As Good as the Pic…BOOM BOOM

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Last night I made the ice-cream recipe I posted yesterday.  I halved it and it was plenty for Mitch and I.  It was easy as pulse, pulse, pulse and very, very delicious.  Next time I will actually use less chips than I did last night and pulse them a little longer.  You definitely have to eat it right away as it will be on the soft side, but my guess is you could freeze the whole thing once made…IF you could wait that long to eat it!

Whether you are looking for a sweet treat without any animal products, or one that is low in calories while high in satisfaction, or both, this is a definite to try!

The freezer is already storing more bananas and cherries for the weekend.  Try it.  You’ll like it!  I think even my dad, who was the ultimate fan of cherry vanilla ice-cream, would give thumbs up to this one!

HAPPY FRIDAY EVERYONE!  Get out there and make it a great day.

 

Cherry Cherry Boom Boom!

Thanks to the good folks who put out the Forks Over Knives newsletter, for this recipe.  I haven’t tried it yet, but I am absolutely going to as soon as I get the cherries.  I am going to get the already pitted frozen cherries.  Low in calories and free of animal products.  Sounds like a total win-win.  We are big on the Dole Banana Dippers because the banana really does mimic ice cream very well, so I would have to imagine this recipe will be yummy!

Try it and let me know what you think!  I will do the same….

This is a vegan version of Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia ice cream. It’s a delicious, refreshing, and guilt-free soft-serve dessert.

Instructions:

1. In a food processor, combine the frozen banana pieces, cherries, and vanilla extract.

2. Process until creamy, adding almond milk one tablespoon at a time as necessary.

3. Pulse in the chocolate chips. Serve immediately.

Photo by Ann Oliviero
cherry-garcia-WP

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

 

 

 

 

 

Breakfast for Dinner and Your Daily Reminder to Vote for Charlotte!!!

Yesterday was Vegan (Feast) Thursday, and Mitch and I were both in the mood for our favorite dinner—breakfast!  I don’t ever have much in the house by Thursday night and I after eating super clean all week I am usually in the mood for something a little more decadent.  I took an inventory of what food I did have and opted to make vegan french toast.  All I did was mash up a couple of ripe bananas and added about a half a cup of almond milk to make a thick batter.  To this  I sprinkled in some ground flax seed and ground cinnamon.  I let it sit for a few minutes before dipping (drenching) my bread in it.  After cooking on each side until browned, I plated it dripping some almond butter over the top along with some fresh maple syrup.  It was breakfast, not JUST for dinner, but for dessert as well, so even though it was a bit over the top for me, I was satisfied for the rest of the night.  YUMMMMO

Whenever I eat a high carb dinner, I feel real good about getting out on the street and running, so I will do that this morning.  In fact, since it’s one of the last Fridays of my summer schedule, I plan to run and swim before going to teach this morning.

This quote came in my quote of the day yesterday and I thought it was worth sharing.  If you aren’t feeling as good as you would like to, you might want to consider this.  There is nothing like the feeling of accomplishment after you have put in the effort!

All growth depends upon activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work.

— Calvin Coolidge

Before I log out and sit for day 5 of the meditation challenge, I have to say that I am overwhelmed with the generosity of spirit regarding the SilverSneakers challenge and all of you that have voted and continued to vote each day.  Thank you so much for sharing your status and asking others to vote as well.  I no longer recognize the names of the friends of the friends of the friends who have shared my status in asking others to vote.  This morning Charlotte is only about 20 votes behind the first place holder, Grace, and I feel together we can move this amazing woman into the first place spot.  If she wins there will be a party in her honor and I am sure her face will be on a lot of promotional material.  Additionally there will be some equipment gifted to the gym for us but above all, Charlotte will be recognized.  She has done so much fundraising and volunteering in her life and this recognition would be a great way to give back to her for all she has given to the world.  Plus I just love her………….

silversneakers photo--charlotte

Mango Monday and More

 Hoping you all had a wonderful holiday weekend and it wasn’t too difficult returning to reality, today.  We had some quality beach time, our first 4th of July in 14 years without the bigredguy trying to find a place to hide, good food (lots of mangoes) and much rest and relaxation.  It was nice to see our kids celebrating the holiday with their other families out west and out in western Florida, where Nicole went for her final dress fitting with her parents.  Emotions are running high for all of us as the big day is now less than 4 weeks away!!!!

 I did want to share the simple mango salsa/salad I made this weekend.  With mangoes in abundance this is the time to make this.

 

Crispy corn tortillas with black bean & mango ...
C (Photo credit: Amy Groark)

 1 mango cut and diced into cubes

 2 ears of cooked corn (ours were grilled and leftover from the night before)  You could use a can of corn if you had to

 1 can black beans rinsed and drained

   juice of a lime (or 2)

 chopped cilantro

 

Mix all ingredients and refrigerate.

Delicious as a side dish, or on chips– or good all by itself!

