Jan 112015
 

Luscious Lemon Citrus Dressing is perfect for the beautiful, sun-drenched Florida citrus that is in season right now. It is delicious massaged into a kale salad, or even just over a bed of lettuce.

Luscious Lemon Citrus Dressing

Luscious Lemon Citrus Dressing

Let’s Talk Trends

There are TONS of 2015 trend predictions out there. Some of them I’m not so sure about, such as the new MC Hammer Yoga Pant.

MC Hammer Yoga Pant

MC Hammer Yoga Pant

And a disturbing food trend towards butter – not only for the ethical reasons, but also for health reasons.

Others are so tremendous that they should be adopted as classics. My three favorite such trends for this year are…..

1. Whole Foods. It’s about time! Predictions state that we will start turning our backs on processed foods and start focusing our attention on REAL FOOD. I can’t tell you how many times I am checking out at the grocery store when someone behind me has soda, Gatorade, chips, frozen dinners, breads and desserts – spending exorbitant sums of money on nutrient deficient food-like substances.

2. Unique Produce. Kholrabi, Daikon radish, Calabaza squash, Romanesco cauliflower – things most people don’t normally eat. Consuming this variety of produce will give people a diversified number of vitamins and minerals that are so beneficial for health.

This is the perfect time for me to mention joining a CSA/Farm Share. CSA is called shot for Community Supported Agriculture. People come together at the start of the growing season and pay a farmer for a share of their vegetables that season. You pay up front and then collect your vegetables every week, or every other week, depending on what you decide. If you are in North Florida be sure to check out KyV Farm as well as my Green Resources page for additional options.

 

Luscious Lemon Citrus Vinaigrette

Luscious Lemon Citrus Vinaigrette

3. Fermented Foods. I recently received my copy of the Beauty Detox Solution by Kimberly Snyder that I had mentioned in my last post (yay!) and in one of the chapters she discusses fermented foods – fermented vegetables in particular. She has a recipe for a probiotic and enzyme rich salad made by sealing raw cabbage in container and allowing the natural lactobacillus bacteria to grow and create a wholesome, probiotic-rich food.

The Beauty Detox Foods: Discover the Top 50 Beauty Foods That Will Transform Your Body and Reveal a More Beautiful You

I can’t wait to try all her recipes – including a fermented salad recipe. You can find lots of her yummy recipes here.


 

This Luscious Lemon Citrus Dressing fits well into the first two categories. I simply combined a variety of vegetables from my own garden and my CSA with KyV Farm such as several kale and lettuce varieties, heirloom tomatoes, green onions etc. and topped them with this mouth-watering, fresh citrus vinaigrette made from Meyer lemon and a variety of fruits pulled off the trees around my home. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does!

Do you have any food predictions for 2015? What would you like to see? Are there any that disturb you?


Lucious Lemon Citrus Vinaigrette

Lucious Lemon Citrus Vinaigrette

 Luscious Lemon Citrus Dressing

About 5-6 2-Tbsp Servings
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe

Ingredients

1/4 cup fresh citrus juice (I used Meyer lemon, orange and Satsuma)
1/4 to 1/2 tsp kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp agave, coconut nectar or local honey
1/4 to 1/3 cup cold pressed, unrefined olive oil

Directions

1. Blend fresh squeezed citrus, salt, pepper, mustard and sweetener in a blender; slowly drizzle olive oil until emulsified.

Estimated Nutrition Facts
5 Servings (2-Tbsp)
Amount Per Serving

Calories 117.9
Total Fat 11.2 g
Saturated Fat 1.6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.6 g
Monounsaturated Fat 8.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 188.7 mg
Potassium 32.5 mg
Total Carbohydrate 5.6 g
Dietary Fiber 0.1 g
Sugars 4.0 g
Protein 0.1 g

Vitamin A 0.1 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 0.7 %
Vitamin C 18.7 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 0.1 %
Calcium 0.2 %
Copper 0.4 %
Folate 0.8 %
Iron 0.1 %
Magnesium 0.4 %
Manganese 0.3 %
Niacin 0.1 %
Pantothenic Acid 0.3 %
Phosphorus 0.2 %
Riboflavin 0.2 %
Selenium 0.1 %
Thiamin 0.5 %
Zinc 0.1 %

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

Make Time to Do What You Love

Make Time to Do What You Love

**Please Note: This post contains and affiliate link for the Beauty Detox book – something I’m sharing with you that I’m so excited about! If you choose to purchase it too, you will be supporting Florida Coastal Cooking at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

Jan 052015
 

Garlic Kale Pesto Pasta is my new seasonal favorite dish – easy to prepare, full of flavor and is versatile enough to continue changing with the seasons.

