The Broke Vegan

Laughter and Spinach are the Best Medicines


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The Beauty of the Blurry Mirror

Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of Bikram.

“A lot” is defined by me as 3 – 4 times per week. While I realize many yogis would scoff at my measly 3 day practice, but let me assure you – it’s hard work.

Very hard.

One would think that after a month of regular practice, I’d be able to “lock the knee” – i.e. the most important thing in Bikram besides breathing.

Nope. I am a wobbly, gel-like mess. Most of the time. Occasionally I see glimpses of brilliance – but only sometimes. Like – my fixed firm pose,

is getting much better – I can actually rest my shoulders on the ground now! 

And the other day – I actually smiled after rabbit pose – my forehead touched the knee!

But one of the best parts about Bikram is something so much simpler – I have to take my glasses off.

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You don’t sweat in Bikram – you rain.  You are soaked to the skin – meaning there’s no way my plastic frames are going to stay on my face. Since each practice is the same 26 postures, and the teacher talks you through each position step by step – you don’t have to have 20/20 vision. I’m near-sighted, so standing in the back row of the class (really – did you think I was one of those front-rowers? psssh….) I can see myself, but I’m very blurry. I can see all my limbs, my general shape – but no eyes, no specific features, I can’t even tell what my hair is really doing.

And it’s wonderful.

I don’t have to worry about fixing a fat roll.

I don’t have to worry about taming some unruly fly-away cowlick

I don’t have to worry about my face looking like a wet tomato

I don’t have to worry about if I forgot to shave my legs

I don’t have to worry.

I just have to breathe.


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“A santey-sana squash-banana” – On Green Breakfasts

I love breakfast carbs.

The people who “skip” breakfasts blow my mind – who does that? Breakfast is the best meal of the day! Pancakes, muffins, faux-egg-omletts, bagels, tofutti….

MAMOSAS!

I don’t have the 30 minutes each morning to craft a steaming bowl of steel-cut oats garnished with chia seeds. I have about 20 minutes from the time my alarm goes off at 5:15 to the time I have to be out the door for bikram at 5:40. (I say 20 minutes because I have a close relationship with my ‘snooze’ button).

Therefore everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, must be done the night before. Laying out my clothes, changing the rabbit’s litterbox, making lunch – none of that is “morning-of” material. ‘Morning -of” is putting on yoga shorts and doing a spit shine with some Listerine.

Which brings us to the breakfast dilemma.

Carbs + Speed =Rice cake with peanut butter & a banana.

This wouldn’t be so bad – if I didn’t spend my day dreaming about peanut butter. I love it. I think it should have it’s own food group. I eat way to much of it, and it’s probably one of the main reasons I can’t seem to lose weight while eating a vegan diet. So – what’s a carb-loving peanut butter addict to do?

Discover the mecca of speedy vegan breakfasts – that’s what!!

Carby, pre-made, CHEAP, and good for you? Oh yeah.

Green Breakfast Muffins- Makes 12 good-sized muffins

Ingredients

2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Flour (I used the wheat/flax/fancy-healthy combo)

2 tablespoons Sugar in the Raw (Depending on the amount of sweet you want in your muffin – 1 tablespoon = 1 sugar packet)

1 tablespoon flax seed

2 tablespoons chia seeds (yes – they are on the expensive side, but a large bag will last you for a long time)

1 cup water

1 cup juiced spinach (it’s 1 entire small box of the stuff in the naturals section. Spinach is usually pretty cheap, you can also get the “short-buy” stuff (things that are about to go bad – b/c you’re just going to juice them).

1/4 cup oil

1 santay sana sqaushed banana! (Anyone remember that line from the Lion King?! Anyone!? – Make sure your banana is ripe, under ripe bananas are like getting coal in your Xmas stocking).

Directions

(In a bowl) Mix all ingredients well. There may be some lumpy bits, but that’s OK

You may need to add a bit more water – the flax & chia seeds tend to soak up a lot of water, so if you need to add more here – feel free 🙂 It should be runny – yes, sort of like bright green snot.

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Green Tea & Green Muffins – the Breakfast of Champions!

