Category Archives: Recipe

Better late than never! Happy Birthday FSTS & Happy 8th Veganniversary to me

So I am a little late for my annual birthday/veganniversary post. February was a busy month and the last year has been full of trials and tribulations, but in the end, things just work out OK…

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Image courtesy of Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The plan for 2018 is to keep on truckin’ and keep on with the whole food plant-based health info. Go back to basics, and ask yourself the following questions before you put it into your body:

Is this the closest to nature that I can get this product?
Does it have an ingredient list?
Does it have less than 5 ingredients?
Is it free of sweeteners in the first 5 ingredients, including “natural” sweeteners?
Will this help me hit my 9-11 servings of fruits and vegetables?
Will this increase my intake of fiber?
Is this a fat with fiber?
Can I challenge myself to try something different every week?

If the answer is no then put the item back on the shelf, it’s not worth the money. I’ve decided this is going to be the year of the antioxidant, in celebration of that here is my recipe for a super antioxidant smoothie – I have personally been having this for breakfast and it really is a great way to start your day.

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Super Antioxidant Smoothie

1 cup plant-based milk
1 cup frozen mixed berries
3 tbsp hemp seeds
2 tbsp whole flax seeds ground in a grinder
1 tbsp cacao powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp clove (or less if too strong)
Fill rest of blender with watercress and mixed greens

Blend until smooth, the beauty of smoothies is that you can switch out the ingredients, I love dandelion greens in addition to kale and spinach.

 

New Year, Better You

Oh I know, you have probably had your fill of “New Year, New You” posts. I don’t want to change you, I just want you to be the best you, you can be. Let’s make 2018 that year where the baby steps lead to real accomplishments.

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Image courtesy of Supertrooper at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

January baby steps:

Make a note of what you want your 2018 to look like. It can be anything from flossing more to running a marathon, it’s your list, your rules. Next to each action item write out how you plan on making this happen, buying floss or training, you get the idea. Make sure it’s realistic because this is your plan for the year. Commit to this plan and hopefully by next January you will be a much better you!

 

 

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This is the perfect time of year for a healthy hearty bean soup. This simple whole food dish is made with the slow cooker so you can set it up in the morning and have it ready by dinner time with minimal effort.

Slow Cooker Pinto Beans Soup

Ingredients:

2 cups pinto beans soaked overnight
4 quarts low sodium vegetable broth
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp red miso paste
1-2 bunch dandelion greens chopped

Place the beans, broth and spices in the slow cooker on low for 6 hours. Once the beans are soft to your liking pull out 1 cup of the liquid and whisk in the miso paste, add liquid back to soup, add the dandelion greens and serve.

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Back to My Roots

So I am doing a cleanse this week with a really good friend of mine. I have gained weight, and am still trying to get my groove back. As part of my cleanse I wanted to make some raw kale crackers and was looking for inspiration through an older blog post from about 5 years ago. Wow, I was really enjoying life and living in a way that I felt was right for me. I need to get back to that, back to my roots! (Don’t you love it when the title is mentioned in the movie, TV show, blog post!)

This week I’ll begin the journey to what this blog was always intended to be about: health; wellness; gardening; veganism with an emphasis on whole foods plant based. I let myself get lost in the shuffle of relationship bumps that I am very happy to say have smoothed out. I have let school and work cloud my vision. I also had an interesting experience that made me realize what a wonderful life I have with amazing people and that I am truly lucky because I know that people who try to cause pain are usually in pain themselves. For me right now, life is good…

Oh and here’s an updated recipe for those kale crackers:

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Kale Crackers
1 cup ground flax seed + 3/4 cup whole seeds
2 cups water
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
2 cups kale
1 apple
1 carrot
1 celery stalk
1 small pepper
1 red onion (optional if you don’t want it too strong)
3 cloves of garlic
1 tsp salt

Directions

Soak the whole flax seeds and pumpkin seeds in 1 1/3 cup water for at least 3 hours

Day of: In large bowl mix ground flax, flax, salt, garlic, onion, remaining water, and ingredients, mix well. Let stand for 30 minutes

Spread thickly on 1 teflex tray (or on parchment paper if you don’t have teflex trays) smooth out into an even square about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Dry at 104 degrees for 4 hours or 3hr at 115 degrees

Flip & score crackers into desired sizes

Dehydrate another hour, before serving. Serve warm.

