Sunday, October 9, 2016

Time Waits for No Elf

As the days go hurtling by, we are throwing ours-elfs headlong into this next decade with renewed gusto and vigor. There is NOT a doubt in our mind that being plant-based has provided us with the tools necessary to live strong and healthy. And now that Big Solid has joined up as a plant-based eater, we have lots of fun together planning stuffs to eat, goin’ to the grocery store and figuring out new restaurants to try. Later on in this blog, we will introduce you to Mitchell Moore and talk a bit about his leap into plant-based eating and how he has fared over the past 6 weeks. Don’t miss it!

But first, our FatFree Vegan Kitchen/Susan Voisin recipe this week was a very nice, soothing and tasty dish called Warm Pasta Salad with Roasted Vegetables and Pesto Vinaigrette.
This dish has two recipes in it…one for the salad/roasted vegetables and one for the dressing (the pesto vinaigrette). Actually, we have decided to keep a whole ‘mess’ of roasted or pan roasted veggies on hand because they are SO GOOD and can be utilized in so many way. AND, since Big Solid is committed to more ‘good carbs’, he is now more amenable to wonderful pastas, rice dishes and, of course, potatoes; he’s also more open to trying veggies he’s heretofore not been so fond of only to find that, if prepared in a tasty and well-seasoned manner, are quite good. So, this was a great opportunity to have two of the Elf’s favorite foods (pasta) and eggplant. In order to keep the veggies from getting to mushy, we spread them out over two cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. These were roasted until they were nice and brown to bring out the most flavor.
These nicely caramelized veggies were then added to some whole wheat rotini along with chickpeas and sliced Kalamata olives. Now, the recipe calls for any fat-free dressing but Susan recommends her FatFree  Balsamic Vinegar and Raisin Vinaigrette. Listen up, this stuff is like liquid crack! We keep in on hand ALL THE TIME! It’s so good and so easy to make. This link will take you to the original recipe (who'd have thought to use raisins as sweetener).
To ‘pesto-ize’ this dressing for the pasta salad, we added basil, roasted garlic (you roast it with the veggies in some foil), walnuts and nutritional yeast. Add the dressing to the pasta/vegetables and voila! You have a wonderful meal that is delicious warm, at room temperature and even cold!!
We can attest to that since the little bit we had left over vanished without ever being warmed up again. We got so excited about all the new opportunities (remember pasta, rice and potatoes are fair game now), we’ve already selected our FFVK recipe for next week. Portabellos Stuffed with Pesto Mashed Potatoes.

Here’s another recipe we tried during the week…it’s been making the Facebook rounds lately and that’s the Avocado/Chickpea/Lemon spread.
Well, we tinkered with that a bit by using a lime instead of a lemon; when the flavor did not particularly soar, we added some sliced tomatoes, ground cumin and cayenne to make it more of a guacamole spread.
It is VERY spicy and quite tasty. We grabbed some sunflower micro-greens from Whole Paycheck/Foods and made a nice little sammich on a whole wheat bun (we actually added more 'greens after this picture as we wanted you to see them up close).

THEN, we got all inspired by Chef Joe’s Sriracha hummus at the Crossroads CafĂ© and decided to give it a go ourowns-elfs. Although we keep Sriracha on hand, we made a quick decision to use Sambal instead.
We were NOT disappointed. In fact, just writing about this made us hungry, so we took a break and had a taste.
Now you see it you don't!
And FINALLY, from the Kinky Elfery Kitchen, yesterday was a whirlwind of activity. We made four batches of cookie dough for the coming week, a dozen plant-based sausages (6 Andouille and 6 Italian) and a batch of The Gentle Chef’s Chikun. Pictured here is the dough that turns into Andouille sausages after rolling in foil and steaming.
We are meeting some good friends for supper tonight and will take some of the plant-based meats with us to spruce up a baked potato or salad.

NOW, we mentioned Mitchell Moore at the beginning of this blog and want to tell you that this man is a walking endorsement of plant-based eating. Mitchell is a pastry chef with incredible talent; he owns Campbell’s Bakery (a fixture in the Fonder area of Jackson MS) and recently opened a Madison MS Campbell’s. Here are side by side pictures of Mitchell as he began his journey to health. He is now down 50 pounds. If you can see the detail on the award, his was named best dessert at a recent Livingston Market gathering.

Mitchell is also intensely invested in his wife and daughter, Madelyn (pictured).
His cardiologist told him about two months ago that if he wanted to be around to watch his daughter grow up, he needed to make some changes, primarily having to do with ridding his arteries of evil plaque and his body of cholesterol (the bad kind). Adopting a plant-based diet was suggested and Mitchell hasn’t looked back. He has embraced this change with his ever-present intensity, and looks at what he CAN do/have/develop/make rather than what he CAN’T. See, he’s already hard at work creating vegan bakery options such as these awesome VEGAN Chocolate Chip Cookies! And remember Campbell's Bakery did the incredible Vegan Cupcakes for the Elf's Birthday Bash last weekend.
It’s the mindset of thinking what one CAN’T have that prevents so many folks from going plant based and it’s a bee (no vegan blowback, please) in your Elf’s bonnet. And here’s where Mitchell shines…he’s committed to making his body work better and he posted his bloodwork results after 6 weeks to share the remarkable changes. We have his permission to share and GET THESE NUMBERS!! In Mitchell’s own words (and can’t you FEEL his excitement!): “The first 6 weeks numbers are in as a vegan. Drumroll please…Cholesterol-was 208, now 153; HDL-was 33, now 38; LDL (the bad stuff) was 155, now 89. And that is just in the first 6 weeks. I’m hooked. The best part is that as a vegan, the plaque lining my arteries will slowly, over time, dissipate until they are clean and no more plaque should be introduced. I know I’m going to die one day, but it won’t be from heart disease. Not anymore.” Now folks, we here in the KEK ask you, doesn’t that just thrill you to pieces!! Many thanks, Mitchell, for letting us share some of your story.

OK, that’s a vegan wrap for this week, y’all. We look forward to this week with some trepidation as your Elf is having some ‘toof’ implants. We feel pretty sure everything will be just fine and we’ll be in the KEK in no time a'tall. Until next week, remember to laugh out loud, eat plant-based, share a kindness or many, and DO EPIC!

Your Elf.

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