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

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 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.

Apr 022014
 

  This Easy & Delicious Vegan Spanakopita Recipe has a healthy little secret – within that oh-so light and flakey crust it is stuffed with savory, seasoned greens and tangy sun dried tomatoes nestled inside. My whole family enjoyed each bite!

Vegan Spanakopita Recipe

Vegan Spanakopita Recipe

Getting kids involved in cooking is fun.

Especially with plant based cooking. No worries of contamination or icky pathogens – just good clean fun.  The best part is that it is time well spent together (electronics-free), AND gives kids a skill that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.

When I graduated college I do believe my best dish was spaghetti with jarred sauce that I typically managed to still mess up. I remember all the waaaaaay back to my dorm at FSU – there was a shared kitchen with one of those old stoves with the coil.

Visions of a Dorm Room

Visions of a Dorm Room

The “kitchen” was more of a closet with other students occasionally also cooking spaghetti or a processed cheese product that could last a nuclear ice age – you know the one I’m talking about.

Cooking in the Dorm

Cooking in the Dorm

Very funny photo source. If you want to be entertained - click the link. 

A well trained cook, my mother was not. Fish sticks, chicken pot pie and tuna noodle casserole all the way baby.
Love you mom! Please don’t be mad I’m telling everyone about the frozen fish sticks!

My Nana, on the other hand, was an excellent macrobiotic cook. But, unfortunately I didn’t think macrobiotics were cool when I was growing up, so I didn’t learn how brilliant my Nana was until later in life.

Now that I have learned so much about food, our food system in the US, and cooking, I have vowed to bless my daughter with knowledge and skill. She will know what kohlrabi is, how to make her own bean burgers (and be able to eat the raw mix if she wants), the importance of fiber, why staying away from dairy is key, and the state of the commercial farming industry. She is one of the people that will help shape our future – and the future looks better than today.

Part of our future is electronics. I’ve learned to embrace it, but respect it’s power. One of the ways I have planned to embrace it is by doing more videos on how to cook. My problem is timing. By the time I get home from a long day of business meetings, appointments etc. my daughter needs to start her homework  and I have to get dinner on the table before she tries to eat me out of house and home. The last thing I seem to be able to do is put makeup on and film a video.

But I have good news. I’ve discovered a great medium for the busy cook who wants to get into the video segment.

The Vine Video. In 7 seconds I can give a quick overview of how a dish was made. No one really wants to sit down to a 20 minute tutorial before they eat anyway, right? Right? (At least that’s what I’m telling myself.)

Well here it is. You can pause it at each frame but just don’t pause it on my oh-so-fresh and un-made up face. Lord knows I’m not in my college days any more.

Did you grow up cooking? If you have children, how do you get them involved?

Vegan Spanakopita Recipe

Vegan Spanakopita Recipe

Greens Spanakopita

Serves 4
Vegan
Printable Recipe

Ingredients

8 sheets fillo dough
Olive oil spray
1 onion, sliced thinly
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 bunches kale, bok choy, spinach or mixture of any greens (about 5 cups), chopped
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1/3 cup julienned sundried tomatoes
2/3 cup non-dairy cheese (such as cashew cheese, Daiya or tofu cheese)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat; spray with olive oil; sauté onions, about 5 minutes; reduce heat to medium-low; add garlic and greens, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Cook an additional 5 minutes or until greens are wilted.

2. Place one sheet fillo on pan prepared with parchment; spray with olive oil; top with next sheet; repeat. Top with greens mixture, cheese and sundried tomato; fold edges over so top is completely covered; flip and spray top with additional olive oil; bake for 25-30 minutes or until fillo is browned. ** Cut into four triangles.

