new site

Hi All,

I have a new site, http://www.thefullvegetarian.com. Nothing will change with the new site’s content, but it is much more aesthetically pleasing and user friendly.  It was built (both web design and art work) by Corina Pelloni.  She did a wonderful job.

I would love for all of you to join me there.  The feedburner subscription button is on the home page on the top left hand side.

See you soon !

what is living?

The author, Joyce Maynard, says she feels most at home at Lake Atitlan in Guatemala.  It is there she engages in those activities that define what living is to her.  And, more importantly, I am surmising she has also found a way of being.
Ponte Vedra Beach
What is living?  Maynard has prompted me to, once again, think about this question.  I’ve rolled this question around in my mind frequently over the past five years or so.  It has rolled in and out of consciousness.  But, this time around the idea of living has collided with me differently.  Why?  For the first time, I believe I am developing the ability to define what living is to me.  Am I a late bloomer?  Very likely.
Jasmine

The question deserves to be asked at different stages in life.  Maybe during those times when we feel like we are not doing what we want to do with our lives. Or, a need is perceived to make a significant change regardless of how we feel about the way we are currently choosing to live. Or, maybe you feel a small tug to make just a little change in your world.  Yet, you are not sure what that change should be.

I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for help when I make decisions throughout life.  So, in any form this question is used, if we ask it of ourselves, intentions begin to cultivate and grow.  Even if an audible answer does not arise (lucky you if one does!)  after we whisper to ourselves, “what does living mean to me?” the mind will take note of whatever the felt experience is.  Try not to need or expect an answer.  If you do get one, it does not have to be or need to be verbal.  In fact, I’ve found I do not get any audible answers or thoughts. I get a feeling. If the question brings up confusion, that is ok.  Let it bring up confusion.  It did for me for many years.  And, I am sure it will again in years to come.

(This is not to say I do not have confusion and anxiety with some areas of my life.  I do.  But, I am saying that some aspects of my life have been smoothed out and have lost their rough edges where confusion and indecisiveness used to reside.  I use myself as an example to, hopefully, create a rough guide for someone else who may want to gain a better understanding around their individual way of being.)

Asking the question, “what is living to me?” is similar to setting an intention at the beginning of a yoga class.  It prompts an energy and begins to sketch a blueprint that establishes a framework.  Yes, it is a blueprint that is in pencil because our lives are constantly in flux.  But, nevertheless, it is your blueprint.  This blueprint and framework will create a spaciousness allowing you to make changes, however large or small.  Some past fears may fall away.  It is your awareness that will take you there and shape your life’s path as time moves on just as Joyce Maynard did when she found Guatemala is where she feels most at home. It has become her way of being.

Nava Atlas' Vegan Sloppy Joes

A vegan treat, Nava Atlas’ sloppy joes.  Here I’ve posted her recipe verbatim.  But, when I made them I took the technique and subbed ingredients.  One addition I added that I’ll throw out there if you’d like to try, add 1 teaspoon each of cinnamon and baking cocoa powder. It really brings a depth of flavor to the dish that I enjoyed.  Another thing I enjoyed was chili sauce rather than tomato sauce.   Either way, these are fun to make and are a really good, substantial dinner.  I dressed the bread with sharp dijon mustard, sweet pickle relish, and refreshing red leaf lettuce.

Nava Atlas’ Pinto Bean and Quinoa Sloppy Joes    

Serves: 4 to 6

  • 1/2 cup raw quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1/2 medium green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 15- to 16-ounce can pinto or red beans,
    drained, rinsed, and coarsely mashed (or 1 1/2 cups cooked)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 medium tomato, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar or natural granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder, or more, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro, plus more for topping, optional
  • Shredded lettuce, baby spinach leaves, or green sprouts
  • 6 whole grain rolls, English muffins, or mini-pitas

Combine the quinoa with 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a slow boil, then lower the heat, cover, and simmer until the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes.

Heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add the onion and sauté until translucent. Add the bell pepper and sauté until both are golden.

Add the remaining ingredients except the last two, and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook over medium-low heat, loosely covered, for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let the skillet stand off the heat for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to mingle further and for the quinoa to absorb the tomatoey flavors.

