato casserole with pecans and then if there is any room left, we will stuff in some pumpkin pie topped with coconut whipped cream. Boy, I better get started in the kitchen , huh?  One thing is for sure, we LOVE food around here and are grateful for every delicious vegan bite.

If you need any recipe ideas, perhaps being a last minute throw it together kind of person like myself (I still haven’t gone grocery shopping… that’s tonight’s adventure right after I post this) check out my Pinterest Holiday Table or these old posts from last year:

New Traditions: 24 Holiday Worthy Plant-Based-Vegan Main Dishes

New Traditions Part 2: Holiday Side Dishes and Our Thanksgiving Menu

My Thanksgiving Review

I hope you have a wonderful and kind Thanksgiving!

~The Karmatarian

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Good Karma Bowl

The Good Karma Bowl

Who has been to the Native Foods Cafe?!! OMG. I just love that place. One of my favorite dishes is their soul bowl. I wanted to recreate this at home since the drive to the cafe is about an hour or so for me. Boooo. So the good karma bowl is just my knock off, give or take some ingredients. Ok, I totally just guessed at it, but I’m quite happy with the result. I bet the Native Foods Cafe cookbook has the exact recipe, as Chef Tanya seems happy to share, but I don’t have my own copy yet. I was just looking for another great vegan meal and remembered this dish… and let me tell you, it is comforting, it is delicious and it is fun! I tried to be a little fancy when I served it to my family, kind of like they do at the cafe. I put the veggie tenders on a skewer…

 Good Karma Bowl

What makes the original soul bowl so great is the Native Food’s homemade seitan. Homemade seitan is not going to happen anytime soon in my house, so I just buy it from the store.

But that’s not so healthy so you say? Here is what works for me… I committed long ago to making 4 or more dinners per week out of the Forks Over Knives cookbook or handbook or similar style cookbooks and recipes off the web. That means, no oil, little to no salt or sugar, no vegan processed foods, only tons of flavor through whole plant based foods and spices. The other nights I might add a little oil. One night a week I may add convenient vegan foods. This way I know me and my family eat top notch, delicious and healthy the majority of the time. So when I throw in a vegan pizza, or we cook veggie brats on the grill or enjoy gardein crispy tenders… it is fun, enjoyable and our cheat… but is it really cheating? I refuse to feel guilty. Sounds funny for a vegan to “cheat” with versions that are actually healthier than the original meat counterparts, but I’m just throwing it out there because too many non-veg people tend to look for flaws with people who eat healthy or vegan. They falsely think these types of vegan products are bad. They aren’t bad. Certainly not when you compare them to animal products and that whole mess. These types of vegan foods have their wonderful place and when vegans enjoy what they eat, they tend to stay vegan. That is key. You can be vegan or you can be a health nut. I am a bit of both, so I am armed with all the ammo I need to stay on this awesome vegan wagon!

We might be vegan in our home but we still enjoy the chewing sensation, which unfortunately is what eating dense animal flesh provides to many a non-vegan. This is why us vegans enjoy these kinds of convenient vegan foods and “meats” which are familiar to what we grew up with, without the harming the animals part. So there you have it and now there is no need to wonder any longer. It is as simple as… vegans still like to chew and we still like variety. I wish I didn’t have to justify any of this… but so go I. 

This recipe is easy, but takes some prep, multi-tasking and assembly. Over all it’s quick and easy. The whole recipe can be found at the end of the post.

rice for the good karma bowl

First, you need to prepare some brown rice. I like to use my rice cooker. I tend to throw it on early in the day when I am thinking about what’s for dinner so that I am not left scrambling without brown rice at 5 o’clock or forced to make something else that doesn’t require rice because I forgot or ran out of time. Brown rice takes a long time to cook. You can always freeze portions to be used at later time, too. The brand of rice I really enjoy lately is Lundberg short grain brown rice.

veggies for the good karma bowl

You’ll want to get your water boiling to steam your veggies. I enjoy a blend of broccoli, cauliflower, sliced carrots and this time I threw in organic shelled soybeans but you can omit these if you choose or add another type of veggie.

Gardein nuggets for the good karma bowl

Bake your gardein crispy tenders while your veggies are steaming. These take the longest amount of time, a whopping 20 minutes.

Beans and vegan mayo and bbq for good karma bowl

Prepare your kidney beans (meaning take them out of the can, rinse and drain). Pull your vegan mayo out of the fridge or make your own (recipe below) and find your favorite bbq sauce minus the high fructose corn syrup, of course.

Steamed kale for the good karma bowl

Lightly steam your kale in a skillet will a small amount of boiling water and a lid. Takes about 2 minutes to steam.

The Good Karma Bowl

When everything is ready, assemble. Start with a scoop of rice, then a scoop of beans, a scoop of veggies, a helping of steamed kale and then approximately 2 tablespoons of bbq sauce and 2 tablespoons of vegan mayo.

Good Karma Bowl Mixed

Mix until all the flavors are incorporated. You can cut the tenders into the dish….. and EN-freaking-JOY!

 Good Karma Bowl

 Good Karma Bowl

Ingredients

  • Cooked Brown Rice
  • Veggies for steaming (ex. California blend or broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and organic shelled soybeans)
  • Organic Kale
  • 1 Can of Organic-Low Sodium, Red Kidney Beans
  • Gardein 7 Grain Crispy Tenders 
  • Favorite BBQ Sauce
  • Vegan Mayo
  • Sea Salt for serving, to bring out the flavors, only if necessary.

Directions

Pre-heat the oven according to package directions for the crispy tenders. Boil water for steaming your vegetables. Rip the kale from the stems into bite size pieces and rinse. Set aside. Open the can of kidney beans, rinse and drain. Prepare mayo and bbq sauce. 

Bake the crispy tenders and steam your veggies. When those are both finished. Steam the kale in a skillet with about a 1/2 cup boiling water for about 2 minutes covered with a lid. Drain.

Assemble your bowls. Put a scoop of cooked brown rice, topped with a scoop of kidney beans, a scoop of steamed veggies and finish with steamed kale. Add approximately 2 tablespoons bbq sauce and 2 tablespoons mayo. Mix to incorporate flavors before digging in and enjoy!

My Homemade Vegan Mayo

Ingredients

  • 1 Package Silken Tofu or Firm Silken Tofu
  • 1 Cup Cashews
  • 3 Tbs fresh squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dry Mustard
  • 1/8- 1/4 tsp Onion Powder
  • Sea Salt to taste
  • Splash of Agave Syrup to taste

Directions

Put all ingredients into a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator. This keeps for about 2 weeks and will thicken upon refrigeration.

Enjoy

~The Karmatarian

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Forever Friend Inspired, Sweet Garlic Basil Pasta Sauce – Oil Free, Sugar Free

Sweet garlic basil pasta sauce, oil free, sugar free

Back then, we were just two fun girls with VERY big hair who rode the same yellow bus. The universe knew what it was doing that fateful day we crossed paths… our friendship story continues on to this day – oh some 25 years later. We are forever friends… as Cathy would say.

I admire her for her generous heart and justice oriented way of thinking about the world and the people in it.  I agree with her, we need to pull up our big girl or big boy pants and step it up and do the right thing. It seems, like minded friends tend to find each other in life, even years before they become who they are destined to be. Cathy and I have things in common now, that weren’t even obvious on the radar back then.

Growing up, I spent a lot of time at Cathy’s house. Her family is Italian, welcoming, generous and very entertaining. They became my second family. I ate dinner there a time or two! Their family’s homemade pasta sauce was always out of this world! Funny how many fond memories can be centered around a big bowl of noodles and some sauce.

Tomatoes from the garden!

So I’m over here thinking about what I might do with all these tomatoes I picked from my Dad’s garden and I found myself dreaming about the old days and that sauce. I can’t believe that I don’t know how to make that sauce or that I have never taken notes. But I guess it doesn’t matter, because now I’m doing things different. So I reached out and asked Cathy if I could veganize her family’s secret sauce recipe and she surprised me with the fact that she had already veganized it. Cool or what?  But who are we kidding? Even she admits… it’s totally not the same family recipe, because the original just can’t be veganized to taste exactly the same.

You know what? That’s OK. We will create new memories with new sauce with its new flavors… Why?  Because change is the only thing we can count on in an ever changing universe. We know that vegan sauce is much better for everyone involved anyway, it also focuses on the future… and there is so much exciting possibility in the future!

I had my hands on the basic recipe, but when I got into the kitchen, of course I made changes and made it my own.  That’s what cooking is all about. I’m sure Cathy won’t mind. She inspired me! Not only with her sauce recipe, but her friendship and the fact that she is happy to share.

Cathy and I - veggie fest

Cathy and I with our families now – Veggie Fest 2013

Let’s break this sauce down and talk about it for a minute…

Being vegan and picky, it’s hard to find a sauce that is organic, oil free, sugar free and low sodium. I think I might have one or sometimes two to choose from at the store. So why not make my own? Just like my hummus recipe, this is just inspiration to do it!

I know that you probably already have ideas of what pasta sauce should taste like. God forbid you are also Italian and judging the hell out of this. That’s cool. Spice and adjust, and do as you must, but hear me out on a few ideas here. I am just going to say, I am quite fond of my sauce and it could be that it’s homemade with care and love or maybe because it’s a little different. Either way. When I can’t help myself but to keep dipping my spoon to taste it over and over while it’s cooking, I know it’s a good recipe. And it’s still… just my opinion.

A couple things

First, most of us have been conditioned to think we NEED to cook with oil. It’s just not true. I have found jarred, oil free sauce before and most recipes I make these days cook up just fine without oil, so I know it can be done. You may have to man the stove just a little bit more, and maybe not keep the flame ridiculously high… but it can be done, and without burning.

Second, did you know that most pasta sauce calls for sugar to neutralize acidity of the tomatoes? In this sauce, I wanted more focus on whole foods so a grated carrot did the trick. This is where the sweet comes in without sending a diabetic into shock. We are blending this sauce at the end so it’s all good.

Third, sodium is another story. This is up to you. This sauce does contain sea salt. It needs it for flavor, just sayin’. You can add it or not add it… you are your own cook and the gatekeeper of your good health. Just know that jarred sauce is usually very high in sodium. The good rule of thumb for packaged products is not to go over calories per serving with sodium per serving. So if it’s 100 calories per serving, sodium should be 100 milligrams or less per serving. This is very tough to do, unless you avoid packaged products. I do enjoy sea salt, and if I am going to break this rule and get some sodium in, I might as well get the added benefits of extra trace minerals in sea salt vs regular table salt! I don’t have high blood pressure. If you do, proceed with caution regarding sodium in your diet. I have been trying to do the math and 1 tablespoon of sea salt divided into two quarts and then down to individual servings can’t be all that bad, can it? Oh never mind.

Fourth, I am thickening this sauce with arrowroot powder because it doesn’t dilute the spices and flavors and also because I don’t want to add canned, already made pasta sauce to thicken this. The reason is, most cans leach the aluminum into the sauce due to the high acidity of the tomatoes. Then there is the worry about the BPA lined cans. Who needs it? I have gone out of my way to avoid aluminum, even changed my deodorant as some of you might know. I am not innocent, I use a few canned goods here and there, but I am becoming more and more mindful.

