Monthly Archives: October 2012

Recipe: Cashew Rice Loaf & Red Pepper Cheese Sauce, Virtual Vegan Potluck Edition

Delicious for anyone at your table, guaranteed!

Life is either aΒ daring adventureΒ or nothing at all.

~ Helen Keller.

Holla Bloggers!

Welcome to this stop on the Virtual Vegan Potluck!

For occasions like this, sometimes you’ve got to whip up something special. Enter one of my all time favorite special occasion recipes. There are many amazing versions of vegan loaf recipes out there, but this one is well, special.

This is a recipe I’ve been serving up in my house for years, and whether for Thanksgiving, Easter, or just an anytime awesome vegan meal, it always gets rave reviews. After all, what’s not to love when yummy ground cashews & hearty brown rice are mixed with herbs and spices and baked to perfection?

Not a whole lot, I can tell you that for sure!

Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.

~ Dr. Seuss

I must point out that I rarely use cashews this heavily, as they can get pricey, and while a vegan’s dream ingredient for those missing the creaminess of dairy, can still be heavy-ish on the pocketbook and tummy if not used in (relative) moderation.

But with today being a special occasion, what better time could there be to make something (just a little) less ordinary, and perhaps (just a little) more delicious than usual?

Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.

~ Mother Teresa

The Less:

Less meat-based main courses means more veggie heaven for all. Fewer fats, lower cost, and better value means more nutrition for less output. Fewer steps in a recipe means anyone can do it, and when dinner tastes this good, really, everyone should.

The More:

More tasty filling dinner ideas means you can safely (and deliciously) feed anyone. More nuts and whole grains means more plant-based satisfaction. More simple to make sauces and healthy flavor add-ins means healthy food that is flavorful, so serving up plant-based becomes ritual.

Cashew Rice Loaf & Red Pepper Cheese Sauce:

~ Adapted From the Silver Hills Cookbook

  • (1/3) cup short grain brown rice
  • (1) cup water for cooking the rice
  • (1) tbsp olive oil
  • (1) small onion, finely chopped
  • (1) cup finely ground raw cashews
  • (1) cup breadcrumbs
  • (1) cup soy or nut milk
  • (2) tbsp fresh or dried parsley
  • (1) tbsp soy sauce or Bragg’s
  • (1/2) tsp salt, or to taste
  • Olive oil for oiling the loaf pan

Start by combining the rice and cold water together in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil, and turn down to simmer with the lid on for 35-40 minutes while you prepare all the other ingredients.

While the rice cooks, chop the onion finely and heat (1) tablespoon olive oil in a skillet on medium high heat. Saute the onion for 6-8 minutes until brown and fragrant. Once the onion is cooked, add it to a large mixing bowl that is ready and waiting to go.

In the mixing bowl, combine the cooling cooked onion with the remaining loaf ingredients. Once the rice is cooked, add it to the mixture while still warm, this will help it all to mix beautifully together. Mix everything well, and get in there with your hands to ensure it is all even.

After mixing, the mixture should be nice and moist, but not too dry. Feel free to add a few extra breadcrumbs if the mixture feels too wet, but in my experience the ratios here are perfect.

If you are subbing in gluten-free breadcrumbs, you may want to add a little more.

At this point once your loaf mixture is all mingling together, you can set the mixture aside for later and bake it when convenient.

To bake, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Transfer the cashew mixture to a well oiled standard loaf pan (or two smaller pans) and bake for 40 minutes, until the house is smelling wonderful and the loaf has browned on top.

Red Pepper Cheese Sauce:

  • (2) medium red bell peppers, seeded & chopped coarsely (you could use yellow or orange too for different color)
  • (1) cup cashews or cashew pieces (slightly more affordable)
  • (1.5) cups water
  • (1/4) cup olive oil
  • (1-1.5) tsp salt
  • (1) tbsp nutritional yeast
  • (1/4) tsp garlic powder or granulated garlic
  • (1/4) tsp black or white pepper

Combine all ingredients in your blender, and blend on high for at least a full minute, even longer (up to 2 minutes is good). This recipe is so easy and simple and doesn’t require any pre-soaking of nuts or roasting of peppers!

Once your mixture is well blended, transfer to a medium sauce pan and heat very gently on the stove. Cook this mixture over medium-low heat for 15 -20 minutes until heated throughout, and thick and bubbly. Make sure to stir frequently to keep the sauce from burning or sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Cooking the cashews gently thickens them while cooking the pepper and spices together. Of course, you could pre-roast the peppers, but I love the beauty and ease of this sauce – it can be whipped up in minutes spur of the moment!

Serve this for a special meal. Or serve it everyday. Turn it out onto a serving dish (wait for it to cool a minute) and garnish with fresh herbs and cooked greens.

It’s not only fabulous fresh out of the oven and smothered in gravy, but equally delicious thrown in the fridge to be enjoyed later. Crumble leftovers over green salads with tahini dressing, or add it to a vegetable saute with garlic & kale.

This dish is easy to make and always a hit for vegans and omnivores alike. Feel free to use different bread crumbs and play around with the herbs and vegetables too.

My favorite part about this recipe is it doesn’t need anything added, it’s perfect just the way it is!

It just needs good people around to eat it.

I think that could be arranged right? πŸ˜‰

Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right .

~ Henry Ford.

I think it’s safe to say that we all, at the end of the day, desire (and need) the same basic things.

Good food and good friends are just about the two best things in the world when put together, and I’m happy to have you all here to share all of this amazing food love with me!

  • Have you got a great vegan loaf recipe to share?
  • What’s your favorite special occasion meal?

Thanks for joining in today and do let us know…I am off to count the Halloween candy haul between two rain-soaked & excited eight year olds πŸ™‚

Looking forward to perusing the fabulous offerings at the Potluck, and have a wickedly wonderful weekend everyone!

And of course a HUGE thanks to Annie at An Unrefined Vegan – with the wonderful help ofΒ  Somer at Vedged Out and Jason – for organizing, as well as Vegan Bloggers Unite for hosting!

Go here to start from the beginning, or here to visit the post before me & here to move ahead!

Note: this post is also being submitted to Healthy Vegan Fridays!

Bon appetit!

Yours in Less,

115 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Food, Photography, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Savory, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Recipe: Apple, Kale & Hemp Seed Green Smoothie

Easy, clean eating to fuel your body.

Don’t major in minor things.

~ Author Unknown

Okay, I admit it. Sometimes I am a mess.

And no, I don’t mean in the kitchen (but I am that too and I LOVE it).

I mean, I worry. I try to worry (just a little) less at times, but catch me at a bad time late at night and it’s game over.

