Stephanie Quilao

What’s In Season: Winter


Despite the cold, there is an abundance in choices. Here is what is in season during Winter:

  • Belgian Endive
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cactus Pear
  • Cardoon
  • Chestnuts
  • Clementines
  • Collard Greens

  • Dates
  • Delicata Squash
  • Grapefruit
  • Kale
  • Kiwi
  • Leeks
  • Blood Oranges
  • Mandarin Oranges
  • Oranges

  • Passion Fruit
  • Pears
  • Persimmons
  • Pomegranate
  • Pummelo
  • Currants
  • Swet Potatoes
  • Tangerines
  • Turnips

For more seasonal availability, here is what is available in SpringSummer, and Fall.

Powerful Side: Protein Packed Brown Rice With 23g


Rice is not usually known for being protein packed, but it can be. This rice recipe has plenty of protein and fiber coming in at 23 g of protein and 15 g of fiber for the whole pot.

I used Tru Roots Sprouted Bean & Lentil Medley which has a combination of organic sprouted mung beans, sprouted green lentils and sprouted adzuki beans. 1/4 cup dry has 11g of protein and 9g of fiber. If you can’t find the Tru Roots medley at your local grocery stores, you can create your own medley mix using the same or similar dry ingredients that are usually found in the bulk food section.

Brown Jasmine rice has 4 g of protein and 2 g fiber for every 1/4 cup dry. For a little more protein, use organic wild rice which has 6 g of protein and 3 g of fiber per 1/4 cup dry.

Ingredients (4-5 servings):

  • 1/4 cup dry sprouted mixed lentils
  • 3/4 cup dry brown Jasmine rice
  • 1 pinch of Pink Himalayan salt, or sea salt
  • 2 cups water

On the stove top, put lentils and rice in a pot with water and salt. Bring water to a boil. Put cover on pot and lower temperature to low simmer. Cook for 40-45 minutes.

Remove pot from heat. Keep lid on, and let rice steam for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

You can also use a rice cooker. Use the same ingredients.


Polar Bears Are The Metaphoric Canary In The Coal Mine For Climate Change. This Dying Polar Bear Is A Warning

Straight up, this is a painful video to watch, and it made me cry in a heartbreaking way. I am posting this video and story because we need to get as many people as we can to see this footage. This is the canary in the coal mine for climate change.


I cannot imagine what wildlife photographer Paul Nicklen was feeling watching this polar bear suffer and die in real time. He explains in this National Geographic article, “Heart-Wrenching Video Shows Starving Polar Bear on Iceless Land,” why he didn’t attempt to feed or put the polar bear out of its misery and you’ll get it. Please read the whole piece because it has a good deal of useful information and insight.

Although devastating, I am glad Paul shot this video. This polar bear did not die in vain, and his death can serve as a powerful message for humanity. He says:

“When scientists say bears are going extinct, I want people to realize what it looks like. Bears are going to starve to death,” said Nicklen. “This is what a starving bear looks like.”

This is the reality of how climate change is currently impacting the planet, and how it will eventually impact the daily lives of us human beings when it gets to the point where we can no longer grow food or get fresh water because of climate change compiled with a global population that is expected to hit 10 billion people basically adding another China and India amount of humans by 2050 which is only 32 years away.

It is not being overly dramatic saying that we are running out of time because it is the truth. We must take action now to stop our devastating contributions to climate change despite having an irresponsible POTUS that pulled our country out of the Paris Agreement.

This polar bear is our warning sign from Mother Nature.

Easy Kale, Brussels Sprouts, Apple, Pomegranate and Pecan Salad Made With Stuff at Trader Joe’s


Isn’t that salad pretty?! Look at those fun colors. This salad is definitely bursting with life force and nutrients. I love adding fresh pomegranate seeds to green salad for a burst of red color and a pinch of sweet.

Everything in that bowl is from Trader Joe’s, and this salad has quickly become one of my weekday favorites because it’s so easy to make. You basically just open bags and throw salad stuff into a bowl, add dressing, mix, and eat. Plus, when you add some green peas and garbanzo beans for protein, you’ve got a whole meal.

One of the things I love about Trader Joe’s is that they have so many options for bagged salads, and pre-cut vegetables. As you know, I love getting my produce at the farmers market, but admittedly, I am not a fan of veggie prep – all that cleaning, peeling, chopping, and dicing, so Trader Joe’s comes in handy when I just want to eat right away.

The way I started eating more veggies is by buying TJ’s products. I went shopping today and went a little crazy with the bagged salads but it’s so good!

