Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Ahimsa Health & Harmony Grand Opening!

It was a whirlwind of excitement welcoming everyone to my new vegan wellness center Ahimsa Health & Harmony this weekend.  Thank you to all who attended the Grand Opening! 

The hours of preparation made for a fabulous spread that was enjoyed by all.  

I've been reflecting on the many accomplishments over the past 13 years running my vegan personal chef service Well on Wheels and it seems like this was the perfect time to expand into a permanent home. People come to me because they want to eat a healthy diet that doesn't harm the planet or animals, but they don't know where to begin.  I help make it easy for them by cooking whole foods plant-based meals in the comfort of their own kitchens, and have shown hundreds of people how to make the vegan transition through private lessons and wellness coaching, cooking classes at public libraries, schools, adult education programs, engaging presentations at conferences and private events, staff retreats, and menu consulting.

I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to do more of this at Ahimsa Health & Harmony!  

Thank you to all of my clients, students, friends, fans and supporters!  It was a pleasure to celebrate with many of you this weekend. In particular I'd like to thank Dianne Wageman of Divine Treasures for donating a platter of incredible nut cheeses for this event, Steve LaPenta of The Bridge Tofu for donating a box of the best tofu on the planetScott Riley of Cambridge House Brew Pub for the growlers of amazing local brew, to everyone who has ever come to a cooking class or hired me to cook for them, and to my parents for their support over the years, and my mom for hostess service and dad for doorman duties during the party.    

cheese platter from Divine Treasures

Buffalo tofu bites made with The Bridge tofu

growlers of Cambridge House Brew Pub beer

I launched Ahimsa Health & Harmony because I wanted a place where likeminded people could gather and feel connected. The idea of a wellness center to me was a place that empowered people to take charge of their own health and become their best selves while also healing the planet. Following in that theme, the first official class at Ahimsa Health & Harmony will be “Planting a Chef’s Kitchen Garden” on Saturday, April 23.  Please register in advance to be sure there will be a spot for you!  Also in the works are a Vegan Culinary Tour of Hartford in May and a Tofu Making Tour at The Bridge in Middletown in June. 

Please “Like” and Share Ahimsa Health & Harmony and Well on Wheels on Facebook and tell your friends, family and co-workers about the amazing things happening here.  Remember our motto: 

“When we come together in unity with compassion for ourselves and all beings, we can heal the planet.”

And now for some more photos of the food and festivities!

buffet table in the classroom space

portobello pate with crudités 

sundried tomato arancini with roasted red pepper coulis

wheel of Kite Hill vegan brie

tempeh Waldorf salad 

raw "neatballs" with cashew béchamel and parsley pistou

spring quinoa salad with parsley pistou

cucumber, dill and cashew crema

eggless egg salad on endive boats made with The Bridge tofu

glutenfree lemonbundt cake with edible flowers 

gluten free double chocolate brownies

raw date nut truffles

happy daffodils on the windowsill


Thursday, March 24, 2016

livWell Protein Powder

I was recently sent a sample of a RAW, organic plant-based protein powder from the company, livwellnutrition.com. They are a husband and wife team whose mission is to live healthy, happy lives and to bring nourishment to the body and mind.  

All ingredients are free of GMOs, soy, gluten, and dairy and made from superfoods such as hemp seeds, cacao, and cinnamon.  Each serving contains 17 grams of protein.

I tried my sample of vanilla bean this morning on its own as well as blended into a smoothie for my breakfast.  Mixed with 8 oz. of water, this was like a thick, rich glass of milk with a subtle sweetness and spice note.  I could easily see this being a quick way to get a boost of nutrients after a workout.  

Next I blended the mixture with strawberries, banana, and mango which made a creamy breakfast smoothie.  It had the perfect amount of sweetness and nothing else needed to be added.  I would definitely add this to my morning routine in the summer when I just want to be hydrated and don't want anything heavy weighing me down.  

This is a great addition to the protein powder field, and I like it because it's certified vegan, organic, raw, tasty, and doesn't have the chalky feel that other powders do.  Plus the packaging is made from 100% recycled materials.  

Look for this product in the health food store next time you're shopping for that extra protein boost!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Recipe: Spiced Raw Vegan Wraps with Sweet Onion Dressing

I'm really excited to announce a new feature of this Blog with guest blogger and recipe creator, Kayleigh Walsh.  She is a talented and artistic young chef who enjoys experimenting with vegan foods and will be here sharing some of her delicious creations with you lucky readers.  Today she will be treating us to an amazing spiced raw wrap with a savory filling.  Enjoy!

~ ~ ~ ~

Hi everyone! My name is Kayleigh Walsh and I am a raw vegan from West Hartford, Connecticut. I am passionate about fresh fruits and vegetables that keep my body energetic and thriving. Mary has asked me to write for her blog, so I will be posting recipes and health tips regularly. I am eager to share my creative recipes and vegan advice with you all! 

