Friday, December 31, 2010

Louisiana Sweet Potato and Pecan Spice Pound Cake: A Lesson for the New Year.

On this last day of 2010, I reflect back on the past year.  Actually the past eight.  That is how long it has taken me to perfect my vegan cakes.  I have practiced and finally found a formula that works.  So now I can apply it to chocolate cakes, vanilla, spice, etc.  You know every year people come up with resolutions that usually get kicked to curb by April.  But taking a lesson from my cake adventures, never give up.  Every flat cake helped me come up with new ideas and formulas.  When you find a formula that works, keep working and improving on it.  Every year is a great learning experience and this year has been no exception.  I started this Southern Vegetarian adventure about a year ago and I plan to keep on cooking and learning in the new year.  Check out one of my masterpiece cakes below and don’t give up on your goals and dreams in the New Year!

talldancr1's Recipes - Louisiana Sweet Potato and Pecan Spice Pound Cake

Monday, December 13, 2010

Something vegan and yummy for breakfast!

My dad makes a great bowl of oatmeal every morning with raisins, craisins, pecans, (from Louisiana of course), and uses apple juice to sweeten.  So I thought I would make his tasty oatmeal into a breakfast bar.  It's great on those late mornings when there is not enough time for cereal or anything for that matter.  I added granola and a touch of agave for added crunch.  Check out the recipe below and enjoy! 

1 cup of spelt or whole grain flour
1 cup of oatmeal
1/2 cup of granola
1/8 cup of melted earth balance spread + 2 tablespoons
1/2 cup of apple juice minus two tablespoons
2 tablespoons of agave
1/2 cup nuts
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup craisins
1 pinch of salt

Oil brownie pan or 8x8 baking dish.
Set oven to 350 degrees
Mix flour, granola, oatmeal, and pinch of salt into a bowl.
Chop nuts, raisins, and craisins together and add to bowl.  Add the 1/8 cup of melted Earth Balance, apple juice, and agave to flour mixture and mix with spoon,  then, use hands to finish mixing (have fun with it!).  When everything is fully incorporated press mixture into dish and brush tops with the remaining melted Earth Balance.  Pre-cut squares before baking.  Bake for 25 to 30 mins.  Let cool completely before separating and enjoy!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Helping the Community Garden. Pride in Baton Rouge!



 The other day I blogged about vegetables stolen from a community garden in South Baton Rouge.  Well, I bought a few plants to help the kids replenish their garden and my son helped them replant and clean up the space.  Here are a few pics from our adventure to your right and below.  It was so great to see these young people congregating around the garden to help replant what had been stolen.  When the kids are finished one of the ladies from the neighborhood has some of the vegetables prepared along with other good eats for everyone.  It was good to see that even though this was a temporary setback, these kids still stayed committed to their project.

Here is the link to the original story below.


Plants stolen from kids community garden

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Monday, December 6, 2010

Plants stolen from kids community garden - WAFB Channel 9, Baton Rouge, LA |


Community gardens are so important especially for areas that don’t have access to fresh fruits and vegetables because grocery stores won’t set up shop there.  Let’s show these kids some support by buying a plant and bringing it to them on Thursday.  I love to see kids gardening because it can play a part in how they eat in the future.  There is a pride in knowing the food you are eating is fresh picked from your own garden.   Lets show the community that people care and that there is pride not only in that community but in Baton Rouge as a whole. Check out the article below.
Plants stolen from kids' community garden - WAFB Channel 9, Baton Rouge, LA |

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Southern Vegetarian T-shirts: A little "Lagniappe" for the Southern Vegetarian.

459103183v3_350x350_Front_Color-PinkSalmon492707054v5_350x350_Front

Happy Holidays!  I wanted to let everyone know about my t-shirts and other items I have just in time for the holidays!  One of the reasons I started this blog is because I looove vegetarian cooking.  But then I realized, I not only like cooking but everything involved in it.  Planting my food, composting, going to farmers markets, learning how the foods we eat affect our bodies.  Everything is connected!  Let’s start a Southern Vegetarian Revolution I say!  With all of the negative news out there about the health disparities in the south let’s show people the there are some folks doing things a little different here!  Click on the Southern Vegetarian apparel link below to check out super cute t-shirts, bags, water bottles, and kids items.

Southern Vegetarian Apparel : A little "Lagniappe" for the Southern Vegetarian.

Friday, December 3, 2010

FDA will finally look at link between artificial food dyes and children's behavior | MNN - Mother Nature Network

mac and cheese

As a Dance Therapist, I used to work with special needs kids who had either an ADD or ADHD diagnosis.  I often felt like the blue or red fruit punch and other brightly colored snacks they were eating couldn’t be good for their health or attention.  Of course this being over 10 years ago no one wanted to hear what I had to say.  Check this article out and see what I had a hunch about so many years ago. 
FDA will finally look at link between artificial food dyes and chilIdren's behavior | MNN - Mother Nature Network

Organic Mississippi farming | MNN - Mother Nature Network

This is an interesting article about an organic farm in Mississippi.  It’s from last year but still worth the read.    

