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Sunday, January 8, 2017

I'm In a New Elf State of Mind

My goodness, it's been a while and we have missed you! We have lots to share as we start off this new year so let's get goin'! 
FatFree Vegan Kitchen and New Years!!
We actually have two FFVK recipes to report on this blog! First, we LOVE soup and we especially love FatFree Vegan Kitchen's Pasta Fagioli. http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2014/11/pasta-fagioli-with-cranberry-beans-and-kale.html
We have featured it before so we'll share it again because it's REALLY good. We fixed this on 12/29 as we just had a real hankerin' for some good, solid and substantive soup. We call it 'supper-worthy soup'. Even though Big Solid has become a plant based eater (more about that later), he still likes a good hearty supper meal. We first made and reviewed this recipe on our 11.8.15 Blog if you want detailed stuffs.

For our purpose here, we just wanted to show you our remake that we have consumed and shared with friends. Cooking it up

  We were not able to get the cranberry beans as before but, as Susan says, you can use other beans on hand, such as pintos, which is what we had. We cooked and stored our Brown Rice Pasta separately to keep it at that great al denté level and served it up! YUMMY STUFFS
AND THEN...
It just so happened that we were really concentratin' hard on what recipe to prepare (or fix as we say here) for our Susan recipe when POW!, we saw a post from her on FaceBook asking for ideas for new Black-eyed Pea recipes. Well, we were wonderin' the same thing...how to prepare/fix our own Black-eyed Peas. And, we had two great bunches of Collard Green from our Farm Pack CSA AS WELL AS a big ole cabbage in the 'frig. So we figured we were covered with all the good luck options. So, we settled on FFVK's Creole Spic Black-eyed Peas.

So on NEW YEAR'S DAY, we got our 'mise en place'. Here you see Farm Pack Bell Pepper, Liquid Smoke (Hickory flavored), an added ingredient not found in the actual recipe but we threw it in--Scorpion Pepper Sea Salt (whew! HOT!), minced garlic, oregano, black pepper, cayenne, celery and onion.

 We also made our cookin' really cook with a pitcher of blood orange juice mimosas and football games galore.
 We sautéed the bell pepper and onion
then added the black-eyed peas, fire-roasted diced tomatoes (we especially like the organic fire roasted tomatoes by Muir Glen).
 While all that was cooking, we prepared our beautiful collards, again from our Up in Farms Winter Farm Pack, and sautéed them with another component of the Farm Pack
the BEAUTIFUL oyster mushrooms.  These look so lovely..you could make a really cool jigsaw puzzle out of them. Well, the picture, NOT the actual 'shrooms.
AND, the end result was quite nice with the MS Blues Rice (Brown Basmati) to round out the plate. It was delicious and just spicy enough to get your attention and not burn yo' mouth up.
 As a matter of fact, out of that WHOLE recipe of black-eyes peas, we only added 1/8 teaspoon of the Scorpion Pepper salt and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne. That was plenty enough. Maybe a wee bit more 'hot salt' but that would be pushin' it. We enjoyed this dish immensely at lunch and then settled back for MORE FOOTBALL.

And wouldn't you KNOW it but New Year's Day was on Sunday which happens to be TACO NIGHT at the Elfhaus. It would not do for Big Solid to miss Taco Night, so we plunged ahead later in the day to prepare a vegan version of Fish Tacos! So, here we were flyin' by the seat of our little Elfin britches. We used Gardein's Fishless Filets as our base 'fish'. We baked them not quite the full 8 minutes in order to have them shred-able yet not fall completely apart when we added seasoning and sautéed. We sorta made up the seasoning with lemon juice, ground cumin, cayenne, chipotle chile powder, ancho chile powder and fresh black pepper. The directions state several times to NOT OVERCOOK, so we were pretty careful. Big Solid had some trepidation about how these would turn out but he was quickly on board after his first two. We also made some spicy cole slaw and grated some of the Daiya block cheese...so much better than their cheese shreds. So, it looked like this. Basic taco shell with fish/grated cheese.
 The full meal deal with the slaw, remember that big ole cabbage we talked about...
and finally, the last taco standing with just the fish before anything else (or what was left) was added.
 We used the entire pack of 'filets' and just the right amount for three tacos each.
Now can you understand why we were so FULL and sleepy the rest of the evening!! And partially why your Elf decided to do a three day smoothie detox.

