The “Blues” are #1

Blueberry Chia Pudding

Blueberry Chia Pudding

Chia seeds are a superfood and can be added to a variety of foods for increased nutrition. They make a wonderful pudding that can be enjoyed anytime of the day - even (especially) breakfast.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups freshly made almond milk
  • 1/3 cup organic chia seeds
  • 1 Tsp organic pure vanilla
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries

Instructions

  1. Combine almond milk, chia seeds and vanilla in bowl. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
  2. Stir several times while chilling to ensure pudding is well blended.
  3. When ready to serve layer pudding with fresh fruit in a pretty parfait or wine glass.
  4. Enjoy.
https://jazzedupveggies.com/2016/07/the-blues-are-1/

Blue is the rarest of colors in the comestible world. Bet that is a little tidbit of information you’ve never given much thought to, am I right? Go on, try and name more than one or two blue-colored foods! While this is a tough challenge, chances are good almost everyone came up with a little blue fruit called a blueberry.  Native to North America, blueberries are the second most popular berry (next only to strawberries) contributing to their expected 2016 commercial cultivation reaching 750 million pounds on this continent and 1.4 billion pounds worldwide. While available year round blueberries are at the peak of perfection right now, so enjoy them.

I can remember when I was a little girl, I spent hours gathering wild blueberries on the hill behind my grandmother’s home in Corner Brook, Newfoundland.  I ate most of the berries I picked, despite having a basket to bring berries back to the house for everyone to share, and didn’t mind in the least being scolded for it.  I was pretty sure then, (and now) that God must have created blueberries just for me.

They may be small, but blueberries pack a lot of nutrition into their tiny packages. Blueberries are #1 in antioxidant capacity among all fruits, vegetables, spices and seasonings.  The antioxidants in blueberries support our whole body and have particularly awesome benefits for our cognitive health and blood sugar management.

Blueberries are definitely a food you should buy organic.  The pesticides used in conventional agriculture today are particularly problematic for foods like blueberries.  For more information on The Dirty Dozen – Foods You Should Buy Organic, check out the Environmental Working Groups website by clicking here.  To get the most nutritional benefit from blueberries consume them in their raw state. They are perfect to take to work or school, make a great mid-day snack, are delicious on top of your favorite non-dairy yogurt or ice cream, and are a quick and easy addition to your morning cereal.  Here is one of my favorite ways to enjoy blueberries!

Blueberry Chia Pudding

Blueberry Chia Pudding

Chia seeds are a superfood and can be added to a variety of foods for increased nutrition. They make a wonderful pudding that can be enjoyed anytime of the day - even (especially) breakfast.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups freshly made almond milk
  • 1/3 cup organic chia seeds
  • 1 Tsp organic pure vanilla
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries

Instructions

  1. Combine almond milk, chia seeds and vanilla in bowl. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
  2. Stir several times while chilling to ensure pudding is well blended.
  3. When ready to serve layer pudding with fresh fruit in a pretty parfait or wine glass.
  4. Enjoy.
https://jazzedupveggies.com/2016/07/the-blues-are-1/

Check out the incredible nutritional benefits of chia seeds in my blog “Pudding for Breakfast”.


Nutrition Facts – 1 Cup Raw Blueberries (84 Calories)

Vitamin K 28.5 mcg 32% DRI
Manganese .50 25% DRI
Vitamin C 14.36 mg 19% DRI
Fiber 14% DRI
Copper 9% DRI


 

This Holiday Week-end Let’s Play a Game of “Instead Of”

This game is designed to challenge you to think about healthy alternatives to your usual holiday week-end food choices.  I am always surprised at how quickly people abandon their commitment to nourishing their bodies when celebrations come along.  For example, birthdays are often celebrated with rich, sugar-filled cakes covered in sugar-filled icings and laden with fats and artificial ingredients. Yet, there are wonderfully delicious, much-healthier alternatives like my Chocolate Cake made with quinoa and cacao. And, don’t get me started on the consumption of soft drinks at parties. One small can of Coke contains 39 grams of added sugar, 45 grams of sodium and 34 milligrams of caffeine. YUCK!  So, one can of coke contains more than the World Health Organization’s recommended total daily sugar intake of 25 grams of sugar (natural and added) for adults. And we give this junk to children!!!! So, to make a point:  one 12-ounce can of Coke contains 156% of an adult’s total recommended daily sugar consumption. 

Instead Of Soft Drinks

Instead of choosing beverages that have absolutely no nutritional value, way too much added sugar, and in the case of Coke that also has caffeine known to contribute to dehydration, choose one of these thirst-quenching beverages. Yes, fruit and veggie drinks have some natural sugars, so drink lots of plain or infused water and unsweetened iced sun tea throughout the day as well.

