Yes, he can cook! My husband made me a delicious veggie biryani tonight. He calls it Cheapass Fakeass Veggie Biryani. Cheapass because it is a very inexpensive and fakeass because it might not pass the test of authenticity in an Indian kitchen. However, I loved it and wanted to share it with you because it’s a no fuss dish that is delicious and can be made in minutes. Here’s his recipe!
Cheap-Ass Fake-Ass Biryani -by G. Scott Hayes
Add a couple extra shakes of fenugreek if you have it. That’s the one spice that I think makes curry taste like curry. Add the raw rice and sauté with the onion, garlic, and spices,
Whether you’ve been eating a plant-based diet for years or you’re just plant curious, an Engine 2 Immersion could be just the place for you! I just returned from a magical weekend at The Esselstyn family farm in the Hudson Valley in NY at a 2Forks Event produced by Engine 2 and Forks over Knives. We heard incredible speakers with invaluable information about the why and how plant-based eating prevents and reverses disease. We heard inspiring stories of recovery and self discovery from illness and addiction and met athletes who have achieved incredible goals, all with the power of plants.
If hearing from and rubbing elbows with the plant-based experts and celebrities isn’t enough to entice you, think for a moment about the delicious plant-based food you will enjoy without having to ask what’s in it or if they can make you a special dish without oil.
For most of us, just knowing all the right information isn’t enough. A 2Forks Immersion will also give you the practical tools you need to continue your plant-based adventure after you leave. With cooking demonstrations and talks that will give you insight into why it’s so hard to do the right thing for your health since the wrong thing feels so right, you will head for home empowered to make good choices and take your health into your own hands, or should I say your own fork!
Perhaps best of all, you will spend time making new friends and maybe even catching up with other plant-based friends you have met on social media. I find it fascinating to meet the real people behind the online personas and meet people from all around the country and the world. The experts will graciously sign your books, answer your questions, and sometimes even sit with you to listen to the other speakers.
You will leave tired but inspired, educated, and nourished.
You still have two weekend opportunities for fun with Engine 2 and Forks over Knives this year and one coming up next spring!
September 30th – October 2nd 2016
October 28th – October 30th 2016
March 24th –March 26th 2017.
$50 Off Full Weekend Pass using code: BEETS50
2Forks Immersion – Seven Day Retreat
Mago Retreat Center in Sedona, Arizona
October 3rd-9th 2016
Not only will 2Forks provide incredible plant-based meals to fuel you, but you’ll also experience a full menu of activities: hands-on cooking demos, yoga, hiking on one of the country’s “Top 10 Most Scenic Trails,” a stargazing party, bonfires, live music, plus a few other surprises.
$150 Off Immersion using code: BEETS150
Visit 2ForksEvents.com .com to Register Today!
And remember to have fun with your food and enjoy!
‘Cause a Scranton party don’t stop! If you’re a fan of the show The Office, then you may remember this Michael Scott and Dwight Shrute version of a 90s rap song by Coolio.
I am excited and proud to say that there ain’t no plant-based party like a Scranton party and this April there are plenty of plant-based events for all!
Our plant-based extravaganza started with an article in The The Scranton Times April 3rd about my efforts to spread the word about the health benefits of plant-based eating and our local group, The Scranton Beets. It was humbling to be able to tell my story and I hope that it raises awareness in an area which has so many good folks with chronic illness that are preventable with lifestyle changes.
Today when I got to work, someone in my department told me that a plant-based recipe won the recipe contest in the newspaper, Local Flavor: Recipes we love, and to check it out when I got home. I was thrilled to see that Nadia Naismith Dailey not only shared a delicious recipe for chickpea salad, but that she also talked about how her father adopted a plant-based diet for his heart disease which inspired her creativity in the kitchen.
On the heels of all this wonderful press for plant-based eating, tomorrow evening, April 7th at The University of Scranton, there will be a screening of the life-changing documentary, Forks over Knives, sponsored by The Greenhouse Project at Nay Aug. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the movie starts at 7 p.m. There will be plant-based refreshments, too!
The next event will be a come and go as you please event with displays about plant-based eating, including busting myths about plant-based diets, tips for families, tasty food samples and resources about how to get started. There will be experienced plant-based people available to answer questions from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at The Abington Community Library, Saturday April 9th.
On Sunday, April 10th and the 2nd Sunday of every month, P-BEG (Plant-Based Eating Group) holds a potluck meal at St Peter’s Episcopal Church, Tunkhannock, PA. This is a great no-judgement zone to try out plant-based eating, enjoy a delicious meal, and meet people who have improved their health through their food choices.
