Sep 142014
 

North African Spiced Vegetable Kebabs with Coconut Tahini Sauce. Fragrant olive oil, fresh ginger, cumin, cinnamon and allspice – oh my!

North African Spiced Kebabs

North African Spiced Kebabs

The other night I wanted something a little different.

Something with some SPICE to it. And a creamy sauce to balance it out.

 North African, or Chermoula, spiced kebabs with a coconut tahini sauce. Perfect.

Ethnic food is so exciting to create – new flavors and textures to be discovered. These kebabs in particular made me realize how much I miss the creative side of food. Life has gotten so busy since leaving my corporate job (ironically enough). I have resorted to discovering delicious semi-homemade dishes due to lack of time, but I love the times I can slow down and savor.

I had be researching different ethnic foods when I came across the definition of Chermoula. It sounded so appealing, but of course I threw in a few variations.

I added fresh ginger for a bit of a kick and fresh lemon - though preserved lemon would be delicious too.

As I was chopping my vegetables and mixing my sauce I got to thinking.

How old is this dish? Who originally created Chermoula? Is it more healthful to eat the way our ancestors did?

National Geographic has had a really interesting series on how we will feed the population of the future and the state of health, food and nutrition. The article in this month’s issue, written by Ann Gibbons is fascinating. She dissects the origins of the Paleo diet. This diet asserts that there are a few experts saying that we should eat what the cave man ate.

But who was the cave man? Did every population across the globe eat the same exact foods?

The author asserts, “As we look at 2050, when we’ll need to feed two billion more people, the question of which diet is best has taken on a new urgency. The foods we choose to eat in the coming decades will have dramatic ramifications for the planet. Simply put, a diet that revolves around meat and dairy, a way of eating that’s on the rise throughout the developing world, will take a greater toll on the world’s resources than one that revolves around unrefined grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables.”

“Until agriculture was developed around 10,000 years ago, all humans got their food by hunting, gathering, and fishing.”

There are very few indigenous tribes left and scientists are rushing to study their habits before they disappear. Why are there such low instances of diseases from every population from the meat eating Inuit Indians to the plant eating populations of rural China. What are they doing that we aren’t doing?

The Paleo way of life suggests that if we eat what we think our ancestors ate, we will be eating healthfully. Free range meats, fish, no dairy or grains and select fruits and vegetables. But what about HOW they obtained their food?

There are a few things that we forget when we think Paleo. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors had to hunt their food, on foot, with a spear. The kind of energy this requires is astronomical, therefore they craved more caloric, energy dense foods.

That being said, no one actually ATE meat all that often. “Everybody thinks you wander out into the savanna and there are antelopes everywhere, just waiting for you to bonk them on the head,” the article states. When meat was scarce, which was OFTEN, they relied on plants. Even the Paleolithic man’s diet was mostly plant based – 70% or more, and many times, completely plant based, depending on the season and location.

When it comes down to it, humans have survived on just about anything. Our hallmark is our adaptability, the article stresses. It is when we adopt the diet of today that the diseases begin to run rampant- the GMO foods in everything from plants to the feed of livestock and dairy cows, the salt and sugar, the amount of processed foods, and our lack of exercise.

Experts actually say that we have the Paleo diet wrong. It does well to focus on unprocessed foods and no dairy; however, the focus on meat, albeit free range, is not in line with how the Paleolithic man actually ate, nor is the activity level near what would be required to offset the meat consumption.

I think Michael Pollan sums it up well – Paleo diet or not.

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

And I’ll add in – and get up and move.

North African Spiced Kebabs

North African Spiced Kebabs

North African Spiced Vegetable Kebabs with Coconut Tahini Sauce

Serves 4
Vegetarian, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe

*Vegetable Marinade and Dressing

1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sweet paprika
½ tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/8 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch allspice
¼ tsp minced fresh ginger
Juice ½ lemon
3-4 Tbsp olive oil

Kebabs

1 Japanese eggplant
1 small zucchini
1 small yellow squash
½ red onion

Coconut Tahini Sauce

¼ cup unsweet coconut milk
½ tsp raw honey
¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
3 Tbsp water
½ Tbsp white miso
½ Tbsp tahini

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375F; soak wooden skewers in water.

2. Mix marinade ingredient in a small bowl and set aside. Blend coconut tahini sauce ingredients in a small blender and set aside.

3. Slice kebab vegetables; thread onto wooden skewers; brush marinade over vegetables evenly; set remaining marinade aside for dipping later; roast vegetables for 30 minutes, or until golden. Serve 1 skewer over garlic Naan or Garbanzo Bean Garlic Naan; top with coconut tahini sauce.

*In a time crunch, try subbing 1 tbsp Za’atar, Curry or Vindaloo seasoning blend and adding the lemon and olive oil.

Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 217.2
Total Fat 15.4 g
Saturated Fat 2.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3.8 g
Monounsaturated Fat 8.7 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 12.8 mg
Potassium 630.9 mg
Total Carbohydrate 19.2 g
Dietary Fiber 6.1 g
Sugars 3.6 g
Protein 4.3 g

Vitamin A 14.2 %
Vitamin B-12 3.1 %
Vitamin B-6 16.2 %
Vitamin C 25.7 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 25.1 %
Calcium 7.0 %
Copper 15.9 %
Folate 17.3 %
Iron 7.0 %
Magnesium 12.4 %
Manganese 27.3 %
Niacin 9.1 %
Pantothenic Acid 10.1 %
Phosphorus 16.9 %
Riboflavin 8.4 %
Selenium 9.3 %
Thiamin 10.2 %
Zinc 6.1 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

9-5-2014 3

Sep 052014
 

I am so excited about this flourless Chickpea, Olive Oil and Garlic Naan recipe that I could do cartwheels!