Organic Mississippi farming | MNN - Mother Nature Network

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What is a Buddah hand lemon?

A short late night video for you to check out, Happy Thanksgiving!

A Few of my Favorite Things, Southern Veg Style!

I know I am not Oprah, but I too have a few favorite things that add a little bit of yumminess to my life. By the way, you can purchase some of these things at the Amazon site to your right →. Go ahead, you know you want to ☺.

 Cookbooks


These two are the ones with the most food bits on the pages from spilling flour, cake batter, oil, gravy, etc.
Vegan Planet has some great cookie and brownie recipes and also great Vegan cooking tips. Very Vegetarian has some great pictures and savory recipes. In fact the foundation for my mac & cheeze came from this book. Must haves for the Vegan/Vegetarian cook.








Knives

I like ceramic knives even though they can chip like my red one here. I just have to send it back to the company and they will sharpen it round off that tip for me. The one in its case is brand new. They both cut wonderfully! FYI, don’t try to crush garlic with these. They will definitely break.

Gadgets

This is a cool measuring cup I picked up at a local kitchen store.








Cast Iron Cookware

I love my cast iron cookware. I have this pan and two other pans along with a biscuit pan and two enamelized cast iron pots. Great heat conductors and I can even store food in the refrigerator in my enamelized cookware.





My Heart
Last but not least, my son gave me this flower. It is, out of everything my most favorite thing!





Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My Vegan Cookie Adventure





Secretly I like to bake. You saw I did pies and last night cookies. After I made my stew (pics below), I decided to make cookies. What I used is my 1-2-4-2 formula. 1=fat, 2=sugar. 4=flour, 2=liquid. The numbers equals parts. So depending on how much I want to make I could do 1 cup of butter, 2 cups of sugar, 4 cups of flour, and 2 cups of milk. Now this formula is for cakes but for cookies I leave out the liquid. I add a ½ teaspoon of baking powder and ¼ teaspoon of soda per cup of flour and use egg replacer; one egg equivalent for each cup of flour. I add vanilla for flavoring and a touch of salt. Now the trick is what flours, sweetener, and fat to use. I use spelt flour, organic cane juice crystals, and earth balance buttery spread. But you can use any flour but note that the denser the flour, i.e. whole wheat, spelt, you can use a liquid sweetener. Agave or maple syrup can work but haven't used rice syrup. Make sure you cream your fat and sugar together. Anyhoo, just play with this idea. One of the reasons I've become so obsessed with Southern Vegetarian cooking is that I became tired of flavorless food (especially cookies). Being vegetarian didn't mean I had to give up flavor. So my Southern Veg folks, don't give up the flavor you love from the south just because you changed your diet.
I almost forgot my stew. It came out great! I used basic stew ingredients, potatoes, celery, onion, carrots, peas, and added aromatics from the garden (parsley and rosemary). Then I added Gardein beefless tips (Target sells them). Not a bad substitute and worth a try if you like stews.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Organic Deals & Coupons: New Pacific Natural Foods Coupons!

I hear a lot of folks talk about the price of organic food is too expensive or it's too pricey to eat healthy. Well with blogs like the one below, you can eat healthy and save a little money. Check it out!

Organic Deals & Coupons: New Pacific Natural Foods Coupons!: "There are new coupon for Pacific Natural Foods! $1/1 Pacific Natural Foods Soup or Broth $2/2 Pacific natural Foods Frozen Artisan Pizza's $..."

Monday, October 25, 2010

My Pie Adventure


Last night I had a "What's in my Pantry" moment.  Actually it was my refrigerator.  There were about 4 pears that were bruised and a granny smith apple that was past it's prime. So I thought about pie.  My cookbooks are in storage ( I have a lot of things committed to memory), so I did a YouTube search for pie crust and found an excellent recipe via the Foodwishes channel on http://www.foodwishes.com/  (Thanks Chef John)!
For the filling, I just sprinkled a little sugar on the fruit with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger then added craisins and pecans for a little more texture.  Voila'!  Pretty simple.  Enjoy!

Friday, October 22, 2010

What's in your Pantry?

