Apr 222014
 

Are you ready for a fiesta, but fresh (non-GMO) corn isn’t available? Grab a can of baby corn and try my Summer Grilled corn salsa with Baby Corn!

(Bonus – kids will love trying “baby corn” I’m surprised I had any left for the photo since my daughter kept grabbing some!)

Summer Grilled Corn Salsa with Baby Corn!

Summer Grilled Corn Salsa with Baby Corn!

Of COURSE I always say fresh is best – but when it comes to what is in season in your area, sometimes you just can’t get that ingredient. Try frozen, organic vegetables first; however, if those aren’t available either, it is ok to sub a can of veggies here and there, BUT, here are some of my tips.

If you can’t get salt free, be sure to reduce the salt in the recipe.
Don’t just plop a can of veg into a dish. Be sure to do something with it – like grill it. I’ll never forget when I ordered a tropical salad from a restaurant and they gave me iceberg lettuce with canned pineapple on top. I thought to myself – GRILL that pineapple if you can’t use fresh. At least put some effort into it. Sheesh.

 Look for BPA free cans. BPA stands for bisphenol A. BPA is an industrial chemical that has been used to make certain plastics and resins since the 1960s. Epoxy resins are used to coat the inside of metal products, such as food cans, bottle tops and water supply lines. Some dental sealants and composites also may contain BPA.

Grilled Baby Corn Salsa

Grilled Baby Corn Salsa

What I love most about this salsa is it’s mixture of textures and flavors. It is simple to throw together and great as a topping for tofu or any protein you like. If you are having a Mexican Fiesta – this will be perfect or for any summer party where you are grilling up some delicious bean burgers and carrot dogs. The best part is it is just a little different from the usual tomato salsa and will be sure to have people exclaiming – Grilled Salsa! What a great idea!

Have you ever tried grilling ingredients in a salsa? What is your favorite salsa recipe?

Grilled Baby Corn Salsa

Grilled Baby Corn Salsa

Grilled Baby Corn Salsa

Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe

Ingredients

1 can baby corn
1/2 sweet onion, quartered
2 tomatoes, cut in half
1 jalapeno
Juice of 1 lime
1/8 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
Olive oil mister

Directions

1. Preheat grill to medium high; place a grate cover on grill grates so corn will not fall through; spray corn, onion, tomatoes and jalapeno with olive oil spray or Misto; place on heated grill and grill until char marks appear; flip once and grill until char marks appear on second side; remove from heat; cool 5 minutes; chop veggies**; sprinkle with sea salt & cilantro and finish with a squeeze of fresh lime.
**For no heat, use grilled jalapeno as garnish, to add heat, add a small amount of jalapeno at a time until desired level of heat is reached. 

Nutrition Facts for Grilled Corn Salsa
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving 

Calories 49.0
Total Fat 1.6 g
Saturated Fat 0.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.9 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 82.1 mg
Potassium 232.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 8.9 g
Dietary Fiber 1.6 g
Sugars 1.0 g
Protein 1.4 g

Vitamin A 9.4 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 4.7 %
Vitamin C 21.2 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 2.2 %
Calcium 0.7 %
Copper 3.6 %
Folate 6.1 %
Iron 2.6 %
Magnesium 4.3 %
Manganese 6.3 %
Niacin 4.2 %
Pantothenic Acid 3.6 %
Phosphorus 4.0 %
Riboflavin 2.9 %
Selenium 0.6 %
Thiamin 6.2 %
Zinc 1.3 %

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

Mar 242014
 

Flavorful marinated mushrooms stuffed with a soft vegan cheese are topped off with tart, tangy and sweet sundried tomatoes in my Vegan Marinated & Grilled Stuffed Mushrooms.

Vegan Stuffed Mushrooms

Vegan Stuffed Mushrooms

In the middle of the night last night, thoughts started coming to me – rolling in like thunderclouds. Dark, worrisome, brooding.