Instead of Salty Snacks

I can’t remember ever being at a celebration where these salty snacks were not a big part of the party food fare.  Potato chips (or crisps as my husband calls them) and pretzels are easy and inexpensive snack foods to serve but they are nothing but fat, sodium and empty calories. A 1-oz serving of potato chips – and, let’s be honest, who only eats 1-oz – contains 3.1 grams of saturated fat and anywhere from 170 to 215 milligrams of sodium depending on the type of chip. While sodium is important to our bodies, we get plenty of it from other more nutritious foods, so the added sodium you get from these salty snacks simply can’t be justified.

Roasted Veggies – asparagus, cauliflower, carrots – are really delicious served cold and make an awesome, healthy snack. Raw, unsalted nuts and edamame are great finger foods packed with protein and fiber; and raw veggies such as celery, carrots, red peppers, broccoli and cherry tomatoes have a great crunch and flavor factor as well as lots of vitamins and minerals to keep your body in peak shape.

Instead of Meat

Grill a delicious homemade Black-Bean Burger that is a much healthier not to mention cruelty free alternative to ground beef or hot dogs. Another tasty option is to grill some Tofurky Artisan Sausage. I love these with some grilled onions! A lovely selection of salads such a my Carrot, Cumin and Coriander Salad and Simple Summer Chickpea Salad as well as my Bits and Bobs Salad will add nutritious variety, color and texture to your meal.  Add some traditional sides such as my Picnic Perfect Potato Salad or try something new instead of a coleslaw like Wildbrine Beets & Cabbage Sauerkraut.

Wasn’t this game of “Instead Of” fun?  There are so many wonderful foods you can bring to your holiday picnic or while enjoying time with family and friends at home.  Nourishing your body is easy. Make the choice now to live without regret.

THIS HOLIDAY WEEK-END, PLEASE DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE

4th July

 

 

Lettuce Does Not A Great Salad Make

That Was Then!

A few years ago, whenever we would go out to a restaurant, I would cringe at hearing our server say “I can make you a salad” when I told them I was vegan. I knew their idea of a salad was dropping several leaves of lettuce on a plate, popping a cherry tomato on top, and serving it with a pitying smile.  My response to these meager attempts was usually “Don’t you have any veggies? Why not slice up some red pepper, raw broccoli and cauliflower, add some red onion and pop in a few seeds or nuts.” Inevitably, I would end up with a plate of veggies whose presentation looked like a platter for the kids’ table at some holiday celebration.

This Is Now!

Today most restaurants have “discovered” fresh produce and are creating innovative, delicious and nutritious plant-based dishes to please the palate of even the most ardent carnivores. We are no longer hard pressed to find a restaurant meal worthy of our hard-earned dollars and I am not afraid to order a salad anymore, knowing that most chefs have learned lettuce does not a great salad make.

Looking for some ideas on a sumptuous salad to enjoy at home or take to work? I made this salad today from bits and bobs I had in the fridge.  That is the greatest thing about salads – they don’t need to be rigid; just use what you have on hand to make your salad interesting. There really are no rules.

Bits & Bobs Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Bits & Bobs Salad

A great salad incorporates lots of color, textures and flavors. Try using dandelion greens, arugula, red or yellow peppers. Spice things up a little with some hot peppers. Add some beans - garbanzo and red kidney beans work great! I used sunflower seeds in this recipe but pumpkin seeds would be great too. Got some beets in the fridge? Add those for some sweetness and awesome nutrition.

The bottom line is there are no rules. You are only limited by your imagination and the ingredients you have on hand.

Ingredients

  • Cauliflower Florets - Chopped
  • Carrots - Shredded
  • Cucumber - Seeded & Diced
  • Celery - Diced
  • Radish - Diced
  • Chard - Chopped
  • Spinach - Chopped
  • Green Leaf Lettuce - Torn
  • Microgreens
  • Pine Nuts
  • Raw Sunflower Seeds
  • Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
  • Vegan Salad Dressing

Instructions

  1. Wash ingredients thoroughly.
  2. Chop & Toss.
  3. Add salad dressing just before serving.
https://jazzedupveggies.com/2016/06/lettuce-does-not-a-great-salad-make/

Simple Summer Salad

Quinoa Chickpea Salad

The summer heat is on! For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, Summer is here literally and figuratively. In the desert, where we live, the temperature has exceeded 110F several times already with more HOT.HOT, HOT days to come! Cooking meals in the summer not only adds to our external discomfort, but our bodies are already pretty busy trying to manage temperature making digesting a heavy meal a burden no “body” really wants. One way to keep your kitchen cooler (saving some money on expensive air conditioning) and aid your digestive system, is to make meals that don’t require cooking. This is just one of the many awesome reasons a plant-based diet makes perfect sense. There are so many options for plant-based meals that don’t require “heat”.  Here is one very flavorful summer meal that is quick to make, perfect for a picnic or to take to work, and, most importantly, has outstanding nutrition.

