Honey Garlic Ginger Chicken and Broccoli with Soy Curls Recipe

Honey Garlic Ginger Chicken and Broccoli with Soy Curls Recipe

Honey Garlic Ginger Chicken and Broccoli with Soy Curls Recipe

Most "meat replacement" products are highly processed and full of fillers. Soy curls are a whole food with one ingredient: non-GMO soybeans. Fast and easy to make, they are the perfect substitute for chicken, beef and pork. I've been vegan for 12 years and have only experienced such "meaty" texture in high end vegan restaurants. Soy curl recipes are God's latest gift to the plant-based diet. See notes for where to purchase. Enjoy!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Cuisine Asian, Chinese

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 cup water
  • 2 tsp. veggie bouillon paste optional
  • 3 cups soy curls (1/2 8 oz. package)
  • 4 cups broccoli chopped; substitute ~10 ounces of frozen
  • 1 cup honey garlic ginger marinade Favorite store brand or see notes for homemade recipe
  • 1 Tbsp. Everything seasoning optional

Instructions
 

  • Cook rice according to package directions.
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk the veggie bouillon into the water to make vegetable broth. Add soy curls. Soak for 10 minutes.
  • Chop broccoli into florets. Set aside.
  • Drain excess liquid from soy curls. Place in large skillet and turn on medium heat. Stir in half of the honey garlic ginger marinade (picture of two great options). Heat 5 minutes until browned.
  • Top with broccoli and remaining marinade. Cook until broccoli is bright green and soft. Top with Everything seasoning. Serve over rice.

Notes

Buy soy curls on Amazon. Purchase directly from Butler Foods (they have reduced pricing for multi-packs and bulk). 
Honey Garlic Ginger Dressing recipe: Blend: 1/4 cup Bragg Liquid aminos, 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 1 Tbsp. sesame oil, 3 garlic cloves, 1 inch hunk of ginger (substitute 1/2 tsp. powder), 1 squirt sriracha or chili garlic sauce.
Veggie Broth vs. Bouillon: Store bought organic veggie broth can be very expensive. I use Organic Better than Bouillon Vegetable Base, which allows me to make as little (or as much) as I need without paying $1/cup (it's about $0.20 cents/cup).

Honey Garlic Ginger Chicken and Broccoli with Soy Curls Recipe

Most "meat replacement" products are highly processed and full of fillers. Soy curls are a whole food with one ingredient: non-GMO soybeans. Fast and easy to make, they are the perfect substitute for chicken, beef and pork. I've been vegan for 12 years and have only experienced such "meaty" texture in high end vegan restaurants. Soy curl recipes are God's latest gift to the plant-based diet. See notes for where to purchase. Enjoy!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Cuisine Asian, Chinese

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 cup water
  • 2 tsp. veggie bouillon paste optional
  • 3 cups soy curls (1/2 8 oz. package)
  • 4 cups broccoli chopped; substitute ~10 ounces of frozen
  • 1 cup honey garlic ginger marinade Favorite store brand or see notes for homemade recipe
  • 1 Tbsp. Everything seasoning optional

Instructions
 

  • Cook rice according to package directions.
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk the veggie bouillon into the water to make vegetable broth. Add soy curls. Soak for 10 minutes.
  • Chop broccoli into florets. Set aside.
  • Drain excess liquid from soy curls. Place in large skillet and turn on medium heat. Stir in half of the honey garlic ginger marinade (picture of two great options). Heat 5 minutes until browned.
  • Top with broccoli and remaining marinade. Cook until broccoli is bright green and soft. Top with Everything seasoning. Serve over rice.