Chickpea Garlic Naan Recipe

Chickpea, Olive Oil and Garlic Naan Recipe

With a lovely bread-like texture and light crisp crust I’m wondering what took me so long to create something delicious with chickpea flour. My friend Vivian has been telling me for months that I had to try it. She uses it to make pancakes, breads, tortillas and more. I played around with the liquid ratios and found that you need to thin the flour quite a bit and let it bake up. Next time I might try coconut oil and see how that goes. I could definitely see making this for a crowd so I might try it out at the next cookout! If you do the same, don’t be shy with the olive oil – use a bit extra and let it really soak in, and try mixing some roasted garlic in with the batter. This is best served immediately out of the oven and my version is only 80 filling calories per square so go ahead and enjoy two squares. I won’t tell.

(I’m even MORE excited about the recipe in the next post….stay tuned. Hint…see the below photo. Can I say OMG?)

Chickpea Garlic Naan Recipe

Chickpea Garlic Naan Recipe

Chickpea Garlic Naan

 Vegan, Gluten Free, Flourless
Serves 12
Printable Recipe
Inspired by Vivian, Owner of KyV Farm

Ingredients

2 cups garbanzo bean flour
scant 3 cups water
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2-3 Tbsp olive oil

Directions
1. Mix flour, water, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a large bowl until well blended. Let sit 2-4 hours to fully incorporate all ingredients.

2. Prepare 9×13 pan with oil, brush evenly over surface; pour batter into pan.

3. Bake at 375F for 25-30 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean; remove from oven, cool, cut into 12 squares; sprinkle with additional sea salt if desired. Serve immediately.

*Reheat any left over bread.

Nutrition Facts
12 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 80.1
Total Fat 3.3 g
Saturated Fat 0.5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.7 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 106.8 mg
Potassium 3.1 mg
Total Carbohydrate 9.0 g
Dietary Fiber 1.7 g
Sugars 1.7 g
Protein 3.5 g

Vitamin A 0.2 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 0.4 %
Vitamin C 0.1 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 1.4 %
Calcium 0.7 %
Copper 0.0 %
Folate 0.0 %
Iron 4.3 %
Magnesium 0.1 %
Manganese 0.2 %
Niacin 0.0 %
Pantothenic Acid 0.0 %
Phosphorus 0.1 %
Riboflavin 0.0 %
Selenium 0.1 %
Thiamin 0.1 %
Zinc 0.1 %

*Percent Daily Values for Chickpea Garlic Naan Recipe are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs. Do What Makes you Oh SO Happy

Aug 192014
 

Last year I was mad as hell seeing what kids at my daughter’s school were eating. It could NOT be called food! Join my crusade to FIGHT BACK. This is my post on healthier plant-based vegan back to school lunches.

You guys – we need to start getting PISSED about what kids are eating. Let’s control for ourselves and make the time to help our children eat healthy. We cannot rely on the government with their “do as I say, not as I do” mentality. On one hand they support eating fruits and vegetables, on the other hand, all the crop subsidies go to GMO corn, wheat and soy. They consider fruits and vegetables a “specialty crop”. What?! Talk about mixed messages. For those of us not on subsidized meal programs it’s time to boycott school lunch!  Support programs such as Tour de Fresh – organizations working to bring fresh salads and education to schools.

This is a real example of a kindergarten school lunch last year. These children are not in an impoverished area. Compared to the rest of the world, this district is considered affluent, with some of the best schools in the country. What a great “balanced lunch” option.

#lunchFAIL

#lunchFAIL

Yes there was a vegetable option but do the kids choose it? NO! Kids need EDUCATION. Studies show they are more likely to choose healthier options if they are taught what the healthier option is and why. Getting them involved is also essential. Join a farm share and have them pick vegetables for themselves!

Ha! Good timing. KyV’s Farm Share is available for fall right now!  

TAKE BACK LUNCH

Let’s give up the excuses and start packing a variety of healthy lunches that aren’t packed with puss filled dairy and nitrate-filled processed meats and GMO wheat.

WE need to eat healthy first. Use these ideas for your own lunch!

Do not let your child end up like THIS:

 

GREAT LINKS:

Tons of Bento Box ideas, Veggie Bento Love

Vegan Lunch Recipes (with downloadable cookbook), Eating Well

50 Vegan Sandwiches, Connoisseurus Veg

 Veg Kitchen, ideas and recipes!

FCC TIPS:

  • Make lunches for two or three days in a row so you can grab-and-go.
  • Ditch the plastic bags! Use re-usable containers, utensils and washable napkins. You will save money in the end. Promise.
  • When in doubt try Pinterest for ideas.
  • Use your muffin tin to create quinoa, NON-DAIRY cheese and veggie meal muffins.
  • Break out the cookie cutter to cut fun shapes out of fruits, veggies and sandwiches!
  • DO be sensitive to kids with allergies. Even if your child doesn’t have them – it is horrific for parents that do. I just paid $253.00 for an epi pen AFTER insurance AND a coupon. It SUCKS so don’t complain if you can’t give your kid peanut butter. You could be buying epi pens instead.
  • For children on subsidized lunch programs – there are ways to make very inexpensive and healthy lunches. With planning it can be done. Contact me and I will walk you through it.

