It’s amazing what can happen when you look through your cupboards sometimes. A few weeks back, as I tried to catch my breath from the holidays, I wasn’t yet ready to relax as I was hosting a baby shower for one of my very best friends in the world. Continue reading →
So it is totally worth saying that I am having a cashew moment of late. And of course, here is another cashew recipe! I’m not sure if it is all my vegan readers and blogging friends that are re-igniting my fondness for creating yummy goodies from this nut, but either way, I’m happy to be here, enjoying the fun that comes with working with this great transitional ingredient for those looking to wean (just a little or a lot) of dairy from their diets. Continue reading →
And no, I don’t mean in the kitchen (but I am that too and I LOVE it).
I mean, I worry. I try to worry (just a little) less at times, but catch me at a bad time late at night and it’s game over.
I worry about my schedule, or I worry that the kids won’t have the strength they need to stand up to a mean kid at school. I worry about the tall tree in the neighbor’s yard that might fall on the house in a windstorm, and I worry that I could get sick with some scary awful disease and leave my kids and my husband all alone (completely unwillingly of course).
Now please don’t get scared, I am not going somewhere dark or deep here.
I’m just saying, I think it’s in us all to worry, right? And we should be responsible, and do our diligence by living healthily and reducing our reasons to worry needlessly.
Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things happen. Don’t be afraid.
~ Frederick Buechner
So cue the checklist to healthy living.
Eat well (check). Live well (check). Exercise (check). Laugh (check). Give thanks (major check) Give yourself regular breast exams.
Am I the only one that is (so far) dangerously lax in this department?
This week I decided to take action on that front & was quite terrified when I actually found something. It was indeed a painful lump in my armpit (SO tender!).
It was late at night at the time of this discovery, time for bed. After my discovery and the inevitable irrationality of thoughts that followed, a little visit to the Mr. Internet Self Diagnosis department, and more irrationality (there may have been tears & attempts to hide them from the husband), I finally fell asleep.
Like I said, I am a mess sometimes. But aren’t we all? (And it WAS late).
The miracle is not to fly in the air, or to walk on the water, but to walk on the earth.
~ Chinese Proverb
Waking up that morning I vowed to be better. To check more often, and to visit the doctor more often. After all, I am in the prime age for this kind of stuff, and statistics show 1 in 8 of us will be diagnosed with breast cancer during our lifetime.
Shira you owe it to your family to do a better job (check).
After several hours of worry that morning, trying to work but only really thinking of my sore armpit (it was really really sore), and (maybe) a call to work announcing that I’d found a scary evil worrisome lump (in my pit), I managed to see the doctor in the clinic.
Even waiting there in that room (evidently the very same room almost 10 years ago that I learned I was pregnant the second time), I was a mess. Biting back tears, I explained my case.
I told the lovely doctor about the discovery, and about how I’d rubbed that lump extra hard to see just what kind of lump it was. I told her it really hurt (it really did).
When she didn’t seem to look worried, I started to (maybe) feel like it wasn’t going to be so bad.
Then when she asked me to take my shirt off and started poking around under my arm, I pretty much realized it was going to be okay.
Less worry and more action means you can spend energy on real matters. Less avoidance of important issues means more facing things head on. Fewer reasons to fret needlessly means more calm in your center, so making room for thoughts that are fruitful comes easy.
More action on health issues means fewer reasons to lose sleep. More calm, confident feelings means more rational sound thinking. More healthy food and healthy thoughts means more wholeness and good, wholesome living. So the need to worry can go out with the compost.
Apple, Kale & Hemp Seed Green Smoothie:
(1) organic apple, seeded and chopped
(1/2 – 1) avocado
(1-1.5) cups mango juice, (or apple juice if you don’t have access to mango)
(1) tbsp hemp hearts
(3-4) leaves green kale
(3-4) ice cubes, if desired
Blend all to a creamy consistency and enjoy immediately for full health benefits. Don’t worry though if you do need to blend it and enjoy it later..it will still be good for you (but maybe not if you worry too much about it)
This makes a generous amount that can easily feed 2-3 hungry people, but if you are at all like me, this could be just for one worry-free wonder woman (or man) as well. I often use this as my main daily sustenance until late afternoon, which means I have no problem enjoying the full recipe over the course of the morning.
Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.
~ Dr. Seuss
Turns out, I managed to strain a muscle in my armpit. I learned from the very nice doctor lady that there aren’t any nodes in there, but there are a lot of tendons (apparently ones that don’t like being pressured frenetically late at night).
I’d rubbed the heck out of that node the night I discovered it and caused myself a whole lot of pain for no other reason but to give myself a little wake up call.
I’m glad it was all okay.
And I don’t wish for the day when it isn’t. For anyone out there that has had a scare, or (heaven forbid) has been through cancer, I was reminded this week of how lucky we all are to have our health.
Only a few things are really important.
~ Marie Dressler
How can something bother you if you won’t let it?
~ Terri Guillemets
I don’t know how I strained my armpit, and it doesn’t really matter, the point is, I am going to be okay (it’s all healed now too so that’s good). For now, at least, and that is worth celebrating, and protecting, every day.
And I hope you are too.
So don’t delay on giving yourself some well-intentioned attention. Check yourself regularly, and eat well. Go to the doctor for check ups, and try not to worry (I think it comes with the Motherhood territory and having a majorly over-active imagination).
Surround yourself with friends that care about you.
And treat yourself to a green smoothie. Just be careful not to strain any muscles while tearing up your kale
Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen.
~ Wolfgang Von Goethe
Want to see magic happen?
I’ve got just the thing. Did anyone try this salad from my last post? I was thrilled to hear that a few of you did, some of you plan to, and those of you who were waiting for the how-to on growing sprouts?
It’s here! Look no further.
Sprouting legumes is just about the safest and easiest darned thing you can do. It’s a bit like bread…set it up, leave it to sit in the right conditions, and watch live magic happen right before your eyes.
Those dried peas in your cupboard you are not sure what to do with? Sprout them. There are many things to sprout but none are as easy (IMHO) as dried peas & beans.
So let’s get started!
Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day.
~ Author Unknown
There is a real magic in enthusiasm. It spells the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment.
There are just a few things you will need to sprout beans at home.
Starting with dried beans (of course). Of course if any of you are accomplished at growing alfalfa or other seeds, I’d love to hear from you!
My favorites beans for sprouting are:
Green Peas (whole dried ones are hard to find strangely but oh, so good and kids LOVE them).
These are all (except for the peas) easily acquired, and cost very little. Given the cost for the average amount you will work with, you will see just how far they actually go.
How’s that for further proof that eating well needn’t be expensive, and this, dear readers, is one of the best examples around! Not to mention delicious too
Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.
Less store-bought sprouted foods means more health for less cost. Less cooked beans and legumes means more of their vital live energy is in tact. Less high cost sources of protein means more money that goes farther, and less heavy bulky foods means more lightness and well-being too.
More living plant-based energy & live enzymes means more good feelings and good moods. More light crunchy textures means more satisfaction when eating them. More home-grown how-to means more skills where it matters, so good eating and good sense are easy, cheap, and pure amazing
Once you have your beans, you will need just three more things:
a clean jar
an elastic band
a small piece of cheesecloth
Plus, of course, lots of clean water for soaking and rinsing, light through the kitchen window, a little air circulation, and your care and attention just twice a day.
Not bad hey?
But more on that later.
Super Nutritious Sprouts at Home for Pennies:
(1/4-1/2 cup dried beans (mung beans are great to start with!)
(1) clean mason jar (1 liter size if you can but small ones work too for smaller amounts)
(1) piece of cheese cloth or plastic mesh, cut into a square the size of the jar opening
(1) elastic band to secure the cheesecloth to the top of the jar
Plenty of cold water for soaking & rinsing
Start by putting up the beans of your choice to soak for 8-16 hours in the jar you will use for sprouting (like most things they can languish for a while so don’t worry if you soak them too long). Use cold clean water to do this as the beans are going to absorb that water. You can leave the jar open on the counter and there is no need to cover it.
