BODY

Over the last few years, I have come to realize the significance of my relationship with food, and food’s significance to me. For me, food is more meaningful than edible. In deciphering food’s system of meaning for myself, I have also been confronted with what feeds me well and what does not. Thus, I am also confronted – repeatedly – with the choice to eat foods that have a higher or lower value for me, and the loving or judging intention that guides my food choices.

For the record, my body, mind and spirit highly value plant-based (i.e. vegetarian/vegan) cuisine. Nevertheless, my plant-based journey has taught me that there is no room at the table – nor in my belly – for me to judge other types of food or other people who eat said food. Suffice to say, I am plant-based, not plant-bonded.

Cooking

While eating is my favorite pastime, cooking is a different story. In fact, it’s a short story. Yet, my cooking efforts are expanding alongside my expansive self-love journey. The fact is that cooking is a form of self-love because my willingness to cook for myself demonstrates my capability of caring for (i.e. loving) myself as well. In essence, I’m feeding myself in more ways than one!

So, here are the general parameters for my style of cooking: 1) fresh onion and garlic, 2) vegetables and legumes (i.e. chickpeas!), 3) quinoa, and 4) the liberal redistribution of prepackaged items and leftovers. Additionally, I try to keep the amount of cookware that I use to a minimum because minimal cookware means minimal clean-up. Below are snaps of some of my delicious meals.

Twelve (12) One-Pot/Pan Wonders

Snap 1: Broccoli-Chickpea Red Curry with Quinoa
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Snap 2: Kale-Sweet Potato-Chickpea Yellow Curry
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Snap 3: Kale-Fried Rice-Tofu Scramble with Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds
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Snap 4: Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds a.k.a. ‘Cheeze’ (available at Kroger and other stores)
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Snap 5: Kale-Kimchi-Chickpea Risotto with a Mission Gluten-Free/Vegan Spinach Tortilla
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Snap 6: Kale-Kimchi-Roasted Beets Stew
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Snap 7: Korean-Style Kimchi (available at Kroger and many stores)
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Snap 8: Broccoli-Purple Cabbage-Tofu Stir Fry
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Snap 9: Chickpea-Veggie-Quinoa Hash with JUST Egg
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Snap 10: JUST Egg (available at Kroger and many stores)
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Snap 11: Kale-Sweet Potato-Quinoa Meatless Medley with Impossible Burger
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Snap 12: Veggie-Lentil Spaghetti with Barilla Red Lentil Gluten-Free Spaghetti
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Snap 13: Barilla Red Lentil Gluten-Free Spaghetti (available at Publix and other stores)
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Snap 14: Kale-Sweet Potato-Tofu Scramble
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Snap 15: Kale-Scrambled JUST Egg-Chickpea Alfredo with Barilla Gluten-Free Rotini, Daiya Deluxe Cheeze Sauce and Thai Kitchen Organic Coconut Milk
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Snap 16: Barilla Gluten-Free Rotini (available at Publix and other stores)
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Snap 17: Daiya Deluxe Cheeze Sauce and Thai Kitchen Organic Coconut Milk (available at Publix and other stores)
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Snap 18: Kale-Purple Cabbage-Sweet Potato Masala (featured below)
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I really like kale and sweet potatoes. I also really like Indian food. In case you’re wondering, masala is “a varying blend of spices used in Indian cooking” (Merriam-Webster.com). The following are snaps of the spices, etc. I used in my Kale-Purple Cabbage-Sweet Potato Masala.

Featured: Kale-Purple Cabbage-Sweet Potato Masala

Snap 1: Figaro Hickory Liquid Smoke & BBQ Marinade (available at Publix and other stores)
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Snap 2: Thai Kitchen Coconut Milk (available at Costco and other stores)
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Snap 3: Organic cinnamon (available at many stores)
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Snap 4: Organic turmeric (available at many stores)
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Snap 5: Organic curry powder (available at many stores)
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Snap 6: Organic ginger (available at many stores)

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In addition to Indian-inspired cuisine, I enjoy just about every type of ‘cuisine’ that’s placed inside of a wrap.

