Monday, December 26, 2011

Gluten Free, Friend or Fad?

Avocado and soy cheese
on spelt bread (not gluten free)
Not long ago I posted a great article for folks who have embraced a Gluten Free diet.  Now before I go any further I will let you know, I knew about Celiac Disease and the dangers of gluten 15 years ago before they were both popular catch phrases.  I remember my grad school classmate sharing the stories of her long hospital stays and her constant battle with the disease.  When I once visited Atlanta, a very knowledgeable elder told me about gluten using the analogy of how water and flour are used to make the "glue" for paper mache'.  Needless to say, I do have some understanding about the gluten free label.  Today, I am writing about the issue because while reading my daily food news, "gluten free" was announced as being one of the food trends of 2012.  It sparks a hot debate in the comments section and many are offended that it is considered a fad.  Well here is my two cents.  Like the low-carb diet and various others before, the gluten free craze could be considered a fad.  When people jump on the bandwagon looking for a magic bullet for weight loss or are followers of the newest diet trends of celebrities then fads emerge.  But for those who have serious allergies and reactions to food, it's a lifestyle.   It's a way a living that affects the health and well being of at least 10% of the population.  Though not totally gluten free, I am mindful of the products I choose.  My body is not a big corn fan so I steer clear of gluten free products that contain corn.  But I can have nuts so I use almond flour in my recipes.  It's all about personal choice and what works for us as individuals.  I can't say being a vegan, vegetarian or gluten free is for everyone.  Everyone's body is different.  I think once we understand that without judgement what works for one person doesn't work for the other the argument over fad or lifestyle will no longer be an issue.  So choose a food lifestyle that makes you feel great, for a healthy body and life is not in any way a fad.
Check out my blog post from October on gluten free living.

Gluten Free? No Problem!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Food News: Agave!!!

(Kim Raff- The Salt Lake Tribune)
Just thought I would share this article about a natural sweetener called Agave.  It registers low on the glycemic index and it's sweeter than sugar with half with calories.   So, for every cup of sugar, you would need about 1/2 cup of agave.  I've been using it for years in my smoothies but like any sweetener, it should be used in moderation.  Take a look at the article below and Enjoy!
 Agave growing in popularity

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Something New and Healthy for the Holidays!!!

I don't know about you all,  but I love cooking around the Holidays!  This year I've decided to shake it up a bit and look for different recipes with ingredients I love to work with.  Some of these recipes are vegan and some are vegetarian but can easily be made vegan.  All of them look great and I will be sure to take pictures after I make them.  Enjoy!!!

Kale and Tomatoes

Spiced Pumpkin Lentil and Goat Cheese Salad

Tofu Vegetable Loaf 

Collard Rolls

Raw Apple Crisp

Friday, December 16, 2011

A South Louisiana Fall~ Oranges and Strawberries!!!

A few things I love about fall in South Louisiana is the weather and the harvest, especially the greens, strawberries, and oranges.  Yesterday I visited the Farmer's Market and bought some great berries and the sweetest navels.  As you see in the pic, my children ate the first small basket of berries in the car and by the time we got home my youngest was covered in strawberry and orange juice. 
While we were in the car, my son came up with the idea of a strawberry and orange pastry tart.  Interesting flavors and cool idea so here is the recipe: 

Louisiana Strawberry and Orange Tart
(makes about 6)

One package of individual pie crust dough or you can make your own
Strawberry jam
6 to 8 Fresh strawberries
1 tbsp Fresh Orange juice
1 tsp Orange zest
1 tbsp Sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Chop strawberries, add orange zest, a tablespoon full of sugar, and 1 tablespoon full of orange juice.  Set aside.  You can play around with spices if you choose.
1.  Roll out the dough and cut it into squares
2.  Add 1 heaping tsp full of jam in the center of every other square.
3.  Add a few strawberries without liquid on top of jam in center.
4.  Cover with plain dough square and press together with fork (we used a pastry edger).
5.  Bake for 15 minutes until golden.
6.  Let cool a bit and Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Martha Stewart Living
This is my favorite brownie recipe!  I love to veganize it with egg replacer and Earth Balance Coconut Spread.

Click here for Healthy Fudge Brownies.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Never Apologize for Who You Are, Just Keep Cooking!!!

So today I posted a video of me talking outside of the kitchen.  Actually I am in the laundry room so I could get a little peace and quiet from the kids!  I've been having a recurring dream with Oprah Winfrey, Iyanla Vanzant, and Whoopi Goldberg. It's a great message and I hope you Enjoy!  Have a great weekend!!!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Southern Vegetarian Love~Atlanta!