**Watch the fillo closely because it can go from undercooked to overcooked in minutes!

Nutrition Facts (with 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil)
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 204.8
Total Fat 9.6 g
Saturated Fat 1.9 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.8 g
Monounsaturated Fat 4.2 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 508.0 mg
Potassium 599.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate 26.4 g
Dietary Fiber 4.3 g
Sugars 4.5 g
Protein 5.8 g

Vitamin A 296.1 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 12.6 %
Vitamin C 86.9 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 8.5 %
Calcium 9.5 %
Copper 14.1 %
Folate 9.3 %
Iron 12.7 %
Magnesium 10.1 %
Manganese 33.8 %
Niacin 6.1 %
Pantothenic Acid 2.4 %
Phosphorus 7.0 %
Riboflavin 7.3 %
Selenium 3.0 %
Thiamin 7.5 %
Zinc 3.4 %

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

Mar 122014
 
Vegan Carrot Cake

My Carrot Bundt Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting is a new and fresh twist on the classic flavors you love.

Sweet, creamy and tangy frosting is slathered over spiced, carrot bundt cake that is stuffed with raisins, sunflower seeds and coconut in this easy-to-make recipe (that just so happens to be vegan, gluten free, nut free and refined sugar free).

Florida Coastal Cooking

Florida Coastal Cooking

Cream cheese and carrots.  A little naughty and a little nice.

Vegan, GF, Sugar Free Carrot Bundt Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Vegan, GF, Sugar Free Carrot Bundt Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Sort of like strangers kissing for the first time.

(I just had to fit that video in because it is so sweetly romantic.)

Though you will feel naughty eating carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, you’ll find that this cake is actually very nice! Each serving boasts 5 grams of fiber, ZERO cholesterol, 13.8g sugar, 5 g protein and TONS of vitamins and minerals.

Now let’s compare this to a cheesecake factory slice of carrot cake……

Nutrition Facts, Cheesecake Factory Carrot Cake, Serving Size 1 slice, Amount Per Serving

Calories from Fat 756 Calories 1510
% Daily Values* Total Fat 84g 129% Saturated Fat 23g 115% Cholesterol 190mg 63% Sodium 600mg 25% Total Carbohydrate 179g 60% Dietary Fiber 6g 24% Sugars 129g Protein 18g

Vegan, GF, Sugar Free Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Vegan, GF, Sugar Free Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

 Tips for this bundt cake: This is a small bundt cake – be sure to keep an eye on the cook time. You may want to check it at 20 minutes as oven cooking times vary.  This cream cheese frosting will be great on just about any cake or cupcake. If you don’t like maple – simply sub agave or brown rice syrup.

What is your favorite cake? Chocolate cake? Rum cake? Fruit Cake?  Maybe I’ll make that next!

Vegan, GF, Sugar Free Carrot Bundt Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Vegan, GF, Sugar Free Carrot Bundt Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot Bundt Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Serves 10
Vegan, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Nut Free
Printable Recipe

Ingredients

1/2 cup coconut butter, softened
1 cup unrefined, organic coconut sugar (or 1/2 coconut and 1/2 sugar if you don’t care about sugar free)
1/4 cup unsweet apple sauce or crushed pineapple
1/4 tsp lemon zest & 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup non dairy milk
1 1/2 cups GF all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup each raisins, sunflower seed and/or pumpkin seed, shredded unsweet coconut.

Maple vanilla cream cheese frosting
8oz cream cheese alternative
2 Tbsp maple
1 tsp lemon (2 drop lemon oil)
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cider vinegar

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Cream together coconut butter and coconut sugar; stir in applesauce or crushed pineapple; stir in lemon juice and lemon zest. Add vanilla, salt, pumpkin pie spice and nondairy milk.

2. Mix GF All Purpose Flour with baking powder in a small bowl. Stir slowly into wet ingredients.

3. Add 1 cup carrot, raisins, sunflower seed/pumpkin seed and shredded unsweet coconut.

4. Bake at 325 25 – 30 minutes. Test at 25 minutes with a knife to ensure it comes out clean. Cool completely.

5. Mix frosting ingredients. Frost cooled cake

Nutrition Facts
10 Servings
Amount Per Serving 

Calories 291.0
Total Fat 17.4 g
Saturated Fat 10.8 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.3 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 366.0 mg
Potassium 122.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 32.9 g
Dietary Fiber 5.0 g
Sugars 13.8 g
Protein 4.4 g

