Crazy Spinach Salad

I had quinoa – a lot of it. Randy and I are on a GREEN DRY MARCH challenge (we started early). This salad is scrumptious!!

Crazy Spinach Salad by Sarita Shoemaker.  Vegan Nutrient Dense Easy Recipe Quinoa Spinach Raw
Oh YES the house smells like a fresh veggie farm!! The edamame…I keep “tasting” them. YUM!

Crazy Spinach Salad
Heart Healthy, Nutrient Dense, Vegan, Easy, Salad

# Servings: 4 (maybe 6 if it accompanies another dish)

I bolted off to follow a Cookie and Kate recipe but did not have all of her ingredients so I made my own up below using her amazing idea.

Turned on my Steve Miller Band (highly recommend The Stake, Living In The USA because they’ll make the salad better).

Ingredients

1 yellow beet, peeled and julienned
4 carrots, shredded in food processor
6 cups of spinach (rinsed and stems removed then sliced into strips)
1 avocado, diced
2C cooked and cooled edamame
1 1/2c cooked quinoa
1T hemp seeds
1T roasted sesame seeds

Dressing:

3T Braggs Apple Cider vinegar
3T lime juice
1T EVOO (I will not use this next time, it’s not necessary – I’ll use a T of water)
3/4c chopped cilantro
1T maple syrup
3/4t coarse black pepper

Directions

1. Set all of your ingredients out on the counter BEFORE you any further – seriously!
2. In a small food processor place all of the dressing ingredients and chop/cut until it is a liquid. Set aside in container then place in fridge to chill.
3. In a giant bowl (as big as you’ve got) place all of the vegetables and toss to blend.
4. Continue to toss and add the seeds

1. and quinoa.
2. Place in serving bowl.
3. Put in fridge to chill.

We don’t like a lot of dressing on our salads so we will spoon it out.

23 Feb 2019
By Sarita Shoemaker

Sunday Means Pancakes

Not that PRETTY but sure taste delicious!

Recipe FIRST then a quick story about my first experience (on the outside looking in) of the LDS Church’s “Conference”.  I got home from work in time to watch the section that was specifically for the women.  I normally pour myself a cocktail to watch Columbo but decided I was curious about what and why they split out the men and women and what message they give the guys and how it would be different from the gals.

I didn’t pour a cocktail because I felt sort of weird about watching a church thing drinking a cocktail.  That’s just me… maybe the “new” me?

MY PANCAKE RECIPE, inspired by that LDS talk plus The Joy Of Cooking book my mom gave me.

Sunday Pancakes
Makes 6 decent size 4” fluffy pancakes
Vegan, Dairy Free, Gluten Free*

Tools:
Mixing bowl (large)
Measuring cup
Measuring spoons
Small Spatula
Small bowl
Whisk (or a fork)
Large Spatula (for flipping pancakes)

Ingredients:
1 Cup flour (or *GF Oat Flour)
1t sugar
1/4t salt
3/4t double acting baking powder
½ baking soda

1c almond milk
2T white vinegar

1T chia seeds
3T water

Spray oil unless using a non-stick surface to make your pancakes.

Vegan butter
Maple syrup
Fruit topping, if you like!

In this order:

Place all ingredients and tools on counter.

In a small bowl (I use my 2-cup liquid measuring glass), blend Almond Milk and vinegar, with a fork swirl around and set aside. Give it at least 5 minutes to curdle the “milk”.

In a separate small bowl, blend chia and water, stir with a fork then set aside. Give it at least 5 minutes for the chia to begin absorbing the water.

In large mixing bowl use a whisk and blend the dry ingredients. Set aside.

Blend wet ingredients together (I put the chia into the almond “milk”). With a fork stir a bit to really get everything well mixed. If you have a few minutes, let it all stand and become blended.

Add the wet to the dry, using a spatula to fold in. Don’t whip it up, FOLD IT. This keeps the air bubbles in tact (which is what will help make it fluffy).

Heat griddle to HIGH.

Spray cooking oil LIGHTLY.

