The lately

I’m here in the mountains of Appalachia still. I’m attaining everyday in the sun, I’m hiking to the fire tower for yoga in the evenings. The other afternoon I hiked up alone. I got to the top, sweaty and red faced, and laid down into happy baby pose. I rolled around until the combination of wood and bones began to hurt, then I went into downward dog, then plank and up dog. And the whole time, with the mountains spinning around me and the oceans of clouds with their little green mountain islands letting my eyes rest, I heard this truth inside me:
You know who you are. Step into it.
photo 2

I have a new hashtag: #letkayakingruinyourlife

I’m selling vegan chocolate cakes like they were the last bit of water in a desert.

My winter plans are all up in the air. I’ve been busy living here in this moment: in the dark coffee mixed with almond yogurt in an old jelly jar, with a strong paddle stroke in the current and my abs pulling me upstream (upstream all the time), with pans full of every fresh vegetable imaginable with fried tofu and volcano rice.

photo 1

I don’t have a recipe for you guys because all I eat right now is brown rice, tofu, fresh veggies, and chocolate of every form.

And an insane amount of oatmeal.

You don’t have to spend hours in down dog to know who you are. You don’t have to walk through the desert or spend months on top of a mountain to find yourself. You have to simply be ok with whoever you find inside yourself. You have to let go of who you want to be, of the idea of someone, and you have to realize you can spend your life fighting yourself or celebrating yourself.

I’m philosophical today because its the first time in 8 days straight I have more than an hour to myself. I hiked up the road for blackberries this morning, did yoga, and now I’m reading. And talking to no one.

I’ll post again soon with a recipe, I promise :)

photo 2-1

Back Again! (Avocado Pesto Recipe)

Hello Blogging World!

The keyboard on my computer spontaneously started working again, so I can now blog and write and do all kinds of awesome, computer things!

I’ve been living in the mountains of Appalachia for the past few months now. I wake up in my tiny staff housing rando to the sounds of birds every morning, and work along the river. I’m baking downtown Sylva at the new Mad Batter, and I’m loving it. I’m getting to experiment with so many different styles of desserts and am busy developing vegan recipes for the restaurant side as well. I get special order cakes a lot, which of course make me the happiest.

Image

I’ve been boating again and getting back to the basics. Last weekend I went to the Chattooga Section IV with my husband and best friend.

“I’ll probably walk the 5 Falls,” I told them. “I’m just not ready for class iv kayaking yet.”

When we got the Five Falls, I ran all of them without so much of a skipped heart beat. That felt good! I felt so solid and strong, and hit the Sock ‘Em Dog boof perfectly. It feels good to be back on it.

Image 

As for food, I’m trying to save money to travel this winter, so developing cool recipes has taken a back seat for a while. My focus is now fast, easy, and cheap recipes I can whip together in a pinch in the small staff housing kitchen. I’ve been on a big sweet potato kick: I find that sweet potatoes mixed with oats in the morning gives me an amazing source of fiber and complex carbs and keeps me going for a few hours.

Here’s what I do: At the beginning of the week I bake off a couple sweet potatoes. Every morning, while I’m boiling water for my French press in the rough kitchen tucked into the misty mountains, I cook some rolled oats and add half or a whole mashed sweet potato. When it is warmed completely, I add some homemade almond milk, hemp seeds or flax seeds, some chia seeds, and a variety of fresh fruit. I then carry this and my steaming coffee back to my little room where I go through my yoga routine and wait for everything to cool enough to eat. It’s delicious, especially with some maple syrup or honey.

Image

 

Another thing I’ve been really getting into lately is climbing. I’m falling in love with the culture and the sport itself. Our house in Knoxville is 45 minutes from the Obed, which is beautiful and gorgeous. We have been spending a lot of weekends camping and climbing there.

Image

 

Even though I’m living in staff housing and working a ton, I’m proud to say I’m still making 80% of my food from scratch. I buy some cereals and premade breads, but I’m mostly making everything I eat from scratch still! I make hummus, nut butters, and nut milk when I’m home on the weekends, and just bake things off in bulk while I’m working at the restaurant.

