Feb 182014

Simple, devilishly delicious and 100% vegan, my Vegan Chorizo Nachos with Pickled Jalapeno Relish will tame your inner junk food junkie.

Vegan Chorizo Nachos

Vegan Chorizo Nachos

 Layers of flavor with fresh lime, zippy jalapenos, spicy chorizo and a variety of textures from crunchy tortilla chips to creamy avocado come together in this recipe to satisfy even the biggest craving.  Bring this to your next pot luck and amaze your friends that it is vegan, or halve the recipe for a fun family night.  Either way you can’t go wrong!

Vegan Chorizo Nachos

Vegan Chorizo Nachos

Better yet have an impromptu fiesta!

Here are some great dishes you could include:

7 Layer Dip

7 Layer Dip

Chipotle Walnut Lettuce Wraps

Chipotle Walnut Lettuce Wraps

Grilled Corn, Onion and Black Bean Salsa

Grilled Corn, Onion and Black Bean Salsa

Mexican Tortilla Bake

Mexican Tortilla Bake

Black Bean Soup with Forbidden Rice

Black Bean Soup with Forbidden Rice

For anyone that doesn’t want to use the soy chorizo, sub black beans. I was unsure if I would enjoy the Tofurky chorizo; however, it was nicely flavored and had great texture. It will be an interesting experiment to bring this to an omnivore pot luck and see if anyone can tell the difference.  The pickled jalapeno relish is what really makes this dish unique. It is spicy but not too spicy, and has a nice acidity from the vinegar to add that finished layer.

Tell me – do you eat plant based meat products every now and then or do you try and go the whole food route? I typically stick with as many whole foods as much as possible but I also realize that people switching to a meatless diet can go through an adjustment period where it is nice to have some easy options to splurge on but still stick with the program. Hopefully this gives people options!

Vegan Chorizo Nachos

Vegan Chorizo Nachos

Vegan Chorizo Nachos with Pickled Jalapeno Relish

Serves 10 (This is great for a big group!)
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe


1 bag organic corn tortilla chip rounds
1 pkg chorizo style meatless crumbles, such as Tofurkey
1 cup low fat, organic refried beans
3/4 tube vegan style nacho cheese such as Teese

Pickled Jalapeno Relish
2 green onions, chopped
1 avocado, seeded and chopped
1 tomato, diced
1/4 red onion, diced
1/4 – 1/2 cup pickled jalapeno slices, chopped
1 fresh lime, juiced


1. Preheat the broiler to high.

2. Lay a bag of tortilla chip rounds on a baking sheet ; top with 1 pkg chorizo style meatless crumbles; spoon refried beans over evenly; spoon Tees nacho style cheese over evenly; broil for five minutes, or until cheese is melted.

3. Mix relish ingredients in a bowl; top broiled nachos with relish.

Nutrition Facts
10 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 319.9
Total Fat 16.2 g
Saturated Fat 3.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.7 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 884.1 mg
Potassium 392.5 mg
Total Carbohydrate 28.4 g
Dietary Fiber 7.4 g
Sugars 1.2 g
Protein 9.1 g

Vitamin A 9.3 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 3.4 %
Vitamin C 9.0 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 1.4 %
Calcium 5.3 %
Copper 2.1 %
Folate 4.7 %
Iron 10.8 %
Magnesium 1.8 %
Manganese 2.4 %
Niacin 2.1 %
Pantothenic Acid 2.9 %
Phosphorus 1.5 %
Riboflavin 1.9 %
Selenium 0.2 %
Thiamin 1.6 %
Zinc 0.9 %

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

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.

Apr 042012

Welcome back to Wine Down Wednesday where I review a vegan dish paired with two different wines. 
To pair wines with a meatless dish we consider the spices and main flavors of the recipe. For black bean soup we need a wine that nicely compliments Bragg Liquid Aminos, chili powder and cilantro.
The wines chosen to pair.
PARES BALTA Ros de Pacs 2011, (Penedes, Spain)
 PARES BALTA Ros de Pacs 2011, (Penedes, Spain), is a family owned organic winery about half an hour south of Barcelona.  The winemakers are two young women, Maria Elena Jimenez and Marta Casas.  Pares Balta has a National Park as part of its land holdings, the vineyard photo below is of a clearing in the park. Pares Balta has their own colony of bees to pollinate the vines and a flock of sheep to eat weeds in the vineyards and provide a natural compost. These vineyards have never seen chemicals.  I have decided I must visit this winery.  It is definitely right up my alley.  You go Maria and Marta.  Girl power!
A clearing at the winery – beautiful.


