I was fortunate to to share my story this week with employees at The University of Scranton Wellness Day in my presentation, Go Green: Intro to Plant-Based Eating. I explained how I stumbled upon plant-based eating through the documentary Forks Over Knives and changed my lifestyle and saved my marriage.
I hope that the information I presented about the rates of chronic illness in our country, our state, and our county and the good news that chronic disease does not have to be a death sentence had an impact on the attendees. My wish is that they will add more whole foods to their diet and and try some new foods and recipes they may not have considered before.
In addition to talking about the science behind the health promoting effects of plant-based eating, I also demonstrated two recipes and brought two desserts so that everyone could sample plant-based foods. I promised to share the recipes here, most of which were from the Plant Pure Nation Cookbook by Kim Campbell. I love her recipes because they are not only delicious, but also affordable, and simple. The flavors, however, are rich and satisfying. I find they are great recipes to use when introducing people to plant-based foods to show we don’t eat just twigs and berries.
I often use The Creamy Kale Salad recipe to demonstrate how to massage kale to break down the cell walls and make it more palatable for those who find it a little too wild or harsh for their taste buds. It also provides a great opportunity to get at least a couple of folks out of their seats to don gloves and join in the fun. I received a lot of positive feedback about the ginger dressing for this delicious salad. The acid in the lime juice and the plant-based fat from the almond butter in this dressing really complement one another well and the ginger gives it a great zing along with its well known anti inflammatory properties!
I wanted to demonstrate a hearty, savory dish also, so I made one batch of Creamy African Stew to keep warm in the crock pot for sampling and prepped ingredients for a 2nd batch to demonstrate how easy the dish is to assemble in the Instant Pot pressure cooker. It is truly a no fuss dish as the ingredients can be added to the pressure cooker in no particular order and it cooks quickly in 6 min on manual pressure. Just stir and serve when the pressure is released! This dish has something for everyone with the richness of the peanut butter and the light coconut milk, the textural interest of the chickpeas, and just the right amount of heat from the curry powder. This is a very affordable dish at a total cost of $8.60 for 6 servings, or $1.43 per serving. One of the attendees loved it so much, he told me he was going to make it for dinner that night!
Two of my favorite plant-based desserts feature chocolate and I made them ahead of time to share. Kim Campbell’s Chocolate Power Bites require very little prep and no baking. The only ingredient that is processed at all is the cocoa powder and it is a great party dish.
The second dessert was Chocolate Cream Pie from Rouxbe. This is a family favorite on the holidays and is more rich and decadent so just a bite was plenty for a sample. I made pie bites in mini muffin liners and the recipe made more than enough for the whole group. I pressed the pecan maple crust into the bottom of the liners and then spooned the filling on top, but I plan to pipe them with a pastry bag next time for a neater presentation. The other reasons I love to bring this recipe along to new crowds is to show that a plant-based diet is not one of deprivation and to showcase the versatility of tofu. Of course, this is not a treat for every day and should perhaps be reserved for special occasions.
I feel blessed to have been invited to spend time at my alma mater for my BSN, The University of Scranton this week. Thank you to Gerry Loveless for recommending me, to Dina Angeloni for facilitating the event and answering all of my questions, to my friend Lori Jewett for helping me set up and clean up, and to my husband, Scott, for bringing my Instant Pot which I left at home!
Remember to have fun with your food and enjoy!