The longer you dehydrate the crispier the cracker.

How I Survived the Summer BBQ Season

Summer’s almost over and another BBQ season has gone by. We had our own last week which was a great success. We had lots of people, lots of great food and lots of good talk.

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Image Courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’ve been pretty lucky this summer in terms of events and having food to enjoy. Most, if not all, of the hosts  had some sort of vegetarian/vegan option to eat. It’s also important to be a gracious guest and bring something, and for anyone with any kind of specific dietary requests it’s a bit of a no-brainer to bring a dish you like to eat. It’s also a great way to turn people on to new ways to see how yummy plant-based foods can be.

While I don’t have a photo of what I made for this summer’s BBQ I will share the recipe:

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Image Courtesy of Adamr / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Wheatberry Salad

3 Cups Sprouted Wheatberries
4 Cloves Garlic, Pressed
1 Tsp Salt
1 Red Onion, Chopped
1/2 Cup Walnuts, Chopped
3-4 Stalks Celery, Small Dice
2 Large Carrots, Shredded
1/4 Cup Cilantro, Chopped
3 Ripe Tomatoes, Chopped

Vinaigrette

1 1/2 Cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tsp Oregano
Salt to Taste
Pepper to Taste

Soak wheatberries overnight. Rinse the wheatberries and cover in about 2 inches of water, add the garlic and the salt. Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer for 30 min. (If you cook without soaking it will take longer so keep an eye on them.) Drain the water with a sieve to keep the garlic in, let the wheatberries cool and combine with the veggies.

In a blender or large jar (if you are using an immersion blender)  combine vinaigrette ingredients and blend until well homogenized. Pour over salad and let marinade overnight.

You can play around with spices for the dressing, add chickpeas or navy beans and include a diced apple for even more crunch.

What was your favorite recipe for summer BBQs?

A simple breakfast too yummy not to share

Here’s a yummy breakfast too quick, easy and yummy not to share.

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Ingredients

2 Kiwis
1/2 Cup Strawberries
1/2 Cup Blueberries
2 Tbsp Walnuts
2 Tbsp Dried Coconut Chips or Flakes

Chop the kiwis, strawberries and the walnuts and combine in a bowl, add coconut. Mix well and enjoy!

Variations: You can use any nuts or seeds and fruit, including frozen fruit.

How will you celebrate Earth Day this year?

On April 22nd we will be celebrating Earth Day. This is the day when everyone goes out and cleans up a park or plants a tree and thus proclaims they love the earth… yeah whatevs!

"Eco Concept - Earth In Hands " by jannoon028 | via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Eco Concept – Earth In Hands ” by jannoon028 | via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What about the other 364 days of the year? If you really love the earth then do a little more, lord knows it needs it. Some of the easy things to do include recycling, not idling your car, walking, biking. The not so easy things include reducing your consumption to reduce waste, reusing items before getting rid of them, not replacing items that aren’t broken… you get the idea.

So now that we’ve healed the earth, how are you doing? Spring is the time for renewal, shedding layers (YES IT WILL GET WARM AGAIN) and a time for new growth. It’s also a good time to review what you have been doing with yourself for the last four months and re-evaluating. Do you need to fix your eating habits? Do you need to add more activity into your life? Do you have enough love and friendship in your life – all those little things that add up to make you that wonderful you that you are.

So while you’re helping to clean up litter on Earth Day don’t forget that there are 364 other opportunities to clean up the earth and yourself.

PS if you haven’t seen it I have launched a YouTube easy cooking series. Tell me what you think and what you want to see more of! April’s episode should be coming soon.

A Nice Fall Recipe

With fall here in full force, maybe a little too full force, I realize I haven’t given you guys a recipe in a while and thought that a nice recipe would make the season a little brighter.

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Autumn Japanese Maple by porbital

I love squashes, now I have to admit that I have not had the opportunity to try a lot of the vast variety out there, the old standbys have worked well for me.

So using an old standby, I wanted to make something easy with only a few ingredients, and came up with this amazing dish.

White Bean and Escarole with Spaghetti Squash and Roasted Garlic

Ingredients
1 Spaghetti Squash
1 Bulb of Garlic
1 Head of Escarole
4 Cups Cannellini Beans
Olive Oil as Needed
Salt To Taste
Fresh Ground Pepper To Taste

Preheat oven to 425. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds with a spoon. Cut the edge off the garlic bulb – the one that doesn’t have root. Drizzle oil all over the squash and the garlic (keep bulb intact with peel). Bake for 30 minutes or until soft.

