Jun 212013

I have a confession that is very embarrassing.

Chunky Salsa Taco Salad

Chunky Salsa Taco Salad

I’m an “as seen on TV” junkie.

Chunky Salsa Taco Salad

Chunky Salsa Taco Salad

I’ve tried:

On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) here is how I would rank some the ones I’ve tried.
Music Bullet 10 – a small speaker that you can recharge and is perfect to plug into your smart phone to listen to Pandora.
Lens CPR 1 – to fix scratches on my eyeglasses lens. My glasses came out really cloudy and weird. Maybe I didn’t do this right.
Strap Perfect  3 – pulls bra straps together in the back so you can’t see the straps. Eh. It’s ok.
Ped Egg 7 – pedicure tool.  I like it! When I have time to use it.
Instabulb 3 – A light bulb you can take anywhere.  Didn’t stay stuck to the wall and wasn’t very bright.
Vidalia Chop Wizard 8 – Veggie chopper.  I loved it until I broke the poor thing. It was great to chop everything into equal bites.  My daughter thought it was really fun.
Perfect Tortilla 10 – Love it! Stackable pans that you easily press a tortilla into and it bakes into a perfect bowl.  I debated on whether to get this and finally caved. I tried it and love it! It was SO easy and no oil needed!

Have you tried any As Seen On TV gadgets? If so which ones have you tried? Did you like them?

Chunky Salsa Taco Salad

Chunky Salsa Taco Salad

Wondering what to stuff in the shells? Anything! I chose to chop up some gorgeous fresh summer veggies from KyV farm that I had on hand to make a sort of deconstructed salsa and hidden beneath was some left over grains and beans. I seasoned very simply with fresh lime and salt but it would be great with a pinch of cayenne and some cumin as well.

Get creative with these shells! Try sprinkling some cinnamon and sugar before baking to make dessert shells, use them for dips, salads or chili!

I think everyone knows what they are getting for Christmas now.

Chunky Salsa Taco Salad

Chunky Salsa Taco Salad

Chunky Salsa Taco Salad

Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe
**Ingredients from KyV Farm


1/2 14.5oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups grape tomatoes, sliced**
2 cups yum yum peppers, sliced**
1/2 avocado, chopped
3 ears fresh corn, husk and silk removed and cut from cob**
1/4 red onion, chopped
Fresh cilantro (or in my case, chives since hubby doesn’t like cilantro)
Fresh lime
Coarse ground sea salt
4 Rice Tortillas

2 cups left over beans and rice
Hot Sauce
1/4 poblano pepper, chopped**


1. Preheat oven to 400F; mix beans through salt in a bowl and set aside; press tortillas into tortilla shell pans; bake 7-10 minutes or until crispy and browned; fill each shell with 1/4 salsa mixture, and 1/4 cup beans and rice if using.

Nutrition Facts (without leftover beans and rice)
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving 

Calories 289.1
Total Fat 7.0 g
Saturated Fat 0.6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.4 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 352.7 mg
Potassium 755.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate 51.7 g
Dietary Fiber 10.2 g
Sugars 1.8 g
Protein 8.1 g

Vitamin A 75.9 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 15.3 %
Vitamin C 200.1 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 5.2 %
Calcium 2.6 %
Copper 15.9 %
Folate 23.7 %
Iron 13.2 %
Magnesium 23.8 %
Manganese 19.7 %
Niacin 21.7 %
Pantothenic Acid 16.4 %
Phosphorus 23.9 %
Riboflavin 9.5 %
Selenium 2.2 %
Thiamin 27.5 %
Zinc 9.4 %

*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 172012

Going into a holiday as a new vegetarian or vegan can be very disconcerting. Especially when your family believes you have lost your mind.

(Insert eye roll here.)

NOW what are we going to feed her?

I’m sure she will be over all this nonsense in a month.


Thanksgiving Bean Burger

Little did they know it would stick. And I don’t miss it one bit.  In fact, all of my alternatives are so easy and delish that I prefer them to some dried out old piece of meat. This year I’m making roasted sweet potatoes and onions, mashed cauliflower and maybe a salad.

