sopa tarasca + an ode to beans

Giant white beans zero waste

If you do one thing this weekend, soak and cook a big pot of beans.  Beans are a great and cheap source of protein, and can usually be found pretty easily in bulk.  Even if you have to buy them in plastic, they still provide a lot of meals and energy for that one plastic bag.  You can use them in so many ways and they can become the basis for all kinds of meals: add to curries, soups, blend them into a creamy soup with sautéed celery/carrot/onion/garlic + herbs/spices and stock, eat them in a lunchtime bowl, puree them into a dip for veggies or a spread for wraps/sammies, eat them over toast, saute them with greens, turn them into veggie burgers…the options are endless!

We love all kinds of beans and legumes here, but our favorites are chickpeas for their versatility, giant corona beans for their large size and substantial texture, cannellini beans for their creaminess, and pintos + black beans for their flavor.  Any kind of beans you have available are great!  I try to find local varieties if they’re available for a lower footprint.  Experiment with new to you types.  Make cooking fun!  Also amazing are red lentils, which don’t need any soaking and cook in about 15-20 minutes.  They have been my savior for many a quick weeknight meal.

I have a giant container of local pintos I’m trying to work my way through, so this week that’s what I’m cooking.  Cooking beans from scratch is so much more flavorful and delicious than canned beans if you have the time.  I quite enjoy the ritual of soaking the beans, straining them, choosing the flavorings to add, and cooking them. It’s rewarding in some way.  Canned beans are wonderful assets too for when you forget to soak or you just need something easy and quick.

pinto beans zero waste

To cook beans, I soak 2 cups of them in plenty of water in a big bowl for 24 hours.  When they’re done soaking, I strain and rinse, then place them in a pot or a slow cooker with a chopped onion, smashed whole garlic cloves, and whole sprigs of fresh herbs.  You can also add things like whole peppercorns, dried chiles or broiled fresh chiles, smoked paprika, olive oil, or whatever you want!  I also add salt, about a 1/2 teaspoon for our tastes but you can omit or go more heavy handed.  I don’t believe the whole thing about adding salt making the beans tough.  I find that adding salt at the beginning seasons the beans all the way through.  One thing to note though is NOT to add tomatoes or other acidic ingredients until after the beans are soft.  The acid makes the beans not be able to cook properly and they will stay crunchy forever.  Cook 45 minutes- 2 hours, it really depends on how old the beans are and what variety.  Keep tasting for doneness and add more water as needed.

vegan pinto beans

Here’s some flavoring ideas, although in my opinion the best way is to experiment and go by your intuition- you can’t go wrong.

white beans (cannelini, great northern type varieties): garlic- I slice a whole head crosswise to expose all the cloves and throw it in like that + a generous sprig of fresh sage or rosemary, drizzle of EVOO and a teaspoon of whole black peppercorns + 1 dried whole chile, like chile de arbol or a teaspoon of chile flakes.  Here’s a whole meal plan I did devoted to turning a pot of white beans into a week of meals.

vegan Italian beans sage garlic Dutch oven

black beans:  3 smashed whole garlic cloves, 1 chopped onion, 1 dried chile of choice or canned chipotle pepper en adobo, and 1 big fresh sprig of oregano or epazote or 1 teaspoon dried mexican oregano.  This black bean soup is amazing, too.  We love black beans in tacos or bowls with sliced and baked or sautéed plantains + avo + a quick cabbage slaw, too.

Vegan bowl mojo verde Cuban kabocha squash

chickpeas:  I usually just cook chickpeas plain, as I like them to be a blank slate for hummus, curries etc.  I especially love this soup with chickpeas, and my lemon garlic hummus pasta with broiled peppers is a great way to use them too.  One of our favorite quick meals is this chickpea salad eaten either as a sammy or in tortillas or lettuce/collard wraps.  Sometimes I like to do a curried version with chopped apple, golden raisins, curry powder, and carrot.  This chickpea soup (caldo tlalpeño) is so tasty, too.

chickpea salad sandwich vegan

pinto beans: broil a whole jalapeño and a whole onion, halved, until charred in spots.  add it to the beans along with a few whole cloves of smashed garlic and a big fresh sprig of oregano or epazote, and a teaspoon of cumin.  Pintos are so good in burritos, tacos, enchiladas, blended into a soup.

