ThoraThinks


Coloring Zine & Halloween!
October 31, 2011, 12:01 pm
Filed under: coloring pages, Happy Thanksliving! coloring zine, making!, VeganMoFo

Hey everyone! Cheers to the final day of Ingvar’s Vegan MoFo! Today I do not have a recipe. I have something so much better.

Today my new coloring zine, Happy Thanksliving!  is available at ThoraThinks.com! This veg-friendly zine honors turkeys, thankfulness, and fall fruits & veggies in all of their much-deserved glory.  Happy Thanksliving! celebrates the warmth and compassion of the Thanksgiving holiday. It raises questions about turkey eating, the representation of Indigenous tribes, and more. Best of all, it does these things with a fun, rhyming poem and super-sweet drawings that beg to be colored!

Happy Thanksliving! is printed on 100% post-consumer recycled paper. It is bound with thread (rather than staples) for the safety of little ones.  Each page was drawn with tons of love. On the back cover you’ll find topics for further discussion and suggested children’s books containing relevant info. Did I mention that this little zine is full of love? Copies cost $5 each with free domestic shipping. So sharpen your coloring devices (vegan crayons, anyone?) and Check it out!

On another note, I couldn’t possibly post today without giving a Happy Halloween shout-out! I hope you all have a fantastic time dressing up, gettin’ spooky, and eating sweet things. I hosted a costume party this weekend and had SO MUCH FUN dancing the night away with a slug, a butterfly, a tree, a tide pool, a vampire squid, a very impressive Edward Scissorhands, monsters, zombies, anarchists, hispsters, cross-dressers, witches, and more! This year I made an angler fish costume because they are ridiculously awesome. I’d love to hear about your costumes, too! Ahhhhh, Halloween is just the best.

Halloween coloring sheets here & here   : )

Thanks to all who have participated in Vegan MoFo this month! I have had a great time posting, and have really enjoyed seeing all of the gorgeous food my fellow vegans are sharing on the web. More to come soon,

Nathalie VB



Book Giveaway #4
October 30, 2011, 11:51 am
Filed under: free stuff!, VeganMoFo

Congratulations to Kevin from Raleigh, NC! You’ve won this week’s book giveaway!

Ingvar loves this crunchy October salad! I hear you, Ingvar. I love it too!

…more tomorrow. : )



Parsley Pesto and Nettle Tea (Those Good Ol’ Southern Allergies)
October 28, 2011, 10:32 am
Filed under: food, recipes, VeganMoFo

Yesterday at the post office I stood in line next to a guy whose right eye was red like mine. He said he noticed my Ohio license plate. He’s from Michigan. It was quickly established that (like just about everyone who moves to Nashville from someplace north/east/west) we are both allergic to this place! Ayayay.

I’ll skip the part where I complain about how yucky I’m feeling and go straight to the good stuff. I feel so lucky to have herbalist, doctor, midwife, and other wellness-friends here who are happy to help out when I need some guidance. I called up my dearest Heather (experienced doula, nurse-midwife-in-training, and daughter of an herbalist/naturopathic doctor… what a resource!) to ask what she recommends for relieving environmental allergy symptoms. Other than using my neti pot, I didn’t really know what to do. Since many of us deal with allergies this time of year, I want to share some of Heather’s insights with you…

Here are some allergy relief suggestions:

Allergies occur when the body’s immune system treats a harmless substance (such as pollen) as if it’s toxic. The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal suggests a regular daily intake of vitamin C to support optimal immunity and prevent/treat the haywire activity that occurs in the body and results in the allergic reaction. I’d suggest 500-1000mg of vitamin C daily. For reference, one orange = 70mg, one medium tomato = 23mg, cup of kale = 80mg (!!!!!), cup of parsley = 79mg vitamin C. A good vitamin C supplement (with bioflavonoids) may help you achieve the recommended amount.

