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

Ingredients

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

Directions

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.

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

Ingredients

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

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

Directions

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.

Apr 292013
 

Having a Cinco de Mayo party and just don’t know what to cook? I can help! Here are eleven delicious and healthy ways to celebrate.
Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vegan Seven Layer Bean Dip with Cashew Sour Cream and Mila

Vegan Seven Layer Bean Dip with Cashew Sour Cream and Mila

 

 

Apr 162013
 

Grilled Adobo Tofu and Veggies
Open your mind……

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” ― Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto

Grilled Adobo Tofu and Veggies over Fresh Citrus Salsa and Cilantro Sunflower Seed Pesto

Grilled Adobo Tofu and Veggies over Fresh Citrus Salsa and Cilantro Sunflower Seed Pesto

“Many people know that animals around the world are treated badly, yet they turn their minds away.” - Ruby Roth, Vegan is Love

So I say…..open your mind to what is going on in factory farms. 

“Were the walls of our meat industry to become transparent, literally or even figuratively, we would not long continue to raise, kill, and eat animals the way we do.”
Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
 

“I would NEVER.”  Some people say.
Never give up meat. Give up dairy. Eat tofu.

I do believe I heard that out of my husband’s mouth.

(But curiosity got the best of him.)

It looks like chicken.

“Hey! It’s pretty good!”

Score.

Grilled Adobo Tofu and Veggies over Fresh Citrus Salsa and Cilantro Sunflower Seed Pesto

Grilled Adobo Tofu and Veggies over Fresh Citrus Salsa and Cilantro Sunflower Seed Pesto

How did I manage to do this and WHY?

Let’s start with the why.

For the same reason I would pre-prep and pre-make dishes for my CSA….so folks would at least try it.  Even ONE meat and dairy free meal helps your body, the environment and, of course, the animals that were not eaten.

“But that’s the challenge — to change the system more than it changes you.”
Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
Grilled Adobo Tofu and Veggies over Fresh Citrus Salsa and Cilantro Sunflower Seed Pesto

Grilled Adobo Tofu and Veggies over Fresh Citrus Salsa and Cilantro Sunflower Seed Pesto

The HOW.

Tips on how to make tofu look like chicken.

Step 1: Press well.  Do this the day before you are going to eat it or at least a few hours in advance.  I LOVE my tofu xpress, or you can simply wrap the tofu in thick paper towels and a kitchen towel, place it between two plates and weight down the top plate with a very heavy book and/or soup cans.  If you are pressing it overnight, place in the fridge; if not, it is fine to leave on the counter.

Step 2: Cut around the entire tofu to remove any flat planes and edges – think chicken breast. Save all the little shreds to season and throw on a salad.

Step 3: Now cut the tofu into similarly sized but asymmetrical pieces.

Step 4: Run your knife along the flat planes making small downward cuts to shred the edges a bit and then throw the tofu in the marinade.  See the below video and I promise to get a better one soon! Stay tuned…..

(All these steps will also help the marinade seep in a bit better.)

Ever wondered how to disguise tofu? This very humorous, last minute (and shaky) video shows you how. 
Warning: The videographer was my 4 year old.

 Now that all the nuts and bolts are out of the way, let’s get down to the food.

The weather is getting warmer and people are ready to start grilling!  There is nothing like a nice crisp char on some veggies and a mouth-watering, marinated protein-of-choice (tempeh would be great too) - perfect with cool salsa and creamy avocado.  This whole concoction, nestled in a bed of aromatic-nutty cilantro and sunflower seed pesto, is a perfect medley of flavor, texture and temperature.

Grilled Adobo Tofu and Veggies over Fresh Citrus Salsa and Cilantro Sunflower Seed Pesto

Grilled Adobo Tofu and Veggies over Fresh Citrus Salsa and Cilantro Sunflower Seed Pesto 

Grilled Adobo Tofu and Veggies over Fresh Citrus Salsa and Cilantro Sun Flower Seed Pesto  

 ___________________________________

Grilled Adobo Tofu and Veggies

Grilled Adobo Tofu and Veggies

 Grilled Adobo Tofu and Veggies

Serves 6
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe
Tip: Press the tofu overnight and then marinate during the day.

