First SatyaSOUL event: living your Truth

SatyaSOUL  started with this idea of truth. Truth within ourselves, truth with others, truth with nature, and truth with creation.

When we tap into our inner truth, we become free. Freedom of the mind is a beautiful thing. It gives “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint”. And once you exercise that right, you realize there are many things we do as a society because we have been conditioned to eat, activate, and rest a certain way. But as Earthlings, we all understand, deep within our Soul, our oneness with every living being and our deep-rooted symbiosis with the natural world.

We developed SatyaSOUL so that it all makes sense. From setting an intention on your mat, all the way to your plate, we breath in compassion and kindness, to foster a life in Truth and compassion, on AND off the mat.

We had a truly magical first session, and we are forever grateful for all SatyaSOULS who came out and shared their fabulous energy with us. You were all so inspiring! Until next time…

#SatyaSOUL

Oyster Mushroom Shawarma

'Shroom Shawarma | veganblonde.com
Oyster Mushroom Shawarma | veganblonde.com

Back in the days, in Montréal, after a night out, we would go and stuff our face with shish taouk and chicken shawarma sandwiches. That was the best 4 a.m. indulgence. I would always ask for extra toum, that silky Lebanese garlic sauce that makes your breath stink for days! Alas, morning would always remind you of that fact. Seriously though, these ‘shrooms taste, feel, and look so much like the meat version, you could play tricks on people! Try to find the best possible oyster mushrooms for extremely decadent results!

  • 2 lbs oyster mushrooms, wiped clean with a moist paper towel
  • 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375˚.

Prepare the mushrooms by pulling them apart into strings. Keep some chunkier parts for a meatier texture. Place the strings in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze the water out of the mushrooms. You will need to do this in 3-4 batches. Transfer the strings to a large mixing bowl.

In a small mixing bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients. Add to the mushroom strings and mix well with your hands to make sure all the strings are well coated. Transfer the strings to a large parchment-lined baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, stirring twice. Broil for 2-5 minutes.

Serve in a pita, garnished with tahini or toum, lettuce, tomatoes, tabbouleh… Or in a salad… Or do like me and eat half the sheet after it’s out of the oven!

Let me know if you try this recipe! Leave a comment, rate it, or tag a photo using #THEVeganBlonde on Instagram or Facebook. Bon appétit!


En français…

Pleurotes Shawarma

Les nuits à Montréal se terminaient souvent par une visite chez Sara ou Amir, pour se bourrer la face de shish taouk et shawarma! Quoi de mieux, à quatre heures du matin, qu’un sandwich extra sauce à l’ail? Bien tassé avec l’alcool de la veille, on s’assurait un réveil tout en beauté… Mais sérieusement, cette recette de pleurotes shawarma est tellement fidèle à l’originale, c’est à si méprendre! Il est important de trouver des pleurotes frais pour un résultat hyper décadent!

  • 2 lb de pleurotes, essuyés délicatement avec un linge humide
  • 2 c. à soupe + 1 c. à thé de piment de la Jamaïque broyé
  • 1 c. à soupe de poivre noir
  • 1 c. à thé de cannelle
  • 1 1/2 c. à thé de cumin
  • 1 1/2 c. à thé de coriandre moulue
  • 2 c. à thé de sel de mer
  • 1/4 tasse d’huile d’olive

Préchauffer le four à 375˚.

Préparer les pleurotes en les séparant en lanières avec les mains. Séparer certaines lanières plus grosses que d’autres pour assurer une texture qui se rapproche de la viande. Placer les lanières dans un linge à vaisselle propre et tordre afin d’en extraire l’eau. Vous devrez procéder en 3 ou 4 fois. Placer les lanières dans un bol à mélanger.

Dans un petit bol, mélanger le reste des ingrédients. Ajouter aux pleurotes et mélanger bien en utilisant les mains. Placer les lanières sur une grande plaque de cuisson, préalablement recouverte de papier parchemin.  Mettre au four et cuire pendant 20 à 25 minutes, en retournant les lanières deux fois pendant la cuisson. Terminer la cuisson à broil pendant 2 à 5 minutes.

Servir dans un pita et garnir de tahini ou toum, laitue, tomatoes, tabbouleh… Ou en salade… Ou faites comme moi et mangez la moitié de la recette directement à la sortie du four!

Si vous essayez cette recette, n’hésitez pas à laisser un commentaire, afficher une photo ou partager la recette en utilisant #THEVeganBlonde sur Instagram ou sur Facebook. Bon appétit!

SatyaSOUL @ Sunset

BBQ Jackfruit Slider with Slaw and Spicy Mayo | veganblonde.com
Come devour a jackfruit slider after an inspiring yoga on jazz session with Tiana Hill.