Parés Baltà


CRASTO Douro Red 2009, (Douro, Portugal)
CRASTO Douro Red 2009, (Douro, Portugal) is from Quinto do Crasto whose vineyard dates back to the 17th century.  A few of their grape varieties are soon-to-be organic!  The grapes are primarily farmed on these picturesque terraces.

The grapes are both fermented in this state of the art part of the winery and they also crush grapes the old fashioned way – by foot!  Because the foot has padding whereas stainless paddles don’t, it’s a much gentler way to extract the juice. 

My friend Gregg from Broadbent who is providing the wines.
A little yoga and wine.  Tough day at the office, poor guy.

As an update to two previous wine posts, I actually had the privilege of meeting Adi, the wine maker of the BADENHORST ‘Secateurs’ Chenin Blanc 2011, (Swartland, South Africa) and BADENHORST ‘Secateurs’ Red 2010, (Swartland, South Africa).  Gregg brought him to our yoga class and, amazingly, he held up pretty well – he didn’t pass out or leave.  We figure it’s because he must wrestle lions in Africa.

Nothing like a photo after a 90 minute heated power yoga class.
Black bean soup is such a comfort food that you would never guess how healthy it is.  It is filling and flavorful with the saltiness from the Bragg Liquid Aminos (tastes like soy sauce), creamy cool avocado, and super fresh cilantro.  This is a SUPER simple recipe and, if using leftover rice, will take you less time than it takes to go get fast food. I love quick and easy meals! 

Category #1 – How well my dish turned out.
Category #2 – How well I like the wine.
Category #3 – Pairing notes – How well this wine pairs with the dish.

Rating Scale
Bleck -This wine is pretty bad.
Ho Hum- I could drink it if I was at a football game and there was nothing else in the cooler.
Nice -Good table wine. I would keep this in the wine cooler if it was a good value.
Yum – This is good, I would pay a fair bit more and have it for a special occasion.
Damn that’s Good – Self explanatory.
** The same terminology will be used to rate the dish and how well it paired. 

Category #1 – The Dish
Rating of Damn That’s Good
After my last experience with an E2 diet recipe, I knew I needed to add a little bit of fat.  I added a tablespoon or two of olive oil and added and amended a few ingredients.  The result was absolutely delicious.  I was unsure how the Liquid Aminos would taste in a black bean soup, but I loved the saltiness with the tang of soy.  The avocados and cilantro really cooled the soup down.  Next time I might actually make this spicy although this time I abstained because my three year old isn’t too keen on cayenne.  I added the forbidden rice because I had it on hand – it was perfect because it mirrored the hearty texture of the black beans.

Category #2 – The Wines


PARES BALTA Ros de Pacs -Rating of YUM.  It both looks and tastes like strawberries.  I LOVE the color – like cherry red lipstick.  It has a very light body and would be perfectly refreshing on a hot day.

Crasto Douro Red

CRASTO Douro Red 2009- Rating of YUM (but possibly higher if I was a “red” girl like I used to be.) I loved the color of this one as well – a deep purple/burgundy. My first thought was a really light port and come to find out, it is made from the same varieties that are used in a Port wine, but it is fermented dry and not fortified.

Category #3 – The Pairing
Rating of  Damn that’s Good for the Pares Balta highlighted the avocado and cilantro flavors and, during the meal the berry flavor intensified. It was really refreshing. 
Rating of YUM for the Crasto along with the black beans made me think of coffee, chocolate and mole sauce.  If you like a rich red wine, this is perfect.

Where to buy

All the wines will be for sale locally at the Grotto in San Marco. You can contact Mitch Woodlief, grottomitch@aol.com with questions and pricing and anyone outside the Greater Jacksonville area can contact E-MAIL: info@broadbent.com PHONE: US +1 415-931-1725.
Black Bean Soup with Forbidden Rice
Inspired by E2 Black Beans and Rice
Serves 4, 1/2 cup beans and 1/2 cup rice
Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free
Printable Recipe


2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups cooked black beans (of using canned, be sure to rinse and drain well) 
1 to 2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup canned, undrained fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp braggs liquid aminos or gluten free tamari or soy sauce
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 cups cooked forbidden rice or brown rice

1 avocado, seeded and cubed
Fresh diced tomatoes (from KYV farm)or extra fire roasted tomatoes
Lost of fresh cilantro (from KYV farm)
Fresh lime juice (about one lime)


1. Heat olive oil in a small pot, sauté onion about five minutes; add garlic, sauté an additional minute.  Add black beans, vegetable stock, tomatoes, liquid aminos and chili powder.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 10 minutes, or thickened to your taste.

