I miss my blog (while I write a book and follow my dreams)

I feel like Tigger with all of my cool projects!

One of the things I was most excited about when I started this blog was the thought that I could write my musings, recipes, discoveries and general newsiness down every day.  Imagine that!  Like a diary…I would send forth inspiration to others at LEAST once a day.

Right.  Fast forward a year and some later and it turns out I’ve woefully neglected this blog because I’ve got so many other cool and exciting projects happening.  That would be the GOOD news.  The bad news is that perhaps I’m a bit too bogged down with cool and exciting projects and can’t find enough time in the day to work as a high school guidance counselor, work out, cook super healthy vegan meals and keep up with my friends, family and boyfriend.  YIKES.

Here’s what’s been occupying my time lately, in case you’re interested in attending the event in January.

“Cooking for Cancer” at the Marshall Grand was a life changing event for all of us!

In August, I gave a four class immersion called “Cooking for Cancer” in Marshall, Texas.  It was a Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) curriculum of 7 classes boiled down to 4.  One on Friday night and three on Saturday.  I had the maximum allowed (30) and held it at The Marshall Grand, a fantastic old hotel in the downtown area that was just perfect.  The audience consisted of several cancer patients and just hearing and sharing their stories was very powerful.  We all came away from that event with a new sense of gratitude and amazement at the healing power of plants.

This month I’ll be featured on Great American Tails as an essay finalist with my lemon brindle greyhound, Nutmeg.  I wrote a quick essay about how Nutmeg was abandoned by some ridiculous low life in Wichita Fallas but then happily fostered and adopted by me. I did it for the Greyhound Adoption League of Texas with the hopes they’d win the $5K grand prize so hey…it could happen, right?  Nutty and I are pretty excited to be on TV.

In January, I will be part of a dreamy lineup that includes T. Colin Campbell, Julieanna Hever, Victoria Moran and Mr. Michael Greger.  It’s the New Year New You Fest 2013 again in  Marshall and I have the honor of speaking and also giving two more PCRM classes:  Weight Loss and Cooking for Kids.  There are numerous speakers including vegan body builder Robert Cheeke as well as Chef AJ from Los Angeles and will include cooking competitions, a 5K race, a survivor panel and so much more.  Go to http://www.gethealthymarshall.com for tickets and more information if you’re interested.  A full pass to the 3 day event is only $100 so don’t wait!

Lastly, I’m writing my own book now that has been percolating in my brain since my diagnosis.  I wasn’t sure how to share all of the life changing information that I’ve learned in the past two years as well as why I’m positive this diet can help everyone but I think I’ve finally got it nailed down.  I’ve also got two wordsmith guru editors who are keeping me on track so I might actually make this happen!  Sadly, it’s taking a huge chunk of time out of my already moth eaten time schedule.  Just call me Ms. Time Manager.

Stay tuned…I promise a recipe in the next post!

Pressure cooked summer lunch

Hello!  It’s been awhile!

Donn and I have been traveling this summer (2 weeks in Europe) and then working on new projects so I’m excited to get back to my blog with the cool news that’s happened and a quickie pressure cooker recipe that you’ll LOVE.

In May, I was trained and certified as a Food for Life instructor with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) and will be giving my first cooking series on August 3/4 in Marshall, TX at an event called “Cooking for Cancer.”  I’ll teach the 7 class series in only 4 condensed classes for a crowd of 30 at a cool old restored downtown hotel called The Marshall Grand.  I’ll be packed up and heading there a week from today with my lovely kitchen assistant, Angela Barnette, so the excitement is building.  The class sold out long ago and I could have really taught a class of 70 but PCRM feels there isn’t enough one-on-one attention with a crowd that large.  I have to agree.

Anyhow, today, as I was working on my powerpoint presentation for the Marshall event, chatting with my cousin in Florida on Facebook and listening to NPR, I was also cooking up a lunch recipe that I will definitely use for lunches at school this year.  See what you think!

One Pot Veggie Rice

2.5 cups brown rice, 1/2 cup French or brown lentils, 2 chopped carrots, 1/2 large chopped onion, 2 cups organic veggie broth (no sodium), 2 cups filtered water.

Wash the rice and lentils together and place in pressure cooker.  Add chopped carrots and onion and stir together.

Last, add all of the liquid, put the top on tight and bring up to pressure.  When it starts hissing, turn down to low and cook for 40 minutes.  Take off the heat after 40 minutes and let the pressure come down by itself before opening the lid.