This Saturday, come check out my organic garden and enjoy yoga to some jazzy beats with the gorgeous Tiana Hill. We then move to the kitchen where I show you how I do, and we finish the evening by stuffing our faces with those BBQ jackfruit sliders. We can’t wait to meet you, SatyaSOULS!

SatyaSOUL @ Sunset

Saturday, September 29th at 6PM

Location: close to Shea and 64th in Paradise Valley, AZ

Tickets: $45 (Please bring your mat. Space is limited. Book now 🙂

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/satyasoul-sunset-tickets-49670097599

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The Vegan Blonde Cooking Club is BACK!

Phoenix! It’s time to meet again for the second installment of the #VeganBlondeCookingClub! How about we take it to Greece and the Middle East for some exploration of culture through food? It seems like those flavors are pleasing to most palate, probably because they are so bright and sensual. I’m excited to share another fabulous Saturday of plant pure goodness!

The Cooking Club is a great way to start a plant-based journey, as you get to experience many recipes and actively participate in the preparation of a whole plant-based meal. You can exchange with like-minded people, in a fun and casual environment. You can also check out the gardens!

Please click here to purchase your ticket! Space is limited. Thank you so much to all for the support!

Lentil and Sweet Potato Stew

Lentil and Sweet Potato Stew
Lentil and Sweet Potato Stew | veganblonde.com

This is the type of meal that happens when there is absolutely nothing left in the fridge. But instead of a super-duper mashup that I would never be seen making again, here I am, sharing the recipe with you! So this once uninspired dinner chore turned into something the whole family enjoys very much. Here, you can see it pictured on Coconut Ginger Brown Rice, but I also served it over garlic mashed potatoes, for the kids’ greatest delight!

  • 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil
  • 2 large shallots (about 1 cup), diced
  • 1″ piece fresh ginger
  • 1″ piece fresh turmeric (optional)
  • 1 cup lentils, sorted and rinsed well
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 3 small sweet potatoes (about 3 cups), peeled and diced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large handful of greens (kale, spinach, spigarello, etc.)
  • Fresh cilantro

In a large straight-edge sauté pan with a lid, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the shallots, ginger and turmeric, and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the lentils, vegetable broth and sprig of thyme and stir well. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer until half way done, about 10 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes, coconut milk, sea salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer until the potatoes and the lentils are tender, about 10-12 minutes. Uncover, add the red bell pepper and the greens. Mix well and cook for an additional 2 minutes until the greens are wilted. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve topped with some fresh cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.

Let me know if you try this recipe! Leave a comment, rate it, or tag a photo using #THEVeganBlonde on Instagram or Facebook. Bon appétit!


En français…

Ragoût de lentilles et patates douces

J’ai développé cette recette un de ces soirs où même le frigo crie famine. Je n’avais que des patates douces sous la main, et ce que le jardin voulait bien me donner en verdures. J’ai donc choisi les lentilles, pour leur fabuleuse teneur en fibres et en protéines, et parce que je les aime donc! Ça cuit vite, ça sent bon. Ce qui s’annonçait comme un souper de grosse bouillie (dans ma tête!) a donc fait sensation auprès de tous, enfants inclus! J’en ai donc refait, imaginez donc, et je vous partage la recette tellement c’était bon!

  • 1 c. à soupe d’huile de coconut vierge
  • 2 grosses échalotes françaises, hachées (environ 1 tasse)
  • Cube de 1″ de gingembre frais, écrasé
  • Cube de 1″ de racine de curcuma, écrasé (optionnel)
  • 1 tasse de lentilles, bien rincées
  • 1 branche de thym frais
  • 3 1/2 tasses de bouillon de légumes
  • 1 boîte de lait de coco
  • 3 petites patates douces, pelées et coupées en cubes (environ 3 tasses)
  • 1 c. à thé de sel de mer
  • 1/2 c. à thé de poivre noir
  • 1/2 poivron rouge, coupé en dés
  • 1 généreuse poignée de kale, épinards, ou spigarello
  • Coriandre fraîche et quartiers de lime pour garnir

Dans une grande poêle à bords droits (avec un couvercle), faire chauffer l’huile de coconut à feu moyen. Ajouter les échalotes françaises, le gingembre et le curcuma, et sauter pendant environ 5 minutes. Ajouter les lentilles, le bouillon de légumes et la branche de thym, et bien mélanger. Porter à ébullition, réduire le feu, couvrir et laisser mijoter pendant environ 10 minutes, ou jusqu’à ce que les lentilles soient mi-cuites. Ajouter les patates douces, le lait de coco, le sel de mer et le poivre, et porter à ébullition de nouveau. Réduire le feu, couvrir, et laisser mijoter jusqu’à ce que les lentilles et les patates soient tendres, environ 10 à 12 minutes. Ajouter le poivron rouge et la verdure (kale, épinards ou spigarello), bien mélanger et mijoter 2 minutes. Ajuster les assaisonnements, si nécessaire. Servir garni de coriandre fraîche et d’un trait de jus de lime.