It's Friday!  Hope you all are gearing up for a wonderful weekend!  Just wanted to pass along this information on a great vegetarian/vegan friendly city, Atlanta!  It was the only city in the South voted most veg-friendly by PETA.  In the future, I would love to see other Southern cities featured not only for their healthy restaurant choices but mindful and healthy places to shop.  Atlanta has great local health food stores like Sevananda , Return to Eden, and Rainbow Grocery and my last visit I got my yoga fix at Kashi Ashram-Atlanta.  So, check out the link below and enjoy!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

We need a Revolution!

I often state on Twitter we need a Southern Vegetarian Revolution!  Fortunately, there are a lot of folks waking up to the fact that we need a change in the foods we eat and how we feed ourselves.  Next weekend I will be attending a training on food justice, and can't wait to gather more information and meet other people on the forefront of the food revolution.  I've jumped in and made it my mission to educate people young and old on the fundamentals of a great food lifestyle and healthy cooking.  Care to join me?  Below is Chef Jamie Oliver speaking on the need for change.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fresh is Best!

Leftover beans and Brussels.
So yesterday I wrote about my Winter,  well,  like I said I did find something to cook.  Red beans and brown/wild rice blend and brussels sprouts.  The brussels were frozen so I simply sauteed a little onion and garlic, added salt, pepper, and a little water and added the sprouts.  I guess I've become so accustomed to eating as much fresh as possible that I wasn't too crazy about how the frozen veggies tasted.  Well, it's all good because everyone was well fed and that's what it's all about!  And the adventure continues...
Fried Won Tons and salsa for an appetizer

Monday, November 28, 2011

Winter's not Always so Bad

In life we all have season's and right now, I'm in winter.  Things are a lot slower and not as green and sunny.  Some days I just want to hibernate.  What I have found though, is that some of my best cooking ideas and tastiest dishes have been during this time.  I've had to stretch my mind and creativity to come up with dishes with the few items I have in the pantry and fridge.  Last night, I was really beginning to panic because I didn't have any veggies.  After searching I found a bag of frozen green beans (not the biggest fan of frozen veggies but it's what I had), a turnip, and potato, which were uncooked from Thanksgiving.  I made a classic string beans and potatoes (with turnips) and made a sweet potato crunch (with ginger) from an extra unused sweet potato.  With both dishes, I played with flavors to make them as tasty as possible.  Yes things are tight, and today I don't know what I am going to cook, but one thing is for sure; I know I will be cooking something, and I know that something is going to be great!  ("Singing":  Just keep cooking, just keep cooking, just keep cooking, cooking, cooking, all you have to do is cook, cook, cook!)

Recipe sketch for String Beans, Potatoes, and Turnips
1 bag of string beans
1 potato sliced into small pieces
1 turnip sliced into small pieces
1 small onion chopped
1 small bell pepper chopped
1 clove garlic chopped
1 stalk green onion chopped
1 veggie bouillon cube
Unsalted Cajun seasoning or cook's choice
  • Saute' or seal onion, bell pepper, garlic, green onion in olive oil.
  • Add about a half cup of water, veggie bouillon, salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add sliced potatoes and turnips and keep on medium heat covered for about 8 mins
  • When potatoes and turnips are beginning to turn translucent add frozen string beans and a bit more salt and pepper. (I also added unsalted Cajun seasoning to kick it up a bit)
  • Let simmer covered for another 10 minutes.  Be careful not to let the string beans cook too long or they will loose their color.  
  • Enjoy!
P.S. my youngest cleaned her plate.  Well she left the potatoes and turnips and ate the green beans.
P.P.S  I tried making seitan from scratch.  Will have to revisit that later. :-)
Also, here is the sweet potato crunch recipe. (didn't have some of the ingredients so I added ginger for flavor)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks!

This Thanksgiving I have a lot to be thankful for.  Some days though, I feel like throwing in the towel on this cooking thing getting back to teaching my dance classes full time.  Not that I will never dance again, but I am curious how deep the rabbit hole goes with my love for cooking.  The funny thing is that when I feel like giving up something happens to make me hold on just a little longer.  Well, here is a pic of some vegan Jambalaya that someone made from my recipe that was in the local paper 5 years ago.  Just when I think "who cares?", I see this from a friend on Facebook who actually made his vegetable stock from scratch and gave me a shout out on his page.  So today I am thankful for the gift of sharing great food with others. 

