The Weekend That Was………..

With this being the first morning I have had to sit down and spend some time at the computer since the weekend, I anticipate a long, and probably disjointed entry.  Forgive typos and errors as I am just going to ramble here. I have so much to say about so many things but this is Vegan (Feast) Thursday so…..

Let me start by saying,  I just finished reading a page 2 article in the Sun-Sentinel about the “bad-meat” scare.  Yum Brands, who owns KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell (just to name a few) has been sited (back in July) for  mishandling food products and selling expired meat in China.  Expired meat is NEVER  a good thing and this is just one more reason I love life on a plant-based diet.  But the list of reasons is enormous and the food I got to enjoy this weekend, along with the people I got to enjoy it with are right at the top of the list.

Friday night, my 2 favorite herbivores, Derek and Jolene, arrived from Vegas and though it was the eve of Yom Kippor, Mitch and I decided to passover that holiday and make our own holiday with our kids.  I made non-pigs in a blanket, to serve as appetizers with our chips and salsa and soft pretzels with mustard…and drinks.  Then we sat down to enjoy a garlicky kale salad, my chakra salad, buffalo garlic “chicken” tenders, grilled potatoes, fresh fruit with yogurt dip and cookie dough truffles.

Saturday afternoon was Pete and Erin’s wedding so earlier in the day I offered to make brunch for whomever wanted to come.  I was so happy that Pete joined us, along with their wedding photographer, Karen.  I made some tofu scrambles, Gardein sausage patties, tuNO (chick peas), with bagels, Tofutti cream cheese and oatmeal/banana cookies.  I also made smoothies with the berries from the night before.  The food was nothing compared to the company.

Pete and Erin had a beautiful wedding at the Fern Forest Park and it was just beautiful.

pete and erin kissing

After the lovely outdoor ceremony, we went inside to a room decorated with super earthy finds and a vegan buffet to die for.  The catering, done by Inika Foods was incredible!  This family knows how to do vegan, healthfully, beautifully and without all the faux stuff.  From the stuffed mushrooms, to the middle eastern foods, the spinach pie,  the baked goods (and sooo0o much more) the food was not only delicious, but made such a beautiful presentation.  It was such a joy to see all the non-vegans cleaning their plates.

  wedding buffet 2

The baked goods were gorgeous.  I was so full I had only one cupcake and chose the one with the caramel and pretzel on top which was SO good and melted in my mouth–but I am sure they were all insane!!!

cupcakesThe wedding was filled with compassionate people, adorable children and great music!  It was as non-traditional as the bride and groom, and it was a joy to be a part of my Pete and Erin’s big day.

Sunday morning it was up and out early to meet up with them and a bunch of wedding attendees at an all vegan restaurant in downtown Orlando, called Ethos.  When you live life on a plant-based diet, eating out is hard.  Often there are NO options and more typically there is one…maybe 2.  So how does one decide when they go to a place like this?  You share.  I ordered the burrito filled with “sausage,” home fries and tofu scrambles–topped with gravy.  I couldn’t resist trying the biscuits and gravy, though, so Jolene and I shared those and she ordered the pumpkin raisin pancakes.  Everything was off fabulous.

With bellies full, it was off to Universal and Islands of Adventure where we met up with a lot of Derek and Pete’s friends as well as Kyle and Nicole.  Since Kyle and Nicole ran a 10 miler the night before through Disney, (great job!!!) we weren’t sure how much walking they would be able to do, but they were in great shape and spent the entire day at Universal with us.  Since we were really too many people to travel as a pack we split up and did that park with Derek, Jolene, Kyle and Nicole.  The kids gave us the support we needed to ride the rides that we might have otherwise opted out of, like the Mummy and the Harry Potter ride.   What could be better than a day at the theme parks with our kids?? I think NOTHING.  Just wish Pete and Erin were in this pic, too.

all 6 of us at universal

Universal closed at 5 and we said goodbye to Kyle and Nicole who headed back to Tampa.  The 4 of us went over to Islands of Adventure and rode Spiderman and the Harry Potter ride there.  That last ride was a little too much for me but whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.  We met up with the entire group again for some photo ops, laughs and long goodbyes.