With my pintos this weekend, I’ll first eat them probably my favorite way: just eaten in a bowl, straight from the pot, soupy and steamy with sliced fresh chile, chopped white onion, avocado, cilantro and radish.

Vegan sopa tarasca dairy free zero waste

Then with the leftovers, I’ll blend them into this creamy soup, spiked with smoky chiles and brightened with lime, a kind of sopa tarasca.  Here’s the recipe:

sopa tarasca (adapted from word of mouth from a lovely Mexican chef I know, Martha)

ingredients:

4 Roma tomatoes

1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped

3 cloves garlic

1 large chipotle chile en adobo (more or less depending on your spice level) you can used dried, toasted + soaked anchos here too

1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)

2 cups cooked pinto beans

2 cups stock (make sure this is a strong and tasty stock as this can make or break the soup as it’s so few ingredients)

3/4 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano

3/4 teaspoon of salt (but amount will depend on how salt your stock is)

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

toppings (pick as few or as many as you desire): avocado, quick pickled onions or radishes, cilantro, toasted pumpkin seeds, raw onion, hot sauce, lime wedges, crema (coco yogurt thinned with a little water + lime juice, zest, and salt) or cashew crema, baked or fried tortilla strips, chopped tomatoes, chopped jalapeños…..sky’s the limit.  With blended soups like this toppings are everything!

method:

broil the whole tomatoes under the over broiler or over an open flame or grill until charred on all sides- mine took about 8 minutes.  Make sure you rotate to get it evenly broiled.

Broiled tomatoes

Place tomatoes in blender with the chopped onion, garlic, and chipotle chile.  Blend till smooth.

Sopa tarasca vegan

Chipotle onion garlic tomato

Heat a pot with a tablespoon of olive oil in it (alternatively, heat without oil for an oil free soup) on high.  Pour in the blender mix (careful because it splatters, give it a good stir, reduce heat to med high and cook for about 3-4 minutes.  You can keep the lid partially covering it to minimize splatter.

Meanwhile, add the beans and stock to the blender (no need to wash in between).  Blend till smooth and add to the pot along with oregano, salt, pepper.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to medium low and let simmer 15 minutes.

Taste and add salt as needed.

Ladle into bowls and top with all your toppings and a heavy squeeze of lime.  Extend gratitude, smell, taste and enjoy!

what I ate today: v/gf

Hi friends!  Here’s another example of a day’s worth of intuitive eating for me, gluten free, vegan, unprocessed whole foods, and mostly local/seasonal.  Keep in mind that what I eat varies from day to day, season to season, and what’s right for me may not be right for you.  With these “what I ate” style posts, I simply hope to share what works for me and inspire you to eat more simply, more in tune with your body.  Intuitive eating has been such a revelation for me, learning to tune in to my own body and trusting it, instead of tuning outwards to trends, “influencers”, books, etc.  I’ve been practicing it maybe a year or two now and the effects have been profound, and goes hand in hand with self love.

ready?  Heres what I ate and did today on a full day off.  To see more examples of what I, my husband, and kids eat, click here.

7 am: wake up and drink water.  

I always drink a quart jar worth of water in the morning, warm.  I find that cold water feels jarring to my body/my digestion and I almost never drink it.  I fill it halfway with cool water and halfway with hot water from my kettle.  Often I’ll add ginger slices or lemon/lime, but today I just felt like pure water.  Then I made my daughter’s lunch for school while my husband made them breakfast.