Bonus(!): A Hearty Light Snack

Left: Kale. Middle: Avocado, chickpeas, Rotel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies, Del Monte Corn, chopped garlic and Daiya Cheeze Shreds. Right: Mission Gluten-Free/Vegan Tortilla.

Bonus(!): Tofu Wraps

Snap 1: (Clockwise) Daiya Cheeze, Nasoya Extra Firm Organic Tofu and Mission Gluten-Free/Vegan Tortillas (available at Kroger and other stores)
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Snap 2: Spice Islands Organic Garlic & Herb Seasoning (available at Costco and other stores)
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Snap 3: Sliced tofu, lightly fried and seasoned with garlic & herb mix
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Snap 4: Bragg Liquid Aminos (available at many stores)
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Snap 5: Kale and purple cabbage, sautéed with Bragg Liquid Aminos
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Snap 6: Tortilla, warmed
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Snap 7: Tofu wrap ingredients (clockwise): tortillas, my mom’s special sauce (on the side), Daiya Cheeze sprinkled on top of the tofu, kale and cabbage, and fresh avocado!

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In the words of Tabitha Brown, the tofu kebabs featured below, “blessed my spirit!” I pray that they are as much of a blessing to you as they were to me and my mom.

Bonus(!): Tofu Kebabs

Snap 1: Chopped veggies include: portabella mushroom, red/yellow/orange bell peppers, onion, garlic, jalapeño pepper and cucumber
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Snap 2: Chopped steamed beets
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Snap 3: Assembly required, with marinated tofu
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Snap 4: More tofu, more assembly
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Snap 5: Kebabs are prepped, polished (with my mom’s marinade) and placed on parchment paper in an oven-safe pan
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Snap 6: Kebabs are marinated again (halfway through cooking time) and presented after cooking, with mom’s marinade standing by
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Snap 7: Plated with rice
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Snap 8: Eaten with joy!

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And then there are days when you don’t want anything fancy, just something deliciously simple. On those days, I seek the services of ‘Mr. Manwich.’

Bonus(!): Sloppy Joes

Snap 1: Manwich Sloppy Joe Sauce
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Snap 2: Lightlife Plant-Based Ground
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Snap 3: Rotel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies
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Snap 4: Brown the ground, then add the sauce, tomatoes and chiles, and simmer
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Snap 5: Pour it on a bun, plate it with a salad, and put it in your mouth!

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Truth be told, my mom has dreamed about me and her cooking together since before I was born. Slowly but surely, her dreams are being realized. However, for these Tabitha Brown-inspired vegan ‘angel’ eggs, I realized that it was best for me to stand back and watch (and eat)!

Bonus(!): Tabitha Brown-inspired Vegan Angel Eggs

It’s amazing what can be done with chickpeas and mushroom caps!

Sweets

I believe in balance, which, in terms of food, means that I like to balance my palate with savory and sweet. Here are some snaps of my go-to desserts.

Ten (10) Sweet Treats

Snap 1: Oatmeal (yep) with: organic apples, organic blueberries, organic cacao powder, organic chia seeds and almond butter
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Snap 2: Ezekiel 4:9 Almond Cereal with: coconut milk, diced peaches, organic papaya chunks and organic cinnamon
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Snap 3: Organic Apple Slices and Almond Butter
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Snap 4: Papaya
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Snap 5: Watermelon
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Snap 6: Sweet Peppers Rings, baked with: organic cinnamon, chili flakes, organic cayenne pepper and organic ginger
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Snap 7: Indoor S’more (featured below)
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Snap 8: Spiced Apple Rice Pudding, topped with chopped walnuts (featured below)
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Snap 9: Peanut Butter and Jilly’s “30 Minute Vegan Blueberry Donuts” (featured below)
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Snap 10: FeastingonFruit.com’s “No-Bake Mini Blueberry ‘Cheesecakes’” (featured below)

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I was first introduced to s’mores as a Girl Scout. I was re-introduced to s’mores as a teacher who wanted to brighten the lives – and taste buds – of some deserving students. No campfire? No problem. S’mores can taste just as great at your kitchen table as they can in the great outdoors.