For each serving, spoon some of the filling onto the bottoms of whole-grain rolls and cover with the tops. Or, you can serve these open-faced.

where the butterfly flew

Black sooty mold covering much of our property on the north side of our house results in anger?  Well, yes.  Or, maybe.  Wait a minute, I am not so sure.  But, I am sure that anger wraps itself around a victim and squeezes tightly.  (As it did to me for a few days.) It is the python of human emotions.

IMGP4472 (3)

While I was finishing cutting off numerous palm fronds and tree branches sticky with a white, sugary substance (called honeydew) and slick with black sooty mold the rugose spiraling whitefly leaves behind, again I contemplated this anger I had. Really?  Could I really be this angry at a whitefly (even if the South Florida press does call it an insect tsunami) that is feeding on much of our landscaping? At its root, the anger seemed misguided. But, surely there must be somewhere or something to whom, at whom, I can point the finger for this grave injustice.

Meanwhile, this anger found me outside cutting back foliage surrounded by the tiny white creature flying about madly as I removed their food source.  Spontaneously, I found myself asking the flies (while swatting them away from my head) if we could find a peaceful way to coexist.  Say, possibly, a bit of a more balanced approach than black soot covering the north side of our property.  Then, just as quickly and without conscious thought, I asked myself if I could find a bit of a more balanced approach when dealing with myself.  Without making this too confusing, in other words, I discovered I was angry at myself.

Red Croton

As soon as I had made that realization, everything softened.  It all kinda drooped into a deflated acceptance.  As the anger with myself melted, I was no longer angry with mother nature.  Annoyed, perhaps, at still having to deal with this new insect wanting to feed on many of our plants, but the anger that squeezes tightly was gone.

I continued working, yet the work was different.  Yes, I still needed to remove the heavily infested fronds from one plant in particular.  But, I now did so at a slower pace.  I, once again, tuned into what was going on in nature around me.  (While in my angry state, I was just whacking away at fronds not available emotionally to listen to the wind or the birds.)  As I was finishing up, a large black and yellow butterfly came to rest on our viburnum hedge an arm’s length from me.  It rested for a beat or two – longer than I’ve witnessed before.  It seemed to be acknowledging my acceptance of anger at myself.  At the same time, I acknowledged the presence of peace.

Here is a summery creamy dressing to use on salads, stir into grains, or as a sandwich spread.
Creamy Avocado Dressing
Creamy Avocado Dressing
Megan Gordon’s recipe


1 ripe avocado, pitted and peeled
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup Greek yogurt

Combine all ingredients except for the yogurt in a food processor fitted with the steel blade.  Process until smooth.  Add yogurt.  Give it one more whirl or two to combine. Taste and adjust for salt.

Spinach and Walnut Sauce (the unpesto, pesto)

Spinach and Walnut Sauce

Beginning in spring and well into summer, many different kinds of pesto recipes are featured throughout the food world.  I’ve never been a fan of pestos.  While I love the (typically) bright emerald green colors, I’ve always found them too heavy, too garlic-y, too something.  Yet, the idea of grinding a vegetable or herb, fat(s), salt, and acid together producing a sauce is very appealing.

So, I came up with this spinach and walnut sauce that I’ll stir into brown rice and garbanzo beans this evening. Served over a bed of wilted spinach with a sprinkling of chopped walnuts, the unpesto pesto looks pretty good.

IMGP4797

Pestos can be enjoyed on pasta or rice.  They can be stirred into egg dishes, or spread onto a sandwich.

Spinach and Walnut Sauce 

Cook’s Notes:  I found the garlic packs just enough punch. The lemon juice, while perceptible, is not overpowering, and the walnuts are a good amount of fat.  To make this into a more traditional pesto, add extra virgin olive oil to taste and desired consistency.

  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1/4 t. salt (scant) + more to taste
  • 1/3 c. walnuts (heaping)
  • 2 c. tightly packed baby spinach leaves, rinsed and patted dry, stems removed
  • 1/4 c. parsley, rinsed and patted dry
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

All of these ingredients can be processed in a food processor.  Or, if grinding by hand in a mortar and pestle, begin mashing the garlic, salt, and walnuts together.  Once finely ground, add the spinach and parsley a handful at a time along with the lemon juice.  Work in a circular motion with the mortar until desired consistency.  Taste and adjust for salt.  Yield: 1/2 c.