Fifth, the secret ingredient to this particular sauce is… Cinnamon. Just a dash. After making 4 batches of sauce, and trying some without, I couldn’t resist adding it to all. Cinnamon gives quite a unique twist. You can however, omit it.

So here it is….. Taaaa Daaaaa

Sweet garlic basil pasta sauce, oil free, sugar free

Sweet Garlic Basil Pasta Sauce

Ingredients

  • About 15 Medium Ripe Tomatoes, cored and chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 1/2 Large Carrot, grated
  • 3 Large Pressed Garlic Cloves
  • 1 tsp Dried Basil
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tbs Sea Salt
  • 1/8 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/8 tsp Cinnamon
  • 6 Tbs Arrowroot Powder + 5 Tbs Water

Directions

sweet garlic basil pasta sauce - oil free, sugar freePlace chopped tomatoes, (with skin and seeds), into a large stock pot with 1/2 cup water and heat on medium/high for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, mash with a potato masher and lower heat a bit if necessary. Keep an eye on this and stir often, adding more water only if needed.

Add grated carrot, garlic, salt and spices except for the cinnamon. Be sure to roll and crush the basil between your fingers to release more flavor. Cook on low/medium heat, simmering for another 20 minutes. Stirring often. Taste and adjust seasonings and add cinnamon here.

Raise heat and bring sauce back to a low boil. While that is happening, in a small bowl, use a fork to mix 6 Tbs Arrowroot powder with 5 Tbs water to create a thick paste and pour this into the middle of the sauce while stirring constantly. The sauce will thicken. Cook 1 – 2 minutes. Do not over boil or the arrowroot will lose its thickening ability. Remove from the heat and ladle sauce into your Vitamix or other blender, blend on high to smooth out remaining tomato skins, seeds and grated carrot (I left a little un-blended for texture, just because). Return sauce to the pot, glass jars, containers, etc… use, freeze or give some away. The bubbles created from blending will dissipate in about 10 minutes or so.

Enjoy!

~The Karmatarian

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Dad’s Zucchini Apple Bread – Vegan, Oil-Free

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I feel lucky to have such a talented Dad. He’s project oriented and not afraid of hard work. He also has a big heart for animals. He’s the one that instilled in me care and concern for our fellow creatures. Over the years, he’s nursed many sick or injured animals back to health and as a little girl, I witnessed this and took it to heart. You know those crazy kids, they emulate what they see. Anyway, I’m grateful for that!

Two (of among many) of my dad’s talents are baking and gardening. When you add those two things together, what do you get? Zucchini bread, of course… and a lot of it.

Every year, marking the end of Summer, it has been zucchini bread for everyone! Meaning my dad generously bakes and gives to many friends. However, my dad has since adopted a plant-based diet and I’m proud to say it’s been well over a year and a half! Go dad, go!! Nothing but good results in return!

Switching to a vegan or plant-based lifestyle does not mean giving up tradition. You may have to change things up a bit but it’s really the act of doing something meaningful over and over, not the actual end product necessarily. Change is easy to adapt to if you go with the flow. There are vegan versions of everything and anything! I believe, if there is a will, there is a way.

I told my dad that I would take his recipe and play with it because I love the challenge. He has played with it too. We both came up with applesauce in place of oil which works fabulously, although it changes the bread to a more zucchini – apple flavor since it called for so much oil – now applesauce. Luckily, these flavors are wonderful together.

The recipe calls for 4 eggs! That would scare any new vegan away. Not me. I chose a blend of Chia and flax eggs which add nutrition and depth. Whenever I replace eggs in baked goods with these ingredients, I always bump up the baking powder. It usually does the trick.

Next is the sugar. The original recipe calls for three cups of sugar. I cut it down to two cups of organic sugar, just because. Three cups seems excessive! My dad used liquid Stevia in place of sugar with success. I am not a huge fan, so I probably won’t try that. Mind you, this bread is a sweet bread, it’s a treat, and it’s not every day that I eat it, so I don’t mind the sugar, sugar ;) I suppose we could sub maple syrup or what about Succanut? Maybe for my next attempt? It turned out so perfect my way, I hate to mess with it.

Let’s talk zucchini. My dad gave me a bag of frozen shredded zucchini that he previously prepared. He grated six cups zucchini. The original recipe calls for three cups. When I thawed the six cups, I ended up with two cups of concentrated zucchini, so I used it all, even though the recipe called for three. When I make this again and use fresh zucchini, I will use three to four cups fresh. Probably four. The more the better!

I baked two loaves using standard loaf pans. My dad usually makes three mini loaves out of one batch of batter. Do whatever you prefer.

My review of this bread… OH MY! Divine. It has flavors of apple, hints of cinnamon the crunch of walnuts and of course zucchini. It’s not dripping in oil like the days of old, but who cares. It’s low fat! And to use my least favorite word…. it’s still Moist. Absolutely still a keeper – now just veganized! Bam!

I am grateful my dad started this tradition. After all, it’s the small things in life that can be very meaningful. I will definitely take this on now that I know it’s just as amazing, vegan and oil free.

I hope you enjoy this zucchini bread… our “new” family tradition.

Dad's Zucchini Apple Bread Dad's Zucchini Apple Bread

Dad’s Zucchini Apple Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbs Chia Seeds + 6 Tbs Water
  • 2 Tbs Ground Flax Seeds + 6 Tbs Water
  • 3 – 4 Cups Freshly Grated Zucchini or 6 Cups Frozen (2 cups concentrated/thawed – see written notes above)
  • 2 Cups Organic Sugar
  • 1 + 1/2 Cups Apple Sauce
  • 1 Tbs Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Cups Organic Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (I used 365 Whole Foods Brand)
  • 3 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 + 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 3/4 Cup Chopped Walnuts

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly spray two standard loaf pans with oil (I used a spray grapeseed oil) and dust with organic cornstarch.

Combine 2 Tbs chia seeds with 6 Tbs water in a small bowl, stir and set aside to gel (about 10 – 15 minutes). In a separate bowl, combine 2 Tbs ground flax seeds with 6 Tbs water and set aside to gel (also about 10 – 15 minutes).

In a large bowl, stir together the applesauce, sugar and vanilla. Stir in the chia and flax “eggs”. Stir in the shredded zucchini.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Fold in the chopped walnuts.

Pour batter into the two loaf pans, dividing evenly.

Bake for 45 minutes until golden brown or until inserted knife comes out clean.

Let cool on a wire rack. Slice and enjoy!

NOTES* I had better luck making this in metal bread pans rather than glass. Also BE CAREFUL not to over-mix the batter. Use a wooden spoon.

~the Karmatarian

 

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The End of the Great Deodorant Dilemma

Death by Lavendar

Ok, tell me… how many different natural deodorants have you tried? Have you found “the one”? Or like me, did you give up? Seems like an impossible task doesn’t it? You are totally bluffing if you tell me that salt crystal worked for you.

First of all, Kudos to any company trying to spare us from the long list of TOXIC ingredients in regular store bought deodorants and antiperspirants. Even if they don’t work that great. Why? Because:

Aluminum -  Is linked to breast cancer in women, prostate cancer in men and Alzheimer’s disease

Parabens – Disrupt our hormonal balance leading to early puberty in children and an increased risk of hormonal cancers. Also cause birth defects and organ toxicity

Propylene glycol – Causes damage to the central nervous system, liver and heart.

Phthalates – Cause a high risk of birth defects. They disrupt hormone receptors as well as increase the likelihood of cell mutation.

Triclosan – Is actually classified as a pesticide and is carcinogenic. It brings down immunity so it’s not wise to use disinfectants or hand sanitizers with this hazardous chemical.

All of the above and more can be found in the mainstream deodorants. The dangers are certainly no “SECRET” and I am one of the growing many that are ALL for ditching these types of deodorants, but I just don’t like throwing away money on natural products that don’t work, over and over.

I have tried so many “better” deodorants over the past few years. I either felt the perspiration after a half hour or it just didn’t work well to control odor. The one thing for “SURE” is that my confidence takes a dive if I feel I smell. No one that I know wants to be smelly! Toxic brands make millions of dollars because unfortunately, they work well and are cheap. It may be cheap and easy now to run with these regular brands, but it’s a high price to pay later, when we smell great but can’t remember our family members.

Vegans, you may notice that you smell a heck of lot better in general compared to your meat eating days, aside from deodorant no deodorant. We can attribute this to added greens detoxifying the blood and a lack of animal flesh having a heck of a time trying to be digested in our gut. Vegans tend to eat a ton of fiber which help things move along nicely therefore toxins are being removed easily. Superfood supplements such as Wheatgrass also have known benefits of reducing body odors.

With all that being said, I still enjoy the extra barrier a good deodorant provides. I am an active person who also works out, I happen to be in other people’s comfort zones a lot when I am cutting or coloring hair (my forever side job). My thing is, I don’t like sweaty pits – natural, whatever, I just don’t like it. Nothing had been working for me, so I resorted back to the conventional deodorant for the most part.

This gets complicated… I used the natural brand in the Winter if I were wearing a big sweater or I was staying home, and I would use the preferred store brand in the Summer or if I were actually going somewhere.  Sometimes I would apply the natural deodorant first and then I would apply the harmful one over it. I figured that it would create a barrier. Idk? I was not happy with this system. I became so aware of the dangers of deodorant that I basically just prayed each time I rolled it on. Mostly, I justified it with the fact that I eat well, so I must stand a better chance. Bad. Bad. Bad.

Within the last six months, I couldn’t take it anymore, and I just stated that I will find “the one” and then I let it go…

Fast forward to this past August and the veggie fest here in Naperville, IL. My friend and I came across a deodorant booth. Dare I try this again? They had a travel size, so why not? We both decided to try it.

I’ve been walking around surprised and happy ever since because IT WORKS! I can’t believe that I finally attracted the right deodorant! I know, it seems silly if you haven’t gone through the struggle yourself. When I asked my friend Mel about it, I was expecting her to say that she hadn’t tried it yet. To my surprise she did, and she likes it as much as I do.

I am sharing this review to save you from toxic overload if I can. Our bodies just work better when they are not in a constant battle! Trust me, we have enough to fight without rolling on more chemicals under our arms every single day. I don’t make a penny by reviewing this product or by you buying it. I wish I could/and sell it on my site, because I like it that much, but here is my basic review anyway, just because I care:

North Coast Organics Deodorant

There are two to choose from, Death by lavender and Revolver. At first I wasn’t sure about the lavender scent. It’s a woodsy lavender. Revolver, is more manly but I was told that many women like it. I went with lavender. The scent turned out to be perfect, and is much lighter wearing than you might expect.

It applies fine, now that I figured out I was dialing it up too high, which created a messy application. It needs to be just a tad over the level of the container. Then again, I only bought a mini to try.  My guess is that the regular size applies nicer. I will find out soon, because I placed an order yesterday. Either way, this product rubs in nicely using fingertips if need be, and I personally don’t mind doing that because the product works great!