Great to bring to a picnic as it has no dairy to worry about spoiling 🙂

 

Our home land phone line was out for the holiday weekend and then some.  There were some really nice aspects of that.  Today AT&T came out to fix it, so our internet was off for a good part of the day.  No landline, no internet.  Still between Mitch and I that left 3 cell phones and a landline in Mitch’s office.  It’s really kind of crazy when you think about it.  I know that we never want to go backwards in life.  Technology has in many ways plunged us forward and I can appreciate that, but I admit to often wishing we were all a little less plugged in.  We have our main house phone working again, and are back on line, but of all the things I saw as I caught back up on what I “missed” I loved this and had to share.  Thanks, Andrew.  And thanks to all that make me forget to look at my phone.   You are all way more important.  I will try to be the kind of person that makes you forget to look at yours……….Namaste

 

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Weekend Wrap Up

Q.  What’s the NUMBER ONE question vegans are asked?

A. “Where do you get your protein from?”

I believe, after about 5 or so years of getting my nutrition from foods other than animals, that I get enough of most all my nutrients, pretty easily.  The past few weeks, I have been revisiting some bean salads that I make on Sunday and have for most of the week.  There truly is NO recipe for this.  Since I always keep canned beans in the house, I just open a few different kinds, rinse them well and throw them in a big bowl with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  I generally use a combination of northern beans, garbanzos, black beans and whatever else I might have handy.  I usually add some diced red onions and a little salt and pepper. Yesterday, I added some diced hot and sweet peppers out of a jar.  It can be eaten right away, but gets better as it sits in the fridge.  It can be eaten alone or thrown on top of a garden salad.  While just 1/2 cup of beans are a nice bang of protein (about 8 grams) the even better part is that same half cup gives you about 8 grams of fiber!!  Where else can you find that much fiber in small serving?  It helps keep your digestive system healthy, and definitely helps keep you full, a big bonus if you are looking to lose some weight.  Since canned beans are so inexpensive you can whip up a salad like this for about 5 bucks and it will make enough for many servings!  If I happen to have a ripe mango, I like to dice it up and throw it on top of this salad for some sweetness.  Be creative and let me know what you come up with.

If you are still in the ab challenge….100/150/58/90seconds  and tomorrow we rest.  PHEW!

I will be at the gym for my 2 regularly scheduled classes and will be subbing for Ellen at 10.  She will be back to work tomorrow.  What a beautiful job her family did memorializing Ellen’s dad.  I will keep in mind the quote that the oldest grandchild, Justin, opened and closed his speech with and pass it on to you:

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Hey, What’s Shakin’ on VFT??

Because Mitch and I have been doing the 30 day ab challenge in the morning, and I have been out to early classes and clients AND my computer was sooooooo slow, I have missed blogging the last couple of mornings, but I can’t possibly miss checking in on Vegan (Feast) Thursday.

Black and Blue Shake
Black and Blue Shake (Photo credit: Brimley)

After a conversation with Rita, earlier this week, I have been revisiting shakes in the morning before work.  This time of year, they are so refreshing and so easy to make.  I always start mine with some almond milk and half a frozen banana (which means I need less ice).  With all the beautiful fruits and veggies that are in abundance right now, it’s hard to decide which way to go with my add ins.  Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries…I usually add a big teaspoon of peanut butter (because that makes everything better) and I always add some ground flax seed.  What a great way to start any day, but perfect for those looking for alternatives to breakfasts with animal products.

Last night I made something like a caponata, but without any sweetness added, and I opted to keep it chunky.  It was really delicious, filling and comforting!  I chopped up 3/4 of a large sweet onion, some garlic, a large zucchini, a large tomato, and a whole peeled, eggplant.  In that order, I added them to a pot with some olive oil in the bottom.  I let each veggie cook down a bit, before adding in the next.  I added just enough jarred pasta sauce to keep things from sticking and/or burning.  When things were starting to soften (after about 15 minutes) I added a box of sliced button mushrooms and some sliced calamata olives.  I covered the pot and let everything continue cooking down, on a low heat.  I also threw in some chopped up fresh basil and oregano from the garden and some red pepper flakes from the pantry.  I don’t know how long it cooked, but not so long that everything mushed together as in a traditional caponata, which you can spread like a brushetta.  I ate it with a Gardein burger chopped up in it, but it really is a meal in itself!  It would be great over brown rice, or even cold!  If you want to make it as a spread, keep cooking it and mash it as you do.  YUM!!!!

Tonight I get to have the leftovers…and though I am going to grill some marinated tofu I assure those of you that don’t care for it, there is so much more to a plant-based diet than tasteless tofu!  (Tofu actually takes on the taste of whatever you marinate it in or cook it with, so you can look at that white block of nothingness).  You can definitely do the plant-based lifestyle without it, though admittedly, it is a great source of protein.  But hopefully you realize we don’t need nearly as much protein as we were led to believe!

