Monday, December 24, 2012

The BEST vegetarian chili in the world!!

From:  All

**I've made a lot of chili recipes before, but this one is the best!  It is so tasty and hearty.  I forgot to take a picture of it so you will just have to trust me on this one! :)

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp salt
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 green peppers, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 (4ounce) cans chopped green chili peppers, drained
2 (12ounce) packages vegetarian burger crumbles (I omitted the meat and loved it)
3 (28 ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes, crushed (I used diced tomatoes)
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tbsp ground black pepper
1 (15 ounce) can of each: kidney beans, garbanzo beans, black beans, and whole kernel corn, drained and rinsed

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Stir in the onion, and season with bay leaves, cumin, oregano, and salt.  Cook and stir until onion is tender, then mix in the celery, green peppers, jalapeno peppers, garlic, and green chile peppers.  When vegetables are heated through, mix in the vegetarian burger crumbles.  Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer 5 minutes.

Mix the tomatoes into the pot.  Season chili with chili powder and pepper.  Stir in the beans.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer 45 minutes.  Stir in the corn, and continue cooking 5 minutes before serving.

**I did NOT do the above cooking method.  I used my crock pot.  If you have the time, I highly recommend it because it was so easy.  I omitted the oil and put all the above ingredients (minus the meat since I didn't want the meat in it) into my crock pot.  I put the crock pot on low for 8 hours.  Before serving, discard the bay leaves.  Top with diced green onions and avocado...yum!  This is a hearty meal and so healthy.  Make sure to rinse your beans prior to putting them in the crock pot...this removes the extra sodium.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Superfood Salad with lemon vinaigrette

By: Iowagirleats

**Love this salad!!  My family liked it as well!  I will make this again soon!

Serves 5:

1/2 cup dry quinoa
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1 orange, peeled and segments chopped
1 avocado, chopped
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup pomegranate arils (about 1 pomegranate worth)
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

lemon vinaigrette:
2 lemons, juiced (1/4 cup)
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
dash of sweetener (agave syrup, stevia, white sugar)
salt and pepper to taste
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1.  Cook quinoa according to
2. Make lemon vinaigrette.  combine all ingredients in a jar with a tight lid and shake to combine.
3.  Combine cooled quinoa with all ingredients.  Pour vinaigrette over the salad and stir to combine.  Serve cold or room temp

Monday, October 29, 2012

Racing Vegan

A lot of people ask me if I get enough protein eating vegan to keep up with my active lifestyle.  The answer is Yes!!  I did a half ironman last weekend and had my best finishing time ever, and I did it eating vegan.  I am careful to eat protein and healthy carbs to keep my energy up.  Most americans consume too much protein.  I just had my blood work done and my cholesterol was 144.  In the Engine 2 diet book, the author claims that being under 150 makes you heart attack proof.  This way of eating works!  Plus, I feel better than ever!  It does take planning, but with proper time management, this way of eating can work into your life.  

Vegetable White Bean Hash

By:  Forks over Knives Cookbook by Del Sroufe

**Yum!  That is what I have to say about this dish!  My husband loved it as well!  I served it as a side to my veggie burger.  The rosemary and orange juice add a special touch to this recipe!  It reheats well for left overs.  This will definitely go into my side dish rotation!

Serves 4 (I think more like 6)

1 leek, white part only, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 tsp minced rosemary
1 large turnip, peeled and diced
1 med sweet potato, peeled and diced
zest and juice of 1 orange
One 15 ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup chopped kale (I did 2)
salt and pepper to taste

Place the leek and red pepper n a large saucepan and saute over medium heat for 8 minutes.  Add water 1 to 2 tbsp at a time to keep the vegetables from sticking to the pan (I used vegetable broth instead of water).  

Add the garlic and rosemary and cook for another minute.  Add the turnip, sweet potato, orange juice and zest, and the beans and cook for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.  I added some vegetable broth to the mixture to help the vegetables cook and not stick.  Add the kale, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the kale is tender, about 5 minutes.

Vegetable and Chickpea Ragout

From:  Self Magazine by Wendy Giman

*I doubled this recipe since it only serves 2.  It was very good!  My whole family liked it.  I added chicken sausage to my husband and son's since they eat meat.  They really liked the meal.  It was a delicious one pot meal that I will make again!  

Serves 2

1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 ounce)
1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup onion and garlic mix (see below)
1/2 cup broccoli and red bell pepper mix (see below)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
4 artichoke hearts in water, drain and quarter
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup sliced black olives
1/2 cup whole wheat penne, cooked

Onion/garlic mix: Finely dice 1 onion and 2 cloves garlic.  Heat a heavy skillet over high heat.  Saute until soft, approx 6 min.  I saute using vegetable broth...not oil.

Broccoli and Red bell pepper mix:  Finely dice 1/2 head broccoli and 1 large red bell pepper (seeded and cored).  Heat a skillet over high heat.  Cook until vegetables are soft, approx 3 minutes.

Simmer tomatoes, chickpeas, onion and garlic mix, broccoli and red bell pepper mix, salt, oregano, pepper, pepper flakes and 1/2 cup water in a medium pot until liquid reduces by half, about 20 minutes.  Add artichokes, peas, and olives: cook 10 min more.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Thai Noodle Soup

From:  Forks over Knives Cookbook by Del Sroufe

Serves 4

1 med yellow onion, peeled and julienned
1 med carrot, peeled and julienned
6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 tbsp minced ginger
2 cups sliced bok choy
4 cups vegetable stock (I used vegetable broth)
2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
zest and juice of 1 lime
1 serrano chile, stemmed and thinly sliced
6 ounces brown rice noodles, cooked according to package
1 cup bean sprouts
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
I added one package extra firm tofu.  I seared it and put it in the broth before serving

1. Place the onion, carrot, and mushrooms in a medium pot and saute for 7 to 8 minutes.  Add water 1 to 2 tbsp at a time to keep the vegetables from sticking to the pan.  Add the garlic, ginger, bok choy, vegetable stock, soy sauce, lime zest and juice, and serrano chile.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for 10 minutes.

