Welcome to the third Virtual Vegan Potluck! I’m so excited to participate again this time. When preparing ideas for a main dish, I went straight to the Post Punk Kitchen for ideas. Expert food blogger Isa Chandra Moskowitz prepared a fabulous seitan saute dish that is perfect for the start of summer. I knew I had to create this dish but with black beans instead of seitan. I can’t resist the combination of black beans and corn! And what is a Mexican-inspired dish without a little guacamole on the side? Serve with chips for a light lunch or rice on the side for dinner. Delish!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 medium red onion, in thinly sliced half moons
- 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced (include seeds if you want it spicier)
- 1 can of black beans (15 oz), drained and rinsed
- 1 cup fresh corn kernels, from 2 ears of corn
- 8 oz cremini mushrooms, cut into smaller pieces
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Fresh black pepper, to taste
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1. Heat two teaspoons of olive in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and jalapeno and cook until translucent, 3-5 minutes.
2. Add the black beans and corn in to the pan with one additional tablespoon of oil. Cook for five more minutes.
3. Add the mushrooms, cilantro, salt and pepper. Cook for five minutes.
4. In a separate and smaller pan, saute the garlic in the remaining oil. Add the garlic to the pan and pour or squeeze the fresh lime juice over the mixture.
5. Garnish with fresh cilantro, if desired, and enjoy!
Categories: Beans, Legumes, and Tofu, Mexican, Vegetables
Tags: avocado, black beans, cilantro, corn, guacamole, Isa Chandra Moskowitz, jalapeno, mushroom, Post Punk Kitchen, red onion
Some would call it a coincidence. Maybe it was. A young woman walked into my apartment building looking around. “Just looking,” she said as if she was wandering around a store. She had short blonde hair and probably wasn’t older than 35. We started talking and she said she used to live here. I instantly knew she was going to say she had lived in my apartment. I don’t know why I felt that way but it was true. She said she had lived in my apartment a few years earlier.
“It faces north, the bedroom is on the left…?” she asked, excited that she remembered her old home so well. She went on about how she loved living here and I said the same. She said she had so many memories from this building and I know I do, too. Her face went dark as she started reflecting on the memories here. Her husband was dying of cancer while they lived in my apartment. He was too sick to use the stairs and had to be hoisted down an empty elevator shaft in the building whenever he had to go anywhere. He has since passed away. Her husband, Kyle. Gone. I said what we are all trained to say when we hear such things: “I’m so sorry for your loss.” What else is there that I could say to her? The long answer is this:
I am moving in two weeks from here and I have lived in your old apartment for two years. During those two years, I have laughed hysterically while watching Sex and the City with my sister and mom. I have spent hours cooking some failed concoction in the kitchen and then gone directly out to dinner with my boyfriend after. I’ve woken up at 6 AM, not once but TWICE, so that I could run 13.1 miles like a crazy lady. I have clinked glasses with my friends when the Super Bowl came to town. I’ve spent entire evenings trying on every outfit in my closet just to figure out what items go well with my new shoes. I’ve stayed up late packing for trips to California, Florida and New York.
During those two years, I only cried when a relationship was over or when one of those Sarah McLachlan commercials came on. I never had to take someone to the hospital or pick them up. I thought a week-long cold was the end of the world. The most exhausting two hours of my life was spent at a craft store figuring out fabric for the accent pillow on my bed.
In two weeks I am moving from this place… from our old home… and I have nothing but good memories. Great memories. There were two or three moments that were stressful at the time but now I don’t know why I was ever upset. If anything, the only sad memory of this place will be you. I can’t open a drawer without thinking of you getting his medicine out. I can’t fall asleep in my bedroom without thinking of the restless nights you had here.
You left the building and sat in the courtyard after we talked. I saw you sit there peacefully as you slowly leaned your head back and looked up at the sky. He would have been glad that you had the strength to come back to this place. When you moved from this building, you moved with him. Now you return alone and I can’t imagine what courage that takes. You disappeared from the courtyard as suddenly as you arrived. In that short time, you made me realize how good I have had it here. We lived in the same apartment yet led such different lives and I finally realize how blessed I am. Whether your time here was good or bad, I hope you can finally remember this place as I will always remember it: a home where memories were made with the people we love.
