Tuesday, July 31, 2012

What the Bulk?

I've talked about this before, but I love the little free booklet they have at Whole Foods near the bulk aisle.

Believe me, I still get intimidated when I walk through the bulk aisle and see the wide variety of options; some of which I've never tried!

You can see the contents here:

Ah, lentil soup :)

And my favorite, whole wheat couscous, which cooks in something like ONE minute. You can't beat that, peeps.

And I noticed something new at a super cool Whole Foods in Cambridge, MA:

Sprouted cereal. Pretty pricey, yikes! I think I'd need to steal a little sample first.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Mansfield Farmers Market

I recently realized I don't need my farmer's markets to be fancy. I don't really need lots of vendors selling things like soap, candles, t-shirts, etc.

I'm in it for one thing: the produce :)

The closest one to home is the Mansfield, MA market 2:00 p.m.- 6:00 p.m Thursdays on Main Street. It's tiny, but there are usually two farms there selling everything you need.

On a recent trip, we picked up some lovely things.

Flowers for the table, pickles and the most crazy-good raspberries ever.

Who knew you could make yummy pickles out of zucchini?

Guess where the raspberries ended up? Yes! On a chocolate smoothie of course!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Simple (super simple) muffins!

I admit, a love warm raisin bran muffins. They remind me of visiting my late grandparents in Maine. My grandfather would start baking around 4:30 in the morning, so I'd literally wake up to the smell of yummy muffins coming out of the oven. Ahhh, great childhood memories!

As much as I enjoyed those muffins, they were loaded with sugar and oil. To lighten them up, I've been making the muffins from the Engine 2 cookbook which could not be more simple. 

You start with this:

And then after a couple of steps, you have this:

Makes 6 small muffins

7 ounce box bran muffin mix
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 375. Mix the ingredients together. Spoon the batter into a nonstick muffin tin. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

I usually add a handful of raisins and a 1/2 tsp vanilla. Sometimes I add 1 tsp Ener-G egg replacer mixed with 1 T water to make a taller muffin.

These are such a great post-gym snack or a perfect breakfast when you're in a hurry. I mean, it's a lot easier than eating a bowl of cereal in your car, right?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Kathy Freston's Coconut Garbanzo Bean Curry

Remember this recent post where I told you I loved Kathy Freston's new book, "The Lean?" 

I recently made a recipe from the book, Coconut Garbanzo Bean Curry.

Here are some pictures...

Cubed buttternut squash

Add a bunch of yummy stuff...

 Note: Amanda and Mike in Baltimore, you would like this :)

Coconut Garbanzo Bean Curry

1 cup butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 T olive oil (I always use a little less)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1/4 inch dice
1 T curry powder
3 cloves mined garlic
2 T creamy peanut butter
1 can lite unsweetened coconut milk
1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
2 15 ounce cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
4 cups fresh baby spinach
2 T roughly chopped fresh cilantro (yum)
1/4 cup chopped unsalted roasted peanuts

1. Preheat oven to 425.
2. Toss squash and potato cubes in medium bowl with 1 T olive oil until evenly coated. Place in a single layer on a roasting pan or baking sheet. Roast for 20-30 minutes, or until soft in the middle.
3. Heat 1 T oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and saute until soft, 5-8 minutes.
4. Add the curry powder and garlic, and stir constantly for 30 seconds.
5. Stir in the peanut butter and slowly add the coconut milk until a very smooth sauce is formed.
6. Add in the tomatoes, beans, sweet potatoes, and squash, and mix until combined.
7. Season with the pepper and salt and bring the mixture up to a simmer. Stir in the spinach until wilted, about 5 minutes.
8. Stir in the cilantro and remove from the heat. Top with the peanuts before serving.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday

Good Morning my dear readers! Welcome back to What I Ate Wednesday. Today's post is another bunch of yummy summery eats. Don't you love this time of year?

Breakfast was Rip's Big Bowl, bananas and blueberries topped with unsweetened almond milk. Have you tried almond milk yet? It's so good, obviously :)

Lunch would make my Lebanese family proud. Homemade tabouli and a side of sweet potato chips, which make a great spoon, by the way.

My snack was a cup of Simply Granola topped with soy milk. I'm sure I'm not the only one who sometimes just craves cereal at off times? Late at night? Anyone?

Dinner was light since I'm often running to baseball games these days (go Norton!). This was a colorful plate: organic baby spinach, cooked butternut squash, raw mushrooms, cooked garlic baby lima beans, asian slaw, tomatoes and celery. Topped with bbq-flavored tofu. YUM.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What The Bulk? Super Charge Me Cookies

Today I made one of my favorite cookies, from Dreena Burton's "Eat, Drink and Be Vegan" these are called "Super Charge Me Cookies."

Makes about 12 cookies that taste like semi crunchy perfectly homemade granola bars.