 My family is spoiled.  They are used to me whipping up a scrumptious dish for dinner not thinking that maybe Mom is tired or needs a break.  Well one night last week I was.  My youngest had a cold and I had been up all night off and on with her.  So needless to say by 6:00 p.m. I was pooped.  "Mommmy, whats for dinner?" I hear from my oldest.  My first thought was that "I don't feel like cooking" but then, I looked into my sons, "Mommy pleeeeease" face, and began to check the pantry and refrigerator for what I could cook.  Hmmm,  Daiya (non-dairy) cheese and bread; grilled cheese.  So I thought, lets do a soup and sandwich night.  I got a can of diced fire roasted tomatoes and vegetable broth out of the pantry.  I found a bag of frozen veggies (beans, carrots, corn, peas) and a fresh onion.  From my garden I got a bell pepper, a jalapeno (without seeds), some parsley, and Mexican tarragon.
My method:  Saute the onion and peppers and add the diced tomatoes with liquid.  Simmer for about a minute and add 3 cups of vegetable broth.  Add a dollop of honey or agave if the tomato mixture is too acidic. Add about a teaspoon of chopped tarragon and about 2 teaspoons of parsley, salt and pepper to taste.  Let simmer together for about 5 minutes and add frozen vegetables and cover.  Let the veggies cook on medium for another five minutes and them lower for another 10 to 15.  And there you have it, vegetable soup.  Right off the top of my head, no recipe, just using what was available in the kitchen and garden.  So my Southern Veg lovers, What's in your Pantry?  Let me know what intuitive recipes you come up with and post it on my Facebook.  Just click to my right. Whomever posts by November 15th gets their name put in a drawing for a free Southern Veg gift!  Enjoy!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Comforting Food

I know I haven't posted in a while.  Actually,  I've been in a space where I just didn't want to do anything.  Just stay in bed and sulk.  You see, the lease purchase on the house and land my husband and I were looking to buy fell through.  I was soo excited about the land and a great kitchen to cook in and couldn't wait to move.  But, the divine plan is perfect and there is another even more fabulous place somewhere out there for me.  It still stings though, and for the past month I've been quiet on the cooking front.  Yet, when I go out to Macy's I head for the housewares section or make a U turn to the kitchen store that's going out of business.  I have even gotten into the habit of clipping and printing coupons for great food finds.  My inner foodie is still alive!  On my Southern Veg Facebook page ( you can check it out to your right) one of my friends asked about biscuits and gravy.  So, I thought,  life has ups and downs but a good healthy, wholesome meal is always comforting, especially Southern Veg style!  So here is a quick method for gravy and a savory biscuit recipe that can be altered, Enjoy!

 
Gravy:
1 tsp butter substitute
1 tsp flour
3/4 cup almond or milk of choice
salt, pepper and any other seasoning to taste

Melt the butter and add flour.  Whisk for about 30 seconds and slowly add milk.  You can adjust the amount of milk depending on if you want a thick or thinner gravy.  To season add salt and pepper to taste.  This is the basic recipe that can be varied.  Onions can be sauteed with and extra teaspoon of butter and instead of pepper use a Cajun seasoning.  Or add garlic and green onion.  The list goes on.  YUM!



 
Garlic and Dill Savory Biscuit
2 cups of Spelt flour
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
6 to 8 tbsp of vegan butter (cold)
½ tsp of salt
2 tbsp of chopped garlic
2 tbsp of chopped dill (fresh)
½ to ¾ cup almond milk

Method:
set oven for 375 degrees
oil baking pan or a large cast iron skillet can be used.
In large bowl mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Then add chopped garlic and dill, mix.
Add butter to mixture and use a fork to incorporate into the flour. Add a few tablespoons at a time until mixture is somewhat crumbly like a coarse meal.
Slowly incorporate milk until the flour forms a ball and is slightly tacky.
Oil a ¼ cup and use as a form for each biscuit and place on oiled pan.

Bake for 25 to 30 min until golden brown.
Serve warm with favorite butter.










Friday, August 20, 2010

Southern Urban Farming

I found this great article and video about urban farming around the Atlanta area. Some folks think that during down times life is a pain, but out of the recession comes resourcefulness. Our thoughts determine our reality so make the best of yours! Check it out here.

"Urban farming is a way for African-Americans to connect with the earth," says Cashawn Myers of HABESHA

Monday, August 9, 2010

Check Southern Veg Chronicles out in the Rainbow Co-op Newsletter


I love, love, love, this place!  Nestled off of I-55 in Jackson, Missippi, it is my favorite rest stop while traveling.  With a great selection of all natural items and an awesome cafe, this place is a must see for my non-southern vegans and vegetarians who happen to be traveling through the south and a great stop for my southern folks traveling from Louisiana to places up north.   Check my article out here, Rainbow Co-op and click on newsletter.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Happy Healthy Friday Louisiana!

So for my folks here in "Da Boot", aka Louisiana what are you going to do today to improve your health?
Just one thing...
Many folks ask me, "Was it hard giving up meat?".  Well,  I took baby steps.  I gave up beef and pork first, then removed dairy, chicken products, turkey, and fish later. Remember, it just takes time and commitment.  The culture here is so rich with food and festivals so some people think it's too hard to change.  I still enjoy going out without having a large seafood platter or a fried turkey leg.  Definitely want to be around to enjoy the fun things about living in the South and not complain about my "sugar" or many other ailments that I hear folks lament about here.  Check this article (Louisiana Obesity) and lets begin to think about what we put into our bodies.  Start small with maybe drinking more water or getting a side salad with your burger and pass some of those new habits on to the young people around you.  Just start with small changes that eventually become a part of your routine and begin to change how you look an most importantly how you feel.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Getting "Tasty" in August!

