You’re the reason we don’t like bicycles!

“You’re the reason we don’t like bicycles!”

I looked to the left to see a Honda minivan, complete with 2 kids in car seats, traveling next to me. The driver had rolled down the passenger’s window and was screaming at me.

“What?”

“You broke the law. You didn’t stop at that stop sign and I hate you for it. Every car driver hates bicycles because you think you can break the law. Wha-whaa-wah-wha-wha-wha…”

I gave her a thumb up and nodded my head to signal “OK, I’m done with this,” and then grabbed the back break so she shot past me. She slowed to match my speed and continued to yell at me. I hit the gas and shot past her only to grab the brakes again as soon as she pulled up beside me. She got the point and drove off still yelling through the passenger’s window.

In all fairness, I did break the law. Instead of waiting a full 3 seconds at the stop sign, I only came to a quick stop and then rolled through the intersection (she was beside me; no cars were approaching from any other direction). So, she had a valid argument. But, was that enough reason for her to “hate” me and waste time telling me about it? I wonder how she would respond if I jumped in my car and followed her around the city, pointing out every one of her minor law infractions.

This little incident, just like every run in with a car driver, brought endless questions to mind. I kept coming back to one thought for the rest of the ride: Do I care if car drivers hate me? My answer was and will probably always be no. What I want is for them to not crash in to me. Otherwise, we are strangers passing on the road. I guess wanting them to not hit me infers that I expect their respect at a minimum. Continuing that line of thinking might be the reason so many drivers have problems with cyclists: they don’t see us as individuals on bikes. Instead, we are just another group of people lumped together to be hated as a whole.

That might be the real lesson for cyclists. Change won’t happen overnight or even in a summer or two. But, if we all take on the role of ambassador of goodwill, maybe over time motorists can be swayed. I know I have spoken with a few different irate drivers that, after a calm conversation, came to see things a bit differently. I also had to call the cops on a driver that became so pissed off he threatened to shoot me. But, if the cycling community rallied around obeying all laws—even full 3-second stops at stop signs—and respecting the car’s right of way, maybe, just maybe the positive approach will help drivers to respect our right to the roadway.

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Tempeh & Potato Tacos with Roasted Poblano Peppers

This super easy recipe is packed with flavor, thanks to the roasted poblano peppers, potatoes cooked in cumin, and fresh lime juice.

Tempeh & Potato Tacos

  • 3 poblano peppers, cut in half with seeds and veins removed
  • 3 red potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 cup tempeh, cut into small cubes
  • 1 jalapeño, diced
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup corn
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 lime
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 avocado, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • tortillas
  1. Roast the poblano peppers. There’s a couple of way to do this. The best is over an open flame. But, if you don’t have a gas stove, they can be roasted at 450° in the over or under the broiler. I roasted them in the oven so I could work on the potatoes and other ingredients while they cooked. What ever method you choose, roast them until the skin bubbles and then throw them in a bowl and cover it tightly for 5 minutes. Doing so will make skinning them much easier. While the veggies are cooking, remove the skin from the peppers and then cut into small cubes. Set aside.
  2. Cook the potatoes. Peel and dice the potatoes. Add 3 tbs oil to a pan heated over medium-high heat. Toss the potatoes with cumin, coriander, cayenne and a pinch of salt and then add the potatoes to the pan. Cook until soft and the skin is browned and crunchy, stirring often, about 15 minutes. After the potatoes are cooked, move to a small plate and set aside.
  3. Saute the veggies. Add the last tablespoon of oil to the pan and cook the onion, garlic, celery, bell pepper, jalapeño, and tempeh. When the onion becomes translucent, add the lime juice and corn, and cook until the corn is heated.
  4. Assemble. Place a small amount of poblano on a tortilla, and then top with roasted potatoes, sautéed vegetables, green onion, cilantro and avocado.

Nutrition Info

4 servings

Nutrition info will change depending on type of tortilla used. I used a small blue corn and flax seed tortilla.