In concluding, I wanted to leave you all with this little story.  I've been having a few dreams lately about not giving up.  Well today I took a nap and had a dream that I was in a cooking competition.  All the other contestants were busy making love connections and partying while me and a few others were chilling in our room preparing for the next day's cook off.  As I lay in the bed I began to write a mantra for myself that if I did something wrong to take the lesson and make it better.  While writing one of the contestants came over and wanted to see what I was doing.  Without thinking about the competition, I told my fellow contestant, "Never Lose Focus!".  I know that was for me to remember and I just wanted to share that with everyone this holiday season.  No matter the good or the bad in life never loose focus of what your true gifts and blessings are.  Enjoy!

Happy Thanksgiving from Southern Vegetarian Chronicles.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Don't Forget to Take Care of your Mental Health this Holiday Season!

The holidays can be a happy time for many folks but for some it's a somber time that can easily lead to over eating or over drinking.  Here's a little message from my friend, social worker Carey Yazeed, on how to manage emotionally this holiday season.  Enjoy!

Tis the Season to be Blue

Seasons that are supposed to be filled with thanksgiving, joy and merriness are sometimes overshadowed with feelings of hopelessness, sadness and most often, loneliness.  Referred to as the “Holiday Blues” according to Mental Health America, several factors can contribute to a person not having the holiday spirit.  Stress, fatigue, financial problems or the inability to be amongst family and friends are just a few situations that can alter your mood during the holidays. 

 So how can one avoid the “Holiday Blues:”

·         Focus on the good things that are taking place in your life at this very moment versus the past or negative experiences

·         If the holidays have always given you the blues, surround yourself with supportive people who understand and will be there for you.

·         Don’t deprive yourself or your family members of the holidays be saying “We don’t do Thanksgiving or Christmas” because of financial constraints, instead, set spending limits so you won’t overspend and remember, it’s okay to say “NO!”

·         Be grateful for what you do have.  There are many people in the world who are less fortunate than you. 

·         If you’ll be away from family and friends find activities in your area that will allow you to connect with others, like volunteering to feed the homeless. 

·         Take Care of yourself.  You can do this by being mindful of what you eat and those extra calories that we sometimes tend to attract during the holidays from the bounty of foods that will surround us.  Take time for self-relaxation, to rejuvenate your spirit and easy the feeling of stress that may creep up.

Hopefully these suggestions will help to put you in the spirit of the holiday season. ~ Happy Holidays! 

Carey Domino Yazeed is a licensed clinical social worker and a Professor of Social Work at Southern University in Baton Rouge.  For more information on the author please visit her website at

Sunday, November 20, 2011

My Food Gallery

I cook a lot and most of the time I take pictures even if I don't write down the recipe.  Most of the time I cook from the heart so what is flowing creatively often has a hand in what the days breakfast, lunch, or dinner will be.  Enjoy for now and I will work on writing more recipes soon.

Vegan Apple Cinnamon Scone
Vegetarian Stuffed Crust Pizza

Vegan Gumbo
Vegan Choc Chip Cookies
No, this in not food but my pineapple plant

Below are pics of things I found at the farmers market and grocery store.

Local fermented soda
Satsumas, cantaloupe, local oatmeal

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Louisiana Sweet Potatoes and the Local Foods Revolution!

Recently I began to teach classes on something I call "Your Food Lifestyle".  It's a unique class that presents an opportunity to become more in tune with what you eat daily and not focus on a specific diet.  One of the first assignments I gave my class attendees was to check out their local Farmers Market.  I told them to talk to the farmers;  taste and smell the food.  For me, preparing food is an experience, not a chore and if we know where our food comes from, we can feel more connected to it in a positive way. 

This morning, I found an article on the popularity of the local foods movement and it's sales.  Check it out below and let me know what you think!  Do you buy local foods?  What's your opinion on the whole movement?  Also, I wanted to let everyone know that there is an abundance of sweet potatoes now in Louisiana so I've been experimenting with various seasonings and roastng them.  Here are two seasoning ideas I found tasty.
Sweet Potato from the Farmers Market

Roasted Jerk Sweet Potatoes
Cut 2 medium sweet potatoes into small cubes
In a large bowl add 3 tablespoons of olive oil
Add 3 teaspoons of jerk seasoning or more to your taste
Add a pinch or two of salt and a shake of cracked black pepper
Put potatoes in bowl and coat thoroughly. 
Spread on baking sheet making sure all potatoes are flat
roast for 20 to 30 mins until soft.

