Monday, April 26, 2010

Tortellini with Veggies

I LOVE Tortellini!! I love the way it cute ....little rings filled with surprises. I love the way it tastes... especially the spinach or mushroom or cado & black bean filled tortellini. It’s just a fun to eat and an unusual looking pasta.

This dish is something I thought up one evening while watching the food channel. Hubby Bear LOVES “Diner Boy,” Guy Fieri host of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, aka... “Triple D.” So, Guy was at this one place... somewhere.... where they were fixing up a pasta dish that could be an engraved invitation for a coronary. SOOOO much fat and SOOOOO much cheese and sour cream. I thought to myself..... “There’s got to be a healthier pasta dish for sure.” So, I came up with this one.

Filled with some of my favorite veggies.... and you can substitute your has a light olive oil-chive coating that gives the pasta and veggies a wonderful flavor... without all the fat and cheese. Now, for you non-Vegans out there....... you can add shredded Parmesan or Romano cheese and if you have the need for animal protein..... sauté some shrimp and scallops with the chives, bells, olive oil and wine.

Just look at these gorgeous vegetables! LIGHTLY steamed so as to not destroy the nutrients AND to not wash out those wonderful colors AND to not leave these veggies limp like noodles. The asparagus is steamed for 60 seconds... and that is it! The broc steams for TWO minutes max! So Yummy!

As Always.... I DO ORGANIC much as possible!

Here is what you’ll need for this tasty pasta dish:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 1/3rd cup
Garlic, fresh pressed or grated – 2 to 3 cloves
Fresh Chives, finely chopped – ½ cup
Dry white wine – ½ cup
Juice from a Lemon (if you like the taste of lemon... use a large lemon)

Tortellini – about one pound
Red and Yellow Bells, julienned & lightly sautéed (as much as you like)
Broc, tops & lightly steamed (as much as you like)
Asparagus, thin and sliced on the angle into 2 to 3 pieces, lightly steamed (as much as you like)
Fresh large Cherry Tomatoes, quartered – about 4
Fresh raw Baby Spinach – about 2 cups

OK....let’s get this party started!!!

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Add a dash of Olive Oil. Cook the pasta to al dente, according to the package directions, about 7-8 minutes. When the pasta is ready, drain and set aside.

While the pasta is cooking.... steam up your veggies. REMEMBER... lightly. ONE minute for the asparagus and 2 minutes for the broc. Remove immediately from the steamer so they don’t continue to steam. Cut your asparagus... I use just the tips and cut your broc tops. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a pan on low heat. Add garlic and stir, careful to not burn. Add the bells and suate for about 30 seconds. Add the wine and gently reduce for a couple of minutes more. Stir in the lemon juice. Add the pasta, veggies and tomatoes. Toss to coat evenly. Sprinkle the chives all over the top and gently fold in. Turn off the heat & coat for about one minute. Fold in the baby spinach and you are ready to serve. Enjoy with a salad, garlic bread and a glass of your favorite vino. YUM-MO!..... this is what we’re having for supper tonight!!

Until Next Time.......


Thursday, April 22, 2010

MOTHER EARTH......Our Home Sweet Home

"Among other things, 1970 in the United States brought with it the Kent State shootings, the advent of fiber optics, "Bridge Over Troubled Water," Apollo 13, the Beatles' last album, the death of Jimi Hendrix, the birth of Mariah Carey, and the meltdown of fuel rods in the Savannah River nuclear plant near Aiken, South Carolina -- an incident not acknowledged for 18 years." (Earth Day Network)

It took a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin named Gaylord Nelson, back in 1970 to finally take a stand and propose the first nationwide environmental protest. This gathering of thousands of people focused our interests and concerns on our home front... our local environment..... our Earth.

On April 22nd, 1970.... The first Earth Day..... led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species acts.

Today is Earth Day 2010. What will YOU do to protect our Earth from further destruction? What will YOU do to reverse the damage and devastation that our Earth suffers daily?

“Many environmentalists suggest switching to compact florescent lights, turning off the water when you brush your teeth, recycling, or driving a hybrid car. While these things do help, the environmental benefits of these actions pale in comparison to the good done by going vegan—eliminating your consumption of meat, eggs, and dairy products—the single best thing you can do to protect our environment and reduce pollution.” (Action for Animals)

Ever wonder what impact we have on this incredible Earth? Check this out:

*A 2006 report by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) concludes that animal agriculture contributes more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere than all the cars, trucks, planes, and ships in the world combined.