I scooped a massive amount into a bowl, topped it with steamed chopped collard greens and lemon tahini sauce and chowed down.  HEAVEN!   In case you don’t have the Lemon Tahini Sauce recipe:

1/4 cup raw tahini, 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 tsp. salt, ground pepper to taste, 1/2 cup lemon juice, 6 tbsp. filtered water.

Whisk it all together and pour liberally over everything edible.  Totally addicted to this sauce.

ENJOY!!!

“But I’m sore…”

One of the many things the KATWOMAN and I both agree on and believe in is listening to your body and, regarding exercise, knowing when to turn it up and when to dial it back.  I believe this is even more important for the over 35 (and in my case the over 55) workout warrior.  There are times when you have to be aware of how your body is reacting to the exercises that you are putting it through and respond accordingly.  If you’ve done too much and strained, sprained or even slightly torn a muscle, tendon or ligament, the kind of injury that is accompanied by sharp, point-specific pain, rest is necessary.  But for overall bilateral soreness, “active rest” is much more effective for getting back to peak form.

One of my old football coaches used to say there is a difference between pain and injury.  Or as Coach Place, who was at least 8 feet tall, put together like he personally built the Parthenon, and had the voice of a T-Rex, used to bellow,

HAVENS, THERE’S A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN “HURT” AND “HURT-ING” (insert your own indeterminent amout of exclaimation points here). 

“But, Coach, I’m sore… I can barely lift my arms.”

“THAT WAS YESTERDAY’S WORKOUT!  GET BACK UNDER THAT BAR AND DO 8 MORE REPS!” (the screeaching death-echo of Godzilla reverberating off the walls)

Coach believed, even though I’m quite sure he didn’t know the biomechanics  of it, that the soreness of yesterday’s workout could be alleviated by doing a workout that “breaks a sweat” and uses those and surrounding muscles in a different way.

The Nike Livestrong.com website says:

“Bed rest is not the best prescription for sore muscles…  Metabolites in your sore areas that cause pain are dispersed and diffused by activity, and blood flow is increased to the muscle tissue, speeding recovery by up to 40 percent.”

 So doing a lower body workourt after a soreness-inducing upper body one or playing a light game of tennis, basketball, will push those nasty Metabolites through that soon-to-be-smokin’ bod of yours.  The site goes on to say “…you’ll actually reduce pain with a little activity”

My sister’s news

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First, let me apologize for the lag in posts.  This time of year is nuts for a high school counselor…so many seniors self destructing right before graduation and the rest of us trying to prevent it from happening.  An exercise in futility for a few of them and thankfully, for the rest, sweet diplomas and a ticket to the rest of their lives.

I’ve had in my mind to write about the raised bed garden we put together a couple weekends ago but today, my oldest sister, Rosemary, changed my mind.  It seems that a pain she noticed a week ago under her rib cage is actually metastatic cancer that has moved to her liver.  Her doctors are trying to figure out its origin while my other two sisters and I struggle to accept the fact that we now have cancer in our midst once again.

My breast cancer two years ago is still a ghost image in all of our minds and now…this.  I am at once reminded of my own original terror when I listen to the guarded words Rosemary says on the phone.  She’s in Tennessee and I’m in Texas and all I can think about is how much better I would feel if she were right around the corner.  Thankfully, she has been open to a diet change for awhile now and this is the perfect storm that will hopefully make it happen.

The life ironies that surround this event are not lost on me.  I’m a cancer survivor, practicing whole foods vegan and am headed to PCRM (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine) May 9-11 for chef training and certification in their Food for Life anti-cancer project.  When I’m done, I’ll teach cancer patients and their families how to eat a healing whole foods plant based diet for recovery.  I guess my sister will be one of my first students and I wish I could be more excited about that.  For now, I’m taking in all of the details of her illness and the chemotherapy her doctors are urging her to do.

I told her when she had her biopsy earlier this week that whatever the results were, we would make a health plan together with her doctors and move forward armed with the best of medicine and diet that we could muster.  Now, that it is a reality, I grapple with the enormity of what it will take to make this all happen.  I immediately called my own macrobiotic teacher and she will take Rosemary on as a client next week when we have more details.  I am relieved at that but I also know the hardest part will be teaching Rosie to make her own food when she’s weak from the chemicals racing around in her blood.

I cook for students all the time at the yoga studio I attend in Arlington, help others transform their kitchens and transition to plants and even mentor a student vegetarian club at school.  I answer questions, tell people it’s never too late to change and urge them to believe in the incredible healing abilities of our bodies.  I am forever propping strangers up when they are feeling their physical and mental worst.  Now, though, it is my own sister…my blood, my friend, my former pseudo mom who was 13 when I was born.  I was her pretend baby and the bundle she’d race around the block with in my carriage for fun.

