Stephanie Quilao

Easy Staple Meal: Maple Black Beans and Brown Jasmine Rice

 

An easy staple, everyday type meal packed with protein and fiber especially on the days when you don’t feel like cooking much is organic maple black beans with brown Jasmine rice. We have some ying/yang action going on here.

This dish is easy to make and you can add extras on top like roasted squash, green beans, chard, or collard greens. You name it! I added chopped yellow tomato with avocado and some pea shoots with red chili flakes for some heat baby!

Here’s how I usually cook my black beans.

  • Start with a 15oz can of organic black beans.
  • In a small pot on medium heat, heat one tbsp of olive oil and sauté two chopped cloves of garlic with a 1/4 chopped small onion until they are soft.
  • Throw in the black beans and a little salt to taste.
  • Add in 1 tbsp organic maple syrup to add a hint of sweet to the beans and cook everything together for about two minutes. To add some smoky flavor, add a few shakes of paprika.




Here’s how I usually cook my rice, or sometimes I’ll get pre-cooked rice at the Whole Foods hot food bar.

When I make my rice, I add in a little quinoa to add some fun texture and more protein. I like Jasmine brown rice more than regular short grain brown rice because Jasmine is a longer grain and it’s texture is less chewy than it’s shorter grain cousin.

Besides black beans, you can make this dish using pinto beans, adzuki beans, black eyed peas, or any one of your favorite legumes.

What is your favorite bean?

Movie: Meat The Truth

Filmed in 2008, but still very relevant today, Meat The Truth is presented in a long version like TED Talk by Dutch MP Marianne Thieme, the leader of the Party for the Animals which became the world’s first party to gain parliamentary seats with an agenda focused primarily on animal rights. The party hold seats in the Dutch parliamentary and the European Parliament.

Meat the Truth is a great introduction to animal agriculture’s impact on climate change and the environment particularly of livestock factory farming which creates more worldwide greenhouse gas emissions than that of all transportation combined – cars, trains, boats and planes combined.

 

Roasted Honey Sriracha Cauliflower

 

This recipe is one of my favorite ways to eat cauliflower because it’s so tasty and so easy to make. Plus, this cauliflower goes well as a side with almost any dish.

I used your typical white cauliflower for this recipe, but have some fun and try it using Romanesco also known as Roman cauliflower. I love the spiral, fractal look of Romanesco.

 

 




Ingredients:

  • Half a head of cauliflower cut into florets
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Sriracha sauce
  • 1 tsp honey (to make vegan use agave nectar)

Let’s start cooking:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Make sauce by combining olive oil, Sriracha sauce, and honey in a small bowl and mix well together.
  • Put the cauliflower florets in a mixing bowl.
  • Pour the sauce over the cauliflower and hand massage the sauce in with the florets to get them all nicely coated.
  • Place coated cauliflower on a baking sheet.
  • Roast for 15 minutes.

Enjoy!

Movie: Food Inc.

Food Inc came out in 2009 but still to this day is one of the best films about the business side of our food system. You will get an eye opening picture of how farms, Big Food, Big Ag, special interests groups, and our government actually work within our food system…and it is not in the best interest of the higher good of people, animal, or planet.

Food Inc. came out almost a decade ago and what is frightening is that not much in our food system has changed. In fact, some of the issues raised in Food Inc have gotten worse particularly the influence of special interest money on politics.

After watching Food Inc in 2010, I stopped eating chicken.

You can watch the movie on Netflix is you have an account, or you can watch for free at Documentary Movie.com. Also, you can watch Food Inc on PBS.org if you have Passport membership.

TAKE ACTION:

To learn more about the food industry facts revealed in the film, visit TakePart’s gallery 18 ‘Food, Inc.‘ Facts Everyone Should Know.

There is an official “Food Inc Participant Guide: How Industrial Food is Making Us Sicker, Fatter, and Poorer-And What You Can Do About It,” available at Amazon* in paperback or Kindle which answers questions brought up in the film in more depth through essays by leading experts and thinkers. This book will encourage those inspired by the film to learn more about the issues, and act to change the world.

