Thankful for Movement

Happy post-Thanksgiving! My holiday was spent in Moab, Utah with Mike, my mom, sister, brother-in law, niece, nephew, cousin and cousin in law. There was a whole crew of us! We spent our days hiking in Arches National Park, seeing gorgeous natural wonders, magnificent arches, babbling creeks, and huge boulders and jagged rocks. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life and feel so incredibly blessed to have gone to experience it with almost my entire family. There’s nothing like fresh air, family and natural wonders to make a holiday glorious. Our traditional annual Thanksgiving hike landed us at the Delicate Arch – talk about being thankful!

Moab

Unfortunately, a horrible tooth infection kept me down for the count for a good 30+ hours following the hike…coming to the Thanksgiving table for only a brief moment to gingerly nibble on some sweet potatoes, homemade cranberry and cauliflower before heading back to bed. After a trip to the ER the next morning, a dose of antibiotics, and some kombucha to combat the antibiotics screwing with my gut flora, I was on the mend. Our last day, yesterday, arrived and I was feeling so much better, ready to step outside and get a bit of dirt under my feet. My mom and I headed out and ended up hiking two glorious trails, each quite different from the next, both full of incredible sights.

So Day 14 of the Mindful 21 Day challenge has arrived and we are on our way home. An early start to the day hasn’t left time for meditation yet, but I have reflected on the past few days. Being with family is wonderful, but can be challenging if you share different viewpoints on things, have different habits or styles of doing things. That is where mindfulness becomes so crucial. Being mindful of how your actions, words, and behaviors effect those around you becomes so apparent when you’re in close quarters. It’s during these times when taking pause and breathing deeply can make a huge difference. And getting out into the great outdoors, turning off the ipods, video games, tv, means quality time spent in nature.

Family

Tomorrow, Day 15 of the Mindful 21 Day challenge, adds onto the 5 minutes of meditation and meatless meal with movement. Being mindful of our internal state, taking time to calm and center yourself is, I believe, vital for your happy. Taking a proactive approach to what you’re eating and being mindful of how it’s fueling your body is vital to your health. Incorporating movement into your life, feeling the fluidity of your body, adds vitality, energy, longevity to your life. Being mindful of moving your body each day should be a priority – and what better what to move than yoga!

sun salutation

Tomorrow, find time for meditation, a meatless meal, plus movement. Try a 5-10 minute yoga flow or, 10 sun salutations or even splurge and head to the studio. I recently joined Yogaglo, something my girlfriend and cohost Sarah introduced me to, and I am in love! Pick the duration, the teacher, the focus, the body part, the level and do it in the comfort of your own home.

I have some short Yoga videos on my YouTube channel, but there are also a million great FREE Yoga videos out there that will get you moving. Here’s one describing how to do a Sun Salutation. Try something that speaks to you and will work with your practice.

How will you move? Let me know what gets you up and flowing.

Happy movement!

Tofurkey in Moab

Moab

This Thanksgiving, instead of traveling to a tropical island like last year (Vieques was fabulous) I decided to plan a family vacation to Moab, Utah. The whole family was invited: my sister and her husband and my niece and nephew, my mom, my cousin Lean & her husband Joe. Unfortunately, our furry babies couldn’t travel with us as we didn’t get a dog-friendly house.

Moab, Utah boasted gorgeous scenery, hiking, biking, national parks…an outdoor playground. And we were going!

Today, we packed the Lexus to the gills and hit the road. Mike, mom, me. Our Moab Tofurkey road trip had begun!

With Uncle Rico watching the furry babies, we waived goodbye to Arvada and hit the road. First stop: Glenwood Springs. Along the way, magnificent rocks surrounded us and as we wound through the canyon we imagined what it would be like to have been the first settlers of the wild, wild west. An untamed land, stretched out for miles and miles. The work that lay before them, the challenges they would face, the unknown, all was pushed aside for the sheer chance to explore. Bravery defined!

The ride from Arvada to Moab is 5 ½ half hours and our coolers were filled with plant-based Thanksgiving goodness.