The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal also recommends using Elderberry. This makes sense to me, because Elderberry is a premier immune tonic. Tincture or syrup are the best preparations.

Garlic, garlic, garlic. The Green Pharmacy recommends Garlic because of its high concentration of quercetin, a compound that retards inflammatory reactions. I’d suggest several cloves garlic daily, preferably raw.

Nettle is another plant The Green Pharmacy recommends for allergy relief. As well, Herbal Healing for Women includes it for hayfever treatment. I can attest to its power wholeheartedly. The dried leaves are used to make a strong tea (known as an infusion) of 1 part Nettle to 8 parts water steeped covered for 4-8 hours. The tea turns dark brown and should be strained at the end of steeping and stored in the fridge until being used. I fill a quart-sized mason jar with 1-2 inches plant material and cover it with almost boiling water. Drinking a quart a day seems to be an effective dose. Alternatively, freeze-dried Nettle leaves in capsule form seem to be quite helpful for many folks. Both the dried leaves and capsules can be found at Whole Foods. I get my Nettle from Mountain Rose Herbs


Ingvar with nettle leaves

Chamomile is also suggested by The Green Pharmacy. It contains compounds that are anti-histamine (histamine is what the immune system produces that causes inflammation) and anti-allergic. Drink it as a tea and massage the diluted essential oil on itchy places of the skin.

(follow up)
Doing some more research, I’ve found that many folks encourage higher doses of vitamin C than I suggested…anywhere from 3000-5000mg/day, with the dosage split and spaced in even intervals several times daily. Also, Magnesium is a natural antihistamine…400-800mg/day seems to be the common dose. Parsley seems to have some antihistamine properties, too…I’d suggest making a strong pesto and incorporating several heaping tbsp into your meals. Finally, Reishi mushrooms are touted as a plant remedy for allergies…a compound in the mushroom called Lanostan appears to inhibit the release of histamine. They also happen to be a wonderful adaptogen, and thereby offer general support for the adrenal glands and immune system. I think Mountain Rose has Reishi…like any tonifying plant, effects are generally seen after taking the plant for a period of time…immediate results are less common than those appearing after several weeks.

THANK YOU, Heather! If anyone else has suggestions for folks with seasonal allergies, please feel free to share! In the meantime, here’s a very tasty recipe for parsley pesto. Gotta get that vitamin C. YUM!

Parsley Pesto
INGREDIENTS

-1/2 lb. fresh parsley, rinsed and drained
-1/2 c. olive oil
-1/2 c. hemp seeds
-4 cloves garlic
-1 tbs. fresh lemon juice
-1 tsp. sea salt
-1 tsp. nutritional yeast
-1/2 c. water

Combine oil, hemp seeds, garlic, salt, lemon juice, and nutritional yeast in food processor and blend well. Slowly add parsley and continue to blend. Scrape down the sides of the food processor to incorporate all ingredients, and add water as needed to create a smooth, creamy spread. This is delicious enough to eat on its own, or serve with… well, pretty much anything!  Store in the fridge in the sealed container.

served with balsamic-rosemary tempeh, quinoa, and a mizuna/arugula salad



Soup & Salad
October 27, 2011, 1:33 pm
Filed under: food, recipes, VeganMoFo

Hey there!
Last night Ingvar and I sewed up some new zines (WOOHOO!) while Ki made soup & salad for dinner. It was just what I needed. Simple, flavorful, nourishing food. Thank you, Ki! Love overload.

Both dishes were creamy, dreamy, and full of greens. Here are the recipes:

Creamy Rosemary Salad Dressing
-1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
-1/4 c. olive oil
-1/4 c. Udo’s Choice oil
-1/4 c. water
-4 garlic cloves
-1 tbs. dried thyme
-1 tbs. dijon mustard
-1 tsp. fresh rosemary leaves, or to taste
-large pinch of sea salt

Blend all ingredients in high speed blender or food processor. For a less creamy, but still delicious dressing: mince garlic and rosemary and whisk all ingredients thoroughly.

