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Everything listed under: Holidays

  • "Special K" Roast

    If you saw my Facebook page over Thanksgiving, you'll have noticed that I'm not a fan of meat analogues. Tofurkey just doesn't do much for me, but what's a veg girl to do when confronted with hungry omnivores for a holiday meal? Enter the Special K roast. I had never heard of it until I moved to Portland, where everyone seemed to have tried it and where everyone had their own version. The version below is mine, adapted to be vegan, but you could also make a rich vegetarian version of this by replacing the tofu with an equivalent amount of drained cottage cheese. The first time I made it, I used brand name Kellogg's Special K, but this year I tried it with whole grain Heritage Flakes. Whole-grain fanatic that I am, I have to admit that the Special K works better because it gets softer and functions better as "glue" for the whole thing. I use onions, celery, and bell pepper (the "Holy Trinity") instead of the traditional onions, celery, and carrots combo (mirepoix) because where I come from that's just how seasoning rolls. And, well, because it reminds me of my mom at this time of year.

     

    1 medium onion, minced

    3 stalks of celery, minced

    1 bell pepper,* minced

    oil for sauteing

    1 cup finely chopped pecans

    1 cup finely chopped walnuts

    2 14 oz. packages of extra-firm tofu

    1/2 cup of nutritional yeast flakes

    1 12 oz box of Special K cereal

    1.5 cups of soy milk**

    2 large handfuls of chopped Italian parsley

    3/4 tsp sea salt

    Bragg's liquid aminos to taste

     

    Saute the onion, celery, and bell pepper until soft. Mash the tofu with a potato masher, and add the remaining ingredients. Mix well. Spray a large casserole dish with oil and spread the mixture flat. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes until the top is brown and crispy. Cut into squares and serve hot. Leftover squares make a great sandwich filling.

    *Green bell peppers are a traditional part of the the "Holy Trinity" of Creole cooking, but a red bell pepper is festive.

    **Unsweetened soy milk will work best here.


     

  • December thoughts


    Hello from my yellow (and red and green) office in Encinitas. The tree is decorated, the garland is hung, and one of my employees has admitted that she loves Christmas so much that she was driving around with decorations in the trunk of her car for the last month, anticipating the day she could reasonably start decking the office. Ah, the holidays: such a magical time and so full of good things, but potentially overwhelming. Here a few suggestions to take care of your skin, your sanity, and your beautiful Self in December:

    1. Slow down. Accept each moment as it comes. This sip of cinnamon tea. This local street parade. This treasured friend come to visit. This long line. This traffic jam. This empty tape dispenser. This cold morning. This quiet moment under a dark sky. This too, this too, this too. This moment is your life.

    2. Give mindfully. Give experiences: yoga classes, concert tickets, amusement park passes, hot air balloon rides. Wrap gifts in silk scarves or use reusable bags. Shop locally.

    3. Get off the crack. Erm, I mean sugar. Some people can savor a nibble of dessert here and there. Not me, I have to eat the whole thing until it's gone. Then I have a sugar buzz, and then I crash. Then I eat more sugar to make myself better. Rinse and repeat. Something about this time of year makes me want to reach for refined carbohydrates, whether it is the desire for that jolt of energy to sustain all the extra activity or because I'm trying to negate the urge to crawl under my down-alternative comforter and sleep when it's dark at 6 PM. Fortunately, Mother Nature has thoughtfully provided wonderfully starchy, non-processed treats (see the recipe below) that fulfill my craving for serotonin wihtout launching me into a cycle of edgy highs and sluggish lows. Besides, the carotenoids and other antioxidants in a sweet potato are way better for skin health than refined sugar.

    And you? How do you find ease and health amidst the hustle and bustle?

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