Ingredients

1 block organic, extra firm tofu, pressed 1 hour to overnight
2 Tbsp + 2 tsp adobo seasoning
1 Tbsp + 2 tsp olive oil
2 fresh zucchini, sliced
1 onion, quartered and cut into chunks
5oz button mushrooms

Adobo Seasoning Recipe
Notes: You will definitely have left over.
This step can be skipped by purchasing pre-mixed adobo seasoning.
2 tsp each; garlic powder, black pepper, onion powder, cumin, dried oregano
1 tsp chili powder
1 Tbsp paprika
2 Tbsp salt

Directions

1. Mix 2 Tbsp adobo seasoning and 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large bowl; cut tofu into chunks (see tip on how to make tofu look like chicken) and add to bowl; toss to coat and set aside for at least an hour or the day.

2. Preheat grill to medium high; season the vegetables with remaining 2 tsp adobo seasoning and 2 tsp olive oil; toss to coat.

3. Thread veggies and tofu onto skewers in an alternating pattern; spray with organic, non-stick spray.

4. Grill until nice char marks appear and vegetables are soft but not mushy; 5-10 minutes on one side and 5 or so minutes on the next.

Full Nutrition Info

Fresh Citrus Salsa

Fresh Citrus Salsa

Fresh Citrus Salsa

Serves 6
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe

Ingredients

2 tomatoes, chopped
1 navel orange, peeled and chopped
1/4 red onion, chopped
Juice 1 lime
1 avocado, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Dash coarse sea salt

Directions

1. Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl.

Full Nutrition Info

Cilantro Sunflower Seed Pesto

Cilantro Sunflower Seed Pesto

Cilantro Sunflower Seed Pesto

Serves 6
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe

Ingredients

1 cup fresh cilantro
1 Tbsp chopped onion
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup roasted sunflower seeds
1/8 – 1/4 tsp coarse sea salt (depending on taste)
1/4 cup water

Directions

1. Mix all ingredients in Magic Bullet or blender.

!Full Nutrition Info

Enjoy this grilled Adobo Tofu and Veggies

Mar 172013
 

Vegan Taco Salad

Feisty Vegan Taco Salad

Feisty Vegan Taco Salad

Do you love traveling? I have to say that I do enjoy some travel but leaving home weekly would be tough – my life is so crazy that I savor the quiet minutes at home. When the travel bug does happen to hit me, one of the very first things I do as a plant based foodie is check out unique restaurants located in my destination that offer some creative vegan options, or at least some great dishes that can be easily altered.

Feisty Vegan Taco Salad

Feisty Vegan Taco Salad

The restaurant that stands out from a trip to San Francisco a few years ago was Peter Lowell’s in the little town of Sebestapol. I found it on a recommendation from a local woman and then logged on to my smart phone and checked it out.  They offered tons of vegan, local and sustainable options!  One of the first things that hit me when I walked in the front door was seeing industrial sized salad spinners in the back for cleaning all the greens they go through.  Now THAT is the sign of a good restaurant!  I ordered a macro bowl with lentils, greens, tempeh and some delicious sauces to-go.  What an impression it made! It was so flavorful that I still remember sitting on a bluff overlooking the ocean as I savored every morsel.

Feisty Vegan Taco Salad

Feisty Vegan Taco Salad

When I think of locations I haven’t been to in the US that I’d like to travel to, I think of Montana (anyone have any suggestions on great cities in Montana?), Lake Tahoe, South Padre Island, Outer Banks of North Carolina, and Vegas baby!  My parents are going to be heading out there in September so my mom was asking about some places to eat – I searched around on line and found this a great list of celebrity chef restaurants in Vegas.  I’d LOVE to try Bobby Flay’s restaurant.  Though he doesn’t cater to a vegan diet, there is a LOT to work with there.  Black beans, fresh salsas and sauces, and avocados.  You just can’t go wrong with avocado!

Feisty Vegan Taco Salad

Feisty Vegan Taco Salad

All the talk of avocado was making me hungry – and this salad was certainly gratifying.  Crunchy chips, creamy avocado, fresh salsa and a hearty seasoned mixture of walnuts and barley with the kick of cayenne are perfect to satisfy any Tex-Mex craving.