Vitamin A 30.9 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 2.9 %
Vitamin C 4.6 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 8.5 %
Calcium 14.0 %
Copper 4.6 %
Folate 2.8 %
Iron 13.2 %
Magnesium 2.3 %
Manganese 16.0 %
Niacin 2.1 %
Pantothenic Acid 2.8 %
Phosphorus 6.3 %
Riboflavin 1.3 %
Selenium 4.1 %
Thiamin 1.4 %
Zinc 2.7 %

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

Mar 072014
 
Genesis Pure Organic Essential Oils

 I am head over heels in love with these new 100% organic essential oils!

 

(Scroll down to find out why I’m so excited and how I’m now saving 100 calories by using essential oils!)

So much to say, so little time.

In the scheme of health and wellness in my life – essential oils are fairly new.  When I researched information on the web about essential oils to share with you – WHOA. The information is simply overwhelming. Just for you I spent days scouring the web to find you the best info and then compile the important info here.

WHY use organic essential oils?

Positive effects on the brain (Stress & Insomnia)
Dermatological health
Wellbeing
Antibacterial properties
Non-chemical cleaning – no worries of pesticides
Beneficial for circulation and respiration if used properly
Safe for the environment
Supports sustainable farming

Genesis Pure Organic Essential Oils

Genesis Pure Organic Essential Oils

7 Great ways to use essential oils

Some of these you may know but some are hopefully fresh ideas!
If you want more inspiration check out Pinterest.

Inhale it:

10 drops in a diffuser, hot compress or in hot water
A few drops in your shampoo to energize (peppermint is great in the morning)
direct palm inhalation – use only with oils that are safe to use undiluted. Rub palms and inhale.
Facial steam – 1 – 5 drops on hot water in a pot, cover head with a towel, steam face. Excellent for opening sinuses, headaches, skin treatment.
May help us feel better with – headaches, sinus and respiratory.
Caution: Prolonged use can cause dizziness, nausea, headaches and lethargy

Relax in an aromatic bath.

Relax in an aromatic bath.

Epidermal (on the skin):

Bath – mix with salts or drop a few in the bath. (Great to use Lavender and Eucalyptus)
A generally safe dose is 5 – 10 drops, mixed with 1/2 to 1 cup of salt or emulsifier.
Aromatic baths may alleviate skin problems, circulatory problems, respiratory symptoms, stress and nervous tension, insomnia, muscular and menstrual pains.
Caution: Overuse of essential oils in the bath can cause irritation. Use only mild, non-irritating oils for bath, such as lavender oil and clary sage oil.

Compresses:

10 drops oil in 4 oz hot water, soak cloth, wrap.
Good for bruises, wounds, muscular aches and pains, dysmenorrhea, skin problems.

Massage:

Essential oils are very concentrated. For adults, about 14 drops per oz is recommended for most purposes. For children under 12, about 6 drops per oz is generally safe. A 2.5% blend for a 1 ounce bottle of carrier oil, such as jojoba, is 15 drops of essential oil.

Cleaning and Laundry:

Citrus:
Remove smells from laundry
Remove scuffs on shoes
A few drops in the dishwasher for spot free shine
Breaks up sap from trees
Great to de-grease
Mix with vinegar to cut grease
Remove hard water
Clean stainless steel & granite
Peppermint and Eucalyptus:
Mix eucalyptus and baking soda to kill dust mites on your mattress – 1 cup baking soda to 10 drops peppermint and eucalyptus, sift over bare mattress and leave for an hour, vacuum
Remove pet odor – mix 1 cup baking soda with 10 drops lavender, sift over carpet, leave for 1 hour, vacuum

Cooking and internal
**Use caution here – not all essential oils can be taken internally. Be sure to dilute if drinking with at least 4 oz water. Check with your physician if you have ANY questions or concerns.