RECIPES:

SANDWICHES, WRAPS AND ‘ZA

Collard Sushi

Collard Sushi

Crazy Collard Sushi (Minus Sprouts)

 

Fu Wrap

Fu Wrap

Fu Wrap

BB, Banana and Hummus Wrap

BB, Banana and Hummus Wrap

Black Bean, Banana and Hummus Wrap (subtract the onion)

Mini Pizzas (Photo care of Lunch Box Bunch)

Mini Pizzas (Photo care of Lunch Box Bunch)

Mini Pizza from Lunch Box Bunch!

BBQ Bella Tempeh Joe

BBQ Bella Tempeh Joe

Is your kid a Sloppy Joe lover? Try this BBQ Bella and Tempeh Sandwich

SOUPS

Watermelon Gazpacho, Eating Well

Watermelon Gazpacho, Eating Well

Gazpacho Recipes (Cold Soups), Eating Well

Bowl Licking Good Lentil Soup

Bowl Licking Good Lentil Soup

Bowl Licking Good Lentil Soup. Kid tested, mother approved.

GRAINS

Apple Fried Rice

Apple Fried Rice, from Swasthi’s Recipes

Apple Fried Rice from Swasthi’s Recipes

Sweet Citrus Barley

Sweet Citrus Barley

Sweet Citrus Barley with Pistachios

Pineapple Fu with Basmati Rice

Pineapple Fu with Basmati Rice

Pineapple Fu with Basmati Rice

SALADS

Nut butter, Raisin and Barley Salad

Nut butter, Raisin and Barley Salad

Nut butter, Raisin, Apple and Barley Salad (Sub sunflower seed butter for peanut butter.)

Quinoa Salad in a Jar

Quinoa Salad in a Jar

Salad in a Jar

Veggie Pasta Salad

Veggie Pasta Salad

One of my favorite pasta salads! Add any protein. Use brown rice pasta for gluten free option.

Snazzy Salad

Snazzy Salad

I love this idea for making a “salad” with fun shapes they can dip. Photo care of Parenting Mag.

CRAZINESS

Breakfast for lunch!

Overnight Oats

Overnight Oats

Overnight Oats

Fruit and Yogurt Calcium Bowl

Fruit and Yogurt Calcium Bowl

Plain, non-dairy yogurt with fresh fruit

Cereal for Lunch

Cereal for Lunch

Cereal for lunch! I love these ONE INGREDIENT puffs. Add a side of homemade non-dairy milk and fresh fruit. Fun!

SNACKS

All Natural Zucchini Muffins

All Natural Zucchini Muffins

All Natural Zucchini Muffins, All-Time Top Reader Fav

Roasted Sweet Potato Hummus

Roasted Sweet Potato Hummus

Roasted Sweet Potato Hummus,
Serve with celery, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes etc. (See that snazzy salad above!)


Nut and Gluten Free Granola

 Here is a delicious snack and topping idea for yogurt or banana ice cream. It is nut, grain and dairy free. Enjoy!

Nut and Gluten Free Granola

Nut and Gluten Free Granola

Nut and Gluten Free Granola

Serves about 8 1/4 cup servings
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe

Ingredients

1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 cup dried bananas
1/4 cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped crystalized ginger (optional)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup non- dairy chocolate chips
1/8 tsp sea salt

Directions

1. Spread coconut oil over a small baking sheet; toss all remaining ingredients together directly on the baking sheet to coat with coconut oil; toast 3-4 minutes, or until just browned.

Nutrition Facts
8 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 151.2
Total Fat 8.8 g
Saturated Fat 4.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.4 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.4 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 36.8 mg
Potassium 97.7 mg
Total Carbohydrate 16.4 g
Dietary Fiber 2.0 g
Sugars 13.2 g
Protein 2.4 g
Vitamin A 0.5 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 2.2 %
Vitamin C 0.4 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 10.2 %
Calcium 0.8 %
Copper 4.5 %
Folate 2.4 %
Iron 3.7 %
Magnesium 1.7 %
Manganese 5.4 %
Niacin 1.8 %
Pantothenic Acid 2.9 %
Phosphorus 5.1 %
Riboflavin 0.9 %
Selenium 4.6 %
Thiamin 0.8 %
Zinc 1.5 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.


For the grand blog-post finale, my biggest secret surprise is that my daughter and I just self-published our first children’s book together on Amazon and Kindle……

It is called The Adventures of Agnes and the Martian!

The Adventures of Agnes and the Martian

The Adventures of Agnes and the Martian

Most parents want their children to be able to discover and live their passion, achieve their dreams, and succeed at what they put their mind to. 

One year ago I left my 13-year corporate job to take on the world and make it a better place, and wanted to pass that determination on to my daughter. Together we created our book, the Adventures Agnes and the Martian.

This book is our way of inspiring children on the path to following their dreams.

As a thank you for getting this far in the post and listening to me blather on, for a limited time I would like to offer – drum roll please -

A free digital copy of our book, The Adventures of Agnes and the Martian!

 email me at dawn(at)floridacoastalcooking.com for your copy!

I know, I know, you are overcome with emotion. Seriously though, it is a cute book if I do say so, and since I love ya – I just have to share. It is for readers from preschool through 1st grade. Preschool and kindergarten my need some help with the reading.

Camping MADNESS

Camping MADNESS

I would love to get your thoughts on this book as I attempt to learn how to market a self-published book with no background in marketing. Who knows, I might fall flat on my face, or I might help my daughter soar with the eagles!

If you like it, and could share it on social media, or even better, review on Amazon, I would forever be in your debt.

She acted out the scenes in all the photos, and then (with a bit of help) tried her hand at drawing in the “Martian”. This was a bedtime story my Nana used to tell me as a child, and now I get to pass it on to my daughter, and children everywhere. We are even planning the next book already and I’m thinking we might call it, Camping Madness with the Martian and Agnes. What do you think?