Pour mixed ingredients onto HOT HOT griddle making a 4” circle (or use a ⅓ cup).

Wait for bubbles to appear through your pancake to flip it (normally 3-4 minutes). This is how you know it is cooking through but not burning.

Flip cakes on griddle for another minute or two (you can peek to see the desired browning).

Serve up and enjoy topped with vegan butter, apple butter, fruit…syrup.

Enjoy!

MY EXPERIENCE YESTERDAY – WILD

Saturday October 6th, 2018

I work at a grocery store in an extremely religious town.   88% (according to the last Association of Religion Data Archives).  Most of the people I see come through my check stand are students.  This is the “future” of the LDS church (obviously) and a very dedicated group. 

The thing I love about these young people is that they are pretty nice, ethical and not confrontational at all.  So, for example, if the person behind them in line (non-LDS) is making snarky comments about some sort of religious thing it does not seem to break their stride or belief.  Also, once they establish that the person in front of them or behind them in line is part of their church they have SO MUCH to talk about and chances are they are related somehow.  These conversations are always cheerful and happy. 

So, by the stats alone, 20% of the people visiting me are not part of the LDS church and they are mostly visiting the store on Sunday when no good Mormon would be shopping (especially in Provo).  Most of them roll their eyes toward any effusive connection they are witnessing between the students (which makes me mad…as though I’m part of that behavior AND I AM NOT).

The point today is to fill you in, from a stranger’s view, on what Conference means or meant to most every single person that went through my line.

The Structure Of My Day (Conference Day Included)

This is important.

My shift began at 9:00am.  I arrived 15 minutes early to talk to my boss about a meeting I am expected to be at for one hour.  We are not allowed to work overtime and I try hard to follow the rules.

The store was busy! Similar to the hours before Superbowl would be in a big city.  None of the employees were smiling.  It looked like HAIR ON FIRE mode.

I did not understand the tone and volume.  It was quite different than every other Saturday I’d worked.   I asked one of my bosses what in the world was happening!?  “Conference” I was told.  “What is that?”  “Big gathering of all of the members to hear the people at the top of the church speak.” “It looks like the day before Thanksgiving!” “I guess it sort of is like that for a lot of them.”

I’d heard this word earlier in the week but had not paid attention. 

One lady got TICKETS to be on the stage. (?)  She was famous for this and got hugs and pats on the back for the accomplishment.  It was extremely honorable I guess. 

Snapped a pic on my 10 minute break.  I get three 10 minute breaks in an 8 hour shift.

Our store is close to downtown Provo where there are loads of meetings, conferences, workshops…you name it…at the Convention Center.  I expected that was what would be happening.

That is NOT what was happening or even close.

Our lines were 6-8 people deep.  We had ALL of our check stands open.  The Self Check-Out line stretched through the store about 40 yards back.

Everyone was hurrying “to buy food for Conference”.  Actually, I think I’m saying it wrong.  When Randy gets back in from changing out his tail light I’ll ask him what the right terminology is.

I got my nerve up to ask a friendly family of eight (Grandma, Mom, Dad and kids) where Conference was.  “We’re watching it at home.”

“It’s televised at your house?  What channel?” 

“BYU TV” 

“Ah, duh.” 

“So everyone here is buying food for this conference?”

“Yes, I’d guess so.”  I think it was the dad and he looked around smiling at the hundreds of people standing in line IN GOOD SPIRITS.

“How long does it last?”

“Two hours.”

“Wait, two hours?” I blurted this out as I thought to myself, “that doesn’t seem like a lot of time to plan this much food!”

“Well the first part is two hours then there is a break  and another conference for two more hours.”

“Are you not allowed to eat during it?” as I stared at the bags of snacks I was scanning.

The process was done…I’d learned a tiny bit there in that few moments of time.

At 10:05am it was SILENT in the store. Like library quiet.   Obviously, everyone was in Conference.

Then the next wave hit.  Just as large as the last one.  I was manning a smaller check stand for “About 15 items” which seemed to be what everyone was getting.

