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I hate to do the math, but I believe it was somewhere in the 1997/98 timeframe when I got to know Kim Chapman.  We were cheerleaders…and if you scroll down to Kim’s picture, I’m convinced the first thing you’ll notice is her smile.  With a smile like that, it would’ve been a crime if she didn’t cheer!  We went to state finals in 1999 and placed 6th in the state…but I digress…We lost touch after that, and had it not been for facebook, she wouldn’t be my guest blogger now.

You see, we have something in common….we’re a couple of “shegans” (girls who are vegan).  Kim came across my blog a few months ago, explaining how she just recently made the switch to an all plant protein diet…and why.  Her “WHY” is WAY better than mine…I read a book, thought it made sense, made the changes, felt better.  Kim has some numbers behind her story…numbers that are hugely important, especially to such a young, active (ahem…MARATHON runner), and healthy girl in her twenties who was at risk for a stroke or heart attack!

Kim made her vegan debut almost a year ago.  Her story is one worth reading and sharing……

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Hello fellow Shegan enthusiasts!  My name is Kim and I am a full time graphic designer and part time dabbler in nutrition and running and I strive to live as healthfully as possible.  I so admire and appreciate the passion and effort that Christie puts into Super Shegan and was so excited when she asked me to share my story.

I can still vividly remember the smirk that must have been on my face when my family doctor recommended checking my cholesterol at my yearly physical.  Had he some how confused my chart with a middle-aged man carrying a spare tire, glued to his recliner, consuming nothing but red meat and fast food?  Far from it – I was a slim 21 year-old who exercised religiously, followed a conventionally, very ‘healthy’ diet and always got glowing reports at yearly physicals.  Sure, I thought.  Go for it.  It’s probably just some sort of formality.  There’s no way I have high cholesterol.

A week later I was sitting at my desk at my first ‘big girl’ job when my doctor called to inform me that my cholesterol was well above 200 and if that wasn’t bad enough, my LDL was high and my HDL was low.  For those of you not fluent in lipid speak this was far from the glowing report I was accustomed to. This is what I got for being smug.  My doctor assured me it was probably genetic, that my numbers were still borderline and I should watch my saturated fat intake and recheck in six months.

Fast forward 7 years.  Despite my best efforts to lower my cholesterol by eating a ‘healthy’ diet, watching my fat intake, and continuing to exercise, my numbers continued to rise.  Finally at my check up in January of last year my doctor told me that my cholesterol was now over 250 and what was once borderline was now becoming a serious concern.  Ultimatum time – I had to lower my cholesterol now or be put on a cholesterol lowering medication for the rest of my life.  Don’t get me wrong, no one wants to be in their late 20’s and at risk for a stroke or heart attack, but I also knew that I did not want the drugs.  I wanted to be healthy and I felt like the medication was only a band-aid to the problem and not a solution.

Over the next few months I started doing my own research and came across veganism.  The more I read, the more I thought that this could truly be my solution.  While driving past a local art theater one day I saw that the documentary Forks Over Knives was playing.  I stopped and caught the last showing.  I was blown away and from that point forward completely convinced that a vegan, whole-food, plant-based diet was the answer – not just for cholesterol but for a truly healthy way of life.

I have now been vegan for almost 10 months and my cholesterol has dropped over 50 points!  But more than that I feel good about the food that I am putting in my body and the steps I have taken to maintain my overall health for the long term.  There are so many things in life that are outside of our control so I think it’s important to take control of the things that we can and make health a priority.

Just a quick note to the runners and athletes out there considering a vegan diet.  You absolutely can perform just as well, if not better on a whole-food, plant-based diet.  No Meat Athlete is a great website full of helpful advice if you’re thinking of giving it a try. www.nomeatathlete.com

I am always so grateful and excited for new vegan resources and friends and to see more and more people committing to their health and taking responsibility for their own well-being.

Here’s to health and happiness!

Yesterday’s post was inspired by my sister-in-law, Crystal.  Today’s post is inspired by my other sister-in-law, Cassie.  A few days ago, Cassie sent me a quick email with a recipe of a salad she found on “pinterest“.  I just so happened to have all of the ingredients on hand…except for the avocado so last night I decided to whip it together.  Thank you Cassie….and pinterest!  This salad is going into the “Hall of Flavor”!

