Friday, December 21, 2012

Experimenting With Color (and cookies)


So, as promised in my post from yesterday, I am going to show you the "experiment" I have been working on involving Chlorophyll and pomagranates.



But first, the preface:
My students LOVE me to read them "The Gingerbread Man" it's been their favorite for months and I told them that we would make gingerbread man cookies for our Christmas party. So the night before, I made 18 little gingerbread man cookies, 18 star cookies and 18 circle cookies. The shape of the gingerbread man turned out a little strange because the gingerbread man cookie cutter that I bought from the US didn't come in yet, so I had to buy a "boy" cookie cutter from a random supermarket in Korea.
See pics down below and you'll see what I mean~

I wanted to have red, white, and green colored icing. But this is problematic. First, because you can't easily find food coloring in Korea. Second, because food coloring is creepily made with all these weird chemicals AND/OR beetles and other random things. So many children in the US have allergies to these artificial colorings. These scary colors have even been linked to behavioral disorders, allergies, asthma and even cancer. This isn't some conspiracy talk. Many parents are made aware of this fact from their regular allopathic doctors! This is mainstream knowledge. If yore interested, read more about this here, here, here or here. Or just Google about it yourself! It's serious stuff!

I couldn't give these things to my little angel babies, so right as I was falling asleep a few weeks ago I thought of a great idea!
CHLOROPHYLL! Yes- the "blood" of plants. I have a bottle of it that I occasionally put in smoothies. It is SO GREEN that is is black. A tiny drop and the whole icing would change green. PERFECT.




Next, RED. My first instinct was POMEGRANATES. Their juice stains the counter and the cutting board, and it is RED. So, I figured it would work. I smashed the seeds through a metal sieve with a cup underneath to catch the juice. I even boiled the juice to concentrate the color.




It didn't come out as bright or as "red" as I would have liked, but at least it was natural. I will keep trying on this. I didn't google how to do it because I just want to figure it out!! I'm going to try beets next time.

This is SO easy! There are so many other fruit or veg that are totally vibrant! I just know they would work! I can't wait to do more experimenting!

Here is my icing recipe:


EASY VEGAN ICING RECIPE


2 Cups of Powdered Sugar
1 TBSP of Coconut Oil
2 1/2 TBSP of Soy Milk(OR almond or coconut)
1/2 tsp of Vanilla Extract (alcohol-free, please)

Just mix everything together. Make sure your milk is at room temp, otherwise it will make the coconut oil hard and your icing will be lumpy. You can add more or less milk depending on how thick you want to make it OR you can make it with no milk at all. Water works fine.


Here is the cookie recipe:

BASIC VEGAN SUGAR COOKIES


Ingredients

1 1/4 Cup of Coconut Oil
1 Cup of Raw sugar or Xylitol
1 "flax egg" (1 TBSP of ground flaxseeds mixed with 3 TBSP of warm water)
2 tsp of vanilla extract (alcohol-free please)
3 1/2 Cups of flour (I didn't use whole wheat this time, but it works fine in this recipe)
1 tsp aluminum free baking powder

1.) In a small bowl, mix the ground flaxseeds with the warm water and let set at least 10 minutes. It will have the consistency of a raw egg when it's "ready".

2.) In a big bowl, mix the coconut oil and sugar really well. Then beat in the flax mixture and vanilla.

3.) Mix flour into the mixture from step 2 with a big wooden spoon. Do this gradually so it will mix well. If the mixture seems a little dry add a little water or soy milk.

4.) Cover the bowl and let the dough set in the refrigerator for 40 minutes. Preheat oven to 176ºC (350ºF).

5.) Roll out dough on a floured surface until it's about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out the Shapes you want.



6.) Place on cookie sheet and bake for about 9 or 10 minutes depending on how crunchy you like your cookies. Remember: if cookies "LOOK DONE", then they are burnt.


Here are my lovely students making and enjoying their creations at our Christmas party. How could I NOT love my job, right?!


Jayden, Olivia, Ellie and Iris making their vegan, all natural and organic cookies.
We used raisins and coconut to decorate with!

I tried to tell the kids that these cookies are *better* for their body than regular ones.
No eggs, no butter, no white sugar, flaxseed added, pomegranate juice added, and chlorophyll added. They didn't care. They just LOVED them! That was all the encouragement I needed to know that this recipe is a winner!