This week, I am sharing my Spiced Raw Vegan Wraps with a Sweet Onion Dressing. This is one of my favorite raw dishes because it is quite reminiscent of a traditional sandwich. Its hearty combination of flavors and textures provide a satisfying burst of flavor in every bite. This is the perfect choice if you are looking for a healthy raw vegan meal that isn’t as daunting as a gigantic salad. It’s also a great alternative for anyone in search of a gluten-free or dairy-free wrap. Hope you enjoy these tasty sandwiches! 

Spiced Wrap Ingredients (makes 4 servings)

12 Medjool dates, pitted 
1/3 cup white chia seeds
3 tbsp. milled flax seeds
3 cups water
1⁄2 tsp cinnamon
1⁄4 tsp cumin
 1⁄2 tsp ground cayenne pepper

This wrap may seem like it would turn out super sweet due to its base of Medjool dates, but surprisingly, the spices give it more of a warming savory flavor. Mix all the ingredients in a high speed blender. Pour into the center of four parchment paper sheets or Teflex sheets that have been laid over your dehydrator trays. After pouring, tilt the dehydrator trays in circular motions until you reach the desired thickness. These wraps do not shrink much, so no need to worry about making them super thick or large. 

Dehydrate at 110°F for about eight hours. The dehydration time will vary based on the size of your wraps and the humidity of your house. The wraps are done when the centers are completely dry and wont stick to sheet when peeled off. No flipping is necessary.  

When ready, gently peel back each wrap from the sheets. Use immediately or store in a Ziploc plastic bag, making sure to release any excess air.

Sweet Onion Dressing Ingredients

 3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
 1/3 cup golden raisins
 1 1⁄2 cups celery (use mostly light parts near base)
 1⁄2 tbsp. Italian blend spices (I used Frontier All-Purpose Seasoning Blend)
 3 tbsp. raw hulled hemp seeds
 1⁄4 cup Vidalia onions, chopped
 2 tbsp. water

Mix all ingredients in a high speed blender. I recommend the NutriBullet for sauces and dressings like this one. Optional: Top with scallions and more dried spices. This dressing can be used inside your wraps and/or as a dipping sauce.

Next, add any toppings of your choice inside your wraps. I used kale, tomatoes, carrots, and sprouts. 

Finally, tuck one edge of your wrap over the toppings, and roll up the rest. Cut through the center at an angle. Aaaaand thats a wrap! (Too cheesy? Lol) 

I hope you enjoy these filling wraps. They are awesome for lunch or dinner. Make sure to share this recipe with your friends and family. Have a wonderful day!

(This wrap was inspired by TannyRaw. Check out her YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/user/TANNYRAW for more delicious recipes.) 

Intro to a WFPB Diet Class

Today I'll be hosting an Introduction to a Whole Foods Plant Based Diet class at Well on Wheels.  It's the perfect first step toward making the transition to a healthy lifestyle for you, the animals, and the planet.  The class will teach the basics of a whole foods plant based diet including how to achieve maximum vegan nutrition, food substitutions, stocking your pantry, and the principles of creating culinary balance through color, taste and texture. 

Handouts with nutrition guidelines, sample meal plan, recipes and a resource list plus lunch made with superfoods will be provided.  The all-inclusive price for this class is a mere $25!
  • Pomegranate, Banana, Coconut and Pineapple Superfoods Smoothie
  • Chipotle Smoked Lentils with Cashew Sour Cream and Fresh Herbs
  • Date Nut Truffles with Hemp Seeds, Goji Berries and Cacao Dust

Stevie Wonder on Being Vegan

Going vegan isn't just good for you; it will heal the planet, too.
"I've been a vegan for two years, so that's helped my already good-looking self," joked Stevie Wonder. "I think that eating healthy is important. We have to be about making our planet more greener, the urban areas more sustainable for the children. We can't just talk about it, we have to be about it."

Friday, February 26, 2016

Speaking up for animals

Last night I attended a hearing by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection allowing the public to submit testimony regarding proposed legislation that would expand hunting in the state.  If you missed the hearing, you can still submit your comments to the official record until March 10th. There were several pro hunting & trapping people at the hearing, so it's important to voice your opposition to these rule changes.

Here is what I said:
I'm an avid hiker and nature enthusiast.  I believe in the motto, "Take only photographs; leave only footprints," whenever I am in state and national parks and nature preserves, and I extend that to wild animals who exist for their own purposes, not for the sake of humans. I'm opposed to unnecessary violence and believe expanding hunting, particularly to young children, only increases violence in our society.  Yes, "No child left inside" is a laudable goal, and I agree with it, but appreciating nature does NOT need to include the killing of animals. It isn't a sport when the animals is not a willing participant.