More about salad making here!

Coconut, Greens, & Beans Soup

-1/2 red onion, chopped
-1 head garlic, crushed
-olive oil
-1 small bunch celery (stems and leaves), chopped
-1 head of kale, shredded
-4 c. water or vegetable broth
-1 can coconut milk
-3 tbs. Thai yellow curry paste
-2 to 3 c. really good red beans
-splash of fresh lime juice

Preheat a pot over medium-high heat and coat with olive oil. Saute onion and garlic until they become soft. Add celery and saute a few minutes longer. Add kale and stir as it wilts. In a separate pan, heat water/broth, coconut milk, and curry paste until hot. Add to the onion-garlic-celery-kale mixture. Stir and simmer on low. Add beans and simmer until heated through. Remove from heat, add lime, and stir. Eat it and be happy!

Quick, simple, and straight to the point!



Zine & Za’atar!
October 26, 2011, 10:41 am
Filed under: food, Happy Thanksliving! coloring zine, making!, VeganMoFo

Hello again! I have some exciting news to share today.
I just finished making my very first coloring zine,
Happy Thanksliving!
  This veg-friendly zine honors turkeys, thankfulness, and fall fruits & veggies in all of their much-deserved glory.  Happy Thanksliving! celebrates and raises questions with a fun, rhyming poem and super-sweet drawings that beg to be colored! I really cannot wait to share this work, and you’ll be the first to know when the zine becomes available for purchase at ThoraThinks.com. (Start sharpening your crayons and colored pencils now… the zine will be here before MoFo is over!) In the meantime, here’s a little peak inside:

(Here’s an interesting article about zines that’s been circulating this week).

It’s important to me that kids have as many turkey-positive books as possible during this time of year, so I’ve been working hard to finish this in time for the holiday. As a result, my meals have been basic. I wish I had a brand new recipe for Caramelized Butternut Squash with Cinnamon-Vanilla Ice Cream and Fancy Shmancy Pecan Crumble or something like that, but instead I’m just going to show you what I had for dinner last night. Leftover beans, greens 3 ways, and za’atar spiced roasted roots. And a little smoothie too! I have so much gratitude for all of this fresh food.

…for those unfamiliar with za’atar, it is a super-delicious Middle Eastern spice blend traditionally eaten with pita and olive oil. It’s very high in iron and rich with antioxidants as well. Ki and I love to toss potatoes and other roots with za’atar and oil before roasting. YUM.

I’m giving away a free, signed copy of Garlic-Onion-Beet-Spinach-Mango-Carrot-Grapefruit Juice this Sunday and entering is a piece of cake.
Show us your Ingvar!



Halloween Coloring Sheet & Really Good Red Beans
October 25, 2011, 8:37 am
Filed under: coloring pages, food, recipes, VeganMoFo

Who’s getting excited for Halloween?
Who wants to color!?

How about these cute, costumed, yellow spotted snails?

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(More Halloween coloring from last year here).

Oh, and who wants to win a free book this weekend? If you’re thinking “me, of course” then don’t forget to send in an Ingvar photo by Sunday to enter.

I’ve been working away on a super-sweet project so Ki made a simple dinner last night– really good red beans, fresh tomatoes, salad, and roasted pak choy (sometimes called “Chinese cabbage”… similar to bok choy). Oh, and some red wine too.

Since the beans were really, really tasty I asked Ki for the recipe. The quantities are flexible, but here’s the jist:

Really Good Red Beans

Soak a mixture of kidney and adzuki beans overnight. Drain and rinse. Cook in vegetable broth. In a separate pot, temper equal quantities of whole cumin and fennel seeds in coconut oil. Add diced red onion and minced ginger and saute until slightly browned/softened. Stir in garam masala and sea salt. Add mixture to prepared beans and simmer. Taste for salt and spice. Yum!