For purposes of testing the recipe though, I just threw on a side of edamame.  Let the eye rolling ensue.

These burgers are moist, have all those Thanksgiving-y flavors of thyme and sage and a touch of sweetness from the sweet-tart cranberry sauce….the PERFECT topping to blend with the flavor of the burger and the baked onion rings give it a nice crunch.  It sort of reminds me of the crispy onions some people put on their green bean casserole.

So when your family is cooking their bird for hours upon hours it is your turn to return the eye roll and make these burgers in just a few minutes.

Thanksgiving Bean Burgers

Thanksgiving Bean Burger

Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe


2 cups cooked white beans, such as butter beans or great northern
1/3 cup rolled oatmeal, (Millers Grain)
1 tsp poultry seasoning (salt free)
1/4 tsp salt
1 rounded tbsp mustard

8 Frozen breaded onion rings, (Alexia)
1 cup Whole cranberry sauce, (Pacific Foods)**
2 Thin bun, (Ozery Baker, 100 calorie)


1. Cook onion rings to package directions, if using.

2. Preheat broiler to high.  Process the oatmeal to a powder with a Magic Bullet or blender.  Mash  beans and oats together and add seasoning, salt and mustard in a medium bowl; divide into four; shape into burgers by hand.  Spray burgers with cooking spray, place on baking sheet and broil about 5 minutes per side or until browned.

3. Toast thin buns and top half with one burger; spoon 2 Tbsp cranberry sauce over each burger and top with 2 onion rings.


Nutrition Facts – Burger only
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving 

Calories 184.4
Total Fat 0.9 g
Saturated Fat 0.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 174.5 mg
Potassium 597.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate 33.8 g
Dietary Fiber 6.9 g
Sugars 0.2 g
Protein 10.3 g 

Vitamin A 3.2 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 5.2 %
Vitamin C 0.1 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 0.0 %
Calcium 9.9 %
Copper 15.4 %
Folate 21.4 %
Iron 24.0 %
Magnesium 16.9 %
Manganese 35.0 %
Niacin 0.8 %
Pantothenic Acid 2.4 %
Phosphorus 12.0 %
Riboflavin 3.2 %
Selenium 3.0 %
Thiamin 10.0 %
Zinc 9.9 % 

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

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Oct 222012

Upside Down Lentil Pot Pie

So last Wednesday night I picked my daughter up, got home and had to make dinner. My hubby was still at work and I did not feel like cooking. I walked to my pantry. Nothing. Walked to my fridge. Nothing.  Opened the freezer.  Pie crusts!  Ok so what could I make with pie crust that involved zero pre-cooking.

Ha! Soup of course! And what better soup to use than Amy’s Kitchen Lentil Soup?  I didn’t even get a bowl out; I mixed the three ingredients right in the pie crust – no seasoning necessary.  The soup added plenty of flavor.

I remember the days when I would use a can of Cream of Mushroom soup to make different dishes ….until I read the ingredients. What do you want to bet that most of this soup has genetically modified ingredients?  


Here is what is in the Amy’s Kitchen:

Ingredients : No Trans Fat/No Added MSG/No Preservatives (Vegan) Filtered water, organic lentils, organic celery, organic carrots, organic onions, organic potatoes, organic extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, spices*.*100% pure herbs & spices (no hidden ingredients)

We can actually read the ingredients – Lentils. Celery. Carrots…..
None of us are going to go to their pantry and grab some modified food starch, maltodextrin or  disodium inosinate.

Remember that if you aren’t using fresh in a recipe – be sure to read the ingredients.

Upside Down Lentil Pot Pie

I will admit that did not have high hopes for this recipe and was not even going to record it – but when it come out of the oven, with the seasoned lentils in a flavorful pie crust my little ugly duckling became a swan. I had to take a few photos to save this one for later, and in fact, I’m marking this one as a “favorite”.