Water zero waste

8 am: meditation + gua sha

Carmela left for school and I sat and meditated with my husband for maybe 10 minutes while Vin played LEGOS.  After, I put on this golden elixir oil from CocoKind and did a lymphatic drainage practice called gua shaan ancient Chinese massage technique where you “scrape” smooth jade or rose quartz blades over the skin, releasing the fascia and facilitating drainage.  My face can get really puffy and this helps so much.  It brings so much circulation to the skin and adds that glowiness.  Plus, in my experience, it helps any breakouts that may be coming up to go away fast.  This one is similar to a set I have.

Gua sha

8:15 am:  herbal infusion

I started drinking my herbal infusion from the night before: nettles, ashwagandha, and spearmint steeped overnight in hot water.  Strained and diluted the next day, I drink it throughout the morning for minerals and plant medicine.  I switch the herbs up depending on what I’m feeling that I need.

9:30 am:  more infusion + a mango

I drank the rest of my herbal infusion and ate some mango Joel cut for me while I was getting some work done on the computer.  I usually don’t eat breakfast till later than many people, it makes me feel nauseated to eat early, since I was a child!

Nettle infusion spearmint ashwagandha

11 am: workout + smoothie bowl

I did this quick but effective workout and then made a fast smoothie bowl.  I’ve been craving a smoothie bowl and then my mom gifted me some of her stash of frozen garden razzies which are HEAVEN.  Serious candy.  I blended 4 frozen bananas, frozen razzies, vanilla extract, and a splash of homemade coconut milk together until smooth and creamy.  I topped with hemp seeds, more razzies and rawnola I had in the fridge (I used dates, coconut, almond meal and walnuts this time).  This was super filling which was perfect after my strong workout and tiny breakfast.

Smoothie bowl raspberry rawnola banana

2-3 pm: kombucha + strawberries

We ran some errands, picked up a few groceries and then headed to the park by our Wednesday night farmers market.  At my coop I picked up a watermelon basil kombucha (local and on draft) in my mason jar.  I drank that while Joel and I talked and the kids played.

kombucha watermelon zero waste

Then I walked over to the market and found some beautiful spring goodies, including strawberries.  We ate the whole basket.

Farmers market zero waste California

I picked up also a super dark lettuce, sugar snap peas, Cara Cara oranges, baby potatoes, and cilantro- all local, all organic.  I chatted with my farmer friends, who all told me they are desperately hoping for rain soon.  We’ve been so dry here in California this year.  Then we headed to the library to pick up books and a few movies (we canceled our Netflix last summer and it has been THE BEST).

4 pm: sugar snap peas

On the way back home from the library, I drank a quart of water and snacked on some of the sugar snap peas.

Sugar snap peas zero waste

5 pm: rainbow dinner

Joel made himself + the kids a pad thai style dish.  I was craving more veggies and no grains, so I steamed the potatoes I got from the market, a whole zucchini (preserves nutrients) until almost soft, then added in a handful of mushrooms, steamed another minute, and added in tofu and broccoli for the last few minutes).  I cut up half of the zuch and tossed it in the blender with 1 raw carrot, a scoop of white miso, spoon of nutritional yeast, a few cherry tomatoes, clove of garlic, juice from a meyer lemon, and a spoonful of peanut butter.  No recipe, I just made it up as I went and it was delicious.  In my giant bowl, I added the steamed veggies/tofu, avocado, the chopped up head of farmers market lettuce, some sugar snap peas, some tomatoes, pickled onions, and sauerkraut.  Then drizzled the dressing over.  It was so good, all the textures, flavors, colors…plants are medicine.

whole food vegan dinner bowl grain free

7:30 bedtime tonic

Most nights I have a grounding tonic to get ready for bed.  Tonight I did a bit of coconut butter blended with water, Vitamineral Earth, cocoa powder, vanilla, and a gooey medjool date.  So good and so warming.