Notes

Buy soy curls on Amazon. Purchase directly from Butler Foods (they have reduced pricing for multi-packs and bulk). 
Honey Garlic Ginger Dressing recipe: Blend: 1/4 cup Bragg Liquid aminos, 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 1 Tbsp. sesame oil, 3 garlic cloves, 1 inch hunk of ginger (substitute 1/2 tsp. powder), 1 squirt sriracha or chili garlic sauce.
Veggie Broth vs. Bouillon: Store bought organic veggie broth can be very expensive. I use Organic Better than Bouillon Vegetable Base, which allows me to make as little (or as much) as I need without paying $1/cup (it's about $0.20 cents/cup).
Easy Vegan Stroganoff Recipe

Easy Vegan Stroganoff Recipe

Easy Vegan Stroganoff Recipe

This easy vegan stroganoff recipe is done in 15 minutes. Traditional flavor and hearty texture create classic comfort food. My kids love this recipe!
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Servings 6 people

Ingredients
  

  • 12 ounces pasta
  • 20 ounces mushrooms sliced
  • 1 onion yellow, red or sweet; sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 Tbsp. Bragg Liquid aminos substitute soy sauce of choice or coconut aminos for soy free
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame oil substitute preferred oil or skip
  • 2 cup water
  • 2 tsp. vegetable bouillon paste
  • 5.4 ounces yogurt, plain plant-based, substitute coconut milk with a splash of lemon juice to sour
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 Tbsp. arrowroot powder substitute other thickening flour or corn starch
  • 1 tsp. thyme

Instructions
 

  • Cook pasta according to package directions. [Cook tip: add 1 Tbsp. salt to boiling water with pasta. See note below.] Set timer and remove from water when pasta is al dente (firm, not mushy). Drain.
  • Add sliced mushrooms, onion and minced garlic into a large skillet. Dash with liquid aminos and sesame oil. Saute until soft (~10 minutes). Add a splash of water and/or lower the heat if sticking occurs.
  • In a small bowl or large measuring cup, whisk water and bouillon paste to form vegetable broth. Add yogurt, yeast flakes, arrowroot and thyme to make stroganoff sauce. Whisk until well blended.
  • Pour stroganoff sauce over the mushrooms and onions. Bring to a boil, stir constantly to prevent sticking. Remove from heat after sauce thickens (should not take longer than 1-2 minutes).
  • Pour stroganoff over pasta. Mix well. Serve. Garnish with something green (parsley, thyme, Italian seasoning, green onions, scallions, etc.). Salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

Pasta preparation tip: Add ~1 Tbsp. salt to boiling water with pasta to add flavor. Don’t worry—the salt dissolves in the entire pot of water, and the pasta absorbs a very small amount. No chance of salt overload as you drain the majority of it off. 

Easy Vegan Stroganoff Recipe

This easy vegan stroganoff recipe is done in 15 minutes. Traditional flavor and hearty texture create classic comfort food. My kids love this recipe!
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Servings 6 people

Ingredients
  

  • 12 ounces pasta
  • 20 ounces mushrooms sliced
  • 1 onion yellow, red or sweet; sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 Tbsp. Bragg Liquid aminos substitute soy sauce of choice or coconut aminos for soy free
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame oil substitute preferred oil or skip
  • 2 cup water
  • 2 tsp. vegetable bouillon paste
  • 5.4 ounces yogurt, plain plant-based, substitute coconut milk with a splash of lemon juice to sour
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 Tbsp. arrowroot powder substitute other thickening flour or corn starch
  • 1 tsp. thyme

Instructions
 

  • Cook pasta according to package directions. [Cook tip: add 1 Tbsp. salt to boiling water with pasta. See note below.] Set timer and remove from water when pasta is al dente (firm, not mushy). Drain.
  • Add sliced mushrooms, onion and minced garlic into a large skillet. Dash with liquid aminos and sesame oil. Saute until soft (~10 minutes). Add a splash of water and/or lower the heat if sticking occurs.
  • In a small bowl or large measuring cup, whisk water and bouillon paste to form vegetable broth. Add yogurt, yeast flakes, arrowroot and thyme to make stroganoff sauce. Whisk until well blended.
  • Pour stroganoff sauce over the mushrooms and onions. Bring to a boil, stir constantly to prevent sticking. Remove from heat after sauce thickens (should not take longer than 1-2 minutes).
  • Pour stroganoff over pasta. Mix well. Serve. Garnish with something green (parsley, thyme, Italian seasoning, green onions, scallions, etc.). Salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

