Feb 212013

Six Disney Food Survival Tips

Blissful Blueberry Bake

Blissful Blueberry Bake

Disney World.

Is it one of your life’s dreams to get there? Or are you not into the lines and crowds?

I would definitely put myself into the latter category.  Camping is one of my favorite pastimes.  Nature. Solitude. Calm.  My life is crazy enough as it is, so going into an environment of man-made chaos is not my cup of tea.  Nevertheless, I just returned from a three day Disney adventure because we had family that flew in from Massachusetts that my daughter had never met and she very much enjoyed meeting her cousins…and Mary Poppins.

One of the first and most obvious things to me, of course, was the food choices of many Disney-goers.  At the “resort” we stayed at there was a cafeteria where my family and I ate.  During one particular breakfast I noticed a sadly obese child that had skittles, some sort of cinnamon bun, a chocolate chip cookie, bacon and a chocolate chip pancake on his plate and was washing that down with his ($17) mug of Coke.  The more I looked around, the more I realized it was the same with many of the parents and other children’s plates.  Some of the “healthy” choices were Light and Fit yogurt, flavored milks and frosted flakes.  If you know anything about the commercial dairy industry and GMO corn, you know this is not actually a healthy choice.

So what is a food conscious person to do?  With a little planning you can both save money and stay healthy!  

1) Spend a little time to plan ahead. Choose a few recipes to make beforehand, such as this five ingredient black bean burger. **(For those flying in see below.)
2) Find out if you can get a refrigerator in your room or if you will need to get ice each morning.
3) Bring a canvas bag for non-refrigeration items, a large cooler for anything that must stay cold and smaller lunch bag for the day trips.
4) Each morning separate breakfast items out and then pack enough food items for lunch and snacks in the smaller bag. (You will have a much easier time of this with a plant based diet since you won’t need to worry as much about refrigeration.) If you are not going back to the room for dinner, you will need to pack that too.
5) Bring paper plates, napkins and utensils. (If you are flying in you can get these on the park grounds, but taking them along allows you to forgo having to stand in line to obtain only a plate.)
6) Bring some reusable storage containers that you can portion your lunch into and rinse out each night.

Note: For lunch items such as a bean burger, there are a few restaurants that are happy to allow you to use their condiments such as salsa, lettuce, tomato and onion when you tell them you or your child has food allergies – especially if you do purchase something from them such as a side salad or small iced coffee (I packed my own coconut creamer).

**If you are flying in, prior to leaving home, purchase and pack a soft sided cooler.  Upon arriving in Orlando find a grocery store such as Publix and stock up on some ice and essentials.  You can still make these five ingredient black bean burgers - all you need is a can of beans, mustard, ketchup, some instant oats, salt and pepper and a microwave.    

The outcome? With just this little bit of preparation: 1) I saved enough money to cover my daughter’s three day ticket into the park as a Florida resident and 2) we had some really delicious food compared to some of the generic items available.  There would have been almost nothing either of us could eat between my plant based diet and my daughter’s food allergies.  I found almost no meat/dairy free choices, unless we wanted to get a iceberg lettuce salad or a plastic packaged $7 bowl of melon.

Some of the items I packed included refillable water bottles with filters, fresh fruit, dried fruit, sun butter/peanut butter, whole grain bagel thins, rice cakes, home made bean burgers, an avocado, onion and tomato, carrots and hummus, salsa and organic corn chips, oatmeal, coconut milk creamer, rice milk for my daughter and a few splurge items such as a container of Blissful Blueberry Bake, gluten free fig newtons and GF pretzels.

Looking at the population of people that was in the parks was disheartening.  There were so many people that were so overweight they actually had to have motorized wheelchairs to get around.  It made me so sad and wishful that I could help them.  But as with all things in life we can only Live and Let Live and lead by example.  The more of us that band together in these situations and show people that eating and living healthy is possible the better.  My hope is that even ONE person saw what we were doing and said you know what, I’m going to do that next time!