2. To serve, divide the noodles between four individual bowls.  Pour the soup mixture over the noodles and garnish with bean sprouts and cilantro.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Rotini and Black Bean Salad

From:  Pasta Salad Cookbook by Barbara Lauterbach

I followed this recipe but also varied it quite a bit.  I noted in blue writing what I did differently.  This is another salad that tastes better over time since the flavors get stronger.  Also, another good one to pack in my kids lunches.  I doubled the recipe when I made it so we'd have leftovers.

8 oz whole wheat/whole grain rotini pasta
6 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp minced garlic
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 can black beans
1/2 c. cherry tomatos (I used roma tomatos)
1/2 c. frozen corn, thawed
1/4 c. chopped green onion, white parts
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 c. chopped fresh chives
1 tbsp fresh cilantro
1 ripe avocado
salt/pepper to taste
1 tbsp fresh cilantro (I used an entire bunch)

*First of all, I doubled the recipe above.  Then, I added 1 red bell pepper, 1 bunch cilantro (instead of 1 tbsp), 1 tsp cumin, several dashes cayenne pepper, & garlic salt to taste.  I also used more beans and corn than it called for. In addition, double the dressing recipe.  As the pasta sits, it absorbs the dressing.  You need to add more prior to serving.  I grilled chicken breast to put in the salad for the family members that eat chicken.  If I would've had fresh spinach, I would have put that in it as well.

Cook the pasta according to the directions on box.  Rinse with cold water and drain.  Whisk together the balsamic vinegar and garlic in a bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.  Then, whisk oil in until dressing thickens.  Add beans, corn, onion, chives, cilantro, bell pepper, etc. to the pasta.  Pour dressing over pasta and toss.  Add cubed avocado to pasta and fold in.  Refrigerate at least an hour or longer before serving.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Kale Pesto Gnocchi

From:  The food Medic

*This is delicious!  Just be careful to not don't want mushy gnocchi!

1 package potato gnocchi (I buy the whole wheat gnocchi from Trader Joes)
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup kale
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 lemon, zested
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Put the kale, garlic, and pine nuts on a pile on a cutting board.  Start chopping...continue chopping until everything is finely chopped (see picture 1).  In a bowl, add pesto mix, lemon zest, lemon juice, and olive oil.  Mix and salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.

In a pot of boiling salted water, add the package of gnocchi and boil over medium heat until they float...about 2 minutes.  DO NOT OVERCOOK!  They get mushy and icky!  Drain, place back in pot and add the pesto mix.  Serve warm.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Quinoa Party Salad

From Clean Eating Magazine Nov/Dec 2011

This is a delicious and nutritious salad that will fill you up!  I'm always looking for quinoa recipes since quinoa is high in protein.  This is another salad that the family loved!

2 cups quinoa
1/4 cup olive oil
juice 1 lime
1 tbsp ground cumin
pinch red pepper flakes
3 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed
1 med red bell pepper, chopped
1 med orange bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
sea salt and pepper to taste

Make the quinoa according to directions on package.  Let cool.

Meanwhile, prepare dressing:  in a small bowl, whisk oil, lime juice, cumin and pepper flakes until combined.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine corn, beans, bell peppers, jalapeno and cilantro.  Add quinoa and stir to combine.  Top with dressing, season with salt and pepper, and mix well.  Serve cold or at room temp.

**The longer this sits the better the flavor.  You can make ahead!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Curried Chick Pea Salad

I will admit...I'm normally not a fan of curry.  I was hesitant to make this dish because it had curry spice in it.  However, I'm a huge chick pea fan so I thought I'd try it!  I'm glad I did!  This is a great dish.  It is very versatile.  Sometimes I eat it as is...other times I put it in a whole wheat pita stuffed with uncooked spinach and the salad.  It is also great to eat with whole grain pita chips.  This one is worth making!

2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil (I used half this amount)
2 tsp curry powder
2 tsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup seedless raisins
2 tsp cumin seeds, toasted (I dry toasted them in a saute pan)
2 cans cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
2/3 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup cilantro or parsley, chopped (I used cilantro)

mixed greens, spinach, pita chips (optional)

In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, lime juice, olive oil, curry powder, maple syrup and salt.  Add raisins, cumin, chickpeas, bell pepper, onion and cilantro and toss to combine.  Spoon chickpea mixture over salad, serve with pita chips, or put in whole grain pita.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Rip's Big Bowl....Fast & yummy breakfast!

From The Engine 2 Diet book by Rip Esselstyn

I'm always looking for breakfast ideas...having the same boring cereal every day does not excite me.  Plus, with all my working out, a simple bowl of cereal does not fill me up.  Giving up eggs was tough for me...I really like eggs!  So far my favorite breakfast is the quinoa pancakes.  If you haven't tried them you should!  However, for a quick easy breakfast, I like this Rip's big bowl.  Once you make it a couple of times, it is easy.  I made modifications to mine which I will note in the recipe.  Enjoy! :)

1/4 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup grape nuts or Ezekiel brand equivalent
1/4 cup bite size shredded wheat
1/4 cup Uncle Sam Cereal
1 tbsp ground flaxseed meal
2 tbsp raisins (I use golden raisins from Trader Joes)
1/2 handful of walnuts (not a walnut fan so I use hemp seed from Costco..3 tbsp is 11 grams protein)
1 banana, sliced
1 kiwi, sliced (I omitted this)
1 grapefruit (I omitted this)
3/4 cup milk substitute of choice (I use Almond Breeze Coconut/Almond milk unsweetened...YUM!)