She cared for me decades ago and now, I will care for her.  I am honored and humbled by the awesome responsibility of all of this but honestly, I really can’t imagine what I wouldn’t do to help her heal.  My own cancer experience and the knowledge I’ve gained since then is a timely blessing for Rosemary now and I am grateful I can help her feel a little less helpless in all of this.

More than anything, I am reminded as I write this that if we are not all on this earth to help one another heal and grow , then what is the point?  I’m going to use beans, grains, veggies and fruits and all of the magic that this vegan life offers.  It is an alchemy of turning fear to hope and it will continue in my life with Rosemary’s condition.  Today, I heard my sister’s news and I took a deep breath, made a plan and looked forward to many more years…with my family intact.

Tuneage…

I don’t know about you…. but as much of a warrior as I am, I still much prefer having some serious workout “tuneage” flowing through the headphones as opposed to having to listen to my own grunting, groaning and gasping.

  (i mean during workouts… you know… weight workouts…. um… what was I talking about?)

Oh yeah…

Music, Baby!

Not to “soothe the savage beast” but to release him (or her)!  So while this changes from time to time, here are some mainstays in this warrior’s playlist.

Warm Up – I use different things here… something that puts me in a good mood but not crazy yet.  Believe it or not James Taylor’s live version of Steamroller Blues is a good one for me.

“I’m a steamroller, baby… I’m bound to roll all over you!” and “I’m a Napalm Bomb for ya, baby… just guaranteed, just stone guaranteed to blow your mind”

So… warmed up… let’s get serious.

Starting with Disturbed’s Indestructible which sounds like a war-zone for the first few seconds and has a chorus that is a serious testosterone-fueled blast.

 

You will be shown… how i’ve become  indestructible.  Determination that is incorruptible…  from the other side a terror to behold… take a last look around at your life cause i’m an indestructible…

 master of war.

 

 

lol… yeah, it’s a bit extreme but at this point, you want extreme! 

Others that psyche me up (in no real order…)

 

Welcome to the Jungle - Guns n Roses   

 “DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOU ARE?

YOU’RE IN THE JUNGLE, BABY!

 

 

 

 C’mon (Catch em’ By Surprise)  – Tiesto featuring Busta Rhymes

 

Carry It - Travis Barker, RZA, Raekwon, Tom Morell         “ENERGY”

 

 

Enter Sandman – Metallica   

(Power guitar chords!!!)

 

 

Loose- Primer55 (not G rated… sorry Rev Russ.)  “YOU LOOK AROUND, YOU SEE WE GOT THE MOST JUICE!”

Down with the Sickness      and    Stupefy – more by Disturbed

 

 

Stronger – Kanye West 

“DON’T ACT

LIKE I NEVAH TOLE YA”

 

 

Come Original…  Creatures…   Flowing   – 311   “I GO A LITTLE CRAZY JUST LIKE YOU I DO…”

The Way You Move – Outkast              “READY FOR ACTION…”

Mighty Mighty – Earth, Wind and Fire        “WE ARE PEO - PLE… OF THE MIGH – TY!”

More Human than Human / Living Dead Girl – White Zombie (more hard-driven guitar)

 

Go Baby –

 Lupe Fiasco 

 “FOR YOU, BABY, I’LL BE A MANIAC”

   

                              Elevation – U2       ” EL…..  A…  VA…   TION!”

                          Take the Power Back –  Rage Against the Machine

                                             “THE RAGE IS RELENTLESS…”

So just a small sample of some tuneage to ramp up the intensity of your workouts.  I hope you find that extra kick of motivation to get you through those last tough reps because that’s where all the benefit kicks in.

HAVE A “DETERMINATION THAT IS INCORRUPTIBLE!”

                                                                       AND BE RELENTLESS, MY WARRIORS!

donn

Making friends with beets

I find root vegetables to be somewhat vexing because…well…they just LOOK scary.  Take beets, for example.  We’re told to eat them as little kids but do you remember your mom ever cooking them up fresh?  I sure don’t.  Our beets came out of a can and they were less than tasty.  This week’s organic co-op box had three big bushels of fresh beets with their greens attached so I’ve been on a “beet quest” to cook them up in an easy, non-threatening way.  Here’s what I came up with:

Roasted Beets and Sauteed Greens

Cut the greens (tops) from the beets and wash each well.  These are seriously sandy suckers and there’s nothing worse than chomping down on dirt.  I scrubbed mine with a veggie brush to make sure.