I have been posting a lot about baked goods and sweets. Typically I don't eat these, but I have been very inspired lately over the need for people to know these things can be made "better" than the traditional ways. I want people to be encouraged that starting a more compassionate lifestyle can be delicious too. We vegans eat more than tofu, you know! I don't think these foods should be incorporated in the diet, but if you feel the need to partake of these things you don't have to TOTALLY fall off the wagon!


Hope you guys like this recipe, I had some stellar reviews of these cookies from my students, co-workers, and friends (vegan and non-veg alike). This will be a guaranteed winner at Christmas dinner.

This may be my last post for a couple weeks. We are actually on our way to the airport now. We are heading to Bali until after the New Year! See you guys in 2013... or sooner if I am inspired!! Have a wonderful New Year. Take some time to yourself to dream about the upcoming year and totally let go of 2012. It no longer serves you.

Love and Chorophyll,

Meg

Some of the cookies that I made for a recent veg*an function that a friend and I coordinated at a local bar (more info on that coming next month). If you tried one of these cookies on Thursday night, let us all know what you think!





Yule. Love. Musgo Stew.

      
First, I would like to wish everyone a Happy Yule! 


For those of you not familiar with this holiday, it is very intriguing. Yule was (and is) celebrated in Scandinavian countries, but similar celebrations are common in many other cultures. Yule is based on the Winter Solstice and so many of our "Christmas" traditions originate from it. If you have a Christmas Tree, burn a yule log, go Christmas "caroling", hang up lights, exchange gifts, and have a BIG dinner- you participate in Yule traditions.

Yule is very symbolic, yet literal at the same time. It occurs on Winter Solstice (the first day of winter) when the sun is very low in the sky and we have "the longest night" of the year.  For those living in ancient times, this was a huge problem. They viewed the sun as the giver of life! If the sun suddenly disappears, life would no longer exist on Earth! I love this explanation of Yule that I found online.

"Try to imagine yourself in a very cold climate, where the Winter nights are very long, indeed. Firewood and food are both becoming very scarce and you have begun to fear for your own survival. As you keep a lonely vigil through this, the Longest Night, you feel as though the Darkness has taken over the Earth and the Light will never come again. Imagine your joy at that first spark of light and your hopes that, someday soon, the snow will melt and you will be warm and well fed! This is the way our ancestors must have felt about this time of celebration."

You can view this as the literal "darkness" taking over the world and sending all living things to their deaths. OR you could view it as spiritual "darkness" or "evil" taking over. Then, when the night is over, the sun returns!  To me, it's a very meaningful holiday.

It's so powerful to sync up with the seasons and understand and appreciate those cycles that were so sacred to our ancestors. We are still part of nature even though we live in high rise apartments and don't have to cultivate our own food. Syncing oneself with the season is so enlightening and really makes a person feel "at home" on our planet.


Dave and I are on vacation starting TOMORROW! So, on Monday of this week I cleaned out the fridge. I HATE throwing food away... especially organic veggies that are SO expensive in Korea. I took all the veggies, a package of  grains that was almost gone, a package of organic tofu and a left over stir fry from the night before and I made........

  MUSGO STEW



Sounds fancy, right?

"Musgo" cleverly comes from the English words "Must Go".  Use in a sentence:
         "These veggies MUST GO out of my fridge before we leave for our vacation, or they will spoil."

Here is what I did-

I cut all the veggies and put a little coconut oil, garlic, and fresh ginger in a large pot and cooked them in the oil for a couple minutes.

Next, I threw all the veggies in and cooked them until they were nearly done. The veggies I used were carrots (lots and lots), sweet potatoes, 1/4 head of cabbage and chopped up stems of kale, celery leaves, and beet chard.  Then I added the spices- cumin, lots of curry powder, nutmeg, cayenne pepper (just a tad) and turmeric- and mixed them in well with the veggies.

I then added water about 3/4 of the way up into the pot. I didn't have any freshly made vegetable stock, so I threw in an organic vegetable bullion cube, the grains (I used Millet), and the firm tofu (pressed).

I brought everything to a boil, and then turned down the heat to let it simmer for about 35-40 minutes. At some point I added in the previous night's stir fry (veggies and quinoa).

See the stir fry floating on top? :-)
After the carrots and sweet potatoes were tender, I added in lots of greens. I have been LOVING the leaves off the tops of celery!! If you are in Korea, you can buy them in the organic section of Emart where all the leaves are sold. I also added kale and beet chard and some other miscellaneous greens that were calling my name in the store.

