Wellness Wednesdays: Quinoa Salad with Snap Peas & Radish

Welcome back to Wellness Wednesdays! This week I am briefly recapping the Ayurvedic cleanse I just completed, & sharing a gorgeous Spring salad that became a new lunch time favorite ~ Quinoa Salad with Snap Peas & Radish, topped with my all time favorite lemon-tahini dressing

On Sunday, my 21 Day Ayurvedic Spring Detox Challenge came to a bittersweet close. While I didn’t immerse myself fully into the cleanse as I intended, I definitely reset some habits, experienced many deep moments of clarity, & ate wonderful, wholesome foods. This was not your average “cleanse” as most will interpret the word. There was no fasting, or starvation of any kind. It was simply cleaning up the diet & consciously consuming – of both body & mind, by eating organic, whole & seasonal foods, avoiding refined sugar, caffeine, alcohol, gluten & proceed foods, &  limiting our time online & in front of the television. Daily yoga, meditation, & dinacharya rituals were followed. When practiced regularly, these practices can make a profound impact on your wellbeing. I’ve never felt more nourished, grounded & attuned than when I  follow to an ayurvedic lifestyle. Of course, once the guided cleanse comes to a close, community you’ve grown close to begins to go their separate ways, it’s easy to return to the lazy ways of status quo. That was my experience after the Winter Cleanse, & the comfortable balance I had created for myself was quickly shattered by stress & a busy schedule. I came into the Spring Cleanse feeling more imbalanced than ever before, but just after a few days of dinacharya, simple meals, early bed time, & allowing stillness back into my life, I made palpable shifts. Ayurveda is a great gift. I know that even if I stray the course, it is always here for me to return to. This cleanse was particularly challenging as I moved right in the middle of it. For the first week, my kitchen was in boxes, & the fridge contents were dwindling. Come week 2, we focused on a “mono-diet” so a big pot of Spring kitchari & dahl carried me through. By week 3, I was settled, my organic delivery service had resumed, & we had entered the re-integration phase of the cleanse. Inspired by my delivery that was full of beautiful Spring veggies, I put this lovely salad together.

Quinoa Salad with Snap Peas & Radish
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad, Main
Serves: 4-6
 
A light & refreshing salad that highlights the flavors & textures of Spring.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 pint snap peas, trimmed & halves (about 2 cups)
  • 1 bunch radishes, sliced
  • handful of microgreens
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • ¼-1/2 cup filtered water
  • ½ teaspoon Himalayan sea salt
Instructions
  1. Prepare the quinoa: combine the quinoa and water in a sauce pan & bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, stir, cover, & cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until all of the water has been absorbed. Remove from the heat, let it stand for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork. Allow to cool.
  2. Prepare the dressing: Combine tahini, olive oil, lemon juice & zest, garlic & sea salt in blender & blend until smooth. Add water to reach desired consistency.
  3. Prepare the salad: Combine the quinoa, snap peas, & radishes in a large bowl. Pour over about half of the dressing, then toss to combine. Taste & add more dressing if desired. Top with micro greens. Enjoy at room temperature or chilled.
Notes
The salad really absorbs the dressing, so set a bit aside to re-dress any leftovers.

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Ahhh, this salad! It makes the perfect lunch & would be fantastic for a potluck or beach picnic. It’s so light & refreshing with the crisp veggies, yet the quinoa gives it a soul satisfying “heartiness.” I used a mix of red & white quinoa, as you can see. I love the texture combination. This salad has a lot of CRUNCH! And don’t even get me started on the creamy & zesty dressing. I’ve been putting it on everything, as you will see next week, from salads, to noodles, even a dip for veggies. There is an abundant lemon tree on my new property & I am fully taking advantage of my landlord’s invitation to pick the fruit!

Well, with that I am off, back to spending more hours reformatting the new site. Thanks so much for your patience as things constantly change. Such is the nature of life, anyway. See you next time!

Mindful Mondays: Finding Your Flow with Oprah & Deepak

Hi Friends! As I mentioned last week, Oprah & Deepak Chopra are joining forces once again with an all new “21 Day Meditation Experience” called “Finding Your Flow.” 

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Oprah & Deepak’s 21-Day Meditation Experience makes meditation easy, fun, & inspiring! I participated in their last challenge & I loved it. Here is how it works: each day you will receive a new guided audio meditation via their online, interactive program. Just click on the daily email to access the content. While I prefer to experience the meditations first thing in the morning, you can easily adapt the experience to your life by enjoying convenient access to the daily program anytime, anywhere from your mobile phone, tablet or computer. Anytime, anywhere guided meditation –fantastic! Oh & did I mention is is FREE?