 It started with losing my dad and ran the gamut through all of the things I need to get done. I started wondering why we as humans occasionally wake in the middle of the night and start worrying. For one, we can’t do anything about it at that time and secondly, worrying typically doesn’t accomplish anything other than making us feel terrible.

Suddenly, I remembered an excerpt about time travel from a book I’m reading called Choose Yourself, by James Altucher. Not time travel as in “I want to go back in time to see the dinosaurs”, but as in be in the NOW. When you think about the past or the future you are time traveling.

Grilled Mushrooms

Grilled Mushrooms

So I began to have gratitude for what I had RIGHT THEN. A warm, comfy bed, my husband snoozing next to me, and my daughter nestled in her bed. A roof over our heads. Running water. An abundance of food, an abundance of knowledge, family and friends, residing in sunny Florida.

Next I remembered something in this month’s Oprah magazine called 4-7-8 breath. You breathe through your nose for 4 counts, hold for 7 counts and exhale from your mouth for 8 counts. Repeat.

Next thing I knew – I was off to dreamland.

Upon waking I knew I had my topic for this post! It flows perfectly with another realization I came to recently. While I’m cooking I never am really present. I’m rushing around trying to do twenty things at once and sometimes burning what I’m cooking in the process. Vivian from KyV Farm recently said she has been cooking all her food for the week on Sunday and she calls it her “me time”. I decided there was no reason I couldn’t do that, so while I was cooking these mushrooms I decided to be present. I grabbed a glass of wine and my magazine and sat on the porch as the mushrooms were grilling. My daughter set the table, we lit candles and sat as a family. We made a sort of mini-production out of it. What a difference this makes! It gives us time to chat about our day, or even just to be quiet together. And that is what life is really about, right?

I hope some of these experiences help you to be more present in your day, to not “time travel”, and to live your best life!

What are your favorite ways of staying in the moment?

Vegan Marinated Mushrooms

Vegan Marinated Mushrooms

Now for the recipe – I have a tofu tip for you.

To press the tofu of water, I love using a TofuXPress (see how it is used in this post.). I finally broke down and bought one a while back and it is probably one of my most favorite tools. It both presses blocks of tofu with no mess, and has a cover so you can marinate right in the press. It is worth the splurge on it. If you want to check it out I have a link to one…look just to the right under “I recommend”. I promise you will NOT be disappointed.

Vegan Grilled Mushrooms

Vegan Grilled Mushrooms

Vegan Marinated & Grilled Stuffed Mushrooms
with Sundried Tomatoes

Serves 4 – 8
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe

Please note that tofu will need to be prepared a day or two prior to making this recipe. Feel free to make the marinade ahead too!

Ingredients

1 block organic, extra firm tofu
2-3 Tbsp miso
8 Portobello Mushroom Caps
6 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
4 Tbsp prepared mustard (I like coarse ground)
2 Tbsp maple syrup, honey or agave (honey is not vegan)
1/2 cup non-dairy shredded mozzarella (such as Daiya)
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup julienned sundried tomatoes

Directions

1. Press tofu of water – 1 hour to overnight; slice into three sections lengthwise. Spread each slice evenly with miso and let sit overnight.

2. Wipe down mushroom caps and remove stems. Mix balsamic, olive oil, garlic, mustard and maple syrup in a large bowl with a lid. Place mushroom caps inside and gently toss in marinade. Let sit 10 – 20 minutes.

3. Mix miso, tofu, cheese and garlic powder in a large bowl with hands until all ingredients are well incorporated.

4. Heat grill over medium heat, to around 350F; place mushrooms on grill racks, gill side
down; cook 7 to 10 minutes; turn and stuff each mushroom cap with 2 rounded Tbsp of tofu mixture; grill an additional 10 minutes or until “cheese” is heated through. Top each with a few slices of sundried tomato.