Pour muffin mix into greased muffin pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes (or until a fork inserted comes out clean)

NOM NOM with a small amount of v. butter and/or humms 🙂

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The weirdest part about this was that the tops of the muffins (the “muffin-tops” lol) stayed dark green, and just browned on the edges. The bottom half – where it was inside the pan – were totally brown, looking just like a bran muffin would.

The photo on the right is of the inside – and yes, it was only after I made them, and ate half of one, did I think, “hmm – I should probably take a photo….”

I’m guessing these will keep in an air-tight container for a while. You get 12 muffins out of that batch – with enough flour and chia seeds left over to make at least one, if not 2, additional batches.

Happy Nomming Veg Heads!


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2013 Green Grammys : A Recap

This post initially appeared on One Green Planet on Feb 11th

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While staying up until 12:30 to catch all the “behind, during, post, pre-show” commentary makes for a very bleary-eyed Monday morning employee, the 2013 Grammys didn’t disappoint, and was worth losing sleep over!

Before we even get into the Grammys – let’s take a step back, to last weekend’s Beyonce concert   SuperBowl halftime show. In interest of full disclosure, I will shamelessly admit that when Beyonce started performing, I started singing along. And, when Destiny’s Child reunited for that brief 3 minute slice of heaven, I got up off my couch and danced… in my pj’s….alone in my living room. I really don’t think you’re ready for my jelly.

Overall a flawless performance (and if you disagree than I will unfriend you from Facebook) – but Beyonce – why, why did choose to wear something so unfabulous?! As reported by The Guardian, Beyonce’s outfit consisted of (totally unnecessary) snake, cow and iguana. Wearing 3 (ok, maybe 2 – cows are not fierce) fierce animals doesn’t make you Sasha Fierce! This isn’t the only time Beyonce has made some unfriendly fashion choices – at the 2013 Presidential Inauguration, Beyonce arrived wearing a Christian Dior mink coat, FYI Bey – you’re supposed to wear faux fur and sing live – not the other way around!

As for last night’s Grammy extravaganza, vegan songbird and Grammy collector Carrie Underwood took home the award for Best Country Solo Performance – and wore a projection screen around her waist during her musical number. But her red carpet look was all old-Hollywood glam – including a diamond necklace of 380 carats. 380. Carats. She could have bought old-Hollywood for that much.

Normally I watch award shows while noshing on kale chips and hanging out with my rabbit – but it’s an annual tradition amongst my musically-inclined friends that we celebrate “music’s biggest night” and make snarky comments together! My non-vegan friends had buffalo wings, and I ate guacamole. Lots, and lots of guac. So this week’s Best & Worst Dressed comes from a collective vote (so you know it’s not just my own biased opinion).

Best Dressed : CARRIE UNDERWOOD!! There was no room for error with this gown, and she pulls it off flawlessly. Not to mention how fantastic her booty looks! (Hey – I have to give credit where credit is due!) Honorable mentions go to Taylor Swift in J. Mendel – (although she really needs to rethink that ‘do – that’s how I wear my hair to work when I haven’t washed recently) and Kelly Rowland in Georges Chakra Couture for literally laughing in the face of CBS’ Dress Code memo

Worst Dressed: A collective groan went up whenAdele arrived in my dead grandmother’s apron, Katy Perry looked like a stick of Minty Fresh gum with a breast-plate, and Florence Welch came as a metallic stegosaurus. For a full list of the red-carpet horror show, please enjoy this photo montage.

Oh, and Jennifer Lopez’s right leg came naked. Who’s leg is better – J. Lo or Angelina!?


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2013 Screen Actors (Green) Guild Award : A Recap

This post first appeared on January 29th on One Green Planet : http://www.onegreenplanet.org/news/2013-screen-actors-green-guild-awards-recap/

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The SAG awards – where actors celebrate actors and they all drink a little too much free champagne! It’s basically like the celebrity equivalent of the holiday office party – there are drinks, dancing, and at least one embarrassing moment to talk about at the water cooler Monday morning Let’s get to it, shall we?

