are you buying local this summer? here are my top 5 reasons you should be shopping at your local farmer's market.
1. it tastes better. these are the freshest fruit and vegetables that you can get your hands on. offering non-comparable flavor and the highest nutritional value around.
2. you finally get to meet the people that grow your food! and ask them as many questions as you like about how it grows, where it grow, harvesting, cooking and storing too!
3. you will be exposed to new colors, flavors and aromas! i dare you to try something new.
4. you're helping your community. shopping at a farmer's market directly supports a local business owner and your local economy.
5. you're going to have fun. sunshine, fresh air, beautiful produce, locals-maybe even some cool people you know, strong coffee (or tea), hand-made pastries (i'm sure there are some gluten-free options too), food trucks and live music? sounds like a party to me.
hopefully, you will be inspired (for a meal or two) by a vegetable (or a fruit) :)
i believe there are two types of vegans in the world. 1- the type that let you know, ahead of time, LOUD and CLEAR, that they are vegan. 2- the type, like myself, that don’t like to cause a fuss, make a scene, or inconvenience anyone… even if that means eating bread and sauce for dinner with no complaints. everyone who knows me knows that i am vegan. some friends don’t actually know what that means. i am always happy to gently inform them. and i’m more thankful that they wanted to make me some food, no matter what they are making. lately, the #1 thing i’ve been hearing about veganism, or trying to eat vegan, is that it takes too much planning. and who has time to plan multiple meals at the fast pace we’re moving in our society? i can completely understand this challenge. when i’m traveling, i try to prepare for a trip with a few snacks like fresh cut fruits and vegetables, nuts, dried fruit and vegan protein bars. i generally scope out places to stop and eat along the way. occasionally, it does happen that i forget to bring a snack or a meal while traveling. recently, i found myself very hungry at a food court in the middle of nowhere. from first glance, it seemed there was no no vegan food in sight. and then i began to panic. i was experiencing a middle of nowhere snack attack and i did something i had never thought to do before: i asked for help from fast food employees. my favorite reaction was from the employee at the pizza chain who looked at me like i’d lost my mind when i asked her to prepare a pizza without meat and cheese. she asked a manager, who decided he couldn’t do it-- even though the pizza was made to order. when i asked her about any restaurant in the area with a vegetarian option, her first response was McDonalds. my tummy rumbled louder. asking for help doesn’t work every time with every person. then, i asked a different fast-food chain for their ingredient list. i reviewed the list and i asked if they would make something with their base ingredients, but without egg, butter, milk, cheese or meat. AND IT WORKED. success! i’d really like to encourage you to ask, ask, ask, ask for vegan food. what’s the harm? you might just get exactly what you want. and fast.
here's a peek at the little things happening in my garden. yay for summer!
this is an incredibly fast way to make and eat dessert without any guilt. the secret? all fruit must be frozen and you'll need a powerful blender! peel and slice bananas before putting them in the freezer bags. the texture is very similar to milk-based ice cream. tip: banana is the best base for blender-made ice cream.
my favorite recipes so far this summer are:
1 cup strawberries and 1 banana - blend until smooth, serves one.
2 bananas, 2T nut-butter and 1T raw cocoa powered. blend until smooth. serves two (if you're in the mood to share).
1 banana, 1/2 c blueberries and 1/2 c mango. serves one.
new to eating plant-based foods?
are you looking for just a meatless meal or two a week?
are you having a hard time figuring out exactly what to eat?
do you need something fast?
do you miss your fast-food favorites?
drive-thru your kitchen for this easy, amazing treat!
a spicy chicken sandwich from wendy’s or chick-fil-a was my favorite fast food item. occasionally i get a craving for my old favorite. eating plant-based doesn’t mean i have to give up any of the taste. i just re-create a harm-free version of my old fast food favorites. you can, too.
everything for this recipe can be found in your local health food store and some general grocery stores, too. being vegan means you read the labels, once, in the grocery store. once you figure out what’s what, it is really, really easy.
TIPS: when reading labels, be aware that vegetarian doesn’t mean vegan. watch for milk, other dairy products, and eggs. if you want specific stores or brands that i prefer, email me through the website!
vegan hamburger buns
vegan chicken patties, spicy optional
vegan butter or olive oil
note: you can either make this in the oven or in the microwave. if using the oven, pre-heat to 350°.
sauté pan. rubber spatula. cutting board. sharp knife. baking sheet (if using oven).
wash potatoes and poke a few holes in them with a knife. bake potatoes for 10 minutes in the oven on a baking sheet or cook potatoes in the microwave for 2 minutes. allow potatoes to cool slightly before cutting into desired shape (wedges, fries, cubes, or slices).
melt butter or olive oil in sauté pan and cook potatoes for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until golden brown.
meanwhile, spread mayo on hamburger buns and load sliced pickles on one side of the bun. bake chicken patties in the oven on a baking sheet for 8 minutes or microwave patties for 2 minutes.
once patty is completely heated, assemble the sandwich and serve immediately with potatoes and ketchup. can you taste it?
if you’ve followed me on instagram, twitter, or facebook this past week, you probably noticed that i was on the island of kauai.
i mingled with the locals! i met chickens (they are EVERYWHERE). i also met their babies. a lot of their babies. i met a few frogs, a couple crabs, and gently swam with some fish. plus, every morning, i was greeted by a large flock of the state bird of hawaii, the nene (this is not a real housewife from atlanta).
i am also pretty sure i ate my weight in mango, papaya, guava, pineapple and local veg tacos. this is the first time i traveled to kauai as a vegan. traveling can be stressful for those of us who choose a plant-based diet. but hawaii is different. when i ordered the local fare, no one rolled their eyes or scratched their head and said, “uh, do you eat cheese or fish?” traveling vegan was easy. and that was a real vacation.