Blissful Blueberry Bake

Blissful Blueberry Bake

This blueberry bake is a simple and satisfying warm dessert.  For those folks where fresh blueberries are not available, frozen would work great too.  Whatever you choose, be sure to get a variety that does not contain added sugars or salt -this way you can control the amount that is added to the recipe.

I encourage you to dress this base recipe up in different ways – some ginger or cinnamon would be lovely or the addition of some extra pecans or other nuts.  Don’t like agave?  Try  subbing some 100% maple syrup.  Any which way, you can’t go wrong with baked blueberries!

Blissful Blueberry Bake

Blissful Blueberry Bake

Blissful Blueberry Bake

Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe
**Items on sale now at Native Sun Natural Foods Market, Feb 7 through Mar 6, 2013


1 pint fresh blueberries**
¼ cup agave nectar, (Madhava)**
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 cup gluten free granola, (Natures Path)**
1 tsp coconut oil, melted (Nutiva) **


1. Preheat oven to 350F; mix blueberries, agave, lemon and salt in a small baking dish; mix granola and coconut oil in a small dish and then spoon over blueberries evenly; cover and bake 60 minutes, until warm and bubbly.

Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving 

Calories 213.6
Total Fat 4.5 g
Saturated Fat 1.5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.8 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 166.4 mg
Potassium 94.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 42.9 g
Dietary Fiber 4.4 g
Sugars 29.8 g
Protein 2.7 g

Vitamin A 2.0 %
Vitamin B-6 1.9 %
Vitamin C 24.7 %
Vitamin E 5.0 %
Calcium 1.3 %
Copper 3.1 %
Folate 1.6 %
Iron 4.3 %
Magnesium 1.3 %
Manganese 14.2 %
Niacin 1.8 %
Pantothenic Acid 0.9 %
Phosphorus 1.1 %
Riboflavin 3.0 %
Selenium 0.8 %
Thiamin 3.3 %
Zinc 0.8 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Enjoy my Blissful Blueberry Bake and Six Disney Food Survival Tips!

Dec 112012

How many times do we throw food away and not think about it?

According to the EPA “More food reaches landfills and incinerators than any other single material in municipal solid waste (MSW). In 2010 alone, more than 34 million tons of food waste was generated, with only three percent diverted from landfills and incinerators for composting.

Why should we be concerned about this?  For many reasons; one being that as the food in the landfills rot, it creates methane which contributes to global warming.  Secondly, think of how many people on this planet are HUNGRY.  Americans portion sizes are so huge that we either eat the massive servings, sometimes enough to serve four people or more, and gain weight or send the left overs to a landfill.  “Feed People, Not Landfills - An estimated 50 million Americans do not have access to enough food. Organizations can donate safe and healthy food to a food bank or food rescue organization and both reduce food sent to landfills and feed those in need.” 

How can you help? Think about portion sizes – especially when eating out.  Can you share a dish with someone?  Don’t forget you can always order more if you are still hungry, but my bet is that you won’t be. How about taking home the left overs?  Remember that container ends up in a landfill.  This may seem a little weird to some people, but there is nothing wrong with bringing a take-along container for left overs or buying some compostable containers and using those instead of Styrofoam.  Secondly, think about what you throw away in your trash.  Is there anything you can set aside in a large “dump bucket” such as citrus rinds, apple cores, coffee filters, etc. that you can dump into a compost pile?  I don’t have one but I go back out to the woods and scatter these type scraps in the brush out back and let me tell you – that is some happy brush. Or even better – save those veggie scraps, such as the ends of onions, carrot peels and pepper ribs and seeds in a gallon size bag in the freezer.  Once it is filled pour all the veggie scraps in a large stock pot, cover with water and make broth.  See this recipe for Vivian’s Vivacious Vegetable Broth.  You can then save that gallon bag and reuse it over and over and you save money on broth.

In the spirit of reduce, reuse and recycle I created this recipe to use those broccoli stems that always stare you in the face, challenging you to do something with them.