I created a chipotle walnut lettuce wrap with mango salsa in the past, based on a recipe from the glorious blog My New Roots (Who ironically just posted about travel as well.), that was better than any greasy beef dish I’d ever had – so I used the basic idea of taco seasoning and walnuts but added in some chewy barley to enhance the “beefy” texture.  The barley can be pre-cooked a few days beforehand but keep in mind that if you want a warmer temperature that you will have to heat the walnut barley mixture.

Tips: Not a spice fan? If you don’t like the heat, simply leave out the cayenne pepper.
Gluten allergy?  Sub quinoa for the barley!

Feisty Vegan Taco Salad

Feisty Vegan Taco Salad

Feisty Vegan Taco Salad

6 servings
Vegan
Printable Recipe

Ingredients

½ cup barley
1/2 cup raw walnuts
6 ribs romaine lettuce, chopped
1 bag organic blue corn chips

Flavor Punch!

1 Tbsp tamari, soy sauce or liquid aminos
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil

Salsa

1 avocado
1/2 lime, juiced
¼ red onion
1 tomato
Dash of coarse sea salt

Directions

1. Rinse barley in a fine mesh strainer; soak barley in 2 cups water overnight; drain; add to a medium pot with 1 1/2 cups water or veggie broth; bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. (**See below for cook times without pre-soak.) Reserve 1/2 cup cooked barley for recipe and save the rest for another use.

2. Place walnuts in a food processor or magic bullet; mix flavor punch! ingredients in a small bowl and add to walnuts; pulse until well combined; stir in cooked barley.

2. Mix salsa ingredients in a small bowl.  Lay a few chips on each plate; top with 1 rib chopped romaine, crumble 2 Tbsp walnut barley mixture and 2 Tbsp salsa.

**Rinse barley; add to 1 1/2 cups water; bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover; cook 45 minutes.

Nutrition Facts
6 Servings
Amount Per Serving 

Calories 194.3
Total Fat 14.9 g
Saturated Fat 1.6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 5.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 6.8 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 213.4 mg
Potassium 309.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate 14.6 g
Dietary Fiber 4.7 g
Sugars 0.5 g
Protein 3.6 g

Vitamin A 12.0 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 10.5 %
V
itamin C 14.7 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 5.2 %
Calcium 2.5 %
Copper 11.4 %
Folate 13.8 %
Iron 7.2 %
Magnesium 7.9 %
Manganese 24.7 %
Niacin 6.8 %
Pantothenic Acid 5.8 %
Phosphorus 7.2 %
Riboflavin 5.5 %
Selenium 2.9 %
Thiamin 6.3 %
Zinc 4.5 %

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

Enjoy this Feisty Vegan Taco Salad!

Aug 282012
 
Can tomato and pineapple be friends?  After tasting this recipe, I do believe they are the BEST of friends; neither overpowering the other, living in a sweet-savory harmony.

 

Pineapple Tomato Chimichurri over Teriyaki Tofu
 
And WHY would I put an Argentine chimichurri over a Japanese teriyaki? Because it works!  These flavors can go hand in hand – in this case it’s best not to discriminate – trust me. 
 
Pineapple Tomato Chimichurri over Teriyaki Tofu
 
If you aren’t a tofu lover – this chimichurri will go well over any of your favorite proteins or even used as salsa.  And the second great thing is that this is one fresh topping that doesn’thave cilantro but is still AMAZING. In my experience, there are two types of people in the world.  Those that love cilantro and those that hate it.  Cilantro is one of those ingredients that either gets a, it’s so fresh, I love it!, or a, It’s the most disgusting thing ever and tastes like soap.

 
With this recipe you can please everyone on your list.
 
Pineapple Tomato Chimichurri over Teriyaki Tofu

Pineapple Tomato Chimichurri over Teriyaki Tofu

Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free
 
Ingredients
 
1 cup chopped fresh pineapple
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
2 Tbsp minced fresh oregano
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar 
1/4 tsp sea salt
Dash ground cumin and dried thyme, to taste
1 block organic, firm tofu, pressed of water
1/3 cup Teriyaki marinade, (OrganicVille )
 
Directions
 
1. Cut tofu into 4 “steaks”; pour marinade over evenly and marinate 1 hour to 24 hours.
 
2. Preheat oven to 400F.  Place tofu on baking sheet sprayed with organic non stick spray; bake 15 minutes; flip and broil on high, 5 minutes.
 
