Lentil & Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie

This one was a real treat to eat, because as a vegan, it can be difficult to find pastry dishes when eating out. Particularly when living in a small city of 365,000 or so people where veganism, though on the rise, isn’t as established as it is in larger cities. So if you love eating pies, give this recipe a go! It’s delicious and easy, which is a win-win in my books!

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Serves: 4

Prep Time: 10

Cooking Time:

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon margarine
  • 1/2 cup rice milk or other plant based milk
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 12 button mushrooms
  • 2 cans of drained lentils or 2 cups of fresh lentils (be sure to soak them first)
  • 2 tablespoons of red wine
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
  • 1 teaspoon of dry thyme
  • 3 tablespoons of buckwheat flour
  • 200 g of baby spinach
  • pepper to taste
  • spices to taste (e.g. cumin)
  • 1 cup of rice bread crumbs

Instructions:

  1. Wash the potatoes and place them in a pot. Fill the pot with water until the potatoes are covered. Boil the water and cook until the potatoes are soft. Once they are soft enough to comfortably stick a fork in them, drain the water and place potatoes in to a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the margarine and the rice milk and mash them until the mixture is fluffy. Add more milk if the consistency is still too thick.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200°C and chop the onion. Heat the olive oil in a pan and saute then onions until they are translucent. Add the chopped garlic and diced mushroom and continue to saute until the onion and mushroom have released all their moisture (usually demonstrated by shrinking).
  4. Add the lentils and bring to a simmer. Stir in the wine, soy sauce/Braggs, spices (we used cumin), thyme, salt and pepper. Add the buckwheat flour and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add the spinach and cook until slightly wilted and then remove the mixture from the heat.
  6. Lightly oil a pie dish and evenly scatter the rice bread crumbs over the bottom. Ensure there is enough to cover the base without it being too thick, half a cm in depth should be plenty.
  7. Evenly pour the lentil and mushroom mixture over the top and then cover with the potatoes. If you have too much mashed potato mixture, you can use the rest of it as a side dish.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes begin to go brown and appear crusty like that of a pie.
  9. Allow to cool and then cut in to slices or wedges, depending on the shape of your dish.
  10. ENJOY!

Fun Fact:

  • This recipe is naturally gluten free!
  • 1 cup of cooked lentils contains 18 g of protein and 6.6 mg of iron.
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Insert Paradigm Shift *HERE*

There seems to be a general order in things, in life. In the way society works.

Inside of the way society runs now, there is a predictable way in which life appears to progress. First you are born, innocent and untainted. Then when you’re old enough, you go to school, first primary and then secondary. There, you are taught how to obey, what to learn, how to exist within a community and that there are some people who you need to listen to, no matter what they say.

Your voice, though you scream and shout (because you aren’t completely numb yet), is slowly quieted down because you quickly learn that when you speak up, you might be labeled as weird or different and after all, those formative years are all about fitting in.

All throughout school, you undergo testing. Year in and year out, you are judged on your ability to memorize information, and your capacity to contribute to society is determined. Will you be destined to become a brain surgeon, or a brick layer? You may, or may not get in to university, and you either spend the next few years of your early 20’s studying, partying, traveling, working or all of the above. All the while being shrouded with self-doubt, uncertainty, confusion and maybe the odd moment of inspiration.

By the time you get to your late 20’s, you realize that if you want to be independent and call yourself an adult or be taken seriously, you better get a job… this is also known as joining the rat race. You strive to be your best and you progress, sometimes you get fired for using the work email to send inappropriate emails because everyone in the office HAS to see the all the hilarious ways that people accidentally photo-bomb unknowing people taking an otherwise innocent photo, and you find yourself having to start over again. All the more confused as before. You press on and then you finally find a job you’re okay at and you figure you may as well get really good at it!