Image

Here are few things I’m into right now:

I put this on my toast in the mornings with sprouts… delicious!

This website is really cool, lots of good inspiration and ideas for meals.

I started climbing this spring and I really love it. The more I research prominent female climbers, the more seem to be vegan. Steph Davis has some really cool posts about being a vegan climber.

Also I like this article about what holistic means to this lady. It’s a lifestyle approach, we all have to find what it means for us.    

Ben David took me to Asheville for our two year wedding anniversary last week. We stayed at Aloft, downtown. If you have the money and every travel with your pup, I would highly recommend this place. They are so dog friendly!

Image

Here’s one more simple food recipe I’ve been using a lot this summer. I won’t lie that I look forward to being back in Knoxville now for my kitchen, which I miss so much!

Avocado Pesto

2 roasted garlic cloves
1 large bunch fresh basil
½ ripe avocado
2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon lime juice
Sprinkle salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons hemp seeds
Vegetable stock as needed

Blend all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. If desired, add either olive oil or vegetable stock to thin out. I like to keep it thick and spread it on some good, fresh bread, then top with a bunch of grilled veggies and tofu.

Well, that’s all for now! I’ll write again soon. 

 

 

 

Sesame Rice

I’m back in the land of the noonday sun paddling in the sun’s warmth & sipping my morning coffee by the river.  It feels so freeing to pack my car & drive off for a week, knowing I have all I need in the trunk..

Image

 

Traveling so much is giving me new challenges for food.  While at home for the weekend, I try to do as much food prep as possible.  This sesame rice recipe is easy to make ahead & leave for my husband, who loves it.

Image

Sesame Rice

1/4 C shredded carrots
1/8 C rasins
1/8 C sunflower seeds
1/2 stalk celery
1/8 C diced red pepper
1 green onion
3/4 C cooked brown rice
1/2 Tbsp sea sesame oil
1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Cook brown rice. Meanwhile dice green onions and celery and shred carrots. Combine ingredients and mix oil, shoyu, and cayenne and reserve. When rice is cool, mixed together with dressing.

 

Healing Lentil Sunflower Seed Burgers

Happy Tuesday! Wow, its been a whole week since I last posted, and I’m sorry! I have a few good excuses this time though: My computer keyboard broke, so I have to borrow a computer to write a blog post. Also, I went a little rogue on my eating plan last week and my knuckles swelled up as result. So I spent the majority of the week eating blandish food while I tried to calm them down. Which leads me to today’s recipe. When I speak of bland food, I find it best for my joints if I follow a low fat-anti inflammatory diet. I am not strict in this, but at times when I eat 3 desserts in one day (like last week), the change can cause my joints to swell. After this, I usually stick to a rather strict diet for a few days, involving a lot of brown rice, lentils, and vegetables. This week I decided to experiment with all these and mix them into a burger. I did, and the result is delicious. Brown rice and lentils are such good, staple foods. They are high in fiber and protein and easy to digest. I bulked the burgers up with oats and veggies and sunflower seeds for good fats. I ate them all week on spelt bread toast with sweet roasted red pepper hummus and sprouts. Delicious! 

 Image
My last day at the co-op was Sunday. It was sad to leave, but I know the next step in life is going to be exciting and fulfilling. 
 
Image
 
Healing Lentil Sunflower Seed Burgers: 
1 cup cooked green lentils
1 small carrot, grated
1/4 white onion, diced
4 isn baby portabellas, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablepsoon dijon mustard
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/3 cup instant oats
1/3 cup oat bran
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 teaspoon ground flax seeds
1 teaspoon Sage, thyme, basil
1/2 teaspoon cayenn, black pepper
 
1) Saute onions, carrots, and mushrooms in the olive oil until soft, add spices and heat one minute. Meanwhile, pulse rice, sunflower seeds, and lentils in a food processor until somewhat smooth. Mix with remaining ingredients. 
2) Scoop balls into a warm skillet, flatten, and fry like regular burgers, OR scoop balls onto a baking sheet, flatten, and bake at 350 until browned. 