Gorgeous! I prefer eating my greens raw, but they are SO nice in a stew on a cold rainy day!


I made SO much of this stuff that we have been eating it for dinner every night! It really hits the spot after the cold commute home at the end of a long day!


Don't ever throw away leftovers or veggies. Put them in a large stew! Get creative! Spaghetti, rice, mashed potatoes... nothing is out of the question for Musgo Stew! Now get out there any try it! I know lots of you are leaving on vacay soon too, OR will have lots of leftovers from holiday celebrations, so you'll have plenty of chances to experiment!! The key is spices and seasonings! Organic and salt free is the way to go! I hope you all have a great holiday season!

I did some interesting experiments lately.. I will be posting about it soon- so stay tuned!
*Hint- they involve chlorophyll and pomegranates...  :)


Now, I  MUSGO do laundry and pack for vacation.

Love to you all,
Meg


PS- Don't forget to "like" The Empowered Way on Facebook to get daily inspiration and other cool stuff!

Friday, December 14, 2012

It Happens To Everyone...



BAD HAIR DAYS.

Actually, it has basically happened to me every day for my entire life....

My hair was SUPER curly, thick and frizzy through middle and high school. 

No- I wasn't gothic. My friend and I did a Sociology experiment in WalMart... don't ask.

Then I got professional straightening in college and it got better, and some days even manageable.



Then I moved to Korea and had horrible experiences keeping up with my blonde highlights.  My hair was YELLOW and over processed. And then........ it broke off after being burned too much with the arsenic (AKA- Korean hair dye) AND washing it in the water here.

The height of yellowness!


Then my hair was two-toned because I refused to re-touch my super shiny new healthy VEGAN hair and re-peat this process again.



NOW:
I have dyed the yellow hair to match healthy roots. I wash it with Dr. Bronner's Soap. Rinse it with Dr. Bronner's Hair Rinse. Spray it with Rose Water. And Use Dr. Bronner's Hair Cream for styling. It feels so great! I feel so good knowing that No toxic products or products tested on animals are even being used on my hair and my hair is thanking me for it by behaving itself.






I actually found out after I had already eliminated SLS (Sodium Laurel Sulfate) from my hair care routine, that it totally scrubs away all the natural oils in your hair, causing it to dry out and in some cases OVER produce oil to counteract the dryness. It has also been linked with making hair fall out! Check the link above or google for the truly nasty effects of this criminal chemical that is basically in EVERYTHING that touches our skin and hair.

But even with the best hair, when you work with 18 of THESE guys...



Having a good hair day can be a challenge. 

Sometimes my job calls for me to be a client in their "Hair Shop" or a Power Ranger... 
Sometimes the results look like this...


But it's ok! I always have a trusty elastic hair band in my bag to remedy this issue.
Except on days that I don't. 
On days like that there are only a few options available in a pre-school.



Normal rubber bands DON'T WORK! They always get tangled and I have to cut them out...
Clothes pins? Not really, unless you use 20. 
Paper clips? No. But they could work instead of a bobby pin if you're in a jam.
Pencils? I could never do the cool bun thing with a pencil... I've tired for years.
So, I chose the twist tie (but I took off the bow)



WOW! It worked great! They don't damage your hair like hair bands do and you don't need to buy anything- 
you can just re-use your bread ties!


In the past I probably just would have been angry at myself for not remembering to bring an extra elastic hair tie. Believe it or not, I would have dwelled on it and it would have ruined my whole day.

But when you look for opportunities in the difficulties that life sometimes hands you, you ALWAYS find something better. You may even learn something you wouldn't have known before.

Maybe some of you don't want to hear me rant about my hair.
But I'm writing this post for myself. I have always had a horrible relationship with my hair. I have despised it FOREVER and it has even lead to low self-esteem and insecurity. My hair has always been my Achille's heal. Being able to overcome little victories with it really gives me a boost.

I like having little problems like this in life and finding meaning in them. When you learn something like this on a small scale, you can apply it to large-scale problems if they arise.

The opportunity to learn something new everyday to improve your mind (or hair) is one of the gifts we are given in life. When we stop learning, we stop progressing and then we become dull and bored (and boring).

Life is too awesome!

Find truth in the little things. Walk around with your eyes open.
The little things can be just as empowering as the big ones.