Pasta preparation tip: Add ~1 Tbsp. salt to boiling water with pasta to add flavor. Don’t worry—the salt dissolves in the entire pot of water, and the pasta absorbs a very small amount. No chance of salt overload as you drain the majority of it off. 
Easy Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese Recipe

Easy Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese Recipe

Easy Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese Recipe

Once the butternut squash is baked, this meal takes 10 minutes--almost as fast and WAY healthier than the store-bought box of crap. Add a bag of frozen peas and top with Italian bread crumbs for a plant-based meal that qualifies as traditional comfort food.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Servings 6 people

Ingredients
  

  • 1 butternut squash, whole baked
  • 12 ounces pasta (macaroni shapes) look for high protein and fiber varieties
  • 1/4 onion red, yellow or sweet, substitute 2 tsp. powder
  • 1 garlic clove substitute 1 tsp. powder
  • 1 cup nuts, raw cashews, walnuts or almonds
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes optional
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar substitute any vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Instructions
 

  • In advance, place a whole butternut squash on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for ~45 minutes. Remove from oven once it starts to brown on top and a knife penetrates easily. Set aside and allow it to cool. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  • Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse in cold water. [Cook tip: Add ~1 Tbsp. salt to boiling water with pasta to add flavor.]
  • Cut open squash. Use a spoon to remove the seeds. Using a spoon or a peeling knife, strip the squash away from the skin and add to the blender. Do not spend excessive time peeling away every last bit of skin. It's edible and adds fiber. Remove as much as you can and let the blender take care of the rest.
  • Add the remaining ingredients to the blender to make the cheese sauce. Mix on high until creamy and smooth.
  • Pour cheese sauce over the pasta. Mix well and serve.

Notes

My kids love this dish even more when I add a package of frozen peas and top with Italian flavored bread crumbs or croutons.
Sticky Blender Solution: Did you know that your blender will wash itself? Yep. Just fill it 2/3 water and a drop of dish soap. Blend until clean.
Pasta preparation tip: Add ~1 Tbsp. salt to boiling water with pasta to add flavor. Don’t worry—the salt dissolves in the entire pot of water, and the pasta absorbs only a small amount. No chance of salt overload as you drain the majority of it off.

Easy Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese Recipe

Once the butternut squash is baked, this meal takes 10 minutes--almost as fast and WAY healthier than the store-bought box of crap. Add a bag of frozen peas and top with Italian bread crumbs for a plant-based meal that qualifies as traditional comfort food.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Servings 6 people

Ingredients
  

  • 1 butternut squash, whole baked
  • 12 ounces pasta (macaroni shapes) look for high protein and fiber varieties
  • 1/4 onion red, yellow or sweet, substitute 2 tsp. powder
  • 1 garlic clove substitute 1 tsp. powder
  • 1 cup nuts, raw cashews, walnuts or almonds
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes optional
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar substitute any vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Instructions
 

  • In advance, place a whole butternut squash on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for ~45 minutes. Remove from oven once it starts to brown on top and a knife penetrates easily. Set aside and allow it to cool. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  • Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse in cold water. [Cook tip: Add ~1 Tbsp. salt to boiling water with pasta to add flavor.]
  • Cut open squash. Use a spoon to remove the seeds. Using a spoon or a peeling knife, strip the squash away from the skin and add to the blender. Do not spend excessive time peeling away every last bit of skin. It's edible and adds fiber. Remove as much as you can and let the blender take care of the rest.
  • Add the remaining ingredients to the blender to make the cheese sauce. Mix on high until creamy and smooth.
  • Pour cheese sauce over the pasta. Mix well and serve.