INGREDIENTS:

2 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
3 ears fresh corn, cooked, cooled and kernels cut off the cob
2 red bell peppers, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced shallots (you’ll need one medium shallot)
2 teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons sugar
9 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (I like Colavita)
6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon lime zest (be sure to zest limes before juicing them)
½ cup chopped cilantro, plus more to garnish
2 Hass avocados, diced

DIRECTIONS:

Combine all ingredients except avocados in a large bowl and mix well. Cover and chill for a few hours or overnight. Right before serving, add avocados and mix gently, being careful not to mash avocados. Garnish with a few sprigs of freshly chopped cilantro if desired. Serve at room temperature.

You’ll notice the avocado is sadly missing in the image above….Next time, I’ll have it on hand.  I’ll also use about 4 tablespoons less of olive oil…and may even substitute it for grapeseed oil….which is better for the skin!

Anyone else on “pinterest“?!?!?  Anyone else need to admit they have an addiction?!?!  Feel free to find me….search for maxwellleec@gmail.com.  I’m open to some vegan recipe suggestions so start pinning :)

* Warning….this recipe may win the attention of everyone at your super bowl party!

Grapefruit Salsa

If you’re on facebook, you’ve most likely read about it today….but don’t worry if you missed it, you’ll read about it tomorrow too…We are in the thick of the cold and flu season and it seems like EVERYONE is getting sick!  It’s time to start “eating” your vitamin C…not “taking” it.  By eating raw fruits and vegetables, you’re going to get that army of phytonutrients working much faster than what a vitamin C tablet will ever do!  So……I’ve got a salsa that is going to knock your socks off…and it has NOTHING to do with spice and EVERYTHING to do with taste and nutrition!

My sister-in-law, Crystal flew out to visit us after she finished up one of her many deployments.  Crystal LOVES grapefruit!  It’s something we do together…we eat it like it’s our hobby – especially since we seem to be the rare breed who likes to add salt to our grapefruit rather than sugar.  So when I saw this recipe, I knew it would be something we could do in the kitch together :)

Get your grocery list ready because these ingredients aim to please…and boost the vitamin C levels in the bod!  Notice the bold ingredients….they are the ones high in Vitamin C :)

INGREDIENTS

1 Sweet, red large grapefruit

1 medium naval orange

1/2 cup purple onion, chopped fine

1 small red bell pepper, seeded and deveined, chopped fine

1 clove garlic, passed through a garlic press

Juice of one fresh lime

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped fine

Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Using a sharp knife, pare the grapefruit and orange.  Hold the fruit over a glass bowl to catch any dripping juices.  Remove skin, pith, and tougher membranes.  Place the fruit in a glass serving bowl, along with the juices.  Squeeze any remaining juice out of the remnants.  Add remaining ingredients and toss to distribute.

Refrigerate if not using right away. Otherwise, serve cold or at room temperature.

*  You can also substitute a mango for the grapefruit and make mango salsa :)

If you’re a carnivore, you can add the salsa to fish/poultry (Crystal told me that).  We started with the chip and quickly ditched it for a spoon…so I guess you can say this could also be called “grapefruit gazpacho”!

The book I snagged the recipe from is called “The Eat Clean Diet Cookbook“, by Tosca Reno.  It’s not vegan so if you’re not interested in making the switch, but are interested in eating “cleaner”, this might be the way to go!

So……How do you like your grapefruit?

It doesn’t get any easier than this…no bowls to clean…no beaters to lick  clean…A few simple ingredients to whip together in a pan…and it cooks evenly, is super moist, it tastes delicious, and it’s vegan!  Thank YOU Tami Barber for sharing all that is good!  She posted this recipe on my facebook page just before Christmas and I’m kicking myself for not making it sooner!  Especially since all of the ingredients have been readily available in my kitchen :)

Ingredients: 

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup applesauce
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vinegar

Directions:

Heat oven to 350°F.

Measure all the dry ingredients (flour, brown sugar, baking soda, allspice, and salt) into the 8-inch UNGREASED square pan. Use a whisk to mix all the dry ingredients together.

Pour the wet ingredients (water, applesauce, oil, and vinegar) into the flour mixture and stir until all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed together, but do not beat or over-mix.

Bake for approximately 35 minutes or until a toothpick or knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Serve plain or dust with powdered sugar.