Summer Millet and Chick Pea Salad (and getting rowdy)

This post is a little rowdy. If you’re conservative (especially religiously), you may consider moving on with your browsing. Just a warning. 

Image

 
A dear friend of mine called me the other night, and asked if I’d been raising any kind of hell lately. I said, no, things had been kind of calm. 
“I can’t believe that about you,” he said. 
“You’re right, things have been calm but I’m fixing to get rowdy!”
Image
 
I went to the Organic Growers School last weekend with my mom, where I sat in on a round table discussion about GMO’s, and it blew my little mind. I know a lot of it already, but being around a bunch of other non-conformists really renewed my inspiration and passion for this issue. I strongly urge you to consider buying as much organic as possible (for your area and of course your wallet). The most infuriating part of the GMO issue is the idea that the FDA and other groups and just decided for us what is ok to put in our bodies. Buying organic and supporting non-GMO companies is one of the biggest ways we can actually have a voice in this issue. Please use this shopping guide to educate yourself on what products you use regularly that may be GMO-free certified. And of course, educate yourself on this issue and look into being part of a march or protest, if you feel as strongly as I do. We cannot let people control our food supply this earnestly without fighting back and demanding to be heard. 
 
Things I’m really all about right now: 
 
This yoga routine is the perfect stretch amount for beginner yogi’s (like myself), and is only 30 minutes, so you don’t feel like you’re going to get bored or anything. 
 
Shiva Rae is a new favorite of mine. Here’s an article she wrote on staying WILD. 
 
Reza Alsan wrote a book called “Zealot”, and he talks about it here. He makes some good, scholarly points about the life and times of Jesus. Don’t read this if you are a firm believer, you will never talk to me again. 
 
A good article relating to my time in life. Letting go of our plans and being open to whatever comes our way. This article about goals is relatable as well. 
 
I am getting a bit rowdy with my life. I turned my 2-week notice in last week and this Sunday will be my last day at my current job. I’m headed back into the hills for the summer. The city is not for me. Driving up the Smokey’s last weekend to the farm really helped me realize that. On the farm, with space for my eyes to look all day and relax, I felt like I could finally breathe. I went to Asheville where I was surrounded by a million skinny vegans all concerned with the way the world is headed, and I felt the self-consciousness I’ve developed living in the suburbs wearing off. A weight took wings and flew off my shoulders as I smelled the cool air and watched a golden sunset over the ridges. I was not built for the suburbs, for the 9-5, for the rat race. My soul was not created for lawns, for concrete driveways where husbands wash their cars every sunny afternoon as the wives stay safely inside, watching TV or making casseroles. 
 
If this is the life you want, if this is your dream, then I am so glad it is available for you. But living in the suburbs feels a bit like selling my soul (a bit? I lie, a lot). I’ll be headed back to the Nantahala River for the summer, where my soul can breathe and my eyes can relax. 
 
Now, a recipe! Haha. 
I’ve never cooked with millet before, but I’ve found such  huge difference in my health lately through consuming more grains and legumes, that I am trying them all. Millet is actually a seed, but its tasty and super versatile, like quinoa. 
 Image
Summer Millet and Chick Pea Salad
-1/2 cup Millet
-1 cup water
-2 green onions, sliced
-1 shredded carrot (medium size)
-1 can drained and rinsed organic chickpeas
-Ginger tahini dressing (1 batch)
 
1) Cook the millet like you would rice, and check often because it cooks faster. Once its done cooking, let it cool while you assemble the rest of the ingredients. Once its completely cool, toss them all together and enjoy! 
 
Ginger Tahini Dressing
-1/4 cup vegetable stock
-1.5 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
-1 clove garlic
-1/4 teaspoon cayenne
-1.5 tablespoons tahini
-1 tablespoon shoyu
 
Combine ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. 

