Jul 102014
 

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

Perfect Pot Luck Salad!

Perfect Pot Luck Salad!

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


July 4th was a whirlwind.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fear.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t wait.

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


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


Easy Vegan Three Bean Salad

Easy Vegan Three Bean Salad

Three Bean Salad

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

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

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

Nutrition Facts
10 Servings
Amount Per Serving

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

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

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

Three Bean Salad 

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.

May 142014
 

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

Teriyaki Tempeh Lettuce Wraps

Teriyaki Tempeh Lettuce Wraps

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

Try as a taco too!

Try as a taco too!

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

Teriyaki Tempeh Lettuce Wraps

Teriyaki Tempeh Lettuce Wraps

 Teriyaki Tempeh Lettuce Wraps

Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe

Ingredients

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

Optional
4 tortillas

Directions

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

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

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

Nutrition Facts 
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

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

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

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

May 022014
 

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

Garlic Black Beans

Garlic Black Beans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Garlicky Black Beans

Garlicky Black Beans

Garlicky Black Beans over Rice Pasta

Serves 6
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

Nutrition Facts
5 Servings
Amount Per Serving

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

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

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

Apr 022014
 

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

Vegan Spanakopita Recipe

Vegan Spanakopita Recipe

Getting kids involved in cooking is fun.

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

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

Visions of a Dorm Room

Visions of a Dorm Room

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

Cooking in the Dorm

Cooking in the Dorm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vegan Spanakopita Recipe

Vegan Spanakopita Recipe

Greens Spanakopita

Serves 4
Vegan
Printable Recipe

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mar 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.

Feb 272014
 
Loaded Falafel Burger

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

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

Falafel Burgers

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

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

Here are the ingredients:

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

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

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

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

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

Loaded Falafel Burger

Loaded Falafel Burger

Loaded Falafel Burger with Roasted Vegetables

Serves 4
Vegan
Printable Recipe

Ingredients

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

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

Directions

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

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

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

Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

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

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

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

Dec 012013
 

Greens Salad with Avocado, Chickpeas, Quinoa and Hummus Dressing is a hearty, yet easy to make salad that is sure to satisfy even the biggest appetite! 

Greens Salad with Avocado, Chickpeas, Quinoa and Hummus Dressing

Greens Salad with Avocado, Chickpeas, Quinoa and Hummus Dressing

“Call me, I need to share some recipes that I have been doing ….”

Last week I got a text from Vivian at KyV Farm that she came up with a few easy and delicious recipes to utilize the staples we have on hand – such as greens and beans.  Of course I called her right away so I could hear all about them because I’m always looking for new ideas aside from my go-to staple of “if in doubt, make soup”. They sounded so tasty that I had to go home and whip this one up immediately with some of the beans, quinoa and hummus I already had on hand.

Greens Salad with Avocado, Chickpeas, Quinoa and Hummus Dressing

Greens Salad with Avocado, Chickpeas, Quinoa and Hummus Dressing

Here were some of her suggestions:

  • Utilize any greens you have – a whole mixture of bok choy, lettuce, collards, kale – whatever! Wash and dry them and use them as a base for your salads. Top with cooked beans, cooked quinoa and avocado. Now here is the kicker. Instead of using salad dressing try hummus!
  • Chickpea tacos – mix equal parts chickpea flour and water, salt and pepper. Cook them in a lightly oiled pan like a crepe. Stuff with beans and vegggies.
  • Mix greens into fresh salsa right along with any herbs.  Use this in a base for pasta sauce and no one will even notice the extra veggies.
  • Soak some beans overnight and throw them in the pressure cooker with salt-free broth, onions, garlic and sofrito. Bring the pressure up to a simmer and cook 30 minutes then remove from heat.
  • Mix some poblano peppers in with the cooked chickpeas to make a spicy hummus. (I like to throw some greens in there too.)

Upon one taste of this salad I knew Vivian had hit the jackpot! What a way to get your greens in! I love the hummus as a creamy dressing and with 12 grams of fiber and almost 12 grams of protein this is a sure-to-fill-you-up meal.

Do you have any easy and favorite ways to use what you usually have on hand?

Greens Salad with Avocado and Hummus Dressing

Greens Salad with Avocado and Hummus Dressing

Greens Salad with Avocado, Chickpeas, Quinoa and Hummus Dressing

Vegan, Gluten Free
Serves 1
Printable Recipe
**Ingredient from KyV Farm

Ingredients

2 cups mixed greens, chopped**
1/4 cup cooked quinoa
1/4 cup cooked chickpeas
1/4 cup raw broccoli florets, chopped**
1/4 Florida avocado, chopped
2 Tbsp hummus
Salt and pepper

Directions

1. Top greens with quinoa, chickpeas, broccoli, avocado and hummus; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Nutrition Facts
1 Serving
Amount Per Serving 

Calories 313.6
Total Fat 12.3 g
Saturated Fat 2.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.6 g
Monounsaturated Fat 5.5 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 304.0 mg
Potassium 505.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate 41.7 g
Dietary Fiber 12.1 g
Sugars 2.5 g
Protein 11.7 g

Vitamin A 69.4 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 21.7 %
Vitamin C 73.3 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 1.8 %
Calcium 7.1 %
Copper 24.9 %
Folate 26.4 %
Iron 17.8 %
Magnesium 15.3 %
Manganese 35.1 %
Niacin 4.5 %
Pantothenic Acid 10.4 %
Phosphorus 14.8 %
Riboflavin 6.1 %
Selenium 4.4 %
Thiamin 6.5 %
Zinc 10.3 %

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

Nov 252013
 

 Juicy Orange Vinaigrette over Crisp Pear & Apple Salad with Cranberries, Almonds and Fresh Rosemary. Need I say more?