Toss all ingredients except the grapefruit and milk substitute into a bowl.  Remove the grapefruit segments and put on top of cereal.  Squeeze in the juice.  Top the bowl with milk substitute.

Pesto Pasta with White Beans

From: Forks over Knives Cookbook by Del Sroufe

This is a quick and easy easy dishes! :)  I liked it although I had to add a touch of salt to it.  My kids liked it "ok"...not overwhelming thumbs up.  My husband liked it as a side dish.  I ate it as an entree.  It heats up great the next day.  One tip...make the basil pesto ahead of time to speed up making dinner.  For whatever reason the pasta looks red/brown in the picture.  It is actually green...much tastier than it looks! :)

Serves 4

12 ounces whole grain spaghetti, cooked according to pkg directions, drained, and kept warm, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid

1 cup basil pesto (see below)

One 15 ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

Place the cooked spaghetti in a large bowl and add the pesto.  Add enough of the reserved cooking liquid to achieve a creamy sauce.  Add the beans and toss well.

**Basil Pesto
2 cups packed basil or arugula
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (cook approx 10 min at 350)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 tsps fresh lemon juice
salt to taste
1/2 package extra firm silken tofu (6 ounces) drained
1/4 cup nutritional yeast, optional (I added.  You can buy at Sprouts in bulk food section)

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth and creamy.

Cowboy Caviar

I have a thing for bean them!  If you like the other bean salad I have on my blog, then you'll love this one! I eat it as a salad or serve with organic blue corn tortilla chips for an appetizer.  This is another great salad that my teenagers take to school with them for lunch.  It lasts several days in the frig.

Prep time: 15 min

2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 to 2 tsp hot sauce, optional (I did one tsp...wasn't too hot at all)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

1 can, 15 oz, black eyed peas (I had a hard time finding these!  Finally found at Sprouts in the Eden Organics line)
2 cups tomatoes, finely chopped
2 cups fresh corn kernels (or thawed from frozen) (I used 1 cup frozen corn and 1 cup canned white shoepeg corn since I didn't have enough frozen)
1 avocado, peeled and diced
1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Whisk dressing ingredients in a large bowl.  Add "caviar" ingredients and mix gently.  Refrigerate for 20 minutes to let the flavors blend.  Serves as a salad, or as a dip with tortilla chips.  Makes 12 1/2 cup servings.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

From: Forks over Knives Cookbook by Del Sroufe

Serves 4

3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
3 tbsp brown rice syrup (I couldn't find at store so I used molasses..same amount)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
Fresh ground pepper to taste
4 large Portobello mushrooms, stemmed

Combine the soy sauce, brown rice syrup, garlic, ginger, and pepper in a small bowl and mix well

Place the mushrooms stem side up on a baking dish.  Pour the marinade over the mushrooms and let marinate for 1 hour

Prepare the grill

Pour the excess marinade off of the mushrooms, reserving the liquid, and place the mushrooms on the grill.  Grill each side for 4 minutes, brushing with marinade every few minutes

**You can serve on a whole grain bun.  I served mine without a bun alongside the quinoa arugula salad.

**The picture I'm posting is the mushrooms marinating.  FYI...they cook down quite a bit so I ate 2 since it was my entree and I'm a big eater! :)

Quinoa Arugula Salad

From: Forks over Knives Cookbook by Del Sroufe

I'm always looking for quinoa recipes...a good way for me to get protein!  Plus, I make a big batch every Sunday and then use it in my recipes all week to make it easy on me.  This was a good fresh salad.  Although, my son thought the dressing was too citrusy for him.  If that is the case, just drizzle a little olive oil over it to cut the citrus.  I ate it just as the recipe says.  The only exception is that I used regular rice vinegar because I can't find brown rice vinegar for some reason!  I paired this salad with the grilled portobello mushroom recipe I posted.  They were a perfect combination!  Enjoy!

Serves 4

1 1/2 cups quinoa
Zest and juice of 2 oranges
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup brown rice vinegar (I used rice vinegar)
4 cups arugula
1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2 in cubes
2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted (bake 350 until golden brown..around 5-10 min)
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Rinse the quinoa and drain.  Bring 3 cups water to a boil.  Add the quinoa and bring back to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and cook for 12-18 min, until the quinoa is tender.  Refrigerate until cool.

While the quinoa cools, combine the orange zest and juice, lime zest and juice, brown rice vinegar, arugula, onion, red pepper, pine nuts, and salt and pepper in a bowl.  Add the cooled quinoa and chill for 1 hour before serving.