Simple Summer Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Simple Summer Salad

This recipe was inspired and veganized from one of my favorite recipe books "Quinoa, The Everyday Superfood 365" by Patricia Green & Carolyn Hemming. It is fresh and full of flavor - not to mention an excellent source of plant-based protein, vitamins and minerals.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (cooled)
  • 2 19 oz cans chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans) drained & rinsed
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 3 Tbsp drained capers
  • For Dressing
  • 2 Tbsp EVOO
  • 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 Tsp Eden Organic Yellow Mustard
  • 3 cloves freshly chopped organic garlic
  • pinch of chili powder

Instructions

  1. Prepare the dressing, blending well, and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine chickpeas, parsley, capers and quinoa.
  3. Pour dressing over mixture and blend well.
  4. Let salad sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend.

Notes

I like to batch cook quinoa and keep in the refrigerator or freezer so it is always handy for a quick meal like this Simple Summer Salad.

Italian Parsley is recommended for this recipe as it is very much more flavorful than curly parsley. Curly parsley also changes the texture - although that is not a bad thing!

I recommend Eden Organic Yellow Mustard because the ingredients are simple and healthier than most other options. Read labels to be sure of what you are consuming.

Capers are very flavorful but do add sodium to your meal. You will not need to, nor do I recommend, adding any additional salt to this recipe.

Chili powder adds a little "zip" to the dressing. If you like things a little spicier, try using a pinch of cayenne instead.

https://jazzedupveggies.com/2016/06/simple-summer-salad/


Quinoa RecipesThis recipe book, “Quinoa – The Everyday Superfood 365” by Patricia Green & Carolyn Hemming, is one of my favorites. While not all of the recipes are Vegan, most can easily be Veganized. The very cool part of this recipe book is that is demonstrates all the incredible ways you can enjoy the SuperFood – Quinoa. Check it out.

 

 

 


Nutrition Information 

Quinoa – 3/4 cup

  • Excellent source of plant-based protein. In fact, quinoa provides all the essential amino acids so it is considered a “complete protein” source. One serving of quinoa supplies 8.14 grams of protein or 16% of DRI.
  • Excellent source of fiber. 5.18 grams or 21%
  • Very good source of manganese and good source of phosphorus, since, magnesium, and copper.

Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans – 1 cup

  • Excellent source of plant-based protein. 14.53 grams or 29% of your daily requirement for protein.
  • Excellent source of fiber. 12.4 grams (3.9 g soluble/8.6 g insoluble) fiber or 50% of your daily requirement.
  • Chickpeas are also a excellent source of molybdenum, folate and choline; and a good source of copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, selenium, and zinc.

Italian Parsley – 1/2 cup

  • Excellent source of Vitamin K (554% DRI) and Vitamin C (54%DRI)
  • Good source of Vitamin A (14%), Folate (12%) and Iron (10%)

Capers

  • Good source of Vitamin K, Vitamin A, niacin and riboflavin.
  • Excellent source of flavonoid anti-oxidants rutin and quercetin. Rutin is known to strengthen capillaries and quecertin has been shown to have excellent anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial qualities. In fact the quercetin levels found in capers is second only to the quercetin levels found in tea leaves.

 

Carrots, Cumin & Coriander Salad – A Trifecta of Flavor

Fresh CarrotsSummer is the best time of year to find fresh, crisp, delicious carrots at your local farmers’ market. While they are available year round, there is nothing like the taste of picked-today veggies; not to mention these wonderful foods are at their peak nutritionally during the summer months.

Some people think carrots are not very exciting.  They often see them as low-calorie snack foods to endure or merely some “color on a plate” rather than the incredibly versatile food they truly are. Carrots are indeed a great snack food (and they are certainly a low calorie option) but they are also excellent when made into soup, included in a stew, roasted with some herbs as a side dish, added to muffins and, my personal favorite, as the lead actor in my Carrots, Cumin & Coriander raw summer salad that is so full of flavor you’ll want seconds.

For my salad recipe, I happened to use the more common orange carrots; but you can certainly use a variety of colors: red, purple, yellow, white and orange to make your salad a beautiful rainbow of color on  your plate.  Make sure you select the freshest, brightest carrots available – the ones with the tops still on are a good bet!

