Saturday, June 24, 2017

Recipe: World Peas Salad


This is the kind of recipe you'll want to make all summer because it's colorful, refreshing, and most importantly, does not require any cooking. We've been in the midst of our second heat wave here in Connecticut and it's just the first week of summer.  It's been a blessing to indulge in this dish and not have to heat up my kitchen in the process.



I once catered a bridal shower where one of the guests was telling me about a family favorite recipe called “Carolina Caviar” (also known as “Cowboy Caviar”), which she enjoyed when growing up in the south.  It's made with black-eyed peas, a southern staple because it's easy to grow and is a low-cost source of protein. In fact, the other common name for them is "cow peas" because they're often a thrifty feed for cows.  They originate from Northern Africa, so I decided to reclaim their heritage with this recipe and spread the message of world peas/peace in the process.

You can see me demonstrate how to make this quick and easy recipe on my recent cooking segment for WWLP-TV's "Mass Appeal" program. The recipe follows below. 


World Peas Salad
(serves 4-6)

Salad Ingredients
1 15 oz. can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup sweet red bell pepper, finely diced
1/2 cup green bell pepper, finely diced
1 tbsp jalapeno, finely diced 
10 oz. frozen yellow corn, drained and thawed
2–3 scallions, finely sliced
1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 of a 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes

Dressing Ingredients
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp agave syrup
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp sea salt
a few splashes of hot sauce

Combine all of the salad ingredients in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients.  Combine dressing with the salad ingredients, season with salt and hot sauce, then refrigerate at least a half an hour before serving.  Garnish with fresh chopped scallions and edible flowers.



Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A Veganic Workshop with Will Bonsall



I was fortunate to attend a workshop recently with Will Bonsall on the foundations of veganic agriculture.  This is a natural growing method which uses no chemicals and only vegan inputs. 


Many people are not aware that mass produced organic agriculture is heavily connected to the animal agriculture industry as waste from factory farms is often converted into compost.  This can include cow, pig, and chicken manure as well as feathers, hooves, blood, and bone meal.  Other non-vegan soil amendments include shells from lobster and other crustaceans, fish, and worm castings (manure).  While animals such as worms, insects, and organisms in the soil are essential components of a healthy ecosystem, as veganic gardener Will Bonsall would say, the cultivated, caged, and castrated kind are not.  His book, Will Bonsall’s Radical Guide to Radical, Self-Reliant Gardening, is the bible of veganic gardening and an essential read for anyone interested in learning more about the topic.  



Over a dozen of us gathered in the home of Amie Hamlin, the founder of the Coalition for Healthy School Food in Ithaca, NY. She worked together with vegan registered dietician George Eisman and his wife Claire Holzner to coordinate this event. Sadly, George passed away just shortly before this workshop was held, but we could feel his presence with us through the delicious plant-based menu he helped design as well as the joy of the natural world we all shared. 



If you like to dig in the dirt, I recommend converting a sunny spot in your yard into a veganic garden.  This way you will not only be growing fresh produce for yourself, but you will also be forming a deeper connection with Mother Nature. Even if you only have space for a few pots of herbs, this is still a way to get vital plant energy into your body. 


There is nothing healthier than eating fruits and vegetables that have been picked fresh from your own garden, warmed by the sun, fortified with natural soil amendments, and free from harmful pesticides, herbicides, and other toxic chemicals. Most importantly, a veganic garden does not use any animal products in the process.  

Natural ecosystems depend on the process of decomposition to build humus, a rich, nutrient dense compound that supports plant life.  This can be achieved by using Mother Nature’s natural resources, such as dried leaves and grass clippings.  Start a compost pile, feed it with a mix of plant-based kitchen scraps and leaf debris, and you’ll have the formula for good compost. 
Amendments such as seaweed, rice hulls, corn gluten, and “green manure” like clover and buckwheat, can be incorporated into the soil to further enrich it.  Over many seasons of nurturing the soil with lawyers of these components, you will have a thriving veganic garden.  Start small (a simple 6” x 10” plot will do), then expand as your interest and love of gardening grows.
Veganic gardening utilizes natural inputs that enhance the soil, benefit the plants, improve vitamin and mineral content of plants fruits and vegetables, and nourish our bodies.  It is a truly sustainable ecosystem that can save our planet.   

Sunday, May 7, 2017

On-line herbal studies

I've always been interested in culinary herbs for flavoring foods, and more recently i've begun exploring the medicinal properties as well. This is a whole new way of looking at plants that not only taste good, but are also good for us.