**I made the quinoa ahead of time to save time.  Also, chill as long as possible before eating for more flavor.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Basic Vegetable Stir Fry

Forks over Knives Cookbook by Del Sroufe

Serves 2 (I doubled the recipe)

1 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch strips
1 large head broccoli, cut into florets
1 cup snow peas, trimmed
1 6 ounce can water chestnuts, drained
1/4 plus 2 tbsp Chinese Brown Sauce (see below)
1/4 cup cashews, toasted (bake in oven on 350 until lightly brown.  Approx 10 min)

Chinese Brown Sauce: (I doubled the recipe)
1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup vegetable stock (I used vegetable broth)
1/4 cup date molasses or brown rice syrup (I used just said molasses not date molasses but it tasted great in the recipe.  I couldn't find brown rice syrup)
2 tsp minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 tsp arrowroot powder (this was hard to find and expensive! McCormick makes it...I couldn't find any other spice brands that sold it.  It was $8 at Fry's)

Heat a large skillet over high heat.  Add the onion, broccoli, snow peas, and water chestnuts, and stir fry for  4-5 minutes.  Add water 1 to 2 tbsp at a time to keep the vegetables from sticking to the pan.  When the broccoli is crisp-tender, add the Chinese brown sauce and cook until thickened, about 3 minutes.  Serve garnished with the toasted cashews.

**I altered this recipe a bit.  First I used the frozen stir fry vegetables from Costco just to save time.  I also added tofu and yakisoba stir fry noodles to the dish.  I seared my tofu first and then set it aside.  Then, I made the sauce.  I then cooked the vegetables.  When the veggies were almost done, I added the noodles and sauce.  I cooked it until it was warm and then tossed in the tofu so it was coated as well.  The dish was delicious!  My entire family loved it!  Two of my kids don't eat tofu so they had organic chicken breast on theirs.  Adding the noodles and tofu made it a one pot dish.  Also, the sauce is delicious....I prefer it over sugary teriyaki sauces.  I will make this again.  

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sweet Potato Pie Oatmeal

Recipe from "Forks over Knives Cookbook" by Del Sroufe

So...I often struggle at breakfast.  I get tired of cereal and basic oatmeal and I can't eat quinoa pancakes every day!  I thought I would try something new.  This is like pumpkin pie meets oatmeal.  I liked it!  And, after my long swim today, it was the perfect meal to fill me up!  I couldn't even eat it all which is not like me! :)

1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced (I cooked my sweet potatoe the night before which made it much quicker to cook in the morning)
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened almond milk (I used closer to 2 cups because it was too thick for my liking)
1/2 cup date molasses (I only had regular molasses so I used that.  I only used 1/4 cup to save on calories)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon and ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp orange zest (I omitted since I didn't have an orange)
pinch of salt

Steam or boil the sweet potato until tender, about 10 minutes.  I cooked mine in the microwave until it was soft on the baked potato setting.  Then I peeled the skin off easily with a knife and diced it.  Mash the potato and add it to a saucepan with the oats, almond milk, molasses, cinnamon, ginger, orange zest, allspice, and salt.  Cook the mixture over medium heat until the oats are tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. I drizzled a little agave nectar on top just to sweeten it a touch.  

Sunday, July 29, 2012

McDougall Veggie Burger

This recipe comes from McDougall's "The Starch Solution".  It is a great veggie burger that doesn't fall apart. I topped mine with avocado, onion, mushrooms, and lettuce and tomatoes from my garden.  It made 12 so I baked them all and then I am freezing the leftovers.

20 ounces firm tofu, drained
1 package (12.3 ounces) silken tofu, drained in a fine mesh strainer
3 cups quick cooking oats
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 pound mushrooms chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp veg worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
whole wheat buns and condiments for serving

Preheat oven to 350.  Have 2 non stick baking sheets.

Combine the drained firm and silken tofu in a food processor and process until smooth, stopping several times to scrape down the bowl.  Transfer the tofu to a large bowl and mix in the oats and spinach.

Put the onion, mushrooms, and garlic in a large nonstick skillet with 1/2 cup of water.  Cook over med heat, stirring frequently, until the onion softens and all of the liquid has evaporated, 10 to 12 min.  Add the onion-mushroom mixture to the tofu mixture, along with the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, paprika, lemon juice, and pepper.  Mix very well, using your hands if you wish.  (The mixture is very sticky)

Use moistened hands to shape the mixture into 12 1/4 patties, arranging them on the baking sheets.  Bake for 20 min, flip the burgers, then bake them for 20 min on the other side.

Serve the burgers warm.

*To reheat frozen burgers, put in microwave for 2 min or on a dry griddle for 5 min.

Asian soba noodle dish

Today I was struggling for what to make for lunch.  I didn't want another salad!  The problem with eating plant strong is you get tired of salads.  So I grabbed a bunch of stuff from the frig and went to work.  Turns out, I made a yummy dish that the whole family loved.  Quick, easy, and that's my kind of meal!

Soba noodles (I use the organic soba noodles from Costco-3 packets)
shelled edamame- 1 1/2 cups
Spinach-3 cups
Shitake mushrooms-1 1/2 cups (you can substitute portobello mushrooms as well
Chickpeas-1 can organic chickpeas rinsed and drained
Teriyaki sauce
Vegetable broth
chili paste (optional-if you like spicy)

Heat the soba noodles in pan with vegetable broth.  When they are heated through, add the edamame, mushrooms, and chickpeas.  Add teriyaki sauce-just enough to coat everything.  If desired, add 1 tbsp chili paste.  In separate pan, saute spinach with a little vegetable broth just until wilted.  Mix spinach  with noodle dish once noodle dish has simmered for 10 min.  Serve in bowls.  Serves hungry family of 5.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Quinoa Taboule

This is a great fresh tasting salad perfect for summer.  I use it as a side dish at dinner.