This time I saw a dad and three kids coming through.  4 doughnuts, ice cream and corn dogs.

SIDE NOTE: Diet DP (that’s what it is called by the students) seems to be the #1 drink of choice today.  DP (not diet) is #2.  Dr Pepper.

“Everyone is in a great mood it seems.”

“You betcha they are!  We just got out of Conference!”

“That’s cool.  What did they say?”

“WE ONLY HAVE TO ATTEND CHURCH TWO HOURS INSTEAD OF THREE!!!!” he exclaimed – seriously elated. 

I don’t know how things run – so I asked.

“What do you mean?”

“Normally we have to attend 3 hours.  The first hour is ______ (I forget what he said) then the next hour is _____ (again, forget) and the last hour is split out with men and women (or something like that) in private meetings.”

He saw my confused look.  I am guessing he assumed I still did not understand what he just said.  He’s partially correct.  What I was confused about was that this seemed to be the best news since sliced bread.  I didn’t quite understand what or why these folks (who I assumed were super duper dedicated to their beliefs and structure) would not see how odd it was to “get an hour off” of their religion.

“It’s to spend more time with our families.”

“Well that’s always going to be a good idea.”

I am still digesting what I’d heard so far and putting it together as quickly as my old brain would process.

“We’re gonna celebrate together with our doughnuts!”

Off he went, walking a little taller like we all do when we’re filled with good thoughts.

The remainder of that two-hour drive had the same excitement: “TWO HOURS!”  “ONLY TWO HOURS!”  “AN HOUR OFF!  Yipeeeee!!!!”

I continued to process it all.

Just before the end of that second blast I asked a young couple – super cute and they got along like Randy and myself – what the NEXT conference was going to be about.

“Well, we’ll be splitting into the men and the women conferences.”

“How do you do that at your house?”

Cute young wife, “I’ll be going into the church with the other women to watch it together.”

Handsome young husband, “I actually think I’ll stream it online.  I’m not sure where I’ll watch it.”

“What will the men be told that the women can’t know about?”

They looked at each other in a way that I felt I’d stepped a LITTLE TOO CLOSE for comfort…crap…oooops.

“I mean, what will the women talk about?”

They looked at each other again before speaking, wide WIDE eyes.

“It’s about how we can be better wives, sisters, mothers mostly,” she said quickly and I think she was blushing a little, “so we hear what inspiration the Prophets have to guide us.”

“Oh, ok cool.  Are there girl Prophets?”

Time to go…didn’t get that answer.  They  had to jet and I wished them a great day and to come visit again.

They waved me a cheery goodbye, giggled with each other arm and arm and happily (they were sincerely smitten with each other) walked out into the cloudy and sunny chilly day.

I thought about this whole experience the remainder of my shift which was about an hour and a half.

BYU TV.  I was pretty sure we got that channel.  I decided I was going to tune in to this “Women’s Conference” to see what they had to say.

5:00pm could not arrive fast enough.  I zipped over to the State Liquor store for some Tito’s Vodka, Corralejo and Odell Brewing Co beer (7% ABV). The store parking lot was PACKED and I had to park down the street! 

After I fed the dogs I settled in on our new warm comfy couch and aimed the remote toward the TV sans a cocktail.  First I made sure I was recording Columbo and then switched to BYU TV.  There was a man, pretty old, speaking from a teleprompter.

The room was packed with women (I am guessing only women).

The speaker made some mistakes while reading and the speech was stuttered and difficult to understand. 

I recollected the cute wife’s explanation, “better wife, better sister, better mother.”

I got a little bothered about this while listening. 

How is a guy (this guy) qualified to tell a gal how to be a better wife, sister or mother?

How is ANYONE deciding what is “better” or even worse, what is “bad” behavior as another human being?

Maybe I needed that cocktail. 

I forced myself to listen to this man go on and on – making more mistakes reading his teleprompter until I couldn’t watch any more.  PETER FALK!!!! I found my favorite detective and started watching.

Reflecting: all of this experience today felt familiar.  TOO FAMILIAR.