I worry about my schedule, or I worry that the kids won’t have the strength they need to stand up to a mean kid at school. I worry about the tall tree in the neighbor’s yard that might fall on the house in a windstorm, and I worry that I could get sick with some scary awful disease and leave my kids and my husband all alone (completely unwillingly of course).

Now please don’t get scared, I am not going somewhere dark or deep here.

I’m just saying, I think it’s in us all to worry, right? And we should be responsible, and do our diligence by living healthily and reducing our reasons to worry needlessly.

Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things happen. Don’t be afraid.

~ Frederick Buechner

So cue the checklist to healthy living.

Eat well (check). Live well (check). Exercise (check). Laugh (check). Give thanks (major check) Give yourself regular breast exams.

Silence.

Am I the only one that is (so far) dangerously lax in this department?

This week I decided to take action on that front & was quite terrified when I actually found something. It was indeed a painful lump in my armpit (SO tender!).

It was late at night at the time of this discovery, time for bed. After my discovery and the inevitable irrationality of thoughts that followed, a little visit to the Mr. Internet SelfΒ  Diagnosis department, and more irrationality (there may have been tears & attempts to hide them from the husband), I finally fell asleep.

Like I said, I am a mess sometimes. But aren’t we all? (And it WAS late).

The miracle is not to fly in the air, or to walk on the water, but to walk on the earth.

~ Chinese Proverb

Waking up that morning I vowed to be better. To check more often, and to visit the doctor more often. After all, I am in the prime age for this kind of stuff, and statistics show 1 in 8 of us will be diagnosed with breast cancer during our lifetime.

Shira you owe it to your family to do a better job (check).

After several hours of worry that morning, trying to work but only really thinking of my sore armpit (it was really really sore), and (maybe) a call to work announcing that I’d found a scary evil worrisome lump (in my pit), I managed to see the doctor in the clinic.

Even waiting there in that room (evidently the very same room almost 10 years ago that I learned I was pregnant the second time), I was a mess. Biting back tears, I explained my case.

I told the lovely doctor about the discovery, and about how I’d rubbed that lump extra hard to see just what kind of lump it was. I told her it really hurt (it really did).

When she didn’t seem to look worried, I started to (maybe) feel like it wasn’t going to be so bad.

Then when she asked me to take my shirt off and started poking around under my arm, I pretty much realized it was going to be okay.

The Less:

Less worry and more action means you can spend energy on real matters. Less avoidance of important issues means more facing things head on. Fewer reasons to fret needlessly means more calm in your center, so making room for thoughts that are fruitful comes easy.

The More:

More action on health issues means fewer reasons to lose sleep. More calm, confident feelings means more rational sound thinking. More healthy food and healthy thoughts means more wholeness and good, wholesome living. So the need to worry can go out with the compost.

Apple, Kale & Hemp Seed Green Smoothie:

  • (1) organic apple, seeded and chopped
  • (1/2 – 1) avocado
  • (1-1.5) cups mango juice, (or apple juice if you don’t have access to mango)
  • (1) tbsp hemp hearts
  • (3-4) leaves green kale
  • (3-4) ice cubes, if desired

Blend all to a creamy consistency and enjoy immediately for full health benefits. Don’t worry though if you do need to blend it and enjoy it later..it will still be good for you (but maybe not if you worry too much about it) πŸ˜‰

This makes a generous amount that can easily feed 2-3 hungry people, but if you are at all like me, this could be just for one worry-free wonder woman (or man) as well. I often use this as my main daily sustenance until late afternoon, which means I have no problem enjoying the full recipe over the course of the morning.

Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.

~ Dr. Seuss

Turns out, I managed to strain a muscle in my armpit. I learned from the very nice doctor lady that there aren’t any nodes in there, but there are a lot of tendons (apparently ones that don’t like being pressured frenetically late at night).

I’d rubbed the heck out of that node the night I discovered it and caused myself a whole lot of pain for no other reason but to give myself a little wake up call.

I’m glad it was all okay.

And I don’t wish for the day when it isn’t. For anyone out there that has had a scare, or (heaven forbid) has been through cancer, I was reminded this week of how lucky we all are to have our health.

Only a few things are really important.Β 

~ Marie Dressler

How can something bother you if you won’t let it?

~ Terri Guillemets

I don’t know how I strained my armpit, and it doesn’t really matter, the point is, I am going to be okay (it’s all healed now too so that’s good). For now, at least, and that is worth celebrating, and protecting, every day.

And I hope you are too.

So don’t delay on giving yourself some well-intentioned attention. Check yourself regularly, and eat well. Go to the doctor for check ups, and try not to worry (I think it comes with the Motherhood territory and having a majorly over-active imagination).

Surround yourself with friends that care about you.

And treat yourself to a green smoothie. Just be careful not to strain any muscles while tearing up your kale πŸ™‚

That’s for you, JY and MN πŸ˜‰ Love.

Yours in Less,

62 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Gluten Free, Raw, Recipes, Rejuvenation, Rich & Simple, Snacks, Sweet Treats, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Recipe: Luscious Homemade Tahini Goddess Dressing

A good dressing can make vegetables sing.

Nothing is worth more than this day.

~ Goethe

Some days you just want a salad, right?

You know, those crisp fresh vegetables full of hydrating water and loaded with vitamins & enzymes?

I don’t know about you guys (I have my suspicions though) but I am always pretty thrilled to have a homemade salad dressing hanging out in the fridge that makes it easy to wash a few raw vegetables and dress them to perfection.

This recipe is made in honor of a very popular bottled salad dressing. Anyone out there familiar with a store-bought version of the ever popular Goddess dressing?

I’ve never been a fan of bottled anything – so one day a few weeks back I decided to make my own version of a popular favorite. Here is the result! I’ve got a secret…it’s better (IMO) than anything you can buy in a bottle!

Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist, persists.

Β  ~ Eckhart Tolle

Utilizing tahini in salad dressings has always been a popular trick with vegans. This paste made of hulled sesame seeds is satisfying and filling, not to mention full of calcium and protein – two things vegans (and all folks really) need.

Here I added soy sauce, dried parsley, oil, vinegar, lemon juice, and granulated garlic – all easy things you probably have in your pantry already. It keeps well, eats well, and can easily be tailored to your tastes and preferences.

Boom.

Thick & satisfying, this dressing is just as home on top of hot brown rice & steamed broccoli as it is on crunchy romaine leaves or as a dip for whole raw carrots.

The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it.

~ Eckhart Tolle

The Less:

Less bottled and packaged shelf stable groceries means more tasty, waste-free staples. More control over ingredients means fewer extras added so food can sit longer. Less sugar and sweets at dinner means you can add those later in the day, so spreading the love is still tasty and makes sense.

