Wednesday, December 15, 2021

5 Star Vegan Collard Greens, Beans, and Dirty Rice

Vegan Recipe Collard Greens and Dirty Rice

Want to learn how to make delicious, healthy, hearty 5 Star ★★★★★Vegan Collard Greens, Beans, and Dirty Rice? 

It's a recipe that blends simple ingredients with savory and spicy seasonings for a lively meal too scrumptious to pass up.

I relish reading my fellow bloggers' food posts and frequently search for online inspiration. If  a recipe idea attracts me, I test it and adapt the dish to satisfy my hunger, make good nutritional sense, and feed my soul. 

A few years ago, I saw a Cajun/Southern style Dirty Rice Recipe that featured animal protein. The "dirty rice" part of this dish got its name from chunks of fatty meat and seasoning that makes the rice and collards look dirty, the food too greasy, and high in cholesterol. 

So I converted this conventional recipe into a plant-based, gluten free, cholesterol free main dish delight. 

My adaptation is rich in flavor, vegan, and provides a good amount of calcium, protein, and antioxidants. See details about the health benefits of collards here. See the health benefits of beans too.

Please note: this post is intended for entertainment and information only, and not provided as medical/nutritional advice. 

I hope my enthusiasm and information has piqued your interest, and you'll read the recipe below.

5 Star ★★★★★Vegan Collard Greens, Beans, and Dirty Rice

This dish is perfect for times you crave spicy, wholesome, and filling. Please let me know how you like it.



3 cups low sodium vegetable broth

1 cup long grain brown rice (I used organic brown Basmati for the aroma, health benefits, and good taste)

1 bay leaf

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans (drained) or same amount of pinto or other beans

1 bunch collard greens (about ten leaves) middle stalk (stem) removed from each piece

1 chopped red or yellow onion, or a bunch of scallions to equal 1 cup

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper up to 1/4 teaspoon depending on how hot you like it

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup raw shelled pumpkin seeds

1 Tablespoon low sodium non-GMO gluten free soy sauce

Freshly ground black pepper

2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast. "Nooch" as it is affectionally called, adds a savory layer of flavor, and pleasing golden yellow color to this dish. Nutritional yeast is available in the bulk section of most markets or comes in a shaker container located near the spices.

Optional ingredients: mushrooms, red pepper, celery, carrot, or other veggie you enjoy. If you're using additional veggies, clean and chop them before proceeding to step one.


 What to do:

1. In a sauce pan bring 2 cups vegetable broth to a boil. Add the rice, bay leaf, turmeric, paprika, and freshly ground pepper. Cover and return to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook 30 to 35 minutes, or until the liquid has been absorbed. Remove bay leaf and let the rice sit for a few minutes. Then, fluff rice with a fork.

2. While the rice is cooking, prepare the collard greens, (one cup contains 10% of the RDA of protein and 27% for calcium). 

Wash the collards in cool water. Place one leaf on your cutting board at a time. Remove the tough stalk that runs down the center of the leaf by slicing down each side of the stalk. 

Stack the collard leaves one on top of the other, with the leaf tips all at the same end. Roll the stack tightly in a long tube. Starting at the thick end, slice the collards as thinly as possible to make spaghetti like strands. Then cut the strands across into ½ in. pieces. Put stalks in your compost pile. 

3. Place raw pumpkin seeds in a roasting pan in the oven. Set temperature to 450° F. When the oven reaches that temp, remove the seeds from oven and let sit. For health facts see Pumpkin Seed Health Benefits from Medical News Today.


Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

4. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion or scallions. Sauté until tender for approximately 5-7 minutes. Stir in the minced garlic, grated ginger, and other spices and sauté another two minutes. Add any extra vegetables you want to include now. 

5. Pour in the last cup of vegetable broth and add beans into the mixture. 

One cup of beans provide 6g-9g of protein, 6 g of fiber, and 10% of the RDA for Iron. Beans add depth and creaminess to this recipe without adding fat. 

Nutrition Info and Recipes for Beans

Stir in the collard strands and cover the skillet. Cook over medium-heat for 5-10 minutes more, or until the collards are tender and beans are hot. If there is a lot of liquid left in the pan, refrigerate it to use in soups, gravies, or stews.


6. Combine collards, beans, roasted pumpkin seeds, low sodium gluten free soy sauce, and nutritional yeast. 

Either serve on a bed of dirty rice as shown in the picture at the top of this post or mix all ingredients together as illustrated below. 

Collard Greens, Garbanzo Beans, and Dirty Rice

Grind in a generous amount of black pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. 

Serve piping hot or at room temperature. This recipe goes well with a salad and cornbread. It will serve 4-6 hungry people. 💚

Before you go, don't forget to comment below. 

I read and appreciate every comment, but will not publish those that contain links. Thanks for understanding. 

Did you learn something new about dirty rice, beans, or collard greens? Will you try to include this dark green leafy vegetable powerhouse in meal planning? Sure hope you'll give it a try.

See my Website as well. Click on the link to Services to discover ways my health and lifestyle writing, editing, and online content development creation can help you and your organization thrive.

