Thursday, May 31, 2012

Interesting Video Clip

I added this little video because I think it's really cool when we're eating plant foods like dates, we're eating something that's been around...forever! Can't say that about Trix-flavored yogurt, can you? And that's sort of the point!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday

Welcome back to What I Ate Wednesday! The weekly post where you can take a peak at what I've been eating, and how uncomplicated (!!!) healthy eating can (and should) be.

Breakfast was a good one. Overnight oats made by soaking 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats in 3/4 cup almond milk overnight in the fridge. Topped with cinnamon (which is a great antioxidant and anti-inflammatory), raisins, bananas and walnuts. Yum.

I'm a cereal person, so you'll always see cereal for my breakfast posts!

Lunch was typical me. Meaning, an off-the-top-of-my-head salad made with whatever I had in the fridge. Today was baby spinach, a mess-load of carrots, sliced almonds, Gardein steakless tips and Whole Foods' tahini dressing from the "Health Starts Here" line. I have to say, it's a good looking lunch! And it tasted great. Filling and satisfying.

Snack shouldn't surprise you. This smoothie is a new favorite of mine. I blend 5 ice cubes, a scoop of chocolate (plant based) protein powder, 1/2 a frozen banana and about 1/4 cup almond milk. Topped it off with walnuts (my favorite!) *note: I get more than enough protein on a plant-based diet, I just love the taste of this chocolate powder and it thickens my smoothies.* Wouldn't you SO rather eat this for an afternoon snack than a little sugary-filled granola bar or bag of chips?

Dinner was a big (although this looks little, I realize!) plate of steamed vegetables topped with a delicious tahini dressing that I used from one of the recipes from the book "The Kind Diet."

Tahini Dressing: 
1/4 small onion, diced
1/2 cup tahini
1 T shoyu (or soy sauce)
pinch of garlic powder
pinch of paprika
1/2 tsp basil
pinch of dried oregano

Combine onion with 2 T water in a small skillet and saute over medium-high heat until softened, about 4 minutes. Add more water as needed if the onion begins to stick. Scrape the onion into a blender and add 1/2 cup water and remaining ingredients. Blend for 1 minute or until creamy.

Dessert speaks for itself. No, I didn't eat the whole thing, but I certainly could have!

Enjoy your Wednesday and thank you SO much for all the positive feedback!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What the bulk? Creamy Spinach Dip

I recently attended a local Whole Foods sponsored cooking class and was lucky enough to make and sample this delicious Creamy Spinach Dip.

Don't you love how they presented the dip? It never occurred to me to line a bowl with lettuce leaves and then fill the bowl with vegetables. Sometimes (often!) it's the little touches that make food look so good.

And trust me, this dip not only looks good, it IS good. And it contains two "what the bulk" items: nutritional yeast and cannellini beans.

Rich avocado and puréed white beans give this crowd-pleasing, healthy dip its creamy texture. Serve with carrots, celery and red bell pepper for dipping. Our Health Starts Here® recipes celebrate naturally flavorful whole foods by limiting added sodium and containing no extracted oils or refined sweeteners.
Whole Foods' Creamy Spinach Dip


2 fresh jalapeño peppers, chopped (seeds removed, if desired)
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups 365 Everyday Value® Organic Unsweetened Almondmilk
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
3 cups cooked no-salt-added cannellini beans (or 2 15-ounce cans)
1 avocado
1 (16-ounce) package frozen 365 Everyday Value® Chopped Spinach, prepared and squeezed to remove excess liquid


Cook peppers and onion in a large dry skillet over medium heat until browned and softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add almondmilk and simmer, scraping up any browned bits, for 2 minutes more. Carefully transfer contents of skillet to a food processor along with lemon juice, yeast, beans and avocado and purée until smooth. Stir in spinach and serve warm or at room temperature. (To heat dip, spread in an 8-inch baking dish and bake in a 350°F oven until hot throughout, 25 to 30 minutes.)


Heath Starts Here Program
Per serving: 180 calories (40 from fat), 4.5g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 125mg sodium, 24g total carbohydrate (8g dietary fiber, 2g sugar), 11g protein

Monday, May 28, 2012

Chickpea and rosemary stew (yum!)

I recently made this favorite soup of ours (which is really thick like a hearty stew) and wanted to pass along the recipe. 

The stew starts with a simple celery and onion mix.

And gets really fragrant when you add fresh (only use fresh, trust me!!) rosemary.

And then some vegetable broth and chickpeas (that you soaked? :)

And this picture just doesn't do it justice, but it's really hearty and goooooood!

