Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Veggie Patties and Steamed Cabbage on a COLD AZ Day!

Man! A couple a days ago it was 'back east cold' and all I was thinking about on the way home from work was I was going to go shopping and make some veggie chili. So I get home, walk to the front door and someone is cooking. I can smell it outside the door and it's not processed. Well as you can see in less than 15 minutes, enough time to free and wash my hands I sat down to steamed cabbage and fried veggie patties......yes, yes, yes. It was good and I sure rested well the rest of the evening. Jumped up the next morning at 0500 and hit the gym (it's in the garage) and felt great. Nothing like a good meal the night before to prepare you for the day ahead.....share your favorite plant based meal. Thanks

Friday, January 11, 2013

Andean Bean Stew With Winter Squash and Quinoa

This savory, filling pot of beans is inspired by a Chilean bean stew and uses quinoa instead of the corn called for in the authentic version. Make it a day ahead for the best flavor. 1 pound dried pinto beans, rinsed and picked over, soaked in 2 quarts water overnight or for 6 hours Salt 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 1 medium onion, chopped 1 tablespoon sweet paprika 4 large garlic cloves, minced 1 bay leaf 1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes, with liquid 1 pound winter squash, such as butternut, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed thoroughly Freshly ground pepper 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or parsley 1. Place the beans and soaking water in a large pot. Add water if necessary to cover the beans by about 2 inches, and bring to a boil. Skim off foam, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer gently for 60 minutes, or until the beans are tender but intact. Add salt to taste. 2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy nonstick frying pan and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes, and add the paprika. Stir together for about a minute, and add the garlic. Cook, stirring, for a minute or two, until the garlic and onions are very fragrant but not brown, and stir in the tomatoes and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes have cooked down slightly and smell fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and scrape the contents of the pan into the pot of beans. 3. Bring the beans back to a simmer, add the bay leaf and winter squash, and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, or until the squash and beans are thoroughly tender. Add the quinoa and simmer for another 20 to 30 minutes, until the quinoa is translucent and displays an opaque thread. Taste and adjust salt. Add a generous amount of freshly ground pepper. Stir in the basil or parsley, simmer for a couple of minutes more, and serve, with cornbread or crusty country bread. Yield: Serves 6 to 8 generously Advance preparation: This tastes best if made a day ahead and reheated. The stew will thicken up, so you will probably want to thin out with water and adjust seasonings accordingly. Add the fresh herbs when you reheat. It will keep for at least five days in the refrigerator. It freezes well. From NY Times

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Vegetables as a way of life....what's to lose?