Fried Green Tomatoes with Smoky Delicata Cream
October 24, 2011, 9:39 am
Filed under: food, making!, recipes, VeganMoFo

Hello all! Welcome to week 4 of Ingvar’s VeganMoFo!

Even after a frost or two, some Nashville veggies are really hanging in there. Lots and lots of green tomatoes were harvested last week, which means I’m able to keep taking bites of summer even though I’ve been reunited with my coat and am definitely feeling the fall. Many of the green tomatoes have been making their way into Ki’s smoothies, but a few have been reserved for frying. (How could it be any other way?) Lately I’ve been experimenting with sauces, dips, etc. and last night I whipped up this smoky delicata cream to serve with the tomatoes. Nothing says “you’re transitioning between seasons” like tomatoes topped with winter squash. Delicious!

(for anyone unfamiliar with delicata squash, here’s a little wikipedia description)

Fried Green Tomatoes with Smoky Delicata Cream

INGREDIENTS

-1.5 lbs. green tomatoes, sliced into 1/2″ thick rounds
-1 c. cornmeal
-1 tsp. sea salt
-black pepper to taste
-egg replacer of your choice (I used ener-g)
-coconut or other oil for frying

-1 delicata squash
-3/4 c. raw cashews, soaked for at least 1 hour
-1 tsp. nama shoyu/tamari/soy sauce
-1 tsp. pure maple  syrup
-1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
-pinch of cayenne pepper
-liquid smoke to taste
-1/2 c. water

Peel and remove seeds from the delicata squash, and chop into small pieces. Steam for 10 minutes or until soft, and let cool. Combine squash, cashews, nama shoyu, maple syrup, ACV, cayenne, liquid smoke and 1/2 c. water in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. I recommend adding the liquid smoke a few drops at a time, until you reach your desired level of smokiness. Scrape the sides of the food processor to make sure everything gets nice and blendy. We’re aiming for a smooth, creamy consistency. Add more water if needed.

Combine cornmeal, salt and pepper on a plate. Mix up your egg replacer (I used 3 tbs. of ener-g egg replacer mixed with water). Pour 1/4″ of coconut oil into a frying pan and heat over medium-high. Dip each tomato slice into the egg replacer, then into the cornmeal mixture, and place it in the frying pan. Fry on each side until golden brown. Keep fried tomatoes on a plate covered with a cloth or paper towel to absorb excess oil. Add extra oil to the pan as needed.  (Lots of oil going on! These are a good once-in-a-while treat). Top with delicata cream and enjoy!

p.s. I made these little beauties for a lady potluck I hosted last night. We had a wonderful vegan meal-

…followed by a brainstorming session! We’re all working together to make a menstrual calendar zine (for our own use and to give as holiday gifts) and it’s such a fun way to connect and share info. We’re each researching different topics to write about, and one that I am most interested is foods/herbs that relieve cramps and support the female reproductive system. I’ll be happy to share my findings here, once I find them.  : )

Show us your Invar!



Book Giveaway #3
October 23, 2011, 10:49 am
Filed under: food, free stuff!, VeganMoFo

Congratulations to Hattie from Denver, Co! You’ve won this week’s Garlic-Onion-Beet-Spinach-Mango-Carrot-Grapefruit Juice giveaway!

Hattie and Ingvar harvested these fragrant herbs to be used in tinctures and vinegar. How wonderful! Thanks for sharing!

Next Sunday will mark the 4th and final Ingvar’s VeganMoFo giveaway. To enter, send your own Ingvar photo to nathalie@thorathinks.com. Fancy food and shmancy cameras are not required– we’d love to see whatever you’ve got!



Hazelnut-Almond-Cacao Milk & Cookies
October 21, 2011, 7:22 am
Filed under: food, recipes, VeganMoFo

Guess what. I’ve been really into nut milk this week.