Here is the trailer:

 

*There is an Amazon affiliate link attached to the hyperlink. Through your purchase, we get a small percentage to help fund The Flexi 21 work. Thank you!

Movie: Forks Over Knives

After I saw Food Inc and learned more about the business side of our food system, I was motivated to change my eating habits so the next film I watched was Forks Over Knives.

If there ever was a movie that could get you to start changing your eating habits and eat more plant-based, Forks Over Knives is the film to do it. For me the most impactful part was seeing the stories of everyday people talk about their experience before and after going plant-based. It is pretty remarkable!

You can watch Forks Over Knives on Netflix, or on iTunes along with Forks Over Knives – The Extended Interviews , or on Amazon Video.

Here is a clip of Executive Producer Brian Wendel and Director Lee Fulkerson discussing Forks Over Knives:

 

Movie: Earthlings

Out of all the movies we have recommended to watch, Earthlings is the one to watch for last mainly because it is the hardest one of them all to watch. Joaquin Phoenix narrates the film and Moby provided all of the music.

Earthlings is the shocker film as in it will shock you into reality but it will help educate you more than any other film out there about the truths of industry standards for animals bred for pets, food, clothing and to be used for entertainment and research purposes.

This is the stuff we intellectually know and hear of but keep out of our consciousness because in all honesty if we acknowledge what is happening, we must also accept how we are contributing to this treatment of animals through our economic choices.

However, if you are ready to learn everything about our food system and how your meat was raised and produced, then Earthlings will help give you a fuller picture. I do recommend that you emotionally prepare yourself before seeing this film.

Many people cannot watch the film all the way through the first time. The first time I saw Earthlings, I had to stop it about 1/3 into it because I was crying, it was too much. I am very sensitive to seeing video of animals in factory farms mainly because the empath and HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) in me starts feeling physical pain just from watching. Eventually, I was able to watch all the way through because I wanted to know.

Much of the video is undercover video. You are seeing the real thing not dramatizations. Appalling, is that there are actual laws in our country that consider this type of exposure eco-terrorism. Four states now have Ag Gag laws preventing this kind of footage from being taken and shown which is a testament to how powerful the meat special interests groups are.

Because Earthlings is too much truth for the mainstream, you will not find the film steaming on any of the main video sites like Netflix, Amazon, iTunes, or Google. You can watch the full film online at the Earthlings website and all the proceeds go straight to the filmmakers. There are also translated versions of the film in French Canadian, German, and French.

BONUS CLIP:

Here is a stimulating 35 minute interview of Earthlings Director Shaun Monson where he talks more in depth about the making of Earthlings and the impact the film has made.

 

Oh It’s Real: My Mom, the Avid Meat-Eater, Appears To Be Getting On Board the Plantbased Eating Thing

OMG! You guys, this is a big deal. I think the change is starting to happen for my mom, the avid meat-eater! Yesterday morning, I walk into the kitchen and mom is sitting at the table watching Bobby Deen on the Cooking channel make vegan dishes.

I know. I had to do a double take.

Bobby was making a vegan Creme Brulee which immediately got my attention. Here is the recipe. Going to have to try this one!

 

 

I swear I felt like I was in a parallel universe, first, seeing Bobby Dean, son of Krispy Kreme bacon burger making Paula Deen, cook vegan food, and then seeing my mom watch him cook.

I sat with mom and watched the show. This was kind of a big deal too because I normally do not watch regular TV. It was some nice bonding time with my mom, and I was feeling a bit closer to her because I felt like she was taking a genuine interest in something that means so much to me.

I was all excited about mom watching a vegan cooking episode, and then this morning, I walk into the kitchen like I did yesterday and mom is cooking. I say to her, "Morning mom! That smells good. What are you cooking?"

She says, "Oh, I'm making Mungo beans vegetarian style. I'm experimenting."