Wow, it's August already!  Time sure does fly when you're cooking good food.  It's been about two weeks since I've posted something tasty but I've been looking for a Southern Veg compound to grow my food and teach classes on how to make these tasty meals you see here on the video.  I've seen two places already and they have awesome kitchens and yards.  Before the end of the year you will be seeing a new space for Southern Vegetarian Living along with products and cooking classes, so look out.  Now, for this weeks video and recipe.  I have used products from a company called Tasty Bite, which sells prepackaged vegetarian and vegan Indian food that taste really great.  They found me on twitter and wondered could I make something "Southern" from their products.  Here is what I came up with.  Hope ya'll enjoy!  
P.S.  If there are any other food companies that are interested in me "Southernizing" their vegetarian/vegan products hit me up at any of the links to your right or e-mail me at germaine@southernvegchronicles.com


“Good Korma” Vegan Jambalaya
An Indian twist to a Southern classic

Ingredients:
Tasty Bite- Good Korma sauce
Tasty Bite- Basmati Rice
Small onion chopped
Small bell pepper chopped
2 to 3 cloves of garlic
2 green onions chopped
Mock chicken strips
2 Mock sausage links sliced
Salt to taste

Method:

Fix basmati rice according to directions and leave in packet.  Sauté in olive oil, onion, bell pepper, green onion, and add garlic last.   Add a little more oil to pan with veggies to sauté mock chicken strips and sausage.  Once strips and sausage are sautéed add Good Korma sauce according to directions.  Salt to taste.   Add rice to sauce mixture and stir making sure everything is evenly incorporated.  Let simmer low for 8-10 minutes.   Once finished stir one last time, serve, and enjoy!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Eggplant Week- Sweet Chunky Soup or Pasta Sauce

I recently received this response from a Southern Veg reader in one of my Yahoo Groups.   Thanks Ginamarie!
By the way readers, keep those e-mails coming.   I will periodically post new ideas and information from ya'll on my blog:


Germaine- I am loving your blog and have passed your link on to so many people recently.

Here is something I do with eggplant (because, quite honestly, eggplant kinda grosses me out a bit! haha) and because I know I can get a TON of veggies into my two fellas, with this recipe. It has become one of our favorite meals and it can be prepared so quickly (I toss ALL of the veggies into the food processor and voila! They are ready to be sauteed in minutes):

NOTE: If/when you juice carrots, use ALL of the remaining pulp in this recipe. Otherwise, steam 5 large carrots until soft, puree and then add into this recipe:

SWEET CHUNKY SOUP or PASTA SAUCE

1. FINELY chop 1 large sweet onion and 4 cloves of garlic and saute'. in olive oil.
2. Add FINELY chopped 1 zucchini, 1 squash, 4 or 5 handfuls of baby spinach or kelp, 1 small eggplant and carrot pulp and saute (if no pulp, then hold off on the carrots right now)
3. I add 1 large bottle of Whole Foods Organic Pasta Sauce when in a hurry but you can make     
     your own sauce and blend in if you have the time
4. Fold in the pureed carrots only if you didn't have pulp to add earlier
5. Now your sauce will be chunky and more orange than red
6. 5-10 minutes before removing from stove, add your spices (fresh basil, oregano, sea salt,
     black pepper, red pepper, etc... and cover to simmer.


Serve with any pasta that you like (we really like the gluten free rice pasta) or you can just eat it with a spoon, like soup. It's yummy and allows for a lot of creativity to add/delete veggies, according to your preference. The carrots neutralize the acid in the tomatoes and gives the sauce such a deliciously sweet and mello flavor so just make sure that the sauce is more orange than red and you will know you have added enough. Mangia!

P.S.  I completely forgot to note the Nutritional Yeast! This makes a large
amount of sauce so sometimes I add 1/2 - 1Cup of it, at the end, for a punch of
extra B vitamins and B12 and it gives it kinda of a cheesy taste. You can also
sprinkle on top in place of Parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Cooking in season with Eggplant!

Right now in Louisiana eggplant is in season.  Along with corn, bell peppers, tomatoes, blueberries, peaches, plums, and okra.  In my garden I am growing so many things thanks to my son's curiosity and love for gardening.  One of the more interesting things I have growing is Malabar Spinach.  It likes warm climates and is great in a stir fry.  So below is a video along with the recipe for a great Eggplant stir-fry with Malabar Spinach.  Please note, my son and I are impromptu cooks.  We often just put things together just to see how it will taste.  This is one of those times.  Remember to cook from the heart and don't be afraid to try new things!