The Fashion 

I have a confession – I am on the Anne Hathaway (Winner, Best Supporting Actress, Les Mis) bandwagon. I admit – I think she’s wonderful, she’s the Queen Vegan Mother of Celebrities and can do no wrong. But what. was. she. thinking with this dress. Anne – please – between the Justin Bieber inspired hair and white-out finger nails paired with too much tulle – I just don’t have words. I’m sorry – I love her and everything she stands for, but I’m just going to shake my head at this one. She even landed on Huffington Post’s “Worst Dressed” list.  Girl always rocks a sick vegan shoe though – this time by designer Jimmy Choo.

Leave it to Vegan Queen in Training Jessica Chastain (Nominee, Best Actress, Zero Dark Thirty) to pick up Anne’s slack. In this slick Alexander McQueen number, I’m going to give her solid A-. Big props for pulling off a dress a similar color to her hair (especially being a red head). I love the silhouette and along with the sleek & soft curl – VERY old Hollywood glam. E! Online (fashion mecca) gave her a nod for “Best Dressed”. And can we discuss the diamonds?! Bling Bling!

I don’t want to sound like a Negative Nancy – but overall, I wasn’t really blown away by the ladies of the red carpet. Maybe celebs knew they were going to party-hardy and didn’t want to ruin their favorite duds – I don’t know. Therefore – my “Best Dressed” is going to a very dapper Jim Parsons (Big Bang Theory). In a non-traditional tux, Parsons rocked it – channeling that “can-you-help-me-with-my-science-homework-and-take-me-to-the-prom” vibe. He even landed on the “Hollywood hunks” list with E! News!

Like we need another reason to celebrate – but the 2013 SAG awards offered another victory for animal lovers – a fur-free red carpet! That makes 2  awards shows people!! I heard rumors that someone rocked a faux-fur jacket – whoever you are, thank you for showing that faux is beautiful!!

The Food 

I’m happy to announce the team behind the SAG awards took a cue from the non-veg-friendly Golden Globes team. I’m thrilled to repot there will be not one, not two, but THREE vegan plates offered! Take a look and try to keep yourself from drooling on your keyboard;

  • Roasted beets and blood oranges with mint and black olives
  • Cauliflower couscous with pomegranate salsa
  • Farro with kale, young broccoli, currants and pine nuts

While this isn’t the most advanced of menus (even I can make a pretty mean couscous) – I have to give Chef Suzanne Goin major credit for creating something that will be just as appealing to our omnivore friends as it is to us.

The Fun

What would an awards show be without a little drama?! Popular US show Homeland was snubbed on the awards front by my personal favorite Downton Abbey – even Hollywood actors and actresses want to be Lords and Ladies!

Not a snubbing this time – but a well deserved win for Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad. Oh – you haven’t seen Breaking Bad? I suggested you immediately contract the flu and stay in bed for the rest of the week catching up on Nexflix. Yes – Breaking Bad and Bryan Cranston are flu-worthy. It’s been on for a while, and it just keeps getting better!

Tune in next time for another round of awkward “thank you” speeches by Anne Hathaway, and the 2013 Grammy Awards!


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CrockPot Diaries: Tandoori Spiced Potatoes and a Whole lotta Greens

I have to say – this is probably one of my favorite recipes to come out of my crockpot experiments. Probably (read definitely)  that is because I actually followed the instructions in my cookbook, and didn’t try to get fancy by substituting ingredients.

It’s like I actually…..followed directions or something?!

This recipe came from one of my Christmas cookbooks, “Quick and Easy Vegan Slow Cooking” by the incredibly talented Carla Kelly. Carla does a great job of not over-complicating the prep work involved in crock-potting (yes – it’s a verb now) – and she’s traveled around the world – so many of her recipes are internationally inspired. Since I adore Indian food – I thought I’d give this a whirl! I was not disappointed!

Ingredients:

1/2 onion (diced)

2 garlic cloves (minced – which is really like dicing but OK)

1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger (ahem – I used powdered ginger – it was fine)

1 tablespoon curry powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 potatoes – cut into 1/4 inch cubes. Guesstamate on this – just keep them relatively uniform (Yukon is recommended for their firmness – but if you like a mushier dish – you could probably use sweet potatoes)

3/4 cup veggie stock/broth

1/2 cup coconut cream or full fat canned coconut milk (OK – so – my local grocery store didn’t have a ton of selection – so I just picked up (the only) can I could find. It seemed to work – a little runny – but it was close enough for government work)

4 cups spinach – chopped

Directions:

1. Dump everything into crock pot! (Except spinach) – Apologies in advance, and, the #1 reason you should by Kelly’s cookbook is that she does a much better job in explaining all this than I do. Consider my blogs the “spark notes versions”

2. Stir – some veggies will be left uncovered by broth – DON’T PANIC!! it’s ok 🙂

3. Cover & set to low for 6 hours

4. Do grad school homework and play with family pet.

6 hours later…..