Roasted Curry Sweet Potatoes
Cut 2 medium sweet potatoes into small cubes
In a large bowl add 3 tablespoons of coconut oil
Add 2 teaspoons of curry powder or more to your taste
Add a pinch or two of salt and a shake of cracked black pepper
Put potatoes in bowl and coat thoroughly.
Spread on baking sheet making sure all potatoes are flat
roast for 20 to 30 mins until soft.

Click on the link to your right for information on the Growth of the Local Foods Movement

Monday, November 14, 2011

Why Supplement?

Wild Blueberry, Courtesy of Natures Compunds

My friend Nika Miller wrote this article and owns an awesome whole foods supplement business.  Check out his article and website link below.  He also does bio-dynamic farming.  Enjoy!

Why add supplements to your existing diet
The use of supplements (vitamins and super food blends) has gained momentum in recent years while the question remains just how beneficial they are, and why they are needed. It was presented some decades ago how the body was able to produce certain essentials while not being able to produce others.

The nutritional profile of recommended foods showed that they also were lacking in certain essentials; this gave rise to Supplements. In time vitamins (vital minerals) were the most recommended form of supplements; they were becoming a common household favorite. The vast improvements in various aspects of health, showed their weight in gold.

The origin of the supplement and vitamin is predicated on the study of wild and native edible plants; the thorough examination of each integral molecule, compound and element gave rise to the uncovering of vitamins, nutrients and the dynamic chemistry of plants in complex-whole form, not fragmented, separated nor isolated into an adulterated form, only allowing the body to utilize not revitalize deficiencies.

The foods that once upon a time were adequate in the nutritional aspect; providing the body those essentials it could not produce on its own. The extensive use of chemical fertilizers significantly changed the profile of food nutrition; the over abundance of certain minerals prevented the absorption and assimilation of others (its counterpart). It became known over time that minerals were better absorbed as pairs and cell salts; two examples of this pair dynamic is sodium (constricts) –potassium (dilates), and iron-phosphate, sodium-chloride and calcium-& magnesium phosphate are three examples of this cell salt dynamic. This dynamic is much more efficient when in organic form - whole plant substance.

When reports began to surface about the body’s inability to absorb the entire vitamin or mineral substance; many reports also showed urine analysis containing 80% of the vitamins and mineral content, a very inefficient showing of metabolism

The body functions in a particular fashion, in that when one mineral counterpart value is too high or low it inhibits the functioning of the other, giving the impression that a deficiency is prevalent. The two-fold function in metabolism is expressed as deficiency or excess. If one component is over abundant than its counterparts it's essence will go unexpressed-not absorbed. The foods high in phosphorus, when eaten in abundance will inhibit iron absorption; just as foods too high in iron will inhibit phosphorus absorption. Sodium-potassium and calcium- magnesium exist in ratios of one another; this is the other dynamic of body functioning.

We must answer the question does deficiency exist?  In the matter of nutrients there is no deficiency, but there is a very prevalent enzymatic deficiency. The body’s embryonic stem cells set the stage by providing the body with every component it requires to properly function; it also equipped us with a store house of vital substances known as metabolic enzymes, allowing the cells to replicate the calcium, protein enzymes, iron etc..

The enzymes can only be revitalized by live plant substance, carrying vital enzymes. The principle of self perpetual cell revitalization is based on replenishing the body with its most needed substance – Enzymatic enzymes, the most prevalent deficiency

The body possesses all the minerals required for proper functioning; it’s the proportion in which they exist and whether they are recharged-revitalized by enzymes attached to protein substances possessing the same chemistry. Enzymes have a metallic substance at its core, which conducts electricity. There are three (3) forms of Enzymes: Metabolic, digestive and food. The enzymes from lightly steamed or uncooked food revitalize the metabolic enzymes-stem cells, which are the powerhouse of the human body.

We now understand that our metabolic enzyme supply is predicated on our intake of foods pronounced with enzymes, thus revitalizing the mineral and vitamins the body already possesses is the most efficient approach to supplementing that which the body is in need of.

In retrospect, supplements are only sub-parts of a more complex form; all individual vitamins are but sub-parts of one vitamin. The other notables such as enzymes which are in essence functional proteins, along with co-enzymes, electrolytes, glucose etc.. should be in complex form consisting of all the vital substances. The organization of the human body is predicated on balance and proportion.  The concept of filling in the missing pieces of the nutritional puzzle still is void of the most important aspect – enzymatic proteins.

In understanding the extent of poor food quality and the non-affordability of quality food brings us to a crossroad. The purchasing of supplements versus the additional cost of Organic food; the awareness of organic food quality in comparison to standard quality. The advent of the super food movement has raised eyebrows in the health field. The principle of super foods meets the requirement of having complex form; being more beneficial than vitamins, minerals and enzymes in individual forms.