Jul 302014
 

 Your alarm wakes up out of a dead sleep and you hit the snooze button…. four times. Finally you drag yourself out of bed, get dressed and when you walk out the door a wall of heat and humidity hits. It is time to fight back naturally with hydrating FOODS for Summer.

Hydrating Foods

Hydrating Foods

Recently I led a workshop at Native Sun about fighting summer fatigue and having more energy naturally.  The research is so surprising, I just can’t keep it to myself!.

Interestingly, one of the primary ways to fight back is through proper hydration, and hydrating foods should always be first on your list. The chart above shows some top hydrating foods. One of the BEST and simplest salads to hydrate is mixture of fresh berries, cucumber and watermelon.

Now let’s talk about the effects of dehydration.  Dehydration impairs your thinking, digestion, energy, how you move, aches and pains and can even age your skin.  It can be one of the main reasons for headaches, dizziness and irritability.

Taking in too little fluid is a major cause – your body loses fluid and electrolytes. Electrolytes are minerals in your body fluids that carry an electric charge. Why is this important? Because they affect the acidity and pH balance in your body, they regulate the amount of water you retain, and they are not found in water. They are in natural sodium, calcium and potassium to name a few.

Water Content of Fruits and Vegetables

Source

In turn, one great way to hydrate properly in the summer is not only through water, but also through sodium balance!

The right kind of sodium is key to proper body function. It keeps fluids in balance, maintains blood pressure, digestion and metabolism, supports muscles and nerves, and is key for calcium absorption. It has even been called the “youth mineral” because of it’s benefits for our joint and ligaments – keeping them young and healthy.

A word of caution when it comes to sodium balance and endurance athletes or anyone working outside in the heat – you are at higher risk of hyponatremia. Hyponatremia is when your blood sodium falls below a level 135 of milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L). According to the National Institute of Health, the normal range is 135 to 145 mEq/L from depleting your sodium stores through sweat and drinking too much water. Because you lose sodium through sweat, drinking too much water during endurance activities, such as marathons and triathlons, can dilute the sodium content of your blood.

Fresh Berry and Yogurt Bowl with Mila

Fresh Berry and Yogurt Bowl with Mila

Don’t simply add table salt.

Table salt (NaCL) is mined from underground salt mines, processed, refined and stripped of the natural sodium and then anti-caking agents are added. What you want is the true organic sodium (Na). Most Americans are actually deficient in Na and consume way too much NaCl. While table salt stores in our bodies, any excess in natural sodium will be excreted.

Instead of adding table salt to your diet, add some foods that naturally contain sodium. Natural sea salt, fruits and vegetables.

  • Beets 65 milligrams sodium per beet
  • Celery and Carrots 50 milligrams in one stalk or one carrot
  • Spinach 125 mg per cooked cup
  • Swiss chard 300 mg per cooked cup
  • Also, asparagus, barley, lentils, coconut, okra, kale, raisins, red cabbage
Fresh Berry and Yogurt Bowl with Mila

Fresh Berry and Yogurt Bowl with Mila

The organic sodium in these foods actually alkalizes the body and helps neutralize acidity from fried foods, meats, cheeses, alcohol and any processed foods etc. Without organic sodium, our bodies are clever, they will neutralize the acid from the mineral stores in our bodies – including our bones.

Finally, add Omega 3′s to your diet. Many people think flax when they think Omega 3′s; however, flax is a phytoestrogen like soy, and can alter the body’s hormone balance. The best form of plant based Omega 3 I have found is milled chia. I eat two tablespoons daily of a blend called Mila and have been doing so for three years. Mila specifically has been cleaned of mold, dirt and insect pieces that you find in generic chia. It is then carefully milled, or sliced open, to create more surface area for your body to suck up the nutrients. Finally, each crop is tested for nutrient content and blended for consistent levels of fiber, Omega 3 and other vitamins and nutrients. The fats in Omega 3 foods hold on to hydration in the body and help it from being excreted. Chia has extreme absorption qualities and can absorb many times it’s weight in liquid, keeping you hydrated longer. If you have ever heard of the book Born to Run, chia is the food utilized by the Aztec Indians of the Copper Canyon. They would take chia on their long and arduous runs for nutrition and hydration!

* Info on Mila * To try some use US11065661 * Video *


Have you heard of these ideas on fighting fatigue, tiredness and dehydration? What are some of your tips?

If you liked this post, please comment and share with others!


Fresh Berry and Yogurt Bowl with Mila

Fresh Berry and Yogurt Bowl with Mila

Fresh Berry and Yogurt Bowl with Mila

Vegan, Gluten Free
Serves 2
Printable Recipe

Ingredients

1 cup non-dairy yogurt
1 pint fresh berries
2 Tbsp milled chia such as Mila
Sprinkle of natural sea salt

Directions

1.  Pour 1/2 cup yogurt into each bowl; top with 1 Tbsp Mila; divide the berries evenly; sprinkle natural sea salt.

Nutrition Facts
2 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 142.3
Total Fat 5.3 g
Saturated Fat 0.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 188.5 mg
Potassium 109.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate 16.3 g
Dietary Fiber 7.1 g
Sugars 8.2 g
Protein 8.0 g

Vitamin A 1.5 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 1.3 %
Vitamin C 19.7 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 3.6 %
Calcium 0.5 %
Copper 2.2 %
Folate 1.1 %
Iron 3.7 %
Magnesium 6.4 %
Manganese 10.2 %
Niacin 1.3 %
Pantothenic Acid 0.7 %
Phosphorus 6.3 %
Riboflavin 2.1 %
Selenium 0.6 %
Thiamin 2.3 %
Zinc 0.6 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Jul 102014
 

Fresh summer produce gave me the idea for this Easy Vegan Three Bean Salad. There is nothing better than vine ripened tomatoes, hearty edamame and garbanzo beans, and crisp-tender green beans dressed simply with olive oil and sea salt.