The More:

More high calcium sesame means more satisfaction in flavor and texture. More heft in your dressing means more freshness to go under it. More use for those pantry staples adds more depth to your kitchen, so whipping this one up year round is a snap.

Luscious Homemade Tahini Goddess Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup roasted sesame tahini (you can use raw but the end result will be different)
  • (1/2-1 cup) water (depending on desired thickness)
  • 1/2) cup good olive oil
  • (5-6) tbsp fresh lemon juice (can substitute bottled lemon juice too)
  • (2-3) tbsp apple cider vinegar (to taste based on the lemon juice)
  • (2) tbsp Braggs or soy sauce
  • (2) tbsp dried or fresh parsley
  • (1/4) tsp granulated garlic or garlic powder

Combine all ingredients in a blender (or in a bowl for use with a hand blender) and blend until creamy and emulsified.

Taste to correct seasonings (use the lesser amount of water, lemon, and vinegar and add as desired).

Transfer dressing to a clean jar and refrigerate. This should keep well for up to a week, and perhaps longer if you use bottled lemon juice. It will thicken in the fridge a little and makes fabulous dip.

A little goes a long way and this dressing is jam-packed with flavor!

Veggie salads are a great way to load up on fiber and roughage, not to mention a fabulous vehicle for a great dressing like this!

Enjoy poured on hot cooked grains, and steamed vegetables of all kinds. This would also make a great dip for roasted potato wedges and even as a mayo substitute in veggie sandwiches or on burgers.

Use it to you heart’s content!

The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.

~ Ferdinand Foch

Greatness lies not in being strong, but in the right use of strength.

~ Henry Ward Beecher

Thanks to all of you who let me know how much you enjoyed the super nutritious quinoa breakfast from my last post..and if you liked that one, you might just like this quinoa breakfast too (you know, just in case) πŸ™‚

Wishing you all a super swell weekend – we’ve got a typical weekend planned packed with soccer games & a special get together with good friends. For those of you curious, Not So Fast will kick off our first sponsored cooking class on November 13th…cooking up the good stuff and sending kids home with warm home cooked food.

We’re getting there with our website and taking time to do things right. I’m hoping you will all be pleased with the results!

Until then, stay tuned for more great food and stories. I sure enjoy yours.

  • Are you a fan of Goddess dressing?
  • Got a favorite tahini-based dressing to share with us?

The last time I asked for recipes I got tipped to a fabulous chickpea farinata recipe – I’m happy to report I’ve made it more than once (it’s amazing) and I’ll be sharing it soon with a little something extra tasty and special.

Until then, wishing you all the very best, and be well. Me and my armpit are going to be just fine (story in my next post).

Yours in Less,

53 Comments

Filed under Cheap, Cooking, Gluten Free, Health, Nut Recipes, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Salads, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Recipe: Single Serve Quinoa, Apple, & Almond Butter Breakfast Bowl

A warm breakfast for those cool autumn mornings.

In between goals is a thing called life, that has to be lived and enjoyed.

~ Sid Caesar

Want to get in your apple a day?

Here is a warm way to start your winter mornings that makes getting your apple a day a (delicious) cinch.

A nice warm bowl of protein and fibre-filled fuel is a great way to start a big day, especially if you’ve got a lot on the go (anyone out there?!).

Because as much as I love to scheme about food and think about recipes, there is a big big life out there to lead with lots of daily responsibilities, so fueling up early can help on those days when the to-do list is long.

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

~ Mahatma Gandhi

Because, as we know, life is about so much more than just food.

On that note I’ve got to say – for those of you who read, paused, thought, commented, and emailed me or shared your own stories on my last post, I not only thank you, but I salute you all.

To recognize & face difficult parts of ourselves is indeed a difficult thing to do, and in understanding that weakness is an affliction no one is ever spared from, it was important that I honored the real reason I am here.

So thank you to all of you, for making that (small) part of me welcome, and for your kind words of support, and in turn for your bravery and honesty in sharing your stories with me and everyone else. Really, as a co-worker of mine says…mad mad love (I can’t quite pull that off but have always wished I could and you get the idea). πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

A few posts back I brought up this NYT article about how our consumption of quinoa has affected the people of Bolivia.

I was glad to see that many of you are aware of this and already approach this grain with (just a little) more reverence than maybe some other foods, and perhaps try (just a little) harder not to waste any when you cook with it.

This is a good thing!

If you haven’t read the article yet, I encourage you to have a read, and then make this hearty breakfast for one (or two depending on what you enjoy it with).

Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today.

~ Benjamin Franklin

The Less:

Less traditional cooked cereals means less gluten-loaded cooked grains. Less boxed and sugared breakfasts means less waste and empty calories. Less waste when you are cooking means not a single morsel gets left behind, so wasting precious food becomes history.

The More:

More warm food in the morning means you’ll be cozy all day long. More high fiber breakfast food means better digestion overall. More unprocessed whole foods means better for the body to break down, and more ways to portion wisely means food never goes to waste.

Single Serve Quinoa, Apple, & Almond Butter Bowl:

  • (1/3) cup quinoa
  • (2/3) cup water
  • (1) apple, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • (1) tsp maple syrup or honey
  • (1) tbsp almond butter
  • (1) tsp coconut butter (optional)
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • fruit or berries for the top
  • (1-2) tbsp of toasted nuts or seeds of choice (here we have toasted walnuts)

To cook, start by peeling and seeding your apple. I like to use the ones that are maybe (just a little) past the crunchy stage where I eat them as is, as I hate to waste apples, especially this time of year when they are just so darned good.

Put up to boil in a small pot the quinoa, apple, and cold water. Once the boil is reached, turn the heat to low (do not remove the lid) and cook, covered, for 20 minutes, or until the water is absorbed.

While the quinoa cooks, combine together the almond butter, coconut butter, and honey in a small mixing bowl. If you are toasting nuts from scratch, heat a dry skillet and toast the nuts lightly until fragrant. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Once the quinoa is ready, scrape the cooked apple/quinoa mixture directly into the bowl with the coconut/almond/honey mixture. Sprinkle in a pinch of salt and stir all to combine.

Transfer the mixture to a clean serving bowl and top with choice of nuts, and perhaps some frozen blueberries for a hit of summer on a dark morning.

These frozen beauties made for a lovely contrast to the warmth of the cooked grain. You can also add a small spoon of thick plain yoghurt if you like, or milk if that is your preference.

Perfect to warm those bones on a chilly day.

All the statistics in the world can’t measure the warmth of a smile.