This is one of those salads that is so good, you realize simple is better.  Add in your favorite protien to make this a complete meal or use this sauce/dressing recipe on ANYTHING – from topping some tofu, to a simple salad, or even as a dip.  And if broccoli crowns are all you have, feel free to use those!

Broccoli Stem Salad with Creamy Garlic Tarragon Sauce

Broccoli Stem Salad with Creamy Garlic Tarragon Sauce

Inspired by The Flavor Bible
Serves 2 to 3
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe
**Ingredients on sale at Native Sun Natural Foods Market, Dec 7 through Jan 6th


3 broccoli stalks and leaves**
1/4 cup chopped green onion
2 Tbsp Vegenaise
1/4 tsp dried tarragon
1/8 tsp coarse sea salt
Fresh ground pepper, to taste


1. Peel or cut the skin of the broccoli stalks to remove; chop into bite size pieces; place in a medium bowl.  Chop the broccoli leaves finely; add, along with green onions, to broccoli stalks.

2. Mix the Vegenaise, tarragon, salt and pepper in a small bowl; pour over broccoli mixture and stir until combined.

Nutrition Facts
2 Servings
Amount Per Serving


Calories 115.2
Total Fat 9.3 g
Saturated Fat 0.6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 254.2 mg
Potassium 292.1 mg
Total Carbohydrate 4.7 g
Dietary Fiber 2.7 g
Sugars 0.0 g
Protein 2.7 g


Vitamin A 27.3 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 7.2 %
Vitamin C 136.9 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 7.3 %
Calcium 4.5 %
Copper 2.1 %
Folate 15.8 %
Iron 4.7 %
Magnesium 5.7 %
Manganese 10.9 %
Niacin 2.9 %
Pantothenic Acid 4.7 %
Phosphorus 5.9 %
Riboflavin 6.3 %
Selenium 3.8 %
Thiamin 3.8 %
Zinc 2.4 %


*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 282012

Ready to get a little crazy?

How about THIS instead of your same old green bean casserole?

Fresh green beans, Meyer lemon from the tree out front, a hint of aromatic garlic and some crispy onions – what is not to love?

According to one of my favorite websites, World’s Healthiest Foods, green beans are full of carotenoids – just like carrots and tomatoes! They are high in vitamins C, K and A and even have some of those B Vitamins that many of us just don’t get enough of in our diets.

Green beans are also the perfect diet food – high in fiber and low in calories.  I confess that I wasn’t too excited about green beans -  I had gotten bored.  I needed a new and fresh way to prepare them, so I broke out one of my favorite cooking tools, the Flavor Bible.  It is a must have for every cook that wants to create their own recipes.  For each ingredient, the book offers what flavors pair best and there was quite a list for green beans.

The Flavor Bible

I have a feeling that if you are bored with the same old casserole, with this recipe you will fall in love with green beans all over again!

Green Beans

Simple Lemon Garlic Green Beans with Crispy Onions

Serves 2
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe


10 oz fresh green beans
1 tsp coconut oil
1/8 tsp coarse sea salt
1 clove garlic, minced finely
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp crispy onions, (Loebs)


1. Heat 1 tsp coconut oil in large skillet; add green beans and salt; cook about 1 minute; reduce heat to medium low, add 1 Tbsp water and garlic; cover and cook 5 minutes.  Uncover, stir; cook an additional 5 minutes; add fresh lemon; spoon onto plate and top with crispy onions.

Nutrition Facts
2 Servings
Amount Per Serving 

Calories 90.5
Total Fat 4.2 g
Saturated Fat 2.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 116.3 mg
Potassium 313.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 13.0 g
Dietary Fiber 4.8 g
Sugars 0.3 g
Protein 2.7 g 

Vitamin A 18.7 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 6.4 %
Vitamin C 47.8 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 2.9 %
Calcium 5.5 %
Copper 5.2 %
Folate 13.3 %
Iron 8.3 %
Magnesium 9.0 %
Manganese 16.3 %
Niacin 5.4 %
Pantothenic Acid 1.5 %
Phosphorus 5.6 %
Riboflavin 8.8 %
Selenium 1.5 %
Thiamin 8.3 %
Zinc 2.4 % 

*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 212012


Here for the popcorn? Scroll down!