Easy Kale Salad with Sunshine Dressing

Happy Friday! I hope everyone had a great week and are gearing up for a fantastic weekend. Its sunny and 65 outside, I just finished some yoga on my front porch, then sat down and ate a gigantic bowl of kale with an amazing sun dried tomato dressing. Fuel! 

 Image
I’ve been trying to find ways to incorporate cayenne and cinnamon into my daily meals more, so I’ve been throwing cayenne into random recipes. The result is sometimes a little spicy, but working out well! Cayenne is anti-inflammatory, which I’m super interested in. When I eat too much fat (oils), my joints will start to hurt, so I’m constantly looking for ways to combat this. There is a lot of evidence to support a low-fat diet as a significant tool for managing joint pain, and I find this to be true in my life. I’m not anti-fat, I eat a lot of avocados and nuts, etc, to get a good supply of fat. But I find that consuming a lot of oils (even coconut, everyone’s favorite wonder fat right now), can cause my hips to hurt. Since I’ve spent the last year experimenting on what kind of diet could help elevate the debilitating hip pain I’ve had since I was 17, when I find a way to avoid triggering it, I stick to it. Everyone’s body is different. 
 
Things I’m about right now: 
This little video about mountains and how they form. Geology is so interesting!
This group of photos that inspire me to travel more. 
My new roll model, Olivia Hsu. She’s so strong and amazing and beautiful. 
 
This kale salad comes together nicely and is delicious, if tahini and sun dried tomatoes are your thing. 
Image
 
Easy Kale Salad with Sunshine Dressing
Dressing: 
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
1.5 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
dash black pepper
2 tablespoons tahini
3/4 cup boiling water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon shoyu
 
Salad: 
Tuscan kale
Shredded carrots
Spring mix
Sunflower seeds
 
1) Bring the water to a boil, pour over sundered tomatoes and let sit. Meanwhile, combine the rest of the ingredients in a blender. Make your salad with the above ingredients, or whatever you want in it (broccoli, peppers, etc). 
 
2) Once tomatoes are rehydrated a bit (bright red), add them and all the soaking water to the blender. Blend until smooth, then scoop over the salad. This is a really chunky dressing. Add more water if you desire it to be a little runnier. If it gets too watered down, add some veggie stock to help with the flavor. 

Super Easy Stir Fry

I know a blow by blow of my life isn’t the most exciting, but I’ve been traveling and looking into summer plans lately. 

Image

I’ve just about got it all figured out, and I’m excited because I’ll be pursuing my dream life again and living in the outdoors. 

Things I’ve been into: 

I like this post about chasing your dreams and your glow, and not giving up on yourself. 

My husband and I have wooden wedding rings, and I like this movie about engagement rings and what a scam they are. The funny part is, the end is true. Most women know all this but still want a diamond! 

My husband, brother, and I went to this climbing gym the other day. It’s enormous! And fun! 

The recipe for today is super easy. you can throw it together in about 10 minutes as long as you already have rice made. 

Super Easy Stir Fry

Image

-Cooked brown rice
-½ package of tempeh, cubed
-3 tablespoons shoyu
-2 tablespoons rice vinegar
-4 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
-1 teaspoon grated ginger
-2 cloves garlic, smashed
-2 teaspoons sugar (i used coconut sugar)
-Assorted veggies (broccoli, pepper, onions, carrots, etc)

1) Mix 1 tablespoon shoyu, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, and 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil together and marinate tempeh, if you have time. If you don’t have time, roll the temple in the sauce and then bake at 350 until brown and crispy. Meanwhile, steam the cut veggies until soft. Whisk remaining ingredients (shoyu, vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and sugar) together and add to the veggies when cooked. Mix well, then stir tempeh in and serve over rice. 

 

No Fuss Mac and Cheese

I didn’t post on Tuesday. I don’t have a good excuse, other than it was warm and sunny out and I didn’t want to waste any more time inside in front of a screen than I had to. I got my husband up early and took him and my dog on a nice little 3 mile jaunt along the river. It was beautiful and then we spent the rest of the day on the porch before I had to go to work. Right now I’m sitting on the porch again, sipping my favorite kombucha with my dog. Life couldn’t be better at this moment, and the crazy part is, its about to get a whole lot better!