*Researchers at the University of Chicago have determined that just going vegetarian is more effective in reducing global warming than driving a hybrid car.

*The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that animal waste is responsible for 80 percent of ammonia emissions in the United States.

*According to the Audubon Society, over half of the water used in the US goes to raising animals for food.

*The EPA reports that waste from factory farming pollutes more water sources than all other industries combined.

*According to a US Senate Committee on Agriculture, livestock produce 130 times more urine and feces than the human population of the US—all without the benefit of a sewage system. This manure—more than 500 million tons of animal waste annually, according to the EPA—far exceeds what can be used for fertilizer.

*The Sierra Club reports, “America’s drinking water, rivers, and lakes are at risk from giant, corporate-owned factory farms… waste leaks into our rivers and streams, fouling our air, contaminating our drinking water, and spreading disease.”

*According to a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) statistical bulletin, 80 percent of the agricultural land in the US is used to raise animals.

*Time Magazine reports that we feed 70% of the grains and cereals grown in the US to livestock. This is very inefficient because most of the feed gets wasted and only a small amount of the protein is converted to flesh. Animals require many times more calories—in the forms of grain, soybeans, oats, and corn—than they return in the form of meat.

*The University of Chicago notes that raising animals for food requires ten times as many crops as we’d need if we just ate the grains directly. If we were not using all that land to grow crops to fatten chickens, pigs, and cows, we could reforest millions of acres in the US alone. Or, we could use the grains that are not wasted on livestock to feed all the starving people in the world many times over.

*Commercial fishing drift nets are wiping out biodiversity, as miles of nets sweep up all the fish in their path, and often damage delicate coral reefs. Commercial fishers have devastated the ocean’s ecosystem to the extent that large fish populations are only 10 percent of what they were in the 1950s.

*The fish on ocean-based farms are plagued by parasites and diseases, which they pass to fish living near the farms. When foreign fish escape from their underwater cages, they threaten the well-being of native fish species. Fish farms pollute coastal waters with massive amounts of fish feces and require huge numbers of wild-caught fish to feed their captives

*Rosamond Naylor, Senior Research Scholar at the Institute for International Studies at Stanford University, reports that it takes about three pounds of wild-caught fish to grow one pound of farmed shrimp or salmon. She also says fish farming often produces a flow of effluent, containing feces and uneaten feed, which contributes to pollution of coastal waters; additionally, hundreds of thousands of acres of coastal wetlands have been destroyed for aquaculture ponds and facilities

It all starts with YOU, ME and EVERYONE. As each one of your cities celebrate Earth Day today.... I invite you to consider "what are YOU going to do to help clean up YOUR environment, to lessen YOUR impact on your local city and to make YOUR Earth healthy again?"

Until Next Time.......


Monday, April 12, 2010

AH....SPRING TIME.......

Wow! As I was standing in the laundry room washing my hands... I noticed that I can no longer see the house behind us. In the winter, because the brush is so thin, you can see almost the whole house. But now that spring is sprung... the brush is filled out, thick & full in all its greeness & now the house is almost hidden.

At the first part of spring, seems like everything grows so quickly... like on steroids. You can see day to day changes. Flowers, trees, bushes all experience a rebirth. Something else I just noticed is a VERY LARGE wasp tapping on the window & ..I am thinking “Dang I am so happy I am inside & you are outside!” Seriously, are the insects on steroids too? I dread seeing the first snake of the year!! (SCREAM!)

Spring, not only brings beautiful wildflowers & great weather, but also it’s my cue for my bi-annual “spring cleanup.” Everything within a mile’s radius....well maybe not a mile.... gets cleaned from top to bottom & everything in between....this includes pups & Hubby Bear LOL!!! Nothing like a clean, dust-free, bug-free environment to promote good health for those around it.

Spring is a fresh new start... a new beginning.... a new birth for creatures, a chance for new opportunities.... new dreams....It is a time to reflect & look ahead at the coming months of summer fun with family & friends.

So, it is only fitting that life is returning to normal as baby boy beagle ..Jack.... is doing much better. He is experiencing his own new beginning, his chance to dream again. He is maybe 65 to 70 percent & most likely won't be much more. But, bless his heart.... he can stand & walk on his own. He no longer requires his harness or his rear sling. We have to help him pee. His little rear end & hind legs wobble & he fishtails a bit... but, so do I sometimes! His hair is growing back & his nearly 3 inch scare on his back is no longer visible. He had so much hair shaved off his little body... we would joke & say all he needs now are a few tatoos & some body piercings!