Here are my top 10 reasons why Mila is the best gift for the people on your list.



2. Fiber aids in WEIGHT LOSS and BALANCES BLOOD SUGAR:  How many people are struggling with weight loss and never feel full? Mila absorbs ten times its weight in liquids so it expands in your stomach.  Many times I will drink Mila with juice before eating a meal and it will cause me to eat less without even trying.

Need a weight loss program? Try the Aztec diet.

See the snapshot below of 1 serving of Mila, then 1 serving of Mila mixed with 1 cup water.

3. Can heal CONSTIPATION ISSUES: Soluble fiber ensures hydration and insoluble fiber gently moves through the system, cleansing and carrying food along.

4. Omega 3′s can help DEPRESSION:  Google Omega 3 and medical studies and you will see many studies on how Omega 3s can help.  Here is just one example from the University of Maryland. The best thing about Mila is there is 3000 mg of plant based Omega 3s – so we don’t have to worry about mercury contamination like we do in fish.  This is a FOOD. Our bodies will naturally recognize it faster than a supplement.

5. Omega 3s and HEARTH HEALTH go hand in hand: High blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease are all covered in this same University of Maryland medical study on Omega 3s.

6. NUTRITION AND ENERGY: Vitamins and Nutrients can give us Energy. The Standard American Diet (or SAD diet) is severely lacking in nutrient content. We try to counteract that by taking vitamin and mineral supplements.  But think about it, our bodies recognize food faster than a supplement.  It will recognize the vitamin C in an orange faster and more efficiently than a pill form of vitamin C. And our bodies simply need the nutrition.  We can’t produce Omega 3s so we must obtain it from food sources.


8. Great BRAIN FOOD FOR KIDS- Check out this pediatric study.

9. Is there a pet lover on your list?  Mila is PERFECT FOR PETS.

10. FUELS WORKOUTS and keeps us hydrated! See how it absorbs all the liquids in the photo above? That is what keeps us hydrated longer.  Loose the GU!


WHY is Mila different from organic or regular bulk bin chia?  See this study from the North Carolina Research Campus. 

Hear you can eat chia whole?  Watch this study done on the absorption and bio-availability difference of milled chia.


Share the love and get yours now while the gettin’s good!

The gift that keeps on giving – give your loved one a subscription!


Try the recipe below and these other delicious Mila recipes.

Chocolate Peppermint Mila Popcorn

Chocolate and Peppermint Mila Popcorn

Party Size
Printable Recipe


1 bag natural popcorn, such as Newman’s Own
1 cup chocolate of choice – I used the Bakers Dipping chocolate
1 scoop Mila
Coarse sea salt, to taste
1 candy cane, crushed 


1.  Cook popcorn to package directions and remove any un-popped kernels; sprinkle Mila over warm popcorn.

2. Heat chocolate to package directions; pour evenly over popcorn; sprinkle sea salt and candy cane over heated chocolate.

3. Place in refrigerator to cool; break into pieces and place in a bowl or in decorative canisters for gifts.

 Posted by at 2:30 pm  Tagged with:
Nov 102012

Yesterday was our FIRST delivery of the CSA season and what a great start!

In our bags we got squash, onions, broccoli, broccoli rabe, spinach, bok choy, peppers, radishes, beans, lettuce, purple kale and more.

Kohlrabi, Broccoli Rabe, Radishes

To celebrate – by popular request, I am posting my very first video on how to store and prep kale and lettuce! Please keep in mind I was at work at 6:30AM, worked through lunch, got my daughter, ran straight to the farm to grab my veggies, got home, took photos and then started dinner and made this video.  Since this is my normal life, I decided the videos are going to be really spontaneous.  Real life! My hair and makeup won’t be perfect and these won’t be scripted or edited.

Store those wrapped greens in the fridge and simply remove the amount you want for each dish!