I have used this deodorant these past few weeks during the heat wave without complaint. It also passed the anxiety test when my car decided to break down on a country road where there was nothing but cornfields. Oh, yeah, it was sweltering! My nerves were racked, but I smelled good. My armpits stayed relatively dry while I sat waiting for help, generally sweating, and pondering all the pros of moving back to the city.

The exciting view

If you compare these 5 simple ingredients – coconut oil, carnauba wax, cornstarch, baking soda, and essential oil to the 5 toxic ingredients I wrote about above,  switching is a no-brainer. My husband has been using Trader Joe’s brand and he says it’s ok. I don’t get it because that one does not keep me dry plus it has added cotton. Does that cotton have pesticides? I’m sure it does. No where does it say organic. Oh yeah, and it contains Propylene glycol among other crap disguised as harmless. Good thing I ordered my husband The Revolver.

I bet one could make their own deodorant with ingredients this simple, but I don’t want to make my own everything. I am a modern girl and I only have so much time in a day. I am happy to support a conscious company who will make a cruelty free product with packaging that is recyclable. They’ve also just been certified organic by USDA along with many other certifications. Good to know.

I am happy to have found North Coast Organics. Looking forward to any new products they may offer. If you know of any other brands of deodorant that amaze you, please share them with me in the comments. If you don’t, and are looking to lessen your toxic load and still smell your best, I recommend trying this product and ditching mainstream deodorant – like NOW.

You may not be used to natural products and you may be inclined to compare this to mainstream products in scent or application or cost or whatever… DON’T, because it is different. But different good. It works fabulously toxin and chemical free.

A friend of mine always signs off with “smell ya later”, I say… noooo thanks.

Good luck!

Find this deodorant at North Coast Organics

Find North Coast Organics on Facebook

 

~The Karmatarian

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The Loss of Ajabu

July 2013 watercolour - Ajabu

Glancing at the phone first thing this morning, all I saw was the number 22, as in today’s date. I had an instant thought of uh oh… death. I can’t explain it, and I know it’s not positive or uplifting for a first thought, but it was a split second intuitive feeling. I also know the number 22 to be a great spiritual master number, besides what the 2′s have also come to represent in my experience… the possible passing on of someone you know.

Trying to wake my brain up, I thought I’d check my email. The very first message was horrible news. Indeed someone passed on. It was our sweet baby elephant that we foster named AJABU. She was being cared for at The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust which “is today the most successful orphan-elephant rescue and rehabilitation program in the world and one of the pioneering conservation organizations for wildlife and habitat protection in East Africa.” ~The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Now I was awake and sad to start the day with  such bad news. I stumbled into the walk-in closet (which was dark) only to be startled by my husband using his cell phone as a flashlight to find something to wear. He is very sweet not to want to wake me up by turning on the actual light, but what a scare!  We both started laughing… and then I started sobbing. He didn’t know what to think. I could barely blurt out the sentence…. “Our elephant died.”

Learn what happened to Ajabu here

Trying to make sense of the grief, I was thinking… is my sorrow really about my relationship to the elephant herself? After all, I’ve never met the little one. Or is it about me? My loss?

I am pretty sure it’s about the hope which I had for her. The prayers that I prayed for her. And yes, it is about me and my goals surrounding the day I fostered this sweet soul. I wish to do more good in this world and she was a part of my bigger plan. I guess you can’t help but feel a million ways. I remember how excited I was the day we fostered Ajabu and how my 5 year old at the time excitedly painted me a beautiful elephant picture. I’m emotional that this brief fostering experience had such a sad ending. I dreamed of visiting a healthy Ajabu in Kenya one day. After all, she seemed to be thriving.

My grief may have to do with all of those things above, but one thing I know for certain is that I am grieving for humanity and how cruel humans are acting out of greed, and that this baby elephant even needed to be rescued by an orphanage to begin with. Elephants are being poached at the rate of One every 15 minutes with a prediction of extinction by the year 2025! Elephants hold the most light on our planet along with dolphins according to spiritual teachers. Could that be why this is hitting me so hard?  The fact that elephants are so intelligent, have such close bonds with their families and stay with their young into their teen years and beyond is amazing. They are also known to grieve as deep or deeper than humans… that is incredible to me. Imagining the heartbreak of Ajabu’s surrogate mum named Sonje who loved Ajabu and the heartbreak of the keepers who were so close with her brings tears to my eyes. Although, I Imagine what an honor it must be to be a keeper at the elephant orphanage and to work closely with these magnificent Elephants. The keepers are heroes every day!

Right now, more light than ever before is entering the planet shining the spotlight on darkness and bringing it to our attention. These are things that we need to fix and address such as poaching of our wild elephants and rhinos for their ivory. It’s pathetic and all for what? A carved trinket! I feel so deeply about our wildlife right now and what they go through at the hands of lost human souls. I feel that sensitive souls like myself are being put through hell at the moment with animal exploitation stories at every turn. But I am strong. I am able to look at what most people would look away from. I am willing to make changes where they are needed, such as going vegan. I am willing to be a voice for the voiceless, and support where I can. I am also willing to be a role model for others. But being strong doesn’t mean it doesn’t get to me… indeed it does. I think this path I’m on is meant to build my character and it is not easy!  I would never judge sensitive souls as being weak or inferior. Far from.

We also ALL have something else to contend with, and that is all the energy swirling around as of late, helping us to release and rebuild for the new world. It’s a bit much. I’m not going to pretend that it’s not, and it’s affecting all of us in crazy ways. I now see that my lesson is to get through discouragement. I have had to take breaks from blogging and posting when I feel discouraged and then I pick myself back up and move forward again. I would love to work through this once and for all, so that I am only moving forward. Here is a great post I read today on Spirit Library  (I love Spirit Library, btw) by Sarah Varcas, that explains a lot about the recent energy and why the ups and downs are happening right now. We will all get through this and be better for it. I am keeping this hope.

As for today, I will be thinking of little Ajabu and keeping positive thoughts. I am praying that her soul is with her mother in heaven, although they don’t really know the fate of her mother, with poaching as it is, chances are they will be reuniting. My thoughts wander toward thinking this is the best place for her. Earth is a tough place for animals right now.  So I am a bit relieved. Our foster-ship will transfer over to Sonje and I’m more than happy to keep helping these elephants. If  youRemembering Ajabu

would like to do more, please visit iworry to find out about the October 4th walk for elephants and to sign the petition.

Here is a SUPER cute video of our baby Ajabu -  May she rest in peace

Read more on the Orphans project with The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Do you feel the intense energy lately? What is your recent spiritual learning experience as an animal lover/vegan?

May you be filled with hope along your journey,

~The Karmatarian

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Teriyaki Tofu and Pineapple Skewers over Sweet Coconut Rice

Teriyaki Tofu and Pineapple Skewers over Sweet Coconut Rice

After three back-to-back eclipses, many solar flares, intense astrological alignments and waves of higher energetic frequencies sweeping the earth, helping us to release and ascend higher (which hit me pretty hard), I finally had the strength to veganize a recipe! This recipe, I used to love to make - Salmon Teriyaki Skewers with Pineapple. Salmon and Turkey were among the last to go when I was transitioning our family vegan. Now I can barely type those words. Ok, exaggeration. But I did make those type of dishes once per month in between great vegetarian and vegan meals while building my confidence in the vegan arena. 

This recipe was always a hit. To veganize it, I was looking to replace the Salmon with Tofu, and mind you, I am still experimenting with this. I used firm tofu and it worked very well, but it was rather fragile. I baste and turn this VERY carefully. I may try using extra firm next time until I can find a vegan salmon alternative. Extra firm Tofu would be good especially for grilling. Maybe even high protein super firm! I prefer to broil the skewers, so firm tofu was just fine, nice and delicate like the “fish” I used to… dare I say – enjoy.  

As a vegan I can say, we aren’t vegan because we didn’t like the taste of meat or fish. I speak for most. We are stronger now. We know better and do better and have adjusted our taste buds accordingly.

My husband really enjoyed this dish and he is well aware of the original recipe, because I made it so often. I say it’s a keeper! My tips – Just be sure to like your marinade because your tofu will taste exactly like it! Feel free to use low sodium or gluten free soy sauce. And DON’T use coconut oil unless the marinade is at room temp or the oil will harden and it will not be pretty. I have made this mistake.

You can get the recipe HERE.  I follow it as is.  Just promise me you will use Tofu, not Salmon for these Top 10 reasons NOT to eat Salmon. They didn’t even touch on the fact that you can obtain 600% more Omega 3 from Chia Seeds than from Salmon. Eat smart!

I have always served this dish over coconut rice. It’s my added flair. Yes, the rice is white… because when I’m feeling bad, white rice is about as bad as it gets. Also because I have made it with brown, and it’s just not the same. It’s a bit too heavy for this light theme and takes away from the coconut flavor. Try it both ways. You’ll see.

Here is my recipe for the rice:

Coconut Rice

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 Cup Jasmine Rice
  • 1 Can Coconut Milk (light or regular, it’s up to you)
  • 1 +  3/4 Cup Water
  • 4 tsp Organic Sugar
  • 1 Pinch Sea Salt
  • Handful of Sliced Almonds

Directions

Combine the coconut milk, water, sugar and salt – dissolve. Stir in the Jasmine rice and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to simmer for 18-20 minutes. Stir in a sliced almonds and serve.

I hope you are navigating these intense energies with grace. A lot of us seem to be introspective right now, having a roller coaster of emotions and unexplainable physical symptoms. Just remember that we are being divinely guided and better things are in store for all of us. When something from the past comes bubbling up for you, just know it is doing so to be released. Thank it and let it go!

Stay in gratitude to manifest your hearts desires.

Enjoy,

~The Karmatarian

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Carrot Miso Dressing

Carrot Miso Dressing

What is going on in Facebook land lately? Have you noticed your friends sharing random recipes on the news feed in order to save them? I’m seeing this from at least a dozen friends. This wouldn’t disappoint me so much if they were healthy and appealing… but they are so called ‘comfort’ foods. Sure… so comforting that you can lay yourself to rest in a cozy casket much sooner than later. I know not everyone eats the way I do, but what happened to the healthier middle of the road recipes? It seems that everything is extreme lately and it’s either Kale or Bacon. I’m going with Kale.

Hale to the Kale!

Btw… Saving recipes… isn’t this what Pinterest is for?

Being that I don’t want to hide my friends (I happen to like them), the good news is that this may finally break me of my personal Facebook habit (fingers crossed). It’s been sucking the life right out of me for too long, and now, it’s gotten down right depressing. Why dear God, is the world moving backwards?

For the rest of us moving forward, I want to share a delicious, whole food, healthy and oil free dressing to enjoy with your kale.

This came about because I am ADDICTED to kale right now. I finally found a fun way to eat it. Sure, I add it to recipes and smoothies and make kale chips but salads usually don’t appeal to me because of the bitterness. Even when it’s rubbed with lemon juice and salt, it still doesn’t work for me (at least right now, but who knows?). All I do know is that because of this new found process, I am drawn more to kale. Kale, kale, kale!

