Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Best Damn Plant Based Lasagna from then One Part Plant Cookbook GF/V

I know this is a pretty huge claim but let me tell y’all, Jessica Murnane nails the damn thing in her cookbook One Part Plant. Naturally its plant based so its essentially vegan and with the addition of gluten free noodles its safe for those with the common allergies and autoimmune conditions.

I managed to make this lasagna zero waste, thus I gave myself a huge pat on the back for it. The Tinkyada lasagna noodles come packaged in cardboard with no plastic or filler. I was ecstatic to find these at my local Whole Foods and while I have tried other brands of gluten free lasagna noodles in the past, I didn't like them. To the point this was my first attempt in say 3 years to make lasagna. Yes that long. I purchased the veggies in reusable cotton bags and we happen to have fresh thyme growing outside. I still dream of the day gluten free pastas are available in bulk form. I’m giving you some side eye Whole Foods & Sprouts

one part plant vegan lasagna

Back to this lasagna, the mushroom cream sauce is so dang decadent and flavorful you wont miss dairy one bit. I actually prefer this to the non-vegan counterpart. If its sad that I licked the spoon while stirring the sauce together then I don't want to be right. I also added some cracked black pepper for an extra kick. Bursting with veggies and if you add nutritional yeast you get the boost of protein and B vitamins.

This recipe is simple. Not fussy. I think it took me about 15 minutes to prep if you leave the cashews soaking and then blend them while cooking the mushrooms and noodles. I baked mine in a smaller dish than the one Jessica lists but the recipe instructions below is hers. 

There are even more delicious and easy recipes in Jessica’s cookbook One Part Plant. If you happen to be a lover of podcasts like me I highly recommend hers of the same nameI know its about food, culture, encouragement, but I actually find her conversations therapeutic and healing.

one part plant vegan lasagna

Be sure to follow me on Instagram cause I’ll definitely be posting more creations from her book on my feed.

Creamy Mushroom Lasagna from One Part PlantCookbook
(Serves 8), the * denotes my recommendation/what I did

  Olive, grape seed, or coconut oil, or veggie broth for sautéing
  3 cloves garlic, minced
  16 ounces mushrooms, chopped (I recommend Portobello but use you favorites*)
  1 tablespoon tamari or coconut aminos
  1 teaspoon dried thyme (I also added oregano & basil*)
  3/4 cup raw cashews, soaked for a few hours (overnight is best), drained
  1 cup veggie broth (I also added 1 tsp miso & nutritional yeast)
  2 big handfuls spinach (and/or kale!*)
  10 ounces gluten-free lasagna noodles (I use Tinkyada's brown rice version)
  4 cups marinara sauce, store-bought (a 32 oz jar) or homemade
  Nutritional yeast (this stuff is amazing, I added 1 tbsp. on top*)


1   Preheat oven to 350F.

2   In a large skillet, heat a glug of oil or veggie broth over medium. When the pan is hot, add the garlic and sauté until it becomes fragrant. This will take about a minute. Add the mushrooms, tamari, and thyme. Cook, stirring every minute or so, for 6 to 8 minutes or until the mushrooms release their water and a little broth starts to form.

3   Combine the cashews and veggie broth in a high-speed blender and blend until the mixture is completely smooth. This might take up to 5 minutes, depending on the speed and power of your blender. Pour the cashew sauce into the pan with the mushrooms. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for a couple minutes to let the sauce thicken, stirring frequently. Throw in the spinach and stir for another minute.

4   Prepare the lasagna noodles according to the package instructions. Make sure to do this after your mushroom sauce is ready to go, so the noodles don't sit for too long and start sticking together.
5   Spread a third of the marinara sauce on the bottom of an 8-by-11-inch baking dish. Add a layer of noodles. Cover the noodles with half of the mushroom cream. Add a layer of noodles. Use another third of the marinara to cover these noodles. Add the remaining mushroom cream. Add the last layer of noodles and cover it with the remaining marinara sauce.

6  Cover the lasagna with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, add a sprinkle of nutritional yeast over the top, if you like, and bake for another 15 minutes. Let the lasagna rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

A year of not buying anything (new) + investing in experiences

I came across an article in the beginning of the January about a woman who didn't purchase anything for one year.Of course she isn’t the only one who has attempted a pause on purchasing. Others have and for various reasons. Be it financial, minimalism, or ethical values. 

I advocate conscious consumerism. I don't necessarily believe consumption is the problem but it lies in the act of compulsory consumption. Alden Wicker of EcoCult recently covered this topic with her excellent article Conscious consumerism is a lie. Here’s a better way to help save the world

She writes: “Making series of small, ethical purchasing decisions while ignoring the structural incentives for companies’ unsustainable business models won’t change the world as quickly as we want. It just makes us feel better about ourselves.”

Alden’s stance aligns with the perspective that our shopping intake makes but a mere dent in the cause for sustainability, and I agree with her. Its our actions that make impact but we should address what those actions are. The majority of companies are willing to create products based on demand or fads. Sometimes we forget our money is funding a company’s values or business structure. I believe brands have to earn our trust and we should be doing research when it comes to their standards and business models.