Juicy Orange Vinaigrette over Crisp Pear & Apple Salad with Cranberries, Almonds and Fresh Rosemary

Juicy Orange Vinaigrette over Crisp Pear & Apple Salad with Cranberries, Almonds and Fresh Rosemary

Sometimes an unexpectedly happy email pops into your inbox ~ maybe it is from an old friend, maybe it is a response to a job opportunity or maybe it is from Mommypage for an interview!

This is an AWESOME resource for moms out there!

Mommypage  is an online community of like minded women to share stories, advice, recipes, craft ideas, coupons and more. You can be caught for hours browsing around the useful information and connecting with people.

_mp-Newsletter-Swap-Banner250x250

When I got the email asking if I would be open to sharing some recipes and writing up an interview I said of course!

I was so excited to be able to share a little snapshot of information about plant based diets and how it can benefit people and especially their children. Here is one of the questions I was asked….I loved this question because it enabled me to expand on the difference between vegan and plant based. Yes there are lots of reasons to go vegan, but when it comes to health for our bodies and the environment, plant based is a great way to go. It essentially is vegan but is based around as many whole foods as possible.

Are you raising your daughter to be vegan? Do you think parents should consider this food lifestyle for their kids?

No, I’m simply teaching her the principals of plant-based nutrition – why it is healing, what happens in the body, the effects of animal foods and where food comes from – especially the conditions of the animals in factory farms.  Every man, woman and child should learn about the centralized feeding operations that supply our meats and dairy and the ties between the USDA and these industries.  Many times the bottom line is not our health, it is money.  She has a dairy allergy and I don’t buy or cook with meats but she will occasionally have local honey. Also important to note is that even if someone calls themselves vegan they can still eat junk food all day!

No, I don’t think people should consider a “vegan” lifestyle for their kids, instead consider a whole foods plant-based lifestyle where they eat plants as close to the source as possible.

Juicy Orange Vinaigrette over Crisp Pear & Apple Salad with Cranberries, Almonds and Fresh Rosemary

Juicy Orange Vinaigrette over Crisp Pear & Apple Salad with Cranberries, Almonds and Fresh Rosemary

 While you are reading Mommypage I have a fabulous recipe for you to nosh – guilt free! There is something about fresh citrus in a dressing. It is so zingy, invigorating and sunny! This time I threw the whole orange in – yup the pulp and all – and I loved the texture. Feel free to juice the orange first instead, but you will miss out on all that glorious pulp!

Juicy Orange Vinaigrette over Crisp Pear & Apple Salad with Cranberries, Almonds and Fresh Rosemary

Juicy Orange Vinaigrette over Crisp Pear & Apple Salad with Cranberries, Almonds and Fresh Rosemary

Juicy Orange Vinaigrette over Crisp Pear & Apple Salad with Cranberries, Almonds and Fresh Rosemary

Serves 4-6
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe
**Ingredient on sale now at Native Sun Nov 7 thru Dec 6

Ingredients

4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
3 small pears**
3 small apples**
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 Tbsp dried cranberries
1/8 tsp sea salt & dash fresh ground pepper
2 Tbsp chopped natural almonds

Dressing
1 fresh orange, peeled
1 (to 2) Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp local honey or agave
2 Tbsp water

Directions

1. Mix salad ingredients in a large bowl; mix dressing ingredients in a small bowl; toss dressing over salad mixture.

2. Garnish with fresh rosemary.

Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving 

Calories 213.4
Total Fat 7.3 g
Saturated Fat 0.8 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.6 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 77.6 mg
Potassium 498.9 mg
Total Carbohydrate 38.3 g
Dietary Fiber 7.3 g
Sugars 24.1 g
Protein 3.2 g

Vitamin A 31.2 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 4.3 %
Vitamin C 66.3 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 15.9 %
Calcium 7.1 %
Copper 8.9 %
Folate 24.0 %
Iron 7.7 %
Magnesium 8.8 %
Manganese 24.8 %
Niacin 2.5 %
Pantothenic Acid 2.4 %
Phosphorus 4.3 %
Riboflavin 6.6 %
Selenium 2.1 %
Thiamin 6.0 %
Zinc 2.1 %

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

Nov 202013
 

 Utilize all your farmers market produce in this Sensational Seasonal Lentil Soup with a Surprising Ingredient – Radishes! 