Believe it or not, the soup is a Jamie Oliver recipe that I make using less oil. You can find the recipe here:

Friday, May 25, 2012

Engine 2 Chili

I recently made a big ol' batch of chili from the Engine 2 cookbook. I love making chili because it goes a long way, it's inexpensive, most people love and it and fills you up! This recipe not only fills you up, but fills you up with tons of good stuff!

Like peppers!

Chickpeas, black beans and corn!

And unexpected ingredients like blackstrap molasses!

Getting hungry yet?

Chopping up peeled tomatoes? Just cut them in the can!

The finished product! Enough to feed a fire house! 

Great on its own, or served over brown rice. And it just gets better each day!

1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 bay leaves2 green or red peppers, seeded and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 15 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 cups water
2 28 oz cans sodium free diced tomatoes, with juice
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1 1-lb block tofu, drained and crumbled
1 can corn or 1 cup frozen niblets
1 apple, chopped
2 tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. coriander
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. blackstrap molasses
1/2 cup chopped parsley or cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

Chop onion. Set aside. Chop bell peppers, celery, carrots, mushrooms and jalapeno. Put together in big bowl. Saute onion on medium-high heat in large sprayed soup pot for 5 minutes. While onion is cooking, start opening cans of beans, rinsing and draining them. Add bowl of peppers,etc. Cook on medium for 5 more minutes. Continue opening the rest of the cans. Add beans, water, tomatoes, tomato paste, tofu crumbled, corn, apple, seasonings, mustard, molasses and parsley, Cover and simmer on low heat for 15-20 minutes.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Marinating: Health Starts Here

I love these quick and easy videos from Whole Foods' "Health Starts Here" campaign. Don't you agree that the right marinade can make or break a meal? Especially with all the grilling we'll all be doing in the weeks to come! Enjoy and have a great day!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday

Good morning friends! Welcome back to another "What I Ate Wednesday" post. I've had so much fun with these because once a week I get to pretend I'm a food photographer.

I realized after I uploaded the picture that I took my breakfast picture before I added the almond milk. This was a bowl of Rip's Big Bowl topped with bananas and walnuts, and eventually, topped with almond milk :)

Lunch was so typical veganmama: stuff thrown together with whatever is in my fridge. This is baby spinach topped with lentils, carrots, hummus, grape leaves, tomatoes and about a quarter of a sweet potato. No dressing necessary when you have hummus, don't you agree?

Sometimes snacks just have to be chocolate-based, right? This was about four ice cubes in the blender with about a half cup of almond milk, a scoop of chocolate protein powder (plant based) and a half frozen banana. I also sprinkled some unsweetened coconut on top for good measure. I think I had already eaten most of it by the time I remembered the camera :)

Dinner looks smaller than it actually was, but it was a very good roasted buttercup squash stuffed with a savory stuffing of quinoa, apricots and sage. Side dish of mushrooms, onions and cabbage and a mango just for fun :)

Dessert felt fancy. It was an almond pear cake I made from the book Clean Start. The next time I make it I'll tweak it a little, but it felt special for a mid-week dessert. And looking at this, you'd never guess there were no eggs, butter, white flour....

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

What the Bulk? Texas "Caviar"

Full disclosure: the one time I tried caviar (about 20 years ago) I just about died! I thought it was so over-the-top nasty! But THIS Texas caviar has been one of my go-to appetizer recipes for years.

By now you know I love anything I can whip up using only one bowl, and this is just that kind of snack. And just in time for all the summer cookouts!

Texas Caviar:

1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
1/3 cup thinly-sliced scallion
2 T canned chopped green chilies
2 T white wine vinegar
1 T minced seed jalapeno
1 T chopped fresh cilantro
1 t olive oil (optional)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cumin
a little pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1 15.8 ounce can black-eyed peas, drained.

Mix and Chill!

optional: add a little fresh lime juice? corn? 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Nature Box

A couple of weeks ago I had a little surprise waiting for me in my mailbox. The kind people at Nature Box mailed me a sample of one of their amazing snacks.

And who doesn't love a personal note? Sometimes it's the littlest things :)

And enjoy my snack I did! In fact, we all did. And a couple of these boys were in the house and also enjoyed them!

These were a fun, spicy roasted pumpkin seed treat. They were well seasoned and a little went a long way. Thank you so much, Nature Box!