A few weeks back, we were diagnosed with a Vitamin D deficiency and were put on an intense regimen of 50K units of D daily for 10 days followed by another 50K weekly for the next ten weeks. CONSUMER alert here...READ THE DIRECTIONS on the Rx bottle. All we heard from the doc's office was take it like we just described, so that's what we did. After about 5 days, our stomach was a TRAIN WRECK. It took another day or so to ascertain it was the Vitamin D WHEN we READ the directions on the bottle that said TAKE WITH TWO TUMS! OH OK! After that, we did fine BUT the stomach issue just would NOT settle down. We also started drinking a couple of supplements in our morning smoothie that seemed to exacerbate the issue so it wasn't until after we implemented the Tums and the stomach disturbance continued that we eliminated the supplements. It's taken time AND the detox 3-day to get back to normal! We basically drank 3 smoothies a day or two smoothies a day and a salad of raw veggies and no oil. No caffeine or alcohol. We did get very hungry, we did have a headache for 2 1/2 days but it was worth it. The Elfin stomach is back to normal and we will certainly be more cognizant of supplements and potential side effects. Here are a few of the smoothies we fixed...we actually followed some suggested recipes and then made up a few of our own. Green Smoothie with spinach, cucumber, spirulina, hemp hearts, nutritional yeast, coconut water, apple, almond butter, and lemon juice.
Then there was this really pretty one with frozen strawberries, beets, apple, coconut water, lemon and the supplements mentioned above. And finally, our favorite...but not the prettiest. It had coconut water, mango, pineapple, blueberries, avocado, flax meal and cayenne. It was delicious!!
There were a few more but you get the idea...whatever, it worked nicely but the salad was a godsend at night, for sure. 

We wanted to take a moment to congratulate and give an Elfin Attaboy to Big Solid (aka Larry) for how he has embraced being plant-based. Every day we see him reading from a couple of books to increase his knowledge of the positive effects of going plant-based and ideas of things to cook. He is the master of simplicity and prefers simple meals to more elaborate elf-forts that we sometimes delve into. For example, while your Elf may search for a good new recipe to try (in addition to the FFVK recipes) such as something from Isa Does It or Oh She Glows, Big Solid is very happy with steamed broccoli, a baked potato, sautéed mushrooms and a few pieces of sautéed 'chicken' shreds. He absolutely ADORES Taco Night, which is very simple to do, especially now that we have several really good plant-based fillings on our Taco docket.
His preferred reading currently is The Starch Solution by John McDougall and Dr. Neal Barnard's Program for Reversing Diabetes: The Scientifically Proven System for Reversing Diabetes without Drugs. He (meaning Big Solid) is now advising your Elf on information about being plant-based and what foods we should avoid. We are so glad he's made this a passion. And, not only that, TWO of your Elf's relatives have sought information about plant-based eating for prevention/reversal of diabetes AND eliminating infection via diet management. Brother Elf was recently diagnosed with RA (rheumatoid arthritis, very painful and debilitating). He is making advances with eating foods that have anti-inflammatory properties and beginning to see some progress. He has begun to seriously consider focusing more on a plant-based regimen. He is especially pleased with the Turmeric/Ginger/Lemon/Cayenne tonic we suggested. Cousin Elf is working toward reversing her pre-diabetes diagnosis, losing some weight and beginning an exercise program to prevent diabetes from taking root. Cousin-in-law Elf is already diabetic, so any decline in his diabetes status, e.g., reducing the amount and/or frequency of insulin, would be wonderful. As a result, both the Elf relatives have received the aforementioned book(s) with best wishes to a healthier lifestyle. We'll keep you posted.

Last, for our inaugural 2017 Blog, we were very fortunate to be able to talk about our Vegan Journey as an Elder Elf on a local Talk Radio station aired on 12/23. We were on a show called Mission Nutrition hosted by Rebecca Turner, RD. Rebecca is a local food and health enthusiast who has a passion for healthy eating (she is not vegan but is very interesting in promoting plant-based eating). She also writes a nutrition column for the local newspaper, The Clarion-Ledger is the author of the book Mind Over Fork and appears frequently on TV to discuss healthy eating. Whew! She's one busy gal and cute to boot.
http://www.rebeccaturnernutrition.com/
If you are interested in listening to our portion of the interview, here are the links. We had a lot of fun and hope to return for more discussions on plant-based eating and prevention of diseases associated with poor nutrition and obesity. http://www.rebeccaturnernutrition.com/radio-show/
We truly wish that everyone would become plant-based overnight which would result in a regeneration of our environment from the mess it's now in, a happier life for all the factory-farmed animals since there would be no need for them, and an opportunity to nip debilitating conditions/diseases in the bud or reverse them saving bazillions of dollars in health care (it's so much cheaper to prevent than treat). Howsomever, we do understand that is not likely to occur...so the best we can do is to offer information, share our own experiences and challenges of being plant-based and be a guide through the maze of ideas, recipes, yeas and nays, ideals and realities. All without judging, patronizing or condescension. 

So we are off on another year and let's continue to...Look for the Good, be an example of the Good, and act for the Good as hard as you can as many ways as you can every day that you can. In other words, “DO EPIC”!
Your Elf

1 comment:

  1. I love your blog Janne. I made a really easy and tasty dish with the mushrooms from the CSA box - I sauteed it w/onion, garlic (lots of garlic) and fresh rosemary. And then made a simple white wine sauce with some veggie broth, white wine and a little arrowroot powder to thicken it. I seasoned it with salt and pepper and served it over the rice grits. You could also serve it over brown rice. OMG! It was fantastic!

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