Featured: Indoor S’more

Snap 1: Honey Graham Crackers (available at Publix and many other stores)
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Snap 2: Dandies Vegan Marshmallows (available on Amazon and at select stores)
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Snap 3: Ghirardelli Intense Dark Chocolate, 72% Cacao (available at many stores)
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Snap 4: S’more before
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Snap 5: Microwave for approx. 10 seconds
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Snap 6: S’more after
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Snap 7: S’more satisfaction!

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At times, I can be a fairly inventive and resourceful cook. Much of the time, it is my taste buds rather than my cooking skills that guide my culinary curiosity. That means that, sometimes, I come up with some rather interesting and delectable ideas; my Spiced Apple Rice Pudding is one of those ideas.

Featured: Spiced Apple Rice Pudding

Snap 1: Happy pan with a little water
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Snap 2: Organic apples, diced (available at many stores)
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Snap 3: Santa Cruz Organic Ginger Juice (available at Kroger and other stores)
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Snap 4: Organic ginger (available at many stores)
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Snap 5: Organic cinnamon (available at many stores)
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Snap 6: Sugar (available at many stores)
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Snap 7: Leftover takeout basmati rice (available at many Indian restaurants)
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Snap 8: Thai Kitchen Coconut Milk (available at Costco and other stores)
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Snap 9: Simmer
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Snap 10: Garnish with chopped walnuts and enjoy!

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I love blueberries and I love gluten-free and vegan desserts that taste good. Thank you, Jillian of PeanutButterandJilly.com and Natalie of FeastingonFruit.com, for your baking and matchmaking skills by creating these recipes just for me–and a few others. (Click each link or subheading for the actual recipe.) The following are snaps of what you’ll need to make your gluten-free & vegan blueberry dessert dreams come true. It’s the products, not the brands, that are most important.

Featured: PeanutButterandJilly.com’s “30 Minute Vegan Blueberry Donuts

Snap 1: Vegan butter (available at many stores)
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Snap 2: Plant-based milk (available at many stores)
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Snap 3: Baking soda (available at many stores)
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Snap 4: Stevia (available at many stores)
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Snap 5: Baking powder (available at many stores)
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Snap 6: Gluten-free flour (available at many stores)
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Snap 7: Vanilla extract (available at many stores)
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Snap 8: Organic blueberries (available at many stores and somewhat seen here)
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Snap 9: Donut pan (available on Amazon.com; my mom’s slippers are custom)
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Snap 10: Voila! (available in approx. 30 minutes)

Featured: FeastingonFruit.com’s “No-Bake Mini Blueberry ‘Cheesecakes'”

Snap 1: Quick oats, pitted dates (available at many stores) and a little water make up the base
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Snap 2: Blend or use a food processor
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Snap 3: Parchment paper makes the lifting process easier at the end
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Snap 4: Plant-based milk, blueberries, almond butter, vanilla extract and sweetener (available at many stores) make up the filling
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Snap 5: Pour and add more blueberries on top
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Snap 6: Freeze
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Snap 7: Thaw
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Snap 8: Admire then eat!

Beverages

I drink water like my life depends on it–because it does. I drink herbal tea like it’s medicine–because it is. And sometimes, I drink fruit and vegetable juice mocktails to add a little effervescence to my health.

Snap 1: Water (at room temperature) and fresh lemon
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Snap 2: Organic roasted dandelion root, organic turmeric and organic hibiscus teas (available at many stores)
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Snap 3: Organic turmeric/ginger tea with: cinnamon, Ripple Plant-Based Milk, Nature Nate’s Raw & Unfiltered Honey and Sicilia Lemon Juice (available at Publix and other stores)
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Snap 4: (Left to right) 100% cranberry juice, R.W. Knudsen Apple Cider, Q Spectacular Ginger Beer, and R.W. Knudsen Organic Beet Juice (available at many stores)
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Snaps 5 & 6: Kevita Sparkling Probiotic Drink Mojita (available at many stores)