Vegan Gravy

Here’s what I made for Tofurkey Thanksgiving:

Vegan Gravy – I substituted the brown seasoning for liquid smoke here and it was delicious!

Buffalo Chickpea Dip – This is absolutely amazing!

Sweet potato & corn chowder – I actually forgot this in my freezer (DOH!) but I’ve made this before and it’s turned out beautifully. I’ve subbed the shallots with white onion, added a 1/2 cup of quinoa to the last 15 minutes of cooking, and left out the leeks (I didn’t have them at the time!).

Raw Dreamy Cacao Walnut Bars – Trying to get a bit fancier than normal, I gave these a whirl. From licking the spoon, I think I made the right choice!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Plant Based Soup Swap

My girlfriend Erika invited me to a soup swap about 4 years ago, a lovely gathering of friends, food and delightful recipes. We were all asked to bring six one ounce containers full of homemade soup in which we would swap, taking home six different creations.

A-mazing!!!

Plant Based Soup

During this time I had started my plant-based journey and made a glorious carrot ginger soup to share – unfortunately most people were carnivores, so the soup selection was slim, but so fun none the less.

My plant-based journey has flourished while in Colorado, and my best Colorado girlfriend has fueled the plant fire (we have a vegan dinner swap once a month!). So I wanted to bring the Soup-Swap to my Colorado friends – plant-based style.

Soup Swap

It was a hit! There were 6 different plant-based soups made by 6 gorgeous cooks, some who were new to the plant-based lifestyle.

Here’s the menu & Recipes from my recent Plant-Based Soup Swap.

Cinnamon-spiced sweet potato soup with maple croutons (Serves 4)

4 tbsp Olive Oil
1 lb carrots cut into ½ pieces
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
1 lb sweet potatoes (about 2 medium) peeled and cut into ¾ pieces
2 tbsp vegetable bouillon base
2 dried bay leaves
2 slices bread, cut into 1 in pieces
1 tbsp maple syrup

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the carrots, onion, garlic and cook, stirring until the vegies start to brown. 8-10 minutes. Add spices and cook stirring for 1 min.

Add the sweet potatoes, bouillon base, bay leaves and 6 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until veggies are tender. 10-12 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bread & cook tossing until brown. Remove from heat and add maple syrup. Toss to coat. Discard the bay leaves. Using a blender or immersion blender and puree until smooth.

Vegan

Red Lentil Thai Chili

Olive oil for saute
1 large yellow onion diced medium
1 red bell pepper, seeded & diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 ½ lbs sweet potatoes cut into ¾ chunks
1 cup red lentils
1 tsp salt
4 cups of veggie broth
2 15oz cans of kidney beans, drained & rinsed
2 Tbsp Thai chili paste
1 15oz can of coconut milk
2 8 oz of diced tomatoes
Cilantro & limes for garnish

Preheat a 4-quart pot sauté onion & pepper in oil with a pinch of salt for 5-7 minutes. Add garlic & sauté, add chili powder, sweet potatoes, lentils, salt, veggie broth. Cover & bring to a boil. Let boil for 15-20 min, stirring occasionally. When lentils are cooked & potatoes tender, add remaining ingredients & heat through. Taste for salt & seasoning – top with cilantro & lime.

 

Loaded Baked Potato Soup with Maple Smoked Seitan bacon

1 package of seitan
3 tablespoons of real maple syrup
2 tablespoons of liquid smoke
1 tablespoon of organic ketchup
Pepper

Mix all ingredients, whisking together. Slice seitan into thin slices, coat seitan in the maple mixture. Bake on a cookie sheet at 375 for 20 minutes.

I got the Loaded Baked Potato Soup recipe from here – I did swap out the chipotle pepper for a pablano, because that’s what I had – it turned out amazing!!!

Recipes

My girlfriend Kira made a Cauliflower Coconut and Lime SoupRecipe Here.

Soup

My cousin made an a Butternut Squash and Apple Soup Recipe Here.

The freezer is now stocked with delicious soup and everyone got a taste (literally) of how good a plant-based diet can be!

Happy Soup-ing!