3. Mix pineapple through cumin and thyme in a medium bowl.**
 
4. Topeach tofu steak with 1/4 salsa mixture.**Pineapple mixture can also be prepared ahead the night before, while the tofu is marinating.

 
Pineapple Chimmichurri
Nutrition Facts

4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 91.0
Total Fat 7.3 g
Saturated Fat 1.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 5.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 151.1 mg
Potassium 146.9 mg
Total Carbohydrate 7.5 g
Dietary Fiber 1.0 g
Sugars 4.3 g
Protein 0.7 g

Vitamin A 10.4 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 4.5 %
Vitamin C 24.6 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 1.1 %
Calcium 1.5 %
Copper 4.0 %
Folate 3.7 %
Iron 3.6 %
Magnesium 3.1 %
Manganese 36.4 %
Niacin 2.1 %
Pantothenic Acid 1.7 %
Phosphorus 1.6 %
Riboflavin 2.1 %
Selenium 1.0 %
Thiamin 4.1 %
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.

Tofu (Estimated because much of the marinade is poured off)
Estimated Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 129.2
Total Fat 7.1 g
Saturated Fat 1.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.6 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 571.4 mg
Potassium 151.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate 7.2 g
Dietary Fiber 0.5 g
Sugars 4.6 g
Protein 11.8 g

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

Vegan
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
 
Burger
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
 
Optional
4 Ezekiel Whole Grain Burger Buns
Hot Sauce of choice
 
Directions
 
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.
 
 
Jul 102012
 
Seven Layer Bean Dip with Mila
Greetings!  I just got back from our camping trip to St Augustine.  Yes I am crazy and yes, it was definitely hot and yes, there was mosquitoes the size of Texas. But you know what?  I’m a camper and I love it. Ok so I do have AC in my trailer but I still consider it camping.  Hey I know what it’s like….I tented for many years and I’ve ventured three times into the deserts of Arizona with a tent for two weeks at a time.  No running water and scorpions.
This time we spent the days staying as cool as we could.  First thing in the morning we hit our favorite zoological park, the  Alligator Farm, then right afterwards we hit a nice splash park, we ate lunches out and visited the farmers market. In the evenings we enjoyed a few glasses of wine and my daughter roasted up some marshmallows.  This was an all girls trip – no boys allowed!

Here are just a few pics from our adventure. This is where my daughter takes over for the photography.

I was ordered to BE SILLY.
Lunch! Present Moment Cafe offers raw and vegan options.

Here is my daughter trying to roast marshmallows over our smoke signal fire.  It wasn’t me. The wood must have been wet.

And finally we get to the recipe.  I bought this to a 4th of July celebration and it got rave reviews.  Especially the cashew sour cream.  No one could believe it wasn’t regular sour cream!  To me it tastes like a cross between cream cheese and sour cream.  Spread this on your bagels and you won’t miss the other white stuff one bit.

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 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!

Sound good?  Try some for yourself and see!

***To prepare this dish be sure to soak the raw cashews ahead of time!

Vegan Layered Bean Dip with Cashew Sour Cream and Mila
Vegan, Gluten Free
Ingredients
Layer 1
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1/4 cup chopped red and green onion
1/4 tsp Adobo seasoning
Layer 2
1 14.5 oz can black beans
1 scoop Mila
1/4 tsp Adobo seasoning
Layer 3
1 can light, low sodium refried beans (I used Eden Organic)
Juice 1/4 lime
Layer 4
1 to 2 cups fresh salsa (or salsa of choice)
Layer 5
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
Layer 6
1/2 cup vegan mozzarella cheese (I used Daiya)
1 cup cashew sour cream: (1 cup raw cashews, soaked a few hours or overnight), 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice, 2 Tbsp Cider Vinegar, 1/2 tsp salt – blend until smooth, adding water if needed.
Layer 7
3 to 4 cups chopped lettuce

Directions

1. Mix the ingredients of each layer, one at a time, in a medium bowl.

2. Press each layer gently into a trifle bowl.  Serve with hearty organic corn chips.

Jun 112012
 
KYV Eggplants, Heirloom Tomatos, Peppers and Cucumbers
Oxidative Stress is becoming a big buzzword nowadays – but what exactly is it?  Oxidative stress is the imbalance of our bodies oxidizing at a greater rate than its ability to detoxify. Something we’re all familiar with is the oxidation of an apple or avocado when we cut it – that is why the flesh turns brown when it comes in contact with the air.

