Tonight’s Blue Moon- Not what you’re expecting

For centuries, many cultures and religions have looked upon the moon as circuit to another worldly dimension. In her awe-inspiring phases, an eternal cycle of waxing and waning, she has ignited man’s imagination – and continues to do so. In its full state (full moon), the moon is still and powerful- an empyreal arena of reflected sunlight. Ages ago, cultures and civilizations kept track of the seasons by naming each of these recurring full moons. As we compare cultures and regions of the world, the name sets differ according to the differences in weather, seasonal changes and regions.

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Social Conditioning: Fact VS Fiction

From birth, most of us humans are promoted into a lifestyle- pruned and nurtured – molded and formed, in a modus vivendi that we ultimately (and unknowingly) carry into our adult lives. It might seem self-evident and rather egregious, that we are socially conditioned. Yes, you and me, we are individuals- but we are social beings- conditioned ones!

We are conditioned by our teachers, relatives, peers, religion, and of course, by technology and media. We grow up first loving all animals, a requited agape love. But slowly, the curtains close- and new doctrine takes center stage. The precept now dictates that animals are in fact divided, that most (predestined) animals are simply a “food” source, without intelligence, feelings, emotions, and certainly without a soul.

Social conditioning – as it applies to an individual is a concept that goes beyond just our biological characteristics- it is our social nature. It’s our participation with the world and other humans. And how we participate and function, well, that all stems from how we are socially conditioned.
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Tuscan Kale & Red Cabbage Salad- with Avocado Lemon Tahini Dressing

Kale salads are great—but maybe your finding yourself falling out of love with the luscious leaf. Anyone who doubts this stalky, bitter brassica’s ability to take root within our collective consciousness, consider this: last year, 262 babies in the United States were named Kale. And that’s why kale is #1 in my book- I mean, I don’t see any babies answering to “Kimchi” or “Dandelion”. Point blank.  I’m here to remind you WHY you love kale- so let’s start laying down the basics .  To begin, let’s talk about Kale, Tuscan kale, like all kale’s, is extraordinarily nutritious: a cup provides more than 100 percent of the daily value of vitamins K and A, and 88 percent of the DV for vitamin C. You might think the “fad” with kale is all hipster fluff, but did you know that kale was a popular vegetable in ancient Greek and Roman times? HA! Take that! You feel that warm fuzziness starting to grow? THAT’S true KALE LOVE!

Kale provides rich nutrition ingredients that offer protection from vitamin A deficiency, osteoporosis, iron-deficiency anemia, and believed to protect from cardiovascular diseases and colon and prostate cancers. Not that you need convincing, because atop of all the health benefits, kale (and specifically, Tuscan Kale) is a hearty, tasty & extremely versatile brassica (genus of plants in the mustard family). I made this recipe today (that was pretty much an experiment) combining flavors and textures that are known to intermingle in the tastiest of ways. Not to mention tahini dressings are always phenomenal- you could slather that heavenly goodness on a piece of cardboard and I’d eat it. My version of your classic lemon tahini dressing has a bit of a avo-twist. The best part about this recipe is that you don’t need to measure anything- just taste as you go! Just like falling in love- no rules, no problem. So I’ll just give you the ingredients, some ball park measuring, and let you get comfy cozy with kale.

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Vegan Shiitake Mushroom Burgers

This past 4th of July- my fiance’ and I decided to host an all Vegan BBQ (YEY!) An arduous/exciting task to say the least, as many of our friends are non-vegan and I really wanted to make an positive impression. To me, enjoying time with good friends, in a completely cruelty free environment, is how I wanted to spend my 4th (Freedom for ALL!) But with the king staple at any BBQ being the all mighty burger-I knew I had to bring out the big guns. I decided to retire the notion of having “store bought” main dishes & sides, and went all out preparing almost everything from scratch (except the veggie dogs). When I think about any store bought veggie burgers I’ve had in the past, the main issue I have is in the texture- or lack there of. Many veggie burgers end up a mushy, pasty mess- that has to be (over)cooked to the point of no return. I ended up rummaging through dozens of online recipes, mixing and matching, until I discovered a recipe that not only delivers in the texture department, but packs a flavor punch that anyone- I mean ANYONE with operating taste buds can appreciate. Doing my own version of a vegetarian recipe, I was able to substitute the eggs with vegan mayo- and the cheese with Chao slices- making this a vegan burger PACKED with flavor and void of any animal products.

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