Thursday, August 25, 2011

Meet me on the sunny road...

What an amazing summer of wonder and discovery!  I have thoroughly enjoyed my rudimentary explorations of Colorado, my new home.  I continue to be awestruck by the diverse climates and landscapes I find, each place having its own beautiful and harsh nuances.  There is definitely something "great" about this West, whether that be in its vastness or the rugged handsomeness of its valleys and peaks.  It's hard not to wonder what the first newcomers thought of such places, and it isn't difficult to understand the reverence and worship that the Native Americans have felt for natural landscapes for centuries.  Anyone who knows me knows how very non-religious I am, and yet when I am in the presence of such earthly splendors I've never felt closer to god.  Appreciation is the prayer, enjoyment and preservation are the worship.    
Cottonwood Pass-Continental Divide
In many ways I feel as if I've been a tightly-furled blossom, closely guarding my inner secrets, life and love giving abilities, in anticipation of a brilliant sun.  And with the perfect proportions of nourishment and light, I....

My new and improved, plant-based lifestyle has been coming along swimmingly.  I can't quite tell if I feel so much better because I have cut meat and dairy out of my diet, or due to the fact that I'm paying much closer attention to what I eat.  As predicted, cheese has been the most difficult thing to stop eating.  I'm borrowing a bit from Alcoholics Anonymous with my "One Day at a Time" approach.  I realize it is unnecessary to think about whether I will be able to not eat cheese a year from now, and instead channel my sole focus into not eating cheese today.  Ironically or not, I'm beginning to understand that I was addicted to that component of my diet.  By making the conscious and informed choice to remove it, I'm empowering myself to start taking better care of myself and the world around me.

Kitchen experimentation has been frequent and fruitful.  There have been some flops, but they have been few.  What is most exciting, to me, is finding ways to reinvent the ingredients I love.        

Some tidbits from the kitch:
(Click on the recipe title, below the picture, to be redirected to the recipe!)

Olive-Oil Roasted Tomatoes & Fennel w/ White Beans

I dare you not to eat this all in one sitting!  Use the best olive oil you have, and a cast-iron skillet makes the transition from stove-top to oven easy.  Try this over pasta, greens, or the best way: sopped up with crusty whole wheat bread.

Cantaloupe Granita
I made this up, using the basis of another great recipe, which you can find here.  It's easy as pie.  Flaky, frozen, melt-in-your-mouth, cantaloupe pie.


4 1/2 cups cubed cantaloupe
1/4 cup agave nectar
Juice from one lime


Put it all in the blender.  Blend until smooth.  Freeze 1 hour.  Remove; stir mixture and break up frozen chunks with the back of a fork.  Cover, freeze until firm, 2 hours or so.  Flake with a fork before serving.

Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding

I. love. this. pudding.  You will too, and you won't believe that it's dairy-free!  Trust me on this one.

I leave you with a flower, until next time.


Kat Reiner said...

Over the past ten years or so i've made several changes to my diet in order to become a healthier me. I am currently doing my best to get rid of candida in my body which has proved to be no small task. I have cut out almost all sugars, soy, dairy, eggs, and gluten... among other things (upon recommendation of my natural path doctor). I've learned a ton and I thought some of the info might come in handy for you even though I'm sure you've done a lot of research for vegan dishes already. A few of my favorite tricks: Use two tablespoons of ground flax mixed with equal amount of water and let sit for a minute before stirring and adding to recipe instead of eggs in baking (silken tofu works as well for moist cakes), coconut oil and butter are the best! I use them for everything. One of my favorite breakfasts is steamed quinoa warmed with cinnamon, coconut/cashew milk, raisins and sunflower seed butter, topped with berries, chia seeds, coconut oil and a little agave, honey or stevia. I also make "ranch" dressing using dried ranch herbs, lemon and avocado in the blender (sometimes i add fresh horseradish or ginger). I could go on for days about this! Hope some of this gives you ideas:)

Christina said...

Good luck my darling friend! I've been wanting to revamp the way I eat for some time now. I'm going to try to do VB6 (vegan before 6) starting next week, but I'm very very afraid. Cheese would be my downfall in going full-fledged vegan too. However, my cause for concern with VB6 is yogurt. It's my staple breakfast/snack and I'd have an even harder time parting with that than cheese. We'll see! I'll be looking to you for inspiration and recipes. :)

Kat Reiner said...


Kat Reiner said...

christina- i have another tidbit that might help... i make my own yogurt using coconut milk and yogurt starter (super easy). If you don't want to go to the trouble of making it, you can buy coconut or soy yogurt already made and it tastes great, although a tad more expensive than dairy yogurt. I cant help with the cheese dilemma... i love and miss it.

Evan said...

Kat- I know firsthand about some of your food changes and challenges over the years! It seems like the options and people's opinions have greatly diversified since I remember your experiments with brown rice pasta and spelt bread. I've been reading so many books and looking for any information I can find on these topics, and while it's wonderful it can be a little overwhelming. So, I'm so appreciative of your wonderful suggestions! I love the idea of using ground flax + water as an egg replacer. I haven't baked yet, just been cooking, and I've been wondering about alternatives to the replacer. And the yogurt sounds wonderful! I love the idea of quinoa as a warm cereal with all of the other goodies. That will be great on cold days. Have you heard of/used teff? It's a gluten-free grain from Ethiopia. I've heard the hot cereal idea using that as well...I'm excited to try these things! I'll keep sharing, and I'd love it if you would as well.

Christina- You know my love of cheese. It has been difficult, to say the least. But at the same time I like it because I'm eating such different foods than I'd normally eat. I know you can do it! You'll be amazed at how good you feel. And that yogurt recipe of Kat's sounds right up your alley :)

Kate said...

Everytime I read no cheese I die a little. I applaud your efforts but no cheese makes me want to curl into a ball and sob like a baby.

Evan said...

Kate- I completely understand! It's a bit easier than I thought it would be, but I do still miss it sometimes. Who knows, I may return to cheese one day, but for now I'm feeling the subtle changes in my body from not eating it and I'm liking that!