Sunday Prep Day: How to be a vegan easily

Sunday is my day to relax and mentally prepare for a long week ahead of me. I love Sunday in my head but hate when it arrives. It is the anticipation that as the clock ticks down I am just that much closer to another long week. So I have started doing what I always resisted. Buying healthy lunch ingredients and spending Sunday preparing. I decided that as this would be my first week doing this I would keep it simple. Salads and cereal and sliced bread for my breakfasts and lunches at work. It took my roughly 10 minutes to make (4) lunches for this week. It turns out it was a great idea because as the day went on my cold kicked in and my body got more and more tired. It is going to be a long week. Despite it having a holiday Wednesday. But I am prepared. I won’t need to run to CVS for a quick Asian  microwave dinner bowl or Panera Bread for a veggie sandwich that (calorie-wise) I should not be having except as a treat. So I went to Whole Foods, bought 1 container of baby kale, 1 container of mixed spring greens, 4 avocados, chopped mangoes, chopped berries, and a loaf of Iggy’s pecan cranberry bread. I already had the rest of my staples so I headed home.   IMG_2870 I made a quick salad with (4) glass and plastic containers out for sorting. layer of kale, layer of spring greens, layer of berries, layer of mango. I then took out the avocados and placed them in a separate bowl, diced with lemon, salt, and pepper. Then took out a measuring cup. I needed 1 cup of cereal in bags for my breakfast. I keep a container of all my cereals mixed together. I think it is more fun than just one type of cereal. I scooped (1) cup portions into biodegradable zipper sandwich bags that I got at Whole Foods a few months back. I keep a cereal bowl at work and then packed myself some extra hazelnut milk and salad dressing. I then cut slices of the bread in half and put a thin layer of Earth Balance on each using the same knife from the avocados. I put the bread in the same type of bags as the cereal. Done. 4 days, 8 meals. I keep reusable utensils and dishes at work that I rinse and wash out in the bathroom. So I was all set. We have a kitchen downstairs too for more complicated cleaning.   IMG_2871 So it really is that easy. If you want a little something more add a rice cup or frozen dairy free gluten free Amy’s burrito to your lunch. I keep Weight Watchers Red Beans and Rice cups in my office just to throw on top of salads. It is easy, vegan, and fills me up. With just 10-15 minutes of planning you have your whole week of healthy yummy food ready. It is also cost effective. Better than $10 at Panera Bread each day or $5.00 for breakfast at Dunkin Donuts! Enjoy! ______________________________________________________________________________________________ Food is Love.  The Hippie Gypsy.

Curried Pumpkin Kale Soup for Beginner Vegans

So I was in Kauai on my honeymoon and stumbled upon Cafe Coco on the main highway just north of Lihue. It is set back a bit but after researching various vegetarian and vegan friendly establishments I was sure that I would be okay here. The Frommers guide had promised me and I took that promise as an oath, mostly because I was tired and hungry. So my reluctant carnivore husband gave up his dinner plans of Luau Style Pork Feasts and entertained my request and in we walked to a small mostly outdoor cafe set far from the road with a family like atmosphere. The owner was there and two staff a waitress and cook, but more importantly a third unofficial staff member was a medium sized, dark-colored cat. The cat had been there longer than the restaurant we were told by the owner and waitress. I thought this was wonderful that the cat was the keeper of this place and it seemed almost romantic to have a cat that was a caretaker of a cafe specializing in vegan and vegetarian options (although it does have limited fish and chicken dishes).

When it was time to order I was delighted to see that most of the meals were accompanied by a Pumpkin Soup and a salad. I ordered the samosas (the first night) and when they came they lost their thunder to my first spoonful of the pumpkin soup. I later told the waitress and owner that I would move here just for her soup and work in her kitchen for free. She laughed and stated she would put me to work if I kept coming. I did keep coming for those 2 weeks however, I never crossed paths with the owner after that. Only her cat and her cookies and the soup.

So it inspired me when I got home to find out how she made this recipe and I set to mimicking it the best I could. Turns out the recipe I created is not very complicated and is a “dump” and mix kind of deal. So please try this recipe even if you think it’s too warm out or you hate curry. It is worth every taste, every drop, it is an experience.

1 CAN Coconut Milk (don’t use the bottled kind its different in terms of fat content and texture)
2 cans Pumpkin (pureed not chunky)
1 tbsp curry powder (I use Balti by Penzey’s Spices)
4 cups vegetable broth (you can use 4 condensed liquid packets with 4 cups water)
1 pinch kosher salt
1 cup apple cider (I use Simply Apple Juice since it is available year round)
1 onion or equivalent dehydrated onion pieces
3 cloves garlic or equivalent granulated powder/pieces
1 bunch kale deveined and finely chopped (I use herb scissors)
1/8 cup olive oil

 Place all items, except kale, over medium in large sauce pan.


Chop the Kale with herb scissors or a sharp knife. Then, add kale just after the mixture is heated and steaming.

Bring to a boil, then place on simmer, and reduce until thick about 1hr. 


Serve hot. Refrigerate leftovers for up to a week in glass bowls (preferably).