**Reserve any leftover marinade for another use.

Nutrition Facts
8 Servings
Amount Per Serving 

Calories 168.4
Total Fat 8.8 g
Saturated Fat 1.6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.3 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 338.3 mg
Potassium 616.5 mg
Total Carbohydrate 14.7 g
Dietary Fiber 2.3 g
Sugars 6.2 g
Protein 8.9 g

Vitamin A 0.8 %
Vitamin B-12 0.1 %
Vitamin B-6 3.4 %
Vitamin C 3.4 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 2.1 %
Calcium 7.0 %
Copper 8.9 %
Folate 4.5 %
Iron 8.3 %
Magnesium 12.5 %
Manganese 41.2 %
Niacin 2.7 %
Pantothenic Acid 1.3 %
Phosphorus 11.4 %
Riboflavin 3.1 %
Selenium 10.3 %
Thiamin 3.6 %
Zinc 7.0 %

*Percent Daily Values for Stuffed Mushrooms 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.
Great for 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 are excellent for 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…

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.

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 122014
 

Valentines day ~ the day of love, desserts, cards and indulgence. This Valentines day I want to celebrate some of my favorite foodies in the bloggosphere by showcasing their scrumptious creations in this post of 20 Indulgent Vegan Valentine’s Desserts.

Mint and Chocolate – my favorite:
Raw Andes’ Mint Pie by Oatmeal with a Fork

Oatmeal with a Fork

Oatmeal with a Fork

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream:
Chocolate Ice Cream with Caramelized Bananas and Chopped Hazelnuts from the Vegan Chickpea

the vegan chickpea

the vegan chickpea

Salty and sweet:
(Sub agave for honey to make vegan)
Almond Butter Pretzel Truffles from Running with Spoons

Running with Spoons

Running with Spoons

For my raw foodie:
Raw Chocolate Cookies with Minty Avocado Frosting from Green Spirit Adventures

Green Spirit Adventures

Green Spirit Adventures

For Breakfast:
Sugar Free Red Velvet Waffles with Cream Cheese Icing from Keepin It Kind

Keepin It Kind

Keepin It Kind

Cupcakes:
Light and fluffy Vegan Orange Cupcakes from the Pretty Bee

the Pretty Bee

the Pretty Bee

Classic Valentines Treat:
7 Ingredient Vegan Cheesecakes by Minimalist Baker

Minimalist Baker

Minimalist Baker

Something different:
Coconut Macaroon Brownies by Vegan in the South

Vegan in the South

Vegan in the South

Spiced Fruit Cake:
Spiced Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce from the pretty bee

the Pretty Bee

the Pretty Bee

Turtles:
3 Ingredient Vegan Pecan Caramel Clusters from Je Suis Alimentageuse

Je Suis Alimentageuse

Je Suis Alimentageuse

Fudgy:
3 Ingredient Fudge Squares by Kitchen Vignettes

Kitchen Vignettes

Kitchen Vignettes

My kind of banana bread:
Healthy Banana Bread Chocolate Chip Oat Breakfast Bars by Ambitious Kitchen

Ambitious Kitchen

Ambitious Kitchen

Strawberries:
Strawberry Mouse by A Girl Worth Saving

A Girl Worth Saving

A Girl Worth Saving

Perfect way to eat your chia:
Coconut Chia Pudding with Mango and Mint by Tales of a Kitchen

Tales of a Kitchen

Tales of a Kitchen

Winner for most interesting:
Parsnip Cake with Candied Kumquats by Golubka Kitchen

golubka kitchen

golubka kitchen

Potato chips n’ chocolate chips:
Chocolate Chip Potato Chip Cookies by Yummy Crumble

Yummy Crumble

Yummy Crumble

Peanut Butter:
Peanut Butter and Cookie Dough Bark by Blissful Basil

Blissful Basil

Blissful Basil

A delicious crumble:
Blackberry Apple Crumble Bars by Veggie on a Penny

Veggie on a Penny

Veggie on a Penny

And one more because this looked amazing:
5 Minute Microwave Apple Cinnamon Crumble by Averie Cooks

Averie Cooks

Averie Cooks

I love these cookies at Christmas – here is a cinnamon orange version:
Crumbly & Delicious Cinnamon & Orange Cookie Balls by My Inspiration

My Inspiration

My Inspiration

And a bonus for good measure!
3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cups by Pure Ella

Pure Ella

Pure Ella

 Posted by at 9:18 pm
Feb 052014
 

Stick-to-your-ribs filling, my all natural and sugar free oats with nut butter and coconut oil are full of healthy fats, fiber, zero cholesterol and only 3 grams sugar. A perfectly delicious way to start your day!