I recently completed The Herbal Academy's free Herbal Materia Medica Course which provided a strong foundation for understanding an herb's constituents, actions, energetics, and healing properties as well as best methods for preparations.  My favorite form is teas and decoctions, and I do this with the fresh herbs in my garden like Lemon Balm, Mint, and Oregano.


I chose to study Immune Boosting herbs which are so important to our health. My Materia Medica included Astragalus, Echinacea, Elder, Ginko Biloba, Red Clover, Tulsi, and Turmeric. As much as I thought I already knew, this class taught me so much more.  I can't wait to continue my studies by exploring the Advanced Herbal and Clinical Herbalist courses.

If you're interested in an excellent on-line herbal studies program that can be completed at your own pace, check out their offerings here:  The Herbal Academy Online

Friday, April 7, 2017

Recipe: Tempeh Tartare with Avocado Aioli


I returned to the set of WWLP-TV to make this light and crispy spring salad.  It's a twist on a traditional Norwegian tartare made with raw herring, but I like my vegan version much better!


The crunch comes from diced celery, jicama, and Granny Smith apple. They're tossed in a vinaigrette made with spicy Dijon mustard boosted by a kick of heat from a few drops of Sriracha.


Serve it on top of a salad of bitter greens like these radicchio leaves seen here, or spread it on top of avocado toast for a simple sandwich.  I also like to add some lightly blanched asparagus for that hint of spring.


Garnish with edible flowers like pansies or wild violets and add a sprig of garlic chives if you're lucky to have some popping up in your yard right now!

See me demonstrate how to make this quick and easy recipe on WWLP-TV's "Mass Appeal" cooking segment:


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

New Appointment: Trustee of AVS


I'm honored and excited to have been named to the Council of Trustees of the American Vegan Society (AVS) which was founded in 1960 by H. Jay and Freya Dinshah. AVS is a 501(c )(3) nonprofit, nonsectarian, nonpolitical, tax-exempt educational membership organization teaching a compassionate way of living by reverence for life and ahimsa.

I look forward to expanding the AVS mission by offering vegan education opportunities to the general public and working with restaurants and food service operations to add vegan items to their menus. As a member of the AVS Speakers Bureau I am also available for public presentations at schools, libraries, and other interested organizations.

You can read the announcement in the Spring Issue of the American Vegan below.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Radical Vegan Wellness

rad·i·cal
ˈradək(ə)l/
adjective
adjective: radical
1 (especially of change or action) relating to or affecting the fundamental nature of something; far-reaching or thorough.

I want to introduce you to my new Radical Vegan Wellness program.

It’s a comprehensive health overhaul incorporating diet, physical exercise, stress management, and holistic health care to create a healthy family, healthy home and garden, and healthy communities. Many have called it transformative.

I know you’re a compassionate person who cares about animals, people, and the planet, and you want your lifestyle to reflect your values, but you need some guidance and support.  That’s what I’m here for!

Maybe you’ve been vegan for awhile, but you’re the only one you know who shares your values.  Or you’ve switched to a plant-based diet but want to take your health to the next level.  Maybe you’re tired of popping pills for this or that ailment or you just feel tired all the time despite being vegan. Or maybe you’re just getting started on the vegan path, but you need help taking that first step and following through.

What I want to share with you is a plan to take charge of your own health: how you eat, sleep, exercise, and heal yourself. It’s life-changing; not just for you, but for those around you as well. I fully believe that, 
When we come together in unity with compassion for ourselves and all beings, we can heal the planet.  
I’m committed to making this change happen by sharing what I know with you.  Nearly twenty years ago I became vegan for health reasons. I was tired and cranky all the time, had asthma and seasonal allergies that seemed to last all four seasons, I got migraines nearly every week, and I just didn’t think I’d ever feel well again. When allergists told me I needed to be on medication the rest of my life and get rid of my dog who they claimed was causing my asthma, I decided to seek alternatives. This began my journey of discovering how diet, exercise, and holistic health care can transform your life.

I want to let you know what worked for me and has worked for dozens of my clients over the past 13 years. These are simple strategies that anyone can incorporate into their daily lives to ensure success.  Whether it’s losing a few pounds, eliminating food cravings, learning how to create quick and easy meals, increasing energy, or all of the above, I can help. 

Want to learn more?  

I will be hosting a free Skype video conference call on Saturday, March 18 from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) to talk about this new program and answer any questions you may have. 


Space is limited to the first 10 people who contact me.  


If you’d like to reserve your spot, please RSVP “Yes” with your Skype handle and I will add you to my contact list.   

I look forward to speaking with you about Radical Vegan Wellness