KyV CSA 2013-2014 Installment 1

KyV CSA 2013-2014 Installment 1 Acorn Squash

Step into my day dream of a Utopian world with an organic farm at the center prompted by my first installment of veggies last Wednesday. What a variety it was!

1) KALE
2) SPAGHETTI SQUASH or EGGPLANT(not in picture) or Yellow Squash/Zucchini
3) ACORN SQUASH & CALABAZA
4) DAIKON RADISH * or RED RADISHES
5) YUM YUM SWEET PEPPERS
6) BOK CHOY
7) KOMATSUNA SPINACH
Plus delicious fresh bread!

KyV CSA 2013-2014 Installment 1

KyV CSA 2013-2014 Installment 1 Daikon and Red Globe Radish

There is nothing like walking up to a farm stand, jute bag in hand, with vegetables just pulled from the ground and saying hello to the farmer that grew them. I can’t help but dream about a concept where an organic farm is the center of a supportive community that surrounds it. On the outskirts of the farm are schools that get their food – fresh produce, not off a truck from a far away place, or from food like substances produced in a lab, but from their own back yard.  Ecology, recycling and sustainability would be a main focus.  Kids would be taught real skills along with the standard reading, writing and arithmetic such as sewing, cooking and farming.  We wouldn’t send jobs overseas – but we would produce real products and support families right here in our own communities.

KyV CSA 2013-2014 Installment 1

KyV CSA 2013-2014 Installment 1 Fresh Bread, Eggplant & Yum-Yum

Also located there are holistic doctors – trained in both conventional medicine and the healing properties of holistic nutrition with a focus on healing through food and traditional herbal remedies.  There would be less instances of heart disease, cancer and diabetes. People would live long and productive lives with a high quality of life.  We would respect and support our elders as a vital part of our community.

KyV CSA 2013-2014 Installment 1

KyV CSA 2013-2014 Installment 1 Bok Choy

There would be a huge focus on staying active with lots of natural trails, camping and hiking in the surrounding woods.  Homes would be built small and with sustainable materials and solar power.  We would collect and purify rain water and we would welcome people that are skilled as seamstresses, gardeners, chefs, mechanics. There would be less of a reliance on technology and more on face to face interactions with real people.  We would have a large library attached to the school with tons of programs for kids and adults alike. Book clubs, children’s story time, craft fairs.  Life is slower, calmer, less stressful.

KyV CSA 2013-2014 Installment 1

KyV CSA 2013-2014 Installment 1 Cucumber, Lettuce & Kale

Am I crazy to want such things? I know the argument is the fact that this method can not support the current population – a fact that gets scarier and scarier. How ARE we going to be able to support the population of the future?  Natural resources are being depleted, rivers, oceans and lands are being polluted and consumerism is off the charts. At this point all we can do is take one step at a time, lead by example and constantly be learning about what is going on in the environment and the world…..

And eat soup.

Sensational Seasonal CSA Soup

Sensational Seasonal CSA Soup

Seasonally inspired, calming, comforting and rejuvenating soup.  Deliciously filled with fiber, vitamins and nutrients and just the right amount of protein.

Sensational Seasonal CSA Soup

Sensational Seasonal CSA Soup

For anyone in your family that isn’t a spicy radish lover – let them try this soup. My daughter thinks they are potatoes!

What is your idea of a Utopian society? What are your thoughts on feeding the populations of tomorrow? 

Sensational Seasonal CSA Soup

Sensational Seasonal CSA Soup

 Sensational Seasonal Lentil Soup

Serves 8
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe
**Ingredients from KyV Farm

Ingredients

1 Tbsp oil or broth
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrot
1 Daikon radish, chopped**
6 Red Globe radish, quartered**
1 cup Yum-Yum peppers, chopped**
1 Tbsp poultry seasoning
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chopped collard greens or kale**
1 cup lentils, rinsed
1 1/2 cups cooked white beans (about 1 can Great Northern, Cannelini or Butter beans)
1 carton broth
2 tsp prepared mustard

Directions

1. Heat oil or broth in a Dutch oven over medium high heat; add onion and cook 5 minutes or until softened; add garlic, carrot and celery; cook an additional 3 minutes; add radish, peppers, poultry seasoning and salt; cook 5 more minutes or so; add collards or kale, lentils, beans and broth; reduce heat, cover and cook about 30 minutes or until lentils and radishes are soft. Stir in mustard, taste and re-season if necessary and enjoy!

Nutrition Fact
8 Servings
Amount Per Serving 

Calories 141.5
Total Fat 2.1 g
Saturated Fat 0.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.3 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 570.5 mg
Potassium 519.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate 24.0 g
Dietary Fiber 6.4 g

Sugars 2.7 g
Protein 6.8 g
Vitamin A 49.6 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 9.6 %
Vitamin C 36.6 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 2.5 %
Calcium 7.7 %
Copper 10.8 %
Folate 22.6 %
Iron 16.9 %
Magnesium 10.5 %
Manganese 25.2 %
Niacin 3.2 %
Pantothenic Acid 3.6 %
Phosphorus 10.9 %
Riboflavin 3.7 %
Selenium 2.8 %
Thiamin 8.4 %
Zinc 6.7 %

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