 
Anyone have a delicious vegan meal/dessert they’d like to pass on?  I’d be happy to give it a whirl :)

From the moment I created this blog, I knew I wanted to post this recipe….I’ve made it many times but never seemed to have the patience to take pictures prior to pigging out….it’s just that good!  The soup is actually called “African Yam and Peanut Soup” from the wonderful book, Rebar.  I like to call it “Party In Your Mouth Soup” because that’s just what it is!  The combined flavors of yams, peanut butter, lime, and cilantro create an explosion of zingy deliciousness!  I’m not exaggerating….it’s so good, that if I could pick my “last meal” before I head up to the spirit in the sky, I’d choose this soup…hands down…without a doubt…”Party In Your Mouth Soup” is at the tippy top of the “to eat” list!

By the way, this soup pictured below is from a batch that I froze 2 months ago…it came in handy when the snowpocalypse arrived a few days ago!

Those little grainy things are called “hemp seeds” they have a nutty flavor and pack in the protein per tablespoon!  Give them a whirl in your next soup!

Ingredients:

8 Cups of vegetable stock

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 large yellow onion, diced

2 tsp salt

6 tbsp minced ginger

4 large garlic cloves, minced

1 tbsp ground cumin

2 tbsp ground corriander

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp paprika

1 red bell pepper, diced

4 medium yams, peeled and roughly chopped

14 oz can of pineapple with juice

3 ripe tomatoes, chopped

5 tbsp natural smooth peanut butter

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

limes to juice into your soup

Directions:

Heat stock and keep it warm on the back burner while you assemble the soup.  In a heavy-bottomed soup pot, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onion and a pinch of salt; saute for 10  minutes, stirring occassionally. Next, add garlic, ginger and spices and saute until soft and golden.  Stir in red pepper, yams, and salt and continue cooking until they start to stick to the bottom of the pot.  Add vegetable stock, cover, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cover partially and simmer until the yams are tender.

Add pineapple with juice, tomatoes, peanut butter and simmer 30 minutes.  Puree the soup until smooth, either directly in the pot with a hand blender, or in batches using a food processor.  To keep the soup slightly chunky, fill a bowl with the chunks prior to blending.  If you have a hand blender, USE IT…it’s far less messy than a food processor!

Return soup to the pot and simmer for a final 10 minutes.  Season to taste with more salt, pineapple juice and/or hot sauce.  Just before serving, add chopped cilantro and fresh lime.

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Of all of the recipes I’ve posted, this one is by far the best….If you haven’t made anything from any of my posts…I encourage you to try this one…and I hope you will leave a comment on your thoughts!  Does it go on your “last meal” list?

I don’t know if you know this….but were kind of a big deal in Washington State right now…Yeah, we’re making headline news….for the weather!  We got over 8 inches of snow in some parts and now we have freezing rain.  While the mixture is quite dangerous (especially without the proper snow equipment), it sure is BEAUTIFUL!  So, to honor our first blizzard or “snowpocalypse” of 2012, I decided to bust out some pretty tasty chili.

The recipe comes from a great book called “How It All Vegan“.  Catchy isn’t it?  The actual recipe is called “Sarah’s Delicious Chili”.  Frankly, Sarah knows what’s up because this Chili is AMAZING…and really easy!  Here’s the drill:

Ingredients:

1 medium onion, chopped

2 medium carrots, chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

3 1/2 cups cooked or canned kidney beans

1-28 oz can diced tomatoes (3 1/2 cups)

6 oz tomato paste

2 1/2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans)

8-12 mushrooms, chopped

1 12 oz can of corn (1 1/2 cups)

3/4 cup rice (I used quinoa instead)

1-3 tbsp chili powder (I think 1 tbsp is too mild, even for people who can’t handle spicy food…like my husband)

1 tbsp pepper

2 tbsp curry paste (i was fresh out, so I used curry powder…feel free to up the ante)

2 cups vegetable stock or water

Directions:

In a large pot, saute the onions and carrots in oil on medium-high until the onions become translucent.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir together.  Simmer on medium-low for 40-60 minutes, stirring occassionally. Serve with fresh bread.  Note: you can also add any other veggies you have kicking around; peppers or zucchini work well.  Makes 6-8 servings.

For bread, I opted for the Trader Joe’s corn bread mix that comes in a box.  When it’s that good, I can’t justify making it from scratch…especially when there is snow to play in :)  The box called for oil, eggs, and milk…Almond milk works fine and so does the egg replacement “Ener-G“.  Easy Breezy I tell ya!

The icicle was Patton’s touch….He’s probley going to kill me for calling him out…but isn’t that little guy adorable!?!?!

Before I leave you with some wintery images, I want to send some warm welcomes out to my newest subscribers….