Lemon will add zing to cooking and baking
Add peppermint to water and coffee grinds
Lemon or peppermint & honey to soothe irritated throat

Oral health:

Brush teeth with baking soda, lemon & peppermint

Essential Oil Chart

Essential Oil Chart

Source: One Good Thing

Notes and Tips:

Pure: Pure does not always mean pure. This term is not regulated and may be applied to just about anything. Is there a statement about purity? You should be informed if it is not 100% essential oil (meaning, it has been altered or mixed with something else).
Sustainability: Many essential oils are not from sustainably harvested plants and farming practices – be sure to choose a brand you feel comfortable with. Most essential oils sold in the U.S. are not certified as to their organic status, but some European brands are. 
Grades: Be aware that there are various grades of essential oils and that many times a low grade is sold as a higher grade.
The terminology is not regulated.  Watch for words such as fragrance oil, perfume oil or natural identical oil. Therapeutic or aromatherapy grade is touted as the higher grade essential oil but this cannot relied on. Many oils are sold as “pure” or “genuine” and are not. There is much false advertising in the aromatherapy market. Be sure to choose a USDA certified organic oil that includes the organic seal to ensure that you are not ingesting pesticides topically or internally through inhalation or ingestion.
Quality oils are sold in a dark glass bottle. Beware of oils sold in plastic or lighter containers – the oils can dissolve plastic and can be damaged by heat and light. Also be aware of any oils being sold as the same price for all oils. Quality oils vary widely in price due to availability of plants, cost of harvesting and extraction. Is the cost comparable in comparison with other brands of the same essential oil? If it’s really cheap, it probably isn’t the real thing. Does it smell as you expect it to smell?

Tips from Reference University of Minnesota

Dos and Don’ts

Do keep out of reach of children
Do research each essential oil you wish to try
Do use caution if you have serious health conditions or are pregnant
Do research whether the essential oil can be used undiluted or “neat” or should be diluted
Do not rub essential oils on before sun exposure – may lead to phototoxicity – especially citrus oils like bergamot
Do not use oils that have added synthetic fragrances
Do consult a physician if you have any questions
Do not consume any essential oil without researching. Many contain harmful chemicals and pesticides and are NOT safe to consume
Do keep in mind food allergies – if you are allergic to the plant you will be allergic to the oil

For anyone that scrolled straight down or took their time to read the tips and do’s and don’ts, I’ll share why I’m so excited…. because I found a brand new way to save 100 calories and a refreshing alternative to plain old water!

Imagine for a minute that moment you bite into a fresh orange. A burst of sweet, bright citrus explodes in your mouth. Are you drooling yet?

That was the sensation I got when I put a drop of organic essential orange oil in a cold glass of water before my workout. It has even more flavor than squeezing fresh fruit and is so easy to carry with me in my purse.

Orange Essential Oil

Orange Essential Oil

So many people have told me they try to drink enough water but it is just so…..boring. Instead they try soda, diet soda (even worse in my opinion), juice, coffee etc.

Instead of a calorie laden drink, or a water flavoring with tons of preservatives, try a drop of essential oil! The water will also naturally replace some caloric foods and help you up that water intake.

Let’s compare.

Organic Orange Juice

Organic Orange Juice

Organic OJ does have tons of vitamin C, but it also has tons of calories. Best to simply eat an orange and get the fiber as well. Keep in mind most of the fiber is in the white fibrous that we typically try to take off!

mio

There are tons of flavored water drops for water, but they are full of preservatives and sugar substitutes.
Water, Citric Acid, Propylene Glycol, Malic Acid, Contains Less than 2% of Natural Flavor, Sucralose and Acesulfame Potassium (Sweeteners), Potassium Citrate, Red 40, Blue 1, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative).

I love how there are so many warnings about essential oils – which is true, not all are created equal, but when you read the above ingredients on a product made by KRAFT foods, you realize how far the food industry has gone down the wrong path and how far it to come to right itself when people wake up and start reading ingredients.