Here is what I do… I take a skillet and fill it with purified water, just to cover the bottom of the pan. No more. Set it on the stove and turn the burner on high. I rip the kale into bite size pieces and wash it while the water starts to boil. I add the kale, cover it, turn the burner down a bit and set the timer for 2 minutes. I check it before the time is up because most of the time it is done. I drain the little water out and VOILA… Steam-boiled kale with no bitter taste! And fast!

I got the idea from the Forks Over Knives handbook. Oh, let me tell you, the recipe for kale with miraculous walnut sauce is MIRACULOUS indeed!  I can eat it Every. Single. Day. I don’t want to abuse a good thing, so I came up with a similar dressing that packs in carrots and miso… two things which I try to incorporate more of into my diet. Walnuts are not to over-do if you are overcoming heart disease or cancer, so keep that in mind. In that case you would want as low fat of a diet as possible. But walnuts are definitely a super-food that you want to eat. You will also need a powerful blender in order to make this happen for you. Sorry, it’s just the way it is.

Health benefits of this dressing FAR outweigh that cute sour cream, butter, milk, cheese and ham filled muffin cup on your Facebook news feed. There’s no comparison really.

Carrots when sliced, interestingly look like eyes.. and they just so happen to benefit the eyes but also the skin too. They protect us from disease and boost immunity. Carrots are also anti-aging whereas that bacon cup will age you just looking at it!

Miso is a fermented food which helps to establish good digestive bacteria and boost immunity. It is a complete protein and has high quality B12. It aids in digestion and protects us against radiation. It’s also anti-aging.

Sounds good so far, huh?

Walnuts are shaped like little brains for a reason – they contain high levels of DHA to help improve brain health. A super antioxidant rich food that is a high quality protein. Walnuts are considered the king of nuts and we really benefit by adding a small handful into our diet daily.

My healthy carrot miso dressing is fast and easy and depending on the amount of water you add, you could keep it on the thicker side and use it as a veggie dip. It’s not overpowering in flavor perhaps a little on the milder side. Add more miso if you prefer.

Update 6/13~ I just made this again with extra miso aaaand a little champagne vinegar which was a nice addition.

Carrot Miso Dressing

Carrot Miso Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1 large Carrot, washed but not peeled
  • 1 large handful of Walnuts
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 2 teaspoons of Mellow White Miso
  • 1/4 Cup Water

Directions

Place all ingredients into a high speed blender and blend on high until smooth. Add more or less water depending on your preference.

Enjoy,

~The Karmatarian

Question - What are some fun ways that you add more kale, carrots, walnuts or miso into your life? 

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Portobello Pizzas

Vegan Portobello Pizza

I love Portobello Pizza. It’s one of the easy, fast, low fat staples in my recipe rotation. It’s the kind of meal that let’s you have dessert afterward without guilt.  I usually serve this with a side salad and wild rice blend that is cooked up in veggie broth with a little added nutritional yeast. Or… whatever leftovers I might have on hand. In just 30 minutes, Dinner can be served!

Sometimes I add basil and extra garlic or spinach leaves. Sometimes I fill these with a vegan pesto. Either way, they are fast and good.

This idea of Portobello Pizza isn’t new to me and probably isn’t new to you, either. However, I used to make this pizza with dairy cheese (pre-vegan) and then went on to make it with vegan cheese. I found that in both scenarios, the texture of the mushroom paired with sauce AND slimy cheese, was well… too slimy. I can’t think of a better word. Maybe slippery? I mean, the whole topping just slides right off the mushroom if you aren’t careful.  Maybe you can relate?

I like to change up textures and flavors all the time in the kitchen and Portobello anything is a nice change of pace.  As for the pizza, I finally found a good combination that is very pleasing and complimentary. I now use a crushed cashew “cheese” topping that I have used before in other recipes, and it happens to be perfect for the mushroom pizza. You have to try it!

This can be a low sodium, oil free and gluten free meal depending on your sauce and your side dishes. It can be VERY hard to find a jarred pasta sauce without oil, a ton of sodium and sugar. Good luck to you! The last sauce I used was from Trader Joe’s, you know the fat-free organic one they usually hide waaayyyy down on the bottom shelf. I don’t know why? If I had the jar here now, I could tell you the sodium and sugar content but my guess is that it’s not great. I was just happy it was OIL FREE and ORGANIC. I’ll double check it next time I’m there. You probably can’t believe I let that slip by. I try to choose my battles over here and I tend not to fight them all at once. Things usually balance out over the course of the day.

I do know there is a brand of oil free and low sodium pasta sauce out there which my dad recently found and likes. It will most likely have to be ordered on line. I will get back to you with the name of it.

 

 

Portobello Pizzas

Ingredients

  • Large Portobello Mushroom Caps (the amount is up to you, I usually make 5 or 6 – 2 for each adult and one for my little guy)
  • A Jar of Your Favorite Pasta Sauce
  • 1 Cup Raw Cashews (this depends on how many pizzas you make but I always make extra topping to keep in the pantry
  • Optional – Other toppings you might enjoy, such as fresh basil, minced fresh garlic, spinach leaves

Directions

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees

Wash the mushroom caps gently, remove the stems and pat dry with paper towels

Fill the mushrooms with sauce and extra optional toppings and place in a shallow glass baking dish (I usually use a 9 x 13)

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes until the juices begin to flow (if the juices aren’t flowing, they have not finished cooking)

While the mushrooms are baking, pulse the cashews in the food processor until desired texture (I like a semi-fine Parmesan cheese-like texture mixed with chunky bits of cashew)

Remove the pan from the oven and top pizzas with ground cashews and bake again for 5-10 minutes longer… but watch closely. Cashews should be barely toasted. If you are brave, you could broil on low for a minute.

I would love to hear your reviews, topping ideas and more. Feel free to comment below.

Enjoy!

~The Karmatarian

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Lentil Loaf by The Vegan Stoner – Recipe Review

Great recipe find! How do I know? Because my rather picky 5 year old ate every morsel off his plate last night and deemed me the BEST CHEF EVER… over and over and OVER! I can deal with that.

I am glad I gave this easy recipe a whirl as lentil loaves past, lacked in taste, which made me a little nervous to try again. I’m happy to report that this recipe is worth a try. I also scrolled through The Vegan Stoner blog and it looks like a lot of fun! I am glad that Pinterest led me to it. They have other great looking recipes I want to try. Check it out!

The rundown on lentils

They are filled with Phyto-chemicals… an anti-aging must have in your arsenal! They are packed with protein and very high in fiber. Lentils do not require soaking and cook rather quickly, from 15-20 minutes. Lentils provide the same protein benefits as meat without all the fat, calories and cholesterol. Lentils pack 17 grams of protein per cup!

The review and a couple minor changes

I only made a couple changes, so compare and try the recipe as is or come up with your own twist.

I was waiting to see if I over did it on the onion… using 2/3 of a large onion. But we do like onions around here and luckily it ended up adding a lot of flavor. I would add just as many next time.

I used a LARGE handful of walnuts as opposed to just a handful, and chopped them in my chopper.

My frozen/thawed veggies were Trader Joe’s Organic Foursome with carrots, peas, corn and green beans.

I did not use garlic salt but rather 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder plus 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

I added dried parsley… just a few shakes. I would have added fresh had I not run out.

Let’s talk CRACKERS – Thankfully, my husband helps out a great deal and he does a lot of grocery runs! He likes the 12 grain vegan mini crackers from Trader Joe’s. They are very tasty with buttery flavor, but I do have issues with them. What am I to do? When your husband goes vegan, you just can’t nit pick. I feel very lucky that he is more than on board with this rewarding lifestyle.

… so the crackers

A. Are not organic.

B. They don’t contain whole wheat. Whole is the word you want to look for on the label when it comes to wheat.

C. They contain too many ingredients including sugar and oil. UGH. I didn’t have any other crackers on hand. I wanted to try them because not too many lentil loaf recipes call for them (probably for health reasons. Lol) But I have to say, I think they made this dish taste pretty GREAT!  SOOO if you happen to come across another vegan, buttery, actual healthy cracker. PLEASE let me know, because a flavorful cracker is what made this dish so darn good.

My last note is that when I packed the mixture into the loaf pan, I had a feeling the final product wouldn’t come out sliced firm enough. And indeed, it fell apart, BUT it was mold-able back into shape! Next time I will try my own tip and put some of the mixture into the food processor and add it back, like what I do for my Let’s Stay Together Veggie Burgers. I just want to see the difference, but if it takes the chunky texture away, it might not be as pleasurable to eat.

My sides

I whipped up (literally) some sweet potatoes with a little almond milk, a touch of coconut oil, and a splash of maple syrup. Always a hit – and truly needs very little sweetener if any.

I also cooked up fresh spinach along with minced garlic in veggie broth on the stove top. I sprinkled it with a pasta seasoning blend and gave it a squirt of lemon. Delicious!

I have no pictures. I know. It was gone before I could think to grab my camera. However, it did look a lot like the picture above. It’s always nice when that happens!

So here you have a great vegan meal idea. Keep me posted when you try this and any variations you create. Until next time…

Enjoy the journey,

~The Karmatarian

UPDATE: When we reheated the left overs, the slices were much firmer and held together much more after resting in the refrigerator.  So it would be better to let the loaf settle and cool a bit after you take it from the oven. We were just too hungry.

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Perfected Eggless Egg Salad

Perfected Eggless Egg Salad

There are a million vegan egg salad recipes out there! I have tried a few, and I thought I had it figured out. Then one day, I combined a few different recipes along with a twist of my own and came up with what I think is the perfect vegan egg salad. I really enjoy this and I know you will, too.

I don’t fear a little tofu

If you don’t already know… Organic tofu is alright with me.  Ever since going plant-based and focusing on whole foods versus processed foods, I don’t fear soy. I am in control of how much soy comes into my life. I make my own meals and rarely eat out. If I were still consuming mostly a standard American Diet and still eating soy and tofu along with all of that soy lecithin and soy oil and soy fed animals, etc… I would be worried about it.

Soy is a highly genetically modified food, I believe somewhere around 90% of the crops are GMO. You have to be very careful. Only choose organic tofu from a good responsible brand you recognize or research.

Another reason that I don’t fear tofu or fermented soy is knowing that Dr. T. Colin Campbell can turn his cancer patients around on a plant-based diet that has some tofu and whole food/fermented soy involved. So why be so afraid? It certainly helps add fun to the vegan diet. Btw, I am not talking soy protein isolate here.

I remember a great interview I watched with Dr. Christine Horner talking with Dr. Mercola, and she really explained breast cancer and estrogen and the difference between plant estrogen and the evil estrogen that actually contributes to breast cancer. It is eye opening and nice to relieve the fear. You can watch the video or read the article here.