About the “Finding Your Flow” experience:

Did you know that there is a flow of powerful energy that permeates every aspect of our reality? When aligned with this flow, we’re tapped into the pure, unlimited source of all peace, possibility & potential. Actualize your vision for authentic wellbeing with us on 4.14.14, when we will embark on a 3-week journey toward true transformation. We’ll reveal the secrets to finding your flow & teach you how to leverage its mighty power to effortlessly carry you like a river current to all of the joy, love & fulfillment you desire.

So who is going to join me? There is still plenty of time to sign up today. Whether you’re new to meditation or a mindfulness master, anyone can benefit from this unique program. Invite your friends to join you & let’s get meditating!

Cold Busting Strawberry-Grapefruit Protein Smoothie

This always happens to me….the seasons change, spring break arrives, & I get sick. Without fail. At least, this time around it hasn’t totally taken me out. It’s a cross between allergies & a minor cold. No fun, but I can handle it!

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I am also coming to the end of my 3 week Ayurvedic Spring Detox Challenge lead by my wellness mentor, Laura Plumb. She introduced this awakening & energizing “Spring Detox Smoothie” in week 3 & it sounded so refreshing! I happened to have all ingredients on hand, as strawberries are just coming in to season here & grapefruit has been a recent appearance in my local organic delivery. I adapted it to my liking, adding in spicy ginger, creamy banana, a few sprigs of refreshing mint, & a scoop of Vega’s “Au Natural” Protein Smoothie Infusion.

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Grapefruit, a bona fide cold-fighter, is an excellent source of vitamin C, making this smoothie just what the doctor ordered. Strawberries are also high in vitamin C, helps to boost immunity, & is a powerful fast-working antioxidant.  Spicy ginger helps to clear the sinuses & alleviate nose & throat congestion. A triple dose of cold fighting power!

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Cold Busting Strawberry-Grapefruit Protein Smoothie
Author: 
Recipe type: Smoothie, Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Sweet, tangy & cold busting! This vitamin rich, powerful blushing beauty will help get you back on track when your immune system is down.
Ingredients
  • ½ grapefruit, peeled
  • 1 cup hulled strawberries
  • ½ pink lady apple, cored & chopped
  • 1 banana
  • 1 scoop vegan protein powder
  • 1 t raw honey
  • ¼ inch fresh ginger, peeled & chopped
  • fresh mint sprigs
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients, plus 1 cup water, in a blender & process until smooth
Notes
Adapted from food-alovestory.com

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Wow! This isn’t for the faint hearted, as that tart flavor certainly gives this smoothie an energizing zip! As Laura says, “grapefruit offers a light, bright, energizing way to get more of the bitter taste in your diet, which in turn will give you a healthier, happier Spring.” As we’ve now entered the Ayurvedic “Kapha” season, this bitter & astringent taste can actually be very purifying, cleansing & balancing. In other words, to put a little spring in your step keep the citrus coming!

To your health!

Friday Faves: Olivine Atelier

Hello! Here we are at the all new vegenista.com! I’ve finally moved from tumblr to wordpress! It’s a transition I’ve been meaning to do for a while, & will be a work in progress as I continue to tweak, update, reconfigure, etc., so please be patient with me. A new logo is in the works, which I am very excited about, & I’ll be continuing to update the look of the site over the next few weeks. I am happy for the change, as I out grew tumblr & am really looking to put a lot of new energy into the site this year.

Now that housekeeping is out of the way, it’s time for Friday Faves! I am so thrilled to share with you my latest beauty discovery...Olivine Atelier….

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I first read about Olivine on The Treekisser blog & was instantly intrigued. If you know me, you know that I’m a girly girl. I love clothes, shoes, makeup, perfume, jewelry, accessories, etc. I’ll admit, I’m a shopper, but I make it a point to shop for cruelty-free goods. I’ve always had a difficult time with synthetic perfumes. I’ll never forget spraying on Estee Lauder’s “Beautiful,” a Christmas gift from my brother, before heading into a psychology final (this was obviously many years ago!). I had a terrible allergic reaction, & had to leave class before I’d completed the test. Fortunately, I was able to make up the exam, but unfortunately, that sweet gift from my brother was re-gifted to a friend. Shortly thereafter I began working for Aveda (pre-Lauder days) & discovered the pleasant world of essential oils. From that day forward, I never sprayed a synthetic fragrance anywhere near my body. After that, I worked for several years for Trish McEvoy, who has a line of beautiful essential oil based fragrances. These have been my signature scents for years, until I discovered Olivine.