GP essentail oils

The essential oils I have fallen in love with are a brand I personally support called Genesis Pure brand. They are 100% pure and 100% USDA certified organic, non GMO and sustainably harvested. As of yet, though there are MANY amazing oils out there (shout out to Aura Cacia (available at Native Sun!), Young Living, doTerra) I personally have not found any other oils I feel as safe with for putting a drop in my water and consuming internally. I splurged and bought all of them and I am very excited. I have been using them for so many things – but my most favorite is a drop or two of orange or lemon in water!

For each essential oil I read the information before I use it. Here are my absolute favorites…
(Descriptions directly from website.)

Tea Tree:
100% PURE Essential Oil and Certified Organic.
From the leaves of the Australian Melaleuca Tree, comes this unique product with a pleasantly fresh, clean scent. Genesis PURE™ Tea Tree contains naturally-occurring compounds, known for topical cleansing. Traditionally, tea tree oil has been used to help promote healthy skin function. It was used topically by Australian aborigines to promote the healing of bruises and prevent infection. Does not contain any fillers or carriers.
Topical Use: Dilute 1 drop in ½ tsp (2.5 mL) carrier oil before applying to skin.
Dietary Use: Dilute 1 drop in 1 tsp honey or 4 oz beverage.
Aromatic Use: Add 1-2 drops into a diffuser.
refrigerate after opening

Lemon:
100% PURE Essential Oil and Certified Organic.
Envelop your body in the strong, citrus scent of Genesis PURE™ Lemon. This vibrant aroma may invigorate your senses. Does not contain any fillers or carriers.
Topical Use: Dilute 1 drop in 1 tsp (5 mL) carrier oil before applying to skin.
Dietary Use: Dilute 1 drop in 1 tsp honey or 4 oz beverage.
Aromatic Use: Add 1-2 drops into a diffuser.

Orange
100% PURE Essential Oil and Certified Organic.
Both refreshing and calming, Genesis PURE™ Orange may ease your mind and help you unwind. This lovely citrus aroma is commonly used in aromatherapy to provide a welcome release from everyday stressors. Does not contain any fillers or carriers.
Topical Use: Apply 1-2 drops neat (undiluted) or dilute with a carrier oil before applying to skin.
Dietary Use: Dilute 1 drop in 1 tsp honey or 4 oz beverage.
Aromatic Use: Add 1-2 drops into a diffuser.

Peppermint
100% PURE Essential Oil and Certified Organic.
Invigorate your body with the refreshing and cooling scent of Genesis PURE™ Peppermint. Peppermint essential oil has been traditionally used to promote alertness and stimulate the senses. Does not contain any fillers or carriers.
Topical Use: Dilute 1 drop in ½ tsp (2.5 mL) carrier oil before applying to skin.
Dietary Use: Dilute 1 drop in 1 tsp honey or 4 oz beverage.
Aromatic Use: Add 1-2 drops into a diffuser.

Clove:
100% PURE Essential Oil and Certified Organic.
Sweet and spicy, Genesis PURE™ Clove is stimulating to the senses. You’ve most likely used clove in your cooking, but you’ll also be pleased to learn that this ingredient has been traditionally used for its rejuvenating and antioxidant properties. It has also been historically used to provide soothing relieve for occasional gum discomfort. Does not contain any fillers or carriers.
Topical Use: Dilute 1 drop in ½ tsp (2.5 mL) carrier oil before applying to skin.
Dietary Use: Dilute 1 drop in 1 tsp honey or 4 oz beverage.
Aromatic Use: Add 1-2 drops into a diffuser.
Caution:
Store in a cool, dry place.
Keep out of reach of children.
100% PURE Essential Oil and Certified Organic.

Oregano
Much more than simply an ingredient found in Italian cuisine, oregano has been traditionally used to help support digestive health. In ancient Greece, it was referred to as “joy of the mountains” and was held as a symbol of joy and happiness. Genesis PURE™ Oregano acts as a purifying agent. Preliminary studies suggest that oregano may have cleansing properties when applied to the skin. In the middle ages, oregano leaves were believed to help promote respiratory health. Does not contain any fillers or carriers.
Topical Use: Dilute 1 drop in ½ tsp (2.5 mL) carrier oil before applying to skin.
Dietary Use: Dilute 1 drop in 1 tsp honey or 4 oz beverage.
Aromatic Use: Add 1-2 drops into a diffuser.
Caution:
Store in a cool, dry place.
Keep out of reach of children.

