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!