If if you're interested in a unique gift for someone, Nature Box offers treats sent monthly at $19.95 a month and you get 4-5 full-sized packages of cool snacks. Check them out!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Sugar, Sugar, Sugar

Sugar is everywhere. And sometimes it still surprises me how much is in our snacks. Take trail mix, for example. I'm sure you know not all trail mixes are created equal. For example, I bought my son this little trail mix to have during his baseball game. Normally I wouldn't buy one with M&Ms in it, but this was a treat :) Turns out this little harmless looking package had 16 grams of sugar per (tiny) bag.

Well, a teaspoon of sugar is 4.2 grams. So this 16 gram of sugar package has about FOUR TEASPOONS! of sugar.

So what does that look like?

 Most sodas have around 39 grams of sugar. 39 GRAMS. That is more than NINE teaspoons. So the glass above? More than double the amount shown....just drink water, my dear friends!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Candle Cafe on The Today Show

I really loved my visit to the Candle Cafe in NYC, and thought I'd share a video of them visiting the Today Show. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday

Welcome back to What I Ate Wednesday! Overnight oats topped with strawberries, raisins and walnuts, anyone? Overnight oats are so simple. Old fashioned oats soaked in almond milk and left to "cook" while you're asleep. Easy and delicious!

Lunch was simple, simple, simple! A spinach salad topped with raw zucchini,  mushrooms, tomatoes and Health Starts Here salad dressing. Yum. Oh, and Mestemacher bread, toasted to a crisp. It's so good it needs nothing on it.

Afternoon smoothie time! This was a blend of ice, frozen strawberries, half a frozen banana and about a cup of almond milk. Topped with some oats.

This is my kind of dinner. Brown rice topped with a simple stir fry of zucchini, carrots, broccoli and mushrooms, topped with avocado and spouts.

Something I should definitely mention is that these posts should also include pictures of the fruit or handfuls of nuts I grab in between meals. I'm a big fan of walnuts and almonds, apples, etc. So if you're looking at these meals and thinking they are a little small, I'm also snacking :) Take care and enjoy your Wednesday!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Indian Rice Salad

*Don't be scared off by my not having a picture, I swear it's an amazing recipe!*

I recently made this old Whole Foods deli recipe for some friends and it was very well received :) Here is the recipe, for anyone looking for a nice salad that is different than the usual!

Indian Rice Salad:

4 cups warm, cooked, brown rice
4 scallions (tips and dark green parts removed) sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried apricots, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup roasted cashews, chopped coarsely (I buy raw and roast them)
1/3 cup olive oil (I used a lot less :)
1 T curry
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp nutmeg (was this was threw Michelle off?)
1/2 tsp cardamon (I have tons if you need some)
1 tsp dried thyme
1 T tamari (or soy)
juice of half a lemon

1. Place rice, scallions, celery, cilantro, raisins, apricots and cashews into a large bowl. Mix well.

2. Gently warm oil in a small saute pan. Add spices and saute over low heat for a minute. Pour over rice mixture, along with tamari and lemon juice. Stir well. Allow to marinate, the longer the better!

As for whether or not to eat it hot or cold, it's really up to you. I tend to make a big batch and then eat off of it for lunches throughout the week.

*This is something they used to have at the deli at Whole Foods, back in the 90's. My mother-in-law either got the recipe from the store or tweaked it herself*

Monday, May 14, 2012

Spicy Roasted Cauliflower

If you're like me, you eat a lot of broccoli, but sometimes forget about it's pale sister, cauliflower.
This recipe was one I came across a couple of years ago and thought, "Oh, I'll try it..." and fell in love at first bite. First you start with a mixture of some great spices: salt, pepper, paprika, cinnamon and coriander (one of my favorites!) and a wee bit of sugar.

Mix it with washed and cut cauliflower...

And then when it comes out of the oven, it's ready to devour:

3 pounds cauliflower
2 T olive oil
1 t sugar
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1/2 t paprika
1/4 t cinnamon
1/2 coriander

Preheat your oven to 425 (nice and HOT!). In a large bowl, toss cauliflower with oil. In small bowl, mix spices and sugar and (using your hands) mix it into the cauliflower. Spread on a sheet and roast for about 15 minutes, or until desired done-ness :) This makes an interesting side vegetable to veggie burgers or would love lovely served over a big bowl of rice. Enjoy!

Friday, May 11, 2012

My Dessert Presentation at Whole Foods

What a pleasure it was to teach a class at my local Whole Foods on the benefits of making our desserts a little bit healthier. I started off by telling the group that the best desserts are fruit, however, I fully understand and appreciate the desire (and a big desire it is in some of us!) to whip up something that is sweet. It's also a nice way to introduce children to new tastes and new ideas about what dessert should to be.