Have you ever found truth or inspiration in something small? I'd love to hear about it!

There are many ways to live life-
Why not live it "The Empowered Way"!


Meg

PS- You can find Dr Bronner's products at my new "Empowered Consumer Shop" HERE!
I also have books and other great things that inspire and empower me there too! Check it out! If you can't find something on there that you are interested in, let me know. I'll get it!







Saturday, December 8, 2012

Why Buy When You Can Make It Better Yourself (Pie Crust)


 Here it is!
The long awaited pie recipe! If you knew how simple and FUN making pie crust is you would never buy frozen again!! Making homemade vegan pie crust is just as easy as conventional crust... BUT its even stronger! You can literally hold a piece of this pie by the crust and it will not break! But the taste is fantastic... I think it's BETTER than doing it the old way.

Here are the ingredients:
2 1/4 cups of All-Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup of Coconut Oil (make sure it's solid)
1 teaspoon of Salt (rock salt or sea salt... NO MORTON'S)
1 Tablespoon of Sugar (Xylitol, or raw sugar please)
1/2 Cup of Ice Water

**Compare our 5 ingredients with the 18 in Pillbury's Frozen Crust!!!!! If you need to have majored in Latin to read the food label on something, don't eat it!**

Directions:

STEP 1: In a food processor- pulse the flour, salt, and sugar a few times until mixed.


STEP 2: Add in the coconut oil and pulse until it's crumbly and sticks together when you squeeze it between your fingers. Using a food processor for this step is unconventional, but that's what I'm all about! :) It works perfectly!


STEP 3: Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and start gradually adding in the water with a spatula. The key to making excellent pie crust is ICE COLD WATER. *Think Titanic Iceberg water cold! Keep mixing until you have a nice dough ball formed.






You may need slightly less water, or more. Adjust your amount accordingly. This amount of dough will make two pie crusts or 1 pie crust that has a lattice top (like this)


STEP 4: Cut dough in half and reshape into a flat ball. Place dough on a floured counter.


STEP 5: Roll out pie crust and place the dough into the pan.
  Check out my video below on how to roll perfect crust every time.
 

*TIPWhen working with pie dough always keep a dish of ice water and extra flour handy.


STEP 6: With a fork, poke holes in the sides and bottom of the crust. Then, place your PERFECT pie crust into the refrigerator for 1 hour. This will keep it stable while you are baking.


For Thanksgiving, I made a vegan pumpkin pie and pumpkin tarts... not because I'm fancy. Because I only have 1 pie pan :) I made the above dough recipe, and rolled out half the dough onto a pie pan and the rest I put into muffin pans. It turns out half of this dough recipe makes 12 tarts!



Here is the Pumpkin Pie Filling Recipe:

Ingredients:
2 1/2 Cups of pumpkin puree
1 Cup of Cashews soaked in water for 3 hours or more. Rinse and drain them well before using.
3/4 Cup of sugar (Xylitol or Raw sugar, please)
2 Tablespoons of Tapioca starch (NO DON'T USE CORNSTARCH!)
1 1/2 Tablespoons of Blackstrap Molasses (Benefits: Calcium, Iron, minerals)
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/2 teaspoon of dried ginger
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
A pinch or two of cloves



Directions:

STEP 1: Pre-heat oven to 176ºC (350ºF)

STEP 2: Mix everything together until smooth. Those cashews can be stubborn. I usually have to use an immersion blender to get everything smooth.

STEP 3: Pour mixture into pie shell and smooth out the top until it looks good.





STEP 4: Bake for about 35- 40 minutes. Pumpkin pie- just like cheesecake and cookies will not appear done when it actually IS. If it looks done, it's probably over cooked. 


STEP 5: In order to keep your pie filling from "cracking" make sure it doesn't cool off too quickly. To easily do this, turn off the oven and crack the door. Leave the pie in for about 15 minutes. It will cool down slower and your pie will have less risk of cracking.




My finished Pumpkin Pie: Mostly organic, no eggs, dairy, preservatives or white sugar.

 

My Banana Cream Pie: All organic, no eggs, no dairy. With coconut milk whipped cream.




NOW- WHAT YOU HAVE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR.... THE GIVEAWAY WINNERS (from the last post)!!!      


Dr. Bronner's Soap: #16 Austin Buckley
Organic Coconut Oil: #20 roundthemoon

You can click the Random Picker icon below to see the drawing details. :)



I will be messaging you both shortly to get your shipping details! Thank so much to everyone that participated!!