Bookmark this recipe for the next time someone tells you it is too difficult to eat vegetarian or vegan and it is too much work to prepare dinner so they just went to the drive through.

Upside Down Lentil Pot Pie

Upside Down Lentil Pot Pie 

Serves 6
Printable Recipe
**Items on sale now at Native Sun Natural Foods Market Oct 7 to Nov 6, 2012


1 frozen whole wheat pie crust Wholly Wholesome)
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained (Muir Glen)**
1 cup cooked black beans, rinsed and drained (Tree of Life)**
1 can Amy’s Kitchen Lentil Soup


1. Preheat oven to 375F. Pour tomatoes, beans and lentil soup into frozen pie crust; stir and bake 25 to 30 minutes or until heated through.

Nutrition Facts
6 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 228.7
Total Fat 9.8 g
Saturated Fat 4.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 480.3 mg
Potassium 276.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate 27.5 g
Dietary Fiber 7.3 g
Sugars 4.5 g
Protein 8.0 g

Vitamin A 18.4 %
Vitamin B-6 1.0 %
Vitamin C 20.0 %
Calcium 3.1 %
Copper 6.3 %
Folate 10.7 %
Iron 10.3 %
Magnesium 5.0 %
Manganese 6.4 %
Niacin 0.7 %
Pantothenic Acid 0.7 %
Phosphorus 4.0 %
Riboflavin 1.0 %
Selenium 0.5 %
Thiamin 4.7 %
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.

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.

Oct 022012

Kale, Carrot, Sweet Potato and Bean Soup

I am convinced that most of what is thrown at us in life is to teach us something – to teach us an appreciation for what is to come. Why does this happen? Because if it came easily then we wouldn’t really appreciate it when we got to our destination. Every experience, the struggles, the unknown, and the anticipation, are part of the joy of reaching our goals.  Instead of feeling despair and desperation, we need to celebrate where we are and make peace with it but at the same time keep sharp focus on our aspirations.

There will be bumps in the road that will try and derail us, but we need to hold fast to those things that we seek, put the “bumps” behind us and leave them there. Don’t dwell on the bumps.  In fact, we NEED those bumps because otherwise we are like the child that is given everything he could ever want and more.  When he does get that thing he wants, it took no work and in fact, it doesn’t even make him happy. He just asks, well where is the next thing?

How am I supposed to make peace with where I am now?
By stopping to smell the flowers.  Enjoy and have grattiute for the little things in your life now. Maybe you have your health, there is a roof over your head, you can see a beautiful sunset, your home has running water or you step into a pair of fuzzy slippers each morning. Whatever it is, stop. Think. Be thankful.

The moral of this story is; the path to true happiness is to make peace with where you are now but to not lose site of your purpose; continue driving along but stop every now to enjoy some fuzzy slippers. And when you hit that bump in the road, let it go, and make calming soup. I promise you will feel better.

Carrot, Kale, Sweet Potato and Bean Soup

Calming Kale, Carrot, Sweet Potato and Bean Soup

Serves 4, about 1 ½ to 2 cups each.
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe
**Items on sale now at Native Sun Sept 7-Oct 6th


1 Tbsp olive oil
½ small onion
2 large carrots**
1 sweet potato
2 cloves garlic
4 cups (1 carton) vegetable broth, for salt free use homemade
1/4 tsp Cajun Seasoning
2 cups cooked red kidney beans (or 1 14.5oz can, rinsed and drained)**
3 curly kale leaves
Optional 1 cup cooked white beans


1. Heat olive oil in a stock pot over medium high heat; chop onion, carrot and sweet potato; remove kale leaves from stem and chop stems; mince garlic finely.  Add vegetables to heated oil and sauté until softened.  Sprinkle with Cajun seasoning; add vegetable broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are soft but not mushy, about ten minutes.  Chop kale and stir in chopped kale leaves and beans.  Simmer about two to three minutes or until kale is softened.

Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving 

Calories 197.3
Total Fat 4.3 g
Saturated Fat 0.6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.7 g
Monounsaturated Fat 2.6 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 1,393.1 mg (to cut back on this use home made salt free broth)
Potassium 620.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate 32.9 g
Dietary Fiber 10.3 g
Sugars 4.1 g
Protein 8.4 g

Vitamin A 384.1 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 12.7 %
Vitamin C 78.3 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 7.2 %
Calcium 11.1 %
Copper 18.3 %
Folate 19.3 %
Iron 15.9 %
Magnesium 13.5 %
Manganese 39.9 %
Niacin 6.5 %
Pantothenic Acid 3.8 %
Phosphorus 14.9 %
Riboflavin 12.0 %
Selenium 3.7 %
Thiamin 13.2 %
Zinc 6.5 %

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

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.

Aug 192012

Easy Mexican Mila Tortilla Bake

Easy Mexican Mila Tortilla Bake


Friday night was my second wine and Mila soirée.
We laughed, we talked nutrition, we drank and we ate dishes made with Mila.

All is quiet after work – waiting for my friends to arrive!
What is Mila?
(Those of you that follow me regularly already know but for those of you that are new, here is the info.)
Mila is an organically grown, non-genetically modified blend of chia seed that is cold pressed and sliced to make it more bio-available. 
It is RAW, GLUTEN FREE, AND VEGAN, perfect for cooking and baking.
It is super high in OMEGA 3s – equal to 6 to 10 fish oil pills per serving.  
A single serving also has FIVE GRAMS OF FIBER, more antioxidants than blueberries, more iron than spinach and many more benefits.
This little seed has anti-inflammatory properties, is excellent for brain function, energy, elimination, sleep and the best part?  It’s a FOOD!
My friend Jodi and my mom Diane.
We discussed the fact that Mila is a FOOD, not a pill, supplement, shake, powder or bar. It does more than just anti-aging or help you lose weight – it offers so much more! The nutrition of this food is amazing; it has 3000mg Omega 3s, antioxidants, 5 grams of fiber and only 70 calories. It will absorb many times its weight in liquid to help you feel full as well as offer tons of plant based vitamins and phytonutrients. Many shakes and pill supplements state that they have more nutrients than ten oranges, three pounds of kale, a whole salmon – blah, blah, blah.  When it comes down to it, your body is going to recognize the nutrients in an actual food much faster than a man made pill, shake or smoothie.
Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. — Hippocrates, father of medicine, 431 B.C.
Da Food

I also love the fact that Mila can be used as an egg replacer for baked goods – which is awesome because my daughter is allergic to eggs.  Instead of using a powdered egg substitute, this is a great way to both bind and add all the benefits I listed above.

Lots o’ Glorious Wine

I made my world famous seven layer dip – with Mila mixed into the black beans.

Vegan 7 Layer Dip with Mila and Cashew Sour Cream

These cookies were baked with Mila – super soft and chewy.

Oatmeal, Raisin and Almond Cookies made with Mila

My mom brought a strawberry spinach salad with a red wine and Mila vinaigrette.

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Red Wine and  Mila Vinaigrette

Jodi contributed a cheesy rice with Mila.

Cheesy Rice with Mila

A great time was had by all! A special thanks to my mentor Rachel, Megan who shared the first bag of Mila with me, my fabulous team members, Diane, Jodi, Suzanne, Chris and a long distance hug to Cara, thanks to those who stopped by and congratulations to my friend Jen who is the newest member of the team!!

Some of the fabulous ladies.
Mom enjoying her glass of wine.
Finally, the grand finale, my Mexican style tortilla bake – a super easy version of a lasagna. This versatile dish can be made vegan and gluten free or made with any regular tortillas you like, and any shredded cheese you have on hand.  This was an AWESOME way to slip Mila into my family’s diet.  Both my hubby and daughter polished off their serving and asked for more – little did they know they got half their day’s supply of Mila!