Notes

My kids love this dish even more when I add a package of frozen peas and top with Italian flavored bread crumbs or croutons.
Sticky Blender Solution: Did you know that your blender will wash itself? Yep. Just fill it 2/3 water and a drop of dish soap. Blend until clean.
Pasta preparation tip: Add ~1 Tbsp. salt to boiling water with pasta to add flavor. Don’t worry—the salt dissolves in the entire pot of water, and the pasta absorbs only a small amount. No chance of salt overload as you drain the majority of it off.
Why We Drink and Why it’s So Hard to Stop

Why We Drink and Why it’s So Hard to Stop

Why We Drink and Why It’s So Hard to Stop

I have a master’s degree in health coaching with a concentration in applied nutrition. And I had no idea that I was addicted to alcohol until after I stopped drinking. My addiction hid behind 1) my ability to function (things to do, places to go and people to see) and 2) the multitude of health-hacks (exercise and supplements) that I used to offset my consumption. The only clear warning light on the proverbial dashboard was that I was drinking more than seven drinks per week, which put me in the “heavy drinker” category. But that felt arbitrary. We were in the middle of a pandemic–the world was on lockdown. I was more concerned with staying sane than I was my alcohol consumption. Acting like I was okay and pretending to care was getting harder every day. Alcohol was a life-preserver that beaconed me to happy hour every night.

But then one day–as I purchased 2 bottles of Grey Goose vodka at a COVID-safe curbside liquor store/tent–my reality cracked. I had just “stocked up” last week. This wasn’t for a party. I wasn’t buying two because of a sale. The vodka would be hidden in my closet–in my secret stash. I’d drink it all. Alone.

That realization briefly tipped the scales toward common sense. I was motivated to change my trajectory. On impulse, I called AA and asked for a temporary sponsor. I bought “quit-lit” books, subscribed to podcasts, followed support groups on social media and immersed myself in the topic of sobriety. I was all-in. The withdrawal symptoms lingered for ten days. They weren’t bad. I could have pretended they weren’t there. Or that my hormones were to blame. Instead, I allowed the evidence of addiction to both mortify and motivate. As I lay awake each night, drenched in a puddle of sweat, I felt grateful that the poison was leaving my body. I wasn’t giving up alcohol, I was throwing it out. Managing the discomfort felt like an accomplishment. Sobriety is an upward spiral–you going somewhere new and fun and happy. Drinking is a downward spiral. You’re sinking and stuck and it will only get worse.

After nearly a year of sobriety, I’ve challenged most if not all of my underlying beliefs that alcohol is somehow necessary and/or beneficial. I now understand why we drink and why it is so hard to stop. It’s because we believe things about alcohol that aren’t true and ignore experiences to the contrary.

Here’s a list of my top delusions:

Lie #1: Alcohol makes you happy. Actually, just the opposite is true. The more we drink (in both a single sitting and over time), the less we are able to feel pleasure. It’s true there is an intial high. In fact, that first drink can stimulate two to ten times more dopamine than natural activities such as eating, social connection and even sex. The problem occurs over time when everyday activities feel less fulfilling by comparison. What’s more, artificially inflated levels of dopamine threaten our well-being (think: “let’s get married right now!” “take this job and shove it” or “I believe I can fly”). The brain compensates by releasing a neurotransmitter called dynorphin, which anesthetizes our perception of not only pleasure, but any emotion. As we build a tolerance to alcohol, we’re also building a tolerance to feelings of happiness, satisfaction and empathy. Research shows that our mood is lower after a drinking session than before we started. Next time you drink, see for yourself. It’s easy to observe.