Happy Holidays to you all!

I know the holidays can be a bit of a weakness for some people... food and baked goods abound this time of year. But this year, re-think your choices. If there is something you LOVE, there is a way to make it healthier. Just do a little research- you'll be glad you did!

Living in a foreign country WITHOUT frozen/boxed/canned foods that we become so dependent on in the US has really forced me into making things myself. I will always be glad for these years spent living in Korea. My true life's path was forged here.. I found myself here. It never even crossed my mind that I would find that when I decided to leave my home 4 years ago.



Here's to the paths you have yet to travel and the ones you are traveling now. Never get too attached to any ONE plan. Always be open. Always be searching.

Empowered Choices. Empowered Way.

Meg


Friday, November 23, 2012

Giving Thanks

I would like to thank everyone who reads this blog and supports living life "The Empowered Way".
I have had an EXPLOSION of views in the last 2 months! 

Almost everything I do in life, I do with intention. I try never to just go along with something because "That's the way things have always been done.", "Everyone else does it." or "It's just easier this way". 

I am so thankful for having this blog because I believe in the POWER of written word. 

The written word can inspire and enlighten its readers, but it also gives something back to its author. Being conscious of different ways that I have come to feel empowered has... empowered ME

Just writing all the thoughts that go on in my head and the things I study really helps me to keep a clean focus. 

Receiving messages and comments really helps me know that my passion in life is desired and helpful to others. 

Seeing people change their lives all because of something I suggested is an indescribable feeling.

Thank you everyone. Thank you for being awesome. Thank you for keeping an open mind. Thank you for caring about what you put into your bodies. Thank you for trying to be a more conscious consumer. Thank you for supporting me and making me feel loved and appreciated. 

In a small attempt to say how grateful I am- I'm doing a GIVE-AWAY of my two most favorite ESSENTIAL products!




Organic Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Coconut Oil  & Dr Bronner's Organic Castille Soap


Both products have changed my life in terms of how I think about cooking and what I put on my body. 

Coconut oil is THE ONLY cooking that should be used for high heat cooking! Olive oil is not healthy if heated. You can use room temperature coconut oil in place of Crisco (shudder) in any baking situation! Also, coconut oil is a good moisturizer for skin and hair, diaper rash cream, good for putting on cuts and scrapes, and even a natural SPF!

Dr. Bronner's Soap is all organic, not tested on animals, vegan and fair trade! All of these qualities have become super important to me and my husband. Organic and natural is very important, as our skin is our biggest organ! Whatever we put on it gets into our bloodstream- not good news for all those toxic lotions, perfumes and body washes out there. Also, we like to ensure that the way we live harms other beings in the least ways possible. Adding those two great reasons with the fact that Dr Bronner's can be used as body soap, shampoo, shaving cream, multi-purpose cleaner, dog wash, car wash, toothpaste, to clean laundry, to clean wool, to clean silk... the bottle says there are 18 uses. You can find even more online! 


Now:

Want to know what you need to do to have one of these shipped straight to your door!?

Just leave a comment down below with your name, a way to contact you in case you are a winner, and a brief comment about something (anything) that has empowered you to make changes in your life, an inspirational quote, etc. 
Please feel free to share with us. Others want to be inspired by you! It doesn't matter if I know you or not! 
I will choose the winners (via some random name generator online) on Thursday, December 7th and I will notify you via contact information provided!

Do not hesitate because you think you live too far away. I will literally ship these to you ANYWHERE in the world that you may be. I may even throw in a little something extra that is special from Korea! ;)

I hope all you Americans out there had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I am still awake and finishing the details for my dinner party tomorrow night. It will be a wonderful time with lots of friends and it will be a totally CRUELTY-FREE Thanksgiving! Not all of these friends are vegetarian or vegan, but they are awesome and up for a challenge to re-think their old recipes!
No animals will have had to suffer just so we can stuff our faces! :)

Living a life that isn't sustained on the misery of others....That is TRULY something to be Thankful for!!


SIGN UP FOR THE GIVE-AWAY!

Meg


PS- Thanksgiving recipes and pics coming soon! 
VEGAN (made 100% from scratch) PUMPKIN PIE WITH WHIPPED (coconut) CREAM... 
oh... 
just. you. wait!

Shhh... sneak peak!