Carrots, Cumin & Coriander Salad – A Trifecta of Flavor

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 4 - 6 Servings

Carrots, Cumin & Coriander Salad – A Trifecta of Flavor

The dressing can be made ahead of time and refrigerated (covered) for up to 24 hours. This will allow the flavors to blend together and will save time when ready to serve. Make sure the avocado is not too soft - you want it to be a little firm so it will hold up. While the cayenne or chili pepper is optional, it does add a lovely little kick to this salad.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb fresh carrots
  • 4 stalks fresh crisp celery
  • 1 medium avocado
  • For Dressing
  • 1/4 cup organic EVOO
  • 1 Tsp cumin
  • 1/2 Tsp coriander
  • 1/2 Tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 Tsp chili powder or pinch of cayenne (optional)

Instructions

  1. Wash and trim carrots. There is no need to peel. Shred in food processor and remove to large bowl.
  2. Finely chop celery and add to bowl.
  3. Chop avocado into small pieces and add to carrots and celery IF serving immediately. Otherwise, prepare avocado just before serving and toss into salad at last minute to avoid any browning.
  4. Whisk all dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
  5. Add dressing to veggies and toss.
https://jazzedupveggies.com/2016/06/carrots-cumin-coriander-salad-a-trifecta-of-flavor/

Why Carrots Make a Healthy Food Choice

Carrots are an excellent source of Vitamin A – especially important for eye health as well as having overall antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities. In fact, 1 cup of carrots provides 113% of your daily recommended intake of Vitamin A.

Carrots are also a very good source of biotin (an important B Complex vitamin that helps convert food into energy), Vitamin K for cell health (particularly brain cell health), molybdenum to help our bodies detoxify, 14% of our daily requirement of fiber to keep our digestive tract in good shape, 11% of our daily potassium requirement, and 10% of our Vitamin C requirement.  Carrots are also a high water-content food so they make a great addition to your hydration needs. NOTE:  Drinking water throughout the day is the best way to stay hydrated – foods like carrots, celery and watermelon are awesome supplements.

BONUS:  Carrots are a low calorie, nutritionally awesome, very affordable food. They are easy to prepare and very portable.  Take them on a picnic, add them to your lunch, enjoy them after fitness class or school…. they are a healthy whole food to enjoy every day.

Picnic-Perfect Potato & Sweet Pepper Salad

Summer

Hooray, it’s picnic season! Who doesn’t enjoy packing a picnic basket full of delicious summer foods and heading to your favorite park, or beach, or a secluded hilltop to enjoy the great outdoors and break bread with friends and family or maybe even spend some alone time to destress from a busy week? It is easy to work up quite an appetite when enjoying the outdoors: swimming, building sandcastles, hiking, playing games etc; so the temptation to fill up on empty calories from salty chips, sugary sodas, and fat-filled sweets is very strong; however, taking good care of your health by eating nutritious foods is just as important on a picnic as it is every day at home. Yes, your choices need to be fairly portable, easy to prepare and serve, and packed safely to prevent food-bourne illness; but this is pretty easy to accomplish with a little preparation.

There are many great recipes available for simple yet nutritious picnic fare. One I particularly love is my Sweet & Peppery Summer Salad.  Should you want to “cook” while enjoying the outdoors, my Black Bean Burgers are a great choice. They will sizzle in no time on a grill or outdoor cooktop and I know will be a big hit with everyone. A delicious staple of picnics everywhere is a potato salad but it can come with some hefty calories and often unhealthy ingredients.  Here is my recipe for a delicious but healthier, plant-based version of this picnic favorite that is truly easy to prepare.

Picnic-Perfect Potato & Sweet Pepper Salad

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 60 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Picnic-Perfect Potato & Sweet Pepper Salad

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Wash, halve and steam potatoes until just fork tender (about 25 minutes) Drain and rinse gently with cold water to stop cooking process. Cut potato pieces in half again. Let cool.
  2. Use the Healthy Saute method to slightly soften and bring out the flavor of the chopped peppers (Healthy Saute: bring 3 Tbsp of vegetable broth or water to bubbling, add peppers, cover and cook for no more than 3 minutes. Drain.) Let peppers cool.
  3. For Dressing:
  4. Combine Just Mayo, Yellow Mustard, smoked paprika, dill weed and salt. Cover and refrigerate until ready to blend into potato mixture.
  5. To Pack or Serve
  6. In a large bowl add potatoes, celery and sweet peppers. Add dressing. Mix gently.
  7. When serving, sprinkle potato salad with small amount of dill weed and paprika.