I jazz them up my own way, so I'll make note of that for you!

Makes about 12


1 cup old-fashioned oats
2/3 cup whole wheat PASTRY flour (not regular whole wheat, trust me)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 T unsweetened shredded coconut (I like Bob's Red Mill)
1 cup mix-in of your choice (I used some sesame seeds, mini chocolate chips, craisins and pecans)
1/3 cup ground flax seeds
1/2 cup maple syrup (I used 1/4 cup maple and 1/4 cup brown rice syrup)
3 T nut butter (I used peanut)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 T canola oil (I used melted coconut oil)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment (I used a Silpat).

In a large bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, sea salt, cinnamon, coconut and mix-ins with a fork.

In a separate smaller bowl, mix the flax, maple syrup, nut butter, vanilla and oil until all the chunks of nut butter are gone.

Pour the wet mixture into the dry, and stir well until everything is well combined (I use my hands).

Use a tablespoon to scoop out small cookies. I like to roll them into balls and flatten them a little.

They will not spread, so you can space them close together on the sheet.

Bake for exactly 13 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a minute before transferring to a wire rack to cool.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Cleaning the Sink!

Not that I really enjoy the task, but there is something about a super clean kitchen sink.  Kind of makes the whole kitchen feel clean, right?

One of the multi-purpose cleaning products I've used for years is old tried-and-true Bon Ami, which has been around since 1886! It's biodegradable and hypo-allergenic. Their packaging reads, "Before cleaning turned chemical, there was Bon Ami. We build cleaning tools made with mineral ingredients that serve a simple purpose: to return your home to a natural state of clean."

A can of this lasts me for months and costs something like 99 cents. Not so shabby!

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Engine 2 Store on Amazon.com

By now you know I'm a huge fan of all things Esselstyn, both Rip Esselstyn and his father, Caldwell, author of this book, which was a real game-changer for me :)

The Engine 2 Diet is a book about eating "Plant Strong" which is a term I LOVE because "vegan" doesn't necessarily mean HEALTHY. For instance, you can eat a lot of sugary processed foods that just so happen to be vegan and be a rather unhealthy person. However, to eat plant strong, you're eating a balanced diet of plant-based foods (beans, soy, nuts, fruits, vegetables, grains) with a focus on REAL food :) That's what I try to teach here at veganmama.

The Engine 2 people now have a "store" at Amazon, where you can purchase Engine 2 approved products. I don't know how I didn't know about this! How easy to shop, especially if you have Amazon Prime which gives you free shipping.

They link to Books and DVDs; Plant Strong Food; Kitchen Essentials; Plant-Strong Kids; Plant-Strong Workouts

I love their recommended books, many of which I have read, but a few I now NEED! :) Check it out!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Tempeh Product I Like

The other day I was walking through the grocery story and saw this Tempeh smoky maple bacon product :) It's one of those things I had sort of forgotten about and was excited to pick up.

I basically recreated the sandwich in the picture (so creative, Nicole!), using a hearty whole wheat bread, sliced tomatoes, lettuce and some mustard. Super fast, easy and delicious.

Don't be scared of Tempeh, peeps. It's really easy to prepare, especially when it comes premarinated and sliced like this. Simply heat in a pan and presto - you're done!

And at $3.99 a package, it's a cheap way to feed the family!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday

Hello lovelies! Welcome back to What I Ate Wednesday, where we take a look at what I've been up to in my kitchen.

Things have been simple. I realized the other day that I'm doing a lot more of my shopping in small bursts to pick up fresh produce. I don't miss winter's long trips to the grocery store when I feel I really have to stock up. Summer is slow paced and perfect that way!

Breakfast was typical me: a bowl of Shredded Wheat topped with fruit. Best part? Snappy red grapes!

Lunch was special because I harvested my first batch of arugula from my humble garden! For those of you who have never had arugula minutes after it's been picked, it's amazing. It's SO peppery!

Topped it with some leftover tabouli from the fridge. The mint and parsley from the tabouli were also from my garden :)

My afternoon snack was a smoothie (I know, you're shocked!) topped the a handful of walnuts. This was made with ice, almond milk, frozen banana and a scoop of chocolate plant-based protein powder.

I love "Life's Basics" powder, which you can order here from Amazon!

Dinner was a quick Mexican meal of baked corn tortilla, black beans (that I soaked and cooked overnight in the crock pot), salsa (I like Newman's ) and avocado. Corn and spinach for good measure :) Notice on the left that I took a bite out of it before realizing I needed to take a picture first - oops!

Dessert was simple and satisfying. Lindt 85% dark chocolate heaven. It's divine.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

What the Bulk?

Welcome back to "What the Bulk" Tuesday!

Today's post isn't so much about something you could buy from a bulk bin, but is about one of my favorite cereals, Uncle Sam!