Before I sign off on this entry, I have to say how amazing all of Derek’s friends look.  “Chippy,”  took of so much weight (going vegan) and started some serious working out.  I think he lost something like 70 pounds!!!  He told me how awesome he feels since giving up animal products and I know exactly what he means!

I am not and will never be an “in your face” vegan.  I believe in choice across the board.  Without choice we are not a democracy.

Every day I chose to be the healthiest me I can be.  I choose to push my body till I sweat hard.  I choose positivity over negativity and to always be grateful for what I do have instead of concerning myself with what I don’t have.  I choose love and compassion and believe that all people were created equally.  I believe that the same goes for animals.

Thanks to my 6 kids and to the THREAD for letting us be a part of a most wonderful weekend.  I will hold the memories and the love in my heart always.  You are all awesome.

Joyfully Back in the Kitchen!

Vegan Chocolate Date Truffles.

Vegan Chocolate Truffles. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The hoopla surrounding Charlotte continues, as the Sun-Sentinel interviewed her yesterday.  More info about that when I have it.  I also caught up with recently relocated (back to New Jersey) SilverSneakers student, Sheila, who I am happy to report sounds very happy in her new digs but does miss all the friends she made in class.

Well, after some years, finally…a Vegan  Thursday that finds me back in the kitchen with some work to do!  With Derek and Jolene coming in tomorrow night for Pete and Erin’s wedding this weekend, I am revisiting some old recipes from the actual Vegan Feast Thursday Era. First up — chocolate chip cookie dough truffles as I can make those today, for tomorrow night.  (Recipe can be found by entering chocolate chip cookie dough truffles in the search engine at the to of this site’s homepage). They are a 3 step process, but all easy and oh so yummy and so rich you really can’t eat more than one or two.

We are not hosting a big dinner tomorrow night because D and J won’t be in till late.  I thought I would do a big breakfast on Saturday morning so if any of the regulars want to come join us for tofu scrambles and ????? please let me know ASAP.  Thinking around 10ish so we can all get ready for the wedding and get hungry again for this all vegan wedding event!   If ever 2 people cared about saving the lives of animals, it is these 2.

So, yes, this year the holiday was bumped for a wedding.  Not just any wedding.  Peter’s wedding.  Through the years I have repeatedly heard Pete tell me, in response to questions about his girlfriends, “she’s not the one.”  When Jane and I sat with Pete at Falafel Bistro a year ago, and he told us all about Erin, (with so much enthusiasm and so smitten) it was clear from that day that SHE was THE ONE!  We are very excited that these two peas found one another and are excited to celebrate with them, Derek (who is part of the bridal party) and Jolene and all their families and friends.  I will NOT be at class on Saturday morning.

Have a beautiful day.  Be kind.  Think compassionately and keep moving!

How to Cultivate More Happiness and Joy

Good morning.  Happy New Year and here it is Vegan (Feast) Thursday again.

  I am in the middle of a good read in this month’s Yoga Magazine….about a 21 day vegan challenge.   Yoga and a plant-based diet go together like…peanut butter and jelly—or lettuce and tomatoes.  “Ahimsa,” meaning non-harming, is the first of the five yamas (guides to enlightenment).  While not all yogis and yoga enthusiasts refrain from eating animals and their by-products, a plant-based diet IS a great way of practicing ahimsa or “do no harm.”  Doing no harm to ourselves, others and our universe certainly includes animals!

One of the things I have been making lately is what I like to call my chakra salad.  We know that their are foods that help balance our 7 chakras and when we put them together in a bowl, we get one very, very colorful and inviting salad.  Each chakra has it’s own color and to keep it easy, the foods associated with balancing that chakra are the same colors.

English: Illustration of the main 7 Chakras, a...