Si vous essayez cette recette, n’hésitez pas à laisser un commentaire, afficher une photo ou partager la recette en utilisant #THEVeganBlonde sur Instagram ou sur Facebook. Bon appétit!

Jamaica: A “Feel” Trip

The beach at Old Fort Bay on the North Coast | veganblonde.com
The beach at Old Fort Bay on the North Coast | veganblonde.com

It always takes me some time to write about travels and experiences. It feels like my heart is never really ready to let go of the words. As if once they are on paper, they don’t belong to me anymore.

When it comes to Jamaica, however, there is a difference. The place never really leaves me, and it seems like I never really leave the island. It’s always as if my body gets back home, but my soul never fully lands back into my physical self. There is something inexplicably deep about my connection to the island, something surely from a past life. When the deep, soul-reaching sounds of conscious reggae music hit me, I feel transported somewhere where my body just can’t reach.

There is also something undeniably mystical about the mountains in Jamaica. And that’s exactly where my trip started, nestled in the Blue Mountains, at the famed Strawberry Hill Hotel. The drive to the hotel is a trip in itself. The views of Kingston fading away on the horizon are balanced by the deep tropical forest that engulfs you as you climb up. The hotel, owned by Chris Blackwell, record producer and founder of Island Records, is a stunning 26-acre property composed of cottages, well staggered for privacy, and perched around a great house and a gracious infinity pool, where guests can linger and replenish. Not a bad spot to chill after a PHX-MIA-KIN red eye.

Jamaica Blue Mountains
Jamaica Blue Mountains | veganblonde.com

After this much needed first night of rest, I am heading towards the north coast of the island. I had rented an apartment in Old Fort Bay, about 7 minutes by car from the town of Ocho Rios. This is where my body truly landed. This is where I unpacked, where I went food shopping, where I was coming home after a nice, fulfilling day of work.

Despite its relatively small size as an island country, Jamaica shines bright on the global cultural scene. The level of energy, once you reach, is unbelievable. The island also has heaps to be proud of, especially when you think about music, literature, film, cuisine, and sports. My focus this time, however, was on food and music.

And up there, in the hills of Bamboo, about 40 minutes from Ocho Rios, is what called me back to Jamaica: Stush in the Bush. I will never say enough about Stush. It’s this 15-acre piece of heaven where farm-to-table takes on a whole new dimension. This time, however, I wasn’t going to eat. This time, I was going to experience the magic that happens behind the scenes. I took a chance, called on my friend Lisa (co-owner of Stush), asked if she’d be willing to let me come and work with them for a week. She graciously accepted, and my adventure began.

Now, let me put Stush in the Bush in perspective. The whole thing is really about them: Lisa and Chris. It’s their love for the land, their love of food, and their passion for sharing it all with others. It is their love story, imprinted in every single thing your eyes land on. The fully organic farm, headed by Chris, supplies the creative juices to keep Lisa going in the kitchen. It’s a completely symbiotic relationship with nature, in accord with the revered relationship between food and life.

As I’m pulling up the first day, the feelings come rushing back, a flood of emotions reminding me exactly why I loved this place so much the first time. Lisa greets me on the steps with a warm hug. You wouldn’t expect anything less from this gorgeous, loving, and spirited woman. Everything she touches turns to beauty. She has that undeniable knack for style and panache that I love so much when it comes to food.

But now that I’m at the farm, I understand why I’ve thought about this place for the last three years. Inside the open-air kitchen, the mood is light. Happening today is the celebrated Stush Cooking Club, an intimate gathering of friends around a meal prepared and eaten as a group. I’m the nervous one, because I’m new in the kitchen, and I need to find my bearings. But Tyler, Lisa’s daughter and Stush’ sous-chef, quickly makes me feel comfortable. She has a magnetic personality and a strong intuition in the kitchen. I’m in for a great time!

Activated Charcoal Tortellini Stuffed with Pumpkin from the garden and served with a fresh Romesco Sauce
Activated Charcoal Tortellini Stuffed with Pumpkin from the garden and served with a fresh Romesco Sauce | veganblonde.com

Throughout the week, I get to cultivate inspiration. As I work my way through making crêpes for the fabulous Crêpes Cake with Mulberry Cashew Ricotta, preparing and chopping some of the best vegetables the land can provide for dishes like pumpkin-stuffed dumplings, D’Avignon radish salad, activated charcoal pasta with romesco sauce. The list goes on, really, and the revelation becomes clearer to me.