Lie #2: Alcohol helps you sleep. Not really. It can help us fall asleep—but not for long. The brain releases stimulants to counter the sedative effects of the alcohol. Once the buzz/sedation wears off, stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol linger. We often wake up once the alcohol is metabolized, unable to return to deep sleep due to agitation. Even if we stay in bed, we sleep fitfully and restlessly. Our mind races. Worse, the sleep after we “passed out” was altered—too deep. Alcohol inhibits the natural REM cycles, which are critical for mental health and overall well-being. Chronic exhaustion was one of the symptoms that motivated me to give up alcohol. I was so tired and apathetic I didn’t even want to drink anymore! Sad. Also helpful.

Lie #3: A high tolerance is a sign of a healthy liver and/or a genetic advantage. Sadly, for those of us who can drink like “professional rockstars,” tolerance is simply a sign of dependence. It’s a function of compromised brain chemistry, not superior liver function. Tolerance occurs when the brain releases dynorphin before we drink (basic Pavlovian conditioning) to ensure that we don’t get swept away in the currents of incoming alcohol-induced euphoria. We subsequently consume more alcohol because the first drink didn’t get the job done. The more we drink, the more our brain must fight the sedative effects of alcohol with cortisol and adrenaline. So, yes, thanks to high levels of stimulants coursing through the bloodstream, tolerant drinkers can walk without tripping and talk without slurring while less seasoned drinkers fall asleep under the proverbial table (they won’t fool a breathalizer though). But once the buzz wears off, feelings of agitation and anxiety are evidence of the lingering chemical warfare. FYI: periods of abstinence do not reset tolerance for long. The brain’s ability to manage alcohol consumption is learned through repetition. It’s like riding a bike. We don’t forget.

Lie #4: I’ll just have one. Maybe two. Why is moderation so hard for people who are otherwise disciplined? Because brain chemistry is stronger than willpower, especially if you are don’t know there’s a fight. The first drink of alcohol feels relaxing and even a bit euphoric as high levels of dopamine flood our system. Pleasant feelings last for about 20-30 minutes—while our blood alcohol level is rising. However, what goes up must come down. Once our BAC starts to fall and the buzz wears off, we feel agitated from the neurochemicals released to counteract the alcohol. Our subconscious does the math: that half hour of pleasure costs us 60-90 minutes of discomfort. That’s not what we deserve after the day we’ve had (awesome, awful or average—any story works). Our resolve to “just have one” waivers. We keep drinking to avoid the comedown. This explains why I tended to drink until it was time for bed. It was much easier to sleep through the discomfort. This is the crux of addiction. Once dependency is established, we don’t drink (or take any drug) to get “high.” We drink to feel normal (stop the withdrawal). Telling someone to drink less is like telling a sick person to cough less. They might be able to control it for a while. But it’s uncomfortable. It requires a lot of effort and focus. The difficulty of stopping after one is why many people (like me) find it easier to abstain from alcohol than to moderate. An intense battle of competing wills is not the definition of relaxation and/or reward for anyone.

Lie #5: Not having a reason to not drink is a sufficient reason to drink. This dangerous assumption is the double negative that put me into a downward spiral once quarantine hit. Self-imposed limits felt like a joke. I promised myself I wouldn’t drink on weeknights. But Wednesday and wine both start with “w.” That’s a sign from God. I made gin and tonics to cut back on vodka because I don’t like gin. Problem solved. Kids, dogs and Facetime meant I was never drinking alone. Legit loophole. And the suggested two-drink limit drowned in my 36-ounce Yeti. RIP moderation. I felt like a snowball rolling down a hill. WTF happened? I used to be able to have a drink and stop, and/or abstain without issue. How did a headstrong, intelligent and health-conscious person find herself unable (and unwilling) to follow the basic rules?

I now understand that regular alcohol consumption keeps the body flooded with stress hormones (to counteract alcohol’s depressive effects). There are two ways to get rid of these stress hormones: 1) feel uncomfortable as you wait for them to metabolize (which can take a week or more for heavy drinkers) or 2) have another drink. The quickest solution (to have another drink) seems logical because we don’t associate feelings of discomfort with alcohol withdrawal. We’re distracted by the belief that alcohol is relaxing so we attribute our need for another to soemthing (anything) else.