2. Serve black beans over rice; top with 1/4 avocado, a dollop of diced tomatoes, fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime.

Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 394.5
Total Fat 16.0 g
Saturated Fat 2.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.7 g
Monounsaturated Fat 5.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 566.7 mg
Potassium 362.6 mg
Total Carbohydrate 70.1 g
Dietary Fiber 23.1 g
Sugars 2.6 g
Protein 15.1 g

Vitamin A 13.7 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 7.3 %
Vitamin C 24.9 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 4.6 %
Calcium 8.4 %
Copper 2.1 %
Folate 2.6 %
Iron 20.4 %
Magnesium 2.1 %
Manganese 6.7 %
Niacin 1.2 %
Pantothenic Acid 0.7 %
Phosphorus 2.4 %
Riboflavin 1.6 %
Selenium 1.0 %
Thiamin 2.0 %
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.

Aug 292011
Ha!  I’ve now got four vegetarian recipes under my belt that my 3 year old daughter loves.

1) Pizza.  I use her brown rice bread, slap on some organic tomato sauce, some rice cheese and Italian seasoning then place under the broiler.
2) Baked potatoes topped with smashed white beans, cauliflower and broccoli
3) Sunflower seed butter and hazelnut agave pudding
4) The Cheesy Chick Quesadillas shown here (that I happen to be smitten with as well.) 

According to Dr Oz in last month’s Oprah magazine, it takes a child 12 tastes to develop a taste for something.  So don’t give up on introducing foods such as chickpeas to your kids.

My daughter likes them simple with chickpeas and cheese only.

I prefer my cheesy-chick quesadillas with the addition of roasted veggies.  

I cut a variety of vegetables up about 1/3 inch thick, such as tomato, zucchini, summer squash, onion, mushroom and sweet potato each weekend.  Simply preheat the oven to 350F, spray baking sheets with non-stick spray; lay the veggies out and roast for 45 minutes to an hour, turning halfway. Keep a close eye on them as different pans will brown veggies at different rates.

Here is the photo of mine with the roasted veggies.
On the side is a fabulously light guacamole; recipe to follow!
Cheesy-Chick Quesadillas
Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free (if Rice Cheese and Brown Rice Wraps used)


1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas or 1-15oz can chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed, such as Eden Organic
1 recipe taco seasoning (Recipe below)
1/2 cup rice cheese, such as Daiya (or regular Mexican blend shredded cheese)
4 rice tortillas, I used Food for Life brand (or tortillas of choice)
Olive oil spray
Roasted Vegetables (optional if you happen to have some)

Taco seasoning
(Seasoning from these Walnut Lettuce Wraps)
1/2 Tbsp tamari
1/8 tsp ground chipotle
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp olive oil

1. Toast chickpeas in a skillet, sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, over medium heat until just browned, about 5-8 minutes; stir gently every now and then. Wipe out skillet to make quesadillas.

2. Place chickpeas and taco seasoning in magic bullet or small food processor.  Pulse until just combined. Be sure not to over mix as you will get a paste.

3. Lay 4 tortillas out; cut each in half.  Spread 1/4 of chickpea mix and about 2 Tbsp rice cheese evenly over one half of each.  Top with the second half of tortilla. Spray outside of each quesadilla with non-stick cooking spray. 

4. Heat skillet over medium high heat.  Lay 1 quesadilla, cooking-spray side down; cook until browned, about 5 minutes; spray top side, flip and cook additional 5 minutes or until browned.  (Alternatively, preheat the broiler, place all four quesadillas on a baking sheet and broil until browned, flip and broil second side until browned.) Remove from heat, cool a few minutes; slice.  Repeat with remaining three quesadillas.