Instead of beef, I added a can of Amy’s Chili; it added tons of flavor and heartiness without the meat.  The tomatoes created a rich sauce and the black beans and fajita seasoning tie the whole dish together with a Mexican flair.  This one is definitely going under the favorites.  It is one of those casseroles that get even better the next day.

Want to try Mila for yourself?  Click HERE!

Easy Mexican Tortilla Bake with Mila

Easy Mexican Tortilla Bake with Mila

Vegan, Gluten Free
Serves 4


1 can (14.5oz) chili, I used Amy’s Medium Vegan Chili
1 can (14.5oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
2-4 scoops Mila
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes of choice (I used Muir Glen Fire Roasted, diced tomatoes with chilies), drained
2 Tbsp adobo or fajita seasoning (be sure to use a from scratch version or check the label for gluten free)
1 pkg (10oz) rice tortillas (or for non-gluten free use any you like)
1 cup shredded Daiya cheese (or any shredded cheese of choice)


1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Mix chili, beans, Mila, diced tomatoes and fajita seasoning in a medium bowl.

2. Spray a 9×13 with cooking spray.  Cut the tortillas in strips and layer on layer on the bottom of the baking pan.  Top with 1/2 the bean/Mila mixture, spreading with spatula, repeat.  Top with cheese, cover and bake 25 minutes or until heated through.

**This also freezes well!  Simply use two 8×8 pans and do not add the cheese to the half you are freezing.  Wrap tightly after layering and freeze for up to 1 month.  When ready to heat, bring to room temp, top with cheese and bake at 350F for 25 minutes or until heated through.

Nutrition Facts (with Mila)
8 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 296.5
Total Fat 8.7 g
Saturated Fat 1.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.6 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 664.1 mg
Potassium 197.7 mg
Total Carbohydrate 42.1 g
Dietary Fiber 10.3 g
Sugars 4.5 g
Protein 11.3 g

Vitamin A 11.4 %
Vitamin B-6 6.5 %
Vitamin C 32.9 %
Calcium 8.2 %
Copper 6.5 %
Folate 16.0 %
Iron 18.1 %
Magnesium 12.5 %
Manganese 15.0 %
Niacin 6.1 %
Pantothenic Acid 4.0 %
Phosphorus 16.5 %
Riboflavin 1.5 %
Selenium 0.7 %
Thiamin 12.0 %
Zinc 5.2 %

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

Aug 102012

I just finished the book, The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker.  “On a seemingly ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, Julia and her family awake to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth has suddenly begun to slow. The days and nights grow longer and longer, gravity is affected, the environment is thrown into disarray. Yet as she struggles to navigate an ever-shifting landscape, Julia is also coping with the normal disasters of everyday life—the fissures in her parents’ marriage, the loss of old friends, the hopeful anguish of first love, the bizarre behavior of her grandfather who, convinced of a government conspiracy, spends his days obsessively cataloging his possessions. As Julia adjusts to the new normal, the slowing inexorably continues.”

Society is based on a 24 hour day; businesses, schools and even our sleep patterns, Karen speculates on how this all would change when the days stretch on for 48 hours, then 72 hours and more.  During the nights the plants begin dying for lack of light, the days heat up to super hot levels, but still life goes on – people scrambling to build greenhouses with artificial light and stock up on necessities as they begin to run out of food. 

The story really got me thinking; how are we going to feed the world in future generations?  Currently, one BILLION people are starving and 9 million die of hunger each year.   Right now, the world’s population is at around 7 billion people.  What happens when we get to 9 billion in the year 2050?  That is in 38 years.

According to ecologist Catherine Badgley of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor (U.M.), we already grow enough food to feed the entire population; it’s just the accessibility and quality of food.  Much of it is going to feed animals and soon bio fuel may even compete with animals for consumption of what is grown.

The US EPA states that the United States is the largest producer of corn in the world with 400,000 farms focused on this one crop.  80% of this yield is used to feed livestock, poultry and fish and only 12% is consumed directly or indirectly in food substances like high fructose corn syrup.


