This past Tuesday, I was graciously invited to sample some of my food products at the Miller Business Center “Strictly Business” event, located at Middle Country Public Library. When I walked in to set up, I noticed I was next to a major fast food corporation that had just opened on the island. I actually found humour in the irony, as those of you know me can imagine - my business focus (Point of View) is whole food, plant-based, local and slow food. I’ve advised many people at workshops, to check out the book or audio book “Fast Food Nation,” from their local library. So I set up quietly, not knowing what to expect or how I’d fare, next to this food giant. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised when lines began forming around my table, and I could barely keep up with the traffic and feedback.

I overhead the angle of the restaurant next to me change a bit, after one of the mad rushes of people at my table - they started focusing more on the veggies, salads and healthy options on their menu. What a delight to my ears! My message is to shift focus and awareness for the healthier aspects of food, and encourage people to think outside of the box a bit. If I could be a catalyst for healthy & tasty food to just one person that day, isn’t that fulfilling my goal? To think a few samples of raw crackers & sweets, with a couple of bean and grain salads, could change the perspective and pitch of a major corporations employee, should be a testament to us all. YOU can make a difference. You, the individual. You, the consumer. You have more power than you think.

People seem to really enjoy real food, cooked with love, spices, no sugar, less fat, no chemicals, no hormones, and low salt. It was all food that doesn’t have a standard recipe, but is created with inspiration and hope. My entire spread was gluten free, corn-free, dairy-free, egg-free, meat-free, soy-free, GMO-free, and was organic and truly natural. Some of you may ask, “What’s left, if you exclude all those things?” My response is simple – we’re in an age where we can stop thinking about what’s missing on our plates, and start looking at all that’s left in the plant world. Being plant-based isn’t a limitation; it’s a doorway to a whole new world of foods you’ve never before imagined. Join me in a food adventure and revolution!

So what were all my samples *not* free from? Love...from my kitchen to yours, Alicia.

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And as promised to so many people that day, here's the recipe for my Chickapea Salad, with variations and meal options:
1 15 oz can organic chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tblsp vegan mayo (Veganaise or Just Mayo are my favorites)
1 tsp organic mustard, or more to taste
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
¼ cup carrots, peeled and shredded
¼ cup cucumbers, diced

Smash chickpeas in a bowl, until they are the desired consistency – a potato masher works well, or else your hands are excellent smashing tools! Add the mayo, mustard and spices, and stir well. Add veggies and stir to combine. Enjoy immediately, or allow the salad to sit for an hour or more, to allow the flavors to develop.Chickpea_Salad

You can serve this salad as is, in a wrap, as a sandwich, on a pumpkin seed flax cracker / pizza crust (like many of you enjoyed this past Tuesday), or throw it on top of kale or greens with tomato and other veggies. Variations: use tahini instead of mayo, add curry seasoning and some raisins, add celery or onion, Cajun seasoning (add sea salt or Himalayan salt, if desired), relish, salsa, or make a bbq version. This salad really has no limitations!