Notes

Keep all picnic foods cold with ice packs/bags of ice in your picnic basket/cooler until ready to serve. Serve only when ready to eat. Do not let foods sit out in the sun/heat.

https://jazzedupveggies.com/2016/06/picnic-perfect-potato-sweet-pepper-salad/

Plant-Based Nutrition Information

potatoesPotatoes are the stars of this recipe.  Often considered inexpensive comfort food and frequently consumed as unhealthy fast food; potatoes can actually provide awesome nutrition if they are prepared in a healthy way! This recipe calls for steaming the potatoes rather than boiling them.  This prevents the nutrients from being boiled away into the water and ensures the potatoes do not become too soft. Leaving the skins on the potato also increases the already high fiber content of this important food.

Potatoes are a very good source of Vitamin B6 – the cell-builder vitamin. B6 is very important for keeping our brain cells functioning and for supporting our nervous system. Our body’s production of serotonin (happiness), melatonin (sleep), epinephrine and norepinephrine (for stress management) needs vitamin B6. B6 also supports our cardiovascular system by helping to keep homocysteine levels low (homocysteine damages our blood vessels). Potatoes are also a good source of potassium, copper, Vitamin C, manganese, phosphorus, niacin and pantothenic acid.

Sweet Bell Pepper

Sweet Bell Peppers are AWESOME! One cup of these incredible veggies has only 29 calories – pretty incredible for a food that tastes so good, right? Sweet Bell Peppers are an outstanding source of Vitamin C – just one cup will give you 157% of your recommend daily intake of this important vitamin.Sweet Bell Peppers are also a very good source of Vitamin B6, Vitamin A, and folate. BONUS: these peppers have 30 different carotenoids that provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory support to our bodies. Good things do come in small packages!

The nutrients we derive from these delicious veggies are at their peak when the peppers are fully ripe.  How do you know if they are ripe?  Your best evidence is in their color: when the color is deep and vivid they are likely ready to eat.  Another bit of evidence is if the pepper feels heavy for its size and if the pepper feels firm but yields very slightly to pressure.

celeryCelery is an awesome veggie that adds great texture (crunch) to my potato salad and a lovely color against the white flesh of the potatoes. Celery has been a go-to veggie for anyone trying to keep their caloric intake in check; but I wonder how many people really understand how valuable this veggie is to our daily nutritional requirements!

Celery is an excellent source of Vitamin K – a vitamin necessary for blood clotting. Vitamin K is also very important for our bone health.

Celery also has very special anti-inflammatory benefits – particularly for our digestive tract.  Celery is an important source of molybdenum – a mineral that helps our bodies detoxify by keeping the sulfer in our system in balance. Celery is a good source of folate, potassium and manganese as well.

I’ve talked a lot about the need to stay hydrated – especially in the summer – and celery can play a role in this essential task. Celery is 95% water – and while just eating celery won’t keep you hydrated, every little bit helps.


NOTE:  If you are unable to find Just Mayo from Hampton Creek for this recipe at your grocery store, Veganaise from Follow Your Heart is a very good alternative. In fact, I use both these products regularly.

12 Fabulous Fresh Fruits to Buy Now

I Love Fruit

Fruit has been my favorite food for as long as I can remember.  When I was a young girl, my mom always knew where to find me;  sitting under our peach tree reading a good book and enjoying this incredible fruit until I nearly burst. My mother used to tell me I was going to turn into a peach one day – but I never did.  Guess that was just a “momism” right? I eat several servings of fruit everyday.  I just love everything about fruit – its taste, texture, rainbow of colors, its portability, its accessibility, and now that I am a grown up its awesome nutrition. Really, what’s not to love?

With summer here (unofficially) it is the perfect time to enjoy all the mouth-watering, fresh, delicious, nutritious, in-season fruit available at your local farmers’ market or grocery store. Why buy in-season? Well, in-season means flavor and nutrition are at their peak. Moreover, when you buy in-season and local you are also supporting local producers, minimizing the carbon footprint of your purchases, and reducing your food costs. There is a lot to be said for picking your own food or speaking directly with the grower. Its a great experience.

What’s In Season?

Let’s start with stone fruits.

Peaches, cherries, apricots, plums, and nectarines are delicious and nutritious, very portable, and add awesome taste, color and texture to fruit salads and non-dairy yogurts. Stone fruits are good sources of Vitamins A & C and calcium and are excellent sources of potassium and fiber. BONUS BENEFIT of choosing stone fruits – they are low in calories and their natural sweetness will satisfy your need for something sweet without the guilt.

Who doesn’t love berries?