Have you tried it? Yes, it's a super healthy cereal, BUT doesn't take like sticks or twigs :) I actually have a pretty high tolerance for twig-like cereal, but believe me, I realize it turns most people off!

So, what's the deal with Uncle Sam, anyway?

Well, speaking of DEALS (forgive me, I had to) I just realized you can order packs of six boxes of Uncle Sam from Amazon for $18.42 (free shipping if you have Prime, which I do, and swear by!)
That's a great deal and who doesn't love something delivered right to their door?

Uncle Sam Toasted Whole Wheat Berry Flakes & Flaxseed Original Cereal, 10-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 6)
From Uncle Sam

List Price: $21.00
Price: $18.42 & eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25. Details

Availability: Usually ships in 24 hours
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com

5 new or used available from $18.42
Average customer review:
(68 customer reviews)

Product Description

Save On Uncle Sam Cereal 6x10oz Uncle Sam Cereal. Uncle Sam Cereal Has 10G Fiber Per Serving...That Is 40% Of The Recommended % Daily Value!

So, I just ordered the six pack :) Give Uncle Sam a try!  It's especially good topped with blueberries or sliced banana. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Vegan Makeup

On a recent trip to Whole Foods, I found myself in their "Whole Body" department and was smitten by this eyeshadow:

I've decided this is my new favorite eyeshadow! I have found a color like this a little hard to find in other lines. It's the perfect shade of grey/green.

The maker is Gabriel Cosmetics.

"Inspired by the European spa tradition, the ZuZu Luxe luxury color cosmetics line blends soothing, clean all-natural ingredients, such as spring water, herbs and vitamins as well as rare and exotic essential oils with sophisticated, fresh colors designed for women in the know.

Just like at the European spa, ZuZu Luxe will make your face look healthy and refreshed.  The all-natural ingredients will help keep your skin free from breakouts."

Gluten Free & Vegan

Full Disclosure: the shadow is about $16.00 each, but it's worth it to me to spend the money once and get the right product, don't you agree? You get what you pay for!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Summer fruit soup

We all make lots of soups in the fall and winter, but what about the summer?

Until last year, I had never thought to make a chilled summer soup. However, after attending a "summer soups" class at my local Whole Foods, I was hooked!

Whole Foods' Strawberry Melon Gazpacho

Serves 8

2 cups (1-inch cubes) cantaloupe
2 cups (1-inch cubes) seedless watermelon
1 cuke, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 lb. organic strawberries, hulled and divided
1 T fresh (!) lime juice

Place cantaloupe, watermelon, cuke, half the strawberries and the lime juice in a food processor and blend until pureed. Chop remaining strawberries and stir into the soup. Refrigerate until chilled.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

The garden is starting to really grow

I think I mentioned before that I'm not much of a gardener because of the snakes in our backyard. That is sort of a deal breaker for me :) I want to be cool about it, but I'm not. I'm just not. But then again, is anyone? (my deep thought for the day)

That said, I have managed to throw together a cute little garden this year.

Raised beds like these are great because we compost (more on that later!) and simply turn the soil over in the Spring and mix in that winter's composted vegetables and fruit scraps that have turned into gold :) This is a couple of zucchini plants that will make me very happy in about two weeks.

The picture above is one of my Dad's old radio towers. As soon as I saw it, I thought, "sculpture!" and ran with it. I'm growing morning glories up the sides of the tower. However, they aren't really taking as much as I hoped! Lessons learned. But hey, the tower still looks cool!

I lost a dear friend of mine years ago named Becky. There are "Becky" daisies I planted in her memory.

And this is bee balm, which I grow to attract my favorite birds, hummingbirds!

How does nature make everything so perfect?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What I Ate Wednesday

Welcome back to What I Ate Wednesday! This post is a fun one because some of my favorite foods are in peak season this month: corn and blueberries :)

Breakfast was the typical bowl of Rip's Big Bowl topped with fresh blueberries and almond milk. Yum. I never grow tired of this simple, substantial breakfast.

Lunch was...delicious. Homemade tabouli, corn on the cob and tempeh sloppy Joe's. Something about the minti-ness of the tabouli with the bbq sauce of the sloppy Joe's was a perfect mix.

In the afternoon (on the rare occasions in which I'm not having a green smoothie!) I like to make something sweet/salty/crunchy, like these yummy soynuts. They are good mixed with dried fruit, dark chocolate, etc. The next time you're throwing together a trail mix, add dry roasted soynuts :)

Dinner was "what can I make in a flash and bring to the baseball field?" a.k.a. wraps! I used Gardein Mandarian Orange Crispy Chicken on a whole wheat wrap with lettuce and tomato. Easy to make a bunch and bring them to a game! Certainly beats the junk food they sell at concessions!