Next is a double header! Two plant-based giants back to back in the Electric City! First is a visit by Dr. T. Colin Campbell, author of The China Study, on Wednesday April 19th sponsored by the Exercise Science Club at the University of Scranton. There will be a screening of the documentary, Plant Pure Nation, followed by a Q & A session with Dr. Campbell.
The next day, just a few blocks away at The Commonwealth Medical College, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr will be giving two lectures about reversal of heart disease with plant-based nutrition. The 12:15 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. lectures are free and you can RSVP online. Not only will you be informed, educated and entertained by Dr. Esselstyn, but you will also meet his wife Ann, who will give a lively presentation about the How, Why, and Wow of Plant-based eating! The evening will end with a beautiful plant-based meal at The Colonnade. We had a preview of the food in March and the meal was not only delicious but the presentation was stellar!
The last event for April is Empowered Eating, a group led by Kathy Reap at the Greenhouse Project at Nay Aug. The group meets on the fourth Tues of every month for support and education from 7-8:00 p.m. and is open to those who want to learn about plant-based eating, those who are seeking like-minded people to share ideas and recipes, and anyone who would like to taste some delectable dishes.
So, if you live in or near The Electric City and you are plant curious, plant strong, or just want to learn how to add more healthy dishes to your repertoire, come visit us in April!
Remember to have fun with your food and enjoy!
One of my husband’s favorite dishes is Pasta Puttanesca. He loves everything about it–the pasta, the salty flavor from the olives and capers, and the sauce. To him, it’s the total package. He even tells the servers at our favorite local Italian restaurant, La Trattoria, that he dreams about this dish.
I decided since this dish seemed fairly straightforward, I would try to recreate it at home one evening when I was at a loss for what to fix for dinner. I had everything except capers, and I knew it wouldn’t be the same without the homemade pasta at La Trattoria, but even if I messed it up, how bad could it really be? So here is my “recipe” for Puttanesca in a pinch. I used miso to replace the anchovies used in some recipes and also the extra saltiness of the capers. If you need to restrict sodium due to heart disease or hypertension, just leave it out. If you prefer a smoother sauce, use crushed tomatoes instead of whole tomatoes. In the summer, this would rock with fresh tomatoes!
Puttanesca in a Pinch
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced or chopped
- 2-3 tablespoons of oregano
- 1 – 28 oz can of whole plum or San Marzano tomatoes (low sodium)
- 1/2 of a 10 oz bottle of pitted Kalamata olives, slice olives in 1/2
- 1/2-1 tsp of miso
- 1 lb of whole grain pasta of your choosing
- A few shakes of crushed red pepper
- Start a nice big pot of water boiling for your pasta and add it when it comes to a rolling boil. When the pasta is done to Al dente, drain it and set it aside.
- While the pasta is cooking, place a small amount of water or veggie broth in a big skillet, heat it up and add the onions and garlic and sauté a few min until soft. You can also start them with no liquid and just add a small amount if they stick.
- Add the oregano, crushed red pepper, and olives and heat quickly.
- Here’s the fun part. Warning, this is messy. I love the feel of the tomatoes in my hands so I just pluck them out of the can and use a paring knife and roughly chop them as I add them to the pan. Then add the extra juice from the can.
- Heat the sauce through or cook it down a little if you prefer, then add the pasta, coat the pasta with the sauce, sprinkle with nutritional yeast if you like, and serve!
If you add capers, just add them near the end and leave out the miso. You can add some of the brine from the bottle also if sodium is not an issue for you.
Serve with a big salad or you can even add some greens in your sauce if you love greens as much as I do. They will make your arteries sing!
Don’t fuss over this dish! It will be delicious in its simplicity and is difficult to ruin.
It is even better the next day leftover!
Remember to have fun with your food and enjoy!
Yesterday was a sunny day full of new experiences , good food, great discussions and chance meetings with old friends. A few weeks ago my husband and I decided we were going to take a day to visit many of the ethnic markets in Scranton since we love Indian,
Asian, and Mexican dishes and the wonderful spices and herbs that give them their fabulous flavor.
Before we headed out on our field trip, we made a stop at the South Side Farmers Market. The indoor market is open during the winter and has a variety of vendors with cheese, eggs, hard cider, greenhouse fresh veggies, pickled beets and zucchini, fresh juice, and more.
Our first market visit was to La Mexicanita on Cedar Ave in walking distance from the farmers market. We found baskets of dried Chiles, many dried spices, fresh herbs and veggies. They also had some baked goods and a variety of dried and canned beans and rice. The woman who helped us was friendly and this was a great start to our adventure.