*My jaw hits the floor. I'm frozen in gleeful disbelief.*

 

 

I look around the kitchen and seriously wonder if we got transported into another timeline the other night while we were sleeping. Normally, when mom is cooking, I'm always telling her that she needs to eat more veggies especially leafy greens, and she just mostly appeases me with, "Yeah, yeah, sure," and I walk away saying not a word back to my room to work, business as usual.

But today, was different. I did the positive encouraging thing and responded to mom with joyfulness,"Really?! WOW! That's so cool mom. I can't wait to try it when it's ready. I'm so excited that you're experimenting with vegetarian Filipino food. YES!"

My friends, her dish was EX-CELL-ENT!

Of course, I took a picture of her experiment. She did use patis, the fish sauce, so technically the dish is pescatarian. Traditional Filipino Mungo Beans are made with pork and shrimp (or just pork by itself.) Just the fact that my mom took it upon herself to try and make a veggie version of one of our favorite Filipino dishes was HUGE in my book. In fact, it's a ginormous step!

These are the moments that remind me to stay hopeful about creating a better food system. Change can happen, one dish at a time.

(I asked her for the recipe. When I get it, I'll share it.)

The Inspiration of How The Vibrantly Filters Were Created

I LOVE taking food photos on my iPhone! Been snapping away since the 3GS in 2009.

Truthfully, I’m kinda obsessed. The upside to that obsession is that it led to the idea for Vibrantly.

I created Vibrantly because I wanted a way to create stunning food photos in one tap like what you can do on Instagram. My goal is for Vibrantly to be able to edit iPhone pics at  Pinterest-level kinda good which is a pretty high bar if you are an avid food pinner.

With Vibrantly, in one tap, your ice cream shots will look bright and creamy. Your turkey burger will look juicy like IRL, and your friends will be able to see the details in the nori and eel in your beautiful Dragon Sushi Roll.

Here is the back story on how the Vibrantly photo fliters came to be and what the inspiration was behind each of the filters because it’s a fascinating story about how apps are developed and how I wanted to create an experience that makes you feel creative and happy.

I myself learned so much during the process of creating the first phase of Vibrantly that I thought it would be fun to share since most developers don’t tend to let people peek into the app kitchen often.

Vibrantly was born out of my frustration as a food blogger having to use 1-3 mobile photo apps like Camera+, Snapseed, and Photoshop Express to edit my food pics, or saving the photos on my laptop and using Photoshop and PicMonkey to edit. I wanted my food photos to get the Stephanie-look in one tap so I could spend more time eating and focusing on my friends than looking like an obnoxious iPhone foodie editing photos on her phone.

Vibrantly saves you time.

What used to take me 90 minutes to do in photo editing now takes me 10 minutes.

I cannot code my way out of a paper bag, but I am an artist (writer, photographer, cook), a designer ( I have a BS in Industrial Technology: Product Design), and I have a good idea for look and feel. Plus, I used to work in the 3D graphics and the gaming industry at NVIDIA. That experience understanding how computer games are made helped me in the development of Vibrantly.

One of the key things before building this app was finding the right developer to work with. This is everything because if you don’t mesh, the magic cannot happen. I found Lavacado via looking at photo-editing apps I liked and looked up who the developer was. Lavacado has built apps for Trey Ratcliff of Stuck in Customs. Trey is one of the best HDR photographers in the world. The app that caught my eye was 100 in 1 Cameras.

Right away, I felt a good synergy between myself and the guys at Lavacado, and although it took awhile to get started on my part, we ended up actually starting at THE perfect time. We started working on Vibrantly literally the day Apple announced iOS7 in June. Really, the timing could not have been more perfect!

I am SO grateful that we could build Vibrantly integrating iOS7 features like the new look and feel plus Air Drop and texting photos straight from the app. I was blown away the first time I saw Vibrantly in iOS7.

Here were some of the challenges we had with the app:

High quality bar

The level of quality I was shooting for was Pinterest-level good looking. Now that is a really high bar especially for mobile photos. But hey, why not shoot for the moon, right? Food is one of the hottest categories on Pinterest, and the food photos on there are stunning.