My decades of being part of the church of scientology came rushing back.  Forced EVERYTHING.  Told and taught, “If it isn’t true for you it isn’t true” while being sent to hard labor for wanting to leave and be with my mom instead of participate.

The scientology group is following the map that the Mormon church has created.  I respect the Mormon church for the stories of what they had to go through in order TO SURVIVE as a human race traveling across the USA.  To me, that fortified the fabric within them even more.  That, to me, deserves respect.

Scientology attempts to feed its flock lies upon lies about how their struggle to survive should inspire members to donate to their war chest (built to fight mental health advocates, ALL psychiatry, ALL psychology and any/every person that speaks out against them).

FINAL THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY

I will always respect that someone has a different point of view.  I am in awe of people that have experienced so much and have actual and factual accounts that they share with me. 

It is difficult to understand why so many people cannot see the irony of being told they get 1 hour back in their lives.

We get to choose our lives, our words, our belief… which is where I think dedicating your LIFE to something that you are happy to be free of (for that hour) doesn’t quite make sense to me.

A belief system that DICTATES your thinking (in any way) is wrong. 

I enjoyed Columbo, relaxing with my feet on my chocolate lab’s warm belly and my cat by my head.

I got up this morning early and whipped up healthy-ish pancakes for my husband which made me a better wife (he sure was happy).

Basically, I just want humans to be kind to each other (and the planet and animals) no matter what God they claim or belief system they follow.



Lentil Potato Stew…with creamy coconut pizazz

Coconut Lentil Potato Stew

Servings: 10

Instant Pot: 25 minutes

Preparation: 10 minutes

Ingredients

Spices

1/2t salt

1/8t cayenne pepper

1/2t rosemary

1/2t thyme

1/2t oregano

EVOO (drizzle, about 1t)

1 yellow onion, chopped

5 garlic cloves, smashed then chopped

1 medium sweet potato, diced

6 small red potatoes (about 2 cups worth) diced

3 celery stalks, chopped

1 giant carrot, cut like quarters

1C chopped kale (any type works)

1C Chana dal (yellow lentil)

1C coconut milk

3C water

Always prepare all ingredients and spices before you turn on the Instant Pot (IP).

Put IP on sauté, add EVOO and heat.

Add garlic and stir for about 1 minute. Add onion and continue sauté stirring for another minute or two.

Next add all remaining vegetables and continue to stir. This gets HOT so don’t leave it alone.

Add coconut milk and turn IP to “Manual” setting HIGH and 25 minutes.

Add water and continue stirring to blend.

Add spices and slowly blend.

Add dal/lentil and give it a few stirs to make sure everything is submerged.

Be sure you have your SAVORY RING in the IP lid, place on top and check that the steam release is CLOSED. Hit CANCEL button then MANUAL button again and set for 25 minutes on HIGH.

I like to let the Instant Pot release pressure slowly (which can take 20 minutes). You can release it sooner. Once the pressure pin drops then it is safe to remove the lid.

June Lake Pecan Banana Bread

June Lake Pecan Banana Bread

10-10-17, Elevation 7700’

This makes one loaf of delicious bread. Pardon the photo: my husband helped himself to a giant piece before I could snag a pic! This bread is crunchy on the outside and perfect in the middle. Please note my elevation comment below and adjust if you are not living on a mountain. You will burn your bread otherwise.

“Dry Ingredients”

1C Oat Flour

3/4c gluten free baking flour

2T double-acting baking powder

1/2t salt

“Wet ingredients”

2 chia-eggs (1:3 ratio seed and water)

3/4c melted vegan butter

2/3c sugar

1/2t vanilla

1/2t cinnamon

1 banana, brown and spotty smashed well

3/4c chopped raw unsalted pecans

1/2c dried cranberries

Parchment paper.

“Topping”

10 whole unsalted pecans (these are for the top of the bread).