In a large saucepan sauté escarole, use the whole head since it will cook down a lot. Squeeze the garlic out of peels and add to the escarole. Add beans and more oil, white wine or homemade vegetable broth to sauce it up. In a separate dish take the squash and run a fork through it to get the spaghetti like strands.

Serve the beans over the squash and salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Serves 4 to 6

What are you doing?

What are you doing? That’s what I keep asking myself, especially around finals time. I get a kick when people tell me that I don’t like change or take risks… I guess quitting a decent job, ergo a serious lifestyle change, to go back to school full-time to do something completely different doesn’t seem like a change or risky.

"Mountain Climber " by Sura Nualpradid

“Mountain Climber “
by Sura Nualpradid

I don’t have much to write about today. I am prepping for finals and end of term projects. I’ve learned so much since September. I learned that there is a hell of a lot of nutrition information that I don’t know. That there are a lot of people out there that are not ready to make changes – real changes that can be life or death. I see them every week at the hospital I am doing my supervised field experience at.

Change is never easy but when you are ready and see that it can be for the best it can be the most amazing feeling ever. I know that not all change feels like it is for the best, in those situations you have to make the most of it – you know, how you are in charge of your destiny. When I lost a job 2 years ago I decided to volunteer at a local animal shelter –  although that change wasn’t for the best, one of the outcomes was positive.  While I was very fortunate to get a new job within a couple of weeks I am now happy to be back at that shelter.

Now that I think about it losing that job started the trajectory that lead to where I am now, maybe it was the best thing that ever happened to me. So the lesson here is that while you are in the midst of change it may not seem like the right (or sane) place to be, it could be the best thing that ever happens to you.

Since I have been busy with school I don’t have an original recipe to post. I do want to share a wonderful stuffed pepper recipe garnished with shiitake bacon that I used for a demo in one of my culinary courses.  I love the fact that the chef that teaches the class that loves real bacon found this bacon to be “impressive”. Enjoy!

Spicy Vegan Stuffed Pepper with Shiitake Bacon

Source: VegNews Nov 10 2008 (my birthday!)
Recipe by Robin Robertson

Source: VegNews

6 red bell peppers
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 16-ounce can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup tomato salsa
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons minced canned jalapeños
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup apple juice or water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice off the tops of the peppers, reserve and set aside. Remove the seeds and membranes and discard. Plunge peppers into a pot of boiling water and cook until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Remove from the water and drain, cut side down. Chop the pepper tops and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and reserved chopped pepper tops and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the onion mixture with the rice, beans, salsa, peanut butter, jalapeños, parsley, sugar, salt, and pepper to taste. Mix well.
Fill the pepper cavities evenly with the rice mixture, packing tightly. Place upright in a baking dish. Add the apple juice to the baking dish, cover tightly, and bake until the peppers are tender and the stuffing is hot, about 40 minutes.

Shiitake Bacon

Source: Alex Jamieson

2 cups thinly sliced shiitake caps
3 tablespoons  olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 360 F. In a bowl mix mushrooms with oil and salt, make sure they are all coated well. Spread the sliced shiitake caps on a sheet pan covered with a piece of parchment paper. Bake for 40-50 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until crispy. Remove from oven and eat while warm. You can also make this in a dehydrator, I don’t know how long but I would check it after 2 hours.

Have you seen any UFOs lately?

I don’t know about you but I have seen a lot of UFOs out there. Unidentified Food Objects. OK so I can’t take credit for that one, I saw Mark Bittman speak back in September and he gave a great talk on food and what our food system has become.

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Here we have cheese doodles, a food-like object, and carrot sticks. I think it’s a pretty impressive image. I mean really what ARE cheese doodles?

Unfortunately, there are a lot of foods like this. Sometimes we don’t event think twice about them because they are so ubiquitous in our food system, soda comes to mind. And for the record, yes I have had cheese doodles in my lifetime. Can’t say when the last time I had them was, probably once my palate matured since in my opinion they don’t really taste like food.