To get pinned, repinned or better yet repinned by a top pinner, your food photos have to look Martha-Saveur-Food and Wine-level-approved or they have to be interesting as hell. I don’t know the exact numbers but by my guestimation most good food photos on Pinterest by top pinners are taken on DSLRs. I have rarely seen Instagram filtered photos on Pinterest mainly because Instagram does scenery, selfies, fashion, pets, and moody clouds really well, but not food.

With the Vibrantly filters, I was gunning for Pinterest-level hot looking because I thought how cool would that be if we could get top food bloggers and pinners to use Vibrantly edited photos for their pins. In version 1 of Vibrantly, I believe I got pretty darn close to that level, but we’re not quite there yet. BUT, I am confident we’ll get there real soon also because the camera on the iPhone is getting better with every generation.

The main reason the default cropping in Vibrantly is a rectangle, both portrait and landscape is because rectangle is the most commonly repinned shape on Pinterest. Rectangle for food photos also looks better on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Tumblr because you have more visual real estate.

Translating filter recipes 

When I started talking to Lavacdo, our original plan was for me to give them the recipes of how I made my photos look the way they do. Basically, each recipe was a step-by-step of which software I used and in what steps I created each look.

My favorite orange is the Cara Cara. I love it because it’s sweeter than your typical navel orange, and I love the deeper color of its flesh.

Vibrantly – Pretty Food Photography App Is Shutting Down December 30

It’s been a great run! The Vibrantly – Pretty Food Photography was my first venture into building a native iOS app and it was a great experience.

Between wanting to build more apps related to food and climate change, and the cost to run the Vibrantly photo app behind the scenes, the cost became much more than planned. It was a good learning experience, and I am grateful for all the people who bought my app and helped to support an indie publisher going for the dream.

The app will be shutdown on December 30, in 30-days. The app has been removed from the Apple store and is no longer available for sale.

For our customers, what this shutdown means is that any photos you have stored in your account will be discarded after December 30 as we shut down all operation on the app. If the app stays saved on your phone or laptop, it will no longer work after December 30.

Unfortunately, we did not design a bulk download in order to download all your pics at once. You will have to save each image you want to save individually by clicking on the photo and choosing “Save Image” in the photo options. This will save the image to your Camera roll on your phone.

I am very grateful for your business and support. Please, let me know if you have any questions. Our email is support at vibrantly dotco.

Thank you, Stephanie Quilao – Founder Vibrantly.co

Vibrantly Food Photo Editing App for iPhone

I am very proud to introduce Vibrantly, the iPhone app that let’s you create pretty food photos in one tap.

With Vibrantly, you can shoot, edit, and share a beautiful food photo to your social networks in less time than it takes to make a piece of toast.

With Vibrantly, you get to spend more time eating and enjoying your company than editing food photos on your phone.

The Problem and Solution

As a professional food blogger and iPhone food photographer, I personally wanted a way to create great food shots in a couple taps like what you can do on Instagram.

I looked high and low for an iPhone photo editing app that would give me the ability to make food photos look GOOD in one tap, and alas I could not find that app, so I made one.

Before Vibrantly, editing 20 photos would require 1-3 iPhone apps and or 2 programs on my laptop taking at least 90 minutes of my time. Now, with Vibrantly, I can create those same 20 food photos at Stephanie-level quality in 15 minutes.

And so can you!

This is the inaugural version of Vibrantly, v1 as I call it, which focuses solely on simple food photo editing. In v2, we will add more filters and custom editing features.

Here is a quick run down on the current featured filters in Vibrantly.

There are currently 5 photo filters in Vibrantly. Each of the filters were thoughtfully named related to food reflecting similar characteristics of what the filter does to your photo complementary to qualities of its namesake like refreshing, brilliant, pop, luster, smoldering and romantic.

We had so much fun naming these memorable filters!

Here is each filter in action. You can create these beautiful effects on your raw iPhone photos in one tap!

Hope that introduction helps you feel inspired. Here are 5 tips to take better iPhone food shots in the first place because filters can help only so much.

Bon appeshoot!

Buy Vibrantly on the Apple app store for $1.99.

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