2 cups cooked and cooled quinoa
1 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup chopped scallions
2 tbsp. chopped fresh mint
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
1 tbsp. minced fresh basil
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground white pepper

Toss together all ingredients.  Chill for 1 hour or more to allow flavors to blend.  Makes 6 servings.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Banana Bread muffins....delish!

Another tasty muffin from Happy Herbivore cookbook.  Instead of making it a loaf, I did muffins.  Easier for me to serve to my kiddos and also better portion control!  Enjoy!  I love these muffins before a workout, or for a healthy snack when my kids are craving cookies. :)

1/4 c. non-dairy milk (I use almond milk)
1/4 tsp lemon juice
4-5 spotted or browning bananas (I use 4)
1/2 c. dark brown sugar
1/2 c. raw sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp pure maple syrup

Optional ingredients: 1/4 tsp almond extract plus 1 tsp of cherry extract (I added cherry extract.  I didn't have almond)

1. Preheat oven to 350.  Grease or spray a standard 8 in loaf pan or use muffin liners if you are making muffins
2. Whisk the non dairy milk with lemon juice-set aside
3. Cream bananas with both the sugars using a spatula until smooth and creamy.  Set aside.
4. In a large bowl, whisk spices, flour, baking soda, and baking powder together.
5. Add milk/lemon juice and banana mixture to the flour mixture.  Add remaining ingredients and just stir until just combined
6. Pour into loaf pan or muffin cups.  If doing loaf, put a tent of foil over pan
7. Bake for 45 min to an hour for loaf or 18-20 min for muffins.  insert toothpick to make sure it comes out clean to know when they are done.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Black Bean Dip...Just in time for 4th of July!

2 cans black beans (rinsed/drained)
2 diced tomatoes
2 diced avocados
1 can diced jalapenos (drained)
2 tbsp cilantro
1/2 red onion (diced)
2 limes
salt/pepper/garlic to taste

Mix together and add juice of 2 limes and garlic.  salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with baked tortilla chips

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Kale & peach salad...great summer salad!

I got this recipe from a friend and it is delicious and so simple!  I don't know quantities so I just mix it according to how much I want.  You can't screw it up!

4-5 peaches
chopped kale (I buy the bagged from Trader Joe's and then just use the leaves)
quinoa (precooked...use as much as you want)
agave nectar

slice the peaches and then mix the peaches, kale, & cooked quinoa together.  Drizzle with agave nectar and mix.  Keep adding the nectar if needed.  I like this salad the best the next day.

Bean Salad...My absolute FAVORITE!

Bean Salad

1/8 tsp pepper
3/4 tsp salt
1 can shoepeg corn (I find this at Fry's...some stores don't carry it)
1 can great northern beans (rinsed and drained)
1 chopped tomato
2 avocados-diced
1 bunch cilantro-chopped
1 bunch green onions-diced
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
1/4 c. olive oil (I use half this)
1 tsp. cumin
2 tsp minced garlic cloves

Mix it all together.  Tastes even better the second day!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Meat free's whats for dinner!

Tonight I made a complete meal out of my Happy Herbivore cookbook.  I did the chili lime chips for an appetizer and the enchiladas for the entree.  I followed it up with the oatmeal cookies.  Everything was a hit!! With a little planning it was an easy meal to make.  Plus, because it's all home added salt or preservatives!! Yea!

Home made tortilla chips....YUMMY!!

from: Happy Herbivore Cookbook

**According to my son, this was his favorite vegan item I've made so far!!  He loved them and so did my husband!  They are easy to make, much healthier than store bought chips, and no preservatives!  I will make these again for sure!  My son is already asking for me to make them tomorrow night.  I served them with salsa as an appetizer to my enchiladas...YUM!!

Chili-Lime Corn Chips:

1 small lime, washed
1 10 oz package 8 in corn tortillas
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp fine salt
1/4 tsp granulated garlic powder (optional)  (I used)

Preheat oven to 325

Grease a cookie sheet and set aside

zest lime and reserve lime for juice later

Using a pizza cutter, slice each tortilla into 6 triangles

Transfer chips to a bowl, spray with cooking spray, and add lime zest, chili powder, salt, and garlic powder (if using)

Using your hands, toss to coat.

Re-spray and toss a second time, making sure all of the chips are lightly covered with zest and spices.

Place chips on cookie sheet in a single layer and bake for 5 min.  Flip and bake 5-7 more until crisp (I did 7 min on one side and almost 10 on the other to get them really crispy)

Allow chips to cool for 5-10 min.  Squeeze fresh lime juice over the top before serving.

Oatmeal cookies...Happy Herbivore Cookbook



Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper and set aside. In a large bowl, combine applesauce, maple, sugar, banana and non-dairy milk, and vanilla  together. In a medium bowl, combine oats, flour, baking soda and cinnamon together and then transfer it into the wet mixture. Stir a few times then add raisins. Continue to mix until combined. It may look too dry initially, but keep stroking, it will incorporate perfectly. Drop spoonfuls on a greased cookie sheet and bake 10 to 15 minutes, or until firm to the touch and spring-like.
**I cooked these about 17 min so watch the cookies as they bake.  My family liked these cookies.  They are not as rich and gooey as traditional oatmeal cookies but were tasty and MUCH healthier!

Enchilada casserole....A family favorite!