Perfect Pot Luck Salad!

Perfect Pot Luck Salad!

For cookouts, beach days, and everyday life, this is the PERFECT summer base salad. What is a base salad? Something you can add to; sautéed tofu, cashew cheese, or any protein or cheese you like.


July 4th was a whirlwind.

There was lots of time for fun and a few points of reflection.

The holiday kicked off with a cookout, followed by a beach day complete with paddle boarding and body surfing, and later that evening we watched our daughter see fire works for the first time on the boat….now THAT was cool.  There was even an unexpected limo ride the next day!

We were at our second cookout of the weekend, when suddenly there was a limo at the front door. Our friend’s landscaper/part owner of a new restaurant had sent a limo by to fetch us to enjoy food and drinks at his new place.

Then the unthinkable happened.  I got a call from my mom who had been rushed to the emergency room with chest pain.

With thoughts of my Dad‘s sudden passing in my head, I drove to the hospital. After many tests and a weekend of hospital food, she was diagnosed with severe gastrointestinal issues (not from the hospital food, but that’s a whole other story). Since she never complains about aches and pains, the pain must have been really bad at the time.

On the way home I reflected how fragile life is. After losing Dad so suddenly, I could clearly see the possibility of losing both my parents, and what was left was devastating. It made me so grateful that she is ok and back home and that I have been able to make the changes I had yearned for – leaving Corporate America, becoming self-employed, loving every minute with my small daughter and relishing the ability to be creative. Every. Day.

Has it been easy? Not always. But worth it? Yes.

I further reflected on what kept me where I was for so long.

Fear.

Fear that I might fall flat on my face, fear that I might be embarrassed, fear that I would have to work so hard and hate it, fear of failure.

There’s an old saying, if you love what you do, you never have to work a day in your life. 

It is SO true. Yes I work hard, but I enjoy every day now.

And guess what else I found out. Failure is part of success.

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. ~ Wayne Gretzky

This is my wish for you. Live every day as if it is your last. If you don’t like where you are in life now, begin to take steps to change it. Don’t stay where you are out of fear. Turn off the TV. Read books that will help you in life, like How to Win Friends and Influence People. Study people like Marie Forleo and Tony Robbins. Get up early, start dreaming, planning and taking action. Take a chance, let yourself fail, get back up and keep on going.

Don’t wait.

And while you’re dreaming, I have the perfect salad to fuel you.


Are you where you want to be? Do you have changes you need to make in life? What is holding you back?


Easy Vegan Three Bean Salad

Easy Vegan Three Bean Salad

Three Bean Salad

Serves about 10 rounded 1/2 cup servings
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe

Ingredients

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
12 oz fresh green beans
12 oz shelled edamame
2 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup red onion (optional)
1/4 to 1/2 tsp coarse ground sea salt
1/8 to 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 to 3 Tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Directions

1. Steam green beans until crisp-tender; about 10 minutes; remove from steamer and run under cold water and let drain. Cut into bite sized pieces.

2. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Toss well.

Nutrition Facts
10 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 151.6
Total Fat 5.8 g
Saturated Fat 0.6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.7 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 234.8 mg
Potassium 233.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate 18.7 g
Dietary Fiber 4.1 g
Sugars 0.8 g
Protein 7.3 g

Vitamin A 13.0 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 14.1 %
Vitamin C 18.2 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 3.9 %
Calcium 6.2 %
Copper 6.7 %
Folate 12.6 %
Iron 9.7 %
Magnesium 6.6 %
Manganese 20.1 %
Niacin 2.7 %
Pantothenic Acid 2.6 %
Phosphorus 6.5 %
Riboflavin 4.0 %
Selenium 2.4 %
Thiamin 4.2 %
Zinc 4.2 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Three Bean Salad 

Jul 012014
 

My sunny state of Florida is such a great place for plant-based food lovers to indulge. Those of us that live here know this well; however, I have many followers that live outside the state and I encourage you to visit and taste what we have to offer! Tasting Florida


This part of the world is a real melting pot for different cultures, which presents itself in the richly varied types of dishes that can typically be found in Florida. There are tons of inexpensive options for traveling to Florida, many times last minute deals are readily available, and securing one of these flights means that visitors to Florida will have extra money to spend sampling the state’s many delicious dishes.

Seafood Alternatives
The Florida Keys region is famous for its seafood; however, there are lots of options for those of us on a plant based diet that are concerned about ocean sustainability. Try delicious black beans and rice, fresh salsas, and vegan options such as tofu or tempeh. Ballyhoo’s in Key Largo has a entire vegan menu!

Ballyhoo's

Ballyhoo’s

Photo credit to Ballyhoo’s

Swamp Cabbage
This simple yet delicious vegetable dish is made from the core of the sabal palm tree, which can be found growing all over Florida. The vegetable is boiled with cabbage and served with tomatoes and cream; however, soy or coconut creamer could be easily substituted here and would be even more delicious!

Swamp Cabbage

Swamp Cabbage

Creative Commons Photo Credit

Key Lime Pie
People who have a sweet tooth are sure to love this local dessert, which originated in the Florida Keys. Normally this dessert is made with lime, sweetened condensed milk and egg yolk, which is whipped together and then cooked in a pie crust. After cooking, the key lime pie is topped with meringue, but you can save your arteries and try a delicious VEGAN version at the Café in Key West.