Garlic Kale Pesto Pasta

Garlic Kale Pesto Pasta

It was like stepping into another planet when we got out of our truck to visit our friends from college, Don and Kathy, who live in South Florida. It was a world of Ferraris and Lamborghinis, of personal shoppers at Neiman Marcus, thousand dollar shoes, of late night partying, glitz and glamour.

Being a girl from New England that grew up in a middle-class American family I am amazed at the differences between how people live.

Everyone I met was so nice and genuinely were caring people. I just couldn’t help but feel out of place. I’ve come across people with wealth – my next-door neighbor lives in a beautiful home on the river and is rich by definition.

 I can’t say I live in poverty either. I have been very blessed and Chris and I have worked very hard. But compared to the group we met, we are paupers.

We knew Don and Kathy from the time they lived modest lives, working hard to get them to the point of affluence. We are so proud of them and are so grateful to know such genuine and loving people. They have a BEAUTIFUL home and tons of nice things – yet are so grounded.

It was their friends, Craig and Melanie that we were visiting on New Year’s Eve that are off the charts wealthy. They live in a huge, extravagant development employing an army of landscapers, maids, butlers, and other various staff. As the story went, Melanie’s grandfather had started a business and later sold it for $400 million.

 Four. Hundred. Million. Dollars.

 It’s hard for most of us to even imagine. All of the money was then willed to Melanie’s dad who shared it with his family. They spend their days doing philanthropy work and run an event business.

As I mentioned in my previous post I have been reading Napoleon Hill’s book, Think and Grow Rich. In the book, the plan encourages one to set the level of wealth they wish to acquire and fixate that in their mind with a clear plan of what they intend to give in return. As a diehard lover of camping, and the show Tiny House Nation, I began to grapple with the idea of desiring such a lifestyle. People in this community live in cavernous homes, most of the rooms never to be used. Here I am, reading my book and supposedly planning for wealth beyond my wildest imagination when I suddenly began to struggle with the question:

 Do I really want all this?

I suppose you don’t have to have such a large house and attend swanky soirées. But do I even want the responsibility that goes along with obtaining such wealth?
I mean, how does one know if one’s friends are real or if they only associate with them because of wealth?

I suppose just by writing this I have answered my own question.

I don’t ever want to try to keep up with the Joneses. It is exhausting.

It would be one thing if the money dropped in my lap, and a totally different scenario to desire it enough to focus on that amount and make the decision to do anything it takes to get there.

 I know in my heart that I do have a burning desire for a significant income so that I can help others and live a comfortable life myself, but not necessarily to obtain more stuff. After working for so long in corporate America, sitting in a cubicle in order to acquire material things, I realized what I really value is time, a connection with nature, and my family. It was never more apparent than when I lost my dad so suddenly.

He passed away and all his material things were still left. You can’t take them with you.

Though I’m not where I want to be as far as income goes, I’ve made the decision to enjoy the ride, to always be learning, and to make real connections with people.

I’m so glad we went to visit our friends because it helped me make a few decisions about the direction I want to go. And I even learned a few things that inspired me.

 Kathy is a healthy eater too. She prepared a delicious pesto pasta dish before our night out at Melanie’s. The pasta was so delicious that I knew I had to recreate it when I returned home. The pesto was the perfect dressing for the warm pasta – and she used fresh tomatoes from her garden.

This dish is my version of the one she made; but using kale from my garden and sweet peppers from my CSA at KyV Farm since I didn’t have tomatoes on hand.

Kathy’s fresh pesto inspired me to make a few positive changes in my diet.

A few of the changes I want to make when it comes to diet are to eat more raw, dehydrated and fermented foods.