vegan night tonic

Thanks so much for reading!  Lots of love and I hope you enjoyed xx

thai-ish crunch salad with peanut dressing

Vegan kids cooking

hello friends!  It’s been gorgeous weather here in California, I’m just buzzing on sunshine.  All the spring feels over here- almond trees in bloom, fresh verdant green grass, miners lettuce, birds out and about, and lots of wind.  As I write this I’m laying on my patio in a pair of shorts and soaking up the afternoon sun.  With this warmer weather we’ve been getting outside a lot and hiking, playing, gardening and more, which makes me feel SO GOOD.  Seriously, is there anything better than being outside?  It makes me feel so grounded, connected and supported and boosts my mood x 100.

farmers market oranges zero waste imperfect

Today I wanted to share a very simple and very adaptable recipe with you that we can’t get enough of lately.  I follow a beautiful mama on Instagram named Jenna Strubhar and she provides me with the most amazing down to earth inspiration, from everything from gentle parenting to books and easy vegan meals.  Recently she posted about a thai salad she makes that is a staple in their household, I made it, and we’ve been eating it nonstop.  So I wanted to post it here so you can hopefully make it and love it as much as we did.  I’ve made some slight modifications to her recipe, which you can find here.

thai Salad

Thai salad

Use whatever veggies you have or like- the ones I list are simply what we had that day-but other ingredients like cucumber, fresh chili pepper, mango, pineapple, tomato, zucchini noodles, rice noodles, tofu, tempeh, and edamame would go deliciously here too.  Basil and mint are great swaps for the cilantro (extra points for thai basil!).  In fact, I used this sauce a few times over simple sauteed cabbage/broccoli, warm, and it was amazing.  We also used it to dip veggies in for a snack, also amazing.  I bet it would be great for rice paper rolls too.

Peanut thai salad vegan

thai-ish crunch salad with peanut dressing (serves 2 large servings or 4 small servings)

for the dressing/sauce:

1/4-1/3 cup nut butter (I’ve used both almond and PB with great results, I bet sunflower seed would work well if you have nut allergies) amount depending on how thick you want the dressing

1 tablespoons tamari

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (rice vinegar would be nice too)

juice and zest of 1 lime (start with half the juice first and add more as needed- will depend on how big your lime is)

1 clove garlic, crushed

2 teaspoons minced/grated fresh ginger (I use my microplane for this task) OR 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 tablespoon maple syrup or coconut aminos

optional: 1 teaspoon tamarind paste

water as needed to thin it out

for the salad:

1 large head romaine lettuce, chopped

1 red bell pepper, sliced thinly

2 carrots, shredded or sliced thinly

1 cup cilantro, chopped or just pick off the leaves and throw in whole

2 cups sliced red cabbage

3 green onions, sliced thinly

1 large navel orange, skin removed and chopped into segments

1 large avocado, sliced or diced

1/4 cup cashew pieces (or peanuts, sliced almonds, coconut flakes, whatever)

2 tablespoons sesame seeds (I used a mix of black and unhulled white)

method:

  1. in the bottom of a large bowl, add all dressing ingredients and whisk to combine.  Taste and add more of a certain ingredient if needed to adjust the dressing to your tastebuds.
  2. add in all raw ingredients to the bowl (I like to reserve a few pieces of cilantro and green onion for garnish if I want to make it look extra pretty)
  3. toss to combine- I usually just use clean hands
  4. toast the sesame seeds and cashews in a hot dry pan (no oil) over high heat, tossing the pan or stirring constantly until toasted, about 3 minutes)
  5. divide salads into bowls and garnish with the toasted nuts/seeds and any reserved cilantro/green onion.
  6. take a moment to express gratitude for the food and then devour!

Thai salad vegan zero waste

a week of meals at the end of winter

Kale avocado orange

Hello!  This week, I thought it would be fun to share what I bought and how I’m preparing it to get me (mostly) through the week- I usually top off on greens and/or fruit at our Wednesday market.  This past week I let my fridge get really empty, partly out of a desire to use everything up and partly out of sheer laziness because I couldn’t face going to the store when it was so nice outside.