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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Frugal Eco-Friendly Ways to Spruce Up for the Holidays

Sustainability and Decorating Tips for Holidays

Want to make this holiday season one where you catch the holiday spirit without straining your budget, energy, or our planet's health?

Post Updated 11/26/2023

Look below for tips and ideas to help you think and act more sustainably as you spruce up your home for the holidays.  

Frugal Eco-friendly Ways to Spruce Up for the Holidays

Budget for the holidays

Stick within your budget to prevent exceeding your income, draining your savings, or incurring debt. Want to make sure your holiday festivities brings good cheer? 

Save a portion of your paycheck throughout the year. Consider setting aside money and time to do a mini-home refresh and spruce-up, DIY holiday décor and gift-wrap options, and planning potlucks for holiday entertaining. 

Sort and Declutter

Evaluate clutter in one room or one section of a room at a time. Release those things that are useless and just taking up space. Weed out items by holding a garage sale, donating, gifting, or recycle unwanted items to prevent creating more waste for landfills. 

Letting go of things you haven't used in years, makes space for whatever is functional, beautiful, and brings you joy. 

Melissa at Simple Lionheart Life, a blog devoted to simple intentional living, offers How to Declutter Before the Holidays: 11 Awesome Ways to Simplify.” 

See "Declutter for the Holidays: 20 Ways to Make Room for Joy," a post from Courtney Carver, the blogger at Be More with Less. Her blog offers ideas about ways to simplify life and really live. 

Enhance with Colors

Freshen up the entrance to your house or apartment with a good sweep, clean, and a coat of paint for the front door. If you are inspired, paint your door a whole new color. 

Find winter warmth snuggling up in a throw that's a deep-hue like burnt orange and drink a cup of rich hot chocolate or hot coffee. 

Tips, Ideas for Color Brown

Spread out the deep coffee brown area rug you've been storing in the attic to provide a sense of stability and grounding, either under the dining room table or in front of the couch.

Paint an accent wall maroon or coffee table indigo. If you lack space for kitchen or dining room storage and serving, thrift shop for a mahogany sidepiece. 

Set the holiday table with a festive red tablecloth .

Eco-friendly tips and ideas

There are many colors in the rainbow. Select those that make you feel happy and relaxed this holiday season.

Read Eco-friendly Holiday Decorating that Won’t Trash the Planet from Michela, the blogger at the Mindful Momma Blog. Her post shows ways holiday choices can be good for your health, pocketbook, and the environment.

Instead of buying new holiday trinkets, create a clean look by rearranging natural elements you already have on hand or find ones on a nature walk. 

Plants, pine cones, or other objects from nature look so appealing, when incorporated into your winter décor. 

Decorating and Decluttering Tips

Set up a holiday display shelf in a bookcase or on your mantel. Select a limit of two or three seasonal items you have collected over the years to highlight. Try out 2 or 3 different arrangements and choose the one you like best.

Illuminate the Season

Plan to use mood lighting at home, especially if overhead lighting feels harsh. Why not rearrange table lamps and floor lamps to be more welcoming? 

Shaded lamps usually diffuse the softest, coziest light. Consider using a pink LED light bulb or pink shade in the living room and guest bedroom for comforting, flattering illumination.

Learn about the Festival of Lights' colors and customs in this post, Hanukkah a Mini Guide to the Jewish Holiday

Hanukkah Food, Gift ideas, and Customs

No matter how little or how much you do to spruce up for the holidays, one thing is for sure.

I wish you the very best of health, love, and happiness during the holiday season and throughout the year as well!

What things do you like to use to decorate your home for the holidays? Please comment below,

What customs or traditions do you enjoy at this time of year? Which ones could you do without?

Please comment in the section below. Refrain from putting links in comments, as I will not be able to publish them that way. Thanks for understanding.

Happy Holidays to Everyone. Sending Prayers for Peace, Plenty, and Planetary and Personal Wellness for All.
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Monday, November 15, 2021

Convert Anxiety into Relaxation with a Colorful Cloud Visualization

 Stress Reduction Visualization

Mental health experts agree it’s common to experience anxiety in response to fearful or stressful situations and occasional anxiety is a normal part of life.

Information from the American Psychological Association indicates that “Anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical changes like increased blood pressure.

Since the pandemic, moderate to severe anxiety has risen to 37.3 percent of the adult population, up from 6.9 percent in 2019. 

We are living in atypical times. I believe we need an extra-large dose of Tender Loving Care (TLC) and a huge portion of self-compassion when we are exploring ways to convert anxiety into relaxation.

A recent anxiety reduction study conducted by the National Institute of Health(NIH) indicates just as spending time in nature can reduce anxiety, Nature-based Guided Imagery (GI) such as visualizing walking at the beach, hiking in the mountains, kayaking on a river, or having a picnic in a green field has special healing power. 

Nature-based GI works by signaling our bodies to reduce cortisol level (the stress hormone), breathe deeper, lower blood pressure, and connect with the revitalizing energy found in natural surroundings. 

Moreover, nature-based GI helps us overcome the limitation of access to nature and simulates the impact of nature-based anxiety relief interventions.

