Tuesday, January 26, 2010

29 Days of Giving

Today, I am sitting snuggled up on my couch with my favorite blanket wrapped around me. Tuesdays are usually my short day of work, so I've gotten in the habit of taking a yoga class once a week to clear my head and find some balance. Unfortunately, there will be no yoga today - and no work for that matter - because I am sick. Really sick. Yesterday, when I started feeling bad, I described the pain to one of the adorable kids I babysit as  "a fire-breathing dragon breathing fire on my throat". So, I've decided to give myself a much-needed day off to recover, leaving me with some time to catch up on here, for which I am so thankful.


Recently, I finished reading a book that has completely changed my world. It's called 29 Gifts, and it's a book by Cami Walker.  My mom gave me this book as a Christmas gift, and I am so happy she did, because it has opened me up to a completely new world - the world of conscious giving. 29 Gifts is a book about Walker who, after suffering for several years with heart-wrenching MS, was given a prescription from a friend and spiritual adviser to give away 29 gifts in 29 days. These gifts did not have to be grand, sweeping purchases, but rather simple acts of kindness - a smile to a stranger, a thank-you card to a friend, a donation to a person in need. After being hesitant about the idea, Walker decided to give the 29 day challenge a try - and it completely turned her world around. After only two weeks of doing the challenge, she was able to walk again without the assistance of a cane, as well as begin working again. She was so inspired by the life-saving effect of the challenge that she wrote 29 Gifts and founded the website www.29gifts.org, as a way of making the challenge an international effort.

I've been so inspired myself that I decided to begin my own 29 days of giving yesterday. Today is my second day, and after considering a plethora of ideas for gifts, I've finally decided on one.

Steve and his mom dancing at the wedding.

Steve's mom has been an integral part of my journey as a vegan, especially in the past year as Steve began his own vegan journey. In addition to always being so accommodating when Steve and I come home for visits, Steve's mom is always on the lookout for new ways to incorporate vegan cooking into her own life. When we decided to host a vegan Thanksgiving dinner, Steve's mom was more than happy to veganize one of Steve's favorite dishes - sweet potato casserole - and bring it to our Brooklyn home. I am already so fortunate to have my own mom who is unconditionally supportive of every effort in my life, but to also have the support of Steve's mom and family has been really amazing.  I am so thankful for all of Steve's mom's kindness - the cookbooks, the meals, the encouraging words on my blog, and the love behind it all.

Below is a recipe Steve's mom adapted from my Halloween stew a few months ago. She has been making this stew for the past few months, and at her recent Hanukkah party, she served this stew as part of a dinner for thirty non-vegan guests. I absolutely love the recipe - it's great for people with sodium sensitivity, and it incorporates beans, an awesome plant protein source.

I hope you enjoy her recipe as much as I do! If you're interested in beginning your own 29 Day Giving Challenge, visit www.29gifts.org. 

Vegan Bean Stew 
(A Recipe by Steve's Mom)  

Ingredients:  
1 - 15 oz. can organic kidney beans (drained in a colander and rinsed)
1 - 15 oz. can organic garbanzo beans (drained in a colander and rinsed)
5 - 6 cloves of garlic (smashed and diced)
3/4 large sweet onion (chopped)
6 small organic red bliss or organic fingerling potatoes (quartered)
1/2 bag of organic baby carrots (cut in half)
2 stalks of organic celery (diced)
8 baby portabello mushrooms (quartered)
1 yellow organic squash (sliced and quartered)
1/2 bag (8 oz.) frozen peas
32 oz. organic low sodium vegetable broth (I used Pacific)
2 Tbsp. Earth Balance margarine
1/3 cup unbleached flour
  
Directions: 
Heat Earth Balance margarine in a stockpot.  Saute garlic and onion. Add kidney beans, garbanzo beans, potatoes, carrots, celery, and mushrooms.  Cover with vegetable broth.  Keep remaining broth for later. Cook for 45 minutes. Add peas and squash.  Cook for an additional 10 - 15 minutes. Add flour to remaining vegetable broth and stir.  Slowly add to stew to thicken and stir carefully.  Go slowly, do not over thicken. Can be served with garlic bread or a whole grain vegan bread.

7 comments:

Myra Wolf said...

Said beautifully Lindsay about Ruth and Phil. I agree with my whole heart. We are all blessed to have them in our lives. xoxo

(thinking that fire in your throat may need an antibiotic..just sayin) :) forever, xo

Lindsay said...

Aw thanks mom - very thoughtful. I love you! :)

CurlyLocks said...

Lindsay,
Thank you so much for the picture and loving words in your (always)beautifully written blog. I love you and am so blessed that Steve found his soulmate and lifemate with you... and blessed that your family is so wonderful!

As for food, the fact that you and then Steve became vegan was initially a challenge for this ("come in and have something to eat") Jewish mother. After talking to you and Steve and doing some research, I now feel comfortable with preparing new plant-based recipes that fit very easily into our low fat, low sodium lifestyle. Thank you for the cookbook!

(As for your sore throat, I learned years ago from our doctor that if your throat feels better after a cup of tea, it's probably the start of a cold. However, if your throat hurts too much to sip some tea, then it may be something more serious which would require medical attention.)

Laura said...

That is THE sweetest post! Thanks for the book recommendation. I'm going to read it next!

Lindsay said...

It will change your life Laura! :)

ParadisoPerDue said...

I saw the 29 days badge on your blog and it intrigued me. I went on the site and loved the idea so I joined!! So first thanks for putting that out there to inspire me and second..... how do I get a badge like that on my blog page so I can spread the word and make it visible like on yours??? I've searched all over their site and can't find it...... thank you!!!!!

ParadisoPerDue said...

ps... I just figured it out! :) anyway, I'm really enjoying reading your blog! :)