Image

I’m really excited because I perfected the no fuss mac and cheese recipe, and I actually wrote down the measurements this time. But first, the things I’ve been digging:

A really crappy photo of the mighty Pigeon and I right at this very moment:

Image

The way this strong lady came back to running after Boston. She’s an inspiration for anyone who is dedicated to a sport.

The Honest Food Guide is a great reference for why we should eat a well varied, plant based diet.

We should all eat more raw foods, or at least be conscious of consuming them more.

Yikes, this amusing but too true movie is slightly depressing but also inspiring. Let’s make a change!

I’m working on designing my own little food pyramid, and this one is really cool.

I’ve been reading a lot of Dali Lama lately, and he talks about how compassion is the key to happiness. Compassion for all living things includes the earth into this, which is nicely summed up here.

And I like the song Gaucho by Dave Matthews.

Image

Alright, so now to the recipe! I’m excited about this recipe because most of the time you look for a vegan mac and cheese recipe it requires soaked, raw nuts, or some sort of pre-roasted veggie. You may not have cups of expensive raw nuts, or remembered to soak them or roast a veggie. I never do. When I decide I want mac and cheese, and I normally want it NOW. So I’ve been working on a super easy, fast mac and cheese recipe that only requires one pot and takes less than 15 minutes, including boiling the noodles. Here you go. Go stuff your skinny face with some carbs.

Image

No Fuss Mac and Cheese

-1 serving noodles (brown rice, whatever you like, however much you want)
-1 tablespoon diced onion
-1 small minced garlic clove
-½ teaspoon olive oil
-⅛ teaspoon paprika
-⅛ teaspoon white pepper
-½ teaspoons dijon mustard
-1 teaspoon shoyu (soy sauce)
-¼ cup nutritional yeast
-¼ cup soy milk

1) Start the noodles in water and boil until soft. Meanwhile, cut onion and garlic into very fine pieces and get the rest of your ingredients out and ready to go.

2) Drain the noodles, turn the heat down to low-medium, and add the olive oil, garlic, and onion. Saute until onions are clear, then add the paprika, mustard, pepper, and shoyu and warm up for a few seconds. Add the soy milk and nutritional yeast and stir until creamy and warm. Be careful not to boil the soy milk or it will taste bitter. Add your noodles and toss, or pour the sauce on top, or add to broccoli, or really just do whatever you want!

Happy Belly Sesame Tempeh Bowl

Happy Friday! I spent my Friday morning in blissful silence, working on some lovely little charts. My brother is not the best at organizing a good shopping list, and as a result is very often out of food. I think perhaps a lot of people struggle with this, so I created a menu-planning sheet for each week and a grocery list. There are a few staples already written in, and some memory jogging ideas. I’ll be adding them later when I figure out how to upload a pdf.

We’ve had some snow here, which has given me some time to work on some artwork again.

Image

Image

Some things I’m into this week:

A really good article about living green and mixing that with a compassionate lifestyle.

This pretty cool story about a man planting a forest.

I forgot about the Lumineers, and this song, which is pretty good.

I like this little chart about eating and eating well.

Image

I made this little sesame noodle bowl a week or so ago. Its easy and fast and pretty delicious as a cold lunch the next day. I like using buckwheat and sweet potato soba noodles, but you can use any kind of noodle and veggie combination.

Happy Belly Sesame Bowl

-1 package of soba, udon, or any kind of noodles
-1 package tempeh
-assorted veggies: carrots, broccoli, zucchini, etc
-1 clove garlic, smashed
-3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
-5 tablespoons shoyu
-1 tablespoon rice vinegar
-Pinch of red pepper flakes
-1/2 tsp grated, fresh ginger
-handful of spring mix

1) Cook noodles according to package directions. While they are cooking, fry tempeh (cubed) in a little bit of water. Add veggies after 3 minutes and cook until done.

