Archive for the ‘Vegan Yums’ Category

Well, what can I say, there was never a dull minute in Chicago! We flew in on the day of a blizzard, with over 700 flights cancelled(luckily, our plane was the last one approved for landing), and proceeded to catch a cab to the Merchandise Mart.  Over 3 hours later(for only 17 miles), we reached our destination, and were ready to set up. Somehow a trade show in the Windy City in the dead of winter is like a sauna in Las Vegas, in July–there is bound to be one melt down!

The week continued to stay interesting, with very colorful neighbors.  One in particular was on the reality television show; Wife Swap.  Her life consisted of an unruly homestead with 10 dogs, 4 cats, 2 birds, and a 200 pound goat(that lived inside the house)…oh yeah, and a husband and a daughter.  Needless to say, you can imagine the stories that arose over the course of the show.  Kept the time rolling. :o )

During the evenings, we found some great veg. eats:  Karyn’s Cooked, a longtime favorite, that did not disappoint.  Their extensive menu ranged from Kombucha, to at least 12 delectable deserts(all vegan!)….can you say YUM!  Chicago Diner is another must – a little off the beaten track, but worth it. With entree’s that resemble any carnivores delight, using seitan, tofu, etc.  High quality & super fun.

A new spot, Green Zebra, was a real treat to experience.  Vegan nouveau with items like Pink Peppercorn & Thyme house made soda, to Crispy Sweet Potato Dumplings with crabapple ketchup, walnut-sage pistou + honey crisp apple.  Unexpected pairings put this gourmet cafe high on the “will return” list.  And to top it off, I was able to meet up with a fellow aromatherapist–BIG BONUS!

As far as my picks @ the show-

Green Daffodil takes the cake for soy candles, soy lip balms & other natural body care items.  Their line is handmade, and vegan with a fresh look & feel.

As far as collectible art, glassworkonline took my breath away.  With much of the inspiration coming from the sea(a spot close to my heart), artist Vaughan Anderson has an angel’s touch when it comes to glass.  Of course, with my passion for sea turtles, I had to indulge in this piece.   The attention to detail is mesmerizing!  + it’s always such a pleasure to connect with the artist in person, and share stories of common threads.

And the journey continues to the Big Apple.

Next Stop: The New York International Gift Fair

Until then…

Breathe Joy,



Travel Tip:

If you are sensitive to synthetic fragrances, I would avoid the W hotel in Chicago.  They have a “signature scent” sprayed throughout the property on a daily basis, that is more TOXIC than CHIC!

Read Full Post »

Well, back from yet another jaunt on the trade show circuit.  This time, home of monogrammed everything, bubblegum pink, and black & white polka dots.  Yes, you guessed it…Atlanta, GA. Don’t get me wrong, I love the southern charm, manicured nails & all.  First stop was Whole Foods to stock up on vegan yummies, protein powders, and fresh squeezed juices to stay healthy when on the road. Among all the super foods in my cart, I did stumble along a little bit of indulgence to top it off. Homemade, vegan chocolate coffee cake.  OMG!!!  So super moist, delicious, and just what the doctor ordered when a bit of comfort is top priority, after a long day.  This was definitely the find of the market, and at only a buck a square to boot…jackpot!

OK, time for work… off to America’s Mart.  The “World’s Global Market”, 3 buildings jam-packed with over 4,000 permanent showrooms, and hundreds of temporary vendors with goods from soup(literally) to the rarest of diamonds… and everything in between.  We were exhibiting in Building 2 West Wing, where only Gourmet was showcased.  Organic raw honey, mixed with fresh raspberries, lemon, or cacao to the front of us & upscale pecan goodies to the side, made the week of selling our wares ultra palatable.

Of course, what’s a girl to do around so much ‘retail therapy’ but partake.  Cash and carry jewelry department here I come. :oObsidian Jewelry has been a favorite for years. Jeff Kohnfelder, is the talented designer, where his tag line reads “It’s all about the stones”, and it is.  After years in the field, he still gleams with excitement to talk of the latest find from some obscure mine, or the newest nugget uncovered.  My eye zoned right in on one of those gems, an Amethyst Sage pendant chunked over purple drusy quartz, and amethyst.  Yay, baby…you’re coming home with me!  This piece, a type of lavender chalcedony, is riddled with manganese dendritic inclusions, and truly is a one of a kind.

Next, the spa floor.  Soothing auras filled with soft shades of pastels, the latest lip shimmers made with resveratrol for anti-aging, candles galore, and all things zen.   One new item caught my eye; Moso Natural.  A small, young company that has created an air purifying bag filled with 100% bamboo charcoal.  This capture from the Far East helps remove odors, bacteria & allergens naturally.  www.mosonatural.com for more info on this eco-friendly little number.

And, the tour continues.  Next Stop: Chicago

Until then…

Breathe Joy,



PS: Very grateful to travel with

Pink Himalayan bath salts with pure essential oils for soothing comfort & deep rejuvenation. Ahhhhhhh………..