5. Add the spinach (bet you forgot about that – didn’t you!) – I added more than 4 cups. Way more than 4 cups. I like spinach – Don’t judge me!

     – Add the spinach a little bit at a time, stirring between each. You want to let it wilt down before adding more.

6. Post-spinach – VOLIA!

 

 

 

 

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It was good – it was really, really good. I ate the entire thing in about 3 days. Nice and spicy – but mild thanks to the coconut milk.

It cost me about, maybe 8 bucks for the whole meal, and it was 4 decent sized servings. That’s $2 per serving!

The Broke Vegan strikes again!!


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CrockPot Diaries : Hodge-Podge Soup

After the emotional roller coaster that was this week – I’m not really up for cooking. And since I don’t have a dishwasher in my shoebox-sized apartment, I’m not thrilled about the possibility of cleaning either.

Luckily – I had some leftover “Hodge-Podge Soup” in my freezer, easily defrostable and microwavable for a hearty & filling meal, either alone or with a side of rice. This recipe isn’t an exact replication…. I took some creative liberties with this interpretation 🙂 I used the proportions from THIS (non-vegan) recipe – and modified it based on the ingredients of my pantry.

The beauty of hodge-podge is that it’s so versatile. Don’t have a sweet potato? Use butternut squash. Don’t have chickpeas? Use lentils. Don’t have vegetable broth? Too bad, you’re out of luck. 🙂 (but seriously – you have to have that….)

FYI – you will need some sort of “smoothing” tool – an immersion blender works best & is the least messy, but if you’re in a pinch, (and don’t mind the extra clean-up) you can use a food processor or a blender. But not a potato masher, that will not work. Just warning you….

It was good! I swear!

Ingredients :

  • 1 can black beans
  • 2 (or 3 – whatever) cloves of garlic – minced
  • 2 cups vegetable broth/stock (what is the difference between a stock and a broth? Anyone?)
  • 1 decent sized sweet potato (cubed, skin on or off, whatever you prefer)
  • diced onion (depending on how much you like onions)
  • 1 can of chickpeas (drain ’em danno)
  • dash o’ parsley
  • 1 teaspoon of “Italian Spice Mix” (this is negotiable – but remember, the “main” ingredients are all pretty mild in flavors, so go easy on the spices, you don’t want to over-season)

Directions : 

  • Put all ingredients into the crockpot.
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Look! All the ingredients in the crock pot!

 

 

  • Put soup on “low” for 6 hours (or until potatoes et. al are very tender)
  • Celebrate excellent soup-making skills with a trip to Starbucks for a unsweetened-soy-green-tea-latte, and admit to yourself that you’re a 2013 hippie

6 hours later…..

Soup is ready for it's close up

Soup is ready for it’s close up – also – stir it. Don’t leave the spices floating at the top….

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Get out your handy-dandy smoothing tool. (And let’s all take a moment to appreciate that I actually HAD/HAVE an immersion blender!)
  • Use it on soup (I left some texture in mine, so it was more stew-esque, rather than soup-esque)
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Post-Smoothing!

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll be honest – the flash on my camera makes it look more orangey than it was. It was more brown (thanks to the black beans) – so don’t panic if yours looks more like mud. It’s still good.

  • NOM on your delicious soup!!!

One side note for those of us who like any excuse to add more greens to a meal – for this soup, that is not a good idea. When I tried reheating it on the stove, I added in some kale for an extra boost of vitamins… for some reason I thought, “this time my greens will be good in soup!”.

