Gratitude After The Storm

IMG_6527As Palm Beach County recovers from the disastrous effects of Hurricane Irma, there are  so many still without power, so many who haven’t returned from wherever they fled to find safety. Palm Beach Gardens was spared the worst of the damage, once again dodging a devastating bullet.

In my neighborhood I’ve watched the lights come back on painstakingly slow, one street at a time…until finally came our turn, last night around 6 p.m.

I ventured out this morning for the first time after three days without electricity, television or internet.  Tree branches and debris are piled neatly along the city streets where almost all the traffic lights are back in working order. There’s a long wait at the railroad crossing, something is holding up the train. But I don’t care. I’m just happy to be here. The sun feels warm on my skin. After spending days inside a humid house, it’s a revelation.

My local Whole Foods Market is back up and running, almost fully stocked. Life feels back to normal. Almost. I pick up a few things and then stop by the library to return my books. The parking lot is packed with cars. As busy as I’ve ever seen it. Familiar faces mingle with refugees from nearby towns. A cool place to relax for awhile. I find a nice new stack of hold items ready to pick up. My usual mix of cookbooks, novels, music and movies.

Everywhere I go today the vibe is one of calm, almost reverence. People are polite, helpful. Yielding to let the other pass. At Publix the woman bagging my perfectly ripe avocado, my organic bananas, my fresh cilantro, asks me how I am doing.

“I’m feeling so grateful today.”

“Me too,” she smiles.

The cashier nods in agreement.

“Would you like to donate a dollar to the hurricane relief fund?”

“Yes! Can you make it five??”

Incredibly fortunate. Incredibly humbled.

Incredibly grateful.

 

 

Chocolate Chip Muffins

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A vegan’s life is such bliss! To enjoy the bounty of the earth, without guilt, without hesitation, with compassion. Most vegans, in my experience, are very much in love with food.

As someone who has wrestled with weight and body image issues for most of my life, I can tell you, it is so gratifying to let that go–finally. As I become more fully conscious, through my yoga and meditation practice, more in touch with and in tune with my body’s needs, I begin to have a sense of what to eat and what not to eat, based on how it makes me feel–before and after.

One thing I have realized, my body does not like a high-fat diet. But, my palate enjoys a sweet tasting chocolate treat at regular intervals. Enter, the low-fat, vegan muffin. A nice compromise when deciding whether that vegan cupcake from Whole Foods, slathered with the greasy, weirdly dry icing is really worth it.

This, I can live with. These muffins are lightly sweet and wholesome tasting. Go ahead, eat two. It’s still gonna be less calories than the alternative. Please enjoy this recipe, borrowed from Madhuram’s Eggless Cooking http://www.egglesscooking.com.

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Vegan Chocolate Chip Muffins
5.0 from 3 reviews
Print
Prep time:20 Mins
Cook time:25 Mins
Yields:8 Muffins
Very easy to bake, these vegan chocolate chip muffins will become your “go-to” vegan muffin recipe.

WET INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 CupAlmond Milk
  • 1 TeaspoonApple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 CupUnsweetened Applesauce
  • 1/4 CupCoconut Oil
  • 1 TeaspoonVanilla Extract
DRY INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 CupsWhole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 1/2 CupWhite Sugar
  • 1 TablespoonBaking Powder
  • 1/2 TeaspoonSalt
ADD-ONS:
  • 1/2 CupVegan Chocolate Chips
  • 1/2 CupChopped Nuts (Optional)
SUBSTITUTES:
PROCEDURE:
  1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C for 15 minutes. Lightly grease a muffin tin or line it with paper liners.
  2. In a small bowl mix together the milk and vinegar and set aside for about 5 minutes or until it curdles.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients and make a well in the center.
  4. To it add the milk mixture, applesauce, oil and vanilla extract. Mix together until the batter is just moistened. Fold in the chocolate chips and nuts, if using.
  5. Scoop out about 1/3rd cup of batter in each muffin cup. Bake for about 25-27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Mine was done in 25 minute
Vegan Chocolate Chip Muffins
5.0 from 3 reviews
Print
Prep time:20 Mins
Cook time:25 Mins
Yields:8 Muffins
Very easy to bake, these vegan chocolate chip muffins will become your “go-to” vegan muffin recipe.

WET INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 CupAlmond Milk
  • 1 TeaspoonApple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 CupUnsweetened Applesauce
  • 1/4 CupCoconut Oil
  • 1 TeaspoonVanilla Extract
DRY INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 CupsWhole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 1/2 CupWhite Sugar
  • 1 TablespoonBaking Powder
  • 1/2 TeaspoonSalt
ADD-ONS:
  • 1/2 CupVegan Chocolate Chips
  • 1/2 CupChopped Nuts (Optional)
SUBSTITUTES:
PROCEDURE:
  1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C for 15 minutes. Lightly grease a muffin tin or line it with paper liners.
  2. In a small bowl mix together the milk and vinegar and set aside for about 5 minutes or until it curdles.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients and make a well in the center.
  4. To it add the milk mixture, applesauce, oil and vanilla extract. Mix together until the batter is just moistened. Fold in the chocolate chips and nuts, if using.
  5. Scoop out about 1/3rd cup of batter in each muffin cup. Bake for about 25-27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Mine was done in 25 minutes.

Two Bean and Bulgar Chili

chili

I came across this recipe, while sifting through a drawer. It was a page torn from one of those little paperback supermarket cookbooks at the register called “Meatless Meals”.

There is a handwritten note beside the recipe, “Steve’s favorite 2005”. This little memory jog took me right back to that year when I first met the man who would become my husband, though neither of us knew it yet.

Neither could we imagine the journey we would share–a winding path filled with surprises, some happy, some sad and some bursting with instantaneous joy and laughter.

Two-Bean and Bulgar Chili

1 tablespoon oil

1 medium carrot, chopped

1 medium green bell pepper, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups water

1/2 cup uncooked bulgar wheat

1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained

1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce

3 teaspoons chili powder

2 teaspoons cumin

1 (15 oz) can dark red kidney beans

1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed

Method:

Saute in oil over medium-high heat, carrot, bell pepper, onion and garlic; cook and stir 4 minutes.

veggies

Stir in remaining ingredients, except beans. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 40 minutes, until bulgar is tender and flavors are blended, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.

pot

Add drained beans and simmer 5 minutes until heated through. Serve with your favorite cornbread.

cornbread

I am really glad this recipe was Steve’s favorite back in 2005, because that was long before we  became vegan. What an evolution together, over time, to a more compassionate lifestyle, a deeper enjoyment of food and a more humble appreciation for nature.

I am ever grateful for my husband’s love and support on my personal journey, and I can’t imagine a better partner with whom to share the ride.