My latest article on Chic Vegan

I’ve been known to spend entire days in the kitchen, tinkering with recipes and creating temporary masterpieces. While I love doing that more than most things, there are still times when I’m all about convenience foods. I like to have things that are quick to make, easy to grab as I run out to an appointment, and budget-friendly so that I can save a little splurge money for pricier groceries like artisanal vegan cheeses and specialty produce like passion fruits and fiddlehead ferns.fast food 1 Continue reading

Grand Opening Party at Garden of Mind

Much in my typical “mimic the seasons” fashion, last winter started out very dark for me. I was mourning another period of relapsed health and in many areas of my life I felt that I was grasping to hold things together as they teased me with disintegration. And how timely it was that I was reading Pema Chodron’s classic When Things Fall Apart!

It was only when I had moved through the “feeling sorry for myself ” and “letting fear guide me” stages that the beauty of synchronicity entered my life — an unfolding that was catalyzed by my 100 days of meditation self-challenge and continues to this day. Among the many synchronicities I’ve experienced since then was one that not only led me to new business opportunities but also new camaraderies. Continue reading

Pittsburgh VegFest Epic Recap 1/2: The Community

One thing that I’ve vowed to do more of since my health has become more stable is to spend more time interacting with the local vegan community. When I’m around other vegans, I have a distinct feeling of “home”. It’s all so very high vibe. I never felt it so strongly as I felt when I attended the Main Street Vegan Academy and was around a whole spectrum of vegan awesomeness for an entire week, but I also felt that strong magic in the air at Pittsburgh VegFest; I’m still buzzing!

Pittsburgh VegFest was the first vegan event I’ve attended in far too long. I hate to feel so disconnected! Once I heard about it, I was determined to 1) keep my schedule clear and 2) have enough energy to enjoy it to its fullest. Mission accomplished, folks! Continue reading

Vegan Brunch at Amazing Cafe

Sleepless nights and blurry days. I’ve been having trouble getting enough sleep. Tucker has had an upset tummy these past 2 weeks which mean sometimes he needs a late night grass snack to soothe the discomfort. Usually J and I take turns with the sick puppy episodes, but it’s been all falling on me due to J’s demanding schedule. I’ve been implementing a pretty good — if I do say so myself — wind down routine in the evenings, so that’s been some relief. But now that Tuck is on the mend, I’ve had anxieties to tend to which have again cursed my once dream-filled nights.

amazing cafe wallsEarly Sunday morning, not long before the sun would creep through our blinds and cast rays of light across our floor, I’m still awake — tossing about with the occasional spritz of Rescue Remedy, wondering why my guided sleep meditations weren’t working. I got the sudden craving for an acai bowl, no doubt the desire for nourishment and wellness support in some form if it would not come by sleep. I recalled how badly I’ve been wanting to try the food at Amazing Cafe in the South Side and made the decision that I’d either invite people to come along with me (later) in the morning or go to Whole Foods and get ingredients to make my own acai bowls at home. Continue reading

Sweet Potato Black Bean Tacos with Pineapple Salsa

Raw corn is something to be celebrated. I can’t count the times that people wrinkled up their nose at me and said, “You eat corn raw?! Isn’t it hard to chew?” Nope. It’s super soft, and it’s sugary sweet due to the fact that it has yet to be cooked. It’s during the cooking process that the sugars are converted to starch. In the summer, and any time a recipe calls for boiled/steamed corn or even a bag of frozen corn, I usually use raw corn instead because it’s so delicious.

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J and I were at the store picking up taco ingredients for dinner one night, and he had also picked up some of the fresh corn that’s begun to flood the markets. He mentioned having it with dinner, and after convincing him that raw corn kernels would be great on tacos (there was a quick taste test involved), I made these fiesta-worthy tacos.

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Sweet Potato Black Bean Tacos with Pineapple Salsa

Ingredients:

corn tortillas, 2-3 per person is plenty (or 4-6 if you like to double them up per taco)

Filling ingredients:

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 large sweet potato, cubed and steamed

1/2 onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp oregano

1/4 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp garlic powder

3/4 tsp smoked paprika

salt and pepper to taste

Toppings:

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1 cob of corn, kernels chopped, raw

1 jar of pineapple salsa

Instructions:

-Wash, cube, and steam the sweet potatoes in a steamer or a covered pan with a bit of water.

-Destem and chop a 1/4 cup of cilantro and set aside.

-Shuck 1 corn cob and slice off the kernels. Either 1) place flat on a cutting board and run the knife down the side of the cob. Rotate and repeat until you get all the way around, or 2) stand it with the point end straight up and cut down the cob. Rotate until you get all the way around. You may wish to place the cob in a bowl with this method as it can get messy.

-Meanwhile heat a skillet with a drizzle of oil on medium heat. Add the onions and saute until they become translucent. Then add the garlic and saute for 1-2 more minutes, stirring once or twice.

-Add black beans and spices into the skillet and stir. Let it cook for several minutes. If the sweet potatoes haven’t finished by this point, turn the burner off and cover the pan.

-When the sweet potatoes have finished, drain any water from them if need be, then add them to the skillet. Mash them slightly and cook them just long enough to get some color on them.

-Warm the corn tortillas and then place in filling and top with the raw corn, cilantro, and salsa.