English: Illustration of the main 7 Chakras, as taught by contemporary Reiki masters. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our root chakra is red so think of foods like radishes, beets and red onions.  The sacral chakra is orange so consider orange peppers, or shredded carrots.  For the solar plexus we want to add something yellow; corn or some yellow squash works.  Moving up to the heart chakra we can opt for any of the leafy greens, lettuce being the most obvious, but kale and spinach are also great.  For the throat chakra, which is blue, I like to throw in a handful of blueberries.  Blue is a tough color–if you can think of anything else, please let me know!  Those blueberries have to cover the third eye chakra which is also blue.  Finally, for the radiant crown chakra think shredded purple cabbage.  This covers all the chakras, but I also like to add calamata olives and avocado when available as these add great taste, texture and some much needed healthy fat to the mix.  Finally, if I am looking for a little protein I will add rinsed and drained chick peas.  I always dress my salad with fresh squeezed lemon, a small amount of balsamic vinegar and just enough olive oil.  Turns out, what’s great for balancing our chakras, (and we can all use some balance in our lives!) is also great for everything that ails us without doing any harm.  The big bonus is the rainbow of colors make it so pretty!  Play around with the ingredients.  Be creative and let me know what you come up with!

Whether you are a yoga guru or have never done a single yoga posture in your life, consider a meal or two today that are void of any animals.  As Sharon Gannon, co-founder of the Jivamukti Yoga school and the Jivamuki vegan cafe in NYC, as well as the author of the cookbook Simple Recipes for Joy says “Veganism is NOT about restriction–it’s a way of eating and living that can create more happiness and joy.”

Wishing you more happiness and joy and a wonderful a day! Namaste

 

 

 

 

 

Warning. This Image May Hit Hard.

As you all know I haven’t been doing a whole lot of blogging lately.  Mostly because, as I said a few weeks ago, I am a little tired of “hearing” myself and I want to do more learning and more listening before I start spouting again!  Meditation each morning with Mitch and Ms. Roxburry has been a great way to begin each day.  Guided meditation helps set an intention and today that intention was completely in line with my speaking less and listening more…

The other reason I have been “quiet,” is because I find I am conflicted about certain aspects of my life and my business and I need to sort it all out.  It’s always better to think things out before we speak.

As for it being Vegan (Feast) Thursday, all I can say is that the world is so mixed up and upside down, I just wish we could all exercise a little more compassion and I know from personal experience that since I stopped eating animal products, I feel much more connected to the entire universe.  Always the ultimate dog lover, I see ALL animals in a much lighter, light and after all, we are ALL animals!

But today I am totally stepping away from blogging about a plant-based diet in order to share an image that has me totally conflicted on so many levels….both personal and professional.  This was shared by Alexis Wolfer of thebeautybean.com. 

https://fbcdn-sphotos-f-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xfa1/v/t1.0-9/10665832_10100532815739812_556171237994338984_n.jpg?oh=138f7b6d4d18a8d995c7ab7cb3701f4d&oe=54CFFE48&__gda__=1422898883_dca0c401b93e1f4cdf6d9cc2905a3574

It was shared a couple of days ago and has left me doing a lot of thinking…We have all got to stop obsessing about the number on the scale (definitely myself included) and the images (ALL digitally manipulated) we see of models, actresses and celebs.  This doesn’t mean we let ourselves go and stop caring.  It means we do the work of being physical and eating healthfully and nurturing our souls.  But it’s confusing.  What’s healthy to you, might not at all be healthy to me.  So we have to do our homework and be honest with ourselves.

So, if my students, clients and friends find me changing the subject about the pound or two you gained or lost, I am not at all not interested, I am just working on being a better role model.  We know it’s not our job to ask others to do or be more or different than they are.  It’s our job to work on ourselves and be the best ME we can.

I am asking for random feedback today.  I will have to approve your comments before they will appear and I am off to do my CPR renewal in a bit, but I will be back later.  Please, I want to hear from you and feel free to share with others.

Health and fitness is my business and my passion, but when there are lines that blur with regard to weight and I need to sort through all of this to be better at what it is I love.  Children are also a great passion of mine and I want us all to be sending out the healthiest messages we can to them.

And now I will return to the listening.  Thank you!