From:  Happy Herbivore Cookbook

Enchilada casserole:

serves 4

Enchilada sauce (see blog for recipe)
1 15 oz can black beans rinsed and drained
2 c frozen corn
1 4 ounce can sliced black olives, divided (I omitted these since my kids don't like olives)
1 4 ounce can green chilies, diced (optional) (I used these...we love spice)
12 6-in corn tortillas, cut in half, divided

Prepare enchilada sauce
Preheat oven to 350
In a mixing bowl, combine beans, corn, half of the olives, and green chilies, if using
Line the bottom of a 9 in square casserole dish with 8 tortilla slices, overlapping edges as needed.
Pour a portion of the sauce over tortilla slices, ensuring total distribution and that everything is covered.
Spoon half of the bean mixture over top and pour enchilada sauce over to completely cover.
Add another layer of 8 tortilla slices and cover with sauce
Add the remaining bean mixture and cover with sauce.
Add a third top layer of tortillas and cover with the last of the sauce.
Sprinkle the remaining slice olives over top and bake for 30-35 min

**This was delicious!  I didn't miss the cheese at all!  My son wanted cheese but when I said he didn't need it, he ate the dish and liked it a lot.  I did put some skinless boneless chicken breast (pre cooked) in the portions of my husband and son.  No meat in mine and it was filling and tasty!  Enjoy!

Enchilada sauce...Delicious!

From:  Happy Herbivore Cookbook

*This sauce is delicious without any of the preservatives of store bought enchilada sauce


    2 T whole wheat pastry flour
    1 t cocoa powder
    2 T chili powder
    1 t oregano
    1 t cumin
    1/2 t garlic powder
    2 c veggie broth
    8 oz tomato sauce


Combine flour and all spices in saucepan

Slowly add 1/4 c broth and stir into a paste

Slowly add remaining broth stirring constantly to absorb all spices and add an additional cup of water. Bring to a boil over medium heat,

Stir in tomato sauce and allow to thicken slightly.

Serving Size: about 18 1/4 c servings

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The BEST tacos ever!!!

From: Happy Herbivore Cookbook

Recipe: Crunchy Blue Corn Chickpea Tacos

1 can chickpeas, rinsed & drained
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp. lime juice
2 Tbsp. taco seasoning (see below for recipe)
crunchy blue corn taco shells (I used butter lettuce leaves instead to be healthier)
tomato, diced

 1.) Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
2.) Spray a cooking pan with olive oil & set aside.
3.) In a large bowl, whisk soy sauce, lime juice, and taco seasoning together.
4.) Add chickpeas to bowl, tossing until well-coated.
5.) Place chickpeas on pan in an even layer, spray lightly with oil, & bake for 20-25mins.
6.) Remove from oven, assemble tacos (lettuce first!), & serve.

Yield: 6-8 tacos

Recipe: Taco Seasoning
(printer-friendly version)

(recipe from

2 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. black pepper, freshly ground
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/8 tsp cayenne powder
1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1.) In a small bowl, mix all ingredients together. Store in a sealed container.

**My family LOVED this recipe!  I did not miss the meat at all!  Chick peas are becoming my new favorite!!  This is a fast easy meal to make especially if you make the seasoning ahead of time.  

My favorite meal for lunch! Yum!!

Lunch can be a tough one for me.  After a while, I don't want any more salads!  However, keeping it healthy and simple can be a struggle.  This is an easy lunch idea that always fills me up!

Lavosh pizza

Whole wheat lavosh bread (Trader Joe's)
veggie shreds mozzarella cheese (I prefer this brand because it melts and tastes good)
purple onion cut into thin strips
hummus (any kind will do.  I prefer cilantro jalapeno from Costco)
portobello mushrooms (optional...and, any mushrooms will work)
baby spinach (I use organic from Costco)
grape or cherry tomatoes chopped (I buy the grape tomatoes from Costco)
red bell pepper diced

Heat the oven to broil.  Put one lavosh on a cookie sheet.  Put in oven until toasted (not brown just toasted).  Remove from oven.  Spread hummus on lavosh then follow with spinach, tomatoes, purple onion, mushrooms, and red pepper.  Top with a small amount of veggie shreds.  Place in broiler and heat until cheese melts.  Pull out of oven and use pizza cutter to cut into squares.  Enjoy!

One lavosh serves 2-3 people

My struggles with my new life style

I will is a struggle as I learn to eat plant strong.  I have to prepare more and cannot just throw something together.  However, with a little planning on Sunday night, I find it isn't that complicated.  I make a menu and hit Trader Joe's, Sprouts, and Fry's on Monday.  Then, I try to make one or two salads that can keep in the fridge all week (California Quinoa Salad is a good one).  The key to this cooking is planning ahead!  I try to pre cut the veggies or cook the tofu ahead of time.  That way at dinner, I'm not overwhelmed.  This way of life has a learning curve but don't let that frustrate is worth it!

I still struggle with eating out.  People look at me oddly when I say I don't eat meat or dairy.  However, most places will try to work with you.  I hate feeling like a "pain", so I tend to frequent my plant friendly restaurants.  All in all, I choose to eat in mostly.  It is more economical, better quality food, and portion control is not out of hand.  Plus, I'm showing my kids how good healthy cooking can taste!  How many children have eaten quinoa or bok choy?  I even had my 16 year old daughters do my Trader Joe's shopping for me.  They texted me a million times asking what heirloom tomatoes were and where to find the raw nuts.  But, they learned and are becoming better eaters for it.  My goal is to send them off to college and not have them rely on pizza alone!

I challenge you to at least pick one or two dinners a week where meat is not the focus.  With a little planning, your family will not miss the meat.  It was music to my ears the other day when my teenage daughter asked me if we could have the Teriyaki Chick pea dinner! That was her request! :)

Happy eating!  Cathy

Baby Bok Choy with brown rice- A family favorite!