Back in my omnivorous days, I was never a milk drinker. (I drank from my mama for a couple of years and then I was done).  Cow’s milk just didn’t appeal to me. NUT milk on the other hand…

Friends, I’m all about nut milk. It’s so delicious, so nutritious, super simple, and fairly inexpensive to make yourself. Fresh milk is so much tastier than the stuff from the store AND you can add whatever flavors you like! If you do some browsing you’ll find lots of basic recipes and info on the web. Here’s what I like to make:

Hazelnut-Almond-Cacao Milk

INGREDIENTS
-1/4 c. raw hazelnuts, soaked overnight
-1/4 c. raw almonds, soaked overnight
-handful of cacao nibs
-1 tbs. pure maple syrup
-1/2 tsp. vanilla
-pinch of cinnamon
-2 c. water

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor, and blend it up as much as possible. Place a nut milk bag, sheet of cheese cloth, or fine strainer over a wide-mouthed container. Pour milk into bag/cloth and squeeze with all your might! If you’re using a strainer, skip the squeezing– just push down on the pulp to release more milk. Save pulp. (makes 2 cups of milk)

I love this milk cold, but it also makes great hot cocoa– just add more cacao (or cocoa powder) and a little extra sweetness, and warm it up! I REALLY enjoy pouring this milk into a cup of Teeccino. I’m not a coffee drinker, but lately I’ve been digging this “caffeine-free herbal alternative”…

Delicious! And see those little cookies down there? Those are pulp cookies! After making milk mix up your nut pulp with some almond or peanut butter, a little more maple syrup (or whatever sweetener you prefer), oats, cacao nibs, shredded coconut, and a pinch of salt & cinnamon. Roll into cookies and enjoy! These store well in the freezer.

…pulp can be used in all kinds of desserts, dehydrated in raw crackers, added to dips/smoothies for thickness, etc. Woohoo!

Hope you  have a fantastic weekend!
Want to win a free, signed copy of Garlic-Onion-Beet-Spinach-Mango-Carrot-Grapefruit Juice? To enter, just send in an Ingvar picture!



Feeding a Happy Vegan Hamster (and a new coloring sheet!)
October 20, 2011, 10:07 am
Filed under: Buddy the hamster, coloring pages, food, VeganMoFo

First and foremost, let’s color! This “veggies and a peace sign” coloring sheet was recommended by Amy on the G-O-B-S-M-C-G-Juice Facebook page. Enjoy!


PRINT

If you haven’t already met my hamster-friend, let me introduce you. Cute, huh? I want to share a little about what we feed Buddy, since his diet is vegan and he seems to really enjoy his food.

The majority of his diet consists of this Ecotrition organic blend. One bag lasts the little guy months and months, and the ingredients are pretty solid (organic alfalfa forage, oat groats, wheat, millet, milo, corn, soybeans, pumpkin seed, papaya, banana, flax…). Buddy had been eating some questionable food when we adopted him (as consumers, have hamsters really expressed a need for bright green, yellow, and red food?) but he transitioned over to this stuff with no complaints.

In addition to the dry blend, Buddy eats various veggies, nuts, and seeds throughout the week. His favorites are cucumber, romaine lettuce, broccoli, spinach, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, and flax seeds. Sometimes he’s super pumped about wheatgrass, and other times not. He loves fruit but receives it very rarely since dwarf hamsters are prone to diabetes. He also gets a cooked chickpea or a couple lentils once in a while– yum!  For more info on foods that hamsters can and cannot eat, I recommend checking out a book about hamster care. There is plenty to read online (here, for example) but it’s hard to gauge the reliability.


Buddy’s dinner 1: dry blend, wheatgrass, chickpea, and green pepper


Buddy’s dinner 2: dry blend, cucumber, spinach, carrot, sunflower seeds, 1/2 cashew


Buddy hanging out in his bedroom


best buds

I’m giving away a free book this Sunday… to enter, show us your Ingvar!




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