Raw:
While we were there visiting, Kathy pulled out a book to try and find a recipe before she made the pesto. I browsed through and fell in love and ordered it right away! SO many simple, fresh and raw recipes – stay tuned for variations of them this year!


The Beauty Detox Foods: Discover the Top 50 Beauty Foods That Will Transform Your Body and Reveal a More Beautiful You

Consuming raw foods is such a great way to preserve the enzymes that are lost in the cooking process.

Garlic Kale Pesto Pasta

Garlic Kale Pesto Pasta

Dehydrated:

Next I plan to use my Excalibur dehydrator more. It is a great way to add variety to raw foods and to preserve extra fruits and veggies.

 Excalibur 3926TB Food Dehydrator, Black

Garlic Kale Pesto Pasta

Garlic Kale Pesto Pasta

Fermented:

Finally, I want to add more fermented foods. My daughter’s naturopathic doctor has added fermented foods as part of the recovery of her diagnosed Leaky Gut. I think that fermented foods would do us all good. Fermentation is when a food goes through a lactofermentation process that preserves the food, creates enzymes, probiotics, B-vitamins and Omega 3’s. The key for my 6-year old is the probiotics to aid in digestion. I was told these German fermentation crocks are the best – but one can also ferment in glass jars as well.

7 L (1.9 Gal) K&K Keramik German Made Fermenting Crock Pot , Kerazo F2

Garlic Kale Pesto Pasta

Garlic Kale Pesto Pasta

Garlic Kale Pesto Pasta

Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe

 

Ingredients

8oz quinoa pasta noodles
1 bunch kale, de-stemmed
Handful fresh green onions
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup cold pressed olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp pine nuts
2 Tbsp raw pumpkin seeds
1 cup sliced sweet peppers

Directions

1. Cook pasta to package directions and set aside.

2. Blend kale, green onions, garlic, olive oil, salt and pine nuts in a blender; toss over pasta; stir in sweet peppers.

Estimated Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 275.3
Total Fat 11.5 g
Saturated Fat 1.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3.6 g
Monounsaturated Fat 5.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 226.6 mg
Potassium 548.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate 39.7 g
Dietary Fiber 7.3 g
Sugars 2.8 g
Protein 7.7 g

Vitamin A 485.3 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 16.9 %
Vitamin C 229.9 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 12.1 %
Calcium 12.7 %
Copper 20.8 %
Folate 8.2 %
Iron 17.1 %
Magnesium 17.1 %
Manganese 67.0 %
Niacin 6.6 %
Pantothenic Acid 1.4 %
Phosphorus 9.9 %
Riboflavin 12.5 %
Selenium 2.5 %
Thiamin 14.3 %
Zinc 10.7 %

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

Please note:
The names in my story were changed for privacy.

This post contains affiliate links. These are products I love or that I’m saving for. My dad left me his gorgeous Excalibur dehydrator when he passed away and it is something I treasure. The fermentation crock is something I’m saving for. For now I am using jars. Should you choose to purchase any of these items I would be so grateful if you would use the links I provided. This will support the cost of running this blog – I receive a few pennies on the dollar at no additional cost to you. Many thanks!

Do the Best

Dec 182014
 

Everyone is looking for last minute gift ideas – how about an idea for some last minute homemade gifts that are super easy and everyone will appreciate?

Just for you I paired everyone’s two favorite scents together to bring to you my top secret formula.

Lavender Peppermint Holiday

This is my FAVORITE of the last minute homemade gifts I have created. Peppermint is wonderful for cold and flu fighting, is great for focus, memory enhancement and stress relief.  Pair this with the relaxing smell of lavender – with it’s wonderful anti-anxiety properties, and you have a winning combination that everyone will appreciate.

I use this during and after my yoga class to promote focus, after bath or shower, and even in my car to add a lovely fresh, scent.

You can use the same formula to mix up any scents you like and make a variety of gifts. Try clove for men and fresh for air freshener and cleaning.


Lavender Peppermint Spray ~ Florida Coastal Cooking

Lavender Peppermint Spray

Lavender Peppermint Spray

Vegan
Serves 1
Printable Recipe

Ingredients

10-15 drops lavender essential oil
10-15 drops peppermint essential oil
1/2 tsp vegetable glycerin
Filtered Water

Directions

1. Add essential oils to bottle; add vegetable glycerin, fill remainder of bottle with filtered water; shake well.

2. Tie twine around the neck of the bottle; print free downloadable labels or any label; using a hold punch a hole in the label and secure with the twine.