Read Full Post »

With our summer temperatures getting up and over 100 degrees throughout the country, it’s only natural to look for ways to cool down and quench the inferno.

Blazing Heat

Couple of my fav’s:

Follow the Yogi’s~

Traditional ayurveda suggests consuming foods that bring down the body’s internal temperature.  Cool peppermint tea, grapes, cucumbers, watermelon and water from the young coconut are top on the list. Nature provides these in abundance during this season for a reason!

Mint Mist~

Peppermint Hydrosol(Mentha x piperita) is the ‘King of Cool’.  I like to store a mister in the refrigerator.  Spritzing throughout the day is divine & super refreshing.

Loving it Raw~

Keeping summer meals focused on foods with a high water content(raw) is another helpful hint to keeping light, free and breezy.  One of my all time loves is from Sarma Melngailis & Matthew Kenney’s book Raw Food Real World; Bunny Spice Shake.(reprinted with permission from author, Sarma Melngailis)

Always Ready for Bunny Spice!


1 cup carrot-ginger juice(run carrots through the juicer with a thumb-size knob of fresh ginger root)

1 cup almond milk

2 cups frozen diced banana

Pinch of ground cinnamon

In a blender, puree all the ingredients until smooth.

This shake is the bomb!  It is like swirled ice cream through a straw and has never failed to delight any of my guests.

A little side note:  If you are ever in the NYC area, Sarma’s restaurant, Pure Food and Wine is a hot spot for raw foodies.  My favorite item on the menu is the Mint Chocolate Sundae-fresh mint, raw cashew cream & gobs of raw cacao….truly a work of art!

Agua Purificada Por Favor~

Ahhhh....Refreshing! (Photo by Sandra Engler)

Stay hydrated with lots of fresh water and/or homemade herbal sun tea.  It’s fun, pretty and effective to float cucumber slivers, muddled mint and/or slices of citrus in your brew.  Keeping a full pitcher ready in the fridge is a surefire way to encourage imbibing.

Essential Oils That Know How to Chill~

Diffusing essential oils known for their cooling abilities is quick, easy, and another way to wipe the sweat off your brow in a flash.

Original Recipe~

Sweet Orange(Citrus sinensis): 27 drops

Lavender(Lavandula angustifolia): 10 drops

Peppermint(Mentha x piperita): 8 drops

Palmarosa(Cymbopogon martini var. motia): 5 drops

Place the above quantities in a clean, dark glass bottle(15 ml with orifice reducer).  Add the appropriate number of drops from your created “stock blend” to your diffuser and turn on.(styles differ, see your manufacturer’s suggestion).

Of course loose, breathable clothing, avoiding direct mid-day sun, and a nice gust from multiple fans are obvious ways to beat the heat too.  And if all else fails, I go jump in the Lake!

My Favorite Spot for a Dip~Canandaigua Lake

Until next time,

Breathe Joy…

Read Full Post »

Garlic scapes that is! 

For years, I never knew what a scape was, or that it’s a wonderfully edible ‘by-product’ of the beloved garlic. Garlic is a member of the genus, Allium(onions, leeks, and chives also belong to this family).  The garlic scape is a shoot that sprouts from the underground garlic bulb.  Scapes are ready to be harvested when they lengthen and begin to straighten out from their natural looping tendency.

Garlic Scapes: Who Knew?

With most things that sprout, harvesting when the shoot is young will produce a more tender and delicate outcome. It is best to harvest the scape when it is bright green.  Waiting until it is white, or pale is actually taking away energy and life force from the garlic growing below; resulting in smaller bulbs.

There are a ton of ways to use scapes.

Being 100% Italian, there is never a shortage of where this delectable bulb stalk can be tucked in.  Garlic scapes are a welcome flavor addition chopped raw and added to stews, salads, stir-fry or casseroles.  The flavor has a fresh, light and ‘green’ overtone to the familiar garlic sensation.

So let’s get cooking, shall we!

Vegan Garlic Scape Pesto


10 garlic scapes(diced)
1/3 cup walnuts(or pine nuts)
1/2 cup olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste


1/3 cup raw cashews, 1 Tablespoon of nutritional yeast, pinch of salt, black pepper to taste, 1-2 Tablespoons of HOT water


Place scapes and walnuts in the bowl of a food processor and whiz until well combined and somewhat smooth. Slowly drizzle in oil and process until integrated. With a spatula, scoop pesto out of bowl and into a mixing bowl. Add salt and pepper.

In the same food processor bowl, add the cashews, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper.  Process until mixed and slowly add the hot water.  Pulse until combined(use a spatula to clear the sides, so all is throughly mixed). Add this mixture to the first bowl, stir by hand.