The organization of a super food consists of sea vegetation and land vegetation; plants grown organically or wild harvested-sea vegetation. This is the most obvious choice of a supplement; certain blends are more vital than others.  

"Cell Nutrition” by Natures Compounds, is a superb blend consisting of all nutritional wild plants from lakes, oceans and land.   Click on the link below for more information.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Did Someone say Gumbo?

Check out the newest video of me playing around in the kitchen.  I know I haven't done one in a while but I felt inspired to try a Vegan Gumbo using sweet potatoes.  It came out o.k.  I have to experiment a little more with the flavors.  Have a great weekend and enjoy!

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Last Supper

I wrote this little ditty for a contest on OWN television.  It's a true story of my love affair with food.  At first I didn't want to share but decided that sharing my loves and passions with other people could be an inspiration.  Hope you enjoy!
P.S.  My son came up with a new recipe idea.  I've been meaning to post it but the plate is empty before I can take pics.  Look for it and other exciting videos soon!

The Last Supper

The last thing I did for my grandmother when she was living was cook her supper.  At the time I wasn’t a very good cook, but for me, it was one of the few ways I could show an old lady who didn’t do public displays of affection my love.  We had chopped beef steaks with gravy.   She didn’t jump for joy or sing my praises; she just filled her belly and said, “That wasn’t bad.”  Good I thought;  that’s the least I could do for the lady who helped take care of me and made the best eggs and grits in the world.  Fast forward 15 years and I am blogging about food, teaching cooking classes, and even gathering information and recipes to write a book on food; finally making the connection that using my creative energy to manipulate fruits, veggies, herbs, and spices is an important part my life.

I started out as a dancer but remember saying as a child that if I didn’t have to go to college I would cook.  Unfortunately in the 70’s, the only women of color I saw who cooked worked in the cafeterias at school.  There was no Food TV, no Cooking Channel.   The only person I did see on television was Cajun cook Justin Wilson on PBS.  I didn’t see any major cooking role models therefore I went to college and danced.   That was the only other thing I enjoyed in life and between watching Debbie Allen on Fame and Soul Train, I knew I could do it.  I was a dancing machine and after undergrad went into Dance/Movement Therapy for graduate school.  While in school, I got lost in cooking stores loving on the pots, pans, and egg timers.  I picked my dad’s brain for his Jambalaya recipe, and made the tofu recipes I saw on the back of it's packaging.  My graduate studies in dance didn’t feel like my main love anymore.  I felt like I was in a marriage not totally in love and passionate about my significant other; feeling too ashamed to admit that I was seeing someone else and didn’t feel the marriage arrangement was the right fit in the first place.  “I must go on!” I said; I had to finish what I started, so I danced until my heart felt whispers became little rocks thrown at the windows of my glass house.  My sudden illness before graduation; pebble one.    The awesome job opportunity I accepted that helped me to realize I wasn’t cut out to be a Dance Therapist; pebble two.  My journal entries that stated “I HATE THIS!”, meaning my life; pebble three.  My only reprieve;  my high rise apartment overlooking Lake Michigan that I was able to get because of my job, and a new network I discovered called Food TV.   Watching cooking shows and trying new recipes became my comfort, my refuge.  Whereas dance gave me the self-esteem I needed as a teenager to keep me from totally losing my mind; cooking gave me a sense of comfort, of true creativity, and joy.  The same comfort, creativity, and joy I shared with my grandmother a few years earlier.  Though it wasn’t her last supper, it was my last gesture of love to someone who didn’t always know how to give a hug and my re-introduction to a lover that tickled my tasetbuds and warmed my soul.

Friday, October 7, 2011

More Cooking Tips!

You know what?  I just can't get enough of great cooking tips and tricks especially when they are vegan.    Here are a few tips from  Hope they help you make something yummy as we move into the weekend.  Take care of yourself and enjoy!