We played hooky from the farmers market last Saturday because we took an impromptu day trip to the coast and I reallllly felt it.  Yesterday we did a big shop to replenish, so I’m sharing what I got at the store/what I’m going to do with it all.  Keep in mind I switch this up week to week depending on what’s in season, what’s on sale, and what’s local.

VegAn zero waste fridge

veggies: fennel + red cabbage for slaw, brussels sprouts + butternut squash for curry and soup, carrots for soup and snacking, mushrooms + cauliflower for stir fry.

herbs/spices: cilantro, green onion, onions, garlic, cinnamon, whole cumin seeds (i always buy whole and toast/grind my own for super deep flavor- and its cheaper)

greens: kale, mixed greens + romaine for salads/slaw

legumes: lentils for lunches, black beans for a bowl, canned chickpeas for hummus and curry (usually I’ll cook these but they were out in bulk this day), split peas for soup, tofu for school lunches, sandwiches, stir fries.

fruits:  mango, pink lady and honey crisp apples for lunches, oranges and bananas for snacks and smoothies, lemons/limes for EVERYTHING

Fruit

starches: quinoa, sweet potato, gf jovial brown rice pasta, brown rice, plantain, local whole wheat walnut bread (for the kids + joel)

fats/nuts/seeds: avocado for sandwiches/bowls, hemp seeds + pumpkin seeds for bowls/ the kids daily porridge, cashews for dressings/sauces/milk, almond butter for dressing/sandwiches/instant almond milk, coconut milk for curries, pistachios for the chocolate cake and to snack on

nuts Seeds chocolate

treats: cocoa powder+buckwheat flour for a gf choc cake and raw brownies, Theo chocolate bars (we love the ginger and cherry almond ones), decaf earl grey tea for morning lattes, raspberry jam (the crofter’s brand has a grape juice sweetened option that comes in glass with a metal lid)- my kids are obsessing over PBJ right now?!

condiments: balsamic vinegar for salads, coconut aminos and tamari for flavoring stir fries, dressings and sauces

I’ve been cutting up some of my veggies before storing in the fridge and it makes it so much easier to craft homemade meals during the week.  I cut up my kale into 1/2 inch pieces (I leave the stem in).  I trimmed and halved the brussels.  I peeled, deseeded and cut up the butternut squash.  I cut up the cauliflower into bite size pieces.  I store all these in mason jars, pyrex glass bowls with lids, or glass snaplock containers.

Butternut squash

I started a new batch of coconut yogurt (super easy) for school/after school snacks, kombucha, and a super quick hummus.

What I’m planning on cooking during the week:

split pea soup– easy recipe from Live Planted (Alyssa is an awesome vegan podcaster too)  photo from liveplanted.com

live planted vegan split pea soup

gf, date sweetened, orange and pistachio garnished chocolate cake from Golubka Kitchen’s beautiful new plant based cookbook, Simply Vibrant.  photo via The First Mess

the first mess Golubka kitchen chocolate orange cake vegan gluten free

brussels, squash, chickpea coconut milk curry with rice from the same cookbook!  similar recipe here

kale and fennel creamy cabbage slaw (a favorite recipe for me) photo via Red Online

Kale slaw fennel cabbage cashew mustard Amy chaplin

butternut squash and bean winter minestrone

winter vegan butternut squash pasta fagioli

plantain + black bean bowl:  super simple, fast, seriously satisfying.  sauté or roast slices of ripe plantain until golden/caramelized and sprinkle with a little salt.  Heat up some black beans with cumin and orange zest.  Serve with cabbage tossed with jalapeños, lime, cilantro and onion.  Add in rice, quinoa or roasted potatoes if desired for more heft.  Toasted pumpkin seeds or pickled onions are amazing on top too.

plantain bowl vegan gluten free

general tso tofu bowl with extra sautéed/roasted veggies on the side: carrots, mushrooms, and broccoli on a bed of greens and or noodles.