I completed my second half marathon this weekend. I easily could have finished in the top ten if I had trained a little more but I settled for 14,144th place. It is the nation’s largest half marathon with 35,000 competitors each year. I finished with a time of 2:18:50 which is about 20 minutes less than my half marathon race last year. I am happy with my time and felt good during the race. I have just one complaint from the race and it is this: the blister on my foot is the largest I have ever seen. Oh, well. Hopefully it goes away. My toenail that fell off during last year’s race took about five months to grow back completely so let’s hope this blister-issue is over much faster than that! My race stats:
Temperature: 58 degrees
Distance walked to the race: 1.4 miles
Distance walked from the race: 1.4 miles
Number of blisters: 1 but it’s the size of 10 blisters
Overall place: 14,144 out of 30,063
Here’s last year’s injury and this year’s… So gross.
This time last year, I didn’t know yet that I would be running in a half marathon the next day. This time this year, different story. Time to run!
I know, I know, it’s May already. I didn’t get a chance to post about my April race and now the half marathon is this weekend! I’m not sure how it crept up around the corner so quickly. It was still really cold out this time. Seriously, I should not have to wear a jacket and running tights while running 9 miles in the month of April. Oh well, at least it’s warmer now. Here are some stats:
Official time: 1:37:23
Temperature: 46 degrees
Race start time: 8:00 AM
Time I arrived at race: 8:03 AM (oops, but at least people were still crossing the start line as I joined up)
Reason I was late: Waking up at 7:30 AM on a Saturday? Yeah, that’s not an easy accomplishment for me.
Number of GU energy gel packs I brought along: 5
Number of GU energy gel packs I consumed: 1 (I over pack in every situation possible. Why did I think I’d need five? Same reason why I’d pack six bathing suits for a weekend trip to Minnesota in February. I’m a girl.)
Overall place: 901 out of 1,534
I’ll never be a big fan of fake meat but I like to buy different types on rare occasions. Today there was a special occasion: my first visit to our local co-op. Yes, I’ve lived here for almost three years as a vegan (and vegetarian for part of that time) and never made it to our co-op. Turns out the co-op is ridiculously close to where I live. It is about a 5 minute drive which is much better than driving 20 minutes to Whole Foods. It is more expensive than Whole Foods (yes, that is possible) but I’m oddly ok with that.
I had a frozen bag of mirepoix mix and some quinoa on hand for lunch. I cooked up one portobello mushroom cap and the fake sausage from the co-op. I’ve tried a few bites of Tofurkey Italian Sausage but never actually purchased it on my own before. It has a lot of flavor and browns easily in pan on the stove. I’ve been adding it to salads all week which has worked out pretty well. I used a little bit of marinara sauce, some curry seasoning and Asian seasoning. I couldn’t really decide which way to go but somehow the odd mix of flavor was delicious. It’s an easy and cheap meal to throw together so I will have to make this more often! And I am definitely returning to the co-op to find more vegan treats!
For the past few months I’ve known that I’m at a good point in my life to run a full marathon. I enjoy running. I can run long distances without complaining. I get sore and I have to ice my legs occasionally but I have very few pains or injuries otherwise. I also have the time to train and the motivation. What else could possibly need to fall in place?
I thought about running a marathon again this last weekend. I realized suddenly that I will be 26 years old this next year. I immediately saw that as a sign that this would have to be the year that I do it. The numbers match. It must mean it has to happen. I told my coworkers about this on Monday morning. I told them I needed to run a mile for every year of my life. All at once. They didn’t try to talk me out of it. But they also thought I was a little crazy.
And then Monday afternoon happened. Should explosions at a marathon be a sign? Should an attack involving my favorite sport cause me to give it up? Should blood on pavement at a finish line stop me from wanting to cross?
Maybe I was too young when September 11 happened. As a middle schooler in the Midwest, I had never seen the World Trade Center or even heard of it. It was hard to grasp what it meant for those buildings to collapse. But I can easily see the faces of the spectators at a road race. My mom has been in that crowd. My coworkers have been there. I’ve seen my boyfriend standing at the finish line. I can see myself behind the running bib and in those running shoes. It is very real to me. Was it as devastating as September 11? While it’s easy to suggest comparisons between the two attacks, I don’t think anyone can argue that the Boston explosions were as destructive as the attacks on New York and DC eleven years ago.