Kidding aside, you all know how much I push for you to eat real food*. Eating real food can heal the system or at least begin the process. As a culture our industrial food is so full of sugar, salt and fat that many people have no idea what real food tastes like. I was one of them, I used to eat a lot of processed food, it was easy and fast. Now I cringe when I think of the things I ate, and sometimes when I revisit them I am shocked by how sweet, salty and artificial tasting they are. It takes about a month for your taste buds to change when you reduce your intake of salt and sugar, that’s pretty amazing if you ask me and a testament to what the human body is capable of.

So the next time you are tempted by whatever it is in the crap aisle remember that your body and you deserve better.

And to prove that eating real food doesn’t have to be boring…

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Apples ‘n PB
1 Granny Smith Apple
1 Tbsp Peanut Butter
1 Tbsp Flax seeds, ground
1 Tbsp Hemp Seeds
1 Tbsp Chia Seeds
1 Tbsp Cacao Nibs
Nut Milk or Water as needed

Core and wedge the apple into about 8 pieces. In a small bowl combine the peanut butter with the seeds and nibs, add liquid (as much as needed) and whip it with a fork to get a desired consistency. I like it a bit creamy.

Dip the apples in the mixture and enjoy!

Variations: You can use any nut or seed butters that you like. I also add maca powder to the mix. You can also spread on toasted Ezekiel bread and top with a banana.

*real food: foods closest to their natural state such as grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruit. If it is processed foods then choose those with minimal ingredients, <5.

Happy New Year!

Wow! Has it really been almost 2 months since my last post? Time flies when you are having fun and sometime even when you are not.

It’s tempting to post that this is the perfect time to renew goals and resolutions but come on, you’re probably getting that up the whazoo right now and you don’t need me telling you that you need to eat less sugar*, exercise more and breathe a little deeper. You know that already!

So what have I been up to for the last couple of weeks? I finished my first semester of school with straight As, YES!!!! It was tough and totally worth it. In a couple of weeks I start my first field rotation and I can’t wait. We’ll find out next Thursday where we will end up.

In order to have access to fresh greens I have  started an indoor garden. This has been something I have wanted to do for a while and we were fortunate enough to have been gifted this light shelf. I don’t usually do well with indoor plants but having them so close by helps me keep tabs on them. I do need to pick up more herb seeds.

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Here are some collards

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Some arugula

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And some basil

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Some peppers

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Some ends that I stuck in a pot and are doing well

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Like celery

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I also have tomatoes that I don’t remember planting…

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Yep, must have been pulling an all-nighter during that one. I also baked my first bread – here’s a photo of what was left of it.

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I have some dough rising right now as we speak. I really wish I hadn’t found making it so easy! Here’s the recipe:

French Bread
2 Tbs Active Dry Yeast
14oz Water, 110 degrees
1/2 Tsp Sugar
1/2 Tsp Molasses
1 1/2 cup Bread Flour
1 1/2 cup Wheat Flour (or another flour you like)
2 tsp Salt
Corn Meal for dusting
All Purpose flour as needed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl mix together yeast, water, sugar and molasses in that order, let sit for 15 minutes. Add in the rest of the ingredients and mix with a spatula until well combined and pasty, if it’s too sticky add some AP flour. Let sit for 3 minutes covered with a towel. Then mix again for another 5 minutes. Add more flour if it’s still really sticky, and then cover it with a towel and let it sit until it doubles in size. This could take anywhere from 90 minutes to 3 hours. I preheat the oven  and put some water to boil to get it to rise in 90 minutes. After it’s risen you are going to beat it down again to get the air out. Dust with flour if it’s too sticky to work with. Flatten it out with the heel of your hand and shape it to look like a cigar with the seam on the bottom pinched together. Make sure you do this on the surface that you are going to bake it on (i.e., I use a pizza stone) and that the bottom is  well floured with corn meal or some other flour. Let it rise covered with a towel for another 30 minutes and once it has risen again – and sometimes they don’t so don’t worry too much if it didn’t rise – cut 3 slits across the top, place it in the preheated oven and bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until it sounds hollow when you knock on it. Let it cool on a rack and enjoy. That’s it, easy peasy! One of my favorite snacks is to spread a slice with avocado and top it with basil and a little salt – YUM!

* I’m doing a Sugar Blues workshop on January 19th at Jack’s Health Food Country at 1pm so yeah – I am gonna tell you to eat less sugar!