The US has the highest percentage of arable land on the globe; of that (at the time of the study), about 382 million acres is used for crops and 525 million acres is used for livestock – their numbers contributing significantly to pollution, deforestation and methane emissions globally. “USEPA’s 1998 National Water Quality Inventory indicates that agricultural operations, including animal feeding operations (AFOs), are a significant source of water pollution in the U.S. States estimate that agriculture contributes in part to the impairment of at least 170,750 river miles, 2,417,801 lake acres, and 1,827 estuary square miles Agriculture was reported to be the most common pollutant of rivers and streams.”

The facts and statistics are mind boggling and disheartening.  What can one person do?  Eat more plants and whole, unprocessed foods.  Beans contribute nitrogen to the soil and organic vegetables and grains grown without pesticide hold  more than 1000 pounds of carbon per acre, while non-organic farms can release carbon into the air.  

Secondly, support local organic farms like KYV farm, local businesses that promote the use of produce from these farms – such as the Manatee Cafe, the Floridian and Casa Maya, and organizations such as Slow Food.  Together we can drive change!

Tip: Preparing simple rice and beans on a weekend is a great way to make super fast meals throughout the week.  Eat them alone with sautéed vegetables, add them to quesadillas or burritos or  pat them into healthy burgers.

Vegetable Stirfry with Rice and Beans
Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free


1 Tbsp oil
4 cups chopped mixed vegetables (I used green bell pepper,onion, carrot, garlic, tomato, mushrooms)
1 tsp favorite seasoning mixture (I used a mix of garlic and onion powder, salt, oregano, nutritional yeast, mustard and paprika)
Bragg Liquid Aminos, to taste (or soy sauce or Tamari but will not be soy free)
2 cups cooked beans
2 cups cooked brown rice


1. Heat oil over medium high heat; add vegetables and sauté until soft, about 7 to 10 minutes; season with favorite seasoning mixture.  Add liquid aminos, to taste.  Stir in beans and rice.

Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 154.7
Total Fat 1.0 g
Saturated Fat 0.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 67.0 mg
Potassium 491.1 mg
Total Carbohydrate 31.2 g
Dietary Fiber 6.8 g
Sugars 2.9 g
Protein 6.8 g

Vitamin A 81.0 %
Vitamin B-12 0.1 %
Vitamin B-6 12.2 %
Vitamin C 52.4 %
Vitamin D 3.3 %
Vitamin E 2.5 %
Calcium 3.6 %
Copper 10.8 %
Folate 21.5 %
Iron 8.4 %
Magnesium 11.0 %
Manganese 18.8 %
Niacin 7.6 %
Pantothenic Acid 5.6 %
Phosphorus 10.9 %
Riboflavin 8.4 %
Selenium 3.9 %
Thiamin 12.5 %
Zinc 5.2 %