It’s thoughtless acquisitions that become excess. We reflect and think: I will never really use this; wear this, read this. When you’re driven to want something is it because it will bring you inner joy or consistent use? When I moved I realized how much books (and objects) I had. As I selected the ones I was going to take with me I began to realize my time with other objects had reached it’s peak – and that's okay. Don’t get me wrong. I still have a lot of books. That won’t exactly change because reading is my preferred hobby and source of creative inspiration. But I have analyzed the way I should go about letting go. Develop community. Pass it down. Gift it to a stranger.

This year I choose not to buy anything new with the exception of consumables such as food, plants (because I will gladly live in an urban forest), experiences such as train rides or recreational events, and zero waste toiletries like soap when needed. I will still continue working with companies and brands though they must be zero waste or have packaging that is completely recyclable.

A reason I don't want to make new purchases isn’t completely about saving money, although that's an added plus, it’s more so about investing in the opposite of materialism. Things make us happy because of the meaning we attach to it. I don't spend much time with objects. I want to spend more time creating.

I believe in following guidelines where you have reached that level of comfort with your actions. Don't force yourself to do something that isn’t you. Similarly, we shouldn't force our own beliefs onto others. Exposing our views is best received when we have genuineness behind our message.

Even though I wont be buying anything new, I could still make occasional secondhand purchases if I really need something but in this moment I don't and don't want to. I have enough to sustain me. I have the library. I choose to make decisions that align with my values.

Part two will feature the opposite of “not.” It will discuss the experiences and possibilities that are in our everyday lives. I don't think living with less means a life unlived, but rather it's a life that has the potential for more experiences, interactions, and focus.

Inspiration + More on this topic

Jenna Kutcher’s Goal Digger Podcast feat Jess Lively on Intuition and Living with Less


Sunday, March 5, 2017

Jessica Murnane’s Plant Based Grasshopper Pie

It’s March y’all and we are but a few weeks away from spring (march 20th 2017 to be exact!). Now that we are stepping away from the chill of winter its time to prepare for the changing of season, return of sunlight, and maybe even pie.

I came across Jessica Murnane’s Plant Based Grasshopper Pie via Glossed & Found. Now I spent some amount of my childhood in the South namely Virignia where my mothers side of the family still lives, and I cant blame them! Beside the existence of actual seasons, the bounty of nature is your literal neighbor, and a sense of Stars Hollow in the air – I do miss my roots.  Grasshopper Pie however is a retro southern dessert from the ‘50s and ‘60s. Its name comes from its green color and it's a luscious amalgam of chocolate and mint. But the spin on this recipe happens to be vegan and gluten free and its color derives from algae. Spirulina is an excellent source of Vitamins A, K1, K2, B12, iron while also giving a boost of protein (2 grams per one teaspoon) which you can check out on Nutrex Hawaiian’s info page.

Jessica Murnane’s Plant Based Grasshopper Pie

Nutrex Hawaii and I partnered up to incorporate the green goodness in both daily and creative ways. This recipe uses spirulina as a food dye creating the loveliest mint color for pie. We can thank chlorophyll for the intense sea-green color. Sustainability is important to Nutrex, their microalgae comes from their parent company's farm located on the Kona Coast, their fresh water is recycled and returned to the pond for the next cycle. Read more about their dedication to sustainable practices (like solar panels and clean energy!) here.

I adapted Jessica’s recipe slightly. Stick to zero waste principles by buying bulk! Cause you’ll want to make more of this pie, it’s so darn delicious and perfect for a spring day. This pie was gone within a day but I’ll be making more. And really nothing beats the beautiful color from spirulina! Don’t forget Jessica just dropped her cookbook One Part Plant with even more recipes like these!
Jessica Murnane’s Plant Based Grasshopper Pie

*Adapted from Jessica Murnane’s Plant Based Grasshopper Pie | v/gf via Glossed & Found

Pie Crust Ingredients 
  1 cup almond meal flour
  1 cup rolled oats
  1 tsp. vanilla extract
  1 tbsp. coconut oil, liquid form
  3 tbsp. Grade B maple syrup
  1 tsp. pink sea salt
  1 cup dark or dairy-free chocolate chips, chopped and divided

Filling Ingredients:
  2 cans full fat coconut milk cream, refrigerated overnight
  1 1/2  tsp. of mint extract/flavor
  3 tbsp. Grade B maple syrup


Pie Crust

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 inch tart or pie pan. In a food processor blend the almond meal and oats together. While the motor is running, pour in vanilla, maple syrup and coconut oil. Blend until you don’t see whole oats anymore and you have a nice crumbly dough ball. Press dough into tart or pie pan and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges and bottom begin to brown. 

Filling + Pie Assembly

In a blender, add the coconut cream and save the water for another day/us. Add the maple syrup, mint extract or a few mint leaves and the spirulina powder. Blender. If you prefer a more intense green ad 1/8th of a teaspoon of spirulina until you get the desire color. Pour the pie filling into the crust and spread evenly. Top with chopped chocolate and freeze for 30-40 minutes until serving.