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Olivine, the olfactory-baby of Julie Wray, is  totally vegan friendly, cruelty free, & absolutely glamorous. There are 5 intoxicating perfumes in the Olivine family of fragrances each with thoughtful, whimsical names & heartfelt descriptions. The packaging is beautiful & luxurious & every perfume comes with a glitter-dipped feather – a sign of freedom &  adventure. But don’t get your feathers ruffled! Each feather is naturally fallen & hand-collected by Julie at a local bird sanctuary.

With 5 beautiful fragrances available, how does one choose? That was certainly my dilemma as I browsed through the descriptions. I wanted one of each, but that was way out of the budget…until I discovered the Deluxe Perfume Oil Sample Set. This was actually perfect for me, as I am a scent by mood girl. I love having options that will uplift, relax, feel elegant, sexy, etc.

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The sample set was beautifully packaged, a true gift in itself. And while $30 may seem steep for “samples,” this isn’t the run of the mill sample you might get in a fragrance department. Plus, these are oil based, which means just a dab will do ya, so you’ll certainly get your wear out of these.

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While they are all lovely, if I had to choose ONE to purchase, based on what my recent mood has drawn me to, I think it would have to be “She Belongs There.” I love the warm floral notes, as well as the description, as is so fitting for my current circumstances:

imgres “Over time, I’ve come to realize that contortions are unnecessary. That doing my best is better than worrying about whether I’m doing it right. I don’t need to do anything at all to fit into my world. I already belong here. It’s amazing what happens when a woman realizes that wherever she is, wherever she goes, she’s perfect.”

The aroma is a “warm, sexy tangle of gardenias, pikake, night-blooming jasmine & lush, smoky vanilla.”

“It’s your life. You belong there & this blend will keep you grounded in that knowledge.”

 

Yep, I think I’ve found my new signature! So, if you are looking for a new fragrance that is both cruelty-free & vegan friendly, as well as luxe & feminine, check out Olivine Atelier’s line of absolutely gorgeous scents. You’ll never smell better!

(Image sources: olivine.comanewall.com)

Restaurant Review & Interview with Juan Miron of JUKE

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For several years the “MIHO Gastrotruck” has a fixture on the San Diego foodie scene. They were the first “gourmet” food truck to hit the scene back in 2010, & inspiring single handedly inspired the San Diego Food Truck movement. Prior to MIHO rolling around in their artfully designed truck selling delicious hand-crafted farm-to-table street food, about all you’d see on the streets were “roach coaches” that you were better off avoiding. MIHOs arrival changed everything. I remember tracking them down at the Adams Avenue Art Walk, their very first weekend in business, ordering a vegetarian “Bahn Mi” & sang its praises here. Not only was the food awesome, the guys behind the wheel/kitchen/concept were awesome too. MIHO started showing up all over town, & soon you were fighting off long lines & big crowds in the hopes of reaching the counter before the good stuff sold out. The best part…they always offered a few vegetarian/veganizable items on the menu. So imagine my disappointment when I heard the announcement that the truck would be semi-retiring. The truck would still be available for private catering events, but no longer making the weekly rounds. Major sadface.

All was not lost, however, just re-imagined, as Juan & Kevin, the duo behind MIHO, partnered up with Bottlecraft in North Park to open “JUKE”, a small farm-to-table “cafe” counter hidden in the back of the shop. Their culinary concept focuses on a “neo-traditional” menu that highlights internationally inspired street foods. For those of us of the veggie inclined about 1/3 of the menu is vegetarian &/or veganizable. While it’s not a physical restaurant, communal style seating is available outside.

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About Juke:

JUKE is a new school of thought on what, how & why we eat. This means a healthy balance of ingredients, an honest way of cooking, & a more conscious approach to the composition of each dish. JUKE’s neo-traditional menu draws inspiration from the beloved flavors of California, Baja, Asia & the Mediterranean. With a bedrock of local farms & sustainable food practices, JUKE features a menu that celebrates vegetables & grains, but is still in many ways an homage to the casual, international street food that MIHO is known for.

Last month, Juan graciously invited me to JUKE to try out their veganizable options & of course I jumped at the chance! I was treated to the “Cauliflower Steak” with roasted cauliflower, curry-apple sauce, herbed couscous, toasted marcona almonds, & greens…

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And the “Bibimbap” with roasted tofu, forbidden rice, pickled shiitake, greens, radish & gochujang, made vegan by holding the poached egg.

