Kaboom! The thunder crashing across the sky made Annie and LJ jump in surprise, followed by a burst of laughter partially from the shared joy of the moment and relief, knowing they were warm and safe in their home. It was a severe rainstorm that had been raging for days. Trees and electrical lines were down, and thousands had been cold and in darkness for too long. It seemed the whole state was flooded, including their region.

LJ hugged Annie, “all the work we did months ago to prepare for a wet winter might pay off. We harvested a lot of fruit and vegetables. What do you think about spending the day in the kitchen cooking food we can share with our friends who might be without power?”

“Good idea. Let’s have some fun with this. Since it’s Veganuary, how about making our six favorite veggie-rich recipes? It means we can use a lot of these vegetables.”

“Remind me about Veganuary again.”

Annie gave him the side eye. “Okay, Veganuary is a popular movement that encourages people to practice going vegan during January because a plant-based diet is essential to reducing our carbon footprint and protecting animal rights. Veganism requires less water, land, and energy to produce food. Also, it eliminates the negative impacts of animal agriculture and the demand for animal products responsible for global greenhouse gas emissions. You and I practice sustainable living, but we eat mainly plant-based for better health outcomes because it improves our digestion, helps us reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and maintain a healthy weight.”

LJ reached for his apron and handed Annie hers. “I will make Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries first. The paprika and garlic taste savory, and the cayenne brings some heat. Plus, they have just the right amount of crunch and sweetness.

“Our friends may never get those because we’ll eat them all, but that’s a good idea,” laughed Annie.

“Well, this is a big project, and Sweet potatoes are a good source of carbs, which we will need for energy. They are high in fiber, vitamin A, and potassium. What are you going to make?”

Marrakesh Vegetable Curry,” she said, putting the soup pot on the stove. It’s veggie-rich, so nutritious, and easy to make. The flavors are bold and perfectly balanced, with the right amount of spices that give it a delicious kick. Every time I eat it, I’m transported back to Morocco!”

“Wow, I can’t wait to taste that,” said LJ. “After the sweet potato fries, I’m going to dive into a Hearty Vegan Slow-Cooked Chile. This recipe will help us use the bumper crop of bell peppers. It perfectly balances the flavors and textures of the red, green, and yellow bell peppers, corn, black, garbanzo and kidney beans, zucchini, garlic, and tomatoes. The combination of all these hearty vegetables makes an incredibly flavorful meal. I hope our friends like it as much as I do.”

“I love your chili, sweetheart, so count me in for a bowl. My next dish will be Spaghetti Squash and Tomato sauce. It is so unique. Using squash instead of pasta makes it low-calorie and low-carb. The fresh tomato sauce with garlic, red pepper flakes, and olives creates a delicious combination of flavors.”

LJ smiled. “Today is the perfect day for your spaghetti squash dish. For my last recipe, I will make Cauliflower Pasta Salad Lettuce Wraps.  The whole-wheat rotini pasta is cooked with cauliflower. When combined with sweet peas and crunchy celery and mixed in a cashew-based dressing, it becomes a delicious salad or lettuce-wrapped meal that’s both nutritious and filling. It’s also super easy to make.”

“We should keep a container for ourselves. To wind up my culinary adventure today, I will finish with Spring Veggie Stir Fry featuring asparagus.


LJ looked out the window, “we’re going to need a boat to make the deliveries.”


Annie and LJ are a fictional couple. Their storyline promotes healthy eating and earth-friendly practices.

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