Crêpes Cake with Mulberry Ricotta at Stush
Crêpes Cake with Mulberry Ricotta at Stush | veganblonde.com

After a few days in the Stush kitchen, it’s time to hit the road and head to Kingston for the Jamaica Observer Food Awards. It is the 20th installment, so it’s a big deal! Not only is Stush nominated in three categories, this becomes a great chance for me to experience offsite catering. The team is nominated in the following categories: best vegetarian, best food experience, and best food experience with Moveable Feast, a concept in collaboration with Christina Simonitsch, of Simo’s Bread & Catering. Well, guess what! They won all THREE! What a joy to be there and witness it all! I can testify to the amount of work that goes in, day in, day out, and they deserve all the praise they get, truly!

After the Awards, I spend the night in Kingston, in preparation for my relaxing long weekend at Jamnesia, in Bull Bay. I am sad to say goodbye to my Stush family, but it is now time for the music part of my trip.

Jamnesia... In the World Only One
Jamnesia… In the World Only One | veganblonde.com

At this point again, it is hard for me to find words to describe my experience. And I have a feeling that no matter how I try to explain it, there are no other ways that can describe my own unique experience other than being there to live it. Nobody really knows what your soul is after, so experiences are felt very differently from one person to the next. All this to say that my words are only my words as I write them, and that the experience that stays with my soul will always be much stronger.

I arrived at Jamnesia on Friday morning, just before lunch. First person I stumble upon on arrival is Billy Mystic himself. Billy “Mystic” Wilmot is the lead vocalist for the acclaimed reggae band the Mystic Revealers. I’m here for the music, and clearly, it’s starting out on a high note.

Jamnesia is as much a surf camp as it is a music venue. It’s a chill spot and a meeting spot. From the moment I put my bag down in my room, my internal vibe changes. Something at Jamnesia turns your physical needs and worries into dust, and it happens in very little time. Hair down, no mirrors, no makeup, no clock. I had to tune into the beat of Jamnesia’s drum, literally, and surrender to the sweet sounds of music.

That first day, after a quick nap and some fresh fruits, I feel completely free and at ease. Everybody is so warm and welcoming, it feels as if I’ve always been there. One of my big moments comes when I am served my first meal. It is true that I came to Jamaica for food and music, but I never thought I would find the latter to be a highlight of my time at Jamnesia. That night, my plate was full of plant-based goodness and the bean stew is the best I’ve had in my life.

The next morning, I inquire about the chef and am informed that one of Billy’s son, Ishack, went to culinary school in Canada. Every single meal Ishack cooked was perfectly balanced, the composition stellar, and the taste heavenly. In the morning, Miss Maggie makes my breakfast, and I find myself looking forward to getting up to fully enjoy my meal. Miss Maggie is Billy’s wife, and she is a joy to get to know as well. She has a deep love for the land, and one morning, as I am devouring my breakfast, she talks about the past, when she was working the land and, afterwards, when she devoted herself to children with disabilities. There is no doubt about it. Jamnesia is keeping me nourished, physiologically and spiritually.

My typical breakfast at Jamnesia
My typical breakfast at Jamnesia | veganblonde.com

The next day is a Saturday, and Saturdays are meant for Jamnesia Sessions! I had been waiting for this night for a long time, and I felt beyond blessed to be part of it. The people I met, the words I heard, the energy was palpable. That weekend at Jamnesia was one of the best experiences of my life. It brought me back to the essentials: sun, sea, music, plant food, and human warmth. I realized, during my time in Jamaica, that we, humans, don’t need much to live our best lives. It seems that we complicate everything with our worldly desires and temporal boundaries.

Sadly, after my weekend at Jamnesia, it was time to head back home. Leaving Jamaica is always difficult for me. It seems like the island remains in my heart, but this time, there was something different. I came looking for something spiritual, and I found it. My soul was searching, and the answers came. Now, it is time to bring the food, the music, and the vibes to Arizona. What do you say?

There is something special about traveling differently, traveling as if you live somewhere. It’s renting a car, grocery shopping, volunteering, helping out, being part of the local community. The rewards are grand. You leave with an imprint on your heart. You meet people you feel you’ve known all along and they become a part of your soul. And then, you realize that we are all one.

I want to give thanks to every single person I got to vibe with during my time in Jamaica. I trust that I met every single one of you for a reason, and I am forever grateful for all the blessings you all brought into my life. You all know who you are.

ONE LOVE AND UNITY, ALWAYS.

The beach at Jamnesia Surf Camp
The beach at Jamnesia Surf Camp | veganblonde.com