Anyone who’s drank their way through a wedding weekend has experienced the chemistry. You drink your face off on Friday night and ease into Saturday with a hair of the dog. You promise yourself to take it easy, but it’s an open bar and you don’t want to be rude. The hangover is worse on Sunday, so you swear to never drink again after a mimosa or bloody Mary. Because alcohol relieves the pain caused by alcohol. The same process is in play with even moderate drinking. Everyone who drinks on a regular basis will experience withdrawal (mild discomfort and vague uneasiness) when they abstain. This is how “I need a drink” becomes a true story.

Lie #6: There are two types of drinkers: normal and alcoholic. Anyone can become dependent on alcohol, just like anyone can become addicted to nicotine, opiates, cocaine—and caffeine and sugar. Alcohol is an addictive drug. The more you use it, the more dependent you become. While a small percentage of alcoholics end up drinking mouthwash out of a paper bag, many are high functioning. They suffer behind closed doors. I didn’t get DUIs, abuse or neglect my kids, or fail to show up for commitments. The belief (perpetuated by AA) that there’s a difference between “normies” and alcoholics prevents all of us “normal” drinkers from recognizing that we are vulnerable to dependency and addiction. The truth is that anyone can qualify for rehab. Alcoholism is an equal opportunity disease.

Lie #7: Quitting drinking means admitting to being an alcoholic. The term “alcoholic” is a cultural term not a medical diagnosis. Regardless, we now live in a create-your-own-lifestyle-brand society. Personally, I don’t consider myself an alcoholic. The label feels overly dramatic. It doesn’t describe me. Why would I start calling myself an alcoholic now that I’ve stopped drinking? That doesn’t make any sense. I’m willing to say I was an alcoholic but technically, there is no such thing. The official lexicon in the DSM 5 is person with “alcohol use disorder” (AUD), which is “characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control use despite negative consequences.” I definitely had alcohol use disorder. In hindsight, I can see how it developed over about ten years—one justified drink at a time. My ability to control my use was definitely impaired (my “shut down” switch was broken). Luckily my ability to ask for help was not impaired. Once I admitted to myself and someone else that I had a problem, the lights came on in the tunnel. The nightmare was immediately over. 

Because I was physically “healthy,” I didn’t think my drinking habits were of much consequence beyond the occasional hangover. I drank more than I cared to admit but I was clueless as to why that was a problem. I didn’t know that I had become dependant, meaning I experienced withdrawal symptoms when I wasn’t drinking. I didn’t know that my body had chronically high levels of cortisol, adrenaline and dynorphin. I just knew that I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. Thank God my survival instincts kicked in. By the time I was through the detox, the physical sensations prompting me to drink each night (agitation, anxiety, apathy, etc.) had mostly gone away. There’s still been a lot to work through and it hasn’t been fast or easy. But forward progress of any measure feels better than the downward spiral of addiction. Freedom feels amazing.

If you’re struggling, having someone to talk to makes a huge difference. As a coach, I provide direction, support and accountability for people who want to make changes in their life. Email [email protected] for a free consulatation. 

    (Tastes Like) Makota Honey Ginger Dressing

    (Tastes Like) Makota Honey Ginger Dressing

    (Tastes Like) Makota Honey Ginger Dressing

    This homemade Makota Honey Ginger Dressing recipe captures the fresh flavor of the store-bought version with a fraction of the oil. It's perfect for Asian-style salads, tofu marinade and veggie stirfrys.
    Prep Time 5 mins
    Total Time 5 mins
    Course Sauce
    Servings 2.25 cups

    Ingredients
      

    • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
    • 2 Tbsp. Bragg Liquid aminos
    • 1/2 cup red or yellow onion
    • 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
    • 1 Tbsp. honey
    • 1 Ginger Root thumb-size piece

    Instructions
     

    • Combine ingredients in blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.