The soaking process starts the ‘waking’ process for the dried beans which are by nature designed to keep for long periods of time on their dry (dormant) state. This is a (very) beautiful thing, as they can really keep almost indefinitely in a sealed container if kept dry.
Once soaked, the fun really starts.
Using your piece of cheese cloth (no more than 2 layers as the water needs to drain easily, but you don’t want anything falling through the holes), secure it to the top of the jar and drain the soaking liquid.
Next, you rinse (get acquainted with rinsing).
Simply set the jar in the sink and run cold water through the beans several times, turning the upside down to drain the water between rinses. Here you will see whether you have the cheesecloth too layered as the water will drain slowly.
After a few clean rinses, your soaked and rinsed little bundles of life are ready to grow. Simply set the cheesecloth covered jar upside down, and on an angle, and rest it in your dish rack.
Sprouts need a few things to grow well: air & light (in addition to clean water). As most sinks are by a kitchen window, light is normally not an issue. If your kitchen has no window by the sink, you might consider propping the jar (in the dish rack or in a bowl on its side near a window in between rinses). The air comes from the holes in the cheesecloth
For the next two days, morning and night, repeat the rinsing process, taking care to rinse the beans in their entirety at least twice. After each time, set them to rest in your dish rack.
After two full days…you should have this….
Life in the form of a little sprout. Don’t they just make you smile?
Once ready, and you have little tails on your sprouts, rinse them a final time and transfer to a container and store in the fridge. These guys will keep well in the fridge (for up to a week).
If you try to sprout chickpeas, I might suggest rinsing 3 -4 times a day as they are larger and can dry out faster than the smaller varieties (this is not good for growing sprouts just like it’s not good for us). So keep them (and yourself!) fresh by watering them carefully and keeping them hydrated. Chickpeas might also take an extra day to sprout.
Enjoy sprouted beans in salads, tucked into avocado sandwiches, or as a snack for hungry kids who get home from school. I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t have a palate for mung beans when sprouted (pictured in this post).
Logic only gives man what he needs… Magic gives him what he wants.
~ Tom Robbins
If we are to have magical bodies, we must have magical minds.
~ Dr Wayne Dyer
I could really go on about sprouts, as I grew up eating them. My mom always had a jar of alfalfa sprouts growing in our sink as kids in the winter time. Sprouts are believed to contain a much higher level of enzymes, making them much more digestible than their cooked counterparts.
After all, sprouts are vital foods that contain enough life force to grow into a plant.
But I’ll let you be the judge of that
Thank you to all of you wished me well after my little vehicle mishap last week..I’m driving a giant courtesy car this week which is demanding my full attention You all made my weekend wonderful!
Looking forward to getting my little car back on the road, all shiny & new!
Are any of you home sprouters?
Anything special you are looking forward to right now?
Let us know, and wishing everyone a wonderful week!
I think it is safe to say we all need a little comfort in the form of our favorite foods here and there. Growing up, one of my most favorite snack foods was just this – comforting – not to mention dirt cheap and easy to make.
After all, what is easier than opening up a can of beans and heating them up? Toss a few pieces of bread in the toaster and slather on the butter….just thinking of it brings me right back to 4th grade heaven.
My 30 something year old self now knows that while the old canned standbys are still good in a pinch, there is nothing better than a warm bowl of home cooked beans and a fresh piece of bread hot out of the oven. Especially when they are this cheap, and this easy.
All you need is (just a little) love. And (just a little) time.
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
~ Eleanor Roosevelt
Having just celebrated another birthday, I find myself of late quite keenly aware of the fleeting nature of our lives.
