music & dancing & cooking

If you cook like I do, the best meals are made with a worthy playlist. “Worthy” to me is a bunch of mellow songs, with a few songs screaming for interpretive dance, and ein bißchen Deutschen Musik. (Mein Grammatik is sehr schlecht, es tut mir leid!)

Anyway, I love singing along to classics, and playing funky new songs, and dancing around my kitchen while I cook. If you enjoy those as well, this playlist might be for you. Enjoy! 🙂

OPEN!

Dangerous* Mac Salad

Dangerous* Mac Salad

Ingredients:
1/2 1lb box of pasta, cooked according to package

1/2 sweet pepper minced
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
5 sweet pickle slices, minced
1/3 cup sweet peas
1 15.5 oz can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1/2 C reduced fat Vegenaise
3 TBSP apple cider vinegar
1 tsp organic sugar
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp celery seed
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt

1. Cook pasta, rinse with cold water and drain
2. Chop veggies
3. Pulse chickpeas in a food processor – keep it chunky!
4. In a medium sized bowl, mix together Vegenaise, ACV, sugar, paprika, celery seed, black pepper, and salt
5. Add veggies and pulsed chickpeas, mixing thoroughly; fold in pasta
6. Enjoy!

Notes: I prefer shells, but any small macaroni works well. Other additions to jazz this up are grated carrots, shredded and chopped red cabbage, green onion, and (finely minced) radish. Any plant based mayo will work for this recipe, too (including whipped avocado)!

* say goodbye to your willpower, this mac salad is dangerously yummy!

Salad Musings

Salad Musings

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Above: lemon pepper tofu, sliced bartlett pear, diced cucumber, and plain hummus sprinkled with chia and flax seed over baby kale.

Lemon pepper tofu:

  • press extra firm tofu to rid of excess water
  • marinade in lemon juice, olive oil (or oil preference), black pepper, and pink salt
  • in a small fry pan, heat tofu over medium heat until golden brown

Other ingredient ideas:

  • protein – maple chili tofu, orange sesame tempeh, curried chickpeas
  • fruit – strawberries, apples, plums, figs, pineapple
  • vegetables – oyster mushrooms, beets, roasted fennel, artichoke hearts
  • crunch – walnuts, almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds
  • base – red cabbage, bibb lettuce, romaine
  • dressing – avocado, fruit salsa

Salads can get very boring, very fast. Changing up ingredients, from choice of greens, to protein, to vegetables and fruit, makes a huge difference in creating a tasty salad. The next time you consider salad for lunch, remember your options – salads don’t have to be boring to be healthy!

Compassionate Coffee

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In the heart of Rochester, NY is a 7-month old coffee shop by the name of Fuego Coffee Roasters. Maybe you have a small coffee shop near you, maybe you don’t. I can guarantee, however, that your relationship with the baristas does not rival that of Fuego’s customers and Tony & Renee Colon.

The Colons dreamt of opening their own coffee shop for years while they both worked in the business. This past August, that dream came true: Fuego Coffee Roasters was officially open for business. Using their savings, knowledge of coffee, and connections with Roberts Enactus (formerly RWC SIFE), the Colons began operating as artisanal coffee roasters.

Tony & Renee believe in the art of coffee, utilizing brewing methods such as the Aeropress, Chemex, and Clever. As ultimate and knowledgable baristas, they have quite the following of loyal customers and newly referred customers on a daily basis. Most days, this makes for a long line of customers and brewing methods that cannot always keep up.

Enter in the Alpha Dominche Steampunk (according to alphadominche.com):

“The award-winning Alpha Dominche Steampunk 4.1 is a hand crafted next-generation coffee brewer designed for brewing the best single-cup coffees and teas in the world. This versatile machine offers a new way to brew up to four different single-cup coffees and/or teas simultaneously with the most repeatable consistent brew method to date.”

Why is this important? This machine can produce coffee using different brewing methods in a more timely fashion without compromising the integrity of the product. The Colons are fundraising the money needed to purchase this machine through crowdfunding on Indiegogo, which is where you come in. If you’re reading this, chances are you enjoy coffee. Maybe you’re from Rochester. Maybe you know the Colons.

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If you don’t, trust me when I say that I don’t know any other baristas or business owners more deserving of fulfilling this campaign, which launches on March 25th. Every dollar donated is greatly appreciated:

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-fuego-coffee/x/6283432

Thank you for reading and thank you in advance for your generosity in helping out these awesome people!

– top image by me, bottom image found on http://www.fuegocoffee.com

Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce

Basically this is a jazzed-up white sauce – and it’s delicious!

Ingredients:

1 TBS Earth Balance

1 TBS Flour

1 cup almond milk (original)

 

½ TBS vegan parmesan

2 TBS chopped sun-dried tomatoes (dry-packed, not oil-packed)

½ tsp of the following spices:

Paprika

Crushed Red Pepper

Garlic Powder

Onion Powder

Parsley

Dash of pepper

 

Preparation:

First, make a roux.  In a small saucepan, melt the margarine over medium-high heat.  Add flour, whisking constantly until mixture begins to bubble.

After a minute or two, reduce heat.  Gradually whisk in the almond milk.  Continue whisking, and add the parmesan, sun-dried tomatoes, and spices to the pan.

When the sauce returns to a boil, remove from heat and enjoy!

Enjoy over pasta, vegetables, tofu, seitan, or other savory dishes.  Pictured below is sauce over sweet potato orzo, veggies, and crumbles.

Original Recipe

Crowdfunding: Women & Orphans

Do you want to make a difference in someone’s life?  The life of a child?  The life of a woman who has been down and out?

If so, I encourage you to check out the following campaigns to raise funds and awareness for two great missions.  One is in Guatemala and the other is right in Rochester, NY.  I gave $10 to each of these campaigns, because I believe in the mission of both of them.  Now, $10 is not a lot of money; I do not have a lot of money – but every $5 and $10 donation makes an impact.

Since both of these campaigns are through crowdfunding websites, they do have a deadline.  If the goal is not met by that date (November 14th),  there will not be a sustainable impact.

If you’re having reservations, I want you to know that both Mark and Michelle are of great character, and their hearts are set on helping these people.  They will be making a difference in many lives, and the women and children being helped are already so appreciative of their efforts.

Do you want to make a difference in their lives, too?  You don’t have to be a missionary, or a social worker, and you don’t have to leave the comfort of your own home.  All you have to do is gift $5 towards sustainable businesses.  Businesses that will flourish for years to come, helping more and more women & children.

Healthy Sisters Soup & Bean Works: helping women gain job skills and learn healthy eating habits in Rochester

Hogar Mama Carmen’s: an orphanage working miracles for many young children in Guatemala City, Guatemala

If you truly cannot give, please share this post – help spread their stories.