Next we visited Garcia’s Market on Pittston Ave in South Scranton and found many of the same products and I was intrigued by the Chicharrones de Harina that we saw in both of the Hispanic markets. They are wagon wheel shaped puffed wheat that is fried and then covered with lime juice and salsa and is a popular Mexican street food. I thought maybe they were tomato pasta because of the color, but the package listed red and yellow food coloring. I wonder if there is a healthy version of this snack. I love lime and salsa but try to avoid fried foods. Fried pork rinds also was available in large quantities.
Our next stop was the Hill Section of Scranton and we visited P&P Oriental Groceries and Gifts. It was a tiny store but we found many varieties of rice, including red rice, dried mushrooms, Asian noodles, and a few fresh foods and chili sauces.
One of our favorite stops was at Shiv Shakti market on Ash Street. They had huge bags of basmati rice which is my husband’s favorite and some unfamiliar fresh and frozen veggies we will have to try soon. We picked up some crunchy, spicy, roasted chickpeas for my husband.
We found pickled turmeric and since turmeric is so great for you, we decided to try it, When we opened it at home we found it spicy, slightly sweet, sour and very tasty!
We also found blocks of sugar cane at both the Mexican and Indian markets. In the Indian market, it was called kolhapri gur.
Here’s a video of how the sugar cane is cooked in a small factory in India and placed into molds.
While checking out at Shiv Shakti, my husband was talking to the owner about how we have been learning to make some Indian dishes and love the cuisine and he told us about a café they just opened 2 weeks ago called Shiv Shakti Chat House. Since it was lunchtime and we were only a couple of blocks away, we had to check it out!
The owner of the chat house, Rita, couldn’t have been more helpful AND all of the menu items are vegetarian and only one had dairy! It was great to have more than one choice and we ordered two dishes which were unfamiliar, Sev Usad and Pav Bhaji with biryani. We also ordered Samosa chat, a house specialty. I misunderstood and thought the Samosa was baked and not fried but was mistaken. It was presented in a bowl with a wonderful spicy mix on top with chickpea and onions, tomatoes and spices. The food was fantastic and the spices were just right. Despite the sign out front that said “We serve delicious vegetarian fast food,” everything was homemade except the bread they served on the side. If you live locally, you will just have to visit for yourself to see how delicious the food is! There was nothing fancy or pretentious about the place, just good hot, spicy, flavorful food and you can watch Indian TV on a big screen from the loft where the guests sit.
Our last stop on our tour was at Shivam Grocery Store on Capouse Ave. Again, we found large bags of all kinds of rice and some great sounding whole wheat multigrain flour.
So, we found that while not all of the items in the ethnic markets were healthy, it was a lot of fun to browse and pick up some new finds. Many of the items were also cheaper than in the grocery store.
I had a great afternoon planning a plant-based educational event with my friend Kathy, then received a surprise call from another friend about an upcoming visit from Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr to Scranton in April for a free lecture and plant-based dinner. I also had another pleasant surprise while grocery shopping as I ran into another plant-based friend from our group, the Scranton Beets!
It was getting late so I made an easy dish I call Puttanesca in a Pinch for our dinner.
The day ended by catching up with my daughter and her fiancée about their wedding plans and remembering being young and in love. Hope you’re able to take some time to enjoy some new experiences and great food with friends and family, and…
Remember to have fun with your food and enjoy!
A couple of weeks ago I found the most amazing white balsamic grapefruit vinegar at our local store, Thirteen Olives, and I have been anxious to make a fabulous salad with it. I had some beautiful grapefruit in the fridge and finally today I reserved my afternoon to play in the kitchen.
I learned how to peel a grapefruit with a knife and how to segment it to get rid of the bitter pith and my husband even sharpened the chef’s knife for me.
I took my time and reveled in the texture of the fruit, how the sun shone through the kitchen window and through the thinly sliced pale pink flesh of the grapefruit. It looked so delicate and beautiful like the wing of a newly hatched butterfly.
It was a gift to have this time to study this sour, yet sweet and juicy fruit which I have far too long neglected.
I hope to be more intentional not only with my appreciation of the beauty of nature and the nutrition and pleasure it provides for us but also my appreciation of the people in my life who help and care for me along my path.
I was recently overcome with gratitude for all of the friends, old and new, who offered words of encouragement, suggestions for job leads and just pure kindness when we received word that our home health agency was closing. In the course of 2 weeks, I lost my job and gained a new one in which I will retain my benefits, seniority, and will have a position with no after hours call and no taking work home. I hope that the reduction in hours will free me for spending more time living my passion for nutrition and health and loving my family and friends as they deserve.
If you enjoy fruit and farro, you can find my recipe for Grainy Grapefruit Salad on the Plant Based Nutrition Support Group’s website at http://www.pbnsg.org/ soon.