Ingredients:
1 medium eggplant, chopped into small cubes
1 large tomato, seeded and chopped ( you can used canned diced w/o liquid if you must)
1 medium bell pepper cut into strips
3 green onion chopped
1 banana pepper chopped or hot pepper for those who love spicy
1/2 cup Malabar Spinach cut into strips,  (mustard greens or kale can substitute)
1 clove garlic
safflower oil

Sauce:
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground corriander
1/4 tsp toasted sesame seeds
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp rosemary
dash of red pepper flakes
1/2 cup of soy sauce
3 tbs of water
1/4 tsp corn starch
(you can also add a 1/2 tsp of toasted sesame oil for more flavor)

Method:
Mix all sauce ingredients in a small bowl or cup.  In about 2 tbs of oil sautee' eggplant until transparent.  Set aside.  Add another tablespoon of oil, then sautee' green onion, bell pepper, banana pepper. Add tomato and Malabar spinach and garlic.  Stir-fry until spinach or green has a slight limp.  Add eggplant back to pan and add sauce.  Continue to stir-fry and then cut fire to low, cover and allow the eggplant to absorb the flavors for another 5 minutes.

Food Happenings in Dallas

FYI on Dallas.  This article only talks about Whole Foods as a vegetarian option but it's a start.

Food Happenings in Dallas

Monday, July 12, 2010

I just want a little something, quick...

I am really digging on the the Southern Veg love I am getting.  I promise I will get out more recipes, ideas, and articles for everyone.  I just got a message from an old friend who wanted a dinner idea.  Well as I type I am editing video for my next recipe but needed to put something quick up.  The other night I made a veggie croquette with mac and cheeze.  My croquette is adapted from Paula Deens veggie pancake,  I just made it vegan.
  • 1/2 cup spelt flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or salt free creole seasoning mix
  • 1 egg or EnerG egg replacer equivalent
  • 1/4 cup soy, almond, or milk of choice
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 1 cup grated squash (1/2 green, 1/2 yellow)
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons oil

Directions

(For the egg replacer users heat oven to 350 degrees and place a sheet pan in the oven.  When your croquettes finish frying place them in the oven for another 10 minutes.)  In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper. In another bowl, beat together the egg or egg replacer, milk, carrots, zucchini, and onions. Add this to the dry ingredients and stir until combined.
Using a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Pour the batter by tablespoons into the pan, making a few pancakes at a time. Cook about 2 minutes on each side and golden brown. Add the remaining oil to the pan as needed.

Hope you guys enjoy.  I will post the my Mac and Cheeze soon, promise!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Vegan options in schools.

As a vegetarian mom one of the things that I have always had to do was pack my son's lunches when he went to school.  I found it frustrating some mornings when I was tired or got up late to fix a lunch.  When my family lived up north and my son went to public school there, the cafeteria had vegetarian days.  On those days I would send him with a few dollars and have a day off from my morning or evening ritual of fixing the lunchbox.  Most of the time though, the vegetarian option was full of cheese so he would either pull it off or I would just send him with an extra snack because the vegetarian option had more vegetables. I saw the article below and thought this was a great idea!  Having a lunch truck doesn't help the elementary school crowd but it's a start.  We all need to keep abreast of local and national legislation for school lunches and continue to push for vegetarian and eventually vegan options for our children in schools.
Vegan Lunch for High Schoolers

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Slow Food in the South

While doing my morning reading I came across this great article about filling a need in Baton Rouge, La.  There are certain parts of the city where access to fresh foods is limited.  Luckily, a few local organizations are looking to help by starting community gardens along with other efforts.  This way all communities can have access to wholesome and healthy foods.   Read more below:
225 Baton Rouge Article- Slow Food

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Louisiana Requests $10 Million from BP for Mental Health

Even though I write about vegetarianism, I also have a background in Counseling/Dance Movement Therapy. Folks here in Louisiana have been through a lot and this incident has had an huge impact on a way of life for so many people. At times it seems hopeless but we just have to keep our heads up and know that the divine plan is perfect. For those of you outside of the south, please send healing to Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.

Louisiana Requests $10 Million from BP for Mental Health

Monday, June 28, 2010

Cook with your Kids!

According to Instah.com:

   Child Obesity in America has increased 3 times in the last 30 years.  6.5% of Children between 6-11 years were  obese in 1980 whereas 19.8% of children were obese in 2008.  These figures are similar to that of adolescents aged 12-19 years where obesity increased from 5.0% to 18.1%.

My son and I have been cooking together since he was 3.  As a stay at home Mom, I felt it was a lot more productive to add my son the process rather than sit him in from of the t.v. or expect him to stay still as I cooked.  Our first cooking adventure was Spelt Biscuits.  We made them so much together that my son started making suggestions for variations.  We added almonds and bananas; used whole spelt flour or white spelt flour.  Needless to say it set the foundation for him to want to do more in the kitchen.  He makes his own dressings for salad, loves to help me chop veggies, and as I type is making me a smoothie.