Beth McKinley – My sweet sister-in-law….She tolerates my “brother’s” antics, is one of the coolest Mom’s I know, and is always a blast to be around.  She’s a nurse anesthetist in Traverse City, MI… she’s a vegetarian…and her family is on Juice Plus+?!?!  Beth knows what’s up :)

ybenner.wordpress.com – Check out her blog!  She’s a Mom blogging about fitness, nutrition, and dealing with IBS.

nsdonnelly – Many thanks for subscribing!  Leave us a comment so we can get to know you…and fill us in if you have a blog :)

So….. how is the weather in your neck of the woods?

Happy Winter!

Meet Adrienne Terzouli…Business Owner, Chef, Teacher, Blogger, friend…and now guest blogger for Super Shegan!   Adrienne and I met through a mutual friend (Aloha JILL) in Hawaii and the three of us quickly coined the term “only-child soul mates”, so naturally we had to stick together :)  Adrienne is really witty.  Having conversations with her is pure fun..this transitions into her writing…While I know her degree from Hofstra (English Literature and Creative Writing) taught her a thing or two, I also know she’s just naturally good at it!  Adrienne is also naturally good in the culinary world, but she backs it up with a degree from Johnson and Wales University.  Adrienne started her own business “Edible Events NY” so if you’re looking for an amazing caterer…look no further…and maybe give her a little love on facebook!  Lastly, Adrienne also has a lot of minds for molding…she’s a culinary teacher in NY…and guess what…she has a degree for that too!  She’s just completed Grad School at Wagner College with a focus on Adolescent Education/Special Education.  So how in the world she agreed to make time to guest blog on my site is beyond me…..Let’s just all say it together on a count of 3….ONE….TWO…THREE…..”OVER ACHIEVER”.  It’s totally in a good way Adrienne!  YOU my “only-child soul-mate”…YOU ROCK!  Thanks for taking the time to put together a recipe and do a little ditty on it!  Hope you come back soon!

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Angel Hair Pasta with Fresh Basil Pesto and Grape Tomatoes

Capelli d’angelo; it even sounds fancy.  But then again, the Italians can make anything sound fancy (even the curse words).  That being said, if I had to pick just one pasta to eat every day for the rest of my life, it would have to be Angel Hair pasta, or “capelli d’angelo.”  Not spaghetti, not linguini, but the often forgotten pasta of the pack, angel hair are thin, fragile pieces of heaven, about .8 mm in diameter and in my opinion best utilized in light pasta dishes.  Hands down, my favorite dish with angel hair pasta includes a fresh basil pesto and grape tomatoes.  It is so delicious, there really are no words.  OK, let me not be so dramatic, but it really is pretty damn good.  When I first became a vegetarian I lived off of this dish and added all sorts of fresh veggies when I needed a new twist.  Once you have the basics down of what makes a great pesto, you can add it to so many dishes.  And the BEST part, there is no actual “cooking” involved when making pesto, so for anyone who says they can’t cook or just won’t, give this a try.  Please :)

OK, enough of my chatter, now on to the actual dish.

Shopping List:

1 pound of Angel Hair pasta (I LOVE Barilla- but you can use any brand you like)
½ cup of Kosher salt

4 cups fresh Basil Leaves, washed and dried
1 cup Nutritional Yeast
1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus 1 tbs
1/2 – 3/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts
6 medium sized garlic cloves, plus 1 clove minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 container of grape tomatoes, washed and halved

Method of Prep:

Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil.  Add a ½ cup of kosher salt and drop in Angel Hair pasta.  Meanwhile, in a food processor pulse together the basil and nuts a few times, add garlic and pulse a few more times.  While the food processor is on, slowly stream in the olive oil, pausing briefly to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula.  When the ingredients are well combined, add the nutritional yeast and pulse a final time.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

In a small sauté pan, over medium heat, add 1 tbs of olive oil and minced garlic (be careful not to burn the garlic- it will turn bitter- gross).  Add grape tomatoes and sauté lightly to allow the tomatoes to pick up the garlic and olive oil flavor.

Drain the pasta and place in a serving bowl.  Add the pesto to the pasta and top with sautéed tomatoes.

Serve and enjoy !!

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Huge thanks to Adrienne!  This is a pasta I plan on making more often, and I also plan on playing around with the pesto…Maybe I’ll put it on EVERYTHING!

I’ll be taking some days off away from the blog….tomorrow morning bright and early I’m heading to CA for a few days shoot…so I’ll be off the grid….kind of :)  Enjoy your week!

Tootles!

Christie :)

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