I’m going to confess that I could easily eat berries everyday, all day.  I love how they taste and how juicy they are and their rich colors. I remember spending a lot of time as a child picking wild blueberries on the hill behind my grandmother’s home. As an adult, I still seek out opportunities to pick my own berries – it is such a great way to spend a morning and the payoff – a basket full of beautiful, delicious berries – is well worth the dirt on my knees and stains on my fingers.  Berries  are the quintessential finger food. You can take them to work, enjoy them while watching a movie, snack on them while reading a good book….really they are great anytime, anywhere. AND – NO GUILT! Berries are also low calorie foods.

Berries in general are an excellent source of Vitamin C, are a good source of fiber, and are an exceptional antioxidant-rich food.  Strawberries are a good source of folate, potassium and manganese too.  Raspberries are also high in potassium, and a good source of iron, Vitamin B6 and calcium. Blueberries (I particularly love the flavor of wild blueberries) offer great support to our brain function: in fact, several studies show blueberries can improve memory. Delicious, juicy blackberries are plentiful – growing often uncontrollably along the slopes of many roadsides and walking paths.

Melons are awesome!

This is the perfect time of year to enjoy sweet, juicy cantaloupe and watermelon.  I love these two fruits just by themselves; but there are so many other ways you can incorporate them into your diet. They are awesome in a fruit salad or stirred into non-dairy yogurt. You can add them to your fruit smoothie or just juice them on their own. Some people like to grill watermelon too.

Did you know watermelon is one of the best fruits for hydration?  Watermelon is 92% water – this is why it is so popular on hot days. Watermelon is a very good source of Vitamin C, like other fruit, but it is also a heart-healthy food. Watermelon contains lycopene, an important carotenoid that fights free radicals. Lycopene gives watermelon  flesh its red color – the redder this fruit’s flesh, the higher the lycopene (a very good thing).

Cantaloupe is an incredible source of Vitamins A & C. In fact, a small melon can provide over 375% of your daily requirements of these two vitamins. Pretty awesome, right?  Cantaloupe is also a good source of Vitamin B6, iron and calcium too.

Both these melons are low-calorie foods too.  Don’t you love that????


There you have it – 12 fabulous, fresh, in-season fruits you can find in your local farmers’ market or produce section at your grocer. Want to know more about what’s in season?  Check out this handy chart from CUESA http://www.cuesa.org/eat-seasonally/charts/fruit


 

It’s Heating Up – Hydrate Your Body With Plant-Based Foods

 

The best, most efficient way to keep your body hydrated is to drink water. As I discussed in my blog post “Infused Water – Stay Hydrated this Summer”, drinking water is a good thing to do but not very exciting so most of us don’t drink enough. Still, water does its job and has no calories, so if you want to hydrate your body and watch your calorie intake, plain old water is for you.

HOWEVER, if you want to add a little zest to your daily water requirements, here are some great ways to hydrate your body with plant-based foods. Just clean and enjoy. It’s just  that simple.

  • Watermelon has a very high water content – 92%. And, it is so sweet and delicious. And, it is very nutritious, And, it is very affordable this time of year. Best part: watermelon is very, very low in calories. So what’s not to love about watermelon? Need more: it is an excellent source of lycopene – a carotenoid that has been found to help protect against free radicals, enhance the functioning of our immune system and promote eye and lung health. (kind of important, right) AND it is an excellent source of vitamin C. Boom!
  • Canteloupe has a water content of 90%. It, too, is incredibly delicious and nutritious; and also low in calories – 1 cup = 56 calories. Awesome! Cantaloupe is an excellent source of vitamins A & C and beta-carotene (another carotenoid phytonutrient).
  • Berries such as strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, to name a few, also have high water content – from 88% to 91% – and are rich in vitamins, fiber, and phenolic phytonutrients. Berries are convenient, readily available, versatile, and extra-super delicious. They are perfect “little finger” foods for children, are just right for a mid-day snack, fit nicely into a packed lunch and are one of the best “sharing” foods.
  • Cucumbers are one of my favorite veggies. They are crisp, cool and refreshing. Cucumbers have a whopping 96% water content; that must be why they are so compatible with revitalizing drinks such as infused water. Additional benefits to eating cucumbers include: they are high in vitamin C, are a good source of vitamin A, folate, potassium ad manganese; and, if you need more incentive to choose this scrumptious plant-based food, they are low in calories. 1 cup = 14 measly little calories.
  • Celery is another favorite summertime plant-based food that will help keep you hydrated. Celery is 95% water and is an excellent source of vitamins K and C. I love the crunchy nature of celery and it serves as the perfect vessel for almond or peanut butters. It is a portable snack perfect for dipping and, BONUS, it is really low in calories – almost hardly worth counting!
  • Radish is the little veggie that is often overlooked; but when you discover how uniquely tasty it is, you’ll wonder its not always in your fridge. I love the peppery flavor it adds to my salads. Radishes have many great nutrients such as vitamin C & B6, copper, manganese, and folate and is an incredible source of fiber. Again, I sense a theme here, radishes are very high in water content – 95% – and a calorie-watcher’s friend; only 9 calories in 1/2 cup. I recently enjoyed some black radishes. Their flavor profile was not much different from the red radishes we see commonly in grocery stores, but I loved them for the color they added to the plate.