Me with Terri, the store's Healthy Eating Specialist!

During the class, I had a ton of good ingredients spread on the table to show attendees the types of things they might want to stock in their pantry, including: old fashioned oats, maple syrup, raisins, dates, carob chips, unsweetened coconut, sliced almonds, sesame seeds, almond butter, peanut butter, etc.

With the help of a very fancy Vitamixer (!) we whipped up 3 kinds of raw balls. The reason I chose to feature raw balls is because they are EASY, fun, you can eat them raw, and most people love them.

We started with a chocolate ball from The Kind Diet book.

Next it was my personal favorite:

No Bake Energy Bits
  • 1 cup (dry) oatmeal (I used old-fashioned oats)
  • 1 cup toasted coconut flakes (I like unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • ¼ cup raw sesame seeds
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed.  Let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.  Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever size you would like.  (Mine were about 1 in diameter.)  Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.
Makes about 20-25 balls.

Lastly, a new recipe, a carrot cake ball.

Carrot Oatmeal Raisin Balls

No-Bake Oatmeal Raisin Carrot Cake Bites
1/ 2 c dry old-fashioned oats + 2 tbsp reserved
1/4 c carrots
1/4 c pitted medjool dates (I used 4 large, moist dates)
1/4 c raisins (I used a raisin medley blend) + 1/4 c reserved
3 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract

Blend the oats and carrots in a Vita or food processor for about 10 seconds.  Then add everything else (except the reserved ingredients) and blend for another 20 seconds or until incorporated.  Don’t overblend.
Remove the dough and by hand, stir in the reserved:
2 Tbsp dry oats
1/4 c raisins
Form into bite-sized balls or cookie shapes.  If needed, refrigerate or freeze the dough for 15 minutes to make it less sticky and easier to work with.
Yields: 1 dozen bites the size of a quarter gumball.  Store in freezer or refrigerator.

Wasn't my assistant a cutie pie?

I love teaching and think there's nothing more exciting than watching someone try something new and fall in love with a new taste, or new approach to eating. Sometimes it's the smallest new habits we fall into that end up helping us live better!

Thank you to the attendees. I hope you left feeling good, satisfied and excited to make some raw balls for your friends and family! I can't tell you how much I appreciated your time! And remember, with these raw desserts, licking the bowl is ENCOURAGED! :)

p.s. Proud to say the proceeds from the class were donated to the American Heart Association, a cause near and dear to my own heart!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Engine 2 Video

If you've followed me for a while, you know I'm a huge fan of all things Engine 2. Rip and this father, Caldwell Esselstyn are helping to change the face of veganism, a.k.a. "Plant Strong" eating. I love the term "Plant Strong" because that's really what I strive for in my diet. You can be a really unhealthy vegan, eating lots of vegan desserts and processed foods...that is NOT what we're about here :) This video features a lot of guys, which I love because plant strong is not a female thing, it's a people thing! Plus, who doesn't love firefighters?

Click right here to watch:!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday

Welcome back to another fun "What I Ate Wednesday" post. A little shout out to my friend Aimee, who I know enjoys these posts the most!

I bet you could already guess I had Rip's Big Bowl for breakfast, right? To jazz things up, I added watermelon, bananas, grapes and strawberries with almond milk. I love almond milk so much I can't believe I've only been drinking it for about 8 months. It's delicious and filled with a lot of nutritional punch! Do you have a brand preference? I'm not yet brand specific, but I prefer the unsweetened kind. Most foods don't need that extra sweetness. Especially when you're eating fruit with a meal.

I went out on a limb and tried a different kind of drink: KOMBUCHA! Fun to say, right? Well, it's actually really good. Crazy tasting because it's naturally fermented, but fun. Both my husband and I liked it when we split this bottle. You can get it at Whole Foods and I've also seen some varieties at Target. This particular flavor was our favorite.

Lunch was a random assortment of yum: kale chips, mango, carrots, brown rice, bean and corn salad and peach salsa. Ole!

Since my daughter wanted to make her own dinner, she asked that it make it to the blog :) This is her whole wheat tortilla filled with black beans, a small salad and some fruit. Simple and kid friendly.
TVP loaf with peas, caramelized onions, mashed red potatoes, broccoli and buttercup squash. That's a whole lotta vegetables! 
For dessert, we made our favorite "pudding" from the blog, For the Love of Kale! This takes all of about 3 minutes to make and my kids do it on their own. Victory! And because I love the taste of raisins and walnuts together, I had to top it off with a small handful!