Here she talks about flax and soy falls into the phytoestrogen category as well:

“I hear from patients, “Oh! My oncologist told me not to take flaxseeds, because they’re estrogenic,”” Dr. Horner says.”They don’t understand how plant estrogens or “phytoestrogens” work.

There are all sorts of different strengths to estrogens. Let’s say estradiol, which is the strongest, most abundant form– if it hooks on to the estrogen receptor, it may cause a thousand cell divisions. But if a plant estrogen hooks on, it may cause one. When you flood your system with these plant estrogens, I’d say it’s kind of like a game of musical chairs. There are only certain numbers of receptors, and whoever gets their first, gets it. They’re blocking the strong estrogens from getting on, so that’s why it has an inhibitory effect.”

~ Dr. Christine Horner

If you read that article – Just for the record – I don’t agree with Dr. Mercola about eating grass fed beef. Grass fed, organic or pampered like a family member before slaughter… Meat has No fiber, No disease fighting phytochemicals and is still too high in calories and fat and lowest in nutrients compared to other foods, so why bother? Not to mention, all cows headed for consumption have to stand in this line.  Why tap into fear and anxiety energy? By consuming it, we become it.

Fiber

It’s one of those things I always thought only old people had to worry about. Little did I know fiber is SO damn important for all of us at any and every age. It helps to rid the body of toxins and excess hormones as well as help with weight management.  I choose not to get excess hormones from dairy. Yes, even organic and raw milk has natural growth hormones. A lot of them!  Being that I have less hormones to remove from my system, I don’t see soy as a big threat.

I have realized that beef and meat Agri-giants have something to do with a lot if not most of the negative studies that come out against soy. They have the money to fund ‘em and push the ones that have miniscule findings against their end goal. They make money when you eat more beef, not more soy. If you eat all the soy, what in the world will they feed their cows and chickens? Oh my!

Perfected Eggless Egg Salad

Let’s get back to the recipe!

A few things to note… I tried fresh lemon juice and zest in this and it’s OK… I don’t like lemony egg salad. If you love lemon and have to add it,  just add a touch to bring out flavor, but I think you will find this is flavorful enough on it’s own.

I also ran out of regular Dijon this last time and used whole grain Dijon. Wow! It really added quite a spicy kick. It was good though!! If you like that sort of thing, great.. if not pay attention to your Dijon and maybe add less to start, even with the regular Dijon. This is where the dash of agave came to play… it cuts the spice and rounds things out. I prefer it in the recipe.

Instead of using vegan mayo to mix things up… my special twist that makes this so creamy and hearty is cashew cream. When I have it on hand, I remember to make this salad. I love cashew cream for topping so many things, from baked sweet potatoes, to burritos, to chili… I used to use Tofutti but I rarely ever do now that I make cashew cream. I even use this as a sandwich/wrap spread from time to time. I love it more than vegan mayo that I usually make, as I can cut back on the soy/ tofu and enjoy it other places… such as in this egg salad!

Black Sea Salt – You have to have this on hand to make “egg” dishes taste egg like. I use The Spice Lab brand.

Perfected Eggless Egg Salad

Perfected Eggless Egg Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 – 12 oz Package of Organic Extra Firm Tofu
  • 1/2 Cup Carrot, grated
  • 1/2 Cup Red Onion, diced very small
  • 3 Stalks of Celery, diced very small
  • 2 Tbs Sliced Almonds (2 heaping Tbs)
  • 2 Tbs Chives or Green Onion, chopped small
  • 2 Tbs Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 tsp Agave
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan Sea Salt
  • 1/4 tsp or more of Black Sea Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 Cup, (plus 1 or 2  if needed) Tbs Cashew Cream (See Below)

Directions

Drain the Tofu while preparing the other ingredients. Line a plate with paper towels, place tofu on top and cover with the paper towels. I like to put a clean kitchen towel on top at this point. Place something heavy on top of everything so that the weight pushes the liquid out of the tofu. I like to use a stack of  large heavy plates. You can also buy a tofu press. I really need to order one!

Place all of the ingredients in to a medium sized bowl and crumble in the drained tofu while squeezing out any excess liquid that remains. Mix and fold all ingredients with a spatula until well blended and evenly colored (turmeric).

Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Refrigerate to chill and incorporate the flavors.

Cashew Cream

Ingredients

  • 1 + 1/4 Cup Cashews
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp Curry Powder ( I don’t always add this, but lately I have. More flavor!)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon of Himalayan Sea Salt (Pink Salt)
  •  Favorite Non Dairy Milk or Filtered Water

Directions

Soak the Cashews in purified water for 2 hours + or overnight. Drain and rinse the soaked cashews and place them in your high speed blender or Vitamix along with the other ingredients except for the milk or water. Blend until creamy. Use the non dairy milk or filtered water a little at a time to adjust the dressing to your preferred consistency. Adjust the seasonings and it’s ready. Also note that it will thicken a bit when refrigerated.

Enjoy!

~The Karmatarian

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Raise the Roof Sweet Potato Lasagna – My Review

Raise the Roof Sweet Potato Lasagna

If you happen to be plant-based savvy… you may have seen this recipe, tried it, or thought about trying it. It’s featured in the “Forks Over Knives” original handbook, Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue dvd and on the Engine 2 Diet website and possibly more places.

My post is a little story about our Christmas holiday that goes along with my review of this recipe, which I couldn’t wait until I had a reason to make.

As you may know from my earlier post, our family survived the flu this year, thankfully without antibiotics, and I am grateful for that. I am upset we got it at all. Don’t you think Vegans should be exempt?! All of these super bugs stemming from factory farms which we voluntarily choose to disconnect from! This is why us vegans spread the word! Everyone is affected by factory farms. Back to my story, the bottom line is that we had too much crazy energy happening in the weeks prior to Christmas and I believe it was due to the energetic alignment and 12/21, but it sure had us caught off guard. Luckily, we got over the flu before Christmas and we had energy to clean our house before our friends arrived from out of town. We were pretty excited that good friends of ours were staying with us for Christmas!

I will refer to our friends as T and G… because I have no clue if they want to be named in my blog.

Our friends are so dear to us. We have shared many dinners together, great conversation and a million laughs. We are so grateful to know such good-hearted people like T and G!

My husband and I met our friends when we lived in Raleigh, North Carolina, roughly 6 years ago. We were their first American friends, and what an honor! They had just moved to the U.S. from Croatia and we were happy to welcome them. We made sure that they experienced many of our traditions, including Halloween and an all American Thanksgiving.

Times have changed for us… well… food-wise that is. I still dress up for Halloween!

Our family is now a vegan family and T and G are known to eat similar to their culture in Croatia, where dining might as well be the national sport. And because of this, I was trying to come up with a meal plan (being a holiday with no restaurants open) that  everyone would like. I originally thought that I could make something for them that they would enjoy (meat dish), and something that we would enjoy (vegan dish).

The more that I thought about it, the more I could NOT bring myself to do it. It just affirmed for me how far I have come with this vegan thing. It was by no means out of stubbornness or trying to make a point. I just can’t bring myself to purchase meat and bring it into my home. I really feel it’s a bit of a vibrational/energetic/spiritual thing. I have also conditioned myself to cook the opposite of how I used to. I don’t even really remember how to cook meat. I really don’t want to remember how to cook meat. I prefer my kitchen and my body to be light with energy and my counters free from dangerous bacteria. And then there is the whole plant-based nutritionist thing I have going on… feeding meat to my friends would be criminal in my mind and that’s without even touching upon animal rights.

But what would I make? How can I keep everyone happy? Did I mention that T is almost 7 feet tall and and a good sized guy? He will be the first to tell you, he likes his meat and has to have it.

Racking my brain, I remembered this sweet potato lasagna recipe which has been said to be a winner in the plant-based community according to Rip Esselstyn.  Well, if it’s good enough for firefighters, then it has to be filling and satisfying! I also remember that my Dad made this recipe a while back and he told me it was worth all the work involved. He had so much food left over – this is what I wanted!

I narrowed it down. My menu for the few days our friends were visiting consisted of a beautiful salad, this sweet potato lasagna, a raw pecan pie that I made from the Cafe Gratitude recipe book, Whole Foods brand vegan blueberry and pumpkin pie (hey, it’s the holidays) as well as their 12 grain artisan bread. The next day I added spinach and “cheese” stuffed shells to the menu, using the recipe for the cheese from my Gluten Free – Spinach and “Cheese” Lasagna Bites post, but stuffing jumbo shells instead of making it a lasagna. For breakfast, I baked vegan pumpkin bread two mornings in a row as requested!

The menu, I thought would be filling. I wasn’t thinking at the time that the dinners would be two pasta sauce dishes and I should mix it up a little more, but it turned out that they tasted totally different from one another. I also took a huge leap of faith that this lasagna would be great. For I had no back up plan.

Luck has it and to our surprise, when our friends showed up, they announced that they had given up Dairy products! YESSSS!!!! That was half the battle right there. See? Just another example of how people are surprising me left and right. Smart people are catching on! We had even more to talk about!

The lasagna ended up to be a bit of work, but enjoyable work as I visualized the outcome while preparing it. And Dad was right, totally WORTH IT! I cheated just a smidge. I used a sauce that was not exactly Engine 2 approved. It was a Trader Joe’s Garlic Marinara. I know it to have a lot of flavor and a little bit of oil. I also added a touch of Himalayan sea salt to the veggie mixture because I wanted to be sure this was bursting with flavor. It was perfect and I have to say, it didn’t need the salt. That is how much flavor it brings on it’s own!

My suggestion… When you make this, just pick a sauce that you KNOW has good flavor, oil or not, as the sauce is so important in a dish like this. I also used gluten free lasagna noodles. I feel that they cooked up on the firmer side because I was cutting it close on sauce. Two jars are not exactly enough to cover the noodles. I think 2 jars plus 1/2 would be perfect. I also bought a throw away lasagna tray from the grocery store that was DEEP.  You are going to need that with all these layers. I realize now, that I need to invest in a good lasagna pan!

This lasagna was healthy and satisfying. Full of texture and flavor. It is hard to really explain the end flavors but they go so very well together. T said that he doesn’t usually like sweet potato. Surprise!!! He doesn’t even like lasagna, either! But he just loved this! Phew! Everyone wanted more and we happily ate it for lunch the next day, too!

Not to leave G out, she really enjoyed the meals as well and she got right in my kitchen to help with the dishes. What a doll!

The vegan cheese shells were super filling as well. You really only need to eat a few. Having salad first, bread and then dessert after, we were stuffed.

A million sweet compliments from our friends confirmed that I made a good choice. T said something along the lines of…ya know, I usually have to have meat, but these past few days I really enjoyed everything and haven’t missed meat at all… What a compliment! I hope I influenced them to look at a plant-based diet a little differently and know it can be very satisfying.

We ended up at PF Chang’s on the last night of our visit. I will never forget the nice comment from T. He said, “this food here at this restaurant is good and everything, but it’s nothing like yours, Christa. Look… just the way you cut your carrots vs. theirs…. It’s just different, and so much better”.

