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Sunday, August 28, 2016

“You’re Going to Need A Bigger Elf”

Remember that great line from “Jaws” when Roy Scheider sees the shark for the first time, up close and personal. Well, that’s how your Elf feels this mornin’! We have much ground to cover; we're gonna need a bigger mind.
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First and foremost, though, we want to share our FFVK recipe of the week with you. We chose a vegan option on Tacos, of which there are MANY!! Howsomever, this one looked particularly appealing so we nabbed it:  Lentil and Cauliflower Rice Tacos! http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2013/04/lentil-and-cauliflower-rice-tacos.html
Now, we LOVE everything about this recipe. TACOS, LENTILS, CAULIFLOWER and SPICE! Plus, it’s a really easy recipe to prepare as there is not an overabundance of ingredients and you have a lot of spice wriggle room! So, here we go! We cooked our lentils in the Chikun Bouillon that we’ve mentioned so many times. It’s so good and adds a nice nuance of flavor; once cooked al dente, we drained and set aside. Next up was to ‘rice’ the cauliflower in the food processor. There’s always a fine line about knowing when to STOP PROCESSING before you turn the cauliflower ricing into cauliflower icing. We’d much rather have a few large hunks of cauliflower than a bowl of mush. As it turned out, we did pretty good. 

Then we sautéed our onions and then added our cauliflower ‘rice’ and garlic.

  After a introducing some chili powder and letting that infuse, we then added the lentils and all the remaining spices/seasoning.
 And, knowing your Elf, we kicked up the spice a bit by more cayenne and an EIGHTH TEASPOON of ‘Scorpion Pepper Salt’.

And, just like Susan says, this recipe makes a LOT of taco filling but we didn’t care…we’ll eat on it for a while and even make Taco Salad out of it. We opted for the Blue Corn Tacos because they are just too pretty and add such a lovely color to the already beautiful taco stuffs!

 
Now, y’all, this recipe is a great supper recipe, party recipe, salad recipe…and it is so much fun to prepare. This is a keeper for sure. We cannot tell you how much fun it has been to prepare Susan’s recipes and share them with you. As for next week, we will again surprise you!
We will be traveling to Raleigh NC to visit my brother and his girlfriend, Suzanne. We are going to ProgDay in Chapel Hill over the Labor Day weekend…a rock music festival featuring bands who play progressive rock. LOTS OF FUN and it’s been a long time since your Elf has been to PD! We are excited. Here's the link--just in case.

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Yesterday we attended a Plant-Based Immersion Day event sponsored by Magnolia Healthy Living. It was a day long seminar on the power of eating a plant-based diet. We are going to share several pictures from the event because it was SPECTAULAR!! The Elf got her picture made with Alyssa Sikora, founder of Magnolia Healthy Living.

The day started early with a 7:00 a.m. yoga practice (we didn’t make that) followed by a fabulous plant-based breakfast. Breakfast consisted of a delicious Tofu Scramble
 Blueberry Pancakes with Maple Syrup
and Gluten Free Oatmeal with Walnuts, blueberries, and assorted other stuffs.
Johnny was on top of the kitchen and his game for this event!
So you can see we all got off to a great start. Hell, it was worth attending just for the breakfast but WAIT!! There’s MORE! We got the event rolling with a Skype visit from Dr. John McDougall, a leader in promoting plant-based eating. Dr. McDougall's book, The Starch Solution, is a powerful validation of the benefits of a plant-based diet.
Following Dr. McDougall was JoAnn Farb, a microbiologist, committed vegan and advocate of gluten free eating.

Alyssa Sikora, provided a cool demonstration of how to prepare some delicious plant based, oil and fat free (processed, that is) dishes that we all got to sample. Pictured are the Collard Wraps, Chocolate Mousse (and you won’t BELIEVE what the secret ingredient for this delicious dish was) and a nice Cashew/Date Cream as a topping for the Mousse.

 There was also a Quinoa salad that was outstanding, topped with a FatFree Dressing! Then, golly, it was time for lunch! Once again, the group outdid themselves with lunch. We had Mac/Cheese with Peas, Roasted Potatoes, a delicious Lentil Loaf, and Braised Kale. Dessert included some delicious Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookies as well as the Chocolate Mousse/Cashew Cream topping. OK..the secret ingredient for the Mousse was avocado! 
After lunch, we had two terrific speakers who shared their personal journey of adopting a Plant-based lifestyle. Gigi Carter shared her ‘from couch potato to vegan/plant-powered athlete’. In two years, Gigi has made a name for herself in the cycling community and has established a team (the Nunchuck Bunnies, sponsored by Indian Cycle). She also shared information on other Plant-based athletes. On a personal note, Gigi is one of the FOUR VEGANAMIGOS, which includes your Elf.

Shane Martin, MS native who now resides in Charlotte NC, also shared his story of ‘athlete to couch potato’ who added 100 pounds and a whole lot of health issues as a result (Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure). His journey included not only becoming plant-based but also how to manage being a plant-based family with five growing kids. Pictures include Shane before becoming plant based and Shane following.

 
 He has also reversed the diabetes and high blood pressure. Here is a link to Shane’s Facebook page
Our final speaker, Libby Spence, brought us a message of mindfulness and meditation; she then guided us through a 5 minute meditation that helped us all focus on our breathing and ease into the remainder of the day.
What a fun day this was! And so informative. Please visit the Magnolia Healthy Living Facebook page for many many more pictures. Plans are already in the works for next year’s event, no doubt! So thanks for Matthew and Alyssa Sikora and a host of others who made this possible!
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Since we mentioned the 4 VEGANAMIGOS, your Elf is in full prep mode for our own event tonight at Gigi’s beautiful home (as in Gigi Carter, cyclist extraordinaire). Leslie Dunbar (cyclist herownself) and Misty Waldrop (beautiful veganista) round out ‘us four’. We will have pictures to share next week as well as a rundown of all the fabulous dishes, but we’ll give you a sneak peek at one of the dishes the Elf will be taking.

 HA!

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And there you have the last full week of August. Goodness, we just seem to be hurtling through another year. Well, at least there’s football on the horizon and since Big Solid was a football player, we anticipate the SEC season with great glee. And, Dallas DAK! So, have a great week, eat plants, laugh a lot, love deeply, read (or listen to) a book, and above all, DO EPIC!

Your Elf

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