2) Drain noodles and return to pot, toss with 1 tablespoon sesame oil. Add remaining sesame oil, shoyu, rice vinegar, pepper, ginger, and garlic to veggie and mix. Add the noodles and toss, or place noodles in a bowl and top with veggie mix. Add spring mix and enjoy.

Garlic-Tahini Macro Bowl

Lately I’ve been writing more. And getting published. Which is very exciting. Somewhere between my life-altering obsession with kayaking and juggling full time work and full time school, I’d forgotten years ago that deep inside, I like to write. I minored in creative writing when I went to art school, getting a scholarship for it. Sometimes, when life slows down and you’re left sitting in a worn out green chair in your new living room in a new, isolating town, things like writing and baking creep back up from deep inside you. At least, that’s what happened a few months ago with my writing.

Image

So, now, after my morning stretches and first breakfast, I usually write for a half hour or so in the stillness of my quiet house. I’m writing a lot of things, articles on beautiful old hippie women, descriptions of  how the suburbs make me feel like I’m suffocating, the sun kissed memories I have of living on the farm. I’ve also been writing about my passionate, life consuming love affair with kayaking and the abrupt end a year ago, and how that affected my identity. Writing, for many people is a way to make sense of life events, to really dig in to what really happened and find closure.

It feels good to be writing again.

This weekend was great. I made countless tofu scramble breakfast burritos with kale, went to see an exhibit on ancient Grecian glass on UT’s campus, and got to go for a run outside in the somewhat nice weather.

Image

Things I’ve been really into:

Please go watch this short movie on the Colorado River. Its tragic and sad and beautiful, and now I’m plotting on how to get there ASAP.

Remember that movie about “My Friend Maia”? Well, there’s a video with her daily morning exercise routine on it out there in cyberspace as well!

I watched this movie this week, its an hour long, but its about Ruth Heidrich, who is pretty much my new idol.

There are pages of beautiful old hippie ladies… where have these been all my life?!

I’ve been starting my days with this lately, and its very hippie and peaceful and if I close my eyes I can be transported back to the little porch on my little house in the hay field, where I drank coffee in the predawn light on my porch swing. One day, I’ll be back there.

Image

Image

Ok, so now a recipe! Many of you have probably figured out that this is a not a blog where I post amazing, drooling photos of fabulous food that I’ve spent weeks perfecting a recipe for. I usually snap a few photos with my phone, jot down the simple recipe, and bam. Easy. Most vegan recipes call for obscure ingredients, or for soaking some sort of grain/nut/bean for hours. These can be intimidating. And what do you do when you are rushed for time and can’t get everything soaking just right? Last week I made a pot of rice, a pot of lentils, and a batch of tahini garlic sauce. Everyday before work, I sautéed some broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, and whatever else, added the rice at the last minute to warm up, threw it all in a bowl with the lentils and mixed in my creamy tahini sauce. Easy, simple, done.

Image

Dreamy, Creamy Garlic Tahini Bowl
Inspired by macrobiotic bowls, this bowl lacks any seaweed or cultured vegetable (pickles, etc), so it’s not a full macro bowl. But it’s filling and delicious and cheap!

1 serving cooked rice (for a true macro bowl, the brown rice should make up 50% of the dish)
1 serving cooked lentils (this should be about 20% of the bowl)
Veggies (30%): Broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, or whatever you need to use up

Garlic Tahini Sauce
-2 tablespoons tahini
-1/3 cup veggie stock
-1 tablespoon shoyu (soy sauce)
-1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
-2 cloves garlic

1) While veggies are sautéing in water on medium high heat, throw all the sauce ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. You want this slightly thin, so the rice really absorbs it.
2) Once the veggies are soft, add rice and turn off the heat. Allow rice to warm up in the pan, then add whole pan to a bowl, throw in the lentils and stir in the sauce. Now, sit on your living room floor, light some incense, turn Bob Marley on, and enjoy your garlicky bowl of goodness.