When you put love and intention into your home cooked dishes, there is a difference. How many restaurants do that besides some vegan/raw? There is an energy there, and if you are in tune, you can’t deny it. But aside from that, lucky for me, T and G appreciate home cooking, as that is how they were raised. I am not trying to brag here, of course their kind words felt really, really good and it’s always nice to have people appreciate your efforts and support what you do, but much credit goes to Engine 2 Diet for a fantastic recipe!

It meant so much to me to have been able to please our guests and knowing how honest they truly are, I trust that they really enjoyed everything. Food was a small part of the visit of course, we had such a great time catching up and just relaxing. It was so heart warming to hear that this was one of the best Christmases they ever had.

A successful Vegan-Croatian-American-Christmas in the books!

Here are a few pics of the pie. I have made it twice and dream of this one often…

Enjoy the Journey,

~The Karmatarian

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Magic Miso Noodle Soup

magic miso noodle soup

Well isn’t this fitting… my last post was all about cookies and sugar and this post is all about warm soup to help soothe your body while you fight the flu. Because alllllll that sugar leads to a defenseless immune system! I know better! The funny thing is, I think I only had like 5 or 6 cookies and the rest are in my freezer. I didn’t go crazy, so I know it wasn’t the few cookies alone that invited the flu into our home.

A few weeks back I remember shuffling my deck of Angel cards, asking for whatever message was meant for me that day. I pulled the “body care” card. I was frustrated and I thought, how many more vegetables can one person eat? What do the Angels want me to do? It’s funny how you can see things in hind-sight, because now I see what happened…. a lot of late, late nights studying for a new class I’m taking mixed with Christmas stress and late work nights (on school nights) doing other people’s hair. I’m taking care of everyone else so that they look good for the holidays and I realize now that the last person I was taking care of was myself. This is how it’s been for many years. Maybe this flu will shake some sense into me. I need to revisit the concept of Honor Self.

So for now it’s warm soup, warm tea and a lot of rest!

We have all heard people say that there is just something about chicken noodle soup when you are sick. Well, it certainly has NOTHING to do with the chicken. I can promise you that chicken holds no magic. On the contrary, chicken has very little nutritional value. It’s not the chicken, it’s the sodium via broth that our body craves to put us back in balance and the noodles give us energy to fight those nasty bugs. See? Isn’t it nice to know this? Now we have one less excuse. Being vegan, you can still have magic soup when you are sick, because it’s all about the broth…. veggie broth.

I remembered reading somewhere that miso soup is Alicia Silverstone’s favorite soup when she is sick. Alicia knows a thing or two about good, kind food, being vegan herself; but I couldn’t find a recipe for miso soup on her site. Perhaps it’s in her cookbook? I didn’t look really hard being so sick. I just came up with my own recipe and it turned out really good. I want to share my soup with my fellow sick warriors out there. Consider this a warm healing hug via bowl of soup. It’s fast to prepare so you can be back under the blankets in no time!

You know what they say? There is just something about miso noodle soup…

Ingredients

  • 4 Cups Filtered Water
  • 1 large Shallot, chopped
  • 1 Garlic Clove, Minced
  • 1 Cup of Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/3 Cup Organic Mellow White Miso
  • 7 or 8 oz (1/2 block) of Tofu, cubed
  • Noodles (I had a package of Japanese style ready-to-use noodles on hand)
  • 2 large handfuls of Spinach
  • Organic Soy Sauce to taste

Directions

In a medium pot, heat a little bit of water or vegetable broth and cook the shallots, garlic and mushrooms over medium heat until soft. Keep adding water if necessary.

Add 4 cups of water to the pot and bring to a boil.

Add miso, noodles and tofu cubes and heat through. Add spinach and let it wilt in. Add soy sauce to taste.

Pour the soup into a serving bowl and enjoy.

*Notes: I never thought I would be so happy to have ready-to-eat noodles in my pantry. I probably would have never used these otherwise. The noodles just needed to be warmed up. If you have regular noodles, cook them in a separate pot and then add the cooked noodles to the soup. Also, I always have miso on hand because quite a few recipes in the “Forks over Knives” handbook and cookbook I like to use, call for it. If you haven’t tried those recipes, you should. Be sure to get organic miso!

The only thing that would makes this soup better is if someone else could make it for you! I just can’t help you out there… I had to make my own soup, too.

Let’s get well soon!

~The Karmatarian

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Vegan White Chocolate Chip Cranberry Cookies

vegan white chocolate chip cranberry cookies

It’s not every day that you get to graze a cookie buffet with a clear conscious. A few girls happened to get our sugar buzz on at a vegan Christmas cookie exchange the other night. This is really exciting stuff! A big thanks to my girlfriend Sue for being such a fun hostess providing a chance to meet new people.

I came home with a nice variety of vegan homemade treats for my family. Gratitude feels good! And today I am proud of myself for displaying a ton of will power, because I could easily eat this whole dang tray!

Vegan Christmas Cookies

You may notice a few store bought cookies in the mix, because not everyone who showed up was a vegan baker. It’s just nice to see everyone participate with vegan spirit.

My contribution to the exchange was a cookie that I have been wanting to veganize for a few seasons now. A white chocolate chip cranberry cookie. I think it turned out really good! At least that’s what they tell me.

My cookies are a vegan spin on this recipe I found years ago at www.all recipes.com. It’s really just a spruced up basic chocolate chip cookie. White and red being great colors for the holiday make a nice presentation. The key ingredient is the orange flavored liquor. The original recipe calls for brandy or vanilla. I have even used orange extract in the past, but this time I used Grand Marnier… I had plenty left over from our Thanksgiving feast. This was a good call.

Vegan white chocolate cranberry cookies

I found it a bit tough to find vegan white chocolate chips. I ordered mine online from Amazon.com  If you are looking, I would also check your local health food store, natural food store in your area or Whole Foods.

I had a lot of fun baking this year, mostly due to my friend Melanie who joined me in the kitchen for a comical adventure. We also created some vegan gingerbread men and women. The cookie itself was excellent, the decorating, not so much!

Decorating cookies takes a patient and steady, steady hand. We were in a little bit of a hurry. Of course we only took the best to the party, but now I’m thinking about how funny it would have been to show up with a tray of these hilarious misfits with a straight face.

Vegan gingerbread misfits

 

Vegan gingerbread cookies

If you would like the recipe for the gingerbread cookies, message me or comment here and I’ll be sure to get it to you! The mini vegan versions are so cute, and perfect for dunking in your tea.

… On to theee recipe

vegan white chocolate cranberry cookies

Vegan White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup Earth Balance margarine, softened
  • 1/2 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Organic White Sugar
  • EnerG Egg Replacer for 1 egg
  • 1 Tablespoon Grand Marnier
  • 1  + 1/2 Cups Organic all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 Tablespoon plus 1 tsp Water
  • 3/4 Cups Vegan White Chocolate Chips
  • 1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl cream together margarine, brown sugar and white sugar until smooth.

Beat in the egg replacer and Grand Marnier.

Combine the flour and baking soda (I usually whisk it together) and stir into the sugar/margarine mixture.

At this point I use my hands to really mix the dough because I don’t have a mixer yet. Add the water gradually just until the dough starts coming together nicely. Mix in the white chocolate chips and cranberries. It is best to do this by hand.

Form the dough in to not-so-perfect balls (they can be full of texture) and flatten just a little. Place on prepared sheets and bake anywhere from 8-11 minutes.

*Note – First I thought the magic number was 12 minutes. The cookies came out perfect but I forgot that cookies can keep on baking after you remove them from the oven. They ended up soft and chewy when warm but they crisped up way too much as they cooled. I took them out at 11 minutes for the next few batches. Next time, I will try 10 minutes.  If you like a chewy cookie, you may shoot for less baking time. Everyone’s preference is different and every oven is different. These cookies will come out of the oven seemingly airy, soft and very much not set, but they do firm up as they cool due to the egg replacer.

My first batch of cookies came out a little on the oilier side. Some people don’t mind that. But for the next batch I tried using 1/2 cup more flour, so 2 cups total. That seemed to work out just fine. A little less oil is always good. I could of also added more Grand Marnier. The more the merrier!

Vegan Christmas Cookies

This recipe yields 24 cookies

Enjoy your holidays!

~The Karmatarian

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My Thanksgiving Review

Now that I have had a few weeks to rest after clocking 18 plus hours in the kitchen prepping our vegan holiday meal, I wanted to write a quick review and share a few things that I learned. Of course I want to share my photos too ;) I had more fun “digesting” everything in the days after Thanksgiving, (especially the leftovers) because things are always nuts when you are playing hostess!

Check out some of my photos of our dinner together…

How it all went down~

As far as appetizers go… The artichoke spinach dip was absolutely FABULOUS! It’s my new favorite and I will make it often, definitely for Christmas. We found ourselves all fighting over the last cranberry pesto crostini, so those were a hit as well. The stuffed mushrooms were really great, but not as good as I planned. I made the filling the night before to save time. I learned that red onions turn a funny color and turn the filling a bit purple when left overnight! They still turned out looking good but that freaked me out a bit. Next time, I will make these the day of. I also used panko crumbs, but I will stick to using regular bread crumbs for this. They tell me that these were fabulous too, but the cook is always her worst critic.

The soup recipe for butternut squash apple was the Holiday Soup recipe from of the awesome Vitamix cookbook. It was really delicious, but I felt it was a bit too heavy on the nutmeg and not sweet enough. I just made this again two nights ago and tweaked it with more apple, less nutmeg and less white pepper, and it was perfect!! No complaints on Thanksgiving. As far as food, we could have stopped here after the soup. We were so full at this point!

The sweet potato casserole was perfect. The recipe called for a little orange juice concentrate which I had never added in the past. I really liked the flavor boost.

Stuffing… I am not a huge fan to begin with. I liked the fruit and toasted almond stuffing idea, as it was fancy shmancy, but it was SO MUCH WORK and unexpectedly the day of. Maybe I could have made it the day before and let it soak in the veggie broth.  I took the tinfoil off near the end of baking to give it a crispier outside. I guess I prefer mushy stuffing and this wasn’t the best idea. Thinking about what it is… stuffing, I have no desire to be stuffed - and that is all that these extra carbs do. Stuff ya! I’ll skip this next year.

Let’s talk main dish ~The roast. I had to have this while I was out shopping one day. Just to try it. It looked so good! It cooked up beautifully. It definitely needs gravy. Thankfully, I made the impromptu mushroom gravy for the potatoes and it was amazing. The roast itself was really good, but with a heavy sausage flavor. I can’t complain because that was as described on the package. It was a little too heavy of a dish for my liking. We had all of this other home cooked food to choose from, so to eat the roast just threw the vegan meal off for me. We don’t do to many mock meats anymore AND I was also way too stuffed for such a heavy dish. When you eat plant-based, you are used to eating lighter and your body is used to being lighter. I don’t regret this choice though. I could have done without it that night, BUT it was AWESOME for leftovers with gravy (when we were hungry) the next few days. The Timbales turned out great per usual. I really love making them and they are a yearly tradition for us now.