From: Vegan cooking for Carnivores cook book

Baby Bok Choy with crispy tofu and brown rice

2 cups sprouted brown rice and 4 cups water for cooking (I used organic brown rice from Trader Joe's that is already cooked.  I have to cut some corners to make things easier and this was an easier way to go)

Crispy Tofu:
1/2 block firm organic tofu (8 ounces)
1 tbsp high heat oil (grapeseed or safflower)
*I have a family of 5 so I used a full block.  I cut it in half and then in strips.  I put a paper towel on top and underneath it and placed it on a dishcloth.  I then gently pressed the tofu to drain the water from it.  This was a tip shared in the book.  It is important to drain the water...there is a lot of water in tofu.  
I then cut it into cubes so it was ready to cook.

Baby Bok Choy:
2 tbsp high heat oil
15 heads baby bok choy (I only needed 10 because mine were bigger heads.  The heads should be small.  3 should fit on a salad plate.  At Fry's the heads were bigger so I adjusted down.)
1 red pepper, cored and julienned
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 bunch scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
10 ounces shitake mushrooms, stems removed, chopped...optional (I opted to not do this step.  I have had so many mushrooms lately.  I didn't miss them at all)
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup broth made from Better than Bouillon no chicken Base or Better than Bouillon Vegetable base (I used the vegetable base..I found it at Sprouts).  
1 tsp sesame oil

Make the rice ahead of time unless you are doing the premade rice like I did.  I just microwaved my rice after I was done making the meal.

Prepare the tofu: Heat a large saute pan with the oil.  Carefully add the tofu and toss to coat.  Fry the tofu until brown and crisp on all sides.  Transfer to paper towel to absorb extra oil.  Set aside

Prepare the bok choy:  Heat a large saute pan with oil over high heat.  Using metal tongs, place half the bok choy and all of the red peppers into the pan and toss.  Cook the bok choy flat side down over high heat until it begins to wilt and brown slightly, about 8 minutes.

Transfer the first batch of cooked bok choy and peppers to a bowl.  Add a little more oil and the rest of the bok choy.  Cook for 8 minutes (same as above..flat side down).  When it is done, add the garlic, ginger, scallions and mushrooms, if using, and cook for 2 min.  Return the first batch of cooked bok choy and red peppers to the pan and stir to combine.  Add the soy sauce, broth, and sesame oil and cook for several minutes.  Remove from heat.

Put rice on plate and spoon bok choy mixture on top.  Add crispy tofu on top.

**My family loved this dish but my husband wanted it spicy.  So, next time I will add some chili paste to kick it up a bit.  Also, next time I will double the sauce mixture (soy sauce & broth mixture) because my family likes a lot of sauce.  This meal was filling and so delicious!  The whole family ate it and loved it!

Carrot cake cupcakes...delicious!!!

From: Happy Herbivore cookbook

Recipe:Carrot Cake Cupcakes


These cupcakes make a fun treat for kids and adults alike. You can even easily turn this recipe into an actual carrot cake - all you need to do is increase the baking time until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Whether it's a cupcake or a slice of cake, this recipe is so, so awesome. It's carrot happiness... in ya' mouth!



Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a muffin pan or spray paper liners to prevent sticking and set aside. (I greased paper liners) In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, soda, sugar, salt & cinnamon in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, mix applesauce, vanilla and carrots. Add dry mix to wet mix in 3-4 batches. Stir until just combined. Fill cups to the top bake 15-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (took 25 min in my oven)

For cream cheese icing, use electric beaters to whip and combine 1 container Tofutti cream cheese, 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1/2 cup confectioners sugar at a time until the consistency is thick and sweet enough.

For maple icing, use electric beaters to whip and combine 1 cups confectioners sugar, 3 tbsp maple syrup and 1 tsp cinnamon, adding additional sugar as necessary to reach a thick and fluffy consistency.

**I have a weakness for carrot cake...I admit it!  When I found this recipe, I was thinking that there is no way this will be that good...I was wrong!  Not only are they delicious, but they are so easy to make!!  Plus, since they are in muffin tins, it is good portion control.  Even my kids liked them which is saying a lot!!  These will be my go to treat when I need something sweet!

Friday, June 1, 2012

True Foods Recipe...Yum!

This is my favorite dinner at True Foods restaurant!  I just sub out the shrimp for Tofu...yum!  My kids even like this dish which is a plus!

After the indulgence of holiday celebrations, some healthy eating may be in order. Even those who relish every rich, fattening dish, cookie, pie or chocolate will be ready for some healthy detox. Photo: True Food Kitchen
The smoky, spicy taste of the sauce makes this dish irresistible.  The key ingredient is Asian chili paste.
For the Wok
1 pound Mexican white shrimp peeled, deveined, rinsed (I use Tofu since I don't do animal protein...the tofu makes it delicious!)
1 1/2 pounds blanched yaki soba noodles
1 cup broccoli florets sliced 1/8” thick
1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms 1/8” thick
2 cups spinach leaves
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoons expeller pressed canola oil 
For sauce
2 tsp Asian chili paste*
2 tsp fish  sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons water
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons minced cilantro
Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.  You should work in 2 batches for the wok shrimp and noodles.  The entire dish takes only a few minutes to cook, so make sure you have everything ready before you start cooking.  Begin by dividing all of the wok ingredients in half.  In a hot wok add half of the Canola Oil and half of the ginger and garlic, Quickly add the shrimp and toss keeping the wok on the flame.  Allow the shrimp to cook about ¾ of the way, then add the vegetables continue to wok for 1 minute to cook the vegetables.  Add the noodles and wok for 30 seconds to heat them through.  Add the sauce and allow it to coat the noodles tossing thoroughly and quickly.   Scoop into a serving bowl, repeat with the remaining ingredients.  
*Can use sambal oelec, sesame chili oil or rayu, a chili-infused vegetable oil
Chef Michael Stebner

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Chopped Asian Salad by Roberto Martin...Yum!