Nutrition for taco seasoning
1 Recipe
Amount Per Recipe

Calories 35.0
Total Fat 2.5 g
Saturated Fat 0.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.7 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 516.2 mg
Potassium 59.4 mg
Total Carbohydrate 2.2 g
Dietary Fiber 0.7 g
Sugars 0.4 g
Protein 1.3 g

Per Quesadilla (Not including roasted veggies)
Nutrition Facts

4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 335.9
Total Fat 10.1 g
Saturated Fat 2.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.7 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 838.2 mg
Potassium 264.7 mg
Total Carbohydrate 51.9 g
Dietary Fiber 7.1 g
Sugars 0.1 g
Protein 7.8 g

Aug 032011

 One of my favorite blogs, called The Taste Space has been my biggest inspiration when it comes to eating animal-free (we happened to both post similar recipes today so check her version out as well!).  In fact, when I did my 21 day detox I think I printed out almost her entire website of recipes because I wanted to try them all.  Janet and I have been emailing back and forth lately discussing the trials and tribulations of eating animal free and she has given me some amazing tips and suggestions; especially when it comes to feeding myself, my daughter who is allergic to everything and my meat eating hubby. One of the suggestions she gave me was a walnut meat from one of my now new favorite blogs, My New Roots, that she swore tasted like the real thing.  Of course I was intrigued and had to try it.  For my hubby and daughter I simply doubled the seasoning mix listed here and added it to 1 lb of ground beef to use in place of the walnut meat. 

I was really unsure as to how I would like cold “meat” whether it be walnuts or not, but under the sweet mango salsa with a squeeze of refreshing lime all you notice is the spicy chipotle and the hint of cumin that creates a perfect flavor balance.   As for the texture, I loved it.  I added creamy avocado, the silky-tart “sour cream” and the walnuts had a nice firmness.  I soaked both the walnuts and the cashews first by putting them in a small cup of water each that morning and then drained it right before I made the recipe for dinner.  Soaking the nuts begins the process of germination and unlocks the health benefits of the nuts.  The theme of this taco is FRESH and super easy as there is no cooking involved.
Chipotle Walnut Lettuce Wraps with Mango Salsa
Vegan, gluten free
Only Slightly Altered from My New Roots
Serves 2 (2 lettuce wraps each)


Walnut Lettuce Wraps
1/2 cup raw walnuts
1/2 Tbsp tamari
1/8 tsp ground chipotle
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp olive oil

Cashew Sour Cream
1/4 cup raw cashews
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp water

1 container market fresh mango salsa (or salsa of choice)
1 head romaine lettuce

Optional Toppings:
Fresh Lime
Caribbean hot sauce


1. Place all lettuce wrap ingredients in a food processor or magic bullet and pulse until just blended. 
 2. Place cashew sour cream ingredients in a food processor or magic bullet and blend to desired consistency. (You may need to add a bit more water if you like it thinner.)

3. On each of four pieces of romaine divide 1/4 of the walnut meat mixture, a few Tbsp of mango salsa, drizzle 1/4 of the cashew sour cream and add desired toppings.

Estimated Nutrition Facts

2 Servings (2 lettuce wraps each)
Amount Per Serving

Calories 299.7
Total Fat 25.0 g
Saturated Fat 2.5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 12.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 3.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 400.4 mg
Potassium 214.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate 15.2 g
Dietary Fiber 5.9 g
Sugars 3.3 g
Protein 8.4 g

Vitamin A 16.5 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 10.2 %
Vitamin C 18.5 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 4.8 %
Calcium 6.6 %
Copper 20.9 %
Folate 13.7 %
Iron 13.6 %
Magnesium 11.3 %
Manganese 51.4 %
Niacin 4.2 %
Pantothenic Acid 2.0 %
Phosphorus 10.7 %
Riboflavin 4.2 %
Selenium 2.2 %
Thiamin 7.8 %
Zinc 5.9 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs

Jul 162011
I’m going on week three of “almost vegan”.  I’m calling it “almost” because I did have some honey and I did have a bite of goat milk yogurt that my daughter didn’t finish (and I’m sure a few other things I’m not thinking of right now), but over all, I have been staying away from animal products since I started reading the China Study.  I still haven’t really made any final decisions yet on what the heck to do in regards to diet.
There are so many reasons why going veggie appeals to me.
1.      The horrifying treatment of the animals. 
2.      The energy it takes to raise an animal as opposed to the energy it takes to raise plants can not be compared.  The amount of money that is spent on the animal breed chosen, the feed and water, the cost of waste removal, the cost to house it, the cost to slaughter it, to ship it, process it; it’s mind blowing.
3.      I do feel pretty good eating vegetarian. One thing I learned from my 21 day detox with Michelle at Find Your Balance is that my digestion is so much better, especially at night, and now that I’m not so focused on protein it seems a bit easier. 
4.      According to the China Study animal protein is the main cause of cancer, heart disease and obesity issues.  This book wasn’t written by some shmoe down the street.  The author has a masters and Ph. D from Cornell, worked at MIT and had research grants funded by the American Cancer Society, the National Institutes of Health and the American Institute for Cancer Research and on and on.  Why isn’t this accepted in society and embraced?  Because there is a lot of money and big business behind the commercial meat, fast food, dairy and processed food industry?  Well yes, we all know that is true. 
 Then again I’ve heard arguments for the other side too.  Haven’t we been eating meat from cave man times?  As long as it is organic, we should be fine eating meat, right?  SIGH.  What to do…what to do….I mean I have a three year old to worry about and these are heavy topics.  What I don’t get is why don’t very many people seem very concerned at all about what they put into their kids bodies, never mind their own?
In the mean time I think I’ll make some quinoa and aszuki beans with lots of fresh salsa.