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

Aug 072012


Tropical Salsa with Cucumber, Fresh Mint, Peach and Mango


Summer here is all about quick and easy – especially since last week I was really sick.  My doctor said I caught it before it turned into full blown pneumonia.  Goodness knows that one thing I can’t seem to do is slow down, so I had simply worn myself down.  For someone in-tune with their body, I have a hard time listening when I’m sick and that is something I need to work on.  
On a positive note, I found Netflix on line and watched every episode of Survivors from the BBC where a flu pandemic wipes out most of the world and the few survivors left have to live life and find a cure.  I loved all the story lines and watching the writer’s ideas of what would happen when government is gone – which is also kind of a fun fact about me.  I LOVE reading and watching survivalist books and movies.  Not necessarily zombie movies, though I did like I Am Legend.  (It doesn’t have”zombies”, but there are definitely some un-realistic vampire/undead people.)  It’s the whole virus part I find so interesting. Biology and sociology were some of my favorite subjects in college – in fact, I started out majoring in biology and ended up with a sociology degree! Studying people is SO interesting so wondering what would happen and what we would do if a major virus outbreak or climate change. 
After that, at the suggestion of some co-workers I started watching Breaking Bad.  It’s about a high school chemistry teacher that finds out he has terminal lung cancer and starts to cook meth with a local drug dealer.  So far I haven’t really been able to get into that one but they keep telling me to get through the first two episodes so I’ll have another go at it later.
And finally, I got my hands on the Secret.  If you haven’t watched it, you have to rent it.  It’s all about the power of positive thinking and changing our thoughts from constantly thinking about what we DON’T want to what we DO want.  So instead of me saying, I hate sitting in a cubicle, I hate being stuck till 9 pm away from my husband and baby girl at end of month, I have changed my thoughts to I can’t WAIT for my career in food and nutrition.  I can’t WAIT to change people’s lives for the better.  I can’t WAIT to make a real and positive impact on this world.  In fact, I have TWO “vision boards” and a gratitude board. 
On the vision boards we paste pictures of what we want – I have the logo for Institute of Integrative Nutrition up there, teacher training at Yoga Den, a photo of the big tent that attaches to my camper and my beach house in St Augustine – down to the comforter on the bed and the layout of the kitchen.  What this does is keep our wants in the forefront of our brains so we are constantly reminded of it and thinking about it.
Has it worked so far? Absolutely.  I got my Dyson vacuum, after LOTS of problems I finally got my healthy baby girl, I lost the weight I wanted, brought my daughter to Cape Cod, took my trip to wine country, got my daughter to sleep through the night when she was a baby – and on and on.  You can put ANYTHING on there.  It’s actually lots of fun!
Next up, the gratitude board, where each day I write something I’m grateful for and really try to think about it.  A roof over my head, healthy husband and daughter, running water, hot shower, food at the grocery, my parents and in-laws live five minutes away – and so many more things.
My second love is motivational books. I recently read The Choice, Beach Money and the Business of the 21st Century from the author that also wrote Rich Dad, Poor Dad. 
What are your favorite subjects to read about and watch?   Do you have a “vision board” – if so what is on there?
10 minute -5 Ingredient Vegan Black Bean Burgers
Back to the burgers!
These 10 minute – 5 ingredient bean burgers are a main staple in the house so I hope you’ll forgive me for posting these again with a fresh twist.  Since these burgers are mainly beans and oats, I love that my 3 year old daughter can help me make them and she even loves to lick the bowl!
Tropical Vegan Black Bean Burger
This combo of hearty black beans, cool cucumbers, fresh mint, ripe peach and sweet mango blended together in a perfect melody.  I just had to share it! 
Throw a little hot sauce on for a kick and you’ve got yourself a meal.

Vegan Tropical Black Bean Burgers

with Cucumber, Mint, Mango and Peach Salsa

Serves 4
Salsa Ingredients (Makes about 4 cups – 8 servings)
1/4 red onion, chopped
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 peach, seeded and chopped
1 mango, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 lime, zest and juice
1/4 tsp coarse sea salt
2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
2 cups cooked and drained black beans (or use a 14.5 oz can)
1/3 cup instant oats (or 1/2 cup rolled oats pulsed in the food processor)
1 Tbsp steak seasoning
1 Tbsp coarse ground prepared mustard (or whatever mustard you have)
2 Tbsp Gluten Free Ketchup
4 Ezekiel Whole Grain Burger Buns
Hot Sauce of choice
1. Mix salsa ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Preheat the broiler on high and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.** Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl; divide into four burgers or eight sliders. Broil first side for 6 minutes; flip and cook an additional 4 to 5 minutes or until browned.
3. Toast buns; top each with 1 burger, 1/4 cup salsa and a few dashes of hot sauce.
** Reserve extra salsa for later use.
Jun 272012
One of the best things in life is meeting new people and experiencing new things.  Last Saturday was one of the most fun and memorable.  My friend Gregg, who has been supplying me the wines for the Wine Down Wednesday posts, and his wife Kerry (I hope that is the correct spelling!) had us over for dinner.
  A dinner party turned Karaoke night around the piano.
Think Elton John. Rocket Man.