Where to Purchase Ingredients On Line:

Essential Oils:

The brand of oils I use is called Genesis Pure – they are 100% certified organic and ultra-pure, but feel free to use any brand you like – just be sure to stick with the purest forms. They should smell like the plant – not synthetic home fragrance. If you wish to order Genesis Pure, you can use my number US11065661 to do so.

Here are a few other brands you can try:

NOW Foods Lavender Oil, 4 ounce

Peppermint Essential Oil 4 Oz Quantity!

Everything else you’ll need:

Twine to hang your tag!

Vegetable Glycerine, 4 Ounce

4oz Cobalt Blue Bottles – Set of Four

 

Find Free Printable Holiday Gift Tags Like These on Pinterest

holiday1 Tags

These are by InkTreePress


Finally, remember to be present during the holiday season. So many times we are in such a rush that we forget to enjoy ourselves and the festivities.

DISCLOSURE: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. That means, if you use that link to buy something from Amazon, I will earn a few pennies on the dollar at no additional cost to you. I only like to products I like and use myself.

Dec 072014
 

What better way to start the holidays than planning the menu?  Christmas parties, visiting families and fun times with friends usually all center around food and drink. Hopefully my Best Vegan Holiday Recipes from around the web will give you some great ideas to make your holiday special!

This year I will be celebrating Christmas at my mother in law’s house. Luckily we don’t have to travel far! Both my mom and my husband’s parents live five minutes away, and his sister and her husband are about twenty minutes away. I’ve yet to come up with what my contribution will be. My mother in law typically makes a roast, cheese covered vegetables and traditional butter-laden Christmas cookies, so I will be coming up with a delicious side, main and dessert that everyone can enjoy (vegan AND omnivore).  I’m thinking garlicky greens, Jamie Oliver’s nut roast and my Samoa bites made with sunflower seed butter. Hmm…I do think I’ve figured out my contribution just while writing this!

What are you doing this holiday season? Do you have to travel? If so, do you bring your own food?

Hopefully you gain inspiration here! Let’s start with breakfast!

Eggless Breakfast Taco – be sure to serve with LOTS of yummy sauce!

Eggless Breakfast Taco ~Made with Chickpea Flour

Eggless Breakfast Taco ~Made with Chickpea Flour

French Toast Casserole – Paula Deen Style (But Vegan) – PETA

Sweet Potato Skillet Hash – My New Roots

Sweet Potato Hash - Image and Recipe Credit to My New Roots

Sweet Potato Hash -Recipe and Photo from My New Roots

Soups:

Roasted Rutabaga and Parsnip Soup – by Gena Hamshaw, Care of Kris Carr

Roasted Rutabaga and Parsnip Soup - Image and Recipe by Gena Hamshaw, Care of Kris Carr

Roasted Rutabaga and Parsnip Soup – Image and Recipe by Gena Hamshaw, Care of Kris Carr

Unconventional but delicious. Cheesy Chia Seed Soup

Cheesy Chia Seed Soup

Cheesy Chia Seed Soup

Apps:

Lemony Artichoke Dip – Terry Walters

 Vegan Stuffed Mushrooms – Pea Soup

Vegan Stuffed Mushrooms - Image and Recipe Credit to Pea Soup

Vegan Stuffed Mushrooms – Image and Recipe Credit to Pea Soup

Grilled Balsamic Bruschetta

Grilled Balsamic Tomato Bruschetta

Grilled Balsamic Tomato Bruschetta

Sides:

Vlad’s Very Garlicky Greens – Alton Brown

Chestnut Stuffing – Terry Walters

Roasted Baby Leeks with Thyme – Jamie Oliver

Roasted Baby Leeks - Image and Recipe Credit to Jamie Oliver

Roasted Baby Leeks – Photo by Jamie Oliver

Balsamic-Maple Brussels – Kristy Turner, Care of Taste Space

Balsamic - Maple Brussels - Image by Chris Turner and Recipe by Kristie Turner, Care of Taste Space

Balsamic – Maple Brussels – Image by Chris Turner and Recipe by Kristie Turner, Care of Taste Space

Mains:

Lentil, Apple Walnut Loaf (One of my all time favs.) – Terry Walters

Nut Roast – Jamie Oliver

Nut Roast  - Image and Recipe Credit to Jamie Oliver

Nut Roast – Jamie Oliver

Desserts:

Raw, Vegan Carrot Cake – by Christine Roseberry, Care of Kris Carr This one is not traditional but who doesn’t love carrot cake??