Festive Mexican Adzuki and Quinoa Bowl with Fresh Salsa

Altered from Closet Cooking
Serves 6 dinner portions (1 cup quinoa mix and 1 cup salsa)
Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free


2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper
1 large sweet onion
8 sweet peppers (they look like very small red, orange and yellow bell peppers)
1 cup white quinoa
1 large tomato
1 1/2 cups water or broth
1 14.5oz can no salt added adzuki beans, I used Eden Organic

Seasoning mix
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
3/4 tsp chili powder
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano

Salsa Mix (Alternatively, to save time you can buy some fresh salsa or pico de gallo from the refrigerated produce section at your grocery).
1/3 cup chopped sweet onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 large tomatoes, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 lime, juiced
1 handful cilantro, chopped finely
1 cup corn, (I used previously grilled and frozen corn)
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt


1. Spray a medium pot with olive oil spray and heat over medium high heat. Chop the green bell pepper, onion and sweet peppers.  Add to heated pot and sauté about five minutes.  Lower heat, add minced garlic and seasoning mix and sauté an additional 30 minutes, stirring periodically and adding a bit of water to prevent sticking. (I added up to 1/4 cup).

2. As onion mixture cooks, rinse the quinoa and set aside, chop the tomato and set aside, drain and rinse beans and set aside.  Meanwhile, assemble the salsa ingredients.

3. Add quinoa, tomato and water or broth to onion mixture sautéing on the stove.  Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove lid, stir in beans and simmer an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.  Serve 1 cup quinoa and bean mixture with 1 cup salsa mixture.

Dinner portion
Nutrition Facts
6 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 268.4
Total Fat 3.0 g
Saturated Fat 0.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 120.1 mg
Potassium 834.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 53.4 g
Dietary Fiber 10.1 g
Sugars 3.9 g
Protein 11.0 g

Vitamin A 78.4 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 19.6 %
Vitamin C 219.6 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 5.6 %
Calcium 3.7 %
Copper 9.9 %
Folate 14.2 %
Iron 22.5 %
Magnesium 9.5 %
Manganese 19.4 %
Niacin 8.8 %
Pantothenic Acid 6.3 %
Phosphorus 34.6 %
Riboflavin 63.6 %
Selenium 2.1 %
Thiamin 13.3 %
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.

Lunch Portion (1/2 cup each)
Nutrition Facts

12 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 134.2
Total Fat 1.5 g
Saturated Fat 0.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 60.1 mg
Potassium 417.1 mg
Total Carbohydrate 26.7 g
Dietary Fiber 5.1 g
Sugars 1.9 g
Protein 5.5 g

Jun 122011
Remember how I mentioned that most Florida farms are ending their farm shares for the summer?  Well there is one farm that is not only growing cucumbers, zucchini, squash, tomatoes and peppers, but giving her produce away to the homeless.  Talk about paying it forward!  I definitely see some great things coming her way in the future.
Wendy, from Wendy’s Organically Grown Herbs, told me this when I mentioned my mom and I would love to buy some of her produce which is when she told me most of the crop has been given to help those in need but she would drop off some of her fresh veggies and canned goods to me for free. 
Pictured here are some of her juicy tomatoes tucked into the taco, sweet summer squash and fresh zucchini that I simply seasoned up and grilled to pair with my super simple tacos that my whole family, even my daughter (who is allergic to everything) could enjoy.
A special thanks to Wendy’s Organically Grown Herbs.  Please visit her site to find the benefits of fresh herbs, how to use them to make home-made gifts and even how to attract butterflies and hummingbirds!
Easy Tacos with Fresh Grilled Vegetables
Makes 8 tacos