    Notes

    Store-bought Makota Honey Ginger Dressing has a lot of oil in it. Soybean oil is the second ingredient after onion. Sesame oil is a healthier option, but less is always more with oil. Feel free to add another tablespoon or two if you like. Same thing with the honey. Taste it first and then adjust as desired.

    (Tastes Like) Makota Honey Ginger Dressing

    This homemade Makota Honey Ginger Dressing recipe captures the fresh flavor of the store-bought version with a fraction of the oil. It's perfect for Asian-style salads, tofu marinade and veggie stirfrys.
    Prep Time 5 mins
    Total Time 5 mins
    Course Sauce
    Servings 2.25 cups

    Ingredients
      

    • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
    • 2 Tbsp. Bragg Liquid aminos
    • 1/2 cup red or yellow onion
    • 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
    • 1 Tbsp. honey
    • 1 Ginger Root thumb-size piece

    Instructions
     

    • Combine ingredients in blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.

    Notes

    Store-bought Makota Honey Ginger Dressing has a lot of oil in it. Soybean oil is the second ingredient after onion. Sesame oil is a healthier option, but less is always more with oil. Feel free to add another tablespoon or two if you like. Same thing with the honey. Taste it first and then adjust as desired.
    Buffalo Chickpea Salad

    Buffalo Chickpea Salad

    Buffalo Chickpea Salad

    Quick and easy, delicious, plant-based, whole food dish, high in fiber and protein. Perfect substitute for tuna, egg, or ham salad. Serve on a sandwich, as a side or over a bed of greens as the main course.
    Prep Time 10 mins
    Total Time 10 mins
    Course Main Dish, Sides and Snacks
    Servings 8 servings

    Ingredients
      

    • 15 ounce canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
    • 14 ounces tofu, extra firm drained
    • 1/3 cup mayonnaise plant-based, substitute plain yogurt or preferred salad dressing
    • 1/3 cup buffalo sauce (or preferred pepper sauce)
    • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
    • 1 Tbsp. onion powder
    • 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
    • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
    • 1/2 cup celery diced (optional), substitute bell pepper or other crunchy veggie
    • 1/2 red onion finely chopped; substitute green onions

    Instructions
     

    • Drain the chick peas and the tofu. In a large bowl, use an immersion blend to mash (use a food processor or hand press with a fork if you don't have a stick blender).
    • Stir in the rest of the ingredients.

    Notes

    Want a chickpea salad with a little less spice? Try this!

    Buffalo Chickpea Salad

    Quick and easy, delicious, plant-based, whole food dish, high in fiber and protein. Perfect substitute for tuna, egg, or ham salad. Serve on a sandwich, as a side or over a bed of greens as the main course.
    Prep Time 10 mins
    Total Time 10 mins
    Course Main Dish, Sides and Snacks
    Servings 8 servings

    Ingredients
      

    • 15 ounce canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
    • 14 ounces tofu, extra firm drained
    • 1/3 cup mayonnaise plant-based, substitute plain yogurt or preferred salad dressing
    • 1/3 cup buffalo sauce (or preferred pepper sauce)
    • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
    • 1 Tbsp. onion powder
    • 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
    • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
    • 1/2 cup celery diced (optional), substitute bell pepper or other crunchy veggie
    • 1/2 red onion finely chopped; substitute green onions

    Instructions
     

    • Drain the chick peas and the tofu. In a large bowl, use an immersion blend to mash (use a food processor or hand press with a fork if you don't have a stick blender).
    • Stir in the rest of the ingredients.

    Notes

    Want a chickpea salad with a little less spice? Try this!
    Thankfully Sober

    Thankfully Sober

    I just celebrated my first Thanksgiving sober. My parents, three siblings and our 13 children gathered at my brother’s home in the country, where we could social distance and stay outside (in the frigid drizzle around a smoking bonfire—not as cozy as it sounds. Thanks COVID). We told lots of jokes, ate too much food and no one fell off the roof. It was a good day.