vegan cooking tips

What is a vegan alternative for eggs to use in making cakes etc. and in what quantity?
Eggs in a recipe act as either a binder, thickener, or leavener. There are numerous egg substitutions depending on what you are trying to achieve with the replacement. For instance, in veggie burgers or casseroles, you would want a "binding" or "thickening" effect, so you could add arrowroot, cornstarch, flour, oats, or breadcrumbs to reach your desired consistency. However, when trying to substitute eggs in baking, it can be a bit trickier. When making cookies, breads, and baked goods you can use applesauce, pureed bananas, pureed dates, or Ener-G Egg Replacer when you need the "binding" properties of eggs. To achieve the "thickening" qualities of eggs in pie fillings or custards, I use agar-agar, kudzu, arrowroot, cornstarch, or flour.
Here are a few basic suggestions for substituting one egg:
  • 1/4 C. Mori-Nu silken style, firm or extra firm tofu, pureed until smooth
  • 1/4 C. applesauce or pureed bananas + 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1 T. cornstarch or flour whisked with 1 T. water
  • 1 T. finely ground flax seeds + 3 T. water blended in a blender until frothy, and let rest 30 min. - 1 hour
  • 1 1/2 t. Ener-G Egg Replacer whisked with 2 T. water
Try experimenting with these, some work better in some recipes than others; for example, use the flax seed or powder replacements in a chocolate cookie recipe so that your cookies don't have a fruit taste, and use the fruit-based replacements in a banana bread or oatmeal cookie recipe.

To see the rest of the article click here.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Southern Veg Mamma? You Bet!

Today I decided to share because I had one of those lightbulb moments "Lady O" always talks about.  While talking to my very talented sister, whom I know is the best makeup artist in the world, I realized that we have two very different paths.  Now most folks may say "well of course, you guys are two different people!"  But for the first time I see that she is the career mom and I am at home mom.  Now secretly, I have always wanted to be the career mom because that's shows people one's worth.  "Wow! She works, and cooks and cleans, and takes care of the house, and leaps tall buildings in a single bound!" Well, not really, but you get the point.  Supermoms are our heroes, they do it all and when they fall or breakdown, it's o.k.  they are entitled to.  On the other hand, the at home mom, be it stay at home, homeschool, or work at home, may not always get the same love.  Oh, and don't have a degree or even an advanced degree and choose to be at home,  that's just downright lazy!  Now we all know that's not true, but because our foremothers fought for the right to work and have equal opportunities why oh why would a woman want to go back to being at home?  For some of us, our calling is to be at home, our passion is our family and in talking to my sister I realized,  my family is my passion.  I get a kick out of organizing and motivating my kids and husband.  I cherish my morning walks and gardening with a naked 2 year old in the summer.  Hearing my son whine about doing his math drills?  Not a problem,  we have a list of objectives and drills that has helped him up his speed to 100 problems in 5 minutes.  I get a buzz from watching my family grow and no other outside job has given me that rush.
My sister on the other hand loves her makeup artistry.  She draws eyes in her spare time with elaborate makeup colors.  She has picture upon picture of her work plastered on Facebook and without that passion in her life, she doesn't feel that she is the best mother she can be.  I honor that, I respect that, and the reason I can is because in my prayer and meditation I've finally realized that God's infinite wisdom knows who to place where.  The problems surface when we all want to be placed in the same box as everyone else.  As we all know, it doesn't work that way.  Some of us are country mice, some of us city mice.  Some of us career mom's, some of us at home mom's.  No matter the choice, it's all good.  Southern Vegetarian Living suits me just fine!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Gluten Free? No Problem!

Hey there Southern Veg Folks!  Here at Southern Vegetarian Chronicles, we are always looking for ways to better serve our readers.  I know some of you may not only be vegetarian/vegan but also gluten free.  So, I asked my Twitter friend Patricia Biesen, (I meet some of the coolest people there:-) to help me by writing up a little survival guide for folks who are making the switch to gluten free living.  Enjoy!

A Gluten-Free Vegan Survival Guide
 No meat AND no wheat? What to eat? A lot actually.

Instead of Bread

§  Try a baked sweet potato with a drizzle of coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast flakes.
§  Most gluten-free breads actually contain eggs so I recommend making your own. I like Perfectly Elizabeth’s muffin mixes. To replace eggs, use a few tablespoons of well-soaked flax seeds
§  Try your own panini (grilled sandwich) with two big slices of grilled eggplant.
§  Wrap it up. Instead of wheat-based tortillas use big lettuce or red cabbage leaves to make nutrient dense wraps.

Pasta Schmasta

§  Many Asian marts carry noodles made of out of sea vegetables like kelp. Shirataki makes noodles out of tofu; talk about high protein!
§  If you have a Saladacco spiral slicer you can make lovely raw noodles out of zucchini and if you don’t, just slice your zucchini very, very thin.
§  Nature’s own “bisgetti” is from the autumnal spaghetti squash. Just roast and top with your favorite marina sauce. Add nutritional yeast flakes as your vegan Parmesan cheese.