Kale and Leek Pie with Quinoa Millet Crust

If you are looking for a last minute dinner idea for Father’s Day, here it is.  This main entreé is portable, good warm or cold, and loaded with vegetables.  While savory pies and tarts are favorites of mine to make, I do not find making crusts easy.  They are an added element that can make a cook (or, at least me) shy away from them.  But, one made with cooked whole grains?  Easy.

Kale and Leek Pie

IMGP4740

Kale and Leek Pie with Quinoa Millet Crust 

*Cook’s Notes:  To make the crust begin by adding 1 1/2 c. cooked grains to the crust mixture.  Add up to 1/2 c. more if you want it thicker.  I chose to make a thicker crust with 2 c. cooked grains.

Gluten Free Crust 

  • *1 1/2 – 2 c. cooked quinoa and millet (equal parts)
  • 1 egg white, yolk reserved for the filling
  • 3 T extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9″ pie plate.  Set aside.  Combine 1 1/2 c. cooked quinoa and millet, egg white, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.  Mix well.  Add more cooked grains if desired.  Press mixture (the back of a measuring cup works well) firmly into the pie plate.
  2. Bake the crust for 10 minutes or just until it begins to firm up.  Remove and set aside.

Filling

  • 1 lg. bunch lacianto kale (also known as dinosaur kale) (about 4 packed cups) rinsed, ribs removed, sauté with salt and pepper, drain, squeeze out excess moisture, chop finely
  • 2 c. arugula, rinsed, sauté with salt and pepper, drain, squeeze out excess moisture, chop finely
  • 1/2 large leek (about 1 1/2 c. sliced)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 c. unsweetened soymilk (or your milk of choice)
  • 3 eggs + reserved yolk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 oz.  herbed or peppered goat cheese
  1. Warm a T or two of olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet, add sliced leeks and a pinch of salt.  Lightly sauté leek, about 3 minutes.  Add garlic.  Cook 1 minute.  Remove from heat.  Let cool.
  2. In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together milk and eggs including reserved yolk.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Once greens and leeks have cooled, add to egg mixture. Combine. (Alternatively, the egg mixture can be tempered if leeks and greens have not cooled.) Once the greens, leeks, and egg mixture have been combined, pour into prepared pie crust.  Dot the top with 2 oz. goat cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 – 45 minutes until center is loosely set and the crust is light golden brown.
  3. Let rest 15 minutes before serving.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Serves 4.

IMGP4732

Rainbow Radish and Greens Pasta

Rainbow Radishes

Inspired by P. Allen Smith’s use of radishes, these radishes make a lovely pasta dish.  They are sautéed and braised with onion until sweet and mellow.  Tossed with the radish greens, parmigiano reggiano, and reserved pasta water, the resulting dish is flavorful and light, perfect for summer.

Rainbow Radishes and Greens Pasta

Rainbow Radish and Greens Pasta 

1 bunch organic rainbow colored radishes (about 10 radishes) with their tops, radishes and greens washed, radishes thinly sliced (you want them to be translucent thin), green tops torn into bite size pieces
1 medium sweet onion, diced
1/4 – 1/2 c. high quality vegetable broth
2/3 c. + parmigiano reggiano, grated
8 oz. whole wheat or gluten free pasta (I used a gluten free quinoa corn blend pasta)
reserve 1/2 c. pasta cooking water
salt
freshly cracked black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
for a silkier sauce add 1 or 2 T unsalted butter after adding the vegetable broth, cook to reduce to desired consistency (optional)

In a large saucepan with deep sides, heat 1 T extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Once warmed, add the diced onion with a pinch of salt, cook 3 – 5 minutes just until they begin to give up some moisture.  Add sliced radishes.  Add another pinch of salt and cook, turning often, until they lose most of their moisture, about 10 minutes.  Be careful not to burn the vegetables, turning down heat if necessary.