Sugar Free Oatmeal

Sugar Free Oatmeal

My Nana always told me white sugar and white flour is the devil. Back over thirty years ago she already knew so much of the information that comes out nowadays as the latest and greatest health news.

Sugar Free Oatmeal

Sugar Free Oatmeal

Along with the flour and sugar comments from her, I would hear….eat mostly plants, pills are not the answer, you are what you eat, fast food will kill us.

She knew about the benefits of cayenne pepper, turmeric, macrobiotics, legumes ~ you name it, she was well versed in it.

A lot of my passion about natural food comes from my Nana. I remember browsing the aisles of small natural food stores, with their distinct earthy smell and natural light streaming through the windows. Life was slower, calmer and a little more relaxed when I stepped through the doors.  I could browse around and choose a healthy snack like dates rolled in shredded coconut.

She recently passed away right before Christmas ~ just shy of her 100th birthday. We miss her dearly but her long life was a testament to her health.

These oats are an ode to my Nana. She served me a similar breakfast every morning when I would stay with her.

Nana ~ we love you. Cheers to your long life!

Sugar Free Oatmeal

Sugar Free Oatmeal

Sugar Free Oats with Nut Butter and Coconut Oil

Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe

 Ingredients

1 cup rolled oats**
1 3/4 cup unsweet vanilla non dairy milk or water
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/2 ripe banana
4 tsp nut butter
4 tsp coconut oil
1/4 cup nut/seed mix (raisins, sunflower seeds, cashews, almonds etc.)

**Be sure to use gluten free oatmeal for a gluten free meal

Directions

1. Heat oatmeal, milk, salt, coconut and banana over medium high heat, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until oats are soft, about 7-10 minutes.

2. Divide oatmeal mixture into four mugs; top each with 1 tsp nut butter, 1 tsp coconut oil and 1 Tbsp nut/seed mixture.

Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 252.6
Total Fat 16.2 g
Saturated Fat 4.8 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.2 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 161.3 mg
Potassium 208.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate 23.1 g
Dietary Fiber 4.1 g
Sugars 3.2 g
Protein 6.1 g

Vitamin A 4.3 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 5.4 %
Vitamin C 1.8 %
Vitamin D 10.2 %
Vitamin E 20.5 %
Calcium 19.3 %
Copper 7.5 %
Folate 3.3 %
Iron 10.0 %
Magnesium 8.2 %
Manganese 12.7 %
Niacin 6.0 %
Pantothenic Acid 1.7 %
Phosphorus 5.9 %
Riboflavin 2.8 %
Selenium 0.8 %
Thiamin 3.6 %
Zinc 3.1 %

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

Jan 292014
 

My warm Caramelized Banana Cookie Cake is vegan, gluten free, refined sugar and refined oil free ~ perfect for breakfast, snack or dessert when paired with a delicious scoop cashew ice cream.

Banana Cookie Cake

Banana Cookie Cake

Way back when, in my past life, I made a career choice that may surprise you.

Banana Cookie Cake

Banana Cookie Cake

After graduating from FSU I attended a career fair and saw a friend I knew. He was working as a manager and encouraged me to join the manager training program.

For the following year, I was a manager at Abercrombie & Fitch.

Banana Cookie Cake

Banana Cookie Cake

I have to give people that work in retail a shout out here. Not only do you work long hours, nights, weekends and holidays ~ you refold, restock and greet customers with a smile, even when you’re ready to call it a day. I’ll admit, it was the hours that prompted me to start looking for another source of income. The day I made the announcement that I was leaving was bittersweet. I was excited about the future, but I had made lots of wonderful friends that I would miss. My dear friend and co-worker Karey B. was even in my wedding party!