The salad has these ingredients just tossed together in one large salad bowl:

  • A couple handfuls of organic Arugula
  • A couple handfuls of Shaved Brussels Sprouts
  • A couple handfuls of organic Tuscan Kale which I chopped into even more smaller bite-size pieces
  • A couple handfuls of the Cruciferous Crunch Collection which has chopped curly Kale, Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli and Green Cabbage & Red Cabbage.
  • A small handful of shaved organic carrot
  • A small handful of shaved red delicious apple. You can also cut an apple into chunks. I just get a grater and shave the apple because I like the string like texture in salad.
  • A couple tablespoons of toasted pecans. Toast pecan pieces in oven for 5 minutes at 400.
  • A couple tablespoons of fresh pomegranate seeds
  • For added protein, toss in some green peas and chickpeas

For salad dressing, Trader Joe’s has this great new Green Goddess dressing that looks like a cold pressed juice. In the same line, is a Carrot, Ginger, Miso, and an Almond Butter Turmeric dressing. All three are vegan.

On a side note, the Cruciferous Crunch Collection raw salad mix also makes for a great stir fry base, and as a roasted side dish. Massage the Cruciferous Crunch with a little olive oil and add a few dashes of seasoning salt and pepper, and roast for 5-7 minutes at 400 degrees.

Product Review: Plant-based Tuna Ahimi Nigiri and Roll from Ocean Hugger Foods At Whole Foods Market

In September, I was excited to hear about this new plant-based tuna called Ahimi made by Ocean Hugger Foods featured in USA Today that Whole Foods Market was selling in nigiri and a roll. Buzzfeed also posted a video about this vegan tuna sushi feeding it to unsuspecting people in the office.

I was in NYC to see the Christmas tree at Rockefeller center and found the Ahimi nigiri and roll at the Bryant Park Whole Foods on 42nd St and 6th Avenue so I bought a pack because hello vegan sushi!


One word review: WOW.

What blew my away the most is that this Ahimi is made from tomatoes. Who knew tomatoes could have a fatty-like texture so close to tuna fish with a vibrant red color that is spot on. I took a close up shot above so you could get a better view of the surface texture. Just looking at it most would never guess that was tomato. From the Ocean Hugger website:

“Made from just five natural ingredients, Ahimi™ is free of mercury, PCBs, and other toxic chemicals. It’s also vegan, safe for pregnant women, nursing mothers, and people with compromised immune systems.”

With Ahimi, you will never get a fishy flavor nor any worms or bacteria that can come with raw fish, and the best part is that the fish can stay in the ocean. The website does not list nutritional info because I am curious about the protein content as well as the fat and cholesterol.

Here is a quick peek video of the Ahimi up close so you can see it in action.


I liked the Ahimi best in the roll. If you served plant-based tuna this roll to your average meat-eaters, they would never know the difference. The Ahimi wouldn’t fool sushi aficionados but I think they might be impressed with the texture for a plant-based option. I would be curious to hear what Japanese sushi chefs think of this Ahimi.

I would love to see Ocean Hugger Foods do a spicy tuna so you could make spicy tuna rolls, my favorite.


Definitely try the Ahimi nigiri and rolls out if you can, and let me know what you think. Ocean Hugger Foods is heading in a great direction!


COP23: The Role of Livestock Reduction in Meeting Climate Targets And Other Related Animal Ag Events

At this year’s United Nations COP23 event in Bonn, Germany, there was an official side event called “Reducing Livestock’s Long Shadow.” The event was sponsored by ProVeg International and Green Course.

This event was the only official side event at COP23 about animal agriculture and climate change. This topic should be a main COP event because industrial animal agriculture impacts climate change more than the entire transportation sector according to the UN FAO.

But hey, let’s find ways to make industrial animal agriculture’s impact on climate change a bigger topic globally so that next year at COP24, this topic does get a main event.

Thankfully, the “Reducing Livestock’s Long Shadow” event was recorded and it’s on YouTube. The video includes the talks from the panel members and audience discussion. The panel was excellent and there was so much great information not only on current data but also on possible action items.


The panel speakers included:


Besides this “Reducing Livestock’s Long Shadow” event, Brighter Green wrote up this great blog post of other food and climate change related events.

Less Meat Less Heat did this great re-cap post with photos of their launch of Put Climate on Pause Coalition that proposes the adoption of a two-valued reporting standard for Global Warming Potential (GWP), that includes both 20- and 100-year timescales to give a broader view of the impacts of SLCPs (short-lived climate pollutants), including methane and nitrous oxide from agriculture.