Lavender
100% PURE Essential Oil and Certified Organic.
Deeply breathe in the relaxing, herbal aroma of Genesis PURE™ Lavender. This highly soothing scent helps both the mind and body. It may help ease occasional stress and tension. Does not contain any fillers or carriers.
Topical Use: Topical: Apply 1-2 drops neat (undiluted) or dilute with a carrier oil before applying to skin.
Dietary Use: Dilute 1 drop in 1 tsp honey or 4 oz beverage.
Aromatic Use: Add 1-2 drops into a diffuser.

Grapefruit
100% PURE Essential Oil and Certified Organic.
Experience the energizing effects of Genesis PURE™ Grapefruit. This invigorating, fresh scent is often used to enliven both body and mind. Does not contain any fillers or carriers.
Topical Use: Dilute 1 drop in ½ tsp (2.5 mL) carrier oil before applying to skin.
Dietary Use: Dilute 1 drop in 1 tsp honey or 4 oz beverage.
Aromatic Use: Add 1-2 drops into a diffuser.
Refrigerate after opening

Bergamot
100% PURE Essential Oil and Certified Organic.
Grant your senses a calming escape with the sweet scent of Genesis PURE™ Bergamot. Traditionally used to help ease the mind, the light orange peel, floral fragrance creates a delightful aroma. Does not contain any fillers or carriers.
Topical Use: Dilute 1 drop in ½ tsp (2.5 mL) carrier oil before applying to skin.
Dietary Use: Dilute 1 drop in 1 tsp honey or 4 oz beverage.
Aromatic Use: Add 1-2 drops into a diffuser.
Refrigerate after opening

Eucalyptus
100% PURE Essential Oil and Certified Organic.
Breathe easier with Genesis PURE™ Eucalyptus. Traditionally used to help support respiratory health, this cooling scent may provide feelings of well-being during times of distress and discomfort. Does not contain any fillers or carriers.
Topical Use: Dilute 1 drop in 5 drops of carrier oil before applying to skin.
Aromatic Use: Add 1-2 drops into a diffuser.
NOT FOR DIETARY USE

If you would like to try these Genesis Pure Organic Essential Oils go to Genesis Pure and click shop. Use US11065661 to order and if you are interested in 25% off all the oils and all the products in the wholesale membership club please email me at chefdawn@Hotmail.com

Feb 272014
 
Loaded Falafel Burger

These easy Loaded Falafel Burger with Roasted Vegetables use fresh roasted veggies along with premade burgers to save time on a busy weeknight.

Could there be anything better than eggplant, tomato and onion all roasted and caramelized? I think not.

Falafel Burgers

I give no apologies when it comes to dinner on busy weeknights.

Meals from scratch are best, but when it comes to getting home after a busy day and wanting to take a few shortcuts, I’m all for it. One of the cleanest burgers I’ve found is Sunshine Burger, and the falafel is delicious!

Here are the ingredients:

Organic cooked brown rice, organic cooked chick peas, organic ground raw sunflower seeds, organic cooked yellow split peas, organic Tahini (organic ground toasted sesame seeds), organic cumin, organic garlic, organic parsley, sea salt.

These are definitely something you can feel save feeding your whole family.