What worsens the oxidative stress in our bodies is the presence of free radicals, according to Dr Weil, author of Healthy Aging: A Lifelong Guide to Your Physical and Spiritual Well-Being (Knopf, 2005), they are “electronically unstable atoms or molecules capable of stripping electrons from any other molecules they meet in an effort to achieve stability. In their wake they create even more unstable molecules that then attack their neighbors in domino-like chain reactions.

By the time a free radical chain fizzles out, it may have ripped through vital componentsof cells like a tornado, causing extensive damage, similar to that caused by ionizing radiation.

What we eat, our lack of exercise, radiation and pollution all contribute to the presence of these free radicals. Studies show that this stress, in turn leads to a host of diseases such as Alzheimer’s to Lou Gherigs – the disease my grandfather had.
My grandfather was a testament to the power of REAL FOOD. Typically someone with ALS will live around five years. My grandmother, following a macrobiotic diet, kept him alive into his mid seventies-he was diagnosed in his 50s.
So what do we do about this? Eat antioxidants!

Antioxidants combat oxidative stress by neutralizing these free radicals and helping the body repair the damage.

A food that we all know contains lots of antioxidants is berries, top on the list at Mayo Clinic, along with sweet potatoes, oats, cinnamon and walnuts.

What has even more antioxidants than berries and the whole reason I’ve been doing more research?

Mila.  As I have been getting more and more questions and interest surrounding this food I have spent a significant amount of time doing the research on its benefits and how to incorporate it, deliciously, into our diets.
Try some for yourself! Click here.

In this month’s issue of Cooking Light there were several eggplant recipes that caught my eye as I had gotten two with my farm share. I love anything with tahini and beans so this sounded like the perfect recipe.  Instead of egg I used Mila to create the binding and add Omega 3s to a vegan dish.

Even though the ingredient list is long, I was not disappointed.  I loved the bean flavorful bean mixture inside the eggplant and the warm, nutty sauce on top.  The relish added a cool finish to the dish. Mixing raw and cooked ingredients creates lots of interesting textures. I definitely rate this one highly-next time I may even use the stuffing in another vegetable since it’s so versatile!

Vegan Falafel-Stuffed Eggplant withTahini Sauce and Tomato Relish

Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe

Ingredients


Tahini sauce:
3 tablespoons warm water
2 tablespoons tahini (roasted sesame seed paste)
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon agave
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 garlic clove, minced

Eggplant:
2 eggplants (about 12 ounces or 340 grams each)
Cooking spray
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup fresh gluten free breadcrumbs (or regular)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon tahini (roasted sesame seed paste)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 Tbsp Mila + 6 Tbsp water (in place of two large eggs – feel free to use if you have those on hand or have a seed allergy and are not eating vegan).
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added pinto beans (chickpeas can also be used)

Relish:

1 cup chopped seeded tomato
1/2 cup chopped seeded peeled cucumber
1/2 cup vertically sliced red onion
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

1. To prepare sauce, combine first 6 ingredients in a small bowl, and stir with a whisk. Set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 475°.

3. To prepare eggplant, slice the eggplants in half lengthwise; score cut sides with a crosshatch pattern. Place the eggplant halves, cut sides down, on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 475° for 7 minutes or until slightly tender and browned. Remove from oven; carefully scoop out pulp, leaving a 3/4-inch shell. Reserve pulp for another use. Season cut sides with 1/4 teaspoon salt.

4. Combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, onion, and remaining ingredients (through pinto beans or
chickpeas) in a food processor; process until smooth. Spoon 1/2 cup pinto (or chickpea) mixture into each eggplant shell. Bake at 475° for 25 minutes or until eggplant halves are tender and pinto mixture is lightly browned.