Dessert! The cheezecake was sooo very rich, we always love this. The pumpkin pie was heaven with rice whip cream topping. I had a little mishap with the crust though. It stuck to the parchment paper and I wasn’t aggressive enough getting it out when I served it. I know! It could have been that much better had I served it with crust! I discovered this the next day and enjoyed eating just the crust. Extra crust all for me… kind of the best part! The baked pears were fun! Also great with rice whip topping. Although, I was in a hurry to get them out of the oven and they could have baked for much longer. They were still quite firm. Maybe that is how they are meant to be? Still delicious as could be.

My only slight complaint about the holiday was that our dessert guests got lured into eating dessert where they had their Thanksgiving dinner earlier, and came over with full stomachs! That was truly disappointing, oh well, what are you going to do? It only left MORE for us to enjoy later!

What else???  I guess everything else is straight forward.

To choose vegan, it just takes conscious effort. It’s EASY, kind, responsible, and it’s very enjoyable! Replace the butter and dairy milk with something like Earth Balance margarine or coconut oil, almond, rice or coconut milk… There are also numerous raw vegan dessert recipes that will totally rock the show and can be found on the internet.

When you can present a special meal that is colorful and delicious with all the flavors of the Thanksgiving holiday such as Thyme, Sage, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Rosemary, etc… why do you need to add the violence? And so what that you don’t have Turkey. You are STUFFED by the time dinner is over and you don’t miss a damn thing. I promise you. The artist in me loves the creative challenge of vegan cooking and it will never grow old. The rebel in me loves the idea of showing the world it can be done a different and kinder way. Screw the traditions that include violence, ill health and destruction. It’s so not necessary. Turkey for protein you say? We had a protein overload without it! But who is really worried about protein intake on Thanksgiving? You are really looking for flavor and that is easily achieved without any animal exploitation. It may not have been the ultimate healthy meal but I sure felt the healthiest eating it, compared to any other  “traditional carnivorous Thanksgiving” that I have ever eaten in the past. Besides, when you do something with intention, it makes it that more enjoyable. Our intention was a vegan dinner that compared to what anyone else was eating, but better. We achieved it in my book. However, next year it’s a vacation or take out from the Chicago Diner. Cooking can be exhausting! I cook almost every night, so I could use to be treated out once in a while. Or better yet, maybe one of you will invite us to your next vegan feast!?

The recipes that I picked to make are certainly acceptable to make again for Christmas dinner and that is right around the corner, so I figured it is not too late to share my reviews in case anyone out there wants to try the recipes. You can find my holiday menu by clicking here or find these and more on my Pinterest page. I am thinking of raise the roof sweet potato lasagna by Engine 2 for Christmas. It’s also in the Forks over Knives handbook.

To sum it up, everything turned out wonderful. We enjoyed counting our blessings and sharing a peaceful evening together with delicious food. Everyone enjoys their own recipes and traditions and your own holidays are special and memorable, but it is my hope that more of us will think outside the box, outside of ourselves, and make the holidays enjoyable, memorable and kind for all beings on this planet. Especially factory farmed animals.

I hope you enjoyed a beautiful Thanksgiving day! Please share some of your own traditions, recipes and ideas for a cruelty free, healthier holiday with me in the comments or on my Facebook page.

Now it’s off to plan Christmas dinner and I am hosting two this year, but they will be much lower key! At least I hope, but I know me. I am a bit tired just thinking about it, but I am excited to figure out the menu.

For now, we have one of our trees up and are enjoying the ambiance. I just love getting up early in the morning and turning the lights on!

...And our cat, Cosmo checking out the tree? :)

…And our cat, Cosmo checking things out :)

Enjoy the Journey,

~The Karmatarian

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New Traditions Part 2: Holiday Side Dishes and Our Thanksgiving Menu

(Photo Courtesy of Farm Sanctuary) Adopt a Turkey this Year and Start a New Tradtion. Visit http://www.FarmSanctuary.org

“If we could live happy and healthy lives without harming others… why wouldn’t we?”~ Edgar’s Mission

I’d like to add… and eat awesome food!!! I spent the entire day yesterday pinning more side dishes and desserts up on my Pinterest page! I was also planning our menu for Thanksgiving. I think I have it nailed down. There are just so many amazing vegan dishes to choose from that it took some time! If anyone claims a vegan diet is boring then they don’t know food and they certainly don’t know how to cook. Luckily it’s a learned skill. You can do it! Take a look at my Vegan Holiday Table board. I’m drooling!

I am not going to list all of the side dishes that I found, that will take too much time and I really just want to get a quick post out. So I am going to share my Thanksgiving menu with you. I am so excited!!

Here goes…

Appetizers:

Cranberry Walnut Pesto Crostini- Festive and delicious. The original recipe is on my Pinterest page under Pumpkin Gnocchi with Cranberry Walnut Pesto. It can’t be found right now because the website seems to be down. I have the recipe. If you are interested, let me know in the comments and I will share it with you. I plan to do crostini with this pesto or serve with delicious crackers. Although it would be good with a spoon alone! I made the gnocchi and it was an epic fail. This pesto turned out to be my favorite though and it’s so pretty!

Traditional Stuffed Mushrooms - You know, the smaller mushrooms with the crunchy, buttery flavored bread crumb filling with  flavors of garlic, basil and parsley. Yum!

Creamy Artichoke Spinach Dip – I love the idea of cashews here.  Looks creamy and delicious. How will we ever make room for dinner?

Soup:

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup -  This is the closest recipe I could find to the one I am actually making. This one can be veganized by using margarine and vegan sour cream or using cashew cream for garnish. I am going to make the Vitamix Holiday Squash Soup. No fuss, right in the blender! I have a feeling I am going to run out of stove space so this will be perfect. Soup heats up right in the machine.

Salad:

Apple, Pecan, Cranberry and Avocado Spinach Salad with Balsamic Dressing – The picture in this link has cheese in it but it does not call for cheese in the recipe. I assure you, I won’t ruin it with cheese. This salad will be perfect, unless I run out of time… in that case, I’ll toss together mixed greens with sliced almonds and dried cranberries and top it with vegan poppy seed dressing! Voila, fast and festive and if I can’t much done ahead of time, this might actually be what happens!

Bread:

Gluten Free Sweet Corn Muffins - Can’t forget the bread, muffins or vegan crescent rolls. I tried the Trader Joe’s crescent rolls and they were a bit too sweet for my liking. I was thinking pumpkin muffins, but I don’t want to over do the pumpkin as pumpkin pie will be one of the desserts. I might make my corn muffins or just run out and grab an already baked garlic and rosemary Artisan bread. Mmmm.

Main Dishes:

Mushroom, Lentil and Wild Rice Timbales – A favorite! I have made this a few times for Thanksgivings past. Delicious traditional holiday flavors, great presentation!

Impromptu Vegan Mushroom Gravy - This can be found under the same post as above. I love this gravy!

Hazelnut Cranberry Roast En Croute  – I was shopping at Whole Foods the other day and I had to have this! Maybe I was hungry, but I just figured I would try it along with the tried and true Timbales, just in case… More food for leftovers. Because this girl is taking a break after this!

Sides:

Grand Marnier Cranberry Sauce – I have made this before. It’s baked, not boiled and I add orange zest. Delicious! Can be made days ahead!

Fruit and Toasted Almond Stuffing – The picture says it all. It sounds like an updated classic and there is nothing wrong with that.

Garlic and Rosemary Mashed PotatoesThis is pretty straight forward. Use vegan margarine like earth balance or the olive oil it calls for and almond milk instead of regular milk. I am imagining lot’s of leftovers. This will be perfect with the Timbales and gravy.

Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping – I usually make this type of casserole every year, one version or another. Vegan of course. I am thinking to add vegan marshmallows. Why not? I have some here.

Green Beans with Walnuts and Rosemary – Simple ingredients. Modernized tradition. Quick. How could you go wrong?

Phyllo Wrapped Asparagus – I am excited to veganize this with crushed walnuts and lemon zest. Olive oil or margarine instead of butter. It’s a choice between this or the green beans. I already have the phyllo in the freezer… this might be the winner. Or just make both!?

Desserts:

Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie with Praline and Coconut-Pecan Crust – Mom eats gluten free and since she will be here for dessert I would like to make this!

Or… Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake -  I could always make the crust from the recipe above to make it gluten free.

Raw Lemon Cheesecake with Berry Sauce - This is a recipe from the Cafe Gratitude recipe book (minus the berry sauce). I have made it before and it gave me my confidence back for making vegan cheesecake. Holy Cow is it amazing and the texture is way better than real cheesecake in my opinion.

Baked Pears with a Buttery Baked Crumble Topping -  To veganize, just use Earth Balance (margarine) and Agave instead of honey. Top this with rice whip cream. I broke down and spent the 5 dollars on rice whip a few weeks ago. It is SO GOOD. Perfect for the holidays. It’s by Soyatoo.

Well, there you have it… I think I am in over my head with this menu! But it will be so much fun. I will take a lot of pictures and share on Facebook. Thankfully, a lot of these recipes can be prepared a few days ahead. I guess I better get started. I am off to Whole Foods now…

See these photos and recipes that I have I found, visit my Pinterest page.   Also check out my last post, part 1, with many holiday main dish ideas.

I would really love to hear what vegan dishes you are serving up this year…

Happy menu planning and hoping that your holidays are gentle and kind.

Enjoy!

~The Karmatarian

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New Traditions: 24 Holiday Worthy Plant-Based-Vegan Main Dishes

“Now is the Thyme to start a new Thanksgiving tradition: Adopt a turkey!”
~Farm Sanctuary

“When a sense of consciousness informs our actions, when our intentions reflect kindness and nonviolence, when our thoughts turn to someone else’s needs rather than our own desires, there is no denying that something profound takes place. In the absence of suffering, there is peace. In the presence of compassion, there is joy.” ~The Vegan Table

Hey everyone, meet Thyme. One very lucky turkey. Notice the heart on Thyme’s neck? He’s my son’s choice for our annual adopt-a-turkey tradition through Farm Sanctuary. I had my eye on a cuter turkey, but when I expressed my opinion, my son quickly scolded me “NO he’s the cutest!”. Ok! And there you have it…

Thanksgiving~  Such a tough holiday for many of us, knowing the grim outlook for 46 million of these gentle spirits. Exactly how did turkeys become the centerpiece for a holiday of thanks and gratitude? We do have so much to be grateful for and a beautiful feast helps us to express that, but there are no rules. Traditions can be altered and improved.

99% of turkeys are factory farmed birds and have absolutely nothing to be thankful for. The conditions are grim. The truth is brutal. Click this link to meet your Butterball turkey and witness your typical store bought bird’s life experience before making it to your plate. Warning: the video is disheartening and will make you angry. You certainly don’t have to watch it, but a good rule of thumb to remember is, if it’s not good enough for your eyes, it should not be good enough for your stomach.