~ Chris Hart

Do one thing every day that scares you.

~ Eleanor Roosevelt

I’m wishing you all (just a little) extra strength this week – to do one thing a day that scares you, and just to be kind to yourself and to others.

Whether that means cooking yourself a nice healthy breakfast, or singing your favorite song out loud in the streets, it’s never the wrong time to make a change, and to try something new. Maybe even something scary! Whatever that means to you πŸ™‚

  • What’s your favorite fall breakfast food?

We’re busy here working on stuff as always..from family & work stuff to planning our next NSF cooking class (we are set for November 13th) to the Vegan Potluck event coming up – this fall is proving to be a busy one!

Yours in Less,

72 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Food, Gluten Free, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Sweet Treats, Vegan, Vegetarian

True Stories: My Shopping Addiction & The Healing Process

A quick break for some storytelling.

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do.

~ Confucius

True story: I love food.

I love creating food, serving food, eating food, and in general sharing the great wealth of variety & goodness we have at our fingertips.

But I love other things too.

For instance, I love shoes. And clothes. And jackets and handbags and designer lipstick.

For those of you who know (just a little) about IPOM, you may have read (at some point) my story here on my About page. The real reason I am here today, writing this blog, having started a charity from no more than a passing idea, is because just over 2 years ago I overcame a pretty big issue: a compulsive and destructive addiction to shopping.

And no, I don’t mean to cocoa nibs and kale πŸ™‚

You see, after reaching a certain level of accomplishment in my life (kids, marriage, work, home, renovated kitchen, two cars), I was at a point where I didn’t know what mountain was left still to climb.

I had it good, and it was time to show it, no? After all, isn’t that what you do after spending your life attaining all the things in life we are supposed to want?

I haven’t led a typical life, that’s for sure.

My story is long and varied for a woman of 35 and has many stories (not all of them good). I didn’t set out to have these things, but I consider myself beyond blessed to have been given them. I don’t plan to share too much here on this blog, but I do promise that one day I will, somewhere soon. When the time and place are right.

But back to that status thing. I had two healthy kids in school, a good job, and a kitchen worthy of magazine covers (I stole my ideas all from those covers and it turned out pretty good).

So I set about decorating my physical frame with beautiful things. In some cases (well, most cases), I did it with money I didn’t yet have, and with an openness that didn’t exist.

There was a period there where you could have asked me ‘What’s in the wings?’ – and I would have had at least one (or two or three) expensive items either on layaway in store or hiding in a closet deep in my basement somewhere, hidden from my husband, but secretly known to me, the shopkeepers, and that Visa no one else in my house knew about.

Acquiring nice things became a game between me and my scheming mind, and once I acquired one and successfully integrated it into the mix (‘What, this old thing?’), I soon would lose the rush and set my sights on what I could focus all of my powers on to get next.

Addiction. It’s not pretty.

Knowing myself as the addictive person that I am meant I knew I had a problem.

But like most of us, when we know we want to change something, is it easy to change?

So that brings us here. To be truthful, I am here because I needed to get better (it has worked). I needed to re-focus, and look outside of myself, and not to what is hanging on my flesh, but to who and what is going on around me. So I’ve dedicated this time in my life to nurturing the part of me that wants to connect with others, those in need, and those also in need of connection.

I needed to change my ways for my girls, and for my marriage, and I needed to connect with what it was I was really after.

A purpose far greater than just myself.

It’s still a long way away, but I am on the path, and just by being here, you are with me too, and that (IMO) is pretty darned awesome (it’s not just awesome, it’s better than awesome).

I love food, and I’ll continue to share all that brings me joy in this life, in hopes that I might continue to bring some small nugget of value to you as readers of this blog.

But I’d be lying if I told you just food was enough. There’s just so much more to celebrate and talk about.

All in moderation of course πŸ™‚

Less really can be more, in all aspects of our lives, whether it is with food, television, swearing, shopping for pretty rags & (really) over consumption of all kinds.

I know many of you blog (or read blogs) for reasons of health, happiness, inspiration, and making conscious choices that can make the world a better place for all of us.

So whether that choice is veganism, food activism, human rights, or otherwise, I’d love to know how you came to that choice. And I’d also love to hear, and perhaps even share, your story.

If there was one thing you could see going without for a better and more fulfilling life, what would it be? Do you have any destructive habits you’d like to kick for good? Have you already started this journey and want to share it?

You don’t have to share it here if you aren’t comfortable, and honestly, if you’ve made it this far into this post, I’m just happy you are still here..but I’d love to hear from you, and perhaps even share your story here.

If you like, feel free to drop me a line at shira@wearenotsofast.org. I’d like to mix things up a bit here and get real. Want to share your story of healing? I’m all ears.

I’ll get back to cocoa nibs and kale in my next post, I promise, just as soon as I pull on this old jacket and these shoes from last season πŸ™‚

I’m no saint here, but I’m trying. Trying to do better, to be better, and to help others do the same. Thanks for being here with me, and for doing what you all do to make this world a better place.

Yours in Less,

55 Comments

Filed under Aspirations, Discipline, Going Without, Happiness, Health, Hope, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Success, Victory

How To: Grow Super Nutritious Sprouts at Home

Home grown sprouts are all yours!

Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen.

~ Wolfgang Von Goethe

Want to see magic happen?

I’ve got just the thing. Did anyone try this salad from my last post? I was thrilled to hear that a few of you did, some of you plan to, and those of you who were waiting for the how-to on growing sprouts?

It’s here! Look no further.

Sprouting legumes is just about the safest and easiest darned thing you can do. It’s a bit like bread…set it up, leave it to sit in the right conditions, and watch live magic happen right before your eyes.

Those dried peas in your cupboard you are not sure what to do with? Sprout them. There are many things to sprout but none are as easy (IMHO) as dried peas & beans.

So let’s get started!

Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day.

~ Author Unknown

There is a real magic in enthusiasm. It spells the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment.

~ Unknown

Β There are just a few things you will need to sprout beans at home.

Starting with dried beans (of course). Of course if any of you are accomplished at growing alfalfa or other seeds, I’d love to hear from you!

My favorites beans for sprouting are:

  • Mung Beans
  • Garbanzos
  • Green Lentils
  • Green Peas (whole dried ones are hard to find strangely but oh, so good and kids LOVE them).

These are all (except for the peas) easily acquired, and cost very little. Given the cost for the average amount you will work with, you will see just how far they actually go.

How’s that for further proof that eating well needn’t be expensive, and this, dear readers, is one of the best examples around! Not to mention delicious too πŸ™‚

Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.

