Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms (Vegan, Paleo)

What an interesting few days. Interesting in that “Gosh, this doesn’t seem right” kind of way, but I wish it was interesting in a more upbeat kind of way.  It’s the start of Fall, for cryin’ out loud! Still…. I was angry yesterday. I woke up angry on Saturday, too. The more I think of it, I woke up angry pretty much every day this week. I thought to myself, this is not a good look. Stop it.

But instead of figuring out why I was angry in the first place, I just told myself to get over it and keep going about my day. Well, here’s the problem. Anger is a crazy, blood thirsty demon beast thing. It can escalate, quickly, like a volcano erupting with no notice. What’s left in the wake of anger often times isn’t pleasant. I found this out when a man cut me off in traffic on my way to work last week. And let me tell you. Do not try this at home.

I’m driving through a somewhat-congested city block, and a man cuts me off in traffic, across 2 lanes, to come to a stop in a turning lane. Angry still, I somehow manage to internalize my rage after a morning filled with dog-mess, forgetting my breakfast, forgetting my lunch, and realizing I also desperately need gas in my car but no time to get it.

This man decided it was rightly time to roll his window down, and to yell at me about not letting him immediately cross 2 lanes of traffic when he needed to get somewhere. After about 10 seconds (maybe 3 seconds) of ignoring him, I roll my window down, ask if he really wants to get where he’s going or if he wants to, throw in a few fun expletives, show some She-Rage, and the man promptly rolls his window back up, looking bewildered and surprised. He drives off immediately. I pause, and cry as I enter the parking garage, riddled with guilt for yelling at a stranger.

Now, before anyone tells me that this person could’ve been a psycho and I shouldn’t have indulged, that’s the very point of anger. It’s not waiting for you to use your manners, be reasonable, or to think it out before acting. It’s a primal emotion that comes from a source that needs to be acknowledged. If you ignore it for too long, it will bite you.

However, there’s always a silver lining. Anger is just the root of something we feel about ourselves, even if the anger is aimed elsewhere. Chances are, if you’ve reached the point where something seemingly small angers you, you’ve just uncovered your next lesson on what you need to heal, what you need to work on and where you need to focus your strength on.

You could be harboring beliefs that are actually undermining you, or you could be weighing yourself down with things that, while they seem good for now, they really aren’t helping you move forward. This could be a toxic friend, a well-paying but depressing job, or even just a temporary change of scenery to gain some clarity.

The thing about anger is that it’s everywhere, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Anger should never justify violence towards someone, or other harm, but the sentiment itself should not be shamed. We see it everywhere – an angered animal defending its safety, mother nature wreaking havoc on countries that needed a leg up to begin with. it’s truly a part of everything in this world. However – if you can turn it around and take one lesson away from the pain, your anger will start to diminish and show up less and less. Let it out, and make no room for it to come back by filling that space with happiness. Sounds hard, but it’s as easy as saying no to a pushy friend, stopping yourself from your negative thoughts, or taking a walk and thinking about what to do differently next time.

Give it some thought!

 

Paleo/Vegan Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

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Ingredients:

  • 6-8 large portabella mushrooms, washed, stems and gills removed
  • 8 oz vegan cream cheese, softened (can use regular cream cheese if not dairy-free)
  • 16 oz frozen cut leaf spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 medium yellow onion, minced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped artichoke hearts
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt, or more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or more to taste
  • ¼ cup gluten-free Italian breadcrumbs
  • 2/3 cup vegan parmesan, or more to taste
  • *optional* 2/3 cup finely shredded fresh parmesan, or more to taste (for non-dairy-free friends)
*note* I used real parmesan on top of them because we had a wedge of it on hand – real cheese is pictured above

Directions:

  1. Brush the cleaned mushrooms with olive oil on both sides and place on baking pan in middle of the oven. Broil on high for 5 minutes each side, or until tender.
  2. Once removed from the oven, drain the liquid from them, place back on a parchment lined cookie sheet stem side up, and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Turn oven down to bake at 375 degrees F.
  3. In a frying pan, sauté the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent and starting to brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together the cream cheese, spinach, artichoke hearts, onion, garlic, salt, olive oil, bread crumbs and red pepper flakes. Taste, and add salt or pepper if needed. Remember – the mushrooms absorb a lot of the sodium from the mixture – it’s ok to add a pinch more of spices! If the mixture has too much moisture, add more breadcrumbs 1 tbsp at a time. If it’s too dry, add a tsp of olive oil until mixture has a good consistency.
  5. Using a spoon, place approximately half a cup of spinach mixture into each mushroom, pressing it down to make sure it fills the entire cap. If any mixture is leftover, distribute evenly among the mushrooms.
  6. Sprinkle each mushroom with your preferred parmesan. At this point… the more, the merrier.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until filling is bubbling and starts to brown.

Enjoy!

-S

 

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