5. To prepare relish, combine the tomato and remaining ingredients in a bowl; stir to combine.

6. Place 1 eggplant half on each of 4 plates. Top each half with 1/4 cup relish and 1 1/2 tablespoons sauce.

Nutrition Facts
4 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 341.6
Total Fat 12.6 g
Saturated Fat 1.7 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 5.8 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 712.8 mg
Potassium 1,070.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate 47.4 g
Dietary Fiber 16.8 g
Sugars 1.6 g
Protein 14.0 g
Vitamin A 16.3 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 19.8 %
Vitamin C 38.8 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 5.3 %
Calcium 13.3 %
Copper 29.6 %
Folate 61.9 %
Iron 28.5 %
Magnesium 28.4 %
Manganese 53.3 %
Niacin 11.3 %
Pantothenic Acid 9.2 %
Phosphorus 33.9 %
Riboflavin 13.4 %
Selenium 12.3 %
Thiamin 30.2 %
Zinc 14.0 %

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

Apr 192012
 
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 must look at the spices and main flavors of the recipe.


For an ideal pairing we look for wines that that compliment Sweet Potato and Tahini Burgers Citrus, Mango and Avocado Salsa we look at the tahini, sweet potato, citrus and mango.


The Wines selected to taste are Warwick ‘First Lady’ Cabernet Sauvignon and Barboursville Viognier.

Sweet Potato and Tahini Burgers
with Citrus, Mango and Avocado Salsa

These sweet-spicy burgers are super easy to put together – only six ingredients. They can be baked, grilled or pan seared.  The mango salsa a spur of the moment inspiration that compliments the burgers so well it is a match made in heaven.  Mangos are on sale for a dollar and avocado is super cheap right now, too.  I had a jalapeno on hand to add a kick and some fresh Florida oranges and limes to add a nice tang.  For a side, I a added some nice steamed edamame with a sprinkle of coarse sea salt.

Time Saving Tip: To save time for the salsa, simply buy a quality store bought mango or citrus salsa in the refrigerated produce section of your grocery!


From 1791 through 1902 Warwick Wine Estate in South Africa was originally known as  ‘De Goede Sukses’, the Good Success farm.  It was later renamed Warwick after being purchased by Colonel Alexander Gordon of the Warwickshire regiment.  In the 60′s the winery traded hands again when it was purchased by Norma Ratcliffe and her husband Stan.  After initially selling the grapes wholesale to other wineries, Norma studied the art of winemaking and began producing her own wine in 1984.  She was the first female wine maker in South Africa, thus the ‘First Lady’ Cabernet Sauvignon is named as a tribute to Norma.

The winemaker’s notes, “The wine has a deep and intense ruby red colour. The nose reveals lots of red berries and sweet black cherries, complemented by sweet vanilla and chocolate oak background. The smooth ripe, round tannins make this wine easy to drink while still retaining a full body. The balanced acid creates a firm finish that is complemented by a lingering sweetness.”


Barboursville vineyards reside along side the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, owned by Gianni Zonin of Gamnbellara Italy who is a 7th generation winemaker. This Viognier Reserve is grown by the general manager-winemaker Luca Paschina who has a degree in oenology; the study of all aspects of wine. 

It looks like I have found my calling – I must go back to school for an oenology degree. I wonder if this is an offering at FSU.  If not, I will simply have to attend the the Instituto Umberto in Alba Italy as Luca Paschina did.
Gregg from Broadbent Selections sent me some additional information on the vineyard that I thought was interesting, “this second-generation estate house at Barboursville plantation was designed by Thomas Jefferson, one of only 3 residences he designed for his friends. The Barbour family continued to occupy this residence until it was destroyed by accidental fire at Christmas, 1884, and returned to the elegant Georgian villa next door for several generations, now The 1804 Inn”

The Viognier, pronounced Vee-‘O’-nyaaay, is fermented in steel with tropical and floral tones.  It does well with aging of 4 to 5 years.  The photos of the vineyard are gorgeous-I would love to visit and take some of the cooking classes offered at their restaurant.

Categories



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.
** We will use the same terminology for how the dish turned out and how well it paired.