There are plenty of other delicious, nutritious, low calorie, plant-based foods that can help you hydrate your body. Spinach (91%), cauliflower(92%), tomatoes(94%), broccoli(90%), sweet peppers(92%), zucchini(95%), apples(84%), grapefruit(91%), eggplant(92%) Add some to your meals every day along with drinking some fresh, clean, delicious, infused water, and you’ll have no problem meeting or exceeding your body’s water needs.

Got some great suggestions for hydrating with plant-based foods? Share them with Jazzed Up Veggies and our readers by commenting below.

****Please take a moment to open and view the graphic below. It contains some important food safety tips for fresh produce.

Tips for food safety of fresh produce

Black Bean Burgers with a Cuban Flair

Black Bean Burger

It’s The Unofficial Start of Summer

This Memorial Day Week-end please take time to honor our fallen heroes. Freedom isn’t free – we need to pay our respects to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our Country.

Summer is the perfect time for gathering friends and family for a casual dinner particularly if you live in a climate suited to dining outdoors. Burgers are a summertime tradition and plant-based options for burgers are delightfully plentiful. Vegetables, grains, nuts and beans make for incredible flavor and texture; and of course, they nourish our bodies with important protein, vitamins, and fiber. It is a familiar ritual at our home to enjoy each other’s company, sipping a refreshing beverage, and lounging on the patio while the grillers commiserate over the perfect time to “flip”. The sound of laughter and conversation always gives me pause for thought about the pleasure we take at sharing a meal together. Preparing food, for most people, is a true labor of love; and the love of those gathered around our table is clearly evident.

The primary ingredient in this recipe, black beans, is a very low cost, high value food source; and, the availability of fresh produce to accompany a summertime favorite like burgers, makes it an especially delicious, nutritious and budget friendly complete meal. Our recipe below for Black Bean Burgers is not difficult to prepare and affords a wonderful opportunity to get everyone into the action. Many of the ingredients for this dish can be prepared ahead, so when your guests arrive, and you are ready to cook, very little time for assembly is required. But first, enjoy our Jazzed Up Veggies video of “Black Bean Burgers with a Cuban Twist”.

Black Bean Burgers with a Cuban Twist from Berry Creative on Vimeo.

Black Bean Burgers with a Cuban Flair

Black Bean Burgers with a Cuban Flair

Ingredients

  • Black Bean Burger Patties - Serves 6
  • 1 cup cooked rice (I use black rice, red rice and flax cooked in veggie broth)
  • 1 15oz can organic black beans (1.5 cups)
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/2 cup shredded onion
  • 1/2 cup red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (more if you love garlic like we do)
  • 1 tsp harissa
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp tamari
  • olive oil
  • celtic sea salt
  • black pepper
  • Chipotle Sauce
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh pineapple juice
  • 1/2 medium avocado
  • 1/4 cup cashews (soaked for minimum of 2 hours)
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • water or non-dairy milk to thin if needed
  • Pineapple Salsa
  • 2 small avocado, diced
  • 1 cup fresh (not canned) pineapple, diced
  • Juice of 1 lime

Instructions

  1. Patties: Mix smoked paprika, oregano, garlic powder, cumin, and Harissa, salt and pepper together. Add small amount of tamari and olive oil to make a somewhat thick paste. Set aside.
  2. Prepare rice. Set aside to cool.
  3. Combine shredded carrot, onion, diced celery and diced red peppers. Sprinkle with a small amount of olive oil, salt & pepper. Spread on grill pan and roast for 30 minutes. Allow to cool.
  4. Drain and rinse black beans. Place in a large mixing bowl and mash with a fork or masher. It is good to leave a few beans whole.
  5. Once cooled, add all ingredients into bowl with black beans. Combine well by hand or with a mixer. You do not want to over mix so use care with a mixer.
  6. Form mixture into 6 patties. Place on plate, cover, and refrigerate while preparing sauce & salsa.
  7. Chipotle Sauce: Combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender. Blend until very smooth. Add very small amount of liquid if needed. Transfer to a small bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  8. Pineapple Salsa: It is best to make this salsa just before serving. Mix pineapple and avocado together. Squeeze fresh lime juice over ingredients. Toss gently. If making ahead, cover to prevent any air from reaching the avocado and refrigerate.
  9. Putting it All Together: The patties can be cooked on a grill-pan on the BBQ over medium heat; or on the stove with a small amount of non-GMO oil. Avoid crowding. Patties should be allowed to get crispy on one side before flipping (about 4 - 5 minutes).
  10. Place a green leaf of lettuce on your plate. Place burger on lettuce, top with chipotle sauce and salsa. Serve with tomato and avocado slices and baked sweet potato fries.
  11. Buen Apetito!
https://jazzedupveggies.com/2016/05/449/

Enjoy this delicious meal with a classic Mojito or some mint & citrus infused sparkling water.