When methane and nitrous oxide are included in the short-term 20 year picture, the impact of industrial animal agriculture on climate change bumps significantly because the leading cause of both gases are from guess what? Yeah. Methane has 86 times the warming potential of CO2 over 20 years (GWP20) versus 34 times over 100 years. (GWP100).

I wrote about how Methane is worse than you think in this post, “10 Staggering Facts: How Massive The Industrial Animal Agriculture Problem Actually Is.”

And lastly, I want to give a shout out to these activists from ASEED Europe who led a protest of the Livestock Industry’s lobbying at COP23. Bravo!

Eating Kitchari Is Great For Post Indulgence Detox


Tis the season for over-indulgence. Partaking in feasts and treats is one of the fun things about the holidays, vacations, or celebrations which we all should absolutely enjoy! Food is pleasure and celebration as well as nourishment.

But, then, yeah, there are the days that follow that indulgence where you feel bloated, stuffed and are still wearing your stretchy pants. You are in need of some detoxing.

One great dish to help with post indulgence is Kitchari which is an Ayurvedic detox food. This creamy rich bowl of mung dal, rice, vegetables with warming spices will help you feel rebalanced. It’s also great to eat when it’s cold outside or if you are feeling under the weather because it’s gentle on the stomach.

One of the easiest recipes I’ve found online is Martha Stewart’s recipe for Kitchari.

I tweaked her recipe a bit to make the dish vegan. I omitted the ghee, and I did not make any of the chutney. The great thing with kitchari is that you can get creative with the vegetables. Choose what you like. Her recipe suggests cauliflower, zucchini, sweet potato, bok choy, carrots, and green beans. Have some fun with variety.

I topped my bowl with pea shoots, cilantro, avocado, radish, and this protein crunch I found at Whole Foods from Local Greens which is germinated peas, lentil, adzuki, and mung beans.

Normally, you would not add peppers to kitchari because heat is disruptive when you are trying to calm the digestive system. I put the peppers in for the photo because the designer in me can’t help myself as the red color looks nice.  If you want to add some heat to your kitchari, go for it.

I also like to squeeze lemon in kitchari to add some zest. Enjoy!

If You Need Help Choosing a Turkey Meat Alternative

If you are doing your first plant-based Thanksgiving, let’s give you a standing round of applauds! *cheers*

Here is a good video if you decided to go with a turkey meat alternative but have no idea which brand to get because hello there are too many choices. Yay! There was a time when Tofurkey was it. Thankfully, you now have many choices and the turkey-less meats are getting better.


The top brands are Tofurkey, Field Roast, and Gardein. Not in the video, Trader Joe’s also has a Turkey-less roast with gravy. Enjoy!

Product Review: Trader Joe’s Canned Coconut Whipped Topping

Canned whipped cream may not seem like a big deal to many people but when you are vegan, plant-based or allergic to dairy, it’s actually a big deal because finding a can of dairy-free whipped cream to just easily spray on pie, dessert, or ice cream sundaes is hard to find.

Look no further! Trader Joe’s has a new canned coconut based whipped topping and it is AWESOME!

I will actually have to control myself with this whipped cream because it’s so sweet and delicious and best the cream holds it’s shape really well and doesn’t disintegrate into a watery puddle like some other dairy-free canned whipped creams. Here is a quick video of me spraying some of the topping onto a JoJo cookie.

I had to go to my local Trader Joe’s twice because the topping is so popular it kept selling out. See all gone.

LOVE to see this happen because it means that the product is popular. So run out and get yourself a can or three of this awesome Trader Joe’s whipped cream.

Welcome To The Brand New Flexi 21 Site!

Hello friends! It’s an exciting day as I launch the new home of The Flexi 21, a plant-forward food blog about culinary climate action where eating low carbon is °Cool.

Yes, I had some fun playing on the celsius symbol in the tagline because it gets straight to the point of including climate change in a delightful way.

It’s time to make food a top climate action item.

I feel it’s going to be an exciting year in 2018. High-tech goes plant-forward has already been cited as one of the top food trends of 2018. More and more people are becoming open to the idea of reducing their meat, dairy and egg consumption for health and environmental reasons.

Their is no Planet B, so we have to start including dietary behavior change in climate action items we can all do to shrink our personal carbon footprint to help stop climate change because industrial animal agriculture is impacting climate change more than the entire transportation sector.

A good place to get the lowdown on the bigger picture is to start with this post, “10 Staggering Facts: How Massive The Industrial Animal Agriculture Problem Actually Is.”

Also, here you can get started and learn more about The Flexi 21 Dietary Challenge so you can start eating plant-forward and low carbon.

Because eating low carbon is °Cool! 😎

Send this to a friend