Calories 280
Total Fat 11.2g
  Saturated Fat 1.9g
  Polyunsaturated Fat 2.0g
  Monounsaturated Fat 1.7g
Cholesterol 0
Sodium 93.9mg
Potassium 732.5mg
Total Carbohydrate 33.6
  Dietary Fiber 5.8g
  Sugar 5.7g
Protein 12.5g

Chocolate Vegan Muffins

After trying several store-bought, vegan-friendly bars with little luck (and some choking), I decided to make my own energy bars. I didn’t want the same old dry, nutty bars, so I started with one of my favorite base recipes, and then modified it slightly to pack in more energy. Any variety of flavors and extra nutrition can be added by simply mixing in nuts, berries, etc before baking. I divided the first batch into 3 variations: toasted walnuts, vegan chocolate chip, and just plain. These did not disappoint. In fact, to quote my buddy Ben W., “hate to admit it but that vegan creation was tasty!”

Chocolate Vegan MuffinsThe Recipe

  • 2 cups oat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup grape seed oil
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

This is really simple to put together:

  1. Prep: Preheat oven to 350°. Grease 12 muffin tins. Combine almond milk and vinegar in a small cup and set aside.
  2. Combine dry ingredients: Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa, and chia seeds in a medium-sized bowl, and stir to combine.
  3. Mix wet ingredients: Mash bananas until they are smooth–no lumps!. In a separate bowl, combine oils, nectar and vanilla. Add bananas and stir to combine, and then add in the almond milk/vinegar mixture and stir.
  4. Bring it all together: Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Be careful to not over stir!
  5. Bake: Scope the mixture into 12 muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through. A knife or toothpick inserted into the middle should come out clean.

Make em better

These muffins are chocolatey with a slight banana flavor. Add in nuts and fruits for extra flavor and nutrition. In addition to walnuts and chocolate chips, I also stirred in 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed. That worked OK, but I’d like to try a batch without it.

Vegan Stew with Quinoa

Dinner tonight was a bit of a Vegan Challenge–not a lot left in the pantry or the fridge and too hungry/too tired for a trip to the grocery store. After pulling everything together, I started cooking without much direction: cook quinoa, saute onions, boil butternut squash and find other ingredients to finish it off. The result was much better than I anticipated.

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash, chopped into 1/2 cubes
  • 2 cups Quinoa, cooked per package directions
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 cup navy beans, cooked (can use canned, any variety)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbps oil (I used grape seed)
  • dash (or two) red pepper flakes
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  1. Cook quinoa.
  2. Fill a medium saucepan with enough water to cover butternut squash and bring to a boil over high heat. Once water boils add a pinch of sea salt and then add butternut squash cubes. Cook 15-20 minutes until tender. Drain and rinse with cold water and then set aside. Rinse pan and set aside for use in step 6.
  3. While the butternut squash is boiling, heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and heat, and then add onion and a pinch of salt, and cook until brown, about 8-10 minutes.
  4. Add ginger and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add garlic to onion mixture and cook 1 minute.
  6. Heat saucepan over high heat and then transfer onion mixture. Add in coconut milk, navy beans, tomatoes, and butternut squash. Cook until boiling, and then reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.
  7. Serve by plating the quinoa and then topping with a portion of the stew mixture.

Serves 4

Quick & Easy Tempeh Burritos with Mango Salsa (Vegan)

tempeh burrito with mango salsaLast night was family game night, which used to mean taco night. But, ever since I started eating vegan, the normal taco recipe wasn’t an option. I wanted to create something that was flavorful enough for the boys to eat while still providing tons nutrition. I wheeled through the grocery store, grabbing ingredients that looked good. The results exceeded expectations! These burritos taste great and were ready in less than 30 minutes.

Vegan Burritos

Mango Salsa

  • 1 mango, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • 1 handful cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Mix the Mango Salsa ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium heat. When warm add the tempeh and cook until lightly browned.
  3. Add the Southwest Blend and salsa to the pan, and then reduce heat to simmer.
  4. Simmer 10 minutes or until warmed through.
  5. Assemble burritos by placing lettuce on tortilla and then topping with tempeh mixture, salsa, and condiments.
  6. Enjoy!