I was wrong. Yet again – greens in soups/stews turn into stringy green snot and I hate them. (whaaa!)  I’m thinking that next time I’ll juice the greens and substitute the green juice for some of the broth first, instead of adding them in at the end.  Unless one of you lovely folks has a better idea… 🙂


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Celeb Buzz : The (Not So Green) Golden Globes!

This post initially appeared on One Green Planet, on Jan 15th. Enjoy!

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Last night kicked off every fashionista’s favorite season – Awards Season! Its here in full swing, and if last night’s Golden Globes were any indication, it should be a great one!

If you haven’t already heard, fellow veg-heads Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain won for “Best Supporting Actress” and “Best Actress” (I don’t think that’s a coincidence people!)

Hathaway’s co-star Hugh Jackman took “Best Supporting Actor” and, the always stoic, Daniel Day Lewis took home “Best Actor”. You’ve got to love beautiful people in beautiful clothing – but my favorite moment? Tina Fey & Amy Poehler’s opening monologue – do yourself a favor and (re)watch it – clearly these SNL alums haven’t lost their touch.

Does anyone actually watch these shows for the awards? Let’s all admit it – no, no we don’t. Now that we’ve got that out of the way – on to the best parts!

The Fashion : Last night, actress Julianne Hough of Rock of Ages fame, caused me to “bug out” at the sight of her jewelry. You’ll excuse my horrible pun, but you can’t excuse her choices. Jewelry designer Daniela Villegas created a pair of beetle earrings and a stick bug cartilage piece made from… you guessed it… ACTUAL beetles and an ACTUAL stick bug. Her rational to E!’s Giuliana Rancic? “We decided to go a little bit more edgy…” Really?! No. Words.

Bradley Cooper dons an “eco-friendly tux” created by Tom Ford. It’s actually the third tux he’s designed for eco-conscious celebs, he was also the mastermind behind Anne Hathaway’s thigh-high, dominatrix-inspired boots at the Les Mis premier. If the “Sexiest Man Alive” says it – I think we can all agree, Green is Sexy! I wonder how it would look on my boyfriend….

As if being on the “Best Dressed” list isn’t enough – Anne Hathaway rocked another pair of vegan shoes, this time by Aldo. Now – where can I buy a pair? A non-vegan nod to my personal, “Best Dressed” of the night – Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery looking flawless in Alexandre Vauthier Fall 2012. Anne Hathaway can do no wrong, but Michelle stole the fashion spotlight in my book.

The biggest fashion moment of the night? No, not a “wardrobe malfunction”, and no, Angelina Jolie’s leg didn’t return. It was that no one (let me repeat) NO ONE wore fur. Times are a’changing people!! Bunnies around the world are celebrating!

The Food : The celebrities did their cruelty-free part, what about the venue? You’d think that if Best Actress (Jessica Chastain) and Best Supporting Actress (Anne Hathaway) were coming, you’d make sure at least one menu option was veg-head friendly. Nope. Perusing The Beverly Hilton menu – not a single vegan option in sight. I bet you think they whipped something up special for these ladies -(again)- Nope. Mayim Bialik reveals in her blog that she had to nosh on some vegan mac & cheese before hitting the red carpet. Not to mention Woody Harrelson and the darkly handsome Joaquin Phoenix also went hungry. When will people learn? All we need is some kale!

The Fun : What’s an awards show without some good old fashion snark? My personal favorite? Taylor Swift’s stink-eye stare at Diva/Mom Adele after she won “Best Song” for “Skyfall”. I’d recommend watching her entire acceptance speech (who doesn’t want to be this woman’s best friend?) but skip to :50 for the token “mean-girl” look from Taylor. I’d watch your back Adele – next thing you know you’ll join the ranks of Jake Gyllenhaal and John Mayer and have a sassy tween-girl anthem written about you.

The talk of the town (and my twitter feed) was Jodie Foster’s acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award. No one is really sure what, exactly, she was trying to say. Something about privacy, and perhaps she was coming out of the closet, and/or going back in? I laughed, I cried, I admired her toned arms, and, at the end of 7 minutes, still had no idea what she was talking about. (Do we see hints of activism in your future Jodie?!) The one thing I did understand, was that she loves her family. And really – what more do you need to know?

Up Next : Screen Actor’s Guild (SAG) Awards – (I hear it’s just one big party!!)