What came of this spontaneous video was one of the most delicious salads I’ve had in a long time.  I have fallen in love with the new line of dressings that KyV Farm is carrying and the one I tried last night was Tomato Basil.

Vidalia Valley Dressings

Think of the best homemade tomato sauce you ever had and turn that into a dressing.  A perfect balance of sweet, acid, tart and aromatic basil.  I remember enjoying Outback Steakhouse’s tangy tomato – and it doesn’t hold a candle to this organic blend.  I’ve had three servings since yesterday.

Hiding underneath that dressing is the tart sun dried tomatoes, red onions with a bite, crunchy nuts, and even Mila, nature’s healthiest whole raw food, decides to join the party on top of this blend of purple kale and lettuce. 

Purple Kale and Sun dried Tomato Salad

 Raw kale? 

Yes! This tender kale can be eaten raw! And isn’t that almost always the best way to eat a vegetable?

Purple Kale and Sun dried Tomato Salad

 Purple Kale and Sun Dried Tomato Salad

Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe


4 cups chopped purple kale, KyV Farm
4 cups chopped lettuce, KyV Farm
4 Tbsp Mila 
4 Tbsp sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained
4 plum tomatoes, quartered
1/3 cup mixed whole nuts
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 green onion, chopped
8 Tbsp Vidalia Valley Tomato Basil Dressing (Buy some right at KyV!)


1. Place 1 cup kale, 1 cup lettuce,  1 Tbsp Mila, 1 Tbsp sun dried tomato and one tomato on each of four plates; add the nuts, red onion and green onion over evenly. Top each with 2 Tbsp dressing. 

Nutrition Facts (not including dressing)
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 149.0
Total Fat 8.0
Saturated Fat 0.8 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.3 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 106.3 mg
Potassium 680.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate 15.6 g
Dietary Fiber 7.4 g
Sugars 2.9 g
Protein 7.1 g

Vitamin A 383.9 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 12.4 %
Vitamin C 113.5 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 9.8 %
Calcium 16.5 %
Copper 20.1 %
Folate 25.1 %
Iron 16.7 %
Magnesium 14.1 %
Manganese 63.4 %
Niacin 8.6 %
Pantothenic Acid 3.5 %
Phosphorus 17.3 %
Riboflavin 10.8 %
Selenium 2.1 %
Thiamin 10.9 %
Zinc 6.1 % 


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

Oct 272012

Halloween is almost here and before we know it the Christmas season will be upon us and we know what that means – gift giving!  And this season I thought, what better way to celebrate the holidays than by supporting small US based businesses?

Lord knows, in this economy lots of people are out of work, yet we keep shipping our jobs overseas for cheap labor.  Let’s support those of us that work so hard to provide for our families.

I will be adding to this list as I get updates from any businesses that would like to be added.  If you would like to be added please forward a JPG photo, your contact info and website URL to chefdawn@hotmail.com.

Below you will see food items, memberships to KYV farm and a local yoga studio, crafts, jewelry and more!

Thanks to all of you that make this country great!

KYV Farm – give the gift of good health, give a CSA membership!

Alyson Foreacre – Yoga Den Studio. A yoga package is the perfect gift to help someone get movin’ during or after the holidays!

Twin Oaks Farm Jams & Gifts

Tupelo Honey from East Hill Honey

Heirloom and organic garden seeds by Moonlight Micro-Farm.

Blissful Bird Designs by Angie Neal

Kimmy M Designs – Handmade jewelry by my friend Kim! Each piece is hand-crafted in the USA and a portion of proceeds will be donated to Dress for Success.

Jewelry Designs by Sandi offers jewelry for the gym!

Sierra Metal Design by Alicia Ballard

Pink Polka Dot Boutique by Christine Reid

Sandababy Designs by Avita Sandoval-Beatty

Tales of the Scotts – Ava Scott

LuvBoopa by Jennifer Richardson

 Posted by at 7:32 pm  Tagged with:
Oct 102012

Easy Vegan Sloppy Joes

What is so sneaky about a Sloppy Joe?  If you’re trying to get your kids to eat more fiber and veggies then this is the perfect way to sneak them into a dish.  I used red kidney beans and red cabbage that is full of fiber and antioxidants.  Cabbage has wonderful anti-inflammatory benefits and aids in cancer prevention, digestive and cardiovascular health.