Hubby Bear & I are so thankful that he is still with us. He has come a long way since I last blogged about Jack. And that would not have been possible without Dr. Tige Witsberger over at TAMU Vet School. God Bless him!

I hope to return to regular blogging... although my business is really picking up again...& for that .... I am again, very thankful. Finding time to blog every day, may be difficult, but several times a week will work. I have new recipes & new "Not So Humble Workouts" to share!

Thanks to all of you following this Humble Vegan, I appreciate each one of you! And if you are not yet following... I invite you to click on "FOLLOW THIS BLOG" right below my Humble Fit Bits. I would be thrilled & honored! dear ones.....I invite you to take a moment.... wherever you live...... stand still....look, listen, smell, touch.... & take in spring & all of its it will be fleeting & if you live in Texas..... the heat & humidity of the Texas weather will be upon us very soon.

Until Next Time.... Jack says.....


Monday, April 5, 2010

That'sa Stretch!

What is the most important task you can do in the mornings when you first get outta that bed that will reap the most benefits as you age?

Let’s see.... Is it....
*Bathroom stop?
*The first refreshing cool glass of filtered water?
*Brushing and Flossing teeth?

Well... of course all of the above are crucial and critical to good health.... but the ONE thing missing is....

S T R E T C H I N G!!!

YES! Even our pets know the importance of this ritual. Every morning, as soon as they get their little bodies out of bed, my Jack n Jill beagles stretch their whole bodies.

People! Each day, we are fighting against nature’s cruelty of gravity and aging. These wreak havoc on our bodies. Gravity pulls us DOWN..DOWN..DOWN..... Our spines collapse, our necks fall and our heads jut forward and down. Our shoulders round and turn in, our chests cave in and we lose inches off our height.

As we age, the ligaments and tendons in our legs (and over our whole body) lose their elasticity and our ankles begin to weaken with age and weight. Our feet grow longer and widen because they flatten out. We lose the arches and the feet begin to pronate. Without the strength of the tendons and ligaments and muscles, they simply cannot hold up.

WOW!!! Bummer, huh?

Well... a lot of this can be prevented or at least postponed if we simply take the time and stretch our whole bodies every morning.... first thing....before anything else... Well, maybe except for the bathroom stop..... LOL!

In addition to addressing the issues mentioned above, the benefits of stretching are endless. Did you know that most heart attacks occur on Monday mornings? Regular stretching helps with circulation, gets that heart pumping steadily, & keeps it healthy and ready to meet each day. (as well as a healthy food plan, regular exercise, at least 7 hours of sleep each night and meditation to relieve stress)

Stretching elongates that spine & neck, assisting you in standing up... standing taller. Stretching releases the stress from all the joints allowing the tendons, ligaments and muscles to perform their functions without issues. Stretching improves your balance, flexibility and coordination. Stretching prevents injuries from performing daily activities of life.

Here are some suggestions: Hold each one for at least 10 seconds or more. NO BOUNCING on any of these.

REACHING FOR THE STARS: stand tall and raise your arms straight up like you are reaching for the stars.

HUG YOURSELF: stand tall and wrap your arms around your chest and give yourself a hug.

BUTTERFLIES: stand tall; with elbows bent bring your arms back like wings. Squeeze the scapula and open up your chest.

BENDOVERS: stand tall, bend from the hips, with knees slightly bent, touch your knees, your ankles, your toes, or the floor. Whichever is comfortable. Do NOT force this. As you progress, your flexibility will improve and you can reach further!

RUNNER STRETCHES: squat down on the floor, place one leg all the way back behind you and carefully stretch that leg. Switch to the other side.

QUADS: stand tall, bend back one leg at knee and grasp your ankle. Keep knees close together. Gently pull until you feel the quad muscles stretch. Make sure the opposite knee is slightly bent. Switch to the other side.

HAMS: stand tall and place one leg on a chair or bench. Carefully bend forward until you feel the stretch in the hamstring muscle. Make sure the opposite knee is slightly bent. Switch to the other side.

CALVES & SHINS: stand tall, take one foot and flex it. You can feel the calf muscles stretch. Now take the foot and extend it, feeling the pull around the shins. Make sure the opposite knee is slightly bent. Switch to the other side.

So, tomorrow morning... take an extra few minutes and give your body a wonderful “wake-up” for a change. Make this a habit and you will feel so great and your body will thank you!!

Until Next Time....