Friday, January 22, 2016

Change Your Sauce, Change Your Life

I'm deep enough into the process now, that I can make an announcement - I'm working on a book of vegan sauces! Just sauce. Well, and maybe a few basic dishes to go under the sauces. Did you know that most of us, when we cook at home, rely on a meager handful of 5-7 meals that we know and trust and make over and over again? For this very reason, I'm a big believer that changing up the sauce can make an average dish new and exciting, and as a result of such excitement, might indeed even change your life. Butterfly Effect: change one thing, change everything.

OK, so maybe I exaggerate the life changing superpowers of sauce, but I do know with absolute certainty that a good sauce can make a dull meal magnificent. With this in mind, I'm hard at work (and play) creating a collection of super sauces that are easy to make, and go with a variety of dishes.

I'm giddily knee deep in this project. I'm also a little surprised at how much work it is. I'm getting there though! My plan is to self-publish it through CreateSpace, same as I did with my Mandala Coloring Book. I'd like to offer it on Kindle, as well as in print. It appears to all be do-able.

I'll post updates here, and hope to have it finished by say... end of February, although that might be overly optimistic, given the time it takes to edit and have proof copies printed. Wish me luck! I'm doing it all by myself, which is how I learn the most. I'm having fun! I'm especially looking forward to a sauce-making frenzy when it comes time to take photos. Right now I'm haunting thrift stores, in search of dandy little serving bowls. It's amazing what people get rid of.

Have a happy weekend. Eat some sauce! I'll see you back here next week sometime. xoxo

Monday, January 11, 2016

Reviewing Rawxies Healthy Raw Snacks

I first saw Rawxies healthy raw snacks at Portland VegFest in November. I say "saw" because I couldn't get anywhere near the booth to get a taste. They were swamped with eager tasters the entire show, which is a pretty good indication of what I was missing. Recently though, I was contacted by the company, and asked if they could please send me some samples. Lucky me! And I didn't have to wait in line!

I received both the sweet and the savory varieties, the Banana Nut Bread, and the Smoked Paprika Crunch. Both were delicious, substantial, and tasted like real food - because they are. Unlike a lot of packaged snack foods that are fluffed up with a lot of air, these raw delights are hearty and full of flavor.

The Banana Nut Bread cookie was moist and chewy, and really good with a cup of coffee. And it's cute to boot, shaped like a heart! Gluten free, soy free, dairy free too, it's a dreamy little treat, with ingredients we can actually recognize: gluten free oat flour, organic sunflower seeds, almonds, organic coconut, organic bananas, organic dates, organic palm sugar, walnuts, organic cinnamon, organic vanilla, pink himalayan salt.

The Smoked Paprika Crunch was a yummy surprise. Nice big pieces of crunchy goodness with tons of flavor and nutrition. Just look at the ingredients: organic sunflower seeds, organic flax meal, organic flax seeds, organic sesame seeds, nutritional yeast, pumpkin seeds, organic chia seeds, olive oil, organic lime juice, organic spice blend (smokey paprika, onion, garlic), sea salt. So, so good!

Rawxies is a growing company, and it's easy to shop for their products online. You can also search for a store near you, and ask you favorite local markets to carry them if they don't already. Oddly, nobody in Portland carries Rawxies... yet. I'll be putting in my request to several key places in my area. Come on Food Fight, Alberta Co-op, People’s Co-op, New Seasons, and Food Front! Your customers are going to love Rawxies!!! Portland needs these!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Welcome 2016!

Happy New Year, my veggie friends! I hope you're off to a good start, inspired and energized to make some happy, healthy changes in the coming months. I'm not one for "resolutions." They've always been a waste of time for me. But if I change the word to "goals," there's also a mental shift that automatically creates forward motion. I love the fresh start a new year brings, and I'm ready for this one.

My motto of the the moment is, "I have no plan, and I'm sticking to it." I have goals though, and leaving out the cast-in-stone plan part makes a lot of wiggle room for things to fall into place, as if by magic, in ways I never would have thought of if I were to take the whole grand design into my own hands.

I have three goals in the works at the moment, and they're subject to change, always. The first is to finish writing the vegan sauces book I've been tinkering with for longer than I care to admit. I know so many people who find plant-based cooking daunting, or who really just don't like to cook. Truth is, most of us, vegan or not, rely on only a small handful of dishes we're comfortable cooking, and tend to make over and over again. But in my experience, sauces make all the difference. You could literally make a stir-fry every night, serve it with a different sauce, and it would always be a new and exciting meal. I'll get that sauce book out there for you ASAP. Promise!

Next in the works is to teach some small, cozy cooking classes, either in my apartment, or in friends' kitchens. Short, not-overwhelming, useful classes like vegan cheese making, or wraps and rolls, or maybe even basic shopping-and-chopping. If you have an idea for a class that would be fun and useful to you, please drop me a note!

And third up, like so many others this time of year, I'm feeling a bit, um, "fluffier" than I like to be, after all the holiday fun mixed with a slower pace in the cold weather. I'm feeling ready to get out there for longer walks - even in the snow we have today! - and to nudge my diet back to where I know it needs to be for me to feel my best. Just because cookies can be vegan doesn't mean they're good for us... just sayin'. My solution to the extra padding problem is simple. Eat more greens!

I hate diets and I'm convinced they're more bad for us than good. My way of cutting back a bit is to simply put a nest of chopped greens under practically everything I eat. It's kind of a Lean Green Bowl idea that doesn't take a lot of explanation. Get a bowl. (A big one, but not a mixing bowl.) Fill it half full with any kind of greens, chopped finely so you can pack a lot in. Top that with whatever hot dish you're having. You're automatically eating about half of what you would have if you'd filled the bowl with the "big food," you get the benefits of all that wonderful green-ness, and there's no feeling of deprivation, because your bowl is still full, full, full!

For instance, here's my green bowl with Mideast Chickpea Soup. I had already added a lot of cabbage and kale to the recipe, and as you can see, I'm a big fan of "rooster sauce." 

In this case I used romaine. Sometimes I go for mixed lettuces, kale, spinach, or super-green mixes. It's important to change up your greens, and there are so many good ones out there, all washed and ready to eat. I love the flavor and texture of hot food over raw greens. The heat wilts the greens a little bit, but they stay crisp and add a nice contrast to whatever is on top. And it's almost as easy as grabbing a cookie.

So here we are, four days in, and off and running. If there's anything I can do to help you meet your goals, do let me know. More often than not, if you have a question, someone else has it too. So ask! And now, let's all go out there and make this an amazing year, with lots of room for happy surprises and adventures. We got this!