Banana Cookie Cake

Banana Cookie Cake

Before I left they had a little party for me. When I opened the box that held the cake, I was greeted with an unexpected, tongue-in-cheek saying and I started laughing hysterically.

The cake said “Peace Out Beotch!”

When I took my Caramelized Banana Cookie Cake out of the oven, all the memories of those friends flooded back ~ to this day,  I still can’t help but chuckle at their cookie cake.

____________________________

In this recipe, warm, caramelized bananas, a touch of salt and the tang of lemon are deliciously nestled under a scoop of cool, vanilla cashew-cream ice cream. I hope you enjoy every bite!

Banana Cookie Cake

Banana Cookie Cake

Caramelized Banana Cookie Cake Recipe

Serves 8
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable  Recipe

Ingredients

2 cups gluten free quick oats (or rolled oats pulsed in a food processor a few times)
1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 tsp salt, plus extra for sprinkling
4 ripe bananas, divided
1/3 cup agave or local honey, divided
1/4 cup peanut butter, Nutzo or Sunbutter
2 Tbsp unrefined organic coconut oil, melted, divided
1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Mix oatmeal, almond flour and salt in a medium bowl. In a second bowl add 1 banana, mashed, 4 Tbsp agave or local honey, nut butter and 1 Tbsp coconut oil; blend until smooth. Pour the wet into the dry ingredients; mix well and press into a baking pan greased with some additional coconut oil; bake 15 minutes.

2. Slice remaining 3 bananas and place evenly over baked crust mixture. Mix remaining agave or local honey, coconut oil and lemon juice in a small bowl; brush over bananas; bake 5 minutes; set to broil on high and broil 5 minutes or until bananas begin to brown and caramelize. Sprinkle a bit more salt, if desired. Let cool, slice and top with cashew or banana ice cream.

Nutrition Facts
8 Servings
Amount Per Serving 

Calories 271.6
Total Fat 11.0 g
Saturated Fat 4.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.2 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 57.7 mg
Potassium 303.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 41.9 g
Dietary Fiber 4.6 g

Sugars 20.1 g
Protein 6.0 g
Vitamin A 1.1 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 21.7 %
Vitamin C 10.8 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 9.3 %
Calcium 1.5 %
Copper 4.3 %
Folate 4.7 %
Iron 8.1 %
Magnesium 10.7 %
Manganese 7.5 %
Niacin 7.2 %
Pantothenic Acid 2.5 %
Phosphorus 4.4 %
Riboflavin 4.8 %
Selenium 2.0 %
Thiamin 2.5 %
Zinc 2.5 %

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

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.

Jan 192014
 

We’re all hearing about the benefits of superfruits ~ in this post I’ll review the Mangosteen and share a delicious recipe for Superfruit Mangosteen Dressing!

It’s all over Dr Oz, the internet, health blogs – you name it – superfruits are hot. It is hard not to buy into the hype so I always do some research.  I rarely discuss supplements because I’m here to promote food first.  Human nature is to say shoot, I can eat whatever I want and then just take these supplements and I’ll be fine.

Baloney. First and foremost we need to eat a balanced and nutrient dense diet of mostly plants, and then add any supplementation on top of that. (And remember – always be sure to read the ingredients!) My daily regimen includes eating Mila every day, taking a liquid coral calcium & liquid daily vitamin, sub-lingual complex b-vitamin and I’m trying a few of these superfruits to see what I think.

Mangosteen

Mangosteen

Source

The Mangosteen is a tropical evergreen tree that primarily grows in Southeast Asia. The fruit is sweet, tangy and juicy ~ but it is the purple “pericarp”, or rind, that is high in tannins and contains an organic material called xanthones. The astringent rind of the fruit has been used in a variety of ways ~ to treat pain, inflammation, allergies, various infections, eczema and wounds, dysentery and urinary tract infections, and is also said to be an immune booster.