We wined and dined and had an amazing time.  He showed us around his vintage home in Riverside – complete with wine memorabilia from Bono no less!
Also in attendance were my friends Alyson and her husband Chip, who brought a meteorite from their back yard as a dinner conversation piece, and Mark and Sheri – we all do yoga together so it was great to meet up off the mat.  I can’t wait for us all to meet again.

To detox after a night of wine I got it into my head that I wanted to make a macro (macrobiotic) bowl with grains and veggies but when I looked at my acorn squash I just couldn’t remove the skin – it was too pretty – so I thought, why not turn the squash into the bowl? 

Secondly, I’m always looking for new ways to eat my Mila. Because I write about Mila a lot, I created this little info blurb.  That way any frequent visitors that already know the benefits can skip over that and head right to the recipe.
What is Mila?

Mila is an organically grown, non-genetically modified blend of chia seed that is cold pressed and sliced to make it more bio-available. 

It is RAW, GLUTEN FREE, AND VEGAN, perfect for cooking and baking.

It is super high in OMEGA 3s – equal to fish oil pills per serving.  

A single serving also has FIVE GRAMS OF FIBER, more antioxidants than blueberries, more iron than spinach and many more benefits.

This little seed has anti-inflammatory properties, is excellent for brain function, energy, elimination, sleep and the best part?  It’s a FOOD!




Acorn Squash from KYV Farm
I got this unique acorn squash from Vivian at KYV Farm (CSA SIGNUPS ARE GOING ON NOW)  I’ve never seen such a thing in the grocery store.  I usually see the typical green acorn squash that has a tinge of orange but this one is the beauty queen of squashes.



Stuffed Acorn Squash
Stuffing them with onions and garlic during cooking imparts a LOT of flavor.  This technique is perfect at Thanksgiving.  While everyone is stuffing their bird you can stuff your squash.



Macro Acorn Squash Bowl with Mila, Massaged Kale and Tahini Sauce
Macro Acorn Squash Bowl with Mila, Massaged Kale and Tahini Sauce
Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free


2 acorn squash, cut in half and seeds removed
1 onion, quartered
4 cloves garlic, crushed
Olive oil spray
Sea salt
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 cup cooked black beans
4 Tbsp Mila (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste.

Massaged Kale
1 bunch kale, stems removed and chopped
2 Tbsp ume plum vinegar (or sub any vinegar you like)
2 tsp olive oil
Sea Salt

Tahini Sauce
2 Tbsp tahini
2 Tbsp miso
2 Tbsp fresh lemon
1 Tbsp raw agave


1. Preheat oven to 375.  Arrange squash, cut side up on baking dish, stuff with 1/4 onion and 1 clove garlic; spray with cooking spray, sprinkle with sea salt; bake 1 hour.

2. Mix kale ingredients together in medium bowl, massage kale until wilted, about a minute.

4. Mix tahini sauce in a small bowl.

3. Remove squash from oven.  Remove onions and garlic; chopp and mix with rice, season to taste.  Mix Mila with black beans if using.  Stuff 1/4 cup black beans and 1/4 cup rice into each squash. 
Serve each half squash with 1/4 kale and 1/4 tahini sauce.

(**Rosted potatos on the side optional – roast along with squash)

Nutrition Facts (includes Mila)
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 392.8
Total Fat 11.9 g
Saturated Fat 1.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 5.7 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.4 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 67.0 mg
Potassium 1,423.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 63.5 g
Dietary Fiber 16.8 g
Sugars 3.3 g
Protein 14.0 g

Vitamin A 369.1 %
Vitamin B-12 0.1 %
Vitamin B-6 31.7 %
Vitamin C 141.5 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 8.0 %
Calcium 30.4 %
Copper 30.8 %
Folate 33.4 %
Iron 31.9 %
Magnesium 34.4 %
Manganese 78.5 %
Niacin 14.7 %
Pantothenic Acid 11.7 %
Phosphorus 36.6 %
Riboflavin 11.9 %
Selenium 5.7 %
Thiamin 39.7 %
Zinc 11.5 %

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