NOTE: I am at 7500’ elevation which means I need to bake at a little higher temperature and for a little longer than someone at a lower elevation. If you live in higher elevations you know this…SO…reduce the temp to 350 and the time to bake to 50 minutes lower than 4,000 elevation. I am also working in a travel trailer oven that has one line of flames down the center (burning everything above it!!). So I bake in smaller containers and move them around to try to evenly bake.

Preheat oven to 375.

Blend Chia-egg and set aside to firm up.

You need two mixing bowls. One for dry and one for wet ingredients.

Blend Oat Flour, baking flour and baking powder and salt in one bowl. Set aside.

Blend the wet ingredients in a separate bowl (in the order above). The banana will turn into a lumpy purée. Once fully blended begin adding dry ingredients in thirds.

Line baking tin with parchment paper. This is optional of course – I love parchment paper because it reduces the amount of oils.

Transfer mixture from bowl to the baking dish. It is sticky, not runny. I scoop with a spoon and spatula.

Cover the top with the 10 pecans pressing down slightly so they are embedded.

Bake 30 minutes on one side of the oven and then 25 on the other. Or, if you have a normal oven just bake 50 minutes in the center rack. Check with a fork to make sure it is done (your fork will insert and remove without any batter).

Remove from oven and let it cool on a rack.

You can cut and freeze individual slices to warm up later or even better: eat it right away (like Randy!)

Kale Quinoa Buttery Lemony Corny Feast

Who needs a FAST and delicious dinner recipe!? Check this out. You will be glad you did.

A plate of incredible deliciousness that gives you a little buttery flavor partnered with lemony freshness. Packed with protein and completely vegan. It was delicious!

The kale and corn medley is what makes this so flavorful.

I am at 9000 elevation and must cook for a little longer in my travel trailer. Unfortunately the burner “low” setting is not the “low” you would get at lower elevation.

We feasted and we’re STUFFED with this goodness.

Serves: 2

Ingredients

3 C chopped kale

1 fresh lemon juiced (at least ¼ cup, halved)

1 fresh corn kernels (remove from 1 cob)

2 Roma tomatoes, sliced

1 can of black beans

Cook ¾ cups of quinoa

Cook ½ cup of long grain brown rice

½ t crushed red pepper

Pinch of salt

Directions

Prepare your rice (add 1T vegan butter) and red quinoa and set aside keeping warm.

Chop kale and add ½ of your lemon juice. Set aside.

Shuck your corn and slice tomatoes.

Place kale and 1T butter in sauce pan. Bring to simmer (about 4 minutes) then add corn kernels, red crushed pepper and pinch of salt. Stir it often to mix the pepper and salt but not wilt the kale too much (see photo). Remove from heat.

Plate it up: a scoop of quinoa, portion of the fresh chopped tomatoes, rice and kale/corn medley.

This recipe is for two people in case you need to feed more folks.

Stayton Acres Bean and Lentil Chili

Stayton Acres Spicy Bean and Lentil Chili12 minutes InstantPot
Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Servings: 8 
I’m inspired to make a chili that will need a Stayton Acre avocado on top to offset the heat. Today is Day 22 for me living in my travel trailer. I’m excited that I’m doing this with little stress really. We are eating healthy meals and having a salad everyday. 
This recipe was created with plenty of hearty protein and vegetables in mind.  
Serve with sourdough, crunched up tortillas on top or corn bread.  
Don’t forget to chop sliced avocado on top.
1 yellow onion, chopped

Ingredients

5 garlic cloves, chopped

1T EVOO
1 16oz can black beans

1 16oz can garbanzo beans 

1 16oz can red kidney beans
1 cup orange lentils

1 yellow bell pepper chopped

1 red bell pepper chopped

1 corn on the cob fresh kernels removed

3 celery stalks, chopped

1 14.5oz can of fire roasted diced tomatoes

Spices (IT’S ALL IN THE SPICES!!)

1T cumin powder

1 ½ t chili powder (hot)

2T smoked paprika

1/2t coriander

1t black pepper

3/4t salt

1/2t cayenne pepper powder
Avocado (depending on how many people love avocado…I like ¼ large avocado per person chopped on top).

 

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