But how does it taste?  If you ask my 4 year old – delicious!  She ate her entire serving and asked for the left-overs in a quesadilla with a bit of Daiya cheese the next day.

This hearty meal is low in fat and calories, has ZERO cholesterol, is high in vitamins and minerals and is perfect for the cool weather – PLUS with only six ingredients, it is super easy to whip up.

Tip: Use cooked rice if you already have some and skip the first step or cook the rice a day in advance and your meal will be ready in about 10 minutes.

Easy Vegan Sloppy Joes

Sneaky Open-Faced Sloppy Joes

Serves 4
Printable Recipe
**Items on sale now at Native Sun Natural Food Markets


1 cup dry rice,  (Lundberg Farms)**
1/2 small red onion
1/4 small red cabbage
2 Tbsp Sloppy Joe mix, (Simply Organic)**
1/2 can (3oz) tomato paste
1 can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained, (Tree of Life)**

Optional 2 hamburger buns of choice, (Ezekiel)


1. Rinse and drain rice well.  Heat 2 cups water or broth in a medium bowl to a boil; add rice, reduce heat and cover, cook 45 minutes; remove from heat, let sit 10 minutes.

2. Preheat large skillet over medium high heat.  Chop onion and cabbage; spray skillet with cooking spray; add onion and cabbage, saute until softened, about 5 to 7 minutes.  Mix Sloppy Joe seasoning with 3/4 cup water; add tomato paste and mix well.  Stir seasoning mixture into onions and cabbage; cook about 1 minute.

3. Add beans and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes; stir in 1 cup cooked rice (set remainder aside for another use); mix well, taste and re-season if necessary. Split and toast burger buns if using; serve 1/4 Sloppy Joe mix over 1/2 burger bun.

*** For a gluten free option, forgo the burger buns and simply serve over additional rice.


Estimated Nutrition Facts Without Bun
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 249.9
Total Fat 1.5 g
Saturated Fat 0.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 823.3 mg
Potassium 589.5 mg
Total Carbohydrate 49.9 g
Dietary Fiber 11.4 g
Sugars 9.0 g
Protein 11.4 g

Vitamin A 21.7 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 7.9 %
Vitamin C 41.0 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 9.3 %
Calcium 6.9 %
Copper 8.5 %
Folate 3.1 %
Iron 18.7 %
Magnesium 5.8 %
Manganese 10.3 %
Niacin 7.1 %
Pantothenic Acid 1.1 %
Phosphorus 4.8 %
Riboflavin 4.9 %
Selenium 3.6 %
Thiamin 3.1 %
Zinc 2.3 %

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

Sep 132012
I love cooking, but the cleaning part is not my forte.  I say it’s overrated!

Time for more hearty, one-pot meals, like this one.

Comforting pasta, hearty red beans and a cheesy sauce – perfect for tonight’s dinner.
One-Pot, Cheesy Fajita Pasta with Red Beans, Peppers, Onions and Mushrooms
Classic fajita veggies, carrots, peppers and mushrooms were used in this dish, but it would be delicious with any veggie you have on hand.

One-Pot, Cheesy Fajita Pasta with Red Beans, Peppers, Onions and Mushrooms

Tip:  Cooking your own beans from the bulk section will save tons of money!  I prepare about 6 cups of dried beans at a time.  
Slow Cooker Method: To prepare simply rinse the beans well and place in a large bowl.  Cover with plenty of water – the beans will soak in quite a bit.  Let sit overnight.  
Drain and place beans in slow cooker; cover beans with water or broth; cook on low 
 for six hours. Let cool; spoon into freezer safe baggies – about 2 cups at a time and freeze flat until ready to use.