Thursday, November 15, 2012

Birthdays


As some of you know, I just recently had a birthday. I am 28!!!!!!! I say this with pride. 
Yes, I am approaching 30... 

Do I hate birthdays? 
NO! 
Do I hate getting older? 
NO!
Do I dread the next year of life?
NO!
Should I worry about any of the things that come with age?
NO!

BUT WHY? DOESN'T SOCIETY TEACH US TO FEAR AGING?

Yes it does! But...

I came to an epiphany around age 26...
I realized that every year, my life gets better and better!
I learn more and feel more connected to others and the planet.
I love myself more and feel more comfortable with who I am.
My relationship with my husband grows stronger and stronger.
I have a group of amazing people in my life that help me grow and fill me with encouragement and love. These are friends, mentors, family and even my little kindergarden students.
I am creating my dream life!
I no longer have a child mentality when looking at the world. I do not expect leaders or other authority figures to take care of me and act in my best interests.
I realize that I have the power to control my life. I am not powerless and waiting for "fate" to happen to me. If I want something, I go out and get it OR go out and create it if it's not out there already!
My body and my health are mine to control. I create and sustain my health- I am not a victim of it.

So many positive things have happened to me in the last year. It has been the most powerful and crucial year in my life so far. This year has cemented the keystone for what I believe will be the rest of my life. 

"I am living a life of abundance and purpose. All good things are coming to me. 
This will be my best year yet!"

I wrote that in my Leonie Dawson year planner in January of this year. This is what I wanted to be able to say at the end of the year. This has happened to me in a BIG way! 

I am not special. Everyone possesses this magic inside of themselves. We just have to remember that we have this ability. 

"Thoughts become Things" and "You are What You Eat"
are more than just expressions. 

THEY.
ARE.
TRUTH.

Here are a few pics from my birthday celebrations this year (yes celebrationS)

SURPRISE(ish) PARTY

My AMAZING friends tried to throw me a surprise birthday party. But Dave convinced them they should tell me. I am SO blown away by these amazing people and everything they did to make this party so... full of love... so... unique.... so......ME.


My birthday table!
Handmade Asian style paper table cloths, flowers made from an old Paulo Coelho book, napkins cut from natural cloth dyed with persimmons, oranges for accent, my GORGEOUS flowers and homemade party hats! See the yellow things all over the table? They collected quotes from my blog and other people that inspire me and wrote them all out. PERFECT!
**Added bonus: You can see two of the most inspiring men that I know in this pic**

The centerpiece!
A glass base with cinnamon bark, dried orange peels, and dried Korean dates. Apparently oranges with the insides scooped out- and the little white wick kept intact- make perfect candles.
Just add a little canola oil and you're set! They will burn for hours!
Being serenaded by Julie- a very talented worker at Loving Hut!
So happy for this pic. We didn't get a group shot of the party. It;s ok because everyone was busy talking and EATING. My two favorite things in life! :)
Vegan banana-pineapple cupcakes with vanilla coconut icing custom ordered from Alien's Day Out (a great vegan bakery in Seoul). That husband of mine sure knows me well! 
  
Everyone wrote birthday wishes and folded them into paper cranes
(or pterodactyls, boats or paper airplanes)
They all tied them on to this wooden mobile created by the party planners.
Words cannot express how wonderful this is! It is hanging in my yoga room at home as we speak.
Still trying to decide if I should open the wishes now or next year- what do you think?



 
                              Dave and I with "Aurora". Awesome little vegan girl! Her family owns Loving Hut
and she is always there to greet us with a smile.

   

ACTUAL BIRTHDAY

The students in my class made me a book! I also got lots of cards from other students in the school
and my wonderful co-workers/friends. It is nice to feel so much love and get lots of hugs everyday! Being a teacher is truly a gift!
Husband came home early from work on my actual birthday to surprise me with a house of balloons and birthday music. Look at these LOVELY flowers in the background. I have great friends!

Can anyone in Korea guess where I had dinner?

Yearly tradition of going to "The Water Bar" with my great friend Meghan. A bar with lots and lots of different waters!? YES PLEASE! This photo pretty much sums up our relationship.


A total solar eclipse in the Southern Hemisphere.
Many of you know the significance behind this. But if not, it's still cool!




CELEBRATION STILL TO COME

  Elton John concert in Seoul, November 27th! VIP tickets! Woo hooooo!