Vegan gluten free tofu tso

caesar salad: we like to do 1/2 romaine, 1/2 kale, this 5 minute hummus based caesar dressing, + top with green onions, avocado and cabbage or crispy roasted chickpeas and vegan parmven fries on the side- we just slice them up, toss with a little oil and roast at 400 till crispy.  Once out I love to toss in garlic and chili flakes and parsley if I have it!

Kale caesar

 

 

simple coconut or sesame sautéed lacinato kale

Vegan sesame kale

I’ve been loving this super simple way to prepare kale that makes it really tasty.  I love kale all the ways- in slaw, salad, steamed, wilted into soup, pesto, smoothies- but lately I’ve really been enjoying the extra pop of flavor in this method.  We grow lacinato (also called tuscan, or dino) kale in our garden.  It’s a low maintenance and prolific green to grow, so we have an abundance of it always and it’s nice to mix up the ways we prepare it.

garden kale California

Also, I’ve found my kids really love the umami of the aminos and the texture of the coconut flakes or sesame seeds in it.  If you’re not a coconut or sesame fan, just leave them out or try subbing with sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, or almonds.  Sometimes I add in a handful of other veg that need to be used, like broccoli or carrots.  When I wash the veggies I save the water to water plants outside or in.

kale

I leave the stems in the kale, because they are delicious and add nutrition + a nice crunchy texture, plus no waste- they’re similar to broccoli stems.  Feel free to remove if thats your thing.

vegan coconut kale

coconut or sesame sautéed lacinato kale (serves 4 sides or 2 if you’re a kale hog like me)

2 bunches lacinato kale, chopped into 1/2 inch or so pieces

1 tablespoon coconut, sesame or olive oil (or sub water if you’re oil free)- all give different flavor profiles so mix it up and experiment with what’s your favorite

1 large clove garlic, minced/pressed/crushed

2 teaspoons liquid aminos or 1 tablespoon tamari

1/4 cup of large flake unsweetened dried coconut OR 2 tablespoons sesame seeds

optional: toppings like green onions or cilantro

method

  1. heat a heavy skillet on high for a minute or two until its nice and hot (no oil yet).
  2. add in the kale and let it cook without stirring (and without oil) for a minute or two until the edges start to get a little toasty.
  3. NOW add in the oil (or equivalent amount of water) and the coconut and stir fry it around the pan, tossing and mixing until the kale is nice and soft (about 3 minutes for our liking- feel free to go longer if you like it softer or less if you want it more raw)
  4. remove from heat and immediately stir in the raw garlic and the aminos or tamari, quickly stirring it so that all the garlic gets incorporated and in contact with the hot pan- you want it tamed but not burnt.
  5. plate and enjoy!  We love this as a side, in buddha bowls, on top of a blended soup like this carrot one or butternut, or sometimes I add in chickpeas or tofu, too, for a really fast lunch.

 

vegan sesame kale

low waste valentine’s day

 

Valentines zero waste

Disclaimer: I’m really not into holidays much- I grew up with a mom who was a Jehovah’s Witness so we never celebrated them.  Therefore, it’s not something I have strong connections with- no nostalgia, memories, or traditions tied in.  I know this sounds really ascetic and miserly, but it wasn’t and I’m actually really grateful, because I don’t feel pressure to participate in what I feel can tend to be overly materialistic aspects of holidays.  It’s pretty freeing to just spend time with family and give small and meaningful gifts from the heart as I feel inspired to, instead of on a specific date set in place by capitalistic white patriarchy:  I love the quote from that article- “practically everything in every store you walk into has some sort of Valentine’s Day limited edition, overpriced junk. Rational people ransack the joints, and leave with packages of third world manufactured festivity supplies that will tomorrow find their way to third world landfills. Sentiments, probably born in some gray cubicle, are expressed in cards written by someone else, somewhere else.”  Anyways….I’m not really an expert on holidays so forgive my mistakes if I overlook aspects of them.