Begin making pasta.  Once the radishes and onions have lost most of their moisture, add broth, braise on medium low heat for 10 – 15 minutes until the vegetables have absorbed most of the liquid.  Stir in butter if using.

To the vegetable mixture, add torn cleaned radish greens, al dente cooked pasta, grated cheese, 2 T. reserved pasta water, toss to combine.  Add pasta water 1 T at a time if a looser consistency is desired. Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.  Serve with another sprinkling of parm reggiano if desired. Serve immediately.  Makes 3 generous servings.

Inspired by P. Allen Smith

just washing the ceiling

Three rags in hand, standing on a tall step stool in our screened-in porch with a bucket of dirty, soapy water by my side, I was (ready for this?) washing the ceiling.  Yes, the ceiling.  As I wiped down the beadboard, board by board, I eventually gained a rhythm to the project.

Ollie watching the street scene -age 5

First, I tried a mop.  The end result was a wet head coupled with dirt, grime, and mold smeared on the ceiling.  After replacing the carpeting I had moved out of the way to use the mop, I tried using a rag rubbing back and forth to remove the black grime.  Although it wasn’t quite as messy, the rag quickly became dark with dirt and had to be rinsed too frequently.

I then moved on to using three rags.  Three because I could hold three in one hand and I had enough material to wipe down each board without having to rinse out the rags quite as much. Less steps to climb as I went up and down the stool to refresh each rag.

Varigeted Ginger

If I got ahead of myself, I found I had to redo something. If I skipped a board or did not wipe it down well, I was met with the idea of having a dingy gray ceiling instead of having the shiny, white beadboard ceiling back.  If I tried to reach further than where I comfortably could from the step stool, I became off-balance and my attention was drawn more to not losing my footing than the work I was doing above me.

As I painstakingly cleaned, I thought about how this experience was analogous to many of my life’s experiences. How often have I gotten ahead of myself?  Or, how often had I so badly wanted to get ahead of where I needed to be (or where I was) that I never started what I wanted to start?

Spider Lilly Blooms

Baby steps.  That ceiling took baby steps.  Aside from the fact it may seem crazy to clean a ceiling…I am quite thankful to have been reminded of that lesson.  The lesson that sometimes the only way to reach a goal or go through a process (so many things in life are a process) is one small step followed by another small step.

There is a saying in the yoga world, “meet yourself where you are.”    In other words, become mindful of who you are in the present and your surroundings without wanting something to be different than it is.  Take stock and go from there.  This provides a great jumping off platform…solid footing from which to work.

In that four hours, life was framed.  Life was taught.  Life was as is.

Savory Whole Grain Dish

Quinoa and Sun-Dried Tomatoes with Garbanzo Beans

The sweet sun-dried tomatoes play off the salty olives well.  Substance comes from quinoa, brown rice, and garbanzo beans. Nice finishing touches are a big squeeze of lemon, as much parsley as you like, and a slub of yogurt. If you don’t have quinoa, using all brown rice or farro in this dish would be fine rather than a combination of grains. The yogurt can be made into a sauce to serve on the side.  Add salt, a touch of raw garlic and a squeeze of lemon.  Stir to combine.

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. brown rice, cooked
  • 1/2 c. quinoa, cooked
  • 1 14 oz. can garbanzo beans, rinsed, drained or cooked dried beans
  • 1 large leek, well cleaned, sliced thinly (about 2/3 c.)
  • 1/2 c. julienned oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 T. oil from tomatoes
  • 1/4 c. (heaping) pitted black olives, thinly sliced
  • vegetable broth, optional
  • chopped parsley
  • lemon wedges
  • T. or two of plain yogurt or prepared sauce, omit for vegans
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste
  1. Set aside prepared grains and beans.  In a large skillet heat 2 T of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat.  Once heated, add the leeks and pinch of salt.  Increase heat slightly and begin to sauté the leeks.  Once the leeks have softened, about 5 –  7 minutes, stir in the prepared grains, beans, tomatoes, oil from tomatoes, and olives.  Warm through.  Salt to taste.  Add a splash or two of broth if dish needs moistening.
  2. Plate each serving.  Garnish with parsley, lemon wedge, and yogurt.   Serve immediately.  Serves 3 generously.