As your skills and achievements increase, so does your stress. Not to mention, you’ve done so well thus far, you can’t just put the brakes on now. Never mind that your wage is barely livable and for the amount of stress that’s involved, you begin to wonder if it’s all worth it. You ask for a raise and you get it and the only “constructive” thing you really do with the extra coin is party more, buy shit you don’t need which leaves you secretly hating yourself even more because you thought that material things would actually make you happy, but they don’t.

You push on, because now, you are married and want to start a family. You also want to buy a house. And guess what you need to make that happen? Yep, money. You have a kid, then another, and the stress just seems to keep growing. By this stage, you have completely forgotten that you used to have dreams, visions for your life and the planet and inspiring goals that you wanted to achieve. They are a thing of the past now. What seems to be in your future though, is sickness and ill-health. Stress and your soul slowly dying from serious self neglect and lack of self-love does that to a person. And so it goes… you go to work, come home, cook for your family, watch some mind numbing TV and then roll over and go to sleep. Forget sex, you’re way too tired for that now, and besides, you don’t feel as sexy as you used to because you stopped taking care of yourself years ago.

Holy crap, I think I just sent myself in to depression just thinking about the fact that this could be the reality for millions of people on the planet! All doing their best to survive inside of a paradigm that only seeks to keep us obedient and fearful. On a lighter note, here’s some comic relief:

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Now, I’m not saying that everyone on the planet feels this way, but I can say that there are systems that we need to make disappear for a paradigm shift to really take place. And the shift that needs to happen, or at least one of them, is to acknowledge that we are all connected. How you treat yourself is how you treat others and vice versa. More so, how you treat the planet ends up impacting you as well, and vice versa. Pollute your mind and you will in some way, shape or form, pollute mother nature as well.  If you can’t quite get your head around all of this, don’t worry, because this notion can take time to sink in on a physical and experiential level and is not meant to be understood by the mind anyway, but rather your heart. 

Have you ever noticed that those who act from the heart are some of the most inspiring people in the world? The artists, the actors, the writers, the sportsmen and women, the poets, the healers, the philanthropists and the singer/songwriters! These people take hold of our imagination and send us on a journey of discovery pathed with wild ideas, new experiences, raw emotion and pure self-expression. They fill our hearts with joy and sadness in an attempt to awaken us to the myriad of emotions we hold in our bodies so that they may be released.

Some of the people who inspire me the most are those who challenge the current paradigm we are in. Who are not afraid to declare parts of it as broken and come up with solutions to overcome it. Look at all the amazing inventions and the social enterprises that are being developed in order to create new possibilities for those hit hardest by the current system! It’s amazing! I’m in awe of those people, the altruists and free thinkers who dare to challenge the status quo and stand up for what they believe in. Who stand for a new possibility in life.

So if you are a one of these people, if you want to leave behind a world that you would be proud to leave behind for your children and your grandchildren, get moving! The world needs you now more than ever! Inch by inch, day by day, heart by heart, your actions do make a difference! YOU make a difference. Everything you do makes a difference! At the risk of saying what’s been said a thousand times:

Be the change you want to see in the world. – Mahatma Gandhi.

Listen to your higher self, your intuition and that little voice that says “you can do it!” Ignore the one that tells you it’s unsafe, risky or terrifying. Because what’s really risky is living a life that’s ordinary. Being ordinary takes your light away and keeps you small, unhappy and unable to contribute to others. What’s really terrifying is living your life pretending that you have nothing valuable to contribute when really, you have this burning desire to share yourself, your ideas and your talents. What’s really scary is neglecting your truth and not letting your soul run free. Be who you really are, unabashed and untamed. Write that book, start that business, share your art, share your passions and your feelings no matter how terrifying it seems. You may end up inspiring someone else to unleash their voice and uncover the courage to take action, to expand what they thought was possible for them. Can you imagine what that could do for the human race and the planet? Go on, I dare you, insert your paradigm shift *HERE*!

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This post is dedicated to all the people who have inspired me by getting connected with their dreams and their unrelenting need to express their truth. I’m humbled by and love all of you.

H x