As I think back to my days as young child I can tell you my defining moments just as easily as I can tell you what my favorite things to eat were. Most often, and particularly at the beginning of each new school year, I think back to me and my siblings, convening after a long day at school to watch TV and eat food we could make on our own.
Hot beans in a bowl. With toast. Childhood comfort food. Three’s Company. Let’s do it!
Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing.
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
Less canned food in your pantry means more room for cheaper dry goods to nourish you. Less waste and added preservatives means cleaner eating and a lighter conscience. Less sugar heavy baked beans means more naturally sweetened heartiness, and a whole lot more nourishment too.
More high fiber protein foods means easier work of digestion. More hearty, filling comfort means more warmth and goodness in your day. More cheap easy recipes means more ways to spread your money farther, because good health doesn’t have to come at a high cost.
Homemade Baked Beans:
(2) cups dry white Navy beans, soaked in cold water
(1/3- 1/2 cup) good olive oil
(2) medium – large yellow onions, chopped
(2) tsp salt
(1) small can tomato paste (about 1/2 cup)
(3) tbsp honey, brown sugar, or other plant-based sweetener
(8) cups cold water for cooking
Lots of love of and plenty of time
Start by soaking your beans in plenty of cold of water for anywhere from 8 – 20 hours (8 is about the minimum to soak thoroughly and don’t worry if you ill time the soaking – they can sit there for a while). When ready to cook, drain the beans and rinse in the colander under more fresh cold water.
Next, heat the oil in a large soup pot and add the chopped onion and salt. Cook the onion for about 10 minutes on medium-high heat, being careful not to burn them. Stir here and there, after 10 minutes the onions should be soft and translucent.
Next, add the tomato paste, beans, and 4 cups of cold cooking water. Stir well to dissolve the paste and bring to a boil over high heat with the lid on. Once the boil is reached, stir again and reduce the heat to medium, to keep the simmer at a jolly roll (not boiling but cooking nicely).
Now, kick up your feet, and get settled in. Read a book , or finish that knitting project you started. Maybe write some notes to your family to tell them you love them. Or not. But do enjoy this nice time at home.
Cook the beans withe the lid ajar for 1.5 hours, stirring here and there and adding the remaining 4 cups of water in increments as the sauce reduces. After the first hour, add whatever water is left, and the honey or sweetener, and cook for 30 minutes until the mixture is deliciously saucy.
From here, you can let the beans hang out until you are ready to bake them (you can even sneak in a bowl to eat at this point).
To bake, transfer the beans to a casserole and bake, covered either with the casserole lid or with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 2 hours. Remove from the oven and serve hot with fresh bread or toast.
These beans will keep extremely well, and should be good to eat up to a week after they are made. A little goes a long way here as these guys are hearty and filling, so pile them into a container for those moments during the week when you need a little comfort.
Paired up with the bread recipe lined up for the next post, you’ll wonder if there could possibly be anything simpler or more nostalgic (especially if you grew up in my family).
You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.
~ Julia Child
I was pleased to see that 25 years later, kids still love this food as a filler up after soccer practice or after a long tough day as a teenager (because let’s face it, that is exhausting work for those of you who may recall).
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you imagined.
~ Henry David Thoreau
Next I’ll share with you the bread recipe that has literally changed my life since I discovered it. Turns out, it’s never too late to be a baker, even if you’ve never even made bread before! Stay tuned, I am really excited about this one!
Here’s to a super fab October…wishing you all the very best as always!
Did you have a favorite childhood comfort food?
Got an updated version to share with us?
Let us know! Looking forward to hearing from you all as always, and for all my vegan-minded blog friends taking part in Vegan MoFo, wishing you all the best for a month of blogging inspiration, and those of you interested, check out the link here!
Welcome! What is In Pursuit Of More? The blog about living with (just a little) less. By going without, we can gain - by giving to those who have less. Want to make a change in your eating habits for the better? Imagine how you can turn that into something positive for those who would otherwise go hungry. Go without so others don't have to. That's living with (just a little) less.