Category #1 The Dish

Rating of Nice.  I would definitely make these burgers again as long as I could make the salsa with them.  I think that is what really made the dish.  It had all the elements I love - sweet from the mangos and sweet potato, aromatics from the cilantro and a spicy kick from the Cajun seasoning and jalapeno peppers.  The tahini wasn’t a prominent flavor, it just added enough to give it a nutty hint in the background. These were awesome with a bit of Arizona Gunslinger hot sauce on the side. 


Category #2 The Wine

Warwick Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 gets a rating of Damn That’s Good.  I’ve started a little wine journal now so I can sit down and write the first things that come to mind.  I’m still amazed when I go and look at reviews afterwards and the reviews actually coincide with my perception.  For this Cabernet the first thing I wrote down was chocolate/cocoa and no aftertaste. After sitting and swirling a bit I added perfect balance of dry and sweet, not too heavy.  Smoky mesquite.  Great with grilled foods.  My husband happened to be cooking on the grill at the time which may have had some influence there.

Virginia Voignier Reserve, 2010 also gets a rating of DAMN THAT’S GOOD.  I had to write that one in caps for emphasis.  On first taste I wrote honey, mango and tad sweeter than Chardonnays, higher percentage of residual sugar ?  I loved the honey-lemon color.  I also wrote down grass reminiscent of summer fresh cut grass which is interesting because in a review of the wine I read “herbal frame” – I wonder if my interpretation was the grassiness.

Category #3 The Pairing

Both get a rating of Yum.  Each brought the dish up to another level in it’s own way.  If I had rated the dish higher, the wines would have elevated the pairings to a DTG. 
The smoky-cocoa cabernet brings out the spicy elements of the dish and has a light enough body to not overpower the sweet potato burgers. 
The Viognier complimented the sweetness of the mango and sweet potato; the wine acquired an added layer of a lemony-citrus flavor when paired with the dish-refreshing and smooth.

Where to buy

All the wines will be for sale locally at the Grotto in San Marco. Please call first to ensure they are in stock.  You can contact Mitch Woodlief, grottomitch@aol.com with questions and pricing.  Anyone outside the Greater Jacksonville area can contact E-MAIL: info@broadbent.com PHONE: US +1 415-931-1725.

Sweet Potato Tahini Burgers

with Citrus, Mango and Avocado Salsa

Inspired by Lunch Box Bunch
Serves 6
Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free

Ingredients

Burgers
1 can of sweet potato
2 cans cannellini or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 heaping Tbsp tahini
2 Tbsp maple or agave syrup
1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning
1/3 cup oats, pulsed in magic bullet, blender or food processor to grind it a bit

Salsa
1 mango, seeded and chopped
2 oranges, peeled and chopped
1 avocado, seeded and chopped
1/4 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
Juice of 1 lime
Handful fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Add all burger ingredients to a food processor and pulse a few times, so just mixed.  Form into patties and place on a baking tray rubbed with oil.  Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, turning halfway through.  Turn on broiler to high at the end to crisp outside – about 1 to 2 minutes or until browned.

2. Meanwhile mix the salsa ingredients in a small bowl. 

3. Top each burger with a generous heaping of salsa and serve with Barboursville Viognier or Warwick First Lady Cabernet.

Nutrition Facts
6 Servings
Amount Per Serving

Calories 381.5
Total Fat 8.2 g
Saturated Fat 1.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 4.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 113.4 mg
Potassium 1,199.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate 67.5 g
Dietary Fiber 14.4 g
Sugars 8.3 g
Protein 15.8 g

Vitamin A 185.7 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 20.7 %
Vitamin C 65.9 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 5.8 %
Calcium 18.3 %
Copper 35.7 %
Folate 42.5 %
Iron 36.5 %
Magnesium 31.7 %
Manganese 78.9 %
Niacin 8.5 %
Pantothenic Acid 12.9 %
Phosphorus 27.3 %
Riboflavin 14.1 %
Selenium 5.2 %
Thiamin 25.9 %
Zinc 19.1 %

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

Please note that as an ammendment to the Black Bean Soup post I would like to change my rating of the Pares Balta to a Damn thats Good. I’ll definitely be ordering more of because of it’s summer drinkability factor as well as the new information provided that this wine is produced with absolutely now animal products so it’s perfect for a plant based diet.