Zero waste kids valentines

At Carmela’s school, they exchange valentines.  I can’t control what things are given to her, but I can control what we give out.  I volunteered to make the cookies for their class party so that they were healthy-ish and not bought in plastic from Costco as has happened in the past.  She makes her own valentines every year, from recycled materials such as brown paper bags, the backside of once used paper, old wrapping paper, even pretty chocolate bar wrappers we’ve cut up and used.

Valentines

Gold foil from chocolate make a great decoration to cut out too.  For paste, I do an easy homemade flour and water paste– its messy and it doesn’t hold up forever but it’s fun and biodegradable.  Be careful to find out if any kids in the class have gluten sensitivities if you use it since it does have flour.

Zero waste valentines

As little favors to go with the Valentine’s in lieu of plastic toys or candies, we made some candied orange peels with the leftover peels from local organic navel oranges we ate.  They’re really easy- just basically peel, slice into thin strips and then boil in simple syrup- this recipe works great.  I dip in melted chocolate after.  A good quick option would be bulk candy in a little paper bag or diy envelope/pouch.  We are also adding in little “treasures”- a marble, bit of sea glass, crystal, shell, pretty rock, dried flower, bead- I’ve found that younger kids really love these things and they can be free things you’ve found or repurposed.

Shells treasures beach

I attach the Valentines to the paper pouch with a bit of biodegradable jute twine.  One year, we gave sunflower seed packets and they were a hit, too.

orange peel candy

For the cookies, the teacher requested I make the same ones I made for their Christmas party, which are these Hot for Food gingerbread cookies.  I’ll cut them into hearts and add a little beet juice or cranberry powder to the icing for a natural pink. You could probably sub chilled coconut oil for the vegan butter but one of the kids in the class has an allergy.  I bring them in on one big plate and the teacher uses compostable paper napkins to serve (the school has a worm compost in their garden!)

valentines

If you’re thinking about giving flowers to someone, I’d suggest a gorgeous living plant instead to bring joy and life into your loved ones’ space for much longer and its so much more environmentally friendly.  Or homegrown flowers!

orchid

Plus, who isn’t obsessed with plants?  From a little succulent to a big handsome fiddle leaf fig, there’s an option for everyone.  Orchids are beautiful and the blooms last several months, and can keep blooming for years.  Below is a monstera that my husband gave me a couple years ago.  Since then I’ve propagated and divided it into a couple new plants, given a few away to others, and it’s brought me joy every day.

Monstera

If you can, choose fair trade and organic chocolate or ideally, buy locally if possible.  If you’re in Sacramento, Ginger Elizabeth’s is delicious and really nice about putting stuff in your own container.  You can also DIY this 5 minute chocolate bark from the archives that is infinitely customizable and looks like a million bucks.

chocolate bark vegan pomegranate superfood

For cards, personally I always appreciate getting a handmade card or even just a piece of pretty paper with heartfelt words rather than a premade card with a regurgitated message and signature.  I don’t know about you, but it makes me feel loved and appreciated to receive a lovely note, poem, etc.  A wonderful gift on Valentines is a book that celebrates self love- like Rupi Kaurs Milk and Honey + The Sun and Her Flowers.

zero Waste wrapping

However you celebrate or don’t celebrate this February 14th, I hope you have a wonderful day and bask in your self love.  If you get a teddy bear and unethical chocolate and lingerie and red roses and a hallmark card it’s ok too.  It’s wonderful to be alive and I love you all xx

quick + healthy meals

Hey everyone!  SO many of you reached out to me asking for really quick meals for when you’ve had a long day, a tough day, you have kids screaming at your feet, you just don’t want to cook, and/or you’re just not feeling it.