Superfruit Mangosteen Dressing

Superfruit Mangosteen Dressing

From doing my research please keep in mind that yes, the rind has a high nutrient content; however, it should not be used to cure any ailments, so please do not believe false claims.

Any food or nutrient can only help build your very own body’s defenses against various ailments. Our bodies are amazing symphonies of biochemistry ~ but it is up to us to treat it right. If we ingest fast food drive from the through every day and then drink mangosteen juice, we cannot expect our body to be able to defend itself against ailments.  It is much better to cleanse our bodies of toxins by eating healthfully, balance our bodies through exercise and eating a variety of colorful, organic foods and build our bodies’ defenses through nutrient dense foods ~ such as mangosteen.

Variety of organic and nutrient dense foods is one of main reasons to consider the mangosteen. This is the same reason you may want to consider joining an organic CSA/farm share ~ it enables you to obtain a variety of high quality vegetables you may not normally find at your grocer. Conventional soils are depleted in the US ~ to think that we can lay down some man made fertilizer and believe we are adding everything to the soil that it needs is ridiculous, nature is infinitely more complex, so by choosing organics you are also choosing healthy soil. This is not to say that all organics are without shortcuts and are perfect by any means; however, it is a step in the right direction.

If you ARE looking for a high quality mangosteen product ~ I have a great one in my wholesale membership club with Genesis Pure  and I do feel comfortable supporting and recommending it like I do Mila. I checked out a variety that are available out there and this one is really good. If I found anything in it I didn’t agree with, I wouldn’t talk about it ~ even though it is a product supplied by my own company. It is wild harvested and has no added preservatives or sugars.

I do suggest that you compare other products and do your own research first, any time you are looking to try something out.  Google “mangosteen juice products” and see what comes up.

Other than drinking it, making a light dressing is a great way to use it ~ especially over the organically grown veggies at KyV Farm or Native Sun. It is gently sweet and really pleasing ~ no need to add additional sweeteners!

Superfruit Mangosteen Dressing

Superfruit Mangosteen Dressing

Fresh Salad with Superfruit Mangosteen Dressing

Serves 4
Printable Recipe
Vegan, Gluten Free

Ingredients

4 cups fresh chopped lettuces and greens such as kale or bok choy
1 large fresh tomato, chopped
1/4 red onion, chopped
1 cup sliced cucumber
Salt & pepper, to taste

Dressing
1/4 cup mangosteen juice
2 Tbsp roasted garlic extra virgin olive oil (plain will be fine too)
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp honey

Directions

1. Divide lettuce, tomato and onion evenly over four plates.

2. Whisk dressing ingredients in a small bowl; pour 2 Tbsp dressing over each salad; season with salt and pepper.

Here is Dr Duncan talking about what the mangosteen is good for.

Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 64.1
Total Fat 2.4 g
Saturated Fat 0.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.7 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 44.2 mg
Potassium 195.7 mg
Total Carbohydrate 10.5 g
Dietary Fiber 1.2 g
S
ugars 8.0 g
Protein 1.1 g 

Vitamin A 29.7 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 2.2 %
Vitamin C 24.3 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 2.8 %
Calcium 2.3 %
Copper 1.7 %
Folate 19.7 %
Iron 4.0 %
Magnesium 1.5 %
Manganese 19.4 %
Niacin 1.7 %
Pantothenic Acid 1.2 %
Phosphorus 3.0 %
Riboflavin 3.7 %
Selenium 0.3 %
Thiamin 4.2 %
Zinc 1.2 % 

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

Jan 132014
 

Move over eggs ~ there’s a new perfect protein for breakfast. My Avocado and Sea Salt Toast has a healthy, balanced blend of fat, FIBER and protein with zero cholesterol.

What’s not to love?

If you are an avocado lover, like me, you may not have thought of using it in place of butter for a simple, creamy and satisfying breakfast for your busy mornings.

