last night and this past weekend i got to spend time with my good friends carol and lisa. they teach an awesome vegan cooking class at the local high school which includes a potluck on the last day of class.
after trying to give up meat and dairy for about a year, i signed up for their class last winter. the class was the push i needed as it opened me up to a whole new world of foods.
for the first time i tried veggies that i've never heard of, like kale and fennel. carol and lisa inform me of all the delicious vegan and raw restaurants in the area, as well as invite me to all sorts of vegan meet-ups. along with yahya and carmella from the sunny raw kitchen, i consider them to be my food mentors.=)
last night, i was telling carol that i'm sick of food shopping. i used to love to go to whole foods, but now i can hardly stand it. she reminded me of a store not too far from me called Natural Health. i made a few brief trips there a few years ago to pick up some probiotics and didn't notice that half the store was filled with food (typical for when i was teaching elementary school full time, eating like crap, and walking around like a zombie. but i was starting on the path of natural health remedies!=)
well, the store is amazing!!! it carries an impressive selection of raw, vegan, and organic products. Natural Health is family owned and has been in business for over 20 years. i much prefer supporting small businesses over the big corporate chains. the staff is so nice and helpful! they offered to order me brown rice vermicelli and promised to call when it comes in. they sell raw cacao powder and organic produce at comparable prices. their organic fuji apples were $1.09 a pound! woohoo! i also picked up broccoli sprouts for $1.99.
the most exciting feature of the store is their bulk herbs and spices section. i spent quite some time opening jars and smelling all the spices, and i am officially in love with fennel seed and cardamom. if you have any recipes, please send them my way!=)
excited to try my new spices, i immediately made a fennel seed, cardamom, brown rice syrup, lemon and olive oil dressing to go over a salad with broccoli sprouts, portobello mushrooms, tomato and celery.
midway through i thought to add hemp seeds for extra protein and yumminess.
if you live in or around Southern NJ, you might want to stop by Natural Health in Lindenwold and check it out for yourself. also, the American Vegan Society is hosting their annual Garden Party this year on Sunday, May 30th in Malaga. it is their 50th anniversary and Christina Pirello of Christina Cooks will be speaking. should be a fun time!=)