Vegan Key Lime Pie

Vegan Key Lime Pie

Creative Commons Photo Credit

Snacks
Locally grown fruit and vegetables such as strawberries, boiled peanuts, grits and okra are popular snacks in Florida that can be eaten at any time of the day or night. They are sold at roadside stands throughout the state of Florida.

Boiled Peanuts

Boiled Peanuts

Creative Commons Photo Credit

One of the most exciting parts of travelling to new countries and exploring new cultures is trying all of the authentic food and culinary delights from the independent local outlets. Florida certainly has plenty to offer.

 Posted by at 7:12 pm
Jun 162014
 

Tender sweet potatoes, rich curry and toasted bread are the feature ingredients in my crunchy, delicious Sweet Potato Sliders with Curry Pesto.

Sweet Potato Sliders with Curry Pesto

Sweet Potato Sliders with Curry Pesto

Well known as the home of the controversial Paula Deen, Savannah Georgia is one of my favorite places on earth. It is rich with history, has a great food scene and an amazing farmers market in Forsyth Park.

I visited last week, camping in my mom’s new camper at Skidaway Island State Park. If you ever stay in the area, definitely plan on the market Saturday morning. It runs from 9am to 1pm.

The mission of the Forsyth Farmers’ Market is to promote understanding and participation in a local food system that supports sustainable production and increases access to local products.”

Forsyth Farmers Market

Forsyth Farmers Market

Last week’s market held a special surprise through a gentleman named Michael Maddox; the manifestation of my dream to build a community around an organic farm. TRUE community supported agriculture. Think of the possibilities! A school, homes and families all focused around health, food and a connection with nature.

I can’t help but wonder how many of us could grow our own food if we needed to. How many kids know where vegetables come from, or even what many vegetables even taste like?

Green Bridge Farm

Green Bridge Farm

Meet Michal from Green Bridge Farm, about thirty minutes northwest of Savannah. I spoke with Michael and he is now selling lots around his organic farm, with a school just nearby. This land has been in his family since the 1700′s and he is personally funding this project.

A Sustainable Community Project

An ecologically-friendly development of twenty five wooded acres in Effingham County, Georgia.

An existing 20 year old organic farm is the center piece and shared community space on this otherwise wooded acreage. Lots for sale in sizes of 1.2-1.6 acres each, priced at $50,000.00 per lot.

Green Bridge Farm

Green Bridge Farm

There is even now a Tumbleweed home for rent! Tumbleweed homes are small homes, sometimes on wheels, that help people live simple, inexpensive, uncluttered lives. To me – that sounds like real freedom. The blog notes state,“We now have a Tumbleweed house for rent. Anyone interested in visiting the farm and staying overnight can now stay in this little home for  small fee.  Call me for details. 912-667-1118.” 

Here are the details of the main lots.

Community Space

There are approximately four acres set aside for community space including existing organic vegetable gardens and fruit orchards. Gardening is not mandatory but this project provides a unique opportunity for those interested in growing their own food. The four acre lot and gardens will be maintained by the neighborhood association.

CSA

CSA

I would love for projects like this to begin popping up all over the US. Pure utopia. It would be amazing to live in small communities, utilizing solar power if possible, and spending spare time learning how to self-sustain. No produce from Chile and Argentina, no trucks from halfway across the US. Think of the energy savings!  My next dream is to build lots that have gone vacant and build tumbleweed communities – where one family once was, now there are five, with a garden in the middle. Sort of like this one in Somoma but with the organic garden in the center.  America’s “bigger is better” mentality is unsustainable, this would be a solution to this problem. No trees would be cut down to clear new land, and families would still have the joy of owning their own space. Who wants to join me with this project?!

Forsyth Farmers Market

Forsyth Farmers Market

Back at the campground we created a lovely meal from the fresh produce we got at the market as the children played at the playground. What I love best about camping is the family time – no technology distractions. It is an inexpensive and fun way to take lots more vacations throughout the year!

Camping

Camping

One of the last days we were in Savannah we tried to visit our favorite Green Truck Pub, but much to our dismay, it was closed that day! We resorted to a small café next door to a natural food store and my mom happened to order the most delicious looking sandwich.

Sweet Potato Sliders with Curry Pesto

Sweet Potato Sliders with Curry Pesto

A sweet potato on ciabatta with a creamy pesto. It was VERY heavy, but I loved the concept and it simply had to be recreated at home….so here it is! Crunchy, sweet, delicious and with a little twist of curry on fresh baked, organic bread. Nothing better!

Sweet Potato Sliders with Curry Pesto

Sweet Potato Sliders with Curry Pesto

   Sweet Potato Sliders with Curry Pesto

Serves Estimated 8-10
Vegan
Printable Recipe

Ingredients

2 large sweet potatoes
1 baguette
1 10 oz pkg baby lettuces
1/3 cup raisins

Curry Pesto
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
2 tsp curry powder
2 Tbsp melted curry coconut oil (such as Ziggy Marley) + extra for greasing baking sheet and potatoes
1 clove garlic
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground ginger

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 450F; grease baking sheet with coconut oil and rub additional on potatoes; poke holes evenly over skin of potatoes with fork; rub with salt; bake for 30 minutes; flip and bake additional 20 to 30 minutes; remove from oven, let cool and slice.

2. Meanwhile blend curry pesto ingredients; slice and toast or grill baguette.

3. Layer 1 slice baguette, spread 1 – 2 tsp pesto, a few raisins; two slices sweet potato; a few lettuce leaves, top with second baguette slice.