Once you’re sure they’re clean and won’t break a molar, set the greens aside and slice the beets in half and then each half into quarters.  Make sure to chop their “rat tails” (sorry, that just comes to my mind when I see those skinny ends) in larger pieces so they don’t get lost in the baking process.

Put the beet pieces in a large mixing bowl and add 1 tbsp. of EVOO to coat thoroughly.  I’m always struck with the thought of somehow using the gorgeous magenta color from beets to tie dye a t-shirt or make some natural cheek stain makeup or something clever like that.  I do, however, know my limitations so I’ll stick to cooking for now and leave the truly artistic beet side products to my sister, Suzanne (the jewelry maven in the family).

Place the EVOO coated beet pieces on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 350 for 45 to 60 minutes or until a knife pierces a chunk cleanly.  If you slice them smaller than I suggested, the cooking time should be less.  I also sprinkled some Herbamare (seasoned sea salt) over the tops of them before I put them in the oven.  

Mine baked for 50 minutes.  In the last 10 minutes of baking, though, I chopped the already washed greens and set them aside.

Two cloves of garlic went into a sauté pan with 1 tbsp. of EVOO and after the garlic cooked for two minutes (constantly stirring), I added the greens and mixed thoroughly.

Cook the greens until just wilted and not crunchy and then add the roasted beet chunks and place everything in a bowl.

Super simple, delicious and won’t your mom be proud? –Kath

What are you cooking ahead this week?

Sweet Potato/Garbanzo Bean Dish with coconut oil

It’s Sunday evening so that means I’m in the kitchen cooking up at least four different things ahead so that we have food to pull out of the refrigerator after a long day with teenagers when I REALLY don’t feel like cooking.  This week is the first week of our last grading period so I’m sure the drama circus will be in full swing.  I need plant based SUSTENANCE to get me through!

As usual, my box of organic veggies from Urban Acres dictates what I make on Sunday.  This week, it was full of sweet potatoes, broccoli and surprise…local shitake mushrooms and spinach (plus oranges, a couple mangos and apples)!  BONUS on the shrooms!!

Here’s a favorite dish that transpired from the 4 Japanese sweet potatoes in the box: (and used from a favorite blog: http://honeyandspice.wordpress.com/2011/05/10/cajun-sweet-potato-chickpea/

ROASTED SWEET POTATOES WITH CHICKPEAS (GARBANZO BEANS) AND CAJUN SPICE

Serves 2-4

 Ingredients

  • 2 medium-sized sweet potatoes, cut into  (½ inch) chunks (leave skin on)
  • 1 small red onion, cut into (½ inch) dice
  • 2 15 ounce (cans) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed, drained and gently patted dry
  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil or olive oil
  • 2-3 teaspoons Cajun spice* (I make this ahead and store it in a jar)
  • Cajun spice blend:
    • 6 t smoked paprika
    • 4 t salt
    • 4 t roasted garlic flakes
    • 4 t chili powder/flakes
    • 2 t black pepper
    • 2 t dried oregano
    • 2 t ground coriander

* Can be substituted for any spice/spice blend you desire.

 Directions

1. Preheat oven to (425°F) and line one large baking tray (pan) with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, stir together oil and spices until well combined.

3. Toss sweet potatoes, onions and chickpeas (garbanzo beans) in the spiced oil until evenly coated .

4. Bake in middle of preheated oven for 40-50 minutes, or until the sweet potato chunks are tender and the chickpeas (garbanzo beans) are browned.

LOVE THIS DISH!!  The coconut oil really makes it.

I’m also making:

Pressure cooked brown rice with sautéed ginger, garlic and french green lentils; Wakame tofu “bacon” quiche; Not-so-Forbidden-Black Rice (both from the amazing Christy Morgan’s cookbook Blissful Bites) and probably an Apple Crisp from the The Self Healing Cookbook. This ultra cool vegan chef extraordinaire currently lives a few blocks away from me.  How lucky am I????

To top it all off, Donn is making a crockpot of Jamaican Red Bean Stew.  Yes, you read correctly.  My jockish, I’d-rather-do-anything-other-than-cook BF is now cooking.  He has promised to make two crockpot specialties per week (Sunday and Wednesday) to help keep plenty of food around AND lessen my bitterness at having to cook every dang thing that goes in our mouths. (Note to Donn: it’s now on the internet so you can’t back out.)

The link to his crockpot adventure is on: http://www.savvyvegetarian.com (search for Jamaican Red Bean Stew).  This is a wonderful blog to store in your list of computer favorites!

What are you doing on this late winter/early spring Sunday evening?  Your kitchen is calling…..Kath