I don’t talk a lot about my personal life on my blog – I lean more towards chatting about the actual recipe and the benefits, but I’ll share a little of what has been going on and why I’ll be doing a fair amount of clean semi-homemade recipes instead of from scratch. Since leaving my corporate job in August life has been a whirlwind. Mornings (still) start by 5AM and I get right down to business. I’m a morning person though. I like to be sleeping by 9:30 or 10PM. I work for a few hours on events with Native Sun, my blog or my business. At around 7AM I get my daughter up to get ready and take her to school then head right to my workout to start my day. This has never been an “if I can make it” thing. No exceptions to working out! I head home and then it is off to meetings at Native Sun or business meetings. I absolutely love being out of the cubicle and in a self-directed environment. Sometimes I walk out of a meeting at 2:00 and into the sunshine wanting to yell – I’m FREE! I pick my daughter up from school and help her with her homework and sometimes take her paddle boarding on the river. Then after she goes to bed, many times it is back on the computer to take a training course, do an on-line business presentation or two or catch up on anything else. Self-development is another must. I never. stop. learning. We all are students, and if we don’t continue to learn, grow and change we cannot move forward. No, I don’t have time to watch much TV any more, but the old saying is so true – if you love what you do, you never have to work a day in your life. After losing my Dad in May, I vowed that on my last two minutes of life I would look back with pride. I would not wonder what if. I will know that I did everything in my power to achieve my goals and dreams. I am not special. I am not unique. I simply made a decision to wake up and say to myself – I want more. It was a choice.  Though I have failed many times, and I will fail many times more, I look at each failure as an opportunity to learn. In the past two years I have learned more about people, how to listen and how much I enjoy helping others than the previous 34 years of life. I have found that through helping others, I naturally move closer to my goals and dreams.  On the days I think to myself – how am I going to do this? Am I deserving of making this work? I then think about all the successful people out there – many of them came from a world of hardship and rose to greatness. We all have 24 hours in a day. It is what we do with that time that sets us apart.

Plus, now you have this delicious sandwich to save you time.

Is there anything you would love to accomplish in your life? Are you moving towards it? If not, what might be holding you back?

Loaded Falafel Burger

Loaded Falafel Burger

Loaded Falafel Burger with Roasted Vegetables

Serves 4
Vegan
Printable Recipe

Ingredients

1 eggplant, sliced
1 roma tomato, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 Tbsp oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground pepper
4 falafel burgers, such as sunshine burger
4 Organic thin style sandwich buns
1/4 cup prepared hummus

Yogurt Sauce (Optional – use extra hummus if omitting)
1 container plain non-dairy yogurt (preferably Greek style)
1 Tbsp fresh parsley
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1 clove minced garlic

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350F; spray two baking sheets with oil or cooking spray; top with eggplant, tomato and onion slices; drizzle 1 Tbsp oil, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper; roast 25 minutes, turning vegetables half way through cook time.

2. In a small bowl, mix yogurt sauce ingredients if using.

3. Heat falafel burgers to package directions; toast thin buns. Spread bottom thin bun with 1 Tbsp hummus; top with one burger, 1/4 of the roasted vegetables and 2 Tbsp yogurt sauce; add top slice of thin bun and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 434.4
Total Fat 21.3 g
Saturated Fat 1.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 638.1 mg
Potassium 206.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate 53.0 g
Dietary Fiber 13.6 g
Sugars 7.7 g
Protein 19.7 g

Vitamin A 0.4 %
Vitamin B-12 3.8 %
Vitamin B-6 6.4 %
Vitamin C 8.0 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 2.4 %
Calcium 16.9 %
Copper 5.8 %
Folate 5.8 %
Iron 24.0 %
Magnesium 5.4 %
Manganese 11.4 %
Niacin 1.4 %
Pantothenic Acid 3.3 %
Phosphorus 9.5 %
Riboflavin 6.5 %
Selenium 1.4 %
Thiamin 5.3 %
Zinc 2.6 %

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

Jan 212014
 

One bite of my Spicy Sweet Potato & Mango Lentils with Chili Sauce will have your taste buds dancing.

Layers of flavor create balance in this dish; aromatic, fresh ginger, cooling coconut milk, sweet mango, a little heat from the chili sauce, and salty, savory miso ~ all tied together in a neat bow by Ume Plum vinegar.

Spicy Sweet Potato & Mango Lentils with Chili Sauce

Spicy Sweet Potato & Mango Lentils with Chili Sauce

Have you seen the show the Taste?