You knew it was coming: The “protein question!”
Where do you get your protein? You will have to avoid seitan (wheat gluten), which does have a lot of protein, but you have a plethora of foods to chose from: tofu, tempeh, sea vegetables, quinoa, nuts, seeds, lentils and dark green veggies. Athletes can add soy, hemp or pea protein powders to smoothies and shakes.

Do you speak “allergese”? When shopping it is important to know what to avoid
Ingredients that indicate the presence of wheat: modified food starch, gelatinized starch, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, soy sauce, vegetable gum, vegetable starch and my personal favorite “natural” flavorings.

I hate to repeat the obvious, but some are not obvious. Foods that often contain wheat are: most breads, cakes, pastries, cookies, bread crumbs, pasta, couscous, cereals, kamut, crackers, enriched flour, bran, bran germ, malt, starch, gluten, semolina, bulgur, vital gluten, durum, graham flour, whole wheat flour, spelt, cracker meal and farina.

Don’t forget to share your knowledge
Invite your fellow gluten-free vegans to a potluck. Hosting dinners is another way to not only “eat safe,” but also educate others on how delicious your diet truly is. If they don’t like raw vegan chocolate cheesecake, they may be beyond your help!

Patricia Biesen is a holistic health coach and graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She specializes in helping clients with food allergies find delicious alternatives. She writes ChicagoNow’s Eclectic Eating Chicago and The Eclectic Body.  You can drop her an e-mail @


Sweepstakes time! Imagine a cart of free Wholefoods groceries & free GoodBelly Probiotics. Enter to live the dream:

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Here's 2 a Healthy Louisiana!

Whole Foods Market
Check out this event happening at the Whole Foods Markets in South Louisiana.
Get more information on a plant based diet by clicking below.
Engine 2 Diet! event at Whole Foods Engine 2 diet information

Disclaimer:  I am not promoting this particular diet, I am just passing along this information for folks who would like to know more about plant based diets.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Back Down Memory Lane

I am in the mood to revisit this recipe tonight.  I am going to use some almond flour and Earth Balance Coconut Spread.  I will let you know how it turns out.  Wishing everyone a great weekend!

Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

"Chew" On This!

My Mother-in-Law called to tell me about this new show called "The Chew".  She said with all of the food information on there she didn't hear anything about vegetarianism.  I guess foodies, the folks who would watch this show, love all types of food and being a non-meat eater would be restrictive.  Well, I have seen a lot of the new reality food shows and food talk shows, in fact I do reviews of them and honestly, I couldn't do it.  Some of those situations are a little over the edge (I did Dr. Phil, and that was enough!) and honestly,  the food love thing I get from my family and friends (and yes you folks out in the blogsphere) is honor enough.  Now, if someone wants to offer me a guest spot on their show, I will kindly take it (no drama please :-), but ultimately,  I am looking forward to my home and land where I can grow my veggies and share my cooking techniques with folks in a great kitchen, both live and on YouTube.  Attached is a little information on the ABC T.V. show which is taking the place of some cancelled soap operas.  Love you guys, and just keep cooking.  "The Chew" television

P.S.  I will be posting a new video soon.  We have had a bit of a cool spell here in Louisiana and I made some veggie soup.   :-)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Road Less Traveled

My father and I were talking last night and he made a comment about musical artists growing up and being themselves.  It's so easy to get caught up these days.  He compared it to vegan/vegetarianism.  When everyone else around you is eating meat and other stuff, it just seems like it would be easier to join in and eat meat with them.  Well, sometimes it is a lonely road here in the South Louisiana .  I find that folks don't think or care to diversify their menu.  I find I have to bring my own food or just eat before I go to certain events.  Only a few of my friends care and most of them are out of state.  Now some folks will say, well it doesn't matter what other people think, yes, this I know, but studies show when folks have a tribe of like minded people around them they are happier.  Thus my blog, facebook, twitter.  While social networking is cool,  I need to find my tribe.  Yes I feel a little lonely.  I know there are other vegetarians where I live but it's not like an Atlanta, Chicago, or D.C.  I  do miss those hubs of eclectic activity and looks like I may land in one of those places soon.  But for now I will enjoy the blazin' heat of South Louisiana and stick to the things I know for sure:
1.  People grow and change including myself and dang it ok to do so!  As that change and growth happens though, people and relationships in your circle grow or fade away accordingly.
2.  Everyone's path is different and that's o.k. also.  What we decide to eat, who we decide to pray to, and who we decide to live with during the journey is not for others to judge.
3.  It's not the end of the world if the noodles are overcooked, the cakes falls, or the veggies are burnt.  Just keep cooking.