One-Pot, Cheesy Fajita Pasta with Red Beans, Peppers, Onions and Mushrooms
One-Pot, Cheesy Fajita Pasta

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


1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced 
1 pkg fajita seasoning mix, Simply Organic
2 cups cooked dark red kidney beans
24 oz strained tomatoes, Bionaturae
2 cups water
3 cups dry gluten free pasta, Tinkyada
1 cup vegan shredded cheese, Dayia (or any shredded cheese you prefer)


1. Preheat a large pot over medium high heat and spray with non-stick spray. Add the onion, pepper and mushroom; cook about 5 minutes or until softened; add garlic, cook an additional minute.  Stir in 1/2 pkg fajita mix and kidney beans; stir well until combined; taste and add additional seasoning as needed, up to 1 packet. 

2. Add strained tomato, water and pasta.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 7 minutes, taste sauce again and adjust seasoning as necessary.

3. Add cheese and cover with lid ajar; cook an additional 7 minutes or until pasta is al dente.

Nutrition Facts (with full seasoning packet) 
8 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 218.7 
Total Fat 3.9 g
Saturated Fat 1.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 571.5 mg
Potassium 290.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 39.1 g
Dietary Fiber 7.8 g
Sugars 5.3 g
Protein 6.9 g

Vitamin A 12.2 %
Vitamin B-12 0.1 %
Vitamin B-6 4.9 %
Vitamin C 54.6 %
Vitamin D 2.3 %
Vitamin E 0.9 %
Calcium 2.2 %
Copper 7.8 %
Folate 10.7 %
Iron 9.3 %
Magnesium 5.6 %
Manganese 10.9 %
Niacin 9.9 %
Pantothenic Acid 3.1 %
Phosphorus 8.0 %
Riboflavin 7.5 %
Selenium 3.0 %
Thiamin 12.0 %
Zinc 3.2 %

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

Jun 032012
Happy Sunday Quick Post.
Think that eating healthy takes too much time?  This recipe is perfect for anyone in a rush AND anyone that wants a really light meal.  In fact, I took this photo on my phone at work since I hadn’t planned on blogging this.  After the previous day of big meals at both lunch and dinner I wanted something super light. 
 Adding broth and added veggies adds lots of volume for minimal calories, helping to both fill you up and loose weight.
Try this if you have frozen zucchini, squash and beans, a can of soup and some broth.
Super Fast Zucchini and Squash Soup

Zucchini and Squash Soup

Serves 2
1 can vegetable barley soup, such as Amy’s
1. Divide the soup between two bowls; add 1/2 cup broth and 1/2 cup frozen zucchini and squash to each bowl.  Heat to desired temp.
Nutrition Facts

2 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 79.0
Total Fat 1.1 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 581.1 mg
Potassium 148.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 14.9 g
Dietary Fiber 3.6 g
Sugars 6.2 g
Protein 2.7 g

Vitamin A 52.3 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 6.2 %
Vitamin C 36.0 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 0.3 %
Calcium 4.8 %
Copper 1.4 %
Folate 4.1 %
Iron 7.1 %
Magnesium 2.4 %
Manganese 4.9 %
Niacin 1.4 %
Pantothenic Acid 0.9 %
Phosphorus 2.1 %
Riboflavin 4.7 %
Selenium 0.2 %
Thiamin 1.8 %
Zinc 1.1 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

May 242012

Got tons of veggies from your garden or the farm?  Freeze them for soups, baking and stews later!

**Freezing will change the texture so it’s best to eat them fresh if you want a firm veggie.

Step 1
Preheat a big pot with a steamer basket.

Step 2
Wash and dry your produce well.

Step 3
Chop it into bite size pieces.

Step 4
Steam the produce for three minutes and then pour it into an ice water bath to stop the cooking then DRY well.

Step 5
Freeze the produce on trays lined with parchment paper.  This will make it so they don’t freeze into a giant block if you only need to cook with a small amount.

Step 6
Remove veggie from freezer and place into FREEZER SAFE zip top bags labeled with the date and what type of veggie it is.

Try to use your veggies within a month so they don’t get freezer burn.  A little extra time won’t kill them though so don’t stress.