By Betsy Bruns
Nearly a decade ago, a sweeping transformation happened in my life following a 30-Day gratitude challenge. During this time, I simply began each day by writing down five things for which I was grateful. These things didn’t need to be extravagant, though sometimes they were. More often it was a warm cup of coffee, a great laugh, or appreciating that my husband wakes up in a good mood each day.
Developing a practice of gratitude trains your mind to look for more things for which to be grateful. Gratitude and thanksgiving can benefit us simply by boosting the mood, but it goes much deeper.
When creating a practice of gratitude and looking for more things to appreciate in life, you engage the reticular activating system (RAS). This is a transitional part of the brain stem that plays a critical role in consciousness. Think of the RAS as a reducing valve that allows us to filter out what we don’t want and invite more of what we want into our experience.
Have you ever noticed that when something comes to your attention, more of it comes to your attention? For example, my mom used to send me owls from beyond the veil. As the years went by, less and less owls have visited me. About a month ago, someone asked if I’d had an owl visit recently and my answer was no. It got me thinking. Two days later, owls landed in the trees outside my bedroom window, and I’ve been hearing them hoot consistently ever since. Maybe the owls were there before, and I didn’t notice. Maybe I attracted them. Hoot knows?
What we know is that feasting on gratitude helps us raise our vibration and might even engage the law of attraction through our energy and the chemistry of our brain. After my gratitude challenge, my mind kept looking for those things that made me feel grateful. I believe it was the catalyst for discovering new purpose, changing my career, and thus my life, for the better. And for that, I give thanks every day.
Easy Vegan Zucchini Bread
I am grateful for knowing how to veganize almost any recipe! This is an adaption of my vegan banana bread recipe, which was an adaptation of my non-vegan banana bread recipe. You may substitute 1 cup of pumpkin puree for the zucchini.
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour or brown rice flour
1 – 1 ¼ cup brown sugar or sucant
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed or chia seeds, mixed with 3 tablespoons water. Let stand for 15 minutes or until thickened (this is a vegan egg)
½ cup mashed tofu or vegan mayo
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 ½ cups shredded zucchini
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients
In a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients
Bake in a silicone bread pan or bread pan lined with parchment paper or sprayed with cooking oil
Bake @ 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean
Creamy, filling, vegan. I discovered this recipe at a vegan potluck and have made some modifications. I really appreciate vegan comfort food!
1 12-ounce package of spaghetti
4 ounces dry or 2 cups of reconstituted Soy Curls, drained and squeezed of excess liquid. Alternately, you can substitute with 2 cups of plant-based tenders of choice cut into ½ inch strips or chunks
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
½ to 1 cup vegan mozzarella shreds, optional
Chopped fresh basil for garnishing, optional
For Tetrazzini Sauce
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 cups unsweetened soy milk
3 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot powder
½ cup raw cashews
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup of celery, chopped
8 ounces of white or cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 large Portobello mushroom, sliced or chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
½ teaspoon poultry seasoning
¼ cup apple cider vinegar or ⅓ cup sherry
Cook pasta per package directions. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
For the sauce
Heat 2 cups of vegetable broth to almost a boil. Lower to medium heat.
In a high-powered blender, blend raw cashews with 1 cup of the soy milk and poultry seasoning until smooth and creamy. If you use a regular blender, you’ll need to soak cashews in water for about 4 hours and then rinse and drain before using.
Whisk cornstarch/arrowroot into 1 cup of unheated soy milk. Dissolve completely.
Add the cornstarch/arrowroot and unheated soy milk mixture into the almost-boiling broth — whisking constantly, over medium heat or until it starts to thicken and bubble just a bit, but not a rolling boil. Once thickened, add the blended cashew and soy milk mixture into the broth-soy milk mixture on the stove. Heat through until desired thickness. Adjust seasonings. Add the apple cider vinegar.
Sauté the vegetables and soy curls
In a large non-stick frying pan, sauté the onions, celery, and mushrooms until they are softened, and liquid has evaporated. Covering the pan as they sauté keeps them moist. Stir occasionally to keep from sticking, adding a little water if needed. This takes about 7-10 minutes.
Add the rehydrated soy curls and tomatoes. Mix well. Season with salt and black pepper if desired and a little of the poultry seasoning.
Mix the spaghetti, sauce, vegetables, and Soy Curls in a big bowl and combine.
Put mixture into 9 x 13 pan and top with vegan mozzarella, if using. Cover with foil and bake for 20-30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10-15 minutes, until it’s bubbly and lightly browned.
Recipe and photo by Betsy Bruns
Recipe and photo PCRM
Betsy Bruns is a plant-based health coach and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) practitioner. When she isn’t making healing food taste like comfort food or helping clients tap away stress and cravings with EFT, she’s soaking up nature and dreaming of ways to make life more delicious for all beings. Visit www.Vegsetter.com.