Creamy Avocado and Sea Salt Toast

Creamy Avocado and Sea Salt Toast

Every day you get up with purpose. You get out of bed, shower, hurriedly get dressed in the dark ~ and manage to get out the door with a black shoe on your left and a brown shoe on your right. True story from my past life.  I remember it only too well.  For all of my hard working friends in Corporate America – I dedicate this post to you.

Who has time for breakfast?

Creamy Avocado and Sea Salt Toast

Creamy Avocado and Sea Salt Toast

You do! Just before grabbing your keys and leaving, toast some sesame Ezekiel bread and grab an avocado, an onion and your knife.

I’ll tell you the reason for the onion in a second.

Creamy Avocado and Sea Salt Toast

Creamy Avocado and Sea Salt Toast

Take your knife and cut around the avocado, the long way; twist. For now, leave the pit in the one side because it will cut down on the oxidation (browning).


Source
 ~ The Amazing Avocado

Next, cut your slices while the avocado is still in the skin. (Technically, you don’t have to do this step ~ it just looks prettier.)

Slice Avocado
Source
 ~ Thank you to the Practical Cook

Scoop out half of the slices on one side for your toast and place the remaining avocado in a reusable airtight container. Cut an onion and half and place it in there right along with the avocado. The vapors from the onion will reduce further oxidation.

If the avocado is ripe enough you should easily be able to spread it like butter. In fact, I will be so bold as to say wherever there is butter, avocado should replace it.

Let’s look at butter and avocado nutrition facts in a head to head comparison for a two tablespoon serving.

Avocado vs. Butter

Avocado vs. Butter

Shhh….don’t tell the dairy farmers.

Avocado can even be subbed in baking! According to 3 Fat Chicks on a Diet:

“Avocado is almost like a butter, and just like butter it has a soft and creamy texture. You may have to do some experimenting, but in general you can simply substitute 1 cup of avocado for 1 cup of butter. You may have to increase other liquids as the avocado does not melt like butter.

When substituting avocado for eggs in your baking, start by substituting 2 tbsp. to 1/4 cup mashed avocado for each egg.

Avocado will make your cakes rise up higher in the center, and in some occasions may even cave. It also browns quicker, and therefore your cake may look well done on the outside, but the inside may still be doughy. To avoid these things from happening, reduce your oven temperature by about 25 percent and increase your baking time.”

Creamy Avocado and Sea Salt Toast

Creamy Avocado and Sea Salt Toast

One bite and you will be subbing avocado left and right for everything – ESPECIALLY when there is coarse sea salt involved. There is something about that tiny, salty crunch on top of creamy, satisfying avocado and nutty sesame.

Avocado and Sea Salt Toast

Avocado and Sea Salt Toast

Creamy Avocado and Sea Salt Toast

Inspired my a request from my 5 year old daughter ~ she loves it!
Serves 1
Vegan, Gluten Free Option*
Printable Recipe

Ingredients

1 slice sesame Ezekiel Bread (or gluten free bread)
1/4 ripe avocado, sliced
Sprinkle of coarse sea salt

Directions

1. Toast the Ezekiel Bread; spread avocado over bread evenly; sprinkle sea salt.

Nutrition Facts
1 Serving
Amount Per Serving

Calories 152.2
Total Fat 7.2 g
Saturated Fat 0.9 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.8 g
Monounsaturated Fat 4.2 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 83.4 mg
Potassium 299.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate 18.7 g
Dietary Fiber 5.9 g
Sugars 1.1 g
Protein 4.8 g

Vitamin A 1.3 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 10.2 %
Vitamin C 6.3 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 2.9 %
Calcium 0.6 %
Copper 3.7 %
Folate 9.6 %
Iron 5.5 %
Magnesium 9.1 %
Manganese 3.2 %
Niacin 10.1 %
Pantothenic Acid 6.3 %
Phosphorus 10.3 %
Riboflavin 3.6 %
Selenium 0.2 %
Thiamin 10.2 %
Zinc 6.0 %

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