~ Kongzi

The Less:

Less store-bought sprouted foods means more health for less cost. Less cooked beans and legumes means more of their vital live energy is in tact. Less high cost sources of protein means more money that goes farther, and less heavy bulky foods means more lightness and well-being too.

The More:

More living plant-based energy & live enzymes means more good feelings and good moods. More light crunchy textures means more satisfaction when eating them. More home-grown how-toΒ  means more skills where it matters, so good eating and good sense are easy, cheap, and pure amazing πŸ™‚

Once you have your beans, you will need just three more things:

  1. a clean jar
  2. an elastic band
  3. a small piece of cheesecloth

Plus, of course, lots of clean water for soaking and rinsing, light through the kitchen window, a little air circulation, and your care and attention just twice a day.

Not bad hey?

But more on that later.

Super Nutritious Sprouts at Home for Pennies:

  • (1/4-1/2 cup dried beans (mung beans are great to start with!)
  • (1) clean mason jar (1 liter size if you can but small ones work too for smaller amounts)
  • (1) piece of cheese cloth or plastic mesh, cut into a square the size of the jar opening
  • (1) elastic band to secure the cheesecloth to the top of the jar
  • Plenty of cold water for soaking & rinsing

Start by putting up the beans of your choice to soak for 8-16 hours in the jar you will use for sprouting (like most things they can languish for a while so don’t worry if you soak them too long). Use cold clean water to do this as the beans are going to absorb that water. You can leave the jar open on the counter and there is no need to cover it.

The soaking process starts the ‘waking’ process for the dried beans which are by nature designed to keep for long periods of time on their dry (dormant) state. This is a (very) beautiful thing, as they can really keep almost indefinitely in a sealed container if kept dry.

Once soaked, the fun really starts.

Using your piece of cheese cloth (no more than 2 layers as the water needs to drain easily, but you don’t want anything falling through the holes), secure it to the top of the jar and drain the soaking liquid.

Next, you rinse (get acquainted with rinsing).

Simply set the jar in the sink and run cold water through the beans several times, turning the upside down to drain the water between rinses. Here you will see whether you have the cheesecloth too layered as the water will drain slowly.

After a few clean rinses, your soaked and rinsed little bundles of life are ready to grow. Simply set the cheesecloth covered jar upside down, and on an angle, and rest it in your dish rack.

Sprouts need a few things to grow well: air & light (in addition to clean water). As most sinks are by a kitchen window, light is normally not an issue. If your kitchen has no window by the sink, you might consider propping the jar (in the dish rack or in a bowl on its side near a window in between rinses). The air comes from the holes in the cheesecloth

For the next two days, morning and night, repeat the rinsing process, taking care to rinse the beans in their entirety at least twice. After each time, set them to rest in your dish rack.

After two full days…you should have this….

Life in the form of a little sprout. Don’t they just make you smile?

Once ready, and you have little tails on your sprouts, rinse them a final time and transfer to a container and store in the fridge. These guys will keep well in the fridge (for up to a week).

If you try to sprout chickpeas, I might suggest rinsing 3 -4 times a day as they are larger and can dry out faster than the smaller varieties (this is not good for growing sprouts just like it’s not good for us). So keep them (and yourself!) fresh by watering them carefully and keeping them hydrated. Chickpeas might also take an extra day to sprout.

Enjoy sprouted beans in salads, tucked into avocado sandwiches, or as a snack for hungry kids who get home from school. I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t have a palate for mung beans when sprouted (pictured in this post).

Logic only gives man what he needs… Magic gives him what he wants.

~ Tom Robbins

If we are to have magical bodies, we must have magical minds.

~ Dr Wayne Dyer

I could really go on about sprouts, as I grew up eating them. My mom always had a jar of alfalfa sprouts growing in our sink as kids in the winter time. Sprouts are believed to contain a much higher level of enzymes, making them much more digestible than their cooked counterparts.

After all, sprouts are vital foods that contain enough life force to grow into a plant.

But I’ll let you be the judge of that πŸ˜‰

Thank you to all of you wished me well after my little vehicle mishap last week..I’m driving a giant courtesy car this week which is demanding my full attention πŸ™‚ You all made my weekend wonderful!

Looking forward to getting my little car back on the road, all shiny & new!

  • Are any of you home sprouters?
  • Anything special you are looking forward to right now?

Let us know, and wishing everyone a wonderful week!

Yours in Less,

48 Comments

Filed under Cheap, Food, Gluten Free, Raw, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Salads, Snacks, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Recipe: Crisp Brussels Sprout Salad w/ Apple Dijon Dressing

The tastiest, craziest, & most delicious salad. Ever.

Be Bold, be bold, and everywhere be bold.

~ Edmund Spenser

I’ve got to come out with it.

I know it’s hard when this happens, but really, I’ve got to be honest. I’ve had a challenging week.

I’m not sharing this to illicit sympathy (well, not intentionally), but in truth, I’d be lying if I tried to pretend life was all roses all the time. Of course this week has also brought it’s fair share of amazing as well.

So what to do?

Roll with it. Carry on. Be bold. Stay strong. And don’t stop (never stop).

Keep carrying on. Positively!

So really, that fender bender that will see my insurance rates go up for the next few years? I am choosing to see the positive: while my vehicle is in the body shop, I can finally have the rest of the knicks and scrapes repaired along with that crack in the wind shield that gets longer by the week….no one was hurt. Accidents happen.

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.

~ E.E. Cumming

My usual style is to beat myself up hard over stuff like this. After all, driving is serious business and there is nothing like a split second to change the course of your day, or if it is really not your day (and heaven forbid) your life.

As shaken as I was for the rest of that day, I know that practicing forgiveness for mistakes is as much a part of the lesson as the mistake itself.

So drive safely folks. Don’t text (I wasn’t on or near my phone when this happened). Don’t look down. Take a few extra seconds to think. And if you fail, forgive. It’s the least you can do.

And then make this salad. It will make you an instant hero, no matter what your week, or your day, has looked like. Even if you don’t like brussels sprouts, this raw combo will blow you away (and anyone else at your table too).

The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.

~ John Powell

The Less:

Less conventional cooked brussels sprouts means a chance to finally enjoy them. Less boredom in the salad department means more excitement and life in your salad bowl. Less cooked heavy meals means more lightness, crunch, and flavor, not to mention good health and well-being too.

The More:

More cruciferous green veggies & home-grown sprouts means more delicious, disease-fighting frugality. More high-fiber substance means more filling up on the right foods. More crisp crunchy textures means more chewing for good digestion, so eating and mindfulness are a no-brainer.