If you are doing the ab challenge, today is day 5.  We do 30 sit ups, 12 crunches, 12 leg raises and 20 seconds in plank.  I’ll probably be back in the morning and will remind you what day 6 holds….

Yes. You CAN Have Your Ice Cream!

When I woke up this morning I found this link from our friends at the beautybean.com  I will DEFINITELY be trying this soon.  When I step away from the computer I am going to immediately freeze some bananas.  I just peel them, break them in half and wrap in freezer wrap.  They are always a great way to thicken a shake, and now this….Thanks to Alexis and her gang for this one.  Don’t forget to visit her sight for all kinds of great beauty tips, recipes and so much more!

Try this recipe for lip-smacking vegan banana peanut butter ice cream. ‪#‎Dessert‬ http://ow.ly/wZayQ

By Julia Argenti Summer is officially in full swing and nothing says…
thebeautybean.com

Where Have the Years Gone?

Good morning.  I politely interrupt the 4 weight loss myths, to bring you our regularly scheduled Vegan Thursday.  Later today, Mitch and I will be picking up a friend at the airport, coming in from NY.  We haven’t seen Karen in about 30 years!  She was my best bestie when I worked in Manhattan at the Muscular Dystrophy Association.  We worked together, played together and did most everything together and then, when I moved away, we just lost touch.  Ironically, she and my sister, Arlene (who also worked with us), ran into each other only to learn they live right near one another.  It’s been a reunion for them, and now for Karen and I.

English: A tray of chocolate-covered strawberr...
English: A tray of chocolate-covered strawberries with skewers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So yesterday, I was in the kitchen making some goodies so today can be carefree.  It used to be challenging to think of things that I can eat and non-vegans enjoy as well.  The more you learn, the easier things get.  As I always say, there are so many foods that are fabulous, and vegan by coincidence.  I whipped a bowl of northern bean hummus and with some pita bread chips, it will be a great snack.  I baked a bunch of the vegan, no flour, no sugar, no dairy, cookies and made some dark chocolate covered strawberries, which, by the way, came out beautiful.  So the sweet tooth is taken care of and today I will fill in some blanks with salad, veggies and ???  My point is, there is NO challenge figuring out what everyone can enjoy together.

 

To make the hummus, all you need to do is rinse and drain a can of northern beans and put it in the food processor with about a half a clove of chopped garlic, the juice of half a lemon and enough olive oil to make it the creamy texture you would want.  Always start with less and add more.  I don’t measure—sorry!  I add some red pepper flakes which gives it a nice kick.  For under 1.50 you have a nice size bowl of yummy, homemade hummus.  Sure, you can use chick peas or cannallini beans or even black beans, but I am stuck on the northern because of their creaminess!  Try it and let me know what you think!

Ellen is on the mend and will be at the gym for her 10 am class this morning.  She is unable to teach her 8:30 low impact class on Fridays for a few weeks but will be there tomorrow for her 10 am class and for all her regularly scheduled SilverSneakers classes.  I am unable to sub for her on Friday mornings as it conflicts with my own work schedule, but it was nice to catch up with all her students earlier this week, and I am sure they will be thrilled to see her back, today.

I hope you will consider a meatless meal or 2 or 3 today.  The more we learn about the negative impact on our health from too much animal protein, the more it makes sense to at least limit the consumption.  Every single time you choose to avoid the animal protein, you make a positive impact on your health, your furry friends and your Mother Earth.  That’s a triple win, in my book.  I will be back tomorrow with the 4th, final and hardest to admit myth….until then make it a great day.  Namaste.

 

Recipe for Oatmeal Banana Cookies

Apparently the recipe mentioned in my previous entry is not on here, (thanks, Shelli) so here goes:

3 large, very ripe bananas

1 cup 1-minute oats (I use Quaker)

1/4 cup combo of chocolate chips (I use the Ghiradelli dark in the gold wrapper…they are vegan)

1/4 cup  raisins (or Craisins, or both)

sometimes I add flax seeds to the mix, too…

Baking directions:  Preheat oven to 350.  Line flat tray with parchment paper.  Peel and mash bananas, then add oats and mix well before adding chips and raisins.  Scoop spoonfuls of “batter” onto baking tray.  They wont really rise or spread so you don’t need much room between them.  I can fit about 14-16 on a tray.  Bake for 20 or so minutes (sometimes a few more).  Once you remove them from the oven, let them cool for just about 5-10 minutes, max.  Use the back of a spoon and press down in the center of the cookie to make a little “well.”  Add a dab of peanut butter to the center of each cookie.  Let them sit for another 15 minutes or so until the peanut butter sort of melts on to the cookie.  Then place tray (or transfer to plate) in the fridge and enjoy knowing that these cookies are free of dairy, eggs, sugar and flour and are under 100 calories per cookie.  You can eat these as a treat or even eat a couple with a glass of almond milk as a healthy, vegan, low calorie meal.