So here goes.  I’ve compiled a little list of easy + fast meals for just that!  I haven’t added a shopping list this week because some of the meals are very flexible- ie use what you have, what’s accessible, and what’s in season/local/on sale as far as veggies.

Also, there’s no shame in canned food- Eden Foods and Amy’s both make outstanding canned vegan chili with great healthy ingredients.  I always keep a can or two on hand for emergency days- then just heat up and top with cilantro, maybe some avocado if you have it, lime and hot sauce and you’re good to go.

If you keep a freezer stash it can help a lot too- I usually double recipes for soups, chili, beans and freeze the other half in mason jars for quick meals.

Vegan zero waste groceries california

creamy lemon garlic hummus pasta: this baby comes together in about 15-20, mostly the time waiting for the water to boil for pasta water.  Super easy + it makes extra hummus so you’ll have some for lunches the next day!  Inspired by Madeleine Olivia- she has great easy recipes- I’ve embedded her video on cheap vegan dinners below.

Hummus pasta fast vegan easy friendly free

magical marinarathis is an absolute STANDBY in our house thanks to my friend Juli from Pure Kitchen.  She’s an amazing vegan mama of three and has been developing plant based recipes for over 15 years (she used to make Kookie Karma if you guys remember those!).  This sauce is NO COOK, just blend it smooth and pour over freshly cooked pasta (I like to use Jovial GF).  Add on a little side salad or throw some veggies in in the last minute or two of cooking time with the pasta.

Magical marinara vegan blender sauce

quinoa and tahini bowl:  one of my favorite meals to make, get a pot of quinoa going (1 cup quinoa, 1.5 cups water, add a clove of minced garlic or two if you’re feeling it, bring to a boil, then reduce to low, cover, and let cook for 12 minutes).

Meanwhile, sauté up a bunch of veggies- any kind or combo you have is good.  Sometimes I like to add in a scoop (or can) of cooked chickpeas too.  While veg and quinoa cooks, mix up the sauce.  You can add any sauce or dressing you like, but my two faves are 1) citrus tahini sauce and 2) nut butter, soy, and lime.

For the tahini sauce I whisk together a few tablespoons of tahini, juice and zest of lemon and or orange, clove of garlic, salt, and enough water to thin out as desired.  For the nut butter sauce I thin out a scoop of nut butter (almond, cashew, and peanut are all nice) with lime juice and zest, tamari or aminos, splash maple syrup (optional) and a touch of water as needed.  Maybe some chili flakes or garlic too.  This “dragon bowl” sauce is delicious on it too.

Tahini bowl quinoa gluten free

kale soup with giant beans

Saute onion and sliced shiitakes together on high heat with some oil until they’re caramelized- in the meantime chop up some celery and carrot.  If you have any herbs like rosemary or thyme add some of those too or a few cloves sliced garlic.  Add that to the pot along with some hot water ~5 cups (I use my kettle) and some veggie bouillon to taste (or sub broth).  Bring that to a boil and wilt in 1 bunch of chopped kale, a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast and serve with chili flakes + lemon wedges or add avocado too.

Vegan soup kale

tofu and kimchi stew

this is one that I’ve come back to again and again when I have very little time.  I use the Mother in Law brand gochujang which has clean ingredients and my own homemade kimchi.  I like to add in shiitake mushrooms and some rice or rice noodles in this too.

vegan kimchi stew

pan fried giant beans with kale on toast

this is a great meal of beans and greens that is really tasty and easy.  If you don’t eat bread or can’t find GF bread, you can use sweet potato “toast” instead and it tastes delicious that way.  Or eat it in a tortilla!

Toast beans kale

peanut noodles

these noodles are super easy and taste great- tangy, creamy, and vibrant.  They taste amazing as leftovers too!  I imagine you could do almond or cashew instead of peanut with good results.

Peanut noodles vegan gluten free