Crisp Brussels Sprout Salad w/ Apple Dijon Dressing:

  • (15) large brussels sprouts, washed
  • (1) cup fresh sprouted legumes (my fave to grow at home are mung bean or green peas)
  • (1/2) cup dried cranberries
  • (1/3) cup toasted whole pecans, crumbled
  • (1/2) cup Apple Dijon Dressing
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

Apple Dijon Dressing:

  • (1/4) cup apple juice (or water will do in a pinch)
  • (1/2) cup apple cider vinegar
  • (1/2) cup good olive oil
  • (3) tbsp smooth Dijon mustard
  • (3) tbsp honey or plant-based sweetener
  • (1/2) tsp good sea salt

First, make the dressing by combining all the ingredients in a blender (or large bowl if you are using a hand blender). Blend all until a silky texture is created, just about 20-30 seconds. Transfer to a clean container or jar.

To make the salad, start by toasting the pecans either in a 350 degree oven for 5-10 minutes or on the stove top in a dry pan for 5 minutes or so, being very careful not to burn them. Set the pecans aside.

To shred the brussels sprouts, make sure they are clean by running them quickly under cold water. With a sharp serrated knife, start with the top end of each sprout (they are cut individually) and slice the sprout in rounds as thinly as you can until you reach the thicker stem end. Use this method until all of the sprouts are shredded.

Next, add them to a large bowl and separate the rounds with your hands to free the pieces and create a slaw like mixture.

When ready to serve, combine all of the ingredients in the bowl except the pecans, and toss with the dressing, adding it to taste.

This is a nice light dressing which will pool somewhat on the bottom of the bowl once the salad is served. Don’t waste this! I suggest a few baked or steamed whole sweet potatoes to serve alongside this to soak up this delicious dressing πŸ™‚

When ready to serve, crumble the toasted pecans over top of the salad or onto individual portions and serve right away.

Freedom lies in being bold.

~ Robert Frost

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.

~ Steve Jobs

This salad tastes incredible the next day too and is wonderful served on top of cooked grains and/or other steamed vegetables.

In my next post I’ll take you through the home sprouting process step by step – sprouting legumes is really one of those easy and cheap things that brings amazing results to anyone looking for simple raw nutrition for literally pennies!

These gorgeous mung beans provide at least a few days worth of enzymes, protein, and vitality and they only took 2 days to grow right here in my sink πŸ™‚

If you are ashamed to stand by your colors, you had better seek another flag.

~ Author Unknown

So folks, I hope you are having a fabulous October so far – it is hard to believe we are almost half way!

I am looking forward to the upcoming Vegan Potluck hosted by Annie and Somer, as well as continuing to take in all the delicious recipes coming through Vegan MoFo (October is the Vegan Month of Food)…and a special thanks to Kristy at Keepin’ it Kind for her gorgeous version of this chickpea flatbread!

I am also excited to get my car fixed up. Turns out there IS an up side to everything, it just depends in which light you look at it. So whether life is actually roses all the time or not, those colored glasses we always hear so much about?

I’m keeping mine close. It’s the only way.

  • Have you tried brussels sprouts raw before?

If not, this is so worth a try!

It has been immediately added to our regular rotation, and even got a huge thumbs up from both the teenager and the husband. Now, that’s a win worth celebrating!

Wishing you all a safe and happy week!

Yours in Less,

87 Comments

Filed under Cheap, Cooking, Food, Gluten Free, Photography, Raw, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Salads, Savory, Uncategorized, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Recipe: Easy Crusty Home Baked Bread (Baked Beans on Toast – Part Two)

Bountiful. Beautiful. Home Baked Bread.

IPOM Crusty Bread (1)

If thou tastest a crust of bread, thou tastest all the stars and all the heavens.

~ Robert Browning

Baking beautiful bread?

Bread. Beauty. Bounty (alliteration today is brought to you by Cara). Today is the day!

I’ve been excited about this one for weeks, that is ever since I discovered it (I haven’t stopped baking beautiful bread since that day).

This was a recipe I randomly & luckily stumbled upon, and I am not sure through which medium it actually came to me (I am thinking Pinterest) – however, it must be noted it was this amazing blog post that got me going.

Insert major gratitude here.

Over the years, I’ve certainly tried all manner of bread recipes. Yeast and flour and I have never really gotten each other, and it could be that the precise nature of all things baking just does not come naturally for me.

I am happy to say that I’ve finally found the one recipe that has made me a bread baker. The day has come, and now, if you want it, it is yours for the taking too!

Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.

~ James Beard

Not only must we be good, but we must be good for something.

~ Henry David Thoreau

It is true that not all good folks enjoy bread freely these days. With the rise in sensitivities to gluten, more and more people every day are avoiding the stuff.

Wheat being one of the oldest crops known to man-kind, it always seems crazy to me that evolution would take us down this road. Especially considering wheat’s status as the ‘staff of life’ and the fact it is an age-old source of sustenance that has been relied upon since the dawn of human existence.

Wheat berries are cheap, they can be grown all over the world, and in their whole form are full of sound vitamins, minerals, and other healthy nutritious properties.

Used in their most natural form, whole wheat berries can be made into all manner of salads, added to stews, or famously sprouted for making raw breads or used to make rejuvelac and to grow wheatgrass.

However, when wheat berries are milled, bleached, bagged, and left in giant storehouses to spoil & turn rancid, it’s no wonder that our bodies are struggling to recognize wheat for the simple, life-giving grain that it is.

Change your thoughts and you can change the world.

~ Norman Vincent Peale

So if you are sensitive to wheat & gluten, but can still eat it from time to time, do source out organic freshly milled flour if possible. You might just notice a difference in how you feel after eating it (or you might not).

Whole wheat, all-purpose, or white, the most important thing to know is that it is fresh.

Just like roasted coffee should be ground right before use, or nuts & oils can go rancid if left for long periods of time at the wrong temperature, all milled flours are susceptible to the same conditions, so use it fresh.

Like all of your food (if you can).

There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.

Β  ~ Mahatma Gandhi

The Less:

Less store-bought, packaged bread products means less cost, waste, and potential preservatives. Less reliance on commercial food supply lines means more control of your health, your home & your pocketbook. Less complicated recipes to produce authentic foods means more likelihood you’ll do it, because everyone deserves to be a baker (if desired).

The More:

More fresh-baked bread from freshly milled flour means (hopefully) fewer reasons for healthy bodies to reject it. More novice friendly methods means more confidence you can do it, so you can turn pro starting right now. More homemade comfort food on the table means more enjoyment all around, and isn’t that what we are all seeking after all?