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Both were super fresh, flavorful & delicious. If I have to play favorites, the cauliflower steak it is! As I am a fan of every component of this dish, it was an easy choice. Sweet roasted cauliflower over a mild, yet tangy, green curry, fluffy couscous, tender greens & crunchy marcona almonds? Sounds like my kind light, yet satisfying meal. While I, gracefully, stuffed my face, Juan & I chatted about MIHO, JUKE, & the future:

Vegenista: The MIHO Gastrotruck really helped to shape the San Diego Food Truck scene. How did you get involved in the food business & what led you to launch a food truck? 

Juan Miron: Kevin & I have always been super passionate about food, where it comes from, how its prepared & the experience it creates. My wife & I were hosting underground beer supper clubs since 2006 as a creative outlet for both of us. In 2008 I started working at The Linkery, SD’s original farm to table restaurant, that’s where I met Kevin & soon enough he & his fiancé joined Farra & I on the beer dinners. We did that for a couple of years & ultimately, we knew we wanted to strike on our own & pursue a business opportunity. That’s when we caught wind of the food truck scene in other cities & instantly we knew that was our next step.

V: You recently retired the highly successful food truck & launched JUKE inside of Bottlecraft North Park. What inspired you to make the change? How did the concept of a counter & the partnership with Bottlecraft come about?

JM: For us every decision is all about progressing & enhancing the experiences we offer. We left the streets at the beginning of 2013 as we had planned to transition into a full time catering company. The essence of the food truck scene had evolved & was not fulfilling anymore. Catering had been an area of our business that we always enjoyed, creating memorable experiences around food for special events, this just felt right. A year later the opportunity to reconnect with our followers came when Brian from Bottlecraft mentioned that he was planning on putting a kitchen & would love us to do it. We then decided to open up JUKE. 

V: Thank you for offering vegetarian & vegan friendly menu items! How would you describe the style of food you are serving at JUKE & how is it different from MIHO?

JM: MIHO is internationally inspired street food., where JUKE is a new style of food, “neo-traditional” as we call it. It’s our take on traditional dishes, with our twist, while maintaining our bedrock of sourcing from local farms & using a sustainable approach to all that we do. It’s a reflection of the styles of food we enjoy eating, baja, mediterranean, asian, with a conscious thought on balancing greens, grains & meats, with a few vegetarian & vegan items too. 

V: Do you have any other exciting plans/projects in the works that you would like to share?

JM: Yes, we just launched our cocktail catering company, “Please & Thank You,” & we thrilled to be able to add that on as another service under the “A MIHO Experience” brand. Again this was another project where it just seemed natural for us to offer bar catering for all the events that we do. 

A few days later I was back for more, bring my friend Anna along for a Sunday afternoon brunch. I’d had some cocktails the night before, so a strong pour-over coffee & a belly filling meal was calling my name, so naturally, I was drawn to the “Chilaquiles,” - hold the carnitas add tofu – with vegetarian refried beans, tortilla chips, avocado, roasted tofu & gochujang.

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While it was tasty enough, it doesn’t quite rival the vegan chilaquiles masterpiece from Gracias Madre, but it was just what the doctor ordered to ease my hangover. Need I say more? Anna went for lighter fare & ordered the “Romesco Salad” with roasted root vegetables, manchego, toasted hazelnut, raisins, greens, & romesco dressing. If you wish this to be vegan, hold simply omit the cheese.

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She enjoyed the fresh & flavorful salad, however, as I’ve read in other reviews, it was a bit overdressed causing the greens to get a little soggy. Romesco is a rich dressing, so just a dab will do ya! Maybe order it on the side? As we were finishing up our coffee, another patron sat beside us with the most beautiful bowl of fresh fruit & cashew “yogurt.” We decided that our bellies could expand just a little bit more to make room for that delicious treat…Cashew Parfait” topped with homemade granola, seasonal fresh fruit & mint.

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As expected, it was divine. I could definitely taste the cashews, as I use them for various creams & sauces around here, but never thought to make it a thick, yogurt consistency. It was definitely rich! But the fresh fruit & mint helped to lighten it up a bit. I will most certainly be back for more of that!

So, if you are in the San Diego area & have not made your way over to JUKE, why wait any longer? They’re open Tues-Saturday from 11am-9pm, & from 10am-7pm for Sunday Brunch. Remember, they are located INSIDE Bottlecraft in North Park, between 30th & Ray Street. Keep up with JUKE on their website, Facebook, & Instagram

A big thank you to Juan, JUKE, & the MIHO family for the hospitality invitation to check out this exciting new establishment! #EATJUKE

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