I have recently been involved in 3 very large and very stressful moves. We have all heard the phrases, “you can’t take it with you”, “money can’t buy happiness” and I even heard this recently, “hearses don’t pull u-hauls”. After these past few weeks I would like to add another. “Stuff does not make you happy, it just makes moving more of a hassle”. TRUTH!!!!
Our third (and final for a long while) move was into a much smaller space than we are used to as a family of four. We decided (as former NYC dwellers) that we would simply pretend that this new small space was the largest NY apartment we have ever had and be grateful we have any space at all. Thus far, this attitude has served us well and we are very content in our quaint abode. Surprisingly, I have not once missed my dining table and multitude of chairs (and a bench) or my king sized bed. I have not missed my china, my rugs or the many other belongings that we locked inside a storage unit. In fact, when we pulled down the gate on all of our stuff, I felt relief.
I am not surprised that I don’t miss my things necessarily. We all know fundamentally that home is where our family is, not where our stuff resides. What I am surprised at, is how much I have worried over the years about keeping and acquiring more stuff. I am disappointed that I believed this lie that more things would somehow complete my “home”, my life or my family. I would say a good 70% of what I own is in storage and still, as I type this, I have more than most around the world could ever aspire to have. My goal in writing this is not to say that having things is wrong or bad, nor is having space. At some point I hope to have more square footage. I am simply saying that we need a lot less than we think we need to feel content. So….
What does all of this have to do with a vegan blog? I am oh so happy you asked that question:)! In thinking about what we eat each day, we can adopt this same attitude. Less is more. No, not less FOOD, less stuff in our food. When we de-clutter our recipes, our pantries and our minds when it comes to eating everything becomes more simple.
Whole food is best for optimal health. The less that is added to this food, the better. Not only is it better for you, it is also better for your wallet. When we simplify our grocery lists to include veggies, fruits, leafy greens, vegetables, beans, grains etc… our pocket books and our waist lines thank us. Something amazing will happen. Our wallets get bigger and our waistlines get smaller!!! Eating healthy is not expensive, if you don’t complicate it with processed food.
Here is a recipe that I made this week. It cost me approximately $1.75 per person. It is full of protein, fiber, healthy fat, antioxidants and vitamins. My family loved it! Not only that, it was EASY. Maybe 20 minutes from start to table (and some of that was for the pretty presentation, so I could post it here).
Black Bean Quinoa (Keen-Wah) Tacos
1 Box of Quinoa (I bought mine at Wal-Mart) – I make the whole box and use it throughout the week on salads or in other recipes.
Quinoa cooking tip: My Bolivian mother-in-law, who was making quinoa before quinoa was cool taught me to toast it in the pan before I add the water. This gives it a fuller and more nutty flavor.
1 Can Black Beans (double this if you want leftovers)
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
a dash of cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
1 package Corn Tortilla’s ( I bought a large package at Wal-Mart for $1.58 and have 1/2 the bag left)
Make the Quinoa according to the box directions.
Pour the black beans in a small pan and add all spices. Cook on medium to low heat.
Build your tacos. We used spinach, green olives, tomatoes, jalapeno’s, avocado and green salsa. You can use whatever fresh toppings float your boat. Just make sure to include lots of colorful veggies.
Spicy Vegan Ranch (optional)
1/2 cup low-fat vegan mayo (such as Naysoya brand found at Kroger, Publix or Whole Foods)
Season to taste with garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, cumin and cayenne pepper.
I like to add a little dill pickle juice or white vinegar to give it a true ranch flavor.
3 of these filled me up completely and I served watermelon for dessert:) I used the leftovers of this yummy dinner to make “Huevos” Rancheros with tofu scramble for breakfast the next morning, YUM!
In the next few weeks I will be sharing more easy, cheap and healthy plant based recipes that I hope you will all add to your menu’s. Let’s all look at ways to simplify our lives and diets this week. As always thanks so much for reading and please feel free to email me anytime with questions you may have.
Your Vegan Friend
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