I once read a survey that states that 87 percent of fourth through eighth graders either cook for themselves or make their own snacks, and eight out of then said they prepare their own breakfast.  With the busy lives of parents, some children have to become their own nutrition monitors relying on packaged and processed foods for quick snacks.  I would love to see after school programs add basic nutrition and cooking classes to their curriculum to help broaden the scope of what young people know about food.  Where I live there is a cooking school called Young Chefs Academy which introduces basic cooking concepts to kids and is also willing to work with vegetarians.  Programs like these are a wonderful introduction to cooking simple meals or snacks.  I know many folks say they don't have the money to buy certain foods, but now, more than ever, it is imperative that we stay healthy in mind, spirit, and body, especially our young people whose future can be affected by poor eating habits.  So to reiterate a question I asked before, "What is your food lifestyle?"  What kind of food lifestyle do you want your children to have?  With that said check out my newest video featuring my son and his Avocado Dip, the ingredients are posted at the end of the video.  Hope you like it, enjoy!
(statistics provided by California Department of Education)
 

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Creating a FoodCorps an AmeriCorps school garden, farm to school program.

I am so loving this idea!  Getting our schools and children involved in growing their own food is such an awesome thing.  I've been cooking and gardening with my son since he was 3.  He loves fruits and veggies and can't wait until harvest so he can cook what he grew.  Let's get our children away from the television and see what they can grow and then maybe we will see how they grow as people.


http://www.justmeans.com/FoodCorps-Building-an-Army-Support-Sustainable-Food-Farmers/15493.html

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Monday, June 21, 2010

Check out VeggieFest Chicago!

The one in New Orleans was great, so now I am oh so ready for this one in Naperville, Illinois, Aug 7th and 8th.  Check them out if you are in the area!

Super Secret Salad Sauce!

My son loves to make salad dressing.  So here is a video of him making his Super Secret Salad Dressing.  It's not really secret though, he just likes calling it that. 



Here are the ingredients:

1/4 cup chopped mushrooms
3 green onions
Herbs de Provance
Thyme
Rosemary
Parsley
Coriander
3 tbs Tamari
1  tsp mustard
Red pepper flakes to taste
2 tbs Apple Cider Vinegar
6 tbs Olive Oil

Saute mushrooms and onions. Whisk all ingredients togethermexcept oil.  Then with a slow drizzle mix in oil while whisking other ingredients.  Enjoy!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Check this book out!

I am a little late in writing my review of the book Delivering Happiness, A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com.  It was released last week and is already on the best sellers list.  Part biography, part guidebook for entrepreneurs, this handy tome is a must read for aspiring business owners, managers, top executives, or if you are an employee.  Tony’s book affirms that by instilling a sense of passion and purpose into your workplace you not only create a sense of joy about what you do but the people around you, your “tribe”, will also create an cheerfully infectious energy that is passed on to your customer or whatever market you are serving.  I once worked at a job where my big boss had instilled into my immediate boss the need to get the sale.  Didn’t matter how the client felt, just make sure to sell, sell, sell!  My head understood what was needed but my heart knew that my clients had needs and wants like myself and to ignore them for the bottom line would be unfavorable. I was once told to lie about something to a client and even though it was passed off as a joke, I thought this is not the environment for me.  Needless to say I quit because nobody seemed to care about anything but the sale and not the bigger picture of the people we were serving.  How many of you out there have been in situations like I’ve stated above?  Well, pick up a copy of Delivering Happiness it will definitely give you insight into a different paradigm of management and also give those you out there looking for work an idea of what kind of environment you would like to be in and what inspires you to live with passion.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What's your Food Lifestyle?

Hi all!
It's been about a month since I've been here and looking to catch up on everything this summer.  I have videos to edit, a review of the book, Delivering Happiness to put up, and recipes to share, but for now, I wanted to share with you 10 points I put together to help folks get the ball rolling on how to make some positive changes in your food lifestyle.  Yes I said "Food Lifestyle",  it's what folks will and will not settle for when it comes to the food in their life.  Just like some folks must have only designer jeans, I must have farm fresh or organic foods.  I steer clear of ingredients like red dye #4 and high fructose corn syrup.  A lot of people take the time to find the right dress or shoes but when it comes to the right foods, they sell themselves short.  In in the long run it's your health that suffers and it won't really matter who made the jeans when you don't feel well enough to wear them.  So here is a list of things to jump start a positive Food Lifestyle!