**Please note: un-flavored coconut oil works just fine. Feel free to use that as well!

Estimated Nutrition Info
**There may be some pesto left, so calorie count may be lower. When I created the calorie count I had to include the calories and fat from all the pesto.
10 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 225.6
Total Fat 4.7 g
Saturated Fat 2.5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.7 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 348.2 mg
Potassium 152.1 mg
Total Carbohydrate 32.8 g
Dietary Fiber 2.6 g
Sugars 5.8 g
Protein 5.8 g

Vitamin A 67.5 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 5.4 %
Vitamin C 41.9 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 1.9 %
Calcium 3.2 %
Copper 5.1 %
Folate 1.7 %
Iron 11.7 %
Magnesium 3.8 %
Manganese 8.1 %
Niacin 3.2 %
Pantothenic Acid 4.1 %
Phosphorus 4.5 %
Riboflavin 2.4 %
Selenium 0.6 %
Thiamin 2.7 %
Zinc 1.8 %

*Percent Daily Values for Sweet Potato Sliders with Curry Pesto are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Jun 062014
 

My Summer Coolers with fresh fruit and herbs are perfect to bring with you on the go. They will leave you feeling light, refreshed and are 35 calories or less!

Refreshing Summer Cooler with Fresh Fruit

Refreshing Summer Cooler with Fresh Fruit

Drink eight glasses of water.

Eat your fruits and vegetables.

Don’t drink sodas or diet sodas.

Hey, we all know the rules. We know we need to stay hydrated and eat our fruit, but drinking water all day gets boring, and reaching for a granola bar or diet soda is easier.

I’ve found a delicious way to get your water and fruit in – that is so refreshing, you’re freezer will be filled with mason jars.

Why are we supposed to stay hydrated anyway?

I’ve got a few good reasons. Are bodies are made up of mostly water. We need it to cushion organs, flush toxins and cool our bodies.

Speaking of cushioning our organs – think of what happens when our brain is dehydrated. Hello headaches and fatigue.

Many times we think we are hungry, but we’re actually thirsty. I can’t tell you how many time’s I’ve read a blog post or tip that tells me to drink a full glass of water before each meal to keep me fuller. Do I do it? No. Why? Because that glass of wine is calling my name.  But THIS recipe is a whole other story. I drink it morning, noon and night, and after one taste, I bet you will too.

Refreshing Summer Cooler with Fresh Fruit

Refreshing Summer Cooler with Fresh Fruit

A few other luscious ideas:

Herb Coolers

Herb Coolers

Blueberry, Thyme and Grapefruit Essential Oil (Or use fresh grapefruit juice)

Strawberry, Cucumber, Basil and Peppermint Essential Oil (Or use fresh peppermint)

Mint, Basil, Blueberry, Thyme and Lemon Essential Oil (Or use fresh lemon juice)

**Please note, use can absolutely use fresh juice in place of any of the oils – it just won’t be quite as fragrant or potent.

**If you are using oils, do NOT use just any old oil. See below for tips.

**If you would like to try the certified organic oils I use, visit my essential oils page.

Tips

Stay cool!

Refreshing Summer Cooler with Fresh Fruit

Refreshing Summer Cooler with Fresh Fruit

Refreshing Summer Fruit Cooler

Serves 2
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe

Ingredients

*Certified Organic Lemon Essential oil (or juice 1 lemon)
1 cup fresh fruit (I used berries and peaches)
Filtered Water
2 Mason Jars

Directions

1. Spoon 1/2 cup fresh fruit into each mason jar; cover with filtered water; drop two drops of lemon essential oils into each of the jars; freeze Mason jars overnight.

2. Fill remaining space in mason jar with water (and additional fruit or herbs if desired) and drop two additional drops of lemon essential oil into each jar; cover, shake and enjoy.

 

Nutrition Facts
2 Servings
Amount Per Serving
Calories 35.0
Total Fat 0.0 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 7.5 mg
Potassium 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 8.5 g
Dietary Fiber 1.5 g
Sugars 5.5 g
Protein 0.5 g

Vitamin A 1.0 %
Calcium 3.0 %
Iron 2.0 %

*Percent Daily Values for Refreshing Summer Coolers with Fresh Fruit are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

May 142014
 

My Teriyaki Tempeh Lettuce Wraps are as simple to make as they are delicious. Whether you put them in a tortilla to make a taco, or chop the tempeh and throw it over some salad – this is a versatile, filling and scrumptious meal.

Teriyaki Tempeh Lettuce Wraps

Teriyaki Tempeh Lettuce Wraps

Summer is on the way and sometimes we want something lighter for lunch or dinner. For this dish I swapped out the tortilla for some fresh lettuce from KyV Farm to lighten things up.  In fact, these Teriyaki Tempeh Lettuce Wraps can be made outside on the grill during a BBQ or picnic. Instead of cooking the tempeh slices in a skillet, simply oil and place on the grill – cook each side for about 5 minutes, or until char marks appear, then toss in the Teriyaki and you are good to go!

Try as a taco too!

Try as a taco too!

If someone still wants theirs in taco form (as you can see my daughter couldn’t wait to grab her taco – that is her little hand in the photo), bring along some tortillas to change it up. Another option is to chop the lettuce and make a salad by adding the red onion, cilantro and maybe some sautéed mushrooms and broccoli or grilled asparagus.