Take care

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Good Belly Coupons!

I have a few coupons to giveaway.  Take the GoodBelly 12 day challenge with a buy two get one free coupon.  Go on over to my Facebook page and give me a shout (  I will gather everyone's info and send out your coupons ASAP.  I have about 11 left so hit me up quickly!  There will be more good things to come from Southern Vegetarian Chronicles.  I've been on a little break this summer gathering ideas and deciding the direction of the blog.  Will keep everyone posted.  Thanks for your support.

Dance on, Eat well!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Out on a Limb!

There are a lot of things going on here in Southern Veg land and one of them is my dive into cooking for other folks.  Yes, I am going to cook some of my favorite dishes for the public.  I got the idea or inspiration to do this while thinking about what would make my life easier.  Well, during the holidays, I find myself scrambling to cook a separate vegan dinner for my family and I.  Past the obvious veggies and salad, a lot folks in the South don't know how to cook a decent healthy vegetarian meal.  Oh how I've wished I could order a vegetarian dinner for the holidays with some of my southern favorites.  Thus the idea of Southern Vegetarian  Eats.  I've placed my ad on Craigslist and don't have a clue as to where I am going to cook.  I just know this needs to be done.  There is a family out there with vegetarian kids who come home for the holidays, and the parents don't have much for them to eat.  There is an event out there that needs some vegetarian items at the reception.  There is a need for great vegetarian food that doesn't sacrifice the flavor.  Check out my ad on Craigslist and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Making it Stretch: Creative Food on a Budget

I know it's been a while since I've blogged!  My Southern Veg life has been in transition lately and I have found myself been pushed to give and do more for others.  I've been volunteering and gave away huge bags of clothes and things I don't like and wear anymore.  Why was I keeping that stuff anyway?  At one point I was into this flower phase where I had flower glasses, bowls, and plates.  As I was organizing my kitchen I looked at those things and thought, "What was I thinking"?
Needless to say, I promply gave them away :-). 

Another thing that has been going on is that I've had to work within a tighter food budget.  Lately my local Whole Foods has been carrying Nature's Burger in the bulk section (just add hot water and you got a meat free burger).  Well,  I found that if I put a vegetable boullion cube in the water and add frozen chopped spinach that has been sauteed in onion and garlic to the mix, it makes for a hearty burger.  With the spinach I got a little more out of my burger mix and also beefed up the taste.   I also do this with the Lightlife vegan sausage mix by adding things like mushrooms, carrots, and other veggies to add just a little something more to make things stretch.  Just becuase you have to spend less doesn't mean food has to be taste-less:-).  Take care of yourselves folks and if you have a great veg cooking budget idea, let me know!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Just Keep Cooking!

There are some days when I just don't feel like doing anything with my blog.  I think to myself I have too much to do with the kids, house, and errands.  But then I get an encouraging e-mail or a nudge from my son who loves making videos and I find that I just have to keep on cooking!  For all you Mom's out there, being healthy is not just about the food we eat, but what we feed to our spirit.  I saw this article today and wanted to share the inspiration.  Take care and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Smoothie or Cold Soup?

(Deb Lindsey/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST) - Left to right: Cool and Spicy Mango Soup (or Smoothie) and Green Gazpacho (or Smoothie) photographed on June 28, 2011 in Potomac, MD.
Interesting article. Is it soup or smoothie? To decide click here.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Quick Sunday Brunch

Ahhh Sunday, It's my quiet yoga day until my youngest goes into the refrigerator, starts pulling out various food items and yells, "I want something to eat!" Today was no exception. So, when she pulled out the Tofurky Kielbasa, (My husband is from Chicago and loved Polish sausage sandwiches when he ate meat. Since he is a Vegetarian and in the South, it's his food memory when he gets homesick.) I instantly sliced a link and browned it. After that I added about 1/4 cup of water, a 1/2 teaspoon of salt, Bragg's herb seasoning, then added frozen vegetables. With the heat on high I kept the dish covered until all of the water was gone and voila', brunch for my Sweet Pea.  I made enough for about two servings but you can double or triple it according to your family needs.  It's quick and simple. Take Care!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

Healthy Eating: Baked Kale

Here is a recipe for a great snack!  I haven't tried it yet but it looks awesome.  The organic farmers at the market in Baton Rouge are still selling kale, so I am definitely going to pick up some and try this out.  Enjoy and comment if you try the recipe.  Check out this Baked Kale Recipe .

Kale on FoodistaKale