  1. Watch the high fructose corn syrup, not an easily digestible form of sugar, sticks with you longer, harder for your body to break down. 
  2. Try fresh veggies if you have time.  Not a microwave fan.  Zaps most nutrient value from food.  I did a video on steeping greens.  You can do that with any veggie.  Water in the pot with salt and red pepper let it boil, throw the veggie in and cover for about 3 to 5 minutes.  Greens take the least amount of water and time.  In ground veggies, i.e. carrots take longer.
  3. No soda's, processed foods, or fast foods.  I love french fries(not all the time :-) but other than that I stay away from a lot of that stuff, only indulging for special occasions.  (I am being real, not perfect!)
  4. Take a really good vitamin or buy a vitamin powder,  Source of Life which is at local health food stores (not Whole Foods) is a great one.  Your body will crave food when it is nutrient deficient.  
  5. Flex with your meat intake,  meaning go to every other day or 4 days a week instead of 7.  It will enable your body to assimilate your vitamins better.  An overabundance of animal protein can block nutrient absorption. 
  6. Read the labels on the so called healthy cereals, wheat breads, snacks, they can be healthy but still have corn syrup, artificial colors, flavors, and lots of processing.  I buy my cereals and other items from Whole Foods or a health food store.  
  7. If you must do a protein or snack bar, I personally like Luna bars.  Just my opinion.  You want to eat things you enjoy, if it's not pleasing you won't stick with it.
  8. Watch dairy intake,  Soy milk can be heavy.  They also sell Almond Milk in mainstream stores.  Do the low fat milk if you need to and do fruit bars or sorbet.  Ice cream is very indulgent.  skip it!
  9. If you like candy or chocolate only do high end dark chocolate.  It is antioxidant rich and if you get a good brand it doesn't have the crap that the regular bars have.  Check a health food store or Whole Foods.  You only need small doses anyway because it taste sooo good.  
  10. Make healthy eating a lifestyle,  diets should not be temporary and enjoy your food!
 By the way, check my interview on http://www.femmevip.com/
Live On, Eat Well!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Could be a Moon Pie?

One of my favorite childhood treats was the banana Moon Pie.  The waxy spongy marshmallow goodness was just awesome in my younger non vegetarian years.  They also come in chocolate and vanilla, but banana was my favorite.  As I got older and changed my diet I said goodbye to the Moon Pie and didn't revisit it until I went to a conference for a job I had in the tourism industry.  A representative from Chattanooga, Tennessee was there.  If you don't know, Chattanooga, Tennessee is the home of the original Moon Pie.  I was given mini pies to bring home and decided, what the heck!  Well, needless to say, I tried one and realized how sensitive my taste-buds had become to non-veg products.  Speaking of,  let me run to the mid-week farmers market to get some fresh vegetables,  I'll be right back...
I"m back.  Today I bought  leeks and artichokes.  Hey by the way, if anyone knows of any good artichoke recipes drop me a line. Now back to Moon Pies!  So while perusing the isles of Whole Foods, I found this little item in the cooler section. ---->

Sweet and Sara Smores are filled with vegan marshmallow on top of a graham cookie covered in chocolate.  Now all they need to do to make it moon "piesque" is to add another graham cookie on top and then cover in chocolate.  It's a different taste and not waxy.  The chocolate is top quality (rich and dark, yum!) and the "marshmallow" is a little spongy and sweet to me; the chocolate was enough decadence in itself. Though not the gooey stretchiness that folks are used to with regular marshmallow it is a decent substitute for those missing certain treats from their non-veg days.  So, folks, if you are from the south and want to reminisce about a time when you would drink milk and eat moon pies, this little treat will help keep you on your meat free path.

By the way, one thing I always hear from people who are southern transplants when I tell them that I am a vegetarian is " I used to be a vegetarian, then I moved to the south" or "how can you be a vegetarian from the south?"  Well with items like the one above and the variety of meat substitutes out there, anyone can transition to becoming vegetarian or vegan. So sit back, grab some soy, almond, or rice milk and grab a Sweet and Sara Smores.  You can always mark out the "Smores" and write in Moon Pie.

P.S.  Now, if they could come up with a banana flavored coating, hmmmm.
Check out Sweet and Sara's other yummy treats!  Just click here.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Delivering Happiness!

I used to be an anti-twitter person but have recently discovered its usefulness and am thankful for the great network I am developing from it.  Recently I saw a tweet from @Zappos asking bloggers to read an advance copy of the CEO's new book Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose.  I must say, from what I have read so far, I am impressed; reading it has made me think about my own journey and the things that bring absolute joy to my life.  Stay tuned for my full review of the book in June!  Until then checkout the website:
http://www.deliveringhappinessbook.com/

Friday, April 2, 2010

Garden Time!



I am sooooo happy that the weather has finally started to break and I can go outside without a jacket during the day and work on my garden.  Right now I only have roma tomatoes, and bell peppers in the ground.  My parsley reseeded and decided to grow back but has been slow.  Also my garlic chives are thriving and I have some little seed pods that will sprout soon for my sons banana peppers and for my herbs.  Dill, basil, and some more parsley.  I know it will get a little warm for the parsley eventually, but I have a shady spot for it and other cooler weather herbs.  Oh how I love to garden!  Putting my hands in the earth is a sort of release for me.  Giving my creative energy to the plants as they grow and provide me and those around me with nourishment.  Posted are pictures of the smaller garden that is quick is to get to from the house.  When I begin to work with my Dad on the bigger garden in the yard I will definitely put up pics of that.  Also there is a link below to my newest Farmers Market video.  The joys of living in a warm climate.  YAY!
 

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Afro-Therapeutic Movement and Dance! Healthy eating is just a part of the equation.


Come check me out on April 19th, 2010 at the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge.  My Afro-Therapeutic Dance and Movement workshop is a great way to get your body moving and release tension and stress at the same time.  Healthy eating is just a part of it.  You have to nourish the whole body with not only diet but also with some form of movement.  Click on the link below to get more information and register.   I hope to see you there.