Love yourself. Change your mind about aging. Life can either be a wonderful adventure, or a scary prison. The only one that chooses which one it will be is you! 
ALLOW love, ALLOW growth, ALLOW success. They all are yours already and want to come to you. 

Wishing you many more birthday parties to look forward to. CELEBRATE!
Meg



PS- The next post will be for a give-away of some AWESOME products that I LOVE. Stay tuned!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Vexican Mac & Cheese (aka: Empowerment Pasta)

Vexican= Vegan Mexican in case you didn't catch that.... :)


It was just your standard dinner....
Or so I thought.

I took left overs with me for lunch the other day, and a few students came over to see what I was eating. I simply told them "pasta". One asked if she could have a bite. I thought she would hate it, its full of beans, zucchini, cilantro, peppers, and a bunch of mexican spices that Koreans never eat- ESPECIALLY Korean children. But, I gave her a bite anyway.

Then she yelled "Oh yummyyyyyyy, one more time!!!"

Needless to say, I was immediately surrounded with a swarm of 4 year olds wanting to try it. So, I let them try.... they too LOVED IT!!! They kept begging me for bites and when I told them I needed to eat the rest because, after all,

IT WAS MY LUNCH!!!

this is what happened.......


video

*Please forgive how loud my voice is... I am in a room with 18 4 year olds all day and if you want to be heard, you adjust your volume when needed. The background noise in the room was MUCH louder than it appears*


Now that you know how much you (and your kids) are going to love this, I will share the recipe.

Ingredients:

3 Cups of Whole Wheat Pasta
1 Pepper
1 Zucchini
1 Cup of Kidney Beans
1 Onion
1 Handful of cherry tomatoes with all the juices squeezed out
a Bunch or 2 of Cilantro and/or parsley

2 Cups of non-dairy milk (almond milk, rice milk, soy milk, etc)
1/2 Cup of Nutritional Yeast
1/2 Cup of Organic Ketchup (or more if you want it tangier)
1/4 Cup of whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon of Turmeric
1/2 teaspoon of Chili Powder
1/2 teaspoon of Cumin
1/2 teaspoon of Paprika
1/4 teaspoon of Nutmeg
6 Cloves of Garlic, minced

Directions:
  1. Cook soaked beans with 4 times as much water until they are done. The older the beans, the longer it will take. But it usually takes around 30 minutes.
  2. Cook pasta just a few minutes. Make sure it is al dente! Let it drain completely.
  3. Chop all veggies into however big or small you like them. 
  4. Put the tiniest bit of coconut oil in a pan and cook the veggies. Put in the onions, and zucchini first- let them cook a minute or so. Then add in the peppers, beans and tomatoes. Let everything cook together until tender and until the onions are see-through.
  5. In a blender place all the ingredients from 2 Cups of non-dairy milk to 4 cloves of garlic. Blend on low until mixed well.
  6. Pour the (non) Cheese mixture over the veggies and continue cooking on low heat around 5 minutes or until the flour taste cooks out.
  7. Mix in pasta and top with fresh cilantro or parsley!



Candids from the Process... The COLORS!! The COLORS!!



The Finished Product

Served with Cilantro Cinnamon Beats and Sunflower Seed Oat Bread! 


Now- I'm not expert on child-rearing. But I AM an expert on picky eaters, being a picky eater for many years and now in reform....

But if kids in South Korea LOVE this, and aren't used to any flavors or textures like this- I think most kids in the US would love it too! But if you are still convinced your kids won't like it:

  • Chop the veggies up smaller and they won't even notice. 
  • Let them add the ketchup- kids LOVE ketchup and they will think it's funny that you are putting it in to the blender!
  • Most importantly- don't ask them if they want to eat beans. Don't act hesitant giving it to them. Just be confident and "fly casually". 


Oh how I wish my own mother would have exposed me to more foods than frozen chicken nuggets and Kraft mac & cheese when I was young! But that is a story for another time!

Empowering yourself is never enough!

Empower your children too! Expose them to new foods and do it casually! Let them help out in the kitchen as much as possible. Teach them to "eat from the rainbow"... all those veggies are beautiful and life giving!
Whatever they are eating now is literally making their bones and tissues. Give them the best foods and teach them to make good choices for themselves as well. Believe me- they will thank you for years to come!

Empowerment comes in many forms. Don't search for it. It will come to you. Just be willing to receive it.

Can I get an "Olé!"


Meg