GROW O'ahu

Island Style Gardening and Plant-Based Living


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Growing other stuff

 

 

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Hey Garden friends!!

Just want to say hello! It’s been awhile since I’ve done a garden related blog. That’s because I’ve been growing my business! I’m still growing plenty of stuff around the yard and hatching monarchs.

If you are interested in following my other blog you can find me over at Sorted Oahu. If you’ve ever heard of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up or Marie Kondo, you’ll love it! If you haven’t, that’s ok too! I’m helping clients do home organizing and loving it. 🙂

Aloha,

Carmen

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Vegan Dining: Greens & Vines

I don’t do restaurant reviews very often, but sometimes you just want to share something great for local folks or if visitors to my blog come to Oahu they should definitely visit Greens & Vines, on the corner of Kapiolani and Ward Ave.  They do exclusively raw and vegan gourmet foods and after talking with the server and manager, also learned that they buy local and organic whenever possible.  Our family has been through some stuff this past year and dietary changes, including eating meat and dairy again, crept back in while we were focused on other things. But as we talked about returning to our previously vegan ways, I wanted to take my Mama out for a nice dinner that included some things neither of us had eaten before.

We started with the Not Tuna on Onion Bread, and frankly, could have just eaten this the whole night! It was so tasty!

Not Tuna on Onion Bread

Not Tuna on Onion Bread

For an entree, I had the Living Lasagna and my mom had Caesar Salad, both were delicious.

Living Lasagna

Living Lasagna

And we shared the Chocolate Tart for dessert, but it was gone so fast I forgot to get a photo! 🙂 Overall it was great! They have a small amount of parking in their shared building and we got there early so it was quiet for dinner, but the place was filling up when we left.  They do take reservations and you can sit outside if you want, though we opted for air conditioning!


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Going Vegan: Garden & Pantry Challenges

A Re-blog from January 1, 2012, because it’s still so relevant! I’ve learned so much since this time though- as a gardener, a cook and a mom. While we still depend on store-bought things for foods that don’t grow well here (apples, peaches) we have moved to making up meals based on what’s in the garden and ready to eat. I still gain inspiration and ideas from Happy Herbivore and other plant-based bloggers like Post Punk Kitchen and our whole family’s health is improving. The issues of fatigue, high blood sugar, etc that plagued me in my first pregnancy are not here this time around, and I credit a whole foods plant based diet for that. 🙂

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Garden greens tossed with local avocado, peppers, onions, tomatoes and black beans

Garden greens tossed with local avocado, peppers, onions, tomatoes, cilantro, lemon juice and black beans

January 1, 2012

A few weeks ago while exchanging emails with a vegan acquaintance friend she wrote, “I don’t have kids or husband so not sure what the challenges would be.” At that particular moment I wasn’t sure either.  I hadn’t actually gone shopping yet.  For these past few days I have simply been using what I have already in the house and modifying previously cooked recipes.  But as the Christmas leftovers reach their gross point and get passed along to the chickens or dogs, the fridge was looking pretty bare, so we (Joe, Ethan and I) headed for the commissary today.  I was feeling pretty pleased with myself for having downloaded the Happy Herbivore’s meal plan the night before, complete with shopping list! Being vegan was going to be a cinch!

Um, not so fast there.  I quickly realized the first challenge to my change: Shopping. First, the place is crazy busy and my darling toddler has already made it clear he’s in no mood for shopping and we’ve been here 10 minutes.  (For the record, we went AFTER a 2 hour nap and snack, but apparently that made no difference today.)  A new way of eating = a new way of cooking = a new way of shopping.  I can’t just cruise through the place, hitting all my same-olds, tossing into the cart brainlessly.  Produce was pretty easy- LOTS of it- but I did get some stuff I haven’t bought in a while like cauliflower and seemingly huge amount of mushrooms.

As soon as we hit boxed-canned-bagged aisle, it was all over. I had to read everything. I had to search for things I had never looked for before. (Olives? Cooking sherry? Red lentils?)  The super cool-car-shopping-cart wasn’t cool anymore, as Ethan exercised his vocal chords.  Ethan and Daddy exited Stage Left.

Ahhh. Peaceful shopping.  Now, back to reading labels.  And realizing there is freaking MILK or WHEY in EVERYTHING. Thank god I’m not going gluten-free! What a nightmare.

By the time I finish the monster shopping list ($248.00!!!) it is 5:30 and I should be putting dinner on the table already, not just putting in the car.  So we head on home, 3 grumbly-tummies as I promise to throw something together the minute we go inside.

And so we come to challenge #2: Prep Time. As a meat-eater or even a lacto-ovo vegetarian, throwing together dinner is a not complicated.  Chicken breast in the skillet, rice in the steamer, broccoli in the pot. Done.  Or my other great stand-by meal, frozen wontons in chicken broth with chopped cabbage/greens and green onion. Done.  But I not only have come up with NEW stand-by meals that are easy and quick, but come to the realization that quality vegan food is not fast.  Good grains take a LONG time to cook. All that rainbow of vegetables for good health take a LONG time to cut, wash and prep. Jars of sauces or mixes won’t do most of the time as they contain milk, so one must CREATE their own sauces.  This takes TIME.  And what a working mom does not have much of is, time.  And while I have help from my mom and husband in nearly everything at home, my choice to go vegan has left them in a hands-off the kitchen mode. I would have to do a lot of teaching before either of them would help do cooking that is more complicated than boiling pasta or cooking chicken.  And frankly, I have to re-teach myself first.

The story ends well. I threw together a recipe from Happy Herbivore called Skillet Green Bean Casserole, and it was pretty good. While I was cooking though, Ethan ate leftovers from the night before because that kid was too hungry to wait for his mama to experiment in the kitchen.  Which leads me to the 3rd challenge: My Resolve. How important is this to me, really?  Do I really believe this will work to correct my health issues, help me lose weight and get pregnant again? Do I really think one person not eating meat or dairy is actually helping the planet? And what about my chickens!? I’m already contemplating eating their eggs (not eggs in general) because I feed them organic food and they are quite happy and well-cared for.  But does this make me a hypocrite? A sell-out?  Or just practical?

And then I see the scale. Down 5 pounds in 5 days. Skin clearing up. Achy-knee feeling better. More energy to get up and get jogging. And I think, yes, I can do this.