Easy Crusty Home Baked Bread:

  • (3) cups all-purpose flour
  • (1/2) tsp active dry yeast
  • (1 3/4) tsp salt
  • (1.5 – 1.75 cups) cold water from the tap
  • Whatever additions your heart desires: fresh or dried herbs like rosemary, grated cheddar cheese, dried fruits, nuts & seeds, the ideas are endless!
  • One oven proof casserole with lid, preferably ceramic or cast iron (though I read you can use any oven proof dish and cover it with foil, I have an Emile Henry clay casserole I got for my wedding years ago)

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all the ingredients except for the water. Next, add the water (in bits or all at once) and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon or tough plastic spatula.

Once mixed, the dough should be sticky, like the picture shown below.

Feel free to play with the amounts of water used as I have used anywhere from 1.5 cups (the original recipe amount) to almost 2 cups. A good friend of mine uses a bread recipe very similar to this and suggested to add more water particularly if I play with other flours – ie. a mix of white & whole wheat.

Once the dough is well mixed, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave to proof on the kitchen counter for anywhere from 12 – 20 hours.

Seriously, this is (just one) of the beautiful things about this recipe.

You can start the dough at anytime and get to the baking when it works for you. I have baked after 12 hours proofing and I have baked after 22 hours proofing. All delicious, all the time.

Proofed Dough, ready to bake.

When you are ready to bake (and have a free hour and a half), turn on the oven and heat it to 450 degrees. Once the temperature is reached, put your oven proof dish in the oven and heat it for 30 minutes.

Just before the heating time for the dish is ready, flour a work surface with a very generous handful of flour. With your hands, pull the proofed dough out of the bowl and set it atop the floured surface.

Shape the dough into a roundish loaf and evenly coat it with the flour. Don’t worry about any inconsistencies with the shape of the dough – it will all sort itself out in the baking process.

This is a no knead recipe. Yes, that is right, no kneading!

So. Very. Awesome.

Remove the hot pot -careful it will be HOT! – and place the dough carefully into the dish. No oil or anything required.

Place the lid on top (or foil if this is your method – use good oven mits!) and place the dish into the hot oven still set to 450 degrees.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, keeping the oven hot by not peeking (I love having a hot and heavy lid that prevents me from peeking).

I have done both times and prefer the 35 minute time, the crust gets (just a little) crustier that way, but feel free to play with a time that works for you.

After 30-35 minutes, carefully remove the dish from the oven, and voila! Hot, beautiful, glorious bread. Remove onto a wire cooling rack and allow to cool before slicing.

For best keeping, do not store in a plastic bag until the loaf has cooled completely as this will diminish the crust on the loaf. A paper bag or on the counter is great right after it is made.

Though if you make this in time for a family meal I can almost guarantee leftovers will not be an issue.

Serve with soup, salad, curry, pasta, or make into crusty bread sandwiches with tofu steaks, cheese, lettuce, and ripe red tomatoes.

My personal favorite? Fresh out of the oven with butter. A bowl of hearty warm beans. And not a whole lot more (or less) πŸ™‚

The history of the world is the record of a man in quest for his daily bread and butter.

~ Hendrick Willem Van Loon

Whatever makes up your daily bread, doing so with reverence and appreciation of all things past can give us a better understanding of how it is we got where we are today. Things don’t always get better with time (but thankfully many things do).

In our modern world full of processed, packaged, ‘middle grocery aisle’ foods, fresh foods from fresh ingredients are still best. It’s been that way for thousands of years. Funny how some things never change.

Fresh is still best.

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.

~ Dr. Seuss

If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.

~ Mother Teresa

This recipe is cheap, easy, and simple in a world with so many options when it comes to tackling what (can be) one of the hardest foods to master in the kitchen.

Suitable for kitchen novices and experienced cooks alike, I’ve got full faith that anyone can be just hours away from blatant, breathtaking, bread-baking brilliance!

  • Are you a bread baker?
  • What is your favorite bread recipe?

We’re coming off a gorgeous holiday weekend here in beautiful Whistler (thanks to all for the truly fabulous company) – here’s to wishing all of my Canadian readers a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Next up, I’ve got the best brussels sprout salad you’ve ever had.

So stay tuned. It will be worth it, that I can promise you.

Yours in Less,

66 Comments

Filed under Cheap, Cooking, Food, Health, Photography, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Vegan, Vegetarian

Recipe: Homemade Baked Beans On Toast – Part One

The ultimate in affordable (vegetarian) comfort food.

Play is the highest form of research.

~ Albert Einstein

Do you ever just need a little comfort food?

I think it is safe to say we all need a little comfort in the form of our favorite foods here and there. Growing up, one of my most favorite snack foods was just this – comforting – not to mention dirt cheap and easy to make.

After all, what is easier than opening up a can of beans and heating them up? Toss a few pieces of bread in the toaster and slather on the butter….just thinking of it brings me right back to 4th grade heaven.

My 30 something year old self now knows that while the old canned standbys are still good in a pinch, there is nothing better than a warm bowl of home cooked beans and a fresh piece of bread hot out of the oven. Especially when they are this cheap, and this easy.

All you need is (just a little) love. And (just a little) time.

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Having just celebrated another birthday, I find myself of late quite keenly aware of the fleeting nature of our lives.

As I think back to my days as young child I can tell you my defining moments just as easily as I can tell you what my favorite things to eat were. Most often, and particularly at the beginning of each new school year, I think back to me and my siblings, convening after a long day at school to watch TV and eat food we could make on our own.

Hot beans in a bowl. With toast. Childhood comfort food. Three’s Company. Let’s do it!

Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing.

~ Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

The Less:

Less canned food in your pantry means more room for cheaper dry goods to nourish you. Less waste and added preservatives means cleaner eating and a lighter conscience. Less sugar heavy baked beans means more naturally sweetened heartiness, and a whole lot more nourishment too.

The More:

More high fiber protein foods means easier work of digestion. More hearty, filling comfort means more warmth and goodness in your day. More cheap easy recipes means more ways to spread your money farther, because good health doesn’t have to come at a high cost.

Homemade Baked Beans:

  • (2) cups dry white Navy beans, soaked in cold water
  • (1/3- 1/2 cup) good olive oil
  • (2) medium – large yellow onions, chopped
  • (2) tsp salt
  • (1) small can tomato paste (about 1/2 cup)
  • (3) tbsp honey, brown sugar, or other plant-based sweetener
  • (8) cups cold water for cooking
  • Lots of love of and plenty of time

Start by soaking your beans in plenty of cold of water for anywhere from 8 – 20 hours (8 is about the minimum to soak thoroughly and don’t worry if you ill time the soaking – they can sit there for a while). When ready to cook, drain the beans and rinse in the colander under more fresh cold water.