1 lb lean organic, grass fed, free range ground beef (say that three times fast)
1 packet low sodium taco seasoning
1 small onion, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 pkg non GMO organic corn taco shells (8 taco shells)
Toppings of choice
Sour cream or Non-fat Greek yogurt
Organic Mexican blend shredded cheese
Tomatoes and Lettuce

1 large zucchini, sliced
2 small summer squash, sliced
2 small Japanese eggplant, sliced lengthwise
4 ears bi-color sweet corn, shucked
olive oil spray
Seasoning of choice (I used Tony Chachere’s)


1. Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a pan to medium high heat.  Sauté the onion until softened, about five minutes.  Add the beef and, using a wooden spoon, break it up to brown.  Drain the fat then return to the pan and add the seasoning to package directions.  Add beef to taco shells and top with toppings of choice.

2. Meanwhile, preheat grill to medium high; spray all sides of veggies with oil and season with desired seasonings.  Grill first side about 5 to 7 minutes or until grill marks appear, flip and grill an additional 5 to 7 minutes or until cooked to desired doneness.

Per taco without toppings or veggies
Nutrition Facts

8 Tacos
Amount Per Taco
Calories 219.5
Total Fat 14.9 g
Saturated Fat 4.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 5.4 g
Cholesterol 39.1 mg
Sodium 81.2 mg
Potassium 161.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 9.0 g
Dietary Fiber 0.5 g
Sugars 0.0 g
Protein 11.6 g

Vitamin A 0.5 %
Vitamin B-12 19.5 %
Vitamin B-6 7.4 %
Vitamin C 0.0 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 1.5 %
Calcium 1.4 %
Copper 2.0 %
Folate 1.1 %
Iron 7.2 %
Magnesium 2.8 %
Manganese 0.5 %
Niacin 12.8 %
Pantothenic Acid 2.2 %
Phosphorus 8.0 %
Riboflavin 8.3 %
Selenium 11.3 %
Thiamin 2.3 %
Zinc 15.7 %

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

Fiesta! Fiesta!

 Uncategorized  4 Responses »
Aug 302010
After having quite a birthday week with a shiny new 2 year old who has all her own opinions on…
clothing, whether to wear it or not, usually not,
food, whether to eat Orignial Tings Crunchy Corn Sticks (which I have dubbed “cheesy poofs”) for breakfast or really any time of day 
bath time, whether to bathe or not; definitely not with Momma, Daddy, she’ll consider it,
TV, whether to watch it at all times when at home on a rotating basis of Elmo, Captan Kevin Faver’s Fishing Show, Golf or “drums” which would be some channel that shows videos of live bands, that would be a definite, YES as there is always at least golf on.
Needless to say, in order to get to work you have to leave the house by a certain time.  Trying to get a small person to do these things they do not want to do while having a huge tantrum can be challenging.  The best part of my morning lately is after I get her strapped into the car seat.  I sit in the front seat, crank the air and take a sip of coffee.  For a millisecond, ah, “me time”.
Friday rolled around and I was having a particularly stressful day at work so, of course, my mind was daydreaming about what to have for dinner.  Ah ha!  A Mexican Fiesta!
I immediately emailed hubby about this idea at 9:32 AM and (thankfully he knows I think about food a lot and did not consider this weird) he said “Sounds Great!!”
Hence the tacos.
Dawn’s Mexican Fiesta Tacos
Serves 4
1 lb organic, grass fed ground beef
1 1/2 onions, chopped
1 ear fresh corn, kernels removed
1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 lime, juiced
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Spice Blend
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
Coarse sea salt and fresh ground pepper
Shells and Toppings
1 pkg corn taco shells
4 ounces 2% shredded Mexican cheese blend
4 cups lettuce, sliced thinly
4-8 Tbsp corn and black bean salsa
4-8 Tbsp reduced fat sour cream
1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add the onion and corn, cook until soft, about 5 minutes. 
2. Add the ground beef and spice mixture.  In the pan, crumble meat and mix with spices and onion mixture.  Cook until browned, about 7 minutes or so.  Drain fat.
3.  Add black beans to pan and gently stir into beef mixture.  Taste and adjust spices as necessary.
4.  Place 2 taco shells on each of 4 plates.  Layer 1/8 beef mixture in each (eyeball it) and any of the toppings each person desires; salsa, cheese, lettuce, sour cream.
**Note:  A premade seasoning mix can be used; however, check the ingredient list to see what is in it. We were going to try and give some of this to our daughter and the premade mix had milk in it!  Also, change up the toppings any way you like.  Next time I might try some avocado and jalapeno.