Did you know…

Although the turkey as the centerpiece of of the holiday dinner is deeply entrenched in our society, diners at the original 1621 Pilgrim’s feast made no mention of turkey as part of their meal. In fact, turkey only became popular as a Thanksgiving staple in the mid-twentieth century, after decades of MEDIA PROMOTION and breeding of the white, domesticated turkeys exploited by factory farms today.

~ Farm Sanctuary

…Ok, so we were pushed into this tradition of serving up turkey, so why not opt out? We have plenty of information about the truth of factory farming and the ill affects of meat in our diets. While Thanksgiving might not be the day for optimal healthy eating, it can still be held consciously and kindly.

I have learned one thing throughout the past few years being vegan, which has lead me to actually enjoy this holiday.

HONOR SELF.

GO WHERE YOU ARE CELEBRATED, NOT JUST TOLERATED. And that is a general lesson. Life is too short and just because most of society celebrates one way, figure out a way that makes you happy. Or find a compromise. It’s a tough holiday for an ethically minded vegan. No doubt about it.

I am excited to be hosting Thanksgiving this year for my husband, my son and a dear friend and her daughter (who are new to choosing vegan). We have decided to compromise by enjoying a kind holiday feast and then head separately to our family’s homes for dessert.

Dessert is easy to veganize and bring along quietly, without anyone even suspecting a thing, and dessert makes everyone happy. See? I don’t give family a reason to antagonize me about my Tofurkey, nor do I have to listen to them rave about how juicy their dead bird is this year, compared to last.

Being thankful for the life and abundance we are given is not dependent upon how juicy the turkey is. It’s just not. But sadly it has come to something like this here in the USA.

Actually, I don’t do Tofurkey. That stuff sucks! But I appreciate the alternative choice that it represents. Maybe I cooked it wrong? Who knows? I surely won’t try it again, I’ll tell you that much.

I put together a list of home cooked meal ideas for you from around the internet, along with a few better faux meat brands. I have found some wonderful main dishes that not only have the traditional flavors of the holiday, but are appealing to the senses.

Meat free main dishes are important and take more effort to plan out. Side dishes and desserts are easy. Many of which are your own family traditional recipes that are surprisingly easy to veganize with some thoughtful substitutions like earth balance in place of butter, egg replacers, and your choice of non dairy milks that are on the market.

A main dish on our plate expressing the idea of something special is what I was looking for, not every day meal kinda stuff. I am also not worrying about perfect “healthy” oil free dishes for the holiday. After all, in general, it is a holiday known for a few more heart attacks. Shame on society. But luckily for us with a vegan menu, nothing in these main dishes would send you to the emergency room. See? Peace of mind… and heart.

Ok, here we go…

24 Holiday Worthy Plant-Based/Vegan Main Dishes

1. Mushroom, Lentil and Wild Rice Timbales with Impromptu Vegan Mushroom Gravy – This is my favorite! I have made this recipe twice. Beautiful presentation, with all the traditional flavors of Thanksgiving.

2. Baked Acorn Squash with Chestnuts, Apples and Leeks - I might be making this one.Looks like a winner!

3. Sweet Potato Lenti Pie - Adorable single serving pies  with good combination of textures.

4. Butternut Squash Ravioli with Garlic and Sage Sauce - A recipe I have wanted to try for a while now

5. Seitan Roulade with Chestnut Stuffing - Unique and sure to impress

6. Flaky Harvest Vegetable Squares - Be sure to brush with olive oil instead of egg

7. Baked Apples with Wild Rice and Quinoa - Make sure the mushroom broth is vegan, sub vegan cream cheese and ditch the optional cheddar. I am sure these will be fabulous.

8. Raise the Roof Sweet Potato Lasagna - My Dad made this one recently. It’s a little bit of work but worth it!!!

9. Maple and Rosemary Roasted Butternut Squash with Tofu, Raisins and Walnuts - This is one of my personal creations. It will fill your home with the best aromas, very inviting for your guests this holiday

10. Jeni’s Lentil and Mushroom Loaf with Savory Potato Filling - A lot of fun textures and a nice meal centerpiece

11. Nava’s Hearty Lentil and Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie - It’s all in one for a simpler holiday. Very pretty.

12. Millet Loaf - I love millet! I am thinking to add sage and pecans in place of sunflower seeds on this one.

13. Celebration Pot Pie with Pumpkin Biscuit Crust - Wonderful and comforting. I know my son would LOVE this one!

14. The Smoky Tofu Sweet Potato Stacker - Looks impressive with different textures. Reminds me of a Cheescake Factory dish.

15. Harvest Stuffed Portabello Mushrooms Beautiful

16. Vegan Stuffed Mushrooms – Another Portabello recipe. Portabellos are hearty. Use baby or large mushrooms for this.

17. Tofu Stuffed with Brown Rice and Mushroom Dressing - Another hit from the Fat Free Vegan Kitchen

18. Squashducken - Elegant and sophisticated but remember to substitute Earth Balance for the Butter

19. Black Bean and Pecan Butter Sauce over Grilled Eggplant and Sauteed Spinach - Gorgeous and another “meaty” texture like portabellos.

20. Holiday Ham Recipe from Caribbean Vegan - Festive!

21. Pineapple Glazed “Ham” - I have always wanted to try this recipe. It looks so pretty on the platter.

22. Field Roast Celebration Roast - A store bought vegan roast, but I like this company! Their other products taste great so this is bound to as well. Definitely not gluten free.

23.  Currant-Maple Citrus loaf - Which is just a Celebration Roast (above) with Zest! Looks much prettier than the plain roast.

24. Holiday Roast by gardein - Who doesn’t love gardein? It’s sure to be wonderful for someone who doesn’t want to fuss. They also have single servings for those having a low key celebration.

 …And I bet I could find a million more great recipes out there. One thing a vegan has is an abundance of great food!

I love to see photos of food! You can view the wonderful mouth watering photos of all these links  here on my Pinterest page. Follow me there as well. I will be adding more photos and a part 2 blog post with side dishes and desserts in just a few days, so be sure to check back!

Check out these wonderful short videos, both turkey rescues that will warm your heart and remind you that there are good people out there in the world.

Rescued Turkeys

Turkey Rescue

Here is a heart warming family documentary to watch that will change your views forever about wild turkeys, watch this PBS special “My Life as a Turkey” by Joe Hutto  I felt that it was really touching and well done.

My Life as a Turkey

“The symbolism surrounding the Thanksgiving turkey, much like the modern domestic turkey himself, has been largely manufactured by cynical commercial interests. There is neither compelling historical precedent nor meaningful rationale for associating the butchered carcass of a turkey with our national day of thanksgiving.”

~ Farm Sanctuary


Read more about the history of Thanksgiving here

See all of these recipes in one easy place on Pinterest

Enjoy the journey,

~The Karmatarian

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A Message from Hurricane Sandy

So many good hearted people want to change the world… as long as they don’t have to change themselves. Therefore, not much changes. But it seems that Mother Nature has had enough. To the earth, we humans are like fleas on a dog and she is in dire need of a flea bath. In order to remain as an inhabitants on this big old dog, we are going to have to change our outdated ways and evolve for the benefit of all, not just a few greedy corporations.

Meteorologists claim that hurricane Sandy is the biggest storm in modern US history! Scientists warn that because of global warming, we have set a new trend helping to create monster storms like hurricane Sandy become the new norm.

Think about it… it was the BIGGEST storm to hit the US!! Are we listening now? Hurricane Sandy’s message seems loud and clear. Change needs to happen.

But is Sandy a result of global warming or could this be God’s will to wake us up and make us work together, take heart and help our fellow humans? Could this be related to the numeric energy of 2012 being a 5? Remember my post at the beginning of the year, predicting record breaking weather events?!

If you do not believe in global warming, as it seems controversial, with a little research you will certainly believe in “intelligent” human beings absolutely destroying our planet’s non-renewable resources, producing massive pollution, species extinction, deforestation, land erosion and water contamination and much more.

It’s very real, whether it warms the globe or not.

I don’t disagree with global warming, but I have my suspicion that this storm is spiritual and energetic and perhaps one of the changes predicted that will help to awaken our planet as we move into the golden age of Aquarius. I also believe our individual energy plays into the energy of the whole. Our everyday choices build up and contribute to the consequences.

Global warming or not, it is going to be impossible for us to keep up at our desired standard of living with the rate of our population expansion. And I am no scientist. It’s common sense. Something has to give!

People automatically think that I am vegan for the animals… others understand that I also enjoy the lifestyle for the amazing health benefits and delicious food, but most people don’t have a clue that veganism is the future, I am just ahead of the game, and it’s eventually going to be mandatory for our mere existence on this planet. Veganism has a very small carbon footprint compared to that of meat eater and even surprisingly smaller than Prius owner.

Veganism heals the planet from our destruction.

The United Nations report titled Livestock’s Long Shadow concluded that the meat industry causes almost 40% more greenhouse gas emissions than all the world’s transportation systems.. All the cars, trucks, SUVs, planes and ships in the world combined. The report also states that factory farming is one of the biggest contributors to the most serious environmental problems at every level, local and global.

Based on this report, senior U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization official Dr. Henning Steinfeld stated that “the meat industry is one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems and that urgent action is required to remedy the situation.”

How many “Hurricane Sandy’s” will we have to endure before the majority finally make the connection? I am a little scared, aren’t you? This storm along with many other freak weather patterns is most likely the result of systematic consequences related to our everyday choices; diet being our most important choice having the biggest impact on our environment. Period.

When change is eventually thrust upon us all at some point in the near future, I bet many will be wondering if it wouldn’t of been easier had we done it on our own terms…voluntarily? Don’t expect the government to do too much at this point as the food industry is so interwoven in and around greed throughout our politics. Change is up to us as individuals. Unfortunately, we are a reactive culture and change usually results in response to catastrophes. So hold on tight. More is surely heading our way!

I highly recommend education and the internet. The internet is the coolest place with truth being revealed anywhere and everywhere you are willing to see it. Take one month and dedicate it to researching food production and animal exploitation regarding food production and then please let me know when exactly it was that you became vegan as a result. That is if you are courageous enough to be the change. It’s important to be educated about these topics as we certainly don’t learn this stuff in school.

Sometimes we need to be moved with our senses, so don’t just take my word for it. Listen to this passionate 10  minute speech by Phillip Wollen, the former CEO of Citibank. I posted this before, but in case you missed it, here is another chance to catch it. It is powerful, educational and will get you thinking. It is worth every minute.

We have to start somewhere. If it’s not by my inspiration, please let someone inspire you who is helping to make a positive impact on the world. Ask yourself what you can do and then do it. And always know that I am here along with 600 million others who choose vegetarian or vegan, so you are not alone in being part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Eating greener and kinder is an easy, wonderful and fulfilling lifestyle. There is not just one reason to go vegan, there are 101 reasons to go vegan!

Be the change you wish to see.

Many prayers, love, and light go out to the victims of Hurricane Sandy, the largest storm that in my opinion served a huge purpose. I am listening.

Do you believe in global warming? What is your take on the message that hurricane Sandy delivered this week? Spiritual? Energetic? Cyclical?

Enjoy the Journey,

~The Karmatarian

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