This can be spread on baguettes and toasted under the broiler for an amazing garlic bread, or added to your favorite cooked pasta with fresh garden tomatoes chopped atop & a squeeze of fresh lemon.

Still hungry for more?

Freshly Picked from My Garden

Garlic Kale Chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Carefully remove the leaves from the thick stems and tear into bite size pieces. Wash and thoroughly dry kale with a salad spinner(or paper towels).
  3. Add 1/3 cup of the vegan garlic scape pesto(above). Massage the pesto into the greens(your hands are the best option…now that’s Italian)!
  4. Place on a cookie sheet in a single layer.
  5. Bake until the edges brown for 10 to 15 minutes(flipping 1/2 way through). Watch carefully so the edges do not burn.  The chips should be light and crispy when done baking. Enjoy!
Until next time,
Breathe Joy…

Read Full Post »

It’s Friday night, and raining again.  There’s a cool breeze and a thick fog outside. Even though summer is close on the calendar, tonight feels more like fall, with a slight chill in the air.  Brought to mind a few of my cozy favorites.  A hot cup of homemade chai, Rumi and a little Coldplay in the background.  Yes, all feels right now.

The following recipe is from a dear friend, direct from an ashram in India.  It’s super delicious.  I like to mix it up with some star anise(one of my all time favorite’s) and/or some black peppercorns.

A Taste of Chai…

1 cup pure water

1 cup soy or almond milk(or a blend of the both)

6-7 cardamom seed pods

5-8 cloves

2 T fresh grated ginger root

2 t organic sugar(could play around with less, stevia or agave)

1 t black loose leaf tea(Taj Mahal’s Orange Pekeo is good)

Boil water, ginger, cardamom, and cloves.  When boiling-add tea, milk and sugar.  Boil gently a second time, strain, pour into mugs with a cinnamon stick and ENJOY!

These flavors *rock* together…so warming & comforting.  And when the sun does decide to come out, its great iced too.

A Taste of RUMI…

So, I had the great fortune to meet Andrew Harvey @ the Omega Institute.  He is a lively soul full of passion, and exuberance.  Below is one of the great mystical poet’s(Rumi) works…translated by Andrew:

Jasmine comes up where you step.

You breathe on dirt and it sails off  

like a kite. 

You wash your hands and the water you throw out

shines with gold.

You say a line of scripture

and all the dead commentators lift their heads.

Your robe brushes a thorn bush

and a deep chord of music comes.

Whatever you break

finds itself more intelligent for being broken. 

Every second a new being

stands the courtyard of your chest

like Adam, without father or mother,

but the beginning of many generations to come.

I should rhyme that fifty times!

The beginning without any

inclination to end!

But I won’t. I close my mouth

in hope you’ll open yours.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh :o )

Until next time,

Breathe Joy…

Read Full Post »

For the Love of Kale.

Last year was my first encounter with KALE!  Since then, I can not get enough of it.  I like it juiced(with apple & lemon), chopped in a raw salad, baked(with garlic & nutritional yeast), stir-fried– You name it, I love it!

Good, Green and High in the following:

  • Vitamins A-known to aid in the prevention of lung diseases
  • Vitamin C-great to regulate blood pressure and promote a healthy immune system
  • Vitamin E-powerful anti-oxidant(protecting our cells from free radicals)
  • Calcium-required for building and maintaining bones & teeth, muscle contractions and nerve conduction, blood pressure control
  • Fiber-promotes even blood sugar levels, helps lower cholesterol, keeps bodies elimination system healthy.

And the list goes on!

So, I planted 6 organic kale plants in my garden and it produced abundantly all summer long.  I am getting ready to put this years bed in.  If you are too, for a higher yield companion plant with onion, basil, mint, and/or rosemary.

Now, to the good stuff~Yummie Delish Kale Chips:

The following recipe is one of my favorites.  It is considered “Raw”(not heated above 118 degrees; allowing it to maintain its enzymes and powerful “life force”).

2 bunches of kale(remove spines, break into large pieces by hand).

3/4 c sesame tahini(I mix it up sometimes and use organic sunflower seed butter)
1/2 c apple cider vinegar
1/2 c water ~ more if needed
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1/4 cup nama shoyu
2 scallions
1 clove garlic
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 t. sea salt

Place kale in a large mixing bowl. Combine dressing ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth to get a thick consistency. You may have to add more water. Pour over kale and mix thoroughly with your hands to coat the kale.

Place kale evenly, in one layer, onto a Teflex sheet(on top of a mesh dehydrator screen) and dehydrate for 4 hours @ 110 degrees. You’ll need to use several trays. Rotate kale occasionally to dry uniformly.

Note: Depending on the weather, you may have to dehydrate a little longer, until crisp. Store in an airtight container.

No time for all the fuss?

http://rhythmsuperfoods.com/ has done an AMAZING job at making this a fantastic ‘grab and go’ superfood.

Until next time,

Breathe Joy…

Read Full Post »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 428 other followers