The Esalen Institute is known for personal growth and social change. Its Farm and Garden advances those goals through connection to food and the soil. Reporting from Big Sur— — Morning fog weaves its way through colorful rows of vegetables, herbs and flowers as staff and apprentices gather at the center of the garden at Esalen Institute. It's 7 a.m. The freshly awakened faces sit calmly in a circle for a morning meditation, listening to the Pacific Ocean until the sound of chimes lets meandering minds know it's time to tend to the day's harvest. Bins of chard, arugula, parsley, radishes and carrots are picked, washed and delivered to the back door of the kitchen, roughly 1,250 feet from the field. Long before farm-to-table became a slogan of sustainability, it was being practiced here. Esalen Institute's Farm and Garden, on the Big Sur cliffs, has been growing food sustainably for more than 40 years. Through land stewardship, the alternative education center sows, harvests, consumes and composts the produce grown on the 5 acres that make up its farm. The Farm and Garden works with the kitchen at Esalen to prepare menus based on what's available seasonally. The kitchen, made up of a kitchen manager, five chefs, students and volunteer interns, prepares three meals a day for the institute's community and 13,000 visitors a year, using produce picked fresh daily by the Farm and Garden and from local growers. Particularly popular is the kale salad — the Farm and Garden harvested 10,800 bunches of the hardy green last year. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the institute, which opened in 1962, devoted to the exploration of human potential. The nonprofit organization is a community and retreat center highlighting personal growth and social change. Esalen, along with Green Gulch Farm Zen Center in Muir Beach, Calif., and the UC Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS), started practicing community-supported agriculture in the late '60s and early '70s and has upheld a simple and sustainable way of growing food that others, in the midst of the farm-to-table trend, see as a model. In 2009, the Farm and Garden began developing a more formalized educational program in hopes of teaching people who will go on to spread the practice through their own growing and activism. "Part of our mission is to educate the people that come here about sustainable agriculture and the value of locally grown food," says Esalen Farm and Garden manager Shirley Ward. When hiring staff, Ward, who has been part of the Esalen community for more than 10 years, says she seeks candidates with a background not only in organic farming but in teaching too. She hired garden supervisor Christopher La Rose, who met those qualifications, a little over a year ago. La Rose, a New York native, has a background in social work in addition to farming experience earned by apprenticing and then teaching at UC Santa Cruz's extension program. It was through CASFS that La Rose took a liking to the teachings of English master gardener Alan Chadwick. "He's sort of the father of the organic agriculture movement in California in a lot of ways because he ended up touching all these people's lives in the '60s, '70s and into the early '80s who went on to start all these highly regarded farms," La Rose says. Chadwick was hired by UC Santa Cruz in 1967 to start a student garden project. The failed Shakespearean actor captivated students with his integration of storytelling, poetry and philosophy. "He knew a lot about mythology, so he would start talking about the technique of growing roses and then he would tie it into a Greek myth and the history of rose cultivation in the world," La Rose says. "He was a real synthesizer in a lot of different disciplines." Chadwick practiced "French intensive biodynamic" gardening methods that included using compost, creating raised beds and limiting weed competition by placing plants close together. Biodynamics — agriculture as a self-sustaining system without the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides under the "influence of the cosmos" — informed Chadwick's practices and teachings, which La Rose believes has, in many ways, carried over to Esalen's Farm and Garden through the hands that work the soil. "I think that's what we think about here too, the interrelatedness of plants, people and nature," La Rose says. The Farm and Garden is a place where growing isn't just for food but for people too. "We're not just farming, we're also dealing with human emotions and communication strategies, trying to really model a more holistic idea about gardening and farming where it's not just about the plants and it's not just about working hard; it's about us taking care of each other too," he says. Through hands-on experiences, the Farm and Garden uses horticulture as a therapy to reconnect nature and visitors, who experience what regulars laughingly call "nature deficit disorder" in their day-to-day lives. "It's exciting to see adults who have been eating broccoli all their lives come to the garden to cut broccoli and reveal: 'I've never touched a broccoli plant in my life!'" Ward says with a chuckle. After visitors experience their own harvest at the institute, Ward hopes they will go home and start growing some of their own vegetables and herbs. Introducing new ways to educate is the Farm and Garden's way of reaching the largest possible audience. Setting up a potted-plant garden, for example, would show visitors that growing one's own food is doable, even if only a few kale plants, lettuces and herbs such as parsley and basil. The Esalen Farm and Garden, in conjunction with the kitchen, offers a daily changing, seasonal menu just by default — there isn't much choice. When a student experiences a revelation just by running his or her hands through soil, La Rose understands the feeling. "These are our most basic needs that we're dealing with on a day-to-day basis. Everybody needs to eat; it's at the root of all human experience." For more information on Esalen workshops, the work-study program and the Farm and Garden apprenticeships, check out

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Think I Had the Taste for A Salad.....

....what do you think? So after a few days not having a salad I think I will go back to having one at least once a day. And YES, it taste as good as it looks. Share your favorite plant based salad.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year Power Blocks!

Haven't seen you in some time. Power Blocks and I got reacquainted today and we have agreed to meet up at least 3 times a week. Part of R.A.V.E. is Exercise! Happy New Year! Join the blog in 2013 and let's continue sharing this plant based lifestyle.