This salad is delicious!  Very fresh!  Couple of recommendations.  Cut up the stuff ahead of time so that at dinner you don't have to do all the work.  Also, you can make the dressing ahead of time if you'd like.  It would cut down the prep time by making it ahead.  I got this recipe out of "Vegan Cooking for Carnivores" by Roberto Martin.  I will make this's one the whole family likes.  You can also eliminate any of the ingredients you don't care for...I liked them all so I used everything listed!  

Chopped Asian Salad

Asian Salad Dressing:  Make first and set aside
1 1/2 cups low sodium soy sauce
one 2 in piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 bunch scallions, white and green parts chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp sesame oil
juice 1 lime
1 tbsp agave nectar
1 tbsp cornstarch, mixed with 1/2 cup water

Place all the ingredients in a saucepan, bring to a simmer, and cook over low heat for 10 min.  Remove from the heat and set the dressing aside to cool. Strain the dressing and refrigerate until cold.  Use immediately, or transfer to a container with a tight fitting lid and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

1 tbsp high heat oil (I use grapeseed)
10 ounces shitake mushrooms, stems removed, chopped (optional) (I sliced mine)
1 head green cabbage, shredded (I bought already shredded at Trader joes to save time)
2 cups baby spinach, julienned
2 large carrots, peeled and grated
4 firm plum tomatoes, centers removed, julienned (I just chopped all the veggies)
1 cucumber, seeded and julienned
1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and julienned
1 cup frozen shelled edamame, soak in hot water 5 min and drain (bought at Trader Joe's)
1 bunch cilantro chopped
1 bunch mint chopped
1 bunch scallions, green parts only, cut on the bias (I used the white parts as well)
20 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
1/2 cup raw sliced almonds

After you make the dressing, heat a pan with the oil.  Saute the mushrooms until wilted.  Set aside and allow the mushrooms to cool.

Mix all the remaining ingredients in a large bowl, add the cooled mushrooms, and toss with the dressing don't use all the will have left over.

Serves: 6

Monday, May 21, 2012

The best Minestrone....EVER!!!

Minestrone with Spring Vegetables

Contributing chef PAM ANDERSON fuels up after runs with a quick-to-prepare, seasonal, and meatless soup. By Pam Anderson Image by Andrew Purcell From the May 2012 issue of Runner's World

Minestrone with Spring Vegetables
Minestrone with Spring Vegetables

Leafy escarole is rich in vitamin K and folate, while beans are an excellent source of fiber. Use whatever bite-size pasta you have on hand, says Anderson.

2 quarts good-quality vegetable broth (I use organic low sodium)
1 14.5-ounce can petite-diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, cut into small dice
1 celery stalk, cut into small dice
1 peeled carrot, cut into small dice
2 teaspoons Italian seasonings
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes, or to taste (We like spice so I doubled this)
2 cans (15 to 16 ounces each) small white beans, not drained
8 ounces frozen green peas
8 ounces coarsely chopped escarole (For those of you who don't's a lettuce)
1 cup ditalini (or any bite-size pasta) (could only find this pasta at this pasta)
Sprinkle of salt and ground black pepper

Microwave broth and tomatoes together on high until steaming (5 minutes).

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Add onions, celery, and carrots; saute till tender (5 minutes). Add Italian seasonings and red pepper; saute until fragrant (one minute).

Add broth mixture and remaining ingredients; cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low; continue to simmer, partially covered and stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft and pasta is tender (15 minutes). Serves eight.

**This was the most delicious soup I have ever made!!  I didn't miss the meat at all!  If you eat meat, you can add it in to this soup, but honestly it is good on it's own.  My daughter's loved it as well!  I will make this again!  Don't leave out the makes it delicious.  I could only find it at Fry's in the lettuce section.  Also, the ditalini pasta is great.  This was a hard pasta to find as well but Fry's had it. 

FAT: 4 G

Ten-time marathoner PAM ANDERSON was inspired to write her latest title, Cook Without a Book: Meatless Meals, after deciding in 2009 to eat less meat. "I didn't want to support factory farming," says Anderson, who ran the Seaside School Half-Marathon in Santa Rosa, Florida, in March. "Now that I know how to make great vegetarian meals, I cook this way even more frequently." For more, see

Click here to find out more!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Another recipe bites the dust!

I tried once more to make a meal with "meatless" meat.  I followed the directions exactly for making meatballs...even making my own bread crumbs!  They looked like meatballs but had a weird consistency to them.  I think I will be sticking to eating meals with vegetables and beans for my protein.  It is a bummer because it would be nice to have more variety.  My next adventure will be to try cooking with tofu....stay tuned! :)

Monday, May 14, 2012

HBO Miniseries

Starting tonight, HBO is doing a documentary miniseries called "The weight of the nation".  It will show how obesity from unhealthy eating and lifestyles is ruining our country.  It is something worth watching!  I think the most challenging part of parenting is feeding your children.  Healthy eating requires planning.  I spend time each week planning my menu so that I don't give in to easy processed food.  It is paying off. My kids love all the fresh vegetables and always look forward to the next "interesting" meal I make! :)

Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Chickpeas...Yum!