Today is Memorial Day and Meatless Monday so what did everyone cook up? We had nachos for dinner! I would have loved a nice vegan hot dog loaded with toppings and a side of potato salad. Sadly, I don’t think there are any vegan hot dogs we can eat now that we’re gluten-free. I have been thinking about one I can make though. I’ve also been working on a special burger recipe I wish I could share with you today, but it’s not ready. So among all the other veganized American holiday fare that’s being posted today I wanted to break things up and offer a pasta sauce instead.
I’m sure when you read “simple” you were thinking not that many ingredients. You must not know me that well. I’m calling it simple because it doesn’t require a whole lot of effort to throw together and it doesn’t take that long either. Feel free to customize it by swapping out the spinach and artichoke hearts for other veggies. You could even use a different type of heat instead of the jalapeno if you’d like. Or leave all of that out and stick with a basic alfredo sauce and pasta. Make it what you want. After all that is what America stands for, right?
Memorial Day is a holiday here in the United States when we take time to remember those that have fallen while serving in the military. Fortunately, my brother and his wife are both escaped this day despite the years they put in risking their lives. My brother did come close to leaving this Earth though.
He was an EOD Technician in the Army. EOD stands for Explosive Ordnance Disposal which is pretty much what it sounds like. It was his job to disarm bombs and dispose of them. Have you seen The Hurt Locker by chance? The main guy in that movie is what my bro did. Actually, that movie was based on one of his friends. Anyway, during his 5th or more deployment to Afghanistan a routine check went awry and exploded right under him. A buddy of his pulled him away and basically saved his life.
They flew him back to the homeland (quite literally) to San Antonio, TX where we grew up. They sent him there because San Antonio is known for having some of the best hand surgeons in the country. He was in the hospital for a long time having to go through multiple surgeries. They finally let him out of the hospital, but had to stay in San Antonio for about another year for more surgeries and physical therapy. He was left with his thumb and forefinger on his left hand. They almost thought they had to amputate his right arm, but they saved it by grafting skin from his thigh.
This happened almost 4 years ago. He is no longer in the military, but is working closely with them teaching others about bombs and how to disarm them. It took some time for him to fully use his right hand and to get over the loss of the fingers on his left hand. Even though we are all glad he is still here it comes at a price. He has lost 15 close friends who all served alongside him. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to lose that many friends. This day is for them. All the men and women who have sacrificed for their lives to protect our rights. The rights we are promised in order to make this life what we want. That should inspire everyone to go out there and turn your dreams into a reality.
My dream is to help change the world and I’m slowly working on it. One day it will be a reality and prove those lives to not have been lost in vain. We all contribute to this world in some way. No legacy is too small.
Cauliflower Alfredo with Spinach and Artichoke Hearts
vegan, soy-free, nut-free option*, gluten-free option**
serves 4 to 6
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in filtered water for 8 hours or overnight (*use sunflower seeds)
- 1 pound cauliflower florets, steamed for 15 to 20 minutes
- 2 cups non-dairy milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 teaspoons arrowroot powder
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced (optional)
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup packed torn fresh baby spinach
- 14 ounces artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- juice from half lemon
- 1 pound pasta (**use gluten-free)
- Prepare pasta as directed.
- Mix water with arrowroot powder until dissolved.
- Drain cashews and place in a food processor with steamed cauliflower, water mixture, yeast, jalapeno, oregano, garlic, onion, salt, and pepper.
- Blend on low a few minutes and gradually add in milk. Turn power up and blend until smooth.
- Pour mixture into the same pot you cooked the pasta in. Add the spinach and artichoke hearts and cook until heated on medium while stirring.
- Stir in lemon juice and toss with cooked pasta. Enjoy!