Teriyaki Tempeh Lettuce Wraps

Teriyaki Tempeh Lettuce Wraps

 Teriyaki Tempeh Lettuce Wraps

Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe

Ingredients

1 block tempeh, sliced into strips
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup Teriyaki sauce
8 fresh lettuce leaves (I used fresh from KyV Farm, but any Bibb or Romaine will do)
4 tsp Spicy Red Pepper Miso Mayo or Vegenaise
Sliced red onion
Handful fresh cilantro

Optional
4 tortillas

Directions

1. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in large skillet over medium high heat; add tempeh and cook 5 minutes; flip and cook an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat; add Teriyaki sauce and stir until both sides of tempeh are coated.

2. Place two lettuce leaves on each of four plates; divide tempeh over servings; top with 1 tsp each Miso mayo or Vegenaise; sliced red onion and fresh cilantro.

Turn into tacos by layering fresh lettuce, tempeh and remaining fixings over tortillas!

Nutrition Facts 
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 187.8
Total Fat 12.4 g
Saturated Fat 1.9 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 6.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 727.9 mg
Potassium 352.7 mg
Total Carbohydrate 9.5 g
Dietary Fiber 0.4 g
Sugars 2.8 g
Protein 11.9 g

Vitamin A 20.2 %
Vitamin B-12 0.8 %
Vitamin B-6 14.4 %
Vitamin C 2.5 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 3.0 %
Calcium 18.6 %
Copper 23.2 %
Folate 16.1 %
Iron 26.3 %
Magnesium 33.2 %
Manganese 39.8 %
Niacin 14.6 %
Pantothenic Acid 5.0 %
Phosphorus 37.4 %
Riboflavin 18.6 %
Selenium 0.3 %
Thiamin 7.0 %
Zinc 5.7 %

% Percent Daily Values for Teriyaki Tempeh Lettuce Wraps are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

May 022014
 

The secret is in the sauce with my Garlic Black Beans over Rice Pasta. Extra garlic, onions, Kalamata olive paste and sundried tomatoes are tied together with a dash of balsamic for pure perfection.

Garlic Black Beans

Garlic Black Beans

What is the first thing you are usually thinking about when you get up each morning?

If I wake up before my alarm, my brain tends to go towards what I need to get done that day and I automatically guide it towards what I’m grateful for. If it is my alarm that wakes me up on the other hand, I’m thinking how tired I am already before I can start directing my thoughts towards a more positive place.

I’m thinking about it this morning because I came across this amazingly eye opening video by Marie Forleo interviewing Arianna Huffington. Marie writes, “Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post, has been wildly successful, but was working so hard at one point in her life that she found herself sick and burnt out, overworked, and boggled down with things to do.

In her book Thrive, Arianna Huffington shares the secret to how changing your mindset and a few habits in your daily routine can help you unlock your true wisdom, allow you to come up with your best ideas, and be your most creative self.

She’s learned from experience that following these simple steps can lead to a more productive, less stressful, and more joyful life where you’re not strangled by your to-do list and have enough time to actually accomplish (and enjoy) the things in your life that matter most.”

How to be more productive and less stressed? Sign me up! The most eye opening part for me was when she said if you start becoming fearful or stressed, change the channel.

What the hell does this have with Garlic Black Beans over Rice Pasta? Because this was a night that I was harried, stressed, tired and the last thing I could think of what to make for dinner. I had a bunch of things I needed to use in the fridge or it would be too late (and I loathe waste) so, as much as I wanted to, I didn’t go out and buy dinner. This choice would save time and money in the end.

I had to stop and tell myself that there is nothing else I can do in this moment while I’m making dinner – effectively “changing the channel”. I was able to refocus, look at what I had, and create this meal that came out deliciously, surprisingly well. Instead of traditional Cuban or Mexican spices, the olives and sundried tomatoes give this dish almost a meaty texture and taste and the balsamic vinegar at the finish adds a tangy layer of depth that simply makes the dish. We all went in for seconds – it is even going on my favorites list!

What is the first thing you usually think about in the morning? If you watch this video, what was your favorite tip?

Garlicky Black Beans

Garlicky Black Beans

Garlicky Black Beans over Rice Pasta

Serves 6
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe

Ingredients

1 tsp EVOO
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp sea salt & dash fresh ground pepper
2 cups chopped kale
4 1/2 cups well cooked black beans (or 3 14.5 oz cans, rinse and drain only one, reserve liquid from second)
2-3 cups veggie broth or water (depending on how thick you prefer)
3 Tbsp Kalamata olive spread, such as Organic Divina
3 Tbsp julienned sundried tomatoes
2 tsp course ground prepared mustard
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
10 oz rice pasta, cooked to package directions

Directions

1. Heat a stock pot over medium high heat; add olive oil; sauté onion about 5 minutes (add a tbsp of water if onions begin to stick); reduce heat; add garlic; cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute; add salt, pepper, kale, black beans, veggie broth, olive spread, sundried tomatoes and mustard. Simmer about 20 minutes or until soup has thickened. Stir in balsamic vinegar. Serve over rice pasta.

Nutrition Facts
5 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 426.4
Total Fat 7.0 g
Saturated Fat 0.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.7 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 766.1 mg (use water to reduce to 424 mg)
Potassium 670.5 mg
Total Carbohydrate 66.6 g
Dietary Fiber 14.2 g
Sugars 1.6 g
Protein 16.1 g

Vitamin A 146.2 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin 6 9.8 %
Vitamin C 39.7 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 2.8 %
Calcium 7.5 %
Copper 17.2 %
Folate 41.2 %
Iron 20.1 %
Magnesium 21.9 %
Manganese 38.7 %
Niacin 17.1 %
Pantothenic Acid 3.5 %
Phosphorus 17.5 %
Riboflavin 6.7 %
Selenium 3.2 %
Thiamin 32.1 %
Zinc 9.2 %

*Percent Daily Values for Garlic Black Beans over Rice Pasta are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.