Next, heat the oil in a large soup pot and add the chopped onion and salt. Cook the onion for about 10 minutes on medium-high heat, being careful not to burn them. Stir here and there, after 10 minutes the onions should be soft and translucent.

Next, add the tomato paste, beans, and 4 cups of cold cooking water. Stir well to dissolve the paste and bring to a boil over high heat with the lid on. Once the boil is reached, stir again and reduce the heat to medium, to keep the simmer at a jolly roll (not boiling but cooking nicely).

Now, kick up your feet, and get settled in. Read a book , or finish that knitting project you started. Maybe write some notes to your family to tell them you love them. Or not. But do enjoy this nice time at home.

Cook the beans withe the lid ajar for 1.5 hours, stirring here and there and adding the remaining 4 cups of water in increments as the sauce reduces. After the first hour, add whatever water is left, and the honey or sweetener, and cook for 30 minutes until the mixture is deliciously saucy.

From here, you can let the beans hang out until you are ready to bake them (you can even sneak in a bowl to eat at this point).

To bake, transfer the beans to a casserole and bake, covered either with the casserole lid or with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 2 hours. Remove from the oven and serve hot with fresh bread or toast.

These beans will keep extremely well, and should be good to eat up to a week after they are made. A little goes a long way here as these guys are hearty and filling, so pile them into a container for those moments during the week when you need a little comfort.

Paired up with the bread recipe lined up for the next post, you’ll wonder if there could possibly be anything simpler or more nostalgic (especially if you grew up in my family).

You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.

~ Julia Child

I was pleased to see that 25 years later, kids still love this food as a filler up after soccer practice or after a long tough day as a teenager (because let’s face it, that is exhausting work for those of you who may recall).

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you imagined.

~ Henry David Thoreau

Next I’ll share with you the bread recipe that has literally changed my life since I discovered it. Turns out, it’s never too late to be a baker, even if you’ve never even made bread before! Stay tuned, I am really excited about this one!

Here’s to a super fab October…wishing you all the very best as always!

  • Did you have a favorite childhood comfort food?
  • Got an updated version to share with us?

Let us know! Looking forward to hearing from you all as always, and for all my vegan-minded blog friends taking part in Vegan MoFo, wishing you all the best for a month of blogging inspiration, and those of you interested, check out the link here!

Yours in Less,

87 Comments

Filed under Cheap, Cooking, Family, Food, Gluten Free, Photography, Recipes, Rich & Simple, Savory, Snacks, Vegan, Vegetarian

On Gratitude, Gratefulness & Always Giving Thanks

Gratitude. What does it mean to you?

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.

~ Thornton Wilder

It’s that time of year again!

The time here in the cooling (and beautiful) Northwest when we start thinking about cozy sweaters, warm scarves, pulling on our favorite boots, and about Thanksgiving.

This is the time of year when every corner grocery store stocks tiny mini pumpkins and you can’t take a step without hearing a leaf (or seven) crumble under your well-meaning fuzzy-socked feet.

Happy October everyone!

The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.

~ William James

This week I am particularly thankful for big progress here at what I like to lovingly call world IPOM headquarters (tee hee).

Not So Fast is making progress at a healthy and (mostly) manageable pace. I owe big gratitude to all who are taking part in this creative and amazing labor of love. Your energy and support are the only reason NSF is anything more than just a random passing idea.

I’ve got a giant heart here and it’s all full because of all of you. Yes, you (that is pointed squarely at you too IPOM readers).

Risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.

~ Leo Buscaglia

Not So Fast is hard at work planning a full school year of cooking classes for kids and families living in our fair city’s poorest neighborhood.

We want to not only share simple food with those who are keen to join us, but we hope to (maybe) offer (just a little) hope, confidence & much needed access to eating well into lives that are (likely) much more limited than our own.

A quick visit to our local farmers market drives our mission home for me with motivating intensity each and every time I go.

He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.

~ Epictetus

This time of year showcases producers of all types offering up the very height of glory in the fruits of their (hard) labor.

I get goosebumps just thinking of perusing & buying fresh corn, squash, kale, sweet cherry tomatoes, heirloom variety apples, and the last of the summer fruits and berries of all kinds.

It is nothing short of pure vegetable heaven this time of year, and every bit a true food lover’s paradise, no matter what your dietary preferences. You’d have to be inhuman not to get inspired this time of year after a visit to the market.

That is, unless you can’t afford it.

I wrote a few posts back about my visit to the market where I (oh heavens me) happened to find myself with only a meager sum of cash to get me through my visit. That visit where I had to control my desires and my will.

Imagine (just for a second) that you had to do that every day?

Not because (like me) you just weren’t organized, but because you simply didn’t have the dough. I ask this question not to instill guilt, or a sense of anything other than awareness.

Awareness that no matter what your means, there is always someone who has less than you, and always someone who has more.

Those blessings are sweetest that are won with prayer and worn with thanks.

~ Thomas Goodwin

As we prepare here in Canada to celebrate our national celebration of Thanksgiving (we are 3 weeks ahead of our American friends), many of us might be busy planning menus, inviting guests, or maybe just looking forward to our next three-day weekend.

My wish for this coming weekend, and for all the weekends to follow is simple:

My wish is that each day that comes next might be just as good as the day before, and that no matter what life throws at me, I always remember the important things. Like having a healthy loving family, a cozy roof over my head, and two strong legs to walk my sorry a** to the store when I’ve run out of milk (again).

Rest and be thankful.

~ William Wadsworth

I’d love to know what you might be thankful for not just this season, but all year long. I’ve a feeling our needs are not that different from one another, really.

Food, shelter, love.Good people. Good food. A good laugh here and there.

Not too much for ask for I reckon, especially when there is just so much to go around.

I am so happy to have you all here at IPOM to continue to celebrate simple healthy food and the idea of living with (just a little) less.

Many blessings to you, your loved ones, and the communities you live in.

Because the truth is as we move forward in our collective lives is just this: we are all in this together.

I’d love to hear what you might be pondering in preparation for this coming holiday weekend (and for those of you who are looking that far ahead in the US). No matter where you are, thanks for joining us!

I’ve got some recipes coming up that I hope you’ll love πŸ™‚

  • What are you planning for Thanksgiving?
  • How do you give thanks?

Yours in Less (as always),

44 Comments

Filed under Children, Cooking, Fasting, Feeding, Food, Food Insecurity, Going Without, Happiness, Health, Hope, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Non-Profit Organization, Not So Fast, Photography, Recipes, Rejuvenation, Success, Uncategorized, Victory