Afro-Therapeutic Movement and Dance Registration

Monday, March 29, 2010

Genetically modified food information

Here is some information on the subject from a great company, Berlin Natural Bakery!  http://bit.ly/d9fdpM           

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Healing the Body, Mind, and Spirit in the South.

What you will see here in this blog is a culmination of the past 20 years of training in the fields of Ballet and Modern Dance, Dance Movement Therapy, Pilates, Yoga, Reiki, and Intuitive Cooking. My writing has been featured in Tavis Smiley's book "Keeping the Faith", I've been on Dr. Phil. My local newspaper did a story on my vegetarian cooking, and I was offered a scholarship for a weeklong cooking intensive in Colorado. My life has been rich and grand and at this point I feel it is time to truly share it with the world. This world we live in is changing rapidly and as jobs and healthcare transform, so do we, the people whose contract states that this is our time. With transformation, there are some growing pains, we all have them, but know on the other end there is strength and a story that will help others move their mountains. Right now, it is imperative that we take care of ourselves, body, mind, and spirit; the food that we eat, the words that we speak, the energy we expend with our bodies. My heart is ready to open and help others walk onto a new path. I have been down many roads and have been blessed with teachers who have assisted me in building my arsenal of awesome tools. In Dr. Wayne Dyers book on the Tao he talks about filling a need, being of service. Many people here in the South need healthy tools for better living. So my prayer for now is that the Universe guide me and help me to help as many people as I can begin to walk a path toward healing, body, mind, and spirit.
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Friday, March 26, 2010

New Video!

Check out the new video of me and my oldest cooking something yummy!  Videos are to the left.

It's a food to love thing: Lasagna!

I love to experiment with food.  It's my therapy, it's my passion!  The other day my son asked if I was
going to cook a Lasagna.  I hadn't planned on it but ran out to the store to get some ingredients for the project.  No shopping list I thought about what I wanted in this particular batch.  Hmmm, sometimes you have to go with what you feel when you cook.  Recipes are fine but once you get the feel for them, add your own personality to the dish.  Don't be afraid.  I bet you will find you come up with some tasty treats for your family that become a signature dish that gets handed down to your kids and then theirs.  Cooking should be fun, not a chore.  When I don't feel like cooking I order out or bake some chick'n patties with fries.  I sometimes think people are so afraid they are going to get it wrong.  If you just trust in  yourself and your ability to create, your dishes will turn out just fine.  Here are some pics of my Lasagna layer by layer.  Note the cheeze used is hand made and is what I use for my Mac and Cheeze.  Here is the recipe:

3/4 cup of flour
3/4 cup of nutritional yeast
1/2 cup safflower or any vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups of vegetable broth plus more to thin the sauce when necessary ( I use bullion cubes)
2 tsp mustard
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp paprika
a few dashes of nutmeg
salt and white pepper to taste
( you can adjust the taste as needed)

In a large saucepan toast the flour and nutritional yeast over a low heat until it smells nutty.( Do not burn or the sauce will taste funny).  Add oil and stir until fully incorporated (if not fully coated add a little more oil).  With a large whisk, whisk in the vegetable broth carefully.  You don't want to have any lumps so keep whisking.  If the sauce is very thick add more broth.  You want it to coat a spoon and drip off a little.  Not too think, but not too watery.  Next add your flavorings, mustard, garlic powder, paprika, nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Adjust as necessary.  Once finished pour on noodles for mac and cheeze or pour on layers for lasagna.

Also for my almond Parmesan which is the topping on my Lasagna:
Equal parts ground almonds and nutritional yeast.  Dash of salt and any type of pepper to taste.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Black Eyed Peas and Broccoli

Greetings from South Louisiana!  It's beautiful here, still a bit of a chill in the air but very nice.  I am finally getting around to posting my dinner adventures from a few weeks ago.  Check out the You Tube video to the left and watch a snippet of what I cooked.  Acutally it started cooking a mushroom gravy.  Sauteeing some mushrooms with onions and other aromatics, adding a touch of flour, then adding some vegetable broth to make a gravy.  Then I realized that I didn't have enough to feed everyone so I found two bags of frozen black eyed peas to add to the mix, added more water, seasoned to taste and voila'!  I have a pressure cooker so the 45 minutes it would have taken to cook the peas only took 20.   Add some broccoli as a side dish with a salad and you got some good eatin' there. 

I also cooked spaghetti that night with Nate's meatless meatballs.  Sometimes I try to cook a lot in one night so I can take a day or two break from cooking. Check out the pics, Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Farmers Market Finds



















New video time!  Just a short blurb about things at my local farmer's market. It should be to your left or on You Tube, southernveggirl.   I love that place, always nice people and good things to eat.  Also check out my pics.  From the top clockwise:  Local orange farmer, my favorite health food market, creole tomatoes, my farmers market finds, Ponchatoula strawberries.  Enjoy!