The Taste “features no-holds barred chef Anthony Bourdain, British food star Nigella Lawson, expert chef and author Ludo Lefebvre and restaurateur Brian Malarkey. Each of the four culinary superstars and “Taste” mentors – Bourdain, Lawson, Lefebvre and Malarkey – will coach a team of four competing pro and amateur cooks chosen from a nationwide casting call as they vie to create the best tasting dish.”

My five year old daughter and I have been watching this season and rooting for our favorite Vegan, Cassandra Bodzak.

As you watch the judging of each dish, it is interesting how the judges lean towards two things: fat and balance. Many times the dishes that lose are too dry or lack one of the elements of taste, most often sour/acidity or heat.

As I created this dish, the subject of acid became very apparent at first taste. Many times, without acid a recipe falls flat, lacks depth and seems to be missing something.  Think about the dish ~ could you add tomatoes, vinegar or citrus….google to see what goes best in that type of cuisine. In this case I didn’t have lime on hand so I used Ume Plum vinegar. Ah ha! Perfection!

Spicy Sweet Potato & Mango Lentils with Chili Sauce

Spicy Sweet Potato & Mango Lentils with Chili Sauce

Umeboshi are traditionally made by harvesting ume fruit when they ripen around June and packing them in barrels with salt. A weight is placed on top and the fruit gradually exude juices, which accumulate at the bottom of the barrel. This salty, sour liquid is marketed as umezu (梅酢; often translated as “ume vinegar”), although it is not a true vinegar.

I searched for quite a while to find this ingredient because it is often used in one of my favorite recipe books ~ Clean Food by Terry Walters. I finally found it locally at Native Sun; however, if you don’t live in the area, check on line or visit your local natural food store.

I can’t wait for you to try this dish! It is going down in my “favorites” and even my husband who is not a fan of Indian inspired dishes complimented this one. Enjoy!

Spicy Sweet Potato & Mango Lentils with Chili Sauce

Spicy Sweet Potato & Mango Lentils with Chili Sauce

Spicy Sweet Potato & Mango Lentils with Chili Sauce

Serves 7-8 3/4 cup servings
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe

Ingredients

1 tsp coconut oil
1/2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
1/2 cup red lentils
1 tsp curry powder
1 1/2 cups veggie broth
1 cup mango (the fruit of about 2)
1 sweet potato, chopped (do not peel)
2 tsp miso
1 can full fat coconut milk
3 dashes organic chili sauce or Sriracha (Plus extra for garnish if you like it hot like I do!)
2 tsp Ume plum vinegar
Cilantro for garnish (optional)

Directions

1. Heat 1 teaspoon coconut oil in a stock pot over medium-high heat; add onions, sauté about 5 minutes; add garlic and ginger sauté an additional minute; add lentils, toast for 1-2 minutes; add curry powder; add vegetable broth, mango and sweet potato; bring to a boil reduce heat, cover and simmer until lentils and potato are soft, about 30 minutes.

2. Remove from heat and stir in coconut milk, miso, chili sauce and vinegar.

3. Garnish with cilantro and serve over cooked quinoa such as Pereg Quinoa with Vegetables.

Nutrition Facts
7 Servings
Amount Per Serving 

Calories 154.8
Total Fat 10.9 g
Saturated Fat 9.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 588.1 mg
Potassium 134.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate 14.5 g
Dietary Fiber 2.1 g
Sugars 5.3 g
Protein 1.8 g

Vitamin A 50.5 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 5.7 %
Vitamin C 17.0 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 1.6 %
Calcium 1.3 %
Copper 4.6 %
Folate 8.1 %
Iron 4.3 %
Magnesium 2.6 %
Manganese 8.0 %
Niacin 2.0 %
Pantothenic Acid 2.1 %
Phosphorus 3.7 %
Riboflavin 2.6 %
Selenium 1.3 %
Thiamin 3.4 %
Zinc 1.8 %

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

Bonus tip: 

For a WONDERFUL breakdown of the different types of lentils visit about.com.