Can’t wait to hear how you like it.

Fettuccine That Will Rock Your World

Cooking fettuccine with red chardEvery once in awhile I amaze myself by coming up with a meal that is so incredible I have to remind myself it wasn’t catered.  This is definitely restaurant quality without the restaurant price.  This fettuccine recipe is so simple, is ready in just 20 minutes, and costs only $1.50 per serving.  What’s not to like about that!

The ingredient that makes this recipe so special is Organic Red Chard.  I know what you are thinking ’cause I used to think it too: what am I supposed to do with those great big chard leaves and should I eat the stems?  Well, what you do with them is wash them,  chop them up stems and all into bite sized pieces, and add them to any number of recipes: salads, sandwiches, smoothies…..you get the idea.  The color is fantastic – the bright green leaves and lovely red stems will make any plate look terrific; and the taste and texture are simply delicious. However, what really piques my interest in this awesome veggie is its nutritional value and its just so budget friendly there is really no good excuse for not including it in your daily whole food, plant-based diet.


red chard leaves and stemsChard Nutrition Facts

Chard is a very low calorie (only 35 calories per 1-cup serving), nutrient rich vegetable. It is an excellent source of many important vitamins and minerals and is rich in carotenoids (beta-carotene & lutein) that protect your cells from free radicals, help your immune system function, and promote lung and eye health. Chard is especially rich in Vitamin K, an important vitamin that prevents oxidative cell damage, allows your blood to clot normally and protests against osteoporosis. Chard is also an excellent source of Vitamin A that supports our eyesight and helps us fight viral infections. A nutrient most of us do not get enough of – FIBER – is a key nutrient in Chard as well.  There are nearly 4 grams of fiber in a 1 cup serving.

What about protein? This recipe offers lots of protein, including that provided by the chard. A 1-cup serving of chard provides 3.3 grams of protein. Add that to the fettuccini, tomatoes, non-dairy yogurt and non-dairy milk and you have more than enough protein  in this delicious meal.

To get the most benefit from chard, you can add it raw to your morning smoothie, toss it in a salad, use it in a sandwich, or, as in this recipe, just cook it for a few minutes. The longer you cook it the less nutrition you will derive. The bonus to only cooking for a very short time is the stems will have a tiny bit of crunch which just adds a textural layer to this dish that everyone will enjoy.


Fettuccine That Will Rock Your World

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Fettuccine That Will Rock Your World

This is a super easy, very quick recipe you can have on the table in 20 minutes. The bona chia spinach fettuccine provides 8 grams of protein per serving (1/2 cup). The chard, yogurt and non-dairy milk add another 6 grams per serving. You will also be getting lots of vitamins and minerals in this dish; but the best part is it is scrumptious. Try it!

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Heat oil over medium on stove top
  2. Add garlic - saute for 30 seconds
  3. Add onion - saute for 1 minute
  4. Add chard and tomatoes - simmer while preparing fettuccine
  5. Bring pot of water to boil for fettuccine
  6. Add spinach fettuccine - reduce heat to medium high
  7. Cook for 3 minutes - DO NOT OVERCOOK
  8. Remove fettuccine and drain
  9. Combine yogurt, milk and Go Veggie parmesan in bowl
  10. Add to chard mixture
  11. Add drained fettuccine to chard mixture
  12. Stir gently for 1 - 2 minutes
  13. Serve with vegan parmesan sprinkled on top

Notes

To add a little extra pizazz to this recipe, chop up a few sun dried tomatoes to add with the fire roasted tomatoes. You don't need many but sun dried tomatoes will add an extra layer of depth and flavor to this already awesome meal.

https://jazzedupveggies.com/2016/04/fettuccine-that-will-rock-your-world/


EARTH DAY 2016-2Earth Day will be celebrated on April 22 but you really don’t need a special day, once a year, to celebrate the beauty and abundance our Earth provides.

You can help our planet by planting a tree. You will be providing a home for birds, perhaps some blossoms for bees, some shade for humans and contribute to clean air for everyone.

Check out the celebrations going on in your community or plan your own celebrations.  There are plenty of ideas to get you started at EarthDay.org.