Regardless, it hit close to home. Even if no one had been injured or killed in the explosions, it would still be difficult to process and understand. Why would someone do that? Someone attacked an event that is the Superbowl of running. It is the World Series. The World Cup. It is the Boston Marathon. It is a running event that will forever in the future have a sadness associated with it. It is the sadness I felt while watching Dark Knight Rises in the theaters after the Aurora shootings. The sadness at my elementary school after Columbine. The sadness of seeing a giant hole in the ground while visiting Lower Manhattan after 9-11. It is a sadness that I never wanted to associate with running.
I can’t imagine what those who were affected by the tragedy are going through. My thoughts and prayers are with the injured and with the families of those who lost their lives. As for me, my dream of someday running a marathon will not go away. If anything, now I can say I’m running with a purpose. I’m running for Boston.
As part of the hunger challenge, I am heading to the grocery store with a list of ingredients that will hopefully add up to $28. I will be eating vegan on $4 a day for a week. I am trying to balance cheap food with healthy and filling meals. I like to leave coupons to the pros so I plan on getting everything without the use of coupons. Here is my list for the week:
- 1 box of instant oatmeal – 10 packets ($1.67)
- 2 boxes of spaghetti ($2.00)
- 1 can of pasta sauce – 24 ozs ($.89)
- 4 granny smith apples – 2 lbs ($3.41)
- 1 bag of frozen vegetables – 12 ozs ($1.00)
- 2 cans of black beans ($1.38)
- 2 cans of corn ($.78)
- 2 cans of green beans ($.78)
- 3 bags of lettuce ($7.50)
- 1 container of organic tofu – 14 ozs ($1.69)
- 1 bag of potatoes – 24 ozs ($2.99)
- 1 bag of clementines -3 lbs ($3.99)
- Total = $28.08
Whew – just eight cents over my goal! The biggest part of the challenge is done! I’m amazed at how much food I have. I can make a wide variety of entrees, sides and salads with the items I’ve purchased. I’m relying on as few pantry staples as possible (spices, cooking oils, sugar, etc) but will allow myself to include a small amount of these items as salad dressing for example. Pretty much everything I bought was non-processed, whole foods. I bought items that have nutrients and lots of fiber to keep my stomach full. To be honest, I’m a little surprised that I was able to get so much. Granted, I happened to walk in on some good deals at a low cost grocery store (thanks, Kroger). Regardless, this definitely gives me hope that other individuals and families can reduce their grocery bill and still eat healthy.
I’m always amused when people tell me a healthy diet is too expensive since the costs associated with eating poorly are much greater in terms of healthcare. However, now I have proof I’m not crazy! I’m just crossing my fingers that this food will last me for a week. Find out on April 8 if I’ve survived the challenge!
I’ve accepted a challenge that I discovered via The Giving Table and I am pretty excited for it. I will be posting a recipe and and sharing how to eat healthy, vegan meals for $4 a day on April 8, 2013. Hunger affects millions of Americans who receive food stamps worth roughly $3 to $4 per person per day. The movie A Place at the Table documents how families handle the financial constraint of food stamps. My grocery bill is typically around $70 a week for one person. And then I eat food from out a couple times a week. I’m not sure how it happens but I end up spending $300-$400 a month on food. For just me. Someone on food stamps would be spending around $120 a month if they are relying solely on food stamps. So, I know it won’t hurt me to try something drastic. I want to eat on $4 a day for a week for two reasons:
1. To save money.
2. To see how it feels.
Saving money will certainly benefit me. Seeing how it feels to “live off food stamps” will hopefully benefit someone else. I want this experience to give me a better understanding of a world that exists far from my own. Someday maybe I can have an impact, no matter how small, on the current food system. As a foodie, it would give me no greater pleasure for all people to be able to enjoy healthy and fresh food like I do. And world peace. I want world peace, too. But let’s start with hunger first.