    I prepared my dishes in advance and brought fixins for mocktails—kombucha, ginger beer and alcohol-free IPAs—so that I could participate in the ceremonial “pouring of the drinks.” To my pleasant surprise. I felt relieved to skip the alcohol this year. Family events are chaotic. Even when everything goes as planned and everyone is on their best behavior, it’s a marathon. In the past, I’d have started with mimosas, moved to cocktails, opened the first bottle of wine and volunteered to find the whiskey once the dinner dishes were cleared. I’d have titrated my intake like a professional, hydrating to stay above the buzz and accentuating the fun in my dysfunctional. All while serving food, helping with clean up and putting out fires (both real and metaphorical).

    Newly sober people wonder how to make it through the holidays without drinking. Now that I’ve done it, I have to ask—how did I manage all that chaos while intoxicated? That was exhausting! It’s been eight months since I’ve had a drink, and while I intended to keep it that way, I wondered if I’d really enjoy myself. I was delighted to discover there was no desire to escape from the people I’ve been looking forward to seeing, or to get through the day with the “assistance” of alcohol.

    I did need a few time-outs, however. So, I found space on an unoccupied porch, walked around outside and even did some snooping–no dead bodies, porn movies or falsified papers were found, but I do have some follow up questions for my brother that I will save for another time. With so many people in various places, no one missed me for a few minutes here and there. It is possible to carve out alone-time in a crowded place if you don’t count the dogs.

    Throughout the day, whenever I started to feel discombobulated, I acknowledged the sensation in the same way I would the need to use the bathroom. It was a private matter that called for healthy emotional hygiene. Alcohol isn’t a cure —it never was. In hindsight, it was actually a huge source of stress. I only needed to catch my breath, quiet my mind and give myself some room. Staying present was a strange and pleasant, albeit mildly taxing experience (meaning that it required some attention and effort). In comparison, it was far better than the alternative. I had more fun than I’ve had in a long time.

    An opportunity to share this lesson with my 16-year-old daughter presented itself. She was having fun with her cousins. They were playing Minecraft, shooting hoops, one-upping each other’s stories and Lord-only-knows what else. I hadn’t seen her all day when she pulled me aside. The tears in her eyes startled me. “Mom, do you have anything I can take for anxiety? I’m feeling really overwhelmed.”

    A year ago, I’d have rushed to my bag of supplements, essential oils and placebos. I might have even given her a swig of my wine. I still believed in external remedies for internal discomfort (and also that wine was a God-given panacea designed specifically for family gatherings). But this time, I decided to teach her how to soothe herself. As she has her learner’s permit, I offered to let her take us for a drive and listen to some music. We snuck out and hit the country roads. It worked like a charm. Within 15 minutes, we rejoined the party, both of us feeling refreshed. The bonus for me is an awesome memory of the two of us belting out Lady Gaga at the top of our lungs. We nailed it.

    I am grateful to have a family that I enjoy being around. For those who are not as lucky, however, the same approach to self-care applies. It’s about setting boundaries and respecting your limits. For some, that may require foregoing a booze-filled gathering all together. For others, it may require a smaller time slot, a sober buddy or change in venue. There is no need to negotiate agreement from other people. You do you. Let other grownups take care of themselves. The only priority is staying sober, whatever that takes.

    Sobriety is a gift, not a punishment. Drinking through the holidays is exhausting–brutilizing to both mental and physical health. Alcohol is an addictive substance that requires so much effort to control (only to fail anyway, whether anyone notices or not). This year, I didn’t have to try so hard. I had nothing to hide and no need to second guess what I was thinking, feeling or saying. I enjoyed just being—with the people I love the most—clear-headed, grateful and more energetic than I’ve felt in a long time. I’m thankfully sober . . .

     

     

    Thankfully Sober

    Thankfully Sober

    The question isn’t how to stay sober during the holidays but how we survived them intoxicated.

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