Raw, Vegan Carrot Cake - Image and Recipe by Christine Roseberry, Care of Kris Carr

Raw, Vegan Carrot Cake – Image and Recipe by Christine Roseberry, Care of Kris Carr

Chocolate Tahini Macaroons – Taste Space

No Bake Samoa Bites will be the hit of the party for ANY party, cookie swap or just to have on hand. They are TO DIE FOR. Reminiscent of the Girl Scout Cookie – but healthier.

No-Bake Samoa Bites

No-Bake Samoa Bites

Raw Vegan Eggnog from My New Roots

Raw Vegan Eggnog - Image and Recipe Credit to My New Roots

Raw Vegan Eggnog – Image and Recipe Credit to My New Roots

I hope you enjoy the Best Vegan Holiday Recipes. Happy Holidays from Dawn!

FCC Christmas Photo

FCC Christmas Photo

Nov 222014
 

Change things up this Thanksgiving with this Vegan Caesar with Arugula and Kale. TO. DIE FOR. You may just lick the bowl. Right in front of the whole family.

A few exciting things have happened.

Vegan Caesar with Arugula and Kale

Vegan Caesar with Arugula and Kale

1) My CSA/Farm share just started up, 2) I got arugula in my first basket and 3) I figured out a way to prepare it where I actually enjoy it. Thank you Kris Carr. She posted links to 9 awesome arugula recipes and the first one I tried by Isa at Post Punk Kitchen was this Arugula Caesar recipe.

With just a few tweaks to make it my own, I knew I had found a gem. As a side note, my daughter was not nearly as thrilled about the recipe as I was. Hmpf.

Speaking of my daughter, allow me a shameless digression to plug our work; we just finished our second children’s book together in a series called Agnes and the Martian. The book is called Agnes and the Martian’s Camping Adventure. Shocking I know – if you know me, you know we love camping. We even have a blog about THAT.

 Back to the story at hand. Thanksgiving and this salad. What do you plan to make? Are you going to try something new this year? I plan to make coconut pumpkin soup (vegan version), a veggie lentil loaf, roasted Brussels stuffing, and this salad.

Vegan Caesar

Vegan Caesar

Vegan Caesar with Arugula and Kale

Serves 6
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe

Dressing:
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup water (plus more for thinning)
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons fresh grated garlic (see note)
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
2 teaspoons whole grain dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt

Salad:
1 bunch kale, chopped
Handful of baby arugula
15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 avocado diced
Fresh black pepper to taste

Directions

1. Mix dressing ingredients in a blender. Place kale in a large bowl; massage dressing into kale; stir in arugula until well coated; top with chickpeas, avocado, and black pepper; toss well.

Nutrition Info
6 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 253.8
Total Fat 11.4 g
Saturated Fat 1.6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3.6 g
Monounsaturated Fat 5.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 500.3 mg
Potassium 691.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate 31.0 g
Dietary Fiber 9.5 g
Sugars 1.9 g
Protein 10.2 g

Vitamin A 304.4 %
Vitamin B-12 22.2 %
Vitamin B-6 112.5 %
Vitamin C 88.0 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 8.0 %
Calcium 18.0 %
Copper 27.7 %
Folate 39.8 %
Iron 19.5 %
Magnesium 18.0 %
Manganese 60.5 %
Niacin 55.7 %
Pantothenic Acid 10.3 %
Phosphorus 23.0 %
Riboflavin 106.3 %
Selenium 10.6 %
Thiamin 122.2 %
Zinc 15.9 %

*Percent Daily Values for Vegan Caesar with Arugula and Kale are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

312d351d8f1bc13f1225669f901a83bc

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.