Look below and discover a fun way to

Convert Anxiety into

 Relaxation with a Colorful 

Cloud Visualization

Settle yourself into a comfortable place where you won't be disturbed. Select a position that is good for you like lying on the floor, sitting on the floor, or sitting upright in a chair with your feet on the floor and hands in your lap.

Pick a location that allows you to experience the moment, rather than one that helps you drift off and fall asleep.

Begin by closing your eyes or gazing softly. Then take three deep, cleansing breathes.  

You can count each breath in your mind, but don't worry if you forget to count, or forget your place in the counting.

Deep breathing is a great way to start any visualization exercise, as it grounds you and helps you focus on mind, body, and spirit. More about deep breathing in the post How to Conquer Stress Quickly and Effectively.

Selfcare tips breathing exercise

Think of your breath as a path to calm, gentle energy. Imagine the exhale as a place to let go of worry, fear, and urgency to fix the future. Recognize the inhale as space to restore equilibrium and ease.

Imagine yourself exhaling a cloud of anxiety. If you can't easily imagine a cloud, you may want to put your hand on your chest as you breathe and sense your lungs, heart, and gut getting lighter or more open.

Now imagine yourself stepping into a fluffy white cloud that has fallen to the ground. If you find this challenging, recall the cloud image pictured at the top of this post.

Envision reaching out to feel the white clouds' airiness as well as sensing the clouds' ability to enfold and support your body.

White is an expansive color, one that is made of all the colors in the spectrum. White reflects all light and makes spaces appear larger. See Ways to Welcome and Embrace White Space for more.

In Western traditions white is often used as a symbol or purity and new beginnings. Let the color white help you turn over a new leaf. 

Picture yourself sitting on a puffy white cloud. Use this time to acknowledge and reflect on ways you tried to cope with anxiety by using outmoded patterns, worn out ideas, and unhealthy methods to deal with stress. 

If any anxiety producing or judgmental  thoughts come into your consciousness, acknowledge their presence. Then wish them goodbye, and they probably will drift away.

The idea of this step is to minimize holding on, without critical thoughts about yourself. 😍 

Feel the surface below you becoming softer and more cloud-like. Imagine the cloud rising, surrounding you in its protective support. You become light as a white dove, and soon are floating on your special cloud without a care in the world.

See your cloud rising a little further, taking you with it. It appears that the walls and ceiling around you are disappearing as you float into the sky, drifting on the cloud.

Look around from this vantage point and imagine what else you can see. 

Perhaps you envision a forest filled with beautiful autumn hued trees, their leaves whispering in the gentle breeze. 

Maybe you prefer to see housetops, country roads, hills, or even the ocean at sunset.

From this awesome vantage point, you can see around you 360 degrees. The horizon stretches out in a complete circle around you.

Feel contentment, harmony, and well-being as you use parts of the natural world and your imagination to help you absorb healing earth energy.

Sense softness in your arms, legs, and torso. Sense peacefulness in mind and spirit.

Envision a wave of relaxation flowing from your head, down through your neck, chest, back, arms, legs, and feet. Notice how freeing and loving it feels to be in this cloud.

Allow warmth and relaxation to take over. As you do this, focus your awareness on your feet. Feel the floor beneath them, and then move your awareness up through your body, feeling it spreading right up to the top of your head.

Move your focus back to your imagination as you take a large handful of the cloud and imagine what it would feel like to be immersed inside of it. Relax and enjoy these comforting feelings, and let your mind drift wherever it wants to go.

If you sense any anxiety, bring it to the surface. Let all that you feel float to the surface, acknowledge them, but don’t get caught up in them. 

Keep acknowledging your emotions, by identifying the feelings and then gently releasing them, as if they are on their own clouds, being blown away by a gentle breeze.

Keep doing this until your mind is free and clear of any anxious or stressful thoughts. The cloud keeps you safe and protected as you watch your worries and anxieties drift away. 

When you feel complete, start to come back from this journey by yawning, moving your shoulders up and down, or sighing. Let your cloud take you back to where you need to go. 

Notice your cloud is lowering you down, back toward the ground. Float back to where you were when you started this visualization. 

Give your cloud time to rest on the bed, chair, or whatever surface you are on. Feel the cloud slowly disappear as the real surface becomes more solid beneath you.

Get in touch with your surroundings, and slowly come back to the present. Feel a real surface beneath you. Hear the sounds around you. Become more and more aware and alert. Continue to rest for a few moments longer, but open your eyes and look around. See your surroundings.

This cloud visualization is an effective self-care tool, because it allows you to take advantage of the healing power of being in nature, without having to leave your environment. 

It is provided for information and entertainment purposes only and is not intended as medical advice.

Next time you feel on edge, take a short break to convert anxiety into relaxation with this colorful cloud visualization.

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Please share comments in the section below. 

Have you used guided imagery to help you reduce stress or anxiety?

Are you willing to give it a try? Please explain in the comments section below.

Just a word of caution. If you share a link in your comment, I won't be able to publish it that way.

Please visit my Website as well. It's the go-to place to learn ways I can help you with content creation, editing, and guest blogs to boost your business and help your organization thrive.

Writing Services from Nancy Andres

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